Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Internet Update

Hola a todos!

Check out my biography page at the Augustinian Volunteers website: http://www.osavol.org/volunteers/volunteers/lacie-michaelson


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oriented: A week with St. Augustine

"Dude, Lacie is such a bro." This particular statement both shocked me and made me laugh, but overall I consider it a testament to my success at the Augustinian Volunteer Orientation. This took place in Philadelphia, PA- exciting for me as it's a city that I am not familiar with. The week consisted of numerous activities and lectures that focused on the Augustinian way of life which places a strong emphasis on community. Our first day was spent roaming around the city on a scavenger hunt that brought us to many of the most famous tourist sites. To my delight, these were mostly historical and I had ample opportunity to nerd out on everyone. The best part about the experience was the company as we walked around with our future community members. Laura, Chantelle, and Britt will be my community members in Chulucanas and it was great getting to know them that first day.

It was also wonderful to meet all of the other AVs, but sad to know that we might not ever see them all again. I was able to connect with each person in such a neat way and it was refreshing to meet people who have similar ideals and dreams as me. I am known as an "honorary bro" by all of the boys simply because I would always be the one girl doing the heavy lifting or braving the huge Jersey Shore waves with them- something they found hilarious because of my height. All in all the experience was exciting, fun, and full of helpful information for the coming year. I look forward to filling you in with more information and fun stories soon. 

Love you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Many Mahalos

Aloha! Today is the last day of our Hawaiian adventure. Although sad that our vacation comes to a close, I look back happily and amazed at what we have done during our time here. Last Tuesday we took a group surfing class in Lahaina. Our instructor Josh was the epitome of a stereotypical Hawaiian surfer. None of us were sure just how old he was, but one thing was certain: he had been surfing a long time. My favorite moment that demonstrates his abilities so clearly was when he started off on a small wave and then began surfing standing on his head. I kid you not. The rest of us did not exhibit such amazing talent as that, but each and every one of us did manage to stand up on the board and surf for at least a little bit! Janice impressed us the most when she stood up on the board on her very first try. Surfing is such a blast and the lesson was definitely a huge highlight of the trip.

The next day (Wednesday) we split up our group to accommodate everyone's different interests. Janice and Tessa went horse back riding up the side of a mountain for breathtaking views and frightening descents. They each said that it was a wonderful experience. Richard (Tessa's boyfriend who flew out on Tuesday), Jayson, and I arose at 4:00 AM and Tessa graciously drove us to the Haleakala crater. There, we said goodbye to Tessa and descended into the crater. As the sun slowly and gloriously rose over the crater, we began an 11.5 mile hike that took us roughly seven hours to complete. Beginning in an arid desert, we were surprised to see pretty yellow flowers and delighted when we saw a partially bloomed silversword plant. The silversword only grows in the crater and blooms every seventy years! The landscape soon transformed to offer "Pele's painting pot," a section that reminded me of the painted desert of Arizona. Next we walked through the "lava fields" where flowing lava was still visible. After a quick stop for lunch at the park's remote cabin where we chatted with the a pair of nene, we began the final leg of our journey. First, it reminded us of a prairie with tall grass and then of a tropical and very green climate. The last leg was (unfortunately) completely uphill as a twisting trail on the cliff's edge, ascending 1000 feet in only 2 miles. Needless to say, by the end of the trip we were exhausted. I woke up this morning extremely sore, but feeling extremely accomplished.

All in all I'm sad to leave, but thankful for the time I've had. Many mahalos to Tessa and her family for such a great experience. More mahalos to mine for helping to make it a reality!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mercilessly Winding and Narrow

May 22, 2012
9:19 PM at Home
3:19 PM Here in Maui

Aloha! Ok, I hope that will be my last act to completely out myself as a “Howley,” a person clearly not native to Hawai’i by there obvious outsider dress, speech and actions (something I learned from Tessa when I told her I would be bringing my bright aqua L.L. Bean backpack that is covered in hibiscus flowers so that I would fit it). If you have not been able to tell already, I am currently in Maui, Hawai’i!!! Perched by an airport window across from Janice and next to Jayson, I patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) wait for our friend Tessa, the reason for our near fourteen-hour journey to this friendly island. Our recent graduation from college lingers as we await our ten-day vacation at Tessa’s family’s Maui vacation home (Whew! That’s a mouthful). We hope to spend our time here with days at the beach, to hike nature trails, and enjoy one another’s company. However, we must wait until Tessa’s flight gets here (which won’t be until around 5:00 PM) before we can even leave the airport, so I’ve hijacked Jayson’s computer while he and Janice play a game on her kindle. It’s intellectually based, so of course it was easy to get them both sucked in (they ah wicked smaht). Our day began way too early with Mom driving Janice and I to the airport for our 6:00 AM flight (thanks Mom!). There we met up with Jayson and almost immediately boarded the plane. After a very long flight, thankfully shortened by me sleeping through most of it, we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. Once we realized which gate our next flight would leave from we found a place to have lunch (although it was technically only 9:00 AM in Phoenix). The flight from Phoenix to Maui felt much longer, but I managed to occupy the trip by reading the third book in the Hunger Games in its entirety. An excellent book! I would recommend it to anyone who will not be disappointed by unhappy endings but enjoys books about dystopian societies. Anyway, I won’t bore you anymore with uninteresting information about my travelling experiences. I’ll write more when something actually happens!

Aloha, as it not only means, “Hello,” and “Goodbye,” but also, “I love you!

May 27, 2012
9:40 PM Here in Maui

Aloha again! Wow. The landscape of Hawai'i is absolutely breathtaking. Our days here have been stuffed with good food, fun music and fabulous sights. We spent a couple of days on the beach where we body surfed and snorkeled. This was on the side of the island (East Maui) where the waves are not as intense, but every once in a while we would go tumbling into the shore, frantically adjusting our bathing suits and spitting up sand. We arose early on our third day here (4:00 AM) and made the winding trip up Haleakala, East Maui's dormant volcano, to watch the sun rise over the "crater." This could only be described as a spiritual experience. Huddled together for warmth as we held fast against the relentless winds, we watched the sky transform and spread its light down on us. Half way through the sunrise a woman who works at the crater, for the national park service, began singing what I assume was a kind of prayer of thanks as it was in the Hawaiian language and the only word that I understood was "mahalo" which means, "thank you."

Yesterday we drove on the infamous "road to Hana." This road has become so well known for being both beautiful and extremely dangerous. Mercilessly winding and narrow, it goes right through the rainy side of Maui which is an amazing rain forest. This is one of those breathtaking views that I mentioned. Once in Hana, we went to the other side of Haleakala national park and took the four mile hike through the forest to the Waimoku falls. This trail begins in a rain forest and then brings the hiker through a bamboo forest that is so think it darkens the forest as it blocks out the sunlight. We also went to a local lavender farm, plan to go to the Tedeschi Winery today for a tour, and we hope to make a stop at the sugar cane factory. Mahalo for reading, and Aloha!

The view from Tessa's house!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's all becoming real...

A common joke with many of my friends is, "I'm going to go check my mailbox for mail." Now, I don't want to insult my amazing mother by insinuating that she does not send me mail, but I certainly do not receive as much mail for how often I check it. That being said, I was deeply surprised yesterday when I discovered a large envelope that had been stuffed into my mailbox. Surprise soon turned to excitement when I realized that the return address was "Augustinian Friars." Of course, I ripped the envelope open as soon as I could and was most pleased to discover an official acceptance letter (which I simply cannot wait to give to my mom as a nice 'fridge decoration!'); a form that I am to send back saying that I accept; and a handbook with rules, information, and advice. I'm simply stoked!!!

Here is a screen shot from google maps showing where Chulucanas is in Peru:

Love you! Peace! Happiness!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Todos mis sueños han sido realizado...

Hello again! I'm so glad to be returning to this blog and I am excited to update you on the newest adventures that this little lamb is about to embark upon. Yesterday, I received- in the form of an email that looked like a rejection letter- word that I have been accepted as an Augustinian Volunteer for the year long program in Chulucanas, Peru. Although my interests are constantly changing and I am always uncertain of what I really want to do with my life, the only thing that has remained (since my sophomore year of high school) is the desire to do a year of service. This desire stems from a spring break service trip to Honduras that my parents and I went on with the youth group at our church. While in Honduras, I was introduced to Yvonne, a woman who was giving up a year of her life to support this program. Immediately afterwards, I knew that that was something that I wanted. As I grew older, more interested (and skilled) in the Spanish language, and more enthralled with promoting social justice for all- I knew that this childhood dream was not going to disappear as other my former dreams like becoming and astronaut had.

Fortunately, Stonehill has dedicated a lot of time and resources into helping students discover post-grad service initiatives and they have even hired a woman, Kris Silva, to aid students in their search and application to the right program. After much research and help from Kris, I discovered the Augustinian Volunteers and knew that it was the right program for me. Hopefully, through this blog I will be able to share a bit of this experience with all of you. My time in Peru will not begin until January, but I promise to update you a bit before I leave on preparations and on any adventures that I seek prior to my leaving. Thank you for your support and prayers!

Lacie Ann

PS: Here are some pictures of me in Canto Grande, Peru last week. I traveled there with other people from Stonehill on an alternative spring break trip.