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The Impact of a “Once”

     Hunting hungrily for clues, cues, patterns, and pieces, there was complete madness in my head. My eyes were sore for hours and I had a throbbing headache. The fuzzy images of the living room went in and out of focus. It troubled my vision, and my conscience was taken over. Our marbled living room floor was also in a chaotic state. It was as if a bomb had fallen directly into my home. Was I trying to decipher a difficult code or maybe even to scheme an evil plan in my young preschool mind? No, it was my first day trying to conquer a peace-offering gift after a stormy, explosive tantrum. The gift was my first 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

  My first jigsaw puzzle was the “once” that gave me a change in life. For many people, these puzzles do not make an impact in their life, at least not as big as in mine. Ever since that one day I was newly introduced to jigsaw puzzles, I have loved them. Whenever I received a new one from my dad, I would run up to it and start assembling the complicated mess. My love for these problematic puzzles made me realize something. What I realized was that everything in this world fits somewhere.

 When I was younger, there were times that made me wonder curiously about my future career. There was even a time where I thought that I could be a singer! I loved singing and sang everywhere I went, even in the shower. I claimed that my singing was extraordinary, but of course, it was not. My family had to deal with my awful singing for years and years. Much later on, I found out that my singing was like a nightmare to my family and even to my neighbors. When I felt that I did not fit into this world, I was devastated. The thought of losing a talent, a self, and a place to belong, was like having one of my limbs amputated. It wounded me so deeply that I almost lost hope of ever finding a life career. I threw a tantrum, which was even worse than my singing. This shameful event led to the introduction of my important “once.” This “once,” was my dad presenting me with a box of jigsaw puzzles.  

  I was five, almost six, when I received my 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle. I opened the gift box and stared at the numerous pieces of shapes inside. I was marvelled, even confused. The puzzle was the weirdest looking item I have ever had in my life. My dad told me that I had to look for pieces that go together, and then I would have a picture! I did not believe him. I spent hours and hours in an effort to win this battle against the puzzle, and in the end I lost that battle. My dad came back to find a crying child on the floor. At that moment, he decided to teach me how to solve the jigsaw puzzle. By the end of this incident, I was addicted to jigsaw puzzles. I had found my interest in things that proved to be complicated, and I also found out what I wanted to be in the future. I decided that I want to be a molecularbiologist.  

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The Story That No One Believes


  I am an ordinary girl, but my story makes me different. If you are a person who judges a people by rumours, then you will never know who I am. If you ask my friends or even the people who don’t really know me in TAIS who June is, they might answer you like this: “Oh! She is the one who really cares about her grades” or “She is the obedient girl who has good grades.” On the other hand, if you ask my friends in my old Taiwanese system school the same question, they will say, “She is the smart girl, but she never studies.” These
comments reveal only half of my story.  

  I was living with no emotions before I came to TAIS. I felt nothing, especially about grades. Friendship and family didn’t really mean much in my mind too. My heart and mind seemed to be covered by a plastic bag. Sleeping and playing stupid games with my friends

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Nursing Home Musing

    Music has always been a part of my life. My older siblings played the violin so I was more than eager to join in with scratchy renditions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells. They had to let me join in, otherwise they had no peace from my curious fingers plucking their violin strings as they tried to practice. My little body swelled with joy whenever Mrs. Bishop came for my violin lesson. At the age of three, I did not realize the impact music would have on me, and through me to other people, over the years. 

  I loved to play the violin but I was quite hesitant to perform in front of anyone. Thoughts of "What if I make a mistake? What if they are expect me to play better than I actually do?" constantly swirled around in my punctilious head every time I prepared to play.  Although somewhere in my demanding brain I knew that it was not true, I thought that when people asked us to play it was because they were out of “real musician” options and that our little amateur string quartet was the last resort. These negative thoughts did not help my self worth.  

As an opinionated, slightly fastidious teenager, there was one place I wished I never had to go into again, it was a nursing home. However, that was where I found myself at least once a month, breathing in the stale, putrid air of that awful death-just-around-the-corner smelling place. I was never the picture of joy and usually settle for a well practiced look of boredom. For some reason the residents’ faces always lit up with happiness to listen to my music.

  At a certain nursing home I frequented at least once a month, was a large lady in a wheelchair. She had a blank witless expression, droopy face muscles and was probably on so much medication that her mind was fogged up like condensation on a car window in the cold. I kept my disdain to myself as I set up to play. As we played and sang, the residents seemed to become so much more lively. I cannot remember the exact day this happened, but the particular lady I had been observing, month after month, seemed to wake from her inanimate slumbering. She smiled marginally and even sang along to the hymns and old choruses that we played. She knew them! While watching said lady thoroughly enjoying herself, I felt rather guilty for being so reluctant to go and spend just a small amount of time with these older people, who are shut up in a forlorn building all the time without many visitors. It was on one of these visits that I decided to be more accommodating, and to enjoy myself when I play the violin. So what if the atmosphere was unpleasant and I was terrified to touch anything in fear of contracting something deadly? I was there doing something I loved, bringing joy to the hearts of people who were deprived of love, but I had been letting my selfishness and immature response to my surrounds determined how I acted and treated others less fortunate than I was.

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Moving On

    A large lorry laden with bricks slammed into my chest. Everything froze in front of my eyes: time, my family, my thoughts. Well, that’s what it felt like. The same phrase repeated in my head: ‘They denied our green card appeal’. Tears began streaming down my
  I flashed back to the summer of 2007, my family and I moved from England to a boarding school in Tennessee, USA. Being only six years old at the time, I acclimatized quickly to the change of scenery. We were living there on a five-year visa which would expire in 2012. As the time of the visa expiration approached, my parents applied for our green cards. They filled out many forms, and sent them in. We went to a doctor’s office to receive the different shots required for the green card application.

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