January 27, 2014

  • Had a Bad Day

    I wrote this on 12/3/13 after my hunny had a bad day at work.
    ——————–
    Matthew 5:
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven…

    I couldn’t be more proud of him. He continually shows me his pure heart. He does what we are supposed to do but don’t all actually do. He is a humble example to everyone and I can see God transforming and using him more and more. He causes me to use these general and vague phrases that have so much meaning and depth to them now that I see it first hand. He is my best kept secret because no one knows how wonderful he is except me. He will never let anyone tell him he is that wonderful, but he still manages to let me somehow convince him of the truth. And that is truly a gift.

    It’s in the trying times where true character is revealed and it’s times like these where I see him shine when all he sees is failure. I’m humbled by my flaws, my self-centered thoughts, when I see his unwillingness to justify his actions. He puts me in my place, where I am perfectly loved by him and Him.

July 24, 2013

  • Just Another Day

    Married life is absolutely wonderful. I love seeing my honey bear everynight and now that we are working together (short term for the moment) we get to spend every waking moment together. I actually like it! :) I don’t feel joined at the hip in the annoying way, but I do feel like I want to do everything together (except for Halo). This is me who used to be so bent on being Miss Independent and doing everything myself, trying to prove to the world that I’m only small in stature but not grandeur. Well, I’ve been transformed into a wife! I do wifely things and make dinner and clean up when my hunny is too tired and just wants to watch TV. I bring him a beer to the couch so he doesn’t have to get up. I buy him clothes! This is me who always said that you are your own person and you shouldn’t have your significant other doing all these things you can do for yourself. Okay this is the worst one – I only make poor attempts at opening bottles or jars and then hand it over to Sean. I am SUCH a girl! (Even though I have massive arms) … But I’m okay with it and even happier as a semi-girly girl now! Maybe it’s because I think Sean (not so) secretly likes to pamper me and treat me like a baby (but not a spoiled brat, of course). He just likes to feel manly and know he can do things for me. And I let him because it makes him feel more needed. And the truth is I need him now. I still like my alone time but life is just so much better with him there. We do almost everything together – mountain biking, hiking, beer brewing, sneaking drinks into pool, church, Our Daily Bread, most TV shows, gastropubs, driving range, kan jam, backpacking and camping, hanging out with my family, taking my brother and his friends out, breakfast on our porch patio, watering our plants, bears and bunnies, cleaning toilets and showers, laundry, walks in the park, bulk metallic glass discussions, and our favorite, Costco!
    How come we are not sick of each other? How can two people possibly do everything together all the time? It’s quite sickening. But we really would rather stay home on a Friday night watching movies on our couch than go out to loud and crowded bars. I think this is normal, but while many are still trying to prove they are young and fun and still got it and beyond hipster, well we just aren’t too cool. Well my parents think we are but that’s just because that’s what they do. Actually, I changed my mind and I think we are so so cool because we are not boring, most of the time.

    Okay here’s another story. When I first moved back I couldn’t help but look at everyone in So Cal and see how stuck people are in their own ways. Not just in Irvine or OC and actually not just here, but everywhere, if people have only lived in one certain environment and exposed to one type of culture or only have one group of friends with all the same thoughts, activities, and interests, well they just have one view of the world. It annoyed me so much that I felt I changed so much and when I came back everything was the same! Ugh. But then I realized that I am really no better and living somewhere else for five years doesn’t suddenly make me the most cultured or broad perspective holding person. I was being so judgmental and it really was tearing me apart. God placed me back here to love and serve him and the others around me. Not tell them how OC they are. I became a lot nicer internally after I learned from my good friend and coworker that it really is okay to be nice to Everyone. You don’t need to prove how cool and unique and well lived you are. You don’t need to boast about all the great and interesting foods you ate or the cool dive bars you went to or the awesome Europe travels you had. You don’t need to be so hipster! Yeah we like the finer things in life and finding out about a band before KIIS FM exposes it to the whole world. Yeah we like awesome Belgians and IPAs. Yeah we like to tell of all the cool national parks we traveled to. But that doesn’t make us better than someone who hasn’t. It doesn’t make them less interesting or valuable. I’m just glad I’m on my way to becoming a non-hater. It bugged the crap out of me that I would think this way, that people would self proclaim their coolness and I didn’t think they were actually doing something that magnificent. (Still complaint about FB but I’m working on it.) anyway, I’ve reached a point where I am back to just trying to love people and sincerely care about them, and to be interested in the mundane because I’m sure someone would think I lead a rather mundane life too. The trick is to be joyful in whatever situation you are in. Continuously seek Him and all will be well. Life is not guaranteed to be easy, but it won’t be lonely. I wish I could share my happiness with lonely people because it breaks my heart to see and hear about.

    Goodnight lonely people. Know that you are loved.

January 25, 2013

  • You have arrived

    Hi StePheetZ’s Xanga! You have finally arrived to the mobile era! Remember when we used to meet only in the stationary corner of mr Dad’s office on the super high tech intel pentium II processor and 256 mb ram? Okay maybe a little better than that. Well a lot has changed since then and a lot has changed even since 11/11/11! Here’s the run down:
    (To be completed not on a mobile device since this is seriously annoying and unthinkable to type a whole blog entry with thumbs only! Also, auto correct you’re killing me! Ah ugh bleh)

November 13, 2011

  • An Eye and a Ring

    I’m engaged and I have one good eye!

    So… I graduated! I defended in June, moved back in July, and got a job in August. My job is good except for the commute. But I really do like everything else about it. The people, the type of work, the opportunities to lead projects and guide them in the direction I want, the way we are valued, the sense of team and camaraderie, the nonstressful work atmosphere, the goofiness, and… the benefits!

    I am so fortunate to have a job like this and one with great benefits. The first thing I wanted to do upon hearing about the benefits is to get LASIK! Well, I did and it was quite an experience. They first do the tests to measure your eye ball stuffS – prescription, corneal thickness, maps too. Then you go into a room with those psychologist lounge chairs and take half a Xanax and wait. Well, when I was there, there was another girl lying down and her boyfriend sitting with her consoling her. Then a doctor comes in and says “we can use a different laser, one that’s not as much pressure.” I was all excited and ready to go and then I hear this. I think to myself, “Am I supposed to be scared? Why is this girl freaking out? What’s going on?” It was such a weird feeling sitting there. Well, 10 more minutes go by and then the girl says “okay, I’m more relaxed” and then gets up and goes into the operating room. WEIRD. Anyway, Sean arrived and sat down with me while I waited for my turn. We ate Ritz peanut butter crackers together and he poured us some cups of water from the pitcher 10 feet away that I didn’t even know existed because I couldn’t see that far! Here’s a picture of me waiting:

    Well, it was my turn to go, and first the doctor put fiducial marks on my eyeballs with some sort of marker. Then I laid down on the operating table but first waved Hi to my mom, dad, and Sean who I could see through the viewing windows. They first covered my left eye so I wouldn’t have trouble focusing on the light. Then they taped my eyelashes down and stuck this clamp thing in my eyeball to keep my eyes from shutting. None of it hurt and perhaps felt a little funny, but I was just excited to get it done so didn’t think about it. They put many drops in my eye before and after this, too. Afterward that they put some circle thing over my eye and I could feel a little pressure. This part felt a little funny. I forgot what the doctor said was going on at this point, but it felt quite odd and he said to just focus on the green light. I think they were using one laser to cut the flap at this point. Afterwards, they opened the flap, and that’s when things were weird. I couldn’t see anything! It was all grey and it was a little nerve-wracking not being able to see, even though your eye was open. Then they did the cutting with the next laser for 45 seconds. There was a slight burning or smoke smell, but I was aware of this ahead of time. After the 45 seconds, the flap was closed and I could see again! Then they used this brush thing to make sure the flap was back in place. It felt kinda nice actually. hehe. After it was done I said, “is that it?” and the doctor laughed and said “do you want there to be more?” Then I sat up and right away they took a picture of me and the doctor with a thumbs up. I walked out and I could see! It was a little cloudy and they told me to keep my eye closed as much as possible. They then got my super cool shades, put them on me, and also gave me the second half of the Xanax. Then I was sent home. And that’s all she wrote… =P

    Well, actually that’s not all there is to the story. Sean drove me home and my parents said they were going to go out to use some Groupon (I thought, oh ok, yeah, whatevs). I was already groggy by the end of the car ride home, so the first thing I told Sean was, “I’m gonna go put on some comfy pants.” Sean followed me upstairs and there was Serenity (our baby bear)! Sean had asked if she could sleep over at his house before, and I was very very reluctant because there are 3 dogs at his house and 2 of them love love love to chew things up. They chewed one of his uncle’s Pooh bears! I knew that if Sean left his bedroom door open, they could jump up on the bed and snatch her up and rip her head off. This was absolutely horrifying to me. But Sean some time last week assured me that it would be okay and that he would be very careful and always remember to close his door or take her with him in the car. So I finally conceded and he got to take her home for 2-3 days. When I got upstairs to my room, there she was, sitting on my bed! I was so happy to see her again. But she also had a backpack with her and I thought, “oh cool! what is this? A Happy Lasik gift?” The backpack had her name on it and was made out of cute heart fabric (which Sean said someone on Etsy specially made for him!). I opened the backpack, and there were a ton of animals! One by one I took a bear TY beanie baby, then a bunny, then a bear, and 2 bunnies, and 2 bears, and more and more! I thought, “wow, this is so cool. I love bunnies and bears and stuffed animals.” Then I got to the bottom and took out a pouch. And then it struck me, “omgosh omgosh!” this was not just a Happy eye lasering gift. I opened the pouch, and there was a ring! Sean got down on one knee and asked “Stephanie, will you marry me?” And then I hugged him and said “Lemme think about it….umm Yes!”

    He tricked me! I had no idea and before this I didn’t think he’d be able to surprise me ever. We are always together and we are always hanging out, so for him to ask my parent’s permission would mean he’d have to send me away to do something and I’d automatically know something was up. But last week I was sent to Michigan for work on very short notice, so Sean took advantage of the opportunity and went to my parent’s house then to talk to them. They grilled him extensively, of course. hehe. But he passed the test, so my parents knew about it and kept it a secret from me for a whole week! I didn’t think my mom would be able to do it, I thought for sure she’d be the one to drop hints and give something away, but nope. Everyone kept their mouths shut. Sean was so sneaky!

    However, there was one time when he almost got caught. About 2 weeks ago I was on my computer and signed on to Amazon. I looked at my cart and there were 15 items – all beanie babies – bears and bunnies. I thought, “What the heck is this? I didn’t put all these in there.” Then I asked Sean, but he was napping so he just kinda grunted and went back to sleep. I didn’t think much of it but thought it was strange. I knew Sean was the one who put those in my shopping cart, but I didn’t connect any dots. I just thought he was a very strange person for looking at all of those. Little did I know I almost spoiled the surprise! I guess I didn’t think Sean would be proposing for awhile because my cousin and him had agreed to go look at rings together, but I didn’t think they had gone yet. Also, I didn’t think he had talked with my parents yet either. So in my mind I thought, “well, we have this going on this weekend, and then Thanksgiving, and then I’m gone for work, then Sean’s gone, and then we go to Buffalo. So if he is going to propose in 2011, it will be within these 2 specific weeks [in December].” Boy, was I wrong. (Btw, if he didn’t propose by the end of the year, I was gonna give him a firm talking to. hehehehehe). Anyway, Sean is the best and the proposal was perfect and very personalized. (I don’t know who else would love to get a toddler’s backpack full of bunny and bear beanie babies as a proposal…actually I can think of one but I won’t say as to not embarrass them too. hehe)

    After the proposal, I fell right asleep (Xanax fully kicked in). I took a nap and when I woke up, Sean wanted to get dinner. He went to Honda-ya (yum-ee!) and ordered take out. We had sashimi, tempura udon, and a poke bowl. Then we had some tea that we recently ordered online. All my favorite things – Serenity, sushi, tea, and Sean! It was a perfect night. Then I took a full Xanax and konked out with my goggles on until the morning.

    The next morning Sean said his aunt wanted us over for breakfast, my parents included. I thought it’d be a typical Saturday morning breakfast at the house, with Sean flipping the pancakes, his aunt cooking the bacon, his uncle scrambling the eggs, etc. When we showed up, though, there were so many cars in front of the house! We walked in and more relatives were there and friends and Buddy and the table was set and there were these two GIANT goblets that said Bride and Groom. Sean’s aunt made some fancy shmancy quiche and french toast with pecan thing along with pastries and a wonderful fruit bowl. All of them had known before too and all kept it a secret! I was so amazed and felt so loved on. =) We got some very nice bottles of champagne, a ring holder, and this really cool cheese platter thing with a rock slate. So nice and special and completely unexpected.

    Now I am sitting here on a Sunday night cringing because I didn’t finish writing this white paper that is due tomorrow at noon. Ugh. Back to reality. The government doesn’t take engagements as an excuse for late submissions, unfortunately. So off I go…the future Mrs. O’Keeffe. hehehehehe.

August 11, 2011

  • All Growed Up

    Hi, Xanga. You still exist? It’s been almost a year. It seems so… not-so long ago. I’m really amazed at how long this thesis thing has been on my mind. I’m never one to stress and this past year was one of the first times in my life where I did, and I have 2 grey hairs to show for it. Last year this time I was preparing to go to Denmark and thinking about trying to graduate in December. Even though I was vacationing (more than working) in Europe, it was still always on my mind, and always something that would give me the feeling and need to go home and write (though it never happened that way). Now, one year later, I’m STILL finishing it up. Can you believe that? To have something on your mind everyday for a whole year?! I stressed a lot mainly due to uncertainty. I remember wanting to move on to the rest of my life and start planning the end of grad school and the beginning of my new life. I’d day dream about it and lose sleep over it. I wanted it to come right then at that very moment. I was so impatient.

    And now things are starting to pan out…I defended, I graduated (almost), I had a grad party, I moved back home, I interviewed, I got a job, I will buy a car, and I will get my own place. Everything I dreamed of! I am very happy at this moment, and mostly because of Sean. I feel so spoiled being able to see him everyday. I really do. He is so strange looking and different than me. He smells different. He is hairy. He talks funny and mumbles a lot. But he is so so good =). He is more patient than I will ever ever be. Even though I pray everyday for patience (with my parents, with Sean, with Titus), I still don’t think I can ever be as patient and calm as Sean. He is what I need. He understands me. He is NOT OC and in a bubble.

    My biggest challenges/frustrations in moving back involve: a) parents b) money c) friends. With my parents, I just need to get my own place. Even though I still sleep with Bunny, I really am all growed up inside and I need my own space. I don’t like to share living space – is that selfish? Dave keeps talking about living together to save money and share life together, but I’ve been doing that for the last 9 years and now I feel like I deserve it. Is that wrong to think that way? It’s so true that I could save a lot of money by living at home or even by getting a roommate. But I don’t want to. I just want “me” space. But it comes at a price. $1500/month at least. I’m so thankful for getting a job and being able to pay for things, but it will get some getting used to. That number just doesn’t settle well with me and tells me that I should just tough it out and live at home for awhile until I get married. On the other hand, I am coming from a poor grad student life and mentality, so should I just get used to these ridiculous payments? It’s not like I will be broke if I get my own place. It’s just money that I could be saving. Maybe my dad taught me too well and maybe I am too focused on saving. I saved a lot during grad school and when I told my parents the amount, they were off by a factor of 10. What do you they think I did with my money?! I didn’t have a car. I didn’t live in expensive apartments. I chose cheap student living with no a/c and a bike. I think I’ve already decided that I need to move out, but now that I will have a little more money than I did as a grad student, I am still trying to adjust in how I use it. I was perfectly content with what I was receiving and now it’s a matter of if i should “move up” in life. Should I buy nice things when I don’t need them? Should I buy that expensive entree at the restaurant? Should I buy so many stinkin Groupons?! <– answer: yes. All those things I “deprived” myself of during grad school and always dreamed about being able to afford one day, well, now is that day. Do I still want them? Why is there some guilt associated with them now? 

    And with friends, it’s just so different. I’m a different person although I don’t think they are as different now. Living outside the bubble and even CA definitely changed me and I have such a different perspective on things. Not just material things and noticing how nice and perfect Irvine is with convenience and no pot holes or cleanliness, but mostly with people and culture. The people are very different on the other end of the country. People have different views of how people socialize or what they talk about or just talking to people different than themselves. When I start to talk about my experiences living in the midwest, people in Irvine don’t care or just don’t get it. You can say lots of words, but it doesn’t mean anything to them unless they’ve experienced it themselves. It’s like going to Europe and explaining what you saw… but even then, living there is way different than being a tourist. I try to explain differences, but people just don’t get it. My friend Nikki who also left Irvine and moved to the Midwest, she knows exactly what I mean. She says people just don’t understand nor do they care unless they have moved elsewhere outside California. There’s a double bubble I’m dealing with – Irvine + CA! Ahhhh. I love Irvine. It really is the nicest city to live in. But people should leave Irvine so they can understand and appreciate it more. I always always knew people thought this and said it in high school, but I didn’t fully GET IT until I moved outside CA. And no matter how much you explain it to someone, they won’t get it either. Thus, my frustration.

    And yet another reason I love Sean. He comes from a way different place and understands that people are different but that’s okay and you can still talk to them and even become friends with them. You don’t have to be so exclusive and stuck with “your people” only. He doesn’t demand everything to be perfect and clean and convenient all the time. He deals with it and doesn’t dwell on those things. He knows that we are very very fortunate to live in such a lively and fun place where we can be entertained easily and not have to sit around thinking about how much better our lives would be elsewhere. He just gets it. He’s the best.

August 29, 2010

  • Goddag!

    I’m in Denmark! It’s so weird to think I’m here. I was almost reluctant to come. I’ve been away from home, family, and Sean for so long, I just want to return back to my “normal” life. I’m so tired of traveling and always being uncertain of when I’ll see Sean again. It’s like I’m in this alternate reality, called “grad school,” where time is suspended and I am temporarily in this life that is way different than everyone else I know from back home. Not having a car is a big thing. Not being in the perfect world of Orange County is another. Dealing with things that would never be issues in OC is something that I think sets me apart from the rest of the people I grew up with. I’m always looking at FB pics of all my friends and the lives they have. They all have a crapload of nice things (cars, clothes, gadgets, STUFF) and seem to seek out self indulgence to its fullest and in every way possible. That’s how to live the OC life, right? Not that having fun and enjoying yourself is wrong. I just find my life very different and maybe I am judging the rest of my peers now that I’m out of CA. In all seriousness, California IS the best place to live – comfort, convenience, weather, wealth, culture, variety of people and cultures, FOOD, environment, outdoor activities, music & arts, style, everything. I definitely agree that some people are NOT meant to live in California. I’ve met a lot of those people in the MidWest. They definitely would not appreciate all the things California has to offer – one of the main drawbacks is the driving everywhere thing, but hey, just move to NoCal. Oh yeah, and there’s this other thing, called Materialism. My current housemate here in Denmark is from Germany, and I feel so spoiled thinking about all these possessions I have, and how little she has, but is totally fine with it. Isn’t it crazy how much our possessions have a hold on us? I was thinking about all the money I’m getting by being here – it’s a lot, at least for grad students. The only thing is that I need receipts for everything. So I’ve been trying heavily to spend it on food and public transportation. I look at the menu and try to not hold back at all, which I usually do at home, and then of course, I order a drink, too, and then I eat, and then after I’m done, I instantly start thinking about the next meal. After all of this, I’m so dissatisfied and wonder what the point is in spending all this money on food that just makes me chubby in the tummy. I get all this money reimbursed, and then what do I do with the money? Well, I guess I save it for something like a down payment on a house, etc, etc, etc… But if/when I get a job after all this, how much is this money worth to me now? More now than later right? So I should spend it now, right? But on what? More gadgets? More food? (I suppose I could eat sushi every day hehe). I don’t want to always be in a need for more and more things so I just try to stop myself now. Okay and then the moment I decide I’d splurge a little on housing when I get back to Evanston, this is what happens.. so Meyke owns this super nice Condo in downtown Evanston, the same one that Jerry Springer lives in (he has the penthouse of course), and her cousin lived with her before, no problem. Before I come to Denmark, we move my stuff in and the doorman reports us to the manager and then the manager tells Meyke that there’s all these rules: $250 move in + $250 move out fee, plus fines if you don’t move in at the right time or break some rules. She also is not allowed to lease <1 full unit and the only people who can stay with her long term are family. It looks like we will not risk it and I will probably try to find another place, like Harold’s, which is fine, but it’s not luxury, like Meyke’s. Meyke’s place has an ELEVATOR. Can you imagine that? I can hardly, because most affordable buildings in Evanston are old and of course do not have elevators, nor do they have central a/c, nor do they have non-creaky walls/floors, nor do they have washer/dryers in each unit, nor do they have more than 1 bathroom for more than 2-3 bedrooms, nor do they have parking structures with an I-GO car on site. Nor do they have really nice balconies on the 19th floor looking out to the lake! Ughhh… These should be normal things, right? (except for the lakeview). So after all this, I’m trying to come to grips with it, and realize that IT’S OKAY. I’ll still be fine without these things. I can delay, even more, trying to live a normal comfortable life. I think it’s God trying to humble me yet again, and tell me that I’m really not THAT DIFFERENT than the rest of my OC friends, and I still desire these materialistic things, including comfort, and God never said he’d make like a genie and grant us a comfortable life, right? If anything, we should never be too comfortable and be striving for other things, like living sacrificially for others. It’s a lot harder than it sounds and it requires more than just being a nice person. I still have no idea how to live this way, but I guess this is something I’ll be learning as I finish the first quarter century of my life (2 more weeks!) and head into the scary age of 26-going-on-30.

    Now for the fun stuff. Today Melanie, her friend Manfried?, and I went to this castle in Hillerod. It was pretty cool and we got to see more of the countryside of Denmark (majority of Denmark outside of Copenhagen) as we took the bus there. All the stores were closed and only some restaurants were open. Sometimes it feels really weird not having many people around, but I guess people are used to it since they grow up this way. (SoCal is so overdeveloped!) I think I’d be uncomfortable living in this kind of place long term, but perhaps if I had Sean with me, I’d get used to slowing things down and enjoy being in the middle of nowhere…hmm. Actually, No, I don’t think I could ever get used to that. lol. California Gurl 4 life.

    The End.

July 6, 2010

  • Amazed.

    I am still amazed at how unexpectedly God will subtly answer prayers. I am still amazed at how I still tend to do the same things, esp. not rely on God enough. I am a control freak and I always want to know how everything will be played out. I constantly need security for the future and it throws me off when I don’t have it. Why can’t I just be okay with not knowing what lies ahead? And after all this, God still chooses to let me have some unexpected blessings.

    Lately all I’ve been thinking about is going home, back to the comforts of the bubble. I keep day dreaming about having a car, not having to walk up 3 flights of stairs, central air, living in nicely planned and clean communities, going to Newsong, eating good asian food, hanging out with Titus and his friends, swimming in outdoor swimming pools, eating dinner with my family, and most of all, getting to see Sean on a daily basis. All these comforts of living in Orange County, which everyone there assumes are normal or just basic Orange County “rights”, well I’ve come to realize that they are not normal at all. We’ve had it so good living there and everyone from the outside told us so, but everyone on the inside just shrugged it off as, “Yeah, I guess.” I can’t believe I’d actually miss the Irvine Company. lol. Yes, they control everything, but all the apartments they own are really really nice! Here starts my rant…never ever would the Irvine Company do the following:

    • paint bath tubs with lead-based paint which constantly peels off and requires re-painting every quarter
    • allow feces from neighbors’ trash to remain on stairwells (maggots eating feces too)
    • change the lock to the bike room without giving residents new keys
    • have a crappy bike room
    • allow poop to spew out of a pipe in the storage/bike room as I walk in to get my bike
    • not inform residents of this occurrence although people’s items are getting soaked with urine and poop
    • “fix” a broken window pane by screwing an L-bar thing to the window frame
    • offer free satellite TV that freezes on channels or does not work when it rains
    • inform residents that the internet has been upgraded and is faster when actually they didn’t do jack
    • not replace very very very squeaky wood floors
    • create a kitchen with 2 feet of counter space and unreachable shelves
    • put in a dishwasher that doesn’t wash the top rack
    • have a buzzer to the front door that sounds like a fire alarm
    • have mice crawling through the walls and eating the food on our shelves
    • not have central air conditioning
    • not have recycling
    • not have a swimming pool, hot tub, or tennis court
    • be ugly

    Ok, some of those are just the OC-ness in me coming out, but seriously, most of those seem like normal provisions/amenities, right? Well, not everyone in this country thinks so.

    Despite the discomforts of living here, I am more just tired of trying to make efforts with friendships when I sadly know I will not see many of the people after I graduate. I’ve met a lot of great people in grad school and it just makes me sad to know that most of them I will not see again or keep in touch with consistently. A part of me is okay with this and just wants to go home to get back to my “real friends” – all 2 of them, Christine and Vi. lol. Well, it’s just so hard to keep on going and continue to be my cheery, sunny self when a part of me is just sad to be away from my good friends, family, and Sean. Many people here are not connected to their homes at all. They have no friends still at home they keep in touch with and they don’t even care to be around their families. This makes me really sad since I am definitely not like that and to me it sorta distances me from them since that’s a huge difference between me and them. People bond over similarities, and this is one similarity that I really do treasure. I shouldn’t hold this kind of thing against anyone of course, but it’s just a thought that crosses my mind every time someone says “Oh, I guess I should plan a trip home soon. I haven’t been home in 6+ months.” Maybe their home is just really boring! Or maybe they don’t get along with their parents – that makes me sad too. Enough complaining and judging…

    Yes, I am very thankful for this life I have and I’m actually very excited to wrap it up and move on to the next thing. Things to get through first: serial sectioning, moving, Denmark, and job search! Cheerio!

May 6, 2010

  • And we’re back…!

    With the start of the new Mat Sci blog ( numatsci.blogspot.com ), I’ve most obviously been ignoring my own blog. Frankly, I’m just not as emo as I was back in the day. Wow, those were good days. One thing that I’ve found with the MatSci blog is that people are really scared to post. This was such a foreign idea and a weird fear in my eyes, after all, it’s just a blog! But as I thought about it more, perhaps the reason I am so comfortable with blogging is because of all my years of Xanga. Yup, Xanga, I have you to thank for it. All those countless entries of me pouring my heart out to the open interweb just made me almost fearless in writing something that anyone could read. What’s the big deal anyway? Just write what you’re thinking, right? WRONG. You know why everyone’s so scared? It’s because we are freaking grad students. We are always so worried about being correct, about being intelligent, about being witty, and about being judged! We are constantly being evaluated, told that we are doing things right/wrong, told we need to try other things, pushed around like no one’s business. There’s this culture of being an engineering grad student that is fun and comfortable, but there’s also this part that is exasperating. It’s like we are always trying to prove to each other that we are so smart and so cool and so normal. Seriously, we are not and people should stop fooling themselves into thinking they are. Can’t people just be comfortable in their own skin? Why do you have to be so uppity all the time in groups? Sometimes I just want to sit there with my tongue out and not have someone think something’s up or I am out of it. Sometimes I just want to be short with people and not have them take it personally. Sometimes I just want to chillll. And chill does NOT mean, oh let’s go have drinks. Chill means, we will hang out, and it will be perfectly okay if we don’t even say a word. It will be okay if it isn’t a mind-blowing experience. It will be okay if it wasn’t “omg, the funnest time I’ve ever had” type of day. (I’m all about parallel structure right now.) There’s not really too many people I can do that with. Sean, of course. And I think Dani too. Other than that, things are just not like that here. People don’t just go over to other people’s places to chill. Everyone’s too busy. Everyone’s got things to do, papers to work on, data analysis to finish. Everyone’s gotta have their space. We’re grown adults now, somewhat. (k, done with the parallel structure).

    I just miss the days when you told a friend, hey I’m coming over. No plans, nothing. You just wanna chill. I’m afraid those days are over, though.

    …Wow, that whole post came out of nowhere. Ah, the beauty of Xanga.

February 18, 2010

  • Ashes to ashes…

    …dust to dust
    We hate to beat you,
    But we must, we must
    When we’re up, we’re up
    And when we’re down, we’re down
    And when you’re up against us you’re turned upside down.
    –a softball cheer Lindsey used to chant as we walked back from the UCI gym

    Today is Ash Wednesday and I had no idea. Growing up, we never had any Ash Wednesday service and my parents never spoke of it or Lent. I wish someone could tell me why. It seems mostly like a traditional thing where people do the actions without the heart behind it. But for some, the right intentions are there. I remember back in the Edge days, people would be quite creative with their 40 days of change. I never participated because I never really thought of something good and meaningful that I’d want to do, but the main point I got from it was that people were doing a little introspective research and figuring out what was hindering them from having a close relationship with God. It wasn’t about giving something up or restraining yourself or not eating meat or punishing yourself of any sorts. It was about looking at what was playing god in your life and disciplining yourself to put it aside to reap the benefits of a life without it. Some people said goodbye to Xanga (at the time, seemed like a big sacrifice), some people refrained from Facebook usage (very hard), some people gave up alcohol, and some people didn’t eat their favorite meats (also a big one) since they really couldn’t go a day without it. I remember Tiffany covered all her mirrors and didn’t look at a single mirror the whole time! (I think the car was the exception, but only for safety, not to check what she looked like). These are all fine and dandy, but I don’t think these are things that dominate my life (fb maybe a close call, though). In fact, there really isn’t one thing that has a strong hold on my life. This also worries me. If I am to be this Christ-follower, shouldn’t Jesus be the center of it? (Answer is Yes). Well, I mean, he’s not out of the picture, he’s just standing nicely on the sidelines and comes in when I need him. He’s the convenient Jesus and is at my beck and call when I am angered by people around me, frustrated at circumstances, or annoyed at parents. He’s there when I am nervous about a research talk or pressured to finish a task. He’s there when I am infuriated by Christian-bashing media and those crazy “Christians” that give us a bad name too. And you know what, He’s there when something really really good happens too that is so amazing and seemingly divine. He’s always there…except when things are just…neutral. Why is this? It’s not like Jesus is just a man-made concept to explain the inexplicable or to serve as a cop-out answer for the emptiness we feel. There’s a certain truth about Him that never changes. This truth is about love and grace, but also of impurity amongst a holy God. He’s a jealous God but it’s only because he wants the best for us. He wants our desires, our time, and our hearts. Why am I so undisciplined into thinking I can take a break from Him during the lulls of life? It’s like I need to “feel” His presence to believe in him and that’s not what it’s only about (part of it, sure, but there’s gotta be more to back it up). One thing I’ve really appreciated about EBF is the solid scripture foundation, how they actually read the Bible and go through it verse by verse to help you understand what God is trying to tell you here. You would think it’s pretty simple to just read it and get it, but there’s so much background and so many cultural references and deeper meanings to the simplest of phrases. I don’t think I realized before that at times I was relying on emotions and personal testimonies to string my faith along. Of course, people’s personal experiences are always meaningful, but they just can’t be the only basis for believing in something this lifestyle determining. I say all this and say I believe it, but it’s so hard to make these words into actions. Why is it so hard to pick up the bible and read it daily for just a few minutes? I am so disciplined in most areas of my life except this one. I have always struggled and always feel like admitting and accepting defeat. I don’t know if this will change, but it needs to…For now it’s just words on a weblog.

February 5, 2010

  • My eyelids changed…

    …and somewhere along the line, so did everything else.

    Just got back from Crested Butte yesterday and of course I put together a photo album. I have over 80 photo albums on Facebook. Talk about sharing my whole life with the fb world. I’ll get around to making those private someday…So, as I was saying, I was putting together the photo album, and then naturally started looking at all the facebook updates. I came across one of the undergrad’s profiles that I TA’ed and looked at all the fun photos he had and what his life is like. Got me thinking about my undergrad, so getting all nostalgic, I started looking at all my old photo albums. My my. My life is so different than say, 5 years ago. Yes, FIVE years ago I was still an undergrad at UCI (which I now have to refer to as UC Irvine or else no one here knows what I’m talking about. Took me awhile to figure that one out). Well, I noticed something else also…my eyelids! They always had the double fold, but back then, they were more like single-double folded, ya know, like just a small crease. I then made the transition from RGP to soft contacts in grad school, and an odd thing happened over the next 2 years. One at a time, my eyelids transformed into these filipino looking completely double folded eyelids. No clue how this happened, but it did.

    Over the weekend, Minna talked about how she wished she had recorded things from undergrad, and inevitably that reminded me of my dear Xanga blog. I missed the time I took to write in it each day. The reflection and introspection at the end of the day. I re-read a few and reminisced about the past occurrences. Wow. Things have changed. Who writes blogs anymore? A lot of people still do but they are usually specific topics like workout programs or beauty tips or ways to be greener or whatever. Personally blogging has been ubiquitously replaced by Twitter, FB comments, GChat statuses and the likes. What happened to the days when it was cool to write more than a few sentences (lest a few words) about random thoughts in your head? We truly are the ADD culture and it will only get worse. As always, I am pledging to resist change and share a few more thoughts than what I can say in 3 seconds.

    So here it goes…

    I am amazed at the disparity between people’s lives at this point in our lives. I’ll name 3 categories for the time being. You’ve got the married friends – all settled down, fixing up the house, having babies, staying at home on weekends, buying nice things. Then you’ve got the single friends – bachelors for life (or at least until 35), clubbing it up every weekend, still drinking like they did in undergrad, still not knowing what they’re doing with their lives. And finally, the post-college education goers. Grad students. Now this one is tricky. There’s also married ones – some who got married before they came, some who got married during, and some who have kids and bring them into lab. Then…you’ve got the serious relationship people – those who dated starting from grad school, undergrad, and even high school. Then…you’ve got people who are now single, but were previously in serious relationships from undergrad and haven’t found anyone else since. There’s also the single people who still do the casual dating and hook up thing and drink like they are still in undergrad. And then there’s the single ones that have never been in a relationship still and you really can’t see being in one anytime soon either. All these different people with different degrees of relationship experience, all the same age! This boggles my mind just a little…!!!

    I’m not trying to draw any conclusions. I just still have in my mind that there’s this progression of experiences up until the point you get married, and when I was 20, I already felt I was at that last stage. It felt a little weird going backwards on that whole scale and then building back up to it, but now I feel like I really want to be at that final stage…but not necessarily because I’m ready for it, but I feel like I’m supposed to be there already and I’m behind if I’m not. I feel like I’ve always been one who wants to be ahead of the crowd and get to things first to show people how it’s done or that I wasn’t just going to follow everyone else. I feel like I don’t want to be left behind when I very well know that there are way more people on the back end of this progress line I’ve made up. I’ve just always refused to be the last or near last at anything. Why am I so adamant about this?

    I blame grad school and relationships for all this. But I know where I am is a consequence of many many choices piled on top of each other, so why am I ‘blaming’ these for my situation now? This is what I chose because obviously doing this is important to me and what I think will fulfill part of my career needs/desires. I need to accept all territory that comes with it. I’m not really complaining, just thinking aloud…

    …I just still can’t be sure of myself that I’m not wishing things were different. That’s probably enough emo-ness for now…maybe this is why i stopped blogging in the first place….lol (I’m pretty sure Sean will read this and automatically assume I am not happy with him. Well that’s his problem if he wants to think that. =P)