Thankful (Even Though Thanksgiving’s Over)

Every once in a while I experience these jolting moments. They go something along the lines of this: I’m living my day-to-day, sitting in a classroom, eating a meal, hugging a loved one, scrolling through my phone – and suddenly it hits me: this is my day-to-day life. Like how crazy is it that here I am living this beautiful, fulfilling existence on a floating rock in the universe? How crazy is it that this has become so normal to me that I don’t even stop to look around and simply appreciate the sheer brilliance of it all?

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Aside from the fact that life and humans exist (which is mind-boggling in and of itself), it strikes me that amidst it all, here I am. And I really am so lucky. I’m privileged enough to go to an incredible private school and receive a top-tier education when so many girls my age never even have the opportunity. I can afford to have enough to eat, and more so, nourishing and healthy food, where others don’t. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who hug, love, and support me (and vice-versa) when many are alone in the world. I’m able to own a phone and access a wide range of technology when this is a luxury for millions.

I take all this for granted. But then, there are these shocks to my system. It’s the same feeling as vertigo at the top of a mountain or a skyscraper: everything zooms out, the fresh perspective leaving me elated and dizzy.

I’m sorry if this sounds like hippy bullshit but it is all sincere. I’m truly so grateful.

from yours truly

Lately, I find myself complaining quite frequently. Whether it is about people or the clothes I am wearing, I find something to dislike about the situations I put myself in. But really, I am thankful for everything that this world has given me.

I am grateful for water. The water that cleans my soul of the dirt from my day. The water that keeps my skin glowing and my body fueled.

I am blessed for the music that you have gifted me. The music that brings my spirits up and gives me new ideas. The music that bonds my family together as we sit in the living room and discuss.

I am thankful to have travelled across the nation.

I am grateful for the friends that support me through thick and thin. Who fill me with laughter and joy.

I am thankful for my teachers who are guiding me through my adolescence, making sure I don’t screw up.

I am blessed to have been raised in California with the sandy beaches and the warm weather.

I am thankful for the food that represents my culture like the salty Filipino food that my grandmother would make me.

I am blessed for my rights in this nation as I am able to speak my mind and express my feelings whenever.

I express my gratitude to the land, the elements, and the people that surround me.

Thank you world.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

why i love the sun(sets) in california

when I go to the beach or sit in my backyard, i like to have moments to myself where i am able to reflect on my decisions (past and future ones) while i look at the sun setting. 

the sun has always drawn me (even though i hate the heat). i’m not sure why either. maybe it’s because i was born in arizona and raised in california but that has always been a question in the back of my head.

there is a point in the day where the sun becomes vulnerable. as the heat begins to die down and the night chill takes over, the sun is at its weakest and i am infatuated with that moment. when this key element for human survival is powerless, i am able to become emotionally naked. Together, the sun and I are parallels as we expose ourselves.

while i sit on the sand or on the grass and look up at the painted sky, i ask myself these simply put but complex questions: am i happy? and if so, why or why not?

Lately, i have been happy for a plethora of reasons. And today, the sun has made me think of the people who raised me. the sun has made me reflect on my mother who has taught me graciousness and the fundamentals of being a strong woman as well as my father, who installed creativity and imagination into my thought process at a young age.

so tonight, as i look into the golden sky, i thank the sun for keeping me humble and letting me pour my heart out when it and me are completely bare.

photo credit: treehugger.com

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.

Just A Thought

Every day when I wake up, I find myself thinking about things that may be important to me at that moment; if my hair is straight, how my skin looks or if my outfit is figure-flattering… but in all honesty, all of this is irrelevant.

We spend so much time focused on the things that make us temporarily happy like looking skinny or driving a nice car or having the most likes on an Instagram picture, but why does any of this matter? What is the purpose?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy social media and feeling confident and purchasing nice things, but what REALLY matters? That is my question.

I feel like we focus too much on the superficial, rather than the necessary.

I am speaking from watching family members and friends suffer through the horrifying effects of cancer, Crohn’s, and Alzheimer’s, not through personal experience of these diseases; but when your health, your life, your comfort is threatened, all of those factors change.

You begin to focus on your comfort, your happiness, your health… unfortunately, the reality check came because of the diagnosis of an illness, but that’s when you start to realize what is sincerely important.

I experienced a drastic change in my health two years ago after I experienced a surgical complication, and I remember how things changed.

For a while after that surgery, I remained in a mood of distress, in constant physical pain. But through this, I was able to realize how strong my primal instincts were; I remember those feelings dynamically, and they will never escape me.

After reading an article surrounding the effects of cancer earlier this evening, I remembered how I felt then and reevaluated how lucky I am now.

This article hit me right in that spot that nobody wants to be touched, the one where your throat swells and your eyes throb and you breathe deeply to stop the emotions you are feeling from consuming you.

Now when I wake up in the morning, I will look at myself and think about how lucky I am to be alive, to be healthy, to be eating my breakfast, to have a family, to have a roof over my head, and to have each of the opportunitiesĀ before me that I do.

I am happy, I am healthy, I feel terrific.

 

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