Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Macombie Homie

By: Emily Maze
November 21, 2017
We woke up reluctantly because of the late night, but luckily Santa Emma bought us all Monsters and a Redbull for me so we could stay up working on homework. Austin and Tracy gave their last outdoor education lessons and we headed off to Macomb.

            Along the way, I mostly slept while others worked on homework. When I was awake, Tracy, Kara, and I were talking about the challenges and differences Kara faced going to Western when she lived in Florida. Tracy and I laughed at how 75 degrees Fahrenheit is considered cold in Florida. One of Kara’s first posts at Western say, “Yes, the leaves are extremely pretty here in the fall but don’t be mistaken. I’d give my left hand to be in the Florida warmth right now; especially since it’ll probably fall off this winter anyways.” She also worried about not having enough to do in Macomb because of how busy Florida life is.

            Kara has grown a lot since then though. She has survived the Tetons, come home and wore a t-shirt when others thought it was cold, and she has learned to relax and enjoy the fun simple times with friends.

            Here we are entering Macomb with mixed feelings. It feels so surreal. It’s hard to describe but I think the closest I can get is we are big fish back in a small pond again because we’ve seen, done, and grown so much while others are in school and stagnant in growth.

            Here we are on our last day of travelling together on ECOEE…

            Tomorrow afternoon, we will split ways for Thanksgiving and have to constantly describe ECOEE to friends and family. When we get back together for the last two weeks, it’ll be evaluations and cleaning. We’ve all heard that this’ll be the toughest two weeks, but I know we can push through it as a group. I know we will get together in the future.

            Peace out,

                        ECOEE 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Broken Trailer

By: Chris Friday
November 19, 2017
This morning we awoke in the freezing cold yet again.  I wore three layers and wrapped my feet in a coat in an attempt to stay warm and it still didn’t work. I still like this cold better than the heat of Baja California. We ate a breakfast of biscuits and gravy before we left for our car ride to Colorado Springs. We stopped at a Walmart for some supplies where we learned the door to our trailer was jammed. No matter how much we jimmied that lock, it wouldn’t budge. We decided to stop at a Home Depot to try and get some help with the unlocking of the trailer. Jeff went in alone to try and find some help. He came out with a saw and an extension cord. He said nothing upon his return with his new purchases. We heard rumors throughout our remaining car ride, but nothing was confirmed until we got to our Super 8 in Colorado Springs that yes, he would be sawing his way into the trailer. He sawed a hole in the back of the trailer and then sent Emma in to unlock it from the inside. This was quite the event to see as we all gathered around to watch her crawl through. At dinner everyone seemed to think I had disappeared. Luckily I was found in the front of the building, safe, talking on the phone. I’m sorry for running off everyone. It was a rather late of homework for me as I’m writing this at 3 in the morning. As I’m writing this, a rather drunk lady named Lily came and sat with me to talk about divorce with me. What a town Colorado Springs is. Tomorrow we head off to Kansas on our journey back to Macomb.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Grand Canyon

By: Kara Sahagian
November 18, 2017
I woke up in tears. I dreamt about our end of the semester ECOEE celebration.  I pushed that thought out of my head because I did not want to think about how our greatest adventure is almost to a halt. It was a good thing that we woke up in the Grand Canyon so that I could fill the cracks of my heart with gorgeous views and precious memories. My mind was blown when Jeff told us that Lake Michigan could fill the Grand Canyon 10 times over. My favorite view was the Desert View Watchtower. While there. We saw a spectacular view of the Colorado River. Several of us had out last Outdoor Education lessons. Chris explained how the Grand Canyon was formed, Emma taught us about the planets in our solar system, I covered characteristics of reptiles and amphibians, and Tracy shared her knowledge of leaves with us. I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery-- air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, this is what it is to be happy.

Friday, November 17, 2017


By: Austin Orr
November 17, 2017

*Tink**Tink**Tink* What is that strange noise? *Tink**Tink**Tink*it can't be but sure enough it was. Sean and myself were awakened by the disturbing sound of rain this morning. You may be thinking “it's only rain. No big deal.” Right? But what you don't know is that we did not put the rain fly on, so we got up, put it on, and went back to bed. After I heard my alarm go off I went off to set out to see if the rumors were true. The rumor that the only source of water was a trek and a half away. After getting turned around and lost 3 times I found a map. It sadly showed me the truth to the rumor. It wasn't until I returned that I realized our jugs were already full. After breakfast we loaded up and started making our way to the Grand Canyon. On this long drive we all started talking about what Dundee awards each one of us should receive. I can't wait to see what we all come up with or receive. I took this time to map out my trip on an assignment and then it hit me. Time energy control plans are not my friend. As time went on I took the time to go through interviews I have done and got them ready for my video. It's hard to imagine that this is coming to an end. It feels like only yesterday we were in Canada and in Mexico the next. Three more weeks and this chapter in our lives will come to an end. We have learned a lot but not all that we need to know the best educators we can be. When one door closes, another one opens.

“When it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for the stars.” Me, myself, and I

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Adios Baja California

By: Emily Maze
November  16, 2017
We all groaned as Austin’s alarm went off at 4:30 AM, but we had to be on the road by 5. Our breakfast was at the famous Mama Espinoza restaurant. After we bought them out of their jars of honey, we were on our way to Ensenada. Today is the start of the Baja 1000 which is a huge off-road race that boosts the economy but destroys the environment.

            Jeff and Francisco dropped us off to shop while they got the trailer. The first purchase for most was ice cream and then we wandered up and down the streets. Lots of souvenirs were purchased and then we had to be on our way to Joshua Tree.

            Everyone was sad saying farewells to Francisco. Tracy and I gave shirts and mugs for him and his wife but unfortunately a mouse ate holes in the one in his size. Francisco is a very inspiring man. He started a program called Hands that Talk (like and support on Facebook) for the deaf, grows and sells organic food, and gives tours with lots of information on culture and the environment.

            I will never forget the lessons learned from Baja California. Don’t take things for granted. There is water scarcity in Baja California and most of the people are in poverty. Happiness doesn’t come from money. The people have less, but relationships mean more than being materialistic. Know the history of your last name to make it more meaningful. Communication is way more than just words; we communicated with three non-English speaking guides through gestures and facial expressions.

            This reinforces my goal of wanting to become a minimalist and reducing my impact on the environment by doing simple things such as, not wasting so much water, looking for glass instead of plastic to re-use, and unplugging cords more often.

            Two hours later, we reached the bittersweet crossing of the border. Bitter because we all love the ocean, culture, and wildlife, and sweet because we are back in our comfort zones not having to panic to order food and because Ashley needed a bathroom to not pee her pants.

            Unfortunately Joshua Tree is just a stop for camping and not a sight-seeing stop because we need to keep on trucking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Adios To New Friends

By: Ashley Demers
November 7, 2017

An early morning it was for us but that was not much of an issue because Ramón came to the rescue with his super strong coffee. After I grew some chest hairs I was ready to tackle this long hike out of the canyon. I really didn’t want to do the hike, not because of how extraneous it would be, but how I did not want to leave. I fell in love with the way of life down here, by learning about the culture in the canyons through the cave paintings and the stories told by Ramon, Ricardo and Gertrudis. We hiked our way up, with the heat on our side and our sweat pouring down our backs, it was no match for us.

We kept our brains pumping with ideas to solve the riddles given to us from Jeff. Some of us were also worried about Boz, she started just a few minutes before us but we did not find her along the way. Until the end, guess we are slow hikers. We made it back to Guadalupe, and we packed our belongings up. We picked out any food we could not bring and gave it too our guides, it made me feel good seeing their eyes light up when we said that the food was theirs to keep. We took a picture with them all and said our goodbyes; of course Ramón had to be a jokester and pretend to sob while giving me a hug as well as everyone else. I’ll truly miss that goofy man!

I hopped in Francisco’s awesome and gorgeous old school suburban which reminds me of my brothers but way cooler. We hit the bumpy road and we were slowly off. Along the way, Emily and I had some good conservations and interesting at that too. I found out she has two joints in her pinky toe… odd right. After the long drive we finally made it too Casa Azul our home away from home.

As I sit here and write this all I can think about is how grateful I am to be on ECOEE, to enjoy it with everyone here and to experience everything that I have. Through learning skills, going places, meeting new people, just seeing what the world can offer us is a great opportunity. Writing this is reminding me to be happy and to not sweat about the small stuff, like me losing my ECOEE USB. Always remember to not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Just live in the moment and that moment is ECOEE. (Laying on a cot in shorts and a tank, on the patio of Casa Azul, in Bahía de los Angeles and its 70 degrees at 10:30 at night in November.)

Adios Casa Azul

By: Ashley Demers
November 15, 2017

As I lay on my thermarest once again, looking up to the stars and making the connection that my thoughts are just as lost as my eyes. They’re just wandering. Today I woke up on a cot at Casa Azul for the last time. Which I never thought a cot would be so comfy. I sat there and watched my group; some up and in the kitchen, some waking up slowly and all I thought to myself was that this is ECOEE 2017, and were in Bahía de los Angeles but only for a few more hours.

As our morning got started we did some lessons and then off we went to Biosphere Reserve Bahía de los Angeles. While there we learned that the whale sharks have decreased in size from 200 to about 40. We also learned that this area is home to many different species, especially the sea lions on their little island. We had some more lessons and then we were on our way to lunch at Las Hamacas. I got my fix of some amazing Mexican food and of course chips and salsa. Sitting there watching the third judge aka Emily eat the salsa that was a bit spicy and just thinking how proud I am of her for eating that salsa, she’s grown a flavor of taste buds. As we left we gave some loving to a cute little gato with gorgeous blue eyes. Then we were off.

 On the drive I sat there for a while just in thought of what I have learned so far and how grateful this opportunity is.

If Mexico has taught me anything, it’s to not take life for granted. Too cherish every moment, and too make the most out of them. To learn from your experiences and teach what you know to those who are around you or who you may encounter. Tonight is our last night in Mexico and with Francisco, and I will never forget this opportunity. They’ll be a special place in my heart for Baja California, Casa Azul and of course Francisco.

Buenos noches, Baja California.