Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dope vs. Wack

Dope(adj.) of high excellence, ingenious, good, great, and/or awesome; often interchanged with “fresh, cool, fly, saucy”

as in:

These green tea flavored Kit Kat bars from Tokyo are dope.


Wack (adj.) not good, stupid, resulting from unintelligent decision-making, causing grief or trouble; often interchanged with “ain’t even legit, sorry, uncool”

as in:

Having our hot water turned off for three days, misspelling “operation,” and adding unnecessary hyphens into words are all wack.


It should also be duly noted that “dope” can also be used as a noun meaning heroine.

as in:

Whitney Houston told Diane Sawyer that crack is cheap, but avoids questions about dope.  At that time, her career was wack.



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In your face, Lady Gaga

I have mixed feelings about Lady Gaga. She is creative, and her songs are as catchy as they are irritating. However, I have nothing but admiration for this group of choir nerds (being an alum myself) who put Lady Gaga to shame. Well played, men. Well played.

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What happens after he puts a ring on it

All the single ladies.  Listen up.

Being engaged is something that (typically) only happens once in your life, which means that you may not know what to do, how to feel, or straight up may just be horrible at dealing with the things you experience for the first time as an engaged person.  With all the focus on the “Big Day,” the engagement is passed over without acknowledging its significance.  The fact is that no one is an expert at being engaged, because it’s a relatively short period of time in peoples’ lives and- as previously stated- it only happens once.

Long before we were engaged, Jason and I knew we wanted to get married.   Before there were any rings on these fingers, we had already secured and paid a deposit on our wedding venue, met with a photographer, and I had gone dress shopping.  It was a done deal, which also meant- in my mind- that we were pretty much set to be married.

I could not have been more wrong.

The trouble with being an engaged woman is the stigma attached to it.  There is an unwritten law that an engaged woman should be happy, excited, eager to show her ring to the world, enthusiastic about wedding planning… and yes, I do experience those feelings from time to time.  But to be completely frank, the emotions plaguing my life recently have been anxiety, doubt, confusion, frustration, and even regret.  To top it off, all of my shameful emotions are wrapped up neatly in an immense blanket of guilt for not being the starry-eyed bride I’m supposed to be.

I have slowly been opening up about my deep, dark struggle.  In doing so, I’ve been surprised to learn that other women- happily married women whom I respect deeply- shared my sentiment.  They also had their own fantasies of being the Runaway Bride, or felt that same stinging guilt for comparing their fiance to other people, or daydreamed about what they could be doing with their lives if they weren’t getting married.  It was like finding a group of women who closeted their difficult engagements… and it is amazing.  It is wonderful to know that I’m not alone in my helplessness and that solid marriages and partnerships can follow such tumultuous engagements.

And so that gets me wondering…

Why are women NOT talking about this?

Do we live in an age that still holds onto predetermined gender expectations so tightly that we cannot admit that some engaged women may not be perpetually giddy with joy?  If anyone would have taken a few moments to tell me that being engaged could mean sleepless nights or a few moments of emotional unrest, I may have been a bit jarred at first, but eventually grateful for these hard-hitting nuggets of wisdom.  Aside from being engaged not being all roses, my greatest disappointment is the fact that women are not chewing on the real meat of being engaged.  Being in a place as traditional as China has made me appreciate women’s progressive position in society in the States.  However, I find it tragic that these seemingly normal feelings about being engaged stay unaddressed and are wrought with guilt and shame for women simply because of an imposed idea of being engaged.

I still am convinced that there is no such thing as an engagement expert.  We probably all retire engagement rookies.  But I do know this.  Being engaged can be a terrifying and stressful time, but it also is an amazing opportunity for growth and training for married life.  Contrary to what we’ve been taught (Carrie and Aidan on Sex and the City, Meg Ryan and Bill Pullman in Sleepless in Seattle, and the list goes on), shaky engagements don’t always end disastorously.  My engagement has taught me that I lack faith in many things, G.d shows his strength in the most unexpected and amazing ways, Jason has an infinite supply of patience, and that women are still so tragically silenced by the expectations placed upon them.

On October 8, 2010, I will have the great privilege of becoming Jason’s wife.  I’m sure there will be plenty more bumps on the way there, and countless mountains after.  I remain faithful in what we are building now in our engagement.  I remain hopeful in the courage and strength of women– engaged, married, and of course… the single ladies, too.

Jason and me in Honolulu, Summer 2006

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On Becoming a Cold-Weather Hermit

It’s true what they say: Californians are spoiled.  Living in Beijing for the past two winters has certainly made me understand ideas like hibernating for the winter, down jackets, and hats with ear-flaps beyond just making a cute fashion statement in the freezer section of the grocery store.

Perhaps more puzzling is that Beijing is not nearly as bad as other parts of the country where people LIVE their WHOLE LIVES.  Yes, it’s tough for my mind to even get around the idea of waking up everyday in places like Haerbin or Changchun (deceivingly named, as it literally translates into “Long Spring” HA!) where the Winters are bitter, bitter, bitter.

The good thing about adjusting to this new weather is that I feel like I finally have an established home here in Beijing.  Last year, winter was the great foe that stood between me and loving China.  Yes, in spite of the creepy snacks, the crowds, pushing, spitting, smells, lack of cheese and good chocolate, it was the COLD that almost did me in.  I hated going outside.  I hated that everything took twice as long to do.  I really hated that my life had been reduced to a relationship with my laptop and 80 Chinese-speaking channels and CNN.

This year, my activities haven’t changed all that much.  But I’ve figured out how to grapple with the Winter Beast.  Host dinner parties, invest in more pirated DVDs, read more books, and enjoy the company of those close to you.  Also, be grateful that I live above the Yangtze River line where the Chinese government allows central heating (sorry, Jase!).

A few years ago, my parents moved to Oregon.  That winter, I called my dad on a Thursday afternoon, and was surprised to find that he was at home.  My workaholic father would never be home on a Thursday afternoon, so I knew something was up.

“There’s an ice storm outside,” he said.

“A what?” I answered.

“An ice storm.  No one can go to work, it’s too dangerous.  Your Uncle Tim actually injured himself when he was getting his mail because he slipped on the driveway and may have cracked a rib.”

Long pause.

“And that– Dad- is why I would never live in Oregon.”

My dad laughed in his good natured way and told me to never say never.  Well, now I know that I can eat my words.  I actually love Winter here in Beijing.  It’s not my favorite season (hands down, Autumn) but I love the coziness I feel when I am indoors, enjoying life despite the weather outside, and finally feeling like I have a home and hearth here in this strange and always-changing city.  The chaos and Siberian winds have encouraged me to embrace something I would never thought I would have to endure in my comfortable Bay Area life.

And besides.  If there weren’t cold Winters in Beijing, there wouldn’t be awesome snowmen like these:

Well, thank Winter and the Chinese government for cloud seeding.

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