Fireworks

I was just sitting on my balcony watching the fireworks go off in the distance. They’re miles and miles and miles away and look so tiny from where I’m sitting but they still have such an impact. Still so magical.

What is it about fireworks that draw people in? They crackle and boom and make a big ruckus yet…in this moment…on this wonderful night…amidst all the beautiful lights and shapes. It is nothing but peaceful. It is calm. And calming.

I didn’t see any fireworks last July 4th and I already accepted that I was going to miss them this year as well. But this small sighting was a pleasant surprise. Just enough to hold me over until next July 4th. Because I WILL see fireworks next year. I must!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you all were able to see a little magic today.

 

the little joys in my life.

There are simple things in life that are just perfect and irreplaceable. Little joys that make you smile and some times even turn your bad day around. Here are some of mine.

There is nothing like driving around with the windows down, music blasting and singing at the top of my lungs. Nothing. It’s therapeutic.

Cleaning is also therapeutic for me. I get into these strange organizational modes and I end up taking all the clothes out of my dressers and closet and refolding and reorganizing them by color/category. Within weeks, it get messed up again but it’s the process more than the result that makes it worthwhile for me.

That moment I hit the bed after a long day and get under the covers and my whole body is covered by the light cool touch of my blanket. I never want to leave. Especially in the morning when it’s unfathomable that I’ve already slept through a whole night!

When MY SONG comes on at the club/bar (and there are several that I go crazy for lol). I needn’t say more.

A really good hug from a loved one. Whether it be from a family member, friend, or my boyfriend, there is nothing better than one of those long, heartfelt hugs. I feel loved. safe. at peace.

So smile. Relish in the moment. Fully appreciate those little moments you get everyday that you might not always be aware of.

I’d like to share a picture with you that always brings a smile to my face. It was taken in Seattle while visiting our awesome friend Marlen!

I actually laughed out loud when I first saw this picture. We look so ridiculous, especially me, but I love this picture. I am well overdue for a vacation. Can’t wait til my road trip to North Carolina in a few weeks!!

Fun Becky Fact: I like making small paper boats. If you’ve spent time with me, you’ve probably witnessed this. Some of you have even been a lucky recipient of one of these magnificent boats! But yea, gum wrappers are my material of choice. I think I do it because I like to keep my hands busy but also they’re just fun. And a good way to recycle that paper that would just end up in the garbage anyways.

Nostalgia.

According to dictionary.com, nostalgia is:

a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.

SPOT ON.

I’m feeling incredibly nostalgic right now. Nostalgic in so many different ways.

I wish I were back in college right now. Back in Starkey 584. Killing/running away from bugs with the roomie. Staying up late into the wee hours just chatting online when I should be sleeping and/or doing schoolwork. Cramming for exams. Staring at a blank word document hoping that words will miraculously appear and organize themselves. Reading hundreds and hundreds of pages for my anthro class. Standing in the take out line, excited for burger night. Bubble tea at I’s Cafe, bolis at stuffyerface, fat sandwiches from the grease trucks. Waiting for the EE/F bus. Seeing the overpacked bus and deciding to walk to class through the beautiful cook/douglass campus instead.

I miss all of these things I took for granted.

I miss having roommates. I miss the ability to just turn my head and start a random conversation with someone. I know that I can easily call/text/IM/FB/tweet anyone in the world whenever I want but it’s just not the same. It’s not as comforting as having a physical person within reach of you to spark up a convo. Create new memories with. Share laughs or even tears with.

I miss the simplicity of college. Everything you need and/or want is right there, in our little bubble. We needn’t venture off campus unless we want to. I miss all the familiar faces. I miss just seeing a friend and giving nod or a smile and just that is enough to make your day at times.

I miss the spontaneity of my days.

I miss the fixed yet flexible schedule college allowed for. Of course I had classes that I had to attend. Then there were classes that I’d skip here and there. I spent many more hours outside of the classroom on classwork but it was still my time. It was still on my terms. I hung out when I wanted. I ate when I wanted. I watched my shows when I wanted. I went to bed whenever I wanted.

I was a lot more responsible then. I was lot more focused then. Strangely, I had a lot more freedom then.

I miss Rutgers New Brunswick.  And I miss Rutgers Newark. And I even miss Bucknell. Yes, I chose to leave Bucknell but that was my first college experience. I went through freshman orientation there. I did all those silly ice breakers. Experienced life away from home for the very first time. And boy was it fun. And for that, I will always feel a special connection to Bucknell. I began my journey there and ended and completed my college career at Rutgers. And it was a quite the experience that I would love to revisit.

My facebook newsfeed is filled with graduation statuses/pics. It’s strange not being a part of it. It’s strange congratulating others and not partaking in the graduation festivities. When did all of this happen? How has a whole year passed since graduation? Almost tempted to go put on my graduation cap & gown for the hell of it lol. Is that crazy? Maybe a little. I’m definitely not going to. Just a thought.

So many thoughts still running through my head but I am not in my college days anymore. I cannot allow myself to stay up until 4am just for the sake of it and let myself sleep in and miss my morning class. Work does not allow me to.

And so with this, my visitation to the past stops here. Though, I’ll probably lay in bed and think back on some of the great memories of a former time in my life. That’s not to say that I haven’t created some great memories since I’ve graduated, because I most certainly have. I just think it’s useful and therapeutic to reminisce. I am who I am today because of everything in my past.

So congratulations to all the new graduates of the numerous different colleges/universities! I hope you all cherished this day! Wish you the best of luck and all the success in whatever life has in store for you next.

Also, I recently read stories about Boston University’s & UCLA’s graduation ceremonies.

Boston University invited 1970 grads to come back and partake in the graduation ceremonies since theirs were canceled because of the Kent state killings. Read more here.

UCLA granted honorary degrees to Japanese Americans that were forced to leave the university during WWII. Read more here.

I thought it was a great step for both universities to take. It is unfair to deny a student their moment to walk with pride. To share this moment with their friends & families. To don their cap & gown and relish in their moment of closure with college. It is unfortunate that many were unable to attend and some had passed away but it was very touching to read about these graduates.

Music of the moment: Triangle Offense – The Courting Mixtape

I have the pleasure of knowing these three very talented gentlemen. And I recommended their mixtape to you as not only a friend but as a fan of TO. You can download your own copy fo FREE!

The whole damn thing is GREAT. I can’t single out one song as my favorite but I do have a favorite section of the album. Show Me Love to Strobe Lights is my absolute favorite part of the mixtape. I love the feel of these songs. I love the transition. I love the journey. I love the story. So download it here and love it with me!

“Time spent reading, like time spent loving, increases our lifetime.”

An excerpt from Better Than Life by Daniel Pennac:

How is it that Ms. X, who works, runs errands, raises kids, drives her car, loves three men, goes to her dentist appointment, is moving next week – how is it that she finds time to read, while this chaste, retired, coupon-clipping bachelor doesn’t?

Time spent reading is always time stolen. Like time spent writing, or loving, for that matter.

Stolen from what?

From life’s obligations.

Which is probably why the subway – the very symbol of life’s many obligations – is the world’s largest reading room.

Time spent reading, like time spent loving, increases our lifetime.

If we were to consider love from the point of view of our schedule, who would bother? Who among us has time to fall in love? Yet have you ever seen someone in love not take the time to love?

I’ve never had the time to read. But no one has ever kept me from finishing a novel I loved.

Reading does not belong to the societal organization of time. Like love, it is a way of being.

The issue is not whether or not I have the time to read (after all, no one will ever give me that time), but whether I will allow myself the joy of being a reader.

I often complain about not having enough time to do the things I want, reading being one of them. And I will continue to complain about not having enough time lol. Just because that’s how it works. I do , however, know that I could do a lot more of the things I wanted to do if I just managed my time better.

As of late, I’ve been reading a lot less frequently. I used to read to and from work on the bus. But in the morning, it just puts me to sleep and in the evening, I just want to sit there and watch the scenery and the people. Instead, I’ve been listening to music on my rides and it’s very therapeutic.

There is nothing like sitting on a crowded bus/train with my headphones blaring. It sends me to my own little world that I get to occupy for about 40 minutes. It’s particularly great on my way to work because once I get off at Port Authority I have a short 5 block walk. Just long enough for the cold, brisk air to wake me up. I still have my headphones blasting as I quickly make my way through the crowds of people and cars.

It’s a great feeling. And I don’t want to give that up. Maybe I’ll compromise with myself and music will have my mornings and books will have my evenings.

But anyways, none of us really have time for anything unless we make time for it.

I cherish my Sundays. Sundays are my days. It is my day to play catch up with everything. I usually have to do lists that I make during the week and I mean to tackle them on Sunday but I’ve been putting them off for a few weeks now. I just love this time to myself. To unwind from the week. To sleep for HOURS (which I did today). For some reason, I feel guilty doing nothing for a whole day but on a Sunday, it is excusable. It’s more than excusable, it actually feels appropriate. There are times when I won’t need my Sundays. And there are definitely times where I will be more than happy to give up my Sunday for someone or something else but it is definitely a good day to recharge me for the week ahead.

Days like today remind me of myself in high school or possibly before then. I would set aside a day for myself (I think it was Saturday). And my friends would want me to come out and hang but I wouldn’t because I wanted/needed this time.

Along the way somewhere, I changed. I was down to hang all the time. I never wanted to miss a chill. Never wanted to not be there. I hated to be alone at home or at school. Even if I were doing nothing. Even if I were exhausted and just laying in bed. If I had a choice to have time to myself or time with friends, I’d always choose the latter. And I think it got a little unhealthy for me. I don’t know that unhealthy is the best way to describe it but that’s the word that comes to mind.

I didn’t know how to be alone anymore. I didn’t know how to be okay by myself. I felt the need to be around my friends constantly and that wasn’t always an option, especially while I was away at school. But sometime after that, I learned to be okay with it. I learned to value my alone time. I learned to appreciate solitude for short amounts of time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still down to chill, most of the time lol. But I have noticed that I’ve been saying no to friends more often now. Work has a lot to do with it. And I do apologize to my friends if I have been neglecting you. I still love hanging with my friends whether we’re doing something or nothing at all. I’ve just had to make adjustments here and there.

This post definitely took a different turn from what I had intended to write but it was good to let it all out anyways. We’ve all come across some version of the saying that you can only truly love someone else once you’ve learned to love yourself. And as sappy or as corny as it sounds, it is undeniably true. And over the years, I have learned just how true it is.

Everyone needs to take time for themselves. Everyone needs to be great on their own in order to be great for others.

So make that time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be reading, writing, watching some reality TV (one of my favorite guilty pleasures lol), or just nothing at all. I actually just opened up a box of journals that date back to 1996. I’m going to take some time now to go through some of it and just reminisce. I haven’t looked at these in quite some time and I know it is going to be very interesting to reread.

I’ll close this entry with an album that I’ve  been listening to nonstop for the past couple of weeks. I get like that. To really get a feel for an album, I just keep it on repeat. And if I can I still listen to it straight through without being tired of it, then it has passed my test lol.

Album of the moment: Trey Songz – Ready

So I was never big on Trey Songz. I don’t know what it was but there was just something about him that wasn’t appealing to me. But I am now sold, lol. Well, on Ready at least. I’m able to play his Ready album from beginning to end. I only skip I Need a Girl. It just doesn’t do it for me like the other songs on the album.

One Love is definitely my favorite song on the album. It’s just one of those songs. Other highlights for me, Holla If Ya Need Me, Neighbors Know My Name (he really gets his R. Kelly on in this song), & Ready to Make Luv straight into Jupiter Love.

It’s just a really sexy album. Go listen!

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions.  According to its Wikipedia entry, “A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.” We all make them. We all vow to keep them. We all try our very hardest for the first few days, weeks, maybe even months. Some are even successful in keeping a resolution for the whole year. But then what? Does a new year mean a new resolution? Negating the previous year’s resolution? If you resolve to improve “A” in your life and you proudly did so for 2009 is your reward some slack for 2010? Or do you push yourself further? Since you’ve proven your ability to set a goal and reach it, can you set a higher goal? Or do you let yourself fall back into your old ways? I would hope that most would do the former because the latter just seems counterproductive. Especially if one’s goal is to better oneself.

So what is the goal of a new year’s resolution: “a lifestyle change”. A lifestyle change. That’s something serious. How many of us can honestly say that we’ve put into action a lifestyle change? I’m sure I’ve made some small changes here and there but I attribute most of that to growing up and maturing and leaving old, bad habits behind.  A successful new year’s resolution is a lifestyle change. If you improve “A” in your life, then that is a part of your new self. You can now aim to improve another part of yourself.  But this is much easier said than done.

2010. A new decade. I can’t believe it’s already 2010. 2009 was quite the year but 2010 feels much bigger. I want more from 2010. And I’m going to get more from 2010. I’m going to do more. 2010 is going to be a good year. This is just the very beginning. I feel reinvigorated. I feel hopeful. And as I write these words, I feel that I might be setting myself up for disappointment. I’m motivated and determined now but how long will this last?

I don’t generally make new year’s resolutions. So this is not in any particular order nor an extensive list of everything that I hope to achieve, improve, and change this new year.  These are just some things that I have thought about recently. One recurring resolution is to lose weight. I guess a more accurate goal of mine is to be healthier, which encompasses losing weight, eating better and becoming more fit. I’m so out of shape it ain’t even funny.

It’s about willpower. It’s about determination. It’s about success. It’s about results. It’s about seeing the end in sight. It’s about delayed gratification. It’s about changing my relationship with food. I love food. Anyone who knows me, knows this fact. But at some point, I turned from a food lover to a glutton. And that ain’t cool. I’ve got to find that right balance where I still enjoy satisfying foods without going overboard.

Anyways, resolution number two is to write/blog/read more. I no longer have to read books for school and I can read books for FUN. An amazing feeling lol. I want to improve the quality of my writing as well. I’m also going to try to get in the habit of making some shorter posts about random things that pop into my mind. I’ll often be on the bus reading a book or listening to a song and I’ll write some notes on my iphone about something that stood out to me. These things often don’t make it anywhere but a word document on my laptop. I will now try to share these moments with you though.

Resolution number three and probably the most important to me, is to be more patient. Particularly, be more patient with family. Those of you who know me, know that I’m a pretty patient person with people. When it comes to family, though, I am not. I don’t know if I’ve always been this way with them or if this is a recent development but I’ve caught myself lose my patience with my family very easily as of late. And I don’t like it. They are the ones who should get the best from me and nothing less. I have been slacking and I am going to make up for it one day at a time.

So, good luck to everyone. To those who made resolutions, to those w ho have not. And if you see me veer off course, pull me back in. It is much appreciated.

So I think I’m going to amend my “Becky fact per post” deal. I’m horrible at talking about myself. That dreaded question at interviews or social events, so tell me a little bit about yourself? Am I supposed to recite some facts? DOB/Hometown/Educational background/Work experience, etc. TOO MUCH PRESSURE! And that is what I feel when I have to come up with a becky fact. Oftentimes, I just draw a blank. So…I’ve decided that I will suggest a song/album/artist in each entry. Maybe it’ll be a new discovery or a song that I recently brought back or even just something that I was listening to while writing. And then as a treat, I’ll throw in some fun becky facts here and there.

Album of the moment: Alicia Keys – Element of Freedom.

album highlights: Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)                      Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart
Like the Sea
Love is Blind
This Bed
Love is My Disease

the whole album is great. I only skip a track or two here and there. She’s just really good at what she does. definitely recommended!!

L’chaim. I wish for you a hundred years of success but it’s my time.

I’ve neglected my blog for quite some time now but with good reason, I’d like to think. I’ve been busy just living life. Living and enjoying life. I’ve started working fulltime which is not the part of my life I’m enjoying but it was a step  I needed to take.

It was difficult at first to adjust to this new schedule. It felt like that first month or two of school when the semester just starts up. Where I’m still in vacation mode but my free time is very limited. I got used to having all the time in the world to do with as I pleased. I could take spontaneous trips to wherever for however long. Stay out until the morning and not worry about waking up for work. I could waste away whole days doing nothing at all. At times, I do miss that. But being busy helps me appreciate the time that I do have and the time that I am able to spend with people that I care about. I don’t waste my time as much as I used to. And that is definitely a good thing.

I’m still trying to find a good balance in my life. I’m having to really test my time management skills. I’ve learned that I’m not very good at budgeting my time or money. I set aside a bit too much of both to good time having lol. It’s tough to find that right balance. I’m not home as much as I’d like to be. But I don’t want to take time away from any other sphere in my life (except for work, but I can’t do anything about that).

Today doesn’t really feel like Christmas to me. I mean it’s a Friday and I’m not at work. And my mom is also home and my dad just got home from work. So in that sense, I guess it’s a little out of the ordinary. Holidays aren’t ever big in my house, haven’t been for a while now. When I was in grammar school and even high school, I often spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve with friends and their families since we never did anything. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really begun to appreciate my family more and more. We may not set up a Christmas tree or decorations, exchange gifts, or do anything “special” but I wouldn’t want to spend this day with anyone else.

My father would give me a hard time for not being home a lot especially while I was in school and I’d come home for breaks. I used to get so stressed from school that when I did have any breaks, I’d want to be out and about with friends. Also, both my parents would be out working. What’s the point of me being home if we’re not even spending time together? I get it now though. I really do. My mom, my brother, and I are all doing our own thing in our respective rooms. And my dad just set up shop in the living room with the TV and his paper. Even though we’re not doing anything together, I like that we’re all here.

It’s nice to not have any plans. It’s nice to have this whole day to myself. It’s allowing me to just think and reflect. I’ve been on the go and I feel like I’ve been playing catch up with myself for a while now. A day like today was very much needed. I have numerous to-do lists that I have yet to tackle. And today and this weekend I will slowly cross a few things off.

It’s strange. I feel like I’m in a state of in between. Even though it’s been 7 months now since I’ve graduated from Rutgers, I feel like I am fresh out of college. I mean I know it really hasn’t been that long but there are things that I need to figure out that I haven’t given much thought to.

Ever since I graduated, I miss that structure that school used to give me. Work has taken its place as I now plan around the hours and days that I’m not working but it’s definitely not the same. And though I feel like I’m in that state of in between, I also feel that things in my life are finally falling into place. There were pieces strewn about but now they’ve gone were they belong. And I’m happy. Like really happy. I’ve recently fallen in love with Kid Cudi’s Soundtrack 2 My Life. I know, I know I’m like mad late on this.

“I’ve got some issues that nobody can see.
And all of these emotions are pourin outta me.
I bring them to the light for you.
It’s only right.
This is the soundtrack to my life…

I am HAPPY, that’s just the saddest lie…”

I felt like I could relate to this. Except, that last line because I am happy and that’s not a lie. I deal with a lot of stuff on my own. But I’ve learned to “bring them to light” to a small handful of people and I think that’s what’s really helped me get to the place where I am. Not denying that I still have issues. Everyone does. But I’m not dwelling on them because that does no one any good.

It’s funny, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and I had said “just my luck”. And he said something along the lines of like “what? good luck?” And I just sat back and thought about it and he was right. Things definitely do work out for me quite often. I definitely can’t give “luck” all the credit though. I’ve had a big hand in most of the good and bad things in my life. I’ve made some mistakes but I will always take accountability for any consequences. And I have been responsible. I’ve not done things that I’ve really wanted to do simply because I knew I shouldn’t. Sometimes I do wish I was a little more irresponsible. I wish I would have been a careless teenager just a little more. But who knows. That could have changed things dramatically. So maybe it was a good thing.

I most certainly have been very fortunate in my life. And I am very, very thankful for that. I’m very thankful for the good things in my life. To have my health. To have my family. To have a job. To have some really really great people in my life. 2009 was a whirlwind of a year. I went through some very low lows and experienced some high highs. But I’m very relieved to be ending on a high note. I’m especially happy to have met a certain someone in my life. Thank you for helping me end 2009 with some really great memories. You’ve got me smiling mad hard.

So goodbye 2009. You were quite the year. You brought little Michaella Grace Nguyen into our lives and I can’t wait to see her grow up.

I look forward to what 2010 has in store for me. I’m ready, so let’s go!!

Happy Holidays and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Fun Becky Fact: I love wrapping presents. If you got some wrapping to be done, I’m the one for the job! Unless it’s a TON of wrapping. No thanks. And I also love surprises but I can’t help but try to figure it out ahead of time. My friends and I do a secret santa and although I want to be surprised as to who has me and what they got me, I ALWAYS try to figure it out. And I’ve actually ruined some surprises for myself before and it’s like HA! I figured it out. But it’s also like damn, I just ruined my own surprise. lol. I’m silly. I know.


“The Chase”

So here I am at work. I’m running on about two hours of sleep and I need to keep myself busy or else, I’ll just knock out right here. So what better than to start writing a new post! I’ve been meaning to upload stuff for a few weeks now but life has just been kinda crazy lately. I feel like I’ve been on the go almost every day. And if I’m not, I’m recuperating from the night before. I didn’t party a lot in college and it’s like I’m getting it out of my system now. Anyways…

I recently came across some of the stuff I wrote in my creative writing class senior year of HS. It made me miss writing. It reminded me how much joy writing used to give me. It was a long process that I, at times, found bothersome but I appreciated the final product because of the long journey to get there. I don’t know when exactly it happened but sometime in college, I lost that love of writing. It became a chore. It became an obstacle to my A. And I learned to get it done and get it done well without using my full potential. I think that was my downfall. I stopped pushing myself but also my assignments stopped pushing me. I still enjoyed some of the papers I wrote and I did put a lot of effort into some but not most. Not by far. My proudest works are from my first couple years in college. In retrospect, I really regret that I got lazy with my writing. Since I stopped caring about writing, my ability has seriously declined.

I remember at one point, I even wanted to become a writer. I read an article online about 9-11 and it touched me. The imagery that the author was able to paint with just words on paper was amazing and beautiful to me. I saved the article but I’m not sure if I can find it. It wasn’t some amazing piece of journalism or even the best creative writing I’ve ever read but I remember just appreciating what the writer was able to achieve. That’s what’s so amazing about writing: its power. It’s ability to transport you to another world. To implant images in your head, no pictures necessary. And the fact that it is not so cut and dry. The writer can try and try to get across a certain point but it is up to the reader to follow the author or create a completely different interpretation.

In my last post, I wrote about my love of music. Well I guess this is about my love of writing. I got a lot of positive feedback from my last post round my hometown… (Thank you everyone! Glad you enjoyed it!). I actually took my time with that post and wrote. Most, if not all, my other posts were just me typing out my thoughts. I was inspired by my old writing assignments to put more effort into my posts. Even though this is just for fun, I might as well try to jump start my creative juices.

Here’s one of my earlier writings from class:

The Chase Poem

I don’t remember what the assignment for this was but I just remember having a lot of fun writing it. It brought me back to my grammar school days at Anna L. Klein playing tag in the school yard. Those were the good old days! I would not survive in a game of tag now. I am sloooow and out of shape lol.

Becky fact: I used to be involved in a lot of extracurricular activities when I was younger. One of which was the violin. I don’t remember much details as to what age I was playing it or even for how long. I just remember practicing at home while my brother practiced the cello. I guess it’s because I used to play it but I think it is one of the most beautiful instruments out there, musically and just visually. Wish I kept it up. I bet I’d be pretty mean on the violin. Or maybe not…

I have a pic at home of me at a recital. I shall try to find it and post. stay tuned!