Lost in the Blur

“To lose it all in the blur of the start! Seeing is deceiving. Dreaming is believing. It’s okay not to be okay…Sometimes it’s hard, to follow your heart.”

Jessie J
Krysten’s Happy Fridays

Hello there! Happy Friday! Summer is here! Stepping back into the WordPress community for a cool dip! Oh, my dear heart… I was spinning in the wheel of life and needed a moment here! ~A breather in my oasis~

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

What Have I Been Up To?

Striking the right balance amongst my various engagements has always been a challenge for me. I often wonder what has motivated me to do so much. Certainly, life is short.

I must say ‘NO’ more often so that I won’t burn out. My question as of late is, “What do I prune?” How do you all prioritize? Varies from individual to individual, I’m sure. These are my happy interests presently!

A2Z Bird Blogging Challenge

I’m still working on this bird challenge! I’m so PROUD that I got halfway through. Because of this extended A2Z challenge, I’ve been paying more attention to the birds who live in my area and feeling a greater sense of gratitude for their presence.

Masters Degree in IT Innovation and Management

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

Abigail Adams

I’ve been diligently working on my master’s program, and it’s been a rather steep learning curve for me. There have been days where I just feel like I’ve been staring at a block of text for hours at a time and cross-checking with other references. On the one hand, I have been fighting analysis paralysis, and on the other, I have been learning about some fascinating things. One day I will experience the bittersweet taste of victory!

Udemy’s Blogging Masterclass

I’m also reinvesting in my blogging skills by taking a Udemy Masterclass: Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021. Thank you, Mr.A, for this fantastic gift! I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I truly love blogging, and look forward to learning and sharing with others.

Work Accomplishment

My technical writing duties have occupied my thoughts as I’m assisting the CEO create a presentation for INSA‘s National Security Showcase. I’m floored that one of our technologies got selected by their committee! I helped submit the write-up for the application. Only a dozen out of hundreds of applicants got chosen. I’m humbled. Yet, it’s the software developers that deserve the credit. I’m just helping them get a piece of the limelight! The next thing I know my supervisor is offering me a promotion.

Birthday Month

I had a lovely time at the caverns and took plenty of photos of these magnificent beauties. One of my friends fainted due shift in humidity levels being 150 feet below the earth and all. Very grateful for the EMT and staff! We enjoyed an authentic Italian meal afterwards. Siblings gave me a few helpful tools to better manage life. One of my friends gave me nun-chucks and a flying lesson!

Rotary

I recently got recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow for our local Rotary group. Deeply honored. I created a short, snazzy animated promo video for our club, and we won a district superhero challenge!

Toastmasters

Crafted, prepared, and delivered my 3nd speech about my father’s solar powered cowboy hat! 6 minutes of Nerves. Joy. Growth. Overcoming my fear of public speaking one speech at a time.

Crochet Group

Working on Tinna Thórudóttir Thorvaldsdóttir‘s Saga crochet pattern for a gorgeous pillow!

Beauty Consultant

I’ve studied hard and earned some educational bling! I’m now an advanced product consultant for skincare, color cosmetics, and clinical solutions. I’ve been engaging with my clients on social media and learning about fun applications. Exploring new fragrances through poetry with the help of a friend.

Books

Reading when I can… while waiting in lines…

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • The Odyssey Chronicles by Carolyn Shelton
  • Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel
  • Even as We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
  • Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence by Erik Qualman
Astrology & Horoscopes

Even though I read Yodha’s fun, inspiring messages as entertainment, I enjoy learning about it when I again have the chance. I have various mutable signs within my natal chart indicating flexible, adaptable, and changeable qualities (modalities) which allows me to see life from many different perspectives. I learned that I have a Mercury in Gemini, Lilith in Virgo, and North Node in Pisces. Mom has a ton of Sagittarius in her chart. Thinkers and philosophers in the zodiac!

Finding Clarity

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

Atul Gawande

I’ve been doing more brain dumps and mind mapping exercises to keep moving forward and uncover more of my life’s purpose. As for my blog, I will continue to write about the birds, some new poems, and share new photos I took on my break!

Perhaps a spa day is in order. A massage with essential oils sounds nice!

Take care now & I’ll see you soon ❤

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Today’s Prompts

Intermission & Snapshots

Hello! Happy belated mother’s day! I am blessed with so many mother figures in my life.

I needed a break, so I painted a rock for the kindness rock garden at the park.

While waiting for a restaurant table, I listened to my boyfriend chat about a sibling and past hurts while watching the clouds.

1 hour later I encounter lovely flowers!

A friend created these lovely figurines from scratch!

My plants are well!

Cool hair! This duck is strutting his stuff!

A beautiful tree!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Cardinal

Featured Photo by Christy Mesker

  • Physical Description: The northern cardinal is a mid-size songbird with a distinctive crest on the head. The cardinal measures approximately 8.5 inches long, weighs approximately 1.5 ounces, and has a wingspan of about 11 inches. The male is slightly larger than the female and is a vibrant red with a black mask on his face that covers his eyes and throat below the beak. The female’s plumage is a dull red-brown and she has a grey mask.
  • Geographic Distribution: The cardinal can be found in southern parts of eastern Canada and down through the eastern part of the United States from Maine to Texas. Its range also extends west and south through Mexico to Guatemala and Belize.
  • Environment: The cardinal prefers woodland, residential areas, and swampland.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The cardinal is easy to spot due to its coloring. It is one of the most popular birds and easily identified by birdwatchers and non bird watchers alike.

Like the robin, whose plumage also features a distinctive red patch, the cardinal is often associated with Christmas and the winter season. The color is bright and cheering. The cardinal’s presence year round and its appearance at backyard bird feeders may also contribute to this association.

The cardinal’s name is derived from the high-ranking clerics of the Catholic Church who wear rich red robes. The term cardinal is used to denote something with primary or essential qualities, such as a cardinal direction. The word comes from the Latin word, cardo, meaning hinge. Something that has cardinal qualities is so important that it functions as a keystone or axle; other things hinge around it.

The Cherokee believe that the cardinal is the daughter of the sun. Legend has it that if you see a cardinal flying upward, toward the sun, you will have good luck. Conversely, if you see if flying down toward the earth, watch out for bad luck.

“Then the Redbird, the beautifully singing bird, came up: “Let people have faith in me. I want to be able to sing joyful songs when it is going to rain.” So he was given that power. That’s why the old Cherokees believe that when they see this bird singing atop a tree it will rain. That’s all the power he was given.”

The Thunder Nation and the Eagle, Cherokee story

The cardinal was the first bird to given state recognition. In 1926, it was made the state bird of Kentucky. It’s also the bird of six other states (Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia), making it the most popular state bird. It is also the name of the St. Louis professional baseball team and the Arizona Cardinals professional football team, and is the mascot of numerous university athletic teams, including the Stanford Cardinal, the Louisville Cardinal, and the Wesleyan Cardinal.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Examine the areas of your life in which you are, or should be, a leader. Is your confidence shaky? The cardinal tells you that you can handle it, and to believe in yourself.

It is important to be proud of yourself for your abilities or for the things you have achieved. The cardinal’s bright red feathers and cheerful song call attention to him wherever he goes. If you see a cardinal, it may be telling you to stand up, lift your head high, and take pride in yourself. Accept compliments that come your way, and acknowledge your achievements.

The cardinals bright red plumage also calls you to open yourself to creative energy. Have you been feeling blocked or dull lately? Are you looking for a new way to express yourself? Call on the cardinal to help you open up and get your creativity flowing again. The red feathers link it with fire, the element of activity, vitality, and passion. If you are feeling lethargic, the cardinal may lend you its energy to help you get back on your feet. Likewise, it can be a good bird with whom to work if you are struggling to handle depression.

If you are having difficulty dealing with anger, however, seeing a cardinal may remind you to take a step or two back. Red is the color of the root chakra, the energy center associated with stability, survival, and security, and feeling unsettled in any of these areas may be influencing your anger issue. Examine the areas of your life connected to these subjects for clues to the source of your emotional state, and move to make them better.

Associated energies: Leadership, self-worth, confidence, creativity, vitality, activity
Associated seasons: Winter
Element associations: Air, Fire
Color associations: Red, Black

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’ve enjoyed a few cardinals in my area. One wintry day, my sister and I got to see a cardinal up close right outside her bedroom window. The cardinal was hanging out in our bushes alongside the fence. We were awestruck by its beauty. It was rather magical to watch it chirp for a few minutes checking out its environment.

I once bought a journal that had a picture of a cardinal on it. It was my theme and my lucky muse for that year. Sometimes, I may get stuck in a rut or routine and need to infuse some vitality and passion into my day.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Blue Jay

Featured Photo by Alain Audet

  • Physical Description: The blue jay is a medium-sized songbird that weighs about 3 ounces, measures about 10 inches, and has a wingspan of about 15.5 inches. Like all other corvids (the family that includes birds such as crows and ravens), jays are fiercely intelligent and social birds, with a loud call that ranges from a harsh cry to close mimicry of other birds or sounds. The blue jay features blue plumage on its back, white, or pale grey on its front, and a varied patched work detail of blue, black, and grey on its wings and tail, with a slightly darker mask around the face. It has a jaunty crest of feathers on the top of the head that raises when the bird is alert; the crest is lowered when the jay is relaxed, especially when feeding a brood or dealing with extended family such as flock mates. The Steller’s jay is dark blue with a charcoal grey head and lacks the paler belly of the common blue jay.
  • Geographic Distribution: Native to North America, the blue jay can be found in southern Canada and throughout the United States from the Midwest to the eastern coastal regions. The Steller’s jay is found in western North American from Canada down through Central America.
  • Environment: The blue jay is mainly found in mixed forest areas, especially forest edges, residential areas such as towns and cities. The Steller’s jay prefers evergreen forests.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word jay may come from the Old French jai, meaning gay, a reference to the bird’s bright plumage. The Canadian gray jay (Perisoreus candensis) has a reputation for thieving; perisoriou means “to pile up.”

As the blue jay is a North American bird, it lacks the older religious symbolism of Old World birds. Instead, it is featured in Native American myths, and seems to have been an important figure especially to the Chinook, Sioux, and Coastal Salish tribes. In one myth, the jay is said to have had a beautiful voice and became overly proud of it. To punish him, the gods caused it to change to the harsh croak call we know today. In other myths, the blue jay is a trickster figure who works with Coyote or Fox.

The blue jay is the provincial bird of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The provincial bird of British Columbia is the Steller’s jay.

“Bluejay is the trickster hero of the Chinook, Chehalis, and other Northwest Coast tribes. Bluejay is generally a benevolent being who is helpful to humankind, but he is also extremely foolish and careless, and stories about him are often humorous or even slapstick in nature.

Native American Legends: Blue Jay

“Blue Jay was a trickster who enjoyed playing clever tricks on everyone, especially his sister Ioi. As she was the eldest sister, Bluejay was supposed to obey her. But he deliberately misinterpreted what she said, excusing himself by saying, “Ioi always tells lies.”

Bluejay Finds a Wife, A Chinook Legend

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The jay’s strong family bond may be directing you to look to your own family situation. Are you directing more energy into non family areas of your life than into your family itself? The jay may also be urging you to trust your immediate and extended family, including your trusted communities, and by extension to be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships. Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate. The jay’s strong flock or family ties also point to its loyalty.

The jay’s relationship with oak trees may prompt you to look into oak’s meanings. The oak tends to be associated with strength, durability, timelessness, longevity, and protection. If you live in the western part of North America, look instead at the qualities connection with evergreens, the Steller’s jay’s preferred tree, which include fertility and everlasting life.

The blue jay’s familiar talkativeness, coupled with its blue feathers ( a color associated with the throat chakra, one of several energy centers found throughout the body) may be urging you to look at your own communication habits and skills. Are you talking a lot and saying not much of substance? Are you communicating the essential truths and facts, or burying them in a lot of chaff? The color blue is also linked with purity and spirituality; the blue jay may be coaxing you to follow higher ideals and nourish your spirituality.

Finally, the blue jay may be reminding you to gather and store a bit extra in order to ensure that you have a safety net if times get tough.

Photo by Erin Minuskin on Unsplash

Associated energies: Family bonds, social networks, communication, loyalty, fearlessness
Associated seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Element associations: Earth, Air
Color associations: Blue, white, black

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’ve been blessed to have come across a few blue jays in my life. I got curious about a lot of Native American tales such as this one: Indian Legend of the Cowichan Tribes :Bluejay brings the Dead girl to life. Despite all the foibles that families have, I wonder how essential trust in the family unit is. I’m sure there is an exception to really dysfunctional families however. In which case, the family that you choose will probably work best here.

The divinatory meaning behind “be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships” reminds me of a story that my boyfriend shared with me about The FBI’s First Big Case: The Osage Murders. <<This link is to the history channel. It’s a riveting story of how the Osage Tribe’s wealth lured criminals and with that jealousy and prejudice.

“They’re scalping our souls out here,” complained one exasperated Osage. The systematic embezzlement—referred to as the “Indian business” by some white settlers on the Osage reservation—wasn’t lucrative enough for some, however. In order to maintain tribal control, shares of the oil money could not be sold by the Osage to white settlers, but they could be inherited. That loophole proved the genesis of a calculated, cold-blooded plot to gain inheritance rights from tribe members before killing them. In some instances, white settlers even married their marks to legally become the next of kin before murdering their spouses.”

– Christopher Klein talks about David Gran’s best-selling book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,”

“Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate”… I feel this phrase echoing throughout history and even in the present. I didn’t plan on writing on this route today, but it certainly has me thinking!

A2Z 2021 Theme Reveal

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

– Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

**Drum roll, please** My theme for 2021’s A to Z Challenge will be about…. BIRDS!

My inspiration is primarily from Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s book “BIRDS a spiritual field guide”. I enjoy her illustrations, her research on mythology & folklore, and her insight into divinatory meanings. I was curious after my former supervisor shared a story with me about her winged messenger.

Here’s the author’s bio:

Arin Murphy-Hiscock has always felt a spiritual connection to birds, especially owls. She is a third-degree Wiccan High Priestess in the Black Forest Clan and the author of Power Spellcraft for Life, Solitary Wicca for Life, The Way of the Green Witch, and The Way of the Hedge Witch. She lives and bird-watches with her husband and two children.

Here’s the back-flap:

Birds are all around us building nests for their eggs, perching on a nearby tree branch, floating freely on a breath of wind. But do you ever feel like a bird might be trying to connect with you or even tell you something? This book can help you figure out the special message your visitor is trying to share. Inside this lovely illustrated field guide you’ll find everything you need to decipher the unique meaning behind each individual bird sighting. From physical description to folklore, each of the common bird species detailed within has a story and a unique symbolism which will help reveal the changes these mystical creatures want you to make in your life. With this enlightening volume as your inspiration, get ready to take a look at your life from a bird’s eye view one robin, crow, and hummingbird at a time!

Hello! For those who are new to Culture Shocks…WELCOME! Let me take a moment and introduce myself and some of the projects I’m working on.

Here you will find my personal journal entries, stories, poetry, quotes, and photos of things I find fascinating. Occasionally, I share snippets from my myriad of hobbies that I rotate on a seasonal basis. Stick with me long enough, you’ll realize that even though I’ve chosen birds as my focus, I tend to get off on a tangent due to disparate connections I make. I blog sporadically and randomly. I may do 5 entries for A2Z in one day, go AWOL, and return with full vigor. My attempt to blog on a schedule has been futile so far!

Ah! A face to a name! My name is Sa. Nice to meet you! 🙂

I wear many hats literally and figuratively. I’m an audacious sister, friend, daughter, grad student, Rotarian, technical writer, businesswoman, Toastmaster, volunteer for multiple causes, and more. My blog is my comforting oasis, though I may occasionally vent here when I have nowhere else to go.

For those of you who have been here a while, I finished my 1st crochet-a-long with the alumni for the month of March! I’m happy they evaluated my crochet partner and me very highly. They remarked that it was fun and engaging! I was happy to see the flowers again after such a devastating freeze over our state in February. Easter is just around the corner. Spring is here!

I’m getting my COVID vaccine tomorrow morning at the stadium. The current climate surrounding Asian Americans that has swept the nation has had me reminiscing about the past. I purposely remain vague though I relate to various stories that have been shared across various social media platforms. My main question is what will I do moving forward.

The alumni book club has gotten into some interesting reads. Though, I’m having some difficulty finishing the book, “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konikova. I’m wrapping up on “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. We’re about to start “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m still working through some bloggers’ books and poignant poetry as well.

I’m resuming collaboration with a blogger on some poetry regarding some fragrances. I work as a beauty consultant and I thought it would be a fun way to learn about all the fragrances that I’m unfamiliar with. I was so inspired by his work that I thought I could explore the sensation of smell!

I’m currently hooked on the Home Edits Show. I recently de-cluttered my space of many books, clothes, and papers. I found that I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I would, even books that were formally my favorites. I think it’s because there’s only so much that I can focus on in the present that I don’t have time to linger on any items that are associated with my past. Even though it was a massive undertaking, I still feel like I could use some help. There’s some things I still feel like I can let go. Reorganize my crafts supplies. Change particular containers. I have a vision. I determined to make it happen. Previously, I was intrigued by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It has helped me immensely, though I think I didn’t follow it completely. It’s still a work in progress!

I’m also enjoying a remix of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2

Alrighty, that wraps up my intro for now! I hope to reconnect with new and veteran participants of the A to Z challenge! I look forward to reading your blog posts!

Frogging the Swatch

A CAL is basically a group of people all working on a large project at the same time and pace. Some are targeted to more advanced crocheters and involve a variety of difficult stitches. Others are designed so that everyone can participate, no matter their skill level. Often the pattern chosen will be an afghan, and while everyone does the same pattern, each individual chooses their own colors.

FAQ – What is a Crochet-A-Long?
Kandice @ Sweet Kiwi Crochet
Rainbow Amigurumi donuts coming your way!

Hello! Hope you’ve been well! I’ve been working extra hours co-hosting a CAL (Crochet-A-Long) Series for alumni at my alma mater this month with my friend. Colloquially, she has dubbed us the “Hookers with a Yarn Addiction”. Catchy, isn’t it? In fact, she wants t-shirts! She’s a funny, smexy grandma! 😉

However, to be accepted by our school, we’re formally known as the Alumni Crochet Group. School administrator must keep her job after all, and it must be safe for work! She’s also helping us to possibly get sponsored by Yarnivore, a local yarn company and reaching out to other businesses. So, I must meet her halfway and work with her as best as I can. 🙂

In the end, 55 students signed up! Meanwhile, when I saw some friends while hanging out in town, they decided to also invite themselves, their siblings, and friends, so the numbers bumped up. It was great to catch up with everyone again and also meet some new faces along the way. What a journey it has been! We shared so much together.

I spent quite a bit of time managing social media public relations and creating a beautiful 17-page guidebook while my friend created an original pattern for a scarf. Today, I just filmed my friend as she frogged her swatch that we used to teach virtually via Zoom. As an intermediate crocheter, it’s rather heart wrenching for me to watch someone unravel their work.

Frog is a word that can be used as a verb. In this sense, “to frog” means “to rip out stitches.” When used this way, the word is slang and it is also a play on words. It pays tribute to our amphibious friends, the frogs, and their choruses of “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit”. When you discover a mistake in your crochet work, you rip it, rip it, rip it. So, you frog it.

Frog in Crochet, Spruce Crafts

When I was in high school, one of my English teachers recommended a book for me to read by Debbie Macomber called “The Shop on Blossom Street“. Intrigued, I read the rest of the books in her series. I enjoyed seeing these female characters bond and wanted an experience of my own. I later became president of the knitting club at my school. Continuing onward and co-hosting a crochet group at my college has been a dream come true for me.

I came across some inspiring stories like this woman who crocheted her wedding dress for five months on her bus commute.

Chi Krneta’s story on Seattle Magazine
Chrysanthemum Gown & Chrysanthemum Gown Train Addition pattern on Ravelry

…and this story about a Olek, a Polish-born yarn artist and crochet extraordinaire, whose team yarn bombed this train in four days!

The art of yarn bombing: Polish artist covers an entire train in crochet
Woman’s Weekly

See you next time! Hope to hop on more often as soon as I can!

Coloring Pages: Floral Poem & Quote

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

– John Keats, Endymion

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

This past week I’m attempting to meditate and center myself as I’m adjusting to the chaos. One of the university administrators asked me if I would be interested in teaching a virtual workshop as a way of engaging alumni during the pandemic. Students are feeling the cabin fever and are itching to learn new hobbies.

I decided to team up with one of my friends and co-teach a crochet class during Friday evenings in the month of March. My experience being president of a knitting club back in high school is coming in handy! In the first couple of hours within posting the event, 18 people signed up!

The deadline to register is the end of next week, but I may already have my hands full with 18 students! I’m planning out the logistics as my friend is figuring out the scarf pattern we’re working on. We picked school colors for the yarn to feature school spirit.

Snow Quotes

We were blind-sighted by a snowstorm that recently hit our area. Texas generally has such a warm climate year round. So the past few days have probably been the coldest for us in a decade. Like some of you, we have lost power, heat, and running water. I’m going to be okay, and I believe it’ll be a lot better by the weekend. In the meantime, I thought to share some snow quotes that got me thinking! 😉

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about

Haruku Murakami
Image by Simon from Pixabay

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Good evening, everyone! Today has been a cozy day of self-care. This Valentines I want to say that I appreciate you, and thank you for your support. It’s below freezing here, and the city issued a city-wide text telling us to stay inside due to the accidents on the roads.

Movies, facials, game of checkers & Uno, spaghetti, chocolate, creating my calendar for the year, a chat with mom about lunar new year, and a LONG one-on-one heart-to-heart chat with my boyfriend about relationship stuff. This Valentines was very low key and very relaxing!

I had an interesting selection of romantic movies Amazon Prime recommended to me these past few weeks. Some were cliche. Some had such beautiful scenery. It’s been fun to watch. How these algorithms recommend films based on my interests baffles me! I’ve included some other movies I’ve watched with friends and loved ones.

  1. Confessions of a Shopaholic
  2. Not Cinderella’s Type
  3. Letter to Juliet
  4. The Ultimate Gift
  5. Beauty Squared
  6. Amelie
  7. A Walk to Remember
  8. Pride and Prejudice
  9. The Fountain
  10. Your Name
  11. Crazy Rich Asians
  12. Magic in the Moonlight

India’s Farmer’s Protests

Women, including widows and relatives of farmers who were believed to have killed themselves over debt attend a protest against farm bills, at Tikri border near Delhi. (File/Reuters)

Today I came across an article from The Aspen Institute’s: 5 Best Ideas for the Day. “Why India’s Farmer Protests Matter” by Nikhil Mandalaparthy. I was intrigued this man’s poem interviewed by Punjabi’s news channel

The city may be yours; the government may be yours.
Write down lies as truth—the newspapers are yours.
But this era of sorrows will not last much longer.
The blood of the oppressed will not flow much longer.
Ripping apart the heart of this darkness, light will come.
If you are Pharaoh, then Moses will surely come.

(Muslim man who joined the protests)

Sheher bhi tumhara hai, sarkar bhi tumhara hai
Tum jhoot ko sach likh do, akhbar bhi tumhara hai
Ghamon ka daur aur nahi chalne wala,
Khoon-e-mazloom aur nahi behne wala
In andheron ka jigar cheer kar noor aayega
Tu agar Firaun hai, toh Musa bhi zaroor aayega

(Urdu translation)