These Four Walls

Standing mighty and tall
guardians of our thoughts
and keeper of our dreams
these walls know and see all.

Safe in their warm embrace,
protected from roaring winds,
bitter rains that threaten
to change our hearts of grace.

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Long Way Home

Seeing your home so close in front of you puts you in a panic.

It has been years, no, decades, since you’ve last been so close to home. So close to the embrace of your parents, so close to the familiar smell of rice cooking in the pot and the sweet stench of rice wine fermenting.

Walking up to the final bus stop, a spur of the moment decision puts you on the looping sightseeing bus, not the direct business route home. 6am in the morning leaves this bus eerily empty, even as the Microsoft employees grudgingly pile onto the other bus.

“Ha, suckers” you think to yourself. this route was twice as long but half as cheap, because compared to today’s motto of “time is money”, these rat racers can’t lose a single moment of their precious, money-making time.

You’ve had your share of that. You’ve had your share of greed and misanthropy, of jealousy and lust. So many long years were spent wandering out in those cold nights, hoping for change, change that would give your autistic daughter a better life in the future, change that your friends could accept your philanthropy, that they wouldn’t laugh when you had your educational startup in Africa.

But now wasn’t the time for that. Challenges were past, now was the time to finally get back to home.

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Farewell

swinging on the tip of the plane
as it cuts through the dark night.
gazing upwards to twinkling stars
but downwards to my heart.

departing from the land I loved,
from the place where time was still,
still moving even through golden days
and silver nights, resting on memories passed.

memories of the days of old
where not I, but others were the ones to go.
bidding adeus and farewells, but not long
’till teardrops fell like heavy welts upon the earth.

day after day turning into year after year
and yet never getting over the heartbreak
of leaving behind those familiar faces
and passing by, as ships in the distance.

but each bittersweet departure between friends
only opens up more to be explored,
only makes this dark planet a bit brighter,
only makes me closer to this small world of ours

and as the chilly air cuts through my mind
my thoughts turn crystal as the green light beckons me on
onwards to a new future and a bright beginning
chasing the horizon to the edges of the earth

but the compass for a fantastic future
will always be cemented in the lives of our past
And no matter how the dreams of our future change
we find solace in the friends we have made, in the gentle embraces, in the sweet farewells of the past.

Alive

Walking home, in the midst of a receding thunderstorm and gloomy skies, I have never felt more alive.

Physics B was Monday, one of the many tests this year. Seattle weather just perfectly complimented it, with booming thunder reminding us of physics mighty power upon the world. Walking out of the three hour examination room was quite a joy, with the world still wet from the unexpected thunderstorm.

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Tea Stained Lives

The first cup of tea is always the hardest.

After setting up the shining kettle and pulling out those small, dry-frozen packets of tea from the freezer, the wait for the boiling pot can only be subsidized through minor distractions of other foods. A watched pot boils alright, albeit slower in my mind’s eye than usual. Listening to the bubbling that is liquid water turning to gaseous water at the very bottom of the kettle, and erupting forwards out through the spout in a hand-burning, high energy containing steam, the process fascinates me even through the wait.

After the water is finally ready, pouring the hot water into the teapot slowly is rather important. You don’t want another boba incident, where my mom spilled half a pot worth of boiling water onto my hand, or that incident where you weren’t paying attention to where you were pouring and nearly end up drowning your precious, precious APUSH notes. No, there is impatience, but it must last through this.

Even after the tea is steeping, you still have to wait more. Drinking it directly is essentially the same as drinking down a big gulp of boiling water artificially colored by a false agent. There’s no point in getting a cup of this putrid liquid; you have to wait for those wonderful deoxidants to be released from those dried leaves.

Still, after all of this, the first cup is still hard to take down. Even as I settle into the routine of life, that cup is still bland and tasteless, and serves more to warm my body than my soul. Not warm, no, but scald my very heart and guts with a kind of fury, embracing a hunger for more.

It’s after this that you slowly fall into a pattern of pouring one drink after another into that nicely decorated Starbucks holiday mug that you TOTALLY jacked from your parents. It’s in that unconcious pour of a cup after yet another that starts creates stains.

My wonderful light-blue mug, decorated lightly with fat white snowflakes and an oversized handle, has gotten a paint job on the inside. Each cup of late night tea, of APUSH focusing tea, of bored and hungry tea, leaves another gentle coat onto the cup.

Eventually, as the evening fades into the twilight, transitioning into the blackness of night, the ritual slows to a stop. No more does the kettle buzz, and no more does the bubble of tea excite anymore. It’s only a matter of finishing whatever is left in that pile of homework; nothing else matters.

And in that narrow minded focus, the tea slowly cools.

Perhaps you could model the cooling rate with a differential function, and integrate to find the temperature after 90 minutes of neglect. Perhaps you could write a chemical reaction for the deposition of the chemicals upon the sides of the cup. Perhaps you could track the specific heat of the water, and what kind of conduction or induction allows the transfer of heat away.
Maybe you could write an analogy for how the tea’s cooling has represented your own mental slowing, as the night drags on. Maybe you would see an analogy in this tea for revolutionary times of virtual representation, of free-trade agreements and of imperialism for resources. Maybe you would look at the Chinese culture behind the imported green tea, or maybe you would ponder what it is about the tea that seems to be so romanticized to you.

But in the end it doesn’t matter. What does is that this tea has stained into your life, your soul, your very being. Cycle after cycle, time after time again, your return to tea has been a return to familiarity, a call back to a home that isn’t a physical place, but a certain state of mind.

And you know that in this state of mind, the tea slowly changes you. In whatever kind of subtle layering, the tea washes over you and rinses anew your soul. Slowly, cup by cup, you see the world through a new lens, and the world sees you differently.

Inspired by Alice.

Listening to Hawthorne Tree Forever (山楂树之恋)

Reunion

Stepping through the threshold
brushing off the gently fallen dew of heaven
setting down the world-weary, weathered briefcase
looking towards the quiet room and the crackling fire before
rushing into the arms of loved ones.
Father is home once more.

in other news my dad is home from another multinational business trip! and i managed to bake a cake! i’ve never baked a cake before! i’m not sure what i should be more excited about!

Gatsby

In the style of Fitzgerald, as requested by me ever-wonderful English teacher. Bleh

Instead of taking the direct route back to her home we went long down the scenic driveway and under the starlight skies. With the soft babble of conversation A____ was pointing out the constellations or the shadow of the Milky Way, noticing the grounds, the wild-grown lay of the land with its sweet honeysuckle overflowing with sugar and the pale cool sensation of the morning dew. It was strange to stand in such a forgotten place and hear no sound of cars rushing from point A to point B, and see not the sodium lights brandishing their harsh yellow glow.

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Sick

*Actually guilt tripping myself into writing this. Not sure why, do I need a reason for it?

I sorta hate my body right now.

Sure, it is filled with all of these crazily cool biological functions that our best scientists do not understand, and sure there are all sorts of automatic inbred reflexes from thousands of years of breeding. And of course, maybe there is all this whacky stuff just going on in the higher mental statuses of your brain, capable of understanding, and dare I say it, knowing! What a remarkable achievement!

And then a tiny, not even organism status, viral infection comes along and somehow screws it all up. I mean, seriously, from a biological aspect, a virus isn’t that awesome. According to my chemistry book (dur, don’t take bio because IB Chem FTW), viruses are just packets of DNA/RNA surrounded by a thin protein layer, which then infects cells and forces those healthy cells to produce more viruses.

Why can’t I, an organism of 50 some trillion cells, defend myself against this puny little midget? Why is this virus able to cause fevers, headaches, muscle pains, coughs, sore throats, stomach pains, and other symptoms, even though I have a fully functioning immune system?

I blame IB.

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We Are Anon

Masked balls are fascinating events. Masquerades really became popular in the 15th century, when a mad, but perhaps more genius, king who crashed his own party, and promptly managed to set his outfit on fire.

The spectacular portion of such a ball is how you are able to talk and communicate, but be able to leave any baggage behind. Assuming that you have a really good disguise, or that everyone else is half blind, of course. You can interact, learn, and delve into others, while being perfectly free to let yourself spill over. Nothing really matters, you are just learning for the sake of learning. There is no conclusion, there are no consequences.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to be completely anonymous?

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