Thursday, September 27, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"I finished her life story."

Said by Jane Fonda about her mom in the HBO documentary: Jane Fonda in Five Acts.

Wow, what an incredible life Jane Fonda has lived so far.
"I'm wearing a new dress, 
new hat.
New ideas,
as a matter of fact!
I've changed for good."

From the song New Attitude by Patti LaBelle.

It's impossible to not feel pumped up with this song in my earbuds.
I've been waking up from such vivid dreams for the past few weeks.

Friends who I have not seen or talked to in a while will sometimes make an appearance, and I've used it as a funny reason to text them hi and start a conversation. But then there are other former friends who are now long lost acquaintances, where it would feel weird reaching out. One person in particular is still very fresh on my mind right now because I just woke up, and his presence in my dream was so unexpected and made me happy. I was elated to see him and told him so. But our relationship is no longer like that, and I'll just have to wish him well from afar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dear friends,

Please check out my latest food story that I wrote for Eater: A Chef’s Quest to Bring North Korean Cold Noodles to America


Friday, September 21, 2018

"And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank. They just get better at lying."

Said by the character April in the movie Revolutionary Road.
Bubbles are made to be burst.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Today feels like such a weird Monday.

Even emotional eating feels so unfulfilling.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Happy Sunday, everyone. It's a hot September day here in New York (shout out to global warming!). Even though it's my one day of the week to sleep in, I got up early today and decided to try and be productive. I purged some old crap in my closet, Swiffered my tiny little room, and gulped a tall glass of cold water with a splash of apple cider vinegar in it before heading out. In general, I think I've been spending too much of my free time eating, vegetating, and scrolling at home. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it and hiding away from the world. But these words aren't going to write themselves. And the subways are always messed up on the weekends, so that makes me want to hibernate even more. But alas, I'm happy to be out and about today. Speaking of the subway, why does it feel like the MTA doesn't give a shit about New Yorkers? Everyday, there is so much such annoying bullshit to deal with. The trains are always late, packed, stalled, or just seem dysfunctional in general. And this happens on a daily basis. The subway station closest to my apartment closed for renovations this July and is set to re-open in November. That means I have to use the next closest train station on that subway line, which isn't too far from me so it's fine. But then that station has been closed on the weekends for the past few weeks, so it's just like, ugh, what the fuck. I basically live off podcasts from Oprah and RuPaul to help me get through my commutes. I came to my old college campus right now to just sit with my computer for a bit. I haven't been doing this as often as I should because the workweek leaves me mentally depleted with little bandwidth for anything else. But I can't think about it like that. I have to think of this as a mental regeneration instead. Forcing those reminders upon myself is the only way to get back in the habit of trying to get shit done. And I have to admit that forgetting about any big life lessons or epiphanies I share here on this blog happens often. I rewatched The Devil Wears Prada the other night, and when Emily Blunt's character repeats to herself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job," I laughed so hard. It's like yes, girl, that's the spirit. Fake it 'til you make it. Tell yourself whatever you need to make sure you're pushing along. Because I've learned that no one or particular thing is ever going to motivate me like the way I can for myself. It's up to me, and no one else. I've got to do it for myself, and because I want to. So back to the topic of being productive on the weekends. It helps that I have a reason to leave my house every Saturday morning, and that always gets me moving. For the past two years, I've been tutoring a young student in writing every Saturday. She lives in Flushing, so it takes me a good hour-and-a-half to get to her house from Harlem. The length of the commute there is totally fine because I can catch up on my reading, but it's more just the unexpected track work and delays of the MTA and subways on Saturday mornings that really irritate me. But I actually truly enjoy spending the two hours of tutoring time with her every week, and look forward to it. On top of also being Korean-American from the same hometown, she attends the same junior high school as I did in Flushing. But it's not just from having similar roots that helps our bond, it's our personalities, too. She works really hard and has this openness to learning, and I'm grateful to be able to present any sort of guidance and help in whatever she needs. It's truly humbling, and always leaves me with a surge of positivity and hope in everything. She's just a good kid who gives a shit, and I like her energy. It's completely refreshing in a world where most of my interactions are with adults who sometimes don't seem like a good person, or like they give a shit. I feel like she and I have gotten to know each other well in the past two years, so we're able to laugh and enjoy ourselves during our sessions. I purposely never used to share too much personal info with her, but I decided to casually come out to her in a subtle way earlier this year, and wondered how she'd react. But when I did, she barely thought anything of it. And I realized it was more me who had the issues and reservations about it. Even a few months ago, I forgot why the topic came up, but as we were talking, when it came to saying the word gay, I whispered it instead of saying it out loud like the rest of my sentence. It was just instinct and something I was used to doing in order to protect myself and not cause any attention. I was afraid if her mom heard it, she might get upset. But then my student laughed and reassured me, "You know, you don't have to whisper that word! It's totally fine." I chuckled along with her like I totally knew, but in reality I was more getting over the feeling of registering the internalized fear I had when it came to the word. It's moments like that that clearly show me the progress that's been made from my generation to hers. Tutoring her is also great because I like having a reason to go to Flushing for a bit every week. It's comfortable and just feels so familiar like home. I'm normally done teaching her by the mid-afternoon, and will wander around Main Street alone to grab some food afterwards. I'll usually just pop-in somewhere easy like New World Mall or other places for dumplings or something I can eat on my feet. Or other times I'll sit down to have kimbap or soondae or donkatsu at this small spot on Union Street that's been there forever. It’s where I go to satiate any cravings for casual Korean food I had in the past week. I've come to like this Saturday routine, which allows me the rest of the weekend to go get drunk or even go back home to do nothing.
"I don't care what they think. 
I don't care what they say. 
What do they know about this love anyway?"

From the song Come To My Window by Melissa Etheridge.
"사랑을 했다,
우리가 만나,
지우지 못할 추억이 됐다."

From the song Love Scenario by iKON.

I've heard this song on so many Korean memes, and always thought it was by some older folk singer. I had no idea it was by a boyband.

Friday, September 14, 2018

I just want to go to Tai Pan Bakery, buy $30 worth of goodies, and make eating it at home in stretchy pants my only priority in life this weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Have you ever been craving something really badly, and then you actually get to eat it?

Like, wow, how cool is that? I sometimes still marvel at this ability.
Starting to read a new book is like the beginning of a fresh relationship. You have to get to know the writer and their writing style, and hit a point of finding your rhythm together. Just like people, sometimes the chemistry is there from the start, or sometimes the comfort level is found a few chapters in. Or then there are definitely the times where it doesn't happen at all, and seeing the book through to its end just doesn't seem possible.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Today marks the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

With my current office just blocks away from the World Trade Center, I sit here at my desk reflecting about all of the victims who perished that day, and all of the first responders and survivors whose health was negatively impacted in one way or another from it. It's so sad and humbling to think about. Rest in peace to all those who died, and for all who continue to fight for the freedom of our country, thank you for your service.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Saturday, September 08, 2018

There's this amazing clarity that comes with getting just a small taste of what you think you've wanted your entire life. It's from realizing that you've been wrong about it for years, and the feeling is so liberating.
It's never what you think. Like, ever.
The only thing I know to be true is the goodness I want to see more in the world.
I've come to realize that the ego is a lot more dangerous than self-doubt. It brings out the worst in people.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

It had been a few weeks since I heard from my mom, so I decided to give her a call today around lunch time to say hi.

As soon as she picked up, the first thing she said was, "I can't believe you called me just now, because I was in the middle of writing you a text!"

And that was without a doubt, the highlight of my day.