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Archive for the ‘The Amazingness of Family and Friends’ Category

Thank You, Kim Sang Hun. (Instrumental)

So, along with a note for all my fellow graduates, a shout-out of thanks needs to go out to many people.

The three people who have made me what I am, good or bad. My parents and my brother. You put up with the most of my crap, my bad behavior, and you also benefit the most from my good parts, and you take a lot, and you give a lot, and you just influence me day in and day out. I know I am always loved, and I know I can always come home to you. Thank you for that.

The friends who’ve been with me through these years: Y’all are people who make my world smile. Your radiance fills up every corner. I’m proud of being called your friend. I’m always happy to be with you, more than happy. You make me laugh and cry. You irritate me, and you cajole me. You give me the most beautiful memories. I love each of you for different reasons, and each of you are unique and oh-so-special to me. The hardest part is being so far from you, but I will work hard at keeping all of you near to me as much as I can. Because I’m just too selfish to do otherwise. You’re mine! MINE! 🙂 Thank you for being the kinds of friends you only see in movies and books. Each one of you was a childhood desire come true.

My aunts and uncles, here, who’ve been with me these past few years, who I knew I could call on if it really got difficult, who gave me good food and a home away from home, who loved me and were proud of me, and who took care of me when needed. I am fortunate to have you, and so very grateful. You have influenced who I am, and I hope that whatever happens, you will always be proud of me and keep loving me.

My aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins, to my sis-in-law, to my friends, who were all far away but who I know love me. Thank you for your calls, your wishes, your blessings and your unconditional love. When distance and time doesn’t break it, then you know its the strongest of bonds. Our family is just so unique, and I thank God that I was born into it. Love and miss you all, and I hope to celebrate with all of you soon!

My teachers, all through my life: I’ve reached wherever I am because of what I was taught. I have been fortunate to have the kinds of mentors I have had, who have been friends and teachers, who have been patient and kind and who have taught me much more than just the subject. I’m grateful. To all my professors, who have imparted different kinds of lessons, I am grateful.

To my Nana and Nani: I miss you, and I missed you when I walking down, when I held my diploma, when I celebrated. You would have liked to be there. Nana, I will always remember your words. I will keep trying to be a grand daughter who makes you proud. Please keep watching over me.

Thank you to all my family, all my friends, everyone who has held my hand at one time or another through this journey. You are all part of who I am, and you will always be with me. I am grateful for you and for your love. Please, please, keep making me feel special and precious and loved. Even if that’s being a little childish and selfish. Just do it. 🙂

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Not this post, ‘course. You can bet on that 😉

Sha La La, Full House OST

‘Coz how can you not listen to this and remember Song Hye Kyo posing around on her trip, and wish you could pose around and look as pretty on your trips?

Right after I made my first post about my recent trip, I planned to make another describing everything I didn’t in my mousy mood. Because it was also one of the best and most important event in my life, returning home after such a long time. Its something I’d wanted so much it hurt, and then when I was there it was suddenly so strange to be there, so unreal. Things usually hit me much later anyway…the cause and effect time line is somewhat skewed in my system…so for some time it was like I’d always been used to this. Hadn’t I? I had always jumped away from traffic threatening to run me over, walked while minding the potholes and sewage water, and tried to make my way through the crowds. I think, in essence, that was me getting used to being back to who I was. None of this was shocking, because I wasn’t a foreigner, it just took getting used to to get back in the rhythm.

The best part, of course, was to reconnect. Re-adjusting was part of the reconnecting, and I was surprised at how well I did. At one point, I managed to live without electricity, with mosquitoes, and in questionable hygienic situations, being sick all the while, without any signs of the reaction I would have expected. Eight years ago maybe it wouldn’t even be a matter of consideration, but I was still somewhat pleased with myself that I could adjust. However, re-connecting with the people was the best. Sure, we had our gaps, our moments of awkwardness or ‘um, now how do I move past this uncomfortable situation without treading on toes?’, but those were few and far between, and with very few people. Mostly, it felt like time had failed to create a rift between the people we cared for the most. Like my childhood bff, D, said, it was like no time had passed between us. Hadn’t we always laid around like this? Gossipped about old classmates? Discussed movies and food and the city and the torture of waxing, all in one conversation?

I won’t discuss the family part so much (this being a public blog and all), but enough is said to convey how beautiful it was to just see everyone we could, relive the memories, and just discuss and catch up on where we were. It wasn’t always perfect, and we didn’t get to see everyone (and managed to offend many, but isn’t that always how it goes? ;)), but it was good enough :). And of course, one of the most exciting parts of the trip, which will go undescribed, was the meeting of people you’d always wanted to meet, and welcoming in beautiful, new parts of the family.

And then there was just the sense of realizing I was back in my own country and appreciating that to the fullest. Where service and being served is just a given. It was strange to have people open doors, serve your food and water, do your laundry, having a waiter stand next to your table the entire time as you tried to hide your disconcernment and continue your casual conversation. It was strange to realize that you weren’t expected to cook, clean, do any of the chores you usually did (and yet there was so much to do, but thats different!). Some of it was difficult to get used to (esp the constant waiter! eek, i’ll serve myself!), but other stuff I was too happy to oblige with (you can guess which). It was relaxing, and it was kind of a reminder of how hard we work here. Its not marshmallow smores here…in fact, its more sweet and chocolatey when you have somebody doing all the mundane things so you can focus on the important things in life. Like shopping.

And shopping was…well, fun. Styles change with the flick of a celebrity’s wrist, but thats okay with me because everyone’s going to be out of style here 😉 After being embarassed (but refusing to be ashamed) after my outdated wardrobe at the wedding, I stocked up on suits and whatnots, and ran after and shouted and urged and pleased with tailors as they kept failing to get it right (I still don’t understand why…), and then finally did (and that was the really fun part). I didn’t get to shop as much as I wanted to (or ‘needed’ to), but shopping and getting stuff tailored is an experience in itself. Don’t miss it. And no matter what anyone tries to tell you: stuff isn’t really that expensive. Sure, prices have tripled, even quadrupled, from eight years ago, but if you know where to shop and if you know how not to act foreignerly (or if your skin gives you away, take someone brown in a sari ;)), because its the people who get phoreigned who lose out.

Touring? Who has time for that? Granted I’ve barely seen most of the country. I’ll say it outloud: I HAVEN’T SEEN THE TAJ MAHAL. There. But touring takes a back seat when everyone’s inviting you to dinner and feeding you and you’re trying to visit everybody so you can stay in their good books. Its a lillll bit difficult. I was lucky, however, to have excuses to be in a lot of different cities this time. And we did make a little byway to Mysore, the city of breathtaking temples and palaces. Just a sneak peek at a picture post I hope to make again later. And I’ll have to make a whole different pictures post for the fantastic trip I had with P’s AWESOME FAMILY 🙂 to Shivaji’s Fort in Pune. We had THE best time (probably the most fun I’ve had in ages), and we saw the most beautiful things…birds, flowers, the most beautiful sights of the rustic land…and had the yummiest fresh food under the shade of some trees. Yup, that was quite some day. (Thanks!)

Srirangapatnam:

At Srirangapatnam

Mysore Palace (probably THE most beautiful palace I’ve EVER seen. It was just astounding)

Have you said hello to Mahishisura?

The famous Chamundeshwari Temple

(The Goddess Chamundi killed the wicked Mahishisura Rakshas (lovely pic above). The temple is in the Chamundi Hills)

The Goddess herself. Women (and Goddess) Power!

Last, but oh definitely not the least (how can it ever be the least), THE FOOD! Which is what everyone goes home for. Every foreigner. No matter what they tell you. Because can you get the same taste at any restaurant in the world? Can you get the same tandoori chicken, the same sweet corn soup, the same aloo tikki, the same saag and makki roti, the same peda and phetha and laddoo and gulabjamun? And the uncle chips, pudina flavor, which you’ve loved since you were about three? Can you get fed with the same love, care, pressurizing? Can you be filled to bursting point each meal, and then be offered some chai? Where else will your didi feed you sabji-roti with her hands, and where else will you eat the juiciest, sweetest, red carrots? Where else can mausis make your favorite foods and sweets and you almost cry because its just all so good and yummy and touching.

Now I’m hungry, and nostalgic and sad. And I didn’t take any pictures of the food. Oh darn.

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The Snowy Night 
[신화 (Shinhwa), Winter Story 2007-2008. Its all the buzz and excitement amongst the official and unofficial Changjo. According to their fans, 신화 has this strange capability of making people happy. I respect this band for sticking through for almost ten years despite being six very different people. I might not always love their music (except for a good beat here and there boy bands tend to be too pop for me)…Javabeans says it best here. But I love their bond, their friendship (real or not, they do an admirable job of marketing it and demonstrating it), their individual talents and perseverance, their maturity and humility and devotion to their fan base despite their fame and fortune, and their obvious hard work as musicians and/or actors. And, ofcourse, they’re all gorgeous 😉  Fans are beginning to dread their army enlistment starting next year, but before they leave they plan to release more music as a group, put up some concerts for their fans in China, Japan and Korea, and delight their Changjo with bringing themselves and their personalities to variety shows. Here’s to the Legend.]

It was ICY today. Its treacherous. I think I almost slid fifteen times today. Its pretty scary. I don’t like such days…I love winter, I love snow, but ice makes my heart all jittery. Never liked ice skating either. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, I’d say its all connected with my fear of not being in control…I can’t stand it, I freak out. My boot slips a little and my heart jumps in my mouth…I might know that its not going to be that bad, its just a fall, I’ll get up and dust off and be fine…yet, that brief moment when I think I’m going to tumble is frightening. So I came home before dark and got warm…and decided to give a brief update before I went back to finals cramming 🙂

I had a couple blog posts simmering in my head for a while, and I’ve noted them down somewhere, but I never did get around to formulating them out. And here we are in finals week, and I leave for my trip on Saturday. It doesn’t seem real to me, at all. I think until I’m exchanging currency or actually in the flight I won’t believe it. Its too surreal–am I really graduating in 3 days? Done with one more step? Done with college? And am I really free? Am I going to two foreign countries that I’ve never stepped in before, for an actual, normal, vacation? A trip? All by myself? It just doesn’t seem possible.

Before I can find out if it is real, though, I have to work on finishing up: three heavy duty exams and one very, very heavy duty lab report…alongside the joy of editing/revising personal statements. Which I’m happy to do in any other condition, but right now is a little bit much, but hopefully I can help as much as I can. Personal statements are just so hard, and I want to help because I know how terribly hard they can be, and I want these x people to not let that PS negatively affect their chances. I’m a bit flattered too, and at the same time I get stressed because I don’t want to do a half-hearted task of giving them advice. When did I become an expert anyway? I still hate my personal statement, and it took my wayyy too long to get it down anyway. Ironic.

Apart from all this, this term has been wonderful. I’ve had some great times. We had some great dinners, some great shopping trips, many movies, many evenings watching House and Pushing Daisies, warm walks in the cold weather, deep conversations, delicious food and drinks (note how I mention food twice. Do I love food or what), some random trips and drives, some stay-inside-because-its-too-cold-outside cozy days, some just sitting around and enjoying each other days. A perfect mix…and a lot to fit into seven weeks. I’m excited because my favorite season is here: Christmas!! I love everything in this month: the weather, the smell in the air, the excitement, the magical-ness of it all. I don’t care how capitalist Christmas is purported to be, or how much others complain about how its all commercialized…for me, ALL my life, Christmas has been a beautiful time. Warm, cozy, smelling of cinnamon and cookies and cakes, running along the tracks of carols. I love it.

More than anything else this term, though, I’ve taken every possible moment to just immerse myself in the reality of now. Of realizing how fortunate I am to have what I have, for what is coming and trying to be really, really happy with that. And to focus on spending every moment I can and making all kinds of memories with these beyond-wonderful friends I have. As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes I have to re-evaluate and wonder: me, who always had the worst luck in friends and gave much and got nothing, how did I end up with such amazing people around me? Thinking of anyone of them makes me warm inside, and here in this place I’ve found enough friendship, love, loyalty and affection to make up for all those friends who didn’t look back. If’ I’d shut myself up and given up, I’d have none of them in my life, and thats a scary thought. I think I can look at each of my close friends and say, hey, I’m not a bad judge of people after all. I’m glad they’re all in my life.

And while I’m getting ready to leave this place soon, it doesn’t feel as sad as I thought it would. Its not heart-wrenching. Because the best gift this place gave me were these people: the opportunity to know them, to be their friend, to be loved and to love, to be taken care of and to take care, to make memories, to share laughter and anger and tears and everything else. And I’ll be taking it all with me, wherever I go. And somehow, I feel very sure somewhere inside, that I won’t be letting these people go either. We’ll always be threaded together in someway. And even if we lose touch, don’t talk for ages, get too busy in our lives, I’m pretty sure that the next time we meet it’ll be completely normal. It’ll be right how it should be, for each of these people who are so close to my heart. I’m very, very, sure. So I’m not sad. I’m a little sensitive and anxious, but not sad. 

Friends like these, bonds like these, don’t disintegrate into nothing…now we are mature, now we are adults, and now we know the reality and limits of relationships and life…and so we take what we got, keep what we were given, and believe that there will be more–and only as much–as what is meant to be.

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D.A.G.

You were a strong, beautiful, wonderful, kind, radiant person. You made it past trials, tribulations, you struggled through so much and you succeeded. You touched hearts, helped people, reached out. You made mistakes, failed, lost at times, worked on improving yourself. You had a rich life, D, and it was cut short. Too short for the people who loved you and needed you. Its unfair, unthinkable, sudden, shocking, and hasn’t fully sunk in.

You will always be missed sorely by the woman whom you befriended, who shared so much with you, who gave you her shoulder to lean on and was grateful for yours. The woman with whom you fought, made up, whom you taught lessons of life and whom you allowed to become a better person by knowing you. Her heart is broken without you in her life anymore, and she will always remember and cherish you D, your memories, the person you were, and the impact you left on our lives. I’m so sorry for her, for your family, for all those lost without you in their life. It will always remain a deep, painful, black hole.

D, thank you for all that you said to me, for the encouragement and belief you had in me, that you conveyed through her. I’ll miss you when I graduate, when I move on to the next phase, whenever I achieve something that I know you would have been proud of. I hope that when I grow weak, and tired, and want to give up, your memory and your belief in me will help to drive me forward and strive. 

He has a reason for all He does: this year I have been completely unable to understand His will, His ways, His reasons. How does one overcome a saga of loss and keep faith? How does one hold on to optimism and hope in the face of continuous, sudden, painful death? D, I can only pray that you are at peace, calm, happy, content somewhere. The people you left behind will celebrate you, each day of their life, each time they remember you. May God bless us, help us struggle through and come to terms with your loss, help us accept that we will never hear your laugh or see your smile or be scolded by you or share our life with you, and allow us to find comfort in holding your memory close to your hearts. 

I read somewhere once that people who do their best to be loved and be happy leave behind love and happiness even after they’re gone. You were one of those people, D. Rest in Peace.

[D.A.G., 36, a truly cherished and loved friend of my family, died suddenly in a car accident on the morning of September 18th, 2007. Please keep her grief stricken family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.]

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I think I emailed everyone and told them the good news. If not, CALL ME 🙂

Thank you to everyone, every single one of the many people who supported me, encouraged me, believed in me, loved me, and cared for me, put up with my tantrums, my whining, my complaining, listened to me go on and on and on about depressing things, were there for me when I cried, screamed, threw fits. Ya’ll are the best, and its because of ya’ll I was able to do this. Thank you!

Muwa! Party at Olive Garden 🙂

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To my incredible, amazing mother.

To all my aunts who have nurtured me and cared for me at different points of my life.

To my late grandmother, who I miss so very much today. I love you Nani.

To all the mothers, and mother-like men and women of the world 🙂

Thank you for everything. This song, by one of my favorite singers, is simple but says everything I want to say. Because she’s more than love.

David Choi, Happy Mother’s Day (More than Love)

(http://www.myspace.com/davidchoimusic)
Love, it’s more than that
it’s a deeper kind of feeling
I can’t really understand
But I do feel it
because she brought me into this life
She’s my mom, she’s my mom

She brings me clean socks in the morning
Wakes me up cause I’m late when I’m snoring
She’s not the best cook you see
But she tries and that makes me happy
Sometimes she gets on my nerves
sometimes I get on her nerves
but at the end of the day, she’s my mom

She’s more than love, She’s more than love
She’s more than love, She’s more than love
That’s how I feel so
Happy Mother’s Day

No one can love you like a mom can
No one gives advice like a mom can
If you’re a girl, she can help you with your make up
If you’re a guy, she can help you with your break up
Moms will love you unconditionally
Right or wrong, next to you she’ll be
If something ever happened to her child
She’d swim through the ocean, and run through the fire
That’s a mom, that’s my mom

She’s more than love, She’s more than love
She’s more than love, She’s more than love
That’s how I feel, so happy
That’s how I feel, so happy
That’s how I feel so
Happy Mother’s Day

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So I’m back home…done with the packing and the running around and the goodbyes and the tears and the millions of hugs. I know crying wasn’t necessary, since I’ll be back (for atleast a little while), but it’ll be different–I wont be living in the same place, and I’ll only be there for 7 weeks and will know it, and everything will take a different color because of all that. So it was really hard. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life, and I say it everyday, but I’ll say it again.

Thank you to everyone who came to say good bye or called me 🙂 I miss everyone a lot already! Please keep calling me/writing to me/leaving me messages/thinking of me/ etc etc….

And to my Super Six 😉 (you know who you are)  

I know ya’ll already know this, but just want to say it again…I’ll always be here when you need me, count on me 24/7 365 days a year, and I already know that I can always, always count on you. I’ll only be a phone call away (and I’ll get on a flight to get to you too :)!).

Where You Lead, by Carole King (also known as the theme song of Gilmore Girls)

Loving you the way I do
I know we’re gonna make it through
And I would go to the ends of the earth
‘Cause, darling, to me that’s what you’re worth

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

If you’re out on the road
Feeling lonely and so cold
All you have to do is call my name
And I’ll be there on the next train

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

🙂

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