So, cool fun fact: I originally wrote this post last year on 12/25/2019 thinking I would post it within the week, but I guess things got away from me & I forgot about it. Posting it now though. Just half a year later. Here are some quick updates since December 2019.
- Got 3 brand new roommates.
- Added ads to my blog (I’m sorry), but I figured why not? Might make all of $1.00 off of ads if I’m lucky, but free is free.
- I am currently a Product Manager for a small software development company.
- I started playing The Sims again since the apocalypse/pandemic/Coronavirus to cope with shelter-in-place mandates.
- I started making Sims 4 Let’s Plays for my YouTube channel. My last LPs were made 9 years ago. Holy cow.
- Despite COVID-19 ruining everyone’s life, I’m thriving & I know I’m really fortunate to even say that.
- Got a new laptop & camera since I turned 30 this year. #TreatYoself
It’s difficult to gauge exactly how meaningful or significant this year will actually be for me when considering one’s lifespan. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to live beyond 100, so how character-defining 2019 is unknown. Who really knows if my time in Iceland will matter to me when I’m living my best raisin life, retired in the French Alps or Tuscany? If our reality became similar to the world of the Netflix’s French Original Series Ad Vitam, then nothing that happened to me this year should really matter in the long run. In Ad Vitam, scientists developed a medical breakthrough allowing humans to live indefinitely by a process called “regeneration”. When we can live beyond 150, would a couple of years of hardship really be so unbearable? How much weight would we continue to give our problems? Would we feel less anxious about time passing? Would we take one another for granted even more than we already do?
Even if we won’t see regeneration in our lifetime, we know the average age of life expectancy is increasing. Yet, our human nature permits negativity to frequent our thoughts, filling our minds with anxiety, stress, and toxicity no matter the triviality. No matter how long we live, our time on this little blue dot is limited. Unfortunately for many of us, we haven’t evolved to become emotionally unaffected by hardships that will soon be forgotten. How many times must we tell ourselves, “this too shall pass,” to console ourselves?
This is all to say that 2019 has been very challenging for me. What I thought was general Eeyore-level depression & Piglet-level anxiety was actually “would it really be so bad if I sleep forever?”-level depression. Granted, thinking about never waking up & doing something to never wake up are 2 completely different things. But if you or someone you know need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-272-8255. You are not alone.
This is dark for a food blog, I know. Life isn’t always rainbow cupcakes & galaxy doughnuts. However, I am in a better place now thanks to time, friends, & therapy. I’m well enough to get back into photography & blogging! I’m refocusing my painful thoughts of the past by focusing on joyous memories. Rather than being consumed by what I lost, I’m mindfully concentrating on lessons learned & beautiful experiences gained. So, let’s start with one of the most breathtaking countries I was fortunate enough to visit: Iceland.
Always Chase After Icelandic Waterfalls
Iceland has recently gained popularity as a trendy vacation destination & for good reason. From the majestic appeal of the Blue Lagoon to the glaciers, mountains, & waterfalls, Iceland is easily one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen. Sure, it’s cold, but its unique landscape is picturesque; you’ll feel one with nature even if you’re surrounded by tons of tourists. If you don’t leave the country with at least 10 new wallpaper backgrounds, you’re doing it wrong. But also, disclaimer: I choose mountains over beaches, any day of the year. To quote an angsty Anakin Skywalker, “I don’t like sand.” Same, bro. Same.
Even though I was fortunate to travel to Iceland with my parents & their friends, I was without someone around my age to play with. It was kind of like a solo adventure for about 50% of the time. I couldn’t get into shenanigans only 20-something-year-olds could get into, & I couldn’t exactly get my “eat, pray, love” on, but I did do some serious contemplation. Somewhere between seeing the 100th epic waterfall & getting drenched in the rain near a glacier, I felt happy. Even after we left to go on a cruise to Portugal & Spain’s warmer islands, my brain kept shouting, “WE HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE!!!!” 10/10 would get lost on that island to find more waterfalls any day.
It was so nice to take a much needed holiday, especially since work was so stressful & depressing. Being in Europe again filled me with such a sense of calm & happiness. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home than I do whenever I’m abroad. Visiting my cousin & friends in London just solidified what I’ve always known & wanted since I first ventured across the pond: I have to move to Europe & I can’t let anyone hold me back from making this happen anymore. I was willing to sacrifice my dreams to make someone else’s come true. I was willing to put someone else’s happiness above my own, but damn, I’m tired of being selfless. It’s time for me to be a little selfish & be allowed to love myself a little more for a change. I may have fantasized or idealized living in Europe, but I know that even though I’m very happy, I don’t really care to live in Cambridge. It’s just not where I want to be & starting fresh in a new country sounds like a good plan to me.
So, maybe 2019 is the year I realized I’m done with self-pity & self-sacrifice. Maybe 2019 is the year I needed to put me on a better path for the rest of my life. Maybe the 2 days I spent chasing waterfalls in Iceland just woke something inside of me. Maybe I wasn’t really chasing waterfalls, but chasing after what I really wanted. Or maybe it was just a really nice vacation & I’m annoyed I spent 6 hours flying to California instead of Europe with my family (I wrote this when I was in California). I love my family, I do, but I also love the happiness I feel when I’m not in California. All this is to say, don’t give up on your dreams if you can make them a reality. Don’t give them up for anyone else, especially if they’re not willing to make new ones with you. Dreams are dreams until you make them come true.
For now, I’m focusing on what I can do before I start applying to jobs abroad after graduate school. I have plenty of time to start blogging again, but I’ve placed all my focus on my YouTube channel which has absolutely nothing to do with cooking. If anything, I’ll have more time to edit photos & silently post them. Maybe I’ll end up selling some of my soap online. Who’s to say?
To conclude the lengthiest post I’ve ever written for this blog, my final words are simple: always move forward toward progress, not backward. Pause if you need to, but don’t go backward. Keep chasing those waterfalls, but don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not where you should be. Try to recenter yourself & make tiny adjustments to put yourself on the path to the future you desire. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or to talk to someone. The world would be in a better place if we didn’t stigmatize mental health or limit access to health resources. Would Padmé really have died if she just talked to a therapist? I mean, come on, George Lucas!!! I find it hard to believe a strong, independent senator would suddenly die because she “lost the will to live” because her husband went to the dark side. I mean, she had kids. Shouldn’t she have the will to live for her children?! I see you, Star Wars. I see you.
Massively Delayed Photo Dump of the Year!!!
- Croatia: Day 10
- Italy: Day 11
- Italy: Day 12
- Italy: Day 13
- Italy: Day 14
- Italy: Day 15
- London: Day 1
- London: Day 2
- London: Day 3
- London: Day 4
- Visiting Beatriz in Cardiff
- Last Day in London
- Hoa Nguyen
- Mokkoji with Vy
When I wrote this post 7 months ago, I don’t think I ever expected the apocalypse to happen, so it’s really interesting how my 2020 started off amazing only to enter a phase of pure chaos. I hope that everyone is staying safe, taking the right precautions to protect yourself & your loved ones from COVID-19, & making sure to prioritize your mental health. With this New England summer heat, my roommate Jacob & I have made a support pact to help one another. He’s going to be helping me with taste testing & posing my food for recipes for the blog & I’ll be helping him with recording & editing his videos for his business. So maybe you’ll see more recipes, maybe you won’t. Really wish I had 3 of me. My goal for 2020 is to post at least 3 new recipes. Lofty goals? PROBABLY. I don’t know.