College Transcripts, Part I

I haven’t seen my college transcript in 11+ years.

Has it been that long?

I hate being reminded of my college life. Those 7 years (6.5 in actuality) I desperately want to forget but can’t. I know there are a few people who would see my trials and tribulations as something to be proud of, perhaps, but I’m simply too damaged at this point to do so. I only see it as 7 years of utter embarrassment.

When I graduated in 2007, I bundled up the whole 7 years and shoved them all into a can and sealed it. Then I buried it as deep as I could, hoping that I will never have to dig it back up again.

Wishful thinking.

Since I haven’t worked a job in the United States at all (10 years), sometimes job applications want proof of college attendance in exchange for working experience. That required me to find my official copy of college transcript somewhere on my shelves and making a digital copy so that I can append it to any applications that need proof of college credits.

Nobody mentioned anything about recent college credits. A degree’s a degree, and I’ve got two.

As I stood scanning my transcript – all 6 pages of it – into PDF files, my eyes habitually began scanning the text on those pages.

And the memories burst out of the can and resurfaced like a tsunami wave to crash over my head.

I didn’t want to go to college. I told my father so, but he didn’t give me an option. I was going because there was nothing else out there for me. Taiwan was filled with people who had college degrees, Master’s, and Doctorate’s degrees. For someone like me fresh out of high school without any higher education, I wouldn’t have stood a single chance of supporting myself.

My father knew better, so I half-heartedly plowed on in my journey of preparations.

Problem was, my father didn’t even give me a choice what I would have liked to pursue. I had thought about areas such as architecture, but as I had finally gotten a little glimpse of the world of psychology during my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I figured I would venture forth in psychology.

My father said there wasn’t a future to be had in psychology. Stay in business, he said. When I tried to talk to my mother, her only answer was, “your father knows best.”

My father didn’t know best, but that is a lesson I will learn much too late.

I started college in the Spring of 2001. Freshman orientation takes place two weeks before classes started, so I arrived in Houston on January 5, 2001 with my guts half thrown up, the other half shoved into my lungs, and my heart in my throat.

I actually got food poisoning on that flight from Taipei, Taiwan to Los Angeles, California, and while my father slept on the flight, I didn’t.

I spent that time looking at my father’s face and crying. I was scared out of my mind. I remembered I didn’t want to go to college, and that I had been on a whirlwind schedule of flights, consulates, and visa papers to get to this point. I shouldn’t have been on that plane, but for whatever reason, I didn’t want to let that man sitting next to me down.

I was going to college as an undecided.

My father was leaving again in 3 days to return to his job… a job that was paying for this education… and I would be alone.

The whirlwind that began before I got to the United States didn’t stop. Bank accounts, cell phone, phone cards, registration at UH, seeing advisors, looking at potential class selection lists…

Or more accurately, what classes still had open slots for me. By the time I even saw the class selection booklet, the majority of the classes I should be in were already full.

Because I missed the minimum SAT Verbal score by 10 points for the state of Texas, I was required to take the TASP exam – the Texas Academic Skills Program exam. It is no longer called a TASP exam. Between the time I took it and now, the state of Texas has re-evaluated and changed the test, probably to match with whatever common core standards that are set through the years.

The college offered what was called a Quick TASP, and I was signed up to take that on January 8, 2001.

The exam took 6 hours to get through three sections: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, not necessarily in that order.

My recollection isn’t the best, but I believe we didn’t really have breaks. The 6-hour exam began either at noon or at 1pm, and aside from bathroom breaks, we weren’t breaking for food, snacks, stretching, or anything.

It was grueling.

Here’s a snapshot of the final results of my TASP exam:

tasp

If you noticed, there are 2 different dates. That’s because I had to re-take the Reading portion of that exam as I missed the minimum passing score by 1 point. It was retaken on March 9, 2001.

Reading comprehension has always been a challenge for me growing up as I learned English, but on January 8, 2001, it wasn’t because I couldn’t understand what I was reading.

I couldn’t see what I was reading.

That was because January 8th – the day of my exam – was the same day my father was leaving, and I was crying through the entire 6-hour exam that I couldn’t reschedule.

The day before, January 7th, I had just moved out of the hotel we were staying at and into the temporary dorms at UH for international students attending orientation. My father departed back to his hotel room after dinner, and I simply laid in bed with the brand new cell phone he bought me next to my head.

Only thing I did was cry as I willed for my father to call me.

I was scared. I was lonely. I didn’t want to be there.

I was trying to come to terms with being completely alone.

My father did call, but I’ll be damned if I remember now what he said to me then. I just remembered trying to swallow back my tears and not sound like I had been crying and begging silently in my head for my father to never hang up the phone.

The call didn’t last long… maybe 15-20 minutes. We said our good-byes. My father gave me words of encouragement. The call ended.

I only remembered crying myself to sleep after my father hung up. I didn’t get a chance to see him the next day before he departed for the airport as he didn’t have a car, and the hotel was a ways away from campus.

I didn’t have tissue with me for the exam. Words swam in my vision. The math wasn’t difficult, and I’ve written enough in my life that I don’t need absolutely clear vision to write any semblance of coherent thought on paper.

The reading, however, I was doing through a veil of tears. I couldn’t concentrate, and all I could think of was my father on a plane… a plane that was taking him further and further away from me with every passing minute.

By the time I finished at 4.5 hours, both my long sleeves were soaked from wiping my face and I was completely dehydrated. My insides were compressed into what felt like a 2 inch x 2 inch x 2 inch cube.

I couldn’t think, see, or hear.

I stumbled out of the test center, somehow made my way back to my room with my own two feet…

I didn’t have much of an appetite. I knew I had to eat and drink something, so I finally tore open a ramen cup, filled it with hot tap water, waited the required 3 minutes, ate it, and went to bed.

That’s how college began for me.

It only went downhill from there.

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Unexpected Surgery

Greetings Friends and Passerbys,

As I write this (which would be a different time as you read it), there are a few things to take note of:

  1. I am writing on my new smartphone; therefore, excuse any mistakes you may find here.
  2. I am currently lying in a hospital bed. My surgery is tomorrow at around noon.
  3. I am currently in Taiwan, been here for 6 weeks, and my plans to return to the United States have been delayed from August 21st to probably August 31st.

Today has been a whirlwind of events, and I honestly have no idea how I got on this runaway train and when I will be getting off nor where.

Sometime in late July, I had a horrible case of what appeared to be (and felt like) acid reflux. My mother insisted I see her doctor, so I did. Then at that appointment, I had a blood test done because my mother loves knowing that we are all, for the most part, medically healthy.

Ah, mother’s love.

Before I go any further, I may or may not have mentioned that I haven’t been feeling well for a while. Five or so years to be exact. I was constantly exhausted and fatigued, unable to sleep, and I constantly suffered acid reflux, bloating, and constipation no matter what I tried with my diet. I tried taking magnesium and that helped a little. After a lot of research and extensive notes, I thought perhaps it had something to do with my thyroid.

I took what I recorded to the doctor. The office had me draw blood and do tests, but they told me nothing is wrong. Then I was sent home and that was that. Without a direction, I might as well be trying to mend myself in the dark with a black needle and black thread.

And duck tape only works for certain things…

Well, the test results take about a week. While we waited, the doctor opt to take a look inside my stomach. Yes, it involved a bit of numbing agent and a tube put down my throat into my stomach.

He told me that my stomach was fine. There is a little bit of irritation, but otherwise everything looked good.

I also told Bitworks that I now have official proof that my stomach wasn’t made up of disassembled Japanese world war 2 ships.

He says I bribed them for false proof. Go figure.

When the week was up, we went back for my test results and even the doctor was taken aback with the numbers.

The numbers for my liver function was off the charts nestled nicely somewhere among the stars.

I was automatically sent for a second blood test… This time for Hepatitis.

Then the doctor also scheduled me for an ultrasound to take a look at my liver.

On the day of the ultrasound, the blood tests also came back. I was negative for hepatitis A, B, and C. I also have Hepatitis B antibodies, which is awesome.

With all that ruled out, and the numbers for my liver function somewhat normal again but still elevated, he got curious and went hunting for my gallbladder.

And then the thing that I didn’t expect at all but knew there was a chance because of family history came to light:

I have gallstones of various sizes, the largest over an inch big. The next day, I returned for another doctor’s appointment with another specialist. Then in a whirlwind of about 40 minutes, I had a surgery appointment the next day, to be checked into the hospital immediately, and will be here for 3 days post-surgery if everything goes well without a hitch.

I suppose at this point it is a good thing that I am almost a vegetarian and dislike red meat with a royal passion. I also don’t like fried foods or greasy anything.

So for me to have 2 weeks of recovery time before an obscenely long flight back to Bitworks, my flight has been pushed back to end of August or the 1st of September. I am thinking August 31st, availability pending of course.

So that is the latest and greatest with me. I am working hard on not thinking about all this so I don’t suffer an anxiety attack.

Hope all of you are doing well.

Oh… Happy Ghost Month!

With much <3, Wynter.

The Hospital & PTSD

I never knew America could ruin my emotional well-being to such a degree. I live in fear when it comes to my children, and I’m sick and tired of the northeast – New Jersey and Pennsylvania – and the surrounding states.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s beautiful out here, but that applies only to the land. I’m hesitant to say that about the people I have to deal with, and definitely not a shred of the politics. I am also sick and tired of the west coast as well – places like California and Colorado – who with all their people of Holier-Than-Thou concepts and laws have corporations as dirty as the Drug Cartels.

Actually, I think the Drug Cartels may still be more upstanding than these corporations. And they have better healthcare and benefits than we do by about a thousand times…

*deep breath*

Continue reading

Closet Souls Chronicles is No More

This isn’t an April Fool’s Joke.

The characters Trent and Chase will always be with me. Unfortunately for the series, the characters Callie and Ash were supposed to be the main characters, and due to some things in my life and the people those two were based on, I can’t continue. I’ll make myself physically sick if I do, so I said goodbye to them last night. This morning, I stripped their existence off my blog.

Trent and Chase will probably come back in the future somewhere else. Maybe even Callie and Ash, but the latter set of characters will most likely be those one-liners or behind-the-curtain people.

I’m quite done with bashing myself up trying to get their stories going when I feel this beaten up, and it’s been going on for a long while now.

Not sure where I’m going to go from here, but I’ll figure it out.

Happy April. I don’t celebrate the juvenile tendencies that summarizes April 1st.

 

March

March has ended. Spring is supposedly here, but I don’t think that’s what I’m seeing outside my windows, be honest with you. It’s currently rainy and dreary, and the temperature is at 40ºF (4.44ºC). Despite the cold weather, wet as it is, all the annoying problems affiliated with Spring is back with a vengeance. Things like… allergies, mosquitoes, all these people whining about how it’s Spring and the weather isn’t in the 70s.

I’m glad it’s not in the 70s, thank you very much, but I would have liked for the rain to be held off to… say… April.

So… what’s been going on with me? Been a small list, actually.

First and foremost: Chinese Blog. It is, as you probably guessed, written in Chinese. Some of you may know that Chinese has two variations. There is Traditional Chinese – used by Hong Kong and Taiwan; and Simplified Chinese – used by the majority of the world. Since I’m Taiwanese and all, the blog is written in Traditional Chinese. Personally, Traditional Chinese looks about 2 million times more beautiful than Simplified.

Why, you might ask, am I doing this?

Because it’s my native language. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my experiences with English, but I need more diversity in my writing and reading materials, so I’m going back to my roots and working on that particular part of my background.

While there is a translate feature on the blog, I promise you it would look like someone put the English language into the pulverizing machine. Seriously.

Secondly, my brother’s in the country. Yup. *head thuds on table* *sighs*He’s here for a GRE Program…

I wish I could say the kid has grown in the year he’s been gone, and he has, just not a whole lot. If you put where he needed to be about a mile away, then he probably grew a foot, and that’s not taking into consideration the extra foot that will get added onto the mile as time passes because people are supposed to grow. *wince*

I love my brother. I don’t want to see him fail, but as I have told Bitworks, I’m ready for him to fail, just this once so he knows that picking up the pieces is going to be a painful process, and it is a real “do or die” mental concept, something he still doesn’t truly understand.

Oh look, a run-on sentence. That is pretty much how I feel when it comes to him. Bitworks worries about me whenever the notion that my brother is coming because I get stressed out. I’ve looked out for this kid since I was a kid myself (even when I was in a crap-hole during a lot of those times), and it had been difficult. A lot of my physical and energy is constantly drained because he’s a member of the family. His problems are our problems. It’s hard. It really is.

Third, I’m not currently writing. Here’s why:

books

See all those (traditional) Chinese novels and manga? My parents sent them with my brother when he came. Since my brother departs for Taiwan in late May, I’ve got until then to read all the new books at least once to make sure there isn’t a printing error. If there is, then they need to go back with him so my parents can ask for replacements from the publisher/bookstore. Since I’m unable to read Chinese as quickly as I read English, this is going to take a lot of time. Therefore, my writing has been put on hold until the once over has been completed.

For all of you curious, yes, that is Bleach manga. I don’t have the final volumes yet, but I will get them next year when I go home. I also have the entire series of Naruto that are in Taiwan slated for that third empty shelf (that I currently have the children’s books borrowing space on for Christmas 2017). My collection is slowly growing. Positively overjoyed!

I hope all of you are doing well. My presence on social media has dramatically dwindled due to the lack of time, but I am still around and stalking all of you. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line, an email, or a bump.

Happy Spring! ❤

 

A Teeny Bit ‘o Update

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day. It’s an interesting celebration, to say the least, because what happens here in the United States is, according to hubby, nothing like what goes on in Ireland. He told me his family in Ireland will typically attend church twice on St. Patrick’s Day, and there’s usually a pot luck dinner afterwards. It’s very quiet. There isn’t a whole lot about drinking.

There certainly isn’t something as crass as Coors Light “hosting” St. Patrick’s Day. That’s like having Bud Light host Oktoberfest. Blasphemy!

Anyway, I actually started blogging in Chinese in the month of March. The objective is to have something for my mother to follow along on and for me to practice my Chinese, but I have yet to give her the link as I haven’t a clue if she knew how to go to websites. Apps she knows how to navigate somewhat, but a website might be beyond her.

I do feel bad about blogging in Chinese because Bitworks can’t read it. I’ve never really written or held anything he couldn’t read, so I think from now on, I might have to do a double post. One in Chinese over on my Chinese blog and then a translation of that post over here. So if you start seeing back-log showing up (before the post date of this post), that’s because I’m working on translating the things over there to over here.

This is a rather time consuming process.

Just a heads up. I haven’t abandoned this blog. I’m just rather busy. I mean, seriously, I make it onto social media twice a week now if I’m lucky. Sheesh.

I think I’ve been forgotten, be honest with you. XD

At the end of February

That means I’m another year older. A great many thank you to friends who texted, posted, reblogged, and private-messaged me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ❤

If you are not one of those people, do not fret. 90% chances are, you didn’t know. I somewhat made sure of that. As social media and various applications become more sophisticated, there are a lot of things we can share with our friends, acquaintances, and the network goes on. Birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, locations, email address, likes, dislikes, you name it, it’s got a nice little space for it.

I know I’m not a memorable person. I was never popular. I’m difficult to like, mostly because I’m difficult to get close to and actually keep tabs on a regular basis. I’m an introvert. That’s part of my genetic DNA.

In 2015, on my birthday in February, I received a total of about 16 messages online between Facebook and various other places I actually had my birthday listed all wishing me a Happy Birthday. The birthday wishes in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, out of the 16 birthday messages, only about 4 people were my “actual friends” who remembered that it was my birthday and not because an app reminded them.

I didn’t have a single problem replying an ecstatic “THANK YOU! ❤ ❤ ” in return for those, but the remaining 12 broiled me in ire and turned my guts with disgust. I was never one for volume, and I hardly considered most of these people as a friend. We knew of each other because we attended the same school. That’s it.

I stripped my birthday from the internet and have since passed my birthday last year and this year in peace and quiet with my favorite people and activities I enjoy (and not ever returning to messages I feel obligated to reply to instead of inspired to reply to).

If you’re reading this and feel awkward, upset, or otherwise unhappy that you missed the opportunity to wish me a “happy birthday” because you didn’t know when it was, feel free to private message me anywhere or even send me an email. Honest to god, it’s a birthday… Not that special.

But here’s something interesting.

I have a classmate from high school who share the same birthday as me. Not only that, we are both Taiwanese. He’s from the north of the island, and I’m from the south. We came together as classmates in Southeast Asia of all places.

One of the things I like to say to him on his birthday (and mine) is: Another year wiser. Happy Birthday!

Personally, I don’t feel very wise. I actually feel more like a clog in a machine at the moment. Like millions of people around the world, last year had been difficult for this family. We, unlike many working class folk, are a single-income family – traditionally what it was like back in the 70s and 80s, but considered a rare species from the 1990s onward. Therefore, even the slightest change in groceries and property tax costs quickly becomes a staggering issue when it came to family finances. We have debt that seems never ending.

But we keep striving.

I hope January and February – barring politics – have been fruitful and filled with good tidings for all of you. While we don’t know if Lady Winter and Lady Spring are having a duel over here in the northeast part of the United States, I wish you all good health and safety in the middle of strange weather that has brought about a lot of storms.

With much love, Wynter. ❤