Giving in to the Temporary

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I am a sentimental person, I think we’ve all established that by now. There are a lot of things, from the simplicity of college years to my relationships, that I like to keep for as long as possible—even when I know that all of it is temporary. I forget that sometimes, that can be a good thing.

Let me explain.


First of all, things that are supposed to last a while have a whole lot of pressure on them. From our expectations, our time, and the effort we do (or don’t) put into it, it’s all there. It can get overwhelming.

Because when you expect so much from one thing, whether it’s time or strength, etc. it probably also takes a whole lot of you to keep it going. Even when they’re not supposed to.

Just like our teenage years, our college years do not go on for an infinite number of days. If they did, I know I wouldn’t put so much effort into my classes. I also wouldn’t feel the need to put time into my relationships or learning or even adventuring, because I would have all the time to do it later.

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That just isn’t as fun.

You know how they say people are meant to come into your life and leave once they’re impact is done? While I can’t say I agree that it can be boiled down to that, I can say that it says a lot about what we ask of others.

Of ourselves.

If I went around asking someone to marry me, but only if we dated for six years after moving in together for two with out life plans mapped out… It wouldn’t go well. For some people, there is always such a thing of asking too much.

Here’s why I’m bringing this all up now.

It’s my senior year of college and I’m starting to lose track of who I do and don’t know on campus. From my WOWies and OL’s and now both of their own WOWies, to my adings or coworkers, the connections are almost endless. And some connections are not going to last me through to the time I graduate.

I have to be okay with that.

Maybe some of them are the people I go out with and that lasts us through for a couple months. Whether something big breaks up the group or we all just stop going out together, that doesn’t have anything to do with how much fun we could have right now.

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When it comes to my relationships, my time, and my commitments, I need to learn to give in to the temporary. I think maybe a lot of us do.

Take WOW Team for example—I spent so much time and effort and my existence on doing a good job for CCE and the people in it. Part of me forgot that by the end of The Week, all the students would have had their orientation, my WOWies would have their own, and my job would be coming to an end. After all, the “job” was never going to last forever even if maybe a few of the friendships do. Or maybe they don’t. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t let that part shouldn’t matter so much, not if it only gets in the way.

After all, this life is something we’re supposed to be living. We go out to new places, experience new things or take on new challenges, and we grow. That goes for everyone, including the people in our own lives. So as they come and go, as we change our jobs or cities or past times, we also remember to take a step back and really appreciate it.

I know, sometimes I wish that in the best moments, all things could last forever in just that way. But they can’t and you know something? It’s exhausting trying to hold something together when it’s meant to fall apart. We shouldn’t have to, I know I have in the past and maybe I’m learning that I don’t have to either.

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Because I’ve got only this last year of college left before something new and most likely temporary comes along. That’s a single year to enjoy the last of my largest years of growth and connection. From parties and going downtown to late night session or bike nights, it won’t last forever.

If it did, it wouldn’t matter so much.


Maybe there’s something you need to let go of today, or a little less pressure you need to hold it to. Do it. Change your standards, just a little bit. You might be surprised what that feels like, the freedom it can allow you.

Who knows, maybe it’ll lead you to living your best life. I know that’s my goal.

Happy Friday everyone, see you next week. 

If It Ain’t Broke…

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Sometimes I forget that even though this blog continues week by week and my age keeps going up one by one, that doesn’t mean I’m outgrowing everything I think I am. Habits, friends, tendencies, the usual. Just because we’re growing up, all of us, doesn’t mean we don’t fall back on the little things that used to work for us in the process.

Even if they’re little things that we thought worked for us, when maybe they didn’t. If it ain’t broke… Maybe we need a second opinion.

You see, here’s the thing. They say matter cannot be created nor destroyed and we know that as a fact, at least I hope we all do by now. But when it comes to social laws, are there any that say one thing that grows while another one does not can no longer fit together as it has before?

Because there should be. Either that rule has not been defined yet, or human beings simply cannot refrain from testing this rule again and again until our patience has been tested positively past worn down and weary.

As much as I wish for someone to answer that question, I think I already know what the answer is. But here’s why I’m only struggling with it (again) right now.

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When I was younger, I think grew up in people’s shadows as much as anyone else would. We’re all side characters in someone else’s story after all, whether we try to be or not. Even now I tend to have my head stuck in a book or a fictional world that really isn’t this one and I think I took my role as a reader, or that side character, a little too seriously. Always have.

So when other people that I care about or do things for or support, aren’t supporting me in the way I need them to, I wonder why. Anyone would. But then I negate all the times that I haven’t been that support for other people and realize that maybe I’ve done the same thing to people that love or support me too. After all, we’re all our own main character, we put life in terms of ourselves. Sometimes.

This is a healthy way to think, if we question ourselves when criticizing something and examine why we feel the way we do, or if the logic is one-sided rather than at least trying to see all facets of the story before claiming it to be truth. It’s good to think this way. 

Unless, of course, we then believe that we’re the problem. Consistently. I mean yes, sometimes we are. Just ask my mom about my venting or complaining about my expectations for people—the other person is not the problem, at times my expectations are just a little bit too high. Or simply incorrect.

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Other times though, she also does a really good job of reminding me that my expectations or standards for how I feel I’m treated and valued and loved and supported… Those aren’t expectations at all. They should be the set bar for how I feel in my own life and the people that impact that every moment I breathe.

Just like our habits and our tendencies, even our diets and our preferences, as we grow and figure out who we are the key people in our lives should be growing with us.

Maybe that means they grow apart; some people grow to understand that their relationship is more the check in every couple of months kind. Others realize they’re the ones we go to with the “situations” or to “spill the tea” if you know what that means. If not, check this out.

But whether or not it’s together—sometimes better for each party if it isn’t—growing does need to happen. And if we’re the ones holding ourselves back, we’re also only just hurting ourselves in the process. I can’t say I’ve always been a big fan of change; readjusting and finding new normals is hard. And scary. And exhausting. It’s supposed to be.

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Yet, that’s also where I find the best parts of the story: my story, the stories or lives I’m simply a side character in, and especially the fictional ones I get to be a part of too. Growing is necessary and the in-between, the insecure parts… That’s when almost anything can happen, when something almost always does happen. We just have to be willing to make it.

There are no right times or people or circumstances; do what you can with what you have. If what you have isn’t enough, then go find what you need and go from there.

It’s not about fitting in to what used to work or playing a waiting game, not at all. Life seems—is—a little too short for that. Take what you’ve got, and make a move. Grow. 

That’s all you can do.

What Happens in Junior Year…

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You know, every year brings something a little different than the last and I couldn’t quite tell you what I was expecting out of junior year… But it wasn’t this.

First year was all about getting the hang of college and then second year, well, that was for realizing that you never can get the hang of college. So then what about year three?

Junior year has been all about understanding the learning doesn’t quite come from the classroom. That, and realizing the learning isn’t worth anything without people who matter learning alongside you.

I think I’ve gained more people in my life this year than I’ve genuinely been friends with in my entire life. Sure, in high school we knew each other’s names and said hi in the passing periods. But this year, this year is something completely beyond that.

I walked out of the first two days of the week with 16 WOWies and a Co. Every single one of them came into this year with me and I am unbelievably proud of each of them for making it through to the end of this year with me. Between birthdays, reunions, their first finals, scholarship navigation, discovering SLO… Those WOWies and my adings, whom I care about beyond belief. All of these people, they mean the world to me.

So does the entirety of CCE—the Cross Cultural Experience became my family. I’ve never found so much talent, pride, energy, love, culture, and life hidden in a group of people. That’s over 300 students who were knitted into a community that needed them just as much as they needed it.

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And that’s before I was hired as an Orientation Facilitator in Orientation Team. A CCE Orientation Facilitator. Let me tell you, it’s one thing to be a CCE WOW Leader, it’s a whole new ballgame to be a Facilitator. Because that’s where I found 60 more people suddenly in my life and in less than four months, I learned to lead and learn and hope and dance and keep moving right alongside them. In them, I found my Team.

After all, that’s what we were “hired” to do. We were hired to evaluate, teach, mentor and lead all 16 or so of our LITs (leaders in training). All while being students and employees and volunteers who could manage it all. I have never met so many wholesome, incredible, kind, reliable people that I didn’t know existed on this campus until I became one of them. I couldn’t have done it without my CCE team. Those five Facilitators, our Lead and the board members and then the Awareness Gallery; I’ve never held such a passion, admiration, appreciation, and love for such people. Because we did THAT.

We designed the Gallery and I realized just how deep my passion for storytelling runs in my bones.

We built up a community over twice the size of what it was last year because we were right: underrepresented minority students need a space to exist as they are, to find support just to get through the one thing that we believe we are supposed to be do to succeed. Even when not everyone can get there.

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When you provide a space, it’s going to be used. And it will expand right in front of your eyes.

Just like my life did this year. Because there’s one more group that changed everything, my buddy group. Beyonce.

Bey was only a representation of who our group became, but in the space of six months, I have somehow met and grown to love 11 other people more than I have in the entirety of college. And they’ve given me so many reasons to. I want these people to be a part of the rest of my life, if they’ll have me.

Them, and my roommates. Sure, Nick is stuck with me, but I do have another.

And not to jinx it or anything, but I’ve grown immensely with her. She’s the one I look forward to coming home to lay around the living room with every night, reminiscing and spilling tea and supporting… From Slo days to this day, she is one more person I want in the rest of my life. If she’ll have me.

And you, if you’ll have me too.

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Because the only other person who has seen it all happen is you. Every step of the way. It’s been a lot, right? If I get to add you to the home friends who are slowly becoming life friends, and the college friends here who I hope don’t think I’m letting them go just because one of us graduates, I think I’ve got a whole lot of people in this life that make this something worth sharing. With all of you. For what happens in junior year doesn’t have to stay there, I hope it doesn’t.

If anything, junior year taught me that college isn’t about college at all. It’s about life, the ones we’ve lost and the ones moving forward beside us. It’s about experiencing it, not always knowing what it means or what comes next.

That’s what life is. And this year, I sure as hell lived it.

So that’s a wrap for my junior year of college. Here’s to whatever comes next.

It Takes Two Hands to Clap

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If anyone has parents that grew up in a different culture than they did, you’ll probably get what I mean when I say that some phrases really won’t make sense until they’re explained. It’s like my parents saying “wapiece?” when really it’s just a blending of the words “want” and “piece.” Or even “better belly buss than good food waste” or something about the job not being done until the paperwork is finished… Just to name a few, it’ll probably stop you for a minute just to figure it out.

So imagine my reaction when back in the single digits, my brothers and I were fighting in the grocery store over something trivial and my mom hears the “he started it, no she started it” classic. Instead of yelling at us, she spun around in the middle of the aisle and looked each of us dead in the eye, saying “It takes two hands to clap.”

None of us had any idea what she was talking about, so of course we were too confused to keep arguing. Years later though, I find myself using the phrase all the time because essentially, it’s kind of like saying it takes two to tango. Two hands to clap=everyone has a part to play in what happens.

After all, it’s never really just one person or one thing that plays into an outcome, it’s usually a lot of little things. At least two.

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Over a decade later now, imagine the look on my face when I’m thinking this as I tell my parents about something I did that week; instead of getting scolded for not putting my schoolwork first, they told me they were proud of me. Not only for putting kindness and selflessness into the world, but also for making my own choices and adjusting around it.

I said that they taught me well.

They told me that it takes more than listening to actually use what is taught and put it into practice. That’s the second hand.

You see, there are a few people in my life that I’ve known since my freshman year here and we’ve each grown together in different ways. But if there’s someone from three years ago that’s still in my life, that definitely says a lot about our relationship. So of course, when something happens and they need help, I will drop everything to make sure whatever needs to be done is done. And I make sure it’s done the way they deserve it to be.

After all, it takes two hands to clap. Some things, we truly cannot do on our own, even if we try our hardest to make it so. Why not offer a hand where we can? Especially if it’s someone or something we care about, it shouldn’t even really be a choice or just something nice of us to do.

It should be automatic.

With that being said, there is still a bit of a caveat to these situations. Just because you are capable of doing something or care to do so, that doesn’t mean we always should. Like my blog post last week (catch it here if you missed it), it’s a question of intention versus impact. If that impact hurts us more, if someone or something isn’t as good for us as we can be for it, we have to recognize that too.

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When it takes two hands to clap, they’re supposed to be meeting in the middle. Not 30 vs 70%, not 10 vs 90 %. 50/50 when at all possible, throw a little equity in there depending on circumstance, but you know what I mean. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself too.

There’s a reason most of us will have a short list of people we would take a bullet for. Even while that risk seems to grow on a daily basis, off the top of our heads, there are most likely only a few people on that list. Because there are only so many bullets we can take, and at some point, someone else is going to have to be the one to step in front of us instead of the other way around.

It has to go both ways. Otherwise, we run the risk of being used, abused, and simply tossed to the side. This applies to jobs, relationships, work, even how we treat ourselves.

Don’t be afraid to give where you can without the expectation of anything in return, but a genuine trust that you’ll get it back somehow. Slowly, I’m learning to give myself things that will not just take my effort or my love or my time and use it all, but help me grow or learn or love me back in the process.

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I know it’s unrealistic to expect something back from all that we do in this life. But the thing is, we only have one life and so much of ourselves to give within it; there’s not time to waste. Whenever you do give, make sure it’s worth it.

I know that this week, I did.

How to Start Something You Don’t Feel Ready For

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Without hesitation.

There’s really no other way to do it. When you go into something doubting your own capabilities, what you want, what might happen… You have to jump in head first. 

That’s what WOW was for me this year.

I’ll be honest, the summer was rough with two summer classes I willingly signed myself up for and a whole lot of work hours, among so much else. There was some fun in there, I promise, just not quite what I wanted to do with myself this summer. And as always, when the days rolled around to when I needed to be heading back here to SLO, I wasn’t ready.

I never am, I hate leaving home— especially because it always means I’m coming back here.

That sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well, I used to mean it.

But I don’t anymore.

You see, the way I started this year was completely different than any other. Part of the issue I’ve had at this school was finding a place to settle down into, whether it’s my major or especially my people; it’s been difficult to say the least. But I committed to WOW last year with the hope that I could find my own space in it and not “settle in” to the year, but throw myself in— there was only one way to do it.

Somehow, when you’re starting something that you don’t know if you can handle, there’s no room for hesitation. There’s plenty of space for stress, doubt, worry, hoping, finger crossing, and trying. But not an inch for hesitation.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

If I had hesitated on day 1, I wouldn’t have done WOW at all. And I wouldn’t have realized that being a minority of this campus can be hard; being a minority at a PWI with a family of minorities by your side since day 1 could also be the #1 thing that stops you from feeling like you don’t belong.

CCE is that family.

There are a few things that happened last week that made me question our collective value at this school— when all the CCE students of color get sent to the back of the building just so we can then be told a pre-scheduled event can’t happen for us, it seems a little off. And when a pre-scheduled bowling night somehow gets double booked and all 300+ of us are told to find something else to do, “a little off” is an understatement.

Or at WOW-a-rama, the event where all the WOWies basically meet each other and run around and play icebreakers as a collective whole— ask one of my CCE leaders and her kids what it was like to run through a tunnel of excited and hyped up WOW leaders, only to be called racial slurs by a transfer WOWie.

These things made me question why they would put all the students of color in groups like CCE for Week of Welcome— so they could be subjected to racism and disrespect as a group? Then I thought back to day 1, a day that was never awkward and had my group crying or supporting one another like a family from the very beginning, opening up a sharing personal things because they were comfortable on day 1.

Tell my why these kids were so happy to be a part of CCE, despite the people asking why all the “colored kids” are sitting together. Because at least before classes started and they’d then be surrounded by people who didn’t look or feel or hold a perspective like them, they would still have a foundation of family to come back to whenever they needed us.

There’s nothing wrong with white students– it’s almost like white people are being attacked or prejudiced now for simply being white and that is absolutely wrong; I am not holding anything against them. But there’s also nothing wrong with giving the minority students a safe space they know they can fall back into when they need it.

If there is anything this last week held, it was the opportunity for a home in CCE for all of the first years who were part of the program this year, and I am grateful to have been able to help give them that. College is hard after all; it’s the kind of thing 18 year olds are expected to jump into while figuring the rest of their lives out in four years along the way. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

Only if it’s done right.

This goes for anything— if you’re headed into a new job, sending the last kids off to college, deciding when/where to retire, questioning new relationships, or building back old ones, don’t hesitate.

Raise your questions if you must, tackle that doubt any way you can. Take your time and let the good or the bad things come, but don’t hold yourself back. Never hold yourself back.

Dive in head first, do not hesitate. And be ready for whatever comes next.

Need Or Want?– Learning the Difference

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Yesterday, I got to do something that I haven’t done in a really long time and probably won’t have time to do again soon: I finished a 500-page book in less than 24 hours.

It’s not that I haven’t been reading, though not nearly as much as I’d like, but I haven’t sat down and shut this world out for a while so I could trade it in for another one. Even though I have responsibilities to attend to and last minute things to take care of before I leave on Tuesday, yesterday was the kind of day that I ignored most of it and threw myself into a book instead.

It was fantastic.

One thing I think people forget to do is take a break. Whether it’s sitting down for a football game, spending some time watering plants, or even enjoying a good snack, we don’t slow down. I mean, I get it… There are a lot of things to be done in a short period of time and if we don’t do it, it may not get done.

But when is that ever not going to be true?

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Because if we’re not careful, we get so busy that our time runs out and not enough moments were spent with things we enjoy.

That book I read yesterday? Well I’ll tell you about it in a couple of weeks, but it was the kind of story that makes you take a step back and evaluate your life. For me, it reminded me how important it is not only to write, but also to read as much as I can. It’s the best form of learning for me.

So my question for you today is this: what do you get when you have a writer who doesn’t take the time to read?

Ready for the answer?

You get a terrible writer.

I tend to forget that improving my own work doesn’t always involve doing exactly what I think I need to be doing— writing. Most of the time, it’s also taking the moments and the hours to learn from what’s already been written.

We forget that what we need may not be exactly what we think it is.

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Photo by Gulyás Bianka on Unsplash

Take love for example; yes I know, a topic that I appreciate but can only write from certain points of view.

In taking my psychology course this summer, I learned that this current stage of my life is called the Intimacy versus Isolation stage by Erik Eriksson. Relationships are highly important in this stage and while a lot of us may search for love in a romantic relationship, we might let the importance of friendships fall by the wayside in the process.

Love can look like a text saying “home safe?” or even someone who takes your voice and makes it laugh, even when you don’t want it to. This can easily be a significant other— it can also be a friend. And maybe we forget to question which one we’re looking for, though in the end, what we need comes as it may. It might just take a little longer.

So what am I trying to say?

nathan-dumlao-287713I’m saying that while we go about our lives, going to school or work or running errands or remembering those breaks I talked about, take a moment to think about what you’re looking for.

And remember that what you need may not be what you think it is. So don’t close any doors yet, instead try opening the windows and see where the breeze can take you.


See you Tuesday for a new Poetry Place everyone.

Living out of Obligation

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Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Do you ever do something not because you truly want to, but because you feel like you should? I could easily be talking about work or writing or love or smiling… I could be talking about living.

In a way, I kind of am.

Let’s make this personal shall we: throughout middle school and high school, 7 years of my life, I was a runner. Here’s a concept— I hate running. Give me a 4×1, I loved it. But only if I didn’t start. Give me a triple jump or long jump, loved that too (probably more). But don’t make me run, not in a competition with a start gun and a timer.

I loved the people and the jumping. Not so much the running.

So why did I do it and keep doing it, running varsity all four years of high school and taking on team co-captain senior year?

Because I was good at it. What a shame it would have been to waste my talent right, to let my team down?

It was an obligation. Not one that I regret for the physical shape and amount of connections I made through the sport, but still an obligation.

Now think about yourself, why do we smile at strangers even when there’s nothing funny or amusing or remotely smile inducing about them? I don’t even know if it’s considered polite, we were simply always told to be kind and smile at other people. It’s an obligation of sorts.

Like the black person nod— no, I do not know every black person I see out around Folsom or Cal Poly, but that doesn’t stop me from nodding at them when I pass by. I never really questioned it, it’s just what we do.

You get what I’m saying.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When it comes to these things, from the smiling to the nodding, maybe it helps us in the long run. I know with track, I met a handful of incredible people and learned a lot about myself in the process. Even with the smiling thing, it’s paid off working in customer service and retail for the past few years. We do a lot of things out of obligatory feelings of needing to do it. Whether we’re good at it, it’s polite, it’s “the right thing to do”…

Maybe sometimes that’s a good thing. And maybe other times it’s not.

Because what happens when we do something out of obligation that in turn compromises our own intentions or integrity? Now I’m not talking about doing something out of your comfort zone, those things are important for growth and experience in the long run.

I am talking about priority.

There are a lot of things that we may do because we feel like we should and it ends up helping us too. But if we take someone else’s needs and put them above ourselves, that obligation can turn around and hurt us in the process. Think about it, I’m sure you’ve been there.

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Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Have you ever had a deadline coming up but a friend needed your help, so you put the work aside and helped them out leaving very little time for that deadline?

Or maybe you offered to help tutor a classmate or walk a coworker through something every day, only to watch your performance and time slip due to your time spent on them.

Whether they’re friends, family, coworkers… Anyone really, I understand the want to help people or to support them as best you can. Sometimes that will in turn take away from your own time or sleep, maybe even your own well-being.

There simply needs to be a line somewhere.

There is this grey area between being kind or helpful, and being a pushover. I know it’s something I’ve always struggled to find a balance in. Always putting other people’s needs in front of your own may not help them in the long run, and it definitely doesn’t help you. But never supporting others or letting yourself not be the center of your own life every once in a while doesn’t help anyone either.

The older we get, the more important our relationships become— that includes our relationships with ourselves. So find a balance in there, between obligation versus self-prioritization or self-neglect versus love and support.

sean-stratton-744839-unsplashI know it’s hard to find the line that balances the two sides out, I’ve been looking for it for years and still haven’t found it. But a life out of obligation isn’t a good one, not when you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or the wrong people. So find a balance and make sure it’s a good one…

I’ll be looking for one too.


See you Tuesday for a new Bookworms post. Happy weekend!