In this section, The Student Corner, we share a short story written by Senior student, Christine Wong, for her English class.

“Can you imagine approaching a baby stroller, and expecting to see a cute, chubby baby with a bright smile, but instead of that, you are unpleasantly greeted by grinding teeth and the baby rolling their eyes at you? Well, that was me. I used to be such a bitter little human, my nickname as a child was 苦瓜 (Kǔguā), meaning bitter chinese cucumber.


I used to be such a bitter kid, my parents said as soon as I was born my face showed utter disgust, and there is actual evidence of that. I was soooo hostile and unfriendly, I had the typical RBF! Can you imagine a newborn glaring at you?!

But not only was my unapproachable face a sign of my bitterness, my attitude towards people was nasty, too. I remember being so young, yet so angry, that I was unhappy even with myself. Hence, I chose to take a big step: I wanted to change, and so I did.

Coming to Tree of Life wasn’t actually the big step I took, for my mom used to make me change schools almost yearly! What made the big step was actually my attitude, and how I chose — and still choose — to see life.

I remember as soon as I came to Tree of Life, it felt like a little light shone from my heart. This was my place and even though I was super shy and never talked, just looking at everybody’s spirit and creativity gave me hope: it felt almost contagious. If I wanted change, this was the place.

I slowly started making friends and without even noticing, I was starting to emerge from my shell. I could talk in public more freely, I felt more confident, energetic and sooo not bitter! I became grateful, I chose to be happier and this is how my life went from bitter to sweeter!”


Text by Christine Wong

Photography by Leandro Natale