When I was in the sixth grade, I joined a debate team. I was hesitant at first because debates were quite intimidating to beginners. The objective was to convince a judge, or the person facilitating the debate to vote for your side. “Your side” was either pro or con, and either agreed with a statement or disagreed with it. For instance, if the topic was “Should schools sell junk food?” The pro side would agree with this statement and the con side would disagree with the statement. A typical debate round in my division, public forum, lasted around half an hour. We would have to convince the judge through a series of speeches, summaries and “crossfires” which were basically a cross-examination of the opponent. A typical debate speech lasts four minutes and usually has three contentions, or three reasons as to why your side is right and why the team you are arguing against is wrong.
After many tournaments, I improved and improved until I was debating in the advanced division, and then until I was debating in a national tournament, taking place in Alabama.
Debate has taught me a lot of things. Not only did I learn about the many controversial topics that I had to debate for, but I also learned how to research, write and persuade a person, all while maintaining my composure and articulating well.
If you really want to experience an area, you have to live like a local. New York is a pretty tourist-y place, and I can guarantee you that the tourist areas are often wastes of time and money. If you truly want to experience the true side of New York, find those hidden gem restaurants. Shop at the local fashion districts. Climb up onto a roof and bask in the lights of New York’s skyline. Live like a real New-Yorker.
Sometimes, stuff in life happens, and although it might be bad at first, it’s really funny afterward. For example, in the image above, my father and I have just taken out the GPS box built into our car. At first, we were a bit worried as to if we broke the thing, or if the GPS was going to ever be fixed. However, the absurdity of it all was quite humorous and both of us laughed at the fact that we had actually deconstructed our car. In the end, though, things worked out really well. After cleaning the circuits and intricate gears of the GPS, when we put it back in its place, the GPS started working again! It was a bit of a shock and both of us laughed again. Things find their own amazing way of fixing themselves, and DIY-ing the GPS repair saved us around 3,000 dollars.
I love my Chinatown.
I really mean it when I say this. Chinatown is a place that only very lucky cities have. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the New York Chinatown is a densely populated neighborhood, filled with a variety of foods stalls, shops, and bubble tea cafes. At first visit, Chinatown might be unsettling to you. The streets are always crowded, the area is very loud and sometimes, it doesn’t smell like a bouquet of roses. But once you look past that, Chinatown is truly an otherworldly place. I seriously don’t feel like I’m in New York anymore when I enter Chinatown. Usually, I go to Chinatown to eat whatever they have to offer. Usually, my family and I go for hotpot, spicy soup or Szechuan cuisine. Either way, we always go home with filled bellies and me fanning my mouth from the spice of some of the certain dishes. To cool down, I usually drink bubble tea too, which is slowly becoming one of my favorite drinks. At first, I thought it was really weird. Why drink and chew something at the same time? But gradually, I learned that bubble tea is an acquired taste for some, and I started to like it more and more. With our drinks, we will often walk around, either around the street, observing the foods being sold and the things up for sale, or we’ll go to a mall and window shop. Often though, we pick up fruits from Chinese groceries, as their fruits are really cheap and of good quality. After the day is done, we end up home, usually skipping dinner because Chinese food is that filling.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m on break from school is to go on a road trip to somewhere typically not too far. I live in New York, so short drives to places like Montreal or Chesapeake Bay are some of my favorite destinations to go to. There is an unexplainable comfort that comes along with riding a car along a stretched highway. Although I love traveling to other countries and other far away areas, airplane and train rides are too uncomfortable for me. I assume it’s because I’m stuck in an enclosed space with strangers for a reasonably long time. However, in the car, I’m with my family, and we can do generally anything we want without being bothered. We call the shots on where to eat, or when to stop for snacks. We can blast any music we want to play and play road games as loud as possible. Additionally, I also get extra leg space in the car, making the experience far more comfortable than any train or airplane seat.
I really love the ocean. Especially on warm summer days, the ocean is not only a relief from the heat but also a refreshing change for all the senses. The ocean makes me feel things that nothing else could imitate. Like, for instance, the smell of the ocean, which is indescribable on its own. There is a light scent of sea salt, but not so much that it becomes overbearing. There should really be more ways to describe scents. The most exhilarating part of the ocean for me is the noise though. When looming waves crash into the sand, a roar almost like a lion is released and rings in my ears, along with seagulls nostalgically cawing in the distance. It’s almost as if the song of the ocean gives me some sort of energy, I always feel like I can run for miles as long as I hear that noise every now and then. The feeling of the ocean is incredible too. Nothing will ever even come close to simulating the feeling of sand wiggling through your toes, as the seawater washes it away. Just writing about the ocean makes me feel miss it already. The sight of the oceans is absolutely breathtaking. It amazes me to think that the ocean can spread so far and wide, like a giant blanket covering the Earth, so large that I can’t see the end. Next summer, I plan to visit the ocean as much as possible. Instead of collecting seashells or building sandcastles, I just want to sit there and stare at the scenery.