Life is ongoing. I'm just trying to make sense of it.

It’s been a little less than a year since my last post; as much as I would love to just write for an hour or so, I’m going to have to wait until after finals. Then I’ll tell you about a life-changing decision (and its consequences), which has demanded all of my attention since August. … Here’s a hint: I am capable of doing so much more than I would have ever thought possible. God is good!

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                         final sketch of the cabin

        To write a blog entry after taking a break is sometimes difficult. Finding time and motivation to sit down at a computer screen can be equally challenging, and I will admit that as of lately, I haven’t had the words to put my thoughts and emotions into writing. The last time that I wrote, I was on vacation, on a road trip down to SoCal and back up to the scorching Central Valley. I do apologize for my abrupt departure, but then, I had no way of describing my desire to get home. When my mom and I gotten to the Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk, rain has dissipated what was left of my enthusiasm.

        So, I returned to my quiet lifestyle, one that can only be maintained in the summer, when school is out. I’ve read many books (Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars have both renewed my love of reading), written several new poems, and I’ve spent time with a few of my friends in my hometown. Although, I have yet to see my closest friend, Yesi, I hope that fact will change in the next week.

        For the summer, I’ve also taken a volunteering position at my church. We have a new youth program at RMBC, called Fusion, which is open to our public every Tuesday evening. While the age is set at kindergarten and early elementary school, we’ve welcomed all ages, including adults. For Fusion, we open up the newly erected Student Center, and offer activities to keep the kids busy for a couple of hours: video games, Fuse Ball, ping pong, air hockey, board games, movies, arts and crafts, and outdoors sports. Most of the volunteers are college students, but we are joined with my church’s college pastor and a few Women’s Ministries volunteers. Every week, someone new shares a bible verse or testimony and prays, and then the children are sent home with some kind of sugary confection. The kids that regularly attend enjoy themselves, and I, in the process of playing with the children, have learned a few things about my own self. While I’m usually tired by the end, I do find reawakened spiritual energy.

        If there’s been one thing that I’ve wanted to do all summer, it has been to come up to the mountains, to my family’s cabin. It’s nestled in the quiet Wilsonia Village, near Grant Grove, California. Even as the years pass, and I feel the growing pains that accompany early adulthood, this place stays the same. With that being said, here is one of my poems that I wrote, last year, specifically about the feeling of nostalgia my family cabin brings. I’m not sure if I’ve already shared it here, on Word Press, but even if I had, the point is still valid.

Same, Same, Even Still

By now, I’d be used to the sound
Of tires scraping through the pebbled pavement.
I’d be expecting the sounds of birds–
Robins and blue jays–
To escape through the car windows.
To take over, and provide relief
That the long and winding trip had been fully covered.

My feet would have already been on the move,
Skipping over the stepping stones,
Pattering across the weather-worn deck.
I would have stood aside,
While one of the grownups unlocked the door.
But now, I too am a grown up,
Expecting more than childhood memories to surface.

Anticipation, same as ever.
Inside the cabin, everything is in its place. Untouched!
A cold draft creeps through the rooms,
Reminding me that I was the one who had left here.
Left behind the golden pine trees, and
Left behind the village that knew me as a child.
Forgiveness would be something I still needed to learn.

My bed is nicely kept, folded and made.
My grandparents have been expecting my return, so
They tried to recreate my memories. Theirs, too.
Mr. Bear is guarding the top bunk, and I remember him.
His fur has lost its luster, but he has kept my secrets over the years.
He’ll stay here for many more years, to see a couple more generations.
I turn to leave the bedroom, simply.

I leave the small cabin, faster than I entered.
It’s a childlike tendency, I suppose. A small reversion.
Soon, I feel the pine needles under my shoes, again.
I am lead by a psychological force to my creek.
It’s too early in the year for water to flow, but that’s fine.
It reminds me of the day that I left.
Reminds me that it’s never too late to come back home.

       This weekend, I came up to the cabin with my grandparents— my mom stayed home due to her work schedule. However, I relished the opportunity; I would get away from the heat and the bad-air quality that home offers. Just that happened! Other than Friday when we arrived, the weather has been overcast and drizzly. I hope, though, tomorrow I will see the sun. It sure would be nice to actually go on a hike!!

        While the weather has given me enough time to start and complete another book (Ophelia, a novel which depicts Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the female perspective), I’ve also spent a good amount of time gazing out the window. From the dining table, I can see a meadow, my meadow. Yellow flowers bloom and I feel a sudden urge to run, to see how fast my legs will allow me to go. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling or desire, but now, I realize my motives have changed. I desire so badly to know what my future holds and whether or not I will reach my full potential.

        Sadly, my thoughts of the future have been altered within the last week. Wednesday, July 16th, my friend and Fresno Pacific classmate, Nicolas Bergen, was in an automobile accident. Currently, he’s in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a hospital in Northern California. He’s in a coma, has multiple broken bones, and is at risk for infections in his lungs. Such a serious state, my classmates and I have been rallying support and prayer from anyone who would listen. As a Christian, I fully believe in God’s will and ability to perform miracles. I don’t know what will happen, but I hope for the best.

          Multiple times a day, I look for news on Nicholas’ condition, searching for signs of improvement. Time slips by and I am reminded of how short life can be and how important it is to make the most out of our ‘given time.’ I want to honor The Lord, and I know there are days when I struggle. But the point of life is to keep moving! Pray, always, and keep your eyes fixed upon something higher.

 

Blessings for today and the rest of summer, Kristalyn

 

 

                One of my least favorite things about vacation is being in the car. The longer the trip, the antsier I become. Thus, begins my latest tale. I have my driver’s license (and my glasses) handy, but for this trip, we brought along my mom’s car; and my distaste for the Toyota Corolla doesn’t make me the best candidate to drive on this trip. With that being said, yesterday, my primary job was being a passenger, from Anaheim to Goleta/ Santa Barbara, California. What should have been a three hour drive took more than twice that amount of time, and my mom and I had to continually stop, to ask for directions. She had planned out a “scenic” route, but the highway we were on did not intersect, at any point, the highway we should have been on. This meant that we had to make a complete turn-around to our starting point. It was a huge mess, and by the time my mom and I arrived at our hotel in Goleta, we were both tired and frustrated. But food and some sleep did us both some good.

                Why is Santa Barbara part of our week-long tour? The simple answer is that I have a close friend, Kyle, who attends UC Santa Barbara, and I thought it might be fun to visit with him. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work very well, because the plans had been made long before my mom and I knew that this would be the university’s finals week. Being a very studious individual, I didn’t intend on interrupting Kyle’s studying, nor did I want to bother him, in this crucial time. So, my mom’s plans and mine had to be rearranged.

                In the tour-guide book, my mom saw that there is an art museum in Santa Barbara, and it appealed to her and me. Around 11, my mom and I headed downtown and we found the building quite easily. It was one of the oldest-looking on the outside and slightly larger than the nearby structures. After stepping inside and paying for admission (I got a student discount), we walked around, only to find out that nearly half of the museum was closed for renovations and additions of new exhibits. Only the main floor was completely open, and to my surprise, there were only about half a dozen galleries open to the public. While I did recognize some works by Renoir, Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, most of the pieces were modern and/ or American. It was a sad collection in comparison to all of the art museums that I’ve visited in Europe. Consequently, my mom and I didn’t stay very long, exiting the building only to enter the very busy downtown scene.

                A little disappointed, my mom knew a solution: shopping! There were more than enough stores, within a few blocks, to keep us busy until midafternoon. Most stores that we entered were tiny and family-owned, but each had something distinct to offer. While we didn’t make many purchases, I enjoyed looking through the windows and aisles, marveling at all the things that people dared to sell. And the best way to end our adventures was indulge in an Italian lunch. We ordered two different types of ravioli, tea, and spumoni, which is Italian ice cream. It made me genuinely happy.

                When my mom and I returned to our hotel, we were tired. We watched some television, which consisted of the news and a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory. Then we got dinner, and now, I’m recounting my last couple of days. My worries have melted away, and now, I’m ready for the next city. Of course, though, I’ve looked up directions!

 

Blessings, Kristalyn

                I have to admit, going to Disneyland and California Adventures was not my ideal summer vacation. I could understand why my mom planned to go to Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, but Disneyland stumped me. What kind of appeal did Disneyland hold for a middle-aged woman and her twenty-year-old daughter? With the purchase of two 2-Day Park Hoppers, my mom and I were about to find out.

                Yesterday, Mom and I focused on Disneyland. We were welcomed into the park by a small marching band playing music from 101 Dalmatians. Un-phased by the crowds, we managed to ride The Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain, and Adventures with Winnie the Pooh (at my mother’s request), before lunch. On Splash Mountain, Mom and I were placed in the very front of the log seats, causing us to become completely drenched! Neither of us minded, what with the California sun beating down on us. For lunch, we ate chicken burgers and sipped on ice tea. Then, we headed to Fantasy Land, to see the princess castle and ride It’s A Small World. Our day ended with shopping on Main Street and dinner at The Rainforest Café.

                Today, we returned to Walt Disney’s original park, marveling at the international crowds which were just as large as the day before. We went on The Pirates of the Caribbean (yes, again), Disneyland Railroad for a full-circle tour, and Star Tours. Some simple business which had been left unfinished from the day before. By the time we had made our way back to Main Street, the Disneyland band had started playing songs from Frozen, in marching style, and they had me quite entertained. Then my mom and I headed to the neighboring park, to check out the improvements that had been made since our last visit six years ago. The major one was The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, which summarizes my favorite Disney movie into a ten-minute ride, complete with sing-along music. It was worthy of our first and last attractions in California Adventures. In between, my mom played a couple of arcade Games of the Boardwalk, we both rode King Triton’s Carousel, I enjoyed the Silly Symphony Swings (flying at least 50 feet above the ground), and we strolled through the newly-added Cars Land. Also, at the Paradise Garden Grill, we ate marinated grilled steak skewers, and I found out that I actually like Pita Bread. Mom accounts it to my Eastern Eurasian blood, from Russian, not too far from Armenia. Over all, I had a pretty good taste in my mouth, and both mom and I left the park with smiles on our faces.

                Of course, a trip to Disneyland and California Adventures is not complete until you’ve seen a share of Disney characters; and a share of Disney characters is what I saw! In the last two days, in two magical parks, I saw: Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse (dressed in 1920’s newsboy attire), Daisy Duck, Donald Duck (in sailor attire), Max Goof, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eyore, and Merida (protagonist of the movie Brave).  Not to mention, there were thousands of people who invested in Mickey/Minnie ears of their own, and just as many little girls dressed as princesses. It adds to the nostalgia of the whole Disney experience!

                Final thoughts as I pack for the next destination? The idea of Disney Land and California Adventures is astounding! Walt Disney was an incredible figure, with a drive that made his dreams into reality. Who else could create so many memorable characters? Who else could imagine so many attractions? Who else could have so many people on their mind, of all ages? Only Walt Disney! And I think that now, in 2014, more than 50 years after its opening, Disney would be proud of how his park is thriving and how far his mouse has come.

                I’ve always liked school … until this last semester. Real Analysis. Discrete Mathematics. Linear Algebra. Biblical Literature: Acts. And Self Defense. Even after three weeks off, I’m only starting to get over the academics. I’m starting to feel like myself again. Caught up on sleep and down to one cup of coffee a week (except for on vacation, when I get to have a cup, or two, a day). With this new energy, I’ve been able to enjoy reading and writing, and returning to my blog.

                Yesterday, I got to spend time with my lovely friend Jordyn. I met her this last school year, through my friend Kat, and we’ve been getting to know each other ever since. Jordyn is such a fun gal, and we can especially bond over our similar interests in country music. Later this summer, we’re going to the Rascal Flatts concert at the Save Mart Center. Oh, it’s going to be soooo much fun! … And back to yesterday. I made a short drive to Jordyn’s house in Kingsburg, and then, together, we went to Superior Dairy, in Hanford. It was my first time ever at Superior Dairy, and my analysis of the place is that it has amazing ice cream! The scoops are a little too large, so I was glad when Jordyn and I shared a single scoop of the chocolate chip flavor. Yet, we had a lot of fun eating ice cream and talking. Once we returned to Jordyn’s house, we played with her dog, Daisy. Daisy is a cross breed—between a poodle and a golden retriever—and she’s the first dog (in spite of her large size) that I’ve been able to tolerate. In fact, I might even say that I have a fondness for Daisy, and that’s saying a lot since I’ve almost always had a fear of dogs. That’s a story for another time..

                Upon getting home, I had the unfortunate task of packing for vacation. I say unfortunate, because I despise packing; it always makes me nervous. What will I need? What will I not need? What will happen if I forget anything? These pressing questions made it obvious that summer had arrived and that for the next week, I would be under my mom’s full, undivided attention. Going to Disney Land, California Adventures, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and Capitola, my mom said that she wanted to “play,” but I just kept dreaming about my childhood.

                Today I woke up early, 7:30. I ate breakfast and completed my packing. Then, at 9, my mom and I left our house, headed south towards Anaheim. It was a long drive with very little talking. But thanks to my extensive cd collection, it wasn’t silent in my mom’s car. My mom paid attention to her driving and I was left alone with my thoughts, and we got to our first destination safely. We ate lunch at Mimi’s Café and spent the late afternoon at Downtown Disney. Tomorrow, Mom and I will go to Disney Land and that should be interesting.

                Stay tuned, because I’ll bring you more on my SoCal adventures as they unfold.

 

Blessings, Kristalyn

New Poem, New Beginnings

I look at the date at the bottom of my computer screen, only to be astonished by the fact that we are half-way through March! Not only that, this will be my first post of 2014! … My apologizes all around. I just don’t know where time goes. My days seem long, but the weeks go by quickly. Such is the life of a college student!

Anyways, spring break has replenished my spirits, and I’m ready to continue moving forward. Before I head back to school though, I’ll share my latest poem with you. It’s about spring, and I was intentionally ambiguous and metaphorical. Still, I hope this makes you happy. 🙂

 

The Beckoning

 

The week has passed, so I must return.

Pack my possessions and say a prayer.

The drive will begin soon. So far to travel!

Coming or going,

There’s one destination– home,

To the people that I love.

 

I turn the radio dial, to search my soul.

Only need one song, to be able to breathe.

Soft and sweet, the lyrics are meaningful enough.

It’s an opportunity to sing to the angels above.

To imagine them smiling, it

Provides comfort and a clear direction.

 

California Highway 180.

Gold on the sides of the road. Poppies!

It’s that time of year again, time to bloom.

My desire to immortalize these flowers,

To serve as a reminder.

Life is beautiful!

Blessings, Kristalyn

It is official. Today, I am twenty years old, and surprisingly I’m in really good spirits. That’s probably because I’ve gotten most of my impulsive thoughts out of system during this last week. I’ll admit that I don’t feel any older (you never do on your actual birday(s).), but my thoughts have taken an unusually deep turn. I guess, I’m an adult.

 

… My name is Kristalyn Dawn-Olga Patzkowski, although I was born Olga Yurievna Mischenko — either way, my name was doomed to be a mouthful. I was adopted and came to the United States when I was three years old. I learned how to speak and write in English, and I grew a love of mathematics. As an American, taken in to a welcoming family, I have all I could ever want or need. 

 

… But I am human. Like all other humans, I desire to understand where I came from. My mom makes sure I keep true to some of my Russian traditions, but try as she might, she can’t close the imminent gap within my heat. I’m not intentionally trying to be sorrowful, but I am genuinely curious. On this day, if my biological mother still breathes, is she looking out into a snow-laden window? Is she thinking of me? Is she remembering the December day in which she gave me life? I like to think that she is, although I’ll never known. And if it be true, there are two words I’d want the Winter Wind to carry to her: Thank You. The language barrier might stand, my English to her Russian, but I would like to believe she’d smile an  understanding grin.

 

Today, I’m spending the day with my mom and grandparents. It’s very merry and relaxed. I know there are very few things on my wish list this year, but spending time with family was on the top.

 

Happy Holidays and many blessings, Kristalyn ❤