Tag Archives: Life

Iceland 2014 and Euro+Morocco 2014 Thoughts Part 1

I promised someone I’d post a recap of things I experienced, learned, and realized after coming back from Iceland. Since I went on another trip since then I figured I’d combine the two somehow. First step: Iceland. Those who have already seen numerous photos of Iceland may not feel the same, but for me seeing them again always gives me a sense of joy. The country stole my heart and soon you shall know why.

Iceland was the first destination I ever planned and went to on my own. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and everyone insisted that I go with at least one other friend. Well, that one other friend never appeared and I didn’t want to just do nothing. My flight was purchased after some research via Google Image Search. That’s how it happened. Two months before the trip I found out about ice caving and booked a tour for that. Two weeks before leaving I did more research and planned my route and booked two hostels out of the five I eventually stayed at.

Isolation and loneliness right off the bat. Getting off the plane and the rest of the day after that was a period of adjustment that didn’t quite got adjusted. Knowing no one and not knowing the area well (other than from a Google Maps perspective) made me feel lost. Lost. My being there at that point was meaningless, pointless, and useless. The memory that stands out most from that day is pulling over at the side of a road, pulling out a map, and alternately staring at it and the outside of the car. I probably sat there for a good 30 minutes unable to make any decisions. It felt like hours. Finally, decision made: get out of the car and just look around where I am. Outside the car the air slipped through the cracks of my clothing, the wind tried its best to push me away from the comfort of the rental car I had. My fingers by that point started to feel like they were expanding and contracting at the same time and I started to shiver. I grinned and let a warm chuckle escape from my mouth. “I’m in Iceland” I realized. And for the first time on that trip I felt excited. But it didn’t last the whole way through.

Experiences like this taught me that, sometimes, moments of loneliness just happen. I can never expect to get rid of them forever, even when doing something that is supposedly fun or exciting. Experiencing isolation and loneliness can feel either positive or negative depending on the context and realizing that only made me more comfortable in doing things on my own. That being said, I can never get away from the desire to share an experience with another person. By that I mean one of those “I wish you were here” moments. In any case, enjoy the moment. I do so more now than I used to as a result of this trip.

Excitement, wonder and confusion at being in Iceland. The things I could experience, see, and do! The oddity of how everything seemed to be. Recognizing nothing was refreshing. The newness made every experience wondrous. Not knowing anything was confusing. Doing things such as grocery shopping was always tough since most things were in Icelandic and half the time I couldn’t figure out what the item itself was. That made it fun. A typical experience born anew. Realization: “boring” things can be made fun or exciting by throwing in a different context to it. We need consistency in our lives, but it’s always nice to change it up and going on far flung trips isn’t always necessary for that. Admittedly, this is one realization that I have yet to apply in my own life.

Calmness is pretty important for travel and especially for  life. The being lonely part helped me rethink priorities, goals, and needs. Admittedly, this is easier when you aren’t stressing out about any events that actually affect your life. My main concern for the trip was finding things to do on certain days the day of. It seemed like a waste of time to be doing nothing or not seeing sights, but at some point I just stopped caring. As long as your enjoying yourself there is no need to be having some life changing experience every moment of every day while traveling or being able to see everything. Doing so (if it were even possible) would make every travel experience the same. What sights others found beautiful I found bland and vice versa. Just be calm and enjoy the moment as it is. If it’s boring, then it’s boring. If it’s amazingly life changing, then it’s amazingly life changing. No big deal if it isn’t what you expected. Don’t stress when you travel, you went traveling to relax. Why stress if things aren’t going like you expected? One of the big things I got back from going to Iceland.

Traveling can be boring. 

Strangers can be more fun than you realize.

Make it your own when you travel. Being asked “Why Iceland?” sometimes out of genuine curiosity, other times out of shock as if “Why would you ever go somewhere cold?” reminded me of how often people tell you how to travel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course since the experiences of others are often extremely helpful. It all depends on what you want to get out from traveling. If you want to go somewhere different then you don’t necessarily have to go off the beaten path. If you don’t want to be surrounded by other tourists then off the beaten path you may go. If you want to go and find yourself then the way you travel is probably going to be more grabbing your own bootstraps.

There are all these posts telling you about what traveling has taught people (case in point, this one) and how amazing it is (it isn’t always going to be the case, sometimes your trip will suck, briefly or the whole time). Travel itself isn’t what gives you life lessons or amazing experiences. It’s what you decided to do when you go travel. Each experience is different and not every form of travel works for everyone. And here’s something that’s possibly blasphemy in the travel world: You don’t have to travel to live life, learn things, or be open minded. Traveling doesn’t always make you a better person, be happier, or help find your life’s path. If it were that easy, then holy crap go travel! You don’t have to travel to some far flung place with a different culture. Sometimes doing it all at once is just too much and sometimes it backfires. Rather than appreciate a different culture, a person could just as easily find it below their own and use that experience to justify being superior. Yeah, that happens.

If you do learn anything, it doesn’t stop once you get back from your trip. Even now, I find myself discovering or rediscovering realizations based on my experiences from my solo Iceland trip. If anything, traveling does tend to enhance certain qualities of a person more so than others so traveling has that going for it.

TL;DR Travel your own way, don’t always listen to others. Especially those talking about how traveling is amazing, more amazing than rainbows.

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8 Days

As the title suggests, I leave for Iceland in eight days. I’ve already started packing/preparation and already, a few things have happened. A few weeks ago I handed in my letter of resignation to the part time job I’ve been working at. I expected to leave and come back with no job whatsoever. On Sunday I found out that I could indeed quit, but my employer suggested I stay on as I am classified as a student still and it would make more sense to stay on as a student until later on in the year. When that time comes, I can decide. It’s not really that big of a loss since the student position is really flexible. Can’t work because I need to “study”. A bit bummed I didn’t actually quit in the end, but on the flip-side I will still have a means of getting some cash flowing in when I get back. Not the most ideal way as I am trading time for money (and not a lot at that), but it’s one way. Plus, I was only working weekends anyway.

Moving on to something else, more personal. I think we can all relate to looking back and seeing our present selves as different from our past selves; in the sense that our values, opinions, and/or goals have changed. Usually (at least for me) it’s an instant realization that “hey I don’t enjoy this anymore”, “wow, I remember disliking this before”, or “jeez I wish I knew this when I was younger”. Ok, maybe that last one is a bit iffy. It makes me seem like an old fart (no disrespect intended old farts, I’ll be one too) and I’m still pretty young technically speaking. The past few days I’ve felt myself in the process of changing. I’m beginning to understand the direction my future self will take in terms of personality. It’s weird. I feel like I’m almost watching myself in the form of a plot/plot development. I suppose that’s what life can be described as though, a plot development.

Tangent aside, I am feeling and watching my values and goals change. Age. Mature. Grow. Die. Take shape. Begin. Stagnate. It’s bizarre. The changes are rapid and slow. Easy and hard to accept. Some of these changes were made by my own decisions. Others just happened. I’m watching my view of life change. I’m also watching my view of life solidify. A lot of questions arise as a result of this. I am able to see myself in the third person and ask questions. Why do I hold that belief? What makes that important to me? Is that even important to me? What makes that valuable to me? Is that really who I want to be?

Right now, I am really questioning my current set of necessities vs. wants. There are two aspects to this for me, possessions and ideas. Possessions are pretty straightforward. Do I need this item? Or do I just want it because of reasons XYZ? The ideas aspect is more along the lines of “Do I need to know this?” With things like Google or Wolfram Alpha at our fingertips, do I need to remember certain kinds of information? Or do I just want to know them? Do I need to keep a learning attitude? Or do I just want to because other people have said so? Or is it just because I want to keep a learning attitude? Is it necessary for me to have a more independent lifestyle? Or do I just want to? There is a bit more to it than that at the moment, but at 2am that’s all I’m going to flesh out.

Stay Frosty

When life gives you lemons, burn them.

And by that, I mean get rid of what is making what you want troublesome for you as soon as possible. It helps. Really. GO!

Of course that only helps when you know what you want. I don’t particularly like talking about myself, but it’s been a while and there is a distinction between bragging and just laying out facts right? Right??…Sure. Some of the enjoyable things I’ve ever done has been on a whim. Bump into some friends on campus as they’re about to head over somewhere to eat, chill, base jump off Buchanan Tower and we end up exploring, drinking (for the first time), having philosophical discussions, and generally feeling content about life (just to name a few things). That being said, here’s a topic that is completely on a whim and something I hope I will not regret sharing.

I try my best to keep myself positive and, for the most part, look at life from an objective point of view (getting information from as many different sides as possible). I do my best to not take things personally and look at the best in people. The best part of this style of thinking? There is no one I dislike and very rarely have I come close to being angry at anything or anyone. The not so good part is that I often have a “meh” attitude towards many things and it sometimes takes some pressure before I really get into doing anything. That’s me though, and I’m not really complaining. I’m happy for the most part. I wasn’t always like this though. Back when I was younger (hey I sound like I’m 50! Can’t wait till I turn 50), I was generally a depressed kid that either didn’t fit in well with others or didn’t really feel like fitting with others. Yeah, I really don’t even know which even though it was myself. I guess that’s pretty serious, but ANYWAY. Elementary school blew and I never felt like I was part of a group. High school sucked up until grade 11 (more on that later) and I was still shy, reclusive, untrusting, and suspicious of everyone and still didn’t feel like part of a group (this includes my own family, any moments there were felt quite temporary)! 7 year story short (I count grade 4 to grade 11), I never really liked life. Something in hindsight, quite ridiculous in its own way. Life has a funny way of working that way.

Come grade 11 and I had discovered photography, probably one of the most defining moments in my short life thus far. Now comes Jeff. He’s a guy I’ve known since grade 8 and honestly speaking, also a person who has had a big impact on my life. Looking back, he was the one that encouraged me to join yearbook class the following year. I can think of two things that make it so important. First, he was the first person to encourage me to put my photography to use and for a meaningful cause (and feeling useful/meaningful is one of better feelings one can have). Two, as far as I’m concerned, he believed and trusted me with something. I didn’t recognize it in the moment, but really thinking about it now that made for a huge change. I never felt connected to academics (though one can argue that no one really is) and I was on a downward spiral that did not make me want to put any effort into my life. Having something to be decent at and having someone who believes in you and is encouraging you to pursue it further made such a difference that I ended up becoming a different person. I shudder to imagine where I would be if these two wonderful coincidence didn’t come into my life the moment they did. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be in UBC, I wouldn’t know all the people I know now because of being at UBC, and I sure wouldn’t be the me I am today. Of course, one can ponder the possibility of my existence had I gone to SFU (yes I probably would have gone there, that is a very likely possibility). It could have been better, I could still be the way I am right now, and who knows perhaps I would have met even more amazing people at SFU. That’s all a “what if” though.

Whatever happened to me and Jeff though you might ask. Well, we both went our separate ways. We co-blogged in our first year and then things just drifted, as one would say. If you asked me what I thought about him in grade 12, I would have said that he was one of my best friends. Ask me now, and all I can reply with is a shrug. The last time I really talked to him face to face in a meaningful way was back in the beginning half of first year. I still see him around here and there, but it’s never more than a “hey, how’s it going? Great, yeah me too” kind of thing. This kind of result of something so meaningful can be described in a multitude of ways: disappointing, sad, undeserving, insane, ridiculous, or stupid. It can be blamed on lots of factors. I could be blamed for it too. Is there any point in blaming? Not really. Things are the way they are and in the given context, disappointing but not worth really crying over. I see it as one of the wonderful realities of life. A concept that produces both sadness and joy, a kind of grace in sorrow. I don’t know if Jeff will ever read this. It probably doesn’t really matter, if does it would be quite interesting. If he doesn’t, it’s still quite interesting. Nothing lost, nothing gained, nothing wasted.

And with that, I shall end. A story that I would say is common, but uncommonly told.

If only papers were this easy to write…I would be halfway through one of them right now with this many words in this one blog entry. Sheesh. And in case anybody was wondering, I really do not regret writing this, and in fact it has brought me out of what was a depressive state.

I believe in stories

I think most people (if not all) have a certain draw to stories. Stories come in many forms: books, news, history, gossip, and music. Many stories have happy endings; many stories have sad endings. Many of the same stories have multiple endings. Regardless, a good story will always draw attention. That’s one of the things I have come to believe in.

I still cannot shake off this feeling of non-permanance ever since coming back from China. Despite having started school and hanging out with friends here a lot. I’ve had a lot of fun since whenever the heck I started feeling like a stranger here and that feeling of strangeness still persists. Do I feel like I belong? I’m not sure. Do I feel like I don’t belong? Still not sure. That being said, it’s really stopped being all that important. Call it an identity crisis, mid-life university crisis, or a changing point in life (or perhaps even all of the above) but time keeps going and caring for too long is just unhealthy. It’s always helpful having sets of codes to follow. Mine are a mix of conflicting and, possibly, sometimes hypocritical responses to situations. What’s nice about having multiple sets of codes is being able to swap one set for another depending on those situations. Best of all, they’re adaptable for changing “trends”. Without codes, life is confusing.

Being confused about life sucks; I can hardly imagine a time when it isn’t. I wish I could say I discovered an easy fix for anybody that will work but I haven’t and I very much doubt the existence of such a possibility. Actually, that’s a lie. The solution is very simple in the sense that it’s just the way it is. Finding your own unique combination of things that make that solution your own is the hard part. Simply put, the solution is just having something to do. You read that and are probably going “What? That’s it? No there has to be something more to it than that.” Well, you’re right. The solution is a combination of being busy and engaged. It’s all about doing whatever it is that both keeps you busy and gives you a sense of satisfaction (a meaningful return of some sort). It’s all been said and done before, but goals help. Any sort of goal helps. Crazy goals, realistic goals, pointless goals (pointless in the sense that it doesn’t do anything beneficial in the “real, adult” world, bungee jumping as one let’s just say; all that is completely arguable of course), and goals that exist just because they exist. Now here are lists of some of my goals and what I believe in. I would prefer to write them down for myself, but I realized I really need something to get me kickstarted back into blogging with words again.

Life goals:

  • be able to speak at least 5 languages (not including English or Mandarin) fluently just for the sake of being able to
  • spend an entire night out with friends from midnight until the 12:00pm without falling asleep (without alcohol involved)
  • make a positive difference in as many different people and different ways as possible
  • travel to every continent in the world at least 2 times (antarctica is included)
  • not get too bored with life
  • go on a roadtrip
What do I believe in?
  • for starters, stories
  • skepticism
  • gut feeling
  • expression
  • oneself
  • trust
  • your momma
  • music
  • passion
  • and I’ll avoid the cheesy one (being friends)
In any case, speaking of friends there are a few that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately (perhaps too much 😉 ) whom are making my life right now quite interesting. In a positive way of course and instead of a photo drop as I was intending (due to oddly enough a lack of photos), a name drop shall do (and in no particular order). Stefanie, Kevin, Chaerean, Masashi, Seiya, and Scion. Ya’ll know who you are and it’s been such a blast hanging out with all of you so far. Life has definitely been much more interesting, understatement, with you all around.
And now for random media bits and pieces:

To be fashionably late.

I’m a little bit late on the blogging time frame to say: OMG SNOW!!!

Heck I’m pretty late about that in general. Here are some photos that are snow related.

In other news, I’m quite jealous of tumblr users. I should get back to using that again at some point. It’s nice because one can post up whatever they feel like posting up. Unlike a traditional blog where it feels like there should be a number of words among photos as well. *sigh*

Perhaps, short, sweet, and to the point is best. I am amazed at just how complex life itself can be. One day you’ll find it extremely simple and within a second it can be complex to the point where you want to shoot yourself (well maybe not that badly).

Been enjoying lots of music lately. Mostly heavy rap and hip/hop (which is totally not what I usually listen to)

I like the original for it’s beats and such. I like this version much more though. Girl’s voice is PERFECT

For now, I think that’s my life in a nutshell. I still think life is pretty awesome, just sayin. Anywho, I just realized I should be writing my essay. Bis später.

Late night blogging, how I’ve missed you so.

It’s about 3:50a.m. and it is a toasty 10 degrees Celsius in my room. Very “warm”. And for no particular reason, here’s what my room looks like:

I think my mom would die of shame if she found out I put up a photo of my uncleaned room on the internet for all to see. Actually, no. She would more likely beat me out of shame. So let’s keep these photos a secret shall we? Shhhh.

I included a Black&White version just cause I think it looks better. Of course, it doesn’t portray the room realistically, then again neither does the color one. You wouldn’t see the room actually like that. Just for the record, neither photo is Photoshopped in any way, shape, or form ;).

So why the late night blogging? I just feel like it. I have always thought blogging itself was kind of ridiculous; I still do think that. Perhaps more out of guilt than desire (perhaps a mix of both) since I haven’t posted in a while. The photos are also late night and they’re more of a…hmm…well photography is perhaps one of the few things I can depend on to keep me awake. Just the act of taking photos seems to keep my mind awake, which is nice but also kind of weird and insanely distracting.

This post was flowing pretty well up until now. I just realized that I should be spending some more time studying German. You know that feeling where things are going pretty well, and then life decides to punch you in the stomach, take the breath out of you so that you’re frozen, and then proceed to laugh? Life is grand. Not gonna lie.

Reminds me of a previous post I did on another blog wayyyy back about how life was like a Sine/Cosine graph (assuming you took Math 12 and still remember). Essentially it’s just upppp and downnnn…upppp and downnnn. At the high, you’re dancing like a walrus that’s about to get a life time’s supply of blubber. At the low, you’re like a cheeseburger that’s been sitting around too long and has begun to droop from the disgusted looks it’s been getting cause it’s inedible and has mold growing out of it.

Props if you get a laugh and/or somehow understand the…similes? Cause they make absolutely no sense to me. I don’t think there were meant to.

How’s school? Summing it up in three words: It is okay. It’s the 3rd month and it is around the 3rd month that I start to lose interest in school, at least that’s the feeling. Hopefully I can drag my sorry derriere and get on with it (along with getting a good mark of course). I haven’t stressed out in a while actually. I think it’s about time to do that. FREAK OUTTT. Hopefully.

Hope is perhaps something that is a double edged sword in my opinion. As the World English Dictionary defines it:

1. a feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfillment

It’s a great feeling when things are looking down, but I’ve found that it also drives people insane. That all of course, depends on the situation. However, the way I look at it is: if you’re hopeful, but delusional (aka not also thinking realistically) then it’s pretty nuts, if you’re hopeful, but realistic about things then no big.  This distinction of hope seemed really awesome when it was in my head…like many things. Oh if only I were a writer.

IT IS COLD. Answer to my question of the week (What is the weirdest thing you have done?): Not ever turning on the heater in my room during winter and leaving the window open. Layers have never looked so good.

In other news, I put my motorcycle license plate into storage. Bye bye bike for a few months *sad face* =(. However, a good thing as well as my “motorcycle ego” was definitely blowing out of proportion. Coincidental events: keeping egos in check since 1991.

Photo Credit goes to my friend Zach Tam.

I am quite sure my parents are going to realize that I’ve been up all night, seeing as my room is right above theirs’ and I’ve been tripping on the few things scattered around my room. Good times. I can at least slap one thing on my “list of completed things”.

Staying up really late, for no reason, on a school day, without having to do homework.

Among the many, many, stupid things I have done.

P.S. I hate you dislike our relationship, blog.

Un Titre qui n’est pas en Français

Écrire dans une langue différente est très difficile. Ainsi, aujourd-hui, je vous écris citations au lieu. C’est plus facile, n’est-ce pas?

  • <<Faites-vous des amis prompts à vous censurer.>> -Boileu
  • <<La critique est aisée, mais l’art est difficile.>> -Destouches
  • <<Généralement, les gens qui savant peu parlent becoup, et les gens qui savant beaucoup parlent peu.>> -Rousseau
  • << Il est difficle de vaincre ses passions, et impossible de les satisfaire.>> -De La Sabliére

Aussi, j’ai découvert cette chanson:

Plus Lyrics!

Encore un effort
Quelques mois suffiront
Je suis presque mort
Quelques mois et c’ est bon
Supprimer les traces la moindre trace
Ce qui reste de candeur
Un morceau de glace à la place du cœur
Et même si je m’ améliore
Oh j’en rêve encore
Même cassé, ivre mort
Oh j’en rêve encore
Encore, encore
Ne plus rien sentir
Inconscient, minérale
Plus le moindre désir
Plus de peur ni de mal
Mais même si je m’ améliore
Oh j’en rêve encore
Même en sachant que j’ ai tort
Oh j’en rêve encore
Encore, encore
Vivant mais mort
N’ être plus q’ un corps
Que tout me soit égal
Plus de mal
Et même si je m’ améliore
Ton absence qui me mord,
Oh j’en rêve encore, encore,
Ton départ et mes remords,
Oh j’en rêve encore
Son corps à lui dans ton corps,
Oh j’en crève encore
Encore, encore ,encore

Translation:

Writing in a different language is very hard. Thus, today, I am writing quotes instead. It is much easier eh?

  • “Make friends with those who would be quick to criticize you.” -Boileu
  • “La critique est aisée, mais l’art est difficile.” – Destouches
  • “Generally speaking, the people who know little speak a lot and the people who know a lot speak little.” -Rousseau
  • “It is difficult to master your passions and impossible to satisfy them.” -De La Sabliére

Also, I have discovered this song:

NOW, I blog in english about…something.

Say hello, to more music. I wasn’t a fan of rap songs (the mainstream rap anyway) and I’m still not really a fan of rap songs (again, mainstream). However, the song above is just wonderful.

Anyways, I’ve found that a lot of my pictures involve some sort of pathway lately. Perhaps, if you want to put it in a philosophical connotation, it represents my increasing desire to know where the heck I am going. Life has multiple paths, and whichever one you pick is the one you stick with. So what is on the end of path number one? two? three? four? Or rather, what is on the other side of that bush?

This time I have something to say at the end. Homework, studying, and reading is a bit of a pain in university. No doubt. Lately I’ve been making lists every Friday on what I need to do on sticky notes. It’s proven effective and it is really quite satisfying being able to check mark something off. Who knew that could be so effective? So, if you’re behind/barely getting through that procrastinated workload, try making a list and doing what you need to do one thing at a time.

And yes, I know. I’ve blogged three days in a row (I think?) It’s kind of sad, yet kind of great cause it feels like I’ve accomplished something. Beats trying to play games on a Friday night I think. At least I could possibly entertain someone.