2016 might not be a year missed after all

During this week, the time between Christmas and New Year, I have come across many great reflective posts, funny memes, people’s new year resolution as well as people’s complaining about this moment – when the theme is always “new year, new me”.

To tell you the truth, I am often not among people making new year resolutions either, and I am kind of anti the cliche vibe: new year, new me as well. This is not to say I have never been like that in my entire life, so I am not here to judge or criticise anyone. In fact, I like this period between Christmas and New Year. It gives me the impression that holiday is not yet over, there is still one day to look forward to: the very moment our past 365 days went into burning flames in the sky. I have felt unsettled inside, as if a wave is rising up or an a bird is dying to fly out of her cage. That usually is a sign for me to write.

I think my recent posts have been much about what silver lightnings I saw within the dark days. They have fulfilled enough of reflection. Hence, right now, at 11am Finland time, on New Year Eve, my post is simply about inviting you all to join me in this one task. Are you ready? Okay, close your eyes. Ah, actually, no, I am kidding, that step comes later once you finish reading, because it does not make sense if you close your eyes now *awkward laugh*.

What I love about this last day of the year, is how emotional you can get. I might not be all for the cliche “New Year, New Me”, but I am all for the cliche “damn, how fast a year can pass”. You hear that often on this day. It is hard to believe the year is ending, on the very last day of the year. But 2016 to me is fast, insanely fast, in like a blink of an eye.

I don’t know how 2016 has been to you, but to me, I have not had many big milestones or achievements to count while looking back at this year. All I could see was the painful moments. Before Christmas even came, I got the most nervous thinking about today. I couldn’t get myself to actually believe 2017 is so closed. I did not know if I was ready for it yet. I did not know if I had gained enough energy and stability for a new start or a new chapter. Like everyone else who might share this feeling, I was scared 2016 has been a year missed for me.

But my alone Christmas gave me tons of time and space to think, to actually look back at what really happened this year. And as many of us, I think I have overlooked my own small milestones too. Do you recall the difficult days of this year, when you thought you could not continue anymore, whatever that “continue” means to you? You thought you would give up, perhaps a job, a task, a project, friendship or relationship. You thought something was too hard for you to do, to get over. You thought you could not do it alone. You thought you were a failure. You believed the future to you was blank. And remember the highly exhausted moments? Today, on this day, let’s rewind back to those times mentally, and you give your past selves a hug, a pat on your shoulder or simply say with a smile: “You have fought enough, relax a little, it’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to feel beaten down. But you will not be beaten down for long, you will fight it through”.

The best part of New Year Eve is this ability. We are now in the future moments our 6 month ago version desperately wanted to reach to. 6 months ago, I also desperately wanted someone to give me a hug, tell me those exact things. I wished for a person who could just do that without me even asking. I did have a person being there for me. It was just a bit not the same as I wished for in my mind. I realised the reason for that is because no hug would be better than the hug from the future me, the only person who truly understand what I went through.

I don’t remember if I have ever done this in other years, but I guess this mental hug is the most revolutionary for 2016. Be prepared to feel a little sad, guys. It is not supposed to feel so easy as it sounds. It took my breaths away when I wandered back to such moments, to look at myself crying in pain and hopeless to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever I might have been avoided sometimes not to think about, I wandered back there too. It is the last day of 2016, what the hell, right?

I guarantee you though, after such journey, after sadness comes relief. Isn’t it unbelievable that you successfully fought through? Do you feel like a superhero? Well you should. Be a superhero on this very last day, you are soon about to be the champion in 2016. Join me in embracing your winning moments on this last day, before you get prepared for another 365 days to come.

Tonight, when the fireworks are burst in the sky, give all of your bad memories into those flames and look at them burned. I always see the fireworks as the tool for me to let go of things briefly. I can imagine the very bad things of mine turn into such beautiful things in the sky. The light will take over me, let me to treat the firework as a personal gift for me. Right there, I also think about the good days that I normally forget. Even if 2016 has been the worst year I have lived, I would be too selfish to forget the small rare good moments keeping me alive. Those moments are the ones worth staying closed with me.

You see, we as human, we are very strong and persistent even if we think we are not sometimes. We are not given many chances to appraise ourselves for this, but New Year Eve is one of those chances. So I hope you party hard tonight! I hope you go out and see the fireworks and most importantly, you have done the mental comfort to your past selves!

Last month of the year, seems like the time to write again.

Autumn, third one in the list of seasons: spring – summer – autumn – winter; makes us feel like new chapters usually happen in spring when new years start, and summer is when we free us from attachment and “let’s have all the unforgettable memories“;

autumn should be when things are slowly getting quiet before winter comes with its beautiful coldness. But somehow, Autumn always carries within it lots of chaos and changes. In reality, autumn is when schools start again, new classes, new groups, new friends, new parties, new jobs; or turning back to old jobs with few new faces, and turning back to old unfinished things we put off during summer, facing back to problems we cannot run away as we are adults. Adults are stuck. Adults cannot always escape. Adults should know life does not hand out the permanent luxury to hide in comfort. 

So this Autumn, as everyone else, I simply had to attempt being an adult again. 

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I returned to the place I ran away from.

Honestly, it was not a moment of glorious recognition motivating me to decide for returning. I returned because my plan B for staying in Europe worked, despite it being done at very last-minute. As every newly University graduated students, plus under-graduated ones in their last years (okay perhaps not every single ones then), I could not be more unsure of the next step. It was neither because I did not try to think of any plans during my school years, nor because I was really irresponsible for my future. I had plans. Some plans were dreams I nurtured ever since I was a little girl. Some plans I did not even recall how I had them in the first place, but I knew I wanted them. They looked so hopeful and shining in my imagination when they come true.

But plans broke. Life changes every time you plan something, even with little things daily. The first thing appeared in my head almost every time my plans got erased away, is:

“People plan, God laughs”

Seemingly, I am not the only one realising this. I am certain I am not telling you anything you have not yet known. I reckoned I might have ben a little too hopeful to be late in realising how unpredictable one’s life can be. And that’s how, being alive is definitely a bless, but also, one hell of a challenge.

As you can guess at this time, I have stopped planning, at least planning “the big plans“. As ironic as my life can be to me, even the small details I plan daily are as unpredictable as the big ones, and perhaps only little less disappointing. You know, I assume one of the big reasons for me  to yet being disappointed at the plans not working out, is due to my planned-out upbringing. I thought my journey to my dream started when I shipped myself off to another continent (with my parents’ help, of course). I didn’t know such milestone might have been only 5 bricks on the very first wall I had to pass, before my journey can be activated. I don’t know how many bricks I have broken through already. I do know the two things so-called “my journey” and “my dream” are evaporating though.

I didn’t get a tiny bit closer to getting a stable job after graduation. That was my original plan when I was on the plane the very first time. During my University years, surprisingly, I was much less sure than that 17 year-old girl who was about to be on her own, for also the very first time. At my last year in University, admittedly, “my journey” and “my dream” were dissolved into liquid form. Then, with the Finnish winter assistance, it must have been frozen because I kept slipping off, and fell on my bottoms (not so metaphorically). Without jobs or any solid plans, my time in Europe can become a ticking bomb. I didn’t, and in fact, still don’t want to return to my home country. I know I am making this option sound more melodramatic than it is. Returning home, perhaps a little bit strange with the changes, but how can it be so bad to be back with your culture and your family? you might think, or some of my friends have said.

I agree. But I myself cannot wrap my head around it, as if I am trying to fit a cube into a circle. It will be closer to my family, which is the only benefit I can actually see from this option. I know I cannot live with them anymore, in the same house. I have lost touch with many friends ever since I left; it was partly my fault but also partly due to the natural way of living, you lose touch when you don’t have anything in common to talk about. Deep down, I know, it would cause me a lot of patience, effort and adaptation to fit back to the society and culture there; which are the things I am unsure they are worth my energy.

So, in my last year in University, I knew two things absolutely for sure: I had to finish this thesis and I had to stay in Europe.

At last panic minutes, with my determination and worries, I applied for Master Degree. I got in.

Continue reading “Last month of the year, seems like the time to write again.”

Good moments into my pocket

I have not been able to update much here lately. I know I posted earlier a new blog post but in fact, I wrote that piece a while ago. I started the idea on a quiet evening like tonight (if you have read my post about Silence & Quietness, you might have already known my thing for those words). I completed that on another quiet evening after taking a quick dip into the sear at midnight.

Many things have changed during the last couple weeks. In where I currently work, there have just been 2 new interns. More specifically, I have new roommates and work mates entering into my space. It is actually not a bad thing. It is simply a change, a turn into new page. With them around, I am urged to do things with company – things I couldn’t do being alone. With them around, I am faced with the fact there will always be people around me, and I am not sure how to react to. Not so much to dramatize it, but you know, when you have been with yourself for long, it became harder to slide back to socializing activities, not to mention: to living with more than one people at the same time. So, indeed a lot of changes, but I see them as a price to pay for other things. One of the things I have learned from life is that, a perfect package does not exist.

But, they are great people, seriously. I only knew them couple of months ago. We all came to know each other through a common project, which we still carry on. Even so, I loved my time being with them in and outside classes. Recently, since they moved here, I even loved the fact that each of us all had baggage. Don’t get me wrong, I always know people have their own story. As one of the new interns, Emma said, “there is a reason for everything“. The special thing about our bond is we don’t only have our own story, we have our own past baggage.

When I think of the word “baggage”, I sense of negativity. Before I moved to France, I appeared to them as a happy person, the same as how they appear to me. In reality, well, I do have a lot of reasons to be a happy person but that is not the whole truth. Listening to their baggages, I realise we all have our own battle to fight. Some might tell us these battles are not worth enough to fight against whilst many lives in the world fight much more severe battles. But we tell each other our battles matter enough to screw our days, mess up with our heads and aches our hearts. These battles are the reasons we still seek for compasses to direct us where to go next.

Because of their baggage, we connect with each other somehow in a positive way.

It is not all pretty and pinky to live so close with people. For me, it is a real challenge and a learning experience. The last time I lived this close with so many people was in Vietnam with my family, and there was another reason I always strived for leaving that place. Knowing each other’s baggage, we allow others to act the way they might act. We might not understand, but we remember the baggages and remind ourselves.

Three of us, we are now in a shared journey. We came together in this point from different directions.

Being in Provence Alps, Cote-de-Azur, France is definitely not the worst journey to share with. But even with the things which look amazingly glamorous from the outside, it is not the whole scene (I need to keep remind myself about this, although it is not applicable to every single situations). I just cannot imagine to share this journey with anyone else. I don’t think I would trade for someone else if I were given the chance.

Here, time passes by so quickly. Time is short. Days are flown with the wind. Maybe because it’s the summer, and summer is meant to end before one even knows it.

We have done many things together though. We walked to Cannes, got drunk, took many stupid photos together, talked to strangers and being hung over the next day (really typical student life). Wait, before you jump into any conclusions, that is not the only thing we did. We hiked together, we ate together, we talked about all sorts of things, we made jokes, we walked together, we worked side by side, we swam together, we fell asleep on the beach, we discussed working plans, we moved from being silly to being serious. Sure, those all sound little small things, but that is how life should be. Life cannot always be those big moments, just too unrealistic.

A week ago, we even got to have an adventurous day together, thanks to B (remember the guy saving me from spending a homeless night in Grasse?). We were taken to Saint- Cezaire-sur-Siagne, where we blended into its greenness. Emma and Lily got to jump into the lake, off the bridge. It was raining, but we did not need the rain to get us all wet.

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Then, we were driven to explore a cave. It was my first time to be inside a cave as well. The narrow ways to pass through just to be inside a bigger space. I have never been a person having phobia of narrow spaces (I think so). Even so, it was such a changing atmosphere. The coldness and the darkness inside the cave, either turned you onto excited or creepy mode.

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The “infamous” two partners in crime with me here

 

Speaking of B before, I figured it only suitable to write a bit more about my shared journey with him. I mentioned in another post how I got to meet him. Turned out it was all thanks to his friendliness. He spoke to almost everyone he passed by, and his way of connecting is indeed much different from mine. I usually keep silence because: a) I don’t want to socialize, b) I appreciate their own space. B intrigues in me a different perspective. I haven’t decided yet whether I like his way better, but seeing how he freely talks to other people is truly a thing to learn about, and a cultural thing to know about French people.

Isn’t life too short not to notice about other lives around you? Isn’t the world turning to be cold enough to ignore these small warm gestures between people, to ensure yourself that there are still great things happening in life? Isn’t life too alone sometimes not to start a random conversation with a new person, just to learn something new and maybe, maybe, you have just made that person’s day, let that person know they have people around them? I don’t know yet. I have valued my space so much to let it go, I have valued my own peace so much to change it back to where I was over-excited to start any conversations with a new person. So, I don’t have the answers. Maybe you do.

Also because of my love of space and silence, I have never asked much deeper into B’s life. I know what he does for a living, I know what he is passionate about, I know what plan he might think about and I know he is friendly. But I have never asked for more. There are more about me I am not willing to share, and I only take that as a sign not to invade his story if I have nothing to give back. Despite that, we have shared many great journeys together. All thanks to his planning, of course. We drove up to high mountains, where we lied next to each others and stared at the sky, wished we never had to get back to civilisation. We drove down to the beaches, where we ate pizza and looked at people dressing real nice for parties. We stayed along the coasts, where he (again) talked to fishermen and I looked around of what surrounded me, sky, sea & waves. We drove to one village after another one, walked around and looked at those local lives, or sometimes, the tourists’ lives of people enjoying their summer. Southern France can be very luxurious if you choose to only look at how it appears to the world.

The point is, contrastively, I did not need to know about his background to be his company for adventures. We are certainly different but yet so similar in what we like to see. Without B, my journey in Southern France would not be so magical. Maybe after all, he is the thing life gives me as a reminder to keep walking through.

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St Paul Village
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Tourette Village, from the outside
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Along the way going to Gourdon, through a canyon
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Gourdon
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That high mountainous spot near Gourdon, where there is a big Antenna (if I only could remember the name..)
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Gourdon Village

 

Recently, I finished for the second time watching How I Met Your Mother (again, I have issues with movies/series addiction). In the last season, Ted said:

“The friends, neighbours, drinking buddies, partners in crimes you love so much where you were young, as the years go by, you just lose touch…That’s why when you found someone you do want to keep around, you do something about it.”

I am never sure if these people will stay in my life. I just figured that the least I could do, is trying to record part of these shared journeys into my writings, as a way of putting “good moments into my pockets” to always remember, those good old days.