EXO, a Korean boy band (pictured behind me,) is one of the many K-pop artists that I have grown to enjoy over the past few years.
One of my biggest hobbies is studying different cultures and languages, particularly those within the Asian regions. My mother is from the Philippines, and it is because of that and my mother's side of the family that I was able to grow up knowledgable yet curious about said culture.
As a child, I was exposed to many types of Asian cuisine, traditions and languages that fueled my interest in the field. My mother and my aunts often spoke in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, with each other and sometimes with me as well, so I grew used to hearing it and was able to grow up learning it as well.
In my middle school years, I was exposed to anime, a popular Japanese style of film, television and graphic novels. It's safe to say that, through there, I was exposed to the language as well as Japanese mannerisms, slang and traditions.
It was in high school when I began to delve into South Korean culture through what pop culture likes to call the "Hallyu wave." The music, K-Pop, is what I got into first before falling into Korean TV dramas and movies. By extension, since many Korean celebrities - or "idols" as they are called overseas - are actually Chinese, I also started to learn more about Chinese culture as well.
Because of this, I've found that I know quite a few Korean phrases and words due to all of the music I've listened to and the shows I've watched. I've also started taking Mandarin classes in college to better understand Mandarin Chinese.
In the future, I would love to travel around Asia. So far, I have only been to the Philippines, my mother's home country. My next stops would probably be Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; and Tokyo, Japan.
Studying psychology, particularly personality and abnormal psychology, is another hobby of mine - hence why I've chosen to minor in it at Texas State University.
I used to be very ignorant to mental health, especially as a child. Not to my parents' fault, but simply in that I just never understood it. "Depression," they said is what they had. Well why couldn't they just watch a good TV show and be happy again? "Anxiety," they said is what they had. Well why couldn't they just calm down? I couldn't understand it...until I experienced it myself.
And then from that point, I started to do my research. And I felt so, so remorseful for the way I judged others before because I understood now. To some extent I now understood how it felt but even now, there is still much I have to learn.
To this day, there are people out there struggling with their own mental heath problems and there are people out there who are wrongly and ignorantly judging them just as I was. And it is my hope, my greatest wish that through my writing, I can open their eyes the way mine were opened.