Series of Fun Dates | Photo Diary

Everything’s been a blur of work, dates, work and rest lately.

I perused through some photos to see, exactly, what I’ve been up to the past few weeks. They’ve been dotted with a series of fun dates with the boyfriend–visits to the art museum, walks around hipster district, strolls around the lake, movies and dinner, etc.

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Our first trip into the city. We stopped by for grilled cheese sandwiches and bruschetta, then strolled around the shops and homes. I got my art fix at the hipster-y district, which housed some small galleries.

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Later in the afternoon, we ventured to a larger art museum nearby, where I saw works by the Guerilla Girls– in the flesh! I’d spent a few classes in university learning about them, so it was incredibly cool to visit a gallery featuring their work.

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I’ve always loved furniture stores–vast, spacious, and littered with soft beds and pillows and imaginative decor. I tagged along on boyfriend’s furniture shopping for a desk to one of the largest furniture shops in the area, where we hung out for hours.

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The other day, we visited one of his favorite restaurants, only to catch the annual accordion-tuba concert, which ended up being a mix of light comedy and yodeling. Yodeling! I’d never heard anyone yodel before.

The food, also, was terrific. We ordered wiener schnitzels, with fried potatoes and a light chocolate cake.

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Silhouettes by the lake. We took a rowdy walk around the lake after stuffing ourselves full with food, and ended up racing back to the apartment.

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Detour into Dreams

The light in our eyes, the stars in our skies. The light in our skies, the stars in our eyes.

It works both ways.

It’s been a long day. In the literal sense, but not in the metaphorical sense. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, being on full-teacher mode for six hours straight.

Since I write about my life on the Internet…I’ve been doing a teaching gig for forty bucks an hour to kids whose homes are glazed in granite. Their soaps smell so fragrant they’ll linger on your skin for hours afterwards. The children are kind, down-to-earth, and well-behaved. The walls are decked in family photos, with quotes like, ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is.’ The family cat sniffs my toes.

In the meantime, I’ve also been eyeing graduate school, working my way into a field–Psychology–I’ve always loved.

This feels like the type of thing I would’ve done in this life, another life, any life.

I’ve always enjoyed non-lucrative passions, like art, photography and writing. Not to bash on the creatives out there, but I never loved any particular field enough to eke out a paltry annual income. But! I’ve found a subfield within Psychology that makes those elusive six figures and allows me to pursue a field I love. It’ll all take a bit of time, but it’s where I’d like to one day be. At least I do right now.

It’s taken a bit of mental gymnastics to stomach the process.

There’s a cognitive psychology heuristic called the hill-climbing heuristic, where people pick what appears to be the most direct route to their final destination. So, post college, one’s immediate goal may be to work and make money. But, for certain fields, it sometimes requires taking a step back–such as pursuing graduate school–to reach the final destination.

But I’ve been enjoying myself thus far. I really love teaching in the interim. I’ve always liked it; I used to tutor friends in science, kids in math and english, babies in math. In high school, I ran a tutoring program while working a tutoring job while tutoring friends for fun. Then I went to college, where all teaching came to an abrupt stop, since everyone was brilliant, anyways. There were programs where students were shuttled into neighboring areas to teach, but I never got around to it.

In the meantime, I did a lot of internships. Mostly in business. I was at the newspaper, where I wrote and took pictures. I learned a lot from these positions–particularly that I didn’t enjoy writing when I had to, that I felt sleazy doing PR, and that Google Drive was -insert angel chorus- The positions didn’t pay very well. They were okay, but nowhere near what the consultants and engineers made.

Upon graduation, I was dismayed by the income reports that, apparently, the university had been publishing every year. Aside from Engineering and Finance, most people started at 30-40K, despite the hoity toity Ivy League tag. Granted, I’m sure that people started off humbly, and then worked their way up, but still. Industry matters.

It dawned on me why everybody funneled into consulting, finance and tech. Because that was where the figures started at 70K and then ambled into six figures. At the same time, I was never drawn to those fields. So it wasn’t as though I was about to drop everything and apply to big banking companies because of the salary. That would’ve just been selling out, which was kind of funny joke on campus, but also not.

Then I stumbled upon this particular Psychology field and wondered where it’d been my entire life. Even though I’m not there now, it’s nice to have a goal (future) and well-paid work (present), both of which include personal passions and are lucrative.

Teaching is tiring, but it’s rewarding. I like working with my students, watching them learn, have moments of insight, struggle a bit. I remember when I was their age, learning these mind-boggling concepts, trying to recall formulas and whatnot. Over half the time, straight reasoning will do.

The best way to teach, I think–and I’m still figuring this out–is to let them learn on their own. As a teacher, I’m like a large, chattier version of a book with all the answers and explanations. I can see why some students excel in certain classrooms while others fall back. Classes are too big to account for individual differences, preferences and knowledge gaps. Teaching is closely understanding when, where and why students don’t understand.

I’d love to be a professor one day, maybe in Psychology, teaching and writing all day, but maybe later–after I’ve spent some time in the industry. As much as I love learning and teaching, I’m not yet ready to wed myself to academia.

I’d meant to write this blog entry about yesterday’s events, about the massive arcade-bar-bowling alley my boyfriend and I went to, the coconut pineapple rum, the giant furniture store, the frozen chocolate-vanilla-strawberry custard we had, the Cane’s sauce and fried chicken, the intense episode of OITNB, but I detoured into a long ramble of my goals and dreams instead.

Rosy

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Pink Matter by Frank Ocean is stuck in my head.

It’s midnight. Even though I tire around 11, putt-putt on home around then, I still wage a tiny war against sleep, oft dragging it out past midnight.

I wrote in a notebook today for the first time in a long time. A brief, messy, scrawled journal entry. I am happy. I haven’t properly written in months. My old journal is somewhere, but I haven’t written in it. When I recall it, it holds a different type of energy. Tired, overwhelmed. Nearing the end. I wish I’d taken more photos with my friends, but I remember how exhausted I’d been at the time; there were just so many events…

This’ll probably all sound choppy. It’s late. Not writing makes me write choppy. The less I write, the harder it is to write.

Time flies. For a few weeks I lamented the number of hours in a day, not because there weren’t enough, but because there were too many. Now, it’s the other way around. I’m so happy, I wish for more hours in a day. I wish to stretch this happiness out, taut like putty. To max out on a happiness so simple that I marvel at its simplicity.

I feel as though I’m still getting where I’m going, so it’s not a sense of destination arrived when I write that life feels kind of perfect right now. I mean, it sounds facetious, or superficial, because there’s always something bothersome, right? But I’m at a place where everything feels as though it fell perfectly into place. There’s the happiness of being by the people I care about; there’s the happiness of doing something I enjoy and being well-compensated for it; there’s the happiness of pursuing something I’ve always loved.

Everything’s just woven together so seamlessly I can’t tell if…it’s just a rosy-hued haze? It’s just a satisfying combination of purpose, love, rest, and work.

It feels good to write. Sometimes I smile at people and my face will feel frozen. Or words will get caught in my throat. Or they won’t be there at all. In a lot of ways, writing’s just easier. Right now, it is more difficult than usual, but that’s only because I haven’t done it in a while.

Purplish Abyss

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What I am trying not to face: a lurking purplish abyss.

It sits in my chest. It rises at the prospect of change. Of goodbye’s, packed bags, new cities, separation, winters, fluorescent lights. Of time passing by too slowly. I see myself trudging through snow, finding pockets of peace, but also succumbing to the abyss. I don’t want to, clearly, and most of the time, I don’t, but it’s growing louder.

This, now I know, is the cost of attachment, of love, of care, of connection, of all the soft squishy-icky-gooey things of cotton-candy existence. Indifference renders you apathetic. But things akin to the four-lettered-word, they’ll leave you with every variation of human emotion.

(That, I guess, is the price we pay.)

Life Updates

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My boyfriend pointed out earlier today that I haven’t written much on my blog (“Well, sort of. I posted my art recently.” “No, I meant a journal entry.”) and for a moment I felt emotionally sweaty. Hm, well, why haven’t I? Because the thing is, I have been avidly writing, from midnight rants about psychology studies to utterly mundane journal entries– I just haven’t been publishing them. Think I’ve just been feeling self-conscious lately. So I’ve either distanced myself from the things I’ve written or felt nauseated about them, taken a step back from blogging to do other things instead, life things. But I might go ahead and publish some things I’ve written. Or maybe not.

Anyhow, I am… alive and kicking.

The past three weeks have been interesting. Well, maybe interesting’s too strong a word. Interesting connotes deviation, and I wouldn’t say they’ve been different or strange. They’ve been… pleasant. I spent the entire pre-Thanksgiving weekend at my best friend’s house, where I recorded her in slo-mo bellowing (she’s a really talented singer) to Christmas hits by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. I painted portraits; we cooked carbonara; the whole family went Thanksgiving dinner shopping. After this brief respite, I took yet another one, of Thanksgiving break, which felt like one big intake of fresh air. I hope you had a restful break! chirp emails. Well, I did have a restful break. Filled with family, food and sleep.

The week and a half since has been both mellow and fun. Lights are up, both in the city and in New York, so I’ve been visiting parks and spaces now glittery lit-up. Twinkling trees, glowing branches and whatnot. Over the weekend I went to New York City, which ended up being one wild adventure stuffed with dessert-y foods and rich pasta and spiked Korean watermelon and, of course, window displays and Christmas lights. Oh, and a missed bus and speed-walks down 50-60 blocks (this time through Times Sq. and Rockefeller Center and Saks 5th Avenue!) to catch the next bus. I’ve just finished going through the 300+ photos I took on the trip, and I’ll elaborate on it soon once I have more time. I’m also trying to use my camera more, too; I’ll start upchucking them onto here.

Time flies is one of those cliches you secretly hope will apply to you. And, well, it did for me. That we have one more week of classes left is appalling, that we’re nearly done is baffling, that it’s 20 days ’til Christmas is absurd, and insert-whatever-other-synonym-you’d-like. I haven’t honestly wrapped my mind around it, and I probably won’t until I have to, until I have to come with the wing-flapping nature of time. It feels like yesterday was September, the day before was August, and the day before that was February. The less you pay attention to time, the quicker it goes; I’ll try my best not to count down the next 15. And blog more while I’m at it.

Date Night

Anniversary. We’d gone out to a comedy show, watched two groups improv-battle it out over dinner and drinks. I remember the guac–partitioned from the salsa, of course– cheesy enchiladas, peering at his eyes, room erupting with peals of laughter, looking towards the stage to see funny girl #2 in pink toppling backwards. I felt buttery, warm, happy. The show was pretty good–the first group was a little awkward; the second group, phenomenal. Things might be funnier when you’re tipsy, but the second group was funny. A duo of pros oozing comic chemistry on-stage. Hilariousness in their own right.

Six Flags

….was insane. In the past four years, I’ve gone to Six Flags thrice. Of all the times I’ve gone, this time was the absolute best, hands down.

As my friend once said, “the faster, the bigger, the scarier, the better”. We rode the 2nd scariest ride three times, the scariest ride twice, a moderately scary ride three times, and basically any other extreme thrill ride that didn’t just spin around. To make things infinitely better, there were no lines. So on each ride, we either rode at the very front–for the view, the incline, the steep regret as we swooped over metal criss-crossed beams-or the back, for the whip (It’s a physics thing: roller coasters feel fastest in the back, mildest in the middle).

My favorite moment was probably when, at the top of a vertical ride, we paused, stopped screeching, looked to the 90 degrees below–right at that moment, the full-bearded man behind us look threw his hands up and bellowed, “take me down, Jesus!”

And down we went.

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The eight and a half hours flew by. Drenched in sweat (and fun!), we rode each thrill ride on my list with time to spare. This time around, unlike the past five times I’ve been at amusement parks, I memorized the map, marked out must-go rides, then made a mental path, so we wouldn’t waste time wandering back and forth. On the walk to rides, we stopped for Giant turkey legs and funnel cake, Six Flags cllllassics.

Ironically, I probably felt the most terror on the seemingly delicate swing ride. Much to my dismay, I had confused it for the miniature version. Instead of being calming, it turned out to be terrifying, hurling us up 400 feet in the air. Toes dangling hundreds of feet in the air, above lakes, coasters, Lego-like cars and buildings, with nothing but chains to connect us to the structure, we bellowed for dear life: “oh god, you said this was supposed to be calming!” Plot twist: it wasn’t.

After the swing ride, we got onto yet another ostensibly calm ride. This time, we faced a terrified five year old gripping onto her youngish dad, with whom we shared regular “oh!’s throughout the ride.

Turn. “Oh–” Shift. “Oh!” Dip, swivel, glide. “Oh?” Another dip. “Oh, haha!” It was delightfully awkward.

To end the night, we trekked across to the other side of the park to where we began: at the scariest ride. I think, though, that after time, you get used to the stomach-drops, steep dips (when I dip, you dip, we dip), barrels of regret and fear coursing through your veins. At any rate, we left the park at closing time feeling exhausted and exhilarated.