NOTE: This post was originally scheduled for February 14th, 2018. I was, however, bombarded with work and apparently decided to get sick.
Valentine’s Day became a somber event for the paternal side of my family and myself a few years ago.
My cousin, David, took his life when he was just eighteen years old.
I hadn’t seen him since I was six and I will never get the opportunity to see him again.
Although I wasn’t able to get to know who he had become since I last saw him, I’m able to discover what he loved and was passionate about through my uncle’s blog dedicated to him.
It turns out that David and I actually had a few things in common.
We both shared a love for literature (poetry for him specifically) and the arts in general, as well as aspired to one day live and study in New York (clearly I put that goal on hold). Those are just to name a few.
Knowing that he and I shared something, no matter how trivial it may seem, it’s given me a way of connecting with David despite him being gone.
Most people tend to associate Valentine’s Day with purely romantic love. I’ve learned, however, that love comes in so many forms. One of them being familial.
Thus I will always cherish this day as both a celebration of love and of the life my cousin had led as well as everything that was dear to him.
I would also like to mention that 2018 has had 30 mass shootings thus far already.
Please, please try to give love to all rather than actively creating and seeking violence.
Please pray for Florida and make sure to let all your loved ones know that they are indeed unconditionally loved.
One of the hardest things about leaving for university is saying goodbye to the friends you’ve known for the past four years.
But by now it’s not just the friends at home you miss, but the ones you’ve now made at university/college.
I found that while I was home I missed my college friends.
And now that I’m back at school I miss my friends from home.
As a kid who moved around a lot, saying “Goodbye” is a guaranteed thing to do.
I can’t say that I’ve become accustomed to farewells, but rather having a friend for a few months or so before heading off to a new year. But even when I finally settled down at age 10, I realized that not all friendships will last or are meant to.
Over time you learn that there are different types of friendships you’ll have in your lifetime.
For me, I’ve had: acquaintances, the ones you talk to (and probably only) in class, friend-of-a-friend friends, the ones you can live with not communicating with for a long time but still be friendly with, the snakes, the ones you tolerate, the ones who tolerate you, and, of course, true friends.
Much to your chagrin, you’ve probably encountered many snakes or may have (unfortunately) been one without realizing it.
Snakes are the friends in sheep’s clothing that take a bite out of you whenever they please. They are the ones who stab you in the back and/or are the ones who become sour when a friendship is over.
If we are all being honest, no one is eternally immune from being petty or bitchy at some point in there life. You lash out when you feel you’ve been wronged, which, I think we can all agree, happens a lot. Or perhaps you do so because you’re hurt or feel just incredibly awkward about the whole ordeal.
Regardless of the reasoning, I’ve learned that I can sometime be a snake when I feel any of those things. I realized that I need to be better at being the better person, regardless of how the ex-friend may be acting themselves.
Sometimes you find yourself being friends with someone just for the sake of having a friend. I’ve found myself in a few friendships in the past wherein I had nothing in common with the other person, did not even genuinely like that person, and/or was a friend because they were a friend-of-a-friend.
And I’m sure that I was on the receiving end in some friendships too.
So why do we spend time with people we aren’t true friends with?
Why are we friends for the sake of having a friend?
There is probably more than one answer, but I’ll let you ponder on that for yourself.
Now I put the last one as “true” rather than “best” for a reason.
I’ve come to learn that you may not have just one best friend, but perhaps a few or even a small group. Therefore “best” doesn’t really fit anymore (at least not for me), and thus I instead call them true friends. The ones you genuinely miss and turn to when anything insane happens around or towards you.
They are the ones you actually enjoy being with for the sake of their presence and will stay regardless of what others say about you (because hopefully they know you better).
I will most definitely miss my family, my friends, and my sleeping time.
But I’m excited to see my university friends and order Chinese food at a Godforsaken hour, listen to Martha’s country playlist or Taylor Swift’s reputation album, make late night runs to the Shell gas station across the street, have throwback movie nights, go to UD’s weekly Thursday themed parties, as well as make pancakes and hot chocolate on Sunday mornings.
We have had some of the worst hurricanes in history, faced the most tumultuous presidential election in America thus far, and face an onslaught of hate for anything or anyone that’s different. And that’s not even all of it.
But where there is darkness there is also light not far behind.
Whether it’s the momentous moments, such as the Astros winning post Harvey or the “Nevertheless, She Persisted” movement, or seemingly small ones, like the graduation of the 2017 students, all of them should be celebrated. Especially when everything else seems so bleak.
On a more personal note, 2017 is extremely important to me for many reasons.
It’s the year I graduated high school, the year I started university, and the year I became a legal adult.
With that came many goodbyes, reunions, and beginnings. All of the best kind.
Goodbyes that aren’t “forever,” but rather “for now.”
Reunions that celebrate who we once were and who we’ve become so far.
As well as beginnings that inspire us to look forward to and achieve whatever we set out mind on.
As a female, Asian immigrant, 2017 has been disheartening given who America elected for president.
It’s not just because the candidate I was rooting for, who yes happened to be female, lost the presidential election. It was the fact that the country I am living in, and have been for the past seven years, elected a president who insults and degrades everything that I am.
It was discouraging to think that I was basically unwelcome in the country that I’ve basically called home for a big portion of my life.
I have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
I hope the People understand that acceptance and respect is something that everyone deserves regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. In so many aspects we have progressed in terms of equality, like suffrage and just outright freedom. Yet we also have so much farther to go, like the gender pay gap and general courtesy for other human beings.
While I’m fully aware of the racism and sexism that prevails even to this day, and have been victim to it, I truly hope that somehow and in someway we can all rise above the hate and become better than we have ever been in the past.
I have thick skin for what bad things may come my way, but I will also work towards making the world a place wherein everyone is respected for who they are and what they believe.
Regardless of how you feel about 2017, we can all agree that it is a memorable year.
And while it’s important to reflect upon past years, it’s vital that we all also look to the future and work towards making it a better and brighter one.
One of the things that mark the beginning of adulthood is, in my opinion, the ability to find and purchase Christmas presents for your loved ones. So it’s not just figuring out what they want and where to buy them, but it’s also about the money coming out of your own pocket.
Initially you don’t really feel it. You just spend and spend and spend and get caught up in the fun of it. Everywhere you turn you see something that is perfect for somebody you know. Did they want it? Probably not. Do they need it? Nope.
And then you feel how light your wallet is while waiting in line and you think, “Oh s**t!”
This year I got some pretty cool gifts if I may say so myself.
And I have.
The person who has always been a struggle getting gifts for is my stepbrother, Gabriel. Usually he says “I don’t know” or nothing at all so we’re left guessing. Hopefully I’ll figure something out. Preferably before Christmas Eve.
I’m incredibly excited about reuniting with the majority of my high school squad this Christmas too. Every Christmas we have a Secret Santa party and everyone of us receives a gift from another in our group.
We also have this major group chat on FaceBook messenger where we tell our Secret Santa what we like, what we don’t like, what we’d like to have, and other stuff like that. Usually it helps but by now we know each other well enough to know what we might like.
I’m probably more excited about seeing everybody again than the actual receiving of gifts. Not that I’d turn it away either though.
Regardless of what you manage to get for others and from them to you, all gifts are pretty awesome given that someone took the time to find something.
This Christmas will mark my first one as a university student.
This year was the first time I hadn’t gone with my parent to pick out a tree, we are pretty late in decorating our home for Christmas, and, of course, I spent most of the weeks leading up to the holiday with my friends instead of my family.
Some things, however, stay the same.
I watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on replay, drink tons of hot chocolate, decorate the tree and give it a name.
My friends and I have managed to start some new Christmas traditions of our own at the University of Dallas.
We have mini parties making and decorating cookies and then dunking them in a nice, hot mug of hot chocolate. We also go all out in terms of decorating our dorm rooms and doors. My roommate, Sarah, hung tons of snowflakes in our room and put at least five mini trees around the dorm room. She also put small Christmas inspired plates filled with candy for anyone to take who visits us in our dorm.
Sarah and our friend, Joanna, had a little competition for who has the best Christmas decorated door. Funny enough they ended up having the same concept for what they wanted the doors to look like: a fireplace with stockings we decorated ourselves as well.
We can go from having a fun, ugly Christmas sweater party dancing along to catchy Christmas songs to watching Christmas movies in our room eating pizza. I probably watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas seven times in the past two weeks. I also watched Fred Claus and The Polar Express intermittently.
As a kid who has had to move multiple times, any traditions that I have in my life is incredibly important. But with that, as well as just being a human being, also comes a capacity to accept change.
Change isn’t always bad. And while I’ll miss how the weeks leading up to Christmas used to be, I also fully embrace any and all new things that come my way.
It is officially Finals Week at the University of Dallas.
And it is absolute Hell.
First of all I’ve been sick since last Wednesday! I’m still not completely well, but I’m much better considering I’m no longer coughing so hard I almost throw up.
Yeah, not so great.
And of course it had to happen right before my final exams.
It was so bad I that I wasn’t able to have a decent night of sleep for days. I also managed to finish a whole bottle of Robitussin in less than a week. I had another one but by then I was feeling so much better. Plus two of friends started getting sick and finished it all in three days. #TRUEFRIENDSHIP #SICKFRIENDSSTICKTOGETHER
Today I had my Psychology exam and then my Italian exam.
On Saturday I have my two hardest subjects: Literary Traditions I (basically English I) and Philosophy (specifically about the ethical life). My Lit. Trad. exam basically covers The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It’s supposed to encompass tons of stuff, but the scariest portion of it are the quotes. They literally all sound the same to me even though I read them all! And then there’s Philosophy. It’s my worst subject. It covers two of the philosophers I’ve learned: Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. The majority of the exam is an oral one. There are 45 questions to memorize on the off chance that my professor asks 5 to 10 of them. The rest of the exam is an essay that I literally wrote a day before it was due.
Sunday is my only day off.
Next Monday I have Euclidean/Non-euclidean Geometry. Yay.
But after that I get to go home for a whole month! I can’t wait to be home with my Momma Bear. And then there’s Christmas!!!
Side note: A huge thank you to Ettika for the gorgeous necklace (pictured below).
It’s absolutely stunning!
My first semester in college has flown by so quickly!
It honestly feels like it was yesterday I was moving into my dorm.
While there are some classes I’ll miss because of the pretty cool people I’ve met, I’m also excited for my second semester classes.
So good luck to every student out there who’s suffering too!
This past week has been Charity Week at the University of Dallas.
There have been ton of events and activities held throughout the week wherein the money has been raised for a children’s foundation in Houston, Texas. Whoot, whoot!
There was a dancethon, a 5K marathon, a male auction, and tons of mini booths that vary every other day.
On Monday night there was a Lip Sync Battle inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s famous skit.
There was a rock and roll band, an Elsa impersonator, a Single Ladies performance (by a guy), Lizzie McGuire’s What Dreams Are Made Of, and a node to Hannah Montana.
It was most definitely an interesting way of ending a Monday.
There is also this thing called “Jail.”
It’s literally a wooden jail made by UD people that was painted to look like there was a Kraken within.
Basically for every dollar donated, a person can be “jailed” for a certain amount of hours. It can be students and/or professors. Professors are also given the opportunity to go to the Faculty Jail, which is basically a few feet away with drinks and snacks.
The first person I helped put in jail was my Literary Traditions I professor. He didn’t even bring his stuff because he knew it was coming.
Classes can be cancelled by throwing professors in jail if every student in class donated a dollar. It’s literally a “We’re all in this together” moment. Students are also supposed to escort their professor to the jail.
When my class got there, there was a history class that was explaining why there professor was being put into jail: early morning class, homework, papers, etc. The professors were clearly amused as they booed the student talking.
I also helped put my Philosophy and the Ethical Life professor, whose a nun.
And no, I had no remorse for putting a nun in jail.
Only seven people from my class showed up to find a letter and no professor.
She apparently decided to hide from us but left us hints as to where she was. We found her eventually in the Art Village but dang, I sweat a lot that morning.
My Euclidean/Non-euclidean Geometry professor had a similar idea.
He showed up but handed out a worksheet we had to figure out. It was a set of statement with corresponding numbers that we had to figure out. Once we determined a number, we had to text our professor the number in exchange for his location.
Apparently we were too fast.
He wanted to grade our midterm exams but never got around to it.
Boom! *insert mic drop*
The last professor I put in jail was my Italian I professor.
I almost felt bad for him because he’s always in a suit and the jail is outside in the Texas heat. Almost.
Apparently there was also another Italian professor who in revenge for being jailed, she in turn jailed all her students. Damn.
Cistercian monks at my school also try to escape the jail every year by running away or breaking out. They’re very dedicated.
There was also someone who payed a two hundred dollars to jail two hundred random people who pass by the jail. Both genius and frightening.
Anyways, I hope next year’s Charity Week is just as fun as this years.
I literally look back on the past month or so and think “What the hell have I been learning?” Have no fear momma, I somewhat know what I need to do.
I have five classes total.
There’s Euclidean/Non-Euclidean Geometry, whose midterm I’m having on Wednesday (God bless my soul). It’s not hard but it’s easy to fail too. Comforting.
Then there’s Foundations of Psychology as a Human Science whose midterm is sometime this week.
And the Italian I on Friday, which compared to my other classes should be okay.
Then I’ve got Literary Traditions I which is sometime soon too, I think.
And finally, there’s Philosophy and the Ethical Life which is on either Wednesday or Friday. It’s an oral exam that is about 20 minutes long and concerning Plato’s Republic. You people better pray for me ’cause I’m going to need it.
So that’s my schedule for next week.
But on the bright side I get to go home that weekend. 🙂
There are two things I’m excited about: my momma and her cooking.
Not gonna lie, I need my momma’s food like my granny does with her lipsticks and hair dye (I love you, Granny!).
I hope everyone has a great week and good luck to everyone on their midterms.
But I thought maybe I’d give Summer a proper goodbye, considering I returned from Italy two days before moving into my dorm and was considerably too jet lagged to let the reality of it sink in.
My summer has been filled with reunions and goodbyes of the best kind.
From a twelve year reunion in Singapore, to having a blast with my maternal grandparents in Malaysia, to meeting up with old friends while making new ones in Italy, and finally saying goodbye to the squad I’ve been a part of throughout most of my high school years in Houston.
I think that’s the most I’ve traveled. Ever.
Especially in such a short amount of time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but hella exhausting.
This past summer has definitely been the best so far.
Despite all the tears that went into saying my goodbyes I wouldn’t change a thing, and I now go forth into my college career excited and semi-anxious.
I did not need to miss my parents during my first week of university as Labor Day Weekend was right after it.
A couple of hours after class I took packed all my things and headed to the airport in an Uber. It was kind of stressful considering the multiple entrances this campus has. I, however, treated myself to McDonald’s and some Auntie Anne pretzel bites at the airport for getting myself to the airport in one piece.
We spent the majority of the weekend on our super comfy couch, all snuggled up in a fuzzy blue blanket, catching up with the tv series Suits and So You Think You Can Dance (Go Lex!). With the occasional kolache and Whataburger.
I also wanted to give a shout out to my father who bought me this dress.
And great for twirling.
The plane ride back from Houston was awesome.
It was my first time ever in first class and even though it was barely an hour long, it was very enjoyable.
It’s not just that the seats are wider, or that there’s more leg room, or that there’s more arm space, or that there’s even a coat hanger. The stewardess came to us a few minutes after takeoff, paper and pen in hand, to order our drinks. I think it was the first time ever that I’ve been served Sprite in a glass on an airplane. And we even got snacks! Normally on these short flights they don’t serve you, but I guess first class gets them anyway. I had the most delicious, aside from my mother’s of course, thin chocolate chip cookies ever.
Basically I could get used to first class.
The cab ride back, however, was not as pleasant.
Despite telling the cab driver twice to go to the University of Dallas NOT the University of Texas in Dallas, he took me there anyway. Which OF COURSE was in the opposite direction from my own school. It normally takes about 14 minutes to get to UD from the airport and vice versa. However, it took about 20 minutes to get to UT from the airport and another 20 minutes to go to the correct university. Which I may have been okay with if it weren’t for the fact that I was congested, had a headache, and was starving.
Not a great combo.
I ended the night with watching a Kevin Hart film while eating mini burgers my mother packed for me beforehand. And watching Horton Hears A Who!