Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter in New York far has been a joke. Aside from the freak winter snowstorm on Halloween, and last weekend's little flurry - there hasn't really been anything "winteresque." A few days with temperatures in the low 20's does not count. I survived Chicago snowstorms, snowpacalypse, sub-zero temperatures where you might as well snap your fingers off.

I could blame global warming, but what I really mean is that walking around in a hoodie in January and feeling just a bit breezy is just strange.

Which hasn't meant that I've been out and raging like...the last six months. One of my goals this year was to drink less, contemplate more. There's some sort of cyclical cycle in me - live, think, live, think. This month, I've been out relatively little - but I have been museum-ing, brunching, visiting folks and trying to put together a plan of 2012.

I was talking with a friend of mine who remarked that as he was not asian, he enjoyed simply enjoying his life. It made me think - how exactly do I approach free time? I didn't have a lot while under the claws of my loving tiger mom. And there's enough of that left in me to be supremely uncomfortable whenever I don't have a plan. I don't like drifting. It makes me lazy, and like I'm not living up to my potential. Which isn't bad, except for the fact that I often confuse "having a great time" with "drifting." Which makes "living a chill life" much harder than I assumed. I don't blame this entirely on being Asian. Though where that ends, and where my own beliefs on productivity and forward momentum begins is impossible to discern.

I wouldn't regret the last few months - and they've pushed me into seeing all the great things that New York has to offer. However, I do think that I should probably put together a tentative schedule so that I can at least feel the pull of a "goal." The real beauty of this plan is that I completely ignore plans. I'm the kind of girl who isn't too into rules in the first place, so McGuyver-ing her way through things isn't an obstacle, it's practically a calling. So I have plans this January, nothing set or definite, but the tendrils of "life" that occur. I'll sip mojitos outside, in a light spring parka in the middle of February and see how far I go.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Every new years I always feel this sense of "oh god. Not another one." It's one of those gut reactions - coming about because I generally feel as though I just barely clung to or hung on to the previous year. Ah, I was never too great at good-byes anyways.

I have a few hopes this year however instead of resolutions. I hope I exercise more. Eat well. Think about the last shot, and come home before dawn more often. I hope I discover more restaurants, and get to share them with the funny people I call "pals." I hope I whine less, listen more. Make time to read, and paint whenever I can. I hope I get lost less, but wander more often. I hope next year filled with art, adventure, heartbreak, hilarity, surreal experiences, and opportunity.

And of course, I hope I get to share all these fuzzy, embarrassing, laugh out loud stories with these girls. I'm not sure it's physically possible to gchat more often, but I'll try my damndest. Hey now 2012, let's dance you and I.

Friday, December 9, 2011

So you're smart, who cares?

There are a lot of smart people in the world...and to be honest...many of them don't even have a fancy college degree. (And they'd probably beat you in a fight).

Lately I've been plagued with a sense of inadequacy. Not intellectual inadequacy. I'm talking about HUMAN inadequacy. The kind of knowledge and experience you can never gain from reading a book or a paper. The kind that comes from interacting with others. In my opinion...the kind that actually matters when it's all said and done.

I feel almost detached from life and I need to get my fingers back on humanity's wrist - connected to its pulse.

But this is not what I'm supposed to want right now. I didn't spend 4 years selling my soul at a prestigious university so I could be a regular Joe right? I'm supposed to relish in the artificial glow of my "success" and make something of myself. I'm supposed to read all of the right newspapers and follow all of the right intellectual trends. I'm supposed to annunciate everything a certain way and use words that make my educated peers feel at ease.

I don't mean to disparage learning, hell...I'm planning to learn until I'm 30 and then help others learn. I just can't help but feel as though many people are using education towards a confused goal. The goal of higher education should not be to produce pretentious pedants. In the end, pedantry is frivolous and self-serving. What good is your mind if you keep it to yourself? If it is not applied towards developing yourself and serving others? I'm beginning to feel that a selfish mind is a wasted mind.

Maybe I'm just tired, or my bun is tied a bit too tightly...but this is what has been on my mind lately. Why are intelligent people so afraid of being seen as human beings?

Thus begins my journey towards getting back in touch with my humanity. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Warehouse Parties

I know that the New York Warehouse party idea is so cliched at this point, it's a stereotype - but that didn't stop me from signing up for listservs that email you directions to sketchy places in Brooklyn, and ask you to dress up in costumes. Considering the amount of ridiculousness that is New York, I figured "why not? I'm game."

It was sponsored by Danger, a now defunct group of promoters headed by a Mr. Etundi. The party itself was pretty fabulous. My roommate and I nabbed tickets online, before the thing sold out in a few hours. We dressed up, her in a long black back revealing dress. Myself in cream, with long white gloves, red lipstick. The invite said to be rag-tag dressy, or something, and we did that with some oomph. I am willing to admit that yes. There was a headpiece, and it received a mighty many compliments.

The first location was just off the Gowanus bridge, at a metal work studio. Large iron sculptures adorned the inside. A man in a white mask played a somber cello song. And upstairs on the loft, there was a tree house, and girls on a metal hoop scantily clad in white holding candles.

Then some limo's came, and our host introduced herself as Placenta, for that night at least. And we rode to a warehouse apparently titled Shang Hai Mermaid. We entered, and behind the red curtained door was a human in a large tree costume, welcoming us in.

There were candles, and a bar in the back. It was a cross between a speakeasy, and a electronica minimalistic dj party. The drinks were strong, and champagne was thrown out.

"" I said, reading about half the characters on the post. "Man, I can barely read anything. How embarrassing."

"I got person. 'Bout it." My roommate said.

There was a photobooth, and outside, a large bonfire which my roommate and I thoroughly enjoyed. Around 3 in the morning, we decided to call it quits - and called a car back home.

Can things like this happen in other cities? I've wondered about these sort of incidents. On my way out, I saw a girl offer socks to another.

"I know I probably will never see you again, but here!" She said, her large feather boa dangling around her neck.

These tiny minute incidents are largely (I think) what make up the New York mentality. Which seems to be appreciate the small minutia, momentary connections with complete strangers who you might never see again. To wonder in the future seems verboten - almost silly. I felt exhausted at times trying to keep up with the energy needed to continually introduce yourself, and represent yourself properly.

I can already hear Krod and Kdef shaking their heads. And I'm hardpressed to accurately describe the blissful feeling of anonymity with possibility. You can be anyone just walking around, but at any moment, you could meet a future roommate, or business venture. It all seems doable, albeit no less difficult.

It was neither my first nor my last Brooklyn venture, and considering how I woke up with both kidneys - I consider my night a success. Everything in my room now smells like nicotine and campfire, delectable if particular.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fear of Failure

Ah! I've been neglecting this blog lately! I guess sometimes life interferes. A lot has happened since my last post, mostly work things. I've had lab/GRE tunnel vision lately...super stressful! However, this afternoon I had an amazing essay writing session with a high school student, which put me back on track. She came in with no idea what she wanted to write and left with an entire rough draft. Working with her and unleashing our combined creativity was an awesome experience. It reminded me of how much I love students and teachers and why I want to help them as much as possible through my research.

I feel like I've been losing sight of my dreams lately. Not in the sense that I don't know what I want, but that I won't be able to execute my plans. At it's core, my problem is a basic fear of failure. In September I read this article in the NYT about how the American educational system fails to instill students with "character." I must say I agree. My fancy education has endowed me with an inflated ego, a sense of entitlement, and a fear of being...human. I've always considered myself very compassionate and percipient, both of which contribute immensely to my character...but I've found I lack the ability to fully accept and process failure (a crucial aspect of a well-rounded character). I make the grave mistake of taking failure as a form of rejection from the world around me. And I'm sick of it. 

I've had enough of this bullshit failure-will-define-you-and-ruin-your-future attitude that pervades society. I make mistakes. A lot of them. And I'm not about to stop. In fact, I just typed "define human" into a Google search. The synonyms: "person - individual - soul - mortal". Soul, mortal...they imply something outside of the realm of action and something inherently flawed. Proof:

I've realized that fearing failure is only holding me back. Rather than pushing myself towards innovation, I've settled into a banal comfort zone. This place is no fun. There's no room for personal growth. 

Where do I begin my journey towards acceptance? I've been inspired by a child. 

Every Tuesday night I mentor two 8 year old girls. One of them always has a ridiculous spelling assignment where she has to write out her words a million times. Whenever her hands get tired or she starts making too many mistakes, she stops and does what she calls "the crazy arm stretch hand dance." And boy, is it intense. Basically, she starts stretching like an Olympian and concludes with a few seconds of erratic finger movements....kind of like she's playing the piano...on crack. Her activities usually capture the attention of those around her, which might embarrass a less confident child...but not Jesy. Her philosophy, "I don't care if I look silly! It helps me finish my words and get a 100 in spelling!"

Now, excuse me while I go do the crazy arm stretch hand dance of life. You should try it. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Last week, my friend came to visit. We saw Balanchine at the Lincoln Center. It was absolutely fantastic - quite classic, and lean lines. We got decent seats, and watched the 2 other shows in delight. But the ending scene (the iconic one) is smashing.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the co-work lovin'. Halal food was had by all, and it was finished up with a quick tour of greenpoint for my roommate's art show.

Showing around friends is interesting. On the one hand, you realize how much of a new yorker you've become - on the other, you also realize that you'll still get lost or on the wrong stop.

This weekend, there was visiting, an enormous Chinese brunch, and lots of good ol' conversation. I did pass out on friday due to my exhaustion - but I made up for it by staying out and walking most of southern Manhattan last night. September was a visit-heavy month, but October will have even more faces. At least, I know realize that sleep has to be carved out. (Or perhaps taken against ones will, to be woken up at six am in your clothes next to your open laptop.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Mountain Is Out (And So Am I)

Photo Courtesy of JPChamberland

There's a popular saying in Seattle: "If you can't see the mountain, it's raining. And if you can see the mountain, it's about to rain." The mountain is Mt. Rainier, which can be seen from most places in the Seattle metro area, and especially well from the suburb where I live. It's a pretty big mountain, but on some days it completely vanishes from sight because of the low-lying clouds.

Anyways, as you might have guessed, it's been out lately because the weather's been nice and warm! So I haven't been posting because I've been too busy running around doing errands and things outside before I start work next week (more on this later). Basically, just wanted to say hi and will post soon!