27 January 2013

Columbia in January

Because I am on my school's debate team, I am having the wonderful opportunity to go to New York City to compete in the Columbia University High School Debate Tournament. This is one of the largest and by far the most prestigious tournaments I've been to. Names of school attending this tournament include Bronx Science, Styuveseant, Lexington, and Walt Whitman. I'd recommend going to some of their wikipedia pages to get an idea of the type of schools they are.
Aside from learning tons and tons from these high-end east coast teams, I've learned so much that I love New York City. I can't help but constantly imagining myself living here. I am so comfortable walking the streets, living among the buildings, riding the subway and spending my time in the lights of the street signs. I love the energy and the life and after spending a few days in the city, even taking a trip out to the east river to the UN feels a tiny bit uncomfortable being in such an open space.
I love the culture and the life.
The vast amounts of languages I get to hear on a daily basis remind me how large our world is. Going to the UN reminded me that there are so many among our human race sincerely working towards making our world a better place. The ingenuity and sheer endeavor New Yorkers display on daily basis to make their way through life is inspiring. Kids at Columbia University remind how valuable an education in the big picture is and what people are willing to do to pursue that education. And somehow being surrounded by millions of people from all aspects of life make me more sure than almost any point in my life before that I believe in God. Be known by Allah or Elohim, I believe in his existence.
There is a rather cliché  statement that says in order to be able to appreciate other people, you must not only look to see the good in others, but you must look for the God in others. Les Miserables put it so poetically, "to love another person is to see the face of God". Hindus believe that God in all his complexity can only begin to be understood through look at his many different faces in lesser deities.
Being in New York surround by so many fellow member of the human race is an immersive experience into understanding the nature of man, and inevitably the nature of something that we all might stem from. And I can't help but feel so strongly that that thing that I'm just beginning to recognise in these people is God, or rather their Godly nature and potential.
Every time I step out on to the side walks of Broadway or the platform of the Subway, I get a glimpse this. And for the life of me I don't want this experience to stop. I want nothing more than to be able to live this experience daily, constantly experiencing this renewed energy and passion for life.
I love New York City. Of all the cliché statements I want to say, I want to say this more than all. I love New York and I love the east, and I don't want to leave. Or rather, I'm very much ok with leaving, however I could never keep myself from coming back.

19 January 2013

Getting Lost

Below is my the final essay I wrote for my Application to the University of Virginia. I contemplated sharing this essay with you guys while sitting in the sky bridge above main street in downtown Salt Lake City this evening. Aerielle and I were discussing what we loved about the city, and inevitably my mind drifted to this essay I had written. The topics was, "Describe your favorite place to get lost", in 250 words.

Until the summer of 2011, I would have been able to say with utmost confidence that my favorite place to get lost would have been the 1,100 acres of Tanglewood Park. From the shores of the Yadkin river, the little Chapel built in 1802 with the organ in the balcony, the lakes and the public pool to the grand manor house, it was my favorite place to lose track of time and location. When my family made the decision to relocate that summer, I took one last opportunity to say goodbye to the oaks and the brooks.

However, I am a different person now. I’ve come to better understand myself, and consequently I have indulged myself in new interests. I am no longer the creature of seclusion that I used to be. As much as I wish I could say that my most beloved places are still the woods of that park, If I am to be honest with myself, my favorite place to get lost are the streets of downtown Salt Lake City.

These two seemingly opposites continue my affinity towards life, albeit different varieties. The ever vibrant air, the constant energy emanating from new peoples each are part of the mosaic of the city. We are connected in transit and in interest; together we give the cold concrete streets and marble facades being. I find myself drawn there, wanting to be part of something larger.

In the years to come, I am curious to see where my favorite place to get lost will be, hopefully in the Old Dominion.

15 January 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing?

Here in Utah, we pride ourselves on having "The Greatest Snow on Earth".

This great and fantastic snow often comes as a minor inconvenience to people.
The snow was bad enough this time around that they canceled school on Friday for the first time in decades, and it was the first snow day for just about every single kid in my school.

I went ahead and made the most of my three day weekend. I spent a large portion of my time cuddled up with my mom on the couch, watching Arthur. Honestly, I can't imagine much better of a way to spend a snow day than with my mom.

But the days were in fact long, so in the afternoon Aerielle and I wanted to seize the day in an attempt to build a snow man! However, while Utah powder is ideal for skiing and snow boarding, it doesn't really do any good when it comes to snow man making. Or snow castle making. Or snow cave making. Or snow couch making. 
As a matter of fact, the only thing we really found a use for it in was just to jump around like kindergartners. Which really was a fantastic use.

I love my mom, and we had the opportunity yesterday to celebrate her with yummy cake and ice cream.

As might be surmised by the title of this post, tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to watch Les Misérables. 

It's been nearly 3 years since I first read Victor Hugo's novel in my sophomore seminar English class. And yet with each interpretation I am moved. Particularly with this one.

I'm an emotional boy, and winter is hard for me. I feel more or less trapped into warm indoors unable to simple meander through to where I am going. I feel trapped in the monotony of school and work life. I feel trapped by the anxious waiting for what will come tomorrow.
Winter is just not my favorite season.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

With in the limits of my human existence, I will not be a slave again. 
I will not be a slave to the monotony of emotional melancholy. I will not be the slave to an immature dissatisfaction of my surroundings. I will not be the slave of having to hide in the closet. I will not be the slave to any inferior, sublime or degrading thought that I might willingly entertain even ever so briefly in my mind.

Because I know that there is a life that is about to start, when tomorrow comes.

01 January 2013

New Years EVE

It was the perfect end to a fantastic year.

This year more than any other was full of firsts.
And if you haven't gotten that, you probably haven't been reading my blog.

The other night Aereille and I were sitting on the couch at her parents house, thinking over life and our plans for New Years Eve. We decided on attending EVE, a party in downtown Salt Lake City to spend the last few hours of 2012.

And as the end of the year comes, as is for most people we began to think back on all the things we had done. For Aerielle and I, that was a heck of a lot of things. Seeing as how we spent so much time together and became each other's best friend, when we wen't back to look at each of our years, they lined up pretty much exactly. 

Then we made a list.

A list of the top 25 things we did this year, in chronological order. 

Here it is!

1. A certain boy cheated on Aerielle.

2. Aerielle and Aaron met in Orchestra!

3. City Creek Center opened.

4. Aerielle and Aaron went to a Young the Giant Concert.

5. Aerielle and Aaron saw the Hunger Games at midnight.

6. Aerielle and Aaron ran a 5K in Centerville to raise money for trees.

7. Aaron came out of the closet!

8. Aerielle and Aaron went to Prom together.

9. Aerielle graduated. (Aaron remained in high school).

10. Aaron moved onto Aerielle's street.

11. Aerielle and Aaron spent every waking hour together for no apparent reason.

12. Aaron saw Mean Girls for the first time.

13. Aerielle and Aaron had summer adventures:

-Swimming in the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island

-Going to the Clark Planetarium

-Hiking Adam's Canyon and seeing a waterfall

-Going to Lagoon (Twice!)

-Going shopping like nobody's business

-Swimming at Grandpa's

-Riding up to the highest neighborhood in Bountiful

-Having relationship drama

-Taking lots of walks

14. Aerielle went on vacation to Arizona.

15. Aaron went on a 3 week vacation to North Carolina.

16. Aaron went to California for his sister's wedding.

17. Aaron started his Senior year. 

18. Aerielle got a job at Khol's.

19. Aaron visited Aerielle everyday at lunch.

20. Aerielle chopped off her hair.

21. Aaron had a boyfriend.

22. Aerielle moved to an apartment in Sugar House and was adorable and awesome.

23. Aerielle and Aaron had winter adventures:

-Ridding the new FrontRunner South

-Went to a Catholic service at the Cathedral of the Madeline

-Aerielle almost died

-Went shopping like nobody's business

24. Aaron went to California for his brother's wedding.

25. Aerielle and Aaron spent New Years together

It is often emotional to write blog posts. This is my place to delve into my soul and bring out what I want to share to the world. Sometimes it takes a little longer to share certain things, but in the end I have no regrets for sharing what I have on this blog for the past 3 and a half years. This blog post was a little closer to overwhelming than to emotional. But in a very good way.
The one thing I learned from 2012 more than any other is this:

And that is the simple and honest truth.

I love you guys, really so much. Thank you, each and everyone of you for being a part of my life.
Happy New Years!