These Four Walls

1 Jan

From the description: “Dare to explore a world that is bigger than you know. There are a lot of reasons to not do something or not feel something. Those boundaries and walls are put up by ourselves. Once we’re able to step outside of them, we can truly realize the endless possibilities the world has to offer.”

Thank you to Wong Fu Productions for this amazing video.

5 Reasons Why the Holidays Suck in a Foreign Country

22 Dec

Having spent almost almost half of my Christmas’ in a country that is not my own, I am a veteran in the methods of spending holidays in foreign countries. Yet whatever I do, however many times I spend the holiday season in a foreign country, there are some factors that I just can’t get around. Not that you can’t have a good time in a foreign country, but there are some minus’.

1. Family – Unless your entire extended family has traveled with you to your country of choice, you will probably have little contact with them during this holiday season. I mean, yes, with today’s technology you could chat with them or even video chat with them, but is it really the same as having them around the tree with you on Christmas, or around the… menorah on Hanukkah? Maybe everybody doesn’t feel the same as I do, which is that the holidays are very family oriented. Maybe some people want to use this as an excuse to get away from their family, but it’s always nice to have them as an option, and in a foreign country, that’s next to impossible.

2. Shipping – This one might be slightly self-explanatory. Shipping presents to a foreign country is not fun or cheap. The shipping can sometimes cost more than the gift, and sometimes what you want won’t ship to your country. Now these might not sound like big problems but these are the bane of my existence, I guarantee you. Even worse is shipping presents to other countries, what with labels that have to be printed out and the extraordinary cost of such things.

3. Does that country even celebrate your holiday? – I mean, almost every country has some type of Christmas-y celebration (Although in Armenia it’s on the 6th of January – who knew?) and so if that is your holiday, count yourself lucky. With every other holiday, your chances for your country celebrating that holiday decrease exponentially. And that definitely sucks.

4. Type of celebration – What if the country you are living in doesn’t celebrate the holiday the way you do? It can be extremely unsettling to have different points of views on your traditions and culture. For instance, the traditionally Scandinavian holiday of Saint Lucy’s Day isn’t really celebrated like that anywhere else. Girls wear candles on their heads, which would be kind of surprising if you were living there and you had never heard of this holiday. But if you open up your mind, other holiday traditions can be just as fun as the traditional tree or advent calendar.

5. Weather – This one might be a little out of place in this list, but this one really gets me personally. I have spent some of my ‘formative’ years in a place where it usually snows every Christmas, and when I moved to a much more tropical place, all of my holiday cheer just went down the drain. I forgot to buy presents (something I never do) because it didn’t feel like it could be even remotely close to the holidays yet. To me, snow means the holiday season, and vice versa. I hope not everybody has these kind of problems!

Book Review: Seven Deadly Sins

20 Dec

Recently I read the extremely interesting book Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Difference Between Born Bad and Damaged Good, which I really only bought because it was by Corey Taylor, the lead singer of not one, but two of my favorite bands. This book was completely unexpected, and rather revolutionary for me. It was also rather volatile, manic, and creative.
Let me explain. This book is all about the seven so-called deadly sins: gluttony, greed, lust, rage, envy, vanity, and sloth, and why they are out of date, and can no longer apply to the people of today. The author even gives us a new seven to lead our lives by, more fitting to our current way of life, and much easier to understand. But of course I’m not going to give those away, you’ll have to buy the book yourself.
I thought this book was extremely interesting not because of the subject matter (though that was also incredibly absorbing) but because of the way it was written. It was unusual because it seemed that Corey Taylor didn’t really care who he was pissing off, and he probably pissed off a bunch of high-powered religions. This book also seems a bit like it was written with the liberal help of a thesaurus, with each word looked up and changed to the one that would be most confusing to the average reader.
In conclusion, the idea was well thought out and interesting, and it gave me a lot to think about. The writing however, made me frequently want to throw the book at a wall, (though I couldn’t because I was reading it on a kindle) because this is one of the very few books I have ever had to try hard to read. I mean, this book was all over the place, yet it was interesting to see where it would take you next. It was a refreshing book, but I wouldn’t read it again; too much work.

A Jonah Day

1 Dec

You may not have heard this phrase, but it is one I’ve had much cause to use over the last week. A Jonah day is just one of those days where you feel like no matter what you do, nothing is going to go right. I learned this phrase from one of my favorite books of all time, Anne of Avonlea, the second book in the Anne of Green Gables series, which some people may have heard of. In this book, Anne ends up with a toothache, whipping one of her pupils, and accidentally setting off fireworks in her school house. I guess my bad days don’t really compare as well. Getting yelled at by a teacher is not so bad in the grand scheme of things. It was just a Jonah day, and there wasn’t much I could do. I can accept that there will probably be others, and I think I will be able to handle them, because you have to go through the Jonah days to get to the heavenly ones. Just a Jonah day.

Birthdays: A Tale of Woe

19 Nov

This is a little story from one of my previous contacts, a mister Scooter. He’s been telling this horror story for many a year, and it has always made me laugh, while at the same time having kind of a moral. I always try to live by his words because I look up to him, and he has some good advice.

“I always have terrible birthdays. This day of happiness, the one day of the year you get to celebrate being alive was always ruined for me by the ‘conspiring of fate’
The first birthday I can remember being horrible was in like 1st or 2nd grade, where everybody at my party was super mean, doing all the party things without me. This set the tone for the eternal suckiness of birthdays to come.
I would say would say that my worst birthday could have been my sophomore year, where I got broken up with on my birthday, or maybe my freshman year, where I had to go to the hospital. That one kind of sucked.
This has taught me that there is no universal binding force that makes birthdays rad. It’s also taught me to take things less seriously, because if you can’t laugh it off it’ll start to get to you. So now I can laugh about these things, possibly because I’m kinda forgetful.”

Book Review: Little Women

15 Nov

I read this book for the first time cover-to-cover in the 7th grade. It was instrumental in helping me deal with a menagerie of troublesome times. I hope everybody reading this has at least heard of this amazing book, if not read it. For those of you that have not had this memorable experience by Louisa May Alcott, I can outline briefly main points and some great things I think make this books one of ‘the greats.’

When the book starts, the oldest daughter is Meg, at 16 years old, and the youngest daughter is 12, Amy. The middle girls are Jo and Beth. The main character, or at least the one who gets into the most scrapes, is Jo, and she quickly makes the acquaintance of the young boy next door, Theodore Laurence, known to everybody but Jo as Laurie. Jo fondly calls him Teddy, but these two friends never become romantically involved, just grow and prosper as the best of friends. Jo is rambunctious and ‘boyish’ and is always getting into trouble for it. Meg becomes a domestic goddess in time, being the first to marry and lead a household, after many adventures in the social circles of those richer (yet poorer in values) than her. Beth leads a quiet life, helping those around her with their daily chores, and being a model girl in every way. She helps the poor, which eventually leads to her getting sick with scarlet fever after being around unfortunate persons afflicted with that illness. This decline of her health extends all throughout the book. The youngest, Amy, has dreams of being a great painter and of living in high society. She gets a chance to travel the world near the finish of the book.

But one of the most beloved caregivers, advice givers, and amazing character of the book is Mrs. March, the mother hen to this flock of geese. She helps everybody in the family with their small problems, and helps Jo especially with her temper. She is a symbol of what a mother should be, always speaking from her heart, and being impartial judge on all matters trivial and important.  “Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility–‘Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!'” Chapter 47, pg. 578

Stay tuned for other book reviews,
xoxo, ~ Harlow

You Are What You Eat

8 Nov

I know, I know, nobody like to hear things about healthy eating, exercise, and stuff like that. But I’m here to talk about it in terms of how these great things can affect your life in a positive way and how they can help you cope with big changes in your life. I personally have been eating healthy since the day I was born, my parents being rather conscious of what I ate, and at what time I eat it. During the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve had a bit more freedom in my food choices, and I am just starting to realize what a bad effect my choices are having on me. My healthy eating has gotten me well through multiple countries, and I’ve always been at the top of my class, which may not have anything to do with my eating habits, but somehow I suspect it does. I have looked over these facts and resolved to change my eating habits, because I have learned that it can have a really big effect on everything that you do.

The same goes for exercising. I have been taking a psychology course, and I have been learning about how when you exercise, your mind releases endorphins that make you feel happy and healthy. And perhaps my mind has been starved of these things lately, but I have also resolved to exercise more regularly.

These things can help you when going through big changes if you keep up a routine, and stick to it through thick and thin.

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