Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Short Life of a Cicada (& Me)

If I ever write a novel, I want it to be of this same title. Apparently, a cicada lives for one summer and 7 years buried underground. That is a long time. In that one crucial summer, the cicada lives by hanging on to apartment windows and crying out for everyone to hear. While their difficult life does stir pity, it's hard to feel bad for them when they're constantly crying out (very loudly, I might add) at odd hours of the day and night. They accomplish very little and the cycle starts all over again.

Lately I haven't been able to fall asleep (not due to the cicada, don't worry). I've mostly been thinking into the wee hours of night until I finally fall asleep. Humans on average live more than 60 years, some even to a 100 years. That's much longer than a cicada's lifespan. However, when we die, how many of us are remembered? In death, we are no different from a cicada even though the opportunity that we have is incomparable.

I want to accomplish something, I'm not sure what yet. I don't really care for fame or riches (just enough to occasionally splurge on Kate Spade and TopShop), but to be remembered positively for something that I did. Even now, I really hope that some people in this world were uplifted or happier because of me. 

Let's change the world together. Let's take advantage of the fact that we've been born humans and not cicadas. How sad would it be to the end life the very same way as a cicada with people simply grumbling about the ruckus they caused.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brilliant, Adventure Time!

Since I've been in Korea, I've been falling way behind on TV. I finished rewatching six seasons of Gossip Girl before I got here but I have no way of watching other TV like the new season of Project Runway or my favorite, Adventure Time. Yesterday, late last night, I couldn't sleep so I caught up on 3 episodes of Adventure Time through online streaming. I wish I had written 3 whole posts about each episode but a las. Season 6 is back on point! I am so excited about the upcoming episodes after some disappointing ones.

I will always be advocating Adventure Time so just in case you forgot, here's a short little paragraph explaining why I enjoy this show.

I started watching Adventure Time four years ago as a freshman. I was captivated by the art and the characters even if it felt like my intelligence was going down. I'd dabbled in some other Cartoon Network shows but none of them really captured me like Adventure Time. I wasn't a serious watcher until sophomore or junior year. I'm not really sure when the surging love for Adventure Time took place but I'm sure it was somewhere between season 4 and season 5. Season 5 was amazing in every single way.

We all have a childish side that we repress at most times. Maybe that was the first hook to my long term love with Adventure Time. As I matured, the show was maturing with me. There was such smart dialogue and quirky, fun lessons that were extremely profound. The characters that were so one sided had such an intricate backstory.

I hated most of the characters at first and watched mainly for the art. I'm not sure why but this show struck me as such a boy's show and something that I shouldn't be watching. However, over time, there is a side of empathy that just makes you feel for the characters, like Ice King or Marceline.

Adventure Time is always able to fit a story of epic proportions into a neat little 10-12 min slot. I appreciate the way you can watch any episode out of order. There are some key episodes but the facts we glean from them aren't necessary to understand the next episode. This really encouraged me to continue watching through the stressful years of sophomore, junior, and well senior. Other TV shows were just too much of a hassle to keep watching for 45-60 mins every week. It's overwhelming when you have ten or eleven episodes you suddenly need to catch up on. With Adventure Time, there is never that burden.

You grow with the characters and find such thoughtful meaningful advice tucked in this strange, post apocalyptic world. I was disappointed in most of season 6 because it seemed like the producers/writers/everyone at Adventure Time were working too hard. The beauty of this show is that it feels so effortless and that after a 10 min adventure, you have learned something profound. It's a sudden realization that is slowly built through dialogue and plot that isn't always harping at you with every scene change. The fun and moving aspects of the show are back in harmony and I cannot be happier.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Walking in Familiarity

Hello again! It's quiet evenings like this where I really wish I brought Alfonso (my macbook) along. My grandma's computer is so loud and my grandparents sleep so early, but for now this will have to suffice. 

The rainy season has started in Korea and it's much more tolerable than the heat. Today I enjoyed an evening walk with my grandma under the foliage of tall trees and already blooming flowers. My umbrella was quivering under the pressure of such pitter patter as we walked along the mossy stones and pavement alike. It was really wonderful just to be there with my grandma and reflect on past, present, and future. I used to live with her when I was a child and she raised me before I left for the US. She's perhaps the most important person in my life and there was nothing better than strolling outside. In moments where there was nothing to say, the rain provided such rich ambiance. By the end of our walk, my arms and legs were dripping rain water and rain had seeped into my shoes. My socks were damp and pressed to my feet. It was uncomfortable and kind of cold but rewarding in a sense. There's something special about just sitting/walking whilst nature is taking its course. I really do need to spend more time absently reflecting outside.

We have become people who hate everything about the word "natural." Sure the words natural and organic sell when going to a grocery store or buying cosmetics, but deep down we have become so estranged to everything that is natural. The food industry really disappoints me and oftentimes, I want to run away and live on a farm and make sure food is being grown (I used the word developed at first, that's how estranged I've become) in a humane way. We are what we eat, and so far that includes a lot of chemically enhanced corn.  

I decided to stop using my grandpa's phone on the bus. It's about a 30 min ride one way to my class so I've been perusing Facebook and catching up on news. While that too is important, there was something inexpressible about observing the surroundings and taking the short time to be mindful.

I was very torn on which orientation group I wanted to be part of. Half of me wanted to do a more rigorous outdoor canoeing/hiking orientation group. I missed out on the camping trip that is available to 50 random seniors so it sounded like a fun opportunity. However, I'm not much of a hiker and I don't own any gear whatsoever. I was late to register especially since I'm here in Korea at the moment. The outdoor groups are very small and so when I went to register they were already gone. Luckily enough, my second choice (the one I was torn between) was still available! So now I'm all set to go wander around farms and learn about food productivity and how to be sustainable. I can't even tell you how excited I am for it! 

College is coming very soon. I have about half a month left and then I'm shipped off to Massachusetts. I'm nervous but excited at the same time. My mom just left for the States and it's the first time I've ever been anywhere so long by myself. It's good practice for when I'm in somewhere unfamiliar, unlike my grandma's house. 

I guess we've already established that I'm not like most people in how I think, act, or behave so here's a little list of the things I'm MOST looking forward to come August 22. 

1. Having a little room that is fully half mine. I can't remember if I put that I wanted a single or not. I really wouldn't mind either way. I'm so excited to have a little sanctuary, a home away from home. I sort of have an idea of what I want to decorate said room with but I'm going in with an open mind and a willingness to embrace anything. 

2. Just budgeting my time my own way. Maybe to some people this means constant parties and whatnot, but to me it means something completely different. It means that I can listen to jazz and eat crackers next to Alfonso (he loves crackers too) inbetween class or just wander off to a bookstore at 5pm without telling anyone. I can skip meals or indulge haha (more likely) and do as much yoga as I want without bothering anyone. 

3. Classes! Although I have tentatively signed up for class from 9-4 everyday... I'm looking forward to a new way of learning and only taking classes that I want to (horticulture yo). 

4. Meeting new people! :D I'm kind of worried about making friends. I wasn't worried before but after being in Korea I'm kind of worried. I haven't made any friends in either of my chinese classes. Sure I can smile and laugh with them during class, but I've never had much of a personal conversation with anyone. I just think back to open campus though (when I visited in April) and it's a way more reassuring feeling.   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Date Not Date

Hello! So as I posted earlier, I actually met up with A (brief recap: guy I liked freshman year who moved away to boarding school). It's kind of drama-esque.

So first, let's start with morning of. I sent him a brief message reminding him of our hangout the night before. When I woke up, I received a message that he was busy on the 17th (the day we agreed to meet) but that he was free today (today as in the 16th) and Sunday. He's leaving on Monday so it's not like there was another week to plan this. I had already made plans for lunch with another friend. I was very perplexed. Somehow, we worked it out to meet on the 16th at 12:30 pm and I managed to push my other hangout to 2 pm.  

I went to my day class in Chinese and quickly went straight to Gangnam. Finding my way there wasn't much of an issue because I've been there a couple times now and there's literally a subway line that takes you straight there in 20 mins. He was 30 mins late, which is "a little late." Thankfully, I could shop and browse. At one point, I thought he was standing me up. His phone doesn't have data connection here so he couldn't even send me a message. 

I chose the wrong exit so there wasn't that much to eat/see. We still managed to find this little Japanese food place that had empty tables. I had ramen which is perfectly good with me! It was kind of awkward at first as expected, but soon got a lot better. He paid for lunch haha. He even saw me take out my wallet and everything. Once he realized that I don't have any directional skills at all (I can't even read a map or follow google maps...), we went back into the subway and left through exit 11. Exit 11 is where EVERYTHING is. So we wandered around a bit. I said I'd buy dessert since he bought lunch. 

We found this really great, popular, delicious patbingsu (look it up on google) place but it was really full and there was a line. He knew I was short on time too and really courteous (in every way). So we wandered more and found Caffe Bene. It took around 10-15 minutes to find the door lols. Korea has a lot of buildings on top of buildings so it's hard to find the right entrance. He apologized for making me walk up and down so many stairs. 

When our bingsu was ready (the little beeper thing buzzes), I stood up and he immediately said that he was going to get it. While eating our bingsu, it really felt like we were old friends reconnected after a really long absence. We joked about his three friend groups at my old high school, the snow, dorm essentials, etc. 

It seems like the door is open for future dates not dates in college. I sent a message at night (after my night class) saying thanks again for lunch and that it was fun. He replied saying that he too thought it was fun :) 

It's kind of like the date I always wanted, except it was so comfortable and felt like two friends talking. I don't want anything more than that. It's perfectly fine the way it is right now. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunshine Award

The rules:
Thank the person who nominated you. THANK YOU ENVY!!! I so appreciate this :) 
Answer the questions. Yes, I will do that! 
Nominate a bunch of other people. You got it. 
Give them questions for homework. Hehe, okay! 
Tell them they've got homework. I WILL FIND EVERYONE. jks, but actually.
Put the award picture on your blog. One step ahead of you. 
1. What is your favorite book and why?
Hmmmmm... this is so difficult. I have so many books that I like. I think I'm going to go with recent favorites since it's too difficult to pinpoint just ONE book. I am in love with Haruki Murakami, there I said it! Although his books are all translated to English, I always take away something breathtaking that resonates with me forever more. I feel that way about almost all of his books that I've read, from 1Q84, Wild Sheep Chase,and A Windup Bird Chronicle. Murakami is just quirky enough for me to read. It's weird, a warning before you delve deep into the world of two moons, tiny people, deep wells, and the overwhelming sense of fighting isolation. I also enjoyed The Glass Castle for the second time! I will one day get around to reading Kurt Vonnegut because I feel like he is just up my alleyway. I love love love Jane Austen too. She is the master of social critique and empowering women. Guilty pleasures are a whole nother category but these books are actually so fulfilling before, during, and after.  
Do you have any hobbies that your friends think are ridiculous, but that you totally like?
I'm an obscure hipster (full embodiment of current persona) and so of course I have weird hobbies that my friends think are ridiculous. First off, I collect cacti. Yes. I collect cacti haha and name them fancy European names. I also collect mason jars. I have a lot of particular loves-- like milk jars, hair bows, cats, hydrangeas, TopShop.. these aren't hobbies but I feel like my friends do give me the occasional eye roll. 
3. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Ooh. Hmm... this is one of those questions where I can't think of anything once the question is asked. Like everyday at Chinese day class is embarrassing. I do so many embarrassing things that they constantly replace each other for "most embarrassing" in my memory. One time I mixed up hyung and oppa and that was bad (hyung is only for guys, oppa is only for girls). My mom somehow gaining access and stalking all my photos, all TG's photos, all A's photos on the train was a recent debacle. One time I wore jean shorts and flip flop to a dinner with S's mom and family friend at a nice restaurant in Berkeley. She insisted I didn't have to change and it was the worst feeling ever. I mixed up turpentine and serpentine in junior year English class...The list could literally go on forever. 
4. What would you miss most about blogging if you had to stop?
I have thought about quitting a lot of times. Blogging is a really difficult hobby to maintain. It's hard to come up with interesting content all the time or even publish on a regularly basis (I know, I know. I have posted 1 post in July thus far..). I would miss having this little outlet to rant to and know my opinions were being read by someone. I would really miss this little blogging community!  
5. Who's your biggest inspiration? (Not sure if I'm asking this question the right way... but I hope you understand what I mean)
My biggest inspiration is none other than WES ANDERSON. I feel like these questions have not revealed much new information about my life. I'm sorry I'm so one sidedly hipster. Wes Anderson just embodies what a hipster should be like. He doesn't do things just to be unique or not mainstream. He just does them because he likes them and it turns out it is uniquely him. He doesn't have to maintain an image because his uniqueness is not an act or something he copied from a magazine. Wes Anderson creates and lives the way he wants to and has a dedicated fan base that truly admires his work. He doesn't compromise his work and passion for money. I hope to one day say the same things about myself. 

1. What is one photograph that you keep dear to yourself?
2. Toast, Waffles, or Pancakes? Why?
3. If you realized that you could talk to animals, what would you ask them?
4. Describe your happiest memory in the past month.
5. How do you feel about war? 

I nominate.....

Have fun answering these questions!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Seoul!

new hair! I love bangs. 
Hello everyone! I know I haven't been posting at all recently. Life has been very busy and I honestly don't know what to blog about at the moment. I hope all that will change once I receive some stimulus from Smith!

I've been taking two Chinese classes in order to master basic Chinese. In my free time, I've (of course) been shopping. I've only been here for one week though! 

Every day from 10 am - 11:50 am, I have class. This day class is scary. Everyone is so intimidating and I shake due to fear of messing up and failing.. This class has about 9 people. I work on my accent so much but improvement is so insignificant. No one realizes I've lived in the US for most my life though which is a success! 

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have another class at 7:50 pm -9:50 pm. The night class is so much fun. It's much more conversational and there's no fear of messing up. There's only four people and the teacher is so cool! The environment is very relaxed and during breaks, we gossip about celebs (I really need to catch up on celebs..) and she (the teacher) tells us the best places to drink beer and eat street food. I think I'm of legal drinking age here but I'm such a square. There's this one guy in my class who is at least 3 years older than me, but really attractive. He is so nice to everyone and he said my voice was cute haha. I'm like the little sister of the group. I love this class. 

I have a lot of plans going with some family friends and even some of my own friends! I'm meeting up with some girls who are going to Smith in the fall and some old church people :) I'm excited! 

So I guess it's time I shared another little story of my past-present. Let's call him A. He confuses me a lot. This story is pretty long so click below if you want to read.