A Letter to Officer Tou Thao: How Does it Feel?

Saturday, May 30, 2020

(Photo source)

“For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was helpless. For five whole minutes. This was not a matter of a split-second poor decision.” – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
This excerpt is a letter addressed to Officer Tou Thao, the second policeman caught in the viral video of George Floyd's arrest. Trigger warning to dear readers: Today's entry mentions death, racism, and police violence. On that note, you are more than free to choose not to proceed.

How to be a Morning Person (+ New Wall Art!)

Monday, May 25, 2020

This post is created in collaboration with Photowall

There is a window by my bed that stays open overnight, so when sunrise comes and the sky wakes up, I eventually do too. As light pours into the bedroom, I walk, half-asleep, to quickly turn the heater off. Then I climb back to bed, check my phone for the time and weather, and reply to texts, which would later in the day be met with a typical: "Why were you up so early??"

Good morning to you all. (Or noon? Evening? Is time still arbitrary?) Two things on our agenda today, friends. First, to share with you some advice on being a morning person. Second, to tell you about this new canvas print on my wall that I am head over heels in love with. (Hang 'til the end for a discount code!)

My Top Five Netflix Recommendations | From a Distance

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

This week I'm grateful for the ease on restrictions here in Australia. It's refreshing, but also very nerve-wracking to see the world turn again. So we're just proceeding with caution, but I can tell everyone's anxious for normalcy.

It's been two months. Which is about 400 years in quarantine time. And in that timeframe, my relationship with Netflix has blossomed all the more.

I'll admit some of the stuff Netflix puts out are so clearly targeted at 13-year-olds (I'm looking at you, Riverdale). But if you're like me and also like to pretend there's 25 hours in a day, here are five things on my Netflix radar that I would recommend.

Speaking Of Which... | From a Distance

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Courtesy of The New Yorker

Today, as every other week, I share with you the corners of the Internet that have made me smile.

It's interesting, really, our relationship with the interwebs. I can't tell if it's toxic co-dependency, intense love and hate, or harmless camaraderie. Although I think it's all of the above...

My Number One Writing Advice | From a Distance

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Think of this as a workshop on how I write long-ass Instagram captions that no one is obliged to read.

Let's begin.

My Favourite Modern Love Essays

Friday, May 1, 2020

It's fun to see where people fall on the scale of skeptic to hopeless romantic. For me personally, I tend to stay nonchalant.

I do contradict myself in many ways when it comes to this. I avoid the romance section at bookstores because I think romance novels are cliché. I roll my eyes every time I see someone repost an Instagram poem about soulmates. (Is it really a poem if you're just breaking apart sentences like that?)

But I read the Modern Love column of the New York Times like a sacred ritual. I've been listening to their episodes for nearly the past two years.

And it's not just because of the beautiful writing and sound design. They are different, to me, compared to the love stories I'd see on the shelves. These stories are unfabricated, brutally honest, and adorned with unglamorous details.

Some Happy Things | From a Distance

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Stranger with the yellow beret. Belvedere Castle, Central Park. February 2020.

Life has been all about listening these days. To my friends' late night phone calls, to my mother's stories, to some very, very nice tunes.

I'll keep this one short and sweet (as I write this at 3:34 AM, waiting for a project to render.) I'm sleep-deprived, but in the words of Olivia Gatwood, "I have so much beautiful time."

I'm Passionate and Exhausted | From a Distance

Thursday, April 23, 2020

There are days where I lack the strength of being a person. In these days, I don't answer calls, I hate seeing people, and I'm stuck with a bad case of impostor syndrome.

Only a week earlier, I had been painting, writing, finishing books, and doing my assignments diligently, believe it or not. It felt miraculous, and surreal – cooking new recipes, getting up in the morning for a walk or a jog.

These are the hills, upon which I seem to fall in love with life over and over again.

But with every hillside, there's a valley.

There are days where I rise above. There are days where I scrape the surface of rock bottom.

A Change in Season, Among Other Things | From a Distance

Friday, April 17, 2020

When I first moved into my apartment, I was one of those tenants blessed with a - let's say - difficult landlord. For now we'll call her Margaret.

The first time I came into her office, she shot me a cunning glare. Her manner is stiff and straightforward. This was by no malintent I'm sure, but reaching out to her was stressful.

As I was moving in, I had to rely on communicating with Margaret - in which her replies were sparse and cold shouldered. I felt so drained, that I sensed our interactions turn petty. Even my mother knows this, as I confided in her too many times. "She never responds!" I'd whine, "And never has time to even see me!"

Within a couple months, I had made enough Ikea trips to make my home. After all maintenance was taken care of, I (finally) barely had the need to contact her anymore.

Better, in Other Ways | From a Distance

Sunday, April 5, 2020

"Have patience with all things, But first of all, with yourself."
–Saint Francis de Sales


It's been a cold weekend. Not that it bears significance. (Is it Saturday or Thursday? I can never tell these days.)

I'm feeling a little daunted. Not by the obvious state we're living in, but because, as I'm typing this on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I'm not.... particularly... doing anything.

Now I don't know who it is out there that has convinced me I could've used this time to meditate – or to exercise, or continue working.

But strangely, I feel like I have to. Daily. Every minute of every day. And any way I fall short would mean I'm wasting precious self-isolated time. (So cook a recipe! Finish a book! Work out! Oh, and have you watered your plants lately?)

To Lift the Mood | From a Distance

Thursday, April 2, 2020

How are you today? I've been saying so many "how are you"s lately. I mean it so much more now than I ever have.

This week finds us easing into the way of things. A strange, new equilibrium. I will, however, miss this collectiveness. A sense of "good luck out there". But I also look forward to the day we’ve overcome this.

Until then, here’s a collection of things that's been helping me to cheer up a bit. Because, really, at the end of the day, it matters that we're okay...

Braving the Outside | From a Distance

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Friend,

You won't believe this but this morning I went out to buy groceries, and actually got them! I was so smug on the way home – guilty, almost, like I've done something scandalous.

It's been weeks since I've successfully done this, given the shortages. Can you believe we used to take full shelves for granted?

This morning, my alarm went off at 6:30 (then again at 6:40, then again at 6:50...) I'd planned for a run. That's right. Today, I braved the outside.

Cooking, and Other Things I'm Not Particularly Good At | From a Distance

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I am pro-embracing-things-you're-not-good-at-doing. Back in high school, I had an extreme all-or-nothing mentality – it was either do things perfectly, or not at all. Now I, a small handful of years wiser, fully revel in the art of doing things poorly. (As long as the list excludes my actual job & responsibilities.) So what are they?

From A Distance | Part 1

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

It's 5:56 PM. Hi there. It's been a few months.

I'd give a list of excuses for why I haven't been blogging, but none of them are good enough.

So welcome back.

I wanted to create a series documenting – I guess – life in the social distance. Think of these as paper airplanes flown out my window, hoping to reach yours. For connection. Companionship. A little human-ness in this very strange time. My hope is to make you feel a little less lonely. If you are. Whoever you are.
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