Thursday, July 31, 2008

This is for Jessica

So last night I went to bed at 9:30. I am proud to admit that I turned off the lights hours before both of my grandparents I am living with did. How cool am I?

But this morning I woke up feeling great. I told my friend Jessica about it, and she called me a granny. Well what can I say? The granny life rocks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Triple Favorite

It's just one of those days, ya know? I needed something to boost my spirits... and honestly, nothing is better than music. Music never lets me down.

And so, my friends, this is one of my favorite musicians singing one of my favorite songs written by my favorite band ever. Could it get any better?!? I really don't think so.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Project Belize Follow Up

The purpose of this entry is to dispell any thoughts you may have that PwC sent me to Belize to lay on the beach for a week (see the entry from Friday, July 4th). I guess my HR representative nominated me or something, thus causing me and a few other interns to be filmed/interviews all week. And so you have it! I was famous for four days. Anyway, the promotional video was just released. Besides the few parts I speak or am filmed, it's really good... I promise.

Click on the picture to check it out
(user beware: there is sound)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Best Day Ever

What did I do today? I think the pictures will speak for themselves.

Only one way out...
You've GOT to be kidding me!
"I'm jumping out of a plane..."
Free fallingPersonal FavoriteI can fly!
And out comes the parachute...
LAND!!Thank you, Dennis, for getting me home safely
Hope you enjoyed those Mom!

An Evening in Muir

One of my biggest apprehensions about San Francisco was the lack of available outdoor adventures. Compared to Washington and Utah, I thought all San Francisco had to offer was a big city. Thankfully, I have been proven very wrong.

I have gotten to explore a handful of fun things to do around here, from rock climbing to hiking in the redwoods; I even have a camping trip and white water rafting trip planned for the next few weekends.

Tonight I went up to Muir National Park, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and went on a short hike with some friends after work. (The picture to the right is on the way to the trail head... look familiar?) We had a lot of fun. I think the highlight of the evening, however, is when we cracked the tree while trying to capture the moment. Apparently I need to go on some long runs?

Before the crack
After the CrackP.S. So it appears I need a new camera? Click on the pics to see them better. Also, feel free to offer advice for a good camera for cheap :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go Giants!

Tonight PwC took all their little interns out to the baseball game. It was fun hanging out with all my friends, and being a part of the general splendor of a baseball stadium. I was mostly excited becuase my coach let me borrow her giant foam finger. Although, after I asked Cameron when halftime was, I'm pretty sure my baseball fan cover was blown. Oh yeah, did I mention that I don't really like baseball?

The picture above is of Jessica, Cameron, and I overlooking the traditional American summer activity. To the left, you can see me sporting my ultimate fan-dom... or pretending I am blowing the smoke from a warm gun, you know, whatever. Man, those fingers are sure awesome.


I WAS TAGGED! Therefore, today is the day you get to learn things about Camille you probably didn't care to know. Thank my friend Amanda for this wonderful privelage!

Here are the rules:
1. You link back to the person who tagged you
2. Post these rules on your blog
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs
6. Enjoy the results!

THING ONE: I have a weird obsession with jumping off of things. I especially love cliff and bridge jumping (both of which are frequent summer activities for me in Spokane), but give me anything really and I will jump off of it. (see picture to the right)

THING TWO: I HATE being late. I hate it. I hate the feeling that I get inside when I'm late to things, and it's even worse when I know people are waiting. Seriously one of the biggest pet peaves of mine.

THING THREE: I secretly wish I could be a hippie. Ok stop laughing, I'm serious. Although, I'm not quite sure it is that much of a secret... either way, I have this weird fascination with that culture, way of life, and time era especially. Most of my favorite music that I grew up listening to comes from the 60's, which probably explains a lot in this department. I can thank my Pops for that one! No really, thank you. (The pic to the left is from the Hari Krishna Festival of Colors, one of the best nights ever. I felt like I was somewhat living this dream.)

THING FOUR: I have a crooked nose. It has not always been this way, however. Last fall I was playing flag football (shout out to Elyse and Amanda!!) and had an unfortunate encounter. It's nothing too bad, but if you look closely, or better yet, run your finger down the ridge of my nose, you can feel the crook. My mom says it gives me character, but I was just happy I got my first real shiner out of the whole ordeal.

THING FIVE: One of my favorite things in life, among others, is when people play with my hair. Mmmm.....

THING SIX: I would rather be on top of a mountain than on a beach. My mom used to call me a "dark child" because I loved the winter, cold, and snow so much. Many friends think this is very odd. I am OK with it--more powder for me!

Now you have been officially bored to death with Camille trivia!

I tag Kristy, Elyse, David, Amanda, Josh, and Rachel. Have fun!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Karma Chameleon

I'm a chameleon! I keep changing my background--not because I need to adapt to my surroundings, but because my good friend Amanda is the blog background queen! She makes awesome templates (see them here), and I am her #1 fan.

Speaking of chameleons, do you remember how mean elementary school kids can be? Some of my nicknames were mortifying for an 8 year-old me. Such as, yup, you guessed it, "chameleon." What little girl wants to be compared to a slimy green reptile?!? Or even better, "camel!" Yeah, OK, I like when my name conjures the image of a non-graceful animal that has two humps, an extremely odd shaped face, and an affinity for spitting. I also got "Mrs. Clause" (based off of my last name, of course). This one was not as bad, even though she is a plump, old lady with white hair. But, since beggars can't be choosers, I guess I'd rather be married to thejolly old man who brings presents and joy to children around the world once a year than carry people on my back through the desert.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Can I have another Diet Coke?"

How was my day? Oh, thanks for asking! It was fabulous, actually. I went on a field trip, something I thought I had to give up back in grade school. But no! Not at PwC. The specialized group within the tax department that I work for, International Tax Services (ITS), had a "group outing." I really didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a really fun day.

My group is AWESOME. I seriously got so lucky. Most of the group is pretty young and hip. Everyone has been so welcoming to the little intern... it's really the ideal situation.

We started our field trip by all piling into one of the manager's huge soccer mom vans and driving up to Presidio. Now, if you don't know what that is, I will just say that out of the small percentage of the city I have explored, the Presidio is one of my favorite areas. It is an old military base that has been bought by the State to become a "National Historic Landmark." But it also serves for business and residential purposes, like Lucasfilm, who just moved into the complex. Anyway, it's gorgeous. It is on the northern peninsula of the San Francisco bay, so no matter where you are on this small park you have an amazing view of San Fran while you are surrounded by scattered redwood trees. These pictures don't do it justice.

So first we went bowling. I was reminded how much bowling is NOT my sport. But it's OK--no one noticed; by about 1:00 pm almost everyone had already kicked back a few beers. "Really, Camille?!? Just a Diet Coke??" They stopped asking after a while. By the second game, I was kind of grateful for those beers as everyone became a little loopy (or drunk). It was hilarious! I never thought a bunch of accountants could be so funny and wild, especially at an upscale bowling alley.

Then we went to lunch. We went to this super shwanky restaurant looking over the golden gate bridge. It started off with everyone having a "starter Martini," and me with my third Diet Coke for the day. Then we ordered, which was soon followed by a round of some fancy red wine that I can't pronounce. I had another Diet Coke. Then it was dessert, and everyone had a cup of coffee and some "dessert wine," and I, as you might guess at this point, had another Diet Coke. THEN, we were done. OH WAIT! Joel, the head partner suggests (rather loudly, I must add) "hey! why don't we go to a bar?!" ARE YOU KIDDING?!? These people are drunk, it's 4:00 in the afternoon, and they want to go to a bar?!? Luckily one of the managers had to get some work done, so I jumped at the opportunity to get a ride with him. Whew. Nothing like hanging out with drunk accountants...

Sunday, July 13, 2008


So it's summer, I'm in California, and it's hot. Considering it is Saturday, I thought the most natural thing to do would be to go to the pool. Oh, what a good idea that was. I got to relax after a long week at work, get in some physical activity, and let my skin see the sun--and now, my friends, the freckles are in full bloom.

Now, I don't mind my freckles so much. In fact, I kind of like them--they give me a sort of distinction perhaps. But this wasn't always the case. I hated my freckles growing up. No, let me rephrase that... I loathed my freckles growing up. I used to have this secret wish that I would freckle so much that they would turn into one big freckle, and then I would be permanently tan. I guess I didn't stop to think how ridiculously disturbing that would look. Or, I remember how my kind, elder sister used to tell me how there was this special kind of ointment that if you rubbed it on every night it would slowly make your freckles fade. I tried that for a long time, but the freckles did not fade. It turns out it was just run-of-the-mill alcohol-free facial toner.

The gullible little sister was tricked again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fall in Love with Life

Last week as I was flying home from Belize, I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, a book my sister had long been recommending. The New York Public Library called this novel one of the "Books of the Century," and I agree. I'm not sure if it was the book or the close of an overwhelmingly emotional week in Belize, but either way, it made me cry. Yes, that's right... I cried on the plane. I was so embarrassed. To no avail, I was trying to cover up the sniffles as usual allergies and the tears as something that was in my eye. I'm not quite sure the old man next to me was convinced.

I learned a lot from this book. For tonight, however, I have one thought to share that has been on my mind all week. Since Betty Smith is an acclaimed writer and I am not, I will simply quote from a short piece of hers included in the appendix. It is called Fall in Love with Life, and it says:
As a listening child, I often heard older people say: "Oh the plans I made!" And "What dreams I had!" And the inevitable: "If only I had my life to live over..." I reasoned that these men and women had missed the fullness of life somehow. But I wasn't going to miss it... I came to a clear conclusion, and it is a universal one: To live, to struggle, to be in love with life--in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful--is fulfillment. The fullness of life is open to all of us.
Sometimes it is easy to get through a day simply by saying "tomorrow will be better." We all do it--in fact, I said it to myself today. But we must live in the now; we must appreciate every stage of life we are in. As one of my favorite people on this planet, Mr. Dave Matthews, poetically sings, "the future is no place to place our better days."

Just a thought.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tribute to Stuart

As it is July 10th, I thought I would give a shout out to my favorite brother-in-law who happens to be having a birthday today. Yes, that's right, Mr. Stuart Barry Maxfield is turning 25!! He is officially a quarter of a century old. Since I cannot personally be there to celebrate this day with him (I know Stu, stop crying... it will all be allright), I wanted to thank him for all that he is.

A guardian and protector of my elder sister, Brittney.
A superhero, to save the world from crappy music and potential dull moments
Or a scuba instructor, just in case you ever find your self in a tight spot!
Honestly though, Stuart has been an amazing addition to our family. Having Stu around means a constant influx of laughs, good music, and happy memories. Thanks Stu, for being the amazing big brother I never had. Happy Birthday! I love you!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A girl and her shoes

I've never been one of those girls who shops when they are feeling stressed, happy, sad, angry, or whatever emotion one must use to justify periodic shopping sprees. I would much rather blast my favorite Beatles song in the car, climb a mountain, or do yoga... or something.

These last few days, however, I have been feeling a little off--I'm not sure if it's due to the wearing off of the initial excitement of moving to a new city, being tired, a little homesick for my family, wanting to see my friends, or maybe a little of everything. Either way, I left my office during my lunch hour today needing something.

The huge financial district I work in has "conveniently" placed stores on the first floors of all the high rises; I think it is an evil scheme to lure all the working women during their lunch hours to spend their hard-earned paycheck. Either way, it worked for me.

I decided to "browse" the Franco Sarto store that had a huge "SALE!" sign in the window. I left 10 minutes later with some fabulous black patent pumps, feeling amazing, I might add.

I guess a new pair of shoes is pretty great.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Freaky birds

Honestly, what would you do if you looked up in the sky and saw this?

I for one would be royally creeped out.

Friday, July 4, 2008

101: Project Belize

Everyone has those few dynamic, life-changing experiences that they will never forget. For some it is their missions, for parents it may involve their children. For me, at this point in my life, it is composed of the last five days that I spent in a little country down south called Belize.

I signed up for Project Belize not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Honestly though, when I was chosen, the first thought that ran through my head was "awesome! A free vacation to Belize!"

Oh how I was wrong. As described in the link in my previous blog entry, PwC sent nearly 150 interns/staff/partners to Belize to help in the inner-city schools. My team of 40 was sent to Queen's Square Anglican School, one of the more under-privileged schools in the city. For some stupid, typical-American reason I still envisioned a school somewhat similar to, but maybe a little more run down than good ol' Midway Elementary, the school I so fondly attended. Well, upon arrival my jaw literally dropped. This "school" seen in the picture below holds an astonishing nine hundred students between the ages of 5 and 14. Yes, 900 kids.I think the most shocking part of this schoolyard was the back corner where the people who lived behind the wall in the aluminum shacks chucked all of their garbage over the wall and treated Queen's Square as their local dump. This is where kids have to play. But what really broke my heart was when, at the end of the day, the kids found a break in the barbed wire and climbed over the wall to "go home." This was left as their backyard.The project was organized so that in the mornings we were primarily in the classroom teaching the kids about different entrepreneurial and business plan concepts. We had the hopes of teaching them about their potential to be successful and contributing citizens of Belize, as most of the children's education comes to a close at the age of 14 when they can no longer attend school for free. Most families can barely afford a proper roof, let alone thousands of dollars a year per child to attend high school. Despite this roadblock, it was inspiring how eager these kids were to learn. Some were shocked at the idea that they had the potential to be business owners. "Really?? I can do that?" By the end, however, all had their own business plans organized with a fresh dream in their hearts.

Part of the mornings were also broken up into recreation time. We went out to the "field" to play "futball" (which is what we know as soccer) and basketball. The first day was a blast as one of the daily rain showers slammed down on us. Gee, are these kids awesome at soccer. I got my butt kicked! The picture below is of Claire and I after coming in from soccer after a huge rainstorm. Peace up, A-town.The next pic is of one of my favorite little girls, Kenya, just doing some extra math problems for fun. Now when was the last time you remember doing that?Next was lunchtime. Coming from a country where we are all massively over-fed and never left wanting, this was so hard to see. Most came without eating breakfast (and during the school year they often go without lunch as well). Even though most were still very hungry, they would quietly stop eating and save the rest to take home and give to their Mom or other siblings. Once when we were teaching about the different means of managing money (saving, investing, loaning, etc.) we asked what they would do today with $10. You ask any kid in America this question and you would expect to hear to buy "ice cream" or "Hannah Montana CD," or something ridiculously trivial. Well one kid, named Kevin, simply answered "I would give it to my Mom to buy groceries." I don't know a lot in life, but I do know that kids are not supposed to be worrying about feeding their own parents and siblings.
This is Kamau (left) and Kevin (right), the well-mannered, amazingly kind boy of 10 who plays 6 instruments, 3 sports, and has earned the top performer of his grade for the last 3 years.

After lunch the kids were free to leave and we would begin the construction portion of our day. We completely rennovated that horrendous corner seen above, built a new library, painted the outhouse meant as a bathroom, picked up litter, and more. These long hours in the hot sun were not so bad, however; I would have gladly done any form of manual labor for these children.

This project was so rewarding in so many ways. I fear that I may have learned more from these children than they did from me. For instnace, I learned a lot about love. These people are so willing to love, so willing to let you into their lives, and so willing to trust. I have never been so loved in so short a time. From the moment we stepped through the gates they loved us.

During one of the recreation hours I met a girl named Courtney. We talked for a few minutes, she left, and came back saying "here Miss Camille! I made this for you!" as she handed me a heart made out of a pipe cleaner. She had known me for a mere few minutes. She didn't need to "get to know me better" or make sure I was "cool." I didn't need to prove anything to her. And most of all, she wasn't afraid to show me.
This is Courtney holding my pipe cleaner heart that I brought back home with me.

I also learned a lot about living life to the fullest. From my comfortable life in America, I would say these kids have a 'hard life.' But they are so very happy. They laugh, they love, they dance. They want to get to know you, and they care. They care so very much.
This is Sadé (pronounced Shad-ehhh). I tried not to pick favorites, but she was mine. She gave the best hugs, and sure had some sweet dance moves.

From left to right, this is Nyasha, Shanali, and Claire--my three shadows. If you can see in their name tags they fought over who got to "be Camille." They said they were willing to squeeze into my suitcase. I can see it now: "Hey Grandma! Look what I brought back from Belize!"

Aside from the local Belizians, I also made some really good friends who are fellow PwC-ers. I learned that service + hard work + lots of laughs + being willing to let people in is a recipe for some really great friendships. Jessica, seen below, is even working in my office, which I am pumped about.
If you look closely, we are sporting the PwC pride with our "gangster" sings. Man we are cool.

I had a couple hours before I had to leave for the airport to squeeze in a quick trip to Altun Ha, some Mayan ruins about an hour away from the city. It was beautiful, and gave me a glimpse of the amazing sights Belize has to offer. I most definitely will be going back.
This is me in front of the temple dedicated to the sun gods. Apparently the Mayans really like sun, which is fitting, because I do too.

I could tell so many more stories, but I fear I have already rambled on for far too long. I am so grateful for this experience. I wish everyone in the world could at least witness some of the poverty and deprevation so incredibly prevelant in areas such as Belize; I feel such understanding would make everyone a little more grateful for what they have and a little less apt to want. Unfortunately we are all human, and selfishness and closed-mindedness happens. I just pray that whatever form it may be, everyone gets to experience a "Project Belize."