Help: Looking for Kindergarten crush

I have already told you the story of the first time I said “I love you” to somebody. Here is something that is slightly cuter in nature: the story of my very first crush (that I remember).

Before I launch into the story proper, I just want to explain why I decided to write about this. My cousin, Jessica, happened to be involved in a small school bus love triangle when she was in Kindergarten. I don’t know all the details, but these two boys definitely fought for her attention, and one of them gave her a ring and promised to marry her in the future. At any rate, almost twenty years later, she ran into this same boy again – completely by chance! – and they have been dating since.

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The rain cometh (An update on my life)

If water is life, experiencing rain after weeks and weeks of humidity and awful heat is like experiencing reincarnation. Perhaps there is a good reason why religion associates water with purification: baptism, the great flood, amrita, etc. The list goes on.

While most of the northern hemisphere has seen some of the harshest winters in years, Singapore was not without its share of bad weather. From the new year up until today, March 16th, there was absolutely no rain whatsoever on the east coast, and a small sprinkles that don’t really count as rain on the rest of the island. I won’t pretend that a drought in Singapore is anything like a drought in a third world country (we never got to the point of rationing water); yet, when I woke up this morning, I woke to the sound of the land being cleansed, and despite my struggles these past few weeks, I could not help but smile. I quelled the (child-like) urge to run aside and frolic in the rain, so instead, I am sitting on my porch for the first time in a long time, and writing here instead.

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On saying farewell and missing people

Is it harder being the leaver or the one being left?

The human heart is a strong and resilient organ. In our life, it never rests until our dying day. We can push it up to 250% of its resting rate, and it often does it without skipping a beat (pun very intended). Even if it does stop, a very strong jolt of electricity or a hand squeezing and massaging it can start it right back up and keep you going for many more years. Yet, sometimes strong emotions feel like they are enough to stop our hearts right in our chests, shatter it to pieces, or ache so badly we wish that we never had one or that we could just tear it right out of our chest. I can think of no event that elicits such a strong response as saying goodbye to someone.

Of course, there are many different kinds of goodbye. All of them elicit these same feelings in varying degrees. There is the pain of the permanent(?) farewell, where people pass away; there are the feelings that occur when you break up with a significant other or are forcefully separated from people you love because of estrangement, divorce, etc.; there is also the type of farewell where you know that it’s “bye for now, see you later”, though you may or may not know when “later” is.

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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!

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 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

How and why I live my life through music

“Music is love in search of a word.”

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”

Respectively, these were the words of French novelist and performer, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, and Russian pianist and composer, Sergei Rachmaninov. These two quotes summarize my feelings about music and its impact on my daily life.

Have you ever had the chance to lie down on the floor next to a person playing a concert grand piano to feel the vibrations as well as hear the sounds? Do you get this feeling of peace and zen, a sense of om when the oboe plays an “A” and everyone begins tuning in synchrony? Sat down during an orchestral rehearsal in the auditorium, closed your eyes and just let the music wash over and through you? Do you constantly have some sort of music coursing through your head at all times? Do you feel no shame whatsoever singing Journey as you’re walking down the street? These are just a few things I do on a regular basis, and a small example of how I feel while doing some of these activities.

Music is my panacea, my place of zen, my balm. It lives in my DNA, it runs in my veins, it resides in my soul. I believe that music holds the key to many of our problems – even diagnostic medicine is looking to frequencies and tones to pinpoint ailments now! Both the acts of listening and playing help me through life. A few years ago, when I found myself unable to cry over losing someone, going to a performance of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem unlocked something in me and allowed me to grieve. Even now, when I feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, or upset, turning to my violin, going to orchestra rehearsal, and/or playing with a friend or two causes me to focus completely and turn off all my troubles for a couple of hours, letting me channel everything into my playing. Also, ask anyone I know: I’m a nexus of music – many things that people say remind me of a song (that I’ll instantly start singing or humming in my head or out loud), or I’ll almost always be humming or singing a tune as I’m simply sitting or walking around. Music in every form holds some sort of association or poignant memory in my mind, and when I hear certain songs, it causes me to travel back in time and relive those moments as if they had just happened yesterday.

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Your Career Choice versus Your Career Want

I don’t have many memories of my childhood, but there is a particularly poignant one that remains firmly etched in my brain, and I have found myself thinking about it very often in the past few months. I was in Kindergarten, and it was a day where our teachers asked us to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember writing “I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR” in all caps, blue marker, on a strip of manila paper about two inches thick.

Not many of us has a career goal stick to us for so long; many get to college and graduate without a good idea of what they want to do, while others go into college thinking that they know what they want to do, but they switch to something completely different while they are there. In the British education system, you need to have an idea of what you want to do already when you’re applying to university because you apply to specific majors within the program, not just the institution as a whole like in America. This forces you to choose what you think you want to do at the young and tender age of 18. I have found that many of my friends from the British education system find themselves in careers that they are very unhappy with.

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