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Archive for November, 2012

Love

Picture the one person in the world you really wish were reading your blog. Write her or him a letter.

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I fall in love every day. 

In the midst of my busy life, I fall in love every day… with strangers, with familiar faces, with someone.  It’s a strange concept and I’m not sure I even fully understand it myself, but it’s such a wonderful thing.

Whether I am walking down the street, sitting on the bus, or buying groceries, someone always catches my eye and I find myself falling in love with their smile, their act of generosity, their words of wisdom, or whatever it is about them.

I’ve thought about this over and over again- is it possible to fall in love this easily and so often?  Well, there are 3 different kinds of love according to the Greeks: eros, philos, and agape.

Eros is defined as “erotic love”- I like to call it selfish love… simply because this type of love is based on strong physical attraction.  So… really it’s just a physical desire to have someone to satisfy YOUR needs.

Philos is love between friends and family.  It’s more of a mutual love and the love has more substance than eros…

Agape is unconditional love, a selfless kind of love.  I first heard of this term in my 10th grade English class, where we used “agape” to describe the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine (their relationship was just strange if you ask me…).  I guess agape is also the love used in most dramas, particularly Korean ones.

I think these 3 classifications do a good job of summarizing the types of love possible- I mean, these 3 are pretty broad so they pretty much cover it all.  By process of elimination… I know I’m definitely NOT feeling agape love every day.  However, I cannot distinguish whether or not I am feeling eros or philos- perhaps a mix of both?  I do not like to think that I am selfishly loving these strangers every day- I am simply standing afar fascinated by some aspect of them.  At the same time, I do not like the term mutual love either… I may be admiring them from afar but that does not signify reciprocation.

So then… what is it that I feel?  Can it even be called “love”?  I think I may have to add a new category of love to these 3- something that describes this sense of loving someone for who they are.  No… scratch that… I don’t know some of these people, so I can’t say I love them for who they are, right?

Category or not, love is love.  Every day, I know I fall in love, sometimes with someone new, and sometimes with the same person.  Now, don’t get me wrong, love is still complicated- definitely not as simple as sitting on the bus and falling in love with the person sitting in front of you.  Rather, it’s a little bit painful, even with strangers.  Love hurts.  And… watching at a distance wondering if I will ever see that person again or get a chance to know that person is a bit of a struggle every day.

I first contemplated this concept when I was in Seoul.  Seoul mainly runs on public transportation so I was on public transport almost 24/7.  I saw, met, spoke to many different strangers every day.  And sometimes, I got the feeling that I fell in love with them- but it was weird because I barely knew them.  But, there was always something about each person that attracted me to them.  I realized that I had been this way for a long time… and even now, I think I am this way too.  I still puzzle myself sometimes… even surprise myself at times.

Love is a good thing for us mentally and physically.  Loving openly is an even better thing.  Why hide our love when we have so much of it to give?

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“밀당”

MIL- DANG

Some of you may have heard of the term “밀당” before… and some of you may be unfamiliar with this term.  I first heard this phrase about a year ago and I didn’t quite understand it.

밀당 can be a really confusing concept to understand but it is a good cultural phrase to know, especially for those interested in Korean culture and perhaps living in Korea.  With that said, I will do my best to explore the meaning of 밀당 and I do have my opinions about it… so beware of my bias. ㅎㅎㅎ

What is the origin of “밀당”?

The phrase 밀당 mil-dang is a combination of the verbs 밀다 mil-da, to push, and 당기다 dang-gi-da, to pull.  Together, the 2 verbs create a phrase that represents the flirting and power struggle between a couple in a relationship.

How is “밀당” used?

There is usually some confusion as to what is and what isn’t “밀당”… It’s hard to explain, but I will try to give you examples of “밀당.”  For example:

  • A guy and girl have a lot of fun on a date, but then the guy doesn’t call the girl for another date until 1 week later (and he really likes her and wants to see her again)… he is doing “밀당.”
  • A girl picks up a phone call from a guy she really likes after the 3rd time he calls (and she is not busy), then she is doing “밀당.”
  • A guy asks a girl to see a movie and she says she is busy (even though she really likes him and has no plans), she is doing “밀당.”

So “밀당” is kind of like doing something on purpose to make the other person work harder to get you… I guess it’s like “playing hard to get.”

Why do “밀당”?

Most of the time, the girls do it because they want to see how far their guy will go for them.  In other words, they like the attention and want to feel cherished by their boyfriends.  On the other hand, the guys who do it want to establish themselves as the “man” in their relationships.  The guys also want to see some love from their girlfriends!  And… most Korean guys like 밀당”– so it works for most couples… I think.

Now, I personally don’t like “밀당.”  I’ve always liked guys who are straight-forward- if they like a girl, then show it… there is no need to play the whole “catch me if you can!” game…  It’s annoying to have to go through the whole pushing and pulling thing when I have enough to worry about.  My thought is, if 2 people like each other, then like each other happily and openly.  I can understand why girls do it- it’s totally understandable to want to feel special and unique… but isn’t that why the guy chose you out of all the girls in the first place??

 And another thing about “밀당”– I have heard of cases where things go wrong because of this whole concept of “밀당” in Korean culture.  As you know, there are many foreigners in Korea these days and not all of these foreigners are familiar with “밀당.”  So, sometimes, a girl doesn’t like the Korean guy who is hitting on her and rejects him, but then the Korean guy thinks she is doing “밀당,” so he continues to pursue her (most cases, forcefully) because he thinks she really wants him.  In their minds, because of the use of “밀당” in their culture, they think a spoken “no” actually means “yes.”

So, I hope you are a little more educated about the phrase “밀당” and can form your own opinion about it.  I personally don’t like it, but many people do… and even though I don’t like it, I respect it as being a part of Korean culture.

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Shattered Glass

 

These days, it is more and more often that I wonder to myself why I have so many tears to cry.  No matter what, there is a lingering feeling of sadness and a weight that keeps pulling my heart down until I can’t breathe… until I feel hopeless and just give in to the continuous flow of tears.

It hurts so much.  This pain is unreal- it’s like someone pulled my heart out and diced it to pieces.  I do not even know what’s causing me so much pain, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the root for so long but I just can’t figure it out.

As I think about it, I’ve felt this way since summer 2011.  The first time I cried so hard and painfully in my life was the day I parted ways with my host family.  And I thought I got over it by the time I came back to the states.  But ever since, I’ve cried just as hard and painfully every so often.  I think it’s because I was the happiest I’ve ever been while I was with my host family and in Korea… and I just haven’t felt the same way since.  There are so many things that have gone wrong here, so many things that angered me here, so many things that have made me want to just let go.  But then I keep holding on because I keep telling myself that things will get better.  And so I cover my swollen eyes and replace my emotionless face with a smiling one.  I force myself to wake up every morning and look at people as if I’m doing fine, great.

I do not know how much longer I can handle this… this pretending.  It has gotten to the point where I come home every day and cry as hard and painfully as that last day in Korea.  This has taken a toll on my mind and body.  I can’t do this any longer.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I see the sadness in my own eyes, the pain slicing through my pupils.  I cry so much that my eyes are almost always swollen and my cheeks always have dried tear stains.  I don’t want to be like this anymore.

There’s no one… no one who will understand.  People have tried to understand but it’s just not the same… no one can know this pain and suffering that I feel.  I do not know where all these tears came from- I mean… I did not even think it was possible for a human to contain so many tears.  I cannot fathom what I did to deserve this.  And honestly, I do not know how much longer I can deal with this.

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Looking to serve a delicious snack or hors d’oeuvre?  The Bite-sized Berry Delight is perfect (in fact, I used it as a study snack yesterday!).

I tried this combo out yesterday- it tasted as delicious as it looked, so I decided to share it with all of my readers!!  (lucky you~~)

This is a very quick and easy snack to make and I bought most of my materials from Trader Joe’s, which I also highly recommend for its cheap prices and delicious food.

So… let’s get started!

What do I need?

  • Box of pita crackers.  A simple box of crackers will do too, but the pita crackers are thin and crispy.
  • Container of fresh cranberry sauce.  Fresh cranberry sauce is the best choice because there are pieces of cranberry in there that give each bite a tang of cranberry.
  • Box of blueberries.
  • Sliced cheese- I used pepper jack cheese because that was what I had in my fridge… but you are welcome to use any cheese that you like.  I tried it with brie cheese at Trader Joe’s sample station and that worked really well!

Now what?

  1. Lay the amount of crackers that you want to serve on a plate.
  2. Cut (or rip) the cheese into squares and place them on each cracker.
  3. Using a spoon, put a dab of cranberry sauce on the slices of cheese on each cracker.
  4. Top each cracker off with a blueberry.

All done!!

Wasn’t that simple and quick?

*Since Thanksgiving is coming up this week, this would serve as a great dessert/snack to share with the family!*

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do~ 🙂

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This past week was International Education Week (Nov. 12-16)- a week dedicated to demonstrating the importance of studying abroad  and going international.

International Education Week means a lot to me because going abroad changed my life and I do not know who I would have been today had I not gone abroad.  With that said, I highly encourage everyone to study abroad at least once in their lives- you will learn so much and open your mind.

Every day, I am thankful to CIEE, The Korea Foundation, NSLI-Y, iEARN, YesInternational, and the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to have the experiences of a lifetime.  Without the support of these organizations, I would not have been able to go out of my bounds and into a new and unfamiliar culture.

The impact of my experiences is beyond words.  I started out going to South Korea because of curiosity and desire to go somewhere, ANYWHERE.  But that changed within a couple of days of being in South Korea- I quickly became interested in the culture and the people.  By the end of my stay, I had fostered a passion for learning about the relationship between the North and the South.  The second time I traveled to SK, I was prepared to study and learn everything about South Korea- I hoped to gain a true understanding of the country.  And now, I continue to study Korean on my own.  Why?  So that I can help defectors.  I will talk about this in a separate post because the issue deserves its own… but that’s my ultimate goal.

Can you believe that curiosity turned into compassion?  THIS is the impact of my study abroad.  Everyone will have different experiences and meet different people… but these will shape who you are and open your mind to a new level that you do not know you are capable of.

So… do it.  Study abroad and go international.  After all, the celebration of this week is to encourage more people to think beyond by opening themselves up to the world out there.  You will be impacted differently from me, but that’s what makes each and every one of us unique.

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My most recent addiction is online shopping.  This all started 2 months ago when my sister and I were looking at shoes on YesWalker.  There, I found the perfect pumps, ordered them, and am now in love with those shoes~

Now, I’ve been eyeing YesStyle items for awhile now, but I never actually looked into them… If you don’t know what YesStyle is, it is an Asian online retailer that sells everything from jewelry to clothes.  I like this site because the apparel is tailored to Asian tastes in style.  Any way, a couple of weeks ago, I was bored and so I decided to look around on the site- boy that was a bad idea (well, really, a FANTASTIC IDEA).  I found so much stuff that I liked that my shopping bag totaled the thousands… It took a few weeks for me to narrow down everything to a reasonable price (by then, some of the sale prices were no longer applicable… but it was okay, the items were replaced with deals of the week clothes!).  

So I finally had a shopping bag that was decently priced for the items that I was getting AND I was extremely satisfied with the final items I chose.  I ended up getting 5 items of clothing, and my sister got 3 items, and the total of all 8 items was under $200.  Plus, since the total was over $150, there is free shipping! 🙂

I am so excited that I cannot wait to receive these items in the mail~  Check it out:

1. Dual-Pocket Long Sleeve Cardigan

2. Pink Chiffon-Hem Tunic

3. Fleece-Line Logo Print Pullover

4. Turtleneck Striped-Panel Pleated Dress

5. Cotton Blend Pullover

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Do not chase people.  Be you and do your own thing and work hard.  The right people who belong in your life will come to you, and stay.

This has been the first thing I’ve understood in a long time- 我终于想明白了.  There is no point in getting frustrated all the time, it’s just too tiring and frankly, I do not have the time or energy to put up with it any longer.  I need to start caring less.

It seems that the more I care, the more stress I put on myself.  And these people do not even care back… so why should I waste my time caring for them?  I always knew that it was better to just be independent, but for some reason, I always tried to surround myself with people so that I wouldn’t feel isolated and lonely.  Screw that.  What is the point of having “friends” that aren’t even “friends”???  How could I be so dumb for so long?

I didn’t learn my lesson the first couple of times, rather I continued to be dumb and repeat my mistakes.  Such a shame that I wasted my time being a fool for so long.  From now on, it’s just going to be me, myself, and I.  The right people will come into my life and stay- I don’t need to search for people and hold on to them thinking that they are supposed to be in my life.  The fact is… they may not be the right people… so they should get out of it sooner than later.

Being completely independent is a hard thing.  We all don’t realize how hard it is to do unless we are forced to be in this position.  I’m going to take it step by step- because I know this is what I have to do in order to keep my sanity.  I’ve been trying to be patient for awhile now… but I can’t hold it in anymore- I HATE THE PEOPLE AROUND ME RIGHT NOW.  This school year has just gotten progressively worse and I find myself hating the people I hang out with more and more.  Perhaps it is just the fact that I’m getting to know them better… but all the same, I don’t like these people.  They’re obviously not the right people and I kind of just want them to leave- there’s always something new that they do that I just can’t stand.  And what I can’t stand the most from them is that they’re not genuine friends.  “Genuine friends” can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and interpret it any way that you want, but in my mind, a genuine friend is someone who is always on my side, someone who cares and will help me if I need it, someone who doesn’t ditch me for other people.  That’s not too much to ask for… really… And to be honest, I’ve only met one, ONE person so far in my life who has been a genuine friend to me.  Shows what kind of society we live in today…

And so… whatever.  I’ve lost the willpower to care.  Do whatever makes you guys happy- I COULD CARE LESS~~  Don’t expect anything from me, don’t judge me, don’t talk about me behind my back- just remember that YOU GUYS made me this way… YOU GUYS are the reason why I decided to not care.

I am not your friend, and you are not my friend.  朋友分分鐘都會改變.

I live for me.  I’ve been doing my own thing and I will continue to do my own thing.  The right people will come whenever the time is right… and they will stay, they will be genuine, they will be true friends.

Every day is a struggle, a fight, but life is life.

“Live and let live.”

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