goodbye august

summer

dizzying up the merry-go-around world

revolving in giddy spirals

suffocating you with its warmth

like a girl’s first kiss

killing inhibitions

the vibration of a guitar string

smoke in the air

breathless, she laughs

but it sounds like a shriek

lost amidst the deafening cacophony of the crowd

youth filling her lungs

melting her mind

as he pulls her in

as he pulls her under

and she feels herself drown in the salt water

stinging her eyes

but she still laughs

like she’s invincible

like it’s all a game

oh, to be young forever

she begs

her pleads are swept away by the autumn wind

dried-up leaves falling on her premature grave

Who has time to reread?

Response to this prompt from The Daily Post: Off the Shelf

Bookshelf

With an overflowing list of books that I still need to read (Anyone still finishing the Lord of the Rings series?), plus new bestsellers rolling out each day- seriously- who has time to reread? Well, I have a few confessions. I’m probably the only teenage girl who hasn’t yet read The Fault in Our Stars and hasn’t even started the Divergent series. I still don’t know the ending to the Hunger Games series since I haven’t finished Mockingjay yet. (Although I promised myself I’d read it before watching the movie.) I just honestly haven’t had enough time to devour all the literature that comes my way.

And yet…each time I walk past my bookshelf I get this funny feeling. The books that I’ve already read, some that I’ve already reread four or five or ten times, beckon me. That alluring familiar cover of an old book draws me in. I reach out, pick it up, flip through the pages, contemplate it. It’s been a couple of months…I’ve forgotten the plot…maybe I should give it another go… And then I can’t resist any longer. I stop everything I’m doing, forget that ever-growing list of new books I need to tackle, and curl up in a corner to read the entire Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time. Why is that? Why do we do that? Is it nostalgia? Do we do it to relive our childhood, to feel that same sense of wonder from all those years ago? Or maybe we reread to catch something we didn’t catch the first time? Or maybe it’s that smug satisfaction of already knowing how it all ends.

Whatever it is, I’ll admit I am drawn to my old books, the ones I enjoyed before being swept away by the whirlwind of chaos that is high school. (OK, I dramatize.) Yes, my Harry Potter novels sit side-by-side invitingly, but there are others as well. One of my old favorite children’s books was The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. It’s got that sweet mix of humor and a historical setting with a hint of homespun Texas charm. The writing is childlike yet unique and brilliant; the characters both hilarious and lovable. Yes, this certainly makes for a tempting revisit to my past.

calpurnia

But then my finger finds it’s way to a thick black book, tracing the spine of it lovingly. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas made for a compelling read in my tenth grade English class, one of the assigned readings that I’d actually fallen in love with. There’s adventure and romance and everything you could ever want in a classic novel, even if it is over a thousand pages long. The thing is, when I read it about a year and a half ago, I read it in blocks and chunks, stopping often to make an annotation here or highlight something there. The second time around, I just want to sit back and enjoy it. I know I will return to it again someday, but I might have to wait another year to find the time to finish the entire thing.

9781435137660_p0_v1_s260x420

My final reread choice would be the beloved The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The truth is, I’ve already reread this at least once. But ever since my friends insisted I watch the BBC Sherlock series and I ended up toppling headfirst into the bottomless pit of screaming fangirls and insane Reichenbach Fall theories, I’ve wanted to return to the stories that started it all. I know the scriptwriters of the TV series, the infamous Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, often allude to the original Sherlock Holmes books. I want to see if I can pick up a clue as to how Sherlock may have faked his death and what will happen next to our favorite British hero. Besides, the original stories are just as exciting as the modern makeover, and I can’t wait to rediscover the reason why I loved Sherlock Holmes in the first place.

readers-digest-adventures-of-holmes

I have to stop now; my books are calling me again. Time to find a comfy spot to curl up with a cup of tea and an old companion.

College Interview Questions

Job interview

With college applications hovering over me like a storm cloud of suspense, it’s probably a good idea for me to get a head start on preparing myself. In fact, my very first college interview is this week (hardly a head start), so I decided to get some practice thinking about common interview questions before I stumble around and give those cliché answers that only high school students can come up with. (Um…I’m a good student. I’m responsible. I promise.) I tried to leave out the boring academic stuff and answer the questions that will really let you get to know about me. So without further ado, I give you my typed-up answers to some college interview questions:

Tell me about yourself. (By the way, I hate this question. It’s vague, boring and thought-provoking in all the wrong ways. And yet you’re sure that this will always be the first question in any interview.) I’m a rising senior who’s on the International Baccalaureate diploma program. I’m active in choir, volunteer work, and French Club, and my passions are literature, music, and history. But aside from the basics, I’m the kind of perfectionist who craves creativity. Sometimes, school doesn’t really promote that sort of spontaneous inspiration- it’s focused more on memorization and standardization- but I try my best to infuse all my school projects and assignments with a little originality. I hate boring. I always need an outlet for my ideas.

Who in your life has most influenced you? Of course, my parents have bestowed upon me their own cultures and beliefs and lessons that they’ve learned from life. They’re the ones who’ve really encouraged me to pursue my passions and cared about my education. However, there is one girl who’s really inspired me ever since she was mentioned in my eighth grade English class. Her name was Rachel Joy Scott and she was a victim of the 1999 Columbine High shooting, but what made her special was not her death but her life. She wrote an essay shortly before her death about the importance of random acts of kindness and how she had this theory that if one person did one nice thing for another, it would set off a chain reaction of kindness. People described her as an inspiration and told stories of how she would talk to kids eating alone in the lunchroom or go out of her way to show compassion for others. She also traced her hands in her journal and wrote “These hands will one day touch millions of hearts,” in the middle of them. It’s extremely sad that she died, but I’ve always wanted to be the one to carry on her powerful legacy. I wrote a speech in tenth grade about kindness that was inspired by her, and I dream of touching millions of hearts, the way she did. Even though I never knew her, it’s almost like she’s always been a sort of guidance. Rachel left the world with an amazing message which I’ve come to adopt as my philosophy in life.

What fictional character would you most want to be like? Eponine or Frodo Baggins. While they both face miseries and difficult situations, they’re both brave enough to sacrifice for the things they love. Eponine sacrifices her life to fight with Marius and leads Marius to Cosette, even though she knows her heart will break if he ends up with another girl. To me, that was always the definition of true love- sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of another’s. Frodo is an underdog, someone nobody expects to be a hero, but who ends up sacrificing his life and the comfort of his home to protect the Shire and all of Middle Earth. He is courageous enough to bear the burden of carrying the ring and taking it to Mordor even though he doesn’t actually have to. He has this incredible sense of duty that’s both touching and inspiring.

What do you do for fun in your free time? (What free time?) I love to read. I read the news online, or look through a Smithsonian magazine, or just read a book. I also love music and singing. Sometimes I’ll just meditate with my favorite songs on, or I’ll belt some karaoke.  My taste in books and music span across all genres. I love creative writing- I have about a bazillion story ideas that I still haven’t finished, and I’ve kept a journal since I was in kindergarten, which has been very rewarding to look back on those memories and general silliness. Finally, I try to exercise every day even though I’m no athlete. Sometimes I’ll go play tennis with my dad or I’ll go to the gym and walks some laps or use the machines.

Recommend a good book to me. In IB, we have to write an extended essay on any topic we choose, and I chose my personal favorite classic, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It tells the story of a girl, Francie Nolan, growing up in the poor tenements districts of Brooklyn, New York in the early 1900s. It goes through her struggles and it really delves deep into her mind and you can see her world from her perspective. Because where others would see dirty, bitter people suffering through brutal conditions, Francie views her world with innocence and imagination, and she sees the underlying magic and stories of her neighborhood. At the same time, I love how multi-dimensional and developed the characters are, because you can really picture in your mind what sort of people they are. All of them are deeply flawed but also virtuous in their own ways, and the book reveals this truth that people can be cruel and kind at the same time. By crafting real, raw emotions and revealing human nature, Betty Smith delves into topics ranging from ethnic prejudice to family relationships, all through the eyes of a growing Brooklyn child. It’s the difficult situations and conflicted characters that move the story along and really bring it to life.

TreeGrowsInBrooklyn

What do you do best? I’m best at what I’m passionate about. I love writing, singing, and learning things that interest me. While I’m not astounding, I really put my energy into writing well and singing well. I also am good at certain subjects at school because I’m interested in learning them. The second semester of IB US History was my favorite, full of intricate foreign issues and history relevant to today’s world, so I studied hard and received good grades. This past year of English, we read so many interesting, thought-provoking books, so I did well in that class as well.

Who do you most admire? Audrey Hepburn. She’s a classic image of a strong woman. Not only is she incredibly talented and iconic, she’s classy, intelligent, and generous. She’s one of the only twelve people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Oscar. At the same time, she’s a humanitarian who’s been an ambassador for UNICEF. She’s truly a powerful inspiration not only for aspiring actresses, but also for any girl who’s ever dreamed of growing up to be a princess.

What is your biggest weakness? I’m not fearless or spontaneous. Sometimes I hesitate way too much before I’m willing to try something, and I end up regretting it later. I’ve gotten a lot better since I was young- I used to be extremely shy and afraid to try anything,  from raising my hand in class to meeting new people. Now, I’m much more willing to jump in, but I still need to work on fighting my fears and allowing myself to seek out new experiences. Hopefully, college will help with that.

What three adjectives describe you? Open-minded. Driven. Balanced. I’m open-minded to new ideas and perspectives all the time. Whenever I read about something in the news or just hear about disputes at school, I always want to find out everyone’s opinions and angles on the issue. Coming from a multicultural background, I genuinely appreciate embracing other people’s views. I’m also driven to succeed. Passion for learning and helping others and discovering who I really am fuel my desire to achieve my goals. When I set my mind to something I truly want, I never give up, because sometimes the end result is worth the sacrifice. Balance is something I’ve had a ton of practice working on thanks to IB program and my extracurriculars. Even though I feel stressed sometimes, I never feel burned out or so frustrated that I can’t handle my life. A lot of it has to do with time management, and the other part is self-motivation and this belief in yourself that you will succeed.

How do you define success? Leading a life that makes you proud and giving something back to the world selflessly.

10 Unusual Things On My Bucket List

Sure everyone wants to “Visit Rome” or “Swim with the dolphins.” I do, too. But here are 10 things on my bucket list that you might have never even thought about:

1. Take a photo each day for a year.

2. Have a white Christmas tree one year.

9a479c8c462535820586294dd435feed

3. Ride a Vespa scooter.

472e5562a6f09c73b1b417837bb46bb9

4. Work at Pixar Studios.

81dc98e2e6dd850c6798fb7be4deaa00

5. Learn archery.

80a90361835ffa5b3eee79737f069ba2

6. Be an audience member in a live TV show.

7549648a11f1d4f0c3220548ea1289f1

7. Fill a room with balloons.

777880460219aa3aef924500dd094e89

8. Attend Comic Con.

7faefbbc5cfc4fe3effcd9f585a2ae25

9. Play a Disney character at a Disney theme park.

a44811eee46e58f6f0e155bdbf5aef6e

10. Perform on a street corner.

d8104bba9048d546b308a1d1f12cdfda

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check these off! *None of these pictures are mine*

Thanks for reading xox

 

10 of My Favorite Lyrics

Have you ever heard a line in a song and just thought…”damn.” Sure, the melody of the song, the rhythm, and the beat play huge roles in its success, but the lyrics give the music life. It infuses the song with poetry that speaks to us and tugs at our heartstrings. Songs are like pages ripped out of our lives and the lyrics are the words on the page; it’s no wonder that we’re drawn to them. Like books, they bring comfort by showing us that someone else felt the same way we did. I’m sure we all have our own favorite lines of poetry inscribed in our hearts, but here are 10 lines from song lyrics that speak to me personally. A quick disclaimer: I am in love with hundreds of lyrics, so these are just a few selections from a vast collection. They aren’t necessarily my top 10 favorites, although they’re pretty high up on the list.

1. Fairytales don’t always have a happy ending do they? -Big Girls Don’t Cry, Fergie

2. When everything feels like the movies, yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive. -Iris, Goo Goo Dolls

3. Some birds are meant to be caged, and some just won’t see the light of day. -Luck, American Authors

4. All the bad boys are standing in the shadows, and the good girls are home with broken hearts. -Free Fallin’, John Mayer

5. Like a bird with broken wings, it’s not how high he flies but the song he sings. -Courage, Orianthi

6. I guess we fell apart in the usual way, and the story’s got dust on every page. -Holy Ground, Taylor Swift

7. We grew up way too fast and now there’s nothing to believe. Reruns have become our history. A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio, and I won’t tell no one your name. -Name, Goo Goo Dolls

8. These are the hands of fate. You’re my Achilles heel. This is the golden age of something good and right and real. -State of Grace, Taylor Swift

9. Rolled a lucky pair of dice, ended up in paradise. Landed on a snake’s eyes, took a bite, and ended up bleeding. -Eden, Sara Bareilles

10. We gladiate but I guess we’re really fighting ourselves. -Glory and Gore, Lorde

 

Making this list has been a lot of fun and I definitely encourage you to do a little soul-searching and make your own “10 favorite lyrics” list. In fact, I might make this a regular post since I have so many more lines I’d love to share. I realize both Goo Goo Dolls and Taylor Swift appear on this list twice and I’ll explain: Goo Goo Dolls is my favorite band and I’m actually ridiculously lucky I got to see them live this summer on their Goo Goo Dolls/Daughtry/Plain White T’s tour. They’re part of the reason why I feel like I was born in the wrong generation and I should have been a 90s kid. And Taylor Swift? Well, c’mon, I’m a teenage girl. I need my Taylor Swift lyrics.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day! xox

5 Things I’ve Learned About Life (So Far)

This is kind of an ambitious list. Besides, what could a seventeen-year-old girl know about life? She hasn’t even lived a fifth of it yet; how can she come up with five truths about Life? It’s true- there are still so many things that I don’t know. We’re all constantly learning and changing, so I definitely realize that I’m not yet the wisest person I can be. That said, I would still like to share the little life lessons I’ve learned from my seventeen short years on earth. Maybe you should take it with a grain of salt, but maybe- hopefully- you might actually learn something from an ignorant youth.

5 Things I’ve Learned About Life (So Far)

1. It goes on. Robert Frost was right. This is all we ever know for sure about life. Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. And it’ll keep rolling on and on no matter what choices you make. Like a train on a busy schedule, it will move on with or without you. It’s up to you whether or not you want to give up or hold on for one more day. So be strong. You can’t repeat the past, but you can look towards the future. There’s a lot of possibilities out there.

2. Be unapologetic. Your parents have spent half your life teaching you to say your “pleases” and “thank yous”, but think- maybe you’re being too polite? How many times do you say “I’m sorry” each day? More than you think. “What kind of music is this?” “Get out of my way.” “I don’t really like this color.” “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Yes, you should be kind and polite, but don’t trade your confidence and pride for those three words. Be yourself. Unapologetically. Never ever say “I’m sorry” for being you. If they don’t like your music, smile and say “I like it. But that’s just me. Do you want to listen to something else?” If she doesn’t like your hair or he laughs at you for missing a stupid question, sit up straight and answer back with confidence and grace. Don’t hunch over and mumble an apology, wishing you were invisible. Make your presence known- there’s no shame in that.

3. A smile could change a life. Ok, so maybe it won’t. Maybe that man behind the counter won’t remember your face after five minutes, or that lady thinks you’re a creeper for trying to be nice. You take that risk because you know who you are. You are an uplifter. You radiate positive vibes. It doesn’t matter if not everyone needs it, most people will. Everyone is fighting a hard battle whether you know it or not, and everyone needs a smile -maybe even a hug- from time to time. So smile at strangers. Lend a hand. Speak up when you see a person in need of help. Your reward shouldn’t have to be a “thank you”; your reward is the self-satisfaction you receive from doing good. Who knows? Maybe those smiles could change your life.

4. Open your eyes and you open your mind. You should always be seeking out new perspectives, seeing things outside the box. I don’t care what your background, your ethnicity, your past experiences, your religion, your race, or your political affiliations are; the universe is larger than your views of it. There’s always two sides of a story. And ten billion opinions on it. So go ahead. Embrace the counterargument to your beliefs. We can’t be defined by a cult, or an organization , or any piece of this world, because we are global citizens part of a world culture. There are no “other people” who aren’t like us. Everyone out there is human, from the lowliest criminal to the richest man, the misfits, the leaders, the truth-seekers. You can’t go around hating a whole chunk of the global community. We are only a small blue speck in this vast expanse of the universe. Hang on to the only family you have.

5. The little ordinary things turn out to be important after all. We are a combination of small decisions and slight changes that add up to be an avalanche we call life. If you hadn’t met that person, where would you be now? What if you’d never said ‘yes’ to him or ‘no’ to her? What in the universe conspires for us to be at the right place at the right time when there are an infinite number of places you could be at any particular time? And why is it that we can always recall those seemingly insignificant glimpses of our lives that haunt us until we’re lying on our deathbeds? The time he lent you a pencil in third grade. Or that time daddy let you get ice cream from the food truck. Or the compliment she gave you when you were feeling the most insecure. Treasure these moments, because one day, they will be all you have. Treasure the cups of coffee, the giggles, the songs on the radio, and the pennies on the sidewalk. They are invaluable because you can hold them endlessly in your mind- a memento of your life.

Hope you enjoyed this xox

Welcome

I can’t wait to kick off my new blog! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and now here I am. To start, I’ll tell a little bit about myself through an “I Am” Poem. I’m hoping this blog will show bits and pieces of myself, which is what I was aiming for with this:

I am a pasted-together scrapbook of memories, tears, and laughter

I am a quick prayer for a miracle right before a test I didn’t study for

I am Coldplay, OneRepublic, and Goo Goo Dolls

I am a Starbucks white chocolate mocha on a freezing December day

I am a Potterhead, a Narnian, and a hobbit

I am unwritten (can’t read my mind, I’m undefined)

I am an awkward caterpillar still waiting for her wings to grow in

I am a Pinterest addict

I am Sherlocked

I am tripping and falling on flat surfaces all the time

I am still crying over fictional characters

I am a creator, a changer, a dreamer, and a believer

I am Disney songs at the top of my lungs

I am an optimistic realist

I am down-to-earth indie folk and 90s dance pop at the same time

I am that person who keeps laughing after everyone else has stopped

I am a cheesy love letter

I am an old Jansport backpack in a sea of Vera Bradley

I am a giant spoonful of Nutella at 3 AM because I’ve lost control of life

I am a hopeful wish on a shooting star

I am plug-the-earphones-in-and-drown-the-world-out time

I am the poet of my life

But I am more than a poem