Thursday, June 22, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 171]:~ Together

~:[CH6 - Day 171]:~ Together
I was on my way to grab breakfast when I saw that they had already arrived. I quickly grabbed a croissant and grabbed my things. It seemed as just as quickly as I did that, the day was sadly over. We enjoyed a day all together at the Chiang Mai Zoo. I was pretty impressed by the size of the zoo and it provided a fairly nice habitat area for many of the animals. The cutest of them all was the tiny baby monkey who grabbed on to its mother as she carried it around from place to place in the pen. We played in the snow dome, where you could go down a slide in a tube and play in a below freezing environment. There were many great moments today, including seeing the panda eat right in front of us, reminding me of the classic couch potato, eating as he watched TV, but nothing was more valuable that simply spending time with everyone, especially Ami. It was truly a blessing to have two days to spend with her and the staff and while there are still quite a few days left on this trip, I don't think that this trip can get any better than this moment. For the most part, this trip was planned to see people and meet people and this was planed out to be the highlight of this very trip. As we moved from the zoo to lunch to shopping, our time was slowly running out. As we said our goodbyes, she asked if I could come back again and my hope is, that after this experience, I will be able to once more. As we talked, I think about how Ami has grown so much over the years and how much it has changed my view on things. How it has made me see and how it has made me grow. I am so grateful for the decision I made nine long years ago and that I decided to stay with it, because these experiences are truly priceless and anything I invested into this, has grown into something that absolutely no one could put a value on. I was sad to see them head off on their way and I only hope that the blessings of God will continue to fall on her, her family and all the staff that work with her. It was finally time for me to catch up on some sleep and because of that, I missed out on dinner, but maybe it was because I was already full of such love, joy and happiness from one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 170]:~ As the City Passes By

~:[CH6 - Day 170]:~ As the City Passes By
I finished the evening biking through the city with a friend and eating overlooking the city. As we rode, the city raced by as we enjoyed the views of the city, surprisingly, alive. The system in the streets seemed to work as even in the narrowest of streets, bicycles, motorbikes, and cars seemed to work in harmony. In the morning, I saw the same city passing by as I left. I ventured out a few hours from town to visit Ami, my sponsor child and her family. As always, I was greeting by the staff of Compassion, but also was blessed to meet with the pastor and another volunteer who had stopped by from Malaysia. We learned more about each other before walking over to visit the family. I was overcome with excitement as the mother walked out to greet us. It's been interesting to see them grow over the course of the past few years. It seems like yesterday that I visited them in their old house. Now they built a new home that is much sturdier than the last and even a number of chickens, pigs and a few "luxuries" that they did not have before. I was happy to see them living better. As we ate and the children played, I kind of sat back and watched everything in action. From siblings playing around the house to each of them taking their turn to help out, I was impressed as I could see that love played a big role in their lives. I was so blessed as the family pour so much of themselves in preparing us this meal, ensuring that we were well fed. In fact, it was way too much food. The mother ensured that I ate enough and went so far as to place the best pieces on my plate. I didn't say too much, but was so happy just sitting there and observing all that was going on. Sadly, the time to say goodbye came too quickly. As I gave out some of the gifts, I was once again overwhelmed by the fact that they had went out to also get me gifts that they put some thought into, as they always given so much to me, despite their situation. We headed on our way, as I said goodbye to the family and project staff who I would not see tomorrow. However, as I watched the countryside change back to the city, I knew that I took a piece of them all back with me in my heart. I saw how appreciative I should be of what I have, but also how giving generously to those around you can impact their lives immensely, but also yours even more so. I closed our last moments together with a prayer and while there were a few requests that we hope will stay answered, as I watched the city passed by, I knew that part of my requests were already coming true. As while this city will soon become another for me, I hope that God will continue to watch over this family and bless them with all the wonderful things that this family deserves.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 169]:~ Appreciation

~:[CH6 - Day 169]:~ Appreciation 
Sometimes they say, you never know what you have until it's gone. In the absence of things we figure to be everyday, we begin to realize its importance. Being without the ability to take a full shower or sleep in a bed made or anything horizontal for that matter was that thing. It may have only been about 48 full hours since it was the case, but it was a struggle and made me appreciate the bed. From heading to and from the airport to seeing the sites of Tokyo and Hong Kong, it was a fun adventure, but an adventure I was glad to see pause. The shower felt amazing, laying down felt amazing, and even opening up my luggage was amazing. Weird, right? Not really. Because in the absence of all those things we take for granted, eating, breathing, and loving, we begin to grow an appreciation for what we have. That's excluding the luxuries of a roof over our heads, transportation and more. I think we are all at some point caught in the process of asking why something isn't the way we want it, rather than simply appreciating that we have it. No, that's not all of us and not all the time, but I'm sure we can all think of a time where we did just that. Where we didn't give as much respect to the people we love because it was not convenient, when the traffic was bad when heading to work or an event or when the food takes too long to come out or something is wrong with it. As I prepare for tomorrow's meeting with my sponsor child, I reflect on all the times I did just that as I realize that many of those things I fail to appreciate, are things that I should be appreciating. All the "struggles" we have, are nothing to others who may face the daily question of, "am I going to eat today?" While the situation for my sponsor child and her family has improved, I am still curious as to how different it will be since I last visited her village three years ago. I am excited to see her family and the project staff. I am hoping that they will appreciate my effort in helping them battle the mosquitos which cause issues for them, as the staff wrote in their last letter. Regardless of how exhausted I am, how long I am delayed and how inconvenient something is, I'll have to make an effort to not complain and to appreciate the fact that I have the opportunity to experience it. It feels like I've been just survived an adventure you see on TV, as my legs ache, my stomach adapts and I appreciate the simplest of pleasures, but sometimes our happiness and ability to appreciate truly begins there. Take a second today or tomorrow or as many day as you can moving forward to appreciate something simple, as others may not be so lucky to have the opportunity to appreciate what you may think of as everyday.

Monday, June 19, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 168]:~ Among a Stormy Sky

~:[CH6 - Day 168]:~ Among a Stormy Sky
It's been another day and another country and I still have yet to find my way to a home. I am a nomad. On every document I've filled out so far, I've written transit. I guess this could be a cheap way to travel, but it definitely is not the best way. Regardless, I think I have enjoyed the fact that I have been able to do things and see things I wouldn't have been able to without these layovers. So is it worth it? Of course. Today I felt pretty gross, however, as the lack of a shower weight heavy on my mind. I ended up getting cleaned up three times in the bathroom using wet wipes and other toiletries, but I can sense my hair will be ready for the shower. I do feel a little bad for whoever sits next to me, especially considering that my clothes got soggy from the rain and the humidity made me sweat a bit. It definitely has made for some interesting times. As I wandered through the city, I found myself venturing all around from Kowloon to Central, all on a layover. It felt like I was visiting the city, the only difference was, I was going back to the airport soon enough. After grabbing lunch with my friend, I said my goodbyes and headed on my way. My flight was delayed, but that only meant I had time to relax a bit before heading off to my first hotel stop. I can't wait to shower, but despite the stormy sky I saw most of the day, I think there was a lot of good that came out of this and all that I have been able to do in such a span of time was well worth the struggle I am facing at this moment. We often find that in the worst of times, we can shed a light on what is good and when we do just that, we find that we can make any situation into one that is tolerable, if not a good one. Keep it positive today, tomorrow and every day going forward, even if the sky is a little stormy. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 167]:~ The Unthinkable

~:[CH6 - Day 167]:~ The Unthinkable
I had an early father's day celebration because I was headed on this trek which begins with an unthinkable sequences of flights. I am not sure if I can survive these next few days, but I guess I'll know soon enough. The first leg of the trip brought me to Tokyo. Luckily, it was a direct flight and I ended up getting a lot of sleep on the plane. I ventured through the Ginza area after storing my luggage and encountered a number of Captain Jacks at Haneda, promoting the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I guess? Regardless, I ventured through rush hour and ended up at Ginza Tekuni Tempura for a quick meet up dinner before wandering through the Ginza. I didn't want to shop too much considering I didn't have space to put anything yet, so I headed up to the Sky Tree to enjoy the view. I didn't have enough time to go up, but it's always nice to be in the area to enjoy the view. While there, I got a message that my flight was leaving earlier than scheduled, so I rushed back to the airport, as I was in Tokyo for an 11 hour layover. Sadly, I found out, my flight was delayed back to its original time and my second connecting flight is delayed another two hours, which makes my next layover 14 hours. Yes, I have two long layovers back-to-back. I washed up a bit, changed and ate some tsukemen to relax. I feel a bit gross and am a bit tired, but this is part of the process of testing yourself. I told my class that there will be challenges that come your way and you have to be willing to take them on. When I had planned out this initial itinerary so I can see a few of my friends, I knew it was ambitious, but also knew that I could do it. Sure, I wouldn't encourage a soul alive to try it, but for me personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. Similarly, I hope that you all set up challenges for yourself that you find might be a challenge and take it on, even if you think it might not workout in the end. It will test you, help you learn, and will leave you knowing where you stand. Tomorrow will be another long day, but 24 hours into my trip, I have no doubt that I made the right decision when planning this all out. Unthinkable, maybe, but it doesn't mean it can't be done.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 166]:~ Getting Back Up

~:[CH6 - Day 166]:~ Getting Back Up
Boom! My drone crashed. It was a minor one, but it was left a little scratched up. In the end, nothing broken and everything worked as normal. That's life. Sometimes, we have a little bit of an issue here and there, but in life, we need to fight our way through and find a way to get back  up. Find a way to show the world that you can handle all of this. It's never easy, but you can do it. As I talked at the TC, I saw how that story is ever present in the lives of so many. The struggle of life can sometimes be too real and to overbearing, however, we must stay strong and keep the right mindset - you can do this! The reality of life is that there is more to celebrate than to mourn, to cry over, or to be upset about. The problem is that we're just not looking to celebrate. Today, I found progress, I found cleanliness (at least half), I found friendship, I find organization and planning, I found enjoyment, I found perseverance and of course, I found reasons to celebrate. As I fulfilled my appetite over Sake 2 Me, I congratulations our record holding varsity squads in the 4x16 and DMR, before heading over to celebrate my cousin's bridal shower. Yes, there were some struggles today, but there was much to be thankful for, to be grateful for and to celebrate. Don't ever forget that. While the world may sometimes be a dark place, with the right mindset, the light can radiate all around you, sometimes, you just need to seek out the light. As when you fall, it may be tougher to see, but if you have the will to get yourself back up, your eyes will open to a new world of possibilities. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 165]:~ Tastes So Sweet

~:[CH6 - Day 165]:~ Tastes So Sweet
There was something about this day that felt so good. From finally getting a decent night's sleep to getting my room cleaned, pictures uploaded, met my friends baby, my car fixed, a nap in, spent time with a friend, and even cooking a good meal to celebrate my dad's birthday and father's day early. Sure, I didn't clean my house as much as I wanted to, but in the end, I was happy and something about today tasted so sweet. Those are the moments you cherish. There's nothing crazy or extraordinary about the day, but it's the simple pleasures that often give you the best feeling. I guess that's life. We're so into what moments are able to be Instagrammed that often we forget to celebrate those moments where the imagine is only captured in our hearts. There was something grand about today and I won't be specific on exactly what it was, but that is what makes the day even sweeter. I have a boatload more to do before I head off to Asia, but for now, I'll enjoy the sweetness of the day!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 164]:~ The Many Talents of the Dons

~:[CH6 - Day 164]:~ The Many Talents of the Dons
I was talking to an alumni before graduation today about the direction of the film that I am working on for the 50th anniversary celebration. In a few weeks, I will be beginning the quest and from there, there is no looking back since I don't like to leave too much unfinished business. What I was questionable about before the graduation, I was sure of after. Cerritos is a land of a very talented and diverse group of people, where things are not perfect, yet they work. Alumni who leave Cerritos these days, find themselves in a situation where they appreciate their differences and learn to grow from what they learn. Our principal addressed the many faces of our students from the academics to activities to the arts to athletics. Our students have found success in a wide-range of fields and the more I come across new alumni, I realize it more and more. Tonight we celebrated a class that has shown me a lot about that diversity from the athlete that soared to the singer who melted hearts to the writers who expressed themselves to those bound to the top academic institutions in our country. We have programmers, debaters, researchers, artists, inventors, and a large group of go-getters. In the next few years, I will meet entertainers, writers, professionals, technicians, coaches, teachers, high school sweethearts, editors, and more, but I think that despite their differences, I will find that despite the fact that the phrase has grown over the past few years, that the Cerritos Way is something that was  implanted in us all long before the phrase even was born. I will discover what I see in this senior class, students who aren't afraid to be individuals, while not forgetting that each individual is important. I hope that these seniors and all Dons, past and present, will live the Cerritos Way, striving for success, while not forgetting that goodness, acceptance, and love are just as important, if not more so, than a title, possessions or money. I am confident that this class of 2017 will continue to show the new world that they now enter, what they are made of and how those they meet along the way can change, so that they too can also learn the Cerritos Way. This week was a handful and I felt as if I wouldn't make it to the end, but I have no doubt that every day I am grateful to wake up and go work at a school as awesome as Cerritos, as it in, I see something greater than any ranking system can evaluate. We are home to a talented group of Dons, but more importantly, we are home to an amazing breed of human beings. To all Dons past and present, especially the class of 2017, let's show this world what being a Don is all about. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 163]:~ Multiplicity

~:[CH6 - Day 163]:~ Multiplicity
There was a movie in 1996 called Multiplicity. I don't remember much about it, but the idea that you can multiply yourself and get as much work done as possible, essentially being in two places at once, would be amazing. Of course, while the workload in all our lives can sometimes be overwhelming, the satisfaction of completion or simply going through the process is second to none. I ended up having to pass on almost everything today so I could get to work on my final video of the school year. I thought it would be a breeze but it ended up that with more, times more effort. It would have been great to have a clone to go to the events I was suppose to go to and to work on the video and other work I had to do, but in the end, you find that the memories that we build within our life, the skills that we develop, the grit that we gain, and the character that we find within ourselves comes through the struggle. Life can be fun and enjoyable, but without these moments of exhaustion, stress, and moments of almost getting to the point of quitting, life would not be as exciting. I am exhausted as I write this blog, but reflecting back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I will forever remember all of these moments, the struggles, the breakthroughs and learn from them, grow from them, and most of all, cherish them. Multiply myself? Maybe only on the big screen. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 162]:~ Work & Play

~:[CH6 - Day 162]:~ Work & Play
There are those who may argue that you cannot work and play. Well those people need to explore a bit more, because my job is an opportunity for play. As while seriousness is common in the workplace, you also need to learn to smile a bit and find the fun in what you do, otherwise, you'll simply hate what you do. Sure, there is a lot of work involved, but when you work hard, you play hard. Yesterday left me exhausted today as I was running on 45 minutes of sleep, however, I still found time to enjoy the moment and play around with this wonderful recording on set. Who knew I would stress myself out so much that my hair would turn completely white. Regardless, between cleaning and grading, boba, lunch, paperwork, parent meetings and video recording and editing, I found myself in my own little world. While others may be getting ready for bed, I'm sitting in my room recording a video to celebrate the fact that they raised over $500 for each period for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Total of $2400 for three freshman periods!). Thus, as exhausting as this is, it was worth all the energy spent to help those who are or have suffered from leukemia & lymphoma. While the work is almost done, it's definitely time to play.