made in kowloon

Category: Personal

Here’s to you, Dr. Gwin.

I cried for you for the first time yesterday after recalling everything you had said to and done for me since the day I first met you. I cried for you for the first time yesterday and not on the day I found out the news because I was still in a state of shock, not fully grasping that you would no longer be here with me. What’s a girl to do without her mentor? The person who encouraged me to follow my dreams and love my interests, unabashedly? It’s been years since we had a real meaningful conversation, something that lasted longer than a few comments exchanged on Facebook, but in my heart and in my mind, those long talks we had about life will always remain with me. You will always remain with me.

I was sixteen when we first met, even though I had heard about you from my friends and fellow schoolmates — your lack of leniency when it came to grading, the difficulty of your classes, the dullness of the material. I sat in the front row of your classroom like the nerdy Asian girl I was back then, expecting not to enjoy my first day, and watched you stroll in wearing your usual uniform of a white short-sleeve button up shirt, suspenders, khakis (short or long, dependent upon weather), socks with sandals and your signature Santa Claus beard. But when you spoke, you commanded attention – a true storyteller. The passion you held for history reignited my interest for ancient civilizations, and I knew, after a month into sitting in your class, I would no longer declare as a pre-med major but a history major.

My dual credit program required all students to ask a professor to be their mentor, to guide them through their senior year of high school/sophomore year of college, and I knew I had to ask you. I was nervous, Sally Hawkins dance type of nervous, but ten times worse. Relief when you agreed would be an understatement, and I honestly could not imagine a better person to have discussions about ionic columns or medieval armor over coffee and French fries (fries were more for me, to be honest). When I got into a bit of trouble with one of the administrators for a seemingly small incident (which felt incredibly huge at the time), you were there to walk me through it and explain, in the nicest way possible, that I was being punished severely for petty bullshit. You didn’t treat me like a sixteen/seventeen year old. You treated me like a person, and I thank you for that.

I thank you also for having a sense of humor and doing something that everyone said you simply do not do. It was toward the end of my senior year and I was suffering from senioritis something fierce, and instead of focusing on my studies, I spent more time playing Soul Calibre II than anyone in their right mind would ever do. I’d always enjoyed your exams because they were never multiple choice, and I could simply just show you in so many words that I had paid attention to you – that I really loved your class. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the most attentive in the last few weeks, and it showed during the final exam when we were asked to identify “Cervantes.” Cervantes who? Certainly not the military leader and certainly not the author of one of the greatest works of all time, so I put down what I did know: “He is a character in Soul Calibre II.” When we received our grades for the end of the term and I had found out that I made an A in your class, I simply had to find out how I did on my final, and during one of our many talks in your office, I brought up my little gaff. And you just smiled and removed the stack of exams from your filing cabinet and showed it to me. You’d given me half credit for my Cervantes answer and said, “I believe it to be true because you would never lie to me. Although it wasn’t the answer I was looking for, it is still a correct answer all the same.”

And in a way, you weren’t what I was looking for. I didn’t take your class hoping that I would change the course of my academic career. I needed a history credit, and I wanted a challenge. But enrolling in your class and asking you to be my mentor were the most correct decisions I have ever made.

May you rest in peace, Dr. Gwin.


“Sue Actualization”

Written last Sunday, the 2nd, shortly after the pilot announces we will be arriving at Laguardia on my flight from Houston:

For the first time I’m not particularly worried about anything, and there’s a sense of calm that washes over me. It’s a liberating feeling, something great that I hope that everyone gets to feel at one point in their lives. I have student loans that I have to pay off. I have a car note. I have some credit card debt, but they seem so inconsequential. I can overcome these things.

I think this is my year. And I have never felt this way before. I don’t exactly know what’s in store for me. I don’t know what exactly will make it my year. Will my job take off and lead me into a direction I want? Will I find someone special? Will I be able to save as much as I want for that down payment on a place of my own? All of the above maybe? At this point, while I’m 30000 feet up in the air, I feel like anything is possible. It’s so strange to think that only three months ago I started this crazy impulsive plan to move to a city where, even though I knew a few people, I would have to start fresh. Where I would be living alone for the first time, without a job or even prospects for one. It was daunting, and I remember at times I wanted to just cry because nothing was panning out. I thought I would have to go home, tail tucked between my legs, marked and labeled a failure. But now with this accomplishment of getting settled into a workplace that I actually really enjoy — I found myself missing work when I left at noon on Friday — and can see myself excelling, I feel very blessed. Very grateful.

I haven’t been blogging because of the above mentioned bit about my new job. Overtime is pretty crazy, but I still attempt to make time for me. This is the start of my new year. This is my true beginning. I set goals for myself at the beginning of the Georgian 2014 calendar and over the weekend, it’s become kind of a reminder. A reinforcement of sorts of these goals. This is my year, and I’m going to make it a fucking amazing 2014 as a 26 and almost 27 year old.

9 Loves <3

This “day” was a little difficult for me.  It’s not that I’m an automaton and cannot feel such a complex emotion, like Hew-mah would like you to believe.  It’s just that… I don’t know. “Love” is a really strong word, and even though I tend to throw it out there all willy-nilly on occasion (I LOVE THIS ICE CREAM FLAVOUR Y’ALL!), I just wanted it to be meaningful this time around or whatever. Anyway, it was just difficult, alright. >:-O

1. Condiments.  I love condiments.  I love sauces.  Buerre blanc, au jus, aioli, gravy, ranch dressing, relish, tartar sauce, especially KETCHUP.  I am a dipper, you see.  I love to dip things into whatever I can dip things into. (That’s what he said?)  I … whatever, there are just no words to describe how much I like love condiments.

2. FOOD. Who doesn’t love food? I like to shop for it, make it, eat it.  Which is really funny because I used to HATE everything.  I would only eat Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn and a slew of other junk foods.  My mother would threaten me to eat, and in elementary school, she would get my classmates to watch me eat and boss me around to make me eat (which, I guarantee you, they loved doing).  One time my aunt took my mom and I to this fancy buffet place in Hong Kong, and it was about 200 HKD per person (about 26 USD, but I mean, back in the day $26 was kind of a big deal).  I ate three popsicles and a helping of corn – not the cob, but the regular canned corn they heated up in giant fancy tubs or whatever.  Needless to say, Auntie Amy got suuuper pissed hahaha and was all “dude, I don’t know you; please go outside in the lobby to wait for us.” hahaha.

Then I started to make my own food – I have no idea when this began, but I still could NOT take the smell or taste of garlic and onions.  So I would get other people to prepare these for me, or just not include them at all (which was mostly what happened.)  Then about a year and a half ago, I thought, “What the hey! let’s just try it and see!” At first I still hated it, but now I’m all “mmmm the smell of fresh garlic getting minced and chopped”  By the way, mincing by knife > garlic press, you lazy bleepers!

Oh, I’m sure you noticed my Recipes category, right?  It’s a small collection as of right now, but my hope is to make it grow! (That’s what she said!)

3. Books.  I love books.  I mean, I already told you that I collect them.  But I love reading them.  To get sucked in by text on a page, to experience the feelings of the characters as they’re living their story… there is nothing really comparable.  I remember when I was about 12, sitting in the front of the school bus (lawlz, i was one of those kids.), reading the Iliad and feeling soooo terrible for Achilles and wanting to soothe his pain.  (Now I just think he’s a complete crying nincomdolt) So yeah. Stories.. stories in books, reading – yay!

4. Trivia.  I like knowing useless facts, and honestly, useless facts are most likely the only thing my brain wants to remember sometimes.  Where I put my car keys?  Nahhh, but matches have never been patented y’all!  I think that’s why I love history/ historiography – it combines the elements of Love #3 and this one.

5. Music.  I had a Cantopop phase (Faye Wong, Leon Lai, et al), then a pop phase (omgz Hanson, BSB, *NSync, Brit-Brit!), then a Celine Dion + Selena phase, then a goth/ alternative phase (because omgz I wanted to be cool and dark… most of the stuff I listened to around this time: Manson, Cradle of Filth, KoRn, KiTTie, Limp Bizkit [lawlz], Metallica, Pantera, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, et al), then a semi-country phase (Blake Shelton’s “Austin” and LeeAnn Womack’s “I Hope you Dance” are still two of my favourite songs), then a R&B/ hip hop phase (Musiq Soulchild, Luther Vandross, Marques Houston, some old and new LL), then a “I have no idea what’s going on but I like these tunes” phase (Grateful Dead, Dead Boys, BRMC, Interpol, Pigface, Skinny Puppy), then a post-rock phase (EitS, Red Sparowes, Gloria Record, TWDY, GY!BE et al), then a jazz/ blues phase (Miles, Otis, Coltrane, Billie, Ella).  Then I just up and quit these phases and listen to everything.  I now have a really really strange music collection.  And I love singing and “singing” to everything that’s not instrumental – cos then I’d be just bobbing my head and tapping my fingers to the beat.

6. Fashion.  I don’t know if this needs any explaining.  I like to dress myself in pretty things.  I like to dress other people in pretty things (does anyone need a personal shopper? ahaha).  If you get clothes from me as a gift, wear it because I’m doing you a justice in making the world a better place by beautifying it. :-x  I am judgmental about what people wear, even though I don’t roast them out loud (unless they are my friends… :D i <3 you guys).  And honestly, if you needed any further indication, my friends have told me that they have learned to purchase things for themselves based on this question: “is this Sue approved?” hahahaha.  Three places I would max out my sugardaddy’s credit card: Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, and Nordstrom/ Niemans/ Saks.  Just kidding about the sugardaddy.  I dilly dally about in Charlotte Russe and Agaci too cos a girl’s gotta have itty bitty shorts for the beach and stuff, you know?

7. Laughter.  It’s the best medicine, dontchaknow! I don’t think I’m a very good joke teller, but I know I have made people laugh.  That’s all the satisfaction I need, really.  Sarcastic, dark, dirty, awful jokes are some of my favourites to hear.  For example, ahem – and this is from a stand-up show I saw late last year.

A: who in here hates dinosaurs?

B: me.

A: what! why?

B: because they’re so cute and now they’re dead. :( :( :(

A: so you hate Jon Benet too?

8. The little things.  I’m the type of person who would notice the changes, and I’m the type of person who actually means it, especially in relation to gift giving. As long as it’s thoughtful, I don’t care that it costs $0. And by thoughtful, I mean that we’ve had enough conversations and whatever that you were able to recall something and know that what you’re giving me is going to be something I like/ enjoy/ would actually use. Some of the favourite things I got were 1) this circuit board with a message in blinking LED lights and 2) Reading the OED.  You could write me a haiku on a piece of pink construction paper and it’d go into my box of treasured things.

9. Family and friends (who are basically my family).  The parental units sometimes drive me a little craycray, and there is tension on occasion.  but man, spending time with people I care about and who care about me is perhaps the most awesome feeling.  Folk who give you unconditional support (well for the parents, especially Mom, I think there are limits but I don’t think I care to test them anyway [I mean, I am not itching to try coke anytime soon, soo…]) and will be the first to say something when what you’re doing is a little off (even though you may not want to hear it at first).  I’m so grateful to have known/ know such things, and I love them.

Next: 8 Fears