My favorite style of photography is street photography and, though some would argue they are different, documentary style photography, or photojournalism. But, are these styles really art?
I ask that because art is an expression of oneself through whatever medium the artist is using. Though a painter may paint a tree, he or she is expressing a thought or emotion in his head. A sculptor may make a statue of a man, and they are taking care to put all of their emotion into it, to show how they feel about this man.
Street photography is different though. Street photography is more about documenting the human condition. Often this involves taking photographs of complete strangers in order to show how they look, what they eat, how they dress, how they live, and so on. Therein lies the difference between the art that I do and the art that a painter does. I am not expressing any of my own thoughts or emotions, instead I am capturing the nuances of others.
I do not think that is entirely accurate though. While it is true that I am making images of others, and not myself, I do put a bit of my own emotion into each image.
One thing I find myself doing often is trying to find couples as subjects. I am not trying to be "creepy" or intrusive but couples often make good subjects. It is nice to see people caring for each other and sharing their lives with one another. I enjoy seeing two people coming together to share in a human emotion that comes so natural to us all.
But more than that, I am expressing a void that I feel in my own life. If you have read my last blog post, you would understand what I mean. I am drawn to these couples as subjects because it is something that I have been searching for.
Love is something I care a lot about and when an artist has strong emotions about something, it shows itself in their work. It is the same with me. Yes, I am documenting the lives of others, but the photograph itself, and the specific reason I am drawn to these two subjects is because of a void I am trying to fill within myself.
So this is how I express what means the most to me at the time. My medium is one that does not always lend itself well to personal expression, but I find that this is the easiest way for me to do just that at times.
I did not notice that I have been drawn to couples as subjects until today actually. It is very much a subconscious thing but I realized, after writing that last blog post, how much I actually do it and started thinking about why. Photography is the only way to express myself sometimes.
And this blog.
Ok. I guess it is time to talk about my love life. Or rather, lack thereof. I never talk about this for a few reasons. One, I do not want to seem like I am whining. I am sure there are many people out there who have it worse than I do. Two, I do not want people to think that I am playing the pity card (thus whining) because I am not. And three, I do not want the usual advice of, "be a man," "just be patient," or "learn to love yourself first."
Let's unpack this by first talking about my relationship status.
I have been single for 9 years now ("just be patient" ...what an insult). I have been single so long, some of my family has actually asked if I am gay. I am not... sorry to disappoint.
I had someone I cared deeply for 9 years ago and she left me for her own reasons. There was nothing weird going on. No one cheated, no one was abusive, she just felt that she had to make the decision to leave me after a few years of being together.
Of course I was heart broken. It blindsided me, I did not expect it at all. But what it really came down to was, I couldn't understand her reasoning. As I mentioned before, our relationship was not really anything to be ashamed of. We had the stupid arguments that most young couples have, and neither of us were perfect, but on the whole there was no reason, in my mind at least, for the split. Now I feel differently. I understand her reasoning and I have come to terms with it. We are now friends and I bet she reads this blog from time to time. She made the decision that was right for her at the time and I cannot argue with that in the least.
But the way I feel now is not the way I have always felt. For much of these past 9 years I waited for her to change her mind despite her assuring me many times that this was what she wanted. I cannot say that she led me on thinking that her mind would change, I did this to myself. I put myself through this hell and it is because of something I care deeply about.
Love, but equally so, loyalty. True, it was not love nor loyalty that led me to hang on for so long, but I convinced myself that it was. I convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. I gave my everything to something that was not even there. It never would be there, but I could see it clear as day despite no one else being able to. I could see a future where we were together again, happy, despite all the time and distance.
So, 9 years. Many of those, despite my never saying so, becoming the darkest part of me. These many years have changed me, there is no doubt. For so long I was bitter, lacked confidence, and became thoroughly depressed. Through it all, though, I have also learned much about myself, things that I would never have learned had I not went through this. Of course these revelations about my own self have only been recent.
I have not dated in 9 years. Though there were two "hopefuls" I suppose. Neither of which worked out though I really thought they would. Both of those only helped to spread the darkness inside of me. I felt ashamed of myself and spurned by women. Any confidence I collected over the years that elapsed was dashed, twice, making me feel like I would never climb out of that dark side of me. How, if I can climb and slip back so far? Not to mention the way I have been treated by multiple other women when I admit my interest in them. Take that for whining if you will, but when someone treats you like something disgusting they stepped in as soon as you show any kind of interest, you would be whining too, and it has happened countless times.
That brings me to Tinder. Now, I understand that I might as well replace the title of that app with, "Looking for Sex App," but I have used it as more of a way to begin dating again. I have never, and will never, look for such shallow, self serving, and empty pleasure. But those looking for only sex is admittedly well over half of the male users on the platform, and perhaps slightly less of the female users. I understood that I had an uphill battle in front of me on this app, but I was not prepared for what it did in reality.
First off, I personally have found that I get about two "matches" per year, over the course of about three years or so. It does not matter what text I have in my profile, and it does not matter what pictures I post of myself. Two matches is about average per year. I thought that this might be normal and, although I should not compare myself to other men, I have seen that this is not at all typical. So stop right there and put yourself in my shoes for a minute. You have been single for pretty much your entire adult life and now that you are trying, you are seeing that those around you are getting dates like they are at an all you can eat buffet but you are stuck hoping someone will throw you a bone. Imagine what that can do for your self confidence.
Out of that average of two matches per year, less than half of them actually talk, and it is usually some kind of scam, or endless texting back and forth which never leads to a date or meeting in person. The only time I had ever sealed the deal on a "first date" on Tinder before now was actually a cat fish situation when I lived in Korea.
Which now brings me to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. To put it bluntly, I am able to get a match every few minutes. But... why? I am not bragging or anything, but it is the truth. I have used Tinder in 7 different countries, for multiple years now, and this is the only country where I can get more than two matches per year. Of those matches, I have agreed to meet two women, both of which were very kind, but did not want anything more than friendship. Still, I am bewildered by the difference here and I really do not know what it is. It certainly is a confidence booster if I am being honest.
But of course, here comes my dilemma, and as with all things, it is a multi layered affair.
Tinder is not necessarily how I wish to meet someone. It is nice, convenient, and easy to some extent, but I do not feel that it facilitates what is needed for a first meeting. She has certain expectations of me, and I of her, based on what we have been able to text to each other. Text is not at all sufficient enough to get a good read on someone and that meeting often leads to some form of disappointment. So for that reason, I would rather meet someone organically, "in the supermarket," so to speak.
And I think I have.
Now, when I say that, I do not mean that I have fallen head over heels in love with someone I barely met. I am an adult and well, sorry, fairy tales are not entirely true. But surprisingly I did meet a person who is really interesting to me. Is this person meant to be my soulmate? Maybe not. Are we meant to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after? I doubt it. I am not even sure she feels the same way for me, but she has not given me any reason to think that she does not. (Maybe she is just being nice, I do not know.)
And I cannot blame her. Why would she? I met her, and now I must go. Therein lies another layer of my problem. I can completely understand the resistance to a long distance relationship. To be perfectly honest, I know that it is not the easiest thing to do.
In a perfect world, I would have met this person and taken weeks, if not months, to figure out just what our relationship is supposed to look like, all the while learning about and having fun with her. I would never rush this if I had the choice. Again, I do not even think she likes me! But what do I do? I only have so much time. Do I say, "oh well," and go home never knowing what this could have been? I am not that sort of person.
I believe all encounters happen for a reason. I do not believe in fate, but I do feel like even the smallest chance encounters have an impact on those involved. That person you are sitting next to may save your life, or may be able to lend you a quarter. The stranger you did not want to talk to because of the way they dressed may have the job offer that will change your life forever. So, how can I be sure that this random encounter is not something important and special? Sure, we can be internet friends and learn things about each other but, if you have been paying attention up until now, you should understand why that is not sufficient for me.
Coming to the end now, I want to assure my reader that I am not desperate, no matter what conclusion you have drawn about this story. How can I be? If I can wait 9 years, what is another year or longer for me? That may be hard to understand for those who have not been single for such an extended period of time.
But, I do want a chance, and I think I have waited long enough for that. A chance to show someone who I am and learn who they are. Distance is not necessarily an issue for me. I will do whatever I can to be close to someone special as much as humanly possible and the future will figure the rest out naturally. I think I have a lot to offer someone, but I need a chance to show that.
In any case, that is my love life, as abysmal as it is. Why am I writing this? I am not entirely sure. As I have said plenty of times before, despite only my family reading this, I feel like my blog is therapeutic. So maybe that is why I am writing it. Or maybe it is to blab, I do not know. One thing is for sure though, this is something that I absolutely do not talk to anyone about. Perhaps I do in small snippets, but this is the one thing I just cannot feel comfortable talking in length about, which is interesting because I will tell someone just about anything if asked.
Really, though, I am hoping that this is the end of the dark side within me. I know that we do not need someone else to make us happy and that happiness comes from within first. I agree. But why must happiness only come from within? Why can't we also feel happy because of human interaction and the love shared between human beings? After all,
"Life isn't worth living, unless it is lived for someone else." (Albert Einstein)
"Love is a gift of one's innermost soul to another so both can be whole." (That might not be Buddha, but it sounds nice anyway.)
Do I travel wrong?
Is there a correct way to travel?
I would say "no, there is no correct, nor incorrect, way to travel." But sometimes it feels like I am doing it all wrong.
I have said plenty of times before that I like to travel a bit differently, it is true. I am not all that excited about the tourist spots. I do them- I mean, people do go there for a reason, but they are not really all that exciting.
Then again, some well visited places have a lot of weight attached to them. Not going to them would be almost disrespectful. Take, for instance, the rebuilt world trade center. No one wants to stand in those terrible lines, especially when it is (literally) freezing outside, but you must go and see it when in New York. So I did. Seeing One World Trade Center was an amazing experience and a tourist destination I would visit again.
So, there are those exceptions to my philosophy of travel. I think there are sites that must be seen regardless of how many tourists visit them.
But then there are other places that I really do not care to see. I do not doubt that they are worth my time, but seeing one statue after another or one temple after another becomes a bit tedious. Beyond that though, I enjoy seeing how people live in a country that is not my own. That involves very mundane things that are not on tourist maps. For instance, how many tourists want to see where you go when you need to buy socks? Unless it is a world famous sock maker I am sure no one cares. But I do! I want to see how people live their daily lives from where they work to where they play and everything in between. There is so much to learn from experiencing the mundane aspects of other people's lives half a world away!
I simply do not like having a strict schedule of things to see and do. To be honest, sometimes that makes a trip more difficult. There are certainly days where I am sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and in those instances, I do feel like I am wasting time. So does that make my travel philosophy wrong? I would still say no, but I would concede that you have a good argument. However, I like seeing where the day naturally ends up, and for that reason, I do not have strict plans. Doing this has paid off immensely more often than not.
This rant is for a reason though. Recently I have been talking to people who, inadvertently, have made me feel like I am wasting my trip. The common question I get asked is, "Where did you go today?" or "What did you do today?" Meaning, "what tourist attraction did you see today?" They mean well, of course, but how do I explain, "Oh, I just walked around for 5 hours and then sat in a coffee shop for another hour today," without it sounding like I am just plain stupid or being lazy? Then again, should I even care? I think there is a point to made there too. But seriously, how do I explain that to someone? Especially a local who wants you to see all that their city has to offer.
So my question still stands. Do I travel incorrectly? Am I wasting my time and money? Or is sitting around doing nothing a valid way to spend my afternoon if that is what I want to do? I am not so much afraid of what people think about the way I choose to travel, but I am afraid of having regrets. I really do not want to be looking back at my time in a country, knowing I may never be able to go there again, and regretting that I did not do something. So far that has never happened, at least not on a large enough scale to be regrettable. I have thought, "Oh I never saw that when I was in (insert country) I wish I had!" But usually they are restaurants with cool vibes or small attractions that seem fun. I would hate to regret not doing something. Is that what I am doomed for? I don't know...
I guess I will not know until it is too late, right? But for now I am having fun sitting at a stop light watching people walk by. Maybe I am just weird. That is cool too.
My time in Bangkok is coming to an end. My time in Thailand, in general, is coming to a close and because of that, I wanted to look back and reflect on this past month.
First off, Bangkok has been a blast for a number of reasons. There is so much to see here that is new, old, high end, and lower on the rung. There is such a huge mix of it all, it can be a little overwhelming at times. Bangkok has a very special feel that is quite unique to this city and very much unlike anywhere I have ever been to. Their city is very much being changed, for better or worse, by tourism and the evidence is all around. Yet every alley you go down, you still see old Bangkok thriving as it always has, and that is special.
I will admit that one month in Bangkok might be too long for the average traveler. For me, one month is not enough, but because I am traveling with my brother, one month is a little bit too long. Let me explain.
When I go to a place I like to live more or less as the locals do. Of course, I can never fully live as they do in a month, but I enjoy being amongst the people of any given country. Things like five star rated tourist attractions on TripAdvisor are less important to me than shopping at a local supermarket or seeing a movie in a local theater. Those things are fun and I try to fit them in as best I can but I often leave cities never seeing some of their main tourist attractions. I am just simply not into them. However, I know I am the minority, and when I am traveling with other people, that mind set must take a back seat. So, inevitably, I end up going to the more touristy areas because of the other person, in this case my younger brother, because we can both have a good time. There is a certain expectation for someone to see certain things when they visit another country, and for good reason, and I would hate for them to feel like they did not get their money's worth because I wanted to sit on a bench half the day. Does that make any sense?
So what does that have to do with Bangkok? Well, if you are coming to do the normal stuff (temples, palace, khaosan road, etc.) then one or two weeks is more than enough to get your fill of those things. One month is simply too long. These past two weeks have felt very much lacking. That is not to say that I have seen everything that Bangkok has to offer. Far from it. But what that does mean is that I have exhausted all the usual touristy stuff that I can think of (save for a few) and I would have been happy moving on after the second week. What would have been better is if I had spent two weeks in Bangkok and two in another city. Live and learn.
But as for Bangkok itself, the city is definitely a place you must visit. It is the most visited city in the world for a reason. No matter what you are into, or what your budget is, this place has something for everyone. I mean that too. There are places for the rich and places for the poor, all within a BTS train ride from each other. This city is amazing no matter what your budget is.
Now as I look back at my time in Bangkok, there are things I wish I had done, but I am content with what I did do. I think that is normal with any trip really. There is no way you can see all of a city like Bangkok in one month, it simply is not possible. But I do wish I had seen more of Thailand as a whole. Perhaps I will be back one day, who knows? As for right now, I am ready to move onto Cambodia so follow me on my journey!
I may or may not have forgotten to do this particular "UTSA at Face Value." I interviewed these two right before finals so when finals actually did hit, I had other things on my mind. The day after I finished my last final (my final final?) I was on a plane to Thailand. This one was planned as the last UTSA at Face Value for a while since I am across the world at the moment, but I meant to get it out a lot sooner. In any case, here it is.
Also, as a side note, I want to comment on the photos themselves in this series. I never meant for these photos to be the most amazing photos. After all, I am more interested in each student's story. However, I really was struggling with these. I would work from 12am until 8am, go to school from 10am to 2pm, and then do the interviews for this series after that. I am not sure about anyone else, but when I am that tired, I really struggle with anything creative. I feel so much better now that I do not have that job.
Enough of my yapping...
Aliyah: "Going to any other college wasn't really ever an option. I just assumed automatically that I would come to UTSA only because it is close to home. I didn't want to go far away from my parents."
Daniel: "I was actually a student at UT Austin for my first year. I decided to come here because- well one, same reason, it's closer to home. My parents are here-
Aliyah: "I'm here."
Daniel:"-and Aliyah's here- and they were kind of nagging me about it, sort of, to come back. Plus it's still part of the UT system and I am getting sort of the same degree here.
The first [difference] I noticed is a drastic difference in size of the campus."
Daniel: "She's my niece, even though she's older than me."
Aliyah: "I'm 22 and he's 19."
Daniel: "I almost forgot how old I was"
Aliyah: "I always think you're 20."
Daniel: "My dad-"
Aliyah: "-is my grandpa."
Daniel: "My dad was married to another lady-"
Aliyah: "My grandma."
Daniel: "Yeah her grandma, her name was Gloria-"
Aliyah: "It's still Gloria."
Daniel: "It is Gloria, you're right. She's not dead. They were married for like 30 years. Something like that, and then they got divorced and he met my mom and her name is Olivia, and they had me. [Aliyah's mom] is- How old is your mom 40....?"
Daniel: "48 and-"
Aliyah: "Your sister."
Daniel: "Yeah, and she's my sister. So there's a huge gap in age."
Aliyah: "I think it's good [to attend UTSA with family]."
Daniel: "Yeah, we were excited to get our schedules together. I wasn't planning on taking "The American Novel" but Aliyah said she was taking it so I decided, 'Well it's in my major so I'm sure it will be fine.'"
Aliyah: "It doesn't feel like he's my uncle."
Daniel: "Yeah whenever she introduces us she's like, 'We're cousins.'"
Aliyah: "It's easier to explain than giving the whole family background.
Oh we're faking [being close] for the interview. After this we're never speaking again.
I guess we have similar interests. Similar hobbies, we both like photography and English."
Q: "Have you guys been close since you were kids?"
Aliyah: "Since last class I'd say."
Daniel: "Yeah. Once we found out we were both going to UTSA we just started talking a lot."
Aliyah: "It was more of a forced relationship at that point..."
Daniel: "Before that I was closer to-"
Aliyah: "-our cousin."
Daniel: "Yeah. Well her cousin, my other nephew. He's younger than me. He's like 17. I would go over to his house and Aliyah would be there but she wouldn't really hang out with us."
Aliyah: "Because I live 4 houses down from our cousin- my cousin."
Daniel: "So we didn't really hang out that much. I've really just gotten close to Aliyah in the past year or so."
Aliyah: "Apparently now my grandma and [Daniel's] mom are best friends. She called his mom recently-"
Daniel: "My mom is a crafty person and my dad and Aliyah's grandmother-
Aliyah: "-they went to Bible school together."
Daniel: "My mom, she asked [Aliyah's] grandma to help her design some center pieces. So now we have this running joke that they're best friends because they are always texting each other-
Aliyah: "-but it's strictly business."
Daniel: "-strictly business. Actually I found out that in the beginning, after the divorce, there was a lot of animosity towards my parents and that was the reason for a big split. For a few years my dad wasn't allowed to go-"
Aliyah: "-let the record show he's using air quotes."
Daniel: "-to go to birthday parties and stuff like that. After a while he just started going again because I was born and he wanted me to get closer to [Aliyah's] mom, well, my sister."
Aliyah: "What's funny is that I feel closer to your mom than I do to your dad who is my actual grandpa.
It's the new modern family! TLC's doing a special on us... tune in next week.
I don't think it's confusing since it's been since childhood."
Daniel: "Yeah it sounds difficult but it's all we've ever known.
Aliyah: "My grandma, his mom, just sit on opposite ends of the table for family functions. The only reason why one has been, I guess, weird, isn't even because of my grandma. I had a birthday party and- remember when your dad didn't come?"
Daniel: "Yeah. It wasn't because of that though..."
Aliyah: "Ok but I feel like the reason why he didn't come was because I recently- wait did I tell him, or who told him?"
Daniel: "Your mom told him."
Aliyah: "-that I have a girlfriend and he's a pastor. So then conveniently my birthday is next week and he doesn't come to my birthday party because she was going to be there."
Daniel: "I think he was actually out of town."
Aliyah: "But he's never missed my birthday ever since I was a kid so it seemed like it was-"
Daniel: "-yeah, and I asked him 'Did you miss because [Aliyah's girlfriend] was going?' and he said 'No.' I thought it was an excuse. He's still uncomfortable about it. He's uncomfortable about her tattoos. He's just really old fashioned."
Q: "How was it growing up with a father who is a pastor?"
Daniel: "I think it was a stereotypical situation where you grow up entirely sheltered. It's not like he was aggressive with me. It's just the fact that there was an overbearing presence in the household where I feel enclosed. It was never an option to be a Christian. I believe in God but that is not my entire life like it is his. Once I got to high school, once I got my car-"
Aliyah: "-all hell broke loose."
Daniel: "-all hell broke loose.
It wasn't a difficult life. I will say that I am blessed because my family never struggled, we've been kind of affluent, so it wasn't a bad life. It's just that the fact that my father does that meant that I wasn't able to do a lot of things. There's a part of my life I didn't get to experience because of it, but I don't feel resentment for it because my life is my life."
Q: "What kind of difficulties have you faced being part of the LGBTQ community?"
Aliyah: "I have a girlfriend... I've had boyfriends in the past."
Daniel: "Aliyah is the kind of person that doesn't like- I think it has something to do with our upbringing- she doesn't want to put a label on it."
Aliyah: "I love the person I am with. A label doesn't matter to me because if I am with this person I am committed to them.
I don't feel like I have faced any adversity actually. I don't think people look at me and can automatically tell. I feel like more guys approach me than girls.
I think one time I had gone through a breakup so I was really upset and I had shaved- remember when I shaved the sides of my head?"
Daniel: "Yeah, that was rough. Your like half Britney Spears phase..."
Aliyah: "-it was really bad. I was devastated.
I was walking in [the mall] and I smiled at this kid who had smiled at me and the dad said 'ugh lesbian.' I was like 'Wow that's the first time anyone's ever said anything like that.
My parents of course had a hard time at first because they grew up in church as well but they came around.
I was 17 [when I told my parents] and I only told because my girlfriend at the time threatened to break up with me. I didn't have to tell them actually I never even said the words, 'I'm gay or I'm bi' or anything. I was just crying on the couch. My mom said 'Why are you crying?' and I said 'I don't want to talk about it.' She said, 'Do you feel different?'
Daniel: *gasp* "Excuse me? I have never heard this story."
Aliyah: "I just kind of nodded. She said 'As in do you feel ways about girls that you should feel about boys?' Then she said 'It's okay.' She was crying but she said, 'I'm not going to love you any differently. It's okay.' I was genuinely shocked I though. I think my mom has come around in recent years she's more liberal but at the time I was fearing the worst.
It was a great relief. I was still worried, though, about the rest of my family- Well I wasn't worried about my dad I felt like my dad would have- my dad doesn't really say anything, he doesn't talk much. So he was okay with it. I just wanted to take a shower but then I came down and it wasn't addressed. But it's funny because that night SNL was on and Kristen Stewart was hosting and she said, 'Oh I'm bi now it's totally cool. It's really in.' My parents were not laughing they were just sitting there in silence.
My dad said he kind of suspected it and my mom did too but she said she didn't want to believe it. I'm more girly now than I was as a kid."
Q: "Give each other defining characteristics."
Aliyah: "I think you're creative, hard working, intellectual, easy going, and funny.
I gave you 5 so I want 10."
Daniel: "I think your one defining characteristic that I have always admired about you is your ability to change. It's always this thing where you pick up one thing and then you put it down but the way you are able to transform yourself every couple of months, every day if you want to, I think it's an amazing kind of thing. If I were to label anyone a chameleon it's you because you are able to do anything. When I bought my camera, you were like, 'Oh I want to start shooting with mine,' and then you were able to pick it up and then just surpass me immediately. She's a Jack of all trades."
Today was the third day of a two month trip in South East Asia. I have been vlogging about my trip on my YouTube Channel. Today, however, my brother and I woke up a little bit late and only did something short and then came back to the Airbnb so I thought I would write a blog post instead. I like written blog posts to be honest. In any case, I will probably include what we did do today in my next video tomorrow.
My impressions of Thailand so far are not necessarily positive if I am being completely honest. Of course, I have only been here three days and in those three days I have not been able to see a whole lot, but from what I have seen, and the people I have encountered, I am feeling a little bit bummed out. If you watched my last video, I explained how I almost got in a fight with a taxi driver who was trying to rip us off. There is a common scam where they will simply turn off the meter and say that it doesn't work or there is no meter today (what?) and the fare is some ridiculous amount. The amount is relatively cheap compared to American taxis but it is still more than what it should be.
I was expecting this scam more or less but more than that is just the way people act towards foreigners. I have yet to feel like I am welcome in a place. I don't need, nor want, the red carpet rolled out for me anywhere that I go, but I do expect to be treated with respect simply because I am a human being. So far the best treatment that I have gotten from people is simple indifference. That is fine on its own, but after a while, it can get a little bit annoying.
To add to that, I picked an Airbnb that is in a slightly less than favorable area. For one thing, the Taxi drivers don't want to come out here. It is at the end of the train line which means it is slightly removed from the heart of downtown. It is certainly not ridiculously far by any means, but it is somewhat out of the way. This means that the area immediately surrounding the building I am in is not all that nice.
But, on the positive side, this Airbnb itself is perfect. The actual unit is very clean and modern. Everything works, it is completely furnished, other than the area, there is nothing to complain about.
I think that my experience is pretty a-typical. I do know that the scams are quite prevalent here, but I have not heard of many people feeling the same way I feel about their interactions with Thai people. I am confident that a mixture of positive attitude and patience will result in better interactions. This is the most visited city in the world for a reason, and if everyone went away feeling like I do now, I highly doubt Bangkok would have that reputation. So with that said, I am looking forward to the rest of my trip. And, in hindsight, it has been a lot of fun so far, regardless of the negative aspects. I guess you just have to take the bad with the good in life.
"I'm very open to what I am going to do in the future. Right now my major is psychology so I can go and do a bunch of different things. I hope to go to grad school, if I get accepted, I guess that's the goal. It's taken me a long time to finish school. I am almost done, next year I will finish.
When I first started [at UTSA] I looked into the program- my only two options, financially of course, were here or Texas A&M. I looked into the programs and I saw all the different things that they do, like psychology organizations, and I decided [UTSA] was a better choice.
When I was younger, and I think for a lot of people, you don't care as much and you're not as focused, so I was definitely a lot less focused. It took me a long to realize, you know, you need to buckle down and if this is what you want to do, then you have got to work for it. I was very focused on other things and on top of that I work so I was like, 'well I could make more money right now rather than go to school,' so I started to slack. Eventually I got it together and now I focus more on school. I'm happy about that.
For me I was not happy. My job is not a career right now, it's to pay the bills. I work at a loan company- customer service. I guess as I continued to work more and go to school less I was like, 'this is not what I want to do.' I've always known that I love going to school. I mean, yes, it's stressful, but at the same time the environment, I love it. It took me some time to realize 'this isn't making you happy and you have an opportunity to make yourself happy so go to school and finish school.' I never stopped going to school I just started going part time. I took one class here, two classes there. Now I am finally going back full time and I work part time so I changed my priorities I guess.
Everyone has their own pace. Everyone goes through life. Some people may be fortunate enough not to have any drastic things go on in their four years (of school) and they knock it out. Then there are people who go through tons of things that you wouldn't even know if they were walking past you.
[Working part time] It's been extremely tough mainly just because of bills and there is life outside of school. You need a car, you need a home, it just gets more tough as you get older because you want to do things on your own. When I was 18 I lived with my parents. Now I live on my own so I have the house and I have a car, this and that, you know. I think it's pretty difficult but I think I have really managed it well.
I think I have grown up. That's really what it is and what it took. Not that I'm old, I'm 24. But from 18 to 24 I have definitely grown up and realized priorities and what is important and you're not just going to get things handed to you in life. I think it is important to do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do. So right now I have to go to school. I think my priorities have changed.
I think the community is very strong here. Everyone's very welcoming. I came here as a transfer student. Even though I came as a transfer, from day one, it's been very open and I think everyone's really friendly. I like that.
People do really underestimate this school. I don't know if it is because we are in the UT system and they think 'UT Austin is higher,' or if it is because we are a relatively newer school, but it is kind of disappointing that you have to defend your school. That's crazy because we are all coming for an education and we're getting a good education here. You know, professors come from all over the United States, even other countries. I would say not to focus so much on the label of [other schools], focus on the kind of education you are going to get."
Here is the second interview so far. I have another one coming as well.
Although I have just started this project, I am starting to see patterns. More importantly though, I am beginning to see the mistakes I need to work on. You may see them too, and I invite you to tell me about them.
If you enjoy these, please support me by commenting, sharing, and taking a look at my other content. You can see my Instagram here and my Youtube channel here. Lots of exciting stuff happening there in the near future, but enough about that, onto the interview.
"I'm a freshman right now, about to become a sophomore.
Honestly, I never thought about coming to UTSA, I always thought about going somewhere out of the city. I always wanted to get out of here, but I guess when it finally came down to it- I had never even been to UTSA, I had never even seen the campus or anything. A lot of my friends, they don't come here at all either, and I just heard really nice things about it and one day I just went on Youtube. They have a video showcasing the campus and I watched that video and it just made me fall in love with it and it made me apply here. Just watching that one video about what the campus looked like, all the people walking around, and the activities they were showing, that's what made me apply here.
My major is sociology and I want to use that to become a social worker. I saw that [UTSA] had a good program for that. I've always had this drive to help people, but I didn't know how I wanted to use that. It's kind of lame, but I watched tv shows and there was one called "The Fosters." It was about these two women fostering kids and one of them was a social worker and for some reason I felt like... I don't know, there was just a feeling that I got when I watched it and I said, 'That's it. That's what I want to do.' I took sociology in high school and I knew I liked that class, but I just didn't know what I could do with a sociology degree, and then I found out you could use it for social work so it just made sense to do that.
My dad was in the military so I didn't move to San Antonio until I was four or five, I was born in Singapore. The hardest thing was moving around a lot or even just the idea of moving around. There was a couple of times that I was supposed to, and I was like, 'I can't do it.' My family was so excited to move to Iceland, or Connecticut, or something, but I didn't want to to leave. I like San Antonio. So that was the hardest part.
I would like to end each year with an 'A' GPA, I know last semester I did, but the Spring semester has been harder. It's not as easy as I thought it would be because I came in just thinking, 'I was a straight A student in high school' and I just came here with that mentality but it's way more work and it's way different than I thought it would be. For the near future, I want to change some of the habits I have had.
In high school I used to get away with doing things last minute and doing okay on it, but here that doesn't really cut it. Things I thought I could get an A on, they're B's just because I did them last minute.
I would tell my younger self, 'You don't need to go to a prestigious place.' Most of my best memories come from little hidden gems. My present self enjoys [UTSA] and I am glad that I didn't listen to anybody and I just did my own thing. It's a really nice campus, I really enjoy coming here."
In this vlog I go to Hays Street Bridge here in San Antonio. This bridge has been in the news recently but I forgot what the story was... Either the city wants to tear it down or make changes to it. I am not sure. I figured I would see it just in case something does happen.
I also talk about future plans for the channel! Lots of exciting stuff happening soon.
No clue why the drone footage is so grainy. I will have to figure this out.
the goal is to show the people who make up UTSA and their stories. This is what I consider to be the face of UTSA.Read More
Hello peoples. I did a thing. Watch the thing! Sorry for the audio. Thanks.
This lens is certainly not new having come out a good two or three years ago now. But since its announcement, I have been lusting after this lens like no one's business. Before this I was using a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 prime lens for my wide angle shots. In fact I talked about that one in this blog post titled "A Wider View" This lens has served me well, and there are things I love about it the greatest of which would be its compact size as it is a prime lens after all.
But there were things I hated about it, and I really wanted a good wide angle zoom. The Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 seemed like the only way to go and, although I always try to stick to first party lenses, it just didn't really catch my attention. But Tamron certainly did.
I have played around with some Tamron lenses in the past and found them lacking in many areas. Their build quality just wasn't that great, their image quality was just so-so, and they just never really won me over as a whole (though I have heard that the 70-200 is great too). This 15-30 is anything but all those nasty things that I just mentioned.
As far as image quality goes this lens just blows me away. I have never thought of third party lenses looking that great as far as image quality is concerned, but this lens shows that Tamron has really stepped up their game and made something to compete with the first party manufacturers. Personally coming from the old 28mm I can say that at all focal lengths this lens is leaps and bounds better. I mean, it should be, the 28mm is really an old lens from another era. It isn't fair to compare the two but I can't help it as these are two lenses that I own. The 28mm had really weird distortion, lots of vignetting, lots of chromatic aberration, and a whole bunch of stuff besides.
Of course the Tamron has "distortion" towards the edges as well. But that is just the nature of really wide angle lenses, not a design flaw. But I have yet to see any vignetting or chromatic aberration, and the lens is amazingly sharp. The only downfall to this lens is that it is big and heavy. I mean that too just look at how big it makes my Nikon D610. This lens can be walked around with, but if you are planning a long hike up a mountain, this is one to go in the backpack, not around your neck.
Aside from the size and weight, I have no gripes with this lens so far. I am loving it. I am sure that in the next year or so Tamron will come out with an updated version, but for now this is the wide angle to buy.
That's all. Just wanted to share my thoughts on my new lens. Maybe this will help someone debating to buy it or not like I was.