When I think of who I am, my first instinct is to define myself using personality traits rather than by ethnicity. I often wonder why many multicultural people intuitively do the opposite. Have I dishonored my heritage by not prioritizing Filipino-American as my core identity? My personal reflections on race have been admittedly stifled. I probably don’t give enough praise to Filipino culture as I should. I’m not sure if I’m to blame for this or if my parents are, with their progressive break from conventional Filipino customs when they came to America. Then again, exactly how much attention does my cultural identity merit, when in reality, the things I believe distinguish me (indecisiveness, corny humor, chocolate habit, introversion, soccer) don’t involve it? In such a global and diverse community as Georgetown, just how important is one’s ethnicity when it comes to identity? Continue reading
Miami. A city that’s spicy, hot, and larger than life, with a playful name that swings in your mouth. It was raining when I arrived, but as the saying goes, a rainy beginning makes for a sunny road. Fabled saying or not, it luckily held true in my case this past week.
On my first night I had a bowl of warm edamame sprinkled with sea salt. After that came a roll of sweet potato sushi with a creamy avocado center. Miami, as I’ve come to learn, is the lover of good food. It’s also the lover of turquoise waters, jewelry-box homes, and beauts in snappy heels. This mini archipelago of fine cuisine and glitzy clubs, strung together by high-arched bridges, sparkled and flashed like the ocean on a sunny day.
I don’t know if it’s all for real or for pretend, but in this city it could matter less. Fake it ’till you make it, and when you do, make sure it’s big, splashy, and full of verve.
An important announcement, an even more important metaphor, and a random moment of life reflection. I’ll regret this later, but let’s get personal.
I once had a secret dream two years ago to become a legitimate fashion blogger. Today, my furtive efforts to achieve that dream have been revealed. Against all odds, I have officially imported my old fashion blog of two years, Coco Carte Blanche, into my new supposedly literary blog of barely two months. (The Fraicheurie Files starts where Coco Carte Blanche ends, after the post, “l’art pour l’art,” and with the inaugural post, “A Riotous Introduction of Sorts“). The result is a mishmash mutt of a personal compendium with little sense of what direction it’s headed in or where it came from to begin with, which works well as a life metaphor for me personally.
Moving on to that important metaphor.
-get a French pen pal
-watch more Studio Ghibli films
-eat more avocados
-take regular yoga classes
-read up on Buddhism
-read Atlas Shrugged
–watch Il Volo in concert (they’re having a tour!!)
-watch the news in the morning with coffee
-do homework in the Starbucks café in Barnes and Nobles
-catch up on Game of Thrones (I’m soo far behind…)
-go on long distance/endurance runs on a regular basis
-write a collection of short stories
-get more involved in Model UN (says my inner nerd)
-sing at a school coffee house (w/ a friend to harmonize)
-revamp my wardrobe
Okay, so I just got back two days ago from a three-week long summer internship program. I stayed in a college dorm with a bunch of other high schoolers from around the country and the world who were also doing their own individual internships. I spent my days working and my nights socializing. Let me tell you, though. “Socializing” at high school summer programs like this defies all normal conceptions of the word. Just imagine: You take 400 awkward high school students eager to revamp their reputation in this blank new slate of a place and what follows is the complete upheaval of all normal social rules. In the first week it was a mad race to be the loudest person, to make the most friends, to hook up with the most people. Complete social chaos I tell you. And as if that’s not enough, all the international people there had their own different cultures of interacting with people, so no one ever knew what was acceptable or not.
I personally observed from a distance, slightly amused, slightly terrified. But anyway, when I got past my initial annoyance at the whole middle-school-esque atmosphere of the situation, I realized how cool everyone actually was when they weren’t trying to be so cool. My favorite were the kids who went to international school or came from another country. Hands down, internationally-minded students are the most interesting group in the high school demographic. And they all seem to know each other, bragging about their global contacts in foreign nations as if each nation was just another school to them, which it probably was. Some countries of origin of my new friends: Egypt, England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Colombia, India, and South Africa, to name but a few (please excuse my bragging).
This is what I absolutely loved the most. Meeting so many people from a myriad of backgrounds was a dream come true for a travel-hungry, culture-starved, first-generation suburban teenager such as me. The conversations we had were fantastic. We would talk about restaurant bread that, when eaten, was “like chewing gum” for my one Spanish friend, or the legal age to go clubbing in India, or the explanation of countless American idioms (have you realized that to be down for something means the same as to be up for something?).
I was so sad on the last day when we had to say goodbye since the chances of any of us meeting again in person are pretty slim 😦 And so now, I’m here sentimentally blogging about everything as I struggle to readjust back to normal life.