Saturday, November 22, 2014

Solitude

The other day I was sitting in the cafeteria at school by myself. I was there grabbing some lunch and studying. However, when I finished studying I continued sitting there. I was just drinking some tea and thinking about random things. One of my friends approached me and jokingly made fun of me for sitting alone like a loser. While I know it was a joke and I was by no means upset with her, it did make me think.


After she had left I began looking around the cafeteria. Almost everyone was there with either a friend or a group of friends. There were a few people like me who were alone, but they all had books out and were studying or simply pretending to look busy. 


Now I'm wondering why we have such a fear and stigma against going places alone. Nobody wants to do anything alone for fear of looking like they don't have any friends. Even the simple act of eating a meal out is "unacceptable" to do alone. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem being alone. Sure, there are times when I would much rather be with my friends. On the other hand, I absolutely don't mind being by myself. I find that being alone gives me time to think. I can think about what has happened during my day/week, consider problems I am having in one of my relationships, or plan a new blog post or my weekly schedule. 


I also find that being alone lets me become comfortable with myself. Being solitary allows me to understand how my mind works and enables me to form my own ideas and opinions about different situations or issues.

Finally, being alone lets me have some time without any pressures. I can do whatever I want without worrying about pleasing someone else. I find it very relaxing to not have to worry about what someone else might want or need from me for a time.


I think everyone should spend more time alone and we should have less fear of being alone. Being alone doesn't mean you don't have friends, it just shows that you are comfortable and secure enough in your own skin to be able to enjoy your own company. 

What do you guys think? What are your reasons for enjoying or not enjoying being alone?

Check out http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/ to see the blog of my inspirational "solitary" person!


P.S. the tea of the day is strawberry grapefruit green tea ^_^

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rambling About Life

I recently received some advice from one of my good friends. We were hanging out, just talking about life, and he said something along the lines of "no matter what the situation is, before you make your decision be sure you are OK with it." While this seems super simple, it was so profound for me at that moment. 


I feel like so many times we make decisions based on how we think other people will react or what we think is good for us. For me this leads to a lot of doubt about the things that I am doing and fear that people won't react in the way that I want them to.


My friends advice made me realize some things about myself. After coming back from studying in Japan for a year I thought I was completely comfortable in my own skin. While this is true in some respects, I understand now that loving myself is a process. It's something I have to constantly work at each day as the circumstances and people that surround me change. Happiness won't find me magically; I have to actively seek situations and people that make me happy or I could find myself in a place that isn't what I want.


I also realized that I let other people make my decisions for me too often. I need to learn to be more selfish. I should stand up for what I want and how I want my life to be. If I just let people guide me through a life that they want for me I will just end up unhappy. I think we could all be a bit more selfish when it comes to dictating how our lives should be led. 


Apologies on the large gaps between my posts. The student life is getting to me and I feel like I have no time for anything but studying. However, after reading this post from Zoella,I felt inspired to write more and create my own happy space on the internet. I'm going to try to write at least one post a week, even if I have nothing super exciting to talk about. Hmmm, maybe a new notebook will help to motivate me to brainstorm ideas ^_-


P.S. the tea of the day is limeade twist ^_^ I've been drinking this constantly lately, so I think when I go home I'll have to ask my papa to buy me some more!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Break Trip











A few weekends ago we had Fall Break. This shouldn't even be counted a real break since we only get one extra day off from class, but hey, I'll take whatever I can get. Since I live out of state I usually just stay at school while all my friends go home for these breaks. However, this year I actually went somewhere! I went with one of my roommates and best friends, Amy, to her family's farm in Mt. Carroll. 

We spent the weekend hanging out with her family, exploring the adorable antique stores in town and riding around the property looking at the beautiful fall colors! Even though it was only a few days, it was really nice to get off campus. Since coming back from Japan my travel bug has been itching like crazy! I don't have a car so it is difficult for me to get away when I want to. Fall Break definitely helped with that!

I had a super fun time at the farm, but I realized once again that I am definitely not a country girl! As if I needed reminding ^_^

P.S. the tea of the day is ginger tea ^_^

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Slowing Life Down








Sometimes it's good to just take a minute and slow down. I've realized recently that I feel like my life is going nowhere. There is so much pressure on uni students to excel in everything we do. We get so much work that all we feel like we do is study. During our junior and senior years at uni we are also supposed to get internships or jobs that could be related to our future. At the same time there is this pressure to join the clubs that could be connected to our future. Additionally, we are supposed to have this amazing social life, spending every spare second we have building lifelong friendships. Can someone please tell me where in this we are supposed to have time for ourselves? 

For me, this all just started to add up and I really didn't understand what I was doing. Sure, I do well in school and I have an internship now, but I haven't even thought about taking the GRE and I have absolutely no idea what to do when I graduate. After coming back from Japan I wasn't in any clubs so I tried to find one that would be perfect for me. I was also trying really hard to spend as much time with my friends as I could, even if it meant spending a night out when I really just needed to relax.

 This really started to cut into my life. I stopped practicing yoga, something that has kept me grounded since I started doing it a few years ago. I didn't read for pleasure, which is something I use to de-stress. I wasn't thinking about future blog posts, one of my favorite hobbies since I started blogging last year. I became very moody and I took offense to many things people said to me, even if they didn't mean it in a bad way. I just didn't have the time or energy to process what they were really trying to say to me. 

So, to all the uni students out there, SLOW DOWN. Yes, you want to do your best in school, but don't kill yourself for all A's. If you have a job or internship, work a feasible amount of work time into your schedule. If you want to join clubs, do it! However, if clubs aren't your cup of tea, don't worry about it. As for friends, your friends will understand if one night you just want to hang out at home. If you have a few solid friendships, that's all that matters and those people will understand if you can't make it to the party one night. Something I think we should all do more is just take some time for ourselves. It will make us happier and more successful people in the long run. 

P.S. the tea of the day is ginger tea ^_^

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Coming Home

It has been almost a month since I returned home from my time studying abroad in Japan. Before I left Japan I was extremely worried about coming back. I thought that it would be so difficult and that I would hate it. While I'm not saying that the transition has been easy, it has definitely not been as difficult as I was anticipating. Coming back to the states, staying with my family for a few weeks and then returning to my home university, it all seems strangely normal. Everything looks the same, peoples habits are all the same, and it is so easy for me to fall into my old routines. At the same time I feel like everything is different. I compare everything to the way it was in Japan and it is hard for me to connect to the conversations people are having. The normalcy of my life here in the US is very disarming. Everything about my life in Japan, although I can remember it so clearly, seems so far away. The people I met in Japan and I are all in different time zones now and when I see posts of what they are doing in whatever countries they are from it seems so bizarre. I have no connection to this life that they have back home, so if I want to talk to them about things it is hard to find the time and what to say. Going to Japan was really easy because I knew that I would see everyone again. There was a fixed timeline of how long I would be away, so even if we drifted apart a little bit, I knew everything would be normal once I returned home. With my friends I made in Japan there isn't that certainty. I don't see myself going back to Asia or taking a tour of Europe any time in my immediate future, and I know everyone's schedules are just as busy as mine. Even though it's scary to think that some of the people I met I might never see again, I know that it will be fine. I will find a way to see the people I became closest with again, even if it takes a few years for that to happen. Thus, while it is strange being back in the US it feels nice getting back to a more normal place for my last year in uni. My year in Japan really gave me a lot of direction for my future, so for now I am happy to be here. There are a lot of things I need to do before I can travel extensively again. I know the memories I have of Japan and everything I learned will be exceedingly helpful in my future endeavors. 

Now that I am home I won't be doing any travel blogs for a while. I hope to still update my blog frequently though, so keep an eye out for more posts. I'm not positive what I will write about but it will be an adventure for everyone as I figure that out. 

P.S. the tea of the day is strawberry grapefruit green tea ^_^

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kyoto Day 3

Our first stop on the last day in Kyoto was Sanjusangen Temple. The actual name of this temple is Rengeo Temple, but everyone just calls it Sanjusangen. This Buddhist temple did not seem very well known by anyone other than Japanese, but it is definitely the best temple I have ever visited in Japan. This temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon. You are not allowed to take pictures on the inside of the hall, but I stole a picture off the internet so you could see! The main attraction of the temple is a huge Kannon statue covered in gold leaf. In the room that she sits are also 1,000 other small Kannon statues, also covered in gold leaf. In front of these statues are other Buddhist deities set to protect all the Kannon's. This temple was so amazing due to the sheer amount of statues in the building. I would definitely recommend anyone going to Kyoto to definitely take a trip to this temple.




The next stop Siobhan and I made was to Ginkaku Temple, or the Silver Pavilion. This zen temple is a sister to Kinkaku Temple, the Golden Pavilion, which we visited on our second day. The pavilion isn't actually covered with silver foil, and no one is positive where the temple got its name. Possibly it is just to contrast with the Golden Pavilion since they are in a straight line on opposite sides of Kyoto or maybe it was just never finished. Despite the fact that it is not actually silver, I still found it really beautiful. There is a route through the temple grounds which is very secluded. I felt like were were out in the wilderness, but once you leave the temple grounds you are automatically in the town again. 





Our last stop of the day was to Shimogamo Shrine. This is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. The day that we went there was a festival happening so we didn't get to see too much of the shrine. However, I could see how it would be a really good tourist stop on a less busy day. After seeing as much of the shrine as we could, we bought some festival food and went down to the river area to snack and rest before we made our way to Kyoto station and back to Tokyo. 





That's all for our Kyoto trip! I loved Kyoto and I would love to go back and see more aspects of the city that aren't so touristy. 

I am currently writing this from the cafeteria in my dorm. I have been kicked out of my room and am stealing the ethernet port down in our cafeteria ^^ I'm flying out of Japan tomorrow and heading to Singapore for a little vacation before I go back to the US! I've had an amazing time here in Japan and I really appreciate everyone who read my blogs! I hope that you will continue to read even though I am not taking you around Japan with me anymore ^_^

P.S. the tea of the night is apple tea ^_^

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kyoto Day 2

Our first stop on the second day in Kyoto was to Kinkaku Temple to see the Golden Pavilion. Kinkaku Temple is a Zen Buddhism temple which is famous for the pavilion that is completely covered in gold leaf. This was one of the places I was most excited to visit in Kyoto, as it is very famous and I had seen so many pictures from other people visiting. I absolutely loved it and I kept wishing I could be a monk in the 16th Century or something so I could live here!





Our second stop of the day was also a zen temple, called Ryoan Temple. This is the home of the most famous zen rock garden in Japan. While the rock garden didn't impress me that much, I thought it looked rather barren and not necessarily pretty, it was still a cool temple to visit! 





Our final stop of the day was to yet another zen temple, Tenryu Temple. This temple is in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, and has the cutest station ever. I would recommend going to see this temple purely so you can see the station and walk around the shops! Don't get me wrong though, the temple is also worth seeing! It is the home of an absolutely gorgeous dragon painting and a beautiful zen garden. I liked this zen garden since it did not look barren at all. I thought there was much more life to this garden compared to the rock garden at Ryoan Temple. The final must see if you are at Tenryu Temple is the bamboo grove. I had never been to a bamboo grove and I was amazed by this one! The bamboo is so tall, and it is much harder than I thought it would be. Walking through the grove made me wish I could go to a bigger grove and weave my way through the trees.





That is all we did on our second day in Kyoto! I have one more post coming for you guys, hopefully I will post that later today or tomorrow!

P.S. the tea of the day is lemon tea ^_^