Worth it

Thanksgiving break is coming soon, and everyone seems to be excited for it.

Most of the people go back home, and celebrate with a humongous turkey sitting on the middle of table. As an international student, however, Thanksgiving is not as welcoming as other holidays. I love going back home, but 1 week is simply too short. To go back, we have to endure 13 hours of flight and then another 2 hours to go back home. Then you have to deal with Jet lag, which takes a while to get over.

Time just flies during thanksgiving, and it is exhausting to spend a full day just in plane, but I guess I’m still excited to see my family.

pc; Giphy

It’s a Small World

When I was in first grade, I went to school in Hangzhou International School. The classes ranged from preschool to twelfth grade, totaling to about 312 students. At least, that’s the only number I remember.

HIS is a small private school with students from Japan, Korea, Germany, Australia, you name it. It was a day school, ending at 3, and uniforms were required. Nobody got dress-coded, and each class became very, very tight.

One of my most vivid memories is walking down a long, white hallway decorated with life-sized paintings of dinosaurs. It was an empty hallway with big windows and no doors, so we could be as loud as we wanted. And with 25+ students in my grade, we were definitely loud. We travelled from class to class as a pack, because in lower and middle school, that’s how classes worked.

Photo cred: Byrne Robotics

I was at HIS for 8 years. Leaving China to go to Ojai Valley School was probably the biggest change in my life.

There’s only 114 students at OVS. At least, that’s the only number I remember. We have a dress code and students that ran around campus in all different directions to different classes.

It’s wide, crazy, open, and very, very, very small. You’re basically forced to  get to know the people here because we’re kinda-sorta stuck on top of a hill together.

The two college dorms I applied to, Skarland and Moore, with 100 and 322 students living in them. Which are the sizes of the only schools I have ever been to. I guess you can consider me a small-town girl.

It was a small world for me. This school, with about 9,000 students, is going to be an entirely new galaxy for me.

To Help or Not to Help

With the recent GOP debates, there has been talk of the question of foreign aid and whether it should be given, and if it is, to whom?

I find it disturbing that so many people find that we as a country should completely cease giving foreign aid because of our financial woes. And here is why.

Sure, our economy is not doing as well as it used to. In fact, we have been experience serious financial problems that could spell the end of our reign as kings of the world.

But, the people of America are still far better off than those of most countries. Even the lower class of the US is making more than most. So although we are experiencing hard times, this is nothing compared to the daily lives of others throughout the world.

So why then are so many talking about cutting off foreign aid? They claim that we need to “take care of ourselves first”. But guess what, we are humans before anything else. And we do need to take care of ourselves, but that means our entire species.

Although we associate ourselves as Americans, we have to realize that we live in a world made up of billions of people just like us. And why should we have excess when they have nothing?

I know that the many will say life is not meant to be fair and I would agree with that. But is it not our moral obligation to help those with less if we can?

I feel that we are slacking as a country in our contributions to the world. We may contribute much as far as the world economy and infrastructure, but what are we contributing when we look at it person by person?

I think we need to go on a mission to make people smile. Take the money from the pointless wars we have been fighting as spend it on giving to those who need it. We can survive with less than we have and I have a sneaking suspicion that we will work harder as a nation to improve if we have less.

We are a hardworking nation but it is not that others are lazy, simply unfortunate. Whether you are a Christian or Muslim, Jew or atheist, these is no good reason to hoard our good fortunes and ignore the rest of the world.

We will not always be the super power that we are, and when we are in a position of needing help, do you want to look at another country that is rolling in luxury and realize they will give nothing of it away? I hope not.

Let us continue, and build, the foreign aid programs we currently have in place. Let us go and help those who need it and create a stronger and more unified world. Let us go out and get allies in new places and teach people that Americans are willing to give. Let us be just.

What We Are

Although many Americans struggle to realize it, there are other countries in the world. And within these other countries, there are people with opinions.

Now place yourself in the shoes of one of those people and look at the news that comes out of America; the politics, the domestic issues, the celebrities.

Now maybe it’s just me (though I very much hope it isn’t) but I worry about this. Maybe it is because I am a self-conscious teenager, but I worry that the image that others see is disgusting.

I read our news often and am disgusted. Mainly its when a GOP candidate opens his/hers mouth but it even goes all the way to court cases and even sports.

We recently had a speaker at our school who talked about the image of a brand. As the head of a marketing company, his job is to portray a certain business in a positive light.

Hell, maybe we need some America commercials, like the ones you see for Arizona and Puerto Rico. We can show pictures of the nicer cities, not of Detroit and Cleveland. Then we can end with a catchy phrase like “America; it ain’t what it used to be but its still a lot better than your country” (We should probably not run this in most Western European countries if we go with that phrase).

Our image used to be one of power and justice. Now it is of fat people who pick on Muslims or ignorant people who can’t tell Austria from Australia. What happened to the days of golden roads and silver lakes?

I could go on and on about everything we did wrong but that is not the point. The past, unfortunately, is out of our control. What we can do is look towards the future in a way that is less egocentric.

We must rebrand ourselves, give ourselves a new image. Because not only does what others think matter, our confidence as a country matters too. The moral is low and we need a change. Let’s boost our image and in doing so create a better country.

The Trials of Adoption

This may sound petty, but I have always wanted an adorable little Asian baby.

Similar to the one in the upper left picture, he/she will speak 3 languages and of course maintain the most cutest and stylish of haircuts.

He/she will attend New York’s best preparatory schools beginning at the age of  3 and will attend one of the 8 Ivy League colleges.

Hey, its possible. : )

So lately I have wondered exactly how this could happen.

Due to the fact that one cannot tell who their lifelong soul mate may be, I have realized how much I would love to adopt a child from Asia.

Curious about the procedures of adoption I did some research and discovered an article posted in “Psychology Today.”

Unfortunately, adoption isn’t so simple these days.

Today, the cost of agency and private adoptions ranges at a price of $5,000 to $40,000 while international adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000. As one could understand, this is the major barrier that disables people from adopting children. In addition, the delays to receive a child internationally are immense. Commonly, the adoptive parents must wait a near 2 years in order to hold their child for the first time. This is caused by the required “home study” as well as regulating whether all necessary requirements are met by the adopters.

In addition, international adoptions are “legal midfields” in such countries as Belarus, Guatemala, Nepal, and Vietnam. Harvard Law School Professor of Child Advocacy stated that international children are being “denied their fundamental human right to be ‘nurtured in their formative years by permanent parents in real families.’” Personally, I believe that families who are inclined to adopt a child should be thanked for their generosity and their ability to stop the world’s exceeding population. I do understand the cost for the international transportation, but should they really have to pay thousands upon thousands?

Honestly, believing that I would be in a well off financial state, I would not mind the costs for adopting a child, however this price range can easily halt an excited adopter’s future prospects.

In order to help the children and our nation, the government should make it more affordable for able parents to adopt, while maintaining the required regulations.

I really do hope to adopt a child one day and hold one of these most adorable little babies in my own arms.