H.A.G.S. (Have A Good Summer)

A portrait of growing up told through the pages of my middle school yearbook. Go Hornets.

Director’s Vision

As I approach my late 20s, I find myself constantly swimming in thoughts about my future. The anxiety I feel is amplified by how monumental this period was for my parents: At 26, they left behind their community in Taiwan in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their children in America. I’m now the same age, and I can think of little that could convince me to uproot my life and seek opportunity in a faraway place.

Maybe that’s the single greatest privilege of my life — because of my parents’ sacrifice, my biggest challenges lie in navigating my sense of identity, fulfillment and the pursuit of my own dream of being a filmmaker, the sort of dream they never had the luxury of having.

In the short documentary above, I revisit a more innocent time in my life: middle school in Fremont, CA. Flipping through my yearbook made me curious about how old friends who signed “H.A.G.S.” (Have A Good Summer) and doodled Sharpie penises were handling adulthood and the uncertainty about the future — so I decided to call them and find out.