Why give credit when you don’t need to… right?

In Asia, it’s always something like this:

Person A: Hey, can I borrow “object”?

You: Sure! (hands over object)

Person B to Person A: Hey, can I look at that?

Person A: Sure! (hands over object)

Person C to Person B: Can I see?

And on it goes.

This happened to me that day. I had to put up my hand because the teacher asked the person with full marks on the last part of the paper to do so. And suddenly, this little old hermit was a celebrity (for approximately three minutes). Everyone wanted to take a look at my paper. The above conversation happened between me and some girl who hardly speaks to me.

Sure, I said, ignoring the wary feeling in my stomach and assuming the best out of everyone even though this bullsh** has happened to me countless times.

She looks at it. The boy beside her peers over and looks at it.

“Holy sh**, that’s some long scripture right there,” he says with a big grin. He pulls out his phone and starts snapping pictures of my paper.

Again, I assume the best of everyone and think that he’s just going to keep those pictures for himself. After a while, it occurs to me that he might post it on the class group chat. (Yes, class group chats are common in [this part of] Asia because the teacher enjoys reading foul language posted at 2am and occasionally joins in on all the ‘fun’.)

Sure enough, he did exactly that, captioning the pictures with “Holy scripture”. A slew of ‘wows’ from my classmates follow.

I tried not to be annoyed. I really did try. But as an artist, I’ve read plenty of articles about copyright issues and seen many artists get depressed about copied artwork. As a person, I’ve seen plenty of my friends as well as relatives claim credit for something that they have never done before.

Some people might be all, “Why are you getting so worked up? It’s just a test paper!” But this is a general rule that applies to everything. If you want something from someone, you ask for their permission. You don’t assume in your own mind what a person will say or do and have it your way. You respect others by asking and confirming even though you think you know the answer.

I responded in the group chat by saying, “You didn’t ask before sharing.” Unsurprisingly, no one replied. The next message after that came hours later and it was some guy asking the teacher what day the final paper is on. It’s always like that. And so it goes on…

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What I like think of while working out

So if you’re like me and you suddenly realize that working out is fun and important in your life, you might wonder if you’re doing things right. One thing to make sure that you are doing things right is to be mindful. And to be mindful is to be fully aware of what you are doing. Be 100% with what you are doing. No thinking about what’s for dinner, no thinking about why the lady in the video is wearing red pants, no thinking about anything except the fact that you are working out.

If you really focus on working out, I think it’ll definitely have a great effect on what you’re aiming to achieve whether it’s health, weight loss or just some fun. Keep in mind I’m no expert and these are tips that work for me and not everyone.

  1. Keep your eyes on the goal. What is it that you want to get from working out? Fun? Muscles? Energy? Think about it. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s always good to have some goals, long-term or not. If we don’t know why we’re doing something, it’s easy to give up because of the lack of commitment. Someone recently gave me a pretty dress so I have absolutely no reason to not have a goal (lol). While I’m working out, I like to be all “Hey, don’t you want to buy a new pair of jeans!? You don’t want to look good in that shirt? What about fantastic arms?” It’s a fun bickering session, basically, but remember not to be too harsh on yourself!
  2. Posture! Very important to prevent injuries. I watched a video of how two women lost some weight and it had a lot to do with their posture. They looked so much better after losing the slouch. I’ve always been guilty of slouching so I’ve always kind of hated doing structured workouts that required me to stand or balance in a certain way. But! working out has helped me to take notice of my posture all around the clock and it has also reduced the tiredness I feel when sitting up straight.
  3. Muscles/fat. What kind of muscles do you want to build? Or how much fat do you want to lose? When I’m doing weights, I like to think about my arms and the muscles that are working. If I don’t think about them, I might just end up putting too little or too much strength in my moves and using momentum to guide what should be deliberate movements. I know I used to strain my legs too much while carrying weights. There was some soreness in my arms the next day but on that same day I worked out, I felt like I hadn’t done a lot because I was thinking of something else. I highly recommend watching any workout video for the first time with sound because sometimes the person in the video will tell you what muscles you should be feeling.
  4. Fun! If the workout doesn’t suit you, find something that does. Even better, start out with something fun like dancing and the rest of your workout will go by in a flash. For the past few months, I’ve been guilty of being angry while working out. Working out is my outlet for negative emotions but inserting those negative emotions have made my workouts quite unpleasant. Maybe it helped me finish more reps, but lots of people talk to me when I’m working out so I’m trying to make an effort these days to stop being the nastiest person on earth. And yes, doing some kind of freestyle dancing after your warmups helps to set an awesome mood!!

I originally named this post “What you should think of while working out” but it sounded wrong because it felt like I was demanding people to do something that they may or may not do, so I changed it so people wouldn’t misunderstand that I’m some expert. Better to sound self-centered than to have people read the title and be all, Lady, don’t tell me what to do!! (lol)

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Musical confessions and such

Six years ago, I fell in love with Super Junior.

Wait.

What?

Six years ago? Surely you mean six weeks ago?

A lot of things that I didn’t say in the past make me sound pretentious in the present day. I have tons of those moments. We all have those moments. When we thought what we liked was uncool but later on it became cool and then you were like, dang I could’ve started a trend!

But, I will tell you that if I had been pushed harder, “six years ago, I fell in love with Super Junior” would’ve been a fact today.

My sister’s friends were performing Sorry, Sorry for some high school event. When the song came on, I felt like dancing. And when I feel like dancing to a song, it means serious business. Those kids who were straining their necks to watch that performance? I was one of them.

I believe I tried to listen to the song after that, but it just felt too weird. Repetitive songs weren’t a big thing back then. So I mostly felt embarrassed and strange, and that was why I did not fall into the big Kpop thing that was spreading so rapidly across Asia.

Last year, when I started listening to Korean music, I only stuck to girl groups. I imagined myself liking boy bands, imagined myself cheering at some bleached blond dude on my screen and felt a chill run down my spine. It was a lonely feeling. How was I to convince my sister to like something like that? What kind of expression would my mom make? Who was I going to tell ‘oh, I just found out that cute kpop guy #1 likes spaghetti’? I faced that kind of loneliness before my sister joined in on all the anime fun and it was frustrating, not being able to make those kind of comments on impulse.

It turns out that my mom and sister continue to surprise me again and again. I have finally realized that a large part of this is caused by my own false perceptions and harsh self-judgment.

Well, it’s been only two months since I started listening to SJ’s songs. Hard to believe. All that fun makes it seem like two years. Here’s to many more months!

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Let’s talk about basketball

I always liked having something to look forward to.

In high school, I was a homework bug. When I wasn’t doing homework, I was doing other homework. Homework was my life. My motto was “Finish all your homework ASAP so that you can do whatever you want.” I was a workaholic without the job industry. When I wasn’t doing homework at school, I wished that I had something to look forward to.

Sometimes I found things to look forward to. Sometimes I didn’t. And those were long and wishful days of wistful daydreaming. I always believed that having something to look forward to would make the days pass quicker. High school was not glamorous for me, which was how I came to adopt this philosophy so strongly. Homework was an interlude when there was nothing to look forward to.

Then there came basketball. Of course I was already past those boring days of high school. I had long forgotten about my little old philosophy. College requires a different kind of focus (ie. cooking, thinking, money, life) so I wasn’t really bothered about having hobbies or having none.

We went to our first basketball game last year. Just one. It didn’t make me thirst for more. I was impressed, but I don’t know why I never thought about it after that. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. I forgot all about it. In fall, my sister suggested we go during the semester. I didn’t quite care. I had homework, the globe I evolved around. I had tests, my universe.

When the tests were done, we went. And guess what? We lost. But we agreed to go again for the next game. My sister likes basketball, we had some free time, why not? So we went. We won. We went again. Another win. And again. A loss. We kept going anyway.

At some point, — Actually, in one day (I was very aware of it at that moment), we learned all the players by heart. We knew their jersey numbers, knew their names, knew who was being swapped in and swapped out. Knowing all that, we just had to have favorites, right? Suddenly we were cheering for certain names when lineups were announced at the beginning of each game.

Soon, we were tripping down the aisles to high-five the players. My god, that was one of the wildest things ever. I remember holding my arm out, feeling nothing but the eagerness of a gambler waiting for lot numbers to be drawn. As people started shouting “great job, man” “great game” “congratulations”, I felt stupid because I forgot to smile or say anything and I was anxious to get a high-five. Who even feels anxious about stuff like that in college?!

I blabbered like an idiot all the way home. Until the season ended, we didn’t miss one high-five session. I even started joining in on the praises and stuff. I even started to wish that I could meet the players. I got excited when I saw them on campus. I read every news article on the very next day. I willingly pulled up articles about basketball to learn more about it. Soon enough, I was throwing around words like ‘turnover’ and ‘alley-oop’. I got to meet at least two of the players, thanks to my sister who has very admirable guts. I wanted to play, too, even though the single memory I have of playing sports is like dust in the ocean. As you can tell, my brain was no longer a brain but a basketball by the end of it.

But wait, that’s not the end. I started to get inspired by one of the players. I have lots to say about him. His sportsmanship was crazy. He helped opponent team players up to their feet, he refused any form of praise without crediting his team and coach first, he demonstrated great trust for his teammates on the court, and he had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve when the ball was in his hand. Watching him, I felt like I could become a great basketball player.

After basketball season ended, I didn’t really know what to do with my life. I wanted to be a basketball player and that was all I knew. Sports is not something that is easily accessible. You need teammates, you need equipment, you need a ton of practice. It also made me wish that I had participated in some sort of sport in high school. Maybe I would’ve been some star athlete?! In those moments, I felt a lot of regret and sadness but I realized that I can’t be everything. There are a lot of us who sit and work behind desks, wishing for the life of a superstar. Ultimately, we should be thankful for what we have… Somehow.. the mood has changed… so I’ll get back to my point.

Fast forward and my delusions have somewhat faded. I’m committed to a lot of hobbies so it’s unlikely that I’ll play ball any time soon. But!! One thing I can take away from this amazing experience I’ve been blessed with is my brand new love for working out. So all those crazy things that I said and did for basketball have not been wasted.

Most importantly, I saw a light, a universe beyond my world of homework. Homework is important, but there should also be fun and that is why we say: ‘Work hard and play hard’. I’m still going to cry when I get a B instead of an A in a class… but probably not as much as I used to.

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How I started exercising again

That title sure sounds gimmicky… is what you’re probably thinking.

My clarification? No dietary supplements involved!

Okay, I think I made things worse. That makes me sound like I’m trying to sell a product even more. No, no, no. This is just a story and here it is:

Early this year, I planned to become a basketball player. I’ve been writing a post about that but it never came out because I felt awkward and silly for being so obsessive about basketball. Anyway, I initially thought I would sign up for classes and play ball next semester. While I was in that moment, I thought, oh man, I gotta start preparing and get my exercise game on if I plan on getting amazing calves like that.

I was also getting influenced by Kpop. It was hard to keep in how much I wanted to break out in dances from watching a ton of live performances and I wanted to find an outlet for that. I figured that those girls were looking so good because they were dancing every day. I have always disliked doing structured workouts because I have a hard time focusing on my form so I was like, hey, why not dance?

In the end I didn’t find good dance workouts and settled for short and effective workouts because hey, I need some stamina to play ball, right? I started to enjoy those workouts after a while. I was tired but it made me feel better after a long day at school. I kept to one workout and loved how it got easier every day. After ditching all my interests and insane study-bug behaviors to become a lazy person, I finally felt like I was improving at something.

I have also been in denial about my weight. The dreaded Freshman 15? More like Freshman 20. And it was very real, no matter how many times I looked at the scale and thought, no, the numbers are wrong and went on to stuff my face with more food. When people around me started to suggest things like how fat my face looked, the reality began to sink in. Pants I used to wear didn’t fit me anymore. The funny thing is, I always thought I was exercising enough but it was disproportionate to how much I was eating.

We always focus on things that seem “wrong” in that moment but those same things become right in retrospect. I used to think I was overweight but when I look back now, I feel like I was better back then.

I’ve been eating a lot less and that has been pretty convenient for someone who hates thinking about what to eat at school. I enjoyed my walnut and granola bar moments, though getting cravings is not fun at all. I’m glad I have my sister to keep me in check. I can get pretty crazy once I start exercising (high five, dad!) so every time she starts talking to me, I’m like, okay, if I exercise crazily for an hour, it won’t go unnoticed so I should just stop. Or more like, Would you rather choose a lecture or self-control?

I’m kidding. My sister is too nice. She’s always cooking when I’m exercising and every day I feel lucky when that happens so I try to wash the dishes without any complaints.

Long story short, I don’t really want to be a basketball player anymore. This post wouldn’t be mine if I didn’t throw in a big thesis statement about my current obsession: Super Junior is currently a big part of my life so I kind of want to be a dancer now. I hope I can continue working towards losing ten more pounds or so (not extreme since that’s about how much I put on).

Stay inspired and peace out.

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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 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!

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