Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wild, Crue,l Breathtaking Flower

You changed me. 
You made me believe I could be loved forever. My love for you was like a wild flower., in that I tried countless times to root it out, but still its roots dug deep into my heart where it bloomed and blossomed onto my face as a smile. 

My dreams tinged with your warm presence. I close my eyes and hold that valentine’s gift close to my heart and imagine your body right next to mine where it should be. Your arms like a shelter from all harm. You made me feel loved and alive. Your words were like a sweet escape into a wonderful fairytale where we both could live forever. You made me believe in forevers. You made me believe in relationships, in romance, even in marriage which I had sworn off. 
You gave me your last name — what a cruel joke.

To me you were this beautiful certainty and to you, I guess, I was a source of joy that was at your dispense.

I do not know what happened to our fairytale, I fought for you as the knight in shinning armor over a hundred times even after you ran a blade straight through my broken heart. Those roots of this wild love suddenly grew dark and started to rot.
By then the flower was so dazzling that I ignored its flaws and bit my lip to ignore the pain.
I told you over and over and over again. Do not take me for granted.
You did.
Pencil Drawing by Sne
You knew I would take you back every time like the sun does the stars and the stars the moon and the moon the tide.
I never wanted to kill this flower that grew so tall and proud, that it almost became arrogant. 
I hoped that someday it would see who truly cared for it and loved it so that it may bow down and say thank you.
Words that were never uttered. And sorry, a concept that it may never grasp.
For even the strongest are only as strong as their weakest hour. 
Love is vulnerability, not always strength, and I found something pure in your soul. But it appears that I will not be the one to see the real you.
Pulling out these roots leave holes in my heart… unlike before where it had only been fractured, it now has deep, dark wells… rootless. 

I built up walls around our love keeping it together fighting for us when you were to weak to.
Pen Drawing by Sne
Your words are as hollow as the pain you left my heart to suffer alone. Your friendship was what I treasured the most. You listened and was there all until you told me my emotions were too much.
I hope you will remember that.
I want you to find happiness and love in life, although in secret I had hoped that joy would be me.

No effort has been put in from your behalf to keep the flower from collapsing.
I gave you unconditional love and I suppose you were not ready.
Maybe you never were, but you changed my heart and made me ready instead.

Those bittersweet memories will make for excellent fairytales. Deep in my heart I will always have a part of me that will love you, and though I am breaking my own heart by doing so I know that my love and my friendship is priceless. It is rare and people often do not realize until it is gone. 

May you find happiness, peace and may you love someone as I loved you.

30.4.18

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today Was The Day My Light Shined

It was the usual evening walk. Down towards Castro Street, Mountain View and back home with my dad. As we neared Castro we heard a lot of honking, and my father was quick to compare it to Bangladesh and I said it resembled New York, where I had just visited earlier in the summer and wished I could live in the NYU dorms. Still baffled, we came to the crossing and saw police cars waiting and driving around the area so we observed and saw a protest taking place. The American flags were waving high and banners were being carried.

“Dad we have to go! Please!” 

I pleaded to my father to let me go. My father, also eager to join, decided we can go with the demonstration. I kept an ear out, listening to see what exactly was being protested. I scanned the crowd and I smiled as I saw older generations some with children and some with grey hair walking in the march. I knew this was not just a battle that the young were fighting. The old generation gave me hope.

We were in the back of the crowd where a wonderful lady was leading the group in songs. I looked around and heard the echoed slogan of 2017: “Love Trumps Hate”. Even though I knew that not all white people are against immigrants, it felt more real seeing them welcome anyone into the march with open arms. The media has set such a fear inside us all that we let it get the best of us.


We gathered in front of the theatre center in Castro and I slowly seeped my way through to the front. The daylight had faded, illuminating all the wishful candles. The dark is funny like that. Even though our eyes lose their vision, our hearts open up as though we are all standing there with the heart of a young baby beating strong and healthy. We beat as one in our songs. Our hearts were pure and stood with open arms as though it had never felt pain and only ever known love. As though those sixty eight years had no scars just like the child holding a candle in its stroller. We were one.


“This little light of mine”

 


A choir formed out of the entire crowd. Every note was sung in harmony. A little laughter and some shared smiles drew us closer. The family in front of me moved out of the way and  I came to see the organizers. "Together We Will" written across a banner helped me understand how this had come to be. This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land. A song I remember my dad singing when I was younger. I did not know its true meaning until today.


Today could not have been filled with more fate. I had been talking about going to protests ever since the current president had been sworn in back in January. I have cried so many tears over the heartless bans and violent actions that have been committed in the past eight months. What happened next was never part of my plan, for all I knew was that the lady in the middle had organized this. After three people spoke I thought the demonstration was finished, so I decided to approach the lady to gather more information of future protests and how I could participate. I started to cross over and all of a sudden an older lady says go ahead and speak. The organizer turned around and said the stage is yours. Now in that moment I thought. I could walk away or I could take this opportunity. I think part of me deep down wanted to speak tonight. Every time I saw these protests on TV, I always thought what I would have said if I had that megaphone.


Tonight, however, my voice was all I had. Without hesitation I decided to speak. I did not even turn to look at my father as the first thing that came to my mind was how thankful I was that for some reason I was able to stumble upon a protest that I could participate in.


I checked to see if everyone could hear me as I started. I moved here four years ago from Europe. I may not have an American citizenship, but boy have I never been prouder to say that I live in this country. I spoke of how welcomed it made me feel as an immigrant and as a person of color to see a crowd supporting me. I went on to talk about my parents who could not get married due to their different religions. My mother being Hindu and my father a Muslim. Neither converted nor would ever ask the other too. Instead I grew up in a home where I was never labeled either, in fact I even went to church.

To see an actual crowd standing in front of you knowing that they support your rights and believe that you are equal to others and deserve to be treated as such is unlike any other feeling.


I was not shaking. I was buzzing.

All throughout my body came an energy that I had not felt before. I felt as though this is where I was meant to be. This is what I was meant to do. At the age of fifteen, nearly sixteen, I do not want to waste my life and time. I can now happily say that I did not sit back and watch. I played my part, however small that may have been. I have never felt more in my element than that very moment in front of that crowd. Tonight, hundreds of other demonstrations took place across the country in response to the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, we saw truly how love can bring us together.


As people were listening, I saw the kindness in people's hearts as they lit up each other's candles. Although this may seem like common courtesy, I see it as a symbol for the good in our world. Nobody's light will get any dimmer by lighting up another’s light. The pure simplistic act of lighting up each other’s hope is what drove me to speak. I was shorter than most of the crowd and my father was out of sight, but that did not intimidate me for one second because all I knew was that I wanted to say thank you.


Politics have become an important part of my life as I someday hope to work in that field and do my part and help the people the best way that I can. Today I felt a little bit of that. After I was done a kind woman came up to me and handed me her candle and said she wanted me to keep this. I walked with it all the way home still glowing and lighting my path. I looked up at the stars and wondered how I, an immigrant young girl who happened to stumble onto the stage, spoke without feeling fear to a big crowd. Another lady told me that I would go places and so many people came forth and expressed how amazed they were to see a young girl speak. I could barely believe it myself. This was after all my first protest. I heard a woman say that I would end up in congress and that I was like Obama. Two other woman came up to me and told me how they had gotten pessimistic about the political atmosphere but seeing me gave them hope that they are passing the world on to safe hands. The sixty eight year old lady told me that she was also fifteen when she first started out and that she was sure we would meet again. Little did they know that they were the ones inspiring me since they are fighting for a better future not for themselves, but for me.


Earlier today I was telling my dad that in history class we always talk about what we would have done if we lived back then. The truth is most of us would not do much, in fact many of us would have done nothing. I told my dad that I needed to participate in protests because I can not live with myself if in fifty years children will be learning about today and saying how they would have protested and knowing that I, who lived then, had done nothing. I may be just fifteen, but that is no excuse for me not to help. Now my heart is at ease knowing that in fifty years I can tell my future family and friends of how I started my career in standing up in the face of fear, hate and injustice.

Today was the day my light shined and it is the first of many more.


Monday, August 7, 2017

The Difference Of a Smile in NYC




New York. I had declared this city my future home.

I no longer referred to my future saying "if" or "hopefully", instead  I say “when”. The last day before leaving, I went with my mother on self guided tour of Columbia University, a prestigious Ivy league university, and NYU, the one university I could not stop talking about since last February.


Before all of this, we toured Brooklyn via a food tour guide and once again I had fallen in love with this entire area. Chinatown as well as an Eastern European part of Brooklyn really shows the diversity of the city and I'm happy to say I was not shocked. This is what attracts me to this part of America. There is that struggle to make it and a sense of toughness, it doesn't matter if you grew up here or if you immigrated like I did. Change is fundamental to who I am as a person and New York fits that perfectly because there is always something new to try. Take the subway, Uber or even a cab and you can be anywhere. New York is the home to so many culture and is not just for a certain group of people, but open to everyone.
There is a stereotype that New Yorkers are rude. Behind every stereotype there is a bit of truth somehow no matter how twisted. Nevertheless, if you go through New York with a smile and never let anyone kill your positive energy, it rubs off on others and you will see that a smile can lighten up someone else's day. 
I was feeling pretty great on the ride from our hotel as I thought about me living in New York.

Our Uber pulls up to Columbia university

I had not expected much walking up; however, I completely stopped when I saw the entrance. my mom kept walking until she realized I was still outside looking at the main gate and the two on the side. the last time I felt like this was when I was nine and saw Princeton for the first time. I walked through the side gate, as though I was nine years old again listening to one of the Princeton professors telling me to go through the side gate because there is a superstition that you don't graduate if you go through the main door.
I just remember my heart beating so fast. I saw all these other students dressed nicely and I stood there in my black shorts, green tank top and backpack.
There are three situations in which I walk faster than usual. 1. I'm trying to get away from a uncomfortable/scary situation 2. I'm feeling very confident 3. I'm very excited and I want to run/jump/scream but I can't. That is what I felt walking into Columbia. This summer it finally hit me that in two year, when I'm 17,  I'm going to start at a university. I'm never the one to shy away from smiling so I walked all around with a steady smile on my face. I froze up once more when I saw the size of the library. The top was lined with the foundational philosophers. The only down part was that the library was not open.


At this point I was still in awe of the fact that I was in a university campus. I saw all these other families walking around. The daughters especially were wearing nice dresses, jewelry and being completely dressed up from head to toe. I stood there with my black backpack, black shorts and a green tank top and sandals that slightly resembled greek sandals. The only jewelry on me was a delicate little necklace that my best friend and I had bought for each other.
Nevertheless, I did not care because I knew that all of that did not matter right now.


Next stop was NYU

The school I had been talking about since the beginning of high school. The uber made U-turn and picked us up. The driver was very delightful to talk with and made the twenty minute drive fly by. He was a mix of many different cultures and ethnicities; he said he was Puerto Rican from Brooklyn. He was as big as his whole hearted laugh. I thought of all the times where movies and people say New Yorkers are rude. Yes, there are always rude people in one of the most metropolitan cities in the world, yet at the same time a smile goes a long way. What else do you expect from the city that has been in the spotlight for decades. People are bound to become agitated. Asking kindly and not being thrown of by someone else's bad attitude is the key in life. A few days before I had gone to a Mexican restaurant near Time Square, keep in mind that west coast will always have better Mexican food, the waiters were formal at first until I spoke a bit in Spanish. It was not much but I tried and the attitude of the workers changed dramatically. Smiles were genuine and they were much more kinder. A smile and some respect really does make a monumental difference in the way you experience life.


We arrive at NYU's main office

I see Washington Square Park out of the corner of my eye. I do not feel the same excitement, but rather a sense of calmness. Even in this deathly heat of more than 30 degrees Celsius the park looked wonderful with the fountain in the middle and the kids playing and blowing bubbles. The university has always had a preference for me. The energy at the campus is just so nice. It seems down to earth and very relaxed. I love that it is in the city and that you are immediately thrown into the world. I love not being surrounded by the same group of people. Living in the city allows you to constantly run into new people and explore the area. There is always something new to be seen and tried. After I returned I met a sophomore at NYU that lived down the street from me. We talked and bonded over the struggle of not really knowing much about college as well as my painting as she had come over while I was painting in my garage. Sororities and fraternities are apparently not too big of a deal and that makes NYU more appealing to me. I do not mind trying it, but the fact that the school is so diverse is a major plus. Diversity has always made me feel more at home. Diversity is not just race and gender but also in personality. Walking through the buildings of NYU, I immediately became accustomed to the street names and felt at home. I saw students studying in Starbucks and in the park and all I could imagine was how amazing it would be to go to this school and that is when my heart started racing and my smile grew wider and wider. Someday I thought. I thought no matter how crazy it is to believe you can go to a specific school, being that crazy that you do not doubt yourself will get me closer than if I ever doubt myself. I just have to keep doing my best and believe that I shine through my work.



It is fascinating that I have been in school for 10 years in a few days. I still remember the first day. The day I met my best friend. Although we are an ocean plus a continental America apart, we have survived and never been closer. Believing in something so blindly, is the only way to make sure something that crazy, as keeping your childhood best friend and growing closer to them over the past four years apart, is possible. If I can adapt and excel at English a language I did not understand that well four years ago. If I learned rock climbing within a year even if my surgery prevents me from getting better. If I skipped sixth grade and taught myself geometry in one summer. If I can take finals right after surgery and being on narcotics. If I can do that and everything else I have done and been through. I know that I can reach my dreams. 

Whether or not I am accepted at my dream school, I know that someday I will end up in New York.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Journey of a Thousand Labels

The story of a my life just till the age 15 is enough to write a book on everything I observed. It is the story of getting lost in translation, in a colorless world, in a half deaf world, in a world with nowhere to belong.

Who am I?

________________________________________________________________________

Rosy checks”

that is the first nick name I got from my doctors after I was born. Little did I know then that I’d be going there for the rest of my fifteen years. My mother, barely surviving the birth, heard the news about my ear. Microsia and atresia, sounds pretty magical right? Like some kingdoms in some little story book tucked away in a child's bedroom. I often wonder if my parents knew that I was born with chronic asthma and an ear defect that they would have changed me… you know though all those DNA engineering, but then again I would be nothing without those features. My hair like a mini afro mimicked the curls of the men in my family. Rosy, the only color i’d encountered a few days into this world.

“Blue Jeans”

My Mother, being the activist and rebel that she is, decided not to let me wear any "girly" colors. My first encounter with a label.
In the midst of a snowstorm in the year of 2002 a car speeds down the German highway towards a village in Denmark. At the age of one I arrive in the country I call home.
Snow, the first object I associated with myself.
Sne the word for snow in Danish fit perfectly as my uncle took me outside into the freezing snow that slowly crystallized my lashes.

“Where are you from… what are you?”

Mother Tongue… I don’t think I have one.
Am I the first generation? Second? Or third? I often go through my lineage to try to understand where I belong better, though it never yields in any clarity. It just digs a deeper well that just confuses people from the surface.
My great grandparents, born under British rule, were lawyers, police officers, and leaders in the fight for freedom. When the British left the country split in two, my paternal grandparents had to move to current Bangladesh because they were Muslim. My maternal grandparents stayed in their city. My dad was born during the war in Bangladesh. If it wasn't for his single mother he would be stuck selling in a market in the same country. He moved to Dubai leaving his elder brothers behind. Through a scholarship he made it to holland at the age of 16 alone. My mother moved to Tanzania at a young age and moved to Netherlands at the age of 16 as well. Now my mom and I live in denmark and my dad lives in California.
That is what I wish I could say to everybody who ever asked me where I am from. I don’t know.

“Where are you from”
“Gistrup”
“No but where were you born?”
“Ohh, Delft, in Netherlands”
“No but where are you really from”
“Huh”
“You parents”
“Dutch”
“Grandparents”
“Dutch, I’m brown because from Asia” is what I should've said.
“Ohhh”
That like the most popular song was set on repeat for the entirety of my life in Denmark and America.
To be completely honest, I had no idea that these questions were posed due to my skin color.

“Which story today?”

Every night my dad would call over the landline no matter how much work he had. My dad lived in California since I was four. I saw him 4 times a year for a one or two weeks at a time. I put the black phone against my good ear as I closed my eyes and put my head on my pillow.
“You have to sleep now if you want to wake up for school!”
My mom would tell us as she lied down next to me. The nights I fell asleep with that black samsung pressed against my ear is countless.
Because of him I grew fond of language and storytelling. This continued for seven years until I moved to California.


“Blue is a boys color!”

In my kindergarten filled with refugees, I met my first gender label.
My best friend a Somali refugee, Hippo, chose the blue toy and another girl screamed that she couldn’t choose that. This was the start of me standing up for my friends.
If I had not gone to a controlled school, I would have a decent number of punches under my belt for stopping bullying against my friends by now.

“You’re a girl. You can’t play soccer”

This was the first time I had been labeled as a on of the two sexes.
Convincing them to let myself prove them wrong, they put me as defense the least important player for them. I proved them wrong. Form that day on I was chosen first for sports by the boys. That day I realized what it is to be in a man’s world. Little did I know my mother was facing similar problems. I guess I got pushing people's boundaries form her.
My legs racing down the stairs from the the building, I raced down to the sandy soccer field. The wooden goal posts were draped with droopy rope. Tired of talking inside on a nice day with the girls, I asked if I could play. No. I’m a girl. Girls cry when they get hurt. That day I vowed to myself to never let a tear fall in front of others.

“Slaves were usually dark skinned people”

“So Sne is a slave?”
The first time I received a label based on race.
Yet My innocence over flooded this incident and forgot about it.

“You have to buy a lock for your locker! I’m sure you can afford it it's very cheap”
The first time I felt that I did not belong in my own country.
My teacher commented on my status of being an immigrant.

“You are a Dane, don’t you forget that”

My Danish white  ‘adopted’ grandma comforted me as I wept.
My teacher had told me that I did not have to learn math because I was a girl and in her Turkish accent told me that she could speak English to me so I could understand better.
I was confused since I did not know English.
I cried wondering if my danish was okay.

“You have a big butt”

The first time the shape of my body was labeled.
Fifth grade after PE a new girl, who did not like immigrants of any kind told me this.
I looked around. I was surrounded by girls with the same body type. Not knowing any other body I believed that I was fat until recently. I never let it affect my health luckily.
Thank god or whoever runs this messed up world, for my best friends.

“I’m moving to U.S.A”

My heart shattered. I didn’t know what was happening. My entire life was ripped at the seams.
My best friend and I cried for hours.
I cried as I walked out my house.
The white willow trees blew in the wind as though they wept too and waved goodbye as I my grandma pulled out of the drive way.
I said goodbye to my cousin who I grew up with.
The plane ride was filled with tears and even as I landed I let a tear fall.
I have never cried so much in my life. I never thought it would stop.
In some ways it still hasn’t.


“Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?! Aren’t you Indian”

That was the first time I realized what race was.
That many people first saw the tint of my skin rather than the smile on my face.

“Are you sure you are not Ecuadorean?”

The first time I truly felt that someone wanted me to be a part of their culture.
A kind man, owner of a diner in Brooklyn, asks me kindly if I wasn’t from his home country.

“You're my n*****”

The first time I truly felt inferior to everyone else in my home town.
The world turned white for a second. How do you respond to that. A white girl whom you've known since childhood does not understand that the N word can only be used by black and is a derogatory term. A term bread in the hatred of skin. A word for ownership over the life of another human.

“I wish I wasn't brown”

The first time I did not feel comfortable in my own skin.
Cried for hours as my mother and grandmother tried their best to tell how it is not fair the way colored people are treated but it should not harm me.
They shared a glance.
A glance of sadness knowing that this day would have come and they could not protect me from this. A glance to share emotions numbed by their own countless encounters of inequality.
I cried.

“ you are Danish”

The first time someone I just met accepted what I state as my identity to be true.
No questions asked. Just Danish.

“I’m confused”

I say with a devilish smile drawn across my face as people inquire about my identity.
The first time I come to terms with the fact that I may look Hispanic, have the hair that is often associated with blacks. Be mistaken for half white and Indian and Filipino and Japanese. Be Dutch by birth. Danish by heart. American by residency. Indian by maternal links and Bangladeshi and Mongolian through paternal links. Grew up with a Hindu mother and a Sufi father and went to church with them to light candles and sing and hear parables for Christmas and Easter.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Finally at ease with truly knowing that I belong nowhere but everywhere.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sur"real" Education

Failing … the dystopian dream


Education is something nearly all kids in the developed nations (a.k.a .the west) take for granted including myself. So many adults and children write and talk about how the education system is not right and has an endless list of complaints on reform.
It is so fascinating that we somehow came up with this idea where we spend a minimum of twelve years of our life being educating just to go to another school which is insane and yet I do not know of another system.

Education is different throughout the world.

In Denmark there is little to no stress. Homework are always turned in and kids come to school on time with no form of penalty.
There are no grades to hold a student accountable yet we all do our best without the education board holding a carrot in front of us. Grades are introduced in 8th grade (Danish schooling system) and is continued after. Vocational tracks are made to accompany each student and their skills. Up until then our assignments would be judged on scales such as excellent, great, good, need improvement etc. Though it may sound great to live in a country where education does not drive thousands of students to depression and suicide, it does not push you to become the best you can be.

In America schooling seems like a haze. In high school every other week is like finals week with a test in every subject. Each move you make in high school from one late assignment or failing your first test will impact your future. Teachers remind students that a bad grade can be turned around and made up for if it is done earlier in the semester; however, the truth is once a grade crosses 90% and into the B’s it is extremely hard to retrieve an A. This puts the idea in our minds that only A students will be successful and the only good colleges are in the lines of science and related subjects. At times you want to give up since you are always being compared to every single person.
The main difference in these two education systems is where a student may end up. In Denmark you will be fine and your trajectory will always just be fine. In U.S.A your trajectory could either land you on food stamps or lead you to become the next big thing. It is impossible some might say, but I believe in America if you put your mind to it you can be anything.

Education Types

I have been exposed to many different education types.
I experienced first hand the Danish and the American systems.
My danish friends are currently picking their tracks and enjoying their final year before gymnasium while my American friends and I are preparing for college tours, SATs and the AP finals, and my cousin in Japan goes to school by seven and comes home at ten after many sessions of tutoring for high school exams and brass band practice. Meanwhile millions of children in Asia, South America and Africa are putting their lives at risk to learn basic multiplication and the alphabet. A nine minute bike ride takes me into a complete different part of Mountain View. A predominantly Hispanic community where kids stay in school as long as eight in the evening because their parents are still working. My entire life majority of the students and I hated math, yet when I sit and tutor these eight and nine year olds they tell me they love math and it is their favorite subject.
I was conditioned to not like it and yet  here are these young kids who barely have half of the resources I had available, smiling as they proudly show me their skills and their enthusiasm to learn.
How can we improve our own education when so many children do not even have access to it.

Glass Ceiling 

There is a glass ceiling and it gets thicker and thicker the more minority identities you posses, but once that ceiling has a crack after relentless punching it will break and there is nothing holding a person back.
To explain this to my father I took the example of a soccer ball that I used to play with in the pool. People will spend tremendous energy on pushing you down and keep you there; however, as soon as the ball finds a little space it pushes out with force enough to lift it double as high into the air as it was underwater. The farther down one is pushed the harder and higher someone is going to rise back up.
In the end it is all up the individual's will power. It truly is magical what a person's will can achieve.

I am no exception to these bubbles we have created in our world, but I know if I do not help children in some way in my life I will not have done my duty.
This is not one person’s fault nor can it be fixed by one person. Like Michael Jackson said we have to look in the mirror and accept the person we see and know that we are not perfect and then move on to help others.
Sometimes these major issues in our world makes me want to set speakers up everywhere in the world and just blast One Love by Bob Marley. Now, I know that what I want is a utopian ideal and many adults might say you have not seen the “real” world yet, but I say to them that only those who are crazy enough to truly believe they can make a difference, will.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Generation internet

Generation Internet

        Before the 1990s the internet did not exist and when it did, it was still not seen as a necessity, which is hard to believe now that we don't go an entire day without logging in to check the news or looking up some random fact to prove your friend wrong. The internet has become a platform for people to connect and share their lives with millions of others; nonetheless, with every new invention comes backlash and criticism. Many older generation members argue that the “age of the internet” has made younger generations worse at communication. For example losing the skill of listening or understanding. Now at this point many people will start saying “well that is true and…”, but it is not true. 
The internet has become a bond that brings generations of people with all different stories together. Through Facebook, instagram, Snapchat, twitter, and even older platforms that people almost forgot about like MySpace, has created this phenomena where I can directly talk to someone on the other side of the world. 
I can comment on a picture and ask questions to a student in South Africa or learn something new from a college graduate or see what it is like to grow up in Nepal. 
         We have all somehow ended up on the dark and whimsical outer edges of the internet and social media and wonder how in the world did you end up figuring out that you are worth nine goats in Nigeria, or stumble in on some heated argument about politics or even worse. Though those parts may paint a negative image of this platform, the internet has also been home to where many people can relate to people and know that they are not alone, a privilege previous generations are unfamiliar with. For a student who has different interests or is depressed and needs someone to listen they can use the internet as a platform where thousands of others will gladly help and comfort a stranger. Rising entrepreneurs and artist can use the platform to showcase their products. Refugees and immigrants can advocate and explain what their lives are like. Arguably the best, is relating to millions of strangers through memes (mēm/ noun/ a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied, often with slight variations, and spread rapidly by Internet users). 

        Personally, a strong example of where the world came together and had empathy for a complete stranger in a different culture and society, was when a photograph of a Syrian boy covered in dust and dirt from the merciless bombing in Aleppo went viral. Before the internet many places around the world would not receive any attention while thousands of people would die; however, now the world can stand up for human rights across oceans and fight for justice whether it by bringing awareness and drawing attention to important issues of our world or contributing to foundations that stand for the right causes. Empathy is a skill that is always needed more of in our world. Though the internet is restricted/censored in some countries, it has been the the final catalyst that helped launch hundreds of issues that needed to be addressed to the spotlight in the 21st century. Recent events of this includes the LGBTQ+ marriage rights which received major support from around the world with #loveislove. Other prime examples include racial issues with #blacklivesmatter and the most recent one on Saturday, 21st of January which was the women's march and the pussyhat trend that all started with one women who decided to take her march idea to the internet.

        The internet, in the short time it has lived, has helped us as a global community to tighten our bonds across oceans by putting us one click away from each other. Empathy for strangers are increased every day as the young generation log in to their social media platforms and are fed information from all over the world. The internet is an ever growing platform that is a universe in itself and like the universe we live in, it is constantly expanding towards unknown territories. So the next time someone says that the new generation has lost its communication skills, just remind them of  millions of reasons why the internet is a platform that has just brought us a step closer to the world and each other.