Reading in my One-Eyed Life

This past October, I wrote a post called ‘One Eyed Life’. In it, I tried to define my disability and the implications and consequences of it on my life; including my energy level. I feel that I should enlight a bit on the fact that I don’t need people to think that I am strong for ‘having endured’. I have endured nothing at all. Plus, I have learned many ways to bypass the little issue. I have discovered a handful of benefits and I have also learned to utilize technology and other innovations. This is my one-eyed life in practice. I would like to note that this is all in regard to how I currently live my life, for if I mentioned all the points in my life that are of interest to this topic, that I could publish it into a book series.

NOTE; I am not a resource for people who are looking for solutions to reading without eyesight or with partial sight. However, this post might offer ideas and insight.

Let us then settle on the topic of books while we’re at it. I enjoy books; the fantasy genre especially. I have two fully stocked bookshelves with both fiction and non-fiction. There are books about fantasy creatures, books about writing and books about the fantasy genre itself. Besides this, I need books in order to study, obviously.

So, let me indulge you in my world of books and reading. First, there is one that is probably fairly popular nowadays; the audio book. I purchase them from audible or get them from listening libraries. However, rather than reading them on my phone or playing them on my computer or tablet, I actually have a device for them. The device is the size of a smartphone and has a multitude of buttons on it. This device is called a Victor Reader Stream. What I can do is copy files to an SD memory card and place the card within this device. The device, at my command, then plays the files for me. The upside of this device is that it has long-lasting battery as well as countless options to adjust your listening preferences such as audio speed and pitch. You can place bookmarks within the book you are reading which you can retrieve later. This function I often use when obtaining audio files of my study books, but more on that later.

I also have a device called a TV magnifier. I’m not sure if that is the correct term for it in English but it is what we call it here. As the name would suggest, it is a screen. This screen (more like a computer screen now that TVs have become enormous objects these days) is positioned over a flat surface below that can be moved around. The screen displays a portion of the surface below; showing a magnified replica. Using this device, I can adjust the color palette (light on dark, dark on light, green on dark, yellow and blue and much more) as well as the contrast brightness. Should there be very light text somewhere, I can increase the contrast brightness so the letters become more distinct. I often read my books about fantasy creatures and such under here so I can also look at the pictures closely.

Now that that’s out of the way; we’ll move on to devices that most of you are more familiar with; computers, tablets and smartphones. The computer, on which I am currently typing, is in no way special, other than that it is mine and is thus full of creative things. Windows has a handful of built-in tools that allow me to fully use the software. I always use the inverted colors; which changes black to white, green to pink and yellow to blue (this is after all RBG coding and not paint or light). I can easily turn it on and off again with a few simple keys so I can still view pictures correctly. Besides this, I use the magnifier tool. This tool allows you to magnify a portion of the screen or the entire screen. I prefer the latter; meaning I only view a small part of the screen at a time (about one-ninth). It takes some practice to work with, as my brothers and friends demonstrate; they are not good at it. Finally, I use a narrator function which reads what is on the screen. It follows your cursor; meaning that if I had it on while typing this, it would read out every word (or even symbol or no words at all, depending on settings). For the educational part of my life, I use digital books. They appear in audio formats, EDU (which is plain text in Word; no pictures or graphs and such included) or PDF. There are other formats but I prefer these. Depending on the subject, I order one or multiple formats. The company Dedicon receives my orders. They convert my books and deliver them to me on a CD. They arrive in my tangible mailbox at my request.

My phone and tablet, both products by Apple, have equal functions as those mentioned above and I often use them. Sometimes when I’m reading other blogs, I will do so on my phone and have the device read it to me. This takes the strain away from my eyes, which saves energy, after all.

Besides these things, proper lightning always helps. I also have a few hand magnifiers. One is a very simple glass one which I use to read my phone with, since often times magnifying makes its surface too small to properly navigate. Using speech functions isn’t very handy when out and about either. Using the magnifier is simply the fastest.

The second handheld magnifier is about the same as the previously mentioned one, but it has the addition of a light within it. I use this one to read short, simple things (instructions on packages of food). The final handheld magnifier is basically a small version of the TV magnifier. It has less functions however and I can not adjust the magnification scale. (My health insurance didn’t want to pay for the ones that allowed for this function. Cheapskates…)

I have attempted using e-books on my iPad but there are many different e-book platforms and thus countless apps. Besides, since I already have an excellent service that provides my school books, I wouldn’t need it for that. Audio books are quite pleasant too and the narrators in those books are much better than any of my speech functions could ever be. Finally, I prefer the feel and smell of actual books. That is why e-books aren’t for me.

What else is there to say? I believe this about sums up my situation on the aspect of reading and books.

I had intended to describe multiple aspects in this post but this one topic already took up plenty of words and symbols, so I’ll leave the other topics for another time and hope they do equally well.

Until then; may destiny be kind to you.

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A Heartfelt Post

NaNoWriMo is drawing to a steady close. I myself managed to win it on the 20th, which was also the day winning started. With another handful of quickly written words, I managed to surpass the 50k just before midnight; it was minutes away.

Unfortunately, I haven’t written a single creative word since. My discipline plummeted and along with it went my self-confidence. “My writing isn’t good.” the voice in my head said. “Why do you even keep doing this? It’s a waste of time. It’s not even good what you’re putting down.” Sadly, I listened to the voice.

All my fingernails got chewed away due to the stress and uncertainty that dwelled in me. These feelings are very unpleasant, I assure you. They came coupled with my inability to focus lately. Though often times creative endeavors were free from that wretched situation, now my writing is subject to it too. I can not concentrate in class unless I highly focus; which drains me completely. Even so, I still drift into thought very easily and without my own consent. It just… happens. Sadly, my writing now endures the same fate. The only relief here is that I still believe in the story itself, just not so much in my ability to write it.

Trying to find amusement is hard too. What little joys I retrieve are usually listening to audiobooks. I doubt I could keep my attention on a physical book and such an activity also exhausts me. So instead I curl up with a gorgeous fantasy book. It also gives me an excuse to hide in my home and to feel as if I am not present within the cruel world of today.

Now and then I become fearful of this world and what exists in it. Thinking about the cruelty within makes me sad and random or not-so-random events frighten me to the point of losing a large portion of my control. Anxiety, maybe? I haven’t gone to a doctor to talk about it since then the word would be out and it is not something I am proud of; likely understandably so.

I am also not a big fan of the season. It is getting cold and darkness is upon us at half past four, which is very early. Often times when I depart from school, I find myself enveloped in darkness with an interval of golden light now and then. It is not a pleasant sensation to be within the cloak of night but the year forces it upon me. It is also very cold so I don’t like to be out.

Without trying to worry too much, I have decided to throw myself head first into my schoolwork. If I can succeed there, then that is a form of proof to myself that there is worth in what I do—albeit worth to my own person and not to anyone else. But truly, that is the best kind of worthiness to obtain. And after all, I am the Trist who is Worthy so I ought to succeed.

Currently, I am a second-year student of International Business Management. Luckily, I still enjoy it a lot even though there are a few worries that dwindle within the depths of my mind; suppressed by more urgent matters. I am trying to uphold the mask of contentment and joy that I have always had and it is luckily not too hard because I don’t want to burden anyone with, well, with me. So that gives me enough of an excuse to smile to the world. Indeed, I will smile to fool even myself. For sometimes, hope is in giving yourself a delusion to follow. So why should not I follow such a thing?

Beyond the shallow depths of this delusion, there is the true me; with feelings and thoughts unspoken. I hint at them sometimes to a very select few friends. Luckily, I have gained the knowledge that they are steadfast in staying at my side and I appreciate that beyond what words can say. So for them; I can try to be better, if not for myself.

I know this is not the kind of posts I usually write but if not anywhere else, this is my place. I can be here what I wish to be; myself or a masked version of myself. So here I will lay down my heart for once and hope that it might remind other people that being flawed is normal. I am highly flawed as well. I have problems. I endure stressful situation. I am afraid of things. I can feel sad. I can feel lonely. And it is because I, like you, am human and it is normal to feel this way. Acknowledge it and try to grow. My heart goes out to those of you who are enduring situations of your own. Love is the ultimate weapon in life and even the most lonely can find it somewhere; from people and from one self.

Be strong and may destiny be kind to you.

My 7 Reasons To Buy Groceries Online

This morning my cleaning lady was at my house. She helps me clean since I can’t always see everything well enough to do so perfectly. It’s a great help and she’s very friendly, too.

While she was here, the delivery service from the supermarket arrived. They carried two crates and two plastic bags through the door, up the stairs and into the kitchen. I paid with my bank card and he departed again.

“That’s handy.” the cleaning lady said. I agreed.

Here’s why.

1. I can’t carry a lot of groceries when I do them myself. I have only one free hand since I use my cane with the other. So I can only select a handful of things to bring with me since I have such limits.

2. It saves me the effort of having to carry heavy and big things. Bottles and packs containing fluids can get really heavy. Packs of toiletpaper are massive as well. Again, there would be a restriction here.

3. Now that I order my groceries online, I can also see all the ingredients in the food. I am a devoted vegetarian and I like to know in general what my food contains. By ordering online, I can check the list of ingredients easily before deciding if I want to buy something. In the store, these lists are in tiny fonts and thus I can’t read them as easily. This also counts for the contents of a product. The website will tell me immediately if something contains 200g of vegetables or 500g. This makes meal planning a lot easier.

4. I never mistake something for something else. Online I can perfectly define what it is I am looking at. In the store, I can mistake something for another thing if it looks familiar. This of course, can be bothersome.

5. I am better able to keep track of costs online. There is a clear indication of this in the top right corner. In the store, I can’t read the price labels very well. It takes me additional effort to read those and I don’t feel that it is worth the strain anymore.

6. The online store has practically every product a person needs in daily life. The supermarket down the street does not. I was often looking for things there that they simply did not have. Online however, they have every food product I want, as well as personal hygiene products, cleaning products, small home interior products and much more. Buying these products in bulk is also an advantage.

7. Whether it’s raining, snowing, hailing or freezing, I can still obtain food and such. My hermit lifestyle continues.

May destiny be kind to you.

One Eyed Life

During many previous posts, I’ve made a small note of being visually impaired. Though I’ve often wanted to post this, I have never actually gotten around to it. I finally got to it now, because I have had a few posts in mind but they wouldn’t make a lot of sense until I made my audience aware of this little situation. So here is the story of my disability.

When I was born, the doctors discovered that my eyes were underdeveloped. The left eye was beyond saving. It has never had any ability at all. It’s just aesthetic, I suppose. The other wasn’t much better but there was still hope for it. As a baby, I received multiple operations. The doctors removed the lens from my eyes. They also transplanted a cornea twice. Since I was so young however, my body rejected the donor organ. The doctors decided not to try again since it didn’t seem to work. During my youth, I’ve had a few other operations concerning my eyes. One was to fix a condition in my eyes that had kept deteriorating my eyesight. The other is a small tube above my eye that drains a certain harmful liquid from it and thus keeps the pressure down.

I have an enormous medical history in this regard. Most of it would mean nothing to you all. Admittedly, some of it is a mystery to me too. I don’t understand all the terms.

What I do know, however, is what this means for me. Unlike what people tend to think, I can’t tell you what I see. I don’t have a reference for what ‘normal’ people see so I can’t compare my own eyesight to it either. But I have had wonderful doctors who have explained the situation to me.

Because I only have one eye to perceive with, I can not see depth in any way. I can observe that it exists in the world. I can understand that one tree is closer than the other because it is bigger and that its roots are lower in my field of vision. But the actual depth that there is, I can not see. I live in a 2D panorama.

Additionally, my one-eyed life has made my field of vision smaller. When people walk to my left, I can not see them. When they walk to my right, I can often see them vaguely from the corner of my eye. This is why I like it when people walk at that side of me so they aren’t simply a voice to my left. I like to know where they are. That makes sense, right?

Finally, a noteworthy consequence of the removal of my lens and the damaged cornea. The lack of a lens means that I can not make things in my field of vision look sharp. It also means I can not filter light as well as other people can. My cornea, after its second transplant, was also rejected by my body. This means it is damaged and vague. This further increases the vagueness of my environment and the light sensitivity.

Of course, this explanation too, is more just a vague view (pun intended) of my daily life. So I will try to explain it. First, I’d like to elaborate on how light works for me. When I see light, it becomes distributed across my whole field of vision. It is the same with fogged up windows or shower doors. Light becomes a cloud of light, rather than just one point. This means that it makes it harder to see anything else besides the bright scattered light. In the dark, this means that there is only darkness and pools of light around me. Naturally, I rely on my other senses during the dark since my eyesight is practically useless.

The vagueness means that I see more unclearly than the first smartphone’s cameras. I have less pixels, I suppose. Things in my life are blurry. Yes, my glasses help to compensate it a bit, but I can still not see fine detail. Sharp contrast and large details make it possible for me to function in life (reading the computer with inverted colors and big letters, for example). But the majority of my life is simply shapes. A slim blot of color on the street can be a person walking or a person on a bike. A big dark block in front of me on the street might be a car or truck. I can’t recognize the faces of friends or family. I recognize them by their voices. I can’t read ‘normal’ text. I can’t define things in the store unless I know exactly what to look for. For example, when I need shampoo, I will look for an abundance in purple somewhere, since Andre Lon’s packages are nearly always a pleasant violet hue. So I know that if I find those, I find other shampoos too. This is how I often find my way through stores. I go by large details since I lack the small ones. My mind is always working overtime to try to identify what I’m seeing through the clouds of vagueness.

The fact that my brain works hard is one worth nothing too. Even I find it easy to ignore this part of my disability. It means that everything I do, from walking to the train station down the street to buying a sandwich will always take more energy than it will take other people. I do my best to lessen the work my eyes have to do. Sometimes I close them while I do chores at home but the effect of closing them does not make up for the energy spent. I often find myself needing insane amounts of sleep over the weekends to compensate for how much of myself I have been giving away in order to keep up with other people.

I must admit, this is something that I really still struggle with. Even if I admit to myself that I have been doing too much and that I need some time to regenerate, I do not always take the time to rest up. I will feel that since other people can do this, I can too; even though I know I can’t. I’ll continue to do my homework and attending classes; pushing myself onwards.

At the end of my past schoolyear, I felt that I was really on the edge of a burnout. I had exams and a project due. The project was to be done in only one week and it took up all my time and energy. I enjoyed it, for sure. It gave me a chance to show off all my talents. Yet even things I like can really take up my energy because it just means that I spend countless hours on them, like I did with this project. Honestly, school should not have lasted even half a week longer. I could not have done it.

I know that I probably make my situation sound bad with that last paragraph, but it really isn’t as pitiful as people might think. I am also an individual. I’m not just a blind girl who needs to be admired for trying to make something of life. I also cook and clean and do chores. I navigate the streets on my own using my cane and all my sense. I travel with buses and trains and everything. I visit friends who live hours away that way. Life isn’t so bad but it is just a work in progress that I can cope better with every day.

As it has been to me, may destiny be kind to you.

7 Lights I Don’t Want To Be Seen In

‘Street light’ and ‘lava lamp’ will not be featured on this list, although I really love lava lamps. I used to have one when I was younger. It had green light in it. Perhaps I’ll buy another some day, though I am not sure where I should put it…

Anyways, the lights I am talking about here are metaphorical. These lights represent perspectives people have had of me or those that I would rather continue to avoid.

Photo 04-10-2017, 20 24 45

  1. Trophy wife

Never will I complete someone else’s life. I’m not something to be shown off to friends. I am not a status symbol for anyone to have. I’m not someone who will bring another person into certain circles. Let us not even indulge upon the ‘wife’ portion here. Being a trophy girlfriend is bad enough.

  1. Other half of a heart

Why do people see their partners this way? It does not make sense to me. If someone else is the other half of you, then you are only half a person by yourself. So if that person is not there, you are incomplete. It makes your accomplishments slim because other people can do the same thing but it will be their own thing. You will only do it as half a person. Besides, I don’t want to be bound to someone like this. Being ‘the girlfriend’ is not something I ever aspire to be.

  1. Blind person

Yes, I do not see well. Technically it comes down to being visually impaired, but that’s not where the problem lies here. Saying this uses the word ‘blind’ as an adjective for the word ‘person’. This means that ‘blind’ describes ‘person’. I feel that saying this puts too much emphasis on something that is only a small part of me. I’d rather say ‘person who happens to be blind’. This way, the words behind ‘person’ simply give additional information. Besides, the word ‘blind’ could be anything here since I just ‘happen’ to be that.

  1. There when convenient

I initially called this ‘there when needed’ but that didn’t complete describe where I want to go with this. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the people who only come to you when it suits them; when they need something. There are also those who come to you only when it fits in their schedule. Rather than fitting you into their life, they will wait for life to give them a gap where you can fit. I’ll say no thank you to that.

  1. Entertainment

Obviously, I don’t want to be a person who exists simply to amuse other people. There is more to me. Of course, I can also comfort people and advise them about life, but the pendulum swings both ways. If I am going to give my time to people to help them out, I hope they will be there for me too when I need someone.

  1. Easy

OK, before you all call this one an obvious one, I must tell a short story. Recently, I had a crush on someone in my life. A close friend of mine and I were discussing relationships around that time. He explained that he was picky about people. I answered that I was too but then someone just came along. His reply was that he was not that easy. Ouch…

  1. Typical

You will rarely hear me say this, but I do not consider myself to be a typical person. Granted, everyone is unique. The media has a certain view of people of my age, however. Movies, books and social media depict them in a certain way. I am not that.

Things

Photo 03-10-2017, 22 01 17Minimalism is such a thing lately. I find it interesting, not that I would pursue it. I have too many books, pillows and plushies for that. I even have a small fluffy pink thing that looks like a cute dragon head to put my phone on. I tell myself it is so I don’t hear my phone vibrate when I’m trying to sleep. It’s either that or the thing is too fluffy and cute to lose.

I must say though, having less ‘things’ is nice. I have done a challenge of which I do not remember the name, that my mother recommended to me. This was a while back but I remember it. On the first day of the month, I had to get rid of one thing. On the second day of the month, I had to be rid of two things and so on. The challenge is to keep this up for the entire month. In that mind, I emptied my home of 496 different things. Granted, sometimes two of the objects were a pair of earrings, but it was still something I threw away. I feel like my home got very much de-cluttered.

Lately I’ve also been more cautious about what things I want to have. I bought a new tv stand where I can keep everything. I moved my radio into the closet too along with my two game consoles, all the games, controllers, CDs, DVDs and a box full of incense. It now feels much more logical to have all the things in one place. For my bedroom, I purchased new nightstands. They are still in the process of being filled but the drawer on my side of the bed has a handful of things. They are kept out of sight in that drawer so it looks very neat in my home.

In this fashion, the big closet I have in my living room is getting empty ever so steadily. It still contains my books and a hundred picture frames as well as my fish tank. But some day, I hope to empty it out a bit more too. Quite recently I tossed out the diaries that were sitting on the shelf. Why would I have to keep them? They are put to better use as recycled paper or cardboard rather than on a shelf in my house.

Some day maybe, when I move to a house that will be my own, I will not have a need for such a large closet. I can already assure you though, that there will be a book closet that might be just as big.

What I Learned At Abunai!

Abunai
Myself as princess Zelda and my friend as Link (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess)

Isn’t this a cute picture of the legendary hero called Link and his counterpart Zelda; princess of Hyrule? Well, dear reader, the royal one is myself in a glorious costume that indeed makes me feel like a queen of a kingdom. I will resume with some context to help you understand the situation.

My friend (in the green suit) finally managed to convince me to attend a Japanese convention with him. The convention called Abunai spans two and a half days. The event starts on Friday afternoon and continues until early evening on Sunday. In full costume and with appropriate props, my friend and I dove headfirst into the experience of Japanese culture. I had not a clue what awaited me within the halls of the hotel building aside from other cosplayers and merchandise.

There was more than that, I soon discovered. Among workshops, music, games (both in video style and board versions), acts and the previously mentioned, there were countless other things to lay one’s eyes on. Yet for me, the most glorious treasure that I discovered at Abunai is the lessons I have learned.

I have limitations and it is okay to admit to them. On Saturday evening, I was completely exhausted to the point where I just wanted to cry and go to bed. However, there were some complications with getting home as well as with my friend noticing how exhausted I truly was. Honestly; this was a new level of tired for me as well. Once in bed, my muscles kept tensing so I still could not fall asleep. Lovely…

I don’t like to depend on others and would rather be able to keep control of situations myself. An example is again what is mentioned above. I wanted to make the choice to retreat to sleep yet was unable to since I could not drive to the location where we slept by myself. Being dependent on other people can be very tedious. Another situation is that I often did not know my way in the building or the halls or rooms where too dark for me to navigate in. I had to ask my friend for his arm or hand so I could safely move on through.

I prefer my long, white cane over my short, indicative one. Before this becomes confusing, I will explain the difference. Since Abunai is a busy place, I decided to take my short white cane with me. This one tells people that I do not see well and that might give them a hint about perhaps stepping aside. I also have a longer cane with a ball at the end. This one I roll on the ground in front of me to detect obstacles or differences in ground level. Since Abunai is so busy, this one would be inconvenient to use. However, I have noticed that I felt a little insecure when I had to use my small cane. I enjoy the safety and assurance of the longer cane.

Junk food really doesn’t suit me for a multitude of days. At the event there was a food court where you could buy all sorts of foods. The most healthy option were sandwiches. On the first day there I consumed a pizza. On the second day I had a cup of instant noodles. These foods got very tiring after a while. They do not grant a lot of energy so on the final day I insisted I wanted something better. Thus, we discovered the sandwiches. Happy days! This point also concerns sodas. I wanted to drink water for days yet the opportunity did not arise to really come by said water.

I do not associate as much with Japanese culture as my friend had hoped. I was often confused at who certain characters were. I recognized a few of them (though often after my friend pointed them out and led me to them so I could see them more closely). The anime that was mentioned rarely rang a bell. The music at the karaoke bar was no too common to me aside from the Disney songs and the song I sang with my friend. We have a song, even though we are not a couple. Still, we claim it is our song and we would not dare sing it with anyone else. A girl asked my friend to sing it with her but he said he wouldn’t song-cheat. I ‘awww’-ed for a while.

My energy levels can’t cope and it becomes too overwhelming. Though my friend thinks this might be due to the fact that it is my first time going, I am still fairly certain that the whole thing is just a little too much in total. There are so many sounds and sights to take in. It also takes a considerable amount of energy for me to navigate with my bad eyesight. Keeping up with my friends can be tiring. Plus, we often spent our time there until well into the night. That is not something I can truly keep up with.

I have not yet made up my mind about going again next year. I assure you that it was a fun and interesting experience that I am grateful for having. I got to sing karaoke, play a childhood game, make a bento box that looked like a dog and play a board game called orthelo (and win 49-17, ha!) but it was a little much. Should I go again, then I would do so for only one day.

May destiny be kind to you.

PS: For those readers on the coast of the United States, I hope you will be safe and sound when Harvey hits. My wishes go out to all of you.

 

Many Little Things

Summer is quickly approaching! In theory, that is. It’s been cloudy all week and we’ve even had rain. One sign that summer is here though is that it’s insanely humid. The levels are always above 90%. I don’t like it.

But in such times of ‘darkness and gross moisture in the air’, I must remember to appreciate other things. Instead of once again sitting on my couch and listing off all the things I like (I have done this before) I am going to make a little list here of actual things that I appreciate.

  1. Random greetings on the street. A number of days ago, I was on my way to school. It was just an ordinary day and I was traveling to take an exam. The street were fairly empty since it was about 8 in the morning. Someone on a bike passed me by and said, “Good morning to the pretty lady with the white cane!” I resumed my journey smiling and with the feeling that the day was okay.
  2. Cat pictures. Those persons who don’t understand the joy of cat pictures on the internet have not yet indulged enough, I assume. I have over 60 on my phone. I once spent a day incessantly spamming them to a friend since her boyfriend had broken up with her.
  3. Healthy treats. The past few weeks I have done little else but remain cooped up in my home. I had a big project to finish and I wanted to do it correctly (I passed so it paid off). All the while I consumed healthy snacks; tomatoes, carrots and apples are at the top of my list.
  4. Music. I mean both the music that I destroy my speakers or headphones with as well as the chance to play it myself. Now and then I love to go all out when playing my guitar. It is a great method to calm myself down. It is a form of therapy, if you like.
  5. Beautiful words. Is this a strange thing to be appreciative of? In my opinion not. I am a perfectionist. This shines through especially in language. I enjoy learning new words and trying to internalize them into my daily life. My latest love has been the word ‘pedantic’.
  6. A good phone call. During the busy period I experienced the past few weeks, at one point a friend asked if she could call me. I allowed it, half-knowing what she would have to tell me. I was right. She told me that her and a friend of ours were now dating. Beyond this part of the conversation, we continued to talk for hours. After we hung out, I went to sleep feeling pleasant.
  7. Sweatpants and sweaters. How else would I have survived the busy times full of projects and studying?
  8. The comfort of my own home. Even the most beautiful hotels and my best friend’s home can’t compare to my own home. It’s my little castle. I’m the princess of this palace. I can do as I please, dress how I like, eat what I want and schedule anything when I desire. The freedom is endless. Plus, here I have thermostat powers.
  9. Naps. This has been another way for me to survive the busy times. I did not get a great night’s sleep. I had a few hours at night and another few in the afternoon. In between these times, I would work on school-related subjects.
  10. Genuine compliments. Recently I had to defend my project. Afterwards, I received a huge compliment on my report. The teachers said it was very well done. There was a lot of research and details. They also said that it was pleasant to read. One of the teachers said, “I wish I could write like you.” If becoming an author never happens, I can just write business reports for a living to please the eyes of investors.
  11. Time to breath. Now that the schoolyear is coming to a close (for better or worse), I have time to breathe. That is also why I got a chance to think about things and write this piece.
  12. Genuine inspirational quotes. Here’s one; “May destiny be kind to you.”

Retreating

It’s been a while since I wrote anything blog-related. Reports, essays and portfolios have been abundant in the mean time. That is also part of the reason why I haven’t been involved with my own blog much. Yet I noticed a bit of a change in my person as well that relates to it.

Where it came from, I can not say. Why it happened now, I do not know either. When exactly it first happened, I have not a clue about. All that I can say is that it did. I came to the realization that my blog is a hobby and that is all it has to be. Of course, getting comments and views is exciting but I steadily began to realize that I do not need those things. Those moments do not contribute to all-time happiness or success in life.

I think this also falls into the category of my shying away from most social media platforms. For over a year now, I have felt that platforms like Facebook have not contributed to my development at all. All it is nowadays is videos and pictures that people share. Rarely do I still see a nice post about what someone did that day. Everything is pictures of parties or festivals I attended. There are no words.

Instead of aimlessly scrolling through my feed, I have decided to read more. I do not need the social media at all. I look when I have a notification, yes, because often times it is a post that was made in a group that I am a part of for university-related reasons. So those keep me up-to-date on topics concerning my academics. Sometimes I message a teacher through Messenger to ask them a quick question but the extent of my use of the app has become minimal at best.

I know that it has become quite trendy to take days off from social media to diminish people’s dependency on it. The reason I want to retreat from it, however, is that I already lost most of my dependency. I’d rather spend my time reading, learning, writing, doing things I actually enjoy or otherwise being useful. Since I no longer look at my Facebook feed as much, it feels calmer. A notification on my phone is a lot more intriguing now as well. It is often a message from a friend on WhatsApp; something I value a lot more than another viral video.

Now that I am more in my own reality, engaging with other people has become more valuable. Visiting them or talking to them on WhatsApp now has more elements to them. There are topics to still talk about, rather than everyone just being involved with sharing their life (in the form of pictures) on the internet. Stories can that way stay fresh and conversations have reason.

In short, what I am trying to say is that my blog will remain in existence, but I will not be actively pursuing its success anymore. That does not take away that I enjoy it and that I do not value my readers (I do), I just wish to have it be less of an obligation. It has become just that.

So until next post, dear readers!

May destiny be kind to you.

PS: Less social media means less passwords to remember. Thus there are so many positive effects to this.

The Circle of Life

Before I get into anything, I would like to mention something to my latest readers; a simple thank you, that is. Those likes and follows make my day, truly! Receiving a notice on my phone that someone liked what I wrote and/or chose to follow me is an occasion that makes me smile quite sincerely. Little moments of sunshine, those are.

Now then, let us move along!

After having spent a partial week and partial weekend with a good friend, I am back to the ‘uni life’. The previous weekend was fun but hectic. My friend and I visited a spa for an entire day. We enjoyed saunas, steam baths, the pool, the hot tub and delightful food. However, upon returning home, we found the kitchen floor covered in water… After spamming my landlord’s phone and mopping to try to keep the water from increasing, the landlord appeared and shut off the water. Great, right? He promised to call someone on Monday morning after which he delivered buckets full of water and bottles and other containers to my home so we had at least some water to live on.

I did not mean to ramble about the subject so much but it was definitely an interesting thing. I kept laughing at the pure absurdity because that was the only way to feel all right.

At the moment, I am feeling even more wonderful. I have enjoyed my evening with games and music. I have been playing the Lion King musical CD. When I first started the music, I had a few chills of nostalgia. I became acquainted with the music from the movie when I was but a miniature version of myself. I have loved it ever since then. Later, when I was seven, my mother, aunt and niece attended the musical. To my dismay, I was not allowed to join them. However, my mother brought something back to the home after the musical; the CD of the music.

There were only a few things I did often at that age. Listening to the Lion King CD was one of them. I am quite sure I drove my whole family crazy since I played it in my radio without end. I would dance to the music, sing along and often times play it while doing something crafty (like making paper slippers). I made them look like animals as well; small dots on yellow shoes for a cheetah, or round ears and a tail for a mouse. When my older brother found out about them, he asked me to make slippers for him too. I had about twenty pairs by that time and I made him several as well.

Before every trip we were going to embark on as a family, I grabbed the CD and ensured it came with us on the trip so I could listen to it in the car as well. My brothers and I would draw or play while the music played on endless repeat.

Now, sixteen years later, I am still listening to the same music, though not the same CD. That CD was so worn that it kept skipping. We had played it till its very demise. Distraught, I inspected the wonderful world of the internet and found another CD. My ability to click the order button had never been so instinctive and rapid. The next day the disk arrived on my doormat. What a treat!

Whenever I listen to it, I envision the musical but I also feel all the beautiful memories flooding into my mind and the sensations associated with them into my heart. I am not prone to reminiscing, but this is definitely a version of that which gives me extensive joy. To know that something so simple as a set of tracks on a CD can revive so many thoughts. These thoughts are of the happiness I felt as a child and the kindness of my family towards one another. These are things I am grateful for and that nothing can replace. They are the greatest gift anyone can ask for.

I can only envision what attending the actual musical will do. In the month of June, my parents, younger brother and I are going to visit it. We have second row seats to boot! I’m sure my dear readers can now guess which CD I am going to bring along on the drive to the musical.

May destiny be kind to you.