13112017: Free-effing-dom

Reimena Yee OOTD

Amazing that I haven’t updated since my Camino. It’s terrible! No, not the Camino (which was amazing, though I was besieged by 6 physical ailments throughout. Maybe one day I will write about it here.), but my commitment to this blog.

I’ll blame university on this one.

Anyway, first piece of fantastic news: I’m done. I’m finished with uni.

Second piece of fantastic news: I’ve finally found my groove with the iPad. Clip Studio Paint was an epiphany. Prior to that I’ve always had trouble finding motivation to draw on the tablet, since the experience is not nice (I’m a picky artist), so I’ve been mostly using it for reading and doing notes. Well, buddy, yes I’ll still be doing the nerd things with it, but I’ll be drawing on it now. The sketchbook challenge is saved.

Third piece of fantastic news: I got a travel journal a couple months ago. I’ve got stuff on it but I’m still experimenting.

Fourth and final piece of fantastic news: New book of my life (not even a chapter). I’m rather excited. There are tons of things for me to write about.

Can’t wait to begin my journey.

Hype!!

Camino 0017: The First Step

Could you believe it? It’s already tomorrow.

It’s crazy how time flies. I was 14 when I felt the calling for this pilgrimage – 8 years later I’m about to walk the road.

AAAAA how frightening. So many new things. Anxiety-inducing things.

But I am going to take it slow and enjoy the ride.

This blog may update with scribble comics and drawings during the journey.

Buen Camino!

30052017: Loneliness

This comic is 2 years old now! I wrote it sometime between the end of college and the start of my new life in Melbourne. That was yet another period of change, not so long after the previous one (graduating high school, best friends moving their separate ways, and entering college). Each time I start a new chapter of my life I am visited by an old friend, Loneliness. It stays with me in the first few months, as I travel alone, eat alone, shop alone, all the while trying to figure out how to make friends in this confusion.

In Melbourne it’s been with me for a little over two years now, probably the longest since elementary school. I’ve known it since that long, and to be honest, I’ve come to terms with its presence and have accepted it as the most stable constant of my life. It wasn’t easy – being the loner kid with barely any stable group of friends (except books) had its bad times, and I think it had a lot to do with my social anxiety now – , but it eventually became easier to recognise its presence as not something to be necessarily repellent of, but as something that was normal, part of the human experience, and that it had its benefits.

I treasure the solitude that gives me the space to think and to know more about myself, and the lonely walks that taught me to pay attention not just on myself or on other people but of the world around me – the colour of sunlight as it hits the trees, small trinkets lost or misplaced on the floor, the beauty little appreciated in this busy and bustling world. Over the years, it taught me how to notice the small and quiet things. It showed me how to be friends with myself, and to value the experiences (the plays, the food, the museum trips, the shopping) I create, even if I can’t share them with anyone else.

I read somewhere (to be honest it was a critical review of an animated series) about loneliness being defined as a mishmash of textures. It is often dark and shadowy – perhaps with one eye -, consuming you with thoughts of others, of being a part of others. That is the main experience, and the most popular view of it in media. But then there’s the other side to it, the one more like solitude – it is in the loneliness of being with yourself. With that is the amplification of quiet of breathing and the rustling of leaves, the movement of insects and birds as they mind their own business, of watching teasers of other people’s lives. The more of these ‘small’ things you collect, the more you realise that you aren’t just alone. You’re also experiencing these alone moments with the rest of the world (not people, but the world as itself), and with yourself.

Of course I understand how hard it is – it took me nearly 15 years of sustained introspection (afforded by the loneliness) to get to this point. But my intention to offer an alternative view of loneliness, informed by my true lived experience of it, and I hope that by showing this view, it will help younger kids reach this understanding sooner than later. For the sake of their spiritual health, seeing as we’re living in an increasingly isolated society.

You can download a PDF version of loneliness here: https://reimenayee.itch.io/loneliness
Pay as you want, so it can be free, or you can give me a few bucks.

27052017: Taking Breaks in a World of Emerging Tech

I had just finished a month of back-to-back assignments, and of course, got myself a terrible tension headache. Partly from the pent-up stress, but also from looking at the screen too much. During the brain-fog when I was thinking thoughts that led me to take a (short) break, I thought about how freeing it was to have the choice to move away from technology if I get tired of it. Yet considering that our world is becoming increasingly tied to our internet and machines (Google glass, brain cyber-enhancements, app-body syncing), what will happen to this choice? If we become so cybernetically enhanced that we no longer need to take breaks, what happens? Do we still need breaks anyway? This comic is an attempt at discussing this question.

I’ll set out to say that I’m not a Luddite (it would be hypocritical if I was! Look at where we are!). I’ve only my reservations about the ethics of the acceleration of technology, especially coming from start-up culture.

08052017: Gaucho Pants

Still suffering with assignments (actually, I’m down to my last for the semester, but I’ve finals to worry about).

Here’s a quick update! I recently bought a pair of gaucho pants, which I’ve been wanting for ages. Friends and family who have known me will know me as the type who is averse to long pants; it’s always shorts or skirts or dresses, and the closest to long pants I ever get is leggings. There’s no reasoning behind the aversion. Maybe I unconsciously want to show off my nice (debatable) legs.

But anyway!! I’m a Big Fan. Of gaucho pants. They are extremely versatile, and add instant flair to an outfit that would otherwise look bland (as you can see in the above illustration). Plus they look like something I could see myself wearing in the next decade, which is great as my wardrobe is undergoing a paradigm shift of sorts. Much of my clothes came from my teens – with some pieces existing since I was 14! So as of now, I’m done with bright hipster patterns and prints, and moving towards something that is minimalist, but with high impact and versatility. By that I mean basic-looking pieces that have flattering cuts, are multi-purpose and worth their value in the long run. Dress-down and dress-up flexibility is key.

I still adore the fashion of my youth: cute playful prints, bright colours, and quirky designs. It’s a WIP choosing which pieces to let go, and becoming aware of how my teen taste affects my clothing purchase. Like, yes, patterns can be bought, but they are more subtle and subdued now. Things like that.

The wardrobe, just like I am, is maturing into its twenties.

1052017: Outfit of the Day + Life Update

I’m still going!

Or at least, I’m trying.

I haven’t updated as much as I would like; that’s because it’s that time of year when assignments come descending (like locusts!) into what were once idyllic campuses. Boring details: I’ve back-to-back assignments due each week, and finals after that, in addition to juggling my webcomic project, prepping for the Camino (more on that soon), and maintaining my art#brand. It’s great to be a struggling millennial.

Updates for the blog:

  1. I went to LuxBite a while ago, as well as a Riverside dessert fair as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, so those are two dessert run entries I’ll post when I am free from assignment hell.
  2. The Connoisseur Humanist now has an official Facebook page! Follow me there!

Updates for the Very Important Project, the Camino:

In a couple of months I’ll be embarking on the first of my major adventures for The Connoisseur Humanist: the Camino de Santiago. It’s a very significant trip to me – not only will it be the first of many things (my first time travelling to Europe on my own (well, with my cousin, but still), my first in Spain, and my first camino) – but it’s a milestone of a personal nature. For 9 years I’ve been itching to follow the Way of Saint James, ever since I learned about it and what it meant. It was a pull so strong it was like a calling. On a whim – during one of my strongest moments of instability at both a personal and global scale – I went carpe diem and bought the tickets.

That’s why I started the Connoisseur Humanist. It is definitely a blog about general travelogue things and a way of forcing myself to sketch often, but the main reason of its existence is to catalogue this camino. I know there are a lot of camino blogs out there, all of them are beautiful and amazing, and I am merely a fish in a big wide ocean. But in a way that a fish hopes to continue swimming and leaving a legacy, I hope my approach – conveying my experience through art and graphic narratives a la The Road Well Travelled – will bring a fresh take to the camino experience, and if successful, it’s something I would like to carry on into further adventures.

I suppose, my first Camino will be the first story I’ll tell in The Connoisseur Humanist series.

Get ready for some updates later in May (after assignments). I’m excited.

Catch up with yall soon.

 

18042017: The Road Well Travelled

The Road Well Travelled – a short comic about realising you’ve gone on the wrong path, and pursuing your truth.

A lot of things happened in the past few months that destabilised many of my beliefs. Particularly how I thought that if I followed a certain path, and did what my family told me would guarantee the best outcome (based on their experience), my future will be secure. But now I’ve realised that nothing is guaranteed – the world is changing, in so many ways, and no one can say for certain if the things they know now will be applicable or exist later on. So if the future of the well-travelled path is not guaranteed, then why stops me from changing direction, and to walk my own path instead?

This comic was a product of catharsis, me trying to rationalise my thoughts. I don’t know how good these words are, but it did a lot for me, and I hope it does for someone else too, in the same situation.

12032017: Donut and Beer Fest, Melbourne

There is a God out there, and He has heard my prayers and granted my wish.

The first ever Donut (and Beer) Festival in Australia just happened last Sunday! I absolutely love donuts – I always get them whenever I go on a dessert run. To find out by chance that a festival all about donuts (especially ones that I can’t get because their shops are too far away) was coming practically right down the street, made me feel an excitement so body-tingling that I hadn’t experienced since Josh Groban’s last visit here.


I waited an hour under 30 degrees (Celcius) sunshine just to get in. That is how far I’m willing to go to get these delicious little doughboys in my mouth.

Donut cupcakes from Cupcake Central (one of two favourite cupcake shops, which will have its own post soon!)

It’s too hot to put fried food in your mouth but…

#aesthetic

I missed getting these; I was really excited for them! 🙁

Hehe, behind the scenes.

26022017: Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival

Uni starts again tomorrow (good god, where did the time go?). Normally I would stay home – like I had been for the past few days – because I need a lot of time by myself to mentally prepare for socialisation. BUT I’m also serious about this travelogue project, and I needed to get out more anyway, and use those shoes, and not be a sad and isolated hermit.

So off I went, for the sake of TCH, to the Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival (website).

The city frequently hosts multicultural events – showcasing the art, dances, music, crafts and (most importantly) the food -, which highlights the diversity and international appeal of Melbourne. That’s what I love most about living here; just as in Malaysia, there’s a celebration of multiculturalism, and a kind of welcome to tourists and residents alike to explore and support a different culture. You can always come in freely to Fed Square and try Sri Lankan food, or purchase some Indonesian crafts, or whatever that’s happening.

The only difference was that back home (Malaysia) our celebration of multiculturalism is…normalised? We celebrate and recognise each other’s holidays, and when Chinese New Year, or Ramadan, or Divali comes it’s a long event by itself – in the wet markets, in the malls, in the radio, in our houses – and it permeates everyone’s daily living for a while like a relative coming in for a visit. It’s quite mundane actually. It’s not like in Melbourne where a culture is confined into its own space most of the time – quiet and unseen- and only once a year for a day they go public. Not that there’s anything wrong. It’s just an observation of difference. Between a loud and quiet person.

Anyway to return to the present, while I thought it was good I went out, I immediately regretted it. 28 degrees celsius never felt warmer, especially more so when you’re shuffled along in a tight pack of people and waiting in long lines trying to get food and water. Can’t imagine the folks working behind the teriyaki stalls, trapped in smoke and heat. Bless them.

I ate some food though. Had an unlucky purchase with a ramune bottle (still unopened). I got donuts and I went home after that to get away from the heat. Not that I would be spared – the next few days are going to be a scorcher. 33 C, 34 C, all that.

Of course, the heatwave had to happen during my first week of uni. What did I expect?