As the third most populated city in China, Guangzhou is also the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland, according to Forbes. In Zhujiang New Town, there are underground shopping malls, vehicular tunnels and towering skyscrapers.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to post about my travels, but now that I’m back home, I finally have some time to get all my photos sorted out. I spent the last three weeks or so along the Southeastern coast of China, in Guangzhou and Xiamen, so the next few posts will be sharing my experiences there.Continue reading
She was of short stature and stout, with a head covered with curly white hair, but her presence and disposition were the most intimidating that the three-year-old me had yet met. Now, in the sixty-three years that she’d been alive before I was born, my grandmother had amassed — sometimes for the better, others for the worse — a myriad of exciting experiences and meaningful memories. Naturally, a woman with so much character and personality seemed to, at first, scare the young me. Looking back though, perhaps my grandma was the strongest female figure I had encountered at that point, and remains so, to this day.
Born in 1934, my grandmother grew up during World War II and lived through China’s Cultural Revolution — two of which were possibly some of the most trying times in modern Chinese history. During the war, she lost her grandparents and all of hr family’s possessions. Yet after the war, at the age of eleven, she managed to talk her way into continuing her education at school, even though her family could not afford to pay the fee of two carts of rice. When the government de-privatized all schools, she was able to excel in her education — becoming student body president of her school and a member of the city council student board while breaking gymnastics records in the gym. In every way, she embodied the feminist ideal: strong, proud and loud. One of the earliest lessons she had instilled in me was to use my voice: “You have a mouth, so use it to do what it’s supposed to do: speak.” And speak she did, through spoken and written words, about right and wrong, justice and injustice. She had, and still has, an incredibly clear moral compass — never do anyone wrong, always do what you believe is right, and never fail to lend a helping hand.
After graduating, she became a college professor, teaching the Chinese language. Imagine that — a female college professor in the 50s and 60s when even some US schools didn’t let women attend college. And that speaks volumes about her strength, her preservation and her dedication to what she believed in — herself and her goals. All the while, she was financially supporting her own parents and mother-in-law, along with her three children.
Once she retired, she returned to her first true love — art. She began teaching various art courses at the community center, eventually bringing that to the United States when she began visiting my family on a yearly basis after I was born. She taught four to five classes every weekend at the TAMU Chinese School, and it was through art that I formed my first clear memories of her. Each day, she would never fail to sit next to me as I was hunched over a sheet of paper, attempting to draw something of resemblance to a cat. She watched every stroke with pride, and every once in a while, would help steady my hand. From her, from the countless hours we spent indoors and outdoors drawing anything and everything in sight, I learned to draw fairly well. But it was during those times, where when we sometimes got tired and she would share stories about her life, that I learned what it meant to be a good person, and how to be the best one I could be.
Be proud. Be loud. Be strong. Be someone who, when your time has come, you won’t regret being.
Since I’ve left for college, I’ve started talking to her more and more over the phone. It would sometimes be over trivial things — boys & what happened over the week — or more serious things — schoolwork or my future. Although it’s been more than sixty years since she had walked this path herself, her stories hold immense value that transcends time and space, and her experiences deserve to be heard by all.
[中文版 ｜ Chinese Version］
In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share a little column I wrote about my father a few years ago, before I headed off for college. He’s an incredible guy, and I’m so thankful to have him as my father. On that note, shameless plug: last Friday, he came up to Austin for a live TV interview with CGTN (China Global Television Network), where he talked about China’s air pollution problem. It was his first live TV interview, and he was amazing! (He also spent the rest of the day re-listening to his interview so many times that I now have it memorized too, LMAO — it’s cute.) Anyways, if you’re interested, watch it at the end of this post!!! 🙂
A couple weeks ago, my blog hit 1000 followers, so I wanted to take some time to say thank you. It really is incredible to think that there are so many people from all over world who take the time to actually read about my thoughts, beliefs and adventures, and it means so much to know that.
Some of y’all already know the story behind how my blog first got started, but it essentially was first and foremost an assignment from my English III teachers, but in the three years since, it’s become so much more. I’ve always loved to write, though my writing career probably peaked and ended when I was seven. In 2015, I began publishing posts about my travels, recipes and food cravings, and my reactions to the current political situation as well as other issues. So I kept blogging, both for school and outside. My original blog name was Smiles and Kittens, but after I graduated high school, finally thought of a good blog name, and so in doing so, I realized that this blog has long since stopped being an assignment, but rather a joy.
Up next in our Explore Austin series is the Barton Creek Greenbelt, which is located in south-central Austin. The Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of beautiful, scenic trails for hiking, limestone bluffs for rock climbing & swimming. A creek, aptly named Barton Creek, passes through Barton Creek Greenbelt and some of the more scenic areas in Greater Austin.
This summer, I’m spending my time here in Austin to do some research, but of course, now there’s no longer any school/homework for me to worry about, I can actually go and explore Austin on the weekends! I’ll be starting my new Explore ATX series, which will hopefully highlight some of Austin’s gems that you, if you ever get the chance to come down here to Austin, can maybe check out later yourself! First up, Blue Cat Cafe.
Recently, Namitha from Teen Memoir nominated me for The Unique Blogger Award. Namitha’s blog is a wonderful blog dedicated to collaborations with other bloggers, because to put it in her own words, “collaboration doesn’t limit your voice, it brings a new perspective. It’s an epitome of how the world can be connected in spite of being miles away.” I’m excited to collaborate with her soon, but first I’ll answer some questions! 🙂
1. Do you read? Which was the latest book you read?
Yes, I definitely read! Back when I had time, I used to read a lot every day, but now I mostly just read during the summer. I’m currently reading The Poisonwood Bible, but the last book I read was And Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris (that was way back in January.)
2. Which is your favorite season and why?
My favorite season will have to be fall. First, I was born then; second, the weather & colors are beautiful; lastly, it’s just such a lively season.
3. What’s your passion?
Hmm…I’m passionate about quite a number of things. Politics, blogging, baking, journalism…those are just some of things I’m most passionate about!
Finally, I’d like to nominate every single one of y’all for The Unique Blogger Award. The reason why I love this blogging community so much is that every single person has a very unique voice and story to tell; therefore, everyone is a unique blogger! Without further ado, here are my questions:
1) What will never fail to bring a smile to your face? Why?
2) If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
3) What is one thing you wish you could do more often?
And that’s it! Hope to read all of y’all’s wonderful answers! 🙂
Second semester of college definitely ended on a better note than did last semester, but my credit card wasn’t as fortunate (after eating eat way more times than I should have, I also happened to lose it at the end of the semester…). Anyways, here’s to good grades and good food!Continue reading
A light pink mouth lifts upwards, a smiling pink mouth that laughs with joy as I try to mimic your motions. Your arms form a warm crib that I crawl into. You laugh again, and I do, too. I don’t know why, but I am happy.
At six, I am still happy. You and I probably look outlandish to visitors—two girls playing with dolls; two girls trying to cook; two girls having way too much fun window-shopping and trying on shirts in a tiny fitting room. But tomorrow morning, you will transform into a lady as you go to work. I think it’s magic. In your outfit, you do look sort of scary; an air of adulthood and authority surrounds you . I don’t worry, though, for tonight you will transform into a young girl, and I know you will play ‘animals’ again.
Now, I am as tall as you, but I would not turn down any opportunity to call you my idol, my ally and my companion. Thanks, Mom, for always loving and supporting this crazy child. And though I may act annoying by running around trying to hug you as you cook to avoid studying for a physics quiz, I am so happy to call you my mom. 🙂