2.6.2013
Los Angeles, CA

I have returned to LA and am so happy to be back. As in Israel, there is nothing happening that is important or exciting to anyone other then myself. It’s really been mostly about being a couch potato and seeing friends, which there are few of as everyone is in college…

Nonetheless I have been enjoying myself.

The one truly mentionable thing is that I went back to Mill Creek (the barn of my childhood and many firsts) and had a lesson with my old trainer. She’s really, really hard to impress and when I was warming up a little before the lesson, she came up to me and told me my riding was much improved. That doesn’t really sound like a big deal but believe me, it was!

I really miss all the people at Destination. Not so much the weather, which I have heard is awful. Hopefully things will go okay and I will be able to return safely to the barn. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands
1.29.2014

The city of the free, according to my hero and idol, John Green. Also the city of long layovers since my very first post (or second?) came from a long layover in Amsterdam.

But I’d like to talk more about the former. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, was recently introduced to me by a dear friend. She recommended TFIOS and I have not looked back since. This man is, to me, one of the most intelligent people alive. He is also co-brother of the vlogbrothers on Youtube whom I watch religiously.

His videos, which can be anything from the reason American healthcare is so expensive to cooking with his son, always have some crazy, deep, so awe-inspiring philosophy in them that every one is like a new existential crisis. And I’m pretty sure the basis of TFIOS, which I will not spoil, is a mathematical theory. A mathematical theory the basis for a fictional young adult romantic classical novel. Can you imagine the connection there?!

He comes up in Amsterdam because TFIOS is partly based in Amsterdam and I am reading it right now. And if you read it right, you can make a whole religion out of it.

There is so much John Green has done that to try and slip it into a blog post is impossible.

Besides my John Green fanaticism, I’m not doing much in Amsterdam. I didn’t bring the right clothes to go outside with (as it is 0 degrees Celsius) so I’m stuck in the airport. But I found an awesome winter hat as I tore mine working at the barn and I am excited to use it! I also found some wonderful chocolate to bring back to the barn. And on the mention of gifts, I wanted to buy some tulip bulbs to bring back for a friend but apparently the tulips Amsterdam is famous for cannot be brought back to the States!

So as I sit here in the airport, waiting for the minutes align for my flight, right now quite far away, I hope to God that one day I can write like John Green. And yes, it will happen.

If John Green is reading this, or Hank Green, as both of them are active on the social media, you both inspire me. If I can write half as well as John or take action for the global community even a quarter as well as Hank, well, it would be a worthy thing indeed. 

1.28.2014
Tel Aviv, Israel

Yes, I am back with family in Israel. This is the first time in seven or eight years that my whole family is going to be in Israel, due to immigration control back in the states, and I wanted to be there. I’m really lucky that I was able to take time off from the barn to come but I am blessed with understanding bosses (? Is that the right word?).

It’s been really wonderful. Nothing happened that is worth telling about as it really only has meaning to me and my family but everything was wonderful and great and I ate so much delicious food.

Today is my nineteenth birthday and we had a mini party at my grandma’s house to celebrate. It was another first, since I’ve never had a birthday in Israel before. Which apparently I have been missing out on. My aunt makes a fantastic cake, my uncle plays the accordion to birthday songs, and we have a general hurrah about everything.

I’ve been here for about a week and I leave tonight/tomorrow morning at 3 AM which is a terrible time to fly. Alas, beggars cannot be choosers. 

Dickerson, MD
01.9.2013

I’m so good at this posting thing……said no one ever about me. It’s been more then a month since my last post. And boy, some major changes have occurred.

The first one being I’M IN A REAL WINTER. WITH WEATHER. For all of you out there who have experienced this phenomena, you are infinitely more prepared then I could have ever been, even though I have taken ski trips with my family since I was at least three. There really isn’t such a thing as winter in LA. It’s just…colder. But you still only need a layer or two depending on how fashionably you dress. Key word being fashionably. You can get away with only one layer if you don’t care what people think of you.

No such thing here! At least, not for me. My average layers are two to three thermal underclothes (pants and shirts), a thick layer, and a heavy jacket. Dressing for winter is an art form and I’m still on the basics.

But winter isn’t bad. I much prefer cold over heat so I’m not miserable and I have invested in some good winter clothing which helps tremendously. NEVER underestimate the power of good clothes.

Things sort of shut down here in winter…literally. There are certain machines that won’t start and in certain weather (freezing rain), you cannot go anywhere so everything kind of closes. But! We have made our own fun, especially when it snows. Like horse sledding!

Which as it turns out, is a learned sport. I went with Natalie, Jess, Suz, and Mike, who are all proficient sledders, and I kid you not, we spent a solid half an hour just working on going straight. Just like horseback riding, everything you instinctively want to do in sledding is the exact opposite of what you should do, unlike, say, motorcycles. In motorcycles, when you want to go faster, you lean forward. In sledding, if you lean forward, you make quick acquaintance with the ground. After all that work, I was only able to turn halfway before falling off. But hey! It’s a start!

We also made a snowman in between taking turns.

 

Oh! And we were featured in a horsey website! And my photos are used! Link here: http://eventingnation.com/home/how-destination-farm-spends-a-snow-day/

Here are some pictures in a snowstorm. I think I was outside bringing the horses in, for those of you who are wondering why I decided to walk around in a snowstorm.

Snow melts and falls here a lot so on a day where there was no snow and it happily coincided with my day off, I went into downtown Fredrick and here’s some pictures from my adventures there.

Cool sticker on a lamp post. 

Some tiles nearby a bridge over a channel that ran through the city. 

 

We also had a jumper show. Here’s a few pictures. I was a little busy helping frightened children handle their horses so I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to take pictures so here you go.

The ring

The in gate

Lunch

And Natalie got a new puppy! His name is Wilson and everyone loves to snuggle with him as evidenced below.

 

New Year’s Eve was spent dancing on the Wii. I don’t have any pictures of that because I was one of the dancers! So you will just have to imagine it for yourselves.   

Finally, I wasn’t able to find a job in Aiken so I’m going to stay here until May! Well, I’m going home and Israel for a little but then I will be back and Tucker and I will go win at some competitions! Hopefully…

Dickerson, MD
11.28.2013

A lot more time has passed then I planned for when I wrote the last post but honestly I am so exhausted after work that I really don’t want to sit down and write. I just want to sleep :)

Anyway, a LOT of stuff has happened. I’ll list a few highlights in no particular order and then go into detail for the important ones and the ones I have pictures for.

-       I went cross country schooling with Tucker and got a concussion
-       Tucker pooped on my head
-       I volunteered at a show nearby and was a dressage steward
-       I was a show groom at another show we went to
-       I went cross country schooling on Sansa
-       I have decided not to go to New Zealand 

So concussion first. I took Tucker cross country, which for those of you who don’t know means I took him to a place that has jumps outside of a ring that are made of elements you wouldn’t find in an arena i.e. logs, ditches, banks, water, coops, gates, ect.. This was his third or fourth time but he hasn’t jumped a lot for a while so we started taking it slowly. Here’s some pictures.

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As you can see, very cute and tries hard. But not everything depends on the horse, the rider has some impact too. So if the rider effes up, things can go downhill. I think you all can tell that yes, I effed up. We were going to jump a 2’3’’ log, which a horse can pop over at a standstill, and Tucker was being really weavy and not wanting to go straight. So we’re going toward this jump, Tucker’s being a butt, I’m a bit unbalanced trying to figure out what to do, and he sees the jump and starts to jump over it. He had been going fairly well once he took his front feet off the ground so I thought it was going to be a normal jump so I started going into the jumping position. But right as we were on the apex and before his hind feet left the ground, he hesitated and then hopped over it like a deer. I didn’t expect that and being in the wrong position to check my balance, fell over his shoulder. He kind of spooked and I don’t quite remember but I think his hoof hit my chin because there was an impact there and my jaw snapped shut so hard, the hinges of the bone hurt. It took me a second to get up but I did and we continued as if nothing happened.

Then in the middle of the night, I woke up with a headache and severe nausea. Turns out I got a concussion. So I didn’t ride the next day and took the hours between AM and PM chores off for a nap.

Right now I’m feeling a lot better though heavy impacts still kind of set my head ringing. Riding is fine and I avoid running.

So there’s that.

And yes, Tucker did indeed poop on my head as I was cleaning his hind feet. Don’t know why he decided to do such a jerk thing but believe me, he knew what he was doing. Here’s a picture of him being his curious self.

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Next thing. I volunteered at a show as a dressage steward! That was actually really fun. There were four rings and I was in charge of Ring 1 and 2. My job was to find the correctly numbered person (competitor number) and make sure they were at their ring at the time they were assigned (dressage tests are to be ridden at a predetermined time by show secretary. You know your time before you get to the show). This was a blast despite the massive amounts of dust:

(I came back a different color)

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My master list of times and riders.

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The rings I stewarded. Left is Ring 1 and right is Ring 2.

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I got to tell people what to do and let them know how close it was to their test so they could either start warming up their horses seriously or start cooling down to save the energy.

Some people were so nice and friendly and even when I messed up, which I did because come on, first time, they were totally cool with it and understanding.

So show groom for another show. Suz (one of the trainers at the barn), Jess (barn manager), and Cydney (boarder) were going to compete at a show called Full Moon Horse Trials and they needed someone to come with them and help take care of the horses for the day. It was decided that I would be the one so the day of the show, I woke up at a bright and early 4 AM. I was down at the barn by 4:30 and helped load the horses onto the trailer.

Here they are later in the day but same as how they looked in the morning. The bay horse is Willmore (Jess’ horse), the chestnut and white paint is Korbin (Suz’s horse), and the bay and white paint is Jasper (Cyd’s horse). Basically left to right.

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We then stopped at a gas station for caffeine – I got a sweet tea – and headed off for the hour and a half drive. We have some trouble toward the end finding the turnoff for the show grounds and ended up having to drive over someone’s lawn in order to turn the trailer around but we made it in the end.

I’m going to give you guys some background now so you have a little understanding of what the day was going to look like. In a one-day eventing show (usually they are three days), dressage happens first and you have all your dressage gear on. Then you go on to show jumping (jumping in an arena) and immediately after, you head off to cross country (jumping out of an arena). You are allowed to ride your show jumping in your cross country gear because you won’t have time to change which means bright colors, safety vests, and jumping tack. So since Suz was first for dressage, we focused on her, got Korbin ready, then sent her on her way. Then immediately it was Jess’s turn and while she got dressed, I tacked up Willmore, and she was off. There was a little bit of time between Jess going and Cyd going so we fixed up Jasper’s mane braids and tacked him up before Suz came back and Cyd (who had forgotten her show shirt, stock tie, and show coat) borrowed her’s. I changed Korbin’s dressage tack into jumping tack and then Cyd went off. That’s pretty much how the day went. Besides being next to the beginning and the end of the cross country course and cheering them on, the biggest highlight of the day was when I was cooling Korbin down after his cross country run. Cyd was taking care of Jasper’s feet when Jasper decided he had enough and tried to kick out. Cyd growled at him and nudged him to stop. For some reason, this threw Jasper over the edge and he broke his halter and went trotting off. He was very much a loose horse. I had Korbin in hand and no way to catch Jasper myself so I yelled out “Loose horse!” As we were near the entrance to cross country, I had a very real concern that Jasper was going to run on cross country and some poor rider’s day would be ruined. Luckily he didn’t go there but I was struck by the fact that multiple other grooms and riders around our trailer heard me yell out and all turned to look but no one came to help. They were just content to watch even though it was very clear I couldn’t do anything about Jasper despite being the closest because I was holding Korbin. Somehow Cyd managed to find a halter in the trailer to catch Jasper with and everything was fine but really some help would have gone a long way. When another horse got loose later and I didn’t have a horse in hand, I leapt up to see if I could help but the horse was too far away and someone else had caught him. I was a little concerned that no one had done the same for me.

The day went on and once Cyd, who was last, had finished her cross country, we headed down to the scoring board to see what our results were. We waited for about 3 hours and after many attempts to at least get the dressage tests back, we gave up and went home. It was a fun day, super fun don’t get me wrong, but the disorganization and apathy were frustrating and it was nice to put it behind us.

Here’s a picture I took as we were waiting for scores. Left to right, Cyd, Suz, and Jess.

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And I went cross country schooling with Sansa. Here’s a fantastic picture of us. There were no falls this time!

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And finally, I am not going to New Zealand. I made this decision after a lot of deliberation because I realized, going to the shows, that I loved the competitive atmosphere and I wanted to do more of that. The part of Maryland I’m at kind of closes down for eventing in the winter cand the barn I was going to go to in New Zealand was awesome but not competitive. So I decided that instead of going to NZ, I was going to try and get another working student position with someone in Aiken, South Carolina, which is one of THE places to be for eventing in the winter. Fingers crossed that works out!

So yeah, that’s me right now. Hope college is going well for my friends and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Dickerson, Maryland

11.4.2013

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I thought I would start with the beautiful sunset to start off this post.

Things actually went really well so far. Which is weird, because I was always waiting for the other boot to drop. My things came out first on the carousel and the barn manager, Jessica, was waiting outside for me. The ride back to the barn went really well. A serious relief because small talk terrifies me.

We got back to the barn and Jess showed me around. Everyone was getting ready for a show the next day so I got to meet quite a few people. Everyone was really friendly and humorous! I’m excited to get to know everyone. This is what the barn looks like. I know it’s not an amazing picture but I took it with my phone so cut me some slack.

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And this is my half of the basement, where the other working student, Brandi, and I live.

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That evening was really easy since a) everyone was getting ready for a show and b) it was night and there wasn’t really anything to do.

The day here at Destination begins at 7:30 in the morning with feeding. We feed all the horses in the barn and then we go feed the field boarders who are near the house we stay in on the other side of the property, opposite the barn. Here is Brandi with a little pony called Coco Puff.

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And this is Porter,

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And Ben.

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After feeding, we turn out. We take pairs of horses to different paddocks to spend the day out of their stalls. This is a few of them behind the barn. You can see the trees changing colors. I love looking at it.

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Then we muck out the stalls, clean the barn aisle, put out hay in the stalls, and do any little chores that need to be done before we ride. Then we ride.

One of the first things I did when I got here was meet “my” project horse. His name is Tucker and he’s an off the track thoroughbred (OTTB). He’s a bay, but more a blacker bay. And he’s super lazy. I’m used to riding lazy horses so we’ll see what the future holds. I don’t have any pictures yet but I promise one soon!

So on the real first day, we went for a hack around the trails. Here’s some pictures! Oh, and a pony that came to say hi!

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You can see the tips of Tucker’s ears here!

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After the hack, we went to lunch where Brandi and I talked a lot about the different personalities at the barn and what are the more obvious expectations that nobody would tell me because they seem obvious but I may not actually know. That was a serious help.

And she also told me that unfortunately, the Rolex rider is moving barns now and I won’t get to work with her. That was a big bummer because I was really looking forward to it.

After break, we did some more chores then at 4, we brought the horses back in from the turn outs, feed them again, groomed whoever needed it, mucked what stalls needed it, and cleaned the barn aisle again. Then we went around one last time and shut up for the night.

Things were pretty much the same the next day except I got to ride this cute horse called Sansa. I honestly love her, especially her name! She’s such a funky little horse. Sometimes she’s super sensitive and sometimes she’s not. It’s a little hard to predict and work with but it’s still fun. I had a lesson with Natalie, who is the woman who hired me with Sansa. Here’s a picture of her. It’s also from my phone so no judging!

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The rest of the day went much the same way as yesterday. We finished everything around 5:30 but I stayed later to clean the tack I used today. Then I went back up to the house. It’s starting to get super chilly here. My fingers tingled from the change in temperature when I walked in to the basement.

Hope things are going well for everyone! I’m having a blast!

Somewhere over the Western US
11.2.2013 

As you can see from the location, I am no longer in Los Angeles. A few days after I wrote the previous post, a barn in Maryland got back to me with an interest in having me over. And, as I think you have all inferred by now, I got the job!

I am going to be a working student, which is basically another word for unpaid groom. This means I am going to be doing a lot of mucking out, a lot of cleaning tack, grooming, and overall maintenance. But I am being paid in lessons, which I will be getting at least four times a week, according to the woman who interviewed me. They go to competitions so maybe I will have the opportunity to compete, which is just awesome! And I found out after I accepted the job that one of the women (it’s a partnership of three) got 17th in the Rolex CCI**** which, for those of you who don’t know, is the highest level of THE top global completion held in the US. So 17th against some of the best riders in the world is nothing to sneeze at. Obviously, I don’t know if I going to be working with her very much but still. I’ll get to watch her ride, ask questions, see how she does things. I don’t know if you can tell but I’m VERY excited.

Besides getting the job, I also been hanging out with some friends and branching out from purely family time. One of the more fun things I did was a Swap Meet for Calabasas Saddlery. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures but it was actually a really fun day. And then the next day was an awesome riding lesson so it was a well-rounded weekend :)

Halloween was also great. I went trick or treating with my friend as a 1920’s man, which worked out quite nicely. I don’t have any pictures of that which is unfortunate because I think I really looked the part.

Oh! And I cut my hair! I don’t have a GOOD picture of that so we’ll wait until that happens for me to post it. My hair is now slightly above shoulder length where as before it was below my shoulder blades. I told the woman who cut my hair to just chop off all the burnt edges and split ends and I didn’t look at the mirror when she cut it. Guess my hair was mostly burnt and split ends.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sitting on the plane as I’m typing this and I have to say so far this is turning out to be a pretty easy flight. The woman sitting next to me is very kind and grandmotherly and the babies on my other side have only screamed once or twice. This bodes well for the rest of the journey!

Here’s to Maryland and a mild winter! I brought a bunch of warm clothes but I come from California. Let’s not get too cocky here. 

Los Angeles
10.20.2013 

So things have been going pretty well since FNF. I’ve been working in a jewelry store to make some money. It’s been nice to have a steady job, even if it’s not a full time job.

Besides working in the store, I’ve also house/dog sat again. That was also nice, having a house to myself. Since it was an apartment, I had to worry about the dog a lot though. Most of the time, I didn’t mind. But then there were times when my plans would change, and then the worry wasn’t too good.

Among the things I have been doing, I’ve also gone to do some family time.

We’ve gone to the Watts Towers,

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Hung out at the beach and made the feather and sand version of Mount Kilaminjaro,

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And gone to the LA Flower Market, which was very colorful.

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Of course, I have not forgotten my horse job. I’ve submitted at least ten applications at this point to different barns all over the US. Hopefully one will accept me.

And I am still planning to go to New Zealand in the spring. So taking care of that visa.

Hope everyone is doing well. Friends I know in life and friends I don’t. 

9.29.2013
Orange, California

Well, so much for the high hopes of that job. It was very much not what I am looking for and the owner does everything backwards. So no to that one.

It was a very strange weekend. On my first day I rode a young mare (girl horse for all you non-horse people) who was very weirdly sensitive and dull at the same time. I asked her to canter and for the first few minutes everything was okay. Then, for some reason, she took my asking her for more impulsion to mean CHARGE!

Think charging onto a battlefield.

That’s a little bit of how I felt.

I’ve never feared more for my life than I did then.

Somehow, I got her back under control, after ripping out a handful of mane with a very unhelpful trainer. I stared at him, then the horse, then tried to speak. But my mouth was so dry all that came out was a little huff of air. Suffice to say that was the end of that ride.

Luckily there are three other girls here. They are literally the sassiest, funniest, and most welcoming group on the West Coast. And they were very clear to me that taking this job would be a bad idea. Here’s some pictures of the barn.

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The rest of the day went better as I didn’t ride any crazy horses again. Once the day was over, we got Chinese food at a restaurant for dinner after we finished cleaning up and I haven’t laughed so hard since college apps started. It was so great to laugh and joke and have fun for the heck of having fun and not as a release from college stress.

The second day went fine. Riding went much better today. We only do flatwork, i.e. no jumping, so it was a little bit repetitive. The horses were more relaxed, however, and we only had one mishap with a runaway horse on the trail. But me and another girl blocked the trail so the horse slowed down enough for the girl riding him to make him stop. Despite things getting better, the owner of the barn basically called jumping horses a sport of no brains and all brawn. It took so much effort not to laugh in his face. Not only did he insult me but insulted every rider I know and all the Olympians who train day after day and drill course work.

And the third and final day went pretty much the same way as the second day except for there was no runaway horse. 

I hinted to the owner that I wouldn’t be taking the job but he seems to think otherwise. Well, he’ll get a rude awakening when he calls me again.

9.26.2013
Los Angeles

Hello all and hello fall.

Things have been significantly less exotic these past two-ish months. I didn’t do very much so I didn’t write (which you all know because there were no updates :) ). But things are going well.

I said goodbye to a lot of my friends as they are all normal and doing the thing you usually do when you graduate from high school i.e. going to college. I’ve reconnected with some old friends too and really just spent most of August and September doing things I love.

Like painting. All those museum visits in Paris gave me some inspiration and here are the fruits of my labor.

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The third one is a work in progress. Turns out art nouveau takes a long time so I’ve only made these three so far.

I’ve also done a lot of writing. I started three stories and I’m focusing a lot of my attention on one I hope to enter in the Writers of the Future contest, which I know Patrick Rothfuss participated in and Orson Scott Card spoke at. Speaking of those authors, their books are amazing. I could not put down Ender’s Game or Name of the Wind. 

But not everything is rainbows and sunshine. My dear partner in crime, Peter, the horse that basically taught me how to not take no for an answer, tore a tendon completely in half. The vet said it would never heal (because you can’t regrow a tendon) and he would always be in pain and never run. This was particularly awful because he loves to jump and run so much. We tried to rehab him and go against all odds but he was so miserable. He was losing fur and constantly weaving around in his stall. Overall, he was being very clear that this was not what he wanted. The decision was made to put him down.

This was really hard for me but I am 100% sure that he is in a much happier place then we could have ever given him.

Here’s a picture of him doing what he loves.

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Besides riding and art, I’ve been working at a jewelry store, looking for a equestrian job, and house sitting for my uncle. I’ve also went hiking in Temescal Canyon which has so many happy memories for me. I really love that place. And personally I think the landscape of California to be much underappreciated. Is this not beautiful?

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And this is a tree where I read Shakespeare for the very first time.

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 I did find a job opening in Orange, California to which I have an interview this weekend. Hopefully it goes well!