we see you

you said something sacred the other day
something along the lines of freedom
happiness and dreams we’re chasing.
it’s a lot steps toward the ideal.
it keeps changing.
it’s a moving target.
but we see it.
no matter how far,
or what disguise it’s wearing,
it is so very clear.
we see you.

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10 things I learned while studying abroad

cars traffic

  1. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
  2. You change a lot and maybe only realize it after you’ve left.
  3. When learning a different language, it is best to speak it as much as possible without fear of sounding silly or wrong.
  4. You see the (big) world in an entirely different way and feel you have a place in it more than ever.
  5. You have to face some of your greatest insecurities because you’ll be the most vulnerable being farthest away from what you’re familiar with.
  6. Everyone is human and complex and so are you.
  7. You’re stronger than you think.
  8. Being open-minded, patient, independent and brave are very valuable characteristics to adopt.
  9. Reflection and introspection will come naturally.
  10. Even though it was only a few months, it’ll be so impactful that you’ll think about it years and years after.

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green plant therapy

green plant

It’s odd how watering some plants can give so much comfort to every day life. Especially when it’s a tough day or things seem a bit gray. I read once that farmers are the happiest people on earth because they are surrounded by nature all the time. And maybe because they are actively cultivating and nurturing something they can see grow every day. It’s not data entry, spreadsheets or nameless numbered clients. Farmers can actually pick tomatoes from their garden and make a delicious meal that day. That’s what I want someday. My own garden. Yeah, that sounds nice.

hungry

Stir fried udon noodles
Broccoli, fried tofu, shrimp fish balls, udon noodles and bok choy

I made this when I craved udon noodles, but wasn’t feeling the soup broth kind. I figured, how much more work is it to stir fry? It wasn’t really at all. It was one of the tastiest things I made. I am sometimes taken aback how much effort a dish takes and the return is not even close satiating my taste buds. This, however, was certainly worth the effort.

before 5am

There’s this quiet energy that comes before 5am. Even when 5am hits, it’s just beginning to rev up. People are still asleep in their warm, dreamy state. While nature prepares with small forces going upwards. Going forward. Like the early birds who have to. Alarm hits and they have to. It’s their job. It’s their vanity. It’s their health.

But the time before 5am, it’s like gold. It’s time you can’t buy at all. Most times, it’s a bad sign, maybe, to be up for so long or to have slept and woken up in the middle of the night. I fall in the latter.

My mind needs a reset. Or a settlement. Concerns need to be addressed and for some reason, it’s during this time in which I feel the most able to do so. Through writing, planning, researching or even just taking a moment to breathe deeply addresses these concerns.

Time slows down during this time period. I don’t need to rush—no one is awake. I don’t need to be on.

Come 5am, the day will begin. That has its own beauty to explore for another day.

burger heaven

Just before heading back into the kitchen, I smelled the delectable scent of the sesame seed, soy sauce, garlic, green onion turkey burgers just about ready on the stove. Popped some sesame hamburger buns in the oven for a quick warm up. I like bread when it’s a little crispy on the edges and soft in the center. After a few minutes, the warm bread aroma took center stage. Lovely.

He asked if I wanted mayonnaise, I said no. Ketchup? Nope. The lettuce and tomato suggestions were a negative as well. Without anything added at all, it was amazingly delicious. Like, really good. I had a moment after eating if I should take a photograph, but decided not to. It doesn’t look any different than any other burger really and it seemed better to describe it anyway. This is a moment when a photograph doesn’t say a thousand words. But my taste buds do.

country music

I can’t remember exactly how it came to be. That I found out you liked country music. It came out of nowhere, like, did I ever know you? No hate at all though. It was more of how uncharacteristic of you rather than the actual preference. But you did. You liked the music. You said out of all the song genres, you felt that it was the one that told the most stories. Or something like that.

As I learned more about you, it is obvious that story-telling was your objective. The way you took a photograph told me your thoughts. Kinda. The dreams you had of reaching. The way you didn’t value money. You valued experiences. You traveled often. Even on the days I wanted you around. But you were there when it was most important to me.

I picture you now. Being serenaded by a singer with a voice that tells a complex story that has a happy ending.