Schoolwork leaves no time for playgrounds

When my mom was a middle school student, she spent a lot of her time at the playground. As soon as the school bell rang, she and her friends raced to a garden, hoping to find a sunflower with the tastiest seeds in it. They munched on the seeds, spat out the bitter ones, and […]

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An open letter about cutting off hair in assembly

Dear Mr. Luukkonen, I would like to start this letter by saying that I am still moved, two weeks after your devotion about dealing with harmful friendships. As an English student, I honestly believed your speech was quite effective. You exhibited the act of “cutting off” an undesired relationship, a toxic relationship, a relationship that […]

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Serving others shouldn’t be a choice

As I slowly made my way through the crowd in Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the largest markets in Thailand, something grabbed my attention. I saw an old woman — probably my grandmother’s age — sitting between the footpath of the sky train station and the entrance, making and selling handmade cartoon keychains. Yet, what […]

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Action needed to end menstruation huts

It’s a taboo. A woman bleeding for 5 days a month for almost 37 years of her life is a taboo. The stains meant to be never visible, sanitary napkins and tampons hidden away in newspapers because, oh my, they’re sinful, atrocious objects not meant for decent human eyes, a topic to be whispered about. […]

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Saying ‘I do’ to arranged marriage

For half of my life, I have studied at Woodstock, an international boarding school. When I first arrived, I was completely shocked: students could speak against those older than them, they could stay up late talking to each other, and most importantly, they could date each other. In other words, everything that my parents disagreed […]

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Alone is the new black

Every lunch, all of the students would be playing outside. All minus one. It was fourth grade, and I liked to spend my lunches by myself, in a corner of the classroom, because there would be no one there. Many times I would be “caught” by teachers, and I would be encouraged to engage more […]

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Identity crisis: expectations confuse even me

The immigration officer checked my passport one more time and asked me a few more questions than he had asked the other passengers, so it took a bit longer than it did with everyone else. He told me to put my veil behind my ears so they would be visible to the camera, and I […]

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