Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Friends Forever

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Elite and I

Happy Birthday!  One of my very good friend from Israel has just turned 12 years old.  We have been friends ever since my mom and her mom met at the park playground when I was still very little.  Ever since then, our parents and us kids have been close friends even though we now live far apart. Her family moved to Israel 3 years ago and recently came back for a visit for a few weeks. Once they moved to Israel, we have been communicating by email, Skype, and telephone. While they were here, we all went  together on vacation to Palm Springs.  While in Palm Springs, we hiked, swam and caught up on each other's lives. 

Elite is the oldest girl of three.  She has 2 younger sisters, Yasmine, who is 9 and Ileana who is 5.  Elite was born in Israel, but her sisters were born in the US.  They returned to Israel when Hannah, Michael, and Ileana were still small so the younger kids didn't remember each other. However, they quickly became reacquainted.  Right before their departure back to Israel, Elite gave me half of a friendship necklace heart.  We agreed to wear it all the time.  We had a fantastic time together, and I wish it didn't have to end.  I hope to see them again very soon!

All of us resting after a hike in Idyllwild

Playing Pick up Sticks


In downtown Palm Springs

Behind a tall rock

Hannah and Ileana at Joshua Tree

Friday, April 5, 2013

Outdoor Education Trip

We just stepped outside of our bunk and boy was it cold!
My counselor Elle and I
Last week, I went to a sleep away camp with all of the fifth grade classes.  The camp was called Outdoor Ed, and we were able to learn about many different plants and animals.  The camp was part of the Santa Monica Mountain Range in Southern California.  During the five day trip, we saw many animals such as mule-deer, red tailed hawks, gopher snakes, cooper hawks, and many ground squirrels.  We were divided into different trail groups, and we had a naturalist names Lisa that explained to us about the plants and animals that we spotted.  We also had a counselor named Elle who was a senior in high school. Elle cared for us so much and even decorated my bunk room on my birthday. On the first day of the week, I dressed in shorts and a t-shirt with no sweater.  I literally froze that day because as soon as the wind picked up, the air temperature dropped.  I learned my lesson to always dress in layers! 

Resting at a creek after a long hike
One of my favorite days of the week was Tuesday when we did an all day, 7 hour hike.  We were the only group that saw a family of mule-deer. We also saw some gees and a beautiful landscape.   While on the hike, we crosses a creek with fish swimming in the water.  I missed a step on one of the rocks in the creek and fell right in.  I had to suffer the rest of the hike in cold wet socks and shoes.  Although, that was a pretty bad misfortune, I still had a good time.  At the end, we went to a rock pool to journal about the day.  Walking back, everyone was pretty tired, and we sang some songs to make the time pass by   It was a tiring but beautiful day. 
Mule deer

Building a shelter. I am glad it didn't rain!
We also had a Chumash lesson where we made necklaces out of abalone shells, tried to make fire, saw different animal furs, and saw a live gopher snake.  I was very surprised about how hard it is to start a fire by spinning the stick. We all tried and tried as a group, but we only got a little bit of smoke.  We saw animal furs from coyote, skunk, rabbit and dear. All of these animals died in nature.  The coyote skull was also pretty incredible. I thought the best part of the whole Chumash lesson was  building shelter.  Imagine being stuck in the mountains with nothing but tress, sticks, ants, string, and rags. We had to learn to build a small night shelter with what was available to us.  I was in charge of gathering the sticks because everyone else was scared of ants. How would you have made the shelter?

So soft! (Racoon)

Smelly Skunk (the skin is actually very soft and does NOT smell)

Have you seen any of these animals?

Have you ever gone to sleep away camp? 
How was it?