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PPLILOVE: Amy Zhong

October 3, 2013

(People I Love is a segment in which I feature one person — on his/her birthday — who is near and dear to my heart. I guess you can say this is an open-birthday card.)

October 3rd is Amy Zhong‘s birthday!

Summer 2012

Summer 2012

The first time I met Amy was in our grade nine French class. She sat one seat down in the row next to me. Truthfully, I thought Amy was a know-it-all. She was always the first person to raise her hand in class, and I knew that she was going to be my “French” competition. And boy was I right!

We remained each other’s competition throughout high school, but this was not a bad thing at all. Amy has pushed me to strive to be the best. Without her example of ambition, I would have languished in my mediocre ways.

January 2012

January 2012

I don’t really remember when Amy and I became good friends. Perhaps it was when we decided to pair up together to sing S Club 7’s “Never Had a Dream Come True” for our school’s talent show. I still remember us practicing in the basement of my mom’s store. I feel embarrassed just thinking about the whole thing. Ha ha.

A beautiful drawing of the Talent show... way back in 2006. I'm the one with the brown hair. Ha ha.

I used the computer program Paint to draw this beautiful depiction of the Talent show way back in 2006. I’m the one with the brown hair. Ha ha.

Or Perhaps Amy and I became closer friends somewhere in grade ten, probably when we decided to work together on our careers project. I will always remember our ingenious idea to make a shampoo that could curl and straighten your hair whenever you wanted it to, almost like magic. To bad we couldn’t bring it to fruition; we didn’t know the first thing about chemistry and molecular structure. Ha ha.

But I think it was the summer after second year when Amy and I became very close. That is the summer that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. The summer of 2012 was one of great changes for me, but Amy was the stable constant in my life. I miss those therapeutic mornings when we would go to the gym together and have exciting, girly chats about the boys with whom we played frisbee. I miss those Friday nights when all of us would play frisbee on UofT’s backfield, then go out to dinner, and then occasionally, go on a fro-yo run.Summer 2012

With Amy, I know I can always be myself. She understands my quirks and that makes being around her so enjoyable. I can also easily say that she is my number 1 fan. She is always encouraging me in various ways, and I can never thank her enough. At least to my knowledge, she and MT are the only people who read virtually every post I write on this blog. What is more, she will send me a text message with a comment about my posts. Last week, she sent me two text messages on two separate occasions; both of the text messages were comments about two long blog posts I had written within the past week-or-so. See my point? She’ll even read my really long blog posts; who does that? Actually, it’s funny because sometimes when I’m writing a long blog post, I think of Amy; I think of those long blog posts almost as letters to her but that are also open for others to read. The thing is, I can always rely on Amy for keeping up with my life (the big stuff that happens, the miniature events, and all the things in between). She is always encouraging me to write, and for that, I have already made up my mind that she will be the first person to be mentioned in my acknowledgements when I write my first book.

Amy is also a pretty amusing person. I remember how she was sick when she came to visit me in Montreal. I, being such a great person (and definitely not a germaphobe), let her sleep on my bed with me. But throughout the night, she snored so loudly, that I just couldn’t take it anymore. Nothing annoys me more than people snoring so loudly that I can’t sleep. I rolled her over as far as she could go so that she would face the wall. She momentarily stopped snoring. I was relieved. But five minutes later, just as I was starting to drift back to sleep, she let out a couple of coughs. I squished myself into a fetal position and shuffled over as far as I could go to my side of the bed. I was so close to the edge that I almost fell over a couple of times. Amy slept like a baby, and of course, she had no recollection of making any sounds throughout the night. I, on the other hand, had very little sleep. And we all know how I get when I don’t get my sleep….

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In one of my previous posts about friends, I mentioned that in order to be great friends with somebody, I think you need to be able admire something about that person. With Amy, that’s easy. There are several things that I admire about her –mostly, her enthusiasm for learning and her courage for always asking about what she doesn’t know. Where most people would be embarrassed for not knowing about a particular thing, Amy is never afraid to admit it and is eager to learn all about it. I admire this because sometimes, even I am embarrassed for not having the answers.

Towards the end of this past summer, I had the pleasure of spending most of my time with Amy, helping her with her grammar. Amy may have had the impression that all that I did during those two weeks were for her, but those two weeks worked very much in my favour too.

First, it was a joy to work with someone who was so eager to learn. Amy was eager to work on the essays I assigned her! She sometimes even begged for homework, and when she was at home doing them, she would text me to tell me things like, “I had to come home early today because I had to do your homework! :)” I think my favourite day of the two weeks was when we sat on the couch in Chapters and had an hour-long conversation discussing Jeanette Walls’s The Glass Castle. And don’t get me started on the joy of witnessing her improvement. I remember how proud I felt when she easily read through a grammar exercise and got everything correct; I’d imagine the feeling is comparable to watching your child ride a bike on his/her own for the first time. Amy is the kind of student that every teacher wants; it’s no wonder that all the teachers loved her in high school!

Second, Amy helped me a lot during the last two weeks of summer, although this fact is probably unknown to her. Internally, I was struggling with the idea of going back to Montréal. I was excited, yet I was grossly ambivalent. I was afraid. After I finished my last exam of the summer, I felt lost. I was sad that my favourite course had ended, but mostly, I was afraid that now, I would have too much time on my hands–too much time for me to think and worry about Montréal. Too much time for me to become sad. I was afraid of that risk.

On that day when my exam ended, I remembered that Amy had earlier mentioned to me that she had bought a grammar book and planned to go through the material by herself. I figured that in the process of helping her, I could be helping myself as well. I would help her with grammar while she would help to distract me from my troubles. Seeing Amy every day for the last two weeks of summer brought stability to what would have been extremely unstable days. And although she was grateful to me for helping her, I feel much more grateful for having her there those last two weeks of summer. For although I gave her something that she could have gotten without my help, she gave me something that I couldn’t have gotten without her help: she gave me comfort and support.

Summer 2013

Summer 2013

Since coming to university, I have thought often about the people in my life. I think about who will come and go, who have come and have stayed, and who will come and will stay. I know that Amy is one of those people who has come into my life and will forever stay in it (no matter how hard I try to kick her out of it! Ha ha, just kidding). This, I do not doubt for a second, for she has often fought to stay in my life, and I thank the heavens that she has done so. In my years of knowing her, I have said some awful things to her. Although I meant those things when I said them, I regret those words now. Amy, for all of her graciousness, has forgiven me, and for this, I am forever grateful.

Amy and I have often talked about the future and wondered what it has in store for us. Although she doubts some parts of her future, I am so absolutely sure that she will have a bright and wonderful one. She will marry the love of her life, be the most successful accountant there is (and obviously, help me do my taxes because I haven’t gotten even the slight idea how!), and live in a grand house that will be the envy of everyone who meets her.

We will grow old, and our kids will be the best of friends. It’ll be like something out of Lucy Maud Montgomery story. And as we sit on one of our verandas, we will reminisce about our younger days: of how we met when we were thirteen, going on fourteen, and how we knew each other before we even knew ourselves. We will talk about the boys we used to giggle over, the times that we cried because we missed home, and the copious letters we used to write each other. One thing’s for sure: if Amy and I are ever separated by distance, we will never be separated by heart, for we will always write letters to each other–letters placed in special envelopes with par avion stickers, dropped off at post-offices, ready to be delivered to the anticipating and excited other.

Amy, on your twenty-first birthday, I wish you the happiest of all days. May the clouds part their ways so that the sun can shine its rays on you as you move on up in the business world. May every acquaintance you make recognize the beauty that you possess, and may each move you make lead you to the love of your life. May joy find its way to your heart and laughter find its way to your lips. May friendship never leave your side, and may the future bring us more to add to our growing scrapbook of memories. I love you!

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Summer 2012

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