in motion

wow, it’s almost been a year since i last wrote in here. so many things have happened since then… the end of my everlast xc season, getting pooped on by a bird, mad rush of essay/app-writing & ensuing melodrama with mother, all culminating in an euphoric acceptance to college… wow.

it’s an exciting time, a nervewracking time. i’m trying not to have high hopes or fantasies about college, because i know college is pretty reality. there will be romance, but there will also be shameless hooking up. alcohol, sex, drugs, and… just a cloying feeling of indifference. nobody will care about me anymore; my parents, friends or teachers won’t be there to hound me or care about me. yes, i’ll make friends and meet new professors but will it be the same as the warm kis bubble? no.

i feel like my mother’s korean-motherly philosophy is broken up into stages. first stage, up until now, has been the ‘study’ phase. study hard, study consistently, keep it going, don’t relax. of course, my mom has never been the crazy stereotypical asian mother, but that’s been her subtle mantra throughout all these years. it’s not direct, but that tautens the pressure.

now that i’m accepted though… i feel a slight shift in her words. actually, more like radical. now it’s more, ‘now you’re in, find a boyfriend.’ ‘get married asap.’ ‘you should focus on looks now, men are all the same’. a tad bit strange, this sudden shift from hardcore academia to basically, shallowsville. a traditional asian female life. is that all she expects from me — just to be a normal wife and mother?

yet i can’t ignore the wisdom in her words. yes, some women are cut out to have successful, high-flying careers, cuddle with multiple lovers, live the high falutin single life. i know i’m not; that’s just not who i am. i want some lifelong companions, someone to share joy and sadness with until i grow wrinkly and snappy. but i’ll eventually have to sacrifice one for the other: family or career. i have so much i want to learn and do and see, but will that all go out the window once i get a family?

Adieu, Indonesia! (and see you soon)

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Ahh, Indonesia. Beauuutiful Indonesia. Where to start with you? Your epic cloud-streaked skies, where the sun just melts through the cracks? Your lush green-and-violet tea fields, tinted with drops of drew and mist every morning? Or just your people, who need no words at all?

Building a house, putting on bricks, moving decidedly muddy tree branches, anything, god, I just want to be back there. I want to be finishing that house, as the first and last team to ever touch that amazingly pure village. That village of people  brimming with compassion, sincerity and just heart. I mean, these villagers held nothing back from ya! All we needed was a rainstorm and a good game of frenzied, muddy chase, to get the kids to love us. All we needed was to trash our dignities (what dignity anyway?) and bawk like a chicken to get them to mob us. That simple.

And why not that simple? You didn’t need language there, no complex address or pretention to get their attention. No, all you had to do was wear your heart on your sleeve, your bare arm– and they would open right up to you. No room for shyness or embarrassment, sensitivity there! Kids would call you Erman Botak (you are bald!) at first meeting, and you would call them that right back. They would call you pretty, and you would call them that right back. You would just smile and laugh, wave and dance, and go back to work to avoid Mr. Perron’s yelling. Ahhhh…..

After being there, after eating and sleeping and living and breathing there, I can’t get used to Korea again. I actually can’t believe I was so in-sync with this life, not only the constant worry and pressure but just all the complaining we do. Just a few days ago at lunch everybody was complaining about something: What test next, what quiz tomorrow, what project due that day, and oh my god it just struck me right there and then: what am I doing here? I should still be in Indonesia!

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Yeah, I never tend to do so well with New Year’s resolutions. One of them is always somethin like ‘and I’ll follow resolutions more resolutely next year!” And it’s next year. Whoops! Ah well, as the old adage goes, better to try and fail then to never try at all!

1. Stop being so clumsy. If you’re going to lose stuff, please at least lose your own.

2. Spend more time on math. Don’t give up on those tricky problems (even though it’s probably improbable that you’ll ever truly understand those trig equations that you’ll never use in the rest of your life anyway)

3. Exercise. Don’t solely rely on cross country to keep you up and about. Don’t lavish on food, junk food and other food whatnots for 10 months and expect to be up and running by xc season.

4. Be positive. I think that’s going pretty well.

5. Don’t stress too much, realize this is a new year, a new dawn, a new…!!

This is the year where I’ll have to jump over APs, SATs, SAT iis, college apps, excessive parental attention and probably other nags. Lots of hurdles, couple of quite high ones, but I’ll take them!

2% missing

sometimes i feel really lucky to be going to an international school, and sometimes i feel like i’ve missed out. ok, a blunt contradiction there, but hear me out. yeah, korean school kids go to school all day just to stay at school for ya-ja (where students study at school til 10 pm) then to be carted off to hagwon and then to go back home and study some more. and to imagine trudging thru this hell sched ever since 7th grade. i mean, i was playing neopets at that age!

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ok, so i might have been an exception, but i rest my case: korean school kids have no time for a life. they have no time to go after hobbies, any actual interests outside of academia because they’re constantly brainwashed into thinking that academia is life itself. maybe that’s the reason why they all go on uber-crazy drunken crusades when they get to college and barely graduate. can’t blame them really either.

yet… i feel like i’ve missed out on an essential part of my ‘youthhood”, as koreans like to call it. high school may be the most infernal part of life for them, but it bonds them together. rippin on the teacher, stressing out about tests, lamenting about college and future and other whatnots, it builds such a rapport and bond between them that i’ll never know. when they grow up, they can refer to that and laugh and sigh, oh that teacher was craaaazy, man that time was a hellhole, and i’ll never know. parts like that, i think i’ll subconsciously miss the most when i’m all grown up.

M

Maybe it’s because I’m a newbie when it comes to movies, but arthouse films like ‘M’ always leave me feeling quite bedazzled at the end.

When I first saw Kang Dong-Won in the trailer for this movie, I expected a typical nostalgic Korean movie about first love. Yes, it seemed considerably darker and edgier than, let’s say, ‘My Sassy Girl’, but really, how unique could a Korean movie about first love be? But man was I surprised when I discovered that it was one of those movies. Yes, you know what I’m talking about- the intentionally ambiguous, shape-shifting movies that we call the arty-farty movies. Now I don’t mean to offend those who appreciate these type of films; I think they are  refreshing break from the stream of icky ficky boy-meet-girl movies that Korea tends to favor. But as a total movie n00b, I felt a bit…intimidated when I realized that this movie was different.

‘M’ is about an author who keeps colliding with a memory of his first love– that’s all i can do to try to describe this movie’s “story”. the pace doesn’t move chronologically but rather in hot flashes of emotion and memory, which i think is a fitting way to narrate this movie.

kang dong-won honestly surprised me in this movie. i’ve only known him to come out in hilariously awful chick flicks (which, admittedly, i watched religiously) like ‘The Temptation of the Wolves’ or ‘Magik’. but his depiction here was so raw and savage that i felt like i didn’t know him anymore, or at least, not as the pretty-boy persona he had always kept up. but imo, he was the sexiest in this movie. man, that angsty, disgruntled writer thing really works for him. rawr.

i also thought lee yeon hee was adorable as kdg’s first love. i know people say all the time how bad her acting is, but it fit perfectly for this role, this awkward, eager, but totally endearing girl in kdg’s memory.

the cinematography, of course, needs no words. the deep blue tints to everything, all the heavily saturated colors,  made me feel like i was dropped in kdg’s mind map.

i can’t honestly say i liked ‘M’; it was too ambiguous and shifty for my tastes. but in all its ambivalence, something sad touched my heart in a way that movies usually don’t; as funny as that sounds. i think i have to grow up a bit before i can fully appreciate it.

here is part 1 of the movie. it may repel you or draw you in for a long, mind-sucking ride. be prepared.

sigh

 

finals are impending upon me and i basically want to smash myself across the head for procrastinating on so many things that i could have done earlier, like this blog. why am i so weak to procrastination? why can’t i just do things on time just like everybody else thus to find pockets of peace during the day where i can just… relax? 

i mean, i even did a research paper on procrastination and know about all of its causes and motives and etc and i STILL am prone to this habit.  it’s funny how i thought that doing that research paper would make me realize that i should stop procrastinating so much; if anything i think it exacerbated it. 

agh, whatever, i’ll stop procrastinating after finals week. 

Rabbits

even though i like rabbits,  i can’t help but realize that they are very stupid. honestly, they’re cute to look at but not that very fun to play with. plus they poop everywhere. and eat that poop. some rabbits can be potty-trained, but i have never had the patience to try with my Bens in America and Canada. too bad really, maybe i woulda had some bionic bunnies by now if i had tried.

“YEOW!”

but despite their innate stupidity and fragility, bunnies have a charm that cannot be paralleled by any other household pet. i mean, they can practically trance people with that lightning-quick nose-wiggle. and they are pretty freaking cute. even if they poop in every imaginable nook and crevice of the house. but we all come with our shortcomings. 🙂

a moment

sometimes I’m hitting the bruise and I realize that this moment is significant. I don’t know how exactly it happens, but it’s as if my brain is hand-picking moments in my life that I’ll find meaningful later, and maybe help me in my coming-of-age quest to discover the meaning of life…

or maybe my brain’s just using up random blocks of memory storage for fun. 😀 hmm. 

whichever reason it is, I’m having a lot of these moment of recognizing moment moments nowadays. one that I still remember was a rare car ride with my mom after school. we were tossing random topics into the air when she suddenly turned the subject to her friend who had recently died of cancer. I knew that this friend had had cancer for a long time but I didn’t actually think that the prognosis was that serious. my mom had always kept a cheerful tone about it; that if she prayed to God that all would turn out all right.

now, even though my whole family’s pretty hard-core Christian I have to admit that I’m not very religious. I’ve always kept an open mind towards things, but I’ve drifted away from church over the past few years. 

but here was a moment where I realized how religion was amazing in a way that it allowed my mom to repress and overcome what must have been human instinct after her friend’s death: to let your emotions melt out. maybe it’s because she’s a mother and didn’t want to show her pain to me. but the way her faith allowed to let go and heal so quickly seemed miraculous and a bit eerie at the same time. i think that’s when i have the most respect for religion; when i see the comfort it gives to hurting souls.