Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Friendly Frenzy .

Over the course of the next week, most students' heads at Clemson are filled with what they are supposed to know for their finals, dreams of summer, talk of upcoming plans and what they are going to do after they recover from their drastic sleep deprivation. But not mine. I've begun already to feel like I'm a ghost here, despite the fact I haven't taken one step towards home yet. More importantly though, are the people that I might very well never see again.

How do you even begin to comprehend that? Friendships cultivated and fostered over the course of two, three and four years; does it all just become forgotten at the end of all things? Thanks for the memories and such? I'd like to think that it doesn't. In fact I refuse to let that happen. Because while in high school I was inclined to let people fall by the wayside (let's be honest, they tried less than I did and I was frustrated), I've met too many amazing people that have affected me in some really awe-some ways (this is foreshadowing, there's going to be a post about you amazing people!).

Today, I ran into so many people that I just haven't seen in quite some time. And that was awesome! Catching up, chatting, talking about future plans. Even more awesome are the friends who go out of their way to spend time with you, grab a bite to eat with you, or milk every last second together up because they know full well that you'll be moving to the other side of the country.

I've been telling everyone that my door is always open at Oregon, and it is! I'm not sure how many will make it out there, whether for cost, forgetfulness, or just distaste at the idea of leaving the Southeast (paha, small crack at Southerners) but I hope that a good number of people do actually decide to come visit (or at least make their way out to the Northwest). Now, it's awfully late and I'm exhausted, but I may very well continue this tomorrow!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Giving Up .

I'm tired of hearing the pleas, the excuses, the "it wasn't you"'s. It happens time and time again, and I'm so sick of it. And no matter how much you tell others, or how much you tell yourself that it won't affect you, it will. Your future will hold skepticism and distrust, and that feeling of uncertainty when someone bares all and confesses their feelings for you. It's not a person I'd want to be, rather I don't, and I haven't. But I can feel myself getting there. To a point where I'd rather lose the opportunity than lose my heart again. Too often is it put back in place only to be ripped out again.

I'd like for it to be sewn in one day. Stapled shut. Never to be disturbed again. Is that too much to ask?

One day.

Writers Write. Right?

Pretty much anyone who's "made it" in the literary industry will tell those aspiring up-and-comers that if you want to get serious about writing that you need to do it everyday. You can't only write when you feel like it, or when you feel inspired, or when you decide you have the time to sit down and do it. It has to be all the time.

I wouldn't really consider myself a writer (though one day maybe) but I will say that writing / blogging daily is soooo not easy. When I first started a blog a few years ago, I knew that I wanted it to be an everyday thing. I felt like I had so much to say, and I did and do -- but often am not really sure of where to begin things. I also often have a tendency to ramble on about things completely different from the main point I'm trying to make (for real... happens all the time). And yet despite the difficulties of writing daily, I still do my best to do it. As it is I've already had to take two hiatuses due to schoolwork, but that's life and it happens and I know i'll make it back up somehow.

Writing, in my opinion should be something you love. And naturally, if you force yourself to do it all the time, there is a possibility that you won't be able to spend time on the other things that you want to do. It may even lose the magical appeal that was present that lured you in to that profession in the beginning.

And so while I will continue to attempt to write daily, maybe you all have some comments about how you write. The floor is open!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Year's End .

Well, for all of those wondering where I've been the past few weeks, architecture has been taking over my life. It was literally wake up at 5am, head to school, and work all day with the exception of meals. Then head home by 11pm and go to bed (or often times don't sleep). It was a whole lot of hell to make it through and I really didn't finish to the point of my own standards, but I still feel that I did well enough. This summer, I'd really like to take the opportunity to go back and flesh out all aspects of the project, and really go back and create some class renderings too. We'll see how much I actually stick to that.

Just before my review the other day, as I was making notes of what to talk about during the presentation, I wrote in all caps on the top of my page "last undergrad architecture review ever!" -- that pretty much hit home. It's wild to think that it's the very last one! I can't even imagine what it would be like to be entering the work world now. I'm actually really thankful that I'll have two more years to go in school before I enter the real world. My journey is just beginning!

In the fall, in case you missed it, I'll be moving almost literally from the east coast to west coast, from New Jersey all the way to Oregon. 2900+ miles. It will be the farthest I've ever lived from home (save for living in Europe for 5 months) but I couldn't be more thrilled to move out there. I honestly wish I could skip summer and just get to the school out there! A beautiful area, a land of opportunity both career-wise and biking and snowboarding -- and some beautiful countryside! I'll be living with a good friend from Clemson, and hopefully, with a new four-legged friend (more on that to come).

Life over the next two weeks will be great; I have a few things to finish up, but other than that, life is grand. Finals week is my most favorite week of the year -- no work for me! Architecture reviews always finish the week before.

Regardless, for those architecture kiddies that still have reviews, best of luck to you. And all people taking loads of finals this week, best of luck to you as well! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I've got lots to make up on the blog here, so expect a flurry of posts over the next week or so!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Confronting Your Feelings .

Another wonderful post from the Le Love blog, this one talked about "hoping for an us." Bearing your heart and soul to someone you see a potential future with is never an easy thing to do. People wish and dream that things would happen without them having to take a risk, without them having to share a large piece of themselves, and without any heartbreak.

But what would a life be with no risk, with no chance, with no luck? Boring, uncomplicated, there would be no growth, and no lessons learned. And so we take chances. We test our luck. We accept risk and live life without looking back. Because that's what you have to do.

The point when your emotions get the better of your judgement is an interesting one. It's the do or die point where you profess your admiration and affections for someone and hope that the feeling is undeniably reciprocated. With such a tempestuous turmoil going on in your body, you feel as if your heart and your mind are playing tug of war. The pressure builds and you know the likelihood is that you are going to blurt out your feelings at the most inopportune of moments.

And at that very moment, you feel embarrassment, relief, hope, and fear all at the same time. Embarrassed as the person looks back at you with this confused look, unsure of what to say or how to feel. Relieved, that they finally know. Hoping that they'll smile, open their arms and accept you into their life, mind, body and soul. And of course, terrified, that they won't.

Love is but a constant battle of the mind. We trick ourselves into believing that without the one we love we are nothing; without them how can we go on. We lead ourselves to believe that this one person is destined to be with us and us with them. For that is how it is meant to be and always was.

The hardest part is that there is always more to say. More questions. Thoughts. Discussion needed. And yet it always hangs in the air like an unfinished thought, like a sentence trailing off before you can hear the parts that clarify the meaning to its full extent. But often that's what feelings and emotions become. Strings of life, torn and frayed at the ends. Vibrance and excitement, but also anxiety and melancholy.

And despite all the potential mess, the potential for fractured friendship, and the potential for confusion and hurt, we still try. And we still pour ourselves out. Because we have to. And because the avenue for love is worth it.

Ride Oregon Ride .

During one of my procrastination periods the other day, I began looking at a lot of travel videos relating to the state of Oregon. If the reality there is anything like it is portrayed in the videos, I'll literally be living in Heaven on Earth there. With such a great cycling community, bikeways and trails galore, mountains and gorgeous scenery along with a moderate climate, what more could you ask for?

The guy in the video is so right. Life on a bike moves by just slow enough for you to see the scenery, smells the smells, feel the wind on your face and the rush and hum of the tires on the road. I hope one day that I might find a group of guys to go do this with, or even a lady that enjoys the sport as much as I do, from mountain biking to road riding to casual cruising. Man, am I excited to get out to Oregon.

the BEST things about love .

I follow this blog called Le Love, and every so often, they just inspire me to write. Despite recent events, I'm left feeling inspired and want to just write. So here's a list (and Lord knows I haven't written a list post in ages) of the best things about love.

1. Holding hands while you're driving.
2. Still getting butterflies everytime you call up your S.O.
3. Waking up every morning to someone who loves you.
4. Talking all night, and still never running out of things to say.
5. Saying to yourself every day that you can't believe how lucky you are.
6. Sharing everything from religion to family values to future dreams.
7. Writing and receiving those little notes, emails and texts that get you through the day.
8. Missing someone -- and knowing that you'll be reunited soon.
9. Sharing life with each other -- accomplishments, successes and careers.
10. Having an unlimited amount of encouragement, motivation, support and friendship.

These things just scrape the surface, and I'm sure that the list could go on forever. It really is awesome when you find someone that you click with and connect with on so many levels. What would you add? What are your favorite things about being in love?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beginning of the End .

Here we go; last couple weeks of the semester! Two weeks until final review, then the following week is finals, and the following week after that is a free week before graduation. That is one serious countdown. Called my parents tonight to talk about taxes and life, and they both were like "you certainly have a lot on your plate." You can say that again!!

One step at a time; I'll get there. Thank you all for the support!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Loft Living .

Given that this topic is of the architectural nature, I'll probably also post this same post up on Life as an Architecture Student -- so don't be fooled if you read that blog too; they are in fact the same post.

Now! On that note. I follow a ton of groups on LinkedIn (probably far more than I would ever need to in order to stay relatively up to date on things. Each morning I usually get about 15 emails or so with updates from the various groups and firms and companies I follow on LinkedIn about new topics added for discussion, or previous topics that have been added to. While I used to be relatively active on the forums, school has begun to take precedence over reading articles and forums (even though those things might help me stay up to date on knowledge in my field!).

Recently I encountered an discussion about loft apartment interior design and was intrigued by what it had to offer. While it was hardly a full article, including basically just a photo with a short blurb above, it got me thinking about what it's like to live in a loft-style apartment.

In my search for a place to live while I attend the University of Oregon for the next two years earning my Master's in Architecture, I've come across a few loft apartments. It is my understanding that the term "loft" can be taken one of two ways, or even a combination of the two. The first is that it is simply the last thing in the building before you hit the roof. This usually means you are either in a finished attic, usually have higher ceilings, and of course have some great views (assuming that the building is a moderate number of stories tall).

Then there is the other viewpoint, which is the one I think of when I hear the term "loft". This would be a one story apartment with a two story ceiling, where a part of the first story is covered by a lofted space. The whole concept of this is awesome to me. You give a person the best of both worlds; a semi-private second floor that is your bed space, in addition to comfortable living spaces. However, your sleeping area is not in a secluded box, but rather still lets in the ambiance and light from the public space.

If I ever get the opportunity to design my own house, I would love to put in an office loft; something that is my own personal design space that is entirely my own. While it's likely that this won't happen for quite some time (if at all, eh?), a guy can still dream, right?

What are your thoughts on lofts?

Wise Words .

In the past week and a half or so, I came across a quote from Richard Branson that I absolutely loved. It was the perfect thing to read, and just made total and complete sense. As it is, Richard Branson is one of the people that I look up to, as I find his motivation and drive to be inspiring. At the same time, I love how he takes time for a personal life, and explores every avenue to make work fun! Honestly, how could work not be fun when you've got your own jet and a private island? There is a great importance on spending time with family, even when you have career commitments, and that's a great realization.

Here are some great words to live by, courtesy of Richard Branson:

"If you're hurt, lick your wounds and get up again. If you've given it your absolute best, it's time to move forward."

- Sir Richard Branson

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pressure .

I'm sorry I haven't been as active the past few days. Believe me, I still intend to read all of your blogs and keep up with your lives. I'm starting to feel the pressure of the end of the semester for sure. There's still a lot yet to be done... just need to stay focused; something that I am not the best at. Doing my best!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Forgotten Pages .

Out of the billions (or maybe trillions) of web pages out there, ever think about just how many are left away and forgotten? Think about how fast opinions and pop culture changes. Every think about musical artists from the 90's? People like Mandy Moore and Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth. What the heck happened to them? Like many of these webpages, they still exist, but barely anybody knows it. It gives a whole new definition to the phrase "15 minutes of fame."

I was checking up on some old blogs that I follow the other day and a few of them had that "this blog has been removed" thing. That's always kinda sad to me in a way. It's like the blog died and the person drifted away with the wind, never to be heard from again. I've put so much into this and I love it so much that I don't know if I can ever give it up. And how amazing would it be if I literally ended up with chronicles of my life by the end of my years. Pretty cool stuff.

Only time will tell where the blogging will take me. But I sincerely hope that I never leave Simply, Life to the dogs, and that it never becomes one of those forgotten pages.

Employee - Employer Relations .

Over the past few months I've been in a process of designing a website for a client. It's something a little different than I was used to, because I've been on the PR and marketing end of my other boss, not so much the designing part. However, I'm pretty computer savvy and I'd like to think I have a bit of a design sense when it comes to spatial representation and composition.

Well, I had the second to last meeting with my boss today, and things went well and I felt like I showed her a lot of stuff and was able to answer all of her questions. A few hours after I got home, I got an email from her that basically just said thank you, and said that she had forgotten to tell me how impressed she was with all of the things that I was doing with the website.

I mean, damn, that kind of validation is just awesome. A quick thank you can mean the world to someone. Tell them how you really feel, make a difference in their day today. It can go a hell of a long way.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easy Does It .

Tonight, was a wonderful night spent with friends. Sure, we may have been working and catching up on things we needed to do, but it was nice and relaxing. On the way home I listened to a group called Common Market, and rediscovered them all over again. Doesn't get better than this; this is going to be my medicine for the next few days.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Answer .

Today I made the official decision to go to University of Oregon for grad school. It is, like much of this semester, terrifying and exciting all at the same time! Even more scary was getting on the UCLA website and declining their offer -- "You are about to decline your offer of admission to the University of California Los Angeles. Are you sure about this decision?"

.....ehhhhh uhmmmm.... okayyesi'lldoitrealfastbeforeisecondguessmyself... *clicks* Phew. That was hard.

So that's where I'm at. I'll be sending out the letter tomorrow with my deposit in it. It's truly crazy stuff. However, with all that said, I'm really excited to have the decision complete. I'm so honored to have been offered a position at the school, and really think it will be an amazing place for me, academically and otherwise! I'm excited at the cultural changes, climate adjustments, and the program there. And, from what I've seen and heard, it's an absolutely gorgeous campus to boot, not to mention I'll finally be able to live in a city!

First classes are still far away, but the excitement already is building steadily. Just a few more logistical things to take care of, like applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship and finding a place to live! I'm gonna be a Duck!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Wednesday Weekly Ride .

Today me and a couple buddies initiated what I'm pretty sure will be a weekly group ride post-studio. We all are in the architecture major today, and as such, we all get out of class at 5:30, so there's not a ton of daylight left, but certainly enough to get in a short ride! For those not familiar with road biking, group rides are far more fun than riding by yourself. You're in that perfect single file line, 6 inches away from the guy in front of you, rolling along at a solid 20mph -- it's awesome. We also did Maw Bridge today, one of the (in my opinion) more challenging roads in the area. However though, despite my complaints when we were deciding whether or not to ride it, I did just fine! I'm not sure if that's because I am better shape that I was last year (which is quite possible, given my squatting ability currently), or that we just had some people to work with and keep you company. We also took the easier direction on it, which certainly helped.

I'm really excited about the road riding, and thankful to have some good friends to go out with. It makes the whole experience so much more enriching and I'm excited to find some guys in Oregon to ride with too (should be awfully hilly out there...). I'm thinking maybe on one of the future rides, I'll have to take the helmet cam and strap it to my bike maybe. Would be an interesting perspective, and much smoother than the footage I get while mountain biking. It's great to have found something that brings so much joy into my life, and nothing can beat the high you get after you finish, having exerted yourself and challenged yourself. Love it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Begin: Recovery .

I took the day today more or less to enjoy myself. After trying to forget everything and focus on studying for a test last night that I had this morning (which was not easy) I just sort of let the burden of school slide out of my mind. It was a perfect day out today -- the warmth of Spring on the doorstep. In my seminar class, we ended up taking a field trip out to the South Forest of Clemson, which includes much of the land that borders on the man-made Lake Hartwell. Being out on the dirt cliffs and just seeing the sun, the clouds, a perfect blue sky and hearing the water lap up against the edges was pure bliss. I will always be in awe of the beauty in the nature God created.

A good friend of mine offered to treat me to dinner tonight, after yesterday's events. We hit up the Chili's on campus, and ended up getting involved in life-talk conversation that carried us through about an hour and a half of the day. That sort of stuff is awesome -- it's nice to be able to talk about anything and everything.

I broke the news to my roommate today, and we ended up talking for awhile about relationships and life. While I intended to do some work tonight, and while my studio teacher actually expects something for tomorrow, I'm glad I took the time to just try to relax for a bit. I'm amazed I even did as well as I did on my marketing exam despite all that happened last night.

And so, page one of recovery is written. Tomorrow, I'll be back on to the normal blog posts; the deep thinking posts, the challenging questions and the occasional life update. And I'll continue to remember all the beauty in this world, and the amazing life I have been given to live.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Chapter Closes .

When you start a relationship with someone, there is always a pretty large risk inherent with the joy that comes with starting something off fresh. If things turn out badly can we still remain friends? Will I ever get hurt? Is this the person that's right for me? I think it's safe to say that everyone out there would love to find someone that they connect with on such a profound level that they wake up every morning and say to themselves, I can't believe this person is in my life.

But life is complicated, and things may not always work out the way you plan, and while it may suck, there isn't really much else to do but accept it. And so my friends, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you that a chapter closed in my life today. It was simply out of my control, and that's just the way it is.

The first thing I did was call my brother. He's the one who has been there for me forever, and we have talked about absolutely everything. It's not easy being on that end of things, being the person where you feel helpless and all you can do is say that you're sorry. But even just talking to him, I know that he shares my heartache and that no matter how little we talk we will always have that connection, that bond that only a brother can share with another brother. I know that if I ever needed him he would drop everything in a second to be there for me.

I have to say, that I'm somehow not angry, even though I didn't have a say in the matter. How could I be? I spent eight months with someone I found beautiful, inside and out, and who made me happy. I've never felt so connected to someone before.

And yet, being the religious guy that I am, I have to believe that God has a purpose for me. This Easter season, I made it a goal of mine to get back to praying regularly. I was beginning to feel a little bit lost in my spiritual journey, like I was going through all the motions but not making the connections that I really wanted. As we had been having some issues in our relationship, mainly that the communication was lacking and the distance was really starting to have an effect, I have been praying more, but still not as much as I would like. Just yesterday, during Easter mass, I used the individual prayer time in mass to say "Lord, I know that You have a plan for me. Regardless of my own desires and wants, I know that You put me here, and You can take it away. Be it not my will, but Yours, that finds its way into my heart. I give myself to You."

When relationships don't work out, it sucks. You hurt, your mind is preoccupied, and you just don't feel good. But as with all things, it is a learning experience. And I can't help but look back on everything and all that we made it through, and smile. We tackled long distance head on, starting to officially date only a few days before I left for South Carolina. In the almost eight months we were together, we probably only spent maybe one of them physically near each other. I learned how important communication is, how much I value honesty and trust, and how inspiring it can be when you have no doubts ever about your significant other. I re-learned the value of the little things -- cards, texts, emails, pictures; and how when you are separated from the one you love how even just being able to hold their hand and sit next to them means the world to you.

As you all also know, I've been making it a point to stay positive lately. To not dwell on my insecurities or shortcomings, or failures or mistakes, but remember that I can do anything, that I am a good person, and that I am growing all the time. It's cliché, but every cloud does have its silver lining. And while it's easy for me to say these things now, I know that in the coming weeks it will probably be one of the hardest experiences of my life to go through, no doubt. In fact, today was the one and only time in my life that I have ever shed tears over a breakup. But life is complicated, and we never know what's going to happen. Sometimes the cards fall in such a way that there is no end, but to start again.

Today, a chapter in my life ended. And while the blank pages I had planned to write in may very well always remain devoid of ink, I hope and pray that in the end, I can look back with nothing but positive thoughts of amazing times filled with joy, happiness, and love.

Friends, I want to thank you for being there. For those who religiously read, for those who comment and share their thoughts and advice, for those who have contacted me through emails, snail mail and more, for those who have given of themselves to a boy they barely know, I treasure you and I love you all. Please pray for me during this difficult time.
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