Making the Magic Happen

Hello Friends,

I am every excited to announce I’ll be a summer camp counselor at Camp Kesem through my college. Kesem is a nationwide organization that’s every passionate about support children through and beyond their parents cancer. We are offering innovative, entertaining programs that foster a lasting community with the kids. Kesem means magic and I want to help bring that magic and make a change in the kids life. All the money is meant to go towards the food, transportation, lodging and the activities for the children. Please help me support Camp Kesem by making a donation to the link below. Even a small amount would help every much. Thank so much for your generosity 🙂

https://donate.kesem.org/rosymathew

 

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Secret Santa

Just few weeks ago, a teenager came into the grocery store where I work. When it was time for her to pay the bill, her eyes looked so helpless. Her son who was only 3 or 2 years old was sitting in the cart crying. She looked frustrated searching for extra cash in her bag to pay the remaining balance. A gentleman next in line was so kind and willing to pay for her entire grocery.

I remember a long time back, a day before Christmas Eve, my family was driving back home from a road trip. We stopped at a restaurant to eat something. It was almost midnight and we weren’t familiar with the road. We were all tired and starving, we just wanted something to grab a bite. Everybody in the restaurant was dressed up really nice. I was slightly embarrassed to go in there because we looked like someone from the street. We just ordered a whole pizza for all us. That was the only cheapest item on the menu. As we were eating, a gentleman who was sitting right across us walked to our table and put a 20 dollar bill. Our eyes were awestruck as he wished us happy holidays. He walked away so quickly we didn’t even get a chance to thank him. We had no clue who he was and or if we’ll ever see him again, but we were so flattered by his kind gesture.

Since the holidays are just around the corner, the act of kindness and giving is in the air. Back when we used to live in New Jersey, my parents had literally nothing in their pockets. It was our first Christmas here 14 years ago, but we knew we were unfortunate to get any gifts. I was so jealous when the kids at school talked about what they wanted for Christmas. Just a week before Christmas Eve, the priest from the parish church let us know that a anonymous family wants to donate gifts and money for us. Just after coming back from Christmas Eve mass, we saw five towers of presents stacked next to the tree in the living room. The room looked so lit with the lights and all the gifts. We didn’t wait till the next morning to open the presents. We were so thrilled and filled with excitement as we were unwrapping all the boxes. That Christmas still remains to be my favorite holiday even after all these years. We woke up the next morning seeing snow for the very first time. I believed god was showering my family with his glory as we began a new life. As Christmas is approaching, I think it’s very nice to do a random act of kindness every day in the spirit of this holiday season.

The Little Drummer Boy

Ever since I was little, I loved listening to Christmas stories. There is something hidden in each one. Though, my favorite would be about The Little Drummer Boy. It’s about a little boy who wants to see the new born king (Jesus Christ). While others bring gifts to honor the newborn, the boy confesses that he is poor, and he has nothing to give on the special occasion. Instead, he plays his drum and the infant king smiles at him.

I remember hearing it on the radio at a young age. I still love listening to the renditions on my playlist especially during the holiday times because of its simple message and the catchy tune. At a casual listen, the song is so simple, and clouded with lots of “pa rum pa pum pum”. As an 8 year old kid, I saw things so simply — a little boy played the drums for baby Jesus. Christmas marks the day Jesus came to earth–with humility, acceptance and an open invitation. All he wants is us in return.

During the day of Christmas, my family gathers around the tree to open the presents. Whatever the gift is, we always joyfully accept what each person has to offer one another. Every year when I wake up at the morning of Christmas, I thank the lord almighty for letting us celebrate his name. Thanking him for giving us a beautiful home and protecting my family till now and hereafter.

When the storm came

I remember during my summer visits to Kerala during the monsoon season, how much I enjoyed this time. But it seems now it has led to the loss of hundreds of people and their livelihoods. Water levels were already high in mid-June. In a span of just two weeks, Kerala is going through it’s worst flood crisis in a century. Most of our neighbors has evacuated from their flooded homes to relief camps. Everyday Instagram stories are bombarded with images of demolished homes, people being airlifted from rooftops, kids crying watching their parents’ corpse floating away. Several people are still trapped under fallen down homes and buildings caused by the landslides. It’s so heartbreaking to see the land where I was born get washed away like that.

Even despite during this crisis, what’s really heartwarming is how much this is bringing other people together. Kerala used to be in a state where men were not allowed to sit with women in buses, mosques were segregated, political groups were protesting against each other, differences between other religion, races and the rich and poor were uprising. For the past week, fishermen are willing to lend their boats to rescue people. Celebrities and other people are coming forward to help in relief camps. My mom yesterday shared with me a video of a group of kids in the camps eating together from one plate. If only people don’t lean towards empathy and communality only when a disaster like this happens, the world would be a better place. There is nothing more important for our survival than how we treat each other. We need to train our brain to work on treating each other with respect and compassion.

For those who want to donate to the relief fund, I’ll share a link.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/237896263727840/1233833550092649/

https://www.launchgood.com/project/postcards_for_kerala_2#!/

New York Trip 2018

It’s been more than a month since my last trip to New York, I still haven’t gotten a chance to talk about my experience. I still can’t get it out of my mind those amazing few days. It was just my younger brother, my mom and myself–We been talking for months to pay my older brother and his wife a long due visit. I don’t even know where to start. It was really one of the most satisfying, exhilarating trip I had experienced in a long time with my family. I miss the days when my family used to go on long road trips. We used to tell stories, crack jokes, play games. This trip was just like the old ones. It was so good seeing my family all together after a long time.

My brother has been living here for almost two years and he always talks about how much he loves the city. Back when we first moved to the US, we initially settled in a place close to NYC. We lived in a small apartment, went to a catholic school, had few friends in the neighborhood we would hang out with, and my parents went to work while we went to school. We had a very mundane life. We had few family friends in New York, so we made frequent trips. Even though we visited New York many times before, this trip was like no other. It was so special in a way that we got the chance to see New York how the locals here see it.

Day 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our first day, we took a walk around Jersey city in the evening. The view of the Manhattan skyline from the waterfront was absolute gorgeous. The temperature was very pleasant as well. There were a group of people doing yoga. It was a sight to watch with the soothing music and the beautiful waterfront in the backdrop.

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The next morning, we started our day early to explore the neighborhood of SoHo in Manhattan. With the vast number of boutiques, restaurants and cafes in each corner of this place, it was so hard to pick which one to take a look at. We stopped at few boutiques to just get a glimpse of what the city had to offer. There were so many people selling drawings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing everywhere we look. For fashion and art buffs like myself, SoHo was literally the place to explore. In the obscure streets, cobblestone pathways, between the high brick buildings with cast iron fire escapes, you feel like you traveled back to the retro time.

We passed by Washington Square Park and grabbed a good spot by the fountain. We spent there for almost 30 minutes just catching up on old things and people watching. There were lot of local vendors selling ice cream and smoothies on the side of the road. There was a group of bangara dancers ready to perform in the center. The park wasn’t too busy even though it was a Saturday. It felt nice being outside, the weather wasn’t too hot either. What caught most of our attention was an unusually small-sized man painted in white posing before the arch. His detailed presentation was quite impressive– the stony texture of his skin, weathered look and his head covered with an off white head scarf.

[F4]+Spicy+&+Sour+Lamb+Dumplings20140623-xian-food-other-5We stopped at a nice Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was my first time trying western Chinese cuisine. We ordered Biang Noodle Soup and lamb dumplings for all of us. Our noodles came in a bowl with a variety of meat like pork, lamb and beef. It looked something close to bibimbap. It had the fiery red color, but the spices were well balanced. The noodles were chewy and the broth was so amazing.

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

After a nice lunch, we quietly walked around the south memorial pool to the oculus. We were still back in India at the time of the 9/11 attack. I remember watching the horrific news on TV, but I never felt the magnitude and the despair of those families who just lost their loved ones. A family right next to us was very emotional as they were looking at the name of their relative and putting roses by that name. The fountain is so simple yet powerful in a way that gives us hope. The oculus was so beautiful, and had a unique design spoke of promise and lightness. I loved the inside of the place more than the outside. It was around dusk when we got on the ferry. The view of the sunset was so pretty from the boat. The sky was colored in crimson gold as the sun was shining past the liberty statue.

Day 2

After morning mass, we went down to East Williamsburg to have brunch. It was a quaint, cozy brunch place in Brooklyn. Even though the line was long, it was so worth waiting. The pancakes were so delicious since they were made from scratch. We were fueled with enough energy for the day. We then took a Uber ride to Brooklyn bridge. During the ride, we got a chance to see inside of a Jewish Community. I wasn’t aware that NYC had a large Jewish community until then. There were buses and schools specifically for Jews. The women were very modest and most of them wore black. They wore pass knee length skirts along with a overcoat and a hat. There were men dressed in black and with long sideburns walking down the street. I thought the community was really far conservative compared to everything we have seen so far in New York.

As we came by the Brooklyn Bridge, we passed a bazaar underneath the Manhattan Bridge’s archway. The vibe was totally something you would feel in a middle eastern country. It had everything from modern antiques, vintage clothing to food from around the world. After spending a moderate amount of time in the market area, we headed towards the bridge. I was very surprised to find how narrow the pedestrian walkway was on the bridge. There were lot of speedy bikes zooming past us. I almost crashed into a biker because I was on the wrong side. It was quite windy up there, but it still felt really nice. The view of the manhattan skyline from the bridge was so admiring.

           

After walking across the bridge, we headed to chinatown for lunch. After a classic Chinese meal with lots of dim sums, we went searching for a place to get ourselves a massage. The dense crowds in the street did make me feel a little overwhelmed, but I really enjoyed the vibe of this street. It was around evening and there were those red Chinese lantern balls lightened up everywhere. We finally found a place where they were doing massages for reasonable prices. I went for a foot massage but there was a miscommunication due to the language barrier. It was somewhat frustrating trying to make them understand what I wanted. In the end, it all worked out and we all had something to laugh about. 🙂 Afterwards, we went for somewhere nearby to get ice cream. Even through this traditional Thai ice cream (nitrogen ice cream) has been making waves in Instagram and has become a phenomena in the US, it was my first time seeing how they actually make it. For anyone who visits chinatown whether you come alone or with your family, there is something for everyone who comes here to enjoy a little piece of China in New York City. For the rest of our week there, we mostly spent time shopping in fifth avenue, going out to eat and watching Netflix at home. I was really hoping to walk around Central park, but we were all too tired from the previous days. And we thought it’ll be nice to save something to see next time we come here.

This trip was really worth remembering and gave us a chance to look into a city that breathes its own history and culture. One of my favorite part about this trip was our long mile walks and riding the subway. It was really a different way of traveling and the best way to explore this phenomenal city. There is so much to see in each corner. In the midst of standing next to the big skyscrapers and buildings, you really do feel small in this big world. I often wonder why people move to this city. People from all walks of life come to New York to find a job, build a family and come here to discover themselves. I think it can be overwhelming sometimes, but I don’t think it’ll be any adventures living somewhere you have no challenges. It forces you to think faster and make better decisions. I am amazed at the fact how much I love New York than when I was a little child. Back in 4th grade, I hated living in New York mainly because of the crowd, lonely feeling and living here in a small apartment, but there is a beauty behind all of that. In any corner of the city, you will come upon many people working in streets, restaurants, cafes and shops to make a living. Everyone has a different style and personality and no one is judging each other. There is a huge, diverse population living here and they are all just minding their own business. At first I thought people living here do not smile very much. It’s probably because I was here for a visit and everywhere I look around, no one is smiling and they are all in a rush going somewhere. They are rushing to catch the subway to get to their job or hurrying home to make dinner for the family. If you think about it, who has the time to smile in between all that. I think if I move to the city in the future, it will make me more resilient and grow into a stronger woman.

Open your eyes

My trip to charlotte a month ago, was one of the most satisfying, spontaneous one. After my finals were over, I just wanted to stay one extra day in Greensboro before leaving home for the summer. I lied to my mom telling her that I had another final left. So that day after my last final, I walked around downtown by myself just enjoying the nice evening. I ran into a friend after a long time and we had dinner together at a nice restaurant. He invited me over to his house in Charlotte. With much hesitant, I said yes afraid how his family will perceive me. It was a two-hour drive to Charlotte. We talked about a lot of things during that two-hour drive. While I was staying at his place for the night, his family treated me like someone from their own home. They were so kind and generous to give me a room and make me feel comfortable. Even though his parents spoke a different language, they were still trying to have a conversation with me. 🙂 They told me how they immigrated from Vietnam back in the day and worked so hard to build a good life over here.

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.

This can’t be phrased any other way. It’s when we open up listening to other people’s stories from different walks of life, we gain perspective. During this past year, I found myself engaging in meaningful conversation with friends, going to intercultural events hosted by the campus, spending time with nature and writing more reflections. If I don’t have the time to sit down somewhere peacefully and write on my blog, I try to note it down on my phone. It’s been a year since I started blogging and it really helps me to express my thoughts and emotion out there. It feels good reading other blogs and interacting with an audience around the world. Recently, a blog caught my attention where it was talking about expanding your horizons. Reading that post reminded me why it’s important to open our eyes to the world. I can’t explain how much I want to be on the other side of the globe right now immersed in another culture. I hope one day I’ll able to take a break and go backpacking around the world. Even though I am not financially stable right now to be a full-time traveler, I make road trips and take up small adventures then and now like white water rafting, parasailing, scuba diving and so on.

I know people say that traveling is important to experience life. But I still get that sense of joy of experiencing different things around me. For a long time, I been so crazy about trying new cuisines –Mediterranean, Korean, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Thailand, Mexican 🙂 I often go with a friend or two and it’s really fun talking and bonding over the meal. If I can’t find a friend to dine with, I am not anxious anymore to eat in a restaurant alone. Lately, I started watching foreign films. As much as it feels overwhelming trying to read the subtitles and focus on the screen at the same time, it feels thrilling to learn a new language. Other days I love watching animal documentaries. I am not sure if it has to do with the cinematography or its close details, I get adrenaline each time I watch them. My point is that by doing these small ventures, I am able to get out of my comfort zone and expand my knowledge.

Recently I started a part-time job for the summer. Back in high school, I stayed in a job I despised so much to various reasons. After I quit that, I didn’t apply for any other job for a long time worried that I won’t be satisfied with the new one. Over the years, I learned it’s impossible to find a job you actually enjoy. I am excited about this job though, the people are very friendly and easy to work with. I am hoping to save up some money for my backpacking adventures. I know that is not going to be anytime soon, but it feels good to work towards a dream like that.

Last semester, a conversation with one of my friends about ‘The Lion King’ made me watch the movie again. It is really interesting we find ourselves going back to lot of things we used to do when we were kids. When I was a kid, I never appreciated my cousins and family back in India. Little did I know what I was leaving behind when my family came to the US. Now when I go back and visit them, I find myself more fond of them than when I was a child. I remember back when my brothers and I came back from school, my mom always prepared something for us to eat, and she would feed us one by one.

It was few weeks ago, I was working on a assignment I saw a group of kids playing together outside in the playground. They were playing broomstick, one boy being chased after the other three kids. There was a another group of kids jumping in the puddle. I was able to hear their laughter from all the way inside. I was surprised at myself how amused I was watching them play there. They laugh till dawn and let the fire within them rage. They see kindness in the world and live with soft hearts. They carry hope in their hearts, innocence in their eyes and lots of playfulness in themselves. From having the most bizarre imagination, laughing when they are cheerful, crying hard when they are sad, there is no one else that is honest as themselves.

Sleeping at Last

You smile a lot. It’s something I get a lot from people. My friends joke that I am happy even when I shouldn’t be. Smiling is probably the most beautiful remedies that exists in this world. We often fail to notice the power of touch, kindness, smile that could possibly turn a life around. People who are very close to me know that I am a person who loves to smile and laugh a lot in life. Comedy was probably one of the relief that life brought me during my dark days. Back when I was in high school, I used to go to school everyday for five days a week then come back home and lay in bed for next two days. I used to live each day as if I was dying, ridden with anxiety. It’s merely not possible to forget some things or people from our past, but it is possible how we perceive what has already happened to us. Our eyes will take some time to adjust to the overwhelming light surrounding us, but there always lies some certainty within the shortness of breath. We come across lot of other people with different stories far from ours. People who have gone through far more worse times than us, making us grateful that we are still alive even after everything we have been through. With time, we will come to realize just how rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.

I used to feel like I lived in a world where people are afraid to feel anything genuine. I used to let the negatives control my mind and allow them to control my life. I thought the world is out to get me. I looked at everything the wrong way and I really learned this the hard way. I used to lie in bed and just stare at the ceiling in the dark room. There were so many nights I had to cry myself to sleep, thinking about the things that would keep me awake all night. But I don’t want to ever be that 17 year old teenager who had some broken dreams and hopes. Nowadays, I would laugh away my worries and be happy even when life has other plans for me. It was one night during finals week last semester, I was alone in my room studying for my exam. I was so stressed out I didn’t know what to do with myself. I then put on my headphones and just started dancing to some peppy music. I could have broke down crying then, but I thought of something funny instead and laughed hysterically. If someone entered my room at that time, they would probably think I have gone insane. But I feel like that approach at that time saved my sanity. During the summer nights, I usually open my curtain and stare at the night sky. It’s really a calming experience. I still go through some days feeling melancholy and unexplained sadness, but I have learned to overcome it. I chose to surround myself with positive people and laugh whenever I can. I think that’s why my life has turned out as good as it has over the past few years.

Blind love

There was a swing hanging from a tree in the middle of the lake. He carried her across the lake far away from the shore. He pushed her on the swing. Her feet swayed against the warm water, her floral dress touching the surface of the water. Her laughter was as childlike as she went up into the air and her soft curls brushed by the coastal breeze. Their love for each other rose with the tides and it lived within the waves. She would wait for him everyday on those long wooden stairs until he came home. He awaited to embrace her and feel her tender kiss.

She was the air he breathed. He was the only light she saw through her eyes. Despite his past, she still genuinely loved him. She had a irresistible talent of seeing the beauty inside him, even perhaps he could not see it for himself. She saw the delicacy it takes to caress the broken stars. Everything except her love was getting tiresome for him. He wanted to leave everything behind and start a new life with her, but he was carrying so much burden, pain and regrets. Even as time passed, love did not overcome his emotional baggage and he believed he won’t be able to bring her nothing but darkness into her life. He left hiding her in the most beautiful place in his memories.

Little seeds

Childhood is always something special we hold onto part of our life. No matter how old we are, we never forget our childhood. I remember when I was a 5 year old how much I wanted to grow up to be a adult. I was tired of my parents treating me as a little girl. As a 20 year old, I have seen how much shades of dark lie within this world. We are disillusioned with the way the world treat us sometimes. From violence, hatred, selfishness and insensitivity. We wish to go back when we were kids. The days filled with pure innocence and laughter makes us nostalgic. But as we grow older we start to see life can be beautiful and in fact it can come out of the strangest places. It’s the passion that arises in the corner of the eye as night befalls. It’s laughing hilariously at the simplest things. Admiring a baby falling asleep in your arms. The evoke of emotion we feel when me meet someone so close to us after a long time. Forgetting to say goodbye with hopes you will see them again. Laying on the ground at night and just gazing into the starry sky. Relaxing under the clouds, feeling the soft summer breeze, watching the leaves move and the clouds transform into different shapes. Learning to move on from our past. And most of all, self discovering, even if that takes a whole life time to know what we truly seek in life. It’s something I am patiently waiting for it to happen.

I am letting life take course on it’s own instead of steering the wheel in the other direction. There was a time I used to wish things were the way they were when I was a child. But I am learning to just let things the way they are and let them align with my life right now. I am learning it’s alright to not have the answers to everything and it’s alright to be anxious about growing up. As kids, we wanted to grow up so badly to experience the complexity of life. It took me few heartbreaks, toxic people, struggles, anxiety for me to realize growing up is nothing like what I imagined from childhood and life can be really chaotic sometimes. In spite of all the madness, life can still be beautiful. Some amazing realizations emerge during these times of struggle. We learn to stop holding onto those who distance farther away from us. We learn to stop worrying what others think about us because we are unique in our own way. We learn what’s truly important and to let the rest go.

Humanity

Few months ago, I watched a ted talk that touched me deeply. The talk was about Thoughts on humanity, fame and love by Indian film actor Shah Rukh Khan. The way he shared his personal struggles and failures to his audience was really captivating. How he was orphaned at a very teenage age and how he took up roles that many other actors rejected. When he recalled how he took up the responsibility of his family after the early death of his father, it made me realize life could hit us at any time. He mentioned the sad incident with a tone of humor which shows his acceptance of what has happened in the past. In another speech, I heard him say when life hits us with all the force, we don’t give life the space to move at its own pace. Instead, we stay hurting or in despair that makes us forgetting to smile and love others.

In the midst of money making, advancing technologies and media, we sometimes forget what’s really important. We start to live in a world where we often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. We sometimes fail to see it’s the smile of a mother and warmth of a father that brings light to our life. Despite all the sufferings, despairs, hardships and losses, love should triumph all. This is particularly evident as he quotes “Whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, to build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive is perhaps the oldest and simplest emotion known to mankind and that is love.” No matter how many years pass or how developed the world becomes, humanity will always revolve in its underlying aspect of love.

Doubt of life

Sitting in front of the fire, wrapped around in warm blankets. Feeling peaceful by the stillness of the azure sea. Even when thousands of diamonds are beside, the moon seems to be in solitude. It’s silver light dazzles over the blue water. Hearing the silent cracks from the fire, my mind ponders upon such doubts. Why does the moon always stay up in the sky. Why does the sun sets and rises the next day. Why do people cry even when they are happy? Why does some people no longer exists in our life. Why does it seems those stars are smiling at us. If we had all the answers to these, would we cease to live?

Beloved

His eyes were the first to forget. The face he tenderly loved, now a blur. The voice is slowly drifting from his memory like he never heard it before. The sun settles quietly down into the basin of the lake painting the sky in gorgeous purple, crimson and gold. Standing in the middle of the wooden bridge, the man gazes upon the majestic mountains, he remembers the time they were lying beneath a tree on a winter. Admiring the beauty of the snow capped mountains veiled by the white mist. The way he felt and the way he feels will never change. Even when the clouds of uncertainty and darkness of doubt are revealed by the light of truth, he still tells his mind they are destined for each other.

Passion

There is nothing inspiring about perfection. But there is everything inspiring about passion. It’s that passion what draws us to other people. When you embody such a strong emotion that sets your soul on fire, you grow more closer to the ones who give off that energy. Look to the sea for your own reflection, but do not focus on your imperfection. Our time here is much too brief to ponder on such trivial grief. Walk your life without any fear and nurture your precious aspirations.

Focus on the infinite and everything that is contained within. Focus on a border view of reality and what ultimately it is. In a constant state of evolving, we become more than what we were yesterday. For what was lost in the hustle might shine somewhere far away. Always strive for the better and there will always be something far greater than what we think.