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A Weekend in NYC

August 10, 2009 Leave a comment

A much anticipated trip to New York City has been made. Lilly had originally planned to go with me, but she changed her mind at the last minute. Pity, really, because she’s leaving for England in about ten days and hasn’t seen our NYC friends in quite a while — save for Iris, who was here during the July 4th weekend.

I left via Chinatown bus on Friday at 1pm and got to New York around 6pm. Iris met me when I arrived and we headed to the Museum of Modern Art because admission is free from 4 to 8pm on Fridays. We didn’t actually get to enjoy it because I had to check my backpack — and the line for that was unbelievably long. I did get to pee, though, so it wasn’t all in vain. We went over to the MoMA Design Store, which was pretty fun though overpriced (naturally).

Went to Chal’s place and hung out there the rest of the night. Luke joined us; we made margaritas, ordered a pizza, and played Pictionary. We painted most of Luke’s nails when he dozed off. Luke and Iris eventually left, and it was about time for bed.

I didn’t really sleep that night. I was on the couch, which was comfortable, and decided to watch TV all night. I watched most of the movie Twisted (Ashley Judd, Andy Garcia, Samuel L. Jackson) and parts of Without a Trace.

Jack of OkCupid fame texted me the next morning; I didn’t reply. Chal and I met up with Iris. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to get some sandwiches at a nearby cafe and settle at the local park for lunch and a game of Trivial Pursuit; it was simply a blissful time.

The Guggenheim came next; I decided once and for all that I really disliked Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. I’m just not impressed with his simple and futuristic designs.

We met up with Luke and a friend of his for Mexican food — delicious Mexican food. The guacamole was made fresh right by our table and the portions were HUGE. The sangria tasted like fruit juice, but at least it was tasty.

Once we were too full to walk, we trekked back to Chal’s place to talk and watch TV. We wanted to get beer, but were way too full and (wisely) decided against it. Everyone went home, and, this time, I slept.

The next day, Chal and I met up with Iris for brunch in the neighborhood. Not bad, but not spectacular either. I got a $5 belt from the thrift store across the street because my pants needed to stay on my ass and to the Metro we went…

Chal left us at the station; Iris rode with me for two thirds of the ride; I thought I was going to miss my 3pm bus but got there right on time to nab one of the last few available seats… which was in the very last row between two guys.

The ride was bumpy but otherwise fine; I can never sleep for too long on buses anyway. I got a text from Raphael while rushing from the Chinatown Metro stop to the bus stop, so there were a few exchanges during the ride but nothing too significant. We found ourselves under a super massive rain cloud; I wondered what the weather was like in DC. I thought for sure the ride would take much longer than five hours, but I turned out to be wrong; it only took thirty minutes longer than the first time around.

DC was humid when I got back. I received some alerts announcing an upcoming heatwave — and they weren’t lying! Today was absolutely atrocious, but Lilly and I ventured into the nearby woods in the late afternoon. It wasn’t a bad hike; saw a snake and a deer, and wandered down random trails.

I’m riding the Chinatown bus again tomorrow; going to Philly this time. I’m only going because my mom’s got an appointment with her ophthalmologist on Thursday. It’ll be nice to be in Philly again… perhaps this time I’ll get to see some folks with whom I didn’t get the chance to meet up last time. Or not. It doesn’t really matter, I’m moving back soon anyway.

I’ll be back in DC on Saturday afternoon… I would have spent the weekend in Philly, but Daina’s birthday celebration is taking place that day and I don’t want to miss it.

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,

Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid…

September 7, 2008 1 comment

Things are slowly coming together, I think. I have a short break from translating (professionally), and Lilly and I are currently finalizing details of the lease for this amazing apartment we found. I almost had a heart attack today, though, when I read over the updated lease (we had crossed out irrelevant/absurd clauses in the original lease that the landlord randomly found online) and saw that they changed a vital part of our agreement: we had to cover all utilities.

Thankfully, it was a mistake and the landlord’s wife assured us that we weren’t going to receive any bills. That clause will be changed yet again, and now we just have to wait for a new copy.

I’ve been very good at keeping up with school work and actually getting a head start every week. It’s actually only been two weeks, and I’m only enrolled part-time this semester, so there’s really no excuse. Still, I’m giving myself a gold star because I had never been able to get work started on time — let alone early — before. This is a huge step for me, and this just confirms my belief that a year away from everything and anything school-related is very beneficial. I’ve become a much more focused individual, which will make this year very easy on my nerves — I hope.

On another note, I feel the need to post a little something about this weekend. I’m always a bit reluctant to write in detail about my days/weekends/trips, but in the end I always do it — not so I can bore whoever reads this thing, but so I can go back and read about it myself. I used to keep a written journal, but thanks to computers my hands have gotten quite lazy. The girl who used to write thirty-page letters to her best friend on the other side of the ocean can now only write half-assed one-paragraph emails. Note that I don’t generally write bad emails, though; quite to the contrary, I tend to write lengthy, well-structured emails. It’s just that if I do that and receive a poor reply, don’t be surprised if I follow up with a one-liner.

Jus’ sayin’.

Anyway, the weekend —

The first part of Friday evening was spent at the Sculpture Garden, which hosts a jazz concert every Friday during the summer (through early October), with Lilly and Marta. It was nice to be able to sit and wind down with some music in the background. We made our way to the Dupont area when we felt a little rain and decided to grab a bite. We hit up Kramerbooks & Afterwords for some butternut squash soup, catfish fingers, and macaroni & cheese. The soup, though mighty tasty, was too rich and creamy, and the catfish fingers too greasy. Feeling a bit iffy after that, Lilly and I headed back to our temporary home while Marta decided to spend some time mingling with her coworkers.

Saturday rained quite steadily, thus keeping me inside for most of the day. Once it stopped, Lilly and I took a walk to Bethesda and back. We went into the Trader Joe’s and I pointed out all the yummy things that I regularly get from that heaven-sent store. We then walked down to our future apartment, to the Van Ness Metro stop, took the Metro back and had dinner.

Today shone brightly and I went to the store looking for some bread (didn’t find anything fresh) while Lilly went out for a run. After lunch we headed out and took the bus to the Georgetown area, which I absolutely loved…it looks and feels so different from the rest of the city! It reminded me of French towns and villages, especially the ones by the beach. So many stores and eateries!

I don’t have a good way to end this post, so I’ll end it by saying that I should go to sleep because I want to get to school early tomorrow. And that I don’t want to go to school.

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.

Brooklyn

June 23, 2008 1 comment

I spent this past weekend in New York–primarily Brooklyn–as a visit to Susan was way overdue. After much scheduling and postponing, we settled for this weekend because it coincided with her birthday. Lilly (whose birthday was last Tuesday) and I thus made our way to New York from DC and Philly, respectively, on Friday.

PHILLY –> NEW YORK
Because I’m severely allergic to the Chinatown bus (no, not really; I just hate it), I looked into booking my roundtrip tickets with BoltBus ($13 each way). I later learned about Megabus from my friend Ashley who was heading to New York on Thursday for a taping of the Daily Show–$6 each way! Unfortunately, the available return times were less than desirable, so I only booked a one-way, from Philly to New York. $6 ticket + $0.50 registration fee = fucking good deal.

The bus was set to leave at 5:15pm, and I wasn’t planning on going to work, so I had all day to pack and make sure I wouldn’t forget anything. I left around noon so I could head to the Gallery and get birthday cards for Susan and Lilly, as well as small presents. I walked around the Reading Terminal Market–one of my absolute favorite places in the city–and finally headed to the 30th Street Station, where the bus would come and pick us–New York-bound travelers–up. The bus, of course, was forty five minutes late, but with $6.50 tickets, who really cared?

The man who sat next to me smelled like metal. If you’re wondering what that smells like, get a bunch of coins and sniff them. Sniff them real good. That’s what the man smelled like. Also, he was gigantic, leaving me with not much space.

We pulled up to Penn Station around 8pm and I had to pee like a mother!

FRIDAY NIGHT
Susan took me to Vinny’s, a nice little Italian restaurant not far from her house. The portions were huge and the prices reasonable; I had chicken parmigiano with ziti bolognese, Susan had penne alla vodka.

Later, Susan’s mom drove us to pick up Lilly who got in much later than me. Just as we spotted her at a street corner, it started pouring!

SATURDAY
We started the day with a bowl of cereal and some television. We then headed to The Painted Pot for some ceramics painting. Susan’s friend Kathryn joined us a little while later and ended up painting something as well. We were supposed to meet Gus at 12:30ish, but were late…of course. We had some bagels and it was delicious! We then hopped on the train. Gus was waiting for us at one of the stations and hopped on when we saw him. Off to Coney Island!

It was the Mermaid Parade! There were an incredibly huge number of people, naked, half-naked, non-naked… The boardwalk was very crowded, which, as I understand, is usually not the case. We wanted to ride the Cyclone, but I refused to pay $8 for a roller coaster. We got cotton candy and hopped on the train back to Susan’s place (except for Kathryn, who was to meet us again later).

We got some beer (1664!) and some rice balls, and witnessed a very painful third goal by Russia against the Netherlands–last goal apparently, as Russia won 3-1 in overtime. After much talking and learning about very shocking things (I’m still all wtf about that), we took quick showers and headed out again.

SATURDAY NIGHT
We met up with Kathryn and Vanessa, another one of Susan’s friends from high school, to go to a barbecue at Susan’s cousin’s place. We met some of Susan’s family and had some food before we headed out to the bar. Susan had texted a bunch of people she went to high school with as an invitation to come and join us at The Brooklyn Inn, a place I wasn’t very impressed with–except for the architecture; that place is fucking gorgeous. But the $1.50 pool game, and the jukebox (aka music that you have to pay for), I wasn’t digging so much.

I got excruciatingly bored after a while (because I’m restless when I’m drunk) so I started climbing onto the bars of the gigantic windows and following a girl who looked like Ugly Betty. For serious, she could NOT have been real. I took with me Lilly and Gus–who wanted to find a deli–and stumbled into a bodega, where there was a cat. I sat on the floor and started to pet the cat who enjoyed it tremendously, until a cop came in and asked me if I was all right.

Susan and Kathryn came and took us to The Last Exit, where Susan’s sisters and her sister’s boyfriend were. More drinks, much dancing (finally!), a Soul Train line, getting hit on by someone who told me I was “G.U., geographically undesirable” aaand we called it a night. It was roughly 4am.

We dragged Susan to a diner against her will–even though the diner was HER idea in the first place–and had some delicious food. Or at least some of us did. Gus fell asleep while holding the last quarter of his turkey club, and I had a gigantic pickle. Now that I think about it, I might have taken a picture of that pickle…

By the time we left the diner, it was light out. We got back to Susan’s place at 5:30am, so I guess this covers Sunday morning.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON
We were almost late for Lilly’s bus, which was set to leave at 1:45pm. We were supposed to meet Chaleigh for brunch at 11am, but given the time we got back, it wasn’t gonna happen. Besides, Chaleigh went to a wedding on Saturday, so we could pretty much guarantee this wouldn’t happen. We rescheduled and met her at 2pm instead.

We went to Nolita House, a cute little place in Nolita (North of Little Italy), Manhattan. We walked in to a bluegrass band playing (Nolita House has Bluegrass Brunch on weekends), which was quite enjoyable. I had a croque monsieur–delicious.

NEW YORK –> PHILLY
After a decent catching up with Chal, whom I hadn’t seen since our graduation last year, we barely made it to my bus, which was set to leave at 4:30pm. As in, it was 4:26pm and there were two seats left. I said my goodbyes and hopped on. I’m pretty sure I slept on the girl I was sitting next to, but I don’t think she noticed, as she was in a pretty deep slumber herself. We got to Philly’s 30th Street Station at 6:30pm on the dot, which was very impressive.

VERDICT
New York isn’t all bad. For years I’ve said that I pretty much disliked New York, but that’s because Manhattan was the only part I’d ever been exposed to. I strongly dislike touristy areas in the United States. Brooklyn was very exciting; there seemed to be a lot of things to do. I highly enjoyed the presence of bodegas, which are pretty much everywhere you turn. I do wish Philly were a little more like it…

I had trouble getting up today. It was humid and I was very sleep deprived, not to mention quite dehydrated. I went to the gym after work, and now am in desperate need of sleep. On that note… peace out.

Categories: Personal, Trips Tags: , ,

Post-Weekend Update, etc.

March 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Thursday afternoon, I rode Greyhound to Washington, DC for AU‘s CAS Graduate Studies Day. Lilly met me around Union Station, and we took the Metro to Bethesda to meet up with Chuck and An for dinner at Rock Bottom (we tried to hit up Union Jack’s, but it was too crowded). Before dessert, I had to take switch from contacts to glasses because something had been bothering my left eye for a while. After dinner (complete with DELICIOUS sundae), I was too full to walk!

Meteorologists had projected rain, but Friday turned out to be beautiful–sunny and warm. The day went by smoothly, and I got the chance to see more of the campus than I did the last time I was there. I almost met other prospective grad students, which made me happy–especially because I met another person interested in the French Translation program! I hope she gets in.

Lilly leaves for work around 8am every day. The event at AU wasn’t set to start until 10am (9:30am if you count registration), but I decided to leave with her. I got off after one stop at the Tenleytown-AU station to catch the AU shuttle to the main campus. It was about 8:30am, so I purposely missed two shuttles. I wanted to just stand around for a bit (as opposed to hanging around the campus… I don’t know why). I finally got on around 9am and proceeded to registration. I was given a name tag, a pen, and a folder containing various papers (agenda, map…).

Large round tables were set up. I put my things (heavy backpack, etc) down and got myself a cup of tea. Small talk was made as people entered the room and sat themselves down. After a brief introduction, we were all divided into our respective departments. I got up and headed toward a designated staff member as the Language and Foreign Studies department was called. As the eight of us gathered around the well-dressed, salt-and-pepper-haired woman, I noticed that she was speaking to everyone in Spanish. Maybe I got up too early. After introductions were made, I asked, “Is everyone here for Spanish?” The only boy of the group stepped forward and pointed at a tallish girl next to me: “She’s French!”

“Great!” It was only the two of us. The woman apologized, and led us out of the building. “Wait!” someone shouted behind us. “There’s one more!” A girl and two women walked towards us. A girl, her mother, and her aunt.

We walked to the building that houses the Language and Foreign Studies department (the name escapes me — Asbury?) and went down a set of stairs into the building. In between, I found out that the other “French” girl was from Fairfax. She had an accent. Was she actually French? We went down a narrow set of stairs into the building. We were briefly shown the computer lab where, “Shh, they’re taking a test.” We retreated to the tiny conference room, where we were to spend the remaining hour and a half. More folders. I looked at the French girl next to me. “It’s all Spanish.”

The woman told us that the two professors scheduled to speak were affiliated with the Spanish department.

Great.

She left and brought the faculty advisor for French Translation; we were thrilled. I asked questions, he answered. The French girl nodded approvingly.

A tall, slim woman peeked her head through the doorway. “Is this… Spanish?”

“I’m almost finished. Or I can be finished? Do you…?”

“Oh go ahead, I’m here to speak for the Spanish–”

“Oh okay go ahead–”

“No, no it’s okay, I’ll wait here.”

I had more questions. I would have objected. And so I kept asking questions until I was satisfied.

“Thank you very much,” I said. I turned to the group. “Sorry.” That is what Americans do, no? They’re a very apologetic people, I find.

“Oh no, no, that’s okay!”
“Don’t worry about it!”
“No, no.”
“We’ll be saying sorry to you in a minute.”

“Exactly.” Second word uttered by the French girl.

The tall, slim woman took a seat at the head of the table. She talked a lot with her hands. She said she was “Spanish. From Spain.” Her voice was clear and firm. She spoke with a slight accent. She made eye contact and hesitated little. Her hair was short, brown, and neat. Her makeup looked flawless.

“Do you understand my English? Do you want me to speak Spanish?”

Did she really ask that?

“No, no we’re fine,” they all said.

The well-dressed, salt-and-pepper-haired woman came back with French documents for the French girl and me. We whispered “Thank you,” and the woman retreated, only to come back shortly after.

The Spanish woman was interrupted.

“I’m sorry, I just want to talk to the French girls a little bit–are you girls okay here or do you want to go out somewhere or…?”

The French girl and I looked at each other. I raised my eyebrows and nodded enthusiastically.

“Where should we go?” she asked.

“We can just sit outside,” I said.

We grabbed our things and left, but not before they gave us mugs and pens. More things to carry.

We sat with the woman on a stone bench in the little courtyard-ish area. I wrapped my new mug in my scarf that I didn’t have to wear. We talked–about translation, mainly. About languages, about the school. About ourselves. The salt-and-pepper-haired woman was Colombian. The French girl wasn’t French; she was Romanian.

I asked how long the campus tour–at 2:30pm–concluding the event would take. The Colombian woman asked if I was in a hurry.

“Oh no, it’s just that my bus leaves at 4:45pm; I don’t want to miss it, that’s all.”

“Well, we can take the campus tour now! We have some time.”

The now-Romanian girl echoed. “Yeah, we can take it now.”

It really was a nice day. The Colombian woman led us through the spotless hallways of the athletic facilities and the artworks displayed in the beautiful Katzen Center.

I stopped by the restrooms to take my contacts out; something was poking at my left eye again.

Before we knew it, it was noon; time to meet the others back at Asbury and head to lunch. The Colombian woman decided to stop by an office in the College of Arts and Sciences building (or something like that) to check on the rest of the group and learned that they had already left.

We hurried back to the building were everything started; they weren’t there yet. We were left there until the others showed up.

The Romanian girl and I started talking in French, and the others showed up not long after.

The boy approached us.

“Bonjour!”

Or at least that’s what I heard.

“Sorry for kicking you guys out.”

Or at least that’s what I think I heard.

“Oh, no that’s okay. How was it?” I inquired.

I think he said it was “fine” and that he “learned a lot.” But I could be making this up; I heard similar things all day long.

The group headed to lunch. The boy, the Romanian girl, and I talked a bit. We went to sit down. Each department was assigned a specific table. We picked three chairs that were unoccupied and next to each other. We grabbed food, the table got crowded, we moved.

Lunch felt short. I learned the Colombian woman’s name. I also learned the Romanian girl’s name. Two professors came to speak. I glanced at the boy’s name tag.

The first professor’s talk was enthusiastic. It felt prepared, but not overly rehearsed. He read an excerpt from one of his works; something about his mother. It was well delivered. It was sad and nostalgic, and I fought back tears at the end of it.

The second professor talked about the feminist movement in Uruguay, if my memory serves me right. By that time, I was feeling awful and needed to get up frequently to leave the room and get some air. At one point, before my return, the boy left.

The only thing left was a panel of graduate students. A few people started asking questions, and I couldn’t handle sitting in there any longer. I grabbed my phone and stepped outside until everything ended. I told Lilly that I would leave at 2:30pm and head to Union Station.

2:30pm rolled around, and the Romanian girl grabbed a few cookies for me to go.

We left together and headed for the shuttle back to the Tenleytown-AU Metro stop. While waiting for the Metro to come, we exchanged contact information. One hour we hopped on the AU shuttle, I got off at Union Station.

I had about an hour to kill, so Lilly and I walked around. I told her about my day at AU and mentioned my contacts bothering me. That’s when I decided to check my eyes for redness with my mirror.

And that’s when I spotted a tiny white dot near the edge of my cornea.

“OH NO! Not again!” I whined. I thought for sure I had another corneal ulcer. I freaked. I stood at a windy corner and phoned my ophtalmologist’s office. I scheduled an appointment for Saturday at 10am. My enthusiasm for everything else quickly dissipated and we walked to the Greyhound station.

My bus was late.

I got back to Philly at 8:30pm and met my mom at the Greyhound station. We went to Sang Kee for dinner. Mom expressed anguish at the idea that she had to be on a clear liquid diet on Saturday and Sunday; she was scheduled for barium enema (rescheduled from last week) today.

I didn’t have a corneal ulcer. What I saw in my left eye–and later spotted in my right eye–was something that people tend to get when they have allergies. My contacts had irritated my eyes, and there it was. The faint dot I saw in my left eye in addition to the white dot was a scar–the scar from my previous corneal ulcer. About the dot in my right eye, the doctor said, “I can’t believe you saw that; even with the microscope it’s very subtle.”

I’ve got super vision.

With Mom being unable to eat pretty much anything, this past weekend was relatively uneventful.

We woke up early to prepare for the hospital. They were able to go on with the procedure this time, much to my mom’s relief–and mine, of course. We got back from the hospital around 11am and fixed ourselves something to eat, after which we decided to take a nap. It was 12:30pm.

We woke up at 3:30pm, groggy, tired, and generally uninterested.

It had been drizzling since this morning. It was cold, the sky was gray–thus casting a gray veil over the entire city–and everyone seemed miserable. It felt like a Sunday.

We were miserable. But then, nighttime came and everything was better. Have you ever noticed that? Nighttime makes things better because it masks the grayness.

Jack of all trades, master of…none?

March 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Though ofttimes better than master of one!

Methinks a decent update is long overdue.

Life–on a non-personal level–is becoming more and more terrifying. I hate hearing about murders and house-fires on the news. I know that shit happens every day, but I’m hearing about it more and more frequently; I’m really afraid that it’s just like the lottery and that one day my number will come up. I wish I knew where I stood on the issue of predetermination so I could deal with life accordingly. And I hate voicing my fears, but I’m getting tired of toting this baggage around.

Saturday’s rain was very soothing–so long as you were sitting comfortably in your living room, that is. I saw the sun peek through the clouds a few times, and I couldn’t help but smile; it made the rain drops look like diamonds. It was a really nice day to sleep in, and that’s just what Mom and I did. We woke up (after noon) lazy, spent the (rest of the) day lazy, and went to bed lazy (I went to bed at 4something in the morning, but that was also out of sheer laziness–too lazy to get off my chair). We did manage to watch discs 3 and 4 of Bewitched’s second season, though.

On a much less lazy note, we went grocery shopping today and enjoyed quite a bit of sunshine. As we prepared to leave, however, I noticed that one of my shoes looked wet.

And it was.

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That’s right, just one.

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The ENTIRE shoe, too.

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I don’t get it. I saw this on Sunday afternoon, and the last time I wore these was Friday evening. All of my shoes rest in our closed porch, and the roof doesn’t leak. And if it did, given the amount of rain we got Friday night and all of Saturday, surely it would have soaked more than just that shoe–at the very least it would have wet the other shoe, which was sitting right next to it. There was no puddle, nothing; just one single solitary wet shoe.

Anyway! I finally got around to taking a picture of my completed red scarf!

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I ended up unraveling the blue one because I didn’t like the pattern on it. It just didn’t look right! I think I should get thicker yarn next time. I decided to go for the simple 1k(nit)-1p(url) pattern, like I did for the red one (which, unlike the blue one, has ten rows of ribbing–2k 2p–at both ends).

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The lighting sucks, and I should have fixed it in Picasa, but I just remembered and honestly I don’t give that much of a shit. Anyway! I ran out of yarn, and I shall get some more tomorrow (enough to finish the scarf). I had trouble gauging the amount of yarn I’d need to finish the red scarf properly (because of the ribbing at the end), so I ended up erring on the side of caution and left a reasonable amount of yarn behind.

And this is what I did with the rest:

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I’m gonna try to find the closest match possible to that yarn, but having bought it in France and all (over ten years ago), I might have a little trouble. HHHHHHHELP.

Meanwhile, I have three balls of baby yarn and I need a pair of size 2 or 3 needles to work with them:

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So what happened to jewelry making? Hee. I should really get back to making earrings soon… Maybe I will make a necklace next.

Another thing I’ve been meaning to do is get a huge frame for the two LOST puzzles I’ve completed, and get the third one in the series.

And yet another thing I’ve been meaning to do is transfer some of my past blog posts to this new one. I’ve already started, but I should really finish (though not tonight); see posts from 2005.

Ooh, ooh! I started volunteering for PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) at their adoption center in Old City (2nd and Arch). They have so many cats, and they’re all so cute! They also have two dogs (as of Thursday) and they are cute and affectionate as hell. You should stop by and give the animals some affection (yes, you can go into the rooms and play!) ORRRRRR… volunteer! Lend a hand and a heart! Ah, I can’t wait to go back.

Hopefully in the meantime I won’t get caught in another hobby. Right now I feel like my brain’s turned into yarn.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , , ,

Think vs. Worry

October 2, 2007 2 comments

I spent (most of) the weekend in DC; moderately eventful, incredibly satisfying. I wanted to get an idea of what the city was like–it’s always been impossible to (sort of) really experience DC because my uncle’s always been the one driving us there and around the area. Not to mention that we always only did the touristy shit.

dsc09055.JPG I took Greyhound to Washington, DC on Friday evening after work. After a three hour and forty five minute ride, I got to DC’s Greyhound station and walked to meet Lilly, my hostess, at Union Station. I was very impressed with my first Metro ride–mostly with the carpeted cars. The ride was smooth, and every Metro stop was so…spacious.

L’s neighborhood was quite dark but decent, and I appreciated the reigning silence. Quite a difference from Philly’s wailing sirens and reggaeton-blasting speakers. It was close to midnight and I was hungry, so I made myself some eggs and we stayed in. I had all of Saturday planned out in my head–well, sort of.

The red line was experiencing delays and we ended up waiting for at least half an hour before deciding to walk. Not far from Friendship Heights there was a bus station; it looked like the buses that stopped there could take us to AU, so we waited…and waited…and waited. Apparently the buses weren’t operating on schedule either, so we kept on trekking. We eventually arrived to our desired stop only to find out that we wanted to go to the main campus; clearly, we weren’t there. Took an AU shuttle to the main campus, where we wandered for a bit before stumbling upon the admissions office which closed, of course, an hour before we got there. Typical.

It was 2PM and probably about time to eat, so we took a cab to Dupont Circle and settled at Cosi–where I saw a very cute guy; we exchanged some glances, but left it at that–for sandwiches. Walked down Connecticut and BAM! White House. Requisite tourist pictures, and onward. More pictures along the way, etc. Sculpture Garden (or whatever it’s called), CVS stop for gum and hydration, Chinatown.

dsc09051.JPGTiredness. Thirst. But mainly, Chinatown. Chinatown, where every sign had Chinese on it! We hopped back onto the Metro back to FH; we had to figure out a restaurant for dinner with Chuck. I also wanted to check out some stores on the way back to L’s place to try and find something for my mom’s birthday (next Monday), but no dice.

After much consideration, we decided to hit up Rí~Rá in Bethesda. My medium-rare Bistro Burger was excellent, as were the fries, my Stella, and the ultimate dessert: the upside-down apple pie, complete with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Holy shit; we were so full that walking was a difficult task. C drove us back to L’s place (which is really her grandmother’s place) before heading back home. L and I sat around for a bit and decided we were much too tired to stay up any longer. I had to catch the bus back to Philly in the morning anyway.

Bus that I almost missed, by the way. The red line was experiencing delays yet again, and I got to the Greyhound station just in time. I thanked L for her hospitality, she thanked me for keeping her company, and on the bus I went. Everything went fine until I woke up and we were pulled over to the side of the highway. Now, I had never heard this one before: “We are having a major problem with the bus. We have an oil leak.”

Awethome! The driver decided he should take us to the next (nearby) rest area, after which he called a mechanic who told him to keep driving to Philadelphia.

Driver: Keep going? … It’s low. … It’s really low. We’ve practically lost all the transmission fluid. It’s a big leak. … You want me to keep driving? … You think we can make it? … Alright… Here we go…

Three blocks away from the Greyhound station in Philly, the driver, relieved, made an announcement along the lines of, “We are now in Philadelphia, if you are transferring buses blah blah blah…” He stopped, mid-sentence, and graced us with an emphatic “Oh shit!” The bus then proceeded to crawl to the station. And I mean c…r….a…..w……l………

Once we made it, I took a phenomenal piss and met my mom in Chinatown for a late (3PM) lunch. We went to Ong’s, possibly my favorite restaurant in C-town–and possibly underrated, or at least it’s one of the lesser-known eateries in the area.

So, man, DC; quite a different atmosphere. Philadelphia’s definitely grungier, and I think that’s one of the things I will miss the most about this city. It’s so urban, so vibrant. DC’s vibrant, too, but in a different way. It’s hard to explain, you just have to see it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated Philadelphia. I never thought there was anything for me here, I didn’t think I could fit. Not “fit in,” just “fit.” I wasn’t sure Philly and I were a good match…until maybe my last semester of college. I guess I just never had the opportunity to really appreciate this city, but things have changed. I like the streets of Philadelphia. I like the way the sky reflects on its skyscrapers, and I like how the sunset changes the skyline. The only thing I don’t like is not having someone to share these things with.

Every time I’m downtown around sunset, I look up at the buildings and see the beautiful pink and orange sky reflected on the glass panes. Do you have any idea how breathtaking that is? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’s blown away by this–the only one who even notices this. I could stare at it forever. You probably think that a sunset at the beach is much more beautiful and romantic; I happen to think otherwise.

How much time do you, or should you, think about the future? your future? How much of that time is spent not only thinking, but worrying? I don’t know where I stand on this issue. I tell everyone I know what I want–and I tell myself, too–but is it true? Am I sure? Sure sure? Are we ever certain that we want to go in a certain direction? How do you know? How can you tell? And don’t give me any of that “You just know” shit, because I don’t believe any of it. At any given moment there is a huge number of options; an infinite number of paths that you can take–any of which could be the one. Choosing the right one is a difficult task, it really is. Consider the pros and cons of each one. Consider instant gratification versus delayed gratification. Consider what you have, what you don’t. What you want, what you don’t. What you’ll gain, what you’ll lose. Consider what you think is the best, versus what actually is the best–and this is something you don’t know, so naturally you go with what you think is best. How do you get to that conclusion?

And why do I still not have a boyfriend?

Life: a mystery.

Categories: Personal, Trips Tags: , , , ,