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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

You have the choice to erase one incident from your past, as though it never happened. What would you erase and why?

So… I had my butt groped by this old, creepy Mexican man.  I’d erase this incident, for obvious reasons.

I had just came back to New York after spending 6 weeks in Korea and I was leaving in less than a week to California for college.  As usual, I accompanied my parents to Flushing for grocery shopping and whatever else we came across on the streets.  Well, that one particular day, my mom decided to buy some new dramas as we passed a street vendor that sold pirated Chinese dramas.

Now, let me mention that it wasn’t some shady street corner- this corner was in the midst of bustling people.  I was minding my own business, rummaging through pirated copies of new Korea dramas (City Hunter… to be specific) when I felt my butt cheeks being squeezed.  I have never had my butt touched by someone else, let alone SQUEEZED by someone else.  In fact, I thought I was hallucinating at first because I was pretty sure no one would run around the streets touching butts.  Also, I was in the city- where accidental bumps and gropes happen all the time (innocently… I think).  But then I continued to feel stroking on my baby soft butt- that’s when I whipped around and noticed this old, creepy Mexican man standing too close for comfort and smiling at me.  Too shocked, I couldn’t even talk.  He walked away quickly and before I knew it, he disappeared into the crowd.

I turned to my mom and said to her, “Uh… mom… I think my butt just got groped by an old man.”  I felt disgusted and sick to my stomach but I was still in shock at the fact that it even happened to me.

That was the first time I was creeped out by a pervy Mexican man.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting outside on a bench in the park near work and got hit on by another old, creepy Mexican man (story documented in a past post).

Last week, I caught a middle-aged Mexican man checking out my legs as I was trying on shoes.

I don’t get it- why old, creepy Mexican men all the time???

Seriously… getting my butt grabbed wasn’t a pleasant experience, especially since I’m not a very… hands-on kind of person.  I like my space… until I get comfortable with someone… but otherwise I always keep my distance.  And the other two incidents aren’t helpful in terms of putting the butt squeezing in the past.

If I could erase that horrible memory, I think I’d be less scared of being in crowded places and around people.  Because… every once in awhile, I still see that creepy, old Mexican smiling at me while grabbing my tooshie…

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Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?

While I love to sleep, I am afraid to sleep at the same time.  When I am asleep, I lose my guard- I am unaware of my surroundings and lose control of my mind and body.  Sleep is also a passageway that takes us from reality to the world of dreams… and nightmares.

I think most of us would agree that we would want our dreams to last longer.  It is unfortunate that I really can’t remember most of my dreams.  They are a nice contrast to the reality I am in, but I can never seem to make them last.  The second I wake up, I lose all “memory” of my dream-

Now, I’ve tried lucid dreaming after I read about it in the newspaper some years ago (okay, I’m not super old… but it feels like way long ago that I was still in elementary/middle school reading Newsday).  Anyway, lucid dreaming is very, very difficult to do.  I am a separate me in my dreams as opposed to the me in the real world.  It’s like… I have no will, no control over the dream version of me.  I do what I do in my dreams with a separate mind.

Freddy KruegerSo… what does lucid dreaming have anything to do with nightmares?  Well, to me, good is to bad as dream is to nightmare.  If lucid dreaming is possible in dreams, then I’m sure it can be possible in nightmares as well.  Just think back to Freddy Krueger…  I know, I know- Freddy Krueger is a hellish figure none of like to think about at any given moment (let alone in our sleep or daydream, him visiting us in those place is a major no-no).  But, seriously, Freddy Krueger took nightmares to a new level.  He took control of people in their sleep- and when I was a kid, I’m pretty sure his nightmare on elm street had SOME effect on me and my period of nightmares.  To this day, I’m not sure what was going on with me when I was ages 3-5.  I spent those couple of years with nightmares almost every night.  They were short nightmares though- things like getting hot oil poured in my eyes, walking into an empty elevator, etc. etc.  In the middle of the night, I would always wake up and hear the faucet running and someone pacing up and down the stairs… but there was definitely no one around- everyone in the house was sleeping.

That period of my life was short-lived, but still comes back to haunt me on certain nights.  There are nights where I try to wake up by opening my eyes but I can’t seem to do it.  Obviously something terrifying is happening to me and I know that I’m dreaming… but I can’t just “leave” my dream.  Whatever these experiences are, I feel like there’s something that I don’t know… but should know… which makes me concerned.  It’s really scary to not be able to wake up- I swear I can even hear my family going about their morning routine and yet I’m stuck in the nightmare.  And when I say I can’t open my eyes, I mean that they feel like they are glued together and that I have to pry them open with scissors or something.

Come to think of all the freaky things that happened to me, I also believe I encountered my dead grandma in my old house.  I won’t go into detail but after an orange caused a ruckus and the TV mysteriously turned on 3 times, I believe my grandma was there.  You can be a non-believer of ghosts all you want and call me crazy, but I experienced it and know that what happened was not “coincidence.”

When I was in late middle/early high school, I would wake up nearly every night in pain because I felt someone snipping at my calf muscles with scissors.  I talked to my doctor about it, hoping that it was some medical problem, but nothing was wrong with me or my legs.  Yet, every night, I felt the same cutting feeling.  I was paralyzed in pain and could barely walk the next day.

Sometimes I really believe that I live in a horror story.  From a young age, I experienced all these crazy things that children that age don’t normally experience.  I understand that it is normal for children to have night terrors, but mine were not night terrors.  And interestingly enough, after my little bout with nightmares from ages 3-5, I became indifferent to horror films.  Seriously.  People think I’m weird because I watch all these asian horror films, which get pretty gruesome, and have no emotion at all.  I wonder about it as well- instead of getting freaked out and scared, I get this high.  For example, the foot cutting scene from Takashi Miike’s Audition is a scene I absolutely love and would watch over and over again.  Some of these types of scenes stick out and replay in my head.

So then- I haven’t had a huge nightmare in awhile, you know, those ones that scare you so much that you never forget them.  But there is one nightmare that I constantly had during that time when I was 3-5 and has periodically visited me in my sleep.  Nothing insanely scary, but I really dread this dream of falling down an empty elevator shaft.  This nightmare happens so fast (probably less than a minute) and always jolts me awake.  When I wake up, I am always on the edge of my bed.  But in the nightmare, I’m always alone, walking towards an elevator.  When the elevator comes, I step in without looking- ultimately, I step into an endless black hole that I think represents my death.  Why do I keep having this horrific nightmare?  I still can’t figure out the reason… every night, I prepare for this nightmare by remembering to lucid dream.  Well… the problem with that is that I don’t have lucid dreaming skills.

Sleep can be so comfortable and relaxing at times… but I’m always hesitant when I go to bed, especially at night.  I believe in ghosts… and I think death comes out at night to take people.  I wonder how many more times I have to step into that endless elevator shaft…

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Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life. Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

I’d like to start off with the fact that as boring as my life may be (as a whole), every day is quite unique (okay, maybe not EVERY day… but most days).  Weird things happen and I get surprised quite often.  My life isn’t exciting in the sense that I’m a huge risk taker and that I “live life on the edge.”  I mean, I don’t ever dream of tight rope walking or sky diving… no… I’d squeal like a prissy little girl if I were ever in those types of situations.  BUT, I can say that there are things about me that people would never have guessed and quite frankly, I would never have guessed about myself.  Aaaaannndddd here is the post where I share some of these oddities in my life.

  1. I am a HUGE asian horror fanatic- I watch those films like no tomorrow… and they don’t necessarily have to be gory… plot and cinematography are the important parts.  Even thriller and psychological films are good!  I have to admit, Japanese ones give me the biggest high… especially their short stories.  Just saying…
  2. Yesterday I was at an outdoors social and I thought I stepped on a noodle… but then I realized that there were no noodles at the social- I looked down and saw a worm on my flip flop.
  3. I stood next to Brazil’s women’s national volleyball team.  OuO
  4. I went to the 38th parallel north (Korean DMZ) and straddled North and South Korea (in one of the Conference Rows).
  5. I hate black and gray socks.
  6. When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be one of those nurses who wiped away sweat and blood for the doctor.
  7. I used to get really bad motion sickness and so when I was little (either 5 or 8 years old?), I was the last to get off the plane when we arrived in Shanghai because I was still throwing up in the air sickness bag.  And then as I was getting off the plane, I threw up again (quite suddenly) right in front of the pilots and flight attendants.  Thank goodness I was little and cute because if I did that now… I wouldn’t get ooh-ed and ahhh-ed at.
  8. I don’t like it when people get too close to me.
  9. For about the first 3 weeks I was in Korea, I bowed to everyone who walked past me… including teenagers my age…
  10. Guys who speak Italian- enough said.
  11. I was born in the US and I went to ESL.
  12. I met golfer Andrew Choi!
  13. I had an obsessor (stalker wasn’t the right label…) and couldn’t get rid of him no matter what I did.  He didn’t cross into the danger zone or anything… but made me feel super uncomfortable all the time.  Thinking back… still makes me feel all weird.  *shiver*
  14. I used to really like this guy who is now a um… “demon doer.”  ((O___O))
  15. My 7th grade english teacher thought I was suicidal and put me in a really awkward conversation with her and my guidance counselor…  May I just note that she was also the lady who randomly went to the window and cried in the middle of class one time.
  16. I don’t microwave  leftovers- I just eat it.
  17. When I shower, I like the water so hot that my skin is red after I’m done.
  18. I sometimes speak other languages in a conversation (by accident).  If you reallllyyy listen and pay attention, you’ll notice it and go “wait, what’d you say?”
  19. I do accounting in my dreams.
  20. I have photographic memory… and I sure do use it. 😉

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Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

When I was a child, I wished that my parents bought me all the toys that I wanted and basically let me do whatever I wanted.  But now that I look back as an adult, I’ve realized how great my parents were- by holding me back from getting all the newest toys and wearing the latest trends, they taught me to be my own person.  I am thankful for that.  I am also thankful that I had a stay-at-home mom. Many of my friends had moms who worked.  Their lunches were roughly thrown together combinations of bologna sandwiches with juice and pudding.  My mom would pack me a box of rice  with 2 side dishes, water, juice, and a variety of fruits.

I really can’t complain about my childhood- but if I were to change anything, I wish I had gone outside and played more…  I definitely stayed inside a little too much for my own good.  My friends spent their weekends and summers playing outside in their backyards while I stayed inside and did work.  My summers from elementary school to about 11th grade were either spent at home doing math problems from library books or at 학원 (hagwon).  I hated it at the time but I can understand why my parents did this… I wouldn’t be where I am today, academically, if I didn’t go through that boot camp.  But I regret losing my youth to books.  Youth is something that I cannot regain or relive.

Having kids is a challenge- I don’t have any of my own yet but I know it will be a hassle to raise them.  They will disagree with me at times and reject the things that I tell them- but it is because they lack understanding.  When I have my own kids, I will stay at home and raise them myself, just like my mom did.  I want to see them grow with my own eyes and raise them with my own hands.  I want to be a mother who will always be there when they need me.  And as much as I hated doing work instead of playing outside, I will make them do the same.  They will hate me for it, like how I didn’t like my parents for doing that (I thought I was getting punished), but they will grow to understand why I did what I did.  But at the same time, I want them to treasure their youth.  In terms of balancing academics and free-time, I will let my kids decide for themselves how to create the right balance.

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If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

Sword fighting.  Knife art.  Whatever you call it, I, hands down, would love to be a skilled swordsman (-woman).  I don’t know when or how it all started, but I’ve always thought the art of sword fighting was really interesting.

When I was little, I really wanted to learn fencing but my parents thought I was silly… in fact, they didn’t let me enroll in any sort of kung fu fighting class (taekwondo, karate, tricking, nunchucks, etc.).  I mean sword fighting is kind of manly and outdated but I think it could still be a very useful skill and tool to have for self-defense in today’s society.  Sword fighting is one of those things that work in any century (past , present, and future).

In modern society, we have more technologically advanced means of weapons- guns, germs, and steel (you get my reference? *wink wink*).  But I’ve always preferred swords because they can be used for almost anything.  In other words, it’s a practical sort of weapon.  For example, skilled swordsman can use swords to defend themselves, cut up food (such as steak), take off clothes, poke someone for entertainment or to get their attention (lightly of course), behead criminals (capital punishment), and hook something that is out of reach.  I’m sure if I get a little more creative I could think of some more uses of the sword.

It’s one thing to be a swordsman and another thing to be a skilled swordsman.  I want to be a skilled swordsman.  If any of you have seen Rooftop Prince, the swordsman who accompanies the Crown Prince to the modern world possesses the skill that I want.  He is one with the sword… and can do any sort of trick with his sword.  When he cut up the steak at Tae Yong’s house, he absolutely did magic.  😀

I wonder if there are sword fighting classes that I can sign up for.

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When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Sixteen is the fruit of teenage years.  As a little child, I remember anticipating turning sixteen- it was the “cool” age.  I imagined myself hanging out with friends at our lockers, driving in roofless cars, and spending countless hours at the mall.  When I actually turned sixteen, I did none of this stuff.  Well- the locker part happened.  But life was life- I hung around with pretty much the same friends I had in elementary school, plus some new friends I made in middle and high school, ate the same food, and still despised waking up to go to school.  The only difference was the school work and the fact that I no longer played with Barbie and Bratz dolls (still couldn’t let Legos go though).

Even though my life pretty much remained the same, the hype around me was Sweet 16 parties.  It almost seemed like there was a competition- who’s party was the most glamorous?  I have to admit that I had a lot of fun when I was sixteen.  It was a different type of fun than I had imagined, but nonetheless one of my best teenage years.  Even though it was a good year, I also had negative experiences- I lost people, trust, relationships, and myself.

I was hesitant about my future.  I knew that I wanted a good education, nice people in my life, and to be quite frank, money.  But what I also craved was fun- the same kind of fun and glamour that I experienced at Sweet 16 parties.  I guess I could say that I expected my future to be filled with adventure, I wanted to be busy running from party to party, people to people, endpoint to endpoint.  At the same time, I knew that I would lose it all in an instant.  Everything that I experienced at sixteen seemed to only have a brief presence in my life, disappearing at will.  And so I knew what I wanted in the future would leave me instantly too… but somehow I was comforted by the fact that something else would jump in its place.  A future, a life with no permanence- that’s what I dreamed of at the fruit of my teenage years.

This year I will turn twenty.  Only a year away from legal age of “maturity” and only four years after the fruit of my teenage years, I believe I’ve already changed.  I am no longer the same person that I was when I was sixteen- I’ve changed a lot.  Experiences teach us all lessons- these past four years have taught me numerous lessons about a range of things.  Now, I want permanence.  Sweet talk and tasteless conversations don’t interest me.  In fact, I don’t have much patience or interest in many things these days.  I have goals and I seek to reach them.  Everything else that comes in my way are things that I just need to brush off of my path.

Bitterness and toughness.  I’m weathered.  One year can do a lot to a person.  Four can do even more.  Where’s the stability in living in the moment and knowing that something that excites you will leave at its will?  Many people these days like to think that they only live once and that they have to get all the fun out of their systems while they are young.  I used to see it that way, but I don’t agree with that thinking anymore.  Stability, permanence- that’s what I want.  Adventure is a nice touch to life and we all want it… a sprinkle of it… Surprises can also be interesting once in a blue moon.

We can never expect what kind of person we will turn out to be.  I wasn’t the sixteen year old I dreamed I would be.  I am not the adult (so far) that I thought I would turn out to be.  And this is the essence of life- never knowing what’s going to happen next.  Fate, as always, fascinates me.  We can dream, imagine, hope, wish, etc. etc. but it has all been individually determined already.  We just have to go along with everything, including some surprises on the way, to find out what happens next.  No previews.

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Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

As humans, it natural that we criticize and find faults in ourselves.  We rarely think about the positive things about ourselves because we want to improve ourselves.  With that said, we must constantly evaluate ourselves for points of improvement.  However, always looking for faults in ourselves is kind of… pessimistic.  It is good for us to look at the positive points of ourselves every once in awhile.

On a different level, I believe that Western and Eastern cultures have different opinions about finding good things about ourselves.  Growing up in western society, I have found that I am encouraged to flaunt my talents and skills.  For example, in job interviews and on resumes, the idea is that I have to almost “brag” about my abilities.  On the other hand, I also grew up in a traditional Chinese household, where “saving face” is extremely important.  In this sense, I was taught to make sure that I brag about myself modestly.  After staying in Korea, I found that they also applied a similar concept of bragging about oneself modestly in their culture.  For example, in western society, if a person commented on how fast I can type on a computer, I would probably respond by saying that I had worked at an insurance company for 5 years and acquired the skill- blah blah blah.  In contrast, in eastern society, I would respond by saying no I’m really not that great at typing.  I remember being in Korea and when family friends/elders commented on how me and my friend were beautiful, I would say “아니에요, 아니에요…” and look down while my friend would say “감사합니다.”  They laughed because my friend was an obvious foreigner, but commented that she wasn’t very modest.  My host dad later explained that saying “thank you” to such a remark meant that she knew she was beautiful, therefore not acting very modest.

So… where am I going with this whole speech?

Well, I think it’s very hard for me to think about what’s my favorite thing about myself because I do consider modesty, even if this is a prompt and I am only typing it on my blog.  I’ve never seriously thought about what I liked myself because it just felt weird to think “I like myself because _______.”

I spent nearly half the day thinking about my good qualities and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I really like how passionate I am.  Once I find something that I am passionate about, I put all I have into it.  This quality definitely stresses me out constantly, but I don’t think I would be where I am now if I didn’t possess this quality.  Most people have one true passion, but I have several- and it’s okay to have more than one.  There are things that I come across and they move me in some way to make me passionate about it.  For example, I am passionate about NK/SK relations and it has led me to study Korean so that I can communicate with defectors.

It’s really hard to explain to other people why I love my sense of passion so much.  But I know that being so passionate makes me happy and gives me motivation.  I’ve never liked doing anything without a purpose… quite frankly, I hate wasting time.  Passion gives me a reason.

When it comes to what I like about myself, there are many options- eyes, hair, lips, personality, etc.  Those are all things that other people can “brag” about.  I want to “brag” about something that no one else can.

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Autumn

Starting over isn’t as easy or magical as we may believe it to be.  It’s… a complicated path in which we move backwards from the present to the past.  In turn, the past becomes the present and the present becomes the future.  But this reversal of time is hard to accomplish successfully, similar to defying gravity.  We can’t simply break the laws of nature- we need a reason to… a good one.

Most of us start over because we want to let go of the past and start fresh.  We want a second chance, a third chance, perhaps more, at life.  But do more chances mean that we will make it right one of those times?  Do we deserve another chance?  Can we even have another chance?

We like to think that we possess the rights the answers of these questions, but we may not be the ones entitled to answer them.  Our society has taught us that we control our lives and our future… but do we really?  Our lives are interconnected with one another and every decision we make affects at least one other person.  If we think about it this way, then doesn’t that mean that our lives are partly controlled by the decisions of others?  Yes- and so we return to the question of who decides whether or not we receive another chance.

Starting over sounds simple.  In the past, I’ve vowed to start over several times.  Not once did I succeed… just like how I haven’t defied gravity yet either.  Time has taught me about starting over.  Starting over is something we want, naturally, when we’ve made mistakes.  For example, if our cake drops to the floor, don’t we want a new, clean piece of cake?  Surely we treat life the same way- we want to replace the marred one with a clean one.  But what happens when the baker refuses to give us a new piece, claiming that it was our fault for dropping our portion of the cake…

Second chances are hard to come by… and even when they do happen, they may not necessarily be a good thing.  Starting over… if we cherished our present then we wouldn’t wish to start over so often.  Things happen for a reason, even mistakes.  We fall, and sometimes our falls leave scars, but we get back up and walk on; there’s no need to crawl back to the beginning and try walking again without falling.  Instead, we continuously move forward and keep in mind not to fall as we did before.  Continuously moving forward will get us to our destination faster than constantly moving back and starting over.

In the end, our fates have already been determined… living is only the path to our fates.  Whether we continuously move forward or start over, we will end up where we are supposed to be.  After all, our lives are interconnected.  Even if we make a choice that leads us off the path of our fate, someone’s decision will bring us back on the right path.

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