Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Easiest Question

Last night, I was interviewed by AMCHAM Shanghai (American Chamber of Commerce) via skype.

Luckily, they couldn't see how much my legs were shaking because the camera only locked in on my upper body. My apartment was just so darn cold.

Just when I thought that I survived the bulk of the interview, they warned me that they were going to enter into the "hard-hitting" part of the interview.

So with a brave smile and clenched fists (which thankfully they also couldn't see), I fielded questions on raw materials export restrictions in China, told them about the three main issues that riddle U.S.- Chinese business relationship (and I'm not allowed to mention Google!), and planned a hypothetical working group on wind energy development in China.

Surprisingly, I sailed through that part (sort of). And they looked impressed that I could even come up with a coherent answer. Apparently previous interviewees couldn't even tell them what newspapers they read daily.

Then with a smile, the lady asked me,

"What are your hobbies?"

I froze. Then slowly,

"Baking and reading?"

I might as well have told them that I am a cat lady and am scared to go outside in case I have to interact with people.

And yes. I posed it as an apologetic question. And I've been asking myself that same thing all night long.

I am forced to wonder: Am I a boring person? I'm passionate about my work and I love burying myself in the library researching. But twenty years later, when I want to take a break from my job, what will I have left that I love to do?

This is when I realized this: I love writing snippets that make people laugh. I obsess about traveling. I browse recipes in my spare time. And I collect personal items from different corners of the world.

But apart from that, what makes me me? What do I have that classifies as a bona fide "hobby" that is socially acceptable as "fun" and "interesting"?

I don't know. And honestly, that scares me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adam and Eve

In temple prep class, our teacher, an elderly lady who likes to wear ribbons in her hair, asks us a serious question:

"What happened after Adam and Eve were ousted from the Garden of Eden that allowed them to fulfill the other commandment that Heavenly Father had given them?"


Hwanhi: Menstruation.


Luckily for her, nobody else apart from me heard her answer.

Unluckily for me, I burst out laughing and our teacher probably thinks that I'm just thinking of something else that is entirely inappropriate.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Non-PC Bingo

Want a more organized way to people watch? Try this -- the White People Bingo.

I think I'll bring it with me the next time I trip up to SLC.

White Person Bingo (brought to you by the publishers of STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lost in Translation

Today, somebody told me,

"I ling long you."

I was oddly flattered.

Don't know what I'm talking about?

Watch this and then listen to this.

It definitely tops my personal list of the best (worst) Asian comments I've heard from my white friends.


On a slightly separate Asian note -

I've had two fortune cookies this week. (I love snacking on them because I've never seen them before in China)

My fortunes are:

#1 "Go to South Africa."

#2 "75,000 Asians die of Hepetitis B virus every year"

 So . . .  Go to South Africa and then die of Hepetitis B? Now I'm definitely stereotyping.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Stay strong, Japan. Don't let the waves break your spirit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Color-coded Identity

I was always meant to like pink. The kind of pink that makes you think of bunnies, babies, and soft cuddly things. Everything I had were in varying faded shades of coral, fuchsia, or carnation. And that's what I wanted.

Chelsea was always dressed in blue. Rich dark navy hues, brilliant Indian-turquoise, or baby boy blue. She guarded her color jealously too, protecting it from her pink-faced sister who was too embarrassed to ask mom for blue pajamas for Christmas this year. Sometimes when she left the house to hang out with the boys in the park, I would try on her clothes, feeling momentarily bold because I'd shed my pink pink clothes. And my introverted book-worm personality.

Meanwhile, because Chelsea loved blue and Sisi loved pink, my mom would stick to those hues when she went Christmas pajama shopping.

I've since accumulated my fair share of blue. But I still feel slightly guilty when I choose blue over pink in permanent furniture fixtures or wedding color palettes.

I went to Walmart, the day before my freshman year started, to buy some bed sheets and bed spread. I was at the bedding aisle for forty minutes. I was inexplicably drawn to the Tiffany blue and dark chocolate brown comforter. But I felt obligated to the cardboard brown spread with pink carnations splashed haphazardly over it. I finally grabbed the comforter and marched to the registrar.

The lady asked tiredly, "Is this all today Ma'am?"

I paused, chewed my lip and went back and exchanged for those wilted carnations.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We passed each other when the sky was pink

I once watched a boy run around the track. 

It was snowing outside so I huddled inside, tracing figure eights while talking on the phone with my sister.

I wasn't particularly attracted to him. And I doubt that I was the kind of girl he would like.

But lap after lap, whenever he would run around, we would just look at each other.

Sometimes he would smile, as if amused at the comment I made to Chelsea about freshman boys.

Sometimes I would nod, silently acknowledging his participation in my conversation. Or just his awesome neon shoes.

It sounds weird, but I think we could have been good friends.

But instead, because neither one of us said anything, we are reduced to hellos at random events that we both go to.


(photo cred: Missed Connections)

Have you ever had a "missed connection" with a stranger who you are sure would become a great friend if you had just commented on the stickers on his/her lap top? A whole ton of people on the New York metro have.  Check out this Missed Connection blog. It's absolutely beautiful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From the Mouths of RMs

Casey texted me today and asked if I wanted to go clubbing at Club T tomorrow.

He meant the temple.


A few more sentences from my RM Chinese class:

He is a good person; after all, he is an American.

She is very beautiful, plus she has a car -- I want to date her.

Husbands should be considerate of their wives. At the same time, the wives should not repeatedly ask husbands to be more considerate.

The reason why I am taking Chinese is because I want to be able to talk to my Chinese girlfriend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Garage Door

A barrier.

A dissolution.

An ending.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joshua Radin Concert

The first time I heard Joshua Radin was when Justin burnt me a CD with all his favorite songs.

But the first time I fell in love with Joshua Radin's songs was in the Paris Charles de Gaulles airport. I had ten minutes of free internet time. I sent off a paper, which I was frantically writing the whole time we were in Paris, checked facebook, and fed my OCD habit of checking my email.

Kenji had written me a long email. And sent me this song. And it's been one of my favorite ever since.

I really hope he plays it at his concert tomorrow night!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


27 hours & 24 pages later, I finally handed in my 328 econometrics midterm.

That's how I justified doing absolutely nothing school-related this entire weekend.

But now my workaholic self is wagging her little fingers and reprimanding me quite a bit.

So I just took a nap and shut her up.


And now we're back, working on that six hour midterm due tonight.

Split personality? Oh definitely.