Saturday, March 23, 2019

A Beginner's Guide to Remember in Walking at the Frozen Lake (Lake Michigan)

One of the most fascinating discoveries that I had living here in Michigan is the fact that you can actually walk on the lake- that is when it’s frozen! However, this post is by no means an encouragement for people to try it. The danger of the Big Lake is well-documented with accidents and deaths.
People here in Michigan do not only walk on the frozen lake but they also love ice fishing. They bring shanties at their chosen spots, cut holes, and fish to their heart’s content. Other times, they also try to live a dangerous life by driving on it and as you could guess, their cars end up buried under water. If you are like me who has never been to a frozen lake, chances are, you would love to experience this so you might as well take some precautions to heed.

Lake Michigan does not completely freeze during winter. That is why it is so dangerous to try walking on it because there is no way to know for sure that the lake is frozen enough to handle your weight. It is easy to have this illusion that the lake is completely frozen especially when there’s fresh snow dusting but read these reminders before you traverse on it.

1. Gauge the ice thickness. Frozen lake is very susceptible to breakage and it is not safe to walk on if there’s only thin sheets of ice. Experts advice making a hole and using a tape measure to know its thickness. But, doing it in one place is not enough. Make sure that you also check other parts where you will walk. At least four inches of thickness is safe enough for a simple walking. As for us, we saw fresh traces of snowmobile so we know that the area where we walked was pretty solid.

2. Look for the cracked ice. Don’t step on a cracked ice because it means the stability of the ice has been compromised already. Watching out for little details like this might save your life. Lake is beautiful when it is frozen and it is easy to get distracted but remember to always take cautions.

3. Prepare for a rescue plan. Things could happen quickly. Recently, a couple of men who were fishing in their shanties were rescued while clinging with each other for survival. One was able to call for rescue since he had with him an emergency phone complete with a GPS tracking. The tracking system helped the rescuers to locate them.

4. Bundle Up. An additional clothing can save your life. Make sure that you are properly clothed to keep you warm. The are special kinds of clothing designed to handle extreme cold.

5. Go with another person. Do not venture into the frozen lake alone. With another person, at least someone can make the call when something happens. The first time I did it, I was too scared to walk that far but I was braver the second time. I didn’t need much prodding from my husband because I do enjoy doing it.

Lastly, do not try it if you love your life. Lake Michigan is beautiful when it is frozen but it can be utterly dangerous. Again, so many accidents happen every winter. Have fun but always take precautions at heart.

Remember, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Based on studies, once a thin layer of ice film forms on a lake, it will add 1 inch of ice for every 15 freezing degree days in a 24 hour period. Example: If we had a day with 5 freezing degree days, you would use the formula 5/15 = .33.

Once the surface water falls to 32 F, it freezes. The freezing then spreads downward into the lake and the ice thickens. Unless the lake is very shallow, you will find liquid water below the ice. This deeper water is about 40 F; fortunately fish can live in this cold temperature.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Things I Learned Watching for the First Time Ice Hockey Game (Muskegon, Michigan Lumberjacks Team)

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

I was never into any kind of sports before coming here in the U.S. I remember that one time, I was forced to join a volleyball team when I was still teaching in Indonesia just to complete the number required so our school could participate. Our team was hailed as the champion but I could hardly claim any credit since I did not contribute any score. Coming here in the US influenced my interest in sports. After getting into football, I finally had the chance to watch for the very first time an ice hockey game courtesy of our friend in the church, John, who gave us free tickets. He even gave me an original puck that the players used!

Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players per side on the ice at any time, one of them being the goaltender, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, which is placed at the opposite end of the rink. The players use their sticks to pass or shoot the puck.
Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players per side on the ice at any time, one of them being the goaltender, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, which is placed at the opposite end of the rink. The players use their sticks to pass or shoot the puck.
It was an amazing experience because we sat right on the first row where we had a better feel of all the actions in the rink. Two words describe it- fast-paced and physical! The rink is surrounded by thick glass (bullet proof, I think), and net. Players slammed each other on the glass and they come flying by. Although our team lost, it was still an amazing experience.    
Here are the photos that would give you a glimpse of the action-packed night.

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Ice hockeygame between two teams, each usually having six players, who wear skates and compete on an ice rink. The object is to propel a vulcanized rubber disk, the puck, past a goal line and into a net guarded by a goaltender, or goalie. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Players are also prohibited from kicking the puck into the opponent's goal, though unintentional redirections off the skate are permitted. Players may not intentionally bat the puck into the net with their hands.

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
The hockey stick consists of a long, relatively wide, and slightly curved flat blade, attached to a shaft. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Ice hockey is a full contact sport and carries a high risk of injury. Players are moving at speeds around approximately 20–30 mph (30–50 km/h) and quite a bit of the game revolves around the physical contact between the players. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Within certain restrictions, players may redirect the puck with any part of their body. Players may not hold the puck in their hand and are prohibited from using their hands to pass the puck to their teammates unless they are in the defensive zone. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

Thursday, March 21, 2019

10 Essential Reasons Why Kindness Matters in the World that is Not Kind

During the time that my father-in-law was so sick with cancer, a couple who go to the same church with us secretly gave me money and told me that it is a little help for his medical needs. He only had one request- do not tell my father-in-law that it was them who gave it. In the world where humanity seems so rare, it was an inexplicable feeling being a bridge to extend kindness.

That experience reminded me of “The Golden Rule” that we were taught as a kid. It was simple, be kind at all times. Treat people the same way you want to be treated. It remains relevant through the passage of time yet is is disheartening how this is slowly fading. People are finding it easier to bully and harder to forgive. The injustice is so imminent and blatant because of the proliferation of social media. Cruel words are hurled mercilessly behind the comfort of the screen. It is easier to jump and to judge people based on several seconds of video. The ‘viral’ thing to do is to judge harshly without knowing all the facts.

However, I do not want to dwell much on how negative the world is coming to be. I believe with the power of kindness and why it matters despite of the fact that we live in the world that is not kind. Before you type a comment and hit enter, think again if you are bringing positivity in the world.

Remember, kindness matters because of these undeniable reasons:

1. Kindness is the best medicine.
Why do you feel good whenever you do something kind to others? There is nothing as rewarding as being kind to others. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are all associated with generosity. Science has so many studies revealing that being kind is actually linked with success resulting to overall decrease in stress.

2. Kindness can change the world.
Leon Logothetis once said, “One act of kindness towards one human being changes the world. Because to change the world all we have to do is change one life,”.

He couldn’t be more right. Majority of the wickedness happens because we jump and join the wagon of bandits instead of being the first person to spark kindness.

I believe that kindness has a domino effect. When we do one act of kindness, it is beyond explanation how far it could reach. So many people became successful because of one person who chose to be kind.

3. Kindness decreases anxiety.
Being kind to others lighten the burden that we carry every day. When we are not worried about something, there is an absence of anxiety and it is easier to have a real human connection.

5. Kindness can save a life.
Think of a scenario where someone is desperately trying to fight depression and we chose to be kind. Kindness can create a spark that might give hope to that person. Sometimes, a little bit of kindness is enough to save somebody from cutting the last line of hope. We are becoming a world of selfish people unmindful of the suffering of others. Kindness is a selfless act and it can create a spiral effect that can save a life.

6. No act of kindness, no matter how small, goes unnoticed.
It is said that no act of kindness, even the smallest one, goes unnoticed. Sometimes, there are no words spoken but the effect is undeniable.

7. Kindness creates a positive atmosphere.
Kindness creates a positive atmosphere which is safer and healthier. A toxic life starts when we surround ourselves with negativity and kindness can change all that. Offering a little help or using words of encouragement makes any place a conducive place to learn and to work.

8. Kindness exudes the sense of belongingness.
Dalai Lama summed it up with these words, “There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

When there is kindness around us, we are immersed into the sense of belongingness.

9. Kindness can bring you inexplicable sense of contentment.
Darwin, who studied human evolution, believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species. He argued that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual.

Kindness brings this enigmatic feeling that eventually leads to contentment. When we know that we did not step on other’s shoes, we have this sense of contentment.

10. Kindness is contagious.
Kindness has the power to be contagious and bring positivity beyond words. We will just never know just how big of an impact a small gesture of kindness can have.

It is indeed a tough world that we live in. Our friends are on Facebook, conversations are through phones and computers, and we don’t know what’s real and what’s fake when people put their charity on Facebook. But, none of these matters. We all have the power to spark kindness no matter what and inspire a better world to live in.

That experience reminded me of “The Golden Rule” that we were taught as a kid. It was simple, be kind at all times. Treat people the same way you want to be treated.
Being kind is FREE and believe me, it makes life lighter and bearable.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” –Audrey Hepburn-

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Three Days Exploring the Mackinac Island and the Mackinaw City

Traveling to the Upper Michigan where Mackinaw island and Mackinaw City are nestled is a perfect holiday get away to have unlimited fun and discoveries. From riding a ferry, biking, hiking and sight-seeing, the activities varied which made the trip truly unforgettable.

Mackinac Island sits in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas. Mackinac Island State Park, with trails, woods and the limestone Arch Rock formation, covers most of the island. Founded in 1780, Fort Mackinac is a walled cluster of military buildings on a coastal bluff. The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum has local works, including Native American art, maps and 19th-century photos.

We opted to stay in the hotel in St. Ignace where the port going to the island is situated because it offered cheaper prices. It also allowed us to explore different places in Upper Peninsula other than the island.

Mackinac island is nestled in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The ride in the ferry itself was an amazing experience which allowed us to gaze at the amazing vista the Mackinaw Bridge and the island offers.

The island is an impeccable location for many romantic movies. It is like being blasted in the past because of the horse and buggy which is the main transportation, mixture of old and new houses, Native American arts, 19th century photos, and structures preserved through the passage of time. Trails, woods and the limestone Arch Rock formation, covers most of the island.

After devouring an entire piece of their famous burger, my husband and I decided to explore the island through biking. That was my first time biking for almost ten miles! It was worth it because riding the bike is the perfect way to enjoy the Victorian image of the island which was preserved by a small population of permanent residents. They lived in cottages which were maintained in their original state.

Now, if you want to indulge yourself in the tranquillity of an island visit, do not stay at the centre of the business and commerce where flock of tourists and the sound of ferry are blasting. A little walk or bike would bring you at some scenic places and you could totally immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of an island getaway.

We visited during the summer for my birthday celebration and it was the perfect time to do all the biking and sightseeing. My favourite part was simply seating at the historic parks where we enjoyed just resting and looking at beautiful sceneries. Flowers were still in full bloom which made our visit more magical.

Biking around the island gave us a glimpse how much of the island was preserved extensively. This explains why the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is considered the jewel of the Great Lakes.

The second day was scheduled for hiking at the famous Pictured Rocks. Since our hotel was at St. Ignace, it is a little drive going to Munising where it is located.

It is honestly one of the most beautiful place that I have ever seen in my whole life. Rock formations were preserved and the view from above is incomparable. It is known for an array of multi-coloured Pictured Rocks cliffs. There are also unusual sandstone formations like Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. The hike would bring you to different waterfalls. During our hike, it was a bit raining and a little muddy which makes the trail difficult to traverse. Remnants of shipwrecks dot the shoreline around Au Sable Point’s 19th Century lighthouse.

We planned the third day to be spent visiting tourist places on the way home. There’s this castle rock which allows you to have a bird’s view of the whole city. It allowed me to conquer my fear of heights! The climb is a little bit steep but we survived it. 

We also had a chance to pet and feed young deer. My husband loved the experience! Then our last destination was the Mackinaw City. As always, finding where to park was a struggle. It is a small village which would be a perfect respite from your island and nature fever. There are many souvenir shops and activities for kids. Now, our trip was concluded with a lunch in a famous Asian restaurant in the city.


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