High Hopes and Respect

Hello kids,

Ever had any of those far-fetched visions that you knew couldn’t happen? Those dreams that you knew would never occur, but still get you through the day? Well you’re looking at the person who dreams and wishes daily. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m quite the realistic person at times, however, I generally try to look at the bright side of issues. I know what you’re thinking. If you’re really an optimistic, why would you talk about “Jumpin’ off the J Building”? Well, whenever I said that random comment during times when my friends were about to give up, they would suddenly smile. I don’t care what anyone else says, but smiles and laughter gives one just a little boost to keep going. And that goes the same for those little far-fetched visions and “pipe dreams”. However, it’s when those dreams are taken more seriously and then the realization that they are just visions hits, that one is hurt the most.

Remember the wonderful Youth Symposium experience I wrote about a little more than a week ago? The fever I was in as if I was high off ecstasy because of all the memories? Well, a vision sparked in my little, naive head that maybe, just maybe, a Youth Symposium – Part II could be created. Just so I could have that one last adventure with my Leo family. But what made this vision seem realistic was that at the beginning, everyone agreed to it. It seemed like this was something I could actually pull off. So YS 2 became my top priority. Researching, planning, coordinating meetings. However, like everything else, when reality began to hit, everyone realized that there was too much work involved in this process. So now it’s over. It’s kind of sad, because this morning, when I woke up, the first thought that came to my mind was that I couldn’t wait for the meeting at 5 pm today. But as the day went by and everyone began to raise separate issues, by 5 pm, I realized that my dream had lost it’s hope and meaning. I mean, sure, there are other ideas like, just going to Disneyland for two days, just to socialize. But I know in my heart it’s not the same. This supposed dream trip in my head involved a road trip to San Francisco, where we would go to another school’s Leo Club meeting, inspire new Leo Clubs in other schools, clean up graffitti in local parks, visit colleges and most importantly, initiate a new way to broaden Leoism outside of Diamond Bar’s boundaries. Haha, stupid me right? When I dream, I dream big, and when I fall, I fall hard. One day, I know I won’t be able to get up from such a fall.

But being the optimistic person I am, I usually get up and pretend that nothing has happened. I continue to help everyone and anyone out and strive to commit my best to anything. And yet, I’m one of the few who hasn’t received that happy ending. Yes I know, my story hasn’t ended, so how can there be a happy ending. Well, life isn’t a story, so why should I have to wait for a happy ending? Why can’t something really good happen, without repercussions following, giving me some kind of hope that everything I have done, everyone whom I’ve cared for, has not been a waste? Or maybe, I’m just blind, and I really am not the good person who I perceive myself to be.

Or maybe God’s just telling me that I’m too trusting and caring. That whatever I do, I will never exceed or even meet other’s expectations. You know, at the end of Junior year last year, I made 10 resolutions for senior year. One of them was being a great captain and getting us into WGI finals this year. No joke, I took my becoming captain seriously, and even though I wasn’t the greatest spinner in guard, I wanted to leave an impression, especially on the freshmen. But because of all of the circumstances, we find out that we can’t go to WGI this year. But there’s still hope that we could win Circuit Championships and go home with the gold! And yet, even though I’ve repeated these thoughts so many times to the the veterans, it’s honestly as if no one cares. Or at least the majority. And it’s so frustrating that even as captain, I don’t get the respect that I want. I mean, I’m not Hitler. Hell, I basically don’t command at all. And yet, there are certain people who just refuse to grow up and just listen. And what irks me even more is these certain people are now influencing others, who used to be so nice to me, to ignore me as well. So what’s the point right?

And yet today, I went to watch the JV practice, and they truly inspired me. I was able to host practice for a little while until Michael showed up, and it was just so much fun. Color guard, despite all the complaints of having practice certain days, is truly something I like to do. And having them all listen to my ideas and work so efficiently . . . it just felt good that at least SOMETHING was going well. And when I left, all of them came up to me and told me how much they loved having me host practice. Just hearing that, it felt good. So, why is it that I can ellicit love and respect from younger kids who I just met last year and not from those who I have spent almost all of high school with?

This week I am just riding on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve felt so much that I feel like tomorrow’s already Friday. I just keep getting this mental shock as I realize it’s only Tuesday of this long week. I felt accomplished and overjoyed when I finally got to go to my first sleepover Saturday night. I felt as if my just rewards had arrived. And then the practice on Monday comes, along with this hard YS reality check today, and now I’m just upset. That and ecstatic, annoyed, hurt, depressed, confused, pleased, and disappointed.

I just can’t believe that a little over a week ago, I was in Fresno and having the best weekend of my life. How does time just quickly pass by? When you want something to come, it’s as if the days have stretched out immensely. But when you never want to leave a certain moment in your life, time accelerates to the point when you look back and everything is a mere blur.

I think I may have a psychological disorder. Because at this moment, life is Pointless. Confusing. Disturbing. And all together Lovely.

<3 A.


Youth Symposium 2009 (:

Hi kids,

So this weekend was the BEST and because there were SO many memories, I decided to write about the entire excursion (: So here it is, Youth Symposium 2009 (Feb. 13- Feb. 15).

By the way, it DID NOT rain at all this weekend. In fact it was warmer in Fresno and the weather itself was just beautiful. (:

Alright, so the year before, about 10 of us went to YS 2008, which was SO much fun. Now out of these 10 Leos, about 7-8 of us signed up for this year’s YS. And along with us “experienced kids”, we had another 12 Leos in going, for a grand total of 20. This included: Tim, Freddie, Diana, Mabel, Ayesha, Arya B., Gurpreet, Emily Liu, Kevin F., Brittany, Sahil, Cathy, Katherine, Emily Y., Max, Jessica C., Gary, Brandon C., Sachil, and of course MOI!

Because Tim, Freddie, Diana, Sahil, Kevin, Sachil, Emily Liu, and me had such a great time last year, we couldn’t WAIT for this year’s YS. For two weeks straight, we kept wishing that YS would be the next day. And then I started the fun emails to pump up EVERYONE (:. They started with “10 more days” and then an email was sent every day saying “4 days left!”, “3 days”, “2 days”, “1 day”. Honestly, those emails I sent out made me even MORE excited! Haha, and during school, when we’d see a fellow YS Leo, we would yell out “2 more days!!”. Lol, I think our chem class thought Diana and I were CRAZY for yelling out numbers daily. Tim would stop by every day during brunch to count down – and his enthusiasm was so contagious that even Young knew what was going down. And then FINALLY, it was Februrary, Friday the 13th. The day we would leave at 12 pm sharp (missing 4th period), to head off to Fresno! Wearing my Leo shirt, I went to each period, trying to remain calm and collected. But I couldn’t help it, the excitement was contagious. Coming out of Mr. Alcosser’s class, I saw Arya and we immediately said “0 DAYS!”. In 3rd period, I couldn’t stop saying “only two hours left” and by 4th period I was COMPLETELY gone. Haha, I felt so bad because Mrs. Clifford was having such a nice conversation about art with us, but at the time I couldn’t care less. My eyes were only for the clock, and once it struck 12, I got up and got OUT of there. So I ran to the Attendance Office where the rest of my Leo family was waiting and as we were signing out with the office, I just couldn’t stop jumping.

The initial plan was for my mom to come pick up Diana, Tim, Freddie, and me and take us to Ralph’s’, where the two vans we rented from Enterprise would be there waiting. However, Freddie dear forgot his pajamas, so we ended up taking a detour to his house. However, as quickly as he went inside, Freddie ran out and told us “my TV’s gone . . . someone broke in!”. The rest of us at first laughed, thinking it was a joke, but when we soon realized he was dead serious, we ran in to see that the burglar had broken in from the back and had stolen JUST the TV. However, my dear ambitious son Freddie was VERY COOL. He totally acted like a pro, calling his parents and calmly telling them the situation. He inspected and found fingerprints and since he made sure his parents had kept the box the TV came in, he reassured us that insurance would cover everything. I couldn’t have been prouder (:

Now after that little surprise, we jetted off to Ralph’s’ where we saw the rest of the Leo kids as well as the vans waiting. Diana and I suddenly got hit with excitement as it was like deja vu, seeing the incredibly huge vans there. We quickly loaded our luggage and split up into two groups. In my van, which was driven by Mr. Doogan a.k.a “The Dooganater” (copyright Arya B.), were the Tanakas, Mabel, Tim, Freddie, Ayesha, Sachil, Diana, Gurpreet, Arya, Emily Liu, and me. We jumped in and started our journey – after a quick stop at the gas station where Tim was able to get Arya’s iPod speakers.

Now, the plan was to get to Fresno through the Grapevine, however, due to conditions, it was closed and we had to take the scenic route. Yes, that meant our trip there was over 7 freakin’ hours! But actually, the time went by pretty quickly. In the beginning, we talked, listened to music, sang along, and other little random stuff. I just realized, we never actually used Arya’s “Would you rather . . . ” book. Honestly, I can’t really say what we did, but believe me, time passed by and I didn’t get to read at ALL. However, around the evening time, Freddie and I decided to just talk. So we took up the back row of the van and had a heart-to-heart conversation. I learned SO much about him and I think he learned some stuff about me too. I think we both were finally able to figure the other one out (: So even though the ride was so long to the point where we got to John’s Incredible Pizza Company at 8:30 instead of 6, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I got closer to one of my sons (: and man, I just fell in love with my family all over again. And because our conversation was so deep, the others got jealous and started talking about enlightening topics, so there was a period where all of us were in a deep discussion. Emily Liu, Arya, and Freddie kind of killed it though by trying to take SO MANY freakin’ pictures of me. I swear, I am NOT photogenic and they know it, and yet they kept taking photo after photo! There were so many flashes >.< But I did receive a LOVELY call from the kids in the other van who sang “1,2,3,4” by the Plain White T’s for me. (:

Speaking of John’s Incredible Pizza Company, once we got there, we immediately went for the food. Now you know Chuck E. Cheese’s right? Well John’s Incredible Pizza Company is FOUR TIMES bigger. So we pig out on pasta, pizza (and the varieties were endless, there was even a Spicy Peanut Butter Pizza) and finally get to the games. To continue the tradition of last year, a bunch of us headed to Laser Tag. The guys went first and came back bragging about how someone got 500 something points. Then the girls went in and MAN, did we get wild! Lol, I was able to get a lot of people, especially Mabel and Emily Yu. Awwww, haha, Emily Y. was SUCH an easy target (: And so I come out afterward and found out I got 1,550 points! So that was pretty cool and we later on went to the other games. A lot of us got lucky, like Max, Diana, and Jessica, where we’d play a “chance” game and get 50-100 tickets. There were also those non-ticket games like “House of the Dead 4”. OMG, Diana and I were SO into it, and I kept smacking my gun to the panel because of the energy. Then all of us pooled in our tickets and got quite a big number. We ended up trading the tickets in for TWO (cute) stuffed lions. Haha, so another two to add to our lovely collection (:

After a quick frozen yogurt, we headed to Holiday Inn. After getting all the rooms settled, it ended up being 11:30 pm, so the group decided to meet in my room (which included Diana and Emily Liu) at midnight and hang out. All of us in our pajamas, we got into one room and basically socialized. We had a fascinating conversation with a “Mr. Peter” *ahem* <——- but I can say anymore, because what happens at YS, STAYS in YS. Let me just tell you though, I AM a believer! So after that, the many phone calls, and Max/Emily Yu doing the dirty (o.o), we decided it was time to end the party and sleep. Especially since we had to wake up at 5 AM and I had to make the wake-up calls. However, along with other distractions, there was this couple fighting, so Diana and I didn’t really sleep until 4 something >.< (Emily Liu was in Gurpreet/Arya/Gary/Brandon’s room watching Harold & Kumar).

At 5:40 AM, I get a “wake-up” call from Sahil (revenge for making him believe I was an actual employee last year). So I called the other kids and started getting dressed. We needed to wear formal black/white attire for the Flag Ceremony. The three of us (E.L, D. and me), go down for breakfast where I’m greeted by Arya as “Power Nazi” – grrrrrrrr. After eating, we headed off to the ceremony. Now the Flag Ceremony is basically when all the Leos bring up each flag that’s part of the Lions International community to a stage. After doing that, we left, while the Lions had their little gathering. We got back to the hotel where we had our “Team-Building Activity”, where we split into groups with other Leos, and worked together to make a model that stood up by itself (out of note cards and tape). So we met different Leos from different parts of California, but even with the great Kevin Ferris, our model ended up falling at the end. Ah well.

We quickly changed out of our formal attire into jeans and our YS shirt and met up again to meet the International President and his wife. I absolutely adore his wife and they both made a nice presentation. Tim received this REALLY cool signed banner which will be hung up in Mrs. Karasawa’s room. We then listed to a motivational speech given by the YS coordinator’s husband, which was quite inspirational. After that we were off to the Luncheon with the International President. But before that, Mrs. Tanaka (the cutest and GREATEST second mom in the world) gave us all little Valentine’s Day monkeys, one which we presented to the International President’s wife. The luncheon was okay, since we waited forever to be served as we were the Leos. For the vegetarian meal, I got this sandwich thing with all this squishy, black/green “supposed” vegetables. Lol, I had to ask Sachil if this thing before me was alive and have him test it before I ate it. It was . . . sufficient for my appetite, let’s just say XD. Then the dessert, some kind of cake, was given out. The cake was alright, really sweet though, so you had to eat it in moderate amounts. Now while I was eating this cake, the International President started giving out awards and then the Leo of the Year for California was being called out. I had already been notified that I was one of three finalists for this award, but being the practical person I was, I wasn’t betting that I was going to win – even if everyone else thought so. So he first called out the finalists. But he only called out the other 2 finalists’ names and that was it.

I automatically thought that I was out of the running and continued to eat my cake. However, the two tables filled with my DBHS Leos were suddenly enraged. Tim was seriously mouthing WTH over and over again and everyone else kept looking at me. Then the president says “And the Leo of the Year is . . . wait, is there an Amanda Singarahah  here?” Amanda. I kid you not. -.- So I starting walking up there and our two tables just shook as everyone jumped up screaming and yelling. I walked up and received this trophy that was modeled after an Academy Award . Thankfully my name was printed correctly on the trophy itself. I walked down and was first given a HUGE hug from Mrs. Tanaka. Then walking back to our tables, I was bombarded by hugs from all my Leos. I think THAT was the best thing, all those hugs from everyone, knowing that I was truly cherished.

After the awards ceremony, all the Leos left as the Lions stayed for the luncheon. Immediately when we got outside, everyone began to yell and scream again and pictures were taken. Really, that moment is and will always be indescribable. I <3 you guys SO MUCH.

Once we got back to the hotel, it was time for our community service project. Because it was Valentine’s Day, we made cards for Senior Citizens and got to go to Hope Manor to give the elderly our cards. HOWEVER, this retirement home that was supposed to be 10 minutes away ENDED up taking like 30 minutes because we couldn’t find it. And what’s funnier? We went to the local policemen to ask them where it was and they were like “I had no idea we had a retirement home!” -.- Haha, but the home itself. It was one of those things where you had to be there. The elderly’s faces automatically lit up as we personally gave them a card. One woman read my card thoroughly, looked at me and said the card made her day, and then gave me a hug. So many happy feelings (: Ahaha, and then my dear sensitive son, Tim, brought smiles to one woman’s face by singing Spanish Justos Lamos songs to her.

Now I’m not sure when, but during one of the times when went up to the rooms in our hotel, we ALL piled into one elevator. BIG mistake. The elevator became all possessed and stopped at a different floor, where poor Sachil was like SUCKED OUT. The doors quickly shut and the same thing happened at each floor. When it stopped at our floor, we had to jump out because the elevator wasn’t leveled with the ground. My god, that image of Sachil’s hand reaching out to us before he was sucked out will always remain in my head. Luckily he was fine and we all survived the possessed elevator.

So once we got back to the hotel, we were pretty wiped out. It was only 4 PM, but especially since we had not slept the night before, we all wanted to nap quickly before our Leo Social dinner. However, the coordinator insisted that we have a vote whether we could just chill or do another activity, and this vote could not take place until ALL the Leos were there. So yes, we wasted an hour just waiting until everyone was there. During that hour, most of the DBHS Leos were dead – poor Gary had passed out on the floor. But when the vote was taken – and duh, it was to chillax, we went up to our rooms. Supposedly the All-Star game was on, so everyone else was watching that, while I, with the help of Gary, Jessica, and Arya, tried to find a movie theater in Fresno where we could watch a movie after the social and where we can easily walk to. The closest one was 3 miles away -.- So at the end, Mr. Bell agreed to take us there and back.

But before that, there was the Leo Social. Now the coordinator had proposed that each Leo Club do a skit. Being the involved individuals we were, the DBHS Leos decided to make a skit. Lol, but being from DBHS, we also procrastinated, so 15 minutes before the social/dinner, we were making it up. Emily Yu, thank god, had already formed an idea, so she basically dictated us. Half of us were on the floor representing the lazy people who didn’t want to volunteer. Then the other half danced around to “Thriller” trying to convince them to join Leo Club. Then all of us got up and sang the “YMCA” song but instead, gave it a Leo twist with L-E-O-S! So after our sole skit, we sat down and ate our Italian dinner. Sachil couldn’t join us, because remember those cakes that you had to eat in moderation? Yeah, he ate THREE pieces, and therefore was up in his room sick. However, our conversation during dinner was VERY . . erm . . . INTERESTING. The details discussed cannot be disclosed, but I’ll let you know that I will never think of corn the same way again. o.O

After dinner, there were some powerpoint presentations and awards. Then the three Leo of the Year nominees got to pick raffle tickets. Now being the smart kids we were, the DBHS Leos had gotten a hold of A LOT of raffle tickets and filled them out. So the first girl picked out Mabel’s ticket. Then the second girl picked out a “DBHS Leo Club”  ticket (Gurpreet’s). So that’s $150 and $300 respectively. Then it was my turn to pick out the $500 winner. But of course, life has to have some downs to have some ups, so I ended up picking another club’s ticket. But it was ok, because we got SOME MONEY and man were we happy (: After that, everyone sort of dispersed, so we went up to our rooms to change for the movies.

However, we needed to create Gurpreet’s and Arya’s “vision” of “Money Rain”. So basically we took the hundred or so parts of the raffle tickets we kept and started throwing them around in the elevator like money to the song “Make It Rain”. We stopped whenever the elevator would open and everyone outside would just stare. At one point, someone was like “Do you want to come in”, haha, but everyone just thought we were insane. After reaching out floor, we picked everything up and ran to our rooms to change.

Now because 16 people out of 20 decided to go, we wanted to use only one van, since the van was a 15-seater and just squeeze. However, that meant most of us screwed the “seatbelt rule”. We went to the movie theater and bought our tickets for “He’s Just Not That Into You”. Now let me tell you, I am a hopeless romantic and all but even I fell asleep during the movie. That was the first movie in a theater I had ever slept through. But god, there was NO plot! I fell asleep and woke up and it was practically the same thing. Haha, most of the other kids fell asleep too, and the lucky children, Diana and Tim, left the movie all together while I was asleep. However, a few kids liked it, so I guess it was worth it. But afterwards, while bashing the movie, we unanimously decided to go on a caffeine run. Now Mr. Bell is NOT the world’s greatest driver and he had already gotten into two minor MINOR accidents during our stay. One of them was backing up into a pillar which left this dent. So we’re coming up to a red light and Tim/Gary start yelling to Mr. Bell that there’s a red light. But he doesn’t listen until the end and he basically slams the brakes which such force that little 90-pound Mabel flies forward. I quickly screamed, because after all, I am the “Mom” and after that we just all wanted to go back to the hotel. However, when we got there, the Tanakas were there and NOT happy. They wanted us to take both vans because everyone should have had a seatbelt. And after that little incident, I completely understood. They also got complaints from other Leos who said we just “took off” instead of staying for the “dance” that began at 9:30 PM. But honestly, none of us knew there would be a dance, and we, being the kind kids we were, had tried to socialize with the other Leos already. However, the Tanakas had a right to be concerned and I love them for that.

So then we went back to our rooms to shower and change. Tim and me later on went downstairs to try to find the Tanakas and on our way back up, this drunk man came into the elevator. He was holding like this hot plate cover and told us that there was only ice on the 7th floor. Then he started making statements about how he loved ice and began to spin the hot cover on this pen. So there was water splattering all over and it dawned on me that Tim and I had to get out of there ASAP. Thankfully our floor was just one up from when he stepped in, so as soon as our elevator doors opened, I just walked right out of there, making sure Tim followed. I swear, the crazies in our hotel were just o.O. In one room, there was someone smoking marijuana. And in another room we heard some erm . . huffing and puffing. You can be the judge of what that sounds like.

After that, we decided to watch Wall-E in my room because Freddie and Tim insisted that it is a sin that I haven’t watched Wall-E yet. So we’re watching it and people start leaving and coming in. The beginning was pretty good, but I was honestly getting really tired, and because I was already in my bed, I guess I just knocked out. Now Emily Liu and Diana had knocked out as well. And Gary . . well he fell asleep on my foot apparently. Sachil and Tim, being the sweethearts they are, put everything into place and closed the door, without waking us up. They even let Gary sleep because they figured he would wake up and go back to his room. But when I woke up at 4:44 AM, I felt something heavy on my foot and I look down and there was Gary. And he looked so peaceful sleeping! Haha, then Diana wakes up and we start talking about how all of us knocked out and poor Gary gets up and goes to his room. BUT, his room’s locked too! So finally I was like, Gary dear, just sleep here. So we all went back to sleep and when I woke up again at 7 and made my wake-up calls, we just all got ready while he slept. Haha, it was quite chill.

Speaking of wake-up calls, I call Katherine’s room, and she picks up, AND INSTEAD of responding to me, she kind of just makes this noise and places the phone to the side. So I hang up and call again and I keep getting a “this phone is in use at the moment”. Grrrrrr . . . so I had to walk to their room and knock MANY times before they finally woke up. Haha, still love you Katherine.

After everything was packed and ready, we headed down. Before we officially left, Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka had a talk with us. Mrs. Tanaka suddenly started crying telling us how much she cared about us. I swear, I was near tears as well and really, I just can’t believe how blessed I am to have her and Mr. Tanaka.

When we loaded up the vans, we had a few switches here and there. I realized that the other van, Mr. Bell’s, blasted Chinese music the way up, so Ferris and Brittany wanted out. Haha, so after those changes, we headed out. We finally stopped around Bakersfield to get some food because we didn’t have breakfast. However, the wait at Denny’s was so long, so Arya came up with a brilliant (yes, no sarcasm this time!) idea that we eat something small at Jack in the Box and then have lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles. He had insisted that this place was THE place to eat since we left on Friday, so we decided to give it a try. As we drove towards Pasadena, I looked through all the pictures people took (and deleted the horrible ones . . . hehe) and I felt tears well up in my eyes because in reality, there probably wouldn’t be a Youth Symposium 2010 for me. And because the world is cruel, the ride back was much shorter because we didn’t have to take the scenic route. Roscoe’s was CROWDED, but because the wait was short, we decided to chill.

AND THEN I got to meet Bertha! Sachil’s 6-month food baby! Haha, so Bertha/Sachil, Freddie, Diana, Mabel, and I took the first seating and let me tell you, the waffles were DELICIOUS. The chicken was alright, but it was the WAFFLES that made it all worth it. Haha, Freddie practically made love to his waffles and Sachil scarfed down the waffles in 6 minutes so that both he and Bertha were satisfied. Even Mabel became ferocious (:

Speaking of Mabel, I think I corrupted her! That’s right, MOI! At the beginning of the trip she was so quiet and shy, but by the end, she was talking about robbing banks and shooting herself if she had a food baby like Sachil. I couldn’t be prouder!

As we grudgingly walked back to the vans, I had all these ideas of sabotaging them so that we could prolong our trip. That, or just have Mr. Bell drive XD. And then in a blink of an eye, we were back at Ralph’s, where it all began. We slowly unloaded, took one last picture together, and departed.

Honestly, this weekend, “Valentine’s Day weekend”, was the best. I spent it with all of my ‘valentines’ and I wouldn’t think of any other way to spend it. I love ALL of you kids! (: Haha, yes, even the Leo cat and lion. So thank you, Tim, Freddie, Max, Sachil, Emily Liu, Diana, Katherine, Cathy, Jessica, Emily Yu, Ayesha, Mabel, Brittany, Kevin, Sahil, Gurpreet, Arya, Brandon, and Gary. You guys made this weekend a memorable one and these memories wouldn’t have occurred without you.

<3 A.

Common Cold

Hello kids,

Have you ever woken up with a tickle in your throat? Or a head so heavy that you feel like you can’t lift it off your pillow? Well my friends, if so, then you have been hit with the common cold. And you know what’s the worse part? The nasal congestion? The watery eyes? No, it’s the horrible sore throat that causes you to change from an independent young adult to a whimpering child in seconds. So when all these symptoms suddenly bombard you early Sunday morning at 1 AM, the most one can do is just lie there and think about the events that have just passed.

When you think about it, the common cold somewhat correlates to the negative events in one’s life. You try to relieve yourself of everything by blowing your nose on a tissue, and for a mere few seconds, you do suddenly feel better. But as quickly as it went away, your head becomes cloudy once more and that aching feeling spreads around your body. This past week has been, in simple terms, hell for me. Yes, I know it was finals week so of course, everyone else thought it was hell too. But there were so many other factors, that by Saturday morning I had felt as if I had climbed up a steep mountain with a boulder tied to my back. Actually, I don’t even know if I reached the top of the mountain . . . I may just be at the bottom still, struggling to make some kind of progress forward.

That’s been one of my life problems. I take one step forward, and then because of my stupidity, I am forced to take three steps back. For example, after we got out of school for Winter Break, all those worries I had completely went away. I had such a wonderful Winter Break, helping the community, getting enough sleep, staying on top of my homework. And then 2009 came in, which was celebrated in such a right fashion with my wonderful family – my Leo family. The Rose Parade itself made me feel like everything this year was going to go right, as I waved at people and brought smiles to their faces for acknowledging them. And then school kicks in again.

And when I say “kicks”, I literally mean that school completely kicked me off my optimistic, happy cloud and caused me to hit hard, dirty reality. I’ve always had to rely on that extra credit, or an easy final, to maintain my grades, because with color guard, I really couldn’t focus on school 100%. But usually, I was able to come out in the end successful, content that another semester had been executed in the right fashion. However, this semester was truly my hardest semester. I don’t know why . . . everyone says that Junior year is the hell, but honestly, I would take Junior year all over again then have to have taken this past semester once more. I thought that I would be able to pull it off, at least for one more semester, but I couldn’t. Even those classes that I thought I didn’t have to think about twice failed me at the end. And that was why I was near tears Thursday during lunch.

Most of the times, I can hide my emotions with a mask. I offer my assistance to anyone and allow myself to become an outlet for him or her because I know how it feels to keep something built up inside. However, when it comes to me, I feel that in order to be a “rock” for others, I have to maintain a pleasant composure the entire time, or else, that rock will crumble, and all those who find me as a support will feel as if I have failed them. I hate disappointing people, which is why I never like to burden someone with everything that’s on my mind.

And that is why my head remains clouded constantly and it is so easy for me to “drift off into space”. I can take one factor and start over-analyzing it, wondering what I “should have, could have, would have”.

Alright, so we got school down, which covers IB, now the other two major activities in my life: Leo Club and Color Guard, which happen to connect with one another quite well this time. Leo Club and Color Guard. Color Guard and Leo Club. Two things I couldn’t live without, no matter how much I sometimes am annoyed with them with a passion. However, having been Leo President last year and Color Guard Captain this year, I have tried to please both sides without ever having them conflict with one another. Now let me tell you something kids, nothing ever goes the way you plan it. Or at least for me. First major conflict of the year? The All Club Food Fair. I don’t want to go into depth about that, but let me tell you, it’s one of those events that I will never forgive myself for. So now arises another conflict. Since last year, I knew I would be going to Youth Sympoisum 2009 on Valentine’s Day weekend. After having such a wonderful experience the year before, I was completely ready to make memories this year. Then I find out that there is a possibility we, as a Color Guard, might have a competition on February 14th. Since October, I have checked WGASC (the official Color Guard site) 3-4 times a day, praying that this show wouldn’t be confirmed. But because of the situation we were in, where Mr. A wasn’t doing anything about our financial needs and because of Mr. A, our instructor, Michael, couldn’t do anything, the DBHS Color Guard wasn’t signed up for ANY shows. It’s like being on a basketball team and knowing that you still aren’t signed up for any games with any other teams AFTER the season has started.

So now I’m in a predicament, where I don’t know whether we have a show that day, and the money/forms for Youth Symposium are due. I message my instructor, talk to Mr. A, talk to some girls in the guard, and ultimately I decide to choose the Youth Symposium. Then, on Friday I find out that our first show, my first show of my LAST season of Color Guard, is on February 14th. I have no idea what to do. On one hand, I love my Leo family, and this year, I’ve been nominated for an award – so the Youth Symposium should be priority, especially since I’ve already went through all the practicalities. On the other hand, Color Guard has been my life for SEVEN years and this is my first show as captain. What would everyone think if their captain wasn’t at the first show? I honestly don’t know what to do and I feel as if I am being forced to choose between two of my children.

Now my social life outside of school. In less than 90 days of school, I will be graduating from DBHS and whether I do decide to go to a school in the opposite side of the United States or in California, most of the relationships formed in high school will slowly begin to fade away. My best friends, who I love so dearly, will start their lives and go off in opposite directions. So second semester of Senior year means making the most of these friendships and forming lasting memories. But how can that happen when with my full schedule, I have a family who constantly must suffocate me and keep me within boundaries. My parents don’t understand how much friends means to me, and therefore are relunctant to allow me my freedom. I spent the last three years within boundaries and I regret that so much because this year, I finally realized how much I missed out when it comes to my friends. My parents have constantly nagged me to focus on academics. But you know what? I basically sacrificed myself by entering IB and for what? Nothing. There are people who are ranked #1 in our huge 2009 class and they were able to enjoy their ENTIRE  four years of high school with their friends while taking a few challenging courses. So you know what, I’m following Freddie’s advice. Screw all these plans for the future and just live for the present. I am NOT going to leave high school with the feeling that I didn’t achieve as much as I could have.

So as second semester of Senior year comes in, I am definitely going to take it by storm. No more holding back, afraid of what other people might think or say. No more fear of rejection. I WILL accomplish something worthwhile.

So now I am having tea with a dash of lemon to help my “common cold”. You know how the heat of tea just rushes throughout your body, warming everything from the tips of your fingers all the way down to your toes? It is as if the warmth causes the fog in one’s mind to clear up and disappear. That’s what I feel every time I write in this blog. It’s a place where I can let everything out without having to worry and the jumbled mess in my head can be laid out in a practical manner. So of course I am going to write often and write a lot. A few people have told me that my blogs require too much focus and that will cause people to not read them as much. But you know what? This blog is for me . . . I’m not trying to please anyone else. If you want to read this, go ahead, and thank you, if you know that something’s been up with me and just want to know what’s going on. However, no one’s forcing you to read this, so don’t bother if it’s “too much to handle”. Maybe that’s why I’ve never bothered to tell you all of this in person. Just a thought.

For those of you who really do care though, I love you so much. Being able to say “I love you” is hard for me, but when I do say it, I mean it. Just know that whenever you need someone to talk to, I am ALWAYS here.

<3 A.