Thursday, June 16, 2016

Beaches, Tacos, and Ferris Wheels (D.C. Weekend #1)

Soft Shelled Tacos from Mission in Dupont Circle
They were deliciouss, so great after a day at the beach

A street near Georgetown university that we passed on our way back from the beach. I thought the steep street on the left looked cool-- incredibly artsy, as if it were right out of some abstract painting form Dali. So of course, a pic was taken ;)

 Bay Harbor by the Potomac River. Ate Chipotle, watched Toy Story 3 outside (outdoor movie under the blazing sun...too bad it isn't dark at 6 pm during the summer), and Ben and Jerry's. Mmmm would highly recommend the brownie batter one.

  A snipet of Dupont Circle :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Summer to Remember

My number one goal this summer is to squeeze as much out of this precious time as possible. I want to taste different food, see beautiful scenery, touch another part of the world, sense an aspect of life that I never knew existed. Since I'm interning in the D.C. area, there's a variety of places to visit in order to fulfill my thirst to really live. So much of my time is spent in university, studying for the upcoming exam, completing homework, worrying about my future plans, immersed in a textbook, library, out of touch with the world. This summer, I plan to take a step back and reassess the way I've been "doing" life. One of my biggest fears in life is looking back on my youth and regretting my inability to let loose once in a while and experience the world in its entirety. I've learned from my first year of college that striking a balance in life is much easier said than done, and few can excel in all areas of life. It would be naive for me to assume that I can change my rather type A tendencies overnight, and that it's a bad trait in the first place.

My drive is what got me where I am in the first place. It's what fuels my passion to learn, desire to better myself, and ironically, my hope to gain a new set of experiences this summer. So I embrace my personality, in its entirety. There's no need to change who you are. I think the idea of self-improvement is more about making minor tweaks to your current self in order to build a satisfactory life. If you're satisfied with partying all the time. Fine. Do it. If you're not, then pick up a new hobby, read a book or something. If you're satisfied with studying non-stop in the library, go right ahead. My second semester of college was especially busy, so much of the day was spent in class, lab, or studying. I'd get a nagging pit in my stomach at the end of the day when I considered events I didn't go to. Or the lack of human interaction that took place. When finals were finally over, I felt empty. Unfulfilled. Suddenly realizing that in the midst of my crazy hectic schedule, I neglected to maintain and nourish friendships and personal hobbies. One of which was writing in this blog. So for me, a change in my overly scholarly tendencies were quite necessary to keep me sane. To keep me feeling alive. Like a full human being.

This first weekend here, I've been surprisingly great at "doing stuff." Yesterday, I took a spontaneous trip to the beach with my roommate. The beach was incredibly small and overpriced, and we literally just layed under the sun for a while, instead of hitting the waves and getting crazy in the waters like I usually do at beaches (cuz there were barely any waves...hello bay beaches in Maryland). Nevertheless, the experience was incredibly relaxing, and opened my eyes to the raw freedom that we actually have. A freedom to go anywhere if we just got off our lazy butts and did it. We then went to Dupont circle and ate delicious soft tacos. Great day. Today, I went to an outdoor movie at National Harbor-- so beautiful--and had amazing conversations with my new friends.

See, if you try, you can experience so much in just two days. The world is such a beautiful place, and sometimes all it takes is moving forward one step for a whole 'nother breathtaking view. I'm considering creating a D.C. summer series in which I document the food (both made by me! and restaurant cuisine), and the places that I visit. It'll force me to take more pictures, and give you guys some fun trip ideas if you're ever in the area.

I'm gonna peace out now, and get ready for an early morning tomorrow... back to my busy internship whoop. Have an amazing rest of the week, or day, or night, to whoever is reading this. You deserve it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

On Being Socially Accepted

I have always tried to stray from the crowd, subtly. Instead of giving in to a burger, I'll make myself a delicious salad or sandwich. Instead of following them over there, I'll stand over here; independent, free from the crowd. Instead of drinking alcohol like everyone else, I'll have fun and dance sober.

I don't follow trends, rarely use social media, never gossip, refrain from hookups, eat healthy, and the list goes on. But underneath the aura of my individualistic, strange, "old- soul" habits, I want to be accepted. I want to belong. I want to be liked and respected by those around me. So I stray slightly from the path, but return when the road gets dangerously rocky, and lonely.

In our individualistic society, we're taught to embrace our uniqueness, because if we don't, who else will? Yet, there comes a point when being too different means becoming a pariah of society; when "unique" means "weird," and your quirks make you incomprehensible to others. There's no denying the fact that people like others who share common interests and opinions-- it's a form of connection. Being too different prevents you from being understood. I used to be embarrassed of my secret desire to fit in, in spite of my public insistence against popular trends, music, and habits. But now I'm starting to realize that it's perfectly fine to want to be liked. It's fine to follow the crowd once in a while, as long as you still think for yourself.
I'm starting to realize that our strange desire to be different is in itself, an attempt to be liked. Because everyone likes the free-thinker, no one likes a doormat. The trick is balance. Balance that urge to fit in and that desire to be "unique." 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Not You (Short Story)

An aroma of rich coffee filled the crowded cafĂ©. Dim yellow lights colored the room-- cheerful with a hint of veiled depression. A woman and man sat in the far corner, next to a window. The woman had an untouched mug of cappuccino, and frequently turned away to gaze at the parking lot outside; the man took frequent sips of his plain expresso, his eyes intently on her expression. 

“I know that’s not what you want to hear,” she said, fiddling with the mug handle.
“I know it’s not what you really mean.” He took a large gulp of coffee and stretched his arms to his head.
“Jed, I know exactly what I mean. Don’t tell me what I’m thinking.”
“I know you, Sarah. You don’t really mean it.”
“Can we talk about something else?”
“Sarah, you can’t just change the topic after telling me that.”
“Let’s just talk about something else, and revisit the topic later.” She turned her head away from him. “There’s so many cars in the lot today.”
“It’s a Saturday afternoon, of course there are,” he said without looking. His eyes remained fixed on her.

Averting her eyes from his, she counted the number of red cars in the lot. 14.

“Sarah, you should drink that before it gets cold.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. God I hate it when you do that.” She sighed and rubbed her temples.
“Geez it was just a suggestion, Sarah. You know I can’t make you do anything.” He remained composed in the same open and relaxed posture, looking at her.
“I’m just done with this. With you. I’ve told you the truth. We’re done,” she says, agitated.
“Hey, it’s okay Sarah. Look at me. Look at me, Sarah, you can’t be serious.” His beseeching tone makes her finally lift her eyes to his.

A long second passed as they decipher each other’s gaze.

The man suddenly turned away, frowning. “Damn you. It’s true.”
A tear fell down the woman’s face. “I’m sorry Jed. I’m so sorry.”
“Damn you.” He knocked her mug to the ground; broken white shards amidst a lukewarm caramel puddle.
The woman started to cry harder, mumbling incoherent phrases. Wiping her face with one hand, she picked up her stained bag with the other. “Bye Jed.” She walks out of the coffee shop, still sniffling and breathing rapidly.

The man groaned and covered his face with his hands. Five minutes passed by. A dark haired man in an ironed white polo shirt, light brown pants, body cowered, face hidden in large masculine hands; a table for two with a knocked over chair; broken pieces of a mug floating above untouched coffee.

Finally, he lifted his head and looked out the window. There were no cars in the parking lot.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I had a dream that students at my college found out about my anonymous blog. My professor stated that the writer of the blog would become our school's treasurer (no idea where that came from) and asked him/her to come forth. The students around me snickered. Apparently they thought the blog was frivolous and stupid. I sat lower in my seat; no way did I plan to confess to a blog so openly mocked by everyone. I mentally scrolled down my blog, remembering how many rants about love and feelings it contained. My non-existent love life and naive feelings. My face flushed and the air felt thicker, suffocating. Suddenly, I realized something. The profile picture. I could be identified by my blogger profile picture. I took out my computer and quickly changed the picture to a flower or something. All the while, my heart pounded and I felt uncomfortably hot. 

My memory of that dream fades after that point.

Looking back, I wonder why I was so embarrassed by this blog. I know it was just a dream, but dreams often reveal some subconscious desire or fear. Things we try to deny or set aside during the day. So I guess this dream shows that I am still affected by peer pressure. In high school, I was "that girl" who scoffed at fashion trends, popularity, and parties. I did sports, played an instrument, took rigorous courses, and never really "belonged" to a stereotypical category. In fact, I declared those stereotypes stupid and did my own thing. But perhaps a part of me still yearns for peer validation and inclusion.
I'm also deathly afraid of exposure. Since this is a personal blog, I tend to write without censor. A lot of what is here is not known to my friends. I cringe to think what would happen if other people who personally know me had a peek into my uncensored mind.

The fact that this blog is not crazy popular and has limited page views right now allows me to write about everything. But who knows if it will change in the future. At some point, I'll have more followers, and writing here will feel more like writing on the web versus a personal diary. I'll probably watch my wording, ramble less, select more interesting topics, etc. And, I'll feel more vulnerable. Like I felt in my dream. But that's okay. Exposure and vulnerability are okay.

So own up to your actions, whether it's an anonymous blog, a lie, or a mistake. At some point, those bottled secrets will reveal themselves. And you'll be in constant torment before then. Living a life of secrets and unspoken thoughts chains you down. So free yourself before the chains permanently indent your wrists. Before the secrets infest your well being.
Before you forget what you live for.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Insomniatic Night (Short Story)

She laid face up on her bed, counting the seconds that passed, feeling the thumps of her heart, and replaying the last day, week, year. The past and future flickered below tense eyelids, quickening her heartbeat. Bedtime had become a safe haven for her thoughts; every night, they flooded her consciousness, too powerful to be blocked. She drowned in reminiscent memories, regrets, and future plans, heaving and breathless amidst the waves. She heard her roommate’s soft snores, and realized that everyone was deep asleep but her. That awareness rose in her a sense of exclusion and loneliness. They were in the world of slumber, while she remained trap in the ever-slow earthbound time. Then suddenly, another realization dawned on her, stimulating her body into a state of hyperactivity. The energy flowed through her spine, and she felt more alive than ever. She sat upright on her bed and quietly climbed down her bunk bed.
Jacket. Scarves. Gloves. Ear muffs.
The night was beautiful. Enshrouded by the veil of darkness, lighted by the soft moonlight, she felt invincible. Throwing her head back, roaring with laughter, she danced like a ballerina intoxicated by the pure air. Air for her breathes, ground for her feet, dancing for her sake only. She spun and leaped and pounced until her body was heated from the exertion.
Gentle white flurries began to pollinate the surroundings. Soon, a fine layer of crystalline snow outlined the trees and buildings. She stopped dancing to admire the new beauty around her. A smile lit her face and she started laughing uncontrollably. The melody of her joy vibrated throughout the white world. So this is how it’s supposed to feel, she thought. Looking up the the heavens, arms outstretched, she drank the sky.     

Friday, January 8, 2016

Know When to Quit

I've been studying for finals all week, and from the killer organic chemistry practice exams, I have noticed that stubbornly persevering is not always the best solution. I often wrecked my mind trying to figure out one difficult question, wasting hours of time, feeling frustrated, and ending nowhere. There comes a point when I need to take a break, move on to the next problem, or just take a peak at the answer (*confesses guiltily ^.^) Persevering can be tough, but learning when to quit is even harder. This relates to multiple areas of life, whether it's a hobby you're no longer passionate about, or a long-term relationship that isn't working. 

Sticking to something that is not progressing your life, not invigorating your soul, not growing your mind, not moving you and making you feel alive is dangerous. Maybe it's an hour wasted this time. Soon, it'll be months, years, decades that pass by you, and you'll be left nothing but a token for endurance and regret. 

I think a major cause of "ruts" in life is being too comfortable with the familiar, and fearing change. To quit is to suddenly alter a consistency in your life, and the more ingrained this hobby, person, or career is in your life, the longer you've had it, the stronger the impact. Another struggle with quiting is the mere fact that you've persevered for so long and put in so much already. Quiting means you lose the work and the time. And at the onset, you may feel empty, devoid of something. But at this void point in your life,  you will have the biggest chance to grow. You can embrace new opportunities and experiences, and find what gives you more excitement and growth. 

I was taught never to quit. My parents instilled in me the importance of hard work early on in my childhood. When I do something, I put in my whole commitment and effort, and I think that's one of my best character traits. But I tend to fall into the habit of never quiting, even when I should...thank you organic chemistry for reminding me...
So from now on, I'm going to check myself when I cling for too long on a person, relationship, hobby, etc. And I hope you guys do too. Quiting is okay, and sometimes, it is for the better.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year...New You?

Happy New Years everyone. Welcome 2016! Whoop.

Every new year, people are jumping into resolutions, lifestyle changes, weight goals, and the list goes on. I used to do the same. After watching the ball drop on the TV, I would make a list of personal goals... they'd always be the same: feed my turtle regularly, run every day, sit straighter, be neater, stop procrastinating. Last year, I spiced it up with a "happy jar," which I maintained until beginning college. I hope to continue writing down positive memories in a mini-notebook, and I'd highly recommend it-- it's not only beneficial for optimistic thinking and memories keeping, but also motivates you to find memorable things to do. Though I think the new year can be a great time to start fresh and make positive changes, from past experience, the changes are often temporary; by the end of next year, I'd again be a hot mess with the same old list of goals.
However, I think I did pretty well this past 2015. I exercised consistently, ate much healthier, and created better study habits (the slouching is still a work in progress).  So I'd like to share some tips, and none have to do with "new years resolutions." 

Tip #1: Do not think a new year means you can shed your former self. The "man-made" year may have changed, but time is a continuum. You are a continuation, a mosaic of every decision, experience, and habit since your first breath. You may not be proud of every choice former you have made, but hopefully from the mistakes, you have learned something valuable. Therefore, change is also gradual. You cannot change into your ideal vision of yourself overnight. Change is possible, but it takes commitment. Be ready to commit.

Tip #2: Keep your expectations reasonable. It is good to have goals, but make sure they are realistic. Make sure you can keep the promises you make to yourself. Overly high expectations will cause unhappiness. Don't forget to be happy, even when there is little to be happy about. A change in expectations can make a world of a difference.

Tip #3: Make self improvement a way of living. If you really want to become a better version of yourself, make consistent improvements embedded into your life. Be open to new ideas and experiences, do not fear judgement or vulnerability or the unknown. The only way to improve is to embrace change...and sometimes that means stepping out of your comfort zone.

Tip #4: Enjoy the process. Trust me, the end result is not what makes your achievement worthwhile. It's the sweat and tears, the sacrifice and grit, that make you scream with joy when you realize how far you've come. So instead of dreaming about the future, live in the present, and appreciate where you are right now, because it is present you that has the power to create future you.

Hope these tips help you guys. Stay awesome, and have a fabulous, memorable, heart-throbbing 2016. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Long Gone (Short Story)- Part 2

As promised, here's part 2 of "Long Gone." If you haven't already, check out part 1 here:

Enjoy :)

“Oh my god, she’s dead.” Becky is screaming. Heat rushing, heart pounding, insanity. A paramedic pushes the stroller with Amelia’s body, lain peacefully like a fallen angel, still, limp, and lifeless. “Ma’am, please step aside.”
“Please, just let me see her, please.” Becky’s voice quivers in hysteria. A tall young paramedic moves toward her, “Hey Rebecca, right? Mind if we talk?” With guiding arms and outstretched hands, he motions for her to walk to follow him down the hall. “Steve?” A momentary visage of confusion fleets around her face, then vanishes. “Oh right, I forgot you volunteered as an emergency medical technician. Never seen you in action before…” Her voice trails off as she is reminded of the situation, so present and real that it feels imaginary, like a movie scene gone wrong. But there is no rewind, pause, or power off.
“Yeah, luckily the worst we usually get on campus are crazy drunks from frat parties.” He attempts a wry smile that manifests into a grimace, the knot between his thick brows seems permanently etched on his profile. “I just wanted to let you know that Amelia’s not dead. We’re not sure what’s wrong with her, her heartbeat’s normal, breathing unimpaired, great physical condition of course,” Steve pauses, and moves his feet to redistributes his body weight, and feels a rush of heat, “But, er, she’s unresponsive. Not making eye contact, no speech. We’ve never seen anything like it before.” Relieved, Becky runs her hands down her hair and lets out a sigh. “She’s alive. Okay. So she’ll be fine. She’s going to be fine, right?” Steve’s profile tenses as he decides on the most realistic, yet hopeful answer. “We will try our best.”

A week passes, and Becky visits Amelia every day, 7:30 a.m. before class and 7:00 p.m. after dinner. Most visits, Steve joins her, quietly entering the room, deep in thought, emanating a concerned, yet calm presence, which Becky comes to appreciate.    
“Hey, anything?” Steve’s voice is low, soothing, slightly scratchy, and ever-hopeful.
“No.” It is their usual exchange, as both students shift uncomfortably in their chairs and stare at the body of Amelia, sitting upright with smooth, pale skin, vacant light blue eyes, and straight light brown hair falling to a delicate collarbone, alive and present, yet so empty.
“Hey Amelia, remember this? My god we were such idiots as freshmen,” Becky lifts a photo to Amelia’s face. Every day she has attempted a different project in their mission to “bring back Amelia.” 

Monday was music: The Beetles, The Smiths, Kesha, The Wombats, Eminem, Carrie Underwood, flooded the hospital hall, stirring memories in every patient but the one for which it was intended. Tuesday was food: grapes and yogurt, soft pretzals, mint chocolate chip ice cream, which ended up chewed and swallowed by the unresponsive body, the rest of the ice cream shared amongst Becky and Steve.
“Yum, good ice cream,” Steve had said. Becky shrugged, feeling more defeated with every thick, decadent mouthful. But she did not give up; in fact, she tried even harder. Wednesday was clothing, Thursday was Amelia’s insane collection of mugs, Friday was ‘bring Amelia’s swim team’, Saturday was ‘bring every student Amelia knew’ (an exhausting endeavor), and today, Becky had a stack of photos on her lap, each intended to stimulate a specific memory.

“Oh I forgot about this one, you guys look so cute.” Becky showed Steve a photo of him and Amelia sharing a plate of pasta. “I didn’t know you kept that,” Steve said, turning his head away. “I didn’t, Amelia did,” Becky said, looking at Steve thoughtfully. “She took it pretty hard, you know.”
“Well I did too, but we just weren’t working out. It was a mutual thing though, no hard feelings.” Steve had taken the picture, and was twirling it in his hand, reminiscing about that night at the Italian restaurant when he and Amelia were still fresh under love’s strong grasp. It was her laugh, he concluded. Her laugh that did the trick. She had a tendency to snort when laughing; every snort made him crazier about her.
“Steve?” Becky touches his arm gently. “Hmm what’s up?” He suddenly awakens from his thoughts.
“What are we going to do? Her parents are coming up next weekend. The doctors don’t know what’s wrong, no physical problem, nothing. She’s not showing signs of a mental disorder per-say,” her voice gets higher and more strained with every word, “We have to do something, but the question is, what?”

Steve presses his hands against his forehead for a moment, and suddenly turns toward Becky with an intent, hardened gaze. “There has to be something that triggered this whole, er, episode. We have to find the trigger.”

With this idea in mind, their hearts welled with newfound hope.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Long Gone (Short Story) - Part 1

Note to readers: "Long Gone" is a new short story that I started today. I have a feeling that it'll be a lengthier one, so I've decided to divide it into parts and post each section as I write a live screening of the story's eventual creation. The second part will be up sometime this week, so stay tuned!
Part 2:

Amelia Richard Jameson was not a recluse. She was bright, energetic, compassionate, artful in conversation, skilled at reading faces. She could blend into a crowd, yet thrust energy into it, simultaneously. She could drone on about a subject with passion, or at times, listen thoughtfully, quietly, contently. She knew how to smile sweetly, laugh outrageously, frown understandingly. No one who ever met the 20-year-old college student disliked her. In fact, most would agree that she was the kindest, most generous acquaintance they knew. Everyone consented that Amelia Richard Jameson had a bright future ahead of her. And she deserved it.

So when her roommate Becky finds the bedroom door locked, she assumes Amelia had fallen asleep. Finally trying the “coffee nap”. When a friend invites Becky to dinner, she consents. Forgetting all about Amelia still asleep in the bedroom.

Around 11 pm, Becky returns home. Boy does she have a lot to tell Amelia. Jack Meyers, the cute guy from history, finally asked her on a date. She knows what Amelia will say, cross legged on the sofa, “It’s about time. You’ve been making the first moves all semester.” And then they’ll laugh, munch on popcorn, each melting in the sweet, warm, fuzzy beginnings of romance.

“Amelia, guess what?” Becky’s voice is sing-song, happy, infatuated with fresh memories of her night.
The door is still locked. “Amelia, I know you’re not still napping. Open up dear.”
No sound.
“Amelia?” A hint of concern creeps into Becky’s vibrant voice.
“Amelia, this isn’t funny. Stop joking around.”

Around 11:30, Rebecca (Becky) Marie Amerson phones the campus police. “My bedroom, it’s locked. Uh, my roommate, she’s locked inside.” Quivering voice, confusion, denial, typical symptoms of shock. Of a sudden shift in emotional state. Of an unbearable weight slowly descending upon her body. “Hold tight, sweetie. We’ll be there shortly.”
Phone call ends. Connection ceases. And Becky Marie Amerson is alone again, sitting cross-legged, back against the locked bedroom door, willing herself not to imagine what is on the other side.

But those who cling to ignorance, when it is long gone, turn themselves into monsters.

Friday, December 25, 2015

How to Accept Gifts

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The holiday season is a time of gift giving. Last minute shoppers flood the streets the week before Christmas and New Years, scouring stores for that perfect present. Behind gifts are kind intentions and love, and finding the perfect present to reflect our feelings is difficult. So naturally, the internet is flooded with youtube videos and articles on "Gift Ideas for Him/Her", "Perfect Presents for Dads", "What Guys Want for Christmas", etc. However, receiving a present can be just as difficult as giving one. And advice in this department is incredibly lacking.

I consider myself an amazing gift giver. I am good at dissecting past conversations, observing habits, and discovering passions, all of which help in finding a present that he/she will appreciate. The art of giving gifts lies in understanding another person. Though I have always considered material items shallow display of love, I thoroughly enjoy giving. Receiving gifts on the other hand, has always been more difficult....because not everyone has a knack for finding the right present.

Take for instance, my father's gift to me: a winter hat. Not just any winter hat, a plaid, gray trooper hat that I swear was intended for the male gender. Upon seeing it, I was not enthralled by the beauty...or lack thereof. I like fashion, winter accessories, all that jazz, and this hat was not something that I pictured in my wardrobe. My first thought after seeing it was I'll take it with me to college and just never wear it. On the outside, I accepted it gracefully, saying it looked very cool. All the while, my father went on about how useful it would be in cold, northern weather and that there were "normal", "boring" winter hats (aka ones that I would actually wear) but this one caught his eye because he'd never seen anything like it (I wonder why...). My mother, who took a more traditional route (bath & body works lotion, portable charger), openly stated that I could return the hat for another item. That's the point of gift receipts, she said, it's  what everyone does with presents. I refused. To me, returning the gift undermined my appreciation of it, devalued my father's taste. And though he'd never admit, I knew it would hurt his feelings.

But now, the more I look at this dull deranged thing, feel its soft interior, the more I love it. No I had not intended for a hat like this in my wardrobe, and I have no fricking clue how to dress it. But spontaneity is part of the fun of accessories and fashion, and I always advocate wearing clothing outside one's comfort zone. Even if the hat looks goofy regardless of my attempts, I will still wear it. I will wear it because it is a token of my dad's love, which surpasses vanity, societal norms, and outside judgements. Because I love my dad, I naturally come to appreciate his presents because behind them is his unconditional love for me.

To accept gifts with grace, you must first appreciate the intentions of the giver. Receiving presents with genuine gratifaction is as important as giving amazing gifts. Only when you truly love that less-than-ideal gift do you surpass the superficial realm of gift giving, and come to appreciate the person behind the present.

In this season of gift-giving, remember to look past the present itself, so that the next time a family member presents you with unfashionable clothing item, you can look them in the eyes and truly mean it when you say, "I love it! Thank you. "

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When It Breaks (Short Story)

“Where were you last night?”
“Nowhere Tom, I was nowhere,” she replies, twisting the string in her hands.

Tom frowned, reviewing events of the past day. 7:30 a.m., he woke up, and prepared breakfast. Eggs, toast, avocados, oatmeal and milk. Then he made lunch- stir fry today. Broccoli, chicken, brown rice and beans. Two apples. She woke up later than usual, around 8 a.m, and tended to the garden. She returned 40 minutes later with handfuls of mini tomatoes in her pockets, set the pride of her morning on the counter. She took a piece of toast, chewed slowly, and furrowed her brows. “It’s dry. You left it in the toaster too long.” Pause. He had learned long ago the power of silence.

They left for work at 9:19 a.m. At 5 p.m. he called her workplace, as usual. “You ready to head back home?” “Oh this is Beth, Anne left an hour ago, did she not tell you? She got a ride from George, I think they were going to stop by Costco on their way back.” “Okay, no problem, thanks for letting me know.” Tom forced a carefree voice. Everything was fine. Anne would be back home by 6. Even when the kids were still home, it was common for his absent-minded wife to leave work early and return home later than him.  

This time, she returned much later.

“It doesn’t take three hours to buy a pint of milk.” Tom said, tapping his foot against the chair leg.
“It’s none of your business where I was, okay?” Anne threw the piece of string to the ground.
“I’m your husband, of course it’s my business.”
“I told you already, I went to Costco after work with George,” Anne said, her voice an octave higher.
“But you couldn’t have been there for three hours.” Tom repeated, his voice quieter. The rhythm of his foot tapping quickened.

Tom was normally a loud, confident person. Around Anne, it was different. Everything was different with her. She was volatile, explosive. A wrong move, and his wife turned into a monster. So Tom tiptoed around the house, submitting to admonitions, bitterness, discontent, for a feigned truce.
But Anne never crossed this line. Until now.

“Nothing happened, okay?”
“We were just talking.” Anne said. She stared at her transformed husband in shock.
“Yes, just talking Tom.”
“I didn’t realize you even cared.” Habit made her tone snarky. Aggressive. Unsympathetic.


“Why would I not care?” Tom had sat down, hands over his head. 
"When have you shown me that you cared?” Anne stared out the window, refusing to look at him.
“WHY WOULD I NOT CARE? I prepare meals, I clean around the house, I do everything for this house.” Tom’s tapping had turned into stomps, emphasizing every phrase.

“When have you done anything for me, Tom, huh? Anything for me?

“And George does? George really cares?” He froze and took a deep breath, bracing himself for the answer.


“Yes. More than you.” Anne blinked rapidly. She continued looking intently at the fig tree outside.

Tom suddenly gets up, with a new spark in his eyes. He walks toward the door.

“Where are you going?”
“Out.” Tom turns the knob slowly.
Anne turns around, suddenly pale, and opens her mouth to say something.
“You have never cared,” He said, looks at her a final time, and slams the door.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

How to Party Sober

I have "partied" four times since being at college. And (discounting the sip of cider, naively assuming it was cider juice) have not drunk alcohol. There is a misconception that letting loose requires alcohol. Although I am in no way condemning drinkers, it is important to distinguish alcohol from "fun".  You do not need to be drunk to have fun. Even if everyone else is.

My first outings out were uncomfortable. I felt like the odd one out-- the goody two shoes who would not let loose. The jokes passed through me, transparent.  While others were relaxed, exuberant, and energized, I was uptight and stressed, afraid that a friend had too much to drink. I was disgusted by the sweaty obnoxious boys yelling nonsense. Embarrassed for the wild girls in skimpy outfits, falling over air. Booze breath sent me writhing in annoyance. Conversations with the intoxicated left me dumbfounded and... haughty (incredible the things drunks say).
I have since been less critical of the party scene. Life can be draining. From studying long hours for an organic chemistry exam to working part-time jobs, we could all use a night to relinquish all responsibility.
The night can be anything we want it to be. We have a new kind of freedom. A way to rebel against societal restrictions and stigmas. In a dimly lit room, hidden by the shadows, it is okay to jump half naked, scream obscenity, and kiss strangers. And somewhere between the blurred lines of sanity and crazy is alcohol. Once the drug seeps into your blood, reaching every vein in your body, you forsake responsibility for your actions and welcome your new ruler for the night.

So how do you party without the drug? Simple. You act drunk...sober. On the dance floor, I am perfectly aware of every body around me. My senses are fluid, my movements sharp. I release my inner crazy, and sway to the beat instinctively. I no longer calculate my moves; I let the crowd carry me to euphoria. The best part is that I will remember this beautiful night of colors, rhythm, beats, music. It will not evaporate into misty, blurred memories. I give all of me to the night and the whole of the night remains with me.
When orange hue breaks the anonymity of the night, I smile at the new day, ready to conquer and relinquish again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I have never been part of drama. Never started a fight. Never been bullied. Never had to stand up for myself. As a child, I floated among my friends without stirring the waters. I was not hated nor abused, and liked just enough to get by. Sometimes, I became the wallflower, existing as a warm, bodily presence, but only barely. I would take a whole scene in-- the flirting, the banters, the laughter-- and feel like an omniscient being-- a third person narrator. That was how I remembered the people of my childhood. While others forgot the girl in their summer camp, or that kid who owned a reptile, I remembered. 

Rewinding my mental clock, I've noticed a pattern: 
I was so busy narrating everyone else's stories that I forgot to write my own. I have a general summary of my past stages. Give me a year, and I can list my teacher, closest friends, schedule, personality, hobbies. But rarely will I have story-- an event, to define it. At least not of my own doing. My stories are either meshed with my friends' drama, my parents' fights. Or, as I grew older, my musical accomplishments, dedication, ambition. Those crushes remained just that, those opportunities flew away due to fear, and I was left waiting. For something to snap. For my life to really begin.

 Now, at college, life has begun in so many ways. Yet, make me tell a story, and I do not have one. Does the one about a newly wed borrowing my bike count? Movie nights with the roomies? Hours studying for an exam that consumes my being? 

At this point, I do not know what counts as a noteworthy story. Something that serves as a defining point in my life? Maybe I am made of multiple, minute stories, entwined together. Maybe I am in a developing story with a mystery ending. Maybe the best stories have yet to be opened. 

We are all compilations of mismatched stories, mosaics of our lives. They define a part of us, but not all. We are also what could be. We are everything that we strive for, yearn for, and will be. It's okay to not know where to start. To wish you could delete that whole passage. Or add a couple of lines.
It's okay to feel like your story is not worth reading; to guard it from others lest they snatch it away; to tuck the story in your pocket, for now, fully aware of potential revisions. 
And, most importantly, it's great to retrieve a fresh, blank page and start another story. To create new characters as you go. 

Eventually, someone will want to swap with you. To read your words meticulously as you examine theirs. So don't be afraid of the plot twists, suspense, missed metaphors. Stories are never complete or perfect entities. 

Here are pieces of my stories. What are yours?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Falling too early

I have a problem with falling for guys too early.  Before I have had a full conversation with him, learned his favorite color, music tastes, food aversions, I am imagining him as a boyfriend, or worse, a husband. Such extremity in feelings is dangerous for the weak hearts. It causes us to feel too much for a shadow, and cry in excess over the end of nothing. The reason for this tendency is not low standards. I would consider myself to have rather high standards in romantic relationships- not just in the guy himself but also in his mutual affection for me. I think the cause is over-imagination. A projection of my woeful thinking onto him. Upon one glance into his intelligent eyes, I am conjuring up my own impression of this person, my caricature of him, my story. And it has nothing to do with him, really (besides that he's a great catch). It all stems from my subconscious desire to love. 

I try to deny it. No one wants to admit dissatisfaction. No one dares to admit a foolish craving. No one wants to want something so untamed. 

Some days are better than others. I usually block it out with other goals- remind myself of what's important: friends, family, school work, self-improvement. I try to make myself feel worthy of love by being the best version of me. And I remind myself that love comes when you least expect it, so I should stop being so damn expectant.
Other days, I indulge in the thirst, and soak in the artificial feelings of love created by music. Today was of the former. I couldn't help but glance everywhere for "him". But instead of wasting my time on youtube advice videos and sappy music, I decided to write this post. I would not dare share these thoughts with many people; and I think few have shared them with me. We all strive for an aura of "having our shit together", but really none of us do, or ever will.

We all wish we were not so vulnerable.

It's okay not to feel content. Like Billy Joel said, "Only fools are satisfied". But do not let negative thoughts consume you. It is important to be truly grateful for what we have, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. I am grateful for the opportunities on my campus, the beautiful autumn leaves, my lovely roommates, my ever-supportive parents.

Remember to appreciate the important people who are already in your life. Wasting energy on a guy we barely know not only undermines your value, but also that of those who really care about you.
When you start falling too soon, remind yourself that he is not the solution to your problems. The loneliness stems from a deeper problem, often a lack of passion and personal satisfaction in your life. While you're pinpointing the root-cause, remember to take a moment and just appreciate where you are right now. Smell the fresh air, the wind in your hair, the sun warming your skin, and start loving it all.
Start falling for life.

Friday, November 6, 2015

It's Okay Not to be Perfect

If you couldn't tell already, I try to be as authentic as possible in my writing. I usually write every post in one sitting, let my thoughts just flow, and make only minor edits. The whole thing is a cathartic release for me-- exposing personal thoughts to the internet world, and more importantly, helping others realize they are not alone. Remember that you are not the only one who gets confused, struggles with relationships, and wishes they were a better person. Sometimes it seems like everyone else has everything together but you. Not true. Believe me. 

Today is my last day of fall break; time to head back to college life. And let me be 100% honest here (because I don't think I will be with my parents or classmates), I did not enjoy fall break. This is due to various reasons. Firstly, every break I am at home and not on vacation, I experience an internal conundrum. To watch TV and movies (aka do nothing of importance) or study and self improve in some way? I always plan the latter, but end up doing the former...and this break was no different. I had a lot of work I wanted to finish over break, and of course I have not gotten it all done. My inadequacy in self discipline has been wrecking my confidence. I'm a college student at a so-called "prestigious" university, yet I still can't manage my time and prevent procrastination? How am I going to achieve all my goals? How am I going to get into med-school, let alone make a difference in the world?

And secondly, my idea of being back home was too idealistic. I was excited to spend time with my parents, meet up with friends, eat home-cooked meals, read a good book, sleep in my own bed...
I forgot the reality of my family life. The way my parents, though loving and giving, can make me feel suffocated. The fact that the two of them have a deteriorating relationship, inevitably affecting my mood for the worse. I forgot that being home for fall break meant staying inside my house alone, with minimal social contact. And I forgot about my anti-social, hermit tendencies, causing me to neglect visiting high school friends.

All of this "crap" accumulated into a feeling of inadequacy.  Even now with extra freedom, I had not concocted a life I was satisfied with. I thought about everything that can be improved- my family life, social life, self discipline, academics, extracurriculars, community involvement, and the list goes on.

We can be so mean to ourselves, so hard on ourselves. Whether it's not feeling pretty enough, cool enough, charismatic enough, smart enough, we sometimes feel like we are not enough. Which is not true at all. Don't work toward perfection. My parents used to always tell me as a kid that I was perfect. And I got it in my head that I could actually be some form of "perfect" if I worked on myself enough. News flash: perfect is impossible.

So please, don't feel like you have to be a certain type of person or have a specific life to be happy. Happiness is an unconditional part of our existence that everyone deserves. Don't wreck yourself over mistakes, failures, or procrastination. Sometimes, we need to take a deep breath and realize that it's okay to relax, "do nothing", and have an extra cookie . It's easy to be swept away by this fast paced world we live in, to be tense and stress about every little thing wrong in our lives. But it's even more important to accept all of you and the less than ideal decisions that you make. It's important to strive for improvement, yet still be wholeheartedly satisfied with your life right now.

So embrace your amazing, brilliant, spontaneous, imperfect self. Embrace your embarrassing, awkward, lazy, cowardly decisions. Embrace all of you- the whole you- because you are enough as you are.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Impatient Wanderer

You sat next to me. Introduction. "What's you're name," I ask. And I don't remember it because I'm too busy trying to stay cool.
Small talk. I liked your eyes.
We listen to the first lecture of our class.
Your body turns toward me, and say something I don't hear, but I smile anyway. Don't want to break this connection.
You're reserved, a little closed off. I want to break the shell.

Days, weeks. We're still on small talk. About the class really.
I realize you're good at this stuff. I like the way you think.

Now, we don't sit next to each other in class.
Some times we barely acknowledge each other.
Well, you barely acknowledge me.
You're still reserved.
Yet am I slightly breaking your shell?
I can't tell.
And I'm impatient.
I don't want to wait another day. Another week. I should've gotten your number from the start.
We can study together.
Now I don't know how.
We'll get there.

Maybe you don't want anything to do with me.
Maybe it was all in my head.
Maybe I just like the challenge.

Either way, I'm an impatient wanderer, hoping for something to happen.
I want too much from nothing because I never know what something means.
I float from woeful wishes, faces I do not know, waiting for my heartbeat to relax. Slow down. It should just happen. It shouldn't be so hard.

Floating is fun anyway. You see different sights, colors, textures, tastes, and do not know where you'll anchor. But I'd like to know...I am impatient.  I am done waiting for the right sound, time, place, smile. I want it to happen now. I want to be warmed by his voice. To throw on his oversized jacket. I want to press my lips against his and experience a lapse of mind, time, space, feeling-- all coinciding into one, this one fragile movement, this one promise of togetherness in a single kiss.

These are the thoughts of an impatient wanderer.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Going with the flow

It's incredibly hard for me to "go with the flow". I'd consider it one of my biggest flaws. Coming to terms with the fact that there are certain things that I cannot control is causes me a lot of stress. I think that's why I don't drink in college. I do not like losing control of myself, the one thing I have most, if not all, control over. Though mistakes can teach us, yadayada, I'd rather not make them while intoxicated.

So right now, I'm trying to strike a balance between "trying" and "going with the flow". One cannot be too lopsided; we all need a bit of each. As I embark on my first midterm tomorrow, I need to keep everything in perspective. One stupid test is not the whole of my existence. I have studied as much as I can, and I need to accept what will happen. There are beautiful occurrences that are happening all around us-- this fall weather, the crisp atmosphere, young love...just the fact that there are so many opportunities available should make us feel lucky. I am who I am no matter what happens academically. I'd love to find a special someone, for my skin to be better, to be an eloquent speaker, to feel incredibly confident 24/7, but some times it won't all happen at once. There will be peaks and valleys, and it's okay.

I need to accept the imperfections in myself and in my life. Things don't happen as planned. In fact, the best occurrences in life seem to be the spontaneous ones. Much of what I appreciate right now in my life were not what I had "planned out".  So to me, going with the flow means embracing what could happen instead of worrying about the uncertainty. It means being okay with ruined plans and surprises-- riding the waves  instead of pulling on the reins and suffocating the life out of everything.

Sometimes, we should take a step back and just appreciate what we have at this instance, not what "could be". We should live not in the past, or future, but in the present. Soak up everything around you- notice something you never did before. Appreciate the place you call home, your own unique story, the blank pages.

And, "The rest is still unwritten" -Natasha Bedingfield

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Enjoy the beginnings

I love beginnings. They motivate me to work and inspire me to be better. The beginnings of a relationship (platonic or romantic) have similar effects- you want to show your best version, and more importantly, you are constantly learning. You're learning about the other person- their cadence, word usage, laugh, voice, ideas, habits...and you're learning about yourself- your slight awkwardness, nervousness, openness, closeness, sensitivity.

 Freshman year of college, everything is a beginning. I'm sleeping on a top bunk for the first time, living with roommates, meeting new people, developing new routines. It's been fresh, I've felt fresh, as if I could reinvent myself, start off new. After four weeks here, I've realized that it's impossible to "reinvent" yourself. You are not a whiteboard that can be erased then drawn on. Your life can't suddenly turn into a clean slate. There is no delete or rewind for those memories and experiences you'd rather do without. Instead, I like to think of myself as an etching. As one of those wood whittles. Everyday I'm whittling at myself to smooth out the edges, create new dimensions. Everyone's wood is different. Some are softer, others harder, some have been through snowstorms, others light sunny days. We have to work with our unique piece of wood. And we may never be satisfied with the result, but we should at least be content with the progress.

I have no idea how I just started making analogies with wood. It's too late for coherent thoughts. But you gotta admire the creativity of this exhausted brain. ;)  I like to think of these posts as unfiltered diary entries...just to let you know what you're getting yourself into.

Anyway, I was inspired to write this post that has gone off tangent by...dun dun dun...a boy. Of course. How typically college girly of me. We all love boy talks, at least my roomies and I do. I was thinking about this boy of interest, and how horribly hot and cold our interactions can be, and wishing that we'd just skip past this early stage and get to that couple stage. I wish we could know each other like the back of our hands and actually connect on a deeper level than just talking about history homework. And then, I checked myself. Why can I not just enjoy the sweet beginnings of this "whatever it could be". Why can I not soak in the fast heartbeat, agonizing worries of "he likes me, he likes me not". It's mainly the fear of the unknown. The not knowing. Not knowing what he's thinking. Not knowing what he thinks about me. Not knowing what will become of "us". Will we become anything, or will we simply float our own ways as if nothing ever happened? (like most of my boy stories).

That's why beginnings are so terrifying. And exhilarating. And wonderful. It's lovely having a fresh piece of wood that could become anything you want it to be. So don't be scared of the outcome. Just go for it, and carve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rejection is good for you

One of my number one goals for college is to get rejected.  You may be thinking "what an interesting goal" ... aka "this girl is an idiot" *cough*. But I'm being 100% serious so hear me out. Bear with me through this blog post in which I attempt to order my thoughts into semi-coherent passages.

I have never been socially rejected in my life. Not by girls, boys, crushes, or anyone in between. On a similar note, I've never directly experienced any drama. Some of my friends may have bickered, or experienced some kind of boy trouble, but I have always had a clean (nonexistent) record. I am the "nice one", sometimes dubbed "quiet", "perfect". I used to be proud of my angelic existence; I thought I was above the drama, stupid gossip, and boys. Instead of being an actress in the theater production, I floated above it as a silent observer. It was nice until it wasn't anymore. I realized that being in the play might mean a missed line, incorrect footing, embarrassment (things the observer would never have to deal with), but at the same time, as the observer I had no stories. My life was without a climax, without zest, without gains. It was a monotony of smiling, missed chances, and unspoken sentiments. 

I was never rejected because I was too afraid to try.  And that's not the way I want to live anymore. 

From now on, I will put myself out there enough to be rejected. I am okay with losing a couple of friends if it means finding the ones who will stick with me for a life time. I am content with expressing feelings for my crushes (even if I embarrass myself) because only then will I ultimately attract "the one".

There's nothing wrong with being rejected. It just means you're brave enough to jump, all the while knowing the risks and danger lurking if you fall. We should not be suffocated by our fears but rather invigorated by them. So don't fear rejection like I did and instead embrace it with arms wide open, saying "Come at me with all you got. I don't let my fears control me".