Thoughts by a Human…

Thoughts by a Human…

It has been one of those weeks…changes have been happening, positive and negative. Contemplating life. And having no job, more time, results in lots of thoughts. This is my space of the internet and I would like to share those thoughts. Please share yours or share this!

So here are some thoughts by a human (me)…

 

Human existence is amazing. So much can happen to one human being on this planet. And there have been so many human lives, each of them unique. Every view of the world is unique and beautiful in its own right. Every comprehension of human life, what was before and what is after is unique. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to find the truth. Is there one certain truth to life? Or just our own unique truths? How you want to exist in the world and possibly the next (if you believe in that of course!)

Maybe that’s why I, personally, don’t believe in coincidences? Because every moment, person, experience, and emotion I have felt has shaped me, very uniquely, to the human being I am. And I wouldn’t change it. I can’t imagine a different self, because what has happened to me, happened. Again I wouldn’t change that.

It’s amazing how much our perspective of time changes through our lives. As a child there is so much time. A year is a large portion of our lifetime. Our natural existence fills the time. As we grow older priorities and responsibilities fill our time. We manipulate our time to alter the way we exist. We can change the direction of our lives with a single choice. We can change the direction of life to find a existence that we love and feel fulfilled in. What power, yet we are still at the whims of time, health, the Earth, those we love and hate, societal expectations, personal expectations, emotions… the list goes on and on.

I think our own emotions are the most difficult part of life. We are at their mercy. They are constantly changing. We can’t anticipate or control them. Sometimes they appear so strongly that we become consumed, forever changed by them. They are the one thing that we can’t put into words. The deepest parts of our souls, I believe, reveal themselves through our feelings. To others in our lives, they can never be fully justified or even proven.

So there is nothing wrong with dictating our lives based on our feelings, emotions, or a feeling we get from something or someone. They may lead to mistakes or even better, triumphs.

Every emotion is a success of the human experience. It means we are here and alive. Even with the darkest and most lonely ones.

We do, and should, try our best to respect ourselves – our “souls”, whatever that means to you, and our emotions. We should also respect others. We are all the same. Existing together, uniquely. No moment of time and space is the same from before or after that moment. It’s okay to clutch to some of those moments and to let go of others. But we should never try to only in one, single, moment. Always moving forward.

It’s okay to cry or jump for joy. It’s okay to share your failures and triumphs. It’s okay to view the world and all that is holds differently from those around you. As long as respect and love are given. That is what is at the core of kindness and morals. All are valued, important, worth, loved, respected – no matter where they are in their experience.

We are all human.

Thanks for the Adventure life. And thoughts.

July in Books

July in Books

As part of my Bucketlist goal #2, which you can read about HERE, I have been delving back into the world of books. I want to share which ones I have loved and hated and all of the in-between this past month.

You can also keep up to date with what I’m exploring on my Goodreads and my Instagrams @thanksfortheadventureblog and @beccaanneclarke !

So here is my #Julywrapup in books!

THE STRANGER BESIDE ME: TED BUNDY: THE SHOCKING INSIDE STORY by Ann Rule

Taiwan -4.pngThis was a hefty read. Over 500 pages of information and heavy emotions. It took me a month to get through it but totally worth it. It was absolutely fascinating. I have seen quite a few documentaries and thought I understood the darkness and mystery surrounding Ted. Ann Rule offered so much insight and information. It was beautifully written and easy to read despite the length, subject matter, and the immense amount of facts. But more importantly she brought so much emotion and light to the victims. Highlighting how terrible it was to loose those girls. Gave them a voice. Thank you Ms. Rule for sharing your side of the story and putting so much work and effort in telling the story of all characters to this story: including police forces, detectives, journalists, lawyers, judges, the families of the victims, and of course those who perished at the hands of Ted.

” ‘Conscience doth make cowards of us all’ but conscience is what gives us our humanity, the factor that separates us from animals. It allows us to love, to feel another’s pain, and to grow. Whatever drawbacks are to being blessed with a conscience the rewards are essential to living in a world in other human beings.”     -Ann Rule

PRIDE AND PREDJUDICE by Jane Austen

A classic, obviously. And a favorite of mine since I was in middle school. I HAD to read it Taiwan .pngagain to bring back the magic of reading. I wanted to get excited about the characters and completely transported from this world and after such a hefty commitment to Stranger… I needed it. Jane Austen just got it. She understood the human conscience so well therefore her characters are so relatable. The human emotions she describes are so accurate. It has been years since I read it last, and before I had dealt with real love and heartbreak but boy, she got it. I related to Elizabeth more than ever, and found quite a bit of comfort in Victorian England. Anyways, I loved it as always.

“Elizabeth had never been more at a loss to make her feelings appear what they were not. It was necessary to laugh, when she would rather have cried.”    -Jane Austen

“Elizabeth’s spirit’s soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. ‘How could you begin?’ said she.
‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?’  ‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”    -Jane Austen (SPOILER… my favorite part….ugh)

Taiwan -3THE GUNSLINGER (DARK TOWER #1) by Stephen King

I did not like this one. At all. I read over half and had to stop. It was very slow and overall felt like a young man’s fan fiction. Apparently it’s like a “prologue” to the rest of the series, but it just did not have my attention. This was my first Stephen King novel, so I was sad to be so disappointed. I will though make sure to read at least one of his other more popular ones. So give your recommendations!

 

 

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

This was a, “It was good. I didn’t LOVE it. Probably won’t read it again.” I can see why itTaiwan -2 has won awards. The story was interesting, and the writing overall very well done. For the longest time (like the first half of the book) I couldn’t figure out whether it was a historical, dystopian, or plain Jane fiction. I did eventually feel connected to the characters, but there was not an overwhelming need to know what happens to them. It would be a good book to start conversations about culture, humanity, and how humans view each other. I’m glad I read it, and I would recommend it but not an absolute “stay on my bookshelf” read.

“I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they’d once belonged to the sea.”    -Kazuo Ishiguro

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast, And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The currents too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart.”    -Kazuo Ishiguro

I AM MALALA: THE STORY OF THE GIRL WHO STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND WAS SHOT BY THE TALIBAN by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Taiwan -5.pngEver since seeing the documentary of the same name and hearing about her story, I have wanted to read Malala’s memoir. Overall, what an inspiration. I think it is important to be aware of the world, other cultures, as well as other people’s struggles. It brings into perspective what is actually important in life and how lucky we are. I admire Malala’s bravery and dedication to what she has decided is her life’s purpose. Education is important and should be given to all. Violence and discrimination for power should be stopped. It was not the most engaging read, but inspiring. She gives a look into her beliefs, religion, culture, country, fears, joys. Yes, like many others, would relate it to The Diary of Anne FrankMalala is on the top of my list of inspirational people on this planet.

“Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”    -Malala Yousafzai

“Some people are afraid of ghosts, some of spiders or snakes – in those days we were afraid of our fellow human beings.”    -Malala Yousafzai

“We human beings don’t realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and sensitive loving hear. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which we see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love.”    -Malala Yousafzai

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate

Loved loved loved this book. This was by far my favorite read all month. So many Untitled design-23gorgeous passages. The mystery is engaging all the way through. The human relations are real and beautiful. I liked the switching between time and characters. The message of love, family, and courage thrives all the way through and leaves you inspired at the end. I caught myself squealing, laughing out loud, and crying throughout. The historical significance is interesting, sad, and important to acknowledge. Overall such a good story and book and I will recommend it to everyone. As well as keep it on my shelf..

“I shush my mind, because you mind can ruin it if you let it.”    -Lisa Wingate

“Life is not unlike the cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how music we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.”     -Lisa Wingate

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she chooses. Her own music. To hear the tune she must stop talking. To herself, I mean. We’re always trying to persuade ourselves of things.”    -Lisa Wingate

So here you go…a July summer month in books…here’s to the next month!

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Thanks for the Adventure Books!

Bucketlist update: 11/52

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.

Untitled design-17.pngSince there are so many details I want to share (and document) I have split it into to two posts! Here are my first Top 5 Memories of my week in Taiwan!

 

  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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Thanks Rusty Screws

Thanks Rusty Screws

I’m gonna be honest. It has been a stressful week for me. Anxiety is real and sometimes I need time to be a potato, think about life or not think about life, and not punish myself for not accomplishing my long list of weekly goals (like an extensive post about Taiwan).

Someday I will write about my anxiety and such. It is a thing that many experience and I want this blog to be an open space. A space where I can share my stories and talk to others who have stories to share.

Today’s story is going to be part of a series that I want to call “Becca’s California Adventure…” *insert glowing letters and a echoing booming voice* Which will be a series of adventures I have while exploring life in Southern California.

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If you do not know, I am a person who feels like she gets herself in strange and sometimes painfully funny situations. Whether they be self inflicted or just the universe gifting her more stories to tell . I feel that I am a character on a comedic sitcom. Just imagine Jess from New Girl and you’ve got it (or so I’m told.) I may share some older ones from my life pre-blog, but today will be one that happened just this week.

As part of the “things to do when you move” list, enduring the DMV is one that I wanted to check off as soon as possible. My goal was to take the written drivers test, receive a new license, and register my car – all in one go.

*WARNING* Government websites tend to give conflicting information. So after four hours and $300 lighter, I found myself with a new license but one signature and smog check short. Although they (the lovely DMV employees) did assure me that my next visit would be much shorter.

*WARNING* Government employees tend to give conflicting information. I showed up a few days later with more papers in hand and the idea that I would only be there for maybe an hour…

During DMV Round 1, I was told to come back and drive up to “Lane 1” where they would take the rest of my papers. I did not need to come inside…

I pulled up to “Lane 1” and sat there for about 10 min watching teenagers in the cars next to me practicing their hand turn signals and nervously watching the door waiting for the next test instructor to emerge. I rolled down the window and turned off my car. Another 10 minutes pass and I decide to go inside.

I wait in line to check in with the DMV Greeter, as I like to call them. He immediately hands me a number. I try to squeeze in an explanation of what I need. He tells me to wait for my number.

I will say though that majority of the DMV Greeters and Employees were generally pleasant.

I go out despite the number to sit in “Lane 1,” again watching anxious teenagers with their anxious parents. My car is turned off, I have the window down, and I read a good 20 pages of my book. Which I don’t mind in all reality. The DMV employee finally emerges after about 45 minutes of waiting, inspects my car, just gathering information that is on every other sheet of paper and she tells me to go inside.

I sit inside again reading my book for two hours. I watch the numbers climb slowly to mine. I hear a loud conversation that a woman has on speaker phone. I watch a teenager walk back and forth studying the drivers handbook. I reach the last 20 pages of my book as I get the text that my number is 15 min away. I start reading faster and faster, feeling the pressure of the clock. That anxiety kicks in. I finish the book I started in that very same room a few days before.

There is less than a hour before the DMV closes when my number is called. It’s the same man that was my “greeter” during Round 1. He looks through every piece of paper carefully as I explain the situation. He slowly takes out the staple. He starts typing on the computer. It truly felt like that scene from Zootopia. He asks for my license and hands me a heavy envelop with a screwdriver.

I walk outside as quickly as possible to replace my license plates with the beautiful, white, California plates. I go to the back and notice that the screws securing my Utah plate are a dark brown coloring. I hope for the best and start spinning the screwdriver. Dark dust begins to fall but it turns easily.

I move to the last screw and I try to spin. Using all of my strength as I had with the last one to get it to move. Instead it felt like butter. Every attempted spin would result in the screwdriver scooping out more metal, slowly changing the shape of the screw. Yet it wouldn’t move. I call my Dad in a panic, mostly just to vent and express how ridiculous I felt. I break off the plastic frame in hopes that I can unscrew it from behind the head of the screw. There is 20 minutes before the DMV closes… I feel sweaty, panicked and I can’t help at laughing at each stare I get from cars driving by.

I run inside with the rusty screw in hand. My Round 1 DMV greeter friend is working with someone else and I stand there awkwardly. He assumes I’m done and hands me my license back. “Do you have pliers? My plate is stuck…” and I hand him the first rusty screw. The lady he is helping, her eyes get wide and she says, “Oh noooo…” He doesn’t even look at me and pulls out pliers from his desk drawer.

I run back outside. Call my Dad again. Sweat is pouring off my face. The pliers simply peel off the outer layer of the screw, sprinkling more rust dust. I banter back and forth with Dad. There is one minute until the the DMV officially closes. I see the jolly police officer (if Santa was an officer he would this guy) start to close the door and I run. He simply smiles. I appreciate happy people.

I stand again awkwardly waiting for Round 1 DMV greeter friend. He looks at me and I simply shrug holding one Utah Plate, one California plate, one envelope, two screwdrivers, one pair of pliers, one rusty screw, and a stack of papers. The “Oh no” lady from before looks at me with empathetic eyes and a bit of a grin.

Round 2 DMV greeter appears and is asked to help me. He looked at my stack and sweaty face and simply said, “Go home honey. Do what you can to get it off.” He hands me my license and I leave. Grateful for happy, jolly, DMV employees who are willing to break policies for poor people such as myself who simply can’t function normally.

It is a few days later. I have since visited Ace Hardware, spent more time in a sunny parking lot, spoke with multiple kind people who probably just felt bad, and found my new car mechanic. I have one beat up Utah plate (which I will surrender to the DMV, don’t worry law abiders), two California plates properly attached with special screws that will not rust, and a story that seemed worthy enough to put on the blog.

I will also say I have gained an appreciation (again) for kind and jolly people. As well as an observation that at government facilities we are all in the same boat. We are all just people trying to accomplish what the government requires of us, without sacrificing our whole day and sanity.

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So…

Thanks for the Adventure Rusty Screws. And Utah weather for causing said screws to rust. And California weather for simply adding to the comedy that was already happening.

 

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 for the Bucketlist #2

Thanks for the Bucketlist #2

Next Item on the list…

Item #2

To read 52 books in one year

It seems like a lot. Which it is. But I want something difficult, and almost unachievable. If I don’t make it, there is always next year. Now for an explanation. There is meaning behind every dream…

I LOVE reading. Always have. I don’t remember when reading clicked for me. I’ve always been able to recognize words. I remember sitting in my booster seat in the back of my parent’s red Saturn, driving down the street and seeing signs. I would challenge myself to see if I could recognize every word. I remember reading my book out loud to an older kid on my school bus and not recognizing the word “island.” But then feeling so proud of myself, knowing the word every time after. It fascinated me, words. Then stories. I would start a book and get engrossed in the stories and characters. The books I was choosing got longer and longer and the challenge to see how fast I could get through a book began. It was exciting.

I remember when “Chapter Books” became my biggest accomplishment. My favorites were the Junie B. Jones series and Magic Treehouse or the American Girl Doll book series. Then I started figuring out genres I enjoyed. Mostly Fiction, especially Historical Fiction, and of course Fantasy. (What kid in the early 2000s didn’t like Fantasy? Harry Potter ruled the world.) As I got older more genres were added to that list. Romance and Literary Classics were at the top. Now it is memoirs and Non-fiction with dashes of the original favorites.

My required reading assignments never were homework to me (even the papers in college).  I would always read ahead and have to remind myself constantly to stop to answer the worksheets that went alongside. I would win awards for reading the most pages, or gaining the most “points” from the computerized book tests we took.

My favorite time in elementary school was when the teacher would read aloud to the class after lunch. I will always remember The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo and sitting in my 4th Grade class with Mrs. Helvy.

In high school I spent two whole summers searching every discount book shelf for books on the AP Literature list. My Mom would carry the many pages of listed books in her purse. Then I read as many as I could to “get ahead.”

Books and stories saved me. Many times. They saved me from boredom. They saved me from feeling inadequate or not cool (surprisingly…) They gave me a way to connect to people, even adults, by being able to share common interests or a love for a classic children’s novel. They also saved me from loneliness.

When I was 13 my family made a sudden move from California to Utah. It was the middle of the school year with no warning. I remember the day we left our home in CA we stopped at a Barnes & Noble on the way to the expansive freeway. My Mom had promised to buy me a book, which was rare as libraries are a thing and books are expensive, as a reward for helping pack and not fighting too much against the move. I chose Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Admittally I loved it. I read probably the first 100 pages on the drive, completely taken away from my current situation that I despised. The main character also was moving, in the middle of a school year, to a new place with no friends. There was not much more comparisons after that, but I loved the book. I loved the world. It also gave me something to talk about with other girls that I was meeting at my new school.

Summer came and I had found very little friends in my month and a half at my new Utah school. I had church acquaintances but no one I felt close enough to consistently make plans with outside of weekly youth activities. I was also the only girl my age…Boys were gross at 13. But I did find the library. Weekly, my Mom would drag us kids out of the house, or I would ride my bike in the 100 degree heat to the library. I would scour the YA section, usually picking random books from the “Newly Released” section based off of their covers. I loved long series because they would take longer to get through, and you got more time with the characters. I would usually check out 3-7 books at a time and drag them home in the plastic trash bag the librarian would stack them in.

That entire summer in my small, air-conditioned room with the radio on to the local pop station I sat on the navy blue, corduroy, pull-out couch that was placed under the front window. I read so many books that summer. I also listened to quite bit of Linkin Park and Katy Perry. But those books saved me for ultimately a very lonely 3 months.

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Books and stories have saved me from anxiety. I feel those panicked feelings bubbling and I listen to the speeding thoughts going through my head. When I pick up a book and allow myself to dive in completely I feel calmer. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time, as I do when I watch Netflix or browse Facebook. I am discovering a story, a world, and people.

In my opinion some of the most admirable people, specifically women, are authors. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Louisa May Alcott, J.K. Rowling to name a few. They all challenged the world by creating stories. Not only are their books a joy to read and the characters important to me and so many others around the world, but their own personal lives are inspiring and relatable. Do you know anything about Louisa May Alcott’s life and her personal views? Rowling’s struggle to find herself? You should. It doesn’t matter when they lived, what genre of literature they wrote, or even why they decided to write. We are all human, and words are one of the best ways to share our personal humanity to others. Thankfully authors are brave enough to share those words.

Stories are the reason I was driven to performing. I like to think that books started that. The amount of individual stories are innumerable when looking at plays, musical theater pieces, operas, art songs, and song cycles. Themes cross over multiple genres and over  centuries. As a performer, I can find myself in almost every character I have encountered. There is a thrill when discovering a story that is paired with incredible music, or some beautifully written dialogue. Then to share it using every skill set imaginable is a whirlwind.

Stories can show us that there is a way to survive and live. Through the good and bad. Our entire lives are compiled of our own individual stories. Which is why I think they are worth sharing. You never know who you can have a connection with. And somehow seeing moments in our lives especially difficult ones as stories they seem smaller, simpler, but significant.

After I finished college, dealing with mental health and a slew of changes in my life I could feel myself wanting to go back. To bring back a simplicity into my life. Books came back. They have allowed me to slow down. I have found the feelings of being engrossed in a world that is not the one that I am sitting in, which I have missed. There are moments where I feel as if I am the same girl who sat on that pull-our couch 10 years ago. I have the same insecurities and fear of being lonely.

I want to discover more books, stories, and authors. I want to finally read those novels that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I want to share these stories with you.

So here’s to the next item of my Bucketlist. I don’t think it will ever stop. I will always have some sort of reading goal. I technically started in May, but have procrastinated sharing because it is scary to share…

Join my challenge, see what books I am reading, and what I think of them at my Goodreads!

Thanks for the Adventure books!

Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

Thanks SLC. Hello LA.

A quick little update after a quick little vacation from the blog…

I have started the “next chapter.” The chapter that I have been wanting to start since I was in high school. Moving back to California.

I have always felt a deep connection to sunny California. Majority of my childhood was spent there. It is where a majority of holidays and vacations were spent. It has always been associated with happy memories, fun adventures, and have been wanting to move back since I was a teen. I was feeling anxious to take the next step. End the chapter of college and move to bigger things. Bigger opportunities and bigger cities. New people and new adventures.

Untitled designThat being said, I love and miss Salt Lake City. I love that city with a large part of my heart. I will miss all the familiarity that I felt from its streets and sights. I will miss the constant memories, both good and bad. It was the city where I discovered a big part of myself. I grew up there. I will miss the people. So much. My closest lifelong friends and loves are there.

 

What a strange experience to feel drawn to one place. Drawn to the excitement and the overall feeling of it being right. But then also feeling pulled to the old place. Parts of my heart was left in Salt Lake City, Utah. I feel that I am “from” there. It will always feel like home and I intend to visit as much as possible.

So here I am in sunny Los Angeles. I have got the same insecurities, anxieties, and fears but also excitement, hope, and determination. Also this blog 🙂

Thanks for the adventure SLC. Here’s to the next LA.

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

Thanks for the Bucketlist #1

I think Bucketlists are important. Not only is it a list of goals, but it is a list of goals that can be as unrealistic as possible. I believe having goals are an integral part of life. Yes, having goals to reach success financially, emotionally, spiritually are all important. But a Bucketlist is a list of goals, well actually dreams. Lots of mini and big dreams that simply bring you joy. It is a list of anything. A list of things you want to see. A list of seemingly unachievable accomplishments. Some are simply reckless with no reasoning behind it. But at the end of it all, if you don’t achieve them that’s ok. If you do, it is worth celebrating. It is worth celebrating having a list of things for you.

When I “graduated” college (more on that later…) the commencement speaker was Ben Nemtin, best-selling author and creator of the show The Buried Life. He spoke of finding success, of course, but also doing the things we want to in life despite feeling “buried” by the day-to-day parts of life. He spoke about having dreams and sharing those dreams with those around you. Them most importantly, persisting… All the inspiration required in a speech to thousands of college graduates that somehow still has resonated with me a year later.

Read his full speech here. (Highly recommend!)

So here on this little website I will start sharing my Bucketlist and hopefully sharing my celebrations as I start ticking off each of these new goals and dreams.

Item #1 is:

Consistently post on my crazy little blog once a week for a year

It’s going to happen. I promise to not talk down to myself if it’s not the same day every week. I will share the good and the bad. I will do my best not to worry about what others think. I will not compare myself to other “bloggers.” I will aim to share positivity and joy. I will share every adventure. I will simply do my best.

Join me in starting a Bucketlist!

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Thanks for the Adventure Bucketlist…Here we gooooo!

 

An Introduction…

An Introduction…

I want a add an introduction for Mister Jasper the Dog.

Jasper has saved me in too many ways. Too many to count and too many to list. But here is a part of his story and some of those ways that he has saved me.

Jasper is small, energetic and loving Chihuahua/Jack-Russel Terrier mix. (JACKCHI!) He was born somewhere in California in December of 2016. He was probably adorable and small with all the love that he currently has now to share. At some point he was abandoned at a park where he was probably afraid and untrusting. Luckily some rescuers came along and chased him around for a couple of hours. (Mister is FAST and he knows it…)

Then comes the next human in this story, Grandma. My Grandmother had recently lost another rescue Chihuahua named Pepe. She saved him and he saved her. She wanted another little guy to give her love and that she could drown in love as well. She found Jasper, who at the time was named Owen. She picked him for his coloring and overall demeanor of a shy, loving, and attention seeking lap dog. She knew that she needed to save him. She told me that the name Jasper just came to her, that it wasn’t after anyone or anything in particular. Just that his name was supposed to be Jasper. Which was strange, seeing that she likes to recycle the name Pepe.

That summer I was in Germany. My Dad and siblings were in California. Jasper was 7 months old. He was terrified of my Dad. Would bark, growl, and hide but he loved my sister.

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That first picture…

My Grandma admitted that he was too much for her. The example she used to me was, “He would pull all the bathmats out of every bathroom!” Yep. That’s accurate. My Dad offered to take him back to Utah as my parents had just gotten another dog, Chewy, who was the same age. He sent me a text with Jasper’s picture and I fell in love. I jokingly texted back, “I want him!” And then it began…

For awhile my doctor and I had discussed the possibility of getting a pet for my anxiety. I grew up with a dog, Brenna, who entered our life right when I was struggling with extreme anxiety as an 8 year old. She saved me too. My roommate/best friend had just gotten married just before I left for Europe and the possibility of living alone terrified me. It was perfect timing.

I got home and visited my parents. Our first meeting wasn’t full of sparks or fireworks. He was nervous but definitely gave me kisses. Over the course of the next few days he opened up more and would cry and anxiously paw in excitement when I would walk by the dog pen.

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Chewy and Jasper during my first visit

I left for Salt Lake City with a doctor’s note in hand to give my apartment management and admittedly a fear that it wasn’t going to work. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love like I had for Brenna. I was even worried that I wasn’t going to miss him.

The next couple weeks were agony as I waited for my application to get approved. I did miss him and the excitement of being a Dog Mom exploded. I told everyone and anyone and showed off the few pictures I had of him.

My Dad arrived to my apartment less than a week before the semester began. Jasper showed up nervous and with drool dangling from his mouth. We brought him inside to my large and lonely apartment, closed the door and put him on the floor…and he exploded. His personality shot out of his body. He began running around the entire living room, bounding on top of couches, the futon, and multiple bodies. He began kissing everyone. He started playing with his toys. His tail even twitched a few times.

My Dad exclaimed, “I have never seen this. He is a completely different dog.”

I don’t know how many times I have heard that since. Or how many times I’ve heard, “You two were meant to be.”

As cheesy and romantic as that sounds, to talk about a small dog that way, it is true.

It was meant to be. The next week after starting our adventure together some events happened in my personal life. My mental health spiraled out of control. I lost friends. I lost myself. But Mister Jasper rose to the occasion. I would not have survived those moments without him. He got me out of bed. He got me to smile. He simply showed me that love and joy were possible in his own unique and innocent way.

The rest is history. It took a couple of months for that special and unbreakable bond to form. I am still learning all of his unique traits, needs, likes, dislikes etc. But he is now my constant companion. He comes to work with me, to the store, to school, on road trips, hikes or any other sort of adventure I try to find. Everyone falls in love with him instantly. He gives an unlimited amount of kisses and has too many quirks to list here. His tail wags, or more accurately twitches in strange directions, constantly. People call him a “light” or “lightbulb.” He makes people smile. But more importantly I have him. I have a purpose with him. He makes me laugh and smile and gives me cuddles when I cry or just because. Yes I am talking about just a dog but he’s my dog.

I will share about him more. So just you wait…

So Thanks for the Adventure Mister Jasper….

***Check him out on Instagram @misterjasperthedog!

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Update…Update…

Update…Update…

What a crazy thing to have this little website for years in my back pocket. What a crazy idea, to want to record my thoughts and feelings for the world on this thing called the internet. Yet, I find myself constantly seeking out the people who are doing the same.

I have experienced quite a bit of fear and anxiety concerning this little blog. I have started and restarted it multiple times on multiple platforms. Here I am again…

Life has changed quite a bit since the first, and only post, was published.

I finished my Undergraduate degree by dragging myself to the finish line. I experienced some heartaches, pain and fear. I experienced mental illness. I experienced incredible trips around the world. I experienced an immense amount of joy and love.

I am starting a new chapter…I am moving from Utah back to the land of the sun: California. I am planning more and more trips. I am probably going to meet some new people. I am probably going to experience some more crazy things. I am probably going to experience more fear and pain. But I am ready.

So you get ready for some thoughts of mine. Get ready for some stories. Current and past. Get ready for some quirks, some love, and some joy. Get ready for some adventures.

I am not going to guarantee a perfect product in this crazy little blog. Just me. Or more accurately, me in that very moment. So take it or leave it. Share it to others, relate to it, enjoy it, or simply forget about it.

So here’s to the adventure. Again. Starting today May 16, 2019.

*photo by As You Like It Photography