Energy + gorgeousness + ambiance = yes, it is a beautiful song.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Somehow it's already the middle of December (yesterday at the beach people were playing volleyball, mostly wearing shorts and T-shirts and the like, California are you real?) and next week I'm going to Japan! Only for ten days, but that is awesome nonetheless. Christmas in Osaka is something I can definitely appreciate in all its glory.
This past week I attended some workshops and meetings at work, but now winter vacation has officially begun and I almost don't know how to prioritize everything that needs doing...there's so much to catch up on, lots of music to listen to, a few Christmas presents to search for, and winter clothes to pack (if I can still find some in the back of my closet). I recently finally got an electric guitar and a record player so I'm musically spoiled and am having trouble getting to other things. I feel like a kid at Christmas and just want to play with my toys all the time, yay!
Trader Joe's has way too many holiday treats right now. I've started drinking coffee again, just because of their Gingerbread and Wintry coffee flavors - they are so delicious I cannot resist.
It's so sunny and gorgeous right now. Listening to good music and drinking (gingerbread, yay!) hot coffee in the somewhat chilly morning. Feels good. I'm just going to accept the fact that I now enjoy being lazy (hopefully not for a prolonged period of time).
Friday, November 22, 2013
Can't stop listening to Korean tunes lately...goes nicely with my kimchi ;-) And makes me feel 'homesick'...I can't really use the term 'homesick' since Korea was my home for just a year and a half, but the feeling seems to be the same nonetheless.
It's been a month since my last entry, whaaat? Seriously, this fall has gone by faster than lightning and it almost scares me how time slips away so easily. Although starting a new job always has that kind of effect I suppose...hopefully it's not that I'm getting old, *cough*.
As I was going to work the other day, sun shining, bright blue sky extending forever (yay, California! I'm still crazy for you!), I was thinking how nice it actually is to be older. I feel almost like a completely different person altogether. It shouldn't be a surprise that time and experience allow us to better understand ourselves and realize what we need, what we want, what makes us happy, ...all of those important life-changing type things...but somehow it continues to shock me how things that seem totally obvious/easy/clear to me now were a source of so much pain/confusion/yearning/chaos in the past. Obviously everything isn't all perfect and dandy now, but I do feel that I've grown a lot. It seems that when we're younger, we just want to please other people and fit in with whatever's around us and voluntarily jump through hoops (at least I sometimes did)...now I'm a lot more concerned about living how I want to live and loving what I love and not caring so much about others' expectations. It feels amazing to let all of that go and just live for yourself. Not in a selfish, tunnel-visioned way...but in the follow-your-heart and be true to yourself kind of way. We talked about this in some kind of career-guidance class I had to take in high school. I still remember how much I hated that class because it was so cheesy and condescending...but eventually those concepts do become relevant. Not when you're forced to write about them in a high school essay, though. We also had to plan our futures, which included choosing a career and making a family plan. Yes, a family plan. I made a presentation about how I would be a psychiatrist with a husband and a dog. Probably in a house. Gah, the horror.
Wow, this post was kind of random
as usual. In other news, it's almost Thanksgiving, my students are wonderful and make me laugh sincere joyful laughter every time I see them, and it rained yesterday AND today...is this really southern California?? I don't mind, it actually makes it feel like fall and I can get away with an extra cup of (decaf) coffee and a cozy scarf. Who knows, maybe there will even be a fireplace in the near future.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
It feels more like fall these days, and it's kind of perfect. Walking on campus surrounded by energetic students (thankfully I am still energetic as well...I think haha), looking up at the blue sky, feeling the cool fresh air, eating brunch outdoors, putting on spiffy blazers...and listening to Daughter. There's no other season that offers up as strong of a feeling as fall...the crispness of the air, the colors, the sense of moving forward...there's something almost tangible about it.
Teaching is going well...it's so wonderful to teach adults again, feels more like play than work. Children really are a little like wild animals, and while that is fun and they are adorable, it is incredibly draining trying to manage that energy. I really think they aren't meant to spend so much time sitting in little chairs in gloomy classrooms...perhaps they should run around outside more and explore the world and release their energy. Anyway, my students are lovely and motivated and funny and they are just a joy to teach. I feel very lucky!
It's almost time for the last weekend in October. Halloween is next week! I feel like dressing up this year, but without an actual costume I'll have to get creative. Or just wear a lot of makeup. Or just eat a lot of mini sized chocolates ;-)
Saturday, October 5, 2013
So it was 30 degrees today (I still haven't gotten used to fahrenheit...or how to spell it yikes!)...oh my. I was planning on butternut squash soup but that will have to wait for another, cooler day. It's so funny to walk around seeing pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters in shop windows while trying not to melt and regretting not putting on sunscreen. I'm definitely no longer deficient in vitamin D. Also, I now totally believe that sunshine increases serotonin...I can't even resist smiling when walking around outside...an involuntary but welcome reaction to the beautiful blue sky and super shiny sun.
I would like to learn how to make sushi...perhaps not with actual raw fish as that would be messy to do at home...but a California roll type thing. Mmmm, sushi!
Friday, October 4, 2013
First week of teaching, done and done! And it made me realize just how much I've missed it! Which is a lot! It's great to stumble onto something you happen to love and then do it as a real job. There's nothing better than doing something fun and fulfilling, and getting paid for it too.
In other news, it still feels like the middle of summer...I honestly cannot believe that it's October. Today I wore a light summer dress with sandals and still felt very toasty. California remains a (lovely) enigma.
I bought my ticket for Japan! Last year, I spent Christmastime on the beach. This year will be more Christmas-y weather-wise as Japan is way colder than South Cal, but also very interesting culture-wise since it's a holiday for couples in Japan. I don't think I will mind the cold too much...pretty lights, cozy evenings, and being with the person you love...heavenly and merry indeed :-)
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I love every single song by this band...that's all I have to say on that point. Hopefully I'll get to see them live some day!
I was walking around campus today and it struck me just how different it is to go to school here in California, compared to Vancouver. The main difference, of course, is the sunshine...but then that sunshine effects everything else. Seeing students walking around in brightly colored shorts and T-shirts and tank tops and sunglasses...eating frozen yogurt and lounging on the grass...not scurrying about in rain and darkness...it's like a different world and I quite like it. It makes learning more fun, although it's harder to concentrate when all you want to do is eat the previously mentioned frozen yogurt while lounging on that lovely green grass.
I met more lovely students (and teachers!) today and I can't wait to start teaching!
Also, spanakopita may have become one of my favorite foods...somehow it sneaked up on me and now I can't get enough of it :-O
Monday, September 23, 2013
I absolutely adore listening to Fleet Foxes at this time of year - it's cozy and heartwarming and all the harmonies somehow match this season perfectly.
Today I finally started working again - exciting! This week is orientation week, so there's no actual teaching, but it's still exciting to meet the new students and help them settle into their programs. I met so many lovely people from all around the world...Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Russia... It's a special place to be and, for me, the most ideal job situation. I hope everything goes well!
The classroom I was in today didn't happen to feature functional air conditioning (less ideal!) so I was super hot and went straight for frozen yogurt after work. I've also been buying more and more kombucha lately. It's so refreshing and hopefully as healthy as it's supposed to be. Mass produced fermented products can't be as good as homemade ones, but I don't think I'll be making any of my own kombucha any time soon. A friend offered me her scoby once, but I was too terrified to accept it haha.
Fleet Foxes, tea, and another sunny day tomorrow :-)
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I've spent the last two weeks in paradise, reunited with my bf who lives in Japan but came to visit after five (dreadfully long) months apart. He went back to Japan this morning and I'm a little bit in shock. It's strange to be apart from someone you love for so long, then to spend two weeks completely immersed in each other, only to say goodbye again and not see them at all, except on a computer screen. Lonely lonely lonely. It's amazing how different a place feels when someone you shared it with leaves...all the warmth dissipates.
But, I will refrain from greyness and gloom. When we love someone, I think we can do whatever it takes to stay together and stay connected.
Now on to comfort reading more Anne of Green Gables and refraining from drinking any more coffee.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Seasonal changes are times of transition, and as such they always make me feel a little scattered and pulled in different directions. Hold on to the last bits of summer, prepare for the crispness of fall, run around outside, contemplate Deep Things while looking at clouds, do academic productive things, have a movie marathon complete with popcorn and blankets, think of the future, live in the moment...sometimes I just don't know what to do with myself and then I end up doing nothing, and that can be okay too. Also, as much as getting older disturbs and confounds me, I do feel a lot more grounded and solid and sure of what I want and what I need. Time is not a thing, but when it adds up it becomes meaningful. Maybe.
Last Saturday I went to Birch Aquarium and enjoyed being (not literally) submerged in beautiful underwater worlds. Being a terrible swimmer and unwilling to do much more beyond dabbling in shallow waters, I will probably never go scuba diving but I absolutely adore aquariums since they provide a glimpse of this magical otherworldly universe that actually truly exists. Also, I touched an anemone of some sort and the way it grabs and entwines your finger is kind of exciting. Interaction with nature, yes. A lifetime of not having any pets makes it that much easier to fall for the cuteness of little anemones. I did not touch the sea cucumber though.
Here's to a fabulous, stunningly gorgeous September. Bring on the apples.
Friday, August 30, 2013
I just realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend, what?! The end of summer always arrives abruptly, as does the pressing need for fresh pencils and perfectly crisp notebooks. Even if one is not heading back to school, because cute stationery is the best thing ever. I will start teaching towards the end of September, so thankfully summer isn't quite over yet. I should be working on the next essay for my Applied Linguistics program but the shiny sun
is not a good excuse makes it hard to get stuff done sometimes.
This weekend will feature a trip to Temecula Valley, where I've never been before. The main mission is to sample as much delicious wine as possible. Hopefully the scenery will be good, too.
Monday, August 26, 2013
I've been rewatching Gilmore Girls seasons 1-3 (since it's downhill from there, arg) and besides feeling warm and fuzzy and nostalgic and such, it has also made me want to go and buy about twenty thousand CDs. Yes, actual discs that spin and have pictures on them and contain real music. Every time Lane lifts up a floorboard or opens her fantastic closet full of shiny colorful lights and assorted wonderful things (and music!!) it reminds me of the difference between listening and watching digital everything that's just floating around everywhere and easily disappears or gets buried by other invisible files, and actually owning the things you love, putting them together in one place, feeling inspired just by seeing an album cover, being reminded of all the memories and moments associated with those little discs. Also, for visual type people, I think the music is just one dimension and all the artwork and images and colors and fonts associated with it are equally important.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I want a magic little room/closet like Lane's where I can escape into a beautiful musical world. Or maybe I just wish that my discman still worked (that discman was the best birthday present I've ever gotten, I still think about it sometimes, sigh). And that I had more space for CDs and didn't feel guilty about buying more of them because it creates waste, but how can music ever be thought of as waste!! Never :)
In other news, I'm really enjoying this trend of dystopian and post-apocalyptic YA novels and have just started reading The 5th Wave. I finished Divergent before that and quite liked it. In grade 7 I read Z for Zachariah and I think I've been obsessed with this genre ever since. It's also interesting (and disturbing) how many originally sci-fi concepts and technologies are now coming true. I do not want to eat meat that was grown in a lab, but apparently many people think this is an excellent idea, eek. Somehow, I'm still fascinated by all this stuff even though much of it makes me cringe.
On a more positive note, favorite things lately include: cucumber water (refreshing!), ahi tuna, grilled portobello mushroom, botanical garden (butterflies everywhere!), cozy coffee shops, purple articles of clothing, Little Italy, and summer glorious sunny summer!! California still feels like a dream.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
I feel like I've gone back in time...rewatching Gilmore Girls, baking, enjoying a proper summer vacation, (kind of) knitting, wearing skirts everyday, and other such summery relax-y things. It's quite nice.
Yesterday I went to a lovely Italian restaurant by the ocean (no view, but the ocean breeze felt good) and had cornmeal basil pesto pizza with veggies and goat cheese, and then an affogato for dessert. Yum yum. The atmosphere was great but the evening a little bittersweet because earlier that day I had to say goodbye to three great people, including two of the most adorable and sweetest children ever. I will miss them.
Rewatching GG makes me feel incredibly good and incredibly old at the same time.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Firstly, this video is pretty phenomenal. I wish there were more blue-haired aliens, fire tricks on the beach, and well placed light bulbs in my life. M83's music videos are mostly always great.
I don't even know what I've been doing, time is going by so crazy fast. My parents' friend from Russia is visiting California so I've been tutoring his two adorable kids...but they're going back home at the end of the week so it's almost time to say goodbye. Children are fantastic. They just know how to live in the moment and feel everything deeply and concentrate really hard when eating meals. I love teaching kids (and then relaxing and recharging afterwards).
I also got my work visa so it looks like I'll be staying in sunny California for at least another year or so. I still feel like I'm in paradise - a neverending summer vacation. My next goal (besides going back to Japan) is traveling to Germany and Austria. I want to see all the castles and fairy tale landscapes and learn more about their history and culture.
To cap off this rather random catch-up post, I suddenly really want to attempt to knit something. I learned basic knitting skills from my mum when I was little but now I don't remember much at all. But I want to make something that I can wear. I've looked up a couple of knitting books and will
possibly definitely begin as soon as possible. Hooray for craftiness!
Saturday, July 13, 2013
There was a short time during university when I co-hosted a radio theatre show at my school's radio station. It was super fun, sitting in the dark surrounded by dials and buttons and tapes and enjoying this completely different little world. Then my co-host graduated from uni and I didn't want to continue without him, so that was the end, sigh. Whenever we finished a show, he usually put on a Stars song. Lovely.
In other news, having bought a giant bunch of gorgeous organic kale, I tried homemade kale chips for the very first time yesterday and they were delicious!! Can't wait to try again (with a little less salt since salt is exceptionally salty)! Even though I'm not much of a meat-loving type person, I've also acquired a fondness for pulled pork yum yum.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
One of my favorite Japanese bands :-) I really wish I could travel right now...I pretty much always have the travel bug and probably always will, but it's extra powerful at the moment. I want to sit on a train and look at new scenery, go to a bakery for a unique pastry, walk around somewhere discovering everything for the very first time, feel lost and excited, feel stimulated by every little detail around me. I think for me, becoming immersed in other cultures, wandering around in unknown places, experiencing life in a completely new way, seeing the world from many different points of view...those are just the best things ever. Especially when you can share the experience with other lovely people and explore and laugh and eat together.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I can't seem to wake up today. It's super cloudy - weather that's designed for napping and baking and doing absolutely nothing productive. I can't remember the last time I actually napped, but today it was just too irresistible.
Today also brings the finale of American Baking Competition, which is a copy of the Great British Bake Off but...well, Americanized. British baking comes with a dose of charm and cozy warm-heartedness. The American version is still entertaining, but a little more ruthless, with specks of drama.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
So this song, a rather haunting and delicate and gorgeous one, was used for the opening number in this week's So You Think You Can Dance...which I watched (as usual, ahem, I love this show). The dance was amaaazing and I wish I could post it and watch it many many more times. One of the two choreographers was Sonya Tayeh and everything she creates gives me goosebumps, it's so good!! Dark and primal and gorgeous and unique. She describes her style as "combat jazz". And she always chooses good music. Um, I'll stop gushing now. Hooray for dance!
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Whenever I have trouble falling asleep or waking up, I listen to Beach House. Somehow this works well in both situations. The same music that hypnotizes me to sleep also makes me jump out of bed, ready to get energized for the day. Some days are less jumpy and more of the groggy stumbling type, but still.
I've been doing yoga everyday for a month now, and I have to say it's made a huge difference! Besides the whole toning and stretching thing, I feel much more energetic, grounded, and happyyy. I don't like exercise that makes me feel exhausted and stiff, but with yoga it seems like the more I do the better I feel, and I always look forward to it.
Other current obsessions include cheese bagels, watching Wimbledon and then playing tennis in real life, drinking infinite amounts of water (it's never enough!), and shopping for California-appropriate summer clothes. I love this warm weather so much! I'm especially obsessed with fluorescent colored tops. Ahem. Color, color everywhere! I think I've finally gotten used to spelling 'color' without a 'u', but feelings of strangeness occasionally linger.
Here's to a bright tomorrow bursting with bagels of all varieties, along with bracing games of Wimbledon-inspired tennis. Toodle-oo! :-)
Monday, July 1, 2013
My goal of seeing Grimes perform live still hasn't materialized, but I do get to write essays while
neverendingly working on my Masters. As I was writing this morning, I thought about all the little tips and tricks that make essay-writing, or any kind of writing I guess, a little bit easier and less painful. Actually, writing in general gets easier, well more flowy and smooth, with time and practice...I think. That was not a smooth sentence. My theory is wrong. Oh well...here are my questionable tips re: writing essays (and/or other things).
1) Do most of your writing in the morning, very soon after waking up. Then you'll still be in that half-asleep state that promotes creativity and makes words flow beautifully and abundantly onto your computer screen. Make sure to read over what you wrote later on in the day, when you feel clear-headed and safely planted outside the realm of unicorns and zombies.
2) Do treat yourself to milk tea. Taking dainty sips of tea promotes the feeling of really being a writerly writer and keeps your brain fresh and toasty.
3) Do stretch and stand up as often as possible while still keeping your fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to record every flash of brilliance.
4) Don't snack. It is too distracting. And then you might have to wash your hands, which means leaving your desk and who knows where you'll end up if that happens. There's no carpe diem-ing when one is writing an essay!
5) Don't question yourself and stare at each sentence for too long. This slows down the mysterious and volatile process that is writing. Just write, editing comes later.
6) Do edit. Especially if those pesky unicorns from last night's dream snuck into your conclusion. Editing is magic. And it is practical. It is practical magic. It is not a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. This paragraph would benefit greatly from the magic of editing.
Ta daaa! Writing this post was
infinitely more almost as fun as writing an essay!
Friday, June 28, 2013
I think this just might be the song of the summer, or at least one of them, and I like this cover even more than the Daft Punk original. I still listen to the radio (when I happen to be in a car) and it's pretty much the only song I haven't gotten tired of out of the ones that get played over and over again (it's a never ending radio loop!). Listening to the radio also makes me nostalgic for the 90s.
The first heatwave of the summer has arrived! I ate almost half a tub of Dreyer's triple chocolate peanut butter ice cream and I'm pretty sure it was worth every bite. Maybe. Probably. I think.
Things that are good to do during a heatwave:
1. Go swimming (especially awesome if you know how to swim...I am not a highly skilled swimmer so I just splash around and then search for the nearest parasol)
2. Get a parasol and enjoy using it. There is nothing better than instant shade. I don't understand why parasols aren't hugely popular in California. I guess it has to do with the popularity of tanning.
3. Drink even more water than usual. Hydration should never be taken for granted. Sweet drinks just make me more thirsty so bring on the water, preferably with cute little ice cubes :-)
4. Yoga. Warm muscles are extra stretchy so you'll instantly become extra flexible ;-)
5. Drink more water after doing yoga.
6. Go to the nearest supermarket and spend some time in the frozen section. Try not to buy a tub of ice cream and then proceed to eat half of it. Unless you really really want to.
7. Try not to move too much because that produces more body heat.
8. Enjoy :-)
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
More happy music for sunny summer.
I live on top of a (very large) hill/mountain and most of the time the sky is blue. Then, when driving down it sometimes changes, like today when the car suddenly became engulfed in thick clouds and mysterious ocean mists. Perhaps this supermoon that's been happening is having a super effect on the tides and creating super mist.
Wimbledon, which happens to be my most favorite tennis tournament, is happening right now. Whenever it's on and I see the players in their crisp white tennis sportswear, running around on the pretty green courts I really want to eat strawberries and cream. Although I recently heard that you're not supposed to eat them (the strawberries, not the players) while watching but only afterwards. Which doesn't exactly make any sense. That would take all the fun out of eating something delicious while watching other people exert themselves ;-) Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens now that Federer and Nadal are already out of the competition!
Monday, June 24, 2013
This is a fairly recent track that I've become obsessed with. I was listening to the first Bat for Lashes album last night and, wow, her voice has developed and become so powerful since that first outing. I don't think she would have been able to sing like this seven years ago, but now she seems capable of breaking tablefuls of champagne glasses with her voice alone.
I'm really tempted to go and buy a bunch of CDs, like in the good old days...but since everything is now digital and my closet is bursting with CDs it doesn't seem like the best idea. There's so much good stuff being released right now, but it's all snippets and singles here and there instead of the experience of sitting down and listening from the very first song to the last. Grumble grumble, I am old.
In other news, the sky is blue, I saw more than three hummingbirds this morning (and lost count after that), and it feels like ice cream weather!
Sunday, June 23, 2013
This song is incredibly infectious. I think I can still listen to it dozens of times without getting sick of it. Maybe. We'll see.
Yesterday evening there was a small outdoor music festival near where I live...on the streets style. I went out for dinner and ate crab cakes al fresco (yay, summer!) and then walked around to see all the different performances. There were many people doing the very same thing and it was lovely to just wander around, enjoying the summer vibes and spending the evening in such a fun atmosphere, with lots of interestingly dressed people of all ages.
My favorite performance was by a band of recent high school graduates who incorporated saxophones, tableaus, and choreography into their performance, which made for a unique and highly entertaining show. Oh, they also had matching outfits. Who says kids these days are apathetic...these guys were so energetic and enthusiastic that they drew audience members like, um, moths to a flame.
It takes so much dedication, discipline, and drive (yay, alliteration!) to become proficient at playing a musical instrument. I'm still
arguably slaving away at the guitar but I don't think anyone except for myself and maybe my mother would enjoy these little performances. Oh well. In my case, it's more for enjoyment than to present art to an actual audience.
Getting back to the point, street performances are most definitely a brilliant idea and should happen as much as possible. Although I did feel sorry for the older ladies who walked past with their hands tightly clamped to their ears. But still, live music is gooood!
Friday, June 21, 2013
So I've somehow gotten addicted to the show Castle and occasionally watch several episodes in a row while drinking tea and imagining life as a writer, living in a fabulous apartment in New York. One of the main characters, Richard Castle, is a successful mystery novel author and his apartment is magnificent - spacious, open-concept, contemporary but still cozy and inviting. And that's not the only positive feature of the show. Castle himself is charming and brings humor and warmth to a genre that's usually stark and depressing. I don't think there's any other crime-y series that I would look forward to watching, eek. His partner in (solving) crime is Kate Beckett, tough and relentless in carrying out her duty in the pursuit of justice, da da daaaa! Beckett's co-workers, and Castle's daughter and mother are also delightful and often hilarious characters. His mother is an actress in flamboyant clothing and I want her wardrobe...at least the scarves. In general, I enjoy author-related stuff, even if it's a bit silly. Seeing the portrayal of people's imaginations creating something out of nothing, using words to bring magic into the world, thinking a little bit differently, and finding inspiration in seemingly insignificant things...is fascinating and makes me want to write more myself. Now I'm just rambling. So, to conclude, have you SEEN Castle's fireplace? Magnificent.
Monday, June 17, 2013
It's a cool and cozy evening, the lights are dim, and I can't help but romanticize the past, when people gathered around the fireside and created their own entertainment instead of falling asleep in front of their TVs. Yes, I generalize. But to a certain extent I think this is really true - lack of transportation forced people to invest in their local communities and lack of technology meant that instead of looking up to celebrities, people had to rely on their own creativity to express themselves, entertain each other, and enjoy life.
Everyone is creative in their own way, but now it seems as though this has to be validated by winning a reality show or being featured on some sort of screen, or else that creativity is rendered worthless. I'm sure there are lots of people hanging out and playing guitar for each other and such, but I imagine there are a lot more who prefer to go to concerts by "professional" musicians than listen to their friend in the living room.
To me, it seems natural to want to dance, sing, express yourself, connect with others, feel alive...these things shouldn't be a privilege. When I think of all the people who try, who sing and paint and write and make themselves vulnerable in the desire to articulate who they are and to be part of the world, only to be silenced, criticized, or simply left unheard...it really is heartbreaking. But I think it happens to most of us at some point or another. I guess the next step is to keep trying, and to value your own creative voice even if you don't happen to be Beyonce or Renoir. Plus, it's always better to sing/dance/write/paint/create little sculptures out of yogurt containers than to watch Master Chef. Or you could always just do both at the same time. Preferably with your friends, by the fireside :-)
Friday, June 14, 2013
On the topic of productivity, I've come to the conclusion that when I exercise regularly, I become more productive in other areas as well, such as studying/writing and such. This isn't exactly groundbreaking, but still kind of neat. I've always been the type of person who either goes for the extreme (ex. must eat ALL the chocolate!) or nothing at all (ex. like zero exercise, eek!), so finding balance can be tricky sometimes. I like having momentum and feeling that life is dynamic, always moving, not just stagnant and dull. Movement and creative expression really help to produce that feeling and make me feel inspired and energetic, as well as balanced.
So, lately I've been on a roll and I hope to keep that energy flowing. It's so easy to get bogged down by
internal self-created stress and stop doing the very things that make us feel centered, happy, and strong. It requires much more effort to get up and take action, to create something, to push yourself than it does to lie on the couch with a box of cookies and a season of Castle. Dynamism is probably the better way to go (most of the time).
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
How have I not read any P.G.Wodehouse before now? Not only has he written almost 100 books and invented famous characters such as Jeeves, but his writing is pretty much the funniest, wittiest, British-y-est, um, ever! Seriously. He's been referenced in so many books that I've read that I finally decided to demystify this gentleman's text by picking up a copy of The Small Bachelor and I haven't been able to put it down very much since making that most excellent decision.
The story takes place in New York during Prohibition but the emphasis isn't so much on plot as it is on creating brilliant characters who make you smile and even laugh and feel kind of good about the world, while still retaining your dignity. I've never laughed while reading in a coffee shop before, but this book caused me to do so multiple times. Some of the characters fall in love, rather quickly, and the way Wodehouse draws their emotions, actions, earnestness, mannerisms, etc. is just brilliant and completely delightful. Smart, witty, and comical in a warm-hearted way.
Basically, I can't wait to read the rest of his books!
Monday, June 10, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
Last night I went to a barbeque, shockingly it was my first one this year, and was quickly reminded of how awesome BBQs are. Especially when done on a patio with a view of the lovely lovely ocean. Really, there aren't many things better than being surrounded by good friends, with delicious food in the middle, some cold drinks, music, and a view. Nice nice.
Today clouds have moved in so the sky is completely white, as if it hasn't woken up just yet. But that's okay, because it's warm, cozy, and perfect for drinking tea ;-)
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I've finished all my presentations, wrote my final test, and there isn't much more to do before saying goodbye and moving on to the next thing. Which means...I just want to go and play outside! I haven't encountered any forests in California...the beach gradually becomes a desert, but that can be fun to explore too I suppose. And there's no better sound than the rush of the ocean. For now, I can get my dose of forest-y goodness from slightly unusual music videos.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Another gorgeous song from one of my favorite bands. I really don't know how they're able to create such a moving, melodic wave of perfect sound but they continue to do just that over and over again.
These days my schedule at school is lighter than it was before, but somehow that makes me waste more time than before. I think I'm more productive when I have less free time to squander...conundrum indeed. I have now been spoiled by leisurely mornings involving (not textbook) books, freshly brewed coffee, and Japanese fashion tumblrs. Ahem. As wonderful as all those things are, I think I need to start planning my time more wisely.
Can't wait to watch The Great Gatsby!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Spring is perhaps my favorite time to listen to music, discover new artists, and laze around while the sun shines and makes everything extra lovely.
This is an awesome band from Italy. Their music is gorgeous, luscious, and this music video is deliciously stylish. I can't stop watching it. Whoa so many adjectives :-O
Monday, April 15, 2013
Since it's been a while, and since traveling always makes me think about Big Important Life Things, this will be a contemplative sort of post.
For some reason, a memory from high school recently popped up in my head. In Grade 10 I had an amazing homeroom + English Lit. teacher called Mrs. Quigley who managed to teach difficult concepts and pull the best out of her students while also being incredibly relatable, funny, and friendly in her classes. One morning I must have looked particularly unenthusiastic about being at school as she asked me if I was okay and said that I could take the attendance sheet down to the office if I felt like walking around a bit. High school was not the best time of my life. But I didn't display my dissatisfaction openly and tried to just quietly get by...so I was surprised that this teacher had noticed how I really felt and even empathized with me instead of expecting full on enthusiasm and such. Anyway, I was really touched but at the same time I couldn't imagine feeling anything different from the...suffocation (sorry for the melodrama) of that time. I felt so stuck and the torture of being surrounded by people with whom I had extremely little in common was heightened by teenage-ness.
I think that kind of fear - that we will never be free, is paralyzing. It's easy to just get used to merely getting by and feeling numb, and that seems to be the expectation in society. School does not really teach us to be individuals and follow our dreams. Everyone is on the same track to get a job, get a house, and pay back their neverending debt. Anyway, this has been said more eloquently many times before. The point is, it's such a blatant lie.
I don't really know how to phrase this well...how everyone is born with dreams and joys and love and curiosity inside them. When we're young, these things seem to tumble out naturally and unconsciously. Then, we tend to get stuck for a while. During those teenage years we're developing our identities, it's awkward and uncomfortable, especially if we are not free to just be ourselves but feel constantly judged by classmates. But then, it's possible to recover our freedom. It's possible to just live freely on your own terms and do anything you want with your life. This realization hit me really hard and totally changed my life. Once I started traveling by myself, doing what I had always wanted to do but felt too scared/intimidated to try, experimenting, exploring, playing...I started feeling so incredibly happy and genuinely alive.
Perhaps this sounds like some kind of advertisement for 'The Secret' and I do apologize...but isn't it lovely to wake up and feel free and capable of doing anything. There really are no limits. Not a lot of people in the world have such opportunities and I think it's absolutely necessary to really live and do and see and experience everything possible before it's too late. My desire kept growing until it became stronger than my fears, and now I cannot stop exploring and following my inspirations to new places. When we're children, I think we do all of these things naturally - life at that time is all about discovery and everything feels magical. What I realize now is that this shouldn't stop when we grow up. Life should always be a process of discovery and growth and I hope I never get stuck again. Feeling childlike wonder, amazement...seeing new places and trying new things for the very first time...for me it makes the world magical and meaningful. I want to keep exploring and getting tangled up in all this beauty for as long as possible.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Spring has been coming and going and teasing us mere coat-dependent humans and now it looks like it's finally here to stay. Flowers! Frozen yogurt! Cocoa! (It's never the wrong season for cocoa). Especially flowers. Nothing is quite as beautiful as spring in bloom, all the vivid colors and gorgeous shapes and lushness...I love it! Here's a music video by a fun Japanese band that seems to share my affinity for flowers and cuteness. Kawaii!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Spring is here! And it's marvelous! I've been slightly addicted to Tegan and Sara's newest album, just about every song is infectious and tends to get stuck in my head.
Japan in twelve days!!!
Monday, February 4, 2013
Another weekend has swiftly come to an end! The first February weekend...which means that in a little over a month I'll be on a plane to Japan! Can't wait can't wait can't wait....!!
My weekend was filled with lots of studying (and, ahem, anime watching). Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Old Globe Theatre (not the one in London) to see Pygmalion (the play that My Fair Lady was based on), one of my favorite plays. It was hilarious and I was happy that they chose to end it in a more feminist rather than traditionally romantic way. Also, the actor playing Henry Higgins was Robert Sean Leonard from Dead Poets Society (one of my favorite films) and the television series House (he played Wilson, Hugh Laurie's friend...too bad Hugh Laurie wasn't also in this play!). All the actors were fantastic and I laughed the whole way through. Going to shows is always so fun!
Happy Monday...back to work ;-)
Friday, February 1, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I love this show! This clip makes it seem uber dramatic, but besides the beautiful dancing it also features great humor, characterization, and super fast talking since it is, after all, the brainchild of Amy Sherman-Palladino. It's the next best thing to Gilmore Girls (with dancing!!). Also, Sutton Foster is amazing! Magnetic, hilarious, and effortless in her skill.
I feel like I'm back in Vancouver, but without an umbrella. Yesterday I got soaked walking around in the rain and my hair seemed to double in volume. Today I think I'll be staying indoors! So, having planned a weekend full of tennis and outdoor frolicking, what is one to do on a rainy, foggy day?
- this weather is pretty much perfect for reading...especially something mysterious/atmospheric/passionate...like Wuthering Heights, or your old high school yearbook.
- writing poetry...because we just don't do that enough and gloomy weather usually makes people more introspective (but also sleepy)
- cooking and baking!! This option is super fun...roasting veggies in the oven, baking muffins, making some hearty soup...this is what rainy weather is really for!
- cleaning...but I won't be doing that
- going to the beach anyway...because the ocean will still look beautiful, in a different and unpredictable way
- practicing a musical instrument...even if you haven't touched it in years, why not pick it up and try it out? A most absorbing and relaxing activity :-)
- and the thing I'll be doing today is homework, yay! Hot chocolate and music make it easier to endure ;)
Finally, an umbrella is a very important thing. I need to get one. When I finally do, maybe the rain will never come again...
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wow, it's been a while! I've been in the thick of studying, exploring, playing, music making, reading, eating, and just overall living :-)
I must say, winter in California is the best. This is always the hardest time for me and in Vancouver it used to be especially dreary due to nonstop rain. As much as I love being cozy, eating comfort food, and watching movies/reading in the super dark evenings...sunshine is the most wonderful thing in the world! Ummm, ironically it's not very sunny today but the memory is not far off.
In other news, I think I may be addicted to anime. Technically I'm watching it to practice Japanese...like homework...yes.
Happy 2013! :-)