Sunday, June 2, 2013

Week 16 - It's a Wrap!

I can't believe it is the final day of DIY!  At the beginning of this project, Mr. Ziebarth told us that we need to make something.  Well, here it is:

What started as a big bag has quickly transformed into a big box of memories.  It contains everything and anything that reminds me about my younger years.  Everything in that box has a story.  I've learned a lot about the person I was, the person I have become, and the person I am becoming from this box.

Throughout this project I have also produced smaller things - I have begun the process of digitalizing my family's pictures, I have made a personal blog where I write about my family's stories, and I have made a family timeline.

Time to work on my speech.  Au revoir!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 15 - Letters

Since it is Memorial Day weekend, I have had more time to sit down and finish writing my letters to future me.  In the letters, I talk about my life now and how I expect my life will be at that point in my life.

I wrote a letter to my high school graduate, college graduate, 30 year old self, and 40 year old self.  Although I wish I could have written more, with the projects piling up I just didn't have the time to do so!  I will definitely finish it over the summer though.

It's weird to think about how quickly things change.  Although I only wrote my letter to my high school graduate and my letter to my college graduate about two weeks apart, the description of where and how I am in the current moment is completely different.

Next week, I hope to finish collecting my memories and find some box or bag to put them all in.  I also want to start working on my speech.

It is crazy how the project is starting to wind down.  It feels as though it was yesterday that I started on this journey.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week 14 - Good ol' Days

Now that AP testing is finally over, I am finally able to dedicate more time on my DIY project.  However, I'm not going to lie... my motivation is decreasing at exponential rates.  With less than a month left of school, it is hard to keep up the same level of passion that I had when I first started this project.

After talking to Mr. Z about shifting the focus of my project, I realized that I have left my first one with many loose ends.  I collected many of my family's stories, but just left them hanging without documenting them in anyway besides a quick summary on this blog.  To finish documenting their memories, I have created a personal, password protected blog on Tumblr - which I will continually update with their pictures and memories.  Additionally, I have and will continue to digitalize many of the pictures that are sitting up in the attic.

Continuing with my journey, I have written a letter to my college graduate self!  Next week, I am hoping to write one to be opened on my 30th birthday.

I have also continued looking for things from my younger years.  Here are two of my favorite things:

In 5th grade, we had to get in groups and write a book about success.  The story was about a cougar (Cougar was the mascot of my elementary school) who found success by acing a test.

It was weird to think about how long I have known the people that were in my fifth grade class, and even earlier.  People like Amber, Sarah, Connor - I've known them and had classes with them since second grade.  Since we were all in the GATE program, we were always in the same class.

When I was looking for awards to put in my Personal Interest section of the College project, I came across the "Declaration of Cell Phone" I wrote to my parents at the beginning of 5th grade.  Why I thought I needed a cell phone in 5th grade, the world may never know.  Either way, it was just about the most adorable thing I've ever read.  The fact that I wrote the entire thing in my neatest cursive makes me laugh.  I ended up getting a cell phone at the start of middle school.  It was one of those LG "Chocolate phones."  I will never forget how protective over it I was.

I anticipate this upcoming week to be slow for my DIY project.  I am a member of the club Friday Night Live and our annual talent show is this Friday!  There are a lot of small things we need to get done to ensure that it runs smoothly.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week 13 - Deciphering the Past

Remember those pages I posted a few weeks ago with the language I made up five years ago?

I was able to find the key and decoded it.  It took about three-four hours but it was worth it.  The journal talked about everything from friends, family, social life, hobbies, and hopes for the futures.  I think I cringed at a couple of parts at how stupid I used to be, though.

Because, like I said...
2007: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2008: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2009: Wow I was so stupid last year.

It was weird to think that I one point I had become fluent in writing in the language.


This week, I found two more things tucked away in our attic.  The first thing I found was a souvenir I got while visiting Lebanon with my family when I was seven years old.  It is a piece of cedar bark with my name burned into it.  Although it is small, it means a lot to me.  My dad was born in Lebanon and that was the only time I had ever visited it.  I remember my dad taking us around Beirut.  I remember him pointing to a torn up collapsing building and telling me and my sisters that he used to live there when he was younger.

I also found my mom's dorm room key when she went to the University of Cairo.  My mom has the fondest memories in Egypt.  Although she used to always want to take my family on vacation there so she can tell us all of her memories from her college days, because of the internal conflict and some new laws that they have passed recently that curb women's rights, she no longer wants to visit.  It's scary how fast places can change.  It's scary how fast peoples' opinions of places can change.

Memories, memories.

Next week, I want to write another letter to future self, but this time for when I graduate high school.  I also want to start better organizing that things that I have been collecting from my younger years so it doesn't end up all over the house again.

Au revoir!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 12 - Dear High School Graduate

This week, I wrote my first letter to future me.  I decided to write the letter to my future self when I graduate from high school on June 6th, 2014.  I am going to keep it in my nightstand and set a reminder on my phone so I don't forget on graduation day.  Let's hope that iPhones aren't obsolete by then...

I think it will be interesting to see all of the things that have changed with my family, friends, but most importantly, me.  The letter was four pages.  I was surprised at how long it took and how many things I felt I needed to write about.

This week I also began to explore some of the things from my past... and by past, I mean elementary and middle school days.  Just like most people, middle school was the most awkward period of time ever and I was both excited and nervous to see what I would find.  

I checked a bunch of desk drawers, nightstands, and miscellaneous areas in the house for any trace of the good ol' days.  I collected everything into a big Ziplock bag.

Just a few of the things I've found include letters my friend Jackie wrote to me in 7th grade, worry dolls my 8th grade Spanish teacher gave to me when I went to high school, a wood truck I painted at a girl scout event in 2004, and a postcard my friend sent me when she was on vacation in Hawaii in 2007.  I even found my ID card from 2008 when I was wearing a Powerpuff Girls shirt.  Talk about the #fine #fresh #fierce days...

Each item I found is a story in itself.  Just like I had to dig up my family's past, I am excited to finally dig up my own past.  Things have changed a lot and at each new year that passes, I always think to myself, "Wow, I was so stupid last year."

2007: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2008: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2009: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2010: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2011: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2012: Wow I was so stupid last year.
2013: Wow I was so stupid last year.

Pretty much.

I am hoping to continue finding these artifacts from my past.  I will probably start collecting them in a box from now on since the bag is stuffed up to the brim right now.

Next week, I hope to decipher the journal I kept in 2008, write another letter to my future self, and continue scavenging the house for pieces from my past.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week 11 - The Plan

I didn't get around to talking to Mr. Ziebarth about my new plan for the DIY project.  It's weird how fast/slow the week went by.  Either way, Mr. Z was talking about how it is ok for changes to come up throughout the project and to change your purpose and audience.

I have decided what I want to do though!  Each week, I will...

  • Write a letter to my future self.  The first letter will be for when I finish this project, the second for when I graduate high school, the third for when I graduate college, and each one after that for my "tenth" birthday - 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, etc. until this project is over.  
  • Journal daily using the application "My Wonderful Days" on my iPhone.  I also want to keep a dream diary next to my bed.  Although I used to record my dreams religiously last year, I stopped since I got caught up in the stress of school.  
  • Scavenge the house and collect all things that remind me about my childhood and put it in a box.  I realize that I am still a child, but I'm definitely not the same person I was five years ago.  Towards the end of the project, I may pick the more sentimental items and put them in a time capsule.  I will probably not bury it since my family might move.
  • Create a bulletin board with my favorite pictures to put above my desk.
  • Create another type of photo holder (for lack of a better word) thing to put above my bed.
My audience seems pretty small considering that it is... well, it's just me.  I have shifted the focus of the project to me because now that my family's stories are uncovered, I want to make sure that mine are too. 

Let the good times roll.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 10 - The Week of Changes

This week, I came to the realization that I seriously lack the passion to make the scrapbook that I was once so excited about.

Exploring my family's past has been absolutely incredible - I have learned so much about their life growing up that I could have never imagined.  I feel that a mere page in a scrapbook will not do their life stories justice though. I have been digitalizing as many pictures as I can.  Since my project is centered on preserving these memories, the best way to do this is to create something that will last forever.  Although I know that it is near impossible to digitalize every picture, this project can definitely extend into the summer where I can dedicate an hour a day to digitalizing pictures.

I am thinking about shifting the focus of this project to preserving my past and memories.  Although I may only be 17, I feel as though I have some interesting stories (and probably some meaningless ones) that I would like to remember when I am seventy years old.  I have been journaling about five days a week using the application My Wonderful Day on my iPhone, but it doesn't feel like enough.  I want to create a time capsule with some of my favorite, for lack of a better word, things.  I am not entirely sure what these things entail, but I am hoping to discover what is important to me throughout the next few weeks of this project!  I also want to decorate my room with pictures.  I would like to have a cork board above my desk and some sort of frame set above my bed.

The part I am most enthusiastic about is writing letters to my future self.  For the next six or seven weeks, I want to write a letter to my future self and seal it.  The first letter will be for me to read when I graduate high school, then another letter for when I graduate college the following week.  After that, I want a letter for every "tenth" birthday - my thirtieth, fortieth, fiftieth, sixtieth, etc.    

Although my new idea seems far from my original one, it was inspired by my old one.  My family's memories and stories would have gone unheard had I not taken the time to talk to them about their life.  I want to make sure that my stories are told by journaling, digitalizing pictures, and creating a time capsule.

I'm not sure if this is just a temporary stray from my original project... I am going to talk things over with Mr. Z to get his perspective on the change of plans before it is made official!  I was inspired to make this switch after I found about ten pages of writing in code from five years ago.  I know I have the code for it, somewhere...  I distinctly remember becoming "fluent" in my language.  I was able to write it as fast as I write English!

Au revoir!