My Summer Bucket List & Short Notice

Hullo, world!

Life has been a bit hectic for me and as a result, I didn’t have enough energy to post this month…(Not to mention I went on an impromptu camping trip.) Although I’ve had my share of literally break-neck busy July, this July probably wins first place. I had to assess and then reassess my priorities, and even then, things sort of fell apart towards the end.

But enough of the doom and gloom! Today, I wanted to share a bit about the more “sunshine & sparkles” side of July and reflect on the things I could have done better. (I know, usually, this post is reserved for Afternoon Tea, but sometimes a change of pace might be good, IDK.)

i. my summer bu-jo & bucket list

One of the things that really worked out for me was creating a brand-new bullet journal for the summer! I started this in June. Already back then, I knew my summer would become hectic (2 uni summer classes/2 times/week + work on all the rest of the days = disaster, duh), so I wanted a map to help me stay focused on the things I wanted to see happen & also to rest. REST, by the way, is something you hunt down ruthlessly.

Some of the things on my summer bucket list that I absolutely loved doing are:

  • cleaning my bookshelves & making an inventory
  • listening to Brahm’s Requiem (Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45)
  • setting up my notion–daily hub, life hub, university pages, &c.
  • making acrylic photo key chains
  • going to a friend’s place for a sleepover
  • going on a picnic
  • going to the beach
  • starting my annual Tokyo Ghoul & Re: re-read
  • getting cool T-shirts from Hot Topic & UT
  • going to a ramen restaurant
  • starting a new bookstagramme account (@bookish_bishop)
  • summer playlist!!!
  • going on a mini-camping trip….

ii. mini-camping trip & fireworks competition 🙂

And yes, camping. For those of you who don’t know, one thing I loath about summer is the camping trip. Yes, we’re living in the great white north, no, that is not the reason for everyone to love spending long nights in nature. I had work and university and all that, so I really didn’t want to go…

But I’m glad I went.

(And for my mum who forced me to take a break.)

It was honestly one of the most refreshing and faith-inspiring camping trips I’ve ever had. We went with the homeschool co-op group my siblings are in, and I got a chance to lead games, listen to daily devotions by the dads in the group (and the teens!), and overall, had a blast. We went on a picnic by the beach on the last day, too, which was one of the highlights.

Also, we had our first fireworks competition in two. three years…and one of the participating countries was Japan!! Obviously, things couldn’t get better…

iii. going forward…

But then again, this month burnt me out. From the way my mental health took a nosedive (and from the fact I couldn’t muster up enough strength to write this month), I think it’s probably a good idea for me to take a break. I really don’t like how I haven’t been able to post consistently here this year, yet I guess it is a good time for me to think things over–what does posting on SJ Barnard mean to me?

Obviously, I love it whenever I can post here. But because of the way things have been in my life recently, I am not sure if I can be here all the time. Would it be okay for me to post a little more irregularly? Or is it time to take a longer break off? I want to keep blogging, but I don’t know if Saturday works for me anymore. Should I re-arrange my schedule so somehow I can keep blogging in there? And now that I know that my road with writing will probably be slower than everyone else’s, will it be okay to still call it an “author” blog??

*insert heavy silence*

These are some of the heavier questions on my mind. I don’t know all the answers to them, but what I do know is that writing sparks joy inside me. I genuinely want to keep writing even if it’s just me that reads it. And maybe, it’s okay to go from there.

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For the time being, I will take August off and see where God’s leading me to do. Thank you for being there even when I have not been able to “be here” consistently. Do let me know how your summer has been & I hope you continue to have a wonderful rest of the summer!

May Hitouts Notice

Hullo, everyone!

I’m here to put up a notice that I’ll be on a short hitout during May–and here are the reasons.

i. In which I get a new job

Yes, that’s right! I’m now happily working at a tutoring centre that offers anything from phonics to college prep (like the SATs and the ACTs). I love this job because I love studying and helping others find joy in it, but it’s a lot of work–and not to mention I have classes on Saturdays. So, until I get used to the routine and finish my training, I don’t think it’s realistic for me to be posting on Saturdays. And as you might know, Saturdays are special days for me–so I would like to continue blogging on that day. Hopefully, I’ll be back by the end of this month to tell you all about May in my Afternoon Tea post.

ii. In which I try to write. To the end.

Another thing I’m attempting this month is to finish my 0.5 draft of Osthauptstadt. I’ve been working on and off on this WIP, and I think if I push through, I might be able to finish this draft…

Which is kind of a big deal.

Okay, every WIP that has a tentative “The End” is a big deal, but this one especially–it was the WIP I started during the pandemic which sort of grew with me throughout that time. Also, I haven’t been able to see a WIP to the end in about three years. ( ; ›ω‹ )

So, (again), hopefully, I will be able to keep plugging away at my draft till I reach the end.

iii. In which I try to re-focus my total brand identity.

Recently, I found Notion, the dream online journal/planner/organizer thing I totally didn’t know I needed. While sorting out my tasks on there (like work, school, &c.), I realised it’s been a long due to taking a review on what I do here on the blog as SJ Barnard–and elsewhere.

I love blogging, and as it’s something that sparks joy inside me, I will continue doing it. But I think I need to reassess where I’m at and also have more cohesiveness on places like IG (which I disappear off from on a regular basis).

But overall, thank you for being an SJ reader & being patient with me as I figure things out! I will see you at the end of May. ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝♡︎

 April ‘22 Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good Afternoon!

Saturday is always like a Sabbath to me, and I’m always really thankful & overjoyed when the week reaches Saturday…it’s probably my favourite day of the week!

I was actually debating whether or not to write this post today because I have a midterm in the afternoon (on Saturday, I’ll add once again), and it’s my comp-sci one that I’ve been dreading since the start of this term. 

But. 

Instead of having another cram session, I’ve decided to let go & trust God…I’ve studied for it and done the best I can for it. I just have to trust in that. 

So here I am! I’m so excited to share my April with you…

-April Afternoon Tea ‘22 Setting-

Location: sunny garden with spring flowers

Tea: strawberry-rose-champagne, sakura-blossom, apple-vinegar elderflower

Offered with: sakura mont blanc, amazake-pudding, sakura cider jello

Bibliotheca 

I wasn’t planning to get a lot of reading down, and I was right–April was a slower reading month than usual. But I did read a lot of academic essays which was kind of fun on the retrospective. ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝

  1. Chinmoku (Silence) – Shusaku Endo
  2. Following in Van Gough’s Footsteps – Maha Harada
  3. The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik
  4. Why We Watch Anime – Ryota Fujitsu
  5. Reading While Black
  6. Kamen no Kokuhaku (Confessions of a Mask) – Yukio Mishima

Currently Reading: Subculture Literature Theory, The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard

Media 

I wholeheartedly endorsed the sakura-themed sweets and first-ever sakura blossom tea! (Also a fun fact: In Japanese elementary schools–or at least the one I used to go to–we have an unofficial sakura-catching competition. The person who catches the most sakura gets to eat it!) 

Music 

This month, I listened to a lot more music than I usually do. It’s probably because my stress level was record-breakingly high from exam seasons, IDK…

I also want to get into Black Pink for some strange reason? So, I’ve started listening to them…(But I wouldn’t say I know a lot about them yet! I’m like a neophyte-fan, maybe??)

Practising: The Rumbling, Sakamu, Miracle Link Ring!

Listening to:  King Gnu, Buckingham (Wednesday Campanella), Glue

Movie/TV Shows 

Because I was busy with uni (trying not to die, TBH), I didn’t have a lot of chance to watch movies or tv shows…

Except.

I

FINALLY

GOT TO 

SEE 

JUJUTSU KAISEN 0 IN THE THEATRES!!!!!!!!

(Okay, enough of this nonsense. But you get the idea.)

Manga/Anime

And, if you are familiar with the recent anime releases, Spy x Family has officially started! I’ve been a fan since the start of the serialisation, so this is a very historical and dramatic moment for me. Also, GOLDEN KAMUY IS ENDING. I still can’t believe it…But the good news is, Young Jump (Tonari no Young Jump) is offering a free reading from start to finish. So, if you can read Japanese, now is the time to go read GK 😉 

& yet another thing. (I know, there’s more??)

My dad (who also happens to be into anime) has recently lent me his login info for anime websites, so now, *inserts evil laughter* I have infinite access to it. After uni ends, I’m planning to go on a binge if I can evade my siblings… (꜆꜄•ω•)꜆꜄꜆

Writing Life 

How about a glass of apple-vinegar elderflower tea? I just love elderflower because it gives me that spring-summer vibes I am perpetually falling in love with. ꒰ ∩´∇ `∩꒱

This month was supposed to be a typing month (i.e. that time when I type up my handwritten manuscripts). Needless to say, it’s still got a long way to go…I think I only managed a few chapters of Woodstone? But then again Woodstone is insanely long??

Hopefully, I’ll get more time to type up my draft so I can either continue on with this draft and/or work on another WIP from May when I’m planning to do more “serious” writing. (   ¯꒳¯ )b✧

Academics 

Oh, and have you tried the amazake pudding? Amazake is a kind of rice wine without alcohol that’s typically served on Girls’ Day (March 3rd) in Japan! It has a distinct flavour and some people find it too singular a taste, but I personally love it, not to mention it’s super healthy for you. 

As you might have already surmised, April is the end of term & the end of my first year at university. (Which is totally unbelievable, btw.) 

Things I’m Glad That’s Over:

  • Comp-sci project. Like, so done with significant computing and everything. 
  • Poli-sci finals. I was pretty confident about this one, except my grades were not what I expected it to be. Oh well…
  • Arts Academic Essay. This one is a whopping twenty-page long academic paper on Austen’s novel form and Emma. I want to burn it if I can. 

Overall, I’m so blessed that I could spend a year filled to the brim with learning, new opportunities & new people. It’s sad saying goodbye to some of them but I hope to see them again (perchance) somewhere on the vast campus. Also, I’m taking courses during the summer so I won’t completely laze off & forget how to study. 

(´ฅω•ฅ`)チラッ

Lifestyle & Living

My mental health sort of deteriorated towards the end of this month (aka this week, because of finals & stuff) and it hailed a lot? Like, I think we had a week where it was hailing non-stop, then become sunny, then thunderstorm-y. It’s usually really nice in April so I was not expecting this bizarre weather but go figure. Other than that, the cherry blossoms were dazzling as they are every year and I (probably) got a job at a tutoring centre so things are okay. (You know, when all things considered.)

And that’s life for me 🙂

And they shall fight against thee, and they shall not have the mastery; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, that I deliver thee. (And they shall fight against thee, but they shall not have the mastery; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, and I shall keep thee safe.)

(Jeremiah 1:19, WYC)

Thank you for reading! How was your April? Is it spring where you live? (And if so, do you like spring?) What are some things that happened this month that was exciting for you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!