Saturday, April 18, 2015

"I believe that I have developed the opposite of FOMO, in fact: I have a case of FOGO, Fear of Going Out."

From the April 27, 2015, NYMag.com story "FOGO Is the New FOMO" by Alexis Swerdcloff.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I eat, because I feel.
"I got a bone to pick.
I don't want you monkey mouth motherfuckers sittin' in my throne again!"

From the song King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hard work needs patience.
"'It's important that at some point in your life you really focus on your career, almost to the point of insanity. You'll never get this time back. You have to want it so bad that you wake up in the morning and you think about it, live it, breathe it, eat it, and see it all day. After you've accomplished a couple of things, then take a moment. Work and work for those first years, and then come out of the matrix a little bit and take a freaking vacation.'"

From the article "The Dos & Don'ts of Bossing Up" by Nicki Minaj in the May 2015 issue of Glamour magazine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"But first: What is a sandwich? The United States Department of Agriculture declares: 'Product must contain at least 35 percent cooked meat and no more than 50 percent bread.' But a sandwich does not require meat! Merriam-Webster is slightly more helpful: 'two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.' For the purposes of this field guide, we have laid down parameters. A hamburger is a marvelous sandwich, bit it is one deserving of its own guide. The same holds for hot dogs, and for tacos and burritos, which in 2006, in the case known as Panera v. Qdoba, a Massachusetts judge declared were not sandwiches at all. Open-faced sandwiches are not sandwiches, Gyros and shawarma are not sandwiches. The bread that encases them is neither split nor hinged, but wrapped.

There are five main families of sandwich in The New York Times Field Guide.

There are sandwiches made on Kaiser or 'hard' rolls.

There are sandwiches made on soft buns.

There are sandwiches made on long hero sub rolls.

There are sandwiches made on sliced bread.

And there are what we call 'singulars,' which are those creations on bread that falls outside these groups but are still vital to the sandwich landscape, like the muffuletta."

From the April 14, 2015, New York Times article "A Field Guide to the American Sandwich," by Sam Sifton.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Ms. Hiller has had the same dealer for 35 years, watching as his regulars have gotten older and grayer."

From the April 13, 2015, New York Times article "Smoking Marijuana for 50 Years, and Turning Out Just Fine," by David Gonzalez.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy 88th birthday to my Grandma!

All of my relatives and family gathered today to celebrate this joyous event. My grandma is the matriarch of our family, and her word is law in my large extended clan. She's also one of the sweetest and most amazing people I've ever met, and I want to say how lucky my family is to have her in our lives.

It's days like today that I want to remember forever.



"One day I just stopped and asked myself: What in the world are you doing with your life? I had no goals anymore and I was just spinning my wheels, watching my self-confidence disappear."

From the book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. Page 315.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"But despite prophecies of doom for the publishing industry, today paper books are still going strong, and digital books are finding their own niche."

From the April 10, 2015, New York Magazine online post, Books Will Never Die---You'll Just Find Them in Virtual Bookstores and Read Them on Your Phone, by Claire Landsbaum.

Love live books!
When the question of "why?" is asked? There's not always an answer.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Clickbait.
"The American ice cream sandwich was born in the Bowery district of Manhattan in the early 1900s, when a pushcart vendor slapped together skinny wafers and vanilla ice cream and handed them for a penny each to shoeshiners and stockbrokers alike."

From the April 9, 2015, New York Times article, The Ice Cream Sandwich Comes of Age, by Ligaya Mishan.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

"The girls had suddenly disappeared, and Haida had taken their place. Just as Tsukuru came, Haida had quickly bent over, taken Tsukuru's penis in his mouth, and---careful not to get the sheets dirty---taken all of the gushing semen inside his mouth. Tsukuru came violently, the semen copious. Haida patiently accepted all of it, and when Tsukuru had finished, Haida licked his penis clean with his tongue. He seemed used to it. At least it felt that way. Haida quietly rose from the bed and went to the bathroom. Tsukuru heard water running from the faucet. Haida was probably rinsing his mouth.

Even after he came, Tsukuru's penis remained erect."

From the book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami. Page 127.

Having read many Haruki Murakami books over the years, the main protagonist in most of his stories can be expected to be a certain type of guy. They are usually uncomplicated, appreciative of the subtle details in a woman's body, moral, a jazz or classical music enthusiast, intelligent deep thinkers, carnal, not fussy eaters, content, more of a cat person---and in a lot of ways, interesting in a sense because they are also very average and relatable.

In all of Haruki Murakami's books, the male protagonist is always quite sexual. There are usually passages with explicit details of sexual occurrences, but they are not done in an extraneous way to be salacious and tawdry. Actually, they create more of another dimension of the character, and are usually integral elements to the book's plot that symbolizes not just sex, but that our sexual needs are never just isolated incidents that provide thoughtless relief to the body. Instead, they are the events that often shape other parts of our lives and can result in unanticipated aftereffects. A lot of these sexual incidents in his books also take place in a dreamlike dimension of fantasy, in a world where nothing is what it seems. These subconscious states are far from the normal state that we all wake up to, but borderline between the real world and a hallucinatory daze.

I'm currently reading his latest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. The protagonist in this book is a guy name Tsukuru, and he falls in line with the main characters in most other Haruki Murakami books. Last night when I read the passage I quoted above, it was the first time I had ever seen his main character have any sexual engagement with another guy. My mouth dropped with each sentence I read, and it was all so unexpected. I liked that Murakami executed this in a way that is so in line with most all sexual encounters he writes about, and this too took place not in the regular world, but in universe of the inner-self that is different for all people.

It's funny because before I started reading this book, I actually did wonder if Haruki Murakami would ever have one of his protagonists be gay or have a gay sexual encounter. I guess dreams do come true!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Speak your truth.
"'To keep his seven children warm,' Mr. Todd bought a generator, Mr. Edwards said. 'It went out, and the carbon monoxide consumed them.'"

From the April 6, 2015, New York Times article, Father and 7 Children Found Dead in Maryland, by Ashley Southall.

So terribly tragic and sad.
"Londoners won't abandon a restaurant after six months, or six years, just for novelty's sake, nor is brand-newness a sufficient condition for adoration."

From the a story in the April 2015 issue of Bon Appétit titled, A Modern Guide to Timeless London, by Lauren Collins.
It's the start of a new day.

And I will give my mind and soul the fresh slate we all deserve.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

"Only bad witches are ugly."

Said by the character Glinda the Good Witch in the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Bad + Witch = Bitch?
"And despite her religious reservations, she said she might cater a same-sex wedding if she felt comfortable with the couple."

From the April 4, 2015, New York Times article, Indiana Residents Rue Damage to State's Welcoming Reception, by Richard Fausset.

Comfortable with what exactly? Comfortable with their race? Or religion? Or class? Or what country they were born in? Or hair style? Or waist size? Or if their last name starts with a vowel or syllable? Or their go-to comfort food? Or their favorite sex position? Or if they've ever visited Antartica? Or if they sing in the shower? Or if they eat breakfast food for dinner? Or their pet's name? Or their favorite Céline Dion song? Or whether they thought the dress was white and gold or blue and black? Or their preferred brand of light bulbs?
"'I would cater a gay wedding,' he said, but only if he could drop the food off 'and leave, and not have to stay and observe.'"

From the April 4, 2015, New York Times article, Indiana Residents Rue Damage to State's Welcoming Reception, by Richard Fausset.
Solution, or fantasy?
Happy Easter to everyone!

I hope you have a great Sunday with your family and loved ones.
How do you define the teenager of 2015 in one word?

LIKE.

Like, just like their post if you like it.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Friday, April 03, 2015

It's Friday night and the weekend has started!

And I will be home in stretchy pants vegging on the couch.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

We're all dreamers and natural storytellers.

The version of things that exist in our heads is always right until we find out otherwise. The circumstances of a picture we see. The face belonging to an email address. The details behind a true-to-life story someone tells us. Our distinct creative powers steer so much of this, and the possibilities are endless.

And that's why words especially will always allow us to dream, hope, conjure, and create forever.

It's all so beautiful.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"We live in a messy revolutionary period for restaurants. The old rules for going out to eat, under which Mom and Dad ambled down a predictable path from appetizer to main course to dessert, with Mom pausing halfway through dinner to ask about Dad's veal chop, were repealed some time ago."

From the March 31, 2015, New York Times article, Small Plates Grow Up, by Pete Wells.
Being an adult means wearing shoes that need their laces tied every morning.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Congratulations to my good friends Susy and Ricky for their upcoming bundle of joy!

It was great to catch up with them over lunch at Marta.



"'Vascularity is the new six-pack,' says Elias Carmelo, a personal trainer and model in New York City, who says that making his veins pop is his top priority before a photo shoot. The most essential is the cephalic, which runs along the forearm and biceps from the write to mid-shoulder---a beating indicator that a tank-top or tight-tee wearer is in shape everywhere else. 'When you can see that vein, you think, Wow, that guy's pretty fit,' Carmelo says."

From the March 17, 2015 Details.com story, How Veins Became the New Six Pack, by Kayleen Schaefer.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Clear and brisk skies in Sunnyside, Queens, last weekend.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Today's weather in New York seemed like the first time in the entire year to hit over 60 degrees. Even though it was dreary, rainy, and somewhat humid out, it was still nice to go outside and not be freezing cold.

My work is located on 25th Street near the Flatiron Building. I'm lucky that I sit by a window, and was able to crack it open today to get some air circulating into the office because the temperature and humidity from outside had it feeling stuffy. It was after 3 o'clock when some coworkers and I noticed a smell of something burning. It definitely wasn't coming from anywhere in our office, and we realized the odor was being wafted in through the open window.

It was soon after when we all learned about the building explosion in the East Village on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street. Watching it unfold in realtime through news outlets, blogs and social media was engrossing, considering how many countless times I've walked down that block in my life. And I couldn't believe that the smell from the fire was so potent and strong even from my office, forcing us to close the window at some point.

It's crazy how such damaging and life-changing results can happen in an instant. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were hurt and are still missing because of this terrible event.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Sometimes it seems like we're all living in some kind of prison. And the crime is how much we hate ourselves."

Said by Angela Chase in the show My So Called Life. Season 1, Episode 5.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Alone.

Lonely.

Longing.

Belong.

To nothing.
Happiness is...

...waking up another day to try again and figure it all out.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anytime I catch myself overthinking something nowadays, I try to stop immediately to focus on something more tangible. This oddly seems to happen a lot while I'm using the bathroom, and results in me staring directly at tiles on the wall to study all its overlooked details.

It's funny how the concept of overthinking is not something I ever fully grasped until about a year or so ago, but now it crosses my mind a few times a day when I catch myself starting to ponder about random things. It's been really useful actually, because it helps put me at ease at times and takes the edge off my anxiety. Being able to do this has allowed me to just approach things differently, and I like it. If an old boss had never started to jokingly use this term about me at work, I'd probably be going through the same mental cycles about everything constantly throughout the day. It's nice to be able to turn the volume down a notch.

When I read back on some of the content of my old entries here, it's like woah okay my mind is really just going off tangent. The feeling is both funny and sometimes gratifying because I can recognize that while I still have a gazillion things to work on, this is one thing that I feel I've grown and improved upon.

Woot woot, 32. Life is great.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dear Failure,

Thank you for all that you've taught me.

best,
thwany
Today's date is 3... 2... 1... INSOMNIA.

I feel so restless right now. It's past 5am and I can just tell that I won't be falling asleep anytime soon.

However, thankfully it's technically the weekend right now, so worrying about waking up on time for work in the morning is not a problem.

My roommate has to be at work by 7am, so I'm thinking that I'll go out into the living room when he starts getting ready for work and I can just eventually pass out on the couch with the television on in the background.

Wow, what a productive way to start the weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Officials at the authority, which is run by the state, acknowledge that delays have grown and point to a 110-year-old system that is working to accommodate a record six million riders a day."

From the March 19, 2015, New York Times story, Crowds and Long Delays Fray Subway System and Riders' Nerves, written by Emma G. Fitzsimmons.
"I know you've been hurt,
by someone else. 
I can tell by the way,
you carry yourself."

From the song Take Care by Drake ft Rihanna.
You can't have it all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"The New York Police Department has started using a detection system that pinpoints the location of gunfire and sends the information to law enforcement, the latest move to modernize the nation's largest police force, the department announced on Monday.

The system, called ShotSpotter, is used in several major cities. It works by installing sensors---basically, sensitive microphones---around an area to pick up sounds from the street that might be gunfire, and uses the sensors to locate where the shots were fired. It then sends the information to the Police Department. 

From the March 16, 2015, New York Times article, New York Police Begin Using ShotSpotter System to Detect Gunshots, written by Tatiana Schlossberg.

Monday, March 16, 2015

"So far away. But still so near."

From the song Dancing On My Own by Robyn.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A lot can happen in a week. It's all so great.
"I was like, 'Oh my god! I don't even like food, I was just bored.'"

Said by Amy Schumer from her stand-up routine in Night Of Too Many Stars.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"'The idea that we'd be doing this'---she gestured toward the hotel's homey kitchen, where Ben, a chef, was baking bread for the evening's meal---'is one of those things that reminds you that life is crazy in the best of ways.'"

From the article All In The Family by David Amsden in the March 2015 issue of Condé Nast Traveler.

This was such a beautifully written story about two people who love each other. It made me so happy after reading it.
Chicago is such a great city. I went last weekend with my friends Junho and Judy to celebrate her birthday. Visiting for a long weekend getaway was really a nice break away from home, but vegging out on the couch right now at my place is equally fun. 

Thank you also to Christine and Ray for the hospitality. And happy birthday to Judy!

Here are just a few random pictures from our trip.







It was just a stupid fantasy.
"Just kidding---there's only one possible answer, and it is Cookie. She of the animal prints. She of the bitchy retort. She who cannot help but burst into any and every room uninvited. Cookies is everyone's favorite."

From the March 13, 2015, New York Times article "Cookie is an 'Empire' Builder for Fox" by Gilbert Cruz.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Upon canceling the mission, the one helicopter landed safely, he said, but when its crew realized that they had no contact with the other, they set back out into the fog to try to locate it.

The other Marines killed were Capt. Stanford H. Shaw, III, 31, of Basking Ridge, N.J.; Master Sgt. Thomas A. Saunders, 33, of Williamsburg, Va; Staff Sgt. Marcus S. Bawol, 26, of Warren, Mich.; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock, 29, of Lake Orion, Mich.; Staff Sgt. Liam A. Flynn, 33, of Queens, N.Y.; and Staff Sgt. Kerry M. Kemp, 27, of Port Washington, Wis.

According to Marine officials, all seven men had served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both.

From the March 13, 2105, New York Times article Crash Victims Include Decorated Marine by Richard Fausset.

This is such an awful tragedy. Rest in peace to all of those patriotic servicemen who died---thank you for all that you've done. And thank you to all who continue to serve today.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Happy Friday!

It's a crisp and chilly day here in New York City finally without any snow falling.

Eat something good for lunch. Listen to some pumping music to get you through work. Make fun plans with loved ones for the evening.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

"In the city, where walking is a way of life, keeping sidewalks clear in the winter is not merely a neighborhood course, it is also required under the law. Businesses, homeowners and others in charge of properties are given four hours from the time snow has stopped falling (longer if it ends at night) to clean the pavement."

From the March 3, 2105, New York Times story: With No One to Clear It, Ice Creates a Dangerous Passage. Written by Winnie Hu and Ken Schwencke.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

"One of the original players,
From the HIMALAYA."

Said by the character Jerome in the sitcom, Martin. Season 2, Episode 7.
It's another snowy weekend here in Manhattan. 










Friday, February 27, 2015

It's amazing how really loving going to work in the morning changes your day.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Porn, it had been said, is a driver of technology.

Pornography has spurred the adoption of most tech innovations of the last generation. It helped hasten the growth of VHS tapes, interactive CDs and DVDs, and pretty much the entire Internet.

From the February 25, 2015 NewYork Times article Strippers Go Undercover on Snapchat, by Nick Bilton.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I haven't been able to fall asleep before 3am for the past few months or so.

Oh sleep, why do you taunt me?

Monday, February 23, 2015

A different approach is all it needed.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yo, Pasta!

What'sup?!
Don't just be kind to others. Be kind to yourself, too.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Even without the help of technology, the world is still small.

I went to Flushing a few weekends ago and took the 7 train there. The last stop of the E train in the city is near my place so taking that to 74th Street Jackson Heights was easy. Afterwards, when I was waiting on the 7 train platform to transfer, I noticed two guys standing not far from me because one of them was really tall. His brown jacket also helped make him memorable for some reason. I eventually continued on with what I was doing and forgot about them completely inside the rumbling 7 as I stood by the door's window to stare out.

It was about four hours later when I was back on the 7 train at Main Street to head home. I like to ride the second subway-car from the front whenever getting off the 74th street stop to go into the city. It's funny because after I exited the 7 and was heading to the staircase, I watched the same two guys from earlier step out of the first car of the subway in front of me. I immediately recognized the tall guy's brown coat and had myself a chuckle. As they were busy talking and not noticing me walking behind them, all I could think to myself were what are the odds.

But coincidences like that seem to pop-up every now and then, and it always reminds me of how connected we all truly are.

When my good friends Jenn and Daniel came to visit me while I was living in Korea years ago, my only English-speaking and American friend in Seoul was Hyunha. 

Hyunha had moved from the Tri-State area and arrived in Seoul after I did. She was living in Korea for the first time with her two daughters, who I was so happy to be able to meet as well. They were in grade school and attending international school to not only be submersed in Korean culture, but also spend quality time with their mom. Hyunha and I had met through a mutual friend from NYC, and we instantly hit it off. We had a lot of fun late nights of just talking and downing bottles of whiskey together as we traded stories and shared parts of our lives. 

It was soon after our first initial meeting in Korea that my friends Jenn and Daniel were coming to visit. Since moving to Seoul, I felt like I hadn't seen them in forever. We had also been roommates during my time in NYC before I left, and so my excitement to see them was boiling over. Their flight was scheduled to arrive at 5am, which left me no choice but to sleep at the airport that night. Back then, the only way to get to Incheon Airport from Seoul by public transportation was through an airport bus. These buses had multiple lines and picked-up from most places in Korea's capital city. The ride took about an hour, and the last buses usually scheduled to arrive at the airport were around midnight. 

When I picked a long bench inside the airport to sleep on, I only noticed maybe one or two other people also doing so. Surprisingly, none of the airport staff bothered us and we were all left alone as if we weren't there. I'm not sure if that night was an aberration, but there were multiple planes from JFK that all landed that night in Seoul around 5am. I got a spot at one of the many passenger arrival gates and watched as people strolled out one-by-one with luggage in tow. At one point as I stood there waiting, I noticed a certain man come out alone. His face immediately put me at alert, and I studied him carefully to be certain that I was thinking of the right person. 

The thing is, Hyunha might have not remembered it, but Korea wasn't the first time we crossed paths. I had seen her before in NYC many years back at a few house parties that our mutual friend threw. I can also recall seeing her with her husband, and he was the same man I had just seen walk out the airport gate alone. Running into him at the airport at that time was a complete shock to me. Because we had just met, I only knew in a general sense that Hyunha's husband at that time was coming into town. I had also just mentioned to her that some close friends from NYC were visiting, so neither of us ever thought there would be any sort of connection. 

I watched closely as he walked off to the side to make a phone call. I waited until after he hung up to approach him and say hi. He of course had no idea who I was because he didn't know my face, but eventually figured out what was going on. Soon after, my friends Jenn and Daniel arrived. When we ended up running into Hyunha's then husband later on, it was near a ticket stand for airport buses. The 3 of us had just learned that there were no buses for another hour and the lines of people waiting for them outside were getting long. That's why we were extremely grateful when he invited us to go with him back to Seoul in his taxi. He was in fact going to the neighborhood right next to where I lived and where my friends were also staying. The funniest part was when we were in the cab ride back and he called Hyunha to tell her what had happened.

A few months later when I eventually ended up leaving Korea (not by choice), I was waiting in the immigration line at Suvarnabhumi Airport to enter Thailand. I was there on a one-way ticket with what I planned to be a two-month stay since that's what my visa allotted. I was alone, on an extremely tight budget, didn't know anything about Thailand, and had no idea what I was going to do after exiting the airport. I remember the immigration area being very large and new. It's hard to recall what the reason was, but all of the stations were empty and the many rows of us in line had to wait for some time. I was fortunate to be first in the line all the way to the left and patiently stood with my immigration card in hand. My feelings anticipating that moment where someone would come and stamp my passport to send me into the unknown of Thailand was something I wasn't sure how to feel about.

That's when I heard a voice from behind me. "So, what kind of writer are you?"

On my immigration form, I wasn't sure how favorable "unemployed clueless loser" under occupation would sound. I was going to Thailand without any idea about anything, so I decided to put down "freelance writer" instead.

I turned around and saw a friendly looking guy. A part of it was funny because I could probably count on one hand the number of times in the past 6 months that I had had a conversation with a stranger in English, let alone an American. I told him I had studied writing in college and had worked in magazine publishing in NYC, on top of writing my own fiction on the side. He told me he was from Utah and worked in communications. He had currently moved to Vietnam for work and lived there with his wife. When he found out I had worked at an epicurean magazine, he mentioned that he had a friend who also worked at one. When he told me who it was, my jaw dropped because it was someone from my old job! This was someone who I not only had the pleasure of working with and getting to know, but also someone I respected immensely because they're such a great person.

The nice guy continued to tell me that when my former colleague went to Vietnam for their honeymoon, they had met up with him and his wife for dinner. This all happened during the time we still worked together at the magazine, and both of the couples had met through a mutual friend. Years later, after I had returned to NYC and was working in the office of a restaurant in TriBeCa, my old colleague came for dinner one night. I stopped in that evening to say hi, and it was was the first time we had both seen each other since I had left for Asia. Seeing them was great, and the amusing thing was that their dinner companion was the mutual friend who had introduced them to the man I met at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Before I left Korea for Thailand, I spent a long period of time being unemployed and looking for work. Since I really needed to earn money, I eventually ended up taking this part-time bartending gig. This was an opportunity that came my way through a friend who had nothing to do with the food industry, it was just a right-place-in-the-right-time situation. The bar I worked at was actually a gay bar in one of Seoul's two major gay districts, Itaewon and Jongno. The area of my workplace, Jongno, was known to be quieter and more subdued than Itaewon, the other major gay neighborhood of the city.

The bar that I worked at happened to be named after this indie American movie with somewhat of a cult following. The film is funny with a sexual storyline and takes place in NYC. Some of the characters are gay, giving the movie a large LGBT fan base. That's the reason why the man who first opened the gay bar named it after the movie, because he was a super fan. When he eventually sold the bar to the owner who would become my boss, the name remained and continued to shine bright in the white sign above its third floor windows.

The gay bar wasn't too big, and my boss was always there. On busy weekend nights, there would be three of us behind the bar, the third being another bartender who worked there full-time. I normally never came out on slower weekdays except for when the full-time worker had a day off. It was an early weekday like that when this fateful encounter happened, and I remember it like yesterday. The bar was completely dead that night until I saw a straight couple open the door to come in and sit at the bar. Now what made them so different and caught my attention was that they weren't Korean, but that they were caucasian.

That might not sound like a big deal, but having two patrons like them casually come for a drink at a random gay bar in Jongno was like seeing two unicorns walk in---it just seemed non-existent. The better news was that not only were they American, but they were also from NYC! Since my boss didn't speak english, whenever anything needed to be communicated to tourists or english speaking non-Koreans, it was my job to attend to them and make conversation if they were sitting at the bar. After the couple sat down and started drinking, I ended up talking with them for hours. She was currently living in China with her boyfriend and working as a university professor at a law school. The two of them had come to Seoul for a short vacation and their hotel for the night was nearby. The fact that they were even staying in a hotel in Jongno was a first for me because even though it's well-known, it's also a very old part of the city with no major hotels, skyscrapers, or hoards of young people partying everywhere. It's known more for having lot of beautiful and traditional houses called hanoks, and being close to the Royal Palace.

When I asked how the two of them ended up choosing this bar to drink at, they said they didn't know where else to go. They had been looking for a place, and decided on us because they saw the name of the bar and not only liked it, but was also intrigued (the bar name also used to be commonly used as a pejorative term in American culture). That night with them ended up being really fun, and conversing with the both of them was a blast. Bartending at the gay bar was a great experience, but I often had shifts were I just felt frustrated and down about life, not understanding why I was having such a hard time finding a job I really wanted. That's why when they even graciously left me a really nice tip, it totally made my day because typically in Korean culture, tipping is not a norm at all. We exchanged emails and I thanked them again so much for coming in as they left later that night. Meeting them at work had been such a refreshing breath of air for me, and I was so humbled by how nice they were.

Less than five months later, I was living in Thailand and went to the capital of Laos for my first-ever visa run. This was after my first 2-month visa had expired, and I went to Vientiane to acquire a new one at the Thai embassy there. This was the closest and most affordable-to-get-to Thai embassy from Bangkok, and getting there required an overnight bus or train to Nong Khai before crossing over into Laos.

On my first and only day of the trip, I wandered around Vientiane as I waited for my passport and visa to get processed. At one point, I am walking on a street along a big road when I see the same American couple from that night at work in Seoul walking towards me. We immediately say hi, and even took a picture together because we couldn't believe our luck. Out of all of the places to be on the planet at that very moment, we somehow ended up at the same exact spot in Laos together.

Who knows, maybe we will all somehow cross paths again. Fate is a crazy thing.
"If you let me in,
Here's what I'll do.
I'll take care of you."

From the song Take Care by Drake featuring Rihanna.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Oh, what I would give to be swimming somewhere right now in warm and sunny weather.

Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll have a swimming-dream when I finally fall asleep sometime tonight.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"I know you get me,
So I let my walls come down."

From the song Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.
"'And to have in a city of eight-and-a-half million people,' he went on, 'just think of it, to have 11, 12 days without a murder; we had a couple days in there, I think, where we didn't have any shootings or stabbings, either. So, it's just a reflection of just how safe the city has become.'"

From the February 13, 205 New York Times Article, "Breaking a Record, 11 Days Pass in New York City with No Killings." Written by Al Baker.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This morning when I was waiting at the Park Place subway platform to go to work, I saw a group of young students on a field trip. My guess is that they were in the 4th grade, and they all looked so happy as they excitedly walked in a single file. Seeing them was really a lovely way to start my day today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Friday, February 06, 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015