What’s This?

You might know where this is headed, and if you are crafty enough, you’ll see why! One way or another, you’ll find out in two days.

Poll: How much do you want to see of India?

In a little less than 2 months, I am heading to India for the first time ever. I have been planning to go to India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal since around 2013 or so, but never worked up the courage to go there alone. The thought of being in a really unfamiliar place alone scares me a little. I’m not sure how I managed to go alone to Manila in 2001 but it was a little easier since I was a bit familiar with their culture and religion. I was also used to their accents.

Of course, while I’m exploring India, I plan to document it as much as I can. The members of my family and I haven’t always been really that great at documenting vacations, so it will be a challenge. I think that I am more inclined to do a better job if other people want to see the things that I see while I am there. I also want to make sure that I have a “record” of this trip because I don’t think anything exists from my Manila trip except for some pesos.

My plan in India is to see the architecture, natural parks (mountains [if possible], waterfalls, etc), temples, beaches, and all of that stuff. I’m so into the natural stuff. I love that and wish I could do more things like that here in Australia. I love the outdoors. That might be some of my small town Texan upbringing. I think the parts of India that I’m going to will really surprise me in a good way. I’m looking forward to it a lot.

I also want to eat–a lot.

I am really hoping to get to interact with the people there. For some reason, I want to see how the people are there. I want to see how good (or bad) I communicate with people there. I am pretty shy though, so we’ll see how that goes.

So that brings me to my poll question:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Please note that I can’t/won’t post anything too personal in these updates (which will probably be videos). It’s more about showing you India through my eyes and not focused on my relationship with my partner. I’m basically asking the question before I go so I can do my artwork on my computer before I head off. I’m not going to have access to my regular computer while I’m there. You’ll probably see one final video when I am back. šŸ™‚

Self-Love, Self-Care

Just a quick one to let everybody know what’s going on. I’ll still incredibly busy and won’t have much breathing space for a while, but hey, I’ll come here when I can. Well, someone’s in the bathroom and I can’t accomplish much until they get out (I need to leave home soon). I have been in a rough spot for the last few days, but think I managed to pull myself out of it, mostly.

A few people have pointed out that I am really critical of myself, that I’ve been withdrawing, that it looks like I don’t have that many friends around, and that I am just looking sad and down. I guess it’s pretty bad when people are pointing this out to me.

I spend a lot of time worrying. I worry about what’s going to happen next week. I worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow. I worry about what’s going to happen for the rest of the day. At lunch time, I worry about what I am going to be eating for dinner. I spend a lot of time worrying and I spend a lot of time worrying about other people rather than myself. I’m always worrying about what people think about me (though they probably don’t care). I just worry a lot and I think that takes its toll on my health. It really does.

I had someone yesterday ask me what good worrying about everything is going to accomplish. Am I going to gain anything from being so stressed all the time? Am I going to lose anything from it? I’ve been seeing the effects from it now.

The same person also told me that I need to think more positively about myself, which is true. Probably in this post, I’ve said some pretty negative things. I need to get out of that habit and I guess probably make a better attempt to give myself more credit where credit is due. Deep down, I know I’m not an awful person. I really do but I’m always wanting to be that better person. I just have a hard time accepting that I am not perfect, don’t have all the answers, and can’t save the world. I need to just accept things how they are, do what I can, and move forward, and at the same time, give myself more love than I am giving myself now.

Pretty good advice, right? Now, I just need to follow it, I think. I guess I need to put his plan into action and just having the chat with the person yesterday, I’m feeling a bit better which is the reason why I’m here now writing this. I forget sometimes how important it is to talk things through, especially with someone I don’t know on a really personal level.

About the having friends part, I will admit that I don’t have many friends. I have some and that’s okay. I’m not the kind of person who will walk into work and make friends automatically or even try to attempt making new friends. I’d rather have a few close friendships than many distant friends. I wasn’t really aware that this is a problem though. I’ve been a loner most of the time anyway. I don’t think that it’s because I’m unlikable, but rather it’s because I only have so much friendship to go around. And sometimes, I even neglect the friends I do have! šŸ˜‰

And Dream of Sheep

I’m just about to go to sleep and I’ll probably post this some other time, because I don’t want to make two posts in one day, so this is Sunday night guys and girls, just so you know. I’m supposed to be sleeping right now, and if I actually put some effort into it, I probably could and it probably would happen quickly. Unfortunately, my partner stays up later than I do and I can never know when he’s going to come and open the door just to look at me (or see if I’m sleeping), or when he finally comes to bed, he has this need to rearrange all the pillows under my head.

I’ve never been the kind of person who can go back to sleep easily, so most of the time, I just wait for him to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I can pretty much count the hours I get to sleep on one hand right now (around 11 pm) so I will be feeling quite sleepy tomorrow. It usually happens that way.

I am a really light sleeper. Anything and everything wakes me up unless I heavily drug myself with allergy medication or sleeping medication. Snoring is my crazy trigger though I know I do it. I don’t think I do it much though I think I do usually when I’m sick and/or tired.

I do love my dreams though most of the time. I dream about my family a lot and of home. I dream a lot about my dog back in Texas, who just turned 16 years old. I dream about my family members who passed away time to time. Sometimes, I just hang out with them. Sometimes, I feel quite emotional. Sometimes, I wake up feeling quite happy from dreaming about them. I feel like they’re there to remind me of the memories I have with them and how lucky I am to remember them in a positive way.

I can’t go into huge detail here since my butt really should be sleeping anyway – so here’s wishing you a great week so far (since who knows when I’m going to post this). Good night! Sleep tight! Don’t let the dybbuks bite.

When Negative Things People Say Influence Your View on People (And it Shouldn’t)

I’m going to admit a few things in this post that I am not so proud of. I’m just warning you about that right now.

For those who don’t know, I was not born and raised in Australia. I was born in one of the USA’s biggest cities and ended up being brought up in a small town that, uh, let’s say hasn’t always been the friendliest when it comes to people from different from my own ethnic group. Thankfully, my parents didn’t push any racist ideas on me. I think that they were maybe a little bit, but they didn’t say much and it was nothing compared to the town around me. It always really made me sick and after I realised there was a whole world out there to explore, I met some really cool people. I will admit that I had “reservations” about meeting some people because I was unfamiliar with their cultures and religions, but once I met them, talked to them, and everything, I started to understand that everybody shares a common bond and there are good people and bad people out there.

Something that I’m not so proud of is how I listened to my ex talk about the Aboriginal people of Australia. I allowed him to “teach” me certain negative stereotypes, and you know something? I believed him. I basically had this automatic negative thinking about people who I had never really gotten to know. I said some really nasty things to other people (not often though) which I really wished I did not say.

Surprisingly, I didn’t learn much about the Aboriginal people until I took my citizenship test. I just didn’t have much exposure to them up to that point. I learned what I had to (and a little more) and passed the test. Years later, as part of my training, I took a class about the Aboriginal people and I really found it to be quite interesting. It pushed me to want to learn more about these fascinating people. It encouraged me to go to museums and really enjoy the artwork. It gave me opportunities to talk to and learn from them. It gave me a very basic overview of how society was before this country was invaded (because I really believe this is what happened). I think about how different things would be if the people who came here were more open-minded and lived in harmony with the people who were already here. I have a better understanding now of what they’ve had to endure for over 200 years and it’s really, really sad. I cannot imagine having someone take me from my mother and father, and bring me somewhere I didn’t know, tell me that my way of life is wrong and force me to change it. That would be incredibly difficult and heart-breaking. (And you know something? It’s still happening today. I’m not lying.)

I find it really depressing and unacceptable that the life span on the Aboriginal people are around 10 years less than they are of non-Aboriginal people. They’re still underrepresented in the government and I think they need people within their culture(s) to help us all work together at least, to lessen the unfair gaps between so many things, life expectancy, income, education, etc. I really believe the oldest culture in the world needs preservation and I know we can learn a lot from them.

I am not an expert in this country’s history and as much as I would love to talk about it here, I don’t think I’m qualified. I do know that the Aboriginal people here have a really rich, interesting, and beautiful culture and I am so ashamed I have let someone influence my thinking about them in a negative way. I don’t expect for my learning process to stop now.

If you’re curious about Australian Aboriginal culture, you can go to the Creative Spirits website. The information there is quite good, but it seems to try to push an eBook on you every page you visit, twice.

There’s really so much to say but I can’t fit everything here. It’s all really interesting. I feel a little bit guilty for that reason.

India in the Near Future

I disappeared for a while. I didn’t get kidnapped or anything while I was in Sydney. I knew once I got back, the next week would be really busy, so naturally I just kept all my thoughts to myself unless you are one of my unfortunate Twitter followers. There were a few things happening this week though.

indian-foodI mentioned a while back that I was planning to go to India. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen then. My whirlwind week consisted of getting told that I’m going to go to India, applied for my visa, getting that visa approved, and booking tickets. So, it’s a done deal and I will be heading off to India for about a month a few weeks after getting married.

Traveling has always made me a little anxious. I don’t really know why but have an idea that it’s because I don’t really like crowded places. I also don’t like flying, but once we take off, I’m usually fine, even when we land. I’ve flown a lot and I thought I’d probably get over it, but I haven’t. Take offs have always been a little unsettling for me, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that way.peacocks

I’m not really that great with going to unfamiliar places because, as I said when I went to Sydney, I have a fear that I’m going to get lost or stolen. When I go places, I usually just stay inside and don’t do too many touristy things. I’m going to try to work past this for this trip.

I think a lot of my anxiety will be alleviated because I’m going on this trip with my partner. I don’t think I’d go if I had to go or come back alone. I think that was one of the reasons I didn’t want to go last time because I’m just that horrible with unfamiliar places.

I’ll see how it goes. I know I’ll probably be putting random thoughts until I leave and showing you some pretty cool things once I get there.

Getting Lost in the City

I’m back in the place where my Australia story began: Sydney. I am not feeling so great today* so I’m sitting back working on a presentation and video for next week, well, at least that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I haven’t been successful actually starting the research yet. I probably should get on that–after I type this.

So, Sydney. A few of you who have known me over the years know that this was the first place I came to and lived when I reached Australia. I distinctly remember how horrified I was when I couldn’t understand anybody because I was so used to my then-boyfriend’s Hong Kong English accent. I just assumed everybody would sound just like him and I was a bit nervous when I discovered that the accent wasn’t the same. I didn’t leave the house for several weeks because I was so afraid that I would get lost. After my boyfriend locked me out of the apartment to get me to explore a little bit (and I do appreciate that he did it), I got lost a time or two, calling him frantically. This was in the time period when people didn’t have smart phones and you actually had to walk up to people and ask for directions or pick up a paper map or something. He would meet me somewhere and gently remind me that I needed to pay more attention to where I was going. That’s a good point. I was so timid and shy that I wouldn’t dare to get on a train, bus, or tram because I was afraid I’d get lost, have to talk to someone and admit that I’m an idiot.

Even during these days, I still get lost (or would get lost) out here. I don’t venture out much for that reason, but at least now, 15 years later, I wouldn’t get too lost with a smart phone. I still have that fear of not being able to find my way where I’m going, though the last few times I was here, I jumped on a train to see a few friends I have kept in touch with while I’ve lived in Australia.

Sydney still has this “vibe” to me where I know that I lived here as a young adult and for the most part, I was a pretty happy guy back then. It makes me a little sad because of that and so much has changed to the point where I have no idea where I am most of the time. I feel like I like Melbourne better. I like the unpredictably colder (or warmer), wetter (or drier) weather there. I like the people there (because I feel like they’re less rude in Melbourne). Being in Sydney makes me miss New York and New York City when I lived over there.

I will have to say that Sydney has some really good food though. Coffee, Melbourne does better for some reason. The food I’ve had over here so far is really good. When I lived here the first time, I remember how good the Thai food was (when I could taste it or wasn’t complaining that I wanted American food instead).

It’s just really weird. I like Sydney and I’d probably live here again, just further out of the city. When I lived here I lived very close to Central Station, like walking distance from it. I think that if I could get out of the hustle and bustle, it would be a little better.

My options are open though and work-wise, I will always be a sought-after commodity. I can work in pretty much any Commonwealth country if I want to, unfortunately that doesn’t include the USA. I am going to have a chat with someone tomorrow about the requirements to get my license to practice in Texas, at least. Will I go there? I’m not sure. I think it will be a hard sell to my husband-to-be because obviously, it’s not like I can leave him behind. At any rate, I need to have a talk with him to see what we’re doing, where we’re going and why we’re doing it. He’s been talking to me about transitioning to a related-yet-different career path (same as mine, in a way) which I do support, but feel like it would benefit him more to do it in the USA.

Lots of thinking to do! Anyway, so yes, it’s good to come back to your roots every so often, I think. I like Sydney but prefer Melbourne.

That’s all from me now, I need to get this research stuff done between visits to the toilet. *Gut issues again. Bye for now, folks.

End-of-Year Flights

There’s been a lot on my mind lately. There seems not to be enough hours of the day for me to do everything I need to do. I’ve cut down on a few things, but I’m still not getting time to do things that I want to do.

flying plane gif

I’m starting to shop for tickets back home for the holidays but there are a few issues I need to work out. Since I don’t spend much time in Texas, I want to spend a sufficient amount of time there but I don’t want to stay too long because I still have to pay bills here. I have parameters when I am checking for tickets:

I like being home for the holidays. That means I’d prefer being home for Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. They’re all lumped “together”. When I say that, I mean that they all happen within a 6 week period. I think 6 weeks is a reasonable time to be home.

Flying any day in December (especially from Australia and the USA) gets super expensive. Each day that passes after Thanksgiving, the fares get more expensive. That’s both flying there AND back. Ticket prices back to Australia doesn’t get more reasonable until late January.

I really, really hate long layovers. There are tickets available that are under $1,000 AUD. Unfortunately, these options bring me to countries that I have never been to and don’t speak the language. A 20-24 hour total layover/flying time turns into over 60 hours. I am happy to pay an extra $300 not to have to do that. Call me spoiled, I don’t know.

I prefer to book all the way through, but I don’t do that all the time. If I don’t, I usually get my flight from LA to Texas separately BUT I pay the extra fees for flight flexibility – changes if I need them in case my international flight is delayed. It’s not advisable to do that because if I do this, I have to pay extra for luggage. I try not to bring much with me anyway.

Thinking about going home always stresses me quite a lot. I don’t know if it will even be possible right now. I usually wait until August to start shopping anyway. I don’t know why I’m looking so early. I also might have to start on the next chapter of my life in November but won’t know until later. It’s just making me feel uneasy. The next two months are going to be really, really busy too. Marriage is coming up, but more about that later.

Hope all is well.

You Want Me to Fund What?

This cake looks disgusting and way too moist.

I’m probably going to go to Hell for this, but I’m going to go for it anyway because I might be an asshole.

The other day, I received a link to a fundraiser. I didn’t respond to it by email, so she decided to just send it to me through a messenger.

This fundraiser was sent to me by someone who I haven’t really talked to in about 5 years and someone I haven’t seen in over 10 years. And what was it for? It was to fund her kid’s (not an infant and not a toddler) birthday party. Hey, that’s okay. What’s the reason? She had to pay bills and doesn’t have any money left over. Not a very good explanation, but that’s fine. I could chip in a bit. Then, I saw how much she needed…

$500. For a birthday party! 500 fucking dollars!

Growing up, I was lucky if my parents spent $50, maximum, on my birthday when I was a kid. My mom would bake a cake and invite people over to eat it. It was always very simple and I never thought much about it. I didn’t resent my parents for that. I was happy. I didn’t expect big parties, big gifts, or anything like that. I didn’t expect to have my parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s. My family wasn’t extraordinarily poor or anything like that. They could have, but they didn’t. I think this was one of the good things they did for me. They never went crazy with gifts. They did get me some really, really awesome things though. Every year for Christmas and Easter, I’d get some awesome things! I loved it.

They never spent $500 on them (at a time). I know that was more than 20 years ago, but even comparing the currency from then and now, it still wouldn’t be 10 times as much now.

$500 USD / No longer printed.
These don’t really exist anymore…

I’m not against fundraising for things. I just don’t like them when the only explanation you get is that the person had to pay bills and has no money left. I don’t like when people are asking for money just because they can. That’s why I have not asked anybody to fund my/anybody’s trips back and forth to the USA, my wedding, my post-wedding parties, or anything. If I don’t have the money to do it, I simply don’t have it or I do what I can. If I did, I’d have a really reasonable reason, not because I have a rent payment to make.

Needless to say, I won’t be funding that person’s kid’s party. If she asked for a smaller amount or provided better information, I probably would. Maybe I just don’t understand because I don’t have kids but I still think that something small and more within your means is a bit “better”.

Hating Facebook

Hating Facebook is the cool thing to do now.

I know that I complain about Facebook a lot. I also know that I don’t link to my profile from here because I have a habit of only adding people as friends if I know them in real life (there are a few exceptions). Facebook is a “good” thing for me because I live so far away from home and it’s where my family members congregate. If something happens, good or bad, I can find out relatively quickly. If there are birthdays (and right now I am beyond remembering them anymore), I can wish them a happy birthday easily. If there’s something stupid, cryptic, and random, I can share it there.

When I first joined, I made it a personal goal of mine to post at least once a day. There was a time when people knew where I was, what I was doing, and what I thought about it. If someone wanted to level up their Stalking skill, that was the way to go. After a while, I started thinking that people didn’t need to know what I was doing all the time. That carried over into the other social media services and also into my weblog too. It’s kind of why I don’t go into detail about certain things. I was and am so over people knowing every single thing that happens, but I still require that outlet which is why I am still here (at my weblog) today.

These days, my Facebook status gets updated once or twice a month and it’s usually because I’m not feeling well. It’s basically a code to let people know not to contact me with anything. Of course, that doesn’t always work and it makes me look like I’m constantly sick. I do go there daily, several times, to administrate a group of around 160,000 people but sometimes I’m even lazy with that and I’m going to end that really soon to give myself more free time to start a new project.

I hate all of these. The last one? I don’t really give a fuck.

With all the privacy issues happening around Facebook and me not really trusting them very much anyway, I’m happy to take a step back. I just wished that I could get my family to use something a little more private. I don’t think that’s going to happen, so I will deal with it for now.

I am absolutely flabbergasted that people still post the things they post on there though which is the whole purpose of this post. There are certain people who post their laundry schedule (not exaggerating, seriously), people who post questionable, un-researched health information (drinking a pint of apple cider vinegar is super good for you! – seriously, it’s not. Don’t do it.) because they’re studying to become nursing, people who are always and forever posting about all their health issues, etc. It just gets so irritating. (Did this bit even make sense?)

Every like people leave on things builds up the information Facebook can sell to advertisers. That’s why I don’t like things people post very much and why I don’t really like businesses. I know that this information is somehow being used against me in one way or another. It makes me look like I hate everything but I don’t. It absolutely drives me crazy when people force me to click the like button on things. Or share stuff.

I have stopped posting pictures as well because I know that will probably be used against me in some form or another. Probably again, to be analysed and sold to another company so they can sell me beach holidays.

I had a discussion with my doctor about how depressed people can get by spending all their time on Facebook. I will have to agree with that, completely. Since my family is there, it’s really sad to see them getting old and having health problems. My cousins that I remember as little kids are getting married, having children, and such. It’s one of those hard things about living across the world. You see people post things about their vacations and stuff like that and it makes me want to go on vacation so bad! I just roll my eyes at the “look at my partner and how much we’re in love” posts (if they’re done over and over and over).

At the end of the day, I just don’t trust them. It’s been going downhill so fast and if I knew that I’d still exist to my family and friends in the USA after I left, I’d leave. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.