Best Asian Parent

My mother is the best asian parent ever.

She always wanted me to be good at everything, and if not, good at something in particular. 

Ever since my childhood, she had been pushing me to be great. 

Therefore, under her influence, I signed up for the concert band and the ping-pong ball team of my elementary school. I started doing all these things, and then I just stuck to it for years.

My childhood was filled with practicing tenor horn and table tennis, and I did that for the whole six years of my elementary school life. 

Not to brag, but I was placed the third in a city-wide table tennis competition, and after 9 times of examination and evaluation of the China Conservatory of Music, I was considered to be on the highest level of performing tenor horn. 

Now that I think of it, I’m very impressed by the old me. It’s amazing what my mother pushed me to do. Now that I think of it, she gave my old life so much more colors than an ordinary kid’s. Looking back, I just think of so much more my mother has taught me, how she would buy bundles of English or math test materials, then make me take them and go through and answers together. I remember her putting a big question mark on the side when there is a question wrong, because I always argued against the answer key. I remember how she made me recite ancient books of poems and passages that the recitation of it to a teacher would have given me a recognition. It meant reciting multiple books of poems and recite them in a single time. She tested me, gazed at me every time when I struggled to find the right words — it was so painful. It was like she knew I had some kind of talent and wouldn’t have been like that to me if it weren’t for that gift I had. Now that I think of how much heart my mother has put in me, I never want to disappoint her again.

Oh, how I love my mother. But now I cannot ever go back, she isn’t always going to tuck me in at night.

Photo Credit: onlinelabels.com

Nostalgia hits hard

Nostalgia isn’t just a feeling, it’s a crash of emotions that befalls you when it’s the most unexpected. Not just homesickness, but a mix of remembrance and sadness, as you’re only nostalgic when you are not home, stranded, helpless.

Nostalgia may be a current of water. It flows from your head to your stomach, then back to your eyes, uncontrollable, rolling out like a waterfall. Sometimes you don’t realize its existence until your mouth takes a sip of that salty drop.

You’d laugh at your woe and call it odd, but the current will not halt. So I comfort myself. Don’t cry, child, for you don’t have time for it now.

Nostalgia is more than a feeling. I hope whoever has it can return to their loved ones in a short while. 

Nevertheless, will you still miss your home, if your lover is stranded as well?

(I’m a Chinese international student in the US. Because of certain policies that were made for the coronavirus, I cannot go back home. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to meet my family and friends. The uncertainty is a real menace, it’s eating me alive. What if something happens to someone whom I love while I’m overseas? What if at the end of the day I’m left behind as the only one living? The uncertainty is killing me. I hope everything goes well in China, I hope there’ll be an antidote for this madness. I feel really helpless and overwhelmed because there’s literally nothing I could contribute to better the situation, I could only sit and watch the number of infected and deaths go up and wish that my circle of people has nothing to do with it. It’s truly rotten when you are a spectator of your fellow countrymen’s deaths. 

I just hope things go well. I’m praying for a change.)

Photo Credit: phys.org

Nostalgic Pride

I like divulging stories and experiences from my childhood so I think I’ll do that again.
 
5th grade was an interesting year for me. I spent the whole year knowing it was my final year in China, that I would soon be moving to the promised land that I had only know as Hollywood from movies and the few visits I had made to the southern coast of California. I fostered friendships I knew wouldn’t last, I got moved up to the highest reading group, and I ALMOST kissed a girl. All the subdued craziness afforded to an awkward twelve year old was incredibly liberating, however at the same time, it was shrouded in the despair of having to leave behind everything I knew.
 
Aside from all that depressing stuff, my fifth-grade year was the perfect culmination of all the time I had spent in China. My friends and I released more videos in a single year than we ever had before, under the name of our production company, “Yovodka United.” My homeroom class won the elementary school dodgeball tournament, even defeating the teachers somehow, making for one glorious pizza party. I finally read the final book of the TinTin series from the library, after waiting nearly two years for someone to return it, and I gave my final goodbyes to the friends, the school, the city, that had raised me and taught me so much, walking off stage, throwing glow sticks into the audience, after our heartfelt class song.
 
The Skype calls that seemed to go nowhere but made hours fly by in minutes. The new era of pop music, Maroon V, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, The Script, and Gotye, creating a perfect soundtrack that could encapsulate my memories into a single playlist. The Minecraft LAN parties that involved poor WiFi, pizza bagels, and lots of griefing. I don’t know if I can ever recreate a year as packed with mixed emotions and shameless exuberance as my fifth-grade year, but I only hope I can one day look back on my high school experience, my senior year even, with the same kind of nostalgic pride.

Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year, Asian new year. Asian new year is one of the biggest holidays in countries like Korea and China. We get to gather around with families that we weren’t able to meet for a while and celebrate each other by eating different kinds of food and talking about how their life has been. This is time of the year, where I want to go back to my own country. I always think about how fun it would be to spend time with family and relatives and laugh about stupid stuff, while I’m in my room laying on my bed. I wish one day I could celebrate Asian new year with my family and relatives.

Itchy

I have a bad case of itchy foot

The itchy foot runs through my leg

When I itch the itch it numbs my toes

Through my foot it goes

And all the way into my calf

It feels like the beginning of poison oak

The sweltering alergic reaction

That has plagued me since days old

I feel the familiar itch

The friendly ooze

The glorious disgusting hot irritated mess that is poison oak

But not quite

It’s just one singular bulb

One little plague bubonic

A tiny little boil

A reminder of bare feet in mosquito territory

A reminder like a cracked phone screen

Or a scar on your arm

Something you see everyday

A reminder of something you forgot

Like her face in my camera roll

Like looking back at just how perfect it has been

Because so often I took photos when things were good

When I wasn’t staring at a blank google doc

An image stamped in my skull

When it was incredible

Or when it was supremely funny

Or when it hurt like a mountain insurmountable

And when I scroll back and see these myrtle memories

For an instant I feel that excitement that takes me back

That yearning for days old

But not for a million dollars

Not for an ounce of that love that I felt

Would I miss a second of the now

It’s weird

But I scratched the itch

And honestly it doesn’t itch anymore

Sunday Night Football

In boarding school, it is really hard to enjoy Sunday night football. Before moving to boarding school, I was in Dallas with my host family. Even though I did not like living with my host family, Sunday Night Football with my friends was unforgettable. I remember getting really hyped about every crazy play made by the Cowboys. We always had food like pizzas and wings while watching football, or we would go places like Buffalo Wild Wings and watch the Cowboys play and cheer them on with people that I don’t even know. Memories of Sunday night football will never be forgotten, and I will for sure enjoy Sunday night football when I go to college.

Photo Credit: USA today

looking back

tonight i have been feeling extra reminiscent.

i saw a picture from where i used to live and i couldn’t help but think, don’t get me wrong i am so grateful to be where i am and to have met the people i have, but i can’t help but think what it would be like if my mom never got re-married.

what if i still lived half with my dad and half with my mom? if i never came here at all?

i’ve never thought about the house since we moved out, but now that i am, i miss it.

i miss the holes in the walls separating the living room and the hallway where the old buddha statue sat on the ground.

i miss the CD player in my sister’s room and i miss when she would make me dance in front of her cool high-school friends.

i miss when my siblings would get along and when my grandma would still cook for us during the holidays.

i miss the little cabinet in the hallway across from my dad’s room that held all my shitty clothes he would find for me.

i miss the trampoline and my brothers old drum set that was in the garage.

i miss when my dad would take me to blockbuster, when he would let me ride my sisters’ electric scooters, and when we would sneak into the elementary school down the street to play handball.

i even miss the pasta he would make every single night, the scratchy popcorn ceiling, and being forced to sit on the floor in the living room and watch avatar with my dad.

i miss my family, i miss my old neighbors.

i miss my family, my sisters, my brother, my dad, my grandma and her boyfriend (rest in paradise by the way, marvin). like i said, feeling a little extra-reminiscent tonight.

i miss being young. shit! one day soon, i’m going to miss being the age i am now.

how do i make the time stop?

photo credit: pinterest.com

 

that’ll be it

I’m graduating in less than 18 weeks. 18 weeks seem like a long time, but, when I think about all the things I will be doing from now until may 31st, it suddenly isn’t that far away anymore.

I haven’t gotten a single college acceptance yet. I haven’t gotten rejected, either, but that only means that I’m just as far away from knowing where I want to go next year as I was two months ago.

Photo Credit: ocregister.com

In a few weeks, I’ll be performing in my last ever musical here. I’ll be going on my last ever ski trip with this school. I’ll be going to my last ever prom, probably without a date. I’ll be playing at my last ever talent show (with no talent, still), and I’ll be going to my last ever OVS graduation, but this time it’s mine.

I’ll be walking down the stairs, sit lined up with my classmates on stage, get my diploma, and then that’s it. That’ll be the end of my past four years that were such an important chapter in my life and that contributed to so much of my personality. That’ll be it.

But, before that happens, there are so many more weekends to spend watching movies in the lounge, many more camp trips to go on and freeze my a** off, many more mental breakdowns over tests and AP’s to endure, horse shows to go on, story deadlines to miss, town trips to spend at Bliss getting frozen yogurt, sunsets to watch from the soccer field, and memories to make.

I won’t lie and say that this school and my life here is perfect. There are many things that I would like to change, but I don’t want to get into that now. Because there are so many more things that I am thankful for. Again, my time here hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazing. And in 18 weeks, it’ll be over, that’ll be it. And then, it’s time for another chapter.

 

Dear Father

Dear Father,

Or should I call you that?

Photo Credit: Tumblr

Were you really a father to me, or simply a mere memory.

Of someone I dreamed would be.

But this letter isn’t a poem to you.

I wrote one to mother months ago, and every week I’ve been pondering whether I should write one to you. I never know what to say to you, or what memories to reminisce, simply because there are none.

Yes, you were a father, but biologically only. You weren’t a father until you had to be. Until, you got the call that mom had died, and you suddenly had to drop that neglectful act and realize you had two kids to raise whom you left behind.

But according to you, you never left us behind, did you?

You’d send $500 a month to keep us barely below the poverty line. You’d take us on Sundays to shopping malls and Jamba Juice trips in hopeless attempts to buy our love and respect, but those are feelings that cannot be bought.

They are earned, but you didn’t earn them.

Yes, I loved you the way any daughter unconditionally loves their father, but there was nothing else to love.

You missed dance performances for business trips, and movie nights during computer drifts.

I have no memory of you besides the fragments of moments spread over the years of my childhood, a childhood I long to forget.

Do I miss you? I wish I could say yes, but there’s nothing left to miss. Yes, you were better than mom, at least at parenting, but at least mom was there. At least she left knowing that she’d always be in my mind.

I wish I could pour my heart into this letter like I did for mom, but I simply can’t. She changed my life, but you weren’t around enough to do that.

I know you tried your best. I really thank you for that. You did everything you could to keep my childhood intact.

You were pure at heart, but for a child who was ignored desperately, pleading for an escape, it would never be enough.

As much as I loved you, like any daughter loves a father…

You’d never be enough.

two poems

A dead man’s nostalgia

Don’t forget me, please.

The old treehouse and its rotten ladder,

via i.pinimg.com

Those baby pictures laying on the dusty counter,

Old drawings on the walls

from when laughter and cries would echo from them,

Dirty handprints on white doors,

The broken snow globe in the attic,

Don’t forget me please.

_______________

The knife of a good carver

Is love always this good?

With its wings of maroon silk

via i.pinimg.com

And its sweet golden arrowheads.

Like the knife of a good carver,

It’s shaping me, not cutting.

Thank you for this love,

For keeping me from plummeting,

For inhaling my sorrows

and exhaling goodness.

For carving your name into my heart.

For each look of your luminous eyes

makes me feel like a moth mistaken

for a butterfly.

No tear I am shedding over losing you

Can ever wash away your name.