love for humanity

Invincible is you
Build like pieces
Of Lego blocks
Assembled, then torn
Scattered and whole.

Strength, not perfection
Is seen through actions
Valued and meaningful
Through broken hearts
Mended through love.


grandpa memories

I came across the 73 Questions With Roger Federer from Vogue and it made me feel how much time has passed by. It reminded me of grandpa. Here’s a few loosely strung memories I’ve compiled about him:

As a kid, my dad would drive our family over to visit grandpa a few times a year. We’d get lost on the same curvy road and pass by the same grocery store wondering if we needed to take a left or right turn. On one of our visits, he had Wimbledon on the television and explained to me how tennis worked. I didn’t get it for a while, but it didn’t stop me from spending lazy weekends watching a few tournaments myself.

Seeing Federer on screen again was like being a kid again trying to understand what love meant (in terms of tennis scoring) and connecting with my grandpa through his perspective. I tried by asking him once what kind of music he liked and he said he wasn’t fond of music at all. I was shocked. I never met anyone who didn’t like music in some capacity. Sports, gardening and playing Bridge was what he enjoyed doing.

Just writing the title now made me remember how my sister and I would re-read our thank you cards and letters over and over again because the word “granpa” or “granma” just looked too weird. Obviously, they were spelled wrong. I was a little kid trying to impress the adults with my perfect handwriting and articulate word choices. Looking back on them, the slanted writing alignment, things we considered important to mention and the misspellings made them all the more special and cute. It’s funny and kind of sad how much time we spend fretting over things that ultimately don’t matter.

Grandpa kind of taught me that in passing. He lived it with his life. He didn’t worry about upcoming surgeries, he just got whatever he needed done and moved on. He didn’t complain about working over his retirement age or giving up his stuff to move into a smaller apartment. He didn’t even make silent awkward moments awkward. While I was in high school, he gave me a copy of a journal he wrote. It was fascinating to read again as an adult and I am honored he decided to share his thoughts and feelings with me. He didn’t hide his emotions during trying times or walk away when the pressure was heavy. He even admitted to me when he was scared or when things weren’t going great. His strength, honor and bravery are what I remember most about him. He was human and was the best at it more than anyone I know.

Rest in peace, grandpa. I hope you get to eat delicious chocolate cake all the time and beating all the Bridge games you’re playing. I miss you all the time.

being young and dating

Tonight, I read an old journal entry about a boy I was dating at the time. Flipping to the beginning pages were memories of hand holding, date nights at pizza parlors and walking around in the city to a few pages later in which I write a list of our similarities and differences. Apparently we both really liked films and blogging but were on opposite sides when it came to our choice of fruit and tv shows we preferred watching. Then came the eventual pages of miscommunication and wondering what he was thinking, but I was too afraid to come off as needy. He made the first move and asked me out. I made the first move and held his hand. He liked my confidence and I liked his spontaneity. That made me wonder. And feel alive.

pink skies

Book review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Attachments is an entertaining and funny love story between two co-workers at a newspaper company called The Courier. They find love at the intersection of technology and the breakroom of a typical 9-to-5 job.

The story starts by introducing friends Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont through a personal email at work. They often send each other such emails despite knowing that it is being monitored. Lincoln O’Neill is the IT security person whose job it is to do just that and other IT troubleshooting needs in a Y2K technological era.

Given their humorous and charming banter, Lincoln finds their emails the highlight of his day at a pretty lonely and boring night-shift job. He inevitably falls in love with one of them. While the attraction is mutual, Lincoln never fully understood her perspective until they finally meet-cute; seeing one another for who they are and validating their strong feelings for one another.

This story is complex, but not heavy. The three main characters are no longer recent college graduates getting used to their 20s; rather they’re entering their 30s and meeting expectations of what their next steps in life should be. Lincoln, Beth and Jennifer each exhibit different relationship perspectives; being single, in a committed relationship and married, respectively. They each overcome their internal conflicts which results in changed selves by the end of it.

Rainbow Rowell did such a great job in writing a novel that encompassed a romantic comedy love story (that didn’t involve the internet 24/7) without it being too sappy and dramatic. She also did a seamless job in presenting the commentary on the changing times of a new era where parking lots are valued over old movie theaters and acknowledging that we are at an age where love may come before at first sight. Attachments made me laugh out loud more than a few times and swept me off my feet with its delightful characters and dialogue.

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thank you

I hope someday I have another opportunity to live in a world with you in it. I wonder if I’d ever get to speak to you and tell you all the things. Everything. Because I can and want to spend as much time with you as possible. I am with you always, but you are not with me. At least the way I want you to be. But it’s better than nothing at all.

Gratitude is always key, but sometimes it’s hard to brush off the reality of how things have become. The ways things are now. Every single moment is a creation towards the ones that truly stands out. The one that changes lives. And then another big moment comes and another. Our lives are a series of all these amazingly influential events that create our own being. Our world.

So for every single moment I think of you, you are still in my world. You guide me all the time. It’s the idea, the memory and the love of you that helps me all the time. Along with everyone else. I am so grateful. We all change one another. We all influence each other’s world.

Thank you, for however short time is, for letting me be a part of yours.

Book review: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not want the book to end. I loved Natasha and Daniel so much. After spending the day together, readers will learn a lot about them, life and love. The charming thing about this book is that there is a realist view for what love means, how it affects people and what they will do for it. Along with love, there are consequences with every action that not only affects the lives of those involved directly, but also the ones just passing by, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed their philosophical conversations, Natasha’s scientific input, Daniel’s hopeless romantic idealism and depth of maturity and belief they had for one another. They’re the kind of characters one wished more people were like in real life. I also like that Yoon did not shy away from racial conversations and concepts by integrating them into the story.

We meet Natasha, who has been trying to figure out a way to stay in America after her family learns that they are forced to go back to Jamaica. Then Daniel, who is Korean American, have a scheduled meeting about his college admission to Yale. With an immediate attraction to Natasha after seeing her on the street, Daniel tries to convince her that she will fall in love with him.

I wish this was a series. Although the book follows these characters for one day, their depth and growth felt like months or years in the making. We learn about their complex relationships to different family members and how they’ve come to understand them. Most importantly, we learn how they’ve come to understand themselves. Their own internal realizations are what carries this book.

The book does not divide by chapters, rather the story is told by the perspectives of the main protagonists as well as explanations for ideas/concepts and background information of the supporting characters. Similarly styled as Eleanor and Park, this book also centers around young love, however, different in the most important way. The characters progressed towards each other and they did not let the negative relationships in their lives affect their idea of love and the feelings they had for each other. The way their perspectives took turns guided a very smooth flow and transition of the sequence of events.

I highly recommend this book.

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I am excited to see the movie when it comes out!


thinking about you

I just had to get out that night. As I swung open the front door, I desperately breathed in the fresh air and immediately felt the ease behind my neck to my shoulders. I was suffocating in the house and its atmosphere of sadness and regrets. Hearing the click of the car door handle was enough validation that I needed to escape. The car smelled of cold. I drove past the beach as the sun was setting. Strangers were walking on the sidewalk. A couple wearing baseball caps had their big dog on a short leash. I screamed inside, “What does this all mean?

It’s so robotic to be sitting in the car and having the most emotional night in decades only to have to follow the rules and no one outside the car would know the wiser. That someone in my life has passed or that I was breaking down. Internally and deeply.

With tears in my eyes, I wondered if the guy in the car next to mine noticed I was crying. Do people notice this stuff?

And throughout this whole short, but symbolically long journey, I thought of you. I remembered that I’d never have the chance to tell you how much you meant to me. The books you have at home will never be read by you again. That the shoes you wore would never be worn again. The permanence of all this makes my stomach turn and my heart twist. My mind and body are not yet following the new set of rules and orders.

a journal entry from the past

film trailer spotlight: the sun is also a star

I came across this film trailer for this romantic film that is coming out in May this year. It’s interesting because the information box to the video says it is “only in theaters May 17.” That can’t be true, right? It just means it is released on that day? It immediately caught my attention because, as one commenter of the video stated, it is like watching a short film. But not only that, it is a romantic film starring two persons of color. I’ve done some research and it seems it’s based on a book. I would really like to read it. I am not familiar with the actors, the author or the story. From the trailer, the story seems to highlight a lot of issues: citizenship, race, relationships and education. I am looking forward to this!

Book review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two teenagers from completely different backgrounds converge when an awkward moment on the school bus results in them sitting together, which cemented a ritual they never intended to have. Gradually, their time together evolved from avoiding each other, to quietly reading and listening to music together to falling in love. The journey was rocky at most points and smooth in others. I truly valued the personalities of Eleanor and Park. I cared about them and wanted an ending that they deserved.

Their love for each other was pure and deep. The character growth was evident and the essence of their internal and external conflicts were raw. This story was heartbreaking because I wanted more for them and for the book.

Author Rainbow Rowell is talented in writing about human emotions and personalities. There were moments in the book in which I wanted to keep reading, but then I come across these barriers or nonsensical challenges of the story in which I felt like more could have been developed with the characters and their relationships with the people in their lives or even with themselves. I didn’t need a happy ending, necessarily, but I wanted a better resolution and goodbye to Eleanor & Park.

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