New guitar

In music class, we were asked to discuss about different instruments. One of the guys in my group said that he just purchased a dean acoustic guitar and said that it was a nice change from the electric guitars that he had been using for the past five years. He also said that the sound that the guitar produced was clearer than he thought.


A story about blueberries

Blueberries were on sale the other day, which is a rare event these days, so we bought them. On other days, I wish that there was no drought so that fruits would be cheaper. In Asia, fruits are sold at price beyond imagination. It makes me sad that Californian fruits are about to reach that level. Anyway, after giving the blueberries a wash, I kept them in a container. Because there was water left at the bottom of the container, mold grew on the blueberries. I was terribly disappointed!

Now the blueberries aren’t on sale anymore, so I’ll just continue to dream about cheap fruits and rotten blueberries.


The other day…

The other day, I noticed that my friend was wearing a really nice necklace and asked her about it. She said that it was from the Joy Jewelers firefighter pendants collection. She said that it was given to her on her last birthday. I thought that the design was unique and interesting. It even went really well with the outfit she was wearing that day, too!

I wonder if I should hint to my mom that I want one of those for my next birthday. I have a favorite memory to go with that too. When I was in kindergarten, I not only got to on a field trip to visit a fire station, I also got to climb into the driver’s seat of a bright red fire truck and pretend I was a brave fire fighter!!


Week 1 of January 2016

Hello! How has your first week of the new year been going?

First off, quick question: is it still too late to send Happy New Year messages? There was this one girl from my lab whom I befriended last year but lost contact with after she transferred to another college back on the East coast… and I found her on Facebook and am wondering if it’s too late to include ‘happy new year’ in my awkward message.

Moving on… Pizza. We did pizza the week before the new year in 2013 so I think it has become a mini tradition of ours to have pizza sometime before or after the new year. We had no idea if the pizza place would be open on New Year’s day but we went scouting on empty stomachs and high hopes. It was open!!! As were all the other shops. Can you tell that last year we stayed at home on New Year’s day so we have no clue if it’s a holiday for stores?

We had the pizza place to ourselves for the most part which was awesome because usually it’s packed with people rushing for the pizza buffet. We’re going to try that one day – the buffet. Because I noticed a trend in increasing number of total phone pictures starting from 2011 (when I first got my own phone in my senior year of high school), I decided that I would try to keep that trend. So I took about 20 pictures of the pizza when it arrived even though we order the same pizza each time and I already have dozens of similar pictures… Variety, right?

I think we went to browse around at TJ Maxx after lunch. We didn’t stay for long. I spotted the nail polish aisle, clung onto it for a good 20 minutes, picking up each bottle and holding it longingly. You have enough, I told myself in the aisle, and you’re a frugal college student who needs to buy your parking pass and pay your tuition fees in 2 weeks. Think about that. And the exchange rate.

Right. The exchange rate. I put the bottles down and left.

On the second day of January, we knew what we wanted and went for it. We headed straight for the Thai place that we are in love with. We went twice in 2013 and we found the food delicious but there was something about the food that gave us upset stomachs so we stopped going. We found another Thai place that we kept going to until their service went down the drain and put us off from going. On the day that they didn’t attend to us for 20 minutes and didn’t look interested at all in serving us, we left and went back to the first place.

On top of that, winter classes have been fun. Fun… Fun… Yeah, they’re fun. I mean, I have to wake up every morning and immediately start working on whatever is due on the same day for two classes but I’m learning a lot so I can’t complain. It’s also always interesting to see how the content of two very different classes can somehow relate to each other no matter what.

We have been doing some serious baking in between all our classes so I guess we’ve had some spare time now and then. Come over for cake, we have some seriously good stuff going on in the oven. Fair warning: we do NOT bake with a lot of sugar so it might not be your cup of tea. American baked goods are soooo sweet. T_T It makes me cry when I go to Costco and see cinnamon rolls with an inch of glaze on top. Can I just have the roll without the glaze? And when I order cake and it comes with oodles of whipped cream. Cultural differences, is all I can say.

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention in my previous post (and am too lazy to go check because I’m actually in between writing responses for my classes), we have upped our school spirit at least a hundredfold ever since we started attending our college basketball games. I recently found out that we pay a student involvement fee in our tuition fees which is why we get free tickets to games… Uh, if I paid for it, you bet I’m going to get my money’s worth. But that’s not all of it. If I found out that I paid for badminton games in my school fees, the chances of you seeing me at the game are close to nil because I have no love for that sport.

Basketball is love. It’s the only sport I will rush to the box office four hours before the game to line up for tickets for. It’s the only sport I will brave the night rain for. It’s the only sport that I will get significantly pumped up for. Okay, you get that drift. But yeah, find us in the stands cheering for our team who has been fluctuating in performance.

Halfway during the week, I forgot about my goal to take more pictures so that’s how I ended up with only one photo the day before and it was only because my mom wanted me to take a picture of a label. -.-

I meant to summarize our week into a short post but why is it that I have 900 words already?!

I don’t want to drag this post on so I’m just going to end it here. ^_^ Tell me how your week is going.


Learning new things, one equipment at a time

Remember that time we were really into guitars and even took lessons for a year because we thought that somewhere down the road we’d be playing next to Seb Lefebvre (I still remembered how to spell this even after 6 years of our Simple Plan phase) and Nick Wheeler? Yeah, well, it’s good that you don’t.

Anyway… we’re taking a music class this winter and we’ve been learning all kinds of cool music stuff. I think I even know how to read music notes now (amazing, considering how I never thought I’d know what all the symbols mean) and I definitely know what a split coil pickup is.


The old year’s revolution, the new year’s resolution

I always never know what to say when I write these posts. I always end up writing more about myself and that makes me feel selfish at the end of the day. I also always end up writing about my interests instead of the things that have happened or something that I found memorable. Selfish, right?

So, let’s try to fix that problem right now and start off with my favorite memory of this year. Hmm, let’s see. I’m not coming up with anything. As usual, a lot of things were amusing to me. As usual, I let anger get to me, more than I’d like to admit for this year. (I should probably fix that as well.) As usual, I was offended by the same things. As usual, I didn’t say things that I should’ve. I also said things that I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry if I did or didn’t…

I’m sincerely trying to think of a memorable thing that happened. As usual, I can’t think of any. Does that mean I treasure my memories less than other people? Or does that mean I have just too many that I can’t name one?

I guess my favorite memory would be laughing. Laughing with my mom, laughing with my sister, laughing with my grandaunt, laughing with my dad, laughing on my own. Anything with laughter is good. Smiles are good too. Hugs are very excellent.

This summer, I went home. As in, HOME home. I loved every second of it. One of my goals was to spend more time with family and I did. At the beginning, I glued myself to the computer. Later on, I (figuratively) slapped myself and told myself to get out there and make good use of my time. I did the dishes, which is something I have not done very often in my own house and never for a second did it feel like a bother to me. I’d like to say that this year, I put myself into other people’s shoes and perspective a lot.

What else about summer? I took classes at a local college for the first time. It was extremely exciting for me. The experience was amazing and I loved it more than I thought. I wore a t-shirt and flappy lounge pants every day and did I mind that other kids were giving me funny looks for my taste in fashion? Nope. I was perfectly comfortable every day, thanks to the Western influence. I was confident to put my hand up in class and answer or ask questions. I loved taking math class, loved studying for it, loved asking questions about it. Thanks to my sister, I managed to get through a chemistry class with a passing grade.

Surprisingly, I made a few friends. I really enjoyed talking to them. Sadly, the friendships were short-lived, as are many today, because modern-day youngsters expect you to contact them first. If you don’t, the friendship just vanishes. Speaking of which, does anyone else experience this?

Another thing about summer: MALLS. Man, I missed the malls so much. This time, I really took the time to appreciate my surroundings. I also hung out with a friend and it was super fun. … I just realized that I sound really enthusiastic. This was fun, that was fun. My family might raise an eyebrow because at that point in time, I usually act like I’ve been forced to eat my least favorite vegetable. In retrospect, it’s like seeing happiness through a microscope. One smile multiplied into a billion. Is that good, I wonder?

One thing negative about this year, I would say, is vanity. I’ll admit that looking at all those pretty Korean celebrities have made me look in the mirror and sob a little at what I saw there. Girls, women, ladies, do not try this at home! I’m glad I got over that phase. It makes me seem like a fool. Those are what other girls do, not me. With all that cleared up, I’d like to say that I want to lose weight and exercise more because I overate last year. Am I done crying about my weight yet? Yes, I am, so let’s move on.

I suppose this is supposed to be eventful, so yes, I got my driver’s license. I’m very indifferent about this. Sometimes, I don’t even remember that I have an extra card in my wallet. It was a boring event, but probably exciting to my family. Other people also probably find it exciting. I guess hooray to the fact that I don’t have to think about it anymore? (Not really.)

This year, I think I found my place in this town. I used to dislike the fact that there weren’t many malls to go to, but nowadays, I don’t think a lot about it. I guess I started appreciating the simplicity of the town. I studied very hard this year. I did homework like every single day. That was definitely not eventful because I had less time to exercise, read, draw or whatever it was.

Speaking of drawing, I haven’t done much of it this year. In fact, out of 12 months, I probably drew for two months. I hate how I lost my enthusiasm for art and I’m struggling to find that spark again. I still continue to wish that I could draw the same kind of things, but I feel that I’m more pushed to the semi-realism side now. I no longer just want to draw manga/anime style or whatever it is. I hope that I’ll be able to combine those two things and form something new and appealing that I’ll enjoy for a long time.

Something successful that I did this year was surprise my sister with a birthday present. I feel like it wasn’t the perfect present for her, but a friend assured me that my sister would like whatever I buy for her and it turns out she was right. Now that I know she really likes it, I have turned my attention to the fact that it wasn’t my money that I used. The employment world is something that sounds tiresome and scary to me, but I guess that’s the reality of adulthood, isn’t it?

Let’s move on to something hopefully lighter. This year, I really got into Korean music. I explored a lot of Korean songs during my free time and spent way too much time watching Youtube videos than I would’ve liked. I like to think that all my favorite Korean artists are unique in their own ways. It’s all in the pop genre, but each has a different sound. The slow songs are also really nice. I’m sad that I can’t sing them, but then again, I’m always torn between starting a new hobby and honing the skills that I already have.

Okay, I think that’s the positive note (no pun intended.. music note, get it?) that I’d like to end on. Have a Happy New Year! Onward to the next year with a shield and sword in hand!


Thank you, 2015. Hello, 2016.

sb-happynewyear I previously put the title as ‘you’ve been real, 2015’ but it sounded like I’m glad 2015 is over. That’s not how I feel about this year though. If I wanted to use ‘real’ in my title, the word ‘surreal’ would be more appropriate.

So how was 2015 for me? is what I always use in my year in review posts.

This year was surreal and filled with lots of firsts. Our biggest first this year was being alone for school over here. When Mom went home right at the beginning of this year, we had to manage on our own and having technically never been away for school alone, we had no idea how we’d do. I’d say we did okay. We fumbled, learned, and grew. For me, the most important thing I learned was to go easy on myself. I’m always very hard on myself and I have control issues born out of fear of things not being done right and also the annoying need to take on burdens by myself but this year I’ve actively tried to let go.

Other firsts: making jams and sauces from scratch (!!), lots of cooking and baking firsts (mishaps and deliciousness all happen in the kitchen, my friends), my sister getting her driver’s license (holla!!), going to our first college basketball game (and subsequently trying to go to all of them this season because we love basketball), taking a flight alone (well, with my sister but it was our first time doing it ourselves), witnessing all 4 seasons in California (fall is gorgeous), first time at a Christmas party, driving through decorated neighborhoods for Christmas, first time going to a craft fair (read about it here), Major’s first birthday (wait, you mean you don’t name your car?), and I really cannot list everything here.

Here have some pictures that I cannot seem to slot into the post appropriately (and please feel free to follow me at my new Instagram handle @raineandraisin because I forgot the password to my other account lol):





I am rereading last year’s ‘year in review’ post as I write this. Reading the part where I quoted the Barakamon opening theme song, I’m really moved because I feel that I’ve found bits and pieces of myself this year and it’s true that you don’t have to go back to the beginning to find yourself. I compared myself with others less this year and I was kinder to myself (for the most part).

One of the biggest turning points in my life so far has been learning more about Buddhism. Buddhism is something I want to write about one day. Though I have some ways to go, I am determined to learn and practice Buddhism as much as I can. Hustle, hustle, muscle, muscle! (That’s a quote from one of the weirdest, funniest shows we’ve watched this year)

I am also pleased to tell you that this year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed myself more than I ever have. So one of the biggest things that I accomplished this year is getting into an honors program. The thought of doing research is nerve-wracking yet exciting?! These 3 sentences don’t even begin to describe all the feelings I had during, before, and after applying for the program. I wrote 2 long posts about it but never got around to wrapping them up.

I met a number of people this year who have inspired me to do better and learn more. I met new friends and kept up with old ones. I feel like this year I have become a better friend which is nice (oh god my vocab). I am thankful for all the people in my life this year, whether they taught me something or silently motivated me or made me feel like I belong or remained by my side when I most needed it.

As usual, I’m throwing in a bit about my birthday since my birthday is in December and I ended up not writing about my birthday. I turned 22 this month. It was a modest affair (I reread 2013’s year in review post and it seems that ever since I entered my 20s, my birthdays have been really mild). My mom and sister took me out to another fancy lunch AND had dessert just like last year. This time I had a huge chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream and it was deeply satisfying.

My ninja gift givers also pulled off yet another birthday surprise. My sister got me a keychain which is always nice because I used to be a keychain hoarder (had literally 20 keychains on my pencil case at one point in time) and I still do love keychains. I did NOT expect anything so it was a fun surprise. I asked my mom for lipstick but there have been some hiccups with the site that we want to order from so I’m still waiting for that. I haven’t made birthday wish lists in years because as I’ve grown older, I realize that I don’t need material things to be happy on my birthday. I’m happy with just cake and family.

As for our love for Japanese things, I’m happy to say that it was a successful year of discovering Chemistry, watching sooo many new animes, and finding manga gems. Oh yes, we managed to make a huge step forwards in our Japanese learning which is super exciting. Has it already been 2 years since we dove back into the anime/manga world?! Like I said, surreal.

Random: I took 6 weeks of Korean classes this year during summer but sadly haven’t made time to continue learning it on my own. My retention is likely 15% haha but I want to work on it so that all that time and money won’t be wasted. Also, I just really love languages and want to learn as many as I can. Being in California, I would like to learn Spanish buuut I don’t know how doable that’s going to be if I’m still working on my Japanese. This was so random.

Learning a new language isn’t easy and though it has taken us longer than expected to get to this point, it is still deeply rewarding and I want to tell everyone who is learning a new language not to give up even if you think you’ve fallen behind or that you won’t get to where you want to be or that you won’t actually get to use it so why bother. And whatever you do, don’t feel discouraged by people or books telling you that their way is the best and only way to learn the language. There is no RIGHT way to learn a language and it’s perfectly OKAY to go at your own pace.

There is one main thing that I wanted to do this year which I half-accomplished, half-failed at. That was to control my emotions better. I am disappointed at all the times I gave in to my emotions and did/said things I can’t be proud of.

Overall, this year didn’t feel like it went by super fast. It had all the ups and downs and loop-d-loops but it was also a year of accomplishments and solid life lessons. To quote last year’s post but with a different spin: I stumbled and fell now and then, sometimes I was helped up, sometimes I helped myself up, but ultimately I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned this year and for the less pleasant things, I will chalk them up to experience and grow from there. Probably the wisest thing I said last year.

I don’t have a theme song going into 2016 like I did for last year. I hoped that I would find one but I didn’t. I have been trying to think of my ‘word’ or ‘phrase’ for 2016 because I’ve seen lots of inspiring ones out there but ultimately, here I am on the last day of 2015, still undecided. When I think of next year and some of the things that I know lie ahead, a few words come to mind but if I want to pick a word, I want it to encompass both the known and unknown.


It’s been a word that has been coming to me frequently and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to bring it up. Mindfulness used to be a word I didn’t understand and didn’t think about often. It is actually a really simple concept – that is to be fully present – yet it is not as easy to practice as we think.

With that, I would like to declare mindfulness as something I would like to actively practice going into 2016.

Here’s to being present and cultivating more compassion! Let’s meet again soon.


Analyzing myself down to the last thread

Today’s mood:

This is just wholly me today. I did all this today.

I don’t do it on purpose but more often than I care to admit, I find myself comparing and overanalyzing. When I realize that I’m doing either or both, ugly emotions rage inside of me. I beat myself up over those things then I beat myself up over beating myself up.

This is today. Let’s see how I do tomorrow.

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