Sunday, 11 December 2016

I am Shannon

On the afternoon of Monday December 5th, 20-year-old Shannon Banfield left her work office in Port-of-Spain, the bustling capital of Trinidad & Tobago. She called her mother to say that she was stopping by a couple stores downtown before taking transportation to return home.
She never reached home.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Growing Pains

What is it about growing up makes me feel like I'm losing my sense of self?

I feel this strange combination of sadness and happiness both at once, and I don’t quite know how to explain it. It is bittersweet. It is the happiness of gratitude alongside the sadness of a nagging nostalgia. It is a longing for my childhood and for more carefree times, or at least what I remember as being carefree times.
  Youth really is wasted on the young.

Mini-me in an era of carefree
times & unappreciated freedom

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Conversation with President Hennessy

A Tribute to Stanford's Last President
I met with President Hennessy last quarter, 
in his office,
and we had the most fruitful, open conversation. 

Entrance to the Office of the President, at the Main Quad.
How exciting!

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Knife

A gentle sword
(If there ever was one)
Held with the surest of hands.

Ever the gentleman
Accompanying the fork
Onto the hopeless chap it lands.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Great Unsettling of Sophomore Year

    My second year at Stanford is in full swing, and I’m feeling more unsettled than ever. In fact, I’m outright struggling to feel at peace here.
It comes as a shock to me more than anything, because I thought that surely, after weathering the ups and downs of freshman year, I’d be well-adjusted and ready to tackle sophomore year like a boss, without a hitch. I’d hit the ground running and stay running for the entire year because I had so much energy and excitement building up in me after three months of rejuvenation and spirit-restoration back in sweet T&T.
So, so wrong.
Nothing is as picture-perfect as it seems

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Weaver

Most days I sit in silence.
Words? I exhausted my share 
years ago. When I was young,
blissfully unaware,
took for granted the sheer
power I held in my palms.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Lost and Found

Excitement courses through my veins
Like liquid energy that I cannot contain

Anticipation I cannot satiate
A reminder of what awaits

Soon I’ll fly through the air and cross oceans
like a bird returning home after migration;

And after what seems like forever
The countdown is finally over.

On my way to sunny smiles and sunnier skies
The mountains peek through the clouds up high;

The Poem I wrote Backwards

The Poem I wrote Backwards

It’s now all on the page
Starting from the top
I’m filling the lines
One by one
As if by magic
My fingers are speeding
Running across the page
The words have come
The laptop is open
But the deadline approaches
I lay my head down
Seeking inspiration
What memories come to mind?
Nothing that I can write backwards
I can think of nothing, yet
Here it is

The poem I wrote Backwards

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Poet at Fourteen

       Is not even a poet
But she writes
Because somehow it helps
The bumps and spikes of

       Uncertainty abounds:
What’s life about
Who has answers
These questions and doubts

       What to say
How to act
Do I do this
Or do I do that

       So many of them
Just one of her
Although she writes
There’s but one answer:

         You’ll get there.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Eight years old
Near the swings
Standing and waiting

She’s my age
I can tell
But she keeps on swinging

Does she see me?
I don’t know
Or is she just pretending?

I look around - 
no other swings - 
So I keep on hoping

Dear God, I think
I just want a turn
I hope you’re listening

In that moment - 
Not a beat later - 
I see her jumping

Off the swing
She goes her way
Now I’m ascending.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Dangers of Being Dutiful - The School of Life

After wondering about whether I should become a doctor, I found this video which made answering that question so much easier. If you're caught deciding between possible career options, remember that while serving out of a sense of duty is noble, it may not always be in your best interest or the best interest of society.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Should I become a doctor?

This is the million-dollar question I've been trying to answer.

This requires so much venting. Because my thoughts, aspirations and plans are back into overdrive. Not quite back to square one, but now I am contemplating.
Contemplating whether or not I actually want to (or should!) be a doctor.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Your Elusive Creative Genius - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do?" For all you writers, dreamers, and creators out there, I found this TED talk deeply inspiring and relatable. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Children of Bethlehem

MOP Reflections: Journal Excerpt 2
Caressing a young-un
  Visiting Bethlehem, the children’s centre, was - as always - a touching experience. We started by simply dressing and feeding the children, but this still got to me. Firstly, I could barely put on a diaper, and the entire situation was compounded by the fact that their limbs are usually bent out of shape, so dressing them is not straightforward. Also compounded by the fact that I am not a naturally gentle person, so I was trying to be extra gentle with them, but it actually requires a bit of man-handling because they can’t bend their limbs on their own so we’ve gotta do it for them. But once that was done, it was basically time for feeding them, which is a whole new ball game.

Say Hello to the Good Shepherd Crew

MOP Reflections: Journal Excerpt 1

With Donahue at Good Shepherd
Today we visited Good Shepherd, the men’s home, residence to 3 memorable characters: 1) Donahue* - tiny crippled guy (man) in a wheelchair (he has tiny feet so can’t walk) but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his mind. Nada. 2) Walden* - another fully grown man in a wheelchair who has a speech impediment and crossed eyes and maaaaaaybe is a little slow, but otherwise, he’s normal-functioning. 3) Andrew* - who is a big, chubby, mentally challenged guy who talks in short phrases, simple words or relies on gestures. Andrew’s prime idiosyncrasy: affection. He literally greets and hugs you like you’re family, and continues to hug you throughout the day. Oh, I’ll add one more memorable guy to the list: 4) Dave* - more mentally challenged than Andrew in that he can’t really form words (I barely understood when he said his name. Imagine talking with your mouth open. That’s how he sounds), he can’t feed himself, and is somewhat unresponsive to external stimuli, although he does walk & move around on his own. 
  So what struck me about these 4?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Working with the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP)

MOP Reflections: Introduction

It's high time I documented this experience, but I have a hard time talking about service sometimes. I so hold myself to a high standard of being genuine that I worry about my words not doing this experience justice. Yet, I've made several volunteer trips to MOP, Jamaica, with my family, and each has undeniably changed our perspectives and left a deep impact on our lives. It is definitely something worth sharing, so here we go! (Skip to the end to see the video compilation)

Volunteer Crew 2016

Thursday, 9 June 2016

50 Questions: Freshman Year Edition

First in the Questions Series! A trend I've noticed: I ask more questions than I have answers for. Perhaps life is more questions than answers. My journal entries over the years certainly support this. So here they are, 50 questions I found myself asking during my first year at Stanford.

  1. New school, new year, new me??
  2. Can we take a moment to consider how naive and hopeful I was (and probably still am)??
  3. Was (am) I crazy?
  4. What am I saying??
  5. Am I delusional?

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Thoughts on turning 20

Because you only turn 20 once.

It’s a beautiful day. Although it’s still night (2:30AM to be exact). But I’ve finally turned 20, and although it’s any other day, I’ve assigned it meaning. This is the same thing I did for my 18th birthday, but this time it’s different. I feel like the last few months here at college have been such a learning experience that I can take my 20th birthday to consolidate it all, and reflect and think of where I want to go. But that’s also hard, because there’s just so much…so, so much. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Torn between my new college and my old home

Between Trinidad and Stanford

A glimpse of the scenic coast off Trinidad
A glimpse of the scenic coast off Eastern Trinidad.
Beware, though! Rip currents and rough seas
make these waters unswimmable
Returning home after my first quarter, I felt like my heartfelt wish had finally been granted, except it didn’t feel like the euphoria I expected. Up to a few weeks ago, if anyone had asked me if I was looking forward to returning home, I would enthusiastically respond, “Oh yes. I’ve been looking forward to going home since week five!”
Where’s home? Home is Trinidad and Tobago, my beautiful, Caribbean, twin-island republic – land of sea, sun and smiles.
Home…that magical place where family, friends, and fun times awaited me. I closed my eyes and dreamt of familiar faces and places, but when I opened them again, I was back in California, faced with schoolwork and socializing, and keeping up with life in the fast lane at Stanford.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


   A few weeks ago, I signed up for Netflix because I wanted to watch the Titanic movie online but I couldn’t find it. I figured Netflix was bound to have it, given all the hype. Turns out I didn’t find the Titanic, but I found Flipped instead. Flipped! One of my favourite young adult books by Wendelin Van Draanen had been turned into a movie! Who knew! The book followed the story of Juli Baker and Bryce Loski from both their viewpoints. I loved that book. I’d read it several times and the story never fails to make me sigh and smile. It’s just the sweetest story ever of how the tables can turn when it comes to life and love.