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Illusions

August 27, 2008 1 comment

I’m so deathly afraid of making the wrong decisions that, sometimes, I freeze and end up doing nothing. I’m the type of person who will think something — however little it may be — over and over just to avoid making a mistake. Because mistakes can be costly, and you never really know the full extent of the damages. In my particular case, a wrong decision on my part will cause my mother so much distress that she won’t sleep or eat for days.

The last thing I need at the moment is to worry about my mother, and yet I do — tremendously. There are few things worse for an only child than to be away from her elderly, widowed mother. I won’t lie, it’s difficult; and while I absolutely love and treasure the relationship I have with her, while I really do enjoy caring for the littlest things, I really dislike having such a heavy heart at my age. I dislike having to make so many hit-or-miss decisions when so many of my peers can certainly afford to fuck up a little.

But I do pride myself on having responsibilities that go beyond the scope of my own little life, which includes shit like school, romance (or lack thereof), health, etc. Things that concern me and me only. I do pride myself on having my feet so firmly planted into the ground that I might as well be a tree.

God knows how many social events I’ve blown off to be home with my mom. People don’t understand, though, and that’s okay. What I wish some people would never say again is, “You know, you can’t be with her forever.”

Yes. I know. That’s precisely why I choose to spend time with her now. Idiot.

When most people my age worry about their personnal relationships and how to keep them intact or develop them further, I feel pretty comfortable about where I stand at the moment. I always had this idea of what being a graduate student would be like. Every time I learned that someone was a grad student, I could imagine them in their own apartment, carrying tons of books around, working in some kind of graduate student lounge, or being at a dinner with their peers somewhere.

It’s funny how I don’t see myself doing any of these things.

My program is so tiny, and my department so poorly structured (or so it appears), that I don’t feel like I have any peers. Seriously. Where are all the grad students? Where can I get work done without a swarm of undergrads surrounding me, their voices screeching about how cute they look and how tan they are? My graduate-level classes even meet with undergraduate classes. And guess what? I’m the only grad student in them!

Jesus fucking Christ.

More and more I feel like I’m not a real, legit grad student. That’s what it says on paper, but that’s certainly not what it feels like. Because I think I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like. And it doesn’t feel like this.

Everything’s still up in the air: my loan money hasn’t come through; I haven’t received my insurance cards; I haven’t found an apartment. I haven’t been here a week and I’ve already tried several times to not just sink into depression, every time picking myself up just enough to get going again.

I feel so detached. From everything.

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Categories: Personal Tags: ,

Hunting

August 24, 2008 Leave a comment

The endless search for a decent, affordable apartment is driving me mad. As time passes, the hunt is becoming more and more difficult; school is starting very soon, and I suspect the good ones have already been taken. I take it as a sign — every time we find something but lose it, I tell myself that it’s just not meant to be.

I’m not usually a huge believer of fate, or destiny or what have you. I don’t usually think that things happen for a reason; I don’t tend to blame fuck-ups on life or the universe. But I understand why people do it: sometimes it feels good to think that you’re not in control. That’s why I’m choosing this approach this time around. And if we don’t have a place of our own, well, we have someone else’s. It’s not like we’re homeless at the moment.

I’m perfectly fine with staying at this location for now. I think it’s just starting to take a toll on me (after three days, imagine that!) because there is already so much to think about and so much to be done.

Perhaps agreeing to this part-time translation job before school even started wasn’t such a good idea. Or maybe it was. All I know is, I need money, and this will give me some good experience/practice.

But I get distracted too easily. If I receive an e-mail from Facebook telling me that so and so superpoked me or sent me a message or wrote on my wall, I’ll go straight to the website and potentially spend an hour or two on it — even if nothing interesting is going on, even if no one’s updated anything in the past half hour (I would know, because I check…frequently…). If someone tells me that they’re having trouble getting something done, I’ll be on Google trying to find a solution.

I need to stop doing that. Focusing has never been a forte of mine, unless I’m helping someone out. But if it’s my own shit, I won’t think twice about procrastinating.

For example, I’m blogging at the moment when I have eleven articles to translate by August 30.

I have to get back to work, but I also need new running shoes. I hear there’s a New Balance store not far from here. Hmm…

My first night in DC

August 21, 2008 Leave a comment

and I don’t know how to feel. I suppose many people don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to me, leaving from Philly to go to DC — which is only about three hours away, and I suppose I never feel the need to explain myself and how different my life is from theirs. What do they care? They’ll never understand.

I think I grew up too fast, and it’s almost masochistic of me to say that I think it’s better this way.

Categories: Personal Tags:

This is my last night in Philly

August 21, 2008 Leave a comment

and I don’t want to go to sleep. Is it silly? I just want to hang out in my room a little longer.

Categories: Personal, Philly Tags: ,

My last weekend in Philly!

August 16, 2008 Leave a comment

That’s right; this weekend is officially my last weekend in the Illadelph. I didn’t have great things planned, but I wasn’t counting on throwing up multiple times today, either; life is funny sometimes.

I want to write about so many things that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll do it chronologically!

***

Bev, my next-door neighbor, brought me a box of candy from the shore; this one is called “Summer Assortment”. The box is split in two and both sides are the same, so I took one side and mom took the other :)

Aren’t the colors just so delicious? A while ago, Bev brought back a box of creamy fudge from the boardwalk. I had never really had fudge before, and I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! So of course I only have very little at once, and the box is still sitting around. I like the candies much better.

I’m not usually a candy person, but on occasion I like to have something sugary, chewy, and sour to light up my palate a little bit. Citrus flavors are my favorite by far!

Look at these things, aren’t they cute? The orange and green flowers are creamy mint.

***

I did some ceramics painting when I went to Brooklyn for Susan’s birthday but my mug wasn’t going to be ready until a week later. So, Susan got it for me and recently shipped it to me:

Ceramics painting is a lot of fun; I highly recommend it for anyone who’s got an hour or two to kill.

***

Last weekend was my mom’s first attempt at a bird’s nest noodle dish. The cooked noodle is fried and shaped into a bowl to resemble a bird’s nest, and the rest is basically stir-fried and placed in the nest.

Here, we have shrimp, pork, shiitake mushrooms, string beans, and onions (we like to keep things simple). The sauce helps soften the noodle so that every bite isn’t a crunch; the mix of soft and crunchy is to die for!

Let’s not forget to mention that shrimp and pork make a killer combination; mom’s dumplings are fucking divine.

Homemade cooking is always best, especially when it comes to Chinese food. With this dish, for example, the sauce is always too starchy in restaurants. The shrimp has no taste, the meat can be tough, and the string beans aren’t fresh.

An interesting dessert to follow this dish is chè đậu trắng, a wonderful Vietnamese dessert consisting of black-eyed peas and sweet (sticky) rice in coconut milk. I’ve always only known it as chè đậu, because while there are many varieties of bean desserts (đậu means “beans”), this is the one my mom makes the most (we’re not crazy about chè đậu xanh (made with mung beans).

Another dessert that my mom absolutely loves is chè xôi nước, and you can see it here. She makes it every once in a while. What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is that not all the balls are big and filled with mung bean paste; there are usually a multitude of tiny balls (I call them “babies”) made of just the glutinous rice flour. They’re small, chewy, and delightful to eat. Mmm, just thinking about it makes me want to eat it —  but we just had chè đậu, and too much of a good thing can do some serious damage.

Learn more about chè here.

***

A few days after the noodle dish, my mom made a mean mapo doufu and I only thought of taking a picture after I had inhaled about half the dish.

The level of spiciness was severely toned down because I had a canker sore, which we attribute to “hot air” (look it up). Nevertheless, it was amazing (yes, everything that my mom makes is amazing).

What you see in the upper right hand corner of the picture is a bowl of tofu and tomato soup with small seasoned meatballs, garnished with scallions. Of course, since this is a Chinese household, it was in clear broth. I didn’t take a picture of it because it’s a rather ordinary soup for us, though it is pretty damn tasty.

Mom just came up to ask me what we should have for dinner, and I suggested mapo doufu. Sweet.

***

Quick update on the wasp! It’s dead:

***

Yesterday was my last day working at the LDC — after four years, seven months, and three days, I left the windowless annotation lab to never again return. Maybe. Of course, I was the last part-timer out of the office. I thought it was going to be an emotional day because I did enjoy working there and I really like the people I’ve met during that time. But, as with graduation, it was just a long, busy, bittersweet day. The end of an era, once more. Plus, I’m going to see a bunch of them people Tuesday evening at happy hour, so it didn’t really feel like the end.

What I didn’t know was that I would see some of them way before Tuesday — as in, last night. I drank like I didn’t know that having lots of beer on an empty stomach was bad for you. Liz drove, I got motion sickness… we went to McDonald’s after the party and it was dry and disgusting so I didn’t finish it, then drove home and I puked on the highway or wherever it is that we were.

I woke up at 6:30AM and was hungry, so I finished the McDonald’s (yeah, I know, gross) and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 9, showered because I was disgusting, made some breakfast… and I realized how shitty I felt once I got downstairs. I made eggs because that’s always helped me fight off a hangover, and naturally I had lots and lots of water. Shortly thereafter, it all came back up. I’m talking projectile vomiting here; my body wasn’t having any of it. Nothing helped. Water came back up, food came back up, medicine came back up — nothing would stay. They say you have to eat when you’re hungover. They say you have to drink a lot of water. They say you have to sleep. SLEEP. Not ride the bus to the Asian supermarket when it’s super duper SUNNY AS SHIT outside. SLEEP. Before we left the house, I had a cup of ginger lemon tea to soothe my stomach. When I got to the supermarket, I went to the restroom and puked it all out. The cup of tea. Gone.

And when I walked out of the restroom, I felt better! When we got home, I felt better! Then I remembered that my stomach had been empty since lunch time yesterday, and I felt nauseous all over again. “No, you’re just hungry,” said my mom. She made rice congee for me — plain, because I didn’t want to fuck with my stomach inadvertently — and I added some pepper, soy sauce, and a little bit of fried shallots to it. It was delicious, and my stomach was happy, just like the rest of my body.

The only other thing I had to take care of today was my purse. I put an open bottle of beer in it last night but I swear it was standing up (as if it was going to stay that way, ha!). Somehow in my drunken stupor I forgot about it and opened a new one that I downed at record speed before Liz and I left. Once we got to the car, I looked into my purse and realized that it was flooded with Heineken. But that’s okay because it’s Heineken, right? Wrong. I took all of my shit out and turned it upside down, inside out to pour out the beer (not inside the car, of course). I chucked the bottle out onto the curb (I’m so sorry for littering) and off we went.

This morning, everything smelled terrible: my keys, my wallet, my tissues, my GUM — EVERYTHING. But we had to go to the supermarket and I didn’t get around to washing the damn thing and all the little shits until about midway through this entry. Now it’s all clean! It just has to dry.

It is now almost 8PM, and I’m feeling nauseous again. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

How (not) to eat a croque-madame

August 10, 2008 1 comment

Look at you, so posh with your glass of white wine accompanying your brunch; so clean because you’re wiping your fingers and your lips after every bite. It’s too bad you practically destroyed your food. Here are a couple of tips I would like to share with you:

1. You do not put the fried egg IN your croque-madame. It was served to you a certain way for a reason.

2. You do not eat said croque-madame with your hands.

I totally dig the look you gave me, though–that heavily condescending glance that asked me what the fuck I was looking at, all the while doubting that I even knew how to pronounce anything written on the menu.

But remember, you’re at a French restaurant; it’s only sloppy because you’re stupid.

Wasps

August 10, 2008 1 comment

They scare me shitless. This bugger has been in my room for a little while now, stuck between the screen and the window that I promptly closed upon this horrific discovery. I heard something buzz a few times and looked to my open window to see this THING through my blinds, which were thankfully down.

This, my friends, is a thread-waisted wasp. And it’s NASTY.