love from parents

Your face showed nothing,
But everything I needed.
Worry wrinkles that gave time
Of my comfort in life.
Your smile gave warmth
When chilly mornings sauntered.
Eyes as deep as eternity
Sage advice unspoken
But actions visibly clear.

Washington State stories and recommendations | travel

It’s getting colder nowadays. The sun sets earlier and the morning darkness creates the perfectly imperfect atmosphere to stay in bed. But we can’t and life goes on to another day of being (or an attempt at being) a productive human being. That was a lot of “beings.” But I long for summer, as I knew I would when I thought this months ago when I was taking the warmer weather for granted. So here, I look back on the places I’ve seen this summer at Washington State. A lot of things stand out to me: the way Seattle streets have slopes that are so deep you find yourself walking up city mountains, the natural beauty and awe of Mount Rainier, how architecturally focused the city buildings and street layouts are and experiencing some crazy driving on the highway. Make sure to hover over the photographs if you want to see some caption notes.

Highlights:

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park
Waterfalls at Mount Rainier

When are we ever going to see another purple mountain?” he asked as we looked at the view. Mount Rainier reminds me of the person who always looks great in any situation. You look up and there this strong energy of beauty.

Advice: Go early. Finding parking and sitting in traffic coming in can be annoying, so be prepared! Also, the two-storey visitor center was full of small informational exhibits and comfortable seating to rest. They also have a mini food court and gift shop on-site.

The Wing Luke Museum of Asian Pacific American Experience

This was easily one of our favorite places in the whole trip. To visit Uncle Jimmy’s (James Malcolm Mar) store and hear/read the stories of the pan-Asian Pacific American immigrants and refugees was a very surreal experience for me. I felt like I could stay for hours. I wanted to absorb their words. I wanted to value their experiences. The architecture of the building itself and well-detailed exhibits are worth taking the time and walking through each area. There is so much history I learned from this trip that I never learned from school.

Advice: Take one of their tours. The gallery attendants know their stuff and they are very nice. There is also a gift store if you wanted something to remember the trip by. Also, ask the attendants some food recommendations in Chinatown area as we did and we found a gem because of it!

Touristy Must-Sees

Space Needle

As having been to an observatory before, I wasn’t so ecstatic to visit the Space Needle. It just seemed like something touristy to do and a local store owner had told me it wasn’t worth the money. We arrived early and there weren’t that many people there yet. Seeing the view and taking in the fresh air made it was worth it for me (as a tourist). I ended up being the one who didn’t want to leave and to stay as long as I could. Standing on the platform, being 520 feet from the ground, seeing all the landmarks like Mount Rainier, the art sculptures of Olympic Sculpture Park and seeing how much life there is all at the same time is kind of calming, yet exciting. Maybe I was feeling a little sentimental because it was our last day.

Advice: There are multiple electronic ticket booths outside and depending on the time of day, the prices will change. We went in the morning, so I think it was cheaper because of that. Also, if you’re driving there, there are some parking areas down the street. I’d do some research because we later learned some areas were cheaper than others.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

With loads of stores to visit, food to eat, the very first Starbucks–it’s a pretty popular place. Truthfully, we didn’t care about the Starbucks thing, but we did see a long line, so a lot of other people did. I appreciate and love the variety of stores, craft vendors and farmer’s market goodies. For those heading over there, I dare you to find the Bob Ross and Daryl Dixon (cardboard cut outs).

International Fountain

International Fountain

Music blaring, children laughing and running around and everyone else relaxing and sitting nearby. It’s easy to “waste” time here since the fountain show is so fun to watch. If it was a hotter day, you bet I’d run around there looking silly.

Seattle Monorail

Seattle Monorail

It’s a quick and cheap ride to see the city in a whole new perspective. It reminds me of the monorail ride at Seuss Landing at Universal Studios. There was a family of adult tourists that came on and they were funny. They apparently didn’t know what ride this was, thought it had multiple stops and couldn’t originate which one of them suggested to go.

Chinatown

After our visit to the Wing Luke Museum, we decided to explore Chinatown a bit. We ate some delicious Taiwanese food, played some chess with life-size pieces and walked all around. The sloped streets under the hot sun definitely made it a workout!

Nature’s gems

Hover over the photograph to see the  name of the place.

Narada Falls

 

 

Snoqualmie Falls Park
Reflection Lakes

Special Mention

Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden

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Ahhhh I love this place so much. We ended up purchasing some koi food at the entrance booth and it ended up being a lot of fun. The stillness and calmness of the environment allowed us to take our time. Quiet like a library, this experience called for some sit down and walk through time to admire the details and architecture of the environment. Whenever I tried to feed the koi, a quick duck would turn up and steal their food. It kinda turned into a game of throwing the food at the right time.

If you want to see more Washington State-ish posts, I linked some below :) I’m also going to publish a post about food for this trip in the future. For all those foodies out there, beware, there are some pretty good drool-worthy photographs on the way.

Another photo of Mount Rainier in the things I’ll never see.
An artsy photograph from in the space needle.
Narada Falls inspired a poem I wrote called waterfalls. I also posted more photographs of Narada Falls in the post, too.

here and there

These were taken at a pond and it was just after the snow melted from the winter.  I know it doesn’t look it, but it was actually kind of chilly that day.  I feel like these photos have this kind of air of storytelling; like something happened and they’re just looking for someone to tell their story.  When was the last time you took a walk?  cnw

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Film review: 33 Postcards, directed by Pauline Chan

About an hour or two ago, I was sitting on my couch seeking something to entertain me and to occupy my time, as I fight off this sudden cold I have.  I came upon this.  The film, 33 Postcards (click on link to view the official website) by Pauline Chan, was so captivating that I didn’t even think for a moment about my life or where I was.  Time flew by, as I became this silent observer watching these stories unravel between all the characters.  The side-stories and side-characters were weaved into the main story so seamlessly that it created a strong foundation for how this unique masterpiece unfolded.

The beginning starts off sad with a child being dropped off at an orphanage in China.   The film was unpredictable, which is rare nowadays.  Many times during the film, I found myself worried of what would happen.  There are many parts in the film in which Mandarin is spoken and the version I saw did not have translation, so there may be some missed concepts there.  However, I found the main messages to be clear.  Although I have never gone to Australia or China, I felt that they captured a certain kind of beauty of both.  The actors and actresses in this film and in particular, Guy Pearce and Zhu Lin, were brilliant.  A simple glance, a tear and a nod carried heavy, yet simple meanings and we understood what those were.

Without giving too much away, Zhu Lin plays the teenage girl Mei Mei, who is part of the choir at the orphanage.  She, along with her beloved orphan sisters, were invited to perform at a place in Australia.  Mei Mei seeks for her sponsored parent named Dean Randall, played by Guy Pearce, for a connection to the happy, loving life he portrayed in his postcards to her.  However, what she finds is something entirely different.

Underneath all the pain, struggle and crime this film exposes us to, there is freedom, redemption and peace.  Symbolically, this film played and mixed contradictory theme subjects in a way a tango dance would.  There were twists and turns, but ultimately, there was a finale that worked.  Just like viewing a tango and wanting to dance, my watching the film had me rooting for the characters and feeling the agony they did.  It was easy to sympathize with the criminal Dean.  It was easy to feel protective of Mei Mei and her innocence.  Simply put, this film told us a story of two characters who were seeking love and happiness; the kind that a lot of us take for granted with our loved ones.  It was interesting how the boundaries between these two characters grew to be bridges connecting them to one another and ultimately, connecting us all.

cnw

Love for Boston

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Boston, MA

I’m just trying to push through my difficulty of processing the tragic and shocking events of yesterday at the Boston Marathon.  Shocking. Tragic.  My heart speaks louder than my mind.  I dedicate this post to the ones whose instincts were to bravely help the wounded during the chaos.  Thank you.  This love goes out to the ones who lost their loved ones during this tragedy. I feel your sadness.  My heart goes out to everyone who’s having a hard time right now.  We’re all feeling it.  We’re not alone.

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Downtown Crossing

cnw

a certain kind of innocence

As I put this song on repeat, over and over, I think about how it was.  The sound of the guitar strings immediately ushers me back to that little guitar club in Taiwan.  It wasn’t “little” in the size of the group; it was actually rather large.  The actual space they had for storage was limited though.  The school club was lead by a third year undergrad at the school I was attending (for a short time).  I remember feeling a kind of peace that can perhaps only be created when I’m abroad in unfamiliar lands and taking time exploring.  I don’t know exactly what drew me into this place.  I was wandering around campus and I heard someone playing guitar.  It reminded me of my campus back home in the States and I so very missed the familiarity of it.

I decided that I wanted to learn to play.  I couldn’t really play and I can’t now.  But I guess it wasn’t the point.  I made friends and they were so welcoming.  They signified a very valuable, vulnerable and young time in my life; a certain kind of innocence.  I only know this because much time has gone by since then.  And so this song brings me back there.  To how it was and how it always will be in my memory.  I’ll remember how simple the interactions were without any underlining meanings or passive aggressiveness or forced inclusion; it was very natural.  They accepted the foreigner that I was and my cultural background.  They held out a hand of friendship and that’s a pretty fantastic occurrence in life.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

I recall one real distinct memory of my last day.  I thought I was going to stay longer, a week actually, but due to abrupt illness, I had to depart the next day.  It was surprising, shocking and heartbreaking for me.  I felt like I was being taken away from a place I was fond of; where I found a place for myself, finally, with friends I wanted more time with.  I was never good with goodbyes.  But as I was putting my possessions in the car; to see this place as I’ve known it to be for the last time, I saw one of my friends across the way.  I’m not sure if he saw me, but I looked at him for a moment and he was casually sitting.  I felt grateful. He may not even know that this even happened, but he gave me a kind of peace with leaving.  A peace with the kind of innocence that him and I and others shared while we played guitar, ate delicious foods, laughed about stupid jokes and chilled out through the warm nights.

Feb., I love you

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I found this heart on the floor of my bathroom while I was peeing. I thought, “how fitting,” and grabbed my camera and here it is.

Shortest month of the year and yet, Feb., I love you.  I wanted to post something before March comes by tomorrow and turns everything long again.  February is short and sweet.  It’s cute and whimsical.

I woke up this morning feeling sort of in a daze and sort of in a sour mood, but having seen a few smiles from strangers, I realized that there’s really no reason to frown.  If they’re going to smile at me, then I’m going to smile back.  Your smile makes you more beautiful than any of your other accessories.


Visited New York City.  City has style, fame and intensity more than any other place I’ve been to in the last few years.  This trip taught me to stay open-minded and to leave the judgements and comparing-tendencies home.  Every place is different for a reason and each one will offer different things.  Highlights of the trip include Grand Central Station, random flea markets, savory burgers with perfect fries and taking photos just because.  Get out there!  I’m sure you’ll find appreciation for travel, for your home and for your thirst in discovering the unfamiliar.  Tell me, where are you going to go?

See you later, Feb.

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Seems funny to feel nature-y when all around us are cars & tall buildings
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Saw someone selling a jacket for $2000, olives and pickles of all flavors and a desk made out of pennies. All kinds of people; all in one place.
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When do you NOT take a photo when everything you see is photogenic?

cnw

Her heart warm and strong carries light as she walks.

I lick my lips and they’re dry again.
My eyes are worn out.
Drooped down as I watch my feet step ahead.

There is this terrible cloud forming above the mountainside.
This is what I believe.
Blurry as my vision and foggy as my memory.

Aren’t we all very subtle, quaint and delicate creatures.
Walking slowly to existence, we forget the journey before.
Each step creates a fault on the foundation.

To the outside, the visage is beautiful and broken.
Melancholy are her eyes; struggling, as they seek refuge.
Her heart warm and strong carries light as she walks.

She holds the note in her hand as tight as she holds her values.
Moving forward as her ancestors walk beside her.

cnw

looking back at the path

Taken during a walk in the snow yesterday with the cute boy.
Taken during a walk in the snow yesterday with the Cute Boy.

It’s so tempting to turn back and look at what I’ve done.  Many feelings come from all sides of “right” and “wrong.”
Missed opportunities or greatest dodge?
And then I remind myself that it doesn’t matter either way.
That wherever I’ve gone doesn’t dictate where I’ll be.
Where I’ll go is where I choose to go.
That and that alone is the only important factor.
cnw

breaking the boundaries

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I like raw.  I like real.  I like differences and I like beginnings and possibilities.  And, as much as I find it annoying most times, in the end, I value mistakes.  They force me to learn lessons I probably would not learn otherwise.  It may not be pretty, it may not be “right” but, it’s here.