During my trip to the Bay of Plenty in North Island, New Zealand, one of my ultimate geeky dreams came true when I visited Hobbiton in Matamata. It was as if I got transported straight into Tolkien’s fantasy world. At 1.6 meters tall (5’2” for imperial system barbarians), running around shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”, I felt right at home.
While at Hobbiton, the peacefulness and the hobbit way of life really got me thinking and reevaluating my own lifestyle. So here are six life lessons from Bilbo Baggins, everyone’s beloved hairy feet shorty.
1. Explore the world
“I’m going on an adventure!”
What is an Extended Essay? How do I write one? When is it due again?
An Extended Essay is a 4000-word research paper that every student has to complete if they wish to obtain their IB diploma. It is a chance to flex some academic research and writing muscles, and also for most students to curse the high heavens and have a glimpse into their future as college students plowing away late at night writing papers.
Finding yourself in the beginning of your second year of the IB diploma and not having a research question for your Extended Essay yet is a probably a bad situation. I am in that bad situation.
I met an immigration officer who spoke to me. Nicely. And not about issues with my passport or visa or boarding pass or anything of that sort. He spoke to me about my travels. It was kind of like small talk, which was a little strange. He looked at my passport and saw the visas in there and asked me if I was going to Japan for school. Negative. I just got back from Hiroshima three days ago and my summer break just started.
“Where are you going then?” he asked cheerfully, genuinely curious instead of just asking as part of procedure. I paused for a fraction of a second, my mind temporarily blanked on my final destination. You have to cut me some slack, I don’t meet friendly immigration officers very often. “I’m going to … America,” I eventually replied. He flipped through my passport. “America, India, Japan, you’ve been around! Are you traveling while studying?” Affirmative. He’s spot on, actually.
15 RULES TO LIVING YOUR LIFE WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE AN IDIOT (aka A Cynic’s Guide to Life):
1. wake up early and go to bed late. it will look like you don’t care. you will seem detached and cool.
2. everyone is out to hurt you. protect the face.
3. anxiety is not sexy. always be proud and confident, even when you don’t know what the fuck you are doing.
4. quoting from psychotics like Edgar Allan Poe, sexists like Sigmund Freud, arrogant creeps like Allen Ginsberg and smart-ass mystics like Kurt Vonnegut will make you seem cultured and worldly. who cares if they are all dull and you only read the title page?
5. tell people you hate Woody Allen films even if you’ve never seen any of them.
I walked through the crooked corners, rubber soles padded on the cobbled stone street, sat down on an uneven wooden bench with three fourth legs to look at dying light over the old oak tree and cry.
My grandfather came on a rusted red bicycle, and sat beside me, with his old French pipe and his worn suit jacket and the smell of smoke, oranges and regrets.
We were companions, sharing our souls and tired sighs and bleak gazes into the endless stretch of the night sky, surrounded by the low squeaking of the bicycle, with its nuts and bolts and chains sliding together, falling apart, trying to keep itself going.
Some words are better spoken. Thus I did just that. It was enjoyable, so follow me on SoundCloud and hopefully I will be making more of this.
Every time I find myself at a train station, I am hit with this overwhelming urge to run away, start a new life and not messing it all up this time around. But then just like almost every other dreams I’ve ever had, that running away fantasy ended up in the same old dusty attic.
Music: “The 49th Street Galleria” by Chris Zabriskie
I woke up to
a deformed sky
doused with the sunrise
the warmth lingered on my skin
the cold flame
chilled me to the bone.
I looked out the window
to see a blinding red
what the divine wind saw
cherry blossom farewell
send the sinners home
Life is a hospital in which every patient is obsessed with changing beds…It always seems to me that I’ll be well where I am not, and this question of moving is one that I’m forever entertaining with my soul.’…’poets’, who could not be satisfied with the horizons of home even as they appreciated the limits of other lands, whose temperaments oscillate between hope and despair, childlike idealism and cynicism. – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel.
I, for all of my almost-two-decade-long life so far, have been walking forwards facing backwards. Partly because I want to remember what the past was, and to hold on that whatever that is that made me the person I am today. But mostly because I am an adrenaline junkie. Not in the sense that I want to go zip-lining every waking moment, but more like I want to always have exciting things happening in my life.
A guide through the journeys of Allen Ginsberg.
Artwork by Julia
Narration by Chau & Joseph
Words on the streets are, THINK Global School is REALLY into place-based learning. So much so I think they might need professional intervention. But for now, here’s a daily fix of the juiciest stories on the block.
(Actual explanation: As part of Part 2 of our IB Language and Literature course, Mass Communication, and since we were located in Hiroshima, we were tasked with finding a news story on Japan and then turn it into a tabloid story, complete with a tabloid cover and silly sounding name. As you can see below, I might have had a little too much fun with that.
Disclaimer: None of these stories should be taken seriously, especially not the main article. Macklemore, however, is really rumoured to lead a double life as an IB History and Theory of Knowledge teacher.)