Ireland pt. 2 – Still Rainy and Beautiful, Now with more cows.

Now that schools started up again (and I’ve been hit smack in the face with deadlines and grad school and thesis) I’m taking a journey down memory lane…

Here are some of my favorite photos from our last journey to Ireland.

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This was my third time back there and I have to say, I fall in love with it more every time. Here’s hoping I get to go back soon, but for now these photos will just have to do…

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XOXO

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‘Chella, The Most L.A Thing I’ve Ever Done.

 

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It seems to be the cardinal rule: If thou goes to Coachella, thou must post about it. Well, I definitely went, so here’s my post. Mark this weekend down as the most L.A thing I’ve done since…oh, I don’t know. Maybe the last time I had a small internal temper tantrum over not having an avocado?

Around four months ago I received a message in all caps from my best friend – DO YOU WANT TO GO TO COACHELLA, BEYONCE WILL BE THERE. And obviously I responded yes, but I never actually thought it would happen. Coachella always seemed like the epitome of everything I dislike – extended amounts of time in the sun, dust, large amounts of strangers, and loud noises.

“Then why are you going?” Was pretty much every response when I told friends my apprehensions. For a complicated variety of reasons. I’d just turned twenty one, I was feeling stressed about not living My Youth, fears over looking back at college and regretting something, anything. Also; Beyonce was going to be there.

 

We arrived back yesterday at two in the morning, extremely dirty, ears ringing, exhausted and buzzing. Coachella was definitely an experience – I understand why people either love it or hate it. With the exception of camping (waking up in the 100 degree sun trapped in a plastic sweat lodge was not my idea of fun), I loved it. The energy, the music, the weird fashion choices. And boy, there were a lot of weird fashion choices – we saw a lot of buckle-on fringe skirts, one dude dressed like a unicorn sans pants and glitter everywhere. The people watching alone was worth it.

That being said, it was truly special, in a ridiculous way. Getting to listen to so much music, and being around people who you love. Even dancing at two-thirty in the blazing hot sun doesn’t seem bad when you’re laughing at your friends dumb jokes. Maybe that’s not what I was supposed to take away from Coachella (probably something about art, or how dumb people are during music festivals), but I’m always going to remember dancing like an idiot to Lorde, which is all I can ask at the end of the day.

Sorry for rambling on like this – honestly, my memories and thoughts were so scattered during this last weekend that it’s hard to form a cohesive whole. If you have the chance though, I’d definitely recommend. Or maybe just take a boombox into your backyard and bake in the sun for three hours on shrooms. It’s pretty much the same effect.

XX

10 Lies I’ve Told Myself This Week

  1. Jetlag is an illusion.
  2. Time is an illusion, at that. Time does not exist, and you have no immediate deadlines to worry about.
  3. You are not tired, you are perfectly fine. Drink more coffee, ignore the pounding of your heart.
  4. It is perfectly acceptable to take two naps in one day.
  5. You are chill about all things. It was not weird for you to yell about National Treasure Three in the middle of the cafeteria.
  6. That essay is going well.
  7. Writing a blog post is definitely a productive use of your time.
  8. In a pinch, black sweatpants can be classy.
  9. Chocolate is an acceptable substitute for dinner.
  10. Seriously though, National Treasure Three would be such a good movie.

Nah Trang, Vietnam

The working title for this post was The Sea is Beautiful, and other new thoughts. Fair warning: I basically just word vomited onto this page and attached images of the sea.

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Pretty much everywhere painting done since we figure out how to do that cool light trick. 

It’s spring break time! Which means instead of donning my bikini and heading to the beaches of Mexico, I donned my sensible one piece (with coverup and swim shorts) and headed to the beaches of Vietnam.

For my dad’s 60th birthday, he wanted the whole family back together and exploring someplace new. Having lived in Hong Kong for a while now (and taking advantage of it’s nearness to other countries), it’s always exiting to visit someplace i’ve never seen before – especially somewhere as beautiful as Nha Trang. Forgive the cliche sunset and ocean photos, but it’s literally the only thing I wanted to take pictures of, it was so beautiful.

It is funny writing this, because I am overwhelmingly aware of the Grand Historical Tradition (Tm) of writing about the sea. It seems impossible that I should add anything new or overwhelmingly salient, but, like any other aspiring writer, here I am to throw my two cents into the overcrowded hat ring.

I may have my metaphors mixed up, but I’m sure you understand.

(What is a hat ring, anyway?)

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I watched this dude straight up murder a spider, to constantly remind you that nature will always be waiting.

There are always two things I think about whenever I am lucky enough to be near the ocean. the first is the Grand Literary Tradition, and how much I feel like a heroine whenever it is overcast and I struggle bravely across the sand. The second is how surprising I always find the ocean. Even just looking away for ten second, it always manages to take your breath away. I think you could live every day for the rest of your life by the sea, and constantly be shocked by how beautiful it was.

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View of the National Park ain’t bad either

Most of my thoughts over the break were spent freaking out over internships, enjoying a variety of fruity cocktails and pondering the immense weight of time and history, so here’s a brief aside about the weirdest spa experience I have every had. Due to my sunburn and dry skin (only one arm! and everywhere, respectively), I asked for a hydration treatment, where I assumed they’d just give me some lotion and a head massage and send me on my way.

Ohoho, boy was I wrong. Two hours later I emerged into the sunlight, thoroughly moistured. Thoroughly. I lay there for 90 minutes while a very strong and tiny vietnamese lady poured pure coconut oil into my hair (a traditional treatment, I have regrets on that front, my hair was Snape-like for days) while I lay there covered in mud. At one point she spent ten minutes jiggling the fat on my cheeks. Maybe for fun? By that point I was so confused by everything else that had happened it seemed totally normal. It was the strangest thing I’ve every experienced but so help me I emerged a beautiful greasy baby with fresh new skin.

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I’ve heard if you drink eight of these, you’ll see God behind the Walmart parking lot.

In conclusion, this post is dedicated to one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever drank, which is vietnamese coffee. You watch it drip into a glass and then pour condensed milk into it and it’s like a gut punch of caffeine. Anyways, I’m in love and if I ever figure out how to recreate it in America that’ll be the end of my everything, I’m fairly confident.

Happy Birthday Dad! XOXO

Winter Wonderland: I am a fragile tropical flower.

I assume no one’s surprised that I’m rolling into a post about thanksgiving way after the actual date. That’s because I am a winner.

 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I celebrated my first thanksgiving in America. This year was even better than last years though, because I was lucky enough to have my family come out and celebrate with them. Thanksgiving is always a special time for me. It mark the point where I can officially start to celebrate christmas in public, instead of just talking about who excited I am about it (see: the entire month of November. My friends must be sick of my gushing. I just really enjoy christmas, ok?)

No, I’m just joking. Thanksgiving has a special connotation for me because in Hong Kong it would be one of the big parties my parents would throw. I have so many memories of being dressed up and stuffing myself with turkey, watching the adults table longingly when members of the kids table would graduate to that hallowed ground.

This thanksgiving I celebrated again in Oregon, only this time I brought along my roommate with me. She bravely embraced the insanity of my family (we are all very loving in a shouting and arms waving way) and spent five days with me in the beautiful town of Bend and then later Portland.

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Unsurprisingly, neither of us were prepared for the winter. We’re talking temperatures that include snow, ice and all those  fun little things about cold weather like frostbite. The second we stepped off the plane it was right into the middle of Antartica (or so it seemed to two SoCal girls). The second I stepped out of the airport I promptly slipped on a patch of ice and bit the dust. We spent a lot of the weekend talking about how cold it was and staying firmly inside. Any movement to go anywhere required the assembling of an outfit with two many layers to count. It turns out we make very cute marshmallow people though.

 

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We also went snowshoeing for the very first time. It’s something that I’m super glad we did, because it was just so beautiful. There’s really nothing like winter, when it goes all quiet in the soft cold light to remind you just how beautiful the world can be. I certainly admired it as much as possible, until I actually couldn’t feel my butt anymore and we slogged home. Poor Mom got a phone call begging for hot chocolate before we’d even reached the door.

 

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COLD COLD COLD.

In any case, this is just going to be a very quick post about how wonderful it was to take a break from college. The reason why i’ve been so late posting is because everything has gone full speed ahead with finals week. Definitely a good reason to relax and completely stuff myself with good food and better company.

It’s going to be a rough week ahead, that’s for sure. Good luck to anyone going through finals, and remember to be thankful for the amazing beauty that the world holds. Just, you know, from inside.

 

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Paradise – Ireland Through Photography.

I was looking through my photos and found some shots of Ireland that I just had to share. This is a purely indulgent (and sponsored by fond memories) post about how beautiful my trip was.

 

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A real life fairytale…

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Met the cutest little puppy

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I’ve never seen so many different shades of green

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Even the buildings were overflowing with the color

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Along the Wicklow Way…

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Even through fog

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and rain

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and more fog..

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Ireland remains one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

There were times I had to pinch myself, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Sorry about this mostly wordless post, although I did end up creating a sort of avant garde poetry through the captions (haha).

As always,

Love, Amylia.

Ireland: Rain and Sheep on the Wicklow Way.

At the beginning of the planning process for this trip, Mom sat us down and asked a very serious question ‘Do you want to do a walking trip?’.

Starting off into the Wicklow Mountains

Starting off into the Wicklow Mountains

Fortunately, I agreed. Four months later I found myself on the Wicklow Way, dumbstruck at the sheer beauty of the Irish mountains and countryside.

Reaching the summit

Reaching the summit

It was a far cry from our stay at Edinburgh. Gone were our friends. It was just my mother, my father and me for the next week or so. We’d be hiking a beginners trail, but navigation and pace would be set by us. Before we started, I was nearly certain that this would be one of worst possible ideas for family unity.

This was a common sight on the trip - turns out neither of my parents are brilliant at reading maps...or admitting they'd been wrong.

This was a common sight on the trip – turns out neither of my parents are brilliant at reading maps…or admitting they’d been wrong.

Instead, it turned out to be an incredible hike. I can’t express to you how beautiful the Irish countryside is. Everyday seemed like we were walking in a fairytale. Luckily for us, it didn’t rain as much as we were expecting. But enough about that – I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

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Isn’t it gorgeous? That’s just a bare fraction of all the photos I took. Here’s hoping I find myself wandering the wicklow way again in the future.

I am the Pumpkin Queen.

Hey wonderful people! Taking a quick break from all the posts about my summer vacation to talk a little about a trip that happened a lot more recently. This past week I just returned from a quick weekend jaunt from Oregon, where I was lucky enough to stay in a sorority, walk around OSU and go to my first pumpkin patch! (Or at least the first one I can remember- no matter what Mom says, things that happen when I’m so young I don’t remember them happening, it doesn’t count).

 

We couldn't figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

We couldn’t figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

 

I have to start this post off with a confession – I don’t really get the pumpkin thing. Why is it when it turns to October american’s go bananas for pumpkin? If it’s so popular, then why isn’t it available year round? It just seems strange to me. Whenever I tell my friends I think pumpkin is just alright, they look at me like I’ve personally hurt them. That being said, I found the whole trip out there hilarious and super fun.

The pumpkin patch was definitely nothing like I was expecting. Although in hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from an event called ‘A Pumpkin Patch’. Seems pretty explanatory, I admit.

 

This post is brought to you by my Dad's oversized 80's sweater.

This post is brought to you by my Dad’s oversized 80’s sweater. Also feat. the corn maze we couldn’t figure a way out of.

 

We pulled up onto a patch of dirt. There are moments in my life where I’m truly struck by how American some things are. That same feeling washed over me as she turned the ignition off and turned to look at me. From my view as we drove by, I’d just seen a whole bunch of hay and a small field stretching out into the distance. This was a far cry from Hong Kong – and also from LA. The first thing we saw was a massively fat turkey. I immediately started laughing – I always laugh whenever I see a turkey. All I can think about is how it could have been the national animal of America, per the wish of Ben Franklin. (To quote: I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character). It makes me giggle to imagine the turkey on any official document. It just also hammered in the fact that I was firmly in America.

 

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

 

We wandered through the pumpkin patch leisurely. It was nice, the feeling of leisure that seemed washed over the patch. It was such a family place. We were almost certainly the only college aged kids I saw wandering around. Little kids everywhere were running around giggling, with parents wandering after.

I discovered something about myself that day. I am terrible at mazes. Just flat out awful. We kept running into dead ends and giggling at how long it was taking us to get through. By the time we’d finished three mazes, it was official: if I was ever forced to run into a maze for safety, I would definitely get murdered). I think one of the funnest things about the mazes was hearing everyone else trying to figure it out. From the know-alls who follow the left turn rule, to the kids giggling about being lost, to the mom’s trying to figure it out. It was just so interesting being a part of such a group activity, while remaining separate.

After we freed ourselves from our corn and hay cages, the next stop was the main attraction – the pumpkin patch itself. Wandering around the field, K inspected pumpkins with the eye of an expert. This one was too lumpy, the other not orange enough. She seemed to know what she was doing, so I wandered happily behind.

 

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

 

In a super coincidence, we ran into a family from Hong Kong. It was so wild meeting people from my home town – especially people who haven’t been back in years. It’s always exciting to catch up on what’s changed and listen to their memories. it just goes to show what a small world it actually is. After a few missed chances (the pumpkin below was sadly left behind…) we found two small pumpkins. Well, more like one small pumpkin and an incredibly misshapen gourd that made both of us laugh so hard we had to bring it home. The guys who weighed the pumpkins looked incredibly unimpressed when we put our choices on the scale.

 

Our rejected pumpkin - strange but lovable.

Our rejected pumpkin – strange but lovable.

 

And of course, what would be an american tradition without some form of food? We bought the largest bag of caramel corn I think I’ve seen, and some hot drinks. Sitting on a hay bale, drinking apple cider and looking over a field of pumpkins definitely made me see why american’s love fall. It’s just so wonderful to have opportunities to go out and enjoy something like that. It’s something I know that I am so pleased to have experienced, and can’t wait to go to another pumpkin patch. Hopefully next year I’ll actually get to carve something.

 

XOXO.

 

LONDON: Alexander McQueen, Bend It Like Beckham, and Tea

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Overlooking the Victoria & Albert.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share photos from my most recent trip to London. It was just incredible – full of wonderful theatre outings, fashion exhibitions and lots and lots of walking around. London is one of those places where everywhere is an adventure. Nothing ever really disappoints.

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Wouldn’t it be a dream to live here?

Mom and I (cheekily) snuck off to London without my father. It was wonderful just being able to walk around the city with her. I think as I get older and older, the more my mom is becoming one of my best friends. We certainly had a fantastic time, just the two of us.

Beautiful where ever we went.

Beautiful no matter where we went.

Literally the day we landed we both rushed off the the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty certainly lived up to all the hype. It was such a dream getting to see his art in real life – and art it is. It is such a sad thing that we lost such a talented and creative designer. Every single piece of his in the exhibition was just breathtaking. I’m sorry for the photo dump but it was too hard to choose one…

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We both had pretty terrible jet lag, but it’s ok because our apartment was the cutest place ever! Coming back for a restorative cup of tea has never been so nice.

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

It was small, but perfectly sized for the two of us!

Funnily enough, I think the two places Mom and I spent the most time at was the V&A. Can you blame us? There was another exhibition just about shoes! And of course, the wonderful history and cultural opportunities. It’s strange, but I think that european museums and art places have some of the best cafeteria food I’ve eaten – it surely beats american food by a long shot.

The National Portrait Gallery - one of the few days it was cloudy.

The National Portrait Gallery – one of the few days it was cloudy.

Apart from visiting the museum, we also did a lot of walking. Lots and lots of walking. Not something to complain about though – apart from a few brief spots of rain, the weather was beautiful.

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The view of the London Eye from the park.

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Having huge envy over how green London was…

Of course, an aspiring actress can’t visit London without catching a few West End productions. It’s something I look forward to every time we go to a big city like New York or London. The opportunity to see some of the best theatre in the world – and my gosh, the pickings this time around were incredible. Imelda Staunton in Gypsy, Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet…the list could go on. I think I could happily just spend a week there living and breathing the theatre. As it was, the two shows that Mom and I picked are significantly off our regular theatre path.

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Bend It Like Beckham – the musical! Was one of the most surprising and entertaining things I think we saw on our trip to Europe. Of course, I’m a huge fan of the movie, but I actually think I liked the musical better. The music, the girls kicking butt…what’s not to love? It was just so much fun to watch all these incredible ladies running across the stage and singing about how they were worth it. Probably the highest amount of females I’ve ever seen on the stage alone together. And the Bollywood theatre mixes were the catchiest thing ever. So yes, I did boogie my way down the aisle after the show ended.

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster

The beautiful ceiling of Westminster – probably the most traditional sightseeing we did.

Hey Ladies...how you doing?

Hey Ladies…how you doing?

The other show we saw was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I don’t think we could have chosen a more different play to go see. But it was such an incredible production. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that brilliantly staged. Let’s just say this – there were times when I gasped, when I cried, and when I was on the edge of my seat. It’s hard to make an audience member do that. The cast were just superb, and the lead – who plays a young boy with autism – was one of the most talented actors I think I’ve ever seen.

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Eventually my dad came to join us…ruining our ladies trip…

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I’m just kidding Dad (I love you!)

My parents are the cutest. Also, I wasn’t sure how to assure you guys that we drank tea – but believe me. We drank a lot of tea.

Scotland: The Fringe, Castles and Maps.

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One of the most beautiful cities – Edinburgh!

I promised I’d try and get this post up sooner than I got to it. Oops. Regardless, here are some photos from the summer trip I went on. For nearly a month I was able to travel around England, Scotland and Ireland. It was unbelievable!! I couldn’t believe how much fun it was. Not only were my parents able to join me, but my best friend and her family also flew out. It was quite possibly one of the best summer’s I’ve had for a while.

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Ignore the gloomy skies – it was actually quite lovely!

 

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom!

Always wonderful getting to spend time with my mom! (It was a little windy, can you tell?)

I spent most of the trip completely enamored with the Fringe Festival. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of celebration and artistry that was happening. Everywhere we went, there were people going to or coming from performances, absolutely buzzing with excitement. Every street yielded a street performer or musician (some were…better than others, for sure). It was just amazing!! As an actress I didn’t ever want to leave. We managed to see some incredible shows – Shitfaced Shakespeare was my absolute favorite though. And I’m not saying I want to try drinking half a bottle of vodka and seeing how well I know my Lady Macbeth, but I’m not not saying it…

 

Checking out some of the street performances.

Checking out some of the street performances.

 

Aside from some incredible performances, we also did the requisite amount of sightseeing. Climbing up to Edinburgh castle definitely took some work, as we had to push through the throng of people waving flyers. By the time we got to the top I was thrilled to see the view of Edinburgh. Scotland is such a beautiful country, and the history!

 

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The castle looking appropriately gothic.

 

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival...

This was one of the least busy looking photos of the festival…

 

As a history nerd, going to Scotland and getting to walk around all the old buildings was just a dream. It’s both daunting and comforting to look at a building and realize that it’s centuries older than you are. That you’re just a speck in the history of the world, and not even a consideration when compared to how old Edinburgh is. For example: there was a pond – a pond! – right by where we were staying that was created before the American Revolution was even a consideration.

 

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

Stopping on the roof of the National History museum to snap some photos.

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It was hilarious traveling with my best friend and her family. Perhaps the best description of just how opposite our families can be came from a day trip we took to a small castle. While my dad and I worked our way through every plaque possible and chatted about the history of the place, the others were outside running around. Definitely very different travelers, for sure!

 

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

A lord standing protector over his domain, centuries later.

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waiting in one of the many, many lines…

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Scotland was an unbelievable experience. I am so thrilled that I got to go, and really hope to be back again some day. As a performer? well, that would be a dream come true…

 

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