On blogging and stuff…

The hardest part of starting off a new blog is how to start. I think that once that is done and over with, the real writing begins. The main purpose of this blog is to show readers what I can do. I am enthusiastic about writing and want that as my writing career. Sometimes I find myself being better at writing than I am at doing anything else. I’m not saying that I’m amazing at it or anything, I am just saying that it is a fun activity where I can express myself in a way that exemplifies the way I want myself to be portrayed.

I started off this blog wanting to review books. The sole purpose of this blog was to give my opinion on books I have read. Although I have indeed lived up to that promise, this blog has taken on a life of its own. I now go towards this blog whenever I have some inspiration on writing ideas and need the world to see it. Later on I will do a writing exercise to get the juices flowing. Then you guys can maybe see my process.

I wanted to comment on something someone said about my last blog. They said that they didn’t realize how terrible of an experience I had on the trip. I wanted to clear that up here. I had an amazing experience. Those incidents where things did not go my way, or made me sad, were not the highlight. I enjoyed getting to know my Macanese heritage and having fun with most everyone on the trip. I did not let those lousy experiences ruin my whole trip. Well…. except for the fact that I did choose to go back home early, but that is another matter.

Most of the time, I do tend to dwell on the negative… when I’m inside the comforts of my own room. But when I’m out with friends or anywhere else, I tend to think more positively. Take it from a girl who has had friends ditch her all her life. You learn to move on and deal with it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to complain about it. Trust me, I did complain about what happened quite a bit afterword. I don’t want anyone to feel sad for me or pity. I’m moving on with my life. And I’m finding new things about myself every day.

Since I have moved on from that sad topic, I want to bring up a great point.

Why is blogging so important to me????

The other day I was talking about how I was going to blog about my trip every day, to some kid on the trip. He was like “blogging is for grandmas.” I beg to differ. This is coming from someone who just finished up an internship dedicated to blogging. (go to http://www.superinterns.com to see what I mean. And maybe get an internship yourself!) Blogs help gain readability between the company and its audiences. I’m sure you’ve read several articles on Buzz Net or whatever site you read articles on. The more blog posts you have, the more readers you’ll get.

By blogging not only about literature, movies, and my life, I have a better chance of gaining access into the world of writing and hopefully, one day, publishing. As a writer, I want people to notice my work and gain something from it. I love it when someone comes up to me saying they read my blog. Maybe blogs are becoming less popular, but to me, it is a very important thing to have. It not only teaches you about writing, it also teaches you about gaining viewers and how to properly publish an article.

Onto the writing bit!

I really want to work on my novel now that I don’t have a job. If you don’t know which novel I’m working on, look up “Origins” in my archive and read that. Here is the prompt:

Write a scene in which an object carries emotional weight for the character, causing them to change some of the conflict, or moves them in some way. 

I’m running. I don’t know where I’m going, all I know is that I have to get away. From him. From this place. It was a mistake to think I could ever love someone. I didn’t want his charity. I feel a drop of water on my shoulder. The cold air is frigid against my skin as I run through houses in the dead of night. Another drop of rain. Soon, it is pouring. Nick’s voice calls out from the dark, my name a raven’s caw in the night. My hands grip the jacket tied around my waist. As I bring the jacket up to me, I smell his cologne.

I’m caught so off guard that I trip on the sleeves of the jacket. I fall head first into the street in front of me. The last thing I see before I close my eyes is bright lights.

***

I know it’s really short, but it is all I can come up with. I wanted to start off with her running, so that we can have some action. I know that I want her to find out that Nick is only with her out of sympathy. But it isn’t the case. She misinterprets in some way and he has to go and fix that. Maybe it sounds too cliche, but it’s a start. I know once I continue filling in the gaps to the story, it will be a more cohesive piece.

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Macau trip Days 4-7: I hope you had the time of your life

So here we are dear readers. I have failed in my attempt to catalog every day of my trip. I got really busy having fun and learning about Macau. I have to tell you that I went home early. I could not take it alone in Hong Kong. But, I will get to that later. This trip was an amazing experience for me. I learned so much about the different cultures of Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese. Honestly there wasn’t that much free time between visiting different regions of Macau and participating in the various activities. I will go back to Day four, since that is where I left off.

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Day 4:

The Amazing Race. I won’t forget this day. We had to go around the city and find various checkpoints. The team with the most points and less time wins. I was a group leader and so I had to randomly pick out two names out of a hat. Both of my teammates were boys. I am not a competitive person, so I knew that they would somehow suck the fun out of it by being too competitive. We started out saying that we were going to take it slow, but it was apparent that they really did want to win. They wanted to win so much that they told me to meet them at the next check point so they can run. I was so confused and in shock that I let it happen. We were disqualified because they left me. They did get yelled at, so I guess they got what they deserved.

Learning Portuguese Folk Dancing. This was fun yet tiring. I looked at the photos and man do I look confused! I kept losing track of the steps and doing some weird things with my feet. Plus it was really hot. The downstairs was so hot and smelled like sewer and fish. I am so not used to it being extremely hot and humid.

Overall, this day was okay. A lot of running and also being let down by teammates. I was so tired from all that running and walking that I didn’t have the energy to even try to cuss them out. I was really hurt by what they did. I was fine though. Didn’t get hurt or harassed.

Day 5

  

             We got rained in! Seriously, we were supposed to participate in dragon boat racing, but there was word about a typhoon and so we had to cancel that. Instead, we got to sleep in and enjoy a meal at a monastery. We did have to walk in the rain while we were visiting this amazing temple. But it was still nice enough where we didn’t need a jacket. Oh and their snails are humongous! I have a huge fear of snails and that just terrified me. Basically all we did was visit shops and we also got to visit this museum of this Macanese house. I would have loved living there.

People kept leaving and not telling others where they were going. I don’t get why anyone would do that. It is rude and inconsiderate. Plus, you’re there for the Encontro, not on vacation. Some people didn’t get that memo I guess. I’m glad my two group mates didn’t wander off.

Day 6

  

     COOKIES! We got to learn how to make these Macanese cookies called “Genete” which were really really good. They tasted a lot like those butter cookies that my grandma always had around the house. Seriously, I will make some of my own and show everyone. If you don’t know the kind of cookies I’m talking about, I’m sure you can find them in Costco. I know my grandma had a huge can from Costco that she put out for Christmas.

Meeting the Consulate General. We got to go to the Portuguese Consulate and talk to the general. He was so nice and he had some great things to say about the Encontro and the Macanese. Sitting in on that was amazing because it made me appreciate where my relatives are from. I want to help preserve that culture and bring awareness towards people of Macanese decent. I will gladly tell people that I am Macanese and that I do belong to a certain racial identity. I was always split when it came to explaining what racial background I fit into. But now I know that I can say that I am Macanese and proud. I’ve already started trying to learn some Portuguese, so I’m on my way.

Closing Ceremony. Man, what an adventure! I don’t really want to talk about the closing ceremony but I will because I should. For prosperity sake. I don’t want to talk about it because I hate endings. I’m like the Doctor. I realize that everything has to come to an end, but that doesn’t mean that I want it to. I started this journey scared that I wouldn’t belong and I would be homesick. But with this group of people I didn’t feel so scared. I was happy to share this experience with every one of them. The ceremony was mainly speeches and pictures. Great food though. Except the Escargot. Ewww! Remember how I said snails over there were bigger? Yeah… imagine my terror when I saw that on the plate next to me! I was supposed to do a speech but Stephanie wanted to do it so I let her. I do regret it only because when I heard everyone else’s speech, I realized that I wanted to put my voice out there. But I’m glad Stephanie got the chance to.

Day 7

Oh man. Here comes the part I was dreading talking about. The night before this day, I had planned with this girl from the Vancouver Casa to meet up at 11 am in the lobby so we could go to Hong Kong together. She was staying an extra two days and had kindly said she would hang out. When I got to the lobby, however, she was nowhere to be seen. I tried texting her, but I never got a reply. I waited for an hour and realized that she wasn’t going to show. I was bummed. I ended up going with some of the Australians to the Ferry. I took the Turbo Jet to Hong Kong and went to the hostel. It was really isolated and on top of a hill. When I booked the hostel, I thought it would be okay since it was cheap and I didn’t want to spend so much money. But when I got there, I had some doubts. The room was cramped and I thought I was going to run out of air.

I thought that I would just try to stay out as much as possible. But when I took the shuttle to the Ferry building, I didn’t really feel a good feeling in my stomach. I walked around and did some shopping. I didn’t feel that scared and some of the people seemed nice. But it didn’t seem like something I could do every day for the rest of my trip. I tried to contact the girl again, maybe in hopes that there was a mistake. I did write her about how horrible it felt to be left with no message whatsoever and to worry that something went wrong. I always worry that people are going to get hurt and so I was a little worried that maybe something bad happened to her.

Anyways, as I was searching up things I could do, I get a text from Stephanie about how they missed their flight. They said I could stay the night at their hotel so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. I quickly took a taxi to the hostel. However, the driver didn’t know English so he thought I said Yacht club. I ended up having to pay twice as much because of that mix up. By the time I got to the hostel, I was pretty scared. I called my mom crying that I wanted to go home. At first I thought maybe it was just homesickness, but I did cry on the shuttle down from the hostel, earlier that day. I was homesick then and gave myself time to settle.

I just could not stand staying in that hostel and being ditched really dampened my spirits. I know I planned the trip so I was alone, but the fact that I was in an isolated area and hardly that many people understood me, really scared me. So I ended up leaving the hostel and staying with Stephanie and Emily. I booked the same flight they were on, with help from my dad, and now I am home. I got home earlier today at 9 am. I got to live Thursday twice. I’m totally Doctor Who! XD.

I feel bad that I had to buy another ticket home, and that I didn’t stick it out, but in the end, you have to do what is right for you. I overestimated how I would feel being alone and I will definitely not do it again. If I do travel again, besides going to Wales to study, I will go with a group. And maybe I will try travelling alone another day. They say that this was a once in a lifetime chance, but who knows that really? I’m only 23 years old. You are never too old to travel or live the life you have always wanted. I have to stop letting other people’s opinions dictate who I am as a person.

I am also glad that I did write to that person about how I felt. We should not have to walk on egg shells if someone hurts you. If someone hurts you, tell them how you feel. Do not worry if you hurt their feelings. Get those feelings out. The difference between being immature and telling someone off is the way you phrase it. If you go out of your way to make that person feel like (pardon my French) shit and tell them how worthless they are because of what they did to you, that is immature. But if you call someone out and tell them that they hurt you and that you are upset, that is the way to go. I did not cuss her out and I didn’t say she was stupid or anything. I was as diplomatic as I could have been, while getting my point across. I’ve learned to not hold these things in… well, in some cases.

To the people who made this trip possible, thank you so very much! This experience will live with me forever. I am so glad that I got this opportunity to enjoy this and to learn about the Macanese culture. Next time I travel, I will definitely pick a hotel. I also want to say that I feel closer to my grandma and I will always hold her in my heart. I love you Nana, and I know you were with me the whole time. I went to the St. Paul ruins around midnight one of the days and I forgot my phone. I felt this guiding presence the entire time and I swear it was her. Thank you for protecting me.

IMG_2792  I totally got this amazing picture frame in Macau. I love this so much.

Macau trip day 3: Dragon Boat racing

Apparently I missed a blog post yesterday so here it is. Yesterday we had a Macanese youth meeting, lunch, watched dragon boat racing, went to church and ate at this awesome Portugese restaraunt. It was excruciatingly hot and most of the time was spent griping about the heat. I loved the dragon boat racing. The community part was amazing. I had so much fun rooting on the team. 

This trip has been a blast so far. I love the atmosphere around this place. I feel at home around this place. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. I was so scared about going to another country, but I feel like it’s something I can get used to. Traveling I mean. 

I don’t have much to say because I’m still exhausted. But I will get some more writing done later on. 

   
 

Day 2 in Macau: China 

Hey there precious readers! It is my second whole day in Macau. Let me say it was a blast. I mean literally. I was blasted by the humidity of this place. After getting up early in the morning, we headed to China. It was a long trip that consisted of being checked twice for passports. Though the trip was long, we got to see some amazing sights. Like the new university campus and so many bridges. 

We visited museum after museum about the history of China and China’s new plan for the future. The Chinese government wants to create an eco friendly environment where each part of Chinese rule is brought together. I can definetly tell the beginning process of this. Though parts of Macau and Hong Kong have parts that are old and decrepit, the countries are slowly being renovated. My favorite part of today’s journey was the trip to this rich guy’s house that was turned into a museum. It was a great location filled with an amazing view of the forest. 

There are plenty of things that I learned today. One is that Chinese toilets are….different. Instead of a toilet bowl they basically have a hole in the ground that you squat to pee. I tried it and let me just say that I almost had to take off my pants completely. I also learned that exchanging money is so confusing. I went to convert money into Chinese dollars and I got $300 cause I wasn’t sure how much that was. Could have just gone with $100. 

There has always been a debate on whether or not I look Chinese. Some say they can’t see the Chinese and others say they think I am. When I went to the bakery this morning the lady tried telling me she could only give me change in Macau dollars…in Chinese. It wasn’t until I hesitated when trying to answer that she realized that I couldn’t speak Chinese. This has happened to me before. I always just go with it because why should it matter? I just thought it was something kind of interesting. 

Man, I love the food here. We went to luch in China and they kept bringing out more food. Soooooo good! I never finished everything but man was it awesome! And I went with Emily from my casa and a bunch of Australians and Canadians to dinner at this Portugese restaurant. That was so amazing! I was going to go with a different group to this one star restaurant but it was $106 US dollars. 

The nightlife is pretty much how I feel Vegas does. Oh and there is an Eifell Tower being built so it basically is Vegas. It’s been a very hot and humid day. I will leave you at that dear readers since it is late but stay tuned! 

  

Macau trip: Day 1 It’s so hot!!

Here I am, writing about my amazing adventure. You might be wondering what I’ve been up to, oh dear reader. Well let’s see. I went to the airport around 9:30 am on Tuesday to catch the 1:45 pm flight to Hong Kong. After meeting up with Emily and Stephanie, we waited for our flight…only to wait three extra hours. We spent the time charging our phones and people watching. If you have ever people watched before, the best place is the airport. The flight was 13 hours long and we also had to take the ferry to Macau. Man, what a day. We ended up getting to Hong Kong at 9:20 pm.

When we finally landed in Hong Kong, we were pretty exhausted. I did not get that much sleep and had just found out that I had to be up at 8 am for a leader meeting. We missed the ferry from the airport so we had to take a bus to the ferry that was open 24 hours. I had to exchange some money for bus fair and man was I surprised. I gave them a $20 bill and they handed me $141 in Hong Kong dollars. Honestly that went a long way compared to what I could have gotten in the US. Wow. Still kind of shocked by that. 

When we did get to the ferry, we got confused by how to properly pay for a ticket. It was really annoying, since it’s really hot here. Oh and I should mention it’s very humid. It’s so sticky I don’t know if I showered correctly. After boarding the ferry we had an hour trip to Macau. By the time we got to shore all I wanted to do was sleep…and put my bags down. We were told there would be a shuttle to get to our hotel but we couldn’t find it so we took a taxi. It was $33 so a little over two dollars. 

When I got to the hotel I found out I wasn’t staying with the girls from my casa. So I was expecting to have to tiptoe into my room. It took me about five minutes to get the lights on since you have to put your key card in this slot to activate the power. I had the room to myself, but would later find out that my roommate was just staying with her boyfriend in his hotel room. I guess I lucked out.

The next day I was so confused as to what we were doing. The leaders of each casa, which I am one, got to visit the consulate. It was cool hearing from these Macau dignitaries. Afterwards we went as a group to the Mandarin house which is a representation of how houses looked back then. It had 60 rooms! It had a mixture of Asian and Western architecture. After that we went to lunch, which was amazing. I had to say something in front of the group which was nerve wracking.

After lunch we went to this garden on a hill dedicated to this women called Ah Ma. Then we went to see the church ruin. It was a really hot day and we weren’t allowed to wear shorts. The island of Macau is so pretty and very hot. People here are very nice. After the church ruin we went to the opening ceremony. It was fun, except I couldn’t understand what they were saying since they were speaking either Portugese or Chinese. 

There has literally been no real down time today. From traveling to get here and the different activities I don’t have time to sit and relax. Macau is so much more than just gambling. It’s a thriving country that should be appreciated for its rich history. The buildings are amazing. I find it kind of poetic how the old buildings are juxtaposed next to the new buildings. What I have noticed is that Macau is very densely populated. I mean there is a ton of people in San Francisco but this was insanity. 

I’ve had tons of fun today and I’m glad I’m spending some extra time here. Tomorrow we are going to China so I should get going. I will tell you guys more about my adventure later.  

 

There and back again…. Jillian’s tale of adventure

Recently, I have been given the biggest opportunity of my lifetime. Although I probably shouldn’t use that lightly. I mean, what if I get a huge promotion and my dreams are fulfilled? Anyways, back to the point. As most of you guys who keep up with my blog know, my grandmother passed away recently. It’s been five months and not a day goes by that I wish she was still here. Some people discard how much it pained me to go through this. I’m sure the thinking is that it wasn’t like it was my parents, or even my siblings. Grandparents are meant to pass away some time, just like any of us. But if I’m being honest with myself, I think this has changed the way I look at life and death.

Before I get into all of that, I want to share with you the big news. I will be going to Macau in a week to visit the birthplace of my ancestors, including my grandmother and my own mother. I will stay in Macau for seven days, then I will go exploring in Hong Kong and hopefully mainland China for four days. I was awarded this opportunity by the organization that my grandma was in called “UMA,” located in San Francisco. The official experience is called “En Contro de Macau” which is basically a meeting of people in Macau. I will be going with two other people from California and meeting people from all around the world who had ancestors in Macau.

Because I am staying overseas for almost a week, I had to quit my job. I know most of you guys know my feelings on the subject of my job, so you would know that I am ecstatic to move on to new things. My life felt like it was getting repetitive and that it wasn’t  anything exciting. I think what made me think that was the sameness of my surroundings. I would go to work every day and do the same thing. It never felt like things were changing. So now that I am going to be out of a job, it feels like my life is headed in the direction I want it. I have been given a second chance to do something better with my life and I will seize the chance.

This trip will allow me to get in touch with my heritage. I really wish I could go back and spend more time with my grandma. She used to always ask me to come over and hang out with her when I was staying in the dorms. I only visited her on my own once during college and I wish I had had more time. I think there will always be something you regret whenever someone close to you dies. I always think about how proud she was of me when I graduated from college, and every time she went to see me perform in a musical. I was always glad that she would come out to see me. I remember when I did Godspell in Pacifica and she couldn’t come because of her knees. I was disappointed that she didn’t see it. But then she came to every  other performance after that. She even thought that we had recorded our voices when we did Pirates of Penzance.

One thing that really made me tear up the other day was when I was cleaning out my room. I just got my grandma’s bed and so I had to clear out my room to make room for it. When I was going through my things, I found this card that my grandma had wrote for my college graduation.

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Sometimes when I go out to dinner with my mom, I want to ask if Nana can come as well. Sometimes I catch myself trying to dial her cell phone to ask. I know that people have to die and that we are not immortal. But realizing that someone will never again give you a hug, or a kiss… that will always feel like a knife in the heart.

I’m hoping that this trip will be the chance I need to open up to who I am and who I could be. I want to travel the world to look for lost pieces inside my soul and to find the things so precious to me that it would open a black hole. My words might sound poetic, but I know that they are anything but.

I will keep all of you guys posted on my trip daily. Well, at least every other day. I will explore this Earth and find its faults and the beauty within. I will find my “bright place” and I will cherish it always. (That was a reference to Jennifer Niven’s “All the Bright Places.”)

Nana, I will always remember you and one day we will be together. I know you are looking down on me and protecting me. ❤ you so much.