Rest In Piece

Life has propelled me into a new chapter of my life at such a break-neck speed that I haven’t had the chance to really slow down to let the woes of the world catch up to me. I can recall when I lost my aunt, my grandma, and then my grandpa – and how much I wished the world would stop spinning just for a brief second, but life cycles on. Often times, it feels as though your friends leave you in the dust to let you cope with things, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes that needs to happen in order for you to truly find healing.

We are such evanescent beings when it comes to the duration of the universe.
In the span of it all we are more evanescent than the flowers that bloom in the spring,
More evanescent than the ripple effect of a drop of water onto the surface of a pond;
More evanescent than the cool and refreshing morning dew;
And more evanescent than the mildly visible smoke that appears as the dew vaporizes.
I feel as though many of us forget about this.
We forget that our lives our finite
We forget that we’re not promised tomorrow,
Or today, or even yesterday;
Yet we’re still here.
Willing and able to experience life and all of its miraculous wonders.

People I’ve known, as well as people I’ve known indirectly
Have passed within the last few months.
Uncle Fred, Lynda Vanderbilt, Michelle’s dad,
Brittany’s mom, Alejandro’s grandmother and friend Philippe Nguyen
(And to the many more that I have failed to mention)
May your souls rest in piece
As well as remind us to cherish what we have
Prioritize our lives accordingly,
And enjoy every second Life has to offer us.

Stiff Upper Lip

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

- Ernie Harwell

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t shed a few tears over the course of the past few weeks as I thought about everyone I’m going to miss. For some reason, whenever I see other people start tearing up or breaking down, I have an almost innate trigger inside of me (thanks to societal norms that imply men shouldn’t cry) that prevents or hinders me from crying. Granted, I always try not to think about it for too long, otherwise I trigger the waterworks. Thankfully, I’m fully aware of the great opportunities and adventures that await me when I get to Japan and the new bonds I’ll be forming. It definitely won’t be easy moving away (again) but I know myself well enough that I’ll transition to my new way of life almost seamlessly.

There’s a saying I heard when I was a kid and it went along the lines of, “show me a man’s friends, and I will show you the man.” I pride myself in the variety of different people, perspectives and intellect of the people around me. Returning home after the Marine Corps, I didn’t think I’d create strong bonds with any of my fellow college students, but I am proudly mistaken.

  • Megan, Taran, Savannah, Jomi, Brittany, Andrew, and Michelle – you guys have been such a pivotal part of my life over the last 3-4 years that I’m awe-stricken at how tight our bonds have formed. I Love you, guys.
  • To Juan and my Mom, although we haven’t had the chance to really spend as much time together due to distance and my college courses, I’m just glad we had a few weeks in July to make up for that. I know you’ll do well in whatever you choose to do, Juan, but just make sure that you stick to your decision. Be decisive and don’t be afraid to communicate. I love you both with all of my heart!
  • To Pat, Robin, Kara, Kessa, Colton, Caroline, and grandma (Clara) – words can’t describe how much I’m going to miss you guys, but I already know that you will do everything in your power to come visit me, should I actually be in Japan for the long-haul. I’ll miss your company, your sound advice and knowledge on various topics, and our conversations about almost anything and everything. I love you guys, dearly.

This chapter of my life has allowed me to grow so much as a human being and as a Christian. I’ve created new lifelong bonds, nurtured long-term relationships, lost my grandparents, said goodbye to malignant and unhealthy relationships with people, increased my capacity for knowledge (to include Japanese), developed my hitch for photography, as well as a countless array of other things. It would be impossible to mention everyone that I want to thank, but know that if you’re still a part of my life that I am incredibly grateful!

Lastly, I feel it wouldn’t be “me” if I didn’t make this post ridiculously long, so for those of you that are reading this – I figure that I’d share some important life lessons I’ve tried my best to implement into my life that could very-well help you live a much more full and happy life.

  1. Don’t be selfish with your Love. Love with your entire heart, even especially when it’s difficult. You’ll eventually come to realize that most of the people that are difficult to Love, need it the most.
  2. With #1 in mind, don’t let people hold you back from who you are, what you want, or who you want to become. If you can’t come to love and take care of yourself, it will be close-to impossible to Love others.
  3. Spend some time alone and get to know yourself. Pray, meditate, ponder… whatever you need to do – do it.
  4. Smile and smile often. I like to think that even when you’re on the phone with someone, they can tell when/if you’re smiling.
  5. Have respect for yourself and give others the same respect. Respect is earned and is not an entitlement.
  6. Don’t always choose to do what’s easy. Adversity is a blessing in disguise.
  7. Be Yourself. Some people might be repelled, but you’ll also attract the right type of people too.
  8. Lastly, (I have so many more but am running out of time) surround yourself with people that don’t look like you, think like you, or share the same beliefs as you. Once you do this, you’ll come to find that beneath our beliefs and fears – we’re all the same.
Link

My Last Post for a While?

My roommate is moving out tomorrow, so I probably won’t be with internet again (with exception to my phone) until I’m in Japan. Also, my phone will not be working on the day of my flight (Saturday, 8/2) so this may be the last opportunity I have to address most of you.

Thank you for all the good times and all the great memories I’ve accumulated over the past 4 years of being back home. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to meet new people, to have grown as an individual, as well as to have gotten to know a whole lot of you so much better while being back in town. Unfortunately, (or is it fortunately?) it seems like Life has propelled me to a different part of the world for the next 2-5 years of my life. I already know that I’ll be back next summer to renew my US driver’s license, as well as to attend an awesome party my friend wanted to throw for me before I left, but none-the-less, it will be rough not seeing and interacting with most of you for at least a year. In any case, this has been a dream of mine for years and I’m excited about this great opportunity to teach eager young learners, as well as to grow as an individual in the upcoming years. I know that deep inside, this is the type of opportunity my grandparents and mother set out for me and my family to accomplish for ourselves when we left the Philippines, and I will do everything I can to honor my mother and grandparents throughout the process.

At any rate, I’ve taken the liberty to create a new blog which I will use once I’m in Japan which will document my life as a foreigner, as an ALT, and as a tourist of Japan and southeast Asia; so feel free to bookmark it or subscribe to my posts if you feel the need: GaijinNoKeiken

Much Love.
– Lenny

  • Change is a part of Life and happens to everyone.
  • Change is an opportunity for me to grow.
  • Change brings new people, new opportunities and new perspectives.
  • Change helps strengthen my self-reliance, inner fortitude and inner faith – telling me I can handle anything.
  • Change is not a punishment.
  • Change reminds me to let go and surrender more to Life.
One-Republic-Native
Video

Counting Stars

OneRepublic – Counting Stars

I just listened to this song for the first time, yesterday, and although I can’t fully grasp what the song is trying to convey, there are two verses in the song that I can relate to.

  1. “Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive.”
  2. “Everything that drowns me, makes me want to fly.”

The first verse actually reminds me of the 4th of July in 2009, when I went skydiving with friends. I was excited to finally get the chance to do it, but once they opened the doors to that plane, I was terrified. Regardless of the matter, I crossed my arms to make an ‘X’ in front of my body as my tandem jumper counted us down from 5,000 feet up in the sky. Instead of saying ‘3’, however, we leaped out of the plane and I started to fall. It was quite disorienting at first, but the view and the overall experience was incredible. I believe that it’s through this experience that I enjoy taking calculated risks, because at the end of the day we have to seize the day (carpe diem) and allow us to feel ‘alive’.

The second verse is something that is a bit closer to my heart, as I’ve always had a deep-seated passion for feeling ‘free’. As a kid, I had dreams where I flew, and in some cases I consciously knew that I was dreaming, but continued to do it anyway. It’s been years, perhaps even decades since I’ve had dreams of flying, but I can tell you that I don’t like feeling ‘trapped’ or tied down to a single place, object, or thing. I enjoy feeling… free.

I’m sure this has all been somewhat too personal or what-not, but what else is a blog for? In summation, I think I’m drawn to this song primarily for those two sentences than anything else. The end.

To Become An Educator

This video nearly brought me to tears. Kudos to the teachers, staff and this student’s fellow classmates for helping him to overcome his stammering, and allow him to find his voice. I don’t believe education is limited to what is taught in the classroom; rather it’s when a student comes to realize his or her fullest potential.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
― William Arthur Ward