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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Shawol forever

I take back what I said about Shinee not being close as a group. I have watched enough of their interactions to say that they are, undoubtedly, close. And yes, I have a favorite. Taemin forever because I’m secretly still 16 at heart. And turtlenecks on Taemin forever.

Other members: Proud mama JongHyun when talking about/watching Taemin perform, kind-hearted flaming charisma Minho, dork tofu leader Onew, and fierce dancer/fashionista + say-it-like-it-is Key. I will go to a SHINee World concert after I go to my first Super Show whenever that may be lol.

Here are some of my favorite songs:

Don’t Let Me Go – SHINee

Favorite song right now. I’ve been listening to this a lot.

Feel Good and 1 of 1 – SHINee

Winter Wonderland – SHINee

Your Number – SHINee

The song that started it all. This is one of the first few SHINee videos that I watched and thought, ‘this is pretty good’.

Enjoy their fab dancing, especially Key’s.

Raine
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Still GOT7 week

I wanted to write about my week and tidbits on what has been happening on this end lately but I’ve calmed down a bit so I’ll turn this post into another GOT7 appreciation post. Hooray!

I love Jackson and JB but right now I love Jinyoung. He’s good-looking and I like his voice *_* He dresses well but I think he looks better dressed down… that’s just me though.

What about the others? Youngjae is so adorable, especially when he tries to mimic Mark or Jackson’s English. He’s like a sea otter, I have no idea why. BamBam seems like the mild type and he balances out the AmeriThaiKong (Mark, BamBam, Jackson) part of the group so well. Mark is unexpectedly quiet and easygoing, and it’s hard to tell that he’s the oldest.

It’s interesting to see every KPop group’s maknae (the youngest member) because you never know what kind of maknae they are until you watch their videos. Poor Yugyeom, the maknae, gets pranked too many times for their hidden camera episodes but I think he’s definitely got a bit of the evil maknae side haha.

I LOVE the mini episodes that they film for each album release. I’ve jumped here and there and I’m currently watching Real GOT7 season 2 but I’ve watched all the GOT7ing episodes. I tried to pace myself – 1 video on day 1, the rest of the videos on day 2. Pretty good, right?

Observations: these guys can eat A LOT. And they need to stop showing us all the delicious food they eat in all these episodes.

I love ‘A’ and the fact that this is the first GOT7 song my sister listened to.

You’ve probably seen enough ‘If You Do’ in the last post but I haven’t seen this one so here it is. This is eyeliner version.

Love the song and the video. Dorks.

So fun to see them relaxed/horsing around in their dorm (I think). I feel like the saying ‘boys will be boys’ fits this video.

The dance at the chorus and the baseball concept got me hooked.

Bonus:

GOT7 at a Korean BBQ where you can see firsthand the boys eating a lot! The first 1/3 of the video is Jinson (Jackson + Jinyoung) arguing over Jinyoung’s never-ending complaints about Jackson only taking BamBam out for meat lolol. But then they finally eat meat together here so hopefully all is well now.

And that is all. I’m craving Korean BBQ now.

Raine
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SHINee and GOT7 week (I realize that’s a lot of capitalization)

It’s only been ONE month since I fell head over heels for Big Bang (TAEYANG IS MY EVERYTHING). I have spent a lot of time listening to their MADE album from start to finish and even though I previously didn’t like Zutter, I have ended up listening to it anyway. There have been more discoveries lately so here’s a post about that.

But first, I have something to say. I read a blog (I think) where two people were ‘reviewing’ the members of Big Bang and they were absolutely tactless and ruthless in attacking TaeYang’s looks and character. It was painful to read, mostly because I felt sorry for the authors. I hope for their sake that their thinking matures and they see how unnecessarily mean they were.

Somehow that’s an awkward paragraph to transition from but I’m going to try my best to mention female groups in this paragraph. If you couldn’t tell, I’m the one who digs for male groups while my sister is all about the girl groups. She has been trying to get me to watch some videos but I think my problem with female groups is my preconceived ideas of what they have to offer. So it’s on me to get over that and just try watching their videos.

Anyway, I found this video below and that’s how I’m listening to most of Taeyang’s Rise album. I thought I only liked Stay With Me and Ringa Linga (please check out the dance practice video which is the most music-video-like dance practice video ever) but Taeyang’s live performances have won me ovvver.

Omg, the way Taeyang twists the mic stand at 0:52. Part of the basis for this post was writing about the small yet oddly significant things Taeyang does during his live performances. Like the way he likes to tuck the hem of his shirt very slightly into his jeans and his signature poses. In the words of a 21st century teenager, Stahp, I can’t even. His harmonization is always on point and can we just stop to appreciate his cute swag factor?

Taeyang can sing and even though his hair styles are always questionable, he’s got a heart of gold and is probably as sweet and humble as his members say he is.

So who’s first on the new favorites list? Shinee!!! It’s stylized as SHINee but let’s just go with non-capitalized in this post.

shinee-the-saem-eco-soul-bb-cream-2015

L to R: Onew, Taemin, Jonghyun, Minho, Key

Here is what we’ve been listening to/watching:

1 of 1 is off their newest album which is 90s-inspired. Their fashion is A+, also something I don’t think I could ever pull off but props to their stylists for letting them rock ugly turtlenecks, leather vests, and classic denim.

I’m surprised that we have become Shinee fans because when a friend said she loves them, I was like, yeah okay they’re not bad. The one who didn’t want to watch ‘View’ with me – cough my sister cough – is now the bigger fan. Shinee is fun to watch onstage but as a group, they’re not very close and don’t mesh well so their interviews can be dull and awkward. I find it a shame that they’re not close but I guess there are reasons for that?

Next up: GOT7. I’m the only one on the IGOT7 boat right now but I’m having so much fun. I watched them on various entertainment programs like Weekly Idol then I watched their interviews before I started listening to their music. I like their personalities, that’s why I ventured into their music.

got7-1

L to R: Yugyeom, JB, Jackson, Jinyoung, Mark, Bambam, Youngjae

ALSO CAN YOU SEE THE HAIR ON THEIR LEGS?!!!!! Never seen before (at least, for me) – body hair on male KPop idols. That’s what I wanna see.

JB comes across as a responsible but caring leader, like Teuk. The difference is JB can sing (sorry Teukie, you’re a wonderful DJ and MC with your silky voice but your singing is like umm, hahaha). YoungJae has a nice voice, too. There’s never a dull moment where Jackson is involved and the others seem decent. I think it’s great that they are a multinational group yet they function so well and seem close to one another.

Look at how dorky they are. I want to see Super Junior have a pajama dance party like this too. And just for extra measure, here is a video of them dancing to ‘If You Do’ at 2x speed on Weekly Idol:

Oh, and a fun fact I discovered today while looking up GOT7 member profiles is that only ONE of the members is older than me. That tickled me. Ahh, I can call them kids, right? Stay humble, kids.

As for BTS or Bangtan Boys (I had no idea they were the same), if you’ve been reading my tweets, I have dipped my toe in the water but I’m not convinced. I watched them on Weekly Idol out of curiosity and the member who stood out the most to me was Suga. Call it instinct or whatever you like; I can recognize my kind when I see them. And that is all I will say about this.

ENJOY!!! And yes, this blog has been taken over completely by Korean music fans.

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Awkward Encounters: the apartment on the second floor

You know the basketball player I successfully had a conversation with last semester? I meant to wish him good luck in his future endeavors since he was graduating at the end of the semester. Well, as it happened, I only ran into him once and I was in a rush so I simply and breezily said hi to him. He said hi to me and that was it.

I went home for summer and he graduated. Summer went by and basketball season seemed like years ago.

Two weeks after returning to our apartment, we were outside one day giving the car interior a quick antibacterial spray. We heard someone’s door opening and closing then two people talking.

We are, um, rather antisocial neighbors so we try not to bump into anyone but if we’re forced to, we’ll just exchange greetings.

I looked up and saw that there were two people coming down the stairs from the apartment opposite ours. My eyes couldn’t believe who I was seeing but yes, it’s true. It was him – the basketball player. I mean, our new neighbor. He was with his girlfriend.

My eyes couldn’t believe it but my reflexes were quicker.

“OH MY GOD, IT’S HIM!” I think I whispered to my sister.

“WHO?” She tried to look over her shoulder.

“GET IN!” I dove into the backseat and pretended to be busy digging for something.

We both were lying across the seats and had our legs flailing outside the car (obvious dramatization) but better than an awkward situation where we meet each other’s gazes and he recognizes us and is like, wth??? No, no, no.

So yes, hello, new neighbor, how bizarre.

He spotted us last week. He seemed confused and surprised and probably doesn’t believe that it’s us. Same. Well, I’m over my reluctance to run into him but still, the initial surprise lingers because how the heck is the world so small?

Not sure if we’ll see him at this season’s games as an audience member but until then…

He has a small dog and lets the little thing run around and does its business on the grass between the apartments. First off, that’s not considerate and second, THE SMELL!!!

Maybe we need to have a word soon.

Raine
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People you may know

Good evening, it was a long day at school today what with dealing with adult bullies and listening to lots of racial micro aggression (ooh, I found this and it’s so accurate to the point of making me want to punch something) during the Q&A session at a cultural presentation. Yes, it was a day of trying to hold back frustration and anger towards insecure cowards and insensitive jerks.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is dedicated to all my blogging friends who have quit blogging. Yesterday marked the day the last person on my ‘favorite bloggers’ sidebar quit blogging. Mallory, Britt, Bailey, Heather, and finally now, Victoria.

It’s a bit sad but at the same time I think these ladies have thought things through and I support their decision wholeheartedly. I, myself, have had countless ‘maybe I should stop blogging’ or ‘blogging is getting stressful’ thoughts.

I’m so immensely glad that I found these ladies even though I’ve never met them in real life before and talking about internet friends is always weird but I loved their blogs, they keep it real all the time and I feel like they would be really lovely people to be friends with in real life.

I’ve had internet friends on Neopets and MapleStory before but sadly, that happened at a time when Twitter wasn’t used often and ways to keep in touch with those people wasn’t something I thought about. Sometimes when I think about those people, I wish I’d done something to keep in touch with them. No, I don’t remember their names/don’t think I even know their full names. I have Tumblr friends now though, mostly people who share the same anime/manga interests as me.

After reading Victoria’s well-written and perfectly-put blog post, I realized that some parts of what she said resonated with me.

I have lost track of the number of times I have used the phrase or variants of the phrase: I’ll be blogging regularly very soon or This blog is not dead yet, don’t worry. When in truth, I really didn’t have much motivation to fire up the blog and post content regularly. I’m also, if you haven’t noticed, a blogger with no specific direction… I suppose they now call it ‘no niche’ or ‘lack of branding’. I’ve never liked the ‘branding’ or ‘niche’ bus. First off, it’s hard for me to think of myself as an ‘expert in my niche’ because I’m multi-passionate, how does one think of one’s self as an ‘expert’ and what makes anyone an ‘expert’ at anything anyway? Second, I just blog about whatever I feel like writing about, like a diary… which is what I thought blogs were originally meant for. For a while, I tried to stick our blog into a box and write for an audience – um, yeah, non-existent one – but that failed quickly and just stressed me out because I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t (cue Mulan soundtrack). I was just fooling myself when I thought I could actually make something out of this blog. After all, this blog – which was and is still a very generous gift from our mom who pays for hosting and other blog-related stuff that until today I still have no idea about – started out as a place where we posted 1 million pictures of bands we liked at those specific points in time. Yeah… (See what I mean with this oddly irregular-length paragraph that would make SEO experts scream? I promise I tried to break the paragraph up but it didn’t seem right.)

But, like Victoria said, I’m not who I was when I started this blog with my sister. At the core, I don’t think people change that much but people do change – likes, dislikes, styles, small yet significant things like that. When I started this blog, I was a high school freshman (at least, that’s how old I was in US school terms lol). This blog turns 8 this month!! Crazy!!! It’s been a really long time and so much has happened, so much has shaped who I am today. This blog’s flow has changed with the times and oh, how nostalgic it gets when I scroll back and look at posts from previous years. This blog is in many ways is a reflection of the process of growing up which is both cool and awkward at the same time. I’m content with the way our blog is now. I’m just writing whenever and whatever I feel like. I can also tell you honestly that not having an audience or getting comments or ‘being popular’ doesn’t bother me. That shiz doesn’t suit me anyway. Wait for my post on not having any friends (though when I usually say ‘wait for this or that post, I overthink or abandon it quickly so we’ll see).

A memoir is a good idea though who knows if it will ever be complete… I’ve tried to start one a dozen times but the most I’ve gotten is maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs then it all goes downhill from there because my emotions and thoughts go all over the place and I can’t focus on the direction I plan on going.

Anyway, I just want to tell my ex-blogging friends: keep on keeping on and staying true to yourself, and thanks for acknowledging the existence of this awkward potato.

Thanks for reading (probably just Google bots, if I really think about it).

Also, the post title is totally a RyeoWook song title because RyeoWook just left for his mandatory military service. We’ll wait for you, Wookie.

Raine
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Rediscovering myself

On a whim, I decided to dig for posts I wrote back in 2014 in hopes of finding something that would tell me when and how I started getting anxiety. What I found instead warmed me inside out. I found that in the periods of time when I was down, I often had nuggets of wisdom for myself. Reading those old posts, I was reminded of things – good things – about myself that I had forgotten.

It’s just that in this past year or so I’ve been using this blog as an avenue to let out all my anxieties and frustrations. Writing is my way of dealing with my emotions and while it has really helped to write what I’m feeling, in the process, I have forgotten to write happy things too. Life really is a rollercoaster but I’ve only been writing about the dips, not the peaks.

Perhaps I have played a role in feeding my negative emotions like I read in the book I bought my sister.

Sure, things are different now than two years ago, my anxieties are different now than two years ago, but things are always changing and I need to learn to go with the flow. I need to move forwards, nurture my likes, stop nurturing my dislikes, let my feelings come and go, take things one step at a time, remember that I am not alone in my worries.

After all, the only person who can help me the most is myself.

Here are some of my favorite posts (and also as a reminder to myself that I am capable of good, funny posts): 1 , 23 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10

Happy Sunday~

Raine
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