Dream chasing

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I met a young woman named Laura last weekend. She was on the riverwalk, where I had been sitting and praying, taking photos. For some reason, I felt the need to speak to her, so I asked if she’d gotten any good photos. She came right over to me and said yes and told me that she’d been travelling and taking photos. It was her dream to be a photographer. Sitting on the bench, with my hair pressed straight, my sharp suit (or at least I thought I looked sharp!), and my uncomfortable flats, I looked up at Laura. The sun was shining bright on her skin and I couldn’t help but face the fact that I had lost myself. She was an example of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Who I thought I was on my way to becoming, until recently. I hadn’t drawn or painted a picture, finished a book, or even studied Japanese in nearly two months. I was back to eating uncontrollably and I’d put on 20 lbs, which was causing my face to swell. I hadn’t even been writing in this beloved blog of mine.

After our chat, Laura left and I wished her luck. She came back to me with a business card, which I put away and I am hoping to be able to work with her some day, and I wished her good luck again. I felt inspired in that moment and I realized that I’m trying to swim against a current. I’m being pulled under right now. Work, school, and drama that seems to always drag me back in. These days, I sometimes just think about disappearing. Not showing up to work anymore. Coming to my classes through the end of the semester, then living off a tight budget with whatever I have saved up. Spending my time outdoors, or just doing whatever makes me happy. Losing this weight, growing my hair long, drinking more water, and sharing more laughs and love with my companion. Only answering the phone when I know the call is one of positive nature. Yeah… that’s what I want to do.

But I know it’s not realistic. And I know it’s not the example I want to set for those who look to me for inspiration. So how do I take a break, without taking a break? That’s the question I’m facing.

Well, for one, I think I’m going to try to take more time to do what I love. Even if it takes some time away from everything else. I drew a picture of myself and my boyfriend today and I thought of some blog and vlog topics. I’ve been thinking of hand crafts to make too and I did my manicure. Honestly, I feel a little better already. I’ve also began to go to the gym and eat healthier again.

And as much as I do not like surprises, I’ve found that the best thing for me to do is to not plan this stuff out. Just like I just dropped everything and decided to write in my blog today, I spaced out in class to draw a picture, and randomly picked up my back and wallet and went to the gym. I started to listen to a Japanese podcast today and I asked some associates of mine for some good topics to talk about in Japanese. My boyfriend and I have also resolved to pray more often for each other, those around us (including the people who are hard to love), and for ourselves. It’s amazing to have an extra person donating strength and prayer to this beautiful cause.

So I say again, wish me luck!

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Is “couponing” worth it?

I’ve heard people throwing around the words “extreme couponing” for some time now, but shopping with coupons is not something that I haven’t heard of before today. When I was a kid, I was going to ride with a friend to JapanFest (in fact I think it was my first time going) and before we left, her mom told her to put the coupon binder in the car. Well, my friend was just a kid and so she forgot, like kids do, and her mom punished us both by forcing us to leave the event early because she could not clip her coupons while she waited for us. Besides that, my only other thought of coupons are those old school dispensers that used to be in the grocery stores. I never took coupons seriously, even when I was broke. But since I decided to take this leap into my new lifestyle, the idea of shopping with coupons is beginning to seem relevant. I would really like to save as much money as I possibly can this year to prepare for my upcoming move and I’m thinking that shopping a bit frugally could support my goal. Coupons sound great to me because I’m not a huge fan of buying a bunch of cheap stuff that won’t work or last, but quality items that I can possibly buy at a discounted rate.

I don’t even know where I would start with coupons though. I’ve been recommended a couple of subscription services as well as a site called ebates. But I don’t have a clue as to how I can get into the world of couponing or if it is even really worth it. For now, it’s sort of a back-burner idea until I can get more insight, but I’ve already begun researching how I will stretch my pennies this year.

Reading goals for 2018

Last year was a phenomenal year for me when it comes to reading. I see so much growth in my knowledge and ability to focus as a result of how much I read last year. I don’t think I’ve read this much since I was in the 6th grade! So, I want to keep it going. Originally, my goal was to read one more book than I did last year, but I think I want to tweak that goal a little bit a lot. My reading goals for this year will be met by reading articles between now and May. If I find this to be effective, then I’ll continue it throughout the year. This doesn’t mean I won’t read any books at all, but I may not read more BOOKS than I read last year (which was 4 or 5 books). Here’s the plan for every week between now and May:

1 NHK News article ( link )

1 Research article ( link / link )

1 Nutrition article ( link / link / link )

3 Pages of my Japanese nutrition book ( link )

For each read, I don’t want to spend more than 1.5 hours at a time reading. I also want to write a short summary for each (in English), record a vlog of myself summarizing, or I will just take notes as I read. This should be fun and a very achievable goal as long as I keep up with it.

Some new projects

I’ve realized that it’s time that I narrow down my long list of things I want to do to just a few things that I should improve right now. I actually wrote an entire entry about this, but I haven’t posted it because I haven’t proof red it yet.

Anyway, I’ve got some new projects that I’m planning to begin soon!  Continue reading →