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June 21st was the official start of summer and it’s been more than a couple of weeks since then. It has been quite hectic for the past month. Now that I’ve pretty much settled into the new chapter of my life, I’m taking some time to look back and give you guys an update.

As my last post suggest, I have recently graduated from college. Less than 48 hours after I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, I was on an international flight to Lisbon, Portugal. This was my first time travelling to Europe and I was beyond excited. Although due to time constraints, I was only able to budget a little over two weeks on the continent with a focus on Italy (Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome) with a 19-hour layover at Lisbon and a couple days in Brussels, Belgium.

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Honestly this trip was reaching the definition of spontaneity. Putting it plainly, we had nothing planned after my friend and I booked the tickets to Brussels at 2AM on a Tuesday morning. We waited till a week before the flight to finish booking all of our Airbnbs (I strongly do not advise this, especially for Venice which became really expensive). We decided on the attractions as we explored. Planning as you go can definitely stress out some, but I really enjoyed having the possibility of the unknown. Just naming a few, we stumbled upon a handful of free galleries in Venice, a symphonic concert in Florence and a really cute postcard boutique in Brussels.

If I were to recount every memory I had of the trip, this post will go well beyond a proper length. Hopefully through the photos, you guys can experience vicariously for a brief moment.

 

There were so much history everywhere we went. With the pace we were traveling at and historical background we had,we really could not absorb everything the six cities had to offer. However, one regret I have is that we were not able to go see the Uffizi Gallery in Florence due to the line. The famous painting by Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus is housed there, and it’s one of my all time favorite paintings. I did end up getting a post card of the painting in Florence to make up for the missed opportunity.

Although it would be impossible to pick my favorite city of the without any preconceptions, Venice will have a special place in my heart. The city on water is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. Being obsessed with anything water related, whether it’s mermaids or Neptune or aquariums, I love them all. Not to mention, I basically have a college degree in water. Venice is just as beautiful as I thought it would be, surrounded by canals and roads paved by cobblestone. The only thing was I didn’t except the amount of tourist that would be there.

As for food, I had nothing but pasta in Italy with the exception of two meals. And of course, I took full advantage of the great wines in the region. Chianti will forever be my favorite red wine, not even the fancy Bordeaux wines in France can beat it. Since we are on the topic of food, one unexpected problem we faced was water. I’m not sure about you, but my friend and I really despise fizzy/sparkling water, especially after this trip. We has so much trouble distinguish between fizzy and still water, especially in the supermarkets. We even developed this shaking method, but it was not very reliant. We still accidentally purchased fizzy water multiple times. It was so tragic whenever we opened a new bottle of water and a gush of CO2 comes out. For those of you who don’t like fizzy water, you might want to keep this in mind.

There are still so many places in the world I hope to see one day. This trip was just the start of my Europe journey. Even though it is currently on hold, but it won’t be long before I go visit again. Till then. Ciao.

 

Hello there. Have you been well?

It’s been well over a year since we’ve parted. I think it’s time for me come to a closure, so I dedicate this post to you and for all the things I wish I told you.

Guardian of the Galaxy Volume 2 came out a couple of weeks ago and I watched it with some friends recently. It’s been three years since the first movie came out. The first movie we watched together, the one with Korean subtitle and comfy theater chairs. Sometimes I think back to how we came together, it could have been a movie. The sweet gestures, the turmoils, it seems just like yesterday when they happened.

When I think of you, I should be angry but instead I am sad. I’m sad about not telling you how much I appreciated you and how happy you made me. But modern dating frowns upon this, saying that showing too much, feeling too much, loving too much is a weakness. It gives the other person the upper hand and too much power over us. We always want to the have an upper hand in love.

One of my favorite Chinese songs has a line in it that perfectly describes my feelings.

遗憾是会呼吸的痛

流在血液中来回滚动

后悔不贴心会痛

恨不懂你会痛

想见不能见最痛

The oversimplified translation is that regret is a pain that’s alive. We always brood over what could have been, should have been. So I decided to stop hiding my heart. Sure, I might get hurt, but regret about the things I didn’t do is even worse.

Whenever I think about you I have to actively remind myself the fucked up things you did. Your shortcomings. The parts of you that showed our incompatibility. The aspects that you pointed out I should work on. My mom told me that relationships make people mature. They make us understand ourselves better and gain a bit of perspective of another individual. Even with their caveat, they are beautiful things.

Thank you for the many firsts, for being such a big part of my life at a point, for giving me so much happiness and excitement. But for now, it’s time to move on and I will stow you away in an box deep inside. My host father told me that you never really forget anything you learned, it’s just lost and you have to find it again. I will hold on to the bittersweet memories, and one day when I find the box again, I will smile.

With love,

J.

“What makes you happy?”
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Mine was nice people and food. A friend of mine asked me this on our drive back from spring break. Maybe because I have a crush on him, this question has been in my mind since then.

Advertisement, social media, popular crowds on campus, there always seem to be things telling you “if you have this you’ll be happy,” but what really makes you fulfilled and happy? What is happiness? Will buying that beautiful highlighter or that super cute dress really make me happy for more than a couple hours?

Having the question on my mind, I noticed so many things that made me smile. Running into a friend I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. Listening a new song by a current favorite artist. Talking to friends for hours about nothing and everything till 1 am. Appreciating all the talented people I’ve come to know, even if I haven’t actually talked to some of them. Having this blog as a space to express myself.

Happiness seems to be everywhere, but I can’t help but wonder is it really free? Or is it built upon the materialistic gains we have previously acquired? What is happiness? Is it a form of fulfillment, a connection, or is it a secondary emotion that comes together with a physical product? Just what makes you happy?

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Hey there. It’s me again. I am writing this instead of finish packing for my flight tomorrow morning. For the first time in all of my college career I am actually going somewhere other than home for spring break! I’m super excited to go somewhere warm and full of tropical fruits (mangoes and pineapples here I come), but before I go I thought I would update the third part of my winter Asia trip, Kyoto.

I spent about three days in total in Kyoto, arriving early afternoon and leaving late morning. Friends have told me about all the amazing places to visit beforehand. But being the lazy planner I am, I didn’t realize how far apart all the attractions were from each other. Thank goodness, I booked an Airbnb place near one of the most famous attractions, the Inari Shrine. However, everything else I wanted to see were scattered all over the city. Since Kyoto is much smaller than Tokyo, with more historical sights and a lot less people, the trains were not as convenient as the buses. After doing some quick research, I decided to purchase a daily bus pass for the two full days I was there.

Out of all the amazing places I saw, my favorite is still the Inari Shrine. Despite being the first place I went to, there was something magical and magnificent about the thousands of torri that climbed through the mountain. Running close behind, the Heian-jingu Shrine is my second favorite location in Kyoto. To be honest, I think it is mainly because I visited during 成人の日, which is the Coming of Age Day for those who turned 20 that year. Sadly I went a year too late, but I loved seeing all these girls dolled up in their furisode (the most elaborate kimono for an unmarried lady) and taking pictures all around the shrine. It made me feel like I’ve became part of the culture for brief moment. 

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Looking back through my photos as I was preparing for this post, I was honestly surprised by the number of sights I visited in 72 hours (considering I also went to an ryokan for a night). I was very ambitious and determined to see everything, but sadly there were a couple that I just couldn’t get the chance to. On the bright side, this means another Kyoto trip in the future! But for now, I will get back to packing for Cancun.

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Despite taking Japanese for four years in high school, I have never once visited the country until this winter. I took full advantage of already being in China and our long winter break and went on a solo trip to Japan. I’ve read so many posts about the importance of solo travelling, as an unforgettable experience and a time to reflect within. Although I did do a lot of self reflection, my favorite part was the freedom to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted.

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I spent a total of ten days in Japan, during which I went to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I absolutely loved the scenery, the food and the culture Japan provided. I spent three and half days in Tokyo. Even though it was quiet rushed, I was able to hit most of the places I wanted to go (talk about efficiency) with only the Tokyo Tower missing from the list. However, I was able to see it from afar through the free observation deck in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building.

Before going to Tokyo, the one goal I had was to visit a cake buffet. I have a major sweet tooth and cannot resist the temptation of any strawberry shortcakes. During my trip, there were times I forgone actual meals for a cake set. However, even with my love for sweets, I was defeated by the cake buffet. I don’t know how many pounds I gained from this, and to be honest I really don’t want to know. The food, especially dessert, is so amazing. The portions are not huge, so you don’t feel stuffed after eating (but it also means if you’re hungry or have a big appetite, you might spend twice or three times you usually do for food).

Being a New Yorker who are not the nicest people you’ll meet, I was astonished by the politeness and orderliness of Japan. I have never seen people who actually line up on the subway platform as the sign on the ground indicated. I felt extremely rude if I didn’t bow back to the other person, from the convenience store to the restaurant. I also had a mini breakdown because I couldn’t figure out which side do people usually line up (and this changed between cities!). I have also never went to and prayed at so many shrines and temples in such a short amount of time. In conclusion, I will definitely visit Japan again and if the opportunity rises, I want to move there for a couple of years.

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chicago-4Recently, a friend of mine from middle school just relocated to Chicago for his work. Being a sentimental person, I was flooded with the memories. The downtown architecture, the Chicago hot dogs, the corner coffee shops. I could almost imagine standing in the middle of Millennium Park by the fountain looking over the Michigan lake.

I recently came across a new company Turo. After learning about how the company works from their website, I was very excited about the idea of renting out other people’s cars, especially for those special occasion (hint date nights hint). Not only will this allow those who can’t afford the car experience the ride with their loved ones, it also serves a form of source reduction for those who might consider buying something for single use only (although it is not very likely for cars, but the company serves a good model).

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Beautiful lights by the river walk.

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The romantic ambiance lighted up by warm-toned lights.

13833446_10206823889296789_434459718_oMusic is a big part of the Chicago culture, so I thought a night out at a jazz club would be a
perfect romantic date. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved convertibles. Feeling your hair flow in the wind while the city lights is blurred out in the background provides the ambiance. Going to a upscale Italian restaurant and have some red wine before the music venue sets the mood and help you and your date settle in. Although I’m not an avid red drinker, nothing goes better together than a glass cabernet sauvignon, bold red lip, and a seductive scent like this one by Maison Margiela. Having food in your stomach would help with the hang over if you drink a little bit too much at the Jazz club. Even though dinner at an Italian restaurant or night out at a jazz club is romantic by themselves, the special ride in a convertible or your favorite car would tie everything together and bring the date to the next level.

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Happy Wednesday (aka hump day)! This post will include many dog pictures, if you haven’t figured out from the title already. Also side note, today marks my one year anniversary on WordPress 😳🎉🌟

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Hope you all have been doing well and have decently nice weather🌞. I’m currently sitting in my overly dry room while periodically there’s a blizzard outside🌨. What other time is better than now to sip some hot tea🍵 while doing quizzes!

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A while back, I was inspired by PuppySpot to take a personality fit quiz about which dog would suit my lifestyle. Me, who still have a hard time deciding if I’m a dog person🐶 or a cat person🐱, quickly added it to a list of fun stuff to do.  Although living in an apartment building for school and not having a stable financial income, the chances of me actually become a pet owner currently is slim. This doesn’t mean I would pass up on this opportunity. I love cute fluffy animals and I love quizzes, what could be a better combination?

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After going through the flow chart, I was very surprised and happy to find out that the recommended breeds are “the active socialite,” more specifically dogs like Siberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Irish Setter and Field Spaniel. Despite not being anywhere near a puppy connoisseur, I knew I loved big dogs like husky and labs. If I ever got a dog parent, it will be one out of the breeds that was mentioned. So I was super happy to find out that my favorite breeds would be suited for my lifestyle as well. If you guys want to see what breeds of puppies are suitable for your lifestyles, I’ve attached the quiz below! Don’t cheat and look at the answers first😏~ Whether you are pretending to be getting a puppy (like me) or seriously considering becoming a dog parent, I’m sure this will be a fun break on this Wednesday🤗.

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