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

 

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Start of Autumn…

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Dear Viewers….

First of all I hope this summer was all kinds of wonderful and chic. For those of you who’s followed my Instagram, you are probably more aware of my whereabouts. Back to school season has gotten to the best of me, and I’ve officially started my 4th year dentistry course. It’s been super hectic and the frustration level was surprisingly high. It took me awhile to finally sit down and think about what’s next for my blog. Thinking a couple months ahead, school will only get busier and work will begin to pile up. However, I am going to really challenge myself to post at least once a week, whether that is inspiration posts or content I’ve created, I hope you guys bear with me! Thank you so so much for following this blog, let me know if there’s anything you want to suggest and comment down below! Happy Autumn lovlies.

 

XO, J

Reflection Time.

Since coming to Spain and having to live here (due to my studies), I’ve lost a few people along the way, the so called “friends” that would always hit me up randomly to check up on me or to simply to lurk. It’s interesting to learned that as soon as people found out I was no longer pursuing fashion or art (for now) they gradually disappeared out of my life. It fact, what I do no longer interest them. All of the sudden it isn’t “cool” enough and I’ve lost the value to what they deemed was important or interesting about me. This really showed me who the real ones are and who gon’ be there through thick and thins. That being said, I need to acknowledge that it can be confusing for some people (sometimes including myself) because there was a time in my life that part of me really shined (I was voted the most likely to be in Vogue by the entire senior class in High School). I was creative, I had pink ombre mermaid hair and various other colors. I wore spiky high heels to school 4/5 days, and it all seemed like just the beginning of a fashion career that is going to take me far and take me to where I wanted to be (at least the people who voted for me believed in this too).

However, despite being artsy in high school, I also entered science competitions and participated in various science clubs throughout the four years, which I think was something that even myself often overlooked. Ultimately what I’m studying now and the career path I chose as the bread winning tool had little to do with a high fashion magazine, I’m still very proud of my decision of becoming a dentist. I think some people often undermine the fact that jobs in the medical field usually required extensive studies, dedication and hard work. Sometimes you failed miserably and sometimes sleep is not even an option. I’ve grown a new found respect for people who dedicated their lives to relentlessly studied medicine and literally saving lives by enriching, extending, and updating their medical knowledge. Not going to lie I have days where I struggled hardcore and questioned myself WHY DID I chose this life for me, but it is from those grappling and clenching movements where we improved the most and continue to strive to become the better version of ourselves.

I guess my point is, we shouldn’t put people in boxes and categorize them based on one singular characteristic about them. I used to put myself in a box and told myself that “I’m this person, therefore ____ is not for me”. But the truth is we are all multi-dimensional and we all have the potential within us to explore the different parts of us and become better at fields that we choose to craft. We shouldn’t limit ourselves and others, in fact we should encourage each other to step outside of the comfort zone and try out something new, even as risky as a career for the rest of our lives. Hence why I decided to commit myself to this blog. It is a platform where I let my artistic/fashion creativity flows, a space where I get to document my life and travels, and last but not the least, it serves as a living proof to myself and others that just because I chose dentistry, doesn’t mean I gave up on art/fashion IN LIFE. I still love it and is deeply passionate about it as I’ve always been. I do realized this is more lengthy than my usual visual-heavy posts, I hope it is not too tiresome to read and digest.

 

Let me know if your thoughts and comments, or if you are/were in a similar situation!

 

Love, J