Hi, it’s Lizzy Nguyen. I’m a girl of many faces. You might know me as the pit captain in the marching band or the Treasurer of HERE Club. Alternatively, I might be to you the girl who balances everything but doesn’t sleep, the girl who says “You come here often?” as if it were a catchphrase, or even the girl who used to wear a penguin hat to school every day in elementary school. However, these identities alone are nowhere near me as a whole. To give you a better idea of who I am, here are ten things I appreciate about life for the meaning they have.
I live with two brothers, two parents, my cat, and my grandmother. Each of them are entirely different from one another, and I know well about their strengths and their flaws. I love my father’s gentle encouragement and my mother’s fierce ambition. I love how my grandmother tries to teach me how to cook. I love the obscure jokes and the wordless conversations I can have with Ben and Billy. But most importantly, while things can be rough occasionally, I love how I know that at the end of the day, I can depend on my family to support me.
- Marching Band/Indoor Drumline
I used to practically live in the band room because I would always stay after school for rehearsals and football games. The music program holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I eventually found a second family, a group of people I’ve learned to trust and rely on. I love everything about it – the weird jokes, the music learning process, the way my marimba drifts on four-wheel drive, winking at audience members during indoor competitions, the excitement on my friends’ faces, everything.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I genuinely love looking at people’s eyes. While I do admire the variety of colors and details, I’m more focused on their behavior. I see the gears turning in someone’s head when their eyes dart to the ceiling before answering a question. I adore the soft, dreamy look people get when they’re utterly head over heels for the person across the room or even the person by their side. I could get lost in the way someone’s eyes light up when they talk about their passion. Eyes convey so much, especially the things you might not even notice.
- Bà Ngoại’s Cooking
While it may sound cliche, a restaurant will never compare to my grandmother’s cooking. I don’t understand her make-anything-in-the-fridge-delicious black magic, but what I do understand is that she never misses. The phở broth she simmers for hours. The bò kho with braised beef that falls right off the bone. Just writing about it, I can imagine the silky, savory taste of the broth on my lips.
- Rehoboth Beach
I’ve gone to Rehoboth Beach during the summer with my family for as long as I can remember, staying at a house with a family room I painted myself. On the beach itself, I have fond memories of reading, digging unjustifiably huge holes in the sand, and jumping waves. On the boardwalk, I always won stuffed animals on the quarter-value crane machines or the horse-racing skee-ball game. Ben and I would run to get hot fries coated in vinegar to share, and later on our family would enjoy rich ice cream. Even better was Cape Henlopen – I don’t think I’ll ever forget how we rearranged pine cones into words and how the wind felt as I drifted down long stretches of trail with no hands on my bicycle.
Whether it be in music, sport, or another hobby, there’s something beautiful about practicing something until I have it practically down to a science. From marching band/drumline shows that are still somewhere in my hands to meringues and cookies that I’d be hard-pressed to mess up by this point, I find joy in achieving a performance without surprises.
Despite what I just said, I also love little unexpected moments. Surprises add flavor and variety to a predictable life (as much I desire consistency, a little spice never hurts). Furthermore, while gift-giving isn’t necessarily at the top of my love languages, I love randomly showing up to friends’ houses with baked goods (in middle school, I would even wake up and make cake for people’s birthdays). Just seeing their reactions to little bits of effort on my part is enough to make my entire week.
- Cleaning My Room
Anyone who knows me knows about the time I set aside to channel my inner Marie Kondo and optimize my storage space through organization. Firstly, the look and feel of a clean room with clear, vacuumed floors clears my mind. But more importantly, there are times when I feel like I’ve lost my grasp on life. Even when things are spinning out of control, cleaning my room brings me peace because I at least have a handle on that.
- Memory (+ Notes)
I have an impressive memory for oddly specific things. However, it’s a double-edged sword – while I am capable of remembering exact food orders down to the seasonings on a Wawa hoagie after looking over your shoulder only once, I’m also kept up at night by cringey things I’ve done since first grade. But even so, I value my memory for the thoughtful care and concern I can show others. Combined with the 450+ iCloud notes I keep on my laptop and phone, you can count on me to remember almost every last detail.
- Melody Nguyen
Melody, or Mel, or even Mèo (“Cat”), is my little chubby baby. I feed her every morning and like clockwork, she scratches at my door during second period to be let in. I open the door, she slips through my legs, and jumps up on my bed in the exact same spot every time. I love the way she follows me everywhere and rubs her chin against my hand for attention. The way she flops over for belly rubs. How she sits on command. Her belly swaying back and forth as she checks up on me if I pretend there’s a medical emergency and collapse (Life Alert?). When I take her downstairs to be fed at night, she doesn’t stop and look over her shoulder halfway down because she trusts that I’ll be following right behind her.
I devoted an entire section to her alone because she’s been with me through some of the darkest moments of my life. She’s the reason why I’ve gotten out of bed when I otherwise wouldn’t have. Every time I see her, I’m reminded that there is a life that depends on me and loves me, and if I’m being honest, that’s one of the strongest reasons to keep going that I know of.