Boxes

We’re finally packing! I mean, it’s only 3 days out until we’ve got to officially move to our new place. Please don’t judge us, we’re busy people! Ha! I’m pretty proud of myself for getting rid of even more clothes. Although, I’m also pretty disappointed in myself for having spent money on said clothes that were hardly worn. Earlier this year, I had cleared out a load out of my closet but held on to some that held sentimental value because I’m sort of in denial that I’m a hoarder.

We started on a wish list for the new place. Since this place that we’re at now actually came fully furnished (except for beds), we’ve got to buy new furniture which makes the control freak inside of me SUPER EXCITED because I can get whatever I want! I am also finally aiming to actually make our new place look nice and decorate it to make it more of a home instead of a place we all crash at night. I am stuh-oked.

Side note: Grammarly is not liking my slang.

Anyway, this morning I had a few Skype calls and got an email from a company which employs people virtually to carry-out long/short term projects. They also have permanent employees, so I’m looking into it. As you might now, I’m trying to see what else is out there aside from where I’m at now. I’ve also talked to a really good friend of mine who’s switching it up and going to school full-time and she was able to get help with all of that. I’m thinking about doing the same so it can give me more time to work on my priorities i.e.: family, doing work I care about, eating, sleeping, lelz. I just feel like I can apply myself to something else that can make me feel like I have a purpose because pushing papers really isn’t it. It can’t be.

Anyways, y’all! How was your Monday? What do you have happening this week?

Changes

There are tons of things happening right now! I am too busy for my own good, but hey! What else is new? But I am human and I honestly can’t always keep track. Recently, I’ve started to feel the stress. I try not to let it get to me, but my gosh there’s way too much going on!

Moving
So I’m doing more moving, but instead of hosts, I’m moving IRL. Lol. It all came like a mad dash, really. Last week Shawn, Kaien and I went to go see a new place. It’s a lot bigger than where we are now. It’s a duplex, so it’s a step up from a condominium/apartment I guess. But before I could take in how amazing the new place is, we were approved; put down a security deposit; and we’re moving in next week. Talk about fast times. It’ll be a good move: closer to my parents, closer to work, closer to Kaien’s school. He’ll be much less tired in the mornings. Instead of a long drive to school, all we’ll have to do now is cross the street. I’m just glad we found a place near the neighborhood I grew up in (less than 5 minutes from my parents’ house/house I grew up in!). I am biased, but I will say it’s the last good side of town! It’s quiet, tons of families, trails, better parks, lakes on lakes on lakes, the outdoors everywhere! Totally where I need to be!

Degree
I am finally able to see some progress in my degree audit. If someone would have told me last year that I could actually make good grades while working full-time and balancing everything else, I would have laughed and called them stupid. I mean, come on! Who does this to themselves? Who works 40+ hours a week and goes to school M-F for at least 4 hours at a time. If you’re wondering, no I don’t sleep. I don’t actually know if I’m sleeping or just napping in between days. It’s whatever though, I’m used to this kind of schedule and I like this “routine.” It will all be over soon and I’ll be doing something that feels extremely meaningful and worth it — let’s hope.

Writing
If you didn’t know, I do some writing on the side. I signed on for an online magazine earlier in the year, I’m also pretty active on the freelance end (at least now). I didn’t really know what I was going to do with the rest of my time sarcasm so I, y’know, needed to fill it up. I actually like getting assigned projects that are outside of the realm that I’m used to at my 9-5 job. I never feel like I have writer’s block anymore because I’m always having to change it up. (They say if you write about the same things over and over, you reach a wall, and bam! Writer’s block!) Although, I would like to be much more on top of the projects I’m assigned. I think it’s getting to a point that my real life job is getting in the way of my other work or the other way around. I don’t know what I want.

Aaand that leads me to the final thing on my list…

Job-dead
I don’t know where I heard job-dead or if I made it up. I do weird shit like that so, whatever. Anyways, I wrote earlier this week that I’ve started to feel under-utilized. I honestly feel like I lose brain cells every time I walk into the office. I do love my job and being part of a program that has such an underrated impact on people’s lives, but I really don’t think I belong where I am. It’s taken me a really long time to figure it out, I mean who’s an undergrad for almost a decade? I’m starting to think that I need to put in some sort of notice that I’ll be leaving. I just need to be settled and completely okay with where I’ll end up regardless of how difficult a transition that might be. However, good timing is the biggest lie in life. It simply doesn’t exist. So, I just need to suck it up, be a big girl and do it before I completely lose myself in something I feel is becoming to mundane and not fostering any growth. I don’t want to be stuck. I don’t want to be comfortable.

What’s stressing you out?

Cold

Everyone in the office is so sick right now. I feel like Alaska, at least Anchorage, has bouts of cold and flu season every time the seasons change. I don’t know what it is exactly that’s going around but I don’t want any of it! It’s sort of ironic that I work somewhere that promotes health and wellness, and here we are all trying to get rid of some virus that’s attacking everyone.

I don’t really like taking medicine for these things. I stick with methods that my mom used on us as kids. She mostly had us drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of porridge. She also made me drink this ginger root thing that wasn’t very fun but her side of the family swears by it for everything — weight loss, energy, hunger, evil spirits (lol I’m joking). I absolutely hated it but it worked well!

These days I settle for Yogi teabags from the grocery store. My mom, to this day, will use actual tea leaves to make her tea and detests me using teabags. But hey, Mom! It works! I haven’t really a clue what Echinacea is or how to exactly pronounce it but it’s been my saving grace for the past couple of years. Actually, anything from Yogi has been amazing and for “instant tea” it’s actually quite flavorful and potent.

I drink two mugs of tea, one in the morning and one after work. It seems to do the trick throughout the day. On top of it, I keep my fluids up and only eat light meals. I lose a couple pounds after a week of it, which I don’t really like but if someone ever asks me what my “weight loss” secret is, I’ll just tell them “Get sick!” Okay, I’m obviously joking, but seriously I should probably make it a habit to be as mindful of my eating as I am when I’m sick.

Gosh, I didn’t mean to write so much about a freaking cold! Anyways, how are you? Are you feeling the seasons change?

P.S.: I used a crappy/kinda okay app I found while I was in China to take these photos. I guess the photos only look like they have some quality on mobile. I mean, look at them. They look like 2004 webcam photos for LiveJournal.

Stop

There is this ongoing trajectory that my life is on. It’s a trajectory in which all the dots, all of the pivotal parts of my life, connect. The story I’m still living is about a girl, pulled from her environment, and thrown into a world she has to adjust to or a world that must adjust to her. I haven’t been able to put it together until recent years, but what continues to become of my life, I feel, stems from my childhood. I always go back to it, and I always will.

I remember being five-years-old knowing that America was where I would end up eventually, and that I would always have to make the most [and even more] of the circumstances I would find myself in. In that sense, I knew from then that I had to be a creator of some sort. Not in just an artistic sense, but in the way that I would mold the outcomes myself. In order to never forget, I had to come up with ways to remember where I came from. In order to realize where I was, I had to find ways to measure how far I had come.

I’ve always felt that there’s an underlying reason for the way we all choose to express ourselves and how we find peace in those ways. Artists are artists because they find peace in releasing their emotions on a canvas, whatever that canvas may be. A writer chooses lined paper. A musician chooses a guitar. We all have mediums that are either an extension of who we are, physically, or a skill we choose to develop. And through these mediums, we can stop time.

As a matter of fact, we manipulate time in these ways. I choose to capture time in words, and these words take me back to a place that I can never physically live in again. Yet, I can revisit whenever I please. I might not know the exact feelings attached to what’s been put on my canvas, but I can still sense the girl behind them. I can say that I know of her and how she got there and why she said those things. It’s funny, isn’t it? We go through life creating, and sometimes we do that without even thinking much of it or not even meaning to create at all.

Because of this, part of me feels like I’m going to live forever. Although I know immortality is only some fantastical and improbable virtue, I know in some sense I can achieve it in what I create. The only way to really live forever is to realize, while you’re still here, the footprints you can leave behind and capturing those trails that you’ve left your mark on. From there, you tell stories over and over, and when you’re gone those stories live on and your name never left unspoken. That, that is living forever. And I, I create because I want to live forever.

*停 (tíng / stop) and 聽 (tīng / listen) are Mandarin homonyms.

Daydreams

I’ve been feeling, how do I say this correctly? Under-utilized? I feel like I don’t get to exercise a lot of what I am capable of doing, especially at work. The more I feel this way, the more I want to leave and just not be there anymore. I am a very passionate person, and when I get into my cubicle, I feel so stuck. I don’t know what any of us are really here to do, but I know that for me, that isn’t pushing papers and writing the same thing over and over again into a machine that does nothing for me but strain my eyes. (And yeah, I know blogging does this too but stay with me plz, thanks.)

I suppose under-utilized isn’t it. It’s not that I’m bored of my work, it’s that I’m bored with the situation I’m in when I’m there. I am not the kind of person that can just be boxed in. I mean figuratively boxed in, well literally if you count a cubicle as a box(?). I’m really not about that. I’ve defied expectations (in good and bad ways) all of my life and I’d like to think I’m an assertive person. Why the hell haven’t I been as assertive and stood my ground with what I actually want to do?  Who knows?

Maybe it’s because we all get sort of brainwashed into thinking that our finances run our life, how we get to even having finances and what we can get out of them are the only measures of our success. But, I’m not about that either. If there’s any scale I want my life to be weighed on, it isn’t on that one. So, I constantly daydream about where I would be if I followed every passion I was so immersed in when I was younger. What if I did this? What if I did that? Where would I be if I went to Australia? Who would I be if I went to school there? It’s like I deal with loss of experiences I’ve never had. It’s FOMO IRL. What is this, what even?

Honestly, I started to feel unsatisfied with my job when I came back from China. I kept thinking, is this really it? Is this really all I have? Is this my purpose?

Nope. Nope. Hell nope.

I thought long and hard about this upcoming semester (because if you didn’t know, I made the decision to go back to school about a year ago), how I’m near the end, and I can still back out and change my mind about my degree. I’ve only really taken one class for my major, and even if it wouldn’t count in the end, the class would still satisfy credits I did need. So, I sat and I sat and I talked and I made up and changed my mind twenty-billion times. I spoke with friends, family, strangers I met in Beijing who strangely found me on WeChat (like, how?).  Anyways, I’ve decided.

I will share soon. I don’t like counting my eggs before they hatch or however that saying goes. I’ve never been too great at using figures of speech.

Anyways! Cliffhanger, yo. To be continued…

P.S.: Sorry for the sh*t post. I just needed to get this off of my chest, well at least most of it. This is how I blogged when I first started sharing my life online. We can’t all talk and write like we’re living in a rainbow cloud filled with butterflies and inspiration. Right? Look for almost daily posts like these from now on.

Empty

Oh, hi! Look what’s empty again. I’ve got to stop building these things – blogs. I’m back on WordPress, self-hosted with A Small Orange. Whoop! I am debating on uploading my entire archive from Squarespace, but that might take some time to put online since Squarespace exports don’t save images. SS also doesn’t have a file manager, so my photos are just floating in the middle of Nowhere, Internet. This move was a lot harder than I thought it would be; thanks Squarespace. So, my posts are literally empty, just words. I may just delete all of the picture heavy stuff, random posts that I posted just to have something posted, and other stuff that I don’t care to have online anymore. At any rate, here’s to new beginnings, I guess. Welcome to an all new ShayneBlogs.com, back to basics and putting my life in a blog.

Impressions of Forbidden City

Before my trip, I wondered if the people of China knew the enormity of their history and how remarkable this is for everyone else on the outside looking in. Thousands and thousands of years of stories and monuments are still marvelously preserved. That, in and of itself, is profound. Yet, I somehow thought that Chinese people just see this passively and that’s not in a bad way. Merely, China is so rich in history that it’s just part of everyday life.

On the second week of my trip to Beijing, we spent an afternoon going through Qianmen, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City. On our way there, I spoke with my class’ head teacher and asked, “So, how old are these places?” Her answer gave me an insight into the mind of a Chinese person living among such historical places. She said, casually, “Oh, not very old. Maybe five or six centuries.”

Maybe five or six centuries.

Let that sink in for a moment. Mind you, let’s compare that to the United States which, as a nation, has only been around since the 18th century. On China’s scale, the USA is a baby barely able to speak or maybe even walk on its own two feet. Granted, the Great Wall and earlier walls date back to the 7th century or maybe even further. My knowledge of Chinese history is still a bit lacking. I understood by our head teacher’s answer that there were much older sights to marvel.

As we walked through the Forbidden City, I wondered if the people we saw, souvenir sellers, the workers at the drink stands, or tour guides found it as daunting as I did. Daunting, in the sense that remnants centuries old were still kept in the same rooms they had been left.Everything seemed to be untouched, as far as the emperor’s things were concerned. We stopped at one end of the palace, which would have been the Emperor’s quarters. Pictures were allowed, but the windows and the room looked like no one had been inside to clean them, respecting the souls that had left them as they were. I had taken a couple photos, but to my disbelief they all came out pitch black. Perhaps that was a sign that I should just leave what I saw in my memory, that it was sacred and something that should only be seen by those lucky enough to walk on these grounds.

What I found most astonishing, in a good way, was the unbelievable detail of every corner of every roof, wall, banister, even the bricks on the ground. I questioned just how prosperous the Chinese empire was, and how carefree they must have been to be able to think with a clear mind exactly how they wanted everything to look.

If these were just ordinary people, these quarters would just be bricks stacked together to make something pretty. But that’s not how the Chinese work. Everything has a meaning, a purpose, a superstition beyond us all. Red and gold trims were everywhere to invite good fortune and balance. Dragons sat on the roofs, symbolizing nobility, heroism and perseverance. Although eye catching, it’s hard for me to believe that all of these were built just to get a second look.

I suppose that’s what I find the most beautiful about Chinese culture. This is a culture of thinkers, believers in entities beyond what we know in our natural world. Although I wouldn’t call Chinese people the most religious, China is in fact officially an atheist* country, they are spiritual in their own sense. In that, there is still a conscious belief that what we see in this world, everything we live through, none of this ends where we are. For that matter, symbols are important. Symbols that will help us lead a wonderful, joyful, fulfilled life seem to be reoccurring themes within Chinese culture. And, to this day, these symbols persist.


I can’t help but think that the cultural sights we are lucky enough to visit in China stay intact because of the staying power of Chinese tradition. Places like Forbidden City aren’t just cultural sights that drive the tourism industry. Places like it have been preserved because of the history and connections to the empire’s past. It is absolutely extraordinary how well-kept everything is, with its keepers paying special attention to the ancient meanings of each crevice and ornament.

Our afternoon at Forbidden City came to a very abrupt end. As soon as we sat down at the last corridor, it was time to leave. In any other part of the world, picking a time to close would be an easy task. You go by your own schedule, or what you think would be most practical for the kind of business you are. Not in China. Most of the historical cultural sights in China close at 5:30pm. The reason isn’t because this is convenient for those who work to maintain each sight. Our head teacher said that cultural sights close at this time because it lets the souls wander about their quarters as they would have in their ancient times.

“These places are only open for a short time everyday. It’s not meant to be for common people like us.” She said to our group. So we left, and I had never felt closer to history than I was on that day.

*China is officially atheist under the Communist Party. However, the government also recognizes Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Taoism as religions present in China.