Monday, September 26, 2011

The Life 'Unfollow' Button

 Or, why I'm never hanging out with anyone in real life ever again.

You know how when someone starts to annoy the hell out of you on Twitter, you can unfollow them? How if they're really driving you nuts, you can block them? How if you really just want to punch them in the face, you can report them for spam? pretend they don't exist?

It's nice. I can unfriend someone on Facebook, stop reading their blog, stop following them on twitter and voila! they're pretty much cut out of my life. This is the beauty of leading a social media lifestyle.

Which is why I'm never going to speak to people in real three-dimensional life again.

Because real three-dimensional relationships are hard. They require time and effort. They require physically being in a place with someone and they require mostly undivided attention. They require sacrifices. And when they go wrong, they seem to require seeing each other again, even when you'd rather not.

There's no life Unfollow button. I can't just Unfriend them and never hear about their lives anymore, or never see them again, even if their photos aren't coming up in my news feed. I have to deal with them still, and sometimes that really sucks.

I wish everyone had a giant X above their head. We could mentally click it, and that person would be hidden from our life. They'd go on living their own life, but we'd never hear rumors about what they're doing now, or run into them at the market or on campus.  Not until we're ready to at least.

I'd click the X above Michele Bachmann's head first.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scenes from The Forbidden City.

One day over the summer, two friends of mine went out to the Forbidden City in Beijing. One was a friend from work, a sweet Chinese girl named Dear (her English name), and the other a tall English guy, named Oliver (such a classically British name, right?).

They're pretty rad.

That was taken just inside the Forbidden City. What follows were taken in the Forbidden City, and some are some of my favorite photos I took in China (other than the Great Wall pictures... which I just realized you guys haven't seen yet. Oops! Consider those coming soon as well). 

I loved the detailing on every rooftop in China. It always just amazed me. 

While we were there, I asked Dear why the Forbidden City was only open until four every afternoon. She told me, "It's haunted." 
I looked at her blankly.

Apparently, a woman (an empress? a concubine? my memory is fuzzy now) committed suicide on the grounds many years ago during an invasion (or maybe because her lover cheated?). 
Now, guards have frequently reported seeing a woman wearing traditional Chinese dress walking between buildings. 
When they would go to chase her out, they would find that there was no one there, even though there was only one way in and out.
Eventually, they assumed this woman was upset because the guests were disturbing her final resting place, so out of respect for her and the other who have died at the Forbidden City they only open from 10-4 every day. 

Naturally, this just made Ollie and I want to spend the night so we could see this woman for ourselves.
We decided time in a Chinese prison wasn't worth it. 
Maybe some day.

And that's me in front of the famous portrait of Chairman Mao. Ironically, you actually don't see as many photos of him around as people would have you believe. This is one of the few I saw (outside of touristy places) throughout my time in China.

More photos coming soon, promise!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scenes from Beijing.

I know, I know. These photos are waaaaaaay over due. I know. 
Blogger wouldn't let me upload photos from China. 
And once I got back to the states I just got crazy busy. 
But, no excuses. Here we go. :) 

1. iphone collage. clockwise from left: giant gig 'em statue on my campus, the main fountain at the north gate of the campus where I worked; trays of food to be fried in a side alley way (yes, those are spiders and starfish and etc); live scorpions and starfish on skewers waiting to be fried. 
2. A hutong (an alleyway that hasn't been 'modernized') lined with modern cars.
3. Bikes, the traditional mode of transportation.
4. The drum and bell tower near Houhai.
5. Nanguoluxiang, a hutong full of traditional stores, art shops, and cute little food places.
6. Two doors near nanguoluxiang. The old and the new.
7. A little girl eating ice cream near nanguoluxiang.
8. Houhai, which means north lake. A beautiful and upscale area where Westerners tend to gather.
9-13: All taken in the 798 district, the major art district in Beijing.
9. The singing men statues. Larger than life groups of men, all almost completely identical, posed like they were singing.
10. Handmade bird cages and a pile of sewing string.
11. A statue made from spare parts; a scooter - China is getting its British invasion a few decades late; oversize traditional Chinese dress hanging from a tree - it says black clothes, I think.
12. Again, British invasion scooter.
13. A Chinese woman standing in beautiful red light.


Friday, September 9, 2011

fill in the ____ friday

1.   Somewhere someone is    turning over a new leaf.
2.    Wedding photography      is/are my muse.

3.  It would suck if    twitter    was no more because,   I'd have no where else to document all my inane thoughts.

4.   Feeling like having a chance at a new beginning   is/are my favorite thing about today.

5.  Life is kind of like    a book that you know the ending of, but don't quite know how it gets there.

6.  If I could have anything I wanted I would want  to get out of this town tomorrow. 

7.  A funny thing happened the other day...   I was walking up the stairs and fell flat on my face, right in front of my ex (who hates me). It was probably funnier if you were there/know how often I fall on my face.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

advice, not instructions

Once upon a time (or, August 23) I wrote a post about all the pressure.

Those creepy stares your cat gives you.
(Okay,  not that last one.)

I think was freaking out about it all. I was finally back to Real Life, where I felt like I had to be a Grown Ass Woman because I was graduating from college. I felt like I had something I had to prove to other people. I felt overwhelmed.

Notice that I'm using the words 'I felt'?

I'm not going to deny that my parents expect a lot from me. My family does. A lot of people do. That's all true. But I was feeling that way because I was allowing myself to feel that way. I was allowing those feelings to get to me. At the end of the day, I was putting the pressure on myself.

People will try to make us feel a hundred different ways. Some people are trying to make you feel happy, or comfortable, or secure -- I'd like to think I'm one of those people. Others want you to feel frustrated, or scared, or belittled. Those people, both groups, will always be there trying to influence you. What's important is whether or not we let them.

See, for the most part, I think we get to choose how we feel. It's more than just choosing how we view a situation, though that's important -- it's about choosing whether or not the pressure everyone else exerts on us will bother us. We can let it bother us, let it get to us until it's all we can think about and we freeze (like I did), or we can choose to acknowledge that those pressures exist but realize that the most important pressure we experience is the pressure we put on ourselves.

I shrugged a lot of the pressure off. I told myself it wasn't worth the headaches and the insomnia and the backaches and the wanting to tear my hair out. I remembered that what they want for me is not necessarily what I want for me, nor is it necessarily the best for me. I'm putting pressure on myself to get good grades this last semester and apply for jobs in a timely manner, but I'm not putting more pressure than I can handle.

The key I've discovered is to do what I feel is right and only listen to others for advice, not instructions.

Monday, September 5, 2011

September Goals


It's September? What? It has been for FIVE DAYS? Are you sure?

Oh, the calendar says yes. That's awesome and it sucks. It's possible that this month Texas will have it's one week of fall (fingers crossed), but it also means graduation is drawing closer and I'm really not ready to let go of undergrad yet. SLOW DOWN, TIME.

Anyway. Goals. These are definitely necessary this month. Like whoa.

1. Post photos from China. I mean, geez Valorie. It's not like you want to be a professional photographer or anything.

2. Lose two pounds a week. So, China was great and all. Except... I never had access to a gym but the street food was greasy and delicious. TOTALLY UNEXPECTEDLY, none of my jeans fit now. Who saw that coming?

3. Study for the LSAT two hours a day. I may have to take Saturdays off, but I also have to take it (for the last time I ever) on October 1 so... that's cool.

4. Don't skip class. At least wait until November to start skipping. The senioritis is with this one.

5. Along that vein, maybe buy your textbooks at some point. That could be cool.

6. Finish applying for Teach For America. Your application is due September 16, Valorie. Why are you talking to yourself in the third person?

7. Be more present in the blogsphere. I wonder why I feel like I'm losing followers and then I realize it's because I don't interact with y'all. So, take this as my formal apology and also my promise to actually comment on your posts now that I'm back stateside.

8. Take more pictures. I mean this formally and informally. Try to do a photoshoot or two, AND take more photos when you're with your friends. Someday, you'll be mad at yourself if you don't.

9. Finish three things on your 101 list. You're really not doing so hot with this, so go for four, but three is good. Also, be rull proud of yourself for remembering that thing even exists.

10. Live it up. You've got 95 days of undergrad left. THAT'S LESS THAN A HUNDRED DAYS, VALORIE. Go to Pub Quiz on Sunday nights. Go to the football games. Hang out with your friends. Don't hide in your apartment, don't worry so much about homework, don't let being shy stop you. You'll regret it.

What are your goals this month?