I was rummaging through my old photo collection and found some images of myself in student time.

My hair was much shorter and I had a cute baby face.

The pictures were taken Spring 2010 in Washington D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, commemorating the March 27, 1912 gift of 3,000 Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozakio of Tokyo to the city of Washington. The gift and annual celebration serve as symbols of enduring friendship between the citizens of Japan and the United States.

As I reminisced, I couldn’t help but smile.  At the time the photographs were taken, I was enrolled in school as an international graduate student while interning at the American Bankers Association. I stayed up late to study, woke up early to attend my classes, and managed a heavy workload while maintaining a diligent work ethic. It would be an understatement to say that my schedule was always full.

Despite the occasional stress that transpired from writing papers, this was probably one of the most memorable moments of my life. In fact, it has remained one of my favorite memories. This was a beautiful time of my life. I felt like I had endless opportunities if I worked hard, and that’s what kept me motivated. I was enthusiastic and looking forward to my future and excited to see what I could do in 5 or 10 years.

In an odd way, every time when I see Cherry blossoms, it reminds me of who I was in 2010. Like the trees, I cannot remain physically young forever but I can keep my young soul even as I continue to get older. “Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”  As Samuel Ullman wrote in his poem Youth, “So long as your heart receives messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth, from man and from the Infinite, so long you are young.”

Luckily, my courage, faith and enthusiasm for life still remain with me and with my blog-Vyvalla. Thank you for being here for me!

Wearing: J.Crew Cardigan, Benetton Dress, Anthropologie Cardigan, Louis Vuitton Tote

Photos by Lei Li