Journal Reflection

The following post is from the journal entry that I wrote on the 5th of February this year

Happy New Year in this journal. Last time I wrote in this book was about 5 months ago, and a lot has happened in between that time. I have been able to help my father and grandmother with a bunch of projects of which in some cases, I am still helping them with. I have finally decided to follow the path of a music composer and have enjoyed every experience in learning about it.

I have continued to learn more about my past, which hasn’t been the easiest thing…Nevertheless, through learning about my past, I am more and more grateful to God for his mercies and how he has worked his way through my life. As I am now writing, I stand awed at how I have hands that can write and play the piano, feet that have a normal range of motion, as well as a heart that is beating inside me and keeping me alive. Against many odds, I am alive.

I am also happy that I have not had to brave this big and sometimes scary journey alone. I have had God by my side as well as many people that I have had tremendous and many meaningful experiences with. Teachers and friends who I have told the darker side of my story to and have given me valuable advice that has helped me through many tricky situations. Thank you for allowing me to be able to talk to you even though you probably had a lot on your plates already. Thank you for helping me lower my defensive walls. I am extremely grateful.

This gap year has taught me many things, some being:

  1. Enjoy every single day despite its challenges
  2. Look for the silver lining in every cloud, no matter how dark it may seem
  3. Sing harmonies that go with a melody and if needed, make it up as you go along. Just don’t stop singing your song.



What A Gap Year…

Dear reader,

Again, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve wrote anything on this blog. While I was away, I’ve been taking a gap year in order to prepare myself for college in more ways than one.

My gap year has been pretty jam-packed full of events and changes. I remember that before I took this gap year, I was dead-set on getting into computer science and everything tech in university. However, thanks to this gap year, (half of which is over now) I have realised that music is actually more compelling to me in university and beyond. Music gives me a buzz that no piece of technology could. It’s something that I could imagine myself being immersed in every single day and never getting bored.

Over the course of the year, I have been helping my family out with projects which range from helping my grandmother edit drafts for a potential book to heping my father with his art collection that was put on display at the National Museum, (helping with voiceovers for a video, equipment setup, delivering a speech on the official public opening day), to composing pieces of music and gathering sound effects that are actively going to be used in a game that my father, my cousin, and I are developing.  In the midst of that, I am continuing to learn more about music through taking online music theory lessons, watching a jazz documentary (that is 19 hours long spread over 10 DVDs), playing the piano, and composing my own music whenever the inspiration hits me.

This gap year has been pretty exciting, frustrating, and rewarding so far and I can’t wait to see what the other half of this year holds in store!


Hidden, Yet Open Manipulation

Dear reader,

There are experiences in life where someone tries to manipulate you into having some thoughts and trying to plant thoughts inside your head that you never thought to have. Sowing of seeds of doubt in yourself and those around you. I’ve had one of those with someone that I’ve wanted to try to forgive from 18 years of pain, sadness, and anguish. I don’t know how to process something like that…

When speaking with this person, I’ve tried to mentally block the things that this person has said that I think could cause doubt in my abilities and my life choices. However, unfortunately, this person has decided to strike closer to home than I was expecting. This person broke through my defenses and unfortunately, hidden to me, this person was steadily moving closer to breaking my defenses over a couple of weeks. Today, this person’s intentions were unfortunately made clear.

I’ve tried to continually forgive and look over this person’s words to me, but this person is trying to put feelings in me that I had never expressed about my personal experiences. This person almost seems to think that they have the right to know about everything in my life. I don’t think this person needs to know everything that goes on in my life. This person gave me advice that I already knew, except in a slightly warped way and told me that I didn’t need to be afraid of feeling afraid of something that I’d never been afraid of. If anything, the very thing that this person said I don’t need to be afraid of is something that I have put trust in without a second thought.

These experiences aren’t pleasant.  Hidden, yet open manipulation.


Resolution and Forgiveness

Dear reader,

Have you ever wondered about something for a considerably long amount of time? Well, I’ve wondered about something in my life for the past 18 years. This issue has always been in the back of my mind, nagging at me. Someone wronged me for the longest time and wasn’t ready to come out and tell me. Finally, today, it has been resolved. This person finally admitted to what happened and asked for my forgiveness.

It quite literally feels like the biggest weight has been lifted off of my chest. I never thought that it would happen, especially in the way that it did! I have cried many nights over how this person has wronged me, but now I’m crying in happiness that this person has admitted that it was not easy for me to go through what had happened back then, admit to their mistakes, and ask for my forgiveness.

I’m not quite ready to say that I would forgive this person right now, but maybe I will in time… Only time itself will tell!



Keeping Up With Time

Dear reader,

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. There have been many moments of hustling over the time that I have been away. I’m about to take my exams in just a few days and I’m spending all my available time getting ready for them.

This year has been a varied mix of a sluggish scrape and a speeding bullet train, with some days feeling more of one way than another. During this year, I have been seriously reflecting on the concept of time. What to do with it, how fast or slow it travels, memories of the past, and what time holds in the future. As I reflect over my life so far, I can honestly say that time has been a great asset to me. It has allowed me to meet different people, many of whom are very special to me, and I have also been able to experience a lot – be it good, bad, or difficult – which is valuable to me.

However, one of the things that terrifies me about time is the change that it brings along with it. When I am in an environment that I am truly enjoying, be it a visit with a friend, a trip to different parts of Kenya, or just being in school (yes, I did just say that), I don’t want these experiences to end. Over this past half year, I have had to say a lot of goodbyes and come to grips with the finality that it holds. I still haven’t come to grips with any of it. To be honest, I don’t like saying goodbye at all, so I try to avoid it by instead saying “See you later”, even though there is probably no chance I will see that person or place ever again. Sometimes, I even start to cry when I realise that fact.

I honestly don’t know whether to be afraid or happy about time. With it brings new experiences, yes, but also with that comes changes that can be big and frightening. Some things that I have tried to do to keep as many memories as I can is to keep a file of anything important to me and I have promised myself that I will carry that file with me wherever I go to remember the past and never forget what time has been able to grant me, even if it is in fleeting moments.

If I were to offer one piece of advice to you, dear reader, it would be to treasure every waking second of the day. Even though it may be a bad day, treasure it, because you may never be with the people around you when you have those days ever again. Spend time with those you love, because time may come when you or them have to move away. When that time happens, don’t cram in time to be with them a week or two before they leave. Build up your memories with them every day and make the moments special.

Never forget where you came from.

Treasure every moment, for there will never be another one like it.


A Thank You Letter

Dear Miss Magnuson,

I would sincerely like to thank you for challenging me as much as you have. With the many different assignments that continued to press me further in my ways of thinking and allowing me to relate to many different events that seemed unrelated at first, you helped me greatly broaden my viewpoints. Throughout the year, with every experience, I have grown in a way that I would never have expected. If I could speak to my past self from 2 years ago who wasn’t confident in her writing, I would have recommended that she take that class!

Reflecting back on the year, I must admit, I was more than a little nervous. I was especially nervous about the blog posts and the realization that what I said would be on the Internet forever, even if I tried to delete it! However, my biggest feeling of nervousness turned into a feeling of joy whenever I wrote any of these posts. I found it more than just a post that I had to turn in for a grade every week. To me, these posts were a fun way to express myself in a medium that I had never thought of before.

Miss Magnuson, I would like to thank you so much for putting your faith in me and fighting for me to be in that class. I will be eternally grateful for that and it is something that I will never forget. It was so wonderful being in this class and throughout the year, it was a blast getting to discuss with you over different topics of varying difficulties. Your class period was one that I was always looking forward to because I knew that I would have a fun time while being able to learn relevant ideas and perspectives on issues at the same time. If I could take AP Lang over again, I would do so in a heartbeat! Thanks for making AP Lang a wonderful and fun experience for me!

Best regards and thanks for everything,


Tablets vs. Textbooks

Dear reader,

In school, at the beginning of the year, you were probably handed textbooks for many if not all of your classes. As you peered through them, have you groaned as you realize the weight that might be added to your backpack? Also taking a look at the text, have you wondered if there is a more engaging way to tackle the same material instead of relying on a textbook the whole time?

Using tablets in school is a possible solution to that problem. Not only are they light, they are also able to help the student engage more actively in the material by offering a more engaging method of learning. For example, if a student gets a brand-new textbook, they probably won’t want to mark it up for fear that they might have to pay for damages for writing or highlighting in the book. Using a tablet eliminates that risk, for the person can highlight as much as they want. It is their own device and they will be able to highlight as much text as they want on their own virtual textbook.


Sarah Wong on remarks that a study by the California Board of Education in 2004 states that the average high school student carries a bag with “about 16 to 20 pounds of textbooks.” Compare that to a tablet which weighs only a few pounds and can carry all of your textbooks and more. With an alternative which is more efficient and less back-breaking, tablets are a better alternative to carrying several textbooks home at the end of every school day.

Tablets are a more efficient way to carry all your material instead of textbooks because not only are they lighter, but they are also more engaging than regular textbooks. The material on the tablet can be marked up as much as is desired and can create a more personalized learning plan and experience with the text. Hopefully, in the future, we can have a personalized learning experience that is engaging and easier on our backs.