2000 Trip to Europe

This was my first trip overseas.  Our first stop was in Rome, Italy.  Glancing out the airplane I noticed that there were a lot of fields.  When we arrived at our hotel, the Sofitel, I was impressed with its luxury.  The luxuriousness of hotels is something that continued to impress me in future vacations to destinations overseas.  We took a taxi to the Sistine Chapel.  I noticed how majestic and ancient-looking all the buildings were.  We toured the large, amazing complex filled with religious, revered works of art.  The paintings are unquestionably beautiful.  Once we finished, we walked around the area, noticing the diversity of all the tourists/people who were there as well.  We continued to walk among various shops and scenic bridges, until we noticed that we were quite lost.  It must have been about a full hour we were lost, and then a taxi finally saved us.  The next day was the Colosseum.  This ancient building has an amazing and sometimes tragic history.  We walked around it, and there were also a lot of tourists there.  We then ambled our way through bustling shops.  I noticed much of the music I heard was a cool new techno sound.  The next day we visited the glorious Trevi Fountain.  It is absolutely romantic.  People were making wishes and tossing coins into the giant fountain.  There were plenty of professional photographers taking pictures of couples in love standing in front of it.  The statues among the fountain are also quite extraordinary and heroic-looking.

The next day, we flew to Barcelona, Spain.  The hotel was Avenida Suites.  I noticed how friendly most of the people around the area were.  We toured a Gaudi museum filled with the eccentric artist’s masterpieces.  Then we took a taxi to a wonderful park inspired by the works of Gaudi.  The park was hilly and colorful.  The next day, we visited a Medieval monastery.  The ride to the monastery was filled with beautiful landscapes and lush fields.  The monastery had impressive architecture, plenty of dark, large rooms, and gorgeous gardens.  From there we went on to visit the Sagrada Familia, which I have heard is still in the process of being constructed.  This incredible church has been in the process of construction since the early Twentieth Century.  It is designed with strong attention to detail.  The next day we toured an ancient fort and visited a nice beach close to the fort.

The day after that, we flew to Paris, France.  This is an amazing and romantic city.  Our hotel was the Louvre Hotel.  We took a pleasant stroll around the area and did some people-watching.  I remember seeing such incredibly beautiful cafes filled with fragrant flowers hanging among windows and fabulous desserts.  There were really nice gardens.  It seemed so much like a dream.  That same day we took a taxi to the Eiffel Tower.  On the tower there was a sign celebrating the new millennium.  I remember noticing that the tower was taller than I had expected it to be.  The next day, we toured the giant, impressive Louvre museum.  Of course, the main attraction there is the Mona Lisa.  Security was heavy (as it should be), and there were throngs of tourists trying to catch a peek at the famous painting.  When I saw it, I remember believing it was somewhat smaller than I had expected it to be.  It was still very spectacular.  There were also other amazing works of art at the museum.  The next day, we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral.  When we walked in, there were a choir singing, candles lit, and extremely high ceilings.  It really is a lovely cathedral.  We proceeded to walk around the area, seeing shops as well as the Seine River.  This was our trip to Europe that year.

Online Privacy

I have a few views on the issue of privacy in the online world.  When it comes to topics such as journaling or recording aspects of my life related to family and work, I generally don’t have a problem with the understanding that these issues are bound to be seen by others.  I know I have to be smart, though, in what I post online.  Some people don’t seem to be aware that once something is placed online, depending on the avenue, it might be stuck there forever for all to see.  It takes some research as well to know which websites tend to be more trustworthy than others.  Some online users have a not-so-well intention of taking one’s information and then messing with it.  This is why in topics related to very personal information such as passwords, usernames, pin numbers, and other security codes, I usually am much more vigilant in making sure that information is not seen by others.  Over the years I’ve definitely become more accustomed to the process of inputting information online while staying careful with regard to what should be seen and what shouldn’t.  The possibility of malicious activity being conducted from afar should always be taken into account.

Best Friend

When I was in my school-age years, I was enamored with the idea of a “best friend”.  After all, this would be the person my age who I could always confide in, go to parties with, laugh with, and just hang out with in general.  This would be the person who I could trust year after year, experience after experience.  TV shows constantly fed into me the notion that young people were always supposed to have this kind of person in their lives.  Thus, most of the time I ended up romanticizing the notion of a best friend, that one person who, more than anyone else, I could give the “crown” of friendship.  As I got older, I realized such a notion just isn’t completely realistic.  I have treasured every moment spent with my friends, through elementary school, middle school, high school, and beyond.  It just seems like we all have to move on at times.  People move.  People get married.  People become parents.  Our lives are changing all the time.  This isn’t to say I’ve forgotten the special times we shared becoming older.  I will always consider some people to be my friends even though situations have changed.  The memories are always there for me, re-growing and re-animating themselves in a beautiful way.

Portal to His Dimension

I make my way past thick branches to the bottom of the dark, twisted stairs.  Looking up I can see they are surrounded by marble columns.  I make my way up and stop to face the entryway of the portal.  Ominous clouds hover on the other side.  A map of the journey through the portal appears before my eyes.  It is filled with circles, mathematical equations, and symbolic representations of rivers cutting through cliffs.  Lightning bolts crash through the clouds in the background.  However, I am ready.  Taking an immense breath, I step into the portal, and begin the journey through night and pandemonium.

Gothic Literature

One of the genres of literature that has fascinated me the most over the years is gothic literature.  So many of its elements I find beautiful and worth discussing.  An obvious element is the use of human psychology.  The mind is constantly delved into, revealing all the horrifying and dark realities of our musings.  This is especially important in how the characters interact with one another and how the plot plays out throughout the story.  Another important element is the use of dark settings.  These places can include graveyards, castles, haunted houses, and creepy working environments, among others.  The darkness exemplifies the troubled emotions and experiences we all go through at times.  The element of strong female protagonists is quite important as well.  These determined women portray a steadfastness that most would look up to and respect.  With their actions and choices, they lead the plot into an exciting and enlightening climax, paralleling the adventures we face in our lives.  Having to choose between a dark and brooding male character or a seemingly normal and conventional character is often another element in this kind of literature.  Of course, elements such as surprise twists, evil presences, the supernatural, and despair also tend to play an important role in gothic literature as well.  These elements demonstrate a reaction against the seemingly conventional wisdom and expectations in society.  In this respect, gothic literature is indeed much like romantic literature, striving to “get away” from the ordinary and embrace the sublime.

Energy as Part of Ourselves

When someone asks “what is the identity of a human”, I’m certain to reply that it’s more than what it seems.  In fact, I tend to believe identity and existence are the same thing.  Someone’s existence, in my view, extends far beyond what most people would define as “the body”.  I’m not one to negate the power of the brain, but there is new research out there suggesting that memories can be formed outside of it.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  When we interact with each other, our actions determine how our bodies will react.  Memories thus depend at least partly on outside sources.  The never-ending energy that constantly permeates our actions and memories is something I consider to be a big part of a human’s existence.  The way we remember things even though it may seem as if they are no longer directly in front of us is a testament to the power of energy.  For example, much of our well-being depends on interaction via electric sources such as telephone and internet.  We must have some sense of trust in the power of energy in order to function in day-to-day life.  Someone may ask “how do we know our friends even exist when they aren’t directly in front of us?”  The answer of course is that we have knowledge of their energy through the energy that has already permeated our memories and bodies.  We live on with every picture we take, word we say, and life affected by us.  There is no reason to be sorrowful that the body may seem so limited at times.


I consider myself an “outgoing introvert” (at the moment).  People have different definitions of what it means to be either an introvert or extrovert, but I tend to define an introvert as someone who gets most of his/her energy from within, while an extrovert is someone who gets most of his/her energy from outside sources.  This is not to say that I consider myself shy, even though it may seem that way at times.  On the contrary, I believe myself to be incredibly outgoing, but with most of that energy drawn from, and sometimes directed toward, internal sources.  Before I write or say something, I almost always must consider the consequences of letting those things out there.  Although I realize the importance of being in the moment and acknowledging instantaneous gratification.  It does seem as if most people are similar in that they aren’t completely one way or another regarding the definitions of introversion/extroversion.  I’ve always been fascinated by things like personality tests and optical illusions.  The Rorschach test is a favorite of mine.  Each test has its limits, of course.

Bizarre Memories

Not too long ago, seemingly out of nowhere, an unusual and unsettling memory popped into my mind.  This memory had to do with someone hurting me because they thought my voice was “too high”.  When I had this memory, I immediately tried figuring out how old I potentially could have been.  My voice started deepening when I was ten, and I remember the person hurting me quite some time after that, like even a year probably.  It then occurred to me that since I was already relatively older, I couldn’t have been so weak as to allow that person to do what it seems like they did.  So why did that memory even occur in the first place?  I was really shocked, but I’ve come to this conclusion: only some of the images that popped into my mind actually indeed occurred.  It just makes more sense to me that way.  In this regard, I must differentiate between images in my mind and real, true memories.  There is a definite difference.  The memories may still be bizarre, but at least they’re not as wacko as the images that can flood my mind at times.

Every Day Should Be a Holiday

When I was little, I was always excited whenever the major holidays would roll around.  They would mean times spent with family traveling to new and interesting places, watching TV specials, visiting relatives, making delicious meals, and playing wonderful games.  Even nowadays, I’m lucky to say those things still happen most of the time whenever big holidays come around.  When I became a bit older, I was fascinated by more minor holidays, including some holidays found in other cultures/religions.  I realized that every month of the year indeed had at least one type of holiday.  As I’ve been learning more about other cultures and traditions, it seems like just about every day carries some type of social significance, regardless of whether it’s considered a distinct “holiday”.  This serves as a reminder to me that I should treat every day as something special, with the same joyful sentiments I had for the really major holidays when I was much younger.  So now, I believe there’s no excuse for me to experience unhappiness just because a day hasn’t been officially been branded a holiday.

Reading for the Ideas

I hold that the important thing to consider when reading any sort of material is to gain an understanding of the ideas existing within the subtext.  This often is quite easy to do, but sometimes it’s hard to gauge exactly what is meant by certain works of writing.  I always have to remind myself of this, because it seems that words are just so easily forgotten.  Really it doesn’t even have to be writing, it can be what people say, as long as it involves specific words.  What’s important is to understand the ideas behind the words and letters.  This can be difficult to understand because often so much emphasis is placed in our society on getting the “exact” term correct, depending on certain situations.  It truly is beautiful in the end, though, knowing that you already understand the ideas of what was conveyed, whether or not you remember the specific term that was used.