This week was going so well, until I was reminded of how unaccepting–or at the least bit, intolerant–people are. I’m taken back to my senior year in high school, hoping to get accepted to a good college along with being offered generous financial aid to allow me to escape the prejudice I faced back home. I really wish I was back in Geneva right now. Just a few more hours.

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I think of all that I’ve done to get me to where I am at this very moment, not only in the physical sense, but also spiritual, mental, emotional. I wonder if the choices I’ve made were worth it, every turn of the corner, every decision at the fork of the road. Have the extent of such fully revealed themselves to me, or am I still waiting for all the good that I initially thought were to come when I chose my path? If given the opportunity to redo this experience, would I take it?

I’m a jerk.

Today while taking the tram to class, a man began playing his accordion in the car. At first I didn’t think this was normal because my impression of the Swiss is that they are a quiet folk, and random, noise-making occurrences like these rarely happen. I guess I was wrong, because after his performance he walked around with a small red cup about the size of a shot glass asking for some busking money.

I didn’t tip him because when he extended the cup to my direction, I was in a state of initial shock. What? It’s never happened to me before. I didn’t know.

I feel like a jerk because his piece was so beautiful, so mesmerizing. Looking out the windows of the tram, observing the town of Geneva–all of its historic architecture and diverse humans that walk its streets–while listening to him play created a marriage between what I saw and what I heard. It intensified the experience, and made me even more grateful and excited to be here.

Needless to say, I’ll be tipping the next busker that gives me a similar experience.

Emotions over going abroad have evaded me all summer, but as I wait to board my plane to Geneva, I’m thrown into a wave of reflection, and all too suddenly it’s hitting me that I am leaving. But what I didn’t expect, surprisingly, is that I’m feeling oddly familiar to this time, three years ago, back in a terminal in Guam where I sat in fear and restless anticipation of my boarding number to be called so that I can make my way to the states for the first time for college. Although I’m afraid, my excitement outweighs my nerves for the opportunity to start fresh in a continent I’ve never been. And in this moment of appreciation, I think about the humans who encouraged me to take this leap of faith, who have supported me and continue to fortify my journey in many ways. They know who they are, and I’m thankful for their presence in my life.

I can’t wait for this adventure to begin. Senior year, bring it on.

Paris, what a dream.

I hosted a dear friend–who also happens to be my little–tonight for dinner. Along with the spring rolls and the vanilla chai pancakes (mmm) I made for dessert, we watched one of my favorite films of all time, one that I truly can never tire of even if I tried: The Devil Wears Prada. : )

I can’t recall when I last saw the film, though it was probably back home in Guam on FX, so it was comforting to say the least to follow Andy on her journey again.

There was one particular scene that struck me, which my friend brought to my attention. Although I love the film, I usually daze out of it when Andy and Miranda fly to Paris. This is what happened: as the camera panned on the sights of the Parisian streets, architecture, and people, she commented that I will soon be there to take it all in with my own senses.

It struck me then how close I am to leaving for Europe for the very first time: three weeks. I’ve read about, heard about, and seen so much of not only Paris, but also the other grand cities in the continent. To think that I will be there soon, to see places that I’ve only gotten to experience through the pages of the book or the flickering of a screen, is quite unbelievable.

Europe, I can’t wait.

Summer Slump

I’ve reached the dreaded part of summer where I realized I haven’t done much at all. While I’ve made valiant efforts to keep me busy and entertained on what could possibly be my last summer in Boston, I can’t help but think in retrospect that I could have done more. Perhaps I should cease procrastination and begin collecting my essentials for Geneva? That’ll prevent a couple of headaches and worries that come with packing for a trip, especially one that spans a semester.

Or I can improve my cursive handwriting.

Can you tell I’m having a productive summer?

Remember when we thought humans would never walk on the moon?

I think back to how fortunate I am to live in an age and in a society where ideas roam free and are respectfully challenged. The Supreme Court’s decision is one I know many, including myself, won’t take for granted. I think of the greats who have lived before my time who could only dream and imagine of such a revolution, and I pay homage to them for setting the stage for my freedom. There’s always someone out there fighting for others, trying to make their lives less painful, easier, and fair. I’m thankful to those who fought for me and continue to fight as we move forward to challenge ourselves and our mode of thought.

It’s been quite the journey to get to where I am at this point in my life. I think back to a few years ago, and remember my bouts of confusion, self-loathing, and depression. I’ve come a long way to accept my identity as a human being, one that I know is dynamic and fluid, never static; and I owe it to the people who’ve supported me and who continue to show and teach me love in its rawest forms. Because of them, I am still here, living and navigating this road. But unlike my younger days, I know I’m not alone. So, if you’ve ever walked by my side as I’ve struggled and grown: thank you.

One of the most integral gifts you can ever give yourself is the acknowledgement and acceptance that something is over. Don’t let others carve out how you should feel and never let them pick emotions for you. Refuse the pressure to acquiesce just because doing so will “bring things back to where they were.” That is their sense of normality. If that is no longer yours, stay true to yourself, and find a new norm if need be, no matter how difficult. You cried for a reason, and you are still aching for a reason. Things change, if not for the better. Welcome it. Trust yourself. Owe this to yourself.