Hey everyone!  Last weekend was my school’s junior prom.  Someone actually asked me.  Crazy, right?

My mom took me to buy a dress the weekend before.  If you don’t know, I really don’t like shopping all too much—and even less when it’s for dresses of any kind, let alone prom dresses.  But I ended up finding a really nice, really simple floor-length tan dress (and on the cheap, shhhh).  I even went so far as to get my hair professionally done, which I’d never done before.  Now that cost more than the dress did.

One of my classmates hosted a pre prom event at his house, which basically involved finger foods and photos.  The moment I got there, my date’s mom came out like the paparazzi and took a million photos (no really, it was terrifying: she had her shutter mode set so that the camera took 8 photos per click).  My date won points with my parents by being 1) asian, 2) polite, and 3) nicely dressed.

Actual prom was held on a boat, which was pretty fun, and the food was so good.  Unfortunately, the guy who was serving me only gave me like, 3 tiny slices of steak, which was most certainly not enough.  So I forced my date to go back and get some more for me so that I wouldn’t look like a pig.  He was kind enough to actually do it.  Because I’m not all that into dancing, most of the rest of prom was spent hanging out and talking to my classmates and friends.  And that’s a lot more fun than it sounds, I promise.

After prom was…an experience.  This is my third post that involves the topic of alcohol, because there was so much alcohol at after prom.  Well, no, not at after prom.  In the limo on the way to after prom; kids were smart enough not to bring alcohol into the actual venue.  Unfortunately, this meant that many kids drank a lot in the extremely short amount of time it took to get to the venue, so people were drunk off there asses at after prom.  My date and I were playing it cool and kind of sitting back and laughing at all the drunk people.

Despite all of that, it was a fun night.  My date actually told me, “You know, I feel really accomplished now.  I never thought I’d make it this far in life.”  Funny guy.

Pics to come later!

~BTAS

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Hey everyone!  The last couple of months have been all kinds of crazy—I went to visit colleges on the East Coast with my school (during the bombing incident), failed a math test (solid 56%), and got my driver’s license (after failing the test the first time).  Like I said, all kinds of crazy.

But the real crazy is all of the standardized tests that I’ve had to take.  The start of this month marked the beginning of testing season, and for those of us who are taking AP classes…testing season is tough.  I took the SAT this past Saturday, the AP Environmental Science exam on Monday, the AP Calculus exam on Wednesday, and the AP English Literature exam on Thursday.  It’s not even over yet!  I still have my AP U.S. History exam this coming Wednesday.  Joy.  

The worst part about taking APs is this: you never know how well you did on any one section of the test.  I know that AP scores are supposed to indicate how well you understand the material, but I’d like to know how much of the material I didn’t understand, too.  That’s one part of it, anyway.  The other part is that I would really like to see my scores on some of my essays because I actually think I did well on them.  I wrote a great essay for my AP Literature exam, and it’ll never get to see the light of day…That poor little masterpiece…

And unless you want to obtain college credits to skip a year, do the scores even really matter?  In some of my AP classes, I feel like I’ve been learning how to take the AP exam rather than learning the material.  

Now, don’t misunderstand me here—I’m pretty good at taking standardized tests, so I’m not complaining.  But when it all boils down to it, is getting a good score on the AP exam really worth taking the class at all?  It’s a lot of work!  Can getting a 5 on the AP exam fill the gaping hole that AP classes leaves in your social life?

Just something for y’all to think about.  

BTAS

Every weekday at 7a.m., I – very grouchily – get dressed and munch on cereal, when I’d really rather be sleeping.  Why, you might ask?  I have to go to school!  At noon, rather than enjoy a delicious lunch with my friends, I hole up in the library, studying…for school.  When I get back home, I spend hours working on my homework that’s due the next day.  Sometimes, I stay awake until the early hours of the morning, frantically trying to study for that darned test that I forgot about or finish that essay.  

Even when I’m not at school, I’m surrounded by it: with all of my tests, assignments, and projects, I’m constantly swimming in a pool of school.  Almost constantly.  But when I’m not physically working on something school-related, I’m definitely thinking about something school-related.  This is junior year!  I have no time to be thinking about a social life!

…Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true.  I do have a lot of work, but it’s really important to find a balance between spending time with friends and doing work.  I think I would go completely insane if all I did was work, work, work.  But with my junior year coming to a close, I’m actually really worried about college.  My grades aren’t anything to be proud of, I don’t play a sport, and I’m really not involved in any clubs……

At this point, I think my parents have almost given up on me.  When your Asian mother starts telling you, “You can always go to community college!” – there’s something seriously wrong.   She might be okay with that, but I’m not.  I’m not!  Never!

And that’s the most pathetic part: I’ve set some really high standards for myself, and now that I’m struggling to meet them, I get very easily discouraged.  I guess “below the Asian standards” goes without saying at this point (I’ve been below the Asian standards for as long as I can remember now); the real issue now is that I’m below my own standards.  I have to work super hard!

On the up side of things, spring break is approaching, which means I’ll have plenty of time to……study.  

Joy…

#BTAS

Not like I even get invited to the big ones.  Last week, I went to a small get-together at my friend’s house.  The plan was for 5 or 6 of us hang out, play video games, eat pizza and watch horror movies.  Unfortunately, as is very often the case, things did not go according to plan: people heard about the event one way or another, so there ended up being many more people than we had hoped for.  Before things got hectic, we were happily watching Saw.  Then more and more people started arriving, and before we knew it we had a party of 15 people.  And there was alcohol.  

I was thoroughly surprised; the people who brought the booze were the people I’d least expected to drink.  For a while, there was just one bottle of vodka that got passed around.  I thought that was bad enough because there were only about 8 of us at the time, and I’ve seen some of them drunk.  Take me and a couple of my more responsible friends out of the equation and there are 5 people sharing a half-liter of vodka, without any perceivable plan to stop drinking until that bottle was empty.

I was almost relieved when more people started arriving, but like all the peaceful things in life, that relief was short-lived: somebody decided it’d be a fantastic idea to bring a huge (and I mean gallon-sized huge) bottle of spiced rum to the party.  

I wound up surrounded by drunk people – with the exception of the host and a few of my other friends – and boy was that an unhappy experience.  Before I knew it, one of my male friends was hitting on me and cracking a ton of kind of creepy, sexual jokes.  Another downed 11 shots of vodka (or so he says) in all of 40 minutes, and, football helmet on head (I don’t know where that came from), was completely prepared to launch himself down the stairs headfirst.  I found myself hauling him by his shirt away from the staircase, only to have him throw a hissy fit at me for stretching out his shirt.  

I felt kind of bad having to leave my host-friend and other sober friends there to fend for themselves in that sea of drunken stupidity, but I had promised my mom that I would be out until no later than 11pm.  To be honest, I didn’t know how much more babysitting upperclassmen I could take.  I can imagine this is how they might have turned out:

They say, “the more, the merrier,” but I must object: perhaps the drunk ones were happily incoherent for the short period of time before they found themselves lying in their own vomit, but I can honestly say that there was nothing merry about being one of those to watch after them.  Nothing merry at all.  

I would like to announce that I am alive and do not intend to abandon my blog. I feel terrible about not having posted in such a long time.  It’s been over two months since I last updated, and that’s absolutely unacceptable on my part.  

Now that I’m back from my 2 months off the face of the earth, I have a nice collection of things to tell you all about!  Between my commitments to my schoolwork, friends, family, and extracurricular activities, I’ve been pretty busy lately.  School and homework take up the majority of my time; while I procrastinate here and there, I don’t procrastinate nearly as much as I have in the past, so I can definitely say that junior year is a lot more demanding than sophomore year.  

I’ve also joined the robotics team at my school.  To be entirely honest, I had no interest in robotics at all, but I decided to check it out when my friends asked me to.  I ended up joining the team mainly because the majority of my close friends are on it, but as it turns out, robotics is actually really cool.  I’m very inexperienced and don’t understand the programming part of it, but now having gone to a robotics competition, I’m really beginning to like being a part of this nerd team.  It’s like the science fair all over again! I’ll write a separate post alllll about robotics.  Just you wait. 

Anyways, I know it’s been a while and this is really too short a post to compensate for lost time, but I’ll be better about posting consistently.  I promise.

~BTAS

 

Guess what?! I recently hit a milestone: I got my learner’s permit! 

…Funny how must of my peers are in love with driving. I guess I can see the appeal of getting a license.  It means more freedom to go places on weekends and whatnot, and that always sounds good to me.  I’m one of the very few who are actually pretty indifferent towards learning to drive.  Maybe it has to do with the ol’ stereotype that Asians can’t drive – I don’t know.  Or maybe it’s got more to do with the fact that my school is a good 10-minute walk from my house and I have close to zero need to drive anywhere.  To me, learning to drive seems just like…school.  

Either way, my parents and I agreed that it might be a good idea to start learning over the summer – junior year is going to make it tough for me to fit in any extra activities outside of schoolwork.  When I told my friends I’d already received my permit, half of them joked, “Oh no!  It’s an Asian girl with ADHD!  Watch out!”  

Frankly, I sure hope I don’t end up meeting the Asian standard of bad driving.

I’m back from Chinese school, everyone!  After surviving a month of hardly any English and a ton of suffering, I have returned!

Actually, I’ll be honest here: I miss it a lot.  The schedule was always packed (we had something like 45 minutes of free time a day) and we were all required to sign a “language pledge”, which stated that we were not allowed to speak English unless the RAs or teachers allowed it.  It was a tough promise to keep — the temptation to speak English was always there and all-consuming — but for those of us who didn’t break it, the pledge was extremely beneficial to our learning experience.  I’m certain that, had I not been required to speak Chinese at all times, I wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t have even bothered to speak Chinese because of my undying fear of pronouncing things incorrectly or messing up grammar.  However, being in an environment where everyone was in the same boat and everyone was a little bit nervous about messing up, speaking the target language became a bit easier.  I found myself having an easier time than a good lot of my classmates.

Of course, I’ll miss my camp friends and classmates, too.  If it wasn’t for them, I’d have probably gone insane by the end of the first week.  Because I was placed in the level 4 group (4 out of 5, that is, and 4 and 5 was a split-level class), everyone in the class was learning, speaking, and writing at around the same level as I.  And since communicating with the lower-level students was challenging (it required a lot of effort to explain things to them without using English), I was always hanging around my fellow level 4 and 5 students.  I found that being around higher-level students was extremely beneficial to my language learning. My closest friends at camp were all in my class, and I found that we were able to communicate with each other much better as the weeks went by (maybe not so much because our Chinese was getting better and more that we were just getting better at figuring out gestures). 

  

One of the greatest things about the program is how diverse the student population is.  Most of my friends live on the east coast (New York, New Jersey, Florida), and a few of the students in my class are from Hong Kong.  They all showed so much enthusiasm in learning Chinese, whatever their ethnic background, and motivated me to try my best to learn. I’ve been keeping in touch with some of them over Skype, and I’m definitely thinking about going back next year. 

  

All in all, I had a great experience at MMLA.  My Chinese has improved tremendously — I can now speak some with my parents and grandparents. I’ll be sure to keep in touch with all of the great people I met!

A couple of months ago, I got my braces off!  It’s a really good feeling not having chunks of metal in my mouth 24/7.  I was getting really antsy towards the end because my sister had gotten her braces off months before I did, and I was honestly really jealous.  

So anyways, my orthodontist quickly replaced the metal in my mouth with…plastic!  In the form of removable retainers!  They’re not as bad as braces, but they do impair your speech and are a total hassle to deal with before and after meals.  And I, being a forgetful person, frequently misplace them after I take them out.  Luckily, I can easily find them after a little looking — on most occasions.

The other day, my mom, my sister, my grandparents and I went to a Korean BBQ place for lunch.  I was bragging to my mom about how I remember to wear my retainers on a regular basis whereas my sister doesn’t.  It wasn’t until 3 hours after our meal that I realized I had left my retainers at the restaurant, folded in a napkin.  My mom and I went back to the restaurant immediately to ask the waitress if she had seen them.  She hadn’t.  Then we asked if we could check the trash can.  The lady was hesitant at first — why let stranger dig through the trash? — but she could tell my mom was furious.  As was to be expected; retainers aren’t cheap, at around $250 for each of the two pieces.

The ladies at the restaurant were surprisingly accommodating, and it was nice of them to actually let us dig around in the big trash can in the kitchen.  

Luckily, after a few minutes of digging through half-eaten meals, leftover meat and decomposing rice, I found them.  Gross.

I went home and sterilized them about 20 times with rubbing alcohol and soap and toothpaste.

Don’t leave your retainers at restaurants.

~BTAS

 

is finally over!

It’s actually extremely terrifying how quickly time goes by these days.  I still remember being 12 years old, thinking I had 6 years until college.  Now I have 2.

Now that I’m done with sophomore year, the pressure is starting to build.  I have to worry about the PSAT, the SAT, the SAT IIs, the AP exams, community service, and all that good stuff.  I started my blog when I was in 8th grade.  Though I was overwhelmed by everything at the time, things are so much more difficult now.  Scary.

I can’t wait until I’m done with junior year.  Senioritis sounds like a good kind of disease.

By the way, I’ll be posting one or 2 blogs every week for the next couple of weeks, before I go to Chinese immersion camp.  Yay!

~BTAS

The past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with the drama that resulted from a breakup.  Not my breakup, of course; two of my close friends decided to date each other about a month and a half ago, and as I predicted it would be, their breakup was devastating.  I could literally see this great schism within my friend group happen right before my eyes.

Moral of the story: when you date someone in high school, odds are you’re going to break up by the time you graduate.  So when you date someone in your friend group, you’re going to break up.  And then when you break up, your entire friend group is going to start feuding and you’ll have some major drama on your hands and your friends will slowly begin to hate you for causing it.  So don’t date in high school.

I’m kind of kidding about that.  It’s high school, you’re going to deal with drama all the time.  Dating’s fine and dandy when it’s not happening between two people in your friend group.  This situation has happened to me twice already, the first time being last year.  It’s not that fun.  And by “not that fun” I mean absolutely terrible.

It’s a good thing summer is coming up in a week.  I think we could all do with a break from seeing each other 5 days a week.  It gets seriously exhausting.

Speaking of summer, I’ll be going to a Mandarin immersion sleep-away camp for 4 weeks.  I know it sounds kind of scary, but I really do want to learn Chinese (read more in my previous post) and this is probably one of the best ways to do it.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to speak Chinese every waking moment of the day for 4 straight weeks, but I guess it can’t hurt to try.

Also, my Chinese friend recently pointed out that I have very undefined eyebrows.  This is true.  He says it’s a Chinese thing.  This is probably also true–can’t be sure, but he most certainly lacks eyebrows, and so does my dad.  Has anyone else noticed this?

Toodleloodlydoodlyloodleloo! (not entirely sure what that was)

BTAS