Monday, May 31, 2010

And It Was Time to Say Goodbye

Last week, I pass the baton to you and ask you for your wisdom and advice. You asked me about being open and vulnerable, and next on the list was packing up and leave my hometown for Australia.

Leaving my home country has always been a dream. Since the death of my best friend, I knew I wanted to do what others deemed impossible, go to places where people can only dream of and soak up any kind of experiences I can get my hands on and I haven't regretted anything.


So, I've always had the dream of moving to Australia but it has always been a dream. I almost got it but due to my stupidity, I didn't get enough mark to be admitted into any Australian universities to do the program that I wanted. So I moved to the capital of my home country and did a Cambridge A Levels and was contemplating moving to the UK.

Across the road from my college was an Australian Education Agency and one day, I snuck in to collect a bunch of Prospective Students' booklets. I filled in some of the forms out of boredom - cos they were free - and like any other contest, I entered without any expectations of winning. I totally forgot about it until a letter came. The words, "Letter of Offer" printed on the piece of A4 paper.

I accepted the offer and uttered my goodbyes to my fellow classmates, moved back to my hometown and did a final farewell and preparation for my move. I was incredibly excited but I know
this is going to be a good-bye to familiarity. The air, the food, the people and the culture. I know I am bidding goodbye to a huge part of my own identity.

My classmates organised 3 farewell parties for me. My family organised 2 and my other friends organised another half a dozen. The final few days were the reality check of what was ahead. The packing was done, hugs exchanged and goodbyes said. I took a last drive around my hometown at 2.00am, 4 hours before my flight. I cried in the car, I have to admit. Stopping at shops and landmarks that has become a huge part of my life, or has a significant memory in my childhood.

The excitement slowly turns into anxiety and a gazillion questions ran through my head, but I know all too well that I cannot have any doubt because otherwise, I just wouldn't do it. Comfort zone is such a cosy place its hard to get out of it, but I managed to do it. Many asked if it was hard and I have to say, it wasn't really. As long as you have some savings to last you until you found a job, a place to live even if temporarily, and a few contacts, you are set. Do it or you never will.


So at 6.00am, I drove myself to the airport where I was met by a group of close friends. I exchanged hugs with everyone and said see you in a year. After about 10 hours including in transit, I landed in Adelaide, totally new, curious and absolutely excited. But the excitement very quickly turned into anxiety of the culture differences, sense of humour and accent.

I have to say, I have an amazing, amazing bunch of friends who made me more than welcomed to their hometown and helped me adapt to their culture almost instantly. They brought me home to their parents in the country, in rural and regional areas where we drank rain water, eat real bacon and meat, fresh produce, swam in billabongs and hang out at the RSLs (Returned & Services Leagues).

I dare to say that I have made a huge transition and really adapted well to the point where I engage myself in political arguments and ran a few political campaigns as well even though I don't have any rights to vote. I use slangs, eat vegemite on toasts, watch the AFL and cricket, drink Coopers, Pure Blond or Carlton and sarcasm is my first language - I was corrupted by Summer Heights High. I was such a sophisticated, elegant tourist / temporary resident until I hang around with the Aussies.

Having said that, I am still very much the boy from my hometown. It's like an automated switch that when I go back, everything just turns itself on or off. I fit right in, drinking kopi peng, eating noodles and rice, and speak my local language.

But one question I still struggle to answer sometimes - where's home. To me, home is where the heart is, where my love ones are. Sometimes, this is my hometown, sometimes the other cities I've lived in, sometimes its Adelaide and at most times, its very much Brisbane.

So, how about you? Where would you like to move to, and where do you call home?

***

If you have something you want me to blog about, send it in via the text box on the sidebar.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Openness and Vulnerability

The first entry in the poll asked me to talk about how it feels like to be so open and vulnerable.

The answer is, I feel alive.

The end.



Would you let me be myself
Cos I'll never find my heart
Behind someone else
I'll never see the light of day
Living in this cell
It's time to make my way
Into the world i knew
And take back all of these times
That I gave in to you

OK, its not really the end. Seriously, it does make me feel alive. It feels like I am living my own life - that's how it feels like.

Reading back at my personal blog from when I first left my hometown to move interstate still in Asia, it's filled with darkness and I was at a place where I wasn't really feeling like I was letting myself be the best that I can be. From then until now, things got gradually better and since moving to Australia, being far away not knowing anyone, it has allowed me to 'reset' my life - choosing my circle of friends, my daily life choices, and every small decisions that ultimately determine my destiny, I guess. It's like given a blank piece of canvas to be worked on again.

My best friend died, and I never got the chance to say good-bye. I wasn't even spared 5 seconds to say what I want to tell him and give him one last hug. He left faster than a blink of an eye, forever. And that could be me, and anyone in my life. Being that close to a death bed is the most horrible feeling you will come across. However, being that close to losing everything really makes you appreciate anything.



Every night, as I go to bed, I want to know that I have been the best I can be and that I have no regrets over things I could have done, words I could have said, hugs I could have given and love I could have embraced.

Living an open life means that I get to appreciate every single thing in my life because nothing in life ever last including the sadness and misery, amongst those other beautiful events.

With that, comes vulnerability - the single event that can either make or break a person, quite horribly sometimes. Vulnerability is a huge risk, but no extraordinary person sits in comfort. I know I can achieve big things and I am more than the things I own and the resources around me. I can be better than who I was and who I am, and if I don't put myself in vulnerable situations, I wouldn't be where I am at right now - and I sure wouldn't be in Australia. Comfort is just not me.

In terms of my sexuality, it has never been a huge issue in my life. I've got girlfriends and I took a long break after breaking up with my last girlfriend. Love for men has always been in me and I just never really acknowledged it. When I started this blog, I knew the time was right and its about time I acknowledge that part of my life - one that, luckily, hasn't caused me much misery or suffering.

But it comes back down to vulnerability and happiness. Coming out to my close friends was incredibly difficult and a huge emotional and physical risk. I could potentially lose my family and a lot of friends - but sometimes, without it, you get nowhere. I am glad so far it has worked out to my favour.

It is also my understanding that at the end of the day, being 'someone else' is not who I want to be. I have always wanted to be happy, now and when I grow 'up'. With this in mind, whoever I love, whatever I do and the decisions that I make, ultimately, my happiness comes first.



It's tiring living in someone else's shoes - someone you're expected to be, and becoming someone you are not meant to be. It's liberating to be alive, not existing.

***

Tell me what you want me to blog about - I'll answer your burning questions.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Acknowledging Your Words

So, over the past few weeks, I have been busy, hectic and juggling between work and lots of sex.... not. Well, most of them are true, except the sex part. It has been a rather crazy month since returning from America, so I haven't been replying to comments, except to a couple odd ones via email.

 ~ Love you (in Russian) Photo credit.

So, here are replies to the very thoughtful comments you all left based on the post:

Chicago: The Place
Ron - the El is just a train, although Chicago is a really beautiful city. You'll love it! :)

Winter - It was rather exhausting, and the jetlag definitely knocked me out for a few days but it was well worth it. 

Formysake - Definitely was an awesome adventure and experience.

Biki - I am glad someone else agrees with me re the pizza! Yeah, I absolutely loved Chicago - would dare to say its one of my favourite cities so far.

Aek - Haha. I didn't know there was two Chinatowns but I went to the biggest one, which is right near the city. It would be the real Chinatown - cos its huge and not just one street.

Chicago: Accidentally In Love
bK - He reads this blog so you would have to ask him. Lol. Whether he's bisexual or straight, I don't think its important nor do I really care. My trip to America is for a very serious professional conference but my trip to Chicago is for a student conference which ... you get the idea.

Formysake - You need to be more creative with your comments. :P The previous one reads 'great adventure' and in this post, it was 'quite an adventure'. Lol.

Aek - Aaah. Things happen at the most random times though. Carpe diem, follow the flow and things just happen. Take a bold step forward and dare to roam the unknown.

Ron - Hmmm.. Well, if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone, Ron. :)

Biki - It sure is weird, but at the same time refreshing. Weird because it doesn't happen too often, refreshing because you don't meet someone you instantly connect with. I love your quote, " I'm glad to see you opening your heart more and more, it can get hurt that way, but so can keeping it shut" I wish I can go back to America!

***

New poll is up on the right sidebar. Go vote.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Join the Fan Club

I don't have much update to be honest.

For those who don't know yet, I have just recently started teaching at a high school. Well, its my 4th week now and I have built a very strong rapport with my student - some, too good in fact. 

Some of my students decided to create a Facebook Page for me, which is kinda cute and funny.

I've got students (both males and females) hitting on me in their naive and childish ways. If that's not bad enough, the deputy principal asked me to watch out because "some of the girls have some serious stuff going on for you and Nick." FML.



Nick's my colleague who's 21 and we're both prac teachers from the same university. We've been hanging out quite a bit lately, mainly because we're both two of the loudest and happiest teachers around. Everyone else is just always grumpy and agitated. Nick's a metrosexual and ridiculously good looking.

***

Nathan hasn't been feeling too well, and he's been away at a conference and currently traveling which mean I don't get to speak to him much. He's also been having a hard time, which kinda disturbs me. Hmm.. It seems childish but its weird how one significant person's well-being can affect your own life so much. Ha! I actually miss him.

I've received quite a few emails recently, so here's a shout out to Dean for his courage - what you did is incredibly brave and is a huge step into something that could potentially change your life for the better for the rest of your life.

To Ethan who hasn't been doing well lately. Mate, you've been juggling quite a bit so its always good to take a break and just find some me-time to recuperate. :)

To In Search Of for his very beautiful writing and his shout out to me. I love reading In Search Of because he is always rather honest in what he write and he string their life in words really well.

And Bold for making a whizz-bang comeback to blogging which I have a feeling it is going to last only for a week and then he's going to run hiding in his anti-social shell again. :P The challenge is on, mate.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicago: Accidentally In Love

I've been either too tired or too sick over the past week - spending 4 days coughing my lungs out and 2 days feeling sorry for myself with a fever. I'm well now. You've waited patiently so here is the next part of the post.

So, in my previous post on Chicago, I mentioned that there was a delegate from Europe who was my housemate throughout the conference. Let's call him Nathan. He came on the second day and my first impression was, he's goddamn flippin' cute! He was one of the cutest guys at the conference. Second impression, he's a charmer. He's very smooth talking. He attracts everyone around him with his wit and stunning look. He has no problem with the ladies, I can tell you. He has messy dirty blond hair and is very much like a hippie surfer. It's hard not to feel attracted to him. It's funny that we both clicked after a few hours of meeting each other. It was easy talking and hanging out with him, even when talking about sex with girls.


Yes, he was straight. It was one of those moments where we go, "Damn, he's stunning but straight". He was bragging about the girls he's fucked and he even went as far as, "once you've fucked a Brazilian girl, no girls can top that". And quite obviously, he has.

On the first night, whilst in bed and feeling kinda drunk he asked from the other side of the room if I was gay. By now, I was quite used to his wicked sense of humour. He can be mean at times so I just said, "You're gay. Go to sleep". He was slurring, laughing and making mean jokes that I was gay. I just ignored him and soon, we both were asleep.

On the third day, we had the day off and we both decided to train it down to the city to meet the other guys but after lunch we went our own ways. Nathan and I decided to walk around all the tourist attractions and also just randomly around the city. He asked me some of the weirdest questions like if I was gay or not. Initially, I changed the topic but alas, I admitted I was bi and gave him my take on sexuality. He was cool with it.

As the day went on, I just disliked him more and more because I really don't get his mean jokes! He can be mean and rather inappropriate and I totally didn't dig that! It was actually frustrating and I am not a happy camper when I am hungry, tired/sleepy or without coffee - worse if combined. We even stopped talking for a moment but in the end, after a $1 burger at McDonald's and a sundae, we're buddies again. We trained it back and barely made it to opening reception.

After the reception, some of us hit the bar but I have forgotten to bring my passport so I was allowed in but not allowed drinks. Being the rebel that I am, I was stealing drinks when the guard wasn't noticing but who knows there were more than 1 so after chugging nearly a pint, I was kicked out. I walked home with a few friends and went straight to bed. Within 10 mins of being in bed, Nathan burst through the door excitedly with a girl. They both literally dragged me off bed and brought me to a house party down the road. It was a mad party - nude guy, very drunken girls, beer pong, flip cup, keg stand, etc. You get the idea.

It was from that night we became a lot closer. We were both rather loud and have a rather wicked sense of humour. We were both popular but admittedly, he was a lot more popular than I was. Everyone knows that we're both close and some people saw bromance going on between us but we just brush it off. We kept each other updated on our plans, and everyday, after the conference, we would go to parties or dinners together.

It was around the 4th or 5th day that I started realising that I always keep an eye out for him whenever we have break - during the workshops, we usually attend different sessions so I don't see him.

On my second last night in Chicago, we were both drunk and he was lying in my bed. We were both just chatting like usual and giving each other shit. He was lying face down with eyes closed. In a spur of drunken action, I move closer and put my hand on his back. He pushed my hand away, but I would put my hand back - just to give him the shits. I wasn't trying to seduce him or anything - I knew he was straight. We both just enjoy pushing each other's buttons and trying to outdo each other in annoying the other person, and I know how gay-related action can annoy him.

Surprisingly, after a few time trying to push my hand away and giving me the shits and insults, he gave up. And not remembering much details, one thing led on to the other, we then cuddled and kissed. I was so surprised I was out of this world - this is the man I thought was gorgeous and straight! I really didn't want the night to end because I kinda knew it was going to be a one night thing. I was wrong.

From then on, he was incredibly nice to me - very different from his usual mean attitude. He was always within sight and I avoided talking to him all day in case someone suspected anything since we were both already so close. My final night, also the last night of the conference, at the party, he hooked up with a chick and throughout the entire night, he had at least 3 girls literally stuck to him and was all over him - and one persisted in getting him in bed with her. I was glad he didn't entertain that thought. One girl was so persistent it took us nearly an hour to get rid of her and Nathan had to hide in the bathroom.

That night, we just cuddled in bed, tried to soak up as much of each other as possible and just be in the moment - both knowing that this could be the last time we see each other in a long, long time. He was quite upset.

Saying good-bye was the hardest and tearing my eyes off him for the very last time as I walked into the airport and him walking back into the car was absolutely heart-breaking. It wasn't until when I got back to Australia and managed to gather my thought that I realised I might have actually fallen in love with this guy. It was one of those WTF moments - because I have not "fallen in love" with anyone in a rather long time. Mostly, because I don't allow myself to. It was scary because I don't like falling in love. It can make me less productive and it is one of the few things that can tear me to shreds and I hate that. I love being in control and I don't do risky "business".

It's also hard because I am scared of losing him, of him hurting me and I am very scared of ruining our friendship. But so far, he has been one of the best person in my life at the moment. He makes me feel special - actually, very very special. He has his ways of making my day better and he'd tell me things as it is, something that I appreciated very muchly. He tells me he loves me, he tells me when he's not happy and he'll tell me his honest opinions when I ask him. He a very special boy to me. I know its hard for him struggling to work out what this feelings mean to him - especially feeling for a guy.

Since then, we both continue to email daily and Skype as much as we can. We try arranging to see each other soon but nothing is secured yet. So yeah, now this post would make sense if you were wondering what it was about.

***

- I am the first guy he's hooked up with amongst the many many girls he's hooked up with, including his Brazilian sex goddess.

- I broke up with my boyfriend. It was mutual and we were both heading different ways - he's heading back to America, I want to stay here for now. And in terms of life endeavours as well, we both have different opinions.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When the Sky Falls

Well, ok, not really - the sky's not fallen yet.

I know I promised the second part of the Chicago post but I have been absolutely flat out lately. I just wrapped up a week of campaigning like mad raising money to build a place for a group of kids to call home in a school in Tanzania and I've just started teaching which takes up pretty much all the time I have. Throw in some housemates time, birthdays, catch ups and a social life, I feel like I'm being flung in the air trying to catch a few breaths every now and again whenever I can.

But I promise you it wouldn't be long before I write that entry.


Here's a shoutout to everyone whose hurting, stressed and having a tough time right now. My thoughts are with you and I hope that you'll take good care of yourself. If needed, remember, I am an email away, and in this case, every other blogger as well. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicago: The Place

I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of comments and love from you guys in my last post. I am not even kidding you when I say overwhelmed!
Thank you so so much Nic, Dzyan, Mr. Urs, Phunk Factor, Taylor, Aek, bK, bold (you bugger) and Mr Not-Very-Anonymous. :) I really, very much appreciate your comments whether on Twitter, emails or on here because it let me know that I am not talking to an empty space. :)
***

After an incredible time in Atlanta, meeting some of the most inspiring people I've ever met, I packed up my bag at 5.00am and headed to the airport. I spent the entire night talking to a group of people who are doing amazing things in their own right - one founded a very innovative and powerful website / platform for global engagement and the other, founded an organisation that has saved at least 200 lives of children in developing countries. 
So, with only 2 hours nap, I arrived in Chicago feeling rather disoriented and freezing cold! I was picked up from the airport, drove to Evanston where I met a few other International delegates and driven to one of the organising committee's house to have a nap. I had a 2 hours sleep before I was woken up to meet with the other organising team. We then headed into the Loop (the city centre) where we were to spend 2 nights.


I spent the first 2 days in Chicago visiting the tourist spots and working with a few different local non-profit organisations. We took the loop, the 'L', river taxi and we went from a Mexican neighbourhood to a Chinese neighbourhood. It was all really interesting and because we were all International delegates, it was a really good experience overall.


Chicago is an amazing city. Other than the very unpredictable weather, I would say it would be my favourite city after San Francisco, and one of the cities I would definitely choose to live in. The skylines are like no other (its an architectural explosion), the city was beautifully lined with flowers and plants, and the lake just makes the city a whole lot more beautiful.


On the first day, we went around the city - to the Bean, Millenium Park, walked around the lake and took the river taxi - the Pilsen neighbourhood, Chinatown and then bowling.


On the second day, we went to the Hull House at the University of Illinois, Evanston where we volunteered to tutor high school students in an after-school program which was very interesting, and then we headed to a pizza place for Chicago-style pizza - which wasn't really that nice to be honest.

 Chicago-style pizza

Chicago also holds a very special place in my heart because on the second day, we have a delegate from Europe who has been living in South America for the past year. Blonde messy hair and very much like a hippie surfer style kinda guy, he was the cutest boy amongst most, if not all, of the delegates. Brett can testify that he is indeed cute. He is a very special boy and I will explain why in the second post.

We were both probably the loudest and bubbliest of the bunch, so not surprisingly, we stood out easily amongst all the other delegates. We later found out that we actually are staying together with our lucky host! On the third day, we both headed into the city and checked out the Skydeck - tallest building in the world, walked around the planetarium, aquarium and around the area. We also went through a few parks that I don't know the name of, before we headed back into the city and was late for the opening banquet. At the dinner, I met the third housemate who became one of my closest friend and eventually, my American girlfriend. Don't drop your jaw - it's a long story.

The 5 days conference started from there and everyday, it was workshops after workshops. Each day, after the program has wrapped up, we'll head to parties after parties. I was literally drinking every single night! And I attended two frat parties, which was a VERY interesting experience. Compared to the Australians, we definitely lose hands down with drinking games and craziness, however, when it comes to alcohol, I think the Americans are pretty bad. All beers have a lot less alcohol in the U.S. and so, it throughout the 5-6 nights of drinking, I wasn't really drunk at all.

After 8 days in Chicago, I packed my bag at 3.00am, hugged my American girlfriend goodbye and was driven to the airport at 3.40am with 6 people in the car and a warm pair of hands holding mine. Apparently my American girlfriend cried like a baby after I left. I flew into LA where I was in transit for 12 hours before my flight back to Australia.

I had amazing time in Chicago, overall - it was mega difficult saying goodbye after such an amazing experience and when I was still on the high. It broke my heart quite a bit to say goodbye to some of the people that I have become so close with. Bidding farewell to all the amazing memories - the drinking games, the fun late nights, the early wake up calls, finding love, getting an American girlfriend, learning some new and highly valuable stuff from the conference and most of all, the inspiring people I met at the conference. Oh, this post has been so difficult to write - as you can tell from the lack of eloquence.

***

Next post will be the second part to Chicago: Finding Love. This is the reason why Chicago holds such a special place in my heart.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Shits Happens

I would blog about Chicago right now but I am just not in the mood. It's funny how little things can keep me awake all night and put a downer to my otherwise fantastic day.

Yesterday, I was having one of the most relaxing days since I was back in Borneo three months ago and it was all well until I opened my work email and there it was, an email from my new supervisor. I started working with her this year and I was totally excited about what we were going to do together but she has been too busy to even answer a few of my emails and my questions, hindering me from proceeding with the projects. When I got back from America, I emailed her to ask her for progress and she replied with an email about me not letting her know that I was away.

I admit that I didn't tell her I was away because I was in a rush, but she follows me on Twitter and would've known, and secondly I couldn't have done anything without her replies to my emails. She still haven't answered my emails replying with her classic lines of being busy and will get back to me asap.

Yesterday, her email was to a few of my colleagues with me CC'ed and she pretty much explained her increased workload and my extended disappearance has caused her inconvenience. It was uncalled for and it actually made me feel crap. I was going to reply explaining my circumstances, but in the end, I took the bullet and just apologised for my disappearance and am happy for someone else to take over the project if deemed needed. Sucks balls. %^&*

It's something so petty but I hate being wrong or wrongly accused. I try to uphold my own values and I don't think I have failed and it sucks to be accused like that. I actually didn't sleep well all night just thinking about it - its so stupid yet I couldn't control it! Hmm.. And I had to pretend I was happy all day. I hate being such a perfectionist sometimes. And reading this just makes me sound rather immature, but fuck you for judging if you are.



Rant over - hope I can move on after letting this out of my system.

I am probably quitting the job after this month.

On another note, comments have been far and few so I'm just wondering if you guys are still reading and not commenting or is there a reason for the lack of comments? Like, if everyone hates me now. Eeks!

Also, if you want me to like link you on the blogroll list, let me know. I don't bite, promise.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Atlanta

Atlanta has the most complicated airport system, and the slowest airport security I have to say. The first thing that struck me when I arrived in Atlanta was the Southern accent! It is a weird experience because usually, the only place we hear a Southern accent is on TV, so that was a funny experience!

I have to admit I didn't do much in Atlanta because I was there for only 4 days and I was stuck in a 4 star hotel the whole time! I was at a conference and the conference goes until late in the evening usually; however, I did meet some really awesome, awesome people at the conference - some of which I have been working in collaboration with at the moment.

It was a tech conference and mainly for professionals, so the majority of people there are obviously well-established and rather "old" so it was nice to meet a few young faces.

On the first day, I chatted with this lady from a huge company that does job listings in the USA. I actually didn't know what she does initially. We just started chatting after I asked my friend what were those yellow stuff in the sandwich, which she overheard and replied that its a very Southern cheese. We went on to talk a bit more and later in the afternoon, she told me to come visit her at the booth, which I did and she handed me two tickets to the Atlanta Braves vs Chicago Cubs! I love free stuff - that was pretty cool since I've never got anywhere near to a baseball stadium before let alone baseball game.



It was a cool experience. I brought my friend along, and she brought me beer - guess what beer she bought? I know you Americans wouldn't be proud. I had Budweisser.




To set the record straight, Budweisser to Americans is like Fosters to Australia. Although Fosters is popular as an Australian beer, no one in Australia drinks Fosters! We don't drink Fosters, in fact, not a lot of Australians know about the existence of Fosters!

The closing of the conference was held at the World of Coca Cola which was an incredible experience. It's almost like a Coca Cola museum, except a whole load cooler. There's a 4D theatre, a screening theatre showing all the Coke ads from around the world, a museum and a tasting station where you can taste over 60 flavours of Coke drinks from around the world! The organizer also put on a band and had Atlanta's top patisserie chef to make desserts throughout the night! Oh, I got drunk too. :P

I spent the whole night on my last day talking to two incredibly inspiring people who were doing amazing things! One lady was raising money for kids with Congenital Heart Disorder in third world country to have surgeries and another developed a software that I believe will change a lot of organisation's ways of communication. Without any sleep, I packed my bag at 5.00am and left for the airport to fly into Chicago - one of the most amazing experience for many reasons!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

San Francisco

San Francisco is potentially one of my favourite cities in the world. After 2 days in Los Angeles, I took a bus up to San Francisco.



I was working at San Francisco (SFO), technically, so I didn't actually get to explore a lot of SFO. I did go out exploring every morning and at night, and on the weekends. SFO is possibly one of the cleanest cities and the only city where you actually see gays walk on the street freely! I have to admit I live 4 mins away from Castro, the gay capital of the world.

So, I was staying with my friend, who I was working for. He lives in a 3 storey house with an amazing view of the entire SFO.


At night, the living is actually a pretty magical place to be. Due to jetlag I was up at weird hours in the morning so often, I would make a nice cup of tea and just sit in the lounge.


The whole I was there, it was mostly cold and on some days, wet! So a hot cup of tea and a view like that was actually more than perfect! On good days, we get a view like this!


And this is only like probably 120 degrees of the view. Due to the height of the house, in relation to the other houses around, we get close to 280 degrees of views like that! Including the giant gay flag at Castro!

I did what most tourists would do - the Fishermen's Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge. Due to my laziness, I did both at once. So, armed with a 6 pack and a clam chowder from Fishermen's Wharf, my friend and I jumped on a boat and cruised to the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz, a "small island early-on served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison until 1963." taken from Wikipedia.


I also took a trip to Castro, since it was only 4 minutes from where I live. It's easy to misunderstand the suburb as a gay suburb. It doesn't feel that way at all, in fact, it was a pretty inspiring place to be despite it being wet day. It's almost like what an ideal world would look like. Apart from the gay flags on some shops, the whole place looks like your ordinary friendly suburb. People there were incredibly nice and you see more straight than gay people on the street. What makes it an inspiring place is both straight and gay couple were holding hands and doing what couples do! There were of course interesting characters (from the perspective of a foreigner), a typical sight in USA but overall, the place ooze with happiness and inclusiveness.

I visited the Castro Theatre and watched, something Hand Joe. I don't quite remember the title, but it was a good show. It's an experience I wouldn't forget - sitting in a threatre as old as my grandmother, showing movie projected from an old projector! Everything inside is so well-preserved you almost feel like you've been brought back in time.


I also managed to catch up with a few friends in San Francisco and made some others. Had a great walk around The Mission every morning in search for the perfect coffee and breakfast, had a meeting with the Community Manager from LiveJournal who introduced me to this very old-school place for breakfast. It's almost like out of the movie.

One thing that I definitely appreciate about America is the free flow coffee and huge portion of breakfast!

Oh, and I also ate at a restaurant, which apparently is the founder of the original Hawaiian Pizza, so that was pretty special. I am too lazy to dig out my notes to find the names of all these places. :P

Coming up, Atlanta, Chicago and a very special boy who is reading this blog right now! First person from my real-life who knows about my blog!

***

And I want to draw attention to James' comment on my previous post because I think its rather important information to know. Thanks, James!


It's actually called a "dishonorable discharge" and it's far worse than being fired. It means you're excluded from any military position ad infinitum. If future employers find out that you were dishonorably discharged, it's pretty much the blackest mark you can have on your record. Your eligibility for employment anywhere drops significantly.

A dishonorable discharge puts someone at the same level as traitors, cowards, and other such unsavory categories of people who fall short by not performing their military duties.

In no way should LGBT members who have always faithfully performed their duties be grouped with people that actually jeopardize our country and military through traitorous and spineless activity. If anything, LGBT personnel are some of the bravest and most loyal military personnel, serving their country loyally despite a hostile leadership. I salute all LGBT military personnel.
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