Fall in Ojai

Now that it is October I now feel the need to wear warm cloths, drink hot tea throughout the day, and I expect the scent of pumpkin spice to fill the air.

But we live in Southern California, where we spend the beginning of October in a wave of one hundred ten degree heat and smoke filled skies from wildfires raging across the state.

The trees don’t turn colors from that end of summer green to stunning shades of orange, red, and brown. Instead, the leaves either are scorched from the blazing heat or they simply fall to the ground with no colorful exit.

Sometimes I find myself wishing our little town of Ojai experiences all the beauties and wonders of the “typical” fall, but I then remember what fall is like in our quaint town.

Fall is going to the farmers market early on Sunday mornings and starting to see the seasonal fruit and flowers being sold change and the abundance of fresh pies made from apples and pumpkins. It is going to the grocery store and seeing big bins of pumpkins fill the sidewalk and overtake the porches of houses. It is going to the local pumpkin patch and riding on the old tractor around the corn field. It is watching the most incredible sunsets of the year.

So no, we may not have the stereotypical fall with the cold weather and shades of orange that fills the treetops, but we have our own beautiful version of it in our small Southern California town.

Image credit: https://www.pinterest.it/

Crafting in Quarantine

It’s not often that I find the time to build something for the sake of building it. The beginning of summer left us all with hours to fill and few options for how to fill them. I took the opportunity to begin what I call my longest project ever. I spent three weeks of quarantine building a dollhouse with no plan of what I would do with it or where I would store it.

I tested my dusty geometry skills by planning an outline for the house and cutting out big shapes of foam board. The wallpaper quickly went up and I spent my afternoons creating mini furniture and decorations. With each addition to the house, I gained a new skill in a new medium. I worked with wood, cardboard, paint, clay, wire, and fabric. Having a long term project gave every day a purpose, and I have spent every week since then creating new things to fill my time.

Art Credit: NCW Libraries

Evening Runs

Sundays are long runs.

I usually end up doing them in the evening much later than I should. I tell myself I’m being strategical and avoiding the heat, but if that was true I would run in the morning (that RARELY happens). In reality, my procrastination and dread for long runs are the reason why my long runs happen in the evening.

Yesterday though, my run was pleasant. I never thought I’d say these words, but it was almost enjoyable.

Around 7:55 I told myself, “Bella, get up, you’re running.” I grabbed my headphones, running watch, a headlamp, and started to run.

It was cool weather.

My music was good.

It was dark to the point where I could see my shoes and three feet ahead of me, but nothing else.

I had no light to see my watch screen, so I just ran. I didn’t constantly check to see my mileage or pace, or how much time I had left: I simply just ran.

And then there were the shadows.

What I’m going to say next will sound like some philosophical bs but while I was running it totally made sense, if you’re a runner, you know that the mind starts to lose sanity after about five miles.

The newly set sun and distant street lights served as an invitation for three shadows to join me. One ran about four feet behind me, one right by my side, and one ran far in front of me.

I stared at the three shadows for a good twenty minuets because, like I said, running is a tedious thing that causes a bit of insanity, and I started to think.

I thought about my progress with running, the struggles I’ve faced with it, where I am, and where I want to be.

The shadow behind me represented where I started: my first time running without someone forcing me to do it, the first time I competed in a race, and all of the first steps I took in my running journey.

The middle shadow right next to me represented where I am now: I am not in as great of shape as I was at my peak, but I’m in better shape that when I started. I am working to improve my skills.

The shadow in front of me represents where I want to be: my goals, the times I want to achieve, races I want to compete in, and mental toughness that I want to acquire with my running.

On my evening long run, in my philosophical state, I stared ahead and placed one foot in front of the other, in a rhythmical pattern, as I chased down my running goals and the shadow that ran ahead of me.

Photo via runningmagazine.ca

the wind gives me faith.

they keep saying that as time passes, it gets harder. but for me, it had become easier, simpler, more tangible.  

I sat in my backyard yesterday at two o’clock in the afternoon while the wind was still and the sky was baby blue. 

I sunk my feet into the damp grass, satisfying to my callused feet.

a chai tea in hand; I slowly, with a green straw, stirred my drink with the ice that acted like it was one figure. 

content. 

but then the wind came, unexpected, abrupt. 

It stirred the scorched leaves from the early summer sun and had rested in the dirt.

the pink peppercorns and the pine needles fell from the trees. 

on the outside, it looked like the wind disturbed the plants, the grass, and bright orange marigolds that sit in the corner of the garden. 

but I stared longer at each aspect of my backyard, the wind melded everything together. 

the trees swayed together and the tall strands of grass danced with it. 

harmony.

It was hard for me to cope with a life that seemed stagnant at the time,

still like the wind that was not present when I sipped my chai tea. 

but I find joy in the little things like the birds chirping as I rise from my bed in the morning or the luck that I have after winning my fifth cribbage game. 

of course, I still wear a backpack of burdens that I impose on myself but that’s what it means to be human. 

serenity. 

photo credit: designlovefest.com

Persistence

Persistence is key to being successful. It’s hard to find someone who became successful with the inconsistent mindset. Especially during this period, where people have zero motivation to do something productive. It is crucial to maintain your persistence despite the situation unless on special occasions. 

Frankly, I’ve been not doing a good job of being persistent, but I always try to be more optimistic despite the harsh environment that we are in right now. 

I’ve been trying to set up a daily schedule to be more productive and persistent, once you started to get lazy, it is extremely hard to get back on track.

So I recommend getting out of bed and do anything you can to have the motivation to do other works. Once you get used to that routine, being persistent will be easier. I am also trying to maintain a lifestyle that is not lavish, and I hope this mindset will not change throughout time.

Stay safe and wash your hands.

PC: Steemit.com

Staying Active

Since this global pandemic situation, I can say that I’ve been pretty inactive. I have no motivation to be active at this point. It is not a good time to go out and have fun with friends, and I can see my flaps on the belly clearly, so I decided to start home workouts. I do not have a lot of experience in this field, so I had to look up some videos on Youtube, and as I expected there were millions of videos of workouts that you can do by yourself. I decided to do 100 pushups every day and some cardio.

I do not know If I can keep up with this routine for months, but I will try my best to get in shape, so I don’t have to struggle when I go back to school.

I believe it is worth time, so I suggest you guys do it too. Exercises vitalize your body and mind.

I truly hope everyone is safe, and this situation will get better soon.

PC: sunnyskyz.com

Virtual Class

After the global pandemic situation, most of the schools in America decided to shut down to prevent further spread of disease. Since the semester is not over yet, my school decided to continue all the lectures in a virtual class. Since the time zone is different,  international students have the chance to catch up on the online classes by recordings that teachers provide. 

At the moment, I feel like it is not as effective as lectures, and it is not easy to finish up the works and lectures daily, but I am trying to get back on track and finish up this semester strong with good scores on my standardized testings that’s happening soon. 

I miss my normal life, and I truly hope that this time will pass quickly.

PC: Stayhipp.com

COVID-19 In Korea

I was notified that the school is shutting down the day before my March SAT, and standardized testing is not going to happen till May. I tried to stay calm and optimistic, but frankly, it was hard to not panic at the moment. I was clueless about my plan, and I wasn’t sure if I have to get a plane ticket back to my home country, Korea. 

After long consideration, I decided to go back in a week since all the students were leaving and school was forcing students to leave the campus as soon as possible. However, I was lucky to come back early, or I would have to be quarantined at a place that I don’t even know.

Asian countries are doing a great job dealing with this COVID-19 Issue, However, the number of infected people in Other countries like America and Italy are increasing exponentially., 

Schools in California officially stated that they are shutting down till the end of the semester, and it is uncertain that it would get better after summer, but I hope the situation gets better, So there are no more casualties and I can study in the proper environment.

PC: BBC KOREA

Lost April

dailymail.co.uk

A dove died today and I realized I’d lost April.

It was flying through the air at full force, I think because something was chasing it. It hit the window with a loud bang and fell to the ground below with a much softer sound, feathers swirling all the way down. It left behind a perfect imprint of wings fully splayed as they smacked into the inch-thick glass above my kitchen sink.

So Dad picked up its body and threw it onto the roof for the hawk on the telephone wire to see. If a dove had to die, he said, it might as well provide for something else.

The hawk seemed young to me when it came some minutes later and carried the other bird away. I looked up and tried to see where spring had gone.

It’s hard for me to tell days from other days when the sky is like this, the color of a dead dove and completely still. I can’t remember how many weeks it’s been and today I wrote that it was May.

I looked at the calendar to see that it was the 19th and finally I realized we are in April. An entire month has gone by and to me it’s felt like one very long day.

I’m hoping for blue skies tomorrow.

the sound of rain

in the foggy distance lies sheets coming loose from their moorings

stationed in a cloud

a battalion awaits above me

frogs in my ears

when i loosed the volley 

not gunshots did i hear

but rampant ringing and footsteps piercing through the air

and then through the violent undertow a message did come here

fast among the waking brittle now

in deft shoes i kept going

but as my heart begins to give out

i can’t help but slowing

and shaking i go down

doing nothing less than knowing 

that through the foolhardy sludge the river will keep flowing

so to the honor that will stay unsung

to the violent skies and the rains shall they come

with the silent fleeting screams a river will run dry