1/07/2019

The City Where It All Comes Back To











It always comes back to Paris. It was one of the first European cities I had ever been to and it was the place I found myself coming back to time and time again. Come to Paris and you will no longer wonder why all of the greatest writers of our day were enchanted by this place. There really is something about beautiful, magical Paris that takes your breath away. Each. Time.

I have so many photos of this beautiful city. In the fall, in the spring and in the summer. I have been to Paris enough times now that I have my favorite neighborhoods, sights start to look familiar and I even have a list of off the beaten path places that I want to remember the next time that I am in this here. Because we know each other so well, I could take photos of Paris that were not the typical of a tourist. I could begin to capture the way in which this city made me feel: nostalgic, wistful, whimsical, a little melancholic and of course the familiar feeling of bubbling warmth in the pit of my stomach.

I took these photos when I was in Paris last spring. I travelled alone from Copenhagen and had plans to meet up with a few friends who were living there at the time. I took one day; however, completely in solitude ... which is something you don't often have the chance to while in college. In solitude and with no particular plans in mind I wandered throughout this city and stopped by places that I had not been to before ... arrondissements that I had yet to explore.

Paris is one of those places that is from another time period ... in the best way possible. Of course it is one of the most progressive places for industry and commerce, but the architecture keeps this treasure sentimentally well nested in la Belle Epoque.
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1/03/2019

Hello, It's Me


Hello, Internet. It's me again. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my ramblings and muddling through the realness with me. Thank you also for those of you who reached out to me after my last post. I have been thinking a lot about the internet, and while there are some days I want to be a sheep herder in Iceland and leave this world behind, it is in these moments I am so thankful for the connection, the support. 

You know what time of year it is. It's the beginning. Page 3 / 365. Do you have your resolutions all mapped out to the T? Your gym memberships bought? Your diets planned? Your motivational podcasts qued? And what about those trash bags to de-clutter ... you got those babies ready to go? 

Stressed? Don't be. I have done none of this and honestly I don't plan on it. You see I'm trying something different this year ... mostly because I am in a situation that I had never have been before. To spare you the details I am not at my healthiest point in my life ... these past few months I have known more illness and more injury than I ever have in my twenty years here. I am in the process of learning to live in my body as a baby && winter break has been met with a lot of time off and lots of introspection about how I foresee this next year of my life panning out. It's going to be quite different: no huge adventures abroad have been planned yet and no transitions are happening until 2020. This year is going to be the year of work: both academically and on cultivating the person that I want to be as I graduate and head out into the world in less than eighteen months. 

I have created a list of five points that I wanted to share with you about where I want my mindset to be for this upcoming year. It is a bit ironic since once of my goals for this year is more finely distinguishing the line between my public and my private life and my life online and off ... but you know what they say ... what you put in writing make you accountable && you know I am all about creating community. 

I. Relearn how to be alone
I listened to a very interesting TED talk the other day which inspired me to relook into something my only child self knew how to do when I was younger ... and while I have become more of an extrovert than an introvert nowadays (which is so exciting and so fun) there are qualities I want to re-cultivate to be a more mindful, focused human being. 

II. Write. Every. Day
Ever since I can remember my teachers and professors have told me I possess a skill for writing. Truth be told ... I hate it. The physical act of forcing myself to sit down and bang out some words on a screen or notebook does not appeal to me at all; however, once I am done there is a space that I long to prolong in my head -- the space of clarity through processing the internal world externally. I have made myself a promise to write everyday so that this flame of creativity stays lit, so that I can explore the world through my thoughts. 

III. Declutter my newsfeed and only view what will make me a better person.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how I interact with social content. The way in which I have used social media since first downloading Instagram June 2012 has changed immensely: It has become mindless and I have started using the internet as a tool to pass time and to escape the feeling of boredom that I have once known so well that I am now a stranger to. I have been unfollowing a lot of people and  brands and cleared out my feeds to people who I no longer know, wish to know or who no longer serve me in becoming the person that I want to be. It is liberating. In doing this I am looking to reshape how I use the internet and use it as a tool ... not a crutch.  

IV. Make real change and become part of the real world
Intentionally vague? Absolutely. Most of my life has been dedicated to learning and enriching myself with the goal of one day bringing this carefully curated version of my being to contribute to the world. I am at a point now where I am ready to bring my person I have become and implement her into society through active, real and life changing service to humanity. 

V. Read a book a month
Pretty self explanatory here. I read a LOT for school ... mostly things that I do not choose / are very dry. I have chosen some books to read these next few months that are ones to challenge the way I have been thinking to provide myself with tools to be a more innovative, inclusive and deductive thinker and leader. 

Here is to a year of cultivating an intellectual
discovering the best version of myself
balancing emotions and practicality
taking things as they come

all to become the most empowered version of myself to share with the world and fight for what I believe in, never surrendering and never backing down

cheers to a year of hope!

xx
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11/02/2018

The Big Question of What's Next: Part I


You've probably been wondering where the heck I've been since my last post ... Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam (again), then home then I casually moved to France for six weeks and then explored Barcelona and London before *surprise* settling down at Wake Forest for the real college experience. Oh also, some internet troll hacked my blog and stole my IP address. So here we are for the long haul, let me explain that.

After a year of living in more than one country while technically it being my first year of college, a year of adventures and growth I was really ready for what one would call a "normal college experience"... or so that's the story I told myself. I am a people person by nature so the transition to Wake Forest as a sophomore was quite smooth at first because I submerged myself almost immediately to keep busy so that I could stay present and keep myself away from thinking about what my life looked like this time last year. I ran all around campus doing everything I was "supposed" to do: going to football games and frat parties but more importantly studying hard and doing amazing things like join the crew team and Mock Trial and declaring a double major in Politics & International Affairs and French Studies.

There's a lot I could unpack here and probably will when I get the chance to write again, but the biggest thing I have noticed about college is the culture of staying busy. I constantly hear "God, I am just SO busy", people literally compare just how jammed their colorful Google Calendars are, how much one can be just going nonstop. It's almost like an unspoken competition about who can do the most, cram the most in their 24 hours. Quite frankly, this kind of culture is addicting and from when classes started in August to mid-October I could barely tell you what I did because I was just so caught up in the stream of staying "busy" like everyone else.

And then came October 17th 2018, the day after my 20th birthday. Midterms and Fall Break had just finished and we were gearing up for the second half of this semester. It was the end of crew practice around 7:20AM and the girls in my boat were putting our boat away and under freak circumstances when we were lifting the boat over heads my head was perfectly in the way and I got hit. Concussed.

The treatment? No thinking. No class. No technology. No stimulation of any kind. Just rest. This was definitely not the prescription I wanted at all, but let me tell you it's exactly what I needed. I was knocked out of the game and the vicious cycle of staying busy and was literally given the time to just exist. I followed concussion protocol until I was allowed to do "light thinking" and this was literally the moment when the rusty gears started spinning slowly and my usually hyperactive brain was picturing reality differently.

What was going on here you ask? Well the truth is no matter how stupidly busy I was I was fruitlessly trying to fill a void that isn't supposed to be filled in the first place.

So what was I ignoring? Well, that deserves a whole another post. To preface: I was ignoring the conditions of an environment where I thrive the best and can proactively contribute the most to society by trying to fit myself, a round peg into the square hole of the constructed society that college campus life is. Ladies and gentlemen,  I am talking about the fact that Kira Ann Tabor feels most alive when she is challenged and where else to find this kind of experience is one where an American is minority ... yes, I am talking about the ever infamous to my vernacular concept of *abroad*.

I am just now finally capable of finding the words to describe a feeling that I couldn't before. I had called my mom and told her that I wanted to go abroad again for another year, but since moms know literally everything the breakthroughs just kept coming. Are you ready? I don't want abroad to be just something that I do. I want the international experience to be everything that I am.

I have talked a lot today, but now that you have made it this far the moral of the story here is that the idea of what college is "supposed" to look like is a myth. I am thankful for a liberally thinking school like Wake Forest University to help me explore this idea and come the decision of how the rest of my experience will be shaped by this incredible institution.

Without further rambling, with the full support of my parents and the amazing people at the Center for Global Programs here at Wake Forest, I will be graduating May 18th, 2020 and after which I will be moving to Europe to continue my studies at graduate level in an international context before applying to law school. I don't know exactly how any of this will shape out, but that's what makes life an adventure and it all starts with a goal. 

I am a writer and an external processor as much as I try to ignore this fact. It's always been something I have been good at but never have taken upon myself, so I hope you are ready to follow along this journey with me.
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3/15/2018

1.


An essential part of this life is to do things that make you feel alive. There is a difference between simply existing and living. Existence is merely breath. Living is where you feel your breath in you come alive in all the colors - not only do you see color, you life feels like color. I want to live a life where I am not existing to pass the time. Time will always pass but I want to catch each and every second like lightening bugs on a summer's night. Each moment has it's own magic and its own light. It is up to us to find it. These moments are the lightening bugs - everywhere but we have to have the eagerness to look for them, knowing that timing is everything. Should we forget what this feeling is like we need look no further than existence, which is in an of itself is a gift. It's not a place I want to linger for too long for life is calling me, but it is a place to come back to when we need humbled about how lucky we are to be alive. 
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3/14/2018

The Mosque of Hassan II


The mosque floating over the sea in sunny Casablanca, Morocco














While it would take me about an hour to recount to you all of the churches and cathedrals that I have been to, never have I been to a mosque before in all of my travels. I grew up Catholic, as well as my parents, so naturally we were always inclined to go to Christian countries. I have been to Vatican City three times and every time I go to Paris I always stop in Notre Dame de Paris.

It has only been through my AP Art History class junior year of high school that I was even introduced to what exactly happened inside of a mosque. More than that several art history classes and personal research later, I have come to learn about the formalistic and contextual importance of Islamic art. For example, no iconography is displayed in Mosques only abstract mosaics and Arabic inscriptions as to avoid the worship of icons because a key belief in the Muslim faith is a worship in one God and one God only -- Allah. Not only are they extremely beautiful, patterns help to create a meditative like prayer experience. Furthermore, each color and each pattern have their own symbolic message and importance. If you want to know more about this click here

2018 is by far the year I am learning more than I ever have about Islam. I am taking an interesting class taught by an atheist Danish feminist theologian about unpacking the Western perspective of Islam using accommodation models, meaning systems and the sociology of religion. That combined with my recent trip to Morocco, in particular the Mosque of Hassan II, has really opened my eyes to a religion that I grew up with a stigma against thanks to my own religion and of course the nature of Western news. This is a classic example of education truly having the power to open one's eyes to another facet of the world to better create understanding to work towards a more unified humanity.

The Mosque of Hassan II was completed in 1993. After construction, it became the fifth largest mosque in the world. It can hold up to 100,000 people for the daily prayers during the month of Ramadan. Each day they have around 25,000 people come for the five times daily prayers.

The most interesting part of my tour of the interior of the mosque was hearing our local guide discuss its architecture. I never realized how intentional architecture was in the construction of a religious site. For example, the Mosque of Hassan II is constructed over the ocean to mirror a description of heaven found in the Qur'an.

More than anything I am breaking down past stigmas through my discovery of Islam and realizing more and more how beautiful it's teachings are. While the mechanisms of delivery differ, I now realize how familiar the messages are to the ones that I have received through my Catholic upbringing.

"The reward of goodness is nothing but goodness" - The Holy Qur'an; Chapter 55 Verse 61

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - The Holy Bible; Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 12
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3/13/2018

Life Things


Here in Copenhagen, it is trendy to wear these kinds of pants that resemble pajama pants. It's a concept I am 100% here for. 


I've been spending a lot of time at this one cafe called the Living Room. I like to sit by the window and right across the street there is a tattoo shop and occasionally when I look up I see people oogling at their new tattoo. 


A very snowy Copenhagen.


Call me superficial, but mirror pics are my dorky obsession right now. I literally have one from every day - mostly because I am still getting used to the fact I have bangs!


After I went to Morocco I have three new passport stamps: which is quite the accomplishment since I have been traveling solely in the EU these past few months.


Granola bars with important messages have my heart. 
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3/12/2018

Some Thoughts


"life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone"

I'm trying to make myself a Monday person. I'm all about embracing the kind of person that you are and not trying to fit a mold of what kind of person you are "supposed" to be ... but for me I really want to be a Monday person. I'm more of a Thursday person, where the weekend is near but there is that one final push and work to put in before rest. I am definitely not a Monday person or a morning person for that matter, so much that I have no less than five alarms go off every morning before I am even useful to the world. Baby steps.


In case you aren't following along on the Instagram journey, this past week was a travel break and I spent in the week exploring all parts of Morocco with my mom. This trip was incredible: no only for the time spent with my best friend, but also the amount of my newfound creative inspiration from being in this country. It was just what I needed after several months of being in a creative funk. I did a lot of writing, observing artisans and thinking out loud with my mom (who really can help me realize what I am making complicated in my life really isn't so complicated at all) and now more than ever I really do feel inspired to get back in touch with the creative person that I am. I literally took over 2000 pictures while I was in Morocco and I have lots of stories to tell ... so keep an eye out over the next several weeks.

Anyway the point of my ramblings here is to share with you some thoughts I have been having and which I have finally been able to put into words thanks to again my mom - she literally knows how to solve anything! 

About a month ago now I wrote about not being afraid, and through this past week I have discovered another, more deeper way to connect with this goal. The idea of my being afraid comes from my fear of the next step. Honestly, I feel hypocritical writing this because one of my mantras is to go beyond comfort zones. Life happens in tiers: you go from one comfort zone to going beyond it and then becoming comfortable in something that once seemed uncomfortable. This is a new realization. Like brand new. I talk again an again about how big moving to Copenhagen was for me, but now that I have been here for a while this once uncomfortable experience has now become my every day life. So here is an example of my new challenge: to take the next step, to look for ways to be uncomfortable and keep expanding the boundaries of the place where I am comfortable. 

I did that by going to Morocco: a country that had seemed foreign to me. Sure they speak French which is familiar but also they speak Arabic and practice Islam. Two characteristics which we have been socialized to be skeptical of by the Western world. Going to Morocco was uncomfortable without a doubt: I stuck out like a sore thumb and had never been surrounded by so many men before but through the uncomfortable I was able to find people to connect to and people that have changed my life forever. I have stories about this that I cannot wait to share with you.

So here is an excerpt from my journal on my thoughts about this concept of taking the next step because I will be applying it to ever aspect of my life: from what can I do here in Copenhagen to make life here different, to relationships (friends, family, housemates, beyond), to school, to building the image for myself and to my newfound practice of self care:

"Take the next step -- 'disrupt business as usual'; do not keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect your life to change; get and remain comfortably uncomfortable; find the edge and go so near it you think that you are going to fall, but have faith in yourself that you are not going to; do NOT accept complacency"


Happy Monday friends ... keep dreaming :)
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