Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Didn't fall off the earth...

So, a lot has happened since last time I wrote on my blog. Family emergency, change of plans, feeling frustrated, starting a side business, etc. I am at a better place now and I am getting ready to move to Seattle. I postponed school to January because my dad was hospitalized and needed someone to take care of him. I am still looking for a roommate in Seattle and I am feeling a bit stressed out about the move and not being able to find funding for my first year.

But on the up side, I am glad Christmas is around the corner so I can spend time with my family before I move. It will be a difficult good-bye when I leave but I am excited about moving to a new city. I will be there for a while so I can really establish some good friendships.

There will be more interesting blog posts once I move to Seattle and things start to move and shake. I am really excited about the classes I will be taking and the new friends I will make. I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pokhara Part II

July 29, 2011

It's been raining all morning so Maureen and I have to change our plans. We were going to go on a hike to World Peace Pagoda and then to Devi's Fall but we decide to postpone that until the rain stops. Maureen suggests we go do some kind of yoga/meditation and on the way we spot a foreigner we saw the night before whose backside looks a lot like our friend Tim Vogeler. He looks way cuter in day light. We really want to hang out with our Nepali Tim but didn't have the courage to look like desperate psychos asking,"Can we be your friends?" with buggy eyes. So, we just stare like he's meat on legs.

After our session of chakra healing, we head over to the river to hike up to World Peace Pagoda. I have flip-flops on and I ask one of the boat drivers if it would be possible to climb up in my flip-flops. He says most of the path is made of gravel so I should be fine. We cross the river and start our hike and I quickly realize that there is no gravel in sight--it's all rocks. I curse him with every step to World Peace Pagoda.

We reach the top after two hours. The view is beautiful. Like a dutiful tourist, I read about the multi-purpose of this pagoda and the history of Buddhism on a large stone wall knowing I won't remember a thing.

Before we descend, we decide to grab lunch at a restaurant nearby. We are both starving. I order two main dishes (one in the guise of an appetizer), and a dessert. Maureen and I gush about how good the food is between our bites and how amazing the view is.

With a full stomach and a renewed spirit, we hiked down to find Devi's Fall. Maureen tells me it's a really cool water fall that disappears into a cave. We walk and walk and walk and we see no fall that disappears into a cave. Then, we spot a small fall that disappears into a hole. Maureen takes a picture of it just in case this is it. We reach the end of the trail in bewilderment with a frustrated mind full of what-the-hecks. "No way! Was that it?!" Unable to accept the crushing reality, we ask a little boy where Devi's Fall is. He points to the left. Still doubtful, we follow his direction into town.

In town, cows lazily meander about causing traffic on the road. We walk for about a mile wondering if we are in the right vicinity and if this thing actually exists. Then suddenly, Maureen spots a big festive entry sign that says Devi's Fall. We are so happy we hadn't already seen it.

We go through the entrance gate and behold the real Devi's Fall. And it's cool. Really cool. We pose for pictures and then for some more pictures and gawk at the awesomeness of this fall. After stupidly staring at it for some time, we decide to walk around the surrounding area. If there is one thing that I don't miss when I travel is an opportunity to throw a coin into a wish pond. And this time is not an exception. Maureen and I dig our wallets for coins and start throwing one coin after another for it to land on the "wish spot" so we can actually make a wish. Peripherally, I notice about five guys staring at us. When we turn around after our many failed attempts, one of the guys calls out to give us more coins. We accept and my last coin lands on the wish spot! We give our thanks (and my email address so we can be Facebook "friends") and turn around. I say to Maureen, "We gotta be more specific." And I make my wish: Please send us two *hot* men to hang out, or have a fling with, or marry. Thank you.

We take a cab back home to get ready for our real adventure in Parewadanda early next morning.

Maureen rowing on the lake

On the way up to World Peace Pagoda

World Peace Pagoda

On our way to find Devi's Fall

On our way to find Devi's Fall II

Going into town

Devi's Fall!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sonata Allegro: Bridge to Development (Pokhara)

July 28, 2011

If you go to Nepal, anywhere in Nepal, people will ask you where you are from, which cities you have visited and where you are headed next. And if you have not been to Pokhara, they will talk, well, gush about how beautiful and amazing it is. If you don't go to Pokhara, you might as well say you haven't been to Nepal. So, after lollygagging for two days in Kathmandu, Maureen and I head out to Pokhara for our "mini-vacation" before the real work takes place in two days.

When we get off the bus after an 8-hour ride, a swarm of hotel lobbyists and taxi drivers flock over to us like bees to honey saying things like, "Our hotel is by the lake," "You get a free taxi ride and if you don't like the hotel, you can just pay for the taxi and go find another place," "We have a room for only 500 rupees (approx. $7) a night!" Maureen is totally amused by the scene and laughs and I am calculating in my head what the best deal would be. I have my guard up because I don't want to get ripped-off but Maureen, in her total optimism, picks out a 500- rupee room that is by the lake and they even offer a free taxi ride. My brain is overloaded with information but the offer sounds better when Maureen says it instead of tanned Nepali men who come up to my chin with eyes shooting laser beams at my wallet.

Hotel Grand is the abode of our choice. We decide that I would be in charge of bargaining and Maureen will be in charge of reinforcing and nodding. Our guy takes us to a room that is 700 rupees a night. My don't-be-a-stupid-tourist flag goes up and I immediately inform him that that is not what he said at the bus stop. He gestures a things-like-this-happen motion and tells me all the 500-rupee rooms are taken. But consider the view, he says as he opens up the curtains. I can see a mountain. I tell him I can go outside and look at the mountain for free. He doesn't budge. I don't mind paying 700 rupees ($10) a night but I don't like being toyed with. I sort of call him a liar and he seems apologetic. Maureen and I deliberate and we decide that our fatigue outweighs justice so, we stay. The whole drama seems anti-climatic and my sense of heroism is wounded.

To put the unpleasantness behind, we go out to get dinner by the lake. We have the most delicious chicken masala curry I've ever had. We look around and Pokhara is beautiful. The mirror images of the mountains on the lake and the blue sky make the view absolutely heavenly. We take in the scenery and are as happy as two forgetful clams. We go out rowing on the lake for a couple of hours and treat ourselves to a full-body massage. The power is out (it usually goes out periodically at night) so we get our service in candle light. I really want my shoulders and lower back worked on but the guy focuses mostly on my ass and legs. But, whatever. He wants us to come back the next day. No way, Jose.

We look at the list of places to visit in Pokhara that Manish gave us in Kathmandu. (He and his girlfriend come here every time she visits from Malaysia. Apparently, Pokhara is a great place for romance.) I tell Maureen that this trip would be even more amazing if we had two guys to hang out with. Maureen wholeheartedly agrees. So, we place our order out to the universe and ask for two guys (one for me and one for you) with some wavering faith.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sonata Allegro: Exposition (Kathmandu, Nepal)

July 25, 2011

Maureen arrives in Kathmandu a week earlier then I do because she has to go back a week early for her sister's wedding. I arrive on the night of July 25 armed with the vague idea that I will be contributing my drop in the bucket of goodwill. I know nothing about Nepal except that it is sandwiched between India and China. I will be in Kathmandu for a couple of days and then head off to some touristy city that starts with a "p" for a few days and then to a village that I don't even know the name of. I unpack my backpack at Aastha's parents' place where Maureen has been staying for a week. I sit on my bed and think, "What in the world am I doing in Nepal?" I feel unprepared and inadequate to even make a dent in the face of intimidating poverty.

In Kathmandu, I meet Manish who supervises the boys at the SOS Children's Village--he is also the product of the organization. He was sent there when he was three when his family was too poor to raise him. Manish is my age and I mispronounce his name as "Mannish" as in "He's so mannish." It's actually pronounced "Maneesh" with an accent on the "neesh." He takes me and Maureen around Kathmandu and is one of the nicest and generous men I have ever met. He studied ethnomusicology in Kathmandu University but had to drop out two years into it because his mother fell ill and he felt he had to earn money. Dropping out of school is one of his greatest regrets in life. He says he envies me and I feel apologetic for the opportunities I have.

I also meet Bsam who was sent to the SOS Children's Village when he was two by his grandmother when his mother abandoned him. He is granted admission at Kathmandu University this fall and will be studying ethnomusicology there. I give him a couple of piano lessons and I can tell he's smart. I ask him about the music education that is available in Nepal. He tells me there is a dearth of resources for teachers and students of western music. The "books" that he has are photocopies of the music foreign teachers brought to Nepal.

On my second night, I meet an 18-year old Sulochina who invites herself into our room and asks us various questions with beaming curiosity. She shows us her Nepali things that might fascinate a couple of foreigners. We love her trousers and want to get some for ourselves so she takes us shopping. We also get mehnhi (henna tattoos) on our hands and we think it's the coolest thing. We go back to our place and show her the things we got earlier that day. She immediately asks us how much we paid for them and gives us a nod of approval for not being the stupid foreigner and getting ripped-off. Her charm and sass totally win me over.

I still feel bewildered by the newness of this place. I can't believe I am in Nepal! The reality hasn't sunk in yet. But after living in the dusty and crowded city for two days, I long to get out to the countryside and take in a breath of fresh air.

Me and Bsam in his room


Me trying to sing a hymn from Maureen's iTouch on demand

Bsam's friend, Bsam, Maureen, me and Manish

Our henna tattoos

Me and Sulochina

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prelude: What? Nepal?

I am not very good at serving people. You may even call me selfish. I have big ideas and the desire to serve, but they always get lost between transactions. So, I have to commit to something big and announce it to the world (via Facebook) so I will actually do it.

I saw a flier for volunteer work in Nepal in the summer of 2008. I really wanted to do it but didn't have money at the time so the plan got pushed back indefinitely until I could afford it. In the winter of 2010, I mentioned my plan to Maureen at an Indian restaurant run by our Nepali friend Aastha in Seoul. Maureen had a friend in Nepal doing volunteer work at a school in a village where we might consider helping out. So, the plan was born. We will go to Nepal in the summer of 2011--exactly three years after the idea was conceived. I committed to Maureen and announced it on Facebook. That's how I ended up in Nepal.

Oops, sorry.

This is the longest period of silence I have imposed on my blog since its birthday. And I am sorry! I did fail to blog about many interesting and great stories. To make it up, I have decided to do a special on my 3-week trip to Nepal. You will soon forgive the silence and be engulfed by the fascinating tales of Nepal. Coming soon. Why Hannah decided to go to Nepal.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Man of Seduction

Before I quit fortune telling several months ago, I went to a fortune teller. Among other things, I was curious about the state of my personal romance for the coming year of 2011. And the fortune teller said in the month of June, I will either be seduced by a man or will seduce a man myself. And the relationship will spark like wild fire and then sizzle. But it makes for a great romantic drama (that I haven't had for over a year) or according to my friend Jacob, quite the BBQ.

The rule of my life is that if I can guess who it is, it probably isn't him. Life catches me by surprise most of the time. The answers to my life's questions almost always come in an unexpected form. So, if you think I have you in mind, you are 95% wrong. But I don't think I would be the one seducing. There really aren't any men within my radius. Besides, I am not really the seducing kind. Maybe Fortune will bring a new shipment of boys my way this month. So, who will it be???? I will let you know when I find out!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 46 (or something like that)

Okay. I fell off the wagon. But this whole self-acceptance thing has really increased my awareness about my self-perception. Through this process, I've learned many things about myself but the one lesson that stuck with me is that I am already good enough despite my imperfection. And my personal justification for this allowance of imperfection stems from my understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ. As long as I am "plugged" into the wholeness and the perfectness of Christ, I can feel whole and I can be happy. I can be generous with myself and forgive. Then, it's easier to love and forgive others. Even if one is not a believer in Christianity, one can still benefit from staying in tuned with the Higher Being or Universal Energy or whatever makes sense to him/her.

I hope I continue to remember this. My biggest obstacle is becoming complacent and forgetful. I need to remember, remember and remember before a tragedy befalls to remind me. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 9

My friend Jacob challenged me to a Tetris battle on Facebook yesterday. He was at level 16 and I was at level 1. I hadn't played Tetris since high school so I was very rusty but my pride wouldn't let me say no to a challenge. Of course, I got my butt kicked. I don't know what made me think I could play against him and win. Sometimes, I get very cocky about my abilities to the point of disillusionment and my brain betrays me and slaps me in the face. Now, I owe him a care package.

So, this is my lesson:

"Self-acceptance encourages you to accept your limitations. Without self-acceptance, you see limitations as obstacles; with self-acceptance, you see limitations as opportunities. For example, if you can accept that you aren't strong enough to do something by yourself, an opportunity presents itself for you to receive extra help and inspiration. You free yourself up, see yourself differently and discover a source of strength that is far greater than that of your ego."

Yes, I see it as an opportunity to practice Tetris so I can kick Jacob's ass. And if I don't win this week, I will enlist the help of more online practice games so I can win.

Exercise: Self-acceptance gives you a natural confidence that helps you to cultivate your God-given talents and express the bigness of your heart. Paradoxically, the more you practice your self-acceptance, the less your life is "all about me" and the more you open your heart to the world.

Seriously, I hate losing. It sucks. I have been good at most things I have attempted in my life so facing my underdeveloped talent (like playing Tetris) really gets my goat. But sometimes, I just need to accept it and move on. This is gonna be more of a life-long mission, though. Not gonna master it by the end of my 10th day. Now, I gotta go practice Tetris.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 8

Today is Buddha's birthday and a national holiday. So, I didn't go to work. I get anxious when I don't have anything to do or have a lot to do and don't want to do any of it. That was sort of the case today. I didn't have any pressing matter that needed immediate attention but had some work that I could have done but didn't want to do. So, I felt anxious. But I caught myself and decided that I wasn't going to do anything productive today and accepted that. You know, accepting something gives you a lot of peace. Resisting something take a lot of energy. And for what? Internal resistance doesn't do anything but wear out our minds. So, why not just decide to accept it if we are not going to change our course?

Today's homework:

Lesson: When you abandon your Unconditioned Self, you go in search of satisfaction in the world around you. The search can be exciting at times, but it does not lead to lasting fulfillment because the searching means you often leave yourself behind. Ironically, it's only when you stop searching that you find yourself and happiness again. True self-acceptance is the realization that you are what you seek. What you are looking for in the world—love, acceptance, joy, peace—are all qualities of your true nature.

The more you accept yourself, the more abundant you will feel. Like attracts like. When you identify with the inherent happiness of your Unconditioned Self, you attract experiences and people that are entirely compatible with how you feel about yourself. As you increase your self-acceptance, you let yourself accept more happiness, love, peace and abundance.

Exercise: The Latin for the word "accept" is "acceptare," which means "to receive, willingly." The more you accept yourself, the better you become at receiving. Live with this thought today: "Happiness is here, because I am here." Another great affirmation is: "Happiness is where I am."

I think that's true. The more accept yourself, the better you become at receiving. I need to learn how to receive.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Self-Acceptance (even with a mullet) Day 7

I know this is supposed be like day 15 but this time I have a really good excuse. I was super busy AND my sister and niece are visiting from the States AND my internet cable was disconnected for several days.

And I got a mullet.

But not on purpose. I wanted to hurl profanities at the hair stylist when I realized what she was doing. But the hair was already cut and she was doing an updo for the concert I had that evening (more on that later) so all I said was "Thank you for all your hard work." It wasn't until after I took a shower that night that I discovered how serious the damage was. #&@*%^$#^@&$%#@&%*$*#@%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I am definitely considering a perm. It's very difficult to accept myself when I look like a pissed-off 80s rock star. I thought this whole self-acceptance program was running very smoothly. Life really does throw in a wrench when things are too easy. I just have to remind myself that I am not my hair and that the real me can handle any hirsute tragedies that fall before me.

On the bright side, my sister and niece are visiting. It's really nice to have my little 3-year old niece around. She sits on the toilet while I am in the shower and sings for me and stands next to me and plays makeup with cotton swabs and pads when I am getting ready in the morning. She draws me pictures and gives me tons of hugs and kisses. She really makes me want to have a little girl.

Another highlight of the weekend was the concert I was in. I sang the soprano solo of Mozart's Requiem. I hadn't performed with an orchestra close to two years and I realized how much I missed singing and how happy I am when I am performing. We have the same concert on June 6 so I am very excited to sing again.

So, today's homework is:

Lesson: Self-acceptance is your home. It is where you return to find yourself again. When self-acceptance is low, you experience a ceaseless anxiety that causes you to doubt yourself, to be indecisive, to wobble, to question everything and to play safe. You search outside yourself for validation, approval and authority. Self-acceptance helps you increase your overall trust in life. The more you accept yourself, the more you trust your innate goodness, wise heart and natural intuition.

Exercise: The more you accept yourself, the more you trust that life doesn't just happen to you; it happens for you. Decide to trust in yourself today. Commit 100 percent of your trust to this and see what happens.

Okay. I will do that. I will trust myself and accept whatever consequences that may come my way. I mean life does go on whether I do or not so why not just roll with the punches? The mullet didn't happen to me; it happened *for* me. Thank you, Mullet, for helping me awaken to my true self and giving me an opportunity to love myself unconditionally despite your hideous look.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 6

So, I missed another day of blogging. Before I started on this path of self-acceptance, I would have felt guilty about missing a day. Now that I am on my way to really embrace myself, I feel guilty only a little bit. :) And I don't have a good excuse. I didn't blog simply because I didn't want to.

When you identify solely with your ego, you can end up living in your head, feeling distant from your heart and disembodied from your true nature. You then feel an increasing sense of aloneness. You think you're separated from the world, but in fact, you're cut off from your Unconditioned Self.

Without self-acceptance, you feel exiled from yourself, experiencing the world as an unfriendly universe. Life feels like hard work, a big struggle, with obstacles everywhere. Your ego feels helpless, incapable and ultimately defeated. Only when you make contact with your true nature again will you find clarity, flow and inspiration.

This is exactly I how felt only a month ago. Being OK with being me is such a liberating experience. I feel the universe is on my side. I hope I remember this feeling in the future when I get down and depressed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 5

Today was a GREAT day! So, I took my friend's advice and tried an experiment at church. I went to church today with a plan to let my guard down and erase my mind from the shoulds, don'ts, and ifs and let myself just *be*. I didn't *try* to be friendly, or warm or pleasant. I was curious to see what would come out if I simply stopped trying to be anything--good or bad. And guess what? I have discovered that I am pretty damn awesome. I was friendly, warm, pleasant, fun and pretty much really cool. It was a great discovery to realize that just being just me is more than good enough. I felt whole and complete. It was a good day. :)

Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into who you wish were for long enough to find out who you really are. When you believe in yourself and you are true to yourself, you will experience the miracle of self-acceptance, which reveals just how uniquely beautiful you are.

Yup, yup. Done and done.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Self-Acceptance Day 4

A friend pointed out that when he first met me, he thought I was already dating somebody because I seemed guarded and seemed to shout "This girl is taken! Stay away!" with my eyes and body language. He advised that instead of putting up walls, I should broadcast openness, warmth, enthusiasm and energy and just BE ME. Which! happens to really fit into this whole self-acceptance program I am on. What a concept! Just be me and be comfortable even around strangers, which can be very difficult for me sometimes. So, tomorrow, I am going to church and broadcast ME! I'll tell you how it goes.

Today's exercise:

"So often, self-improvement is full of musts, oughts and shoulds. For example, you must buy these jeans or your butt isn't going to look very good. You ought to get eight hours of sleep every night. You should really be more like your overworked, aggressive boss if you are ever going to get ahead at the office. The essence of who you are is already inspiration-packed, wisdom-infused and blessed with talents and gifts. You don't need to build a successful image of yourself. You are already good enough. What would happen if you stopped should-ing on yourself? Can you see that the real you is far better than the one you're trying to sell to world?"

Yes! It's truly amazing to realize that I AM already good enough--all I have to do is let the goodness flow out. Yeah! Go ME!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 3

Today is really supposed to be Day 4 since I didn't blog yesterday, but my friend Maureen is back from traveling in South East Asia for 2 months so we stayed up late catching up.

Since starting this self-acceptance program, I have become much more aware of my thoughts and am able to catch myself when I am criticizing, or complaining about myself or others. Then, instead of feeling guilty about it, I decided to accept the fact that I did it, tried to forgive myself. I think for a long time, I was mad at myself for not being perfect. Well, I still am. But I am learning to be OK with it.

Today's exercise:

"Self-acceptance is love, and your capacity to love yourself determines your capacity to love everyone else. The less you accept yourself, the more you will criticize your friends."

"Try this affirmation today: "I see myself through the eyes of love." If you are like most people, you know exactly what you don't love about yourself, but you're vague and uncertain about the ways that you do love yourself. For example, you could easily write a list of the things you don't like about your body, including the cellulite on your thighs, the size of your feet or the number on the scale, but could you write a list of all the ways you do love yourself? When you see yourself through the eyes of love, everyone in your life will benefit. If your mother had taken better care of herself, would your childhood have been any better? While you can't go back into your past, you can begin to nurture yourself now."

I remember looking at people through the "eyes of love" when I was on my mission. I prayed for the ability and it came. It was so much easier to love and understand others. Maybe I should start praying for the ability to love myself and to see myself the way God sees me. That would make it easier.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 2

"Lesson: Self-acceptance teaches you that you are not who you think you are. You are able to discern between your ego and your Unconditioned Self. Early on, children start to construct a persona to help cope with the demands of being in a family, going to school and facing the world. On close inspection, you find that your persona or ego is made up of judgments about who you are, what is possible, what you deserve and what you don't. These judgments become the lens through which you see yourself and the world."

"[The perfectionist] type focuses on getting things right and being good. It conceives an ideal self (rather than a real self) that has high standards and stringent rules you must try to live up to. Your persona judges your efforts, and the more you judge yourself, the more you move out of alignment with the innate goodness of your Unconditioned Self."

Today was not a perfect day. My ego got a good beating *twice*. I didn't do everything I needed to get done. And I cussed (even though it was only on chat and not to the person). Usually my internal default alarm would go off about how I should be a better person and all that jazz. But instead, I tried not to judge and measure my goodness. I Am. And that should be good enough. It sure didn't feel that way, though. So, instead of feeling guilty about feeling guilty, I just let myself feel guilty and accepted that I felt guilty. And then it slowly went away. :) It's a big blow to my ego, but I am trying to be okay with living an imperfect life. It's a hard pill to swallow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 1

How Self-Acceptance Can Crack Open Your Life
A Radical 10-Day Plan to Accept Who You Really Are

I discovered a post bearing this title on oprah.com a few days ago. Sounds like a gimmick, doesn't it? Well, it is. If people really are able to accept themselves in only 10 days, the world will be a much nicer place. However, despite my initial skepticism, I read on just out of curiosity. This was the lesson for day one:

"Lesson: The journey of self-acceptance starts when you acknowledge that you don't seem to know much about yourself. Your personality, or ego, finds it difficult to answer questions like "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" Being asked to describe yourself at a job interview or for a dating agency profile, for instance, can feel excruciating and practically impossible because you haven't really been paying attention.

True self-acceptance is motivated by the possibility of knowing what your true essence—the Unconditioned Self—is really like."

After reading this, I was faced with the stark reality that I haven't been happy for a while and didn't know why. My life had been stressful the past several months but life was manageable. Everything is much better now but I seemed to have lost my grip on the rope of happiness. The logical side of me says "Life is fine. The reason you are unhappy is not because there is something wrong with your life but the way you perceive your life. Plus, you are not exercising and your brain is not producing enough endorphins and serotonin." My left brain is probably right. I should exercise and life would feel much better.

But I have also noticed a recent trend in my thinking pattern. Instead of looking for the good things in my life, I seem to look for and dwell on the negative aspects. As a result, I have become more critical, pessimistic, cowardly, and cranky. When I see myself like this, I sink into moments of self-hatred, disappointment, and guilt. I want to like myself again and feel deeply grateful for the blessings in my life such as friends who pay for my vacation, send care packages, and call to cheer me up.

So, I have decided to follow the 10-Day plan to accept who I really am and see where I end up by the end of the 10th day.

This is Day 1.

Exercise: Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self—the part of you that is more than just your name, your history, your story, your failures or your successes. You are more than just your experiences or how other people see you or the clothes you wear.

Reflect on this today:

What is most authentic about you?

That I am without guile. I am sincere and genuine in my relationship with others.

What do you want people to really know about you?

That I have a good heart and genuinely care about people.

Who are you without your ego?

(I must clarify that the word ego is not referring to the Freudian ego but to the term often used in spiritual teachings of Eastern religions. According to Wikipedia, spiritual ego is "often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present.")

Me without ego is eternal, whole, deeply connected to and at peace with God.
I can tap into this moment of bliss when my mind is not preoccupied with useless worries and doubts about the future. I need to meditate again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dog Cafe

I am not sure if there are cafes like Korean cafes anywhere else in the world. If you don't know anything about Korean cafes, this is going to blow your mind. In Korea, there are normal cafes like Starbucks where you order drinks and sit and chat with your friends. But there are other cafes that you probably have never heard of. There are fortune-telling cafes, game cafes (where you order games and play), book cafes, magic cafes (where you learn how to do and practice magic), chess cafe, cat cafes and dog cafes. Like any other cafes, you can order drinks and sit and chat with your friends--you just get to do extra things. And I am sure there are many more that I haven't heard of.

A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I went to a dog cafe. They had all kinds of dogs that you can pet and play with. You don't pay an entrance fee but you have to order a drink and you may also purchase dog treats to entice the dogs to come play with you (since you will be fighting for their attention with other customers). I was feeling down that day but forced myself to go and be social. And lo and behold, the dogs cheered me right up! I now am a firm believer in pet therapy. Here are some pictures!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Me, Myself and My Ego

My friend Jacob and I have very big egos that we would like to keep in check from time to time. He checks on mine and I check on his. In order to facilitate this process, we decided to name each other's egos. I proposed the name Magnus Maximus for his and he accepted it immediately with pleasure and satisfaction. I call him "Max" for short. He, in return, gave me a few options that did not suit the fancy of my high-brow ego. After several failed attempts over the span of a week or so, he finally presented one that I liked and I magnanimously endowed my ego with the title of Ultima Diva--"Div" for short.

The purpose of this is to warn each other when our egos are up and running rampant (which is like 95% of the time when we are talking to each other). But seriously, I have come to a realization that sometimes I just need to bite my tongue and resist the temptation to be a smart ass. Humility is a great thing. Really, it is. I just wish I knew what it felt like to be the owner of it.

The destination for my next adventure: Seattle, Washington!

The year 2011 has been a challenging one for me in many aspects. But one of the most stressful parts about it was not knowing where I would end up after summer. Since graduating from high school, I have never lived in one city for more than two and a half years. I have been bouncing around from city to city, and country to country. So, one may think I would be used to this way of living and comfortable with uncertainty. Well, not exactly. Up until this week, I didn't know where I was going to end up after this summer. Not knowing where I am going to be and having my life up in the air is a very unsettling feeling. But after a long wait, I am excited to announce that I will be moving to Seattle, Washington to study ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. And I will be there for at least 5 years! Yay!!!!!

A few of my friends are already there right now, so I won't lack for company and I am sure I will make awesome new friends. Jacob, who is studying sociology there, sent me some breath-taking photos of the campus and the music building to get me even more excited to come. :) UW has the best program in my field of study in the west coast so I am thrilled to be studying there. And here are some pictures!

Students playing on the quad

Korean traditional musicians playing kayakeum

The music building

The library

Doesn't this look like heaven? I am sooooooo excited!!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Plastic Surgeon and I

broke up. We talked the following morning after our second date but hadn't exchanged texts or talked for over 2 weeks. So, naturally, I thought we broke up. Then he called me last night out of the blue and we ended up talking until 2:30 in the morning.

So you think this is getting good right? Well, I thought so, too.

We started out great. We joked and laughed a lot. We talked about baseball, volleyball, books, his psycho client, church, our dreams, how we want to raise kids, why we are not married, and what our family thinks about that, etc. We also talked about what we expected from our future husband/ wife. He thought I expected too much from my husband.

Toward the end of our conversation, I realized how big the cultural gap was between us. He's Ko-Ko (Korean-Korean as opposed to Korean-American) and I don't think his expectations and my expectations of marriage jived very well. He thought I was too American in my way of thinking and the way I expressed my opinions. I think he was overwhelmed by my straightforwardness and honesty. (Or maybe turned-off is a better word.) I was actually stunned that he thought that that was a bad thing. Then I realized that I had never dated a Korean man before and didn't know what their expectations were exactly. I had an idea of what they were like, but I thought this one was different but was disappointed that he wasn't. It just confirmed my belief that I would be better off with an American.

So, back to square one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Really, I am. And I think the homesickness I am experiencing is of a different breed than the other ones I've experienced in my life. I think the core of my homesickness ironically stems from being in a country where I was born. It's funny because I speak the language, I can read the signs and everyone around me looks like me. But I don't feel like I quite belong here--I feel like a foreigner. Korean people who know me like my co-workers don't regard me as a "real" Korean even though we are good friends. And I don't completely understand the way they think or even if I do, I don't necessarily agree with those thoughts that are deeply entrenched in Confucian philosophy. I feel more like a minority here than when I was in the States. Even though I was a racial minority, I understood the culture and the American way of thinking. In Korea, I am part of the racial hegemony, but I feel like a small Korean island with a half-mast American flag pathetically mounted by my side.

Trying to belong in Korea has been like trying to match a square piece of wood into the indent of a triangle. Being ethnically Korean, I feel like I should feel at home here but since I don't, I feel a bit betrayed by the reality. I have learned a lot about the Korean culture, history and people and I am very grateful and delighted to have the opportunity to learn but I didn't expect to feel this way. Maybe I should just stop running my square piece into the triangle hole hoping it would fit someday. I think I just need to be okay with me being me and accept my reality. Just wish it could that easy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Along came the Plastic Surgeon. Take two

After texting back and forth a few times and a couple of short phone calls, I decided that this boy and I were not going anywhere. The signs he sent were wishy-washy, and unimpressive. When we went over 2 weeks without talking, I definitely thought everything was water under the bridge.

Then, the wise woman stepped in.

My former primary teacher (who introduced us) was frustrated that nothing was happening between the two of us so she asked us to have dinner with her. She asked me this past Sunday when I was available and I told her Monday night or Friday night. I didn't hear anything back from her so I thought maybe the three of us would get together on Friday night. I was on my way home from work on Monday when I got a text message from him asking me if I wanted to go see the movie "Rapunzel" that night. (The whole process took about 45 minutes.) I was suspicious that his move might have been manipulated by my primary teacher so I asked her if she had anything to do with it. She said she just asked him if he had a terminal illness or if he was an alien. He got the point and asked me out. Anyway, I thought "Rapunzel" was an interesting choice but I agreed and we went to see the movie.

The movie was cute, I admit. And it was in 3D. The last time I saw an animated movie in the theater was "Aladdin" and things have definitely changed since then. We had dinner after and chatted about various things like what we are currently reading (we both like to read) and about more in-depth, personal things. Like before, we had a great conversation. When he dropped me off, I said "Call me if you ever get bored. I'll come and play with you." I think he appreciated that. ;)

Having said all that, I don't really know where this is all going. He is a very good person. I feel warmth in his presence. Not very many people exude that kind of warmth. Even so, I don't know if there will even be a third date. Well, we are still supposed to have dinner with my former primary teacher but that wouldn't be a date. I don't know what the future holds but I can still look forward to uncertainty unfolding into certainty and enjoy the journey.

Meanwhile, I will just sit back and whistle at the next hot boy that walks by (internally and reverently just in case).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Dream

"What do you really want to do with your life?" was the question I would often get when I expressed my confusion and frustration in graduate school studying classical voice. But I always hesitated to give them a full account of what I had in mind in fear of getting a response like, "Who do you think you are?" or "That would be such a waste of time. Give it up and start doing something more practical." But since about a year ago, I started to make more tangible connections between my dream and ways to accomplish it. And even though I still get raised-eyebrows of disapproval or skepticism from my relatives, I stand immovable in believing that I will achieve my dream. You may even call it destiny.

I have always known that I would lead an artistic life. But it took long, and tortuous detours for my amorphous wishes to finally crystallize into something definite and tangible. There were lots of disappointment, discouragement, tears, resentment, and doubt that accompanied this process and I am pretty sure they will come back to haunt me in the future. Regardless, I feel a sense of surety that this is my destiny, my offering to the alter of that Being whom I call God.

And this is my dream.

I will create, produce and perform works that give breath and life to forgotten history, especially the unrecognized and silenced voice of Korean women. To do that, I am going back to school to study ethnomusicology. I feel indebted to the Korean women of the past, especially my grandmothers, and I want to pay homage to those who paid the price for the privileges and freedom I enjoy today. I want to tell the stories of their quiet resilience and courage of their human spirit. In so doing, I want all of us to dig deep into the roots of our humanity to discover our common vulnerability and understand that with courage and love we can overcome our personal and national tragedies. I want people to feel that we are all the same, that we belong to the same human family however brief the thought may last.

I know this sounds lofty and idealistic but somewhere deep inside my core, I know I will do this. I just know I will.

Footsteps Behind My Shadow: A Story of My Grandmother

My dad’s house was burglarized a earlier this year—the entire house was ransacked. When I came home to California in the summer, I checked my room to see what had been taken. I first checked my jewelry box. I didn’t have much in there and the only thing that was of any worth was the diamond ring that my grandma had given me before she passed away in 2004. And it was gone. Disheartened, I consoled myself that it was just a ring.

A few days ago, I was looking through my jewelry box in my room in Salt Lake City (a different one than the one at home). Among the tangled necklaces and earrings, I saw a thick ring with seven studded diamonds in the shape of a flower. I had found my grandma’s ring! I must have brought it to Salt Lake with me sometime last year. I put it on my right ring finger and stared at it for awhile as my thoughts spiraled to what she might have been like not as a grandma but as a woman.

My grandma or halmuni as her grandchildren used to call her, was born in 1910 as the last bits of monarchial rule of Korea was being swallowed up by Imperial Japan. She grew up in a milieu of national oppression and gender bigotry in an extremely patriarchal society. She received a formal education up to maybe the third grade. She barely knew how to read and write. At age fifteen, she was married off to a man she had never seen before her wedding day. Since that day, she was responsible for drawing and carrying water from a well a mile away every morning at five, making fire to cook rice for her husband, parents-in-law and the field workers. It was her job to deliver lunch on a large pan that she carried on her head to the workers in the rice field. Sometimes she faltered and spilled at which point she ran back to the house to prepare the meal again. She washed, mended and made clothes for the members of her household until the wee hours before she finally went to bed. She labored diligently all of her life as a wife and mother of six children even as she faced pain and humiliation of her husband’s infidelity and domestic violence.

When I was younger, I just assumed this was the stuff of life for Korean women in her days. Only recently, as I looked at her diamond ring she had purchased herself, I realized that she must have had a desire to be seen, heard and be beautiful. Her wedding day was the only day that she wore makeup. Her teenage years were spent working and serving. But she must have had a desire to be educated, to discover and develop her talents, to fall in love, and be loved, to have nice clothes, to be praised for her intelligence and beauty. I wonder what she would have done with her life if she were given the same opportunities as her grand-daughters--what kind of career path she would have taken and what kind of man she would have married. I wish I could get to know her again as a woman to woman.

When she was alive, I remember her sometimes fanning herself furiously saying there was a fire in her chest. I imagine that that was perhaps the fire of anger she was never allowed to voice or channel for the injustices she suffered. She didn’t do anything great in the eyes of the world—she was never allowed to. She may have dismissed her life as a failure especially during her last years as she became increasingly invisible. And yet, she is my hero. She practically raised me and my siblings when my parents divorced. She was the source of warmth and comfort when life got cold and sad. She loved with great love.

I marvel at her story and how she didn’t let a trace of bitterness cloud her love for her children and grandchildren. Her circle of influence may have been small, but she touched everyone she met with kindness and compassion. When I don’t feel loved, I could always think of my halmuni and find an ember of warmth in my heart that she left me while she was alive. Even though she may not know, in my eye, she lived her life humbly, yet magnificently.

As I ponder on my own life, I become acutely aware of the rich blessings of this generation. I have freedom, rights, and opportunities because of the sacrifice of my halmuni and the countless women of yesteryear. They walked the road history allotted them so that I could start much more ahead. As I stand on the threshold of uncertainty, I am infused with a sense of responsibility to live a life much bigger than what I allowed myself to believe in. After all, my life doesn’t stand on its own but as a culmination of history of great, heroic women whose stories will never be told.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I come bearing not-so-pleasant news. I got my first rejection letter from Harvard. Not a good thing and I was bummed out for like 30 seconds and bounced back to my usual happy, chipper self. So, no biggie.

And as I am sure some of you are wondering about my frog-turned-prince of a plastic surgeon, I will relay my latest news. We texted back and forth for the last week and a half and spoke on the phone twice (5 minutes the first time and 10 minutes the second, both of which he initiated). I can tell he is super naive and shy (the shy part I knew because he told me) about women and dating (which of course explains his bachelorhood at the age of 38). According to my old primary teacher, the man likes me and is interested in me. But because I am moving back to the States later this year, I think both of us are a bit hesitant about developing this relationship. Well, I guess I can't speak for him but that's my guess. Or as some of you may say, "He's just not that into you!" In which case, I may just resort to grooming my blog and have her date other blogs and find fulfillment in the happiness of my cyber creation. Ah man, that sounds so depressing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My 1.0 date of the year

If you are a faithful follower of my blog, you would know that I was supposed to go on a 0.25 date last night. But to my complete and utter surprise, it turned out to be a full-fledged 1.0 date. I know you are all dying to hear about the date so let me gab on a little more before I get to the meat of the story.

My dear friend Maureen and I had our last supper before I went on my date. She left Korea this morning and we wanted to share our last meal together before we parted. I had always wanted to take her to a fortune teller before she left Korea (to vicariously fulfill a need since I decided to quit my addiction to fortune telling). We found an old man sitting in his little metal booth taking a nap. We knocked on his door and entered. He told various helpful and not-so helpful little things about Maureen's life while occasionally stealing a surreptitious glance my way. He told me not to concern myself too much with a man's looks or height. "Just go and date," he said "and come back to get your compatibility read and I will give you 50% off!" And he handed me his business card with "50% off" written on the back. He asked for a hug (which is very rare in Korea) and spanked my ass for good luck (I think). So, with an advice from a wise man and a spanked butt, I said goodbye to Maureen and headed out to meet my party.

My old primary teacher and I met up and went to the restaurant where our guy was waiting. To help me mentally prepare, she had told me that he wasn't much of a looker but that he was a very nice person. So, I didn't expect any fireworks flying at first sight. And it didn't. But, he was much better looking than I had imagined and he had a very kind face. (I think that was her strategy--to make me think he was super ugly so that when I actually saw him, I would actually be impressed.) Anyway, we sat and talked and ate. And suddenly, she said she had an appointment with the missionaries and that she had to go. I panicked a little bit because I thought she was going to stay for the whole thing.

But she was a wise woman.

After she left, we got talking about religion, faith, truth, our past and life in general. Pretty heavy stuff for a first date. When I am curious about a person, I ask very deep and personal questions point-blank: "When was the most difficult time of your life?" "Why are you not married?" "Tell me about the woman you loved the most."(If any of you are thinking about gleaning dating advice from my blog, you must know that you cannot ask these questions without having acquired a certain amount of charm and flair. Otherwise, you will be branded as a psycho and you can just forget about your prospective dates with the man.)

I think he was amused by me. He answered all the questions, which begot more questions and more answers. I was deeply impressed by his character and commitment to and love for his family. We left the restaurant and went to a traditional Korean tea house (very cool). We sat and chatted a little about literature and culture. And then the owner kicked us out because it was already 10 pm.

He drove me home but when we got to my door, he asked if we could talk some more. So, we drove around my neighborhood for two more hours and gabbed away happily. We laughed a lot. By the time midnight rolled around and when he finally dropped me off at my door, we both had smiles on our faces.

Will there be a happily-ever-after? Tune in next week and see what happens!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I think Harvard department of music has made its decision. I got an email from them tonight asking for my postal code. I was at Heather Willoughby's house when I got this email and started speculating my rejection and why I got rejected and why it's their loss and why they should reconsider. And then Heather, my voice of reason, reminded me that all they wanted was my postal code, not to give me a rejection letter. Or so we hoped. I probably won't go even if I get accepted but it won't feel good to be rejected by such a smart school. So, everyone, let's cross some serious yoga fingers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I am dating!

So, I have been praying consistently for dating opportunities after being inspired by the story of my friend (who shall remain nameless because I may embarrass her but it starts with "Mau" and ends with "reen"). For a month or so, nothing happened. Just lollygagging around and going about my life's business until something dawned on me today.

I have been living in Korea for a year now. And the total number of dates I've been on is 1.5. You may be wondering about the 0.5. Let me explain.

I have actually been on three "dates". But I didn't think the first two dates were dates but the guys thought they were (they tried to pay for everything). And I thought I was on a date the last time I went on a "date" but it wasn't a date according to the guy who asked me out (what the heck?). So, since only half of us thought they were dates, I decided to count only half of them. Hence 1.5 dates.

And then today I realized that my prayers were being answered in the most unorthodox way. A couple of weeks ago, I got a random friend request on Facebook and a novel of a message from a dude I have never seen in my life. To protect his identity, I will call him Jakob Reidkopf. He saw my profile and read some posts on my blog and confessed his undying infatuation for my blog persona. And! He created a blog so that his online persona could date my online persona (true words from the horse's mouth). So, our blogs are dating. And since I am the creator of my blog, I will account for 25% of their relationship.

Also, I reconnected with a woman I used to know when I was a kid living in Korea (I think she was my primary teacher) through Facebook. (It seems like Facebook is a recurring theme of the day.) And she wants to introduce me to this old bachelor who is a plastic surgeon. And I think he kind of has a quasi-girlfriend and she said he was ugly but very nice. Regardless, we are all meeting next Tuesday for dinner. I am reluctant to call this a date but since he is interested and I am mildly curious, I will say this is a 0.25 date as well. Which! accounts for 0.5 date I have scored so far after praying nightly. I know this doesn't seem much but it's a 33% increase from my dating history last year. And it's only February.

At this rate, I may get hitched by November.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hunger for Love

My friend Maureen shared this link with me after reading my post on "The Lady and the Subway." This is a great lesson for all of us.

The Lady and the Subway

Riding the subway everyday gives me the opportunity to watch and observe people. And I have mastered the art of "nonchalance analysis" of various personalities. Not to appear as a psychotic creep, I do a sweeping glance of the people who sit in front of me and quickly take in the visual data scanned by my eyeballs. Then my left brain goes into this analyzing mode that tells the story of each person. "This person looks like she has the worry-bug. She probably nags on her husband all the time. His sex life must suck." Or "She is very pretty but she should have done her makeup more naturally. And what the heck? It's -15 degrees outside and she's wearing a mini-skirt, tights and high-heels! It looks like the price tag of her self-worth is attached somewhere in the depth of her Louis Vuitton purse." etc, etc.

There are also a number peddlers who go around begging for money, selling packets of gum, or little household items. My heart does truly ache for those who have disabilities and can only work selling things to commuters on the subway. One woman especially stands out in my mind.

This woman was severely crippled to a point where she couldn't walk without grabbing onto the built-in pole in the subway car. Her face was grotesquely countenanced and the lines of her face seemed to map out the tragedies of her life. She was selling packets of gum and because of her inability to walk up to each person, (and probably her anger at life) she came across as rude and obnoxious in her silent "marketing" strategy. She just threw a packet of gum onto the lap of each person and went around to collect money. Some people buy them out of pity, but this woman invoked no such sympathy. Then she came up to me and I was able to look at her face more closely. In her miserable face, I saw a faint hint at her desire to be loved. Her eyebrows were drawn in by permanent makeup.

I suppose some would say if she has enough money to get her permanent makeup done, she should have enough money to feed herself. But I think differently. I think our desire to be beautiful stems from our desire to be loved. And I think being loved is essential to our survival as much as food is. She desperately wanted to be accepted. Her behavior and the look on her face ostensibly condemned her life and the numerous people who have made her life a living hell. But I believe that deep down, she wanted a second chance at life and wished the world would look upon her with kinder eyes.

In realizing this, my heart broke but all I could do was hand her a thousand won bill ($1) in exchange of a gum packet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The "Right" to Snootiness

I got a phone call today from a very rich lady.

I sent out a few emails last night to those who were looking for an English tutor. So, this lady called me to have me tutor her 8-year old daughter. She already had an English tutor who helped her with reading and writing so she just wanted me to have conversation with her. Then, she told me she lived in Chungdam-dong which is where all the rich people in Korea live. She asked me where I lived and I told her I lived in Yeonhui-dong, which was kind of far. She then told me that tutors who live far away don't continue with their tutoring for very long. I asked her how long it takes to get there and she didn't answer. That's when I realized she hung up on me. It totally took me off-guard so I thought maybe we got disconnected so I called her back. She didn't pick up so I knew she hung up. I was flabbergasted that she didn't even have the courtesy to say I wasn't what she was looking for and hang up in mutual consent. Then, I thought about what made her think that her behavior was justifiable. Because she was rich? Probably.

People have different ways of measuring their superiority depending on what they are good at or what they have. Like tall people think they are better than short people, smart people think they are better than dumb people, hot-looking people think they are better than ugly-looking people, and rich people think they are better than poor people. I believe many people think they are superior from others in at least one way--even if they are poor, ugly and stupid. They could get on a high horse and criticize people for screwing up the world or preach about morality on the pedestal of self-righteousness. (If nothing else, they could be the king of righteousness.)

I think our need to feel superior comes from a hole inside us that wants to suck in all that seems to validate, love and makes us feel special whether that is money, looks, smarts, talent or power. And I think the less we feel whole on our own, the more we seek to fill that void with a sense of superiority. (Or fill it through other means like drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and violence.)

It's really fascinating how people think and function.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to be happy--proven by science!

This New York Times bestseller, written by Jill Bolte Taylor, offers a fascinating insight into how the human brain functions and how that affects our lives and sense of reality. Taylor was a Harvard-trained brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke that damaged a part of the left hemisphere of her brain which impaired her speech, linguistic comprehension, ability to do math, and decipher physical boundaries and lines. Because her left side of the brain was damaged, her right side of the brain "felt" free to dominate her consciousness which left her feeling deeply at peace, connected to the universe while the constant brain-chatter and the looping of past stories stopped completely. It took her 8 years to recover completely and she shares her insight about life and the human body as she chose to selectively recover only those neuro-circuits that were helpful to living a good, happy life. She chose to leave the circuits that contained emotional baggage of the past, fear, and pain and how we too can have control over which neuro-circuits to run, thereby change our perception of reality and eventually change the quality of our lives and become happy.

I highly, highly recommend this book.

Here is Jill Bolte Taylor giving a talk on TED.

The Funk of Life

Yes, I am still alive and kicking. And yes I do feel a little bit guilty for neglecting my blog. I feel I have to explain myself for being "cyberally" absent except that I don't really have a good excuse. But the important thing is that I am back.

I have transferred to a different program at work. I no longer work for a talk program "Heart to Heart." Now I am part of a team that is preparing for a Korean version of the "The Apprentice" except that it will also be in English and my job is to translate the script and questions from Korean to English. (And also to interview the contestants and test their English skills before they are selected to appear on the show.) Anyway, since we are still in the preparatory stage, I only check into work twice a week to attend meetings. So, I have had a lot of time to lounge around and rest (which I really needed) but this "vacation" time has really thrown my sleeping schedule up for a loop. I have been going to bed at 4,5 am and getting up at noon or 1 pm. This must change soon.

I am also looking for a part-time job since I won't have to go into work everyday for this new job. But the thing about staying home and being lazy is that it's very hard to get out of this funk. So mostly I have just been *thinking* about getting a part-time job and "practicing" the law of attraction for money to just come and sit a while in my bank account. I hope that some of the readers of this blog are experiencing the same thing so I don't feel completely guilty alone.

I am realizing now that I probably should have blogged about my funk earlier because there is some connection between putting stuff on the Internet and a sense of accountability. Even as I am writing this, I already feel social responsibility as a cyber citizen to get my life together, put on some lipstick and go conquer the world.

But before I do that, I should go look for a part-time job.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

I have been thinking about this for a long time now. Ever since I moved to Korea, I feel I have gotten much more critical, irritable and impatient. I think it's because of my working environment and the people I closely work with. A year ago, pre-Korea, I was a much nicer person and it is my goal to become a better human being for the year 2011. I have two main goals and other follow-up goals to help accomplish my main goals: I want to be more selfless and humble. In order to accomplish my goals, I will read the New Testament with a supplemental guide (An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond E. Brown, recommended by a friend and has excellent reviews), go to the temple more often, and pray more fervently for help (not for humility because if I do, the heavens will open and pour down tragedies upon me). Another friend also recommended me a book called Fear No Evil: The Pathwork Method of Transforming the Lower Self by Eva Pierrakos and Donovan Thesenga and that' also on my reading list.

Speaking of reading, I am back to reading a book a week since my school applications are in and I have my life back. :) I am going to make this year the best year of my life yet!

Happy New Year!

For new year's eve, my friends and I went to dinner,and then to a bakery (Paris Baguette) where my friends bought me a cake and sang happy birthday and came back to my apartment and watched "The Sound of Music" wrapped in our cozy blankets. A few minutes into the movie, we started talking about our respective managerial abilities in the romance department. I stayed mostly silent about my "managerial abilities" but listened and commented on their love problems and occasionally stared at the paused-face of Maria after she met the von Trapp family children. It was a low-key evening with a few good friends which is my kind of new year's eve. (No crowds, no traffic)

Then the morning of the new year, I had to go down to my aunt and uncle's house to pay respect. My cousins from the States were also in Korea so we all gathered, ate, and hung out for the first time in a long time. It was a good start to a new year. :)


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