Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Friendship Means to an Eleven Year Old

Have I ever bragged about my sister Jody before? She's eleven. Smart. Beautiful. Sassy. And she is an amazing writer.

She wrote this poem about friendship the other day:

A friend can be anyone,
Anyone who respects you.

A friend can be your next door neighbor,
A person who did a kind favor,
Or even your enemy.
Having a friend is like putting batteries into a clock,
Or sailing a boat in a dock.
Take this away and what do you have?
A clock that doesn’t work and an empty dock.

A person who doesn’t have a friend is like a book with no pages,
A sky with no sun,
 A pen with no ink,
Or having no blanket in a cold, windy night.
Give a good fight?
‘Tis is wrong.


Essentially, a friend is "anyone who respects you," even your enemy.  
I've never thought of that before. That forces me to wonder --  am I a true friend? Am I patient with those around me when I am stressed? Do I listen to their ideas, and really think about them, even if I don't agree? Can I love my friends the way they are, without trying to mold them into somebody I think I might like better?

When an eleven year-old teaches you about life (beyond the fact that boys have infectious diseases), it's humbling. And reminds me of these wonderful people who somehow want to be my friends:

 We have fun being awkward together. 
I look up to these girls so much.

My best friends. I could not have made it through college without my siblings (+ JC).
I don't think they will ever know how much they mean to me.

 Kenji. Sticks with me during those stressful moments. 
He teaches me how to have fun (that does not involve econometrics).
I am still working on that.

 We love each other. Enough said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hwanhi + Nate

Hwanhi and Nate are seriously one of my favorite couples.

There are few couples who are so supportive of and loving with each other. I'm so happy that after over a year and a half of togetherness, they have finally tied the knot.

I had my five cakes and ate them too. I feel sick now.

 You leave behind your thumb print and your love as a guest sign in. 
Ingenious huh? That way, we'll know if somebody kidnaps the princess bride.

The happy couple!

Love them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Foreign Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I was here:

Angkor Wat. Cambodia. Backpack. August. 

The wanderlust is back again.

Who wants to join me?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Graduation Karma

As I stood in line at the Honors graduation banquet, I snickered at the thought of somebody tripping at the makeshift stairs. It just seemed like a movie-like moment that every graduation should have. My vote was for the girl with the ankle-length maxi dress.

She sailed right through.

And then it was my turn.

I walked confidently up the steps in my nude Nine West pumps. 

All of a sudden, my right foot felt cold. And it hit further down than it should.

I was momentarily confused. Shauna, the lady reading out the names of the graduate, gasped, "her shoe!"

I looked back. My right shoe was caught and I had left it behind.

After edging back down the steps and putting it back on, I smiled as big as I could and walked back up again as if nothing had happened.

The Honors program director squeezed my hand and whispered, "Congratulations, Cinderella."

I could have died.


Afterward, Casey proudly showed me the camera in his hand. He had videoed the entire thing.

Better yet, news reached my parents fast, and my mom left a voice mail saying, "We are so proud of you, Cinderella-graduator."

My feelings about karma has not changed.


On a separate graduation note, remember how I wondered about the whole throwing-your-cap myth?

Well, it actually happened.

Except, when the photographer told us to remove our caps and throw it up in the air, I had to frantically take out all the bobby pins securing my cap to my hair.

And I missed it.

So, I did my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The urban myth of graduation

Graduation is a loaded word for me. On one hand, it means accomplishment and completion (or not because I'll stay for spring to finish up the thesis). On the other, goodbyes and full-blown adulthood.

Last week, the only thing I was really excited for during graduation week was the Tucano's luncheon that I've planned for my family. Emotional eater much?

But today, I woke up and thought: I'm so excited about graduating!

Well actually, the exact thought was whether we would get to do this:

Throw our caps.

Back in high school, when I was on the student council, I suggested that we should get cap and gown for our graduation. Ultimately it was shot down because the idea was too American (I went to a British school).

I've seen this done in movies so many times. But I've always wondered if it's real. Do people in America really just throw their caps in the air at the same time? Or do people just walk around under a cloud of thrown-up caps all day long? How do they really achieve that kind of hang time? How do you find your cap afterward? Should I put a sticker on mine so I can get it back?

Maybe it's just an urban myth. Evidence: Chelsea's cap didn't leave her head once during her graduation.


(update) I just remembered this:

I still haven't ordered my cap and gown. 

Epic fail.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flash Mob for Japan

When the world was watching the earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear emergencies in Japan several weeks ago, a small group of Asians in BYU got together and started scheming.

We wanted people to remember their initial compassion and sympathy for Japan when the water recedes, when the news cameras leave, when Japan has to pick itself up and start again.

Our solution? Organize a flashmob where we raise awareness of Japan's sufferings and encourage people to buy "Made in Japan" because that is the best way to help Japan's long term recovery.

Around 200 Asians responded to the call. And this is what we did today at the wilk terrace:

Added bonus? Now the white people know that (some) Asians can dance.

Check this out if you're a little confused at the ching chong part in the middle.

Props to Kenji (for designing shirts and editing video), Ryan (for remixing the song), Jarom (master planner!), Shunta (choreographing), Amy, Rachel, Miranda (for being the most patient dance teachers), and many others!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Digesting Memories

Growing up, I've always hated eating boiled eggs. The yellowish-blue ball of hardened yolk would lodge in my throat and had to be washed down by gulps of water. When I left for college, I swore that I would never touch another boiled egg except during Easter. But every day during the summer in Beijing, I would wake up to sugared tomatoes, steamed buns, chewy wooden ears . . . and two boiled eggs. Waipo would faithfully repeat the secret to her father's longevity (he died in a traffic accident when he was ninety), and watch me patiently until I squirmed and ate everything on my plate.

But after the summer, when I returned back to America and had to figure out my own breakfast every morning, I would always reach for the eggs and start boiling my water. I still grit my teeth when I ate them, but somehow I wanted to keep doing it. To show her that I hadn't forgotten.

When Chelsea left for college, I also took it upon myself to continue her idiosyncratic habit of mixing cereal with yoghurt, even though I used to tease her about it.

Other times, I was obsessed with baklava, barbeque chicken pizza, subway chicken teriyaki sandwich and co. because each bite was a way of holding onto them and pretending that they're still there to force me to eat those things.

And right now, I would really like some Pear and Gargonzola.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cannibalism and other subtle messages

The Donner Party was a group of pioneers (not the Mormon ones) who attempted to cross the freezing plains to reach California in 1846-7. They had a lot of women and children and even hired helpers. But because they were misled by a greedy store keeper who wanted to sell them more supplies, they started on a supposed shortcut and were snowed in for months.

The group was so desperate for food that they ate the oxhide in their bows. And their makeshift roofs. And each other.

Apparently they even tried to practice cannibalism in true democratic style when somebody suggested a vote to pick their human sacrifices.

Ultimately, they were rescued. But only 48 of the 87 people made it into California.

For our 328 assignment, we had to run probit and logit models to calculate the characteristics that contributed to higher survival rates.

Younger and older people were vulnerable. Being a hired help is not bad. Being male is advantageous. Being in a family is even more so. So if you're a married male adult, you've hit the survival jackpot.

And if you're a single female, you're shafted. Or just eaten.

I think I just found another incentive to get married.

p.s. It's nearly 2 a.m. and I'm still sitting in the TA office working. School sleepover party? It's starting to look that way.

A Cutting Look

My parents know that whenever they call me during my Sunday cooking sessions that I will either 1. slice my finger along with the tomatoes or 2. drop the phone because hot oil just hit my eye. Note that this only happens when I'm talking on the phone with my mom. I just get distracted.

This Sunday, I was frying chicken. Deep frying. Dawn pointed out the fact that I had already talked to my mom so I would be safe. I prided myself on my perfect timing. I was invincible.

Then as I was reaching for the last piece of breaded chicken, my mom called back.

The rest was history. I accidentally dropped the piece of meat straight into the scalding bubbling hot oil. And in protest, the chicken splashed the oil all over my arm. I yelped and burned while Hwanhi and Dawn rushed to relieve me of the stuff I was holding.

They ripped through my mom's 72 hour kit and wrapped me up with layers of gauze.

The biggest burn was on my wrist. And guess what shape it was in?

A chicken thigh. 


The next day, I felt self-conscious so I removed most of the gauze around my elbow and just kept the one on my wrist.

I walked into my English class and barely plopped my bag down when the girl next to me pointed to my wrist and gasped,

"What happened to your . . .?"
She never finished her sentence. Then suddenly sympathetic, she asked,"how is life?"

Me: Well kind of stressful. I feel like things are spiraling out of control.

Girl (with a firm squeeze right on my burnt wrist and a knowing empathetic look): You can do this.

She sneaked another look at my clearly DIY wrist gauze job again.

Wow. She thought I was cutting.