Transcending Ethnicity

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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

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NEW DAWN, NEW ERA, DEMI LOVATO. Alternate title: Out from the Shadows

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.

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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.

Continue reading

Musings + A Polyvore Set

Dogue

Marni green top / Sass Bide short mini skirt / Joe’s Jeans high heel shoes / VBH blue handbag / Topshop midi ring / STELLA McCARTNEY tortoise glasses / La Mer The Oil Absorbing TonicI got a bit carried away with the writing today…When I go about trying to find my own personal style, sometimes I feel like I’m suffering from the identity confusion of a postcolonial literary character. Let me explain. For about fifteen, arguably seventeen, years, my fashion sense has been oppressed by the dominion of suburban-preppy garb. First, there were sweatshirts, jeans, and Uggs (à la middle school). Then subsequently, kilts, crew necks, and Lily Pulitzer (à la high school). I’ve also played competitive soccer since I had size four cleats, and thus I have a bit of an athlete’s closet (sweatpants, drawers of cotton tees, baggy shorts–the ones that aren’t the chic, runway type). Basically, if I wanted to assimilate, I didn’t have much elbow room for sartorial expression.

But as senior year carries on and my time in suburbia runs out (my style ambitions sighing in glorious anticipation), I find myself in a struggle to develop a sort of “national style identity after colonial rule.” How does one overcome the wardrobe culture of a cable-knit-sweater-clad colonizer and embrace an identity involving metallic mini-skirts, cat-eyed tortoise shell glasses, and fashionable chihuahuas?? That’s a question I long to answer. To my dismay, you can’t quite parade around The Academy dressed in sculptured stilettos and toting oversized, blue clutches without incurring puzzled snickers and accusations of “trying too hard.” I don’t know if I should channel my inner Audrey and embrace la vie à la mode in all its man-repelling glory, or ring in with the Girls that only know Pearls but also sport leggings and CustomInk T-shirts for those more casual days. Then again, maybe I should just approach this from another angle. Prep, if done the Jenna Lyons way, is still quite fashionable after all. And who am I kidding, I love J. Crew. And Gossip Girl.

In the meantime, as I figure out the style I most identify with (preppy, bohemian, luxe, minimal, tomboy??) I’ll just continue secretly listening to trendy Euro Hotel Lounge music (via Songza) while pretending I’m somewhere in Paris.

Things I want to try this year:

-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

My Social Life at The Internship

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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.

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 American bread that, when eaten, was “like chewing gum” for my one Spanish friend, the legal age to go clubbing in India, the explanation of countless American idioms (have you realized that to be down for something means the same as to be up for something?), etc etc.

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.