Let’s Build the Place

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Places.”

Today, we’re going to build the place of your dream…

First of all, let’s start by choosing the main material: fresh water in a pond or lake, sand by the seashore, trees in a woods, grass on a prairie, cement in a city. You name it, we’ve got it 😉

Now that we’ve set the foundation, let’s add a building to the picture. As an artist/designer (another way of saying self-proclaimed architect), I’ll need to know what the purpose or major function of the building is. If it is for housing people, I would suggest a house, a mansion, an apartment, a castle, a ship or cruise on the sea, a tree house or cave if you like nature, or even a hotel for your occasional vacations. If it is for business, you can take a look at our catalog (a.k.a. the view of your city or street) and pick your ideal model.

Okay, so far we’ve got most of the blueprint done. Let’s add some life to it so it won’t be boring! Since it is the place of your dream, I’m assuming you will be in the picture. There are other characters you can choose to be implemented, such as your family, your friends, your colleagues or boss (this option isn’t very popular, I’ll admit). Magical characters are available as well (e.g. Professor Dumbledore, fairy godmother, evil witch, etc.), although not many people know about this option. If you like animals, we have a variety of choices for you, from typical ones such as dogs and cats, to extraordinary, even mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns. Please consult an ecologist for more info on biological interactions to ensure the biodiversity and ecobalance are well maintained.

We’re all set for creating a story in this place of your dream. Don’t know where to start? Here, I’ll show you an example: the place in my dream… Once upon a time…

Inspirations of the Week

There are some questions I’d like to ask you. How many gadgets or devices, such as the computer/tablet/smartphone you’re using to read this post, do you own? How many apps have you downloaded onto your phone? How much time do you spend using them each day? How many social networks are you on? How often do you check them each day? When was the last time you had a picture taken with friends or family that wasn’t a selfie? When was the last time you had a conversation with your neighbours? What expensive or designer accessories, such as Beats headphones or Hunter boots, do you have? How did you feel when you’re using or wearing them when you’re out? At what point in your life did you start worrying about debts, jobs, how to get promoted, getting paid more, becoming successful?

Now take a step back, and look at your answers to those questions. Then, I’d like you to have a look at This Is Not My Brooklyn, written by Vanessa Martir.

In her post, she wrote about how her Brooklyn was different from the Brooklyn people talked about nowadays. Her Brooklyn is the one before gentrification, where it reminds people of poverty, filth, dilapidation. But her Brooklyn is also the one where neighbours would gather in a backyard and just talk with each other; her Brooklyn is where kids are free to run down the streets or climb a plum tree; her Brooklyn is where they don’t care what religion, race, or gender you are.

Does it sound familiar?

Her Brooklyn could have been your London, your friend’s Berlin, your parents’ Toronto, your grandparents’ Paris. When we look at what’s around us now, you may be amazed by the technological advancements we’ve made, the economic developments we’ve built, the political stability we’ve attained. But, have we lost something while we are busy lining up for the newest iPhone, swiping on Tinder, calculating how much money is left after paying bills, socializing with clients to reach the commission, impressing your superior so you’d get the next promotion, reading books on how to become a millionaire, or simply, figuring out how to provide a better quality of life for your family?

I’m not anti-tech or anything. To the contrary, I appreciate all the improvements we, human, as a species, have made. It has never been easier to snap and send a photo to my friends in Europe in a blink of an eye, or to connect with people around the world, including you. The word “success” has been emphasized in our time more than ever. Everyone around me is trying to pursue their dreams. These are good things, but, are these the only things that life is all about, the only things that matter?

I’d like to ask you some more questions. What was your favourite board game that you’d like to play all day long with your buddies? What was the last bedtime story your parents told you/you told your kids? How many friends did you have before Facebook was invented? How did you get in touch with your friends before you got a phone? When was the last time you held your parents’/spouse’s/kids’ hands and asked them about their day?

Sometimes, we get so busy with our lives that we forget to stop and look into the eyes of the people we care, we focus on our goals to success so much that we forget our competitors are human, are one of us too. We don’t need more barriers to separate us from “outsiders” when we already have countless keeping us from having quality interactions with our loved ones.

When you’re trying to figure out how to better you or your family’s quality of life, sometimes all we need is just a casual conversation, a hug, a cuddle on the sofa while watching TV with a tub of ice cream or a bowl of popcorn, a goodnight kiss on the forehead. There’s no ending to the pursuit of better or best, but there’s an expiration date on all of us.

Next time, when someone asks you those questions about your favourite board game or the bedtime story, I hope your answers will no longer be in past tense.

Inspired by “This Is Not My Brooklyn”, written by Vanessa Martir.

Another inspirational read: A Little Improv Can Go a Long Way with Dementia, by Diana

An interesting take on DST: Yes, I’ll Defend Daylight Saving Time, by Michael Church

Let’s end the day with some edible cuteness: Tsum Tsum deco steamed cakes bento, by Jean

Love, Christyberry

Party Knight

“Ugh, I don’t know what to wear…” I stared at my reflection in the mirror, wearing a white sweater and a mint green skirt, then at the pile of clothes on my bed.

“It’s just a party,” roommate said, leaning against my bedroom door frame. “Exactly! It’s a party and I don’t have fancy party clothes!”

“Okay, don’t think of it as a party party; think of it as going to a friend’s place, but there are other guests that you don’t know and they serve alcohol.”

“You know I don’t drink.” “That’s not the point,” she rolled her eyes. “The point is, be yourself, and be confident in yourself. I think you look great in these.”

“You think so?” “Yea. C’mon we’re gonna be late!” I gave my reflection one last glance before she grabbed my arm and rushed down the stairs. I hoped I wouldn’t regret this.

“See, it isn’t as bad as you think! No loud music, no drunk fights, no random strangers making out-” “Alright alright, I get your point. I don’t need any more details,” sighing silently as we settled in a corner of the dining room, “I just don’t feel comfortable in these kind of environment.”

“You just need to warm up,” roommate tried to assure me. “Want me to get you any drink?” “Orange juice will be nice, thanks…Why are you looking at me like this?” “Seriously? Orange juice? At a party? I don’t even know if they have- Alright, orange juice it is! No one stands a chance in front of your puppy-dog eyes,” she grumbled. “I’m not making the puppy-dog eyes! This is my default expression,” I protested. “This is why you can be cute but not hot, hon.” “Thanks for reminding me I’m the exact antonym of hot,” this time it was me who grumbled. She chuckled, “stay here; I’ll be right back!”

I watched her went into the kitchen, while silently praying that no one would notice me. Then, I saw him. There he was, standing next to the sofa, talking with his friends. My heart pounded a little louder.

Just when he turned and our eyes met, someone stroked my waist. A person whom I’d never met was on my left now, “did I scare you? You jumped a little,” he smirked. “Yea a bit.” So my prayers didn’t go through. “You here alone?” “No, my friend went to get-” A sudden burst of loud music interrupted me. A few people emerged from another room, which was apparently the “dance floor” of this party. And there she was—my roommate—dancing amongst other guests.

Thanks for ditching me, friend.

“First time here?” He asked. “How’d you know?” “True partiers don’t dress like you.” I looked around: high heels, skin-tight jeans, tank tops, club dresses, smokey eyes. Perhaps the least I could have done was to borrow a lipstick from my roommate, and put on high heels instead of boots. “That obvious, huh,” I lowered my head and started pulling at the hem of my sweater unconsciously.

“You know what you should do? You should kiss me.” “What?” I looked at him in disbelief. “It’d be fun!” “I-I don’t see how it could be fun in any way,” I was starting to regret coming to this party. “Life is short and we should enjoy ourselves! Look, it’s just a kiss. What’s the worst that could happen?” “First of all, I’m gonna hate myself for kissing someone I don’t know,” I desperately tried to distance myself from this person, and when I looked up, he was still there talking to his friends. “Secondly-” “My name is Scott. Now you know me,” he grabbed my wrist and pulled me in. “No I can’t! I can’t kiss someone who isn’t my boyfriend!” I wrestled my wrist to no avail. “It’s not like I’m asking you to make out with me. C’mon!” He wrapped his arm firmly around my waist, to my dislike. “I really can’t. I grow up in a conservative family and I can’t allow myself to do that,” I turned to look at where he and his friends were, but he was nowhere to be found. No one was going to rescue me now.

“There are other girls here who are more willing to have fun,” I pushed as hard as I could, but he was holding my body tightly against his. The more I struggled and the more desperate I was, the more amused and interested he seemed.

Please stop. Please let go of me. Please.

“Hey, I got you some water.” His voice. I thought he had left. Distracted, Scott loosened his grip. I quickly stepped back, and he moved in to stand slightly between me and Scott. “Everything ok?” He asked, without looking at me but Scott. “Yea. This is Scott. He and I just met in this party.” “Nice to meet you, Scott,” expressionlessly, he extended his arm for a handshake. “Nice to meet you too,” Scott shook his hand exasperatedly, “thought you said you came alone,” he turned to me. “I told you my friend was-” “Whatever. Gotta get back to my friends,” Scott walked off, and gave me a last glance of disdain. He stood in to shield me from his scornful look.

“Hey, you okay?” Still in shock by what happened, I didn’t hear his concern. A muffled whimper escaped my lips and I flinched when he held my wrist. “Yea I’m okay,” I tried to conceal it, but he already pulled up my sleeve. And there was the red mark of Scott’s grip. “What is wrong with him!” “H-He probably just had too much to drink…” “Stop defending him.” “I’m not! I just…I don’t want you to get mad…” The sentence trailed off. “Thanks for getting me out of it. I thought you had left,” I couldn’t look at him; those sweet caramel eyes mellowed me every time. “Couldn’t leave you alone with that guy. God knows what he would do to you.”

Please don’t get angry; anger doesn’t suit the tenderness swirling in your eyes.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” his tone softened. “I didn’t expect myself to be here either,” my bitter smile. “You’re too kind, too innocent. People will take advantage of you,” he gently tucked my hair behind my ear, accidentally brushing the helix. I prayed that he didn’t notice my ears were burning.

“I’m sorry,” unconsciously, I started pulling at my sweater’s hem again, along with biting my lip, unintentionally. “No, it isn’t your fault.”

The lights went out all of a sudden. Then came the blast of dance music. So the dance floor had spilled into the dining room as well, or more precisely, the whole house.

Fright overtook me as the darkness had befallen. He pulled me in, “it’s okay. I’m here.”

And just like that, I was buried in his arms entirely. His warmth enveloped me from the blurry crowd; his scent filled the air I breathed; his voice dispelled the wild noises in the room.

The rest of the world had disappeared. It was just me and him now.

“You shouldn’t go to parties alone.” “My friend was with me…” I felt like I was melting.

Am I getting drunk? No I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any alcohol…

“I meant, you shouldn’t go without me,” he tightened his hug.


He whispered into my ear, “because I need to be there to protect you.”

Inspired by a dream I had last Wednesday night.

For the record, I don’t know anyone named Scott (yet). This name randomly popped up in my mind when I was writing and I just went with it. Apologies to all the good Scott’s out there 😛

I was trying to convey how socially awkward the protagonist was, and how heedful and tender her crush was by him noticing she didn’t have a drink, knowing she didn’t like alcohol and brought her water, in addition to saving her from Scott. I’m not sure if these little details were sufficiently expressed though… Please feel free to comment and tell me if you like or what you think about the short story! ❤

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I would like to start two little projects from this week onward. The first one is to keep a gratitude journal, which (hopefully) will be published every Thursday; the second project is to post a short story or a poem of mine every Friday. I’m hoping these two will become regular features on my blog 🙂

Now let’s talk about how each entry of my gratitude journal is likely to be structured. We encounter a lot of different things weekly, even daily. Some are good, some are bad, and some don’t leave that big of an impression on your mind. I would like to choose to record one good thing, one bad thing, and one        thing for each week. You may wonder why I choose to write about a bad thing in a gratitude journal, my explanation is that it is a way to practice positive thinking by shedding light on the silver lining of that cloud.

This week, the one           thing would be an (jokingly) ugly incident that happened last Friday. That is how the title plays its trick! Behold! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of this week:

The Good: Mom being supportive regardless of what choice I will choose in the end.
I’m grateful for Mom being supportive of me, even though I haven’t taken my responsibilities properly. In the past, she and I fought and argued a lot due to our different opinions. And at some point in my life, I just gave up seeking support from her or from my family. But since the concerning issue is likely a game changer, it was necessary to discuss with her. Even though she had expressed her support in the past, I never truly heard or believed her because deep down I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, even if it meant living my life with the solitary goal of impressing everyone else but myself. This time, I told myself to be patient and hear her out when discussing the issue with her. She talked about her take on the issue, expressing that she would support me regardless of what I choose in the end. Neither of us got annoyed or impatient during the conversation, and this was probably the first time I took her support seriously. I know now that Mom has always got my back, and I won’t be disappointing her whether what choice I make.

The Bad: The unrealistic hope of passing my exams when I haven’t been to class a single day this term.
This worries me so much. I texted some friends throughout the week and asked them whether or not they thought I would be able to pass my exams if I started catching up now. Surprisingly, they all believed that I could do it, as long as I was willing to try. I’m not sure if they had actually ran the probability or they just said that because they didn’t want me to give up, yet this showed not only their support but also their faith in me. I had a long and meaningful discussion with one of them, and we even prayed together at the end of the night. I am never a person of self-confidence, and I don’t trust myself due to my belief that I will make the wrong decision or fail the task. I know such belief will do me no good since it will likely become the manifestation of self-fulfilling prophecy, but depression has rendered positive thinking difficult. However, their support and faith have sustained a boost of confidence in myself, and even though I know this is as unrealistic as it can get, I’m still able to regain a little faith and hopefulness. This bit of hopefulness is all I need to keep going on.

The Ugly: Losing in a game called Resistance because my roommates were spies.
Resistance is a board game, but can also be played with just a deck of cards. A brief description of the game would be there are spies amongst the resistance members, and they win by failing three out of five missions. So throughout the game, the resistance has to ensure they do not choose any spy to go on a mission, all the while trying to determine whom they can trust (spies have a chance to identify each other at the beginning of each round). Now let me tell you how things got ugly. A roommate had friends over and she and her friends, in addition to me and another roommate, decided to play Resistance. Amongst the six of us, the spies, unfortunately, turned out to be my two roommates. When it was my turn to pick whom to go on a mission, I didn’t pick her guy friends (blame my past failed relationships) since I trusted them without a doubt. But, as you can foresee, the mission failed and everyone suspected I was the spy. When I found out the truth at the end of the game, it was like discovering a whole new side of them, how they played innocent when they were conspiring against the resistance. Everyone was surprised and, for the record, I did say I wouldn’t forgive them and their betrayal and they had become the reason I would only trust guys from then on. But of course this is just a joke I throw around now 😛 It was a fun night and I’m grateful for them insisting me to join in. This was one of their attempts to drag me out of my cave, and I appreciate their intention and our friendship very much ❤

Love, Christyberry

P.S. Do you keep a gratitude journal? What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to comment and tell me about it!

The Liebster Award

Thank you for nominating me, shoeonthemoon! As a newbie to blogging on WordPress, it’s my first time hearing of this award, which is a fun encounter!

So what is the Liebster Award? The following is the description/rules found on her blog:

  • Acknowledge the blogger that nominated you
  • Answer the questions they asked
  • Nominate 10 bloggers with under 200 followers
  • Inform the bloggers you have nominated them
  • Post 10 questions for them to answer

Sounds like an amazing way to connect with fellow bloggers and get to know them! Ready to get to know me? 😛

  • What is your current dream car?

Transformers Bumblebee BeetleThis is my current dream car. “An old Beetle?” Ohh nonono. This isn’t just ANY Beetle. Its true form is…

What’s “Pho” Dinner Tonight?

Okay, the title might be misleading because this dinner actually happened last Saturday. Fun weekend adventures have almost become our ritual 😛 This time we decided to try out this supposedly good Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Dau Bo, which was a half-an-hr bus ride from home.

Vietnamese springs rolls, and shrimp & pork salad rolls
Cha Gio (left) and Goi Cuon Tom Thit Heo (right).

Most people have tried the Vietnamese spring rolls Cha Gio, but it was our first time to order Goi Cuon Tom Thit Heo, which was Shrimp & Pork Salad Rolls. It was pretty refreshing, with tastily grilled pork! But Cha Gio is still my favourite, yum!

Beef stew with noodles in soup
Beef Stew with Egg Noodles in Soup.

For entrée, I got Beef Stew with Egg Noodles in Soup, which surprised me because apparently, Vietnamese put tendon in their beef stew. I had expected a more western style of it, with only the meat part being in the stew. Anyways, The dish was rich in flavour, so it was still pretty good despite my shock.

In fact, I wasn’t as interested in the food as the time spent with my roommates. As a person struggling with depression and anxiety, it was, and still is, difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone. This dinner was the fourth time they tried to drag my out of my cave to do something together, and I was grateful for their effort and persistence. They are the people I’d talk to when I’m stressed out by academics and familial issues. The value of this dinner wasn’t in the food; it was in the friendship amongst us.

Love, Christyberry

P.S. Do you like Vietnamese cuisine? What’s your favourite dish? What was your last adventure with your friends or roommates? Please feel free to comment and tell me what you think!

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