|Travel| SF

I went to SF a week ago, and it was a pretty cool trip. I even got a tan, and I never get tanned. So just a few photos in memory of it.

Tepidness

There are obviously several ways of living life. One of which is just being free and letting things happen to you. Another of which is planning every detail and consequence. I definitely used to be the person who lived life to such a mapped out extent. Over the last two years though, I would say that I’ve changed immeasurably, living life to a certain kind of spontaneity. Doing things from the spur of the moment, even if it could potentially affect the entire course of my life that I had previously planned out and sought after.

I always had my life planned out. I knew where I would be from one moment to another but these days I have no clue what will happen within the next few months. Truth is though, I don’t know myself very well and I’m always constantly morphing and changing along with my ever-changing circumstances and surroundings. My foundational beliefs are shaky too, except for knowing the God I believe in. Other than that, I think I’m constantly on some emotional roller coaster of a journey. But that’s kinda the fun of it all, not knowing who or where I’ll turn up. How I’ll feel about one thing one day and then on another day.

I have ideas of where I want to go and what I want to do; I’m just not sure if they will happen or if I’ll do something different. I’ve been thinking of myself as a lukewarm person lately, or that’s what I feel like. I’m into things like poetry, dance, and cool ideas. But I think I need to find something new to get into. What a gross thing a lukewarm person is. But I’d rather be lukewarm and somewhat distant than a diehard for something. Heck, I even like lukewarm tea. It never burns you, not destroying your palate for other things in life,  and it still quenches your thirst.

Life in bite sizes

Here are a few photos that kinda summarize my food over how many weeks I don’t know. Past few weeks I’ve been working nonstop. But it’s slowed down a bit, so I’ve had some time to unwind. I’ve been putting off a lot of what I really need to get done for a lousy day, which today might be the case.

So let’s talk about dreams because it’s something that’s come up a lot lately. I’ve been going to sleep and horribly waking up at early hours because of the nightmares I’ve been having. Not all of them are that terrible, but each dream is placed in a situation where I’m anxious and nervous about something.

For example, two nights ago I dreamt about watching a ballet performance. And underneath the stage, someone was killed. I wasn’t particularly scared, but when I got home I noticed that something was wrong (like any horror story). And I guess my conscience became so alert that I just found myself looking at the clock that read 4:07AM. Not the best feeling in the world.

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I could actually sleep in past 8 or 9AM. I woke up somewhere around 10AM, restless again from another dream. It’s funny because my active conscience isn’t too unhappy or too stressed at the moment for what it’s worth. I’m taking yoga on the side, mainly to focus on something else other than the future for a while. There’s honestly so many things fluttering beside me at the moment that it’s hard to swallow everything in a big chunk. I enjoy being able to focus on one thing when I’m engaged and then move onto the next. Life was never made to take in as a whole.

[P.S. – Also included in that gallery was a selfie. ]

Smoke & Cake

Today there was a forest fire outside of Vancouver. I woke up to a morning of smoke and haze, and I didn’t find out until later what it really was. “Global warming” maybe. But as the night grew, the smoke filled the skies even more and became more dense. Smoke was everywhere. You couldn’t see further than a block down.

I liked the smoke today, even though Vancouver looked like a complete ghost town. The air smelled like campfire. Life’s always in smoke isn’t it?


(Also, I made some swirls in this cake.

IMG_3225
“Can we flip the fucking cake?” – Anonymous)

Glass Shattering

So at work, every week someone will accidentally break something. Out of nowhere you hear gravity breaking apart the strength of the glass. Yesterday I broke one of the only pink sprinkle cups that was in the store. I didn’t even know I broke it until 0.23 seconds after when I heard the shattering glass. Two things came to mind a little later when I thought of the incident.

1. How easily the glass broke.
2. How many pieces it shattered into. No matter how much I kept sweeping I found little shards that could hurt someone on the floor. Even after we closed, I found more glass.

But the sound of glass shattering is quite relieving in some ways. There’s always a risk in owning a glass object – the constant care you have to put into making sure it stays put together. And then once it falls and shatters all over the ground, you feel some sort of relief because now that one particular item no longer poses a concern.

Now I guess this could be super metaphorical. But right now, it’s just a phenomenon that I observed. I’m honestly too tired to elaborate this into something greater than what it is – which is simply just broken shards on the ground.

In the end, it’s just me.

Lately I’ve been running into a lot of people working downtown. A few weeks ago, I started working at a tea store and I like it more and more as I keep working. There were a few decisions that prompted me to work there, which I can further elucidate later. Right now, I guess I’m in a bit of a rut – a blogger/writer’s block. Ron from Master of None was kind enough to send me a note that kind of really motivated me to write something today.

I’ve been pretty tired these days, both physically and emotionally. As much as I want to get into specifics, I’m afraid I can’t at this point because I’m pretty confused too. I just have a lot of stuff on my mind and so I’d rather be writing a paper or an exam at the moment. Since I’m not dancing anymore, sometimes studying actually keeps me from over-stressing.

Growing up and slowly becoming a mature adult, there’s one concept I cannot wrap my head around. Is life really about climbing up the corporate ladder? I mean like going to school, doing well, going to a good university, getting a great job, getting married, having children, and then maybe just passing away quietly. I know there are so many possibilities in between, but my life seems so set already. I’m maybe a quarter through life, and it’s so sad thinking that this is my life – that I can’t just be someone I want to be, but be someone that I’ve rather destined myself to be. Is retirement and death what I’m looking forward to? I mean all of those steps are not bad at all – they all have their ups and downs, and I’d be grateful and happy at any stage of those. But just having finished off first year and working at a tea store now, these thoughts come rushing back. I’ve had a few conversations with my friends about this, and they all kind of shrug and say “I guess so”. Honestly, I am excited for all of these things to happen to me, but at the same time, there are so many people in my life with so many different expectations for me. Their logic and dreams for me make sense, but it’s dragging me down at the same time, having so many different opinions on my back. I need and so desperately want to go back to school because at least there, I fully make my own decisions and am my own person again. I think I wrote about it in an earlier post – how much I loved the feeling of freedom at university. I really do miss it and I miss the new people I’ve met who’ve helped me along the way make those decisions.

I have to remember, no matter how much I love the people in my life, this is my life. And if they were to disappear tomorrow, I have to live on with the decisions I’ve ultimately made. This combination really makes me want to dance again, and also serves as a visual representation of the state I’m in.

Empires – Hillsong United

Closer than you know

» Lift up your eyes and see
Heaven is closer than you know
Lift up your voice and sing
Know that My love won’t let you go
And I won’t forsake you «

I love those lines, but I especially love Taya’s part halfway through.

Captain

» Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend
I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart «

Here now (Madness)

» All I know is I know that You are
Here now
Still my heart
Let Your voice be all I hear now «

I’m a big fan of Hillsong United’s music, but this album seems to have the constant theme of overcoming suffering and finding God amongst the chaos and pain. In the past, listening to these songs gave me consolation and comfort. Although a pretty awful dancer, I danced since I was four to when I was sixteen, so I find comfort and rest in rhythm and these lyrics. This semester, anxiety got to me a lot (on a side note, I think anxiety is now too commonplace). And the nights and days, the hours that I sat on my uncomfortable dorm bed, I turned to these songs for some sight of hope and relief. Thinking back, maybe I should’ve turned to a bible or a friend, but honestly in those times, I’m constantly distracted, but music could break through my thoughts.


LIFE update: I don’t know I’m at a really weird stage in my life and I don’t know where this phase really fits into the overall spectrum. And it’s a constant struggle to remember that God is still so in love with the person I am and not for someone I’m not, for some future self. This time is nothing like I had imagined it would be like. I think I’ve grown distant from myself, and I’m trying to find another shape to fit into, one formed by family, society, and financial expectations. But that’s far from where I ever want to be right now to be honest. I want to live in the moment and think little of the person I will one day become or of the person I’m destined to be. I did a good job senior year of living in the moment, and those were some of the best times of my life. I guess it’s difficult to place yourself in a state of constant change, and when it seems like nothing will stay the same.

Some book reviews

I’m sorry I didn’t post last Sunday; life got ahead of me and I ran into a writer’s block. I thought about posting random content, but I figured that I should strive to make each blog post meaningful rather than having filler words.

So I’m still currently in a writer’s block because I really don’t have any motivation or inspiration to write anything – that’s just the truth. The last few weeks I’ve been writing so many papers and filling out a lot of applications, and I know that’s not an excuse, but I’ve just come to a point where I’ve run out of things to say… for now, at least. I have a few vlog ideas I could work on too but I need the time and energy to edit them, and with work, I’ve just been getting really exhausted.

Several people now have individually asked me what I would recommend for a good book. I have a few hits that come to mind, and thought it’d be meaningful to share them here. Keep in mind though, I’m really into surrealist novels, though the best ones are like jewels, hard to find.


1. If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italo Calvino
This book is absolutely one of my favourites. It’s simply ingenious. The plot is intricate and complex, and will have you wondering why such a book exists. If my memory serves me correctly, the novel is half written in second person so it’s even more captivating… because you are the protagonist.

2. Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman

This novel is a quick read, but will leave you wondering about the different concepts of time. I think it could entertain even the most scientific minds to an idealistic, humanities mind like mine. A simple book, and maybe you’ll discover which concept of time you would most like.

“And at the place where time stands still, one sees lovers kissing in the shadows of buildings, in a frozen embrace that will never let go. The loved one will never take his arms from where they are now, will never give back the bracelet of memories, will never journey afar from his lover, will never place himself in danger of self-sacrifice, will never fail to show his love, will never become jealous, will never fall in love with someone else, will never lose the passion of this instant of time.”

3. Lolita, Vladamir Nabokov 
 Yes, it is about a pedophile, but what’s so disturbing and wonderful about this novel is that Nabokov allows you to almost make sense of this nonsense. This novel also includes his poetic prose and allows you to taste spices of his exile throughout the plot. I’m pretty sure I should go back and reread this novel that I’m older, but I almost want to leave it in my innocence (yes, ironic).

4. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
This will always be one of my favourite novels. It’s the first book that’s ever really spoken to me from a personal angle, and everything Holden says and does is just golden. This book will forever remain as my favourite go-to novel, though really clichĂ©d.

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now.”

5. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
But in all honesty, I love all of Vonnegut’s novels. They’re pretty amazing. Each plot is so complex, and you just get the feeling that everything just will fall into one coherent piece. I get inspired really easily too, so when my mentor told me that he had the chance to study with Vonnegut and hear his personal stories, I was sold.


Those are my top five. Pretty generic for the most part I would say, but a solid five. I’ve read too many classics and now find that most of them are just okay (I’m sorry to those who love classics). I don’t know; I appreciate them, but I won’t ever love them.

Summer Week 1

Summer vacation week 1:

  1. Dinner with Allison, my best friend and sister
  2. My new home, aka my 9-5 and possibly more.
  3. Mother’s Day desserts
  4. The much deserved lava cake
  5. The destroyed lava cake

It’s been a busy week, interviewing, writing papers, relaxing. It finally feels like the first week of summer break for once. But tomorrow’s the start of a new 9-5 schedule, which I’m looking forward to but also nervous about. I want to do well and make a lasting impression. We’ll see. Other than that, I realized after tutoring today that I should start reading again (after the short hiatus from college reading). Read the first paragraph of Lolita inspired that.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

The prose is so gruesomely poetic. I love Nabokov’s prose and how his exiled history comes alive in his text. Hopefully I’ll get some reading done this summer, whether that’s reading old classics again or new modern twists.

[Moments]

So a few months ago, I accidentally deleted my entire iPhoto Library containing all of my pictures from previous travels. I managed to post photos online, which I was able to rediscover and save. Here are a few of my favourites from last year’s adventures:

 

Prague. I’m trying to take a photo in the rain without getting my camera wet and while holding my umbrella and crouching over because of my heavy backpack. I like how the fluorescent umbrellas light up the moodiness of the photo.
Dubrovnik: About two minutes away is a place of sorrow where no hope was found.
Night at the Museum: Dinosaurs always had an intriguing factor. I’ve never been able to figure out why they terrify me but, at the same time, never fail to intrigue me.
I noticed this rose from a distance. The only thing visibly red from a few miles away. I was in Auschwitz for the full afternoon and there wasn’t much to say afterwards.
Streets of Dubrovnik: for sale – sugared lemon skins.
Dubrovnik: Inside the stoned walls, construction goes on to preserve the ancient city.
Dubrovnik Wall: The city is enclosed by a wall which you can pay to walk around. The walk is approximately 2km, but the view is stunning. On one side you can see the tops of red houses, soccer fields, and laundry, while on the other, there is a vast landscape of forever beneath you. It is such a breathtaking scene. Croatia is truly one of its kind.