Saturday, April 11, 2015


Hey everyone,

I'm moving! New blog, new times, new things to do. I think you could tell that this little corner of the internet was losing its steam, so I've decided to reboot. My new address is now:

Weird name, I know. But it's all explained on the new blog, and you can go read it if you'd like. I'll be updating my content to run along certain themes rather than sticking to strictly personal posts. It was a pleasure with you all on this blog, but we can now go and have some fun on the new one, yeah?

See you there!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

january favorites

Wow, okay. My last favorites list was for August, which is kind of unforgiveable.

But I am back! Granted, some of these are "old" favorites, but I'll still share them with you. January overall was a bit of a whirl, but I still made time to enjoy things, here and there.

Friday, January 9, 2015

it's not over until it's over.

Towards the end of 2013, I watched a lovely little Korean drama called Answer Me 1994. It was a throwback series to when Korea was wrapped up in a booming new movement in gayo (가요 - a term used to describe Korean pop music starting from the trot era) in the form of Seo Taiji and the Boys, as well as the crazy fashions, the hair, and the beeper pager. It was also a show about a group of college students and their passionate youths, and how they lived and loved and became friends and chased their dreams despite the setbacks that inevitably came with age.

In retrospect, the drama was riddled with flaws. It was too long, too fluffed, and too fixated on its main love triangle. But I loved it because of how overwhelmingly nostalgic it made me - even though 1994 was still three years before my birth. 

In the show, Chilbongie (one of the leads) says something about his unrequited love for Na Jung. Taking a famous quote from a baseball player, he cocks his head back and recites, "It's not over until it's over." 

So, there you have it. My new slogan for the new year. It's not over until it's over. I told you it was going to be a whirlstorm of cliches. 

With 2015, I have to face another year of new challenges - but it's also another year of overcoming those challenges. I'm going to lug this tired old machine out to the races again, with a heart bent on winning until the races close for the night.

I still have a lengthy to-do list to complete.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

new year

It's the second day of the New Year! Sorry for the late posting - it has been quite a year, hasn't it?

To be frank, there's a lot of posts that I missed after 2014 sort of spiraled into one of the busiest periods of my life. I missed Halloween, Thanksgiving, the glorious period known as finals, and Christmas. But hey, I'm here for the New Year!

For a quick list of updates...

Halloween was fun - I didn't go trick-or-treating (because I am seventeen, believe it or not), but I always enjoy coming to school when everyone's in costume. Teachers are also a lot more lenient, so we spend more time discussing candy and horror movies than calculus. I hung out with a few good friends - for the life of me, I cannot watch horror films, but they convinced me with Hitchcock's The Birds. I enjoyed it on a cinematic level, but still scary.

October and November sort of swept by in a blurry of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (the book I read in Lit) and economics. I've found a certain appreciation for economics, actually. It's fascinating to see markets and relate it to human predictability. It is certainly an important subject, and I feel like many people have a limited respect for it.

All I remember for Thanksgiving was turkey. Yum.

And then it was December, and finals came upon me like an angel of terror. I have to admit that I've never been so stressed - I literally broke out in a rash the last week of school. Because I'm taking three college courses on top of my regular school schedule, I was forever shuttling between campuses and trying to keep my material straight. I was also working through my college applications at the time (fingers crossed!) so the burden was very, very heavy.

I pulled through, thankfully, and then it was break! My family and I spent a short three-day vacation in San Diego during Christmas, which is why I missed marking it on this blog. San Diego during December is a bit surreal - instead of hot chocolate and snow, I got (really good) Mexican food and sandy beaches that glittered like gold. Quite literally. The sand was gold.

My camera is currently out of commission, unfortunately, so I wasn't able to take proper pictures. Take my work for it though - it was fantastic to actually go somewhere and relax after a long, LONG, semester.

And now, I'm back and looking forward to 2015. I don't really enjoy making resolutions, but I do have one long-term goal for this year: to regain my energy. I want to become invigorated and curious, I want to reach out and DO things. I have so many things planned, from getting back to piano to beginning French and outlining a possible novel (!). Let's say that this is my year.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

on memories

I have something called a memory box, which is basically a tin that I fill with little souvenirs from notable events throughout the year. For example, if I go to the movies with friends on a fun night out, I might save the ticket stub in that box. And so on.

I guess this is a little tradition that started for me on my own since I was young. It wasn't a deliberate, planned act, but just a matter of convenience. I had photos and souvenirs, I had a shoebox, voila. A memory box.

The shoe box has since gotten upgrade to a Little Women-esque chest, donated by my aunt. And now, it holds fragments of things, from stubs to polaroids to letters and handwritten short stories I've never really typed up.

It's strange how we feel each moment of our lives so keenly, so much so that in that single moment, we don't feel like we'd ever forget it. Because just think about it. What do you feel now?

Right now, I feel the smoothness of a keyboard, the lateness of the hour, the quiet hum of my refrigerator. I feel an ache in my shoulder from sitting in the same position too long, and the words that are spilling across this page. I feel and sense so many things. Truly, the body is just a bundle of nerves, because all it can do is just feel.

I don't feel like I'll forget this moment, even though my brain knows plainly that I will, or at least most of it. This is just one small moment among many similar moments of tired nights writing at my computer.

It's curious to me that this is the way it is. Because a person, at the end of the day, is just a long string of memories. Their entire being is composed of this idea, since everything that shapes them to who they are is the collection of memories that holds the entirety of their lives. And yet, we're not capable of remembering everything. We just remember in fragments, of certain days that we bother to write down and take note.

The importance of remembering isn't just recorded in textbooks or memorials. It's present in our present (sorry), and it's one that's keenly felt by anyone who has the idea to really examine themselves as a being. What do you see when you look inwards?

For me, I see snow. I see my grandmother standing, holding my hands clad in red mittens.

I see my father's back, always turned away as he drives me to my destination.

I see words swimming in front of my eyes as I struggle to stay awake in another desperate night of studying.

I see the string of lights at the local mall as I come out of the movie theater with a group of good friends, laughing and feeling content.

 I taste cold yogurt and hot rice, I hear my mother's music and the latest hit on the radio.

Within the box, I see birthday letters, strangely taken photographs, and subway cards that are gathering dust under the neglect of the LA public transportation system. The box allows me to remember some things that are really not worth remembering, like the specific dates for my antibiotics prescription, but they also show me hidden evidence of a life that has actually been lived.

I spend so much of my time doubting that my life has been significant that I'm surprised I have a boxful of scraps that assure me that I have, at least, lived for some of these seventeen year.

There are memories that you can't place in a box. But it is important to remember them, and hopefully the box becomes an aid in that.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

on failure

Here's the deal about screwing up: it's the horrible, gut-wrenching feeling that something has happened, something bad, and it's your fault, and there's nothing you can do about it.

I am a perfectionist, of a most frustrating variety. I'm the kind of person who is not able to begin a task if I believe that it cannot be carried out perfectly. In some ways, this is good - what I do matters, and therefore, whatever I accomplish is actually quite good.

But I'm still prevented from actually doing more. I have not yet learned the lesson of youth; that it is only through mistakes that I can truly live and learn and do. I am so young that it hardly matters at this point. It's better to stumble now than later.

Yet the gut-wrenching fear of failure is still there. It is always there, like a phantom that haunts me as I think of new projects to complete. It is one of the reasons why I haven't been writing more often lately, why I haven't been able to get back into piano, and why I want to learn how to cook more Korean food but am deathly afraid of what's going to happen when I get near the kitchen.

When I really get down to thinking about my own process of thinking, I am the kind of person who continuously mulls over an issue. I look at it from all kinds of angles, trying to see if there's any flaw to the execution of my plans, and I reach in with a mental wand and attempt to fix it. Some would say this is a good thing, a signifier of my perfectionist nature making things perfect.

But then there are people like my dad, who just do. My dad is the spontaneous type, who rushes into projects with the kind of passion that I admire. He is determined to see it through, whereas I often get discouraged when things start going haywire. However, while my dad is spontaneous, he is also adaptable - and there, we see balance. Through flexibility, he approaches head-on as they come; there is not mulling or predicting the future to make sure the road is perfect.

This is one of the things I have to learn. Luckily, I have learned it more in the recent years, as I stepped further out of my comfort zone into activities where perfection was not ensured. I am a member of my Mock Trial team, where I debate and fight against another team based on a fake trial given to us. We have to formulate strategies, theories, and arguments while also dealing with the issue of objections and times. There is no predictability here - if the team we face catches sight of our flaws, we lose. If they don't, we win.

I love my team, but I can't say we're winners. More often than not, we end up dropping out of rounds because we face teams who are simply more prepared than we are. Most recently, we ended up becoming one of ten schools to remain in the competition - out of ninety total schools. I was ecstatic and determined to reach at least the semi-finals.

But then the other team had memorized the entirety of their script. We weren't yet off book. We lost.

Here's the curious deal about Mock Trial: I have probably lost most often through that activity, but I have also lost with a sense of enlightened joy. Winning, losing, failure, perfection - it didn't matter. I had simple just done.

That is the kind of joy I'd like to carry on through the rest of this year, the next, and into college. To do more, to see more, without the fear of falling of flat on my face. Because even if I do, then I'm sure there will be someone who will help me up. A possible stranger. And that could be the start of a beautiful friendship, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, October 20, 2014

reading list #1

I've been reading almost nonstop lately, and it felt a little wasteful not to keep track of my reading list. So, without further ado, here's what I've been reading.

>>>>Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

Summary: 'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...' 

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

My thoughts: This book is highly conceptual, and its premise is fascinating. I was more interested with the psychology, and although the "thriller" part of the book was what made it a huge hit, it would have been more appealing to me if it had dealt more with the effects of Christine's memory on her family.  

Rating: 3.5/5

>>>>The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Summary: The poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

My thoughts: I was completely engrossed in the life of this farmer who starts to rise in status as China itself begins the change with the coming of the industrial age.  What I loved the most was that as the book deals with the idea of tradition, of love and loss, and the ever present sense of change, it also tells the story of a family that is not perfect or even perfectly good, but as dysfunctional as any family that has ever existed.

Rating: 4/5

>>>>One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Summary: Randle McMurphy, a boisterous rebel, swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, develops into a grim struggle between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. 

My thoughts: This was a book assigned in my English class, so I've been reading this with a fully analytical mindset. This usually detracts from my enjoyment of a book, but Cuckoo had me fascinated from the start. The characters and their struggles speak to the reader, and it broke my heart to read the end.

Rating: 5/5

>>>>The Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

Summary: An insecure princess with an unclear destiny becomes a secret bride, a revolutionary, a queen, and—finally—the champion her world so desperately needs.

My thoughts: I'm a sucker for fantasy worlds that have a historic root and strong heroines - and this series has both. With a world that seems to have its foundation on Spanish history, Fire and Thorns weaves fantasy and religion together around an incredibly well-written cast of characters. I read all three of the books in this trilogy in one weekend, despite my initial reluctance to start "another YA fantasy series." Reminiscent of my favorite book series, The Queen's Thief, Fire and Thorns is entertaining and captivating. 

Rating: 4/5 

>>>>Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Summary: Persepolis is a graphic novel of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland

My thoughts: The art for Persepolis is fantastic, but it's the story that gets me in the end. The tumultuous period of the 1980s and 90s in Iran are rarely discussed in my history classes, but this novel not only helps to shed light on the events, but also on the emotional backdrop they place. I related to the main character on a personal level, making her story unforgettably searing.

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: All summaries have been copied or revised from official summaries listed at Goodreads.