Tag Archives: Olivia

Life Prevails – Lessons from the Negev Desert of Israel

“Boom!…Boom!…” the earth trembled with hollow echoes from a distance.

“What is that?!” I gasped.

“Bombings from artillery.”

Wide-eyed with disbelief, I stared at Steve. He didn’t say anything more, and so I kept silent.

“Ta ta ta ta a ta….ta ta ta ta ta…ta ta ta ta…”

I whipped my head around again and asked, “What is that sound?”

“Machine gun sound—”

Before I even had a chance to respond, a loud noise boomed from the sky overpowering all conversation. Four F-161 fighter jets streaked right above us in a straight line over the orchard.

Steve looked me and smiled: “Don’t worry, you’ll get use to it.” Continue reading Life Prevails – Lessons from the Negev Desert of Israel

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Joani, My Second Chance

Being stuck together with your family for a year is quite a feat. When I say “stuck” I don’t mean the staying in the same house for 18 years kind of “stuck” (because I already did that). I mean really stuck. For a whole year as we traveled around the world, we shared the same food, slept in the same beds, used the same bathrooms, fought for the same computers, watched the same TV shows, and all suffered the invasion of our private space. But being “stuck” is also what brought my sister closer to me. This trip not only gave me back a sister, but also a friend.

Continue reading Joani, My Second Chance

Boy to Teenage-hood

Who is Nathan from his Sister’s eyes?

“If Olivia and Joani aren’t going, then I don’t want to go either.”—that was my little brother, Nathan, at age 5. He was refusing to go on an exclusive trip with just my parents to Vietnam, because Joani and I weren’t going. Even though my parents already applied for his visa and made arrangements he still stubbornly refused. Lots have changed since then. For one, now he would jump at a trip to go to a different country, especially if he gets to go alone without Joani or me. Of course there’s a lot more than that: he’s more talkative now, more out spoken, more adventurous, and has even acquired the teenage “attitude” and presence. Despite the changes from Nathan being a boy to a rising teenager, he still will always be my sweet, little kid brother. Continue reading Boy to Teenage-hood

Willing to be Humble – My Mom

My mom picked up her needle and thread and started working on the hole on my jeans again. This was her 5th time working on the same hole. Because of the length of our travel and the restraint in space, our limited clothing wore out quickly. Within months my jeans thinned out to the point of no return and everyday new holes would appear or old patches would break again. Despite this hopeless cycle, my mom was still willing to put time and effort into fixing my pants when even I had given up. It is such a spirit that kept me going many times in life when I wanted to give up. My mom is far from perfect, but willingness and humility are two qualities of hers that has left a deep impact on my life.

Continue reading Willing to be Humble – My Mom

Dad, My Comfort Zone

Relationships don’t happen over night; they are built. My dad and I learned this the hard way through years of practice and patience. Perhaps it was because our personalities were so similar, or how we are both so stubborn, I butted heads with my dad a lot when I was little. We fought from little things like when to say “please” and “thank you”, to the correct standards of being “fair”, to bigger things like how long I should be enrolled in Chinese school. However, through these cross fires we learned to give and take, understood each other better, and realized how to give love in a way the other could receive. He became my friend. Through our time brewing relationship, my dad has gradually become my adviser, playmate, and comforter, molding himself into someone I’m comfortable with—my comfort zone. Continue reading Dad, My Comfort Zone