Tag Archives: self

Back (for good?)

I have had a rough semester. It’s the reason I ended up dropping the blog, ended up withdrawing from a lot of my social activities, and a lot of my hobbies so I could focus on school and my two jobs. It’s summer now, which means FREE TIME! I may go back to Musings Monday, WIP Wednesday, and Finished/Photography Fridays if possible.

Musings Monday is most likely going to end up turning into “let’s document my attempts to pick up new hobbies!”  Currently I’m trying to learn how to code HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Who knows, I may get good enough to redesign my blogger (so if it goes wonky one day, you’ll know why). And maybe get hired by a company! Total sarcasm. I don’t think I’ll be able to get that good enough.

I’m also trying to start up my own store so I can make some extra money, and I’m also co-blogger of a travel tumblr blog. My friend and I are doing it for funsies, mostly. we shall see! Summer should be good to me, especially since I am going home frequently, working, and traveling abroad.

Regularly Scheduled Programming? What??

So I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking (a dangerous past time I know) and decided that starting next week, I’ll be having three days that’ll occasionally get to be a series! Mondays will be called “Musings Monday,” Wednesdays will be “WIP Wednesday” (for all my knitting/crocheting stuff), and Fridays will be either “Photography Friday” or “Finished Friday” (for my photography or finished projects, if any). I’ll try to keep it as regular as possible, but with my busy schedule, sometimes it won’t happen.

When is it Okay to Tell Someone to Stop Being Too Much of Something?

It’s been a bad week for me. On Wednesday, after having a long day, I found out a good friend got fired from his job. He was, truthfully, one of the few people whose company I genuinely enjoyed at this job, with its long nights and hardships. He said that essentially it summed up to him being “too trusting” of people. Like that’s a bad thing? So after this, trying to console our good friend about this friend being fired, and a sexist remark from another mutual friend that left me fuming, I went to bed early instead of trying to study.

Then Thursday, my supervisor made a remark about the events of Wednesday night about how she would’ve just gone back to her room instead of trying to help this friend through the news. My jaw almost dropped. I had to serve two roles Wednesday night almost simultaneously. Not only is that going against what my job description is, that is rude and disrespectful as a friend. So I ended up being mad at my supervisor. I’m still mad at her. I went back to my room so I could focus on studying for a test on Tuesday when I came across two of my co-workers in the hall. They asked me to swipe them into the key room so that one of them could get back into her room because she forgot her keys. So I did, and asked the one who didn’t forget her keys, “Why didn’t you just go back to your room? It’s right down the hall.”

“Oh, you happened to be coming down the hall so I decided to ask you!” she replied. I sighed and rolled my eyes. The next thing she said touched a nerve, especially in light of the previous night’s events.

“You’re too reliable. You should stop so people don’t keep asking you for things.”

I didn’t really reply back. Gave a noncommittal response that may have been a small laugh before going upstairs to where I live. It really bothered me, that remark. I like to think one of my good points is being reliable. It’s something I’m both proud and angry of being, but I’m more proud than anything. So that remark felt like a personal attack. It came too close to my friend being “too trusting.”

Since when is being “too much” of something a bad thing?

Dreams of Travel

You know the whole nature vs. nurture thing? I wonder about it sometimes. In a post from about two weeks ago, when I talk about swimming, I said I was “born to be a water girl.” Honestly, I love the stuff. It’s still a goal to swim in a lake and a river. But that’s a tangent. Do I love the water so much because I grew up in two states that was surrounded by water on at least three sides? Was it because I was on the swim team for a bit and grew to love that? It was likely caused by my environment, not who I am.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, I ask because I’m also a traveler. I love to travel, and I get restless if I sit in one place too long without a change of scenery. I can only change my scenery so much without a car. In this situation, my desire to travel was caused by my dad. He took the family places all the times. Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Bahamas, a ton of states. Lots of national parks. And road trips. Those are a blast. I’ve been traveling since I was a few months old. Now that I’m in college, I don’t get to do it often. Poor college kid and all.

First Google image if you type in “poor college student.” We get shirts?!

There’s something refreshing about hopping in a car and traveling somewhere you’ve never been. The view outside of the car changes. You blast music- or, in my family’s case, Dad picks something to listen to and moves it up to the front of the car so the kids can blast their music with headphones in. You talk and laugh and maybe have a hard time hearing what’s being said at the front, and then there’s a lot of yelling. You have a map to know where you’re going, but maybe something looks interesting so you go there for a bit. Hello, 18-something’s town. Then you lose cell service and if you don’t have a map, you better hope the one driving wants to stop for directions instead of driving aimlessly.

But that’s life, right?

This is what my family does during road trips.
 

I talked with a friend last night, and we got onto the topic of traveling. I think we both agreed a road trip is a cool thing. I don’t actually remember, because I’m running on 4 1/2 hours of sleep and quite a few things have slipped my mind, despite my attention to details. I just remember I said road trips are cool. I recall saying something about how I wanted to road trip somewhere I had never been, to somewhere radically different from where I’d grown up, and take pictures of everything. Document the journey.

I’ve grown up in suburbia. I can tell you I’ve seen a lot of concrete and a heck of a lot of water and desert. To me, anything with more than a few trees is green. When my family went on a cross country road trip last year, I stared out the windows a good portion of the trip because there were trees everywhere. We joked, “What is this green stuff at the side of the road?” Then we were up north and there were all those fields, I found it interesting. For a bit. Then I became tired of seeing corn. But plants! Green! Not neon lights and metal and concrete!

WOOOOOO LIGHTS EVERYWHERE. LIGHTS AND IMPORTED FAKE TREES!

Of course, my friend laughed when I said certain places were green to me. He grew up in a place where there was green everywhere. The concept of someplace really green is foreign to me. Maybe, one day, when I have a car and money and can road trip, I’ll visit green places like his hometown. I’ll visit places with forests and rivers. I won’t do urban landscape, oh no. I can do natural landscapes. I’ve told one of my closest friends that we should do a road trip. It’s been a topic half of my friends have been going on about during summer. We keep thinking, “You know what? A road trip would be way fun.” We have different destinations in mind, though. One wants to go to San Diego. Another wants to go to another place in California. I want to go northwest- so Washington, Oregon, Idaho. (“Spokane’s a nice place,” is what my close friend said when I mentioned Washington.) I’d also like to go to the East Coast, but that’s more for history interests. Plus, I’ve been to the East Coast a lot. I want to spend a bit more time exploring the West Coast.

This ties in with something else my friend and I had talked about. Dreams. He had a lot of really cool dreams, but “none of them will come true.” That’s better than me, I told him. I didn’t really have dreams. Then it occurred to me that no, I do have a dream. A dream that’ll likely never come true because it’s 1) expensive and 2) kind of an all-or-nothing thing.

That dream is to travel the world and take photographs of all of the gorgeous places that exist on our planet.

This is the photo that I claim started it all. An accidental good shot.

I love photography. I’d love to be able to do something with it. But if it doesn’t work out, what do I do? Go back to being a linguistics major with no idea what to do with her life? Admittedly, I can probably get to traveling by being an ESL teacher. People want ESL teachers, right? Plus, if I improve my Japanese and learn Chinese and Korean, I can be a translator in those countries. Companies love multi-lingual people, right?

That’s probably the one dream I’ve had for a while, with slight changes. I just wanted to travel the world when I was little. Now, I want to travel the world, see the amazing sights, take photos of those amazing sights. Walk, bike, ride a train, bus, or taxis. I miss trains. That’s how I got around in Japan. Good memories. Also one of the only vehicles I can fall asleep in. Taste the food. Soak in the culture. Explore. Get lost. Go on adventures.

People in Motion

Today, I went to go take pictures of a family friend’s daughter. She’s an ice skater, and I’ve always loved watching ice skaters because what they do seems incredible. They’re so graceful, too. It’s really, really neat to watch them. She was only practicing, but I wanted to take pictures of her anyway. The mom asked me if there was any particular theme to my assignment, and almost without thinking I said, “I enjoy people in motion.”

And really, I think taking photographs of people moving are one of the better things I do. I take photos of the frisbee group I’m a part of. Some of those photos are funny, others look awesome, and others are complete duds (out of focus shots suck). But they’re interesting subjects because they’re so dynamic. They move, all the time. And this fascination with people in motion explains why I like watching certain sports so much. I love watching swimmers. Really, that one is because I’m a swimmer myself. But I love watching swimmers swim, because all the strokes are so different, requiring different skills. I’m fascinated by butterfly swimmers. That’s the hardest stroke for me, but it’s so cool to watch.
I like watching the guys I play frisbee with, because they’re so different. Some get good verticals, others dive, others run. If you can take a picture fast enough, they’re in the best poses. Sometimes it looks like people are flying, or they’re levitating the frisbee. Or you catch the funny moments where people barely miss catching the frisbee.
I like watching dancers because they move so much. They look graceful, and I’m always trying to figure out how people do moves. I love watching pirouettes. I’m horrible at them. Funny how I love watching what I’m so bad. Can’t do butterfly, but love watching it. Can’t do more than a single pirouette, but I love watching dancers do pirouettes. With dancers, if you catch the right moment, everything looks put together so wonderfully.
So when I took pictures of the girl skating, I hoped to catch moments where she looked graceful and looked absolutely stunning. And I did. Sometimes it’s a shame I’ve occasionally got to watch things through a lens, when I’m so in love with the way people move.

College Bucket List

One of my friends in from my floor last year created a “college bucket list” club, or something similar. This got me started on what I wanted to do before I graduate college. The first year, I had no aspirations of doing much besides surviving. But now, I want to do things. I want to know what Utah and life has to offer me, a college student looking for where she belongs in the world.

Here’s my college bucket list + the reasons.

1. Go rafting. I’ve had two people in the past month say they’ve gone rafting were going to go but work got in the way. And it sounds like a fun thing to do. Plus, who doesn’t want to raft down a cold river in the middle of summer with a bunch of friends (and likely get a tan?).

2. Go kayaking. Same reasons as above. Different friends, but people have said it. I think it’d be a whole lot of fun. MORE WATER. Also, with friends, in summer.

3. Swim in a lake. This is on my actual bucket list too. I want to jump into a lake and just swim around in it. Not like Lake Mead. Lake Mead is nasty. Nah, I want a nice lake. And it’s more reasons for me not to wear my one-piece swimsuit. That’s why I haven’t gone swimsuit shopping in forever for a new bikini. I don’t ever use one and I want an excuse to use one.

4. Road trip with friends. To the beach. BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LOVE THE BEACH?! Also: it’s probably way nicer to be on the beach in California than up in the mountains in Utah.

This is actually Myrtle Beach in SC. Whatever. It’s a beach.

5. Road trip with friends. To wherever. I just want to road trip with friends. Throw all our crap into a car and drive wherever strikes our fancy. I kinda want to go north. Probably Seattle or Portland or someplace. So northwest? Anyway. Road. Trip. Anywhere.

5. Attend concerts. Salt Lake’s small, but it’s got good concerts. Maybe I’ll attend more now that I live here. Only problem? Car. I don’t have one.

6. Visit Japan on a study abroad/internship. I’m going through some hardcore nostalgia. I just want to go back to Japan by any means necessary. Study abroad, internship, living with my grandmother, you name it. I will take any way to get back there.

7. Learn how to dance. Okay, so this was a goal of mine at the beginning of summer. That, be more social, and speak Japanese more. It’s still a goal. I signed up for a modern dance class for the fall and I think I’ll take a ballet class in the spring (and one of my friends may take it with me!). If I like either enough, I’ll keep going with it.

8. Improve my times in swimming. Right now, my times for a 50yd free is about 40 seconds and about 1:30 for 100yds. I know I can swim about 600yds in 10-11 minutes. I want my 50yd to go down to about 30 and my 100 to maybe 1:00 or 1:10. I also want to swim a faster breaststroke.

9. Be social. And by this, I mean navigate social situations appropriately. Not feel awkward when I first meet people.

10. Work on strengthening my friendships. I have more friends than I did in high school, which is a success. But I want to be able to concentrate on keeping the high school friendships I had and on strengthening the ones I made in college. That’ll be kinda difficult because everyone will be so busy in the fall, so the likelihood of me seeing them often is low. But that’s what facebook is for, right? Sending messages to people, asking how they’ve been? …Just got to get over my fear of messaging people on facebook.

11. Drive to Moab and do something fun there. Like a hike. I hear Moab is a beautiful place and I really, really want to go. I’d likely go for hiking, but there’s kayaking too, so that’s also an option.

12. Climb Lisa Falls again WITHOUT panicking. I climbed Lisa Falls earlier this summer with a bunch of friends. The places I got hit the worst still have marks. The reason I panicked? I’m bad with heights and I was not expecting bouldering. Next time, though, I know what to look out for and I’ll swallow my fear of heights to go. That was gorgeous.

13. Play zombie tag dressed as a survivor or a zombie. I’ve played the university’s zombie tag both times. The first time I stopped playing halfway through because I skinned my leg and my elbow. Also: knee brace was present. Fantastic. The second time, I became a zombie. That was the day I decided to dress up because why not. It’s fun to dress up. I want others to do this with me. It’d be so fun to have a group of friends go all L4D or something at a game.

Swimming

I’m on a roller coaster with too many ups and downs. I’ve had moments where I wanted to laugh (and laughed) and moments where I wanted to cry (and cried silently). And things came to a head today, when I thought I was prepared to take on the world and broke. There were a variety of reasons. Negative emotions threatened to overtake me. They were unhappiness, anger, guilt, helplessness, pity.
And I decided.
I could either sit with tense shoulders and give myself a headache, I could go out with friends and run away from my sadness for a few hours, or I could find my method for making myself feel better.
Well, I did sit with tense shoulders for a bit. I’d be hanging out with friends soon, but I’d be a killjoy if I went out unhappy.
So I fell to my method of feeling better.
I went straight to the pool.
I broke personal records today. I swam 2200 yards in total in about 50 minutes. I swam 600 yards nonstop freestyle. I swam 500 yards nonstop breaststroke. I swam a 2×100 butterfly.
Butterfly is the worst stroke in the world, let me tell you.
By the end of the 2200 yards, I was relaxed. I felt less tense. But I wasn’t done. I went and did water pull-ups because I can’t do regular ones. Did those until my arms screamed at me. Worth it.
While swimming, I wondered how I got to that point. And I wrote a tiny little thing. Here it is:
I think I was born to be a water girl.
I adored the water since I was a little kid. I was born on a peninsula, One of my favorite things was going to the beach with my friends. I liked going into the ocean to swim and splash everyone. I haven’t forgotten the time I spent hours out on the beach and neglected to reapply sunscreen. It hurt for anything to touch my skin, but I hurt myself doing something I loved. That’s an odd thing to be proud of.
I moved to an island. Sure, I was isolated. I was a little lonely. But I found a key part of myself there. No, not the love of video games, being a tomboy, or preferring male friends to female friends.
I found the water all around me. I literally could not escape it. I joined the swim team and swam competitively. One of my swim team friend’s dad owned the water park close by. My dad worked at a beachfront resort and I got to go to the lagoons all the time. My swim team coach was a little off. But, as one of my coworkers put it, “what swim coach isn’t a little crazy?” I enjoyed the laps and pushing myself. I was a chubby kid, and I thought I couldn’t swim as fast as my skinner friend. I was so proud when I get first in several events, beating some of the smaller kids on occasion. I was good at something.
The swim coach had us swim laps in the lagoons. Terrifying. We could’ve been sucked out to sea. It never happened, though. Laps were a lot of fun. Laps in the wave pool at the water park were even better. More so when the waves were turned on and we had to fight the waves. (This practice ruined my love of the wave pool as just a wave pool.) I complained a lot about swim practice, I’m sure. But I enjoyed it. When I hit the water, my world made sense.
Then I moved to a landlocked state and lost everything. I lost my beaches, I lost my water park, I lost my swim team. I didn’t want to do anything in that state. I didn’t realize the rec center was close by. There goes middle school. I did discovered I liked to sing in middle school, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
I didn’t go to a normal high school with sports; otherwise, I would’ve tried to get on the swim team. No one was going to wait for a magnet student for two hours (the amount of time it took me to get to that school by bus). So I let high school fly by. The only water contact came from the backyard pool. That wasn’t a lap pool, though. I wanted to feel the joy of cutting through the water. I remained an average teen.
Cue college. Imagine my extreme delight when I found the pool was three minutes from my dorms. Forget the field house.
(What would I do at the field house? I hate running. I hate exercise machines unless they’re the spin bikes. I can’t lift weights.)
The pool is where it’s at.
I went as often as I could. Usually, that was about three times a week. Combine that with eating healthy and I dropped 15 pounds by the end of the fall semester. Another 5 came off in the spring semester. I felt great. I was so glad that I was close to the water again.
And then the job search. That was stressful. I needed a job for summer, and I applied to job after job. Some, I wouldn’t have minded getting. Others… I applied just because I needed the money. Then a friend said something about a lifeguard certification class and the pool hiring. I jumped on it immediately. I was a little worried about swimming the 300 yards. I hadn’t swum that much in nearly 10 years. What if I couldn’t do it?
I did it. Got certified. Got hired. Picked up my swimming game. Went from 40 minutes of swimming a random amount to swimming a mile every time. That was my goal. There are 1760 yards in a mile. I rounded it up to 1800.
This summer, my swimming seemed to have a purpose. I was back to me again. Being in the water, cutting through it, letting the repetition lull me into a sense of comfort. I was back in my world.
My legs went from okay to getting some definition. It might’ve come from a combination of a lot of kicking and walking up and down a mountain all damn day. My arms went from no muscle to some muscle, and that is likely all swimming. I don’t really do anything else that engaged those muscles. I looked better than I did when I started the school year and way better than I did in high school.
So I’m a little vain about certain parts of my body. Like my legs. They look nice. My arms look nice, and I’m not afraid of showing them off now. My hands and fingers? I’m taking care of them, so they don’t look nasty. I will keep my piano hands pretty. Guess how many people I’ve surprised by how long my fingers are? A lot. And my feet? Okay, I’m not vain about those. They’re functional. And huge. I couldn’t help but smile when one of my friends said, “Your feet are big. They must act like flippers in the water!”
Not quite, but they do help.  
When people are upset, they go to what makes them feel better. One friend runs. One friend immerses herself in music. I immerse myself in the water and push myself until my arms and legs are weak. And then I keep pushing myself. I lose myself in the strokes. Push myself until I can’t swim anymore. Until my body relaxes. 
If I can’t write? Hey, I can swim. Can’t settle down and find something mindless to do? The pool’s three minutes away. Learning how to dance? Practice, but when I get frustrated, the pool is waiting. It’s the one thing I know without a doubt I can do. I swim for me. It’s my thing. The one thing I know I can do well.
I likely missed out on my chance to do something great with swimming. I wanted to be an Olympian when I was a kid. In swimming. Like Katie Ledecky or Missy Franklin or Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte. But I’ll keep pushing myself, doing the great things for me. When all else fails, I can go back to swimming. I’ll hold onto it for as long as I possibly can.

Should There Be Change?

I decided last night to dye my hair. I didn’t know what color, but I wanted to. I eventually decided on dark auburn.

Except now I’m having second thoughts. If I dye my hair, it will damage it. Plus, the shade’s not my usual hair color. My hair is dark brown. My thing is… Do I want to keep up with dyeing my hair? Not really. I like my original hair color. I want to be able to have it wash out eventually, so temporary dye is the way I want to go. But I don’t know where to get it and have it not be spray on. The Smiths close to my place used to have temporary dye, but no longer. I wonder what I can do? I don’t want to permanently change my hair nor do I want to have to wait to grow it out… I’m going to really have to look for temporary dye or my friend will be disappointed she won’t be able to dye my hair.

Thrift Shopping

I went to the local thrift store today for a few little things for a photography assignment. I did find several cute little teacups and a nice mug with my favorite tea on it. What is that, you ask? Chamomile! I also found several little knick-knacks which I could drop in club soda. That was fun.

I walked past the clothing section on my way to the back and saw a jacket that looks very similar to the one that’s worn by Hatter in Syfy’s Alice. The material was wrong, but everything else looked just about perfect. After I got my cups and knick-knacks, I saw for at least twenty minutes debating whether or not to get it. I also tried on several shirts that were similar to Hatter’s. As time ran out (I had class in an hour and a half), I caved and got it. Why? Because when am I ever going to find something like that again?! It was an amazing find!

The dude on the right. Obviously.
 
Eventually I plan to dress up as Alice (the girl on the left) as well. Nate and I are going to do this because he happens to look a lot like the Hatter and if I grow my hair out and straighten it I look a little like Alice. A little. I look too Asian to be exact.

Moral of the story: go thrift store shopping if you want to dress up as characters. You never know what you’ll find.