Helpless

Volunteering can give you many experiences. It offers you an insight into unfamiliar environments, thoughts, and values. But not all of these “experiences” can be fascinating and full of wonder; some can be heavy and painful.

I volunteer at the education department of one of my county’s non-profit organizations every week after school. It is homework help for elementary school students in a community center at a neighborhood known to be the home of many families that have low income.

I help first, second, and third graders do their math homework, and then we all go outside to play. The children are so adorable and very welcoming. They love attention and, apparently, Skittles.

One afternoon, I was outside watching a few girls playing soccer in the parking lot and making sure they didn’t run off to chase the ball when it rolled into the street. I suddenly saw a boy and a girl playing with a chair with wheels on the hill-like road in the neighborhood leading to the big street. I frowned. If they happened to lose control and roll into the street, it would be bad – no, terrible and horrifying.

I went to them and told them to stop, that it was dangerous. The boy looked straight at me and said, “I don’t care. I like pain.” A chill ran up my spine. That was something I would’ve never expected. I was speechless for a moment, and then sternly told them to stop because of the drastic consequences.

Later, I saw them at the top of the hill-like road, near the huge neighborhood trash bin, playing with a shopping cart. As soon as they saw me walking towards them with a stern face, they quickly pushed the cart (which was probably an abandoned one they found) behind the trash bin.

I told them that they could kill themselves playing with things with wheels on the road. The boy came up to me and said, “Then we’ll just die.” Then he proceeded to show me his crooked finger and told me that he had gone through a lot of pain and enjoyed it. He wasn’t afraid of killing himself, much less hurting himself.

He was 12. I was beyond shocked to hear such words come from such a young child’s mouth. I asked for their names (and found their real names from other children) and went to the manager of the neighborhood’s community center. I asked him to dispose of the shopping cart and chair with wheels properly and told him that I was worried about the two kids. He told me he’d go dispose of them right away.

However, I didn’t feel good inside at all. I knew that what I asked for was just a small, meaningless thing. Even if those items are gone, the children’s mindset would be unchanged. They will find more ways to hurt themselves, and I would be helpless to help them. I felt like I was about to cry. They were young – they might’ve grown in the wrong environment that made them care little about their own lives. I had heard from the manager of the organization that I might meet children from abusive families.

I wanted to help. Yet I didn’t know how.

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Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3

Sorry I was a day late!! I would like to share some quotes I made up myself along the journey of my life.

 

Youth is a state of mind that applies to all ages.

When people use the word “youth,” they naturally picture liveliness and hopefulness. I believe that it doesn’t only apply to young people. Anyone can be in that state if they changed their view of the world to one of wonder and curiosity. Be youthful today.

 

Stubborn isn’t about saying “no;” it’s saying “yes.”

When I was young, I would think being stubborn was being arrogant and dogmatic. As I grew, I redefined it as being persistent and moral. Stubbornness is a valuable trait in life. You must stick to your values and goals. You must believe that you can do it.

 

The stars may be currently covered by a black cloud, but remember that they are still there, waiting for the cloud to pass.

This is my current outlook towards life. No matter how gray or blue right now seems, I know that life will soon get better. When something good happens, I must be thankful for it but not be obsessed about it. My journey has its ups and downs – with a down comes an up and vice versa.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

Today I’ll like to share some quotes from one of my role models, Greg Mortenson. He is the co-founder and former executive director of the Central Asia Institute, which builds schools for children (especially girls) in Pakistan and its neighboring countries.

 

Really, what education does is it gives opportunity, but it also gives hope.

I say if you fight terrorism, it’s based on fear, but if you promote peace, it’s based on hope.

I am a huge advocate of education for all children in the world. I believe that education could be part of the key to solving poverty and terrorism. I’ve also participated in a speech competition with this topic on UN Day in Korea as a finalist. For those interested in reading my thoughts about education and terrorism, read the speech below.

 

Dear Honorable UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon,

Considering the recent global issue of ISIS, I, including millions of high school students not only in my country but all around the world, have been aware of the major problem that is labeled as “terrorism.” From the news, we have heard about people around our age who join this violent force and the slaughter of millions. However, this problem is not limited to Islamic extremism. Terrorism is an issue that transcends time periods and concerns human rights.

I believe that in order to solve terrorism, instead of eliminating major terrorists one by one, we should dig out the root of the problem. I declare that lack of education is one of the major causes of terrorism. Young people who are vulnerable to the temptation of joining terrorist forces should be taught that there is a better way to commit themselves to the world, that there is a better way for them to have their voices heard. The following is a quote from Greg Mortenson, the co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit organization that builds schools for children in Central Asia. “If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.”

In order to put this into effect, first, we should reach out a hand to the people around our age that cannot be reached. The UN should install a communication program for students around the world, including the poorest corners of Earth, to be able to share their thoughts and ideas with each other and be heard. Since young people will be allowed to broaden their thinking and develop their own perspectives, this is a valuable education method.

Second, the UN should generously support and fund non-profit organizations that work to provide education to children in under-developed countries. There should be more schools built and teachers hired in order to create a learning environment for them.

Last but not least, ethics should be a must in the educational curriculum. Children everywhere should learn about human rights and develop moral reasoning. Then they will fully comprehend the consequences of terrorism.

I know that I am one voice in millions. But as one of the thousands that understand the gravity of terrorism, I raise my voice today in the hopes that it will be heard and the UN will put more interest in providing education to fight terrorism. This may be a drop in the ocean, as the quote goes, but one day the ocean will be big enough to bring peace on Earth.

Sincerely,

A High School Student in the Fight for Peace

 

Note to readers: I know that some of you might go Google up Greg Mortenson. I was introduced to him when I read the amazing book “Three Cups of Tea,” and he became my hero when I was young. However, it was only later when my reverence towards him somewhat crashed because of his scandals with using money from CAI for private issues and the alleged lies in some of his books. Well, having a role model doesn’t mean I want to be exactly like him. He still had dedication and motive during the start and that’s what I would like to learn from him. I promise that I won’t go in the wrong direction as he supposedly did.

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 1

Thanks to my good blogging friend TheOriginalPhoenix for nominating me for this challenge! If you haven’t already, please check out her wonderful blog full of hopeful and inspiring words!

 

I’ll like to start off with my favorite motivational quotes.

 

When the World says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~Anonymous

This would have to be one of my favorite quotes of all time. There were many times in my life when I wanted to give everything up because the world around me seemed so cruel. However, I’ve learned to look for the one of the most treasured values of mankind: hope. Hope has guided me on my journey of life and taught me not to stay on the ground.

 

If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

This is such a motivational quote. Whatever state you are in currently, you shouldn’t lose hope and keep moving forward. There may be walls in your path, but if you try hard enough, you will be able to find a ladder that allows you to climb over those walls.

 

Don’t cry that it is over. Smile that it happened.

~Dr. Seuss

There were many moments in my life when I would think about the happy times of my past and be sullen by missing them a little too much. I would think, ‘Why couldn’t my present be as good as those times?’ However, I’ve learned not to dwell on the past and look forward to the future. I am thankful that those memories happened, but I am also ready for what awaits for me with hope.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Sorry I’m so late in posting this, but thank you, Priyamvada, for nominating me for this award! It’s my second blogging award!! 🙂 (For those who haven’t, check out “From an indie heart” for wonderful insights that everyone can relate to!)

 

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you
  2. Share the versatile blogger award on your blog
  3. Share seven random facts about yourself
  4. Tag 10 bloggers with less than 1000 followers and let them know they have been nominated.

 

Random Facts About Myself:

  1. My favorite book of all time would have to be “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I read it in elementary school, and it was the first book that made me cry. For those who like dogs and heart-warming stories, this is a must read!
  2. The food I can’t live without is marshmallows. I bought some to make s’mores this summer and ended up just eating the whole bag. And then buying more.
  3. I am an avid advocate for “education for all.”  I believe that all children have a right to be educated.
  4. My current favorite song would have to be “Shy” by Jai Waetford. I don’t know why – it’s just so addicting.
  5. I like cute items, such as character stickers. Rilakkuma is my favorite character.
  6. I am volunteering at three places of now. One is Haïti College Fund, another is at a community center where I help elementary school students with homework, and the other is at a Korean school where I help children with Korean heritage learn Korean. I also hope to volunteer through school clubs later.
  7. My favorite color is blue. Blue like the clear, endless sky. Blue like the wild waves at the beach from my childhood. I like pretty much every shade of blue, in fact.

 

My Nominees:

  1. Michael J. Fite
  2. Confessions of a Reborn Girl
  3. Making Sense of Complications
  4. Unmotivated Enthusiast
  5. The name of this blog is blowing in the wind.
  6. aYoKa
  7. Splendippity
  8. Scribbles in the Margin
  9. Eman Sherif
  10. uniqueloveharmoney

Making My Sandwich

When I go to Subway and get a half-foot long sandwich, there are several options to choose from. I get the usual: turkey instead of ham and condiments like mustard (don’t forget pickles!) – I have the ability to “make my own sandwich” quickly and easily. However, the sandwich of my life is made more indirectly and through much time and many experiences. It is obviously unique, and it is my personal sandwich. I may have lived only 18 years, but today I would like to share the things the go into my sandwich (instead of turkey and cheese) that make me who I am.

Activeness. When I was young, I used to be the shiest, quietest kid in my class. Maybe it was because when I started school, I was in a new country (I moved from Korea to American when I was three) and I couldn’t communicate with others and express my ideas (the people weren’t exactly friendly either – maybe that’s why I feel a soft side for new foreigners) – this created uncertainty within myself. However, after I attended two and a half years of a wonderful high school in Korea (I moved back for four years) and actively participating in high school activities and competitions, I found confidence within myself. I started being more open towards people and actively participating in my community. I may not be the most confident and outgoing person now, but I have grown more open.

Positivism. When I moved back to Korea at the age of 15 after successfully adapting to American life, I felt a huge culture-shock similar to the one I felt when I came to the US. I guess I kind of felt fear from the trauma of early years (the first years in the US weren’t that nice) and since I’m great at ruminating, I felt a side of depression. I was worried people would ignore me, label me as the “foreigner,” refuse to help me, and my grades would suffer (yes, I was kind of a nerd back then). However, after living through those four years, I realized that I survived. This has helped me through my life – I learned that whatever bad seems to be around the corner, good will also come. Even when I came back to the US, it rained terribly, but afterwards, a rainbow formed in the sky. I decided that that would be motto: always wait for the rainbow during the storm and not be depressed by it.

Thoughtfulness. I think A LOT. It’s my innate characteristic (it was inside the sandwich when I was born, I believe). Sometimes it’s good: I ponder about my situations and problems and learn from them or think creatively. Sometimes it’s bad: I ruminate on parts of my horrible past and feel horrible. But it’s a part of me, so I should accept it. I like to think philosophically (I wish my high school has Philosophy as a class, although I heard that it is hard and confusing) and frequently I find myself wondering about the mysteries of life (yes, I am the kind of nerd that wonders about unusual, profound questions like why people live). Why do people live? To search for the very reason?

 

Pingback: Sandwich

 

The Blogger Recognition Award

Wow! This is my first blogging award!! ^.^

 

Rules:

  1. Write a post to show your award
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  4. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog
  5. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.

 

How I started blogging:

I have a secret place inside my mind where I go to in order to sort my life out and just think. I wanted to share this special place to people around me in order to be motivated and dream together. Using writing, one of my favorite things to do, as the connecting bridge, I started this blog to show the world my thoughts and experiences. I hope everyone who reads my blog learns something new and dreams with me.

 

My Advice to New Bloggers:

  1. Be honest. As long as you’re yourself, your true thoughts will be able to touch the hearts of your readers. We blog because we’re unique individuals who want to share our diverse thoughts. Just be yourself – that’s unique enough.
  2. Enjoy blogging. Don’t just post because it seems like you haven’t posted for a long time. I say post when you feel the itch inside your head that urges you to share your thoughts with the world. Then your writing will be more truthful and touching.

 

My Thanks towards TheOriginalPhoenix:

When I first met TheOriginalPhoenix in the Community Pool, little did I know that we’d become blogging friends. However, after reading her post The Joy of Paying it Forward, she struck me as a unique blogger whose posts I would like to follow and learn from. She is a wonderful person and inspiring blogger. I’m so glad she’s my blogging friend and I’m really grateful that she nominated me for this award. Also, thank you for your constant encouraging comments! Keep blogging, TheOriginalPhoenix!

 

My Nominees:

  1. michaeljfite: There is not a day when I don’t enjoy his posts. Not only are they incredibly motivating, but the topics are quite unique. Makes me see my life differently sometimes.
  2. Southern by Design: Not only are her posts interesting and inspirational, but also they are humorous. I believe that she successfully brings herself out into her posts, making them unique in her own style.
  3. unmotivatedenthusiast: Very motivational posts. I especially enjoyed Spoiler alert – you exist. It has to be one of my favorite reads of all time. I recommend everyone to check it out if they have time!
  4. makingsenseofcomplications: Has a very interesting mind, not to mention writing style. Surprises me and really makes me think with scholarly thoughts and unique topics.
  5. Morgan: One of my favorite blogging poets. Her prose is like her own amazing language full of diverse emotions and imagery.
  6. Eman Sherif: I enjoy reading about her thoughts on various topics. Makes me think about my attitude towards life.
  7. iglengel: Wonderful and humorous writing!
  8. lifeoftaiblog: I learned a lot from her posts.
  9. mySestina: A wonderful person devoted to blogging. Writes thoughtful poems and gives tips on how to make a blog more popular.
  10. breathingpark: Posts really makes me think.
  11. Jess Wen: Motivational and amusing posts~
  12. Gbolabo Adetunji: A fantastic poet and writer of motivational posts.
  13. PsychPerspectives: Wonderful posts diving into psychology that really make you think.
  14. JR Littlejohn: I love the writing posts that give me so much helpful advice!
  15. Sonali Mukherjee: I enjoy her blog as I enjoy a good book of poems.