Growth

So you could say I’ve experienced college… I’ve experienced a lot of things in these past few months. I’ve been meaning to write, but as usual I find myself preoccupied or just plain forgetful. Here is what has changed:

A semester at home taking three courses at a community college as well as landscaping on my off days. I went about my weeks doing my own things, and occupying my own time. Only one friend was home at the same time (also went to community college), so we would hang out every once in a while; often play music, smoke, or just talk. I also visited my old college on the weekends every once in a while to enjoy some company from old friends I sort of abandoned. This time in my life I would call, Blissful Solitude. Most mornings I would wake up early and spend time by myself just reflecting and taking life slow. It was a very peaceful time in my life, not much stress and the small things made me very happy. I think silence helps you appreciate the small things, you become more observant and you let your brain wander. This is a major part of who I am, I enjoy reflection not just on the self but on anything random that pops into my head. I was going into this semester thinking it would be very lonely and I would be depressed, but I can’t help but look back and say it was one of the most peaceful times in my life, full of tranquility and quite. More growth in independence and being alone, I was more okay with being alone because I knew I could preoccupy myself. When I did find myself wanting company, I would take the initiative to make it happen and I found myself making progress with one-on-one conversations, which is something I wasn’t so confident in. This has helped me immensely in my life today.

After finishing a semester at community college, all my friends came home from their schools for winter break, and there was a lot of hanging out and having good times. I love my high school friends and hope to always stay in touch, they’re incredible people whom I share incredible memories with. But what was coming next was something entirely new to my life.

Transferring to a new school, mid semester as a sophomore… It was tough, it still is tough, but I am becoming more okay with everything. I’ve made memories I will never forget, some of them strange and tough to look back on. The school I transferred into is a liberal arts school, and reminds me of the public school system I once attended before high school, a long time ago. It has been very interesting, I have been observing a lot and have enjoyed the change in just about every aspect of life. I have made two really close friends relatively quick, both have extremely unique personalities which I would never have thought I would become friends with back in high school. They are so unlike the people I have been around in the past, but I am embracing the change and have realized how incredible these two people are. They have taught me so much in such a short time (another post), and I look forward to spending more time with these two. Enough cannot be said about them and their influence on me. Now back to the “strange and tough to look back on” memories. They both revolve around girls. For some reasons my hormones kicked in really late and I never bothered pursuing girls in high school, but when community college rolled around things changed. And now it was time for my transfer school. The first girl I meet I had talked to a few times before seeing her at a party, we talked for awhile then went back to my dorm to talk more. I told her I wasn’t into one-night-stands and stuff so don’t expect anything, and she said she had a boyfriend… I was bummed, because we clicked really well, so well, I got caught up with her, and she with me. We spent a lot of alone time together just hanging out, talking, and cuddling for most of the day and into the early hours of the morning for about two weeks. Then she made the decision to not break things of with her boyfriend, which hurt. Things got awkward between us, and we no longer talk. This hurt, a lot, it took awhile to get over, but I am fine now, and look back on it as an experience that bettered me. It was certainly weird how well we clicked and how much time we spent together only to immediately end, it was sort of like a close friend dying. A little less than two months later I started talking to a girl who I had known of through a friend. We hit things off real quick because we shared a long walk, a train ride, and two nights of talking together. We had chemistry and things were looking good. Within this short time frame of less than a week, things had grown intimate, but by the end of the week, “We needed to talk about something.” I kind of just laughed as she told me she didn’t want a relationship, because she was still stuck in an old one. I didn’t care the first day but over time I thought about it and, once again I had built a strong relationship that collapsed with the snap of a finger. We could still be friends but it is hard to go from an immediate intimate relationship to just friends, its weird and something I’ve never experienced, but I am working on it, maybe… Part of me just wants to move on and forget about her, time will tell.

All in all I have grown a lot in the past two semester at home and at college. I have found myself more confident with who I am, more okay with being quiet and reserved and not letting it make me think about what others think about me. It is a waste of time and effort to worry about what others think, I haven’t perfected it but I am growing in this area, and I am proud. My one-on-one relationships have grown so well in the past couple of months, I think it has to due with me embracing my “quirky” personality (according to my friends). I became more okay with everything about me, which allowed conversations and ideas to just flow more easily. Although I am still working on the girl situation, I am confident in who I am and am proud of what I’ve become.

More to come soon.

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notes for future stuff

notes for future stuff:

someone once asked me what I looked for in a girl, i said music becuase it tells a lot about their personality

everyone says they listen to songs and the lyrics, i never have, but i am starting to and i have realized it makes me more emotional because i connect it to my life, and i dont like that. is it becuase i am still caught up, is it okay to avoid emotions

two clark

Wandering Earl Email

“It was simply stunning.

The sun was rising over the holy Ganges River, with the gentle foothills of the Himalayas off in the distance, the town slowly awakening into a soft pink glow. The atmosphere so peaceful, so serene.

I stood there enjoying this sunrise for quite some time, watching the monkeys hop around the rooftops in front of me, smiling at the first sounds of chanting and music flowing out of the ashrams nearby.

I could not have been happier.

About fifteen minutes prior to this, I had been sound asleep in my room four floors below. I was sharing that room with a female traveler I had met the day before, having decided to split the cost of accommodation to save money. The budget guesthouse was nothing special but the bed was actually more comfortable than most, allowing me to sleep quite well.

Until I suddenly awoke at 5:45am. When I opened my eyes at that time, I knew that something was wrong. My stomach was in such pain, with intense cramps, and I was starting to sweat.

I realized that I needed to get to the toilet quickly.

It happens, especially when you’re willing to eat anything while traveling and from anywhere.

Naturally, I could have used the squat toilet in the bathroom attached to my room, but after looking at my travel companion still sound asleep on the bed, and understanding very well what was about to happen, the thought of waking her up with my stomach issues was not something I wanted to turn into reality.

I decided to look for a public bathroom in the guesthouse instead.

With little time to spare, I grabbed my roll of toilet paper, left the room and went to the reception area, clutching my stomach, but there was no toilet to be found. I checked the small restaurant off to the side of the ‘lobby’, but no toilet to be found there either. And since none of the guesthouse staff were awake yet, I had no choice but to continue searching each floor of the building for a toilet, holding on as best I could, quite sure that I wasn’t going to make it much longer.

Again, it happens.

A few minutes later, after having checked all four floors, and unable to hold on any more, I reached the semi-open rooftop. I quickly checked two doors up there but they were locked.

I was drenched in sweat by this point, with my stomach in great pain and so, thinking I had no other option, I started to unbutton and unzip my shorts right then and there.

And that’s exactly when I spotted a large potted plant in one corner of the rooftop.

Perfect. I ran over, down went my shorts and I sat right on the ledge of that deep pot, with my rear end hovering over the plant itself.

What relief, a few minutes of such relief.

After the issue eventually ran its course and it all came to an end, my mind started racing.What if I got caught? What if my travel companion figured out what I did? Did I really just do this? That’s when it suddenly hit me that I was on a rooftop and people on other rooftops next door, if there was anyone awake, could probably see me.

I really hadn’t been paying attention to anything other than my stomach and the pot.

So, while still balanced over that plant, I looked up. I lifted my eyes to the world around me, hoping nobody was staring back in disgust.

Again, I just looked up.

And that’s when I was treated to one of the most beautiful and memorable sunrise experiences I’ve ever had. I remember saying to myself, “Wow”, over and over again, completely fascinated by the sudden transformation of this town from a clump of semi-darkness to a fairy tale setting covered in such magical light. With my shorts still down by my knees, I could not believe how this early morning had just taken such a turn for the better.

Of course, I then saw a woman sweeping on a nearby rooftop and it reminded me that I should probably put my shorts back on and get off of this plant. So I cleaned myself up as best I could, pulled up those shorts and then I walked over to the railing that surrounded the rooftop.

Then I just leaned there for a while, a long while, staying focused on the brilliant experience, waving to the woman on the rooftop and receiving a big smile in return, just soaking it all in.

And I can remember every moment of that sunrise so well, even today, some 10 years later.

The most important travel rule?

LOOK UP.

We should always look up at the world around us. We’ll miss too much if we don’t. And by ‘look up’, I mean really try to notice as many things and as many people as we can, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

When we’re walking down the street, sitting in a restaurant, waiting at the bus station…look up. When we’re feeling frustrated or lonely, when we’re lost and unsure what to do or where to go…look up.

If we always remember to just look up, to look all around, to notice what is in front of us, what is off to the side, what is off in the distance, everything that makes travel so great will multiply right before our eyes.

When we look up, we see the store fronts, the architecture, the bicyclists, the fruit stalls, the political posters, the flower shops, the long lines at the pharmacies, the graffiti, the snacks people eat, the local fashion, the pace of life.

We see the smiling faces, the curious people, the potential for connection with those around us. We can’t meet many people by looking down.

By noticing everything around us, we gain a deeper understanding of every destination we visit. And at times, often when we least expect it of course, we might even see something so interesting or breathtaking or perhaps life-changing, that the experience will stay with us forever.

Kind of like my surreal sunrise in Rishikesh.

So let’s look up, always look up. Yes, even when we’re on the toilet, or a potted plant if that’s all we can find.”

http://www.wanderingearl.com/the-most-important-travel-rule/

Why I Love Music

I recently saw the movie Almost Famous, and there was a scene when the main character, William Miller, is interviewing Russell, the front man of a fictitious band named Stillwater. William asked the question, “What do you love about music?” I knew my answer immediately and I figured I should write it down in a blog, should be interesting to read in the future.

Unlike anything I know, music has the ability to open my mind to a new world to get lost in. No matter the mood that I am in, music helps me put everything aside and get lost. I’m able to cancel everything out in the world and my brain is empty, 100% devoted to embracing the beauty emitted through the airwaves that tickle my ears. This world can’t be described in any way other than vast emptiness. I think I could compare it to the Nirvana received in the Buddhist practice of meditation. My body is lifted away from the real world and dropped, floating down through the air, never to hit the ground. I am weightless, thoughtless, and whatever else is needed to define perfection. It’s not that I need to escape from the real world, I don’t really experience much stress or harsh emotions. I just let the music overcome me and push me to an alternate empty reality. Bliss… Is a great word to describe the feeling.

Music is my medicine. It’s pretty easy for me to get over things, and I think that has partly to do with music. I put a lot of trust in it, and it has always pulled through to lighten the mood or spark a burst of dance. My god, I LOVE how music can just hit me and just change everything.

Probably just as good a reason to love music as given above, is the ability for specific songs to bring back perfectly detailed memories from years ago. I’m pretty sure this happens to everyone, but it still amazes me. There are only a few songs that allows me to make this connection with the past, but the memories they bring back are so vivid. Of course the reason I’m brought back to a specific time is because I was listening to that song at that point. But at that time I made no intention to remember what was going on, it just saved itself into my brain, only to be opened up every time I hear that song in the future. All the senses come back to me and it feels as though I went through a time machine back to that moment. It’s an incredible power and it makes music all the better.

“I let the music take me where my heart wants to go.”

The Wind, Cat Stevens

What I Want In My Life

It was sophomore year of high school when I realized I wanted to travel around the world as I grew older. (side note: I am listening to “Around the World” by Daft Punk at the moment). The passion was strong and has remained that way through each passing year. The diversity on this planet has always blown me away. The fact you can travel for a few hours and essentially be in a new world that was previously unknown to you is amazing to me. I once pointed this out to a few friends while looking at a map of the world on my wall, think about where you live and how that one town or city can maybe be symbolized by the pin-point of a needle. Now stick a needle into places you’ve visited or vacationed and once you have done that back away from the map. Look at the bare spots. You could fit an unimaginable number of needles throughout that map. Think about whats out there… I get lost in thought…                                                                                           Sure you can look up different cities or regions on the internet or watch documentaries but you will never experience a place as well as you would if you were physically there. Most people spend their whole lives living in one or two places and vacation a few times a year if you are lucky. This idea kills me inside, how can someone live a life on this planet when you don’t even know the place you live. It is very hard for me to put how strongly I feel about this urge to explore and experience this planet into words but it is definitely conjured up their in my head. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about the never-ending new experiences that will come with travelling the world. Our planet is so diverse and so rich with culture, history, landscape, and so much more I can’t wait to uncover it first hand. I get antsy when thinking about this while just sitting here typing about it. It just makes me want to drop everything and start my journey immediately.

So, my life plan. Finish college, work for a few years so I get to experience the ‘real world’ and save up some money, then hit the road. Leave everything behind, no home, no car, no job, just the world in front of me. I have read blogs about people doing this for a number of continuous years, the travel cheaply and wisely. They go where their heart desires and set out to explore our real home. Sure there will be some downsides (family, friends, stability, lack of comfort), but my passion for this lifestyle is too strong to conform my life around these downsides. I know many people my age have this dream to travel but get caught up in their job or family or something. I don’t have a plan to avoid these but I feel confident in myself enough to say that I WILL BE exploring this planet within 3 years of graduating college, and I can’t wait!

Just ideas and notes

Concert idea:

Say the band couldn’t make it and just put a record player with their new album on the stage. The band would be actually playing the music that the crowd is hearing, they would be behind a set of curtains. The curtain would lift to reveal the band rocking out just when the people are about to leave.

Modest Millionaire:

An episode of cribs of a well known rapper (someone who is known to have a lot of money). And he display his house in extravagant ways when it is really just an average middle class looking home.

Short Story ideas:

– Melatonin dependency

– The excitement before travel (not so much a short story, as it is just writing)

– Wind chimes at night (using wind chimes at night in a short story, good creative effect that can put a scary twist on something)

Seinfeld:

Seinfeld is about everyday life, essentially “nothing”. It is also a comedy, and the producers decided on a live studio audience who laughs, which the TV viewer can hear. This connects it to a show that teaches us everyday life is great and has its humorous moments that make us feel the way we do while watching Seinfeld.

Jackson Pollock:

Get small acrylic paint bottles, cut slices into sides and throw at a wall for splatter art

A Short Story I Like

A toothpaste factory had a problem: Due to the way the production line was set up, sometimes empty boxes were shipped without the tube inside. People with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming off of it is perfect 100% of the time. Small variations in the environment (which cannot be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean quality assurance checks must be smartly distributed across the production line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket won’t get frustrated and purchase another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory gathered the top people in the company together. Since their own engineering department was already stretched too thin, they decided to hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP (request for proposal), third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later a fantastic solution was delivered — on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. The problem was solved by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box off the line, then press another button to re-start the line.

A short time later, the CEO decided to have a look at the ROI (return on investment) of the project: amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. There were very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. “That was some money well spent!” he said, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report. 

The number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. How could that be? It should have been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers indicated the statistics were indeed correct. The scales were NOT picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Perplexed, the CEO traveled down to the factory and walked up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, a $20 desk fan was blowing any empty boxes off the belt and into a bin. Puzzled, the CEO turned to one of the workers who stated, “Oh, that…One of the guys put it there ’cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang!”

http://cs.txstate.edu/~br02/cs1428/ShortStoryForEngineers.htm

I was once on a US military ship, having breakfast in the wardroom when the Operations Officer (OPS) walks in. This guy was the definition of NOT a morning person; he’s half asleep, bleary eyed … basically a zombie with a bagel. He sits down across from me to eat his bagel and is just barely conscious. My back is to the outboard of the ship, and the morning sun is blazing in one of the portholes putting a big bright-ass circle of light right on his barely conscious face. He’s squinting and chewing and basically just remembering how to be alive for today. It’s painful to watch.

But then zombie-OPS stops chewing, slowly picks up the phone and dials the bridge. In his well-known-I’m-totally-asleep voice he says, “Heyyyy. It’s OPS. Could you … shift our BAFPAT … yeah, one-six-five. Thanks.” And puts the phone down. And he just sits there. Squinting. Waiting.

And then, ever so slowly, I realize that that big blazing spot of sun has begun to slide off the zombie’s face and onto the wall behind him. After a moment it clears his face and he blinks slowly a few times and the brilliant beauty of what I’ve just witnessed begins to overwhelm me. By ordering the bridge to adjust the ship’s back and forth patrol by about 15 degrees, he’s changed our course just enough to reposition the sun off of his face. He’s literally just redirected thousands of tons of steel and hundreds of people so that he could get the sun out of his eyes while he eats his bagel. I am in awe.

He slowly picks up his bagel and for a moment I am terrified at the thought that his own genius may escape him, that he may never appreciate the epic brilliance of his laziness (since he’s not going to wake up for another hour). But, between his next bites he pauses, looks at me, and gives me the faintest sly grin, before returning to gnaw slowly on his zombie bagel.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread995013/pg1