May Term Mems

Pine Ridge, South Dakota 

One of the unique academic experiences that Hope College offers students is to study over the summer months through May, June and July terms. For many Hope students, this is a chance to travel or spend some more time in lovely Holland and build a deeper community with the members of one class.

In May 2016, myself, a group of Hope women and an extraordinary Religion professor packed into a twelve-passenger van and drove off into the Badlands of South Dakota. Our goal was to engage and learn about the Oglala Lakota Tribe on Pine Ridge Reservation. As the professor mapped out the ride, we took turns sleeping and passing snacks as we anticipated the adventure ahead. What would the third poorest county in the country look like? What work would we be doing to help a culture with such a long history of oppression? What would the Natives think of such a strange group of Midwestern college students walking through their shops and communities?

Prior to the trip, the class met for three hours in the morning for a week in Holland to prep ourselves for the journey. My professor, Dr. Hoogerwerf, opened his doors to us and a couple of us stayed with him and his wife for the entire week. We had night chats over dinner and rode together to class in the mornings. Our side of the deal instead of rent was to babysit grandson Miles, which was never a problem. We learned about the history of the Oglala tribe and the tragedies committed to Native Americans by Colonial militias and American forces in United States History. The Lakota Tribe was forced on reservations like Pine Ridge and taken from their sacred Black Hills that now contain four faces of American presidents carved side by side. My favorite book we read was called Neither Wolf Nor Dog written by a white man who interviews Lakota Indians on the reservation and records their stories. There were many experiences on the trip that have some of the top memories of my Hope experience so far. To keep this story short, I’ll talk about my top three:

Volunteering with Remember

Our housing for the trip was offered by a nonprofit organization working with the Oglala Lakota tribe called Remember. The organization focuses on helping members of the community by building outhouses, skirting trailers, gardening and other hands-on immediate needs and relief. Meanwhile, as students, church groups, and other volunteers offer their time and skills Remember educates visitors about the tribe’s troubling past, but more importantly their rich culture. They also employ members of the tribal community to speak in the evenings and share their stories with guests. I loved meeting the speakers and hearing their experiences.

Cheesin’ after hiking the Badlands

Hiking with Ineila

Professor Dr. Hoogerwerf

One such speaker at Remember has had a relationship with our professor for years. He offers year after year to lead a hike through the Badlands and share with us the discoveries left behind by World War II machine guns and the critters that lived there before. The Badlands were formed by a salt-lake that dried up and left behind fossilized turtle shells and neat patterns of dirt and rocks. It’s a beautiful hike — but an even greater look into why the tribe treasures the land taken from them.

The group hiking through

 

 

We did it!
Ineila (our guide) and Rachel looking at turtle shell fossils

 

 

 

 

Sweat Lodge

My all-time favorite moment of our trip was also the moment I wished I could dive into a pool of ice cubes. Sweat Lodge is a traditional ceremony that “cleansed” the soul and when the men of the tribe would meet with Wakan Tanka (their deity). Another speaker at Remember, lead us through this ceremony and shared his sacred songs. The heat was intense and all twelve of us sat together under a dome made of animal skins and blankets surrounded by hot rocks that sizzled with the humidity of the air. We were also invited to share a meal with them and we sat in their trailer eating soups out of spare cups and bowls. The way they opened their arms to us was a unique and genuine gesture, and it reminded me of the way the church should also open its arms.

Example of what a lodge looks like

These memories have driven my studies back at Hope and will continue to shape my future goals. I love to fix myself in new cultures and learn from stories there. I would encourage students to volunteer and travel in their time at Hope. If not for a semester, then for a May, June, or July Term. If not for these then go on an immersion trip through Campus Ministries! There are many ways to travel, serve and learn from others and the opportunities are plentiful at Hope.

Learn Lakota: “Mitakuye Oyasin” – we are all related

 

 

Life in Holland as told from my #Instagram

THE BEACHES

Whether it’s Big Ol’ Red (aka Holland State Park), Tunnel Beach, Laketown Dunes, The Bowl, or some random beach front you found on a drive, everyone has their favorite beach and it’s a must no matter what time of year. Even in the depths of winter, my friends and I will bundle up in coats and blankets, trek out to some Lake Michigan beachfront, and watch the stars for probably longer than we should.

RILEY TRAILS

Riley Trails is cherished around these parts for class field trips, long walks with your ~campus crush~, a place to escape the rush of school, or (my personal fave) an impromptu photo shoot with a couple friends. On a warm, sunny day, there’s really nothing that can beat a good jog up, down, and all around Riley Trails.

THE ENDLESS COFFEE SHOPS

Some will say Lemonjellos. Other’s (ME) will say JPs. And still, others will say 205. No matter what your style, vibe, or latte of choice, Holland has got a spot for you. Yes, we may be a town known for churches on every corner. But, this popularity is closely rivaled by our coffee shops on every other corner. Also, pro tip, if you don’t know what to order, try my go-to: an almond milk latte with vanilla, it tastes like how a good book would taste… if you can imagine that.

OUR VERY OWN PINE GROVE

The Pine Grove is truly the most beloved place on campus. One, I mean come on just look at it, how could you not love this place? But two, this is the heart of campus. On a warm day, the Pine Grove is littered with hammocks, slacklines, picnic blankets, spike-ball courts, and of course, frisbees. The PG is perfect for actually doing homework, pretending to do homework, and just general merriment.

TULIP TIME

You might say, “but Ariana, what IS Tulip Time“. What is Tulip Time? WHAT IS TULIP TIME?! Only the best time of the year, of course! Right around final exams and graduation a carnival appears in our very own streets to supply Hope students with the proper caloric energy they need to end the year: elephant ears, corn dogs, frozen lemonade, and literally deep-fried-anything-you-can-imagine. Ahhh, the glow of food trucks, the click-clack of wooden clogs on concrete, the omnipresent smell of tulips, there’s nothing else like it.

HONESTLY… JUST WHEREVER MY PEOPLE ARE

Hang out around these parts enough and you’ll start to heart it a lot: “What makes Hope special is the community.” BUT IT’S SO TRUE! My favorite place in all of Holland is just wherever my friends happen to be at that moment. If it’s homework at the Bultman Student Center, hitting that free weight room in the Dow, or simply snuggled into our beds, being with my people is being home.

Featured Photographers: Addie Vanderzwaag, Riley Schmitz, Mackenzie Mitchell, Sydney Enloe, Eddie Ip

Featured Models: Riley Schmitz, Jubilee Jackson, Hailey Houck, Sydney Enloe, Anna Stafford,

My Spring Break

Happy Monday, Readers!

I hope you all enjoyed your Spring Break and feel relaxed and rejuvenated as we enter this last sprint before the school year ends. As a senior, it felt like this Spring Break was needed more than ever before. Here’s a little glimpse into what I did!

For my break, I headed down to sunny Florida with my family. It was so nice to be able to spend one final break with them before my sister and I graduate. We had been to Florida before, but this break was different. This break was needed, and it didn’t feel long enough. We didn’t want to come home!

When we boarded our plane Thursday afternoon heading to Florida, we were cold and ready for the sun. I can say with confidence that we didn’t leave the sun for 10 straight days. We spent every day on the beach reading books, taking much-needed naps, and dipping our toes in the warm Gulf Coast water. We had some different excursions during the evenings, like going to a play, exploring the surrounding Naples area, and going on a sunset boat ride, but other than that, we played many games of cards and read a lot of books. It was blissful! Leaving Florida’s 75 degree weather and coming back to Michigan’s 30 degree weather was a wake-up call, but I’m glad to be back with my friends for these final weeks until graduation.

A view of the sunset from the boat tour we went on!
It was so much fun being able to go on Spring Break with my best friend!

I hope you all had a great break and are ready to push through these next few weeks!

Until next time!

Porsche

We all know Porsche. One of the most luxurious and most technically developed cars one can buy in current market. People think Porsche is one of the symbols of brilliant German engineering, precision, and reliability. As of right now, it is truth, but most people do not know that Porsche is not German company. It is Czech company, which moved to Germany and became German. Actually, the founder Ferdinand Porsche, was born in Vratislavice neighborhood, which is part of Liberec, my hometown. He went to Technical University in Liberec and got a job in Vienna when he turned 18. On of the reasons, why he did not come back to the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia back then) is because he sympathized with Hitler and his ideas.

Also what people do not know is that Volkswagen Beetle is a reality only because of Adolf Hitler. The VW Beetle is a direct product of Adolf Hitler. He actually contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 and asked him to design and construct it.

The fact that Porsche had a lot of sympathies for Hitler was a big controversy of reconstructing his house where he was born in Vratislavice, Liberec. Nevertheless, Škoda the Czech car manufacturer bought it and made a museum out of it.

Porsche´s house back then.
Porsche´s house back then.
Porsche´s house now.
Porsche´s house now.

Liberec

I talked about Prague a few blogs ago, but I have not mentioned my hometown and the city I was born. There is a lot of things to talk about, so I will probably write two or three more posts about it because my town in many ways is really a pearl in a sea.

Liberec or as many people know the city as Reichenberg in German, is a city located on the North of the Czech Republic, only 30 minutes from German and Polish border. It has population of 102,000 people and it was first mentioned, and therefore established in 1352. It is a pearl in the sea, because of its population and economic power and demand, it is very beautiful and historic.

Liberec has a lot of beautiful, historic and modern buildings that form the city, but those Jětěd and Liberecká Radnice are the symbols of the town.

On of the great things in Liberec is its location between mountains, so people can in 20-30 minutes drive outside Liberec and ski, mountain bike, walk, or cross country ski. On the top of the mountains is a telecommunication tower and hotel at the same time. It was designed by Karel Hubáček and built in 1973. In that time, people saw it as “futuristic” building.

Ještěd in during the winter.
Ještěd in during the winter.
Jěštěd.
Ještěd.

The second symbol of Liberec is Liberecká radnice, which would translate to English as Town Hall of Liberec. The architect of this was Franz Neumann, an Austrian architect. The building was finished in 1893 and it is a “smaller” copy or version of the Town Hall in Vienna.

Town Hall of Liberec.
Town Hall of Liberec.

Prague Christmas Market 2017

Even though it is the start of a Spring, Prague, the capital city of the my home country, the Czech Republic, has something spectacular. In every bigger city in the Czech Republic there is a Christmas market. There are always very Christmasy, relaxing, and romantic, but the Prague Christmas Market is in the league itself. It was ranked as the number 1 Christmas Market in the world by CNN.

The market happens on the Old Town Square in the heart of Prague. Its historic square dates to 11th century. The biggest attraction is an astronomical clock in the town hall called Orloj. There is a sad and amazing regarding the clock. The sad one is they blinded the builder of Orloj right after he made it, in order to prevent him of making it somewhere else. The positive news is that, Orloj has been working since it was constructed in October 9, 1410.

Prague´s Chirstmas Market
Prague´s Chirstmas Market
Prague´s Chirstmas Market from the air
Prague´s Chirstmas Market from the air
Astronomical Clock called Orloj from 1410
Astronomical Clock called Orloj from 1410

Break for Winter Break

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope you all have transitioned back into school and homework smoothly after coming back from Winter Break. We’re in the final stretch now until Spring Break – hooray!

I’ve decided to take a break from writing on a Senior Struggle this week to tell you about my Winter Break – it really was an amazing few days filled with friends and outdoor activities!

For Winter Break, my housemates and I decided to visit Minnesota, where one of our housemates is from. We decided to visit her house because we had all been to each other’s houses before except for hers and wanted to see where she was from before graduation rolled around and we were out of time and weekends. So we packed up the car and drove ten hours to Minnesota, passing through Indiana, Illinois, and (what felt like) the huge state of Wisconsin.

Once we arrived at her house, we headed straight for her families cabin even farther north of where she’s from. It was so good to get away and play endless board games, read, play with their dogs, and just relax. It was even better because there was limited cell phone service, so we were forced to unplug for a short time – it was amazing! One of the activities we did was snowshoeing across the lake her cabin is on. I had never been snowshoeing, so the experience was new and exciting.

After spending a few days there, we came back to her house to spend some time with her family. We explored the nearby city of Minneapolis and saw what the city had to offer. One of the highlights of her hometown tour was Minnehaha Falls – a usually frozen over waterfall just shooting off of Minnehaha Creek. Because of the warm weather, the waterfall wasn’t frozen over, but that made it even more beautiful!

After her hometown tour, it was time to head back to Holland. Ten hours and many snacks later, we arrived back at Hope ready to take on the coming weeks. It was a restful and relaxing break and I hope yours was just as adventurous as mine!

Until next time!

Happy Monday, Readers! I hope you all have transitioned back into school and homework nicely after coming back from Winter Break. We’re on the final stretch now until Spring Break – woohoo!