Tiny Grains of Gratitude

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Gilbert Chesteron, an English writer, once said “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

This past weekend has been especially rough and challenging to fathom what has happened in Orlando. These events are tragic and heartless. To sum up in one word: inhumane. It shakes me to the core that this happened so close to home. It is a devastating reality.

To heal, we have to find some light within the darkness. The lightness I find is that all these people were celebrating and living their lives until the horror occurred. Whether it was a devoted musician connecting with her fans after a show or a group of friends celebrating pride, all of these people were living their best lives.

Highs and lows in life is inevitable, it’s all part of the roller coaster of life. But through the highs and lows, the balance comes with gratitude. And this is something I have consciously been practicing everyday. Gratitude to me is uncovering the goodness out of a bad situation, and the affirmation of what pleasant moment you are experiencing.

Over the weekend, I also had the worst migraine and nausea of my life. It crippled me so much that I could not even sit up without collapsing and vomiting everything I consumed. Breaking out in cold sweat with a fever, my body was sending a SOS. During those runs to the toilet and the routine of eating something with the fleeting hope of keeping it down, I told myself that I have to take better care of my body. I wished I paused to appreciate more of the little things I have taken advantage of unconsciously. In those moments:

  • I missed the ability to drink water
  • I missed the ability to sit up straightly
  • I missed the ability to look at something without feeling like the room was spinning
  • I missed the ability to think clearly without feeling the pressure in my head
  • I missed the ability of getting out of bed with ease

Now, I sit here with my glass of water and bowl of rice. It makes me so grateful that I have the simple pleasure of having the ability to eat normally again. To think clearly again. To have hope that I am in a better state to carry on with my plans and obligations for tomorrow. I look at all these tiny grains of rice in my bowl and I’m comforted. I’m comforted that all these tiny little pieces make up one whole meal for me to nourish my body. I’m comforted that it only takes little pieces to make something or someone feel whole again.

Reader – I hope you find and carry your grain or grains of gratitude to fill you up in this tragic and beautiful life.

I’d love to hear from you on what you’re grateful for. Let’s allow to remind ourselves that there is so much goodness worth acknowledging. I’m grateful to have this platform to express my thoughts and connect with people like yourself. Thank you.

 

 

Asian American

Firstly, I write this post on Memorial Day, a day when we honor those who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Commemorative days like today, make me reflect and appreciate being American. I have tremendous respect for those who serve or served our beautiful and diverse country.

What I love most about my country is the diversity that make up this large and vast nation. May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Although May is coming to an end, I couldn’t let the month pass without writing my thoughts and experience on being Asian American.

To be more specific, my roots are Indonesian. Indonesia is a Southeast Asian country made up of hundreds of ethnic groups and thousands of volcanic islands. My parents traveled approximately 9,201 miles in hopes of living their dream of having a better future for themselves and their children. My parents worked tirelessly and hard to provide an upbringing that offers so much freedom and opportunity. For that, I am incredibly blessed and proud to be born and raised in the United States. A country that cultivates the diversity of its people and gives hope in cultivating the best individual we can be.

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Bali, Indonesia

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New York City (Home)

Growing up, I was aware that I wasn’t the light skinned, blonde/brown haired, light eyed individual that was often portrayed in American media. I was black haired, dark eyed, dark beige skinned me. But living in NYC, made it more accepting in the rainbow of people that I had class or interacted with. However, that does not mean that I escaped the subtle or not so subtle discrimination that came with being Asian American. People would often mistake me as anything but Indonesian heritage and when I answered that there is more to Asia than one country, people would gasp or be confused. It frustrated me that there weren’t prominent Indonesian Americans represented in mainstream society. My glimmer of hope, was when there was any Asian American representation in the media. Surely, we have so much work that needs to progress this.

But with these frustrations, there is the beauty in my day-to-day life of being Indonesian American. The food never fails to skimp out on flavor. I love the complexity and richness that comes with Indonesian food. As I grow older, I curiously hover and take notes when my mom is cooking Indonesian food. Below is my attempt in cooking “Bubur udang” which translates into “Shrimp rice porrdige”. If you can’t tell, there is also a healthy dollop of “Sambal” which is Indonesian hot sauce made up of a variety of chili peppers typically made with shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, and lime juice. This also fueled my curiosity of searching for more Indonesian foods in NYC, which led me to this charming place in Brooklyn, New York called “Selamat Pagi”. It was definitely interesting to see Nasi Goreng, which translates to fried rice being prepared in a professional culinary experience. It definitely tasted a little different than what I was used to preparing at home, more upscale. But still very delicious.

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Bubur Udang

 

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Nasi Goreng at Selamat Pagi in Brooklyn, New York

It excites me when I see Indonesian businesses come to rise or people eating Indonesian food. It means acceptance and openness to me. Just like the complexity of flavors in Indonesian food, I think that perfectly describes the dynamism of being Asian American. There’s a saying in Indonesian called, “Bhinneka tunggal ika”, which translates into “Unity in diversity”. And it feels great being part of a diverse whole.

I’d love to hear from you about any unique facet about yourself, so please feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Sakura Matsuri 2016: Cherry Blossom Festival

Warm weather, light clothing, flowers blooming. Spring has certainly sprung here in New York City (even though I write this on a cold and rainy Sunday). Out of all the seasons, spring definitely elevates and revives my mood with happiness. There is a running theme of growth and renewal in spring that makes me have a special spot for this joyous season.

One of my favorite things to do in spring is visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and admire the beauty of the cherry blossoms thriving. What makes Sakura Matsuri even more fun is the accompaniment of taiko drumming, cosplay and delicious Japanese food like onigiri.

In comparison to last year’s festival, this year surely stood out. For one, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the blushing pink petals falling off the trees was so scenic. I felt like I was in a Miyazaki film.

Seeing nature in bloom was so therapeutic, I highly recommend people taking walks in parks and gardens if you need to clear your mind. If you really want to take your zen a step further, meditating for a couple of minutes can do wonders. Closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and reopening them to the sight of red, pink and purple flowers is refreshing. It really makes me appreciate the little things in life, that nature provides us with. I can truly say I left the garden with my soul feeling rejuvenated and I will definitely be back.

Do you have a specific spring activity you like to do?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

Coming Out of Your Shell

Hello, my name is Pearly. It’s nice to meet you (really). Introductions have always been painstakingly awkward. No matter the situation – meeting someone new is taking a leap of faith of whether you would be worthwhile knowing. I hope you take that leap of faith with me.

As someone who is naturally introverted, I have always been mindful of the way I projected myself. Growing up, I was told that I was quiet and unassuming. Though these may be great qualities to have when you are in a library (which often was the case when I was little), it stung a little. The associations of being quiet were – I did not have opinions, interests or ideas. All of which are entirely false. I want to change and act upon these false assumptions.

I feel more inclined and motivated to explore out of my comfort zone. As a recent college graduate, starting my first post grad job in NYC, being in my early twenties, I’m curiously treading through the uncertainty of my life. It’s been pretty confusing, laughable and fascinating. But, I’m a firm believer in having to go through things to grow through things.

With that said, this blog is created with part fear and part excitement to share my thoughts and interests with you. Opening up to someone is risk worthy, nevertheless to the internet.

Do you ever give much thought in the value of your actions and words? This is something that’s been on my mind for a while now. You will find posts where I share things I like, find useful, take on challenges, and self-improvement amongst other things.

This blog will be crafted with a curious mind, adventurous heart and sincerity. I’m just one person who’s motivated to craft my best life, and I hope you do too.