Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

5th Mar 2014

And My Life is but a Coin, Pulled From an Empty Pocket; Dropped Into a Slot with Dreams of Sevens Close Behind*

Well I finally did it; I moved to LA!!! I know for many, that will come as a shock since I’ve been talking about wanting to move back to Chicago for a while now. But. This just feels right and it I know that if I don’t do this now, I’ll always think about what it would’ve been like if I had lived in LA even for just a little bit. I may decide that I hate it and that I still want to go back to Chicago, but it’s also nice knowing I can make that decision right now without being tied down by anything–mortgage, guy, family, etc.

For anyone that isn’t familiar with this Avett Brother’s song, here’s the just of it:

Life’s a gamble; one can only try to live it the best one feels one should. One can try to look to the higher powers in a time of need, but at the end of the day, one needs to know that one has lived a fulfilling life. As long as one lives this way, one won’t be afraid to die.

So I did it. LA it is. Well technically Santa Monica, but same thing. It’s funny though–I’ve actually been home in the Bay more than when I was living up here. I blame SF Ballet tickets that I had already purchased before deciding to move, but that sounds like an excuse.

2013 was pretty nuts. 12 festivals. Wow. So I decided to go with a completely different route this year. Instead of spending all that money on tickets and traveling for festivals, I’m going to spend it on dance classes. It’s pretty ambitious, but I’m trying to dance five days a week (three ballet, one modern, one traditional Chinese). One other thing to note is that while the LA Ballet doesn’t even come close to the quality of the SF Ballet, the ballet/dance classes down in LA are SO much more intense than in the Bay. My goal is still getting to pointe, but it will take a lot of work to get there at my age. Also planning on moving the barre my dad made for me down to LA next weekend!

Ballets seen so far (reviews to follow):

  • Giselle (SF Ballet, Maria Kochetkova)
  • The Sleeping Beauty (Ballet West, Salt Lake City, Beckanne Sisk, Christopher Sellars)
  • Program 3: The Kingdom of the Shades (La Bayadère, Act II), Ghosts, and Firebird (SF Ballet, Maria Kochetkova, Yuan Yuan Tan, Vitor Luiz, James Sofranko)

So I guess I’m just gonna do my thing and see where this all takes me. Why not? :)

*The Avett Brothers – “Once And Future Carpenter”

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7th Oct 2012

And Suddenly a Light Appears Inside My Brain. And I Think of My Ways, I Think of My Days, And Know That I Have Changed*

Looking back, every one if the past few years since I’ve started college has really been defined by a phase. Sometimes the phases span more than one year, but every section was still really definitive.

Freshman year was a time of really realizing the friendships I wanted to make and keep. The majority of the people I knew then no longer exist in my life, but a lot of the current close friendships came from that time. Funny how that works out. It was just not the crowd I wanted to be associated with; a lot of it reminded me of what I thought I was comfortable with in high school. And then BAM! I realized this was college in a brand new state. There was no one from my high school and I could really choose and figure out the friendships I really wanted to make. A lot of what you do in freshman year really does end up defining what your college experience is. I mainly found my roommates. :)

Second semester of freshman year was my first exposure to Illini Pride (student cheering sections for all varsity sports teams) in the form of Orange Krush (men’s basketball cheering section). And wow. I would never take back any of the countless hours I have devoted to being on the Illini Pride Executive Board and the countless hours spent at sporting events. When I earned my spot on the board starting sophomore year, it completely changed the lifestyle and friendships I had (aside from my roommates, who became a constant throughout the four years).

All my friends from freshman year were Asian. Meaning that I really only interacted with, at maximum, 16% of the Illinois community! 16%! It’s amazing to think about how much joining Illini Pride really opened my eyes to the world outside of what I had always known. My high school was by no means “Asian,” but we were still 40% Asian. For a lot of my Illinois friends, they had either no Asians or only a couple in their entire schools. This is untrue of some of the suburbs (Niles, Naperville, Oakbrook, etc.), but they still had much lower percentages than my area in Northern California.

Junior year/2008 was my favorite year. I knew the most people on campus during this time, my good friends were super seniors, and it was our Rose Bowl year! Penn St, Wisconsin, at #1 Ohio St for the Block I (football cheering section) annual road trip.

Senior year was difficult at times. I started traveling a lot more from accruing so many miles throughout my years at Illinois and having my car at school. So I was always either in Chicago, Berkeley, SD, or LA, which made it hard to enjoy college since I was so impatient about transitioning into post-college life. I do regret not having cherished that time as I should have, but at least I did made a resolve to spend more time on campus during the second half of spring semester.

After college was a little crazy. I wasn’t ready to move back to California yet, I wanted to experience living in Chicago, but I also didn’t want to find myself “stuck” in Illinois. I LOVE Illinois, but I’ve always known it’s not where I would eventually want to settle down. And so I started off with the Naperville downtown Apple Store opening. I thought after that for a little bit, I would move home and put my finance degree to good use. Somehow I ended up as a manager for Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch Co.) and lived in Chicago for almost two years. That also almost took me to a two year stint in Hong Kong for Abercrombie, which didn’t work out, but, I did find my best friend there!

I ended up moving home and landing my current job. The hardest part about moving home is trying to pick up your high school friendships from where they were and finding that I was in completely different places in life than them. It took a while to really find friends that I completely trust, but these girls have really become my support system and this is the first time in my life that the majority of my close friends are female.

Quarter century birthday. It’s weird to think about how it only seemed like yesterday we were all turning 21, at the same time, I really can’t imagine being in college anymore. I’m really excited for this year and the maybe changes that I’m working toward, and there’ll definitely be more adventures in design and printing!

*Grouplove – “Colours”

30th Aug 2012

You Gotta Roll With It. You Gotta Take Your Time. You Gotta Say What You Say, Don’t let Anybody Get in Your Way*

We’re ONE day away from September and you know what that means! One thing only: FOOTBALL SEASON! It’s only my favorite sports season and that also means we’re one month away from October (you know, that sweet spot in the calendar year where every single sport converges. I can’t wait for six-sport weekends: college football, NFL, playoffs baseball, college basketball, NBA, and hockey). Also, it means the start of season four of The League is just around the corner! Actually got to see Nick Kroll’s standup show at Punchline in SF a couple weeks back and he’s just as funny talking about fantasy football as he is about other topics. I think the best part of The League (aside for being from being set Chicago) is that most of the show is comprised of improv from the actors. Just did our fantasy draft last night so that may explain my increased interest in football. Or maybe it’s also because the Illini season starts in two days! So many personnel changes in the Illini Athletic Department, so it’ll be really interesting to see how this year of sports will pan out for us; I’m always down to see how the rookies perform. I may have also drafted Andrew Luck (yes, even though he’s a Cardinal). I’ll hopefully only need him for week nine against the Dolphins, so that’s a pretty safe game to see how he plays. It’s pretty late in the season too so if I really need a better backup QB, I’ll have plenty of time to pick someone else up.

Isn’t that what life’s about anyway? (Okay, this will be a stretch from football, but who cares!) Taking chances and being spontaneous? I’ll admit, I do sometimes make some less-than-stellar decisions when it comes to non-work related situations. But I’m not about to live my life with regrets and worrying about the “what-ifs.” I’d rather play clean up than to always be left wondering. I would hope I had a somewhat thought out reasoning for why (probably don’t! Lol) I said or did what I did, so I just suck it up and deal with the consequences.

I went on a crazy last minute trip a couple weekends ago and I even convinced Elaine and Daryl to come with me! :) I’m really glad I made the trip though, not only because we’re only young once and why not take a trip none of us will be apt to forget anytime soon? But also because I got to see one of my really good friends from college. Time flies! It’s already been seven years since we met (it should be right around our friendaversary!) my freshman year in the dorms. PAR may not have been as “cool” as six pack, but I met some of my best friends and future roommates from living there. :) Besides, how did I meet my future roommates? I was convinced to go on a last minute trip to St. Louis for a Coldplay concert! So spontaneity wins again.

Happy College Season Opener Day!

*Oasis – “Roll With It”

13th Aug 2012

We Can Go Where We Want to Go, Say What We Want to Say, And Do What We Want to Do*

Lately, I’ve been asked a lot on why I chose Illinois. My decision to go to Illinois was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I would’ve been ecstatic if I had gone to a California university, but at the end of the day, I stand behind my choice to attend Illinois and ultimately, why I did not transfer back to California. I, by no means, ever thought I would end up at Illinois, or really any other out-of-state school for that matter. I applied because my Dad told me to (pretty sure it was to live vicariously through me since he had wanted to go there for his Masters in EE–which he didn’t tell me about until after I had decided where to go). I was all “sure Dad, I’ll apply there, but I’m not going to Illinois.” Joke’s on me!

Dad took me to visit Champaign about a month before the UC school decisions had come out and even then I was skeptical of me choosing an out-of-state school. Even after I felt how right being on the Illinois campus is. Even after I read about how awesome Orange Krush and Illini Pride are. Even after I saw how amazing of a city Chicago and driving on Lake Shore Drive alongside Lake Michigan are. Even after I put down my housing deposit ahead of the final UC decisions. I still had my doubts.

My gut was so much more sure about my decision even before I was. Ultimately, the fact that Illinois had a solid business undergraduate program, Division I Big Ten athletics, and me knowing that by giving up on Illinois would be like giving up an opportunity to have a very unique college experience, is what swayed me to go and eventually stay.

Even at one and a half years into undergraduate, I entertained the thought of possibly transferring schools, but it was also around that time that I really stopped missing California so much and began to really enjoy Illinois and find myself. The great thing about going to a school where almost no one in your high school went is that you don’t end up just hanging out with just the people you were friends with for the first 12 years of school. You get to figure out the friends that you want to hang out with. I bounced around a couple different groups of people before I found my roommates, Illini Pride Exec Board, and the Word of the Day boys. Even though I was only in Illinois for six years, a lot of those friendships have already endured longer than a lot of my friendships from home. I’m glad I stuck it through in Illinois. If I had left, I never would’ve experienced winning at the Horseshoe, playing in the Rose Bowl, calling Chicago home, and I most definitely would have never met and established some of the close friendships I have today.

Everyone in California always talks about awesome living in California is. Oh really now? HOW DO YOU KNOW? Most have never stepped outside of the California bubble. I respect their decisions on staying in-state, but please don’t try to convince me why LA or SF is better than Chicago, or any other city out there because you’ve never even lived outside of this state. I love California, but I love knowing I pick to stay in California not because it’s all I’ve ever known, but because I have already lived in another state and I want to settle down in California over anywhere else.

*Grouplove – “Chloe”

18th Jul 2012

Lost My Train of Thought And Now I’m Told, That Love Will Save Your Soul*

I’m still determined to make July an amazing month! Finally finished my save the dates for my bday last night–even while having to do an unexpected call. But they’re done and beautiful! My first successful solo letterpress project! :)

But back to the call. It really wasn’t so much unexpected since I pretty much had a month’s heads up on it, but it still felt like a slap to the face. And then I almost called someone else out on all their BS. Oops. Maybe a good thing I wasn’t able to say what I wanted to to that person? #sorryimnotsorry.

At the same time, whatever. Like I’ve always said, I’m gonna continue to do me and not let little things get to me and get me down. Just kinda sucked because I realized the two people at the top of my call list were in Hong Kong (thank you Viber!) and Chicago. I can’t wait for the first to move back to CA, but the other is stuck in Chicago. And by stuck, I mean he does love it there (move West!!), haha.

Just trying to stay positive heading into August since it’s traditionally such a roller coaster month. It’s got my favorite day of the year (August 15th!), signifies end of summer and returns to Champaign when I was still at U of I, but it’s also known to be a bit crazy and unexpected. It’s also (for the past two seasons) been the worst month of Giants baseball, which is scary being so close to playoffs! No matter, just gonna take it one day at a time since there’s no use over-analyzing things when I could just be living in the present. :)

Things to look forward to in the next couple of months:
Imagine Dragons&Walk the Moon, Nick Kroll, Of Monsters and Men?, Imagine Dragons (again), Grouplove x2, L.A. Printer’s Fair, Napa (yay for visitors flying in!), Chicago/Champaign/Homecoming

*Grouplove – “Love Will Save Your Soul”

9th Jul 2012

When the Sun Shines on the Bay, Do I Want to be There in my City*

Places, People, & Things I’ll Miss When I Move from the Bay

(All with the assumption, that I’m not moving OUT of state)

  • The Presidio of San Francisco (Fort Point, Chrissy Field, Baker Beach, Marshall Beach)
  • Bridges! The Bay Bridge and GG
  • Berkeley (the food, the sports)
  • Photohunting on Stanford Campus
  • My Albany girls: Irene, Elaine, Tiff, Joanne (kinda…you’ll probably be in LA!)
  • …And the rest of the group: Grace, JWang, Aaron, Shay, John
  • being one cubicle away from Geoff
  • Concerts at The Fillmore
  • SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS HOME GAMES and AT&T Park
  • San Francisco 49ers (AJ Jenkins!!! #illini :D)
  • San Jose Sharks games at the Tank
  • Seriously, just being in a city where all your favorite sports teams are. I left the Bay the first time around not liking sports as much as when I came back. And there’s NOTHING better than being surrounded by fellow fans. Bulls were the only Chicago team I loved and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to adjust leaving NorCal, but at least I’ll only be a drive away. :)
  • My awesomely designed room and bathroom
  • Eric Bourman’s ballet classes at Pacific Ballet Academy
  • Living ten minutes away from Chinese food (ugh. LA traffic, I will not like you)
  • Driving on 280 (especially Palo Alto and north)
  • Living with my parents. Love getting to actually spend time with them and talk to them whenever I want
  • Mrs. Chai’s haircuts
  • Adapt Clothing
  • Apple ?

Hmm, did not think that my SF list would be so much short than my Illinois one. Then again, I’ve only lived back here for a little over a year and I’ve already spent six years getting used to not missing CA so much.

I think there a lot less things holding me back this time than when I had to move to Illinois. I was also a lot younger and I’ve already picked myself up and moved from NorCal to Illinois and then to HK already so what’s another move right? I’m just no longer looking for the whole “move-for-two-years” thing. It kinda makes establishing your life hard. And I think it makes other people equally frustrated when you can’t give them a definite answer on if you’re staying, if you’re going, if you’re really going when you keep saying it for over a year. haha. So that rules out moving to NYC. I LOVE NYC, but it’s never going to be a place I can actually see myself settling down in. I’d be 80% more likely to move back to Chicago than to NYC. I used to think I could settle down outside of California, but the longer and longer I’m staying here, I know that’s not true. It’s the culture and the cities that I’ve always loved. Everyone told me I was crazy for choosing to go to Illinois, and I can see why, but I’m still very glad I chose to go to Illinois and I know I’m choosing to stay in California not because it’s the only place I’ve ever really known, but because it is where I want to end up.

*Journey – “Lights”

5th Jul 2012

The Embers Never Fade in Your City by the Lake*

Places, Things, & People I’ve Been Really Missing That I Didn’t Think I’d Miss So Much

  • Driving on LSD (heading south out of the City) — best view of the skyline while driving
  • Which leads me to my next point: spot by Adler Planetarium for the actual best view of the skyline :)
  • The L
  • Chambana
  • Football tailgates and waiting in the freezing cold outside Assembly Hall
  • Big Ten football and basketball
  • Krush Roadtrips (Penn State 2007!)
  • Block Roadtrips, but only if we’re kicking ass (#1 Ohio State, Nov 10, 2007!)
  • Illini Pride Exec (Never have I ever, Apartment Crawls/Sits, barndances, semiformals, barcrawls)
  • Thursday nights at Brother’s
  • Themed Thursdays and Sunday Fundays
  • The Girls of 508 E. Clark St.
  • The Girls of 444 W. Fullerton Pkwy
  • Three In One
  • Quantum Leap
  • Coldplay, Foozer, Yellowcard/Mae, OAR, Lupe, Jack’s
  • Tank and Del Seoul
  • Social 25
  • Lincoln Park
  • Molly’s Cupcakes and Bleeding Heart Bakery
  • MK Chicago, Sunda Chicago, Japonais
  • Millennium Park
  • My Gilly Girls
  • “family” dinners
  • Wrigley and United Center
  • My Chicago Bulls
  • Portillo’s, Lou Malnati’s
  • St. Patrick’s Day and UNOFFICIAL
  • College Gameday
  • St. Louis Season Opener Trips
  • Cly’s and Joe’s
  • One World & Qdoba & Geo’s
  • Being on the 40yd line, the drumline, and all access field passes
  • My basketball photo pass
  • View Camera and 24/7 access to art labs
  • Themed parties from the word of the day boys
  • Barscramble and Campustown Challenge
  • Barndances
  • Carbondale
  • William Tell, Oskee Wow Wow, and Alma Mater
  • CHIEF

Except I lied. I did know that I’d miss some, if not most, of these things. Haha.

*Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”

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