Update | August 11, 2017

Hello everyone,

I think I should explain to you all why I’ve been absent for nearly a month.

All is well, I’ve just been very busy in the summer and trying to make the most of my time. I enrolled in three classes to ensure that I would graduate on time and they all finished today, one of which was my internship/capstone class, so you could imagine that I was pretty frantic all month to make sure I had all my pieces assembled. I’m finally finished! All that’s left of my capstone is the presentation that’ll take place in September.

I’ve also been traveling quite a bit, once a month to NYC and on top of that, I also went home just because home allows you to rest your head on the pillow with minimal worries. I’ve also been studying Korean and it’s proven to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, but at least I can read the characters now! The next step would be to start to understand what I’m reading and then I’ll move onto speaking.

I’ve also been experimenting with watercolors! I’ve always been fascinated with painting and this past spring, I had actually bought paint supplies and nice brushes and I committed this summer to improving my skills. And what motivated me more was nice outlining pens.

Here’s some of my work:

Casual farm animals and a rocket ship featuring the splatter pain technique

Ponyo from the Studio Ghibli Movie, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea — highly recommend if you want to watch a really sweet movie.

My favorite flower!

Tomorrow I’m going to be heading home and then in a couple days, I’ll be driving down to Orlando, Florida because my close family and extended family will be going to Disney for a week! It’ll be my first time there and I’m as stoked as my 11 year old cousin! On that note, I won’t be able to post anything until I return the weekend before my senior year starts. :O

Hope you all have a good couple of weeks! Thanks for sticking with me!

Alice

 

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107.9 FM Summer Hits | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope your June is going well so far!

107.9 FM Summer Hits

I’m in love with the shape of you.
But she said, where’d you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
‘Cause I got issues
But you got ‘em too
So give ‘em all to me
And I’ll give mine to you
Oh na na, just be careful, na na
Love ain’t simple, na na
My sunrise on the darkest day.

Top 100 hits
YouTube views scratching the millions
Commenters loving the singer, being the faithful fan, a first discovery
Interviews with Ellen, Jimmy Fallon and Conan — the big names
What an amazing performance!
And they glow with their perfect contours, hot swag and
go back to touching the hearts of teenagers
just wanting to feel the wild side of life
through accessible lyrics.

And my heart stops and my hand pauses
as I scroll through the FM and AM trying to find a drivable tune
only to hear a love confession that could only be
whispered to me in the dark, your lips brushing my ear lobe
being filtered through glamour lips
and my heart can’t help,
but swoon.

Can you guess which songs I put in my poem? They’re pretty well known at the moment, so I’m pretty sure you can guess. Starting from the first line, it’s Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, Something Like This by Chainsmokers feat. Coldplay, Issues by Julia Michaels, No Promises by Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato and Despacito by Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee. Give them a listen and see if they speak to you in any way.

This poem is basically about how millions of people listen to these songs intentionally or unintentionally and one line or the entire song speaks to them despite it being so public, in-your-face, or mass produced. From the first stanza, I go from the particular lyrics that have spoken to me to the image that the singers have to the more individualist image of listening to the song and connecting it to a memory.

I think this is why there are so many “love” songs in the musical industry and why we just love talking about romance. We either lack it, so we want it. We have it, but our experience is always unique, but similar, so we want to share. Or we want to reminisce on a portion of our lives that was good. Whether or not we want to admit it or we like to proudly show it, these pop songs somehow make their way into our lives.

Which song do you like so far? Issues by Julia Michaels has been running in my mind lately.

Thanks for reading,

Alice

One Wild Ride | Quick Piece

When I was little, my dad would try to take our family to a water park once every summer. Even though he worked 40 hour weeks, he always tried his best. The water park wasn’t very far from our house, only an hour away, but with each minute that passed, my body quivered with excitement. My mom would pack sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly for me, wrapped in parchment paper and a chicken breast sandwich for her and Dad. The only bad part I hated about the water park was when my mom slathered sunscreen all over me. Sometimes it ran into my eyes and stung. “Mom! There isn’t that much sun out today! I don’t need it!” I shouted, struggling to run into the park, but she yanked me back. “Paul Asher Duflo, you’re going to regret it when you’re older. Now stop jerking around or I’m going to get sun screen in your eyes!” she would always say. I would stay still for five seconds and she would give up. My dad would shout after me to meet at noon at the usual gazebo for lunch and I would stick my thumb up, my grin too wide to be contained. I rode the water slides as many times as possible, darting up the stairs past the teenage couples, past the friend groups, and past the young married couples. I was the fastest Paul Duflo on the slides. I loved the orange one more than anything because of the sharp turns and it always felt longer. I never wanted the fun to end. When it was around noon, I would dart back to the gazebo and scarf down my sandwich leaving sticky residues of peanut butter and jelly down my bare chest. My dad would either be dozing off or happily sitting with a beer in one hand and my mom would have a book in her hand. Once I caught them riding the Lazy River hand in hand and even as a child, I knew I shouldn’t intrude. Something about them stuck with me. Our family usually stayed the entire time until an hour before the park closed. They would usually have to drag me out kicking and screaming, but I knew we were coming back next year.

Unfortunately, I had to go to college, so for a couple of years, I never stepped foot into the water park. Things got busy and four years turned into ten. My parents were still happy, but it became evident that the 40 hours my dad worked was proving to be straining. Whenever I visited for the holidays, he was propped up on a mound of pillows. “What’s with all the pillows, Dad?” I asked. His mouth twitched into a smile before he said, “I’m learning how to be a princess. There’s a pea under all my pillows.” I laughed and playfully punched him on the shoulder. I knew he was having back problems by the way he walked and by the appearance of his swollen feet. My mom tried to find a job, but because of her age, no one would take her. Every time I returned home, there was a big ball of stress looming above the house. All my parents wanted to do was talk about how I was doing. There were times when I straight up lied about having a girlfriend, having a job and being happy. It became a habit and I spun my stories around my successes just so I could hear my Dad laugh and my Mom look like she was put together again. For one moment, I was the fastest kid in town, Mom and Dad were the happiest couple and our worries were nonexistent. In reality, the Duflo family had too much pain, but we just became experts at hiding it.

One summer day, I had another round of disappointing interviews. Everyone politely said thank you with that smile full of pity before sending me on my way. Before driving home, I crumpled my résumé into a ball and flung it at my car. “Why is it so hard to be happy?” I drove furiously home, stopping at the store to pick up a case of beer. “I don’t care if I can’t afford it. I deserve better than this shit hole.” I muttered, making my way to my car. The rattling beers in the passenger seat mimicked my thoughts and my shaking hands. Tears started flowing uncontrollably down my face and I started screaming at the traffic. “Fuck this shit! I’m stuck here in what is the worst place ever and all I want to do is go home and drink 5 beers until I pass out! This world has turned me into an alcoholic because that’s the only thing that will numb out this wonderful thing you call life! Fuck it all!” I accidentally hit the steering wheel sending a loud blaring honk to the car in front of me. Without a word, the driver stuck out his arm and flipped me off. At this point, I pretty much lost all of my senses. Tears and snot run down my face and my hands are too slow to catch it all. It was like the traffic light pitied me, it turned green and I was on my way. My tears blurred the road turning all the cars into colorful moving blobs that threatened my existence. Even through my tears, I saw a bright neon sign of the water park I went to as a kid. I muttered to myself, “I may be almost 44 and my life sucks right now, but I remember the days when I felt like Superman.” I remembered darting through the slides and epically emerging from the pool. Lifeguards were my nemesis and I escaped their hold. I remembered my parents, their faces so serene as they drifted around the bend of the Lazy River only to hear my mother squealing when she encountered an unexpected waterfall. My lips cracked into a smile and I whispered, “Why the hell not?”

I drove home with a new goal in mind. As soon as I stepped through the door where the house was usually too quiet to bear, I raced to my parent’s room where they usually were now and loudly said, “Let’s go to the water park again! It’ll be great!” My mom looked up from her self-help book and squinted at me. “Paul, have you been drinking?” I shook me head and knelt by her feet like I used to as a kid. “No mom! Smell my breath. I really think we should go! It’s so hot outside and the water is so cool.” She didn’t crack a smile and my dad didn’t move. “I know you mean well, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.,” my dad sadly said. It pained me to hear his voice so lifeless, but I had to bring his younger self out of him again. That was my new goal. I took my parent’s hands and begged, “Please, I beg you. Just one more time, one last ride, one wild one for the Duflo family.” Tears brimmed my mother’s eyes and she cracked a smile. “Why not, Hank? For good times sake?” her voice shook with emotion.

We packed our lunches. I spread the smooth peanut butter and jelly and carefully wrapped it in parchment paper and made my parent’s sandwich with my mom happily looking on. We bought our tickets without a care in the world and walked hand in hand into the park. The familiar shouts and screams filled me joy once again and I had an urge to run deep into the park, but I stayed put. Since my Dad’s back was troublesome, the only thing we could go on was the Lazy River. I would give everything to see my parents smile and laugh again. It was like we all became children and everything was okay again. Dad and I couldn’t stop laughing when Mom went under that unexpected waterfall again. We ended up going on the Lazy River so much that the staff recognized us. “Paul, why don’t you go on those slides you’ve always loved? Isn’t the Lazy River just too slow for you?” my mom said, her face glowing from the sun. I shook my head and said, “I’ve had my fair share of wild when I was little. Now’s the time to be lazy, a well deserved ride.”

Lake | Saturday Adventures

Hello everyone,

I could say that I went to a beach today, but it was a lake. Most things were the same with many people tanning and families building sandcastles. As the sun rose higher and the shadows grew longer, more umbrellas popped up on the sand by the lake. There were more children screaming and playing marco polo as well as attempting to build the best sandcastles with moats and lakes. I saw an older man with bright plastic beach toys making the most exquisite and definitely the best sand mansion. I aspire to be like him. My brother and his friend were set on building the deepest hole with a tunnel system. It was pretty cool except for the sloshing wet sand. I made a sea turtle and my mom helped by adding stones on its shell that spelled out my Chinese name. I took a basic plastic container and quickly built my town. I added little sand spheres on top only to have them be destroyed by Mommy Monster. Most of the day was spent covered in sand, staring at the water and sky and digging a hole. I wouldn’t have had it any different.

Thanks for coming along with me on this simple adventure!

Alice

 

To Future Seniors

Dear future Seniors,

I must congratulate you because you deserve a commemoration for going through one of the hardest years. This year was hard for you because you had to deal with the start of important decision making that will set you through life. You had to take a bunch of tests in which numbers deemed how you were academically. Just so you know, you are all much more than numbers. You are amazing people with a unique purpose in the world. I’m sure you’ve heard that plenty of times with different wording, but it is true.

I’m going to be blunt and say that your senior year is going to be just as hard, but in the end, things will be worth it. Isn’t everything always worth it in the end? As long as there are no regrets. The main goal of your senior year is to be happy in the end. Don’t even worry if you can get a job with your major or if you can get into the university of your choice with your essay. Follow your dreams, even if it’s far fetched. This is your chance to say “This is what makes me happy and I’m going to go for it.” You don’t want to miss the opportunity.

When you’re in the middle of your college application essay and nothing, not even a cheesy joke or a cliche comes to mind and all you want to do is give up, make that not an option. Write those 650 words. The 650 words is your life story. It is pretty much the only personal thing the college will have that will make you separate from everyone else. If you don’t know who you are, never fear because it takes a while to know yourself. Just be honest about it in your essay then. Write about your journey in finding yourself if you must, but don’t let the reader know too much of your confusion or they will become a slightly confused as well. In your essay, write it like you are a proud owner of your life. Aren’t you glad to be alive?

When you’re in the middle of class and running around outside just seems so much better than sitting in cold hard chairs remember that you’re not going to be in that very chair much longer. Colleges like to see that you sat through the entire school year even after you’ve deposited and you’ve already bought clothing from your college. They would like to see that you have commitment at your own school and that you would apply that to college. You will be able to run free. Soon.

When you’re sitting at home with piles and piles of homework on your shoulders, remember what you’re doing the work for. I suggest that you have motivation just how athletes strive for a fit body and or a faster time. Strive for your best.

Quick story:  I run track and there were many times where I found it extreamly hard to go forth with the practices because I could never catch up with the others. I was always behind everyone by nearly half a lap. Yet, I pressed on and I decided that I wasn’t competing with my own teammates or with other people. I didn’t care about that anymore because I knew I tried and that was my peak. Yes,I was very proud of my teammates and I wanted them to do their best, but I knew that they were not my source of motivation. Instead, I raced myself. I wanted to try and improve my times by seconds or milliseconds even. I wanted to try to jump as far as I could. It was the factor of trying.

If someone says “you’re not trying hard enough.”, don’t listen to them because only you can determine how hard you are trying. There is no such thing as a “try-hard”. Just don’t give up.

When you are having difficulties in balancing between fun and studies, just remember that a break is needed every once in a while. It is not advised to slack off every day and it is also not advised to work until the light of day for a continuum of time. In order to have the good amount of fun and do your work effectively, procrastination is not an option. I am well aware of senioritis because I have fallen ill to it many times. And the next day, I regret the many YouTube videos I’ve watched because I am exhausted. All the future seniors should know what I’m talking about. Don’t give in. Please. Getting the adequate amount of sleep has higher priorities than rushing to beat the sunrise and slapping on a thing composed in the wee hours of the morning.

When you find yourself signing yearbooks and it’s warm outside, congratulate yourselves because you did it! You made it through thirteen years of schooling. Even though it may be hard to believe it, it has happened. Just keep telling yourself that this is what hard work is and this is where it got you. Everything is worth it and everything has its reasons. Yet, I advise you to not completely drop everything and sprint to the college life. Besides elementary school, you spend the most years in high school. Middle school was like a trial and error stage. Well, you made it past…that!

Don’t forget about your friends. Try your best to catch up with them. They were the ones who shaped the early stages of your life just as you done for others. Friends are precious. Keep them close to you. I realize you can also meet great people outside of high school years, but keep your first bunch of friends close to you.

Don’t forget about your teachers. They instructed you and filled your minds with knowledge. When you were in school, that didn’t seem very appealing, but you will soon come to appreciate all their hard work when you realize that they also went through the same thing as you did- the applications and the hard schooling only to come back and teach generation after generation of students. Plus, we are very privileged to have teachers and a proper education system in the United States because there are other counties who have to fight for their education.

 

And so, this is all I have to say. I hope you try to abide to some of them, yet of course, they are only a suggestion. Take heart. You’re almost there. Don’t give up.

 

Enjoy your summer.

Alice