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Blog posts by jake

Fun Without the Sun

Ever wondered how some people have a bit of a daredevil gene in them, while others could not be bothered with trying to catch thrills?  My favorite type of thrill seeking activity is, without a doubt, skiing.  There is nothing like flying down a frozen water covered mountain with fiberglass sticks strapped to your feet.  I have been fond of skiing since I was younger and my parents took us to Boyne Mountain to perfect our skiing form.  But, like so many other high school students, I stopped skiing because of the cost of skiing and how busy I was with winter sports.  A few years ago, I decided to give it another try and, with my girlfriend’s family, I got back on the hill.  While that first time was rather nerve wracking, I did not fall too many times.  

While I was only able to ski one time last year, I decided to buy a ski pass for Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands this year as a way to treat myself.  With this pass, I was able to go skiing multiple weekends this semester on two of Michigan’s most pristine mountains.  Even at the beginning of the season this year, I was rather shaky going down even some of the easiest and least steep hills.  But, little by little, I was able to get my body back into skiing.  Another point worth mentioning is that I am terribly afraid of heights, which makes the chairlifts even more fun.  Regardless, with much practice and determination throughout this ski season, I was able to hone my skills until I was able to ski down even some of the most challenging runs.  My favorite type of skiing was going over the small jumps and bumps and getting no more than a foot off the ground.  While I enjoy the exhilaration of my feet leaving the ground, I still am fearful of breaking a bone and needing the ski patrol to come and snowmobile me off to the hospital.

West Michigan has a multitude of great ski hills that I highly recommend you check out.  A few of my other favorite skiing destinations, besides Boyne Mountain and Highlands, are Crystal Mountain, Nubs Nob, and Canonsburg. As a student at Aquinas, from time to time I have been involved with our ski and snowboard club.  While I have not been skiing with the club this year, it is always a welcomed thought that I know there are other students who share my enthusiasm for thrills.

When in Philadelphia: Do as the Philadelphians Do

This past fall break I had the pleasure of leading one of our service learning trips to the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. A group of 11 students and one advisor left late Friday night after a long day of classes and arrived in Philly the next afternoon–many miles from home with eyes full of sleep. The ensuing week was a hodgepodge of service at different nonprofits around the area giving our students all kinds of insights into the lives of the people that we worked alongside.

One of the organizations that stood out to me was called Broad Street Ministry where we served lunch with community partners to almost three hundred homeless men and women of Philadelphia inside a converted church.  Serving at Broad Street Ministry was more than just a feel good time for us because we were able to make connections with the patrons.  A man named Kevin pulled out his flute after his meal and serenaded those present with a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and spoke of how he had such a deep passion for music.

We saw many sights and people during our time in Philadelphia.  As a wannabe food critic, I was a man on a mission to find the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.  Quite the tall order.  But after seven days and seven cheesesteaks, I found my favorite.  In truth, my favorite didn’t come from one of the major advertised establishments such as the competing Geno’s or Pat’s.  Rather it came from just a little nameless unassuming roadside food truck.  Like this extraordinary cheesesteak, most of the organizations that we worked with in Philadelphia were those with humility at their foundation.

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