This morning, more than usual, I miss you…
I don’t know if it’s because I’m currently reading a book that covers death and grief. Or perhaps it’s because every day, the girls’ cross country Facebook page is blown up by the hour and I’m sure you, as well as every other alumna, are thinking, “Good Lord! What more could they possibly say that they haven’t already said in person?!” But maybe it’s just because I can’t get you out of my head, and I miss you. Yes, it’s definitely the latter. Definitely the latter.
Lately I find myself complaining more. Complaining about school, about work, about life. Life. How dare I complain about something so precious, so delicate, so easily taken for granted? How dare I complain about something you were unfairly, untimely robbed of? I really want you to be here right now, to be living right now. I want you to see the world, to see what God has created beyond the confines of a classroom, of a small town. I want you to see the Aurora Borealis in the Northern Hemisphere, the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Shangri-La in Pakistan. But I’m sure you already have seen it—because you are it. Because you are the dancing light that brightens our day, the strong wind that perpetuates the water. You are life.
I promise to stop complaining.
I promise to start living.
And while it’s been said time and time again, I promise I’ll see you again;
And when we do, let’s make sure to share stories of our journeys till then.
"But it’s cross country! Why are there cliques in cross country?!"
This, my friend, is coming from my roommate, Yvette Purser. A woman from Illinois who has never set foot in California, let alone Arcadia. Yet she understands the importance of family and teamwork… completely. <3
I first met you in person from a distance. But even then, I had a sense that you weren’t the typical kid/runner-from-the-block. Perhaps it was how you carried yourself then, and even now as I remember you by. Perhaps it was how others perceived you to be with that spunky positive attitude you displayed. Or perhaps… perhaps it’s just you. I can’t put my finger on my exactly but let’s just say when I hear your name or when I think of you, the first image that pops into my head is this:
You were jumping. No, you were bouncing—bouncing with joy. You shrugged your shoulders and motioned your hands in a “whatever, it’s all good” attitude. And then you fixed your eyes on the bar, ran, and leaped. It was track tryouts and you were clearing the high jump. But what I remembered most was your smile. Throughout it all you were smiling and laughing without a care in the world. And your made others smiled too. And that was my first recollection of you; that, and hearing the words, “Oh Joyce, you would!”
But “would” what? It’s a simple question isn’t it? A question we throw around many times without much thought given to it. 3x1600s. What would Joyce do? Run it, of course. Fast boys. What would Joyce do? Check them out, of course. Teammate down. What would Joyce do? Help them up, of course. Yes, Joyce would do many things so the true question is what wouldn’t Joyce do? One thing’s for sure: Joyce wouldn’t quit. Actually, no, let me rephrase that; Joyce wouldn’t give up.
The thing about you, Joyce, is that from as long as I can remember you are incredibly consistent and strong-willed. And that is what counts most, my friend. Because even now, 2000-something miles away, that is what I love most about you and what I admire most about you. Even when you don’t realized it, you are constantly maintaining consistency where it matters most—outside of running. When your fellow teammates were down and injured, you were always there to help them—to guide them and encourage them. When the girls whined about running a difficult workout, you would jokingly join in only to inspire them to give it everything when they see you giving it your all. You are a motivator and an inspiration to many, Joyce. And I am certain your name will go down in the AHS XC History book. Heck, it already has!
Which is why I disagree when you think you can’t live without running. I think if anything, it’s the running elements that can’t live without you. Can you picture a grassy field or a rocky hill without THE Joyce Liao gracing it with her presence? Can you imagine a track field void of Joyce’s rain dance on a scorching hot day? Can you grasp the reality of walking into the locker room without seeing a spunky kid pound out hard-core abs workouts? I sure can’t. And it doesn’t end there either. I can’t imagine a lot of things without you be it running or not. Because your life isn’t just about lacing on a pair of Nike’s and hitting the mountains. And everyone, I’m certain, agrees with me that some of their fondest memories with you doesn’t involve running. To say the least, mine for one, is of you eating my sliced apples in Pow Wow while whispering to me that you haven’t had your articled edited yet; and instead of worrying about not making the deadline, you instead laugh and asked me if I brought “those huge grapes” along with the apples for lunch again.
So Joyce, whatever slump you are in now, I hope you will come out of it soon. I hope that all you set your mind to, you will accomplish and blow everyone away with your successes. But more than anything, I hope you realize that your statement of “I remember when I used to be crazy” is incorrect. Because I have yet to meet anyone whose name is associated with such admiration and respect. Or whose personality is able to not only uplift the spirits of troubled souls but is able to spread a smile upon unlikely faces as well. Or simply, whose entire being influences others to reach for the moon and never stop when the going gets tough. Now that’s crazy. You being able to do that, Joyce, is crazy.
Thus with your high school year quickly coming to a closure, one last thing I want you to know is that regardless of where you are right now—emotionally/spiritually/physically/mentally—you are ingrained. In our hearts. And the impacts you have made to the girls fortunate enough to have met you are ingrained—in their life—forever.
Is it wrong that as I am about to start on your fourth t-shirt, I’m smiling? Don’t get me wrong kid, I’ve shed my share of tears this entire day so I’ll take a “break” for a while, ok? But you see, the reason I’m smiling is that I’m taken back by how much the cross country girls love you (to name a few of many, that is). Just wait until you see from above what we have in store for you tomorrow, not to mention Nancy’s idea about running a 5k in your honor. Now of course, you know me, I’m all about money. So I decided to turn it into a fundraiser for your family; as in, yes, you got it, we’re going to “rent” the Arcadia County Park for a day and host this legitimate 5k race in your honor. Don’t tell anyone yet, but I’m actually going to charge an entry fee!
Sigh… You know something? So many people love you, and I mean love you. And what bothers me the most is that we often neglect our loved ones. Alice, I’m sorry for not talking to you more, not hanging out with you more, not being there for you more in cross country and for everything in general. But believe me when I say I do miss you, and I do love you. Love. Those four letters I hate, I now cherish it, and devote it to saying “I love you”. You are amazing.
To tell you the truth, I still can’t believe it; I still can’t fathom it. Maybe that’s why I sound like I’m on fu*cking crack as I’m writing this? (P.S. I tend to cuss when I’m angry and sad; I’m working on it, but I apologize for my foul language). But Alice, I really don’t know what to say. I honestly don’t. I’m looking through old cross country and track pictures and I feel like… like you’re still here. Like I’m still going to see you tomorrow, and we’re all going to cheer each other on like we do at every race, every workout. But … you’re not. You’re not going to be there… And I… I’m just so confused.
Alice, I don’t think you realized how much of an impact you’ve made on the team, on the girls. You’re truly a genuine person like no other and although soft spoken, I know you had that crazy spirit in you, waiting to come out. After all, you were a runner. No, you are a runner. You see, Alice, you didn’t join an insane running program filled with people stupid enough to run circles at school until 3:30pm or run loops in the park until 4:30pm. No, my friend, you joined a family. And the nifty thing is that like all families, we never lose each other. You were and will always be, our Alice Zhang, our teammate, our sister, our friend. And although you have left us physically, spiritually, we know you’re still here with us. You’re in our hearts. And you’re in our sole. (Yes, pun intended).
Tomorrow is our race against Burbank and Hoover. We’ll race for you. But there’s a catch, Alice. You have to race with us too, ok? Because if there’s anything you’ve taught us, it’s that we must move forward, we must never give up, we must always tackle our challenges and problems head on and never dwell in the past. You never gave up during a workout, you never slowed down during a race, you’ve taught us that. And for that, we are grateful that you (and your lessons) will always be running with us, no matter what.
Thank you, Alice.
No more apologizes for what could have been. No more tears for what had happened.
Just thank you. And oh yes, love. We love you.
Just Bagels, No Regrets.
Forever and Always,
Jessica Sunkamaneevongse (a.k.a That Freak That Wouldn’t Shut Up … and many other things)
This past cross country season has been quite a memorable experience and as much as I would like to keep writing about it, I believe it is time for my last post.
To me, cross country, physically, has been a long journey that started on the first team run at a far away park last year, where we had to move to a new location to avoid the ashes from the fire. But mentally, cross country has been an adventure that I had both the privilege to listen to since sophomore year, and partake in since junior year.
The entire experience is one that is something out of a fairy tale. I simply cannot grasp all that has happened, put it into words, or relive it again. It truly was “Ichi Go, Ichi He” (One Chance in a Lifetime). From the first friend I have made on this team, the additional sisters, the many teammates, the awkward family relationships, the only protégé, to the girls I am inspired by, the girls I respect, the girls I love—all are a significant part of my life.
And so, with the end of cross country happening so long ago, it is time to close this chapter in my life, and move on to the next. Cross country will forever be a part of me, a part of my memories, and just because I will no longer be posting on this tumblr does not mean that my relationship with the girls have ended. It will go on, just off cyber screen is all.
Thank you to all you ladies for a truly indescribable season that I will cherish forever. I will see you girls soon, and farewell to those I will not.
I never got the chance to finish this but might as well just post it…
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Cross Country Pacific League Finals 2010 can only be described as a fairy tale come true. From the moment it began at 7:15am to the minute it ended at 6:30pm, every second spent on that memorable day will live on in each athlete’s minds, forever embedded into our hearts.
I woke up at 6:30am to get ready and make it to school by 7:15am for the team’s face painting charade. Ironically though, I thought I was late and rushed both my mom and sister to get me to school on time but when I arrived, I was the only one there. Hmm… but Tracy told me to meet her at 7:15am. Yet, no one was there—not even Coach Landis! Lila was the first one to arrive after my sister and me, and eventually, more people started coming as did Coach. Once Tracy arrived with the face paint—or rather, pastel crayon—we were ready to get to paintin’. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to paint everybody’s face and so we had to wrap it up and head on to first period.
Periods one to three were filled with intense anticipation and excitement for me, making it challenging to pay attention in class. My focus was shifted toward the upcoming race—not for racing however—but to be with my teammates and enjoy our last race (seniors intended) together. So by the time fourth period came around, I was literally counting the minutes before the clock turns to 11:15am. 11:00… 11:06… 11:10… 11:14… Forget it—by the time it was 11:14am, I stood up, bowed, shouted “Sayounara” to my Sensei, and left the classroom. An arigatou to everyone who told me “Good luck” though, even though I’m pretty sure 2/3 of you guys had no idea why I left, but arigatou nonetheless.
I met up with Mari and Catrina outside of class and we walked to the locker room together, stopping by the B-hall restroom first because I had to go really badly. Anyway, we were unsure of whether to walk to our locker room or the P.E. girls’ locker room but seeing as all of the girls are headed toward the P.E. one, we went there instead. And that’s when I freaked out upon remembering that my running shoes are in my locker—the locker that is supposedly in the process of getting demolished.