Sunday, February 28, 2010

Warning: Don't Read! Super-long freewrite to jump start my personal statement...

Currently, I am a middle school reading and grammar teacher at a small, international school in Taiwan. Although, I have entertained a desire to be a teacher since third grade (when I had my absolutely magical teacher Mrs. Beck), it has been difficult adjusting to the reality of teaching. I do thrive on social interaction and I enjoy elucidating concepts in order to coax a love of learning, but when it came down to it, I was reluctant to start working right away. In fact, I was a reluctant college graduate, and the first few months of trying to inspire intelligent conversation among students whose level of English ability and interest ranged between tolerable and deplorable only made me miss my idealized days of being a student even more. Furthermore, despite desiring to continue school, I felt that I was not adequately prepared to pursue the doctorate programs that interested me. All the while as I researched programs, I was discouraged by what seemed to be a lack of intelligent conversation among my students, and I sorely missed the days of poring over texts and engaging in active dialogue with my professors and my peers. However, as I accustomed myself to teaching and learned to adjust my ideals to find ways to inspire my students, I realized that through being an educator, I was learning so much about the heart of literature. With a skeptical, teenage audience who already has their eyes set on financial success, I was challenged to prove the importance of this branch of humanities beyond the singular value of speaking fluent English. Although my students may not be impressed by philosophical pursuits, they were eager to debate the importance of an acclaimed novel, and began to see how themes were not isolated to the readings but also closely coincided with their own lives. This was but just a taste of what I was sure would be the rewards of this career choice, but I also believed that professionally, I had much room for improvement, and not only that but personally, I still missed being a student. The assurance that my desire to continue school would wane as I experienced the freedom of working life did not come true. Although I do enjoy the freedom to curl up with a book instead of alertly keeping a pencil in handy to jot down notes for the next discussion, I still feel like I have yet to be satisfied with what I have learned. Especially as I remember my latter years of college when I was able to concentrate on specific books, movements, and authors, I long to go back and learn some more while I still have the freedom to do so. Thus, when I stumbled upon U. C. Irvine’s Summer Master’s Program, I was excited to find a program that seemed custom-made for my current stage in life. It appeared to be an ideal means in which I could both pursue academia and continue teaching without isolating one area from the other, nor have the added distraction of balancing one with another. Having intimate and intense seminars over the summers while teaching and applying new ideas during the school year seems like such an intelligent way to go about improving myself. Not only will I be able to remain financially stable and responsible during an economically rocky time, but I will be demonstrating the ideals that I present to my students. Professionally, it fulfills the need for teachers to be well-versed in their area of supposed expertise and also provides me a respite from teaching while also fulfilling my desires for added knowledge! As a student, I would gain the means to a wider pool of knowledge and I would be able to empathize with the students that I teach and show them that how there is not one cut and dry way to fulfill your life’s dreams. In addition to the attractive design of the program, I also am excited to work with UC Irvine’s English Department. Its strength in critical theory and abundance of acclaimed professors provides another reason for my attraction to this program. I would love to work with English Literature professors, a calculated decision on my part, since in the future, if I choose to continue in my studies, I would like to study modern American Literature. I believe that American Literature in the present has embodied much of the philosophy behind the study of Comparative Literature. Especially as a teacher at an international school, I witnessed firsthand how as new cultures meld and new bilingual authors joining the writing scene, how American literature especially is gaining a literature that combines multiple cultures and languages. American Literature now encompasses authors for whom English was a second language, in which there are phrases and thoughts and ideas of a different country and yet is still defined as a book in the American literature curriculum. The definition of this canon (if there ever was) is changing and I would love to pursue how literature reflects the break of culture isolation and embraces the current events of this era. I believe the Summer M.A. in English program will help me cement my plans for the future by allowing me to learn and research in an area for which I have a passion while also allowing me to experiment in the teaching arena is well. By honing my abilities in the areas of learning while implementing teaching techniques, I would be able to have larger options for the future while simultaneously satiating my own desires to learn.

... now, how to cut this down to 1/3 of its size. ;-P EXCITEd! hahaha

Saturday, February 27, 2010

as i was walking home, i saw a DVD stand; it was selling Avatar DVDS. hahahaha. oh pirates.

which reminded me of other failures concerning avatar...

1. i went to see avatar 3D with my glasses.
Remedy: i first stuck the 3d GOGGLES (practically) under my glasses; then reversed it. For the most part it was fine; just had to push it up once in a while.

2. the movie was subtitled in Chinese.
Explanation: It was mainly okay because the movie was in English.... except for when the Na'Vi began to speak in their own language. then the subtitles were ONLY in Chinese. I was thankful that I could read roughly 65% of it and understand the gist of the movie (Avatar's plot isn't really brain surgery). However, it hit me how if this was in Korean or in Spanish, at my current state of mind, I'd have a more difficult time understanding it! aigoo

2.5 i went to see it on Wednesday, Feb 17 (i think the day was).. the movie came out a month ago.. and yet it was STILL sold out and Thursday's showing was almost full too and Alice and I could only buy side seats. oh well, good game avatar.

Friday, February 26, 2010


so i took a zen like nap where i was still thinking but when my alarm clock woke me up i forgot what i was thinking about! only that all my 7th graders were in it!!

Then took a motor-taxi to my test taking place.

proceeded to do the writing; (meh first essay; higher hopes for second one)
went to the bathroom and pepped up myself by going pee, doing jumping jacks, and air punches.

then took the rest of my test.

i HATE how the GRE makes you click "see score" TWICE.

and i was HAPPY!

ironically, I got way higher in math than verbal and i added up my score wrong.. and was STILL happy. and then i re-added my score and that was better.

i walked out and then tried to jump and touch the doorpost but my rainbows slid out from under me so i sort of scamper-ran into the next hall where a girl who had just finished a different test was waiting for the elevator.

we congratulated each other; i took the sky train home. bought some gaucho-like weird cloth pants, bought grace and kathy some jewelry (the first purchase was a bargain blah; second purchase was a "i'm satisfied"). then on a whim got a massage (since everyone said you should get massages in thailand). i ended up getting the full body oil shabang by a girl named Janeg (rhymes with shabang) and she taught me how to count to ten. she was 23. it was weird getting a massage from a girl my age.. for some reason.

then i bought indian fooodd.. and that makes me excited because it's been a long while since i've had me some naan.

and now i'm trying to figure out what to do before TOMORROW WHEN I SEE MY DADDY

and a big shout out to the BIG DADDY UP ABOVE. seriously; he's so gracious. He's kept me safe; out of near misses, brought me random camaraderie, and yeah. <3

Hooray I gain an hour!

I thought RIGHT NOW.

so let me break it down for you.

arrived in Thailand
took a Taxi to my place.
"soodt soi.. no no, soodt soi.. soodt soi" --> end of the Alley (Thank you Mark!!!)

got settled in (all self-serve; kind of cool; i felt so independent)

woke up twice in the night; once because it was two hot, second because it was 7am.. and MY BODY IS WIRED TO WAKE UP AT 7.. what the FREEZY? IS THIS THE JUNIA I ALL KnOW? I DON't KNOW!

Woke up at 8 (which is 7 Thailand time).. and walked to Family Mart and bought shampoo and toothpaste. Scruuuubbed that nasty not brushed teeth feeling out of my mouth and showered.

came down for breakfast by 8am (9 tw time).. and met some people from China. Actually, as I was leaving, I met another dad and his two cute kids from China.

pancakes and small bananas and.. JACK FRUIT.

okay guys; Jackfruit TASTES like DURIAN but it's not wet; it's more.. like a dry lychee or a plasticky, thick balloon type of texture. Niiice.... (one bite was enough)

Then went upstairs to figure out how to get to the chinese embassy to get my visa.

I went out the back, walked by the Canal and watched the boat taxi thingies go by; and found the MRT station; got off, walked 10 minutes in the beating hot sun and went inside the CROWDED embassy.
waited and waited; was nervous because it was 11:15 and my number was 80 numbers behind... would I ever make it? I have to get to my test by 12:30!

and then, as i waited anxiously while also trying to be "zen" .. i realized, the office closes on Weekends. There's no way i can even pick up my visa.

So, i picked up and walked back. haha. MRT back was fine. on the way i examined some foods and a young girl with wide eyes looked up and i bought some sort of food item from her. I need to learn how to count in Thai and say "how much?"

I then decided to try my hand at the boat thing... and of course, it was super packed; i couldn't get to the side i needed to get off.. the guy hadn't picked up my fare yet. so i got off one stop down.

(the way you get on and off is the boat sort of slooows down and you just get on and off. unless there's a bunch of people, for which it stops).

I then saw a motorcycle taxi and thought "what the heck!" and told him "Sukhumvit soi sip sam".. and we were OFF. me gripping the back of my seat (I don't want to grab his waist).. and somehow i misdirected him; but i knew where i was (just one alley over) so i walked back along the canal, and stood outside the gate and yelled for someone to come unlock it.

the thai lady who works there is very sweet and i showed her something I bought (something wrapped in leaves.. those are always exciting surprises). she said "Oh very very good! coconut, rice, sugar! boil and boil again! steam! how much?" i said "8 baht" and showed her the 3 fingers that Taiwanese people characteristically use to express "8" and she was confused. Ohh 8 baht! good price. cheap!

I then came inside, met another lady and her daughter who's been in the mainland for 14 years. And then I decided to eat quickly and go to take my test.. and THEN REALIZEd... I GAIN AN HOUR!!!


so gonna take a quick nap and then i'm off.

I'm glad today was a sunny, well hydrated, take my mind off things, walk around day.... and now.. for test.

Oh the irony

email excerpt from daddyO

Junia, you will do well with English. You just need to do one
practice test for math. Remember, what the question is asking.
Sometimes the question is looking for the difference, not the final
number. GRE is easier than SAT, I heard, because many people out of
school is taking it.

that MATH is easy; GRE vocab is crazy hard; so is its reading comprehension. See I hate antonyms because it's just testing for straight up vocab memorization. At least sentence completions you can see the context and for analogies you can build bridges; but antonyms are so stressful and then I end up picking synonyms. :-/

And Math isn't that easier.. but I think .. I'll be okay.

Arrived in Thailand.
and the place I'm staying at, Bankok Hospitality Center is a Baptist hostel that's really hidden away. Thankfully the Wakefields told me about it and WOW, it's SO nice.
I'll explain more later.

or now.

Basically it's self check in, self sign up for breakfast, self pay, self everything.
I thought i'd be getting a tiny room but I have this large room with one full bed, 2 twins, and 1 baby bed.
They charge by person/night. 400baht/night.

I'm savin like a ... raven?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

6:47am FAIL

But Sort of not too bummed out about it because it wasn’t a faile of sleeping through 18 alarm clocks… rather I left my alarm clock at home, and then Kathy turned hers off.
So yeah.
But it felt strange not having “enough time” when just last week I’d roll out of bed a little past 7 and barely eek it to school.

At the airport with the wifi that doesn’t work. (hence typing on micro-word to copy paste over later)

You know you’re Junia at the airport if you…
- Have a passport/boarding pass + bathroom mishap.
EVERY TIME. Seriously. And it’s by God’s grace that I remember and come back. Today I didn’t even have to come back, I went to the bathroom to change into some comfy pants feeling very pleased with myself that I have this whole flight-thing down…. And I decided to take a picture and realized I didn’t have my camera because it was in the STALL (that was unfortunately quickly occupied by a number two-er). I waited patiently and went in afterwards(holding my breath) and retrieved it. I thought I was smart about it too this time because I had secured my passport and boarding pass with my camera! Because LAST time the mishap wasn’t forgetting it but my boarding pass FALLING INTO THE TOILET (passport narrowly missed). Gross.

And I realized the boarding pass is made out of like plasticky paper – because it was easy to just wipe off the water and then good as new.
TMI I know.

- If you THINK you’re somewhere and then get an “oh” moment…
Let me explain; I thought I had arrived at the gate and I’m waiting and waiting and waiting and THEN I see people going through the “gate” door down the stairs to what I would presume is the actual boarding area. Then I go “oh!” and hurry on after.
This happened twice today, but I don’t remember the first “oh!” moment except for the fact that it happened.

Some advice: taking a taxi to Taipei Main Station takes JUST as long as taking the MRT and costs 7 times as much. It’s REALLY sad. Especially since my smart card is loaded with money waiting for the MRT to take…. And my wallet was only semi loaded with money meant to be changed into Bahts. Boo.

ALSO another thing: Taipei Mainstation --> Taoyuan Airport changed stations! So I was SO confused. Like “didn’t that used to say Taoyuan?” how come it says DaSI? Because it CHANGED! And so I walked over and it was fine. ^_^


Confession, I'm not very prepared. Kaplan suggests the day before not to do anything; a racehorse always rests 24 hours before a race (I was amused at that example). But I don't think I will. I think I might take a practice test tonight.

I felt very empty last night. You know how WHILE you're on a course, everything makes sense, and right when you finish you realize ALL the things you could have done and how you miscalculated and misjudged and misprioritized?

Yeah. and I felt .

Anyway, today I'm feeling cheerier because I finally looked up THREE things that i ALWAYS miss on my practice GREs

Writing the Essays

And I learned (or relearned I guess) a trick!

permutations: when order matters. N! / (N!-R!)
while combos: when order DOESN't matter (hence a larger denominator since we don't count the order so ABC = CBA) = N! / R!(N-R!) and you can CANCEL CROSS.. or CROSS CANCEL?

OOH talking about that here are some tricks

multiples of 2 = even numbers (knew this)
multiples of 3 = digits add up to a multiple of 3 (knew this)
multiple of 5 ends in 5 or 0 (knew this)
multiple of 10 ends in 0. (knew this)

HERE comes the COOL part

Multiple of 4: last 2 digits end in a multiple of 4
multiple of 6: digits add up to a multiple of 3 and is even
multiple of 9 : all digits add up to a multiple of 9
multiple of 12: digits add up to a multiple of 3 and last 2 digits is a multiple of 4.



if they ask you for the average of a sequence of consecutive numbers, you just add the smallest and largest number and DIVIDE BY TWO

if they ask you for the SUM you multiply the average by the number of numbers in the sequence... i think, actually I don't know if that makes sense... it should.

ALSO finding common factors between 2 numbers: find the common prime factors of each number. And THEN multiply all possible combinations.

to find common MULTIPLEs... I forget; I'll go review.

Anyway number tricks are cool.

I will talk about my gRE testing techniques some more later.

Or now, because we're late...

Basically in the beginning I'd finish all my practices with 5-7 minutes to spare.
Now, I don't finish the math.

My score got a LEETLE better or worse.

So I don't know.

but I'm thinking knowing the permutations and multiples will be helpful. unless i get confused.

and i'll stop identifying every little thing wrong with me after the test is over. I'm so glad I can count on that about myself. Once it's over it's OVER. no matter how crappy it was! (unless it's a race where i came in second .. and then cried.. and random nights it creeps back and i think about how I could have been in the olympics if only I hadn't stopped after that... makes me think of that lady that Benjamin Button had an affair with... She in the end ended up swimming thru the channel after all!!!! )

seriously... this is mind vomit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

5am - not so bad

even though i stayed up later than i usually did. (some emergency girl talk. okay maybe not emergency. -_-)
and awoke.
boiled water.
steamed a baozi.
did anki vocab practice.
folded some clothes
hot shower just for fun - and sang Bad Romance.. okay, fine, I don't know ANY of the lyrics except for "Bad romance" .. so I hummed.
bought tangerines
came to school 3 min early!


the point is
i bought dinner and I saw a long black hair in this delicious chinese meatball. I was, of course, repulsed and threw the hair away and proceeded to eat the rest of my food (sans meatball).
Then I began to think; what's so bad about eating food with hair in it? Hasn't the germs been killed from the cooking? Is it more that a hair in meatball is indicative of unsanitary conditions? Not really though, right? Because it just means she didn't tie her hair or was careless.

Anyway, I still didn't eat the meatball but I was just wondering; what's up with the disgust at hair in your food? Is it just american decorum? If I were starving in China, wouldn't I eat it? (meatball not the hair). Is the difference that I'm NOT starving in China, and that I have the option to not eat it the main difference? If so, is it VALID?

Does validity even matter when the question is not sanitation but social mores?

Food for the thought!

Or is it really that dirty? I guess I'm just .. thinking down a path I never thunk down before; usually I'd be very very grossed out and throw the whole thing away. Oh I've become Asianified!

"Rat!” he found breath to whisper, shaking. “Are you afraid?”
“Afraid?” murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. “Afraid! Of him? O, never, never! And yet—and yet—O, Mole, I am afraid!”

wind in the willows

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 2

Last night i even went jogging for a while!
took a hot shower and then saw the time was 9:39pm; then drifted off QUICKLY into a dreamless sleep.
Woke up and this time bounded out of bed two minutes after the alarm instead of 10-15 minutes.
I think I've figured out TWO things

ONE thing is: to combat trying to get warm in my freezing bed; take a hot shower that gets my blood circulation circulatin' and warm! Then I'm SO warm in bed!

SECOND thing is: I can't directly go do something that requires thinking or is meaningful. So instead, I went downstairs, began boiling water for tea. Did some dishes. Made oatmeal. Began steaming a baozi. Did some refrigerator rearranging (while tea boils).

Then went upstairs; by then I was alert. I still hadn't washed my face and didn't want to touch the cold cold water. So i just dabbed some water on them to clear up the bleariness from my eyes.

QT, Prayer. Then washed up.

Then organized some stuff for class; uploaded documents to Rescued my almost burnt baozi. :-/ Washed dishes. Started talking to my mom on the phone.

Rode bike one-handed, phone-handed to class. And yeah!

Today was okay too!

I really like falling asleep without struggling. WOOO

I was talking with Kat last night...

"Do you think Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters do this all the time, or just for this month?"
"gigglegiggleKathygiggle... no, I think they do this."
"Whoa, what the."


I wonder if I'd do this for the rest of my life. But Kathy shared how she read some "testimonials" from the girltalk site that encouraged her. And i DO see how this habit would be very useful in the future. I guess, I'll have to bid my night owl activities adieu... I TOTALLY SEE THIS AS A STEP INTO ADULT-HOOD. WOO !!!!!

I'm an Ahh-Dult.

I didn't get any mending done but maybe tomorrow.

I think WEEKENDS will be hard;
you know weekends are strange.

Like in TW everyone works on Saturdays too .. so they have relatively stable schedules.

Where in the world did I come upon the definition as weekends as veg-days? I mean weekends COULD be productive, and when they are, I'm like "huh! productive!" .. but I assume the default of a weekend is a sleeping in, sleepy, chill day.. and I feel cheated when it's not. Why?

IF I change my thinking and see a weekend as just another day, I could feel a lot less icky on Saturday nights.

(Seriously, my default saturday: sleep in til noon, no shower, stay in PJs, see people only if I have to; curl up with a book and munchies.. or a movie.)

my brother and sister never was such a sleeper like me.

In high school/junior high, people used to actually be *afraid* to wake me up.. I was known as "the bear" and at church retreats/lock-ins, people had to be extra gentle with me.. because I'd seriously RAGE at them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kathy and I Joined the club today

Last night I went to be around 11pm but was still determined to make it.
had a difficult time falling asleep and THEN a HUGE amount of fireworks right outside our window woke up Kathy and I..
finally i slept.

and at 5am; my trusty cell phone buzzed and vibrated and bleated "5 am club, 5 am club, time to get up! Junia, you can do it!"

and... I felt fine. but groaned a bit.
almost nodded off to sleep
then jerked up

finished my baking
washed dishes
went upstairs and did QT and was surprisingly alert and awake
(nourishing my soul as I nourished my stomach with chocolate oatmeal)

Then prayed.
washed up
got dressed

and guess what ELSE i did?
brought in laundry

rearranged my undie/sock drawer and folded socks

took out clothes that needed to be mended (I think i do everything forcefully and carry stuff that's too heavy... so that even my coat pockets have holes in them)

caught up with some email and various articles

and THEN went to school! Bright and wide eyed.

And school was okay!

day 1 was gOOd!

Planning/Hoping to be tired and hit the hay around 9/9:30pm.

Glad to see students again; I think I was happier than they were to see me. Oh well! (SAY LA VEE) :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

molasses brulee'd french toast.

So I'm trying out my own style of baked french toast.

Let's see..

~ 2 Cups milk (a little less = used dry cup measurements)
5.5 eggs (.5 egg = leftover egg from challah bread that i froze)
2 costco cap fulls of costco vanilla extract (2 tsp about)
1 healthy shake of cinnamon (1-2 tsp.. i like to be liberal with the cinnamon)

Whisk whisk whisk..... whisk so hard that a bunch falls out into the sink (oops!)


Butter a deeper 8X11in pan.

Cut up/tear apart ~ 1 loaf of challah bread. (half regular half raisin to be exact).

Sprinkle on some raisins (stolen from your roommate)

Pour egg mixture over the bread; refrigerate.

In a smaller bowl:
microwave 1.2 sticks of butter.. (a little over 1/2 cup i'm guessing) for 80 seconds.

while doing that, measure out around 4/3 Cup brown sugar.

Dump into melted butter
pour about 3 TB of molasses into the cup measurer (i just watched one tablespoon's worth and then counted slowly, 1- 2-3).

Mix the leftover brown sugar (that got stuck in the cup measurer from the milk) into the molasses

Pour into butter/brown sugar mixture.

Mix mix mix.

Nuke for 100 seconds.

HEre's the MAGIC

when it comes out, butter will be super melted and watery; sugar/molasses will be on the bottom. Now don't lose hope. Just whisk with a fork. whisk whisk whisk.

It will start to come together.. it will begin to cohere (GRE word) into a wonderful, silky caramel-ness.

There will still be that pesky layer of watery butter.

Keep on whisking!


Sorry no pictures.

Now if you're like me, you did this all in a tupperwear container.. with a plastic lid. Pop into fridge.

Plan of Action Tomorrow:

Preheat oven to 175C (350F to you folks in the states)
Pull out the bread/egg mixture
Reheat sugar/butter mixture/ rewhisk (maybe 1 min in the nuker)
Pour sugar topping over the bread and egg mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes.


Allow to cool.

DON't Devour! (Seriously considering losing 20 pounds this season; or at least 10.. 5?)

Take to school!

Bask in your awesomeness.

Or apologize for burnt, trying to save badly dry raisin challah and unfortunately undercooked normal challah by recycling it into a bread pudding-ish baked french toast.


Maybe... probably not.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What book should (not) have a sequel written?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird - o wait someone already did!

1) i just really miss Harry Potter.....
2) guiltily another twilight novel might be fun although i thought the ending finish was great
3) calvin & hobbes.. oh why did you stop?
4) wow basically i just want continuations of random stuff that certain snobs wouldn't even consider literature! hahahahah.....

oooh i want ..
The Incredibles sequel
another XMen

oh and random people that make me perk up my ears/eyes
Tim Burton
Baz Luhrmann
jean-pierre jeunet
pedro almodovar (except for him i'd only perk up.. wouldn't watch..)
michel gondry
hayao miyazaki
brad bird

Friday, February 19, 2010

umm so yeah.

3 of my friends are engaged. it makes sense that i write this.

anyway i just read this article:

okay; a lie; i began reading it because it had an intriguing, gutsy premise.. and then it kept on going and going and going.. so i stopped and decided to link it and post my thoughts.

i also happened to watch this right after:

what the HECK.

The first article scared me a little... made me think; was interesting..
The second video was like uhhh... how sad.

I'm not trying to be hoity toity but yeah.

That's all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


“One day I have a dream that playing on the gress. If feels like bee and butterful flying on the sky. And I see the boy was at the other way to wait for me and give me prise. I feel like an apple, red and shy.”

SO CUTE. HAHAHAHAHA.  (8th grade student)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

avatar review

been following the making of this movie for a little bit; I really enjoy the idea of blue screen. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow anyone?) and for the first time, 3D did not distract me from the actual!

I think though, I still prefer 2D so far.. 3D almost makes me feel set apart from the movie not a part of the movie, because certain camera tricks that go smoothly in 2D (and thus unnoticed) makes itself obvious in 3D. Mainly when they change focus..

You know, I had some issues with the editing; sometimes they cut a little too late.
For example; right after the blue girl and Sully come back together and press their noses together, she opens her mouth and then it's cut to the next scene of the warplanes. SO weird.


Also plot was almost TOO tight and concise. Like each thing you were introduced to in the beginning HAD a reason in the plot. I mean, I appreciate that random deus et machina solutions didn't pop out of the air, but really? EVERY little thing?

I'm a little confused too; plotwise, I thought you choose ONE flying thing.. or is it just that the bond is forever and you choose not to choose another one? I don't get it. and doesn't that one have to choose you? OR I guess since that thing likes to kill everyone it can technically bond with anyone.

ALSO, what is UP with the love scene? It doesn't even make sense.
After he gets initiated into the group she says "now you can marry one of our women."
Uhh okay,

If I just was "initiated" into a group.. (let's say for you Christian folks, became baptized .. or a member of a church) the FIRST thing you say to someone usually isn't "Now you can marry one of our women."

And then honestly, I really, didn't see their chemistry or HOW they came to love each other.

Furthermore when they kiss and stuff; it seems so human... basically, despite James Cameron's imagination, he's still a guy and he can't figure out how to make things romantic without the typical body gyrations that would i guess work with HUMAN bodies. AND did it not occur to her that she was .. with.. like the equivalent of a ROBOT?

Bicentennial Man fell in love with Jenny (was that her name?) but they didnt get MARRIED. weird.

AND Jake Sully's voice was way too low and seemed separate from his body.

Oh and the "I see you" was way overused.

and it was not romantic at the end when his human form stroked her Na'vi face. sort of monstrous actually.

I DID like how the Na'vi spoke their language well and how Jake Sully's version of the language seemed like a foreign language out of his mouth.

I DID like the new world and the glow in the darks.

I DID like facial expressions.

I also wished that the new world wasn't SO like our own world. Like you know, a horse-like thing that acts like a horse but actually had 8 legs.. but then is called a horse. but THEN other things (like that triceratop looking thing) is called some weirdo Na'Vi name. It wasn't consistent.
and the Na'Vi despite being aliens were very human... like they did things characteristic to human beings such as kiss and cry. Tears are very human.

And do Na'Vi hair grow in braids? LOL. and does that little connector thing grow at the end of the hair or in the tuft? No comprendo.

I shouldn't be this critical.

Ultimately, I enjoyed it... but then of course, I get critical.

I think it's okay to be critical since I'm paying for the movie and because it's a movie; they're supposed to astound me. haha.

Same with 2012. (watched that yesterday with the girls). .. it was just.. blah.

asia america where have you gone?

As i read laurence yep and amy tan to my kids i realize that these are the pioneers of asian american literature.

if you know me, you know for the most part, i hate asian american literature. just like an asian, it tries SO hard. but maybe what i didn't like wasn't the actual literature (despite my professed hatred of all things amy tan, i've read almost all her books), but i hated the box it placed me into.

to backtrack, i never identified myself as Asian or Korean. I was American. I hated the term white-washed as well since hello i was born and raised in america..of course i'm american... if my parents wanted me to be korean, they should and would have stayed there.

anyway,fast forward to high school.. as Miss Chin (ironical cruel twist of fate gave her many), a student teacher, led The Joy Luck Club discussions. "What does X show about Asian American identity?" "How does Joy Luck Club show what all asians in america are like?" okay, maybe not so extreme, but it was definitely annoying.. i'm Korean American if anything, I never grew up believing in ghosts, and my parents didn't pressure me academically. Asian American is not a box.

But, admittedly, they opened up discussion. When I teach Asian American short stories to middle school kids who are if anything, American Asians, it moves me that I am able to bring something they can relate to. As my teaching manual tells me to "accustom your students to a different culture, discuss Asia-related topics, compare and contrast the Asian perspective to their own perspective", I not only find it ironic but a refreshing challenge to teach Asian American literature to international Asian americans.... and THEN i realize.. WOW how crazy it is that they took the leap to write literature. what asian parent would like that?
even NOW you don't see asian american writers.. and when you do, it's always some mumbo jumbo-y stuff on art, dragons, weird twisted love..okay, oops.. off track.

that is all to say though, for once in my life, i'm interested. especially as i prepare to study again, i want to take my comparative literature background and re-explore American literature, and how in this current day and age, the idea of AMERICAN encompasses more of the secondary cultures aspect than ever before..

and i want to write.

maybe it'll be titled "my crazy grandmother."

heeheee: a few weeks ago in 7th grade reading class

"My mom's coming to visit in March!"
"Oh! Is your crazy grandmother coming too?"
"Gordon! You can't call her that - I may call her that but she's MY grandmother. Make sure you never call her the crazy grandmother.. especially in front of my mom!"

oh Gordon.

gordon is another kettle of fish altogether.

cute little Sid-the-sloth-from Ice age doppelganger with a hint of asberger's and a big heart? makes me want to laugh and give up and laugh some more despairing helplessness always remedied by when he pats my back and tells me "Miss Kim, it's all right!" (No Gordon it's not - you need to turn in your work late tomorrow)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

to be perfectly (or imperfectly) honest...

Okay fine, i'll pepper this post with a lot of self-deprecating, eeyoresque melodrama which will end up strangely making me feel better .. or at least temporarily gratified.

This post will be titled

"Why My GRE Score Sucks"
It is difficult for me to concentrate on a test that is 3 hours long.
My first analytical writing prompt was fun.
The second one, i knew what I wanted to say but by then it was no longer fun and I got tired and bored of trying to edit.
So I just haphazardly finished it.
That does NOTHING for morale.
So then reading comprehension... wow, reading comprehension... reading articles with difficult words on scientific or social topics. So difficult.
Morale sunk further.
Then trying to read graphs. Or difficult terms that I don't remember.. like "multiple integers".

And then doing something dumb like forgetting some crucial little math tidbit. Or not remembering anything about permutations or exponents.

And all the while a little voice in my head saying, "you DID learn this before." or "wow, you're so dumb." or "what's the use?" or "whatever, hopefully it's curved." or "you'll do fine during the GREs."

And then I see my mistakes and see what I did wrong.. and go dur.

All this can be remedied.
The question is do I have the diligence and desire to remedy all this? It'S SO TIRING.

I'm secretly hoping somehow i'll phenomenally do amazingly on the GRE... since I normally do pretty well on standardized testing.. or MAYBe when I was younger, I was more diligent with studies.

I don't know.

Anyway, it's positively discouraging because there's no easy shortcut; but rather I have to work hard. Isn't that so telling about my person? I'm so lazy. and that sucks to see how a test can really conquer me like that.......... like realistically, how do you survive in life if you have this kind of mentality?

In other news, came to "Soup and Bread" a cute restaurant/cafe right next to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT. kathy and i saw it yesterday while looking for the swing dance venue Capone's. Anyway, it's nice, yummy, AND they gave us free YUMMY lattes with foam hearts. Happy Chinese New Year!

I wonder if caffeine jitterized me.


Tomorrow I'm going to practice more math and verbal. Then Wednesday another test. Then the following Monday a test.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Deut 4:1-40

"And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the LORD your God are all alive today. See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children--how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, 'Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.' And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.
"Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
"When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
"For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

random stupids.

if i had studied some sort of women/fem centered interdisciplinary studies, would i be at Yale right now?
if i had gone to a woman's college would I be at Google/PhD Program/Crazy good art school right now?
if i had focused on studies.............................

i should stop with stupid what ifs.. because this is NOT my home.. this is NOT my permanent dwelling place.

but once in a while..

i feel oh so insignificant. especially in comparison to people younger than i.

what's worse though, is when i feel superior to people older... because i know my superiority/sense of self-worth lies more in worldly things.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

can i boo hoo a bit?

okay, here's my game plan, I'll boo hoo, then I'll think rightly.

So last night I had a dream I was late for Leona's wedding. I ran in with an ugly outfit and ugly black shoes. Leona was surprised and said, "Oh you didn't see the dress?" I quickly took pictures with the bridal party (sat in the back because I wasn't well dressed) and then saw the dress. I was afraid it wouldn't fit, but it fit okay.. unfortunately the top was too low.

I felt awkward and tied the bow in the back (pretty dress; black top with the bottom being this oriental purple print.. it was pretty! a little gothic). Unfortunately I had ugly shoes on.. and the wedding was over.. i barely missed the reception.. and THEN i look and notice all the other bridesmaids had the bows tied in the front.

Then I went to a swim meet...

I had a really stressful night!

Semi-woke up and in my morning delirium, realized, Friday I'll see Leona, Saturday will be the wedding, then she'll go on her honeymoon, then leave for Minnesota. I felt a little depressed so I decided to not wake up but sleep in. as i prayed to God to make me trust, i drifted off to a dreamless THREE HOUR OVERSLEEP AGH!

I also am a little mopey because when I come back, Bethany will be down south, Sally and Andy will be married somewhere, and I'll be in Palo Alto.. and I realized a BIG encouragement to me WAS Leona over the summer. I'm hoping though, since i'm more used to working life, it shouldn't be too difficult.. but I know adjusting will be. I'm THANKFUL though because my relationship with my parents is a lot better now... .. and MAYbe Sally and Andy will be living somewhere in the south bay!!!! MAYBE? And Leona will always be a skype buddy I know. And maybe I can visit Minnesota.

I know that I will have friends still - i never lacked that; because I just shoved myself in their faces.. but i think i'll be sad when I come back. I'll first of all miss it here, and all the people i know here, then I won't FIT IN for the first few months at EBCB, and it will be depressing not having a job... and I'll peruse the lonelyplanet websites and wish I could be in another country and plan huge trips where I'd only spend $1000 a month to go country hopping.

BUT I also know, that the Lord is SO faithful and does grant the desires of my heart.. and even the stupid superficial ones. Like for the life of me, I would NEVER have guessed that God would have opened so many travel opportunities for me here in Asia. I never really liked traveling to tell you the truth, i'm a homebody. But suddenly, I want to be places and experience things and suddenly this year, i got to go to Korea, I am going to China (which before never held any attraction for me), and I'm even stopping over for a stint in Thailand. In Thailand I'll see my dad (it turns out on his way from India to Myanmar, he'll stopover for 12 hours in Bangkok the EXACT weekend i'll be there for GRE! ) and then I'll TRAVEL with my mother.. and who DOESN'T love to shamelessly boast in front of their mother? I'm excited to get us around and speak Chinese and have her marvel at how wonderful I am. ^_^

Anyway, my heart changes, and sometimes wonderful things happen .. and I just have to rest in that! and I WILL rest in that! And instead of being apprehensive about the future, it will be good and fine!!!!!

I'm excited to see old people and even though all the girls my age will be gone, it's time to turn over a new leaf. I'm glad i'm not crying. I just sort of sometimes have a dry puffy feeling in my neck. I'll be okay; and I need to NOT take out my frustrations on little other frustrations.... (finances, future work, etc).

straight paths straight paths straight paths.

BTW: I really do want my tattoo. It's been 4 years now (8 if you count high school.. but high school was when I wanted a pagan tattoo hahaha. not really pagan, just kidding).

It will be on my right foot near where the toes begin; can always be hidden by shoes/socks.
it will say a certain reminder for me based on Heb 11:13
It will not wrinkle with age (do feet wrinkle?) and if it does, see point number 1.
It will not be huge and audacious

I might regret it when I'm older.
It will hurt
It might get infected, my toes might fall off, and i might die.
It costs ~$60.00

Neutral Points considered:
Parents are ambivalent about it (either decision is fine)
I don't think it's a sin.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Me: "Tom Friday is SO GREAT! because then on SATURDAY I don't have to see YOU!!!"
Tom: "Yayy great.. but NEXT friday is heaven.. NExt friday is BETTER!" (b/c next friday = no school)
Me: "No but today is WONDERFUL.. because that means TOMORROW I don't see Tom! No tom Day!! YAYY!"
Tom: "YAyy!"
Me: *walk into my classroom at this point and sees Stephanie* "Miss Barker; Friday is SO Great, because I don't have to see Tom ALLL weekend!!!!!!!


I really like Tom. he's annoying b/c he doesn't do his homework; but he's such a little gaegoori.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grace reminded me February is Black History Month.

The Sword and The Robe
By Thurgood Marshall

The task of interpretation is the cornerstone of the judicial process.
As we undertake it, we must strive for neutrality. None of us is perfect, and I recognize that neutrality is more ideal than real. Each of us brings along to the judicial role certain preconceived biases. It is, I suppose, impossible to make a decision totally uninfluenced by them. But we as judges must try to do so to the extent we possibly can.

This ideal of neutrality is particularly hard to maintain in times such as these, when our society faces major unsolved problems. Indeed, we judges are frequently criticized these days for our neutrality. For example, it is argued by some members of our society that the judiciary has not taken an active enough role in combating crime. It is urged that we as judges, should take sides, that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with the police and prosecutors. Convictions should be easier, appellate review more rapid and resort to habeas corpus – what the founders of this republic called the Great Writ – drastically curtailed. All of this frightens me, because when I was in law school, I was taught not that judges were there to see the defendant convicted and punished in every case but that they were there to see justice done in every case. Of course the state had to carry a heavy burden to obtain a conviction. Of course appellate judges would weigh each case carefully. Of course an individual, once convicted, could attack his sentence later. This, so I was taught, was not to coddle the guilty but to protect the innocent. I was raised in the days when the prevailing maxim was: "It is better that a thousand guilty people go free than that one innocent person suffer unjustly.

Well, that's just what I was taught, and maybe I was taught wrong. But the suggestion that we as judges take sides frightens me for another, more fundamental reason as well. As I have said, judges are required in our system to be as neutral as they possibly can, to stand above the political questions in which the other branches of government are necessarily entangled. The Constitution established a legislative branch to make the laws and an executive branch to enforce them. Both branches are elected and are designed to respond to everchanging public concern, and problems. Indeed, as we were reminded just last November, the failure of either branch to respond to the will of the majority can quickly be remedied at the polls.

Bar the framers of the Constitution recognized that responsiveness to the will of the majority may, if unchecked, become a tyranny of the majority. They therefore created a third branch – the judiciary – to check the actions of the legislature and the executive. In order to fulfill this function, the judiciary was intentionally isolated from the political process and purposely spared the task of dealing with changing public concerns and problems. Article III judges are guaranteed life tenure. Similarly, their compensation cannot be decreased during their term in office – a provision, as we have recently seen, that certainly has its tangible benefits, Finally, the constitutional task we are assigned as judges is a very narrow one. We cannot make the laws, and it is not our duty to see that they are enforced. We merely interpret them through the painstaking process of adjudicating actual "cases or controversies" that come before us.

We have seen what happens when the courts have permitted themselves to be moved by prevailing political pressures and have deferred to the mob rather than interpret the Constitution. Dred Scott, Plessy, Korematsu, and the trial proceedings in Moore v. Dempsey, come readily to mind as unfortunate examples. They are decisions of which the entire judicial community, even after all these years, should be ashamed. There have also been times when the courts have stood proudly as a bulwark against what was politically expedient but also unconstitutional. One need only recall the school desegregation cases to understand why this ability to stand above the fray is so important.

Our central function is to act as neutral arbiters of disputes that arise under the law.
To this end, we bind ourselves through our own code of ethics to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or partiality. We must handle the cases that come before us without regard for what result might meet with public approval. We must decide each case in accordance with the law. We must not reach for a result that we, in our arrogance, believe will further some goal not related to the concrete case before us. And we must treat the litigants in every case in an evenhanded manner. It would be as wrong to favor the prosecution in every criminal case as it would be to favor the plaintiff in every tort suit.

We must never forget that the only real source of power that we as judges can tap is the respect of the people. We will command that respect only as long as we strive for neutrality. If we are perceived as campaigning for particular policies, as joining with other branches of government in resolving questions not committed to us by the Constitution, we may gain some public acclaim in the short run. In the long run, however, we will cease to be perceived as neutral arbiters, and we will lose that public respect so vital to our function.

I do not suggest that we as judges should not be concerned about the problem of crime. Every thinking American is worried about it. And just about all of us have lurking somewhere in the back of our minds what we consider the ideal solution.

But when we accepted the judicial mantle, we yielded our right to advocate publicly our favored solutions for society's problems.
The tools for solving these problems are in the hands of the other branches of government because that is where the Constitution has placed them. That is also where we should leave them. I therefore urge that you politely disregard any suggestion that you give up the robe for the sword.