Origin Stories

When Watchmen first came out in 2009, I loved it. I loved the visuals, the soundtrack, and the message — sometimes you have to kill millions to save billions. Not that I’m planning to harness Dr. Manhattan’s radioactive life energy to blast holes through the Earth anytime soon, but I liked that, Adrian, the smartest man in the world, could see past the present and act for the greater good of the future.

Later, I started to realize the ridiculousness, non-seriousness, and hilarity of life. For me, if you’re not having fun, you’re not living. If you take things too seriously, you’re doing too much. Relax. It’s all a joke anyway. And not in a sadistic, rampage way — like The Comedian — but I mean, it’s just funny.

Take, for example, my life growing up where on several occasions I was told to “GO BACK TO CHINA!”

Well, Mrs. and Mr. Bully, I am going to China! (But not back because this will be my first time.) So HA! Joke’s on you!

The point is to forget the insults and move on with your life. I’m happy my life has a purpose. After all, I’ve been planning it for quite some time.

When Dreams Become Reality

Hey guess what?

I got the Fulbright.

I’M GOING TO CHINA! FINALLY! Two years in the making and I’m finally going! That is the whole purpose I started this blog! And now it’s finally coming true! WOOOOO (girl)!

Okay. Excitement. Nervousness. Fear. Excitement again. Panic. Intrigue. More panic. Stress. Disbelief….Excitement. I have no idea what lies on the other end. That’s why I’ll begin by researching the heck out of Macau. I’m going to map out that entire country. And then when I get there, it will be a whole new playing field!

Anyways, the point of this post was to announce that I finally did it. I poured my heart and soul into this decision. I fought long and hard with doubt, fear, and ideas of what’s actually possible. The universe answered: anything.

Like I said in an earlier post, if you put your mind towards something and you work hard for it, you can do it. I will bring this attitude with me across the globe because if I believe, so will my students. Let’s not forget it is my students – past and future – who have brought me to this point.

2016: Learnings, Successes, & Failures

I will remember 2016 as an important year. I traveled. I loved. I fought. I learned. I grew.

In the beginning, I was trying to salvage a relationship that was already dead. I replaced it for a relationship with myself. I lost the weight I cried over. I learned how to cook from my best friend, whom I even managed to remain friends with after rooming together! While I’ll remember the moment I left her standing in our doorway for the last time, I’ll also remember the many moments we shared, laughing and talking about the universe, the ground a million miles below us.

That friendship didn’t come easy – we had to fight for it. Usually, I’ll let people drift away if they want, but this one was different. This one mattered. It will always matter.

Another surprise friendship came from my cats. Yes, they get an early mention. They’re always there (technically, they can’t leave), but they also show me affection when I think I’m all alone. I’m never alone with Zeus trailing behind at my heels! I joke that it annoys me, but deep down we both know I love it.

When I finally rid myself of the dead weight – literally and figuratively – I was left hot but jaded. For a while, I was too distracted to care. I found a new love in business. Clearly, I love new and challenging experiences. I agreed to an entrepreneurial position without even knowing the definition of “equity,” a question that came up during a student entrepreneurial program interview that I was fortunate enough to receive in the end. Both opportunities – and countless others – proved to myself that I can learn, I can be coached, and I can demonstrate mastery over something if I put my mind towards it and engage with it.

Engage being the keyword here. You have to get your hands dirty, feel uncomfortable, fail sometimes, get back up, and ultimately take the plunge.

Don’t think, just do.

By not thinking and just doing, I skydived, I got on a radio show, I snorkeled in the Keys, I set off the alarm system in LAX, I found a secret beach, I attended amazing concerts, and I fell in love. The last one, while short lived, was real while it lasted.

I wouldn’t change a thing about 2016. I appreciate all the lessons I learned, the new best friends I made, and the self-confidence I gained, both physically and mentally. I learned that to repair broken relationships you must take baby steps. In order to become a better dancer, you must practice. In order to become stronger, you must lift weights. The overarching theme here: progress is a process. It’s gradual and slow….even though I want it to go from 0-100 (real quick).

Yet, there are some things that don’t require any time at all! Like walking into a stranger’s apartment with full intentions of going to the gym, but ending up spending two hours sifting through their record collection instead.

Who knows what 2017 will hold? I don’t want to know, but I do know that 2016 has prepared me with what’s to come, whether it’s moving to China, getting a big girl job, or falling in love.

This Literature Review is Fun

In my second year of graduate school, I’ve come to the realization that I’m having fun. I get to choose the classes I actually want to take; I’m surrounded by people who understand my exclamation of “That’s so Latour!” and they even hang out with me on the weekends; and I get to take on a research project that has everything to do with science communication for the youth, i.e. my future business idea and/or career goal.

What’s more is that when I think of my impending graduation, I do not feel as if I will die like I did during undergrad. Yes, that’s exaggerated, but it’s truly how I felt: wholly unprepared and underqualified. Now, however, I feel confident having gained useful skills and knowledge that will sustain me as I pursue a career that I actually want. I feel like I don’t have to settle anymore. I don’t have to settle for the job that I think I’m supposed to do, rather, I can obtain the job that I know I can do and that I’m good at.

A major development in “things that I am good at” includes public speaking. When my high school friend, Jake, moved here for university, he couldn’t believe I was teaching a class. He couldn’t believe it because he’d always known me as the shy, quiet girl. I never had much to say and I only spoke when necessary. On my journey through graduate school, however, I’ve had countless opportunities to speak in front of large audiences and those experiences have pushed me to grow. One thing I’m really proud of, for example, is that my personality test evolved from “I” to “E”, or, from introvert to extrovert! While I still have introvert tendencies (nothing like hanging out in your room alone!), I’m more comfortable with putting myself out there and making connections. I’ve realized that I love talking to people.

What sparked this blog post is the fact that it is midnight and I am still awake researching for my thesis. Sure, this may be the result of my poor planning, but it’s also because the research I’m conducting is very stimulating. I have an idea for what I want to say and then I go out and find scholars who supplement or have criticisms about that idea. It’s like a personal scavenger hunt and I’m learning so much along the way. If that isn’t the goal in life, I don’t know what is!

Getting Started

I’ve put off this blog for about 7 months now. I created it to log my travels in China but, plot twist, I’m not in China.

I stayed at USF to pursue a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Composition.

I have lots to say about that.

I’m also really stressed about the organization of this website. I need to learn more coding.

Anyway, the point of this post is to get started and get going. My goal is to write everyday; I was thinking when I first wake up because then I can record my dreams and reflect on what happened the day before. Starting the day off writing might put me in the right position, too!

But also, I wanted to record my goals for 2016:

  1. Be a better graduate student – speak more
  2. Get my portfolio together – for realsies
  3. Start making moves towards China – visit ELL classes, be proactive about it
  4. And, of course, write everyday.

We’ll see how this goes.

Where to next?

Can you guess?

My experience talking to Western Europeans has taught me that I haven’t explored my home country to its fullest. They tell me they’ve visited America and have seen Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, New York City, and other noteworthy places the US has to offer. Meanwhile, I disregarded my own country’s beauty to explore theirs.

However, I do not regret this. I had a blast living out my childhood dreams of exploring Europe, save for the extreme homesickness and places I missed! Still, America will always be my home and I feel like I’ll always have time to explore it, even when I’m older.

That is why my next stop is China!

I am young and I need to move around! I need to use all this energy on something worth while! I plan to teach English to Chinese students. The program I have been accepted to is very supportive, both financially and socially. While the transition will still prove to be a challenge, my curiosity and hunger for answers will drive me to succeed. I can’t wait to visit the land of my mother.

“The Orient”