Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thesis? Check

12582 words, 53 pages (45 pages of text, 8 pages of works cited), and a year later, I'm finally done.
My visiting teachee, Risa, compared writing her dissertation to giving birth. I totally agree.

It's absolutely a labor of love (or Mormon-approved curses). 

There have been so many nights when I fell asleep sitting up. A few times I even felt like throwing up because I was so tired. I had different food cravings at different sections of my thesis. And don't even mention mood swings.

That said, it's been oddly rewarding as well. It's touching to see how my friends and family have supported me. And I positively glowed with love and pride in the stack of papers as I submitted them.

Now that it's over, it didn't seem that bad anymore.

And guess what?

It's a boy.

180 minutes

T - 3 hours

I'm going to give myself three more hours of obsessing. Then I'll send it to print. And walk it over to the Maesar building. Hand it in. Thank Shauna. 

And be done.

Then I can start planning my next adventure and swear that I'll never come close to writing a thesis again. But we all know how bad I am at keeping promises like these.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Sneeze

It was a frail sneeze, like she had covered her nose with something. A little bit on the high pitch side. Altogether it was a very polite, restrained incident.

She was fully hidden behind two computer screens.

But instinctively, I conjured up an image of a thin, wispy girl of about five feet. Definitely an Asian.

So, not caring that I was being an absolute weirdo, I leaned sideways, supporting myself so I wouldn't fall off my chair, and peeked.

Instant creeper validation - she was Asian!


* I got an extension on my thesis! Hence the whole camping-in-the-library-slash-watching-people thing. But I just found out that I have some mileage that will expire soon, so I am planning an impromptu trip to L.A. {insert joy}

And yes, I just noticed the paradox: a planned impromptu trip. Remember the last time I did that? And why I had to?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mom Turns up the Heat

My mom just called and issued a gentle ultimatum: A complete thesis draft will be the best birthday present I could ever give her (said with a very sarcastic laugh).

Her birthday is in two days.

While I had originally hoped to be done by tomorrow night / Tuesday morning, adding filial piety to the mix somehow ups the ante.

She thinks I'm having a mental breakdown. So she just wants me to be done.

At this point, I think it's more like I'm being done for.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A friend just sent me this and I gotta share (you'll see why!)

I feel like this should be Kenji's new theme song.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Have a Happy Doomsday

Apparently tomorrow is the end of the world.

Or is it today? After all, Christ is supposed to come from the East (China? New York?) and it is already 8 a.m., May 21, 2011, in Asia.

Well in any case, unless my house is hit by a giant meteor (sorry, that would be superman) or I get twinkled up into a higher place, I would be furiously typing.*

* I'm 2/3 of the way done with my thesis! Which leaves me . . . 2 days to finish the rest. Gah. Maybe doomsday will be less painful. 



Well we're all still here. So I'm guessing that a lot of doomsday prophets went out of business. But this one ingenious business sure did rake in a lot of cash before the supposed Rapture.

For $135, Eternally Earth-Bound Pets offer to rescue your mortal pets in case you, as the Christian owner, end up being translated into heaven. 

Yes. No joke. They are sworn atheists and have signed contracts that say that they have blasphemed according to Mark 3:29, thus negating any chance of being saved. So, they can take care of your earthly pets while you're enjoying yourself in another sphere. 

Please go read their FAQ section. It's hilarious.

Friday, May 20, 2011


When somebody tells you that you've wasted their time, I guess you should just shut up and shut down.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Irreverent Class Portrait

Welcome to my Chinese class.

Girl J keeps her hands tucked into her sleeves like the emperor in Mulan. She seems like the type who would like cats.

When boy X wants to catch my attention, instead of raising his hands, he throws up a peace sign. As if that would get on my Asian radar a little faster.

Then there's girl K who looks like she's going to cry every time I speak to her.

I almost stopped calling on boy U out of guilt. The deer in the headlight moment has passed. His looks are those of a dying deer, resigned to his fate of being lost in Chinese.

Boy Z shyly asks if we can be friends outside of the classroom. And if he can call me by my first name. How sweet.

It's been a constant struggle to explain to boy C that his Chinese sentences have to make sense. And that in China, dogs don't eat children. Every time, he looks at me as if I'm being unreasonable.

Then of course there's girl S (or me). The small Asian girl who gestures and repeats almost everything she says. It's like watching a free circus show. Rumor has it that she's a tough little teacher. (Is it still a rumor if it's true?)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So Good at Being So Bad

Last night, for my last honors portfolio entry, I watched a play about Florence Foster Jenkins, an American soprano who became a legend for her bad singing. She was so convinced that she could sing that she kept pushing through, interpreting the jeers as spontaneous eruptions from the audience because her music resonated with them.

She made it, in a way. And she was happy.

Which makes me wonder why I dropped all those things that I was told that I was bad at. Perhaps to satisfy my kindergarten teacher who gave me a C on my painting of happy taxis flying in the clouds (she taught me, "taxis don't smile")?

In any case, now that I've perfected my art of procrastination, I must stop and actually write another sentence on Putnam's two-level game theory. I guess it's a case of painful writing vs. painful singing.


Here's a clip of her singing. I actually had to pause it in the middle because my ears hurt. But here's a cheer to those who persevere!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Redefining the Dream

I had just rejected my dream job offer. Never thought I would say that.

But being finally able to make a choice feels fantastic. I am liberated from my indecisive paralysis and have picked the unconventional path. Let's hope that I won't regret letting go off the prestigious and safe.

Here's a toast to youth and its low opportunity costs!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

(Not) Scarred

"Are you this way because your face looks like (beep) !?"

I was confused. What was wrong with his face?

I was watching Pay It Forward and apparently one of the characters had burn scars all over his face. Somehow, that totally escaped me. I just assumed that he had some sort of rash or unnatural pre-aging.

Maybe it's because I've always been scarred.

When I was one, I apparently crawled into the kitchen and hot boiling water was accidentally poured all over my arm. I must have burned and screamed because my cotton jacket soaked up all the boiling liquid and when that was torn off of me, so was the skin on my arms. The old lady who took care of me calmed me down and put toothpaste on my burn. Thank God she wasn't a big fan of the mint kinds. Two weeks later, my skin grew back at an amazing rate, but started to connect my upper and lower arm together in an unholy angle. I could no longer straighten my arms. I spent two years doing physical therapy, always photographed looking slightly clueless and with my arm wound in a tight white gauze.

But when the bandages came off for the last time, I never thought twice about that browned tear drop that sits on the uneven patch of skin on my arm. It was a part of me; it was me. Better yet, it was a constant reminder, a souvenir of sorts, of the kind old lady who took care of me and loved me. My recent addition to the collection on my arm seems oddly appropriate. It has, after all, been twenty years.

Perhaps because I've always lived with and not really noticing a burn that made my fifth grade best friend gasp the first time she noticed it, I don't really see the scars on people.

Maybe that's why when I watched this mormon message video yesterday and saw a photo of Stephanie Nielson -- mother-of-four, blogger, and a victim of a burn on 80% of her body -- all I saw was a beautiful, kind woman. And I cried. Because I actually noticed her burns, and yet when she speaks, I didn't notice them at all.

A Temple Marriage

In the temple today, an old lady with rich burgundy lipstick and flowy white robes pushed a cart full of wet temple clothing. An old man with silver hair and a kind smile stood down the hall greeting all the young people who passed by.

All of a sudden, she lost control of her cart and swerved into him. His eyes opened wide and his arms propped up in a defensive position. With perfect timing, she pulled her cart around again. And then smirked.

She had faked him out.

An old couple. Temple. And . . . flirting?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Rocky (Road) Relationship

Neal, the ice cream boy at BYU's sugar-n-spice, and I first bonded over desperately searching for a suitable alternative to Rocky Road (I am probably the most committed Rocky Road eater but that's another story). He wouldn't let me give up and kept shoving a whole cup's worth of testing spoons of mint chocolate chip, Bishop's Bash, Caramel Praline, et al. into my hands.

That was the first time he called me a doll.

The next time, he wouldn't stop talking about my hair until he made sure that the elderly couple in front of me complimented me too.

Today, while he was mopping the floor, half-hidden behind the hot chocolate machine, he yelled, "I'm in love with you, you know?"

I can't help but feel that our across-the-counter relationship is moving a little fast.

But if that means extra large child scoops and ego-inflating flattery, then we just might stand a chance.

Man, what a good ice cream salesman.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An End to Job Hunts?


I got offered positions at my top two choices in China!

Both made me go through three rounds of interviews. One is prestigious and stable, with the potential to make tons of important contacts within the US-businesses-in-China slash policy circle. The other is young, entrepreneurial, and has the exciting possibility of helping lots of people escape poverty. 

The first follows in the linear path of what I've been doing and what I've always thought I wanted to do. The second is a tantalizing opportunity to learn about the business world as a player, howbeit from the bottom, and hopefully make a positive contribution to society.

It all depends on what I want to do with my life. Ugh. I guess I have to make that decision . . .  this weekend.

Dilemmas are never happy. But I think this one definitely comes close.