How I Grew Up

Today I want to briefly talk about my not so ordinary way of growing up.

Due to globalization, more and more teenagers are leaving home and studying abroad, not just your one semester or one year abroad, some teens study far away from their parents and home for a long extended period of time (we are talking five-plus years). And I am one of the later cases. Asia is known for its strong emphasis on schooling and the competitive education atmosphere (or excelling in exams, if I may). It’s been a trend during the past decades for Asian parents to send their children as young as 10 years old to the Western world to study under the belief that the education system in the West is simply “better”, and will give their children better opportunities and career choices in the future. Depending on the parents, some only feel confident to send their kids off to American/Western university at a legal appropriate age (18 years old) and some parents worried that their kids will fall behind so they sent their kids abroad right before they hit puberty. This most likely explained why my parents decided to send me away from home to Denver, Colorado at the age of 12 years old to live with a family I’ve never met before for the sole purpose of education.

I remembered crying nonstop on the way to the airport, on the plane, when we landed, and even when standing by the carousel, my tears just wouldn’t stop filling eyes and rolling down my cheeks. My mom chaperoned me the first time around and yet I was threatened to death. Looking back, I had no idea why I was crying so much, perhaps it was the fear of the unknown world, the strong nauseating fact that I wouldn’t see my parents for another six months.

Prior to moving to America by myself, I’ve always been super attached to my parents as a child and I would always made a scene when I get dropped off for summer camp or at the babysitter’s place. I MADE SURE people knew how much I dislike new surrounding, new things, and new faces. So the fact that my parents now wanted to send me super far away to a foreign country for a long extended period of time was just unacceptable. It was too much for my 12-year-old mind to understand, and I was crying out of anger and frustration. After all this decision was made mutually. My parents did have multiple discussions with me before making the decision of sending me away. My mom visited the Middle School and High school I will be entering a couple of summers ago to make sure (needless to say she loved it). I was thrown into an environment which was completely unfamiliar to me. The language barrier was brutal, but puberty was perhaps even worse. The first semester in an American middle school I gained a solid 10kg just from eating American lunch food by myself because I didn’t know how to speak to the other kids. I went from head to toe pink outfits with classic thick Asian bangs to a punk rock 2009 Avril Lavigne inspired princess. When I went back to Taiwan two summers later, my parents were in shock with the heavy smokey eyeliners and a transformative all-black wardrobe. But they let it slipped because she is American now and they do things differently there. And from that point on, my life is changed forever.

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After a good four years of studying in the States, I’ve made multiple friends, my English definitely improved and I was able to gain more insight into what is it like to be a proper American teen. However, the feeling of insecurity and not having a sense of belonging was starting to eat me alive. I started to constantly disagree with my parents on a fundamental basis, I refused to oblige to the cultural expectations they tried to impose on me when I was back home for break. It was becoming a lot more difficult to live with my own family members in Taiwan because I am not used to all the house rules and how they functioned as a household. I was gradually feeling distant from my own family because they all knew the ins-and-outs, where things are but I was utterly clueless. The hardest part was they assumed I know EVERYTHING because I am biologically related to them, but I genuinely question if I belonged at all. When I finally adjusted myself to adapt to my own family, it’s time to say goodbye again – on to living with the family friends who I spent more time with during my teenage years than my own family members.

Over the years, I’ve stayed with so many families to a point where I’ve lost count. I’ve gone to a Greek Orthodox church, had multiple Russian dinners, attended graduation parties and fashion shows, tried Australian cuisine and of course, cheered on football games, all the while being the only Asian person in the room. I did it all before the age of 17 years old. Some people looked at my upbringing confused, and I just saw it as a form of training. I want to believe that there is a bigger picture in this journey: that ultimately my parents wanted to train me to become an independent, well-rounded, worldly woman who can handle herself in any situation. Although I don’t think I exactly turned out to be the person they wanted me to become, pretty confident to say that I have grown up to become a person with a global view.

Studying away from home has definitely broadened my worldview and expanded my capacity to absorb and adapt to new culture regardless of where I go in the world. I am currently studying in Europe (this is probably going to be yet another post I will write about in the future) and I did find myself more at ease the second time around. Nothing comes easy when you first go to a foreign country and live there. But we shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown, instead, we should embrace our fear and make the most out of it.

 

 

xo, J

 

Life update: finding purpose & some thoughts

I haven’t posted anything in almost 4 months….a lot had happened and my mind was/is just a constant mess. I didn’t want to vomit all my thoughts on this blog considered that it just wasn’t my intention when I first started this blog, yet here I am, trying to articulate proper descriptions of what I’ve been feeling and still feeling today.

Long story short, I’ve lost someone significant in my life.  Perhaps it’s too early to talk about this because the loss still feels fairly recent and that we are all still hurting as a family. Sometimes life is fucked-up in various ways, and my family have been through hell and back the past couple of years. Every single incidence was life threatening and definitely unexpected. We’ve always believed that what you’ve given out to the universe is what you will receive in return, thus my family have always been about trying to do good, help others, and never complain. But it just somehow didn’t work out. Bad things were still happening. There were constant unavoidable dramas taking place despite the best attempt to avoid them. To be honest, I still don’t know how my family is going to survive this one. I assumed it will take multiple group therapy sessions in the future to sort out everyone’s emotions and properly heal. Maybe we will never completely heal and the void will be inside us eating us alive.

The hardest part of the aftermath of the death of a family member is that everyone demands and expects you to go back to normal life, the “old” life from before. But the truth is it will never be the same without that person. I am still trying to get used this fact and it hasn’t been easy. I sincerely hope somehow I gain some profound wisdom from this or I understand the world better compare to where I was before. But honest to god, I haven’t felt this empty inside in a very long time. We can carry on and live as fulfilled as we possibly could, but in the back of my mind, I still think that our tragedy just served as another warning or fictionary tale to other families and friends, to help them make an adjustment or change their attitudes about their loved ones because life is too short and my god you really have to cherish every moment! 

Why as humans we never truly learned until something drastic happened around you? The history shouldn’t repeat itself yet it has been in every aspect of the existence of mankind. I did some research and read up the five stages of grief. And needless to say, I diagnosed EVERYONE in my family. But like I said, it is still too early to tell which direction our family is heading towards, and I won’t be sharing more insight on this until I know more.

I’ve also found it difficult to focus and concentrate on my daily task. Everything just seems less interesting and every perception changed forever. I hope to find fuel again, and get more motivations to get my life back on track. Maybe working on this blog again is my way of coping with heartache and finding a sense of purpose again. I’ve been stimulating myself with constant creative inspiration and social media distractions to get out of being sad or angry or depressed. So bear with me, my readers. I hope to stay consistent with my content even during the busier months.

XO J simple

White Jumpsuit.

It’s official that June has been around the corner, which means the start of summer vacation and beginning of various activities under the hot summer sun. Ever since the CFDA 2017 award, my obsession for white (especially during the summer months) is officially confirmed. There were so many interpretations of white gowns and off white pulls on the red carpet everything is practically TO DIE FOR (cue Gigi Hadid*). Every summer I find myself purchasing at least one jumpsuit (or two, guilty). And this year I thought why not incorporating my two favorite summer essentials and find me some white jumpsuits. As always, I tend to find some inspirations online before making a big purchase. Here are wide range of white jumpsuits style to observe and learn from:

 

  1. City Cool

 

I probably would’ve never thought to wear completely white while strolling on the city street because 1. you would you pop out from the crowd (I guess that’s the point) and 2. non-stop stares from strangers 3. at risk for stains/ruin the clothing (but come on, we gotta be rebels somehow). However I love how these bloggers instantly transformed these looks from causal vacay to super sleek white by pairing some sunnies and black heels/dope-ass handbag with the look. With this style I would say, simplicity is KEY.

 

2. Office Chic

 

Again, another city look to take notes from (in this case, Kendall Jenner). White or off white blazer/coats are a working woman’s best friend. I could totally see a girl boss rocking this feminine yet professional look to the office, a business meeting, or even a lunch date. This looks is super versatile and definitely is a confidence boost.

 

3.  V-neck

 

I guess this V-neck loosen silhouette is a classic statement piece that’s been around forever now. I love this jumpsuit interpretation of it. Adding a flare with a bow-tie on the waist to distinguish and accentuate the form of the women. This look is super effortless and holiday appropriate. And you can either wear it with some sneakers or a cool pair of off-white/cream high heels and ready to kill it.

 

4. Vacation Mode: ON

 

This is the wide-leg-don’t-care-because-Im-on-vacation look. Simple, classic, comfortable and effortlessly stylish. Need I say more? I think in this case, accessories is important. Whether it’s play if safe and go with similar white tone, or go completely crazy with the purse/bag. The beauty of this look is that there are no rules! Your outfit is practically a blank canvas for you to get creative.

Hope you enjoy these 4 styles! What are some of you summer favorites? If you have any comments or questions please drop it on the comment section below!

 

Cheers!

xo, J.