From Food to Family– Holidays Through the Ages

After successfully eating far too much food yesterday and continuing to munch on leftovers throughout the day, there’s nothing quite like the holidays.december-first

We all have our own traditions, like decorating the house for Christmas the moment Turkey day is over, or filling the house with Christmas music a little early because it’s never too early to get in the holiday spirit. Whatever it may be, I’m starting to see these things change as I get older, understanding what it means to “come home” for these holidays.

Getting older means changing things we ask for from what we want, to what we need.

Getting older means trying to catch up with the friends you’ve missed, the number of them back in your hometown for the holidays dwindling every year.

Growing up means working for the holidays, adding extra hours to pay for the gifts you want to buy your parents because they deserve it.

Growing up means coming home for the holidays because believe it or not, you don’t really live there anymore.

I’ve been waiting for the holiday spirit to catch me, for the need to play Michael Buble’s Christmas album all day long and put up holiday lights in my room to come back this year. Thing is, every year, I feel it just a little less. Does that mean that I’m not a big fan of the holidays or I’m Scrooge, so to speak?

No, I don’t think that’s it, I just think our priorities change with time.aaron-burden-189321

For the second year in a row, Cal Poly students have had the week off for the holiday to come home, eat food, and spend time with our families. As much as I’d like to say I’ve done a lot of sleeping and hanging out and movie watching… I haven’t, not a ton. Because we have finals coming up in two weeks, prep week a weekend away, and there isn’t a ton of time to relax.

If anything this week break has really just been more time to study and be productive while we have the ability to do so.

Now if you ask me about Christmas break, the 4 weeks we get off this year after finals, I can guarantee you I won’t be getting any more sleep but not because I’ll be spending my time productively.

As time goes by, I’m learning to look back and appreciate the time our parents put into making holidays special— they decorated the house on their days off from work, helped us make gingerbread houses that tasted a little off, even just to plan ahead in time to make our annual West Indian Christmas cake, even when they had a lot of other things they needed to be doing. Slowly things have changed, but I am happy to say, that last tradition is still going.

And my parents, well, I think they’re about ready to pass the torch. Soon enough it’ll be our turn to always be reminding them that they’re important or that they deserve to be showered with gifts; even if they just get lots of socks. I mean, think about it, it’s hard to shop for people who never make a list. It’s the effort that counts right?

city-lightsOne way or another, the holidays are here and with it comes a reminder that it’s not all about the gifts or the material side of things. It’s about the family, the time, the faith, and the love we have to share with each other. Because, whether I believe it or not, I guess being nineteen technically makes me an adult now, and the title comes with more responsibility with our own lives every year.

Yet, when it comes to this time of year and learning to appreciate where I’m at right now, I’m okay with taking that responsibility on— studying for finals and all. Because like I said, there’s nothing quite like the holidays.

Happy holidays everyone and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Here’s to what seems to be a very blessed holiday season 🙂

Behind the Curtain– What People Never Tell You

ihor-malytskyi-204553Have you ever seen those people on Instagram whose lives seem flawless, incredible travel destinations and the kind of daily life everyone hopes for? Of course you have, after all, social media is a breeding ground for high expectations and beauty on a whole new level.

But have you ever thought about everything that people don’t share on social media?

Trust me, I have. Growing up in a digital age where everything we do needs a picture or ends up online somewhere, I think it’s easy to lose track of living our own lives when we’re so busy focusing and comparing ourselves to others. I think we forget that things aren’t so cut and dry, they never have been.

We need to take a moment before judging to take a look behind the curtain.

That girl who just posted a picture with her family, all home for the holidays, as everyone smiles real big and pulls each other close… This is the first time they’ve all been smiling in the same space together in the last five years.

That boy who just tweeted about having the time of his life at the music concert of the year… He spent the last four months working overtime at three different jobs to pay for something other than his own school fees and housing. That was a gift from his boss.

pawel-janiak-312458Those adults you see, graduating, living, taking their first steps into the real world, excited to see what change they are capable of making in the next leg of their journey… Each and every one of them feels a little bit behind, worried about not finding a job, as they question whether they’re going to be secure in the future they’re heading towards.

Three job applications a day; two backup career paths lined up; one more cup of coffee with a side of optimism to keep them going.

These are the things you’re never going to see in a 280 character tweet, a beautiful instagram post, or a facebook check-in.

This is what people never tell you.

And I think we’ve strayed from this idea: that of being authentic.

I’m not saying that whenever I ring someone up at the University Store and tell them to have a good day, they need to mean it 100% when they say it back with a smile on their way out the door. People don’t need to air their dirty laundry online or talk about things they don’t want to talk about.

What I am saying is that if there are people in our lives that deserve to know we love them, or things we want to do, or a different kind of life we want to live, then why are we holding back? If someone wants to hide behind their curtain, if it’s better for them that way, then let them. But if you don’t want to automatically responddaniel-cheung-109141 “good, and yours?” when someone asks you how your day is, or dress up for a picture instead of dress down in sweatpants and be just fine, then by all means, live your life.

If you’re great, that’s fantastic. If you’re struggling, that is okay too.

Let yourself be authentic.

Because I feel like people hold themselves back too much, with friends or family or themselves. While there is a time and a place for everything, I do understand that, I think that with the right people in your life you shouldn’t have to feel the need to be anyone but yourself.

With the holiday season here and Thanksgiving only a week away, it’s a time to not only stop and think about those who have less than we do, but also to simply appreciate everything in our hands.

The family or the love or the hope or the food. Whatever we’ve got, this time of year is a reminder to appreciate it a little more, to hold on a little tighter as they say. As time goes by, things are going to change, and it’s better to have loved and lost than not at all.

You have to let people in behind that curtain and take time to be appreciative before that time slips away from you.

Preparing to head back home in two days, I think of the time that has passed and all the things that have changed. I haven’t seen half of my best friends since July, and for the other half it’s still been too long. Yet I think of the people I look forward to seeing– the ones I can be completely myself with– and I wonder about the rest of us.

For I hope you have people in your life who allow you to be genuinely yourself.

noah-silliman-407597As much as I have talked about the things in people’s lives that we don’t see, the struggles and the lives they live out of the public eye, it doesn’t mean we can’t all be a little kinder today while acknowledging our lives for what they are. We are flawed, each and every one of us, and we are not always going to know where we’re headed or what we are doing.

But in being unsure, trusting that we are all going the right direction and being thankful for the lessons along the way, one day that curtain is going to close and each one of us will have the people we need on our side of it.

If that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.

Big News and a Few Haikus

I haven’t tried my hand at metered poetry enough in my life and I’ve never been one to have a lot of big news, but today’s your lucky day— looks like I’ve got a little bit of both to share with you. andreas-kind-338509

First, the Haikus.

If you’ve been following my blog posts for a while now, you might remember that I went to a monthly show at my school called Another Type of Groove in February for the celebration of Black History Month. At the show, I watched people get up and perform countless kinds of poetry or spoken word, before being introduced to Judah 1 and his art with dirty Haikus.

Yes, those are exactly what they sound like.

But because of those Haikus, dirty or not (they were very entertaining), I was introduced to another kind of poetry that I hadn’t spent the time to be fully immersed in yet. I decided to change that.

So without further ado, here are some of my own haikus:

Number One:

jose-a-thompson-206102Open eyes that see

no light; that is not honest,

but artless facade

Number Two:

Sometimes I wonder

why you can’t understand that

you make me nervous

Number Three:

I want to wake up

and find the hole in my chest

no longer empty

prabuddha-sharma-180986Number Four:

Your body is the

foreign script I had never

learned to translate

Number Five:

They say my skin is

black but my insides still bear

a whitewashed canvas


Any thoughts on those? Feel free to leave me some comments below, I would love your feedback!

And now for the Big News:

This year at Cal Poly, I have been accepted as one of the many female writers of Her Campus. Now what is Her Campus you ask? Well, it is “the #1 new-media brand for the empowered college woman. Written entirely by the world’s top college journalists – with 11,000+ contributors and counting… supplemented by local content from 350+ campus chapters nationwide and in 11 countries.”

cassie-boca-385643.jpgYou can take a look at the national organization here, which has its own body of editors, writers, interns, etc. as a journalism and article hub for aspiring writers. If you want to take a look at the part of the organization I just joined, it is specifically Cal Poly’s female identified student body within the Chapter Network, which you can take a look at here.

As a writer, I submit pitch forms, ideas, and use the platform as a place to publish my own work as well as have a voice and network with countless incredible women who share my passions. At Cal Poly, we are ranked as as a Pink Level Chapter, meaning that we are in the top 20% of all chapters out of the 330+ across college campuses nationwide.

For me, Her Campus is a big step towards my future in both writing and publishing; it can open a lot of doors for me. This was the third time I had applied to be a writer with HC on Cal Poly’s campus and well, I guess the third time really was a charm. My first article, co-written with several other women in the club just went up this week and you can check it out right here!

So I just want to say thank you to each of you, for coming along on this journey with me and checking in every week— big things are happening andthomas-kelley-276597.jpg I can’t wait to see where I end up next (hopefully finishing my novel, but you know…)

Happy Veterans Day, thank you to all those who serve in our country, and as always, have a wonderful weekend everyone 🙂 Until next time

Road to Recovery: 5 Ways Back to Okay

anton-darius-sollers-217869You know those jokes that are so funny to you at the time, but when you tell someone else, it’s just not the same— like you kind of had to be there?

That’s a bit like life.

From the lessons we’re learning to the people we’re going to be, in the end it looks like we’re going to have to figure some things out on our own. We all have to get our hearts broken or cram for a big test to understand what we need to do better next time. It’s probably not the first time, definitely not the last. But we learn from it all the same.

Just like we learn from our own mistakes, we also learn from the places we find ourselves in and how we find our way out of them. Maybe you’re not quite feeling 100% these days or maybe you really just want to get back to where you were. Easier said than done, I know. But if you need some ideas on how to get back or simply a reminder that you can, here are 5 ways to pick yourself back up to being okay.


arnaud-mesureur-132213Get up and get out. With the weather growing cold and the rainy season just beginning, now is the prime time for excuses as to why we don’t go outdoors or cozy up all day instead. Don’t let yourself keep making those excuses. Sometimes, all you need is a little fresh air and a breath of life to remember that you’ve got a whole lot of living to do. Get out there and do it.


Hold yourself accountable. Have you ever heard that if you do something for thirty days straight, it becomes a habit? Well sometimes, all you need to do is introduce yourself into a new habit— one that you’re doing for you. Whether it’s reading, going to the gym, or something else entirely, commit yourself to finding something to look forward to every single day.


glenn-carstens-peters-190592Get going on that bucket list. Do you have a list of things that you know you want to do before you die? Why not get started on it? Nothing reminds you of what you want or who you can be like crossing things off on a bucket list. It’s about the living, the time, the effort it takes to be happy. And if you don’t like where you’re at, find a new direction to go in. Take control of where you want to be.


Music. I feel like this one explains itself, but music really can be the key to feeling good. If you need to turn up the playlist called “down in the dumps” for a little while, do it. And if you need to take Allstar by Smash Mouth and turn it all the way up, you can do that too. If you’ve ever seen Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that sometimes, you just have to dance it out. Cut an LVAD wire today? Or maybe you got yelled at by your boss for something you knew you shouldn’t have done. No matter what it was, put some headphones on and dance it out to a little Tegan and Sara, Where Does the Good Go.


ornella-binni-224982Someone out there loves you. Whether you lose sight of them sometimes or you’re surrounded by the people you care about, just remember that people love you and that you matter to this life. Hold onto the idea that “I love you” is one of those things you can’t say too many times. So say it, do it, and hold onto it. Someone out there loves you today and if that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.




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