grandpa memories

I came across the 73 Questions With Roger Federer from Vogue and it made me feel how much time has passed by. It reminded me of grandpa. Here’s a few loosely strung memories I’ve compiled about him:

As a kid, my dad would drive our family over to visit grandpa a few times a year. We’d get lost on the same curvy road and pass by the same grocery store wondering if we needed to take a left or right turn. On one of our visits, he had Wimbledon on the television and explained to me how tennis worked. I didn’t get it for a while, but it didn’t stop me from spending lazy weekends watching a few tournaments myself.

Seeing Federer on screen again was like being a kid again trying to understand what love meant (in terms of tennis scoring) and connecting with my grandpa through his perspective. I tried by asking him once what kind of music he liked and he said he wasn’t fond of music at all. I was shocked. I never met anyone who didn’t like music in some capacity. Sports, gardening and playing Bridge was what he enjoyed doing.

Just writing the title now made me remember how my sister and I would re-read our thank you cards and letters over and over again because the word “granpa” or “granma” just looked too weird. Obviously, they were spelled wrong. I was a little kid trying to impress the adults with my perfect handwriting and articulate word choices. Looking back on them, the slanted writing alignment, things we considered important to mention and the misspellings made them all the more special and cute. It’s funny and kind of sad how much time we spend fretting over things that ultimately don’t matter.

Grandpa kind of taught me that in passing. He lived it with his life. He didn’t worry about upcoming surgeries, he just got whatever he needed done and moved on. He didn’t complain about working over his retirement age or giving up his stuff to move into a smaller apartment. He didn’t even make silent awkward moments awkward. While I was in high school, he gave me a copy of a journal he wrote. It was fascinating to read again as an adult and I am honored he decided to share his thoughts and feelings with me. He didn’t hide his emotions during trying times or walk away when the pressure was heavy. He even admitted to me when he was scared or when things weren’t going great. His strength, honor and bravery are what I remember most about him. He was human and was the best at it more than anyone I know.

Rest in peace, grandpa. I hope you get to eat delicious chocolate cake all the time and beating all the Bridge games you’re playing. I miss you all the time.

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meditating and mindfulness on a train

Deep breathe in.

Deep breathe out.

My aunt introduced me to meditation about a decade ago.I had done mindfulness before I even knew what it was called, but after she gave me a proper idea and definition of meditation, I was able to focus my energy towards the practice more deeply. After practicing it a few times I’ve had only a couple of instances that truly stand out. And honestly, I do not do it as often as I like to.

The last time I meditated was, unusually, on a semi-packed train. I was having a rough morning. The specific details are lost on me now, but I remember the only thing that comforted me was just closing my eyes and focusing on my breathing. Being mindful. The noises on the train were barely there. I felt balance filled with immense gratitude. I felt empowered. It’s hard to describe, but it felt like whatever it was that bothered me that morning just did not matter anymore. I was gently uplifted by the new energy that developed.

I read once that meditation and mindfulness are ways for our brains to recharge. To let our minds take rest and reset our thoughts. It’s so easy to wrap our heads around a specific idea or a pattern over and over again. We’re just a computer that needs to reboot sometimes.

little rewards

sunrise

we put in the time to sleep early, wake up early and drive over there to see this. it was our little reward that we so desperately needed in that time in our lives. it’s interesting to think about and wonder how many moments in our lives we create by just putting in a little effort; by wanting that small glimpse of what amazing could look like. it’s hope. hope that it’ll all be good someday.

shop has been added & other thoughts

In the last few weeks, my life has turned around a bit quite a few times. With new opportunities, ideas, travel, tasks and the day to day routine, I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed overall. Moment to moment doesn’t feel intense, really, but it’s more of the whole picture. I sat on the porch today taking in the breeze. It was glorious. It made me value, as it tends to do, time. Summer is finally here and more than any other season, it is the only one I feel most inspired and motivated by. There is literally something in the air. To clarify though, I don’t feel a rush. I feel excitement. But the kind like a soft and gentle glee you get when you see your crush or hearing good news.

Summer has made me want to knock off my heavy boots and embrace the lightness of sandals and flats. I don’t need to carry over the heaviness of last year’s sorrow so carefully and forcefully. I can comfort my wounds with love and gratitude. I can cherish rather than regret. I want to.

So, I’m trying new things. I have added a little shop here to find new homes for secondhand goods. Feel free to check out. I may change up the theme setting on this blog some more, but haven’t fully committed. I switched up the way one of my rooms look with new house plants and curtains. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely feel the summer lounging vibes, but I’m also feeling power of action.

thank you

I hope someday I have another opportunity to live in a world with you in it. I wonder if I’d ever get to speak to you and tell you all the things. Everything. Because I can and want to spend as much time with you as possible. I am with you always, but you are not with me. At least the way I want you to be. But it’s better than nothing at all.

Gratitude is always key, but sometimes it’s hard to brush off the reality of how things have become. The ways things are now. Every single moment is a creation towards the ones that truly stands out. The one that changes lives. And then another big moment comes and another. Our lives are a series of all these amazingly influential events that create our own being. Our world.

So for every single moment I think of you, you are still in my world. You guide me all the time. It’s the idea, the memory and the love of you that helps me all the time. Along with everyone else. I am so grateful. We all change one another. We all influence each other’s world.

Thank you, for however short time is, for letting me be a part of yours.

it’s coming // it’s come and gone

music: sleeping at last – saturn

I didn’t think I’d write a “wrap-up” post of 2017. I guess this isn’t really the case; it’s more like a “2018 is coming” and how I’m feeling kind of post. Um, maybe a mixture of both. I’ll get to it now..

I’m not sure how I’m feeling about 2018. I think it could go a few different ways and there are always possibilities that I don’t see coming. I think last year I was more excited. And rightly so, 2017 is/was a great year in multiple areas of my life. But 2018 is interesting.

………………………………….

I wrote the above entry in 2017. I had no idea what a hard year 2018 would be. The terrible circumstances that life threw at me were a lot last year. And I’m still recovering. Coming across this post in my drafts is odd. It’s odd to see the song I was listening to at the time. A music video that goes backwards as if I somehow knew I’d go backwards in time with this post.

Despite the rough times that have occurred last year and all the years passed, I always seem to have this small part of me deep down that knows I can get through it. Whatever happens. I am a fighter. For a long time, I did not really recognize that in myself and I don’t think I ever needed to until when I absolutely had to. I am grateful for it.

No matter what, the judgements, the insecurities, the resistance… know that the voice that remains the one to be heard is yours. Not the one that puts you down. Listen to the one that is strong enough to raise you up. Because that is the one that will save you; through and through.

“You taught me the courage of stars before you left
How light carries on endlessly, even after death
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.”

-Sleeping At Last

 

our foldable table

it cost us very little to get you, my little one.
we saw you on a whim on a mission to get something else.
you came with four chairs, oh how lucky were we?
the price was fitting for our little index card of a budget.
and here you live with us, day in and day out.
you stood strong, as you carried all the dinners we’ve had,
held all of our dishes as we prepared dumplings, fresh rolls, cookies and more.
not to mention all the art and light experiments you’ve endured,
the work sessions and the clutter sessions,
catered to all our needs to the basic one of just being there…
last night i completed a 1000 piece puzzle and there you are,
carrying it like a champ.

everything will be okay

There was a recent day on which I was met with challenges; nothing major, I assure you. A day in which there weren’t warmth in the air and transportation was unreliable and people were unkind. But in light of this, I heard myself thinking that everything will be okay. I wasn’t upset or frustrated. I felt calm; surprising myself. And so I wanted to spread this message to you reading that everything will be okay. Even in the grander scale, there are times when it’s so hard to think about what future we may have; whether you’re looking at things environmentally, politically, personally and professionally. I think these challenges prompts us to think, to act and to engage. I was so grateful to feel grateful. My mind immediately thought about all the things in my life I was so appreciative for and that motivated me to want to do more. To make my world even more beautiful.

love, up-close

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As I walked by the little pond, I saw lily pads in a group at the center. The whole environment was calming with a couple of ducks and people from afar. I zoomed in with my camera and saw water lilies scatter among the green leaves. They were small and hard to see. This image reminds me of how easy it is to forget the things in life that make us happy. But if we put effort to dig a little deeper, get a little closer, there are little pearls of beauty we can appreciate.

feeling home

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Years ago, I visited this no-kill cat shelter and saw this beautiful cat. S/he looked so warm and happy; weren’t scared of us or anything at all. I think they felt at home. Look at those cute paws!

It’s so automatic as a child to feel at home. Well, speaking from my perspective, it was. I was surrounded by familiarity and had little to fear or stress over. Although things are not exactly like that now, I do enjoy the freedoms I have as an adult. I have a handle of things and create things in my life that only I can make.

Having lived in a few different places by now, my feeling of home is not always the same feeling. I’ve noticed there’s always a slight difference to each place. I’ve lived in dorms, lived in the city, lived in the countryside, lived in the suburbs and lived away from my home country.

The memories I create for each space are ones I find comfort in. Now, much older, I realize there are a few signs I’ve noticed for places I truly find peace in:

  1. I have a routine I can rely and depend on
  2. I enjoy staying in and find comfort on the sofa
  3. I find myself cooking a lot in the kitchen or at least wanting to
  4. Unintentionally notice and appreciate sounds from the neighborhood—like birds chirping, buses driving by or people chatting.
  5. Feeling grateful to have the space in general
  6. Wanting the space to be calm and surrounded with warmth from either little knick-knacks, personal photographs or words to live by
  7. I have pride in the space and wanting it to evolve with me—meaning, it’s not just going to be a blank space.
  8. Sharing the space with loved ones and making memories that I always come back to
  9. Finding a go-to restaurant in the area and knowing I can depend on it for my cravings

What makes your home feel like home?

two too many

horses in fieldtwo horses

These photographs were taken during one of the best years of my life. I went on so many adventures and learned more of who I was. I felt free. And yet, it wasn’t forever. The photographs stay there and the memories come along, but the reality is still different. It’s different because time has passed. Maybe those horses aren’t there anymore. Maybe they’re somewhere warmer. I will never know.

In a moment, the memories of who I love come flooding and my heart becomes completely arrested by the thoughts and feelings of what they meant to me; what they mean to me always. It passes. These moments come and go. Sometimes they stay a little longer because I have more time to think about them, but mostly, they kind of wander in and then quickly walk out. But it hurts every single time.

Coming across these memories of adventure makes me yearn for a time like that again. It won’t be the same, but it’ll be another section of my life I can be proud of. And although I said these photographs represented a good year for me, it still had a lot of ups and downs like any other. There’s no need to exaggerate or forget the bad either.

The reality is that a true photograph of a moment isn’t going to be perfect. To me, a good photograph is one that tells me something about true life. It isn’t going to be right or wrong. It isn’t going to be staged or predictable.

It’s just a moment in time. The day this was taken, we drove on a very long road and there was green grass all around us. This place was new to us. It was clear and we saw these beautiful creatures just doing their thing. I wanted so badly to gather that essence; that attitude. I got out of the car and just took out my camera. One snap, two snap. That’s all. And even that may be two too many.

believe in us

I had a chance to meet two new people today. And although I met them separately, they gave me the same good vibes called happiness and gratitude. There’s something about the way they presented themselves and how they spoke that really showed the kind of character they had. Both work in their field of studies and both are experts in what they do. They had an air of innocence I used to understand, but no longer do. Somehow, despite the hard things they have experienced and the things they’ve witnessed, they can have this overwhelming enthusiasm for the greater good. It illuminated in their eyes and their smiles. It wasn’t just simply an action of good will or them saying positive things, it was their whole embodiment of positivity that radiated in the room.

I know it sounds odd to say these things about people I’ve just met, but I honestly don’t say or think these things about many people to begin with. And it was then that reminded me that this was what feels right to me. They are the kind of individuals that change the world. And I wanted to learn from them. Their happiness and gratitude for the world spread so easily, so naturally. Their warm presence felt solid, genuine, and honest;  not fleeting sentimentality that drifts away after a few moments. Without knowing too much about them, I sensed that their moral foundations are well built. They’ve seen tragedy and sadness in the faces of many, but they can somehow believe in the idea that the world could still be better and will be better. They have hope for all of us. Now, I wonder, where would we as a society be if we all exhibited and held this kind of strength and belief in our communities and families?