my return.

BlogPost-MyReturn

On December 22, 2014 I arrived at O’Hare International Airport.

Today makes a little over two months since my return from Japan.

Just like that I jumped back into my regularly scheduled life. I spent time with my family and friends, partied, and ate all the food I wanted. I did everything except sit down and take time to talk about my return.

Being back on campus, I feel like everything has changed and I missed it. Everything looks different; the library has been renovated, there is a new building in the middle of campus, and there is a new gigantic study hall that nobody uses. While somewhat excited about the new developments my school had made while I was abroad, the hardest thing for me to adjust to are the people. It’s funny because I was positive that with the many FaceTime calls, GroupMe messages, and Snapchats sent from the other side of the world, I would be up to date on any and everything that went on while I was gone. I was wrong.

And now I am stuck because my perception of reality is a tad bit misconstrued.

Part of me is still in Japanese mode, and I can’t expect people to understand that. I also can’t force people to want to hear my story. However, I do want to talk about it, so I’ll use this post as an explanation of what really happened to me while I was abroad.

I changed.  Wait. I’m still same ole extroverted, loud, free-spirited, fun-loving Cassidy, but my experiences abroad changed me (in a good way). I am trying my best to not be so cliché, but it’s true what people say…not everything is black and white nor right or wrong. Everyone has their own experiences that have shaped their perceptions which ultimately influences how one chooses to live his or her life. It’s a never-ending cycle, and we as people need to work on being more open to that concept, as it betters our intercultural communication.

I explored.  I studied abroad in Japan. That still blows my mind just thinking about it. Although I didn’t have the most amount of money to travel all through Asia, I worked with what I had and did non-stop exploring. While living in Osaka and juggling five courses and an on-campus job, I found random opportunities to travel to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. Not a week passed without a bike trip to a local park, a morning run through the surrounding neighborhoods, or a public transportation ride to a new temple or shrine. Whether it was a day trip alone or with friends, I was able to see more than just the institution where I was studying for a semester. I first-handedly experienced the beauty of a part of the world that many often overlook. I fell in love with the Japanese culture, and everyday is a countdown until the next time I will reunited with it.

I reflected.  I became closer with God. I repaired many friendships that needed distance to fix problems. I patiently got over a heart-break. I made goals for myself. I cooked dishes I didn’t even know I knew how to prepare. I excelled academically. I learned independence at its best. I danced…a lot. I consistently kept a journal. And every…single…night, I reflected. I don’t really have much else to say about it; just know the time spent on self-reflection was a highlight of my entire experience.

Since I returned to the States right in time for the new year, I decided to make it a goal of mine to take the time to see what is going on in the lives of others. I would have preferred to say all of this in person, but it didn’t happen that way for me. Despite, I do want to work on having intentional conversations, requiring active listening and engagement. There are so many people, not just me, who are struggling with adjusting or just want to share the important change(s) in their lives. As peers, we should care and show it.

With that being said, I am back and finally ready to keep you all updated on my many Days of Infatuation.

a letter to my readers: #BlackLivesMatter.

If I was ever experiencing some form of culture shock it would be now. Japan is such a peaceful country, and I am so appreciative of the unified atmosphere. Like I said on a Facebook post the other day, this is the safest place I have rested my head since birth. However, their laws and policies regarding peace seem to discourage people from participating in protests and other demonstrations, which are often referred to as a form of societal disruption. I get it, but I hate it.

Why is it that I have to battle between wanting to live in a peaceful place where I am likely to be silenced versus living in a unjust society where I have the opportunity to voice my opinion in unison with my people?

I didn’t realize I would react to all of the injustice going on in America the way have been. I have awaken from my sleep to let tears fall down my warm and flustered cheeks. I have thrown almost everything off my desk just to pick the items off the floor, rearrange them, and throw them around again. I have prayed harder and more frequently than usual. I have sat in disbelief for hours at a time. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have lost control, but everything hurts and I am having a hard time getting a grip.

But why should I have to get a “grip” on the issues of injustice going on in America and around the world?

I have engaged in so many conversations with my friends and family about what is going on, and I have yet to understand. All of the potential answers and solutions that pop in my head still don’t help me understand why people are the way they are, why they do the things they do, and why they treat some lives like they are move valuable than others.

This was supposed to be a letter to my readers, so I guess I’ll leave you with this: do something. Action is required year round. Need some suggestions? Here:

  1. Participate in a protest, die-in, march, sit-in, campaign, etc.
  2. Read a book (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellision, Autobiography of My Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers…the list could go on)
  3. Volunteer and make an impact (Boys and Girls Club of America, local shelter, church, public schools)
  4. Engage in conversations hosted on social media outlets, which are becoming a major platforms for the discussion of social issues
  5. Talk about it (your feelings, what is going, what isn’t going on, the future, solutions, etc.)
  6. Write for yourself and to others

Please do not take these suggestions for granted because not everyone has the ability to do so and not everyone is living in a place where those opportunities are acceptable in the eyes of society.

#BlackLivesMatter,

cassidy

a letter to my readers: thanks.

Dear Readers,

I just want to say thank you for your continuous support for me and Days of Infatuation. I can’t even begin to express how much I love writing, especially with others in mind. Since I have been abroad it has been extremely hard to actually sit down and write for each section of my blog, but I will try to do better, even if it means just updating one section a week.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for everything, especially those who have left comments or reached out to me.

– cass

minimalist challenge.

Minimalist Challenge Image

Living in Japan for the past two months has really changed my outlook on life. It sounds cliché, but it is a real feeling. I am starting to get a clearer understanding of who and what is important to me. It’s a little overwhelming, but I have decided to become a minimalist in all aspects of my life. And by all…I really do mean all.

Now, if you look up the definition of a minimalist it mentions politics and a bunch of stuff, but that is not what this is about, at least for me.

Minimalist

n: a person who minimizes various parts of their life to maximize their happiness

I began thinking about which parts of my life needed a little minimizing.

Drama. My closet. Friendship circles. E-mails. Those are just a few things.

I’m starting this challenge before all of the New Year Resolutions start rolling in because I am tired of procrastinating and think it is time to tackle it now. The process will be a bit of a challenge, especially with the closet situation, but it needs to be done. To track my progress I will be using #MinimalistChallenge, and writing daily journals that I’ll be sure to share on here! If you’re interested in joining me, let me know on my contact page.

“I am a minimalist. I like saying the most with the least.” ~ Bob Newhart

hustle hard.

HustleHard

Lately I’ve had not motivation to write. It is extremely tiring trying to balance my life in Japan. I’m either doing homework or exploring, which has left me with very little time to write about things that don’t relate to my travel section. However, at this exact moment…8:42PM on Sunday, September 21st I had to put myself in check. I’m blasting Drake in my room and hear “Oh well…guess you lose some and win some. Long as the outcome is income,” and I immediately grab my laptop and open up a new wordpress post. I started this blog not to join some type of trend, but to share my thoughts, improve my writing, and get a start on my future career (in a way). This is an ongoing project, and the work I put in with this blog could one day be income (hence why Drake inspired me). With that being said…here’s my message to you all [Ignore the fact that I sound like an Everest commercial] :

Hustle hard. 

There is a long list of articles, interviews and songs that I could embed in this post, so I can get my point across, but those aren’t always useful. Sometimes it just takes a short post like this to inspire you and get you on your feet.

If I counted how many books, workout plans, even blogs that I have started and not finished…you would laugh in my face. And I’m sure I could do the same for some of you reading. The problem is…it’s not funny. While some are chillin’ and living life with no real commitments to anything that matters, others are out there getting it. And by it I mean money, a brand, a lifetime of success.

It sounds cliche, but it’s real life! I have seen so many of my peers (yes, twenty year olds!) make their dreams come true, and I have seen others lose all of their motivation to do something with their lives. I am complete believer in the idea that college is not necessarily for everyone, but success is for anyone who wants it.

We make these plans in our heads, and like most things they fall into the short-term memory category. Just like that an idea is gone because it wasn’t written down on paper. It wasn’t tangible. Let’s stop waiting until New Years Eve to make a resolution or to brainstorm a new idea. Instead, start making 5-year plans and vision boards that become daily rescinders to do what you need to do to get to where you want to go. I’m not saying start today, but start soon.

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” ~Thomas Edison

“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.” ~Margret Thatcher

“But for me to have the opportunity to stand in front of a bunch of executives and present myself, I had to hustle in my own way. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was that they didn’t get that. No joke – I’d leave meetings crying all the time.” ~Kanye West

age can be ‘just’ a number.

Age Can Be Just A Number

Back story: When a blast from the past used to show up in my life (especially during my prime), I would get completely thrown off my game. However lately I have been realizing how different my responses are when something of that nature happens – my actions/reactions are “mature.” It got me thinking about if the change was because I was older or because I had experienced this situation before and therefore mentally prepared to address the past.

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I have never been one to believe in the idea that maturity is solely determined by age.

Often times when I am having this debate with someone, it typically is about their significant other. When one of my friends pulls the scientific “well guys brains aren’t fully developed until the age of 25, which means they will forever be immature until then,” I almost always rebuttal their statement. While that theory may stand true in many cases, I have seen some of my peers act more mature than 40+ year-old adults.

Sometimes age can be ‘just’ a number, with maturity developing from experience. 

[Pause] What is maturity? Of course I looked it up and thought this was the best definition from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.13.07 PM

[Resume] Personally I feel as though I am mature because I was exposed to a lot. People often times take that statement out of context, so let me quickly explain. My parents didn’t shelter me (that much), I grew up in Chicago (which is something extremely unique, special and sometimes difficult), and I hung out around people who, although my age, were experienced in all aspects of life. I could add on to the list, but there is no need. Simply put, those foundations of my life (plus some) have led to various experiences, which have aware and prepared for a lot of things I have already faced and will face.

Now referencing the definition of maturity, I do agree that now that I am twenty-years-old I am technically considered “grown,” but that doesn’t change the fact that I felt in some way mentally mature by age 16/17.

That’s it.

I don’t have a conclusion to this post as I am still processing whether or not my argument is valid or even understandable. I’m somewhat opposed to answering my post with an “it depends on the person” response, but maybe it’s true that both age and experience play a role.

“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”

~Dr. Maya Angelou 

a letter to my readers: sorry.

Dear Readers,

I haven’t written in a while.

When my last update was due there was surprisingly no wifi on the plane. No biggie. So I decided to have two posts ready for this week. Now it’s 6AM, Friday in Japan and I’m just now having time to write a little something..

It’s weird because I didn’t want this blog to be one solely about my travels, but I am learning a lot about myself and others so quickly that I think it is only right to share within my main posts.

Please bear with me and my schedule…it’s kinda hard to post for my readers (mainly those in the US) and still get enough sleep!

-cass

P.S. Changes are being made to the site. Enjoy.