Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Month, New Projects

Happy Sunday!

This weekend has provided me with a big peaceful rest from schoolwork. Yesterday, I went to the local Junior Miss program, which is a scholarship program designed to encourage today's young women to "be their best selves." The winners of local JM programs go on to compete at the state level, and then every year in Mobile, Alabama, 50 Junior Misses go on to the national level at America's Junior Miss to represent their state. I think the Junior Miss program is a great opportunity for young women to showcase their talents, meet new people with new perspectives, and overall change their lives for the better.
After the past week, which was full of deadlines and exams falling one after another like dominoes, it was both relaxing and exciting at the same time to watch the Junior Miss program. It got my mind off of future stress, like that god-awful reading quiz coming up soon, and gave me the opportunity to converse with some amazing people involved in Junior Miss that I have not seen for a while. Congratulations to the loca Junior Miss of 2011!
Alas, it is Sunday now and tomorrow marks the first day of a brand new week as well as the month of March! It is mind-blowing to think that the third month of 2010 is already approaching our doorstep; it seems as though time is zooming by faster than ever now. Before I know it, it will be time for Prom (Friday, May 21!!), and then Seniors' Graduation, and then College. =D
Beginning tomorrow, March 1, 2010, I will be having my own private, personal NaNoWriMo! I am working on a not-so-little writing project that will be a gift for a friend of mine in the near future. I am so excited! I am making it a NaNoWriMo competition for myself so that I stay motivated throughout the project and can complete it in time. I have already started planning it out, and am eager to start working on it right away! You can check my current progress under the NaNoWriMo bar to your right. Inspiration, comments, and other encouragement is much appreciated! :) Unfortunately, I shall say no more about what this project entails, but I promise to update about the status of it throughout the month. Wish me luck!
I am also going to start up a blog ritual called, Question of the Day. It is sort of like a writing prompt, but it is more a prompt for the mind to ponder over. Questions will range from a variety of topics...feel free to answer them in your comments! =)
In addition, I hope to begin drawing a sketch of my idea of The Red Angel. I have already studied several anime pictures on DeviantArt to familiarize myself with the type of art I will be working with. It's going to be pretty difficult, as I have never been very good at drawing people, much less angels. When I am completely finished, I'll be scanning the drawing and making a blog banner out of it. If you have any suggestions, that would be great!
To close my blog entry for the day, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite pieces of anime that I found online:*

Have a great day! Goodbye, February...Hello, March!!

*These anime were found on Photobucket and DeviantArt.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Fantastic Friday

I have come to realize that there is an opposing force for everything in the world and in life; there seems to always be something on the opposite end of a spectrum, complementing the other and balancing the scale out. An antonym for all. You've got men and women, positives and negatives, love and hate, black and white, rich and poor, beautiful and hideous, beginning and end.

Like all of the above, there is a also an antonym for having a bad day. Obviously, that very antonym is, of course, having a good day! :) Now there have definitely been times when I had an absolutely awful day on earth that seems more like a night in Hell instead; on those days, nothing goes right and I am stressed out of my mind. On those days, it seems like there is no such thing as a good day. Nonetheless, it is on those days when I wish and hope for a good today.

My favorite type of good day is the kind when good, little things occur and slowly build up into a really good day, or rather (excuse my cheesy analogy) a "mountain of happiness"; there I stand at the very peak, my stomach swelling with excitement as I look down at the rest of the world with a positive attitude. In my own strange, silly mind, each little happy event is considered a stone, which makes sense if you think about it. As the stones build up, a mountain is created. :)

Today's Happy Stones:
(reasons why today was a good day)

1) I work for my high school's newspaper as an editor and photographer. Today, we just published and distributed our first issue of second semester! It turned out really well. In this issue, I had written that "Texting While Driving Sucks" article for the Opinion Section and an article on the new Chinese students who immigrated to America from China (including my friend Charles). Yesterday, I got the most compliments on these two articles than I ever have for any other article before! At lunch, Charles came up to me with a grin glowing on his face and told me that, all throughout the day, several random students he didn't know approached him and either said hi, waved, or smiled. One of these students is a friend of my friend's; apparently, she had been reading my article intently and suddenly exclaimed out loud, "Hey, that Chinese guy is in my math class!" Many students know about him now, are willing to befriend him, and are extremely interested in his move from China to America. Knowing that I have been able to showcase Charles's life-changing story and provide him with new friends in this strange new country (strange to him, at least) has proven that I can truly make a difference and improve the lives of others through my writing.

2) After every newspaper issue is published, we always have a class party and a voting poll on Superlatives for awards such as Best Story, Best Graphic, etc. For this issue, I received Best Photograph! I did not expect this award at all, but it meant a lot to me. The photo I took was of a group of students wearing adorable snuggies. I got a delicious chocolate egg as a materialistic award, but the confidence boost was definitely the greater, winning reward (don't you just love a play on words?).

3) As the Opinion Section started brainstorming for our next issue, we gossiped about our last issue and the different articles that other student journalists wrote. Quite unexpectedly, one fellow Opinion writer mentioned that she loved my texting article and that it had literally made her fall off her chair, laughing. Our Opinion editor animatedly agreed and, before I knew it, both of them started quoting directly from my article and commenting on the hilarious sarcasm that dripped from underneath. All I could do was stutter a lowsy "thanks!" but inside my stomach was a bubbling soup of excitement and joy. Growing up, being a famous writer has always been my dream. I would fantasize about my books being chosen by school teachers to be read and analyzed in classes. I imagined what it would be like to win The Nobel Prize in the Literature department. And I imagined readers all over the world quoting my works of literature and magazine articles.

4) The episode of Smallville that had aired tonight was awesome, as usual! The suspense seriously set my heartbeat off and at one point I really thought one of the main characters, Zod, was going to die. Although Smallville has turned into some sort of horror drama, it has been great having key traditions, such as Clark coming to save his friend at the end of the day like he has done in so many other episodes, has truly kept up the spirit of Smallville and of Superman. Watching Smallville was a great way to end an amazing day.

You see, bad days come, but they also go in the end. However bad they may be, I have realized that those horrible, awful bad days are worth going through to get to the good days, which I know are just right around the corner on the opposite end of the spectrum. I know this, of course, because life is simply just a balancing act.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Mouse Loves Rice"

So basically this is my favorite Youtube video ever. I am not a big fan of anime and manga, but this is the sweetest video ever, featuring various scenes from famous anime shows depicting love between characters. English subtitles are provided in the video, but the song is sung in Mandarin Chinese.
I heard this song for the first time at it last year's local Chinese New Year Festival 2009. An American man sang this song by himself in Chinese while playing it on the guitar. He dedicated the song to his Chinese wife and provided Chinese and English lyrics on an overhead Powerpoint. I thought it was a really cute and touching Chinese New Year gift and festival performance. =)
Watching this video always makes me feel happy and cozy inside...every time I view it, I get this urge to hug everybody I love and tell them they rock!! Hope this video makes your day!
Upcoming Blog Posts:
*The pros and cons of online gaming
*Three book reviews
*Neopets tutorial
*A new special writing project of mine
*A series of my poetry
*Healthy Choice steamers
*Personal recipes


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Lucky Necklace

A few days ago, I stole from my sister's drawer. As I was getting ready for school last Wednesday, my curious little mind wandered towards the small, box-like drawer that sat on her bedside table. When I opened it, a mountain of treasures were revealed to me and immediately I had a blast from the past of when I was a young child rummaging through my mother's things.

Now, I have always some sort of infatuation with shiny things, especially jewelry. Even when I was little, I enjoyed tinkering around with clip-on earrings and plastic necklaces and rings that were too big for my finger. An old home video of my third birthday shows a Little Red Angel wearing faux rings and bracelets and demanding that a grownup take my picture with those flashing things on. As I grew up, I could often be seen creating doll clothes and using those jewelry-making kits that I got for Christmas and my birthday to string together my own colorful beaded necklaces and other accessories. I grew up loving the famous and ever-so-lovely Swarovski crystal shop and visited often. My mother finally took me to get my ears pierced for my 9th birthday when I was in 4th grade.

This obsession with jewelry died down after I turned to the age of tomboyism around middle school. I became the opposite of what I used to be, but thankfully my personality and style balanced itself by the time my high school career began. I still was automatically attracted to the jewelry section in various department stores such as Body Central, Belk's, and, of course, Swarovski (the image is from; check the store it...their shiny stuff rocks! :P) whenever I went shopping with family. I still loved touching the smoothness of a pearl necklace and placing an assortment of earrings up to a friend's lobe one by one, trying to decide which one looked best on her. I always mix and matched for others, but rarely ever for myself.

Until last Wednesday. As I opened the first plastic drawer, my eyes widened and sparkled as they glazed over all the sparkling pieces of jewel set before them. They were mostly earrings and necklaces--my favorite types of accessories. Here was a set of gold hoops with a line of jingles decorated at the bottom. Over in the corner was a long, shiny silver necklace adorned with pearls and crystal balls. In there were two matching wooden teardrop hoops, painted purple. Underneath all of those lovely little things was a chain, simple enough to be overlooked. Hooked around it was a green heart pendant and several crystal ball shaped drops surrounding it.

Sounds pretty anticlamactic and somewhat plain, I know. But you know that really nice item that you have always REALLY wanted but never had the luck of finding at a store? Well, this necklace has been that item for me.

The excitement was even greater than if I had found the necklace at a store because it was right here waiting in the drawer this whole time. :) It may not be an exclusive teardrop necklace from the Swarovski crystal shop with a thousand shards of crystal cut in exact proportions that create mirrors even in the dark. It is, in fact, even more special than that.

It's amazing how the littlest things can make you feel like you're on top of the world. When I saw this necklace and searched for the rest of the chain with my too-eager fingers, I felt like a kid again, pretending that I was a princess going through my jewelry box and picking out my accessories for the day's tea party. Although it did not quite match the outfit I had put on for school, I wore the necklace anyway. All day long, I couldn't keep from grinning ear to ear and having an extra spring in my step as I waltzed down the school hallways. My self-confidence raised to about thirty degrees higher than normal as I received compliments from friends who stopped what they were doing just to feel the heart pendant and eye it with admiration.

Needless to say, this necklace made my day. And just in case you were wondering, my sister let me have it. :)

5 Recent Events That Made Me Feel Beautiful:

1) I found a simply dashing n e c k l a c e that I've always wanted hiding in my sister's drawer (she let me have it, by the way).

2) I gave my good friend an SAT workbook that I no longer need. The next day, she randomly came up to hug me and said that I was an a m a z i n g friend.

3) I made a m o n s t e r s a n d w i c h filled with delicious honey ham, a fantastic garlic cheese spread, white cheddar cheese, salami, and turkey! Two pieces of each ingredient was piled up between two pieces of potato bread. It took me two tries to fit my whole mouth on the concoction and take my first bite. :P I felt like a queen eating a royal sandwich!

4) I got an impulse to randomly d a n c e my way through the downstairs hall in my pajamas, singing the love song "Mouse Loves Rice," (or "Lao Shu Ai Da Mi") in Chinese.

5) I received many compliments on my recent "Texting While Driving Sucks" article that I wrote for my high school newspaper. The biggest praise that I can receive is one dealing with my writing; knowing that others are reading my writing and actually enjoying it and getting something out of it is my greatest pride and joy.

My question is this: What recent events, activities, and/or pleasant surprises have made YOU feel beautiful?



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My "Texting While Driving Sucks" Article

As I have mentioned in past blog posts, I work for my high school's student-run newspaper. This semester, I serve as the Production Editor and write for the Opinion section. Our first issue of the semester comes out next is the article I wrote on how much texting while driving sucks:

"Texting While Driving Sucks"
(official title to be determined)

You twiddle your fingers on the steering wheel while sitting in your brand new Lexus on the intersection between Candy Lane and Cellular Drive*. The red light has not changed for two whole minutes, and you are growing impatient.

Suddenly, a loud ding! causes your heart to skip a few beats. You scramble around your pocket, pull out that must-have Blackberry and look up just in time to catch a glimpse of the green-glowing stoplight signaling Go.

Before pressing down on the gas pedal, you glance at the phone and notice a text that your BFF Sally sent, asking you about your last cruise to the Bahamas. Um, there is no question about it. You HAVE to text her back. Now. Never mind that this particular intersection is one of the dangerous ones in town. Never mind that you witnessed a car accident only last week, which caused you to be late for school. I mean, who wouldn't want to break their neck from texting while driving?

If you are that typical driver described above, you are a part of the 60 percent of teenagers who text while driving, according to a survey performed by Toluna in 2009. Congratulations. Texting while driving has been the most popular driving distraction in the 2000 era and it is still going strong. I personally cannot drive yet, so I have not had the pleasure to experience the apparently addictive habit of pushing buttons frantically while trying to keep my eye on the road at the same time. Quite frankly, I imagine that would be an extremely uncomfortable task. I am not at all against multi-tasking, but I would definitely rather wait to fiddle with my phone than risk breaking my neck.

Beginning in December 1, 2009, North Carolina passed new legislation prohibiting the act of texting while driving for drivers of all ages, not just teenagers. Those who are caught in the act must pay a 100 dollar fine as well as additional court fees.

Personally, I am glad for the new law. I have been getting tired of my mom randomly swerving and stopping the car unexpectedly at various intersections and turns because some genius decided to stare at his recently received text message instead of the road.

The bottom line is, texting while driving is a risk that may harm yourself as well as other drivers and even pedestrians. I do not think you want any injuries inflicted upon your fellow citizens any more than you want them inflicted on yourself.

Although most people would think that highways are the most dangerous roads for potential accidents, parking lots have much higher risks for motor vehicle collisions because cars are constantly backing in and out of parking lots and people are walking to and from designated shops. Nothing would make a dinner date sweeter than a big car crash in the heart of Olive Garden's parking lot as a result of texting distractions.

Not only is it against the law and dangerous, but it is also just plain rude. Honestly, no wonder that guy flicked you off the other day. Call him inappropriate, discourteous, violent or a number of any other synonyms for the word "rude," but consider the fact that his gesture may have been the only thing to catch your undivided attention.

If you have read thus far and still believe that texting is your number one to-do no matter where or when you are driving, by all means go ahead and whip out your phone to text Sally back or die trying.


*Street names were replaced to protect privacy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Unwanted Senioritis

I applied to eight four-year colleges/universities in total this past autumn season. Five in North Carolina, three in Massachusetts. I have been accepted into three so far, all in North Carolina. Deep breath. Five more to go, and I won't get any more letters until April. APRIL!! Such a long way away.

Meanwhile, I personally believe that my entire being (body + mind) has developed a serious case of senioritis. For those of you who do not know what this deadly disease is...

Senioritis-a "disease" involving decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school, college and graduate school careers; SYMPTOMS include chronic procrastination, lack of motivation, a drop in academic performance, and "coasting," which is the act of going through classes with very little concentration or application of intent. Source: Wikipedia.

Sounds horrible, I know. In my case, this is the end of high school. Seniors are typically diagnosed at the beginning of their spring (last) semester. To be honest, I believe I am one of the first few to have caught on a serious case of senioritis, as few people have shown symptoms. Most students in my classes have been working as diligently as they worked before college application season, though there is more grumbling over extra Calculus problems or the four slides of Notes in Forensic Science (a supposedly "easy, laid-back" class).

The sad thing about senioritis is that it usually spreads "with permission," so to speak. Students who do not WANT to continue working hard and putting in 110% effort in their classes end up with senioritis because they allowed themselves to catch it. These kids daydream of college life when they no longer have to live under parental rules and supervision. They begin to skip days. They get a Jersey Mike sub ten minutes after Forensic Science starts and try to bribe the teacher into not counting them late. They procrastinate until last minute They get 84.5's It's true, they have senioritis.

The funny (and unfortunate) thing is, senioritis has caught me by its cold clammy hands and sucked me in...against my will. No, I haven't been skipping or buying subs during third period. For some awful reason, my mind and body has slacked without my permission! I still try as hard as I did before college applications started, yet my grades seem to be deteriorating nonetheless...perhaps deteriorating is not the right word, though regardless it has taken me more effort to keep up with my work. I have had to do little tasks here and there that take up more time and energy than they did in the past.

I admit, a lack of motivation does play in as a factor regarding my special case of senioritis. I have always strived to do the best in my classes, though for some reason I just seem to want to relax and not do work. I still do my work anyway, but that psychological need and want is not all there anymore. :(

Thus, I have come up with a short little list for myself and for others who need a boost of confidence and motivation to keep working hard. It contains five main reasons why numerical grades and college acceptance letters are not the only benefits of maintaining those A's. This list is mainly focused towards high school seniors (like myself), though you can apply them in general terms to any situation.

1) You entered and survived through high school with grades shiny enough that you wished you could polish them like trophies. It would really suck having to leave (even with your lovely little diploma) with that record broken and your trophies duller than their original gold. =) You do not want to break your streak, basically. Knowing that you managed to keep a steady, solid record of good grades all throughout high school will make you feel extremely proud about yourself. The worst thing that could happen and totally pop your balloon is getting an 84.4 in Calculus...the only C you have ever gotten on a report card before.

2) If you were actually paying attention in class, you might actually realize that the stuff you are learning is pretty interesting after all. Lots of kids I know are too busy groaning all through class about the amount of work they have to do and don't stay open-minded long enough to consider how cool it is that water is the universal solvent, meaning that no other liquid can dissolve as many solutes as water can. The lessons you learn in class will make you appreciate all the little things in life that make up the world we live in and allow us to survive...they are usually things we tend to take for granted. Like water.

3) Your parents have done so much, caring and nurturing for you since you were a child. Don't you want to make them proud of their baby who got all A's and is a part of the Honor Roll?

4) Whatever you are learning in school will help you for the rest of your life. Granted, there are just some subjects, like Forensic Science, that are useless to you if you are not planning to specialize in...say, Forensic Science. Even so, the general concepts you learn in every class will end up benefiting you in some way during your life. Maybe even save you. I mean, who knew that you could be charged as a sex offender if you mooned someone (source: my forensic science teacher)?

5) Education allows students' imaginations and intellects to stretch to their fullest potential. Education provides you with the necessary tools to become a more open-minded, knowledgeable and overall better person. Education makes you think.

Embrace what you're learning. Love what you're doing.


P.S. I think I just motivated myself to do some homework. :3


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spread The Love

From what I've been seeing throughout these months leading up to Valentine's Day, people everywhere have been anything BUT, well, loving. For instance, my high school newspaper, which I have been writing for for the past three years, is writing a cynical column about how ridiculous it is for people to make such a big deal out of Valentine's Day. On The Neopian Times (Neopets online newspaper), there are articles about what gifts to give your "Un-Valentine" to show that you don't care. All over Facebook, friends have been saying things like "Happy Valentine's Day? Gag me with a spoon please" and "This just might be the stupidest holiday ever created." The first thing that pops up when I google "Valentine's Merchandise" is a a link to Cafepress: Anti Valentines Gifts, T-shirts, Stickers and more - CafePress.

Seriously, people, where is the love?

It has been disappointing to watch a holiday with such a wonderful meaning to have become a day that everybody loves to hate instead. Singles are moaning and groaning left and right about how useless Valentine's Day is because they don't have sweethearts to spend the day cuddling with. Other cynics have pointed out that Valentine's Day has become nothing but a tool for companies to advertise their products and increase consumer buying.

Valentine's Day is no more of a consumerism tool than other holidays are. Nobody gags over Chocolate easter bunnies, plastic egg containers, or the Marshmallow Peep sugar chicks.

Around the holiday season, nobody complains about the tacky red-and-green striped candy canes filled with Hershey kisses or the enormous sparkly ball-shaped ornaments that are too big to look good on a Christmas tree. But as Valentine's Day approaches, many are only too eager to turn up their noses at the colorful candy hearts and large, smiling Care-Bear plushies that say: I *HEART* YOU!!

Who can blame companies and factories for trying to take advantage of the most popular and well-known holidays? They are just doing their job...trying to attract as many consumers as possible to buy their products so that their brand names can stay popular and so they can get money. Isn't that we are all trying to do in life? Maintain our finances, work for money, and save our dough up so we can have relatively decent retirements and overall a happy life?

Valentine's Day is a holiday that celebrates love. The meaning of love, the joy of love. However, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just about romantic love. Sure, the major base upon which Valentine's Day was founded upon was St. Valentine and the letter he wrote to the girl he loved and signed it "From, Your Valentine." But in general, love is just that. Love.

Love-a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; affectionate concern for the well-being of others. Source:

Just because you don't have a sweetie does not mean you have to spend Valentine's Day watching sappy romance movies or surfing on dating websites desperately looking for another single. Why does Valentine's also have to be Single Awareness Day? You are surrounded by so many other people you love; at least, I am hoping you love your parents and siblings, right? Why not buy your brother a bouquet of flowers with a card that says, "Happy Valentine's Day! Love you, Bro"?

Or simply make Valentine's cards (yes, just like those tacky homemade lacy ones you created and were required to hand out to all the other third-graders and even the class intern) and send them to everyone you care about. Perhaps you'd like to go out on a date with your other single friend(s); go bowling, eat dinner, have a sleepover. Valentine's doesn't HAVE to be all about consumer-buying and spending ridiculous amounts of money on gifts; in fact, the best Valentine's Day that I spent was hanging out with the people I love most. We still bought gifts just because we wanted to, but the most fun was where we made new inside jokes and bonded together.

Valentine's Day isn't just about having a significant other to hold hands with, cuddle up on the couch eating expensive chocolates together, and say "I love you" to. It's a day of showing everyone you care about that you care. It's the perfect time for you to tell your best friend just how much you appreciate her laughing with you at your bitch of a boss and making 1000 cranes as a part of your wedding decor. It's about buying flowers for your mom and tacky golfing equipment for your dad and a long letter thanking them for all those lectures on how to be a good person (they really came to be of use in the end!) and goodnight stories they read to you as a kid. It's about taking the time to pat yourself on the back and say, Good for you for making it this far in haven't died yet! :P

A Facebook friend of mine, one of the few who truly appreciate Valentine's Day, summed it up perfectly in her recent status:

"Happy Valentine's Day! Love your family, love your friends, love yourself!"




Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year Festival 2010

The Chinese New Year Festival of 2010 was amazing! At the beginning, I had some troubles with helping friends find the location and had to miss a bit of the show, but it went well otherwise. It got especially fun at the end when I was able to spend time with my family and friends together.

Let me break the festival down:

Who: Anybody was invited to attend
What: Chinese New Year Festival 2010, Year of the Tiger Celebration
Where: The local university's medical school--Auditorium and Library
When: February 13, 2010 from 5pm to 8:30pm
The Cost: Tickets were $5 for grownups and $3 for children and seniors
Why: To celebrate the Chinese New Year, of course!
The Food: There was a large Chinese buffet (catered by local restaurants) with green beans, lo mein, spring rolls, egg-fried rice, chocolate cake, and much more!
The Performances: There were several traditional dances and songs performed by the local Chinese School teachers and young students, college students, various parents and volunteers. Many of the performances merged China's culture and the concept of love together. For instance, one of the songs that a young man sang was a typical Chinese song that, according to the commentator, was what a man would sing right before he proposed to his lady love.
Up: These are important Chinese contributors/performers/supporters of the program! The man in the middle is the prinicipal of the local Chinese School. Others are the parents of children who currently attend the school and were asked or volunteered to participate.

Up: Adorable little kids perform various famous, classical Chinese songs. They were extremely talented and well-synchronized.

Top Left and Right: Young college and graduate students break-dance the Asian way. ;)
Top: Traditional Chinese dancing that is accompanying two of the best performing singers in the entire show.
Above: A lovely Chorus singing Chinese songs. The conductor in black is the same lady in the picture above who sang a duo. After each duo performed together, one of the young dancer girls who attends the local Chinese School brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers to the them. The Chorus and the rest of the show was amazing!!

Up: Traditional Chinese dances performed by some parents and volunteers. The second photo to the right is supposed to represent some sort of flower, I believe. It was all very well done!

Up, Center: Another traditional Chinese dance. I absolutely love the costumes that the performers used for the show! Absolutely beautiful and culturally stunning!

All in all, it was a great performance. Some of the commentary and timing of certain performances was sort of casual and not completely in line, but this was their first time having the performances being done on stage. They did a great job. I'm sure next year's will be even better!

Happy Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, everybody!!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Excerpts From "The Little Duke Notebook"

Today has been an amazing day and I am extremely happy. Not only did I win a Strawberry Fields Forever paint brush on Neopets for getting into the Valentine's Day issue of The Neopian Times, but I brought Charles to Chess Club this afternoon and he was the star of the show. Everybody absolutely loved his wittiness and accepted him into the club with open arms. I feel like an extremely good person for what I have been able to give Charles; because of me, he is able to communicate with others and has been able to break through the language barrier that has held him back for so long (4 months since he arrived in America). I am more than glad to help. Living up to Clarke Kent, aka Superman. =)

Tomorrow I will be attending the local Chinese New Year festival...I'll be sure to upload photos and blog about the event! On Sunday, my boyfriend and I will be having either lunch or dinner at Basil's and a lovely present exchange afterwards. Needless to say, I am quite excited.

I would like to share with you some of the quotes, sayings, poems, and short phrases that I have picked up over the last two years. I keep a small, college-ruled notebook (Duke Merchandise, in fact) that my sister gave me and it has provided me with a great way to collect all the lovely words that I have picked up and made up since 2008. I want to name my little Duke notebook something other than, well, "My Little Duke Notebook." If you have any suggestions (I'm open to any and every possible idea!), feel free to let me know through a comment or two!

I hope these excerpts brighten your day! Have a nice laugh, a good cry, a smile dancing upon your lips.

My Favorite: "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure." -Nelson Mandela

"For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul's own speech." -Author Unknown

"Courage is not without the absence of fear." -Ambrose Redmoon

"You can't have all the talents in the world, so just do what do you best."
"I believe that writing is like a series of road trips. You know your destinations, but it is up to you on how you're going to get there in the end."
"Silver is the better gray."
"In order to survive NaNoWriMo, all you need is a little help of Pandora music, granola bars, and the will to win."

Clarke: How could a son murder his own father?
Chloe: Absence of love. Some say that's the definition of evil. -Smallville

"What one neuron tells another is simply how much it is excited." -Francis Crick

"I am becoming still more independent of my parents, young as I am, I face life with more courage than ever, my feeling for justice is immovable and true. I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage." -Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, 1947

"I am still learning." -Michaelangelo, age 85, 1560

"The heart has reasons which reason does not know." -Pablo Picasso

"We can't erase the past, and we sure can't change the future, but sometimes life gives us the opportunity to make things right." -Author Unknown

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." -Benjamin Franklin

"I love to sleep. Don't you? Isn't it great? It really is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious." -Comedian Rita Rudner

"My future starts when I wake up every morning...everyday I find something creative to do with my life." -Miles Davis

"Time is of the essence." -Author Unknown

Kevin: Love is patient, love is kind. Love means slowly losing your mind." -27 Dresses

"The first step to better times is to imagine them." -Chinese fortune cookie

Floccinaucinihilipilification-the act of estimating something as worthless

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." -Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"

"Your eyes are the brightest of all the colors,
I don't wanna ever have another.
You'll always be my Thunder." -Thunder, Boys Like Girls

"A bad day's work is better than no day's work at all." -Phillip Pullman

"Today's tangents will become tomorrow's arcs, and unforeseen connections will tie up your loose ends in a way that will make you want to slap your head and holler at your accidental brillance." -NaNoWriMo pep talk

"Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love."

-The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, Christopher Marlowe

"Perhaps there could be no joy on this planet [Earth] without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale."
"It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. YOU are beautiful."
-The Host by Stephanie Meyer

"Live in the moment." -Author Unknown

"...the rest is still unwritten." -Natasha Beddingfield

"In the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer." -Albert Camus

"Being a kid is hard work." -My cousin

"The smell of morning is so refreshing. It feels like you're ready to conquer the day and do anything!" -Vanessa Hudgens, Self Magazine

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." -Cinderella Story

"When I was born, I was so surprised that I couldn't talk for a year and a half!" -Gracie Allen

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." -T.S. Eliot

"Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Theresa

"The roundest kinght at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference." -Anonymous

"Perserverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th." -Julie Andrews

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

"Why is 'abbreviation' such a long word?" -Anonymous

"I'm a believer in paths. I think we are each walking a path set out for us, and whether or not we follow it like we should is up to us. But there is a path in which footsteps trod, paths that intertwine with others when we interact, paths that take us where we need to be." -A Livejournal Friend

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." -Cyril Connolly

"I could see him thinking, his eyebrows pulled together like caterpillars sharing a kiss. A happy caterpillar couple." -TeenInk prose, January 2010

"There is a gift in giving." -A friend

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.' -Robert Collier

"With every ending comes a new beginning." -Proverb


Thursday, February 11, 2010

My New Favorite Saying, Loving the World, Sneak Peek.

Bliggity Blog- simply another word for blog.

I discovered this word while reading the latest blog post on 350 Lights by M.M. and it made me giggle just reading the word in my mind. Then, when I tried to say it out loud, the alliteration made me fall into peals of laughter.

It's amazing what the little things in life can do to make you feel absolutely j o y f u l* in just one day. I love that feeling I get when something totally unexpected can make me feel sooo happy all of a's like an early birthday present! :)

These are other situations that have made me want to embrace the world and hug it and thank it for being so awesome:

1) Singing along to Thunder by Boys Like Girls as it blasts on Youtube with my sister

2) Having my AP Calculus teacher stop the day's lesson just so he can tell us about someone who actually sold a famous celebrity's air guitar on EBay for a ridiculous amount of money....laughter is the best medicine!

3) Completing my very first real Japanese anime drawing and realizing that it actually does not suck. Not at all. In fact, it's relatively decent!

4) Finding out that one of my best friends (who lives out of town) has created a special blog specifically for me and her to write to each other with day by day! Much better than regular old email, I believe. :)

5) Having a monstrous test postponed until a later date!

6) Finishing the first part of my very first novel, feeling guilty because it was almost midnight and I had school the next day, and then realizing the last word I'd typed in my novel was "judgment."

7) Watching my adorable cousin imitating scenes and songs from Happy Feet perfectly. He himself is a cartoon character!

8) Finding new followers and comments on my blog! Every time that I have seen (1) underneath a blog entry, my heart skips a few beats and a wide smile breaks across my face like sunshine when I realize that there are people out there who are interested in what I have to say. It makes me want to sing!

9) Having my good friend come up to me yesterday and hug me fiercely before telling me that I was awesome and that she is glad I am her friend. How amazing is that?

10) Doing random acts of kindness for other people and seeing them light up with a glow of happiness.

What are some things that have instilled happiness and content within your hearts and filled your mind with love for the world and love for life in general? Feel free to comment and share! =)

Here are upcoming blog topics that I will be touching base with this weekend:
-my favorite quotes, sayings, and little funnies, transferred from my very own personal Quotes Book.
-a letter to singles
-the magic of Valentine's Day that people don't seem to be feeling anymore these days
-texting while driving

Stay tuned!


*Inspired by 350 Lights

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Places At Once

Two months ago, when the school counselor introduced me to two new sophomores, Charles and Min Qi, who mirrored my Chinese ethnicity and explained that they had just moved from China with very few English skills, I was more than willing to tutor them. Being fluent Mandarin, I thought tutoring them would be as simple as talking to my grandpa in Shanghai on the weekends. I ended up not only tutoring them but also serving as a Chinese-English translator for many weeks to come. Little did I know that this experience taught and benefited me as much as I did them.

Throughout the past few months, both students have introduced me to a new type of friendship that I had never had before, but I have been able to identify and bond with Charles the most. We have similar personalities and both love to laugh. Luckily, we have lunch together, and because his teachers know that I am his special translator, I have the special ability to visit any of his classes as well as homeroom. *sits proudly* During our meetings, we have been able to share so much with each other, everything from culture to personal views to inside jokes to ancedotal incidents.

I truly admire Charles for his courage to move from his home country to an entirely new one whose cultural traditions and customs are completely different from his own. It was extremely difficult for me when I moved here from Massachusetts; I can barely imagine what it would be like to move across the world. Naturally, both Charles and Min Qi have had to go through several difficulties--the biggest one being the language barrier. I am so glad that I have been able to help and provide them with a guide that has led them through the challenges of molding into the now familiar American society that they were once so accustomed to, and, more importantly, a friend who not only relates to their own culture but also constantly points them in the right drection when they feel lost. Likewise, both students have been able to teach me what student life is like in Chinese schools as well as their anecdotes of moving from there to here. Charles especially has been eager to share all that he knows...quite frankly, he talks A LOT. :P

To be honest, I have never had the privilege to bond with Chinese peers of my age, much less befriend them, so this new bond that I share with Charles amazes me because it is something new that I do not experience everyday.

China and America are both my homes. I have spent countless memorable summers in China and have lived all seventeen years of my life in America. Both cultures have become so familiar to me that they are both a large part of who I am and will always be. When I am with Charles, I feel like I am in two places at once--the two places where there is absolutely everything that I have ever known. China and America. My surroundings are nothing but American; the burgers, the colloquial slang, the decorations on students' backpacks. Yet, with Charles by my side, I also experience nostalgia for China in mind: the porkbuns, the sticky heat, the swift Shanghainese accents. It is as if both parts of me have come together to meet ends.

I am eager for the Chinese New Year Festival that will take place this weekend. Charles has invited Min Qi and one other friend of his. I have invited my boyfriend and his brothers. Needless to say, it will be a very interesting a way, this will become an analogy. The CNY event will have my personal ideas of China and America truly meeting together for the first time. Rather, my boyfriend and my new best friend. Interesting.

Every once in a while, I do believe people need to experience something new and fresh, something that breaks them from their normal routine and opens their eyes, their minds, and their hearts to what the world really is like. Learning and experiencing something different from usual is what makes life interesting the most, I think. Certainly, it is one of the many reasons that prove that life is amazing!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Greatest of Superheroes

I have a confession to make: I don't watch very much television. In fact, I almost don't watch any television at all. Almost. Don't get me wrong; I used to spend hours viewing the latest Nickelodeon episodes of Hey Arnold! and Pinky and the Brain and even Rugrats. For me, those shows were classic and, no matter what mood I was, could always make me fall into peals of laughter. The unforgettable characters, the silly plots, the catchy show tunes all make them award-winners to me; why can't today's shows be more like them? To me, it seems that almost all modern television shows is nothing but fake reality, ridiculous sex jokes, pointless drama that never ends, and erroneous, one-sided facts. Almost.

You see, every Friday night I spend an hour watching my favorite television show: Smallville. I have been an avid fan of Smallville ever since the series started at the beginning of the decade 2000. For those of you who are clueless about what on earth Smallville is, let me give you a brief explanation:

Smallville: A television series that tells the story of Clark Kent, the "alien" from the planet Krypton, who has been sent to Earth in order to save it from ultimate destruction and to give the humans a symbol of hope. The series ends the moment that Clark Kent officially becomes "Superman," otherwise known as "The Man of Tomorrow" or "The Man of Steel," and embraces his destiny.

Even when as a young child, I always loved to watch new episodes of the Superman on Cartoon Network...there was never enough for me; I longed to see more of Clark Kent saving Lois Lane once again from disaster, preventing the world from annihilation by Lex's dangerous weapons of mass destruction, and doing double duty as a superhero by day and hotshot Daily Planet news reporter by night. I'm not sure if it was the chemistry between Lois and Clark that kept me hooked, or perhaps if it was that snazzy red-blue costume that caught my eye; whatever it was, The Adventures of Superman has always been the highlight of my day.

I really love what Superman stands for in the comics and cartoons. In so many ways, he portrays justice, hope, and truth. I’ve always admired how Clark looks at the bright sides of people and believe that everybody deserves a second chance no matter what. I think that's a valuable characteristic to have in life...there are so many ruthless people out there who are only too eager to bring down the reputations of others and take revenge of others' mistakes. Superman has always been a reminder to others that we cannot make things better by doing wrong; we can only improve the world by doing what is right.

Clark defines the role of a superhero well, inside and out. Not only does Clark have the physical capability to save humans in peril, but he has the courage and bravery to do so, even those whom he doesn't even know, and helps them with no questions asked and receives zero credit for it. I think that is a big part of what integrity is….doing these good deeds even when nobody is watching. You know you’re doing them because they are the right things to do, not because you want to attract fame and attention and money. Superman truly sets a perfect example.

What greatly saddens me is the fact that Smallville has been pushed back to Friday nights at 8pm. Correct me if I am wrong, but the least popular shows are always on aired on Fridays; I mean, who typically spends their Friday nights at home watching television? Ninety percent of my peers go to the beach, to the club, to the local fancy restaurants. They do anything but stay home. Thus, Smallville has naturally decreased its popularity and, like the rest of the nation, has suffered from severe budget cuts. Nevertheless, the show is still going on persistently.
Smallville is nowhere near as exceptional as it used to be, but the legacy of Superman is still living through this series; amongst the many ridiculous shows that are running today, Smallville keeps up the idea of morality. It is sad that so few still enjoy thesy episodes of young Clark Kent and adventures that he embarks on to save planet Earth.
Okay, I am getting sappy. >_<>, or other form), I encourage you to give Smallville a chance. You never know, it may just end up being on your top list of current favorite shows, along with the famous Top Chef, Next Top Model, The Secret Life of An American Teenager, and whatever else is blaring on the television screen these days.
Meanwhile, in between my daily blogging (one of my many activities that I have slowly but surely become addicted to), my ritual Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn feasts, and my Calculus homework, I will be squeezing in one hour each week into my schedule and dedicating that hour to watching yet another thrilling episode of Smallville, just like I always do.


Friday, February 5, 2010

The Truth About Happiness

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
--Fredrick Keonig, German inventor of high-speed printing press.

There is a woman that I know very well. She grew up in Wisconsin and now resides in the same town I do in North Carolina. Although she never went to college, she studied to become a realtor and also attended nursing school. She lives with nobody but her one cat and one dog, both whom she loves very dearly. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and taking care of her chestnut/apple trees, gladiolas, and the other beautiful plants that are so dearly tended over in her backyard. My friend absolutely loves food, especially ice cream. She is a playwright, nurse, and founder of the Recovery Room Players Christian acting group. She is the most religious person I have ever met.

On Wednesday, the doctor told her that she has a brain tumor. A few days beforehand, she discovered a lump on her temple and immediately scheduled an appointment with her doctor. After taking X-ray after X-ray and scan after scan ("Every organ in my body has been searched!" she exclaimed), it was confirmed that my friend has a brain tumor. The doctor will remove the tumor by surgery within just a few weeks and study it for any malignancy. When she told me all of this yesterday, she had a genuine smile on her face.

In more ways than one, this friend is my hero. As a child, she was adopted by a family made up of rather older people; her siblings were already grownups. Because of this, she grew up rather quickly and learned the rules of maturity at a young age. She fell in love at 17, had two children, and divorced. Her son was born with a mental disability and died at a very young age. Less than two years ago, my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She survived.

Despite the difficulties that this woman has had to go through in the past, every step of the way she held her head high and stayed strong. She never became bitter or tried to question fate, but held on to the faith she has in her God. Most importantly of all, she held on tightly the people and things that mattered to her most, and did not dwell despondently over what has been taken away from her. And I think that is something we can all learn from her. We all have horrific events occur in our lives, whether it be divorce, a death in the family, a fatal health risk, or simply a broken heart.

This woman has endured all of the above, and more. Even now as the thought of a malignant brain tumor sinks in along with the rest of her historical trials, she is the one assuring us and the people who care about her that everything will be all right. And she does not even consider the fact that it should be the other way around.

Even now as that tumor continues to grow and the looming prospect of surgery inches ever closer day after day, my friend will continue to keep herself happy and content by focusing on what she loves: writing comedy plays, keeping her plants plump and glowing, and counting her prayers. And, of course, staying thankful for every moment of her life.

The truth is that we choose to be happy or not. Life is what we make of it. If we choose to dwell upon the past and all of the awful things that have happened to us, we will naturally become more depressed and negative about the future and about ourselves. My personal experiences as well as having to watch others, including my friend, go through such tough struggles have shown me that life is also too short to ponder over our failures and losses. Seeing her strength shine above all and any evils that have fallen upon her has opened my eyes and encouraged me to be the happiest and the best that I can be.

The truth is, the world would be a happier place if we were all more like her.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

In the Spirit of NaNoWriMo

Every year, the National Novel Writing Month takes place in November. For those of you who have never heard of this contest before, let me introduce you to the basics:

  • write a novel or part of a novel of 50,000 words
  • write these 50,000 words within the course of 31 days
  • Quantity v.s. Quality = QUANTITY WINS!

Sounds pretty crazy, I know. And impossible. But guess what? After 3 years of attempting to reach this crazy, impossible goal, I finally won NaNoWriMo during November 2008. Literally minutes before the deadline. I am living proof that writing a novel of 50,000 words in one month is, in fact, possible.

And I'm not the only one. There are several people (see who have successfully written novels by surviving through this contest and have gone even farther to publishing their NaNo novels and becoming real authors.

I'm not here to persuade you to participate in NaNoWriMo. (Not yet.) It's way too early for's only February, after all! But last night my father found my NaNoWriMo novel on and bought a copy. That sparked my idea for this blog entry. Let me introduce you to my NaNoWriMo 2008 Winner Novel:
Click to Buy "Sophie" and Read More!

When I saw my own book up for sale on, it really made me feel nostalgic as I thought about the entire process that it had taken me to complete it. All 124 pages of it. The click clack of my keyboard as I fervishly wrote all I could day in and day out during November, that drunken feeling of staying up sinfully late at night as I try to squeeze in just 1,000 more words, the crunch, crunch of Chewy granola bars, the only thing that was capable of keeping me going hour after hour of writing nonstop.

The addicting swell of my chest and the swift pumping of my heart as I closed yet another finished chapter of my slowly-progressing novel. The priceless exhilaration that I felt as I finally validated my online NaNoWriMo word count so that it read 50,000 and watched the words flash before my eyes: Congratulations! You won NaNoWriMo 2008! on my computer screen. Thinking, "I did it! I wrote a 50,000-word novel in one month! I DID IT!!"

You get the point. It was awesome. There's something about the feeling of accomplishment that makes us feel like we're on top of the world. It makes our pride and self-esteem go up about 120% and we go smiling for days on end. It's an emotion we don't often get to experience because either we are too busy to accomplish something that big and bad, we don't think about accomplishing something that big and bad, or we're scared.

Reasons Those Excuses Suck:

1) Busy. You have that huge biology mid-term coming up, two weekly baby-sitting jobs, sixty pages of history to read every week, and weekly calculus quizzes. You have two babies to tend to, your position as Vice President of the local Parents-Teachers Association to maintain, and a job that your family is depended on for food and shelter. However busy and burdened you may be, there is a time when you need to STOP and just rest. Take a few moments to admire that red cardinal singing harmoniously outside; it's never too late to appreciate life's little things, the things that make it beautiful and worth living. Then, finally, squeeze some time right before bed or while you drinking your morning coffee (or when your babies just happen to be snoozing for their afternoon naps) to outline some realistic dreams you have. Choose the one you want to achieve the most and make a plan to spend a little time each day towards that dream. Being so busy, you'll WANT something to help you get away from life's little chores. It'll make you happy. =)

2) Routine Thinking. For many people, each day is a routine. You wake up, go to work or school, come home and do homework or outline your next work project, eat a snack, play Spider Solitaire, make and eat dinner, go to bed. In between one of those activities, stop and think about what would really make you happy. What is it that you would love to accomplish and would make you feel successful and like you're living in the moment? Whether it be creating a beautiful painting for your mother's birthday, mapping out your dream home (I did that a few weeks ago and it made me really excited and truly stretched my imagination), or writing a 50-000 word novel, choose a goal and stick to it using a plan. You'll be surprised by how amazing you feel once you actually complete it. And it's a great way to open your mind to new possibilities of how to break from your calendar routine and, instead, make life interesting and truly enjoyable.

3) Fear. In worst case scenario, you don't accomplish your goal. Is that what you're afraid of? Failure? Pshh. Well, actually...I have a confession to make. That's my fear too. Fortunately, there is a saying that's very true: "I try 99 times, and the 100th time I succeed." That definitely hit the money when it came to NaNoWriMo; losing that contest 3 times was awful, but I built up the courage to try again each year, and I finally won the 4th time. Another great quote that I absolutely live by is: "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure." It's true. Throughout NaNoWriMo 2008, all I kept thinking to myself was...You are your only enemy in this one. And it's the same thing with you. The only person stopping you from accomplishing your goal is you. You are the only one who can control your own actions, thoughts, and decisions. And even if you totally blow it the first time, that failure is all the greater reason and motivation for trying again. And again. Each time you fail, you build up another degree of happiness that you receive when you do finally succeed.

Accomplishment is bliss. It's like our happy drug, only it doesn't kill you (usually). NaNoWriMo is my drug. What's yours?



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Joys of Writing

I actually wrote this list on Sunday, July 5, 2009 when I was bored and wanted to write something mainly for the sake of writing. I hope you find this inspirational, especially if you are a blogger with blogger's block. ;]

Why Write?

#1: You can express yourself freely in whatever way you choose. No matter if you write a dramatic play, a tragic storyline of two lovers, a journal entry about your day, or a poem simply about Twinkies, every word that flows out from your mind is a part of you in some way. Expression, in every way, is powerful.

#2: With writing, you can inform, entertain, and satisfy. Journalists, newspaper reporters, bloggers, reviewers/critics, they all write to inform and persuade their viewers and readers. Their goal? To influence the world with their opinions and findings. And nearly everybody--except the most serious of writers--write to entertain, whether it be themselves, family members or other type of audience. And writers nearly always write to satisfy--who else, but themselves? For me personally, writing is an escapade from reality; MY way of satisfying boredom, anger, happiness and every other overwhelming emotion that tries to overcome me somehow.

#3: Discovery. One thinks one knows oneself until one steps back and writes free-flowing and suddenly stops and realizes that one has written something that, in another place and time, could have never come out from that particularly mind before. In other words, writing allows its practitioners to let themselves loose and surprise themselves--as well as others--with endless possibilities. Diaries allow reflection of the past and perhaps new revelations of understanding. A story is like a road trip: the writer knows the destination, but HOW the characters get there is totally up to the writer; the characters themselves may surprise the writer unexpectedly.

Hope you enjoy!

~The Red Angel

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crystal City

Having lived in North Carolina for the past ten years, it came to my attention quite early in the decade that NC simply does not receive a lot of snow during the wintertime. Almost every year, I have had to go through much disappointment from looking out the window and realizing that I will be having a snowless holiday season. Approximately three out of the ten years that I have lived here have I seen snow on the Southern grounds of North Carolina.

This is my eleventh year living in North Carolina. On Friday night, I looked outside and my eyes widened with disbelief. Everywhere, little specks of "white fluffy stuff" (quoted from a friend named Kyler) were flurrying madly all around. Indeed, the weatherman had done us justice, which is saying a lot considering the fact that he'd broken his promise of snow a few weeks ago. Only a couple hours later, my entire lawn was invisible underneath a soft bed of snow. Car windshields were covered, as were the roofs of houses, mailboxes, and driveways.

It truly felt like a dream.

The snow has been a real joy this weekend and has seemed to make everything else much more magical. Not only did I get into one of my dream universities, but my sister was able to spend the weekend (she lives out of town) AND I got to go to one of my favorite restaurants. As a plus, I had one day off of school and will have a 2-hour delay tomorrow. I think snow can definitely work wonders sometimes. :P

But really. There's just something about snow that makes it so magical...perhaps it's the fact that we don't get to see it everyday, or even every month or year, or perhaps it's the fact that there's the possibility it may come when we least expect it or doubt it the most.....and yet the day comes when we jump for happiness and enjoy it to the fullest.
It has been less than 30 degrees here, so everything completely froze. For the past few days, my backyard has been an ICE RINK!!! The trees and bushes have all been frozen solid, and not just in my neighborhood but all over town. Once the streets were embedded with salt and were safe enough to drive on, my dad and I drove around. Our town had transformed into a Crystal City. You could literally see the trees and bushes all sparkling. I found a leaf trapped, embedded within a stone of ice. Twigs were also in the same, wondrous form. It was like the whole town was shining with icicles, glass trees, and other crystal decor. It was so beautiful. My father raised an interesting question: Why is it that the plants don't die when they are frozen into ice?
I thank Mother Nature for giving me this chance to experience the wonders of natural processes. It may another year or two or three before I get to watch snow fall peacefully from the sky once again, but I will always remember the Crystal City that, in an ironic sort of way, unveiled before my eyes.

Nature is truly amazing. I believe that, to truly learn about loving life, you need to first appreciate your natural surroundings. After all, without nature there would be nothing. We would be nothing. I feel like in today's society, many people are too caught up in our own technological world, busy with their work schedules and catching up with birthdays and attending soccer tournaments. We fail to ever stop and truly take a look at where we are and wonder about the little things, like how a simple green leaf frozen in transparent ice can look so naturally beautiful.

So I propose a challenge: next time you walk outside, use all of your senses to truly take in your environment. What do you smell, and why do you enjoy or dislike that smell? What sounds do you hear--what do you think about when you hear that dog barking or that kid yelling for his mom in excitement? What in front of you do you see? Take time to appreciate the presence of color, and realize that without your eyes you would be incapable of seeing anything. Feel the sweater you are wearing, and think of the texture. When you're eating, don't do like my sister does and gobble the whole thing in two bites. Really savor all the flavors; feel the strawberry tanginess clash with the cool whipped cream.

Close your eyes and just imagine. Make up mini stories with all of the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes you just took in. Embrace. And truly appreciate what it feels like to live.

~The Red Angel
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