Friday, December 16, 2011

Last week, Friday

I was in the car, hanging out with Mom, waiting for my brother, looking at her huge thing of keys, looking at the red Thailand keychain shaped like a star and containing some small shells. I knew her sister, my aunt, had been to Thailand. I asked Mom, "who gave you this?" She said it was my 嫲嫲, my paternal grandmother. I never imagined her going to Thailand. She went by herself, with a tour group. Back in the days, it was difficult for Chinese citizens to travel out of the country, and when they did, it was only to nearby countries.

Still, it was Thailand. My grandma had decided to go to Thailand.

(Was she somewhat like me?)

That day I found out that my grandmother had been to Thailand and it made me sad.



I can't get them out of my head.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We looked at each other, silent

Yesterday I went to a lights festival with a friend, and there was a very small fair food sort of area nearby. I bought a huge bag of caramel kettle corn (it was the smallest size--queen!) and shared it with my friend.

Well, we were eating it, and I dropped one--it landed on the ground between us.

A very normal guy, said something like "aww yeah," and leaned down on the ground, flat, all the way, as if he were to do a pushup. And picked the kettle corn up with his mouth. He ate it and walked casually away.

Monday, October 17, 2011

So this is what it's like

Last installment in my short crush saga.

He's gay.

So it goes.

Back to ordinary life, I suppose.

Monday, September 26, 2011

So this is what it's like to be silly

You guys, he talked to me first.
It's only Monday!

/teenage girl!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So this is what it's like to be human

I may have just developed my first crush in years. Since high school, even. It's a full blown crush, and not just the idea of one. It's definitely "just a crush," because I don't know him very well, and he doesn't know me, but I will try to change that on Tuesday.

Ha ha ha. I'm kind of giddy.

But, oh, the uncertainty.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Things I have been thinking about

Some goals: Ride on a paternoster. Eat a real guava.

I can never get over the fact that an egg (I'm thinking about a chicken egg, for example) is a single cell. I think it's amazing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Failure and fear

I've returned home. After 285 days abroad, I'm home.

I had never been so excited in a plane before, counting the hours until I was home, peeking over my two row companions (old men) to look out the window as we landed, with every piece of ground I saw sending a thrill down my spine. Oh my goodness, I thought. San Francisco. Home, home, home, home, home. I'll see my family.

There are many things I want to write about. I want to write about my general experience, being in other countries. I want to write about the weird feeling I get upon returning again--this round more profound. But what I will write about here is, well, in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty small. Tomorrow it will be everything.

You see, I have failed a course. I have failed a course. I have never failed a course in my life. My college GPA before going to Hong Kong was practically 4.0. I ruled in college. I was confident. My parents trust me to do well academically. Oh, they trust me.

Well, I failed. FAILED. I got an F.

I am so scared to tell them, you have no idea. They don't really care that much about my great personal growth, the friends I made, the places I went. I went to Hong Kong to study, and look what happened.


I kind of didn't want to come home after finding that out, borrowing my friend's computer in Goyang, Korea. I had been so excited to come home, and at that point, I wanted to stay away forever.

I've got to beat them to the chase. I've got to say something tomorrow.

It's terrifying.
Oh God, it's terrifying.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've been traveling a lot

I think it's time that I am defined not by where I go, but by what I do.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I will record this for posterity

I just spent the last two hours staring, terrified, at a cockroach.

I saw it skitter across the room; it was huge (relatively). About the size of my thumb. I watched it climb over my Cat6 cable, my laptop's power adapter, my roommate's various pairs of shoes and umbrella. I saw it fly (!) out from under the desk and wriggle erratically on the floor on its back. I heard the tap tap noises it made on the floor.

It was terrifying, but so stupid. I felt so stupid.

Finally, at 3am, needing sleep badly, I went downstairs to the lobby and asked the nightwatch to help me. I did so very meekly. He was very nice and matter-of-fact about it, and it was over in less than a minute. Stomp. Cleanly squished cockroach. "Do you have paper?" "Yeah... yeah, I do." Pick up, throw away, wash hands.

I hope this never happens again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Burnt out

Instead of doing anything productive, which I desperately need, I am trying to learn the Dvorak keyboard, just on a lark. It is with this slow method that I am typing this out. What the hell am I doing?

I am also listening to New World Symphony, 4th movement, by Mr. Antonín Dvořák, because why not, right?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another bus encounter


So I was on the bus, and as the bus pulls into the last stop (mine) and I am seriously one second from getting off (I was sitting in front of the door), I hear this voice go "Wanda?" I look over and these is this guy there, smiling, that I can't place at all. My face must have been very obviously confused because he then goes, "Chinese class. I thought you looked familiar."

Uh, uhh.

Maybe it's that guy I talked with once who's also from California? He has an American accent. I searched for something to say to told him I recognized him. His name? Which university did he go to again?

I get off the bus and he is one person behind me. I wait.

I come up with nothing as he steps onto the sidewalk, his face now awash with the yellow glow of the streetlamps.

I really don't recognize him at all. I try to remember the Californian guy I talked with once. Did he always wear glasses? Was his hair always like that? Should I say, "Did you cut your hair?"

I smile and he smiles back and none of us has anything else to say. It's clear that we'll be going in separate directions. He does this side salute and grins. I wave goodbye back.

He was so cute!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

He smelled really good

Today I rode the bus all the way home instead of getting off where I needed to get off to buy groceries so I could talk to a guy.

Now I don't want to head out again, but I'm really hungry.
Hello, bits of cold lunch leftovers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fire alarms

So, as far as I can tell, the people here don't give a shit about the fire alarm. It might as well not exist. It rang and people still went up! In an elevator!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy birthday, Mom

I'm caught in a bit of a conundrum. I would really, really like this year to get my mother a decent (even great!) birthday present, but I have no clue as to where to begin.

You see, my mother is the most genuinely practical, sensible, selfless, unfrivolous person I know. She never put up my hair that well when I was young (she did try) because she never did it much herself. The only makeup she owns is a tube of lipstick I've never seen her wear. She has clothes over a decade old in her everyday wardrobe. She doesn't use purses or own expensive shoes (at all, at all). It's not like she's frumpy. She always looks presentable and has decent, albeit simple, taste in clothes.

When I was growing up, living with her, this seemed completely normal. To me, it was a "mom" thing. (A story: Five years ago, I went on a summer program to China, where I purposely did not buy my mother a souvenir. I had thought that she would say something like "I'd prefer it if you didn't spend money on silly t-shirts for me." I'd thought that she would truly want nothing at all, and I proudly told her this while I showed off my souvenirs. Of course she was sad! Who prefers to not receive a present when everyone else gets one?? I still feel stupid and guilty to this day.) It was only after spending much more time with other moms--my friends' moms, even my aunts and grandmothers, that I realized that my own was almost saintly in her practicality.

At the same time, my mom, who is currently definitively the main breadwinner in our household, has no qualms about the slightly less frugal spending habits of the rest of our family. When my father wanted to completely redo the yard, when he wanted a new couch, a new high-definition TV, a new Wii, some tools, camping equipment, boats (good inflatable ones. We are not rich.), an iPhone, she let him. "Let" is actually not the correct word. He didn't need permission. The money was shared money. And most of his purchases were, of course, not solely for himself--but he always thought of them first. My mom never says "Hey, you know what we need? More canvas chairs. Let's go buy some." My brother spends money on computer equipment, audio equipment. I spend money on ridiculous international trips and school. What does my mom spend money on?

The only thing I ever know her to splurge a bit on are facial lotions and professionally done facial treatments (intense moisturizing, anti-aging sort of things, I'm guessing). That's it. And I was even surprised when I found out. Mom, liking standard womanly things? Spending money on them? Then I got sort of excited because--yes, finally, an easy gift idea--lotions! But it was a dumb thought because she already had good set of lotions and a planned regimen. Last year, when I was in France, I bought her a mask creme thing because I figured that wouldn't already have a place in her plan, but she didn't seem too excited upon receiving it and I'm not even sure she ever used it.

Another thing I know my mom likes (but doesn't spend any extravagant amounts of money on) is gardening and orchids. It's not something I properly appreciate, but she really enjoys taking care of her pots of flowers, watering them, and watching them in general.

So, this brings me to my original problem. What am I supposed to get her? Her birthday was yesterday, but she, along with the rest of my family, is coming in three days to visit me (across fifteen time zones!), and I want to greet her with a nice, physical present. Lotions are apparently no good, plants are out because she won't be home, and I can only get her so many ceramic cups (she likes cute tableware! but I'm not 100% accurate in gauging her tastes). When I'm traveling, sometimes I'll see stuff and I'll think, ha ha, Dad would like that, Calvin would like that, but these thoughts rarely occur with my mother. The only time I remember when she immediately came to mind is when I saw the huge orchid exhibit at the Flora Expo. (I then proceeded to take an insane amount of poorly-focused orchid photos.)

I know now that my mother is a human being too, and there must be plenty of things she wants, but it's very difficult to know which things. I feel like I can't ask her. It's a vague questions anyway--What kind of things do you like as presents? I feel like I, who spent almost every day of the first eighteen years of my life with her, should know. But she is too good. It's so hard.