Plans to Whisk Me Away in 🌷 February 🌷
Hellooooo everyone! 😆
I hope your day has been amazing so far — mine has been absolutely wonderful today. I’m on a four-day weekend, the weather is warm and nice, and I finally made improvements and changes to my blog that I haven’t had the time to make until now. 😊
Since I started following other blogs, I’ve seen a lot of monthly goal and wrap-up posts on the blogosphere. Though I enjoyed reading them, I never felt interested in writing my own monthly posts. Before, I thought writing such posts would take too much time, and I didn’t feel like I had enough content on my blog to write monthly posts anyways. However, since I’ve recently started to get a hang of blogging consistently and know that a bunch of new things will be happening in the next few months, I’ve decide to give writing these monthly posts a go and see how they turn out! 😋
First Up for February:
I switched to MailChimp for my email newsletters!
If you weren’t aware before, I do sent out newsletters once or twice each month where I tell my email subscribers about the stories and inspiration behind my posts, as well as give sneak peek previews for future posts, travels, and blog-related features. For those of you already subscribed to my emails, you might have gotten an email from Whisked Away By Words saying thank you for subscribing… sorry, that was something random that came out of switching to MailChimp 😅 But, if you did see the email and read it, isn’t the new formatting of the newsletter absolutely beautiful? I’m so excited to send you all more thorough and aesthetic newsletters in the upcoming weeks!
And no, in case you were wondering, these monthly posts will not replace the email newsletters in content. The newsletters will still be unique and tell you a lot more about the behind-the-scenes of my blog posts than these monthly posts 😊
Here’s a glimpse into what the new newsletters look like:
Isn’t the new formatting beautiful??
The first post for The Harbor of Human Minds blog series is up!
Did you notice the new menu header added to Whisked Away By Words about a month ago?
Oh, and have you seen the lovely logo for The Harbor of Human Minds?
If you’re subscribed to my newsletters, you’ll know about this already, but if you haven’t been to The Harbor of Human Minds page yet, go check it out!
I’ve had the idea to do interviews and write about the stories of people I cross paths with in life for a very long time now, so to actually see this be put in action and play out on Whisked Away By Words makes me so, so happy.
I can’t wait to test out my interviewing skills and also learn about the experiences, lessons, and advice other people have to share with the world. 🌎
As for the first post…
If you missed it, the first post for The Harbor of Human Minds series was between me and a gamer! It was amazing how much I found in common between us in terms of our core values and love for storytelling.
I feel like there’s this common misconception that gamers are people who lock themselves in their rooms (which might be sorta true 😅) and drool as they mindlessly stare at their computer (totally not true 😊). I found the gamer I interviewed to be intelligent and passionate about his love for gaming, and I learned so much about gaming during the half-hour interview. If you yourself are a gamer, then perhaps you can relate to the post; even if you have never gamed before, I would still recommend you check the post out to open your mind and learn about experiences and passions different than your own! 😋
And lastly, for this section…
Now, this decision took me a lot of previous thinking and analyzing before I actually made accounts for these social media sites.
Even Instagram took a lot of thinking before I decided to use it. Before I downloaded Instagram, I didn’t use any social media apps, and I was really proud of that. I wasn’t the kind of person to pull out my phone and arbitrarily check social media apps throughout the day — instead, I pulled out a book to read, and to this day I still do that. Having a phone in my hands when I’m outside doesn’t feel natural for me, and I don’t believe in pulling my phone out to eat up time while waiting for someone or the next class to start. Observing my surroundings is a perfectly fine way to use time as I wait…
So I was scared that my habits of reading and observing might change with the use of social media.
I am obsessed with how I use my time, and if social media isn’t going to make me a happier person, then I’ll easily throw it away. However, after discussing this with people around me, I’ve come to the conclusion that social media is really the only way I can get my blog out there and reach more readers.
I’m glad I’ve waited until this stage of my life to jump onto the social media bandwagon, because I pretty much know that it’s not going to take over my life as I feared it would in the past. I have enough confidence in my self-control and usage of time. I’ll see how I like using these sites throughout the month of February, and update ya’ll next month how it goes. 😊 Hopefully I’ll succeed in finding more blogs to follow and gaining more readers during this month!
Next, onto my TBR! Other than the random bookish list I made back in May when I was in a book slump, I’ve actually never made a TBR for myself on Whisked Away By Words… and really, this TBR won’t be set in stone. If I don’t feel like reading a book, I won’t read it — but since I’m in two book clubs and have required school reading, I do have a general idea of what books I need to read for February and what books I would like to get around to reading. We’ll see how this TBR turns out for me 😊
(Oh, and you know how I mentioned it is a beautiful day outside today? I did all my photography for this post under the dappled sunlight of my backyard… it was so tranquil and beautiful and amazing 😍😍😍. Enjoy the pictures!)
First up, we have Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell! Personally, I think the cover is disgusting, but let’s not be shallow and judge this book by its cover. More alarming is the fact that I don’t even know if this is a genuine copy of George Orwell’s book because I can’t seem to find a publisher listed anywhere in this paperback copy… 🤔 This is required reading for my history class, so I do hope that this thing is the real deal and I’m not just reading a random rip-off copy that I got from Amazon 😶
For one of the book clubs I’m in, the February book of the month is Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree, which I’m super excited to finally read! I discovered this book through Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Book’s beautiful review for it, so if you want to know more about this book, I would highly recommend reading Marie’s review. 😊
I have quite a lot of expectations for this book, but more than anything I hope it will spark plenty of deep and insightful discussions within my book club group, since the focus is on family and that’s a topic everyone in my book club, including myself, can talk about. 😋👍
The last book I semi-plan to read in February is Tales from Victoria Park by Todd Crowell!
Some of you guys may remember that I read a book a few months back called Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers. I wrote about my thoughts regarding how, despite going to Hong Kong year after year and interacting with maids nearly every day, I’ve never taken my time to understand their background and stories — at least, until November of last year.
By reading Maid to Order in Hong Kong, I was able to start educating myself about the lives of migrant workers in Hong Kong… and really, it opened my mind and eyes to a whole new aspect of Hong Kong society that I was blinded from before. I only scratched the surface of my education with Maid to Order to Hong Kong, though, so I hope that with this new book — Tales from Victoria Park — I’ll be able to further understand the lives of domestic workers, specifically that of Indonesian women, in Hong Kong. 😊
I’m not going to lie here: I am so so so behind on my travel posts for this blog.
I’ve been told that I should just write quick posts for my travels during the summer, but I’m opposed to that idea because I genuinely want to tell the full story of my experiences traveling, not only for you guys, but also for myself. I enjoy sitting down and reflecting on my experiences, and if that means that it takes a year for me to write about my summer of 2017 travels, then I’m fine with that. 😁
Anyways, for this month, you’ll see travel posts for Thailand and Hong Kong, as well as continuation posts for ❄️ The Winter NorCal Road Trip! ❄️ blog series.
(I honestly need to get to work on these travel posts, because my summer is once again swamped with travel plans, and if I don’t get my travel posts for the summer of 2017 up before the summer of 2018, then I don’t know if I’ll ever get caught up 😆)
Anyways, please look forward to these travel posts! 😋
Now, onto my favorite part of this post: my language progress!!! 😆💕💕
If you didn’t know, I am obsessed with learning languages. I love learning languages so, so much, and it’s probably prompted by the fact that I grew up bilingual as a child (yay Cantonese and English!). I’ve noticed that being exposed to Cantonese has made me very passionate and interested about East Asian cultures, so currently I’m learning (and only learning) languages spoken in East Asia, though I am planning to learn Spanish in the future (probably next year 👍).
If you want to get a little more background on why I love language so much, read this post:
Anyways, let’s dive into…
~ My Progress for Chinese (Cantonese & Mandarin) ~
I’ve decided, everyone — I’m going to take the AP Chinese Language and Culture test this May!
I feel really behind in studying!! But! BUT!!! I believe in my passion for learning Chinese to help me push through this studying to make me feel confident enough by May to ace my AP Chinese test. 😉
Studying Mandarin for this upcoming test thus far has been the biggest project in my language learning process, because I’m actually not taking a class catered specifically for AP Chinese — I’m studying by myself for it. It was a challenge I wanted to take for myself because I knew having this test looming in the future would be a great incentive for me to not slack off and take learning Chinese seriously.
The note-taking has been super painstaking because I’ve had to stop every few words to check the meaning of characters I haven’t learned yet. Nevertheless, I’ve already improved so much for both Mandarin and Cantonese in these past few months studying, so I’m super happy and excited to continue studying for the AP Chinese test! 😊
I’ve also started reading this Cantonese book called Magaret & David’s Beginnings, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE because there are corresponding television shows and short clips on YouTube for this series of books! I’m only about, um, four pages in the book, but that’s because I’ve been taking notes on new vocab words in this handy notebook right here:
It’s a slow process, writing down the pinyin, characters, and definition for each new character/phrase that I come across, but hard work pays off in the future. 😊
I’ve also been using supplementary texts to help with my vocabularly, which is a nice break from reading the Cantonese book and studying for AP Chinese. 👍
~ My Progress for Japanese ~
I’ve always want to learn more Japanese, but my priorities were always first for Chinese because, yanno, I have a test to take in May that I paid for and want to do well on. 😇 Therefore, I always viewed Japanese as a lower priority on my language learning list…
BUT NOT ANYMORE
because it’s confirmed that I’m going to Japan this summer and there is no way I’m going to go to Japan without knowing more about the language than the last time I went there. You can expect my Japanese skills to improve a lot before summer rolls around. 😉
And finally, our last section for this post…
Yay, novel-writing! After I talked about why not working on my novel was the best decision I made earlier last month, I announced that I would get back into working on my WIP, even if it just meant reading over my novel and thinking about edits. After I finished writing that post, I was super excited to dive into full-on editing mode for my novel, but after realizing that finals and AP testing were coming up for me, I had to be realistic and tell myself there was no way I was going to fully edit my novel before summer.
Knowing that actually threw a bunch of weight off my shoulders — without a deadline to focus on, I can write and edit my novel whenever I feel like it. I don’t know how much I can edit my novel now, but I am planning to announce what my WIP is about this month, so I’m super excited for that!! 😆😆😆
If you read this all the way to the end,
thank you so much!
I had so much fun writing this post and going outside to photograph my bookish pictures in this beautiful spring weather! 😊 I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, and remember —
Have a wonderful day,
wherever you are in this world.
Cya next time in my next post!