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Thoughts About Cleaning Up

The prospect of studying abroad can be an exciting one -- until you are reminded of having to tidy up the mess you've left over the years and figure out what to bring.

And the most notorious of all -- my medical box.

You see, since I was young, I was asthmatic, allergic, and super lovable according to mosquitoes. That is why my room always has a drawer dedicated to such medication. The most annoying thing, at least for me, was keeping track of all the expiry dates.

As I approach the end of my time here in Italy, over half of the box is tattered with unused and expired medicines. No matter how new or shiny they look, they no longer serve their purpose. Coincidentally, it is the same with many other things in life. Just like that old phone you no longer use, or that Christmas tree when the time's past. It's the same with us humans. When young, and full of vigor, we play, we work, and we enjoy companionship. But as Father Time approaches, we are all but veterans of the battlefield that is life, long forgotten and neglected.

On the bright side, I am cheerful of the fact that they were unused. As my participation in volleyball went up and proactiveness in trying new sports like crew, I found myself increasingly less dependent on medication. My body is building up its own walls of defense, towards the enemy that is asthma. While this battle has lasted for more than a decade ever since I was two, it has benefited me in several unexpected ways, and volleyball being just one of them.

My mother was really into food, and hence worked sequentially in coffee and ice cream companies, and now a pasta fast-food chain. We rarely see each during the week and I so deeply cherish the time we manage to spend together during weekends. But every time when I have asthma, my mom would take time off, as long as needed to see me recover.

There was once during eighth grade, when my father and I decided to go on a week-long cycling trip around the Taiwan island. It was day three. It was tiring. Perhaps the toughest day of the trip. That's when I heard my breathing rumbling, like a giant's growl, soft at first, but followed by incessant panting. Before I knew it, I was rushed to the hospital for diagnosis of asthma, and redirected to another one which had the oxygen tanks that my body desperately needed. Luckily, as I was at my most depressed and hopeless moment, my mom showed up, surprising me after a 4-hour drive. That was my merriest Christmas, to know that I'm not fighting it alone.

And every adventure is like asthma. While it is necessary to take risks, caution and planning will help you get through it. Life isn't perfect, but it is lovable. With the people you love and people who love you, every adventure is a blessing in disguise. This bag of M&M's won't reveal its color until you pick one, ate it, and mumbled over it. It could be sweet, or savory. It could bring difficult times, or merry moments. It can test who you are, or it can build character. But no matter the challenge, follow your conscience and do your best. God will take care of the rest.

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