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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Tag Archives: rants

For as long I can remember, or at least since I was old enough to care about my looks, I’ve always struggled with my hair. When I was a little kid, I had perfectly good, shiny, straight, doll-like hair. Exhibit A:

That was when I was 3. Then somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12, my hair turned into this unmanageable mess, and I suffered through years of terrible, awful haircuts, most of which are too embarrassing to display on the internet. Basically, unlike typically Asian hair. which is straight, shiny, and smooth, my hair was – is – super thick, hard, coarse, and slightly wavy in that no matter what I did, some parts of it always stuck out or was bent out of place. And I have a lot of hair. Every single hairdresser I’ve been to have said that to me. The texture drove me crazy and I had no idea how to style it.

The the summer after eight grade, I went back to China with my family and my mom finally let me get a perm. I think that was the first time I’ve ever felt really happy with how my hair looked. I didn’t have to worry about whether my hair would be flipping everywhere all over the place, it was all set in place with the perm! Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have any photos of my hair from that time, so it’s just a nice memory now. But the perm eventually grew out, and for most of high school, my hair looked at best like this (before Stanford crushed my dreams):

Or this:

And at worst, like this:

Actually, I think the worst was worse than that, but who’s keeping track. And so that’s how it was for a while. One particular days my hair would look fine, if I happend to sleep in the exact way that flattened out all the kinks in it. Oh, and here’s the other thing with my hair. It never looks good after a shower, no matter if I let it air dry or blow dry it. It always looks poofy and awful. And most hair straighteners didn’t work on my stubborn hair either. So to make my hair look semi-decent, I would always have to wash it, let it dry, then sleep on it the day before. SUCH A HASSEL. Anyway, the point is, I suffered through more of this aggravating hair until the summer after my freshman year of college, when I went back to China again and got another perm. And I was in hair heaven again. The curls made me feel pretty and effortlessly glamorous.

I kept the style for as long as I could, and it look pretty good even almost a year afterwards:

But inevitably, I had to get it cut again. And it was back to same old cycle of fighting with my hair. Until last summer, when I decided to do something drastic again, this time to get it but short. I was nervous about it but it turned out amazing.

Although I loved the style, I still feel more comfortable with long hair, so I decided to not keep the style and grow it out. Little did I realize that this was to be my latest, year-long battle with my hair. Everything was going fine, and the grown out version of the cut actually didn’t look all that bad:

That was last winter, and also the last time I remember being happy with my hair. What happened was that I decided to get a trim over winter break back in Vancouver, and my hairdresser did an absolutely terrible job. Not only did she cut way more hair than I wanted (I told her that I was planning to grow it out!), but she did this thing that made my hair look like it had 2 distinct layers. Like the outer layer was very obvious shorter than the inner layer. Ugh it was awful. And graduation was coming up, and so in a move of desperation and frustration, I went to a Chinatown salon to get a cut and Japanese straightening. But it didn’t turn out the way I imagined. I asked them to even out my layers without losing too much length, which I guess wasn’t really possible since the difference in length between my 2 tiers were so great. So the layered thing was still kind of there, though slightly less noticeable. And the straightening, for whatever reason looked kind of off. I don’t know if it was because my hair was too short, the cut was still bad in the first place, my hair is just THAT stubborn, the salon didn’t do it right, or whatever else. It’s straight in some places, but other parts of my hair still looked like it had its original texture, and yet another small part of it feels like it was scorched. Here’s a photo of it a couple of weeks after the procedure (you can definitely see the 2-tier thing going on on the left):

So that was back in May. Now 3 months and an ok trim later, my hair is still not looking ideal.

That’s how it looks right now on a good day. It’s no longer as straight as before and some of my natural texture is back, which I kind of like. But now I will be having dental school interviews in the next several months (unless I get 0 interviews, God forbid) and because I miss feeling good about my hair, and I want to get a nice haircut. But I’ve been so traumatized over the past year ever since I got my hair cut short that I’m really nervous about it. And I have no idea how to find a salon that will know how to deal with my difficult mess of hair. One of the hardest things about moving to a new place to finding a new hairdresser. I tried to find the salon I went to last summer, but it seems to have disappeared off the map (or at least off Yelp).

Sigh. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would never have cut my hair last summer. I would have grown it long and then get a good digital perm for big curls/waves. But it’ll be a long while until my hair is long enough for that again. In the meantime, I’m stuck. How should I get it cut? How short do I go? Do I get side bangs again? And how to find a good salon? I don’t know.

Readers, have you ever had hair struggles? Do you have any tips on how to find a good hairdresser in a new city? Do you know of any good salons in San Francisco that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

Update 10/25/12: read about some solutions I found!

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It’s a little more than 2 weeks away from graduation, and I’ve been feeling like I’m at the lowest point in my life ever. Isn’t this supposed to be the best time of my life? Then why do I feel like I’m going to have a mental meltdown every other day? Am I the only one who’s feeling this way?

Let me back up a little. I have had an absolutely incredible time at Columbia, met some amazing people, and I’m truly excited about graduating. But I’m also more anxious and uncertain than I’ve ever been. Over the past few months, I have seen my peers get into fantastic graduate schools, get great awards and scholarships, accept jobs and fellowships, get engaged and married. They all seems to have it TOGETHER and have life FIGURED OUT.

And here I am, this close to walking across the stage, and I feel like everything around me is falling apart. In a few weeks, I will be thrown out of my dorm and I have nowhere to sleep for a few days in New York City. Then I have to move across the country to a city where I know no one and start living together with my boyfriend. And I will have a super expensive and hard earned degree but still no job (and trust me, it’s not because I haven’t tried). And now parents tell me that my dad might switch jobs in the next few months and they might have to move again. Everything is changing and shifting and the future has never been foggier.

While I’m happy for all the successes of my peers, they are a constant reminder of the things I don’t have. Why don’t I have those things? Don’t I deserve them too? Shouldn’t I have something to show for at the end of my 4 years at an Ivy League school? Why can’t my life be at the point where everyone else’s seems to be in? I wish I, too, had good and exciting news to share with my friends and family when they ask about my post-graduation plans, instead of just a forced smile and admitting that I’m “still trying to figure it out.” I just feel lost and stuck. Stuck at the edge of a great precipice, forced to move forward with no paths to follow. At this point, I don’t even feel the need to “have it all” anymore. I just want ONE THING to go right, to be certain, to hold on to.

I have no conclusion to this post. I wish I did, I really do. Just like I wish I had the answers to the next chapter in my life.

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A lot of people probably reach a point in their lives where they feel like everyone around them is getting engaged or married except for them. It’s probably normal. If you’re like 30 years old. This is happening to me now. AND I’M ONLY FRICKIN’ 21. What on earth?!

Starting only a few months after graduating high school (and even before), little hearts started to pop up occasionally on my Facebook feed, notifying me that such-and-such acquaintance is getting engaged. At first I was like, okay, I know a lot of people, there are bound to be some that are starting to get there. But then in this past year it’s just been crazy. Two days in a row now someone has gotten engaged. And let me just day that these are all people who are younger than me or within 4 years older than me. I can’t even count the number of people my age who are either engaged or married on both hands anymore.

How do I feel about this? I’m not sure. Just to be clear, I am not judging these people for getting married so young. On the contrary, I’m quite glad that they’ve found their happiness so early in life, and it gives me hope in love. But on the other hand, I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t freaking me out just a little bit. And I’m not even sure why. I mean, I have a wonderful boyfriend of 2 and a half years, so it’s not like I’m feeling desperate in my love life. And I have no intention of getting married before I’m at least 25. I don’t even have a degree yet! Heck, I haven’t even finished the Core! How are these people who aren’t even legal to drink in the States ready to get married?! It sometimes boggles my mind. All these people make me feel like at this point in life, I SHOULD be ready for this huge thing in life. But I’m not. It feels so so far away and foreign. And to think that these people that I went to high school with just a few years earlier are already there is just… such a strange feeling.

I know it’s ridiculous to feel this… pressure or whatever it is that I’m feeling, but I can’t help it. And it makes no sense because I neither want nor am ready for what they have right now. Maybe it just adds to my overall panic about my future in general. Maybe because I know I want to have some sense of where my career is going before I get married, and since I have no clue of the former at the moment, people who already have the latter figured out make me feel years behind. (Ugh. My parents just called me down to have the “what are you planning to do after graduation?” conversation. Which is not helping anything. Seriously people, it’s freaking me out.) Yeah, that sounds about right.

So… I don’t really have a conclusion to this post. I just had to write it down to let go of some of the frustration and it actually helped me come to a reasonable explanation to why I was feeling the way I was (I HATE feeling crappy and not know why). So… yay? Anyway. A happier post shall follow tomorrow.

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Okay, so this blog is officially turning into a what I eat, what I wear, and random rants blog. Whatever.

I need to voice my terrible and frustrating experiences as an illustrator for several on-campus publications. (I just want to note now that not all of these complaints apply to all of the publications I work or have worked for). I love drawing, it’s why I do it in the first place. But more and more my experiences are making me hate doing it for other people. Why? Several reasons.

First of all, illustrators are pretty much the lowest of low in these organizations, even though we no doubt make valuable contributions to these publications. Why else have illustrators in the first place? But unlike writers, editors, and other staff, we are consistently marginalized. We spend hours each week working on drawing for these publications, throughout the whole semester/school year. Yet we are barely part of the organization. We are not invited to social gatherings of the organizations. We don’t get any of the perks of being a contributor to this entity. Heck, a lot of the time we don’t even get properly credited for our work! That’s right, I’ve been mis-credited or not credited at all for my illustrations, either in print or online. Shows how much we are appreciated. Then there are the deadlines. Sometimes we get sent a piece to illustrate hours before the deadline. It takes time to do art, you know. And don’t get me started on terrible communication issues. Once, I’d sent several e-mails to an editor asking for information, only to get a response way too late, and my illustration was deemed unsatisfactory, and – get this – the magazine then went on to Photoshop my drawing beyond recognition and never gave me any credit. Mmm okay. Thanks for nothing.

So, the mighty higher ups definitely don’t give a crap about illustrators. So why expect me to take you seriously when I don’t get the same? I think it might be time to direct my time and energy elsewhere after this semester is over.

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There’s something I’ve noticed on this campus and it’s been annoying me long enough now that I need to get it out. Students love to treat themselves horribly in the name of “working hard” and “being busy” and complain to you about it, yet at the same time they seem to pride themselves on their masochistic practices. You know what I’m talking about: “This is the second all-nighter I pulled this week!” “I’ve had nothing to eat except a grape since this morning!” What kind of reaction are you trying to elicit from me? Sympathy? Not from this girl. I hardly believe that you were really busy enough that you couldn’t stop by the cafe and buy a sandwich. All-nighters? Why not try start studying more than 24 hours before your exam? I just don’t buy that someone can truly be so busy as to not have time for these basic things that sustain our health. It’s all about managing your time, and these people are simply not doing it, either intentionally or not. Their complaints seem to do nothing but assert to themselves and others just how “intense” and “hardcore” they are. Am I supposed to feel inferior to you if I slept last night and ate lunch today? I’ve never pulled an all-nighter and I don’t remember ever skipping a meal, and yes, I also have a full and challenger course load and a GPA that’s probably not too far from yours.

Somehow people seem to believe that these self-depriving behaviors are badges of honors commemorating their valiant efforts in doing whatever it is they are doing, and by telling other people about it is like showing off these badges, hoping to invite some kind of admiration or validation. Would people still do these things to themselves if they aren’t allowed to share it with anyone (yes, that includes Facebook statuses and tweets)? Would they still feel good about it? I don’t know. All I’m saying is, if you are willing to neglect your health because you are just oh so busy and stressed out and complain about it to me, I’m not going to feel sorry for you or applaud you for it. Now excuse me while I finish my sandwich and take a nap.

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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.

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Oh boo. It’s snowing again. Just when I thought that spring was coming when the snow from the previous snowfall had melted. Campus turned into a horrible slushy mess. Why an Ivy League institution has such terrible drainage I will never understand. Sigh. While I’m hating on Columbia, let me just rant about the rodent issue too. My suite has mice. We’ve known that we had mice since first semester, and so far we’ve had 4 mice:

So as if that wasn’t bad enough, lo and behold, we get a RAT this week. In the bathroom. A huge living rat. And we called housing and some sketchy dude comes with a club and beats the poor creature to death while I listened to its squeals of death (my room is right across from the bathroom). And after he leaves, we find rat blood left on the bathroom floor. Ewww. So we call again to get it cleaned up. Why does nobody at this bloody school give a crap about disease carrying pests like these running around where its students sleep? Seriously! If anyone reading this is considering coming to Columbia, don’t live in the LLC until they renovate majorly or at the very least fix all the holes in the walls. And do pick a high floor.

On a completely different note, I can’t keep up drawing my daily post-its anymore :( So here are the last handful I’ve done:

To end on a happier note, I’m going to share one of my best recent purchases. I know that these Chanel half-tint sunglasses are like last last season, but I love them so much:

But of course, Chanel isn’t exactly budget friendly, so imagine my joy when I found these much more affordable replica!

Now if only the weather would cooperate.

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