It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the story of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist. The task of writing an autobiography is a difficult one. When I try to classify my earliest impressions, I find that a fact and fancy look alike across the years that link the past with the present. A few impressions stand out vividly from the first few years from my life but “the shadows of disappointments and getting hurt are on the rest”. Besides, many of the joys and sorrows of childhood have lost their poignancy; and many incidents of vital importance have been forgotten in the excitement of great memories. In order, therefore, not to be tedious I shall try to present in a series of sketches only the episodes that seem to me the most interesting and important. I was born on June 2, 2000, at the San Juan De Dios Hospital, a hospital in the town of Pasay.
The family on my father’s side are natives of China, who settled in the Philippines. My grandfather, Roberto arrived at the shores of Leyte and finally settled there. I have been told that he visited his brother to trade goods twice a year, and my grandmother has in her possession many of the letters to his family, which gave charming and vivid accounts of these trips. My father, Alvin , is a chef in Sydney, and my mother, Norilyn , was of the same age. Her family has lived in Nueva Ecija, Philippines, for many years. I lived, up to the time my mother and father started having issues, in a cosy two-storey house consisting of two big bedrooms and a moderately- sized one in which the maids slept. We also had a garden at the front porch which consisted of orchids, sampaguitas and ylang-ylang. The beginning of my life was simple and much like every other little life.
I came, I saw, I conquered, as the first baby in the family always does. There was the usual amount of discussion as to a name for me. My father suggested the name Korina Sanchez, the name of news reporter he idolized, not everyone agreed to his suggestion. My mother solved the problem by finding a name for me in the university graduates catalogue from the newspaper, Celine. To make up to my father, she decided to give me a second name, Kaye, my paternal grandmother’s name. I am told that while I was still a toddler I showed many signs of an eager and confident nature. Everything that I saw other people do I insisted upon imitating. At six months I could say, “Mama, Papa” and one day I attracted everyone’s attention by saying “Te, Te, Te” which probably meant Ate (Big Sister). They tell me I walked the day I was a year old. My mother had just taken me out of the bath-tub and was holding me in her lap, when I was suddenly attracted by the flickering shadows of leaves that danced in the sunlight on the smooth floor. I slipped from my mother’s lap and almost ran toward them.
The urge gone, I fell down and cried for her to take me up in her arms. These happy days did not last long. One summer season, rich in fruit and orchids, sped by and left their gifts on the feet of an eager child; the rainy season has finally come. One rainy evening, I turned as white as sheet and as cold as ice. My parents soon rushed me to the hospital. The doctor diagnosed me of pneumonia and asthma. They thought I would not live, but with extensive care and the help of antibiotics I fought through it. I fancy I still have confused recollections of that illness. I especially remember the tenderness with which my mother tried to soothe me in my waking hours of fret and pain, and the agony and the bewilderment with which I awoke after tossing and turning in my sleep. Gradually, the pain faded away and I got better. During the first few years of my life, I had caught glimpses of people,a luminous sky, trees, flowers and my neighbourhood. If we have once seen, “the day is ours, and what the day has shown.”
The Start of my Journey to the Outside World
During the years that I grew up, things gradually changed. I grew and learned more about my life, seeing the world in a whole new perspective. My mother taught me everything that I know of. My hands felt every object, communicated with other people and observed every motion, and in this way I learned to know many things. A shake of the head meant “No” and a nod “Yes”, a pull meant “Come” and a push “Go”. I also learned new words such as bread, ice cream and book. My mother, moreover, succeeded in making me understand a great deal. I always knew when she wished me to bring her something, and I would run upstairs or anywhere else she indicated. Many accidents of those early years are fixed in my memory, isolated, but clear and distinct, making the sense of that silent, aimless daily life more intense. One day, I was staying at my grandmother’s house.
We were eating lunch at that time, rice and chicken adobo with a glass of Coca Cola, whilst eating, I accidentally spilled my cup. To teach me a lesson, my grandmother didn’t give any more servings of the soft drink. At that time, the Coca Cola bottles were still made of glass. After we finished, she stood up and went to wash the dishes. Being the mischievous little girl I was, I quickly tiptoed to the refrigerator and took the bottle out. At that moment, a thought overcame me and I began to furiously shake the bottle up and down with my chubby little hands. Due to the little water droplets that covered the bottle, it slipped from my grasp. Glass shards flew everywhere and I was bombarded with cuts and my grandmother’s sermon. That accident is still vivid in my memory and it also made a scar that I still carry as of this day.
When I was about five years old, we moved from the two-storey house to a town house consisting of three floors where I stayed from preschool up until Year5. The family consisted of my mother, my father and me. My earliest recollection of my father is making m way through great drifts of newspapers to his side and finding him alone, holding a sheet of paper before his face. I was greatly puzzled to know what he was doing. I imitated this action, even wearing his reading glasses, thinking they might help solve the mystery. But I did not find out the secret for several years. Then I learned what those papers were, and that my father was looking for jobs to go to another country. My father was most loving and indulgent, devoted to his home, seldom leaving us. Alas, certain circumstances happen that calls for desperate measures. My father was accepted to become a chef in either the U.S.A. or Australia. After much consideration, he left us to start a new career. I’ve never seen him all throughout the rest of my childhood and school years. He called us, me and my mum, at least once a month. I missed him dearly hoping he would be there every time I get something right or make my mum proud. Early Education and an unforgettable trip
Meanwhile the desire to express myself grew. The words and body language I’ve learned became less and less adequate, and my failures taught me not to make the same mistakes all over again. My mother taught me more to quench my thirst for knowledge and even gave me my first book. After that occurrence, I gradually became a bookworm. On my birthdays, I received books as gifts from my relatives. At that moment, things changed. I grew to love books more than playing like my peers.
I grew up in a town house neighbourhood. There weren’t any children in my neighbourhood, hence my independence. It was lonely at first but my books and my grandma kept me company. To help me, my mom started to teach me the alphabet. At first, it was hard but practice makes perfect. Every afternoon, she would then ask me to recite the whole alphabet and after a few weeks, until I finally perfected it.
My mother is a very persistent and studious woman. She has always persuaded me to study ever since my second birthday. I still remember those days when I didn’t study enough or was too lazy to say it orally; I would be locked out of the house until I learn it. Ever since that day, I strive to be the best I can be. Then, one day, things took a turn for the better. My uncle, Eduardo Lim, who was currently residing in Johannesburg, South Africa, gave my mom a job opportunity. Things went and papers were filed soon after. A couple of months later we were on board the Qatar Airlines and zooming to get my first glimpse of my new home. Upon arrival, we were escorted to big mansion where my uncle lived. It was lavish and with high security. There were also three canine dogs. After the introductions and formalities, my uncle doted on me and soon after enrolled me to a preschool. My mom used to tell me that when I was a toddler, I used to greet people all the time. And if I get the chance, maybe, steal a peck on the cheek or a hug; as a child, I was a cheeky little monkey and was always getting into trouble.
There was the time when I made a peanut butter sandwich without anyone’s knowledge and ate it with the dogs that were taller than me. It was all fun then, but everything comes to an end. After two summers, my mother decided to go back to the Philippines to start my education. In the Philippines, school starts at June and ends in March. Our holidays consisted of Christmas , New Year, The Day of the Dead and the two- month long one(March-June). Upon our arrival on May 2005, my mom perused me even more to study harder and so I did. My mom enrolled me to St. Stephen’s High school to start my education. It is a Christian Chinese School. I managed to get top marks on my entrance exam. There was a disadvantage though, the school was really far. To remedy this problem, I need to wake up at 4:00 am. It was really tiring but it was worth the effort. I met new friends, learned new stuff and boosted my stamina to a whole new level.
In this school, everyone is competitive to rise above the rest. Rivalries and Competitions are normal in this school, especially with mothers. Here, there are no top classes or anything of that matter. Everyone and I mean every single student has at least one tutor. My tutoring sessions lasted for 5 hours a day during my stay there. Finally the year has finished, and I reaped my rewards. I stayed under their tutelage for two years, striving to be the best. Hence my schools motto, “We are the best, among the rest”. For the first year, I received awards for being the fourth place in my entire year. For the second though, through excessive studying and my mother’s perusal, I finally managed to grasp the concept of being at the top. Due to certain circumstances, I moved schools. I cried with my best friend that day, when I received the news. She was the closest friend I ever had at that time, and it breaks my heart to part with her. Alas, life goes on I recall many events that happened soon after.
I did nothing but explore and learn the name of every object that I saw; and the more I handled things and learned their names and uses, the more joyous and confident grew my sense of kinship with the rest of the world. When the time came for my first day of grade school, I had my first lessons in Science and History. I learned how the sun and the rain make to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, how birds build their nest, my country’s past, how the deer, the lion, the squirrel and every other creature finds food and shelter. As my knowledge of things grew I felt more and more the delight of the world I was in.
Moving on & still going strong
Being a new girl in a whole new different school has been a scary concept for me. My mother opted for a new approach to my schooling. She enrolled me to Malate Catholic School where I had been studying for about a third of my life. The concept of being a new girl is that you tend to be at the bottom class. Hence, my first day wasbeing at the bottom class. The very next day, though, I was immediately told to collect my things because I was moving to the top class due to some sort of intellectual reason. I studied long and hard, maybe trying to prove myself. In this school, they calculate your ranking by term. In the first quarter, I rose to be the fourth placer, being the demise of some people who had Malate Catholic School as their Alma Mater from the start. The commencement of grade school has always one-of-a-kind experience for me. It started a series of events that I will forever treasure. Year II
The start of Year II started pretty much like nay year. I studied hard, vied for top marks and gave the teachers incentive. I managed to ace every single subject, my teacher told me to go to the Department of Education to get acceleration. I received top marks for the end of the year test just as I hoped and went to get the acceleration test soon after. After much anticipation, I received my marks and it said that I am able to move up to Year4 or Year5. My mother chose the Year 4 option after much consideration. The following year changed my whole life. Year IV
I met new friends, teachers and classmates. My whole class were pretty much older than me by a year. One day, my friends started teasing me that I wouldn’t be able to beat their top one from Year 3 but I studied long and hard with my mother’s guidance to prove them wrong. In the end of the school year, I became the top one, president of three clubs (maths, science and GSP), won all the academic competitions in flying colours. My inspiration for that year was my teacher’s quote, “I doesn’t matter how much you learn from this year. What matters are the lessons you learn from your mistakes.” Year V
At the start of the school year, my teacher opted to choose me for presidency in the Student Council Board Members. I had to campaign this year to commence the election for the following year. My team gave out chocolates and other incentives to secure our place in the election. It was a really fun experience but in the end it was all for naught. It was then that my father went back to the Philippines. Ha came bringing with him the tidings of the past and his plan for a better future. We were to migrate to Australia the month I finished Year 5. At first I was devastated, everything that I worked so hard for; my academics, competitions and clubs; all for the grand finale of a graduation; gone down the drain of broken dreams. I had always dreamed of having my dad beside me on my graduation day, filled with pride for all of my achievements and I was most certainly not expecting this. It was all a turn for the worst, my worst nightmare came true, my hopes on getting a scholarship crushed before my eyes. It was all too much to bear, but things took an unexpected turn. My mother found out that she was pregnant with my brother. There was a lot of rejoicing for the impending wait for the first male child. Gradually, the time came for her to give birth. The Big Surprise
At precisely 4 am on the 29th of January, my brother, Samuel, was born. He was a cute little bugger with two dimples that were to die for. Everyone fawned over him and being an only child for more than a decade, I felt left out. Gradually, I became more and more distant from my mother because she spent her undivided attention to my brother. It triggered my jealousy then and there. I grew to love and hate him at the same time till the most awaited day arrived..
Finally, after much anticipation, I am finally leaving the past I worked so hard to create with the help of my mother and start on a new slate. I packed my bags, went to the airport with my mother and boarded the plane in time for a long flight. At approximately 10:00 pm, 4th of April 2012, we arrived at the Sydney International Airport. My father came and escorted us to my new home. We drove off and I watched the change of scenery as it passed me by. I observed a quiet and vast landscape with trees and pigeons hovering above m head. It was a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle in my old neighbourhood. My First Day of High School
The commencement of a new chapter of my life began that day. I was a naive little girl and a nervous wreck that day. I was going to be introduced to a foreign environment with no idea of what to expect whatsoever. I did my morning duties and went to school. My mother assured me that I need not to be afraid and so with an eager feeling I had my first glimpse of my new school, Canterbury Girl’s High school. At first, I felt left out because most of my classmates have already settled in and being a new girl I was pretty much a loner. To solve the problem, Mr. Anderson introduced me to Minh Doan who eventually became my friend. The concept of rollcall gave me a lot of confusion because it was the first time I have heard of the term. I finally settled in with high spirits for the following day. Friendships & Alliances
“Friends may come and friends may leave but they are our friends and we will love them forever.” Over time, I met people and friendships were created. Their personalities were all different but I trust & love them all the same. Chenhui is the organized and responsible one. You can rely on her when anything needs to be done or for advice when you need one. Stephanie is the logical one and sleepyhead. She tends to sleep due to sleep deprivation from previous nights but when it comes to answering a test she will be on a roll. There’s Linda the temperamental and idle one. She’s the most carefree one among the five of us because she doesn’t care that much about schoolwork and be sure not to be near her when she gets angry. Kezang is the patient thinker. She holds us together through and through with her patience and intellectual skills. In my outer circle, I also found people who I can have intellectual conversations, verbal sparring and enjoyment with.
Anna is the one with mathematical skills and the strongest one. She solves mathematical problems with ease and never backs done a challenge when it comes to testing her strength. Nabila and Jill are the ones who I can have intellectual conversations with. They know and feel my passion for books especially if it is about Harry Potter. For every act of discipline comes a troublemaker, Tina Gavin. She breaks rules occasionally within her line of reason but amidst all her mischievous ways she has a soft side that she reveals to people she knows she can trust. She adds the spice and arguments that greatly entertains the class but has certain consequences much to the teacher’s chagrin. I love my friends and I would wish for nothing more. They have helped go through my hectic schedule, the stress of schoolwork and even helping me leave the shell of the person I used to be. My education started at Canterbury Girls’ High School on the year 2012 without knowing the adventures that will expand my knowledge of everyday life and how to “seize the day”. My own perspective of the way things are changed from that day onwards.
I have learned about The Aboriginal perspective and their way of life. Mathematics became a form of innovation with complicated calculations involved. Events also happened among the staff of great importance. Ms.Salakas and Ms. Hunter were both betrothed in Year 7. Teachers came and went while imparting with me the most valuable treasure; knowledge, something that cannot be taken away from me. Mr. Sim, Ms.Moodie and Mr.Kazzi taught me maths in varying methods and for some reason they all seem to have a humorous flair that never ceased to make me laugh. Ms. Barry, Ms. Slattery and Ms.Magoffin widened my vocabulary and eventually made me verbose or eloquent; or so that is what my friends thought. Ms.Salakas taught me Incan history packed with fun-filled activities without any heavy burden but it was Mr. Robertson who pioneered my knowledge in Aboriginal History.
He made every lesson fun and interesting. There was this one time where we had to improvise with aluminium foil for our topic about chivalry. We had a goodbye party for him to conclude the year and to thank him for all the memories and laughter forever etched in our hearts. I suppose there were also the times when some of my teachers get angry due the class’ antics but in the end it was all for our benefit. They all made me laugh once in a while imparting knowledge, skills and experiences that were invaluable. I could never thank them enough for teaching me and guiding me on things I do not understand. Another Twist in the story
In the middle of Year 8, earth-shattering news came. My mother was pregnant for the second time. At precisely, 6:00 am, the 13th of September 2013 Elizabeth Nicole was introduced to this world. We were 13 years apart. It seemed ironic at that time because it she was also born on a Friday the 13th. She was the cutest little thing at 7 months. I took turns on taking care of her during the holidays, it was hard and being an amateur made it even more difficult. My babysitting schedule was both informative and interesting. I learned new life skills which can help me when I start my own family in the probable future.
The start of Year 9 opened up a new door for possibilities and surprises. New Subjects such as History Elective and Work Education had been introduced. I had new teachers, some familiar and others unfamiliar. Year 9 has been stressful compared to the previous years with a huge amount of workload. Luckily, my family and friends support all the way.
A Way to pass Time
For as long as I could remember, I have alwaysbeen an indoor person. It was all because of my mother’s over protectiveness when I was still the only child. My love and passion for books started when I was nine years old. My cousin, Lirashen introduced me to the series of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It was a highly suspenseful and captivating series that bound me to read it over and over again. Over time, I have read the Artemis Fowl, The Nicholas Flamel series and much more. My love for volleyball started during the summer holiday of 2008 when my cousin from Canada visited us. She taught me the basic skills of volleyball and the gist of it. Jennifer was the most extraordinary player I have ever seen. She moves with easy grace combined with her exceptional skill. From that day onwards, I have shared her love and passion for the sport and plays volleyball to this day. My Hope for a Better Future
“Our future can be determined by us and us alone.
Ever since I was little I have always dreamed of being a doctor. My desire only grew when I went to grade school as my knowledge about the subject broadens.I am still unsure about my plans about the future but I have vague recollections of my plans from the previous years. My parents have been always telling to pursue a medical degree, and if possible an orthopaedic doctor. Now that I am in Year 9, I want to pursue a career in medicine. In my perspective, people cannot plan for an exact result; there would always be obstacles in the way no matter what. “Great Expectations lead to Disappointments”, my mother once told me. My father on the contrary told me that, it does not matter how great your expectations are as long as you persevere and have faith that you will go through every obstacle that comes in your way no matter what happens. My Life
My life has been a series of winding paths and inevitable occurrences. Who would have thought that after a decade of waiting that there would still be a possibility of me having a sibling? Miracles have happened in my life in the most surprising circumstances and for that I am thankful. I have met people who helped me see the world in a whole new perspective. I made mistakes it h past but that is all part of growing up. I travelled across the world from Africa to Asia witnessing cultural perspectives unfolding before my eyes. Stereotypes were blurred as I discovered that every person is unique in their own way. Life can be relentless and cruel at times but in the end lessons are learnt. I don’t regret a single day of my life as I divulge trough hardships and laughter. I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul. My family helped through my ups and downs. They made life worth living for and I don’t know what I would do without them.
Belonging, what is it? I believe belonging is when you can say that you are a part of something, when you have a group or a club or even a lifestyle that other people share. In short, I believe that a sense of belonging can be found in the things or people that have shared the same experiences, both good and bad, because we can identify ourselves in those people. Today we will be exploring this idea of belonging in two texts; one is the of poems “Feliks Skrzynecki” and “St Patrick’s College”, by Polish-born Australian poet, Peter Skrzynecki, and the other text is the 2012 movie “Wreck it Ralph”, directed by Rich Moore. The poems “St Patricks College” and “Feliks Skrzynecki” both deal with the notion of self-isolation and an inability to relate to the people that surround a persona. In both poems, we can assume that the persona is Peter Skrzynecki himself. In “Feliks Skrzynecki” he talks about how he could never relate to his father and his father’s friends when they would reminisce of their lives in Poland.
He feels a sense of distance between himself and his parents’ culture that, as he says in the poem, he “inherited unknowingly”. In the poem “In the folk museum”, dissociation from a culture is also portrayed, but this time it is about the persona’s lack of connection to the Australian culture. The persona describes the things he sees in the museum as if they are foreign and unknown to him, so much so that he has to read the names of the objects to know what they are. A reason why the poet doesn’t feel he can relate may be because he doesn’t share the same experiences and doesn’t have the same traditions and customs that other people, both his Eastern European parents had and his Australian culture, would have shared. He can’t relate, or reminisce, or appreciate either of his two cultures, because he has never known enough about them to have an emotional attachment, and it is this lack of attachment that prevents him from feeling a sense of inclusion.
The sense of exclusion from a group is also present in the film “Wreck It Ralph”. Ralph, who was the “bad guy” in an arcade game, was constantly ostracised from the rest of the characters in the game. He lived on a pile of bricks far away from everyone else. He, like Peter Skrzynecki, was often segregated from everyone else, except in the film, the exclusion was intentional. In the same way Skrzynecki couldn’t help not being able to relate to his father, Ralph couldn’t help but break things, and the more he broke things, the more he would be distanced from the others in the game. He would have felt helpless and isolated, and his hunger to belong with everyone else is what made him escape his game in search of a medal to prove with worth. In one scene of the movie, Ralph is seen attending a “Bad-Anon”, a support group for the villains in the arcade games.
Here he is able to communicate his ideas and feelings to people who feel the same and go through the same things. Ralph can identify himself in the support group because they all share the same experiences. This act of comradery indicates that Ralph does in fact know how to connect to others, but that his problem is that there is simply no-one for him to establish that friendship with. Another protagonist in the film, Vanellope, also suffers from isolation and exclusion. When she meets Ralph, she expects him to exclude her as other people do, but upon learning that he too is a rejected outcast, she reaches out to him and they become friends. This is a good example of how past experiences influence where we feel we belong. Their bond strengthens as the plot progresses, and as both Ralph and Vanellope grow closer and closer, their personalities grow and they develop trait that they didn’t have before they had friends. Vanellope gains a sense of assertiveness, and Ralph learns to respect and consider people’s feelings.
The characters in both the poems and the film both show the concept of not belonging. It is a theme that appears in art and modern media constantly, and portrays the idea that our experiences, both good and bad, influence who or where we feel we belong. We all root for the ones that overcome obstacles and win battles despite having disadvantages. We all root for the underdog; because we, as an audience, identify ourselves in them; because we have all, at one point or another, felt the same.
Courtney from Study Moose
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