Tagged: childhood

An ode to tuna salad

Tuna Salad on Crackers

You know if I were at home I’d make my own and put it here instead, but I’m still at college so…                  source: Orthogonal Thought

When I was little, my mom used to take my sister and I to Costco. One thing that we always tried to keep in our pantry were cans of Kirkland Signature tuna.

Homemade tuna salad was an integral part of my childhood food memory.  Continue reading

Never forget where you come from.


When I was a toddler, my pre-school had a total of six, large classrooms as well as one massive playground where the kids gathered and milled around for about an hour, everyday.

We bounced tennis balls against the wall and called it “wall-ball” but when I went back there as a teenager, the classrooms looked run-down and shabby, and I couldn’t believe that I could reach the monkey bars without lifting my feet off the ground.

Since I’d left, my pre-school had stayed the same and I had grown up in more ways than one. Continue reading

Does God exist? Do I care?


I was so incredibly stressed being God’s child.

Can you imagine being traumatized by something that seemed to govern every aspect of your life?

Religion stresses me out. When I was young, I felt the need to micro-analyze all of my actions to conclude whether or not they violated God’s law; there were always internal clashes inside my head that consumed my time, and consumed my energy.  Continue reading


I returned home after driving like a madman through a torrential rainstorm. Apparently, the weather had taken out a power line, and our entire neighborhood had lost power. At this time, it was still light outside. The air inside the house still retained some of its air conditioned effect, so the muggyness was bearable. The refrigerator had just recently lost its cool, so the food was still fresh. This power outage didn’t seem to be so devastating until I checked my phone.


…and I couldn’t charge it. Nor could I charge my computer, which was down to its last hour or so on reserve battery. Nor could I turn on the TV, or access the internet, which meant that I couldn’t do my homework.

So I went to Barnes and Nobles and sat in the freezing cold, overly air conditioned building for a few hours, tying up the loose ends of my homework. I didn’t think much about the power outage, because I assumed that it would eventually come back on, to my earliest convenience. But it didn’t. By the time I arrived home past 10 PM, it was pitch dark outside. Driving through the woods was eerie, as all of the houses on our street seemed to have lost power as well. No street lights, just the headlights of our car making their way through dense fog, shadows abound.

Our house was pitch dark. My mom lit candles.

Finally, the reality set in. I started to panic. I think it may have been the darkness.

Yes, it must have been the darkness. I could not see, and walking around in my house and opening a door would not change the fact that I could see nothing.

What is it about electricity and power that dominates our lives? It governs our lives; I have come to be almost entirely dependent on it. Without it, I feel limited. I feel my phone’s battery slowly waning, and without internet, I feel disconnected from all of reality.

I grabbed a flashlight, and brought a candle to my room. I was actually prepared to shower by candlelight – forced intimacy with the darkness.

Is this panic that I felt normal? Is it healthy? My parents didn’t seem to mind at all. Driving through the pitch dark and seeing the silhouettes of all the houses without electricity, I imagined that no one was overly upset, aside from maybe the small kids who were still afraid of the dark.

Today, I was powerless.


I remember once when I was really young, probably still in elementary school. It was right around this time of year, except it was a dry storm that took out a power line. The power went out later in the evening, as the sun was just setting. The cars were parked in the garage, and since my sister and I complained of the heat, my dad had to manually open the garage door so we could drive around and grab ice cream, maybe. So we did. We may even have gone to Barnes and Nobles just for kicks, since both my sister and I were fiction addicts at the time. Perhaps a trend is emerging?

When we got back, there was still no power. It was unbearably hot, and the humidity never failed to remind me of it with every drop of sweat.

The power outage lasted hours. It’s hard for a twenty-first century child to fall asleep without the comfort of her AC; needless to say, I was up long after my sister had drifted off. At 2 AM, I complained to my father. He came and sat with me in my room, and tried to explain the phenomenon to me, alleviating the severity of the whole situation. We perched on my bed for a few moments, him pointing at some power box that was visible from my window. Somehow, the street lights were still on.

Then, a miracle occurred. A truck drove down the street, and stopped at the power box. I began excitedly tugging on my dad’s arm, and we watched in anticipation as people in hard hats tinkered with the box. All of the sudden, there was a buzz. The familiar sound of the AC, the whirs and beeps as clocks and ovens reset. The audible sound of comfort.

Maybe the grownups remained calm because they haven’t developed as strong of a reliance on power. My generation has grown up knowing internet and cellphones and TV and refrigerators.

I am genuinely curious as to what was going through the minds of the first people to experience the first power outage. Rage? Fear? Scenes of apocalypse?

Would it have seemed like the reversal of progress? That, after years of development of electricity by people like Edison and Tesla, it would disappear as easily as that?

In my spare time, I’ll look for accounts.


But the fact that I’m writing this and publishing it through the internet obviously means that the power came back on. (It did, just a few moments before I was about to step into the shower. When this happened, I whooped and ran out into the hallway, suddenly powerful)

Five people I don’t want to become

The overly obsessive with looks

When looks come to dominate everything else that I prioritize in life, I know that something is wrong. I never want to be so concerned with my outward appearance that my focus on this inevitably trades off with the quality of my inward appearance. I’ve said it before, and I shall say it again: these features are fleeting. You look great today, but shit happens: accidents, acne, puberty, and life. So if my bathroom were to ever be crowded with only bottles and sprays and combs and brushes and q-tips, someone slap me please.

The funniest is watching people grasp onto their fading beauty with desperate fingers, because the struggle represents his or her inability to accept an inevitable fate. I really do believe in the idea that the more makeup you cake on, the more you have to hide on the inside. The more you curl or straighten your hair, the more limp it is the next day. We are draining the life out of our bodies to try to fit unrealistic visions of beauty! I want to age gracefully.

The perpetually tired

I understand that part of being a high schooler is waking up grouchy and exhausted, but I desperately want some mornings when I’m genuinely happy to wake up. I want there to not always be days where laziness takes over and priorities are dropped without a thought. Whenever I go many days without proper sleep (like here at debate camp), the disastrous side effects snowball and overwhelm me; a crash is always imminent. I can’t stay awake and I’m forced to down cups of coffee and tea, and the acid from both corrodes my teeth. On the other hand, I’m normally not late or overly-jittery when I get a proper night of sleep.

The technocrat

I don’t want to become obsessed with technology, but I fear that I may be very far down this path already. I spend hours on my computer and my phone; of course, some of this time can be attributed to debate, but I definitely spend more time than is healthy. Additionally, I don’t feel comfortable if I don’t have access to it. I live off of wifi.

I would never allow myself to stay indoors all day and to develop eye, ear, and back problems because of both the overuse and misuse of technology, because none of those issues gives me a reason to live life…

The pure adult

I never want to lose some aspect of my childhood. I feel inspiration and nostalgia from flipping through old photos, and I experience pure happiness when I am confronted with something from my past – a TV show, a novel, or a journal. I don’t want to lose myself in the pressures of getting a job or starting a family or paying bills, and I want to preserve the beautiful period of my life that I appreciated so much.

The one who loses sight of the big picture

My friend once calmed me down about something stupid by playing the game of five. Will some issue matter in 5 days, months, and years? Personal crises virtually disappear when you remember that you have a life that spans more than the 4 years in high school, and that this too shall pass.

Friends are super important. Some you meet early in your life, and some you meet towards the close of a chapter, but what really matters is who stays in your life. People will inevitably leave. Those who stay are those who matter, and I never want to forget these people for others who just come and go. Those who come and go erupt into your life with a bang and leave just as suddenly, and at the end of the day, you will want someone to come and sit down with you in a cafe and talk about life, no pressure.

Specifically, this entails not letting others dictate your life. Your parents, your friends, your significant others and their opinions are not static, and neither are you. But when it comes to making big life decisions, it’s really important to realize that your big picture encompasses just you. If you take life just step by step and don’t create a least a general plan for what you want to make of yourself, then you’ve got nothing to look forward to and no framework to follow; the decisions and epiphanies that you make and experience today affect the person you will be tomorrow, as it pertains to education and occupation.

A Period of Idealistic Innocence: Howl’s Moving Castle

I could listen to this music for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

As an Asian, many people would probably assume that I watch anime or read manga.

anime: a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes

manga: a Japanese comic book or graphic novel

In fact, I had never watched anime until about two years ago (I am almost seventeen right now) when one of my white friends suggested it to me. Manga? I’ve read one manga (Death Note) and I never even finished it. It was extremely interesting, however. 

In regards to anime, I found Studio Ghibli films to be the most popular ones out there, so I started watching some of the originals:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

My Neighbor Totoro


Castle in the Sky

Whisper of the Heart

Spirited Away

Perhaps you have heard of some of these?

These films are comparable to Disney films, except that the method of magic incorporation is extremely different. They’re still, however, delightful.

It’s pretty strange to acknowledge that I technically did not watch these in my actual childhood. I watched them in my adolescence, over the course of a month or so. Needless to say, this month was very happy and light for me.

My favorite anime film is Howl’s Moving Castle. When I heard that Josh Hutcherson had voiced one character in the Disney remake, I decided to watch the “Americanized” version instead.

While the story line was magical, the portion that I am choosing to write about is the music.

In one scene, Sophie (the main character, a girl that has been cursed into being an old woman) and Howl (rebellious wizard) start flying over the ruckus of the town square. Sophie is terrified and overwhelmed by the whole sensation. During the whole scene, a beautiful theme that is playing swells and eventually reaches an apex.

It’s not necessarily my favorite scene.

But the theme? Oh yes, in fact, my favorite lyric-less piece ever. It has made its way onto the list of my “All Time Favorites”.

When I listen to it, I am transported to that time two years ago when I saw life through a very optimistic and childlike lens, each day filled with naive hope.

This is not to suggest that idealistic innocence is the best mentality to embrace a time like this (with college finally becoming relevant to my life), but it’s a wonderful distraction – nay, a fantastic pastime – that I long for.

Just listen to it.

Howls_Moving_Castle_06Inspired by the Daily Prompt

A Book Grows on Me

Betty Smith is actually one of the most strikingly beautiful women I’ve ever seen. 


Daily Prompt: What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

So, I suppose that you could say that I’m still a child. Does 16 constitute being a child? Is being a teenager mutually exclusive with being a child? Who knows.

When I was in middle school, I read a book series called, “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter.” It takes place in the twenty first century, and follows the adolescent life of a girl who loves reading. The greatest part about the series was not that actual story, but the fact that the author provided a list of suggested reads at the end of the book. After I finished the book, I skimmed the reading list for a title that caught my eye.


“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith 


Isn’t the title at least a little bit intriguing? Not many people agree with me, but I personally became very interested with title. What kind of tree, and what’s so special about Brooklyn? Perhaps that wasn’t my train of thought. Maybe I just asked a friend or did a quick Google search for a summary.

Either way, I ended up reading the book in seventh grade or so. At the time I just really liked the book simply because it had a wonderful story. And that was it, for the time being.

But then as the years went by and my English teachers taught me year-after-year about literature analysis, symbolism, and motifs, I realized that there was no doubt more to the story.

I checked it out again sometime in high school. Ninth grade, perhaps? Eventually I had checked it out enough times for me to decide that I needed an actual copy.

And you know how people operate. You go to new events and they need icebreaker games to introduce themselves, and one of the most commonly asked questions is: “What’s your favorite book?”

In those days, I’d probably say something like the Harry Potter series or some book that I had recently read. While HP and plenty of other books were fantastic, the one that kept coming back to me and calling to me personally was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

So now, I don’t even hesitate when people ask me for my favorite book. I recall childhood memories of hiding under the covers with a flashlight trying to finish this book. Yes, these things actually do happen!

Since learning about literary analysis and the once-alien concept of “annotation,” my favorite book has become all the more personal, filled with markings indicating my favorite passages, with arrows and lines, with explanations of why a certain passage is important.

I also just learned about World War One in my AP Euro class. Although I knew generally what had happened, I hadn’t known the exact position of the United States, but now all of that has been much more contextualized for me. And it helps! I am able to more easily relate with the sentiments of the families who had to send their men to war.


A quick summary: The book plays out in many flashbacks, covering the background story of Frances Nolan’s parents, following Francie through her childhood, all the way to her first year at college. She is born right around the turn of the twentieth century, and as a young lady she sees the indirect effects of World War One on the people that live in her city.

^That summary does not even suffice; I heavily recommend that any girl under 21 who has the ability to read, read this book.

They say that one of the best ways to understand a person as well as their morals and priorities is to read their favorite book. This book touches me because Francie’s character exemplifies how I would like to approach my problems, and the society that I grow up in. Since she first went to school, she’d wanted to be a writer.  Her family was comprised of immigrants, and they had endured many hardships and economic struggles to rise out of the poverty that they had continually been confined to. The story follows her from her childhood to the beginning of her adulthood, and depicts changes in perspectives as she becomes continually more mature, and gets increasingly globalized in perspective. These changes build character. I take her personal revelations in consideration, accepting my ultimately infinitesimal role in society. Francie expressed a strong interest in writing, and the method that Betty Smith utilizes to explain why help spark my interest in literature as well. The lessons that I take from the book guide the way I deal with overarching problems.


My Childhood Was Net Better

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children? – Daily Prompt 


These sort of made up magical characters are not much lies anymore; they’re more the traditions created by the efforts of many generations, and I think that these “fictions” have done nothing but benefit my childhood. So, YES YES YES, fun and harmless, but really, so much more.

I’m 16. I’m pretty sure that at 12, I had gotten a clue that there was something fishy about the whole Santa deal. I’d never been exposed to many stories about the Easter Bunny, and someone had ruined the Tooth Fairy when I was very young. Therefore, I am writing this post with relatively little experience, but I have the advantage of recency. Most other adults have probably forgotten the emotions sequestered to a myth like Santa Claus, and are basically writing from a purely hypothetical point of view. Some other bloggers might have children, in which case they are seeing the effects of such a myth right here, right now.

The sort of folktale legend concept was an essential component of my childhood, a crucial point in the development of my imagination. Believing in Santa meant I became extra obedient around December. I really got into Christmas music and Christmas movies. It was a joyful, magical time for me.

But then I got older, and so did my peers. Doubt and skepticism seemed to increase exponentially with each coming year, so I gradually became more doubtful and skeptical myself. Some people might have been hurt, but for a greedy child like me, my only reaction was trying to fake it so that my parents would continue buying me childish presents. I’d also never told them that I didn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, so dolla dolla bill y’all.

Then, I was ambivalent about whether or not I should ruin the experience for my little sister, who was 3 years behind on this gradual realization. I think I might have exposed the lies at some point. :(

Even though I eventually learned that the whole thing was a lie, I’m glad Santa was a part of my childhood.

I’m sure that as a parent, I’ll try my best to maintain the whole story. I’ll make holidays as realistic as possible, but I’ll also have to balance the greediness in my children.

So perhaps these characters are harmless, but only to a point. Be sure to never let the greed overwhelm you or your children.

When did you first realize that life is short?

It happened to my sister and I when we were less than ten years old.

It was past midnight, and my parents had gone to a business party. We were home with my grandparents, but they had already gone to sleep. I was sound asleep in my room, when my sister woke me up, crying about how her stomach hurt. Given about how we were around 7 and 9 years old, I was pretty scared for her. We went into my parents’ bathroom, and after she had silently thrown up in the toilet and was crying quietly, she asked me in a small voice: “Am I gonna die tonight?”

WHAT A HORRIBLE SISTER I WAS! I responded slowly, in a quavering voice, “Yeah, I think so.” Continue reading