December 16, 2011

Hello European countries!!

I've been a terrible blogger, sorry guys. Finals kinda snuck up on me and I was completely unprepared. It was pretty terrible, but at least it's over. It's kinda crazy; I ended my last final at 6pm, started packing at 12am, I'm leaving for Europe tomorrow afternoon. My brain hasn't really caught up to events yet, I still feel really blurry and confused that a world exists outside of managerial accounting, microeconomics, and modernist English.

Dan and I celebrated our 2nd year anniversary 2 weeks ago and I'm finally getting round to posting the pictures from the night. We went to Roy's in San Francisco, which was DELICIOUS. We've been through a lot this semester; sometimes I really forget how much he means to me.

Appropriate time to be posting these pictures because we're not seeing each other for a month ): Though compared to the 3 months of summer, this short time apart is like a week in school time. But anyway I guess they'll be good for helping me remember what he looks like! i.e. with alcohol in hand ;)

The next time I blog, I'll be in a European country!! I'm bringing along a little journal to document my adventures so hopefully that will work out. Still can't believe this semester's over. Seriously, a huge weight off my shoulders and a huge sigh of relief- next semester will be better because I will MAKE it better, will be more on top of my shit, will be happier. Yes.

December 8, 2011

Thursday music: study buddy!

Dead week every year just reminds me again and again how I am capable of doing ANYTHING that I set my mind to--yes, even 3 papers and studying for 3 finals, and putting a magazine to bed, and presenting to clients. These are some of the songs keeping me sane this week:

1. Old Joy by Noah and the Whale
2. Worlds Apart by The Mostar Diving club
3. The Only Fault by Rachael Yamagata

Images from the Lazy College Senior and Courage Wolf meme series.

December 6, 2011

Lux by Christina Seely

It's been a couple of really crazy days- I really need to get my study on, but meanwhile my time is filled with review sessions, final presentations, and final paper writing. Which I am actually supposed to be doing RIGHT NOW but have decided to blog instead because I don't seem to communicating my thoughts very well.

Anyway, San Francisco-based artist Christina Seely came to talk to CREATE at one of our meetings last week, and I really fell in love with her photography. This series is called Lux, and is about the intersection between nature and cities, specifically how nature and cities are illuminated by man-made light. She uses this giant old camera that takes over 4h to take one image (because of the low lights), and all the light from the images below are completely man-made, i.e. from the city being photographed.

Aren't they gorgeous? They're huge photographs too, and looking at them I was just really struck by how beautiful they were, yet they were simultaneously a reminder of how much light pollution we humans give off...just really interesting work around pollution and environmental issues presented in this really unsettlingly (distractingly?) beautiful package.

She was also really open about her challenges as an artist, and gave a lot of really good advice about people who want to be creative (even if you, like me, can't draw to save your life). The thing that really struck me the most was she said about how there are so many ways of being in the world; how we need to keep in touch with ourselves about what we really want and who we want in our lives. How important the people that surround us are, and how easy it is to lose touch of what gives us the greatest, truest happiness; how we really need to protect that part of ourselves.

I think it is always so easy to get lost in the doing and the moving, and lose sight of the being. This semester I've been such a train wreck, really, always feeling like pieces are slipping away or rushing up at me with head-slicing force- I'm really stressing out about finals because it is so difficult to carve out that study time that I really need. I've been filling my days with STUFF that I HAVE to do (e.g. final supervisor meetings, interviews, paper-writing) but all I really want to do is to sit down somewhere and really understand accounting and microeconomics, and there's this little tic in me that's freaking out every time I spend time on something else. Even if it's something related to my grade, the way my papers are- I want to do too much, want to hold on to too much.

December 3, 2011

Favourites: Heidi Merrick SS11

Today was a super fun day- CREATE celebration where we met the lovely Christina Seely (post on her really inspiring works and thoughts on life to come!) and really wrapped up the end of the semester. I can't believe we're into dead week right now; it's pretty insane that my Fall junior semester has passed by so incredibly quickly.

And then I'll be a junior in my spring semester before I know it- I am seriously loving these outfits from Heidi Merrick. I love the stripes of bold, poppy colours (you know I love a stripe, always), and that neon yellow with the khaki- adorable.

Images from the Heidi Merrick website via Black*Eiffel- I highly encourage you to check out her website because the front page is this running rainbow ticker of all the Spring clothes! I love, love love it.

And of course, today was the funnest and bestest of all because Dan and I celebrated our 2nd year anniversary (: (: Hope everyone's having a great weekend and studying really hard for finals! 2 more weeks to Europe and museums and tea!!!!

December 2, 2011

To the Lighthouse, or, why I love Virginia Woolf

"With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved and took Minta's arm and left the room, it changed, it shaped itself differently; it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past" Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
I actually find it incredibly hard to read Virginia Woolf's novels, if only because she has a way of writing that really grips me hard and doesn't let go. It is difficult to describe how reading Woolf makes me feel like she knows me- my insecurities, my worries about death and life and memory and past, my emotions towards certain people- and has ripped them out to capture them perfectly on a page.

I remember feeling this way on the stage in the Czech Republic and singing our last competition song. Trying to hold it inside me and hold the moment inside me because I knew I would never feel this way again. Or in the last few months of JC, where I would walk around RJ in my uniform and tell myself to remember how this feels right now, the perfection of being in school and loving everything about it before I become an alumni and even that, the ownership of school, will be lost to me forever. I felt this way in Chicago, in that booth in Blue Line Lounge, the complete contentment in that single moment and knowledge that we would lose most of it once we got back to Berkeley. And we have, I think. It is difficult to be kind and thoughtful when you have the pressures of accounting homework and papers on Woolf bearing down on you. It is so easy to treat other people terribly and I'm really guilty of that, so this is a note to self to stop doing that and start appreciating all the many wonderful people you have in your life.

December 1, 2011

Chicago- a breath of fresh air

I think it's hard to describe my state of mind before leaving for Chicago. Fall semester's always extra hard because the first longish break is Thanksgiving and comes at the 13th week of the semester, and 3 months of ridiculous nonstop work is just not something my weak Singaporean (i.e. 2 final exams a year= study for 2 months and party for 10) mind is equipped to handle.

So Chicago was a huge relief. Especially with the knowledge that I would be finally meeting some of my dearest friends who I haven't met in forever--clearly I was predisposed to like this city even before stepping foot on its wind-bedraggled shores, but whatever the case, I love Chicago. I seriously regretted my decision to turn down my University of Chicago offer for a full 30 minutes (this regret lasted until we got on our boat tour and the wind hit), but I'm definitely recruiting for Chicago offices and I'm definitely coming back.

I think in many ways it was because there were so many people from RJ who ended up congregating in Chicago over Thanksgiving, and all the amazing people that we met there. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I could really TALK to people about things beyond the usual nonsense we talk about here in Berkeley (i.e. how much classes suck, recruiting, making Powerpoint slides)- not to say that that's all we talk about, but it's definitely all too easy to forget that there's a world larger than the liberal, hippie, protesting university whose views I've taken for granted to reflect the entire nation.

We spent 4 days in Chicago, so that's a little too long to have the usual brief "points of note" I usually type up when describing our adventures, so I'm going to be a little more extensive this time:

Points of note: activities
1. Basically all we did was shop, eat, and drink. It was the best 4 days of my life. But some good shopping places that we were brought to include State Street (with all the major brands; also the site where we camped out until midnight on Black Friday and literally ran into Macy's with at least 100 other crazy people), and the Wicker Park district (near the Damen blue line). Wicker Park is basically like Haji Lane in Singapore except 200 times cooler and 500 times more hipster. Also check out Myopic Books, which is THE coolest second hand bookstore ever.
2. Millennium Park! [refer to "spot us in the bean" photo above] There's some seriously cool public art in that space, including the bean (I'm pretty sure that's not its real name) and a silver tangle of shiny awesomeness in stage form. There are also a couple of cool gardens near the Art Institute of Chicago.
3. Take an architecture boat tour (link isn't the boat tour we took, but apparently is the best one in Chicago). I heard the word "contextualism"-when the building follows the shape of the river- way too many times than I was comfortable with, but Mallory (our boat tour guide) is now my BFF because she introduced us to Goose Island beer [see below].
4. Take the time to listen to buskers. I don't know what it is about Chicago, but they have seriously amazing music on their streets. We got serenaded to in the Chicago CTA station, and it was so much fun.
5. We also went to many Chicago neighborhoods, including Hyde Park and Evanston- it was really interesting seeing how different each neighbourhood was and made for some really fun afternoons.

Points of note: food
1. These Chicago folks know how to brew good beer. This is coming from someone who can barely stand the taste of alcohol and has a one shot limit on most nights (YES I AM A WUSS). I highly, highly recommend Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale. Nearly smuggled a six pack back to Berkeley with me under my coat.
2. We also came across this really fun bar in Wicker Park, Blue Line Lounge and Grill, while waiting to meet up with some other Singaporeans for porn and brunch at midnight (don't ask). Best. Sliders. Ever. Their drinks are also really yummy: we tried their apple martini and a raspberry mojito; both were delicious. Another cool bar we went to was Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock tower (last 2 pictures above courtesy of this bar)- the view from the ladies' restroom is RIDICULOUS.
3. I feel annoyed that we didn't try deep dish pizza, but what we had was delicious- tapas at Quartino, Korean fried chicken at Crisp, and Thai food near Millennium Park. But we mostly had the home-cooked goodness of mashed potatoes and turkey because we kept attending Thanksgiving dinners.

Phew. That was a much longer blog post than I had anticipated, but I hope this was helpful to anyone thinking of going to Chicago soon! I want to go back to those carefree days- I literally did not think of school once (which if you know me and my OCD worrying, is A Feat Indeed). It's obscenely difficult to focus on school right now, which is quite disturbing because finals are in 2 weeks and I have 3 papers due before then.

On Daniel's insistence, I behoove you to spot the bear in the above pictures. I didn't bring any Cal gear to Chicago, so I felt like I needed to rep the California Golden Bears through my headgear instead (:

I miss you, Thanksgiving friends! Only 3 weeks to winter break!!!!