A silent voice

I don’t know where to begin. I first wanted to tweet about it, but I quickly realized that 140 characters doesn’t cut it. I could use TwitLonger, but that’d end up as a blog post so I might as well do it here. Sad post incoming, you have been warned.

Today, the world lost yet another amazing voice. Chester Bennington had, to me, a very special voice and amazing songwriting skills. Linkin Park has always been special to me, They were the band who delivered song upon song that I could 110% relate to. Every single song spoke to me one way or the other. I knew what people around me said about the band. They’re horrible, how can you listen to that sh*t?
Thing was, they weren’t sh*t in my ears. To me their music was the only thing I could relate to in a time of my life where darkness was all over the place. Their music made me think and feel that there is light in this world, that there are things in this life worth fighting for. To me, they were amazing. Of all the band members, Chester was the one that spoke to me most. His past of being abused spoke the loudest, although the drug use also hit a bit too close to home (to clarify, I have never used but I have lost several family members to ODs). He was my first “singer of a rockband” crush. As a teenager, the band seemed like superheroes to me. They had overcome things of their pasts and were doing something that they loved. In return, millions of fans cheered them on.  Sadly, depression took Chester’s voice from us. A voice that will be missed, but never forgotten. I wish the lines If I just let go, I’d be set free wasn’t echoing in my head.

To be honest, I do not know where this post is heading but I feel I need to write things down. It’ll help, I know. I know some might still think that it’s stupid to still like such a band as Linkin Park and not be refined in my music taste, and although I don’t listen to them as much as I used to, they still mean something to me. Our pasts build the foundation of our lives on which the lucky few can build their future on.

My deepest condolences to Chester’s family, the band and everyone who ever felt that Chester touched their lives. We’re never alone, never forget that.

//c_Cae; somewhere out there, there is someone that cares for you deeply. 

Hi peeps!

It has been a great while since I last posted here. The only reason to that is simply because I was exhausted. After the previous post, I took a solid four weeks to tend to myself. It was the only thing I did whenever I had some free time. I caught up on a few TV series, looked up to the sky and admired the clouds, took naps whenever I wanted and only met with people that had zero expectations of me. It felt great. After that, I rested some more.

As some may know, I celebrated my birthday a little over a week ago. I got everything I ever asked for: great food and great company. On the day itself, we had a simple dinner at my mom’s and I was even served cake (chocolate mousse in case anyone wondered) and Zoe even sang for me. That was the best part. The Friday that followed, I had arranged a dinner with some close friends. We went to a restaurant that fused Mexican with Korean food and it was marvelous. I had a great time and even though I did not ask for gifts, my friends came with them. They know I never want anything other than having a great time with them. Still, they brought me flowers, cute little things like band aids with fish motif, and a Bluetooth speaker. These friends are worth more than their weights in gold, and even though we rarely meet, we remain the same as the last time we met. I love you guys, and I hope you know that.

On a different note, I recently decided to step out of my comfort zone in gaming. Since I started playing video games, I have stuck to role-playing and puzzle games (read Final Fantasy and Tetris). I figured if I wanted to grow as a gamer, and especially if I wanna be able to broadcast a variety of games, I also have to play a variety of games. Thus, when I got my new computer, I hesitated a little bit but ended up buying a first-person shooter game. Now let me tell you how good my aim is. It is about as good as I would most likely miss whatever is in front of me. I didn’t expect to play even at the lowest level, but to my surprise, I learned fast and I actually play decently. Surely, I have a lot to improve at but that’s why we step out of that comfort zone right?

//c_Cae; it’s true what they say, growth happens outside of your comfort zone even if stepping out is intimidating.

Exhausted

The past week has been intense even though I haven’t had any “real” work done. I’ve applied for a few jobs and I’m about as hopeful as to get a few more rejection letters. At least one such letter brings me closer to an acceptance letter somewhere.

Lately, as in the past 6-8 months, I’ve come to realize that I am an introvert. I’m very social when it comes to it, but once I leave any social setting, I feel drained and it takes me days (sometimes even a full week) to recover. Today is such a day. Last weekend was intense and I feel like I wanna turn into burrito mode and just do something that doesn’t require any social skills.

It came to my attention after Zoe’s birthday last year. The preparations took 2 weeks and once it was all finished, I was out of it for another 2 weeks. Then came Christmas and all the hype that’s around that and it drained me even more. Around that time, I first thought it was due to stress but it wasn’t it. I was doing nothing but my thesis and had just finished TA.

So here I am again all tired and out of energy to do anything other than spending time with myself whenever that is possible. Got a meeting today so will have to push through that. I’m sure it will be fine but after this week, I’ll have to get a lot of me-time before I do anything else.

//c_Cae; can any other introvert relate to this? Lemme know!

May 18th – the day I became a marine biologist

Guys, I did it. I finally did it. I made 8 year old me proud and happy beyond measure. On May 18th, I successfully defended my thesis and am now a marine biologist.

I have never been so nervous in my life as I was the night before the presentation. I tried to rehearse but that failed miserably. The presentation itself went great, despite me blanking out on several questions my opponent had. That probably nerfed my grade, to be honest. I couldn’t sleep that night, and I even dreamt that I failed it because I couldn’t speak. That probably contributed to the half-assed presentation I did. I’m sure I can pull it off in a better manner today but what is done is done, right?

Yesterday, I spent the day alone. Zoe was at daycare and I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, which resulted in me taking busses around town to play Pokemon Go. Once I got home again, chores awaited and in between those, I experienced a turmoil of feelings. I was happy beyond measure, but I also felt empty and insecure. I know it’s expected. I’ve worked so hard for so long, I barely know what it’s like to fully relax. I honestly cannot remember when last I actually relaxed and didn’t worry about anything. Yesterday was a first. I still feel confused. I didn’t have a plan for life after university because the plan I had up until attending uni was all shot to hell. Why? Because life happens and you can’t ever plan everything.

I’m sure I wouldn’t been able to pull any of this off without the immense support I’ve received from almost everyone I know. You guys have been cheering me on since day 1 and no matter how long I’ve known you, you’ve always come through to pat me on my back, telling me I got this to get me back up on my feet. You’ve truly been the lights in my world and I really couldn’t have done it without you.

Right now, I’m constantly moving between sheer happiness and utter emptiness. Come Monday, and I’ll gotta do some things to get me moving toward a job. In between those tasks, I don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll read a few books. Maybe I’ll catch up on my never-ending list of documentaries I want to watch. Maybe I’ll just go to the sea side and dream away. Or maybe I’ll catch up on all my series and anime or play all the games I’ve been meaning to play. It’s just weird to have so much time on my hands when I’ve always only been having 2-3h every week. It feels weird to me to start playing a game or watch a show. Those have always been an award to me. If I finish this task, I can watch one episode of X. That has always been my system. Do this and get this. Finish that and buy this. Now I don’t have a real thing to be my number one priority.

I think I’ll just have to go see the ocean. Then I’ll be fine again.

//c_Cae; finally did it. now what? 

Rejoice

The deadline for the PhD application was on April 16, which resulted in me working over Easter desperately trying to finish it. It ended up pretty good, if I may say so myself. The only problem now is out of my hands, and I can only hope that my application stands out enough to call for an interview among the 40 other applicants. Other than being nervous, I also managed to finish my thesis.

I sent it in twice for revision and now the final version is in my hands. I only need to check for some minor errors and find typos. After than I’m ready to write a presentation manuscript and defend it. It’ll be fun, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Knowing that I have so many people that support me is very comforting. I’m not gonna lie, I am nervous but being a little nervous is good. It feels amazing and very unrealistic at the same time. Once my defence is over and I pass, I will have made my childhood dream come true and I’ll finally be a marine biologist.

I remember when I first started this blog and it was all about being a bartender before I realised I need to head back to uni and finish what I started. I also remember the picture shown to me when I was 8 and I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to be an archeologist and head for the deep blue instead. For the longest time as a child, I thought the words marine biologist was just a made up thing. I had just put together two words that made sense to me: marine because of the ocean and biologist because of all the life around us. Countless of times was I met with the question Is that even a thing? Of course it is! Look at me now. I’m very happy, although the thought of not knowing what I’ll do the coming years is frightening.

Most of all, I’m proud of myself. I’ve managed an education with 0 in debt. Zero. Nil. Nada. My degree is the manifestation of hard work in its purest form. Yes, I have put many things aside to achieve this but it is worth it. I’m also very proud of the fact that I managed to do something that I’d never thought I’d be able to pull off. My thesis is strictly theoretical and it’s packed with statistics. I’m still afraid of statistics but I now have a fundamental understanding to it and I know why it’s important. It scared the living being out of me when I took it but I am really glad I did it. It put me through so much agony, pain and frustration but it paid me back in knowledge and resilience. I’m really impressed with myself, not only to the fact that I managed to pull this thesis off, but also because I took the courage and challenged myself and walked out of it alive. So whatever the future has coming my way, I am not afraid.

//c_Cae; challenge accepted and achievement unlocked: marine biologist one month from now! 

Recap

It feels like a million things have happened since I last posted. While not literally a million things have happened, but many have. I’ll try not to be too long about it, but I still want to keep you readers in the loop despite not being able to update here as much as I’d like to.

Being one of the most difficult decisions in my life, we ultimately decided to let Serah go. Zoe kept locking herself in her room, crying whenever Serah as much as looked at her when we ate, and repeatedly telling us how scared she was of Serah. Serah, being the pup she is, just looked curiously at Zoe, wondering why this little human was acting the way she does. I can understand Zoe. It is scary to have a dog that’s almost double your own size and is still growing. It pained (and still does) me a lot to see Serah go, but I’m also a mother that want my child to feel safe at home. I still miss Serah every day. I get a striking pain in my chest whenever I think of her. Of course, my frustration is back because there’s nothing to fill in for Serah. We’ll get a dog, a smaller one for sure, but we don’t know when. Until then I have to cope. Besides, Zoe is back to her old self, only she keeps naming anything dog-related Haylee.

My thesis is taking up a lot of time, as usual. I had another round of corrupted data and so I had to do it all over from what I could salvage from October last year. It took me a week, but it’s all back and even improved. I’ve been writing like my life literally depended on it. I came to realise that I still love doing this even though the curveballs have been abundant and lately, they’ve been harder to handle too. In the meantime of writing my thesis, I have also come to terms with a few things. I started applying for jobs outside my field because no PhD opportunities were coming up and everyone I talked to seemed to be more keen on getting new post-docs instead. It had me thinking, that if nothing shows up (it really didn’t feel like it), I might as well look for a 9-5 job outside my expertise and do the marine bio stuff on my spare time. If I can’t do what I love, find something that pays enough for me to do it, I kept telling myself. It is better to secure each month’s pay check than to worry about it. At some point, I thought I had convinced myself that a life outside academia is what was better, at least for the time being.

Or at least that’s what it was like until I dropped in at the unit on Wednesday. That’s when I heard about the new PhD postings. One of them, I am very interested in. I have no idea how successful I will be if I applied, but I am applying. It’ll always be a missed shot if I don’t take it and let’s face it, no one likes 100% failure. There are so many things I’m insecure about. I have no doubt my work ethics or my workaholic tendencies are top notch. What I doubt about is that my thesis has been incredibly dragged out. I still don’t feel much smarter about statistics, nor am I anywhere near confident of what I have produced so far. I’ve tried to explain to my supervisor why I feel like this, but there seem to be little to zero room for listening. It’s all about achievements. I hate that I let my emotional state from my private life affect my professional life. I try my best to keep the two separated, but each time the word cancer pops up I just feel petrified (I’m okay, it’s a family member, though). Some friends tell me I’m a very private person, yet I blog and I live stream when playing games. I still doubt about my own abilities. I sometimes even feel that there is so much doubt, I’m hindering myself from growth. It doesn’t help that several colleagues encourage me and tells me, in these words Not every master’s student is like you, you know? PhD material. I don’t know. If I was that kind of material, why have my thesis taken so long?

I can’t blame it on my eye condition, and I can’t blame it on working so much last year. Just those two, took away at least 12 months of time. Each time I have my eye examined, I’m thrown off work for at least three days if nothing goes wrong. I can’t blame it on these two things. Work I chose to keep because I needed the money and I needed to get away from the computer every now and then. My eye condition is genetic. They’re just explanations.

This has never resonated with me the way it does right now.

//c_Cae; full of doubts :(

A divided decision

3 weeks have passed since Serah came to us. Training has paid off, she listens whenever we tell her no, knows her commands and has improved a great deal when walking on the leash. She does turn deaf when she plays with other dogs, though. That’s alright, she’s still a pup. She’s very sneaky, too. She’s not allowed on the couch and she knows it, yet she seizes every opportunity to jump up on it and then look all innocent when we catch her. Most the time, we don’t need to tell her off, she’d jump off on her own and then give you the saddest puppy face on the planet before laying down in her own bed.

During the time Serah’s been here, I have loved 90% of it. Finally having a dog feels amazing. Actually, it feels more than amazing even though it didn’t really turn out the way I wanted (I want a shiba, remember?). I haven’t felt any anger when I’m bored since Serah came. I’ve always had something to do. Zoe is very independent, so a dog fills the gaps where I feel I really want to do something. Whenever I’m bored, I could just train with Serah. She’s very eager to please, which has made our training sessions very easy.

However, I can’t say the same about my family. Patience have been shortened and there haven’t been much understanding to the fact that Serah is a puppy. Zoe has a few phrases on repeat whenever Serah’s around.
I’m scared of Serah. Does she have to live here? Can Haylee live here instead? Haylee can sleep in my bed. Serah’s too big. I love small dogs, like Haylee. 

Haylee is a chihuahua our beloved friends have. She’s indeed adorable, but a wee bit too small for my taste. I understand Zoe, though. It is intimidating to have a dog that’s about twice your body size and it isn’t very helpful knowing the dog will only grow bigger and much faster than Zoe does.
For two and a half weeks, the Dutchman and I have sat down every day, several times a day, with Zoe and Serah and have them become more accustomed to each other. We’ve put up a gate to Zoe’s room to help the progress. Serah keeps laying outside said gate, wagging her tail, hoping Zoe will come play. But Zoe just ignores or teases from the other side. We’ve also tried walking Serah with Zoe, playing out- and indoors with everyone involved and tried doing simple tricks. None of these work and what has happened is that Zoe even more repeats her phrases.

Now, we feel like we have two options. Either return Serah to the adoption bureau, in which case she will again go to a foster family, or keep her and try to make the best of it. Chances are, though, that Zoe will forever emphasise the size of the dog. I’m very divided. I’m a mother, first hand and that makes me feel like I need to listen to my child no matter what. That includes if I have to take the fall (of feeling bad for giving up the dog) if it means Zoe will feel better. The Dutchman seem to have little problem with this aspect, less than I do at least. An equal part of me does not want to give up Serah. She’s amazing. And the voice echoes but you have to think of your child. I don’t know what to do and it just feels awful.

//c_Cae; adulting is hard, parenting is sometimes harder.