Forever Flying In Our Hearts: In Honor of Brian J. Yuen

Brian J. Yuen, Forever Flying In Our Hearts

In honor of Brian J. Yuen. Rest easy 10/15/2016


The cactus means so much to me because it reminds me of him.

To celebrate his life, I planted a cactus to create a new one 10.15.18Nicole Ma

Nicole Ma

Brian was older than me by one year. He went to Clements High School whereas I had gone to Austin High School, so we never saw one another as often after he quit club swimming and continued with track and high school swimming instead. Nevertheless, the distance never hindered our friendship. When I had a difficult time with school work, he would stay up past midnight to help me with my chemistry or biology homework. He always offered a listening ear and the best advice. There has never been a moment where I had seen him sad or angry, he always had a smile on his face. I had been looking forward to his awkward smile after being deprived of it for so long at one of our district meets, Fort Bend Classic.

Nicole Ma

During one of the most difficult times I had through swimming, was one of the most rewarding times because I met one of my best friends, Brian Yuen, who never stopped challenging and encouraging me to become the best athlete and person I could be. I remember I used to think he was so intimidating when I had advanced into the same group on First Colony Swim Team as him. But he was so kind. Looking back on that time, it's hard to think that I would think of him as intimidating because of how dorky and compassionate he was. When other people had grabbed partners for underwater racing, we would always be paired with one another and race to the very end together. That's how we became so close to begin with. He'll always be my underwater buddy. I admired him so much for being able to conquer his anxiety with swimming butterfly by continuously racing fly at every meet until he had nothing to fear anymore. He inspired me daily to work hard and keep such a positive and carefree attitude, as I said before, even if we were in different schools and when we were apart. On October 15th, 2016 I watched as he took his last breath before his heart stopped on the deck of our high school swim meet.

I had been so excited to see Brian as they date for our district meet approached. I would always get a Facebook messenger text from him asking me if I was going to be at some kind of event that involved his school. Normally, it would follow up with his disappointment and a sad prickly cactus sticker he sends when I was unable to attend. Or, I would always follow up with the angry cactus sticker, jokingly complaining about how he never wants to see me. The moment he came out of the pool after his team warm-up session, I immediately jumped off the bleachers to meet with him. I gave him the classic slap on the back and told him I was looking forward to catching up with him. Right before I had hopped in the pool for my warm-up session, he came by and slapped me on my back as payback. I commented on how weak he was and how I really missed having my "hobo cactus brother" around. We had always joked about our legs being hairy as swimmers and it was all derived from the first time we met. We stood there talking for a while and I remember promising one another to cheer the loudest for each other in all of our races. "Good luck Nicole, I'll see you later," he said. But later that day, I watched as he struggled to breathe on the side of the pool deck, being pulled away by paramedics.

Multiple people had promised me that he would be okay, and I trusted that. But the moment my friend ran out of the coaches office crying, my entire world shattered. My body felt numb as I was dragged to another room. Brian had passed away. I struggled daily with our last moments being played in my head over and over again. It was rough getting through school and even more rough trying to swim and do the things I loved, knowing that I would not be able to see him again. I knew that he would want me to continue to do my best every day. We honored him by helping his family and raised money with shirts my friend Christy and I designed in memory of him and celebrated his life with a vigil held outside of Don Cook Natatorium.

Part of me saw this as a sign from God. He gave me an opportunity to share one last moment with him before He called him back home. It was a reminder that you really can't take anyone or granted. I saw him bring people together even if he wasn't here anymore. I told my swim coach that I would swim fly at every meet, despite my anxiety. The following week, I swam the 200 IM. I immediately bawled the moment I hit the wall. I knew he would be proud of me, and I'm going to continue to make him proud. I continuously journal and reach out to those people closest to him. To this day, I live on knowing that he would always be flying in my heart.

My Hobo Cactus BrotherNicole Ma

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7 Signals A Girl Will Try To Send You If She Likes You As More Than A Friend

Girls do subliminal things to show you her interest in you. Pay attention to these low key signs that she is shooting her shot.


It is never easy when a girl has to fully admit her feelings to a guy she likes, so instead, she sends slight signals in hopes that he picks up on her hints.

1. She can't stop smiling at you

She is happy to talk to you and to be in your presence, the smallest things that you do make her want to smile. She can't control the happiness inside and it comes out in a great big smile. In her head, she is just thinking about how much she enjoys spending time with you and how much she likes you.

2. She hugs you with both arms

Side hugs are common, easy, and very universal. She wants to give you full body hug because to show you she feels different about you than any other guy. With a full body hug she can rest her face on your chest and this just brings the two of you closer.

3. She makes direct eye contact

Direct eye contact is always a great sign. This means she is fully aware of everything you are saying and she is completely interested.

4. She scans your face and lips

Upon talking to you, she begins to scan your face. In this moment she is appreciating your attractiveness and completely zoned out. Forget you said anything to her because she probably was not listening. If she is looking at your lips then she definitely wants a kiss.

5. She says "Oh my god, stahhhp"

The 'I'm mad at you, but I'm flirting with you' slogan. She is trying to be cute and pick a fight with you so you can two can play around. She's hoping this will lead to cracking jokes

6. She adjusts her clothing

She is fidgety when your around because she has feelings for you and is nervous. She wants to look her best with you around, so she is subconsciously fixing herself so that nothing looks bad.

7. She sends you cute snap chats

Silly, crazy, and just straight up ugly snap chats are for friends. If her selfies are , done each time, then she cares a lot about how you see her and she wants you to see her at her best. She is not always looking for a compliment, but throw one her way and you will make her day.

Pay attention to the signs a girl is sending. Her body language and behavior around all come together for an important message, she likes you! A lot.

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Ladies, Stop Trying To Teach Boys How To Be Your Man If They're Not Even Men In The First Place

It is your job to love him. But it is not your job to teach him how to love you back.


I see. this way too often, honestly it upsets me and breaks my heart. It breaks my heart when I see a girl begging her boyfriend to put her on her Snapchat story. It breaks my heart when I see a girl begging her boyfriend to get off a video game and spend time with her. It breaks my heart when I see a girl doodling on a napkin at the dinner table and her boyfriend is on his phone and hasn't even looked up at her once. These things break my heart because this girl, whoever she may be, maybe it is you? She deserves a man. What she has though, is a boy. And before you say anything, yes, there is a huge difference.

I was that girl once. I begged and begged my ex-boyfriend all the time to put me on his Snapchat story. You may be reading this and be thinking "Wow she's a little attention seeking." No, that is not it at all. A simple act of being posted about made me feel special, loved, missed at times, and served as reassurance and a word of affirmation for me. Do you want to know something silly? Maybe you've done it too. Sometimes I would do something crazy to get his attention. Something funny, and silly and random just so he would post me on his story and I wouldn't have to ask.

At the dinner table, I was that girl that while he was on his phone I was sliding him notes on a napkin saying "I love you" or "Hi" or funny jokes to get his full and undivided attention.

At home, I was the girl that used to literally throw myself at him while he was playing video games to try and get him to press pause for two minutes and pay attention to me and have a conversation with me.

You see, I was that girl. But I refuse to ever be that girl again. If you are that girl, stop what you're doing.

It is your job to love him. But it is not your job to teach him how to love you back.

There is a big difference between a boy and a man. Contrary to what society may believe most boys don't actually turn into men until they are almost 40. Scary for us girls right? But here's the kicker and to be honest it has nothing to do with age.

Any boy that is in the process of becoming a man and maturing is going to know how to treat a woman. He is not going to choose video games or his phone over you. He is going to post you everywhere all the time because he wants to show you off to the world and make you feel special. He isn't going to ever leave you wondering.

The list could really go on comparing and contrasting the differences between a boy and a man but the important ones to remember when you are in a relationship are:

1. A boy thinks "me." A man thinks "us"

2. A boy gives false promises. A man honors his commitments (one being you.)

3. A boy cares about how you look in jeans. A man cares about how you look in his future.

4. You will always wonder how a boy feels about you. You will always know how a man feels about you.

All too often I see girls in the act of this. It is almost like they are training a dog or raising a child. They order them around and become demanding when it comes to doing things that make them feel special, validated and reassured. Granted, they are doing this because their relationship is lacking something but the truth is, it shouldn't be lacking something in the first place.

You are dating a boy not a man. I hate to break that to you. I really do. It's the hardest news you'll ever receive. Why? Well because

You can't fix him, you can't teach him, and you can't change a boy into a man. They have to do it on their own

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