Easter and Home

I just landed in my hometown of San Jose, California in time for Easter. This weekend will be a nice weekend where I get to relax and catch up with friends and family and celebrate Easter with my home church. I used to hate being in San Jose because I thought it was such a boring place to live in. But travelling the world has helped me find value in my home. I’ve never felt homesick before, the feeling arose when I visited New York City and met with my extended family. San Jose is not as lively as London or New York City nor does it have outdoor getaways that San Diego has to offer. But, San Jose will always be home base whenever I’m out exploring the world because of all the special relationships I’ve built the past 18 years here.

I’ve never viewed as Easter as an important holiday because I was simply ignorant to its significance. My early perception of Easter was that it was a cheap holiday meant for chocolates and bunnies, similar to Halloween. But, Easter is not that shallow. It’s the symbol of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. It is the end result of Christmas. Christmas symbolises the coming of a perfect savior that dies for an imperfect people and Easter is the result of our imperfections, which includes death, not being able to hold us down because of what our savior has done for us.  My weekend will be attending a Good Friday service at my church and then my church is hosting a play on Saturday and we will have an Easter service Sunday. I want to know what you are doing this weekend, even if you don’t celebrate Easter!

My experience in Brooklyn

I slept a good eleven hours that day and my friend and I visited Brooklyn. We took the subway there and coming out of it was such a huge contrast to Manhattan. My first impression of Brooklyn is that it seemed to be such an average city. The buildings didn’t tower over us and there were tons of graffiti found on street walls. It felt average and I enjoyed it because it was average.  My friend attested to that by saying students dream of living in Brooklyn because it’s the perfect escape from the hasty city life.

DSC_0139

The first mural I see

We stayed at a coffee shop called Devacion. Devacion is a Colombian based coffee shop and my first time waling in had such a relaxing and chill ambience. It was here that I’ve tried the best-tasting coffee I’ve ever tasted. It simply was rich in the coffee flavour and bitterless. My friend stayed at Devacion to study while I explored the rest of Brooklyn. I was warned by my friend to not make eye contact with people on the street because people in Brooklyn are protective of their culture. Looking at them was like an invasion of privacy. I’ve also confirmed this norm with other friends in Manhattan. My goal was to reach DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and back. I walked down along the Williamsburg bridge and to my surprise, walked through an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. It was like walking back in time seeing men dressed in long black coats and black top hats and donning their distinguished bushy beards and curly side hair. I observed many of the men were walking fast and had a cellphone next to their ear and most women were walking with their baby strollers.

DSC_0154

A cool house I passed by

DSC_0157

I always thought this was a stereotype of Brooklyn

DSC_0162

In the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood

DSC_0160

In the Orthodox Jewish Neighborhood

I reached DUMBO after an hour of walking and it wasn’t too much at all of what I thought it was. It was simply a small area beneath Manhattan Bridge. Downtown Brooklyn was nearby and I explored that. I found an awesome Halal cart and sat down on a bench and listened to the sounds that the city had to offer. I proceeded to take a different route back. I ended up in a residential area where I was in awe over the similarity of the buildings to the images I had in my head. I then stumbled upon a park. It was distinct because there was a huge stairway in the middle of it. As I walked up the steps, There was a huge pillar protruding up the park. It was a memorial.

DSC_0181

Downtown Brooklyn

DSC_0167

DUMBO

I enjoyed my time in Brooklyn. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Brooklyn because of shows like NCIS: New York and Blue Bloods. Small things like chain-linked-fenced-in basketball courts and tall apartment structures just please me because I’ve just never seen them in person before. I loved seeing the murals and graffiti on the walls because it simply screams Brooklyn.

A Break in New York City

Spring break is almost here. The month of February has been intense for me during university because I’ve been overwhelmed with endless amounts of work before the first half of the semester ends. Fortunately, I’ve survived what appeared to be myriad of exams, presentations, and papers. Coincidentally, the storm of work arrived the same time as the crazy Californian storm known as Lucifer. The end of February marks my insane ride through a literal and figurative storm. Looking ahead for next week, I will be spending my spring break in the East Coast of the US.

I’m ecstatic. I’ve never visited a state outside of California before. The first time I’ve ever been outside of California was when I studied abroad in London last fall. For the first half of my break, I’ll be staying in my friend’s apartment in Manhattan and plan to see all the big tourist things. Central Park, Time Square, Ground Zero, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge are all on my bucket list.

I’m debating whether I should visit the Empire State Building because I’ve been atop of tall buildings before and they just don’t excite me as much and the cost to enter is $34. The Liverpool Cathedral,  the tallest Anglican church in England, was 10 pounds to enter, and I came out severely disappointed. My disdain for climbing tall buildings is that I compare them to previous hikes that I’ve done where the skyline becomes the reward for all the effort I’ve done to reach the top. Hiking Arthur’s Seat to see the city of Edinburgh was so much more fun and rewarding than taking an elevator to see the city of Liverpool.

This will be my first time exploring a huge city by myself and I’m beyond excited. I plan on vlogging my experiences to keep myself entertained as I explore the city. Stay tuned on this blog for updates and vlogs about my adventures!

First Week Finished

Today marks the end of my first week of university back in America. This week left me utterly exhausted. Fortunately, two of my morning classes got canceled and I got the chance to sleep in. That rest was necessary. I have class from 8 – 2:30 with some breaks in between. Some of the classes that I’m taking this year include philosophy, optimal health, and some communication courses. I’ve only met with my philosophy professor once this week even though we have Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes. The class seems interesting because when we first started, he posed the question of how do we know whether something is a dream or reality. That was a tough topic to deal with and he said he’d continue it later. Optimal health seems pretty cool because it’s a nutrition and a fitness class. My professor wants us to have a fitness log and exercise a total of 2 hours per week. I consider myself a pretty fit person because I try to run about 20-40 minutes three to four times a week and avoid junk food. My management communication professor might take a medical leave in the semester because she’s pregnant.

Student life here has been interesting. It definitely is a good feeling to see old friends and hear them yell “YOU’RE BACK!?!?!” It’s also weird because I’m also rebuilding relationships with some friends. And then I have the chance to become friends with people that I’ve only seen around campus last year. The hall I live on is kinda cool. There are times where it smells like weed and the other guys act loud and rambunctious, but there are times where everything is quiet and the guys want to just chill. I’m not around my main dorm too often because I’d rather spend time on the main campus interacting with old friends and meeting new people. Tonight, I plan on webcamming with some friends from London.

In terms of recording music, I finally got my midi keyboard synced to my laptop. There are times where it doesn’t want to cooperate though. I learned how to make trap beats and planning to have some recorded this coming weekend. For my coding skills, I found a cool website called Freecodecamp that breaks down Javascript projects. I’m pretty excited to invest my time on this. We also have a 3 day weekend because of MLK so I’m going to use that time to work hard on school so I can work on music and coding.

Why It Took Me So Long To Create My Social Media Accounts

I simply never had a need for it. I would always see my friends face to face and there would be no need to connect with them, that is until I reached the age of 17. I created my Facebook account to connect with the friends I’ve made that were graduating high school and were at the point where they would move on to the next stage of their lives. It was also about the time where I realized that I was about to graduate high school and made the decision to go to university and I would have a hard time connecting with my friends.

Moving forward about two years now, Facebook has allowed me to keep in contact with my core group of friends that I’ve made in high school. I’m fortunate because these are the group of friends that encourage me when I feel lost and make me laugh when I’m feeling down. We call ourselves Bread is Baked (“Because how do you cook bread? You bake it”) We started off as a study group for our history, calculus, and journalism classes. Our group chat has slowly evolved where we talk about business, economics, computer science and anything pertaining to how can we succeed financially in the future. From time to time, we still tease each other in the same childish nature that we used to back in high school. I’m also fortunate that this group of friends consists of vastly diverse people that can look past our differences and still remain friends. We are people of different ethnicities (Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese) and people of different faith (Christian, Atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist) yet we still enjoy each other’s presence and value each other’s beliefs. The diversity of this group has helped me expand my worldview and has helped me look into how other people view the world.

Now that I’m living across the ocean on the other side of the world in London, Facebook has allowed me to keep in touch with the friends I have in the United States. I can now keep in contact with about 30 other people in my church community back home and tell them about my adventures here. I also have countless other people living vicariously through me through the photos I’ve taken. But most importantly, I’ve found that Facebook has allowed me to stay connected with the friends that I’ve made in London. I’ve found a wonderful, supportive community of awesome people at Hillsong London that I can go to forget about my stresses and shift my eyes on God. I’ve also met people from all over the world( I know people on six continents!!!) through the international student hostel that I stayed at two months ago. Social media gave me the opportunity to visit my friend in Germany and stay at his place for the weekend. I’ve got 5 more weeks left in my time abroad and I don’t know if I’ll be seeing the friends that I’ve made here again for a while, but I know that I’ll see them online. Facebook has become my main method of communicating with people and maintaining strong relationships with them.

As for my Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles, I created them solely for the purpose of marketing. I never had a desire to tweet out my thoughts because I could just talk to someone face to face about my troubles. I never had a desire to pull out my phone and take pictures (Although another reason why I created my Instagram is because my friend told me that I posted awesome photos on Facebook through my camera. It then hit me, “Wesley, you’re a photographer now, why not create one?”) My intention for those accounts is to build up my personal brand and create an online presence. I want to market myself as a person of influence, that can draw in people and create content for them to enjoy. I’ve had many quarter-life crises at my time abroad. I’m changing from my studies from being a communications major into a computer science major. I’ve wrestled in my head whether I should travel again in the next five years or not and wrestled whether I should stay at my university in San Diego or transfer out and wrestled with the thought of staying  at my parent’s house after graduation to save money. As for right now, I see that marketing myself will be a stepping stone toward whatever decision I make toward my future.

Thank you so much for reading this. In case you haven’t followed me on my social media accounts, I would appreciate you taking the chance to do so now:

https://www.instagram.com/life.of.wesley/

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/wesleytrann7