56. i lied.

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last week I promised that I’d have a really awesome song recorded this week, but I completely underestimated the difficulty that accompanies playing the piano and singing simultaneously.  I need A LOT of practice before I can post anything that won’t result in your ears crying out for redemption.  Until then, enjoy the song sans singing:

and. today i absentmindedly took the wrong bus and wound up on some random dark street in the middle of nowhere. and it was raining. and i had no umbrella. and there were no cabs. and the buses stopped running.  awesome.

 

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55. chasing cars

February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

no photoshop. so cool.

I.

II.

54. updates on real life

February 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

as the title suggests, these are just updates on real life. as opposed to the fluffy one in my head that i usually live in.

Daejeon, Korea - the view from ML's apartment

1.  i think i get really bad performance anxiety. or public speaking anxiety.  or just being-in-public anxiety.  i gave my second speech at toastmasters last monday and an hour before my speech my stomach was churning and i felt really gassy and i felt like i was going to throw up for the next 59 minutes.  during the next minute my whole body tenses up and i feel like someone is sucking all the air out of my muscles like when you squeeze the air out of plastic bags before you pack them into your suitcase.  i was also being reviewed by mr. honcho-toastmaster-man so that added to my nervousness.  but something odd happened when i got on the podium…i dont know what. i just gave the speech. nervousness faded and i just did what i had practiced…granted it wasn’t perfect, but people enjoyed it and they laughed at times too. some were even enthusiastic about it yay.  but anyways, after my speech i felt a rush of tension-relief and a major major migraine started building up and i couldnt get that stupid pounding out of my head.  i felt so drained. i think i put too much pressure on myself. chill out!

Nicolette, you will be missed :)

2. the first friend i made in Daejeon, Nico, is leaving next week. im quite sad. she’s just one of those people who knows how to brighten up a room no matter how gloomy the world may seem.  she wears her heart on her sleeve and i think its quite beautiful because her expressiveness is bold and brave yet quietly disarming.  she has this way of pulling people out of themselves.  her affection unwittingly causes those around her to let down their guard and spread affection themselves.  you just don’t meet these kinds of people everyday.  nico, monday nights just won’t be the same without you. <3

the lovely farewell dinner ML cooked. Homemade kimchi jjigae + premium steak. delicious.

3. i went on a foodie lunch date (aka eating overpriced but beautiful and delicious food in a trendy looking restaurant filled with rich housewives) in Seoul with LC, a college friend i hadn’t seen for a long time and it was lovely.

Seoul, Korea. Top: I had an avocado chicken pesto sandwich and LC had a salmon bagel thing.

4. ticket confirmed. visa confirmed. payments made. two Couchsurfing arrangements confirmed (For those of you who aren’t aware of what Couchsurfing is, it’s basically a network of people from all throughout the world who allow travelers to sleep on their couches).  im excited. though when i asked my Couchsurfing mentor about my concerns about being a lone female traveler this is what he responded with:

“…of course it can happen that someone feels attracted to you and tries to kiss you or seduce you, this is real life after all, but nobody will rape you…”

……comforting. -.-;;  but dont worry, i looked into people who had good peer reviews and i always have tricks up my sleeve to ward off creepsters.

rando cafe in Daejeon, Korea

5. i’ve been having this craving for musical creation, which is odd because i haven’t done anything musical for a long time now.  i composed/arranged some music and posted two of them on youtube and i currently have this one idea for a song and ive been working on the lyrics and i will record it this weekend and you guys should be excited because its uh…something that i normally don’t do.  in fact, i’ve never done anything like this before. and i will never do it in person.  ever.  so come back next week for a once-in-a-blue-moon moment of ridiculosity (yes, i know thats not a word. but i like it ^^).  Here’s a hint about what’s to come:


the inspiration behind my next video/project. look familiar? get excited. (source: screenshot on youtube)

6. Haven’t done this in a while – here are some amusing Engrish signs:

ewwwwww too many things about the text disturb me.

great box great box SHOES

The Korean standard of beauty includes a small face. Here you see part of a campaign by a korean plastic surgery center promoting their services.

that last sign really annoys me.  Engrish signs are usually understandably amusing but that one really irks me for some reason.  I know they mean “Do you want a small face” but all i can see is “Do you want TO small face” and it bothers me in explicable ways.  Like i’m really upset about it. It just makes no sense. at all.

7. last but not least, weird korean moment of the day: today as i was changing in the locker room, a lady comes up to me and picks off the hairs on my bare back.  awesome.

Goodnight from Korea

Hokay bedtime for me now.  thanks for stopping by and i wish you all a very lovely day!

53. trying something new

February 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

Heyo.  Happy Monday! …or Sunday depending on where you are located

Over the weekend I got a lot of sleep and played the piano.  I haven’t played in a really long time so it felt nice to lose myself in some music.  Well, by ‘some music’ I mean ‘one song (Pachelbel’s Canon in D) on repeat over and over again because it’s the only song I can decently play.’  As I was playing around with different variations I soon realized I could do a little mashup with Lady Gaga’s hit single Poker Face.  An unlikely combo, but it kinda worked in a weird way.  I thought about recording myself but then I freaked out because 1. the thought of people watching scares me and 2. i didnt receive much classical training so i feel like my skills are blah.  but then I remembered 10-year-old Maria Aragon’s awesome cover of Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ on Youtube and Will Hung’s unashamed ridiculous bravery on American Idol and thought ‘okay I really have nothing to lose and I need to practice 1. being inspired instead of scared by people better than me and 2. getting over my fears,’ so uh, without further ado here it is (warning: im not a singer. seriously. if you have perfect pitch (ahem bill) i suggest you skip it ^^)

Anyways.  I’m giving my second Toastmasters speech tonight and I’ve got jitters.  And every time I turn my computer on it’s on a different desktop resolution. Awesome.

(update: this is the comment i got from my roomie bill: do notz sing. play lotz n lotz.  puahahahah bill you are the only person who can say stuff like that without making people feel hurt. <3!)

 

52. a question to ask yourself

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

irina  werningPancho in 1983 and 2010 by photographer Irina Werning

I find that asking the following question once in a while helps me gain some perspective.  It helps you reflect upon your path so far and at the very least, it’s pretty fun.  So grab a pencil and a sheet of paper, sit somewhere quiet, and write for at least 10 minutes.  And when you do this, be brutally honest.  Be brutally objective and empathic.

***

Imagine that your ten-year-old self is writing a letter to your current self.  What would he or she say? Would that little kid be proud of who you are, what you’re doing today, and the future you’re working towards?

***

There’s no right or wrong answer to this reflection and everyone’s answers will look different because well, we’re all different people with different values/goals/personalities.  But I’d just like to share mine with you. I’d imagine 10-year-old-me would say something like this:

‘Dear 23-year-old me,

I’m a bit confused.  What the heck are you doing with your life?  I’ve been studying my butt off and all you’re doing is frolicking around?  Well, I guess it’s cool that you went to a good college, but why aren’t you making any money? I mean, didn’t you go to college to get a job?  Go get a job and make some money so you can buy your mom a house!  …but then again, make sure you are happy too.  It doesn’t seem like many grown-ups are happy with their jobs.  I hope you find something you like and don’t get bored by work.  I’m not too thrilled that you aren’t successful yet (nor does it look like you’re on your way -.-;;), but I guess you’re doing some cool stuff right now so maybe that’s okay.  But I really don’t understand how spending time abroad is going to help you out with your career.  You’re not even working.  All you do is think and write.  Don’t you ever get bored? What happened to your motivation? How is this going to look on a resume?  What are you going to say to an interviewer – that you were gaining ‘real world experience’ by practicing downward dog and thinking about imaginary colleagues instead of dealing with real ones? GO DO SOMETHING! Don’t let your brain rot!  Wow your list of career options is really long. STOP ADDING TO IT. Oh jeebus I hope you know what you’re doing.  No wonder your mom is freaking out. you really need a goal.

On a positive note, it seems like you’re a pretty nice person and you haven’t compromised your integrity (yet), so keep it up (but you still really need to work on your social skills).  I think it’s cool you went to India and worked with a non-profit (though you could have done a better job there). I hope you have a good time in Thailand. But you do realize that these trips are very expensive right?  They better be worth it.  Oh hey you have a blog…that’s cool.  I guess you like writing.  And taking photos too.  What else do you like to do?  Why did you stop playing piano? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Can you please pay more attention to your outfits?

Aut hey you’re not fat anymore!  That’s kind of exciting.

Stop being so scared of making a mistake.  Get your hands dirty and get them dirty passionately.  Who knows where it will take you.  But one thing is for certain – sitting on the sidelines will get you nowhere.

Love you lots.  Work hard and have faith.

Sincerely,

10-year-old you.’

***

If you care to share, I’d really love to know what yours are too.  If you’re too shy to post them here, feel free to email them to me at hello.songi@gmail.com and it’ll just be between you and me :)

Flo, Maria, and Dolores in 1987 and 2010 by Irina Werning

it’s almost the weekend – have a great one!


51. will our dreams come true?

February 9, 2011 § 8 Comments

artist unknown

Keep the dream alive.  The world is your oyster.  When there’s a will there’s a way. Anything is possible.  blahblahblah etc.

You’ve heard all these before.  But do you actually believe that your deepest desires are possible?  Better yet, do you even have a dream?

A couple weeks ago during one of the public speaking meetings I attend, a newcomer arrived.  Fresh out of high school, she was about to start her journey as a student at KAIST, Korea’s finest university for technology and innovation.  Understandably nervous about starting college, she sought advice from an elder member.  This is what he told her:

“Keep your dream alive.  I didn’t take this seriously when I was younger because I didn’t believe it.  But now I see that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and work hard.”

I was astonished to hear him say this because, well, he wasn’t a Disney character or a paid actor.  He was a normal flesh-and-blood human who was speaking from experience when he said that people can live out their dreams.

So that got me thinking – I want to keep my dream alive!  I’m not going to burn out like the rest of the adults – I’m going to accomplish my craziest goals!

But then I ran into a problem.

I didn’t know what my dreams were.  And if I had any childhood goals, I had lost sight of them.

Snowy Sheep by Roy McKeown

Oops.

You see, im a believer that all people are born with their inherent talents and faults.  naturally, kids are interested in doing what interests them and from then on, they foster their skills and growth.  if you’re lucky, you were born into the right kind of environment that fosters your natural abilities and helps you to develop them.  you then become a master in your field because you’ve been fortunate to be doing something you inherently love to do (these are not my own ideas, there are plenty of books and research out there that study these phenomena. references available upon request – but please don’t request them because that means i have to dig through my old files to find them ^^).

Most of us aren’t so lucky.   in most cases, as a child spends more time on earth he or she is typically milled through grade school, middle + high school, college, and eventually, jobs.  during this process, we become aware of limitations and red tape and we aren’t so fearless anymore.  we are told both implicit and explicit messages about who we should be and what we are expected to do.  this can range from our parents expecting us to adopt certain professions to the invisible force of societal expectations to act a certain way.  As we age, we encounter increasingly more of these messages and our original delights and inclinations become fogged and eventually, lost.  Sometimes that’s okay because our original dreams are replaced by new dreams that suit us well.  But most times it’s not okay because our replacement goals are just busywork and not our own at all.  That’s when we lose sight of ourselves and our work.  That’s when we start feeling lost.

Ew, I thought. I don’t want to end up like that.  So I’m going to dig through my past and discover my original dreams and live a fulfilling life!  Ha!

Excited at the prospect of rediscovering my dreams, I was looking forward to figuring out my original goal in life.  Maybe it would finally put an end to my wandering and help me figure out a direction.

So I took a meditative trip down memory lane.  While i’ve had plenty of phases in which I wanted to be profession X or Y, there are two real “dreams” that go way back and that I  figuratively and literally (day)dreamt about.  When I realized the substance of these deeper longings, I got really disappointed because, well, hmmm…i don’t know how to explain it.  Just see for yourself:

Dream #1: I wholeheartedly believed that there was a portal to a different universe somewhere on earth.  The way to find this portal was dependent on three factors: space, time, and body.  When you were at the right point in space, at a particular point in time, and your body was perfectly positioned, you would be instantaneously zapped to an alternate universe (i got really excited when i learned about wormholes and black holes, except that you’d probably die before reaching the other end of a black hole).

wormhole!

I know kids are prone to a lot of fantastical thinking, but I was so sure such a spot existed so I spent a lot of time as a child looking for it.  Imagine a short Asian girl, complete with glasses and braces, by herself in her room, moving around her chubby limbs and torso in all sorts of odd directions for a couple of minutes every hour or so to find the sweet spot for instantaneous timespace continuum breakdown.

Sidenote – that’s why I love this super bowl ad so much:

Dream #2: this is the truly embarrassing one. Dream #1 can at least be attributed to childish “magical thinking” or fantasy.  But this one is just ridiculous because, well, it’s just stupid because I think a part of me still wants it.

My second dream was to be beautiful and fall in love.

I know that statement is naive and I almost feel ashamed.  I spent six years in an all-girls school where they sang praises of girl power and the independent woman.  We’re constantly hearing empowering stories about women who are breaking the long-held glass ceiling and becoming increasingly successful in the working world.  It’s a great time to be a career woman and every girl should realize that her possibilities are just as limitless as any boy’s.  So do you see why I can’t help but think my desire for beauty and love is setting back the feminist movement by a couple of years?

lady, i know i can.  but do i want?

Feminists and psychologists offer all sorts of reasons for my childhood fantasy.  Maybe all those Disney-princess-happy-ending movies got to my head (though to be fair, my favorite movie, The Lion King, didn’t really feature a princess).  Maybe gender roles cause grade-school teachers to unconsciously treat boys and girls differently, covertly encouraging boys to be more proactive and aggressive and reinforcing girls to be passive and nurturing.  Maybe I lacked a strong role model.  Maybe the over-photoshopped unattainable yet idealized female beauty flooding mainstream media and advertising correlates with lack of self-esteem and I want to compensate it by having a boy tell me I’m beautiful.  Maybe I have daddy issues.  Maybe I have mommy issues.  Maybe I have socioculturaleconomicxyz issues. Who knows?

Regardless of what may have caused my yearning for beauty and love, i cant deny that they weren’t significant during a period of my life.  During my childhood and teenage years, I read a lot of novels involving teenage melodrama and I daydreamed up my own elaborate scenarios in which i won the heart of some alpha-male figure.  i also used to spend too much time browsing through the profiles of my pretty peers on their MySpace pages, or those group shots of older girls in clubbing attire – hair all nice, face all made up, provocatively dressed, long legs, all smiling.  they just looked so pretty and happy and i just wanted so badly to be one of them.

artist unknown

So uh…there you have it.  My two life-changing self-discoveries turned out to be wishes to 1. disappear off the face of this planet and 2. to be a hot chick and fall in love.

Hmm..they seem a bit contradictory to each other now that I write them down.  that’s kind of funny.  anyways.

Um.

Okay…

Wtf?!

Really, younger self, those were your dreams??!?  What about curing cancer? Or being the next president of the United States?  Or going to the moon?????  Do you not have any ambition!?!?

Sadly, my childhood dreams aren’t so admirable. These “dreams” turned out not to be dreams at all. Let me explain why:

Dream #1 is just plain crazy.  But it is loosely tied to my interest in science and now that I think about it, maybe my yoga practice is a secret attempt to find that perfect position in time and space to travel to a different dimension.  heheheh that’s kinda funny.  actually that kinda makes sense. um thats weird. anyways. Moving on.

Dream #2, being beautiful and falling in love, is somewhat possible but very impractical.  conventional physical beauty fades with age, and love dissipates after your brain is done going all haywire for 2-3 years.  and then what? All the fireworks and butterflies are gone and you’re stuck with a middle-aged man who may turn out to be really annoying.  That’s not to say I’m not open to falling in love.  I’d like to experience it someday, but being in love is not a very sustainable dream.

So uh….great.  Both my childhood fantasies suck and I’m left with no real dreams or goals in life.  it makes me really sad that i didnt have enough of a vision when i was younger to foster a cool dream.

in conclusion?

quotes like ‘Keep the dream alive.  The world is your oyster.  When there’s a will there’s a way. Anything is possible‘ are supposed to inspire me.

but i realize they dont.

and that may be a bad sign because it means one of two things: 1. i dont have goals in life or 2. i dont believe that my goals would be attainable (jeesh, self defeatist before i even start >.<).  so i may as well turn out to be that next regrettable elder person who advises the next generation to keep the dream alive.

or maybe this is a blessing in disguise and i can forge a new and meaningful dream for myself.

…or maybe this is what it means to be ‘mature’.

hrm.

regardless of my sobering confusion, i hope you, dear reader, still believe in your dreams and inspire us all.

artist unknown

50. asians love the ivy league

February 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

sitting in a restaurant in seoul’s foreigner neighborhood.

flipping through a foreigner magazine.

hello there buddy:

thoughts:

1.  teehee, ::snicker snicker snicker::

2. cant tell if im proud or embarassed

3. embarrassment wins.

4. does this actually work?

5. sighs.

6. oh asians.

7. hmmm…

8. i wonder what my success rate would be if i post an ad as ‘UpennIvyGirlfriend’

9. hahaahahahahahahahahahahah

10. …

11. this may be one of those moments where im the only one that thinks something is funny

 

anyways.

bunny rabbit new years celebrations are over so heres a kitty cat wearing a photoshopped kermit head instead:

ciao. happy new week everyone!

 

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