Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

Celebrating the Holidays as a Young Woman.
December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I spent a lot of time today thinking about how Winter Break, Christmas, and my Birthday have changed over the years as I’ve grown older. I love the Holidays. Traditionally, it’s the time when my brother (and eventually my sister-in-law) came home and we got to spend time as a complete family. Mum usually does an English roast dinner on Christmas afternoon, along with mince pies,  jam tarts, and Dundee cake. Everything feels very British for me, and I love it. Christmas Eve the family plays Smash and Grab (a card game) and sometimes Scrabble before heading off to bed. We leave some sherry and a mince pie out for “Santa” and in the morning, I’m one of the first ones up. I have a stocking with Rudolph poking out of it and I’m allowed to empty the contents before everyone else is awake, if I want to. Mum starts cooking dinner and we sit around and open gifts, usually with me bringing them all out from under the tree. Many years, we have a gathering of friends for Boxing Day with wine and cheese and some claustrophobia.

Then things changed. It’s not because I’m getting older, but because my brother is moving into a different stage of his life. Last year, we were invited up to New York City because my brother and sister-in-law had just moved into a new apartment. They wanted to host us, and while going to the city is generally cause for excitement (for me, anyway), it wasn’t the same. I slept on the couch. It was snowing, and cold, and Mum wasn’t in the best of moods as such. Nothing felt familiar. Mum substituted a few ingredients for dinner the best she could, and there was no baking. I missed my Rudolph stocking. And even though I felt sad because I missed those things, I was disappointed in myself for feeling sad. Because the Holidays are supposed to be about being with family…but I missed our traditions, I missed the familiarity and I didn’t appreciate the stress of traveling so much (especially with my parents).

This year, my nephew was born in July. As such, we’re visiting NYC again for Christmas. In our heart of hearts, Mum and I longed to stay home. We yearned for the familiarity, the relaxation, the weather. Am I enjoying myself up here? Sure. I love getting to meet my nephew for the first time. It brings a smile to my face to see him enjoying his first Christmas. I love the city, the Subway, the lights and the sounds when I fall asleep at night. But it isn’t really Christmas for me. It’s something else, some nice family gathering with a few small gifts but it isn’t what I ache for.

I wonder whether I’ll ever get that back again.

My brother has already made comments like, “well we can do that when you’re here next year.” Mum and I give each other a knowing look; we’ve already discussed not coming a third time. I feel guilty for not appreciating the season, and for expecting my brother and sister-in-law to always being the ones to make the trip. But I want Christmas back. My Christmas. With all of the traditions I grew up with, intact.

There’s something at any age about growing up…it’s the idea that no matter what we do, things always change. Circumstances happen that we can not always control, and we adapt. We grow. But sometimes we notice, and it hurts more than we expect. I think about all of my students and how their lives are changing now that they’re in college. Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstace, Birthdays, Halloween, Easter…these holidays will never again be what they were. Perhaps something small changes and they won’t notice, or something huge will change that sets them wondering if they’ll ever go back.

This will be the first year ever that I will be away from home for my birthday. Mum might have to re-send cards to my school address. I’ll likely be working the entire day. My closest friends will forget it ever happened, and I’ll still tell strangers that I’m twenty one years old. And maybe next year it will be back to normal, just a blip in a recurring timeline.

But maybe not.

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Uninspired and Unmotivated
March 27, 2011

Note mine: found through GoogleIt’s just been one of those days. I woke up at 2:30 in the afternoon, decided I didn’t want to leave my room before dinner, and texted one of the RAs to ask if I could bring the pagers down for her at 5. I then proceeded to play LoL on my computer, take a shower, and down some oreos. During this time I thought about cleaning my room, about doing some psych reading and preparing for my midterm on wednesday, but I didn’t.

Then I got dressed, dropped off the pagers, and got dinner with Matt. It’s our monthiversary but we just grabbed food at the DFC. Nothing special, nothing fancy, neither of us were in a huge mood to go out. Let’s face it, we’ve been forced to eat out all week since the dining hall is closed during Spring Break.

Flash forward a few hours and I’ve taken a food coma nap and finally going out with Minnie to play squash. Thank goodness we caught someone at the Pro Shop to buy an extra pair of glasses, and the RSF only had one good racquet so we also played with one with a broken string. Good workout, first one I’ve had in…..a while.

Now, the ultimate plan was to do something productive tonight. I wanted to finish one or two reviews for my blog, and maybe do some room cleaning. At least go to bed early, or put a few things away, or something. Nope. Didn’t do any of that. Sat staring at my computer for a while….writer’s block. Thought about cleaning but I was too tired. Somehow decided I didn’t want to go to bed either, that was too boring. Played more LoL. Started at computer a bit longer. Checked FB for the 40th time today.

Where did it get me? 2:16 am, staring at this rambling mess I’ve just written, wondering what the hell I did with my day. Still gotta finish that blog stuff this weekend, study for my midterm on Wed, clean my room, catch up on sleep, and generally take better care of myself. Blegh.

Growing Up
March 13, 2011

is a lot harder than I thought. M and I will be graduating in May, and the stress of it all is really beginning to build up. We’re still waiting to hear from graduate schools, but the entire process isn’t working out as well as we expected. We might have to find jobs first, or go to schools more than an hour apart. I have to start budgeting. Figure out how to pay off my student loans, eat healthier, exercise more, and cut down on the amount of ruminating and stressing out I do on a daily basis.

I’m nervous about falling flat on my face when I take my first step.

Minimalist.
October 11, 2010

That title up there? Doesn’t describe me. I try. I really do. At least, I’d like to think I do.

I’d love my house, my apartment, my room to look this simple. This elegant. This…refined. But I can’t. I simply own too many things. And, as much as I keep telling myself to get rid of stuff, clean it all up, and transform my life into the clean and polished thing I aspire to, it just doesn’t fit who I am. I’m the girl who loves to be prepared for anything. Living in a dorm many miles away from home, it means I have everything I’ll ever need, right here. I have band-aids, paint, baking supplies, bubble wrap, extra sheets, lightbulbs, and three different kinds of tape. I’ve got receipts, medical records, instruction booklets, old school notes, textbooks. Hats, scarves, t-shirts, towels, shoes, ice skates, pajamas. I even have a few plants.

Because at one point or another, I need them for something. And I can’t just go home and get them. This is my home. I live here. Having what I need makes me comfy, even if it also drives me out of my mind sometimes.

Ikea can keep their elegant, simple rooms. I’ll keep my band-aids.

The Battle Within
October 5, 2010

You may not see the connection at first, but there are two things I’ve been thinking about for the last few days:

Zutara and Marriage.

I think most of you know what marriage is. Wikipedia defines marriage as “a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship.” It is sometimes seen (erroneously) as the end goal of a relationship, an institution, an agreement dictated by religion, or one more inequality for the LGBT community.

Zutara is a coined term for the non-canon pairing of the characters Zuko and Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Weird, that these should both be on my mind lately. And yet, I suppose it’s because I’ve been thinking about these two things that I’ve come to realize my internal conflict of interests when it comes to relationships.

Let’s start with the Zutara reference. If you haven’t seen Avatar, I would suggest skipping this paragraph. I’m definitely going to be spoiling a few bits. You can also skip this paragraph if you know nothing about the series, because you won’t understand the references anyway. I recently finished the Avatar series, and despite identifying as a lover of anime from its pure source of Japan, I absolutely loved Avatar. As the series developed, I hoped more and more that Zuko and Katara would become a canon pairing, but alas, Katara was fated to love Aang, the main character, and surely to go on after the series and have tons of air and water-bending babies. Mmm.

"Zutara" by Cynchick @ DeviantArt

Zutara is one of those pairings that would just never happen in any given series. It’s literally fire and ice. It’s the romanticized good girl falling for the bad guy syndrome, and it happens to me in almost every series I read, watch, or otherwise learn about. Take Harry Potter for example. I’m a huge Ginny/Draco shipper. Of course they were never going to be together, and for all of you who have finished the series you know exactly how things turned out. But I’ll always love the idea of the good girl falling for the bad guy despite her best efforts not to, her good nature changing him for the better, but all of it still having that air of…well, being naughty.

Now, let’s take a look at my fascination with marriage. Did I ever mentioned, I was engaged once? I don’t usually talk about it around my partner (and I’m sure he’s reading this right now), but it happened. It was stupid, I was naive, and I really wanted to have found the love of my life. Hindsight is a funny thing, though. Even so, I’ve always had a fascination with marriage. Being heterosexual, I have the privilege of marriage always being possible, being an option in my future, being something that I can look forward to one day. The problem is, I’m not very patient. And I’m a dreamer. I’ve always fallen for fairy tales, for the ‘happily ever after’. It says something about me that one of my favourite movies in the world is “Ever After”.

I’m lucky right now to know that my partner is much more practical about the idea of marriage than I am. I know that if we stay together through thick and thin, he’ll make the choice to propose (or not) when the time is right and when we’re truly ready for such a thing. Hell, I should really finish school first, at the very least. But it doesn’t keep me from bookmarking my dream wedding dresses, trying to figure out what engagement ring I want, even writing down baby names in my diary. I don’t stop being envious of my friends who are married (some even have kids already!) even though I know I’m too busy and too driven right now to be in their situation. Not to mention that I’m still growing up, still learning how to deal with myself and my own problems. I’m not ready to be dealing with all of someone else’s problems and even going close to touching the notion of a family.

Wedding Dress by Akyra @ Deviantart

But then this brings us back to Zutara. I like the bad side of things. I like the complicated and the dramatic, even though I don’t want to admit it to myself or anyone else. I think I like the challenge. And sometimes, as much as it hurts, I think I get off on the tragic. Why else would one of my other favourites of all time be “Lord of the Rings”? That story just ends up sad for almost everyone involved, and my favourite ending, that of Aragorn and Arewen, is the most tragic of all. How in the world am I supposed to stay in and work through a stable relationship when I get a high from everything that’s opposite to stable and cooperative?

I want the bad boy who makes me chase him, who challenges me to change him, but at the same time I want the nice guy I can marry and settle down with and start a family. It’s like two huge conflicting pieces of me, and I’m trying to balance them at the same time, in the same person. I certainly don’t know how he feels about all of this, but I feel…complicated. Difficult. Demanding. Idiotic. Why can’t I just have a ‘normal’ desire for all that is good and supportive?

I don’t know if this is something I’ll just have to handle for the rest of my life, or if I’m still waiting to grow up. I have a feeling it’s the first, which is going to take some extra work on my part to get this all to work out. And my partner is the perfect person to try with. I just hope I can get these two deeply-penetrating sides of me to add up, somehow.

Some days they’re just at war.

Time doesn’t wait for me, it keeps on rollin’
September 27, 2010

It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve posted on my own damn blog. It’s not that I don’t like writing, or that I don’t always have something to say. It’s that, well, life is kicking my ass right now. I don’t sleep more than five hours a night, I’m constantly doing work or procrastinating on something I should be doing, and I’ve been leaving most of my hobbies in the dust.

For those of you who aren’t aware, this is my last year as an undergraduate and everything is coming down to the wire. I’m finishing my major this semester, applying to graduate school, and still working hard as an RA. I have no less than three problem sets due on any given week, along with lab reports, night duty, programming expectations, and whatever else my job and school decide to throw at me.

I just want a chance to breathe.

I’ve gone from listening to high-octane dance music and alternative rock to enjoying soft, slow indie sounds, complete with piano accompaniment. Sleeping at four in the morning isn’t that abnormal this semester, and I’ve grown used to preparing my school bag and clothes the night before because there is no other way I’ll make it to class on time. Even that doesn’t happen every day.

Sure, I’ve been doing some other things. I watched an episode of Doctor Who the other night, and went into San Francisco on Sunday. I took a practice GRE last week. I went to the first football game of the season. But each and every one of those things has made another day just a bit more difficult because I’m a little behind.

I haven’t been able to start my painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, or learn the piano accompaniment for my latest favourite song, “The Freshman” (cover by Jay Brannan). I cleaned my room last week, but it’s back to it’s usual disasterous condition. My scrapbook is still missing anything from the last year or two.

So, I hope I can be back here a little more often. It’s going to take some serious planning on my part not to forget about some of the fun things that keep me sane. Luckily, I haven’t stopped reading. I’m currently finishing up Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and it’s fantastic. That and the naps are really keeping me alive right now.

30 Day Project
August 4, 2010

One of my friends started this project on her own blog a few weeks ago, and I decided that this would be a great way to get my brain in action and my hands typing away on this blog again 🙂 Day 01 to be completed by tomorrow!

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your WordPress name
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about WordPress and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have learnt
Day 30-  Who are you?

Faking It
July 16, 2010

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything while upset. Usually it turns out rather badly, and I end up reading a journal entry or an email the next day and wondering how I could have let myself write the damn thing. Unfortunately, I’ve realized this has to happen sometimes. Because I do get upset. And some things don’t get fixed right away, if at all. And sometimes it’s very lonely with no one to talk to.

I’ve posted the above postsecret card because it really sums up how I’m feeling lately. Why does it seem like everyone is so much better at this whole ‘life’ thing than I am? I know I should have enough self-esteem to say “hey, I’m doing just fine”, but some days it just all builds up until I really don’t know anymore. There are a few things that I really just starting to light my veins on fire:

1. I’m materialistic. Not just the kind of person who owns too much stuff, but i can’t convince myself to get rid of most of it. I attach way too much sentimental value to things. And I’ve tried sucking it up and throwing things away before, and it’s always ended in tears. The latest plan is to scrapbook as much of it as possible, but I’m still never caught up to the amount of photos, ticket stubs, and other little tidbits that I’ve kept. I also like to be prepared for anything, which means that in my room I have not only the supplies to participate in every single one of my hobbies (painting, sewing, drawing, singing, skating, reading, crafts, knitting, baking, video games to name a few) but I also have every item for every possible emergency or need ever. You know, bandaids, lotion, aloe vera, extra pens, computer cables, etc. I’m so sick of not being able to keep it organized and having people make snarky comments about how much I own in my dorm room.

2. I’m useless at relationship stuff. I thought I was doing well this time around, but honestly? No. We’re having the stupid fights, the angry nights, and I feel like I’m no better off than I was during any of the others. In fact, as a result of the last one I have a thousand new issues that I’m not dealing with so well either. I feel like I’m just completely broken, because other people are managing this whole thing just fine and I am just screwing it up at every chance I get.

It really doesn’t help that on top of all of this I’m stressed out, there’s something wrong with me to the point where my sleep is not at all restful (seeing the doctor in Aug. for that), I’m homesick, and my summer has flown by in the blink of an eye.

Gah. I just want to feel better.

I love summer!
June 13, 2010

It feels like I finally have time to do all of the things I’ve been longing for over the course of the year. I visit SF on a fortnightly basis, go swimming, exercise, take naps, volunteer, hang out with my fellow staff, and explore new places. I wish I could somehow manage my time so I could continue these things throughout the school year, but it just never seems to work out that way. There are far too many things I’m interested in.

Yesterday, I went down to the Berkeley animal shelter to get trained as a dog walker. It was so exciting to be there because it’s free adoption weekend! Maddie’s Fund gave Berkeley as well as 37 other shelters in the Bay Area $500 for each animal adopted, while waving the adoption fees for qualified owners. It’s always wonderful seeing pets who find themselves in the shelter going to wonderful homes where they will be loved, played with, and given a family. I’m really excited to be working at the shelter, even if it can be a bit sad sometimes, because I know I’m helping the dogs stay healthy and optimistic while they’re waiting for the home. Also because Berkeley had the lowest euthanasia rate of any shelter in California, and they never euthanize for space. I’m going to be paired with a mentor to do my first few walks, and then I can go in and volunteer anytime I want! It’s going to be awesome getting to be around animals again, and I’m hoping it will reduce my stress levels quite a bit.

Today I had an awesome time with my staff up at Clark Kerr for our yearly summer barbeque. We ate tasty burgers, competed at tennis, and played a ton of mafia. One of the RAs is super good at being the narrator, which made it a lot more fun than with any other group I’ve ever played with. NG brought her dog as well, so I had a blast running around and playing with him (thought I should remember next time that non-dog people get really worried when I do that).

All in all, a great summer so far. Class has been really enjoyable, I’m getting to do a lot of things on my wishlist, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. I just need to work harder on figuring out what graduate schools I want to apply to, and studying the GRE.

How’s your summer treating you?


I’d settle for some peace and quiet
May 14, 2010

It’s a very strange thing living in the residence halls for the third year in a row. I grew up practically an only child, with a brother who left for college when I was only four or so. Considering that my parents are quiet, older people, I’ve always had the house essentially to myself. I always wished that I could have had siblings closer to my age, so that our house could feel more alive.

Coming to college, I pretty much got my wish. I got a ton of siblings about my age; about 30 to a floor. And I really, really enjoyed it. Most of the time.

When it’s 3 am and the guy next door to you is pumping his bass so loud it sounds like an earthquake? Not so much. And now, working in the res halls means I can’t be rude, I can’t scream and swear and bitch someone out for having no consideration of others. In a lot of ways, this is a good thing that has helped me grow and improve my communication skills. But when it comes to getting some peace and quiet in my own home? Damn near impossible. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that I never had that ‘freshman mentality’. I didn’t dress in underwear and bras and go out on friday nights to pump alcohol through my system, so it’s really difficult to relate and understand what they’re going through. And the other I get, the more homework I have to do and the more stressed out it all becomes. And in the midst of that, I can’t get quiet in my own home.

Even now, when folks are already moving out, I can’t think in my own room. Finals just ended; perfect season for partying, loud music, slamming of drawers while packing, and conglomerating in groups in the hallway. And I totally understand that one; it’s just amazingly difficult to handle when I and I start summer classes in little over a week. It’s everyone’s time to relax and hang out with their friends, but all I want is to finally have some time to myself, with some peace and quiet, in my zen space.

It’s the hardest part of this job, and I have yet to find a release for all this bitterness.