In the news lately

This is one of those posts again. It’s hard for me to give these posts a title without me being too emo or something.

I’ve been reading pretty depressing news lately which is why I try not to read the news (I have a personal news dispenser aka my sister who will read news headlines to me every day anyway).

1. I followed a link on Twitter that somehow ended up with me reading disturbing news about a guy abusing his fiancee. I watched the video and it was ugly and shocking and I felt very sad for both the guy and the girl.

People often think nothing/little of abuse or domestic violence. At least those who have never witnessed or been a victim of abuse. “Oh, it’s just a family/couple arguing.” “Oh, the mother probably upset the father.” They make excuses for what is blatantly obvious or they pretend they don’t see it.

To those people, shame on you.

The victims of abuse need help and often they don’t know where to turn to because they’re scared and embarrassed because how the hell can you say ‘hey, my dad/my boyfriend/whoever is beating the shit out of me/belittling me to the point of wrecking me’? Most people can’t expose their abuse because their abuser is someone they care about (even if they’re doing all those bad things to them).

And it’s not unusual for the victim to forgive the abuser after that. They make excuses for their abuser or blame themselves with thoughts like ‘s/he was having a bad day’ or ‘I shouldn’t have said that to him/her’ or ‘s/he won’t do it again, that was a one-off’. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s hard to break out of it without help and support.

When people tell you they’re being abused, know that it has taken them forever to work up the courage to admit something so painful and embarrassing. It’s a cry for help. Help for the victim AND the abuser. Don’t brush it off and make excuses for their abuser. That doesn’t help.

I know abuse. It’s ugly and sad and frankly doesn’t do shit for either the abuser or the victim. Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean violence. It can also mean mental abuse which honestly is just as bad because even years down the road, it still affects you.

There were insensitive comments in those articles as well as on Twitter. It breaks my heart to see that people actually think that if a woman hits a man, she should expect to be hit. Or a man can hit a woman if she hits him first. Or something along those nasty lines.

No. It’s wrong. Either way, it’s wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How do people not realize that yet?

There are so many things I want to say about abuse but for now, to people out there who are being abused and can’t seem to get help (because some places just don’t offer enough help), know that there are people who will believe your story. Keep staying strong whether for yourself or your family.

2. If you’ve been floating around on Facebook enough times lately (or Youtube since it’s now on there), you might have seen the video of the Thai lady who filmed a bunch of Chinese tourists’ bad manners (cutting queues and being rowdy) at a Korean airport.

I watched it a while back on Facebook and thought, omg so true. It happens. Oh, it happens more times than I can count. Like where do these people come from (rhetoric) and HOW do they not know that their behavior is TERRIBLE?

Today someone posted the Youtube link and I clicked on it, not knowing that it was the same link. I read the comments on Youtube and was promptly quite sickened by the stuff that people wrote. So much ignorance, hatred and stupidity.

People were trying to argue which types of Chinese people or Asians are better than which. Some said all Chinese are rude. Some even tried to offer other Asians as being equally rude. It was plain ignorant and unnecessary.

I get that rude China people are hated because of all the disgusting things they do. And sadly, there are various Chinese of different nationalities who have adopted similar appalling rude behavior. You would think that people who see disgusting behavior would stay away from it and try to be the opposite but no. Goodness only knows how annoying it is to have your line cut (constantly, I might add) or have to listen to obnoxious yelling or deal with unhygienic toilet etiquette (omg).

BUT, a group of Chinese tourists does not encompass all the Chinese people on this planet. Besides, there are sooo many countries where Chinese people come from so how can you say that all Chinese are the same? The people in the video are from the mainland (obviously China) but apparently to plenty of ignorant people, everyone is from the mainland. Um, please no. I’m also not saying that all mainland Chinese behave like that…

To the people who read news about disgusting behavior by Chinese people, please understand that the word Chinese is a huge umbrella for various Chinese people living in different countries. They are not all the same. Side note: some are actually refusing to be labeled Chinese because of the generally bad name that has been given to the Chinese. That is the extent of how much people don’t want to be associated with the bad stuff.

3. If you’ve seen the news or, you know, been on Twitter or some kind of social media, you probably heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

My first thought after hearing about the earthquake was the Nepalese waiter from a Vietnamese restaurant back home who was so good to us. He remembered our orders and was just an all-round cheerful guy. He left a couple of years ago but we occasionally still think about him and wonder how he is. I immediately wondered if he was back in Nepal and if he was alright.

My heart goes out to all the people affected. I pray that help gets to them quickly. Nepal is a relatively poor nation and it’s clear they were not prepared for something this devastating. People have lost their homes, their lives, their families. That’s why we need to help them. I’m happy that our school sent out an email asking people to donate or help out in any way.

We donated to Paul Walker’s charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). His brother, Cody, is carrying on the good work and they have already deployed help to Nepal. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. If you have already donated to other charities, good on ya.

4. Today I lent my book to this girl to copy my notes. She sat diagonally in front of me. She was wearing a tank top. I didn’t notice anything odd about her for the first half of the class. Then I noticed.

Lines. Pale but distinct lines. Scars on her lower left arm. Cutting scars. I have only ever seen such scars in Tumblr posts by people who cut so I was stunned and saddened to see the scars on her arm.

Questions ran through my mind: Why did she do it? What happened? How old are those scars? Did her family know? Is she alright now?

It made me sad to see that someone could go through things that would lead them harm themselves. I wanted to say something to her but didn’t know what and I didn’t think it would be appropriate. We need to care about people around us more. People ought to give and receive love and support so that things like this don’t have to happen.

5. My sister and I were on Youtube watching some videos when we stumbled across a video in which the man filmed racist remarks being thrown at him on public transport. This guy is white and the guy making racist comments was an old Korean man.

Racism is everywhere, unfortunately, and the guy being racist was saying mean/hurtful things and among the things that the old man said was, ‘we are Buddhist’. I was confused and well, angered, by this Korean man’s statement because I don’t think any religion condones racism. And people should know this.

What I couldn’t understand was why the guy filming would take that to heart and say ‘maybe the guy was being racist because he’s a Buddhist’. No, he’s being a racist because he’s a racist. People using their religion as an excuse to be racist and people blaming racism on religion have got it all wrong.

And what’s worse was the comments. People were saying things like, ‘my friend’s father is Buddhist and he’s super racist’. I can’t speak for other religions but if anyone knew anything about Buddhism, it’s that Buddhism is built on compassion and wisdom. This article actually explains compassion and wisdom quite simply but effectively.

Saying things like ‘he was this or that because he’s a Buddhist’ only lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. Similarly, throwing out you’re Buddhist when you’re doing something bad also causes unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. We don’t need that.

x

And that’s all I have. Reading through, I realize that there is a point to my post:

Let’s be kinder to each other.

Raine
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Thoughts on blogging

I have a shout-out in this post today. This shout-out goes to Britt who has been a blog friend of ours since I started my nail blog and since we restarted this blog. I’m sad that she’s chosen to quit blogging (I’m sad because she’s all kinds of kind and wonderful) but I’m also hopeful that she’ll be back better than ever really soon. I wish her well and look forward to hearing about all her new adventures. Of course, I’ll be keeping up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

My post today is also a bit related to this. After reading Britt’s post and feeling upset as if a friend were moving to another country, I began to think long and hard about blogging.

There have been multiple times when I just thought to myself, alright you’re not going to ‘make it’ in the bloggerverse because you have no niche and no interesting pictures and are not on all the social media and don’t sponsor other bloggers and don’t have ‘interesting enough/helpful tips’ posts and you’re subconsciously trying to please these people in your posts so maybe it’s time to retire from the blogging scene again.

I tell myself that I don’t blog to please people but it’s not unnatural to want to draw readers and somehow fall off your intended path and instead start writing for the audience instead. Stupid, I know. But it happens. And every time it does, I get annoyed/mad and have to remind myself that this blog was not built on the foundation of catering to people’s tastes. Right now, I’m blogging for myself and it’s nice. I don’t check my stats, I don’t dive for the comment box, I don’t read a bunch of other people’s posts and wonder if I should write like that.

At some point, I also used to join linkups and while I found one or two blogs that I really liked (incidentally I found Britt through a linkup!), it took up too much time and not many people actually stick around after the linkup ends. There are actually more people who will come over to your blog, say ‘great post’ without reading your post, and drop their link, expecting you to go over and follow them. Okay, this might be old school of me but I appreciate sincerity and loyalty over gaining a bunch of followers (probably to get better stats/ratings which in turn lead to bigger monetary opportunities, I suppose).

I’ve seen writing tips that say ‘write for yourself’ and other tips that say ‘write for your audience’. Sorry, if I write for ‘the audience’ but hate what I’m writing, I don’t see the point. That’s just me. I say side with whichever view fits you best.

Yeah, but I feel like blogging has become weird. It used to be people writing about their lives without trying to sell stuff or dish out ‘tips on how to blog’ or generally be pushy/unnatural/desperate/unrealistic.

I used to really enjoy reading this one blog because of the blogger’s writing style and content but it has since become very, uh, strange. I used to be able to connect to that blogger because of the warmth and realness in the posts. Now I’m like, there’s just a bunch of how-tos and I don’t even know what this blog is about… Maybe I shouldn’t call it a blog? Hmm, maybe it has become a website. I see this happening a lot now too – blogs trying to push to become ‘bigger’ things? It no longer feels ‘friendly’, you know? Like I’m talking to a receptionist at some corporate company instead of chatting with a friend. I kind of feel sad to drop them from my feed but at the same time, I don’t connect with them on that level anymore.

And aren’t ‘tips for blogging’ just a way for someone to get more followers? I mean, I get that the internet is booming and you’re just a tiny little speck in the sea of other specks so you should find ways to stand out but can’t you keep doing you and eventually people who will enjoy your stuff will find you and become a reader (as opposed to merely a follower)? Is that idealistic of me to think that way? Most ‘tips’ or ‘guides’ or ‘lifehacks’ (is that what they call tips nowadays?) are unhelpful anyway. Do this, do that, get on this site, get on that site, spend on this, spend on that, write like this, write like that… Okay, we get it, force yourself into a niche, become a cookie cutter, conform, fit into this mold, rinse and repeat the other stuff people say.

I feel that some parts of blogging are kind of like high school with tons of little cliques and ridiculous expectations. If you don’t fit into a specific box, well, you’d better leave the party because you’re not one of them and you’re not going to fit in. If you don’t have anything in common, if you don’t write like them, if you don’t write about similar things, if you’re not on every single social media, things like that, you know?

And things like dictating whether someone is ‘big’ in the blog world? That just reminds me of how everyone envied and loved the ‘cool kids’ at high school. Eff that. The ‘cool kids” heads just got bloated from all that ‘fame’ while other ‘ordinary kids’ felt plain and inadequate. And what happened to the ‘loser kids’? They were possibly kicked further down the ‘low self-esteem’ drain. That sucks. That effing sucks. Society’s standards are pretty crappy, if you ask me.

Let’s also talk about pictures. I believe I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I don’t care what your pictures look like, whether they are 5000×4000 super high-res Blu-ray-worthy pictures from your Canon7D or blurry and grainy pictures from your chipped 2001 Nokia cellphone that has no emojis. A picture isn’t by any means a way of deciding whether or not your post is worthy of my reading time. I will read your crappy-picture-filled post and like it if you are warm and engaging.

Unfortunately, nowadays blogs are also dictated by the quality of your pictures. Ugh, superficiality. Just ugh. Blog peer pressure is REAL. What I said about high school, right? I was also guilty of trying to get blog-worthy pictures at some point and trying to post one picture per post. Ain’t nobody got time for that though. Sure, pictures break the text up and look nice but not every post needs a picture.

Not just the quality of your pictures but also the frequency of your posts. Miss a week or (GASP) a month of blogging/keeping up on social media and you become almost unknown again. I know this isn’t always necessarily true and some people are always there to welcome you back but readership/commenting dropping to zero happens. It happens and it sucks and you wonder what you did wrong and whether you should have kept people updated in some way. But you know what? It’s your life and you can choose to blog whenever you want. If readers don’t want to stick around, well, whatever.

To sum things up, ‘little’ blogs don’t have to try to become ‘big’ blogs. Blogs are just blogs. Say what you wanna say. Be who you wanna be (easier said than done but still worth steering yourself in that direction). At the end of the day, there are people who will like or are able to relate to what you write and that’s good enough. I don’t think ‘making it’ should even be a priority when it comes to blogging.

And with most things, there are bad sides and then there are good sides. There are still plenty of wonderful people out there who make blogging enjoyable and worth it and there are still amazing blogs out there. Sometimes I find bloggers who are funny and engaging and down-to-earth and have posts that make you feel ‘damn, I wish I wrote that’ or ‘I can relate to that, let’s be friends already’. And they are part of the reason why I still enjoy blogging.

So you know what? Don’t feel like a ‘loser’ in blogging and don’t succumb to the peer pressure. ^_^ Nobody should decide whether your blog is worthy or not. Sometimes you may feel like crap about your blog but at the end of the day, know that your blog doesn’t define you, you’re being yourself, and that’s all kinds of awesome.

This is just my opinion (you know, in case people read this, get upset about how I’m ‘trying to bash big bloggers’ (which I’m not) or ‘going off on a nonsensical rant’, and take my words out of context which is what happens unnecessarily often nowadays).

P.S: My sister says that she read that Trader Joe’s doesn’t use social media. Ya hear that?

Raine
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On this and that

Hello. My mind’s been on a few things and I thought I’d spill them onto here.

On anger:

After reading this interview article, a certain part of it hasn’t quite left my mind. It goes along the lines of: people often think that there are only two ways to handle anger – one, express it, and two, suppress it. But there’s something else you can do with anger: understand it.

Isn’t that interesting? You hear things about letting your anger out by punching a pillow or screaming from the top of a mountain but does that really help? Is the anger gone afterwards? Does the anger leave with every punch or scream you make?

When I think back on the things I used to do to express my anger, I realize that it was just a temporary way to relieve my emotions. In the long run, the anger remaining would collect and eventually explode. It’s just ugly and unhealthy, the way it would collect and explode.

I’ve been trying to understand anger. It’s not easy to remember to try to understand anger but the few times that I have, it has been good for me. I realize that if I stop myself from getting angry and try to understand where the other person’s anger is coming from or why I’m angry at something, I tend to realize that it wasn’t worth getting angry at in the first place.

It’s a work in the progress so I’m still prone to letting my emotions get to me but the contents of that article have helped me see anger in a different light.

On change:

I watched a Q&A video with Thich Nhat Hanh (who as you may remember from a previous post is a Buddhist monk) and this video provoked many new and deep thoughts that I hadn’t considered before.

I realized that what he said is true. Perhaps to change someone, we must first recognize the other person in ourselves and change the things we wanted to change in the other person. Is that confusing? We must recognize that we have parts of other people in us. Everyone who has entered our life surely must have touched our life in some way (whether good or bad) and we can’t just pretend it didn’t happen and we can’t erase their existence from our life.

I’m still reading The Art of Communicating. The simplicity of Thich Nhat Hanh’s word usage is what I love about this book besides the simple yet moving messages behind each passage. Everything is just laid out for you to read and absorb.

On spring break:

That one week flew by just like that. While everyone was in New York or the beach or wherever, we were at home, relaxing. We didn’t go out much except to TJ Maxx to browse the handbag and decor aisles. On Friday, the semi-official start of spring break, we were too tired from sitting for a few midterms so we came home and didn’t do much apart from watching a few Chemistry videos and episodes of Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu.

On Saturday, we celebrated the end of midterms and the start of spring break with lunch at our favorite Thai place. Of course, we planned ahead and ordered enough so that we would have dinner (and dinner the next day lol). On Sunday, we had dim sum with a friend and that was all the outside food we had for the rest of spring break.

Which leads me to my next subheading…

But before that, I forgot that we did a few other things worthy of a mention. We finally washed our car. It’s not dirt-or-dust-coated anymore, hooray. After weeks of procrastination, we got it done in 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. We also did some spring cleaning so now stuff is kinda clean.

On kitchen adventures:

Over spring break, we made cream puffs and custard filling, shepherd’s pie, our favorite tomato and basil pasta (absolutely delicious as our professor often says about the food he’s talking about), stir-fried noodles with minced pork (so good that we had it twice), baked potatoes, German potato salad, croissants stuffed with rotisserie chicken and guacamole, and roasted basil chicken. This may not seem like a lot (or maybe it does) but that’s mostly because there are only two of us so each dish takes us at least two meals to finish.

We cooked all that except for the croissants & rotisserie chicken which were from Costco because sometimes we need a break too. Our cream puffs were amaziiing and even though it took us a long time to get everything done (it was our first attempt), it was worth it! Most of the recipes are from my mom who is our master chef mentor haha.

I have never cooked so much in my life and clearly, neither has my sister. It’s crazy. The kitchen is where the fun is at though.

Side note: I discovered that German potato salad is warm which is the way I’ve always liked it. Cold potato salad is also yummy but the warm one is my favorite because it tastes good warm OR cold.

Here, have a picture:

springbreakmeals

On more Chemistry:

Our song list has grown to 60 songs. It has been roughly 2 months since our ‘official’ obsession with them.

Here, have a video:

On writing:

A first draft of a novel has been completed. This. is. bizarre. How did I do it?! I feel like there should be a bunch of exclamation marks here but I’m somehow feeling oddly controlled about this.

No coffee was consumed before, during, or after this writing process. I always hear about coffee fueling people but uh, coffee doesn’t even cross my mind haha.

On online friendships:

My sister and I were reminiscing long and hard the other day about our Maple Story days. We had more online friends than I can count and it was brilliant while it lasted. People were so warm and welcoming and honest back then. I was 13 when I started playing and almost 15 when I stopped. Most of the people who played at that time were around my age too so it was really fun.

The 1.5 years of Maple Story resulted in lots of memories, both good and bad. We made friends and ‘families’, laughed with them, fought with them, trained with them. Sometimes I wonder what happened to all those friends and sometimes I wish I had saved some of those friendships. Sometimes I just feel a pang of longing for people I could have been good friends with. Sometimes you just know, you know.

You have been playing Maple Story for 12 hours. We suggest you take a break. so the sign would pop up in our chat box at the end of the day.

NOOOOOOOOOO, is what we would say.

We are also half-ashamed and half-amused to admit that we were, indeed, addicted to it and it was right for our mom to put an end to our addiction. But oh what glorious days those were.

On studying/living abroad:

‘Going on holiday, eh?’ the people back home ask.

I don’t think they know how far off they are. This is not a vacation to us by any means. Maybe it is to the kids whose parents fling cash at them and tell them to do whatever with it. Buy a sports car, buy booze, buy a house, buy the whole town, go on. I know a good number of kids like that.

I don’t know what goes on in those people’s lives but to me, in these 8-9 months that I’ve been here, I’ve learned much more than I would ever have if I had studied back home. This experience is rich. It has taught me so much about myself – my life, identity, perceptions, impressions, mentality, culture – and the world as a whole.

If you had asked me early last year whether I could see myself driving to school, making my own three meals a day, doing weekend grocery-shopping, doing a bazillion chores, paying my own bills (what) and fighting bugs, I would have laughed in your face and told you flat out, NO. In that sense, I guess I’ve been spoiled by my parents a bit? Haha.

But words will never be enough for me to describe how grateful I am for my parents for giving me and my sister this opportunity to study abroad. Contrary to what people wrongly assume, our parents work hard to put us in college so everyone who accuses people who study abroad of being loaded needs to shut up and sit down. Don’t lump everyone into one category based on only the other rich and spoiled kids you see.

On white vinegar:

If you missed it, we had to battle a cockroach this week and it was terrifying. Thank goodness for Victoria who answered my sister’s tweet and told us to spray white vinegar onto it. There was a lot of screaming, scrambling, and spraying. It took us 2 hours to get rid of the cockroach. Lots of vinegar and bug spray was used.

Who knew that white vinegar would come in handy?! Not me when I bought it. I originally bought a bottle of white vinegar to make a delicious chili marinade but couldn’t figure out what to do with the rest so I Googled the uses. Apparently there are 100+ uses for vinegar and I’ve since tested out some of them.

I dumped a load of white vinegar into the washing machine that day. It also helped get rid of the kitchen grease on the stove top which was a pleasant surprise because I tried using Method but it only worked to a certain extent. The other things I did with the white vinegar were clean out empty jars and rinse the sink. I need to do that with the kitchen sink soon.

If you know of any other great white vinegar tips, let us know!

On other types of ignorant and annoying people:

My sister overheard someone trying to persuade another girl to travel with friends within the US for summer.

The girl said: I don’t feel like it. Traveling is quite tiring and my dad won’t allow it.

The persuader said: But it’s FUN! You should go. Here, let me look up plane tickets for you. Look, it’s only $600 to New York. You should go. It’s really fun. -promptly starts planning out an entire itinerary for the girl-

Answers like ‘traveling is tiring’ are generally NOT accepted by the locals I know (aka ahem, from where we come from). Relatives and friends will judge you based on how much money you spend. Douche move? I think so too. But that’s the way it is back home. Peer pressure is real shit back home and no words will allow me to describe how annoying and incredibly stupid it is.

The problem does not lie in spending money on vacations because who doesn’t like traveling to places? The problem lies in these people traveling to show off/flaunt their money and judging other people who don’t do the same.

Someone’s got a Michael Kors bag? Okay, you HAVE to have one or at least a similar upscale designer bag because if you don’t, you will be disqualified from their friend list. I mean, come on, you’re not IN enough!! How can one be seen with someone carrying a $10 bag when the other person is carrying a real leather tote handmade in Italy that cost at least 100 times of that?! -note sarcasm-

Someone is paying $25 for an English breakfast which isn’t even good but is famous because of the unique decor? Someone is eating at a Mexican restaurant that serves nachos for $40 and you haven’t been? You HAVE to go because if you don’t, face disqualification and/or harsh judgment.

Someone went on a full two-week Europe tour? You HAVE to go on a similar vacation because if you don’t, prepare to face potential gossip about how you’re poor.  Like, omg you can’t afford to travel, ewww. Or, eww someone who doesn’t want to go to New York or Paris? So boring. People are judgmental, yes they are.

Does going on vacations measure my worth? No, it doesn’t, so people need to shut up and stop with their stupid peer pressure.

All I can say is, live within your means. If you can afford it, go for it. If you can afford but don’t want to do/buy/eat something or go somewhere, then don’t. If you can’t afford it, that’s absolutely fine too and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about not being able to.

And that’s it, folks. Apparently I had a lot to say. Have a lovely little Monday.

Raine
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A peek into Tuesday

1. We left for school early which came as a surprise because lately we’ve been spending our mornings karaoke-ing to Chemistry before leaving for school so we usually end up 5-10 minutes late.

Excuse for arriving late: sorry, I had to wait for Almost in Love to end.

Actually this morning we were listening to You Go Your Way which is obviously too amazing to stop midway.

We arrived early and scored the second parking spot of the row!! That’s a first! Slid right in like hot butter and got out.

Walked to our first class.

2. 50 minutes of utter boredom later, I was rushing to my next class for a test. I power-walked to my class like I always do and today I tried waiting for the elevator which is impossibly slow but I checked my watch and decided it would be faster to take the stairs.

I climbed up 3 flights of stairs and marched to my class. Before I stepped into class, I could already see that most of the seats were filled up. Ugh.

I walked in and my professor – who is the most patient lady ever – immediately called out to me and asked me to take a seat in front since there were no more seats.

Um, sitting at the very front of the class at an odd table facing the class is one of my favorite things ever (if the class is decent). While everyone had their little desk-chair-thingys, I had a long rectangular table to myself (and later some other guy).

It was only after I sat down that I realized what was strange.

My professor, whose office hours I’ve been going to quite regularly to get help on homework for, called me by my given name.

No kidding.

She called my name so casually that it just floated over my head. But it’s WEIRD because nobody has ever called me by my given name so casually or smoothly. She’s also somehow even gathered that the second part of my first name is NOT my middle name.

Amazing. It’s a pleasant surprise. Isn’t it nice when someone bothers to call you by your name without giving crappy excuses?

The test wasn’t bad but with any kind of mathematical tests, I usually always doubt my answers after I’m done.

3. Because of the test, I came out way earlier than expected and had to wait for my sister. I wondered what to do for the time being. I walked into two buildings to look for a table where I could study but none.

I ended up sitting down at a table at another building but I barely sat for 3 minutes before deciding to head over to the chemistry stockroom to check if they had any lab coats.

4. A leisurely stroll in the windy weather later, I found myself in front of the stockroom which had an ugly blue handwritten sign saying OUT FOR LUNCH, BE BACK AT xPM.

Great.

I didn’t want to wait for a whole hour so I walked away. Where to go now? I wound up at a little shady corner by a classroom where I had a class last semester.

5. I put my bag down and played a few rounds of Sudoku while a lovely breeze drifted past continuously. When I was tired, I looked up and something caught my eye.

It was a squirrel in a leafless tree.

I watched the squirrel mess around and dangle from the branches for a few minutes and then I thought to myself, nature is so beautiful.

And almost cried. Seriously. What is up with me? Lately I’ve been finding joy in all the nature around me and it makes me emotional, I don’t know why.

6. My sister’s class ended so we headed home… And on the way back, I said, uh there’s nothing for lunch -____-

I’ve been a slob lately. I haven’t been on top of this week’s menu and it’s only Tuesday. Which means there’s still time to commandeer the ship to smoother waters haha.

Seriously though, we’ve had Korean instant noodles for lunch for the past two days.

We wanted to get Chinese takeout but in the end drove past Burger King and saw that they had a 2 for $5 deal for their fish burgers. I don’t know about you but fish burgers are tasty.

McDonald’s here is different – too much bacon and ranch in everything. Burger King has been our go-to of late (and we rarely even have fast food these days) but not so much since we found out that they took the Mushroom Swiss burger off their menu.

What is wrong with you, Burger King? That mushroom burger was the whole reason we even started going to BK.

Anyway, the Spicy Big Fish that we had wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t spicy but it was decent.

7. It’s been a mellow day of discovering more Chemistry songs that we like. In 1 month, we’ve accumulated at least 50 new songs.

I’ve said this once but I’ll say it again: if Chemistry gets back together, we are so going to their concert.

Here, have some pictures in the middle of a post:

birdofparadise1 The bird-of-paradise that my sister mentioned in her post. flowers1

Vibrant flowers on campus that I adore looking at.squirrel1

‘This angle is better.’ The chipmunk said when I aimed my camera at him.

I can’t believe he/she stood so still for me to get a picture. Little fella, you’re awesome.bk1

Said fish burger.

Other things that have been on my mind:

1. I’m reading Gangsta. the manga. I don’t know where to put all these emotions and inspirations I’m getting from it. The two main characters are endlessly fascinating and the girl too.

It makes me think about humans and relationships and the complexity of both. Come to think of it, 99% of the manga I’ve read are brilliant. They are well-written as much as they are thought-provoking.

2. My friend recently submitted some of her poetry to a site and it’s gotten quite a bit of positive feedback. I’m happy for her. At the same time, I started to beat myself up over my lack of courage all these years to share my work with others.

I’ve been writing since I was 7 but I haven’t published anything that I’ve written. ‘You’re crap’ is what I think to myself when I think about sharing my writing. ‘You’re not good enough.’

I know I’ve read things about writers often experiencing this ‘your writing is not good enough’ thing but I think it’s a bit more than that for me because I also suffer from poor self-esteem.

Yay me. It’s a shitty feeling.

3. Then I confessed my crappy feelings to my sister who obviously is my sister for a reason. AND SHE KNEW THAT I WAS FEELING DOWN.

No wonder she kept asking me: why? what are you doing? why so quiet?

And I kept telling her nothing.

And in the end when I told her, she was like, I knew it. I knew something was off about you.

But yeah. Long story short, she gave me the dose of self-esteem I needed back after all those feelings. We had a long and deep conversation about feelings.

And at the end of the conversation, she said: Remember, I’m your number one fan fo-evar.

Dammit. I’m going to cry in the bathroom now.

But first, a bonus,

Bonus: my mom sent me an IM saying: hello lil me. And I was like, why? My mom said: because you look like me and cook like me. If that is not the best compliment I’ve gotten so far, I don’t know what is.

My mom is my hero. And I hope that I’m hers too.

Happy Tuesday… Or Hump Day since it’s already almost Wednesday. Keep doing you, whoever you are.

Raine
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High-low Wednesday

Today I’m upset. I’m upset over a few things.

I obviously didn’t have anything better to do with my 2-hour break today and at first spent it doodling on a piece of paper and having a laugh to myself over my drawings. Then it started unraveling.

If I think hard enough about the reason why I started getting more and more upset, it’s probably because today in class, I joined in on a conversation with some classmates and then later realized that I suck at making friends. Why? Because I suck at being myself. Why? Because I’ve closed myself off to people. Why? Because, once upon a time, I was randomly backstabbed by the first friend I made in elementary school and it has left me scarred.

And it didn’t occur to me that that incident had left such a great impact on me until today. I mean, I knew it did but I didn’t know that it had become a freaking domino effect that would end up hurting who I am today.

Here’s the story about the backstabbing incident: this ‘friend’ of mine was telling me nasty things about another girl (let’s call her X). We were librarians, by the way. Also, we were in 6th grade, I think. I just sat there, listening. I was like, okay, rant away. I was her friend. I was there to listen to her, right? I just nodded and probably said yeah twice.

A few days later, I was confronted by some other librarian girls and asked why I said nasty things about X. And I’m like ??? Whuuuut ??? I told them I didn’t say those things. Said ‘friend’ was also in that little group that came to confront me, pretending that she was shocked by the situation. Um, probably should’ve punched her in the gut right then, right?

Instead, I realized that I’d been falsely accused and backstabbed by my own ‘friend’. So I said outright, well, ‘friend’ told me those things. I didn’t say them. She did; I just listened.

And what do you know? Because of said ‘friend’s excellent drama and natural bootlicking skills, nobody believed me. LOL. I should’ve known that nothing good would come out of changing schools the previous year. All the people – students and teachers – in that school were – and most definitely probably still are – jerks and assholes.

I don’t know why she did it. It’s not like we fought or anything. I just chalk it up to some people being cruel assholes who revel in other people’s misery.

My so-called ‘friend’ decided it wasn’t enough to just backstab me for no apparent reason; she decided to leave anonymous hate mail in my desk every day (probably feeling hella guilty; just kidding, she seems to be incapable of guilt). Cool. I had no idea who was doing it or why and all the time, said ‘friend’ pretended to be shocked and vowed to help me find out who was doing mean things to me. Um, WHY was she even still talking to me at that point? I have NO idea.

Well, anyway, to summarize the story, said ‘friend’ later confessed that it had been her sending me hate mail all along. She apologized. I don’t remember what I said. She never apologized for accusing me of saying those bad things.

You naive idiot, was what I told myself later on in high school after we went our separate ways. You big fat trusting stupid fool.

I began to recall all the incidents when said ‘friend’ had backstabbed me during earlier years. She dumped me like a hot potato for ‘cooler’ friends in 4th grade and I had thought NOTHING of that. Wow me. Wow.

So this naive idiot shut all the doors and build herself a nice tall fortress to hide behind. Alright, you can call me Elsa. Just kidding. I make fun of closing myself off to people and not trusting ‘friends’ anymore but it’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. It sucks.

Till this day, somehow, I’m still Facebook friends with this backstabber. Every year she still posts happy birthday messages on my wall and every time I read them, I think to myself or say out loud: FAKE SHIT.

Today was one of those days when I asked myself WHY? Why are you even still friends on Facebook with someone like her? I mean, I hardly even ever use Fb anymore but when I do log on, she’s there on my feed. And I hate it.

Have I forgiven her? Yes. But I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. And the monk that I talked to (read: choked out unintelligible words to while sobbing grossly) told me: don’t do stupid things. I asked her what that meant. These lines from this article explain it all and is basically what the monk told me:

Being patient and compassionate does not mean you let people take advantage of you. It does not mean that you allow other people to harm and beat you up. That is stupidity, not compassion!

Which makes sense. I was a friend to her and I was also soft so she saw a chance to use me as a scapegoat. Well, dang, you messed with the wrong girl.

You might ask, if you’ve forgiven her, then why can’t you still be Fb friends with her? You don’t have to talk to her, right? You are most certainly correct. But I think it’s toxic to continue pretending that there’s still some kind of neutral/mutual feeling left. Nope. None. Friends, we are not. Also, there she is, on Fb, being ‘BFFs’ with another friend of mine whom I used to be close to (another story, that one). It kind of sickens me because I know she will backstab again.

Which brings me back to the point I want to make in this post. The more I thought about her and what she had done and how it had affected my school life, the angrier I got.

I announced to my sister: ‘When I go home today, I’m going to delete her from Fb.’

And my sister was like, whoa where did that come from?

I wanted to come home and delete ALL the people that I don’t talk to or barely even know. I have like 100 friends on there, 3/4 of which I can’t even call friends. I need to spring clean the crap out of my Fb friends, I thought to myself. I will.

I have let this person subconsciously affect my life. Enough of this shit. Is it going to be easy to let those walls down? No. Is it worth a shot? Yeah. I may slip and stumble along the way and want to retreat further into my shell – already do, no kidding – but I can’t keep hiding in here if I want to make friends.

So here’s to spring-cleaning your ‘friend’ list and getting rid of the garbage that was weighing you down.

The second thing that set me off today was the geology textbook I was reading. After a fascinating lecture about what the Earth is made of (and I thank my mom for introducing me to geology at an early age), I found myself a table to study at while waiting for my next class. Inspired by today’s topic, I decided to read ahead but found it hard to wrap my head around all the complicated theories that my professor usually simplifies to make it easier to understand.

So I flipped back to previous chapters that we had already covered. Trust me to zoom right into the extinction subheading. The more I read, the more upset I got. Why? Because it was about how humans are causing the next big wave of extinction. I don’t know if the statistics are correct in the book but it said that soon, hundreds of species will die out every day in the next 20 to 30 years.

The textbook also said that the destruction of rain forests causes the most extinction because that’s where most of the species can be found. There was even a picture of a gorgeous tiger with a caption about how tigers are going extinct. I have always had a soft spot for tigers so that was upsetting to read. It was all just downright depressing.

I sat there, thinking of how selfish human beings are and wondering why we can’t all just co-exist peacefully on Earth. I cried.

I feel sorry for all the animals and nature being wiped out and at the same time, I feel sorry for the human beings who are obsessed with making profit and not giving a shit about anything but themselves.

You know what’s even sadder? That people don’t care. Who even gives a damn about tigers going extinct? Who gives a damn about people slicing fins off sharks and throwing them back into the ocean to die? Who is bothered about future generations not being able to see majestic wildlife? WHO? Except for environmentalists, some experts, and a handful of people who realize that this is an effing big problem, who?

I can’t even read news about people hunting near-extinct animals like rhinos and sharks. Stop it. Just stop it.

People are shallow these days (maybe more so than ever though I could be wrong). I’m not generalizing but I have met SO many unbelievably selfish and self-absorbed people. What do people even care about these days other than perpetually scrolling through their Instagram feed to like pretty pictures or celeb selfies or inspirational quotes that don’t do shit for you if you don’t even practice what you ‘like’? Do people even think about what they actually LIKE about the picture or how the picture makes them feel before double-tapping the screen? I look around in college and see that if people are not texting, they’re on Instagram. Always.

People nowadays are also more concerned about outer appearance aka superficial crap. I love me a beautifully-shot photo but I also don’t mind a picture taken with a 2 megapixel camera phone. Both can  be equally beautiful if the content is meaningful. Which subsequently kind of begs the question, why do people ‘like’ beautiful photos of nature when they can’t even play their part in protecting flora and fauna on Earth??? Outer appearance also means looks. Why can’t complimenting be not based on looks only in many instances? Why can’t people see past looks and say things like, ‘You have a great laugh’ or ‘I like that you’re patient’?

These are just examples. I’m not bashing Instagram or claiming that I don’t like good photographs. People need to dig a bit deeper into their cores and think for themselves what is important and what is not. You are important but it shouldn’t always be ‘me, myself, and I’.

I’m not trying to say that we should all drop what we’re doing and adopt an animal or devote our lives to preserving the environment. I’m just saying that if we all cared a teensy weensy bit more about things bigger than ourselves, it would make a whole world of change. That’s achievable, I should think.

Have I made sense in this post? I sure hope so. Having taken an astronomy class and now taking a geology class has really opened my eyes to so many important things. In astronomy, you learn that there are things waaaaaay bigger out there, time and space are seemingly incomprehensible concepts to wrap your head around, and you are smaller than a speck (pale blue dot, anyone?). In geology, you learn that the Earth is pretty much all humans have (at least right now), things are changing all the time, there’s still so much to learn about our planet and we need to take care of what we have now.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say.

As to why this post is entitled ‘high-low’, it’s because my professor wears a high-low polo shirt and totally rocks it.

Raine
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