Tag Archives: sadness
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Australia or my newest 6 month relocation

12 Mar

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Study Abroad.”

The question today’s prompt asked is where I would choose to go for a year if I had the chance to study abroad. Coincidentally I am currently on a study abroad program in Australia, while already being an international student in the US.

The why question is one I got a lot recently and the easiest one I can answer probably. Why not?

I am young, only 20, I am free, not bound to any job or place and when else would I get the chance to explore a new culture, meet, live and study with people my age but raised differently and simply travel some more.

My initial choice of studying in the US came easy. It was far away from my parents and my own country that I had grown disappointed in, I got a chance to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, enjoy a world-renowned education and experience a permanent summer. UCLA meant all those for me.

Leaving now for Australia was an even easier decision.

I needed a new change, a new adventure. It was again one of the furthest points I could find on a map. LA-Canberra  time difference is 18 hours. It was the best choice for a school in my field. ANU is ranked number 7 in the world for political science. I got to add number 34 to my ever growing list of countries visited and I had always had a fascination for the unknown land down under. The fact that is was actually cheaper to study here than in LA as an international student came as a bonus.

Now one month in my newest adventure I must admit I have mixed feelings. I came in overly confident that I had basically no need to adjust whatsoever. I had already been an international freshman and had done quite well. I had already moved to an English speaking country and hadn’t had any problems. I had traveled the world and never felt lonely. But I was surprised at how many challenges I encountered.

Nobody cared about me. The freshmen wanted to make friends with others who would be here as long as they were. The uperclassmen already had tightly knit groups of friends. Semesters run quite differently than the fast-paced quarter system I was used to and doing research by myself without being constantly tested requires all my determination. Tennis training proved to be a huge issue since Melbourne is the tennis capital of Australia and not Canberra. Slang use is wide-spread and I often find myself nodding and smiling and having no idea what the other person is saying. Even traffic being on the other side of the road requires daily reminders to look right before crossing. And on top of that, to my impression, Australians are so laid back and content with their country my international background and capabilities make no impression. Oh, you speak five languages, cool, let me grab another drink.

However, by all means, I do not and will not regret the decision to come here. Worse case scenario if my situation doesn’t improve I will have cut off a country from the list I mentally keep with possible ones to live in after I graduate. In any other possible course of events I emerge more mature, more confident, more open-minded, more cultured, more knowledgeable than before I left. How could someone regret that?

School here is amazing, with smaller classes and professors who insist on practicality (policy briefs instead of essays is just one example). ANU and Camberra are truly international spaces where I’ve met people from around the world. And I haven’t even begun to explore the rest of the country or the other major cities.

It’s true. I’ve had some tough days when I missed my already established routines and friends at UCLA. But I also enjoy the challenge of making it here as well. To consider myself an international citizen or part of the globalised youth I should be able to have a positive experience here. And even while eating lunch alone ( a feat I am definitely not used to ) I am certain I will find my way around. And if not, one can live through anything 6 months right?

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A lesson in humility

23 Feb

http://dailybruin.com/features/jordyn-wieber-brings-strength-to-ucla-gymnastics-team/

 

Yesterday I hinted to the disappointed I faced when I arrived at my new home, not only not becoming part of the tennis team, but also, not even being given the chance to try out and measure myself  against the girls I could feel I am close to, in terms of tennis level.

I felt I was forced to give up my dream, even when it might not have been required and of course, the alternative, pouring all that energy and dedication into something else, that I didn’t even thought it existed was not very appealing.

I joined the tennis club, only for the opportunity to be on the court, still clinging to the hope of having try-outs at one point. I figured that the only other people whom I would benefit from playing with would be in it. It was terrible for me, seeing that we didn’t have a coach, that nobody was motivated to come out and train, not just hit around and play games, and that the competition was at a much lower level than I anticipated and hoped for.

In all honesty, I wasn’t happy, and I am fairly positive that it could be seen from the outside as well. I was stuck-up, thought myself better than everyone out there and had a diva-like attitude. Do not get me wrong, I worked hard. I only lost to one girl, against whom I also when playing the normal format, was on the court longer hours than anyone else, and had the work ethic I grew up with. They were happy to have me win matches, but I wasn’t part of the club. I didn’t want to. Respectful distance was all there was.

Fast forward 8 months later. We lose in the regional championships against USC and then to UCSB. I say we, but I wasn’t even on the court. It was crushing for the team, it was devastating for me. I did not understand why wasn’t I put to play, why didn’t they use me and my initial reaction was to say to myself that I didn’t lose anything. They did. I was more worried that I would not have whom to train with anymore, that I would be unprepared for Italy, my Italy, my tournament. But then I realized how sad I was for them. Our president is graduating this year. She won the tournament her freshman year and didn’t even qualify for it in her last year. I was hurting for her. And I was hurting for me and the other freshman who will be remembered for the first in history who did not qualify for nationals.

However, it wasn’t until I read this article about US Olympic Gold winner, Jordyn Wieber that I truly realized that not only did my attitude need to change, but that I wanted it to.

http://dailybruin.com/features/jordyn-wieber-brings-strength-to-ucla-gymnastics-team/

Jordyn Wieber is an amazing athlete, sponsored by Adidas, who took the highest stage in the world and delivered at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Now, she moves the mats around for a team that she does not compete for and prepares the girls’ equipment, and she is happy.

Everyone looks up to her, respects her and is inspired by her and while she trains by herself, she does not feel like she is performing any lower duties. Or at least, this is what the article says.

I cannot imagine how someone who has a gold medal sitting at home feels in a small gym with no one to challenge her in it. Given, the gym may not be small, but we are talking about someone an entire country put faith in. I wonder how she stays motivated in this environment and what pleasure she takes in already being the best here, without even trying. I cannot comprehend this situation but I can acknowledge the beauty and honor in it.

I know that she still has access to all the facilities and everything she requires. Plus, she still trains with UCLA coaches, though not together with the team.

But, truthfully, it doesn’t matter. I just felt humbled and ashamed of myself. I will continue to work hard with my club team and for it, irrespective of my private goals and aspirations in the sport. I will hopefully take a position in a club that has allowed me to continue to cling to the prospect of me ever playing tennis at a competitive level again.

 I will honor the friends I made and smile more at practice. I can train by myself, I don’t need to ruin the fun for them. I need to realise that they were not exposed to the same schedule, intensity or level of competition and pressure that I was. And I have no right to hold it against them. For them tennis is a pleasant hobby and I should not intervene or judge.

 I will not.

Now I know that even if I make the varsity team next year, or even if I don’t, when I graduate and look back, the tennis club will be among the first things on my list of activities and organizations that have impacted me and my college life. Some of my friends will be from it. Some of the lessons I have learned will have come from it. And even some of my biggest victories will take place in it. Because I know I will have won them for someone other than me. And those will have their own flavor and place in my heart and story.

All in all, if I spend that many hours with it, I might as well start enjoying it, right? I will continue to refuse to play games at practice though, and that, nobody can hold it against me.

Tiny little racquet or My private reserve of happiness and passion

3 May

Daily Prompt: The Little Things. Describe a little thing — one of the things you love that define your world but is often overlooked.

Today’s daily prompt is something that resonated with me, as I am one of those persons who believe that live if made out of details and little things.

Perhaps because of this belief I also found it very difficult to pinpoint only one small feature of my life. But I as was starring at the blank word document in front of me, my mind frantically trying to separate one idea from the millions that were passing through it, I noticed that I was involuntarily biting at my necklace, actually the medallion on it.

And then it hit me. My entire life is somehow summed  up in that medallion and it stands for so many of my actions, my experiences, my desires, my frustrations that I couldn’t possibly find something else of that little size but of that enormous importance to me and my daily life.

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Trusting anyone is hard after a while

15 Feb

I found it difficult to convince myself to post things here for the past couple of weeks. I felt I was a hypocrite for believing that the stuff I write has any meaning or that the writing itself- any value. I missed it, so I kept writing in my diary but I didn’t trust myself enough to publish anything.

Today, I learned that perhaps trusting somebody isn’t that bad. Having been hiding all my life, pretending, trying to elude questions and maintaining a happy appearance has hardened me. Especially after the one person I confided myself in disappointed me enormously, trust became something nobody could earn from me. All I could see were false friends waiting for the opportunity to see one of my weaknesses, to use the information I would let slip against me or to their own advantage. Slowly but surely, without me even realising I began asking myself every time I spoke: “Do they need to hear this? Does this give any of my secrets away? Could they use this?” Inevitably, I stopped giving voice to many thoughts for this fear. I was never alone, being lonely would be a hint that something was not quite right, that I might not be that happy person. But I didn’t have friends either. I got along with everybody and nobody actually suspected that I didn’t particularly hang out with somebody. I was constantly on the move, gravitating between groups but never really bonding with anyone for fear of being exposed.

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Decision or Finding my desire again. I Am a Tennis Player

18 Jan

I always said my greatest fear was being mediocre and that I want to live an exciting life. Well I can assure you I got my wish. I have done some amazing things during my short life but what I feel I have gained the most is the emotional maturity I have reached.

These past two weeks in which I have not written were some of the most demanding and challenging ones I have ever experienced. And I now refer to the emotional roller coaster I have been through and not one of those exciting weeks of visiting 5 countries and trying out living to the full.

And the reason why I have not written is because I do enjoy having clarity in my posts. I want to know what I want to say and how to do it and even in my diary when writing through states of sadness or being angry or extremely happy I usually find that balance between my emotions and the peace of mind I need in order to be coherent.

In my last post I wrote about a decision I had to make and a choice that was laid in front of me. I knew the time was coming to face that question and I still felt unprepared. I had successfully avoided it for the past 10 years of my existence, it was impossible for me to sit down and solve my problem in a few days. Now, I can contently say I know the answer.

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The post I dreaded the most or Do I have to give up tennis?

2 Jan

I need to change my about page . And this is killing me.

I learned to embrace change as a positive thing some time ago. It usually means development, evolution. But today, I am uncertain if this change I need to make can in anyway be for the better. And the dramatic part is that I cannot avoid it.

In short, I am no longer a tennis player on the international junior tour. My last year as a junior has officially ended on the 31st December 2012. And today, in relation to this game I do not know how I stand and what I am.

Questions regarding my future in this sport arose again. Questions I have tried to deffer for as long as possible. That means for the last 10 years, as I have been under constant pressure from my friends, parents and teachers to give it up in order to focus on school.

I know I have always know I would not become pro. I am aware I am not that good and even if I was the career is too uncertain. Even if you have tremendous success you need to retire at 30 and rethink and restart your life over. Of course I dreamed of such a life and quietly hoped I was going to be good enough for it to become my obvious choice.  But despite my hard work and wishes it did not happen that way.

At that point where it became obvious for everyone, including me, that I did not have a future on the pro tour, I came up with the middle way between that life and quitting. I could not even start thinking of giving up, it was that painful. Playing college tennis seemed the answer. I would continue my sports career for at least four more years, have a way to fund my studying and overall be happy. Continue reading

Final thoughts or Where I will be next year

31 Dec

Today is the last day of this week’s writing challenge.

An intense week of writing and a habit I hope to continue next year. And I won’t say it’s my resolution to make sure I’ll keep it. It is also the last post of 2012.

2012 was not a bad year at all. But all the conclusions and lessons learned belong in my head and in my heart. On paper belong the thoughts for 2013.

Next year at this time I hope I will be at an amazing party with my newly made friends from the awesome university I’ll be attending, hopefully in the US or UK. No more staying with my parents on New Year’s eve at a sad table.

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