Purpose

“what is your purpose in life?”

“what do you want in life?”

how would you answer these? what does purpose mean?

is it should be something grande and marvelous in order to be called “PURPOSE”, like goal or dream or hope? –  the kind of words that’s so commonplace and grand that actually mean – nothing.

i’ve been so lost lately. fresh out of 4 yrs college with a diploma on hand; just moved to a new city alone for my first full time job that turns out i don’t quite like and can’t learn much from.

i want exciting things in life, the type that inspires, challenges, encourages and surprises me everyday so that i can constantly keep striving and learning. instead of the everyday 9-5, repeat, agony, and repeat again the next day, keep wishing the time away. i really hate and despise this type of lifestyle. i am not sure about my purpose in life, but this type of living is surely not the purpose.

i want to really contribute my integrity, hard working and good spirit to something, something that needs me; or something that i should build or create…

sometimes i just wish i don’t need to think much, and i dont have much thoughts in mind that keeps me from sleeping. i just want some quite moments, by the ocean, watching the sun set, listening some good songs.

but then somebody would remind me soon, you need to go back to reality again, as reality is always not a quite place.

What do I want? How can I make it? and where do I go next?

 

My quite place where helps me escape reality for a little .

stranger

i don’t often photograph people, at least not in the way that people would know that i am taking picture of them, tho i do very like the subject of human being in a photograph. i want to take pictures of human in their most natural stages, at the point that they don’t even realizing how interesting, beautiful or complex their existence or moment of actions are.

like the way they lay on the grass in the sun, the expression they have while waiting the traffic light in their car, the way they walk, the moment of thought showing in their face…all these instant moments lead to countless of imagination in my head, and i keep wondering, what is he thinking, why he did this and what makes him do this… and start making my own version of their story in my mind.

that day i went for a walk by the marina and stop by emery point; it is my favorite spot.

there  was this man standing by the point end alone, and i took this picture.

he kindly asked if i would like him to move away from my picture, and i replied ” no, take your time” and i tell him sometimes taking picture of the ocean alone is too plain, and you need object like a human to make the scene a little richer.

we chatted a little, and i couldn’t help but ask him what was he looking at standing there; he said he was just looking at the mountains afar, listening his music and having some thoughts in head.

he is a black man, maybe early mid age, tall and strong build. he was kind and friendly. that day he wore a pair of black metal line sunglasses, a pair of sport sneakers, a grey long sleeve hoody that has Harvard university print on, and he wore a hat and over that he also has the hoody hat on. he also wore a shirt underneath that is half shown from his hoody.

I rarely talk to people in this situation, though i really want to have a chat to a new person, i don’t necessary want to break their solitary moment, and sometimes i’m scared to talk to stranger.

his name is tony and we shook hands. it was too windy and cold and i couldn’t stand longer by the ocean, also i don’t think i want to hold the conversation longer. so i left. but i remember i felt relived after the short conversation with Tony,  at least i tried to figure out a new person, and try to solve the question of the mysterious man on my picture.

but on the other hand, sometimes, stranger is just better left as being stranger.

Money and worth

It’s so easy to be caught up in whatever people called materialism or materialistic, buying too many clothes that some we never even wear; too many things, we want and we need. We also like variety, extra, updated version, newest trend, and you only really realize the moment you move, that you have so many things, whether necessary or unnecessary, with you, and you complain “why do i have so many things?!”

i like shopping and buying things too, but i consider myself more of a conscious buyer. i like to support brand and business, and i like to try new things, too. So whenever i’m out shopping, there is never a time i would just window shop and not spend a dime on anything. maybe i’m materialistic, but i am not crazy, and i think i know money is hard to make, since now i work and have my first full time job that doesn’t pay much.

I was raised in a relatively well-off family back in China, and i never really care about things, or money, let’s say. and i wasn’t really aware of the privilege i had back then. Still up until college, i never worry about paying tuition, rent, car or hesitation on buying stuff because of money. However, i am aware since college that i should consume less, and only have the things i really need and which would also enrich my life.

Now that i’m out of school, and all on my own (still partially financially dependent) working in a new city, every week Mon-Fri  8 hours of work, doing i think the boring job, and making only little money which is not even enough of my own regular spending. Of course i can manage to spend less, and make my spending tighter, but i don’t want to. I now spend the money not for pure consumption or want, but i spend my money on quality and improvement.

I want lot of money, and i don’t think this is greediness, and i know that i have to take my chances and earn it. i don’t know why i have this sudden massive drive of wanting more – money. i think if i spend most of my time in my career, i want my time and integrity to be worthy, and money is one of the ways to measure, i think, my worthiness and value in this world. i think money can buy me anything, and i put it as a priority than anything else, say relationship.

i want to be able to afford things that are expensive and would increase my quality of life and personal growth. money can clear many problems out of the way, and one thing is that when you have lots of money, then you would not have to care about the most frequent problem of “can’t afford it” or “not enough money”.

When i have lots of money, i would not necessarily spend it on expensive sports cars, luxurious brands, but i want to spend it on a nice house, the ones that are by the ocean or close to the mountains, the ones that are close to nice running and hiking places, and i want to buy a piano, and i want to buy concert tickets that are closer to the stage, too…

Ah, how can i afford it? What can i do to make it happen?

 

That day I went to my friend’s mom’s friends home in Alameda, and their two stories house is right by the ocean overseeing San Francisco and the bay bridge. They have a nice grand piano at home and there is also a beautiful path by the ocean just right in front of their yard. I kept thinking, wow, this is so beautiful ! This view, the ocean and the city… it kinda reminds me of Gatsby, and that he is the person who has so much power and money, and he likes to overlooking the other side of the ocean, for the lovely girl of her dream Daisy…

I wish I would live in a house like this (I wish to live in many houses whichever ones I’ve even seen and liked). But man, the view! Isn’t it how the quality of life should be? A nice balcony and backyard with good view that make all your trouble goes away.

But and then, my other question is, if I do live in one of these beautiful houses by the ocean with spectacular view, will I still cherish and have this “wow” moment every time i see the view and stand by the ocean?

Is it only the process of wanting and earning the most meaningful and satisfactory? And once we got to the top and have it all, we would realized nothing means anything and last forever?

If I could only have one item with me for life , then I would choose the piano.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to settle, meaning staying away from home and experiencing life in different places. The hard part is moving around and not having the company of piano with me along the moving and adjusting. So whenever I see a piano now, my eyes sparkle.

I play the piano for quite a long time, since when I was 4-5th grade?! I did have the period when I didn’t want to practice and give up playing. Up until maybe high school, coming to America, being in boarding school, and I guess piano then became my best buddy, and I was willing to and eager to practice long hour in order to play the melody right and enjoy it myself, in my own world.

Then up to college, my Spotify playlist is added in with more classical piano pieces, piano jazz and modern piano pieces. I like pop music, too, but I just find that I get tired of them quickly, whereas classical or instrumental pieces give me constant transcending and peaceful feelings, when I stuck in traffic, when I was rushing to somewhere.

If I could have my own house or apartment, I would want it to have windows, preferably windows with view and where sunshines can shine in; a piano in the house and a little balcony too.

Music sheets, tho black and white only, they make a good picture, both look and content.

Nina

All my life I want my own dog. When I was little in China, we lived with our grandparents and aunt and uncles’ families, and my grandma is the boss and she didn’t allow any pet in the house. Then my family moved out, we had our own apartment which is in 16th floor uprise, and dog bark would be an issue for our neighbor. And for a long long time, too, my mom is always the one who against having animal in the house, because she always accuses us that we are the ones who play with the animal but she is the only one who clean and pick the poop (which turns out she is very correct about this).

However, when I was in elementary school, every afternoon I would go to my mom side’s parents house to eat lunch and nap before going back to school in the afternoon again. My mom side’s parents always have dogs in their house since I was able to remember things. I was very afraid of dogs back then because they were too exciting to see me and wanna jump on me all the time, and every afternoon before I came tommy grandparents, I would demand them to lock the dogs in the other side so I can walk into the house without them eagerly bothering me. I also remember, when one of the dogs had many litters, I would held one pup in my arm, feeding them milk and watching tv in the big massage chair. I still remember the pup eyes’ were not even open yet, they were so tiny and soft and making this little noises… too cute, I think I haven’t seen any pup or hold any like that since then… I truly miss it.

Then when we move to the US, my parents decide to have our own dog, and they want a guard dog for the house, outdoor not indoor. That’s how I got my Gorman shelter Nina. I treat her like my baby, tho she doesn’t always listen to me. She is this happy, curious and sweet soul that is the most loyal and honest creature I ever have in my life. I miss her very much, and I wish I could bring her hiking and walking with me, so that I wouldn’t be seen as so… lonely. But i truly miss her companion, and she is the best thing I have.

When Nina was still a pup, sweet and naughty.

She always knows to post for the pic.

What’s so yum?

Bay Bridge

Last day of weekend, so sad, I have to go back to the “I would really like to spend my time elsewhere” kind of job, but I had a good time this weekend.

I went for a little walk on the bay bridge today, first time here. I went a little past five in the afternoon, the sun was still big and high, mackerel clouds filled up the sky, and you barely saw any blue but gloomy kind of grey, white and light blue sky with bright sunlight that hurts my eyes.

It was quite a long walk I felt, about an hour, and I didn’t reach the island or the hanger of the bridge. The road is well paved, and biker and pedestrian have their own lane, which is very nice. It would be a great running route. Except I didn’t feel particular great while walking today, probably because of the fatigue I had while running in the morning, and the sun then was too bright and I didn’t have sunglasses on. Cars were roaring fiercely on the bridge, very loud and noisy.

I also have ocean phobia, walking on this long big bridge and seeing ocean and waves running just below my feet, combining with all the bright light, head wind, car noise, I felt a bit headache….

I like to walk on bridges, at least when I was in China, though the bridge is smaller in sizes and shorter in distance, they have beautiful lights at night, and It was cool walking on the bridge in the evening, soft breeze and vibrant city noise. So I guess this bay bridge, no matter in it’s grandness or majesty, I was afraid of it.

But I will come back, and I’ll run next time, maybe it will be better, and I think I will love it here eventually, the bay bridge, the bridge that’s so busy everyday with people coming and going between SF and the east bay, and I’ll get to the treasure island too, soon. Treasure island, such a good name.

looking back at the picture, I think I know why the sun was so bright that it hurst my eyes, because there were no trees or shelters on the bridge…. so next time I’ll bring sunglasses and have lots of sunscreen. I also saw many bikers and a few runners here today, and I’ll be back soon. And I sign up for the bay bridge half marathon which will happen in less than 4 weeks!

Chinatown

I went to San Francisco Chinatown today, and I heard that this is the oldest Chinatown in US, which kinda make sense to me as earliest immigrants would first settle in the west coast of the United States.

It was a very old place, old buildings with old history probably, and all sorts of groceries, gifts shops, bakeries and restaurants align alone the rolling streets. It is a Sunday, so there were many people shopping, mostly Asian or Chinese elderly who were busy picking and buying produces from the stores.

They were the kind of old stores you probably won’t see them in mainland china today, and it’s interesting that most Chinatowns in America are situated in the busy district or downtown that is modern, fast pace and advanced, but here in Chinatown, they are still running in the old ways, tear and wear, reflecting the history and telling the stories.

Living here to me it’s all about trader joe or supermarkets, and it’s nostalgic to be in scene like this, that doesn’t have aisles and a bit messy but full of lively vibe.

This kind of fish place reminds me of my childhood memory in China buying food in the market where you can buy fish still swim in the water and they kill it right there in front of you.

The kind of Chinese bakery store, old ladies, no decor, just the same nice sweet buttery smell, and the types of limited options but good Chinese baking items that you can’t find in trader joe, whole food or safeway… it’s not so much about organic, natural or gluten free (whatever marketing phrases you can find nowadays), it’s about memory and roots, about the taste and feeling you once had in the places that you were born and raised into that still lingers in your memory.

Green

My favorite color is red, I like to wear red lipstick, I have red bed sheet, red umbrella, red clothes, red notebooks, red nail polish and yes I also love watermelon, strawberry, and pomegranate, they taste good, and to me, because they’re red, they taste even better, oh and the red roses too.

I love to have things that are red and wear on me, but for the pleasing eyes, green is the color I love to see.

I love seeing big tall trees that are green and exuberant, walking in the mountain trails, among the forest or just being in the middle of an orchard – tree leaves sway gently with the soft wind, with the midday heat or cool autumn air.

The best part is having sunshine shinning through the swaying leaves, giving this kind of dazzling sparkling view, just like seeing the sparkles on a sunny day ocean, but with the background green and the sizzling sound of the moving leaves.

It’s almost been a month since I move to oakland, beside working and driving, I’m very much enjoying this new area where there are lots of green spots scattering around the city that you can go adventure.

Joaquin Miller park, went on a walk that day, absolutely beautiful sunny day in the wood, being surrounded by tall ancient trees, I felt secured and peaceful. I will explore more here, and can’t wait for more sunny beautiful day adventure among the green nature.

White fluffy thing

Love things that are white round and fluffy

Think about polar bears, the pup and kitty, the sunny days clouds, the white cotton candy, and the little dandelion

Soft and round, and you just wanna hug them, touch them, kiss them and swallow them

The perfect kind of dandelion to me, so pure, round and fluffy, all I wanna do is to blow it away or put it in my mouth like a soft cake pop. Usually I would take it and blow it so that more places would have it, but that day I didn’t, because it is just too perfect to be disturbed that day, with its little flowers and green green grass companies on the side, I decided to let it alone and let it be forever perfect in my memory.

Letters

I love writing and sending letters and cards to friends.

I love the process of quietly sitting down, having pen and paper in hand, and just think and write, no draft, no reference, and you just think about that person and write your honest thoughts and wishes that come to mind at that moment. Letter writing is not only a way of connecting but also a time to self reflect, thoughts and introspection, and you can write about anything. It feels good when finish writing a letter, using saliva to wet the glue, put a cute sticker on the seal edge, then seriously put on the stamp, and lastly flamboyantly calligraphy-ing the names and address.

Always having a wishful thought that my cute letter would hopefully be the receivers’ surprise or comfort of their day, as Savannah always has so much sweet thoughts on her to share and she always wants others to be loved and happy.

It’s a nostalgic thing, and I love it and will keep writing and sending letters and cards (one of my hobby now is collecting cute cards. Every time I go to trader joe, I would spend quite awhile at there cards selection, they have so many beautiful funny cute cards!)

Sadly I seldom receive letters or cards from others (tho I get many emails, texts and messengers) . Maybe I’m just not that important for them to take the time to write to, or they are just too busy to sit down and think and write, or all these writing, mailing, and waiting are a waste of time…

but it’s still good to have something to look forward to in life, just like getting personal mails and letters in the mailbox, I feel excited to open and see…

“He wrote because he liked to write; he did not abridge, because he cared not to abridge. He sat down, he took pen and paper, because he loved Lucy and had much to say to her; because he was faithful and thoughtful, because he was tender and true” – Charlotte Brontë

Letters to two of my most important mentors in my life. Three forever stamps can send to China, one stamp go domestic, hope they can get to where they’re designated to. Bon chance .