Too restless

I don’t seem to know what to do in my free time anymore!?

After switching to my current job for about 7 months, working on weekends has become my “new normal” Allocating a chunk of my weekend for work feels “normal” Before this, I hardly had to work on weekends. Talk about change!

In the past 7 months I have never, ever been completely 100% off of work. Even on vacation, I checked my work emails when I was waiting for the train in Japan. I have extremely demanding clients who seem to work 24/7 in their fast-paced, dynamic industry, combined that with wonderful technology called Line chat app, we get messages about work almost all the time, no matter what time of the day. Be it Saturday 7AM, Sunday 11PM, weekdays at midnight or some crazy hours like 3AM, literally anytime, work messages can pop up on my phone screen.

Apart from that, I’ve been taking a short course on Digital Marketing (Free of charge, our MD teaches the class himself and he wants me to learn) for the past 3 months every Sunday. The class will end by the end of this month, and I will get full Sundays back.

I think all of those things affected my brain as I need to be on, on, ON the whole time; keep doing one thing or another. Nothing is ever fast enough. Everything is so rushed.

So a day like today, lovely Saturday, that I have nothing in particular on agenda and no work to catch up(!?), I was at a lost of what to do and just made myself go to the gym. So I would feel like I made some achievement and didn’t waste a day. I know it’s really silly of me. But for some reason I feel guilty when I do nothing all day long.

(Which happened from time to time when I was so exhausted from work and did literally nothing on Saturday or Sunday. Literally nothing. But that was another story. I was really tired, I needed to rest, right!?)

The point is, I just don’t know what to do with myself when I’m free. I get distracted even from reading, which is usually what I enjoy. OK…Maybe what I’m reading is not interesting enough. Maybe I need to switch the book.

But I’m too restless for my own liking.

It’s so weird. And maybe a bit scary because I wasn’t like this. Since I was a child, I was able to focus quite well in school and whatever I did. I didn’t feel this restless when I needed to rest. It wasn’t this bad for sure.

I’m scared I won’t know how to properly focus on anything anymore. It’s really hard to do so when there’s so, so much distraction at work, with the pressure to be “on” the whole time. How to fix this? Can you really keep this going? For how long? Will I have changed even more? Is this mentally healthy? So many questions…(as always).

Advertisements

A trip down the memory lane: Nagoya

I just wanted to write this quickly to get it off my chest before I get hit by a pile of work and life in general tomorrow. Just landed this afternoon after a 7 day trip to Tokyo and Nagoya.

It’s been a…weird trip, with mixed feelings. Quite difficult to describe but I will try my best to explain. First of all, it IS really nice to go back to Japan again (of course!) and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s even more special this time because I went back to Nagoya where I studied in 2010-2011 and haven’t been back since I left! So here I am, 8 years later!

A friend told me that “Nagoya will always be our second home” and I agree. Just walking around Sakae, Osu in Nagoya really brought back memories. We went to our “regulars” like old Sushi conveyor belt place we used to go a lot in uni. Actually it was my intention to go back to these old places! I even went to Nagoya uni with friends, to international student center where I spent majority of my time when I was there. It was so nostalgic you have no idea. Actually, just walking on the street, or ANYTHING in Nagoya brought back a lot of memories.

Of course, it was also very nice to catch up with old friends again. My Japanese definitely sucks now which is a shame (oh well) but I somehow managed to have conversation with them.

Another really amazing thing is, my friend asked his friend (who is away) to let me stay at her apartment for free! I didn’t even know her before, but she wrote a cute little welcome card, prepared towels and slippers and said I am welcome to eat and use anything. I felt so, so thankful! This is from a stranger I haven’t even met. It really reminded me how lucky I am to have met many kind people, especially during my year abroad. So many people really have helped me in so many different ways, and it was really touching.

I also went to Gero Onsen in Gifu with my friend on weekend. Let me tell you, Onsen in winter is the best thing ever! I particularly love the outdoor bath when it’s as cold as single digit outside, but you are dipped in hot water. It was really an amazing sensation. I’ve been to Onsen before but never in winter. Now I know how amazing it IS!

So, what made me feel that this trip has been…weird?

So, half of the trip I was alone, but the other half I was seeing friends. Most of the time in Tokyo I was by myself, walking a lot to so many different places. One day I was walking almost 20 km, which was absolutely crazy!

And maybe because it’s Japan, because I am quite familiar with the place, it didn’t feel that exciting to walk around by yourself. I didn’t really have many plans or particular places I needed to go to begin with. In fact, I felt almost like I lived there, just like old times. Most of the time I felt kind of…flat, like this could be my every day routine, just like before. Does this make sense?

It’s great to visit old places and talk to old friends in Nagoya, but you can’t recreate those amazing memories we once shared. It will never be the same, and we all have gone off to different paths. It’s good enough we keep in touch and get to see each other in different cities around the world, and I think that’s really cool. But somehow… it could feel kind of…bittersweet, in a way.

Hmm, emotional much? Nothing will ever make me get as emotional as that year in Nagoya, that’s for sure.

So, I’m still not sure if I do enjoy traveling alone. Or I do need to go to new places if I travel alone? I remembered I had quite a good time being alone in Amsterdam and Rotterdam because everything was so new. But Japan felt like a…comfort. It’s totally different feeling. Or maybe I would prefer to have some company? It felt a bit lonely in Tokyo this time.

Although I’m not sure where to travel to or what to do in Japan, I am quite certain this trip wouldn’t be my last.

Until next time!

Lift heavy. Eat pizza. Drink bubble milk tea.

Yay, let’s talk about my revived gym motivation. I’m so into it at the moment. It’s back and I’ve never been happier! It had been really passive this year and I felt meh most of the time, now I’m glad I look forward to going to the gym again!

Let me tell you this, some days when things get super stressed at work, lifting heavy shit is what I look forward to at the end of the day. It really is the best way to de-stress!

The motivation is back since I switched the gym to Base Bangkok in September and joined Base Strong which is a strength training/lifting class, for about 6-7 times now!? The class felt very intimidating at first because everyone really lifts heavy and they do look like they know what they’ve been doing. I decided to give it a try even though I don’t know what I’m doing, haha. But like they said, everyone gotta start somewhere.

And it was the best decision. The coach has been so, so helpful and very attentive, especially that I’m a newbie who doesn’t know shit. I’ve learned A LOT and he watches my forms very closely every time I perform those lifts.

I love the program because it allows you to track your progress, and I’ve been keeping track of mine on my phone. We mainly focus on main compound lifts, powerlifting style; squat, bench, deadlift (Never have I benched until now!), with some accessory lifts to help strengthen your main lifts. The program is so simple, yet effective. Now I still don’t know my 1 RM (rep max, the maximum weight I can lift in 1 time), which probably is the best thing, because we keep adding more weight for me every week and it’s exciting for me to see if I can lift the shit off the ground. Surprisingly enough, I can lift heavier every week. Enjoying this progress while it lasts.

Lifting heavy makes me eat more and get hungry more often. The best thing is my muscles gained after only a few weeks of going to the class. I’ve been weight training for a while but couldn’t really gain muscles. We performed many reps like 15 reps but didn’t add more weight overtime. And it got boring.

Now I know that progressive overload is the key!

Another thing is I’ve been trying to understand more about weight training and nutrition. I’ve never, ever, paid attention to it before. I eat whatever I want, never knew how many calories in 1 gram of protein, never knew how many calories we should eat in a day to maintain/build/lose weight, never knew about calorie surplus and deficit, never knew about compound vs isolation movements, never knew you are supposed to push your knees OUT when squatting, and SO, SO much more.

Coaches at Base here seem to really know their shit and it got me intrigued! It’s like a whole new world to me. It’s been fun reading about all this stuff. You realize all kinds of bullshit people talk about when it comes to weight loss like how carbs are bad, don’t eat too much fat, don’t eat at night. Now I know you only need to be in calorie deficit stage to lose fat. That’s it.

Not that I eat healthy or anything though! I eat pizza and drink bubble milk tea still and don’t plan to stop. I am only slightly more aware that I don’t eat enough protein per day, and need to eat more protein so that I can lift more!

It’s not only about how I look anymore. Overall I’m quite happy with my appearance, sans six pack with 25% of body fat (lol), but I’m pretty sure I find it fun because I see the progress of how much I can do. I never knew I could be THIS strong (Well, “Strong” is relative since I’m the weakest person in Base Strong class, Ha!) And if being strong means I look better with less flabby arms, that’s a big plus!

It’s a great feeling and I’m loving it.

(Insert obligatory gym selfies here, lol)

Short trip to Northern Italy

This Italy trip came out of the blue, deciding only a month before the trip happened. Usually I know and plan things for months before going somewhere a bit far like Europe. But the main reason this one happened so quickly was because of the boredom and frustration toward my life in the past 2 months and I did feel like I needed an “escape”

(Funny how by the time we went on the trip, the frustration was gone. A few weeks before was a bit hectic, and then everything finally fell into places. Life is funny that way, huh?).

Initially, I wanted to go alone and the first destination that came to my mind was Croatia. But somehow, in the end, I decided to ask my mom if she wanted to come along on a trip somewhere. She hasn’t traveled out of the country for a while and she did have a rough year last year. I thought it would be nice to get her out to travel and freshen things up for her for a bit. It was a compromise for me, because I disliked traveling in a tour group, but for some reason I sort of feel like I should do it for her.

We tried to pick several countries from around the world, from Korea, Japan, Russia and many more. In the end this Northern Italy trip caught my attention, even though I’ve already been to Italy twice. I’ve wanted to go to Cinque Terre for years now. And I’ve never been to Milan either. My previous two visits were mainly focused on major tourist destinations like Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa.

I loved it. Manarola in Cinque Terre was as beautiful as I imagined it would be. I also loved Dolomites mountain and Italian alps area. It was so, so beautiful and the air felt so refreshing. I felt like I could properly breathe and realized how shitty Bangkok air really is. Was a surprise for me that they speak German and all the signs are in German and Italian in South Tyrol, Italy.

Photos can’t really captivate how beautiful the Alps is in reality.

I’ve also wanted to see Duomo in Milan for so long and finally I’m here. What a beauty.

Europe in summer is so lovely. I almost forgot how lovely those long summer nights are. June is such a good month to travel there as it’s not too hot yet and not really the peak season. Could be a lot more challenging to navigate in July.

My only complaint was the trip was way too short, only one week. You need at least 10 days in Europe. But then again I used up all of my vacation leave on this trip and this is all I had. Not exactly worth the 11 hour flight. But thank god we flew direct from Bangkok to Milan this time. Once we flew with Emirates and had to transit in Abu Dhabi before going to Barcelona, and I was a complete wreck. Really noticed a big difference and it was much, much better with direct flight. I did fly direct to Amsterdam with KLM last year too, and it wasn’t as exhausting as it would be when you had to transit in Middle East.

It’s probably weird to say this, but I feel like it’s a…comfort going to Europe since I’ve been traveling there quite a few times now. Each country is different of course, but there are some shared similarities that I am quite used to. Nothing surprised me as much as it was before, and it’s always nice to be back. I think I’ve been to most countries in Western Europe now, time to explore more of the Eastern part!

I think I will keep going back and exploring some different parts of Europe; some cities I haven’t been to. I just love the ability to walk around without sweating. I love how, comparatively, things are more organized than the chaotic Bangkok. I love that nippy feelings in the air, something you never get when living in a tropical country. I love the feeling of holding a hot coffee in my hand on cold mornings. I love how different summer feels when you are on the different side of the world. I love how it’s a “dry” summer and not humid. I love how the sun doesn’t set until 9 PM.

If I traveled by myself I would pop in to the museums, walk around, find something nice to eat and drink, observe the locals, explore, and just walk, walk, walk anywhere, and that simply made me happy. In a city you are unfamiliar with, you feel so small, you see everything with fresh eyes, you notice so many little things you don’t normally do in your own city, and it feels nice to get that perspective. Bangkok bores me at times and once in a while I feel like I need to get out for something new, something different.

Hopefully the post vacation blues don’t hit me so bad this time. I have something exciting and scary to look forward to next month. This was a nice little break to prepare myself for what’s to come. I’m so nervous but do hope for the best. Fingers crossed for myself!

Guilt on lazy days

I don’t know why I always feel guilty on days I get super lazy. Usually it’s either Saturday or Sunday.

Like today, by the time I rolled over and properly got up was almost 12 *shudder* I was up a while ago, but when I had no plan to do that day, sometimes I just stayed in bed for…nothing.

Sunday, isn’t it?

But I think it’s a bad habit and I don’t like it. Yet I keep doing it.

And then I really did nothing apart from scrolling down Instagram feed or watching blogger videos on YouTube or reading really random stories/articles here and there on my phone. I didn’t even read a proper book. Sometimes I don’t bother taking a shower until 3 or 5PM. Why do I even bother taking a shower at 5PM? Not sure either.

And for some reason, on days like this, I feel guilty as hell.

I feel like there’s so much I should be doing. Why don’t I finish any online courses I’ve started? Why don’t I sit down and learn more about digital marketing, when I never think I know enough? Why don’t I start cleaning or clearing out my closet? Why don’t I start having my own domain name for this blog? Why don’t I learn how to properly cook? Why don’t I start learning how to make an aeropress coffee?

Why am I sitting here and doing nothing?

My close friend could probably say, stop beating yourself up again, everyone needs to have a break once in a while, and it’s ok to do nothing. Ironically enough, she’s the one who never, ever has a day off – constantly working and working, be it Friday night or Sunday afternoon.

Maybe I feel pressured from comparing myself to my peers or even my own brother, who started his own business and hardly ever has a day off either? Maybe I am caught up in this way of life for people my age that being busy is valued?

Damn.

Kinda sad.

Or maybe not. Maybe I feel bad that I can’t force myself to focus on something? Nothing I feel strongly passionate about?

Maybe I am scared, maybe it’s the fear that time is ticking and if I don’t start doing anything meaningful or useful, one day it’s gonna be too late, when I look back on these lazy days of mine?

Oh dear, this is getting out of hand. I should stop this pointless blog post. This already feels like some really random rant that’s going nowhere.

Being honest as hell here, not the kind of stuff you see on Instagram or Facebook, eh?

Still got a few hours left on this cloudy Sunday. Wanna bet if I can move my ass to do something?

Mutual breakup

I didn’t know mutual breakup could be a thing. Usually one side would initiate the desire or intention to breakup, more than the other side.

Anything can happen and you never know how to predict this thing called relationship, I guess.

We think the distance is a great obstacle, the one we really can’t fight. To be apart, across the entire Pacific Ocean with 14 hour difference, for the duration of 3-5 years is simply too much to bear, or even to think of.

So it seems sensible to simply give up.

We said, let’s be realistic, 3 damn years are too tough.

It seems practical, since both of you have been through long distance relationships, known that it’s never gonna work out, certainly not for THREE years.

In fact, I’m really fed up of this long distance relationshit. My very first thought when I found out about this news was, “Not this shit again”

Also, I’ve never been committed to anyone or anything as long as 3 years, come to think of it.

But you know what…

Maybe the underlying issue isn’t about the distance.

Maybe the root cause is because we don’t like each other enough to keep trying and fighting and looking for other alternatives.

Our first reaction was to give up.

When you like each other that much, when you certainly don’t want to let the other person go, the reaction could be quite different.

At least we would try to fight for this relationship.

Just like that one time, flashback to 6 years ago at Suvarnabhumi airport, when my boyfriend then told me, I don’t know how it’s gonna work out but no, I’m not letting you go.

In the end we parted ways. Of course, it wasn’t a surprise and we saw it from the start. But at least there was this desire to fight for each other.

When that desire and that passion isn’t there, perhaps this is a great evidence of why we should let it go.

Because your heart isn’t in it much from the start.

That’s it.

Chiang Mai, you got a hold on me

It’s such a big deal for someone who hasn’t been to Chiang Mai for about 15 years or maybe longer, to finally go visit Chiang Mai at last! I know it sounds ridiculous, considered this is probably one of the places everyone visits regularly, and most likely one of the places tourists go when they first visit Thailand.

I didn’t expect much from this trip in the beginning. After all, it’s a domestic trip, how exciting could this be? We just booked the tickets 2 weeks prior and we hadn’t really planned anything much for this short 4 day trip. I sort of had some places and ideas in mind. In fact, it kind of hit me the night before we left that, shit, let’s figure out somewhere to go after we land in Chiang Mai at 8AM tomorrow!

But the trip turned out to be way beyond my expectation. I totally fell in love with Chiang Mai! After Amsterdam, this is the second place I thought could be a great place to live. I’ve never thought I could live elsewhere in Thailand apart from Bangkok my hometown, so this trip challenged my perception on that, surprisingly enough.

No cafe hopping

Though we didn’t plan much, my boyfriend and I agreed on one thing that, nope, not gonna do cafe hopping like so many Bangkok people do and post on social media, because why would you go to Chiang Mai to do such thing when you could just go to Thonglor instead!? Don’t get the trend much, honestly.

Nature

So this trip was a mixture of nature and city. We went up to famous touristy spots like Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon for some fresh air. It felt totally amazing to feel the cool breeze of 15C in April, which is the middle of Thai summer, on top of Doi Inthanon, 2,565M above the sea level.

One of the things I love the most is our lovely accommodation called Vayahouse on the mountaintop with panoramic views of mountains near Mon Cham. It was very simple, we literally stayed in a tiny wooden box. 2,090THB per night was quite expensive for the room we got, but I suppose you pay for the breathtaking view in front of your own tiny balcony.

Opening the door, stepping out into the warmth of the sun, breathing fresh air of 15C morning weather deeply, with some jazz music in the background felt surreal. I sat there for a while, just taking it all in. And wonder, what else could you possibly want in life? Why complicates it so much?

City

Besides nature, we did a bit of templing in the city and a lot of Kao Soi eating! I totally fell in love with Kao Soi and couldn’t get enough of it that we had it almost everyday! One of the best ones we had was simply the local one with no name, only 35THB Kao Soi with chicken that our local friend kindly gave us recommendation. The ones on website and social media reviews can’t beat it.

Our colleague who is from Chiang Mai also came home during this period and showed us around a bit. First we went to see him in Chiang Mai university, what a lovely campus! We even spontaneously drove to Lampoon afterwards. I didn’t know before it was this close to each other. Did some local night market, ate at a northern restaurant and some local dishes, and we got some food recommendations like really amazing burger place (at 190 THB! Way too cheap) from our Chiang Mai colleagues, so all in all we were in a good hand.

Like I said before, traveling with locals is the best way to get to know the city.

Our boutique hotel in the city on Nimman also was pretty cute. I randomly found it on booking and booked it myself. The building is like an old house, with a nice touch of vintage decor. Really love it.

Why I love Chiang Mai

I feel like the city is a perfect combination of city and nature. Chiang Mai has city life which is what I do need, but mountain/nature is only an hour away. There is NO traffic. In city center, it could get a bit crowded during peak hours, but this is nothing compared to Bangkok. We can reach anywhere within 20-30 minute drive, and that feels pretty amazing.

The weather was perfect when I was there. Our local friends said we were so lucky because this is very rare for April. Usually it can get uncomfortably hot. I was worried about the poisonous smog, but it was raining on and off the whole time we were in Chiang Mai, which made the weather much cooler. It got hot during the day, but cooled down to 24C or so at night.

So I didn’t know if I had experienced Chiang Mai with smog, would I had disliked the place more? We were too lucky, just like when I got to experience sunny Amsterdam in October.

Some thoughts

The pace feels much slower than Bangkok here, but not too slow like some rural places. Overall I feel like the quality of life here is way better. Bangkok is getting more and more crowded by days, with zero solution to solve traffic problem. It gets tiring over time when you have to commute every day.

Our 23 year old colleague who is quite proud of Chiang Mai, his hometown, said

“The more you get older, I think you need to be closer to nature. It helps makes you want fewer things in life and just focus on what really matters.”

It still made me think until this day.

And it naturally made me question, What is the meaning of “Enough is enough”? How much do you have, in terms of money and materialistic things, is considered enough? What exactly are we struggling for in big city life? What are we trying to achieve here and for what? Why can’t we be satisfied with what we have?

We asked him about house prices and some businesses in Chiang Mai. The prices shocked us as it’s way cheaper than Bangkok. Obviously, pay is much lower here as well.

Post-vacation blues (No surprise!)

Not too bad this time, although I felt a bit…deflated on Monday morning, which was to be expected first day back at work after holiday. It’s a pattern that I can easily predict now, that this feeling will hit me.

Remember that enthusiasm I had after Taiwan trip in January? I can say it’s pretty much gone now and am entering a bit of dark place at the moment, for a number of reasons. A lot of things on my mind since end of February, and they are still here.

So let’s see what quarter 2 of 2018 will bring. The first 3 months had been rather interesting, both good and bad. I hope this next quarter will be a new change, for once. Need to retrieve that motivation and positive energy back.

Love you Chiang Mai. Gave me more than I had expected, and even made me question life in general, something I didn’t expect from a domestic trip. Always good to get a reality check via traveling from time to time. The ability to step back and examine life is crucial, if you ask me.