31 August 2011

my anonymous heroes

A few months ago, I got a new Blackberry phone. A white Blackberry Torch. A yesterday, I left it on the school bus. It was completely unintentional. I don't just have phones lying around that I feel like leaving places. I was really sad that it was gone, but it was gone. I would never see it again and my contacts and other important information would be gone forever. I was completely devastated.
We called the department of transportation for our county and they said they would ask my bus driver if she found anything. They said they found a white phone.

My phone! Only I would have this amazing luck and be so blessed to find it when someone else could have stolen it. She said I could pick it up when I ride the bus in the afternoons when school gets out.
So today I sauntered with joy to my bus and I asked my bus driver if she had found a white phone. And out popped my phone from a little cubby on the dashboard. She smiled and said "that's quite a nice phone." And it really is. I absolutely love my phone so much. And I feel so stupid for leaving it. After I thanked her profusely, she told me that the one to thank was a kid who sat diagonal from me on the bus. I estimated he was approximately sophomore age, and he was quiet - one of those iPod kids. But he never bothered anyone, unlike the juniors on the bus who think they are just the coolest kids on the block because they're not sophomores anymore, and today he saved part of my life. He was the one who found my phone and instead of stealing it and erasing the SIM card like the typical, stereotypical teen might do, he turned it into the bus driver and she saved it for me.
I don't know my bus driver by name, and I don't even know the kid who saved my phone, but if you are reading this, thank you so much. Thanks for doing something so kind for a stranger and not taking advantage of the situation. It's comforting to know that there are great people in this world.

30 August 2011

off to bed

I hate when I start typing then look up 2 sentences later and realize it was all in caps lock. Then I have to delete it all.
But anyways, hustle and bustle are 2 conveniently rhyming words that mean the same thing and describe the lives of daily Americans.
But sometimes, it's nice to settle down into a warm bed and decompress as you drift in and out of consciousness. And finally fall into a relaxing sleep.
Sleep is a basic need. And a lot of times we want a lot more than just basic needs. But right now, sleep is something that sounds more than fabulous. And although I want to write more, I am simply too tired to think of a thing to write. So now I will retire to my soft and cozy bed and hopefully gain enough rest to come back to you tomorrow with something more riveting.

29 August 2011

money buys some people happiness

Since we're seniors in high school, we need to start considering the future, says our guidance counseling office. So they called in a motivational speaker. I don't know what motivational speeches do to high schoolers who really just want to get their work done, but it's their call.
So this overly-peppy, ex-NFL player came in to talk to us about getting a job, making money, and for some reason, cyberbullying and stereotypes. It was like the how-to-do-everything-right-miscellaneous-speech. It was a tad bit unfocused and strange, but oh well.
We talked - well, he talked - about how getting your "dream job" will be great, but it should be one that makes you some good money. What's all this money talk about? It's almost like a high-paying job will guarantee happiness. And I guess that would be nice to have some extra cash. But it doesn't make you happier. You could be a billionaire suffering from depression, or you could have terrible misfortunes and live a miserable life - but still be rich and successful in your job. Or you could be an underpaid schoolteacher who loves going to work everyday. Which sounds better?
Not to say that money can't buy happiness, because evidently it can for some people. I just wish that people could see that. And he also said we should "prepare ourselves" for things like math, science, and information technology because "that's where the money is." No. The money is in the bank. And the money can be yours with hard work, desire, and of course, passion. I, for instance, cannot be an engineer. But I would be perfectly happy doing something like art, photography, design, or social sciences. And that might not be "where the money is", but it's where my heart is. And wherever my heart is, is happiness.

28 August 2011


I hate limits. Does anyone ever put a limit on your thoughts? How many words you can say? I didn't think so.
Which is why I was incredibly distraught, to say the least, when I found out that "250 word minimum" didn't come without "500 word maximum" for college application essays. After working for 2 hours to beef up my mediocre essay, I had to spend the next 5 hours - not an exaggeration - getting rid of 744 words. So here is the real essay, the real me, all 1244 words. Before the ugly revision.

The sound of stridulating crickets filled the humid, stagnant air. I reached down and swatted a bug from my leg, sticky and glossy from layers of insect repellent and sunscreen. I stepped down onto the path and watched as the powdery, pebbly dirt rose in small clusters and off into the grey of the sky.
Our group shuffled towards the school, a large sea-foam green building with a corrugated metal roof. For the most part it was open in layout; perhaps to alleviate weather-related damage. The building was only temporary, the government’s attempt to bandage a glaring problem. Their school was destroyed last year in a flood that left the school in ruins.
It took less than half of a second to comprehend the circumstances. This was not my school, with cloud-white columns lining the entrance like a great monument of ancient Greece.
A mother calling her children, a faint sound of laughter. Shoes shuffling in the dirt.
Against the wall and through the chain link fence we saw children – boys, girls, preschool-age, teenagers – and we walked nervously to the classroom. I couldn’t help but smile at their beautiful, youthful, olive-skinned faces and their dark, eager eyes. They smiled back and waved. Some mumbled to each other in Spanish, but I had not a clue what they were speaking about.
The headmaster showed us a classroom, and motioned for the children to come forward. I put the butcher paper I had carried on a small beaten-down desk and eyed the room. Concrete floors. Chain link fence walls. A faded black chalkboard with a thin film of chalky residue. A single teacher’s desk with nothing on it. No books, no pens, no paper.
We invited the children in and we began to introduce ourselves. I sat next to a small boy holding a red marker. The fine lines in the palms of his hands were coated with dirt, as were his small fingernails. His deep brown eyes caught mine and he smiled.
“Hello. I am Megan.”
He sat silently, smiling back at me with his glowing bronze skin, his deep brown marble-like eyes trying to make sense of someone who looked so different from himself.
I pointed to myself. “Megan.”
He tilted his head in confusion. I was speaking plain English, and I knew I spoke clearly enough. But it had never occurred to me that none of these children had ever left Playa Copal, or even La Cruz, in their entire lives.
I ransacked my brain for just an inkling of Spanish. “T—tu . . . nombre?” I managed to say, realizing afterwards that it rang like French in my ears.
Born and raised in America, I have grown up speaking English every day since I was a little over a year old. I think, write, dream, and talk in English. And here I was trying to do the same to someone who, like me, grew up speaking the same language for most of his life. Unlike me, that language was Spanish; a verbal code I had not yet deciphered.
“Megan,” I repeated, pointing to myself. “Megan.”
I gestured to him. “..Nombre?”
Nothing. I waited with bated breath for a response.
I pointed to him again. “Antonio?”
He nodded with satisfaction.
Bonjhola, Antonio!” I caught myself just before I had completely confused him with French.
I lifted my hand and picked off small pebbles that had stuck into them. I picked up a marker and started to draw a figure that I knew we would both recognize.
“Sun,” I declared. “Sun.”
“Si, si. Sun.”
He sat intently waiting for me to draw something new. I racked my brain and decided to stay simple.
“Dog,” I said clearly as I pointed to the drawing.
“Si.” But did he really understand what I drew?
Umm, en espaƱol por favor?” I prayed that he understood.
A pause. “Perro.” One of the only Spanish words I recognized.
I sat there completely in awe. I drew a dog. He saw a perro. But we know them as the same.
“He got it!” I exclaimed to some of the other people in my group. “I can’t believe he got it!”
Antonio looked back at me, waiting for more.
“I am happy,” I said as I smiled.
Hahppy,” he smiled.
“Si! Happy.”
I asked him what that meant in Spanish. “Yo..yo soy contento.”
I am happy in French is Je suis contente. Contente, contento. I am happy. He understood more than just a picture on a dirty piece of butcher paper. He understood an emotion. We had established a connection. He understood me and I understood him. We had communicated.
I started beaming and I gave him a high-five, an American tradition that all of the students would keep with them even after we left. It was then that I knew he understood.
After this initial breakthrough, a lot of picture-drawing and acting out, I learned from Antonio the Spanish words for monkey, snake, cow, brother, and sister. I discovered that he was ten years old, just like my brother, and that he lived on a farm with cows, chickens, ducks, and dogs. He lived with his mother, father, and three brothers, both older and younger. He was surprised when I told him that I didn’t have cows at my house.
I left the school that day with dirt on my hands, sweat on my forehead and a new perspective in my mind. And in fact, I learned more from the students, especially Antonio, than I had taught to them. I learned that day that communication comes in many different forms; words are simply an easier mode of communication. I thought that the only way to communicate was to talk to people, and that while it was fun to play charades or Pictionary, gestures and pictures typically proved ineffective at communicating. But this day at the school, I was proven wrong.
Language used to be a barrier; something that prevented me from entering the lives of another culture. If I could not speak their language, I could not communicate with them. They would be speaking in a code that I could not crack. But now I have learned that communication manifests itself in different ways, through not only words but pictures, gestures, laughing, and smiling.
I had a breakthrough that day. And I know it has changed me because I can understand the way people communicate even better. We might not think we use anything but words when we communicate, but in America, we communicate in ways we didn’t think we could. The way we shift our weight to one foot can say more about our mood than simply saying what we feel. The way we can express words through motions and acting says as much as the words themselves. The way the skin by our eyes creases and folds when we smile can say everything about what we feel without uttering a word.
These simple nuances in human tendencies are etched into our minds like pictographs engraved into a cuneiform tablet. We all might carry different dictionaries in our minds, but we all have the capability to communicate without words. Words stitch cultures together, but nonverbal communication stitches humanity together.
We boarded the bus back to our house. All of the schoolchildren surrounded the bus, waving and smiling, waiting for us to come back next week. I couldn’t help but smile the whole way back.

Dear Spanish speakers, sorry for the lack of accents on a few words. They are added in the new version. And dear college admissions directors, please read this one instead.

27 August 2011

the good earth

One night in Costa Rica, it was 9 something at night, and it was already dark (sunset at 6 of course), and everyone was in their rooms or wandering around the treehouse. But I went outside and looked over the pool and the beach. And then I looked up and I saw more stars than I even knew existed. You couldn't see anything else except for the stars.
And then I came back here, and the stars were invisible in a sky clouded with lights and such. But tonight, on this perfect clear night, I saw the stars and I stared until my neck hurt.
Unfortunately half of the east coast is being flooded and wrecked by the hurricane, but somehow we are not even affected. I could still be in Massachusetts, waiting for the wrath of the ocean to come flooding into my house. But somehow I'm here. And it makes me wonder, what if all of this wasn't here tomorrow? What if a storm took it all away? We don't usually appreciate things that we see everyday, but what if we didn't see them everyday? What if we didn't have beautiful trees or flowers to look at? Or animals and people? We could face a lot worse than what we have - and we can't always be sure that it will be here forever. Nothing is ever certain, so enjoy it while yo have it. Life's short, so cherish every time you swim in the ocean, lie beneath the warm rays of the sun, catch fireflies, or gaze at a sky full of stars.

26 August 2011

the economics of life, part 2

Do you ever write something from end to beginning? Well that's what I did right now.
And first, I want to pray for the East Coast (not us, because we are too far inland) and that all of my family members will be safe when old Irene comes to unleash her wrath.
So today was the day when we had final critiques for our summer assignments in art. And in fact, I was the only one who had finished everything.
Except for a few minor problems, I was complete. And for the first time, I wasn't rushing to finish a worksheet or a packet in the bathroom or scribbling lines in a book to finish annotations before the bell rang. Today I was as productive as an economy outside the Production Possibilities Curve.
And while sometimes it's a little annoying, irritating, and sometimes just really not fun to do things we have to do, it makes you feel great when it actually gets all done and stuff. What if you didn't have to do anything - no obligations, no requirements, no job, nothing to live for. You'd have no reason to live if you had nothing to do. Which is why it makes people feel good when they get stuff done; happiness is having a purpose.

25 August 2011

musically inclined

240! Can you believe I have only 125 more posts left? By the way, that was done on a calculator. I didn't just crunch those numbers in my little head.
The further you go in life, the harder it gets, and unfortunately the more work things are. It becomes harder to relax and have down time and to just be who you are.
So today I pulled out the old ukulele and strummed a few songs. A few chords. And I just listened to the sweet sound of the taut black strings. And for a while nothing really existed. It was just my mahogany instrument and myself all alone.
The low tenor sound filling my ears left me feeling refreshed and happy. I wonder how people started to make instruments way back when. And with happy thoughts in my head, I lay me down to sleep.

24 August 2011

express yourself

From 8am to almost 4pm everyday, the student attends school. And the student sits quietly at his or her desk, diligently completely his or her duties to society. And then the student shuffles along to his or her next class in his or her merry, monotonous schedule, and the cycle continues in this glorious fashion.
Don't get me wrong; I love school. Especially seeing my friends and just plain old learning. Like listening to lectures, doing art, and of course, discussing literature. There is really nothing better.
But when the student comes home, the next day of school begins. Because he or she now has homework that will take just as long as the school day was. What to do, what to do.
You can't just study all day long. It hurts your eyes, it's not good for your physical health to sit all day, and it's bad for your mental health. You don't want to become an antisocial, secluded little person, now do you?
So that is precisely why I had an impromptu photo sesh with my brother today after dinner. We were running and flying through the air and landed on the couch filled with pillows, and I saw this as a perfect time to get some great pictures and try out new angles. Which is exactly what we did. And then we looked back at how utterly ridiculous and stupid we looked, and we couldn't stop laughing about it the whole night.
Laughing because you ran into the couch and took a picture of it won't get you into college; studying and becoming a well-rounded and beneficial member of society will. But that doesn't mean you can't take a study break and have fun.

23 August 2011


Sometimes it's ok to do nothing.
To think about nothing.
To focus on doing nothing.
To literally have no thoughts running through you're brain.
Yesterday I posted about communication, and words, and speaking to other people. And today could not be more of a foil to that.
Tonight I went swimming, even though I had work to do, but I always like to go because it makes me fee so much better when I'm done. I always try to force myself to plan out what I'm going to do afterwards, or the next day, but I can't find myself being able to do that.
I start swimming, and my mind becomes clear. Almost like the way salt water clears your eyes.
It's amazing how swimming can completely block out my mind of all thoughts cluttering it. It's like all I am focusing on is swimming, but I really am not thinking too hard about it.
I guess it's like meditation.
I have tried meditating before, but it didn't work for me. I can't sit still like that. And I never thought swimming could be like meditation. But I guess it can be.
But once you feel that surreal, empty but fulfilled feeling, it's amazing. So go find your zen garden.

22 August 2011

the plight of the trite

I've been working on my college application, and I had to write a college essay for AP lit so that she could critique them and such. And it's hard to be original when everything is so trite.
You've got your I-went-to-Africa-on-a-mission-trip-and-I-saved-the-world essay, filled with sentimentality and poignant stories of heroism. Another variant is the I-went-to-Ecuador-and-built-wells-for-impoverished-villages story.
You've also got the I'm-the-reason-we-won-the-state-championship essay, complete with inspirational, determined prose that moves the reader to tears.
And we can't forget about playing the Being-president-of-seven-clubs-taught-me-leadership-skills-and-helped-me-build-everylasting-friendships card.
I don't want to knock these things, because they are all great. Just trite. So I tried not to be trite when writing mine. In fact, I chose a topic so banal and boring that it is often overlooked.
I wrote about Costa Rica, but I didn't. I wrote about communication and words. After all, we do it everyday. In all sorts of ways. But it seems that the most prevalent are words.
Words are direct. They are easy to understand because they are like a code we have etched into the DNA of humanity. But that doesn't mean there aren't other ways. I told my story through dialogue between me and a boy named Antonio, a ten-year-old from Costa Rica.
And I think that what I wrote wasn't just an essay, it was a tribute to society. We can communicate in all different ways. We just haven't figured out how to do it yet. We haven't used all of our brain power, but we don't have a rule stating we can't.
Have you ever tried to communicate to someone without using words, or mouthing them, or even writing? Probably not. And I hadn't until then. Trying to talk without talking is hard. But we can still do it, it just requires practice.
Just imagine if we weren't given voices.

21 August 2011

filled with glee

For 10 weeks we have been watching The Glee Project, and as lame as this sounds, we watched it religiously over these 10 weeks. It was all we talked about, we always voted for fan favorite, and we speculated what would happen each week.
And this week was the end, the finale, the last hurrah.
And we knew who we wanted to win, and we knew who we didn't. We had our doubts and speculations. And we were utterly enthused by the end.
I think that finale was the best episode of any show on TV, and this is why: these aren't some stuck up people pretending to be from New Jersey who get everything they've ever wanted. These people aren't some overpaid actors who do medical murder shows or psychotic moms who want their kids to become professional athletes. These are kids - kids from your neighborhood, kids from your school, kids who didn't have much self esteem or friends but had a spark inside that they could finally show here in this safe haven called Glee. And these kids did not have to have any sort of training at all. As long as you were 18 years old, you could audition for The Glee Project.
40,000 people auditioned in person and in front of web cams across the world, and 12 were chosen to be on this show. Every kid had an amazing voice - one that you couldn't even auto tune to sound better - and they had humility and passion like no one I've ever seen. They walked into a room full of professional and renown casting directors - just ordinary kids - with inhibitions behind and a song in their heart. They sang their hearts out. And then 12 amazing, talented, ambitious, fun-loving, cool, and incredibly determined kids were picked to be on this show that consumed every Sunday night from 9 to 10pm for the past 2 and a half months.
And tonight, every contender, as they say, came back to do the last group performance music video, "Raise Your Glass" on the top of a 35 story building in LA. An at the very end, everyone came together for a big group hug. These people, who never would have come together in any other circumstance, standing on top of a building hugging and crying tears of joy and belonging. Some from upper-middle class California suburbs, some who immigrated from South America in middle school. Some with think Irish accents and some with dreadlocks and nose rings. Short, tall, big, small, all races and ethnicities, coming together and becoming a big family, is really amazing.
But the best part was, this was real life. Kids given a chance to be the next big thing, and they got it. And in fact, all 4 finalists got something. And when they won, they fell to their knees in glee (like the pun?), thanking God for giving them this chance and crying in shock that they had won. It left me feeling overjoyed for them, all of them, for doing something that they believed in and wanted so badly.
This is what life's about. Chasing your dreams and getting your big break. And showing the world how great you really are.

20 August 2011

good people

It's nice to see that sometimes people do great things just out of the kindness of their hearts, and not to get extra credit or be recognized for good deeds.
Today when I was coming back from swim practice, we saw these people on the side of the road and they were picking up trash. First of all, it's 90 degrees today, and at 11am, the humidity is at its peak, so it feels like 100. There were four of them, two parental unit types and what seemed like their children, who were probably a little older than me. But we were just driving past, on this road that resembles a highway but not as busy, bearing witness to their good citizenship. They all had trash bags, they all wore yellow shiny vests, and they were walking this whole road looking for trash to pick up.
I always thought that the help-the-planet campaign didn't go ver far - I mean, we always support recycling, paper conservation, and more efficient energy (we just replaced all the incandescents with CFLs! Go earth!) - but a lot of people don't care. My best friend doesn't recycle, and I know a handful of people who don't care about helping the planet, as if global warming was just a conversation starter or a topic for science papers. TV and media certainly do a lot to spread the word - but word only goes as far as the people who spread it. So it's really cool to see real people, not just celebrities who were paid to pretend to care about the planet, helping out the community in a simple way.

19 August 2011

nerd party

With school beginning and such, life becomes a little monotonous. The first day is fun because it's syllabus day, in which every teacher passes out the same copied-and-pasted outline of class rules and regulations, which gets pretty redundant by last period.
But by day three or four, they start cracking down on you to turn stuff in, take quizzes and tests, write essays, among other glorious activities. And sometimes it's hard to find joy in doing the inventory of life.
But sometimes it's easy to find happiness right under your nose.
Like today in art. We were all rushing to get our work done so we can start on other portfolio things, and someone brought an iPod speaker so we could listen to music while we worked. And we all listened to a Beatles playlist while we sculpted, helping each other out with our individual inputs. And at the end of class, one of my friends from the class declared that this will be a really great class. And he's right.
And after school I decided not to be a slacker and start on the biochemistry chapter and study guide. Now what kind of teenager doesn't want to go out with their friends on Friday night, but instead study proteins, lipids, and molecular structure of amino acids? This teenager does. It's especially fun when you have your favorite CD ever playing over and over again. Then it's a real party.
And today in AP lit, we had the best discussion ever for a book we read over the summer. It was all about Biblical allusions. And we found all these different ways that the characters' names were allusions and how everything was planned so perfectly. It was absolutely wonderfully invigorating. Like a milkshake. And the worst part is when it's cut off by the monotone sound of the bell.
Not many people would say school is fun. But sometimes it is. And sometimes a night in studying with the best music can be so much better than a party or a fancy dinner. Sometimes simply living everyday life is the best of all.

18 August 2011

the economics of life

A while ago I wrote about Alice's Bucket list, a blog written by a British teenager who has terminal cancer. I still follow the blog because I like to read what she writes. It reminds me of my own writing.
After I read the post she did today, I reread the top of the blog. On mine it's below the title, and it says "a yearlong quest to find and blah blah blah". Except the last part, but you get it. And on hers, the last sentence says: you only have one life - live it!
I don't know what delusion we're under when we think that we have an infinite amount of time. We don't. And in AP macro (economics) we've been talking about the PPC, which is the production possibilities curve. You can either be on the curve, above it, or below it. On the curve is good because you're doing everything you should be doing: you might have more capital goods (doing things that will benefit yourself in the future), consumer goods (benefiting yourself right now), or you might have a balance of both. They're all good; it's debatable which one is the best.
Another option is being above the curve. It's a relatively ambitious and unachievable goal. The only way you can do it is if you have unlimited resources (money, goods, but mostly time) and you make the most of every resource. And like every machine (I guess we can be referred to as machines), there is no such thing as 100% efficiency because of friction (in this case, friction is the lack of time and other resources).
Alright. And lastly, you can be below the curve. This is not the best place to be. It basically means you're not using your resources or your work very well and you're not too efficient. This is where most people live their lives. Below the PPC. We don't have a lot of time, so already we're behind. So the only way we can reach our full potentials - on the curve (and for a short amount of time, maybe, above the curve) - is to use all of our time in the best way possible and live the best lives we can.
We don't want to be the underachiever below-the-curvers. We want to be the overachiever curve-dwellers. How do we do this? Spend your time doing things as if you'd never do them again. Make memories. Jump off that cliff. Eat that ice cream cone. Say I love you. Don't waste your time second guessing everything because you're using up your precious resource - time.

17 August 2011

ignore your head

I'm rather happy today actually. And I'd be happy to share why.
Well first, I'm planning a course in art history and everything is working out perfectly. Almost like a little puzzle and all the pieces fit together in a perfect fashion.
But I was worried about the art critiques for 3D art. I had to make 3 sculptures over summer vacation, and I was worried that they would be too pathetic for AP art. And plus, my teacher is one of those people who doesn't dish out compliments; in fact, she usually hates most things. But she wants us to make stuff that she knows will be good enough for a college class, and plus she knows we can do it. So today I got to do a critique, and you have to stand up in front of the class (it's only 8 people, but still) and explain your thought process and whatever you made. Then she bends down and scrutinizes it - she touches the cracks in the clay, asks you why it looks the way it does (usually not a "wow, that looks great. how'd you get it to look like that?", but more like a "oh. why does it...look like that?") And I had heard what she had to say about the people's yesterday, and it was generally lukewarm at best.
But mine was a little better, i thought.
Other than the disasterous book project that I made (which she didn't hate as much as I thought she would), there were not too many negative comments. In fact, my ocotopus was "fantastic" and "fabulous" (yes those are direct quotes). Other than the minor cracking, she didn't have a problem with it.
But even though her critiques were harsh, I felt like there was more wrong than she pointed out. And I felt like I was almsot being more harsh than she was.
She was more confident in my things that I was, and it felt good for someone to compliment your things and to say that they mean something and are worth it. But when you don't believe in what you've made, and it shows, who will? Sometimes we aren't sure of what people will think, but we really have to remember than we are the ones we are doing this for. You're the one who made the sculpture. And if you don't trust yourself, no one will. Sometimes our heads tell us one thing, but sometimes it's your intuition that you have to follow.

16 August 2011

sunny days

We finally have our air conditioning fixed. Which is a good thing because Rami doesn't like all of these temperature fluctuations. By the way Rami is my fish.
So now we get to sleep in our own beds, which is really nice.
When the AC guys were here - it was actually the dad of this girl from my math class - they were talking to my mom, and one of them said that you can't appreciate the sunny days if you don't have cloudy days. You can't really understand the true joy of happiness if it's all you ever experience.
Cloudy days test our wits, they test to see if we can go any further and how we can handle a challenge. And sunny days are our rewards for the challenge. So while things may go wrong, you can always know that a sunny day is on the other end waiting for you.

15 August 2011

we all need somebody to lean on

Well. The usual. Sty up until 3 in the morning finishing things I didn't get done during the summer. But here I am, and if I got more sleep, I would post yesterday's, but I am too tired to type so I'll make it quick.
I'm not a fan of change, including seasonal changes, so when my favorite season - summer - comes to a close, I get real sad and I long for the days of pools and beaches. Plus I have a ton of homework, and it's only day one, and my dad left on business for a week. And he's the only one who could help me with economics if I had a question. In addition, our air-conditioning broke again and we have to pay to fix it and get a new one. And trust me, it's not too cheap.
So I had this breakdown at the counter. Perfect on the first day of school. We haven't even done anything real yet. But I did, probably because three hours of sleep is inadequate, but it was hopeless. No work could get done like this. And at that moment I got a text from one of my friends. And we talked for a while about everything - life, homework, well, that's pretty much what life is right now - and it made me feel so much better. Sometimes just talking - or texting - other people is just what you need to feel better. And I got even more texts from other friends later on, joking around and things of the sort.
All you really need are some great people in your life to make the troublesome things in your life seem not so bad.

14 August 2011


In a summer reading mad rush right now. I'm sorry I can't post right now. I have an idea, but I can't take the time to post it. I'll post it tomorrow!

13 August 2011

quality vs. quanitity

Some teachers in school want you to write an essay that is at least 5 pages long. Other teachers say quality is more important than quantity.
I think the latter applies to life quite well. Take the summer, for instance; it starts at the end of May, and ends in the middle of August (at least for us it does; in Massachusetts it ended at the end of June and started at the beginning of September). And I think that the most memorable days are at the end. And it's because we realize there are only a few days left in summer and we try to cram in as many things as we can into those days before school starts. We also test how many things we really can do in 24 hours with summer reading. I actually finished The Road, the first book I started, and I finished it in tears. Absolutely amazing, yet heart-wrenching, horrific, and devastating. I am writing a review on Barnes and Noble. 5 stars, absolutely. The only book that ever made me cry.
Back to the real topic: the day after tomorrow is the day that school starts. And that's also when my summer assignments are due. Two more books to go, and only one day. I really don't know how it's going to get done, but it will. So today we all went to the pool, our whole family, and it was great. We all just relaxed and had an amazing time in the sun and the nice pool and after we went to one of the fanciest restaurants around (they have homemade pasta) and we had a lovely wonderful meal there. It was such a special day even though I have to finish my work. We had a great time just relaxing and enjoying the last days of summer. Because when school starts it's a marathon. Everyday for 10 months.
And ironically, my friend posted on Facebook: time becomes more valuable when you have less of it. This was an allusion to the ridiculous amounts of homework we have to do, in fact he wrote "procrastination" after it. But this applies to much more, as one of my other friends wrote. If you have less of something, you will make more of it.
And sometimes we think we have all the time in the world, but we don't. Life might be long, but it's really short when you think about the time wasted or not spent doing something worthwhile. It's not about how much time you have; it's about how you spend the time you have - even if it's only a day.

12 August 2011

going the extra mile - or two

If you want something really badly, then you'll do anything to get it. Or so goes the saying. For some people, it's about how badly they really want it. Because if you really want something, you will literally do anything to get it - including sacrificing time, money, relationships, etc.
I'd say I'm ambitious, but to a fault. I obsess over my latest "project", whether it's an artistic endeavor, an athletic one, or an academic one. I have this incredible amount of passion for something in the beginning, then it slowly dies, and I never end up finishing. That explains the hundreds of shreds of paper, notebooks that are half written in, and half finished stories, of which I wrote only a page or two. This is why I'm so glad I have kept up with this for so long, no matter what. Sometimes I blog when I am falling asleep. Sometimes in a car, in a hotel room, or even through wells of tears. But I do it. And I don't give up.
But my story isn't very inspiring when compared to the one I'll tell you now. You have probably heard of Kathryn Stockett by now, and in case you haven't, she's the author of the novel The Help, which is coming out as a movie soon. I want to see the movie, but I have wanted to read the book since I first read the back cover several months ago. It's been the number one book for Barnes and Noble and The New York Times, among others. So this is why I now must read it. You know, when I'm not annotating vast amounts of books for school.
But who would have thought that this bestseller, the one that NPR says is the best piece of literature since To Kill A Mockingbird (another great one), was rejected 60 times before it was accepted?
Kathryn Stockett wrote a small article about this as her fame was on the rise, and especially with this new movie coming out, everyone wants to know about the brainchild behind the masterpiece work. She wrote The Help, sent it off to a publisher, and got rejected. She was even a little excited to get her first official rejection letter, mostly because it meant she was making progress; one down, an infinite amount of publishers left to try. So she revised and sent it off to more publishers. 15 more rejection letters. She was still not deterred by this.
But once the numbers hit 30, she began to get a little less excited about getting rejection letters. And once it got to 40, she didn't know how may more she could handle. How could this amazing story she spent so long on be worth nothing in the eyes of publishers, who know the consumer reader's preferences and tendencies like the back of their hand?

5 more letters, none bearing good news. She became "neurotic", in her words, but continued to send it off to more publishers, all while revising and trying to make The Help even better.
Later, she reached 50 rejection letters, then 60. 60 times someone told her she wasn't good enough. 60 times she tried and was said "no" to. 60 times her patience, ambitions, and writing skills were tested. She was told that her writing was boring, not what people wanted to read, not what America wanted to hear about. No one would read it.
The magic number is 61. The 61st letter accepted The Help and sold it to a publishing company where production began, and she finally achieved her dream - three years later.
And she thought to herself: what if she stopped after 30 letters? or 40? or 50? or 60? She tried, she pushed through, and she finally got what she wanted because she wanted it so badly.
If you really want something, you want it enough to get back up again after everyone says you can't do it, and you keep pushing. You keep fighting and trying and you will see, like Kathryn Stockett, that if you want it badly, you just can't give up.

11 August 2011

a request

A few years ago, when we still had half days at school, we would eat our lunches at noon. And we weren't allowed to eat any time before that. I would have breakfast at seven, and then I would wait until noon to have anything else. And one day I had a hunger stomachache that was so bad I wanted to leave school.
That's 5 hours without food. It may seem a little bad, especially with no water or even a little snack. But when I got home I could have tons of food. Walk in the pantry, there's food. The fridge, food. The stores, stocked with food of all sorts. We never have a shortage of food.
But imagine not eating for days - not just 5 hours, but days - in a line cramped with other starving people in the stifling heat, waiting for a small high-energy biscuit or a cup filled with caloric and nutrient-rich porridge. And then camping in plastic makeshift tents waiting for the next rations.
This is how the people in Somalia and Kenya are living right now. Emaciated and tired, men, women, children, teenagers, and infants wait outside of huge tents filled with humanitarian workers trying to provide enough food until the next plane lands to deliver more. Thousands are devastated by a drought that has killed all of the crops that they relied on for food. And the dust from the drought flies around with the wind, looking much like the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains of the US, with dust and other particles become trapped in their lungs, making them even more parched.
Thousands of kids are malnourished and dying of horrific diseases. In pictures I have seen, kids with a fine layer of red dust coating their skin are so thin that their ribs, clavicles, and eye sockets can be seen, their eyes are bloodshot and glassy from tears. They are dying, their whole population is dying, and they can't get out.
Organizations like the World Food Programme are there helping day and night, but this alone is not enough. Food is running out and more is needed to help these people survive. What will happen to the dynamic of their country if thousands of people die? What will happen to their country? to Africa? After all, Kenya and Somalia make up a large part of Eastern Africa.
We have the power to help. And there are tons of ways you can help. See that button on my homepage of this very blog? It's my hunger campaign, my direct link from WFP to get others to donate. And donating can be small - even $5 can help pay for at least 5 people to eat a meal. And that's one family. And with each person donating to help, we can help feed these people so that other organizations can focus on moving them to a safer environment. Or, if you don't have too much to donate, you can always go to Free Rice and answer questions on any topic - English vocabulary, math, chemistry, French, geography - and you will donate rice as you play. It's a great way to help if you don't have money to donate.
This is my request for these people. They need help. And if this were us, we would hope that we got the same amount of love from other people.

10 August 2011

lessons of life, by spongebob squarepants

This morning I went to orientation at school. And my hopes of putting off at least one of my summer reading books until second semester were crushed, since I now have AP Macroeconomics first semester. And I was given 2 classes I never signed up for, instead of the ones I did sign up for. And worst of all - I have 2 maths books. I'll repeat for emphasis: I have 2 math books. Big textbooks. 2 of them. Dyscalculics don't like to have even 1 math textbook, let alone 2.
But that put aside, I'd like to get to the lesson of the day. And by the way it has to do with Spongebob.
Spongbob Squarepants is a wonderful character who can teach us all a lesson or two about every possible topic that conflicts us at one time or another: love, self-worth, obsession, identity, fun, even the meaning of life.
And today, I was waiting for my mom to go to orientation with me, and I turned on the TV. It happened to be Spongebob. And it was the "Best Day Ever" episode, a musical episode that reminds me a lot of the opening number Hairspray. The sprightly scene opens in the three-house neighborhood in the middle of nowhereville known as Bikini Bottom. The sun rises in the east, and some synthesized keyboard music tells us that it is coming to greet our yellow, square friend. Then we advance to Spongebob's room, in which he erupts in joyful song and sings about how his day, consisting of only banal activities, will be "the best day ever". After running about and singing joyfully, he leaves, as he does every morning, for the scummy Krusty Krab to fry processed patties from a dirty meat locker. But as the events of the day - jellyfishing, karate, and Squidward's clarinet recital - unfold, Spongebob becomes more and more discouraged when everything seems to go wrong for him. When his best day ever turns out to be quite the opposite, Spongebob's friends remind him that the best days ever are those spent with good friends, not with the idea of perfection.
Here's where it applies to life.
Whenever we have a day that needs to be perfect, like a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, or a presentation for school or work, it's hard to expect anything less than perfect. If we want perfect, we expect it. So we don't factor in the idea that something might go wrong, and when something does go wrong, we freak out. But we have to remind ourselves that things can't go right all the time, and that sometimes the best days are ones you don't plan or expect. Sometimes they're the days spent doing things that might otherwise seem ordinary. The best day ever doesn't always come announced. And unlike Spongebob, you might not think you have anything to sing about until afterwards.

09 August 2011


My 223rd post. Can you believe we've come this far?
Well, even though I have too much work to do, my sister decided to watch a movie tonight, and so I decided to watch. Especially when I found out what it was - the Lizzie McGuire Movie! And in case you are unaware, Lizzie McGuire was this show from the early 2000s and it's just a great throwback. It was a great show about the ups and downs of 3 teens as they shuffle through middle school with hopes of staying au courant with the newest fashions, trying to boost their popular status, and trying not to be humiliated by the youthful antics of their peers. As well as surviving first crushes, unrequited love, and of course the impending doom of adolescence that leaves all of them, well, changed. And half of the show is told through Lizzie cartoon alter ego that seems to only wear a pink cropped shirt and jeans capris.
So in this whirlwind cinema masterpiece, new middle school grad Lizzie leaves on a school trip for Rome with her militaristic new principal, her still immature classmates and best-friend-turned-rival, and her platonic guy best friend, who happens to be madly in love with her. Their first night in scenic Rome, Gordo (the guy best friend) brings Lizzie to the top of their hotel, and they vow to have adventures while in Rome. And so Lizzie goes, gallivanting along with a Roman pop star (don't we all when we go to Rome), falling into a horrible trap that Gordo saves (of course) by sacrificing his trip for Lizzie. How utterly romantic.
And at the end, when Lizzie rocks this concert and they're best friends again, Lizzie and Gordo share a .4 second kiss (a legit one!) at their romantic hotel-top getaway, under the fireworks. Ah, the joys of adolescent romance.
It might not be Academy Awards worthy, but it's one of my favorite movies because of all the memories and sentiments wrapped up into it all. The memories of the show, of being a young kid, and of having fun with friends. It's such a good movie that in fact I will add it to my favorites on Facebook.
It's not how great a movie is, or how wonderful the acting is - a movie can mean so much more, and it's how happy it makes someone - not how technically wonderful it is.

08 August 2011

a pat on the back

Today my dad gave me a list of things from all of the colleges I plan on applying to and all of the things I need to write - essay type things. And so I started to think about what I was going to write for them. Because obviously I can't just sit down and write something amazing on the spot.
Some of the short answer ones, like the 250-word ones, are sort of like pageant questions. "If you had the chance, what would you do?" "Write about a global issue that's important to you." "Why do you feel like you belong here?" Things of the sort.
But one of them was a really good one. "What's something you've created that you're proud of?"
It sounds like a hard question actually, because first you have to think of all the things you've created, then you have to evaluate the good ones and the bad ones. So I started thinking of art things I have made. Then I thought of my bracelets and stationery. But I think the one I would pick would be my blog.
First, I'm proud that I actually kept up with it for so long. When I first thought about doing a yearlong consecutive blog, I was afraid I would let it fall by the wayside and I would say, a month down the road, hey, remember that blog? Oh well. But I stayed with it, and really if you want to do something, you need to make it your world. Or at least a good part of it. Because once it falls outside your peripheral vision, it's gone. And you need to keep the important things close to you.
Also, I'm glad that everyday I delivered something - even if it was sad, like yesterday. And I do it everyday. I don't take a break on vacation - as you can see. I would blog when I had my friend sleepover, I would blog in a hotel room at 1am, I would blog on a plane. And I'm always thinking about it.
And what I realize is that this blog isn't really about happiness all the time. It's about finding something. And you can't find anything without a little hard work and sometimes disappointment. There are always going to be problems, even when you are achieving your dream. It's hard to think like that, but it;s true. And everyday, even if I had things to do, I wrote something. Other than when the Wifi was malfunctioning and the Costa Rica blogs. Don't worry I will not forget about them! They're still on the periphery!
This blog is more about life, and living a great one, one that leaves you feeling better on the inside, even if getting there is difficult and maybe not so happy.
I'm also proud that a lot of the things in here are things I discovered myself. Things that I experienced and grew from. It's the difference between living in the front seat and living in the backseat. Driving your car or letting someone drive for you (let me clarify that this is figurative, I'm still not operating automobiles).
So my blog might not be perfect. But who likes perfect anyway? I like what I do, and I hope you do too. Because I've not only created this blog, but I've gotten to go on a journey that departed from my original vision and has spiraled and flew in so many directions. And I like it.

07 August 2011

silent solace

Life is certainly not easy.
I actually had a really bad day today. It was long, hard, stressful, and depressing. I wish that I was 8 years old right now; the prime age, the big enough but not too old age, the fun happy-go-lucky age. Instead of right now, the stressful, tense, rigid life that lies ahead. I guess I'm homesick for childhood. And all that is pure and innocent.
But I was 8 too long ago, and what used to be a daydream is now reality. The impending doom of college applications, and going to college, the grueling amount of work that lies ahead in just this year, the summer work for right now, and all of the other things I will have to do when I live by myself.
And no matter what, even if you know people doing the same thing as you, no one really knows how you feel. Because everyone interprets things differently. My friends might be doing all the same work, but we feel differently about it. So it's hard to relate to people who are conflicted or stressed. And sometimes people will just never understand how you feel.
But my cat does. I was sitting in the hallway crying when he woke up and made a little squeak noise. So I picked him up and put him in my lap so he sat like a person and he licked away my tears. Probably because they were salty, but it's the thought that counts. And when I talked to him and told him that I was sad, he made another little meow-squeak and continued to lick my tears away. And we sat in the dark hallway and he purred on my lap while I hugged him and instantly I felt a little better.
I didn't need to be told things would get better. Or that things are better if you look on the bright side. I just needed a hug, and my cat gave me one. And sometimes the unassuming, nonjudgmental nature of animals is much more comforting than words.

06 August 2011


When I was 3, me and my dad decided to jump out of a plane with parachutes when I was 18. I don't know what was the reason behind this, but we always said we would. It always seemed so far away. I remember thinking when I was 8 that in 10 years I would be jumping out of a plane. I did this same calculation when I turned double digits (a big birthday milestone) and I did it when I was 13. And now I'm 17, and in 362 days I will be 18. It's a horribly scary thought to me. 17 is a kid, and 18's not.
Also, I would be going to college at this time. Which is the scariest thing in the world right now. How could I possibly leave? I'm still watching Spongebob in my kitchen and eating Kraft macaroni and cheese. Sure, I go to school and have philosophical discussions and talk about literature and symbology and other things of the sort, but I still like to come home and jump on my trampoline like a little kid, and discover old toys in the basement, and play games with my brother and sister. I guess I'll always be a kid at heart, but it saddens me to think it will all go away.
But I can't waste my days wishing that they wouldn't go by as fast; I can spend each one loving every moment and knowing that I can make each moment something beautiful. What would life be if we worried about what could have been or what might come? We can only see so far ahead of us, and we have to remember to live in the present and make what's happening now even more special.

05 August 2011

blind to the world

Usually I'm the last person to know anything about everything. Sometimes my friends know more about my life than I do. I am usually the last person to know the inside word, so I try to correct that by getting au courant with worldly events.
This is why I downloaded the CNN app for iPad, so I can read snips of news about the world so I know things without having to click on the hashtag on Twitter to find out what the whole world is talking about. But most of the time, news is nothing to throw daisies and frolic about. It's usually sad, depressing, horrific, alarming, or upsetting in some form or another. It's not something to read if you are already sad, depressed, horrified, alarmed, or upset. Not to knock CNN, but news is pretty down in the dumps. But I guess it's true of all news stations and websites and such. Bombings and attacks here, public riots and famine there. Everyday we are pelted with information, none of which is good.
The debt ceiling. The oil spill. Political arguments. Tsunamis. Hurricanes. Famine. Overpopulation. Trafficking. Murder. Starvation. Obesity. Stock market nosediving. Diseases and pandemics. Massacres. Terrorist attacks. Dwindling money. Unemployment. Human rights issues. Inequality. Pollution. Racism. Corruption. Rising sea levels. Deterioration of foreign relations. Hasty judgments. The impending apocalypse.
So the last one was a little melodramatic, but you get the idea. These are only a tiny fraction of the issues the world faces everyday without ceasing. And we hear about it everyday. We talk about it, and since we are humans, we feel. We feel for the people dying of famine and heat stroke. We feel for the puppies in puppy mills who are waiting on death row. We feel for the victims of natural disasters, corruption, and abuse. We feel for those who must make tough decisions. We feel for those who meander in the street at night trying to find a warm place to sleep. We feel for the people who can't pay their bills and face foreclosure. We feel for the people made fun of, teased, and for those who become victims of bullying. We feel for the trees and animals killed everyday to feed our greed for more.
We could be plagued with things like this, but really, if you can read this right now, you are better off than pretty much everyone that these issues apply to. If you are in a comfortable house with enough money to live the way you want and you have a computer to read this, you are better off than anyone struggling enough to make the next CNN headline.
But if we get too caught up in this, we can't be happy. We can't be naive and think that we live in a happy world, because there is a lot of unrest and problems in the world, as you can see. But we can be informed and also live our lives. We can live our lives the way that we were blessed. We got a great chance at a great life, and while we can feel for the people, animals, and others who are affected daily with hardships, we can also live our lives happily, with the people we love. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

04 August 2011

frank sinatra brightens everyone's day

I just realized that there are only 11 days until school starts and I still have 4 books to read and 2 sculptures to make. Pretty cool 11 days coming up.
So in between reading, I was turning on my computer to blog. This was last night. And I watched a video on my home page about a construction worker who sings Frank Sinatra. It was completely enticing and I absolutely had to watch it.
So I opened it up and started reading it, and I watched the video and heard the most amazing rendition of Sinatra's songs I've ever heard. You would have thought that Ol' Blue Eyes himself was singing the song. Turns out this construction worker from New York sings to entertain himself and his coworkers outside on lunch breaks.
It didn't cause a stir until people started to stop and watch him, and eventually he ended up on YouTube, courtesy of a passer-by with a camera. He's quite good for not being a singer, and even if he was a singer, he'd still be quite good.
Soon, flocks of New Yorkers would come during their lunch breaks to hear the amazing construction worker perform. He became a hit, and everyone enjoyed it.
Despite all of the things that are going wrong in the world, something as simple as a man singing songs we all know can unite us in a magical and profound way, like nothing else. Apple, Inc. may have more money than the United States, and the stock market may be falling even lower than before. We may be entering into further foreign conflict, and our environmental situation has been better. But this man has a song to sing, and America is ready to listen.

03 August 2011

birthday post

Howdy folksies! Today's my 17th birthday! Which is pretty exciting, because birthdays are always fun. My real birthday present was being able to go to Costa Rica, but my family and friends all gave me money for my birthday which went into the camera fund for my new SLR. But my mom got me some other things too for my birthday: she bought me a Pandora bracelet, one of the ones I really liked (it goes towards cancer research) and some gorgeous charms for it. It's one of my favorite things now because it's so special - I like each of the charms for certain reasons because they represent something to me, and it's much more special than a bunch of beads perfectly arranged on a bracelet. My sister also got me a Jack Johnson CD that I love. It's things like that that make me really happy.
But what else was great was the amount of Facebook messages I got about my birthday. I woke up and there were 12 messages. And throughout the day I kept getting more - 39 in all! It's a small gesture to wish someone a happy birthday and write a little message, but it really goes a long way and I really appreciate it. It made my day in fact (in addition to the cake my mom made and the chicken with broccoli and soy sauce!). I also got a manicure and pedicure, and my hair done too - it was a wonderful birthday.
But even the smallest things, the things that show people really care, make a big difference. People I met in Costa Rica posted on my wall and wrote a message, even though I only met them and saw them for 10 days. It's nice that they care, even though Facebook reminds them about it. It's the thought that counts.

02 August 2011

every step counts

It's been really hot here. Not like it normally isn't, but it's in the 100s, so we've been inside most days. So today for dinner, since we still don't really have much food in our house, we went to this pizza place, where you make your own pizza - they give you options for dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings, then they bake it for 4 minutes. And they make it right before your eyes. It's pretty fun and the pizza is really ridiculously good.
They have some TVs in there, and they were doing a special on triplets. And it caught our eyes when we saw one segment was on three triplet boys who went to the same high school my dad went to in Massachusetts, which is pretty small world-ish. The boys all played football, until one of them had a serious football accident that left him paralyzed.

And by his side are his brothers - at physical therapy, in the house, and on the football field. His brothers help him with exercises and getting around places, and he in turn comes to all of their football games and sits on the players' bench. He even started walking on a walker because of all the hard work he and his brothers did to help him.
He could have been left to sit in a wheelchair and be like that for the rest of his life. But he did something to change that. And so did his brothers. They stood by him no matter what, even if they had things to do, so that they could push him to keep going and get better.
And who knows - maybe he'll be able to walk again someday.
I see people quote things all the time about not liking things and changing them. This is the ultimate story of someone - and his brothers - who is changing the athlete's worst nightmare into something worthwhile.
It also makes you think about walking. We do it everyday. Up and down the stairs, across the street, in the park, on the beach, in stores and everywhere in between. But we don't really think about it. What if you all of a sudden couldn't walk. Someone would have to push you in a wheelchair. You would be excluded from things because they would not accommodate you, and you would lose you freedom. So cherish every step. Because every step counts.

01 August 2011

yet another one of those articles

As you know, I read a lot of articles about a lot of different things. And it just so happens I found an article about happiness today in Parade (which I always read).
It's called Sunny Side Up: Do you know how to be happy? And some of the things are pretty surprising.
First piece of advice: people who are generally happy and cheerful don't really think about it very much; they just live their lives. Which is interesting because the purpose of me doing this was to find something. To search for something. But really you don't have to search, it will come to you. You will feel it inside of you instead of running around trying to find something that you are unsure of.
And since it's the summer, let's talk about vacations. When are people most happy about vacations? It's not during, it's beforehand. Planning vacations and imagining what it's going to be like is evidently more pleasing than the actual vacation. The anticipation is something that makes us really excited and happy inside.
Here's another fact: some of us are more likely than others to be happy. 50% of happiness is determined by genetics. But that doesn't mean you have no say in your happiness: 40% is determined by your mindset. The other 10% is based on life experiences.
Sometimes when people are sad, they'll watch reruns of their favorite TV show, even if they have seen it so many times that they can recite the lines. But the better solution is to go outside. According to a study from the University of Rochester, 90% of the test subjects felt better after spending time outside with trees, plants, animals, and fresh air.
But not all technology is bad. Listening to music on your iPod is a great way to overcome sadness and be a little bit more happy and cheerful. And it doesn't have to be a ukulele-by-the-beach song; my music you like will make you feel better, whether it's Mozart or metal. As long as you like it, you'll be happy.
And for another science-y one: taking fish oil supplements can help you to feel better. But this one's a little more chemical: fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help your brain to receive messages from endorphins (happy hormones). In this way, it almost works like depression medication.
Also from the research lab: you don't have to be happy to be happy. Sound confusing? It's not. Even if you are completely devastated inside, if you imagine yourself having fun, or laughing, or a scene from a happy movie, etc., you will be happier. Researchers found out that the areas of the brain that show happiness were more visible on the screen when subjects were imagining something happy. So you can fake yourself out and get the long end of the stick.
And for the last one: being optimistic doesn't make you happier. In fact, pessimists can be happier in the long run because lowering their expectations can leave them less disappointed than optimists, who hope, and sometimes expect, everything to turn out alright. So if you lower your expectations, you can be pleasantly surprised more often than sadly disappointed.
So there you have it - the myths of happiness uncovered! If you have anymore, post them as a comment right here!