TAF Real World – Week #8 of 51

Wowee! It’s already WEEK 8 (only 44 WEEKS ’til TAF)! Thanks, Kevin Lee, for sharing your inspiring personal thoughts and applications on LOVING OUT LOUD:

LOL. Love Out Loud.


It’s really hard for me to define love, to put it in words, but I think love –and this isn’t an exclusive rule—is, at a very fundamental level, founded upon memory. We know we love someone or something when we think about the good things that happened to us in our past. I know I love her because I’m just so happy and relaxed when I see her smile, or how everything around me just disappears when I look into her eyes. You know just how safe and warm it feel when you’re in one of his hugs, and that nothing else matters when he talks. The smell of mother’s cooking, the laughter when your best friend cracks a joke, the games you play with your brother. You know love because you remember what it feels to love and be loved.

For example; I remember the exact moment when I realized that TAF was like a second home, that I truly loved TAF. It was the Tuesday night of TAF’09; my first year as a TAFer, and my first year as a counselor. The PD’s had decided to show Minority Report because it addressed issues regarding Ethics and Values, and it just so happened that my co-counselor, Jessica Shen, and I had watched the movie before and knew it pretty well without having to re-watch it. Instead, we both decided it was a good time to write our campers’ their daily letters.

Now Minority Report is not your typical happy, cheerful Disney movie; it has some pretty freaky moments and it just so happened that the movie time coincided with a pretty brutal thunderstorm. The combination of Tom Cruise and the crack of thunder was scary enough to send six of the JH girls out to the Upper Union balcony with Jessica and me. We busted open the biggest bag of Skittles and the eight of us just hung out, messed around, and wrote. Now I love writing; I try to write every day, but to this day; those letters were by far the most fun I’ve ever had writing. Someway, somehow, Jessica and I decided that it was a good idea to co-write the letters together, I would write two, three lines, pass it on to her for her to read, she would write and then pass it back to me. We kept poking fun at each other, making fun of the campers and ourselves, we connected not only ourselves, but with Kevin, Willy, Tiffany, Ellery, Dorothy, Ada and Reggie.

To be honest, it’s a pretty plain moment; and there’s only one reason I why I truly remember it so vividly, but today I can confidently say that Jessica Shen is one of my closest friends; I can trust her with anything and everything, and I turn to her whenever I need to and she’s always there. If she hasn’t heard from me in a span of 30 days, she should fear for the worst. I truly love Jessica, and I will always remember that one small moment we had together.

But my most vivid memory occurred when I was seven years old. It was autumn and my brother and I were talking in this play room/study adjacent to our living room. The living room doesn’t have a door that closes on the study, instead it’s just an open arch and in that study, we have ceiling to floor sliding doors that lead out to the backyard, which had this big Oak tree filled with yellow leaves. The wind was really strong that day, so it blew a sea of yellow over the entire backyard; our pool was blanketed with yellow and the sky behind everything was covered; it was really, really beautiful.

My brother and I started talking, and apparently our mother – she was watching TV in the living room – overheard and decided to turn off the TV. That’s all I really remember because from then on, I just started watching the leaves, and instead of listening to her, I listened to the whispers of the wind through the leaves. I didn’t need to listen to her, because deep down I had already known that my father had been gone for 3 years. Telling a four and three year old that their father had passed is pretty hard for a lot of reasons; but telling a seven and six year old isn’t much easier.

Honestly, I don’t remember too much about my father. I remember playing with him and my brother on these stairways right at the lobby of this restaurant in Asia, and sitting next to him on Autopia; but that’s it. I don’t even know if I could point him out in a group of 20 people; and if I did, it certainly would take longer than the average son. It doesn’t matter though, because I remember, and I will always love him.

I’ll close with this: I think TAFers are amazing. We have the strength and heart to do so much, and we’re so dedicated to everything we love, but I sometimes think we forget to show our love to our parents, and they sometimes forget to reciprocate. A lot of it happens to deal with memory; there are so many memories we have with our parents and kids that we never take to reflect just how special they are until it’s too late. I know TAF is ending when parents come, because that’s when I begin to see the struggles. The struggles in communication, the hardship on balancing cultural differences, and pain of false futility in parents and their children… but I also see the love, the heart, the caring that’s hidden, squealing quietly behind the lion’s roar of love that was shown that week.

To be fair, I’ve never said “I love you” to either of my parents neither, to my mother who’s done such a good job raising me and my brother by herself the last 16 years of my life, to my father before I could put love to words. I haven’t until today. I love my parents and I would be nowhere without them.

After this week, there’s only 40 or so weeks left before TAF, and it’s also just another week in the year; it’s not Father’s Day, it’s not Mother’s Day. It’s just another day; which is why it’s perfect to just go out and hug your parents, to tell them that you love them, to spend time with them. It’s perfect because it’s just another memory, and hopefully it’s one you’ll never forget it.

We want to hear/see/read/experience your thoughts on LOVING OUT LOUD! Whether it’s how you showed love to someone, or how someone loved on you, or maybe even both!

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