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



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


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


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


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


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


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.

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.

Southeast Asia Symposium: Batik-Making

Batik, a wax-dyeing technique originated from Java, Indonesia, to produce coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed.

Step 1: Gather your materials


List of materials needed for Batik

Blocks of wax, that were melted to "paint" over the cloth.

Blocks of wax, that were melted to “paint” over the cloth.

Step 2: Outline your design on the cloth with a pencil

A Batik book with designs you can get inspiration from, or trace over.

A Batik book with designs you can get inspiration from, or trace over.

Step 3: Apply the wax onto your design by dipping the tjanting into the melted wax. Make sure the wax permeates onto the other side.

The tjanting - you scoop the melted wax, and it will come out of the spigot.

The tjanting – you scoop the melted wax, and it will come out of the spigot.


Step 4: Allow the wax too dry completely


Step 5: Dip your cloth into dye, wash in cold water to remove excess dye, and hang to dry overnight.


Step 6: Boil you cloth in water to remove the wax. Hang to dry.

Step 7: Finished product

My finished batik design, dyed in indigo.

My finished batik design, dyed in indigo.

Microbial Masterpieces

When you think of bacteria, what comes to mind?

For one of my friends (and probably most people), he immediately thinks of “bad.” But for me I think of them as a creative outlet. In microbiology course, our professor has something he likes to call the “LuxArt Competition” (#LuxArt). In this competition, we are tasked with creating microbial artwork on agar plates (a growth medium used to culture microorganisms), with bioluminescent bacteria culture (Photobacterium leiognathi). And as a result, if we look at these plates in the dark, we are given these beautiful, brightly glowing pieces of art like this.


Someone’s rendition of the Logger Axe.


A recreation of Ruth’s microbe rocket.

Creating these art pieces is actually a lot simpler than it looks; to get these designs all you have to do is dip a brush of q-tip swab into the bacteria culture and draw onto the agar, just as if it was a canvas. And if you’re not that artistic of a person, you can place the plate over an image and trace the outline. Since I was afraid of messing up and making I mistake, I used that same trick to outline my design.

For this competition, I made two pieces, Homer Simpon’s infamous “D’OH” face and a failed attempt at painting a thinking cartoon bacteria (hence the light bulb).


I Must Not Draw with Microbes.


The Microbial Thinker.

The prizes awarded for this competition are microbial plushies, each varying in size depending on your place.


Some microbial plushies that Giantmicrobes, Inc has to offer.

Since entering college, I never once thought that I would have the opportunity to make artwork in any of my courses, like those solar system models and dioramas we did back then in elementary/middle school (aside from enrolling in actual art courses).  And by being able to compete in this LuxArt competition, it was such a nice refresher to be able to take a step back from academic learning for a little while, and allow for students to express their creative sides. It was nice to see the creativity and individuality of my peers.

If you’re interested in looking at more microbial art, you can look up #Bio350 or #LuxArt on Instagram and/or twitter.

Images courtesy of Professor Martin aka Doc Martin and Google