Thursday, June 30, 2011

Be strong when things fall apart.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Liz.

My friend from high school passed away on June 13, 2011. Today's her birthday. I never had someone I've known pass away before. I went to her wake Tuesday and it was so emotional. I didn't know how to handle it. I still don't know how; it just feels so surreal. Liz and I weren't best friends, but we had known each other since elementary school. In high school, we went to New York together with my best friend Caitie on the AP English Trip and shared a room, as well as some make-up tips and boy secrets. There are so many pictures of the three of us together on that trip...

When we got there, we sat down for a little over 10 minutes in the room where her family and friends were. There was a slide show of pictures; Liz as a baby, Liz graduating as one of the Top 20 Seniors in our class, Liz always smiling. She really was always smiling, and if she wasn't, as soon as she saw me, she would give me a huge grin that would always make me smile wide.

Being in the room was too much, I didn't want to see her body. In my mind, she had passed on into heaven, but I did say a quick prayer for all those so greatly affected by her passing. I can't imagine how the family is coping. I didn't cry until just before we left. There was a collage of pictures of her with family and friends for remembrance. On it was a picture of Liz, me, and my high school friend Roselyn on graduation, smiling jubilantly into the camera. And there was another of Liz, Caitie, and I in New York. I started bawling. Like crazy. I was overcome by emotion, such a sense of finality and realization swept over me, such a sadness.

We left shorty after that. The car ride was mostly silent, then started gravitating toward how we were supposed to cope with losing Liz. By the end of the night, it was like it had never happened. Things fell back to normal.

But then I remembered. I remember her smile. I'll remember her. Forever.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Semi-eventful weekend.

I decided I'd start off with my Friday morning. I saw the midnight showing of Super 8 and it was awesome. To sum it up, it was like The Goonies and E.T. got together and had a baby. The directing was superb (high-five J.J. Abrams!), the story touching, and the acting wonderful. I couldn't believe how well those kids acted. The movie reminded me so much of my childhood I couldn't help but feel nostalgic, even though I didn't grow up in the 70s (which looked wholesome and feel-good).

On Saturday my parents and I went to my dad's old military base in Los Alamitos for an award ceremony. They presented him with a very nice plaque, signed by the people he worked with during the 10+ years he worked there. It was interesting seeing my dad reunite with past buds. There's so much about my parents, about their pasts, that I want to know. It seems like at times they forget just how interesting they actually are.

As my favorite rapper Drake would say: "Oh you fancy, huh?"

Afterwards, my dad had to take off to go to work (poor fellow) and I returned home to hang out with my friend Guido (the one who's in the Marines). He's just as I remember, thankfully. Awesome and funny. We had fun catching up; there was just so much to talk about that we made plans to catch up next weekend too. He presented me with one of the best birthday gifts ever: a Russian hat from Kirghistan (who were formally Soviet ruled apparently).


(I tried looking very serious, just like a Soviet, which is probably why I came out looking super creepy - ignore shadowy cross in background. The little red star at the top has the Soviet logo stamped in the middle.)

It's a high quality hat, and I am going to try my best to incorporate it into my wardrobe come winter. I seriously love odd, rare gifts like these. I will treasure it.

Today I wanted to put in my 2 weeks for my movie theater job. I was written up for not acting like a Coked out Starbucks barista, basically. Oh, and for not selling enough AMC Stubs (which are $12). I sold one. One more than anyone else in concession, next to the new guy. I refused to sign my write up and now I'm pretty sure my GM hates me. Alas, I don't plan on staying there much longer anyhow. Did I express how much I loathe that job?

Though this didn't happen over the weekend, I finally upgraded phone-wise. From a crappy Samsung Intensity II with a cracked screen to a beautiful, pristine iPhone 4 who I named Fiona Apple after, you guessed it, Fiona Apple. I love my baby! Owning an iPhone is like having a child almost. I prepared for its arrival, buying it a case and LCD protector screen prior to her delivery. Whenever I'm holding her, I'm extra careful, like she's the most fragile thing in the world. Then there comes the fees. $30 or so a month, making sure she runs right with an unlimited data plan. Though her getting to me was a huge hassle (I hate the Verizon store in Ontario), she's finally here. I'm pretty much addicted to it already.

Oh, another thing: hung out with Josh and went to go eat some crepes after I bemoaned over what happened at work. I got the Banana Chocolate crepe. And I used a cool iPhone app called Instagram to make it look even more awesome (I love, love, love that app).

Aren't crepes the greatest?

Thursday, June 9, 2011


As of June 8, 2011 I am officially a History major. I recently discovered I have the same amount of units in History as I do in English, which tells you two things: 1) I am behind and 2) I need to catch up. As crazy as it is to me, I actually enjoy my History classes oodles more than my English classes. The amount of reading is daunting. I'm taking 3 History classes Fall quarter including a lab for Physical Geography (definitely not looking forward to that). I'm nervous but excited. The one class I actually did exceptionally well in this quarter was my History class, or History 200: A History of the United States to 1877. It got me through my other classes knowing that I was successful in at least one other subject besides English.

Another bit of news is that I'm considering joining the National Guard after graduation, namely for their student loan repayment program (they'd cover up to $50,000 in loans I took out for school, which is more than enough). It's a 6-year-contract in order to qualify for the student loan repayment program so I'm taking my time deciding if I really want to commit myself to the military for so long. At the same token, the National Guard is not as huge a commitment as joining one of the four main branches of the military (Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy). I do have to go to Boot Camp (Basic Combat Training) which will not be fun, but at least a one time only thing. Still, 10 weeks of hell is going to suck! Running everyday, getting physically assessed every few days, no contact with the outside world except through letters, having to march 15km (roughly 9.3 miles) at least once, experiencing the Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) chamber, waking up before the crack of dawn (the hardest part), etc. Honestly, if only the National Guard didn't have to go through BCT...

Alas, I'll still have to keep in shape throughout my years of service, performing at least 17 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, and running 2 miles in 19 minutes every so often to stay a reservist (that is based on age and as a female). However, after BCT, I only have to report for duty one weekend of every month, usually doing things around base like cleaning, etc., and not only do I get a monthly stipend on top of having my loans repaid, I get to stay where I live, reporting to the base closest to wherever I live.

Like I said, it's only an idea. Mostly if I can't find a job right after graduation. I'm creating plenty of "back-up plans" preparing for the worst once I get out into the Real World. There's just no way I can move out and get a Master's without having a semi-professional job.

A bit of exciting news is that my good friend Guido is back from Afghanistan! I'm super thankful and just beaming with happiness that he's back home. Definitely catching up and hanging with him soon (Universal Studios!). But when I told him about my plans and possibly joining the National Guard he flipped out and I quote: "I hate the fact that you started this conversation" which honestly shocked me. He told me he thought that it might change me...and seeing how he's changed, I don't know. I kept saying it's the National Guard, not the actual Army, etc., but he still sounded worried. While I'm touched he's looking out, I'm not sure if I'm the kind of person who will change, especially if I joined the National Guard. I don't know, but it's another thing to consider. I know I'll have a semi-different mindset, but I know I won't be brainwashed. Still, I'm shocked over his reaction. Is it really so horrible...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm on a roll...

Just found out the Kaiser Chiefs are releasing an album this month (possibly).

I don't really like their new single too much. Their past singles were instant hits with me, but hey, that's not uncommon for me to hate a song before I completely love it (I am an oddball). Still, their sound now is definitely different than their past punk-ish rock band sound. I give them kudos for evolving and putting something new out there, but I'm not sure if I like the direction they're going (watch how my opinion will sway).

The new single "Little Shocks"

Note: Performed live, I don't know if this song would be great to hear. I can only somewhat hear the lyrics in the music video.

To compare, here is one of their past singles "Everyday I Love You Less and Less," a personal favorite.

Note: And yes, they're another British band (just in case you couldn't tell).

Day 15: A travel Story.

Picking one travel story doesn't seem possible, so I've cleverly come up with the idea to put most of my travel experiences into a huge paragraph instead.

I've been blessed throughout my life; I've been able to travel more than the average person. One of the perks of being an only child is, well, more opportunities are available to you. One of the places I've been is the Caribbean - my family and I went on a 7 day cruise when I was 14. I was so stoked to be going to the Caribbean, seeing as I was obsessed with Johnny Depp and the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (and I mean it when I say obsessed, my folder was covered in Johnny Depp pictures). I had an absolute blast. My dad and I took a sailing/snorkeling excursion while we were stopped at a port in St. Vincent (where I also bought my souvenir coconut turtle I brought everywhere with me the duration of our vacation - I was still much of a little girl at 14). I've also been to Hawaii (Oahu) for a family vacation when I was 16; Hawaii was such a treat for an ocean-loving person like me (I'd recommend going to the North Shore versus Waikiki, you get much more of a local feel there). I've been to New York City twice, once with my dad when I was 11, right after the Sept. 11 attacks had happened (I actually wrote journal entries to depict what NYC was like when I was there for my sixth grade class) and the second time was with the AP English Club when I was 15. I went with Caitie and we had a great time. It was our first trip together! We saw a musical (Phantom of the Opera; my second time), went to Times Square and Central Park (we saw the building Yoko Ono lives in!) and the Statue of Liberty (it started snowing when we got there, it was unbelievable) and Staten Island among other places. For senior year, the AP English Club (Caitie was president, I was treasurer, which is why we were so "involved") went to Canada (Montreal and Quebec). Honestly, that trip was the most fun I've ever had on vacation. So much happened, and at the time it wasn't funny but in retrospect it was hilarious. I really can't go into what happened on the trip because it was so insane, but just believe me when I say it was an experience I'll never forget. The summer between my freshmen and sophomore year in college, my family and ex went on a cruise to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Los Cabos) which was very fun considering it was my first real trip to Mexico (I had only been to Tijuana before then). Puerto Vallarta was definitely my favorite. We rented a car and drove up the side of a magnificent, wild mountain (you could see the ocean the entire time), and lo and behold, there was an awesome restaurant (apparently Predator was filmed in that area because there was a statue of one from the movie by the restaurant) that was built right next to an even more awesome waterfall! The best part was that you could swing from the restaurant into the water by a rope, and you could climb to the top of the waterfall and slide down smooth rocks into the water below. It was seriously the coolest thing I had ever seen. I did not want to leave. We didn't do much in Mazatlan, but we did visit some old, cool churches and have some amazing tejuino. Los Cabos was too tourist-y for my taste, but I did go on what is known as a "banana boat." It's this huge floaty device that can seat up to six people and looks like a yellow banana. You sit on it and hold onto it with your arms and legs with all your might (there are no harnesses) and then a motor boat takes you out into the ocean (we seriously went a mile out - at that point I was somewhat mortified because I knew there were sharks in the warm water and falling off that far out would have been terrifying!) Because you're going so fast over the swells being thrown off is a guarantee. I was very proud because we did exceptionally well and didn't fall off even though the driver of the boat was clearly trying to throw us off. I think it's mostly because I was so afraid as we got further and further out that my natural instinct came into play; I was in "Survival Mode." It wasn't until we were almost to the shore that I let up, and the driver swerved us into a huge swell and we were thrown from the banana boat with a force I could only describe as "^#@!" The pain was terrible. I was literally in disarray and felt like I was going to black out - thank God for life jackets because for a few seconds I didn't know which way was up when I was in the water. I know you're thinking, "Fun you say?" But it was, minus the pain of the fall! I'm kind of like those crazy people who get semi-hurt doing something really fun and emerge screaming "That. Was. Awesome!" We also went kayaking which was fun but somewhat scary. I completely flipped out half way on our trek to the little island (it was probably about 1.5-2 miles of kayaking before we got there from the beach) because there was a feeding frenzy going on about 20 feet from where we were. Honestly, there were seagulls going apeshit and tons of splashing and thrashing - I truly do believe there were sharks over there. And if you've ever been kayaking, you know how low the kayak is to the water. Flipping that flimsy thing over would be nothing to a shark. I started panicking and paddling and yelling to the extreme annoyance and confusion of my partner. I'm sorry, but one thing I am scared of is sharks. I love the beach and swimming in the ocean, but if I get a bad feeling or I see something like that I am getting out of the water ASAP. Too many seals in the water? Time to get out. I've just been mauled by a monster wave? Time to get out...maybe after the next one. There was a lot of thrashing 20 feet away from me? Time to get out ASAP! Other than my panic attack, Los Cabos was enjoyable. We also went to get breakfast (chiquiles) and it was the best chiquiles I have ever devoured.

The states I've traveled to include Hawaii and New York (as above stated), Utah (go to Zion National Park; breathtaking park!), Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida (only for a short while, I want to go to the Harry Potter theme park so bad!), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland (I went to visit Vanessa at her school for her birthday), Washington, and Virginia. The state I want to visit the most is Alaska, and then Oregon (for Portland).

Of course, I live in California. I've been (mostly) everywhere in this state. Los Angeles (I live 45 minutes away depending on traffic; the mecca of concerts galore), San Diego, San Francisco (tons of times, once on a family vacation and a few times since college since my best friend lives there), Santa Barbara (I went to UCSB my freshmen year so I know the area very well), the O.C. (beaches!), Big Bear, Mammoth, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, and just about anywhere else popular or non-popular. One place I've never been in California is Yosemite. I love national parks and one of my life goals is to go to Yosemite and Yellowstone. I've been to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which is amazing - they have the big tree you can drive through there, which we did (Redwoods are my favorite types of trees). I also want to go to Big Sur.

This September my family wants to take a vacation to Canada, so I'll be going again which is great. There are a lot of places I still want to visit and experience, in particular out of country. But truly, I have been so blessed to have gone anywhere. Traveling and exploring new places is my favorite thing to do. Where will you go next?

Day 23: Your idea of the perfect first date.

A perfect first date would include doing something I've never done before, like travel to Australia, kayak in Alaska, deep sea fish, whale watch, sky dive, etc. Doing something awesome we can both bond over. I'd love to just jump on a plane and go somewhere completely new, my boy holding my hand.

Day 24: A song that makes you smile.

"My Girl"

My first ex, or current best friend Josh, used to sing this song to me when we were dating. Never failed to make me smile, even on my worst days. That, and because this song always reminds me of my childhood.