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.

24 December 2011

saturday evening post *christmas eve edition*

I can't believe it's almost Christmas..with all of the craziness at school and at home, it's hard to jump right into the spirit of Christmas. When I was a little kid, it was sch a magical holiday, because there was always snow on the ground and we had little to no stress in school, so Christmas was on our minds from the start of December.
But now that we're older, it's hectic around these times. But it's exactly the times like these that remind us not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the holidays.
Today we went to church, which we haven't done since Easter (which is sort of not very religious..), since tomorrow will be filled with fun and craziness, and plus we've always gone on Christmas Eve. And there was this one part when we were praying for various groups of people through the holiday season, and it was very sad. The priest led us in prayer for people who would spend Christmas in hospitals and nursing homes, not in the comfort of their own homes. And for people who would be spending it in jail. How terribly sad, to spend Christmas in jail; while many of the people in jail deserve to be there, some do not, whether they just made one big mistake or they were falsely accused. All alone with no sympathy or care on the biggest day of the year, for many people. It's just very sad.
And for the people who are all alone, and the people who have lost a friend or relative. No one to share the beauty of Christmas with. Or the poor - not enough money to afford a nice Christmas.
I cannot fit into any of these lists. And tomorrow I will be spending Christmas with the four people closest to me. A lot of people can't say that.
It's cliche to say that the true meaning of Christmas is not about material items. But it's true. Christmas is the mass of Christ - celebrating the day that Jesus came into the world and how his holiness united mankind. Whether or not you believe that story doesn't matter; it's the main principle of this grand holiday.
Other than helping increase our GDP and investing in corporate America, Christmas is about togetherness. It's about families coming together again. "Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more; through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow." College students flock back to the nest, single relatives pack the airports and join their siblings, grandparents open their homes to their kin. It's a happy time of unity and letting the spirit of Christmas tie your family together again like a nice Christmas bow.
Although it's been said, many times, many ways ~ Merry Christmas, to you.

23 December 2011

body love

For some reason, I remembered something that happened a few years ago. When I used to do gymnastics, I was a lot more fit than I am now, and I was a lot smaller. I'm not fat now, but back then I was pretty unhealthy and emaciated. So I had this bone scan to see how tall I was going to be when I was done growing completely. I was hoping I would be of average height, since at the time I was barely 4 and a half feet tall. That's a lie, it was more like 4 foot 8.
So when we got the results back, they said I was going to be about 5 foot 1.
And I was so utterly depressed about it for so long. I had always been the short kid, and I didn't want to be the short adult. As it was, I looked like a 7 year old when I was in seventh grade, so being feet shorter than the average Joe was a little annoying.
I'm not an adult yet and I'm 5 foot 3 and a half, but I claim to be 5 foot 4. And I'm not extremely elated that I'm not 5'1; in fact, thinking back, I don't know why I got so upset about it. Because if I were 2 inches shorter, I highly doubt that I would care. It hasn't impacted my life to be 2 inches taller than they said.
A lot of times we want to change things about ourselves. There is always something that will bother us about our appearance, whether it's trivial or really glaringly eyesore-ish. Sometimes we can change those things, like changing our weight or with plastic surgery (which is pretty disgusting). And sometimes because of our health, we have to change things about our appearance, whether we want to or not.
But health aside, we change our appearance for beauty purposes a lot more than we change it for real reasons. People color their hair, cut it, straighten it, curl it. We change our bodies with plastic surgery. People are constantly getting Botox injections. Some people with perfect vision get contacts to change their eye color. We tan and bleach our skin. The things we do for "beauty" are pretty over-the-top sometimes.
Because we are too busy worrying about what isn't our favorite part of ourselves. We never think about the things we like about ourselves. I always notice how large and bulbous my nose looks whenever I look in the mirror, or this small lump on my forehead that I got when I was three (long story), or how I'm fairly unshapely and Lego minifigure-esque in body shape. But I don't really ever look at the things I like. I like my hair color and how it gets all different colored highlights in the sun, and I like the color of my eyes. I used to actually want brown eyes like my dad's, but I've grown to like blue.
I challenge you to find something about yourself that you truly like - it doesn't matter if you feel dumb admitting it or if no one else agrees with you - even if you just have one feature that makes you feel special or unique. It can be easy to self-deprecate, but don't be afraid to complement yourself.
There is only one version of you, so there is no one else to compare yourself to. Since there is only one of us, we are all almost like rough drafts - we all have flaws, but we also have wonderful sparks of beauty throughout.

22 December 2011

field trip to the dentist

Finally done with finals! So excited to be on winter break.
And one of my assignments over break, that I assigned myself, is to finish all the blogs I didn't finish throughout the year, so by the end everything will be done!
So after finals today, I had to go to the periodontist. And just to let you know, I don't like doctors. No one does. Some people don't mind them, but I really really detest them and I hate going. A finger prick is a sufficient amount of pain for me. I hate even thinking about going to the dentist to get a cleaning. I have had a rather traumatic dental experience. I have had 8 of my teeth ripped out and I've had braces twice. I am not a fan of the dentist, nor are they fans of me.
And now I have to have gum surgery.
Which is extremely traumatic compared to the things I have had done. I have never had a surgery in my entire life, and I was hoping to keep it that way. I don't like the idea of someone else having control of my body while I sit helplessly and limp as I surrender myself to someone I don't even know.
But apparently these teeth are going to fall out eventually if it's not fixed, which made me cry even more, and now I need to have a part of my gums lasered off.

Imagine someone lasering a part of your body off.
I don't like lasers. Nor do I like dentists or surgery. And I don't like Novocaine needles jabbing into my mouth or laughing gas masks. I don't like the smell of dentists or their offices. So needless to say it's going to be a fun, fun day.
And the best part is, I get to go to school the next day! Or if it's in the morning, I can go right back to school then! It's a jolly good thing!
I just absolutely don't want to do this. And in no way will it bring me happiness. But I have to do it. And the things that make us change into better people are not the happy things that we enjoy doing; they are the harder things that we detest, or that we are scared of, and how we can overcome them.
And now I have officially decided that I will not be a bone marrow donor. Nor will I ever donate blood. I'm sorry.

21 December 2011

the triumph

Finally I get to post. Apparently the problem was a scam, someone trying to coax me into spending money to protect against a virus that wasn't even real. What freaks. What kind of person wastes their time doing that?
So anyways, it's finals week and tomorrow is the last one of the week and then we have Friday off! So today I had my AP Lit final and we got our research papers back.

And I got a 97!
I was really excited because I do well on research papers, but not this good.
Every time I get a research paper back, I am always afraid that I did something really wrong, like formatting or citations. But nope! Good so far.
My favorite part is when someone asks me, "Hey, do we need to put citations in the paper?" or "Is the works cited page optional? Because I didn't do it. Will I get points off?" I just sit and nod my head in awe. Clearly some people come to school without brains. The better question is, why are these people in my class?
I might not have gotten in Georgetown early. Things I wanted to happen might not have. But life gives you good things all the time - sometimes they just aren't the things that we expect. Just be on the lookout for everything, and don't stay caught up in the things that might not happen.
Life's about the unpredictable, and our expectations get let down a lot. Just don't miss opportunities to smile.

20 December 2011

i dont really know what is going on, but my computer is still being attacked by this virus and i cant use it. very disapointing :(

19 December 2011

18 December 2011


Every Sunday, I read Parade. Before I even eat breakfast, I read Parade. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not. And it wasn't here this morning because we canceled the newspaper, but then we got it again (long story). So today's Parade was all about 2011 as a whole; everything that happened in 2011, from the Super Bowl (I can't even believe it was 2011, it happened so long ago) to the Osama bin Laden situation, to new musical phenomena like Adele.
And it sort of reminded me of my blog. I started it almost a year ago, and I'm coming to a close. As sad as it is, I'm glad that I have accomplished this.
I just want to tell you a little bit of the behind the scenes at this little blog. A lot of people ask me questions about my blog, and I wanted to answer some of those questions.
I have to admit, this blog is pretty time consuming and hard to maintain. And a lot of people say, "wow you must have TONS of free time! I could never have enough time to do that." Well I don't exactly sit around and do nothing all the time. I find the time to blog. I make time by knowing that I need to set it aside every day.
Also, I don't ever know what I'm going to write about until I open the page and click "New Post". And 90% of the time I sit there thinking about the day and thinking about something to write. The other 10% of the time I know what I'll write and during the day I'll think "Hey! That's blogworthy!"
Also, even though this is called "the quest for happiness", it's not really a guide to happiness blog. It's basically a blog about life - how I experience it, what I think about it, how the great things in life lift me up and how the bad things change me and how I think about things.
About 95% of the time, I listen to music when I blog. It helps set the tone of my writing, as if the beat is controlling my writing.
Another thing: I'm not always happy when I write. I know that I have blogged through my tears on multiple occasions. Don't think I'm a big emotional mess, because usually I'm not.
This is also one of those things where my initial intentions are different from the outcomes. I intended to write a blog about how I find happiness everyday in little things. But I've found that happiness doesn't come everyday; if it did we wouldn't recognize it, and we wouldn't appreciate it. We have to learn to cherish the beautiful things we often take for granted.

17 December 2011

yes you can!

After not sleeping because of my research paper, I got to not sleep again because this morning, at 6am, I was on my way to school to swim at Emory all day long.
So at 7am, when we got there and walked outside into the coldness, we had to take off our warm clothes and put on out suits, and dive into the pool. At 7am.
We warmed up for awhile, and then we had an hour to basically sit and wait for the heat sheets to arrive so everyone could swarm to the wall and copy their events on their arms, pushing and shoving like savages in a claustrophobic mob. It's a mess.
And then we swam from 8am to 3pm, and we didn't get out of our suits all day. I got out of mine at 6:30 that night.
And all day, I basically ate about 15 mini brownies, you know, the little bite-size ones, about 4 bagels, or fragments of bagels, and a bunch of iced tea. Super healthy diet.
And we went back and forth from hot to cold to shivering to sweaty, to wet to dry.
But best of all,
I was swimming my favorite event and another relatively easy event, and a relay. I was swimming a 50 free first, and I had to make sure it was rather stellar. And there were so many people at this meet that there were 22 heats (basically 22 races of the same race). I was in one of the latest heats, which fortunately means you are on the fast side. Single digit heats are just not extremely impressive.
So I cut off time on that one, and I also won the heat, and I was pretty wicked excited. I couldn't even see the results because I'm so blind, so it just looked like a neon blob bleeding all over the black screen. Oh well. But I did win, and I was pretty excited, because there were 215 people swimming it and I came in 45th. Not exactly wonderful, but better than I expected.
And my other event, the 100, is tricky because technically it's a sprint, but you can't go all out like in the 50. So I paced myself and I cut off 2 seconds, as well as winning the heat again, which I was pretty pumped about.
Too good things about this: one, I won, and I have not felt this victorious in a long time, especially with college deferrals, and general misfortunes. It was just what I needed to keep pulling through.
And two, I started swimming when I was 13. 10 years before, I had a dreadful water experience, and I almost sort of drowned at my 3rd birthday party. So I vowed I would not go past the bottom step of the pool stairs until I was 16.
You can overcome fears, no matter how long it might take, and you can become great at something, and it doesn't have to take forever. You don;t have to start when you are born; you don't have to start the piano lessons at age 4, or begin learn-to-skate at age 3. Follow your heart and your ambitions, and don't listen to people who say your dive is bad. Because you can get better at it, and soon enough - wait for it - you will blow them all out of the water (ha ha - nice little pun right there; you didn't see that coming!)

16 December 2011

loved ones

The best part about today is that the research paper is complete! And even though everyone else is relieved and bragging about the vast amount of hours of sleep they will get this weekend, I have to be at school at 6 tomorrow for an all-day swim meet. These are the ones I don't look forward to because they basically are never ending, I always eat too many brownies because the swim team moms bring little brownies, and I never go to the bathroom because I'm strapped into a swim suit for about 12 hours. Oh well. I am swimming one of my favorite events ever, so I can share it with you tomorrow.
Ironically I am extremely energetic right now. I could probably run a mile and feel triumphantly glorious. But I won't do that right now.
So anyways, I always go on this wonderful website called Ragestache, which consists of ridiculous comics and they are extremely hysterical. They are usually satirical and they mock moments in the lives of teens, like being "forever alone" as well as other mishaps at school and in social life. But I saw one that was really nice and it was the main character, Derp, sitting eating dinner with his mother and he was thinking about how one day he won't have her and he would really miss her. So then he started tearing up and his mother said "what's wrong, Derp?" and he just said "I love you mom!"
It was fairly cheesy and ridiculous but it was pretty nice, because no one is ever going to be in your life forever, including your friends, so appreciate the wonderful people you have while you have them.

15 December 2011

another "i have something due tomorrow" post

Hello folks. Well it's 12:49, and I have been making progress with my research paper, which happens to be due tomorrow. I am so fabulous at procrastinating that I should be given an award for completing things with so little time to spare. But that's OK, I'll get it done, because I'm almost finished anyway.
But I'm not having as dreadful of a time as I imagined. For one thing, I have spread all my note cards all over the floor and made a giant mess. But that's exactly what I had to do to get it done. In school I would try and keep them in little piles, but now they are spread out and I can see each individual one perfectly and categorize them just so. Plus I would rather do it all now than a little at a time.
But anyways, I am blogging because I have gotten tired of analyzing Beloved and I am hoping that writing about something else with no boundaries or rules or formats will be soothing. And it is. Look at that - I just wrote a fragment. A nice little break. Well, time to get back to my good ole paper. And then math studying. Should I feel guilty for sleeping?

14 December 2011

good neighbors

Family can extend further than just those who are related to you by marriage or blood.
My family has been going through some difficulties since my sister's concussion, and it has been hard for everyone in their own way to deal with everything from doctor's appointments to missing school and the drama that lies in the interstices of it all.
Last night there was a neighborhood moms night out thing at this cute restaurant close to our house. But unfortunately my mom couldn't go for reasons I described above, so she had to miss out, even though all the hipster moms there are so fun and nice.

So today at the bus stop (I believe it was the bus stop at least), one of our neighbor's told my mom that they wanted to make us meals during the week, alternating people bringing the meals, and that they all talked about it and they were going to do it no matter what.
The cool thing is that we all did this when our neighbor had brain surgery, and it was a great way for the neighborhood to pitch in and really impact people.
But I couldn't believe our neighborhood would actually be so nice to take the time out and make us meals. It's not like they're going to Hallmark and getting the 99 cent card and throwing it in the mailbox. They are taking the time to do it. And that's the coolest thing. When our immediate family is so far away, it's great to know that we have a family right here in the neighborhood.

13 December 2011

phone angels

I have now written 350 posts, excluding this one.
So I had a story I was going to tell yesterday, but I was too overcome that I couldn't share it. It's a happy ending story, for once.
So as you might know, I lose things. Everything I have ever owned I have lost at least twice. And it appears that the most important things are the things that I lose (i.e. phone, permission slips, money, purses, etc.). 90% of the time I find it or get it back, but yesterday was different.
So I was sitting in AP Macro listening to the endless economic drivel and I pulled out my phone to check what time it was. But my phone wasn't there. Oddly enough, I wasn't freaking out because I remembered exactly where I had accidentally left it. So at the end of class I left and went back there to find it.
But it was gone.
And since it's a Blackberry Torch, and not a land line I stole from home or some 1995 model, I knew it would be something someone would steal. It was stolen and my whole life was over.
No worries, I thought. I'll just ask at the office. They showed me their cell phone pile that accumulates throughout the day. Not there. Then I went to the front office. They didn't have any phones. Instead they looked at me a little strangely for losing my phone - God forbid anyone brings a phone to school - and I made up a story that it fell out of my bag.
But anyways, not there. That was it. My whole life was over.
In a frantic panic, I emailed my dad from the school computers (it just so happens we were in the library anyway). But there was nothing he could do, so I just fought back tears and I thought about how I would pay for a new phone.
So I walked begrudgingly to art and told my sad tale when suddenly this girl in my art class and my first period class pulled my phone out of her bag and gave it to me. She said she knew someone would steal it, so she took it and, knowing she would see me again that day, saved it for me.
She saved the whole day! Well at least until I opened the mail yesterday!
Not everyone is like that in adulthood. And I was more than positive that someone had stolen it. But instead, a friend saved it so no one could steal it. What a person. And now my phone is safely next to me.
People can be really considerate. And I know that if that happened to someone else, I would turn it in or give it back to them, if I knew whose it was. But man, she saved me!

12 December 2011

the sun will rise again

Today was either going to be the best day ever or the worst.
And it wasn't the best day ever.
It was a rather crushing, devastating, disappointing, sad, lugubrious day. That's the type of day it was.
Because despite all my efforts, I was deferred from Georgetown. I didn't even have to read more than 5 words to tell from the dismal letter. There were no exclamation marks or balloons. Just a "sorry, but" and a few "thanks for your interest"s. So I fell into a depressed coma all day long and played sad music in my head, like really emotional Adele songs and dark John Mayer songs. I felt my energy draining away. For all the things that go wrong for our family and all the bad luck we have, there has to be something that will go right. But nope, not always. The cycle continues.
I know I still have another chance and I am not completely rejected, but I have lost all hope. Basically, I will not be going there next year. But the sad part is, if I just went and didn't need to apply, I would probably do fine, just like all the other folks going there.
But I'm not going.
I'm not going to pretend I'm not sad because I cried all day about it. And I'm not going to say that I regret doing anything I did. Because everything on the application was perfect, I thought.
But I don't have to say that I hope things will improve, because I know they will. The sun always comes out after it rains. No matter what, it will always reappear. There will always be something to make me smile or laugh after I cry.
I'm not going to brush it off, because it's devastating for someone to say "we're too good for you". But I realized after a few hours that the world isn't completely over, and if I want to continue with my life, I can. If I want to sit on the sidewalk and cry, I guess I can do that too for some time, but eventually I will want to come out into the light.
I don't know what they were contemplating when they put me in the slender business envelope pile, and I wish I could change it. I'm not going to force myself to be chipper tomorrow if I'm not, but I'll remember that life will keep going on - with or without me.
This post is for everyone who has ever been rejected by anyone or place - the sun will rise again, mes amis.

11 December 2011

I found this, and I thought it was worth sharing.

And I was going to write something about it. But I think sometimes things should be left for the reader to interpret. Happy Sunday readers!

10 December 2011

the answer to humanity's problems

Here is something I think everyone needs: understanding and empathy.
That's actually two things. But maybe it's one thing collectively.
I think the cause of every social problem in the world is caused because of a lack of understanding and empathy. It works on a macro and micro level.
For example, if you are going through something really hard, conflicts start when other people don't understand it, and they get impatient and annoyed. Friendships can disintegrate. People can stop trusting each other and relying on each other for support.
And wars all start because of a lack of understanding. Racism stems from it too. People don't understand how other people feel, even if what they feel might be irrational. And sometimes people don't want to step outside of their minds to accept what someone else is feeling. We don't really want to be open to new ideas. We just sort of want our ideas to be right, and even if we are wrong, we don't want to accept it.
The war of childhood - bullying - also starts with a lack of understanding. We only know what people tell us. That's it. And we sometimes we are bullied for what people think we are. No one can ever know everything about you, and they aren't supposed to. But bullying is when people don't understand, nor care, about what's really going on.
Try to have empathy and understanding for people, even if you can't quite understand. Just try to imagine yourself in a similar situation.

09 December 2011

the only ship that won't sink

This is the 19th post until the end. Can you believe I have less than 20 left? Pretty amazing.
SO this is going to be a short post because it's really late, but I got to Skype with my best friend in Massachusetts tonight with my sister and we had a fun time just talking and hanging out. And even though I haven't seen her in months, it's just like we saw each other yesterday. It's always so fun and low-key, and I'm so glad I have someone like that, someone who I can talk to about anything and have a good time with, even if we only see each other once a year. And of course, I have even more amazing friends like this here.
It's just comforting to know that even though we are thousands of miles apart, we are still so close - and perhaps even closer - now.
Good night folks!

PS - the title of the post is from a joke that my friend told me. It's more like a riddle: What is the only ship that can't sink? Friendship.

08 December 2011

we're all in this together

You can really get through anything with people around supporting you.
For some reason, my swim coach for the high school team decided to put us in events we never swim - or better yet, have never swam - tonight at the meet. And it just happens that I got the 2nd and 3rd most miserable events, and 2 relays. The 200 IM and the 100 butterfly. First of all, I don't swim butterfly because of my rotator cuff issues. I don't swim more than a 25 without being in pain. And I didn't swim it at all last year. At all. And then the 200 IM. 8 laps of everything. Pretty ridiculous. Every turn is scrutinized, and there are more than 15 ways to screw it up and get disqualified. So I was super duper happy when I looked at the heat sheet. But the relays were relatively easy, so it balanced. Not really.
So I swam the 200 IM and I came in 4th from 12 people, which I suppose is satisfactory for never swimming it before.
But the 100 butterfly, even though it was half of what I just swam, I knew I was going to drown. I started calling it the 100 drown. You don't normally see "Swimmer Drowns at Swim Meet" in the headlines, but I was pretty sure that was going to happen. I am sort of physically unable to swim that stroke.
But all the senior girls were put in that event, and a bunch of people were videoing it so we can laugh about it at a later date. And since we are always the biggest team, we were in a heat by ourselves. And we looked around at each other and just laughed, because even though we could try as hard as we wanted to, sometimes there is only so much we can do. But knowing that we were all in it together (High School Musical reference!) and that we were all supporting each other no matter what. We were all out of our element, so no one was going to do well, but it was about trying something new and having everyone support everyone. And that's what teams are all about.

By the way: 5th of about 20 in butterfly.

07 December 2011

what does it mean to be happy?

I have been thinking about the things that make people happy. But the key to being happy is not necessarily in certain things or items that you can get to make you happy. It's about experiences. And those priceless things - memories, spending time with people, life experiences, trips - are the things that bring us true joy.
So I have compiled some of my thoughts on this subject.
First is the optimist versus pessimist thing. Being optimistic does not mean you are happy all the time; it just means you have an idealistic view; you hope things will go well and you believe that you should focus on seeing the best in things. Pessimists assume the worst and are glad when good things happen. So in a way, optimists lose because they can be more disappointed than pessimists. But at the same time, pessimists may fail to see the little things in life that optimists do see. So it's not optimism versus pessimism; it's a balance of both.
Something else I have learned: sometimes, it's worse to regret not doing something than it is to regret doing it, especially when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Like when I was in Costa Rica, we were all jumping off this cliff with our clothes on, and while I didn't really want to at first, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't. I knew I probably would never do this again, so why not?
Life's about pushing yourself to go places new, see different things, stretch the parameters of your mind, and basically throw yourself into situations that you feel "out of your element" in. Life's about risks, and doing things you never thought you could do. And happiness comes in the pride you gain from doing different things and engaging in new experiences.

And to put it simply, do what you like to do. There's no point in being an orthodontist if you hate it, even if it does pay well. Find a true passion and follow it. And if your passion does not work out for you, would you rather fail trying or fail having done nothing about it?
And finally, surround yourself with friends and family. People who love you, and people you love. People who will be there to listen to you vent when you are really upset, people who will buy you an ice cream, people you can trust, people who you can have fun with. People you would do anything for in a heartbeat.
Not one thing on that little list was a material item. Not ironically, with such a heavy weight placed on materialism in this society, the futile pursuit of satiation of our endless wants often leaves us feeling depressed. Life is so much deeper than that. You just have to be willing to dig.

06 December 2011

living a life-ful life

Last year, when I was sitting in the yearbook room doing nothing (because yearbook is 10% rushing to get things done for a deadline that just popped up and 90% waiting around for something to happen), I randomly went onto the bone marrow donation website and I researched it because I want to donate bone marrow some day. I think it would be a really great way to save someone's life, and I don't have any of the thousands of health restrictions that prevent you from donating. However, I am not old enough yet.
And I was thinking that it would be cool if I could do it now, but then I forgot that I'm not 18. And then I sort of wished I was 18. But then I took it back, because I will be older than 18 for a long time, but I won't be 17 forever. And instead of wishing for time to pass, enjoy it and let the good times roll. Time will pass anyway; why wait in agony? You will always get older, there is never trouble in that. But you will never get the younger years back. Enjoy whatever age you are right now, and live it to the fullest. Dance crazy, sing loudly, and surround yourself with friends and family. Live a life-ful life. Do things that make you feel good and young. Face the hardships bravely, and if you don't come out triumphantly, don't fall so low that you can't get back up again. Life will always be going by. The question is, are you going to let it pass you by, or will you chase each fleeting moment with vigor?

05 December 2011

humanity's oldest institution

Guess what? Remember when I went to the Aviva USA website and I ordered a Youmanity token? Well it came today! It's basically a little token that you register online with the code on the token, and then you do a random act of kindness for someone and given them the token. And because it is registered online, you can then track your token and see where it travels to around the world. So when the time is right, I will pass my token along to someone.
But also, I went to my sister's band concert today - the only type of concert I have actually been too, unfortunately - but it was really all of the bands in the whole school.
Regardless, it was a concert, and it was really quit impressive, especially the hard core wind ensemble that played "Sleigh Ride" at the end, and I swear it sounded so much like the Boston Pops I literally thought that it was them. My mom said it was like a recording of the Pops. Pretty cool.
But one of the reasons I love music education and arts education is because those two things are the oldest institutions in humanity. People, and their earliest ancestors, have been making art and music since before Homo sapiens was even a species. And today, while it is much more refined and technologically-oriented, the principle of music is the same. It's and expression of life and emotion, and it's so cool that we still have that connection to our past.

04 December 2011

i'm a kid and proud of it

I don't really understand why people are all into being an adult. Because being an adult doesn't seem nearly as fun as being a kid.
Today we went to the country club for this nice Christmas brunch and ornament-making. And Santa was there as well.
I was probably the only 17 year old at this brunch, and I was definitely the only one going to see Santa as well.
But you know what? Who puts age limits on fun? I think that kids have the most fun on Christmas because they are captivated by the magic and happiness of Christmas, while teenagers sort of grow out of those things. And just because you are not in elementary school anymore doesn't mean you can't enjoy things like Easter egg hunts, Halloween trick or treating, and Santa, the way you did when you were a kid.
At this rate, I'll probably be trick or treating until I am at least 35. And I will never deny myself the joy that comes from childhood wonders.
I guess people think it is too cool to engage in childish activities that will make you seem like a fool. But you shouldn't listen to what other people think if it makes you happy.

03 December 2011

friendship garden

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher" ~ Oprah Winfrey
I have heard this quote a bunch of times. Evidently I like this quote a lot.
Life is too short to bother with those who drag you down. And life is too fragile and beautiful to endanger. Much like a garden. There are many beautiful flowers in a garden, like good friends and family, but sometimes there are pests and weeds that can ruin your garden.
And you simply have to remove these pests so that they do not take over your life and rule over you. You just have to free yourself from them.
While sometimes we don't plant weeds or invite pests into our gardens, we can change them so that the sun only shines on the good in life.
Oprah really knows how it is.

02 December 2011

tis the season

Today we went out for frozen yogurt (actually just the samples for free) and there were a whole bunch of people there, as well as a keyboard and microphones. Then we saw a girl with a guitar. It was like an open mic night sort of thing, and the two people playing were teenagers, probably about my age or younger.
One of them sang a Christmas song and played the guitar. I didn't know the song, but the girl was really good. Better than some "professional" singers when they sing live. And she played and sung at once. The other girl sang and played the keyboard, and it was one of my favorite songs that I know by heart - "Like A Star" by Corinne Bailey Rae. And she sung it just like it was sung in the song. It sounded very good, especially for someone so young.
Their parents were there, as well as basically everyone who worked there and some other frozen yogurt goers. But it was so cool to see some people who are my age - people you go to school with, people you see in the mall - performing in public. I don't know how I would do performing like that in public, and they handled it really well.
That's one of the things I love about the Chirstmas season; everyone sort of comes together and does fun things as a family and community.

01 December 2011

the power of being nice

Some people think the only way to be happy in life is to be domineering, imperious, and annoying. Stepping on people, being backstabbing, and manipulating people is a way to get things done, sort of. But there are other ways to be happy. Like being nice. Being nice is not only good because it makes you feel good, but because you're making someone else feel special too.
Remember a few days ago - maybe it was a week ago - when I got a letter back from that solider in Afghanistan? Well I emailed the teacher at school, because it's her son. Mostly I did it because in the letter, he said that if I see her in the hallways at school, just to let her know that he is doing alright. And if a soldier fighting for my safety and the safety of other people in America and Afghanistan is asking me to do something, nothing will keep me from doing it. So I emailed her, because I've never had her before and she doesn't know me at all. It would be an awkward encounter, I could envision it now, if I waltzed in and randomly started talking about it to her in person. Email is good.
So I got a reply this morning when I went to the computers in the classroom and she said that my email "made her day". And I smiled and felt warm and fuzzy inside. Everyone probably wondered why I was sitting on the chair beaming at the computer, but that's cool. She said the holidays can be really hard without him there, but that she's happy that there are people who really do appreciate what he and thousands of other men and women are doing abroad to serve the country.
And I made someone's day. How special is that, to know that you made an impact in someone else's life and that they really appreciated it? It makes you feel more wanted and less lonely. The power of niceness!