So long, 2016.

I wasn’t going to write this post even though I’ve been doing it for the last 3 years but lots of things can happen in one year so I’ll make this short and sweet.

2016 was rough, I’m not going to lie. It. was. rough. Most of it being in the 2nd half of the year.

Rereading last year’s annual reflection post was hard. I felt like someone else wrote that post. On one hand, I am proud of last year’s me and on the other hand, slightly jealous. I didn’t achieve as much greatness as I did last year. I didn’t do as much as I would have liked and I certainly did not grow into the person I hoped to become. I am filled with disappointment and regret which is honestly really sad but there’s not much to be done now that the year is over.

I interned over the summer and learned that I hate being stuck behind a desk. Then I went to potential future work places and realized that maybe being stuck behind a desk isn’t so bad. The honors program thingy? A total letdown, thanks to a bunch of empty promises made by an irresponsible professor. I worked hard to get into the program – nobody truly understands how much mental work went into simply applying for it – and in the end, it turned out to be like this.

But so as to not be ungrateful and unrealistic, good things did happen. 2016 was the year of discovering KPop. I discovered Teukie who needs to find me so that we can hold each other and have a heart-to-heart. Okay, more than that, I did meet great people (friends and teachers) along the way and I had some enlightening moments. I made mistakes but I will try to learn from them and push myself in the right direction.

We discovered Yogurtland and I ate a lot over summer. I lost a lot of weight but I put most of it back on – half good, half bad thing, I guess. I had some kitchen successes – making my own alfredo sauce, okonomiyaki, foil-wrapped everything aka easy cleanup. What else… More and more gingko trees are being planted on campus; I want to be engulfed in their blazing yellow beauty. Oh, and I did read some awesome books so I guess that’s a plus right there.

As for my birthday, I had cake, lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant, dinner at our usual dim sum place, and I got great gifts – a meaningful necklace from my mom and original artwork from my sister. Can’t complain.

I want to be kinder, I want to be more patient, I want to appreciate the little things, I want to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. I want to stop being so hard on myself, to stop comparing myself to my past selves/others, to stop giving in to negativity. I want to remember that I am responsible for my actions/emotions and that my emotions are not my enemies. None of that is going to happen by itself so it’s going to have to be me making the effort. Most of all, I want to tell myself that I am capable of all this.

I don’t have new goals or resolutions for next year.

Happy New Year. Hopefully you made it out of 2016 better than I did. Let’s take on 2017 together.

Raine
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The new year

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to write about the two people she became in one year. And here’s her story:

As usual, I wanted to talk about the second half of this year which was filled with a lot of negative things but then I remembered that there are positive things in my life as well and so I’m going to start on a good note.

The most memorable event that keeps coming back to my mind is of how my dad decided to take us to a dessert store at night when we were back for summer. It’s something we don’t do often so I thought it was fun and interesting. We ate matcha ice cream, hated it, and jumped to the other dessert shop where we discovered my new favorite dessert, Shibuya honey toast. Thinking about it makes me want to cry a lot… and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.

Summer was wonderful. I have a lot of good memories that I often think about. I took a summer class (again), befriended some people, hated some parts of it, loved the rest of it. I ate a lot of good food that I am very thankful for. I bought clothes beyond my yearly quota and was pleased with the choices I made. I also discovered that I actually like driving, sort of. I listened to a lot of music, lazed around like a panda (hello, two months of jet lag), did my homework diligently, worked out to my favorite songs, discovered a Youtube artist who inspired me to pursue my dream again (thank you Alphonso) and drew a lot.

Around March or April, I started working out. At first, it was for fitness. Then it was to beย  lighter. Then it became a passion. I fell so in love with working out that I did not realize that I was hurting myself. I exercised for 5 days a week at first. Then I wanted a challenge and did 6 days a week. That was when everything changed.

I don’t really know how it happened but it’s been two months and I’m still suffering from muscle strains. I have been extremely upset about that. I’m still struggling to accept the fact that I have to take a break from exercising. I feel like I have lost a part of myself with this issue. I’m trying really hard to get back on my feet. It’s depressing for me to write about this but as always, I hope someone will read this and realize that they are not alone in fighting whatever difficulties they are going through. Our problems might be different but our fight is the same.

I’m usually aware that life has its ups and downs but I have been in great denial for this matter. I have been reading the book of wisdom that my sister and mom gave me last year and trying to lift myself out of sadness that I somehow keep wanting to swim in. A lot of the content makes me cry because it’s so raw and real and true to my feelings. One particular quote that really sent a ray of hope through my current hopelessness was this:

When we have an unpleasant feeling, we say to ourselves, “This feeling is in me, it will stay for a while, and then it will disappear because it is impermanent.” -Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s not an easy process, but I’m going to keep trying. And I know you will too.

“Onward to the next year with a shield and sword in hand!” -Myself in 2015

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The old year’s revolution, the new year’s resolution

I always never know what to say when I write these posts. I always end up writing more about myself and that makes me feel selfish at the end of the day. I also always end up writing about my interests instead of the things that have happened or something that I found memorable. Selfish, right?

So, let’s try to fix that problem right now and start off with my favorite memory of this year. Hmm, let’s see. I’m not coming up with anything. As usual, a lot of things were amusing to me. As usual, I let anger get to me, more than I’d like to admit for this year. (I should probably fix that as well.) As usual, I was offended by the same things. As usual, I didn’t say things that I should’ve. I also said things that I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry if I did or didn’t…

I’m sincerely trying to think of a memorable thing that happened. As usual, I can’t think of any. Does that mean I treasure my memories less than other people? Or does that mean I have just too many that I can’t name one?

I guess my favorite memory would be laughing. Laughing with my mom, laughing with my sister, laughing with my grandaunt, laughing with my dad, laughing on my own. Anything with laughter is good. Smiles are good too. Hugs are very excellent.

This summer, I went home. As in, HOME home. I loved every second of it. One of my goals was to spend more time with family and I did. At the beginning, I glued myself to the computer. Later on, I (figuratively) slapped myself and told myself to get out there and make good use of my time. I did the dishes, which is something I have not done very often in my own house and never for a second did it feel like a bother to me. I’d like to say that this year, I put myself into other people’s shoes and perspective a lot.

What else about summer? I took classes at a local college for the first time. It was extremely exciting for me. The experience was amazing and I loved it more than I thought. I wore a t-shirt and flappy lounge pants every day and did I mind that other kids were giving me funny looks for my taste in fashion? Nope. I was perfectly comfortable every day, thanks to the Western influence. I was confident to put my hand up in class and answer or ask questions. I loved taking math class, loved studying for it, loved asking questions about it. Thanks to my sister, I managed to get through a chemistry class with a passing grade.

Surprisingly, I made a few friends. I really enjoyed talking to them. Sadly, the friendships were short-lived, as are many today, because modern-day youngsters expect you to contact them first. If you don’t, the friendship just vanishes. Speaking of which, does anyone else experience this?

Another thing about summer: MALLS. Man, I missed the malls so much. This time, I really took the time to appreciate my surroundings. I also hung out with a friend and it was super fun. … I just realized that I sound really enthusiastic. This was fun, that was fun. My family might raise an eyebrow because at that point in time, I usually act like I’ve been forced to eat my least favorite vegetable. In retrospect, it’s like seeing happiness through a microscope. One smile multiplied into a billion. Is that good, I wonder?

One thing negative about this year, I would say, is vanity. I’ll admit that looking at all those pretty Korean celebrities have made me look in the mirror and sob a little at what I saw there. Girls, women, ladies, do not try this at home! I’m glad I got over that phase. It makes me seem like a fool. Those are what other girls do, not me. With all that cleared up, I’d like to say that I want to lose weight and exercise more because I overate last year. Am I done crying about my weight yet? Yes, I am, so let’s move on.

I suppose this is supposed to be eventful, so yes, I got my driver’s license. I’m very indifferent about this. Sometimes, I don’t even remember that I have an extra card in my wallet. It was a boring event, but probably exciting to my family. Other people also probably find it exciting. I guess hooray to the fact that I don’t have to think about it anymore? (Not really.)

This year, I think I found my place in this town. I used to dislike the fact that there weren’t many malls to go to, but nowadays, I don’t think a lot about it. I guess I started appreciating the simplicity of the town. I studied very hard this year. I did homework like every single day. That was definitely not eventful because I had less time to exercise, read, draw or whatever it was.

Speaking of drawing, I haven’t done much of it this year. In fact, out of 12 months, I probably drew for two months. I hate how I lost my enthusiasm for art and I’m struggling to find that spark again. I still continue to wish that I could draw the same kind of things, but I feel that I’m more pushed to the semi-realism side now. I no longer just want to draw manga/anime style or whatever it is. I hope that I’ll be able to combine those two things and form something new and appealing that I’ll enjoy for a long time.

Something successful that I did this year was surprise my sister with a birthday present. I feel like it wasn’t the perfect present for her, but a friend assured me that my sister would like whatever I buy for her and it turns out she was right. Now that I know she really likes it, I have turned my attention to the fact that it wasn’t my money that I used. The employment world is something that sounds tiresome and scary to me, but I guess that’s the reality of adulthood, isn’t it?

Let’s move on to something hopefully lighter. This year, I really got into Korean music. I explored a lot of Korean songs during my free time and spent way too much time watching Youtube videos than I would’ve liked. I like to think that all my favorite Korean artists are unique in their own ways. It’s all in the pop genre, but each has a different sound. The slow songs are also really nice. I’m sad that I can’t sing them, but then again, I’m always torn between starting a new hobby and honing the skills that I already have.

Okay, I think that’s the positive note (no pun intended.. music note, get it?) that I’d like to end on. Have a Happy New Year! Onward to the next year with a shield and sword in hand!

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Thank you, 2015. Hello, 2016.

sb-happynewyear I previously put the title as ‘you’ve been real, 2015’ but it sounded like I’m glad 2015 is over. That’s not how I feel about this year though. If I wanted to use ‘real’ in my title, the word ‘surreal’ would be more appropriate.

So how was 2015 for me? is what I always use in my year in review posts.

This year was surreal and filled with lots of firsts. Our biggest first this year was being alone for school over here. When Mom went home right at the beginning of this year, we had to manage on our own and having technically never been away for school alone, we had no idea how we’d do. I’d say we did okay. We fumbled, learned, and grew. For me, the most important thing I learned was to go easy on myself. I’m always very hard on myself and I have control issues born out of fear of things not being done right and also the annoying need to take on burdens by myself but this year I’ve actively tried to let go.

Other firsts: making jams and sauces from scratch (!!), lots of cooking and baking firsts (mishaps and deliciousness all happen in the kitchen, my friends), my sister getting her driver’s license (holla!!), going to our first college basketball game (and subsequently trying to go to all of them this season because we love basketball), taking a flight alone (well, with my sister but it was our first time doing it ourselves), witnessing all 4 seasons in California (fall is gorgeous), first time at a Christmas party, driving through decorated neighborhoods for Christmas, first time going to a craft fair (read about it here), Major’s first birthday (wait, you mean you don’t name your car?), and I really cannot list everything here.

Here have some pictures that I cannot seem to slot into the post appropriately (and please feel free to follow me at my new Instagram handle @raineandraisin because I forgot the password to my other account lol):

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I am rereading last year’s ‘year in review’ post as I write this. Reading the part where I quoted the Barakamon opening theme song, I’m really moved because I feel that I’ve found bits and pieces of myself this year and it’s true that you don’t have to go back to the beginning to find yourself. I compared myself with others less this year and I was kinder to myself (for the most part).

One of the biggest turning points in my life so far has been learning more about Buddhism. Buddhism is something I want to write about one day. Though I have some ways to go, I am determined to learn and practice Buddhism as much as I can. Hustle, hustle, muscle, muscle! (That’s a quote from one of the weirdest, funniest shows we’ve watched this year)

I am also pleased to tell you that this year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed myself more than I ever have. So one of the biggest things that I accomplished this year is getting into an honors program. The thought of doing research is nerve-wracking yet exciting?! These 3 sentences don’t even begin to describe all the feelings I had during, before, and after applying for the program. I wrote 2 long posts about it but never got around to wrapping them up.

I met a number of people this year who have inspired me to do better and learn more. I met new friends and kept up with old ones. I feel like this year I have become a better friend which is nice (oh god my vocab). I am thankful for all the people in my life this year, whether they taught me something or silently motivated me or made me feel like I belong or remained by my side when I most needed it.

As usual, I’m throwing in a bit about my birthday since my birthday is in December and I ended up not writing about my birthday. I turned 22 this month. It was a modest affair (I reread 2013’s year in review post and it seems that ever since I entered my 20s, my birthdays have been really mild). My mom and sister took me out to another fancy lunch AND had dessert just like last year. This time I had a huge chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream and it was deeply satisfying.

My ninja gift givers also pulled off yet another birthday surprise. My sister got me a keychain which is always nice because I used to be a keychain hoarder (had literally 20 keychains on my pencil case at one point in time) and I still do love keychains. I did NOT expect anything so it was a fun surprise. I asked my mom for lipstick but there have been some hiccups with the site that we want to order from so I’m still waiting for that. I haven’t made birthday wish lists in years because as I’ve grown older, I realize that I don’t need material things to be happy on my birthday. I’m happy with just cake and family.

As for our love for Japanese things, I’m happy to say that it was a successful year of discovering Chemistry, watching sooo many new animes, and finding manga gems. Oh yes, we managed to make a huge step forwards in our Japanese learning which is super exciting. Has it already been 2 years since we dove back into the anime/manga world?! Like I said, surreal.

Random: I took 6 weeks of Korean classes this year during summer but sadly haven’t made time to continue learning it on my own. My retention is likely 15% haha but I want to work on it so that all that time and money won’t be wasted. Also, I just really love languages and want to learn as many as I can. Being in California, I would like to learn Spanish buuut I don’t know how doable that’s going to be if I’m still working on my Japanese. This was so random.

Learning a new language isn’t easy and though it has taken us longer than expected to get to this point, it is still deeply rewarding and I want to tell everyone who is learning a new language not to give up even if you think you’ve fallen behind or that you won’t get to where you want to be or that you won’t actually get to use it so why bother. And whatever you do, don’t feel discouraged by people or books telling you that their way is the best and only way to learn the language. There is no RIGHT way to learn a language and it’s perfectly OKAY to go at your own pace.

There is one main thing that I wanted to do this year which I half-accomplished, half-failed at. That was to control my emotions better. I am disappointed at all the times I gave in to my emotions and did/said things I can’t be proud of.

Overall, this year didn’t feel like it went by super fast. It had all the ups and downs and loop-d-loops but it was also a year of accomplishments and solid life lessons. To quote last year’s post but with a different spin: I stumbled and fell now and then, sometimes I was helped up, sometimes I helped myself up, but ultimately Iโ€™m grateful for everything Iโ€™ve learned this year and for the less pleasant things, I will chalk them up to experience and grow from there. Probably the wisest thing I said last year.

I don’t have a theme song going into 2016 like I did for last year. I hoped that I would find one but I didn’t. I have been trying to think of my ‘word’ or ‘phrase’ for 2016 because I’ve seen lots of inspiring ones out there but ultimately, here I am on the last day of 2015, still undecided. When I think of next year and some of the things that I know lie ahead, a few words come to mind but if I want to pick a word, I want it to encompass both the known and unknown.

Mindfulness.

It’s been a word that has been coming to me frequently and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to bring it up. Mindfulness used to be a word I didn’t understand and didn’t think about often. It is actually a really simple concept – that is to be fully present – yet it is not as easy to practice as we think.

With that, I would like to declare mindfulness as something I would like to actively practice going into 2016.

Here’s to being present and cultivating more compassion! Let’s meet again soon.

Raine
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2014 in review

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Good afternoon. As I write this, it’s 3PM, we just came back from having pizza and now I’m sitting here, wondering where all the time has gone.

2014 is ending? But how? Isn’t that usually the question I ask at the end of the year?

So how did 2014 treat me? There were ups and downs and loop-d-loops and I probably came out a bit more different than I expected. I think I did a lot less than I intended to but I learned a lot more. To put it simply, 2014 has been a year of trying + discovering new things and unintentionally dropping some things.

Mostly it started with our move. Vancouver seems like light years away. When I think back on those days, it almost seems like it happened in a previous life. We started 2014 in Vancouver and honestly? It sucked. Well, there, I said it. Our time in Vancouver sucked. It was like a punch in the gut. My motivation went right out the door along with my hope that things would be different. I stopped drawing, I stopped doing nail art, I stopped working out, even my writing kind of stalled, and I felt like utter crap (understatement).

It just wasn’t doing any of us good so my sister and I decided to apply to the college we had originally planned on going to. It was stressful applying so late but we got it done and we were accepted. We left Vancouver at the end of April. Looking back… well, I can’t really say much about it except occasionally I think about the fish and chips shop we used to eat at weekly, the gorgeous sakura trees I walked past every day on the way to the bus stop, the 3 snow days we saw, and the sushi place we went to whenever we didn’t feel like having fish and chips. Oh, and my astronomy class. Um, yeah.

Highlights: getting to see our first snow. It was more beautiful than I imagined and I had so much fun playing in the snow. So much so that I almost forgot about how crappy it was there.

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We went home for summer. With that, those 4 months were over. Summer was a lot of things but mostly ignorant bliss and eating out and getting to see our pup. I also worked for a couple of weeks at a customer service department. It was interesting if not boring (long hours) and draining (reading complaints every single day is mentally exhausting, no kidding). The best part was getting to have lunch with one of my friends from high school every week since we were both in the same area. Towards the end of summer, there was a lot of packing and stressing out from packing and planning for school. I would put up some pictures from summer but my phone went kaput a few weeks into summer.

I let Vancouver hold me back for too long. I didn’t even realize that I was way down in the dumps until one day I woke up and thought to myself, ‘oh my god, I think I’m a bit depressed’. I didn’t want to do anything and I was just going through the motions. I was lost and tired. Kicking myself out of that funk wasn’t easy and admittedly sometimes I still think I need to haul myself further out. Lesson learned: don’t let a place and/or its people drag you down.

August was crazy. Settling into a whole new place was challenging (probably an understatement seeing as we were kind of homeless for 3 weeks) but we managed somehow and we moved into an apartment. The running around didn’t stop there and in-between going to school, it was wild and hectic. Looking back, of course it doesn’t seem as stressful but it was. I have that experience to thank for making me more knowledgeable and realizing that I’m more capable of handling ‘adult’ stuff than I thought. Lesson learned: you are capable of a great many things but at the same time, you are enough.

But school has been okay, we’ve made some friends, we know our way around campus,ย  we did some volunteer work that I’m proud of, we know most of the streets around our area like the back of our hand, we’ve found places we enjoy going to (yes, this includes Costco), we finally don’t live in a tiny bunker under someone else’s house (aka in Van and lol rent wasn’t cheap either), we’re close to San Francisco (which is, duh, my favorite place) and Disneyland (which we have yet to get annual passes to hehe), we’ve got a car now.

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I also turned 21 this month. I would say it was a quiet affair but it was definitely a bigger thing than last year. My mom and sister took me out for a nice lunch and we even had dessert – a decadent brownie topped with ice cream and nuts aka my favoritest dessert evar – which we don’t really do on other days. At night, we went to our favorite dim sum place which is this cozy hole-in-the-wall that we like to call our spot. I had cake too. Haha, how my mom and sister spoil me. On the same day, our Thanksgiving haul from Target arrived so that was a bonus.

Again, my mom and sister (aka ninja gift givers and surprise experts) managed to surprise me with their presents. I wasn’t expecting anything at all – I’m happy just having dinner with people I love – but I should’ve if the past years have been any indication of their surprise skillz. My sister presented me with a piece of art she drew for me and what makes it beautiful and special is the meaning behind each drawing. My mom got me a locket with three charms inside (all of the charms hold a special meaning) and it’s amazing. Jeez, I’m gonna have to work extra hard to top their surprises for their birthdays. ๐Ÿ˜‰

No alcohol has been consumed since then. I’m fun that way.

Blogging wise, I’ve been less motivated this year but I feel like the few posts I did write were very real and keep true to our tagline haha. Who knows if 2015 will finally be the year we clean the heck out of this blog and work on it twice as hard? But then again what’s the fun in blogging if it becomes a chore? Heh, we’ll see if any blogging goals make it to my 2015 goals (if I even make a list).

2014 was the year I tried to get with the times in terms of social media. I made an Instagram account and discovered that I would rather play Sudoku than Instagram. It’s boring and the only account that I truly love is Snoopy. I should probably follow more people and get into it but no, really, it’s boring. A bunch of edited pictures, yay, the end. Maybe it’s just me…

OH. I almost forgot. We watched K: Missing Kings this year. I think that calls for more cake or something. Season 3 is coming next year. More champagne, more cake.

I said in my 2013 review that I wished that I learned to drive. Well, it wasn’t so much as learning to drive than getting my license but I did it. I’ve got a California’s driver’s license and honestly?? It feels amazing. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real. I can drive. It’s a big deal to me haha.

Yeah, I guess 2014 has had its moments, good and bad. I stumbled and fell and it took me longer to get back on my feet but I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned this year and for the less pleasant things, I will chalk them up to experience and grow from there.

So Iโ€™ll be myself and youโ€™ll be yourself,
I really donโ€™t think itโ€™s something we have to start over from the beginning to find – Rashisa, Super Beaver

I am currently obsessed with Rashisa by Super Beaver from the anime Barakamon (one of the most touching and eye-opening shows I’ve watched this year). Reading the lyrics, I feel that the song was written for me (hello cheesy me). This year I’ve struggled with accepting and finding myself. I’ve had moments where I just drift off into unpleasant thoughts and wonder if I’m happy with who I am now and think of how much better I liked the old me. It hasn’t been easy admitting to myself that I’ve been living in the past instead of moving forwards. Which is why I’m grateful for my sister and mom who have been nothing but supportive of me. They’ve put up with my crap and they see the best in me when I can’t. With that, I would like to declare Rashisa my song of 2014 and my theme going into 2015.

Here’s to being ourselves whoever that may be and let’s meet again next year!

P.S: Of course it’s so me to write a post that could have been halfway organized and that could have used more pictures. Oh well.

Raine
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2014: What a year it has been

I’m not really sure how to start this post since I haven’t blogged in a loooooong time, so I’m just gonna start without an introduction. Please bear with me.

I really wanted to do one of those year-in-review art memes, but I realized a lot of things about my art skills recently. One, I wasn’t improving. Two, I wasn’t very good at it. Three, I should do something about it. I’m basically restarting as a beginner. This time, I’m not going to jump into anatomy or anime styles or anything. I hope that I can get better and finally draw some stuff that I really want to soon.

While I became kinda close-minded about several things this year, I also opened my mind to a lot of things. Asian pride is one of them. If I put in the effort, I would be watching Korean movies and TV shows everyday. Right now, pretty much anything Japanese owns my heart, but heck, I love Korean music (though I’m not sure where to begin) as much as Japanese music.

I didn’t play any video games this year. Shocking? Yes. Anime-wise, I’ve been pretty successful. I read a lot of mangas and watched a lot of animes. Watching K Missing Kings in the theaters was one of the best things ever. Nothing much to say here.

One of the most interesting things that happened this year was having a real conversation with my dad. I don’t remember much of what we said, but I guess I should say that I got to see a side of him that I never saw before. Well, something like that, anyways. As always, I enjoyed spending time and laughing with my family.

I intended to make this a negative post – of how I failed, of how I lost my inspiration, of how I hated myself, of how I wanted time to turn back, of how I made a million mistakes, of how I let people down, of how I let fear catch hold of me, of how I stopped drawing…

I don’t really know when these things started, but I was doing fine at the beginning of the year. I was thriving on positivity and happiness. I expressed my feelings more than I ever did because I learned that it prevents miscommunication. I gave lots of hugs and moral support to everyone. Somewhere, along the way, these walls crumbled and turned light into darkness.

I have had a lot of anxiety issues this year. For example, anxiety attacks. It’s sad that I actually cried more than I did last year, which was supposedly one of the toughest years for me. I cried a lot and I apologized a lot. I also started to think of a lot of negative things. Sometimes, even today, I’m in this state. Sometimes, I’m not. I sincerely hope that when I emerge from this pit of anxiety and dark thoughts someday, I will be stronger than before.

For the time being, please lend me your strength, and I will try my very best to lend you mine. Have a happy new year filled with prosperity, joy and love!

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2013 in review and Weekly Wishes #18

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Hi everyone! Hisashiburi! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I guess it’s only been a week but it seems like forever because within last week, we had a major transition. Can’t do the picture prompt for this week because things are a little hectic right now but thank goodness for having a spare picture in my folder somewhere. That’s me and San Francisco in the distance.

Last week’s post was rather quiet but oh well, we’re in the next week already and tomorrow is New Year’s Eve!!

Have we really reached the end of 2013? This year seemed to fly by. I may say this almost every year but the days this year have really seemed to peel by faster than ever. As usual, I’ll be doing my obligatory end-of-year annual reflection which will also serve as this Weekly Wishes post.

In 2013,

I learned a lot about myself. At some points, I felt like I lost myself a bit but I think it’s good to lose sight of yourself sometimes because you discover things about yourself that you never knew existed within you. How philosophical and cliche did that sound? I have my philosophy class to blame but it’s true. Confidence and strength are two of the countless things I’ve gained this year. I guess it’s true that as you grow older you care less about what people say about you and you do things that once upon a time would have made you uncomfortable. I mean, come on, I dance on escalators now, haha.

I learned many new things and picked up a few things that I’d left hanging. Drawing is something I picked up again. I never thought I would pursue my interest in art because I always thought you either had talent or didn’t and clearly I thought my talent was nil. Haha, my lack of confidence is a bit disgusting and embarrassing but I’m glad I’m getting better at it. Now I believe anyone can do anything as long as they put their heart and best effort into it so even I may one day be a bona fide pro artist one day. Even if I don’t, I think I’d just be happy that I started drawing again. I’m glad Skye convinced me to draw again. ^__^

I also lost more weight than I ever have and I feel pretty good about myself. -insert proud emoticon- I have been working out consistently and I’m actually enjoying working out. I used to dislike exercising mostly because I had to haul myself out of bed every morning to follow my mom to the gym which wasn’t the greatest of places. The air-conditioning was always switched off, the staff was nasty and the people who frequented the gym do not know how to follow simple gym etiquette (talking loudly on cell phones, hogging all the equipment, leaving their stuff everywhere, being generally unhygienic, stuff like that). Well, eventually my mom and I stopped going and after weeks of convincing ourselves that we would work out in the comfort of our home, we finally did and now we’ve got our own gym corner. It’s fun and just shows that we don’t need a gym with fancy equipment to work out.

Skye and I finished a first rough draft of a fantasy novel. I think that calls for a HECK YEAH! It’s always been our dream to write something together. You know how sometimes you write something, forget about it along the way, find it again some time later, read it and think omg what was I thinking that is so freaking cheesy?! Yeah, well, we reread our draft and it’s actually pretty solid and we still like it. ๐Ÿ˜€ We also wrote a thriller together – so much fun and such a nice change from all the romance I was writing, haha.

Watched a whole bunch of new shows, got hooked on anime again, in the process fell in love with Japanese songs. Hmm, yeah, you can already tell by our previous posts. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think we have Skye’s classmate to thank for our revived interest. Here are some of the best animes we’ve watched so far: K Project, Nurarihyon no Mago, Rurouni Kenshin. And here are the good/decent ones: Hakuouki Reimeiroku, Full Metal Panic!, Spice and Wolf, Shingeki no Kyojin. Undecided on whether or not to continue these animes: Magi and Durarara!. I am sure there are way more than these few but I just can’t seem to bring them up in my mind.

I also read some excellent mangas this year: Rurouni Kenshin (first rate manga though the ending was more bittersweet than I would have liked), Natsume Yuujinchou (I only found out the manga is ongoing after I reached the supposed last chapter, haha; beautifully written and I shed a tear at almost every end of a chapter), K: Memory of Red (oh, the emotions while reading this manga… indescribable; beautiful relationships and great short stories that co-relate with the anime and novels). Currently reading: Kuroshitsuji, Natsume Yuujinchou and K: Days of Blue (Munakata Reisi is unexpectedly funny and the Blues have a strange bond). Reading mangas is different from reading books but both are great. The difference is reading mangas is like piecing your own anime together.

As for other movies, TV shows and music, it’s safe to say that we’re outdated… We only watched a couple of movies this year, are keeping up with fewer TV shows – only Person of Interest, Arrow, Elementary – and we’re completely lost on what the radios are playing these days. Yup, marching to our own beat is who we are. Seriously though, apart from Overnight by Parachute – which is a really good album – we have no idea what’s down and awesome. Even if we did, we probably wouldn’t find them awesome. We pretty much stopped listening to the radio two years ago. The ‘new’ music these days isn’t really our cup of tea. Hmm, yeah. I wrote this part a week ago and after spending a good 3/4 of a day on a plane and surfing the music folder, it’s safe to say that we are completely outdated………….

In terms of other reading material, we didn’t buy many new books but the ones that we did were really good. Mostly all thrillers. I can easily count the books we bought on both hands. Why are books so expensive?? And why does reading from a screen suck so much?

Languages. Skye and I tried learning Italian for a while. It was alright. We thought we’d be the next voice actors for Assassin’s Creed if they ever set the game in Italy again. Then we lost interest (what is this, right?) because we started watching anime again and were like, OMG WE ARE HALF-JAPANESE WHY CAN’T WE SPEAK THE LANGUAGE? I may or may not be kidding about being half-Japanese. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yeah, so we left our Italian hanging but one day we’ll be back. Who knows, maybe in 2014?

I also turned 20 this year. It was a quiet affair… like seriously quiet. I didn’t even remember it was my birthday and after that I didn’t really get that post-birthday excitement that I usually get. But it was fine. I still can’t believe that I’m in my second decade now, haha.

I also learned more about life. Life is… strange. That’s pretty much all I can say about it. I wouldn’t know how to put my other thoughts into words. There were some turning points in my life this year – some trying, some relieving, some just strange – but I’ve learned a lot from all of them.

Some other highlights of the year: my last semester in college (yeeeaaaahhh!! so glad I’m done with that school), summer in California (I MISS IT SO MUCH AND I WANT TO GO BACK AGAIN), Skye finally graduating from high school (hallelujah!!) and getting accepted to college, me getting accepted to uni (after an arduous process), finding new places to eat (always a highlight) and… and okay my highlights may not be as exciting to read about so I’ll just stop.

I suppose there is one main regret that I have for this year – I wish I learned to drive. Well, I do know how to drive but I probably need a few more hours on my clock to be a certified driver, hah. I dropped out of my driving course last year because the instructor sucked big time and there were more than a few complications with the driving school. Can anyone be a driving course dropout? Yes, they can. Me, apparently, haha. Being a passenger and seeing the crazy vicious drivers on the road really put me off though. I couldn’t see myself behind the wheel at all. Sigh. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to make my debut on the road as a driver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This about sums up 2013 for me. How was your year? Link your ‘annual reflections’ (or New Year resolutions posts) when you leave a comment. I’d like to read about 2013 from your point of view. I have loads more to tell you all but until then, Here’s to 2014, let’s meet next year!

Thanks for being awesome to us! We appreciate every one of you and promise to be better bloggers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a safe and wonderful Happy New Year wherever you are!

zr1

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