Some thoughts about the Wuhan Virus

A deadly virus has spread throughout China. With now 76 people killed, tens of thousands being possibly infected, death festers upon negligence and ignorance. Some fools choose to travel, knowing they’re infected with this crazily contagious virus. More and more innocent people, children, are dying for that idiocy. 

I’m anxious. Checking the updates on anything related to the virus has become my new habit. The ones I care the most about are in China, and tomorrow they could be dead… all because of that damned negligence. 

But at the same time, I feel sad. What are the infected supposed to do? Sit down and die? How can you blame anyone when the whole plot is sad, when it is your townspeople you’re talking about, when it’s your friends and loved ones’ lives on the line. 

Now I’m in dispute with myself. I don’t know what to write. Thinking that you’re lucky, that you’ve escaped the virus, that the deaths of other people are irrelevant… I don’t know what to think. 

At first you’re in shock, then relaxed, thinking that they’ll have the cure developed by tomorrow… isn’t it the 21st century? Then anxiety hits. You start a journey looking for the antidote for the virus, but there’s no antidote for you.

It’s the Chinese New Year. After a year of struggling, most people finally get some rest. Families get together, friends gather… and boom…

My hometown in the same province as Wuhan City, where the virus first started to murder. Now the province is under lockdown. For that, I pray for my family. 

My mother hasn’t been healthy for a few years. I worry for her well-being, now that a deadly virus walks the earth. My sister feels ill, I hope it’s just a cold…

However, there is a silver lining. And how can one go on without faith?

Today, the first step toward curing the disease with vaccination has been initiated. 

Ok. 

photo credit:gfycat.com

Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year, Asian new year. Asian new year is one of the biggest holidays in countries like Korea and China. We get to gather around with families that we weren’t able to meet for a while and celebrate each other by eating different kinds of food and talking about how their life has been. This is time of the year, where I want to go back to my own country. I always think about how fun it would be to spend time with family and relatives and laugh about stupid stuff, while I’m in my room laying on my bed. I wish one day I could celebrate Asian new year with my family and relatives.

a scene from a 2000s christmas

photo credit: floridamemory.com

The beach houses that my mother would find always seemed so big to my four-year-old perspective. 

With a staircase that I remember to be spiraling and

a brown and cream-colored chess board in the middle of a large living room

which was later to be covered in wrapping paper is what this house seemed like to me at the time. 

My mother was always frantically scurrying around the house to make sure everything was perfect for my grandmother, 

meanwhile, she didn’t mind the imperfections but simply didn’t have the power to say anything. 

The uncles were catching up as the oldest was in Chicago and the youngest was living his life in Australia.

My brother, was playing with his GameBoy, 

eyes locked to the screen. 

My grandfather was looking at the beams and the ceilings to find some reason why the house wasn’t architecturally perfect in his eyes.

And then there was me, either in the corner or on the couch next to my grandmother, where I would play with my Polly Pockets being relatively quiet.

/ / /

I do not remember a lot at the houses except for the people and the feelings surrounding the time.

The presents and all the other material items around me did not matter,  especially because I knew the reality of the grandmother’s illness and how she had limited time here on earth with me. 

I do remember the smell of the house, 

a mixture of palm trees, 

salty ocean mist, and

the sand that has been carried many miles, 

just for me to feel that unforgettable warmth between my toes. 

I also reminisce about her during the holiday season. She wore fuzzy socks. I still have a worn out, baby pink pair of her socks stuffed in the back of my drawers. 

From cuddling on the couch, with the chaos of my family 

to being on the beach, with the rolling waves and the roaring wind, 

her amenity still remains within me. 

A Much Needed Switch: Dying to Thriving

Photo credit: pinterest.com

I’ve been trying to get my dad to stop eating meat since I was four years old. We traveled to Ireland and I remember watching him eat bacon day after day and wanting nothing more than for him to understand the terrible health risks. I’ve always been worried about his health… His “weight loss” diets would always consist of meats and cheese (protein fads) along with Diet Ginger Ale… He would lose weight and looked fit so it worked for him, but I became more and more worried.

I tried to explain to him that natural sugars are okay and animal products were truly the problem. He was raised in a family of ten siblings so if he didn’t eat what was served (unhealthy crappy foods) he wouldn’t eat, period. Meats, processed foods and dairy was on the menu during his upbringing. So when I was young he was hard on me for my decisions because he simply didn’t have the proper knowledge. 

As I got older he started to support my lifestyle more and more, eventually taking me to vegan festivals and even dining with me to enjoy high quality vegan foods. He even asked me where he could get a metal straw to help with plastic pollution.  I figured this was as far as he would ever go. I accepted this reality and kind of gave up on him, sadly. I figured he would never change and that was okay…Because everyone is different right?

When I got the call last month…it was my dad on the phone telling me he is going plant based after watching “The Game Changers”  documentary on Netflix. I was in utter shock. Out of everyone in my life, he would have been the last person on my list I would ever expect to go vegan. For me, this showed me hope for humanity! He is the most “manly” guy I’ve ever met so for him to make this change is amazing.  With all the stereotypes about vegan guys being weak, feminine and all that other nonsense animal product companies endorse, this shows me how anyone can do it just letting go of their ego. My dad said, “All the research supports the vegan diet and this way of life is by far the most healthy. I have always known that you are on the right track. Now I am seeing that eating plant based can even build muscle, strength and healthy blood flow. It seems that it can also lower my cholesterol which is elevated at this time. I am so proud of you for paving the way. You are a great inspiration to me and I’m never eating meat again.”

A lot of the time people will tell me they would totally go vegan if they could, but it would be “too hard,” “I tried and just couldn’t” or it’s not the time and they will eventually make the switch… But the time is now. We have the resources. Nobody cares about getting the right nutrients until veganism comes up. People will be eating McDonald’s all day and act like veganism would just be detrimental to their health. Another excuse is that it’s too expensive. It is simply not expensive to go to your local grocery store and buy a can of beans or some vegetables.  Research the right foods and stop saying you “can’t.” Stop making excuses to make yourself feel like a better person because it is total BS. 

This is a lifestyle. And yes, changing your lifestyle is a big deal but crucial for your health and well being. This switch will change your life, and the ones in it, but only for the better. I hope my dad can be an inspirational success story and help you and your family on your own health journeys.

Daily Mandala Challenge: Everything You Need To Know About This New Self-Care Trend :)

A Mandala is a symbolic spiritual geometric design which, when reflected on, has the ability to bring out profound inner transformation.  The Mandala is self-expression in the design, meant to represent the universe. The first evidence of Buddha Mandala art dates back to the first century. The Mandala is rooted in Buddhism but later became present in Hinduism, new age spirituality and other religions. Each Mandala has significance and represents an aspect of wisdom and is supposed to remind the meditator of a guiding principle. The Mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones with the assistance of deep healing. 

The “Mandala a day” challenge was created by Australian artist Elyse Lauthier and it is now showing up in select areas across the world. Drawing, painting or somehow creating a Mandala a day helps express yourself creatively in ways you wouldn’t normally. It promotes self awareness and Chakra alignments. 

The Challenge is simple: Each day you make a Mandala and simply let your creativity flow, embracing your originality. Creating Mandala is therapeutic because you can express your feelings through art. The Mandala a day challenge is a form of meditation and art.  Mandala’s take “The meditator on a wordless journey into the minds deepest mysteries” said in Eastern traditions. 

Another way to fully grasp Mandala’s intentions is to work/meditate with them. I would recommend investing in Mandala Source Book by David Fontana and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, as it gives you specific guidance while approaching the artworks. The book includes 150 Mandala’s grouped in four sections: beginning Mandala meditation, healing mandalas, nature mandalas, And other mandalas. This book is a good reference for your own Mandala challenge or meditations. 

Obtaining Mandala mindfulness is a path of self discovery. This challenge challenges us to open up and learn more not only about our conscious minds but also our unconscious minds as we remain unaware of the deeper mysteries of our inner selves through Mandala realignment.

Image from Pinterest.com

Tis the Season

If anyone asks me of favorite holiday of the year, I would reply “Christmas” without hesitation.  There are several reasons why I like Christmas. First of all, I get to see my parents for solid amount of time. However, I just like the unique vibe of Christmas. I like the special smell of Christmas that triggers my nostalgia. Also Christmas carols that are played everywhere on the street.  Good foods are always available during Christmas, and then you get to enjoy the new year celebration. My favorite part of the new year celebration is Fireworks for sure.  It is mesmerizing to watch bursts of fireworks in the night sky, making me think about new year resolution that I will never do.

PC: Patch.com

The Breakfast Table

I got up early on Sunday, and went to the breakfast table.

We sing songs at the breakfast table: how your day has been, how my day has been, how everybody’s day has been… yes, even on a Sunday morning. 

It was one thing that I did, one tiny thing that I mentioned. But then it became all that defined me. I was no longer myself, but the ugly thing at the breakfast table. Imagine the horror of that—losing yourself at a breakfast table.

Jake, way to impress the breakfast table, I thought. Now I walk with a label. It’s going to expand with delicious rumors while my bones crumble and unravel.

In a way, it was a relief. The breakfast table only found out about this nasty side of me. Even when aristocrats at the table are disgusted by the sight of me, it’s ok. It’s alright because if my character is defined by a tiny mishap, they won’t discover the real fault of me. 

I left the breakfast table a long time ago, and aristocracy means nothing to me. But days like today I find my bright side wondering, did the breakfast kill me? My respect for the breakfast table has crumbled, but just like before, I’m still idle. Have you ever been to the breakfast table?

Picture Credit: GodUpdates.com

Your Vegan Thanksgiving is still a Celebration of Violence!

Photo via Pinterest.com

A vegan Thanksgiving is more sustainable and animal cruelty free. Supporting semen being sucked out with a straw from 46 million male turkeys’ anuses each year is cruel.  But having Thanksgiving at all is not necessarily cruelty free. The only ethical way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to spend it educating yourself on indigenous rights. 

“Happy Thanksgiving” I am so thankful for the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, their lands, refuse to abide by the societal expectations of pretending nothing terrible happened to their ancestors on this holiday. 

As we are having a beautiful Thanksgiving feast with our families and friends, remember that today is a national day of mourning for native Americans across the country. So while you’re thinking, “wow, this holiday is so incredible and based upon gratefulness and love between humans,” please don’t forget that thousands upon thousands of Native Americans have been brutally murdered in cold blood (partly) for their lands by white colonizers. 

And this question shocks me… but how many people across the country will celebrate Thanksgiving today having never even engaged with or met a native person, can’t name five tribes, can’t name the tribe whose lands they occupy or even can’t name a living native person? 

So… why not celebrate gratitude daily? It is one of the most important self-care practices a person can do. Daily practices rather than on just one day covered by blood which is just another white supremacist holiday. I’m not saying we should completely cut Thanksgiving from our yearly tradition but being less arrogant and realizing what this holiday truly represents. Being “woke” can be very emotionally taxing and difficult to talk about; but it’s worth doing the right thing rather than taking the easy way out and staying silent. 

Ignorance is not bliss. Even though it would be much easier not to post about these topics and just pretend today is a wonderful day of giving thanks…like everyone else does… so I don’t hurt any proud Americans’ feelings. If you’re not speaking the truth, you’re part of the problem. 

So bon appétit, but don’t forget!  As we celebrate thanks, for Native Americans Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the assault on their culture and history of colonial violence.

I wouldn’t say it’s a poem, but I would say it’s for you.

So many things I’ve felt, so many things I’m feeling: like

the lips, the teeth, my hands that go numb from time to time;

unwelcome visitors crawling across my arm, still not wanting to disturb them;

hoping to be an anarchist someday – not in a way so extreme as starting a revolution or in a way so dull as loving someone your family doesn’t approve of, but in a way that falls somewhere in between;

watching the words pour out of your mouth, pour out of your mouth and drip down the sides – they drip down the sides and spill all over me.

And I suppose if I’m still in the business of missing things, there are a few things I could miss:

I could miss the blue days, the warm days, but I don’t. I could miss the excitement that came along with summer, the uncertainty, perhaps, but I don’t.

Instead I miss your words.

NationalGeographic.com

Worth it

Thanksgiving break is coming soon, and everyone seems to be excited for it.

Most of the people go back home, and celebrate with a humongous turkey sitting on the middle of table. As an international student, however, Thanksgiving is not as welcoming as other holidays. I love going back home, but 1 week is simply too short. To go back, we have to endure 13 hours of flight and then another 2 hours to go back home. Then you have to deal with Jet lag, which takes a while to get over.

Time just flies during thanksgiving, and it is exhausting to spend a full day just in plane, but I guess I’m still excited to see my family.

pc; Giphy