About Kira

Hey I'm Kira! I am a freshman here at UPS and grew up in Arcata, California. I mostly play cello, study, hang out with people, volunteer, and have recently begun to keep a journal. I am still in the growing-up phase in my life– still searching for meaning and identity– and am happy to be in a place that where both exploration and hard work are valued.

#tbt #first semester

Since it’s Throwback Thursday and since I’ve spent all afternoon reviewing what I’ve learned this semester in preparation for finals, I’ve decided share a photo and section of a blog post from the beginning of the semester.

Scharrington residents taking a plunge in the Sound at the end of freshman orientation:


Blog post from the day before classes began:

Right now I am feeling inspired, a little dazed, and excited all at the same time which is typical of how I’ve been feeling all week. Lately I’ve had many strong feelings at once, making it hard to figure out how I really am. If I were to talk to you on the phone I’d probably tell you that life here is amazing and wonderful and that I am very happy, which would all be 100% true. But I am also a little sad, a little lonely, a little unclear, and a little homesick. I am the most quiet, vulnerable, and well-intentioned Kira I’ve ever been!

This week I left home, parted with my family, met my Puget Sound family, hiked through the Olympics, worked at a transitional house, and practiced 4 hours in a row. Tomorrow at 9am I’ll take a seat in my first college class, a seminar called Utopia/Dystopia. I already feel nostalgic for this summer, but I am ready to be worked, challenged, and exposed to different ways of being.

So what now? How has my way of being changed over the past three months? To be honest, I’m not sure. Whenever I try to summarize the time I’ve spent here at UPS, identify patterns within myself, and describe revelations, I risk extracting a little too much meaning from life. But I will say that I feel a certain responsibility for myself and my learning now that I didn’t three months ago. I haven’t become completely self-reliant– I absolutely need my family, friends, teachers, students, and caretakers– but I feel I’ve become my own independent person.

November farewells

I just hugged my sister and parents goodbye who came up from CA for Thanksgiving. I am feeling confused, loved, and reflective; a good emotional recipe for a blog post. So before I dive into the December pre-finals college world I will share a few fond memories from my November.

  • Performing the first movement of Lalo’s cello concerto with the North State Symphony. Such a thrilling, rewarding weekend after 3 months of hard work! I am grateful for my UPS friends and the UPS cello studio being such constructive and encouraging listeners, for the support of my family and friends, and for the inspiration and guidance of my superhuman cello professor. My dream is to someday play the entire concerto with orchestra.

Lalo with North State Symphony

  • Taking a lab exam in the pouring rain at Point Defiance Park with Rite in the Rain paper which was invented by two brothers & UPS grads (Go Loggers!) It may seem strange to call taking an exam in pouring rain a “fond memory” but somehow it is. I felt like a true student of science shivering in the rain with my waterproof paper, identifying and classifying organisms. I don’t have any photos from that day– the rain would have been lethal to my iPhone– but I’ll share this picture from our lab trip at the beginning of the year of my professor & classmates looking for sea squirts:

lab at pt. defiance

  • Exploring the streets surrounding UPS, alone and with friends. I love looking at people’s houses and decorations, smelling their flowers, and petting their animals! Here are two beautiful cats that I met on afternoon runs:

  • Watching the sun rise from behind Mt. Rainer on the steps outside my dorm. Georgia O’Keefe said of the Pedernal,

“It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.”

Sometimes I feel this way about Rainier– that perhaps if I pause enough times to appreciate it or if I take enough pictures of it, it will belong to me.

sunrise behind mt. rainier

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, November!


pumpkins, mist, and magic

Hello-Hello and Happy Halloween! For my first post I’ll give you a taste of what’s been going on at campus this fall:


Apparently our school is home to some master pumpkin carvers. Here are some of my favorites:



Puget Pumpkin ’88 (go loggers!)

puget pumpkin

and my personal favorite:

(*(Planet Pumpkin)*)—

(*(Planet Pumpkin)*)



It’s become a UPS tradition for the “Wizard” (famed Chemistry professor) to put on a chemistry magic show every year before Halloween. This year’s show, sadly, was his last as he is retiring next year and consequently the turn-out was ENORMOUS. I arrived 30 minutes before the show thinking I’d be one of the first in line but found myself walking to the back of a line that began at the door to Schneebeck concert hall, filled the courtyard, and snaked all the way around the science building. Somehow, miraculously, I just escaped the cut-off point (an usher clicked her tally counter after I walked in, shouted “460, that’s it!”, and shut the door behind me. I thank my lucky stars I got in. Here is a portion of the line in the courtyard:

neverending line for 2013 chemistry magic show

I have several video clips from the show I wanted post here, but this site keeps playing tricks on me. If you are interested in chemistry/witchcraft check out past shows on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL14C9CAADF8F4430A  Never before have I seen been in a room so bubbling over with nerdy science enthusiasm!



October in Tacoma means the air getting chilly and the gray setting in. At times it’s a little depressing (an entire week went by that I did not see the sun!) But truly- is there anything more beautiful than this morning mist?

morning mist- tower morning mist- trackmorning mist- fall


That’s all, folks.  Keep reading! or, as the Wicked Witch of the West would say,

Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.

Happy Halloween, my pretties!!!