We all want to be a good, dependable friend. There are enjoyable aspects in the moments of camaraderie. But if a certain situation happens, there is a questioning in oneself to make sure that this person is cared for and loved. But if something changes, that causes doubt to the kindess we thought was enough. The question of, "Am I a good person?" comes up. I've had it happen to myself because I am a kind person, and I want what is best for my friends. When I had a friend that was having a bad time, I took it serious because I was chosen to be this person's help for guidance. Then in time, I felt terrible when I didn't want to help someone because I had my own problems to deal with or I see that this person was having a re-occurring problem that they may have to face on their own. If I see a social media update about their mental health or a text message saying the same problem. I would feel terrible that I couldn't help because I had to stay back.
The swirling, invisible unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic has coalesced ungracefully into drastic lifestyle shifts for many across the globe. For me, this shift took the form of having to leave my student accomodation in London quite quickly to return home to the States for the foreseeable future. With this shift, my life reverted from one of young adult freedom in a sprawling metropolis, to one more similar to my highschool years in the confines of my small, leafy hometown in coastal New England. Due to the pandemic, myself and many other millennials or those of gen z, have found themselves resituated in the nuances of their youth than any life they’ve been familiar with for longer than a university break in the past few years. At a time when we’re meant to be exploring the world for some of our first times, we have had to return to our former selves and localities; some of which don’t fit us now.
She became my closest friend in China over the 5 yrs I spent in Nanjing teaching English at the University (2nd to my precious Chinese wife). I speak very little Chinese and I became dependant upon my students to help me travel and shop and perform a number of other duties both personal and professional. Most of my students were young women since very few young men in China study English. The students rountinely adopt an English name and I sometimes help them to pick a name more suitable. This student called herself "Icy" and it didn't suit her well. She is a very warm and kind hearted girl with the sweetest disposition of any of the more than 2000 students I taught. I renamed her Rachel because she reminds me of the Rachel in the Bible. In China I often had trouble trying to find products I used back in the USA and Rachel ordered these products for me on a website there called Taobao. When the packages arrived they weren't delivered to my doorstep, which was an apartment on campus but one of several dropsites on or off campus. This meant to pick up my package I had to travel with Rachel or another student to this site and somehow locate my package. The seller would send a text in Chinese to me and I would contact my student to pick it up. The students in China are so kind and helpful to Americans who teach them English. This photo was taken by my oldest daughter who joined us in China. She was very close friends with Rachel as well and we both are very grateful to her for the many times she helped us through a difficult situation. The 3 of us went out for lunch and I wish I coud have included my daughter in this photo. My dear wife is a full professor at NJAU in Nanjing where I also taught English. I will share some of our adventures in both China and in the USA over time. I am very happy to have found a wonderful wife with traditional Christian values. My wife teaches Plant pathology and also runs her own company in China promoting the dozens of patents she has on different products she has discovered and promotes. Her favorite discoveries are a biopesticide and also a biofertilizer that is gaining popularity in Europe and China. Rachel helped my family on one occasion I will never forget when my daughter became sick and had to go to the hospital. My wife was at work and Rachel helped my take my daughter to be seen. The hospital was a massive building with huge crowds in long lines in the hallways. People were smoking in the hospital which is common in China; even the attending physican who saw my dughter was smoking when we finally got seen. I have many stories to share about my time in China and I hope to share them here on voice.
Surprising your best friend on her birthday doesn’t have to be a difficult task if you plan ahead. Without spending a fortune on her birthday gift, you can still find something that would make her smile.
All ladies should have a girls night out every once in a while. It's a great stress reliever to get together with your best friends and have fun doing something you wouldn't normally do by yourself or with your kids. But if you go out with your friends with any regularity, you know that, after a while, the same old activities can become stale. You need to change things up every once in a while so that you continue to look forward to the time that you have with the girls away from spouses, boyfriends, and children. If you're looking for some great ideas to break up the same old routine, keep reading. We have a list that is sure to make your next night out with the ladies more fun than you've had in months.
It’s the first day after summer break. It’s the moment I’ve been dreaming of. First day of senior year. Normally, I would be running up and down the neighborhood screaming with glee to embrace this new journey. Unfortunately, I’m carrying something that weighs more than four elephants put together. I’ve never had to deal with anything remotely close to real life in my whole life. I haven’t even told my best friend lexi. Alexis and I have been best friends since sixth grade. She was new to our town middle school. We live in a small town called Wetherington. It’s so small that almost everyone is related, because the low supply of men. Thank god Alexis was actually new to our town and not someone who came back, then we found out we were related, and before we found out shared a small kiss on the playground. That happened to me in the second grade I found out my crush was my cousin. Our parents weren’t speaking so they didn’t care to tell us. Yea, weirdest school year ever. They ended up moving away a year before Alexis came to our school. She was 5’2 a couple inches shorter than me. She had really long pretty brown hair. Her hair was always curled she loved the way it framed her brown face. Her eyes were the lightest brown I ever seen. When she first walked in our classroom she looked scared and nervous. I invited her to sit with me and we been stuck since. If I can’t talk to her about what’s going on. Who can I talk too? I get ready for school in a blur this morning still thinking about everything that’s going on. I’m a senior I can’t handle all this pressure on my own. I need to figure something out, and I need to do it fast. I get to school trying to pretend it’s a great first day. If I pretend long enough maybe it actually will turn out to be that way. Would’ve been a great thought if I didn’t see him. My past like a ghost haunting a house! Instead the house is me and the ghost is my past. Great! Something else I have to deal with this morning. When he sees me he starts heading my way. I look around for any way to not have deal with this. At least not today, maybe next week, or next month. Just any day besides today. I divert down the hall just in enough time to keep, at least some hope of me trying to pull off pretending today all together. Then I see Lexi a familiar face. A light in the dark, a smile in the time of need. I can name so many things Lexi is, but one thing for sure she is annoying as hell. “What’s with the fit? Ms. Janet still picking your clothes out?” She laughs out loud like it’s the joke of the year and she heard it off Comedy Central. I look down at my outfit. “It’s nothing wrong with my fit. I’m making a statement today.” I protest. “Well, what’s the statement? I’m depressed and going emo?” She makes a face as she looks at my face. “Oh honey, are you okay?” Are you okay? It hung in the air as if I were zip lining and got stuck. I had to answer fast or she would really know I’m lying. “I just can’t believe everything that happened this summer with me and chad.” Remember chad? My past that’s haunting me. Well, we broke up this summer. No, that’s not what weighs like four elephants put together. He’s just some dumb guy I dated all the way from freshman year until this god awful summer. Lexi understands and just gives me a hug. Her hugs have always been the best. She always smells like she showers in daffodils. It’s always a sweet, captivating, and unique smell. Almost like she has her own perfume factory. Her smell alone takes my mind off everything. Daffodils are my favorite flower. For my 16th birthday my mom let me get a tattoo of one on my stomach. I was the first junior in our small town with a tattoo. For awhile everyone wanted to talk to me about it. “Did it hurt?” “Where’d you go?” “Can I touch it?” For a week straight that’s all I heard. After that I wore pants to cover it up. People pretty much forgot after that. Lexi and I have had at least once class together since beginning of our friendship. If we notice we didn’t, we figured a way to get a class together. Our first class is P.E. thank god it’s a easy class for the first period on this what seems already long day. I don’t think I would be able to even focus if I had calculus as my first class. Math has always been my favorite subject. I like the way it challenges me to think. Lexi’s always made fun of me for liking math, but she’s bad at it so I tutor her. Her parents told her first semester of junior year when progress reports went out and they saw she was failing they were going to hire a tutor. Instead Lexi does what she does best and lies. “Jordan’s going to tutor me. I already asked her.” Lexi’s parents love me. They say I’m a good influence on her. Since today was our first day back we just walked the track for P.E.. Of course Lexi wanted to talk about Chad. “Are to going to talk to chad?” I turn to her. “What’s to talk about? We broke up. That’s the end.” She looks at me with a “I’m sorry I brought it up look” . “I just wanted to make sure your doing fine.” “ I’m fine.” I snap. I speed up some I just need silence. I see Lexi on the side. She can tell I didn’t mean to snap and I just need a moment. We walked quietly for the rest of the period. We change out of our gym clothes and get ready for our next class. My next class is calculus, and Lexi next class is music. We make our lunch plans and depart. As I walk into my calculus class I notice someone already in there with a familiar face. OH NO! OH NO! OH NO! Now the four elephants just came crashing down on me all at once!
Do you have certain people in your life that you know are always there for you, will always check up on you, but you still don't feel there is anyone because your waiting on someone who does not do that to do that? Recently, this question came up in a conversation with my friends and I. Not until then did I realize that just like my friend I tend to focus on the people that are not there, but who I long to be there and when I do that I forget there are already people there for me. Throughout my nineteen years of life I don't know if I could tell you how many friendships and relationships became broken in my life and all I longed for were those people to reach out to me again. Sometimes we long for the people that were once there or we long for people we occasionally snapchat or text to be there. Once something breaks in my life or I feel unwanted by someone I get sad and I feel all of us do that. As humans we long to be loved and accepted. Sometimes it sounds so silly that I get so upset because there are certain people I wish that talked to me when I have so many other people in my life already. When my friend texted my friend and I about how upset he was it made me realize how much other people and their actions can do to one person. People's actions can either bring you down or make you the happiest person. Then I asked myself the question "What if that same exact person is waiting for me to reach out?" Sometimes it can be really hard to be the person to start conversation first because you are scared of the outcome or that their just talking to you out of pity. I really try to make others happy, actually sometimes my friends would tell me I am to nice for my own good because then I let people walk all over me. The thing is if my action can make someone happy then I am happy. Being the first one to reach out or start a conversation can be one of the hardest things to do, but I challenge you to do it. What is the worst that can happen? Now the tricky thing with my friends situation was that he had already reached out to these people, but then stared to realize they never did the same and that is when he became upset. He did not always want to be the one to reach out first and that makes so much sense and that can cause a deep sadness. I feel like it is easier said then done to focus on the people that are always there instead of the ones that you want to be there. I also challenge you to start trying to focus on the people that are already there. My friends always tell me that some things always come unexpectedly and the reason I believe that too is because if we are super focused on it the stuff we want to come it takes longer to come. I am not saying do not reach out to those that you want to be friends with or have some type of relationship with, but if you are the one always reaching out first try and focus more on the people already there. I have been so lucky to be blessed with people that I know will always be there and I have been cursed with the mindset of focusing on those who I want to talk to me but never do. What I just realized though is I am not really cursed with it if I try my hardest I can focus more on the people there and I think it will also make me happier in some way. I challenge you to do the same.
Hazel Richmond, a free spirited 17 year old girl, whose goal in life was to make it out of her small town. She grew up most of her life alone. Her parents had abandoned her when she was a baby, leaving her with her aunt to care for her. She didn't have much, but she was fairly smart, and rich in character, which most didn't care to understand. She was beautiful in her own way. She never had a lot of friends growing up. In fact, most kids teased her and made fun of her lifestyle because of her horrible past of her parents leaving her behind. The fact that she wasn't as fortunate as other kids, made her a target for cruel school kids in her town. But Hazel never faltered. She kept going with her head held high. Her pride was not to be taken from her. In that sense, that intimidated more than some.