The End

1st Year of College

Summer is almost here! I cannot wait to go back home and well, EAT! I cannot wait to see my family and my friends from Azle. This semester has gone by so fast that it seems as though I haven’t accomplished much.  It really saddens me that it is nearly over and that next semester will be nothing like this one.

1st Semester

[August]             

On August 24th at 11:00 AM I pulled out of my drive way and began my journey to West Texas A&M. This was one of the hardest days of my life because I was leaving a lot of my friends and most importantly my family. I have two little brothers and a cousin who are only in the grades, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade. I also have two sisters who are in the third grade and a senior in high school. As I was pulling out I began to think about everything I was going to miss in their lives, especially the young ones. [Seven hours later] I finally arrived in Canyon, Texas. I entered the Jones-Parking-Lot and I parked and sat in my Explorer while I contemplated whether to go inside or just drive back home. After about an hour of sitting I stepped out of my car and slowly but surely entered Jones Hall. I was greeted and I filled out all the paper work that was required and then I finally began to unpack my car and officially moved into my room on the seventh floor. I was ready to go back home already.

[September]

                My uncle died. This was a really hard part throughout the semester. I went back home for a weekend to hopefully see him because I knew he was sick and didn’t have much time. I went home and he passed away that same weekend. I came back to Canyon without telling my family goodbye, I was really upset and I didn’t know how to express any feelings. My birthday was also in September, it was the first birthday when nobody around me wished me a happy birthday. The only people who remembered were my friends and my family. That was also a sad day. The rest of the month went by, sadly and it felt as though it would never end. I was ready to go back home still.

[October]

                Midterms were approaching. Could life get any worse? Actually, no, not this time. Sometime in October I decided to check my WT Email, just because I had this feeling that something big was about to happen. I checked it and I read the first words of the many that would forever change my life, “On behalf of the Essay Contest Committee, I would like to congratulate you on being chosen as a semi-finalist for the Poland trip.” I was beyond excited, but kind of unsure of it, I didn’t know if it was real or not. I decided to take a nap and hopefully wake up to reality. I took a nap and then woke up a few hours later to check my email again. Nope, it was most definitely real; the email from Wes was still there.  A few weeks went by after that first email; those weeks included an interview with like 10 professors and peer leaders and finally a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Lowery-Hart. At this meeting he congratulated me and told me I was off to Poland! I was ready to go home, actually I had a flight to catch that afternoon. LOL

[November and December]

                These months went by fast just because the end of the semester was upon us. I was super excited about the upcoming semester and about going home. I was ready to go home again and I did during the Thanksgiving holiday and for a whole month during the winter holiday. I was HOME!

2nd Semester

[January]

                The long-awaiting countdown has begun for the semester! I was back in Canyon and for the first time looking forward to this semester. I was ready to begin all the work that needed to be accomplished before heading to Poland. I went back home four days after I came back to Canyon to pick up my passport in Fort Worth. I came back and everything just flew by.

[February]

                Nothing really interesting happened…

[March]

                Okay, so I go home a lot, but for good reasons. I went back home for a weekend so that I could go to the mall, because Amarillo doesn’t really have one. I said my goodbyes to my family and headed back to Canyon, where I would soon be boarding many planes to Poland. Before I knew it we were in Poland, and before I could blink we were back in Canyon again. After our trip to Poland we had many presentations and some speeches that most of us have taken part of.

[April]

                The first presentation I was part of was at Westover Middle School in Amarillo. Our goal was to make the kids realize that “hate” is wrong and that it shouldn’t be something to even mess with.  After all these presentations I realized that I use the word “hate” every day of my life, sometimes more than once or twice. Even if I really don’t hate something I will say it anyway, like math for instance. I absolutely don’t like math at all. Anytime that I look at my algebra book I think to myself, “Man, I really hate math.” I feel bad for saying this word, which is why I have cut back and seriously thought about why I use this word. The truth is, I really don’t hate anything or anybody and this makes me feel a lot better. We, the readership ambassadors have been talking a lot about changing the world, or at least to start with, our school. Last week, some of the ambassadors took part in “No Shoes Day,” a whole day where none of them wore shoes in honor of the 40% of people in the world that don’t have shoes. Two nights ago I, along with Brant, Eva, and Lindsey took part in “Displace Me ’08.” The purpose of this event was simply to raise awareness of the 1.7 million displaced people of Uganda due to the last 21 years of war. During this seventeen hour camp out, the people that took part in this wrote letters to some congress men, senators, and the president of the US to encourage them to help achieve our main goal, which was to raise awareness. Education is very powerful and it is something that cannot be taken away from anyone. I believe that educating people is the first step in ending the war, because “We believe every war has an end.”

[May – Not here yet, but my plans are…]

Stress, finals, saying goodbye, and leaving! The end of the semester is in a few days. Last semester, all I could think about was about going back home and wanting to be with my friends back home because I really didn’t know anybody. It is almost May and I feel as though time is only a glimpse of what life really has to offer. I have been spending a lot of time with friends that I have made, not just the ambassadors but also the ones outside this amazing group. I cannot wait to be back home, but I can already tell you that I am going to miss almost everything about WT during this long summer.

[Today]

                I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if this is going to be my last blog, or if I can find some time and blog again, but whatever the case is, I would like to say that, “It was worth it!” This entire semester has been a gift from God and it can never be taken away. I will never forget the faces I’ve met along with their personalities, the places I’ve visited, and most importantly the lessons I’ve learned.

 

Goodbye and Good Luck,

DAVID MERAZ

THE END

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Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm  Comments (2)  

10 Days…….

So much can happen in 10 days. One thing that I am sure rarely happens in 10 days is becoming best friends with a group of strangers in a different country. I never thought that I would feel the way I feel right now after coming back from Poland. While in Poland I became better friends with some of the students that I was already friends with here in Canyon. I became friends with some students that I had never talked to before in class or anywhere else.

In the process of ten days you learn a lot from these people. You learn their habits, their way of laughing, their fears, and their dreams. You also learn a lot of things that you wish you didn’t know about them. I believe that this is what made us grow closer together. In the end I was glad to be around with these students and teachers.

Together we made a lot of new memories, memories that we will never forget. Most of the memories are in our hearts, and a lot of them have been captured in pictures so that one day in the distant future we can look back upon our memories and laugh and maybe shed a tear or two.

Right now I am sitting in my room back in Canyon all alone. My roommate is asleep, so technically I am not alone. What makes me feel so alone is that I woke up this morning and Brant wasn’t here doing something funny. Monica and Adriana weren’t waiting for me to walk to the Rynek together. Neither Lindsey nor Caitlin were laughing to the point it became our background theme if we had a movie or T.V. show.  Oh yeah, today is Easter Sunday, which makes this day worse. For the first Easter in my entire life I am not with my family. It is depressing actually.

10 Days can dynamically change someone’s life for the better. I am thankful to God and that he allowed me to meet these amazing people and travel with them to Europe. I am thankful for all the memories we made, all the pictures that will remain with us forever, and all the laughs we had while in Poland.

-DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  

“All my bags are packed; I’m ready to go…”

Okay, so my bags aren’t really packed yet but, I am already beginning to gather up things that I know I will need in Poland like, toothbrush, credit cards, underwear, shoes, etc… I always, anytime I go somewhere forget something, usually it is my toothbrush. I have so many toothbrushes from all over because I always have to buy a new one anytime I am traveling. LOL. Last week I even began a list with the things that I am going to be placing in my suitcase and the things I am going to carry aboard with me.In less than 24 hours from tonight I along with 19 other WT freshman and other WT students and staff will be leaving on a jet plane to Poland! Well maybe not a jet plane, but in a small plane to Dallas and then an enormous real plane to Germany and then to Poland.

So last week in class Dr. Clark came to class and basically left me feeling really clueless and very upset about not being able to communicate with the Poles during our trip to Poland. Well except the lucky Poles that are able to speak English. I really wish that we had been taught more of the language throughout the semester instead of trying to cram into our heads in 30 minutes. I really don’t think that anyone really got anything from it, if anybody did; I am sticking to them like glue. JK. I am however glad that Dr. Clark is going to be with us most of the time, still I don’t think that anybody is going to enjoy the trip as much as we would enjoy it if we knew the language. 

 Russell told us that our research papers were going to be due Monday. I couldn’t wait to start my essay, I think it was a really good thing that we got the chance to research these places and write an essay before we arrive in Poland so that we know a bit about the places we are going to beforehand. Lindsey and I got together and did some research last week on the Wieliczka Salt Mines. We found some really cool facts and pictures about it.

Caitlin and Diana presented their PowerPoint on Safety, it was all very valuable information that we all should know before going to Europe.

The last time I was in Europe me and my friend were going to enter this museum when a few older women approached us and grabbed our hands and wouldn’t let go. They squeezed and read our future from our palms. It was all a bunch of nonsense though. Well, they wouldn’t let go until we paid them money. I gave the lady money and she said in Spanish, “Now give me your other hand,” I was like “yeah right.” Me and my friend then ran and the ladies chased us and cursed us and our families because my friends mom wouldn’t pay the lady for the job she did without being asked. They were gypsies. I really found them interesting after I found out who they were and how they survived. I really hope that we don’t encounter any of these people in Poland, if we do everyone guard your wallets and especially your hands!

This week in class it was all kinds of confusion! We talked mainly about the trip and the itinerary. Almost everyone had questions, they were answered, but I am pretty sure that we still have questions.

Tomorrow the amazing University of West Texas A&M is giving us an official send off! It is going to be a party/mixer. That sounds like fun, hopefully it is.

Tomorrow night, well Wednesday morning like at 3:45 we are going to meet in the AC parking lot and head towards the AMA Airport and from there to Dallas and then to Poland!!!!! I am so not looking forward to all the hours of flying, I like to fly just not that many consecutive hours. Oh well, I am sure it is going to be fun, I’ve already had tons of people that have requested to sit by me. HAHAHA.

Well that is all I have to report. I will write again hopefully from Poland!!!!!

-DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time Begins to Slow Down….

Recent News: 12 Days till Poland!!!!

Well, of course time is beginning to slow down, just when the trip is almost at our finger tips. LOL. But, seriously, OMG, it’s almost here!

Ok, well I have mentioned that I am super excited about going to Poland like in all my entries. I have talked about the fun I am planning to have with my friends. I have also talked about the reason we are going to Poland.

The things I have not talked about at all in any of my entries are my fears. I am really nervous about going to a country that I barely knew existed before I read the book, Night. I love to travel, I have traveled my entire life and to each place that I have gone I have fallen in love with. I am planning to do the same with Poland nonetheless. Obviously these things are not a fear of mine.

One of my biggest fears is surviving in a foreign country and not knowing any of the language.  We are going to be learning a few phrases this coming up class, but I seriously don’t think that I am going to benefit from it, because it is impossible for me to learn enough of the language for it to ease my worries.

I love trying new things. Food is one thing that I rarely do because I am too scared to embarrass myself in public by trying something new and then fainting or worse. However, I cannot wait to try the Polish foods in Poland, even though it is kind of scary and nerve-racking.

Ok, so my fears aren’t exactly big or that great. My biggest fear however is going to the concentration camps and witnessing a part of history that many people will never see in their lives. Parts of history that many people don’t know exist or who simply don’t want to believe it exists. Many of the people that know about the trip have asked me to take tons of pictures of everything I do during the trip. I am really nervous about trying to capture such images and then have to tell people what it is that they are seeing only in a picture.

I know that I can do this; I have no doubt in myself. I just wish that it was easier. I know that I shouldn’t say this but it is something that I know will change my life and hopefully I can help people understand this history a little better.

The fact that we are going to Poland is settled well in my mind. The fact that we are going to see where one of the most tragic events in history took place is still something quite hard to really express in blogs and to actually believe we are going to be doing soon.

DAVID MERAZ

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

It Won’t Be Long….. 20 Days!

Another week in history has been recorded thus it has passed, it has passed very quickly. Time sure flies when one is in college.  The funny thing is that it slows down when one needs it to go faster and it speeds up when it seems one doesn’t have any time for anything.  Usually when I am going to travel it seems as though my trip will never arrive. This trip coming up is different though, before I know it we will be on a plane across the universe, or at least across the world.

Monday in class we were given a lecture on how to better our picture-taking skills. It was quite helpful; at least I think I benefited a lot from it.  We were given some pointers on how and when and where some of the best pictures should be taken. I cannot wait to start taking pictures on our trip.

Marisela and Katie presented their PowerPoint on “International Flight Preparation.” It was a good presentation. Flying on an international flight isn’t anything new for me, but it does sometimes get confusing if one doesn’t prepare. The hardest part about traveling for me whether it is in a car, bus, plane, or boat is the time it takes to arrive at the final destination. I am not looking forward to being in the air for countless hours, but still I cannot wait to get on that plane and relax and then get off in Poland!

There are still a few things I need to do before we leave. I need a new suitcase because the one I have has broken and is too old. My mom has asked me to come to Dallas in a few weeks so that I can go shopping since Amarillo doesn’t have much of a mall. I am really excited to see my family before I leave to Poland. I have never left the country without my mom hugging me and wishing me a safe trip, so going home before the trip will put both my mom and me at ease.

My official countdown till the trip began the day after I was told I was going. As of today, February 20th, we only have 20 days till we leave! I am so excited, yay!

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Here Comes the Sun

As the sun goes up each morning and then settles down each evening my level of excitement rises each time a bit higher. Our trip to Poland is coming up really close, in like 26 days as of today.

In a way I feel as though I am being selfish about the trip. When I think about it I think about getting to go to another country, going to shops, meeting new people, tasting the food, and maybe doing some fun activities. Most of the time I don’t really think about the real reason that we are getting to go to Poland. This is the part that makes me feel ashamed about thinking about the other things. If it wasn’t for one man’s book, for his past, for his suffering, for his loss, and for history we would not be going to Poland this spring break. I then feel terrible and ask myself why I think more about the fun stuff than the real matter of why we are going.

I regret not knowing more about Poland’s history and its people. I feel bad that I don’t quite know all about the Holocaust, I feel as though I am lacking the knowledge that probably everyone else that is going already knows too well. I wish that I knew more about the Holocaust, I wish I knew more about the history of Poland, I wish I knew more about the people and their culture. Luckily, these past two class meeting we have been discussing some of Poland’s foods, customs, entertainment, and recent events. This doesn’t quite make up for everything I wish I knew more about, but it definitely helps.

This past Monday Cristin and I presented our PowerPoint to the class about Poland’s customs. We both really enjoyed getting to know some of Poland’s most popular traditions and holidays. Some of the kids in the class did too, or at least that is what they have told me. Lindsey and Ricky also presented their homework on entertainment, as well as Mandi and Desiree with current events. A lot was learned during the class meeting.

I look forward to Mondays, only for the reason that we are going to be meeting and discussing Poland and the amazing trip that we are about to embark upon soon. I and my friends leave that class more pumped about the trip than when we are first going into the class.

I can only say that once we have returned from Poland my perspective on many things will change. I believe that this trip will change my view on many things, including my life. I hope to learn much more before and while we are in Poland. I hope to understand more of the country’s past and its people.

For now I can only end this blog by saying that I cannot wait to see the sun settle down on Tuesday, March 11, 2008!

-DAVID MERAZ

 

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Reaction to being told I had won!

As I sat in the lobby to Dr. Lowery-Hart’s office I began to fantasize about what we would be talking about. To be honest, I was really hoping that he would tell me that I was going to be going, and that all this “final interview” nonsense was all made up. I was worried about how my interview would go, because it was going to be a one on one talk, not in groups. While I sat on one of the couches I thought I was going to faint before he arrived back from lunch.

Finally Dr. Lowery-Hart arrived to his office; he greeted me, as I did too. We both stepped into his office where we both took a seat. He asked me how I was doing, and where I was going. I told him that I was going home for the weekend, and that I really felt bad about not making it to the final round. We talked for a few minutes before he asked me what time I had to be at the airport. I told him that I was to be at the airport at three. He then told me in a serious and low voice that what he was about to tell me I could not tell anyone else. Some part of me deep down inside was excited because I knew I had won, but I wasn’t for sure, so I didn’t show any expression on my face yet. “David, you’re going to Europe,” he told me. I believe I smiled from the shock and for a second or two didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say, I was actually really surprised that I had won. Dr. Lowery-Hart then told me the reason why we had not been notified by email about our success. At this time I was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to be with the other winners.

At the end of my talk with Dr. Lowery-Hart I said thanks and goodbye to him. As I headed back to my dorm room, my face was in a state of permanent smile. I couldn’t wait to get to Dallas and tell my mom that I wasn’t going to be going home for spring break, instead was going to be going to Poland! I am very thankful for everyone that has made this possible, and I will never forget how happy and successful this has made my first year in college.

Published in: on November 14, 2007 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment