Category Archives: Travel

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I had originally chosen the Seven Lions Middlelands set as my current jam, but sadly YouTube had to take it down due to copyright infringements… So! Here’s the set I loved the most next from Middlelands (which I’ve already listened to again twice since then).

Currently jammin’ to: Illenium at Middlelands 2017 set

Illenium is an amazing artist whom I highly recommend anyone to check out. :)

Life as Karen knows

I had a different post in the makes, but I scrapped it for this one because I wanted to change the focus. It’s been awhile since I last updated about my life (almost two months), aside from my last post focused solely on the death of my friend, so I figure its best to mention how life’s been treating me before rambling on about other things. More than likely this will be a really long post considering I have two months of stuff to write about.

Originally, I planned to head back to Arlington/Dallas mid-May and be at home for a couple months before I found a place in Dallas to live closer to school. I had already informed my work place of my last day, but due to multiple other coworkers also leaving, I was asked if I would be willing to stay longer. As I didn’t have exact reasons to be in Dallas (aside from some weekend events and trips that I had planned) and I was going to try to get a job over the summer anyways, it seemed easier to just keep the job I already had so long as enough hours were provided to make it worthwhile (and that my friend, whom I am staying with, is okay with me staying around longer). In the end, that’s exactly what they provided to me (the hours) and thus my stay in Austin (slash my friend’s place) has now extended to the end of July.

While it hasn’t been too difficult, and I greatly enjoy the extra time spent in Austin, it definitely did mess with some of the plans I initially planned to be at. Now I’m back in this every other weekend in Dallas schedule again. Some of it was just for traveling from Dallas (DFW airport) rather than actually doing things there, but some was also being in Dallas.

I’ll probably miss some things in recent events that have been happening, but I’ll try my best to be true to my blog idea aka personal tracking of my life events (for everyone else to see as well). Last time, these were the things I said I was looking forward to: Middlelands, Atlanta visit, climbing more, volleyball, trying Franklins BBQ, visiting Hamilton Pool, and seeing lots of friends. I haven’t actually been able to climb more yet (did buy shoes though), or play volleyball much, or visit Hamilton Pool, but I have seen friends, gone to Atlanta, attended Middlelands, and tried Franklins BBQ finally. I also went to Portland, checked out a remote part of Greenbelt, night time kayaked to live latino music, and had a scattering of birthday parties, small concerts, and events (like Mother’s day). So again, warning that this post will probably be pretty long, but cool if you’re bored and wanna read all about my life. Or just scroll for pictures. :)

Fun with friends in Austin

A big surprise came in the form of meeting up with an old friend from Emory that I hadn’t seen (or even talked to) in five or six years who was down in Austin for a wedding. Consequently, I got to try out some places I’d never been in Austin, like Veracruz tacos, Radio coffee and bar, JuiceLand,  swimming in Greenbelt off some random path, and the Botanical Gardens. Who knew I’d see more of Austin from someone coming to visit from Austin?

Swimming in Greenbelt was definitely the highlight. A short hike entering from some random neighborhood and we found ourselves at a lovely pool of water/stream. Wejumped off the cliff into the cool water which wasn’t too cold despite this still being late April (and the weather was maybe high 70s?). We had brought some Veracruz tacos with us to eat there and had Radio coffee while waiting for the food beforehand.

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the crew going swimming to Greenbelt!

Afterwards we ate at Tan My which had pretty good bun bo hue (well, I just tried some didn’t actually order anything), and I consequently found out one of the newfound friends was dating my current roommate’s old co-worker (that I had met before long ago). Once again somewhat proving how small the world sometimes feels.

We went to Graffiti Castle (or the Hope Outdoor Gallery as it is officially called now) as well as the Botanical Gardens afterwards. I’d always wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens (mostly to Pokemon hunt XD) but it was still… an experience I guess. Whenever i think of botanical gardens, I think flowers. I’m not sure if maybe it was still too early or what, but I feel like I had to try really hard to find some flowers (literal flowers ;)). In the end, at least I can say that I’ve gone. We did some hiking to the 360 bridge as well, but only to the overlook.

It was a fun time, filled with outdoor activities and food, which is exactly what I like. Plus I got to catch up with an old friend and meet new ones.

Lots of birthdays, some going away parties, one Mother’s Day, and many other scattering of events (Corona Electric beach party, ARMNHRM at Kingdom, etc) occurred in various fashion. I’d go into all of them more but I’m not trying to dictate my whole entire life up here (well, I kind of am, but not to that extreme).

One other Austin highlight recently was that I finally got to kayak! It was actually an evening/night time kayak event with live Latino music serenading us as well. The weather couldn’t have been any nicer, honestly. I had an amazing time on Lady Bird Lake and enjoyed some wine, beer, and finger foods (grapes & mangoes). There were also some people who got onto the band’s platform and salsa danced. It really made me want to get better at salsa dancing. Maybe someday I’ll find a partner to do that more with ;) maybe.

The Road to Middlelands

Let me start by saying these events aren’t exactly in chronological order, so while the swimming in Greenbelt happened in late April, the kayaking happened this past Friday night, and Middlelands occurred in eary May, to give you an idea. So apologies ahead of time if this somehow gets confusing in terms of timelines. Anyways.

I know it’s kind of bad to do, but I totally have no problem with talking about how amazing Middlelands was to people who didn’t go. It’s been probably the best music festivals I’ve ever attended. The music, the people, everything was near perfect and most times better than I expected. My one regret was getting drunk enough to forget to go to Big Gigantic on the first night. Who knew taking big gulps of vodka early on would keep me drunk the whole night? In the end, I missed one of the more unique artists that I really wanted to see, but regardless of missing Big Gigantic, all the shows I did catch easily make Middlelands one of the best festivals ever attended. This is not just an opinion I hold, but honestly many attendees felt this way as apparent through many blogs, posts, groups, people, etc that I’ve read and talked to after the festival. Some felt that way having gone to many festivals in the past, and some felt that way from it being their first festival. Honestly, if you didn’t know what PLUR really was before, you could’ve definitely learned about it at Middlelands. It was really that kind of feel.

Middlelands 2017 music festival

some of the Middlelands peeps I was hangin’ with that weekend :)

And the music, I could relive that whole weekend again with just that music. So many amazing artists, and some that surprised me in expectations. My favorite set, as I said earlier in this post, was Seven Lions with Illenium coming in close second. But other sets, like Bassnectar, Alice in Wonderland, and Louis the Child were also incredible. I also learned about a few new (to me) artists like Quix and Ephwurd, both of whom were amazing live as well.

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my favorite stage at Middlelands! where Illenium and Seven Lions killed it

I honestly probably could have made a whole post about Middlelands alone, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just post pictures and relive in them and the uploaded sets from then. I will say that I’m really sad it won’t be at the Texas Renaissance Festival anymore due to some locals complaining about the noise. I very much hope it will stay in Texas, but I know where ever it ends up being held, it will still be amazing. This year’s is basically legendary (in my book), and if it stays in Texas I’ll probably be back again. Sherwood, I’m looking at you!

Atlanta, aka Dallas and Houston mixed together

Back in undergrad, I made some life long friends during my time in Resident Life as an RA. We decided that five years after we graduated, we would all meet up for a reunion in a city we’d never been to (at the time, it was decidedly Seattle), and each of us would bring X, Y, and Z. I think mine was bringing a husband or something, and my other friend was like a pet bird, and another was a foreign wife, or something weird and crazy. In the end, we didn’t go to a new city but back to Atlanta (though I, as previously mentioned, have now been to Seattle anyways), our old stomping grounds, and none of us brought any of the decided things (which we all forgot anyways), but we did have our reunion. Additionally, it was one of my friend’s birthdays that weekend, so we reminisced, did an escape room, watched some stand-up comedy, and checked out old and new Atlanta places.

escape room atlanta

we almost finished. Last puzzle :(

I’m so grateful for my friends, both the ones I gained at Emory and the ones before and after. It’s always tough to stay in touch when everyone lives everywhere else (Atlanta, Chicago, Japan/Boulder, etc), but I’m glad that we’ve still made attempts to stay in contact and connected to each other. I’ll be seeing them again later this year for the first one of us to get married, but we planned to once again meet in 5 years at the latest. I hope we’re able to keep our promise again. :)

The hike to Portland (or really, in)

Another city I’d never been to and another activity I’d never really done has once again been accomplished: I took a 13+ mile hike in Portland, Oregon last weekend. I was actually somewhat worried about my physical capabilities for the hike, but surprisingly handled it well. I guess I’m in better shape that I think? Or more like I can stay active for a lot longer than I give myself credit for. Either way, it was a wonderful experience. Portland is very lush and beautiful. Such amazing views and nature feels. Naturally, we also toured around some food places and caught really by chance events, like their Starlight Parade and a random Trump/”freedom of speech” white supremacy rally and consequent anti-rally/protest. It was one of the most spontaneous (aka a nice way to say unplanned, but not necessarily unpleasant) trips I’ve recently taken, but still had some great times.

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the lovely Portland hiking group being fancy :)

I’ve never been a part of a rally or a protest (at least not physically), so it was pretty interesting to see. There was an enormous crowd for the protest while the rally itself seemed much smaller. I think that’s actually pretty reflective of America as a whole, but that’s another can to be opened a different time.

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some signs at the rally (but from the protesters)

The Starlight parade (which is part of their International Rose Festival, but has nothing to really do with roses?) was pretty cool too. We only caught parts of it because we had reservations at this whiskey library bar, but we did see a slew of DeLoreans parade through decked out with lights. As you can imagine, the parade is held at night time and features lots of floats with pretty lights. There was also quite a few high school marching bands, to my surprise.

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there was a bit in the parade that was just DeLoreans :)

To sum up what we did in Portland, we hiked, ate lots of food (mostly decent but to be completely honest Seattle was better, sorry), drank a variety of alcohol (we went to a bar which provided tasting shots 4 for $5, one of which you could choose a wasabi vodka), and part took in some local recreational fun. We actually ended up checking out their Japanese garden and Rose garden, both of which were cool. Seeing all those beautiful roses was actually pretty cool. If I were to go back to Portland, I’d definitely want to just go for hiking and camping. There are so many trails you can go on and so many beautiful views to be seen. Plus, the weather was really nice (when we were there).

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a Great Pyrenees meet up at the market!

Check out the actual hike pictures here. For some reason, WordPress won’t properly show the pictures from Instagram on my post. And I’m too lazy to figure it out.

If you didn’t already know, Portland is for some reason famous for its strip clubs. We didn’t go to any, but had a very interesting lyft driver who kept talking about the perverse side of Portland and its strip clubs, particularly one that was vegan. So I guess Portland is lots of hiking and strip clubs. I think I’ll just stick to the hiking parts though.

Another interesting part (coming from Texas) of Portland is the people. We went to a Thai restaurant, and all the workers (cooks, dishwashers, etc) were white while the owner/some servers were Asian. It was weird and that’s how it was everywhere. It came to us not exactly as a surprise, but just so different from where we come from. It was also weird how extreme the sides of Portland people are. There are some really nice, open-minded people there, and then there are some really white supremacy extremists too. Definitely unexpected. Anyways.

Given how much I had to go through, I tried to condense and not ramble too much about everything. Usually I like to post personal thoughts and what not, but the length of this post is already pretty high up there so I’ll refrain this time. Maybe I’ll make a post later for just thoughts. Maybe. I’m surprised I didn’t talk much about the recent amazing food I’ve been having (which definitely still happened in Portland and elsewhere, just didn’t write about it.) Well, maybe I’ll just post on IG or something. ‘Til another time! :)

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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)

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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.

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oshi sushi from Miku <3 it was amazingly delicious

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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!

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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

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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.

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the initial display for the horror museum section of MoPOP

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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).

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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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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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One year later (isn’t a long time), or is it?

Jammin’ to: The Great Gatsby Sound Track (specifically Bang Bang by will.i.am, among some others as well though).

You can stream it from NPR and a few other websites, but soundcloud only has a sample of it, so for the full song go
search for it! (Sorry!)

(Side note, I find irony that my title is “one year later…” and this song is a fusion of the 1920’s music then (since the book was published in 1925) with current music trends… hahaha an unintentional time theme? :D)
So to introduce what this whole post will sort of (hopefully) focus on, it will have a few parts; one part is simple update/note of my current life events since the last time I updated on either of my blogs; another is a reflection; lastly (or perhaps just somewhere, or maybe no where) I hope to make conclusions that I can support enough to turn into action. Additionally, if you don’t want to read about my boring life but you’re interested in my potential reflections/thoughts, skip down to where it says “Reflect on your actions…” which is past all the pictures. d=

Life by the weekends

I last posted something last week Monday to my old blog, so since then I’ve mostly forgotten a lot of the stuff I did during the week days after work sadly. I did, however, receive my new laptop! It came in about 3 boxes and then some, but it’s actually quite nice. So long as the long haul it works alright, we won’t have problems. I (not that) surprisingly do actually quite enjoy Windows 8. I know there are a lot of people who don’t like it, losing the home button, having a weird home splash screen that is heavily touch dependent, et cetera, but honestly if you have a laptop (or desktop screen) that has touch capacities, it really isn’t that bad. I don’t treat it as a tablet, I treat it as a laptop that I can also utilize by touching my screen in addition to the normal mouse/keyboard/touch pad for navigation. As I thought from looking at commercials, it is much more, for a lack of a better word, fun than you would imagine. Perhaps not as intuitive in some ways, and yes I do have some qualms about it all (and some qualms with my laptop specifically), but nothing I can’t manage as I would a normal laptop. It has a desktop function that basically, minus the home button and the way to search for applications, works as any normal desktop. I’m not sure if this is my laptop specific but the photo viewer is a bit annoying since it doesn’t stay within the desktop (though you possibly can choose just to open with a different type of photo browser) as with some other applications that work independent of the desktop, but still it’s really not that bad. I can split my screen 1/4-3/4 ways to potentially work on two different things at the same time (not for everything, but for some), and the beats audio system, though still laptop speakers, is a nice feature. Plus now I have a bit more laptop space (500GB, old one only had 100 GB). Eventually I’ll have it more customized to all my needs, but it’s a slow download/transfer process. Overall? I like my new laptop and I enjoy windows 8 on it. I’d be fine with 7 as well on it, but I don’t have any issues with 8 and I actually find it kind of fun.

I added a matte screen protector ($5) because I didn’t want to keep wiping off my finger prints all the time, but unfortunately the screen protector had a small dent that is a bubble and its semi in the middle of the screen, so sometimes, more often than I’d like, I notice it. Couple other bubbles since I suck at putting screen protectors on and for a laptop of this size it was even harder, but those don’t bother me as much since they’re lower down where I don’t normally look. As I was trying to put the screen protector on, a bunch of dust and particles kept getting on the protector inside itself. After 45 minutes of struggle and hassle, I finally got creative and used a lint roller to get rid of pretty much all the crap and then put it on. Lint rolls for the win! :) Seriously, it worked wonders! I only wish I had used it much earlier than I did, it would have saved me at least 30 minutes (which, since I did it this past Sunday after coming back around 11:20 PM from Austin, would have been quite nice). Overall, I like the laptop. It is fairly sensitive to my touch (pad and screen, though with the protector not as much anymore), the keyboard it a bit spacey but I’ll get used to it, it has a lock touch pad if I don’t want to be typing and accidentally brush over it, moving where I’m typing. The right shift key (the only one I really use of the shift keys) has been kind of iffy or I’m not pushing down on it hard enough as I type fast, and it can heat up a bit since the vent is on the bottom, but still I like it. It looks bigger than 15.6″, but still fairly light and incredibly thin. Good purchase I think.

Oh, Monday night last week I did go to Olive Garden. It’d been at least over a year (possibly two) since I’d last gone, but it was nice to just eat with some friends and then later hang out at Yang’s. Also, Thursday K&I went to Richardson to eat with E&S at King’s Noodle. Beef noodles & mango shaved ice! Too bad their shaved ice has (once again?) gotten smaller, but it was still delicious! The best you’ll get around DFW probably (and somewhat sadly). We were going to play with Meeko after at S’s house, but since it was already somewhat late when we ended (8:30) and I still had to pack for my weekend trip to Austin, I decided to head back. Made a stop at A+A’s house just to let my brother check out the laptop a bit, but otherwise dropped K off and then went home and packed. Couldn’t decide what to bring for a bit, the same feeling that I didn’t have the proper clothing for a night out around town (or 6th street, in this case), but I managed to accept a couple of outfits.

Friday I actually arrived at work 30 minutes early (8:30), which was nice since I was leaving a bit before 1 PM to meet up at Yang’s. I spent the whole time at work trying to not be too distractedly writing my work blog. Normally I can stretch the blog to take me the whole day (unintentionally, of course), so that I had to be done by 1 PM and preferably before then was a bit rushed-feeling to me. After that, picked up Bethany’s (called to-go order in) and met K at Yang’s, who has still showering when I arrived. We ate a bit and left around 1:30 for Austin in Yang’s old Camry (not his new car). The drive down was entertaining a bit, which was necessary since we consistently hit traffic. It was as if it was following us, super spotty so even when we did get out of the traffic area pretty soon after we would be back in traffic. Also, Hagrid was being pretty whiny at first, needing a lot of water, so he had a wonderful time licking water out of a tilted water bottle and getting water all around where he was drinking. He also couldn’t settle. He’d sit on Yang’s lap for 10 minutes and then have to travel between me and K, staying 10 seconds with us each, until he eventually went back to Yang and repeated the pattern. It made for an interesting and not so restful car ride there. Additionally I had to use the bathroom for about 3 of those hours in the car (we arrived at our destination, Kao’s place, at 7PM, though we made a stop at Angel’s Donuts around 6:20 first). We chilled a bit before heading out to Tatsuya, a ramen shop, which was pretty awesome. Definitely some legit ramen, though I did enjoy the one I had in actual Japan more (duh!). I half wish Arlington/DFW had one, but if it did, I would lose so much money (and health) to that place, so it’s probably best that it’s a once in a few months or so occurrence. Still, delicious and quite satisfying.

hagrid in the car down to austin

Hagrid looking cute in the car

angel's donut shop

Angel’s Donut Shop

cake balls

Cake balls from Angel’s

maple bacon donut

K’s maple bacon donut from angel’s

Tatsuya ramen shop

Tatsuya food selection board

tonkatsu original ramen tatsuya

My tonkatsu original ramen!

After that, we went back to Kao’s and ended up playing The Settler’s of Catan. BJH joined us (after his 7 PM pub crawl haha) and eventually L did too, with Brian WHO IS ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE AND RIDICULOUSLY CUTE! The first Catan board we used the expansion to have 5-6 players, and BJH won. Because only three 7’s were rolled that game, Kao & Yang decided to do shots every time someone rolled a 7 next game. We did teams the second game (so only 4 players) and they took one double shot to start the game off. I was third to roll, rolled 7, shot, Yang rolled last, rolled 7, shot. Yeah, so not even 5 minutes in and they’re 6 shots in. They quickly re-evaluated the rules to when one of them/team rolls a 7 they would take a shot. Yang tried to “play the dice” by putting it on 7’s before he rolled, it “worked” the first time, but after that it didn’t hahaha. Regardless, both got extra drunk which was hilarious. Kao kept trying to say he was okay for awhile, but eventually his head was down, after attempting one time on his/K’s turn to do some stuff and spending 15 minutes (or whatever) on his turn (K didn’t even realize it was still their turn!). Slurring, Yang actually being touchy, yeah it was funny. Eventually I ended the game by taking longest road just so that the game would end and we could attempt to put Kao to bed because he was super gone. He spent most of his time in the bathroom near the toilet. Yang was with him for a bit of it, but he left to Donald’s house eventually since Hagrid couldn’t stay at Kao’s (too loud of a dog), and BJH also left. We chatted a bit about work stuff before that. Took a crazy amount of pictures of Brian! :D

Brian 1

Brian!

brian 2

He’s such a cutie.

brian 3

Super photogenic too

brian 4

I didn’t actually take this one, but it’s so cute! (Y sent it to me)

brian 5

Brian should come to Arlington and live here. I’ll give you Tenshi….

But eventually L+Brian left. Also! While Hagrid was here, he pooped in front of H.Pham’s bathroom on the tile/mat, and then later Brian pooped in her actual room while exploring! It was a very dog pooping inside day unfortunately. We (K+H+myself) tried to get Kao to his bed and half succeeded twice (he was at his chair near his bed once but then felt like he needed to be near the toilet still) and the second time he made it to his hammock (which we tried to get him to his actual bed but he settled for his hammock) and the swinging most likely caused him to feel the need to throw up again (which he threw up his water consequently) and he just chilled there the rest of the night. The most we were able to get him to do was sit on the ground near the toilet rather than hunch over while sitting on the tub side. Eventually he did make it to bed for about two hours of sleep before all of us woke up (around 10 or 11 AM).

Saturday we went to Gourdough’s Public House for lunch. It was actually pretty busy and my first time at their public house, but still donut filled (burgers, etc) and delicious (and fattening, probably). I shared the Double D’s with K (Angus beef, blue cheese, fried egg, and bacon between a donut, onions taken out) which was amazing, and then we shared a Strawberry Nutella Donut. H+Kao had basically a chicken and “waffle” (donut) brunch meal and shared basically a cinnabon donut. All delicious. :) We then went to Sugar Mama’s for some cupcakes because they often sell out fast. Us girls got one each since we already still had cake balls from Angel’s leftover still.

chicken&waffle donut

Chicken&Waffle-like donut

Double D's burger

Double D’s burger

cinnabon donut

Cinnabon-like dessert donut

strawberry nutella donut

Strawberry Nutella donut

Sugar Mama's

Sugar Mama’s

sugar mama's cupcakes

Cupcakes from Sugar Mama’s, I got the one with chocolate frosting on top :)

After that, we went back to the apt since H wasn’t going to join us on our Austin tour (had to do stuff), so we chilled a bit (food coma!) and then eventually made our way out to the Castle hill Graffiti wall first. Ran into PChen there with his family! It was quite a nice surprise. We ended up staying at the graffiti wall for a fair amount of time in the blistering heat and taking quite a bit of pictures. Totally was not prepared shoes-wise for the place though. It was pretty high up but the “pathway” was fairly sandy so going up was freaky and going down was worse. Seriously was holding onto the wall whenever I could so I would have less of a chance to fall down from the steep hill. Anyhow, after taking a crazy amount of pictures at the graffiti wall, we went to the Cathedral of Junk. It was cooler and different than what I thought it would be, given that it was in some guy’s backyard about a collection of junk haha. Guess I didn’t imagine there to be some sort of actual display, but just a bunch of junk scattered around with no real sense (but there kind of was some, kind of). There were some people shooting a movie or attempting to or something, of which some of them were just waiting around getting high too. We spent maybe 30 or so minutes there before going to SoCo just to check it out. Lucked with some parking fortunately and bought a couple of water bottles since we were pretty thirsty/dehydrated from all of the time we’d been in the heat/sun for the afternoon (high was 97 on Saturday, so you can imagine). SoCo was cool in its own ways, but I guess if you’re not actually looking to buy anything can be a bit less exciting, but still a good experience and nice to now have some sort of understanding when people mention it.

There are a lot of graffiti pictures, so here are just a few of them that I really liked. Some photo credits to J for the one I clearly didn’t take since I’m in it. :)

Cathedral of Junk photos were also many, so I picked a select few that capture it best, or well the ones I liked the most.

We returned after checking out a couple of vintage-y shops, a candy shop, and some stands/stalls selling stuff. Grabbed some snow cones with H tagging along at Kasey’s (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled), which were super filled with syrup and had interesting compact ice. They were nicely welcomed to the hot day though, even though by the time we got them it wasn’t as bad of a day. Returned to the apartment with them and just chilled out trying to decide where to eat at for dinner. Eventually we just chowed down on H’s egg noodle casserole thing plus the leftover popcorn chicken fried rice K & I had from Bethany’s on Friday that traveled down with us. I ate my cupcake which was pretty good. Oh, after snow cones L. Twu joined us for chilling, eating dinner, and getting ready for the night out. We grabbed some coffee at a nearby place (Kao & I shared a cup) so we’d be awake for the night, and got ready at the apartment. BJH was suppose to meet up with us but while he was with C.Chen/etc he got too drunk to go out so he bailed. There was a bit of waiting around trying to figure out where to pre-game at so we wouldn’t have to buy too many drinks out on 6th, but eventually we just ended up going to the GB party at D’s apartment since the other place we originally were trying for (Ken’s apt), the guy was still watching commencement fireworks and wouldn’t be back until 11:45 and that was too late for us. Before we left though we finished off the Svedka (which burned and was disgusting, don’t know how I drank that much of it the time before with my friends in college) with each of us (Kao, H & I) taking a shot. At the GB apt I took a shot of tequila and then also had a shot of flavored Smirnoff vodka. Headed to 6th, searched a bit to get to the parking spot Kao knew about, and then met up with L/her friends which included Stephen He (surprise meet), John Sim (first meet), and Andrew something (first meet) at Iron Cactus. Had some of L’s drink as well as Kao’s (same thing, margarita I think? some strong alcohol in there), and then we proceeded to Buckshots where He knew the owner or something and so we bypassed the line and went through the back door. Had two shots there, both fairly gross and I think I didn’t finish about 1/4 of the last one and gave it to Kao ’cause it bluurrghh (gross to the point of wanting to throw up from taste) for me, and then we ended up going to the Library. Met up with C.Chen there who also had B.Mei & J.Chien with him. I think originally we were going to get a shot but it was too annoying to get to the bar so we left. Group split with L/He/etc going back to Buckshots I think and the rest of us (Kao, H, K, myself) going to Cheers with C.Chen/group. Had two shots there and also met up with/saw K. Chan + his friend Andy, who is friends with another Andy who is boyfriend to high school friend Ellen! Super surprise meet up there and crazy connections! After that it was about 1:40 or 1:50 by then so we headed to the final destination (Latitude, though we never ended up going in actually hahaha). I actually walked out a bit earlier than everyone else because I was saying later to some people and then couldn’t get back in since it was close up time but others ended up coming out soon enough anyhow. Met up with Y and Yang outside chilling, also saw E.Lai who came down with C.Chen. Regrouped and headed back to the cars. As we were heading to Sim’s apt He tried to pass me gum, throwing the first piece past me into the car through the window and the second stopping short. Eventually he just threw the whole gum box so I/we could grab some. Parked and met up at Sim’s apt where we were listening to Daft Punk’s newest album and chilling. Jandy+some other girls met up with us there then too. Jandy ruined the “Lose Yourself to Dance” song though for everyone when she finally spilled what she thought it was saying something along the lines of suck your own dick or something. Now everyone just thinks of that instead of the actual lyrics sadly, even though the words are not similar at all. Eventually called it a night once He+Andrew+L fell asleep on Sim’s beds, leaving no space for him, so he came with us back to Kao’s around 6 AM. Crashed and woke up with K rolling on top of me around 11 AM (she’d been up since 10). We chilled a bit, packed up and got ready for the day, communicating and deciding with others on where to eat (Juan in a Million). Met up with everyone from last night basically and BJH as well. K & I split the food, ordered a to-go one for Yang who was still sleeping/at D’s, and chilled and talked there. Eventually went back to Kao’s to get our stuff and kill time at Sim’s because Yang had to do some errands with D.Tran and Kao’s dad was here. We were chilling for a bit together, eventually splitting out with K+Sim chilling in the living room area, BJH + I in the bedroom chatting as L slept. L eventually went to the 360 bridge, meeting up with He/etc. K & I just chilled around for a real long time until a bit before 8 PM wondering where the heck Yang was/what he was doing. I gave him a call, finding out he had attempted to text K twice, one hour apart from the first which was a response to her last text around 4 PM. He had also been waiting for us, thinking maybe we had just left without him (stupid). So yeah, D.Tran met up with us at Sim’s since he was on the way/nearby and we finally were on our way. BJH left on his bike and we said farewell to Sim as well. Hagrid was much more calmer and better on the car ride back and there was no traffic the way back, so that was really nice. K (possibly) napped in the back and Yang drove, with one pit stop for gas. Of course, he had to do a U-ey basically at one point where he was suppose to go straight but took a right to go the way BACK to Austin (stupid).

Eventually we made it back around 11 PM to Yang’s. I got my laptop (left it in his room) and headed home. After showering/getting ready for bed, I spent an hour at least trying to put my screen protector on since it had arrived, got a phone call from a super drunk/wasted Jeffkins from C.Chen’s phone (where the conversation centered around him asking questions like how I was, if I was at home/Dallas, wish he could have seen me, etc, without him actually ever hearing my answers as he kept saying hello? hello? as if he wasn’t sure if I was still on the line), and then eventually passed out around 1:30 so I could wake up for work. Got out of bed at 8:25 AM and somehow got ready, in my very not there & tired state, the fastest I’ve ever done given that I got out of bed at 8:25. When I manually unlocked my car to go to work I closed the door with the key still in the outside lock… And while I was at work I sent a message to a group and fifteen seconds later questioned whether I had done it or not… Yeah, my brain was not completely there. After work, I FT Kimzey, wishing him a Happy Birthday, did P90X Cardio as my mom prepped some dinner (she had returned by then, around 7:20 PM).

And now today I’m fairly sore, especially the shoulder/arms area. Legs not so much at all really. I’m hoping I get back my flexibility a bit more, and maybe eventually become more flexible! And so far at work, besides my short meeting with my boss where he loaded more stuff onto me, I’ve been writing this (and I’m only done with the recap of events!). Seriously need to buy an HDMI cable for work so that I can use it at work… Also trying to figure out where to eat for dinner since mom leaves tomorrow for Taiwan. Additionally, mom came to visit at work! And by that I mean she wanted her car back so came to switch keys. Yeah, that was awkward, but whatever.

Anyhow! Plans to hopefully watch Star Trek on Wednesday at 7 PM I think. Seriously need to watch The Great Gatsby, but I guess I’ll have to find the time. Already my weekends are booked up until mid-late June, so I guess we’ll see.

Reflect on your actions, and learn? Hopefully.

As for the actual note that is more related to my post, it’s been a year since graduating from Emory. Man, a year doesn’t really seem like that long and yet given how long it sometimes takes for things to change it can be seen as long or short. It seems as though I haven’t set out to accomplish what I hoped to since then really, but then again I’m not sure if what I wanted was/is really achievable in a year. Have I grown much since then? Or even a few years since? Yes, for sure I have. I have learned more than I would think to admit, especially because I can recognize how little I do actually know. I started this job at VRBA about 6 months ago now, and still I feel as if I’m doing things I could have been doing when I first started out doing, which is partially true but also partially not true. I know I have more knowledge than I did before, and ultimately what I wanted when I graduated was to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, to possibly find something I’m passionate about, or something I know I won’t go crazy doing for the rest of my life. Have I found that job/route yet? I’m not sure. I guess in some ways I always thought maybe I would take a few jobs, try a few things, and then settle. Yet in ways, I don’t think I wanted to be going to graduate school when I’m 26 or 27 for the first time, I still want to do it when I’m a bit younger (23-25), so that I have more of my life later to be doing other things. And yet, I want kids and a family and everything before I’m in my 30s as well simply so I’m not still raising a dependent child into my 50s… I don’t know, maybe I should worry less about time and just focus more on the things at hand, at just working towards my goals, not worrying at what speed I actually achieve them.

A year later from graduation, and I’m still not much closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life. But maybe that’s okay, and maybe I just need to stop thinking about the future, about what I want later in life or what I feel as if I need to be doing before I’m X age or how fast I need to achieve things, and just achieve. Just live life as it comes and find/do the things I want to do, and everything else will happen on its own when it does. I’ve grown to live by expectation, pressured from my surroundings, societal, parental, friends, etc, and mainly myself, and perhaps because of it, I’m trying to force something that shouldn’t be forced. Trying to force furthering my education, trying to force figuring out my destined path, trying to force myself to decide my future now, when the future has never been something you can really decide. It just happens, sometimes by your planning, and sometimes despite all planning it doesn’t happen. Maybe I should just live my living, and worry about everything else-well-maybe I shouldn’t worry about everything else. Just let it be.

I feel as though I had more to say, in fact I know I did, but given the length it took for me to complete this post (as I’ve been writing basically since this morning when I got to work), I have somewhat lost my thoughts. Perhaps I will write a post dedicated to thoughts alone later. In fact, I am beginning to think I’m about to switch to a more thoughts-based posting here anyhow, and dedicate my more detailed life events to private posts. After all, my purpose to write them is really for my own record-keeping, and not so everyone in the world can see what I’m up to all the time (why would you want to do that and learn it through my blog if you did want to know anyways? Haha). So maybe I will make a change to my posting strategies.

Additionally, I mentioned it before, but my weight has gotten a little out of control as of late. I don’t think I’m fat, I just don’t like how much weight I have gained even if I have the room for it. My shorts don’t fit as nicely as before, and I do not want to buy a new wardrobe just because I’ve gained some mass (muscle or fat). So! I’ve decided to hopefully take some precautionary steps by decreasing my intake overall, except at times with friends, for I’m not going to sacrifice my social life for my diet though perhaps maybe control it a little more, and start a more dedicated exercising pattern. I’m thinking I’ll go back to Cardio X, because it gives me flexibility as well as helps me maintain weight loss for a bit, especially since I am the current weight that I am. I will possibly also switch around my exercise regiment as well, including some running or weight lifting or what nots rather than JUST Cardio X. Either way, let’s hope I get the fitness and diet I can maintain, because I don’t want to forever be gaining and losing and gaining and losing, but rather a maintaining kind of lifestyle would be better.

I also think, despite how this looks since I’ve spent all day at work not doing any work really, I need to get more serious about doing my work. I guess I just feel as if I’m not actually achieving what I set out to do because I’m being lazy and feeling as if I don’t want to do it. Well few people WANT to work if given a choice, and while I like being active, I need to motivate myself to actually do what needs to be done sometimes, because there is a sense of reward, accomplishment, and satisfaction/happiness when I complete my work and do a good job at it (hopefully). I don’t want to just waste my time, and while I don’t think all my distractions are necessarily a waste of time, I am in some ways just killing time sometimes. So hopefully I can start to get a bit more proactive about my learning time here and actually do some work. Who knows, maybe tomorrow will be like today, full of not working. But maybe not.

Additionally, after talking with BJH I want to once again put a pause on clothing shopping for the most. I know I have plenty and that I don’t really need more, even when I feel as if I don’t have anything to wear for specific events/occasions/times. I really don’t need them, so just don’t buy them. There are some other things I still want to buy that may not be necessary either, but they’re more purposeful than new clothes. I have enough clothes.

Let’s see how long this lasts… Hahahahah. Either way, I guess I’m hoping to grow a little, and to do that I have to take the first step. So let’s welcome the future to the present, let’s make what’s now important, and let’s try to exercise some self control a bit better. Cheers to everyone who graduated, and I hope you go wherever you want to go.

Also, if the formatting is weird for this post I apologize, for some reason when I copy+pasted my post (I write it in notepad first), it formatted weirdly and had a bunch of breaks based on the notepad’s size even though it shouldn’t have… Sorry! Hope you enjoyed reading.

/end.

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