The leaves have started to change. Mornings have been chilly around the lower fifties, and the afternoons are lovely. I occasionally sneak out during my lunch break for a short walk. The girlfriend and I moved into an apartment close enough to a big park. We had a picnic a few weeks ago. Luckily there’s enough space that people can spread out. I had a moment where I just breathed in the smell of the trees and the grass. It was much needed. I didn’t realize how much my mask stops smells and how I’ve gone nearly 8 months without smelling plants and trees.

The girlfriend and a gingko tree.

Japanese like to brag about how they have four distinct seasons in Japan. I feel cheated out of the “Japanese autumn” experience this year since we don’t get to travel. Though, I don’t mind being cheated out of the summer experience as it gets very hot and humid here. The salaryman sardines that train cars become is not great mix with humidity. We’ve been lucky with the recent weekends to be able to walk to the park. Watching the gradual change of the leaves. The cooler weather is making me excited for hotpot season in the winter.

I applied for my visa extension this week. We’ll see if my company’s reputation will be strong enough to get me a good one. I would like to not need to do this again next year, but it is possible it will not be as long as we applied for. With how the pandemic is shaking out, I don’t know when will be reasonable to visit home again. It’ll be a huge relief to not need to worry about my visa.

Interestingly, the pandemic did allow me to attend my high school reunion via zoom. While it was a small crowd, it was great to see them. My high school experience wasn’t a normal one for someone growing up in North Texas. I realized from the reunion how I become a much better person because of that experience despite the various difficulties at that time. I am grateful for that.

Small gouache painting.

As for the day to day, not much has changed. Still working from home. They’re wanting to slowly start bringing us back to the office. Which is bad timing considering the recent the numbers. I managed to get some family to use Signal. Glad to have a way to video chat with them that’s not owned by a major tech company. I am still slowly progressing with drawing, painting, or trying different mini projects. Anything I can get my attention to latch on to. I want to focus on things, but for my mental health I am not being too hard on myself. I have a few writing exercises ideas I want to explore that on here. I have a few drafts of things to finish. I’ve been listening to a lecture series by Brandon Sanderson. One of them has a guest lecturer who goes over writing short stories/flash fiction. I have probably watched that specific video three or four times. I came up with a story outlining exercise that I am calling “hundred journeys” which is to write (~100) story outlines in the format of The Hero's Journey or other another similar story circle. It’s likely way too much, but I like the idea of it. I’ll try to take it a little bit at a time.

Also, it’s Christmas music season. I spent yesterday morning tweaking the home page and listening to that. It was lovely.