New York City: Spring 2021

May 28, 2021 New York, NY, USA


This past weekend, to celebrate the closing of my senior year as well as my birthday, my mom and I drove to New York City. Usually when we visit the city, we stay in upper Manhattan, but this time we decided to branch out and stay in lower Manhattan, an area I have very rarely visited and that my mom, once a New York native, had also never spent much time exploring. 


Prior to our trip, my mom and I both received our second vaccinations for COVID-19, and though we were still quite cautious and adamant about wearing our masks when around other people, it was a relief to not be burdened with the heavy weight and fear of potentially catching the virus. And though the majority of New Yorkers, no doubt from having been hit so hard at the outbreak of the pandemic, were also still very careful, we could sense a joyful jubilation and the city felt almost alive with vitality.


While our stay was relatively short, we packed in as much adventure and exploration into our few days as we could. From visiting the beautiful Bronx Botanical Gardens to walking the Brooklyn Bridge under the beating sun, we traversed areas of the city that were either entirely new to us or that we had not seen in several years, and it was so enjoyable to experience these more unfamiliar parts of New York City.



A Weekend in Princeton, New Jersey

May 26, 2021 Princeton, NJ 08544, USA


A couple weekends ago, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, as I will be entering as a first year student this fall. While I had visited the town once before for a quick breakfast after my mom picked up furniture in the area, I had never stepped foot on campus or explored any part of the town except for the single restaurant we dined at during that singular, brief visit. 


Our recent visit turned out to be the same weekend as the graduation for Princeton's Class of 2021, and it was so nice to be able to see the campus and surrounding city during such a celebratory time. Though our visit was quite short—we spent two nights and had to depart early on Monday morning—we explored as much of the university and the city of Princeton as we could. 


As a lover of photography and videography, I of course had to bring my trusty camera with me to capture some of the moments and memories from our brief visit.


Campus


Nassau Street

Liz Cheney Ousted from Leadership: Consequences for American Democracy

May 12, 2021


Truth is essential for the survival of democracy. Despite the differences in parties and perspectives on policies, a shared respect, understanding, and acceptance of the truth should serve as a source of unification for a country. To value the truth is to be patriotic, and to reject it is to threaten the very foundations of democracy.


That is why the ousting of Republican Representative Liz Cheney is so alarming—because her removal is based in the complete rejection of fact and instead the dangerous  embrace conspiracy. Cheney, a staunch conservative, was forced out of her position not for any lack of ideological commitment or failure of leadership, but instead her refusal to propagate a baseless claim of election fraud that her Republican colleagues have adopted for the selfish reasons of bolstering their own political reputations and careers. Though I disagree with most of her conservative stances, I applaud her for having the courage and integrity to stand up against her Republican colleagues and commit to the truth—the truth that the 2020 election was a free and fair election and that it was, as countless election experts, officials, and even the former president's own appointees have stated, the most secure election in American history. 


The ousting of Cheney from office may appear to be nothing more than a typical political maneuver, a classic example of the "game of politics." Her removal from her position, though, is much more serious, as it demonstrates that one of the two major parties in the American political system has metamorphosed from a party of traditional, conservative values to one that refuses to accept the truth when it conflicts with their political agenda. Such a disrespect for truth will breed severe consequences for American democracy, and its legacy will continue to haunt the nation in years to come.

Currently: Graduating, Turning 19, & Toni Morrison

May 9, 2021


Approaching Graduation


In just under four weeks, I will be standing atop a graduation platform, walking down stone steps to accept the diploma that will mark the end of my high school career. Despite the restrictions created by the pandemic, my class of one-hundred and thirty or so students will be graduating from the same stage that decades of seniors before us have. And though I am happy to continue the tradition of completing my high school journey on the same graduation platform, unfortunately due to its rather small size, my school has restricted the number of attending guests to four people per student. I am, of course, disappointed that not all of my family members and friends will be able to attend, however I am very grateful to at least have an in-person ceremony to conclude my year.


19


Around two weeks before graduating, I will be turning nineteen years old. To celebrate, my mom and I will be traveling to New York City for a couple of days. By this weekend, we will both be fully vaccinated, and though we will of course exert caution and adhere to the same safety guidelines as we would before receiving our vaccinations, I so look forward to the sense of relief and security that will accompany our full vaccination. Though my mom has kept some of our city excursions as a surprise, I do know that we will be visiting a botanical garden exhibit entitled Kusama: Cosmic Nature at the Bronx Zoo and staying at a hotel in Lower Manhattan. I cannot wait to experience the vibrant energy of New York City that I have missed so much during the pandemic.


Recent Read: The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison


As a part of a group at my school called The Fifteen—a band of fifteen members of literature lovers in the senior class—I recently read The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. Morrison is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is beyond beautiful; it is enriching, incredibly imaginative, and lyrical. I absolutely loved her novels Beloved and Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye was no exception. I hope to read her other novels in the near future, too, such as Sula and Tar Baby. Below I have copied a description of The Bluest Eye from Goodreads.


The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves' garden to not bloom. Pecola's life does change—in painful, devastating ways. What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child's yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Toni Morrison's most powerful, unforgettable novels—and a significant work of American fiction.