Post #41: The One Where I Hit A Wall

Welcome to the forty-first post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #41: The One Where I Hit A Wall.

So I have hit a wall (but not literally).

I am just so worn down right now. It’s far more than just being tired. That can correct itself with a sleep, but this runs much deeper. I feel like I have not had a full night’s sleep in a decade. My skin has broken out, and I’m just feeling… exhausted. You know what I mean?

On our fortnightly culinary excursion last weekend, the Canadian and I discussed the issues facing us as humans existing in a way that is contrary to how we’re supposed to. In modern cities, we are surrounded by people, and yet are more lonely than ever before. Cue today’s gunman who killed seven. That’s just fucking insane, but barely made me blink when I heard it. That’s not normal.

The only thing that can cure it is an extended relocation to Thailand. Six months ought to do it. I cannot think of anything else other than removing myself from western society for an extended period of time, and focusing on my health, sanity and other projects.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only sane person in a sea of absolute nutters?

Oh, let me return to my Happy Place...

Post #40: Invest in Yourself

Welcome to the fortieth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #40: Invest in Yourself

The New York Times recently ran an article about the benefits of being bilingual:

“The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.”

I am awesome at remembering directions. If I have been there once, I can get back and get home. And I can speak a little German – enough to get by – but I don’t think I can really count myself as bilingual. Yet. But I have just started another session of German classes and this is just one of the ways I am investing in myself.

It's amazing what a cleaning work space can do for your enthusiasm for homework...

Invest in yourself: learn something new

Now is the time of year when a lot of the universities and colleges offer their summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends) classes. So invest your time in yourself: you are important and your brain is important. Why not take a class in something that has always interested you? From learning how to code, to parlez vous-ing Francais, to introduction to print making — the world is your oyster! Taking a class is a good way to meet people with your interests, to learn new skills and exercise your brain.

I have tended to get a little disheartened when I realize just how much I have to learn before I become fluent. Katja, my teacher, laughed at my impatience and said, “We’ll have you for another seven years, yet!”.

Seven. Years. That’s a freaking lifetime!

 My impatience gets the better of me. But, as the American says:

Is there anything else you’d rather be doing?

And the truth of the matter is… no. I am happy as pig in mud going to the Goethe Institut each week, and learning another language. The goal of being truly fluent in another language is much closer when I’m investing in myself. And that’s kinda exciting!

What is one thing that you’re doing to further yourself?

I love using Japanese stationary with strange English captions for my German notes.

Post #39: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Welcome to the thirty-ninth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #39: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

The Great Writing Challenge 2012 has already been a great opportunity to stretch my creative muscles, and I am grateful for your feedback and your support. And so I want to pay it forward. My friend, Carolyn, has set herself a challenge of a different kind, and I wanted to share it with you.

Each weekend, Carolyn has set herself a goal of doing one thing she has not done/gone to/experienced before in the ‘Stop Procrastinating’ Challenge (alternatively called the ‘Get Off Your Damn Ass and Do Things’ Challenge). There’s so many cool things to do in this city, but it’s so easy to let inertia take over. So each weekend, she’s going to be out, trying something new and meeting new people. And I say good for her!

As expats, we tend to have a much smaller circle, particularly if you gravitate to other expats. If you stick around in a particular place long enough, your social circle gets smaller and smaller as many of the expats either move home or move on to the next adventure. It’s the nature of the beast: it’s quite a transitory existence, but that’s also be part of the appeal.

Social anxiety is something that so many of us can relate to and it’s so much easier to not put yourself out there. But doing new things and meeting new people is cool, even if it’s a little unsettling at first. There’s so much about our existence in modern cities that serves to alienate us from our fellow twenty-and-thirty-somethings. We’re great at interacting online, but not in the flesh. I really haven’t met too many people here, but keeping up with my German classes has helped. I am getting a lot more comfortable with actively engaging with people, even in a language I’m not too good at.

What are we all searching for? Probably just people to share parts of our lives with. A beer, a play, a hike. Hear their stories and thoughts, and have a chance to share ours. Interaction and acknowledgement.

Maybe we should arrange a picnic in Golden Gate Park?

[Source: Pinterest]

I think Carolyn’s brave to set herself this challenge that’s outside of her comfort zone, and I know I’m looking forward to doing some of the new stuff with her and reading her wrap ups on her blog, [Insert Cool Name Here].

Post #38: Life List No.68 – Be a Jedi for a Day

Welcome to the thirty-eighth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #38: Life List No.68 - Be a Jedi for a Day

It has been a sad few days for my American family here, and I shall not go into too much detail for fear of trivializing things. Life can sometimes be so damned serious as an adult, and it sucks to lose people you love. But this is a fantastic, loving family, and I am so lucky to be a part.

So in light of monumental changes and reevaluation of my own life, I want to focus my attention this evening on happy things: my Life List.

When I first saw Maggie’s Life list, I was really inspired. This was more a collection of moments and experiences, and less of a Bucket List. The Life List is about the anticipation and joy of experiencing things you have always wanted to (but often didn’t know that you really wanted), and about connecting with others who can help you achieve something. It’s collaborative, and I love helping others achieve their dreams and have just had two people this week offer to help me with mine. Sweet!

Number 68: Be a Jedi for a day.

Last Sunday, the Canadian and I rocked up to a warehouse in Soma for a lightsaber choreography class. As a massive fan of Star Wars (well, the original ones), I was pumped when The Canadian told me about it. We had no idea what to expect, but ‘go we must’.

And what is involved in a lightsaber choreography class, you ask? Surprisingly, it proved to be quite the workout! The first half hour or so was some cardio and stretching to limber up before we attacked each other with lightsabers. We learnt how to do flourishes and spin the lightsaber around in our hand, and around our body. In much the same way as in dancing classes I took when I was a kid, some of the moves were fine on one side of the body but I struggled to repeat them on the other side. Sometimes left, sometimes right. Bizarro.

The force is strong with this one...

About halfway through the class, we started the saber-to-saber contact with the six initial moves. This is where things really started to get interesting. We switched it up and practiced with different participants, and some were a little more progressed in their saber-to-saber contact. But the Canadian and I held our own (when we weren’t beaning ourselves in the head or the shin…).

We learnt the initial 21 or so moves from the Empire Strikes Back fight scene between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, and then ended with meditation. We sat cross-legged in a circle in the darkened performance space, our faces illuminated by our multicoloured sabers.

“There is no self. Only the Force.”

Showing off our new Jedi skills after the lightsaber choreography class

All in all, it was pretty cool experience. Our instructor was dressed in full Jedi get-up and he owned it. He aims to gather a group of people to recreate fight scenes from Star Wars to perform for sick kids in hospitals and what not. I wasn’t as uncoordinated as I had imagined, and had fun geeking out. The only crazy thing was just how sore we were the following day. Beyond sore!

Battered and bruised... but worth it!

We’ll probably head back again next month with some other friends. I can’t have ‘Jedi Master’ on my business cards without a few more Sundays under my belt…

Chairman Bao: the best food truck in SF!

And what good outing with the Canadian is complete without eating amazing food? I am a terrible influence on her. From Soma, we hiked up Van Ness to Fort Mason to enjoy the delights of our favourite food trucks. We had tofu bao with miso greens from Chairman Bao (my favourite of all time!); fried plantains with honey, as well as Peruvian cookies with dulche de leche from the Canadian’s fav truck, Sanguchon.  YUM! I had not tried the food from Sanguchon before, and the cookie was so amazing I was quite literally lost for words. I can’t wait until we head back to Fort Mason there for Off The Grid on Friday nights.

Heaven on earth!

Shortbread biscuit with caramel filling... YUM!

Tick! Number 68: Be a Jedi for a day has been completed. Kudos to the Canadian for suggesting it and for letting me twist her arm into eating our heads off at Fort Mason.

Post #37: Umbrellas

Welcome to the thirty-seventh post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #37: Umbrellas.

Umbrellas. I can’t stand them and I categorize people who use as impractical and weak. If there is one thing you will never see, it’s me with an umbrella.
There, I said it! 

It’s both a little ridiculous and a little unfair, but hear me out.

I am a girl who has always been a little more practical than the next, and this was only encouraged when I lived in Ireland. And if there’s one thing you should know about the Emerald Isle, is that the locals know how to deal with crappy weather. Umbrellas cannot help you in Ireland. The cyclone-level winds that blow in off the Atlantic teaches foolish tourists who dare to open one pretty fast.

And umbrellas are a pain. They’re a hassle to carry around, they take up too much valuable real estate on crowded, rainy streets and they’re beyond dangerous. I am the perfect height to have my eyeballs poked out and have the scratches on my glasses to prove it. So I wear my all-weather rain proof jacket. 

All weather jackets: practical, lightweight, responsible.

Seeing as though inclement weather is returning to the Bay Area, it’s the perfect time to share with you my survival tips for staying dry and actively valuing the sight of your fellow men and women:

  1. Check the weather forecast. I never used to care about what the day had in store for me, but now I check the weather app on my iPhone as soon as I get up. It helps me dress accordingly, a must for those of us who rely on public transport.
  2. Invest in a good raincoat. I have a goretex jacket I bought over six ago from Kathmandu, and it’s still serving me well. Make a commitment to preparing yourself for any kind of weather from rain to snow.
  3. Keep a small raincoat or poncho handy. I keep a lightweight one in my handbag, It squishes down into a little pouch – much smaller than a regular umbrella.
  4. For people who wear glasses: fear not! The secret: add a hat to the ensemble! It keeps your glasses dry, and keeps the droplets away from your face. If you wear the SF Giant hat, you’ll get bonus points.
  5. Ladies, have a practical handbag, backpack or satchel. If you can’t get it wet, then you shouldn’t be wearing it. Same applies to shoes, clothing.

    Should you wear a rain jacket instead of using an umbrella, you will get kudos from world travellers like me when we see you on the street. Just like this:

THIS.

[Source]

Join the school of practicality. Say no to umbrellas!

Post #36: The One Where I Shirk My Responsibilities

Welcome to the thirty-sixth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #36: The One Where I Shirk My Responsibilities.

This is the post where I shirk my responsibilities and tell you just how sore and tired I am.

I AM SO SORE AND TIRED!

I cannot possibly sit here and tell you all about it because that would be super boring for all concerned. So I am going to make myself a cuppa, lay on the floor to stretch out my back and watch the final episode of Downton.

I know, I know! I promised. But I can’t. We have walked miles today, eaten at Off The Grid (Chairman Bao is the best food truck in San Francisco!) and cavorted around like jedis with lightsabers. Oh, yes. It was a brilliant day. But rest assured, you shall hear about it very soon!

But something is better than nothing, right?
Here’s something that still makes me laugh, more than a decade later.
You’re welcome, internets.