A progress update on my 10 things for 2010

I have a pretty bad conscience about not working as hard as I had wanted to this summer! (On top of barely blogging at all this year.) I’m quite sure that I won’t achieve most of what I hoped, but nevertheless, some things are underway.

I got into 3 out of 6 the schools I applied to for masters studies in industrial design! I have to admit, that is quite an accomplishment given where I was a year ago. It was hard for me to turn down TU Delft, one of the top 50 design schools in the world along with Umeå, to instead go to Jönköping, but the cost was a big factor. Dedicating $60,000 to a design education and two years of living expenses in the Netherlands doesn’t have the same financial return as an engineering education, for which I wouldn’t hesitate to spend money on. I will apply again to TU Delft in September for the following year, in the off-chance that I am offered a scholarship, and if Jönköping doesn’t work out for me. I would feel very guilty about changing schools halfway through a program, so I hope Jönköping is fantastic… At the same time, you get out what you put in, is my philosophy.

I tried couchsurfing for the first time, staying with 4 different people in the Netherlands and Stockholm! My experience has been so positive that I think I prefer it over hostels. It is more effort, finding and writing to people, coordinating plans, trying to understand the other person’s personality and figuring out what is expected of me, and being a considerate house guest. But the reward is also great, getting to meet local people, and trying to dig deeper into what a place is like. Once I tried it, now I wonder what the big deal is, all the initial fears I had.

Some graphic design inspiration in the Netherlands

I attempted making some Indian dishes with good success! I’ve also been a little tired of eating chicken all the time, and have been eating less meat protein just in general. I got some new food inspiration from my travel in the Netherlands from my Turkish, Indonesian, and Dutch couchsurfing hosts.

Masoor Daal, prepared by yours truly!

I’ve booked my 20 hour train ticket to Abisko, where I will hike Kungsleden from Abisko to Nikkaluokta for 10 days (7 days of walking, plus 3 days of day hikes), hut-to-hut, but otherwise carrying almost everything and relying entirely on myself… Will be a milestone challenge for me! Only 3 weeks left from today to continue my training. The one thing I’ve been pretty good with this summer is being consistent with daily physical activity. Light jogging every second day, interspersed with riding my bike distances of 18 to 28 km round trip, as well as trying to squeeze in some strength training. I don’t have a gym membership, and with the prices of gyms being a student, I’ve given this a try, bodyrock.tv, a website of a Czech-former-soft-pornstar-turned-Canadian-resident(?). I’ve been pretty unmotivated to lift weights for a long time, maybe from boredom, so the circuit-style training using body weight is actually fun, and is surprisingly difficult. I’m going to try to stick with it awhile and see if I find results, although judging from the past day, I’ve definitely been feeling muscle soreness.

The first few days of vacation I was really enthusiastic about sketching every day and studying a little Swedish every day, although I’ve already fallen off the bandwagon. I really need to associate some more positive feelings with sketching, as I feel so much pressure, that I *must* and *need* to improve in order to compete in this industry, that it’s really sucked all the joy out of drawing for me. As for Swedish, I’m making extremely slow progress, as I don’t try to speak it as much as I should.

My summer studio

Otherwise, I’ve been reading books on design, graphic design, and travel. Graphic design is quite inspiring for me, although I realize I have a long way to go, while at the same time I am unsure about how to get there. As for travel, I’m afraid the summer will pass extremely fast… There’s not enough time to do everything I wanted to accomplish this summer. I dropped Tibet plans because I was too stressed about schools. Hiking Kungsleden, packing, and moving will take up more than two weeks. And sailing for 1 or 2 weeks will take up the first half of August. I may have 5 days to go to Norway or Vienna, or else take the time to settle into Jönköping and work on my own projects (practicing sketching, studying Swedish, learning graphic design, redoing my portfolio).  Oh, the guilt of not keeping a puritanical work ethic…

But still, I shouldn’t be stressed. Friday is Midsommar, so I will definitely take time out to enjoy!

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