The best things in life

Sometimes I wonder if I’m greedy, selfish or just full of gluttony and materialistic things I don’t need in life. And I’d reply by: yes, yes I am very greedy and selfish and materialistic. I guess it’s because I haven’t found something I am passionate for that could supersede the feeling of void and longing for something cute and expensive. However, there needs to be a balance in life and that balance in life is a easy medium between treating my self….

and acknowledging what I actually DO need (goodbye, pink glitter gel pen with bedazzled jewels) by having the “bear necessities” of life, ha!

 

On forward will I show you the best things in my life that I enjoy often. First off will be my mom. She’s my only best friend whom I can be personal yet aloof with. She can be mean and serious like when she would see me still up at 2 in the morning trying to scramble and finish my assignments after procrastinating while she heads to the bathroom at night (the family bathroom is directly across from my room so she could immediately see me.) But all is forgiven and she knows that I will acknowledge it and learn my lesson (most of them time :P)

Another thing that I enjoy in life would be stationary. That’s it, stationary. It has been one of my obsessions ever since and I have not since then, strain my relationship with adorable and sometimes (mostly) functional pens and sticky pads. I’ve read that the obsession over buying school supplies in the beginning of the year promotes a feeling of productivity, giving you that giddy, happy feeling you receive. Not to mention, how adorable they are?? It’s extremely painful to walk past the school supplies section without going through the new pens and colorful memo pads they have to offer. I love feeling organized and I often relax whenever I get the chance to clean my room or anything because I can rearrange and try different ways of putting stuff while keeping it aesthetically nice and neat which is why Buzzfeed’s DIY section is the only section I’ve come to love for the new tips and ways of keeping anything clean. And I wonder if anyone here relates, but I often oogle (my way of saying staring happily at something) at the sight of organized lockers, binders, notes, containers, anything! It truly does give me a feeling of happiness and relaxation. Plus, organization and school supplies are the ONLY reason why I would be excited for school to start and DISAPPOINTED when school ends.

Oh baby, give me a cubicle bookshelf and I’m yours…

In addition, getting a B on a math test is the greatest joy yet. Or receiving  Ever since high school has started, I have officially deemed myself terrible at math. Now, 8th grade algebra was the turning point but I ignored that feeling of discontempt whenever I didn’t do so well on a math test. So whenever I receive a B (I haven’t received an A this year!), I usually tear up and the rest of my day becomes a good day.

Courtesy of Crickpop

Same goes for making any arts and crafts or a new recipe. It seems as though whenever I follow a recipe, step by step, I always feel paranoid and put a little less than usual or a little more than usual or improvise a tiny portion of the recipe, messing it up and destroying my self esteem. For example, when I made cake pops for my Innovation Project, I ended up putting too much frosting, thus making my cake pops way heavier than usual so it couldn’t stick on the lollipop stick. It looked very easy at first but after I made the cake (which was undercooked for some reason…), the decorating, the planning, the cleaning… just overwhelmed me and lowered my self esteem once again. But then I remember Zainab remarking how good the cookies I made for her birthday were. I was surprised since I tried a new recipe for the cookies rather than sticking to the original Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. Nevertheless, I was extremely proud and happy that I happen to make someone impressed by the fact that they run a delicious baking blog!

 

 

I simply believe that the best things in life are underestimated as they’re often overwhelmed by the sight of luxury. For example, many people enjoy eating macarons because they’re so good but I can’t fathom why it’s so necessary to purchase a $2 1 1/2 inch French cookie? I enjoy macarons too but enjoying a regular fruit pastry that is bigger and sometimes cheaper, can give me the same satisfaction as eating a macaron, sometimes more!

So in the life of Vivian, receiving a happy face next to an 85 on the most recent quiz, or perhaps getting a new pack of puppy sticky it notes, would remind me that besides the grades and the stress of finals and tests, life is good.

Nothing to lose

Despite the world’s busy schedule and economy, there’s always something worth giving a risk usually followed by saying a phrase like: “There’s nothing to lose.” It could be using a few spare change to buy a lottery ticket instead of spending it for a candy bar. It could be getting out of your car and help the elderly pedestrian cross the street when you’re driving to somewhere. Or maybe it could be doing five extra push ups after completing thirty grueling push ups. In the end, everyone wins in their own ways and have departed to their lives with one better thing completed in their lives.

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Fun-sized philanthropy

As a student in a Honors English class, we’re assigned a year long project called the ‘What If? Project’ where we come up with ideas we want to execute during the year to do something we’ve always wanted to change. My group with Ashley Truong and Michelle Phung, decided to make a little philanthropic charity where we come up with ideas to lift someone up in our community through the little ways, no charge.

It could be something simple like making homemade Valentine grams to be distributed with homemade cookies! Unfortunately, our plan did not execute correctly due to the fact that we came too late and did not plan the correct day.

 

 

*click to expand the pictures!*

However, it has come to me that we haven’t put a lot of time and effort into our project which explains why we couldn’t complete our first item in our agenda. Perhaps if we worked all of kinks that may occur in this project and had a little confidence in ourselves, we wouldn’t have been in this situation.

————————————-❤ Week of Valenine’s Day❤ ————————————-

During the week of Valentine’s Day, we made Valentine’s day cards to be distributed to the nearest Kindercare, a day care center. Little did we know that we couldn’t make an impromptu event where we can give out cookies and grams. For example, we couldn’t make it on Tuesday and believing that the supervisor of the day care would be lenient as to the day where we could come in, we decided to come in the next day without calling her. It turns out that she wasn’t available the next day so we left in dismay with our plentiful cookies and cards. Some parents who picked up their children came by to take some cookies and recommended us some places where we could distribute the cards and cookies such as the nearest nursing home or retirement center. Unfortunately, our parents decided for us to go home and change our plans to distribute them at our school and our staff.

The next day, Ashley and I distributed the cards to the staff members in our school through the little “cubbie-boxes” to distribute letters and information for that teacher. While we distributed them, it turns out that there weren’t enough cards for all of the teachers and staff members!

Perhaps if we prepared more cards (we were very productive the day we made them, we just underestimated the number of cards we had to make) and figured out the total number of kids or teachers as our backup plan, we wouldn’t have gotten ourselves in this kind of situation.

I also made from 100-115 mini cookies ranging from oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies to M&M milk chocolate cookies. While distributing them, I came to realize how easily the cookies crumbled while passing them out, making them undesirable and unattractive. However, we were able to pass them out to those who wanted a cookie on Valentines Day🙂

————————————————– Post Valentines Day ————————————————–

On the Monday when we got back, Ashley told us that one of her teachers saw the card and quickly went through the rest of her mail. I guess receiving the card after Valentines Day would’ve made it seem awkward and silly for a teacher to suddenly find among her mail! But it’s fine, it was our first stab at this project.

Our next event will be going to the nearest public library and volunteering to read aloud books to the children. Despite our workload and AP testing coming up, I do hope we could manage to do this event this weekend!

If there are any ideas, questions or comments about the Cheerful Charity, please PLEASE comment down below! I’m very eager to hear any recommendations and expand our project.

Taking account of the little things.

Last Tuesday was Earth Day and on that day, my English teacher decided that we should walk around the campus like a mini field-trip while talking is forbidden. I broke this rule in the most subtle ways (giggling) from the fact that one of my friends was carrying something which activated my curiosity, thus whispering her a quick question. That got me caught but luckily, my teacher was one of those lenient teachers who usually follows the unorthodox English path, at least most of the time.

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Anger: one of the universal emotions

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post pertaining to animals and it just so happens that my teacher discussed about anger and the changes that occur from anger.

According to the world’s most reliable dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, anger is defined as:

A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

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Aladdin: The Count of Ali Baba!

What’s one thing Aladdin and Edmond Dantes in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ have in common?

 

For one thing, they’re both lucky in their own ways with the help of their unexpected friends.

Aladdin, for one, fell into the scam of Jafar along with Babu, his pet monkey. To their astonishment, they’re not the only one inside the ‘Cave of Wonders’; a friendly magic carpet stirs and wanted to make friends with Babu and Aladdin and help them find the magic lamp.

Walking through the Cave of Wonders tests both Aladdin and Babu’s sense of lust and gluttony as they see mountains of gold and valuable items even the Sultan lacks of.

Eventually, they see the magic lamp but.. it’s just an ordinary lamp. However, the lamp possesses a genie! The genie grants him three wishes and any wishes except resurrection, love and asking for more wishes. With Aladdin’s deceit, he manages to get out of the cave without using a wish.

Going back to The Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes finds himself to be falsely accused of a crime and sent to a prison. To his luck, he hears tapping and finds out it is someone who is digging his escape from the prison. Here we meet the priest Abbe Faria, a new friend of Dantes who guides him to his riches at the Isle of Monte Cristo after he has exasperated from his efforts to try again and escape. With Dantes’ cunning tricks, he successfully escaped without any trouble.

Another association I found between the two is the fact that they’ve been tricked and sentenced to prison without an explanation. Aladdin was a harmless market thief but Jafar convicted him of kidnapping Jasmine the princess.

On the other hand, Dantes was wrongly accused of being a Bonapartist and helping Napoleon escape from his exile at the Isle of Elba and sending information about it when he actually was just a sailor who did a favor of sending a letter to someone at an island.

As you can see, both characters experience injustice of where they’re at. Inequality is an important theme here because later on in their stories, the characters rise up to their opponents, making them better than they were. In today’s world, we still have people who are just like Aladdin or Dantes and are waiting to strike back at their opponents.

The most important thing everyone needs to remember is that everyone should be given a fair and equal chance to rise up to their potential. No person, despite their disabilities or unfortunate events, has a less chance of becoming the person they want to be. If everyone can see that and was given the proper resources, imagine how Aladdin could’ve turned out to be; instead of a street rat, he could become a street merchant! Or in Dantes’ case, he could’ve defended himself innocent and received the job that he was offered.

 

If only someone actually loved you…

During winter break, I got the chance to see the highly praised film ‘Frozen’ much to my brother’s dismay. As I watched the film, I’ve made several interpretations relative to the novel we are currently reading right now, “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Mind you, I have written some spoilers in order to elaborate further on the characters’ motives, both “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Frozen.

While we were reading “All Quiet on the Western Front”, a highly-acclaimed novel about World War I, an important character named Paul receives permission to go home for two weeks, allowing him to see old friends and families. Although he seems quite content to take a break from shells and machine guns, he feels out of place without the trenches or his friends by his side. It’s as if he doesn’t belong where he’s supposed to belong and vice versa. Perhaps it is the fear of losing all of his friends while he’s gone? Or he senses the urge to stay with everyone while he’s there.

Going back to Frozen, Elsa the recently-coronated queen, feels that her powers doesn’t allow her to belong in her kingdom in Arendalle. Her ice powers and her past history with her sister’s almost-fatal injury has made her feel insecure about showing her true colors. I can sometimes relate to this because having many debates and arguments at home that most teens would discuss with their parents, I would feel much more comfortable being at school where my friends and I could easily talk with each other without feeling guilty or mad about something.

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Another connection I’ve found was how Elsa and Paul have kept secrets from their friends and families for the sake of providing a leeway from them worrying so much. Elsa has almost costed Anna’s life with a little fun and games when they were younger. When her family took Anna to the rock trolls to seek help, they have made the decision to keep it a secret from Anna of her previous incident. As an addendum, her father has made it clear to make sure nobody knows about her powers as well, thus reducing the number of staff members and unfortunately for Elsa, reducing her time with her little sister.

shhhhh

Going back to ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Paul has kept secrets from his friend’s mother. When he was returning home for a few weeks, he has decided to share the news of Kemmerich’s death with his mother in the most shortest way possible. He spares her the details of how he actually died because he understands that her grief of her son will only grow if he shares the horrific truth.

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In the end, the similarities between the two characters intertwine with each other, despite the different settings and situations. One may have been viewed as an antagonist while the other may have been viewed as reserved. As we overcome these first impressions of them and understand their histories, their true identities shine through, allowing the readers to see the example they must set among their peers.


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