Tuesday, May 25, 2010

365 Parallels of Separation

Yesterday my brother Michael departed on his merry way to RAMP in Delaware or Philadelphia or some far-off place, which, for the layperson, is the YouthWorks! week of training for the summer. One year ago today, on May 25, 2009, I left Minneapolis for Philadelphia on a similar quest. I have not spent very much time wishing I were at home this year; however, the time is fast approaching (34 days) when I will again get to set foot upon the hallowed ground of the twenty-ninth of the fifty American states. I am pumped about being with my mom, whom I saw last in July; my dad, sister, and over-sized pet cat, whom I saw last in May; and driving out to see my brother, in whose presence I last was in May also; and about seeing all the friends from the not-so-distant past who still hang around in the Midwest, whom I haven't seen in three hundred years; and also about watching the Twins play in Target Field, which has never happened to me before; but, to be honest, what entices me most right now is being done with school for a couple months. Anyway, the clock is ticking. Do whatever you need to do.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sixteen Megabytes of Destruction: Tokyo 2010

Buddha. He's famous. He's large. He's got a birthday. That birthday fell on Friday, May 21, in this, the year of our Lord 2010. Consequently, most of the schools in the greater Seoul area (or, at least, CCS and the SLP in Ilsan) did not have classes on that day. Realizing this about three months ago, a few of decided to go elsewhere, to see somewhere different. The few of us: Peter "I Own Entire Cities With My Camera" Freeburg, Kelly "Pizza Ranch Is In My Blood" Freeburg, Mark "Science Fair Administrator Extraordinaire" Nola, and myself. The elsewhere: Tokyo, Japan.

The day of departure was Thursday, May 20. We did not let the first obstacle, the one of reaching Incheon International Airport in a timely manner, get us down. Mark and I departed from CCS at 3:30 p.m. for our 6:45 flight, but after waiting for the 6001 airport shuttle bus for twenty minutes, we were dismayed when it merely slowed down but did not stop at the Sukdae bus stop. Nevertheless! By 4:30 we'd boarded another airport-bound steed at Seoul Station and cruised through traffic and through the check-in lines at the airport in the next two nail-biting hours to land ourselves upstairs in first-class on KE 702, somehow. I'd only been bumped up to first-class one other time. Pete and Kelly, who'd arrived comfortably with time to spare, remained with the plebeians on the lower deck of the place. Irony in its finest form.

Nevertheless! We landed! At Narita! And got on what looked to be a safe train toward the location of our hotel in Asakusa. Wrong. Fortunately, we were pointed in the right direction by some friendly natives, thus alleviating the mess that was our singular instance of "getting lost" during the entire weekend. The four of us surged forth from the subway at around 11:30 p.m. and descended upon the base of operations, the Kawase Hotel. We checked in, perused the area, and hit the hay.

This hostel was one that vaguely employed the somewhat unique concept of capsules, which is basically what it sounds like: you get a small capsule or compartment (or, coffin) to sleep in. All to yourself. Within the capsule is a lamp, a TV, and an alarm clock. The place we stayed was not of the newer variety of capsule hotels, but I found it to a pretty sweet way to slumber regardless of the stylistic similarities between it and the 1970s.

On Friday we rose up and sped to the Ueno Zoo via subway. A moment to comment on our most frequent mode of transport: going in, this was a concern in my mind. Various friends who'd been to Tokyo did not speak that highly of the subway system there. It was said to be confusing and messy, especially to the streamlined system in Seoul. But, between the four of us, we were able to tame the beast like Joe Mauer tames potential base-stealers. Basically there are multiple subway systems that function somewhat independently of each other, though their interactions are laid out well enough for a bunch of Midwesterners to figure the way out. The system we used the most was the cleverly-named Tokyo Metro; the other two were the TOEI and JR platforms. And some monorail whose name escapes me. Each of these systems is operated by a different company, so you have to buy different tickets and passes to use each one. We stuck to the Tokyo Metro, for the most part, and kept additional ticket purchasing to a minimum, although it did happen occasionally. At any rate, I would say that if a bunch of simpletons (no offense, fellow travelers) could figure all this out, it is not too complicated. The way things are set up is a little intimidating and confusing, yes, but if you just take time and figure out where you're going and how to get there, you will be fine. As we were.

Sidenote: multiple CCS students contributed to the success of this trip; the one that comes immediately to mind is this: one girl came to my room to turn some assignment in after class, and the folder in which she bore said assignment had the Tokyo subway map on it. So I made her give it to me. Another dude, who should teach a class on Shinjuku and the surrounding area, gave me excellent details on many elements of the city. A third student sent me a link and that was how Kelly booked the hostel. And two others gave us multiple inights into what Japanese words would result in success! Hurrah! I'm a user. But: arigatō to those troopers. They probably think I'm a moron.

Anyway! The Ginza line took us to the zoo on this most beautiful of Fridays. We paraded to and fro and saw such creatures as: lions, tigers, polar bears, storks, vultures, tapirs, penguins, black and grizzly bears, various other birds, gorillas, giraffes, elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, zebras, gibbons, flamingos, and Japanese school children. There were a million of them.

In the early afternoon we'd seen about everything there was to see at the zoo, so we whisked ourselves to the next event on the agenda: a sumo wrestling match. We got to the Ryogoku Kokugikan around 1:00 after grabbing a quick lunch nearby. The next three and a half hours were an entertaining time, although we decided to leave before the really big matches occurred later in the evening. Sumo wrestling: a 1500-year-old sport, a definitive element of life back in the day. Now, obviously, it is different, but it was interesting checking out all the idiosyncrasies of the event. There was salt-throwing (Kevin Garnett-style), there were judges getting smashed by enormous wrestlers, there were entrance ceremonies, there was flesh in inordinate amounts, there were fifteen rounds, and there was violence, strategy, and elements of grace in each fight. Good times.

However, as everyone knows, there is only so much of any one sport that most people can handle, so after a while we left the tournament and, at the suggestion of one of the aforementioned Japanese experts, we ventured to Shinjuku. This place was described as the Gangnam/Gwanghwamun area of Tokyo (which to some readers...Mom...Dad...Kristin Dewey*...this is a grossly insufficient comparison; ritzy, sweet architecture, successful businesses, etc.). We paraded around looking like we were from really flat states for a while, which I have no problem doing.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower: we had ill-founded aspirations of climbing to the top of this structure but we got shot down fairly quickly:

Kelly knew that one of these two buildings had a free observatory at its peak, so we took advantage of that:

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
! Again, not that much time was spent on naming this monstrosity, but maybe the namers got distracted by the cash money view that their baby provided them with from the top. Viewers can see quite a ways in most directions, although, unlike the Seoul Tower, the windows do not cover the entirety of the walls of the building. And some of the viewing area was a restaurant. Lame. But. Behold:

Strange anecdote from atop the free metropolitan government tower: I saw standing around minding my own business in the shirt pictured above, and some girl approached me (a first!) and said, "Excuse me, are you from Minneapolis?" Yes, it's true: she had eaten at Emily's Lebanese Deli and was from Linden Hills, Minnesota. Small world, instance one.

Down, down, down we came! And walk, walk, walk we did, as night fell, through many, many neighborhoods in search of Harajuku, which is this fashionable and trendy section of town. There were two streets that we perused that left imprints in my mind. One was Omotesando, which was a street littered with upscale restaurants and places that you'd probably take someone you were trying to impress on a nice date. Cool place, four-lane boulevard, somewhat romantic atmosphere. The other street was sort of the opposite but was more interesting; the name is Takeshita (yeah, yeah, make your jokes, you hoard of delinquents) and the ballgame is...different. Most of the stores specialized in either specific clothing accessories or specific clothing styles. Most of the pedestrians were dressed in similar fashion, a fashion that was very distinct, somewhat dark, very emo, one that doesn't leave a great taste in my mouth but which nevertheless was dang interesting to be around. The word "weird" is the one I will label this place with, which isn't fair. Read the Wikipedia article on it and it'll probably make more sense. Here is the entrance, which is all I felt comfortable photographing:

After making an exit from Takeshita and an entrance into Omotesando, we hit up a sushi restaurant, much to Peter's delight. At this particular venue, you sit down next to a conveyor belt that brings around all sorts of sushi and various other small-scale dishes, and you can pick whatever you want to eat. The price of each dish is determined by the plate; the green plates were 160 yen, the blue ones 260 yen, etc. Good system! Good sushi! Good times.

Then! Around 8:30 we left that area via taxi, our only trip in one. Prior to going, I was told by various sources that taxis were dang expensive in Tokyo. Right on. In Seoul, hail fare is 2400W, which is, at this particular moment in the history of the universe, $2.01 (last year it was only 1900W; times are changing). The base rate of a taxi in Tokyo is 710 yen, which is, at this particular moment in the history of the universe, $7.89. I know. Woof! It went up very quickly, as well. But, apparently, "they say you haven't truly visited a place until you've been in a taxi there." So we got that out of the way by taking a ride to Roppongi.

To draw another comparison to Seoul, this place felt like Itaewon (which to some readers...Mom...Dad...Kristin Dewey*...this is a grossly insufficient comparison; catered very much to the foreigner population, fairly sketchy during the evening, party area, etc.). At least at night. We walked down the street and were accosted by multiple, pushy foreigners who wanted us to spend our money in their bar. Unpleasant. We stopped at one place called Wall Street and if I didn't know better, I would have said we were in the states for sure. For sure! It was alright. At 11 p.m. we grabbed the subway back to Asakusa and leaped quietly into our capsules for...

...a mere four hours or so. We (and by "we" I mean Pete, Kelly, and I; Mark needed sleep) got up at 4:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and ventured over to the Tsukiji fish market in...Tsukiji. The place is allegedly the biggest fish market in the world, and not just according to Wikipedia. We got there around 6 a.m.; the place is supposed to be "best before 8 a.m." Hence the early freakin' start. We meandered around for a while; there were some boring tousisty places, but on the map we received from some dude, the area we wanted to see was off-limits to anyone until 9 a.m. After a while of feeling stupid for getting up so early for such weaksauce wandering, we strode confidently into the wholesale fish market.

The reason that we were hardcore enough to undertake this was that Pete saw an ad for it in which a huge fish was being cut in half by a giant bandsaw. Ironically, upon entering the wholesale area, that was the first thing we saw. We meandered through the market for an hour; most of the items for sale were the same, but it was the sheer quantity that was impressive. And the gore. Holler. And, though we all agreed that we felt very "in the way" of those who were actually doing business, no one seemed to care that we had come in. No one appeared to be in charge, either.

We left at around 7:30 a.m. The plan was meet Mark at Kamiyacho Station at 9:30, so we had some time to kill. We wandered around for a bit, ran into some other wanderers (one from Wisconsin, count it; small world, instance two) who were also from the ROK, and walked across a bridge to one of the islands that is in the bay.

Then the subway swept us away to the rendezvous point. After being joyfully reunited with Mark, our quartet proceeded to Tokyo Tower. I took several pictures from the observatory there but did not have the presence of mind to take a shot of the actual tower, so...click here to see how the Japanese ripped off the French. And remember this, because it will not be the last instance of thievery that gets discussed. But. We went up to the main deck and checked things out. We made many comparisons to the Seoul Tower. And as many pictures. Many solid pictures, although we could not quite see Mt. Fuji. Next time.

Then we left, because it was around lunch time. We ate at some little restaurant, but not before seeing this interesting building:

Yeah. Instead of taking a picture of Tokyo Tower, I took one of an edifice with a leafy wall. We don't have to be friends. After eating we decided to try to check out Odaiba, which is this sweet man-made island in Tokyo Bay. There was some debate as to how this would best be accomplished, what with the fatigue and the chaffing that was weighing upon various members of our caravan, but after finding the correct subway stop on the JR Line and being instructed by a kind English-speaking Japanese dude, we walked from Tamachi Station to Odaiba. On the way:

The word "daiba" means cannonball fortress, I think I heard, but now it is this touristy attraction that can be reached by the Rainbow Bridge, which we walked across. We bummed around out there on this beach for a while. The water at the beach was grossest color of any liquid I'd even seen at any naturally-occurring water body. Except maybe Spirit Lake. This picture, taken from the aforementioned bridge, is idiotically focused on this grassy little island; Odaiba is in the background. As you gaze at the water surrounding it, imagine that instead of crystal blue fluid, the water is actually an oily root beer.

After a while we took the monorail back to the mainland. Our crew bummed around for a while, stopped for some ice cream, and looked at this temple (which I wish we had had time to explore more extensively). There was a fellow ringing a bell quite loudly. Deal with it. We didn't plan on hitting up any temples in Tokyo, but there was something about this one that we saw that made it different from the ones in Seoul. It seemed darker, older, more seasoned. Who knows.

Then! We went on a night tour. An organized event, one that we were looking forward to, because we wouldn't have to figure out directions, make decisions, or, in short, think very hard. First stop was the Washington Hotel (which a richer veteran teacher at CCS recommended that we stay at) for dinner. Very nice. But they didn't give me enough time to finish mine. The tour then went to the other end of the beach that we'd been at earlier for some pristine photo ops. First is the Rainbow Bridge and some skyline business and an obnoxious streetlight.

Then we have this replica of the Statue of Liberty. There is a surprisingly-long article on this subject, actually. Whatever.

Reboarded the bus, left Odaiba, listened to our aged tour guide, Mr. Sato (most common last name in Japan, according to him) crack dry, witty jokes, and ended up at the Mori Building for a third high view of Tokyo. I have no problem with this, as I love love love being up high and seeing everything. Seoul Tower. Busan Tower. Tokyo Tower. Petronas Tower. Rock Rapids Tower. Someday. But. We spent an hour at the top of the Mori Building admiring how expansive Tokyo really is. The view during the day is awesome, but it gets hazy near the horizon. At night the lights really indicate how completely massive the city is.

There was also a really neat (but very dark) art exhibit at the top of the tower that we didn't really have time to enjoy. The bus took us to some station and left us there to die. We continued on to Shibuya with this Canadian couple who'd also been on the tour. Shibuya seemed a lot like Hongdae (which to some readers...Mom... Dad...Kristin Dewey*...this is a grossly insufficient comparison; artsy/fashionable to some degree, filled with hipsters, but above all: large-scale party scene, one that is less foreign-friendly and more indigenous). We got there at 10 and there were a million people everywhere. Right by the subway station is a giant intersection, and when there's a red light, all the pedestrians pour across. This is not unique to this part o' town, but it's the only place we witnessed it. Up until this point, we had not experienced major human congestion at any point. But this place was loaded with people. We hemmed and hawed around in the streets for a while. I met a dude from Roseville. Small world, instance three. After a while we went dancing for a while. Mark hit me in the eye and knocked out my contact.

One curveball that we face was what to do and where to be in the wee hours of the evening. Similar to Seoul's public transportation, in Tokyo the subway closes at midnight and the taxis raise their prices. And our hostel was not very near any of the areas worth being in at night. So, Friday we had to leave for Asakusa at 11 p.m. Saturday Mark made the executive to just stay out until the trains started running again at 5 a.m. So we did that. Pete and Kelly tried to leave in time to get back to the hostel, but they were thwarted.

Around 4 we went to get massages. I had never gotten one before, but Mark is a massage connoisseur, so we took care of that. I did have to stifle laughter about a hundred times because I am a super ticklish individual (use that against me and see what happens). I also felt a degree of pity for the poor suckers who had to massage my feet and back; the weekend hadn't been the best for, mmm, personal hygiene.

When Starbucks opened we went and sat in the second floor and watched the aftermath of what was Saturday night stumble around the previously-mentioned intersection. At 7 we went back to our hostel, starting at one end of the Ginza line and ending on the other. At 9 we left for Narita. At 12:55 we left for Seoul. At 4 we left for Seoul Station. At 5:30 I left for Huam-dong. At 6 I finally got to my bed. Game over.

Amongst our group, there was a ton of comparing done between Seoul/Korea and Tokyo/Japan. A lot of it revolved around the transportation; Seoul wins this one fairly easily. The subway is much easier to figure out. Most of it is newer. The cars are often bigger. Everything is just a bit more clear, and then buses (which we didn't dare venture onto in Japan) and taxis are more user-friendly, also.

We compared the people as well, as shallow as that sounds. There was dissension as to which country's women were more beautiful. I voted for Korea. Different people also helped us along the way, when it was obvious that we were lost, or sometimes even if we were just standing around. Additionally, there was some old lady on the subway who yelled at us for talking. That seemed about right.

Japan's younger culture seemed more eccentric than Seoul's. There is not a lot of self-expression or individuality in the Korean culture, which is no great secret, but what we observed in Tokyo would indicate the opposite there. There were some bizarre outfits. The youth of both seem to place a lot of value on that external image. As do most of the younger people in the United States.

Seoul is way cheaper. This is important.

Overall, I got a little bit of a darker feel about Tokyo than I do about Seoul. I am not sure why, or whether I could ever really explain it, and I do not mean in it a negative way, really, especially because I like things of a darker nature.

All of those things being said, I really liked Tokyo. If you couldn't tell, we packed a lot into the two main days that we were there, and we only saw a small fraction of there is to see and only did a few of the hundreds of sweet things there are to do. The country itself deserves a second visit for sure, even if it is just to see Mt. Fuji and go to a baseball game. Kyoto and Osaka also sound real cool. But there are many other countries to be visited, as well. So I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

Important: the name of this post is based on a conversation I had with Pete, who has at least three sweet lenses for his already-sweet camera and took enough pictures on the excursion to feed a third-world country. I told him I had a limited amount of memory on my camera's card and, upon further investigation, discovered that, yes, I only had sixteen megabytes to save my pictures on. Which, for those of you who are not already guffawing at this because you know how little that is: it's not very much. This is my own fault; I am sure larger memory cards are available for purchase even now. Shrug.

That being said (this is the important part; I do not care that much if anyone understands the titles of my blog posts), I greatly appreciated Pete's affinity for taking pictures and also the fact that Mark is quite liberal with his picture taking, liberal enough to surrender the camera to my filthy hands at certain headache-havin' times. So, I want to give credit where credit is due: if you really want to see some incredible and more thorough pictures from this Japanese trek we went on, please go to Pete's Picasa web album entitled "Tokyo 2010" (685 pictures) or Pete's Picasa web album entitled "HIGHLIGHTS Tokyo 2010" (86 pictures). Cash. Money. Photos. Mark also has an album on Facebook called "Tokyo - May 2010" (140 pictures). Also a solid go-round. To be honest, I was tempted to steal these photos and incorporate them into my own collection here, and, to be honest, I have in the past and will in the future, but: there's too many of them. So, bottom line: all the pictures displayed in this here post are mine, taken with my own camera. Every one I took is up. But, Pete and Mark's are better. Check 'em out.

*Kristin Dewey is a friend of Caleen's; this girl has an unbased vendetta against Asia. Whenever the idea of going to visit or moving there comes up, this woman is violently opposed to it. I'm told. I scoffed at this idea and at some point I sent her a Facebook message that encouraged her to book a flight to Korea as soon as possible, because it is an awesome place, but she was neither interested nor amused.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lead On, Oh White Cloud

Last summer, back at the Potter's House, a lot of things got said. Things that I had never heard before, but things that I enjoyed hearing. One thing that has been running through my mind more and more of late is a phrase that various members of the clergy said about Bishop Booze and Evangelist Booze quite often, though they never specifically directed the statement at either of them: "Isn't great leadership a blessing?"

And it's true. And though I can by no means claim to be any sort of expert on quality leadership, on what elements compose a great leader, or [especially] on how to be one, I can sing the praises of several folks whom I consider excellent models of fine leaders.

The dude who first got my gears turning about this topic was Mr. David Walden, who runs the student worker element of the food operations at Bethel University. After graduating from the dish washing corps (a crew that I hear my brother is on nowadays...holla), I somehow weaseled my way onto the student managing team. At the beginning of both my junior and senior years of college, I passed through Dave's rigorous training in both Dining Center and leadership mastery. I will not lie, I didn't think much of the leadership element at that point; it was pretty abstract, and I was much more keen on figuring out faster ways to stack cups. Or faster ways to get my minions to stack cups. Nonetheless, Dave modeled sweet leadership with his expertise and dedication to the job; he was right there with us through each of the eighteen-hour training days we went through. Which probably was nothing to him; the dude did twenty all-nighters in one month when he was an undergrad. Lordy.

Being a student manager in the Dining Center (let the record show that I never managed in market, to my knowledge) was likely the item on my resume that scored me the position of site director at YouthWorks! Both of my summers there placed me under fabulous supervisors.

In Sault Ste. Marie, I was under the wing of a one Jason Cedarholm. He embodied what I love to see in high ranking officials; he became a sweet friend. It's been said that the best way to lead is to do it by fear; I disagree. As I got know this supervisor, I felt more comfortable with him and more confident in him; I'd go to him with conundrums and problems about work. After a while, I'd go to him about problems with my life, and praises, as well. And it was a two-way street; he could tell me about elements of his personal life if he needed someone to talk to. Like when he texted me, "Dude, I'm sitting next to Barry Sanders at the airport!" one afternoon.

Similarly, in Niagara Falls, I was under the jurisdiction of a one Ben Capps. There were obviously many differences in the relationships that I had with these two stallions, but the way that both lead me was the same: the friendship that we had softened the harder issues, like when I needed to be chastised for erroneously putting $300 on the YouthWorks! credit card, and it accentuated the sweet stuff, like the Naked Reub project (one that remains "in process"). Being in close relationship with Jason and Ben worked well for both parties; I respected their leadership and they didn't micromanage me. And we laughed a ton.

These days I find myself in a comparable situation at CCS. The person whom I call "boss" is the head teacher, Ben Sullivan. He does not rule the other teachers with an iron fist. He does not yell at us when we forget morning duty. He does not slap us when we suck up a lesson. He leads by being an example of how the other teachers should be: hard-working, personable, attentive to detail, and integritous. And funny. I see these things modeled every Monday night, because we stay late at the school and order pizza and grade/plan/read. Rare are the times that other teachers are around, but when I see the person in charge busting his butt alongside me, a first-year rookie, I am encouraged.

There's more than just these examples, of course. But none whom I got as close to, close enough to see stuff that I wanted to grab and make my own. Obviously no one person is perfect; there will always be flaws. But the outstanding qualities of the folks I have had the privilege of working under will hopefully leave an impact on me as I aspire to become a better leader myself*.

*This feels like the cheesy ending to a college application essay or some such document. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Like Sand Thru the Hourglass...So Are the Days of Our Lives

Of late I have been struggling to accept the idea that I cannot do everything that I want to. I am not talking about physical or moral limitations but of the limitations of time on my life. The dominant activity this year has been school and teaching and, while I still try to take in many other elements of life, I am getting burnt out doing so.

Several times I have had to turn down invitations to go various places and do various things with various people because I have had to read for AP English or grade letter essays or what have you. Each time that I declined to throw work by the wayside and go go go, I vowed to take a different course of action the next time and to stay up as late as I had to in order to be able to participate in everything and to "seize the day." And yet, whenever I adhere to this vow, I find myself crabby and unpleasant to be around, unproductive and slow-moving with work, and pessimistic and sullen about my outlook.

Thus, as awful as it sounds to me, I can't do everything I want to do with life. Not right now. And, probably, not later, either. I have a list of things to take care of during the summer, and I can imagine that once I get home, vacations and trips and friends will come up, which will be awesome, but I will not get all or any of those goals accomplished.

Maybe this realization is becoming obvious to me because one part of my life is so domineering of all the others, but this need to do so much is not something new. The achiever/producer in me has always demanded results, I guess. Or something. Last spring I had this feeling also. I wrote this all down one night after talking to my mom on the phone. I think most to all of the items on here are still applicable to some extent:

There is not enough time in the day.

I want to finish reading “The Heart of Christianity.” I want to read “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” and “Bless Me, Ultima,” and then I want to go to What The Book in Itaewon and buy more books, and read them, too.
I want to write e-mails to everyone I miss at home.
I want to write the Korean characters that Dave assigned to me for homework during my first Korean lesson; I want to learn and understand this language as much as possible.
I want to teach, and I want to do well at it.
I want to sleep and be rested for the next day.
I want to write sweet postcards to various folks.
I want to hang out with Scott or Ten-Mile-Britt or Megan or Jonathan Enger or Adam Cole.
I want to write blog posts. I want to write journal prayers. I want to write my thoughts down, like this random smattering of symbols.
I want to listen to my entire iTunes library and learn every song and then find more. I want to be able to listen to complete thrash metal and read complex texts at the same time.
I want to be in love with a girl and pour my life into her and give her the love she deserves.
I want to learn how to play guitar, and get way better at bass.
I want to see as much as I can.
I want to go as many places as I can.
I want to know as much as I can.
I want to eat as much as I can?
I want to connect with as many people as I can.

But, now, I must go to bed.