HBD 2 ME!

“Happy birthday to me, I blew up a zoo, I look like a monkey and I am 102!”
My birthday fell on a Sunday this year, and lands on the tenth day of June.

I am not quite the biggest fan of my birthday, or drawing any unnecessary attention to myself.
Also, what do you do when people are singing “Happy Birthday” to you? Who do you look at? What do you look at?

My birthday has always been kind to me, but my birthdays in my 20s have not been my best, or even that kind to me.
This year, I was turning 23-years old, and for the first time in my 20s, I was fairly excited for this birthday, but probably for reasons beyond having an excuse to put my party pants on and get myself in trouble.

For the first time in my 20s, I am finally beginning to learn to love myself, to learn to exhibit qualities of conscious and aware person, to learn to understand myself, to learn to hold myself accountable, to learn to make better decisions, to learn to take care of myself, to learn to become independent, and to recognize and to embrace consistency within my life. I also have finally for the first time feel like I have stability and consistency within my life, which is a refreshing blessing and realization to come. It has brought me so much more happiness and love into my life, but I will admit that from time-to-time I find myself frustrated with consistency, stability, and routines within my life.

With all this said, my expectations for my birthday and my celebratory events are fairly minimal and not overwhelming, as I have come to realize that most people’s 23rd birthday expectations and celebrations are much more extravagant and involve more drinking and partying than my own.
I wanted to treat my birthday like a normal day, and engage in activities that I had been attempting to do for a while. None of these activities I had planned involved drinking, as the thought of drinking excessively disgusted me. This year, I wanted to have a meaningful birthday, where I truly recognized the importance and the beauty behind a birthday, which is essentially the blessing of making it to another year of life.

My birthday began with an early morning trip to the Butterfly Pavilion, a place that I had been trying to go to for a while now. The Butterfly Pavilion is a pavilion full of butterflies, just as the name of the institution explains.
As a child, I had visited the Butterfly Pavilion various times, but it had been at least 12-years since I had been there last. It was almost like I was going for the first time!

The beginning of the exhibits at the Butterfly Pavilion consisted of a wide variety of unique insects, who had most certainly been specially selected to be put on display. The first room of animals consisted of displays full of insects and bugs, including a array of beetles, bees, and crickets to name a few. The insect section totally frightened me, but I still found myself looking into the glass displays that were occupied with diverse “insectual” creatures. In addition to these various insects and bugs displayed, this first section of exhibit also contained the second noteable, if not the most noteable, feature of the Butterfly Pavilion, which is the giant tarantula, Rosie. Rosie is quite iconic and the Butterfly Pavilion’s most famous exhibit, as they allow individuals to hold and pet her. Rosie is just about the only thing that I remember about the Butterfly Pavilion from my frequent childhood visits here.
As a child, I was too afraid to interact to personally with an arachnid, as I have arachnaphobia. Not to mention, she is huge! And, as a young adult, I have the same feelings about interacting to intimately with Rosie, and I made the same decision I have continued to make since my childhood, which was to simply not let Rosie into my personal bubble space. Basically, I still am just as afraid of Rosie as I was when I was a child, and not even $1 million could make me hold, pet, or coddle Rosie. I do not think this will change any time soon.
My favorite part about the insect section was how aesthetically pleasing all these glass displays were decorated, in order for these insects to grow, thrive, and live. Many of the displays contained succulents, cacti, etc.

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The second half of the exhibit also included a wide variety of unique animals, but instead of bugs and insects, this exhibit displayed a variety of marine creatures, including an octupus, slipper lobster, and crabs to name a few. This section was very cool, and also involved an interactive station that allowed one to pet an ancient horseshoe crab. I was much less hesistant to pet a horseshoe crab than I was to hold Rosie the Tarantula. Petting a horseshoe crab felt exactly like what it sounded like, as I was essentially petting a crab shell. I must say that it felt very smooth!
I have never seen a horseshoe crab in person, so this was a first for me! In a very strange way, the horseshoe crab was kind of cute and mildly facisnating!Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

Now, onto the next section of the Butterfly Pavilion…
The next and final portion of the Butterfly Pavilion was in fact the Wings Of the Tropics conservatory, which not only houses and holds all the beautiful and extravagant butterflies, but also mimics butterflies’ natural habitat! A butterfly’s natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, so the conservatory is full of lush plants and flora, and mimics the damp, wet environment of a tropical rainforest, with a very functional roof top sprinkler system that allows for the conservatory to accurately exhibit all tropical features, as well as allow for the butterflies to naturally live their lives in an environment that allows them to thrive and fly freely.
The number of butterflies and months were outstanding, and the pavilion’s collection of butterflies were quite extensive. While I was expecting to see a lot of butterflies, the conservatory managed to baffle me by containing about triple the number of butterflies than I even anticipated. Everywhere I looked, or did not look, there were butterflies.
Some were mating, some were playing, some were flying into eachother, some were dead, some were sucking nectar, and some were trying to land on me.
The idea of interacting with butterflies very intimately seems appealing and much easier than I realized, as I did not know how much butterflies (kind of, sort of) scared me. Bugs and insects, even though I find butterflies completely facisnating and such beautiful creatures, seem to creep me out more than anything else in this world. After closely inspecting a butterfly sucking nectar out of a pink flower, I quickly noticed how “insect-like” these creatures were, which kind of freaked me out. While their wings do not scare me, it seems that the rest of their physical characteristics, which resemble insect-like bodies, ultimately set me off and made me fearful of them making contact with them.
While I had no real intention of making contact with a butterfly, NOT EVEN FOR AN INSTAGRAM, a butterfly still managed to land on me. I managed to capture the entire event on video, which features me minding my own business filming two butterflies who seem to be playing together. The video takes a turn for the worst when one butterfly begins to steer away from the other one, and begins slowly making its’ way towards my leg.
But, what are the chances that a butterfly lands on you? Not very high, that is for sure!
My immediate reaction to this butterfly landing on my leg was a high-pitched, almost defeaning yell of terror, fear, and uncomfortability. This was not the reaction I was hoping to have when the butterfly landed on me, but once again, my trip to the Butterfly Pavilion only made it clear to me that, while I do enjoy the existence of butterflies, they also mildly terrify me with their insect-like mannerisms and physical characteristics.
The assortment of butterflies and months was mindblowing to witness. There were butterflies of every color of the rainbow!
The monarch butterfly was the only speices of butterflies that I knew, and I was luckily able to see one in the flesh during my time in the conservatory!

As the day matured, I slowly made my way down to Denver, Colorado, for a few more attractions, including Voodoo Donuts, Benihana’s, and Queen City General Store.
Voodoo Donuts has some of the best donuts and most extravagant donuts, with some of the best toppings and flavors I have ever eaten. A dozen of these carefully crafted donuts was more than enough to crave my sweet tooth, or my sugar addiction.

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Queen City General Store was one of my favorite stops, during my birthday adventure/extravagantza. This eclectic store sold a variety of very hip, very vintage, and very cool items, all ranging from succulents, to jewelry, to Levi’s, to plant holders, to artwork. This store carried everything!
The ambiance and the decor of the store was intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, as I generally love stores such as these. They are truly one-of-a-kind, and as a result of their uniqueness, their inventory features one-of-a-kind merchandise.
The array of succulents, and the diversity of succulents, was incredible, making it virtually very hard to choose three succulents to call my own, as well as my birthday gift. Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset
The jewelry featured in the store was remarkable and most certainly radiated beauty. The collection of pieces that were showcased were so unique, spunky, yet tasteful, all while being simplistic. I had never seen such a collection of jewelry that I truly enjoyed like I did the pieces at Queen City General Store!
The overall vibe of the store was trendy, and the jewelry only affirmed the trendiness of the store!Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I walked out of the store with a three new plant friends, which I could call my very own. I also managed to name these new companions of mine, naming the cactus, Pokè, naming the other smaller and pointy succulent, Piper, as the branches of the succulent reminded me of pipes, and finally the Echeveria succulent, or the flower shaped succulent, or the biggest succulent of the bunch, was named Poppy.

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But, wait…what was my favorite part of the entire store (Queen City General Store)? You may ask…
And, my answer is the DISCO BALLS!
The interior decoration of the store was beyond exceptional, and I found so much inspiration within the four walls of this store.
Beyond the eclectic merchandise sold, the interior decoration of the store was completely unique, fun, and imitation-worthy, meaning that I would most definitely imitate certain aspects of the decor and incorporate it into the design of my current apartment in a heartbeat.

DISCO BALLS ARE SO FUN, FUNKY, ECLECTIC, VISUALLY STIMULATING, COOL, TRENDY, AND UNDERRATED, so you can only imagine how excited I was to see them being used for a good cause.
The disco balls only elevated the “coolness” of the store, and may be 38% of the reason why I will be returning to this “very cool store.”Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

My birthday was a success for those who were wondering, and I feel very blessed, stressed, happy, proud, accomplished, and foolish for another opporutnity to live another day, and hopefully another year!
While birthdays, especially birthdays when you are in your 20s, are supposed to celebrated with mass amounts of booze, excessive amounts of poor decisions, and all-night partying, mine was very simplistic and very sober, as I truly wanted to appreciate the simple, yet profound idea behind a birthday.
I try to treat every day as a birthday, which is potentially why I am unable to perform in the party department like many of my peers on my actual birthday. For some reason, it truly makes me uncomfortable!!!
I felt very loved this year on my birthday, as it was full of many texts, phone calls, and verbal messages from loved ones that wished me a wonderful day, and a wonderful year, as I rang in my 23rd year of life.
This year, instead of focusing on all the individuals who did not acknowledge my birthday, I focused most of my energy on all the individuals who went out of their way to wish me the best in life and the best birthday yet! The amount of love I received was phenomenal, and all my good friends, and the ones who truly matter, gently reminded me how much I am loved on that day.

I am extremely excited for my 23rd year of life! I am looking forward to making many mistakes, accomplishing many goals, pushing myself beyond my boundaries, being happy, making more memories, experiencing new things, learning how to adult more efficiently, working my a$$ off, and all the opportunities that may come my way.
I have a feeling that this year of my life will be FREAKING AWESOME, and I am very excited to embark on this journey!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL MY JUNE BABIES & GEMINIS!!
THIS YEAR OF YOUR LIFE WILL BE THE BEST YET (I HOPE)!

What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday? What is your favorite memory from your last birthday?

“PARTY LIKE IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY EVERY DAY” -Lil’ Jon, LMFAO, every rapper ever, society, etc..

Also, a huge shoutout to all my loved, friends and family included, who wished me a happy birthday and contributed to making my birthday such a great, simple, and magical day! It means a lot!

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

 

What Is Going On Outside? 🌲🌿🍃

Exploratory excursions are necessary for cleansing my soul, resetting my mood, clearing my thoughts, or getting out my anxiety. There is something safe about being in nature, and it brings me a sense of calm, peace, happiness, and serenity. It is not every day that you can find something that has that kind of effect on you.

“Cash me outside” – literally, all Summer long.

Nature provides me an infinite playground, as well as a free gym, where I can work out without a worry in my world.

Boulder, Colorado is a wonderful place to call a playground, as nature extends to the horizons and there is never a shortage of hiking trails or scenic overlooks. It is a wonderful natural playground – maybe even one of the best.

I do not even need to turn my frown upside down, because I am not ever frowning, especially after all the time I have spent outside.

It is important to take your breathe away every once in a while, and the cheapest and most beautiful way to take your breathe away is to surround yourself in nature. Go outside! You will be surprised with what you can find when you are outside.

Nature has endless amounts of beauty to give the world, and it is up to us to attempt to enjoy and to appreciate as much of it as we possibly can.

Exploring in nature is super exciting and very thrilling for me. I love nothing more than conquering a new hike, seeing a new view, breathing oxygen, being surrounded by everything other than buildings, and getting to see sunlight.

It is easy to take nature for granted, especially for someone who is so spoiled with such a beautiful landscape and backyard. There is always nature to be explored and Summer is great and favorable weather to explore what Mother Nature has to offer. Do not let these all natural beauties go to waste, or be left untouched.

Pull off of a highway, or try a new hike. You could be surprised by what you could find if you just simply go a little off-trail. The world has so much more to offer than our eyes can even begin to see and our brains can begin to conceptualize.

Enjoy your Mother (Earth)! Take care of her and do not let her go to waste.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Take Me Out To The Ball Game ⚾️

On the last Wednesday of May, I found myself at Coors Field Stadium in Denver, Colorado, to attend a Rockies’ game.

I would not call myself the biggest baseball fan, but baseball games are great. It is a guaranteed good time, and not to mention, the tickets were only $8.

My favorite part of baseball is the culture, specifically the food and the beer. How American of me, right,

Baseball games have been the greatest American pastime for many years now, and the culture is half the reason it has preserved.

I continued to preserve the great tradition, indulging in an overpriced hot dog and overpriced beer.

Oh, but I did not stop there…

My earliest memories at baseball games involved dip’n dots. I LOVE DIP’N DOTS, and honestly, the dip ‘n dots are 99% of the reason that I made an appearance at the baseball game. I finally got my fix, after being clean of dip’n dots for at least seven years.

While I could not tell you who won the game, I can say that I had a great time, with even better company.

I was taken out to the ball game and taken out to the crowd. I did not buy any peanuts or pepper jacks. I did root, root, root for the Rockies, because if they did not win it would have been a shame.

What is your favorite American pastime?

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Gallery: Who Let The Dogs Out?

114 shifts later, and approximately five months of employment at Camp Bow Wow Boulder, I have found an undying love, appreciation, understanding, and awareness for the incredible four-legged animals who have been deemed “Man’s Best Friend.” Some may call me obsessed, and others may not even understand my enthusiasm for these creatures, but every day I find myself more and more humbled by dogs. Big or small, lazy or crazy, I love them all – I do not discriminate against dogs! It does not matter their breed or their age; they all have infinite amounts of love, among other many gifts, to contribute to this world.

As I have mentioned time and time again, working at Camp Bow Wow Boulder, as a Camp Counselor, has quite literally changed my world in so many ways, in the best way possible. My job as a “Camp Counselor” includes job duties that require direct interaction and direct involvement with the campers, or dogs, that are either boarding or are attending day-care. My job sounds simplistic and can be boiled down to “taking care of the dogs by keeping them happy, preventing any dog fights, picking up the dog poop, and keeping all them healthy.” The concept is quite simple, but in reality, managing the 30-40 dogs in your 200 square foot play yards, including both the outside play yard and indoor play yard, is much difficult than one would imagine. It is incredibly important to be overtly observant and be knowledgeable about all the dogs in your play yard, no matter how many dogs are occupying your play yard. So much can happen, especially with such sensitive, emotional, and joyous creatures, and many situations require that you are quick on your feet, or a quick reaction time. In a blink of a second, two dogs, or even more dogs, can go from playing roughly to engaging in a full-out dog fight. While most of these “bad situations” are generally preventable, as we can put dogs into a “time-out,” not every bad situation can be prevented. As a result, it is incredibly for the person mandating and overlooking their play yard to be aware of their surroundings, to be knowledgeable on how to react the most efficiently and most effectively, the dogs they are dealing with, the personalities of the dogs, and to be fully attentive when in taking care of these gentle and friendly creatures. When “bad situations” occur, it is incredibly important that one reacts to the best of the ability, all while taking into account the best way to react in order to ensure the safety of the other dogs and to ensure that they react in a way that also ensures the safety of yourself.

While my job is a dream and I love it more than I could ever put into words, the job is hazardous and working with so many dogs of different sizes, weights, personalities, etc., is a quick way to collect bruises, injuries, scars, and stitches. In such a playful and unpredictable environment, it is impossible to avoid injuries. In fact, if I can leave work with only 4-6 bruises, it is a good day, or a rather safe day. On the more exciting days, I expect to be covered from head-to-toe in bruises, quite literally. Last week, my fellow friends wanted to show me some love and could not seem to contain their excitement, which led to a very bruised face. My first bruise was across the bridge of my nose, as Leah and I miscommunicated how we were going to great each other, and as I slowly lowered my head down towards her face, she seemingly decided to jump up to greet me. Instead of moving my head away from her face, I naturally moved it towards her face, in which I felt and the force of her 140 lb. body, and then some, make a very loud sound when she made contact with the bridge of my nose. before my coworker could even ask if I was okay, the bridge of my nose immediately bruised without question. I answered honestly, stating that I was not okay, as tears began pouring out of my left eye without my own consent. Later that day, I was graced with another serious bruise on my chin for the very same reason, but instead of further hurting my nose, my chin decided to take the beating. At this point, I do not remember which dog gave me that specific bruise, but I can say that it hurt for certain and that the dog was fairly large. The bruise on my chin was very colorful, turning into shades of dark blue and dark purple. The dark purple part of the bruise was located perfectly in middle of the otherwise blue bruise, and my chin stayed this color two weeks later.
My face hurt so bad, I could not even sniffle with my nose or place my hand under my chin without shedding a fairly small tear.

Despite the bruises and scratches, I still am able to overlook these miscommunications, as I know that these physical injuries are not of malicious intent and they seemingly hurt far less than any emotional hurt that I have endured.

There is never a shortage of four-legged friends in my life lately and I just cannot get enough.

Every day that I continue to live, I find myself filling the voids in my life with the best kind of love and affection that I can find in and around the Boulder County area.
Having incurred a lot of loss, pain, and suffering, as a result of being lost and unsure of myself, I have a lot of “black holes” that I could not seem to fill up no matter what I tried, but this kind of pure, raw, and genuine love that these animals exude has slowly, or rather quickly, managed to patch up the voids that I have been attempting to mask with more hate than love, which has allowed to me to incur a healing process that is completely unique, and most importantly, a healing process that is completely based on love.

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After being employed by Camp Bow Wow Boulder for only five months, I have met over 500 dogs in and around the Boulder County area. Every single one of these dogs that I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know, even if it is on an acquaintance basis, has taught me something and has allowed me to heal, a concept that was unfamiliar to me. In fact, the concept of healing, or attempting to alleviate certain symptoms I experience, as a result of my own diagnoses, seemed like a completely impossible task five months ago. Some of my symptoms were so horrifying and excruciatingly painful to endure, and while I did not quit or give up, I spent a lot of time frustrated, questioning myself, self-medicating, engaging in negative coping mechanism skills, experimenting with coping mechanisms, engaging in positive coping mechanism skills, and most importantly, pretending like I was ok. Pretending like I was not struggling was surprisingly much more tiresome and much more difficult to execute. It was extremely stressful, and I have the veins on the sides of my temples to prove it. I had many days that I was able to successfully fool everyone around me, but I also had a handful of days where I was not able to successfully execute my one mission of my daily routines, which was to outwardly appear as though I was not completely lost, completely confused, completely in pain, etc.

These dogs have taught me that you can run and you can hide, but one day, “they,” whether it be your anxiety, your personality, your genuine self, or the truth, will come find you. Instead of prolonging the process, expose your true self. Or, I have even learned that placing more importance on embracing yourself, including your mood, your personality, etc. rather than placing more importance on attempting to be “liked,” or “mold into the person that you feel as though people will respond the best to,” has actually been far more productive and healthier than attempting to mask yourself completely. People, and even dogs, respond better to you when you are simply honest, in every sense of the word. While humans are extremely receptive creatures, it is outstanding to witness how receptive dogs are to you, even if you may be a complete stranger to them. It is equally outstanding to witness how simple of creatures dogs are, and how much joy a simple action, such as petting them, letting them lick your face, or even calling their name, brings them. As a human, or even as a Camp Counselor, these actions are fairly basic things and we barely think much of them, as petting the dogs and knowing all the dogs names in your dog yard are all part of your job requirement, but to these creatures, these small actions could make their day, or be the reason why they are shaking their hips, wagging their tails, and smiling at you.

Taking care of animals has allowed me to allow the power of love to assist in my lengthy healing process. Beyond this, I have not felt this much gratification from a job before.
The best feeling in the world is seeing a dog return to their owner, or the “Pet Parent,” happy, healthy, and with no worries in the world. It is equally as gratifying to know how appreciative the “Pet Parents” are for our service, in which they often bring us food, treats, and snacks. They even will send us holiday and “Thank You” cards!
I love my job for more than the money, and this kind of feeling is extremely amazing.

• I CANNOT QUIT DOGS AND I WILL NEVER QUIT DOGS •
Sometimes, I truly believe that dogs continue to perform LOVE’s work through them, as they continue to grace our tainted world with the things that our world seemingly seems to lack.
While humans continue to fight, with no concrete purpose, which only divides our world from each other, dogs continue to provide our world with the virtues and morals that we pretend to uphold, which continues to unify humans beings, whether we realize it or not.

The definition of dog in the dictionary should be as follows, “everything good, and then some more.” The “some more” part of their existence is often not even asked of them, but they continue to perform good simply because it is in their nature and they simply cannot help it.

My biggest heroes and my biggest role models are mostly of the dog variety, and I am not afraid to say that.

Besides their love, affection, and pure genuine nature, my favorite quality about dogs is their loyalty to people. It is incredible to witness their loyalty to their people, and the amount of effort and energy they exert in order to simply make you happy and to simply attempt to protect you. They have simply restored faith in me that there is still good left in the world, even if I cannot be the “good” within the world.

The only question that I cannot seem to answer is WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?!
Can someone please tell me WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? I will not be upset. I just need to know. Let me know in the comments below!



xo,

Aichan Tewahade



P.S. As Summer approaches closely behind the scorching warm weather, my photo galleries of the dogs will showcase our “dog pools,” which we have so that the dogs can stay cool despite the weather, as well as provide a fun entertainment for them.
Many of the dogs are not sure what these pools are, as many of them are either too scared to get in, hate water, think that it is an oversized water bowl, etc. Thus far, the Golden Retrievers all collectively have found JOY IN A “POOL-Y” PLACE.

Stay tuned for more galleries of some of my favorite furry friends!