At the beginning of summer break, I made an A to Z summer bucket list inspired by Rainy London and gave myself until my eighteenth birthday (today, whoop whoop!) to see how far I've gotten.
A // ACAI JUICE - I am completely against diets of any sort--eat what you want to eat, moderation not restriction. I usually forget that "moderation" part though. If I keep myself away from food, I almost always eat double the amount later on, so why bother trying if all it does is backfire? I'd be up for a three day acai juice fast detox though. Three days, that can't be too terrible, right? "Advocates of juice fasting indicate that the practice provides several benefits besides increased elimination of harmful waste and toxins. It is supposed to boost the immune system and energy levels, clear up your skin, increase metabolism to aid weight loss and improve organ function and digestive health." -Livestrong
I think the main reason people decide to live a sedentary lifestyle is because it's so much easier than living a healthy one. Healthy food is often more expensive than unhealthier/fast foods. I don't actually know what acai juice is and haven't taken the effort to try to find some, so I haven't done this yet, but if someone were to send me a three-day supply of acai juice, I'd totally go for it.
B // BLOG - Although my parents probably aren't happy with how much time I spend blogging--I admit, I am not always being productive--they've noticed that because of blogging, I've been more open to trying new things. Even though I'll never blog professionally, I like the way it's effecting my life. I want to invest time into blogging and get inspired. Getting inspired doesn't happen by passively reading blog posts though, so I want to get involved and build relationships, and the simplest way is to leave comments. I hope that by the end of summer, I'll have a better idea of a direction for my blog, and maybe even have ideas concrete enough to rebrand.
Over the summer, I switched platforms from Tumblr to Blogspot due to the Tumblr and Bloglovin' dispute, so I was kinda forced to do a little rebranding. A big shout out to Kevin who has helped me throughout this process! Anyways, lately I've been really busy, so I haven't been active in the blogosphere, but hopefully I'll get back into it after a week or two, when I've settled into the college life.
C // COMMUNICATE - I'm the absolute worst at keeping in touch with people. At the end of high school, and after a profound conversation, I've come to realize that there are some people I really have not appreciated enough. There are so many people I know who are and will continue to be great members of society, and I want to surround myself by people like that. Whether it be via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, email, or whatever, I want to keep in touch with those people.
I haven't kept in touch with everyone, but I'm not going to be too hard on myself, because keeping in touch with someone is a two way thing--effort from both sides must be taken. I'm currently in the process of getting all my friends' contact information so that I can mail them fun things if ever I feel the need.
D // DOODLE - I used to do this all the time in middle school. My creative juices seem to have run dry, but I want to get them flowing again. I downloaded the Draw Something app on my iPad, but I don't think that that's sufficient. I personally don't really think Draw Something is artistic. It's too literal. And anyways, I want to create things myself, not something the app tells me to draw, albeit it gives me three options to choose from.
I bought a blank notebook and have been scrawling in it every so often. I haven't been doodling, but I don't mind, because doodling usually signifies me not paying attention to something (a lecture?) when I'm supposed to be.
E // ESSENTIAL OILS - My mom started out in the doTERRA essential oils business as a hobby at first, but now it's become a full-blown job. I'm constantly complaining to my friends about how annoying it is that my mom is always on the phone or hosting classes at our house, and I've vowed on several occasions to never use another doTERRA product again, but there are actually so many benefits and you can also help people with your knowledge. I want to learn more about doTERRA essential oils, how they work, which ones to use and when, etc. Maybe I'll keep all this information in my head or maybe I'll feature a certain essential oil a week on my blog or something.
After telling my mom about my interest in essential oils, she give me a few YouTube videos to watch and Powerpoints to read. Even though I've been using essential oils for awhile now, I've always been a little skeptical, but after learning about it, I'm totally on board! I look forward to sharing about it soon on this blog. I was originally planning to make a post about it before college started so that people would be able to get the essential oils they needed before leaving for college, but better late than never, right?
F // FASHION ILLUSTRATION - I guess this is like doodling, but more specific. I've never been able to draw people, and I'm terrible at proportions. Even though all I did was pop art self-portraits for IB HL Art, they only turned out well because I spent an hour gridding the canvases before starting the outlines. I want to be able to draw freehand. Also, I think that this would be a better way to create a dream wardrobe for myself. This way, I have no limitations. Otherwise, I have to scour Pinterest and online shops for the perfect items. They're great for inspiration, but, well, limited. The online fashion world is too fashionable for me. Everything is about trends, but all I want are basics!
Nope. If I'm not doodling, then I don't have time for this either. I guess this isn't for everyone.
G // GIFS - Sometimes reblogging GIFs is just not enough. After I finish watching a good TV show or movie, the first thing I do is check Tumblr tags for GIFs. Wouldn't it be so great if I could make my own? Right now, I'm documenting my life through this blog and photography, so naturally, the next step would be through GIFs, right? Imagine filming someone laugh or the wind blowing and being able to save not only the image, but also the movement. It's a-whole-nother dimension! My photography-friends-who-also-know-how-to-make-GIFs claim that GIF making is really easy, so hopefully I'll get the hang of it.
This goal I am not okay not doing. I swear I will learn how to do this one day!
H // HOST A THEMED PARTY - Not one of those "trash the house, bring alcohol, bring friends" kind of parties. I've been meaning to go star gazing with friends for forever, and after seeing a bunch of blog posts about star gazing parties, I really want to make a whole party out of it. My friends and I have been talking about how everyone's gone and there's nothing to do in the immediate area in Beijing, but hosting a star gazing party would definitely keep us busy, and at the end of the day (literally), we could just chill, enjoy each other's company, and gaze at the stars.
I seriously contemplated hosting a star gazing party, sent out a mass email to see when people were free and everything, but before I knew it, it was time for me to leave for college, and I hadn't even packed my suitcases yet! Other than that, stars are basically nonexistent in Beijing. However, Bryn Mawr College recently hung hammocks along the Senior Row, so I might lie on one one late evening and gaze at the stars.
I // IKEA - In the last eight years I've lived in Beijing, I have not gone to Ikea once, and during the ten years I've lived in Los Angeles, I've gone to Ikea less than five times. In elementary school, I was enthralled by large stores such as Ikea and Costco. I had so much fun weaving in and out of the aisles and playing pretend whenever the furniture theme changed. In Beijing, Ikea is known for its stellar food section, and god knows, I love food.
My parents didn't want to take me all the way out there to eat food and I didn't want to navigate Beijing's public transportation system, so I didn't get around to going to Ikea. During Customs Week of college (which is what we call our freshman orientation) there were trips to Springfield Mall and Ikea, which I guess I could have signed up for, but I didn't want to be tempted to waste money on decorations. Anyways, the whole point of going to Ikea is for the food, which is excellent in Beijing, not Pennsylvania.
J // JEANS - I absolutely despise shopping for pants because my body shape is weird, so in my closet I basically only have three pairs that I wear over and over and over again, and they don't even fit all that well. Jeans are amazing. They can be dressed up or down. They're durable. They look much nicer than sweats. They look like you're giving your outfit some effort even when you're not. I need to find that perfect pair and buy multiples--different lengths, different washes, same lengths, same washes, I need them all! I need a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants pants, but for myself.
I only have a few pairs of long pants I like, which wasn't a problem when I lived in Beijing, because laundry was washed every day, but here in college, I'm the one doing laundry, and I'm not about to do it every day, so I need to get more pants! Before the unrelenting Pennsylvanian winter swoops in!
K // KARAOKE - This is another thing my friends and I have been talking about for awhile, along with star gazing. KTV is a huge thing in China (I think). I've gone once with my family, and the energy is great! Everyone is singing their hearts out, laughing, eating. As you know, some of my friends and I like to go busking or infiltrate art galleries and have jam sessions, so it seems to be a fitting way to party it up. (Do people even say that? Party it up? Party it down? Party away? Whatever)
Yes! I actually did this one! Twice! Courtney found an awesome Taiwanese KTV place in Beijing. We went Sunday afternoon and booked a room for three hours for 188 RMB, and it came with free snacks and free milk tea! The interior was quite fancy, and each room even came with a raised platform/stage with a movable mic stand. It's the most fun singing pop songs obnoxiously and trying to rap along with Eminem.
L // LIGHTEN THE LOAD - A belated spring cleaning. There are so many things in my room that I've been dying to get rid of, and now that I'm leaving for college, I have a legitimate reason for getting rid of stuff, and my mom can't complain about how much money I've wasted. Have you heard about the trash bag challenge? Every day for a month (I think), the goal is to empty your house of one trash bag worth of stuff. While I'm not planning to be that extreme, I plan to go through my room, sort out what I do and don't want, and then donate/give away everything I don't want anymore, including clothes, books, toys, etc.
I only brought three suitcases with me to college, so I'd say that I lightened the load. However, I also forgot many things such as an umbrella, a winter hat, my Starbucks tumblers, and a pair of shorts. I also made a huge trip to Rite Aids, Staples, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My small dorm room has made me more aware of space usage. I should actually be thankful, because my dorm room, while small, is still bigger than many other people's.
M // MUSIC - For the past few years, I've been using the Zune HD. You've probably never heard of it, but it's basically the Microsoft version of an iTouch. My dad bought a monthly membership that allowed me to download as much music as I wanted. The problem was that all the music would disappear if I didn't renew the membership the following month, which is HORRIBLE. I don't want to pay for monthly membership for the rest of my life!! So I decided to give that up and start using iTunes. Unfortunately, I'm OCD about my music library--I need to have the correct album art, song title, genre information, lyrics, and no duplicates--and I never have time to organize everything, so I've just been listening to music online. That means I can't listen to music when I'm on the go, because I don't have 3G, but this summer, I'm going to get a start on that. I'm not gonna go as far as to make a playlist, but I'll write down songs/artists/albums I like, slowly build my iTunes library, and continue discovering new music through 8Tracks, Jango, Pandora, etc.
I'm still mostly listening to online radios, specifically Pandora, but I am making note of songs/artists I like. Right now, my favorite artists are Sam Smith and James Vincent McMorrow, and my favorite songs are Kodaline's cover of Disclosure's "Latch," and the Samuraii remix of James Vincent McMorrow's "Cavalier."
N // NEWS - I don't have that habit of picking up the morning paper and reading it while sipping a hot cuppa joe. I don't watch TV so I don't even have the habit of absentmindedly flipping on the news channel. I want to be able to hold an intellectual conversation. I want to be worldly. I want to be ignorant no more! I'm going to try to read at least one top story from The Daily Beast every day and try to understand it, no matter how boring I may think it is. If I find something boring, it'll probably just be because I don't understand it.
Uhh, about that...
O // OFF THE GRID - The first thing I do when I wake up is check the time on my phone that I'll have lying right next to me, upload a post on Instagram if it's around 10:00AM, and then catch up on the rest of my social media. I also end my days going through my notifications. It's terrible! It's exactly what people tell you not to do. Even if it's just for a day, I want to go off the grid and observe whether I feel better or not. Hopefully I do, and hopefully I'll feel so good that I'll always want to feel that good so I'll recreate that feeling by using less technology or none at all. For the first day, I should probably choose a weekend so that I don't have to worry about making a blog post haha. Oh, and I should probably bake something that takes two whole days to complete on Bakery Story.
I probably should have done this before freshman year of college started. It'll probably be near impossible to go completely off the grid, what with me trying to plan meet-ups with people from other campuses, not to mention all those emails sent from the college administration to make sure we're on top of things.
P // POSTCARDS - Rediscover the wonders of snail mail. Last summer I sent a bunch of post cards to people from New York; some of them were friends IRL, and some of them were Tumblr friends. Receiving a postcard is probably much more exciting than sending one out, but you can't get without giving! It's also nice to know that you can make someone's day by doing something so simple. I guess this is an extension of the "keeping in touch with people" goal.
I bought thirty postcards from the campus bookstore and am just waiting for everyone to get back to me with their mailing address!
Q // QUESTION - I feel like I'm going through an identity crisis right now, so this is part two of my "becoming a worldly person" challenge. Every week, I want to ask myself one big, profound question that may help redefine the way I look at life or myself, or at least raise awareness about something. I'll even try to make a "deep" post about it on my blog and get you guys to answer them too! Think of it as a game of twenty questions. If I can't think of a question myself, I'll look for one on the Internet.
Before switching platforms, I consistently posted Monday Musings, and I am very happy with all the posts so far! I also found that this post category, along with Friday Favorites, is easier for readers to relate to and comment on. The added interaction is much appreciated!
R // RAIN - I've never been a huge fan of rain, because rain in Beijing is acidic and gross, but maybe for one day, just one, I'll sacrifice my health for a bit of fun. If I can find people to do this with me, I want to run around in the rain and play tag wearing a tank top, shorts, and rain boots without a care in the world. So yeah, no camera equipment, sorry guys! I want to <sing>let it go</sing>!
I hate carrying around umbrellas. When I was in Taiwan over the summer, it started raining really hard while my mom, little brother, and I were out for dinner. On our way back, my little brother put on his rainbow umbrella hat while my mom and I tried to fit under her umbrella. We were failing miserably, so I decided to dash home first with my little brother tailing along behind me. It wasn't quite as exhilarating as I thought it'd be, but it's an item off my bucket list!
S // STORY - In elementary school, I loved writing stories. I took the writing process very seriously. Before eighth grade, over summer break, I started writing a story that ended up being two thousand words. It just so happened that that year in eighth grade, we had a creative project so I just used that story haha. Anyways, I miss that creativity. Although I may not be able to commit to an idea right away, I want to at least brainstorm ideas using mind maps or outlines or whatever. If I don't like an idea, I'll leave it and start a new one. Maybe when 75% of summer has passed and at least one of my ideas seem to have potential, I'll commit to it and start. I want to create another world.
I'll get around to this when I get around to doodling, AKA not for awhile. Just give me more time!
T // TV SHOWS - Minimize watching TV shows to one episode a day, because after a TV show marathon, I am always filled with self-loathing--a whole day wasted! If I have an urge to go on a TV show marathon, I'm gonna get my butt out of the house and sit at Starbucks or something (I don't like watching things in public. I don't even like being on Tumblr in public). I'll probably have to keep a log of episodes I've missed to suppress my anxiety, but I don't like most TV shows I watch anyway, so I should be alright. Oh, and reminder to self: TV shows include anime!!
This summer, the only TV show I have watched is Once Upon a Time. Right now I'm at S03E08. Captain Hook is hot.
U // UKULELE - I tried learning the guitar and I'm not terrible, but I'm definitely not that great. I know a few chords, but I can't do bar chords, and I can't do tabs, and I only know a few strum patterns. I should probably work on getting that instrument down before moving onto a new one, but I won't be bringing my guitar to college, and without constant practice, my skills will fall back to nothing. A ukulele, on the other hand, is much more portable, so it's a wonderful alternative! First step is to get a uke. Second step is to learn basic cords. Third step is to learn strum patterns or learn tabs. And hopefully by the end of summer I'll be able to play one song.
I was going to ask my parents to order a ukulele for me on Amazon along with some textbooks that I'll need for college, but before I even mentioned it, my parents told me that they had already ordered one for me! I guess they caught wind of me saying that I'd really love having a ukulele. I was going to request this ukulele because it's cheap, is good (quality-wise) for its price, and comes in fun colors, but my parents went ahead and bought me this ukulele bundle, complete with a gig bag, tuner, and polishing cloth. I can't wait for it to arrive in two days!
V // VLOG - I have such an admiration for YouTube vloggers. It's also much easier to watch a vlog than read a blog. A blog already requires a lot of time and dedication, so I'm not planning to take tie away from that to make vlogs, but by the end of summer, I want to create ONE, whether it be of a special day, or of a collection of days. I'll film a bunch of random things in my life, experiment with editing and cutting clips, and put together something special (hopefully). It'll be a test run to see if I deserve getting a GoPro. I really want one. Its quality, stability, and durability is amazing.
Because I haven't recorded even a single clip, I have concluded that I in fact do not deserve a GoPro. I actually haven't been carrying around my camera very often either, and the only pictures I've taken since I've arrived on campus are from that one free day I had and decided to walk around campus specifically to take pictures.
W // WALK - Ideally, I would put "exercise" on my bucket list, but c'mon, you gotta be realistic. Yeah I want to swim, but how convenient will it be to find a pool? Yeah I want to do seven-minute workouts, but do I have the space? Can I do it without having to worry about disturbing other people? Yeah I want to do yoga, but once again, do I have space? What will my routine be? Where would I find videos? Getting out of the house for at least twenty minutes every day is already quite a feat for me, so that will be my challenge. Walking will serve as my exercise, and I'll take this time to muse, take pictures, etc.
My dorm is in Brecon Hall, which is the furthest dorm from campus. My friends I joke around and say that it's off-campus living, because the schematics are the main campus, a road, and then our dorm on the other side of the road. I won't have to worry about not walking at all! In fact, every morning I have to walk to the other side of campus (direct opposite) for the dining hall. The one building we're closest to is the gym. Maybe I'll be able to escape the freshman fifteen.
X (wild card) // KIDS+ - I want to relive childhood, visit Kids+ with friends, and buy useless things.
The idea was to buy cheap supplies for the star gazing party, but the party never happened, so a trip to Kids+ wasn't necessary. I'm not about to buy useless things when I need to pack for college soon!
Y // YES - Say yes to everything for a day. Obviously it'll only count if something is actually done that day, whether or not it be extraordinary. And it's also a good thing that my friends love me so they won't make me do anything stupid, right? But just in case, I'm still not telling anyone which day I decide to be a Yes [wo]Man.
I haven't worked up the courage to do this yet, and now that I'm in a new environment, it's even harder! This idea is always in the back of my head. Maybe one day...
Z // ZOO MARKET - I've been to the Zoo Market several times in the last eight years I've lived in Beijing, but not so much this past year. I couldn't think of anything else that starts with a "z," but a trip to the Zoo Market wouldn't be too bad. It'll probably be super hot and stuffy, but... Stationary galore! Maybe it'll be good for me to have something "normal" on my bucket list. In the States, I probably won't find any place like this, so here's my last hurrah.
I have no regrets not doing this one, because right after writing it down in my bucket list I knew I didn't want to do it, but didn't want to bother thinking of another thing to do that starts with a "z."
Here are some more things I want to do, but wasn't able to include in my list: buy a disposable camera and take a picture once every hour for a day and get the photos developed, learn how to use makeup, watch a movie with friends or family from a blanket fort, go night swimming, wear heels for no reason, buy flowers for someone.
I haven't done any of these either, but if there's one thing from this list that I decide to do, it'll be to buy a disposable camera and take a picture once every hour for a day and get the photos developed. I figured that spending money on makeup would be a waste (I'd also have to get makeup remover) and I don't want the possibility of eventually feeling inadequate or naked without makeup on. I don't have enough blankets and pillows in college to build a fort. The campus pool has limited hours. I only brought one pair of heels and they're formal so I can't wear them around randomly without sticking out like a sore thumb. As a college student, I no longer have money to spend money on useless things like flowers, much less for someone else haha. Perhaps I'll buy a vase and fill it with plastic flowers to put on my desk and spruce up my room.
Turning eighteen on campus without my family was a little weird, because my new acquaintances were asking me stuff like, "How do you feel?" "Do you miss your family?" and "What're you going to do to celebrate?" The thing is, I'm not big on celebrations and my birthday is no exception. Back at home, all I do to celebrate my birthday is have dinner out with my family and then eat an ice cream cake after my dad struggles to get a family picture together.
What I appreciated the most about today was hanging out with Kevin and Heather in the evening when Haverford visited Bryn Mawr for some Customs activities. It was really nice talking to people I'm familiar and comfortable with, people I don't have to try to get to know better (the first week of college is filled with asking people the same questions: what their names are, where they're from, what dorm they're in, what classes they're taking, what sports they do, what activities they enjoy, etc.).
It didn't occur to me until now that here at Bryn Mawr College I'm experiencing culture shock. Me, an American born Asian who lived in Los Angeles for ten years before moving to China, experiencing culture shock. I don't think I'd experience this if I was on the west coast where there are American born Asians as far as the eye can see. That said, I'm so excited for what the year has in store for me, and for once in my life, I can't wait for classes to start!
Labels: life lately