So long, 2016.

I wasn’t going to write this post even though I’ve been doing it for the last 3 years but lots of things can happen in one year so I’ll make this short and sweet.

2016 was rough, I’m not going to lie. It. was. rough. Most of it being in the 2nd half of the year.

Rereading last year’s annual reflection post was hard. I felt like someone else wrote that post. On one hand, I am proud of last year’s me and on the other hand, slightly jealous. I didn’t achieve as much greatness as I did last year. I didn’t do as much as I would have liked and I certainly did not grow into the person I hoped to become. I am filled with disappointment and regret which is honestly really sad but there’s not much to be done now that the year is over.

I interned over the summer and learned that I hate being stuck behind a desk. Then I went to potential future work places and realized that maybe being stuck behind a desk isn’t so bad. The honors program thingy? A total letdown, thanks to a bunch of empty promises made by an irresponsible professor. I worked hard to get into the program – nobody truly understands how much mental work went into simply applying for it – and in the end, it turned out to be like this.

But so as to not be ungrateful and unrealistic, good things did happen. 2016 was the year of discovering KPop. I discovered Teukie who needs to find me so that we can hold each other and have a heart-to-heart. Okay, more than that, I did meet great people (friends and teachers) along the way and I had some enlightening moments. I made mistakes but I will try to learn from them and push myself in the right direction.

We discovered Yogurtland and I ate a lot over summer. I lost a lot of weight but I put most of it back on – half good, half bad thing, I guess. I had some kitchen successes – making my own alfredo sauce, okonomiyaki, foil-wrapped everything aka easy cleanup. What else… More and more gingko trees are being planted on campus; I want to be engulfed in their blazing yellow beauty. Oh, and I did read some awesome books so I guess that’s a plus right there.

As for my birthday, I had cake, lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant, dinner at our usual dim sum place, and I got great gifts – a meaningful necklace from my mom and original artwork from my sister. Can’t complain.

I want to be kinder, I want to be more patient, I want to appreciate the little things, I want to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. I want to stop being so hard on myself, to stop comparing myself to my past selves/others, to stop giving in to negativity. I want to remember that I am responsible for my actions/emotions and that my emotions are not my enemies. None of that is going to happen by itself so it’s going to have to be me making the effort. Most of all, I want to tell myself that I am capable of all this.

I don’t have new goals or resolutions for next year.

Happy New Year. Hopefully you made it out of 2016 better than I did. Let’s take on 2017 together.

Raine
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Part 1: Weight, what?

I have a confession: I hate trying on clothes. Correction: I hate trying on clothes back here. Where sizes run small and there’s no room on the shelf for a 73cm waist pair of shorts, I find more and more reasons to shy away from heading towards the fitting room. I discovered my true feelings towards clothes here years ago when I was a teenager, when I was no longer told that if I ran a bit more, my puppy fat would melt away and I would simply become who I was meant to be – thin and, well, what word is paired with thin in Asian culture? Oh, that’s right. Thin and beautiful.

Well, I guess I haven’t been beautiful since I haven’t been ‘thin’. Except maybe when I was a tiny baby who only weighed 6lbs…

Part 1

I never used to think of myself as fat. Oh, the dreaded word. The word – and the negative connotations behind it – was planted into my head by well-meaning family members (lol) and relatives whom I only saw once a year (never mind that after meeting for the very first time in our respective lives, one of the first few things they would comment on would be my weight).

Sure, I was always a bit bigger, a bit chubbier, a bit rounder than some classmates. But I wasn’t fat. Unhealthy, maybe. Fat, no. I was only fat in terms of the standard of beauty. I wasn’t stick thin with arms that could break as easily as a wafer biscuit, the circumference of my waist wasn’t narrower than a soccer ball, my ribs didn’t poke out against my PE shirt, and later when I hit puberty, my hips didn’t remain the same diameter as my waist. Not your typical Asian girl.

My parents didn’t overfeed us but unlike other Asian families at that time, my parents having studied abroad were more westernized than others. So this led us to places like McDonald’s and Chili’s or restaurants that served things like chicken pie (oh, glorious mashed potatoes and gravy), lasagna, pastries, basically cheesy, creamy, and rich goodness. I suppose they were also lax on things like junk food and processed food but we never ate it excessively.

Once the idea of me being fat was planted into my head, however, I could no longer look at pictures of myself without thinking, ‘fat’. Add to the fact that I wasn’t athletic, I suppose there was even more reason to call me fat.

Things people have said to my face:

“Lose a few pounds, you’ll look better.”

“I know you’re happy the way you are and it’s good to be happy, but you’d look better a few pounds lighter.”

“Quite chubby.”

“You’re a bit bigger than your sister, huh?”

“You two look alike but I can tell who is who since you are bigger size.” – people at school.

“Because you’re fat.” – boy whose face I should have hit. What followed after his tactless announcement was awkward silence. My friends struggled to console me but I don’t remember what they said anymore. None of my friends has ever said ‘you’re fat’ to my face but I think they all thought it. All I remember was feeling like I’d been doused with a bucket of ice water and shame. At that time, I didn’t know how to respond. I guess I kind of laughed it off. Later that comment made me cry. It was hurtful. Or at least the word has a negative meaning attached to it.

“You put on some weight since I last saw you.” – popular phrase among relatives.

“You’re twice the size of that girl.” Or ‘That girl is half your size.” – thank you, I wasn’t self-conscious enough already.

Only when my mom brought up my weight was it ever about my health (and she only started bringing it up when it was obvious that the puppy fat was not shedding). Other people just made it seem like it was a crime and a horror and a downright shame to be bigger than the average kid.

I wasn’t actually fat until my high school years. By then, I was tired and angry of people telling me I was fat, and I was also beginning my downward spiral into the shame – often accompanied by self-loathing – of being bigger than the average girl that I would feel even till today. I adopted an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, ate whatever I wanted, and refused to follow my mom to the gym.

If that’s what I’m going to be labeled as and all I’ll ever be thought of as, a few more pounds won’t matter, is what I thought.

I also spent 6 weeks vacationing in the US right after graduating from high school. I admit, there was a lot of food. I barely recognize my full-moon face in the pictures from that period of time. I even bought a pair of jeans over there when I was my heaviest that I’ve ever been and when I returned home and eventually lost some weight, I could no longer fit in those jeans. If anyone cares, I never wore those jeans and planned on giving them away but earlier this month, I found them hiding in the back of our shared cupboard and had them repurposed into a pair of shorts (no, I don’t sew; yes, I requested that the waist be pinched).

Anyway, those 6 weeks and the few weeks after that, I can safely say that, ‘well, yes, I ate too much and put on more weight than I imagined’. I guess if you want to put a label on it, you can say I was fat.

When I came home, my mom convinced me (or at least that’s what I think happened) to go to the gym with her since I wouldn’t start going to the local college until 3 months later. I did. There were days when I would kick up a fuss and refuse to go but eventually I began to enjoy our mother-daughter gym mornings. No, there were not a lot of pounds shed.

I guess that’s where part 2 comes in.

Raine
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Here I am

Today has been one of those really strange days. My emotions have been all over the place. Okay, maybe this has been happening more in recent weeks but today has been one of the days I feel like writing about it.

First, today I dropped my sister off at the health center. I think that was the first time this semester I’ve been alone in the car. As I drove in silence to the building I needed to be at, I pinpointed the emotion I was experiencing. Emptiness. The seat beside me was empty and the silence was deafening. It was strange. It really was. It made me think about how I wouldn’t be the person that I am (the positive parts, of course) without my family behind me.

This morning we had an exam. The kind of exam that requires you to process and memorize so much information that your brain feels like it’s being squeezed and your eyes glaze over the words at the information overload point. I think that exam drained a lot of my energy today. I was ready for it to be over and when it was, I felt… nothing. Don’t you just hate feeling like you need to study even though the test is over already?

We had leftover Thai curry (yesterday), rice and vegetables (from two days ago) for lunch. Remind me that black rice by itself is not a good idea.

I was supposed to turn in two thank you letters today – well, I set the deadline myself – but by the time I got to the post office to get some envelopes, it was closed. I kept overthinking what I wrote in the letter, wondering if the reader would find me childish or inadequate with words. Speaking of which, I am a terrible email respondent and I have a reply sitting in my draft box, waiting to be perfected. I can only hope that when the person receives my reply, she won’t think poorly of me. I suppose if she does, it’s my fault anyway.

Then dinner was surprisingly upbeat. We ate out with friends at a popular Mexican restaurant. The food was good – I have this newfound love for fish tacos – but for the price, the portions were underwhelming. Finally, one of us announced: I’m still hungry. Everyone chimed in wholeheartedly and we decided to go get dessert at Yogurtland which is obviously our new obsession. Confession: I’m hungry as I write this and it has only been a few hours since dinner.

Last week, this is what I wrote but never posted (today’s thoughts will be added in parentheses):

“My emotions have been overflowing lately (nothing has changed since last week, huh?). Yesterday I poured my feelings into one thank you letter, one thank you post, one very brief speech, one un-brief speech to my sister about holding important positions, and one (I didn’t finish this sentence and I can’t remember what I meant to say here). I wound down with a 40-minute-long video that had me wishing I vacationed in Bern last year lol (and today I wound down with 2 40-minute-long videos that still have me wishing that I vacationed in Bern).

Then this morning a panic attack woke me up. My pillow was already damp with tears from the nightmare right before the one that woke me up. I tried to shake off the terrible feeling and immediately got to making the lists that I needed to make. All semester long, I have been feeling inadequate, feeling like I’m not doing enough, and worse still, knowing that I haven’t been doing what I need to do. It usually always boils down to this feeling.

I have asked myself over and over again this semester: Have you been slacking off? Have you been doing enough? No, is the answer I keep coming up with. I haven’t been able to bring myself to clean the apartment consistently, I haven’t put 100% into my studies, I have let my hobbies and passions slide like hot butter, I feel like I haven’t been half the responsible person that I was last year (when will I go easy on myself?), I feel like I’m letting the people I love down. I’m not and don’t want to make excuses for myself. Discovering Kpop has given me an avenue to conveniently put everything aside but when I return from those dance-y and stress-relieving videos, everything is still here waiting.

Right after that, I read a girl’s post on Fb about her depression and anxiety. We’re not that close since she took a gap year after I got to know her but after reading her post, I felt like I needed to say something to her. I wanted her to know that she’s not alone in feeling helpless and unmotivated. So I did. Sometimes I think I have no sense when it comes to timing when I say stuff and how much to say, sometimes I just let my heart lead. Today was one of those days the latter happened.

Random: It’s surprisingly easy and quick to print photos out at Costco. At 17c per photo, I’d say that’s a good deal.

Just like that, a friend that we seem to click with and feel comfortable around – the feeling is rare – is going back home to Europe next month. I feel sad that we didn’t meet earlier but what we have, I’ll treasure it. Last year, a girl I enjoyed working with moved back to the East Coast. I regret not keeping in touch with her and am considering sending her a Fb message though I am not sure if she feels the same way about me as I do.

The other day at a club meeting, I passed up on the opportunity to hold an officer position. I was very upset with myself for a few hours after that. My family tells me I’m already doing a lot. I feel like I should be doing more. The struggle… is real (on some days harder than others).

Random: Remember in my previous post about Super Junior I talked about being envious of Kpop stars’ ‘perfection’? Well, I think I began to feel that a little bit until I saw pictures of their bare face. They have the same skin tone as me under all that makeup, yay. It was beginning to feel unsettling to see their flawless shiny faces, I’ll just admit. (DongHae is everything)

Apparently, my sister can read me like an open book. She asked me while I was writing this from right across the table, “Writing an emotional post?” If anyone had any doubts that she is my better half, I think that’d be dispelled by just that one line.”

She also apparently just took one look at my face and said, “Don’t be emo.” -_- Am I that obvious?

Oh, and it’s been getting HOT. I am already getting flip flop tan lines which I swore last year I would try to avoid.

I can only be honest at the end of this post: I’m mentally tired. And also hungry.

Raine
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Happy Mother’s Day!!

Happy Mother’s Day to the one and only queen of our heart!! Every cheesy thing has been said but we want to say it anyway: You mean the world to us, we’re always here for you, and we love you sosososososo much!!

We’d like to dedicate this song to you:

English translation:

(Thank you) I can’t express with words
(Thank you) I’m here because of you
You always embraced my young and immature self

(Love you) Words I couldn’t tell you
(I love you) I’m finally telling you now
Now I know your heart and how you always believed in me

And I know, Yes I know, you always look to me
And I know, Yes I know, even if the world turns away

Love you mother, I love you
Like no other, I thank you
I endlessly shed tears when I think about you
Love you Mother, I love you
Like no other, I thank you
Now I’ll be your strength and return that bright smile

And you know, You know,
You know, I love you, I thank you

(Thank you) Wherever you go, don’t be small
(Thank you) Because I’m standing right behind you
Even if your back is hurting or your eyes grow dim

(Love you) Words I’m so bad at saying
(I love you) Finally, I’m saying them
You’re the prettiest in the world, I’ll place you in my eyes

Look at me, don’t rush anymore
Lay down your heart, it’s alright now, slow down
Because of your endless love, your unchanging love
I am here today

Thank you Mother, I love you

And obviously if your mom is already on her way to becoming a Korean karaoke champion, here are the romanized Korean lyrics:

Thank you
Mallo pyohyeonhal sun eopseoyo
Thank you
Geudae ttaemune na yeogi isseoyo
Hangsang gamssajusin naui eorigo
Cheoleopsneun nae moseup

Love you
Haji mot haessdeon geu mal
I love you
Ijeseoya na yaegihaeyo
Hangsang mideojusin geudaeui maeum
Da ije algesseoyo

And I know yet I know
Eonjena nareul barabojyo
And I know yet I know
Sesangi nareul deungjyeodo

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Hayeomeopsi nunmulman heulleoyo
Geudaeman saenggakhamyeon nan

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Ijen naega geudae himi doeeo
Geu hwanhan miso dollyeojulgeyo

And you know you know
You know I love you da gamsahaeyo

Thank you
Eodil gado jagajiji mayo
Thank you
Geudae dwie na yeogi seo isseoyo
Gubeojineun dwismoseube
Heurishan nuni goerophyeodo

Love you
Oh pyohyeoni seotun geu mal
I love you
Ijeseoya na bulleobwayo
Sesang gajang yeppeun geudael
Nae nune geudael dameulgeyo

And I know yet I know
Eonjena nareul barabojyo
And I know yet I know
Sesangi nareul deungjyeodo

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Hayeomeopsi nunmulman heulleoyo
Geudaeman saenggakhamyeon nan

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Ijen naega geudae himi doeeo
Geu hwanhan miso dollyeojulgeyo

Nareul bwayo ijeneun seodureuji mayo
Maeumeul nohayo
Ijen gwaenchanhayo slow down
Kkeuteopsneun geudae sarang
Byeonhameopsneun geu sarang ttaemune
Jigeumui naega issjyo

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Hayeomeopsi nunmulman heulleoyo
Geudaeman saenggakhamyeon nan

Love you mother saranghaeyo
Like no other da gamsahaeyo
Ijen naega geudae himi doeeo
Geu hwanhan miso dollyeojulgeyo

And you know you know
You know I love you
Thank you mother saranghaeyo

Love,

The two who think you’re the best singer in the world.

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The moment you’ve been waiting for: the plunge into Korean music

It has begun. Last year around this time, it was Chemistry every. single. day.

This time it’s Korean music. What is up with this time of year? Okay, so maybe this was coming… My parents have been serious about learning Korean – they text each other in Korean now – and our household as of last year has been very influenced by all things South Korea.

I’m literally 10 years late to the party. Throughout high school, my classmates were into Kpop. The explosion of Kpop started around 2006 and it hasn’t stopped since. The first Kpop band I remember my classmates being crazy about was Super Junior.

My thoughts 10 years ago: EWWW!!!!!

My thoughts now: -tears of joy-

I was not impressed at all. I wasn’t into the whole eyeliner, synchronized dancing, 10-people-in-one-band thing. Then there was the excessive plastic surgery to make themselves beautiful (though beautiful is so subjective). I couldn’t understand that. Most of them looked kind of scary to me.

Tastes change and now I find myself totally loving ALL THAT JAZZ – eyeliner, dance, huge guy group. In fact, give me more. Miles away, my mom is horrified. Okay, the plastic surgery thing is still not okay with me but now I accept that it’s their thing and while some of them aren’t really my type, there are some who are.

We always find things at our own pace so 10 years later, here we are. The irony of it all??? Super Junior is my favorite Kpop group. While Super Junior is still relevant, I feel that the newer groups like EXO and BTS are more current and growing in fan size.

Disclaimer: I’m not into the girl groups (yet, I think) but my sister is. She will hopefully do a post on that soon.

Kpop is usually bright and lively, the dance moves are killer, their makeup and fashion are always flawless, and no, you should not be envious of their ‘perfection’ because take away their makeup and clothes – and video filters – and they are no different from you and me. I feel like this is important to say because my sister and I had a discussion about this.

If we were younger, their ‘perfection’ would have no doubt influenced us in some ways and it might have been something we would have wanted to achieve or have. Knowing what we know now, we can watch these videos and look at them without feeling like they are some unattainable creatures of perfection.

Oh yeah, this post isn’t just about Kpop. I am rather – no, very – fond of ballads and the ballads I’ve discovered have been extremely pleasing.

1. Super Junior

Our favorite songs right now are Magic and Devil from their 10th anniversary album. Magic is the song that successfully reeled us in. There are 10 – or was it 11 – members altogether (I found a picture where there are 15 guys, I have no idea why) and it takes a while to distinguish between some of them but you’ll figure it out. Because they have to complete their military duty, you’ll notice that some of them are missing during different years.

I still have to wade through their previous albums to find songs I like. We’ll get there.

Someone saved me the trouble of getting screenshots from the Magic music video.

I think this is their promotional poster for Magic. I’ll name them for you to save you the trouble of Googling for a specific one if you happen to be like: oh, that one’s cute. AHAHA.

From left to right:

Row 1: EunHyuk, RyeoWook, KyuHyun

Row 2: KangIn, SiWon, DongHae

Row 3: HeeChul, LeeTeuk, YeSung (MY FAVORITE)

And this is just another picture from the music video.

The original music video was meh since there were scenes I found dull. I much prefer to watch the dance version. It’s not so much that their vocals are great, more like they make fun pop music and music videos.

2. Chen (from EXO)

Everybody loves EXO – your neighbor, your friends, the store clerk at FoodMaxx, the person sitting beside you on the plane, that girl you don’t know, you get the drift. They are huge right now and there are also 10 of them. I watched some of their music videos today and they were not to my taste.

Chen is a member of EXO and his voice is decent. His solo work is good. He’s NOT 15.

Chen’s double eyelid game is strong.

3. JunggiGo

JunggiGo leans more towards R&B/soul, which after Chemistry, I appreciate more and more. He’s only becoming popular now so he needs to sing more. My sister introduced me to his music and now I love it.His trench coat game is extremely strong. If you didn’t already know, Koreans have this thing for trench coats and until I find someone who wears it better, JunggiGo is the winner.

He’s also kind of cute, behavior and expression-wise. Shhhhhhhh!!!

4. 4men

Okay, these are the oldest guys out of everyone I’ve talked about and they are the real deal because they can sing the real-est. Their music genre is R&B/ballad.

My mom discovered them first and because our taste in music is similar, I naturally started listening to their music.

Thank you for your undivided attention. This was fun to write about. I hope you find something you like. If you’re already into Korean music, I’d appreciate any recommendations.

I’m sorry this post isn’t as thorough as I wanted it to be. I’m struggling to balance everything on my plate. PRIORITIES.

But first, not coffee, but Super Junior. See you at KCon 2017.

Raine
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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):

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sb-ny4

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.

Mindfulness.

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.

Raine
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Being sisters in college: annoying things

All my sister and I ever wanted was to go to school together. And bam, now we are. We’re a couple of years apart in age so we only got to ‘go to school together’ for two years in elementary school and another year in high school. By that, I mean we were in different grades but the same school.

What I never imagined was to receive so many strange remarks or witness strange behavior from people upon hearing that we are sisters. I would even go so far to say that some behavior we have been shown is discrimination.

Here are some examples of annoying things (ranging from mildly annoying to very annoying) that people do or say to us. Also take this as a guide of what NOT to say to sisters.

Category 1: Not seeing the similarities.

“So you’re relatives? Cousins?”

Apparently we don’t look alike to some people.

“I thought you were best friends.”

Apparently we look like friends.

“You’re sisters?”

Ditto.

These first 3 aren’t too bad since most of the time they’re harmless comments.

“I looked at the name list and wondered why there were two of the same names!”

Gee, I don’t know, maybe because our names AREN’T the same and you’re only looking at the first half of our names. Our names are actually quite unique so the logical conclusion would be that there are TWO of us and we’re related.

Category 2: Not seeing the differences.

“You and your sister have the same name.”

Because that’s what parents do. They name all their children the same name because they enjoy being amused when all the kids answer to one name.

Dad: “JOHN!”

And five kids (boys and girls) come rushing into the living room.

Dad: “Which of you broke the TV?”

All the kids: “JOHN DID.”

Now the parents are going to have a good time figuring which kid broke it because OOPS they gave all 5 of their kids the same name.

“Oh, you’re the twins!”

No? After twice from the same person, this comment gets old really fast.

“You look so alike, I can’t tell the difference!” (after seeing us more than twice)

I call bullshit on that because even identical twins have slight differences and guess what, we are not identical twins.

“Oh okay, whatever, I just know you two as twins.”

Thanks for your display of ignorance. I now know who to not waste my time on.

“You even eat the same food.”

Why? Is it that strange? My sister and I grew up on our mom’s cooking and as a family we ate out together at the same places so is it that strange to acquire the same liking towards certain types of food?

“Where is your sister?”

When only one of us shows up. Said in different tones, this can either be harmless or annoying. Annoying when they give you that ‘WHY is only one of you here? WHY?’. I don’t know, do identical twins go everywhere and do everything together? Oh wait, we’re not identical twins!

Assortment of other strange things:

The ‘who is older’ game.

This is fun because hearing people’s answers are in and of itself a sociological experiment.

Example of answers – #1: ‘you (my sister) because you’re taller’. Gee, that was an intelligent and totally accurate guess because HEIGHT is a valid way to estimate someone’s age.

#2: ‘you (me) because you have a more mature look’. One of the most interesting answers yet. Acceptable too.

Placing us on opposite ends of the classroom for a test.

You know, in case we wink, wink, nudge, nudge. We can totally send each other code through brainwaves.

Giving us strange looks when we happened to get the same score on a test.

Because we can really totally send each other messages in the form of brainwaves. I don’t think the same look would be given if a pair of friends got the same score on a test.

Giving us things (eg. test papers, envelopes, packages) and asking us to sort it out between the two of us because apparently people cannot be bothered to learn who is who.

Like, here you go, I can’t tell who is who.

??? Really?

Telling us that we should do our presentations on different days.

Reason: because there will be more variety.

I’m sorry, MORE VARIETY? HOW?

Apparently because we sit together and wear the same glasses. If that makes sense to you, raise your hand.

People actually think that my sister and I will make a presentation that will be SO alike in nature that the whole presentation time will lack ‘variety’.

Bringing us back to the identical twin thing. Even identical twins don’t have the SAME personalities, jeez.

I can bet you that people who have seen us present before know that we do NOT lack variety because we have different styles.

Having professors reply to my sister’s email thinking that she’s me.

“I already sent you an email about xxx the other day.”

Awkward moment when my sister has to explain that she’s not me. This is actually fine since somehow our name shows up as the same in our emails. We do sign off differently though so…

Staring at us questioningly when we insist that sharing one drink is fine.

I don’t know why people don’t bat an eyelid when friends share food and drinks but look at us as if we’ve done something completely out of this world when we share food and drinks.

I don’t get it.

Making comments like ‘it’s so cute that you wore matching hoodies’ with an underlying mocking tone as if to suggest that we’re lame to dress the same.

When we heard this, we looked at each other’s hoodie and were like wtf? Because we didn’t even realize that we were wearing the same color. So yeah. We did NOT come to school matchy matchy but if we did, so what?

People do that with their BESTIES and it’s fine.

Basically people give us strange looks and make strange comments about us for doing or saying things but wouldn’t to a pair of friends.

I wrote this meaning to sound light-hearted but reading back, it’s dripping with sarcasm. Haha. Oh well.

Have you gone to school with a sibling before? Any interesting sibling stories to share?

Raine
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