Tag Archives: blogging

Karen’s Music Feed 1

I said a couple (or few) months back that I wanted to start blogging about music that caught my ear. Some of it may be new music, new to me music (aka it’s been around but I’m just now hearing it), or some throwback jams. Considering how long it take for me to get around to writing an update post, I have no clue why I am even attempting to post now, but, well, here it goes anyways.

Kiiara – Feels (Hotel Garuda Remix)

This song has probably been the biggest ear catch for me recently. While this song isn’t new at all (released back in 2015), I heard it recently on a mix not too long ago and instantly fell in love. (The mix will probably be posted later in this post actually.) Kiiara has consistently provided amazing vocals and songs that are transformed even better by Hotel Garuda’s smooth touch (amongst other amazing artists). I’m sad I didn’t see Hotel Garuda live in DFW a couple weeks ago. Had I known, I would’ve jumped at the chance to hear them live.

Portugal the Man – Feel It Still (Medasin remix)

This is actually a relatively new release from Medasin from my understanding. I first heard Medasin live as an opener for Snakehips at Kingdom in Austin last year. I was impressed at his live set/music and quickly seeked his music out more online aka via SoundCloud. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and this lo-fi almost jazzy song is keeping me excited for his next release as well.

Lea Rue – Sleep / For The Weak (Lost Frequencies Remix)

I went to a free pool party with Lost Frequencies as the main DJ, but sadly had to leave before he got on stage. Nevertheless, I did check out his music before deciding to attend (and the DJ before him was a champ, playing for 4+ hours) and really enjoyed many of his songs, this one being one of them. If he’s ever got another (free!) concert in DFW (or Austin if it’s before the fall) then I’ll probably try him live once again.

Two Feet – Love Is A Bitch

This popped up on my Soundcloud feed from someone that I was following (who knows who) and I was caught. While I wouldn’t say it’s amazingly unique, it was refreshing to hear some more bluesy tunes once in awhile from my typically sea of EDM/hip-hop music (at least from Soundcloud). Even without being refreshing to the feed, it’s a great song on its own.

Porter Robinson – Divinity (Odesza Remix)

Again, definitely not a new song at all, but still worth the mention. I’m not even sure it’s new to me, but it recently caught my ear (again?) and I decided to add it to this post. Porter is an amazing artist, as is Odesza, and them two combining would be an incredible match. I wouldn’t mind a collab from them in the future. I wouldn’t mind at all.

Seven Lions – Where I Won’t Be Found (feat. NÉONHÈART)

Alright, so if you’ve known my music desires for the past year (or read my last post), you’ll know that I love Seven Lions. While I admit, I’m not a from the beginning follower nor am I absolutely familiar with all of his music, I would still follow him to any concerts within reason (aka within Texas + 5 hours from where ever I am, including some Oklahoma I guess). When I heard this song on his Middlelands set, I definitely fell in love. I spent a solid 20-30 minutes trying to find the track, later posting on a Youtube video of the set for help, only to find out it was an ID. I was incredibly happy once it released (only a couple weeks ago!), though I did then somewhat realize that I liked it in the mix more than I liked it solo. Still, great song and great artist that I am forever grateful for releasing the song I was looking forward to hearing in full and now have. :)

6LACK – Prblms (it’s different x Kivnon Remix)

Another random, but gratefully received, pop up song on my Soundcloud feed, I am always loving the chill hip-hop beats. There is so much right with this tune, I don’t have the words to really explain. I may have to start search for each of these artists and exploring their music more.

Grandtheft & Delaney Jane – Easy Go (Shaun Frank Remix)

I’m not familiar with either artists (original or remixer), but they came together for a great song. There was actually a night where I replayed this and about 80% of this posts’ songs over and over again, just feeling the amazing vibes. This is just the perfect mix of chill that makes me still wanna get up and dance. Head bobbing, commence!

I could probably find a few other songs, but these are on my immediate mind. If I had anything to say, it would be that I’m in desperate need of some new alternative/rock songs. I just haven’t really found any new bands, not that they aren’t there anymore (I highly doubt people aren’t still playing in their garage or something), but it’s just become a bit harder to find a less available. So many hip-hop, pop, or DJ artists now instead. Not that I’m complaining about that, I just miss my old rock music. So if any of you guys have some recommendations, let me know!

This concludes my first real music post (the other one, we’ll call it patient zero, or well if I’m matching the title, Karen’s Music Feed 0 or something, whatever makes you happy). Hopefully you find some of the songs to your liking, and if not I really don’t care since I like them. :D

Cheers!

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When the fun crashes together

Currently jammin’ to: Want You More by Draper

I actually got introduced to Draper at SXSW. It’s surprising that he isn’t more well known, but he was definitely one of the best introductions that I got from SXSW this year. I’m excited to keep hearing great music from him. Half the time I wrote this post I was listening to his music.

I’ve had a thought to update this multiple times before now, and yet I kept telling myself “give yourself some time to think and then talk about it here.” But that time to think never really came, and thus a post wasn’t written either until now, a month plus later (and then some, because I totally started this post almost two weeks ago). It’s funny what you decide to make time for sometimes. I didn’t make enough time for me to even think through recent things occurring in my life, but I had time to catch up on all the Supernatural episodes out there (I watched a couple of seasons) and start White Collar again. Priorities? Or procrastination? Or maybe just avoiding the serious stuff because it’s “less fun” perhaps. That seems somewhat of a likely reason.

In the end, you still gotta face what you may or may not have wanted to face though. I’m sure I’m still holding off on thinking of some things even still, and for now I’m okay with that. But I also may want to wake up just a little bit more to what’s been going on in my life too. Maybe.

FYI, like previously mentioned, I started this post then held off finishing it for almost two weeks, so there’s some disorganization because I didn’t completely scrap what I had previously written, but just decided to add in (like an addendum) the most recent things.

the new things in life, surprise surprise

Since my last post, many things have surprisingly actually happened. The best moment so far? Getting accepted into the University of Dallas’s Masters of Science Communication Disorders program! The worst moment so far? Wrecking my car. And then there’s everything in between and after. It’s been fun, y’all.

Let’s start with getting accepted, because that actually occurred the earliest of recent events since my last post, I think. For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get into a master’s program to become a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). This is something I was introduced to at the very end of my undergraduate days and it stuck with me ’til even now. I can really only provide a cheesy cliche type of reasoning as to why I want to become one, but in the end it’s the truest of statements. I’ve always enjoyed helping people when I can and listening to their problems to troubleshoot. It’s why I originally went down the psychology path (minus the fact that business just seemed so meh and I didn’t get into Goizuetta anyhow), to eventually become a therapist. Along the way, I discovered the field of linguistics and fell in love with that. My head is always thinking, and I’ve always desired to understand others better, even if unsuccessfully. And language, beautiful language, is argued as the main difference between us humans and other animals. Either way, communication is key to understanding another person, thus knowing how to communicate is incredibly important. With the desire to help others and the passion for language combined, becoming an SLP just seemed like the most ideal job. It didn’t hurt that typical starting base salary was decent and that the job market for it was still growing and in demand. And though I didn’t try to run down that path right away, eventually (aka two years ago) I did decide it was time to truly pursue it. And so I did. And there were failures, like getting rejected from UTD twice, and there were successes, like basically making a 4.0 at UT for my prerequisites and finally being accepted by 3 out of 4 of the masters programs. It took time and dedication, but it finally happened. So starting next Fall, I will be back in Dallas and moving forward in the career I’ve hoped to have.

In addition to my acceptance, other events have transpired within my life that are very much positive. I randomly attended the end of SXSW this year and got some free swag, free food/drinks, and free shows. I met up old friends (S. Chen & Y. Yip) and gained new ones, and also finally went climbing at Austin Bouldering Project. It’s been a place I’ve been “attempting” to go to for a couple of years now, so finally experiencing it (for free) is definitely a highlight. I hope to continue climbing, maybe go some more while I’m in Austin, and even when returning back to Dallas keep up with it. Now that I’ve bought shoes for it, I’m bound to go a few more times. It’d be fun to keep doing, despite the callouses it’s bound to give me.

For a couple weeks in March to April, I was house and dog sitting for a friend who was traveling. These cute little pups were my companions and kept me on a somewhat regular schedule, surprise surprise.

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Additionally, my sister (plus one) finally came to visit me in Austin! It was her first time back in Austin in over a few years, if I recall correctly. All we did was eat and pokemon hunt, but it was a great weekend. I got to try Sway out, a Thai restaurant that was highly recommended to me, along with getting $1 oysters and some Gourdoughs. Good food and pokemon hunting is always welcomed, and often a typical sight when I’m hanging with my sister as of now.

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Additionally, I finally went on somewhat of a hike in Austin! I’ve been wanting to hike more, especially since Austin has so many available trails and places to go nearby, but I just haven’t found the people to go with. While I could hike by myself, I always considered it a potential safety issue. Plus it’s just not as fun when you’re alone.

360 bridge, hiking, bridge, austin

view of 360 bridge from our hike

And somehow, I’ve found myself living it up much more frequently than I ever would have thought. Each weekend brings a different adventure, whether it’s girls night, a music concert (Bassjackers – also a new intro for me), SXSW, St. Patty’s Day Parade, or just fun times with friends, it’s been a ride. And on this ride, sadly, came a crash.

I’ve been in accidents before, of my own cause and due to others, and I will admit that I am more prone to speeding than going below or at limit when driving, but this has been the worst by far. And still, I am incredibly thankful for 1. not being hurt minus some bruises from the air bags, and 2. not hurting anyone else. Ultimately, combine a winding/curving downhill road, wet pavement/road, close to balding tires, less than 100% mental awareness, possibly a little too much speed and a car with not the best of breaks, and you get hydroplaning into multiple spin outs and curb/trees hits. The result is a ruined back bumper, the right mirror and rear light missing, some auto body damage, deployed side airbags on both sides, and a broken left rear spring/axle of a car. The good part, besides no one getting hurt, was that I had already exited for my apartment and was somehow able to drive my car to my apartment which was about a mile away. In some incredible feat, given the state of my car (can we go back to the fact that my car’s left rear was literally sitting on my tire due to the axle being broken?) and my mental mind, I managed to reverse park my car at my apartment complex. The car itself, minus the body damage, actually runs fine since the front wasn’t damaged (aside from the right mirror). Considering how much it would cost to repair an axle/spring, replace the airbags, get a new bumper/mirror/light, and everything else though, ultimately what was likely to happen is that we sell the car for someone to scrap for parts or fix up themselves. Fortunately, my cousin has lots of car connections and a friend of his bought the car as is and towed it away to be fixed up with his own car repair connections. Of course, I still needed a car to get to work, especially given how I was commuting from my friend’s house while I still dog sit, so my dad graciously drove the car my sister’s been using (which is my brother’s old car) down to me. And now, I’m back in the white Toyota car family again.

car crash, altima coupe, crash, towing, towed

my car being towed away to be forever gone but fixed for another

Lessons learned, but really

I’m not gonna lie, I somehow handled the whole crashing my car and airbags deploying a lot better than I thought I would. I don’t know the exact reasons as to why it didn’t shake me as much as it should’ve. Maybe I’ve somehow rationalized to myself that more of the situation was out of my hands to create the perfect storm than I care to claim responsibility for. Either way, the thing I ultimately felt most upset about was the financial burden it has created upon myself and my parents. As someone who has been in school and working part-time (heavy inflection on the part) for the past year, I’ve relied heavily upon my parents for financial assistance. Now that I’m continuing to a Master’s, my financial capabilities for the next two years are going to stay pretty limited still. I am well aware of many of the financial burdens my parents currently face, both from me and due to other situations in their lives, and to know I have contributed to it in this way really riddles me with guilt and shame. Does this mean I won’t ever speed again? Sadly, probably not. I know myself well enough to not be able to make that promise. Will I be more careful about my driving? I would hope so, and I think I am already being a bit more careful. One thing that definitely was reinforced was my preference to not drive. While I am never one to shy away from meeting with friends despite a far distance (hello living in Arlington and having friends in Plano), I still prefer to catch a ride.

There is, of course, some considerations for re-evaluating my life choices right now. Recently, as previously stated, I’ve been fairly active and frequently in some sort of compromised state of mind, albeit usually nothing too crazy. Mental capacities aside, the expenditures I’ve continued to collect definitely continue to burn a hole in pants that seem close to combustion. To be fair, they could (and probably should) be a lot worse given how active I’ve been, but in the end that slow fire is becoming a blaze. It might be time to be more of a homebody. I can’t say this will definitely happen, as I already considered making plans to attend Euphoria this weekend (which I did, more on that later) even though two weeks ago I had no intentions of it. I still plan to be adventurous and experience new things that inherently are risky, because I still believe in living my life to the fullest and cause I like to try new things, but maybe I’ll take it a bit slower. Maybe I’ll forsake some plans with friends so that I’m more responsible to myself and to my parents. Maybe I’ll take on another job or get a new one over the summer.

Or maybe not. I really don’t know. I want to be a better person, I want to make the right choices, but I also want to enjoy my life. I don’t want to keep feeling like a black hole of burden to my parents, who have always provided me more than I can ever hope for and now seem so much older in a scary way. I want to be able to provide them with the luxury of life’s greatest comforts and sights. I want to be able to proudly know I am independently supporting myself while servicing others who are in need. I want to make my own ice cream and eat it too (because I don’t really like cake, and it’s more fun when you do it yourself than buy it from someone else). And so the selfish side battles the responsible side, both of which win different battles and create who I am. Is it your actions that are important or your intentions? I think both: intentions only go so far, but actions made of the wrong intentions can still be just as harmful.

These thoughts these days

To no surprise, I’ve been thinking a lot like always. Or really, I should say I have had a lot of various thoughts come to mind. But actual thinking time has been a bit more minimal than it probably should. I actually wrote a couple of paragraphs on one of these thoughts already but decided to delete them and not bring them back up. It’s a debate I don’t really have interest in speculating  more about, so to bring it up in my post seems irrelevant.

I’ve recently found myself engaging in things I had previously stated were unlikely or even outright refusing to do. And yet there I was, doing what I said I wouldn’t do, and being okay with it. I don’t want to call myself a hypocrite, but ultimately it does seem quite like that in some of the situations. Granted, I’m not one to truly say never to things, but the fact that I feel like I keep eating my own words is definitely making me consider why my acceptance values or actions have changed.

Recently, I’ve found myself engaging in more casual relationships. I’ve never been against them, to be fair, but I did speculate with a friend on it not too long ago about why I’ve never had one before. The words I said then are still true, and yet still I engaged in what I said was unlikely to happen. If I were to put it in a positive light, I could say I just hadn’t found the right scenario to allow these things to occur until now.

In a separate situation, I found myself offered certain recreational drugs that I had told myself I would never try, but then found myself contemplating to try. I actually didn’t part take in said drugs, but the fact that I definitely considered it kind of shocked me. Here I was, stating with a clear mind my strong refusal to ever trying them, and then there I was, under the influence, truly considering trying them out. Again, I do know that I’ve always been open to trying things, and I was also already mentally compromised in some way, but still. It just makes me wonder how easily I might give up some of my values and choose to do the exact opposite if the right conditions are set. Scary.

I meant to talk more in-depth on my thoughts, but it seems today is not much of a contemplation sort of day for me. Instead, I’ll continue with the even more recent updates since when I first began this post. I may add in some thoughts below though.

Fun, friends, and family

As previously mentioned, I ended up going to Euphoria (first time!) a couple weekends ago. It was an absolute blast with incredibly chill vibes and amazing people and music. I wouldn’t have considered it were it not for the fact that my friend had incredibly discounted VIP 3 day camping passes due to investing in the event. Additionally, they really set it up for success. Euphoria offered free shuttle rides from UT and downtown Austin to and from the grounds with Bus to Show (BTS) which, despite mass pandemonium to get home Saturday night, is an awesome and brilliant inclusion. To me, it shows they care about our safety more than they care about their pockets or judgement. If we truly cared about saving lives, we should offer safe alternatives rather than just outright rejection or punishment. Words true to things beyond just free rides, such as to abortions, but that’s a bit too serious for this right now.

Wiz Khalifa, Wiz, Euphoria, Euphoria 2017, music festival

Wiz was at Euphoria. if I didn’t seen him at Emory years back, I saw him now :)

In any case, I never did end up camping there simply because I was still dog sitting at the time, so I couldn’t, but it was definitely a great experience. One that I hope to be able to attend again. During my time there, I met new friends and even met with someone I hadn’t seen in almost a decade, I went back stage, found some new artists with great music, indulged too much in some overpriced but delicious food, and floated away in the clouds whilst dancing. It was definitely a great time without doing too much either, and I am incredibly grateful in having been able to part take in it.

This past weekend, I had a much calmer weekend compared to others. I finally went home for the first time in a month. Considering that I usually go back every other weekend, it was amazing I went 4 weekends in a row without going back. That was mostly due to the dog sitting though, but still. For this weekend, it was mostly about family. I spent some time with my sister Pokemon hunting and taking advantage of the Easter specials they were having. I played therapist to some issues at home. I unintentionally came back for my nephew’s birthday and sort of celebrated with him. I played some volleyball with friends, at one point sober and at another not so much. And I watched a bit of Netflix. I’ve learned I’m really bad at starting new things (shows, etc) frequently. I just go to what I already know I like even if I’ve already seen it a few times, despite a growing list of things I do want to watch or recommended stuff. It’s the same with manga and sometimes books. It’s not to say I won’t ever try them out, but it’s as if I have to be in the right kind of mood or situation to finally give it a shot. And it seems somewhat random when it does happen. Anyways.

birthdays, nephew, six years old, celebrations, cake

my youngest nephew turned six!

It was a nice weekend. Some packing was done as my moving date and such has been finalized. I have one or two weekends left living in Austin, this weekend being one of them. My only other one is actually Mother’s day weekend, which I didn’t realize, so this weekend may actually end up being my last weekend being in Austin. I had hoped to go to Hamilton Pool that weekend, but that may have to be done another time.

I forget to mention, but I am actually taking an online Biology course that has been going relatively well. I definitely don’t have to try too hard for it, which is a wonderful plus for me. Even though I’m not working (at my job) as much as I’d like to and technically shouldn’t have all that much to deal with, I’m still glad I don’t have to devote too much time and energy to this class to get a decent grade. Hopefully that continues for the next few weeks. It definitely is kind of annoying that the tests are always on weekends, but at least I can usually take them quickly.

Oh, and another thing that happened was me cutting my hair. I decided to cut off 19+ inches of hair. Well actually, I decided on 19 inches to sell/donate, and then my sister consequently cut off a lot more later for styling (which ended up being finished by her teacher). Long story short, I now have an asymmetrical bob of a haircut. Haven’t had this short of hair since undergrad… and changing from hair down past my waist to barely touching my shoulders is a definite difference. But I’m totally enjoying it. Anyways!

snapchat, haircut, asymmetrical haircut, filtered photos

apparently I haven’t saved many pics of myself with my haircut, so this snap will have to do

Things to look forward to besides getting a lot of new music:

-Middlelands! It’s happening pretty quickly. I’m super excited.
-visiting Hamilton Pool
-seeing old undergraduate friends (both in Atlanta and those who come to Texas)
-finally trying Franklins BBQ for the first time (already pre-ordered :D)
-seeing lots of friends
-playing volleyball more
-climbing more

How much of this will actually happen? Who knows. Right now it looks like all of it should happen, but you never know what will really happen until it does. I’ll try to give a music update at some point, but I may wait until after Middlelands, or do one for Euphoria/SXSW/etc first. In any case, this post has gone on long enough and probably has become even more disorganized. For those of y’all who stuck around to actually read all of this, I hope you found it somewhat entertaining or enlightening.

Have a great day!

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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.

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

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

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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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Why blog and marriage?

You know, when I started this blog, I thought of what it would be for me. Was it a diary? Was it a reflection of my events that I could later look back at? Was it open space for me to creatively or not creatively regurgitate my thoughts out? Was it a ranting space? What did I want this blog to be? Because yes, I decided to make it public so that anyone, family, friends, strangers, whoever, could see and judge and take something, if they liked, away from it. And yet I am a very personal person. I struggle still daily to be more open to others. Recently I’ve learned that maybe being open and upfront about everything, what I’ve been trying to do to my friends and family when I have problems, isn’t always the best method. I had been very good at shying away my real feelings to others in the past, too good that I (and others) never felt I let others in. And so, I tried to change that about myself, so that I could be more emotional and truly connect to others. As of late, I’ve found that opening myself up too much can apparently also not be good either. Not just for me, but for the other person too. I guess I can’t give myself up too much either.

What poses my problem here is where that line gets defined again. This is public space, for anyone to read, and while obviously I want to be open to everyone, I still feel very vulnerable and very hesitant to openly express my fears or disturbances that occur in my life. I know life isn’t just full of happiness, you get some sadness and anger and everything with spice. That’s what makes it so great (and so annoying), isn’t it? And of course, when I look back (assuming my blog is more reflective, which is what I did intend it to be) I want to see the happy things, not the angry things or the sad things. But then, I feel this is not accurate. I didn’t live life as if nothing bad happened to me. I had tears, I had anger, and I had emotions that swelled in me beyond what I could ever write down into words. And I don’t want those to be discounted or left out, because those struggles are ultimately what led me here in the first place.

If this was just a private for me blog, this would be easy. A diary for just me to read. How perfect. I could insinuate ridiculous things and be open to myself in my own arguments with myself with little reason to fear what might come from it. Unfortunately, I wanted to include others. And not just others, but friends, family, people I actually know. It’s not the strangers that read my blog that make me hesitate and vulnerable, its the people I know who read it that make me question my openness. The people I care about, those who I will have to see and interact with later after they’ve made a new judgment on me based on what I wrote (whether good or bad). Who cares what someone I don’t know says, I have little to no care or concern for them. But my friends, my family? They matter to me. And to open myself to them so publicly without filtering for each individual… That’s scary.

Memory is a fickle thing, and we sometimes truly believe we remember correctly when we actually don’t. I hate to be wrong, which is why I try to always be correct in my account of things. Part of that is why I started a public/private blog, to account for myself not based on a distant memory I pulled up, but from close writings to when an event or things happened. I don’t know, or I should say I am still hesitant, that I will write about the negative things that occur to me on the spot, despite its therapeutic effects and potential accuracy for future me. Mostly because it could affect more than just me, and I don’t want to provide information about others that they themselves may not have been willing to share. At the same time, I guess it’s still just as rightly valid for me to share it since its my experience as well. Still, I will probably err to say only what belongs just to me.

What can I conclude from this? Well, I hoped writing it out would let me decide better, but I think it will just be a blog by blog basis. Sometimes I may be more personal and include more daily/current events in my life. Sometimes, I might just blog about random things. I guess we will just have to see and if things happen poorly or for the better, I’ll take it as it comes.

Here’s a personal story:

My mother’s family has all adopted texting on LINE. My 80 year old grandpa (and grandma) along with uncles, aunts, and cousins all group chat and keep each other updated, in a way, with one another’s life. I haven’t seen my grandparents in over a year now, but they are the figurehead picture for the group (for obvious reasons). When I look at that picture, and I look at the family and branching families they’ve created, it makes me realize what kind of family goals I want to have. As a granddaughter who comes from America and doesn’t speak the best Mandarin Chinese, I never felt the strictness my mother (and her siblings) felt from my grandfather/grandparents. To me, my grandfather was a very successful businessman, heavy chain smoker since he was young, and often rather silly with me. I realized, as I grew up, that he and my grandmother, who was a government official, obviously had their woes and fights (as they may even still do now), but yet despite their age and health, the pictures I see of them are amazing. Maybe it’s just picturesque to me, but their love seems to seep through their eyes.

When I see that kind of love, I want that kind of love. It may sometimes come as a surprise to some, or maybe not I don’t know, that if anyone were to ever ask what my dream is to be in the future, I would say something along the lines of successful in a career I love and married with kids. Successful in a career I love is a pretty vague answer, but married with kids is a relatively specific goal. For some these days, marriage sounds like an old tradition, one that isn’t upheld with much merit anymore. And logically, I can see where people say this. Divorce rates are much higher than they’ve ever been, and yes, you don’t have to be married to someone to want or plan to spend the rest of your life with them, you can just do it without the license. But maybe it’s the Disney fairy tales spun throughout my life talking, or maybe it’s just because I still value what marriage means (well, what I think marriage means): commitment, union and love. Despite its potentially unrealistic thought process for marriage, commitment is probably the most difficult thing about marriage (now a days). Love can be there even when you hurt someone, when you cheat on them or you find yourself trying to stay away from them. Commitment is a solid line. It’s boundaries are very clear (for the most). To commit to someone is to have only that one person, regardless. That line does not change (or at the least, rarely). Union, on the other hand, is a give and take that can be defined in many ways and may even change from time to time. Two people aren’t suppose to equal one, and yet marriage tries to unite two into one. I don’t think it’s wrong, after all two individuals who commit to one another must also sacrifice for each other, both parts of themselves along with other parts of their lives, but it is also a delicate balance to not sacrifice too much of yourself into the union. I think to be healthy, you still have to be part of yourself, but if you don’t sacrifice enough, then the union won’t work either. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more than you expected or wanted to, and then sometimes you don’t have to do as much. It changes, and it varies on the situation and the way things work and the person you’re with, but it’s always a choice to make and draw that line. Love, however, is not something you can exactly choose. Sometimes you love someone when you don’t want to, and sometimes you want to love someone but you don’t. The only choice in love is to let yourself let it happen on its own. You may have the choice to make more opportunity to love, but it will never guarantee the love. Likewise, you can sometimes reject all attempts at love too, but love can exist regardless of your choice or denial of it too. Love, however, I think is very important to a marriage. You can have union and commitment without love in a marriage, yes, but it is much more difficult. And what point is there to commitment and sacrifice/union without love? Sometimes it’s still good to keep a marriage despite lack of love, but to me those marriages are there not for the true sake of marriage, but for some other sake. Maybe for kids, maybe for financial reasons, who knows. A loveless marriage just doesn’t seem like much of a marriage, just a binding to someone that you do for the sake of maybe something better, or maybe something worse.

With each of these, I believe a marriage can work. Sacrifice and compromise must unionize two individuals in order to have love support their commitment in marriage. Writing it out, it sounds incredible anyone manages to find the right balance to them all. And yet, when I look at my grandparents interact with one another, and their beautiful pictures together, I believe. I hope. I dream.

love sakura japan

Grandparents in Japan, 2016.

I started this out with one train of thought in mind, and ultimately it became a slightly different train of thought. It was suppose to be a little more personal, but in the end it became a little less. If it reads weird or flows strange, that’s why. My bad, but then again I’m pretty sure all of my blog posts are kind of one train of thought jumping to another and another. Either way, hope this finds you well. Have a nice day!

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the return of karen?

Currently jammin’ to:

A long time ago (and by a long time, I mean a few years), I started this blog as a personal place for me to explore and express my own thoughts. Sometimes it was a reflection and representation of previous events that I had attended, sometimes it was conscious streams of opinions and observations I had created. Either way, I made it available to others to read, just in case for someone reason others found what I did or thought interesting, and mostly it served as a copy for me to remember and reflect on possibly later in life. You could say “online diary” but I would really just say an expression of myself and potential outlet of ideas. Probably only a year or less into creation, I ended up abandoning it in a sense. It wasn’t that I gave up on it, but it no longer became prioritized to me to write in. Part of it was simply from personal things occurring in my life, of which I did not want to share with the world (at least not on a public-stranger level anyways), and part of it was changes that occurred which resulted in me using laptops and computers less frequently (aka less likely to find random time to be posting a blog). I’ve never forgotten about my site, my blogging, and my initial inspiration for it, but perhaps my current inspiration is more dimmed and a slightly different flame now. I have thought about returning and updating again every so often, but never found the time or strong enough urge to proactively dedicate time daily or even weekly to collecting myself and putting myself out on the web again.

It has been over a year (two years?) since I last updated my blog (aka right now), and I still feel the slight uncertainty that I can commit to a frequent updating cycle, but my desire to do so, with similar reasons, is still very much alive. It is because of this, and mostly because I now have a bit more free time that I could actually utilize to updating on a regular basis, that I’ve decided to take up the mantle again. Sadly, I cannot guarantee how long my commitment will or won’t last, but try I still shall, even if I feel I have being doing very little in activities to write about.

So, now that I’m back, what do I say? Well I guess if I’m keeping my future self updated about my past self, the best place to start is what’s happening  in life for me now. Here’s a rambling summary:

I returned back to school. A real job just didn’t really do it for me; or more like, all the miscellaneous jobs I did were unfulfilling and lacked motivation outside of me making money. I like money, mostly because it lets me eat what I want and do things I like to do that costs money, but I don’t want to live to make money for a couple of vacations every few years. I, like possibly many in my generation, want a job that satisfies my own expressive self!… and makes money. Or what I really mean is that I want to do something that I actually enjoy and hope that it makes me enough to be satisfied with everything else. Considering the amount of time one normally spends in life working, I’d imagine if I’m happy working, I’ll probably be okay in life overall too. So I’m back in school studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. Where did this come? Mostly from trying to find more practical uses of my degree (or at least the studies involved in them) even though to actually do anything I need more studying (which I basically guessed would happen). Linguistics is an ever so interesting field. So are people. People’s perception and understanding are pretty nifty too. And then I want to help people understand better. So psychology wasn’t quite the exact route, but helping people talk or understand language better, well, that sounds a lot better. And thus, here I am, back at school. I decided to be financially smart (and also it’s a great school) and am attending the University of Texas at Austin now. The sad thing is that I’m still not quite at the level I need to be. I’m not completing a Master’s, I’m continuing studies in order to satisfy pre-requisite courses to apply for the Master’s program. Even worse, some colleges have different prerequisites. Tough. But I enjoy it, and I’m pleased to say I’ve had the best grades I’ve ever had in my college experience (guess I did finally learn how to study! or something). It’s a bit strange to be back on campus, especially with how much controversy there is on campus now a days I feel like (concealed carry coming to you Fall 2016!… what), and of course the age gap is a bit off putting, but I found a few friends who are in the same boat as me (the boat of “my original degree isn’t what I wanted or as useful as I hoped” or something) and we keep each other feeling good, I think. So current status: student, unemployed, and broke. Oh how times have changed… Not.

As for things outside of school (which isn’t much, sadly), I am happily in a committed relationship that seems more promising than any previous. I don’t know if that’s just the relationship talking, or the age influencing that emotion too (I mean, I would prefer not to be an old maid), but regardless I am happily involved in a semi-long distance relationship with a Mexican. Who would’ve guessed. Let’s just say I like throw my parents off all the time apparently. If you’re reading this dear, love you! :D <3 Officially five months in (it’s much shorter than it feels) and going strong.

I had some other stuff written last week for this, but I decided to cut it all out. If this is my return, I want it to be light, an updating summary, and then grow back in to whatever I hope it to be (I have no idea). If you’re still reading and following me, then awesome! I hope I’m entertaining to you or that you find comfort in anything I say. If not, well hope you have a good day. I like positivity, I can take criticism, but I will not accept negative comments that aren’t constructive to the conversation. There are times that I may express myself politically or just in my own opinion (well, that’s probably all the time since this is MY blog), and perhaps you do or do not agree. I won’t reject any comment just because it isn’t the same opinion as mine, but if I do think it is inappropriate or not constructive to the conversation, then I may reject the comment. Just an FYI.

I don’t have any sort of philosophical or take away message from any of this except to say I’m back. I’m back to try and regularly express myself to an unknown (and partially known) audience of people who feel like reading my thoughts. They aren’t expertly crafted, they sometimes run on and are grammatically incorrect (I’m sure), and they probably will be quite random or make no sense at all, but if it ever provides you comfort, or gives you inspiration, then I’m glad.

Hope you have a good day.

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