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Wow, it’s been so long since I last posted anything on this blog. I guess stress from school and various other responsibilities, exacerbated by my tendency to worry myself to ruin, has taken away a lot of the energy that i used to be able to put toward blogging. It might’ve also been a very, very long writers block (which already started a lot earlier, considering how my blog posts had become more focused on content produced by others than my own musings), or more of a idea block in general, that has only gotten worse as the years have gone on – I haven’t really had the urge to draw, learn cosplay-related skills and information, or play any instruments for quite a while. But I still get occasional, somewhat weak urges to take up blogging again even when I have no idea what I would write about in the first place. I’ve also been hesitant to just say whatever is on my mind because I know sometimes my thoughts can be ill-formed, or even problematic or downright hateful, and I don’t want to just spew them here in a manner that I would regret later for having hurt others. Then again, maybe it’s good enough just to type because I enjoy the sound and sensation of my fingers striking the keyboard; I don’t necessarily have to wait until I am very emotional or have something I consider meaningful to write. I do wish I could reclaim that feeling from my early blogging days in middle school when I took an interest in lots of little things around me, kept pondering them, and wrote about them without constantly being plagued by insecurity about how other people might respond.

Since my family recently moved to a new house, we’ve been doing a lot of sorting, packing, unpacking, and more sorting. It’s been exciting and unfamiliar in some ways, since it does mean getting used to a different house after having lived in the same one for the vast majority of my life and living in a different neighborhood and city. But it’s not a completely foreign experience because my parents have long worked very close to our current city and we’re still only about a half hour’s drive from our old residence; in fact, my parents still go back to the other city about once a week, and I sometimes accompany them. I also graduated from high school and started attending university in 2014. On a similar note, my university is different enough from the community I was raised in for me to experience culture shock and meet a lot of people with different experiences, but it’s still geographically close enough for me to visit home without too much inconvenience and there is a fair amount of people who attended my high school or similar high schools who attend that university. So it all feels both new and familiar at the same time. I get a similar vibe looking at this blog now, because it certain feels familiar to me, but I also feel a bit out of place posting here now because I feel the posts that are on it don’t really reflect the current me. That probably means I’ve changed quite a bit over the years, even if I was not or am not consciously aware of myself changing.

It might be because I’ve always been hesitant to throw away or quit when it comes to things that I’ve had for a long time and which now hold a lot of sentimental value for me, but even though there’s a part of me that just wants to completely start over and pretend this blog never existed, I can’t really let go of it since I did really enjoy writing a lot of posts in the old days and getting to talk with my friends in the Cbox that I had back when I still hosted my blog on Blogspot. I’m still thinking about whether I should resume writing on this blog. There’s time constraints to consider, as my winter break will soon be over and I’ll be back to juggling academics and extracurricular activities, but also the question of what platform to use. Recently I’ve been spending most of my time on Tumblr, Twitter, and Youtube, and I don’t really have much of a grasp on how widely used sites like WordPress, Blogspot, Livejournal, and Dreamwidth are at the moment. I suppose it will ultimately come down to where I feel it is the most convenient and enjoyable for me to post my thoughts and still have a relatively easy time keeping track of those posts and accessing them later on.

Whew, I made that a lot more rambling than it needed to be. Thank you if you did bother to read through this long mess.

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You’d probably associate perfume with the scent of flowers, fruit, or even perhaps vanilla. I’ve certainly never heard of a perfume made from a dead pig fetus.

But that’s just what I’m talking about. The smell of a preserved pig is not one that I find pleasant. The first time we had a dissection day at school, I couldn’t go close to the pigs for fear of nausea. Still, this past week, I have found the smell of it simply heavenly.

What’s responsible for this change of heart? Well, I’ve been sick with a cold for the entire week (I suspect that I’ve caught a second one, otherwise I would’ve recovered by now…But then again, since I don’t get much sleep, it probably takes me longer to get better). So it was really thrilling for me to actually be able to smell something. Even with my snuffy nose, the scent of pig came through clearly.

I’ve certainly gotten more than my fill of animals lately, and most of it’s come from French class. We’ve been studying words about the city and the countryside, and of course, if we’re talking about farms, we’ve got to mention the farm animals. We actually went over the French way to make animal sounds. Pigs go “groin groin”, ducks go “coin coin”, roosters go “cocorico”, and so on. (Ah, if only our tests were on that instead of the usual stuff.)

We learned some expressions, too, and apparently there’s a bit of a cow addiction in France. There’s a phrase that you use to describe someone who doesn’t speak French well, and that’s “Il parle français comme une vache espagnole” (which means “he speaks French like a Spanish cow”). There’s also the slang word “vachmement”, which is used to mean very or really. (If it were literally translated, it’d be “cowly” or “like a cow”) Our teacher told us not to get confused; people in France aren’t necessarily talking about cows all the time, it’s just that the slang’s got the word cow in it. Kind of like the English expression “Holy cow”.

And not long ago, I was at a pet supply store with my friend because we were volunteering. There are dogs in there up for adoption, and occasionally a dog would get the urge to “mark his territory”. Then we had to scramble to get paper towels and a bottle of spray to clean it up. (At least they saved getting rid of solid waste for the outdoors. When I was out walking one of the dogs, I had my first experience with picking up dog poop. Thank goodness you can use a bag to pick it up and not your bare hands…)

All this animal business made me think of something from when I was in Australia. There were koalas at the zoos, and you could pay to hold one and get your picture taken with it. But you have to wear a jacket because the koala could pee on you. o_o;;

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Just the other day, I was flipping through the 2010 yearbook of my high school, and I saw a photo of one of my classmates. It was not just the usual mug shot that everyone gets taken right before school starts; it was a big photo, because she was one of those people who were featured and had some text telling something interesting about her. It turns out that she lived in India for a year.

Of course, it’s not like someone would go around saying, “Hi, my name is ___, and by the way, I lived in India for a year”, but still, I hadn’t known. There’s got to be plenty of things that I don’t know about the people around me. Sometimes it’s just because it’s not a common conversation topic.

In my case, some of my fellow students were surprised to learn that I love playing video games and watching anime. It’s definitely not something that I was trying to hide. One girl said that she thought I was the quiet sort of person who studies all the time. (Yeah, sure, I do that at school, but the reason why I do is so that I have free time at home to do whatever I like. And it’s somewhat amusing to me how easily people believe whatever they see. But sometimes it really annoys me how people form all these perceptions about each other that are far from the truth. …I’m guilty of doing that, too.) But it would sure put me out of my comfort zone if I were to act rowdy and outgoing. I might’ve been able to do that when I was a lot younger, but certainly not anymore.

And sometimes people do choose to hide things just to maintain an air of mystery about themselves. I’ve seen folks on the Internet who like to hide their gender (perhaps to see what people’s guesses about their gender are?), something that I might like to try sometime just to see what would happen. One of my friends just reblogged a Tumblr post which goes along with this idea.

I think most of the things that people don’t mention, though, are probably things that they don’t want anyone to know. Things that are too private and too terrible to admit to doing. But then I think there are things that people might really wish they could talk about, burdens that they have to carry by themselves. I think maybe it’s because society expects you to act like you’re okay. When it comes to the question “How are you?”, in general people kind of expect you to say you’re doing fine. There are those who even expect you to be doing good (which I almost never say, I guess either because I’m a pessimist or because nothing great usually happens to me), which I suppose is nice that they’re concerned about you. But mostly I still think sometimes people don’t really want to know if you’re actually doing horrible, so then you just end up acting like there is nothing going on.

In elementary school, after a certain age, I remember considering other kids to be crybabies if they cried frequently. Maybe it wasn’t good that they cried at every little thing, since life is full of enough stupid stuff that they’d be bawling until they were in their graves (and probably even then, if there’s an afterlife). But still, at least they weren’t trying to hide their feelings. When they were in pain, they showed it. I find it kind of admirable if a person is honest about his/her feelings and expresses them clearly to the world. Keeping it bottled up is so painful. And I think it can even be a little cowardly, because acting like things are okay does not make it true. Somehow it was more acceptable to show your emotions when we were young children, perhaps because it used to be necessary for survival – babies, after all, have to cry so people know that they’re hungry, or need their diapers changed, and things like that.

But just because we’re older, does that mean we don’t need to show our darkest feelings in front of other people? Suffering alone…Isn’t it painful?

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◆ if I had a yellow scarf

All goods things must come to an end. I just finished the Durarara anime yesterday, and was briefly at a loss for what to watch next, before remembering that I’d meant to watch Spice and Wolf, so I’m watching that now. I really hope it gets more exciting; I’ve only seen two episodes, but right now I don’t feel that interested in it.

I always get a little disheartened after finishing a good series. I was really excited while I was watching Eureka Seven, Code Geass, and Boys Over Flowers in the first semester, but once I got close to the end of those shows, I always seemed to enter a gloomy period (might just be coincidental, but I like to think that there’s cause and effect going on here). Well, I guess I could easily remedy that by watching and reading nothing but “good” anime and manga. But if I were to always spend my time dabbling in the best of the best, wouldn’t I become unable to appreciate how good it was? After all, I just read somewhere earlier today that there has to be dark to see the light.

But anyways, I thought Durarara really came into its own in the second half of the anime (I can only speak in these terms because I haven’t read the manga…I would like to read more manga in the future, but it’s sometimes hard to find a good one that’s already finished and doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of chapters.) I liked a lot of the characters, and at first I wasn’t sure what I thought of Shizuo because he smoked and seemed to become violent for no reason, though I have as of late become quite fond of him. I’m a big fan of Celty ♥

Though I wouldn’t really say that Kida is one of my favorite characters in Durarara, I feel like I have the most connection to him. There were, in the past things he did – or didn’t do, and he tries and tries and tries to move on, and yet he’s still his own prisoner. It’s one thing to forgive someone else, but it’s another to forgive yourself…For failing to act at an important moment. What would you rather do? Regret what you’ve done, or regret what you didn’t do?

When I get depressed, which is unfortunately pretty often, all the things I messed up in the past come back to me. It’s like I keep opening my wounds all over again even after they healed, just like what I always did with the part on the other side of my knee – you know, on the back of your leg, the place where your leg bends? It often got itchy and I couldn’t help but scratch it, and sometimes it turned red and pretty nasty. At least the pain kept me from scratching it, but while it was healing it would be itchy again, and so the wounds never really closed (well, until the weather changed, that usually made it less itchy so I’d finally stop scratching it). The body does have important messages to tell the mind, and I’m not just referring to problems dealing with your past, but also to health problems not having to do with the brain… These days I’ve seen many people coming down with illnesses and having to be hospitalized…I’m not able to discuss anything more than that, but it has been a very misfortunate time indeed.

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Sadly, I’m not talking about Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy, sorry to disappoint you video gamers out there. XD The weather’s been gloomy the last two days, just a grey veil of clouds that blocks the sunlight. I don’t like days like that. I think it should either rain, snow, or go back to being blue skies with my favorite kinds of clouds – the voluminous ones with clear edges, light parts and dark parts.

I guess it reflects my mood. I was feeling pretty melancholy yesterday, partially because it is now Finals season, and there’s a lot to do, studying and a speech, but I just don’t feel like doing it. (I find myself growing lazier and lazier the longer this year goes on. For a while I was actually doing well – I was actually socializing, getting a somewhat decent amount of sleep, was scoring high on my exams – but I’ve fallen back into a slump.) Or it could be a natural fluctuation in mood.

What’s really troubling me, though, is that I’m terrible at dealing with people. It always seems that after I’ve been friends with someone for a couple of years, I start to notice a lot more of their faults (or is that just a natural consequence from their aging?) and I wonder if that’s why my relationships with other people always start to deteriorate. Or maybe it’s more because I don’t like to make the first move. I might not say hello even if I see someone I know, as I prefer the other person to greet me first, like what happened yesterday. I was helping a classmate with some homework, and we happened to be sitting at a place where a group of friends meets at brunch. I saw two of my friends, though we didn’t really say hello to each other. I told my classmate that I had to go and left. Later, at PE, one of my friends, who I hadn’t spoken with a brunch, asked why I had left without saying anything. I was rather awkward and defensive when I answered, because at the time, I had reasoned, There’s no need to say goodbye to someone you hadn’t even said hello to, is there? I wasn’t there to socialize, I was there to try and help someone with homework. Maybe it would’ve been better if I had said something, but
then again, isn’t that something I usually do? Just go off without saying anything? Still not used to it by now?

Well, I guess I’m just not very tolerant of anything these days. I feel so impatient and so exasperated with many things that I used to put up with, and I just really have this urge to change my lifestyle a lot…Move somewhere else, go on walks and read books and take photos and just take everything at my own pace. And stop going on the Internet so much. But I’m still not strong enough to do that. Will I ever be?
There’s problems at home, too, and with other relatives, though I’m not really allowed to discuss it at the moment. As time goes on, I think more and more that families come with more trouble than benefits, and so I told my mother that I’ll probably end up “forever alone”. (Of course, she didn’t catch the reference to the Internet meme.)
Oh, but before I forget, I recently found two characters who look alike again… Sylvia Van Hossen from Princess Lover! at the left, and Saber from Fate/Stay Night at the right.

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Since the beginning of this school year, I’ve taken to studying while playing piano so that I can save time. One of my teachers has said time and time again that students shouldn’t multitask, but I feel like playing piano and reading information at the same time helps me to think better. Sometimes I come up with good ideas while I’m practicing piano, so I like to keep my binders propped up on the stand that you’re supposed to put the piano sheet music on. Problem is, when I put pencils on there too, they have a tendency to roll off or get knocked off.

The pencils fall into this crevice between the cover for the piano keys and the main structure of the piano. I can never get them out after they’ve fallen in, so I had no idea for a long time what had become of my pencils. (I assumed that at least they hadn’t broken the piano, since it still seems to work fine.) It was only recently, when I happened to drop another pencil in there, that I made a bigger effort to try and get into it. I saw where the pencils had fallen, but I can’t reach it because my hand is not small enough anymore (ironic, since my hand is quite small, it hasn’t grown for several years, and I had thought I would be able to fit it). And we don’t have anything that is both thin, flexible, and hard that we can grab the pencils with and pull them out. I wonder if they’ll stay in the piano forever. Perhaps someday someone else will come to own this piano, and they’ll open it up and see those pencils inside. Something that was once of not much importance could become artifacts for future generations to find.

But there are more treasures than just objects to be found in the piano. Learning to play piano is frustrating in the beginning, and it can be painful in the end too (if your hands were somehow made unable to play piano in the future). I really think, though, that there’s a lot to be said for playing a musical instrument. You will have to practice a lot. You can’t give up as soon as you think “I can’t do this, I’m just not good at it.” I think that it’s good to have something to strive for, to work towards perfection. Perfection may not exist, but you can keep improving yourself and get as close to it as possible. And your goal when you’re playing an instrument may not be the same as mine or someone else’s. What I hope to do is play beautifully, and to show my emotions through the music. I don’t know if I’ve reached that stage or if I ever will. But I’ll keep trying. I don’t want to let go of the piano. Not the way I did with the flute and cello. I can’t play either of them anymore.

I don’t think you ought to keep playing an instrument if you really don’t enjoy it, though. There is no way to be certain that you won’t eventually come to like it, but if you want to quit, go ahead. Even if you come to regret it later, it ought to be your own choice. I remember meeting a girl who said she didn’t really like to play piano, but her mom made her do it. Why? Because the mother think her daughter will be embarrassed later when she’s the only one amongst her friends who can’t play the piano. It’s fine to be proud of your musical skills as long as that isn’t the reason you’re playing… I really don’t think you ought to play an instrument for the sake of pride. Play because you enjoy, play because other people enjoy it, play to relieve stress, play because you want to get better at it…But please, don’t play just to save yourself embarrassment.

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Every afternoon, when school has let out for the day, I walk home, and along the way I try to pay attention to my surroundings. I became somewhat of an expert on the neighborhood – I could tell which house had been for sale (but you could see the house by appointment only), I knew which house had a dog and put up decorations for the holidays, I knew where one of my classmates lived because of I’d seen her go up to a house.

I also recognize some of the people who walk and bike home via the same route that I do. There was one person who caught my attention, a boy who seemed to have an interest in trees. Particularly ones that had parts of them severed off. Once I saw him standing with one foot on a tree stump. At first I thought he was going to tie his shoelaces, but he didn’t. He just stood there without saying anything.

And then I saw him again, a few days ago, standing by the fence bordering a house. He had one hand on a round orange shape which I realized was what remained of a tree limb. I somehow got the feeling that it had been painful for the tree. It must have spent a long time growing a nice strong limb and then had it all cut off… It seemed there were traces of some liquid on the place where the limb once was. The blood and tears of the tree.

Friday was the first rally of the school year. It’s a gathering of the students of all four grades (or “classes”, as they call them. Class of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014) where we basically make a lot of noise and show our school spirit. The freshman class was unfortunately quite lacking. I must say, I couldn’t even tell what the juniors were shouting, on the other side of the gym. (They really made a racket, though. They were really good. Not like us freshmen, though I hear that it’s always like this the first time.)

It was really uncomfortable to have to keep standing for so long, in a cramped space, and on a hot day. I was feeling really stifled. It didn’t help that it sometimes got so loud that one of my ears would get those rustling, crackling sounds (I start hearing things funny in my ears whenever it’s loud…But I thought it would be rude if I covered my ears). I was relieved to get out of there. The sunlight and fresh air were more refreshing than they had been for a long time.

I’ve realized that I don’t really like to be pent up inside. I do like to go to class and learn, but it gets tiring being indoors for too long. (At least in Writing for Publication, a class that I’m taking this year, we got to go outside twice, which was a refreshing change.) I was stressed and unhappy for a while when I was at Yosemite, but now I realize that I at least ought to have better appreciated the fact that I got to go to school outdoors, breathing in fresh air, being able to hold snow in my hands, seeing more stars than I could ever count. I think it’d be nice if I could just move to the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of books, and study by myself in the wilderness. So many “what ifs”. They never seem to come true.

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