How to Be Content with Being Alone

I recently met with a friend and discussed being alone, and how we felt about it. My friend recently told me how being alone was a very uncomfortable experience for him and that he didn't really like it. Now that was interesting for me because, I've always been very comfortable with being alone, because I am an only child, and my parents worked a lot so I learned quickly how to fill time up if I was alone. He was uncomfortable because he did not like being alone with his thoughts and how reacted to what he was thinking. Also he said that being alone made him feel lonely as if he didn't have any friends. So after talking to him, I decided that I should write a post about the topic of being alone, and how to be comfortable with it when you're not.

Let your thoughts wonder. 

Being comfortable on your own in public. You don't have to be with someone to prove your worth. A lot of people get hung up with the idea that if they're not with someone constantly, people will judge them as lonely, and potentially a loser. I felt this pressure all throughout high school and it really wrecked my confidence at some points, but slowly throughout my senior year of high school and my first year at university I began to feel more comfortable alone with my thoughts. 

I  see this alone time as a designated hour to just focus on me and checkin in on myself and how I feel. Everyone's idea of alone time varies. For me I guess I treated it as like a therapy session by drawing, writing, reading, or just simply listening to music while looking at my surroundings. I need 2 hours a day for myself, especially after a day of classes or hanging out with friends the night before. I take the early morning or afternoon to so absolutely nothing, so I can balance out the hectic life I have. Having too much time alone can be very isolating if you seal yourself off from your friends or outside for too long, and it can start to become almost like laziness or boredom, and that isn't what we want. Make sure to know what you want the outcome of this alone time to be, and come up with something that will keep you and your mind happy.

I guess all I want you to take from this is that it's completely okay with being alone. It isn't weird, or something to be worried about if you do it in healthy increments. Take that time as coming up with ways to grow your mind and your happiness by doing what fulfills you.

 

 

To My Roommates

Here's to us, here's to the blissful 9 months we all shared in P6. Every moment spent with you two has been a total ride filled with laughs, good memories, and endless joy. You both brought so much kindness, happiness, and life into my first year at uni. Thank you Miri, and Belly for being the best roommates I could ever have. Our travels together had been amazing; discovering new cities and finding small nooks together is unforgettable.

In Lugano, you two were the sisters I never had, and the mothers I often needed. You two have always had my back through thick and thin, from my crazy drunk antics to my tears that I tried to hide from you guys. Right now, Belly is sitting on the couch on her phone (probably on Pinterest), and Miri is asleep in bed. I'm sitting at my newly clean desk (they'll know how crazy this is), and I'm reminiscing everything. With only 14 days left here with you two, I wanna pay homage to the fun filled year with you two, and just tell you two how thankful I am that FUS brought us together. I am so lucky to have met such beautiful girls, inside and out. You two will accomplish so much over your lives and I can't wait to see you two explore the world and grow first hand. I am always here for you, and I will always be with you two no matter the distance between us. You can count on that.  

I love you two very much, I will miss you two so so so much over the summer . I can't wait to see you in the fall, Belly. And Miri, you come to me or I'll go to you. 

I am always yours,

Kari

 

 

Scared, Worried, and Dissapointed

*Disclaimer: I am not fond of Hillary, and I definitely do not support Trump. I am hurt and confused. This post is mostly me getting my ideas out, so if there are any spelling or grammatical mistakes, oh well.  

I'm sure most of you by now are aware of what happened yesterday. Donald Trump was elected to be the next President of the United States. When news broke, so did my heart. All the hard work that the people have put into making sure that man didn't get into office was all for nothing. Somehow, despite her being in the leading, at last minute everything changed. My initial reaction was shock and worry. I messaged my parents and asked them what we were going to do. They responded by saying that they were still going to wait it out and see how much damage is done, and then go from there. Now, let me preface this by saying that yes, I am upset with Trump supporters, but I have to respect them, and I do. I am entitled to my own opinion and feelings, and I have the right to share them. Just as they have the right to vote for a man who will take us back 150 years and scares everyone who is not either white, rich, straight, etc. 

The most terrifying part for me when I learned that he was elected was climate change, and the wellbeing of my friends and family. I had friends calling me, in tears being worried about their safety. They were so scared that they planned buddy systems because they're environments are so unsafe after him being elected, they feel as if they cannot leave their campuses without being harassed. Imagine that, as a person. Even if you are not POC, LGBTQA, etc, imagine the fear that surges through your body.

As a woman, I am terrified. My rights as woman most likely will be stripped away from me. My reproductive rights will be taken away from me, something that is my basic right. If I ever were to be pregnant, and it was the wrong time, I would not have a legal option to have an abortion, because one man who has no basic respect for women was able to clap his hands and have this basic human right disappear. Also, having a rapist as a president doesn't make me feel the safest either. 

As a person of color, I am terrified. Trump is racist and endorsed by the KKK, yes, but he is not racist towards Asians. People just believe that now he made it as President they are able to whatever they want without discipline. It has not even been two days, and Klan members are demonstrating and walking around towns. My black, filipino, non-white passing friends are terrified and do not know what to do. Their parents are selling houses, moving to other cities, states even to get away from the racism and harassment they receive.

Now, I am lucky to be from Seattle, which had I believe a 98% vote for Hillary and 2% for Trump, so I know I will feel safe only there. But if I were to travel to Georgia again, I am not sure. Especially with a mother who immigrated to America years ago. This is something that no one should ever experience, especially being citizens of this country.

At the end of the day, I am disappointed in America, once again. I am embarrassed to call myself that, and in all honesty I wish to not call myself American anymore. And I'm sure some people who read this will be tell me that my opinions are stupid, that I should leave the country, and that America will be better off without my "radical" opinions that soil the American reputation. Well to that, I ask you to look in the mirror and ask yourself how you are going to explain to your future children, friends, family, about why voted for a man that doesn't believe in basic human rights, and climate change. When wars break out over clean water, energy, left over trees, I want you to tell them and explain to them why you chose to overlook future generations quality of life. 

An Update

It seems that I am never able to consistently upload content here, which I apologize for. I understand that to build an audience, posts need to be posted frequently on a schedule, but I never seem to stick to it. If any of you have any suggestions on how I am able to manage my posting better, please let me know. Now onto the fun stuff! 

A Small Overview

So since I last posted, I moved to Switzerland, started my freshmen year of university, and travelled around the country. I've met a lot of amazing people that made my transition a bit easier. I got here around the 21st of August and had a week of orientation. It was exhausting mentally and physically going around town and visiting buildings, meeting teachers, meeting new people, etc but in the end I had a lot of fun and made great memories. After orientation week was over I had the first week of classes which mostly consisted of ice breakers, looking over the syllabus, and discussing some topics. The classes I got this semester were Inventing the Past, Ethics and the Environment, Intro to Drawing, The Stories We Live By, and French 200. It's a good mix to start off my journey of discovering what I want as a job. I thought I wanted to major in International Relations or International Business, but now that I am here I have been reconsidering a lot of my options. 

On the non academic side, so far I have visited Lugano, Lausanne, Geneva, Fribourg, Broc, Gruyéres. It was a small over the weekend trip and I had a lot of fun. There are loads of things to do here, up the street from my dorm there is a pub called Irish Pub but all the kids call it Kadime's because that's the name of the Founder of the bar. He's a sweet man who always welcomes us students or locals with open arms (and sometimes two for one tequila shots). He has great veggie options for us vegetarians, the prices for food can be daunting, so my roommates and I only go there for food on special occasions. We usually go there ritualistically every Tuesday, as does everyone else at this school. The nightclub scene is okay here, I've only been to one so far and the atmosphere is fun but the prices are ridiculous. 

Emotional Stability in the First Month

Since I have arrived here, even though I have had a lot of fun, my emotions are at an all time high, thus my anxiety has spiked immensely. I find myself missing the most minuscule and unimportant things back home. My dogs smells (regardless of pleasant or not), the smell of cooked rice, sushi, the smell of my dad's cologne, my mom's grey hairs, my entirely messy room, my car (which was recently sold), being yelled at, and the chores I hated the most in the world. But talking about all of these issues with friends or my roomies has really helped. My stress levels are off the charts, because a lot of things seem to be falling apart around me. My old study habits for some reason ceased to work once I landed in this country, and I feel as if I'm scrambling to get assignments done. I've only been here for a little over a month so one has to expect that over time things will get easier and a plan or exercise will hopefully become a ritual. But don't get me wrong, I know I have just said a lot of somewhat negative and daunting things, but I've had so much fun as well. My friends here make my day that much better, and being around such positive, fun people really benefit my over all spirit. 

Roommates at University

I remember before I got here I bought two books on roommates and how to become friends with them, be cordial, understanding of space, and what not. Now that I am here and have known my roommates for a month, I really didn't need those books. Which is saying something because I am the most typical introvert, I have cold face, and apparently look like a bitch. I really value my roommates more than I ever thought I would. They have really helped me in numerous ways, whether they know it or not. I always always grateful and indebted to them for all they've done for me. I'm not sure if they want they're real names, so from now on if I mention them I will call them by pseudonym's Ross and Miri.  

Ross is someone who can always lift your spirits and always makes my day better. She offers great intel on various topics varying from Edward vs. Jacob, to issues with peers. She is so genuine that it is almost entirely difficult to not feel like she's your quote on quote mom or older, wiser self. She pushes me to be a better person to not only others but myself as well. I really appreciate her, and I'm going to sad when we have to part ways in May.

Miri is just as influential and amazing as Ross. Miri is fiery, motivated, and ready to tackle anything. She inspires me to work harder, have more passion, and take advantage of any situation. She is a bit like me where she is more confronting than some, but that is something I believe useful when needed. She laughs and smiles constantly, and I have to say it's really contagious. She's just as sassy as she is caring and sweet, and always look out for me and Ross as if we were her younger siblings. I'm going to really miss Miri when I have to leave her in May. 

 

College: Stigmas with Relationships

Relationships throughout your life have some sort of impact of you, regardless of age, and one is not like the other. Once in college, relationships can be one thing for someone, but it can also be something completely different for someone else. The meaning of being in a relationship in college can be important and key for some, but something someone else completely avoids. And contrary to belief, being in a relationship isn’t as bad as some make it out to be.

Sure, college is supposed to be 4 years of pure, unadulterated, fun experimentation, and only be that. Joined with that idea is also that being single is the way to go, which isn’t always the case. Everyone that I talk to who is in college always say that no one should be in a relationship with someone while in college for many reasons, but for me, I don’t see the issue. My best friend started dating a guy early on in the year she started her freshmen year, and to me she seems perfectly fine, maybe even better. 

My best friend, who I’ll call Bean, just started college this year. She was terrified to leave, wasn’t sure about what to expect, basically just scared. She would always talk to me about how the boys at our school were terrible boys, because they all had a very specific, which a lot of the girls and/or boys did not fit in, including she and I. We would always be talking about how we didn’t need any boys in our life, which is true, but at the same time we always wanted some boy to make us feel good. After starting her freshmen year, Bean found a boy, finally. When she first started telling me about him, she would go on about how he made her feel amazing, emotionally, and would never stop talking about him. Ever….I’m serious. But when they actually labeled each other as boyfriend girlfriend, I saw a side of Bean I have never seen before. Sure, I’ve seen her happy, confident, strong, etc but whenever I would talk to her, she sounded so different. She sounded so happy and that’s when I realized that the whole stigma with being in a relationship while in college was totally bullshit. If both parties are willing, happy, etc, then what harm is it doing? Bean and her boy have been going strong for 5 months now, and I’ve never seen her more happy, and true to herself.

In the end, do whatever makes you happy, but the only thing I ask is to not be too judgmental about relationships before you try it out yourself.

 

I remain yours,

                                                                                                 Karina x

 

Self Love: Body Postivity

All throughout my life, I have been unhappy with myself physically. I didn’t like how I looked because, according to people around me, the only way to be beautiful in society was to be thin, and white. Both of those criteria’s went against me, so I immediately thought that I was not worthy. Just because I didn’t meet the standards of others ideas of beauty, I would and could never be beautiful. Starting June or so of 2015, when I was 17, I began to realize my own self worth.

With the growing amount of mixed race, and curve models, I was beginning to notice the beauty in myself. I always thought of other men and women who looked similar to me were beautiful, but for some reason I did not reflect that on myself. I’m only just learning to appreciate my body, after 17 years and hating on myself.  If one is healthy, and takes the right steps to taking care of their body, then I don’t see why others hate on them because they aren’t thin. Everyone is different, regardless, and people need to acknowledge that. I will never look or be like the person next me on this plane right now, because we are not the same. Our bodies are biologically different, which means several things like I won’t process food the same way they do. There’s always room for improvement, if you want to change something about yourself, then go ahead. Lose weight for yourself, no one else, and for your well being. Do it because you want to be healthy and feel better, not because someone says you should.

How I started to love myself was achieved by a lot of alone time, thinking about myself. I thought about how I felt about me as whole, and I constantly reminded myself that I am who I am, and I need to love myself for who I am because no matter what, this body is going with me to the grave and I need to appreciate it. I wrote down my thoughts in my journal, some more coherent than others, but it was therapeutic, and helped me immensely in the end. I watched Ashley Graham’s TED Talk, and that was something new for me as well. The way she handled herself, and respected herself as a whole was amazing, truly inspiring, and left and impression that will stay with me forever.

In the end, no matter that size you are, you are beautiful, and have so much worth. If you are having a tough time with loving yourself, hopefully these things may help you. This is how I learned to love myself, but things may be different for you. Test different things out, in the end, you are still going to be an amazing person, and you will learn how to appreciate who you are as a whole.

 

I remain yours,

                                                                                                 Karina x

 

College: Preparing Mentally

Starting last year, my junior year, at least 75% of what I thought about was college. The process of starting a Naviance, UCAS, writing applications, taking standardized tests, and college visits is all very daunting for some, while for others it is an exciting beginning to a new chapter in your life. I, myself, have had a mixture of both excitement and concern since starting, but recently I have found myself more scared. Since I accepted my schools offer, the whole college thing has sunk in as a real thing, which will happen in only a short few months.

At a recent senior retreat, several faculty members talked to us about the last few months of school and how to make sure we have the best remaining few months here. Not only that, but the school touched on how to treat one another, not only students, but teachers as well, during this time of high emotion. They said that everyone deals with it differently, and will act accordingly to how they feel. The one thing they wanted us to take away from their talks, were that we must understand, and respect everyone. After those talks, I began to think about how I would tackle addressing the issue of emotions, how to acknowledge them, and help yourself feel a bit better. Because in the end even if we are excited, the whole process still terrifying.

Acknowledge the issue at hand, and don’t ignore it: Some believe that with time, all your emotional issues will solve itself and disappear, which is true, but with college it’s different. Whatever you’re feeling, no matter what the emotion is, it’s always good to talk to someone, especially family. The majority of all kids on their way to college will think about leaving their family, comfort spaces, etc. Your family is the only think you’ve known since day one, it’s totally healthy to be scared shitless about leaving the most constant thing in your life. Talking to them about how you feel will give you a better idea of what to expect when you leave because with that discussion comes resolutions, ways to make you feel more comfortable, etc because in the end the only thing your parents want you to be is feeling safe, excited, and ready to leave.

Savor the time you have: Like I said earlier, everyone deals with leaving differently. One thing I have found helpful is savoring everything about anything. I take more time to appreciate the city I live in, my friends, school, parents, and the overall amazing life I live in Seattle. I tend to travel a lot, but these past two years have been me basically not wanting to travel because I want to spend as much time as possible here. With becoming more aware of things as I prepare to leave, I have a lot of time to think. I don’t only think about college. I think about the impression I want to leave at my school, community, friends, family, you name it. I think about my future, and about how I’m so excited but so, so scared at the same time. My life has only just begun, and I am so lucky to be going to a school in Switzerland, but everything about it seems daunting to me. In the end, look forward to the future, but make sure to appreciate and remember everything you’ve had in your life so far.

If anyone reading this is going to college soon, everything will be okay and work itself out. Be happy to start something new, remember everything around you, and be kind to everyone in your class regardless.

 

                                                                                    I remain yours,

                                                                                                 Karina

Unplug: The piece no one wants to read.

With being apart of the digital age, it's not hard to find hundreds of articles and people discussing the future of humans with the involvement of technology, and how we should unplug. I believe that there is a perfect balance. We don't need to completely "unplug" from the web, and smart technology, but I don't think that looking at a screen is good thing either.  

Unplugging from all things digital has offered me a new perspective. Some (my family) would argue that I'm never not on my phone, but that isn't true. I have recently made the effort to stop relying on my phone so much, and enjoying the environment around me and how appreciation in the smallest things can be the most important. If it weren't for me not looking at my phone during car rides, I would have never noticed the sun in the morning, kids leaving for school, and pedestrians hurrying to catch their bus. At the same time, I appreciate the digital age, I can appreciate all the benefits we have received because of it. There are also several physical downsides to being on your phone too much. For example, your overall posture when you're on your phone is usually in a hunched position, and when someone is on their phone too much, people are bound to be in a lot of pain. Another thing is that being on your phone too long can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, and the lights the phone omits can have someone have a hard time sleeping as well as not having a deep enough sleep, so the user does not feel as rested. 

With development of technology, I can talk to my family in Japan easily, for no costs. There are new mediums growing everyday, and people have the opportunity to put themselves out on the internet to be found. Friends, lovers, business partners, and more can be made on the internet. It's a new, and ever growing way we can stay updated on the latest with everything, whether it be the news, Instagram, updated with friends, the stock market, you name it. Also a smartphone has pretty much everything you need from music, planners, photos, bank account info, shopping, email, etc. 

In the end neither opposite sides of the spectrum are perfect, there is a perfect medium. To find the perfect medium, is a case by case basis, everyone is different and can find their own balance. 

January Inspiration

So far this January, I've been pretty inspired about everything. I found my dad's only Nikon FG film camera, and I've been using the hell out of that. Also I've been enveloped by my art, specifically my self portrait that I'm doing. I needed things to help my creative process so I went to the place I know I will find most of my photography, fashion, and art related inspiration...tumblr. Take a look at some of the things that are inspiring me most this month in the slideshow below. 

I'm also choreographing a dance this year for my school's company so I've found so many songs that have helped me find what I want from my dance, the dancers, and the story I want to tell. Here is a playlist of songs that I have been loving recently.  

Oldies but Goodies

Recently over the past few months I have found myself obsessively and constantly playing songs from the 60's-80's and I've only just realized how great the music is from those decades. In this post I'll tell you about some of my favorite artists and some of my personal song picks. 

1. Norman Greenbaum 

Known for his most popular song Spirit In the Sky, Norman Greenbaum's music can easily be found when one is on a road trip, drinking with friends, or cooking a meal. His music is versatile, folk like mixed with rock. My personal is Spirit In the Sky, but other songs I recommend are Marcy and Milk Cow. 

2. Redbone

Redbone's music consists of funky blues mixed with rock. They were most popular in the 70's, and in that decade they released my personal favorite song, Come and Get Your Love which is a cheerful, soulful song to dance and sing to. This band has extreme talent. 

3. Blue Swede

I don't think anyone can list of the best bands from the 60's and 70's without listing Blue Swede. Blue Swede defined the generation with their iconic song Hooked on a Feeling with its raw, upbeat rock vibe. Sure, I can always go for their most popular song but my picks are Always Something There to Reming Me and Never My Love.

Textures and Textiles: matériO

Yesterday my class and I visited an archive that had patterns, textiles, and textures. MatériO is a small company that deals with finding idiosyncratic and new materials and archiving them for their clientele. Their clientele can vary from people in the fish business to high fashion houses. They offer a large variety in their presentation room, with one side displaying new inventive pieces while on the other side, the materials are sorted and bagged on racks. Below are some of the things they had on display in their archive.