Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Day of Winter






















Snow Day #4. Cooped up, watching movies, baking sweets, steaming buns, reading books. It's so quiet, everyone is taking it slow. We haven't bought Christmas gifts yet, but the forecast says more snow, so no presents this year. I like it like that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Senior Year

WOOSH and 3 1/2 years of college life has passed by.
And 4 years of high school.
3 years of middle school.
5 years of elementary school.

Savor every moment: the nights spent cramming for midterms, the bus trips to HCC, Friday Bible Study + frozen yogurt, being inspired by TA's so passionate about their field they are willing to study several more years for it, talking to random people, soaking up UW's beauty, etc.

Today was my dear, gracious, kind, loving mother's birthday. My Tiramisu cake was a flop but the #1 fan of my cooking didn't think so. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Missing the Point

Were the Pharisee's "bad guys," "good guys" or "us guys"?

The Pharisee's held the scripture in the highest regard, neglecting the purpose of Biblical principles. God told us to not work, but to seek rest on the Sabbath, for our own good. He is a merciful provider, and understands that even us meek humans need a break once in a blue moon. However, the Pharisees misinterpreted this to mean no work could be done. They were so bound to their own laws and self-righteousness that they didn't see helping others was not work.

PM asked the congregation what group we'd put the Pharisee's in. "Us guys," I think. Sometimes I do judge people for not following the "unwritten" rules, forgetting it is God's graciousness that has provided me with a safe & loving community, and kept me from floating away. As PM puts it: a relationship with Jesus Christ, not religion is what brings salvation.

In other news, school has been coming along like choppy waters. I feel like a little sailboat that's just survived a storm, only to have to brace some more. But in the calm times, it has been quite nice. HCC took a long hike to Lake Serene, celebrated 4 consecutive birthdays, and braved the scary haunted corn maze. The corn fields were lovely during daylight! Also, I learned to make nutella (http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/2005/12/nutella/), to function on 4 hours of sleep, and to appreciate the greatness of super glue.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love

I like it when PJ tells us about his conversations with atheists. A lady asked him why being unequally yoked was so viewed so unfavorably...love was what counted right?

Those types of answers catch me off-guard...I have no reply to them...or lame replys at best. PJ went on to explain that love can mean many things and be expressed in different ways. You don't have to do physical things to love someone. There are many ways to show love...you can love someone without having to marry them. In Blue like Jazz, Donald writes "we learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people. That's why God tells us so many times to love each other." Love, in the marriage sense parallels Gods love for us, and it should be held with utmost care, and the command should be obeyed.

In other news, school starts tomorrow. I am gonna have to juggle like none other this quarter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home (part trois)







On Thursday, my middle school friend Robyn was ever the gracious host and took us to a cheap falafal place, Washington Square Park, an NYU library and up to see the New York skyline.

Selina is the best traveling buddy because of her easy going nature...and her I-Phone. We went to Westville Bakery but they did not have my s'mores pie. By grace, we found the original Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village, where I got their pumpkin cheesecake. Then it was off to go bag hunting. Selina kept her eye out since the beginning of the trip for a specific bag, but couldn't get a reasonable price for it. We went to Chinatown, and she scored not one, but two bags for a decent price. I suck at haggling but managed to save $5 when I got my bag. I got a mafia hat for Alvin.
Triumphant, we went to Coney Island. The F (?) train took us on the Manhattan Bridge and I think we were the only two who really enjoyed the views. There is something special about appreciating the sights each and every time. Crossing the 520 Bridge on sunny days is still an awesome sight. Coney Island closed 4 days early, so my cowardly butt had an excuse for not riding the Cyclone. We ate our dinner on the Subway...it's like the Washington Dinner Train, but cheaper. :)

Friday was our last and final day exploring this great frontier. The Union Square Greenmarket was smaller than I expected, and the people weren't very chatty, but it was still nice to witness the ec0-friendly interactions between farmers and their regular customers. There were baked goods and fresh fruits and veggies, but I had to find food of some sustenance...so I went to Gray's Papaya for their $1.25 HOTDOG.

I met up with Selina and we went to Central Park...it was nice in the rain...much quieter. We walked 26 blocks worth, then headed to Zabar's for their creamy, thick frozen yogurt. Paul's is still the best though. We caught a few late Yankee fans on the B/D train to Yankee stadium. The game was unofficially cancelled b/c of the rain, and Selina suggested we hurry to catch the train back to get a picture of some mad fans.
Back at home, we watched Pretty Woman, ate a mediocre NY cheesecake, cleaned, packed, and decided to head home early. New York had a positive, lasting impression on me. I can picture myself here for the long term.

Home Sweet Home (part deux)

Connie would be so proud. On Tuesday, we had soul food-fried chicken, collard greens, candied yams, cornbread, and mashed potatoes at Mamie's Spoonbread Too in Harlem. Finger lickin' good.






At the Museum of Natural History, I was relieved to know I could view the dinosaurs with such close proximity and not fear being eaten alive. The fossils were SO COOL and my favorite exhibit. This museum was impressive because of their dedicated efforts to display animals in a painted natural-like habitat.

Angela flew out on Wednesday, Selina slept in, and I resumed my quest to spot a celebrity. The Upper East Side probably hid a celebrity inside one of their expensive stores, but I was too intimidated by the store bodyguards to try my luck. I crossed Central Park and saw boys in their collared shirts and pressed pants playing baseball. Only in New York. On the Upper West Side, still no luck.
I went to the Columbia University PT Open House, learned about their program, spoke with the program director, and was sold. I hurried home, and we went to the most legendary jazz club in the world, the Village Vanguard to listen to jazz music. At first, I couldn't get into it...but like Donald Miller said, sometimes you have to watch someone enjoy something before you can yourself. The lady behind us was clearly loving it, whisteling and clapping after each song. I closed my eyes, and loved every minute of it. The entrance fee included a $10 drink, so being the sophisticated drinkers we are, we ordered a cranberry vodka and a margharita. I couldn't fool my amateur drinking self.

Home Sweet Home

I've enjoyed two glorious days of home cookin'. Home...how I've missed thee.

Great minds think alike! Selina and I opted to take an earlier flight home (4 days earlier to be exact). So now, I'll try to recap the last half of our tour de New York City... brownie points if you stay with me until the end. :)

On Sunday 9/7, Selina and I met up with Jack's lovely and super smart sister Cherry in front of the famed Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Their choir reminded me of UW's Gospel Choir. It was refreshing to see a different way of worship. People had their hands raised, swaying to and fro, but I couldn't get past my own comfort level to embrace it. Before the sermon, we shook hands with everyone around us and during the sermon, when strong points were made, the congregation would clap in approval. The African American boy sitting next to me had a crisp blue button up shirt, dress pants, and shoes with that just shoe shined smell. The pastor preached on truth, mystery and love, taking his message from John 3. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son," and he gave up his son, showing he will not withhold anything from us. Powerful.

The event "Prayer in the Square" also fell on that day. 50,000 Christians gathered in Times Square to praise God and ask for his wisdom, grace, and mercy for the present and future. I stood by a elderly lady who fervently prayed during the whole hour, in contrast to me, who was just a little bit distracted by all the people, tour buses taking photos, and the jumbo-tron t.v. The weather was miraculously beautiful.

Moving towards pop-culture, we went to the tents that housed NY Fashion week, and I saw my very first fashion model. Cherry and Selina did not share my enthusiasm for celeb sightings, so we went to 5th Ave, and I comforted myself with an ice-cream sandwich.

Monday morning was like a scene out of Amelie. In Central Park, the mellow accordion music complemented the beautiful park scenery. I didn't get to throw pebbles into the stream though. I met up with Selina at the cool sculpture park outside St. John's Cathedral (the largest in the world), which was more impressive than the Cathedral. We ate yummy cookies and poppyseed Hamentasch outside, and Selina became the bird lady...she threw a crumb at a pigeon and the whole birdy neighborhood decided to get in on the party.

Columbia University was my dream school in high school. Those yearnings came back to me when I stepped foot on that impressive campus. If only...


Angela went to tackle her long list of places to go to while Selina and I wandered and window shopped Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Loubourtin and Hugo Boss to name a few. The only thing I could afford that afternoon was a corned beef sandwich at the famous Katz's Deli (since 1888), and it wasn't cheap! No fake orgasm scenes for me despite the sandwich beings really really good.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Museums + Altar Boyz



Fridays are free at the Museum of Modern Art or MoMA. I wish I knew what was so great about some artworks, like a skinny long red painted piece of wood, a huge bright pink rectangle, or a piece of barb wire. However, it did house some artists I learned to appreciate from my 7th grade French class, like Seurat, Bonnard and Monet.
Selina & I went to Times Square Church for their young adult service. In their skit, Jesus takes the blindness of a blind man away, and puts it on himself. Jesus takes the cripples away from a lame woman, and puts it on himself. It was very moving.
On Saturday, Selina & I volunteer ushered to get into the Off-Broadway show Altar Boyz for free. The painless work of stuffing playbills and directing viewers to their seats gave us 90 minutes of catchey boy-band, Jesus loving song and dance.


There was a huge downpour. After we got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I could literally wring my clothes out. 4 hours was just enough for me to explore every room and see sculptures, paintings, battle armor, sarcophagus, musical instruments, etc. There were even more Impressionist painters like Manet, Pisarro, Cassatt, et Degas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

I personally believe we found and ate the pizza that tops every pizza ever. It was a hole in the wall pizza joint. So we've had pizza and NY bagels+tofutti...now there's only NY cheesecake left on the food list.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"You're Lucky I Have Time"

That was what a New Yorker jokingly said to us, when we asked him to take multiple photos of us on the Brooklyn Bridge. All of the people we've bumped into have been happy to help so far, you just gotta walk at their pace as you get directions.

Yesterday, we took the Subway to the Lower East Side. SoHo had all the familiar stores: Ann Taylor Loft, Staples, Mango, etc. and some super upscale ones like Kate Spade, Bloomingdale's and Vivienne Tam. Divine Chance led us to eat the most delicious, cheap and filling soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. We got to share a table with a stranger too!

Selina was the main photographer yesterday. The hot and humid weather made me feel so lazy, and so uncareful, as I walked into many of her photos. I thought it was really neat though to be in a tourist hotspot like the Brooklyn Bridge, where hundreds of photos are taken each hour, and to get to be (even unintentionally) in different people's photos!
We walked to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and the pace went from a walk to a sprint as people tried to catch the departing ferry. It was intense running through the closing doors and looking back seconds later to see the guards push people back. The view of the city skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was gorgeous, and it was all FREE!
We got tickets to Good Morning America for their 6am taping but decided to skip out. Rachel Ray was on the show! She's not my favorite chef, but I did order the rigatoni with vodka sauce, a recipe she cooked up, for dinner. We ate at Paesano's Italian Restaurant, and finished off with fresh, housemade tiramisu at Caffe Roma.
Ethel stayed the night, and this morning, we grabbed breakfast and explored a bit of Central Park. Thumbs up for the free seaweed smells.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Day of Awe






Central Park is a sanctuary for many New Yorkers, and fortunately, is only a hop and skip away from our apartment (right above Beauty Salon). I grabbed the opportunity to take a brisk walk before the busy day ahead of us.

We figured out the subway system just in time for our tour of Grand Central Staion. It was built before the advent of airplanes (when trains were the means of travel) in a grandiose Beaux Art fashion because this station was the first impression for arriving passengers. In the mid-1900's, many landmark buildings were demolished to make room for new ones. However, the public fought to keep this building. It was the first case of its kind, where the public told the private owners what they could do with their building, to be taken to the Supreme Court.

My jaw literally dropped at our next stop: St. Patrick's Cathedral. I felt so small there, but so in awe of the fact people could make this beautiful place dedicated to God. As estimated 6 million people visit each day.

We fueled up at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square before heading to our Broadway shows. My anticipation had built up to watch Disney's "The Lion King". The opening scene had actors transformed into elephants, rhinos, giraffes and lions, as they sang The Circle of Life. My favorite scene was when Mufasa's spirit spoke to Simba, and they sang the song was He Lives in You.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apEuFdzP5ZU This song reminds me of God's almighty presence.







Thursday, August 21, 2008

"So Bad"

Your first look at the up & coming DJ of the Far East-side. Re-pRe-SeNt!

video

Each summer, I get to be the guest for weeks on end, when I travel to China, and it is fabulous. However, this summer is different. I get to play the host for my charming aunt & cousin and there has yet to be a dull moment. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Grace upon Grace

Today PJ shared a beautiful analogy about God's grace.
Imagine you are standing beneath Niagara Falls and its abundant waters are flowing over you. You hold a cup in your hands, upside-down to prevent anything from being caught. This is the spiritual state I oftentimes am in. God freely pours out his grace, waiting for us to receive it, and although we may make mistakes, we may trip & fall, and we may purposely cave into our desires, if we just turn this cup right-side up and accept this grace, we can have the desire to fight to be better once again.

No one is above the grace of God.