Life’s changes

I’ve been in Poland for three months, and during that time, I was struggling to fit into a new city, a new life style, and questioning what I want to do. I’ve came back to the States to visit friends and family, and ended up staying because of various important reason, and I’m basically back at square one, mapping out where I need to go. I think the experience has been good for me, to see how I operate in a new environment, and since coming back to the States, I’ve memorizes the things I actually needed vs the things I just want. It’s been an interesting five months, and I think I’m doing good. I have an clearer picture of what I want to do, and learning from the mistakes I made before and during the time in Poland. I’m no longer going into International Relations, but I’ll try to keep on doing something that is on a global scale (I am ambitious and proud of it), and definitely need to work on my procrastination since it’s going to be at least 6 more months before I can go back to school.

I’ve been playing games, procrastinate, and reflecting and getting clarity on my life’s plan. I think I’m doing good, I just have to remind myself that this is my path to walk and enjoy, not a race. Even now, I’m trying to map out everything about my life, and that’s too stressful. And when I’m stressed, I tend to procrastinate and get nothing done XD Halp!

Things will get more hectic before it can calm down, I think, but the past few months had really help me in putting things in perspective, and I’ve gain peace and the knowledge that I will be alright – and that’s the greatest feeling/knowledge to have. For now, I’ll keep on trying to fix my tendency to procrastinate little by little, and attain knowledge. Life is great ^___^

The secret of success

With how social media are so widespread today, how the internet is easily accessible worldwide, it’s so easy to search for information, and with it, the ease of being targeted by salespeople. Most advertisements about goods and products can be filtered out, but it’s harder to do so when it is about your psychology that is being targeted. I’ve been scrolling through my FB and Instagram feeds, and since I do follow some motivational coach, my ads are displaying people I ‘might like to watch’, and they might give good advice, say something that seems contradict to common sense, or even engage my curiosity through little challenges that supposedly ‘help’ with my personal goal, they might even claim that motivational coaching wouldn’t actually work, but the end message is always the same:

“You will be successful if you buy my product.”

Always.

Look at all these statements made by them:

Consulting with Sam Ovens

Rich Dad Poor Dad with Robert Kiyosaki

Charisma on Command with Charlie

It’s always the same, they claim that they can help you live your dream, that the ‘secrets’ they have found will make you a lot of money, and when you see the video or read the free book, they would wind things around, making it looks like they know what they’re doing, but the problem is that they would never come out and say what the ‘secret’ is, that they would tell you personal story while promoting their ‘best selling’ books and urge you to subscribe to their workshops.

When you do pay them to see what they’re talking about, they usually claim that their success is because of XYZ and that by following their example, you will be successful too. The problem with that is that’s not how it works – that’s not how the universe works. There is no such thing as ‘one size fit all’, ever, even the ‘one size fit all’ stockings doesn’t fit everyone, so why would one person’s way of doing things fit/work for everyone?????

No two things are ever the same in the whole universe, even identical twins have differences. You don’t expect a duckling to roost like a chicken, you don’t expect an elephant to grow fur like the polar bear, so why do you expect your life should be the same as another person?

Sure, what they’re claiming sounds good. ‘You don’t need to work hard to achieve success, you only need to do XYZ like I told you to,” pretty much is just a sales pitch, and shouldn’t be taken literally. What they’re expecting you to do, is to buy their book, subscribe to their workshops, and generally give them your money so that they can continue to be ‘successful’. They’re not there for you, they’re there for themselves.

And even if you think you have found a good coach/mentor/teacher, what works for them might not work for you. Actually, if you have the good fortune to meet a coach/mentor/teacher that really care for you, they would have told you this. They would have help you to find your own way, to find what works for YOU.

The secret of success is that only YOU can unlock your success, no one else. Only you can walk the path you need to walk; only you can learn what works for you; only you can live your life the way you want to. No one is as invested in yourself as you do, so please, do not purchase that ‘millionaire’s secret’ thinking it would get you to the same place as the person you’re looking at; please don’t subscribe to those workshops if you think it would be the ‘miracle’ you’re expecting. You can if you want to, but just know that what they’re selling you is part of their ploy, that their success is based on how many people will give them money. It’s not real, and their so-called ‘success’ would crumble when more people realize this truth.

You were born to be you, there is no one else that can be you, no one else has experienced the things you have, no one else sees the world the way you do, so your success can only be found by YOU!

To sum it up, the secret to success, any kind of success, is YOU.

Making mead, first try

From the amount of effort I have put into looking for a certain type of beer, wine, and my tendencies to drink cocktails, I’m probably a closet alcoholic XD However, I’m not really into drinking till I passed out, and my choice of drinks are usually something sweet (like Red Apple Ale, or Mimosa), and only interested in how it tastes (so I really don’t like dry drinks at all, hence I spend a lot of time finding a drink that actually tastes good for me).

So with the taste in mind, I was looking for something that is healthy to drink, and I haven’t found a wine that I like to the point of wanting to drink a glass every day, so I’ve been doing a little research and it lead me to mead. I’ve been interested in mead for a while, but when I was living in Indiana, mead is hard to come by, and those that are for sale usually have high content alcohol, so I’ve passed that up, till now, that is. I did find a couple brand of mead in Carre Four and bought a bottle home to try. While it still does have high content alcohol, the bitter taste was balanced by the sweetness of honey, and I thought it was a pretty good drink. My logic leads me to think that if I can make mead at home, I’ll do less alcohol while getting the benefits of mead still.

Making mead at home turned out to be easier than I thought, and there are two methods: wild fermentation and yeast fermentation. It pretty much broke down into few ingredients: honey, water, and yeast. With the wild fermentation, all you need is honey and water, mix it up, and wait for it to ferment; this method takes a bit longer than the yeast fermentation due to the fewer number of yeast that is available in the honey, so it’s up to you to choose. For my first time making mead, I thought I could just do the wild fermentation and see how it turned out. I’ve read from a few how-tos:

Imbibe Living

Earthineer

Got Mead

Zero-waste Chef

It really seems to be simple: get honey to water ratio, mixes them up, stir a few times a day, rejoice at the result a week or so later. In practice, it didn’t work for me.  I did 1:4 honey to water ratio, and stir as instructed daily, but after a week, I still see no sign of bubbling, only babbling whitish cloud in the mixture.

Upon closer inspection, the cloud kinda looks like a buffed hero in heavy armor, so I just leave it be, blindly hoping that the white cloud is yeast. To give it credit, it does smell a bit of yeasty goodness, but the taste is just simply honey water. After a couple more days, there was still no sign of bubbling, but the cloud broke apart. Some sunk onto the bottom, and some floated to the top. The result isn’t pretty and making me doubt the mixture even more.

Not sure exactly what went wrong, but I’m guessing I would need to get yeast and start over, this time I’ll try another type of honey, and use yeast to make it easier on myself.

While I was reading about honey, there’s also a topic of local, organic honey, and it leads me to think about making my own bee aviary. It would be cool to have my own honey supplies XD I got excited just thinking about the many uses and benefits of honey, and what’s better than having my honey in the backyard?

Well, I don’t have any backyard now, but it would be quite nice once I settle down somewhere XD Though, with the process of getting honey from the hive, there is such thing as Flow Hive, where the process of draining the honey is easier on the owner and the bees, as you can just drain the honey straight from the honeycomb instead of going through the long process of taking out the combs and separating the honey manually. One more thing to put on my list of a dream home, haha. With the number of fruit trees and herbs I want to plant in my future garden, having a next of bees around would make for easier fruiting ^____^

An ideal world

I’ve always been a dreamer, the type to believe that the world should be a better place, a simple world with rights and wrongs clearly defined. I’ve grown enough to see the grey areas, but I’ve never stopped dreaming about an ideal world; it is partly wishful thinking, partly coping mechanism in the world that has a lot of sufferings. Ultimately, I dream of a world where everyone is happy and no one hurts one another, because I do believe that we are all connected.

Growing up in Viet Nam, where gang activities are serious and the public safety is questionable at best; and the States, where it seems those who have money held the real freedom – and in turn, the freedom of the people, I was disappointed with what I see and hear every day, so much so that I withdrew into myself. I’ve lost a lot of my initial enthusiastic to contribute to society, and turn my head away from seeing the world for fear that if I continue to see the suffering, I would either break or be influenced by the corruption I see. Despite the fear, I still have the urge to do something to help, so I pursue International Relations degree; inwardly, I was still fearful and regardless of how I turned it in my mind, trying to look for a silver lining, I still see that I’m heading to a place that is going to be full of pain for me. I’m still too idealistic, too sensitive, and still struggling to understand myself, so I wasn’t sure what I can do. I might have an idea of where I want to go with my life, but I’m stepping blindly forward, and all I can see is me fighting with politicians without the slightest idea on how to win the arguments.

I dislike confrontations, but my fighting spirit didn’t let me give up on the idea, so I’ve been pretty torn. It didn’t help that I’ve been dealing with depression and BPD for the past couple years. I didn’t want to be in a constant battle with other politicians, but I still want to be one more voice that speaks up; so I talk to a good friend of mine, who managed to help me to see it from another perspective. I have been too stubborn and only look at it from only one point of view, haha. In hindsight, I should have talked to my friend sooner, instead of running around inside my head like a hamster.

He helps me to see that there are other ways to fulfill my desire to help by helping me understand that I cannot help others if my strength is depleted, that I should be doing what makes me happy and spread the joy around – it is a more effective method than carrying the gloom and assuming that I need to do everything, be everything, and I am grateful for that.

Now that I understand that in order to add happiness to the world, I have to be happy first. It means I need to step back and look at the big picture, to step back and see both the paper and the black dot, not just the black dot on the paper’s center.

I need to take a step back, take a deep breath and center myself. I still believe in an ideal world, and I’ll keep following the path that leads to it. I’ll still continue my studies, but I’ll keep my views on a global scale and not be so stuck into the problems of the world, and focus on what will make me happy first.

During the talk with my friend, we discussed hopes and dreams, and I found out that whenever I think of creating arts, I get so happy, so driven, and only then did I realize how much art means to me. I mean, I love gushing about games and spend countless hours reading Mangas and sighing dreamily while browsing pictures, but I didn’t actually make the connection (I can be pretty dense sometimes xD), and was surprised at how excited I feel at making arts. I’ll pursue my interest in this, and create joy for myself and spread it around. This should be fun ^____^ I’ll still be in Poland until I get my Bachelor in IR, but I’ll do some research and enroll myself in art school. I can’t wait until I can create fan arts, and hopefully in the future I’ll be working with a game studio cranking out deliciously great looking games. I do wanna be like CD Projekt Red when I grow up 😉

What can I say, I’m still a dreamer 😛 I have regained my spark, and I’ll run with it. An ideal world is possible, and we’ll get there someday.

Learning to be brave

I realized that I’ve been getting along thus far on pure bravado and a touch of naivety; with the thinking that everything will be fine, I have mostly charged headlong into things without planning ahead. Sometimes I think I live for the unknown, the excitement of seeing what will unfold, and testing myself to see what I’m made of – and sometimes, I forgot that I need to be prepared, at least mentally.

Not many people are prepared for life, that’s for certain, and no one is 100% prepared for what will happen next; I’m a big believer that life has its purpose, and its unpredictability is part of its beauty. I’m not going to worry about being in complete control of life, but I do worry about my own strength. Someone had said that “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings” and I really think that it is true. If I’m strong enough to face life’s challenges, that would increase my chances of succeeding in life.

It has been a long process, but I’m slowly trusting myself more; I’m learning that I do not have to be perfect to be enough. I do want to improve myself, to be the best of me, but I am enough just as myself.

I came from a dark past, bear with me; I am the youngest daughter in a very traditional Vietnamese family, where my value and self-worth were based on pleasing my family, getting good grades in school, and marrying well. I was taught not to have my own opinions, to obey whatever my parents decided for me. I grew up terrifying of doing the wrong things because every time that I did something not to my parents’ liking, I was in for a beating. To this day I still cringe at any type of confrontation, if I do something wrong I would feel like it’s the end of the world, and my mind blanks out when someone came at me with an argument that I’m not prepared for. I’m getting better, though, and hopefully, I’ll grow into myself more. I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past few months, and came to the conclusion that striking out on my own would be good, as it would give me the distance I need from my mother, and the last time I strike out on my own, I did come to a better understanding of myself, so I was hoping this time would be the same, if not better.

I thought that things will go smoothly since I tried to have my all my ducks in a row, but I guess life will throw challenges at people and show them what their actual strength lies.

I thought that I have everything I needed, but it went its separate way when I started. First, to study abroad, I needed my high school diploma, an apostille (a document stating that the education I received from my country is the same standard as the country I want to study in), and the G.I. Bill entitlement letter bearing my name. There was a miscommunication, and the explanation for the apostille was wrong, so I got the wrong kind of documents (that I did not know until I was in Poland). I was halfway to the airport when I remember I have forgotten the G.I. Bill letter, but had to keep going since I was going to be late for my flight; then when I got to my new university in Poland, I was told that I have the wrong documents, so I have to send necessary paperwork back to the States in order to get the right ones. It’s been half a month since I send paperwork, and a month and a half since the start of the school year, and I still have not received my paperwork back. It’s been making me anxious since I was relying on the G.I. Bill funding to pay for school. Oi vey. I’m trying to stay positive, and hopefully, things will be resolved by the end of the month.

And of course, being the carefree person that I am, I figured that I’ll rent an apartment when I get to Poland. I didn’t account for the fact that there will be hundreds of people also looking for apartment XD It took me two weeks to be able to find apartment, and I was running all over town trying to do apartment viewing, talking to owners, talking to agents, and staying with different Airbnb hosts meanwhile (it was expensive, and I have three different hosts due to the timing of booking).

I was very happy to finally rent an apartment within half an hour of the University, and the owner was very understanding and accommodating with my circumstances (I couldn’t pay him right away when we sign the contract, as I forgot about the withdrawing limit for ATM, and I didn’t know that the first payment is in cash).

The lesson I had to learn: do more research, but a good thing that came with the struggle I had to go through – learning that I am stronger than I think and that the struggle is only a temporary thing. During the first month I was in Poland, I had to travel all over town to find the things I need while trying my best to convey my meaning to native Polskie who doesn’t speak much English. I also had to do things the hard way, like checking to see what voltage my electronic equipments need; if I had done that, I would have saved so much time and effort. Instead, I thought that everything I own need a power converter, so I had to run to many electronic stores to find a power converter that is strong enough for my 250 watts laptop, only to find out that my laptop can convert EU power (if it has 100 ~ 240 V, then you only need an adapter for the plug, not the battery). I didn’t check, so I ran into the problem of trying to find a strong enough power converter, but the strongest could only convert up to 200 watts, so for a while I had to plug to charge my laptop while it’s turned off, and it takes almost twice as long to charge as usual, and have to charge my phone while I’m not charging the laptop so I can find my way around the city.

After all that trouble, I find out that all my electronic devices are quite capable of converting power by themselves, all of them are dual voltage XD

Gadzookaronians, four days of hunting for power converters, only to find out that I don’t need to. Urgh. The rest was fairly easier, getting plug adapters, and find a surge protector outlet and I was good to go.

So, yes, research, as I was pretty confident when I was on my way to Poland, then find out that I don’t really know anything, it’s rather frustrating, humbling, and hilarious at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever walked for 8 hours a day ever since I move to the good U.S. of A, but I’ve had to do that during my first month of just getting used to how things are in Poland. Now that I have my own place, my base of operations, I’ve only had to walk for 4 hours a day, isn’t that marvelous?

It’s been a learning experience, and I’m still hanging on. I’m proud of that.

Long Awaited Start

I’ve been wanting to start my own blog for a while now, but things were hectic for just as long. Now that I finally start to settle in somewhat, I thought it would be great to just follow my heart’s desire, especially since I’m making a new life. This is basically a birthday gift for myself, something that would keep me going for when I get discouraged (which happens more often the older I get), and also serve as a place where I can show how much of a fangirl I am, haha.

As an introduction, let’s start with my basic information: I am a woman of 29 years, dreaming and fangirling for at least 19 years now; being a picky gamer with hermit tendency I sometimes get so absorbed in games, movies, or stories that I disappeared of the face of the Earth for months on end, and I’m fortunate that my friends are the understanding types. There are very few that I talk on daily basics, and I really appreciate the ones that do, because they are my true, loyal friends, and they are the ones that encourage me to be myself.

When I do goes out into the world after my hermit period, I found it to be a place of fascination and a source of pain – can’t live with them, can’t live without them. The world is beautiful, and sometimes it feels chaotic, and as any main character in a game/book/movie does, I want to try making it better. Or at least I want to XD There’s so much I do not know, and every time I come out of my shell, the gap of my education seems to be more obvious. I wanted to learn, I want to see the world more, so I packed my bag and headed for Warsaw, Poland, the HQ of my favorite game developer: CD Projekt Red, the maker of the great game series The Witcher. I have not had the courage to visit their HQ yet, but I’m happy to at least be in the same city XD

I have been running crazy trying to settle in the new living condition, new city, and getting used to a place where English speakers are limited. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, and I’m starting to see myself differently, learning new things from both the outside world and my inner sanctum. New city, new life, right? I want to start to open up, share myself and show myself what my experiences, and hopefully I can start showing the fruit of my efforts so far.

So here’s to the start of Fan Girl Tendencies, may you enjoy the world through my point of views.

Cheers,

Arvy