Saturday, March 30, 2013

Using My "Adult Discipline"

     Last year, while I was signing up for my classes for my current semester, I signed up for Spanish 102. It is the second part of the intro course to Spanish, and I was pretty psyched to continue learning a language that I could actually use (as opposed to Latin, which is really cool, but unless I learn how to time travel, rather useless). The first day of class, was met with utter disappointment. My teacher looked to be only a few years older than me, was clearly not a native speaker, and didn't even have a copy of his own syllabus. He might have also been high, but that one is up for debate.
     I decided to give him a chance, and stayed in the class for about two weeks, by which point I could not take the pain anymore, the pain being watching Will Ferrel's "In the House of my Father" with English subtitles. So I switched to a class with a teacher I had heard good things about. Why the long prelude? My point is coming, I swear. The first day of this new class, I learned twice as much as I had in the several weeks of the old one, and it was such a sigh of relief for my developing Spanish-brain. Perhaps the most important piece I remember learning that day, is when we had to write down a whole list of vocab words to be tested on next class. They were all obscure words that we as a class thought would be good to have in our vocabulary. Anyway, he was explaining to everyone, that in language, the general philosophy is if you are constantly bombarded with all of these words and phrases, some of them will sink in, eventually. He then told us, while that is fine and dandy, a more efficient way of learning this vocab, is to sit down, use our "adult discipline" and learn it.
     For some reason, this really struck a chord with me. No one, at least not for a very long time, has told me to just sit down, use some discipline and just get my work done. It is usually more along the lines of "well of course you'll do it, you always end up doing it" and while this is true, it really doesn't motivate me, or help me in any way, because usually just "getting things done" translates to staying up until all hours of the night trying to not fail, but not necessarily get 100 percent out of it.
     It struck me as of late, that not failing, is really quite different than thoroughly succeeding, and actually learning deeply from my studies. This may seem obvious to most everyone, but to me it was a different way of looking at what I am learning in school, and how I am learning it. Until recently, my philosophy had been to get the work done in a way that gets me a good grade (A-B range) with the absolute minimal effort put in. It was an exaggerated efficiency system, designed to work by producing an acceptable result with the lowest possible input, and while I thought it seemed like a good idea, I am really disappointed in it.
     I kept finding myself looking at a grade, that was just shy of what I wanted, and thinking, "well that isn't bad for only studying for 15 minutes." Sure, it's not bad based on that frame, but imagine what I could achieve if I had actually put my best effort in? I don't know where in my life I lost this will to not simply avoid failing, but to pursue excellence, but I want it back. I miss those 100 percents, I miss that conquering feeling you get when you put in your all and you achieve marvelous results. I miss actually learning my material, not simply cramming it in for the singular purpose of an exam. So, in the spirit of this blog, where I am trying to stop dreaming about my "adult life" and actually try and live it day to day, I am invoking my "adult discipline."I know it probably doesn't have much strength right now, but I think if I work on it little by little, day to day, it will soon become a force to be reckoned with. How's your "adult discipline"?

P.S. Still going strong with my morning yoga. 
Currently Listening To: Booty Swing by Parov Stelar

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Morning Yoga

     Another successful morning of yoga for me. I know it is only day two, but I really can't see myself stopping. Yoga, to me, was always something so strong and serene. I love seeing pictures of people in their poses, perfectly calm, so strong, and balanced. I thought to myself, what excellent control of not only their bodies, but their minds. They must be so peaceful inside. I think what draws me so much to yoga is the inner peace you can see radiating out of their bodies. I want that inner peace. I want to feel so complete, and content in only myself that I can control, yet release my mind at the same time. At the same time, they are so strong, these yoga people I watch. Not talking about their muscles, they are all relatively lean people, but even in the stillness of their poses, you can see energy shooting out of their outstretched fingertips, their reaching toes. It seems so powerful, but a controlled kind of power, over yourself, I think that is ultimately what I long for, what I am seeking whilst doing these poses. I hope I can soon achieve this inner peace, I think that is what I long for more than anything.

Currently listening to: Princess of China by Coldplay & Rihanna

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Lovely Books

In an effort to try and read more books in my free time, I thought I would begin to post what I'm currently reading and what I think of it. I just finished Sahara by Clive Cussler two nights ago, and am having a hard time picking what I want to read next on my list. I will be sure to post a review of it later today, but mostly I wanted to use this graphic quote because I thought it was wonderful.

Morning Yoga

 Lately I have been in a pattern of going to bed early (eleven is early in college) which means I have also begun to wake up at hours of the morning which I could have sworn do not exist, like seven and eight o'clock. What do I do with all this free time I have magically acquired? Besides blogging, of course. Well, I am trying to implement a morning yoga routine. My dear friend who runs a lovely blog as well, had a post about getting into a 5 minute yoga routine in the mornings, and despite the fact that I try and go to yoga once or twice a week, I typically fail at actually going... So I thought a new morning routine could suit me nicely. You can check out the poses here if you're interested in trying a 5 minute yoga routine for yourself!
p.s. Check out those cute elephants doing yoga! If they can do it so can you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seeing Signs

Here are some of my favorite protesting signs in front of D.C. today.

This is more or less how I feel about what is going on: 

This man, is so fabulous, I just think he is great:

And finally, because Harry Potter is awesome, and so are gay rights:

Seeing Red

Happy Tuesday to you all! In case anyone's Facebook wasn't blowing up with these red equality signs, here is what the majority of us are seeing today:

     Why? Well because it is a big day for us here in the Land of the Free, it is the day that the 'issue' of gay rights has begun come to a head. Today, the Supreme Court has begun the hearings for gay marriage in D.C.  The equality sign is actually from the Human Rights Campaign, who usually has a blue and yellow sign, but instead opted for a pink and red one to gather up supporters for this day in history.
     I myself have not changed my profile picture to this sign, why? Do I not support them? Am I too lazy? No, no, I do support gay marriage, one-hundred and ten percent, I just don't see what my changing my profile picture will do to further the cause. But you know what I can do? I can write about it.
     What I have seen across my newsfeed today has certainly made me want to turn my caps lock on and go nuts on some people, but I know that won't actually help anything, so I turned here instead.
     Let me begin with this: I can't even believe this is an issue. To top that, I can't even believe this issue has taken so many years to stir up a sizable movement, and now I can't believe it is being met with so many roadblocks, just to give people what we have already promised them as American Citizens: Equal Rights. It saddens me as an American to look through the pages of my American History text book, and see over and over again, that while we preach equality, acceptance, and say we are an encompassing and understanding country to anyone who's beliefs or ideas may seem different, we can't seem to uphold this in our practices. While we are proud of our freedom, of our constitution, our country, we seem to really enjoy taking these rights away from people, and putting others beneath us. And not just any other people, our own American Citizens. This is so unbelievably cruel, and wrong, I have no words; so instead I will move on to what I have seen today.
     On my Facebook, the majority of my friends (you guys are awesome) have posted these red equal signs in their profile pictures, shared pictures of protesters in D.C. with clever and moving signs, and have taken to the comment boxes to explain and defend their ideas. Others of my friends, have taken to their statuses to say they do not support this bill, and they don't all have the same reasons for their opinions but their words all have the same meaning: they are not for equality. These people have been blasted away by comments, one avid supporter of equality saying how dare they posses, and then share this opinion on Facebook. Well, girl, everyone has been sharing their opinions on Facebook, you can't blast them for joining the fray, just because their opinion is different than yours, common.
I do not have a problem with these opinions, what I do have a problem with are their reasoning for them.
Trolling through the comments, here are the defenses I've most commonly seen:
~ It is against what the Bible says
~ Being gay is a choice, and people should simply choose to be straight and save us all the headache
~ I don't like it/It's not right etc. 
     Alright, one at a time, beginning with the Bible. Leaving my personal beliefs aside (read:I do not have any) there is something glaringly wrong with this reason against gay marriage. Here, in America, the Land of the Free, we have a SEPARATION of Church and state. Sorry, I could not control my caps-lock in that instance. What does this mean? This means, that the affairs, beliefs and rules of a church, are not supposed to interfere with the managing of our government. How then, is a definition from a religious text, standing up in our government? How has this even gained footing as a reason to separate a group of people into second-class citizenship? This is what baffles me most in this battle for equality, this religious definition should not have made this many waves in our country, let alone wash up on the front steps of our nations capitol. It boils my blood to see this kind of bastardization of our law of a Separation of Church and State.
     For those of you who think it is a choice, I pose this experiment to you: Why don't you choose to be gay for a day, even a week, and tell me how it goes for you. Didn't work? You couldn't be gay by choice? Huh, well I guess that answers that question.
     And for the rest of you, who simply don't like it; I don't like you, so what are we supposed to do about that? Shall I take away your rights? As a demographic of people, who just don't like other people, shall I not allow you to marry? To visit your loved ones in the hospital? That seems rather rude doesn't it? How about instead, I won't take away your rights, I will let you keep on having your opinions, and then you can just let gay people continue on their way, living their lives which don't affect you in the slightest. My god, it's brilliant!
     Of course, those are my opinions, if you don't like them, well, you are reading my blog, which is all about my opinions, so really that's on you, but feel free to argue (or you know, agree) with me in the comments!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sitting Pretty

You know, sometimes I never realize how sitting at a computer all day can tire you out, but it really can. Since ending my time at my previous site, (I swear, I will stop talking about it soon, it's like a recent ex, it's still on my mind!)  I have been hastily working on getting this one beautified and up and running almost all day. Let me tell you, I did not anticipate spending this much time arranging everything, but I felt it just had to be perfect. I thought I had an idea in my head of the direction I wanted to take this site, visually speaking, and it just wasn't what I wanted to look at for a while. I suppose that is the point of all of this writing after all! Figuring out what I want versus what I thought I want; I'm thinking this was a good start. Anyway, it is up and running, I think I like it, so let me know what you think! Also, if you saw any of the horrendous concoctions I had earlier, I am really sorry about your eyes, I'm sure they will heal soon. 

A Hot Cup of Tea

     Ah! To be writing again! It is almost as invigorating as a hot cup of tea... I'm just giving you a pause there for the "aha" moment of realization that yes, that is this new website...For those of you following from my previous blog, I hope you like the new digs, I will do my utmost best to keep this updated and interesting for both of us, and for the newbies, welcome aboard! 
     Why, you may be wondering, start a new blog? Clearly I had something workable established previously, why mess with a good thing? Honestly it is for many reasons, I can't attribute this change to any singular occurrence, but I suppose what finally pushed me into action, was that I felt I had to. My last blog was focused on my travels in London (it's great, you should check it out here) and while I loved having it, I felt as though trying to write about non-London things was tarnishing the essence I had created there. I love my London memories and I kept having a hard time linking them to the other activities and thoughts I was having in my life at present, so I decided to keep London in a bubble and move on with a new, fresh blog, where I can tailor the subjects to encompass more than just my travels. 
     On that subject, if I am not writing about travels, then what will I be writing about? That is a great question, really it is. Firstly, I will still be writing about my traveling (I am hoping to have a rather large trip over the Summer, it is just in it's baby planning stages, so I won't reveal anything yet, but fingers are firmly crossed!) but I want to approach the blog in a different way. My last trip I was more focused on capturing everything I saw in photographs for the blog, and while I still plan on taking insane amounts of photos, I don't think I will be posting them all on here. Instead, I am trying to focus more on the writing aspect of recording travels, I mean I have this blog for a main reason, and it is writing, so I ought to up my game in that category. 
     My other purpose for creating a new direction on here is rather metaphorical, it is why this is called A Hot Cup of Tea. While I have always loved a nice cup of tea, it has become a ritualistic aspect of my life ever since England. To me, and especially to the English, tea is hot, comforting, invigorating and calming at the same time. It builds you up for the day ahead, warms you up to face the cold, and then comforts you before bed to send you to of to sleep. It energizes you for a new beginning, which is how I see this blog, at least that is the direction I am hoping to take it. You see, I will be graduating at the end of this calendar year, and while I had a plan upon entrance into college about what I was going to do and what direction I wanted to take, that plan has since dramatically changed. It isn't as though I have had any roadblocks, au contraire I am steaming full speed ahead, I'm just not sure in what direction. I have found that my interests and goals and intentions with what I want to do have altered, and I realized I am actually floundering for a direction. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? How can I achieve that goal? Is this option worth doing over this other option? What do I want more? I don't know! Ack! I just don't know! And while I have nine months until I am graduated and have to jump into the real world, I decided I should start to tease out what I am truly interested in from the crazy mess of all the directions I want to take. At the same time, I want to have a collection of things that inspire me (and hopefully you) to start living the life I've imagined for myself, instead of constantly being in pursuit of it. And with that I open my new blog, lets see how this goes!