Transparency

Lying. Deception. Dodging the truth.

I’m going to preface this by saying that on the moral scale of 1 to 10, I probably rank at like, a 7. Yeah, I don’t have the most morals. In fact, sometimes I think life is easier without morals. It probably is. And sometimes, l think lying can be justified. Lying can even be beneficial, to propel yourself forward in society.

I’ve never actually brought myself to the point of lying. Not really, unless you count the white lies (and even then I usually don’t sugarcoat the truth…). Sometimes, I hate myself for being honest. It sucks. It means suffering from the consequences that I could’ve avoided if I’d just told a lie.

But when I consider the other side of things–the receiving end of the lie or truth–I realize how much I do value a person’s transparency. If my sister, best friend, teacher, or parent lied to me, I would feel deceived, cheated. If they dodged the truth and gave me something like “…because reasons,” I wouldn’t feel curious… I would feel annoyed. If the event/truth affects me directly, don’t I have a right to know? Why can’t they tell me? What are they trying to hide? I understand personal reasons, but what is so bad that you cannot let me know? It’s one thing if the person is a stranger… it’s another if it’s a person I respect.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I value honesty. Especially from those I love and respect. And for that reason, no matter how hard it is, I think I’ll stick with the telling truths.

2014 is the year I…

source: weheartit.com

source: weheartit.com

  • … took the most selfies, ever,
  • visited Washington DC to attend a medical conference,
  • survived “Snow-pocalypse.” And two hours of traffic for a 15 min. drive,
  • turned seventeen,
  • made it in the Georgia All State Orchestra,
  • started living on coffee,
  • connected with both of my sisters–and gotten a lot closer to them,
  • went to New York City to perform with the best orchestra in the entire world,
  • started my senior year,
  • published a book,
  • started this blog,
  • competed in a 36-hour math modeling competition with my best friend,
  • ran in my last cross country season,
  • dressed as a negative charge for Halloween,
  • burned play-doh in physics class,
  • completed my second NaNoWriMo,
  • got deferred by Harvard,
  • bought a Macbook pro (and loving it!),
  • learned calligraphy,
  • applied to sixteen universities,
  • made memories, and
  • truly embraced myself,

In 2014, I took a lot of risks. I failed a lot–more than I care to admit. But somehow I got past all of that and the insecurities kind of fell away. The lessons I learned, friends I made, and the memories created along the way are priceless.

I spent a lot of 2014 alone. Not alone in the sense that “all my friends and family ditched me,” but I definitely had to figure a lot of things out for myself and make decisions that my friends and family can not make for me. I used to care a lot (too much!!) about others’ perceptions of me, and I almost had a feeling that I absolutely needed my friends. 2014 was the year that I started becoming independent. And gained confidence because of that.

But if you’re in any part of my life, my 2014 was great because of you. Whether you’re my friend, cross country teammate, orchestra section, family, or just a follower of this blog… you helped me create these memories. So that was my year, and here’s to an even better one! Love you all!

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Christmas Funnies!

“I really want to talk to my best friend!”

Strangely? That was the first thought I had this morning. I’ve been missing him by about ten minutes each time he popped online, and since he was spending Christmas in Portland and the time difference/his lack of a phone/rare wifi, I haven’t talked to him at all since school ended. We left each other messages on Skype, but getting to talk to him for about five minutes today was nice. But basically, he shared this comic with me, which I thought was funny:

Anyways, I hope everyone had their share of Christmas happiness, and if you don’t celebrate it, I still hope you had an awesome day. (: Have a safe and happy rest of the day, where ever you are!

I’m off to write and play with the calligraphy set my little sister bought me!

Christmas!

image creds to Liza Charlesworth

It’s the first day of Christmas vacation, and before I hop on to viola practice and this short story commission that I desperately need to turn in (ugh, thinking about my day is stressful lol), I wanted to blog about Christmas! (as the title might suggest) I was inspired by blog posts about reindeer food and painted plates for Santa’s cookies, which led me to a thought of “hey, I don’t think we ever did that in my family.”

My memories of Christmas is very limited. Growing up in Taiwan, not many people actually celebrated Christmas–well, they did, but it was more for mere celebration and gift giving than actually celebrating the birth of Christ. Fun fact? Though December 25th is an unofficial holiday, it is actually supposed to be Taiwan’s Constitution Day–not Christmas.

When I was growing up, I went to one of those English-speaking preschools, and that was my first taste of American culture. We learned about Santa, learned a few Christmas songs, did a gift exchange, and even put on a Christmas show for our parents. There were no reindeers or cookies or even elves, though, and that was something that was quite popular amongst American children–but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Looking back, my parents really tried making Santa a reality. Foster the imagination of a 5-year-old, I guess. But that never worked for me. Somehow, I always knew my parents were behind the stuffed animal or the craft material under the tree.  Once, after learning the Up on the Housetop song at school, I went back home and asked my parents how Santa would come to our house because we didn’t have a chimney or a fireplace (we lived on the eighth floor of an apartment building). My dad’s response?

“He’ll come through the toilet, of course!”

Okay, he tried. You have to give him that. Looking back, his response was hilarious–but I think that was about when I realized that Santa is entirely my parents.

When I moved to America and experienced my first Christmas here, I was 10. Every kid, somehow, had an elf, and my sister made reindeer food at school, and I was so confused. I had already established the fact that my parents were Santa, and I told the other kids that, but they insisted that elves were real, Santa was real, and reindeers were real. So for about a few days, I started believing again (I was quite gullible back in fourth grade), but my parents didn’t play along since 10 is really kind of old to be believing in Santa (in my opinion, anyways), so I let that go, too.

I didn’t tell my sisters until about two years later that it was mom and dad. (achievement unlocked! for keeping a secret! and being a good sibling!) I stuffed their stockings and ate their cookies and got rid of some of their reindeer food that it looked like reindeer really came through, haha.

And now? Christmas is a pretty small thing at my house, and for us, Christmas is just a time for family to be together. We set up a tree after Thanksgiving, but we don’t really go out of our way to get each other gifts (it’s one of those, “it’s cool if you did, but if not, that’s totally fine” kind of thing), and we spend the day hanging out or watching a movie and then finishing the day by going to a Chinese restaurant (which are usually open on Christmas day). And that’s it, Christmas is over! In some ways, I do love how simple it is for my family. It’s never stressful, and it’s one of the few days in a year when we simply drop everything and spend it together. It’s quite special.

So there you have it! Christmas and how it’s celebrated in my family. How do you guys celebrate it? (:

Decisions, Decisions

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(Yes, I know I’ve been neglecting my blog…)

Hello All.

If you happen to be a senior in high school this year (or a senior applying to college, ever), you may know what it’s like to apply to college: the essay writing, the waiting, and then, oh god, the decision date.

I haven’t publicly broadcasted this on the internet, but tomorrow, I will be receiving a decision from Harvard. It’s not the only university I applied to (or will be applying to), but it’s one of the three schools I’ve applied to during the Early Action round (the other two being the University of GA and Georgia Institute of Technology). I’ll be hearing from the rest of the universities (a list containing many more schools that I’m not going to list out here, haha) in March, when Regular Decision results come out. And since I’ve been feeling pretty anxious and this has been… a nerve-wracking week to say the least, I’m just going to write about it. God knows my parents don’t want to hear me talk about this anymore.

I don’t remember when I started to want to go to Harvard, but I’ve had this idea early on. Probably around the age of 13 or 14 is when I started wanting to go to the most prestigious school in America. My parents moved to the United States for me to get a good education… and I don’t know, when I think “good education,” Harvard definitely comes to mind. So I applied. Harvard seems closer now to me than it had been. But also farther. For the first time in my life, I have a chance of being accepted and going to the school, but for the first time in my life, there’s a chance that all my hopes of going to that university will be crushed (for a while at least, I know I’ll still have grad school).

The application process was a blur now, but I remember lying in bed and thinking, for hours and hours: is my application adequate? Are my essays good? Are my extra curricular activities balanced?

I’ve managed to put everything aside for a while and apply to other universities (Emory, Georgia Tech, Washington University in St. Louis, and several other Ivies are among the list), but now that decisions are finally coming, it’s like reality just hit, and I’ve got all sorts of feelings I can’t even begin to comprehend. Is it excitement, nervousness, anxiety…? Moreover, what will hold for me in that email that will be sent tomorrow at 5:00pm?

Regardless, my fate is sealed. My name is in the system, somewhere, along with the words “Congratulations” or “We regret to inform you” (is that how they reject applicants?). Worrying won’t change anything.

I want to imagine myself at Harvard. I want to imagine myself getting that acceptance letter. But it feels so wrong (too arrogant? too cocky?), and in a way, it feels like I’m “jinxing” myself (I’m not superstitious, I promise). On the other hand, it also feels wrong to imagine myself denied: I’ve worked so hard the last four years, and I will continue to work hard… (so please please please, Harvard (and all other universities), can you see that?) so I don’t want to be negative, and I want to believe in myself. I know by imagining myself denied, I’m not giving myself enough credit.

One thing that is (slightly) comforting, though, is that I’ve lived my last four years the best I could. I’ve done everything right, from my test scores to my class choices to extracurricular activities and to publishing my book. I have no regrets. And if Harvard rejects me tomorrow, I’ll know that I tried, and the system was just not in my favor. I also know that whether they take me or not does not define me as a person. Failure is a part of life, and all I need to do is make something positive out of it. I can’t make this promise that I won’t be disappointed or sad… but I think that is the mindset and the thoughts I need to keep in mind should a rejection come my way.

On a lighter note, my game plan for decision day and the subsequent ones (approved by my literature teacher and best friend) involve tons of chocolate. If I get accepted, I eat chocolate. If I get denied, I eat more chocolate. I can’t lose. ;)

For those of you who applied Early Action to Duke, Stanford, UPenn, MIT… your decisions are coming out soon too! I wish you all good luck; I will certainly be crossing all my fingers for you. But for now, all we can do is prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I will write soon!