"When you change the way you see things, the things you see change." - Author Unknown



Although the manifestation of self-motivation is not rare in some subjects of her study, I didn't expect to see it, especially in such a conscientious fashion, in her music education.

Imagine how amazed I was when I came upon this sight - it's not a sheet of music covered with her self-made stick-on notes from her violin lesson, it's her self-motivation and enthusiasm!

My laudable BT, could you not take them off at your lesson? Maybe your teacher would want to see that and applaud your efforts as well..

Have a Laff

The Beginning

BT came back home with an enigmatic box her math teacher gave her this afternoon. It is a something she earned from last school year.

Ready, Set... Back to School(8th Grade)!

FABB... ulous

Ha-ha! Ha-ha!! Look at those pudgy, freckled little guys with golden faces I conjured up from my magical lab on Friday, don't they look utterly gorgeous?!!! It's the first time in my life I successfully transformed something flaky and presentable from the substance called flour!!! And they are healthy with low sugar and all olive oil.

BT calls them FABB: Flakily Awesome Bean Biscuits xD

Also, I whispered some incantations while I was working on it... Did you hear them when you ate it? xD

Student Council Kickoff Party

If I felt like a top dog on Orientation Day, yesterday I felt like a top lion. xD

Running around the cafeteria doors, waving handouts in people's faces while screaming "Welcome to Student Council!" Parading about on stage, imparting information about the year. Snapping photographs of everything and all activities. Answering questions from concerned students and parents. Laughing and mingling merrily with so many new people.

That was me yesterday. The first time in my life to act as the incumbent Vice President of Student Council. The first time in my life people looked to me for instructions and answers to their questions. The first time in my life I felt so weird, awkward, and awesome all at the same time.

The first thing we did was hand out a "scavenger hunt" icebreaker activity to all the Student Council members. Which entailed me to station myself at the large glass doors of the large commons, excitedly waving scavenger hunt papers in people's faces and jabbering about how GREATITISTOSEEALLOFYOUHEREWELCOMETOSTUDENTCOUNCIL! I swear I was so hyper I scared myself even.

And then there was a boy, who insisted on creepily following me around whatever I did and jabbering in my ear, almost like a sidekick: "Jenny, I'm going to follow you around, okay? Okay? Okay?" "Jenny, can I hand out some papers too?"

When everyone had arrived, all the members began signing into a computer system used to keep track of attendance, and then we began on the scavenger hunt activity, which entailed people to go around asking each other questions, introducing themselves, and getting to know each other. It worked out much better than I had anticipated. (Now I have to give myself credit for creating the document of scavenger hunt handout xD) At one point some seventh grader came up to me and asked, "Are you Jenny Hong?" And I'm like DUDE how did you know my name that's SO CREEPY. And he's like, "Well, your name is at the top of this paper!"

I swear I didn't eat any sugar yesterday morning before the party, but I was more ebullient than I had probably ever been in my entire lifetime. I hopped around to groups of people I had never even met before and carried on scintillating conversations. I warmly greeted everybody. I was so outgoing to the point that I scared even myself.

Maybe it was because this time, I was an actual heavy-duty executive official and that made me feel awesome. Or maybe it was because of that OASC thing I went to. This is what OASC summer workshop does to you, people. It has transformed me ever since I walked through the doors of that place.

After the scavenger hunt and a few other icebreakers, the other two executives and I shared information about the year by presenting a PowerPoint we had made. Basically we each shared part of a slide by SPEAKING REALLY LOUDLY while everybody sat in the cafeteria and listened. Before the presentation when the teachers were getting the projectors going, I ran across to the other side of the screen in front of the projector, and I pointed at the screen freaking out, and I was like, "Oh hey look: It's my SILHOUETTE!" I was just being myself, like I wasn't even trying to be funny, but for some reason my antics elicited some laughs from people in the crowd xD

After that and some brief words from our teachers, we formed all the members into committees: partially self-picked and partially by random assignment. We had lunch with committees blah blah blah and I couldtellyouallaboutthatbutIwon'tbecauseit'snotveryinteresting.

Then within our committees, we made directional posters to hang around the school, welcoming teachers and students and guiding students to their wings (again, my idea I'm SORRY but it is my credit, okay?) Since the three of us execs aren't really a part of any committee, we just kind of chilled and checked in on the committees once in a while.

What I found really funny was that people came up to us three executives to ask questions, almost as if we were teachers or "officials". Which I guess, as a leader you've got to be really knowledgable about stuff, so people naturally ask you about stuff, look up to you, and give you so much inevitable responsibility. But like, the questions people came up to me and asked were quite funny: "What do I do with the glue after I'm done with it?", "I lost my tooth and I don't want to get my clothes bloody with it, so do you have a plastic bag I could put it in?"

I felt like a big sister. And I guess the feeling wouldn't be too strange for someone who really WAS the older sibling in their house, but I'm not, so for me it felt like a totally new and whimsical experience.

And it seemed that apparently I did well enough with it too. Because nearing the end of our kickoff party, one of the seventh-grade girls innocently said to me, "Jenny, honestly you're my favorite executive. You're the most exciting and relaxed compared to the others and you make Student Council seem so much more fun..." And I said to her, "Dude, thank you thank you, you just made my whole day!"

I felt super proud and great today serving my school and helping to create a cool first experience of all the new StuCo members and making people excited about our plans and activities :) I know how cheesy this sounds, but this is going to be a fantastic StuCo year!

What's happening in Gaza

A short video for kids and all of us to learn the crisis in Gaza.

Orientation dayyyy

It's weird, but it doesn't quite feel like I'm in eighth grade already. But at the same time, I think the fact has stealthily meandered its way into my brain. As eighth graders, we're the top dawgs of the middle school now. We know every nook and cranny of this place.

That's what we felt like as we paraded through the halls of the school Monday on Orientation Day, with a buzz of nervous hysteria in the air, finding our new classrooms (where we will be spending another 180 days of our lives). And every time we bumped into our comrades of last year, we frantically compared our schedules to see if we had any classes in common, and if we did, yelling as if we had won a raffle.

Only this time it was not my friend and me who pranced through the hallways, but two dark silhouettes: one of a cello and one of a violin (on account of the summer heat inside a car gets damagingly scorching), moving on pairs of ambulatory legs, guarded by my dear mother who was marching tirelessly behind us like a diligent soldier, all the way around the school probably an equivalent of five total times. A most magnificent trio! What an entertaining sight. People shot sidelong glances like us as if we were aliens.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

My Giant Sequoia

My favorite tree this summer is a giant sequoia. Almost every day I clamber up its staunch, brawny trunk, sure-footedly grasping the wrinkles in its immensely ancient bark, and I whisper in its ear, How are you, my beautiful? And it responds with an echoingly profound silence. I breath in the sylvan scent of pine and moss, and continue my climb, left arm, right arm, left arm, right arm, hoisting myself higher and higher, till I am 300 feet above the needle-blanketed forest floor. The whipping wind at this altitude stifles me, and I steady myself, grasping the thick trunk in my arms and surveying the miles and miles of green foliage below me in all directions, and watching the myrtle green blend into a hazy blue as it melds with the horizon. Tucking a sequoia cone into my hair, I feel like king of the world.

Save the Pangolin

Who is this adorable little guyyyy?
The Pangolin!

Few people know about it, yet it is the most trafficked mammal in the world. Poachers in Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia illegally hunt and trade pangolins for food, and now it is recognized as critically endangered.

Yet it doesn't get the same attention as the "charismatic" other endangered animals, like pandas, rhinos, or tigers. Not many people seem to have even heard of the pangolin before, or seem to care about these "awkward introverts".


Click here for seven ways to HELP SAVE THE PANGOLIN!!

(Image credit: CNN.com)

BT's First Chinese Writing

The Maxim

(Image credit: quoteswave.com)

Precious & Delicious

Mason Speak Week 2014

When: July 14 to July 18
Where: Mason High School

I was majoring in Oratory and minoring in Limited Prep. Today was the first time parents were allowed to observe the mock tournament (super exciting for my officious mother. Which the presence of one more audience member actually positively impacted my performance probably because I am totally overblown like that). I competed in Oratory and (out of only three people total who did Oratory -_- GEEZ ORATORY REPRESENT) ranked first! I learned a lot from this camp and met many new people. Yaaaay happy warm fuzzy blahblahblah...

Stem Cells

This morning, my dear mother and I were reading articles about stem cells, which we found so fascinating. So here's a summary of what I have learned:

What are stem cells?
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to differentiate into many different cell types or divide into more stem cells, practically without limit. During early growth, an embryo or organism grows by the dividing of stem cells, which also function as an internal repair system throughout life to replenish other cells.

Stem cells possess three distinctive characteristics. First, they retain the ability to divide by mitosis. Second, they are unspecialized, unlike the other cells of a multicellular organism. Third, under some conditions, stem cells can be induced to become cells specific to an organ or tissue, with specialized functions (such as a muscle cell, blood cell, etc). When a stem cell divides by mitosis, each new cell has the potential to become a specialized cell or remain a stem cell.

Wow!! The stem cell seemed to me a sorcerer, or an Animagus perhaps, that can morph itself into another form at will. Since only stem cells have this remarkable ability, they are very powerful, and more than likely hold the key to curing many diseases.

What are embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells?
There are two types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are derived from an embryo, and adult "somatic" stem cells, which are found among differentiated cells in a tissue or organ. One main difference is that embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning that they can differentiate into all cell types, whereas adult stem cells are limited in what cell types they can differentiate into based on their tissue of origin. For example, a blood-forming adult stem cell in red bone marrow gives rise to blood cells, rather than very different cells such as nerve cells.

Why are stem cells so important?
Stem cells offer new potentials for treating a variety of diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Scientists are working to somehow use stem cells for cell-based regenerative therapies to cure diseases. If we could find a way to successfully use stem cells to cure diseases, this would be an enormous breakthrough in medical science. We would have found the key, and humankind would be a huge step closer to becoming virtually unconquerable.

But people with strong religious views are opposed to using embryos for stem cell research, let alone for cell-based regenerative therapies. Since once a zygote becomes an embryo, it has the potential to be a human being. But is an embryo yet a human being? Which is more important, an embryo or saving a patient? Should we protect the embryo, or save the life of a patient who needs the treatment?

Resources: stemcells.nih.gov

True Love for Science

A video about another magical world BT and I watched together, which we found equally, if not even more, bewitching than any fantasy in the world.

The Magic

Really does exist.

There wasn't a single dry eye in the lobby on the last day of summer workshop, when our parents appeared in the hall to whisk us off. There was just something so inexplicably magical about that place, we'd never want to leave. So much laughter, so many tears, so many friendly smiles, it was like a new home for all of us.

For most of us, outside of home, there had never been another place we had felt so accepted and loved, where we could be ourselves and no one would judge us.

OASC Summer Workshop was the most magical week of my life. It was a place where we were accepted and loved for who we are. We made new connections with people, learned more about each other in five days than we normally would have in a year. We learned to become better leaders by becoming better people, to love everything, give a piece of ourselves to others. Because a small of kindness can go a long way. We learned that there are many different kinds of courage: some big and some small, but courage all the same. We learned to take risks, to be who we are, to step forth out of our "comfort zones" and look the world in the eye.

Here is something that OASC has instilled in me, that's going to stay with me for the rest of my life:
There are 7 billion people in the world. It's simply made up of 7 billion different understandings of it. You don't have to do something earth-shattering and momentous to change the world. All you have to do is change the life of one person, change one of those 7 billion different understandings of the world.
And you've already changed the whole thing.

Through OASC, we learned the true meaning of being in Student Council. Student Council isn't just about fundraisers, posters, and other corporeal things-it's a spiritual connection. It's about making a difference to our community, helping those who need it. It's about spreading the kindness, love, and magic to everyone else, to our schools back at home, to the world.

Worst thing that happened:
My cell phone was literally THE BANE OF MY WEEK. And if it were actually MY phone, it would probably have ended up being the bane of my life.

Actually, I say that because it wasn't actually my cell phone (I don't have one yet: is that a good thing or a bad thing?) My father has two cell phones, so my parents let me borrow one of them, his Android, for the week so I could call them. Of course, I was extremely grateful and all that, but *sigh* technology.. The week might have gone better if I hadn't had the phone with me.

First of all, the phone's text messaging ability is the worst. My mother continuously sent me texts, but I never received them until about ten hours AFTER she had sent them, and some of which I never even received at all.

You can imagine the panic and havoc that wrought. From my point of view I could see on the screen, the conversation was one-directional. Even though in reality my mother was texting me on the other side of the line, I thought she wasn't replying me at all, and I felt so dejected, like I was being ignored. From my mother's point of view, my text messages sounded frantic, panicked, and incoherent in context to whatever she was typing.

Imagine the miscommunication.

Also, every time I sent a text to my mother, some strange automated machine would rapidly send about a thousand text messages to me, saying "Invalid code, please resend" or something like that. Nonstop. Not only was it a pesky nuisance, it drained my phone's battery so that it ran out from a perfectly fresh battery to utterly dead and motionless in two hours.

Another lesson learned: Use iPhone only. Sorry Android fans xD

The Workshop

Day 1
Her call lasted 20 seconds and suddenly disconnected. I was calling her again, forgot how many times, but she didn't answer, and didn't call me back. I was texting her but got no return. It was 11:17 in the night. What were they doing there? Why didn't she call me back? A terrible night I had.

Day 2
I got a couple of texts from her, but they were nerve-racking. Many calls to the director of the workshop but no one answered. After evaluating how serious situation those messages could imply I started driving northbound, I felt like I was on fire...

Day 3
"Mama... wooooo" She was sobbing on the phone.

"Why? Is there anything wong?" My heart sank, anxiously I asked.

"I don't want to come home. I really love here, it's like my second home...." Said she wholeheartedly in a shaky voice, which I have never heard from her before.

"???????" I was befuddled...

5 Days + 4 Nights

Not long after we arrived home, BT got together all she needed and zipped up her luggage again and off she went, without having me or her dad as a chaperone this time, for OASC student council leadership workshop in Dayton. A great opportunity to practice life skills and to be independent, I suppose.

Since then it has been oddly quiet in our house, which is almost unbearable. My cell phone stays on around the clock with me.

More recent posts...

Last updated date: 1/25/2013 danajian.com. All Rights Reserved.
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