Viruses have NO nationality

Last week, I went to a basketball game at another school. 

Before the game, my Chinese friend was sneezing five times in a row due to her allergies.

The referee saw her and made a really stupid joke. 

“You got that virus too?”

No one laughed, except him. 

credit by: twitter.com

I saw the news today. 

In the subway station in NYC, an Asian lady was attacked for wearing a mask, and called a ‘Diseased B*tch’. 

I was totally shocked, I just couldn’t understand it. 

I thought mask means protection, for the people who are wearing it. 

But in that news, mask brought her something completely different from protection.

This is a story that my friend told me. 

She is a student abroad in Sydney, and when she called a taxi from the airport to school. 

The first sentence driver said to her: “Are you from China?”

She said: “Yes.”

The driver said: “Don’t open your mouth in the car.”

She was so confused and astounded, feeling endlessly helpless.

Ebola is not an African virus, H1N1 is not a Mexican virus, and the coronavirus is not a Chinese virus.

Viruses have NO nationality.

Racism is the MOST dangerous virus.

Let’s go against viruses together, NOT Chinese.

Rekindled

I ran 17 laps over the course of two hours, I was winded, but hardly exhausted. These were the days I lived for. I was in first grade when I first participated in the Terry Fox run, an annual international charity track event meant to raise funds for cancer research in honor of Canadian hero, Terry Fox. This event is where I believe my relationship with sports or athletics in general really began, racing my friends across the long stretches of the track until we collapsed on the grassy ditch to catch our breath, just to do it again countless times.
 
For the next three years, my passion for sports grew even further. At school I participated in badminton, dodgeball, fitness, swimming, everything they had to offer. I was by no means a stellar student-athlete; outside of school my childhood consisted of next to no physical activity, having busy parents, no siblings, and neighbors I was unfamiliar with, my outdoor activities consisted solely of digging holes in the backyard. All of that aside, I still loved physical activity, making sure to fill my recess with as much tag and soccer as I possibly could.
 
In fourth grade, however, I found that my affinity to athletics had shifted towards food instead, and as I slowly gained an appreciation for eating, I slowly lost interest and ability to participate in sports. I began an exponential weight gain that lasted, thankfully, only five years, but took a tremendous toll on my body. At my peak in seventh grade, I would strain myself climbing the stairs, I’d wear shirts two sizes too big to conceal everything I could, and I was eating a family-sized bag of chips every day. So to sum things up, things weren’t looking too hot for me. In those five years, my relationship with athletics had become estranged and I intentionally belittled sports as primitive to somehow justify to myself my current condition. However, being the aspiring hypocrite that I was, I still tried desperately to get onto every sports team offered at my school, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, whatever team sport that would have me, but unsurprisingly, every time, I was nowhere to be seen on the lists.
 
Even after I got my weight problem under control and ended up going too far in the other direction I found the same issues with sports. I had no strength, no energy, no agility to participate in any activity apart from golf, but I was awful at golf so that was out of the question for me anyway. In the last four years, I’m proud to say I’ve finally gotten my weight under control, I no longer count every calorie that enters my body out of fear of losing control again. I know what went wrong and how to avoid those same mistakes.
 
Basketball is where I’ve been able to express this change the most. My freshman year I had 12 minutes of playing time the entire season. I can’t blame my coach for any of that, I was 6’4 inches of skin and bone, I didn’t have the strength to shoot a basketball from the free-throw line, and I could jump maybe a foot off the ground. The past few years, I’ve grown taller and stronger and I’ve trained relentlessly. I’m by no means the MVP I had hoped I would be. But now being one of the main contributors to my basketball team after my tenuous past with sports, I can finally look back and feel proud about my athletic ability, something that once meant so much to me, for the first time in nearly 10 years.

The Outside Ghost

In the past few years, I’ve developed a love for the outdoors that is indescribable, I live for the moments I spend in the backcountry. I yearn to lounge on my hammock, strung between two awkward trees, uneasy about my weight. I dream of not getting back into the vans, of staying near the spot where I dug my favorite latrine. But I have to say one of my favorite things about the outdoors is the chilling experiences.
The first one very vivid to me occurred nearly three years ago in the Eastern Sierras. I had gone backpacking with my school about 10 miles up into Little Lakes Valley, a quaint spot along the John Muir Trail, and we had set our packs down by a lake snuggled into a cliffside. A few of us, being the adventurous souls that we were, decided it would be fun to summit this peak, towering around 1,000 feet above us.  Half an hour into the climb, I had to stop, at our elevation, nearly 13,000 feet above sea level, wearing a heavy ski coat, I was winded. I was given a walkie talkie, water bottles to hold onto, and told to standby as they submitted.
Being on a neighboring peak, just slightly lower than the peak I originally set out for, I had a nice view of the three that continued on. As I sat alone, talking and singing to myself, using up 30 minutes of footage on my phone, I felt a sense of tranquility I hadn’t experienced since starting high school. Around 15 minutes into my time alone, as I carefully examined the pockets of snow that lay in the distance between the jagged rocks that covered the mountain where I would occasionally see the hikers jumping through as the continued to summit, something interrupted by solo jam sesh. In the footage, you can hear me rambling about a second rate animated movie from my childhood, and all of a sudden a voice maybe 40 feet behind me interrupts my train of thought. I hear the click of a walkie talkie as the gruff voice says, “OK hold up.” However, the walkie talkie sitting beside me remains silent.
Now at this point, two things are running through my mind, either there is a stranger hiking by his lonesome and he’s for some reason communicating with another hiker far another away where he needs a walkie talkie, or that there’s a ghost. Seeing as I have turned to face the source of the noise and there was no face to put to the voice, I quickly jumped to conclusions that it was the latter. Regardless, as my experience from horror movies dictates, if I acknowledge the ghost as a ghost, it will mess me up. So I narrate to the video what just happened, and QUICKLY change the subject so that the ghost believes I am just a naive little freshman, not worth the trouble. I increase the amount of panning shots in my video so I have opportunities to look around for the voice that is intermittently speaking, traveling, but maintaining a consistent distance from me so that I can keep an eye out for the ghost without it catching on.
A few minutes later the voice disappears completely, but as it does the weather takes a turn, I see the hikers running back as they indubitably saw the storm cloud moving in our direction, completely invisible to myself until the hikers were almost back. Now I’m not saying that the ghost made it dump snow on us for the next 12 hours, but if he did that was a pretty crappy move. Regardless, when we get back to camp I refrain from telling anyone because I am convinced I’m still within earshot of that petty man, so I go about the rest of the evening and kind of forget about it. When I wake up in the morning, sore from the number of times the gusting winds slapped the roof of the tent into my unsuspecting face, I hear stories that convince me that the ghost man didn’t like our group.
One tells of how he heard trailing footsteps when he went off to pee shortly after dinner but saw nothing, no indication that he was being followed. And the three girls all corroborated that in the night, in the worst part of the storm, when the howling winds would’ve prevented any sane man from leaving his tent, no matter what capacity his bladder was at, they heard footsteps circling their tent, unaffected by the storm, oblivious to the bitter cold, definitely a ghost. When we hiked out of that canyon the next day I vowed never to return, but I actually did a year later when I school offered the trip, and I had a really splendid time. However, everyone who went on the night hikes heard footsteps in the woods around them and experienced wacky flashlights malfunctions, which is to be expected when the ghost man is out there. That is precisely the reason I didn’t go on the night hikes, I knew about the aggravating spirit that lay waiting in the darkness, so instead, I elected to stay in my tent, on my phone, where I had downloaded a Patton Oswalt comedy special and had a very enjoyable evening.
Next week I got another doozy so keep an eye out for that one.
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650 Words

How am I supposed to tell you who I am in 650 words?  Are 650 words really going to tell you who I am and why you should choose me for your school?

photo credit: pinterest.com

I am more than 650 words.  I am 650 pages that are still be written.  There are too many stories for you to know who I truly am from only 650 words.  Only one small story will be able to fit in these 650 words, so don’t think this is truly me.  Please don’t believe that this is all I am and all I can be.  I am so much more than this small part of my life.  The story has impacted me a great deal, but it is not the only thing that has.

When you read this please remember that I am a novel and 650 words will not do me justice.  So college admissions counselor, read these 650 words and remember they are just a taste of what I could be and not all of me.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.

Scapa’s Journey

There are many things I love in life, and one of those happens to be animals, more specifically horses. I’ve grown up around horses since I was young. Horses are amazing, and if anyone knows me, I talk about horses all the time. My aunt had five of her own horses, and her retired off-the-track thoroughbred named Maggie was one of the first horses I ever learned how to ride on.

Horses have always been a very important part of my life. In sixth grade, my uncle told me that he signed me up for horse camp, and at first I thought “Ha. Very funny, not happening.” But I never would’ve thought that that camp would’ve been an open door that led me to one of my true passions. I never thought I’d be owning my own horse.
It was in April of my freshman year. My aunt came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go to an auction to see baby horses. I knew, logically, I should’ve said no, because I knew we were going to fall in love with one of them and then we’d want to buy a new horse. We already had five horses, but you can never have too many horses… right? Well, neither my aunt nor I believed that because when we left the auction, we already had our hearts belonging to one horse.

His name is Scapa. Right now he’s two and a half years old, but he was just a yearling when I got him. It was less than a month before I was getting my back surgery, and I was not sure if I’d have the chance to ride for another year, but I knew I still wanted to work with horses. My aunt got him for $1500, and over the summer before my sophomore year it was my job to help train him for his first halter class, where he won third place.

Though I’ve only had Scapa for a year and a half, I’ve realized several times that Scapa will most likely live into my forties. While I’m in college, going to law school, and even afterwards, my horse will still be there. Horses will always be there for me, and the fact that as I grow up Scapa will be also, it’s something really special that I’m incredibly thankful for.

People who’ve never been around horses are never really able to understand how much of a treasure it is to form a bond with a horse. Horses have always been my best friends in animal form. Any time I’ve had a bad day, I would go down to the barn and my horse would immediately make my mood happier. From horse shows to camping trips to Ireland, the highlights in my life have always involved horses, and it’ll probably be that way for years to come.

Photo Credit: manetail.com

The Great Adventures of Tim Part 1

photo credit to http://www.readretro.com

Tim is a student at a small school. He is known by all his teachers and classmates and he is a very responsible student. His life was very normal and things always seem to work out just fine. Until, one day, during his math class he asked to use the restroom. When he went to the restroom he got sucked down the toilet and popped out in a 2D world.

Immediately after entering this 2D world, a giant Ape took a princess. The princess said “Save me time. You’re my only hope.” The ape ran off. Tim was confused and didn’t know what to do, so he went forward. It was his only choice ,considering the world was 2D.

He jumped from brick platform to brick platform until he reached a wall with a door. He entered the door and a new setting appeared. Now there was not only brick platforms but there were coins and angry muffins walking around. The angry muffins chased him, so he instinctively ran, collecting as many coins as he could. He ran through about 5 doors before he reached a merchant. The merchant had what appeared to be an apple hat. Tim was unsure if it was a hat or an actual part of him, so he just didn’t ask. The Merchant sold apples, but these were not just any apples. They had the ability to make whoever eats it large or shoot fireballs.

Tim Bought one of each apple and when he went to pay he pulled out coins and a star he found. The merchant instantly said “HIDE THAT STAR!” Tim asked why and the merchant continued: “The star has the ability to make you invincible. Its your only hope to defeat the ape.” Tim put it away, then asked how the merchant knew about his mission. The merchant was unsure, he just did.

Tim moved on to the next door. Through this door was a bunch of slanted platforms. At the top of these platforms was the ape. He was holding a bunch of barrels, and then he heard the princess scream for help. Tim rushed up the platforms as fast as he could as the ape began to throw barrels. Tim jumped and jumped over the barrels until he reached the top. The ape said in a very confident voice “Do you think you can beat me?” Tim reached in his back pack and ate all the apples and the star. Tim became an invisible fire shooting giant and attacked the ape, winning the fight in seconds. He saved the princess and was talking to her when he suddenly appeared back in the restroom. Only three minutes had passed since he left the math room. He went back and sat down at his desk still confused about what happened.