The three types of people you will meet in your life

Not too long ago, a very wise person told me one of the greatest things I’ve heard in my life. While standing in front of the London Eye (pictured above), talking about transitioning between countries, friendships, relationships, family, and just about everything else under the sun. She said to me: Guang Yi, what you have to learn is this – there are three types of people you will meet in your life. There are:

  1. People you meet for a reason
  2. People you meet for a season
  3. People you meet and will know forever

If you stop and think about it, this is absolutely true. Family, though you technically don’t “meet” them per se, fits neatly into category 3.

A relationship with a man/woman that doesn’t work out? You met them for a reason – they were what you thought was best for you at the time and you learn and grow as a person while with them. Thus, category 1. You could also make a case that failed relationships also fit into category 2.

That little girl that ran up to you and gave you a dandelion? She was there just to make you smile.

I just thought that this was too awesome not to share with everyone!

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Happy birthday to this blog!

A year ago, I posted my first entry on this blog. Forty-two entries and a new domain name later, here we are celebrating my blog’s first birthday.

Thank you for all your support and kind words over this past year, and I hope you continue to enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them!

Here’s a sneak preview for what to look forward to in the next few weeks (not necessarily in this order):

  1. A piece about my best friend – who she is, how we met, and why she’s so special to me.
  2. My nicknames through the past 26 years and how they came about.
  3. An article about the three types of people you will ever meet in your life, courtesy of a very wise person that I met last week.
  4. Some musings on what the sum total of our experiences mean (this last one might take a while, and might get nixxed depending on whether I feel I can present something vaguely intelligent about it)

Have a wonderful week ahead, and here’s to another great year! Thanks again!

Image courtesy of Strawberry Sue

The story of Leah and Michael

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are not fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely planned. With that said, I changed names and will not mention any geographic information or time-frames to preserve the characters’ identities. With that said, Leah and Michael, if either or both of you read this, I hope you don’t mind that I’m writing about this.

With all the violence and death that has been going on of late (note: I started writing this in late April and am just finishing this now), I thought I would write a little story about love. Not my own love, (unfortunately,) but of a rare and beautiful kind that I felt privileged to witness firsthand during my travels.

Movies, television, and magazines have created notoriously unrealistic outlooks for romantic relationships. They create the expectation that there will be a great story when you meet the love of your life, that, despite any obstacles you may encounter, you and your significant other will have a fairy tale ending and live happily ever after. In some cases, this may actually happen, but realistically, it does not. I probably do not have to tell you that relationships are built on a combination of love, trust, struggle, and compromise; any of you who have ever been in a relationship or are presently in one know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is a story that, as far as I know, still has no ending, but I still want to share what I’ve already seen with you. I first met Leah and Michael during one of my many travels. Living the poor student’s life, I booked myself a hostel. As it wasn’t my first time living in a hostel, I was actually sort of keen to meet my roommates, hoping that they would be cool and that we could be friends. When I first got into the room, I saw that two of the beds were already occupied and I heard the shower running…and two voices. People traveling and staying in hostels in pairs is nothing out of the ordinary, but when you walk into this sort of situation, you can’t help but think and worry for a brief moment that perhaps you should have taken that extra five or ten minutes in the lobby to ask about the sights in the surrounding area. Fortunately, my worries were laid to rest when Michael walked out of the bathroom shortly after I walked in.

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The Cab Driver

Author’s note: I had this from my Facebook Notes. I don’t remember where it came from, but I still think it’s worth sharing.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.”

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A 1000 Word Picture – 1

I used to live right on the beach. Our southward facing windows looked over the boardwalk, the sand, the ocean, and the horizon; as the days grew longer and shorter, I used to think about tracing, in white pen on the windows, the growing and shrinking arcs the sun followed as the days went by a la John Nash. There is nothing quite as naturally beautiful as the rising sun, and one of the mornings before I had to leave this home forever, I went out to sit on the sand to watch this marvel just before dawn.

There was a clear and cloudless sky with the stars silently twinkling at me. There wasn’t much wind that night, but once in a while, a gentle breeze would blow from behind me. It was strong enough to shift the sand dunes around me, but it wasn’t strong enough to cause it to kick up into my eyes as I sat there. The salty smell of the ocean was there, as always; a few times, I closed my eyes and tried to permanently capture this reassuring and consistent smell, along with the feel of the sand, mixed with small seashells and tiny pebbles scattered throughout, and the sound of the breeze, in my mind – this wonderful memory of my first real home outside Singapore. This nest that I had spent seven years living in. The place where I learned about a new culture and that I had finally felt like I had begun to belong to.

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The first time I said “I love you” to someone

It’s been almost 10 years since it happened. For me, it was my first foray into this world of expressing my feelings of any kind. Being raised in a traditionally Asian household (well, that’s until we became pretty westernized…but more on that some other time), it was unusual to typically express emotions of any kind, such as “I miss you”, “I would like to see you later”, even much less “I love you.” Yes, I had had my “first kiss” while in camp when I was 13 years old, but that didn’t count because it was a dare. Callie, which is, of course, not her real name , was my first girlfriend, my first kiss, and my first love.

Why am I writing about this? Because this was the first time I ever really expressed such sincere feelings to someone else. Because you don’t ever really forget your first love, and I figured some people want to know a bit more about me. Because I rediscovered an old backup of my (god-awful) Xanga from that time-frame, and I thought it would make a good story.

“But, Guang Yi, you were 17/18 years old. How did you know you loved her?”

Trust me, I’ve wondered about this a great deal, and the answer is that at some point between high school Guang Yi and current Guang Yi, my definition of “being in love” with someone has changed drastically, yet it retains a few of the principles from back then. That being said, 17/18 year old Guang Yi definitely felt like he loved her.

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A few of the things in life that make me happy

I’ve been having a pretty shitty day, so instead of doing the things I usually do when I have a shitty day, I’m trying something new. Here’s a list of some of the things that make me happy in life.

  1. The sound and aroma of grinding coffee beans
  2. Puppies
  3. Smiling/laughing babies and children
  4. Playing my violin by myself or with other people
  5. Watching some bad (or good?) comedy or rom-com TV show or movie
  6. A friend who surprises me by doing something unexpected for me
  7. Talking about Rochester
  8. Singing loudly and obnoxiously with someone, sometimes in public
  9. A perfectly made latte with even microfoam and espresso shots that haven’t sat longer than 6 seconds
  10. The smile of someone (a patient, an old lady, etc.) that I’ve helped, even just a little bit
  11. Hummus
  12. My mother’s cooking
  13. Cuddling
  14. People’s satisfaction from something I cooked for them
  15. Hugs. Not just any hugs, though – good hugs
  16. Waking up and finding notifications on my Facebook with hilarious links or comments
  17. Learning something new and useless
  18. Clear sunsets
  19. How my skin feels right after I shave
  20. An unexpected but welcome phone call

Photo from Maniera

I Want To Take Off My Hijab (Reblog from Thought Catalog)

Author’s note: I have followed Thought Catalog for a couple of years now, and this is the first time such a poignant article on Islam (that I’ve found) has made it through the editors. I have fixed most of the grammar and spelling errors and inserted a few explanatory links, but I leave this girl’s message intact. Any anti-Islam comments will be removed. Here is the source link. Cover photo from NBC

It has taken me a long time to write this. It is very personal, difficult, sensitive, and extremely controversial.

Sitting here, typing this, I am still not sure whether I can, in fact, put it all into words that, in some little way, express how I feel and why.

But enough with the preamble – let’s just get into the heart of the matter:
I am a Muslim and i want to take off my hijab. there. I’ve said it.

I remember the day I wore it. I was thirteen. My best friend and I had been talking about wearing hijab for a while because everyone’s been doing it. Duh. It was the coolest new thing. We decided we would soon. It was in Ramadan; after iftar, I went to her place so that we could go to our aunt’s wedding. She dressed up and put on a hijab. I decided to do it then and there. I borrowed a hijab from her mom. With both of us wearing it, we went to the wedding hand-in-hand, extremely proud of ourselves.

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Online test for my master’s thesis

Dear readers,

I am in the early stages of testing for the online component of my master’s dissertation. Before I send this out to large mailing lists, I want to make sure that all the programming in place works properly.

Disclaimer: You do NOT have to have absolute/perfect pitch, and/or synesthesia of any sort to take this test. If you do it’s a bonus, but the point is to get as many people as possible to take it!

If you have approximately 20-30 minutes to spare, have interest in absolute/perfect pitch and tone-color synesthesia, and are able to take a test that uses sound, please help me (and science) out! Here is the link:

http://psy770.gold.ac.uk/apsyn

Thank you so much!