Snowboarding and food, that’s what I did

Oh man, there are a lot of songs I’ve been jammin’ to recently. So many new (to me) tunes that I’ve been introduced to by others and so many old ones I still love… In the end, I have to spotlight this one song that I keep finding myself searching for to play – All My Friends featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper by Snakehips

Good music, food, company = amazing times

It’s been an exploratory year already for sure. I’ve been pushing boundaries I’d set for myself in ways I didn’t think I would, and yet my personal belief in no regrets continues. It’s definitely been a whirlwind, and one I haven’t fully stopped long enough to completely consider in all its complications, but regardless, it’s been a blast.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but this post is basically only about my trip to Whistler/Vancouver/Seattle. Definitely worth some reading if you’re planning a trip up (especially to Seattle), but otherwise just primarily jotting my life down like a diary here.

As (probably) mentioned before, I went on another snowboarding trip with about the same people as before (but less of them) to Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb mountain. What’s new about this? For one, I’d never been to Vancouver and I’d never really explored Canada, and of course I’d never snowboarded in Whistler BC, which is ranked as the #2 place to snowboard in the world. Was I incredibly excited? Heck yes. I also got to knock off my list visiting Seattle in the same trip, which was just a super awesome extra plus. My close college group of friends and I had talked about visiting Seattle as our 5-year reunion (which is this year) but decided the less financially burdensome option was to just visit our old stomping grounds: Atlanta, GA. So Seattle was still a city I’d never been to but wanted to go.

What can/should I say about the trip? Despite some pre-trip drama, it was amazing. The food was some of the best I’ve ever had. At times, I was at a loss to describe how wonderful it was. And of course, I once again improved in my efforts to become a better snowboarder. I truly wish I were going on another boarding trip this year, because at the end of our third day on the mountain, I was feeling awesome and having a blast. To be somewhat fair, I also partook in some recreational happiness whilst on the mountain this time. (In fact, this whole trip was pretty much like that.) Though it definitely wasn’t just because of that, I can’t discredit the potential influence it may have held in my relaxed and more confident abilities down the mountain.

I think mostly my improvements came from trying out a few different boards from my own. My friends and I kind of swapped around boards the last day (and partly the second to last day) just to see how each other’s felt and consider adjustments to our own. I had a surprisingly easy time carving/kicking with a relatively pliable and scratched up board. Because of how easy it was to switch heel-toe on it, I ended up improving my confidence in doing so which transferred to my/other boards as well. Totally worth the switching to see those differences transfer over.

We were fortunate with the weather (though perhaps a few days before we arrived would have been even better). Rain came the day after we finished on the mountain, so we were able to get some powder in, albeit melting by the end of it and somewhat clumpy because of some previous rainfall. Still, some of the runs had some of the smoothest, fullest powder I’d ridden on in years. I have to say, the first day was the best weather, but the most crowded sadly. The second day was supposedly a national holiday for Canada and so everyone kept telling us it would be super crowded, but compared to the day before (which was a Sunday/weekend) it was a lot less. And yet, our third day (Tuesday, non-holiday) it was even emptier than the day before. We were told there were times you wouldn’t see more than five people on the mountain since Whistler tends to be an international hot spot with varying travel peaks, and I could totally see how that could be true on our last day.

Whistler, Whistler BC, Vancouver, Canada, snowboarding, mountains, snow, boarding

Whistler Blackcomb mountaintop (this is Whistler mountain respectively)

snowboard, snow, whistler, vancouver, canada, snowboarding,

the fallen snowboard… there was so much snow it went past our knees walking

As for the food, we started off with some Cambodian food in Seattle when we landed. While definitely not the best of the trip, it set us off on a decent route in terms of exploring around. We also hit up a ton of bubble tea shops (with our ever challenge of who has to go to the bathroom first) before heading up to Canada. To clarify, we flew into Seattle, had some food/tea and loaded up on fun things (because apparently liquor costs more in Canada?), then drove up, spent three days on the mountains, one half-day after in Vancouver, and about 2-ish days in Seattle. In between on one of the mountain days, we headed into the city (Vancouver) and ate ramen – Kintaro Ramen. Again, not the best of the trip (and not the best ramen I’ve had either), but satisfying after a day of snowboarding. Plus it was cool to see a bit of the Asian community in Vancouver.

Speaking of Asians in Vancouver, it’s super real y’all. I seriously felt like I was visiting an Asian country (a first world one anyways) half the time because of how many Asians there were. I mean, I know people have told me a lot of Asians live there (from all over, not just Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc), but wahsai! Anyways.

On our actual exploratory day in Vancouver (which it rained, killing part of our ability to explore), we went to a recommended Japanese sushi restaurant – Miku. And this is where we first start the explosions of foodgasms. Their pressed sushi (aka oshi sushi) was incredible. Most of us got an assortment to try them all out (and we swapped pieces if we were missing out), and it was amazing. In addition to the awesome sushi, we had beautiful desserts that were just as tasty. One of the people on the trip is sadly allergic to fish, so while he couldn’t enjoy in the sushi, he definitely loved the desserts.

oshi sushi, sushi, miku, vancouver, canada, delicious, food, amazing, pressed sushi

oshi sushi from Miku <3 it was amazingly delicious

desserts, sushi, pressed sushi, oshi sushi, miku, vancouver, canada

one of the two beautiful desserts from Miku that were as tasty in design and to the palette

From there, we also tried Japadog – Japanese styled street hot dogs. While I can’t say it was as amazing as Miku’s oshi sushi, it was definitely cool to try it out. It’s always awesome to discover food with other people who like to eat. I’ve never been one to call myself a foodie (despite some other people’s claims), but if it gets me with more food-minded people then I’m down. Yay food!

poutine, fries, shaken fries, japadog, japanese hotdogs, yakisoba, hot dogs, food, vancouver, canada

three (of the four) Japadogs we got along with the shaken fries and their poutine fries as well

We dined in Seattle that night and boy was it amazing. We were able to make reservations to an amazing (and highly recommended) Malaysian restaurant called Kedai Makan. Once again, our food exploration was perfect. We each got a different dish (and also decided to partake in some very interesting herbal shots due to their rather fun names) and kept swapping them around. Every dish was delicious, and in the end we had a ton of fun and left incredibly satisfied. Oh, and the place serves free milk tea while you wait/dine! Strangely(?), pretty much all the Asian restaurants we went to in Seattle provided us with some sort of complimentary beverage beyond water (the Cambodian place provided free Jasmine green tea, Kedai Makan provided free milk tea). I don’t know if they’re saying something about Seattle’s water, or just their way of servicing customers. Either way, we greatly enjoyed it. Our overall experience at Kedai Makan was probably one of the best food (not including the drinks) ones on the trip, with the food coming in close second for me. The shots (named Strength and Stamina, Longevity, Healing, and the Mother aka combo of all of the above) were definitely not as enjoyable to take (we semi Russian roulette took them), but made for fun times.

Malaysian food, sharing is caring, food, foodie, Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

our four AMAZING Malaysian dishes (the pork bone soup came with the side of rice)

Afterwards, we found ourselves randomly at an arcade room with a very… well, let’s just say the bartender/worker did not want to be there or be bothered. We had tried to get into a speakeasy called Knee High Stocking Co. initially, but while standing outside it’s unassuming door, a worker came out and told us they were no longer accepting more patrons for the night. Thus, we chanced upon the game room. Having ordered some drinks, we all played The Simpsons until whatever change we had on us was used before going to a place called Pie Bar and ordering more drinks. The server there was incredibly friendly and provided us with lots of information to Seattle’s night life. We learned quickly (from her and from our own perusing) that Seattle doesn’t really get up and hopping until at the earliest Thursday (it was a Wednesday night) and really lives it up Friday-Saturday. Understanding that we were unlikely to find any cool night life that night, we ended our night.

Our next day started at Sweet Iron Waffles: a humble start to a very long day of eating. The only place I absolutely insisted upon visiting (to eat) while in Seattle was Pike’s Place for their clam chowder. So, of course, we headed there relatively early to check out the market. We went to Mee Sum Pastry for some hom bow as things were still getting set up and opened. We also “checked out” the original Starbucks… While this doesn’t really hold much to me (as I’m not a Starbucks lover), I can appreciate its “awesomeness” to an extent. And that extent is to go look at it when there’s no line, take a picture (ish) so I can tell my sister (who does love Starbucks), and be able to say I did go there. For about an hour, we just explored the market and took pictures until Pike Place Chowder opened up. It definitely lived up to the hype. While I would have preferred a bit more kick to my chowder, I definitely still enjoyed it. Definitely would’ve been okay with going back that day for it (though we didn’t). Afterwards, we happened upon Rachel’s Ginger Beer, where we grabbed some drinks before heading to MoPOP (Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture).

Pike Place Market, seafood, merchant, lobster tail, snow crab, dungeoness crab

do you spy the JUMBO lobster tail on the left side? and ALL the crab? My eyes were in heaven. If only I could take some home

Pike Place Chowder, Seattle, Washington, clam chowder, delicious food

the original clam chowder from Pike Place Chowder. #1 in the US years running

Maybe it was just me, but I really enjoyed visiting MoPOP. I probably could spend a whole day or more there, especially listening to all that music. It definitely hit some of the inner nerd in me with its fantasy/horror/Star Trek (well, kinda on that) side, and of course its music section was really cool. We also had a lot of fun with their games section. Some games in there were quite interesting. Definitely a cool place to visit.

moPOP, modern art, museum, seattle, washington

the initial display for the horror museum section of MoPOP

MoPOP, museum of modern art, Nirvana, music, guitars, museums

one of the music artworks at MoPOP near the music section

After MoPOP, we went back to Pike Place and decided to get some Chinese wraps at Country Dough. It didn’t quite live up to expectations and unfortunately the place itself was near some renovations that was definitely bothering one of the workers, but regardless we kept on. We checked out the famous gum wall… Why this was an amazing thing some people decided to create is still beyond me, but once again the best I can say is that at least I’ve been there. We tried this place called Alibi Room (I think?) which sadly I ordered a crab dip (to share) and ended up not being able to stomach it due to their use of onions in it. Sigh. They did have a decent spicy mac and cheese if I recall though. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully recall if we went to Pike Brewing Company after that or Elliott’s Oyster House, but in any case we went to those. The oysters were mostly only okay with the last one that we ordered being the best (aka happy hour was ehh, not really worth it). I believe it was from Hunt Island? Or something Island in Alaska. That oyster was good, the rest (from happy hour)… were okay. Paired with a super light white wine, it went alright.

Another moment of honesty: I definitely did not get something at each place we went to nor drink at each place mentioned. While most of my party did, my tolerance definitely is not up to par (which I am totally okay with) and I tried to conserve my appetite at least a little bit. In the end, it probably was for the best as we ate so much overall.

The epitome of foodgasm on this past trip had to have been from Radiator Whiskey and their incredible fried pork shank. We originally went there for their smoked half pig head and then spotted their turkey drum confit, but ultimately decided upon this loss-of-words pork shank. I will totally hype it up for anyone because I think it was that amazing for us all. Granted, okay, we had all been drinking, but still. Ultimately, that was definitely what I thought was the best food on this trip. I am still at a loss of words as to how to describe how amazing it was. Anyways, our night was completed with finally going to that speakeasy (which was much too quiet for our group), multiple attempts at bars and clubs including some karaoke at Rock Box, and definitely meeting randoms in the gaybourhood (though the people we ended up talking to at the end of the night weren’t gay).

pork shank, pork, fried, crispy, food, delicious, foodgasm

this picture doesn’t do it justice. the “I don’t even know” pork shank

The next day, we packed up, went back to Uncle Ike’s (we visited before we went to Canada on day one), and ate at Mike’s Noodle House as our final meal in Seattle. I must say, Seattle’s eats are quite tasty. If you’re ever able to, I’d recommend Moxey mints. And I’ve now learned that CBD is legally sold in all 50 states, though most effectively used when slightly combined.

I didn’t mean for it to be a total stroll down my whole trip, but alas I am a rambler and really bad at not including as much detail as I can. Because leaving out certain details definitely changes the way things are interpreted, so even with my full on summaries, they’re definitely still missing bits and written in a way to be a little less obvious to certain things, I think. Or maybe I am just kidding myself haha.

Beyond that trip, we came back to Dallas for the weekend. The weekend itself was just a slight extension from the trip, with a lot more sleeping though. While some unexpected things/moments occurred, as I mentioned from the beginning, I’m left with a fun and amazing experience with no regrets.

Considering how long this post already is, I think I’ll have to end it as is and write my other thoughts/things another time. This post is already quite full. But here’s some future considerations I’ve got lined up: I’m thinking about making some music-focused and possibly some food-focused posts. Like I mentioned before (and in my about me), I love music and food. I love finding new music and finding new food places. This extends to all types of music and all types of food (drinks included). I’ve been told before to do this, and while I’m much too inconsistent of a blogger to be of great value, with my current schedule I figured I could at least attempt it, even if just for my own sake of saying I tried. It’s still a considerations I am pondering, but just something I thought I’d suggest.

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New year, new adventures

As typical of the start of my post, here’s a song I’ve been recently enjoying quite a bit.
Currently jammin’ to: Anna Naklab feat. Alle Farben & YOUNOTUS – Supergirl

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

I’ve never been one for “new years resolutions” since I figure if you want to do something, just do it. No need to commit based on other coincidences because ultimately if you really wanted it to happen, you’ll make it happen, and if it doesn’t then that’s  just how important it really was to you.

Still, there is something about “starting fresh” in a new year that seems true. While I can’t say that much changed from December 31 to January 1st, I can say that within a year (2016), a lot happened. It was a roller coaster year of amazing ups and unfortunate downs, but I can tell that much has changed, both within myself and, obviously, with my community (ahem, politics).

How much change has really happened (within me), I’m not sure, but I guess that’s life: figuring out little by little what kind of person you and others truly are when it comes down to it all. I’ve told myself time and time again that I want to blog more frequently, be more expressive with my thoughts and life events, and yet also I’m quite often too lazy, forgetful or too private to truly divulge everything I want to say. I think that’s okay though. If I wanted this blog to be just about writing down the hard facts of what’s happened to me from my own perspective, then I wouldn’t really be myself. I care about what people think and how my words will influence others. Hard “truths” are not always the easiest thing to swallow nor are they the most effective or best way to get what you truly want out or influenced.

This is something I’m constantly learning about myself: that I am much too blunt with my words. I used to think I was quite careful with my words, that I put in a lot of thought of what sort of message I wanted conveyed. I think I still do this, but I don’t always realize the true repercussions of the message conveyed to others. I guess I always thought the truth is the best answer, but reality is that there are a lot of ways to say that same truth without offending or causing more destruction than intended. In the end, I’m just too straight up with what I really think. It may not be wrong in what I said, but it may come off as hurtful or cause animosity later on down the road when it’s considered. Words are important, that I’ve always known, and they will often linger beyond the moment that they’re said. I may not always catch myself properly before I’ve said something, but I’m definitely more aware that I am not a master of my words as much as I’d hoped. In that respect, I hope to continue to change this year.

Another thing I continuously learn about myself is my own sense of morals towards the opposite sex. I’ve spoken to a few different friends in regards to this topic and always when I consider it I’ve always believed that I would never go through with one night stands, as appealing as they can sometimes sound. It’s just come to my own realization (through these conversations), that meaningless sex is just not my type. I won’t go into details on here, but ultimately my viewpoint in one night stands is that they are taken in order to selfishly satisfy your own inner cravings of physical touch. I don’t think that is necessarily wrong, after all humans crave human touch, but I’ve learned that that aspect of sex is not the main reason I have it. As such, since one night stands are typically just for that, I’ve yet to find myself committing to such an act. This doesn’t mean I don’t crave it at times, but knowing my own self I would probably never act upon it. Woe is my physical companionship when single. Sigh.

Additionally, and this is a more relevant and more love/hate situation, I try my best to not take advantage of someone’s interest in me. Will I accept chivalry? Sure, despite my typical insistence to carry my own bags. Do I allow for others to pay for me at dinner/lunch and some other social gatherings? Yeah, I definitely will not forcefully insist upon paying every single time if it comes across. BUT, I also will not allow for it to constantly be unbalanced. I can accept a free meal here and there (dates being more variable) but usually I try to compensate in some way as well, typically in paying for something else. Recently, I’ve been offered multiple events/scenarios in which I would not be paying for a decent amount of money (in these cases they numbered up to hundreds of dollars). While I greatly desired to attend these events or alleviate my own financial burdens (because being a college kid is still as crappy as I remember, if not worse), I feel greatly torn in potentially misleading someone by accepting their offerings. Even when I’ve stated my own intentions as clearly as I can. That sort of expectations, even when you’ve told them otherwise, just seems too likely to occur that I feel like I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to live up to them. Sometimes I wish I took handouts a little more from potential suitors. Surely I should take advantage of what life has so generously gifted me? And yet, my own conscious battles over it and typically, if not always so far, rules in the safer pay-for-myself way. Though my bank account may hate me for it, my inner self is probably more at peace because of it.

I am pondering more and more on my inherent drug resistance/metabolism as I get older. I’ve always had some sort of slight paranoia that I would become highly resistant/desensitized to drugs, thus I always avoided taking any if I could help it, even painkillers. And yet, despite my lack of experience/usage towards drugs, I’ve begun to learn that either I’m fairly unfortunate, have a naturally high tolerance, metabolize them in some fashion that isn’t typical, or reeeeaaallly hate losing mental control. Or perhaps I haven’t truly given myself the opportunity to try, but so far when I do, the most I can say is that drugs seem to always dehydrate you. Adderall, weed, alcohol, they all seem to suck away any hydration and make you incredibly thirsty. Stay thirsty? Yeah, pretty much. #hydrate

Great Expectations

In other news, the year so far is kicking off in wonderful fashion. I’ve been provided ample opportunities to engage in some of my favorite activities: snowboarding, volleyball, and music. Despite my financial burden, I’m hopeful of graduation acceptances in the coming Fall and therefore have decided to take my current time as the last break I’ll be having for the next two+ years. As such, I’ve attended one snowboarding trip thus far in a brand new state I’ve never been to and will be attending another boarding trip this coming weekend in an even more exciting place: Whistler Blackcomb (Canada). I’ll also get to visit a little bit of Seattle (must get clam chowder!)which has been a city on my list since college when a group of us first spoke of  having our five year reunion there (which has now become a reunion back at Atlanta in May, but still). I’m super stoked for my upcoming trip and the opportunity to become an even better boarder (because really I should be better than I currently am). And finally! I attended the annual boarding trip that I’ve been invited to for the past two or three years. That trip itself had some incredibly memorable moments and provided a few new experiences as well along with being a new place.

In total, I can now say I’ve technically been in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming now, despite only landing in Utah and never really leaving the airport, only driving through Idaho to get to Wyoming, and only having gone to Jackson Hole Mountain and the rental house in Wyoming (so not that much exploring). Still, new places, new faces! And Wyoming is beautiful. I really hope to visit Utah and all it’s glory a bit more at one point, because apparently it has an amazing night sky and a smaller version of Bolivia’s salt flats (Salar de Uyuni)! Definitely adding to the check, kick, do list.

Here are some amazing pictures from my trip to Wyoming though. I’d love to go back to Jackson Hole. It’s an amazing, steep mountain. If there are any beginning boarders out there reading this, take caution if you’re trying Jackson Hole as your first place to learn. They don’t have many green (beginner) trails available, but the few they do are great for improving on.

hot tub, skyline, view, winter wonderland, cottage, winterland, winter, beautiful, scenic, scenery

our backyard view (as we sat in the hot tub) :)

Jackson hole, mountains, viewtop, skyline, clouds, boarding, snowboarding

the early morning view atop the mountains at Jackson Hole sometimes look like we’re above the clouds

mountain view, skyline, snowboarding, boarding, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, beautiful, scenery

Here’s a better shot of the actual view we could see atop one of the mountains :)

base of mountain, mountain view, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

from the base of the moutain. This was from our first day getting there. It was super foggy at first but the sun came out a couple hours later :)

slopes, snowboarding, jackson hole, waiting, view, skyline, atop the mountain

some of the crew on one of the slopes waiting people (I’m the one on the right in white/cream)

Wyoming, driving home, sunset, powder, snow, boarding

on the way back from the mountain to our rental home… that powder looks so awesome.

desert, Las Vegas, NV, civilization

Airplane view while flying into Las Vegas. It’s really a desert!

And thus, my trip in scenic pictures! The place we stayed at was amazing and could fit many more of us than actually attended, so we were quite spoiled. I am greatly appreciate of the opportunity to have attended and gotten a bit better at boarding, and I look forward to my next adventure!

I did want to touch base on how I rang in the new year. Last year, I attended Lights All Night in Dallas, TX, and had an amazing time with a wonderful group of friends. In my best efforts, I tried to once again have that amazing time at this year’s LAN party. While some parts were not quite the same, given different scenarios and other personal things, I still had a blast and think I enjoyed the sets even more this year than I did last. I was quite surprised and pleased, as the only main group I truly desired to see was Above and Beyond (whom were amazing!). Still, deadmau5, A-trak, Tchami, Nero, San Holo, Zedd, etc, they all surprised me greatly. In the end, I enjoyed A-trak the most. Additionally, I somehow managed to get two bracelets, one each day. While I’ve never personally taken part in this tradition, I was definitely happy to be on the receiving end and appreciated as such. My next music adventure? Sadly, Alina Baraz sold out way too quickly in Austin, so the next one on the list is Middlelands! A brand new Renaissance-styled music festival. I’m hyped for the sets and finally, FINALLY I get to see Seven Lions. I’ve been hoping to see him for quite some time, and along with the fact that I finally saw A&B early this year, it is looking like an amazing music year for me. And a Renaissance fair? Why the hey not.

There’s always a catchy phrase

While I could keep taking about more things that have happened since I last updated (which is a heck of a lot), I find that the length of my posts should be moderated. As such, I will leave with only a small thought that I feel like has been surfacing to me:

There are a lot of ways to say the same thing, and there are a lot of ways to say the exact opposite, and all of those ways can sound good, it just depends on where you are in life. Sometimes the words that feel true to you right then, may not feel true to you later on, and vice versa. I’ve learned that there’s always a phrase, a quote, a saying for the emotions that you are feeling or the situation that you are in. It’s not to say that your life situations aren’t unique, it’s just to say that no matter how powerful a saying sometimes is, realize that an equally eloquent but oppositely meaning phrase probably exists too. And that everything shall eventually pass. I’m not sure if this fully makes sense, but I feel like I’ve read memes or sayings or quotes on Facebook and thought “man, that’s exactly how I’m feeling”/”so true” and yet weeks or months later I find they aren’t so relevant anymore and I don’t really reverberate to what they say. Lots of things sound nice, lots of things sound right, but sometimes you gotta realize that it’s only in that moment.

And sometimes it’s more black and white than that. Like in recent politics. But that’s for another post.

Cheers,

Karen

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a really impressive title goes here

I wanted to write another blog post to update like I said I would, but I found that I wasn’t sure what to write about at this current time. So please bear with me as I try to come up with something witty, or whatever. =)

Normally I add in a currently jammin’ to song from Soundcloud, but as Soundcloud has started to try to increase profit margin rather than stick true to their original ideology, it’s become more difficult sometimes to get the song I want on there. I still chose one this time, but it may be time to change to another site to stream music on here… Sigh.

Currently jammin’ to:

This jam is a bit long since it’s a long mix rather than an individual song, but definitely worth it. Additionally, I recently saw Ekali live at The Kingdom in Austin a couple weekends ago. The openers were so-so, but when Ekali took the stage it definitely was pretty awesome. I will say that the lights were a bit blinding for such a small space. I literally felt blind at times and had to step back further from the stage at times in order to reorient myself because of how blinding the laser lights were at times. I think some of it was due to the size of the room though, being so small allowed for so much reflection. At least it wasn’t stuffy and hot. So glad I got to check out Ekali.

Summer finale

Summer is coming to a close, surprisingly fast. I can’t believe it’s already August. I have so much I need to get together, start to do. I feel like I’m so behind. And yet there’s so much that I’ve also already done. It’s crazy. It’s also amazing to realize that I only have one more semester left of my current classes before I enter (hopefully) into my Master’s program. As I write this, I think “shouldn’t I be working on my statement instead?” considering that I have to have one by September 15th for UT Dallas… umm, yeah whoops.

And what a summer it has been. Lots of ups, lots of downs. Not quite what I imagined it would be, and still not where I want it to be, but hopefully with some luck, some talks, and some work it will get to where I want it. I will say this much, I have learned and experienced a lot this summer. This year overall, really. I am looking forward to continuing to learn more and experience many wonderful things. It feels fitting to reflect on some of the new things I’ve gotten to experience, but I think I’d rather just focus on the recent things that have occurred since I last posted.

My final summer class is winding down, ending next week! Eek, that is incredibly soon. I have no idea where the time went in this class. Least to say I did not enjoy it as much as my previous class, but I am glad for the grades I’ve been getting (somehow keeping my 4.0 GPA) and I greatly appreciate having taken this class with a friend. It definitely made the whole experience more bearable and easier.

Recently, I returned back from attending a wedding in California for my boyfriend’s cousin. It involved my boyfriend’s whole immediate family, so needless to say it was not like our Mexico trip together, but we still had fun and he finally got to visit Disneyland for the first time, something his father promised him a long time ago when he was still young. The wedding itself was also something wonderful as well. Even though I hardly knew the couple and was only there politely as one of the distant cousin’s girlfriend, I still really took the experience to heart. I think I was just feeling quite emotional that day, but I had lots of feelings listening to the ceremony/speeches and watching the whole thing. I think love is a wonderful thing. Something to cherish greatly, and something to hold onto as best as possible when you can. I know it’s also hard work, to create happiness all the time and always feel grateful for everything you have. We take for granted so much all the time, I feel. And just the same, love is easily taken for granted. Whether it comes from our parents, from our friends, or our significant other, it’s easy to lose sight of how significant it is to have someone love you. Watching the wedding, it really made me consider my own personal values and personal goals for the future. I am definitely not ready to be married, but perhaps because of age or whatever it is, I know I’m looking forward to settling. Kids, however, that’s a completely different situation, one I am absolutely not ready to even consider. ANYWAYS!

Normally I would write a whole bunch more, but honestly I am realizing how much work I have to get done and I also lack much to say right now. So with that in mind, I end this very short post and update. I’ll try to give this more thought later. :D

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the internet and advice

Currently jammin’ to:

In some ways, I’m not quite sure what I want to say in this blog post, however I feel that I should still write something as I attempt to somewhat consistently write again in here. Quick apologies if this is lots of stream of consciousness and ramblings. My thoughts are not currently as focused or well-formed as I would hope them to be, but I will try on anyways!

Life snapchats

To highlight some new developments in life, I recently began working with autistic children again at a therapy place in Austin. The style is slightly different, with a more natural-play strategy to ABA as opposed to the DTT ABA style that I was used to at my previous ABA therapy office in Irving. Still, the rewards and changes are visible and the difficulty is still sometimes there. Additionally, this office requires its workers to be RBT (registered behavior technician) certified (a $600 test) and pays for you to complete it. So in addition to my work, my summer school, and my two labs, I am also working to become RBT certified at my own free time (but still slightly scheduled). Hooray for keeping busy! Let’s just hope I don’t overwork myself.

My 4th of July plans went a bit awry due to some unfortunate circumstances, so I ended up back in Dallas doing bits and sorts with various people as opposed to my highly nature-based plans that I originally had. Still, I got to see some old friends and hang out with some new ones, play a little volleyball, sing a little karaoke, and spend a bit of time with some family. All in all, a fun time.

Previous to the 4th of July weekend, I took a trip to Waco with some friends to the BSR Cable Water Park to go down a huge slide. Ultimately, we ended up looping the lazy river three times with most of our party getting trashed and only went down the slide (for me) once and not even The Royal Flush (or the bigger one) which is the “famous” one. I was fine with it considering how painful it was hitting the water after the slide and how long you had to wait for the steepest slide, but all-in-all a great trip with friends. After some food, we also got a tour of a cabbage factory/farm that a friend was growing. Despite the fact that it seems strange we were touring a cabbage farm/factory, it was, in fact, pretty interesting to learn about the cultivation that goes into it and its potential economical abilities. After some chilling, a long drive with a mini sleep break occurred + some Carl’s Junior. I can definitely say that I did not expect such a long day at Waco, but I definitely had a grand time.

Here’s a video of some of footage we got:

Outside of these events, life just happened. Some ups, some downs, some unexpected and some expected.

So punny

snapchat toast filter

snapchat toast filter :)

In lieu of my last headline, I made my featured picture one of my snapchat filter pictures. Apparently, this filter may be based off some video of cats having bread face pictures? I was only informed of this after I sent off my picture, but either way I find it hilarious. Within the last year, I’ve really enjoyed using the snapchat filters for its silly and randomness. It’s a little vain in some ways being so self-centered with multiple selfies, but mostly I just find it fun. A silly way of posing and sending off to friends/family. Maybe it’s my natural silly nature taking over, but I have quite enjoyed Snapchat filters and all its glories. I considered making a youtube video compiling some of my filtered photos (because why not be more vain, right?) just because I find them hilarious and think others might too. Who knows though, I’m not much of a YouTuber, so we’ll see if that ever happens.

On a somewhat related note, other thoughts of YouTube video making includes making review/rating videos for food/restaurants. As some of my friends like to consider me a foodie (I don’t call myself one, though I admit I like trying new food places when I can), it’s been recommended that I either 1) stream me eating food or 2) make videos reviewing places I’ve gone to with pictures of the food. While streaming videos of me eating seem a bit strange (despite the growing popularity in it), I did find some interest in video reviewing as I do like to try and review restaurants on Yelp if I find some time. I learn of new places from other people and check reviews to deem a place more or less worthy of attempting, so sharing my experience seems like “giving back” in a sense to the things that guide me to my decisions to food. Some more consideration to be given, especially since I have no idea how I would really get this together and I don’t know if I really eat out enough for this right now (at least to new places). We’ll see.

family love

I will never be able to express enough gratitude and appreciation to my family. I probably don’t even feel enough gratitude to them on a daily basis as I should, but when I do reach some sort of random aha moment of appreciation, I want to make note of it however I can. I have never considered my family super tight knit. My siblings and I generally live fairly independent of each other, and this was especially apparent when we were all still living under the same roof. We just did not always see each other or make much time to try. Perhaps that’s part of being young, exploring elsewhere, and perhaps its just the differences we have in our lives. My siblings and I are all four years or so apart from one another, so my eldest sibling is 8 years older than I and my second sibling is 4 years older than I. And while I do try to visit my parents and siblings every other weekend or so when I am available in town, I actually find this to be a more recent thing now that I’ve moved further from home again. Ultimately, despite sometimes lacking much involvement in each others lives, the one thing that constantly rings true is that we are always there for one another, whether just because we’re bored and looking for something to do, or if we truly need one another for something more serious. This is something I did not frequently make use of until recent years except outside of electronic or car issues (because that basically is all decision made through my brother). In recent years though, I’ve actually been able to really listen and receive advice from my siblings. They’ve provided me with comfort and safety of someone I can always rely upon. As I’ve gotten older, it seems harder to find this in others. Priorities, pride, and a bunch of other things just often get in the way of feeling like I’m truly able to rely on someone else. But with family, even though they may not always be my first choice, I have found time and time again that I can always rely upon them. And for that I am forever grateful. I doubt my siblings will read this post, but if by some chance they do, or my mother does and reiterates this part to them, I hope my siblings and parents both know I am forever grateful for the life I have been blessed with and for the bond I share with them. :) <3

the internet and advice

In recent times, I often google things that I want to find out about. I’m pretty sure a lot of people do this, since searching on the web often provides some credible sources that can shed light to problems we have without having to go through the tedious and possibly expensive process of finding a professional that could help us. Additionally, there are often memes or just picturesque images filled with sayings, advice, and quotes that often fill my Facebook stream.

Sometimes when I search or read these things, it helps bring me some peace or helps me reconfirm my own beliefs. There are times it brings better clarify to a subject I’m unfamiliar with, but ultimately when I search or read these things, I feel that I am just providing more verification to what I already decided. I think this goes back to some fundamental parts of myself, that I want to know others feel the same way that I do or experience the same troubles I am. I want to feel like I am not the only one. I want validation in my emotions or my thoughts, that it’s not whack or outrageous.Validation: something I wish I didn’t really need, but humanely I think we all seek validation from time to time. I want to know I’m not being irrational, that I’m not being too emotional driven or too crazy, that my thought process is natural or normal, that things like this often occur and aren’t signs of something much worse, or whatever it is that I want confirmation in. Validation, the feeling that you are not wrong. I don’t like to be wrong, because I always want to do right the best I can.

But ultimately, I really question how right or wrong things are. I realized at some point, that sometimes the advice I read that really resonated with me when I first read it, didn’t make as much sense later on. There were also times that I felt the words I read or advice or quote I read made absolute sense, a truth of some sort, but later felt like that wasn’t always quite the right case. It’s tough, am I finding advice that I want to hear, or ones that actually lead me down the right path? I do feel that I give myself a clear head when making important decisions so long as I’m not feeling highly emotional at the time. I don’t think most of the things or decisions I’ve made in life have been wrong, but I do feel that there are times I read advice and feel “wow, it’s so true! I do feel like this is the right path to take” and then possibly days later I question if that really is the right kind of idea to take. Ultimately, what changed wasn’t the words that were said or read, but how I felt about a situation or about life then. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe some times advice for one way is good in these circumstances or with this mindset, but not really the right path if you’re feeling a different way about it later. There is probably rarely only one “right” path, and circumstances will always cause different paths to be made.

In any case, I have some more thoughts on this idea but I feel that I am running in circles about it. So with that understanding, I end this post just to wish everyone the best of days. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

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Life changes and One Piece

Fair warning, this may be poorly organized, random, personal, slightly vague, grammatically incorrect and long.

Normally I have a song from SoundCloud available as a featured song that I really enjoyed recently. Unfortunately, the song I recently heard and really enjoyed is not available in the United States (or in my country) currently on Soundcloud, but can be accessed via Facebook videos from the actual group (how that even makes sense, I don’t know, but okay privacy laws). So I share with you this wonderful video (that was already posted on my Facebook at once so it may be redundant to some of y’all):

Above and Beyond’s The Sun and The Moon Acoustic Live

One Piece and manga

Let’s go backwards on my title and start with One Piece. As many people who know me should already know, I am an avid fan of One Piece written by Eiichiro Oda. Not only have I watched all the episodes (though not the recent ones) at least 3-4 times (this is up to about 700+ episodes having watched 3-4x), I have read and re-read most of the manga more than 5-6 times (I don’t have an exact count, but I know it’s at least that many times). Why I have dedicated so much time to reading and watching something I’ve already read is probably pretty strange to most, but simply I just love the entertainment I get from it. I have found that it is one of the best manga’s (and anime’s) written and portrayed in terms of plot and character development. However, this is also due to how incredibly slow Oda-sensei lays out his characters and scenarios. I understand its flaws (and how daunting it is to start), but I will always highly recommend it to any person who likes anime/manga. It does start slow though, so you have to give it (lots of) time.

Now, why One Piece is currently being talked about by me is simply because I recently caught up on all its current chapters. I like to binge watch and read. I don’t watch all that much anymore (and only re-watched it so many times because of past boyfriends whom I started them on it), but I like to read chapter after chapter after chapter. Once per week is simply cruel sometimes; and so what I’ve decided to do is stop reading altogether for an extended period of time and then catch up on it all. In this case, I actually went over a year without reading any One Piece and had 100+ chapters waiting for me. When school finally let out for my brief summer break (of two weeks), I caught up on all of my current manga, one of them being One Piece.

It was perfect. An arc ended and a new one began, new stories about characters began to unravel, more information about important but not main characters began to be told. It was so much and so fulfilling that I would be fine with stopping again for awhile and then catching up again (although, of course, a part of me very much wishes to read what hasn’t been published yet right away). I loved all the bits and pieces that were written. And yes, of course I’m biased, but I don’t really care. As an aside, my only small regret in all of this (by all of this I mean the whole catching up with my manga) is not having attended A-kon this year as a volunteer. Once upon a time I tried to make it a goal to be a volunteer for A-kon by 26. I am currently 26 so this year would have been the last to fulfill that goal, and sadly I was unable to complete it for various reasons (like school). It’s sad, things always find a way to get in your way of what you plan to do. Only if it’s important enough does it become your primary focus. I suppose I love to read manga and watch it occasionally, but it’s the story that attracts me; so a convention, even if it was solely about One Piece, would only do so much for me really. Any how! That was my one blurb about One Piece (and manga) which was very much unnecessary but totally part of who I am. :)

Current life updates

As for news in life, my Spring semester ended! I was able to accomplish what I had never accomplished in my undergrad before my degree and receive a 4.0 GPA this semester! I suppose I’ve just learned to study better? Or maybe the material is just more interesting to me (because it’s more focused on what I liked). Who knows, maybe both. I had a brief break of about two weeks in May and during that time I spent it at my boyfriend’s place in Dallas along with our vacation trip to Punta de Mita, Mexico (Puerto Vallarta). This was my first time going to Mexico (and my boyfriend’s first time going to this part of Mexico, as he was born and partially raised in a more northern and eastern side of Mexico?) and our first vacation together so it was quite exciting! We got delayed (our plane had technical issues that weren’t resolvable quickly so we had to wait for a different plane that landed 4 hours later to be used by us to take us there), but still despite our shortened time it was great! Some of the activities that we did included snorkeling and zip-lining. We actually got to go on the word’s second largest zip-line and also where they shot the movie Predator. It was quite a thrill and I was very glad we did it (especially for the deal we were able to get).

personal pic

Us touring and checking out the view! :)

Additionally on our trip, we visited a new resort (as part of our way to get the discount and them try to get our business) which had a beautiful view of the ocean and partial city. One side of the city is mountain and the other is a beautiful blue-green ocean. It was magical to see, and with their infinity pool that matched in color, it was truly a lovely sight.

ocean view garza blanca

The view from the place we toured. Beautiful ocean color

City view, ocean view, mountain view

Part of the city and the ocean view, you can see some of the mountainous part too.

Garza Blanca panoramic view

Panoramic view of the infinity pool and the view

For snorkeling, we kept to a bit more shallow of areas for better or for worse. We saw many fishes (including a puffer fish) and the second day we went we actually got caught up in some shallow coral reef areas that had lots of sea urchins. Unfortunately, the boyfriend slightly stepped on one (as the puncture hold was very much circular) and was unsure until the day after that you weren’t suppose to close up the hole without getting all the spikes/spindles of the sea urchin out (because they’re poisonous). He was able to reopen the wound and push out hopefully all the spindles but it did cause for a sore foot (that still somewhat continues) with foot cramps. Our package included airfare, lodging, food, and drinks, so we were able to feast and drink heartily. Surprisingly, the first night we came in I had an amazing medium rare stake. Despite living in Texas all my life (minus 4 years in Atlanta), this was one of the most amazing medium rare steaks I’d ever had. It was perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked with a good bloody middle, and absolutely melt in your mouth wonderful. Pretty much all of the food I had while there was wonderful, and I definitely miss having it all paid for already.

medium rare steak

This. was. amazing! And surprisingly filling

Lobster and veggies

Another fine dining option I was able to enjoy. Simple yet delicious

dinner view sunset colors beautiful

The night view at dinner. Beautiful colors.

As for now, summer session has started up! One of my classes sadly was cancelled in the summer and now I must take it in the fall. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that is overlaps with another class I wanted to take. So now I can’t take the other class (which wasn’t exactly required but very much eventually is necessary and some schools do have it as a requirement) because I absolutely have to take the one that was cancelled in the summer. Fortunately, it does allow for a little more free time for my very much packed summer schedule. Including my one class that occurs three times a week for 2.5 hours, I also am working in two different research labs and also about to take on a part-time job working two days a week there. Similar to what I previously did at Brent Woodall Foundation for Exception Kids, I will be using ABA method to work with autistic children. It’s only 16 or so hours a week, but it ultimately causes me to basically have a full schedule every day with only night times for studying. Additionally, I will have to become RBT (Behavior Therapist) certified within 30 days to continue working at my new place, all of it being self-study and testing on my own. Daunting, but exciting!

My two labs are also very different but very exhilarating as well. For one, I will be compiling and exporting data in my spare time there and also running EEG and other types of brain/auditory studies. It’s definitely a lot to learn about and understand, but incredibly cool to think I would be doing this kind of research. As to my other lab, it is a little more lax in terms of scheduling, which somewhat works in my favor, and also very straightforward. The best part is that it does help in my future schooling/licensing as counting towards hours that I will need with patients for my Master’s/licensing as an SLP. I am forever grateful for having both opportunities provided to me despite many applicants. (This also goes for the job, since I definitely need to off-set all of my expenditures which has reduced my bank account significantly.)

So summer is looking freshly busy, and honestly I think it’s probably a good thing. As to why is to follow.

Life and all it’s changes

Recently I’ve experienced some changes to my life that, for me, came from no where. This isn’t my school ended/beginning summer stuff, or anything that I knew was to come. This is changes that may have somewhat subtly begun to change and then grew without understanding why. Changes will occur in life regardless of what you do. In some ways, to change is to improve, hopefully. And honestly, I can understand that the changes that occurred (or really still are) were probably necessary, or at the very least I believe it to be realistic.

I think the problem was that while I didn’t require the expectations that were set, I didn’t understand why they had changed. I did not set my expectations, I just followed with what was provided to me naturally. It became the habit, the normal flow of what usually will come. And when the habit changes, when things aren’t coming as they used to, I worry why. Why did it change? What is causing this to occur? It’s not that I can’t accept it to happen, I just need to understand why (and probably time to adjust and ease into it). But when I don’t know why and the changes keep getting more and more… Yes, of course I will become even more worried, even more insecure and even more afraid. It’s strange, I had never felt so secure and yet so insecure before. I knew that I had no reason to worry, but I couldn’t understand why changes were happening and that allowed for doubt and insecurities. I couldn’t shake the creeping thoughts that questioned “what’s going on” and couldn’t answer the unknown. It ultimately caused a drift, one that I also wasn’t fully aware of at first and one I only recently somewhat reconciled.

It was crazy, I kept seeing signs that pointed both directions. Signs that told me I needed to worry, and signs that told me I was overreacting. Even now, I still have worries about it all, but I’ve come to accept how much I can currently change and how much I can only allow time to tell. I wanted to write my own version that made perfect sense to me, that fell in line with everything I was imagining, but reality doesn’t work that way.

In my life, there are few fantasies I have of the future. One that currently has become a goal is becoming an SLP and working as one. This goal I can actively work to achieve with major direct means to achieve it. Another is to marry and raise a family. While in some ways I’m sure I can actively work to achieve this with some fairly direct means, I want love and marriage with kids, not just marriage with kids. I don’t believe marriage/kids is the ultimate goal of life, and I don’t believe you need to have those in order to have a full, successful, meaningful, and happy life. I do, however, want those. I want them, but I don’t need them. I don’t believe everyone will necessarily get those things either. Sometimes, life just works out in ways you didn’t think would happen. If I never marry, or never have kids, I’m sure I can find happiness still. However, in my fantasies as a child and even now, I still hope to accomplish such things.

I started to seriously consider these things a year or two ago. I would mostly chalk it up to age as the reason why. When I was younger, I imagined myself potentially married (or engaged) by 25. Obviously that didn’t happen as I’m past that age already, and personally I am perfectly fine with it not happening as all my previous boyfriends clearly didn’t work out for the long run. But I remember my last break up and feeling it hit me not because of it being a very deep and serious relationship that ended (though, of course, it was in its own ways), but that I had to start all over again. That I had to somehow find new people who were also single, get to know them and foster a relationship, and hopefully make a strong connection. Finding people, outside of bars and crowds I don’t usually hang at, is difficult when you’re not in school or forcibly surrounded by various functions that introduce you to new people all the time. I had never had issues with being single in my life, and honestly quite enjoyed any time I was single. But at 25 and finding myself single again, it was just a bit hard to swallow at first. To realize that I may not find the happiness I wanted to achieve as clearly I hadn’t found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with (and vice versa). Nowadays, I’m in a committed relationship, and of course I take it quite seriously. And of course, I do have high confidence in its future. However, I suppose because I do truly want to have a family and kids, I lost sight of the fact that I can be happy without such things just as much. I began to focus too heavily on such things, things that ultimately aren’t necessary to my life. It doesn’t mean I won’t still be serious, but it does mean that I probably shouldn’t dedicate as much time as I previously had been to it all. It took some fighting, some misunderstanding and lack of understanding, and ultimately me writing down my feelings on paper, to truly be able to start to accept how life was going for me in that regard. I’m still struggling, in some ways, but I think keeping busy with other things will help me overcome those struggles. As for the potential fall back from this reality, I’m not sure. I can only hope that this is the change that is necessary for the best future me.

An aside – poetry

In my younger years I used to write a lot of poetry. Surely it was very much teen angst filled and an emotional roller coaster, however it was still very much true to my feelings at the time. I actually felt that when I was younger I was better at expressing myself in poetry than I could currently do now. Maybe because I try to not be so emotional, or I try to get over it all and “intelligently” say it. I don’t know, but in light of recent emotional turmoil, I wrote short passages that aren’t necessarily as true anymore, but were definitely true when I first thought them. I decided to share them simply because as part of my goals in this blog, I want to share myself with my future self and with an audience that may take comfort in whatever way from my post. I could easily hide my personal troubles and emotions, but I feel that it is through those that you best connect with others. Likewise, I try not to be too personal because my life events also involve others whom may not like to have their story told to random people. As it be, this is slightly contradictory and not easily remedied, but I tried my best to not be too vague and not too specific either. Hopefully it worked. Anyways! To the actual poetry (again, not my current state of being, but still nonetheless important to me):

The change came from no where
No precipitous waves to tell me what would occur
And as I reached out trying to grasp towards your hand
I felt the clear glass wall you put up in defense
While you flinched and turned from me
I couldn’t figure out why it happened that way
When the roles began to change
And in my head rang
‘Abandon all hope. Believe’

I braced myself for the impact
I steadied my heart and determination
For a brief moment, the peace enveloped me
Gently holding me in its also worn arms
But I felt the glass go up again
And once more I could no longer feel the warmth
My determination faltered
And I was left thinking
‘You should’ve known. You can’t believe’

– – – –

I didn’t write beyond this as soon afterwards I found time and wrote down my feelings in a letter (to no one). That letter helped calm my emotional uproar and bring me my current acceptance of life. It also helped me see how therapeutic writing can truly be. I highly encourage it if you find yourself stuck in a rut. If I were to continue this poem, it would probably go like this:

I whispered my memories into the sea
Silence comforted me drifting along
Whether the glass was there, I held my tongue
And let the waves rock me through, the horizon gazing down

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really align with the previous verses as well simply because it’s a different state of mind, but I tried to match it as best as I can. Hopefully it feels closing enough (and on a happier note, since that is how I currently feel). In any case, that’s all I got for today! I hope this post finds you well. Have a nice day!

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