Memories and Influence

Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.

-The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

In The Middle

Ever since I was born, I was always the youngest in both my mom’s and my dad’s side of the family. Most of my cousins are at least eleven years older than I was while some are only 2-5 years older and my brother is 9 years older than me. It was surprisingly easy to get along with them despite our age differences and they are always willing to help me with anything that I’m inexperienced with. However, this role of being the “youngest in the family” changed three years ago when one of my new cousins was born. I was actually so excited and happy to have a younger cousin, especially a baby cousin to play with. Fast forward to present day, I now have five younger cousins on my mom’s side! I haven’t been able to see them much due to school and isolation, but my family and I always call them and they always send pictures. To me, both my older and younger cousins inspire me to work harder but in different ways. My older cousins motivate me since I want to be as successful as they are and work hard like they do while my younger cousins do the same by making me want to set a good example for them and influence them just like I was influenced. Of course, this is something that is difficult to maintain, but it truly motivates me to work harder when other people are involved. This makes me wonder, do other people feel this way? 

Photo from Pixabay


Growing up, I was always told “you have to work hard in school and get good grades, okay?”. Like any other parent, my parents would always encourage my brother and I to do well in school, get into a good college, and get a degree. I understood why they would always say this and I would really try my best to make them proud. Unlike me, they were unable to have the opportunity to receive education and have time in school. They experienced a war at my age, which is unimaginable to me, and had to flee their homes by themselves to a new country where they don’t know the language. My parents had to stay in an unfamiliar place by themselves for years and weren’t able to reunite with their families until they were permitted to go to the US after learning basic English phrases. Once they made it to the US, they worked multiple jobs to get money and had many financial issues throughout, making much of their lives unenjoyable and difficult. Seeing how much they went through and sacrificed in their lives for me and my brother motivates me to do well and provide for them in the future like they did for me. Furthermore, I want them to be able to enjoy the rest of their lives rather than constantly worry about money. Luckily, my brother is able to help provide for the family and allows our parents to be more comfortable with their spendings, but what about me? I can’t work yet or do anything other than study. This is one of the rare situations where I wish time would go by quicker.

Photo from Pixabay

Target Adventures

When I was still a young kid, my mom used to take me to Target to buy random house necessities. I was like a magnet to the toy section and would go there almost every time to view my favorite thing, Pokemon cards. I never learned how to play the Pokemon card game but I liked collecting the cards and just looking at them in general. And, of course, as a kid I always asked my mom to buy it for me even though it was expensive and my family was not exactly financially stable. I would tell her that I would do well in school and begged and begged until she agreed. Looking back, I regret doing this so much and I feel so bad for my parents that I would do this whenever I wanted something. Even today, going to the toy section in Target still reminds me of how I acted as a kid, ungrateful and always wanting more. Whenever I see kids with their parents begging for a new toy, I always sympathize with the parent as they may not have the money to buy the item for their kid but want to get it for them since, well, they’re their child. Furthermore, their child is likely to not understand their family’s issues and will insist on buying their desired toy. This memory brings much sorrow but helps me motivate myself to work harder and give back to my parents. Some may think that I couldn’t have known since I was young, but I still feel the need to do something in return. 

Photo from Pixabay

Sunrise Beach

On a random winter day, my cousins and I decided to go to Seaside in Newport Beach and watch the sunrise with delicious food. We wore layers upon layers as it was extremely cold and went to buy the infamous ham and cheese croissants and the donuts in the early morning; luckily this place was open 24 hours a day. After getting our breakfast, we set down our towels and played music on a speaker, waiting for the sunrise with the seagulls and pigeons. There was nobody around us and there was only the sound of the waves crashing in addition to the slow music we played. We talked about random things but mostly enjoyed this surreal moment that none of us have ever experienced before. I found it so relaxing to watch the waves and listen to music while eating warming food. After around an hour of just sitting there, our parking spot was about to expire and we had to leave. However, it was just too enjoyable to the point where we went to Huntington Beach and did the same for another two to three hours. Our new area had the same ambiance as the last as it was still early in the morning and we were the only ones on the beach in that specific area. We continued to watch the waves, talk, and listen to music. After we decided that was enough seawater for us, we decided to go home. We stopped by DaVien to get coffee and parted ways, going back home. Even though this day was almost a year ago, I still remember it so vividly because of how surreal and strange it felt due to the fact that I’ve never felt so carefree in such a long time. This… This is the core memory everybody has been talking about. 

My Personal Photo

Will This Place Always Be Called Home?

I never understood why people always wanted to move out of their parents’ homes when they started going to college. Unless your college was far away or you were living in a toxic environment, I always felt as if there was no reason to move out since you have a roof over your head and food. In this place that I’ve been calling home for fifteen years now, I receive basic essentials, warmth, and love. I still don’t feel the need to move far away from my family and I prefer to stay in this house for as long as possible. But this makes me realize that one day, this place won’t be called “home” anymore; it’ll most likely be addressed as “my parents’ house” or “the house I grew up in”. I have never actually pictured myself living anywhere else until I buy my own house because I personally think that moving out is just shortening your time to spend with your family. I believe that I will always end up returning to my hometown and childhood, but this feeling is such a bittersweet concept to think about for my future self.

Photo from Pixabay

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