Well, this post was supposed to be more of a ‘books I read in February 2021’ one, but I tried to recount anything that I’d read and realised I only mustered up the energy to finish one solitary book. Instead, February looked a lot like dipping my hands in any pockets of happiness or escapism that I could find. The sadness and overwhelming tide of emotions from January still lingered, and in the end I sought a lot of comfort from things like video games, revisiting my K-drama obsession and generally keeping my eyes and hands busy.
Lockdown 3.0 has been an experience, hasn’t it? I’m very grateful to remain employed, but I also got very close to burnout and, in hindsight, I’m glad that this particular bout of burnout led me to switching off in general. Blog posts may have been few and far between, but I feel worlds better for it. Anti-Asian racism, crime and hate has been on the rise (again), and it’s been tricky to navigate. I don’t need the headlines, punchy Instagram captions and beautifully designed graphics to remind me, much like surely we all know that racism is alive and kicking in general. I’ve had hundreds of thoughts I’ve wanted to share, but I’m also feeling a touch more guarded this time around. Those thoughts will surface when they’re good and ready.
Anyway, onto some happier things! The things I’ve been doing during this lockdown, that’ve kept me somewhat sane!
Crash Landing on You
Watching K-dramas has been one of my favourite ways to unwind since I was a teenager, and for some reason I haven’t managed to watch any in recent years. Now that I’ve reclaimed some more time for myself and reduced my work commitments, it feels good to kick back in the evenings with a dependable K-drama to watch with a cup of tea in hand. Not only are the storylines wonderfully romantic and usually a little out-of-touch, the fact that it forces you to read subtitles means you don’t feel the compulsion to do the dreaded scroll as you watch. It’s doing wonders for my mental health.
I finished watching Crash Landing on You yesterday and cried like a baby. It’s a 16-episode series that focuses on a South Korean chaebol heiress who ‘crash lands’ in the North Korean DMZ whilst paragliding. There, she meets a captain from the North Korean army and, somehow, they fall in love despite the division between their countries. I really, really loved this series and understand how it is one of the most popular series both in South Korea and internationally. The characters are easy to warm to, and I just LOVED the whole of the supporting character cast. If you’re yet to watch it, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it!
Attack on Titan
Hand in hand with what I just touched on, it’s felt good to carve out time to watch some anime again too! I was super behind with Attack on Titan, so I recently binge-watched season three to catch up, and am back up to speed with the final season. Attack on Titan is one of those animes that I never quite expected to enjoy, but my brother urged me to give it a go all those years ago and it’s been with me ever since!
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout
Now that my island on Animal Crossing: New Horizons has completed its fourth renovation, I’ve almost completed Ni No Kuni and I’m playing Stardew Valley on my Mac, I’ve picked up Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. I remember seeing it in GAME ages and ages ago, and never being able to ‘justify’ picking it up, which feels ridiculous now that I reflect on it. I really enjoy story-led RPGs and this is pretty much a perfect fit for me! There’s alchemy, collecting, storylines and combat – all of the best parts of gaming! As I write this, I’m about to head into ‘Chapter 2’ and I’m already looking forward to picking up the newest Atelier game AND some of the older titles.
Lo-fi farmer gal vibes are strong right now, because the Stardew Valley addiction has resurfaced. This time ‘round, I bought a fresh copy on Steam so I could play it on my Mac with mods, and it’s really changed things up for me. I share all of my currently installed mods over on Discord, if you’re interested! We’re even planning a server co-op farm! If you haven’t already played it yet, this indie RPG focuses on a character (you) that takes over their Grandpa’s farm in Stardew Valley. It’s fairly open-ended in that you can choose whatever skills to improve or focus on, from growing crops to mining, fishing to monster combat. I LOVE a few hours on Stardew Valley after work these days!
Whilst I haven’t been blogging or really online much at all, I’ve been enjoying a little embroidery at the weekend. I tend to take it all apart or work on a few designs at once, but my gosh it’s fulfilling to create something that’s entirely for me without any ‘necessary’ output. Last year I found that sort of fun in candle-making, and although I still LOVE to make candles and create fragrances, we sell those now and oftentimes I don’t get to make any for myself. (A selfish way of thinking, I suppose!)
Extreme Candle Making
After four months of running & Chai, Louise and I have started to upscale our little business! We’re getting consistent weekly sales now and lots of repeat buyers, so we’re now in Extreme Candle Making mode to keep our stock levels up. I’m so, so grateful for all of our customers and can barely believe this is our thing! Louise and I have also been squirrelling away at some new launches, products and exciting little ventures that we cannot wait to share. But, for now, we make big ol’ batches of candles whenever we get a moment!
What have you been focusing on, watching and playing during lockdown 3.0?