Life Without a Meal Plan

Without a meal plan, I have the freedom to eat anything that I wanted, whenever I wanted. I don’t have to limit myself to the options served at the Sub. If I wanted breakfast for dinner, I could have it. If I wanted tacos, I didn’t have to wait for Tuesday. However, as much as I love the freedom of being able to cook and eat whatever food I wanted. I missed the convenience of the Sub. I could go in, get my food, eat it, and get going. I didn’t have to spend 1-2 hours of my time just to prepare and cook. So when the weekend comes, after cooking meals from Monday to Friday, I get lazy and I hit up my friends to go out and eat. And as finals are approaching, I don’t have the luxury to spend hours cooking, so you’ll most likely find me at one of my top 5 restaurants (plus, this gives me an excuse to take a break from study, aka procrastinating).

  • Cho Dangs’ Tofu Restaurant

 

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This is my absolute favorite restaurant to eat at. Although this place is most popular for its Korean tofu soup, they also offer Korean BBQ dishes, bibimbap, and noodles. Every time I go here, I order the same thing: dumpling tofu soup, mild/spicy, with an egg cracked in. The perfect meal.

  • Tacoma Szechuan

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Located directly next to Cho Dang’s, this place offers an array of Chinese Szechuan food. You can order dishes and share it family style between friends and family. Or you can order hot pot, which is a must for everyone, at least once. However, I will warn you because this is Szechuan food; most of the food will be coated in peppers or chili oil.

  • Bento Teriyaki & Sushi

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It may be called “Sketchy Bento” by some people on campus, and maybe me as well. But there is nothing sketchy about the food the serve at this place. The food is delicious, it’s cheap, and it’s close (a quick walk/drive down Alder St.).

  • Pho King or Pho 38th

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There are a few other pho places around Tacoma, but nothing beats these two places. Pho King has the better broth out of the two, but if you want a quick bite late at night, Pho 38 is your place (it doesn’t close until 10 pm or 12am on Saturdays).

  • Gangnam K-BBQ

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For Korean BBQ, this is my go to place. Here you can either order by the plate, or get the all you can eat deal. You can chat with your friends, all while cooking meat over the built-in grill.

 

Bonus! Dessert for after your meal

  • Ice Cream Social

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This is hands down the best place ice cream place. In addition to the classic flavours (strawberry, chocolate, etc.), they offer special daily flavours; previous ones have included merlot, maple pecan, and watermelon. If you can’t decide between two flavours, but don’t want to get two scoops, you can get half scoops! And almost everyone get their ice cream served on their homemade waffle cones.

The Best Cyber Monday Deal Out There!

One of my friends that I hung out with this past weekend shared that she has never seen Star Wars. Now I know there are people out there who are among this minority (I hope its a minority) but it was weird actually hearing it from a good friend! I’ve known her for 10 years and I didn’t know she has never seen star wars! Granted she hasn’t seen a lot of hyped movies as I found out during that car ride.

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Star wars is a work of a genius, and that genius is named George Lucas. George wanted to be a race car driver and involved in the competitive racing scene until a tragic car accident dashed his dreams and he began to create another world that gave us as much adrenaline and captivated millions as cars once captivated him. Beyond the star wars fandom, movies have the power to bring audiences into new experiences, places and tell the stories of those we wouldn’t have known before. If there’s one thing college students will tell you we spend a lot of time watching movies and shopping.

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This brings me back to the title of this post! As I was shopping this weekend, I love a good sale (although there weren’t many) I pursued my social media and came across this gem! For those not avid star wars fan, a standalone story taking place between the current existing two star wars trilogies! The movie comes out Dec. 16, 2016 (perfect last day of finals!) and tickets go on sale tomorrow during CyberMonday! I’m obssessed with the trailers and the what could be, inside look into more of the star wars universe and I be many are too!

If college has taught me anything its that nothing is “uncool”, everyone has their own interests, that one fandom they’re a part of-whether it be the school football team, the English Premier League, Star Wars or something else. With the realities of the real world and struggles of college it’s often a nice escape to watch and delve into fandoms! Get your ticket to this one tomorrow! 😀

(p.p.s. these trailers are so cool! you think you know how it’ll end because of the already released star wars movies that occur after it but you never know!!)



Off-Roading

So I just got back from off-roading for the the first time. It was pretty freaking awesome.

I went off-roading with two of my friends, Mitch and Matt. Mitch had mentioned they were going off-roading last night and invited me to come along.

Driving down the highway with the roof off.

Driving down the highway with the roof off.

We started the trip with the roof down. This lasted a good 10 minutes before we realized it was freezing and was about to rain. But, I was able to get a good Snapchat of us crossing the Narrows bridge before we put the roof back up.

Eventually, we got to the trailhead. It was absolutely beautiful. It was so green with a classic Washington overcast. And we were about go roaring through it in Mitch’s Wrangler.

A sign at the trailhead

A sign at the trailhead

Mitch's Jeep Wrangler

Mitch’s Jeep Wrangler

We spent a good amount of time traversing the woods, hitting every single bump along the way. Mitch commented “This feels a lot like Tacoma roads, just prettier.” I mean, he wasn’t wrong.

Probably should not have been standing here as the car was going down a slope...

Probably should not have been standing here as the car was going down a slope…

After some time in the woods, we came across a massive muddy area to drive around in. Mitch drove through a couple puddles before allowing me to take the driver’s seat. Mitch encouraged me to drive through the biggest puddle in the area, while Matt was just fearing for his life. Mitch just instructed me to floor it so we wouldn’t get stuck.

Well as it turns out, that puddle was pretty deep. It was deep enough that the water almost came up over the hood. I basically almost turned Mitch’s Jeep into a boat. We were all freaking out. Thankfully, I never took my foot off of the gas, so we managed to make it out.

When we emerged from the water, steam vented from the engine, while streams of water flowed down the sides of the car. For a couple of minutes, we couldn’t stop talking about how awesome that was. Mitch, then let me drive around some more while he took some awesome slo-mo videos.

TREES

TREES

After some more driving, we parked on the side of a hill and dropped the roof. We climbed on top of the roll cage and just took in the sight before us. It was green as far as the eye could see. Just rows and rows of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen. We all sat there for a while, listening to music and enjoying the forest around us. I can’t even begin to describe how perfect it was. All I can say is that we all agreed it was one of the top 5 moments of our lives.

Friends, music and nature. Absolute perfection.

Friends, music, nature and a Jeep. Absolute perfection.

Trees as far as the eye could see

Trees as far as the eye could see.

Then the rain started to come down. After some struggling to get the roof back up, we all climbed into the car. Then we realized we didn’t know where we were.

Giving Thanks

In what remain trying times for many people in our nation, it is important that we take a moment to step back and remember all the things we still have. In light of this, I hereby present some selections from the list of things I am thankful for:

1: Clean Drinking Water

I know it’s easy to take this for granted, but it pays to remember how long it took us to get to this point. How many people still don’t have access to water that won’t kill them. I was at a seminar earlier this year that talked about water collection in rural Kenya, and the statistics presented were sobering. There are women out there spending half their waking lives collecting water while we can just flip on a tap.

2: The C-Store

It’s so much more convenient to just wander into the C-Store at night to grab something than it is to walk half a mile or however far it is to Safeway.

3: Math

Can you imagine living without math? It would be so hard to keep track of anything at all. Also, engineering modern technology would be substantially more difficult. I know not all of you like studying math, but it really deserves some credit here.

4: Thanksgiving Break

Anyone who tells me they aren’t thankful for it is either lying or cursed with a terrible family.

5: Language

Point. Grunt. Point. Wave. Gesture at mouth. Gesture at ear. Shrug. Snort. Grunt. Point at nose. Grunt. Snort. Point at eyes. Touch mouth. Touch ear. Touch head. Grunt. Snort. Flail arms. Stomp. Grunt.

 

I hope this list made you reflect on something you’re thankful for and experience a positive emotion. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get ready to watch an appropriate seasonal movie.

 

What’s the deal with Thanksgiving?

When you’re in elementary, middle or high school Thanksgiving is often just another holiday family gathering where you HAVE TO kiss or hug all the relatives you don’t even really know and answer all their intrusive questions. In college those same encounters happen but we’re adults (although we may not actually be nor are we treated like them),  yet nothing has changed. We get asked what we want to do with our life, are we being successful in every way, are we in a relationship, what are we doing after college, isn’t our parents so lucky to have us home, etc. The list goes on. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to deal with. If you have a huge family gathering with relatives you haven’t seen before or only every Thanksgiving why do they ask these questions about us? Don’t they remember when they were asked these same questions and have to stifle an eye roll “here we go again the same questions I don’t want to answer”. Do they really want to hear what’s up with us? Often a generic answer is good enough to deflect attention away so why do these interactions always come up?

In part, as college students we often don’t know what we want, how we’re doing, what we’re doing next nor want to explain it a bajillion times to each relative who’s just trying to make conversation. It’s not to say these questions aren’t important ones or meant to show an interest in family members but if you truly cared about these people (besides the elderly who can’t remember) you would already know the answers to these questions or spare us the wry fake smile and answers. Society has taught us we have to be nice and thankful during thanksgiving, lucky to be able to spend time with family when maybe large gatherings make us anxious, maybe we have a 10 page paper due by the end of the weekend, maybe all we really want to do is let loose and not think about school, the future and enjoy the weekend. This is not to say family gatherings are awful but I think everyone can relate to sometimes Thanksgiving is an especially tiring and enjoyable time. The end of semester is basically in sight behind all the papers, take-homes, presentations, lab reports, and exams and the past three months of the semester is catching up to us all we really want is a break.

Especially this thanksgiving I think its important to reaffirm our love and care for one another and in doing so, discuss meaningful things and relaxing times to get to re-know each other beyond the generic questions. Get back to the meaning of Thanksgiving (perhaps beyond its awful historical origins) but to give thanks.

What is something you’re thankful for?

What is something you’re proud about?

How can your family continue to support you?

Moving forward, what actions are you taking to live your values?

How can you express your care and love to your family and others?

What in the world concerns you?

What excites you in the upcoming future?

What did you really think of the food? (this may be a tough one lol)

Its difficult and scary to talk about these things but in doing so we can better understand each other and support each other. They are meant to start a dialogue to get to know our family and what that means to one another moving forward. Thanksgiving is a time for family to come together and support one another.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

A Visit from SACPC

Caryln Sampson from Rebuilding Hope! Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County (SACPC) came to visit my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, at our chapter meeting today. For those that don’t know, SACPC “offers support toward healing through advocacy and therapy for those affected by sexual assault and abuse” in the Pierce County area. Alongside supporting victims, SACPC also offers intensive trainings to police, medical professionals and other people interested in becoming advocates for victims. SACPC is Beta’s philanthropy and Carlyn is our primary contact with the organization.

Personally, I support SACPC, and sexual assault prevention in general, because I think that sexual assault is totally unacceptable (as any logical person should). Beta choosing SACPC as its philanthropy just aligns with my core values.

Carlyn came to introduce herself to us and lead a discussion on sexual assault and the role that SACPC plays in it. And holy shit it was refreshing.

In my experience, sexual assault prevention trainings and workshops tend to just make me feel terrible. Men are almost always portrayed as the perpetrators and women as victims. There is always this accusatory tone towards the male gender. As a male, this obviously doesn’t make me feel too good. While I am passionate about the topic, the feeling makes me apprehensive to participate in discussions. I’m made to feel that as a male, I have nothing to and should not contribute.

But Carlyn wasn’t like that. Carlyn was incredibly informative, spouting knowledge of every step of the sexual assault reporting process and the different resources that SACPC offers, just to name a few of the topics she discussed. She even mentioned the program she started last year that supported victims of sex trafficking in Pierce County.

Throughout her talk, the tone she took was evenhanded and just generally not accusatory at all. For once, I didn’t feel like a terrible person. Carlyn even mentioned that the idea of men becoming uncontrollable cavemen around women was an archaic and just ridiculous idea. She said that she wanted to help us fight that stigma against males (particularly fraternities) in conversations about sexual assault. All of our members agreed that they thought that the discussion was refreshing and just plain amazing.

Carlyn is expected to visit us again next semester and looking into the possibility of getting us at least part of the same training that SACPC offers to law enforcement and medical professionals and requires of their volunteers and staff.

I can’t wait!

Small, Good Things

When I was a junior in high school I read “A Small, Good Thing” by Raymond Carver. I won’t spoil the ending, as it is a story that I definitely recommend you read; however, I will tell you this: no matter what the tragedy, there are always small, good things.

Here are some of my favorites —

  1. Tossing stones into the Sound.
    During the first week of school I went on an impromptu Target run that turned into an impromptu stop at Black Bear and subsequent trip down to the water. It was the first time I’d been there since the fourth of July, when it was populated by half of Tacoma, dressed in red, white, and blue. It was calmer this time, more peaceful. My housemate and I sat on the rocks, pushed up by the water. He judged me for my pistachio frozen yogurt and we both threw rocks into the water and then sat and stared at the sky until the stars came out.

    I’ve been back to the water a few times since then: once, late at night, after I finished my homework, but still had residual stress; during the Chinese Moon Festival, where I sat by the water with my friend, Andy, and ate noodles; on my birthday, wherein I happened to run into my friend, Gabe, who had walked down to the water on his own accord; and this past week, when Andy and I ate chicken noodle soup and pointed out seals in the water.

    The beautiful thing about the water is that even though it’s always changing, it still stays the same.water
  2. Fresh flowers.
    Throughout my childhood, my mom would buy me flowers on my birthday. (She would occasionally admit that they were half for her, “I did do all of the work, you know.”) Since I’ve been in college, receiving flowers on my birthday has been limited to her buying herself flowers and telling me that I should also buy flowers. (Despite liking flowers, I’m awful at actually going about purchasing them.)

    This year, on the Friday before my birthday, I received a package notification. Assuming it was some scarves that I asked my mom to send me, I picked up the package right before a group project meeting with a professor. No, instead, the package was a bouquet of roses. They were beautiful and I was amusingly stuck carrying them around for the next five hours.

  3. Cloudy days and sunshine.
    Autumn skies have a tendency to cast a gray glow on everything, which is beautiful in its own right, but can occasionally appear vaguely dreary. In the Pacific Northwest, where rainy days outnumber blue skies, getting a rare bit of sunshine within a cloudy day is comforting. It’s a small and necessary reminder that the sun is there, even when you can’t see it.

  4. Warm chocolate chip cookies.
    I made Banji eat a warm cookie from one of the first chocolate chip cookie batches I made this semester. He ate it and sounded a bit in awe, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a homemade chocolate chip cookie before.”

    Each time the cookies are made, they’re gone within 24 hours. They disappear as a joint effort between my friends and housemates. There is a comfort in baking, it’s a way to be productive without thinking. Instead of worrying about something, I can focus on measuring and stirring and singing along to the music that is playing in the background. (My current favorite baking playlist is this one.)
  5. Fuzzy socks.
    As someone who is almost constantly cold, I’m constantly wearing warm fuzzy socks. Each year, around Christmas, I buy a few pairs and wear them instead of slippers whenever I’m relaxing. I have a few variations from the Christmas themed socks, including a pair of giraffe toe socks.

    I’ve discovered that it’s hard to feel upset when you’re wearing fun socks.

  6. Movies you watched on repeat when you were younger.
    When I was about five years old my grandma gave me a VHS tape of the movie Meet Me In St. Louis. I fell in love with 1940’s Judy Garland and watched the movie more times than I can count. I’d embarrassingly sing along to the title track and then listen in silence as Judy Garland’s character sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to six year old Tootie.

    Rewatching the movie brings me back to how I felt when I was seven years old and dancing around my living room and singing along. When I was fourteen and my friends and I watched it and laughed about how Warren Sheffield barged into the house, pointed at Rose, and said, “I love you.”

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    I connect with Tootie on so many levels.

  7. Receiving a handwritten letter.
    I am notoriously terrible at replying to letters. But I love receiving them. My two best friends, Emily and Maddy, are both currently studying abroad, in Dublin and Edinburgh, respectively. I talk to them both on a regular basis, via snapchat, email, and text, but there’s something heart-warming about receiving a letter from them.

    They met up a few weeks ago and wrote a post-card together. I got it on my birthday and seeing their handwriting made it feel like they were here again. Made me miss them less.

  8. Homemade dinner.
    Wednesday night, Andy decided to make spaghetti. Instead of going the typical route and making the dish with spaghetti noodles (which he had), he instead used elbow noodles, penne, and jumbo shell pasta. The dish was delicious and looked like a hilarious. After discovering macaroni noodles inside the jumbo shells, we both decided that next time, it’d be a good idea to just stick to one noodle type.

  9. A steaming hot cup of tea.
    Every morning, without fail, I have a cup of English breakfast tea. It’s a routine I’ve fallen into, a routine I appreciate. The familiarity of it is calming, the taste refreshing. And I love it.

  10. Long hugs.

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    Emily and I at the Spring 2016 Beta Formal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you from China?

To answer this question right off the bat, no I am not from China. I was born and raised in California. But you wouldn’t know that unless you asked me, “where are you from?” This past weekend when a couple of my friends and I went to Idaho, that was the first time I had ever been asked that question, and not even 24 hours later I was asked again. It surprises me that people find this to be an acceptable question to ask. To have a complete stranger feel comfortable enough to come up to you and ask, “Are you from China?” All before, if they ever, say “hello.” What surprises me even more, are the reactions I get when I respond. It’s always an, “oh” followed by silence. Was this not the answer you were expecting? If I was from China, should I have responded back enthusiastically, with a “Yes, how did you know?” And even then, where would this conversation lead us?

I never, still do not, and never will understand, the reason for asking this question.

After that moment of silence, she responded back with, “oh… I just thought, because you know… you have those small eyes,” as she raised her pinched finger over her squinting eyes. I was in utter disbelief. I stood there frozen in silence, as she pushed her cart away. But although I was vocally silent, in my head I was screaming, “Yes, of course! My eyes look like that because I was born with them. It’s hereditary. I am Chinese. My eyes won’t become magically bigger because I was born in the US.”

My appearance does not reflect where I am from. My appearance does not give you permission to ask me these questions. My appearance does not give you permission to tell me these things. My appearance does not give you permission for any reasons.

Signs (Pt. 2)

The next morning the same old light bled through the clouds and between the spaces of the sun-bleached blinds where it died on the floor as “The Sad Cafe” played, and I turned in bed to silence the alarm.

I thought of Heidegger–“Only a god can save us now.”–and of Faulkner–“I don’t. I don’t! I don’t hate it! I don’t hate it!” The führer and the fury, or its cousin.

The sun neither sets nor rises. Instead we close our eyes and call it night while the earth is thrown by an abscess of light like moths by a flame who on passing too close fall from flight with torched wings, burning down the bowels of morality.

I realized that I would one day go blind if I kept reading in the morning without my glasses, so I got up, stepped into a hot shower and tried to wash the weakness from my eyes.

Coping

Well it happened. It actually fucking happened. What started as a joke a few years ago resulted in one of the worst possible outcomes. This doesn’t even feel like reality.

We’re all feeling different things, anger, sadness, fear, uncertainty. But whatever you’re feeling, don’t forget to practice self-care. In times like now, the least we can do is maintain our well being.

The main thing is to not bury any of your feelings and thoughts. Burying and pushing them away will only cause them to bubble back up in the future. Don’t be afraid to express yourself in whatever way you feel comfortable. To some, that’s sharing their thoughts on Facebook. To others, that’s writing in their private journal. The list doesn’t end there. Working out, making art, playing video games, watching cat videos, cooking, there is no wrong thing to do. Just do anything that makes you feel better.

And please don’t forget to take care of your physical well-being. Eat food, drink water, get some fresh air. You’d be surprised at how much better you’ll feel after getting some air.

We’re all going to be coping with this in our own ways. One of the best things we can do for one another is respect each other’s coping strategies. Everyone deals with issues in their own way and we cannot create a toxic environment of harshness and criticism like this shit show has been for the last few years.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go kill space terrorists in Call of Duty until I feel better.

 

I’m sorry if this seems incoherent, my brain is just fried after the past day.