2018-2019 ESSAY ENTRY: OF MOUNTAINS AND MEN AND MISADVENTURES BY CYNDI MAE BANDONG

Of Mountains and Men and Misadventures, By Cyndi Mae Bandong

It was a red-eye flight from Shanghai.

The timid early morning rays bounced off the airport floor as I made my way through one gate after another. Queues upon queues of passengers, trying to shake off sleep, lined the glass wall to my right: there were rowdy children being told off by their mothers, fathers who looked exhausted to be even bothered, and then there were those who just wanted the whole ordeal to be over and done with.

I finally reached the gate where I was supposed to board my plane to Kathmandu. Bone-weary and anxious, I walked towards the wall and lightly leaned against it.

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2018-2019 ESSAY ENTRY: LILY, BY SHARON JIANG

Lily, By Sharon Jiang

As I close my eyes, I could still smell the aromatic chemical fumes from a typical photo development store. If you have ever walked pass one, think of it as a mixture of ammonia, noxious gases, and vinegar- like acid mixed together in a chemical lab. It is undeniable an unpleasant odor. But if you need to spend 8 hours in the store; the smell sort of becomes aromatic.

This is – The One Hour Photo, also known as my second home from the age of 11-14. As a child, growing up in Shanghai and Los Angeles, I would accompany my mom, a self-taught photographer, to her store on the weekends and spent my whole day there while completing my homework. I always looked forward to it because there was an El Pollo Loco next door, which means, my reward will be waiting for me once I have completed my homework.

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