When darkness begins to surround us, chances are, there will be that one light that will help us see how beautiful things can be in the absence of the sun. Photo taken during a trip to Arizona in 2016
From my 2011 self: Let this be a reminder that there are days when you wake up feeling at your absolute worst, at your absolute ugliest, the most tired your psyche has ever been. But despite of everything you dislike about yourself, you know that there are people who love you, imperfections included. And that’s how you believe, this feeling, too, shall pass.
That part of childhood where one starts believing in princes and princesses, but more importantly, in magic; that good triumphs over evil; and that there is more to life than riches and looks — lessons from fairytales, wonderful stories he used to read to me at bedtime. Those lazy afternoon snack times where he whips up his home-made pancakes; his artsy self creating elaborate birthday stages. Upon adulthood, the one prayer he had for us cousins to find our own princes and princesses who wouldn’t ever turn into frogs. Thank you, tito Nam, be at peace now, you are so loved.
When I was 15, I was given the opportunity to travel to Japan along with three other students and a teacher from our high school. We were being sent to a YMCA ski camp, where they were going to teach us — kids who have not boarded a plane, let alone seen snow — how to ski. That was the first time I was truly taken out of my comfort zone. I had gone to seminars out of town prior to then, but this time, I was going to be a plane ride away, I was not going to know the language, and everything was going to be new and unfamiliar. I remember one of my fondest memories from the trip was also perhaps the simplest. When we got to Nagoya, our first destination, we were hungry and wanted to get something from the vending machine in the hotel but everything was of course in Japanese. We ended up unknowingly getting the extra spicy noodles which were almost inedible. It was so funny that we kept …