The year is fast approaching the end. I must say, it was quite the interesting one. I learned that life doesn’t allow you to drive on its paved road for long. Every now and then, it cracks open a pothole. This year, I guess I’ve hit another one of those big ones. 2011 started off with nothing more to wish for. I entered it with the most wonderful friends of my life. The family time was great, school was going well. There was not much to worry about for once. After all the highs and lows of the past few years, I finally found myself on peaceful grounds.

The new school semester came and went very smoothly, I went on a cruise for the first time, something I have always wanted :) I did research during the summer, my “dream” since high school. I met some new, amazing friends and developed a stronger friendship with others. This was also the year that I really deepened my relationship with my mom. Although we do talk whenever we get a chance (when moods are good), for the last half of this year, I’ve learned to spill out my all. And it really feels great to have someone you trust completely, that knows you better than yourself, share some of your burdens with you. Whether it’s bliss or despair. I’m very thankful for her understanding.

But as life would have it, when  things cannot get any better, it naturally gets worse. When mid-2011 turned the corner, my mind was bombarded with confusing, helpless and frustrating thoughts. I was half devastated and discouraged. It was a very heavy feeling that lasted for many months. It felt like wanting to give up, but there was nothing to give up for. There was nothing more to lose. So the feeling persists until it drains you out and even then, it lingers. There are so many things we have no control over. But it’s also true that our attitude can make the difference. This was not the best year, but in a way it made me a lot stronger. When one door closes, you just have to open another one yourself. You drop yourself down, and eventually you have to pick yourself up. Looking back, I still don’t know how I lasted through the fall semester! In that regards, I’m very proud of myself. Things are still not great, but it’s coming to an end and there’s nothing really to complain about. I’m finally getting some closure on all the uncertainty I was struggling with. The unknown is very scary… when you can’t find the answer, it literally drives you insane.

When you say that life is unfair, it’s also very fair. It gives and takes and when you really open your eyes to your surroundings, most things do balance out. At my lowest of 2011, there was a friend I recently got to know that just brightens up my day. As the cliche goes, he made me laugh when I didn’t even want to smile. There were days when I was so out of mood, but somehow he provided the energy to help me carry on. Tough times bring people together. Whether it’s friends, families, enemies even. It brings out the best in people. No matter how bad things are, there is still something to smile about. This is a message that cannot be reminded and emphasized enough. It’s important to know how to be happy, even when you’re sad. It’s possible. I would say this is what 2011 has enforced in me, and I’m glad.

I can’t wait to say goodbye to this year, haha. I wonder what 2012 has in stores (Graduation… the end of the world?) Well, come what may :)

I hope everyone had a warm Christmas, and wishing y’all a Happy New Year!

– R.Kiu


The Little Things In Life

I’m starting to appreciate more and more the small things of everyday. As a kid, it was all about the excitement of big adventures. Theme parks, slumber parties, trick or treating, Disney world. I would have trouble falling asleep from the sheer anticipation of it. Actually, I still do, hehe. As for dreams, kids tend to dream big. We wanted to be policemen, astronauts, teachers, doctors… all the big labels in society. That’s a great ambition and the world needs that. But as I grow, my dreams and lifestyle are getting more refined. For now, I’m discovering the lesser things.

Although I still love adventures and wild things, I would settle equally for 1 on 1 quality times with different people. One of my favourite things is just to talk. It can be over a cup of coffee, at a park, sitting up all night, under the stars or over fishing. I can be very silent in a group, but I love listening in on conversations. It feels very refreshing to spend time with someone with many hours ahead and talk about anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be intimate. Just catching up, things that have been going on lately or any upcoming plans. It’s amusing how one topic can flow into the next and sooner or later, we forget how we came about a subject. Talking and listening is the best way to connect to a person :) It doesn’t always have to take crazy intense memories to build a bond.

I foresee I will be stuck at home studying for the next few weeks and I miss the good warm days where I could take long, aimless walks. Following the streets of downtown under the sun, and then enjoying an ice cold drink. MMmmhhh!!! Or hiking up mountains and then enjoying the well-deserved view. These things are like food to my soul. As the winter days approaches, I can’t wait to savor a hot chocolate over a fireplace. I’m dreaming now, I have no fireplace.

I guess now, I look forward to Christmas holidays: have big parties, play video games and shop my heart out. But even in the busy times, don’t forget to appreciate the little things on the side of road. The lovely snow (where is the snow???), the Christmas lights, the happy music and the love! Passing out a few dollars here and there for the homeless, wrapping our smiles in with our presents, saying words we haven’t said in awhile. I can’t wait! Giving and receiving. Christmas time is all about the small things. After all, sometimes less is more :) 

For now, back to studying. Good luck on finals everybody! We’re all in the same boat.

– R.Kiu

I couldn’t…

It’s almost 2012 and I’ve been making the same resolution for years. I wanted so badly to donate blood since I turned 18. I see the signs everywhere I go, but could never do it on impulse. I always need sufficient time (lots of it!) to gather courage and I need friends’ support. I attempted 6 months ago but they denied me because I recently went to China. Back then, and I’m not going to lie, I felt so relieved! I came out as if they spared my life. Haha. 

I’ve grown up with 3 fears: spiders, heights and blood. I cannot overcome my fears, I can only face them. Having phobias are annoying because I have no reason to justify it. No, I am not afraid of heights because I might fall. I’m not afraid of spiders because they might bite. And I am not afraid of blood because it may hurt. I just don’t know why. But I learned when it comes to facing fears, it’s pretty much “just do it”. Don’t think, don’t turn back, ignore the urge to want out. I’ve climbed high up before, I’ve held a tarantula; I felt like if I pushed myself, I could finally give blood. And today, I was so close…

Everything went well. I sat on the chair thinking this is it. Until they poked the giant pole that was the needle in my arm… released the pinch in the tube…. and nothing came out. The worse has happened. She adjusted the needle a few times. I was scared stiff. Then the blood started to flow, but barely and very slowly. My arm was becoming numb. Oh gosh, kill me. She called over another nurse and by that time, it created a big bump in my arm. They started to detach the tapes and every time the needle moved, I could feel it in my veins. They suggested to try it on the other arm. That was when fear overwhelmed me. I was shaking, I couldn’t even talk properly. I could no longer suppress it. I didn’t want to go through this process again. I told her I didn’t want to do it anymore.

It sucks because I try very hard to stand by my words. I think it’s very important to do what you say. Everything that comes out is an automatic promise. That’s how I see it. One of my tricks to force myself to do something is to announce it, because then I will have no excuse to back out. It was quite emotional for me because I didn’t know I was so weak. This is definitely one of the few times I’ve backed out on myself. The worst is I see so many girls doing it like a walk in the park and I couldn’t stand the fact that I’m scared. I mean, if they can do it, why can’t I? Is fear a good enough reason? I feel like I wasted everyone’s time and let everyone down. I always thought I could do it. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself and I know it’s a personal choice. But nothing compares to knowing you have a choice to save a life, but decided against it :( I’m embarrassed and ashamed. C’est vraiment dommage. I don’t know how to convince myself to go again. I don’t know if I can do it again. We’ll see… I just took off the bandage… and there is a big bruise. I need a long, long recovery period. lol, yes I am traumatized!!!

– R.Kiu

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