Today, I finished my last final.
I feel relieved, but mostly I feel regret because I know I bombed a couple of them. The fault was entirely mine; my attention drifted in the middle of my examination week and I just didn’t prepare enough for them.
Confession: the day before a final, I had an intense marathon. A Lord of the Ring marathon, to be exact. I don’t know why, I just was in the mood for a night of super long, super gloomy movie(s).
I wish I was a Hobbit living in the Shire. I wish I had no worries and duties except to do nothing unpredictable and adventurous. The only worry I will have is whether I get in my daily six to seven meals.
After my breakfast, second breakfast and elevenses, I would look forward to lunch and after lunch, I’ll look forward to afternoon tea, then dinner and finally, supper. In between the meal breaks I would smoke pipe-weed with my hairy, leathery feet propped up on a simple wooden fence as I sway gently on a swing. I would forever look young and maybe if I’m lucky, I would have brilliant ocean-blue eyes like Frodo Baggin’s.
No exams. No projects. No essays. No work. No obligations. No surprises. Just an utmost reverence for the preservation of peace. Life would just be a nice, fat chill pill.
Unfortunately I belong to the race of men (in LOTR). I have greed, I have ambition, I have conflicts, I have struggles. Eating seven meals and smoking pipe-weed sound nice for a week or so, but sooner or later I would feel suffocated if that was all I was doing with my life.
I still don’t know how to maintain a good balance. I leap from one extreme to the other. Working too hard and getting stressed, or working too little and stressing that I’m not working enough. Maybe it’s just because I’m young and stuck in college. Perhaps I’ll mellow out with age. I certainly hope so.
I don’t know if the Hobbit’s lifestyle is the ideal way to live, but if there’s one thing the Hobbits do right, it’s that they take the time to enjoy the middle of the afternoon with some soothing tea and lovely munchies. Usually mid-afternoons are the highest point of tension for me; I’m either in school or at my internship, and the day’s work is at its climax.
I can’t afford the time and luxury of afternoon teas every day like the Hobbits, but I should try to incorporate some kind of brief, private meditation to check on myself. Perhaps a time to pray. Perhaps a time to close my eyes and breathe, then gauge my emotions to try to level back to a healthy balance.
But of course, at times, there’s just nothing more fulfilling than a nice afternoon tea. This was quite some time ago, but my good friend Jordan and Ellie took me out for an afternoon tea by Santa Monica Beach one day.
It was a long drive out west, but the cool ocean breeze and the warm massage of creamy sands makes it all worth it.
Seems like Jordan (left) and Ellie (right) are my drinking buddies. But this time, it was at a gorgeous, elegant hotel right by the beach instead of a soju bar at Koreatown.
The hotel’s name is Shutters and it is a totally different atmosphere from that of Bbuh Ggu Gi. While Bbuh Ggu Gi was built traditional-style with dim lights, Shutters was modern, airy and breathy with natural lights. But of course, it’s not appropriate to compare the two venues since they are completely different.
Anyway. Jordan has been wanting to visit Shutters with me for some time. We can’t really afford to enjoy its full amenities, but we can sure sit by its patio and enjoy a drink! And since that day wasn’t too far from my birthday, Jordan offered to treat us. Thank you, Jordan!
Shutters is a luxury hotel, but it was built to be relaxed; sort of like your own personal beach house with warm, polished wood floors and beachy chic decorations, like this casket of beach sand and seashells.
I don’t know about you but I judge a hotel by its restroom. Some restrooms, you cannot wait to be done and leave. But some restrooms, like the one at Shutters, you wouldn’t mind camping in.
Yes, Ellie and I took pictures in the restroom. We were being all tourist-happy.
It was large, made to look even more spacious by the multiple full-length mirrors. It actually kind of felt like a dance floor.
Anyway, I should stop gushing about the restroom and get onto the tea room, which I think Shutters call the Coast because it’s kind of like a beachside patio cafe.
It was lovely, especially with the rays of golden sunlight trickling in. The people seemed like a sophisticated crowd and we tried to blend in.
We were first served some snacks of roasted almonds and kettle-cooked chips:
And then came our drinks:
Traditional tea for Ellie…
Coffee for Jordan…
…and bubblies for me.
Brut sparkling wine from South Africa, to be exact. Probably not a Hobbit-like beverage.
And then we also had a cheese board:
It came with four different kinds of cheeses, dates, sourdough bread and some kind of fig jam.
I think the cheeses were Manchego, white cheddar, fresh goat and gouda. Eh…forgot. I love cheese but I’m not knowledgeable enough to distinguish them by sight. I just like to eat them.
They were all good quality stuff, but nothing too terribly exciting.
It was just a relaxing day that a decent Hobbit would approve. I always love hanging out with Jordan and Ellie, and I’m ecstatic that they hit it off so well. It’s such a wonderful feeling when you introduce your friends to each other and hang out together as mutual friends.
We talked, we walked, we drank, we ate. It was a problem-free day until we hit traffic on the way back home. I almost didn’t write about this day, but the afternoon tea trip in Santa Monica kind of fit with my pensive, quiet mood today.
At any time in which I need to take a chill pill, this post will remind me of that wonderful day by the beach when the sky was forever blue, the wine bubbly and sweet, and my beautiful friends who are always there for me.
Kind of pertinent question of the day: Who was your favorite character in Lord of the Ring? Mine was Pippin. Everything about that adorable, twinkly-eyed Hobbit puts me in a better mood.