Tagged: youth

A shoutout to my long-distance friends


I live in Atlanta, and here I have friends that I can touch and feel.

But I live in Atlanta, and you live on the other side of the country; I see you a few times every year.

As a senior in high school, I’m going to see some of my best friends once more before we’re all whisked off to college, and I don’t know what to do about it.

With my friends here, personal interaction is best. If you’ve got the ability to see people that you care about, why would you leave it up to technology to do the job? It’s lame, it’s lazy, and it’s a poor example of friendship.

But with the friends dispersed all over the country, technology is all I have. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, as well as texting and Snapchat are wonderful technological developments that have connected us all in unprecedented ways, giving the saying “it’s a small world” a whole new meaning. Continue reading

My experience hosting an exchange student


Left to right: Vicky, Lacey, me

If you saw a diverse group of high school students waiting at the airport eagerly holding up signs, barely able to contain their excitement, the last thing you would expect is that they are part of a Chinese exchange student program.

But on that particular Sunday afternoon, the host students indeed attracted a great deal of attention with their enthusiasm and vivacity.

Students at our school were hosting students from both China and Argentina; the cultural exchange proved very enriching, bringing together American, Argentinian, and Chinese students, a rare occurrence.

In a society that often tends to stereotype people based on their race (among other things), this program really pushed interaction to overcome this sort of ignorance. 

Our school community embraced their arrival with open-mindedness and made them feel unconditionally welcome in our hallways. Continue reading

Urban Myths

Sometimes I listen to music – raging and energetic

The lyrics sound like they’re sprinting in whatever path they see

Sometimes when I write

I think about myself – commonly perceived as 100% committed and ready to go

I think about the kids in high school – moving so fast yet they don’t know where they’re going

And I wonder:

Do people actually stop and think

And maybe turn around and chase the polar opposite

Or is that just an urban myth?

Somedays I listen to music – nostalgic and lonely

The lyrics – they sound like they were written just for me

So sometimes when I write

I think about myself – so often left alone in a sea of my own thoughts

I think about the kids in high school – our perspectives so easily distorted, and by no means permanent

And I wonder:

Do people actually exist that actually know what they want

And what the future holds

Or is that just an urban myth?

On special days I’ll listen to music – rebellious and insightful

The lyrics are a call to action, illuminating the daily injustices

But sometimes when I write

I think about myself – a young person with the innocence and motivation to spark change

And I think about high schoolers – writing songs, directing plays

And I wonder:

Do we actually understand what we rant about

And do people ever actually form masses

And does social change ever really happen

Or is that just an urban myth?

Vampire Weekend June 2007Lacking the letter Z – Daily Prompt

The Lady at the Hotel Counter

We’re back! Sorry for the silence!

Happy 50th post!


I am the lady that you first see when you walk in. I stand here for hours a day when there is absolutely no activity going on in the hotel. The hotel bar is directly in my line of sight, and the bartender is lucky. He only has to work for a couple hours a night, and there’s almost always people wanting drinks. Out of the corner of my eye I can see the guy who runs the food counter. It’s open from 7-9 AM and then he’s done for the day.

The pizza guy comes back every couple of hours and now we are on a first name basis. I have almost memorized his phone number because our guests ask for it so often.

My legs are tired because I’ve been standing for over an hour now. My mouth is even more tired because I’ve been holding a smile for who knows how long. I’ve said the same thing 7 times already in the hour: “Welcome to the Courtyard Marriott! How may I assist you?”

Tonight, I see a group of kids walk in around 10 PM. They are tired like I am; yet, they still have energy. They are young and have a lot of time. They sit in the lobby from 10 to 2 AM. Some come and go and every 20 minutes, saying goodnight to the rest of the group and heading towards the elevator. Every once in a while, one of them stands up to grab something from the refrigerator. They walk up to the counter and hand me cash and I smile and ask if they would like a receipt. They never do.

The way that they talk allows me to overhear their conversation. It’s as if I’m a part of the group, and I contribute my own opinion, but no one hears, so no one responds.

I take calls from guests and potential guests and miss parts of the conversation, but I can catch up quite easily. The kids are peers, but not all in the same grade. There are varying levels of experience and lessons learned, and many stories shared.

Out of the six kids, there seems to be a leader who guides the discussion. He shares the most stories and the other kids look to him with admiration. His words are the ones that they will remember because they are meaningful; they represent much more than just a personal anecdote.

Late in the night, just at the end of my shift, they crawl back to their rooms, exhausted. The table that they occupied for four hours is littered with bottles and napkins and empty candy bags, for which I am responsible to clean.

I walk around, picking up their trash slowly.

After my routine check around the lobby is done, I grab my few belongings and head out, as the guy from the next shift walks in. The whole process is about to repeat itself.

Admiring Strangers: Youngsters

I sit alone at Panera Bread on a windy Saturday afternoon. I look up and notice a family of 3 sitting close to me, consisting of a mother and her two young boys. My headphones are in and I’m blasting music but the littlest boy looks over at me every ten seconds and mouths something. I just smile back. He is just so cute. I absolutely love young people.

They’re ignorant and innocent; they know relatively little but are entirely content as long as they have something yummy to eat and a toy to love.

I pull out an earbud and listen to the boy’s voice. The spontaneity astounds me; his voice could be extremely shy at some times, and loud and booming the next. His voice is too underdeveloped and high-pitched to be taken seriously.

I fall in love with kids so easily. It seems like their lives are a million times easier than mine, and that my life is a million times easier than an adult’s. I love thinking back to when I was as young as this boy, and about the things I could easily get upset about…

Kids can get upset about the smallest things, and are concerned with the strangest things.

I love how they look up to their parents as if they were Superman and Wonder Woman.

Their bodies are so small, and I love the way it takes five of their fingers to wrap around one of mine, and the way it takes them ten bites to finish what it could take me three.

I love the wide-eyed look that glazes over their eyes when they look around and try to take in a new environment. I love that the bright-eyed expression doesn’t need to be artificially created through makeup.

It’s sad that the possibility of them never being able to do anything bad eventually fades as they get less innocent and more experienced.

I love the way it’s utterly acceptable and totally adorable when they have food on their faces. I love looking at little kids in their puffy jackets in the winter, with their little feet and little hands.

I love how they start off with a clean slate, soft skin, and perfect vision. Their sense have not yet been impaired by late nights, loud music, and their posture hasn’t been destroyed by slouching in front of a computer screen.

I love the way they don’t really care what they wear, and ask questions in all seriousness that can bring tears of laughter to someone else’s eyes.

I love the way they aren’t ashamed of referring to their parents as “mommy” and “daddy”.

I love the way they stutter and repeat what they say and pronounce words wrong.

I love that they are too short to reach door handles and too young to get samples alone in Costco.

I love how they don’t have a reason to worry about what they eat.

I love little kids. They are so full of hope and possibilities.

At least, that’s the way I think kids should be.

I wish they were all like that.

Getting Older

I’m getting old. Wow, 16? Where have the years gone? The transition from trick or treating and getting tired at 11 PM to never sleeping before midnight and having my backpack weigh 70 pounds has been shaky, to say the least. My innocence slipped out the door in seventh grade when I asked my friends what a virgin was. I remember the first time I actually listened to a radio station besides NPR – 6th grade. I remember the first time I tried to put on mascara – I got an eye infection. In elementary school, my mom literally had to put on my clothes for me as a sleepy-eyed 8 year old Catherine complained of drowsiness from only 9 hours of sleep. I remember all my teachers since pre-school, and I remember the first book that was ever read to me – the Boxcar Children.

Now, I’m in high school. The days literally go buy 20 times faster than they used to. I can put on makeup without a mirror, I can survive with 4 hours of sleep. I can accept the fact that I can’t fit into my 7th grade jeans and that I can never be the kid at summer camp again, only the counselor (except for maybe next summer). No longer is my bookshelf filled with the “A to Z Mysteries” series and Mrs. Pigglewiggle books, but rather, SAT workbooks and old textbooks. The most exciting reads I have time to read include Jane Eyre (which is actually somewhat interesting) and my AP Euro book (which I like to read sometimes, because knowing the background and development of current day events is beneficial).

I’m never going to be that young ever again. From now on, I’m only going to have to shoulder more responsibilities. One day, I might be responsible for someone else’s life besides my own. I’m going to have to read the news and understand what the 2016 presidential candidates advocate to fulfill my role as an informed voter. There are so many laws and policies that I’m unaware of, and if I make a mistake, I don’t have the excuse of not being aware of consequences anymore.

I don’t like getting old, because I think life will only get harder as I continue aging. But I also want to get older because while I will have more burdens, I’ll also have more opportunities. With each birthday, I get more privileges that I envied as a child. I can drive! I can watch PG-13 movies! I can eat sample at Costco without my mom’s approval! Soon, I’ll be able to vote, drink, smoke, get into R-rated movies, and I’ll be eligible to get a job, and make my own money. Soon, I will be able to order products from infomercials without my dad telling me it’s a stupid investment, because I know it will be. I’ll just be swayed by the infomercial.

I’ll mature. I’ll find out more about the world as I travel to more places. I’ll meet better people that tell me wiser things and help me make more educated decisions. My friends will encourage me to do what I love. Perhaps someday, I will have the chance to be the teacher instead of the student, even though I’m learning something new every day. Maybe I’ll become a role model instead of the one admiring my hero. And maybe, I’ll finally find out WHAT I’m meant to do, who I’m meant to be.

But for now, I’m still relatively young. I’m older, but that’s not such a tragedy anymore.