Author Archives: Sentiments and the Like

2020, a year of God’s sovereignty

2020 was a year of unexpected happenings. I had envisioned a comfortable year, but what transpired were events that could not be foreseen: a global pandemic hit, the dynamics of some of my friendships shifted, and studying to become a teacher challenged and stretched me in ways I did not anticipate. I struggled with an ocean of emotions and wrestled with a million questions throughout this period of time. However, looking back now, each of these events revealed to me a new thought that collectively pointed me towards God’s character.

When COVID-19 hit in March, not only were social interactions suddenly prohibited due to lockdown, but it affected the way we knew life. Routines had to be adapted to adhere to safety guidelines and downtimes were either spent quietly at home or out in the natural world rather than in regular social spaces. It was as if the world took a pause. The standstill was suffocating at times, but it forced humanity to rest. As a result, these questions came to my mind: What is the purpose to life if busyness is removed from our lives? What are humans without productivity? Prior to the pandemic, I had always been “too busy” to spend time with God. Distractions or a feeling of hurriedness would usually deceive me to move onto the next thing on my to-do list, but the sudden abundance of time allowed me to ruminate. Finally, I was brought to the conclusion what the pandemic only emphasized: God is the purpose to life and humans are worthy not because of productivity, but simply because we are created and loved by Him.

While the state of the physical world was strange, my personal world had also turned upside down. What I thought would remain constant changed, and what I worried would change stayed the same. I read the book of Job to gain insight on how Job dealt with the turn of events in his life. I did not find the answer to my questions by the end of the book, but I did learn three things: nothing that happens goes unfiltered through God’s hands; it’s okay to not know the answers; and the process is the point, as most growth tends to happen during the process of our suffering. To this day, I still do not understand what purpose the shift in my friendships served. I can only hold onto the assurance that they did not occur by mistake.

The third way in which 2020 took me by surprise were the obstacles that I faced during my short and long practicums. I felt the most hopeless I had ever felt, questioned my future, saw how weak my faith is amid trouble, and learned more about who I am through my reactions to situations. I recognized how prideful, selfish, ignorant, and ugly my core self can be. It was an eye-opening and frightening experience. Had I never noticed? As being my own saviour was impossible, God came to be mine. In my disfigured and broken state, He came to my rescue by remolding me. I had to start by changing my ways of thinking, then my habits, which then led to my actions. The process was difficult, but my God had the ability to transform me with His strength.

2020 was undoubtedly one of the most difficult years; yet, it is one which I strongly believe displays God’s sovereignty. No one could have predicted or controlled the events in 2020 nor will anyone be able to do so for 2021. However, this only makes more evident the supreme power that God possesses. We were never in control of our lives anyways. He is the King who holds the scepter for now and for forever and we are to be brought low in humility.

Romans 5:3-5 and Isaiah 55:8-9 are verses that became a running theme for me this year. The former one reminds me that none of our sufferings go to waste, while the latter one reminds me of my place in relation to God’s:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”– Romans 5:3-5

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”– Isaiah 55:8-9

Phil Wickham’s song, Battle Belongs, is also my song of the year. The battles I faced this year which had seemed impossible to overcome were only overcame because of the One who was fighting them for me. Instead of doing more in my own efforts, I learned to “fight on my knees.”

Despite the challenges of 2020, there were still many highlights that marked my year. I got to spend much time with my family, outdoors on my patio, writing, exploring the beauty of Vancouver, eating homecooked meals, and building both new and old friendships. I am grateful for the health and safety of my friends and family members and for the lessons I learned through God’s grace.

2020 marks the end of a chapter for me. I have completed my years as a student and am about to embark on a new career. In addition, hearing about my friends’ engagement plans, and seeing some of them get engaged and married has been been hitting me how fast the process of growing up is. I feel a mixture of curiosity, excitement, uncertainty, and nostalgia starting 2021 – curiosity for what is to come, excitement for the stories yet to unfold, uncertainty for the obstacles I will face, and nostalgia for the days I am leaving behind… Suddenly, life feels like it is moving very fast.

I hope that I will carry with me the reminders that direct me towards God’s sovereignty while I move into the unknowns of this year with courage, resilience, and discipline. May 2021 be a year of fresh beginnings, growth despite discomfort, truth in love, and gratitude.

The Beginning of an End

One thing that I love about watching movies is getting to ruminate on the different narratives they present. Recently I’ve been reflecting on the idea of “starting over” while watching the drama, Start-Up. In the drama, the male lead recounts the times when “the wind has become a storm,” times when his mistakes have grown to become life burdens.

When I was younger, I remember imitating the erasing of a blackboard whenever I said the wrong thing or made a mistake. It signified “starting over” for me and eased my perfectionist mind to think that things were “back to the way they were.” This made sense to me at the time, but as I grew older, I went through events that I could no longer pretend never happened. While some were easier to push aside, others remained as lingering thoughts that affected my perspectives and decisions thereafter. As a result, I tried avoiding mistakes altogether. I thought that if I didn’t make any mistakes, I wouldn’t have to erase anything.

The truth is, you and I are fallen humans and therefore, are bound to make mistakes. Maybe we couldn’t control the turn of events, we didn’t know any better, or we knew the right choice but still made the wrong one due to a lack of courage or added pressure. We cannot retrace our steps to the past and change what was lived, unfortunately. Knowing this made it all the more difficult when I watched the male lead in the drama grieve for what he lost. I almost felt like he was expressing the inner turmoil that I wish I could put into words at times. The grievance to change the past can be a burden to carry. Nonetheless, he was willing to “start over” and pursue what he wanted afterwards. He didn’t settle for complacency but for a second chance. It was inspiring to watch him work to create a different ending.

“Starting over” or resetting can take many forms: it can be taking on a new mindset, pursuing the same goal but with an alternative method, or rerouting and taking a new path altogether. An additional investment of time or effort may be required and so it can feel like a waste of time, but I want to learn to trust God with my “start-overs,” to acknowledge that He never wastes anything. I am learning to perceive destruction as sometimes necessary for the successful rebuilding of something else to occur and that even if so, I can still be within His plan.

This is a reminder for both you and I: It’s okay to grieve and wrestle with our past, but we must learn to eventually reconcile with it and with ourselves. Each day is a new chance at life. We can choose to either keep circling in our regrets or to pick ourselves back up and move forward. The present is worth living for, and there is still a chance to change the ending or if not, create a new one. An alternate path may end up being something we never knew we needed, or it could be a different kind of beautiful, right?

Finding Grace Amid My Travel Mishaps

Do you ever wonder about the timing in your life? While some situations could not possibly happen at a worse time, other events align just perfectly. Even when timing goes unnoticed, it is because of the seamless transitions which hide alternative consequences. In addition, various timelines are produced from both unpredictable events as well as choices we actively make, but to what degree one makes a difference versus the other is sometimes unknown. My mind often goes back and forth from questioning what more I could have done to prevent or allow something to trying to accept that I will never foresee all possible outcomes.

This was the case for me during my exchange in Australia. I struggled with constant regret over unaccomplished tasks, missed deadlines, and pestering thoughts of what-ifs because I knew I could have done more. I was upset at myself for something almost everyday. I felt like I kept “messing up” the timing of how things are supposed to be because of my slow and indecisive personality, and I worried that in my daily life, I was ruining God’s plan for me and so preventing Him from showing me what He wants for and from me.

Later on when I was riding the train to Katoomba, a thought suddenly popped into my head: God’s plan for me takes my personality into account. He designed the course of my life having already taken into consideration how my flaws and mistakes may interfere with it; He knows me better than I know myself. He is patient with me. Through realizing how broken I am without Him, I have finally come to understand that His grace was already and will always be enough. My mistakes still have consequences, but out of love for me, His grace extended to cover them all.

Even though I missed the deadline for on-campus student housing, I found residence from a family who only lived a 10-minutes walk away from the church I was attending. Even though I missed out on the Sydney Walking Tour, I bumped into two friends from Melbourne who I explored the city with that evening. Even though I missed out on meeting up with my friend from Vancouver and then visiting the Hillsong Church near her, I got to visit the Hillsong Church Hills Campus instead and met a group of lively, passionate students there. Just when I thought I ruined everything, He reminded me that I can still trust in Him, the One whose mercy and power redeems all.

Even now when I reflect on my university years, I see God’s grace throughout. If I had joined SFU’s Cheerleading Club any earlier or later than I did, I wouldn’t have met my close friend in university. If I had gone on exchange any year before 2017, I wouldn’t have been able to go on a field trip to Tasmania with my exchange classmates because it wouldn’t have existed yet. If I had graduated in five years instead of six, I may already be in the workforce by now, but I would have had one less year of schooling to figure out my passions. My post-grad life would have also been different because of the alignment of timing – the people I grew close with, the lessons I learned, the experiences I went through, and the time I had for self-discovery. When doing my Professional Development Program for teachers at SFU, I had the opportunity to go through the extra semester of foundation-building that did not exist for students in previous years too. It humbles and amazes me to know that God’s timing surpasses my limited, human knowledge of how timing even works. His plan is greater than any great human plan could ever be.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

(Taken on Princes Bridge, Melbourne)

Read part 1/3 and part 3/3 of the biggest lessons I learned on exchange.

To Find Myself (Goodbye Vancouver)

I recently found this journal entry I wrote before I left for my exchange to Australia:

I left Canada with a lot of questions on my mind, hoping to somehow find the answers  in Australia. Lost at the age of 22, I had an inkling that flying across the world on my own and facing the anxiety of being lost itself would do something. And that’s okay I think. It’s okay to “start over” sometimes and be built up again in a fresh way.

 Having been around familiar groups of people most of my life, I want to know who I am without referring to other peoples’ preconception of me. What characteristics do I have?
 How do I make friends? How do people perceive me as a person/friend?
 What am I passionate about (so I can have some direction of what I want to do after graduation…)?
 Can I face and overcome challenges on my own?
 What does it mean to be alone but not lonely?
 What does it mean to be free? / What does “freedom in God” mean?
 Where do I belong?
 What do I value?
 What is the other side of the world like?!
 How do Australians communicate and interact with one another?

I hope that coming back, I will have as many of these questions answered. So stoked to have a meaningful time here in Oz!

Looking back, it was definitely one of the best experiences I had during my undergrad and I am so grateful for it!

Australia: The Search for True Freedom

I am a free spirit, always yearning to break free from the mundane to experience the wild. Sometimes I run to pretend that I am running away from my problems and anxieties. To me, the physical movement of running can express my desire for the emotional or mental need to move away from something. It’s a liberating feeling and the thought of it pushes me to run even harder. As I was running on the track one day though, I realized that there are two ways to look at it – “running from” and “running towards.” Am I running towards anything? Was I running towards anything during exchange?

I had always thought freedom meant escaping to somewhere far away. I went to Australia supposing that I was escaping my problems there, but as time went on, I realized that I was still stuck with them. I left Canada feeling confined in my worries and doubts, and arrived in Australia with a new set of worries and doubts. That was when my search for freedom began. From traveling into the city to be amidst the bustle to going on day trips to secluded beaches, and from sitting in coffee shops around my neighbourhood to flying to other provinces to explore their beauty – I loved it all. However, no matter where I was, I was still me – stuck with my own thoughts and insecurities. There was nothing physical that I could do to push them away. Away, away, away… That was the problem. I was always trying to run away, but never to anything. When Jonah ran away from God because he didn’t want to go to Ninevah, he ended up getting brought back to the same situation he was running away from. And that was how I felt. So, I questioned myself: which one would be more effective – “running away from” or “running towards”?

I found my answer one Sunday afternoon. I was sitting in Anthenaeum Theatre where Hillsong Church City Campus was held, and this one line stood out to me: “We are most free when we are in God’s presence.” Suddenly, it clicked. At the time I didn’t realize it, but now I know. (And even as I know the answer today, living it out in the different seasons of my life is still a challenge each time). I was looking for something dependable but flexible, constant but not a burden. It was a search for more than just freedom; it was a search for a way out of the mindset I felt trapped in and for an escape route from the life I didn’t feel like I was living right – answers that could only be found through a renewal of the mind and Christ-given transformation. Instead of running away from my troubles, I need to run towards God. I need to find and experience freedom internally before anything external can bring me joy.

If freedom is wherever God is, then I want to be wherever He is.

(Taken at Dandenong Ranges National Park, Melbourne)

Read part 2/3 and part 3/3 of the biggest lessons I learned on exchange.

Solo Trip to Byron Bay and Sydney

June 22-28, 2017

Students who went on exchange will tell you about the exciting, Instagram-worthy life they lived and as true as this is, there are also others who struggled with belonging among strangers in a foreign land. That was me.

During my first few weeks in Australia, being alone and lonely were often synonymous to me. Since I did not live in on-campus residence or was interested in parties, I often worried about making friends. My worries slowly faded as I developed newfound friendships and integrated into my new home, but this question continued to linger in my mind: what does it mean to be alone but not lonely? People often associate being alone with negative connotations, but does being alone have to equate to loneliness? I found the answer to my question when I spontaneously went on a solo trip to Byron Bay and Sydney after my semester at Monash University finished (all too quickly).

I had spent three days in Gold Coast with a friend prior to my solo trips. When my friend had to leave on the fourth morning, I had the decision of either returning to Melbourne with her or to continue traveling on my own. The idea of solo traveling has always intimidated me, but because I was keen to explore more of the Queensland I had fallen in love with, I stayed behind. I booked for a spot on the express shuttle bus to Byron Bay and took a one-way trip there, planning to hop on the Greyhound that evening to get to Sydney by morning.

When I arrived in Byron Bay, I was blown away by its beauty! The beach seemed to be an endless stretch of sand caressed by the ocean waves over and over again. Numerous surfers dotted the vast ocean, eagerly waiting for the next best wave. I hiked along the Cape Byron Walking Track, a gorgeous coastline with spectacular views every step of the way: the Julian Rocks, Wategos Beach, and the most easterly point of the Australia mainland with an incredible lookout point across an infinite of sparkling blue. Looking beyond the horizon, it felt as if I had reached the ends of the earth. Up on the hill stood the Cape Byron Lighthouse, a historical site with a maritime museum overlooking the Pacific Ocean on one side and the landscape of Byron Bay on the other. I paused to soak in the scenery around me. Throughout the whole day, I had been alone, but not for a moment had I felt lonely; instead, I had felt free – free to be conscious of my senses, the thoughts inside my head, and my emotions. Hiking back down, my heart was brimming with joy as I skipped across the beach, captivated by the hues of gold and orange that streaked the early evening sky. I was in paradise.

The night bus to Sydney was full of young backpackers and travelers. The ride was thirteen hours long and arrived at the silent hour of five in the morning. As I crossed the intersection to get to my hostel, the flaming orange and pink sky gradually dissolved and lighter blues replaced it. The city was waking up from its quiet slumber and transforming into a bustling hub. That afternoon, I visited Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Opera House. My heart was fluttering in anticipation as photographs from travel brochures became a present reality in front of my eyes. I bumped into two classmates that night and we became friends through dinner at Chat Thai. The next morning, I took a two-hour train ride to Blue Mountains National Park in Katoomba, where I looked out from Echo Point Lookout to the grand view of the Three Sisters and hiked the Federal Pass via the Giant Stairway. Hiking alone in the hushed woods was both magical and terrifying. On the one hand, it was magical listening to the sweet calls of the Lyrebird accompany the rhythm of my breathing; on the other hand, my senses heightened due to my fear of the silence and I learned to trust them. I was lucky to be in Katoomba that day, for it was their Winter Magic Festival. Numerous street stalls selling food, trinkets, and other possessions crowded the roads. I stood in the middle of a vacant road eating a Souvlaki wrap, and as I watched fireworks illuminate the night sky, I suddenly felt a wave of contentment even amid the emptiness. On the third day, I walked the stunning Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk. For tourists and locals alike, the path is popular for its dramatic scenery, water activities, and eateries along the way. Being on my own, I was able to admire the views with awe and capture snapshots of them around every corner at my own pace. I had sushi doughnuts fresh from the Sydney Fish Market the next day with a girl also visiting from Melbourne I had come to befriend at my hostel. We later trekked the lengthy but worthwhile Spit Bridge to Manly Beach walk, a hidden gem among the locals with harbourside and Sydney skyline views. As we walked through beautiful bushland, we bonded through good conversation and laughter. We were no longer strangers by the end of the hike. I took the ferry back to Circular Quay after dinner and while gazing at the Sydney Opera House for the last time by the waters, I still could not believe that I was where I was in that moment. On the last day, I explored The Rocks, a neighbourhood of cafes in laneways, and signed up for a surf lesson with a group at Bondi Beach. Learning how to surf was exciting. I quickly learned the amount of strength it takes to surf and its demand for courage and determination became a lesson in itself. As I boarded the plane back to Melbourne that night, I whispered goodbye to Sydney as the plane took off. The orbs of street lights grew smaller and smaller until they became glistening specks.

My solo trips to Byron Bay and Sydney will always be a valuable memory. Traveling alone offered experiences that traveling with others may not have. It was exciting, freeing, and in exchange for stepping out of my comfort zone, I gained friendships with strangers, a renewed appreciation for the little things, a better understanding of who I am, and fresh perspectives on life and living. Most of all, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin and with my own thoughts. I became more conscious in how I was experiencing God too. For the times when I craved company, panicked to beat the clock, or was frightened of danger, God was my most loyal companion. So, to the ones traveling alone, preparing to travel alone, or scared to be alone, you are not lonely. There is a God up there who is always with You and you yourself who is faithfully waiting for you to love and understand them.

Pre-departure Thoughts

February 5-7, 2017

What’s it like to leave everything I’ve known and loved for almost half a year on my own? I had gotten my acceptance letter to go on exchange at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia a few months ago and was finally leaving. There was a heavy mixture of excitement and nervousness the days leading up to my departure. Even when I was saying goodbye to some of the most important people in my life, it was only starting to hit me then that I was leaving for a while… It felt odd to utter sentimental words of a farewell because although I knew I would miss them, how was it possible to mean those words completely when I couldn’t even believe that I was leaving.

When I got to the airport and was ready to leave, it wasn’t easy saying goodbye to my parents without choking on my words. I was already missing going home to them with warmly cooked food ready on the table, having them listen to me talk all about my day, and open arms to embrace me in a hug. I also received a call from my sister and a friend before I boarded the plane, and it was comforting to chat with them during my last few moments in Canada. During the first half of my flight, I sat by the window, two seats away from a huge Super Bowl fan who exploded into cheers on the quiet plane ride at random moments and a seat away from a woman who had her earphones plugged in and a book in her hand during the entire flight. Tired from staying up until 6am the night (or morning) before with last minute packing, I slept through my flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles, staring down at the snow-covered Vancouver and then at the endless sky of blue in between fluttering eyelids – the views were beautiful. Walking from one building to the other to get through customs on my own was an experience in itself. I was surrounded by people of diverse culture and ethnicity – devout monks, nervous Chinese families, hippies in silver hair and unique wear, groups of black people, and CBCs like me. I wish I could have stayed in LA to explore some more, and I wondered where everyone was going. My neighbours during the second half of my flight from LA to Australia were an elderly woman traveling with her husband and also a soon-to-be international graduate student from Mexico. I slept for half the time and then watched one and a half movies – The Great Gatsby (which I absolutely loved!) and Interstellar. The plane ride was enjoyable. I was bursting with curiosity to find out what the other side of the hemisphere looks like! Yet, it also felt like the longest plane ride ever. I’ve been on longer plane rides before and I didn’t even have enough time to finish my second movie, but perhaps the thought of being faraway from home made the distance feel further… Holding a cup of apple juice in my hand and a glass of wine in hers, the Mexican girl and I toasted to studying abroad in a new country with expectancy and smiles, and before I knew it, I was looking out onto a wide, open field of yellow grass and scattered Eucalyptus trees.

Dear Australia, you have been my dream since the beginning of my post-secondary years. I’m here – with mixed emotions of fear, excitement, anxiety, and anticipation – but I’m finally here. Here’s to five months of adventure in a country that will become my home soon.

Dare to Dream Again

“Suddenly you’re 21 and you’re screaming along in the car to all the songs you listened to when you were sad in middle school and everything is different but everything is good.”

I’ve always thought there was something about the music you grow up to listening and for me, it was music in the 2000s. Tonight was one of those nights that I wanted something familiar. Plugging in my earphones, I played the High School Musical playlist on Spotify (admit it, you were once crazy about it too), my head in the clouds, while on my one hour bus ride home. And all these sentimental feelings suddenly washed over me in an overwhelming, nostalgic sensation, as memories scurried across my mind. Do you remember that song you used to listen to over and over in your teenage years? Or the one that you promised yourself would be your wedding song someday? How about the one you made your personal anthem? It wasn’t just the songs themselves that I loved, but the memories attached to them. Hilary Duff was the girl-next-door I wanted to be like. Crazily jumping and dancing on the bed for hours with my girlfriends until we were exhausted from screaming to her Wanted CD when it first came out was the highlight of my weekends in my elementary years. Then it was Gabriella Montez. I wanted to dress like her and have cheekbones like her. My sister and I would rehearse High School Musical songs during our long road trips with our parents as the audience, blasting the tunes and attempting to harmonize even when we didn’t know how to. How faithful my sister and I were in always trying to find the most up-to-date Disneymania CD in local libraries, memorizing the names of the hottest Disneychannel stars and spending days perfecting the “And you’re watching Disneychannel” line in between commercials so that I would be prepared if I make it on there someday. When the lights dimmed and couples began to slow dance to Mariah Carey’s Bye Bye during my middle school grad, I listened to the lyrics and felt the reality of eighth grade coming to an end. I yelled to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend and The Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way for years with childhood friends, sang Jay Sean’s Down in the parking lot when my friends and I thought we were too cool for Chinese school, listened to Hillsong’s ‘Til I See You when I cried myself to sleep, repeatedly replayed Regina Spektor’s The Call when I couldn’t swallow my emotions after the Narnia movies, fangirled to David Archuleta’s self-titled CD while dreaming of someone singing those lyrics to me, and sang to all of Against the Current’s songs when I partied in the kitchen by myself with my personal anthem (still) being Outsiders because “outside, we’re lonely but we are free.” I could continue on and on… Somehow, I remember all these details.

There’s something about songs that spark inspiration, memories, and feelings that relate to the present or are brought back from long ago. They can remind you of who you were and how you first felt during that time. This depth of history and connection I felt as my HSM playlist kept playing was reminding me of who I was in the past – someone who dared to dream. Whether it was daydreaming about the the person I would grow up to be, the person I would marry, or the things I would accomplish, I have always been a dreamer. But somehow along the way, I gave up on those dreams. They seemed too good to be true and too long to get to… So wanting to catch up with everyone else, I set lower standards for myself to achieve so I can at least say I’ve checked something off the list. But what about those big dreams I once had? Why have I agreed to settle for less? Is it the pressure of society or the pressure of time? What is with the hurry in life that I give up my dreams and trade them in for complacency. I want to be daring in my dreams because I trust not in my own ability, but in God’s ability to accomplish them. When I dream small, I limit God. He has grand plans for me and His timing is made perfect according to His purpose, but I need more faith.

And now suddenly I’m 22. I miss singing to those 2000’s songs while dreaming bold dreams, and everything is so different but different can be good. I’m learning to dream big again like my younger version would have told myself to not give up doing, and this time, I want it to be with Him.

A playlist of my memories:

Wake Up by Hilary Duff (my jam while jumping on beds; I had wanted to grow up then)
I Could Get Used To This by Everlife (a song I couldn’t get over in grade 7)
Bye Bye by Mariah Carey (when the end of middle school hit me)
I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys (my childhood friends and I would burst into this whenever we saw each other)
Take A Bow by Rihanna (me and my girlfriends’ song in grade 9)
Down by Jay Sean (anthem with the Chius)
Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney (a song my sister and I always scream to, wishing that all guys could be like Jesse)
You and I Tonight by Faber Drive (a song on the CD my best friend gifted me on my 16th birthday)
Two Is Better Than One by Boys Like Girls (one of the songs I’d listen to when Joy and Mustard Seed chilled together after fellowship)
Unashamed by Starfield (a constant reminder of my worth)
‘Til I See You by Hillsong (the song that calmed me down when I cried to sleep)
Just A Kiss by Lady Antebellum (one of the songs my friends and I sang for a charity concert (our band was called Over the Rooftop))
Don’t Want An Ending by Sam Tsui (when I didn’t want my grad year to be part of the past yet)
Good Time by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen (anthem with Yours Truly)
Best Friend by Jason Chen (when I knew I wanted to fall in love with my best friend one day)
Starlit Nights by AJ Rafael (the first time I saw the magic in stars)
The World is Ours by Eleven Past One (my summers with YL)
I’m Only Me When I’m With You by Taylor Swift (when I realized that my sister is my best friend)
Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C (the first time I heard this was during my grade 5 grad; the second time was when my childhood friends were comforting me because they were all moving away to Toronto)
Gravity by Against The Current (my first concert with a best friend – a night of too much screaming for my favourite band ever)
Forces by Japanese Wallpaper ft. Airling (introduced to me by a friend who I met in AID during summer 2015; a sentiment that doesn’t let me forget my blissful time there and the amazing friends I made)
Her (Loving You) by Glades (every morning during AID, my friend would play songs to wake us up and this song was one of them)
Count On Me by Bruno Mars (the first and last song my teaching team sang together before we departed…)
Never Been Hurt by Demi Lovato (reminds me to love like I’ve never been hurt, even when I know it will)
Can I Have This Dance from High School Musical 3 (when I wished with all my heart that High School Musical wouldn’t end because it would signify the end of my childhood; when I knew nothing would be the same after people depart from places or diverge to pursue different paths)
Perfect Strangers by Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper (getting hyped for my dream-come-true exchange trip to Australia; who would I meet?)
All My Love by Hollyn (dancing with my sister this summer)
Human Diary by Danielle Bradbery (when someone important leaves my life, they take a piece of me with them)

Songs that remind me to dream:

You’re the Reason by Victoria Justice
The Best Day by Taylor Swift (life is made up of small moments)
Let’s Just Pretend by Tyler Shaw (no memory repeats)
Right Place Right Time by Olly Murs (from “Love Rosie” – the timing of my life is not in my hands)
Outsiders by Against The Current (my personal anthem, reminding me that even if I’m lonely, I am free)
When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground from the Broadway Musical, “Finding Neverland” (the process of growing up stretches us to grow – “When your feet don’t touch the earth / You can’t feel the things that hurt / And you’re free / There’s no need to come down”)
Castle on The Hill by Ed Sheeran (reminds me of my own childhood memories, of being carefree)
We’re On Fire Tonight by Audio Network (I first heard it on Jayesslee’s vlog when Sonia gave birth to a child after experiencing miscarriage; when something terrible happens, it is not the end)
Something to Believe In by New Heights (when someone walks into my life, they can change my reality)
I Will Wait For You by Us the Duo (there can be contentment in waiting)
Endlessly by The Cab
Still Into You by Paramore (“I should be over all the butterflies, but I’m into you.”)
This Is Me from Camp Rock (I was reminded of how I used to dream)
You And Me by Ben Rector (from a wedding video about distance, time, and hope)