Bye, 2017!

As I sit here today reflecting on this past year, it was a period of personal growth and finding myself again. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Hong Kong earlier this year and had the opportunity to visit Taiwan, Singapore, Beijing, and Japan. I came back more “culturally aware” (what everyone thinks after they’ve been abroad for some time) and came back with an angst to travel to see the world. Soon later, I came back stateside and started a summer internship at a marketing communications agency in Washington D.C. With the final few months, I’ve kept myself busy in school while balancing an internship on the side. This might seem like I have everything together, but I was struggling to keep it all together internally.

I was incredibly self-conscious and lacked confidence while I was abroad. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate – but what people think about me scares the shit out of me. I let other people’s comments get to me which added to my anxiety. Then coming back to the United States and learning that the people I’ve called my closest friends for six years have completely turned their backs against me, I broke down.

“I’ve ruined myself for a lot of people who aren’t even worth it.” – The Katy Project

Since that has happened, I decided to put myself first before anyone else. I needed to make sure I was okay before I could take care of the people around me. I needed to learn that it was okay to lose the people that were once in my life, especially if they weren’t good for me. It’s okay. Everything will be okay.

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This year, I learned I can take on more than I thought, but I also need to put time aside for my own mental health. I loved keeping myself busy while learning and contributing to great work at an agency. I’m glad that 2017 is coming to an end, and I can’t wait to see where and what 2018 will take me to. In a couple of weeks, I will be starting my final semester of undergraduate studies. I am nervous about the unpredictable future, but I am hopeful for what is to come.

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New Year’s Resolution: Read and Learn More. Do what makes me HAPPY!

Reflection: Semester Abroad

It’s been over a week since I’ve been back to New York from my semester in Hong Kong. I wish I could’ve been there longer, but all good things must come to an end. I wouldn’t exactly say that this was a life-changing experience, but it was one where I learned a lot about myself and discovered what I want to do in the future.

I was feeling somewhat lost at the beginning of this academic year. I was feeling uninspired by my usual surroundings and needed a change of pace from my routine. I always believed that in order to grow, one must always leave their comfort zone and seek for greater heights to achieve. That’s one of the many reasons why I chose to go abroad. However, being abroad wasn’t all fun and games. It was challenging but I was able to learn and grow from this experience.

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So It Begins…

Here I am sitting on a plane en route to China. My stomach all cramped up from the butterflies that filled my stomach. The thoughts about missing everything that is going on back home scares me even more (#fomo). Besides me, my mother is excited for the next few weeks she will be back in the country she called home till her teenage years.  Seven years ago, l’ve visited China, but my thirteen year old self hated it because I would much rather be home than to be surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes and smoke everywhere I go. However, I came back from the trip as a different person. To see the small town and village that my parents grew up in made me realize how fortunate I am to grow up in a country where there are many opportunities to succeed. A lot of things have changed in seven years, including the economic state of China. They’ve grown exponentially and continues to grow. Now seven years later, I am now back in China for a semester to study abroad. Never have I thought that I would be studying abroad in Hong Kong. It’s not the usual European study abroad experience, but it will be just as exciting. There’s so much to see and so much more to learn about this side of the world. I am going to miss my friends back home in New York and The District. I am nervous for what is to come, but I am excited for this new experience in a city like Hong Kong.

Day 1: January 4, 2017

It was still dark out, and I was up and out of the hotel room we were staying in for the past week to catch our bus to Hong Kong. My mom and I was visiting her home town, a small town in the providence of Guangzhou in China, before we made our way to Hong Kong. We took the 7 a.m bus from there and arrived at the Shenzhen Bay Port at approximately 10:00 a.m. There was hundreds of people going through the port, so definitely be careful and conscious of your personal belongings (especially phones and identifications). (Note: It is required that you go through customs whether you are going from and to Hong Kong to China even though Hong Kong is now a part of China.) It took about 40 minutes to go through both the Chinese and Hong Kong customs. Once we got through the boarders, we were on Hong Kong land. There was about another hour drive before we get to Kowloon, Hong Kong (main district of Hong Kong). The bus was stationed at Prince Edward (太子) Street, which was right across from Metropark Hotel Mong Kok, the hotel my mom was staying in (they have two other locations: Kowloon and Causeaway Bay). It’s a pretty affordable hotel in comparison, to others options around the neighborhood because the real estate in Hong Kong is really expensive.

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