Category Archives: Personal

My element

“This…this is my element” I thought as I lead my group of friends on pure instinct. We had arrived shortly before to the amazing Cascades d’Ouzoud in Morocco, located within a small village about as far out in the mountains and you can get. One of my friends, who organized the trip, found our hotel which is located on the top of the village, so we take many flights of stairs outside to get to the bottom of the waterfall area. as you walk down stairs there are abundant amounts of outdoor traditional Moroccan and Berber cafes and shops. It’s amazing to see, and there is always live traditional music everywhere you go. Once you hit the bottom it’s a tourist hot spot. Picture taking areas, donkey rides, boat rides around the water falls and henna tattoo stands,bustling with energy and people.
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I instantly wanted to get away from the commotion. I just sensed, somewhere among the waterfalls and mountains there would be a secluded place for me to experience this beauty. I convinced my very reluctant group of friends to allow me to lead this one. skeptical, they agreed as I set off hoping from rock to rock, climbing hills, crossing bridges and small streams, and climbing rocks, barefoot and free, as my friends did the same themselves. Until finally, over a hill, I found an area that screamed for me to enter within. My friends were still reluctant to follow me for some reason. “I’m sure there’s a reason no one is out here Danni…we should head back the other way. we’ve gone far enough” Eventually I did manage to get them to at least allow me to run ahead and scout before we all made our way through, just in case. Over a small rocky hill within the mountain side was a clearing that then turned into a well shaded area of tunnels made by trees. I followed this tunnel of trees to find an old, large mat sitting in the shade. “Now..if there is a place to swim near by…this spot would be ideal” i thought to myself as I continued through the tunnel of trees. I again popped out to a clearing, and to my left, filled with amaze and astonishment was another waterfall. To the right, was a perfect swimming area. I hopped from rock to rock to make it to this swimming area, and climbed down a hill to find a lovely “beach”,stream and frigid water along the mountain side and water falls. Noticing a beautiful water snake scurry into the water, and the extreme lack of human life within the area, I rushed back to tell my friends that this was it. They, again,didn’t believe me. Reluctant as always, finally followed me as I lead them through the tunnel of trees, over the hills and rocks and as the clearing welcomed the sights I described, they finally said “we doubted you. but you did it”. They all said. I guess for once I managed something right. Myself and a few others swam for some time in the water falls (others convinced the water was too dangerous..too bad because the experience was so worth it) It was a fantastic, beautiful experience. Reacting on my instinct, exploring, climbing and running..I felt myself in a element of complete bliss..a somewhat..nostalgic bliss. I even forgot to take photos of the area. Nothing else mattered except getting to where my heart called for me to go. Some of my friends did get some pictures, which I will upload asap, they are amazing for taking these photos! I also hope to go back again tomorrow..fingers crossed.



I just need to get it all out

Is it selfish to be in pain over something you didn’t get – but in the process received so much more? I keep knowing I have so many more blessings than a lot of people, but why is it so hard to shake this feeling of not receiving the NSL-Y scholarship off of me? The insane amount of hope that lingered inside of me for 7 months, the reverie brought by dreams and day-dreams alike, the excitement of quenching the thirst I had for this dream. Is it selfish to be in pain when I have two other amazing things by my side? I’ve been rejected from things before, but nothing like this has hit me so hard. I know I am not the only one wallowing in self-pity, or am I? I had these dreams and perfect images of fulfilling my dream of having a Gap-Year abroad before jumping into University, these perfect ambitions…I had it all set, how it would be done, how I would cope, what I would learn, what I would bring back with me and how I would influence others. This, all of this, lingered in me for half a year, building upon itself like the snow before an avalanche. I truly didn’t want an avalanche…I wanted the snow to melt from the rising sun. I wanted the water produced from the snow to nurture the growth of a seed into a beautiful flower..or even a tree.

I am fully aware of destiny, and have no way shape or form lost my faith in God, nor have I given up. I am eternally grateful for what I have, be it receiving the BFSIA scholarship, or the sound of my cats purring, I am grateful for everything wonderful in my life, for my friends, for my family. But this gratefulness had brought guilt – because I can not stop the pain of not receiving what I desired for what seemed like an eternity. I truly …truly wanted a Gap Year abroad, and I do not have 18,900 to pay for one. I have some money, in savings and in bonds but I know my responsibilities, and eating all that money up at once would prove to be calamity in the later future. Even if I decided to gather what I had, it would still not be enough, and although I know my family would not consider paying for it -not out of cruelty , but out of financial need – asking my family would cause them to know my pain I have now, and I know it would bring them pain, and either way I refuse to cry in front of them for this reason.

I feel as if I do not have the right to cry, but It does not seem like it can be helped. I don’t feel lost. I can still see the straight path into life, I still see my dreams. I still want to follow this path, and one day study abroad, learn, enrich, volunteer, and make a difference in our world. This pain is so confusing…..I know I’m going to be okay in the end, but I am sensing stress ahead, and the pain of not receiving the scholarship to study abroad for gap year continues to linger…….I do not regret anything……….the only thing I regret is getting my hopes too high.

I know I will be alright…….after all….being alive and having your health, that’s the most important thing.

I have that, plus a family that loves me unconditionally, strong friends by my side, bound to other opportunities, and bound to apply to more. So of course I don’t have to right to cry, please please please forgive me for being so selfish

Burned Ambitions? No. Delayed Ambitions.

This month has been a crazy one. It all started, to my surprise, when I was accepted into Michigan State University. Michigan State is absolutely my favorite university, despite it “just being a state college”. It’s really so much more than that to me. This university offers a unique program only offered by four or five select universities around the nation – The Arabic Flag Ship Program. This program would assist me in understanding and learning the Arabic language and culture, as well as provides me with to opportunity to study abroad, long term, during university. (Although I plan to study abroad more than just once.) The program guarantees advanced level in Arabic after completing their program. Also, MSU offers unique “Freshmen Seminar Abroad” (FSA) opportunities for freshmen.  FSA cost about 3k (which includes everything) and take place for two weeks during summer/winter break in either Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy or China. My top choice is Dubai, then South Africa, and then China. China is more of just a “oh it would be cool to see that country” opportunity to me, haha. South Africa fascinates me, and I dream of going there one day – maybe to volunteer or even teach (or volunteer teaching). And the of course Dubai…it’s my passion mixed together with some old school vacation. Dubai is a very interesting place, West meets East.

I entered into an essay writing contest on the Republic of Azerbaijan. The ten winners would be selected for a two week trip to Azerbaijan. I made it into the Nationals (as in my essay was chosen to represent NC) but sadly was rejected at the finals.

The next thing that got me this month was getting accepted into something called “Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute with South and Central Asia” (BFSIA) I was one of 10 people (out of the 70 who applied) that received this scholarship. This summer, I will be spending 4weeks in Virginia living at a local university. I will dorm with, and study with, students from the U.S.A and South/Central Asia (mostly India and Pakistan). We will have classes on culture, foreign policy, Peace and Conflict Resolution and so so so much more. We visit Washington DC, as well as NYC and the United Nations. And of course there’s probably something I’m leaving out! We also live with host families. The American Students will be placed with host families from a different country. I’m thrilled to receive this scholarship! So blessed! and I am looking forward to this amazing experience!

Lastly, last night, I was rejected from the one I wanted most. National Language Initiative For Youth.  (NSLI-Y) I applied to spend a gap year in Morocco (the country offered for Arabic year students) with NSLI-Y. I watched countless people make it into other countries for their scholarships (IE China, Korea) but for some reason I only saw one person win Arabic Year, and she’s turning it down for university. Everyone is a little astonished at how very little Arabic scholarships went out, considering it’s the language the department of state encourages us to learn the most. I’m still kind of in denial. Not that I think I’m better than anyone else, it’s just that for 7 months I looked forward to these results and received a rejection.  ~ouch. 😦

In any case, I received 2/4 things I desired! I didn’t get the BIG one, but with the ones I did get, I know it will open many many doors for me. Michigan State is a great university, with great opportunity. BFIA is a well-recognized competitive program, and I know for a fact this is going to open a few doors as well. (not to mention the ton I will learn, the growth I will experience, and the lessons I will take home with me…oh and the friends. I look forward to making a ton of friends!)

So. I started climbing that latter, and I reached for a step a little too high, instead, I was blessed with the step below it. However, I have a feeling reaching this step will prove to be more beneficial than reaching that big one. Everything happens for a reason. My journey  has only begun.

mauna willy falls- Nostalgic Bliss

This was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. I’ve been to this water fall before, I know one day I’ll return! I found this picture while poking around Google, and the nostalgic bliss of my past returend. I lived in Hawaii for almost four years, and I can’t tell you how bad I regret not taking full advantage of it. But allow me to tell you, this was one of the most amazing things I have ever set foot on. Mauna willy falls within the valley of Oahu Hawaii. You hike straight up a moutain to get to it, and it’s takes about two and a half hours. But, I can’t tell you how amazing it is, and how it  is completely worth it. You are always hearing the tropical birds around you, and always smelling fresh fruit. If Hawaii is not in a drought, you’re always in slush and mud, but it’s a type of mud you would feel almost clean rolling around in. (Maybe that’s just me, I’ve always been one to connect with nature, and some of “dirtiest” things just feel so natural and pure to me. )  There’s something new around every corner. Half way up you make it to a pond, surrounded by small waterfalls. I remember hoping from rock to rock to avoid stepping in the slush that was found in this area – step in it and you’re stuck! I remember making it about an hour and a half in, and you find yourself so high in the sky you are left with an almost God-given awe. It makes you almost believe you’ve made it into heavens gates itself. I remember sitting down in the valley surrounding the almost-peak of the mountain, sitting with my father, resting and eating peanuts. I remember a large flight of wooden stares you have to endure near the  end, but when you reach the top, it takes your breathe away (to say the least). You see a beautiful waterfall, and under it a natural pool. You can even climb the waterfall and jump into the pool (which is around 8-10 ft deep) the water is freezing, but you get used to it. I remember climbing so high one time I found a crack where the water fall is – when you go through the crack you enter into a smaller valley with another small water fall! I recall my knees trembling with half excitement and half fear when climbing that high, and my dad telling me when it’s quits and when we should jump down to avoid slipping. (because if we got too high, we’d no longer be above the pool of water, and if we fell, it would not be pretty)

…I remember the last time I was there…I was floating on my back in the water, and looking up into the clearing…”This is it. We’re leaving Hawaii soon. Take in all you can Danielle, this place has a magical touch”  I said to myself, when I absorbed my last moments in paradise.

After that, I had forgotten about Hawaii and Mauna willy falls. I recall first coming to North Carolina, and having to deal with more torture and bullying than I dealt with in Hawaii. My social awkwardness worsened, and I enetred into a dark state of mind. I knew I missed Hawaii, my freinds, and the beach (which was my back yard) – I knew I regretted taking Hawaii for granted, and complaining as much as I did – but I never really understood what exactly about Hawaii that I missed so much… untill I started to dream.

My sense of adventure and my love for nature traveled with me to North Carolina, and I befreinded the sad, desolate, dead forest in my back yard. In my yard I had a swing made for me, that was tied to a tree. I’d swing for hours on this swing, drowning away my sorrows and apathy to the life I currently lived. I would take the trail in my back yard, and explore the woods. I’d fall asleep in the woods, even when irritated by bugs and the fear of being mauled by a bear or shot by a hunter. I would exlore though the deepest abandonded trails, analyzing everything around me, just trying to escapse the world. It was nice, but didn’t quite quench the thirst I craved.

But then, for over a year I began to have these  reoccuring dreams…dreams involving a valley with a waterfall, and the rain forest surrounding it. I’d dream of me entering my back yard in North Carolina, and I’d jump over a ditch we have in our woods…but when I’d jump over the ditch,it was not the half-dead forest surrounding my house in North Carolina – but it was a valley…a beautiful valley…with a sense of nostalgic bliss. I’d dream of souls at rest being in the valley with me, and of beautiful healthy animals around me. I can’t tell you how many times I had these types of dreams…and now every time I see a picture of a valley, I feel dead. Yes. I said dead. I feel nostalgic bliss coming from within my heart, and my soul that was affected by Hawaii itself. I feel as if I am at peace, in a perpetual fantasy created by the hands of God…in other words…i’m in heaven when I have these dreams….I could not pin point why I felt so much nostolgia from these dreams. I realized later that it was Mauna willy falls and Hawaii that influenced these dreams..but still, there was something very different about this place, it was more amazing than Mauna itself…I feel like I’ve been there before, many times, but at the same time, I know I have not (in reality).

It’s been almost five years since I left hawaii, and it’s been nearly two years since I stopped having my reoccuring dreams.

Two years ago I opened a book titled “Mythic Places” and I turned to a section that had a picture of a beautiful valley. This picture was described by a man, who said he saw this valley when he was at the edge of life, and had almost died. He described this place as Heavens gates. It’s similar to what I’ve seen, and what I’ve felt in my heart. Except I have not only seen it, but I’ve been there. I’ve been to Heaven, I’ve seen Heaven. little pieces of both Heaven and Hell both exsist on earth, you just have to find them. The hell is too common, and I’ve been there too. The Heaven? It’s only hard to find if you can’t see it….and I’ve seen a little peice of heaven, and I carry it with me everywhere I go, remembering it, cherishing it, and knowing that this life may be hard, but the after-life can be so beautiful – if you make it there. My after life exsist in the beauty of love, friendship, and nature. Call me cliche, but my heaven is being one with everything around me, and being connected with nature itself. My heaven is the image of Adam and Eve, before the snake exsisted.

Presently, I remember my paradise, I remember this bliss. I was lucky enough to see the beauty of our world, and I thank God for it every night. And more so, I’ve grown so much since when I first came to North Carolina. I’ve found myself in a pool of darkness far too often, but by the grace of God I’ve been saved more times than I can count. Such as finding a certain someone in my life who has helped me to see who I am, and where I can be,I’ve managed to overcome everything. I’ve learned to love mself..and my days are becoming brighter and brighter, and my nights always seem to have a nightengale reminding me of hope. And while many blessings have entered my heart in the past 5 years, I still will never forget the peice of Heaven I carry with me eveywhere I go.

Uganda: KONY 2012

Tonight, I discovered something within myself, by learning more about the Kony 2012 calamity.

For those of you who do not know what it is: I ask you to watch this video
Now take a look at everything from a different perspective;

It has become common knowledge throughout time that horrible calamity’s and genocides happen often in Africa.
We grow up knowing this basic fact. Some don’t know any specifics, they just know something bad is happening over there, but don’t care to look into it. Others know some specifics, but still do nothing. Some pray every night, which is something on its own.

I was one of those people who knew terrible things happen in Africa, but I didn’t know much. However, with the recent uproar with Kony I was introduced to something more. And I have realized something important:

I know the corruption in our world is vast, so much that we may be unable to keep up with it all. But where does it end? Does it end? I know one day I want to do something…something that will cause a difference in this world. I don’t know how I will do it, but I know I will…and I know I am not the only person who thinks this way.

With the KONY 2012 uprising there have been some mixed opinions…and I feel as if I am in the minority here. I’m having trouble with getting my point across.

Some people will blindly jump into the KONY 2012 program, donating, wanting to feel like they are doing something….and some will say that because of this we will go no where. That KONY 2012 is biased propaganda with no real research behind it. Which I agree with to some extent. What people fail to see is that KONY 2012 can potentially cause something bigger and better to launch. I believe in the power of the voice of our people. (our people. the world)

I may not be that well spoken, nor do I have the best writing skills..but I know there is something amazing going on here.
I’ve seen some contradictions to some opinions:

I told someone that I believe in a possible hero This person disagreed with me, saying there will be no hero but rather a combination of society, stepping up to make a difference.(100% agree!) However, keep in mind, this same person is against KONY 2012, saying it’s propaganda and a waste of time and that we should do our own research, and form our own ideas. KONY 2012 is exactly what you wanted! People are uniting, donating and coming together to help a cause! It may be a simple program, but face the facts the people of our world are simple minded! KONY is bringing so many people together, and making so many people aware. For every one person that knows, he/she will spread the word…and eventually millions and millions of people around the world will know about this problem. Individuals will venture off on their own and contribute the best they can in result. So listen to me: Even if KONY 2012 is a simple minded biased program, who cares? The video I posted received over 11million views in two days. ONE video initiated this uproar. I wasn’t fully aware of the Uganda issue until this program was launched. Because of this program more and more people are aware, and some of these people will work to make a difference. Even if a program such as KONY 2012 only ends up saving one life, I believe that’s an amazing accomplishment on its own. One life saved is huge, and one life lost is too many. But with over 11million people viewing this video, if only 1 million of them were inspired by KONY and manage to save one life..that is one million lives saved…

I know I must not be making any sense,

but what I am trying to say here is that one little thing can lead to something huge. So why not just spread the word about KONY or any other disaster that has happened? Someone will hear you, someone will be inspired, and someone will make a difference.
Eventually, the power of unity will illuminate. And I believe unity is power, and together we can all make a difference.
it begins with an idea, and spreading that idea. Don’t let others discourage you please. You have to take a chance to help our world. Even if what you do seems so small compared to how huge our world is, it is still something…and little somethings will add up over time, trust me.

Hello world!

Tonight I’m starting a blog, my first blog.

The reasoning is simple: I wish to reflect upon my journeys later. For right now I feel with all my heart that I have a journey soon to begin! I am anxious and ready, but also unsure.

Throughout life I have had dreams, and a feeling that I was made to do something one day. Something significant. However, I wasted many years with a chip on my shoulder. I let other children, and yes, some adults get to me. I let myself get carried away with influence, and trouble. I was joining the trend of suicide, and if not for one special thing I would still be in that trend. I was saved. Two years ago I was saved. don’t ask me how…because I don’t seem to understand how it happened. But I am so happy to be the person I am today…so happy I changed for the better and I thank God every day for this blessing.

I went from a being a young girl with horrible school grades, constant depression and no friends…to someone with initiative and bravery. I have friends now, and supporters behind me. While the enemies that remain do remind me of my past, they also remind me of who I have become and how I have grown.

I am someone new.

So much in my life has happened, so many fantasies I have held on to.  Certain people I love more than anything, and certain dreams I cherish. Through this blog I will reflect upon my past, speak of the present, and acknowledge my hopes and dreams!