Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

I have yet to read 1Q84, and went in blind regarding Haruki Murakami’s writing style when I picked up Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, but I will admit that it was one of the best books into which I indulged in 2014.

The pilgrimage of Tsukuru can be related to by anyone growing up and moving on; we all wonder why events transpired a certain way or how our lives could be different had those events not passed. I wish I could describe the profound impact of this novel, but I believe Patti Smith of the New York Times pinpointed Murakami’s unique style and storytelling: “The writer sits at his desk and makes us a story. A story not knowing where it is going, not knowing itself to be magic. Closure is an illusion, the winking of the eye of a storm. Nothing is completely resolved in life, nothing is perfect. The important thing is to keep living because only by living can you see what happens next.”

When I see a good quote online or on an ad or whatever, I make a mental note (or open my Goodreads app immediately) to read the book from which it was taken. Well, here’s my attempt at convincing you to read this book–and, chances are, you might fall for it once you see the quotes I’ve cherry picked out:

  • “One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone,” Tsukuru comes to understand. “They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss.”
  • “As we go through life we gradually discover who we are, but the more we discover, the more we lose ourselves.”
  • “Still, being able to feel pain was good, he thought. It’s when you can’t even feel pain anymore that you’re in real trouble.”
  • “Never let fear and stupid pride make you lose someone who’s precious to you.”
  • “Jealousy—at least as far as he understood it from his dream—was the most hopeless prison in the world. Jealousy was not a place he was forced into by someone else, but a jail in which the inmate entered voluntarily, locked the door, and threw away the key. And not another soul in the world knew he was locked inside. Of course if he wanted to escape he could do so. The prison, was after all, his own heart. But he couldn’t make that decision. His heart was as hard as a stone wall. This was the very essence of jealousy.”
  • “Some things in life are too complicated to explain in any language.”
  • “We truly believed in something back then, and we knew we were the kind of people capable of believing in something – with all our hearts. And that kind of hope will never simply vanish.”

I’m resolving to post more regularly this year, so cheers to new goals & new blog posts!

-Yours Truly

Just A Girl & Her Books

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. *Thank you Captain Obvious*

I’d be lying if I said it’s because I’m too stressed or busy because honestly there have been two primary factors keeping me from my blog: sheer laziness and distraction— and by distraction I mean that my face is almost always buried in a book during any spare moment of my day that I’m not at work, obviously.

I realized recently that I lack enough creative outlets in my life and that I need to get back to blogging, but I couldn’t fathom what I could write about that people would want to read (not that anything I’ve previously posted is “must-read” material). Then yesterday I was faced with a decision, I had a small amount of money left over for the week after grocery shopping and paying for my monthly T pass so I could either spend the money on a haircut, and spend time pampering myself with my awesome stylist Stephanie, or I could pre-order Neil Patrick Harris’ new autobiography for his book signing at Brookline Booksmith. I bet you can guess which one I chose…

The point of that story is that books are a huge part of my life and always have been, I even thought to make the focus of my URL and title on my blog about books–despite its origins being to brag about my adventures in Paris–so why not write about the books I’m reading?

Well, as you can probably assume, I’ll be writing reviews, reactions, and whatever I feel like writing about the books in which I indulge. I look forward to being back and I hope you are too. 🙂

-Yours Truly

Transparency

It’s my last day of college and I’ve come to realize something. No, not something cliché or knowledge-related, something much deeper and much larger than that.

My current PR classes focus on how organizations need to be transparent in order to gain and maintain stakeholder loyalty. I get it and I love it– I want to buy from a brand that has my best interests at hand, not its own.

On that note, I feel an obligation to be more transparent with my readers, my friends, my peers and the world around me.

This year was a tough one for me– meaning I grew more this year than I could’ve ever imagined and I faced challenges that showed me, and everyone around me, my strength & spirit. Through all of this I realized that I hid my personal issues to bring everyone else’s issues to the table and help them. Well, the tables have turned.

(Note: My hands are really sweaty right now because I’m really nervous writing this post so try not to hate on the details too much.)

Yesterday I had a realization that, as common sense as it’s going to seem, impacted me enough to be open about my own health issues and–ideally– rally my readers behind me in the fight against an under-aware community.

I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I live a normal life (it’s awkward and weird sometimes but that’s expected) and I’m a very open person (until it comes to my personal health).

Why don’t I talk about my problems? Well good question because I didn’t think about that until yesterday.

Okay fine, I did but I had a sorry excuse for not talking about them: I didn’t want to make others feel uncomfortable in learning of my issues and I especially didn’t want them to look at me differently because of them. How do you explain to someone that you have daily pains without them pitying you? I didn’t know so I didn’t say anything. Now I am.

My hesitation to talk about my problems comes from a societal expectation of people being healthy and happy all the time, not being happy despite challenges. The idea of people pitying or making a spectacle out of those who have illnesses wasn’t something I wanted to fall victim to (and don’t even get me started on the extremely negative stigma surrounding mental illnesses and those who suffer from them). I want to be more open because it’s the first step for people to get help for symptoms, to find communities of others who suffer, to research and discover cures and/or treatments, and to raise awareness. It’s just breast cancer and AIDS were once seen so negatively, now they are some of the most well-known and well-fundraised illnesses in the world. One day, I want that to be borderline personality disorder or chronic pain disorders or PCOS or anything that anyone I know has to deal with on a daily basis.

I’m going into the industry of people; I just want people to know that I am a person too and that I am passionate, caring and strong for so many reasons beyond my hard-shelled exterior. I want to spend my life bringing awareness to the public and connecting communities of people with like interests, talents and passions.

This is why I want to be in the business of PR people. 

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#7: The Finish Line

A symbol of the strength of the city, the Boston Marathon Finish Line on Boylston Street in Back Bay is a definite to-do during a trip to Boston.

 

177th Boston Marathon Finish Line

177th Boston Marathon Finish Line

I took this picture in September 2013, only 5 months after the bombings and only days after I moved back to Boston for my last year of college. I stroll past the finish line at least once a week or so- I mean, it is right in front of the Boston Public Library (another must-see) and BPL is one of my favorite places.

One Year Later

The overwhelming amount of posts and media coverage regarding the Boston Marathon bombings exactly a year ago, April 15, 2013, is touching and reassuring. Boston is not a town to be bossed around; we Bostonians know how strong we are.

Well, we did just that a year ago and it remains one of the most iconized events in the city’s, and the country’s, history. #BostonStrong isn’t a hashtag or a social media campaign, it’s a community of 600,000+ people passionate about their city and those that make it up.

The heroes of last year’s marathon reside in this city. They walk the streets. They don’t all wear uniforms and carry badges; the heroes in Boston are the people.

This year will be my last year living in Boston for the marathon and I can say that it will be the most memorable year yet. It is incredible to see an entire city come together to show support and love to the runners, the law enforcement officials, and the city.

I’m proud to have spent nearly four years in Boston. And who knows, maybe I’ll run the marathon one day.

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#6: The North End

Rich in history, tastes and culture, the North End is a must for a Boston visit. (And lucky for everyone, you can enjoy the deliciousness and the cobblestoned streets during any season!)

Stop by Boston’s North End to eat, drink, shop, or people watch. Make sure to get a recommendation for a restaurant, or just go with joining a line that is running down the street. Don’t forget to swing by rivals Modern Pastry or Mike’s Pastry for an absolutely melt-in-your-mouth cannoli (or pastry of your choice, I guess).

I’ve always thought visuals are more attractive than words, so here’s a small taste of what the North End has to offer. *no pun intended*