Wise Words of a 7-Year-Old

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“What’s 1+1?”

A 7-year-old came up to me one day during work and asked this to me. Without thinking, I bluntly answered, “2.”

“Why?”

Here comes the Big Question, I thought, as I stopped what I was doing and faced him.

“Here’s 1,” I said, as I put one finger up, “and here’s another 1.” I had two index fingers sticking up in front of this boy’s face. “When you stick them together…” I positioned my two index fingers next to each other. “You get a 2.”

I could feel the boy’s eyes following every movement of my hands. “But that’s an 11.”

I looked at my two index fingers and felt as if I was caught red-handed. That did look like an 11.

I tried again. “No, there are 2 index fingers here, see?”

“Why?”

“Because you learn this in math class, don’t you? We have to accept what we learn at school because they’re thought to be the truth in this world.” This kid was messing me up.

“But if you can’t explain the reason to an answer, then it can’t be true!” The 7-year-old gave me a goofy grin and said, “I win.”

And that was true–even I could explain the reason for that. I could not explain the world’s easiest math question, and a 7-year-old had crushed me by telling me that 2 didn’t deserve to be the answer of 1+1 unless I could tell him why. I had been defeated.

This is what it’s like to work with kids. They have mind blowing perspectives that we can’t come up with, and it’s impossible not to have fun with them.

Have you been told something by a kid that took you by surprise? Leave them in the comments below! 🙂

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU

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The Perks of Being a Returnee

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I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I’m a returnee. I was born in Japan, moved to the States when I was little, and came back after a few years. In other words, I’m bilingual. And there are a couple of hardships that come with this.

-In the States, I’m too Japanese, and in Japan, I’m too American

-People constantly beg me to speak different languages (I’m sorry that I can only speak English and Japanese–I’m not a language speaking machine)

-“It’s so unfair that you’re bilingual!” is a common criticism I get

-There are some culture shocks that I can never get used to (wait, so it’s rude to slurp in the States?)

I struggled to find a place where I could actually belong for a long time. I’ve been bullied so many times just because of the fact that I’m “different” from everyone. And that was when I was introduced to my English cram school. This school made me realize the perks of being a returnee student.

-I’m a unique girl who doesn’t have to have ethnicity/nationality as a boundary

-I can eavesdrop on people who speak Japanese or English, thinking that others don’t understand (yeah, I’m sorry I’m creepy)

-“It’s so cool that you’re bilingual! I wish I could be like you!” is a common compliment I get

-I am able to understand different cultures, due to the diversity I have been exposed to my whole life

I have come to understand that it’s not where you live, what language you speak, nor what color your skin is that determines your identity. It’s what you’ve done and what you can do that matters. As cliched as it may sound, it’s only yourself who can decide your identity. Embrace it.

I have to admit–it’s not that bad being a returnee. In fact, it might actually be pretty awesome.

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU

I Promise This Isn’t Sponsored

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Now that I’ve graduated and am officially a member of the society (a.k.a no more student discounts, a.k.a my wallet is crying), I started a part-time job recently.

I work as an assistant at an English cram school. It’s not just an English cram school, though–it’s an after school program for returnees, meant to improve and maintain students’ English skills after they come back to Japan from living abroad. I used to go here for a long time.

What I love about this school is how comfortable the atmosphere is. It’s not the normal school you would imagine. Once you open the door to the school, the first thing you see is the huge lounge complemented with tons of students chattering away in English. Some are eating snacks, some are playing card games, and some are dancing to the music that is coming out from the speaker. The staircase leads to the huge library that looks like a recreated scene from Harry Potter, and the older students are burying their heads into their books while sinking into their beanbag chairs. Students who feel cramped in the Japanese society and feel like outsiders sometimes can come to this school and meet tons of other students just like them. It’s literally like a second house (look at me doing my job and casually advertising my cram school lol).

I was a student at this cram school for about 6 years. This place not only helped me get in to my dream junior/senior high school and college, but they also made me feel at home. And let me tell you, as a returnee, this wasn’t easy.

I’ll write a blog about what it’s like to be a returnee in the next blog, but for now, I just wanted to introduce this cram school to you guys. If there are any people who are curious as to what name/where it is, please feel free to comment! I’ll DM you–after all, I am a worker here now.

I’ll write more about my job later (is it just me or did the advertising part take up most of the space of this blog post? sorry).

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU

Results…

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It’s been a while. Nothing’s really changed, except for the fact that I’ve been a little bit depressed these days. Okay, maybe not a little–a lot. College results are coming in and it’s hard to have one college smile at you while another slams the word “REJECT” right into your face. This whole angel vs demon battle going on above my head is physically and mentally tiring me out.

I know that being rejected doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. I know that it simply suggests I did not happen to be a good fit for the school that year. But it still hurts. It hurts because I know that I got a chance, and it feels as if I lost it so easily. Maybe I should’ve spent more nights writing my essays. I could’ve went to a cram school to know whether I was really on the right track. Perhaps I could’ve prepared more for the interviews. Who knows, maybe I wasn’t the “perfect” girl everyone expected me to be.

I think the main reason why I’m feeling this depressed is because I feel like I’ve let so many people–and most importantly, myself–down. I used to think I was one of those people who could pursue their dreams if they tried their best, but the results show just how much I was wrong. There are smarter, more talented, and more outstanding people than me in this world–there always will. I feel so foolish for not realizing this earlier, and for believing that I had a chance of being number one.

This is why I’m not jealous of my friends who were accepted to their first-choice schools (at least, not anymore). My friends didn’t get in with a snap of their fingers; they studied, worked hard on their essays, went days without sleep, and did everything they could to pursue their dreams. I didn’t strive hard enough–I can’t blame my friends for getting accepted.

Application results have made me realize how far I still have to go. I don’t think I’m ready to say that being rejected has been the best experience ever, but I do know that I can’t sit here acting like I’m at a funeral. That’s so unlike me.

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU

Graduation, and Why I Don’t Want to Be Congratulated

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I graduated 5 days ago. And let me tell you, it’s crazy.

Having been in the same school for 6 years, it’s weird to suddenly wake up and realize you can actually sleep in. It’s weird having to carefully pick out your clothes instead of randomly grabbing your uniform. It’s weird to realize you’re no longer going to get on that same train you always take, walk that same route you always walked, see those same faces you always saw in the morning. It’s weird not belonging.

During these 5 days, so many people have given me kind words on my graduation. But one thing in common is that they all begin with the same word: “Congratulations.” My answer is, of course, always “Thank you,” but I wonder. Why do I have to be congratulated when I’m here crying in my own puddle of tears?

I couldn’t possibly express how important my school has been in my life. My school made me who I am today, and I have so much love for my teachers, friends, and the 6 years I spent there. I miss my school and I still can’t accept the fact that I’m a graduate, but no worries–people keep slamming the word GRADUATION into my face to remind me of the reality. Congratulations, you graduated! Now get your butt out of here and MOVE ON.

I know I’ll move on, eventually. As I write this, my elementary school group chat is suddenly becoming active, with several people saying they want to meet up. I don’t recognize anybody in this chat. We make friends, we forget them. It’ll probably be this way for my junior/senior high school friends as well.

But what I can say is that for now, I don’t want to forget the friends I made during the 6 years. I am so thankful for my school for bringing us together, and for providing me with these people that make this goodbye so sad.

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU

The Trick to Staying Positive (Hint: It’s Not That Simple)

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Why did I start this blog? I honestly don’t know. I don’t expect people to read this, and I might even delete this whole website if I get embarrassed reading it in the future. Whatever I do with this, hopefully, it will help me organize my thoughts.

People ask me why I can stay so positive every day. “How are you able to be smiley all the time?” “What’s the trick to always being happy?” I don’t have an exact answer. There is no simple “how”, or “trick” to staying happy–at least for me. I work my socks off every day to keep a positive mindset.

The thing is, I get upset too. It all starts with a cup of tea spilling on the table, and that whole day seems to collapse. I stub my toe on the corner of my bed. I’m late for school. I don’t give up my seat to a mother carrying a baby and I hate myself for the next few hours. And on this particular day, I just HAD to break out in the most recognizable spot so I can hate myself even more. There are days that are just “not my day”, which is why I don’t take the happy days for granted.

I guess what I want to say is, obviously, I’m not perfect. I’ll write this blog in total honesty (which, by the way, does not mean this will be a dark, nasty, Burn Book) and hopefully, it will give out some hints as to how I change a completely pain-in-the-neck event to a lesson learned. And hopefully, it will help me embrace my imperfections as well.

But who knows, I may just end up writing about the delicious dinner I had last night. Either way, I hope you enjoy this journey with me:)

Put your happy pants on and I’ll see you later,

MiKU