You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘childhood’ tag.

get campy wordpress cover.jpg

This past summer I was extremely excited that I got to relive a favorite childhood experience with Jian. When I was growing up, my dad would take our whole family to go camping at Lake Tahoe. We always went camping with my dad’s childhood friends & their respective families. My dad would plan everything down to the last detail.

My dad would always book a camping site at one of the fancy-schmancy state-run campgrounds in Lake Tahoe, & when I say “fancy”, I mean the campground had public water spigots (for washing your cookout utensils, etc.) as well as proper locker room style showers & toilet stalls. Most outdoorsmen/women & true adventurists would say that’s considered cheating or glamping, but it was one modern comfort we had to have in order for all the moms to agree to go camping with our group.

90s camping1.jpg

My dad & me at Lake Tahoe

My mom hated camping, but my dad loved it, ever since he learned to camp while being in the Eagle Scouts. When my dad was growing up in Japan, he joined one of the first International Boy Scouts troops, & his troop would often times hike up Mount Fuji & learn how to do outdoorsy survivalist things at the base camp there. That’s where my dad built up his passion for nature, camping, & the great outdoors. My mom, on the other hand, grew up in the heart of the big city in Taiwan & never developed a fondness for the wild outdoors. So in order for my dad to convince my mom to go camping every year, he’d have to find a campground with a few extra creature comforts (like proper toilets & coin-operated showers) so my mom wouldn’t be completely “roughing it”.

90s camping2.jpg

My dad even took my cousins camping with our family friends.

In the very beginning when my dad first started taking our whole family camping, I hated it. I was too little (a.k.a. young) to do any of the things the older kids were doing, so I had to stay back at the campsite with my mom. On top of that, I was scared of getting bitten by bugs, & I hated being/getting dirty. Then, once I joined the Girl Scouts, I learned how to take care of myself & how to do lots of fun camping things with my Girl Scout troop. That’s when I truly started appreciating how much fun camping could be. Every summer after that I looked forward to my dad’s pre-planned camping trips.

90s camping3.jpg

We always camped with the same family. All 3 dads were in the same Boy Scouts troop back in Japan.

Years later, after all of us kids had grown up & gone off to college, my parents stopped camping. Little-by-little my mom donated & gave away all of our deluxe camping gear (which have now become trendy collector’s items), & our yearly camping excursion became a long ago memory. My dad was disappointed that we stopped this yearly summer tradition, but everyone else lost interest in camping, even going to Lake Tahoe where we used to own a vacation cabin in the South Lake Tahoe area. We have since sold our vacation property, since it had become to difficult & complicated for my mom to manage after my dad had passed.

From the first time I had met Jian, I had been mentioning wanting to go on a camping trip, possibly with a big group of friends, or even going with just him. I annoyed regaled him with colorful stories about vacationing in Lake Tahoe & going camping in the great outdoors (managed by park rangers & run by the state of California’s Recs & Parks department). We occasionally talked about going camping with our friends, but we never actually planned it.

I would bring up the subject with Jian every so often during our conversations in our relationship, & we would often talk about making plans but never actually follow through. It wasn’t until this year when I finally was able to convince Jian to go camping with me. Jian was originally born in Canton, China & eventually immigrated to Midtown Manhattan in New York City before ultimately settling down in the California Bay Area. Needless to say he never had any opportunity to explore & camp in the great outdoors.

tahoe 2019

One of the biggest mistakes we made was booking our campsite so late in the camping season, but we were still able to grab a sweet spot at the Tahoe State Recreation Area in Lake Tahoe. Ok, once you hear where this state-run campground is located, you’re going to laugh & call us “cheaters” & not authentic campers because our campground was located about a couple of hundred feet away from a shopping strip mall with a grocery store & a CVS Pharmacy as well as local shops & restaurants. Basically, we were located right on the outskirts of the city center, but hey, at least our campground was also right next to the lake with its own dock access.

IMG_7903.jpg

Despite not being at a real rugged campground, we both had a great time. The campground we stayed at was a perfect starter campsite for a beginner like Jian. I had the best time teaching Jian all about the ways of camping. I helped him pitch our tent & set up our camping gear. (To this day, Jian still doesn’t know hot to fold up our outdoor lawn chairs.) During the day, we took long hikes around the trails & had a relaxing time hanging out by the lake. In the evenings, we would have simple cookouts, though I wouldn’t call oxtail stew simple. We ate, explored the surrounding trails & popular attractions like Vikingsholm at the Emerald Bay State Park. We even tried our hand at making a campfire, though it didn’t turn out well because our logs kept smoking too much, & I am severely allergic to any kind of smoke (eg. cigarettes, fire, cigars, marijuana, etc.).

 

Overall, we had such an amazing time at our modest little campsite. Jian had such a wonderful first-time experience that he wished we could have stayed at least one more day. He vowed that when we go camping again next year, we will definitely plan much earlier in advance & book more days at the campground. My only gripe about camping this year was that I got mosquito bites all over my arms despite practically drenching myself in extra strength bug repellent. Jian barely sprayed any bug repellent on himself, & he didn’t get any mosquito bites whatsoever. (So unfair!) Then again, a few bug bites won’t deter me from camping again. Next time I hope we can go camping with our friends. It turns out a lot of our friends have never been camping before, & they are eager for me to show them the ropes. How exciting! Until next time, cheers…& I shall leave you with some photos of our camping excursion down below.


Today’s song of the day:

kid activities cover

In my continued quest of documenting “99 Things That Bring Me Joy“, the next stop in my journal brings us to childhood activities I don’t want to outgrow. I don’t believe I am experiencing a “Peter Pan syndrome”, but I do still feel very young-at-heart even though I am rapidly approaching my late thirties & my early thirties have come & gone in a blink of an eye. Actually, I’m not really sure how to exactly describe myself. I can relate, get along with, & easily talk to all sorts of generations. I can chat with older adults about 1960s culture, reminisce with my own generation about our carefree youth in the 1980s & the grungey 90s, & when the kids of the next generation spit out slang lingo I can talk to them without checking the Urban Dictionary every 5 minutes.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have built up a lot of my current collections by adding on to things I’ve kept since my youth. Even though I am learing how to let go of items I once thought were sentimental on the basis of decluttering my home, I still keep some of my treasured childhood objects & collectible items. I use some of those items as a starter/base in building my collections. A few of my other childhood collectibles are still able to be used in my arts & crafts projects. (For example, I have a few rubber stamps from the mid-90s that I’m still using in my craft projects today.)

Aside from collectible objects, there are a few childhood activities that I continue to engage in, even as an adult. They’re not really exciting or unique, but they make me happy, no matter what age I am. Let me give you a few examples.


kid activities1

I wrote in an old post about the London Bus LEGO set that I had completed, & within that post I had provided a full list (as of 2017) of all the LEGO sets I owned. I’ve been playing with LEGO building blocks for as long as I can remember. My experience with LEGO blocks began with a simple tub of miscellaneous blocks that my mom bought for me at the Toys ‘R Us store when I was a little kid. There was a long span of my life (meaning my teenage years) where I stopped playing with LEGOs.

Then as an older adult, I started playing with them again, or should I say building sets again. I guess I jumped back on the LEGO bandwagon at the time when it was trendy for adults to go back to doing childhood things, like coloring & painting, in order to relieve stress. (What did they call the trend…”zen coloring for adults”??? LOL!). Now that LEGOs are back in style, & have become trendy for people of all ages, I’ve really thrown myself into building what LEGO calls “creator sets”.

My collecting of these large LEGO sets have really taken over my house to the point where I could easily turn my house into a small toy store. Thank goodness my collecting hasn’t taken over my life so much to the point where I will buy every new collectible set that’s released. I only buy the sets that interest me, but it’s still becoming an overwhelming collection that I hope to one day pass on to my future child. In the meantime, here is an updated list of the LEGO sets I have so far…

lego completes Feb 2019.png


kid activities2

If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, then you know all about my sticker collecting. I mean, I basically won’t shut up about it & write about my sticker collecting in practically every other post. I have been collecting (& using) stickers since I was around 10-years old. I still even have a few of my old stickers from way back when. I won’t go in to too much detail about my boring sticker collecting, just know that I’ve been collecting stickers nearly my entire life.

Do you remember when I introduced my sticker storage box (named Trevor)? Well, he’s overflowing now.

trevor

This photo of Trevor taken circa July 2012.

This is Trevor now. He is a super hot mess.

jean-luc.jpg

Even my craft washi tape collection got so overwhelming that Pierre spilled out, & we now have his little brother named Jean-Luc.


kid activities3

I’m not an avid coloring book artist these days, but I still color like a kid from time to time using a coloring page app on my tablet. When I was a little kid, I loved coloring in school. I couldn’t freestyle/hand draw to save my life, but I loved coloring. I still can’t draw (barely stick figures & crude symbols), but I still enjoy coloring from time to time.

I remember when I was a teenager & I discovered tracing paper for the first time. I had this beautiful hardcover art book from the artist Mary Engelbreit, who was my favorite artist at the time. I would spend hours in my room, sitting on my bed, painstakingly re-tracing all of my favorite prints from that book. Then I would take my treasured deluxe box of colored pencils & color in all of my traced pages, trying to copy Mary’s artwork. I had so much fun tracing those artworks & getting to color them in at the end.

Today, I don’t exactly color in actual paper coloring books with coloring pencils & crayons, but I do have a coloring app on my tablet called Lake Coloring, & whenever the mood strikes or if I’m feeling a little out of sorts, I’ll whip out my tablet (which I have named Richard), & just color away to clear my headspace, with my only worry being which color to choose. I wouldn’t exactly say that this type of coloring is a stress reliever, but it does actually distract me (in a good way) & helps me to temporarily forget about whatever was on my mind to make me feel moody.


kid activities4

I didn’t read comic books & graphic novels when I was very young. However, I remember one of my older female cousins was really into reading Archie Comics. I had another male cousin who loved to collect MAD magazines. He even had the board game that was a spin-off of the comic magazine.

I didn’t really start learing about comic books myself until I became a young teenager & my parents allowed me to walk to the grocery store without a chaperone. I started by reading the cheap 99¢ cents comics at the grocery store. Then when I was old enough to drive, I would spend my after school time hanging out at my local bookstore near the shopping mall. That was the time when I  was introduced to the magical world of Japanese manga (graphic novels).

Let me tell you one thing, when I immerse myself in a hobby or something I’m passionate about, I will invest a lot of time & effort (& money) into it. For example, when I started reading Japanese manga (I was more into manga rather than watching anime shows), I would read two or three series at a a time. I was always searching for a new series to dive into, which actually worked out for me because it always took at least a month, sometimes longer, to properly translate one Japanese comic book into English. It’s not easy to translate sound effects, & Japanese subtlety. To show you what I mean, let me insert a photo here.

mini manga library

I found these while cleaning out the storage closet, & miraculously they were NOT moisture damaged or warped!

I am not sure if you can clearly read the titles in this photo or not. I will list all of the titles, so you don’t have to zoom-in & sqint. Just a fair warning, I was really into the magical girl romance genre back in those days. I also dabbled in a little of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, & of course…the traditional romance genre as well.

manga library.png

I haven’t quite gotten back in to reading graphic novels. Well, at least not since I graduated college, but I’m slowly dipping my foot back in to that giant pool, testing out the water again to see if I’m still willing to shell out the mucho dinero for one book every other month. I still do read, though. However, I have slowed down my reading of hardcopy books in favor of e-books on my treasured tablet, Richard. You know, it is kind of sad to say this, but… you know when someone asks the trivia question “what three items would you bring with you to a remote island”? Two of the three items I’d probably bring with me is: 1. Richard, my tablet, & 2. a power source so I may keep Richard charged at all times. (Also, item number three would probably be a hunting knife.)


Well, that pretty much sums up some of my childhood that I’ve carried with me into full adulthood. Some of these things I believe I can still carry with me throughout my childhood & not feel like I’ve outgrown them. I also feel like I can pass down some of these activities with my future offspring. At least I hope so… That’s all I’ve got to say on this subject. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

kid games banner.png

One thing I remember very vividly from my childhood was playing board games with my siblings & cousins. We were all pretty close in age, so we enjoyed spending time together. We loved playing games & making home movies (which would be a good topic for a separate post).

I look back now & realize that I sucked at playing games. I never read the instructions. I never wanted to follow the game rules. My older brother was super patient & nice, always offering to teach me how to play one of his more grown-up board games (like Risk, Monopoly, Stratego). I never realized back then that he would cheat a little by not teaching me all the rules, but I also just plain sucked at playing games. I never had a sharp mind for strategy & was easily impulsive when it was my turn.

Even though I wasn’t very good at playing games (board games, card games, puzzle games, & video games especially), I enjoyed playing them. There were a few that I really liked to play, & it took me quite a while to think far back in my old memories to come up with this shortened list.


candyland game banner.png

One of the very first board games that I learned to play & really liked was the iconic game Candyland. Even though I didn’t eat a lot of candy when I was a little kid, I still loved to play this sugary, candy-coated, confectionery themed board game. I think one of the reasons why I liked to play this game so much was: 1. it reminded me a lot of my favorite cartoon character of the 1980s Strawberry Shortcake, & 2. the game was easy to play due to the simple instructions.

I thought the illustrations on the board game were cute, & I’d examine all the candies & sweets. My mom wouldn’t really let me eat sugary treats that often when I was a kid. Well, I never really was interested in eating candies & sweets anyway, but I still enjoyed playing a colorful game centered around them.


where in the world game banner.png

I remember there was a girl who lived on my street, & we were in the same grade together. We became fast friends, & I would spend nearly every day at her house  after school, listening to her mom’s classic vinyl records from the 1960s & playing tons of board games. This girl had a really fun geography game called Where In The World?, & when we played the game, we would never really follow the instructions.

When we played this game together, we’d just take the geography cards & use them to guess each country the other person was describing. There were of course many other pieces & game boards that came along with the game, along with 2 variations on how to play the game, but my school friend & I would just make up our own guessing game with the geography cards. We just had so much childish fun making up our own games & playing together after school.


clue game banner.png

Another board game I like to play when I was a little kid was Clue. It wasn’t until I became a teenager when I finally saw the Clue movie starring actor Tim Curry, but I still had fun playing this mystery, who-done-it game. I had hours of fun playing this board game, & of course every kid loved to use the secret passages on the board to move from room to room on their turns.

My school friend once let me borrow her Clue board game, which had the original packaging from 1963 (the pea green box with the big fingerprint & characters lined up on the box top), but after borrowing the game, she had moved away without giving her new address, & we both had totally forgotten that I had borrowed the board game from her. It wasn’t until a long time later, when my parents were cleaning out a storage closet, when they stumbled upon it & asked me if I still wanted to keep it. I had no way to return this board game back to this schoolmate, as we had not only lost contact, but also had grown apart & our friendship was broken up (to a point of unsalvageable, but I’ll save that for another post). I think playing this board game played a part in my future interest in solving logic puzzles (you know the ones from those cheap $1.99 magazines at the grocery store).


how to host party game banner.png

Ok, so I didn’t learn about this murder-myster party game until I was a much older teenager, but when I first saw this game at the toy store, I knew it would be so much fun to play. I loved dressing up in costumes back then, & I thought it would be fun to play a role-playing mystery game with all of my high school friends.

I even planned my sweet 16th birthday around one of these party games. I tried to decorate my house in the theme of the game, & sent out invitations to all my friends asking them to dress up in costume (but none of them decided to dress up, which I didn’t mind). We had a great time guessing the mystery of the game’s story & having fun snacks. It made my birthday quite fun & memorable.


As I’m writing this blog post I’m also simultaneously watching the movie Pirate Radio again for the umpteenth time. I think I’ve already watched this movie three times in the past month or so. This movie is one of my favorites, & I’ll never get tired of watching it. It’s gotten to the point where I can practically recite parts of the movie’s dialogue right along with the movie.

Jian, of course, finds my movie watching habits boring (& sometimes predictable), but I don’t mind one bit. I like rewatching my favorite movies over & over & over…without any shame or embarassment. As a matter of fact, I’m going to end this post & finish watching the end of this movie (which is one of my favorite scenes). Until next time, cheers, mates!

Calendar

October 2020
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Instagram Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog & receive notifications.

Join 238 other followers

Member of The Internet Defense League

%d bloggers like this: