Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Alert!

Stop global warming now if you love Christmas! Reliable sources have claimed that Santa Clause might not have as much time delivering presents this year due to the fact that the North Pole is melting. The jolly old man and his elves are too busy fixing the leaks in their roof.

So douse that open fire that you are roasting your chestnuts on - they're releasing unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide. Instead of wrapping paper, just switch to the generic, brown recycled paper bags that they give out at Macy's. And last but not least, don't harbor those fugitive reindeer - their overgrazing is causing desertification and our loss of carbon sinks.

Any other ideas to save Christmas?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I really need

To do lists just stress me out because I'm constantly being reminded of reasons why I'm not on top of my game. Maybe I should just put up more lists like these:



























































Friday, December 18, 2009

Copyright-worthy word

Last night, my friends and I were going strong hitting the econ books at 1 a.m. (which was not a good idea since our test was at 7 a.m. this morning). Somewhere in between trying to figure out the myriad of questions on how much ice cream sundae Ooh Soofat (seriously) likes to eat, talking about things like circumcision and drinking milk, and eating a chocolate mug cake at midnight, we came up with a fabulous new word:

FEMONOPOLY :[fem-muh-no-puh-lee]
- noun, plural- ies

1. Exclusive female control over/access to the boys in a certain area
2. The dating market condition where there is one girl to multiple guys
3. Example: In a study group situation

Disclaimer: I was not the only girl in my study group so I'm guessing that my situation was a competitive market where you better be the most efficient at attracting "buyers" (min Average total cost = price = marginal cost!).


Sunday, December 13, 2009

In awe.

She's my idol.

Girl clad in black stiletto-heeled leather boots over her designer jeans.

Walking precariously on the slippery black ice.

While pushing a baby pram.

Presumably with a baby inside, scared for his/her life.

She's pregnant too.

Worse, she's headed for a downhill slope.

I guess that's what married women do for kicks.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Giving up on you.

I'm sorry. I'm done. It was fun while it lasted. But now I'm all burned out - you are too confusing. I'm not negating everything between us - I do admit that there are those rare moments when I think I understand you better than anything else. But just when I think I've got you figured out, you throw another curve ball at me. Are you playing hard to get? Cos I'm not playing with you anymore. This is me packing up, cutting my losses, and going home.

And for some reason, you, my battered Econ 380 notes, are coming with me. See, I told you, I am whipped.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm already twenty and a half! (and behind the game?)

I am stressing out. You may point to my piles of papers to write, finals to study for, and a messy room to clean as the reasons. No, those concerns of mine pale in comparison to this one. Yeah, I'm stressing out about the idea of retiring.

People say that you need to start saving/ investing young, and as soon as possible to accrue interest. Recently, I've been hearing the time value of money ticking ominously over my shoulder. I spent two hours yesterday skimming through various mutual funds trying to figure out which one will be the best for my retirement needs. Or rather, retirement wants. I want to travel around the world (but hopefully I can do that with my husband and children while we're all still young), to have a library in my house replete with the swinging ladder showcased in Beauty and the Beast, to have people over for dinner every week, to serve missions, to sponsor children in China to get their education, to work for free at an NGO . . . and the list goes on.

Sighing, I went over the various mutual fund prospectuses over and over again. Maybe I should also look into college funds for my kids while I'm at it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mail time!

One thing I hate about being a grown-up is that opening mail is no longer fun anymore. Here's what I got today in the mail: electricity bill, gas bill, 2 bank statements, catalogs with coupons of "$50 off if you buy $250", and the never ending medical bills. The coolest thing I've ever received was a recipe from a loan-officer. I bet he has never even cooked once in his life.

The only saving grace is that I love reading the fine print on the back of credit card ads with bright orange signs that yell "You're prequalified!" I love chewing on the end of my black ball-point, expertly circling the areas where they could potentially scam me for a lot of money. It's sort of my way of showing them that even though I love the vivid colors, the bold fonts, and the sheen of the glossy ad, I'm not sold. At least not yet. (I'm still waiting for one that smells nice.)

Since my parents don't live here but have a lot of their mail sent to my house, I get to open their mail as well. My dad's mail is a lot more interesting. You know that you've arrived in the world when you get mail that tells you what a valuable member you are of a community that you don't even live in. He gets birthday cards from banks, opera ticket offers from clubs, and invites to luncheons at the Marriott School. Whoever says that there are no free lunches in this world just doesn't know my dad.

Oh yeah Dad, I forgot to tell you - you've got mail!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mahler (not to be mistaken for somebody who goes to the mall)

I'm not the biggest fan of classical music. Well I don't mind it so much if I don't have to sit there and watch it being played. Once when I was attending an hour long student violin recital with my room mate Belinda, I had a sudden epiphany before I fell asleep in the middle of it: I will not let my kids learn piano or violin because I don't want to have to sit through their concerts and pretend to enjoy them. Call me the wicked mother, but at least I will not be a hypocritical one.

Which was why it was with dread that I agreed to go with Andrea to a symphonic concert up in Salt Lake city last weekend. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah orchestra were performing "Mahler's 2nd Symphony" and it was apparently going to be a big deal. As I wriggled into my seat, I glanced at the program, trying to read up on the next two hours of my life. Skipping over all the fancy music terminology, all I could glean was that it was going to be about a hero's funeral, nostalgia about his past, and eventual resurrection. Intense stuff.

Even without lyrics, somehow the music spoke and unfolded the story to me as I could have never imagined it. In my mind's eye, the hero morphed into a courageous but convoluted figure - he was disciplined yet passionate, tender yet crude and his funeral - oh those cellists! Their bows hacked the poor man's soul into pieces, lamenting his passing yet confining him to the bounds of mortality. But wait! The bugles sounded in the distance - could it really be? The choir of angels appeared and summoned fallen soldiers from remote lands and star-crossed lovers from their watery graves and called the most common of the commoners to stand forth to be resurrected.

By the time the symphony ended, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, mesmerized. One of the music buffs we rode back with claimed that Mahler had "made his weekend, no wait, his week, no, his Thanksgiving!" To which, his equally enthusiastic friend upped his game and claimed that Mahler had made his year. While I did not think that Mahler was life-changing, it was probably life-changing for my future children: sorry kids, it's back to the piano for you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What happens in Vegas





What happens in Vegas . . .

You can probably tell after reading my Subway post that I really need to work on being more spontaneous. So in an effort to throw all caution to the wind, I agreed to go on a random road trip to Las Vegas last weekend, not knowing quite what was going to happen or where I was going to sleep. Being a bunch of squeaky-clean Mormon kids, we spiced up all the Casino touring with a good dose of Utah fun, a.k.a. photo scavenger hunts. Random people would jump in our photos and one even asked for a kiss from a girl in our group. We finally succumbed to peer pressure at 3 a.m. in the morning - in order to fit in a little more, we all went and bought slurpees at 7/11 just so that we would have something to drink as well. Vegas was also the one place where I was so keenly conscious that I was underage. It also didn't help that I didn't have my I.D. with me half the time :P



My roommate, Dawn, and I were about to head back with our original group the next day when we realized that our stuff were locked in a hotel room and the people who had the key were gone bailing another member of our group out of jail. Ok, that was an exaggeration, but he was detained by the police in a holding cell. He got out fine but that meant that our ride left and we were left in Vegas for another day. More drama ensued but eventually we made it home safe and sound. This last spontaneous stint was very uncharacteristic of me but at least not I'm one step closer to being more comfortable out of my comfort zone.

Stays in Vegas

Las Vegas is gaudy. Everything is bright and over the top. Everywhere I looked was loud makeup, exaggerated laughs, and extremely tight outfits. Billboards scream for your attention and every casino was designed to lure in those lucky few who could win hundreds or those unlucky many who would lose thousands. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to look left or right, so I stare at the ground instead, which is even worse, as it is covered by calling cards. It is a city where people lose their inhibitions, conforming to the general practice of playing to your lowest denominator. As I walked by one casino, I heard over the loudspeaker an ad that went something like this, "Show the world that you are a sinner. Let us tempt you." I could not have summed up Vegas better myself.

When we got home to Provo, I threw all my smokey Vegas clothes in the laundry immediately. What happened in Vegas can stay in Vegas, thank you very much.

Not wired the right way

I have always thought it is interesting when boys write "Be Mine!" on some sort of a card or say it to me. The image in my head isn't one of red valentine's day hearts carefully cut out on construction paper. Instead, I see clawing hands clasped around my vulnerable shoulders, making sure that I can't run off. There is a sense of possessiveness embedded in that phrase - some sort of jealous frenzy that is waiting to be unleashed. The passion behind it heightens to a whole new level when it is all in CAPS LOCK or when it is accompanied by multiple !!!

To me, those two little words are absolutely suffocating.

Somewhere in my socialization process, I must have missed a couple lessons on how not to think too much when boys tell you that they like you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Subway

Habits comfort me. And eating at Subway for lunch is one of them. I was introduced to Subway rather late in my life but ever since I took that first bite, I was hooked. I go to the Subway at BYU quite a bit so much so that I recognize a new employee when I see one. I sort of know their shifts. I even know who is better at wrapping sandwiches and who is better at cutting the bread. When I reach for my wrapped sandwich, I normally can tell whether it would be tightly packed or not. I know that I need exactly three napkins if I have a cookie with my sandwich. And of course, I know just how much water to fill up in my cup so that I would have just enough to quench my thirst after my sandwich.

I used to pride myself on knowing my sandwich so well. There was this beautiful precision that I appreciated. But yesterday something changed subtly. I was just reaching for my wrapped sandwich when the cashier interrupted this familiar scene as she looked at me and said, "Wait, do you come here every day?" I mumbled a quick reply and turned away, embarrassed. I felt like my dad that one time when he walked into a Hilton hotel in Tokyo and the bell boy greeted him by name. All of a sudden, I realized that I have gone to Subway one too many times. Somehow, by wrapping around myself the comfort blanket of habits, I have become downright predictable and unadventurous. Over my 6-inch chicken breast on Italian herb and cheese bread that day (the same sandwich that I eat everyday), I resolved that I would do more to put myself out of my comfort zone.

Today, after an hour long of microeconomics, I unconsciously headed toward Subway once more. When the same cashier asked me what I wanted, I held my breath and made a quick decision: Roast beef on Italian herb and Cheese please! She seemed startled. There, I showed her. I could shake things up once in a while too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The law of attraction

I'm considering going to law school so I've been to quite a few pre-law events recently. I can't help but notice that these events generally attract certain types of personalities. At the risk of offending some die-hard future lawyers (Andrea!), I present to you my shameless stereotypes:

1. THE GUNNERS
Slick hairdo combined with ultra shiny shoes and a legal note pad in one hand. They raise their hands several times eagerly to ask "out of the box" questions but somehow just seem to annoy the heck out of everybody else. I really don't know why but whenever they speak, others in the room just tend to roll their eyes. You get the sense that they would climb on top of you if it means getting up the rankings just one more notch.

2. THE WIVES/ GIRLFRIENDS (AKA CHEERLEADERS)
The Harvard dean of admissions came to speak at BYU and there were probably around 90 people in the room. I counted 13 girls. 6 of whom I was pretty sure were there accompanying their bf/husbands/fiancees. Whenever somebody brought up how hard it was to get into Harvard, this girl in front of me would whisper (what I imagine to be) sweet nothings in her husband's ear to encourage him. It must be nice to be so supported.

3. THE TOURISTS
They are just shopping around for law schools. Not a single clue which one's better than the others. Just know that Harvard is probably somewhere up there after watching Legally Blonde. Probably just woke up one morning and said, "I think I'm going to go to law school." I know I did.

4. THE REGULARS
Your standard law buffs. Not quite as die-hard as the gunners but more serious than the "tourists". They feel that they are meant for law school and will work hard to get in, but probably not break their backs doing so. They appreciate the pizza at the events as much as the speakers. Generally nice, down-to-earth people.

Here are some photos just in case you haven't figured out which type I think I am:


Me playing the tourist in front of the Supreme Court



Dressing up as the Supreme Court Justice!




Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The gift of feeling lonely

I don't feel lonely very often. I've always been able to reside within my own thoughts and walk around examining my memories or exploring my recent experiences. I love to be alone sometimes, just so I can enjoy my own company. That's why, for me, the rare occasions of feeling lonely is an indirect gift that I should learn to treasure.

To me, being lonely and feeling lonely is different. The former is where you are left to your own devices, with no familiar face around to smile at you. The latter is where you are surrounded by loving faces, but yet you feel so detached. You may be joking, making a room full of person laugh, but you alone know that you are not smiling underneath.

There is something wistful yet beautiful about loneliness. No one really understands her until he has walked a mile with her by his side. Hence no one really understands a lonely person until he has felt lonely - utterly, dejectedly alone - at least once in his life. Perhaps that's why, for the sake of others, we should embrace loneliness and walk a while with her.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I got this fabulous recipe from Sis. Ferguson in Hong Kong. The first time my room mates and I made it, we were astounded. This is the perfect chocolate cake for college students since it literally took 5 minutes and the only dishes I had were one cup and a spoon!

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). Now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's not as easy as ABC

Buying books was a little difficult for me today. The BYU bookstore has changed the way they stock their textbooks, switching their old by-subject system for a new alphabetical one. With a little sigh, I started singing the alphabet song. The thing is the song rolls off my tongue so easily that sometimes I go past the letter that I'm singing for so I had to sing it all over again. Needless to say, I took forever in the bookstore.

When the cashier asked me for my thoughts on the new system as part of some feedback scheme, I told her that it was fine but I just had to sing the alphabet song over and over again. The sad thing was she just laughed and assumed that I was kidding.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Unwanted . . . by China

With a U.S. passport, a Hong Kong permanent resident card, and a ten-year China home visit visa, I have never had trouble going anywhere in the world. I don different identities, slipping into and out of the various languages, sometimes out of convenience, sometimes out of laziness. If I'm headed to Barcelona with my friends, I pull out the U.S. passport and breeze through security. If somebody in China customs is giving me a hard time about certain procedures, with an unrepentant smile, I sometimes pretend that I have absolutely no idea what they're saying.

Which is why I was shocked when they wouldn't let me on the plane to Shanghai in the Detroit airport. All I forgot to bring was my flimsy China home visit visa. I had left it back home in Utah, safely tucked away in a plastic folder. I tried to convince them that I do indeed have a visa and please can they check my name in the ether of some computer program? Isn't it obvious that I'm Chinese? I tried frantically to demonstrate how I could speak all three languages. The stewardesses who were smiling so patiently at the bumbling business class flyer a moment ago turned around and glared at me, "you think anyone can go to China? Why should we believe you?"

Used to living in my little Utah bubble, I wasn't sure what surprised me more: the fact that somebody would think I'm lying or that I was refused (no! retained, turned away, and bundled off to a different airport where I was somebody else's problem) by China!

I'm ashamed to report, that I did what any respectable college girl would do: I called my parents ten times, and when that failed, I cried.

In someways, that worked. The stewardesses came back to me, promising me a free flight back to Utah (and then from there to Shanghai but it turned out my visa was expired anyways). I was surprised that my little histrionic outburst had effected such a change, but then I suppose that I had passed the test: after all, terrorists trying to enter China illegally don't cry.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feeling Old

Even though people at the office teased me for being only twenty, I can't help but feel incredibly old now that I just had my twentieth birthday. The big 2-0 is a milestone, one that launches me into another decade of my life. I don't know if I'm ready to leave my teenage years behind yet. Regardless, it was ready to leave me behind. So with some reluctance I will resign to the fact that I'm going to start learning how to deal with adult issues like insurance, mortgage payments, retirement funds, etc. Man, I'm not even greying yet and I'm already being nostalgic.

I had a great birthday by the way. Last week we celebrated all the July and August birthdays at the Barlow Center. My friend Marie is an amazing cook and apparently she's also an amazing cake decorator. She piped our faces onto the cake, and President Obama's too of course.





On my actual birthday, my friends at the Barlow also surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries and a video that they put together for me. I nearly cried!


video

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The center of the universe





Last week we got to go to the Capitol and spend an hour with Congressman Jim Matheson (Utah Democrat). He was a great speaker and made me think that maybe I can be a Democrat and yet still stand for fiscal conservatism, among other things that conform to my religious beliefs. Afterward, my friend Jason used his special connections (aka his Senator Hatch intern badge) to show Andrew and I around the Capitol.





Since we didn't have much time, we just poked around a little bit. Below is the site where they were originally planning on burying George Washington (if what I remember is correct):



He even took us to the underground tunnels where we were able to ride the trains that are only reserved for people who work on the hill. Needless to say, I was easily impressed.

The streets in D.C. are laid out in quardrants with the Capitol building as the center of the city. Jason, Andrew, and I located the very central spot of the building and got to stand on top of it. Guess which foot is mine? P.S. the swelling has gone down, thank you.



For an instance while my foot was on that spot, I felt powerful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just so you would believe me

Some people who have heard of my snake bite story don't quite believe me when I said that my foot and my leg just ballooned . So here's a photo to satisfy your curiosity. This was taken while I was in the ICU, a day after I already had three doses of anti-venom shot into my blood stream.


Now I know how I would look like if I got cankles.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kissy kissy

At first I thought it was a joke. Then I saw it again two weeks later at another metro station. The "Kiss & Ride" sign in the parking lot right outside the metro was probably just some painter's idea of fun, although I don't really know what it could have meant.




I do have a couple of ideas though:
Spicing things up on the metro: Kiss cam!
Free rides for free kisses.
Left over celebration from Valentine's day?


Eventually I looked it up. Apparently the Kiss and Ride is a section where drivers can drop off their passenger and not have to leave immediately. It is a silly-cute tradition for the drivers to be able to kiss the commuters before they head off to work. How considerate.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Oh!-bama





Memorial Day weekend was tiring. The few of us who didn't end up going to New York (me because I was supposed to be in bed resting) decided to go and watch President Obama speak at the Arlington Cemetery. Jason somehow convinced us that we needed to wake up at 3 in the morning to line up to get good seats and even then he warned, we may be too late. So, when it was still dark outside, I grabbed a piece of toast slathered with chunky peanut butter, hobbled to the taxi, and with barely contained excitement, went off to the Arlington cemetery with my friends.

We innocently asked the taxi driver where he was from. "Sudan," he grumbled. In the short silence that pursued, I bet we were all thinking the same thing - should we tiptoe around the elephant in the room and change the subject or confront it head on and risk getting crushed? Tyler then casusally asked, "So what do you feel about what's going on over there right now?" What followed was an uncomfortable barrage against public apathy and political hypocrisy. All of a sudden he stopped the taxi and told us that we've arrived. When we got out, we realized that he had dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. The answer was clear - we got crushed. But still determined, we hiked the rest of the way, navigating with our cellphone light and my waterproof map. After all, President Obama was waiting.

There were nobody there when we arrived at the Arlington Cemetery. Ok, there were plenty of army soldiers teasing us for being so early. We sat there on the pavement for the next seven hours waiting for the gates to open. At around 7, still four hours before the event, the crowds began to come. There were the adoring fans, sporting obama t-shirts and even obama sport shoes. There were the sons and daughters of the veterans past wanting to visit their parents' graves. And then of course, there were mere tourists/ interns like us, who were told not to leave DC without an Obama-sighting.

It was all worth it, we were the first ones on the bus when the gates finally opened. Wriggling through the crowds, we secured seats in the front section - we were only 30 feet (six rows) away from the president!

Watching him in action, I think I finally understood why the crowds loved him. He was electrifying. There was a solemnity about him and a sort of quiet dignity that simply engaged you, leaving you hanging onto his every word. He spoke about the sacrifices of our troops, describing their bravery and courage in the face of war. He exalted the great generals loved by history and yet paused to acknowledge the unknown soldiers "whose names were known only to God". It was a beautiful tribute, made even more heartfelt because he vowed that he would never send troops to war "unless absolutely necessary". I veered from being on the verge of tears one moment and on the heights of patriotic pride the other.

I must admit though, this whole nationalistic thing was a little draining. I think this last stint should last me for a while.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Feeling American







As part of our class field trip in Washington Seminar, we went to Philadelphia this weekend. Before we went, the only thing I really knew about Philly was the Philly cheesesteak, and I wasn't even sure if I really liked eating it.

It turned out to be a wonderful, patriotic experience. We stood, in awe, in the very room that the Constitution was signed in. We looked with reverence at the liberty bell that heralded in the democratic peace. We also hunted down Benjamin Franklin's grave with the zeal of treasure hunters. We even "met" Thomas Jefferson, whom we affectionately dubbed "TJ", and spent an hour talking to him.

For a girl who has stubbornly refused to learn the pledge, constantly stumbled over the national anthem, and always hurried indoors when BYU does its flag lowering ceremony, I actually had tears in my eyes when I was watching the clip briefly introducing the history behind the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. For the first time, I felt a flicker of the patriotic flame that burned brightly in the Founders' hearts. For once, I felt American.

By the way, I tried the local Philly Cheesesteak. It was delicious.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Overhearing

There is a very thin line between overhearing and eavesdropping - especially while I'm walking around on campus. Here are a couple of things that I overheard (and then heard some more as I perked my ears up) while minding my own business:

"What on earth do they have in common? One's a food science major and the other is an economist major . . . I'm telling you, he should have asked me out instead."
- by a somewhat animated girl in a purple dress

"My patriarchal blessing doesn't even mention a wife. Or a family. But it does mention my mom though."
- from a guy to another; they looked at me weirdly when I actually laughed aloud

"My wife is having a baby!"
- good for him!

"Mom, you need to stop trying to set me up on dates, the last one wasn't even pretty."
- an unappreciative son

"She cheated on me. First she dated my room mate and then my home teacher...."
- he went on and on for a while. I was walking home and he was in front of me the whole time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

每当我一下课,第一时间就是到图书馆去,今天也不例外。手刚要伸出去拉开图书馆的大门时,一个瘦小的男生突然插到我的前面,二话没说就把门拉开一点,从门缝里钻进去了。 看着他走进图书馆大厅的那一刹那,我心里百般不满地在想那个男生多么没有绅士风度。

顿时,我楞住了。令我意外的不是那个男生的无礼, 而是自己的第一反应。 从小在香港长大,对满街爱理不理的陌生人早就习惯了,永远都不会希望有人给我开门。初次来到犹他州时,每当有男生客气地为我开门时,我都会觉得不好意思。刚开始,我一直逞强,坚持为自己开门、拿东西,并告诉跟我约会的男生,我是一个新时代女性,不需要男人的呵护。但不知不觉中,我却慢慢地适应了大部分犹他州男生的绅士风度。现在,这个男生只不过是没有替我开门,我就潜意识地断定他不够“男人”。这时我才意识到,这两年来自己真的变了。

An hour at the bus stop

Riding the bus is a big deal for me.

The first time I took a bus here in Utah, I didn't realize that I was on the wrong bus until, two hours later, the bus driver asked me if it was the first time I had ridden a bus. So when Chad asked me to take the bus up to Sandy to go and hang out with his family, I was nervous. Chelsea and J.C. dropped me off at the bus stop and I stood there for a good long while until I realized that I had already missed the bus. I had another hour to kill until the next bus came around, so I stood, somewhat stranded, and waited. Meanwhile, I sat in the bus stop booth and watched.

I felt protected in my glass booth, leaving me somewhat removed in my human observatory. I watched all the people who passed by me, either on foot or on wheels. There was the happy couple who biked past me, laughing and joking as they passed. I don't know how they had managed to bike this whole time without crashing - they were gazing steadily into each others' eyes and mouthing I-love-yous that made me, who was inconspicuously watching, feel like I was intruding. There was really some Hollywood material right there.

I noticed the joggers, some more red-faced than the others, and wondered how they could find time to do all they had to and still make it to their daily jogs. Then I realized that I was the one who just planned on sitting at a bus stop for an hour, studying people.

Of course, there were the cars whizzing past. I liked looking at the people in the cars. Why is his music so loud? Are those two people dating? She is huge - when is she due? One honked at me and laughed. I felt a little indignant - I wasn't in his way. They all seemed to be in such a hurry.

But my favorite was the homeless man who shuffled past me. He was one of the stereotypical ones who stuffed his trolley with plastic bags full of stuff. I was tempted to start talking to him and ask him what he was carrying around all day long. I watched him for a long time. He peered into the garbage bin and gingerly picked up a disposed drink. He must not have liked the flavor (it was apple beer, I heard the man who threw it away tell his girlfriend) because he chucked it almost as soon as he sipped at the straw. Readjusting his hat, he continued onwards, seemingly oblivious to my obvious fascination in him. As I timed how often he heaved his giant backpack (on average, once every eight seconds!), I wondered where he was going. Did he know what his destination was? Did he even care? With the backdrop of cars whizzing past me, all determined to reach a set destination, I couldn't help but think about him when he disappeared around the corner.

Finally, the bus came. I boarded and picked a seat next to the window. After a couple of minutes, I saw the same trolley and giant backpack, this time abandoned on the side of the road. I craned my neck, concerned. I couldn't help smiling when I caught a quick glance of him sitting in Panda Express, enjoying his Chinese.

I guess he did know where he was going after all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Second Child Syndrome

I am a second child. It just hit me today that the people I really get along with tend to be the second child of their family. Every boy I've ever dated is a second child. There is a lot of research done investigating the link between birth order and personality traits. So I looked up articles on second child syndrome and see how I compare. According to this article, it seems that I am destined to be a sad, rebellious, and oftentimes ignored little girl. What do you think?

Second or middle children usually bemoan their fate as being ignored by everyone in the family. They may grow resentful or all the attention given to the oldest and youngest of the family. Second born children will often try to be the exact opposite in personality, interests, etc. from the first born child. S/he will often do almost anything for parental attention, even if that means being naughty. Parents tend to be much easier and less demanding on the second and third children. Middle or second children have to compete to be heard or noticed, and therefore crave the spotlight in other ways. They may be the loud, boisterous child in school. They may be the center of all their friends' events.

The middle or second born child often have a feeling of not belonging to the group. Being in the middle can make the second child feel insecure. They may lack the drive and motivation that is so prevalent in the first born. The second child may instead look to the first born for direction. This may also make the second born feel out of place because they aren't over achievers. Instead, the middle child usually just goes with the flow.

Second born children are often loners. They may have trouble latching on to a person in a relationship. They may also have trouble making decisions in school and in a career. Second or middle borns are usually artistic and creative, but don't work well under pressure. They have a history of starting projects and never finishing them. When choosing a career, most middle or second children would be best suited for something where they could freely express themselves, have flexible hours and frequently changing projects.

Christmas 2008

Photos from Christmas:












Friday, January 23, 2009

在去中文課的路上

我每次在去中文課的路上都會碰到他。每當我們擦肩而過時,我都會裝一副滿不在乎的樣子跟他打招呼。那一秒鐘的相遇常常令我感慨萬千。一大堆我沒有勇氣問的問題在腦海裡迴轉。你還好吧?快樂嗎?會偶然想我嗎?我猜,愛情小說裡最豪爽的女主人公若碰到以前的未婚父可能也只能像我那樣望而興嘆吧。但我提醒自己,決不能像上學期那樣縱容自己不停地回想往事和質疑取消婚禮的決定。過了半響,才記得我從這挫折中學到最寶貴的一課就是無論怎樣,一旦做了決定,就要堅決地笑著繼續走。

每當想到這一點,我就能舒暢地推開課室的門,無憂無慮地上課。

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WAR!


Chad took this photo during our epic snowball fight where the girls have just formally declared war on the boys. Hence the warrior face. This is just so typical of Jody!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lack of farmer blood

I used to have this lofty illusion of being the busy-bee early-riser (a.k.a. Chelsea), who somehow manages to do all her laundry, bake some bread, and dust down all the counters before 9 a.m. So I ambitiously signed up for 8 a.m. classes my first semester at BYU. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening (most of the time quite literally). Like all respectable freshman, I partied hard till 4 in the morning, dancing on our mattresses that we had pulled into the hallway, sneaking out to belt out happy birthday to the embarrassed individual, and delivering goldfishes to the boys in our ward. Needless to say, Physical Science first thing in the morning just kicked my trash. I would stagger in midway during class and sleep through the rest of the clicker quizzes. With a habit like mine, even Edison's brightest bulb would struggle desperately.

Eventually I caught on. The next semester my earliest class was at 12.

Then the next semester my Tuesdays and Thursdays schedule started at 2.

And now once again, the night before school starts, I'm sitting in front of my computer, trying to figure out my schedule for the next four months of my life. Can I handle philosophy at 9:30 every morning? Even though I know myself pretty well, so in this case the answer would be a no, I'm still tempted to hold onto my pretensions to be an early-riser. There is just something so refined and I don't know, almost lady-like, about the concept of waking up when the first rays of morning light hit your eyes. I would imagine that Jane Austen stretched contentedly on her bed and came up with new ideas for her books every morning without jerking awake when her sister pounds on the door because she was late for class once again. No, women like Virginia Wolfe, Condoleezza Rice, and Snow White all sound like early-rising go-getters.

Looking back at the BYU screen, I sighed and dropped my philosophy class. I guess there will be no Emily Bronte aspirations for me this time, I'll just have to face reality and settle with being a Marie Antoinette.