Another month gone by, another year at the close!
Time flies, doesn’t it?
You spend the days working (or trying to), the weekends playing, planning, and dreaming, the nights conjuring up a variety of futures, possibilities, and potential lifestyles.
And then before you know it, the next year’s arrived. Before you know it, planning your dreams seems overdue. You’d better start living them.
I guess that’s why we ought to enjoy the in between – the planning and the execution, in addition to attaining whatever it is we want out of our year, our lives, and ourselves.
This month was pretty significant, now that I look back on it…
I’ve started buckling down on learning the creative skills I’m truly passionate about. As in I’m no longer taking unnecessary courses and working ridiculous hours for the sake of being an overachieving college student. And it feels great!
I’ll still be completing an honors thesis and graduating on time, because I’m not Steve Jobs and the only thing I would have a year after making the radical but brilliant-seeming decision to drop out would be an apple. Not an apple computer, an apple the fruit – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – because that’s all I would be able to afford. Not an organic one either, the red delicious ones that nobody likes.
The last fall quarter of our university careers took a close mid-December. That leaves two quarters left – it’s 2017, so we’ll be graduating this year. It’s 2017, so we’ll be graduating this year. Sorry, it just doesn’t seem real. Saying it twice barely even helps.
It’ll be estranging to leave UCSB, a home I’ve gotten to know so well, yet am happily surprised by every time I gape in awe at the sun setting over the coast, or the sounds and smells of the sea mixed with joyful surfers and wide-eyed to-be-adults.
Davis, Lund, Kyoto, and now soon Isla Vista. There’s always something weird about leaving home – the places you begin to know yourself in almost make it seem like you’re leaving a part of yourself behind. When you part from a place, you part from every moment you’ve had there. Moments make up miracles, and miracles make up people.
I’m also exquisitely excited though, because going to new places means finding new parts of ourselves as well. We’ll get to know a new place, a new role, new people, new routines – and ourselves there along with it.
I guess I’m just appreciative of the circumstances I’ve been blessed with in every place I’ve lived and moment I’ve experienced – my friends at UCSB, my house in IV, my friends abroad, my friends from my hometown – they give me undying optimism. Some might say it’s naive, but I would argue the exact opposite. Seeing potential positives of what lies ahead gives you enthusiasm, a full heart. To me that’s never a disadvantage.
Speaking of good experiences, after ending the fall quarter I flew to Japan on a fellowship for emerging Japanese-American professionals (Kakehashi Project). Needless to say, the friends I met and the host family I stayed with made it an invaluable experience.
And it accomplished exactly what it intended to: I learned a great deal about Japan-U.S. relations, and am considering now even more living in Japan for an extended period of time. Also I met an abundance of Japanese-American friends, which was special, because all my friends tend to be solely the second half (mixed with some European descent).
Not only that, it reminded me of how much I enjoy traveling. How I could live for it. It had been nearly 4 months since I traveled long-term, and I missed it like crazy.
The holidays at home have been quaint. I love being home – seeing family, getting some down time, catching up with old friends, sleeping in. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy without the stimulation or rush of “doing things” that home usually dampens, but I realize embracing the slow pace for a few days is something to rejoice in.
To recognize that these 4-5 days at home are really the only set days out of the year I have in the place I grew up, and with the family I think about every day. Recognition – it’s important and vital to enjoying our lives in every circumstance.
And lastly, I got a planner! And a zip-up Hollister jacket so I can look like I’m in 7th grade again. Jokes, I got a planner to organize the creative projects I’ll be working on throughout each week. Is it color coded? With erasable pen? Would that be overkill? I hate to add to the the mysteries of our world but we’re out of time.
So here’s to 2017, achieving pursuits I truly care about with the help of a good old planner, and learning new things every month of the way.
Dec e m b e r 🗣
Week 1 (1-4)
- Putting up Christmas lights in the car
- Blaze dinner with Sweden squad
- Holidays and a good house
- Finals solidarity… Everyone studying together, seeing everyone
- Dropping off Olive at work downtown + Bagel Cafe… Napping, starting my days productively for not only school but my own interests (reading)
- Beach beach beach! Friends friends friends
- Catching the sunset nearly every evening
- Henrik visiting! Henrik, Halley, and Sunna stopping by to chill out
- Great talks with Sunna about creativity and life pursuits
- Productive mornings, getting into the creative grind
- Great talks with Grace while studying
- Napping and listening to the ocean waves
- Good times with Halley and Henrik, Sunna, Landshark, bars, Lily’s tacos, beer die, Halley’s great friend Taniah
- Watching the sunset with Halley, Henke, & Sunna on Sands
Week 2 (5-10)
- Studying on campus
- Running with Shauna to the butterfly preserves
- House fam good times :), studying, chilling, wonderful friends
- Study cave in the house, lap desk, peeps
- Halley & Henke making salad dinner for me as I study for Diffuse Neuro Systems, love these people
- Crushing the neuropsych exam! Harry Potter and homemade acai bowls back at home :), running as the sun sets, finishing the Social Psych final in 30 minutes, hilarious teacher and biking with Drew for the 3rd time to class (and our last time)
- Everyone is done with finals! (almost everyone) happy happy people, proud of Meg & Kat & Sean for working so hard and finishing their tough STEM courses
- Boathouse with Sean, Kat, and Nug! Sunset happy hour! Downtown bars and the red piano, going home and watching Elf with Christmas drinks and dip & chips 🙂
- Leaving for SD, saying bye to Drew & Meg who I love so much
- Driving to SAN Diego in the worst LA traffic in the world… stopping at IKEA with NO FOOD COURT, smallest IKEA in the country hahaha… Dank burritos and beer in SD, going to Louis the Child with two long ass openers, dancing by ourselves for an hour, being dead when Louis came on
- Dank breakfast at an awesome restaurant with Ian & Hannah… Another failed IKEA experience, no carrot and NO FOOD COURT (closed for some event), never going to IKEA again unless I’m in Sweden
- Driving home with Maia, stopping to take pictures of the foggy hills
- Being home in Davis with the fam, Mom helping make the omiyage for the JACL trip, driving to SF with Dad and spending the night with Nat + music + falling asleep in her multi-pillow bed
- Nat making breakfast, packing snacks for the flight… Meeting JACL peeps, boarding the flight to Tokyo, learning Photoshop on the plane and watching movies… Tokyo airport being congested so watching more movies haha (2 hour delay, just circling in the air)
- Getting into Tokyo, getting to know the JACL peeps, going out to Ginza and getting pitchers at an Indian-Japanese restaurant, wandering around rainy Tokyo
- Seminars and workshops on Japan international relations and global states, conversations with JACL peeps, immigration museum and finding documents on great Grandma Hama great and Grandpa Kinzo, understanding what it means to be Nikkei
- JACL Kakehashi trip :), quite an amazing experience regardless of the improvements I thought could have been made
- * At first odd, 9 days with people and then poof they’re gone, more of a forced setting compared to solo traveling (but I guess I also thought this in Kyoto at first)
- Riding the bullet train, hours on buses, with great people… Visiting historical sites and sitting through boring lectures, making jokes, making groups, tolerating certain people
- Chinese dinner in Mie with the fam (Chelsea, Matt, Mitch, Krissy, Ronit… Jello pudding thing having no texture and Chelsea’s spoon bouncing off of it)
- Drinking whiskey with Matt & Ronit, talking and spending time together
- Host family in Taiki Mie, with 2 year old Ayumu, 7 year old Migaru, and 5 year old Shiori, beautiful cabin, cooking Japanese food and walking to the shrine with fam and Kori, Max, etc.
- Spending time with friends (Kori, Ellen, Jen, etc.) and always meeting up with good times crew (Chelsea, Matt, Mitch, Krissy, Ronit)
- Met so many great people: Kori, Matt, Ronit, Chelsea, Mitchell, Krissy, Jen, Max, and so forth… Going out to karaoke in Nagoya and then bars in Tokyo, staying up taking care of Matt and Ronit
- * Already nostalgic on the plane… Thought it wouldn’t phase me after meeting so many amazing people in my life, and parting with them, but the world never hesitates to astound me
- Spending the first night back in SF with Nat and Gretchen, getting dinner, hanging out with Nat’s friends
- Dinner with Masayuki and the family in San Francisco, spending time with the fam, getting drinks back at the Hyatt hotel with Dad & Mom & Aaron, going out to China Town with Aaron to the bars
- Christmas Eve and Ah-mah arrives!
- Christmas day, opening presents, loving family… Christmas dinner with Alan, Sharon, and the fam… I love our family, discovering that Uncle Wes was an extremely talented artist for activists as well, Mom knows so many activist and government officials who used to hang out in San Francisco, Alan lived in Vancouver for 11 years and LOVED it, makes me want to move there even more
- Going to the movies with Ah-mah and Aaron (Star Wars Rogue One), love having Ah-mah with us in the house :), Aaron spending time with her as well, Mom & Dad happy after the holidays
- Visiting Ben/Sacramento with Monica and Sam, chilling at Ben’s house with Anthony & champagne & wine, getting dinner and drinks, playing the scenario battle card game, ridiculous
- Going wine tasting at Artesa with Mom, Shauna, and Cindy… Going out to downtown bars with Raquel, Kian, etc. and seeing everyone from high school… In N Out escape with R & K
- * Feeling a bit off, estranged, as if the creative and unconventional lifestyle I want to pursue doesn’t meld with the conventional situations of home
- Reading Into The Wild, extraordinary novel, accurate, resonates with a lot of the thoughts I’ve been experiencing
- Tahoe New Years celebration 🙂
- * There are so many friends, people in our lives, that grow apart from us and grow close to us, all who are lovely to see; a big part of it really is timing and place, an odd thing to realize