Monthly Archives: January 2011
Stripes and floral tiered dress, dark gray cardigan, black wool tights, brown motorcycle boots from Charlotte Russe, white flower earrings, and heart-shaped pocket watch necklace from Disney.
Drink something hot on this snowy day! Stay warm everyone :)
First week of classes of the new semester is over now. I’m taking 5 classes for the first time in like… ever. They’re not easy classes, but still, fewer than 6 classes for once in my college life. I really need the time to do other things, because school is starting to burn me out. I considered graduating a semester early, which is entirely feasible for me since I only have 31.5 credits left to complete, not including this semester. But I ultimately decided against it, because even though I feel like I’m having a pretty rough time right now, I want to get as much of college as possible.
I’m trying to change some things this time. I’m getting up at 7:00-7:30am every weekday, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to the gym right away. On my way there yesterday I caught the most beautiful sunrise. I had never seen the sun so low in the sky before, shining directly onto College Walk, the shadows stretched on forever until they disappeared into the semi-darkness of the pavement. I think just the possibility of catching such a wondrous sight is enough motivation for getting me up so early. I will try to capture this on my camera next time.
I’m also trying to re-focus on my studies this semester. I don’t even know where last semester went, and I admit I hardly put in any effort in school at all. Most of grades somehow were okay, but it doesn’t change the fact that I just didn’t give a crap. But school is one of the few things I have control over right now, and I need to feel more in control of my life.
Alright, enough with this stuff. Here are some photos from my not very exciting but still too short winter break.
A stuffed minion from Despicable Me given to me by Yufei:
Strange ice formations from the fountain in our fish pond (I thought it was cold back home; New York is so much worse):
My dad’s homegrown organic cherry tomatoes that he was so proud of:
Pretty snowfall the day before I left:
Finally, I leave you with some tablet doodles I did over the break!
Cool video for typography geeks! Beautiful animation and a beautiful song.
The best and the happiest moments in life are those I call moments of clarity. They’re those moments when you feel so completely at peace with the world, when you feel like, despite everyone’s expectations and perhaps even your own, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in life. They’re rare moments for me: when I’m huddled under a blanket staring into the vastness of the starry night on the top of a mountain in rural Quebec; when I’m lying on a picnic blanket with my beloved in Central Park; when I’m sitting on a bench on a sunny day in Vienna listening to a busker play the accordion; when I’m having a late breakfast on the balcony looking out to the ocean in Sanya. These moments never last long: sometimes only a fraction of a second and I don’t even realize it at the time, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a few hours, and if I’m lucky, a few days. But I can imagine how one can live in a constant state of such feelings; no longer moments of clarity but a life of clarity. It’s the kind of life I ultimately want to lead. I want it so badly, yet it has never seemed further away; it’s been a long time since I experience even a moment like that.
Here is the long promised tutorial for the giant lollipop wand I used as a prop for my California Gurls inspired Halloween costume!
Project: lollipop wand
Difficulty level: medium
Step 1: Gather your supplies! You will need: cardboard, scissors, craft glue, tape, ribbons, a dowel/chopstick/plastic straw, white poster board or other sturdy paper, markers and other decorative materials.
Step 2: Wrap your dowel/chopstick/plastic straw (I used a sturdy straw here) in a ribbon of your choice. Tape or glue the ends. This will be the stick part of the lollipop.
Step 3: Cut out 4 circles of the same size from the cardboard, the size depends on how big you want the lollipop to be. Make sure that the thickness of 2 pieces of cardboard is equal to the diameter of the stick you made in Step 2. If not, adjust the number of cardboard circles accordingly.
Step 4: Take 2 of the cardboard circles, cut a small rectangular opening on their side just big enough to fit the stick.
Step 5: Glue all 4 circles together, with the 2 circles with the opening matched up and in the middle, and the 2 intact circles on either side. This will create a disk that will be the candy part of the lollipop with a hole on the side in which you can later put the stick.
Step 6: Take the white poster board and cut a strip that is the length of the circumference of cardboard disk, and the width 3 times as thick as the disk. Fold the strip lengthwise into 3, so that the middle section is as thick as the disk. Cut every 1 cm or so all the way along the 2 sections on the sides of the strip.
Step 7: Start wrapping the strip along the edges of the cardboard disk. The middle section of the strip should line up with the edge of the disk, and the sides of the strip should allow the strip to bend along the curve of the disk.
Step 8: Tape down the sides of the strip to the disk as you continue to wrap it, until the entire edge of the disk is covered, except for the opening.
Step 9: Cut 2 circles of the same size as your disk from the white poster board. Decorate them however you like your lollipop to look.
Step 10: Assemble your lollipop wand! Glue the 2 circles to the cardboard disk, insert the stick into the opening on the side of the disk and glue in place, and add a bow with ribbons. And you’re done!
What better words to describe this winter break so far but disenchantment and disillusionment?
Part of it has to do with my ongoing struggle with the question of what to do with my life career-wise. A discussion/argument with parents ended with me in tears on Christmas Day and even more lost and confused and desperate. Through their brand of tough love, my parents have made me realize and consider, although very reluctantly, the realities one has to face in choosing their life path. However, this has not made things any easier for me; instead, they’ve probably become even more difficult as I increasingly realize just how limited my choices are when taking into account everything, and I mean EVERYTHING: whether or not I’m interested in the profession, how much more training this will take, how much money this training will cost, how competitive it is to get into the right program, what are the job prospects for the field, how much money will I be able to make, whether or not that income level justifies my expensive Columbia education/further schooling, when will I actually be able to go into the work force, would my training/job allow me to have time for my personal life, etc. etc. etc.
None of this is new and I haven’t reached any kind of conclusion as of now, so I won’t bother writing more about it. But over the holidays, another issue has been on my mind a lot.
I’ve always been kind of enjoy-the-present-and-worry-about-the-future-later when it comes to my relationship. Sure, I think about the future from time to time, but mostly about where Yufei and I should go for spring break or whether we should both stay in New York for the summer. The times I do think beyond college, I’ve always just assumed that things will work themselves out somehow. My parents have been asking what our plans are after graduation, and I haven’t been able to answer them properly. “So you’re just going to have fun during college and forget about it and break up after?” My mom inquired one day. No, I replied, we’re not planning to do that. But what ARE we planning to do? How can we plan anything when nothing about either of our future is settled?
My parents told me that if we try to stay together, one of us will have to follow the other to wherever they end up, and one of us will end up having to make a sacrifice. They don’t seem to consider long distance an option, of course, it’s not an ideal option anyway. A well-intentioned family friend advised me the other day that it would be better for me to go to grad school close to where Yufei works. Am I ready to do that? I don’t know. Of course, it’s hard to know anything when you don’t even know WHAT you want to do, so much the less WHERE.
There was a total overdose of engagements this holiday season. Not just celebrities like Hugh Hefner (super disturbing), Reese Witherspoon, Jason Mraz, Lily Allen, Natalie Portman… you get the gist, but also random and not-so-random Facebook friends, which is to say, normal people of my age. Now, I have no intention of getting married before I’m 25 and (hopefully) have a steady income, but a thought occurred to me nonetheless.
These friends and acquaintances, I never thought of their relationships as so different from mine. But I realized that they are in fact very different. They might have been born in place A, have family in place A, go to school/work in place A; their significant other probably also have family in place A, go to school/work in place A; and they will probably continue to stay in place A, work in place A, get married in place A, start their own family in place A. There is nothing in terms of geography holding them back. This is not so in my case. My family is in place A, Yufei’s family is in place B, we both go to school in place C, we may head off to places D and E, respectively, after graduation, and maybe even move on to places F and G and… who knows. The point is, by making the first step to move away from home for college, we’ve already set ourselves up for a life of no fixed address, at least for some time. While I’m perfectly fine with that, as I’ve already grown used to constantly moving during my childhood and adolescence, it’s different and significantly harder when there’s another person involved, especially when that person is someone you care about and want to stay together with.
It’s things like these that make me feel so disenchanted. Even something I always thought of as my constant, my anchor, is in fact not anchored anywhere at all. There’s a quote from a movie I’ve always liked: “Life is full of coincidence, even two parallel lines might someday meet”. But are we like two straight lines, where our paths can cross once, only to be separated forever after?
My parents are right; it’s going to take sacrifice and effort if we want to be together. We are still young, still full of hopes and dreams and ambitions that can take us anywhere. Are we willing to sacrifice these things to be with each other? I don’t know. Will we need to? I don’t know. Things aren’t going to magically fall into place, but I still believe that they will fall into place one way or another. Because at the end of it all, despite all the questions and uncertainties, I remain optimistic that one day, we will find a place, be it place X or Y or Z, a place we can be together and call our own.
Happy New Year everyone! 2010 certainly went by fast, even though it was quite an exciting and eventful year. I always like to do a year-end summary type of thing and also write down some resolutions and other hopes for the new year, so I thought I’d combine the two and create a new type of list. So, here I present some of the things, both good and bad, I did and didn’t do in 2010, and some of the things I hope to achieve in the new year.
Things I did in 2010 that I want to keep doing in 2011:
- Travel! 2010 was a great year in terms of going to new places. I went to Washington, D.C. for spring break, visited Toronto and the Niagara Falls at the start of summer, spent 2 months living in Vienna, Austria, traveled to Germany and Switzerland, and went to Disneyland over fall break. I hope the new year will bring many more new adventures!
- See a ton of movies. I saw A LOT of movies this past year. In fact, I only missed 2 of the top 10 biggest box office movies of the year (Twilight: Eclipse and Clash of the Titans, both of which I have no interest in seeing). Hope to see more great movies in 2011!
- Craft! I did a fair amount of crafting in 2010, and I hope to keep it up in 2011! I already have a ton of ideas so it should be hard :)
- Set small goals/try new things. These two things often came hand in hand in 2010. I tried being vegetarian for 2 months, signed up for a graphic novel workshop, and even made my first ever graphic short story. Trying new things can never hurt, and setting small goals make things more attainable and enjoyable while still helping you achieve bigger things. Good things to keep up in the new year.
- Finding my own style. I’ve grown a lot in terms of my style in the past year; I got rid of a ton of clothes, and bought some more that I really like. I hope to keep going through that process and build a wardrobe I’m truly excited about. Will be selling more stuff online soon and taking some clothes to the tailors to get them altered!
Things I started/tried in 2010 that I will do better at:
- Eating well. I’ve been eating fairly well for the past year, especially since I ditched the meal plan and tried vegetarianism, but I can do better. Specifically, I will not stuff my face every time I eat out and try to bring back half my meal each time, because seriously, most of the time the portion size is enough for 2 meals, and it doesn’t feel good to be stuffed anyway. Another thing is trying to snack smarter, meaning less chocolate and chips and stocking up my fridge with fruit. And also: always eat breakfast!
- Being better tempered in my relationship. I tried really hard to not get upset at the small things and not stay upset for too long, and I think I’m getting better at it. The people around me don’t deserve it and I don’t deserve it myself; it’s really not healthy all around. I’m going to keep working on it in the new year and every time I get upset, I will take a deep breath and ask myself if it’s really worth it.
Things I did in 2010 that I hope not to repeat in 2011:
- Get a B in a class. I know, I know… a B isn’t all that terrible of a grade (though it is my worst yet). But seriously, I didn’t think a B can really drop you GPA that much. I was wrong. Time to re-focus on academics and do better next semester!
- Procrastinate. Especially this past semester, procrastination got me bad. It’s probably part of why I got a B in a class. It could have been avoided. So, I’m going to make 2011 a more productive year by procrastinating less. This means not thinking of Thursday night as the start of the weekend (I do this even though I have Friday class(es)) and reminding myself how good it feels to have more work accomplished early vs. panicking on Sunday night. Also, start using Google calendar again and time block my daily tasks.
- Fret about my future. I had many crises about my future in the past year, with the last one only a few days ago, but I’ve decided to stop doing this in 2011. I know this will be really hard for me to do, especially as I inch ever closer to graduation, but honestly, fretting doesn’t help. I need to focus on the smaller things in front of me (see above for setting small goals), such as making sure I understand the material and do well in a class, without trying to project it on how it will affect my future. I need to remind myself that I’m a capable, intelligent individual, and with a Columbia education, I WILL succeed in life even if I don’t know in what way yet. I just need to focus on doing the best I can at the present moment and really think about my pursuits, not blindly pursuing something I’m not even sure about. I need to feel okay with the fact that I might not know what I want to do right after graduation, and that it’s okay to try a few different options before I find something I’m really passionate about. Things WILL work out in the end.
Things I didn’t do in 2010 that I want to start/re-start doing in 2011:
- Do more art. Only near the end of the year did I start to do some art and realize how much I miss it. So I hope to do a lot more art in the new year, and one of my resolutions for 2011 is to draw everyday. I think I’ll start going to Friday Night Sketch hosted by the Artist Society at Columbia too. It’s something I both enjoy and am relatively good at, so there is no reason for me not to spend more time on it. Time to dust off my drawing pencils and Sakura pens, go out to buy a new sketchbook, and put my new tablet to good use!
- Exercise more. Spring semester of 2010 was okay, the summer came around and I was super busy with my internship, then there was just no motivation left for fall. So pathetic. So, in the new year, I will exercise everyday. Even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’m trying to see if getting it to be a daily habit will work better than trying to get myself to go to the gym twice a week, which is what I tried before. And it’s great that my room is actually big enough to do a lot of work-outs in, including jump rope! Also, I will try to take the stairs more; it makes me sad when I’m out of breath after climbing only a few flights of stairs. No more excuses this year!
That’s all for now, I will probably think of more later on and will update as that happens. So welcome, 2011! I hope you bring plenty of adventure, discovery, happiness, and love.
What are your goals/hopes for the new year? I’d love to hear them in the comments!