RELAY FOR LIFE! ♥

How was my weekend at RELAY FOR LIFE?! FANTABULOUS!!!!! Sooo much love and support among the CDL ladies! Oh, but my throat now hurts from talking, screaming, laughing, crying, and being nervous… Yeah, but what a fun weekend! I haven’t had this much bonding/pondering time in a long time…

So, the most touching part of the whole event was the luminaria ceremony where decorated bags with “candles” in them are lit for people who have experienced cancer (who have survived or haven’t survived). I bought two bags on Friday (one for an aunt (Julia Cho) who passed away in 2008 and one for my dad (Ronald S.W. Young) who passed away in 2001 from cancer) and was looking forward to walking around Commencement lawn (the lawn right in front of Rowland Hall) and finding the bags. At 8PM on Saturday, April 24, the ladies from CDL all walked a lap together. I found my aunt’s bag pretty quickly (and I later realized that the bags were in alphabetical order) and, as we were walking around the pathway, my anticipation and anxiety increased more and more. I even recognized some names which added to all these emotions I was feeling.

Oooo I’m getting nervous and starting to shake as I’m typing this all out…

We were nearing the registration tables which were at the end of the lap and I was starting to feel a little disappointed that my dad’s bag might not have been created. Then, of course, the very last bag we saw was my dad’s… One look at it and I gently tapped Jenny and said quietly “That’s my dad’s bag…” and I burst out crying… I couldn’t hold it in any longer… I was so happy to see that someone decorated my dad’s bag so beautifully! It was definitely a happy, and yet bittersweet, moment. The most amazing part was that most of the ladies of CDL soon realized what was going on and came and gave me strong, supportive hugs! Apparently, my future roomies Yesenia and Jocelyn were dead center in the audience and saw the whole thing backstage.

Anyway, as I ended my sob (in my mind, a sob = hard and gasping cry during which I must close my eyes… compared to a cry = quiet and gentle cry with tears that fall slow enough to keep my eyes open), we had to go up and sing… Ohhh, that was interesting! We got onstage and sang “Over the Rainbow” and I had to pause a couple times because I could feel myself starting to tear up again. Then, we quietly got off, and this student began talking about someone she knew who had cancer… Ohhh, man, I was about to close my ears because I didn’t want to start crying again. Then, Connie and Lynn started crying and came over to me once more to hug me… Someone from the Relay For Life committee went up and asked us all to break our glowsticks if an aunt or uncle passed (I waited to break mine for my dad), then other people like brother or sister or a friend passed, and the last one was if our mom or dad had passed… I broke my glowstick and then they told everyone to line up on the pathway for a group walk in honor of all these people. CDL got back onstage for one last song… “Stand By Me”. The alto 2s started their bass line and then I began to sing the soprano 1 part to kind of warm up my voice again, but had to stop immediately to compose myself one more. I began singing my solo… “When the night has come… and the land is dark… and the moon is the only light we see…” …and it went really well. I think I cracked at one point, but it was fine. I didn’t care much, as long as I didn’t start crying again.

For the last part, after the key change, I had to close my eyes to sing because I was trying hard not to crack… Also, it made it a lot easier to go all out! The song ended and we all walked around the path again. The entire time I was gazing at the moon, holding the hands of the CDL members around me, and thinking to myself “Oh, God works in mysterious ways” remembering how my dad’s bag was the last one on the track before the purple and white balloon arch. I really do believe that everything happens for a purpose…you just have to figure out what that purpose is!

When I sang “Stand By Me,” either I sang really close to the mic or it was up really loud because it surprised me how loud I was and how much echo I heard throughout the park. Yesenia later told me that it was perfect because the other voice parts weren’t really heard, so it was basically a solo solo. Also, that the lyrics were absolutely fitting… ♥

Later, Jenny gave me the extra glowstick she had and I broke it for my aunt…

What a wonderful event! I really hope to do Relay For Life again next year with my ladies in Clair de Lune A Cappella!!!!! ♥

Rest in peace, Daddy and Aunt Julia… We’ll meet in Heaven when my time on Earth is over.

♥ Chocolate ♥

3 days ’til my birthday…

It’s funny that it was only a week ago that I wrote that sad blog entry…

Oh, what an emotion rollercoaster this week has been…

I’m definitely on a gradual incline as of today…

My mom is adorable and sent me a box of chocolates for my birthday…

I had one from Dagoba Organic Chocolate called xocolatl, which is described as “rich dark chocolate, chilies & nibs… 74% cacao dark chocolate”

Yes, it was spicy…

At least the aftertaste was…

Now I have the sweet chocolate taste left…

It’s wonderful…

I miss her…

I can’t wait to see what tonight at Atomic Ballroom has in store for me…

I can’t wait to get to this weekend for Relay for Life…

But I must wait and cherish each memory…

Savor each taste…

Oh, life…

☮ ♫ ♥

Analyzing

I’ve just realized today that my blog design fits me quite perfectly.

My way of thinking seems to be that kind of grayish, slate blue. Calm, a tad hopeful, and yet a bit melancholic.

Most of the previous experiences that have drastically affected and changed me have been awful…hence the dark embellishments around the border.

Sure, I could’ve chosen a layout with bright flowers and a picture of the sun shining down on green grass like how I usually portray myself, but I chose this instead. My first thought was that it was pretty. Isn’t it?

Another thing I discovered was that my blog posts are very bipolar. That’s kind of a weird way of describing them, but it’s soooo true! I will have the greatest day and will have a really happy and loving post…then I’ll have a really crappy day and all those bottled up emotions are let loose.

Well, I guess that’s what’s supposed to happen in a blog, right? You’re supposed to be able to discover and analyze and ponder some more.

My stressful week…

Okay, so all the stress built up from this past week just hit me…like ten minutes ago…

I totally just burst out crying, but I didn’t want my roommates to know because I hate crying in front of others. It was a difficult, quiet sob…tears streaming down my face…uncontrollable gasping…my face buried in my hands…hoping no one would walk into the kitchen to catch me… This lasted about two minutes.

I just looked up the Wikipedia entry on “crying” and the function of crying is that is a response to inflicted physical pain and inward pain (stress, irritation, fear, anger, etc.). Crying relates to the experience of perceived helplessness as well. When people hear good news, they feel helpless because they cannot influence what’s happening. Crying is supposed to make one feel better. The hormones associated with stress (particularly adrenocorticotropic hormone) are eliminated, or at least mitigated, with crying. Crying, obviously, is also used to ask for comfort from others. I guess my kind of crying doesn’t exactly elicit help from others since I’d rather cry alone. I’m not quite sure why I’d rather cry alone… I’m just weird like that.

Anyway, I’m sure we all have at least two different kinds of crying. That “pretty” cry that we see in movies when the actors have one glistening tear rolling down their cheek only to be swept away by their lover’s hand. Yeah, that doesn’t really happen to me. I have the “ugly” cry down pretty well. My eyebrows furrow, lips quiver, nose turns red, hands shake, eyes closed shut… If you ever see me cry, it will be the saddest thing you ever see. This only happens when I see a sad movie, read a sad news story, or hear about a sad situation. There have been times when I just absolutely HAD to cry. If I’m feeling a lot of stress (like I was this past week), I really feel the need to have one outburst of a “good” cry. A “good” cry does everyone some good. There are some things that I know will make me cry the “ugly” cry, so when I’m feeling like this, I admit that I am able to induce crying.

Right now I actually feel pretty good. I’m still a bit stressed out and I’m realizing that this next week will most likely be at around the same level of stress as last week. But last week was a horrible kind of stress. This week will hopefully be a lot better and smoother.

You’re probably wondering why in the world I would want to cry in the first place… Let me tell you.

For the past two Relay for Life meetings, I’ve had to be the notetaker for my team, Clair de Lune A Cappella. I write down all the sub-events (is that a word?) and activities (a much better word!) that will be taking place  during the 24 hours we will reside in Aldrich Park on the UCI campus. This isn’t that bad, but, as the event approaches, I’m getting more scared…scared of crying…scared of remembering…cancer. I know I will cry. It will probably be the “ugly” cry too. Lovely. I’m fine with learning about cancer and I can deal with it, but the luminaria ceremony will be difficult. Really, really difficult for me! As I’ve mentioned before, my dad passed away with cancer in 2001 and one of my aunts passed away with cancer in 2008. The luminaria ceremony is to remember those who have dealt with cancer and who have lived or not lived through it.

I waited until the day before to write a research proposal… I realize it wasn’t smart and I should be smarter than to do that…but I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit and write a paper.

I’m fundraising chair for CDL as well, and I volunteered to bring stuff for our table at Wayzgoose. I wanted to make bags of rice so that we could make fried rice to sell. I didn’t have enough time on Friday because I was also planning on taking a nap (which I didn’t actually get to do) to recover from the night of dancing that occurs every Thursday. I decided to have dinner with friends because so much has happened that relates to all of our lives (which I will explain later). We needed time to catch up and laugh a little before we got too stressed out. Therapeutic laughter is a wonderful thing! Anyway, I asked if I could make the rice and give it to them while setting up and prepping for Wayzgoose. It was fine and worked out well, but I just hate when I say I’m going to do something and then I don’t have enough time. I like being reliable, but I spread myself too thin. I’m involved in a lot this quarter and I want to do it all. I really do, but time is a big issue. Time management is an even BIGGER issue.

A group of people in choir with me are also really into swing dancing as much as me. We dance every Thursday at a friend’s house, every Friday at Atomic Ballroom, and every Monday at swing club. Swing club is starting a swing team and so we’ve been having choreography sessions about 2-3 times a week. This is totally fine because I pick up choreo relatively fast. The only thing was fine-tuning the moves, but that was also fine with me. I had to help friends because timing was off and they couldn’t spin fast enough and blah blah blah. Auditions are tomorrow and I’m feeling sooo prepared. I’m ready to kick some butt. Let’s do this!

Okay, so one of the events that happened this past week that was a complete shock to my friends and I was the disappearance of someone we knew from swing club. Mahesh Mahadevan was one of the sweetest guys in swing club. He had aspired to be on the swing team with us too. He always had the biggest smile on his face whenever we danced and he made me really happy. He was even a decent lead, which made me even happier. He strived to learn more. He was last seen on Saturday, April 10, 2010 and was reported missing the following night. Some hikers found a body near the UCI Observatory on Thursday evening and the body was identified on Friday afternoon as Mahesh. I found out on Thursday night of his disappearance (actually earlier in the week, but it didn’t really register) and I was preparing myself for the worst. I was so scared that I had to ask my roommate to quietly finish up my paper in our room instead of in the kitchen. I think I knew right away that he was gone forever. I didn’t want to believe it, but a part of me knew the body they found belonged to someone I knew. Rest in peace, Mahesh! This isn’t a “goodbye”, but a “see you later…”

I never realized how perplexing and inexplicable a person could be until this past week. Someone gave out different excuses, and I thought about for awhile and realized the story changed…meaning it was all a lie. I’m just saying that if you’re going to lie, at least tell the same story…maybe you’re friends won’t figure it out. You know, I guess whoever said that sometimes it’s just better to tell the truth was right. If you get too caught up in your lie, it gets really bad. Telling the truth, especially to your family and friends, may irritate them, but it’s definitely A LOT better than getting the full force of their rage when they figure it out. This goes hand-in-hand with having the guts to be able to be honest.

Anyway, the song that really got me thinking and sobbing was “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood. The specific lyrics:

Fifty miles to go and she was running low on faith and gasoline
It’d been a long hard year
She had a lot on her mind and she didn’t pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning on a thin, black sheet of glass
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn’t even have time to cry
She was so scared
She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I’m on
Jesus take the wheel

This has been one crazy school year. I’ve been brave and bodacious, smart and suave, fun and exciting, ambitious and motivated, and, of course, stupid and a bit obtuse. I’ve taken risks, I’ve made decisions, and I’ve had fun. I’ve cried, I’ve regretted, and I’ve definitely been flustrated (which is the conjunction of “frustrated” and “flustered”). But, all in all, I’ve grown. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen in college? Growth. Expansion. Blossoming. The amplification of who we are meant to be. It’s wonderful. I just hope I’m going in the right direction, going down the road to happiness.

The next song on that playlist and one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard is “Prayer of the Children.” The lyrics I love are:

Crying, “Jesus, help me
to feel the sun again upon my face?
For when darkness clears, I know you’re near,
bringing peace again.”

Dali čujete sve dječje molitve.

Can you hear the prayer of the children?

This is the last chorus of the song…listen to it…find meaning in the lyrics…appreciate your life. I’ve begun night prayers almost every night, but I haven’t actually finished a prayer in a long time. I pray as I lie down in bed, which is pretty dumb if you think about it. A college student, no…a busy college student lying down to pray before actually falling asleep…that doesn’t happen very often. I need to finish my prayers. I will do that tonight. I’m definitely praying that this week will hopefully be A LOT happier for me.

Anyway, did you actually read the entire blog? If so, I commend you. By the way, I started writing this around 8:15 PM, so it took me almost two hours to write this blog… I need to do some homework now…

Con te partirò

Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman

Quando sono sola
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
si lo so che non c’è luce
in una stanza quando manca il sole,
se non ci sei tu con me, con me.
Su le finestre
mostra a tutti il mio cuore
che hai accesso,
chiudi dentro me
la luce che
hai incontrato per strada.

Con te partirò.
Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso si li vivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,
con te io li vivrò.

Quando sei lontana
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
e io si lo so
che sei con me con me,
tu mia luna tu sei qui con me,
mio sole tu sei qui, con me,
con me, con me, con me.

Con te partirò.
Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso sì li vivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,

Con te io li rivivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più,
con te io li rivivrò.
Con te partirò.

Io con te.

Rest in peace, Mahesh Mahadevan… ♥

Nostalgic

I guess listening to love songs doesn’t really help…but I just can’t help myself. I love singing them! I have a playlist dedicated to cute little romantic songs…it’s called “In Like With You” and I stole that name from the game website “OMGPOP.” I’m a dork. Anyway, I’m such a hopeless romantic… I don’t even know how because I haven’t exactly had a lot of experience in the “love” department. But, I’m such a sucker for romantic movies and romantic songs and romantic gestures… It’s just so lovely, for lack of a better word.

I bet you’re wondering how this relates to nostalgia. Well, listening to all these love songs brings me back to my high school days. My favorite chemistry teacher in junior year of high school made everyone in class mixed CDs this one time and the song “Gotta Have You” by Friday was on it. He then went on and showed us all a slide show of his wedding and this song was playing. It was adorable and I really miss that class. Man, growing up is tough. You experience things and then later realize that what you had was really good. I actually never doubted if he was my favorite chemistry teacher and if that was one of my favorite classes ever… I knew right on the first day when he proudly said my name as I walked through the door. He didn’t even know me but decided to memorize everyone’s name so that he could be the cool teacher and know everyone before school started, unlike most teachers who take 3-4 weeks to memorize everyone’s name. Paired with this particular memory of my teacher is also the memory of senior retreat. He was one of the chaperones and those 2 1/2 days at Bishop’s Ranch were fabulous!!! So many fond memories and new friends made. Yes, I made friends during the last few months of high school. Oh, how I miss the old days…

Ahh, a new song just popped on… “Over the Rainbow” by Shawn McDonald (live version). This reminds me of my younger cousin’s lyrical dance during a Paula Morgan dance intensive in the summer of 2008. It was such a beautiful and meaningful dance and I cried. My mom, my sister, another aunt, and my best friend who also attended the last “hurrah” of the half-a-week-long intensive also cried. It wasn’t like an “OMG” sob, it was more of a “that is so beautiful and significant” soft cry. It was head turning. Her mom (my aunt) was enervating from cancer. I cried because I thought of her and how proud she must be of her daughter. I was so proud of my cousin for having the strength to dance with so much passion and purpose when her mom was sitting in the audience. It really takes a lot for a person to do something for another person, to dedicate something. I really felt like that dance was dedicated to her mom…

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
I heard once, oh I heard it once in a lulla, a lullaby
And somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And those of you who dare to dream, your dreams really can come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
I’d wake up where the clouds are far behind me, are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Way up above the chimney tops
Is where you’ll find me, it’s where you’ll find me
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me, far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Way up above the chimney tops
Is where you’ll find me, it’s where you’ll find me

And somewhere over the rainbow
Little bluebirds fly
Little blue birds fly over the rainbow
So why, oh why can’t I?
And somewhere over the rainbow
Little bluebirds, they fly
Little blue birds fly over the rainbow
So why, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Way up above the big blue sky
Why can’t I?

…even the lyrics were for her. My aunt passed away, but her memory will live on forever in my heart. She introduced me to Paula Morgan and those few summers that I attended her dance intensives just deepened my love for dancing.

Oh, memories…

I don’t believe it…

It’s difficult to comprehend what happened last night. I just don’t believe it… I don’t believe the news… I don’t think that’s what happened… It’s not that I don’t think what happened is true, but I think some facts are wrong…

I guess I’m just pissed about something else too… That, in itself, is escalating my distress. It’s soooo stupid. I don’t want to believe that either, but since it looks like it’s happening rapidly, there’s not really anything I can do about it. I just have to accept it and move on like I do with so many other things in my life. I must take life for what it is sometimes…unfair.

Bad things just seem to keep on happening to good people. I just don’t get it… Can someone please explain this to me? Or even better, just make me happier again… This is such a crappy feeling.