Editor's note: Each individual brings a different story and energy to the city, and Alhambra, a city with a diversified demography, is full of unique perspectives. We have partnered with Humans of Alhambra—a Facebook page that interviews residents—to bring you photos and stories that capture the spirit of Alhambra. As the end of 2015 nears, we've selected 10 photos and quotes from Humans of Alhambra to recap the bursts of clarity, introspection, and humor among our residents. For more interesting stories, visit their page on Facebook.
1. "I like to draw."
2. What is something that has connected you to your community?
"I've lived here all my life. I went to Alhambra schools, K-12. When I graduated college, I came back and I've been a teacher in the Alhambra school district for 30 years. "
3. "Every person that you meet is the hero of their own story, living their own narrative. To them, all you are is just another person passing through their story: lover, child, friend or enemy. I learned not to think of it in a bleak way, though. Whenever you talk to someone else, just consider yourself as a person walking through another world and maybe making a permanent home there alongside your own. But it brings up the question: are you just sifting through someone else's pages or do you have your own story to live?"
4. "I'm half Native American. I really take pride in that; there aren't a lot of Native American people in Alhambra I've met. An important lesson I've learned is that you should be grateful for what you have because I've met people who have lost almost everything."
5. What's something interesting about you?
"I started dancing when I was around 4. I tried ballet, Hawaiian, lyrical, jazz, tap, hip hop, etc. But nothing seemed to interest me until I started Chinese folk dance. I used to be embarrassed of the fact that I dressed up in the most Asian costumes ever, but I've grown to love it! The story behind each dance gives it significance, which makes me feel more in touch with my culture. Dancing has given me the opportunity to perform at places like Disneyland, Alhambra's Lunar Festival, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan! See my purse? I got the banana in Taiwan."
6. What's your favorite thing about July 4th?
Boy: "The celebration of freedom, I suppose."Girl: "The food and the fireworks, I'm not gonna lie."
7. Who is someone that has impacted your life?
"My wife. She's taught me some different ways of looking at things and dealing with people than what I had previously been accustomed to. She's got a lot of people skills, some that I don't have."
8. "I was diagnosed with two brain conditions around kindergarten because I hit my head. I went to the hospital and got a scan and they overexaggerated; my parents freaked out. It's just an enlargement of the cerebellum. Then I got hydrocephalus. There's a little part near your neck that separates water between the brain and the rest of the body. Every time I hit my head, I have to be really careful. There's more water in my brain, so I can't play a lot of physical sports. You can't fall that badly dancing, so I dance now. Do you need me to spell anything for you? It's pretty interesting actually, but maybe that's because I like science a lot."
9. If you could give some advice to someone or a group of people, what would it be?
"Be that one flower in the bush that stands out from the others!"
10. "Coming from an independent high school, a lot of people tend to think that I came because I was a bad kid at school. But it was nothing like that. I moved from Miami, and I was a victim of domestic violence. I'm not afraid to say it because that's something I hope to help other people with in the future. It was the first time something like that had happened in my life, and I fell behind. At one point we were even homeless.
Growing up, not having a dad was a huge deal. My mom raised me and my brother to be the people that we are today. I'm now the father of a three-year old son, who has been able to experience things through the YMCA. Through my boss, I learned a lot about changing people's lives. Giving back to the community has been something that I'm very grateful for; I've been able to do a lot of things here at the YMCA. Anything that I could get involved here at the Y, I've been very passionate about because I believe we are changing people's lives every day that we come here. That's why I love the Y."
Humans of Alhambra is styled after the photo blog Humans of New York and is run by Alhambra High School students from The Moor Weekly newspaper and The Alhambran yearbook. (Photos and stories authored by Caroline Ren, Candice Romero, Simon Voong, and Angela Yang)