Tag Archives: #sol19

Reflections

My ninth Slice of Life Challenge has come and gone. Just like that, another year down. As I sit here in paradise (more on that in next week’s slice), I am filled with gratitude for the TWT community who put so much time and effort into the challenge each year and for the SOL community whose comments fuel me as a writer.

This year, I began the challenge with excitement and energy, but that excitement quickly waned and I found myself in a bit of a writing slump. Looking back, I think that part of that was that no one I knew in real life joined me on the challenge this year. Shags usually writes, having joined me a few years after I started the challenge, but this year she bowed out, having too much going on to manage the commitment to writing daily. After sharing about the challenge incessantly at school, there’s always one or two people I can convince to write; I am always energized by these new-to-the-challenge writers that I can chat about how the SOL challenge is going for them. This year, no one at school joined the challenge. The final shock came when Elsie, who I don’t know in real life but feel like I do, whose been writing alongside me in the challenge since I began (we started the same year) revealed she wouldn’t be writing this year either.

After the initial slump, I found a groove and the writing came easier (most of the time, that is). My slices were a bit all over the place this year and seemed to be so random, whereas I feel that normally they take on a bit of a theme. This year’s slices included narrative, essay-ish writing, poetry, and photographs. I wrote on a variety of topics, such as travel, reading, the gym, friendship, reflections in general and those from forms (TBAs, Currently, Hello there, Today I…), life abroad, and school.

Sometimes I was proud of my writing, other times I was doing well just to get words on a page. In any event, the SOL challenge serves as a one-month peek into my life, and for that, I’m grateful. Looking back on my slices year on year, I enjoy reliving the memories, laughing at long forgotten stories, and seeing just how far I’ve come in life and as a writer.

Reading and commenting on other slicers’ posts is what this challenge is all about, and this year I’ve been fortunate to deepen my bond with past slicers and make new ones with new slicers. Thank you to all of you who took the time to read and comment on my slices. The comments mean more than you know. 🙂

Here’s to trying to slice on Tuesdays…one down, 51 to go!

More Days Like This

Today was a perfect day. I need more days like this.

A Perfect Day

Morning slicing
No rush
Sunny and breezy
The wind in my hair
Ninety minutes of stretching and kneading
Melting into a Thai massage induced coma
A short walk through the familiar neighborhood
My favorite Penang curry by the lake
A bit too spicy this time,
But still delicious
Quick stop for some Thai snacks
Before heading to the pool
Water the perfect temperature for lounging
And catching up with not one,
But two friends
Sunkissed, heading back as the sun set
Showered and in our pj’s
Pizza, laughs, and Netflix
The perfect end to
A perfect day

Five Stages of Grief: Bangkok Traffic Edition

After landing in Bangkok, I breezed through immigration, and having traveled with only a carry on, I was chuffed with myself that I wouldn’t have to waste precious time waiting on my luggage. Ready to get to Callie’s, I made my way down to the taxi queue. What in the world are all these people doing just sitting around? Maybe they’re waiting on people to come pick them up, I thought.

Making a bee line for the booth, I asked the attendant for a taxi, showing them Callie’s address in Thai. She gestured for my ticket indicating it was my turn in line. Thoroughly confused by this new system, I grabbed a ticket from the machine. Number 614. Ah crap! The number on the screen was 567. The realization hits me that this is why all these people are waiting around.

Surprisingly, the wait only took 20 minutes, after which I was loaded into a taxi on my way to Callie’s. Since it’s Bangkok, I know I’m in for about an hour’s worth of traffic. As anyone who’s lived in Bangkok or Jakarta can tell you, travel time has nothing to do with distance. ‘How far away are you?’ is never a question met with 5 km. It’s always explained in time. Being 5 km away could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic.

Cruising along the toll road, we were making good time. The sun was out, so I picked up my book, diving back into the stories of Jack and Libby. As the sun started to set, I switched my book for some tunes, happily lip syncing along while I smiled at the city passing by outside my window. We’re making good time. I should make it by 7:00, just in time to go to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the area.

No sooner had the thought passed through my mind, we came to a complete standstill. Red lights as far as the eye can see. Feeling myself getting frustrated, I tried to think happy thoughts, but the stop-go-stop-go wasn’t doing anything to calm me down. In fact, it only made it worse.

Well, maybe we just need to get past this one jam. We’ll pick up speed again, making up lost time. As the minutes ticked by, I kept making deals with myself, guessing what time we would arrive, adjusting the time frequently. Unsuccessful attempts to communicate with my taxi driver only fueled the frustration. How far away? “Close,” he said, whether he really believed it or not.

The maximum speed of 10 km per hour was taking its toll. I became antsy and resentful. Frustration built up in my chest. My jaw clenched. Looking at my watch only increased my anxiety. Staring at the red light we’d been stopped at for what felt like eternity, I willed it to change. Of course, it didn’t. Finally, I gave in.

I’ll get there when I get there. We’ll miss dinner. Callie’s probably wondering what happened to me. She’s probably starving and ready for a meal, too. Maybe she’ll have given up and eaten at home by the time I arrive.

After my driver missed the turn to Callie’s, I refused to let him make the u-turn and try again, knowing that would add even more time to the journey. Directing him with hand signals, I led him through the back streets and we eventually made it. Two hours after getting in the taxi, I was finally able to give Callie a hug! And, we made it for dinner.

Rereading Childhood Favorites

As an avid reader, I’ve been in love with books as long as I can remember. My reward for any good deed I did as a child was a trip to Hasting’s or Half Price Books where my parents would buy me a book (or two or three if I was convincing enough) of my choosing. Frequent visits to the public library were a staple in my summer life. The Scholastic Book Fair was one of the most exciting weeks of the school year, where I was given money and allowed to buy any book my heart desired. Anywhere I went, I carried a book, never wanting to waste a spare moment of time I could have been reading.

Needless to say, I amassed a long list of favorite books as a child, ones that I recommended frequently, sharing the joy they had brought me when I read them. By the time I got into chapter books early on in elementary school, I wasn’t a re-reader. Despite falling in love with different characters and series, I thought it more important to devour new titles rather than spend my time re-reading a book I’d already finished. However, as an adult, I fondly looked back on these childhood favorites and longed to read them again, in hopes of them taking me back to a simpler time, allowing me to experience the joy they once brought me.

Although what I’ve realized through this read down memory lane is that the good memories I have of reading these books as child don’t always translate into my adult reading life and preferences. Oftentimes these revisits leave me empty, wondering why I fell in love with the book in the first place, souring me on the title altogether. It’s a bit like your first love. You look back fondly on the relationship, reliving the highlights, romanticizing the person and wondering why you ever let them go. But when you see them again, you’re let down, doubting your memories and left wondering, What was I thinking?!

So, rather than slog through some of my childhood favorites just to come up short, I’d rather look back on them like an old love, savoring the memories and the good feelings they brought me. In my opinion, it’s better to maintain the illusion than shatter it.

Bad Case of Writer’s Block

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”

Dan Poynter

I’ve been incredibly indecisive today. It took me over an hour to decide what to eat for dinner. I couldn’t decide what to watch on Netflix. I’ve avoided writing by spending too much time on social media. I’ve looked for inspiration on Pinterest and my bookshelf. I’ve stared at the screen for over an hour trying to figure out what to write.

But instead of finding inspiration, I’ve come down with a bad case of writer’s block. It happens once every SOL Challenge, but since I got through the mid-month hump, I figured I was safe this year. It’s Day 28. By this point in the challenge, I’m usually coasting, already mourning the impending end of the challenge.

It happens to us all, but let me tell you, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my normal writing self tomorrow.

Still

Today’s slice was sparked by reading The Lit Coach Lady’s blog, where she’s been writing her slices from a SPARK! each day. The spark that piqued my interest was the Word Spark, where you start with a word- any word– and let it guide your writing. Not knowing which word to choose, I Googled ‘random word generator’ and clicked until I found a word that resonated with me.

Still

I feel called to be still. After a busy semester and a full-on week, I’ve been tired today. I struggled to get out of bed this morning, craving more rest. Rather than going out to dinner like I’d planned, I came home, where I can be still. Sometimes our brains and bodies need that. With all of the noise that swirls around us constantly, things pulling us this way or that, we crave stillness to center ourselves again. I can’t wait for next week, where I can just be still. Where I can just sit by the pool, fresh juice in one hand and a book in the other, letting the stress and responsibilities melt away. Still doesn’t really have a positive or negative connotation, does it? You can be still because you’re being mindful, relaxing while watching a movie or reading a book, or listening to someone else. Conversely, stillness can come when you are brought to a halt, when your world stops spinning, the wind is knocked out of your sails and you’re just trying to gain your composure again. No matter the cause, stillness forces us to stop and be in the moment. Slicing does that, too. For those few minutes or hours when you’re pouring your heart onto the screen, you can’t do anything else. You are still. March is a month to be still and focus on what’s around us. For that, I’m grateful.

Stress Relief

It’s that time of the year where the stress has built up. It’s been almost 12 weeks since we came back from Christmas break, and we are all in need of a holiday. After school, I was frustrated. My typical response to frustration or a stressful day would be to come home, stew about it, veg out on the couch watching Netflix and eating junk food, feeling sorry for myself. But today I chose a different response. I chose to honor my commitment to the gym despite feeling cruddy.

Stress Relief

grumpiness started
to make itself at home
the chocolate chip cookie
doing little
to stave off the feeling of frustration
dreams of the couch
coming to my rescue
played in my head

but I have an appointment
do I cancel? or do I go?
begrudgingly i went
convinced I’d do my thirty minutes
and leave

the beat started off slow
then sped up
motivating me to row
faster than normal
picking up speed
with each passing minute

endorphins taking over
the stress started to thaw
my training session
over too fast
but i was ready
for more