Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You may never understand why

It's 6 AM and New Year's Eve and if you asked me to tell you how I was feeling right now - I know I wouldn't be able to. I never thought that I would ever be surrounded with so much love in my life and still feel so uncertain about everything to the point where it was harder to sleep at night.

I keep wondering if it's worth me getting upset over this. Wasn't it a loss in the first place? What if you woke up and the thing you thought you had always lost... might not be lost after all? Does that mean that even if you go through all the effort of searching for it - that if it goes lost again...everything is back where it was? And I remain the same?

Somehow, no matter how many times I might try to tell myself that you can't feel loss over something already lost...that I inevitably will. Because initially, isn't it always 'hope' that we feel anyway? 'Hope' that we could find that missing piece to our puzzle...and then when the hope disappears, it isn't necessarily the actual piece that we're missing. I think I'd start to miss the feeling of hope that it was ever there in the first place.

I am a step away from possibly knowing everything...or maybe even having more questions than I know what to do with. How do you differentiate between the questions of a 6-year old and the logical questions of a 23-year old? You can't, I guess. There is probably little difference of importance in my mind between: "Whose nose do I have?" and "Were you economically in hardship when you made that decision 23 years ago?"

Who knows what is going to happen on Friday. I am not even sure if I have an idealistic pan out of how I would want it to go because it hasn't crossed my mind.

But one thing is for sure...please don't ask me how...I have missed you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Day To Remember (or perhaps to forget)

There are four pages of a scribbled letter tucked inside my black and white marbled notebook. It was the beginnings of a future blog post for this blog - my annual letter to my birthmother - telling her the struggles and triumphs of my 23rd year of being alive.

For the past week and a half, I, for some reason, kept holding off actually sitting down and typing it out here, not because it was too personal or too gritty...honestly, if you had asked me why I wouldn't have been able to give you a straight answer. Maybe it was because I have been so consumed with the move from Dundalk. (Yes, I have finally LEFT Dumb-dalk for good...and will post pictures of the barren room once I find my camera in one of these boxes that are looming in my room.) Whatever the reason, it just never got done.

And maybe it was a sign that I was meant to read it to her in person...

I don't really know where to begin with the rest of this post. I was trying to think of some clever epithet that might transition into the whole point of the post - but at this point, my brain is too fried with an excess abundance of emotion and utter cluster-fuckery (I just made that word up.) to even be witty or even give a hoot whether I am witty or not.

December 23, 2008 @ around 1 AM will be forever seared in my brain. If and when I have children, and I reflect on this tale to fill bedtime story nights, I will probably still struggle to piece together just exactly what got seared into my brain: a cautionary tale or a Christmas miracle. It is too early yet to decide.

But whatever it will be - what it is right now, at the present, is the exact time that I was trying to get rid of a nasty migraine by sleeping it away... and my 2nd night sleeping on the mattress that is in what will eventually be my bedroom in my Aunt's house. It seems ordinary and simple enough, and started out as any other night ...except that 1 AM will also forever be seared into my brain as the time my mother came into my bedroom to wake me up with the news.

The news that my birthparents have been searching for me and want to meet me.

It is now 11:02 pm of the very same day and I think I must have written the above sentence or said variations of it to myself at least a hundred thousand times. And yet even with saying it a hundred thousand more, I do not think that the sentence's true meaning will ever fully sink itself into my brain and channel signals of acknowledgement to my being.

Even now, there is still detachment from that sentence - as if tomorrow that whole sequence: me sleeping, my mom rushing into my bedroom in her jacket, shaking me awake, her eyes lighting up, and me sleepily opening my eyes to watch her lips move to form the words of that very same sentence....that whole sequence will be nothing but a dream. An afterthought to another dream that I had had.

But a part of me knows that it wasn't. That it was real. But I am not ready to believe that part. All day long I have been trying to figure out how to sum up how I feel and I just can' is hard to explain how in one moment - everything has changed with nothing happening. How just words could change my entire world and turn it upside down with no action following.

I am, Blog, scared shitless. Today I have felt happy, annoyed, joyous, angry, resentful, sadness, fear and frustration in succession of each other and even at times, simultaneously.

I have so much to say and yet have no words to say it with.

I have so many questions and yet am not quite sure I want to know the answers.

I want...and yet wish it was easier just to walk the exact same time.

And despite all these crazy feelings - the one thing I keep dwelling on is the revelation that they searched for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

These took the place of medicine and tissues today

I woke up this morning with a huge fever, and decided that I needed to call out from work. Not only did I get the sleep that I needed, I also got a large amount of H2O which I learned today that I should be drinking in enough quantities so that eventually I will piss out clear fluids. (How gracious of me to share that with all of you, I know.)

Along with the slumber, water and mounds of tissues piled up next to my bed, I listened to several songs on slow repeat like a nice slow IV drip of therapeutic sounds. Starting with a steady drip of John Mayer courtesy of newcomer Gabe Bondoc (one of my favorite covers of this song):

And then onto "Right Here"... you know you loved this song... hahaha

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If God was on my doorstep this morning...

I would re-enact that scene from "Say Anything" and blare this song out of a 1980's boombox as loud as the volume dial would go. This is the new single from the highly-anticipated (for me and my best friend anyway) album from The Fray. It's is self-titled and although you might think it's too early for this yet -- this song has become my all-time life-anthem and will now replace that wretched smelling pink bookbag that I still have hung in my closet from my homeless days. Not only is this song more therapeutic, but I'm sure my room will stop smelling so bad now that the bookbag has had its proper burial in the trash.

I found God on the corner of First and Amistad
where the west was all but won
All alone, smoking his last cigarette
I said "where have you been?"
he said "ask anything"

"Where were you
When everything was falling apart?
All my days
Were spent by the telephone
It never rang
And all I needed was a voice
It never came
To the corner of First and Amistad"

Lost and insecure
you found me, you found me
lying on the floor
surrounded, surrounded
Why'd you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Jst a little late
you found me, you found me

In the end everyone ends up alone
losing her,
the only one whose ever known
who i am, who im not, who i want to be
no way to know,
how lost you will be next to me

lost and insecure
you found me, you found me
lying on the floor
why'd you have to wait?
where were you where were you?
just a little late
you found me, you found me

early morning city wakes
I've been calling
for years and years and years and years
and you never left me no messages
you never send me no letters
you've got some kind of nerve
sticking all i want...

lost and insecure
you found me, you found me
lying on the floor
where were you where were you?
lost and insecure
you found me you found me
lying on the floor
surrounded, surrounded
why'd you have to wait?
where were you where were you?
just a little late
you found me, you found me

yeah yeah

Why'd you have to wait
to find me, to find me?

Friday, November 21, 2008

99 Problems

This morning's Damage Control Report:

(1) semi-sore throat with a slight post-nasal drip.
(Probably a rebuttal from that region of my face for locking myself in my office during lunch and having an hour cry-fest.)

(10) completely bitten and torn up fingertips.
(Because when all shit hits the fan, my nail-biting habit ensues. And why worry about manicures when I still have my car payment to pay?)

(3) cups of coffee.
(The amount of caffeine it took to actually wake my ass up today.)

(2) hours of sleep.
(Why I needed the coffee)

On the up side, I did self-consciously reaffirm to myself last night within my 2 hours of sleep that I, in fact, have not lost my optimism.

In the dream there was this massive SUV that miraculously somehow held every single one of my friends along with me. We were just driving along with no particular direction when I felt this incredible shove out of no where to the right of me. I immediately felt my chest cave in, and my body get thrusted forwards. (Not only did it happen in the dream but I know that I definitely felt something.) I frantically began looking around the car for the safety of my friends, and it felt like we were transcending into this Matrix-like space in time where I could literally see the pieces of glass flying through the air in slow motion. I caught the faces of my friends - all of them fine, no blood, no cuts, no broken bones. And just like that - the car finally came to a screeching thud-pounding stop.

I realized that everything was okay. The car accident itself was a tragic and traumatic experience but in the wake of the aftermath - I had survived. Everyone had survived. I remember hearing my friend Andie's voice calling to me from the back seat as I quickly was dialing 911. "Everything is okay."

Everything is going to be okay. I just have to keep believing that. This is small, it's a little hill on my tumultuous journey through life. And I can survive it.

So I guess a big thanks to my self-conscious is definitely in order.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Music was my breakfast this morning...

Who needs eggs and bacon when you've got Kanye West and Holly Brook? I had these two songs on rotate all morning long on my drive into work. And you know what? They are playing right now, too.

I have a big collection of music because for me, it's what keeps me sane. Sometimes there are just no words to explain the emotions that you feel and its just better described through lyrics. Thank God we've got some brilliant artists out there so I can release my good and bad energy every morning drive with my iPod cranked up loud.

This song is the 2nd song off of Kanye West's last dropped album: Graduation. "Champion" is awesome to me because even though the tone of the song is upbeat and kind of a "dance track" sound, if you listen to the lyrics, they are super bittersweet. It completely reminds me of my personality when shit goes bad: I smile, and seem upbeat, keep focusing on the positive yet I'll never forget that there is still sadness and frustration in my life. And eventually, I know I'll get back to being the "champion" that I know I'm supposed to be. I am quite aware of all the controversy that surrounds Mr. West, but I am not one to make sudden opinions about music artists based on what I hear in the media and what I see displayed on my TV screen. So he hit some guy...everyone's entitled to get pissed off, right? Good music is good music to me and if it helps me out of my emotional distress - well then, I'd hit that papporazzi myself.

I absolutely love Holly Brook. I love her look, I love her style, I love her voice. When I first found her album "Like Blood Like Honey", I listened to every single song more than ten thousand times over and over again. I found myself nodding vigorously with tissue clasped in hand as I listened to every lyric like it was a Lifetime movie special thinking, Oh my God, Holly Brook - you GET ME, you REALLY GET ME. This song is just one of my many favorites from this album, and if you ever get a chance you should really listen to it from cover to cover. Every song is completely melodic and brilliantly written. Plus I think that you'll agree with me when I say that after listening to it in its entirety, you feel like you should have somehow gone through a life changing journey or something and become completely depressed when you realize you've been just sitting on your couch surrounded by a pile of used tissues that equate to the amount of sorrow that you actually have in your life. *le sigh*

PS. For both of these, it really is worth it to check out the lyrics.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She'll never admit that she's wrong.

Tonight, while wallowing in my self-pity that I have begun to think of as an art form in the past two months, I finally had the last straw. I keep saying that every single bad or shitty thing that has happened to me in the past two months is the last straw - but this one, well, this one was the very very very very last straw.

Financially I am just way in over my head. Where I thought I was ahead, I am now significantly behind all due to an unfortunate mishap with the scheduling of my payment with the auto insurance company (As Chris Rock would say... my "in-case-shit-happens" policy).

For God knows how long, my mother has been OCD about lists. And before you try to read that sentence again, don't. It's not worth wasting your time. You read it right: lists. She loves lists. No, no, let me scratch that. She ADORES and IDOLIZES and maybe if one day a magical wizard turned a List into a man she would probably marry that List and run away and adopt babies to supplement his lack of love for her.

It's become this sickening obsession for her and when I was younger, I used to think that it meant she was organized and that I, by being one who did not keep a list, was severely unorganized. However, twenty-three years of living as a terminally SANE human being and a few years of puberty and a month of homelessness has helped lead me to the conclusion that the lists do not help her at all. In fact, I have come to the clear diagnosis that the list itself is a manifestation of her insecurities and her lack of being able to control and handle even the smallest minute detail of her life. So to make up for the discrepency of say........not being able to function like a normal human being like the rest of the world, my mother writes a list. Every day.


Now in her defense, this does not happen every day. The great event of "losing-the-list" is one that happens often, but not every single day. But she does write one.

So of course, when I first lost my job and realized I was going to be way in over my head if I didn't find a job to supplement my income fast, you could guess what advice my mother had for me.

Mom: "Hi dear. How are you?"

Me: "Lousy. I just lost my job... I have bills to pay this month... I just filed for unemployment but I am not going to hear from them for another two weeks or so and shit is already starting to become due. I don't know what I am going to do."

Mom: "I know what you need to do. It'll solve all your problems." (said very matter of factly)

Me: "Do you know of anyone who might have a job opening? Or do you know anyone I can send my resume to?"

Mom: "No, of course not. You'll have to find that on your own. I am talking about writing a list. A list dear. A list of all your debt. Once you see it all laid out on paper, it'll all become clear."

Me: "Mom, do you realize you're asking me to slit my wrists?"

Mom: "What was that?"

Me: "Nothing. I am not going to write a list. Not now, not ever."

But tonight, Jesus, maybe the stress got to me, but for whatever reason - she was standing over me in the kitchen and I am sitting there with tears starting to form behind my eyes and she kept talking about this damned list writing --- so I did it. I wrote a damn list.

-=Me writing numbers and scribbling calculations on a page then handing it to her=-

"There, Mom. There it is. In black and white. What do you have to say? What happens now? What does the list do now?"

-=My mother stares blankly at the page. Blinks again and takes on an empty look.=-

Mom: "Wow. Didn't know it was this bad. Don't know what to tell you. But don't you feel better now that you wrote it all down?"

Just in case people would like the Cliff Notes version of this story: NO, I DID NOT FEEL ANY STINKIN' BETTER!! I felt crappier actually because I now had numbers and figures that are higher than the year I was born staring me in the face. So much for lists.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another past post for your reading enjoyment...

This post was actually untitled. I am sure that I could have come up with a snazzy title myself, but at the moment, I'll save the brain-matter it takes to come up with a title for better use in helping study for my Chemistry quiz later on tonight.

I think once reading through this post - you can tell I was composting...just writing shit on a page to get out some kind of underlined frustration. I wrote a lot of these about work and the environment I found myself in every single day. It was ridiculously disturbing to watch these people gravel and pant to anyone who held a title higher than their own. And yet, I know this is the basic foundation of any corporate office, unfortunately.

Without further ado...

I am pretty sure, at least almost precisely sure, after working three or
four years in the banking industry that it is swarmed with men in expensive
suits that have ball-less balls. Yes, that's right, you heard me. Ball-less balls.

How are these different than having no balls at all? Well, for that fact
alone, you see. Without knowing from firsthand experience (as much as I am now
self-proclaiming to be a "balls" expert) I am almost certain that all the men
here have their balls in tact. I don't go out of my way to ask them of this
fact, I merely just assume because they play their manly appearance in quite an
impressively convincing way. So these men have balls, yet they are ball-less. Follow me yet?

Take yesterday for example. Since I began working for the mortgage industry
almost three or four years ago now, I have been surrounded by bankers and
"mortgage lenders" (aka the less glorifying name of Loan Officer. Apparently
"Mortgage Lender" looks that much better on a business card in
neat and tiny professional font.) who are men. It is a very male-dominated
business. I think for every four loan officers, there is a woman counterpart.
That's the ratio to my untrained eye.

Regardless, these men walk around all day in their three-piece suits,
especially where I currently work, and their pure silk ties, and their
Nordstrom-bought shoes. They walk the hallways of the building, sometimes
perusing the cubicles as if to say "I am Loan Officer, Here me ROAR!". But more
often than not, they are found giving in to small demands and eagerly tempted by
hierarchy power that impresses them with free memberships to country clubs, or
the day off to mingle on some rich bastard's yacht.

Who knew having
ball-less balls paid off so well?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Backtracking my way across the Arirang again

Yesterday I realized after posting my excitement about Obama-rama that I have a ton of unfinished, unedited, unposted posts just sitting in my post log archive. And once going through some of them, I can't even imagine why I didn't post them in the first place.

I guess the answer to that question leads to the blog post that I am undeniably stalling to write to you: what in the hell I have been up to for the past 5 months of my life. Don't worry, like any other over-analytical person I know, in due time, my friends, my super power of over-analyzing every intricate detail of my life will rear its ugly head and when it does, rest assure this blog will be the first to endure what it has to offer.

However, in the meantime, I kinda want to share these posts with you. They are intimate, of course - and I think that this absence has allowed me to step back and regroup my thoughts about why I started blogging in the first place. Why did I hide these originally? What is so ghastly un-PC about them or embarrassing that I haven't already exposed about myself? So here ya go...starting with this post I had entitled:

So maybe it's TMI but I'm utilizing this blog as my emotional pillow...
Not that I share this kind of info with my friends or rather, the blogger world (I usually tend to just pick random passer-bys and gush out all my inner most personal details about my life instead. Joking, of course. Or not.) but I haven't had a (.)(<--this will signify what I am talking about since for some reason the word "menstruation" sounds ugly, and makes it sound like I have had some disease) in five months. I figure that you have all seen me through my trying times of hair-loss, so why all the symantics? Anyway, I haven't had it in five months. Until Sunday. It was as if my uterus finally got the memo sent from my white blood cells months ago because the memo had been sent by USPS(and we all know how ridiculously slow they can be) and somehow got lost and tossed on Nerve-Ending #2879's desk before he realized that oh shit, this had to be sent to the Uterus months ago now...better late than never, and he promptly placed the memo back on its way. The memo said:

Dear Uter-i: (that's White Blood Cells' nickname for my Uterus.
Because they are tight pals and have been ever since that one time they hung out at the club and went home smashed together.)

We are sorry we over-reacted, and kicked Hair Follicles' ass in.
We just didn't like how they were getting all the attention...all those appointments to the colorists and stylists. When was that no good bitch of a body-owner going to start taking care of us? She really thought just drinking orange juice and taking vitamins was going to appease her WBCs? Dumb bitch. She had another thing comin', obviously.
So please don't take this personally. The attack really wasn't against you or Hair Follicles. We just didn't know what else to do but get radical on her ass in order to start taking better action towards her health. And we're not talkin' just physical. I don't have to tell you how kooky she is. We see how you like to pull those quirky crazy strings come your time of the month to shine. Kudos to you.

Hope no hard feelings, Uterii.

Yo homies,

The WBCs

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Feeling American

Last night, America showed we are ready for change, and do believe that in America, all things are possible, and you can be anyone, and accomplish anything you set your heart on.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Kimchi Weekend #2 2008 (In order to fulfill my curiousity in how men go to the bathroom)

Okay, so the hose is nowhere near my crotch...but somewhere in my deranged, off-center thought process, I could envision while standing there for about 30-45 minutes holding that hose in my hand in a slightly downward position that this would be, in fact, the closest thing to being a man standing at a urinal. That is, if that said man were 300 lbs and had a bladder the size of the Lochness monster. Ahh, a girl can wonder, can't she?

The past weekend marked the 2nd "Kimchi Weekend" at Laura unni's house and proved to be just as fun, and even more rewarding than the first time I went. There is definitely something to be said about cooking collectively that brings a group of people together in an amazing and surreal way. It seems so subtle and sort of ridiculous - the idea of standing in a kitchen together, slaving over the stove, peeling and cutting vegetables, filling big tubs of cabbage up with water - but I have never felt more connected with four women in my entire life, almost as close as the first time that I ever learned how to cook any Korean dish in a Korean kitchen.

See all those bottle tops there? Awww yeah, you're not seeing things - that is all alcohol, baby. Let's just say the first night was our attempt at making mandu that ended in four or five drinks later, a girl pow-wow outside on the porch curled up together chattering until 6 AM and absolutely no mandu made at all.

Every time I go to Laura's house, I feel like I get closer to a part of myself that I had never exposed before. Sometimes a part of myself that I didn't even know existed. It's a comforting and blessed thing to be able to have a place to go with nothing holding you back from being completely yourself and to be surrounded by people who only encourage and facilitate your inner soul to grow and emerge as a stronger person.

As horribly stereotypical as this is going to sound, I felt like I was in a scene of the Joy Luck Club. Or Soul Food. Or The Ice Storm. Five women in a kitchen until 5 AM, talking of life, love, loss, pain, perseverance, courage, bravery and being scared shitless sometimes. It was like the scene of a movie where you know this is the pivotal point, this is where the epitome of the movie is coming from. This wholly collective togetherness that is encasing around these five individuals.

I was left with a lot of wonderful, somewhat scary, and yet poignant thoughts to ponder when leaving Laura's house. And I also took away with me some amazing new friendships.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If I take my heart's advice, you can be sure, I'm still unsteady...

This past weekend's events have become an entire blur with only bits and pieces electrifying through the nerves in my brain to communicate that yes, you did do things this weekend.

For starters on Friday, I was reunited, if only for one night, with my friend Y, who was on her way to Staten Island where she will reside indefinitely (hopefully, for her sake). It was a nice reunion, filled with a night of endless driving, (If anyone were to ever ask me how to get anywhere in the state of Virginia, please do not be offended when I laugh maniacally in your face. Short Code: Virginia's roads are definitely not for lovers, and more explicitly, not for me) girl-talk until the wee hours, several hours of partying and dancing to the sounds of Noel Sanger (who I coincidentally had an impromptu "heart-to-heart" talk with at the end of the night that was pretty cool) and then a very near-crazy 58-mile drive home for myself, alone.

I spent most of the beautiful weather on Saturday inside the confines of my room. Not because I was broke or because there were no plans (And here is where I input yet another apology to K.Hyon for missing out on hanging out in the rays of daylight!), but because my partied-out, old-fart ass was complacently passed out in the thrawls of slumber for several hours - hours only intermittently disturbed by my addiction to YouTube videos and watching reruns of Clean House on the Style Network (Don't deny the powers of Ms. Niecy...seriously).

I was abruptly pulled from this spell by numerous phone calls, one of which was Darren (aka Bathroom Boy) which went as follows:

Me: (sleepily) He...hello?

Bathroom Boy: Dude, what happened to you last night? What are you doing?

Me: (pulling a potato chip out of the bag lying in front of me on top of my comforter) Nothing, I was just lying around, catching up on sleep from last night. And what do you mean what happened to me last night? I was at Snatch. Where were you?

Bathroom Boy: I looked for you - everywhere.
(Note: I hardly believe that he looked EVERYWHERE. Because if he had, in fact, looked EVERYWHERE then he would have inevitably found ME.)

Last night was Christian's birthday, and I stopped by to say hi before heading to Buzz.

Me: Ohh...was that you? I saw some tall black dude with glasses on walking out the door but I figured you'd be at Buzz, so I knew it wouldn't be you.

Bathroom Boy: Well it was, and you missed out. Anyway, so I'll see you tonight.
(Note: That was not a question.)

Me: Wait - what do you mean? See me tonight? Who said I was going anywhere?

Bathroom Boy: No one did. But you're on the guestlist, and it's free before be there.

Me: Wow, that's very direct and bossy of you. What if I don't want to go?

Bathroom Boy: You don't have to want to go - but you must be there.

Me: Peer pressure, much?

Bathroom Boy: Peer pressure all the way. See you tonight. [Click.]

Five hours later, a trip to downtown Baltimore's Sutton Place to pick up three tag-a-longs and off on 295 I went. I wrangled up enough energy to drive myself to DC, yet again and parked the car.

Ten minutes later, after meeting J.Lo and Ciconte and Dane at the door - we were inside, and down to the main room.

Several hours of dancing, partying, laughing and [will insert another story at a later date here], I was ready to go home, and so were my tag-a-longs. However, my friends had a different plan in mind and within 20 minutes of coersive speech on their part - I found myself in the car, with R and the tag-a-longs driving back to Baltimore to do a drop-off and head my ass as well as R's back to Virginia for a further partying fiasco.

In the end, this weekend was altogether fun, and I am ultimately proud of myself for the way that I held myself this weekend, with all things considered.

This weekend is going to bring lots more pictures, I promise - as I take on the road again towards Pennsylvania to stay with L unni and the Korean sistas for our now monthly "Kimchi Weekend". I can't wait. It'll be really relaxing, and peaceful to just be around people who completely and utterly get you. Plus, throwing a few martinis and a shitload of delicious kimchi and mandu in the mix doesn't hurt either.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What I imagine the sound of my heart pounding in a bed of silence looks like...

This is about the time that my heart exploded in my chest, and then I realized that the fast breeze blowing through the strands of my hair was actually the air being broken by my airbourne vehicle:

This is probably what the police report and insurance claim reads because this was all I could manage to muster five hours after the accident:

"4:12 am. Was leaving DC and following the direction of my GPS system, took the tunnel leading towards the 295 SE/SW entrance but went into the wrong tunnel heading towards RFK lot. Entered into complete and utter darkness with no lights, no signs. Tried to adjust to the darkeness and just when I realized the pavement swurved to the left, I tried to turn left but had already hit the tree with my right side and turned upside down, did a 360 degree turn in the air befofe flipping back over and doing a 80 degree swurve to a stop."

The only reason how I know exactly what direction my car flipped, okay, there are two:

1. The fact that as my car impacted on the tree I felt my entire insides lift up from my stomach to my lungs, compressing together like a Slinky being turned upside down. What I didn't fully realize immediately? That I was upside down. And I caught a millisecond glimpse out the cracked glass of the passenger window enough to see the pavement at eye level, and the tunnel glowing through the darkness at me. That's when I closed my eyes to prepare for nothing, something and everything - all at the same time.

2. My Guardian Angel: In the form of a 6"5-6"7 thin-framed man in a red Honda hatch. An image that will stick with me for the rest of my life as a reminder that the smallest instantaneous moments can quite possibly bring you the most purest form of joy that you'll ever feel in a lifetime.

Hours before I would see the "light of life" and my car was left demolished, I had spent the entire day just trudging through work. It was just another day among the many where I kept wandering the maze of cubicles wondering why I still, without fail, park in the same spot, walk through the same building and sit in front of the same screen every single day and endure the bezerk behavior of certain people who have made it a career in having no basic social skills.

By the time 5 o'clock chimed in, I was ready to leave the smothering feel of work and escape to a place I knew I could just let go: in the presence of friends, dancing and just releasing all that anger and stress out.

Several hours later, Christauff and I were doing our regular Friday night ritual of walking each other to our cars safely. We had the miracle of parking on the same street as each other (a rarity to anyone who has ever tried to park to go to a club in DC) and I got into my car and watched as he walked across the street to his. I went to program my GPS to head home, and started to pull out of my spot.

There were a lot of little miracles that night. Little bits of instances that in retrospect, I will be grateful for, for the rest of my life. The fact that I had decided to go to Ultrabar where seven people I knew were going to be there, the fact that Christauff and I always walked to our cars together after the night was through, the fact that Christauff forgot that I had a GPS in my car and had seen me headed in a different direction than he thought would be the regular way for me to get home and just figured I was lost, the fact that he then, as a great friend with concern, decided to follow behind me to make sure I was headed in the right direction - and that he kept following me until he was 3/4 mile away in his car as he watched my car propel itself through the air.

I even feel blessed that I had had such a crummy week prior. I had pictures of my brother's bedsores running around in my head, constant thoughts of my brother's legs being amputated, depressed over my job and my inability to deal with overt micromanagement, frustrated with the outcome of my future - where was I headed with my life? how was I going to get there?, hurt from the loss of a friend and caught in a whirlwind of complete and utter confusion with life in general.

But in that millisecond glimpse of the world upside down, and in the next instant when I closed my eyes and prepared for what I feared to be the end, I found myself shaking away that fear, gripping the steering wheel with both hands tightly, keeping my eyes shut tight as my heart pounded in my throat, my ears, the pit of my stomach - I just let go of every single stress and hurt that I had been consumed with before - and relaxed my body and just breathed.

When I opened my eyes, glass was everywhere, and my hands were bleeding and so was a small patch on my chest where the airbag had hit. Smoke was all around me, and I turned my head ever so slightly to try and make sense of what my eyes were seeing through the cracked and broken glass window of my driver's door: Christauff, his red Honda hatch, and him running from his car, across the pavement, to open my car door.

I walked out of the accident truly unscathed. No broken bones, no massive amounts of blood. As I lay in the guestroom of Christauff's and his girlfriend's condo that morning, I kept counting the solid breaths of air that I sucked into my lungs.

"Someone wants you around, Em," Christauff had kept saying as we drove to his condo.

This is my second chance at life. This is my chance to keep living it without regret and to realize the true value of what I have surrounding me. I was given a second chance at this journey and I am not going to waste it worrying about things that I cannot change.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just for the record...

I will probably never be okay with how it all went down. And it will probably always leave this bitter taste in my mouth whenever I think about it - and me always wondering, what exactly it was that made the final taste so bitter?

There are so much of my feelings that I want to exert upon - and so many of my thoughts that I have kept to myself, mostly because I really haven't found a way to make them make sense outside my mind, but maybe one day: I'll be sitting in my house reading a book or out on the beach with the waves crashing in and I will be able to grab my journal and write down everything I feel and think at this exact moment in ways I never thought I'd be able to express. This is the act of composting. This is my way of spring cleaning for my soul.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Coming to America

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I used to feel really uncomfortable and uneasy when it came to my friends and the conversation of birthdays. I'm not sure if your peers at that age were anything like mine, but it became some one's novelty idea to state not only their date of birth but the exact time stamp as well. You would be in the middle of 5th grade English class, and it'd be Mary Sue's birthday and when asked if it was, indeed, her birthday, Mary Sue would reply: "Yes! But my Mom says I wasn't born until 1:45 pm exactly!"

At that age, the fact that I couldn't give you the exact time of my birth unsettled me in some way. I don't know if I can dig that far back into my past to precisely explain to you why I felt the way that I did, and I'm not even sure that if you could talk to the 10-year old me that I would be able to explain it any better. I just did.

I felt embarrassed, and overwhelmed with just how embarrassed I felt over some minute detail that in the grand scheme of things, held little to no consequence if not to just be some sentimental value to throw into the pages of a baby book. But God, no matter how lame you might have tried to twist it to be, I would have wanted nothing more than to tell you what time I was born.

When I think back at the significance of my feelings as a kid, I guess I could self-analyze and tell you that this obsession and immense feeling of hurt/embarrassment that came with not knowing the time of day I was brought into this world would probably stem from the deeper-rooted problem of just not knowing anything. It could be, but I can't exactly be sure. Perhaps you could just chalk it up to pure peer pressure and peer anxiety of wanting to fit in. I guess maybe essentially that's all my adoption issues were - this identity confusion and overwhelming sense of wanting to find a place to belong. Who knows. (I sure as hell don't, even after all these years.)

Today, though, today is my redemption. Today would eventually become the counter-attack for my self-esteem during the early years when I would battle with my adoption demons over what made me feel more "whole". And as I grew older, and into my now early twenties, I have been able to remember this day with a tainted bittersweetness. The kind of bittersweetness you feel when speaking of a loved one: can't live with it, can't live without it.

Today is my "Gotcha' Day". The day that I arrived off the plane from South Korea into BWI at around 11:45 pm at night. The flight was long and I was actually part of a group of seven or eight children that were being flown into the airport from Korea with my parents being one of the adoptive couples. I hear stories, and I see pictures - a picture of my tiny, frail premature body being carried off the plane by one of my mother's closest friends - another picture of an anonymous Korean woman standing at the edge of the airflight gate, looking on with tears in her eyes. I had later learned that this woman was one of the young Korean women who volunteer to be "baby escorts" or pseudo-mothers for at least the long journey over to America. This was my "birth", so to speak. This was my coming into my life as an Asian-American. As the person that I am now.

At the peak of my teen angst years, I looked at this day with disdain. In my eyes, I was brought here against my will, I had no say in the matter - and it especially hit me harder whenever my parents would say things like, "We didn't bring you here to screw up your life." or "We adopted you to save you. You wouldn't have survived at all in that orphanage."

Nowadays, it's just a day. A day to remember, of course, but just a day nonetheless. Without it, I probably wouldn't be here writing in this blog, in this chair, thinking about how my Spanish midterm is due by midnight tonight. With it, I have faced a lot of turmoil, identity confusion, frustration and hurt. But I wouldn't be me without all of those things.

So maybe, just maybe, I'll break out the vodka and orange juice tonight to celebrate. And more than likely, I might even throw on "Coming to America" to heighten the celebration festivities. =)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I am hanging on by a thread...

This morning I woke up and felt this nauseating feeling in my stomach. As if my intestines were arguing angrily with the rice I ate the night before - rumbling hard to get the rice the hell off their turf.

And that'd be okay, if it didn't wake me up abruptly at 3 AM - when I hadn't gone to bed until midnight after trying to finish my Chemistry homework. Which by the way, wasn't a successful attempt at all.

There's a quiz tonight on Nomenclature - and I could no more name my stuffed animals when I was younger - much less name ionic and binary compounds. Who am I kidding?

I just keep thinking that if I keep hanging on by this thread - and keep tugging - maybe I'll find the end of the string that leads to the full spool, so I can get my act together. I'm not nervously breaking down or anything, the stress actually helps keep me grounded and centered, in a weird, funky sort of way.

I do hope I can make up for all the points I've lost so far by not being able to complete the damned homework.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meet me at the crossroads (Echo & Fade: crossroads...crossroads)

There is no better way to explain how I feel at this precise moment than to tell you that I am at a definite and indefinite crossroads.

For the most part 2008 has become synonymous with the word "change" for me. A transition of sorts that keeps spiraling me further and further into a point where I realize - I just need to let go. There comes a point in a person's life when you just cannot have control over any thing.

I got offered a position as an M.A. for a doctor's office close-by. I had gotten a call sometime last week from my old Biology teacher who had recommended me for the position. Believe me, I was excited - but at the same time, I am really frightened. And I don't know why.

I always keep telling myself that I need a change - and yet, when one comes, I shy away. In all things. I am such a weirdo like that.

The doctor's office would train me. I don't have to know a damned thing. I was scared they wouldn't want to hire me, partially because I am so young in my educational career - with only a few science credits under my belt, and no challenging lab experiences - let alone real-time patient interaction.

But now they want to offer me the job. And I'm scared. Why? Why am I so frightened of something that would really be beneficial for me in the long run?

Well, for one thing, I'd be making significantly less. But the hours are flexible and all over the place. That has its good and bad points. Good: I'd be able to space my classes farther apart, and attend more classes and be able to have more study time (because I am currently WAY behind in my Spanish Web class. I don't know how I am going to catch up, EVER. But I have to get an A!). Bad: I probably wouldn't have consistent times off. Not that that is really bad- it's just something to think about.

Also, with such a cut in pay, I would have to take on a second job. Most likely a retail one - because no corporate job (unless I worked as a secretary or something) would be able to let me work part time with some goofy-ass hours.

This is what I want- isn't it? This is the start of my new chapter/phase in my life, right? A start towards my future, and what I've been working my ass off for the past couple of months for.

So why do I feel like such a chicken shit ready to piss my pants?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Uhhh...Welcome to Baltimore?

There is something to be said about people who live in a city. And by that I mean, car-less, street walking, metro-taking individuals who brave the dark alleyways each and every night to get to where they've got to go. These are people I call: urban dwellers.

Urban Dwellers take no crap. They are schooled in "Street Smarts 101": they know when to be on guard, when to relax a bit, what metro stop you just don't stop at unless you're with a big group of people or you have two cans of Mase in your messenger bag. They know that to live in a city of any size it becomes a love-hate relationship. And it's definitely not for everyone.

I don't claim to be a full-on urban dweller because I grew up calling home a suburban neighborhood in Towson. But even so, I'm not a stranger to the streets of Baltimore, and more recently not a stranger to the streets of DC either. I'm not saying that Baltimore is my favorite place to be, in fact I have devoted myself quite humbly to the task of leaving Baltimore within the next few years, God willing. But in the same breath, I can tell you that Baltimore is not always a live episode of The Wire either.

Unless...okay, well unless you're not from here. Which is exactly what happened to the new guy at work.

I had been noticing that the corner office as you first walk into our department had been empty for the past week or two. This was extremely unusual, and yet not something completely startling mainly because the person who occupies that office had started just three weeks before.

With all my usual deadlines and goings-on throughout the day, it would slip my mind to ask someone about what had happened to the guy in the corner office. He seemed to have been doing pretty well with his department, and I hadn't heard any bad things about him through the office gossip and occasional "watercooler conversations". So where was he?

It wasn't until maybe well into the second week that I walked into my boss' office and stepped right into the conversation she was having with another one of my coworkers.

"Well, it's just so sad, you know?" she said softly, leaning her head towards my coworker who was sitting in a chair in front of her desk.

"Yes, it's unfortunate," replied my coworker.

"What's so sad?" I asked, after be silent for a whole milli-second, which is long enough, in my opinion, to wait before jumping into a frivolous office gossip conversation.

"You didn't hear?" my boss exclaimed, pushing back into her seat as if this was the biggest news since slice bread and how could no one have told me?

"About what?" I said, nudging her to tell me more as it was obvious she was now bursting at the seams with this unsolicited information.

"About (his name will now be...) Gary. About what happened to him last weekend," she started, and then let her voice drop a whole ten octaves as she pushed herself forward, "He got jumped and mugged in the city and had to go to the hospital."

Now the idea of being jumped in Baltimore is pretty damn plausible. The probability of it happening to anyone in any city is decidedly high. But the fact that it happened to this poor man after only living in Maryland for five whole weeks? Well, that just plain sucked ass.

"I can't get over that," I replied.

"Well, I've heard that he had some broken ribs, a broken arm and they broke his nose and he had to have some reconstructive surgery on his face," she went on.

Chills came over me when I heard that. When late last year we had found out that Kuya had gotten mugged in DC, we were all pretty scared. But he hadn't gotten seriously hurt. He just had his wallet and money taken away. This sounded brutal.

I suddenly felt the urge to apologetic to Gary at my first sight of him whenever he returned. Baltimore is a place I go my hometown, I am not particularly proud of it or anything, but seriously, I felt terrible that this happened to someone who had only been living here for a little over one month.

"That really is horrible," my coworker chimed in, "It sucks that he got so banged up before his health insurance kicked in!"

As horrible as that statement was, it was the truth. And I can't imagine having to have such extensive surgeries in a place that you just moved to, in a hospital you're not familiar with, with no family or friends around, and on top of that, have no way of paying the medical bills.

Once I had learned of Gary's mishap, I thought back on his first few days here and what our first conversation had entailed.

I remember introducing myself, and being excited to know that there'd be another "young person" working here. Gary is only 27 years old, and that makes him only 5 years my senior. In this banking business, that is pretty young.

Gary talked about growing up in some small town in Maine. He knew everyone's name and they knew his. His neighbors were his parents' best friends and life long pals type of deal. He just came from a truly rural/suburban area that was real home town grown.

And then...moved to Baltimore.

Again, not to say this is a bad city in its entirety, but if you look at it in contexts with the comparison to a Maine township, it is a pretty extreme jump.

Gary literally came here with no new friends, and a totally clean slate. And I feel really bad for the guy that his first months here turned out as crappy as they did.

But he has since seemed adjusted, and I keep encouraging him that the whole city of Baltimore isn't that bad, but you just have to pick out the good parts. Just like any other city.

Hopefully he'll take up my offer, and I can take him somewhere we can grab a few drinks and be surrounded by people that will actually give him a better handle on what Baltimore, geesh, what Maryland as a state, has to offer him.

-=EDIT=- Sorry guys I originally started to write this on Feb 11th, and so you can see what a delay that I have in my posts. Free time is definitely hard to come by these days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

ReCoGnIzE! (My Day in DC)

Last week sometime, I was talking with my new female-writer confidant (LP2 is what I'll nickname her, since I already know 1 LP already.) and we had decided quite brilliantly that since we both worked for "governmental jobs" (hers more than mine, to be honest) that allowed us to celebrate the birth of Abraham AND George so luxuriously, it might be fun to check out the new Hip-Hop-infused art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in DC. (Seriously, what better way to celebrate the birth of two Presidents than to go back to their political stomping ground?)

I was really looking forward to hanging out with LP2 for several reasons:

1. LP2 has to be one of the most amazing writers I've ever read. Anything she writes about, I just have to read. It's ridiculous, honestly. To be completely embarrassing, I have to admit that I will scroll through the comment sections of Racialicious just to read her comments. Why? Because this woman has the ability to speak her mind in intelligent and graceful ways I can't even imagine. In short, I am LP2's biggest fan. (oh yes, LP2, it's totally true.)

2. Something about becoming closer to LP2 as a person rather than a writer, helped me open myself up as a writer again, surprisingly. Talking with her through emails back and forth and such, really reminded me of how much I miss writing and expressing myself. And how much I've been using so many other forms of communication that haven't been as faithful or as effective as writing has been for me in the past. I am just so excited to finally have a tie into writing community again. I felt like I had been pushed out, mainly voluntarily...okay, mostly voluntarily. By pushed out, I guess I mean, me - slowly over time - pulling away from writing because I felt it kept me from the doing of life. But now after all this doing, I'm starting to feel the only way for me to truly own it, and love it, is to reflect and write. And it's just great to be surrounded by people who get the same satisfaction, like LP2.

3. We were going to see a fricken' art exhibit, for chrissakes! How awesome/fantastical/amazing/brilliant/spectaculicious is that?! I hadn't been to a true art exhibit in years, unless you count that one time that that guy who was really into this scathingly bad art forced me to go to this tattoo-parlor-turned-art-studio with lots of men and women dressed in fancy clothes, drinking cheap champagne out of plastic wine glasses while walking around staring at photos of girls in their underwear with gag balls in their mouths and said "How extraordinary and deep! I'll buy FIVE!" I hadn't really been to an art exhibit at all... in a LONG time.

4. This would ultimately be my (Count it!) 2nd time driving to DC by myself, in the daylight. You know, that little thing called sunshine where you're able to see your hand in front of your face without squinting really hard beyond the laser lights and the darkness and whatever trippy lighting effects you can think of? It was fantastic to be driving, especially on a random day where the weather was perfect 60 degrees outside! I literally rolled my windows down as soon as I hit 295, and turned the air conditioning on because the sun was so warm and delicious. I was excited to finally be getting out of the house, and driving to DC for a quick adventure. Not that I haven't been out of the house at all in the past few months (if you've been reading this and other blogs, you'll notice I have!) but this was just a little different. No familiar faces, no particular event that I was time-constrained to. I just knew eventually LP2 and I would go to the National Portrait and eventually we'd get so annoyed with the growling of our stomachs that we would succumb and gobble food to tell it to shut up.

Once I got into DC off New York Ave, I recognized where I was completely - it seems like anywhere and everywhere that I have spent oodles and oodles of my time has been off of New York Ave. The only thing about heading that way was worrying about the traffic, which wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be - possibly because I kept forgetting that it was a government holiday, and literally everything, save for the galleries and exhibits, on Pennsylvania Avenue was shut down for the day.

I just had to find parking. Ugh. If there is one thing that I have to say that I hate about having a car is getting to the place and then having to roam around for an hour to find parking. Because every one knows that all the cool places; ie: the only places that you and your friends want to go, are located in areas where there is NO PARKING and you have to find parking on some back alley or do "creative" parking - like parking just past the sign that is marked "No Parking ---> This Way Between 4-7 pm" claiming later when you get the ticket, "Well, half of my car was in the safe parking zone, doesn't that count?"

So I drove around. And around. I finally called Oppa out of desperation.

"Oppa, I am on Pennsylvania Avenue and I can't find parking anywhere."

"Uh? It's a holiday, EJ - you should be able to find parking easily. I suggest you try to park around the mall," my brother said over the phone, "How long are you here for? Will you call to have dinner with me and Esther later?"

"I'll try, I don't know how long I'll be here. I am checking out that new art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. I'll call you later regardless, though."

After driving around several times in a square-shaped circle, and finding absolutely no free parking spaces, I finally gave in and turned into the nearest "Parking Garage Here" sign I saw. Thankfully it was at the International Trade Center, where they are equipped to deal with idiots like me who for the life of me even though the parking lot probably has fifty-seven signs showing me that I parked on C-2, when I finally go to get back to my car, I walk around aimlessly for fifty minutes, going on every single level and not having a damned clue where I parked.

But this parking lot was awesome. Instead of numbers, it had countries to designate what floor you parked on. How could I forget that I parked on Floor Russia? I could easily forget something arbitrary like C-3 or D-4, but Russia? Hell no. I'll remember that sucker.

I finally met up with LP2 after walking to the wrong damned gallery and having to turn around. There was some kind of mad-hatter accident or something, and halfway along my walk they had to detour across three more blocks just to get to a block I was originally only a few steps away from. Bah.

But ReCoGnIzE! was awesome. One of the most amazing things were the paintings by Kehinde Wiley. Absolutely off-the-CHAIN! Take a portrait of Napoleon, add a little Ice-T to the mix, and Boom! What a masterpiece. The depth of the colors and the shadows, and just the entire composition was breath-taking, and something that I can't wait to go back to and check out again (I am going again in March if anyone is interested).

LP2 and I had a great time, overall. We perused the gift shop, and gave in to temptation by purchasing the photo booklet of the exhibit (It was only $10!!! C'mon!!) and then headed towards Chinatown to pick up some grub.

That was around the time that it started to rain. And LP2, being the street-stepper and "urban-dweller" that she is, came prepared with an umbrella. My stupid ass, had not.

So after grabbing some grub and some MUCH NEEDED intelligent conversation (LP2, you astound me with your little book of what you have to do's and whatnots, you go girl!) we escaped over to Urban Outfitters so I could buy a hat to shield me from the rain.)

While there, we started talking about music. Mainly because when we first walked into the store, LP2 remarked that the singer they had playing in the background sounded like Rachel Yamagata. Which is exactly what I thought to. And then we started to say, I can't believe you know that person, and oh my gosh, yes, I have my MP3 player right here with me, let's stand in front of the aisle and play music for each other despite people walking all around us!!!

Good times, I tell you.

Alas, the day had to come to a close, and LP2 gave me a big hug and off I went to go and try to find the International Trade Center. Remember how I mentioned that I would not forget what floor I parked on? Well, I didn't, I wouldn't have lied to you. But what I did manage to forget, or rather, lose somehow was my parking ticket. And with that, my ability to find my sense of direction as to where I had come from in the first place. Fantastic. I spent an hour just walking in the rain, asking mothers ushering their children under big umbrellas, "Which way to 13th St?" and men who were jogging with their visors on to catch the raindrops, "Do you know how far it is to Pennsylvania Ave from here?" Thank God people in DC tend to be pretty friendly.

Thanks for making my day off an exciting one, LP2, and we'll definitely have to do this again, real soon.

I promise to have more posts up soon, particularly two involving a special person's birthday, and a "terrible schmelting accident".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Closest Thing

Today is Valentine's Day - or what I like to call - "Hallmark Holiday" Day. You know what I'm talking about, all the guilt of "not loving your lover enough" starts to sink in and you're programmed through subliminal commercials on TV and radio to feel that the only way to rectify your horrible relationship is by thrusting your checkbook into the hands of luring retail owners for large quantities of chocolates, red roses and whatever else is red, overly sweet and disgustingly adorable.

Sounds like fun to me, too. (Sarcasm Alert!)

But alas, I figured I would write about something recent that is the closest thing to the theme of Valentine's Day. (As I speak, I have about three posts sitting in my queue, begging to be finished. Soon, soon, soon my dear half-written darlings.)

On Sunday night, I spent the first half of the evening at Blue Ryder's, being sucked into the vortex that is PS3 all weekend long. Mostly because, when the need to rock is screaming your name, you basically have no choice but to answer the call. So I did what any other bitchin' ass rocker would do - I rocked the fuck out. (Thanks again, guys! ;-))

The only slight problem was that I had promised a date with my brother and sister the same day. I hadn't seen them in months, which is highly unusual, but the main reason for that is I no longer hang out the same way that they do. It has been really difficult for me juggling the feelings that I have had inside for the past two months. I really love my brother and my sister tremendously, but I really cannot stand to be in the club atmosphere for more than two hours at a time anymore. Yet the only time that my brother and sister go out is ...well, at night. Underneath flourescent lighting and laser beams. So I've been torn.

I had been putting the date off each hour, every hour that I felt engrossed in my moonlighting career as a rockstar. That is, until I realized it was almost 6 o' clock at night. And with a slight bittersweetness, I left Blue Ryder's house to head to the DC/VA area for dinner.

As much as halfway there I began to feel the heaviness of my eyelids, I was really quite thrilled. One, because it's a Sunday, and that is my brother and sister's rest day, meaning, they just rest up from their prior engagement (club-going) the night before. Two, because our plan was to go out to dinner and eat. You know, no flourescent lighting. No laser beams. No DnB music plummeling nails into my brain. Just me, my oppa, my unni, a table and food. YAY!

Once I got there, I climbed into the back of Oppa's car and we headed out to Momo Sushi & Cafe in Old Towne Alexandria. Okay, so originally we had plans to head somewhere else for sushi, but they were closed...and boy am I glad!

Mostly because I hadn't ever heard of Momo before, but Oppa insisted that it was by far, the best sushi he had ever tasted and I should really try it out.

I have to say, it was the most amazing sushi that I have ever had. EVER. The taste was so fresh, and so quenching that I couldn't get enough. I am not a particular fan of sashimi but this stuff was sooo good that I tried every type of sushi that we chose off the menu. And their volcano rolls were out of this world!

I really do think that great food correllates with great conversation and also goes along with great company. Momo is quite small, but apparently Oppa and Unni have eaten there a THOUSAND times, because the owner came up to us directly, and said she would give us a table as soon as one opened up while we sat at the sushi bar.

We ate miso soup, and a salad with this bombastic dressing, I have no idea what was in that but it was amazing, whatever it was. And then shrimp tempura before the sushi. All the while we just kept talking and eating, and eating and talking. I really miss being able to do that with them as often.

Unni kept saying all night long how it was great to finally see me as opposed to squinting through the darkness of a club to talk to my silouette.

I told her it was great to finally see them, too. And it was.

It is such a great feeling to be around people where the puzzle pieces finally just fit. Blue Ryder, Oppa, Unni, and everyone else in my life have totally caught me in a place where everything just fits so nicely. Even if my puzzle piece is misshapen sometimes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Does My Birth Date Mean?

Really now, I am not all into these damned surveys about trying to figure out what this means and that means - unless I am at work with nothing to do (heh, heh, heh)...on my lunch break! (See how I recovered that?)

I was on Facebook reading my friend Eva's reviews on food when I saw that I had like fifty invitations to try this quiz to find out what my birth date means. Now for those of you with Facebook, you'll understand what I mean by fifty invitations. I really do mean fifty. Fifty-seven to be exact.

So I went on, and tried the application. It was pretty damn interesting and really on point. I have absolutely no idea how it works or how it generates the answers. All you do is plug in your birthdate and all this information pops up. Here's what it had to say:

Independent and free-willed, you tend to be the alpha dog in most situations. Its your confidence which pulls you through the difficult times and take you ultimately to the time. You are not born to carry out life's mundane tasks, you are meant for the bigger things in life. You are creative. Sometimes people dont understand you, but you take that in your stride.
Your greatest strength is: your ability to gain respect.
Your greatest weakness is: caring too much what others think.
Your lucky color is: orange-red.
I don't know about my greatest strength being able to gain respect. I think that's pretty subjective depending on who you talk to. But in terms of the About Me section it is pretty on point. I don't really like to carry out mundane tasks and I try to be creative. I know a lot people tend to not be able to understand me, but that is totally okay. I don't really take offense to it - unless they say something hurtful or disrespectful.
My FAVORITE colors are orange and green. That's pretty awesome that it is my lucky color. And as for the greatest weakness that is DEFINITELY on point, Jesus. Anyone who knows me knows that I think way too much about what other people think, particularly my family. Which is funny...I guess being able to not be understood and then worrying about what people think are quite an oxymoronic (is that a word? is now!) pair when you put them together. But then again, that's just me: one big ass oxymoron.

I Rock'd The Vote!!!

At the butt crack of dawn (3:30 AM, on the dot), I woke up this morning feeling rather sleepy. After a quick yawn and a poke of my head over the covers to see the time on my cell, I made the executive decision to go back to sleep and skip the usual workout (*gasp!* I know).

Before I knew it, I was back in la-la-la land and within two hours, I woke up again to the sounds of my TV, the newscasters reporting from some middle school in downtown Baltimore. Something

Oh yeah! I thought, today is ELECTION PRIMARIES!!!!!!

I know that sounds super gooberish but that's exactly how it was. I jumped out of bed, slipped into the shower, pulled on my thickest pair of leggings to wear under my pants (because not only had the newscasters reminded me to vote, but they also announced that it was fuh-reeeezing out) and a sweater and off I went.

Why was I so excited to vote this year? Because this is technically my first year voting. I know, I know... I am 22. I should have a solid 5 years of voting under my belt. But sadly, no. I just got the new voter card for when I moved to Dundalk last year, and beyond that, one really caught my voting attention.

Last election, I didn't want John Kerry. I most certainly didn't want George Bush. I just wasn't feeling that "Get Out and Vote!" kinda vibe.

But this year was different. Maybe it was the fact that I hit my twenties that I suddenly took on a more proactive responsibility towards my politic standpoints. Or maybe I was just curious. Whatever it was, I started investigating all the candidates, and all of the past candidates, and how I compared with their views. Throughout all the readings, the surveys, the endless hours searching the Web, I found that my views point more to a Democrat point-of-view.

So that's when I registered. Last June.

And today was my first real day of actually voting. Placing my little voters card into the machine and going to town.

And you know what? I felt really good after I had. I think it's ridiculous to say that your one vote won't make a difference, because it certainly will. It might just turn out to be the one vote that could change this election completely, you never know.

My name is The Brave - and I Rock'd The Vote today! Have you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thirteen Going On 13-Months

Today, I found out that no matter how many times I kept rubbing my eyes and blinking them open (oh, how those movies lie!) my sister hadn't remained the same kid she was just 12 years before. In fact, to my unpleasant surprise (yes, I kept thinking that if I kept blinking like a neurotic imbisile that it might just actually work) my sister hadn't even remained the same pre-teen that she was the day before. This is to you, my dear sister, on the most transforming day/part/chapter of your life that has catapulted you into a whole new journey of becoming a young woman : your thirteenth birthday.

I can remember the first day that you arrived from China like the back of my hand. I even remember what I was wearing, how I had spent pain-staking hour by hour the night before, choosing the right outfit to welcome my new baby sister into our family. (Apparently, my outfit of choice was a Calvin Klein jean dress and a red bandana colored headband. What can I say, sis, I wasn't as fashion forward as we'd all like to admit 12 years ago.)

You looked so incredibly frightened and yet so incredibly strong all at the same time as I watched Dad walk off the plane. I had never seen so much sorrow, pain, darkness and fear trapped within the lines of a soft cherub face. Your skin was so pale, speckled with red dots of scabies that made your cheeks appear to have a permanent flush. It wasn't until we got you home, after hours of intense screaming on your part, (quite understandably out of fear from being in a foreign country, in a foreign house, around foreign people speaking a foreign tongue) while giving you your first real bath that we saw the scabies were all over your distended stomach and your little legs and arms.

But in that night, although you seemed so incredibly frail and scared, I could see in you an amazing strength and light deep in your eyes. I just felt it when I held you. You and I became true sisters that night. It might have been sparked by the fact that you would not let anyone else but me near you for the next three months, but eventually it transformed into this bonding relationship and learning experience that I thank you so much for. I thank you for choosing me to be your rock, your comfort and your closeness for those first months.

Even though I struggled to hold your 13-month old frame in my arms, being only 9 years older than you myself, I would rock you back and forth shifting the weight from my left side to the right side all the while keeping my arms wrapped tightly around your body. You refused to let me sit down in the rocking chair in your nursery as long as your eyes were wide awake, which was almost always until 3 am, when my arms had long since started tingling from numbness and my legs and knees ached with the weight. Every so often I would sneak closer to the crib bar, leaning my body against it ever so slightly, tilting my head to the side to see if your head was really beginning to droop against my shoulder. As soon as I'd feel the deadweight of your head lying against my shoulder in deep slumber, it would be right then that I'd try to find a clear window of freedom to lay you gently into your crib. This could prove to be one of two things: extremely successful or an incredibly horrible attempt gone crazywild wrong. It usually was the second one.

As time went on, you felt more comfortable allowing people into your "zone": the area that you played in, the area that you ate in, the person who held you while you drank your bottle, the person you let get close enough to you to give you a your stay with us grew longer and longer, you no longer felt the need to hold me as a security blanket in all your activities. Except when you became extremely sick and dehydrated. Mom had tried to feed you Pedialyte in your baby bottle, hoping to get some electrolytes into your system to calm your tears and your fevers, but you would have none of this. Much like you have grown to be now, you were incredibly stubborn, and very quiet about it as well. You would just push the bottle away from your lips, even if you looked as if you really wanted it - unless it was me holding the bottle, of course.

Soon, you learned that Mom could just as easily, if not more efficiently, calm your fears, feed you, change you, and be there as much as I was. It seemed that everything was gradually following a new routine, and that you were now beginning to form the bond with Mom that she had desperately wanted to have with you from the start.

Until the blanket of darkness that came with the night.

It was the first night that Mom and I had decided to let her put you to bed. I had coached her the entire day with all of the little quirks that you had taught me in helping me put you to bed. To hold one arm under your butt and rub your back in circular motions, and how every once in a while you loved to feel the tips of my fingers gently rub along your adorable little toes as they curled and I could feel your chest heave a deep and relaxing sigh. How you only liked one tape of lullabies called "Sleep Sound in Jesus". You would make me play it over and over again - immediately starting right after your bath when I would press my face into your sweet fresh smelling skin to make you giggle. Eventually, I would let the tape side run out and just continue singing the songs that you and I both knew by heart, lying you into your crib and rubbing my hand along your back and against your cheek.

This one was your favorite lullaby, I explained to Mom:

Sleep sound in Jesus, my baby, my dear
We're keeping watch, so there's nothing to fear
As I lay you down in your bed tonight
Sleep sound in Jesus till morning is light.

So that night, as I uncharacteristically climbed the stairs to my bedroom at an actual decent hour, instead of crawling into the comfort of my own bed with exhaustion, I stopped at the top of the stairs and closed my eyes. I waited as I heard Mom's voice cooing with you outside of the bathroom. I listened intently to make sure that she turned on your lullaby music just as you liked it. And then I went through our night ritual in my mind, hoping that Mom had paid attention to the instructions I had given her. Hoping that you wouldn't cry for her.

And you didn't. In fact, as she walked into her bedroom, and I hung over the railing asking her repeatedly how it went, she said that you fell asleep like a little angel. And as much as I felt a sigh of relief that Mom was finally beginning to bond with you finally, there was a part of me that felt a little sad, knowing that soon, you wouldn't need me at all. I feared we wouldn't be as close ever again. I tried to wipe out my fears as I climbed into my bed and fell asleep.

At around 3 am, I began to toss and turn across my bed when I suddenly felt my foot hit something at the foot of the bed. I knew that I hadn't put any of my babydolls or my pillows there, so I couldn't imagine what I had hit. I immediately sat up in bed and blinked hard in the darkness, forcing my eyes to focus and adjust. That was when I saw you. Sleeping in the fetal position, at the foot of my bed.

My heart pounded with a bit of sadness and joy all at the same time. I crawled out of the sheets and grabbed your small frame from around your belly and pulled you underneath my covers with me - and you nestled your face into my pillow and pulled me closer to you as you slept.

We certainly don't sleep in the same bed anymore. We don't even talk as much as I'd like us to, mostly because you have found that girls your own age and our brother who is closer in age to you than me are better conversationalists when it comes to the latest manga of Naruto or who scored what goal in last Saturday's soccer game.

I had always envisioned that I would be all of the big sister to you as I had always wanted when I was your age. But I realize as you have hit age thirteen that we are total polar opposites with only common interests here and there. You must look at me as the embarrassing older sister who sits for hours on watching old 80's music videos and singing along at the top of my lungs versus me wanting to be the cool big sister that you look up to, and feel comfortable coming to about anything.

I hope that no matter what happens between us, even though we don't talk every day, that when I say "I love you" I really mean it from the deepest and most bottom-est part of my heart. And that when I hug you and kiss your cheek, that I still feel that same strength and light that I felt 12 years ago when I held you in the middle of the night to save you from the nightmares. There is no doubt in my mind that you will grow to be the most amazing, intelligent and perservering young woman and individual. Welcome to the rest of your life, my dear little sister. There will be highs as bright as the sunrising in the horizon on a beautiful summer day of endless possibilities and there will be lows as dark and rainy as a night filled with endless clasping thunderstorms, and loneliness sometimes that will nibble away so achingly at every last bit of your heart till you think you can't take it anymore. But I will always be here for you. To help you up when you make your biggest mistakes, and encourage you even further when you accomplish all of your goals.

Happy Birthday, Nate-Gate! I love you!

-your Big Sis, The Brave

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Love Note To Always Half-Asleep

This is my love note to the author of "Always Half-Asleep.

I know that I promised earlier that I would write further about the CDs that you sent me, and about how I'd been listening to each CD over and over again but I just hadn't gotten to it yet. Mainly because I haven't been able to really listen to all of them in their entireties yet.

And I still haven't.

I have only gone through maybe three or four of your mixes, but I just had to finally write something to you today.

Why? Because I love you, seriously. It's like we're kindred music spirits, or long-lost music Wonder Twins that just needed to finally come together. Okay, let me elaborate on my gooberness:

When you first sent me the said CDs, I was going through my hair loss and a lot of self-esteem changes. I was so excited to receive your package thinking I was only going to get two CDs of your music, when lo and behold, there were like ten or so! The first CD that I popped into my player was "Light of the Moon" I believe. And then came "Sunrise" and then "Dying". I listened to them, and initially gravitated towards the songs that at first listen, caught my attention. And I'd play them over and over again. I uploaded them into my iPod so I could keep listening to them over and over again at work.

There were songs on the first three or so CDs that made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel whole again. I am not kidding. Your CDs in every way imaginable, all the music, it just moved me, got me feeling happier, wanting to keep listening to the song over and over again like an addict, hoping to keep getting the happy feeling each time I listened to it, and I did.

Then I popped in more. I can't even remember some of the names of the CDs that you labeled, but I would just pop them into my CD player in my car and listen to them as I drove. That's when my love for you and your freakin' amazing music taste really blossomed.

Whether I was driving to something happy, or driving from something incredibly sad, or just plain confused and driving to no particular place at all, somehow, the music just...said whatever I felt. How retarded it must sound now to admit that I would be on 95 at 3 AM in the morning, with tears in my eyes, singing along to a song that just said everything that I wasn't able to say and more.

Last night was no different. I was just headed over to my parents' place to cook them dinner (I have been in the practice of making some bomb-ass spring rolls) and listening to one of your CDs (I don't even know what the label was) and two songs came on during my drive that just hit me precisely where I was at this point, and how I felt.

I had tears in my eyes as I kept listening to those two songs over and over again to my ride there, and my ride back home later in the evening. And as much as the reason for them making me cry and what it reminded me of is sad, and somewhat depressing, being able to have something facilitate the tears and let them flow was an amazing release for me. The songs didn't make all the pain go away, or make all of the problems disappear, but they certainly helped therapeutically in letting me release a lot of emotions I didn't even realize I had pent up inside.

So here is to you, Always Half-Asleep, for helping me find a deeper love and appreciation for music again, and for encouraging me (even though you probably didn't mean to) to remember that it's totally healthy and okay to let go of some tears once in a while. XOXO

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'd like to thank the Pre-Med student who came up with the "red-eye" coffee...

I know, I know... I first off want to go ahead and apologize for not being as diligent with this blog as I used to be, or how I'd like to be - this being partly because A. I am slightly lazy whenever I am home and B. I am rarely ever home after doing school/work/homework/workout/craziness and when I am home, I'd like some peace and quiet, plop myself in front of the television and have guilt-free junk food snacking for hours on end. If I start to feel guilty about the horrible things I am shoving into my digestive system and by digestive system I mean my clogged arteries, I do Sudoku puzzles in order to fulfill what I think of as "brain enhancement exercises".

Life has been incredibly on-going in the past few weeks. I can't collectively say that I've been "stressed", possibly because all of it has been "good" stress, whatever the hell that is. I think that just means that even though you're pressured to do 9,999,999 million things in a millisecond and you're perspiring hotter than a 500 T man, the end of the day, you wouldn't have it any other way.

And right now, that's exactly where I am. Save for a few things here and there. Between work and school, I have little room for anything else, but I am super driven. And I love that that part of me has kicked in again. I always felt like I was able to accomplish a hell of a lot more as a high schooler because I was so completely driven by my future, but then I hit a few bumps in the road (Okay, who am I kidding? What I hit were more like gargantuan super-glaciers that had huge pointy icicles hanging off of them, all ironically aimed at me and artfully poised and ready for my demise.) and life began really really sucking.

I don't know what happened to tell you the truth. To this day, when I look back and I think about how I was, my thought process was, and then all the events that have happened between then and now, I have no particular one thing that I can look back at with a stern pointed finger and go: "AH HA! You ARE the WEAKEST LINK!" Because I think in the end, it all played a part, and it all made a difference in the successes and short-comings that have led me to the place that I am now.

But in the past few weeks, what with the new promotion at work (which I never saw coming) and school starting, my focus has been completely and utterly intent on actually succeeding in all the goals I was afraid of before (for whatever reasons). Does that mean I am not still afraid? Hell fucking no. I am readily prepared with plenty of adult diapers for the numerous times I feel the urgent need to pee myself out of sheer fear of all the choices, decisions and life paths I have to make. But what has changed is that I feel I am better equipped to just dry myself off, put on another adult diaper, and keep on trucking. I don't think I'll ever stop being scared shitless or be able to say I don't feel crappy every once in awhile, I am just better prepared for the aftermath that comes with it.

I am really getting down the nitty gritty this year. I'm not just trying to bullshit my way out of this one - I know my ass better work hard to get to where I need to go to be where I want to be. And I figure there have been so many amazing people that I have met in my (short) lifetime thus far that have seemed to have the confidence in me that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to, so it's about damned time I have confidence in myself.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Resurrection of the Internet

So I learned last night while walking down the pathway to my place that the Internet has now been rerouted. This time there is a pass code though. Which is good, I agree, for safety reasons, etc. etc. (Because I really would hate to think people were trying to steal all the porn on my hard drive.)

I didn't, however, get the passcode just yet. I didn't get home until around 10 pm or later, having spent the night eating dinner at my parents' house and catching up with my siblings that I don't get to see much of anymore. It's weird how going back, you realize how fast your siblings are growing, and how their internal worlds are spinning just as fast as yours is.

My sister is on her way to being the next "musical prodigy" (aka J's little brother). I went home last night to find her tapping away at piano keys, all self-taught. Hammering out tunes such as "Over My Head" by the Fray, "It Ends Tonight" by All-American Rejects and "Apologize" by OneRepublic. It amazes me how fast she is growing, and I can't get over how much of a teenager she is starting to look(she turns 13 in February). Sorta freaks me out and stings a little. I guess because I have that big sister complex, wanting them to stay little forever. I am so proud of who she is becoming though, and love her deeply.

My little brother is also hitting a milestone age this year, the big 1-8. I don't have anything bad to say. He's become everything that anyone could've ever asked for and more. I love him to death, and he is an amazing spark in my life, and one of my closest confidants. We grew up together, only 5 years apart, but I still see him as my baby brother. I told him I'd take him wherever he wanted to go this year. Now that I have my car, we can wreck havoc across the city together in celebration of his birthday. He deserves a little fun with everything he's been through.

So now that the internet is back up, you all will get an overload of posts with pictures that have been long overdue. Something to take up my time in my free moments over the weekend (ha, ha, ha)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Vocabulary Junkies & Humanitarians Behold!

There is now a place for you to mingle, fraternize, commix, etc., etc.

I stole this from a girl who posted in this Women's group that LP had me join with her. I only stole it because hey, this is the kind of thing that needs to be spread about as fast as possible, and what an amazing and ingenious idea it is.

The site is called The premise? Elementary, my dear Watsons and Watson-ettes! Do you find yourself using an extremely large amount of SAT vocabulary and having no one to talk to? Or do you just have a plethera of SAT vocab words clinging to the tiny particles in your brain and have no where to put them to good use? Well my friends, now you can not only display your excellent vocab skills, but you can also be a humanitarian at the same time.

The peeps at have created a site that for every vocabulary word definition you score right, 20 grains of rice will be sent through the United Nations to starving families every where. The fight to end poverty ends right in the pages of your dictionary, folks.

Not only does it supply non-English speaking immigrants with a great site to help them learn new words, but hell, I've been in this country for 22 years and I have been having some slight difficulty on getting the right answer on some of those words.

And you might think that 20 grains of rice are pretty sparse for each word you get right but think of it this way - you know how you start playing Gold Digger and just can't stop yourself? This is how addictive this is, if you're a vocab fan like I am, of course. In a matter of about five minutes, I had "donated" 340 grains of rice. Wow. Not only does this thing make me feel smart, but I actually feel great for being a part of something truly awesome.

So check it out. :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Being Sick

I have had this "cold" off and on since the beginning of the year. Well, okay, I had a slight fever on the 2nd of the month, and then it went away.

But starting Sunday, I gained this lovely sex-phone operator's voice that I currently possess, and cannot shake. I know that the infection is gone. I just had a sinus infection for a day or two and poof! It is gone today.

This cough is just getting a little bit on my nerves. I know I shouldn't complain, because as it stands, this is not the worst case that I have ever had. I remember being deathly sick when I was younger and this is certainly no where near that - but it does suck when the weather is so nice outside and I feel crummy inside.

I am just looking forward to the weekend, and actually, I know this sounds weird - but purchasing my books for this semester is getting me pretty perky. Mainly because I chose semi-easy classes this semester (*knock on wood*) to accompany my Chemistry 107 class. (which by the way is requiring yet ANOTHER chemistry textbook, of course they couldn't be nice and use the textbook I used just LAST semester for this semester. Of course not.)

This year I am learning to be smarter about the book buying thing though. I am going to finally use this thing that everyone has been raving about to me all these years. See if I can get a discount. And then get reimbursed with my book credit later on. I have a lot of schooling ahead of me and might as well scrimp and save where I can.