Globetrotting to Asia, then USA and back.

I am off to a faraway destination, a place I have never really heard of before. Guam. Before leaving, I didn't know what to expect, except Z. told me this place is Where America's Day Begins and in It Started With a Kiss, Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin have their honeymoon in Guam (filmed in Hawaii, of course). This had to be one of the most random destinations of my life, probably one of the last places on earth to visit, but I had high hopes that this was going to be an exotic getaway.
Going there, it took an entire day of flying, plus the lay over. The plane from Narita to Guam consisted of only Japanese passengers. That alone made me feel out of the loop. When we landed, I was convinced I landed on another planet. The airport made me feel like I just traveled back to the '70s and the music in the taxi cab was beyond bizarre. After settling at the hotel and laying on the beach for the afternoon, I saw three military jets fly through the sky. They traveled swiftly by like a thief in the night, dashing gracefully in a band on a mission. I've learned that a beach isn't just a beach. My usual ritual at the beach is running down to the waters, barefoot in the sand and running towards the ocean until the cool water reaches my feet. However, this beach makes me sit and wait, watch and not go in. My mom told me I needed to stop acting like a brat because there are people dying to see this. After going to Hawaii and Australia, I've realized I've seen some of the most beautiful places on earth. The beach where I sat that day reminded me of Malaysia. It feels like Asia here.
The next day, our friend arrived in Guam and we spent another day at the beach. We walked along the beach from property to property. There's seaweed everywhere on the sand and in the waters. I wasn't used to this. The beach was almost deserted. We seemed to be one of the only tourists on the beach. Lines of chapels run down the beach, reminded me of Las Vegas. There's this geometric, all shades of blue chapel, which I'm in love with. I finally went into the waters. My mom pointed out how clear the water is and it was. The waters there are clear everywhere. Sand storms came and we moved onto a higher land. Later that night at sunset, we ate dinner at the executive lounge of our hotel. At sunset, the lighting made everything in that moment, gloriously beautiful. I stood on the balcony and watched the setting sun glow over the ocean in Guam. It was one of those perfect moments in my head that I always want to remember.
We took a tour called Discover Guam. It was a beautiful day, a day filled with millions of thoughts by the end. Our first stop was the Two Lover's Point. From Two Lover's, there was a gorgeous view of a true blue ocean. I've never learned so much fascinating history and this trip made me actually like history. Before the Japanese took over Guam, the Spaniards were there. Magellan first came in contact with the Chamorros (the indigenous and original settlers of Guam). Did you know that Magellan later got eaten in the Philippines? By that, I mean cannibalism. And that was it for Magellan, he led himself to his own demise. Then we saw Spanish ruins and rocks that the Chamorros carved and built. Nobody knows how they came to accomplish building these rocks. Their house structures were similar to the ones I saw at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Visualizing architecture makes me realize that I know more about life and how people lived in the past. Then throughout the tour, we saw more historic sites and saw the influences from other cultures. We were taken to more gorgeous look outs and at one of them, I had coconut with soy sauce and wasabi. I can't believe I ate it and it sounds strange and gross, but it was surprisingly sweet for someone who doesn't like soy sauce or wasabi. The highlight of the tour was the War in the Pacific Museum (one of the National Parks). This sounds clique to say, but the story and history of Guam is the story of Avatar. The Japanese knew exactly how to plan out the bombings during Pearl Harbor. They bombed Pearl Harbor and Guam at the same time. They bombed Pearl Harbor first, but since Guam is a day ahead, they bombed Guam the next day. Before the bombings even happened, the Japanese treated the Chamorros as second class citizens and slaves. At one point, the Chamorros wanted to be saved by the Americans. Then World War II ended with the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was there in a museum in Nagasaki to see the horrors and there I was in Guam, witnessing the loopiness of history. All people want is land and power. Today, Guam still hasn't been rightfully returned back to the Chamorros. It's still an ongoing battle and Guam has a strong military base there that's continually growing. Now I understand why my grandpa boycotted all rice cookers made in Japan. I've realized that history has everything to do with me. It's about my ancestors from the past, present and future. It's why things are and came to be today. It's made me think back to reading George Orwell and "Shooting an Elephant." It's made me think how relatively small countries like England and Japan have conquered other big lands. It's made me ask questions. Why have historically, indigenous populations been removed from their lands and relocated? Why have people with darker skin tones been treated differently? Are we always going to be "Black and Blue"? It's made me rethink about everything, study people, life and living. Knowing all of this, the sadness, but the truth made the rest of the day bittersweet.
Guam is a beautiful island, primitive and natural. Guam has been through a long suffering history and getting to know Guam has been eye opening experience. I didn't give Guam a chance to love until the end. The food is really good, we ate at Proa and authentic Chamorro food is amazing. Guam is still a completely different world to me, almost like Pandora, but life in Guam is simple. The people there aren't caught up in the things of the world, they voice their opinions by actively participating in politics, spend lots of time with family and friends and seem to have a real grasp of the meaning of life. The story of Guam is one that everyone should hear. Someday I want to visit Guam again, explore more history and run into the ocean of their untouched and ravishing beaches.
(Pictures: the ocean, a view of the capital of Guam, a coconut crab and one of the biggest lizards I have ever seen)


Olympic Dreams: I met Seth Wescott!

It's surreal when your dreams become a reality. I've had an actual dream where I've snowboard down a boarder cross course for the first time. Then my dreams came true and I met an Olympian, Seth Wescott (two time gold medalist in boarder cross [SBX])! I still can't believe I've met an Olympian.

Through Twitter, I found out that Seth Wescott was having SBX clinics at Brighton for his Ride With Me SBX Tour. When I found out, I was jumping up and down. I sacrificed everything just to meet him and it was well worth it. There was no stopping me. This was a once in a life time opportunity and I was going to meet it. I was going to live my dreams.
Seth shared his views on snowboarding and his passion of surfing. He really likes surfing. I was surprised to hear that boarder cross wasn't his first choice of snowboarding. His hero is Kelly Slater.
I noticed he was wearing the legendary blue jean Burton snow pants that Team USA wore in Vancouver. As a lover of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I couldn't help but think that the pants I saw were magical. I want those pants. Not his pants specifically (in case you thought I was taking this in the wrong direction), but those Burton snowboard pants to snowboard in.
The boarder cross course was a lot smaller than I had imagined. It was nothing like the course at Cypress Mountain, but it was still lots of fun going down it and pretending I was an Olympian.
After the SBX clinic, Seth was doing autographs and photos. He was incredibly nice and chill. I was surprised at how many questions he asked about me. He asked me my name and if I was from the area. Then he asked me how my lessons went with Bob and Lindsay. I said how they went well and how I had wished I had been able to watch him snowboard, but I couldn't keep up. He looked up at me, told me and gave me a reassuring look that it was ok. He asked how long I had been snowboarding for. I told him for a few years, but I never got into it until recently. Then I told him how I couldn't believe how I saw him on TV and now I was seeing him there. He just kind of laughed. Then I asked him if he was going to Russia. He said yes and how four years seems like a long time from now, but it will be sooner than he knows it, like the Vancouver Olympics. I took a picture with him and he had his arm around me. I'll never forget that feeling. I couldn't believe that in one day, I had met an Olympian and he had his arm around me.
I had one of the most incredible days at Brighton and I had so much fun that I didn't want to leave. Driving down the canyon, I thought to myself how that day was a fairytale. The mountains are my home and where I've met some of the most amazing people. All of us share our love for snow, the mountains and a sport.
Seth told us all that the most important thing is to have fun on the mountains. He's reminded me that snowboarding is a lifestyle and to love what you're doing. My dream is to be an Olympian or at least compete in snowboarding competitions. Even if my dream never comes true, I'll never stop snowboarding because of my love for snowboarding.

It's March and it's snowing.

Last night, it snowed. This afternoon, the sun came out and melted most of it all away. I can't wait for spring, but the snowboard season is almost over and I'm going to miss the snow real soon.

Images via sticker on my snowboard and hilarious brochure from Sapporo, Japan.


The Animal

The Animal, the half pipe legend and every snowboarder's favourite hero, Shaun White!
Let's just say I was inspired from the original, messing around with Photoshop, curiosity with typography and avoiding chemistry homework (which I still haven't started on).
Obsessed with snowboarding, the Olympics and Shaun White.


Project: The Collective Musique Discovery

In search of music from all genres.
Current no. of songs on my iPod: around 4200.
I'm always on the lookout for new music. On my phone, I have Shazam for any songs that might serendipitously find me wherever I go. In my notes, I keep a list of songs I'll later download on my iPod. My last recent update included The Smiths and Led Zeppelin, music I would usually never listen to. It was (500) Days of Summer and listening to the electric guitar, which have sparked my inspiration to broaden my spectrum of music. And this is why I'm really looking, to search for the unexpected and surprising sounds over the airwaves and beyond. Here begins a music journey of discovering the sounds of the past, present and future.
Side note: I like Music Mondays, a lot.

(...if anyone would like to help me out and share your favourite music, list of artists and songs, please do!)



Discoveries have been made at Sam Weller's over shelves of vintage National Geographic to maps and bargain finds. My friends introduced me to this bookstore in downtown and now I'm obsessed. We spent an afternoon there and literally lost track of time. I came back home with two of the same Oceanic maps for my love of Australia and New Zealand. I'm hoping to go back for a map of Antarctica, maps of other places I want to explore one day and any other books I might find. It's a rhapsodic world for those who love and want to get lost in books.


Little Crushes

image via mustard & sage
When I saw this, I thought of you {J}.
I think I've liked J ever since I first saw him.
I've probably tried to deny this several times.
I swear I saw him at President's Circle today.
Then I thought to myself, I like awkward looking guys.
Awkward, but adorable in every way.
Isn't that weird? But it's all love.

More from the wannabe Polaroid series.

Left to right:
Stardust. Rain can sometimes create magic.
I dream of snow. The mountains let me know I'm home.
Jazzy jazz. I like jazz a lot, but only when electric guitars,
a bass and drums sound out alone and together.
Architecture. I can never get enough of it.
This ceiling is one of my favourites.
All rifty and groovy, but most of all modern,
white and critically designed for musicians.


The Winter Games in Vancouver 2010

::Team USA! I love the Olympics, both winter and summer games. There's so much hype, adrenaline, excitement and cheering for athletes, as well as loyal support for countries. All the stories and moments in the Olympics become a part of us. It's the one time where the world comes together and shares the burning flame; where victory matters and no one ever forgets. And yet, nothing is ever truly lost in the Olympics, even if our favourite athletes or countries don't win. It's all about the journey to the Olympics, going and being there, learning along the way. It's the sacrifices these athletes make and seeing sports progress to the next level.
::The two events I've been watching are snowboarding and ice skating. I recently discovered snowboard cross. I didn't even know it was a sport. Snowboard cross is intense! Watching all these snowboarders race down a hill, I couldn't get enough of it. The men's half pipe blew me away. Shaun White dominates the half pipe. Peetu Piiroinen, Finnish snowboarder was actually really good. But still, nobody comes even close to Shaun White in the half pipe. He had the most air and control, then he stunned the world with the Double McTwist 1260. Did you see that?! I still can't get over it. Queralt Castellet, from Spain had an astonishing run in qualifications. She would have been quite the competition. And Torah Bright! She is stunning to watch in the half pipe, absolutely incredible. I want to be more like Torah one day. And who doesn't like ice skating? Men on skates? Joannie Rochette and her remarkable strength. They sparkle and they shine. Love them.
::The Olympics give a shiny glimmering hope of everything. Olympians inspire me. They remind us that everyone can achieve great heights, both literally and figuratively. I've been motivated to run and get in shape after watching these Olympians. I even went snowboarding the weekend after the main snowboarding events. I've been looking for snowboard cross camps and lessons. Even if I never compete in the Olympics, I am going to train for at least one snowboard cross competition. I am going for it. I never watch TV, but then the Olympics comes on and I'm addicted. It's surprising how fired up these Olympics get me.
::Now that the winter Olympics are over, farewell Vancouver Games. I miss you. We miss you. See you in Sochi, Russia!
::Side note: let's bring the winter Olympics back to Salt Lake City, Utah really soon!