To All the… (a book review and a love note)

To All the… (a book review and a love note)

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It is the month of  #Galentines #Valentines #singlesawareness #selflove ….

Everyone is posting about self-love for themselves and appreciation posts for their loved ones. It makes my heart happy to see people so positive and bright. But I am going to be honest: I wasn’t really happy during this most recent Valentine’s and felt some bitterness and sadness. I was feeling lonely and wishing I had that special someone. I was wishing that the holiday was on a weekday instead of a Friday. I was wishing it was just a normal Friday. I was wishing that I wouldn’t feel the pressure to “love myself.”

I do want to point out that it is OK to feel this way. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about loving yourself and truly believe that it is important to love and know yourself before you bring in another person into the mix. I want to promote all of those self-positive things in the internet world but I also don’t want to just follow the crowd. I want to be genuine with what my thoughts are currently. Not with what is trending. So instead I’ll post this – a book review with some little thoughts on love.

I am always scared to post on this blog. In reality, I am scared of having this blog. Sharing thoughts and feelings is not in my nature. But for some reason, I feel that I need to. I always seek like-minded people and others who can offer insight to their experiences. So I guess that is why I am doing it.

What a time to be alive on the Internet.

Also read : The Start of the Adventure

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Last week Netflix released P.S. I love you – the highly anticipated sequel of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. So, of course, I watched it.

I have been a romantic sap since the idea of love, relationships, human connections, and boys were finally appealing (which was probably around the age of 13.) I love romcoms, old movie musicals, and classic romance novels. But YA romance has been my jam for a very long time and will probably always be my go-to.

I fell in love with the first movie a few months ago. There was a brief time period last year where I avoided any sort of romantically themed entertainment because of heartbreak and boys, but this one was the first romance-themed anything I allowed in. It was perfect. I loved the wittiness, the visuals, the acting, and of course the story.  So with the announcement of the new movie and the need for some beach reads and what I call, “bubble-gum reads,” I went to the library and checked out all three novels for my trip to Cancún this past November.

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE TRILOGY by Jenny Han

These books had all the quintessential charm that I love with YA romances – a protagonist that is witty, charming, and endearing. She doesn’t quite fit in and has quirks that I (as a female and equally quirky reader) could relate to. She is a dreamer and she is intelligent. I relate to her but also want to be her. She is real, makes mistakes, and is inspiring.  The themes of race identity, sisterhood, family, and love are all over this series. But there are also the real emotions of what it is like to experience love for the first time. There is the heartbreak, the fear and the bravery it takes to fall for someone. Even though I am a twenty-something-year-old, I have been experiencing a lot this “love” stuff for the first time in the past couple of years. So maybe it was just good universe timing to come across these books, but I found them very relatable and enjoyable despite being well past high school age. (Which you can’t say about all YA books…) Jenny Han nailed it and I want to be her best friend.

Also read : January in Books

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BOOKS OR MOVIES??

Books. Books all the way. The first movie is great and preferably better as a stand-alone film. No need for a sequel. Again it had all of the charms as the first book. But the second movie just didn’t do it for me. “But I want to know what happens, Becca!” Well… Read the books to find out what happens with our favorite Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky is all I can say.

The sequel film was cute. It had the beauty and the things we loved about the first movie. Our favorite characters and actors could be seen in all their glory – with their desirable vintage wardrobes and perfect eyelashes. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these actors and have delved into the rabbit hole of endless internet interviews with them. But when it comes to the story the second movie didn’t really do it for me. Mostly because of John Ambrose’s character. In the movie, he still wasn’t even near in competition with PK. In the book though…he was winning for me. Better LJ and JA moments are all over and there is much more Stormy (whom I love dearly.) The characters are developed better (you go Jenny Han), and the turmoil of PK and LJ is more intense.

So books. Books always win.

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”
Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before


Now for little love letters…

“To all those friends who I have loved before…

I still love you. And always will. Even if we don’t see or even speak to each other – you mean a lot to me as you have affected me and my life. My life and how I view the world has been shaped in some way by you. Thank you for sharing the time and the moments with me. Thank you for being part of the memories. Thank you for making me laugh and smile. Thank you for standing there as I cried, complained, or acted simply ridiculous. Thank you for accepting my quirks and for supporting me. Thank you for still loving me.

Love, Becca”

“To that person who means more to me than they know…

I still love you. There is so much to say, but not really the words to express it all. I have felt the entire range of emotions with you. I have felt sadness, anger, but also utter joy and giddiness with you. You are the first person who I have truly felt that desire to put your happiness first above my own. You have opened up my mind to new things and a new life.  I have felt your love. I love our memories. I love our habits and little phrases we say to each other every time we are together. I love the little things – every little hug and handhold. Now, who knows what will happen. Maybe the stars will finally align. I miss you, I am so proud of you, and I will talk to you soon.

Love, Becca”

Lastly…

“To Becca…

I still love you. Even though I will self-depreciate, criticize, and judge you I still think you are pretty great. You have accomplished so much and have legitimate dreams that are worth pursuing. You are beautiful, but it is also ok to not like what you see or how you feel. You are human. Anyways, this is a little weird but…I love you and you are worth loving.

Love, Becca”

Also read : Thoughts by a Human…


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Thanks to love for influencing almost every part of our lives and being the one feeling that every human being can understand and can use to connect.

Thanks for the Adventure, Love.

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Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

With the Thanksgiving week ending and everything quickly switching to the full Holiday season, I want to quickly share some “Thanks” on my corner of the internet.

And I won’t lie but what inspired this post, besides the yearly social media posts that occur during Thanksgiving week… World Kindness Day was awhile back. In memory of Mister Rogers in his adorable red cardigan, who shared the message that all deserve to be loved and all are valued, no matter our differences. I, personally, learned many subtle life lessons from Mister Rogers when I was little and I am just glad that they are still being remembered and shared.

“The greatest thing we can do 

is to help someone know that they are

loved and capable of loving.”

– Mister Rogers

So…

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Thanksgiving 2019… Things I am grateful for…

  • Health – my body is pretty incredible. It’s been through a lot and has some scars inside and out. There are some things that are happening that are a mystery to me, but my body is still thriving despite it. Love your body – faults, quirks and all.
  • Family – family is always something to be grateful for. Whether they are blood or not, my family is the reason I keep going. There is something about a group of people loving and supporting you unconditionally. They may also bring some pain and sadness, but there is always unconditional love being spun around.
  • Friends – my friends are my family. They are everything. They are the ones who have seen me at my best and my absolute worst. I can’t think of the words of how I want to express my love for them, so this will have to do. I love you, my friends! Go find yourself a good friend, and keep them. You won’t regret it.
  • Community – there is something special about feeling like you are truly a part of something. Whether that be through music, work, religion, the internet, and so on and so on. People are amazing and we can learn so so much from each other. Please, if you are lonely, know that you deserve a community. You can find one or create one with those around you. If you have one, bring others in. We all deserve it.
  • Kindness – so little can go such a long way. One thing can inspire so much. I appreciate every little act, smile, and word given to me this past year. And in trying to share more kindness myself, I am finding that I am kinder to myself and I recognize the little moments around me. See the kindness, and add some kindness to your world around you.

    “There are three ways to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.”

-Mister Rogers

  • And lastly…Adventures – life, in general, is an adventure. It is why I started recording my life on this little blog and named it the way I did. I am grateful for every adventure, big or small. Adventures with my mood (because that’s real), adventures with my health, music, relationships. Adventures with exploring and traveling. There is so so much to see and experience and learn.

So… Wear a cardigan, watch some Mister Rogers, share some kindness, read some books, find the beauty, explore the world around you and…

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Thanks(giving) for the Adventure.

First Travel Vid!

First Travel Vid!

So I love watching travel videos/vlogs. I also discovered after my first trip to Europe I loved looking back at the videos I took. There are so many sounds and more memories that come back from them. Although, pictures are also amazing moment captors.

Every trip I’ve taken since, I have filmed moments and I have always intended to compile each trip into one, watchable, video. So here’s the first! From my most recent adventure in San Diego!

Most of the video features our adventure at WONDERSPACES. I talk about my experience, that I LOVED in a previous post linked HERE.

Take a look! And make sure to follow my socials to keep up to date of my current adventures! Enjoy!!

 

Music Credit:

Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFw… Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music released by Argofox https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8

Socials:

Facebook

Instagram

Personal Instagram (most of my travel adventures are posted here!!!)

 

Again, Thanks for the Adventure SD!

Thanks SD

Thanks SD

This past weekend I got to escape my little life and hang out in San Diego with my sweet cousin, Lizzy! So here are some of the best moments from this past weekend…As well as places to see next time you go hangout in SD!

-The drive there and back. Yes, there was traffic. Did it take me 6 hours instead of 2 to getTaiwan there? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! That drive is gorgeous. Seeing the ocean and open fields with open water behind it brings me sooo much peace. My anxiety goes away and overall I am so grateful I moved here, simply because I am so close to the ocean. So I highly recommend taking the I-5 or even the PCH (if you don’t mind more traffic). Preferably timed around sunset going north, and you are guaranteed gorgeous views no matter what. Then add some good music and podcasts and you are set.

-The first night there we ventured to La Jolla to see some Utah friends and to check out Opera Neo’s production of La Callisto. It was so good! Entertaining, fantastic acting, costumes and sets. The singing was incredible and the orchestra was phenomenal. *Insert more adjectives* Mostly I was in heaven seeing two of my favorites singing their faces off. I saw one of my favorite professor, got my Mason hugs that I’ve missed, and Paul kisses as well as met a few other cool singers. Check out OPERA NEO for incredible singing and opera if you are in the La Jolla area!

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The FANTASTIC singers, and my wonderful friends at Opera Neo!

-PACIFIC BEACH! My cousin lives right in the heart of it and she took me all around and Taiwan -2boy I’m glad she did. So much beach and sun that I was in heaven. We spent most of the day walking down the main strip (Garnet Street), eating food and checking out the little shops. I filled my book haul need at PENNYWISE BOOKS, scoring some bestsellers for just a dollar each! The vibe in PB is just what you need if you’re looking for cool, beach town, vibes with a fun bar scene. I would say its a perfect spot for vacationing 20 something year olds but also very family friendly. The beach was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

-We checked out WONDERSPACES -their “In Common” exhibition in downtown SD. So so so cool! Interactive art installations that involved light, sound, technology, fog, you name it. You wander at your own pace and there were employees every step of the way to explain the meanings. You could take pictures and interact with almost every piece. The theme of “In Common” was so prevalent and inspiring. I love anything that shows and reminds us that we are all human, experiencing this world at the same time. Therefore we do have the ability, and should, support and love each other no matter what. My favorites were the “Harmony of Spheres” by Foo/Skou simply because it was A cappella in an art piece and so much fun. “Confessions” by Candy Chang was incredible. In the most public spot of the entire space there were booths where you could anonymously write down a confession. They then would hang them all up for all to read. It was incredible to see how much we all have in common. So many confessions were about love, being in love, being heartbroken. Fear was common – fear to tell a close friend something or to make a change. There were funny ones, about peeing their pants or liking certain foods or TV shows. But all in all they were all human and relatable. Both the sad and joyous ones. I could’ve stood there for a hour reading each one.

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-FOOD FOOD FOOD! One of the best parts of any trip, weekend getaway, or night out is the food. To simply not have to prepare anything and the little joy of not caring about money and simply ordering something because it sounds good brings so much joy. We had SUSHI KUCHI our first night. Affordable, typical, and delicious sushi in a super fun environment. My cousin told them that it was my birthday, while I was in the bathroom, simply so I could witness the incredible display of Birthday Celebration that they offer. The next morning I had a sweet, little, iced Chai Latte at BIRD ROCK COFFEE while waiting for our table at CRUSHED – which was well worth the 30 min wait. I ordered the Daddycakes which was essentially pancake tacos filled with eggs, meat, and jalepeno peppers. Just the right amount of food in a fun, weekend, brunch spot. We ate snacks and got drinks along the water in downtown, and lunch on Sunday at FIREHOUSE. It’s a cool, two-story, restaurant/bar right along the beach of PB. There are relaxed sitting areas and constant water views. We had delicious Calamari with aioli and I ordered a tuna melt sided with garlic fries that was delicious. And of course snacks such as sour patch straws and chocolate bars were consumed.

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Just a blurry photo featuring delicious food and a gorgeous cousin!

-We consumed said candy while watching “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” where we laughed, cried and simply admired Leo and Brad then finished the night off by watching a Manson Family documentary. Luckily Lizzy and I share a fascination for the scary, sad, disturbing, and misunderstood topic of confusing people and moments in this world so we indulged.

Overall it was the perfect weekend full of laughs, sea air, humidity, girl talk, good food and just good moments. A weekend getaway is necessary and I will probably be making one every few weeks.

So…

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Thanks for the Adventure San Diego!

P.S. More Pictures and Videos will be on Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog !!

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

One year ago I had the trip of a lifetime to Taiwan and China. Now this trip was different in that I was not there for pleasure, per say, nor did I really have the option of planning my days. (Which was less stressful and more exciting I will admit.)

I was there with the University of Utah Chamber Choir and our days were full of rehearsals, concerts, buses, meals and excursions planned together. There were some frustrating moments as well as some pretty incredible ones. I fell in love with the people and cultures of Taiwan and China, I was able to sing some pretty incredible music in some incredible places, and of course become more of a family with my friends and fellow choir members. All of it made this adventure special and unique and I will never forget it.

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  1. The plane ride over

Now this wasn’t exactly in Asia but it was memorable. We left Salt Lake City quite early in the morning, but all (as far as I could tell) were very excited. We boarded our second plane in Seattle and in 9ish hours was supposed to be in South Korea then onto Taiwan.

The plane was old, leg room minimal and there was a lovely piece of paper scotch taped over our air and light switches. I felt happy being sandwiched between my two best friends, John and Kyra. The other passengers were nice. We were also throughly entertained by the older man sitting across the aisle who chose to lay the airline blanket over his head, fall asleep, then lean completely sideways into the aisle. Resulting in flight attendants and strangers having to gently push him upright to pass, after which he would quickly lean over again. Snoring away.

3 1/2 hours in, the already dimmed lights suddenly turned off. An announcement was being said over the speaker but it was quiet and so broken up that no one could understand what was happening. Another announcement came on, clearer this time, saying something about “broken piece,” “cold weather,” and “turning back.” We watched the map with the slowly moving aircraft change to show a u-turn in the middle of the ocean. 3 hours later we were back in Seattle, sitting in groups by the gate.

We spent the next couple of hours watching videos, swapping snacks provided by the airline, and wandering the nearby gates. We re-boarded onto the same plane and watched movies, talked, and played trivia games on the somewhat working screens. A total of 18 hours later from takeoff the first time in Seattle, we finally arrived in Seoul barely missing our next flight. We ended up spending the “night” there, and back on a plane within a few hours. Once in Taiwan we took a 4 hour bus ride to Kaohsiung. As our director  (if I remember correctly) at one point said, “I feel that we’re just going and going and going and not getting anywhere.”

Taiwan airplane progression

 2. Transport

Not only did we travel on planes, but also on buses, subways, and speed trains. I have to give a shoutout to Korean Air for possibly the best air travel experience ever with a spacious plane, kind and thoughtful attendants, and interesting but delicious food.

Buses were our main form of transportation. Whether it be across the country, meals, rehearsals, concerts, or a museum. Every bus was unique with decor. One bus was a sea foam green with white tassels hanging from the windows. Another was dark blue with 90s patterned seats and strobing colored LEDs. All felt like they could be a room in my Grandmother’s house. Without fail on every bus ride I was sandwiched in the back between John and Kyra with Julia added. I loved it.

Untitled design-7.pngThe Subways in Taiwan were unbelievably clean. Our first experience on the subway was in Kaohsiung at a station near our hotel. It was massive with a center that had shops and a gorgeous, colored glass roof. On one of the sides was a white, baby grand, piano which our pianist took the initiative to cross the rope barriers and start playing. Since the room was very live, choir members where able to hear from all ends of the center and slowly gathered back as they heard one of our songs and we sang “Oh Danny Boy” for anyone who walked by

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We took the Speed Train, that travels at approximately 180 mph, across the country from Kaohsiung to Taipei. It involved a chaotic, but somehow still organized trek from subway to subway trailing our bags with us. Yu-Feung (one of the choral conductor TAs, a Taiwan native, and wonderful human being) led the large 40 person group of Americans, like little ducks through crowds and checkpoints to the train in a record amount of time. The train itself was spacious and very quiet. Multiple times we were reminded of the quiet culture that the Taiwanese have, and frankly I quite liked it. We ate little bento boxes with a delicious flan like dessert. All provided for by Yu-Feung. We were able to see the green countryside, and cities here and there in record time. All while being sandwiched between John and Kyra, reading my book.

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3.Hotels

The hotels in themselves were an experience. I had no idea what to expect including what level of comfort, safety, and just general expectations. Each one was unique and overall memorable.

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Our first hotel was a Grand Hyatt actually in Korea, during our short overnight “layover.” We probably all slept a total of 2-3 hours after spending a good couple of hours in the vast, marble covered lobby. The rooms were very nice, clean, and American. But the BEST part was the breakfast. In their sleek restaurant building, across a bridge, with beautiful and kind Korean waiters and waitresses wandering around. I’ll describe the food more later…

The hotel in Kaohsiung was an adventure. There was a small lobby, completely open to the air and sounds outside with a wall made of looney tunes cardboard boxes (??). There was a karaoke bar next door, and men always hanging around. There was a row of elevators outside, but it seemed only one worked at a time. The elevator was small and each wall had large “advertisements” of women. It sometimes opened randomly to the “5th Floor,” that was dark and completely gutted out. Very spooky, and as the door buttons didn’t work you would be stuck staring into the great abyss. The doors would close with force at any point, no matter if there was a human or suitcase in the way. We quickly learned why there were advertisements, as the “7th and 8th Floor” was a “business” in which we were not allowed to enter. It had a club like feel, with beautiful attendants who would look at us apologetically as a large group of drunk men would squeeze inside the small elevator, already filled with American choir singers.

The room was spacious, clean by my expectations, the beds were firm and the bathroom had a “fancy” toilet with additional buttons. The walls were brown with grey floral accent walls. It was also very hot and humid, even in the rooms, which made putting on makeup difficult but our room had a spectacular view.

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Our Taipei Hotel was in the army district of the city, near the President’s palace, called the Taipei Hero House. There was a spacious lobby with a 7/11 and massage chairs. The breakfast room was large and everything was in Chinese and every guest and employee only spoke Chinese. The rooms were standard with firm beds and green walls. There were plastic sandals outside of the shower. Outside the window was a small alley and we could see right into the windows of the next door apartments, giving a glimpse into city life in Taipei.

4. Night Markets!

NIGHT MARKETS! One of the best things about Taiwan was exploring the night markets. They are like American Farmers Markets but better. Full of sounds, people, wonderful and questioning smells. We went to two markets, one in Kaohsiung our first night there (hello jet lag…) and one in Taipei.

In Kaohsiung we were separated into small groups and led by local students around the market. Ours was shyer, but was more than willing to answer questions as we walked through the city. As well as eat any foods we didn’t like and recommend typical snacks and foods. The market was smaller, one long street, but there was so much to see. We tried a fruity milk tea and “stinky tofu” (it lives up to its name), delicious pieces of meat and fresh fruit. Despite being hot and extremely tired it was probably the best way to spend our first night there.

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The market in Taipei was incredible. It was this large and vast market that covered blocks of city and many little alley ways. Again, we were led by a local student and friend of Yu-Feung’s. Super kind, smart, and funny. He also ate any foods we didn’t like, made sure we saw what we wanted to see and try, recommended local favorites, and explained college life within the city. There was a temple in the middle of the market with neon lights around it, which we went inside to explore. This market had not just food, but clothe shops, toys, electronics, raw foods as well as cooked foods, desserts…anything you could think of. We went through the fish market, ate delicious candies, desserts, meat, fruits, etc. I hadn’t felt the extreme jet lag until this night. I felt that I couldn’t stand upright or focus, but it was memorable all the same.

5. Food

Untitled design-11.pngOne of my favorite parts of traveling is food. It is worth the money, and pounds, to try anything and everything (to a certain extent.) I was excited to try food in Asia as it can be so different from the US and Europe.

The breakfast in Korea was phenomenal. With chefs preparing omelets, colorful dim sum, noodles, meat, there was fruit everywhere and a whole station of beautiful bakery bread.

 

For meals we had anything from pasta and rose tea to fast food dim sum and steamed hot pot photobuns (which was incredibly delicious.) We had bento boxes full of noodles, vegetables, and a choice of meat. KFC is a gourmet unique experience in Asia, with their different breading and spices. We had many different types of barbecued meats. Some fish. We went to a Japanese Hot Pot restaurant, which quickly became everybody’s favorite. An experience that included individual hot pots which you fill with broth then cook your own choice of meats, vegetables, noodles, and sauces.

The mango. How much could I talk about Mangoes in Taipei. I dream about a mango shaved ice with fresh fruit on top that I shared with Kyra. We even bought a second one we loved it so much. We tried a variety of fruits like dragon fruit, pineapple, and an unique type of apple. There was candied strawberries on a skewer. Warm, fresh, strawberries covered in a sugar coating that crunched and stuck to your lips when you took a bite off it.

Boba tea and milk teas are delicious! Sweet, yet still bitter, and creamy from the milk. There were fruit milk teas, aloe milk teas, etc. Snack wise we tried lots of different types of crackers, cookies with sweet bean fillings, chocolates, candies, and sodas.

Desserts are my favorite no matter what country I am in. Our friend in Taipei took us to a shaved ice parlor where he ordered ice topped with passion fruit and one with beans and sweet and condensed milk. We all tried the beans once, but he finished it thankfully. The passion fruit was incredible and refreshing.

Beans were everywhere. On our flight to Taiwan we were served this jello/greek yogurt type substance that had a packet of soy sauce alongside. Bean curd. Very salty and slimy.

I loved (although most did not like) a popular dessert at the night market: which was sherbet ice-cream with fresh basil and peanut brittle all wrapped in something I would relate to a French crepe.

I wish I remembered more about the food, but it was a ride to simply eat what was given to the entire choir. Don’t worry Taiwan, I’ll come back for your food and overall hospitality.

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Like I said this trip was unbelievable and I am determined to go back at some point in my life. The culture, the food, the history, and the people were unimaginably wonderful. These memories were unforgettable, hence the being able to write about them a year later, and I hope to never forget them.

I want to thank the donors who support the University of Utah’s College of Music and the Choral Department. As well as Chamber Choir. Every person and singer in that choir made it possible, especially our director Dr. Bradford. And shoutout to Yu-Feung! The NTU chorus as well as other university choruses who fundraised and welcomed us deserve all the love and gratitude.

Check out the UofU Choral Department HERE, the UofU Choir Facebook HERE,  as well as the Youtube page for some of our performances in Taipei HERE!

Make sure to check out the Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog and my own personal Insta @beccaanneclarke for more photos and stories!

 

And…

Thanks for the Adventure Taiwan!!

Part 2 coming SOOOOON!!

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Top 5 Reasons Why I Travel

Top 5 Reasons Why I Travel

Myself and Mr. Jasper have been feeling a bit under the weather today…which means no long post that I have been planning but haven’t finished yet. That is my reality this week. But I am getting quite a bit of doggie cuddles so I won’t complain too much…

I want to share my top 5 reasons why I LOVE to travel. I used to experience quite a lot of fear and anxiety when planning and traveling for trips. But after a few mishaps and fantastic adventures that fear has turned into a constant itch to explore.  I do not consider myself well traveled, which I intend on changing soon, but I have learned quite a bit and have enjoyed my few meager experiences exploring this world we live in.

  1. It gives you a break from “real life.” Our everyday lives are important, beautiful, and should be full of joy but they can also be stressful and boring in some instances. As humans, for the most part, we thrive off of routines. Our jobs are important. I mean they help fund fun experiences…Our friends and family are a support system that is necessary for life. Everyone’s “real life” is different and wonderful. But having a break to go and experience something totally out of the norm is incredible. Getting out of the daily routine for a week or two (or more…), for me, helps me get out of the rut that I feel after doing the same sort of things.
  2. You can travel alone. Traveling, to me, is simply exploring someplace new with a bit of uncomfortableness added to it. I personally hate doing anything alone so forcing myself to explore a nearby city alone for an afternoon is huge for me. It brings me out of my comfort zone which in return forces me to interact with the world as well as get to know myself.
  3. You can travel with others. You can share these really cool experiences with the people you care about. You become bonded over something that you will never experience in the same way again. Traveling with friends is a dream. You instantly become closer and bonded. They laughs increase and the inside jokes multiply. Up to this point, my favorite way of exploring is with friends.
  4. You learn about yourself. I have learned my limits, both small and large, by traveling. I know what kind of things I like to invest my time and energy on. (I love walking aimlessly for hours and museums and bookstores are my cup of tea.) I know what kind of things I should and shouldn’t spend my money on. (Who likes unpacking from a trip and finding that you really don’t care about that certain souvenir…But food. Food is worth the money.) I have learned how long I am capable of walking and being on my feet. I have learned to recognize my crabby qualities that I appear when I am hungry or tired and how to fix them before I disrupt the group’s flow. I have learned, that for the most part, I am willing to try every food and I will typically like it. I have learned that I actually do like traveling, despite the fears that I still experience when traveling.
  5. Travel shows you that this world is a lot smaller than we think. Humans are all alike, despite our obvious differences in culture and language. We are all simply trying to find joy in our lives. We all need food, shelter, water, and comfort. I love that connection you feel with strangers as you explore a tiny part of their life or trying to order food in their language. Traveling teaches so much respect to those who are willing to try and see the world. This world is seemingly large with all of its differences, dangers, and misunderstandings but in reality it is insanely beautiful. There is so much history we can learn from, so much food to try and love, so much to see, and so many new people to meet. And it is all plane ride away.

So here you go. These are my top 5 reasons why I love to travel, at least in this moment.  Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and experiences on this crazy little space I’ve created for myself. I’m excited to start sharing my stories, pictures, and videos of some of the places I have fallen in love with.

Comment some of your reasons! I want to start a conversation and get to know people!

And…

Thanks for the Adventure World.

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Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

Thanks…Waitress the Musical: an Essay

In honor of my favorite Broadway show Waitress, which announced its closing date this morning, I thought I would share my experience with it New York, 3 years ago. Like for so many others, this show changed my life. Thank you Sara Bareilles and the entire production team, actors, singers, musicians, etc. who were all involved in creating this incredible show. Here’s a bit of me to share my appreciation.

*This is a portion of an essay that was originally written in 2017*

JUNE 8, 2016

NEW YORK CITY

It was our third day in the city. I wake up to the sun shining on the next-door apartment buildings in the middle of SoHo, with a view of the bridge in the distance. Our hotel room is unbelievably small but still comfortable for three people. Three small beds fill the room decorated with silver and purple hues, leaving just enough space to walk to the bathroom. The bathroom is white and bright and it somehow felt like the largest space. There is a window over the bathtub that swings open overlooking the same apartments, giving a view into the city life.

My Mom knew that today is important to me and she was already up, to allow herself theUntitled design-8 time to get ready. Diana, my college roommate and best friend, joined us for our NYC adventure after we spent a week in Boston with her. Over the course of the trip we had amazing food and fantastic shopping in used bookstores and street markets. We had already had had some adventures with attempting to push my mother’s wheelchair over the cobblestone sidewalks and the pot-hole filled streets of New York, but I wasn’t tired yet.

I created a time schedule for out day, including the time it would take to travel on the subways. I knew exactly how long we could spend in the 9/11 museum and precisely how long we would have for meals. This day was not going to be stressful, but magical, I assured myself.

The morning was spent in sunny weather and with a sense of somber reflection at the memorial. Despite my urgency to stay on time, I found myself alone getting lost in the photos and videos, the artifacts, and displays. After finishing looking through a set of photographs I found Diana looking at a display of papers. We turn to find my Mom, front wheels up and scooting through the exhibit, managing to not hurt any other observers. I check the time.

“Oh no. We need to go now to catch that train…” Diana agrees and we herd my Mom towards the exit. After a few wrong turns up ramps and into other exhibits we were finally directed to an exit elevator. The panic started to pulse, but was easily checked by my self reassurances.

The elevator “bings,” and as it opens a large crowd of children in matching blue t-shirts begin pushing each other into the small hallway. They are yelling and laughing at each other as they shake their hair and squeeze their wet clothing. Chaperones are wearing plastic rain ponchos and create more noise as they try to organize the groups. All I could think amongst the commotion was, Not on the one day we didn’t bring jackets or umbrellas… Diana and I look at each other and I push my Mom onto the elevator.

As we reach the exit my Mom pulls out a small umbrella and opens it. “Here Becca, you use the umbrella since you’re pushing me.”

“Mom, I can’t hold the umbrella if I’m pushing you.”

“Oh. Diana?”

“No, you can use it. Stay dry,” she replied with a smile.

Other patrons comment on the rain as they pull out ponchos and hide phones in pockets. The security guard opens the door and we begin running into the now dark and windy city. So here we are: Diana running ahead while navigating on Google Maps to find the nearest subway entrance. My Mom is sitting in the chair clutching her purse and the bag of souvenirs and books while holding the small umbrella. Then there was me, bent in half as I tried to navigate the chair over potholes, curbs, and crowds of business men. My eyes are squinting against the rain. About every half block I feel a stream of water traveling up the sleeves of my cardigan as the umbrella would slowly tip back.

“Mom, could you hold up the umbrella straighter.” I don’t even try to hide my frustration. “You’re dumping water all over me.”

“Oh I’m sorry! I’m sorry you’ve had to push all around on this trip. I feel so-” she stops mid-sentence.

“It’s fine. Let’s just focus on getting there.” I begin to feel bad, but I try not to dwell on it as we find a small staircase leading underground.

A steady stream of people are traveling down as we awkwardly help my Mom out of the chair and attempt to fold the chair as flat as possible. We disrupt the flow of traffic as Diana leads my Mother down the stairs and I awkwardly hold bags and carry the chair, hitting the fronts of my ankles every step. We receive stares and comments but I force myself to ignore them.

Untitled design-6Make up is smeared across our faces, our curls and pins so purposefully done that morning for pictures are out of place and gone. My cardigan is hanging off my body and water squishes in my shoes. We turn a corner and find ourselves on 47th Street and Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The small theatre entrance is lit up with a flashing blue and pink sign. Waitress stares back at me. I had been waiting months to see this show.

I had first heard about the show over a Playbill.com announcement stating that Sara Barielles’ new show had opened in London and was set to open on Broadway. A quick Google search led me to Spotify and her original album with the same title. I listened to the album countless times, memorizing all the words and the nuances of her voice. I watched the movie, again with the same title, and fell in love with the story. I watched every press release and every video released during their workshops. The feeling of I need to see this occupied me. As well as the feeling of I need to sing this music.

I look up and think, I’m here. I was about to see my first Broadway show. I was about to see and hear one of my idols, Jessie Mueller. I didn’t care that I was wet and cold.

We reached the door and the usher pushed us inside the crowded entrance full of older couples. I suddenly realized the small lobby was ill suited for Mom’s cumbersome wheelchair, and I started guiding mom gently through the crowds, careful to make sure I didn’t bang into anyone’s ankles. I’d maneuvered nearly to the front of the line when a woman stepped back abruptly, crunching her leg right into the metal foot rests.

“Watch where you’re going!” she yelled out, turning to face mom.  “You ran into me!” Then she looked directly into my eyes and pointed, “You need watch where you’re pushing that thing.” She wheeled around and stormed away.

I stood there speechless, my hands gripping the wheelchair handles hard.

“Becca?” my mom’s soft voice broke the trance. She was looking up at me, concern in her eyes. I bit my lip and pushed her up to the ticket window, angry tears beginning to burn the edges of my eyes.

We enter the theatre and the smell of warm sugar overcomes us. Pie. The theatre smelled like pie. I steer us to our seats in silence, dripping and cold. The pages of the programs were gumming up and sticking to our wet hands.

I didn’t care. All I could think was, Why would someone say something like that to a woman in a wheelchair?

We sit down. I don’t even notice that I’m crying or the little jars of pie my Mom bought. I wish we were just back in the warm hotel room, away from these people, I thought for a moment—and at that precise second, as if on cue, the lights began to dim and the theater was transformed.

The space surrounding the stage lights up. Towers of pies are spinning and a diner appears. The familiar, but different, music started. The curtain was raised and I was in another world. I didn’t care that some old woman’s phone started going off. I didn’t care that I could feel my toes squishing in the bottom of my wet shoes. I didn’t care that the air conditioner was making the skin on the back of my hands and neck chill, or that my tears hadn’t stopped. I was in the world of Jenna at Joe’s Pie Diner.

By the time we reached Act II, and Jenna’s husband has thrown his guitar at her, she has lost her last chance of ever escaping a life she didn’t want or deserve. She is also about to give birth. The entire theatre is entranced and the F# major chord fills the room. She starts singing:

It’s not simple to say. That most days I don’t recognize me…

In the seat next to me, mom gasps. In the dark of the theater, I don’t see the tears, but I can hear her sobs and sniffles. The rest of the theatre is sniffling, too and I am hypnotized by Jessie Mueller’s voice and storytelling.

She is lonely, but most of the time

She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine!

“That’s me!” Mom whispers, and I try not to think about it, try not to let the emotions overwhelm me, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop from breaking down.

My Mother lived through the childhood that you see in movies and books: childhoods that had nasty divorces and lack of love, with moments of joy and family. Filled with events that affected my Mom so deeply mentally and physically that I have never really been able to fully understand her. We have our things that we connect with, music especially but nothing deep. All I could see was the unfulfilled promises, the days where she couldn’t leave her bed because of chronic and mental illness, and the occasional fights we would get in when she tried to become involved in my life and threaten my independence.

In Act 3, Jenna sings of her realization that she is a completely different person than the one she was before, the one she liked to be. But she knows she can’t go back. I realized it in the same moment that Jenna did on stage: that I have felt that way too. We are alike: Jenna, my Mom, and I—and this sense made me feel closer to Mom than I’ve felt in a long time.

As the show ends we all stand and cheer. It was so surreal to see the human beings who changed my life and me in a moment. As the lights come back up Diana, my Mom, and I all look at each other. We are all disheveled from the wind and rain. Our hair is still dripping and our eyes are puffy from the crying.

“Becca I hope you are happy, despite everything we went through to get here.”

“Oh Mom I loved it. I really did love it. I don’t care about anything that happened before.”

“I’m sorry that I was crying through all of that. I just couldn’t help relating. That’s exactly how I felt when I had you. All I wanted was to the best I could for you. I hope I gave you what you wanted”

“You did Mom. You did.”

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JULY 2019

 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

I left that theatre changed. The rest of the trip wasn’t magical or full of ease. More adventures happened, including a stolen wheelchair from that very theatre… But I was changed from it all.

Waitress changed my life. I have seen it twice since that day in NYC and I would see it 10 more times. That song has had different meanings for me since that day. I have turned to it, cried to it, and jumped for joy because of it. I discovered my voice and myself singing it and I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t worry… I’ll write about all that someday soon. But…

Thank you Sara B. Thank you New York. Thank you Broadway. 

Thanks for the adventure Waitress the Musical…

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