California Lovin’

It has been two weeks since I was in the West Coast and I must say, I miss it. The weather hasn’t been particularly nice for me, especially when we drove up north, but my God, it was definitely something different from all the buildings and lack of green that can be seen in the East Coast.

Coming back, I haven’t really told my family much about my time there because there really wasn’t any. I basically ate a lot of food, saw a couple museums, drove and took a lot of silly pictures. So in lieu of words, I shall post pictures here to document my travels to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

Obligatory airplane picture.

Disneyland with the boy.

I chose the Java Cupcake (the one with the pink flower on top) and it was out of this world.

We stopped by this hat shop in Seattle mainly because Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face was on it. And the pun is awesome.

Life is Good

As of May 21, 2014, I have graduated from Rutgers University amongst a group of friends and other students. Aside from the adrenaline rush from walking up the stage and receiving a diploma that will be received 4 months from now, I have to say that my graduation sucked.

This year has been the biggest graduating class with a number of 20,000 and possibly more and what does Rutgers decide to do? Combine all of the colleges and schools together to create one big graduation. Hooray! people though. I get to graduate with all of my friends! But little did they know that the graduation would take 6+ hours.

I was up and ready around 6AM just to get ready, and then it was another hour drive to get to campus, waited another hour or so standing in a stuffy room with every other sweaty and anxious soon-to-be college graduate, and once everyone was lined up, we walked across that cold hockey stadium full of watching and proud parents and we finally were able to sit.

Then five hours would pass by with endless speeches, name calling, hand shakes, smiles, flashes and music. It was about 3PM (and they were still calling names up!) when security guards let students leave the stadium. Needless to say, that event left me angry, tired and hungry.

Other than that, I would say I’m doing well for myself. I have started to slowly adjust to  a “real person” lifestyle by finding a temporary paying job which requires me to commute an hour both ways, costing me $35 round trip. That’s a little more than half my day’s salary!

Life is good, you know? I have a family who loves and supports me, I have a boyfriend who I know has my back, I have a cat to whom I’m allergic and who tries to bite my hand, and that’s all I can really ask and thank God for. It’s the little things in life to which I look forward.

xx

Why I Love “The Mindy Project”

I come from a pretty traditional Chinese background with parents who wish a better future upon their children and have them work hard for it. My background is also pretty traditional when it comes to talking about life, love and romance, relationships, and sex. I’m going to start off by saying that I’m the oldest daughter in a family of four and I am older than my sister by two years.

Back in sixth grade, there was a program called “Family Life” and it’s where the teachers split themselves and the students in to two groups, male and female. In order for students to join this program, your parents had to sign a permission slip letting you be a part of it. I told my parents what the program was about and my mom thought that I was way too young to learn about periods, sex and boys.

So I went back to the teacher, told her I couldn’t join the program and when the day of the program came, I saw that I was the only one who wasn’t allowed to be a part of it. The teacher sent me to the library to work on a health workbook. When I went home, I told my mom that I was the only one sitting in the library and my mom gave in. The next day, I was sitting next to my best friend in a crowded classroom and laughing about how one of the teachers got sweaty before even talking about the subject.

Fast forward to now, I come across “The Mindy Project” which is a show by Mindy Kaling and it follows the story of an Indian-American woman, Mindy Lahiri, living in New York City and trying to find that one true love. On the outside, it looks like a regular girly romance TV show, but it isn’t. “The Mindy Project” is utterly and beautifully honest about the things my mom never taught me.

When it comes to romantic relationships, I was always waiting around for “the one”, as corny and cheesy as it sounds. I had the expectations of this guy being someone like Prince Charming from those Disney Princess movies and I never realized, up until watching “The Mindy Project”, that it’s stupid to wait. In the latest season finale of the show — spoilers ahead! —Mindy and Danny had to work through countless relationships to realize that they are right for each other. Finding a significant other is a process of trial and error through other relationships where you learn more about yourself and create standards that someone will hopefully meet.

Sex was also another elephant topic between my family. Just recently, I had to gather up the courage to tell my mom — me, a 21 year old — that I was going to make an appointment with a gynecologist because something was wrong with my menstrual cycle. Leading up to that conversation, I was worried and afraid that my mom would judge me and assume things that I didn’t do.

The only exposure I had to sex was from the media and those YA novels. Women are taught that if they have too much sex, they’re considered whores and sluts. What the hell is “too much sex” anyways? There are romance novels written where the female protagonist is waiting for the one and that the first time you lose your virginity, it is going to be special, but it isn’t.

Reading and hearing other people’s life experiences, as well as watching “The Mindy Project”, the first time you have sex isn’t going to be all that romantic. If you and your partner are both virgins, then it is going to be awkward and I think that’s what makes it special. Having sex isn’t something that should be done to get it over with or to make you fit in with your peers. It should be an intimate moment with you and your significant other that you trust. If things get weird and awkward, let it be weird and awkward.

Another point that I love about “The Mindy Project” is that Mindy Lahiri is a strong female protagonist who finds the time to search for romance as well as keep a steady job as an OBGYN. There are a lot of portrayals of women where it depicts women as the perfect housewife while the husband is the breadwinner. This rings especially true for me because I’ve had relatives ask me why I was still in college and why I haven’t found a rich guy to marry yet.

As far as I know, they could be joking or they could be serious about their questions, but I know that I don’t want to give up my education just to find some man who is going to treat me like his trophy wife. I want to be able to support myself with my own college degree, with my own job experiences, with my own money if something does (hopefully it won’t) go awry in the relationship.

"The Mindy Project" is such a wonderful show that isn’t afraid to break the standards of women today. Mindy Lahiri is most of the things men want women to be but she takes it to a whole new level. Mindy makes sure that she is in control of her own life, her own choices and her own body.

Oleg Oprisco

I recently came across this photographer who uses only film photography and creates fairy tale-like images. If you look at his photographs, they’re absolutely amazing and breathtaking and I aspire to create something as beautiful one day.

image

I can barely even call myself an amateur photographer, and I think most people try to call themselves a photographer nowadays with the easy access to cameras, especially DSLR ones. They snap a few photos, tweak a little here, tweak a little there, and they call themselves photographers.

image

But I want to step away from all that and try to learn as much as I could about photography and create as something as beautiful as Oprisco’s art.

image

To view more of his works, visit his website.

On Beauty

I remember talking last semester to this Egyptian girl who wore a head veil and I asked her why she wore one because it always puzzled me. Her response was that she wore it not because she was forced to but because it was a her choice and it showed the relationship between her and God. She went on to explain that a lot of women choose to wear a head veil, whether it be a hijab, a burqa, etc., because women want to be seen not by their feminine beauty but by their other values such as their intelligence or their strength. Up until that point, I completely thought that women were forced to wear a head veil as a sign of oppression by men.

Which leads me to my next point.

I was in women’s group today and we were talking about three chapters (beauty, modesty and impurity) of A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. What we were able to get out of these three chapters were that inner beauty is what counts the most, but we tend to forget that in today’s modern society. I see sentences like “you’re beautiful” everywhere from Facebook to post-its stuck on a girl’s mirror. Women today have the tendency to believe they are beautiful, but I think that the beauty they are referring to and thinking about is molded by the society.

Today’s standards of beauty portray women to be thin and preferably have blue eyes and blonde hair. That is the ideal woman. And yes, standards of beauty has evolved over the years, but the point I’m trying to get at is timeless. What I have stated above—the points of “beauty”—are only appearances. What about inner beauty? Doesn’t that get to have a say in what makes a person beautiful, too?

Sometimes it irks me so much to see a woman to believe the phrase “you’re beautiful” but in the blink of an eye, in the turn of her head, she is ready to judge another woman’s appearance, whether it be her clothes or her hair or anything else.

I’ve been the subject of a mild form of bullying when it comes to beauty. I’ve dealt with it internally and externally. Internally, I beat myself up over the fact that my face isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be. Ever since sophomore year of high school, puberty has hit me hard and I grew pimples all over the place; add the fact that I have no self control and what I get are scars on my face and they are still not gone.

Externally, I remember this one instance where this girl, L, had a bright red pimple on the middle of her forehead and some of her friends jokingly made fun of her for it. When I went with L to get some breakfast for the group, I tried to console her by saying that it’s okay, look at my face. Basically, I made fun of myself to make her feel better. And what do I get in return? She says something along the lines of “oh, but you have a lot more, so it’s okay. My face is a lot more clear so of course it’s very visible.”

Was I butthurt? At the time, no. But after a week or so and thinking back about it, I got very angry. I was upset that I took that blow without even realizing it was an insult. I was upset that I wasn’t able to say something back to her, to defend myself. Now, I honestly have no idea why I was so revved up about her comment. Maybe it’s because I’m more mature than I was in my freshman year of college, but I am starting to care less about what I look like on the outside and more about how I’m like on the inside.

What I’m trying to say is that while I do understand that society is emphasizing more on outer beauty, more steps should be taken towards promoting inner beauty.

Goodbye, Rutgers

As I keep looking at my calendar, I keep reminding myself that I have at least 3 weeks left of school (maybe even less). It’s a nice surprise, really. I can’t believe I’m finally graduating and entering a new stage in my life.

When I tell people I’m graduating, the usual responses are “Are you ready?” or “Are you excited?” Heck yeah, I’m excited! I’m more than excited. I feel like seniors I asked last year if they’re ready to graduate, most of them feel that pang of nostalgia where they’re afraid to let go of the laid-back atmosphere college has, and some even went on to graduate school to try to maintain that atmosphere (and get their masters). But I’m completely ready to work. I don’t want to have to deal with professors and homework anymore, though it’ll probably be the same when I land myself a job.

I remember when I started college back at Boston University, I went in as a biology major. Heh. I took chemistry 101 and I completely thought “oh my goodness, I can’t do this for the rest of my life.” My mom blames it on my laziness and the lack of effort of not trying, but I say that I found out that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. The more I got to know myself, the more I realized that I really love to read and to write, so I decided to major in English and honestly, I haven’t regretted or looked back since.

Although one question I always get from people when I tell them I’m an English major always irks me: “Do you want to become a teacher?” No. I don’t.

In any case, I’m doing what I love and I hope to convert that love to something that can someday help the world. I know I’m just a small being compared to this massive universe, but I believe that with one person can change the world’s outlook. Although, the problem with this is I have to believe that everyone else thinks that way, but I’m an optimist, so I’ll just keep believing that.

And with that, it’s time for me to get ready for class.

Happy spring!

xx