Friday, February 28, 2014

A Short List of My Long List

I've been thinking about life lately...specifically what it is I want to do with it.
In the typical sense - what I want to do once I graduate - but more specifically what I want to accomplish on the side of that.

We live in a world today where the quality of life is dictated by your job; how much you get paid, where you live, what position you hold, etc and it drives me crazy! Life should be about living not walking through the motions to save up for retirement. Plus, by the time I'm even able to use what I've saved I'll be wicked old and won't be able to go cliff diving for the fear of breaking a hip or some other old-age tragedy... Now is the time to do those reckless activities - despite the dismally low amount of cash I have in my bank account to do them. But they don't say, "When there's a will, there's a way" for nothing. So, knowing that somehow through someone in someway I will make them happen, I've made a short list of my long bucket list for what I want to accomplish before I even start saving for retirement.
  1. Get scuba certified down unda in Australia
  2. Live and work in a foreign country
  3. Rock climb real rocks at Indian Creek in Utah
  4. Go to cooking school in France
  5. Participate in the Festival of Color in India
  6. Party it up at Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  7. Eat at Heston Blumenthal's restaurant in London 
  8. Jump off a waterfalls in Costa Rica
  9. Do something to test my athletic abilities
  10. Watch a St. Louis Blues game in Missouri & then meet T.J. Oshie in person
Short. Sweet. To the point. And good enough for now...

Thursday, February 20, 2014


A :  adventure

One of the trillions of reasons I love writing / the English language / communication is the sheer amount of different ways to say the same thing. Honestly, who needs 10 different ways to say 'awesome'? Let alone over 100 different adjectives to describe snow...thank you Eskimos. But in all seriousness, having a vast vocabulary has always been something I prized. It can be persuasive when manipulating your employer to give you a raise. It can give sight to someone without vision. And it can be the handiest trinket in your tool box for self-expression and inner growth. Therefore, I'm dedicating this post series to my favorite word(s) for each letter of the English alphabet. And maybe if I get bored, I'll throw in a few Chinese characters that have spoken to me.

Today's word, however, is simple. A common thread in human lives. It's the thing that makes people tick; the thing that allows us to enrich ourselves in knowledge and clean our windows of perspective. It's adventure. You hear so many stories - especially in college - of wild adventures leading to all sorts of outcomes. The Great American Challenge, for instance, lead many to obtain interesting stories of testing their limits. While others find adventure in simply walking around the city and trying a new ice cream parlour. In order to embrace this adventurous spirit, I have become a "yes woman". Yup, it sounds just like what it is. I'm openminded to all sorts of opportunities - even if they seem completely far fetched/reckless/dangerous. But quite frankly, the more far fetched/reckless/dangerous the opportunities are, the more exciting they are. Obviously you have to keep it all in perspective and aligned with your values, but I've learned not to hesitant when testing my boundaries. I've explored northern India and challenged my ability to navigate a completely foreign country. I've gone zip lining in the treetops of Chang Mai, Thailand to get my fix of speed and overcome my fear of minimum security. I've gone cave diving in Ixtapa, Mexico to see how long I could be a mermaid for before my lungs exploded. And you know what, every one of those experiences has made me more daring, comfortable, and confident with myself and my abilities to do anything I set my mind to.

Long story short, do crazy things. Be a yes person. Hate heights? Go up in a hot air balloon. Never eaten Greek food? Save your pennies, grab a friend and take a spontaneous summer escapade to Athens. Never worn less than 3 layers in the dead of winter? Do an undie run. Basically say yes to life and whatever it throws at you because if not now, when? You are your experiences. Go add to your box of recklessness and thrills and try new & wild things. After all, the last thing you want to be is the only granny in the old folk's home without any good stories to tell.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ah Ya Shibuya // Japan

Wow things have been out of control on my side of the computer screen so I'm so sorry for the delay in this post! But basically, we just got into mischief when we hit up Shibuya - the trendy/young district full of Harijuku inspired sights.

First thing's first though - put this on....perfect.
Getting off the train, we flooded out with the masses into the throbbing crowds moving across Shibuya's main intersection.
Eyes wide and jaws low to the ground, we goggled at pretty much everything we saw. Mindlessly, we wandered through the fluorescent jungle of materialism. 
Shops were inescapable. Stockings, piercing jewelry, and 6+ inch platform heels galore.

Walking up quite an appetite, we stumbled into this gem of a restaurant.
Basically, you 'vending machine style' order your food.
Yup, you heard me.
A "vending machine" squats outside the restaurant beaconing passerbys to make a pit stop.
You choose which dish you'd like to eat, pay the machine and - just as you would guess - go inside to eat up your order.
You hand your order tickets that you received outside to the waiters/chefs and they put them on your respective seat.
Within minutes, your hot bowl of Japanese delight awaits to bombard your taste buds with uniqueness and food glory.
The flavors are incredibly simple but all the more delicious. There's something about broth, noodles and a bit of greens & protein that will always be spot on.
Like any plumped little child, we each tottered our way out of the restaurant with "Domo arigato!"s being thrown around behind us and popped us back out onto Shibuya's streets.
Delighted with everything we saw, bought and ate, we made our way back to the central intersection and made our way home.
While I would have loved to have explored more temples, this trip to Japan was still fascinating. The people could not have been friendlier and more accommodating. I very much look forward to taking the bullet train over to Kyoto the next time I'm in Japan to get a better sense of the country's rich cultural origins, but until then, Tokyo has absolutely swept me off my feet. Must have been Japanese in another life because I could without a doubt eat sushi and ramen for every meal...let alone channel my inner-self out in the most zen gardens every day.
Until next time Japan, domo arigato!