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And I am feeling so small…

I have not been home for Tet for 5 years. The perks of being home for Tet are not limited to being able to eat delicious food or getting red pockets, but also seeing friends and relatives that I would not be able to see during my summer visit, since Tet is the only time of the year that everyone is at home instead of struggling with life elsewhere. This time, I was able to meet and spend quality time with many friends from middle school, and we had the fun time together that we had waited for many years.

That said, while Tet is already wonderful enough as it is, this trip back to Vietnam has gone beyond expectation, which I give credits to the new people I met. The high intensity of family and group-of-friends gatherings allowed me to expand my friend circle and meet many new people, from young to old, whose knowledge and characters have fascinated me so much in the past few days. If I had to describe the magnitude of good impression these people have had upon me, I would have to cite a verse of the song “Say Something” (A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera) that has been playing in my head for days:

And I am feeling so small

It was over my head

I know nothing at all

Well, I admit this verse is applied out of context, but I must say, I am not at all being theatrical. I guess being inside the Princeton bubble and my own world of Economics and academics for so long makes me forget what great things people do and what great ideas people think of out there.

To give an example, while I closely follow the news of the U.S., I hardly think much about them and simply follow the “perspective of the crowds,” that is, to agree on whatever said on the media or by the majority of the people. But then, when I had a conversation yesterday with my great uncle, a military strategist, who for obvious reasons does not know as well as I do about what’s happening in America. Yet, when I updated him with the news, he was able to give many interesting perspectives, many of which I may or may not agree with, yet very noteworthy regardless. Only then that I realized whatever part of my brain that is devoted to issues outside academics has been put in hibernating mode.

This is just an example. With the high intensity of gatherings and the many different people at each gathering, I got exposure to so much more astonishment. Each and every of my friends and relatives opened my eyes with their understanding of law, history, international relations, general knowledge, languages, life skills, and talents. Though being in Princeton student still makes me proud of my efforts along the way, I’ve never dared to think of myself as any superior individual, for I think we are all different as who we are, and sometimes the only thing that picks one out of a diverse crowd is luck. Yet, this time around, I am really wondering the Princeton admissions office has picked the wrong person. Or maybe I have not tried hard enough to live up to the name and reputation that were bestowed upon.

Anyways, right now the only emotion I have is

And I am feeling so small

It was over my head

I know nothing at all.

and this is just the inspiration that I need.

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