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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wishes Around the World

Wishes come in many shapes and forms. Many countries celebrate a day where wishing is the main event. These holidays have always fascinated me, because I believe in the power of a good wish. 
No, I don't think that a wish will come true if you don't go after it. There's a lot of truth in Tiana's father's words when he says, "That old star can only take you part of the way. You've got to help it along with some hard work of your own, and then you can do anything you set your mind to." in the film The Princess and the Frog by Walt Disney Pictures. 
Many people who are sucessful began as wishers and dreamers. And it may surprise you to know the career path of some of the most well known people in the world. Life doesn't have a map. And there is no direct plan, but if you focus on a goal, and if you make that goal a priority, you will be amazed at how far you have come. 
I have made several wishes, all of which are secrets in hopes that I don't spoil the magic, during my travels here in South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Each wish I've made is different, but each holds a promise that I will work hard to achieve it. I have come far from where I was six years ago, and the mindset I have has been a huge part of my perspective this year. 

Wishes are powerful things. Soon wishes become dreams, which turn into goals and which eventually are achieved as memories that can be looked back on with pride and even humility. 
I still have much to learn, but I believe that I will always appreciate the power of wishes. 
The truth is, you don't have to wait until New Year, Tanabata or Chinese New Year to make a wish. You don't even have to wait for a star to streak across the sky. You can make a wish at anytime, create a goal, and then you are on your way to amazing things. But wishes don't just happen on their own. You have to make some effort to achieve them, and you have to promise to work hard for that goal. 
Each wish I have made this year is a new promise to be a better person, to grow and change into the person I want to become. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to spread these wishes around the world, and I will work hard to achieve them. 
If you would like to make wishes, or attend these really cool festivals, here's a list of the places and holidays that I have found, according to when they happen each year. 

New Year's Eve: Anywhere, but especially with fireworks involved. 

New Year's Eve is a time to make a wish on the fireworks that announce the next year. 

A Disney Park: Any Disney Park at any time

Year round Disney will accept wishes, and if they can, they'll make it come true. 

Lunar New Year: In Asia on a special wishing tree.

 Depending on the zodiac animal that falls under that year, the Lunar New Year is celebrated between January and Feburary in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and Vietnam and many other countries in Asia. 

Typically the new year involves writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree. 
In Hong Kong, you can make a wish by lighting a lantern, or tying a written wish to an orange and throwing it at a special wishing tree. If your wish hangs on a branch, it will come true. You can also feed the dancing lion money for good luck that year, and donate to the Buddhist temples. 

The Star Festival: Celebrated in China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong on a special wishing tree

This festival takes place on a special day where both the Altair and Vega stars are visible along with the Milky Way. Typically around July 7th. This Festival has many names including Tanabata in Japan, Qixi Festival in China, Chilseok in South Korea and Seven Sisters Festival in Hong Kong. 

This is celebrated by writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree. 

There are many other wishing festivals around the world. Here are some I have added to my bucket list: 

Diwali- also called the Deepavali or The Festival of Lights takes place in Autumn in India. 
This festival celebrates light's victory over darkness, and the festival lasts over five days. People dress up and light up lanterns called diyas and they watch fireworks. 

Loi Krathong in Thailand- also known as the floating lantern festival
This festival involves creating small floating rafts into a river attached to all your worries. After letting go of the raft, you make a wish. It takes place in November.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand - Also known as the Festival of Lights
This festival involves releasing a lantern into the sky to make a wish, and there are thousands of lanterns released all at once! This festival takes place at the same time as Loi Krathong in November. 

These festivals have always fascinated me, and they are great story sparks ^_^

Regardless of where you make your wishes, they are celebrated around the world. If you know any other wishing festivals, feel free to mention them in the comments. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015


The heart is a very
mysterious thing.
Full of wonder,
it flies on wing
of hopes and dreams
laughter and smiles. 
It can travel the world
and go for miles
reaching out to those that it can. 
It has a strange and magical plan. 
For happiness to appear and 
the soul to sing
a song to hear
changing every year. 
From every step 
of every dance
in every moment
of every chance
It is a whisper
that guides your feet
with a strong and steady beat.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"A dream is a wish your heart makes."- Cinderella

Cinderella will be coming out next month, and I'm really excited for the new release. The Cinderella troupe has been around for years, and it passes from generation to generation. The story of the underdog rising to become what they are meant to be is one of the most inspirational and intuitive stories in the world. 
It's a story for the dreamers, the doers and the believers. The ability to understand that you are capable of anything will see you through any adversity in life. I learned this a few years ago, but sometimes lessons are learned again in different ways. 
It's more than just dreaming. It's acheiving. Pushing yourself to meet your goals and believing that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to will lead you to wonderful places in life. And they way you think really does matter. 
I think people can relate to Cinderella, because she is a dreamer and an achiever. She starts her story with humble beginnings and much adversity, but she believes that she is meant for more, and she acts on her dreams. This is a story that anyone can relate to, no matter how old or young they are. 
Cinderella is a wonderful reminder that anything can happen if you believe and act upon your dreams.
Check out the gorgeous and inspirational new trailer here: 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jupiter Ascending: A movie review

SciFi is a fun and exciting genre. It can be imaginative, educational and exciting. But good SciFi can be rare and difficult to find. 
Jupiter Ascending was a fun adventure, where you weren't quite sure what was going on, but you were along for the ride. There were a lot of interesting plot points, some crazy chase and action scenes, and some awkward but funny bits of dialogue. 
I enjoyed this movie, because it had a lot of imagination. Parts of the film reminded me of Final Fantasy and the main idea of the story is very relatable, especially to teenage girls who don't like their life. 
It's the fun and crazy YA novel that we would come across in the bookstore, but after reading, we are left with so many questions:

Why were there people after Jupiter's father?
What is the Abraxis family's story?
Why did Cain bite a royal?
How many other planets have humans in danger of harvesting?
Can Jupiter save the other humans, and not just Earth?
Are we getting a sequel?

The world of this story was interesting, and it left much for the audience to wonder. I hope there's a sequel that will clear up the plot's confusion. 

Other than that, it was visually stunning with scenes in space, gorgeous fashion and fancy designs. There were a few intense scenes that terrified me (The hospital scene and the lady on the royal carriage, clearly alive and attached to it by wires and plugs) Some scenes didn't make any sense. (One word: Titus)  And some completely pointless changes in costume (Jupiter's overdressed line was great). But this film showed promise for an interesting world, and an intriguing history. 

I'd say it was about three out of five pairs of space hoover boots.


Picture by Hihazuki

"Maybe soulmates are just two ordinary people who are too stubborn to let the world pull them apart." - Unknown

A beautiful quote about love and a great story spark ^_^

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On figuring things out

A few years ago, I believed that I always had to have a plan, and a set goal to get anywhere in life. 
Of course, these goals are important: they give you something to work for, and a way to find purpose in the world. But the plan is not everything. 
I thought I understood the meaning of the quote that Chong tells Sokka in Avatar the Last Aribender: "I hope you learned a little something about not letting the plans get in the way of the journey." 
But I think I understand his quote better now than a few years ago.
Of course, a plan isn't a bad thing, but it can't be concrete. Life is confusing and crazy. Nothing is set in stone. It's a constant flowing current moving from one moment to the next. Things change. People change. Plans change. 
I learned this through the situations that much of my friends and family went through because of the economy. I even had a deep conversation of that never ending debate money over happiness with my best friend. 
Yes, it is important to be responsible, and it is important to make a living, but it is also important to do the things that replenish our souls. Things that we create, and that we can be proud of when we look back on our accomplishments. 
Because I think way too much, and because I'm way too hard on myself. I focused on the goal, and forgot about the path to get there. 
There will be failures. There will be places you feel like you don't belong. There will be people who don't like you, or who judge you negatively about your dreams. There will be people who say you can't do the thing you've set your heart on. People will be out there, and they will tell you that you can't, but it is up to you to listen to them or continue pursuing what you love to do. 
To be honest, I still don't have it figured out. I'm currently in South Korea teaching English, and I'm torn between going back to the USA to pursue my dream of publishing a novel, and becoming a script writer, or staying here one more year, moving to a different city and allowing myself to try again. 
It's not that I've failed, but it's difficult for me, where I am currently, and while I'm grateful that things have gotten better, I still don't feel like I belong. 
Happiness, according to every book I've rea and every movie I've seen is the key to a healthy and meaningful life. 
No, it doesn't buy you anything, pay off your student loans, or even set up your retirement fund, but it does give you the satisfaction that you did your best at the end of the day. The feeling that life offers you just a little more than you were expecting. 
Happiness is the key. 
And, to be honest, I have a few more months to decide what my next step will be, but I have been so stressed out about this that I've asked everyone around me for advice. 
Sometimes I forget. Life is not a straight path. There are forks in the road, hills to climb, giant boulders that you have to learn how to walk around or over. There are even ruts, and sticky patches of mud and tar that you have to push through at a snail's pace. 
Life in a word is unpredictable. 
But if I choose one path, it doesn't mean I can never choose the other later, or even a better path that could be waiting around the corner. 
As long as you balance your responsibility and your happiness, you will be successful. It is one of the mysterious truths of life. 
So both elements are important. Taking responsibility and finding happiness. But they're not as easy as they seem.
Because we change, what we want can change too, and those wants can leads us down different paths. But regardless of what we choose, it is very important to think of our own health and happiness. 
For me, if I can write, and if I can make a difference (even a small one) then I'll be happy. Disney is the environment I loved in the working world, and the bookstore that I worked at echoed that atmosphere. I like helping others, but I also like the ability and freedom to express myself through writing and using the imagination. 
This is more of a personal entry than a public one, but I wanted to share what I have learned from weighing the options. 
Happiness is very important. So while the months roll by, I will try to decide which path to take, but this time, unlike a lot of decisions I have made, I will focus on what makes me happy.  

Serenity (A Sailor Moon Haiku)

Once upon a time
the moonlight will dry your tears,
turning them to laughter