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Summer Bummer

I have a confession to make.

When I was younger and I was still in school, the reason I looked forward to the summer was that I didn’t have to go to school. That meant watching all the TV I wanted, eating all that I wanted [especially ice cream because it’s the summer!], and not having to wake up at 6 am. Of course, it also meant I could hang out with my friends during the week, and no Chinese School on Saturday. Summer was a no school zone and I was a complete fan. But I don’t think I liked summer itself. It was too hot and filled with bugs [that fly, the worst kind]. So around the time late August rolled around I was tired of summer and wanted to get back to school. I was am such a nerd. So I guess, yes, I was happy to see summer go and welcomed autumn with open arms.

But now, after going to college, and meeting the person who is most in love with summer and the beach, I think I’ve also fallen in like with summer. I’ve found these past couple years that I am actually looking forward to summer for what it is: warm weather, soft sand, sun, and cute clothes. Am I growing up? Maybe. But I like to think that I’ve simply learned a new perspective to this season that I previously, as a dorky teenager, didn’t really care much about. Although, I still don’t really care much for the bugs.

So here’s to summer! May you always be filled with sunshine, summer rain, long daylight hours, and long drives with the windows open.

[The title of this post bears no relevance to my feelings towards summer, only that it rhymed. Please comment with other words that rhyme with summer.]

What is Love?

Think of your longest relationship: describe how your love has changed over time, did you go from the giddiness of infatuation, to mad passion, to deep respect, esteem, and friendship? Tell us about your love story. Daily Prompt

I find it funny, in a is-this-a-coincidence-or-is-this-how-the-world-works way, that the day after I read a quote by Pablo Neruda on love that I encounter this daily prompt, the day that I return to this neglected blog after five long uneventful months. First, the quote:

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.  -Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I found this incredibly heart wrenching and yet warming at the same time. But first, I think I should get to the prompt first, and as a result, I will hopefully explain my thoughts towards this poem.

This is a love story that has many sides, and because of our openness, I have received much more love than I could have ever hoped for when our relationship began. We met our freshman year of college. I had a quirky roommate who had a tiny obsession with hallucinogenic drugs, pharmacy, and dust. (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry but it’s true.) After my turbulent whirlwind romance with science and technology in high school, I threw it all away in the hopes of chasing my creative dreams and genes. We’d been in school for about a month at this point. The weather was starting to become cooler. And we were still stuck in our struggle to make friends. (Neither of us were very good at it.) So we decided one night to disregard our homework and to take a risk. We would attempt to speak to the first person we saw in the hallway. We both poked our heads out and looked down the hallway.

There was no one but a tall shirtless boy down at the other end of the dorm, standing in front of a water fountain. We looked at each other and kind of shrugged, thinking, might as well. My roommate was the one who shouted to the guy, something along the lines of “Hey, dude without a shirt, what’s your name”. Well, it worked. I was stuck between giddiness and embarrassment when he turned to look at us. He had incredibly curly hair almost down to his shoulder. Gosh, he was a strange one. Eventually he came over to our room and we hung out. We invited our neighbor over as well. The shirtless one was incredibly tall. I don’t remember what we said that night, but it must’ve been something because we ended up talking until late into the night. It got so late, in fact, that our neighbor and the stranger gave up going back to their room and just slept in ours. Sleepover party.

That’s how we met. Our relationship didn’t begin until the summer after freshman year. We were friends at first, especially because I was in another relationship at the time (I’m a sucker about letting go. I couldn’t move on from high school.) Little by little we became closer friends. It didn’t hurt that we lived on the same floor, just down the hall from each other. It also didn’t hurt that he was so noticeable (almost always without a shirt, and that half-swaying walk of his). After winter break he cut his hair, and oh my goodness was he cute! (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I didn’t like your long hair.) My personal life became complicated and as a result, I broke up with my boyfriend that semester. We hung out even more. But nothing happened. We were just very close friends, friends who have slight crushes on each other. Friends who wakes the other up after their morning class or before the class so they can have breakfast together. Thinking back on it, our friends probably thought our relationship was disgustingly cute. (Haha.)

When our relationship did start, it really happened like a whirlwind affair. The first summer together was freedom. I was in a new relationship with a guy I knew and yet hardly knew. We learned about each other, talked, went on walks, did a lot of things together. It was almost like infatuation, love, and honeymoon all mixed together. I couldn’t help it; he always put a smile on my face. Even when I wanted to be mad at him, I couldn’t really (That’s still true, but it could also be because of my nature).

And then we took a break. Things had been going great until then. In fact, things probably had been going too well that it was bound to happen. I was going to study abroad and I wanted some space to breathe, and I felt like I would be tied down. My memory is fuzzy about this part. I just remember we couldn’t agree on what would happen and so for the best, we decided on a break. I think we both needed it. It ended up being longer than both of us anticipated. I was in England for almost six months but I had accepted an internship in Taiwan which would keep me there all summer. Our break extended.

During our time apart, I took a chance to look back at what I felt and what I wanted. I still don’t really know what I want. I can’t really put it into words, but I do know it when I experience it. Perhaps the question foremost on my mind was “Was I pushed into this relationship”, but it didn’t matter. Our time together had overwritten any of that. All I felt was a genuine belonging with him. (I think he was sure of us the whole time. Boys.) When I returned for my senior year, we got back together.

It’s been more than a year since then and I do think our relationship has changed. It has matured from the childish giddiness of a young romance into that of a relationship built on a foundation of trust and friendship. And love, of course. Sometimes it feels like our love is so young, and yet so old at the same time when I count the years (I don’t really keep track, I always have to use my fingers. Is that bad?) I see him, not as someone else, but as a partner whom I have a greatest respect for, despite his sometimes narrow minded beliefs and different perspective (about a lot of things).

So when I read that Neruda sonnet, it really resounded in me. When did our love start? I wouldn’t be able to put a finger on an exact date, nor would I be able to say where the turning point was. I could put a finger to when we became “official” (if people still do that; I’m old-fashioned), but who knows when feelings appear. They all mesh into one and evolve. He is a part of my life right now, and because I cannot see the future, I also cannot see how far our relationship will go. But at every moment of our life, we always feel this moment lasts forever, so for me, right now, it feels as if we are one and will always be together. I just can’t imagine any different.

 

Now I’m really curious as to what he thinks.

America the Un-Rascist

Originally written 10.17.13

In response to  Connie Zhou’s article: http://www.connie-zhou.com/asian-american-awakening/

Today was my first day subbing. I happened to be subbing for a teacher whose main classes contain ESL students (I shouldn’t really say ESL, the class was called Transitional English). I ran into the Asian stereotype in the place I was most and least expecting it. It was like being in high school all over again.

The author of this article (and many others like it) are right in saying that as Asian Americans, we do see a lot of stereotyping and stupid comments. However, the source of these comments may be surprising. My first encounter today happened in my first Transitional English class. A Chinese boy (you will understand why I label him as such soon) entered the classroom and the first thing he said to me was in Chinese, something along the lines of “Oh you’re Chinese! Can you speak Chinese?” This continued when we met up with the rest of the class and the other Chinese student in the class began discussing something in Chinese with the first Chinese student. They both spoke to me in Chinese. After some discussion between all three parties he said, and quite offensively (to me) that I was American (after finding out I was born in America) and that even if I spoke Chinese it was probably bad.

What?

Another student in my last class of the day insisted on saying hello to me in Chinese, multiple times, despite the fact he was Hispanic (he spoke Spanish). And he put his palms together and gave a slight bow when he said it. Do you know how annoying that is?

This thing, whatever it is, still happens today, with the youngest members of our country. I have first hand experience with 6-7 year olds. Some of their comments, though clearly out of innocence, are still very telling of the “whiteness” of Americans. I and two other Asian children (both girls) have both been under the microscope held by the other children in the class. The question that was asked was “Are you sisters? You look alike. You could be sisters!” Only because we were both of Asian descent. Children are curious, but why does this question not occur among children who have European features? It is truly baffling.

Those are my thoughts. I hope you read the author’s article and others like it.

Be aware.

——————————

Edit 10.18.13

My parents saw this and told me I should take it down from Facebook, which is where this was originally posted. Their argument is that this kind of thing should not be posted online, but if not here, then where? This kind of thing needs to be known, not hidden away in the back of a closet.

Road Safety

This year seems to be the year of the road for me, and I’m not sure why. I have seen so many quirky events and drivers in comparison to the past. Let’s recap the most memorable:

March-ish
During my spring break, my parents and I went to visit my sister down in D.C. We had just gotten onto the parkway when we saw the cop car. Its lights were flashing and it drove a few rows in front of us, zig zagging between the three lanes. Yes, you read that correctly. Zig zagging. I do not embellish. We went down a good 3-5 miles down the parkway at 35 mph. Do you know how slow that is? Incredibly. I sat back and relaxed, knowing it would take a while. And then, another cop car joins him. Actually, this cop car was stopping traffic from an offloading ramp [is that the correct term?] and when our cop car drove past, he followed. So now we had two cop cars, lights shining, driving down the parkway at 35 mph. Everyone stayed a good distance behind them and crawled. Then at the next turn off, which happened to be a rest stop, the two cop cars turned off and we were left with miles of empty parkway in front of us. Have you ever seen an empty parkway? It is amazing.

August-ish
We were going back down to D.C. again to pick up my sister this time. I believe we were on the 495 or something, but either way, the north bound lane had zero traffic. And then all of a sudden, motorcycles. Hundreds of them. They went by one after another in a long line. But of course, first it was police, with their lights on [motorcycle policemen], American flags waving in the wind. After them came the long line of motorcyclists. It didn’t end. Exit ramps [onto the road] were stopped by police cars. How crazy is that! And then at the end of the pack came the ambulances and there was also a truck pulling one of those crates on wheels. Pretty awesome. The line was definitely a couple miles long.

Today
Two instances today I saw crazy things. First was right when I was about to turn onto Rt. 9. There’s a small jug handle right before the light. Since there was a bit of a gap between me and the light, a couple cars pulled out of the jug handle and tried to make the green light. They failed. BUT it doesn’t end there. These two cars had left the jug handle driving side by side. This of course means that when they are forces to stop, they are still next to each other. One is a truck, and the other is a small SUV. The SUV is right in front of me, next to the yellow line. The truck, is in front of the SUV, but on the other side of the yellow line. In the line of traffic. WHAT? How did that even happen? I watched it happen with my own eyes and I still couldn’t believe it. What was the driver thinking? The SUV backed up to allow the truck room to back into the right lane. I don’t know what happened after that. The truck started to, then must have decided not to because he stayed right where he was. And when the light turned green, he drove right from where he was, crossed two lanes when turning left and made a beeline for the gas station across the intersection. Weird.
The second instance happened at another jug handle. Of course. New Jersey and her jug handles. Gotta love’em. Anywho, I was in the right most lane because I had to take the jug handle in order to get to my destination. There was a minivan in front of me also taking the jug handle so I didn’t see the car until the minivan had already turned slightly to enter the jug handle. There was a car, on the left most side [from my perspective] of the jug handle, facing me. In other words, GOING THE WRONG WAY IN THE JUG HANDLE. It wasn’t as if he had backed up and driven into the jug handle and was turned slightly. This car was completely facing me, inching closer to the white lines and trying to go back into traffic. As I made the jug handle the only thought in my head was “How did you even drive the wrong way down a jug handle??”

So that’s my experience with drivers this year. That I can think of. There are probably more but these definitely merit a blog post.

Challenge: Inspire Me

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

 

I have left behind a wall of ghosts in the nooks and crannies of my old house. It is better that they are left there. Who knows what havoc might happen if they were set loose. The ghost of my first winter hides in the attic, the winter of ’78, coldest on record. I was four months old at the time, but already it seemed like eternity. I howled my lungs out and shivered as the chill crept into my throat. 

The ghost of my father sleeps in his bed. The rotting mattress collects little flitting bugs and stirs up my emotions when I peek through the crack in the door. I can hear him snore. It must have been the snoring that killed him as he slept. It was so loud it shook the rafters. It vibrated my bed and woke me from my dreams, and my nightmares, the nightmares I had of seeing my parents die. 

The ghost of my first kiss wanders around the kitchen, searching for its lover. He is hiding somewhere between here and the Mississippi River. 

My tantrums have raised ghosts of their own, especially the wicked ones involving much screaming and banging of doors. The hole I kicked has never been fixed.

Out in the yard, where the grass is as tall as my waist, the ghost of tomorrow creeps, searching for me, waiting to pounce on me and my bones, where they lie hidden under the stairs in the back. It is always waiting.


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