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img_5180March was simply a crazy month. A lot of things happened. I re-visited Vancouver, BC for the first time in over 25+ years. I’ve been helping my mom deal with her sciatica. My just-entered-university cousin came to stay for her spring break holiday. Also, other, more heartbreaking family events happened (within a span of one week). The month of March went by in a blur, & now it’s already April. I don’t even want to think about this month, my upcoming birthday, or spring. I still wish it was winter, where I could layer my pea coats & scarves over my warm sweaters, but I now have to take out my short sleeved t-shirts from storage, & start showing off my flabby, out-of-shape arms. (Nobody wants to see that, especially myself).

I already wrote at length how my trip to Vancouver went, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but needless to say, I can’t wait until I get to visit Vancity again. I had so much fun with my mom, but I can’t wait until the next time when I get to explore the city all by myself. I quite enjoy sitting at a café &/or coffee shop by myself with my tablet, & spend a good portion of the day sipping coffee, reading, & people watching.

buffalo check moutains

In other happy news, I’m going to another music concert! I’m super excited to be going to see Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats in concert as the headlining band. I saw NRATNS perform live once before, but they only played a short set, as they were one out of two bands opening for Kings of Leon. I had bought tickets for that concert thinking that I would get to see a full set performed by NRATNS, but alas, they were only one of two opening acts that night. I was extremely pumped up when I saw an app notification that this very band was going to be traveling on tour for their newly released album Tearing At The Seams. I grabbed Jian by the shoulders & begged him to go to this concert with me. He was reluctant at first, since he was waffling back & forth on whether or not he should go chase down Arctic Monkeys (who are currently gearing up for a new album & possible album tour in the near future by appearing at all the music festivals) at the Firefly Festival in Dover, DE or at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In the end, Jian decided to spend his birthday with me watching NRATNS perform all their greatest hits like: S.O.B., You Worry Me, I need Never Get Old, Hey Mama, & Howling At Nothing. I can’t wait to bust out my NRATNS band t-shirt & a worn-in denim jacket, grab a whiskey libation in the VIP lounge (yes, we shelled out a little more buckaroos for VIP tickets because we’re extra like that, & we like clean, private bathrooms) & rock out to one of my all-time favorite rock bands.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats9A

Aside from all of that, I had a cousin stay at my place this past week for her Spring Break holiday. This cousin that came to visit & I are very close in relationship (even though we are not close in age whatsoever), & I was so surprised & touched that she asked to spend her precious break time from university at my house. I mean, this is my cousin’s first official Spring Break holiday as a university student, & I was kind of expecting her to want to spend that time with her friends, or with her new (& first) boyfriend, or at least go home, be lazy, & veg out on the couch. She stayed for the week, & we had a blast together soaking up the beautiful weather, playing board games in the evenings, & just spending quality time having heart-to-heart chats about life, school, & love. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about my cousin & how much she’s evolved, more so than maturing because she’s always been extremely mature for her age, so I don’t doubt her existing maturity (or young wisdom) at all. It was so much fun, & I do hope that my cousin takes up my invitation of visiting my place again but with her boyfriend next time.

In more somber news, major events happened over the last half of the month that were just extremely tragic & upsetting. Everything happened practically within the span of one week. I’m not going to go into any details, to respect the privacy of those closest to me who are directly involved, but I can only say that it is extremely difficult to process sudden loss. I know this from first-hand experience, which is something I don’t wish on anybody. Seeing the people most closest to me going through such a difficult time in their lives only brings back my memories of what I’ve gone through in my own life & with my family. I think a lot about my dad & his side of the family, about how my dad came from a large family, & now only approximately 1/3rd of the family remains. My grandparents & their generation: long gone. My uncles & aunts: gone, all of them. My dad: now going on the 6th anniversary of his passing. All that’s left are the spouses who married into the family, & their children from my generation. I do have a few nephews & nieces from the next generation, but our family tree has been greatly reduced. I can only offer my utmost support to those in my life who are experiencing loss at a time like this. Our circumstances aren’t exactly the same, but I can offer my own version of care & support.

I think I’m going to end my blog post here because I don’t want to get into too much sad detail. Even after all this time, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around all of this, & it makes me think of my dad’s situation all over again. Until next time, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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my unorganized mind

September has come & gone, & I’ve been pretty busy. Between scheduling visits to see my doctor about the health & maintenance of my lady parts, & family events, & anniversaries (of sorts), it’s been a pretty hectic time for me. I’ve been inwardly thinking a lot latey, & there have been a few key things that have been circling around in my scattered brain.

First things first, this past month officially marked the 5-year anniversary of my father’s death. I rarely discuss this topic to anyone, ever. Ocassionally I’ll talk to Jian, but I mostly keep this topic to myself. This is an extremely sensitive subject within my immediate family, & I have an even more extremely difficult time trying to talk about this topic with any of my family members. I really have to walk on eggshells around my family if I even mention my dad in passing. I wish I was exaggerating on this, but unfortunately I’m not.

This is an especially difficult subject to talk about around my mom because this will just re-open an old can of doubt she carries around with her in her expensive hand bag at all times. It’s hard to pull her out of her cycle of self-doubt once she gets on the Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda train. I also never talk about this subject with my siblings. We just don’t express our feelings to each other. That’s not what we were taught growing up, to communicate & express our feelings between each other.

I’ve tried talking about my dad to my oldest brother, in which we share this biological father together, but he flat out doesn’t respond whenever I mention “dad”. My other two siblings, on the other hand, are too busy squabbling amongst themselves over their extremely strained & estranged relationship with their own biological father. All of them, due to our glaringly large age gaps, I assume, treat me from childhood up until today like I am just the little baby sister of the group. To them, I’m the spoiled, sheltered, coddled baby of the family. So, I’ve learned to stay quiet & shrink into the background.

On the day of the anniversary of my dad’s death, I thought about him long & hard. However, I mostly thought about how I never got to properly grieve over his death. I never got to mourn his passing. From the time my dad was taken to the hospital up until his death, I did what I always do best. I nurtured & cared for others. More than myself, I took care of everyone else. So, while all of our friends & family poured in to see my dad, hold his hand, shed a tear, say goodbye, I was busy making phone calls & comforting those who were agonizing & weeping over the phone. I wanted to break down & cry my eyes out until they hurt, but I held it all in. I wanted to scream & shout & stomp my feet & pound my fists, but I didn’t want to freak my mom out any more than she already was. Because I didn’t want to see my (at that time) fragile mother completely lose it, I held my composure so that I could be her realiable shoulder to lean on. When everyone around me was crying, I kept a stiff upper lip. I’ve now built this hard shell around the topic of my father. I keep everything to myself. I only let my emotions & feelings slip out when I am completely & utterly alone. No one ever asked me how I felt when my dad was dying. Nobody asks me, even now, how I’m coping (or feeling). I’ve grown accustomed to it.


On another topic, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I will never see eye-to-eye with my sister. We never did when we were growing up together, we don’t now, & I don’t think we ever will in the future. For a brief period of time, I thought my sister & were growing closer as siblings once she started having children. My sister relied on me to help her with the little things like running to the grocery store, or babysitting the toddler kids for a few hours.

Then, when my sister went through the process of her divorce, she grew to become a very difficult person to get close to. She became increasingly controlling in all aspects of her life to the point of overbearingness. It also became difficult to have a conversation with her, even on neutral subjects, for she would get argumentative very quickly.

I always give my sister the benefit of the doubt; I cut her plenty of slack; I give her countless breaks because I know she is struggling & doing her best to be a good hard-working single parent. My sister is struggling to raise her two amazing children, all while juggling a difficult job environment, an overbearing cuss of a boss, & a resistant ex-husband who allegedgly refuses to properly co-parent their children together. While I try to make my sister’s life a little easier by offering to help her in any way I can, she ends up taking advantage of my assistance, & she often tells me that my help is actually not helping her at all. I know my sister has past unresolved issues, extreme insecurities, & a lot of resentment due to her parents divorce (a.k.a. our mom & her biological father) when she was a child, but because she hasn’t dealt with these issues, she unwittingly takes out her resentments on the people around her.

I know she doesn’t mean to project her insecurities & issues on others (myself included), but I can’t help but think to myself sometimes that I should be taken out of her “line of fire” because all of this divorce stuff happened way before I was even born. Why should she take out her resentments & issues out on me, when I wasn’t even born? On top of that, I have no connection to her father whatsoever. I’ve barely met him a handful of times throughout my entire life, & we’ve never spoken more than 1 or 2 sentences to each other at best. I don’t hold anything against my sister. I know these are her own demons to slay, but I can’t help but think that she’s not making things any better by snapping at other innocent people.


The third item I want to talk about is coming from a completely different direction. I want to talk about the dreams I’ve been having lately. I wish I could remember the dreams I’ve been having lately. They’ve been extremely vivid & detailed. For the past several days, I’ve fallen into a terrible sleeping pattern. I’ll try to go to bed at a more reasonable hour than I have been in the past. I really am trying to change my sleeping habits. However, for the past several days I’ve been waking up feeling extremely groggy, exhausted, & like my mind has been on overdrive all night long.

Some mornings I’ll even wake up with a sore back, noticing that I was in such a deep sleep the night before that I didn’t even move or change positions while I was sleeping. My body was frozen into one position all night. I will wake up feeling like I’d only taken a nap & had not really had a full night’s sleep. I can sometimes recall bits & pieces of my dreams in the morning, but mostly all I can remember is that in my dreams there were a lot of action scenes & lots of talking. There was one morning when I woke up & I could remember that I had intense thoughts in my dream, like I knew what my dream-state character was thinking in the dream. I could remember whether I was running or walking in my dream. I could vaguely remember talking to other people in my dream. I remember one scene perfectly, where I was trying to climb a set of stairs in the backyard of my house, & the stairs were crumbling beneath me. I could practically feel the soft wood when I tried to grab the gate door with my hands. That’s how intense & vivd my dreams were.

My dreams lately have been so action-packed, as in I move around a lot in my dreams, & I’m often moving from place to place in my dreams. I also do a lot of thinking & talking in my dreams. There was one day where I woke up from a particularly intense dream. Well, I mostly woke up because my bladder was screaming at me to go relieve myself in the bathroom. However, after that, I fell back to sleep & had yet another vivid dream. That caused me to feel very disoriented when I finally woke up for the day. These past couple of days of dreaming have really messed up my sleeping patterns, & has kind of done a number on my body. Last week, my sleeping pattern was so out of whack that I ended up getting sick. I caught a fever & the chills, but luckily those symptoms only lasted 24 hours. I was back on my feet again by the time the weekend came around. Now, I can assure you that my sleeping patterns have returned to normal. I stopped having such vivid & detailed dreams, & I’m now waking up feeling more refreshed than groggy.


On one final note, I’m excited to tell you all that in two weeks from now, I’ll be in Taipei, Taiwain!! Yes, I’m going on another trip again, but I can promise you that this trip is not for my personal pleasure. This time I’m escorting & chaperoning my mother & her sister, who haven’t been back to the city where they grew up for more than 35 years. I can understand that these two (senior) sisters are reluctant to travel by themselves, so when my mom causally invited Jian & myself to travel with them, we eagerly said yes. Jian loves Taiwain, & I love to travel with my mom & aunt. Also, I like to take care of my mom, & I want to chaperone her so that she will feel safe & comfortable knowing she has someone with her who can help her & keep her company (besides the company of her loving sister).

My mom is feeling both excited & anxious going back to the city where she grew up after too many years of being away. She’s had countless invitations by her friends & many opportunities to go back to Taipei, but she always declined & found an excuse not to go. This time she put her foot down & decided to go back, or else she might miss her opportunity when she gets older & is no longer able to take long flights. I am so excited to be there with my mom as she relives a little bit of her childhood memories. I feel kind of disappointed that my other siblings (the ones that share the same biological mother with me) don’t do these kinds of things for my mom or with my mom. I understand a little that they each have their own obligations in their lives (like difficult work schedules & raising children), in which they can’t just pack a bag & fly off to wherever, but a part of me feels like they’re missing out on important milestones & memorable experiences with our mother that could bring them closer together.

I am so grateful, appreciative, happy, lucky & fortunate to have opportunities like this, especially ones where I can just drop everything, pack my bags & go without a care in the world. I make sure that I take care of my own personal obligations & tasks first, so that I can enjoy these special moments with my family & friends. I can’t wait to showcase my trip to Taipei. I am not going to promise a travel blog this time. I’m really bad at sticking to those, but I’m going to at least try to upload photos whenever I can. Until then, 干杯 (dry cup), everyone!

Today’s song of the day:


I don’t know when it happened. Ever since I was a little kid, I loved hot weather. Ok, I am totally contradicting myself when I tell you these next things. I used to love sitting in the sun, soaking up the warm rays, but I hated getting tan or wearing sticky, smelly sunblock. I loved wearing summery clothes like shorts, skirts & t-shirts,  but I could never live a day without wearing socks (I dislike bare feet). I am a strange one, aren’t I? I mean, I once hiked up the Great Wall of China in the dead heat of summer wearing a thick t-shirt, jeans, & thick socks. That also proves that I had no fashion sense whatsoever.

I used to loath winter because it meant I’d have to wear several layers of thick clothes, which made it cuss near impossible to scratch my extremely itchy skin. I just hated having to peel off layer upon layer just to try & scratch some impossible-to-reach spot on my back (which was chronically itchy as a child with wild allergies). Also, I hated that feeling of “it’s too hot to wear a jacket, but too cold to take it off”. You know, it’s so annoying to lug around a thick jacket, especially when the temperature frequently changes from warm to cold & back, like when you’re walking around a shopping mall & some stores blast the heat while other stores crank up the air conditioning.

It only just happened recently that I’ve come to enjoy winter more & more. I’ve learned a lot, in my most recent years, from Jian about fashion (especially on how to dress more like a proper lady & less like a disheveled longshoreman). Jian has tought me a few key points about adding different styles of jackets into my bland wardrobe, like it’s okay to wear thin zip-ups when it’s warm & heavy coats when it’s cold. I also learned how to appreciate scarves & their benefits. Oh & one other thing… I CAN WEAR ALL THE SOCKS I WANT!!! I love shopping for new socks, & I love wearing them even more, especially thick knitted knee-high socks. Winter is the perfect weather for me to live out my sock-wearing fetish (for lack of a better term).


Aside from learning how to properly wear clothes, I’ve also learned how to take better care of my skin & myself…like finding the right moisturizer/lotion for my skin type. I’ve got to tell you that I’ve found something that’s completely changed my life. You might think this is totally something your Granny/Nana/Grandmother would use, but it’s transformed the way I take care of my skin. Yes, folks. I’m talking about an exfoliating bath towel. You know, those tacky-colored scarf-looking things you’ve seen your Grandma hang in her 1970’s powder blue bathroom. (Hey, these things are still popular in Asian countries.) I am not ashamed to say that I love it. I’m not a very flexible person, especially since I pulled my left shoulder muscle, & it is sometimes hard to reach all the parts of my back in the shower without a little help. This exfoliating towel does wonders to help me scrub my back.


During the winter months my back gets extremely itchy. Using this exfoliating towel really helps me to clean my back, & scrub away the itchiness. This towel exfoliates all the dead skin on my back, & smooths out the scratches & scabs to make my skin look more clear & even-toned, not like I’ve been using barbed wire as a back scratcher. I also use this towel to wash my entire body. I bunch the towel into a ball & proceed to scrub from head-to-toe. Ever since I’ve been using an exfoliating shower towel, for approcimately 3 years & counting, I can realy feel the changes to my skin. My back has been considerably less itchy & rough, & the scabs/scars on my back have slowly been fading (which help me feel more comfortable to wear bathing suits in the summer). Also, I’ve noticed the overall improvement of my body’s skin in general. I’ve always had dry, rough, patchy skin since I was a little kid, but this exfoliating towel has helped smooth out my skin’s texture greatly…like on my elbows & knees, the backs of my arms, & the upper area of my legs. The towel has also smoothed out the scratchy heels of my feet & softened the callouses on the balls of my feet.

You see, I can’t stop raving about the exfoliating shower towel. I am so in love with it. I use it everyday in the shower &/or bath. I take it with me when I travel. I cannot live without it. I used to buy the cheap, cheesy pink ones from the Asian supermarket, but sometimes they run out & don’t stock them on their shelves regularly. So instead, I get all of my inexpensive shower scrubbers at MUJI, which happens to be one of my favorite brands/shops anyway. MUJI carries these bath goods in two colors: white & gray, but I always buy the gray ones. I am pretty sure I’m making these shower towels sound cheesier by the minute, but I just adore them & will keep on using them for the foreseeable future. One thing I forgot to mention, you gotta swap out these towels every few months or so with fresh ones. You know, for sanitary reasons & such.


This winter has been especially cold in the area I live in, which makes it perfect to bury myself underneath all the warm blankets & the comforter of my bed. It’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning when you’re all snuggled up, warm, & floating between sleep & waking up. In the afternoons, I like to make myself a fresh, hot cup of coffee. It doesn’t physically warm me up like a nice pour of Scotch or a cup of tea, but it sure as cuss warms my spirit & my mood. In the evenings, I like to sit by the warm fireplace & relax with my tablet named Richard. It’s enjoyable when I can sit by the fireplace, next to Jian while he’s playing a video game. Right now Jian is playing Final Fantasy XV, which he jokingly refers to as “Four Dudes In A Car”, & I jokingly refer to as “Japanese Entourage“. Most of the time I’m not interested in the video games Jian plays, unless it’s the Uncharted series, but I am interested in this Fibal Fantasygame…mostly because I enjoy the music. (“Rodeo De Chocobo” is my favorite song so far.) Sitting by the fire in the evenings really put me in the mood to take a bath.

Z
Speaking of which…I think I’m going to go & wash my hair. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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Let’s get it!!! ☕️ . . . . . . . . . . #coffee #espresso #caffeine #HotCoffee #HotDrink #LetsGetIt #SeizeTheDay #Friyay #Friday #FridayFunday #WeekendMode #CoffeeCup #kettle #GhostSteam #LineCamera #LoveCoffee #Quotestagram #Instaquote #CoffeeTime #DrinksOfInstagram #CoffeeOfInstagram @linecamera_official
Monsieur Humphrey says, let’s go get some ice cream to celebrate Fri-Yay!! 🍦 . . . . . . . . . . #TGIF #Friyay #FridayFunday #Fridays #HumphrySlocombe #IceCream #SweetTreat #delicious #SmokedAlmondBrittle #flavor #SingleScoop #AlwaysInACone #LickThat #MonsieurHumphrey #OuiOui #LetsGo #WeekendMode #FoodsOfInstagram #LineCamera @humphryslocombe @linecamera_official
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At first I thought drinking coffee through a straw was a bougie lady thing, but I guess straws do not see gender. 🥤 . . . . . . . . . . #Starbucks #coffee #DrinkWithAStraw #DrinkThroughAStraw #straws #GuysDoItToo #bougie #hot #drink #RandomDude #caffeine #NoGender #NoGenderStereotypes #CityLife #LineCamera
I love these rain soaked days. ☂ . . . . . . . . . . #RainyDays #weather #rain #BeautifulWeather #ILoveRain #umbrella #pink #polkadots #favorite #MyFavoriteUmbrella #TreasuredItem #Circa2006 #GotItInJapan #HappyMood #DoingItForTheGram #aesthetic #aesthetics #AllTheFeels #LineCamera

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