The Detached

•1 March 2020 • Leave a Comment

February has been a trying month. I don’t know what it is (may have to do with the end of The Good Place and some of my favorite shows and also watching Honeyland and all these really depressing Oscar movies and maybe my poor diet and maybe the early morning chill and maybe Lewis Capaldi), but I’ve been feeling melancholy lately. But not a deep, personal melancholy. It’s a detached state of being. Like there’s a cloud around me, and it’s sad and rainy, but it’s also soft and fluffy and I want to sit inside of it and just be.

It almost feels like I don’t exist. Like my state of being is inconsequential to the planet, at large. Like I’m just a soul, a passenger in this random corporeal form. It’s a restless soul, but perhaps limited in what it wants to accomplish. And this leads to some sort of frustration.

If I didn’t care about my personal health, I’d want to stay up into the wee hours of the night just thinking and listening to sad music. I want to sit with, observe, and interact with the darkness. I wish there was more time in the day for me to just chill in absolute peace and quiet (and still get my allotted daily sleep requirement) and not feel like I need to be doing something.

Also, maybe all these feelings are just triggered because I generally write blog posts at the end of the month when I look back and reflect and most of the time, always irrationally feel like I’ve done nothing (in a negative way) all month, and thus, cue existential crisis.

“What if I’m someone I don’t want around? / I’m falling again”
“We love to get high, but we don’t know how to come down”
“Now the day bleeds into nightfall / And you’re not here to get me through it all”

Connection

  • We went to Big Bear and I finally got to snowboard for this winter season. And guess what? I got to experience actual snowfall for the second time in my life. This one was really magical, but it started to get really cold and we were not prepared. Other than that, such a chill weekend that we want to make it up, at least, monthly. Just the act of getting away for the weekend, being closer to nature…it does something for me that nothing else can. These opportunities don’t always present themselves to me, but I so appreciate when they come along.
  • In the past several years, I’ve started holding on to people and not burn bridges (I use to drop people all the time and I wanted to see what it was like to not do that). Now, I’m realizing I’m holding on to toxic people that don’t provide me with any actual friendship. Some people are just wasting my energy and mental space and that’s not okay. I found myself talking to people whom I don’t even care about and who don’t even care about me. Going forward, I want to commit to surrounding myself with people that support me, that teach me how to be a better human. I don’t want to just hold on to people because of shared history or anything like that. If you’re not doing anything for me, there’s no need for me to invest any time actively trying. Fairweather friends are useless and I say that knowing I’ve been one of them. Dropped!
  • I went out for two (2) Sundays this month and that’s two (2) more than normal. Who am I? Who is this extrovert?

Development

  • Randomly, I was going to send in an audition video for Euphoria because they had an open casting call and people with no experience were able to audition. I thought why not, I like the show, and I work with Gen Z. I ended up getting sick that week (end of January) and then the auditions closed. But one of the questions was “what is one thing you’d change about yourself?” I pondered this during my week of illness and discovered the one and only thing I’d change about myself: I wish that kindness came easy for me. I have to work very hard at being a good person and obviously, it doesn’t always show. I want to continue to shift my conscious thoughts to positive and kind ones, because a lot of the time, the negativity is automatic.
  • I’ve been setting goals for myself, but I think they’re so nebulous, I end up just vegetating over the weekends with my free time and I just don’t accomplish anything. It’s been annoying, mostly because I knew I wasn’t doing anything about it and I just let it happen. Now, I’m trying to make more solid, attainable monthly goals that I can actually do in sequence. I also want to set internal/mental goals for myself, which I feel like I haven’t explicitly done in a while.

Freedom

  • Guys, eating out adds up really quickly and somehow your budget is suddenly all food. It’s so dangerous – even “cheap” fast food adds up if you do it all the time. For me, I have a “grocery” budget and all food I buy that’s not grocery actually goes in the “personal” budget category. The discrepancy is shocking. Sometimes, I just go without eating or I eat something completely non-nutritious. I miss meal prep and the security of knowing what to eat and having options throughout the week.

Sustainability

  • I feel like I’ve been producing so much waste because of the convenience factor of eating out and making these one person meals. All because the kitchen is out of commission. So annoying.
  • Recently, I’ve found some new sustainable living options that I didn’t even realize before and stuff like that makes me so excited because I love being a lifelong learner. In this case, there’s always new ways to grow and learn from innovative people all over the world. If you want to learn to be more sustainable, I would start at YouTube. Soon, you’ll start getting recommended videos on more eco-friendly lifestyles and it all snowballs from there.
  • For me, right now, there are so many things that I want, but I have to remind myself: the best option for the planet is to just continue using what you already have until it’s unusable. This inadvertently also helps a lot with gratitude- being grateful for what you already have and learning to be okay with not having new stuff all the time.

Signal Boost

1917. WWI soldiers delivering a message in a crazy war zone to save some lives by calling off an attack. I’m not a huge fan of war films because it’s usually just a bunch of white guys dying and that’s boring and also like it’s history we get it it already happened and also romanticizing war is a no-no. But all that said, I enjoyed that this looked like a single shot in real time.

Ash Is Purest White. Chinese crime drama with self-sacrifice and globalization themes. Quiet, tragic, slow, bittersweet, heartbreaking. I root for the heroine despite her choices. Must be a cultural thing.

Atlantics. Senegalese supernatural young love plus detective mystery vibes. Artsy, tragic, gripping, a little slow for me (but understandably).

Come to Daddy. Creepy, funny, and on par with Elijah Wood style quirkiness. Super random, but not nearly fleshed out enough.

Honey Boy. Semi-autobiographical Shia LaBeouf dopeness. I like the premise that this screenplay was therapy for him and it turned into a beautiful piece of art.

Honeyland. Turkish documentary rural wild beekeeper vibes just trying to be at at one with nature. My heart aches, my soul aches, I love it so much. I love a good movie where the conceit is about preserving nature, but since this was a documentary, it felt so raw, so real…because it was. After, I just needed to sit in silence for a time.

Horse Girl. Mental health, aliens, time skips, cloning. So bizarre, but well done. I did not know what was going on, which I believe was the intention.

Pain and Glory. Spanish pained artist looking for that spark of inspiration artsy semi-autobiography. Time Magazine’s best movie of 2019, but very artsy cinema.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire. French old school classic slow burn forbidden lesbian love story. It leaves one with that empty feeling afterwards where you need a romcom to make you feel better about love.

Uncut Gems. Jewelry, gambling, sports bets, throwing around lots of money and dealing with loan sharks. Lots of nonstop intensity, but then…I don’t care about any of the characters.

Bojack Horseman (season 6 part 2, finale season). Who knew animated animal humanoids could get me so emotionally invested in this deep, yet entirely comedic series. Absolutely beautiful and sad to see it go. My new seventh favorite show of all time.

Fresh Off the Boat (season 6, finale season). What can I say? A groundbreaking show, an incredible run, so many tears of relatability. They ended on a strong note.

The Good Place (season 4, finale season). I was not ready for this emotional goodbye. My new fourth favorite show of all time and that’s saying something (Avatar, Adventure Time, and Community are untouchables to me). Such a perfect conclusion to this show and I’m so glad it didn’t drag on for useless seasons. They had a vision and they enacted it. I am sad but satisfied. I am full and empty.

The Perturbation of Perseverance

•1 February 2020 • Leave a Comment

A week before lunar new year, I shaved my head. I had been holding out because sometimes it’s fun to believe in superstitions like ‘don’t cut your hair before the new year because you’ll lose all the good luck you’ve been collecting’. But then I just thought it was a lot of dry scalp flakes and not luck that I was collecting, so it had to go. This was perhaps one of the most cathartic shaves I’ve done because I think I was also holding onto a lot of baggage and I just needed to feel light again. This has been my second haircut in the new bathroom where I don’t have a side mirror to view the back of my head, so I end up just winging it. I also decided I wanted to do a fade, so it was all just done via feel and muscle memory. And I think I accomplished exactly what I wanted to do (normally, I give up and just buzz it all off to a zero cut), so pretty proud of that!

As it turns out, I got sick the entire last week of January and it was horrible. Clearly, my luck ran out and the gods decided to curse me for the first week of the new year! I usually get sick on the weekend so I can conveniently only miss none to a few days of work, but missing a whole week really sucks. I still tried to work out for a couple days, but that seemed counterproductive. I wasn’t sure if I was sweating it out or just inflaming it. I also took lots of hot showers to help with the congestion. And I used so much tissue to blow my nose. Then, my parents made me porridge and insisted on putting meat in it. And being all cooped up inside made me really want to go out. Sleeping was nigh impossible and I didn’t even feel tired all week. So all in all, I’m very anti-Brian when I get sick.

Connection

  • In a surprise twist, I somehow decided for myself that I wanted to go out for New Year’s Eve and ended up rallying some wonderful people to go to a rave. I hadn’t been in years, but thought it’d be a good final one before getting too old and now I feel like going back. So much love and fun despite the traumatic before and after situations. I continue to surprise myself by not being a shut-in.
  • I learned a couple of things for myself in this situation. One, you cannot convince people to do something they don’t want to do and it’s not worth your time if people don’t actually want to hang out with you. Two, I personally am really over this mentality that we’re “all getting old” and that we basically have to become boring people and do nothing to culture ourselves beyond the same old same old. I don’t think I have time for people like this in my life either.
  • I’m also just feeling as if I need to get out in to the world and just do more things to experience and absorb so much. So much to do! I can always count on January to bring me all this optimism and hope (cut to December 2020 where I’ve done nothing and am just sad).

Development

  • I’m revisiting the idea of eating more calories so I can gain more mass. Writing this out makes it real but also makes me sigh in frustration at all the worry. It’s just been a long time of me just eating whatever and hoping it all works out. I don’t think I eat enough in the day.
  • In my everyday life, I’ve been trying to move away from this perfectionism, where everything I do has to been perfect or I can’t do something until I’m completely ready because I think that’s just false and detrimental to my personal growth. I want to just do it.
  • There’s this weird juxtaposition between low self esteem about my physical appearance and complete and utter self-acceptance. In the past, I had learned self-care and then I think over the years, it just continued to turn into self-apathy. Let’s take my acne for example. It caused me a lot of confidence issues when it first cropped up and I tried a lot of remedies that didn’t work. Then this turned into self-confidence, where I would just not worry about it because it just seemed like a waste of time to worry about what others thought about my appearance. This worked and and has continued to work in how I see myself. Admittedly, in my low days, there are times where I let the low self-esteem and low self-worth get the better of me. So this year, I thought what if I revisit trying to “fix” my acne, but for myself. And so here we are and this can be applied to the entire list of perceived flaws I consider I have, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I don’t know if this will work, but I’d like to have fun with it and make it a fun project; worse thing that can happen is that nothing works and I’m still me. My thoughts are still at odds regarding trying to “accept” myself vs. trying to “fix” myself. I think I have settled at: try to better yourself with things in your control and leave the rest behind.
  • Anyway, that’s all to say I’m drowning my head and face in apple cider vinegar now.

Freedom

  • I got into a fight with my mom at the end of last year and that had inadvertently led to me making all my own meals (2 meals a day was manageable, but now I understand how people eat out so much because managing 3 meals a day every single day of your life seems so difficult). While the fight was annoying, I also think it was interesting in that it finally led me to push myself to do this. I had been so dependent on them for food that I never wanted to get out of it. I know people out there will scoff at this, but the food is so good and it’s right there and it’s free and they make so much of it and they love to feed me and it’s culturally a sign of love and yada yada all the excuses. This has also allowed me to inadvertently eat vegan almost all the time. Now, I don’t feel as bad when I have the occasional meat.
  • This fight has also initiated this final push in myself to leave the nest. However, it just seems so economically unwise. Then again, it may be good for the mental health of all parties involved.
  • So our kitchen is being remodeled and it’s completely unusable. Perhaps this was a bad time to: stop accepting food from my parents and try and change my diet to have better eating habits.
  • All this has led me to me relooking at and adjusting my budget to fit the reality of my lifestyle. I think sometimes, it’s good to take advantage of the (financial) help you’re given. But I also like the freedom to decide for myself. Some people are so stubborn and really need to strike out on their own, so they’re reckless with their expenses just to feel a semblance of independence. But no, if the family phone plan is cheaper, let me just stay on that and pay my sister a fair portion of the bill. I found that I was saving so much money that I could stand to spend a little more. Mind you, I mean to say spend a little more on food and experiences. I don’t really need any more material possessions.

Sustainability

  • As previously stated, our kitchen is being remodeled and so we wash our dishes in the backyard. In lieu of this, my parents have been using much more disposables (don’t forget, humans crave convenience). In lieu of that, since I’ve been eating mostly frozen things, I just use the silicon baking mat as a plate and it has worked out marvelously so far. Unfortunately, I’ve been also eating out a lot more because meal prep is near non-existent.

Signal Boost

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. A reminder of what a beautiful human Mr. Rogers was. Tom Hanks did a wonderful job. Very touching tribute.

Frozen II. A probably unnecessary sequel with catchy songs and an existential snowman. Honestly, all the Olaf parts were the best because I probably related way too much to this animated snowman. Everything else was just filler.

Harriet. A powerful journey with an historical figure in American history. I love researching about people after watching biopics and what an amazing human being, like it’s astounding and awe-inspiring.

Hustlers. A look into the side hustles of some strippers and honestly an excuse to see J. Lo stripping. Keke Palmer was a hilarious highlight, though I think everyone did a great job. Added to my list of 2019 favorites.

John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch. A bizarre but timely children’s show satire with surprisingly catchy songs. Emphasis on bizarre (but I love it).

Jojo Rabbit. A boy and his imaginary Hitler. Funny and dark, very on par with Taika Waititi. Not my favorite of his films (okay, maybe my least favorite). Were they saying Nazis were humans? That some were okay? I’m not sure.

Joker. If you find yourself in need of going to a dark place, here you go. Also conflicting feelings about people that are mentally ill.

Knives Out. Refreshing for the whodunit genre and kept me on the edge of my seat. Cut to me gasping audibly after every scene. A lot of fun. Added to my list of 2019 favorites.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Quirky, poignant, funny. A man reclaiming his space in an increasingly gentrified neighborhood.

Last Christmas. Oh, I get the title now (insert winky face). How silly. Enjoyable for a nice Christmas cheese and also different enough from the usual Christmas stuff.

Little Women. Who thought it was a good idea to put Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Soairse Ronan, and Timothee Chalamet in a room together? Because it was and this was actually interesting even though these period dramas are generally unappealing to me.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Completely unnecessary sequel, but I absolutely loved the lore of the other bird people and how they all look different based on terrain.

Marriage Story. This movie is actually about divorce, not marriage. I liked the realness in each of the scenes. It felt as if I was little boy watching his parents divorce, but then also with the understanding of an adult mind, so it hurt even more.

Monos. A group of Colombian child soldiers and their prisoner go on an adventure and spoiler: it’s not great. At times, difficult to watch, as it was very disturbing and sad.

NiNoKuni. Charming and cute, but not enough of that magical je ne sais quoi of actual Ghibli material.

Queen & Slim. Powerful and brings up a conundrum about race and legality and morality.

The Report. So basically the government is corrupt and no one cares except some people.

Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America! Clever, witty, surprisingly very well done.

Terminator: Dark Fate. Pretty badass and a fun popcorn flick. But if Terminators take that long to kill, y’all are fucked.

Zombieland: Double Tap. Long awaited, but alas, didn’t really add anything all that special to the genre. Still, pretty fun. Always fun to see zombies getting slaughtered.

Carole & Tuesday (season 1 part 2). Okay, but I have a lot of feelings and they’re all related to this show. The music is divine. Everything else is just a bonus.

The Dragon Prince (season 3). Cute animals, intense suspense, character angst and development. It’s basically what I need in a post-Avatar: The Last Airbender world.

His Dark Materials (season 1). I’m still very confused about what’s going on, but I would like one (1) daemon please.

The Mandalorian (season 1). Baby Yoda gives me life and I quite enjoyed every interaction with him despite not really understanding any of the lore.

The Witcher (season 1). Lived up to the hype, catchy tune, fun characters, very Xena and Hercules and Legend of the Seeker. Confusing timeline aside (which for the record, after realizing, I quite like they way they did that), everything was well done. Henry Cavill is Geralt of Rivia.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong. Hilariously hilarious and even though I don’t agree with her about everything, very well done and I love that she’s doing this for her daughters.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. What is essential to you and how are you going about your life in order to really focus on this? Not the advice I wanted to hear, but certainly what I needed to hear.

The Rat

•25 January 2020 • Leave a Comment

Happy new year! This lunar new year has afforded me an extended chance to reflect on my life and what I want to manifest for my 28th year on Earth. I like that the start of a new Gregorian decade coincides with the start of the Lunar calendar. For me, it signifies a fresh(er) start.

In fact, it’s such an early new year, it’s still in January. Classic year of the rat’s earliness, am I right? I was thinking of setting resolutions and goals for myself for this year, but then I realized that I’ve just been continually setting and achieving goals already, throughout the year. It’s just about doing things each day. It didn’t even seem like accomplished much during the year (an arbitrary amount of measurement), but then looking back, it all compounded and I’m so much farther than I was a year ago. It’s kind of cool in that respect. So anyway, I just don’t know what else I want to add it my to do list because I figure I have enough to keep me occupied right now.

During these twenty odd days between the first and the twenty-fifth, there were a lot of tears, revelations, and re-evaluations. It turns out there was still so much to think about and the new year reminded me. All it takes is the right mindset, of which I am in control. “I choose”. I was coming into the new year with hope, but at the same time, I was held back by dark clouds- thoughts that were keeping me from really believing myself when I said I wanted to be better.

But in these first few weeks of 2020, I’ve been reminded that I can still feel and honor any emotions, but I can then control how I act and react. I’m honestly just tired of feeling hopeless.

I think I’ve thrown myself into so many projects that I’ve forgotten to take care of my mind. Growth starts from within. It’s an important reminder to work on the Self every day; not just like a routine, but mindfully practicing. Sitting with the Self can be hard, but it’s a necessity to better ourselves as human beings.

PS Isn’t it weird that there’s over a decade of my life documented online, on this blog? When I look back at my writing, I tend to cringe or realize that I’m still working on that one thing and maybe somethings never change. But damn, can I take a second to be proud of my growth? To just live in this space I’ve created for myself and not apologize for being myself?

The Visionary 2k20

•1 January 2020 • Leave a Comment

As I was rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender (the greatest show in existence), I found a new appreciation for all the characters (especially Toph, whom perhaps I had not appreciated enough). Before, I thought I was the meat and sarcasm (and idea) guy, but as it turns out, I’m actually now completely like Aang. Pacifism and balance, appreciation of animals and nature, and all that cool monk shit.

It’s hard for me to verbalize how I feel about 2k19. It’s a year that flew by. Yet it doesn’t even feel like the end of the year to me, let alone the end of the decade (let’s not get into the semantics about how the end of every year is the end of a decade please). I didn’t make major life changes (except getting a car), though I feel like so many things have changed and evolved so incrementally, I barely even noticed. Particularly, my mindset and my way of life has been at the forefront of my thoughts as I’ve tried to constantly make sure I’m living mindfully and in line with my values.

My goal for 2k19 was to embrace the unknown (Into the unknown! Into the unknooowwwwwnnn!!) and allow myself to be in the moment, whether comfortable or not. I don’t know if I accomplished this, or perhaps there just weren’t many notable moments. It was the everyday, the smallest parts…in the littlest of moments.

When I looked back at posts this year, there’s been an interesting dichotomy of feeling like I’m headed in the right direction in life and simultaneously feeling like I’m not doing enough in life. The dichotomy of being comfortable versus being too comfortable. The dichotomy of having a purpose in life and not doing anything and feeling worthless. What does “enough” mean to me? There were a lot of highs and I don’t think there were that many lows. But there has been a lot of eco-anxiety and compassion fatigue. To be honest, I’m still not sure how to deal with that going forward and I’m not sure it will ever go away.

2k19 highlights

solidifying my values again and again until I found a solid base

buying a new car, my dream car, and falling in love with driving again

continuing my minimalist journey and learning to let go of material possessions

getting a home gym

planning and executing a successful bachelor party for my best friend

attending said friend’s wedding and enjoying a vacation with our group

enacting veganism and anti-consumerism as much as possible

A look at my values

  • Connection is a value because I believe at the root of everything, humans must have connection in order to survive. Without it, we are nothing. To me, connection is also about feeling connected to your inner self, understanding yourself and what you want. I want to be able to always choose kindness and helping those that are less privileged than me. I also want to be able to stand up for myself and my convictions even if they’re not always conventional.
  • Development is a value because I think it’s important to always be learning and always be growing. I want to be able to accept challenges that avail themselves to me. I want to learn new hobbies and ideas and adventures. Taking care of my mind, body, and spirit are all equally important and being able to grow in all of these aspects is key.
  • Freedom is a value because I can’t be happy without the freedom to do what I want to do in life. I want to free my mind of any thoughts that hinder my progress and growth. Being free is partially about time, but it’s also about being free of expectations. Strangers’, loved ones’, my own…expectations just keep us from reaching our full potential. I want to break free of all these ingrained ideas that keep us locked up.
  • Sustainability is a value and in fact, it’s the most tangible value because there are specific things I can do to live my authentic self. I want to be an environmental steward. Minimalism, veganism, anti-consumerism, zero waste, ethical living, and all that good stuff.

Have I been living in line with my values this year?

I am continually evolving and through the course of the year, have changed and refined what I consider to be my true values. So far, I think I’ve been doing well. I should speak up more and communicate more clearly in the face of injustice. I should be more consistent about health. I want to learn to be comfortable with doing what I’m doing and not second guessing if it’s what I should be doing, thereby ruining my enjoyment. As always, there’s always room to grow in sustainability.

I’ve been good about opening my mind to different ideas and ways of life and removing judgment from the forefront of my mind. I’ve quite enjoyed practicing new hobbies and learning new things. Reading has been really enjoyable for the most part, even when the book isn’t the greatest. I’ve been doing well with my flexibility and time and priorities daily.

A look at my projects

  • My long term goal is still to obtain a Master’s degree and a doctorate. I haven’t been focused too much on this, though it’s time to really dedicate myself to this again.
  • Some new and continuing hobbies include: ASL, massage, shuffle dance, and digital art. I’ve been practicing everything every day when I have time and like seeing the progress I’m making.
  • All my other projects fall in line with building my brand of sustainability. There are still so many things I need to do, but that’s the fun part. I still would like to find the right volunteer organization for me. I’d like to build a compost bin and garden and decrease food waste in general. I’m working on my recipe book. I’d like to start my blog to help others.

A look at other philosophies

  • I think time, though a made up construct, limits a lot of what I want to accomplish. I’d like to try and utilize my time better. Currently, my daily routine looks something like: get up, practice ASL on the toilet, meditate, read a comic, work out and play a YouTube video and practice shuffling, eat breakfast and watch one episode of whatever show I’m watching, go to work and listen to an audiobook while driving, eat lunch, go home and eat dinner, wind down with art or games or some research into sustainability, read a book before bed, listen to some ASMR and drift off to sleep. It’s a mildly well-oiled machine. Though I set intervals for each of these tasks (and you can see how much I multi-task and like to do a little bit of everything every day), it’s never really set in stone and things move around often. It keeps things fresh and also allows me to be flexible with myself. I think consistency is the key to progress. A little bit every single day adds up to a lifetime of experience.
  • I noticed this year that most of my previous ideas about money have gone out the window. I have the privilege to free myself from this attachment to capitalism and this feeling that I need to save money for this nebulous future. That’s not to say I don’t get anxiety about retirement and savings. I do have a savings after all. But it’s a realization that I can detach myself from this notion that I’m barely scraping by. That I can allow myself to really enjoy something without regretting a purchase.
  • I’ve grown attached to consuming media (not starting this year, but that is to say that this year is no different). I used to watch episodes live for all my shows. Then I moved to binging all episodes (as in I’d watch as much as I could in a day and continue daily until I finished the season). Now, I’ve adapted to this idea of patience (it’s mainly a way of controlling my time and not allowing myself to fall into a rabbit hole). What I do is (1) wait for a full season to be over then (2) watch one episode a day but only while I am eating a meal. This method has, for me, multiple benefits. I don’t feel disgusting as I used to for binging 12 hours at a time. I can prolong a show’s lifespan without having to wait weekly for new episodes. This allows me to view a season holistically instead of forgetting week to week or melding episodes together in one 12 hour marathon. I don’t feel like I’m just sitting there (at least I’m eating). I can stack my shows back to back so I don’t have long weeks of nothing to watch. If I want to, I can go back and binge the same season in the background while I do something else, but can passively catch things I missed the first time around.
  • I just realized typing those last three points that my life is just a series of cost-benefit analyses.
  • As I’ve said, this year, I’ve been grappling with my eco-anxiety at its peak. Every time I learn something new about something, I try not to shy away from being aware of it in its entirety. This has caused me to feel like everything I do is causing harm to the world. I’m not at one with Mother Earth. So sometimes, the depression hits so hard, I just opt out of doing anything or talking to anyone. It’s frustrating for me to even exist and the baffling thing is that I’m probably only aware of 10% of human corruption and destruction. I want to be mindful of everything, yet the more I learn, the more fatigue I get. I have difficulty allowing myself to let go in order to enjoy, but boy can I sure fake it! Sometimes, upon later reflection, I found that I was able to enjoy doing things because I can be in the moment, or I do just waive off the anxiety, or I do just forget about how damaging it is. It’s a give and take, though I’d like to continually take steps in bettering myself and also try to open others’ eyes to the injustices (without being too harsh).
  • Currently, if I had to rate my mood regarding humanity, I feel like throughout 2019, it just continued to roll downhill. My general worldview is that humanity is driven by greed or self-indulgence or convenience. Everyone just wants more money and things, self-enjoyment at any cost, and ease of access. “Cheap labor, treating people and animals poorly, using plastic products…all of these will increase profit margins, who cares the cost”; “Life is short, I love cheese, it’s only one piece of plastic wrap or spoon or napkin or toilet paper”; “This plastic product is much cheaper, as is this meat, as is Amazon”. It’s a hard pill to swallow when one wants to be hopeful about the future. People do things because they can and they don’t know or don’t care what it means, what it affects, what went into it. I think what really frustrates me is people are so apathetic and it’s hard to make people care.
  • Here’s where I am with my nutrition. Previously, any meals I’d make would be vegan. So most of the time, my breakfast and lunch would be vegan. But when I’d eat dinner at home, it was not. And if I didn’t have a breakfast or lunch prepared, I’d usually find something in the fridge that was not vegan. If I went out to eat, I’d try to find vegan options and if none were available, at least vegetarian. I’d generally eat whatever food people offered as well because food waste trumps everything else. Now, I am trying to do 100% no dairy. I will still be opportunistic about meat. I also am making my own dinners now, so those will be vegan. I want to give up dairy because (1) #dairyisscary, (2) the dairy industry is a scam, (3) there are really good alternatives now, (4) personal health and lactose intolerance, (5) animal abuse.

What does it mean to be a visionary?

I’m going to look to the present and the future with wisdom and creativity and open-mindedness. As always, I would like to continue to be growing…not necessary growing up, but growing in all directions. I want to make healthy, solid goals for my future and enact change in the world.

I want to look at everything with new eyes, unclouded by bias (obviously very difficult because we are all ingrained with so much bias and prejudice and preconceptions). I want to see all aspects of people and places and things.

I want to know what I want and have a clear picture of it in my head.

#yearofthevisionary2k20

The 28

•17 December 2019 • Leave a Comment

I’d like to imagine 27 was still mid-20s, but I guess I can’t really say that for 28. Late-20s, baby! I’m gonna embrace old age with dignity, class, and all the wisdom I’ve gathered in life thus far. Just kidding, I am falling apart at the seams and am barely holding my life together as I continue to decay.

The birthday weekend wasn’t that productive, so I think that really caused me to want to push myself to have a non-zero day. I did continue my rewatch of my favorite, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I did get to finally play Kingdom Hearts III thanks to Alan. I did go out with friends. But I think that’s about as much I as accomplished.

Today was a good day. I’ve been on autopilot for a little bit now and even though I was aware of it, I wasn’t willing or able to push myself beyond that. But today was a good day, after all.

I woke up earlier than normal to make sure I seized the day. I did deadlifts for the first time in a while. I know, having a home gym, one would think it couldn’t get any easier that that. But oh no, the laziness threshold seems to fall farther and farther. I practiced a new shuffle move.

I took a cold shower, which isn’t anything new, I’ve actually been able to keep up with this.

Then I went to work and there was a fire in the adjacent parking lot. It’s a sign. I don’t know of what, but it’s a sign!

After work, I went to Trader Joe’s to finish grocery shopping because for some reason, I find it easier to shop after work than over the weekend even though I was supposed to do it over the weekend. I also tried this new thing where I actually stay within the budget I set for myself and not overspend. So I actually had to calculate how much I was spending as I shopped. Sorry, cashews, you’re too expensive. For me, I have the privilege to do this, though I guess it doesn’t make much sense because I have to go back and get them in a couple of weeks any way.

When I got home, I made dinner for myself. I forgot to thaw my frozen Impossible meat from the freezer this morning, but luckily microwaves exist.

And now I sit here watching Joker because it was just released digitally. So today was a good day because today was a productive day.

The Dark Skies

•1 December 2019 • Leave a Comment

My oh my, I’m already over these literal and figurative dark skies. On the contrary, I’m completely ready for using my new tea infuser and heavy blankets. The holidays are in full swing and I’m mostly excited for weekends where I don’t have plans so I can just have some time for myself and my thoughts.

Connection

  • Thanksgiving has come and gone; in reality, just another day this year for our family. I didn’t do anything of note besides taking some time to reflect on gratitude and people in my life.
  • I’m trying very hard to stand up for myself. Normally, I’m rather…I don’t want to say “shy” because I hate that word…maybe acquiescent. I will often adapt myself to situations so as to not inconvenience others or make them awkward. I’ve lived my life like this and I’ve learned there is value in this. However, as I get older, I’m learning to know when to do this and when to stop this mindset. I also deserve to get what I want as much as anyone else.

Development

  • I learned how to polish and wax my car thanks to Alan! Easier than I thought, though of course, washing a car with two people is much easier than one. Really cool that I can somehow not fret over every little scratch because we can just buff it out for the most part. Though ironically, also didn’t want to drive my car for like a week because she was just so beautiful and shiny (better than when I first picked her up). I did find myself not preoccupied with every little thing that was not new with my car. Like wrinkles, moles, and stretch marks on a body…they’re just a sign of experience and life lived.
  • Our kitchen is currently going through a remodel, as in, we pulled out the stove and I’ve had to get creative with meal prep. Lately, it’s been a lot of processed foods and quick meals for ease. Nonetheless, this has allowed me to try out some new vegan recipes and foods, so that’s a plus.

Freedom

  • Lately, I’ve been heavily consuming streamed media (as noted in all those movies listed below and other YouTube videos). I watch them in all moments of quiet. I don’t know, but maybe it’s because I’ve become so accustomed to the noise that having a moment where something isn’t playing in the background has become difficult for me. I’m watching YouTube as I type this, even. However, I’d like to move away from this and free myself from this habit and dependency. Not only should I relish the quiet, I should use it to my advantage to actually focus on specific tasks I’d like to complete. Granted this may be a little harder this month because listening to Christmas music 24/7 is a priority.

Sustainability

  • After moving, my parents misplaced my bidet attachment and I didn’t get a new one until recently, after the bathroom was remodeled. My butt missed it so much! A truly life-changing part of my life I should never go without (and neither should you!). Just remember, it’s good for the environment, your wallet, and your butt. Win-win-win!
  • I’ve been slowly gathering things from Sprouts in reusable containers. When I was using a pasta jar to get some chia seeds, a worker said if I used the plastic bag, it’s easier. The audacity! Granted, I knew I looked like I was struggling, but damn, read the room bro.
  • As I attempt to be more anti-consumer in my life, I’ve taken my time to understand the consumer culture and where things come from before every purchase. Even so, I found myself in need (want) of a laptop. Mine was several years old and it’s too slow to do much of anything. I’ve been using my work laptop for work and leisure, but that stopped working reliably. So I needed something new for work and for home. I first chose a company I wanted to support and essentially nixed all other options. I chose Microsoft because I support Bill Gates and would hope their products are at least not horrible for the environment. Of course, all the boxes and bags were unavoidable. But I did end up getting a Surface Pro 7 because I still wanted laptop capabilities but also wanted a tablet and pen to do some amateur art. Initially, I was going to get a Surface Book 2, but then the Pro 7 was on sale for Black Friday in a Costco bundle, so it seemed like a much better option. So far, it’s worked out well, but I guess I didn’t get to 0% Black Friday consumerism this year.

Signal Boost

Abominable. Cute animation, Asian cast, cute yeti, adventure, family, appreciation of nature and its inhabitants.

American Woman. Powerful performances, those small town white trash vibes, mystery, Sienna Miller knocks it out of the park.

Arctic. Mads Mikkelson, cold af, survival drama, a cute polar bear, harrowing and edge of your seat intensity.

The Art of Self-Defense. Black comedy, awkward and silly, very Jesse Eisenberg, creative.

Blinded by the Light. Bruce Springsteen, discovering music, discovering love and passion, in defiance of immigrant parent expectations, Asian lead, finding your own personal freedom, feel good. A new favorite.

Brittany Runs a Marathon. Funny, sweet, features an Asian male, quirky silliness, feel good, self hate evolving into self love, healing, it’s not about the running.

Crawl. Florida hurricane, natural disaster horror, alligators everywhere (not behaving like actual alligators), gory goodness.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Dora the Explorer, charismatic and cute and funny, creative, family and heart, exploration not treasure hunting, exceedingly self-aware, surprisingly really enjoyed this despite initial hesitation.

Fast Color. Superpowers, hiding from the law, a mother in distress, figuring out life, self-sacrifice, knowing one’s potential, beautiful imagery, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is brilliant as always.

Fighting with My Family. Biographical drama, wrestling family, parents’ dreams vs. your dreams, familial jealousy and love and support, women supporting women, Florence Pugh became my new favorite, funny with a lot of heart. A new favorite.

Freaks. Superpowers, hiding from the law, creepy and uneasy, reality vs. unreality, children being children, saving the ones you love, being abnormal, embracing your abnormal.

High Life. Space, future, what actually happens to mankind, space makes people crazy.

The King. Timothee Chalamet, historical drama, so I was bored, some fun fight sequences.

Klaus. Traditionally animated Christmas cuteness, funny and creative and heartwarming, Santa origin story we didn’t know we needed.

Late Night. Mindy Kaling is a dream, funny, heart-warming, underdog story, woman in the workplace, making space for your ideas, cute.

Let It Snow. Christmas cheer, heartwarming, teen angst out the wazoo, stellar and diverse cast, the cutest pig ever.

Little Monsters. Zombies, Lupita Nyong’o is perfect, unique story, lots of funny kids, gory and irreverent. A new favorite.

Little Woods. Sisters, drugs, doing what must be done to survive, quiet small town vibes.

Long Shot. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron chemistry we thought couldn’t be possible, actually not chauvinistic, fun and sweet, politics are so fake.

Midsommar. Creepy, eerie, spine-tingling, shocking and surprising at all turns, gory, quiet violence, Florence Pugh is bae. A new favorite.

Missing Link. Laika, cute and charming, adventure, very sweet, finding your own place in which to belong.

Ms. Purple. Asian American story, family vs. self, a difficult look at one aspect of AA life, beautiful, Justin Chon directed, tragic. A new favorite.

Noelle. Christmas, Anna Kendrick charisma, heartwarming, progressive, fun and corny.

Outlaw King. Historical drama, so I was bored, but Florence Pugh so I had to watch, some good bloodshed.

Parasite. Another Bong Joon-ho masterpiece, a mindfuck in the best way, artistic and cinematic, edge of your seat, funny and tragic, social commentary, I haven’t fully processed. A new favorite.

Plus One. Cute indie rom com vibes, Asian lead, wedding relatability, cute and funny.

Ready or Not. Black comedy, horror, rich people are whack, satisfyingly empowering, surprisingly irreverent and funny and creative. A new favorite.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (season 14). A show about how dysfunctional people can still somehow survive in society. They did it again, new material, complete irreverence, and always a great commentary on American culture.

The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality and Our Destiny Beyond Earth by Michio Kaku. A book about figuring out what humans are going to do in the future and how we’re going to get there. Is it even feasible? A riveting read, I listened to this throughout the plane rides to Florida. I was hooked because it was so fascinating, but easily digestible.

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. A graphic novel about a group of paper girls who run across some crazy future time-travel stuff and go on this confusing, wild adventure, discovering friendship and standing up for themselves against old people. Chiang’s art is gorgeous.

NieR:Automata. A videogame about a future where aliens have sent machines to Earth and humans had to move to the moon and androids are sent to make Earth livable again. The music and atmosphere and tone is hauntingly beautiful. The game actually has 3 total storylines to play through, where information continues to be revealed about the truth of humanity. It’s dark and unsettling, but there are cute little moments in the side quests or just walking around. Mechanically, some frustrating moments and it’s a bit simple, but overall very fun.

The Flight of Passage

•30 November 2019 • Leave a Comment

In the post below, I will detail my experience during my time in Florida for the event of the year: Amadeo and Catherine’s wedding! I stayed from Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, November 6. It was my third time in Florida, second time in Orlando, and first time going to a destination wedding, being in a wedding party, celebrating a wedding as an adult, and celebrating a wedding outside of the family. It was a wild, magical rollercoaster that I had been looking forward to for a long time and I enjoyed it very much. So happy for the homeboy Amadeo!

My goals for this trip were to travel sustainably, eat vegan, be the best Best Man, and try to relax because I fucking deserve it!

Our beautiful group minus two people who were not there for some reason…….

Friday: arrival

I essentially spent all day in my flight for Friday, which in retrospect, was probably a bad flight to have booked. I found a vegan burrito at the airport in Houston, but it ended up being not that great. I did get to listen to an audiobook on a flight for the first time, so that was a wonderful use of my time. However, I did plan on doing some work in my layover, but the Internet was too slow.

I did watch some guy (generic white dude in his 30s) scrolling through all his apps as we were waiting to take off. He would go from Bumble to Instagram to Facebook to texts over and over and just continue to text women. He would ask for a “current pic” because he was “about to take off and wanted to stare”. He would frequently use the following emojis, I think in an attempt to flirt: eye roll, face palm, wine glass. He was really bad at flirting, but it was interesting because these women would still talk to him. He would also occasionally scroll up through the message thread, I think in an attempt to remember to whom the fuck he was talking. There were a lot of women and I applaud him for trying to shoot his shot, but there’s something to be said for the douchebaggery and entitlement of it all.

I got into Orlando near midnight, though I couldn’t take Disney Magical Express until the day of my hotel reservation (the next day). I was planning on just sleeping at MCO because I’ve done it before and it’s actually spacious and rather nice there. I already saw a lot of people doing the same. However, Amadeo insisted I stay with them at their hotel room, so how could I deny the groom what he wanted? I did have roughly an hour to finish up some work stuff and MCO’s Internet was great, so that worked out.

After finally boarding the Express, it took a while to get to the hotel I was staying at, wait in line to ask if they had free resort to resort shuttles, have them deny me, then give up and just Lyft over to Amadeo’s hotel room to nap briefly.

Stoop kids at Grimmauld Place

Saturday: Universal Studios

Waking up early (actually, perhaps the latest of the entire trip), I headed back to Pop Century to meet up with Alan and Carol for our day at Universal Studios Orlando!

And can I just say this spoiler– it was a bizarrely perfect day at the park! Short lines, beautiful weather for the most part (except almost dying at the park without shade), butterbeer (not vegan, but a must for me), Beyond burgers (accidentally got with mayo), and being back at Diagon Alley gave me chills. Speaking of chills, we enjoyed a couple of Celestina Warbeck performances.

I also brought my wand which I got at this very park a few years ago so it was a magical dose of much needed nostalgia. Hopefully, taking the newcomers around the park was enjoyable for them as well. I almost bought a cool Gringott’s pin, but ultimately decided that it was too pricey and I don’t really need any more knickknacks, no matter how cool.

Universal closed early for Halloween Horror Nights, which I initially thought was a curse, but turned out to be a blessing because we needed to leave and have an actual rest.

We checked into Pop Century and I got my Magic Band and finally took a shower. I really liked the room we had and I liked that Disney was using refillable shower bottles. Still, though we think bar soap as better overall, I can’t help but think it’d be easier to have a liquid soap dispenser for less waste as we were unlikely to finish a whole bar. My butt was hurting because it missed my bidet. I imagine it’s how a baby is always crying because it cannot get its butt clean.

We met up with Kathy, Myron, Ryan, and Steph (our rooms were close!) to go to Disney Springs, aka Downtown Disney on steroids. Nothing really enticed me, though I was very close to buying a soft Mickey shirt at Uniqlo. Again, I realized that I didn’t really need it, but convincing others to get it worked out so I can live vicariously through them. Shopping isn’t too enticing for me anymore, so the place wasn’t all that exciting. I did get a vegan pizza at Blaze, which was really good, so perhaps I’ll add it to my list of go-to fast food back at home. The shuttle system took forever and we almost just Lyfted back.

Because we had an early day tomorrow, we went to bed early in anticipation of a jam-packed schedule.

This is the right after the moment my life changed forever

Sunday: Animal Kingdom

This was the only Disney World park that interested me, which worked out because I only had a single free day for the parks anyway.

Well, everyone got up early enough to make the shuttles and as we filed into the crowd, it seemed like utter chaos was about to ensue when the park opened. There were 13 of us and I wanted to keep track of everyone so we would all get on Flight of Passage.

There was a mass exodus to Pandora as everyone crept their way around and around until we were finally in line. Alan and Carol almost missed us at the turn, but they swooped in literally at the last moment. The wait was unbelievably short and the walkthrough was brief, yet nice. Luckily, we got into the line for the top row, which we were told was the best view.

I will not spoil it for you, but just some things to note. Avatar is one of my favorite movies. This ride was hyped for me prior to my arrival, but not spoiled. I was ready and willing to wait 2-3 hours first thing in the morning (I’m not sure exactly how long we ended up waiting, but it seemed around an hour or less).

But then the ride happened…I teared up, I found God, my life was changed forever. It was a truly magical experience. I will leave it at that.

After the ride, I finally got to actually enjoy the setting. The huge rocks, the beautiful flora, the mood-setting music. I was actually on Pandora in those moments.

Afterward, we went on other rides (I don’t even remember loljk) and watched the shows. I ended up not purchasing any food because I wanted to make sure I fit everything in. So when the group went to eat, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time to run around to a vegan friendly place and actually find the time to get food and meet up with everyone in time. It worked out because I sustained myself on sugary snacks and ended up not being all that hungry. My travel diet is always really bad.

Though the day was long, it wasn’t over yet. A few of us went back to rest a bit before going to the pool, where I drank half a bottle of rose and found a second wind, ready and willing to exercise. There was also some impromptu massages because my neck and back were killing me. We were desperate for alcohol and Florida liquor laws are strict, but luckily we obtained some. Steph got too drunk and kicked us out in the early morning and I went to sleep drunk.

Downing 4 scotches was the way to go

Monday: wedding prep

Then I woke up drunk. I had kept the day open to help Amadeo with any wedding things like picking up our suits, grabbing groceries, etc. I pretty much ended up napping until the early afternoon and finished my best man speech. Luckily, I finally found the perfect sequence of words for the last part to fit right in. I had been procrastinating on this last part because I couldn’t figure out what exactly I wanted to say until that morning.

Then I grabbed my things and headed out to the Grand Floridian for the rehearsal. It was a gorgeous boat ride, though it did take an hour to get there with the whole Disney transportation system.

The rehearsal was less detailed than I thought it would be; we were just told the order of things that would happen during the ceremony. Then we went to our fancy room overlooking the water. Then on to the rehearsal dinner, which I was looking forward to because I hadn’t eaten a thing all day (and somehow survived without passing out).

The menu was multi-course and premade, so I had no other option than to eat it. It was delicious and filling and the restaurant was very pretentious and fabulous. I am naturally a horrible conversationalist, but drunk Amadeo held his own, slowly getting louder and louder with each glass of wine. I tried a red and a white and realized I still am not a wine person.

After dinner, we went back to the room and had extreme difficulty getting alcohol and ended up falling asleep. I did eat a box of leftover pasta and got into a fancy ass robe before getting into bed. When Justin finally came in, Ryan went to go get him but both got locked out and I had to go get them, but refused to put clothes on, so I was walking through the hotel in a robe. Luckily, no one was about at that hour.

Me shaking hands with my new bestie

Tuesday: wedding

The day was finally here! We had to be up early, though not as early as the girls next door. I wanted to stay in the robe for as long as possible. But the time had finally come to put on the suits. I did have some anxiety about this because last time I wore a tux, I looked like a toddler. At the fitting, I was also told I was between sizes. But luckily, everything turned out great! I was happy with how everything fit comfortably.

We headed out to the photo area at the lobby of the hotel, stopping by the general store to get some soda. We chugged 3 small bottles of scotch and saved one for later. Then we took a bunch of photos of the groom’s side and we were professionally told how to pose, which was nice.

Then it was time to head to the ceremony area, where we were placed in a room for waiting. At this point, I think I started getting nervous or perhaps it was because I had nothing to eat all morning.

Anyway, the wedding was a blur because all the moving pieces were moving very fast and probably because all I ingested were mimosas. I think I nailed my reading and my best man speech, but again…it’s all a blur. It was super fun though! We did have to run to the room to move everything before checkout so I started sweating before the reception.

Finally back at the room, I got to relax and my stomach was finally receptive to food (yay for cold pasta leftovers). I was going to just kick back and chill, but seeing as it was our last night, I mustered up a second wind to head to Disney Boardwalk with the others. It ended up raining on us, which wasn’t horrible, seeing as how the rest of the vacation was beautiful.

Tomorrow, was our earliest morning, but I wasn’t tired and Eileen, Kathy, and I ended up staying up talking.

In that moment, time froze as we locked eyes

Wednesday: manatees and departure

We had to get up at 0300 for our final plans for the vacation and all 6 of us succeeded! We said our goodbyes and left in the early morning 2 hours west to the Crystal River, home of the manatee!

I napped for most of the ride, very thankful for Alan and Carol helming the wheel. At McDonald’s, I got hash browns and accidentally ordered a strawberry banana smoothie because I thought it was vegan. My tongue said yes, but my bowels said no to the yogurt in it.

After a quick orientation and wetsuit fitting, we drove close by to a harbor area rich with seagrass. And we quickly found a manatee mama and her calf! So cute! Such absolute units! They were busy feeding and sleeping the whole time to care about us, but they were so funny to observe.

The water was cold towards the end and I didn’t notice everyone else leave, but our guide pulled me along and I got to witness a calf breastfeeding and it was magical! Apparently a very rare opportunity. I also definitely made eye contact with the calf, so that was just a swell way to end the trip.

I’m going to gloss over the racism of our boat driver and say that we were good on time and headed out back to Orlando, toward Gatorland. We did make a couple stops along the way to check out some roadside attractions. We dropped Kathy off so she could get a picture just like her dad did there years ago and went to go eat at Noodles & Co. I had 3 different Asian noodle dishes (all vegan!) which were all very good. I couldn’t choose just one and I knew I wanted leftovers, so I did have to use a plastic takeout box (which is actually reusable).

With a little bit of time left, we headed to the airport and said our goodbyes. Kathy and I were headed to Southwest.

At the airport, I finally got my matcha lemonade at Starbucks, which I’d been trying to get the entire trip. I carried around my reusable venti canteen everywhere, but hadn’t had the opportunity until now. Much needed caffeine and sugar.

While the flight wasn’t full and we almost had our own aisle together, at the last minute, someone (large) sat in between us (Kathy wanted aisle and I wanted window), so it was a bit cramped. I continued to listen to Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity, which kept me enraptured for the entirety of the trip.

We stopped in Denver for a layover just in time for dinner. We ate at Cantina Grill, which was actually a slightly different but equally delicious Chipotle. I had a grilled vegetable burrito (all vegan) and it was great! Denver was really cold though.

Finally, we headed out to LAX with good seats on the return flight. However, our flight was delayed because the plane needed a carwash (planewash?) at that precise moment for some reason.

Didn’t want to leave Florida

Post-trip

Okay, I definitely stayed within budget, partially because I starved myself unintentionally. My stomach has probably shrunk, but my wallet is content. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I think I did pretty poorly with eating properly, though I could’ve probably tried harder in this aspect. I did use my bamboo utensils often, so I’m glad I carried those everywhere.

Unintentionally, people would get me single-use items out of kindness, but I didn’t end up needing them. Ironically, perhaps still a waste not to use them once we have claimed them though.

I didn’t buy anything except a manatee tea infuser because it was useful and reusable and I for sure want to get into loose leaf tea because teabags are bad for the environment. The food I got was not zero waste, but I avoided waste as much as I could. At least I didn’t accept any drinks on the plane rides.

Being in a wedding can be a lot of work but I’m so honored to have been there for my friend. He didn’t need me much because everything went really smoothly, but I was ready if need be.

It was definitely a really amazing vacation with a lot of my friends, which is such a rare opportunity for our group. It’s cool that something can bring us all together like that. We don’t take vacations together, partially I believe because everyone has such different travel styles and priorities. However, as a resort vacation, this kind of worked out for everyone. As a highly sentimental person, I will hold these days in my heart for a long time.