Although this blog is for posting rambling thoughts, my writing is pretty terrible. I should practice more but I don’t make enough time.
This past weekend was pretty fun for me. Friday I finally went to my friend’s Drink for a Cause event where a weird, balding guy hit on me and my guy friends got a hit out of it. Afterward I went to eat at Namu Gaji which was pretty bad Korean fusion. The soju came in a mason jar with ice. The ramen wasn’t thoroughly cooked through and the sauce for my oxtail was too sweet.
Saturday we went to Tomales Bay for some excellent oysters from Hog Island. We bought them and Joe shucked them on a beach nearby. It was awesome (I hate this word too) to be out there eating fresh oysters on a good day by the water. When we got back to the city, I met up with D and we went out for pizza and then to a slam poetry contest for Youth Speaks. It was amazing to see how much talent the kids had, and it was a pretty diverse group spanning from the nerdy Asian student to your Arabic girl wearing a hijab.
Afterward we went to Bi Rite and then some Korean place to eat some mediocre budehjigae. Still I had a good time with him.
Sunday went to church with Stephen and we went out for some good Tonkatsu ramen at Waraku and I finally walked around Japan Town. We bought some macarons in Hayes Valley and brought them home for a blind taste test. Results were mixed; it all came down to preference.
We went to Tony’s for crab fest and some fresh abalone that Chris actually hunted for the day before. It was pretty good. Was stuffed and content to be surrounded by friends for interesting conversations and laughs.
Feel blessed to be here; I still can’t believe I’m here but I feel like this is exactly where I should be. It’s weird how things just fell into place and I look forward to all that God has for me here. I definitely believe SF has more opportunity for me and it’s awesome to be here with my cousin and just share everyday moments with her and her husband and all their friends. It’s been such a blessing to just have dinner all together and share some good laughs over food and wine. I’m really grateful to be here and I hope to be more of a help by cooking, cleaning or what not. It’s so funny that Stephen, the emcee at their wedding, is also staying here because he’s transitioning to a new job.
I just have to take it one step at a time. For my first step I lost J, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I rescinded my offer on brunch, and clarified that I was uncomfortable seeing him at all here. It stung at first to realize he wasn’t committed to a more serious relationship, especially since he kept contacting me even though he was moving away, but I feel more relieved than anything. I didn’t want to continue in San Francisco whatever we had in the A; I need a breath of fresh air so I’m glad he understands.
I already went on my first SF date but no sparks. But first, a job…
I had brunch with Victor today and we went to Cow’s Hollow and then the Marina where he took pics of me at the GGB. It was a gorgeous day and I look forward to cherishing many more with good friends and family here.
I went to Miami earlier this month to celebrate my birthday before starting a new job. I wanted to treat myself since the last few months have been difficult for me to say the least. There is nothing like taking a leap and faith and falling flat on your face. I’m still looking for some answers but at this point, it’s really not about the answers, but about who we become in the process as we choose what to believe..
In that sense, I am weirdly thankful for the trials that shatter my faith over and over again so it can be stronger. It would be tempting to believe that with all the disappointments I’m experiencing with God, it’s a waste of time to believe in Him in the first place. But the thought that there is no God is even more terrifying, as if all our suffering was wasted for nothing. As if ultimately there is no justice for all the wrongs in this world:
I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.
Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Chapter 34
How can you explain what God allows to happen and what he doesn’t allow to happen? That 12 people have lost their lives yesterday in Aurora, Colorado at “The Dark Knight Rises” screening is absurd. Asking why that happened is akin to the questions C.S. Lewis posits: “How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask—half our great theological and metaphysical problems—are like that.”
What was really heartbreaking about the victims was the death of the aspiring sports journalist who narrowly escaped a shooting in Toronto. She wrote about her experience here, where she described getting this uneasy feeling that made her leave the food court, just a couple minutes before the shooting occurred. She writes:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
Although what I’m going through is not anywhere nearly tragic, it’s still painful nonetheless. A breakup is common, but when it involves your faith, it’s a bit more difficult to digest. You lost your compass, which guided you and told you where to go. Now I was completely clueless.
One of my old friends who I saw at a wedding recently shared that she went through a similar experience where she had no doubt about who she was to marry but it never happened and she felt ashamed. So yes, even the most perfect Christian and brilliant Princeton grad etc can get it wrong. She told me that it took her a long time to get over it and there’s nothing you could do about the pain but just to go through it, and how the process really molded her faith to be stronger.
Again to quote C.S. Lewis, “there’s nothing we can with suffering but suffer it”. And that “sorrow…turns out not to be a state but a process.”
I’m still in that process. We broke up over one of the most common issues couples fight about: money. Yes, we had different financial habits and we looked at money so differently but I never thought that they were reasons to breakup, but to learn from each other.
It definitely boils down to the way we grew up and our circumstances since he grew up most of his life with a single parent and is now supporting her. I’m happy he is doing well now, even if he thinks he’s never enough. He is often too hard on himself and too hard on others.
On the other hand, I was always happy-go-lucky when it came to money. I didn’t mind spending it for people, things, or experiences that I really valued and didn’t even mind accumulating debt in the process. I just felt I’ve always taken care of bills and my debt, and that I can continue to pay them off. Money is a means to get the things I needed or wanted but I never chased it. But for my ex, I feel like he is much more driven by it and his self-worth and identity is wrapped up around wealth and success, which are not bad in and of themselves, but I don’t think it’s the end-all of life.
I can always be doing better with money. The irony is that I am now a personal finance reporter when my finances are in terrible shape. I saw it as circumstantial but my ex didn’t. But this story has been told before. I came across this post and found it inspiring but damn, our stories are the same. It made me realize again how ’special’, unique and different we think our lives are with our ambitions and to reach our full potential, but we’re not. This makes us all the same.
C.S. Lewis talks about giving up ourselves and our ambitions to find our real selves, instead of the ones shaped by the values of our society or generation. C.S. Lewis explains:
He invented-as an author invents characters in a novel-all the different men
that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all
waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to “be myself” without Him.
The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become
dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and
natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call “Myself” becomes merely the
meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot
stop. What I call “My wishes” become merely the desires thrown up by my
physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even
suggested to me by devils.
I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe:
most of what I call “me” can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ,
when I give myself up toHis Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality
of my own…[G]ive up yourself and you will find your real true self.”
Christ descended into greatness.
So I am starting over. New job, new gym membership, new age. Lord only knows where I’m going to go on from here.
p.s. Jeremy Lin went to the Houston Rockets in what I call a lame and botched decision-making process with the Knicks. Lin has galvanized the team, made it watchable, and they gave him up. Their loss.
So busy I haven’t blogged for the whole month of January but it’s still kind of a new year if we’re going by the lunar calendar. Coincidentally it’s the year of the dragon and guess who’s a dragon?
I’m surprised at how caught up I am in the Linsanity craze. I’m happy for Jeremy Lin and how well he is doing in the NBA, having been gone so unnoticed for so long. But besides his skills on the court, it is the very fact that he is Asian American and Christian that resonates with me, since I can identify with so many of his values, beliefs and life experiences.
Being that basketball has become a part of pop culture, Lin makes Asian Americans feel less invisible and more visible, more mainstream than minority, more American than Asian, exotic or foreign. It bothers me that Asian Americans are the most bullied ethnic group in the U.S. If it was normal to see Asians in pop culture, maybe, just maybe it could make a dent in bullying and racism committed by ignorant folks.
I only avidly watch sports when it comes to the championships, whether it’d be the Superbowl or the World Cup. I often don’t have time to and I often think of sports as frivolous and recreational. I never understood how a sports celebrity’s astronomical salary can ever be justified.
But then from a Metrodad post, I realize that sports is the arena where we can witness all life events in a span of 2 – 3 hours; it’s not just about amazing skills but it’s a story about triumph, defeat, redemption, and victory. Pierre quotes from George Sheehan:
Sports is where an entire life can be compressed into a few hours, where the emotions of a lifetime can be felt on an acre or two of ground, where a person can suffer and die and rise again on six miles of trails through a New York City park. Sport is a theater where sinner can turn saint and a common man becomes an uncommon hero, where the past and the future can fuse with the present. Sports is singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential.
Maybe that is why, even though I was so saddened to hear about Whitney Houston’s death, I was surprised that I felt just as sad that Gary Carter died. Both were childhood heroes, but while I could enjoy or be comforted by Houston’s singing, sports stars can thrill us in a way that music can’t; Carter’s team with Strawberry and Mookie was magic. Sports, even with all its grit and violence, can just be as moving.
And that’s what Lin does; he inspires us - especially for Asian Americans. For self-loathing Asian who is truly disinterested in Lin, that’s fine. But for the rest of us who are on the Lin bandwagon, let us enjoy this moment because we still “process sports in crude and overly racial ways.“
Completely partied out from last week. The bf’s Microsoft party at the W in Buckhead last Wednesday was nice; too bad they only had a Kinect going and not some FPS.
The following day he hosted a small dinner party at his place. I must say I was pretty impressed with his kalbi or marinated ribs. Friday we went to another small get together where a couple of people didn’t know “what” Chairman Mao was. Ignorance aside, it was a lovely evening where I gained 5 lbs from eating all the dessert.
Saturday I went to my company’s party out on Lake Lanier. The Festival of Lights thing on the way to the reception was pretty hokey and cheesy, even for a 5-yr-old. But it was a nice party and everyone won something; I ended up winning a 2 night stay at a Ritz Carlton of my choice; I’m sure it will come in handy some time.
Right after the party, my boyfriend and I booked it to a lounge in Midtown to celebrate Cathy’s birthday. We stayed for only a short while since we were so tired. Earlier in the day we also visited the Dekalb Farmer’s Market for the first time on Saturday and I have to say the bread, coffee and fresh pasta there are pretty good and cheap. (Alas, photography is prohibited there.) Ideally I’d go there often but it is kind of out of the way for me.
Sunday my friends hosted a grab bag/potluck party at their place. (There was a lot of Publix fried chicken.) I ended up getting a candle, which was perfect for my boyfriend since he loves candles more than I do.
It was a pretty fun but exhausting week. We ended up getting sick toward the weekend and we’re just about recovered now. I’m looking forward to getting this work week over with and just rest up.
Time flies. I can’t believe tomorrow is December; been so busy. I had a great Thanksgiving lunch and dinner at my dad’s last weekend. Fall as usual, has been about 5ks and seeing foliage. I went to Stone Mountain for the first time where you can see a nice skyline of Atlanta at the top as falcons circle above you.
I also ran a 5k for my boyfriend’s friend’s non-profit called Nepal House. I was surprised I won since I took a wrong turn but it was really just an informal 5k amongst a small group of friends. If you’d like to support a school for disadvantaged young girls in Nepal who would otherwise be trafficked or forced to work instead of getting an education, you can learn more about the school and donate to it here.
It was nice to visit New York again last weekend. I went to help my friend go wedding dress shopping, followed by a brunch in Brooklyn with her and her fiance’s friends. I also finally got to visit my friend’s restaurant, Ngam, where I had pad thai and these delicious fries that were fried Japanese pumpkin pieces. Afterward my other friend and I went to Laduree where she splurged on $76 for 24 macarons. After the NYT piece that declared they were the best in the city, you can only imagine how long the line was.
I also had some delicious ramen at Tabata before going to my friend’s wedding in NJ. Well I missed the ceremony due to traffic on the Turnpike. So what should have taken us 45 minutes took us 2 hours to get to the site. But it was good catching up with Tim and his wife and we got right in time for the reception.
It was nice to see everyone again and I’m happy that I’m building more friendships here. Last Sunday I almost felt like I was hanging out with my old crew, playing flag football and nerdy board games afterward. I was introduced to Puerto Rico which took so long, but at least I won. You found true friends when you can play a game like that with them.
Still digesting the turkey fry and all the other food that made for a nice pre-Thanksgiving meal. So glad I’m not dealing with the snow in the Northeast right now; that is becoming more of a benefit of being in the South when people are going days without power due to a snowstorm.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting to know more people which has been nice.
Last Sunday I went out to a pretty good Cantonese restaurant owned by the parents of a girl who is in the same small group I attend from church. It’s just awesome to know someone whose parents own a good restaurant.
Coincidentally enough some of the same people at that lunch went to a hockey game with me over the weekend. It was a fascinating experience going to a minor hockey league game; I never knew it existed but the Gwinnett Gladiators do have a solid fan base I guess.
I barely paid attention to the game and we ended up leaving in the third period because one of the guys was falling asleep. He certainly woke up when we went to karaoke afterward. Only in Duluth can you go to a minor league hockey game and then eat cheese covered rice cakes and spicy squid at an Egyptian-inspired karaoke place. It was fun but I didn’t sing at all; I hate hearing my voice on the mic.
It was also good to see H’s friends who were in town. Last time I saw his friend in New York, his wife was pregnant but when we met up with them here this week, they brought their baby who was absolutely adorable and mild-mannered. It was nice to catch up over cheesecake and coffee; they’re encouraging people without intending to be.
We also met up with H’s other friend who was visiting from Brazil. He brought his wife and his 1 1/2 year-old daughter who was so cute.
Went to the breakfast at church today. It was my first time and I went up and grabbed coffee and a scone and sat down with two random people and we were later joined by a couple. Little did I know that a prayer is said before everyone eats. Oops. I just helped myself. haha. But they actually serve waffles and hot dishes; thankfully they didn’t set those out already.
Also went to a women’s group afterward which was nice. Hopefully I get more involved…which will require me getting up earlier in the morning.
I think we found our church. I attended three Sunday services and enjoyed them and liked a community group I visited tonight. Everyone’s so different from each other but we meshed well. It’s such a relief since I haven’t been plugged into church for awhile but would like to get more involved instead of just attending a service and leaving right away.
Initially I was dreading to go since the discussion was going to be on the second chapter of Joel which I thought was going to be dull. But it turned out to be a good, thoughtful discussion. At one point, H cracked up while the chapter was being read aloud because it reminded him of how he had impersonated the pastor reading it on Sunday and we snickered like 5th graders. Thankfully everyone was gracious to our puerile behavior. I think overall, everyone found H funny. He’s such a clown.
It was nice that we all got to mingle over a potluck dinner beforehand and to share prayer requests afterward. I hope to grow with this group and I’m glad I wasn’t dismissive about going.