From the Ashes a Fire Shall Be Woken

Very few movies have me on tenterhooks, tense with anticipation and excitement. This year, 2012, ushered in an early onset of nerves; for The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit. Since I have precisely 5 months to build up to the second and am still reeling from the after-effects of an early morning showing of the first, I shall deal with the first.

I must say, before I get any more into it, Christopher Nolan is genius. The man is spectacular! He sustained a comic book character, that has been on screen since the 1960’s, through three movies, three brilliant storylines that have kept everyone on their toes.

One of the main reasons I’ve fallen in love with Nolan’s trilogy, starting with the first Batman Begins, is that he made Batman more human and realistic. “He could be anyone” to quote from the film and it comes through to you while you watch it, be it in Bruce Wayne‘s dulcet billionaire playboy tones, or in the gruff vigilante’s. He made it more than just a movie – which is usually supposed to be a popcorn & drink affair. He made it so real that you feel yourself being taken in by the story, you feel the pain, the fear, the exultation, the displeasure, the pleasure, the unworthiness, the tribulations, the injustice, the compassion… the need to make things right, to fix it, to be involved in something larger than life. It makes you want to believe. That was the essence, and the magic, that Nolan wove into each of his movies and he has ended it on an absolutely fantastic note. I could not have asked for more.

I haven’t watched a lot of superhero movies because they’re literally almost the same. Iron Man was good because of the dialog, The Avengers and The Hulk too. But it’s not realistic. I mean, when compared to Nolan’s Batman. At least to me. Most superhero movies stick with the theme of – I’m good, there’s a bad guy, I’ll try to beat him, I can’t, I’ll try again, and I win. Yes, in theory Batman is the same, but while you watch the movie you begin to deal with a tumult of emotions. Watch, for instance, the last few minutes of The Dark Knight.

You understand sacrifice and are left with a need to do more. It speaks to you on a human level, one you can identify with because it’s all true. Even the evil ones – Ra’s al Ghul, The Joker, Bane – are perfect. We see and hear of atrocities happening all over the world and the bad guys in the Batman series give you that. That men can be brought down by pure evil. Harvey Dent, for example. “(The Joker) took the best of us and tore him down” as Commissioner Gordon says in the second movie. Isn’t that true in real life? Corruption and manipulation?

There’s also the human spirit that Nolan emphasizes on. That mankind is not doomed to evil, that we not always need superheroes to save us. People are enough. People that have morals. Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist that he is, wants to do good for his city. That’s why he comes back and becomes the masked crusader. He believes that his city deserves more and is willing to sacrifice for it, as Batman. The innate faith in people is something that should exist and it’s beautifully brought out in all three movies.

I came out of the theater speechless. Literally. I’ve loved the movies, as I’ve stated before, and couldn’t have been more satisfied with the way it ended. It gave me all I wanted. I felt every possible humanly emotion at 6:00am in the morning and as I told a friend – I hyperventilated for approximately 160 minutes. Hans Zimmer‘s composition aided in making me feel that way because I was already in that tense, open eyed state since the soundtrack was release a few days before the movie.

This movie, along with the other two that make up the trilogy, will remain as one my all time favorites. Not just because of its darkness but because of its near accurate representation of reality. (Here’re some quotes from the trilogy, as a parting gift).

I think the following lines from J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem about Aragorn are appropriate:

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring”

He is a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark Knight.

My Rant For Heavy Metal \m/

Heavy metal, or simply metal, is a misunderstood genre. While there is very little of mainstream music I admire or even listen to, metal has been a good friend through my teenage years and has followed me into adulthood. There is an element of metal music that hits home. It’s not just the loudness and the bass and distortions. There is feeling in it, the lyrics are more intense, the music conveys a far deeper meaning. It’s not noise. It’s larger than that.

I’m an 80’s child that grew up in the 90’s so I know what pop music is supposed to be and I’ve enjoyed my share of boy bands and solo artists. But most of the artists I like and songs I bobbed to were before my time. They were from the 70’s and 80’s. I couldn’t enjoy a lot of the late 90’s music because of the importance given to performance than actual singing or music. It became more about the ‘oompf’ factor. Metal, on the other hand, goes for the subtle bang. Yes, most to all metal musicians wear black and chains, have tattoos and long hair, wear leather and look creepy, are atheists or devout . But honestly, if anyone with a musical mind/ear listened to them, you’d hear more similarities to classical music than what you’d ever find in mainstream music – some genres of which I don’t even understand!! Before I get into my rant I should mention that I know my classical music too and have my favorites. From the Medieval period – RiquierPérotin; from the Renaissance – TallisOckeghemByrd; from the Baroque era – CavalliPurcellVivaldi, BachHandel; from the Classical era – Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert; from the Romantic period – LisztSchumannChopinWagner, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Dvořák, Verdi, Brahms, Rachmaninoff.

Think song/lyrical themes; metal compositions, while paying great attention to fantastic mind-boggling riffs and delectable beats – which takes (not only displays) talent but also skill with the instrument, usually deal with politics, war, relationships, soul-searing discoveries of honesty and truth. It’s not sugar-coated. Don’t expect it to be. Yes, it’s dark. But it’s the truth about humanity. No other genre, except perhaps certain rap artists, deals with something as brutally honest as metal.

For the metal in me

Yes, the loudness of the music plays a big role in the sound of metal, but vocalists are plenty and have multi-octave ranges that are powerful as they are melodic and soul-searing. Gruff vocals – so suited to the image of machismo that this genre is supposed to be all about – death growls and clean, clear tones. Male and female singers, with a range of training, or none at all in a lot of cases, have made their mark here though a lot of them remain unknown to the general music listening population. Ronnie James Dio (my personal all time favorite – he never received musical training!), Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, three men that ushered in the operatic vocals that inspired generations of metal singers, appear on every possible list of ‘Best Singers’. There’s Lemmy, a cult icon, with his gravely voice. There’s Geoff TatePerry Farrell and Robert Plant. The women also bring on a force that ought to be reckoned with, from operatic soulful voices to the intense growls there’re Tarja TurunenSimone SimonsMaria BrinkFloor JansenSharon den AdelAngela GossowOtep Shamaya and Kittie (one of the most successful all-female metal bands). Some personal favorites include Mikael ÅkerfeldtJames HetfieldJørn LandeRoy KhanShagrathMarco HietalaTony KakkoLuca Turilli, among several others.

Metal captures the softer side of humanity too. I’ve listened to Adele and I like her smokey voice. But I’m more moved by Judas Priest‘s Angel. I’ve cried when I’ve listened to this song. Even Apocolyptica‘s Not Strong Enough has stirred something in me. For the Fallen Dream‘s Last Dying Breath isn’t soft but the lyrics get to you. Sienna Skies‘ To All Aspiring is another example.

Dio – the man who gave metal its horns

Pain is a recurring theme in metal. It’s deals with human sacrifice and suffering and the simpler aspects of life, when the loss of loved ones or disappointment tears at you from within. Metallica’s Until It Sleeps and Fixxxer are perfect enforcers of music and words woven together from the soul. Meadows of Heaven by Nightwish is a prime example of beautiful lyrics and brilliant musical arrangement – this from the same group that recorded Master Passion Greed , which is of human greed, and Phantom of the Opera.

Drummers and guitarists are as important, possibly more, as the singers since there are instrumental metal bands that have found wide spread audience too. The first names that pop into my head when one mentions drums are Lars UlrichDave LombardoVinnie PaulTomas HaakeRichard ChristyIgor CavaleraChris AdlerMartin LopezCharlie Benante… if you don’t know them, you’re not really an appreciator of music! Same goes with the guitarists – Yngwie MalmsteenDave MustaineKirk HammettSynyster GatesDimebag DarrellFredrik ThordendalRitchie BlackmoreAdrian SmithSteve HarrisScott IanSteve VaiJoe SatrianiKai HansenEddie ClarkeJesper StrombladMikael ÅkerfeldtChris PolandJames Hetfield and so many more. Again, if you call yourself a music-know-it-all and aren’t aware of these men. Well, I wash my hands off you!

All of the names I’ve mentioned above are songwriters – they listen to a wide range of music, find inspiration and belt out amazing pieces of work. The same as most people in the music industry. The difference? These guys actually play and sing live. They’re not doing it for entertainment. They don’t wear skimpy clothes and sing only about love, sex, parties and drugs – isn’t that the most constant theme of every new artist? And every viral hit?

Eddie the Head – Iron Maiden’s mascot

There’s something intensely satisfying and powerful when you hear a thousand, sometimes, tens of thousands of voices, bellowing song after song at you. A four or five person group incites passionate responses from the crowd. They’re all there for the music! Not for the themed shows that singers put on when on tour. That’s the same with classical music – it’s about the music.

I guess my point is, before you call my music trash, take a moment and consider. There’s so much more to music than just the usual thumping from a radio or the Top-40 lists. I’ve heard them too. I love Goyte‘s Somebody that I Used to Know, I admire Adele‘s Set Fire to the Rain and Imogen Heap‘s Headlock . I’ve appreciated 2Pac‘s songs and JustinTimberlake‘s transition from a nasally singer of a boy band into a mature solo artist. I’ve danced to Madonna‘s La Isla Bonita and even Diana King‘s song with Celine Dion – Treat Her Like a Lady. I’ve bobbed to Abba and Boney M and The Beach Boys. But somehow none of them stuck. On the other hand, I was taken in by Metallica’s Wherever I May RoamMegadeth‘s TrustGates of Babylon by RainbowRime of the Ancient MarinerNumber of the Beast and Run to the Hills by Iron MaidenWar Pigs and Iron Man by Black SabbathCemetary Gates by PanteraThe Bible Black by Dio and his rendition of Dream OnQueen of the Reich by QueensrycheBattle Hymn by ManowarDivine Wings of Tragedy by Symphony XPull Me Under by Dream TheaterTestament‘s Over the WallNightfall by Blind GuardianThe Scarecrow by AvantasiaOnly by AnthraxTerminus by Dark TranquilityWish I Had an Angel by Nightwish

 All of these songs, and many more, have made a difference in my musical outlook. There’s a reason I don’t like dance and hip-hop. I don’t feel like going to clubs to have my eardrums blasted by what to me are nonsensical beats that people only want to ‘get down’ to. I’d much rather go to a symphony orchestra performance and be drawn in by the intricate beauty of sounds molding together, or a metal concert and be taken over by the surging power of riffs and beats.

I will continue to appreciate all aspects of music, I always do and have. I will spend lazy Sunday afternoons listening to pop and rock from the good old 70’s and 80’s. I will put on my heavy metal tracks or my favorite classical compositions when I want to feel raw emotion. I will continue to tolerate my family listening to the Billboard Charts and nod my approval to some of them. I have my tastes and you have yours. But don’t accuse me of having no ear for music and claim what you listen to is music.

I rest my case.

Musicals!

I haven’t watched a lot of musicals, truth be told, but those I have watched I have loved! The Sound of Music, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Grease, Chicago,and  West Side Story being some that I can recall at this moment. My most recent flirtation with a musical was Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Funky, right? 🙂

Anyway, a few days back, I said the words, “reviewing the situation” to someone and it set into motion this particular series of memories and I, being one of those that loves almost anything to do with books, went on a musical spree. Here are some of my favorites.

Reviewing the Situation – Oliver Twist

Ron Moody, who played Fagin in the 1968 movie, made me love Oliver Twist – which isn’t, if you come to think of it, a very endearing read for an eight year old!

Be Prepared – The Lion King

Jeremy Irons’ voice send shivers down my spine whether he’s talking or singing, and he deserves due recognition for being the perfect Scar. The Broadway version is spectacular, but here’s the song from the movie, because nothing can beat Mr. Irons’ voice.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins

I didn’t like the movie, loved the play and this song. Why? Because it was a big word and for the longest time I was the only one in my class who could say AND spell it 🙂 (I could also say it backwards)

The Phantom of the Opera – The Phantom of the Opera

While I Tarja Turunen’s gothic take on this very gothic play, the original song is creepy on its own terms!

Macavity: The Mystery Cat – Cats

T. S. Eliot’s poem was my favorite in middle school, and when I found out that it was also a song in Cats, well… I loved it even more 🙂

There are songs from The Fantastiks and Beauty and the Beast, and several other musicals that I know songs from, that should be on this post, but for the sake of simplicity and keeping it short I will stop with my top five.

Musically Fit – In the Austen Way

Can you imagine a Jane Austen musical? I mean, a real Jane Austen drama as a musical? Lady Catherine singing about her pride, Darcy of his love, Marianne of her heartache, Colonel Brandon of his battles, Edmund Bertram of his family and Miss Crawford of hers, and Emma of her matchmaking, perhaps? Does it make some sense? Maybe not. But if you think about it, it’s very possible, because I just returned from a rather nice musical adaptation of my second most favorite Jane Austen novel, Persuasion. Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot, and every other character, relating the story to you in song.

I saw it only because I’m subscribed to the Chicago Tribune – yes, I still have my newspaper delivered to me. I rushed to the Athenaeum Theater to buy the tickets the very next day. I was spiffed about it! I didn’t care if I had company or not, I was going to watch it. And I did. Just a few hours back. I must admit, I was very apprehensive about the whole event. I gave it a lot of thought and honestly, I was duly impressed.

It began with a half hour presentation that provided a background of the Royal Navy at the time the novel is set and then to the theater we went. The show was fun and well thought out. It seemed to mix the elements of the movie versions and the actual book quite well. It was divided into two acts, split at the point when Louisa Musgrove hurts herself at Lyme, which I thought was an interesting point to stop the first act, but was a good choice. The music was spectacular from start to finish, I appreciated the intensity and playfulness of the score from the very first note. The songs were good and came in at the right moments. The lyrics were simple, obviously, with the perfect amount of humor in them, that everyone almost joined in with some songs – like the sailor song, to which three boys even tap danced! The script was worthy of an Austen novel, though there were slight deviations in the actual words said – like the one part when Captain Wentworth almost confesses his love for Anne much earlier than Miss Austen had him do – but it settled fine with the script, so no complaints there. My only issue, I think, would have to be the acting and the accent.

Now, I realize that it is an American stage production, so naturally the actors would be American, with American accents. Perfectly fine. As actors, stage actors especially, they would naturally attempt to be as original as possible. Which almost all of them managed. All except the female lead. Anne Elliot. She just threw me off from her very first line. The actress that played Anne Elliot was the one who did the adaptation, so I guess I expected her to be perfect. Or at least near it. Her acting was good, her singing very good, but just the accent… ah… She was either trying too hard – which I think is true because ‘roar’ sounded like ‘wroawr’, and parents sounded like ‘payents’ – or I’ve been watching too much British television. Either way, that was the only disappointing aspect of the whole musical. I didn’t expect an Amanda Root or Sally Hawkins presentation, but one would expect Anne Elliot, being the protagonist, to be the one who is best fitted in the role. Captain Wentworth did a good job, he didn’t get to sing as much, but he played the part quite well. Other mentionable performances would have to be the Miss Musgroves, both of whom sang brilliantly, Sir Walter Elliot, who added a good deal of comedy into the character, Captains Harville and Benwick, Admiral Croft – the deep baritone voice was perfect – and Lady Russell. William Elliot, the scheming cousin, was good in his role, though I think the 2007 film version had the best actor for this part, but this isn’t film, and I did like his singing. The supporting cast, all the sailors and general townspeople had amazing voices too! I loved the choruses they sang together! The set design was lovely. I didn’t expect to see so much on the stage, and I think they managed it quite well.

Overall, I honestly think it was a good experience. One every Austen fan must be subjected to just to appreciate Miss Austen even more. This adaptation is told through the eyes of Jane Austen – she relates the story to her niece and nephew. I loved the fact that the essence in her characters and books gave life to a musical, something Jane Austen would’ve NOT imagined her work being made into. I might have enjoyed the acting a little bit more had I not gone in with the expectation of a Ciarán Hinds like Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones did a fantastic job with it too, and I think I like him more for obvious reasons 😉 ). There was just too much visual content already in my head where the acting was concerned, but, I still managed to enjoy myself on a Sunday evening. Loved it. Might not go again only because of the accent of the lead, but would recommend that others go watch it while diligently ignoring it.

It’s Been Long, Way Too Long!

What can I say? I just went off the blogdar (blog+radar)! I meant to write when I was at home but all I wanted to do during those two weeks was to just relax, spend some time with my grandparents, prepare for my sister’s graduation party, and read. So I do feel a tad bit guilty about not having even visited my humble blog in all this time.

Considering the number of things that have happened in the past month or so, I think it would be fair to dedicate a single post to each of those events. Why? Because they were significant events and I would like to do it justice – and put to words everything that has been running through my heart and mind in that time.

In general updates – my book reading challenge was going on very well till I returned from my short break. Now I’m 22 books behind, when I was only 16 books behind a few weeks ago! Shocking, is it not?! I’m trying to get back into the flow, but I refuse to pick up those quickie novels that I know I can finish in an hour each – they shall remain my last resort as the year end approaches.

While I haven’t necessarily expanded my music libraries in terms of what I listen to, I have been adding in a few other artists based on songs that appear on my Pandora stations. That and I’ve been making use of my Amazon Cloud drive 😀 I must mention here that the day after I uploaded 1500 songs onto my Cloud drive, I received my Google Music invite. Sadly, Google Music has been either crashing on me or hasn’t been loading any of my uploaded songs – the latter happens more often – and I still haven’t listened to a single song on it! I think I’ll stick with the Cloud for now.

I quite religiously completed the 30 Day Music Challenge – neatly cataloged in my blog – and have taken up the 30 Day Books Challenge. This one is proving to be slightly more difficult because of the variety involved. I am trying, however, to be as honest as possible and I think I’m doing a good job so far! I must start posting that on my blog too – I’m already 9 days into this challenge!

I think I’ll leave the rest of the details for those dedicated posts that should be up over the next couple of days. Until then, I bid you adieu!

Music Games

This is a tribute to some of the games that I have loved playing. I love them more because of the music compositions that accompany me through the game. They are spectacularly composed and give it life, so here are some of the – full or in part.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Age of Empires 2

There and Back!

And so I am back! *such a bad way to start a sentence!* Well fed, well rested and well aware of what I must expect for the next four months! Of course, I felt home sick the instant I got on the plane (which had the Atlanta Falcons’ logo on the tail wing – this flight coming into Bears’ territory was rather gutsy because at the time there was a good possibility that the NFC Championship game would be between the Bears and Falcons). Anyway. My flight was cancelled due to a fun snow storm down south – schools were closed for a week! – and I missed the first class of my last course. Sad, but I was alright with it because it did mean an extra twenty-four hours at home 🙂 I finally got back, rushed around, returned to work, re-acquainted myself with the whole ‘dorm-life’ aspect, and just indulged myself in this city that I’ve fallen in love with!

A hundred thoughts ran through my head as I flew in, watching the ice float on Lake Michigan and the snow covered landscape that was Chicago. It was home. Another one for me. I felt like I belonged. Isn’t that the best feeling you can have? That you belong somewhere? It was that same feeling of awe that took me over when my friends and I dined at the Signature Lounge on the 95th floor of the Hancock Center over the weekend. I loved it! The height, the food, the beauty. I just sat there and reveled in being in the city! I am a city girl and I think I hit the jackpot with this one! It was one of the fancy-shmancy places that you pay a good deal of money for – they served caviar and salmon for breakfast! – and we spent two hours there almost at the top of the world! 🙂

Two days of the week I spent shopping and felt like such a girl! It was so cool! 🙂 I lugged around an arm full of shopping bags each day! *we shall not talk about how much I spent though, shh!*  That’s become a ritual for me… returning from a break and going on a shopping spree. A way of distracting myself from the ‘I miss home’ moments, methinks. It works quite alright, if you ask me. Retail therapy. I do indulge at other times with the excuse of a ‘sale’ that’s going on. For some strange reason, however, anything that I finally purchase are never ‘on sale’! *shrugs*

So, my apartment search begins. I have a few months before I need to get serious about it, but I think I’m going to have fun visiting places and trying to figure out if that’s ‘me’. 😉 The reading spree begins, as does the old movies mania, so I think it’s a pretty good start to the semester!

I leave you with a very nice song by Within Temptation called ‘Solemn Hour’. I think I like it more because it has snippets of Sir Winston Churchill’s first address to his country as Prime Minister (I’m quite proud of myself for having identified him as the speaker when I first heard the song).

 

 

My 2010 Music Round-Up

It’s been a long and exciting year, with a million different things happening. So it obviously calls for a round up. I thought I’d start off with a music round-up before the sports, books and personal one because it requires less time and thinking (and fewer arguments 😉 )

My phase this year (maybe, semester would be more appropriate) was an instrumental, progressive and melodic metal one. For most part, at least. There was also this brief spell of hard rock. I don’t intend on listing all the playlists/songs that have been playing on my pod, but here are some of the recurrent ones.

Kronos Quartet – Lux Aeterna

Clint Mansell – Requiem for a Dream

In Flames – Free Fall

In Flames – Cloud Connected

Green Carnation – The Burden Is Mine Alone

Kamelot – My Train of Thoughts

Apocalyptica – Not Strong Enough

Alter Bridge – Isolation

Money Matters

Money. It always comes down to it. The more you have the better your life will be. It’s not everything, but it is enough to keep you happy for a period of time. And then you go on to realize that there some things larger than those pieces of silver. What brought this topic on? Manchester United’s star player, Wayne Rooney’s little drama that unfolded a few weeks back.

Wazza said he wanted to leave. Ferguson admitted to being ‘shocked’. Rumors of a high fee transfer were ripe. A few silent days later  Rooney announced that he would be staying the United after signing a new 5-year deal because he was offered a pay raise he did a bit of soul searching and realized he would be happy to remain with his old club. I’m not judging because such situations did arise in Chelsea too, most famously (as I recall) with Frank Lampard’s commitment to the club. I’m not accusing. I’m just contemplating. I mean, it matters, doesn’t it? Whatever it is you want to do in this life, the money always matters!

It won’t make you whole/complete but it will make you happy.

Some famous actor said this once, I forget who (memory believes it was Michael Caine, but I’m not very sure). It’s just one of those things that stuck and I thought of it a lot as I grew up, realizing all the way how very close to the truth it was!

I’m sure everyone who has set foot on planet Earth had heard the idiom “money doesn’t grow on trees“. I have nothing against it but it does get annoying after a while, does it not? My philosophy about money, or matters concerning it, is more along the lines of “if you have it enjoy it!” Obviously you need to know how to control yourself, that goes without saying. I don’t exactly go around spending chunks of money frequently, but when I do go shopping (for anything – books, music, clothes, tech stuff, everyday things) I go all out. I will admit at this point that I’m one of those ‘brand name seekers’. Anything with a designer label on it I will buy without a thought. I realize, and have known for the longest period of time, that it isn’t a very good thing at all. But you have to realize that I don’t spend on unnecessary items! I do buy the things that I want more often than the ones that I need but I know when and where to exercise control!

My point really is you can go around saying that you’d rather save up for a rainy day, which is a good thing. Just don’t say that you would be happy without something you want. You know that you would jump in a moment of joy when you have that ‘something’ in your hands. Of course you may feel guilty later for having splurged, but my focus is more on that instant of satisfaction. We are only human, after all! You will feel happy. Money will make you feel like a king of the world because you can have pretty much anything you want! The pleasure may not persist, it will fade away. But you would know how amazing it could be! Brings to mind Travis McCoy & Bruno Mars’ song Billionaire.

Just don’t look down upon those who tell you that money matters. It isn’t everything for sure. It takes much more than just having them greens to establish yourself. Trust me, I know. Fulfillment in life comes from various sources. Part of it, most inevitably so, comes from money.

By Myself But Not Alone

I’ve liked the final week of club football 🙂 Obviously even more because Chelsea have won the 2010 FA Cup less than a week after they sealed the Premier League. It’s wonderful!! They definitely deserved to win, to hell with all those who think otherwise and make stupid excuses. Now I’m looking forward to the World Cup !! Didn’t like the theme song all that much – as compared to one of my personal favorites ‘Celebrate the Day‘, and the other one by a singer who recently announced that he swung the other way ‘The Cup of Life‘. I’m just hoping that I get to watch a good few matches, given the time difference and my summer classes scheduled to begin in a week.

Volunteering yesterday at the commencement services for the class of 2010 was a sort of prelude to what I would be doing in a year’s time. I will be taking the walk. It’s something that I look forward to because it signifies the end of a long career of studying and beginning to put it all into use. Of course, I intend to return to school in the near future to pursue a doctorate in my field or a master’s degree in business administration, but that is irrelevant at this point in time. The job hunting will begin, the relocation will happen… Life just goes on and on. You don’t really have the time to pause and think. I haven’t, at least. It’s akin to what I felt yesterday while walking from some part of downtown Chicago to Union Station (the Great Hall is beautiful!!). I was wandering by myself. I knew exactly where I was. I knew where I wanted to go. And I ended up roaming a little bit. I was left to fend for myself and yet not so alone. It’s may sound obscure what that statement means, but I fully understand it. Life is pretty much that. It all depends on how you want to look at it, and how you will react to the consequences of your own actions. You lead yourself down some path and eventually you get the hang of it and you begin to enjoy yourself – all previous apprehensions aside.

I’m spending two months of summer in a nice suburban area of Chicago, and then, as I have mentioned quite a few times before, going off to Atlanta for some quality family time!! In the mean time, however, I intend to make the most of summer and visit as many places in Chicago as possible, because there is so much to do in this city!! Happy summer!! 🙂