Tag Archives: 30 Day Challenge

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 30


I don’t think I’ll even apologize for skipping this one. I had a wonderful weekend (even if it was a little bit busy). But I’m proud of myself for powering through this. It’s been a long month, but I’m glad I did this.

Your highs and lows of the month.

It’s often very easy to look back and think about how terrible something was. It’s actually a little too easy if you ask me, and I struggled a little bit to think about the good things. But as I looked through my old journal, I realized that I had a pretty great month.

Red Panda

My trip to the Omoriyama Zoo.

This tiny zoo is nestled in the outskirts of Akita. It was a 40 minute bus ride from Akita station, and my friend and I had no idea what to expect. But my suite mate promised us red pandas (or as they’re called in Japanese, lesser pandas.) This was quite possibly the most wonderful zoo I’ve ever been to. It was small, but I got to see native Japanese animals like the raccoon dog and eat a peanut butter sandwich in front of a lovely lake. Even if there was a little bit of an awkward moment between the mommy and daddy elephant (it’s springtime!!), we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And the lesser pandas were adorable.


I got an email in my inbox that asked me about ferns. I thought this was the weirdest thing ever, but it turned out that it was actually an old friend of mine who wanted to reconnect. We became online friends while I was in high school via a Fire Emblem forum. It was my first experience with a real forum, and the few people on that website became like my family. I spoke with them on a daily basis. After we all started growing up and the forum died, I was…more than a little sad. But it’s back with a new name and the same old faces. I’m more than a little happy about that. (And just so you know, FERN stands for Fire Emblem Roleplaying Network. But I’m waiting for the day someone buys an actual fern.)

Pancake party with my friends

My Australian friend randomly decided, “Hey! Let’s have a banana pancake and coffee party.” So we did. We got together and whipped us up some delicious pancakes. I shared my peanut butter and found out that it’s common in Australia to put sugar and lemon on pancakes. (I’ll stick with my peanut butter.) I got to talk to some super sweet Japanese students as well.

This month wasn’t without its complications though. Stressing about classes, worrying about this and that… That’s life though. We live through it.

Screwing up at my Gospel Choir concert

More recently, I’ve had a lot of communication problems with Gospel Choir. I try my hardest to understand, but I usually end up frustrated. I volunteered to write/read an introduction for a song for our concert. I wanted to be useful. However…because I didn’t understand I just messed up. Even when I asked in English I messed up. It’s quite difficult to explain, but I basically did everything wrong, and I still don’t think I’ve apologized enough. I’ve come back to my room from rehearsal more than a few times in tears because I wish I was better at understanding.

Getting lost on the way to the cat café

While it’s pretty trivial, my travel buddy and I spent several hours search for a cat café in Akita City. After wandering, getting lost, and wandering some more, we finally met a nice guy with near perfect English, who took us where we needed to go. …but it was closed. At least we knew our way back, but that took another 40 minutes.

Getting my nasty sunburn

This one is simple. I got sunburned. Badly. I have really bad tan lines. Japanese sunscreen does not work on me. Somehow I survived.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 29


What are your goals for the next 30 days?

I have less than 30 days left in Japan. Less than 30 days. I feel as if I should have a ton of things just jammed into one list…but I don’t. Perhaps my goals for the next month aren’t too big, but I do want to enjoy the last few weeks I have here.

*Finish school comfortably – this means not procrastinating on my last few projects. I want to get stuff finished and not worry about what’s to come.

*Go to karaoke – Believe it or not, I haven’t been to karaoke place in Japan yet; this is practically a sin seeing as it is very popular.

*Climb a mountain – I can’t make it to Fuji, but there is a similar mountain nearby. I’d really like to go and experience the scenery.

*Go to the beach – It’s. So. Close. I want to go. I want to live there. I need the beach in my life.

*Buy a yukata and wear it to the Tanabata Festival – My last festival while I’m here is the star festival. I want to go all out. Wear my yukata (basically a summer kimono) and all the accessories (minus the shoes, since I have giant feet).

*Buy a Gameboy Advance and play Japanese video games – Even though my favorite video game series (Fire Emblem) just released a new game for the 3DS or whatever the latest game system is, I can’t justify buying it. But I can buy a cheaper/older game system here and play all my favorite nostalgic games!

*Finish my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 25,000 words – I told myself I wanted to write more. Here’s hoping I don’t die.

*Return to America safely – I’m scared of going through American customs….

*Eat one giant American pizza – Even though I appreciate that the Japanese put Tabasco sauce on their pizza, I need lots of cheese, meat, and crust. Please…no more seaweed and sardines.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 28


Right now, I could really use a good laugh. I went to bed in a bad mood, and I woke up in a bad mood. It took a lot of caffeine to perk me up, but I had a serious case of the “don’t wannas.” I did everything I needed to do…but I certainly wasn’t happy about it. It’s almost 10 PM here, and I’m just now coming out of it. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be a better day!


Post 5 things that make you laugh out loud.

1.) It’s Tuesday again.

My sister sends me this joke a lot. Sometimes it’s Tuesday. Sometimes it isn’t. But if you don’t get the reference, this is probably one of my favorite Supernatural episodes. (Okay…I haven’t watched that much Supernatural, but this one gets me every time.) As a brief summary, Sam and Dean get trapped in a perpetual Tuesday. Worst. Tuesdays. Ever. As morbid as the subject matter is, somehow the writers manage to balance the morbidity well with humor. My sister and I constantly compare ourselves to Sam and Dean, so we appreciate the joke. I can’t even think about Tuesday without giggling.

2.) It’s a Monday.

Okay. I hate Mondays, but Olan Rogers makes me love them. Actually, if I’m ever down, I know for a fact that I can watch one of his videos and feel better. He’s probably my favorite YouTuber not just because he’s an awesome storyteller (and kind of my inspiration for this blog) but because he’s a genuinely nice guy. I love anything by him. And Ghost in the Stalls is probably one of the best videos out there. I’ve gotten to the point that when I hear the phrase, “It’s a Monday” I’m ready for action.

3.) The Importance of Being Earnest

A good friend of mine gave me this audiobook a while back. I listen to it every time I have a long car trip, and I always laugh out loud. The voice actors are beyond amazing at getting into their roles. If you’ve never read or seen the play, you need to. Now. I hear there’s a movie too. I really need to watch it.

4.) Ginger jokes

I’m a pretty good sport about most things, and soulless ginger jokes make me laugh hardcore. Sure, the same ones get a little old, but if you can get a good original one in, I’ll be laughing for the next hour or two.

5.) Markiplier

I started watching his gaming videos this year. I was trying to avoid putting two YouTubers on this list, but it’s hard to leave him out because he has become a big part of my laughter this semester. Like Olan Rogers, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. His commentary is hilarious. He makes fun of himself. Even when he rages it’s hilarious. I started watching his videos for some reason, and the jump scares… His jump scares are the best because his reactions are out of this world.

I appreciate every single laugh. Now I think I’m going to finish my Japanese homework and watch some Markiplier.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 27


Conversely, write about something that’s kicking you in the butt right now.

My. Listening. Skills. Tank.

Not in English. I think I’m a pretty good listener. You want to complain about your boyfriend or girlfriend? Go ahead. I’ll listen, and I swear I won’t tell anyone. You just need to vent about a bad day at work? Political issue? Do you want to scream or cry or squee? Come on!

No. Listening to Japanese.

Actually, I’m fairly certain that any foreign language is difficult to get the hang of, but so far, most of my Japanese skills are improving. I’m more confident with my speaking and can communicate something if I need to. (Sometimes it takes thought.) Despite the fact that I read only around 300 kanji, my reading skills are the best. I have to translate a lot, but I can read things out loud quite easily. It’s actually my favorite thing to do. Writing. I got it.

But listening. I have to ask someone to repeat themselves over and over and over again. I have to tell them to speak slower. I feel like a complete child. It gets bad when I’ve asked someone to repeat themselves about 5 times already, and they look about ready to give up. I swear I’m not stupid. I try as hard as I can.

The thing is, I do well with the listening in my text book. Real life is no text book though.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 26


Guilty as charged. I missed a few days. I’ll be completely honest. It has been a long few weeks. It just hit me that I have only a month left. I got busy with my classes and friends and studying. I don’t want to bore you with my explanations. Just know that I will finish this challenge, but it will take a little longer than expected. Luckily, I’m so close to the end, I can taste it.

Write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

Can I just choose to improve myself entirely?

I’m an incredibly imperfect human-being. I worry all the time. I struggle with my inner-demons. I procrastinate. I upset people. I make mistakes on an hourly basis. If I improved one aspect about myself, I’m sure something else would get worse. Perhaps my readers would take this paragraph as “you need to work on some self-confidence then. I’m sure you’re a wonderful person. No one’s perfect, but you can be great without being perfect.”

Can I?

I don’t feel like a great person when I struggle. I don’t feel wonderful if I have to watch every move I make to keep from upsetting someone. I’m constantly changing, like every single day. Perhaps some areas improve while others get worse. I’ve become a far more social person the older I get, but my spiritual life suffers. I’ve gotten a bit more confident, but I worry more about the opinions of others. When someone says “you’re wonderful” I feel this pressure to be that way all time. That means hiding my tears and my anger, always smiling even when I don’t want to, and giving 110% every waking hour of the day.

Last semester, I worked my butt off. I had three part time jobs, 16 hours of classes, and lots of volunteer work on top of my study abroad application. I had to learn how to ration my energy just to survive on a day to day basis. But I didn’t want anyone to know how tired I actually was. At one point, a friend asked me for help around 11:30 PM. Normally, this is no problem, but this was after hours of classes and a very long study session with a few of the students I mentor as well as a very long sorority meeting. But they were good friends, and I figured ten minutes wouldn’t kill me.

At one point, I blacked out just long enough to miss a stair. My forehead smashed into one of the steps, and then I slid down two flights of stairs like a slinky. I curled up at the bottom and cried for a few minutes before crawling back up on my hands and knees. I arrived at my friends’ room with a red bar across my forehead and tears streaking my cheeks, but I still had this big smile on my face.

Why? Because I always give 110%. When you’re always trying to meet someone’s expectations of “wonderful,” it’s very difficult to fall short… But maybe giving 90% is okay? Maybe people will understand?

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 25


I’m getting closer and closer to the end of this. I can feel it.

Think of any word. Search it on Google images. Write about something inspired by the 11th image.

A lot of words bounced around in my head when I first read this prompt. I decided to eliminate nouns and go for an adjective instead. I honestly had no idea what I would get, and I’m pleasantly surprised. (And as a disclaimer, it’s nearing midnight here… I’m quite tired and my writing my suffer, but I want to get this posted!)

Living has to be one of the most difficult things in existence. Think about it. If we didn’t live, we wouldn’t have any trouble. We wouldn’t have troublesome thoughts. We wouldn’t have physical pain. We wouldn’t have to work our butts off to stay alive. I can’t be the only one who has a new trouble almost every single day. Whether it’s an energetic freshman crushing my toe with a metal chair or a professor going out of her way to make my life miserable, my troubles pile on top of me until I can’t move. They crush me where I stand, and that’s when life likes to kick me while I’m down. Sickness. Family trouble. School problems. Friend drama.

It never ends.

Life didn’t seem half as difficult when I was a kid. For example, I didn’t even realize I was a victim of bullying until someone pointed it out. I always shot that Ezekiel kid a smile when he called me “Four-Eyes,” thinking it was a pretty cool nickname. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. During recess, I remember munching on the little dandelion seeds without a care in the world until a teacher came to tell me to stop eating the plants. But I still played with them. There was something fun about blowing on them and watching all the little puffs disappear in the wind. I’d make my wish. I’d believe it with all my heart. I’d laugh at the guy who tried to throw dirt clods at me. I’d look up at the sky and count the birds.

If everyone has as much trouble as I do with this life thing, perhaps we can come up with a medicine for the daily aches and pains.  Tell someone they’re beautiful, special, loved, wonderful… Even if you don’t think they need it, perhaps they’ll save that memory for when they do. Look a customer in the eyes. Smile a genuine smile. Buy the student madly typing away on his computer a coffee, even a small one. Kindness is a chain reaction that when done right, becomes this powerful force that not even life can conquer.

So if anyone’s out there who needs a little encouragement, just know that a lanky, awkward, wannabe ginger blogger thinks you can overcome your obstacle. I’ve overcome several myself. But know that life is meant to be hard. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth living. If getting to Japan were easy, I’d have done it a dozen times already, and I wouldn’t appreciate what I have right now.

But maybe next time it seems like too much, imagine a dandelion. Blow all your troubles away. Start over.

You can do it.

Now for a little game. If you can guess what the word I chose was, I’ll give you a cookie. (Or I could at least mention you in my next post.)

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 24


Okay…so I’m cheating a little bit. I’ve had a long day (week), and it’s late. I need to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for a 12 hour field trip. I’m going to be a little lazy. Please forgive me!

Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

“Never cook bacon without your shirt on.”

At the age of four or five, I believe, my little brother spouted this wisdom on the way to school. The car had been completely silent before his tiny voice proudly declared this statement. To this day, no one knows where it came from. The depths of a child’s mind are quite endless I’ve come to realize. He could have pulled it from any corner of the universe. But why that moment?  My sister, father, and I all exchanged looks of shock before bursting into laughter. And that was that. The first of many Nate-isms.

Did I ever test this? No. When I cook bacon, I try to do it with a shirt on. But my little brother is careful to remind me almost EVERY time. And if he doesn’t, my father most certainly will. Guests at my home usually hear this and probably assume I’m some sort bacon-cooking nudist.

I’m not. I swear.