All of us here at Casa Aloha are biting our fingernails right now because YaYu will learn on Thursday whether she’s a finalist or not for a Questbridge scholarship. Brett and I are going to pick up cookies & cream ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream (YaYu’s request) on Thursday morning so we can either celebrate or drown our sorrows with her that evening. Brett and I feel she has around a 50-50 chance to be selected: she wrote a terrific biographic essay and her other essays are very good as well; she’s taken rigorous courses all through high school and maintained a high GPA; she’s taken and passed several AP exams; and she has a strong slate of extracurriculars, several with leadership positions. Coming from a small, rural high school in Hawai’i is also a plus. On the down side, her standardized test scores aren’t as good as they should be, and we have no idea how much those will count. Questbridge applicants as a whole are a very sharp bunch of students, and we realize YaYu just might not make the cut.
I’m thinking positively though, and being proactive. When WenYu was named a Questbridge finalist two years ago we were woefully unprepared and had to scramble to get all her paperwork together to send off to the colleges she had ranked. Every school wants something different, so this last week I checked each school’s application requirements and make a chart so we can quickly check off each item as we get it sent. The chart may end up in the recycling if she’s not a finalist, but if she is we only have 12 days to get everything sent off, and we want to be ready, especially since it can take up to 10 days for mail to reach several of the schools.
The Questbridge application process has been long and hard, and even if YaYu does not make finalist or receive a match scholarship in the end, she has learned a lot and is well-prepared to move forward. IF she makes finalist but doesn’t get a match it will carry a lot of weight in the regular college application process and can still provide a BIG financial aid package. (WenYu’s scholarship from Wellesley is a Questbridge regular decision one). She can re-use her Questbridge essays for the common application, and several of the schools she wants to attend will still waive the application fee for her. She is prepared no matter the outcome.
Anyway, we hope you’ll keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts for her this week.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished A Legacy of Spies on Friday night, and started LILLI de Jong, by Janet Benton, yesterday (per Reader Laurel’s recommendation!).
- Listening to: There’s a strong breeze blowing this morning and it’s making a lot of noise in the trees around us. I hope it hangs around and keeps the humidity at bay, because the last few days here have been awful – we’ve had big, heavy, moist clouds hovering overhead. There are a few roosters doing their thing outside, but otherwise no outside noise. Brett is reading, and YaYu is fixing herself breakfast – it’s the last day of fall break, so she slept in.
- Watching: We finally got around to starting the new season of This is Us (love this show!), but otherwise we feel like we’ve seen just about everything we want for now on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. We’re pretty much just waiting for new episodes/seasons of our favorite shows to become available again. The second season of Stranger Things will be arriving on the 27th. Because of Mavis’s recommendation, we watched Dead Poet’s Society yesterday evening – still a wonderful film.
- Cooking/baking: I’m probably not going to bake anything today because there’s still plenty of cookie dough in the freezer if Brett or YaYu want cookies. Last night’s fried rice didn’t get made because we were all too hot and tired, so we’re having that tonight instead of shakshuka (I’m having leftover steak pizzaiola).
- Happy I accomplished last week: Besides getting a Questbridge paperwork chart set up (heavens, I hope we need it), I also made my shopping list for this coming week’s Big Shop. I did some more Christmas shopping (and saved some money!) – I’m about 3/4 of the way done now. Brett and I have walked several evenings down on the beach path – rain is the only thing that has kept us from doing that. I’ve ridden my bike in the evening a few days as well – when I haven’t it’s been because it’s just been too humid. I drank at least 64 ounces of water and did my language study every day. Finally, I had one silly accomplishment: I finally won the Neko Atsume (cat collecting) game! I have been playing for over two years now, but every time I would get close to having all the cats and all the mementos, the game would add new ones. Well, this past week I added the last available ones (for now) to my collection, so I am done for a while.
- Looking forward to this week: Besides looking forward to the Questbridge announcement, Brett and I are planning to head up to Hanalei on the north shore on Tuesday (weather permitting), to go out to lunch and just poke around for a while. On Wednesday we’ll be doing our monthly Big Shop, although it won’t be very big this time. Our freezer is being temperamental, and we’re just not comfortable with loading it full of stuff only to have it shut off again in the middle of the night.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Sluggy of Don’t Read This; It’s Boring fame has put up another great giveaway. The prize includes several things that would make great stocking stuffers here at Casa Aloha. Even though the weather has been beastly the past few days, the early evening walks with Brett down on the beach path have been wonderful. I’ve lost enough weight that the bursitis in my hip doesn’t bother me, my old shoes are working out OK, and the views as we walk are always breathtaking. The conversation has also been great! Brett’s new running shoes arrived this week, so he’s got a bit more spring in his step too. YaYu bought me socks! I was planning to buy some next week when we shopped, but for the first couple of walks I had to borrow some of her (many pairs of) ankle socks. When she was out shopping for a friend’s birthday gift she picked me up my own bundle, just because, so I am set!
- Grateful for: I’m so thankful for all the beauty of this island. I complain bitterly about the humidity, but walking on the beach path, or seeing the pictures from Brett and YaYu’s hike, or driving past the ocean all remind me of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place.
- Bonus question: Is there one place you’ve visited more than any other? Would you go back again? For me, that would be Hong Kong – I’ve visited eight times (stayed in different hotel every time) and would go back in a heartbeat! The city has grown and changed so much since we were last there, and I would love to see what’s new and what hasn’t changed. When we were stationed in Japan, and Brett was with the air wing on the USS Midway, the ship always stopped in Hong Kong on its way back from a long cruise and I and other wives would fly down and meet the ship. The wives would gather at Fenwick Pier and wait as the launches arrived one by one with our spouses. The most exciting visit was when the ship was on its way home from Desert Storm because that’s the longest the ship had ever been away. I thought I’d have to wait for several launches to see Brett, but he was on the first one (still not sure how he managed it)! Anyway, we had four wonderful, romantic reunions in Hong Kong, I went on a shopping trip with a friend once, and our son and I went for Christmas in 1991, when the Midway was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Desert Storm (the only Christmas Brett wasn’t home). We also did two of our three adoption orientations in Hong Kong – Brett and I went in 1997 for Meiling’s adoption (Brett had broken his leg and was in a cast!), and my good friend Kris accompanied me in 1999 to get WenYu while Brett stayed home with Meiling. All of those eight trips were shopping extravaganzas (it’s what you did), but we also had a great time eating our way through Hong Kong. One reason I want to go back because I still haven’t had afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel!
That’s a wrap for this week at Casa Aloha! How was your week? What good things happened for you? What are you reading? What did you accomplish?