Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets the girl of his dreams. Savannah Lynn Curtis is attending college in North Carolina, working for Habitat for Humanity, and totally unprepared for the passionate attraction she feels for John Tyree.The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty, and John realizing that he’s ready to settle down with the young woman who has captured his heart.Neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world and will force John to risk every hope and dream that he’s ever had. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. And like all those left behind, Savannah must decide to wait or move on. How do we choose wisely? How can we face loss-without giving up on love? Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover that loving Savannah will force him to make the hardest decision of his life. An extraordinary, moving story, DEAR JOHN explores the complexities of love-how it survives time and heartbreak, and how it transforms us forever.(taken from Google Books)

I think Nicholas Sparks is an extraordinary storyteller in that he has never failed to make my heart ache every time I watch a movie based on his book. Dear John is no exception, though this time I am reading the book instead.

What I love about him is that he writes to a pretty predictable recipe. To think predictable stories would be boring, it is actually the opposite. When I look at the things I do everyday, I realize that it is pretty predictable as well: wake up, eat, school, work, leisure activities, sleep, and repeat for the next day. What I learned from his stories, though, is that sometimes I overlook the little details in life which makes it more meaningful.

For example, Dear John really made me stop and think about the struggles that other people are facing. When I see my friends’ pictures and statuses on the Internet, it’s really different than when I actually talk to them in person and find out that they, too, are not as happy as what their latest update would seem to suggest.

“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.”

Everyone is struggling with something. They just hide it from the public, which creates the illusion that everyone else’s life is perfect.

So dear reader, whatever the challenge you are facing, remember that you are not alone. At the same time you are trying to overcome the challenge, we are all trying to do the same thing as well. ^_^

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Liebster Blog Award!

Yay more nominations!! The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are as follows:

  • thank the blogger who nominated me,
  • nominate 5 blogs with less than 200 followers and
  • spread the news about the award

Thank you Suni for nominating me!! I am really glad that you enjoy reading my blog~

I will pass this award to the following blogs:

“This is a waste of time”


“This is a waste of time” is one of the most unhealthy mentalities I’ve heard. What’s worse is that there are people around me who say this almost all the time. They say they are not going to waste time from now on. They are going to be productive all the time. Yeah, okay. Good luck with that, because I have yet to see one person who is productive all the time.

Usually when we think of time-wasting activities, we think of activities like playing video games, or watching the television, but it has come to my attention that there are also people who think reading novels is a waste of time. Now that is just sad, which inspired me to rant and ramble about this.

The common trend I see is that if someone sees one thing as a waste of time, he/she will start viewing other things as a waste of time as well:

Playing video games is a waste of time because you are immersed in a virtual world that won’t be of use to you in real life.

Watching the television is a waste of time because it does not help you put food on the table.

Reading novels is a waste of time because how will knowing fake stories ever going to help you pass your exam? (unless you are taking English)

School is a waste of time because by the time you graduate, most of the stuff you learned will be outdated.

Going to the doctors is a waste of time because you are just going to get sick again.

Living is a waste of time because you are just going to die so why bother.

Anything can be a waste of time if you really think about it. But how is anything a waste of time if you enjoy doing it? I think that time spent doing something I like is hardly wasting time at all. Happiness, in my opinion, should be the top priority in life. If you hate your job, you are wasting your time going to work everyday because you probably have very little motivation to do your job well anyways. Listening to a lecture you don’t enjoy is a waste of time because chances are, you aren’t even paying much attention to it.

Then there are times when you have to do something you don’t enjoy because you have no other choice. But instead of seeing them as activities we don’t enjoy, I think that we should see them as activities that will help us enjoy other activities better. For example, if you keep on doing chores, you can do them better and faster, so that you will have more time for activities you like later on.

Studies have shown that video games improve hand-eye co-ordination, watching television can make us become more aware of different things, and reading fiction increases your ability to feel empathy towards others. So if there are two sides to everything, then why always pick the negative side?

I do think there should be a limit though. If an activity starts to take over your desire for self-improvement and goal-setting, then it is not time well spent.

What do you think? Where should the line between wasting time and being productive be drawn?

Take that, Kindle!

I blogged about reading The Stand several weeks ago. To think I would’ve finished it by now, but I am not. I keep on having love affairs with other books while I am reading it. Not that I don’t like The Stand, but it is just so hard for me to not start reading a new book because of its captivating plot. And when I actually start reading another book, I’ll still be in the same situation again where I’ll want to start reading yet another new book. Is anyone in the same boat as me here?

Nevertheless, I actually would want to start reading another lighter book while I am reading books like The Stand though. It’s going to give you some serious arm muscle training if you carry The Stand with you all the time. It has 1168 pages in total and it is the first book I’ve read which is over 1000 pages. Since it is my very first “big book,” it’s very special to me. Here is a side view shot of this beauty:

It is in times like this when I wish I have a Kindle (or any brand of e-reader in general ). I am considering buying it, but since everything is going electronic these days, I think that we need to be reminded of that feeling of holding an actual tangible object in our hands again. This is why I decided to spend last Saturday taking out my old photo albums and looking through them. I have most of my photos on the computer nowadays, but it’s quite a different experience looking through an actual photo album. It gave me that sense of comfort knowing that these photos will always be there forever.

I guess that’s the thing about actually owning the object rather than having it on an electronic device. My point is this: What if one day companies like Amazon shuts down? What will happen to the e-books? If you have the actual book, you know it will always be there and you can go back and reread it whenever you want.

As long as you can read the words, it doesn’t matter if it’s electronic or print, right? Wrong! Real books come in real handy in the most unexpected situations. For instance, I find that The Stand makes a great laptop riser because of its size. It was placed in front of a door to serve as a door stopper one time. It was also used to raise a tripod when I had to take some photos for school. Of course, you can just buy a laptop riser, a door stopper, and a bigger tripod, but I value the fact that when you need something, books will always be around to help you out when you need them.

And where would beautiful art like these be if it weren’t for printed books? These two are my favorite:

So for people who say real books will go extinct: Take that! Kindles may be light and convenient, but it can never replace the true value of a real book!

If you want something done, give it to a busy person

Hi! I haven’t been making posts for more than a week now. And I’ll be honest. I didn’t read much either this week because I had a lot of schoolwork. But something interesting that I noticed is that I actually became less productive despite the fact that I “gained” more time by not reading. I started to used the time to perfect things. When I devoted a part of my life to reading, I polished things instead. Maybe perfecting does give better results than polishing, but it slows everything down. I might have been able to get the same amount of work done even if I continued to read this week. Then I remembered a quote from a book I read a while back called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. David Allen, the author of this book, wrote that “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”  I stopped putting my attention on reading, which resulted in putting too much attention on other things. So I guess the saying “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” is true. The more things you have to do, the more things you will get done.

Reading is not just something you do when you have the time. If you commit to reading everyday, it will teach you a lot about discipline and productivity. I just picked up “The Grapes of Wrath” from the library. Now I’ll be off to reading again. ^_^

So are you a productive person? What do you do to stay productive?

Versatile Blogger Award!

I am really honored. And surprised as well, since I didn’t know such an award existed.

I am really delighted by the fact that people actually come to this little ambiguous corner on WordPress to read my posts. Thank you Michelle for nominating me! You made my day!

Update: Yay! I just got nominated again by Becky. Thank you Becky 😀

There are three simple rules to the Versatile Blogger Award. They are as follows:
1. Thank the person(s) who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.
2. Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.
3. List 7 things about yourself.

So here we go…

I will pass this award on to the following blogs:

7 things about myself:

  1. I live in Canada and my favorite thing about Canada is the spirit. I love seeing people gathering together and cheering for games and stuff. Canada also has the best potluck feasts because we are made up of many different cultures.
  2. My life has been pretty boring so far and I would like to start doing something exiting with my life…like bungee jumping!
  3. I find it really hard to pick a favorite color, or a least favorite color. I just can’t do it. I know it’s one of the most common questions to ask people, but all the colors in the world are just so beautiful. It’s hard.
  4. I am a really picky eater.  But it’s not that I don’t like certain foods, it’s just that they have to be prepared in the right way. For example, I will only eat eggplants if it’s the ground pork eggplant dish that a certain restaurant I know makes. If it’s the same dish coming from another restaurant, I won’t eat it. I guess you could say that I have high standards when it comes to food. I won’t just eat any food, I need to eat good food.
  5. I’m supposed to be doing my homework right now but I am trying to avoid the task by writing this…yes I’m a procrastinator…=P
  6. I listen to k-pop and j-pop despite the fact that I have no idea what they are saying.
  7. Actually I can understand some Japanese but not really. But this is something that I would like to work on and improve. I tried to learn Japanese online. So far I can pick out words and phrases when I am watching something Japanese (i.e. dramas and variety shows). I hope one day I could take a Japanese class to learn Japanese however that’s not my top priority right now. ^_^

Random: Born in the Wrong Time Period?

Just something I’ve realized recently. I feel like I am not acting quite like the people in this time period. For example:

  • I wake up at 4 to 5 am for no apparent reason
  • I almost never watch the T.V. anymore
  • I read books for fun
  • More specifically, I really like books written a long time ago (classics) and I’d choose them over contemporary works
  • I deleted my Facebook because it somehow didn’t appeal to me (why waste time on this website just talk to your friends in real life)
  • Just stuff from the past fascinates me a lot in general (i.e. when I go to the museum or something)

Anyone else feel like they are born in the wrong time period? Do you find that you should belong to the past? Or even the future?

Btw, I’m currently reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m at page 50-ish atm and I like it so far. Love the fact that it’s told in a fresh and unusual perspective. Will write a review on it once I’m done reading ^_^.

Should You Actively Seek Out Challenging Books?

Since I am finally finished my exam, I have a lot of time on my hands now, which is why I picked up Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Judging from the reviews and the size of the book, I figure it would be one of those hard and challenging books, which I am right about. I can’t read this book without a dictionary around. Sometimes, I even have to reread parts of the novel. Then it occurred to me: Is it worth the effort? Should I have avoided this kind of book in the first place?

Reading this novel is really rewarding. In fact, it’s not like any other novel out there, because it intertwines 6 short stories from different settings. I am not done reading yet, but I have already learned a lot from reading this. I’ll write a review about it once I’m done, but I digress.

It’s not like I can’t understand what’s going on. I can. I just need to put a lot of time and effort into it, but this makes me feel like I am just trying to enjoy someone else’s good read. What makes a book good in the first place? To me a good book conveys thoughtful ideas in a clear and interesting way. If it needs rereading and a dictionary to convey the idea, does it mean that the author failed on my part and I should try to avoid this kind of book for future reference?

The thing with challenging books is that the more you read them, the better you’ll become at understanding them. But is it worth it? I am quite undecided.

What’s your opinion on this? Do you actively seek out challenging books, or do you tend to avoid them?

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Update: turned out Cloud Atlas was worth reading. Check out my review of it here.