If you are new to this site, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
No single word could successfully sum up last week. If I have to pick, it was a week filled with “contrasts”: There was comfort and discomfort, intemperance and sobriety, hope and doubt, pure happiness and utter upset.
Wednesday, I received a pain-striking massage, which as hoped, treated some knots on my back and shoulder that have stuck around for the majority of my adult life.
Thursday night, I went to an intoxicated Happy Hour and enjoyed some damn fine and FREE mojitos.
Friday, picked up an old friend who’s visiting Denver.
Saturday, had my own farewell party (with cakes!).
Sunday is spent in the stream of Boulder Creeks and later, in the city park, soaking up the last bit of Coloradan sun and water.
As opposed to my packed schedule, I’ve recently felt a stronger sense of emptiness and loss. I’m two weeks away from selling my car, packing all my shit and leaving the country (for good). My car and my stuff are two piles of concerns that hang over my head day in and day out. Work hasn’t been going the smoothest. Old friendships are shifting overtime as we all, inevitably, evolve. New relationships form, and some of them will, inevitably, fade. My physical health isn’t at its best. And there are many specific things like volunteering, lifestyle changes and exploring more of Colorado that I want to commit to, but unfortunately I feel very restricted by my limited time here.
In May, when thinking about the time I had left in the States, I was fairly confident that I could push through the process of leaving my college town immediately after graduation (I ended up leaving Missouri the night after my last two finals), moving to a new city, settling down there and getting ready for another departure. All in just two months.
When I’m looking at this original plan now, I’m not saying this is undoable. What I’m saying instead is the plan I had then was a VERY tough one, much more so than I was mentally and physically prepared for. Even with the help of a quickly established support system in Denver, I have felt helplessness, stress and doubts along the way. Not frequently, but consistently.
This is my third to last weekly roundup before leaving Denver. I can’t help feeling sad about that, because this means my time here has now officially come to a final countdown. With all the pressure I’m feeling, I want to give myself a pat on the back and say that I did a good job, for taking care of myself, pursuing an internship I set my mind on getting when I first started undergrad and most importantly, immersing in a new city, which in turn helped me understand something new about my own character while meeting and forming bonds with a handful of new people.
My time in Denver and the presence of these people have taught me many things, some of which I’ve been reluctant to learn for years. I’m forever grateful for that.
Some election things I’m reading when I’m avoiding seeing Trump’s face
- Damn, Can We Let Malia Obama Live? And of course, Obama’s Glamour story, a.k.a. a public love letter from a father to his two daughters.
Some things I’m reading
- I really hate flossing, so when I saw this “flossing may not be as necessary/helpful as people have advertised” story last Tuesday, I felt like I was just dropped to easier and more beautiful world. Later in the week, this Poynter story talked about the process of one AP journalist obtaining the floss story, which only managed to make heaven so much brighter.
- Mothers cannot pass their citizenship to their babies in some countries. And from this story, I discovered another section of the NYT that’s called “What in the World.” Reading this column so far has had me learn more about Taiwanese history, boarder between Belgium and the Netherlands, and so much more. For all wanderlusts out there, this should be your gem.
- How those cargo shorts ruin relationships.
- The Atlantic: Is it ok to cry at work?
- Buzzfeed: What I’ve learned from having a trans partner? I’ve encountered the writings of a dozen beneficiaries of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. Though they are diverse in styles, I greatly enjoyed many of them. Here’s another graduate from the program who I aspire to, Jenny Zhang, and a poem of hers: “How It Feels”.
Some things I’m watching
- I watched John Oliver’s segment on journalism last weekend, and then watched it over and over this week, as my fellow journalism students shared it so many times that a single video flooded my timeline.
It is a scary truth that as consumers, we have a lesser urge to pay for the information that costs labor and money to gather. As a content creator, I hold high standards for the content I, as well as others, create, and understand the financial dilemma deeply. I have been willingly paying for the content I think deserves my monetary support (including donating to Wikipedia), while encouraging others do the same. Please don’t underestimate the power of your purchases, because as Anna Lappé once said:
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” — Anna Lappé
Some things I’m listening to
- I stumbled across Daniela Andrade’s videos on YT early last week and have been listening to them ever since.
PIC of the Week
Shoutout of the Week
One of the lifestyle changes I mentioned at the beginning of this post has something to do with zero waste. I admire people who commit to the zero waste lifestyle, because the summer that I spent working on a farm in Alaska taught me one thing: many amenities that ultimately produce the most waste also generate convenience and save a lot of time in our lives, which makes giving them up just that much harder.
For instance, in Alaska, we had this tiny hand mill, and we used to sit there and roll it for hours to grind wheat into flour. After that, we knead the flour and bake the dough into breads. To feed a household of five, this meant a whole day of work, as opposed to driving to the grocery store, picking up a loaf of bread and, BAM, DONE.
But over the years, with my experience living in Asia, Europe and the U.S., I’ve become uncomfortably aware of how much MORE energy typical U.S. lifestyle leads to consume and how much MORE waste it would in turn produce. The U.S. is the only place I’ve ever lived that considers drier a norm, even in regions where air dry is a very feasible alternative. It’s also, of all the places I’ve lived, the country that wastes the most food per capita. The scariest thing is, many people lead this sort of life mindlessly, without giving second thoughts on the amount of energy and waste involved in the process.
This is why I’m pleasantly surprised to see more and more exposure on minimalism and zero waste. But like I mentioned, committing to this lifestyle also means having to devote more time to figure out the very mundane tasks that now probably take me only minutes to do. First thing off the top of my head, makeup. How can I apply my makeup zero waste?
I have the blog Paris To Go bookmarked for a while now. And once in a blue moon, I just go through her posts one after another, not looking for anything specific, instead just to browse and learn. She has a beauty section devoted to zero waste beauty and makeup. You can read about her routine here.
As I’m moving to Myanmar, a developing country undergoing many changes, including environmental ones, I have this thought that me leading a zero-waste lifestyle there would be both difficult and extremely beneficial for not just myself, but also others around me. I haven’t decided yet, as I’m not sure how feasible it would be and how it could affect my experience fitting into a new country, but I am leaning to trying it out after I settle in. Will definitely keep you guys posted on this later on.