Watching the World Pass By

you know how some songs make you feel like you're in a movie?
staring out the window, raindrops falling by, watching the world.
I'm pretty sure that I just found a song like that (: Admittedly, I first heard it on Pretty Little Liars, but the beginning of the song is what I think is just absolutely beautiful.


Three States of Thoughtful

If I could stand here 
and count the clouds,
I would.

And when the darkest of the dark skies
rose before me
I would stand
and watch the raindrops fall 
quietly and deliberately into my hand.

If I could sit here forever
staring out the window
waiting, watching 
for time to pass by
I would. 
And when the most precise of precise clocks
struck noon
I would sit up straight 
adjust the yellow lace curtains
wonder what comes next.

If I could lie here
and dream
of my perfect place,
then I would.

And when the most beautiful of beautiful dreams
approached me
I would close my eyes
drifting slowly back to sleep.


Yes, I am a teenager. So what?

         What do think about when you hear the phrase “American teenager?” If you answered a) “troubled insecure child with an uncertain educational future” then I can assure you that you’re not alone. It seems to be that the majority of the adult population (and even youth from other countries) associate American youth with the so called “trashy pop culture” and such stereotypes that undoubtedly have their place in American culture but at the same time by no means represent everyone. Being a “teenager” myself, this doesn’t just strike me as demeaning but also can be incredibly frustrating.
          Sure, most teens share certain things in common—perhaps a particular liking towards music, clothes, video games—but these materialistic things do not necessarily mean that every teen with their headphones listening to music is a “bad child.” Picture this…what comes to mind when you hear the phrase “group of teenagers hanging out the mall”? Perhaps a group of troubled children with uncompassionate parents who, instead of busy studying their SAT (as they should), resort to pulling pranks and giving off a ---shall we say---“bad vibe.” Throw in a pair of all too low pants, chains, and unruly clothing and you’ve basically got the picture there, huh? Wrong. The frustrating this is that this is often far from the case. Why can’t we instead visualize a group of decently dressed youth shopping around the mall and checking out their favorite stores just like any other group of mature and responsible adults would? The truth is, part of it is the fact that teenagers have earned a bad reputation for themselves, but also that the media and Hollywood often projects adolescents as following the endless cycle of “party hard, get yourself into trouble, okay then rehab” and such. Now I’m blaming anyone who makes their assumptions just on media—but seriously? I would say that a Hollywood produced film that you’ve rented is hardly ever a reliable source of knowledge. 
         I guess what I’m just trying to say is that it’s exasperating to hear the same critical and judgmental remarks and see the same cautious and wary looks whenever the words “American teen” are mentioned…To have the almost insulting expectations of getting a low-to-average G.P.A. in school, be disinterested in life in general, and having an almost “corrupt” social life. Having to challenge these stereotypes and first impressions daily has really put this in perspective for me and almost seems unfair—sure, we all can’t help but make our judgments, but is every 13 year old really a shallow and depressed child on the verge of committing a crime? The answer is no.


There Will Be Light At the End

Brought my camera along when taking a  night walk around the neighborhood with my family (:


In Her Faded Glory

stationed on the edge of a porcelain star
whose four tips have already broken
shreds of violet confetti
long since fallen
my deep blue sky
faded with wear
the traces of gold glitter
perhaps once there

a lone girl sits
broken, torn wings
all that is left of her
the notes she sings


TEDxRedmond 2011 - The Spark in All of Us

     To those of you who have heard this numerous times from me...well, one more time wouldn't hurt, right? (; Haha anyhow, I highly recommend you (whether youth or  adults) to come to TEDxRedmond 2011, which this year will be held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington. This year's theme is "The Spark in All of Us" and the goal is to share the diverse ideas, perspectives, and thoughts of numerous young speakers in one fabulous event. Although you could say that I'm terribly biased, I honestly can say that as an attendee last year (and nothing but an attendee), the event was truly inspiring and opened my eyes to really see the big impact that our generation (youth) can have on the world  [last year's event was themed "Power to the Students"].TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading and holds an annual conference in Long Beach, California. It includes included speakers such as Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At TEDxRedmond, TEDTalks videos and live speakers and performers will combine to create an amazing event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized. A few of the numerous speakers which will be featured this year include Stephanie Engle, founder of the nonprofit organization RAISEFelix Finkbeiner, President of the first Global Board of Plant-for-the-Planet; and Ray Ushikubo, who earned first place in the International Russian Music Piano Competition and has performed at Carnegie Hall. But that’s just to name a few—Many other performers, athletes, humanitarians and talented youth will be speaking at the event, to read up on more, check out http://tedxredmond.com/speakers/.

For a quick little sample of this year's conference, here's the trailer (:

There truly is a spark in all of us.

For more information about TEDxRedmond, check out the website: or catch us with frequent event updates on Twitter as well as Facebook. Additionally, for questions, feel free to ask us on our Formspring page.


Painting My Perfect

On the bedside table
in a wooden frame,
our family picture
from two summers ago

Each night
I stare 
and stare
at the picture
but it never quite seems perfect to me.

I remove the blue hat
from my baby brother
and the bottle of sunscreen in my mother's hand.
I fix my sister's smile
and the wilting flower in her hair.

More and more things that
don't have a place in this picture.
For perfect is what I long for
as I make each fixture.


Friendship at the Fish Tank

The other day I was at the doctor's office just for one of those yearly check-ups that you get every year and in the corner of the office there was a fish tank. The purpose of fish tanks I think is to not only just to entertain children but also, I once read that fish tanks make the tense atmosphere of a doctor's office (or hospital) more reassuring and welcoming. I remember the days when I was younger and I would play a game where I would pick one certain fish to follow and just trace it's path around the fish tank, around rocks, fake seaweed and treasure chests and so forth. (: Haha sorry anyhow, aside from that small rant which had nothing whatsoever to do with anything (but you know me and my tendencies :P), I observed something quite interesting that day. 

A small  boy (who looked about five or six years old) came up to the tank, holding his little sister's hand (and she was oh I would say about three). They were ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the colorful fish (which just saying, still amuses me, even though I'm far past their ages, so you're never too old for fish tanks :)) when the boy points out a blue and yellow striped fish and says "Hey look, it's Dory!" The girl, who I now assume hadn't seem Finding Nemo before gives him a confused glance and says "who's that?" (just in the most adorable voice you've ever heard :)). Her older brother seems to be proud that he knows something that she doesn't and then launches into full detail about Finding Nemo, giving a long plot synopsis of the movie and then finally   getting to the part about Dory, at which he explains the fish simply as "basically Nemo's dumb friend." His sister looks confused and asks, "Well why would Nemo have a dumb friend?" And the boy replies, "I never said he wasn't a good friend."
Dory: Come on, trust me on this one.
Marlin: Trust you?
Dory: Yes, trust. It's what friends do. 

There was just something so wonderful about the boy's answer to his sister's question that made me go "yeah that's right!" (In my head of course--I wouldn't want the whole doctor's office to think I had problems beforehand, haha just kidding  :)) But honestly, hearing this conversation strike up from such young kids just made me think about what would happen if this same way of thinking was carried out in the adult world. A lot of times we judge people by their intellect and how much they've accomplished in life, how much they know--just overall how smart they seem to be. People make decisions on their friends and who surrounds them based on this, and sometimes even make the decision of whether they are going to try to become friends with someone based on first judgements like "well...is this person smart enough?" I completely agree that it's good to have people who surround you who are respectable and who are a positive influence on your life, people who will encourage you and help you grow, but I don't think that you can judge someones character and personality just on whether they are "smart enough" or not. Additionally--and yes, even I'll admit to this--I'll see a very prosperous, well to do person (or maybe even just smart person) with someone else who doesn't quite seem to be on the same level of them (an example of this is with celebrities--you know how sometimes some of the most famous and successful people have very contrasting friends) and I'll wonder how that friendship is there if they are both  very different people. The thing is, their friendship isn't born out of the ability to think at the same level or because they share the same talents (maybe they do, but not all the time) or capabilities. They are just able to talk and share a connection with each other, despite their differences, and that is the truth beauty of friendship.

I can't even count how many times I've seen two kids approach each other, a potential friendship at hand, when one of the parents comes in and deems the other child not "fit" to mix with theirs. Is this right? Absolutely not. The truth is, I guess after the "fish tank incident" (shall we call it? :)) I realized that judging people this way isn't fair...it's almost like stereotyping, you never can judge someone's character and ability to be a good friend just by what you see on the outside. Intelligence most definitely is never the way to measure how big (or small...) a heart someone has.


Our Life, A Song

"Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it's in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile." -Nicholas Sparks

...how interesting. Yet, how true. There are melodies, harmonies. The stray notes that never quite had a reason to be there, but still are there. The low notes, the high notes. The... rhythm of life. 


You are Beautiful. [pass it on]

I'm going to start with a really quick question: Are you beautiful? [Or, if you're a guy and you're going "uh...awkward.", well you know what I mean...] And now I'm going to answer it for you: You are.
Keep this question in mind, and I'll explain to you why I asked you it later.

I've always thought that I have a pretty weird memory. No, not meaning that I have Alzheimers or anything of that sort [haha speaking of which, how ironic is it that it took me so long to remember the name of that disease? :P] but it's more like the things that I commit to memory are often the smallest most unexpected things. It's usually things that speak out to me, or strike me as particularly memorable....impactful. The other day, I was at a camp and on the last day, we had a particular assembly on "empathy." After that assembly, I had one of those weird memory moments, and until today, I'm unable to forget it...it was just that impactful. The tone of the assembly was morose, serious, and definitely touching. If you're wondering what in the world "empathy" means [and don't worry, I didn't know for a while either :)], here, I'll actually give you the dictionary definition of it:

Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion. <---Why thank you, Wikipedia (;

Empathy. It can be such a powerful world because of it's affect on others. Did you know that even the one small action of reaching out to one person could quite possibly prevent them from making the decision to end their life? (I've heard personal accounts of this happening before.) Anyhow, this assembly in particular was oriented towards the number of teens each year who resort to suicide because they are being bullied, those who suffer daily in their life because of factors (like abuse, an unstable family, moving) that they are not in control of, but still get picked on for. Now I'm not sharing this being I feel like I'm the perfect role model for helping others out (because even I'll admit, sometimes even I am unable to go up to a bully and say "hey...cut. it. out.") but because I feel like this is a topic that as many bullying assemblies that we have in school, never really is taken as seriously as it should be.

I think part of what puts everything in perspective is when you hear a personal story. When another person the exact same age as you (who you would have thought is completely content and happy with their life) opens up and you hear some of the scariest yet most eye-opening things. You never would have guessed that he's blind in his left eye because he was abused when he was younger, I mean he's so happy. You never would have guessed that she was anorexic and about to run away before, I mean, she's a cheerleader now. So, what makes people bully others? What makes people resort to the negative actions that can often negatively impact others' lives? The answer is simple: They don't think that they are beautiful. That sounds awfully cliche, but it's true. Somewhere along the path of their lives, a tiny piece of their self confidence broke off, and ever since then, they've felt the need to take it out on others. You can argue about whether it's their personal choice or not, but that's besides the point. The point is, if we all truly did believe that we were well, beautiful, things would be better.

Haha okay, I sort of feel like I just gave a mini lecture up there (and you're probably thinking to yourself that this is so overrated and you've heard it a million times...but that's okay.), and it's okay if half of you didn't read it (: But if anything, I hope that you take away these final words: You are a unique individual unlike anyone else. You are special, different, and there is no one out there who can take that away from you. 
...And if you ever meet someone who doesn't believe this, well, tell them it's true. You never know how big of an impact it can have on their life.


Where Will This Train Take You?

"You're waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure. But it doesn't matter. How can it not matter to you where the train will take you?"
The funny this is, no matter what, I always find myself coming back to this quote (from Inception if you didn't already know) and I really have no clue why. When I first heard it in the movie, I remember committing it to memory (which is weird...even for me ;P) So...naturally, I made myself figure out why I like this quote so much. I think that it's because it's absolutely beautiful in encompassing well...life. A lot of times we look around at the world and want it to be linear, logical, and perfectly sequential: with everything in order and everything making sense. The fact is, many times it's much deeper than that...there are some things we can't control, some things we can't help, and in the crazy ride we call life, you just have to trust that all the puzzle pieces will fall perfectly together in the end. Maybe that's why that quote has stuck with me for such a long time? (Aside from the fact that the movie was amazing, of course :)) But think about it...How can it now matter to you where the train will take you? If you always believe that in the end, it'll take you to a wonderful place. (:

Oh also, on a different note, check these out...these Youtube singers have done absolutely amazing covers and it's great that they've finally released their own singles:
B-e-a-utiful - Megan Nicole
Advice - Christina Grimmie


To the Wilderness! ...and Alpha Academy.

My list of things you should know when you go camping:
- Never ask whether the jellyfish in the water can electrocute you. Limited aquatic knowledge or not, people will laugh at you.
- As fun as it is to roast marshmallows, there is a point at which if you keep them near the fire too long, it will shrivel up and turn black. At this point, you shouldn't eat it. I repeat, shouldn't. 
- 50 person hide and seek games are fun. ...But only if you have a way of contacting everyone and telling them to come back once you've given up.
- You might think that if you're 16 and can fit on a four year old's bike, you can ride it. Sure...until it breaks.
- Never yell "snake" at any point during your trip. Especially if you're hiking on a trail where it's very narrow and if everyone were to turn and run in the opposite direction...bad things could happen.
...for a full and unabridged list, please consult...me (: Trust me, it's a long list (;

Anyways haha, aside from that...guess what series I finished, hm? I'll give you a clue...It starts with A and end with lphas. Pshh not saying that I made myself go and buy the last book (Top of the Feud Chain) the day it came or anything...(; Anyhow, before you judge me on my utterly weird taste in books, I'll admit that most of Lisi Harrison's novels have been sort of a guilty pleasure for me, because they're not exactly the best kind of literature, but nevertheless, they're addicting. Nothing will ever replace The Clique for me, but it was pretty cool to check out a series by the same author. For those of you who do not plan to touch this book in the near future, here's a quick synopsis.
In The Alphas, three girls, who have come from three diverse and different backgrounds  all have one common goal: They have been invited to Shira Brazille (completely multi-millionaire)'s exclusive Alpha Academy. Shira, while very manipulative and business smart, is also very competitive and thus, so is her school. The school is made up of one hundred talented girls, each accustomed to always being the alpha, always being the best in their area of talent...but one hundred people can't all be the best at the same time. Alpha Academy is driven towards on keeping the best, and as the series comes to a close, more and more girls are kicked out of the prestige school. In a final test of "do you have what it takes?" only one true "Alpha" will rise to the top at the end... and Skye, Charlie, and Allie might just do anything to achieve that status.

In my opinion, the ending was actually quite surprising, and although I'll refrain from spoiling it for you (if you do plan to read it, that is), I will say that it truly emphasizes the importance of friendship and loyalty, even as the girls try to bring themselves to the top. In my opinion, Top of the Feud Chain brought an unforgettable, yet sweet ending to the series.