Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fast Forward Again Please!

Dobby fell asleep hugging a table whilst filming
So....about that promise to blog more regularly...sorry.  Skip forward another month, and it's november! Actually, it's already been november for about two weeks.  Anyway, since the last time I've blogged, a lot more has happened! Eunice and I made a short movie for our film-mking seminar which turned out pretty weird, but was a lot of fun to make. We also went on a pretty crazy biking adventure with Randi a few weeks ago.  So we have a list of 101 things to do by graduation, and #87 is to bike the Minutemen Trail.  It starts in Alewife, Cambridge and runs north 11 miles to Bedford. We stupidly started the ride at around 4 pm and by the time we were almost to Bedford, it was already pitch-black outside.  The trail was unlit, so we used our iphone lights to make the rest of the trip there. Once we got there, the plan was to take a bus.....which apparently conveniently did not run on Sundays. When we asked a shop keeper, he told us that our best bet was to bike 8 miles to Arlington and try to catch a bus there. I don't know how, but we managed to make it there by biking practically on the highway.  It was mad scary, and pretty reckless of us :\ anyway, eventually we caught the bus that took us to Harvard and biked the two miles back to MIT.  Never. Again. Atleast we got to cross it off the list, but it took a few days for my butt to recover from that ride.

The before picture.
Oh yeah, speaking of biking, the reason I was able to get my bike in the first place is because my family brought it with them when they came for parent's weekend!! It was really nice to see them, and I had a lot of fun going out to eat some quality chinese food (finally!!!) and walking around harvard square.  We also went to a mini carnival and I took some cute photobooth pics with kaykay :) Before they left, I rode around in our car for a few minutes, and it got me all nostalgic. I miss my squeaky toyota :( Good thing I get to go home in exactly ONE WEEK! I was a little late with the whole booking-a-way-home thing, but managed to find a bus-line that I've never heard of and bought tickets.  Hopefully it's not that sketchy.  I felt kind of adventurous and almost bought tickets for the chinatown bus ...but arriving in chinatown at night is a little too adventurous for me.  

Also this past month was halloween! Me and my friends dress up as playing cards :) We bought the sweatshirts for only $5 a pop and used fabric markers to make them. Finding sweatshirts/shirts in the first place was kind of a challenge, and we walked up and down Mass Ave. for practically 3 hours looking for them. We hurriedly ate dinner and decorated them at top speed.  Then me and Eunice went to our IM badminton game while they tried to dry the sweatshirts with a blow-drier. I didn't play badminton very often back home, and I have no idea why because it's so freaking fun. Maybe that's my inner asian emerging.  Speaking of asians, almost all of my friends are asian minus one or two.  My friends back at home asked me if I'm going to college in Boston or China. They're funny. Anyway, after that we came back, got dressed, and showed up mega-late for spooky skate, which is when they open up the ice rink and you can skate for free.  We waited in line only to find out that they'd run out of our sizes :( Eventually we got our hands on skates and went around once....sad. But strangely fulfilling (it's on the list!). Afterwards we decided to head over to Boston and go to Chan's frat for a bit. It was a black-light party and hey had completely chalked all the walls with glow-chalk.  It was pretty trippy and awesome. Chan got his big to give us some vodka that burned the hell out of my throat, so I barely drank any. By the time we left at 2, he was in the process of getting pretty drunk, ripping his shirt off and dancing around.  The night after that was pumpkin drop! At midnight we were gathered around the Green Building (tallest building in Cambridge), waiting for the first liquid-nitrogen infused pumpkin to fall. They launched around 100 pumpkins, which all exploded upon impact.  It was kind of awesome. 

In other news, my friend I-Ling is part of a frat called Alpha Delta Phi, so we usually go with him to a lot of their events.  A few weeks we went to their semi-formal which included dinner and a trip to the Boston Opera House to watch Warhorse. Our dates were late and then we somehow didn't get the right tickets so we only saw the second half of the play.  Not really sure what went on...but the horses were mad realistic and the gun shots were really loud. I think the highlight was eating food, and then the 7 11 slurpee afterwards. This weekend (lol finally caught up to the present) we went to their M-night which stands for martini night. So we got suited up and battled over to the frat house in heels.  The martinis all smelled really good and tasted really bad. I still can't understand why people drink :\ We played a round of pool, in which me and me partner kicked I-Ling's ass. Then went upstairs to check out the casino games.  Some people were really into it and were winning big time, but we just threw around some chips on roulette.  I heard the winner would get an iPad mini, but there was no way that was gonna happen for us. We sat around until a few guys approached us and started making small talk. They were a little pretentious and pissed me off, but my roomie just told me to nod and smile, which worked wonderfully. Eventually she started talking to this guy I-Ling brought over (because they're into the same webcomic) and another guy came over to talk to me.  Unlike the others, this guy was nice and I felt pretty comfortable talking with him.  He showed me a bunch of card tricks (I got tricked by all of them) and we managed to leave the frat house at around 2:30, then journeyed over to CVS to buy red hairspray for Kevin (he lost a bet against me). We couldn't find any, so instead we got funions, tights, and nail polish. Close enough. After we got back we stayed up for no reason until past 6....oh my college sleeping schedule.  

My dad sent me a pic of Kaykay making a snow angel :)
So cute!
On sunday I was going to start homework I think, but managed to not. Next house was having a party, so we went over at around 11.  The music was pretty good, but the light system was insane.  They had a DJ there specifically for lights.  Also it was kind of a nice change to dance without worrying about getting caught in between two couples making out and grinding the hell out of each other. Dorm parties are so different from frat parties haha. Joyce came back to Simmons with us, and we got to talk for a little which was kind of nice since I hadn't really seen her around since orientation.  Mainly because we never go to parties with her even when she calls us. :\ She said she makes an effort to try and go out atleast a few times a week, and said we should go with her. I think i'll take her up on the offer since I feel like sometimes we're mad antisocial. Anyway, yesterday we had off for veteran's day, but we spent a lot of it studying for today's math midterm, yuck. After the midterm, I dragged some people to McDonald's with me to celebrate! I've been planning this for a while actually....man I really missed that place.  Got myself a frappe, and drank it while walking to the Z center in the rain.  I was so cold but it was sooooo worth it.  I also got an 100 on that math midterm, so now I get to cross off #3 on the list: Ace a test! WAAAHH!! Now i'm celebrating by not doing any work.  I'll deal with it all tomorrow night :') Time to go play badminton---!

Cool alleyway on Mass Ave. I think new graffiti is constantly layering over the old
We went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts! Trippy huh?
The white board outside our room :)
Beautiful Cambridge during the Head of the Charles rowing competition!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Home Away from Home

It's October! Time passes by so quickly. I can barely believe that I've already been here for over a month! Living away from home is really weird, but at the same time it's really liberating.  I'm also learning to be more organized, kind of.  Anyway, I've been mad busy and haven't had time to update this thing, so here we go, my whole first month of college!

Tim the beaver!
Orientation seems like forever ago, so I barely recall any details, but it was a flurry of meeting new people and struggling to remember names.  There were a billion events going on, so we were pretty busy except for when we were too lazy to go places. We did go to a weird carnival party at east campus where there were rides and contraptions made out of wood, and a big soap water pit where semi-clothed people wrestled as a girl showered them with glitter. I also went to a few other parties with good music and good dancing.  There were some guys who asked me to grind...awkward.  I feel like I've been pretty sheltered so far in life haha.  Anyway, we also went to the New England Aquarium which was pretty damn cool, except it's so depressing looking at those fish stuck in such little spaces. Soon, rush and recruitment started and me and my roommate thought it'd be a good idea to go paintballing. Mistake. So painful. We also went to the first day of recruitment which was pretty boring so we didn't go back.

After 10 days of orientation/rush, classes started!  This semester I'm taking bio, chem, multi-var calc, and japanese 3. Man, coursework here is so intense compared to high school! We have problem sets for each class due weekly and the learning pace in Japanese is mad fast, I have some trouble keeping up with what the hell is going on.  Also our teachers only speak in Japanese, and we aren't allowed to speak in English either haha. But this is probably going to really help my japanese so it's all good :) Regarding school, this past week was basically midterm week.  I had my first test in calc, bio, and chem and did way better than I expected. I've made some really good friends since I've gotten here, and they're really nice about helping me when I have no idea what the hell is going on (they're all super smart).  I'm also on really good terms with my roommate; she's from Washington (the state) and is a really good dancer.  She's also pretty random, and we have a lot of fun goofing off together and acting like 5 year olds. Attractive, I know. We also hang out with our neighbors a lot. One is a pathological liar from Oregon, and the other is a faux-korean pop star (he's taiwanese) from NYC who can breakdance. I've met a lot of students from taiwan actually, and they're all really nice except for this one guy who looks and dresses like a k-pop star and enjoys acting like a douchebag.  I think he's secretly nice though, but we'll see about that. I've also made my first korean friend! She's from St. Luis, Missouri and is pretty awesome.  I love it when her parents call her on the phone and we get to hear her speak in Korean. I've met so many people holy crap. There's a girl from Arizona, a whole slew of people from California, and I have classmates who're from Korea, China, Mexico, Spain, and Malaysia. College rocks.

Mit is so pretty :')
Since classes have started, we've also been on two cruises, one fancy boring one, and one fancy dancing one (it was basically a boat full of hot asian people. Me and Minerva (roommate) didn't really dress up since it was rainy and shitty outside, so we ended up sticking out from the sea of tight dresses, but oh well. Atleast we were comfortable lol. We've also been to a few frat parties, one of which was a foam party. It was pretty amusing dancing around in the bubbles, but so messy since we were covered in soap-y water. I've been to Boston to watch a weird pseudo live movie that my advisor directed.  It's kind of like a play, but with screens that show what's going on from his point of view as he films around the stage.  We got there halfway through so we had no idea what was going on, but there were a lot of naked people walking around on stage.
Cool street artists ^_^
I also went to the Prudential center, newbery street, china town, and Boston commons (almost got attacked by a squirrel) with Matt and Thomas when he came up to visit for a weekend! There was also a free concert featuring....Gavin DeGraw and Train! Oh man they are so good in concert.  I went to career fair here, and got 20 free shirts and a shit-ton of other stuff. Impressive, huh? Also I joined the IM badminton team for my dorm, and it's really fun and intense lol. I tried club volleyball too, but it was so painful that I never went back after the first practice. I'm also part of an art club that a bunch of people are trying to start, but we haven't really done much yet. I also tried out for some dance groups, but didn't get in :'( I'll probably try out next semester though! In the rest of my free-time I mostly just bum around with my friends and play a lot of tetris and SET.  It's kind of sad, but oh-so addicting. The other day I watched "You Are the Apple of my Eye", a taiwanese romance film. It was hilarious, but left me with a bittersweet feeling. I also couldn't help myself and cried a little even though I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be a sad movie. I've also seen Moonrise Kingdom with my advising group which was a really weird movie that I somehow managed to cry during as well. Speaking of movies, tonight they're playing the Hunger Games in the MPR downstairs! I've seen it before, but I'm looking forward to seeing Peta's dopy face again. Eeep dinner time! Sorry this post was really disjointed and random, I promise to start posting more regularly!

tldr, I love MIT :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shooting Stars and Ice Cream

Skewered hotdogs with mac n' cheeeeessee
Ah what an eventful week!  Last (last) thursday morning we set off on a road trip to Massachusetts since Nicole's family owns a house near the sea, practically on the sea actually.  The 6 hours passed very quickly with everyone hating on one another's music choices; there was everything from mainstream rap and pop to indie rock to kpop and even video game soundtracks. We arrived around dinner time to the cutest beach house ever! The whole place is really open and lets in a lot of light.  There were also duck/cat decorations everywhere. We unloaded the car, and then tried to track down an ice cream truck only to see it drive past later. What a bunch of teases. We made some delicious broccoli bacon pasta for dinner (I washed and ripped apart the broccoli) and brought it outside to the second floor deck to eat. The bugs started to attack, so eventually we went back inside and cleaned up. Not sure what we did after that, but it was probably either cards (pressiddennttss) or video games. We played a lot of both during our stay. I literally woke up every single morning to the sweet sound of super mario bros wii. The second day we had pancakes for breakfast. I helped to make stars, cats, and dinosaurs but they didn't come out exactly right. Nolan woke thomas up by putting a pancake on his face. Then we hit the beach and built a giant wall fortress that surrounded a little sand mound (wasn't even a castle) with a piece of grass. It looked very impressive next to the giant complicated sand kingdom a few meters down the shore. We decided that they cheated because they used buckets. Afterwards we went back to the house, and I took the most glorious shower. Then we made a quick trip down to Dick's (the local convinience store) and bought some wieners (lol what a coincidence). I learned how to cut spiral hotdogs, and we ate them topped with mac n' cheese (yumyum). After lunch we all kind of just bummed around. I think we laid on a bed talking about random stuff until it was time for dinner.  By then it was pouring, but for some reason we decided to drive to get lobster.  We went down two blocks before it occurred to us that it might flood, so we turned around and went home. So instead we had a eat-whatever-you-want meal, and Nolan, Brian, and I decided to make some spicy ramen which Schendt had a hard time forcing down. After dinner we watched The Road to Zanzibar which was a black and white movie that was pretty average (it was a graduation present from Thomas because of my bad nickname). Then we played more presidents (president got to DJ) and also some ERS which should not be played at 2 in the morning. We took a walk on the beach, which was kind of terrifying in the dark with the waves crashing on the shore. Standing there in front of the black ocean made me feel so small.  But since it was so dark, the stars were visible, so that part was nice. When everyone went to sleep, me and Thomas stayed up and chatted until 5.  It felt pretty bad to go to sleep after the sun had already started to rise.

He promptly fell on his ass right after this picture was taken
I woke up way too early the next morning (video games. again.) but had a nice french toast breakfast on the porch. Then we suited up for the beach again and built some nice sand sculptures. Matt was really good at it and made a sphinx, a car crash, a mummy, the great wall (I helped), and some birfday cake (with assistance from thomas). Nolan invested his time on the colosseum, and Brian and Nicole made a McDonald's while I attempted to make a Buddha, but his thighs were huge. I also learned how to skimboard (kind of), froze my ass off in the water, and played a few games of 500 with the frisbee. Afterwards we had a psuedo-lunch-dinner of hawaiian pizza with jalapeños. Soon after we trekked over the bridge to Bob Lobster for dinner-dinner. We passed Dick's on the way back and bought a tub of Snickers ice cream to share. Once we got home they broke out the video games again, and I broke out my sketchbook. Thankfully they didn't play for very long, but I honestly think we might've played cards again (how sad). We decided to go on the second floor landing, and sat around making up stories when suddenly Thomas starts to accompany Brian's story with some keyboard fillers. Eventually that turned into us all sitting on the floor in the dark while Thomas played songs and we all screeched along with the lyrics. It was pretty weird and I kept telling everyone we were in a dream. After we all came back to our senses, we took a trip to the beach to see if the meteor show was visible.  It was a little cloudy, but we could see thousands of tiny specks whizzing around above us, and every now and then there'd be a bright streak that zoomed across the sky. It was pretty awesome, and kind of surreal. We stood on the beach for a while telling more stories but then went inside where we bummed around and chatted for a few hours before going to sleep at 5 again.

Fire and Ice! Delicious.
Sunday morning (rain is falling) I surprisingly didn't wake up to video games. Well, they were playing video games but pretty quietly. Me and Nicole made some cheesy scrambled eggs and we had a quick breakfast before packing up and hitting the road for Boston! We decided to meet at the Fire and Ice in Cambridge for lunch, and that's when we screwed up. Actually I screwed up. So I was driving with Nolan, and he asked me to check on my phone where the restaurant was. Turns out I accidentally dropped a pin on the map and thought that was the Fire and Ice, so we parked in front of my future dorm since he wanted to see what it looked like and planned on walking two blocks to meet up with everyone. Halfway there the purple pin on the map disappeared and I realized it wasn't the place. So I researched it, and it looked like a semi decent walk so Nolan suggested we just walk anyway. Turns out it was over 2 miles, which we didn't realize until we walked half of it, so we speed walked/ lightly jogged/ worked up a sweat. Along the way, we saw a peach tree, and I nabbed one. After our scenic trek (the Cambridge neighborhoods were adorable) we finally arrived at Fire and Ice! So basically you get a bowl and fill it with whatever raw ingredients you want, get a cup of sauce, and hand both to these dudes in the middle who dump your stuff on a giant cooking circle. It was delicious! I'm definitely going back in the fall.

Driving home ^_^
So after a very filling meal, we walked through Harvard back to Thomas' car so he could drive us back to our car lol. While dropping us off, everyone agreed that my future dorm looked like a plastic factory/ children's hospital. -_- We listened to indie music and had some interesting discussions on the way back (while also trying to race the other car).  Brian has some really strong opinions on religion, but that's probably why he wants to minor in it next year. Anyway, we stopped at Wendy's for a quick dinner (chili mmm...) switched up the cars, and drove all the way home! All I remember after I got home was that I was mad tired.  I think I went to bed before 1 am for the first time in a long time.

Monday was recovery day. Except not really because I had to wake up early for an annual check up as well as a trip to the bank to set up an account. Literally have no recollection of what happened from then until later that night when I went to go see Step Up Revolution with Mara and Emma. I'd been wanting to see the movie for a while and can't say I was disappointed; the dancing was amazing but the acting was horrific. Then we went back to Emma's house and marathon-ed through Step Up 2: The Streets.


Karaoke in the city! I miss you guys 
So I started this post over a week ago... I guess I'll just blaze through the next two weeks of my life! Right, so the rest of that week I basically spent my mornings going to different doctors, eye doctors (new glasses!), and banks to get my shit together for college. On tuesday we had our last Shalom practice for a while. I remembered a lot more songs than I thought I would. It was kind of depressing, and afterwards we went to the dinner and got giant slices of cake. On wednesday we hit the city for dinner and karaoke! After sitting around in Mexique munching on chips and guac, we went to Hmart for some random asian candy (I also got a melon ice bar which was delicious). Eventually we met up with everyone and made our way over to Karaoke Duet 35 where I actually sang quite a few times (unlike in Japan). Me and Nicole sang some HSM together while Brian went all out on a Nickelback song. He and thomas got really into Adele too. Once we were all sung out, we headed over to a Latin Grill place, and I ordered a chicken burrito which was delicious but literally poured oil all over my hands. Then we walked back to Thomas's car so we could go home....but it wasn't there.  Apparently he parked half-illegally, so his mini van got towed away to some random pier (they figured this out after making a billion calls). While a few of them went to retrieve the car, the rest of us went to Dunkin where we played stupid games to pass the time. Eventually they got the car, picked us up, and we were headed home.

Pre-college dimsum :)
The next morning we went to get sum dim sum (haha) for lunch, and I actually tried sum (ohoho) chicken feet which turned out not nearly as disgusting as I thought it was going to be. Actually, it was pretty good, but kind of on the squishy side. After lunch we bummed around in the school for a bit before going our separate ways and meeting up again for bowling...which didn't happen because the lanes were full. So instead we trekked all the way across the street to Starbucks, and then the BK lounge where victor ordered a bacon sundae. Then we went back to Nicole's where I finally got to do a cat puzzle! There were 2000 (?) pieces but I managed to make the "C" in "CATMANIA" so I'd call that a success. Victor was very impressed by the casualness of the cats, while Dan was over-joyed to find out that not all cats hate him. Soon it was time to go, so we hugged Nicole good luck for her trip to Hamilton friday morning!

At the moment I have zero recollection of what I did on friday so I guess I'll skip that. On saturday night I went out bowling (for real this time) with some people and chilled with them afterwards. The next day I was going to go say good bye to victor and give him a copy of the Shalom Dragon DVD but he left 4 hours earlier than I thought he was going to. So that went out the door. Instead, I drove down to visit Ed! It was supposed to take an hour and 10 minutes, but somehow I went a weird way (while the GPS kept going "recalculating. recalculating. recalculating") and took an extra half hour. We had dan dan noodles for lunch which were delicious, and then left for a day of...shopping! We hit up some stores for college essentials, Micky D's for food essentials, and Five Below for (FIVE FREAKING BAGS OF) candy essentials. Ed also bought 2 more bags of candy at target and a pack of oreos. I kept telling him he was going to get diabetes, but he just laughed and bought them anyway. We also went to the mall so I could make a quick stop and buy some shower flip flops from Old Navy.  On the way there Ed was telling me about how he never buys clothes and only wears free t-shirts.  He bought flip-flops, a pair of jeans, and three shirts at ON. Go figure. We also went to Game Stop where he got Just Dance 3 so we could play when we got back.  We worked up a sweat pretty quickly awkwardly trying to get our bodies to match the ones on the screen, but I'm pretty sure we failed and just made complete asses of ourselves.  The best part was that his cousins(?)/family friends(?) were just sitting there watching us at one point. For dinner we ate at a Sichuan restaurant which was DELICIOUS. I definitely ate way to much spicy food which make my taste buds very happy but my tummy very sad. We took some nice selfies before I hopped in my car and sped home. I decided to follow the GPS this time (mostly because I had to pee really badly and just wanted to get home as fast as possible. Damn you large sweet tea) and it actually got me home in a little over one hour! All I remember after that is that I had a great pee. I think I just chilled out and wrote more thank you cards that night. Actually come to think of it, that's probably what I spent friday doing.

The next week was a blur of finishing cards, going out, saying goodbye, and getting ready to leave. That friday I went out to dinner at Thai Thai, went to some mad fancy ice cream parlor, and bummed around in Nolan's basement just like we'd done all summer. Soon it was time to leave so I hugged everyone goodbye and went to do some last minute packing.  In the morning, I was woken up by Brian who unexpectedly showed up at my door after coming home from an unexpected road trip.  He gave me two volumes of the manga Monster (I finished all volumes online since then...) and wished me luck. After a whirlwind of frantically getting ready, the car was jam-packed with my college stuff, and we set off for Cambridge!


Awkward...  I've been at MIT for more than a week! I was so worried at first, but I love it here.


Even more awkward. It's now been another three weeks. I think i'll just post this damn thing instead of letting it rot away as a draft.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Going Back and Moving Forward

This past week has been really relaxing. I spent a lot of time bumming around with kaykay, and she was almost kind of tolerable!  I even tagged along with her and my mom one evening on a walk to the park. My memory's already a little fuzzy, but I remember that day was really sunny and beautiful.  It was a nice break from all the storms that've been hitting our area recently. Anyway, we stayed at the park for quite some time while kaykay ran around with a few kids and my mom talked to another mom.  I flipped open to a fresh page in my sketchbook and settled down on a bench. Actually that bench was the most uncomfortable thing ever, so "settled down" probably isn't the right choice of words.  But speaking of drawing, I've also been doing a lot of it this past week. I've also been having day dreams of starting a graphic novel again haha.  I haven't felt so refreshed in a long time; I feel like I'm a kid again, not a high school graduate! Sitting at my desk and getting headaches from breathing in the marker fumes has never felt better! Maybe it's because we are going to college soon, but I've been feeling pretty nostalgic lately.  It's not that I don't want to go, it's just that I'm scared to make the transition.  It's weird.  I know that I'm not actually saying goodbye to anyone for good, but this whole thing's got me feeling uneasy. Haha this blog post is a mess! I intended to blog about what I did this week and then post some kickass pictures, but somehow I've started rambling.

Made fried rice with Emma!
Anyway, this week I've done some running with nicole at night, and once in the morning (lol never again please.) I've also been cooking a lot, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me. I dunno what's gotten into me, but I had so much random energy.  So instead of sitting on my ass like usual, I actually helped out and accomplished things (but I still did allooott of ass-sitting and manga-reading (kimi ni todoke and shaman king!)) I'm a little too proud of my culinary creations (since it's such a rare occasion), so I'll be posting pictures of all of my masterpieces! Enjoy :)

Carrot and broccoli omelette (with an artistic rip in the middle) (lol jk that was an accident)

Iceberg lettuce, roasted red peppers, tomatos, walnuts, cranberries, and this awesome leftover dressing from the party
Carrots, broccoli, rotini, and oregano. 
Red pepper, broccoli, mozzarella, and baby spinach on a tomato-sauce-fried roll.
Another picture because it was so very delicious :) 
So besides for re-awakening my inner art-god from slumber and becoming a master-chef, I've been hanging out with my friends and watching the London 2012 Summer Olympics! Shalom even reconvened one night. Victor was too sick to come though so I played drums for a little which was really fun even though my drumming was pretty sad. My parents are also making me start my thank you cards already.  It was a pain in the ass to start at first, but I bought the cutest cards and once I started writing them, I actually enjoyed it! I didn't just thank them for the gifts, but I also tried to include more personal stuff, which lead me to get pretty emotional and again, nostalgic.  And this was only our family friends! I'll be starting my friends' cards soon though, and hopefully I don't go overboard haha. Also....I got my very own laptop! A 13" Macbook Pro.  It's beautiful :') and definitely worth being broke for. I'm actually using it right now as I blog from the comfort of my bed. Speaking of the comfort of my bed...goodnight.

Monday, July 30, 2012

End of an Era

Soon senior year started coming to a close. Senioritis was in full swing, but somehow we were still getting a lot of work. In Japanese we labored over the Japanese 4 movie (it's a tradition that every year the senior class makes a movie to show everyone) Since Mitchell was leaving, we made it into a more-or-less accurate representation of his life thus far, dubbing it "The Chronicles of Lightning Mike". Some how, the planning and direction of the movie got dumped on me, and the process of making it was very painful.  On most days I was not in a very good state of mind haha, but we all pulled through in the end. I'm especially thankful to my friends who stayed late with me to try and finish it on the last day. That in itself was a shitfest, with technology failing us every step of the way. In the process I lost my faith in macs (but I can't wait to get a MacBook for college lol) and said "I hate everything" a few times too many. However, the midnight madness editing team powered through, and I thought the movie actually turned out really well! Also I was working on this pain-in-the-ass clay sculpture for art that I still haven't finished haha. I told V I'd definitely go in during the summer to work on it, and it's already been almost a month haha. Maybe I will go in next week sometime. Maybe not.

The last day of school was weirdly surreal. I still don't think it's hit me yet that I am never going back to high school. Maybe it won't hit me until fall when I get ready for college. In any case, we received our caps and gowns and were soon walking up to the platform, shaking with our right, and receiving with our left (which I am told I messed up on). It was a furnace on the turf that day; by the end I was covered in a nice shiny layer of sweat. We took some nice sweaty pictures and went home to change. After dinner, we regrouped at the school to get on buses bound for project graduation! By 3 am we were caked in several more layers of sweat from all the running around. In the course of the night, we played basketball, soccer, volleyball, butts up, cards, and watched a hypnotism show. When I got home at 4 I was still somehow wide awake and took the best shower of my life. Then I played video games for an hour and went to sleep at 5 lol.

There were 30 burgers in that thing. Oh man.
From there on out I mostly just lazed around all day, getting a good 12 hours of sleep daily.  I went to a bunch of graduation parties and some birthday parties, hit the beach a couple of times, tubed down the delaware (which was kind of awesome but I got pretty impatient with the slow current. Also had a creepy encounter with a half chinese half thai man who latched onto my tube...), was slightly more productive with my art, took an essay test for MIT (in which I didn't sleep until I finished the essay 7 minutes before 1pm AKA the deadline),  learned how to make mochi, watched a video on sexual assault and had to take two tests on that (scored a 50% on my pre-test. whoops.), saw some amazing fireworks, ate a lot of junk food (whitecastle for the first time since I was 4!), watched the new Spiderman and Batman in theaters (both were great), actually went in to the school for two weeks and finished that goddamned sculpture (yeah... alot of time has elapsed since I first started this blog post), finally got off my lazy ass and went to the DMV to get my big-kid license, tutored twice a week, went to Cincinnati to see the World Choir Games, bummed around with kaykay (a little too much), and that brings up to the present, my graduation party which was yesterday.
The intense smoke from the intense fireworks.
Our delicious mucus-green mochi! 
My sculpture that I finally finished! It's me with hungry birds nesting in my head.  Don't ask me why. I don't know.
The world choir games were absolutely amazing! The drive all the way out to Ohio was a pain in the ass (I got to drive for part of it though) but it was worth it.  The opening ceremony took place in the US Bank arena and it was completely packed.  Choirs from all over the world were milling around wearing cultural clothing and speaking in languages completely foreign to me. It was AWESOME.  At one point the whole stadium was singing together which was pretty crazy, and then there was a wave that went all the way around...over and over and over and over again.  I don't think anyone knew how to stop a wave that big haha. Over the next few days I got to see some insanely talented groups perform in the Young Male Choirs, Popular Choral Music, Mixed Youth Choirs, and Folklore categories.  Some groups were so powerful and just filled the whole auditorium with their voices melted together to create this one full sound.  I got goosebumps listening to them perform.  My favorites were a group of Lithuanian girls, a mixed choir from the Netherlands, and a group of highschoolers (jr. highschoolers?) from China. Watching them made me wish I could sing and move people like that.  Oh right, I forgot to say why we went there in the first place! It was because my dad's chinese choir was participating in the folklore category, so we went to watch and cheer them on! I'm so happy I got to go and experience all of that amazing music :)

Anyway, yesterday we spent the whole day cooking, cleaning, cooking, setting up, cooking, and cooking.  I worked up a sweat peeling, chopping, stir-frying, and rolling spring rolls. Thank god courtney helped me make cupcakes and paper flowers the day before! Or else yesterday would've been even crazier trying to get ready! Eventually people started arriving, but before long the rain started to come down, so cursing the weather, we grabbed the food and ran for cover. It was a little hectic with my friends and more than 10 other families there, but we somehow made it work. People seemed to enjoy the food which made me really happy :) Although I actually fought against the party at first, I'm really glad my mom made me have one in the end.  And I'm also really grateful for all the crazy planning she had to do! She's legit been running around all week trying to make everything perfect down to the last detail. I was also really happy that Ed came; I hadn't seen him in ages, and I even got to meet his girlfriend who was really nice (and healthy! she's a vegan). There was a little clique-ing going on, which bothered me, but I guess it's unavoidable. Also my sister was so good! She was running around the whole time with all the other little asian children, and they were almost unbearably adorable. The presents that everyone picked for me and their cards made me really happy too - I love reading cards, is that weird? Anyway, I'll definitely be getting a lot of use out of all of my presents (except for some whitecastle coupons...), even the Buddhist meditation bowl that Sarah bought from a Nepalese woman at a flee market.  I love my friends :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Warming Up

So I finally finished blogging about Japan! Now moving on to my post-Japan life, hopefully I can sum it all up in one post. Get ready for a lot of text and pictures, these two months have been mad busy.

Tim the beaver :)
Three days after I got home from Japan, I set off for Cambridge, MA for MIT's CPW (campus preview weekend) It was four days long (thurs-sun) and at first I was really nervous and socially awkward. By the end, I had met some pretty amazing people, and I look forward to seeing them in a few months :) I was really scared of MIT at first, and maybe I still am, but when I visited, I realized that even though the coursework is rumored to be mad intense, everyone there is really chill and there's a lot of community and support amongst the student body. Soon after I got back from CPW, it was time to raise money for Relay for Life! There was some can shaking and surprisingly the people going to the local Diner were a lot more generous than the church go-ers.  Actually, I don't know if it was surprising or not, but it was sure interesting. We also had a big bake sale at the high school, and even peddled some off to the elementary school kids.  The actual Relay for Life was amazing and really emotional; especially when we watched the slideshow of names and saw the track light up during the Luminaria ceremony. The night was surreal in a way.  The atmosphere was weird, I can't really describe it, or maybe it was from the lack of sleep, who knows.  But the whole time I kept telling people we were in a dream; I hope it didn't get on their nerves too much.  I'm glad I was able to go to Relay and witness something I've never seen before, thank you team captain of Awesome. Yes, our relay team's name was "Awesome".  How embarrassing is that?

Mr. V !!
Also in these past few months, I've been to two art shows.  One was the Congressional Show in which one of my classmates won! Her work got sent to D.C to be displayed.  It was a silkscreen of two gumball-machines (she's a crazy good photographer).  The second show was at a local framing company, and it featured my work since I had been chosen to receive one of their scholarships! It was kind of really awesome to see my work professionally framed and lit on a gallery wall. Their sandwiches were also really good. Thanks Emma and Mara for coming :) It meant a lot!

Shalom also performed twice. The first was the final round of Battle of the Bands which we didn't win, but I thought we played well :) I felt kind of nostalgic when it was over even though I knew we'd be playing again. Our second show was a chill one in the backyard of these kids who are also in a local band. Our set was about ten songs long and I was sweating by the end of it, mostly because it was so goddamn humid (and our guitars would not stay in tune for more than a few minutes). The yard was lit up with Christmas lights and filled with neighbors who dropped by to watch. Dan said he was going to hold a backyard show later in the summer and I hope he does because I definitely want to play more before summer is over.

I also went to my first real concert! Mara took me to see Death Cab for Cutie at the Beacon Theatre (which may I add, is beautiful).  First we hailed a cab (oho how relevant) and went to this cute little resteraunt called Lime Leaf to grab some dinner.  I got some delicious red curry and almost puked from trying to finish it all (I failed.) Afterwards we waddled over to the theater, bought shirts (ahh first concert shirt!) and found our seats. The opening act was kind of weird, not gonna lie.  They were mad loud, but I still almost fell asleep somehow.  Then Death Cab came on, and I could not tear my eyes away from the stage.  Holy jesus they were amazing; Their studio songs are really chill, but their live sound is so intense, and his voice is godly.  How is it possible that he sounds even better live? Mind-blowing. They were accompanied by the Magikmagik Orchestra who I immediately fell in love with as well. Thank you so much for taking me Mara!
The lovely Beacon Theatre 
May also meant AP tests; I took Japanese, Literature, and Art this year. Thank god my college doesn't accept chemistry or statistics cuz those would've been extremely painful to study for. Also I was too lazy to study for psychology, so I dropped it lol. Lit was a shitfest, and so was Japanese even though I actually studied pretty hard for it. Hmm maybe languages can't be crammed :/

Hi kaykay :)
June meant prom! There was some bullshit trying to find a date but it all ended up okay in the end. We took a shitload of pictures, hopped in the car, and made a grand entrance to the fancy country club full of fancy food. Prom was pretty fun, and it's kind of nice to be girly and get all dressed up, but whhhyy do we wear long dresses and heels and then dance all night? Can someone explain that to me? It was pouring when it was over, and we clickety-clacked our way to the car shielding ourselves with free XL advertising t-shirts the DJ gave us.  The next day we set off for prom weekend! The plan was to camp overnight saturday and sunday at a national park, and hit the beach during the day. The first day was chill, we relaxed on the beach, and got to the park in time to pitch tents, grill burgers and dogs, and (attempt to) start a fire.  By some miracle, the fire actually caught (2 hours later?) and we sat around roasting marshmallows and singing songs while thomas played guitar. Sitting in front of that fire with everyone there made me feel really warm. Soon it was time to retreat to the tent where we told awful pointless stories while making fun of Brian for having to pee so much.  (We think he may actually have some sort of health problem. Once every 15 minutes is not normal.) He used the same bush every time. Soon, the act became known as "punishing the bush".  It probably died from continually absorbing his pee for two days.
The fire that finally caught
The next morning's breakfast was pretty intense. Again we used the grill for bacon, french toast, and omelets. We spent the day at the beach again, got bullied by the waves, and eventually retreated when the clouds started rolling in.  After some dinner and walking around the boardwalk, we returned to camp to find everything flooded and soaked.  Our pillows and sleeping bags were just sitting there absorbing dirty water. We salvaged what we could and made for the cars.  Sleeping in a car might be one of the more uncomfortable places I've ever slept. Especially when you can't stretch out because there are four more people in the car with you. Regardless, it was still fun, and we were warm (also, Brian's peeing problem escalated) The next day as we started packing up, it started to pour again. By the time the tents were taken down, the chairs folded, and the luggage organized, we were all completely soaked through. Apparently beach umbrellas are not even close to being designed for rain.  It just passes right through the mesh material and hits you in the face. During the drive back we blasted glorious warm air and stopped for some BK lounge. So maybe prom weekend didn't turn out perfect and sunny, but it definitely is an unforgettable memory.
Shalom goes to prom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Comfort Zones

Monday the 16th was our last day in Japan, and we spent it traveling: buses, trains, planes, (and lots of walking).  At Narita Airport, we had lunch (cuurrrry) and made one last Lawson's run.  I am going to miss that conbini :\ Me and nicole made last-minute origami at a Japanese culture booth before sprinting like mad to our terminal (when I say last minute, I really mean last minute haha).  Before long, we were taking off, leaving behind Japan, and returning to our comfort zones :)  Mr. Mitchell was right;  venturing outside our comfort zones was kind of terrifying and well, uncomfortable.  Mustering up the courage to speak Japanese to strangers, staying by myself in a temple, and eating loads of crap when I didn't even know what it was (it was tongue): All of these were scary, but at the same time rewarding beyond words.  Being in a country like Japan and getting immersed in so much unfamiliar culture was really an unforgettable experience. I met such an amazing family, and when I go back (study abroad please?) I definitely plan on seeing them again. Until then, またね日本!:)
Modeling the best melon soda money can buy
Goodbye faithful Lawson :'(
See you later Japan!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ocean of Stars

Sunday the 15th was our last full day of Japan.  It felt like we had just gotten there, and it was already time to leave.  I showered, packed, left a goodbye note on the pillow, and took one last look at my room before sliding the paper door closed. Before leaving, we scrambled to take a picture in front of the sea.  Fukui is truly beautiful, I miss it so much! For breakfast I had delicious egg, sausage, and rice onigiri. I ate in the car since we were running late (story of my life) and after saying goodbye to akari and okaasan, we got in Kitagawa sensei's car and made our way to the station. After restlessly standing around, we took a group picture and got ready to take the escalator to our platform.  Shizuka bought a pass so she could come up to the platform to say goodbye which almost set off my tear-producing glands, but I managed to hold it together.  Before long we were inside the train, waving like crazy and watching fukui disappear. 
The super long building with all the Buddhas
There were so many turtles there holy crap
Once we arrived in Kyoto, we grabbed lunch at Mossburger (chicken curry burger and melon soda yumyum) before setting out for the first place of the day 当時 (Touji Temple) which consisted of a beautiful garden with a giant pond, and large temples filled with different buddha statues and generals. On one side of the pond was a giant pagoda, the largest in Japan. Then we went to 三十三間堂 (Sanjuusangendou) which is a long temple hall, housing 1001 buddha statues: 500 life sized ones standing on each side of a gigantic seated buddha.  It was mind-blowing to see rows upon rows of these statues, each with a billion arms (not really) holding a billion things (not really). Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures inside, or else I would've spammed this post with pictures of that place. We returned to downtown Kyoto and met up with Courtney's exchange student from two years ago, Kaori, for dinner.  She took us to a delicious noodle place where I got chicken curry udon (see the pattern?) Sadly we didn't have enough time, and I had to scarf the whole scalding thing down. As soon as I finished, Natalie and I ran to the nearest elevator and literally sprinted out the mall, all the way back to the hotel.
At night we went on a hike up a mountain, through thousands of shinto gates.  It was the Fushimi Inari-taisha which is the main shrine honoring Inari, the Kami (God) of fertillity, industry, and argriculture. It's also closely associated with kitsune which are foxes, so there are usually stone foxes at the entrances of the shrine wearing red bibs.  Climbing the endless flight of steps was pretty surreal. Everything was dark except for the gates which were illuminated by the overhead lamps. We walked until the burn in my legs faded to a dull throb.  I can't really describe how I felt, but it was kind of a calm, satisfied feeling. Maybe that's what meditation feels like.  I reflected on everything that had happened and kind of just took it all in. Eventually we came to a clearing, and when we turned around the whole city of Kyoto was underneath us.  In the dark, it looked like a giant puddle of stars, or maybe I'm just romanticizing it. Regardless, it was a really fitting end to an unforgettable trip.

The view from halfway up the trail.  This picture doesn't do the real thing any justice