Slaughterhouse Five Quotes

When I read books, I always write my favorite quotes as I read. These are from the most recent book I read, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.

If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m so grateful that so many of those moments are nice.

That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.

There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”

“Why me?”

“That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Well, here we are, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

Where have all the years gone?

All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. See how permanent all the moments are, and look at any moment that interests you. It is just an illusion that we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

So it goes.

But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go.

And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

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Photo Essay: API Student Blogger App.

Earlier this year, in April, I traveled to Boulder, Colorado to visit a friend and go skydiving.  I decided to write a photo essay about this trip because it was the trip where I confirmed my desire to study abroad.

I visited my friend Erica, who was a senior in college at the time.  She lived with seven girls in a house, and two semesters before I visited, many of them traveled abroad for the semester.  So in the days that I was there, I got to talk to all of them about their different trips.  Every story that I heard was fantastic and it really reminded me that a study abroad experience is one that I will never forget.

A few days before my trip, I started reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac, a classic novel that has been on my To-Read list for months now.  I figured it was now or never, as I could relate to the main character, who was trying to find his way to Colorado from New York.  Could we have been any more similar in these travels?

 

I arrived late at night in Denver, and as it usually is when I arrive in a new unfamiliar place, I was overcome with this feeling of bubbly serenity.  It’s a very positive but hard to describe feeling.  I love finding myself in new places.  I’m excited, but relaxed at the same time.

On my first day there, I attended a class with Erica–an Italian class!  Surprisingly I wasn’t completely lost, because I am a fan of romance languages and am currently taking Spanish classes.  It was also super helpful because in May I would be going to Europe and one of the countries I would be visiting was Italy!

After class, Erica took me on a hike up the Flatirons, which are enormous rock formations that are part of the Rocky Mountains.  Last year, I went hiking in California and found that experience to be very beautiful and scenic, but I would have to say that the mountains in Boulder were breathtaking.  Sitting at the top of that mountain with rocks fifty times the size of me was a pretty humbling experience.

I’ve lived in and loved my hometown for over ten years now, and I always thought it was the most beautiful place in the world, especially in the fall.  But this trip to Boulder opened my eyes and quite literally broadened my horizon.  Now I see why Erica chose a place so far away to open this new chapter, have this brand new experience, and create a home away from home.  I could have sat on top of that mountain for days.

  

Another reason I fell in love with Boulder was the lifestyle that people led, and the perspectives they held.

Everyone was so friendly and curious; always asking about my camera, wondering where I was from, etc.

Everyone was active; there were tons of people out hiking with their pets and friends.

Everyone was into nutrition and the environment (which I LOVED because I’m a tree hugger myself); there were different types of recycle garbage cans everywhere, buses were advertising green public transportation alternatives, everyone used reusable water bottles.  Flea markets were held every weekend in downtown Boulder where fresh food and locally grown organics were sold.  I could go on and on.

Boulder, CO seemed to be a few steps ahead of most places in the country.  They were all about the green, active, healthy, energy-conserving lifestyle whose importance and effect too many people are ignoring.

A few days later Erica and I went skydiving in Longmont, which was a quick drive from Boulder.  It was probably one of the most unique experiences and feelings I have encountered in life so far.  I was so excited that I wasn’t even nervous!  Skydiving has been on my bucket list since the day I started writing it.  Number 5 to be exact.

I was so happy to be doing it on a beautiful Saturday morning above the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  I’d like to think that Jack Kerouac would have been proud of me.

   

Skydiving had the complete opposite effect on my thirst for adventure that I wanted.  It only made me hungrier for adventure.  Not that I have a problem with that.  Jumping out of that plane reminded me of the endless opportunities that the world has to offer.  There are hundreds of cities I’d love to see.  Maybe a few more planes to jump out of too.

After skydiving, we decided to quench our thirst AND hunger by going to the flea market in downtown Boulder that I mentioned earlier.  We taste tested a bunch of different fresh foods, snacks, and organic products.  My favorite part wasn’t the food though–it was the coming together of so many people in the town.  People were sitting outside and eating meals together, walking their dogs, going for walks, and just being active and together.  In New York, only a select few people did this–in places like Central Park or the Highline.  But in Boulder, it was as daily and common as it could get.  In my opinion, it was what made this little down so big.

  

On my last day in ColoRADo, it started HAILING!  I have only ever seen it hail once in my life, and it was just as cool as the first time.  This hail was less ice and more snow though.  It only lasted a few minutes, but it was enough for us to enjoy the moment, have a mini-snowball fight, and dance in the hail!

  

My trip home was a sacred time of reflection for me.  I sat on the plane and looked through pictures on my camera, reliving every moment.  I clutched my copy of On The Road and channeled Jack Kerouac to thank him for his many words of wisdom about travel, and the mistakes and adventure within.

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

“To hell with it; Don’t worry, simply do.”

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

 

Day 11: Oslo, Norway

I can only express my thanks so many times for my friend Ninna, who hosted my stay in Norway and toured a few European countries with me for ten days this summer. Receiving a tour of Oslo from a Norwegian is not an opportunity that one comes across often, so that was a definite plus on the trip.

We started the day with a delicious breakfast, followed by a tour of the city. We went to Vigelandsparken, which is a park with famous sculptures.

The greenery is remarkably beautiful, I really admire that they value nature and choose to preserve it so extremely. I read a lot about the environment and nature (Speth, Muir, Thoreau) and I’ve imagined it, but never actually seen so much green. In an odd way, it was a vision come true for me. I thought my trip to Colorado gave me green hope but Norway is better.

Anyways. The city of Oslo itself seemed very quiet, peaceful, relaxing and overall calm. As we were walking down the main street, there was a large crowd waiting outside the Grand Hotel, and we actually saw Jay-Z go along his merry way to perform with Kanye. And later that day, we found out that they were eating sushi and wine at the same place that we were the day before! We were feeling pretty celeb status that day.

I got to see and experience a few different Norwegian customs and traditions so far. I saw the royal family’s castle, witnessed a soccer hooligan fight, tried a hotdog wrapped in a pancake, drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of bread, and as a treat I saw the Norwegian police all geared up with their shields and batons–very unusual activity apparently. Norwegian police are not issued guns/weapons.

Since it’s so absurdly expensive in Norway and we can’t even afford a night out on our own, we decided to drink some beer at home in the jacuzzi for a few hours and end the night watching Suits. I follow literally 3 TV series’ and they are all USA shows, and Suits is quite addicting so if you haven’t already, seriously check it out. If the hot lawyers aren’t enough to draw you in, you should see someone about that.

As we spent our night in, we also decided that it would be a wonderful idea to take a day trip to Paris since we already had plans to go to Amsterdam for a few days. (Wait til you hear that story–my favorite one from my entire trip.)

My overall opinion of Oslo is a good one. I didn’t encounter many people because they were a little shy to speak English but no one was memorably rude. I will never get over the greenery, and for that reason I really love Norway. The fjords and the farms and the scenery were seriously amazing. And thinking about it makes me want to write a blog about environmental literature and sustainability and all of those fun things! (Don’t judge me.)

I’m really looking forward to writing about Amsterdam and Paris though, and I hope you’re looking forward to reading them too. I do want to take a minute to say thanks to all of my followers–the numbers are growing!–and all the people who have commented and liked my posts. It’s a nice feeling logging in and getting to read and receive all of your feedback.