In flight

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First off, I would like to apologize for the lack of activity on my blog. This past week I was involved in an intensive one week course of maritime rules of the road. This week meant lots of late nights, cramming, and monotonous memorization. But I passed and it’s over!

But I am writing this post thousands of feet in the air as we speak. I am headed home! Home is Southern California for me and I am sure that wherever your home is, that there is nothing else like it.

But in this post I want to talk about flying! I may be part of the minority, but I actually enjoy flying, for the most part. I say most part because there are times when flying is not so enjoyable (last minute boarding gate changes, noisy people, flight delays, etc. etc.). Why do I like flying? Well…

  1. “Me time”
  • When I’m on a plane, I am sitting with complete strangers. Sure there may be some small talk, but for the most part, I am able to zone everyone out and just relax. It’s nice to just have some quiet time to yourself without any stress. I always bring my journal and write in it, as a calming activity.
  1. No phone service
  • I actually like the fact that I am disconnected with social media, texting, and emails. Yes, there is wi-fi onboard, but I have never actually used it. With no phone service, I am able to do things that I normally am not engaged in on land. For instance, I get a lot of pages read from a book that I have been meaning to read for a while. I am also able to finally watch that movie I have wanted to watch for the past couple of months. Once again, “me time” is emphasized here.
  1. The window sights
  • I always fly trans-continental U.S. flights due to my home and my school being on opposite coasts. Therefore I get a “free” overhead look of the entire southern half of the country! I am always at awe at how different the terrain/environment is in each state. My personal favorites are Colorado and Utah for their gorgeous canyons and mountains.
  1. The refreshments and snacks
  • I almost always fly with Delta (on some occasions Southwest) and I love their snacks. Biscoff cookies are my absolute favorite. I would die for those cookies at any time, any day. As for drinks, I usually go with Ginger Ale because I never drink it on land.
  1. The destination
  • This section applies mostly for when I am going from college -> home. Whether or not you enjoy flying, I am sure that you want to get to your destination. Always around 2-3 weeks before a flight, I am looking forward to go home. There is nothing that makes me happier than being on a plane and hearing the engines roar as I am brought from ground zero to thousands of feet in the air. Why? Because I will be able to go home with my loved ones. The destination is by far, the top reason why I like flying. And of course, if you’re flying for a vacation, there’s that kind of anticipation and excitement as well.
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Final

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The word final scares me.

Final reminds me of the dreaded finals in school where you spend a couple of weeks scrambling to remember information you’ve been learning for the past few months.

Final also reminds me of sports. The last, final race/game/competition. You want to perform your best in the final because more often than not, it’s what matters most.

But the word final, most of all, signifies reality. Everything of value has a final date, a final moment. Eternal is an illusion. Final is real. That is why we mold our lives so that when we reach the final date, moment, time…we are at peace. We strive to be alive. We strive to be final.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Final

Maze

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Life is a maze.

Mazes are human creations made to challenge our most basic skills: the ability to create a cognitive map of our environment and to be able to navigate this cognitive map.

Now, connecting the concept of a maze and life itself…life is complicated. Life is not a straight line in which we depart at point A and arrive at point B. Life is trial and error, and here are some correlations I have made with mazes and with life:

  1. Wrong turns that lead to dead ends. These actions are frustrating in both mazes and in life. But to be honest, how are we supposed to know the right turns unless we discover the wrong turns? Wrong turns equate to failures in real life. And to be frank, I learn heck of a lot more from my mistakes than from my successes. Failures are not really failures if you are able to learn from it and become a better person than before.
  2. Lost time. Ever spend a whole day at home doing absolutely nothing productive and still feel groggy? I have. Time is a precious, intangible concept that we should all value. While it is nice to not do anything (and by all means we do need some of these days!), doing something of value is much more healthy for us. Just like how in mazes, you do not want to just stand still. Movement (forward or backwards) is trying. We humans derive happiness from little accomplishments. So I challenge you to have a small to-do list everyday of things you want to be productive at. Whether that’d be a nice outdoor run, getting groceries, organizing your drawers, or finally working on that art project you ignored for weeks…do something.
  3. Be patient. Yes, you may take 14 wrong turns before making the first right turn. Or you may attack tasks head-on with very little thought process, which ends up with you being exhausted with no success made. What I always say is, “slow and steady wins the race”. Remember the old fable about the tortoise and the hare? How the hare knew for a fact he would win so he underestimated the tortoise and lost sight of the race. Meanwhile, the tortoise, at a very slow pace, perservered and ended up winning the race. We should all aspire to be like the tortoise. Be thoughtful, precise, and never lose sight of your purpose/goal/aspiration.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Maze

Pink

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I never really did like pink.

I always thought the color was too generic for girls. It was also a very artificial color I thought. I loved being outdoors since I was a young girl, and therefore I was always more of a blue/green person since these colors were abundant in nature.

To me, when I was younger, the color pink reminded me of:

  1. Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape. Not the gum, but the gum that was made into a tape-like roll, in which you can ‘cut’ off the desired length of gum you wanted. I remember always asking my mom to buy me more bubble gum from the liquor store because I loved the fact that I could now play with my candy (by blowing bubbles).
  2. Pepto Bismol. I had the occasional indigestions, and I remember being fed a spoonful of this by my mother. I thought pepto bismol was magic because it always cured my indigestions. Not going to lie, but once, I remember taking pepto bismol even though I was not sick, but because I ended up liking the taste of it.
  3. Barbies. I was such a tomboy when growing up, but one thing I did like that fit the ‘girly’ category was barbies. I just liked the fact that I could customize each barbie doll with different clothes and also make up stories for them.
  4. My sister. She is my polar opposite. Yet some of my best memories include her in it. She is the total opposite of me, so, not to my surprise, her favorite color was pink. When growing up, we were possessive of colors. My sister got everything in pink and I got everything in green or blue. This color coordination made our possessions very easy to distinguish.

What pink means to me now:

  1. Flowers! I love nature and especially the flowers that are bloomed in the spring. Some of my favorite flowers are pink: peonies, lotuses, cherry blossoms…
  2. PINK by Victoria’s Secret. They have the comfiest and cutest garment wear.
  3. Valentine’s Day. I do not have a significant other, nor have I ever, but the color pink is pretty much synonymous with Valentine’s Day.
  4. Lipstick. Pink is such a feminine and sweet color. Pink lipstick is a must-have for all girls.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Pink

Pursue

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So today’s daily post is revolved around the theme “Pursue“.

So I pondered a bit, and realized that I don’t have a definitive end-goal that I am pursuing.

If you’ve read my past post “Lifestyle(s)” (if not that’s totally fine), I mentioned that I am a cadet of one of five service academies in the U.S. Many people often perceive cadets as young mature adults who have a clear-cut, envisioned plan for their future. Some do, definitely. But most, including me, are just in it for the ride and doing the best we can with what we are currently tasked with.

Therefore, I am pursuing to be the best at what I am currently doing. Being both a student and a military member. I want to strive in my academic studies and eventually go to graduate school.

School is and has always been familiar to me. Sure, I despise the late nights where I stay up studying for exams or writing up laboratory reports, but these times remind me of my civilian life in high school. And most of my accomplishments in life came from my achievements in school, be it good exam grades, good papers, good reports, etc. etc.

I am also pursuing to be the best leader possible. I always thought leading was easy because you just told people to do this and that. But I learned that that is not leadership. That’s management. Leadership is not only being able to tell people what to do, but is more of influencing and inspiring. True leaders gain the respect of followers through hard work ethic, compassion, knowledge, and confidence.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

Exposed

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There’s nothing more I want in life than to be exposed.

Exposed to nature. The vibrant shades of green blending in with the clear blue sky and the chestnut brown dirt. The crisp rustling of trees speaking to me in secret. My skin, electrified by the cool breeze that runs through my entire body. The fragrant fir, pine, cedar, balsam, and birch trees that intoxicate me as I gently touch the leaves and branches with not a care in the world. I could almost taste the alluring fragance that Mother Nature offers. All five senses in wonder.

Exposed to cultures. I have been traveling with my family ever since I could remember. Every single place I visited, has allowed me to become more worldly and to step into a new set of customs and mannerisms. We are all humans and I think we should all embrace each other. No culture is perfect, but we aren’t either. There is something beautiful to be learned from different heritages, and this reason is why I love to travel. The more we are exposed to other cultures, the more compassionate we become. And the more compassionate we become, the fuller the life we can live.

Exposed to people. I want to be transparent and let people not only see the pretty, but also the not so pretty sides of me. Life is too short to be living behind a mask of facade. We should all be the rawest version of us possible. We were all born with different likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. I want to strive towards who I truly am, and not let others mold me into the way they want me to be. There’s nothing more perfect than being imperfect.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Exposed

 

Lifestyle(s)

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Lifestyle simply refers to a way of living. I, however, feel that I have three different lifestyles due to my unique set of circumstances.

Military 

I am currently a cadet at one of five service academies in the U.S. I am therefore a part of the active military force while also receiving training/education to eventually graduate as a commissioned officer along with a Bachelor of Science. I had to adjust to a completely different lifestyle, being under a strict set of rules while in uniform. I realize that my actions do not only reflect myself, but also the service academy and the service branch itself. I am much more aware of my presence, my words, and my actions. In short, being in a military service academy has made me ‘grow up’ a lot faster as I do not have the freedom as civilian college students do (no partying/drinking/frats/sororities here).

Student

Service academies are extremely competitive to get into. Not only do you have to have a stellar GPA, but you also have to be

1) physically fit (~90% of cadets have high school varsity letters, ~70% were varsity sports captains, and at least 30% of my classmates play at a college level).

2) involved in leadership positions (such as being president of a club, boys scout/girls scout, sports, etc).

It makes sense that the requirements are so stringent. Service academies pay for your entire four years of a first-class education (no college debt!), provide you with a guaranteed career as an officer (which makes pretty good bucks), and you get all the military service benefits (car/house loans, free healthcare, pension, store discounts, etc.).

That being said, being a student at a service academy can be challenging! Everyone is intelligent, talented in something, and has great leadership potential. You are also given a class rank where you know exactly who is #1 and who is at the bottom. It is very transparent here, which is helpful for me because I get competitive!

Home

Lastly, during the six weeks of break I get (three weeks for winter break, three weeks for summer break), I get to (somewhat) revert back to my old self. I will never be that same person I was before I entered into a military service academy, but, still, it is nice to just relax with my family and friends. When I am at home, it is like a safe haven. It is funny how quickly I adjust to the home lifestyle once I drop my luggage and bags and just sit at the dining table with my family. I pick back up where I left off, and there’s no better feeling than spending quality time with the family that I cherish so much. Being away for the vast majority of the year makes me value them even more than I already did.

– J

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle