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February 26, 2015

Have you ever just started randomly crying about someone you love who has passed away? Doesn't have to be someone you knew personally, can be your favorite celebrity etc., and it doesn't even have to be a recent death. You just sort of think about it and start crying/getting really upset and sad about it? 

This just happened to me a while ago. As you may not know, The Golden Girls is my favorite TV show of all time. I've seen every episode at least 10 times and could probably ace any trivia quiz about it. I even notice when they play it on the Lifetime Channel in the mornings which bits they've edited out to make room for more commercials (I'm that far into it). I just watched the episode where Betty White asks the three other ladies "What happens when there's only one of us left?" I started thinking about how she truly is the only one of them left and there came the water works. 

These beloved girls (my girls) helped me through some really tough times, they've always been constant figures in my life--even if only through the TV screen. The mere thought that I won't ever be able to have a group hug with them (you know, until I pass on myself and wind up in Heaven or Elsewhere (which really is a fantastic book you should read it) whatever you believe) makes me so sad.

Some people probably will tell me it's really stupid to cry over people who've been dead for a long while. Others will say it's good I'm letting my emotions show. I think they're both right and so I developed a little list of ways to get yourself to stop crying about something. 

Now keep in mind....crying is a healthy form of expression. It releases sadness, anger, jealousy....a whole mess of feelings we weren't even aware we were feeling! In no way do I think it's a sign of weakness to cry, I think crying is very beneficial and can really help us truly work our pent up emotions out of our bodies. Sometimes you just need to let the tears flow, and that's really really okay. 

When you think you've cried enough and are ready to move on, here are some tips I have to staunch the flow: 

  • (Don't write a blog post about crying over these people because it will make you cry again) 
  • Imagine the person you're crying over appearing in front of you. What would they say to get you to stop crying? What would they say or do to soothe you? Just picture that and you can literally feel yourself calm down and relax....follow their advice.
  • Think of happy times. With the person or even happy times without them. Just happy memories that make you smile and giggle.
  • Listen to your favorite song. For a while you'll probably still cry but if you listen to it long enough the tears will slow. 
  • Cry it out. Just let the tears stop naturally--sometimes that's all you can do. 
  • Talk to somebody. Doesn't have to be a relative or anyone, doesn't even have to be to a specific person. Tweet about your feelings or do what I do: I write a journal entry (well type actually) and just get all my emotions down on virtual paper. Usually I come out of it feeling better, if somewhat deflated, and I've usually learned something about why I'm feeling what I'm feeling or what exactly I'm feeling
Do you have any tips on how to get yourself to stop crying? 

xx
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February 24, 2015

File this one under "Books That Resonated With Me" because honey lemme tell you....this book is one of my all-time favorites. I've had this book for years and I literally read it at least twice a year, usually more like 4 times. It has earned its permanent place on my bookshelf from now until the end of time.

This book isn't a difficult read, by any means, and while some may dismiss it on sight as a tweeny-bopper novel, I still adore it. There's something about the novel and its characters that always bring me back to it whenever I'm feeling down or need some sort of pick-me-up....it's the perfect bathtub/hairdresser/on-the-metro read.

Luna, the star of Seven Messages, is the 15-year-old daughter of a film director and a model. She goes about learning what really was going on in her mother's life after her untimely death by taxi, first getting interested by finding her mother's old cellphone and discovering it has 7 unread messages on it. She begins to piece together things and as this puzzle comes together, her cozy family life façade seems to fall apart.

Intrigued? You should be because there is a whole cast of kooky characters that help Luna on her path of self discovery including leggy Swedish model Daria, her smarty-pants little brother Tile, her uncle Richard with the Italian villa, a field of basil, and rockstar petit ami Julian, not to mention her father Jules, his new gf Elise, and of course her posthumous mother Marion. Oh and one cannot count out super-cute cello boy-next-door Oliver, Janine "Oscar" Meyers, and the Rachels.

In some ways I suppose it is a typical coming-of-age/teen romance story with a completely unique spin, that's sort of what attracted me in the first place (at the beginning of my coming-of-age years, in which I am still). Some reviews I've read say the sort of things that Luna and the cast of characters around her say aren't realistic, they sound too fake or movie-ish. I think that's sort of the point (not to mention the charm) of the book. These characters (not just the teenagers but the adults as well) are trying to figure out what life really is and along this path of discovery there's a lot of fake-sounding dialogue, a lot of pretentiousness, and a lot of cheesy-sounding lines. Believe me, people in real life sound like (or try to sound like) they're in a movie sometimes. It's life.

That's really the element of this novel I love most--I can relate to this novel on a personal level that everyone craves when reading. It's hard to relate on this level to most books. I guess the reason I like it this much is that I can really feel my own experiences and feelings through the characters. 

This book isn't the best book in the entire world, one of my favorites but not exactly the favorite, not the hardest book to read, and not the deepest but in it's own way--You Have Seven Messages really connects with me to how we all fit in the world and strive to figure out what is really true, and that is pretty deep. Especially for a "tweeny-bopper novel". 

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis (fun fact: his dog's name is Oliver!)
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February 21, 2015

(I'd like to apologize for the quality of my pictures in advance, they're all iPod photos)

Mom and I are currently shopping for restaurants to host my graduation dinner next year and last night we checked out one of the places on our list: Caviar. 
The name says it all: Caviar. This restaurant/Champagne bar exudes elegance, class, and great food. They have a 5-course set menu as well as an à la carte menu, an extensive wine list, and bien sûr fresh caviar ripe for the picking.
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February 18, 2015

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Girl World, there were two girls that had an argument. One started talking sh*t about the other, the other reciprocated....it got really ugly. Suddenly the two girls aren't talking and only respond with angry grunts when asked about the other. There's tension whenever the two girls are around each other and everyone can feel it.

Sadly....this isn't a totally hypothetical situation. Everyone always has that one person who just manages to step on every. single. nerve. That one person who just can't let it go (which means neither can you anytime someone else brings that one person up). We may promise ourselves that we're "over it" and we're "done with their drama" but honestly if we still get riled up when talking about it, we're clearly not over it--despite what we may tell ourselves. 
Now, I've personally been grudging about my own one person for a couple months now and the feeling is completely mutual (believe me). I won't bore you with the details of what happened between us but just understand that we aren't exactly best friends. 
Now this girl has friends in the same circle as me (I hate saying "friendship circle" because it sounds like a cross between a hippie commune and the Plastics but whatever) so she's been spending more time at our lunch table etc. so I see her more often. We usually ignore each other, adding to the awkward tension already brewing between us and everyone else who knows the situation.

Anyway, she was talking to the people sitting directly around me today and they were all laughing and stuff and, not wanting to just sit there and ignore her, I chimed in and made a joke in the vein of the conversation. And then.....a miracle happened. We made eye contact, she smiled, she laughed, and she said something funny back. She then moved to sit down further down the table but I felt so gobsmacked that we were able to interact without a dangerous passive aggressive undertone that I was happy for the rest of lunch! Are we suddenly friends again? No.....but we don't have to ignore each other like two kids fighting over a toy in the playroom. 

(My little story here may be "soo High School" but you know there's a very good reason for that. I'm still in High School.)

So much of our energy is absolutely wasted on holding grudges and staying angry at someone for something that yes, we have the right to be angry about but that we shouldn't still be feuding over a year later. All this anger is hurting you a lot more than it hurts the person you're upset with, I promise. If you can find a way to diffuse the situation after a little time, to move on and focus on all the positives in your life I promise it's for the best. Good energy attracts good energy--put good things out into the universe and get good things back #karma 
In total honesty, this post is inspired (not only by Mean Girls #classic) by the beginning of Lent--which is today, Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of repentance and rebirth--a time to renew yourself, your spirit, and your soul. Even if you don't keep the fast yourself, you can still use the energy that will be buzzing around you by the Christians and Catholics keeping Lent to detox your soul--out with the gunky winter and in with the beautiful spring! (Both metaphorically and meteorologically) Personally I'm keeping the fast by shunning all junk food for 40 days although my "sacrifice" seems small compared to some of the devout Catholics I know practicing the traditional Lenten fast: one meal a day with only small snacks for the other two. (The point of this is to really make you start to think and reflect by making you uncomfortable, getting you out of your comfort zone)

Have you found yourself in this situation with someone recently? What have you done to diffuse the situation? 

xx

Also: 新年快乐 / 新年快樂 / Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the Sheep promises to be prosperous to all born in Years of the Snake (personally I was born the Year of the Tiger--hear me roar). I encourage you to research your own Chinese astrological zodiac in addition to any horoscoping you may take up in your own time (Aquarius, woo)--here's a useful website that can give you predictions, your own Zodiac, and little know-hows about Chinese astrology.
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February 14, 2015

I began my week with a colorful trip to the flower stalls outside Market Market --fresh flowers brighten up every room

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February 11, 2015

Warning: personal post

In the words of the timeless Carrie Bradshaw, time is a funny thing and a decade can flash by in an uneventful second. I am now closer to age 20 than I am to age 10 and that simple fact blows my mind. Never mind that this time 365 days ago I was 15 years old and now I'm seconds away from being 17. The passage of time is the subject of many a prose, poem, blog entry, letter, and song. It goes by so fast and yet some days I literally feel every second drip off the clock.

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February 9, 2015

Yay I'm seventeen!! Another year of seven, less magical or powerful than last year but a year of seven nevertheless. (2+0+1+5=8, 1+7=8, 8+8=16, 1+6=7)

I'd like to blow out the metaphorical candles and wish for happiness, health, lots of laughter, and a prosperous future for this blog and all my beautiful butterflies that read it! (I know you're not supposed to tell but....oh well) 


Is it your birthday today too? Let me know and we can be birthday babes together! 

xx
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February 6, 2015

I feel the need to explain the little video post I left you with before I headed to Shanghai....In my 2014: Rewind post I mentioned my resolutions for this year. Now that it's February I've found I added a few more to my list:

I'm teaching myself to be ambidextrous--since I was little I eat with my left hand dominate, while in the rest of life I am right hand dominate so I decided to try and become fully ambidextrous. First of all, what a useful skill! Secondly there are very few people in the world who claim the ambidextrous title and to be among them would be a great accomplishment.

I've decided to try and make videos to document my year in addition to the thousands of picture I already take. The Christmas video got a little more reflective than I planned on getting (with the voice over and all) and the rest of the videos that I'm planning shouldn't be so deep and reflective. Hope you enjoy the videos by the way, as I document basically everything on my blog I'd love for your feedback on my videos!

And finally, I want to try and explore my depth of feeling a lot more. Too often I find myself not fully exploring my feelings about something and when I do recognize those feelings I want to express them more. (This goes hand-in-hand with a previous resolution that I'm still working on: learn to say no without a reason and without feeling guilty.)

So.....that's the video explanation and a little tack-on to the resolutions post. What about your resolutions? Have you added to them? Have you kept any? 

xx
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February 4, 2015

(APAC: Asian Pacific Athletics Competition--basically a summit of all the varsity teams from about 10 different international schools in Asia, I am a member of Brent's Varsity Swim Team: representing Manila! Goooo Lions!) 

This year one of the Shanghai American Schools (of which there are two: Pudong and Puxi) hosted APAC and we all had so much fun playing cards, freezing in the cold (hello we're used to 34C weather!), and, bien sûr, swimming!
The fun started before we even left Manila!

Our team is so close and it's truly a blessing that I was able to travel to Shanghai with this crazy bunch of people. We bickered, we play-fought, we got pissed over card games, we did cartwheels in hallways, we lost our voices screaming for each other, we ate a lot, we laughed a whole lot.....I wouldn't want it any other way!
One of the keys to a successful APAC is the homestay: a family that agrees to take in 2 or 3 (once they took a whole team!) swimmers for the full five days. They agree to house them, feed them, generally take care of them. It cuts way down on costs and it helps us all work on our social skills. This year my roommate Sydney and I were blessed with an especially wonderful family. The mother, Helen, took such great care of us--she worried after us like she actually was our mother, and her boys were so respectful and polite. They made our trip 8x as wonderful, at least.
It's always the right time for an impromptu dance party!

We had to hang out in the hallway after we were kicked out asked politely to leave so rehearsals for a 5th grade fashion show could commence. We made our own fun and we ended up laughing a lot more than we could have after being silenced in the room. 

After our events that day we went out for a team dinner to Ubiquity, a local Chinese restaurant across the street from the school. 
My roomie and me at dinner
My beautiful smoothie concoction artfully titled "Babylove"
Sydney's "Mango Tango" was also a popular choice that night 

The restaurant was so lovely, they managed to sit all 22+ of us together at one long table in the back and the waitress that helped us throughout the night was very efficient and nice--she kept track of about 7 different checks (each with at least 7 dishes ordered) for the entire table.
Our experiments eating the steaming dumplings as soon as they arrived started and ended with Hannah scorching her tongue
Just chillin'
Not only was the service prompt and attentive (perfect for 22 starving swimmers), the food was absolutely delicious! Our group of four ordered: two orders of the shrimp dumplings, shrimp fritters, a California roll sushi order, buffalo wings, two chicken dishes, two crême brulées and an order of the custard dumplings for dessert. There's probably more that I'm forgetting. (I know there were at least ten dishes) I had a full on food baby by the end of the night.
We almost ordered the huge Napoleon dessert (five layers of fruit and yummy cream filling) but the group next to us ordered it so we decided to try something else.
The whole lot of us at dinner

Of course we didn't just goof off and eat in Shanghai (I also nearly adopted this little puppy at a pet's shop that used to be a street dog--the shop was offering her for free because she's the last one of the lot that they found left, I literally bawled the entire walk home from the shop), we swam!
The beginning leg of our successful girls 200 medley relay (this is me swimming backstroke yay) 

Our girls' 200 medley relay came in 5th place overall! We were so happy, all of us convinced that we had done our best.
The relay team! Cathy (team captain) swam breast stroke, Hannah swam freestyle, Jillian swam butterfly, and I swam backstroke (L-R)

We weren't the only relay team to place that night either. The boys' 200 medley relay team came in 6th place. It was a good night for relays. 
At this point in the evening we were all incapable of taking normal photos displaying our ribbons and I ended up with like 10 blurry photos of us in various stages of this picture. 

APAC this year was a success for our team. Even though we didn't get a trophy (as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place teams do) we did all bond and get closer. Now when we pass each other in the hallways we can't help but make a face and wail "I miss you!" Literally can't stop it, we're such a close-knit team I'm crying thinking about the seniors moving on and the fact that APAC is over. I miss spending all my hours with this motley crue crew!

APAC depression has hit all of us pretty hard, and that only happens with the best teams. Even though we didn't medal or get trophies, I'm so happy with our team and time we spent together. It's worthy of a trophy all on its own. 
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