31 December 2011

out with a bang (the grand finale)

As Steve Jobs said thrice on his dying breath, “Oh wow.”
This has been quite a year. I have really never had a year like this, starting with laboring over my anatomy textbook during my junior year Christmas break and finishing with college applications on senior year break.
Can you believe last year tomorrow I was in Staples getting my 2011 calendar made by the employee who gave it to me for free? Crazy stuff. The things that can change in a year, it’s just wow. Do we all remember the earthquake and tsunami in Japan? The Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Middle East protesting and conflicts? South Sudan seceding and becoming its own country in July? It all happened this year.
And from macro back to micro, I went into my last year of high school, I went to Central America for the first time and swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, I applied to college, I got a Facebook. We all tested the strengths of our friendships and family bonds as issues continued to hang over us. And sometimes I really, honestly had nothing good to write here. I often just said, “well kid, you’ve gotta write something.” There is always light in a dark situation, which I have learned. You just have to find it. And sometimes it’s harder to find than other times.
Something unexpected I learned from physically doing this blog: visions change, and it’s ok. I didn’t follow my original plan of optimism and finding happiness. Because you can’t always find happiness. Some days you are feeling down, and you can’t pull yourself back up again. It takes time to find enough strength to overcome things that . Because you can’t always find happiness. Some days you are feeling down, and you can’t pull yourself back up again. It takes time to find enough strength to overcome things that knock us down, and sometimes repairing pains does not allow for happiness. You can’t be happy all the time; you have to learn to better appreciate the happy times.
And while we are a convoluted species, we are actually pretty simple in our needs and wants. If you don’t focus on all the things you do not have, the simplest things, like friends, family, and spending time with everyone who matters to you will matter the most. Life is made up of the experiences we life; when we live earth someday, we go to rest not with our iPhones and Blackberrys, but with the memories of a life hopefully well-lived. I have found so many things in my life that are just simple things – like texting a friend all night long, enjoying the amazing weather of a fall day, studying with a group at Starbucks, or teaching children English words in Costa Rica – that truly make you happy in the long run. They are the intangible things that give us value.
Did I follow my original 2011 new year’s resolution of finding happiness in the little things of life? Not really. But I found something better – a deeper meaning. I didn’t need to “find” happiness; I just needed to dig deeper. Not shopping at a different store, just checking all the nooks and crannies of the same old store.
I hope that this blog brought some thought into your life everyday; or if not every day, than at least some days. We all have the potential to make our lives whatever we want them to be, no matter if we are 75 or 17, sick or healthy, privileged or not. We’ve all got it in us, and I challenge you to make finding a deeper meaning in a life a resolution for 2012.
And as Clark W. Griswold, Jr. says of his feat to pull of the most ridiculous yet wonderful Christmas ever in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “I did it.”

Here’s to 2011, and here’s to happiness.

30 December 2011

this is not goodbye

It is really just hard to believe that this is basically my last post. And even though I will be happy to have reached the end, its very sad because I have gotten so used to pouring out everything here, and now I will just go to bed like a normal teen every night. But this has been such a cool journey. And I will have it forever. And people after me can find it and read it. They can cherish my words and my ideas. And I can see what I thought life was like when I was this age. And who knows - maybe it'll turn into a book. Or a book-turned-movie.
I came to find happiness. And tomorrow I'm not going to find a big bucket of happiness waiting for me. I have found happiness all along. Some days I didn't find it, and some days I found so much I couldn't even fit all I wanted to write. But it's all about what happens when you get there, because being at the finish line is the quickest part.
So this is not goodbye. It's just the end of this journey. But I will have more adventures. I will write again. I still have that other blog I planned on writing in sparingly this next year. Every Wednesday, I think I decided. That way it will be pretty regular but not everyday and wicked intense.
I want to thank you for being there, even if I couldn't see you or if I didn't even know there were people there to listen. You are the driving force behind the blog. I don't even know who reads the blog, but that's OK.
Anyways, get ready, because tomorrow's blog will be the last of this segment. Get the Kleenex box ready.

29 December 2011

trails, skates, and ships

The weather today was so incredibly splendid I wish I could keep it in a jar and open it up when I want to feel as wonderful as I did in the moment. But I suppose it wouldn't be so special if I could access it every day.
We walked the cross country trail at school today, and while school is the last place I want to be at right now, it looked so serene in this happy winter day. It was great.
And then we went ice skating at the rink where my sister plays, not the old one, because this one is very nice. I haven't skated in a while, and one of the blades was pretty dull, but other than that it was a wicked fun time. My sister had a helmet on because of her concussion, and we couldn't risk it - again.
It was just a really fun time, talking and skating, and just enjoying vacation. It was awesome. I wasn't worrying about applications or school, just about the moment. And while we have to plan things for everything to go smoothly, give yourself time to enjoy the moment.
We also went to the frozen yogurt place, and the guy who works there is so incredibly nice, and it just makes going there even better. Plus they had two of my favorite sorbets, and you can't get much better than sorbets.
It was a great way to end the day :)
Great day, really tired, really late, and tomorrow I get to go back to the dentist - my favorite place on earth.

28 December 2011

games galore

We play a lot of games in our family. Games galore. Non-stop gaming. We are pretty intense when we play games, we aren't just vapid game players.
Today we basically played all of the best games, except for Monopoly.
We played a huge game of Risk today, and of course my sister wiped everyone clean off the board. And after that we played a few thousand games of Othello, and a game of Parcheesi, and then a game of Clue. Quite a gamey family.
And when we finished playing thousands of rounds of Othello, we just made up our own ridiculous game because we're so darn competitive. Can't wait for people to come over when we play Monopoly..
Games are so incredibly fun. Even though I never win any games. Luck or strategy, it doesn't matter. I never win. Including bingo. And at some point in one's life, you win bingo. Still waiting for that point to come.
I don't know why games are so much fun. I absolutely love them. Just a simply pleasure in life. And the best part is you have to play games with people, which makes it like a bonding thing. I mean, try playing Connect 4 with yourself. It's possible, but way on the boring side.

27 December 2011


We are almost finished, folks. I don't know how I feel about this..but every artist needs to know when to finish.
For some reason I'm really tired, even though it's earlier than I usually go to bed. Maybe it's because the day has been jam-packed with fun because my best friend from Massachusetts came to visit!
We went everywhere around town and got our nails done, went to get ice cream, and out to dinner. It was such a fun time, especially because we never get to see each other. We used to live 15 feet away from each other, now it's more like 1000 miles.
One of my friends couldn't believe we still kept in touch. Some of my mom's friends are people she has known since she was 5, and they still talk like they never lived far apart.
Friends like this are more like sisters than just friends.
And when family lives far away, it's even more special when they come to visit.

26 December 2011


So I redid the title on the front of this blog. A little late for vamping it up, but that's OK. Better to go out with a bang.
So anyways, my Nana made this huge DVD slide show of pictures of my dad and my aunts from when they were little - it was from my dad's toddlerhood to age 10.
There were probably 400 pictures, and surprisingly it took about 45 minutes to go through.
It was like going back through a time machine into decades past - it was so cool. Especially seeing it through the eyes of my family, and seeing the familiar places that, for some of them, did not change at all (ironically).
I saw my dad from when he was a baby, and it was crazy to see how much he looked like my brother when he was little. Now I see why all my great aunts were in awe when he was a baby, because they looked so similar.
And my aunts looked so similar to my cousins, it was almost as if they were the same people. Two different generations, and yet they looked so strikingly similar it was freaky.
Anyways, my computer could be under attack (!) by a virus, so I have to close rather abruptly. Sorry friends!

25 December 2011

merry christmas, to you

I literally have 1 more week of blogging. Actually I have a ton of make-up blogging to do.
So first of all I want to say

Merry Christmas!

I hope you had a really great Christmas. I had a magnificently wonderful Christmas in case you were wondering. I got wonderful gifts and it was just really a great time.
The best part was that we were all together and we weren't stressed, fighting, worrying, or rushing. We were all amiably opening presents together in a circle and talking and smiling and laughing and thanking. It was just a lovely lovely time.
It was so special, because spending time with these people is exactly what I wanted to do. Presents are a pretty big factor in Christmas, I have to say, but how much fun would it be if I opened all my presents by myself? And then spent the rest of the day with myself?
And every year we put on a Christmas show, which is usually quite good. But this year was way too busy and so the show was lacking in quality. But it's OK, it will be a great one next year.
Christmas for me is all about traditions, and that's what today was - great Christmas movies, great food (lasagna), good time with the family. Unfortunately no white Christmas. Just a wet Christmas.