Archives for posts with tag: asian standards

This past week, while I’ve been stressing out over the rapidly approaching early action and early decision college application deadlines, my mom’s been in France with her parents and her sisters (they’re traveling just like they used to decades ago!).  I think it’s the cutest thing ever, and it sure sounds like they’re having a lot of fun.

The thing is, with my mother not around to yell at me to do homework, I’ve been feeling the strong urge to slack off.  I’ve always recognized my tendency to procrastinate—”Hmm, I’ve done 5 minutes of homework; I think I deserve a snack”—but I know now that my mom’s not going to be around to crack the whip when I’m in college.  So for the past week, I’ve been working really hard to get my work done.  I even went so far as to organize my binder, just like my mom asked me to do.

So while I was organizing my binder and all of the loose-leaf notes I’d shoved into my backpack, I came across a bunch of old assignments, some from last year.  I remember writing most of them—specifically, I remember putting off writing them until the very last minute and then working furiously to turn them in by the due date.  I started working on at least one essay on the day it was due; obviously not a very good idea and not something I should continue to do.  It doesn’t help that I get decent grades on them, because then I feel even less motivated to start on them early.

My older readers know that I’m…not the most organized of students.  I get sidetracked so easily: the internet is a black hole of distractions, “hunger” is my most frequently used excuse to stop doing work, video games are addicting, and the constant craving to check my text messages keeps me from fully focusing on work.  There have even been days when I’ve neglected all of my homework assignments in favor of staring at the ceiling, which I apparently found much more interesting.

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Pretty much.

I don’t fail my classes because sure, I can get my act together when I really need to, but it’s not like I’m acing all of my classes, either.  It’s a struggle.

I’m sure other people experience this, too—I can’t be the only one, can I?

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First off, I’d like to thank everyone who followed my blog since the last time I posted!  Leaving Xanga was probably a good choice on my part; everyone here is so nice!

And now to the meat of the post: women’s colleges.

Ever since I was old enough to understand, my mom has repeatedly told me how much she wants me to go to Wellesley College, her alma mater—and even then, I didn’t fully understand what it meant to go to a women’s college.  I’d always listened to all the good things she had to say about the school and nodded absently, thinking that there was no way I’d ever be interested in going to an all girls’ school.  And a school my mother went to.  Gross.

But over the summer, I visited Wellesley and two other women’s colleges in Massachusetts: Smith and Mount Holyoke.  It turns out that I really like them all, in large part because there’s a certain sense of community that women’s colleges seem to share.  As something of a reticent student (but an outgoing girl outside the classroom), I have some difficulty expressing my thoughts in class.  In most of my classes, guys get the most attention because they put themselves out there and like to be competitive—I’d even argue that they get attention because they goof off and behave obnoxiously in class.  Meanwhile, self-conscious girls like myself tend to keep quiet until called upon, for fear of saying something wrong.  This is a problem for me, but it’s also something that I’ve been trying to overcome.  I’ve started to understand the appeal of being in an environment where girls can talk amongst girls and work together.  Studies show that boys and girls learn differently, after all: read about the differences here.

Of course, when I tell people I’m thinking about applying to a women’s college, some of them stare at me with an expression somewhere between horror and pity.  “But girls are so catty!” and “Watch out—you might turn into a lesbian,” and “That’s like living in a convent!” are some of the responses I get.  Obviously, women’s colleges aren’t for everyone.

In any case, I can talk all I want about Wellesley and women’s colleges in general, but I’ve yet to actually be accepted into any of them.  There’s also the issue of the weather.  Honestly, I think it’s “too cold” as soon as the temperature drops below 70 degrees.

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This might be a problem.

Here’s a lesser-known Asian parenting stereotype: Asian mothers will call their daughters “chubby” or “fat” and tell them to lose weight.

The funny part is that it’s kind of true, and I’ve experienced it first-hand!  My little sister has always been pretty active because she played basketball up until very recently, so she’s thin as a stick.  I, on the other hand, could benefit from a little exercise.  …Unfortunately for my health, I enjoy food and I like my couch.  And I don’t really like exercise.

Now that my own mother has started exercising regularly, she’s been seriously pressuring me to eat better and get fit.  Now, I’ll admit it’s a little bit tempting to listen to her just to get her to stop insinuating that I’m unhealthy—now I feel like an underachieving blob and below MORE Asian standards—but I simply cannot bring myself to get my lazy butt off the couch and go for a jog around the block.  I’d be out of breath in seconds.

I am in no way advocating an unhealthy lifestyle…that’s just something I’ve become very used to.  I plan to be a little healthier in the future and watch what I eat. …Right after I have this pizza.

Wooo!

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m currently taking a writing class.  To be more specific, this writing class is sponsored by CalArts as part of the Community Arts Partnership Summer Arts program (CAPSA), which is an intensive arts program for high school students like myself.  It’s a three-week program that goes from 10 to 5, four days a week.  Aside from creative writing, the program offers workshops in animation, dance, music, photography, theater, and visual arts.  Because it’s tuition-free, the program is selective and applicants have to submit samples of their work in the discipline they’re applying to.

Honestly, I’ve never really looked forward to attending any of my past summer classes—sometimes, I even dreaded going.  But CAPSA has been different: as intimidating as it may seem to write for 6 hours a day, it’s actually a lot of fun to get my imagination running.  I absolutely love my classmates and my teachers.  Perhaps there’s just something about being writers that makes us such a close-knit group.

Maybe the whole idea of summer “school” isn’t appealing, but to give you an idea of what we do in class: today, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles to eavesdrop on people’s conversations.  The reason?  Our assignment was to write a poem based entirely on observations and snippets of conversations we overheard.  We all had a great time gathering information and writing the poems.

After class today, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for a lovely ramen dinner in Little Tokyo.  Naturally, as I was one of the only two Asians in the group, they relied on me to give them food recommendations and to show them around Little Tokyo (which I don’t even know that well, but it was pretty fun pretending I did.  At least I can pretend to meet some Asian standards, right?).  I brought my ukulele and one of my classmates brought his guitar, so we all kind of sang and had fun and probably annoyed the heck out of the people around us.  It’s funny to think that I didn’t even know these people before last week; I already know i’m going to miss them so much after the class ends.  

Here’s a photo of the restaurant we ate at.  I nabbed it from the internet because I forgot to take a picture 😦

If anyone has any questions about the program, feel free to ask!

Hey guys!  It’s been a little while…. D:

Quick update on what’s been going on: I was invited as a panelist at V3 Digital Media Conference this year to speak about internet safety.  It was a lot of fun getting to meet other bloggers and Asian-Americans in digital media.  If you get the chance, check out the website and register for next year!  I hope to attend it again, so let me know if you’re interested in going!

Apart from that one Saturday at V3 Con, I’ve also been volunteering at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) as a cello instructor.  More details on that in the next post, which will definitely be up in the next couple of days.

Finally, I just started a creative writing class today.  I had to submit a piece of writing when I applied, so when I actually got into the program, I thought I must be a superfantastic writer for the program to have selected me.  So I walked into the class thinking I was hot stuff.  I was really looking forward to showing off some of mah skillz.  My classmates are friendly and funny, so the class was pretty easy to get used to.  But then the teacher told us that he’s a poet, and I knew I was screwed.  He had us write poetry—and read it aloud.  I’d been thinking I was a good writer, but apparently I’m not so good at all.  Not…compared with some of my new classmates.  As a matter of fact, I feel a little bit inadequate.

A few of the other students in the class feel the same way I do about poetry: cannot write well.  I thought I was really empathizing with this one guy, who was telling me all about how he was hoping to write short stories and couldn’t write poems to save his life.  But when we all read our poems and critiqued each others’ work, this guy was definitely the harshest critic in the room.  And don’t get me wrong, his poem was good, but he’d just been lamenting about being unable to write poems!  Suddenly it was like he’d become the King of Poetryland.  

It’s funny, because I’d always figured I would always have writing to fall back on if I failed to be a perfect Asian and math didn’t work out (and trust me, math has never really worked out for me).  And yet I realize now that, when I’m in a group of a bunch of students who are all cream-of-the-crop writers, I’m just “meh”.  Looks like everything requires effort on my part.  Must. Work. Harder.

 

More soon!

~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.

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

Part of what makes me so “whitewashed” is that I don’t speak Chinese. I had a private tutor to teach me Chinese for a few years when I was younger because I was too self-conscious to learn in a classroom setting. I dropped the language altogether when I entered middle school.

Boy, do I regret it.

It kind of sucks for me to not be able to communicate with my grandparents. Actually, I guess it’s not that I can’t communicate with them — they do speak decent English — but it goes without saying that their first language is Chinese, and it’s hard to have really comprehensive conversations with people when they don’t speak your language fluently and you sure as hell don’t speak theirs fluently. It’s a language barrier, and it complicates things.

Anyways, for 4 years I went without formally learning Chinese at all. At the beginning of these 4 years, I was mighty happy about that; Chinese lessons sucked because I had to do homework. Ew. So I went along, happily speaking my English and not letting the fact that I couldn’t speak Chinese bother me. I took a real pride in being able to speak and understand English well, and I thought that was enough.

But there came a time — about a year and a half ago or so — when I realized that the fact that I couldn’t speak a second language was lame. I learned Japanese at school for two years because my school didn’t offer Chinese, but I never got fluent. Heck, I’ll be lucky if I can remember how to say “hello”. And then I had all of my Chinese-American friends since elementary school speaking Chinese to each other. You know what was mortifying? When they’d try to include me in their Chinese conversations and I would just stand there and pray to God that they wouldn’t find out that I hadn’t the slightest clue what they were talking about.

So here I was, a few years of Chinese and a couple of years of Japanese under my belt, feeling sucky that despite having studied 2 foreign languages, the only language I was comfortable with was English.

I only started learning Chinese again over this past summer. I took a course designed for “heritage speakers” (which I wasn’t and am not, but my mom insisted I take the class anyways), and I did my best to keep up with all of the real heritage speakers. Of course, there were a couple of kids there who knew even less than I did — wow — but it was still pretty awkward to be hearing the teacher talking and not understanding. It was a lot of trial and error. But I actually got a lot out of it.

I’m taking Chinese at my school right now. Am I fluent? Nah. Can native speakers even understand me? Probs not. But it’s a step. I’m going to be fluent one day. I promise.

LURV,
BTAS.

P.S: Yes, the “listening” thing is a joke. Kind of. I really am listening to it now.

I feel like I should be extremely happy that I have very little homework to do this weekend, but I’m not. This is really the first time in a while that I’m not stressing over homework, but now that I’m not, I’m stressing over the fact that I have nothing to do with myself. I quit playing piano two years ago, I quit playing basketball last year, and I’m involved in absolutely no school clubs or groups or anything. The only thing I’m doing outside of school (and irrationally worrying my butt off about it) is playing cello–and I’m not even that good.

Tenth grade is almost over, and the last major accomplishment of mine occurred in eighth grade: the science fair. This is sad, because while I may have been 2nd place in the county science fair, I didn’t even rank in the state fair. So. Sucks to be me.

Then there’s the pressure! I should not be feeling this much pressure! Sure, I’m taking AP Calculus and AP European History and Honors everything else, but that’s not where the pressure is coming from. The pressure comes as a result of my personal tendency to compare myself with my sister. These days, it’s been so hard for me to please my parents and so easy for my sister to do so. She can screw up and be endlessly annoying, but because she is so perfect when it comes to everything else, my parents are willing to let it slide. I live with the enemy, and it comes in the form of my little sister. My basketball-playing, track-running, guitar-playing, crafts-making, straight-A-earning little angel of a sister. Not fair, mom and dad. Not. Fair.

And lately, I just have not been performing. I really haven’t. I have been putting much less effort into my schoolwork and have consequently been getting into more frequent arguments with my parents. My mom even likes to tell me that I should “face reality” and not worry about “getting into top colleges.” She is convinced that I am going to go to a community college. This used to be a joke my parents would use to scare me into working harder; now it isn’t a joke. Now it’s what they think is real. Not that there’s anything wrong with community colleges, but my parents’ expectations of me were once so high that they would tell me that I could get into Berkeley or Stanford or Harvard, and to have to bar lowered so much–well, it certainly doesn’t feel good. At all.

Bad as it feels, though, that’s what’s happening, and it’s really forcing me to rethink my ambitions. Looking at my achievements over the past two years, I realize that they might be right and I really might have no choice other than to go to a community college; I have not done anything notable. I may have maintained my grades, but I haven’t done anything else.

I let this get to me more than anyone can imagine. I freak out about it a lot. I’ve discovered that my capacity to tolerate pressure is minuscule. I’ve always been pretty bad at managing stress, but add all the pressures of college and my overall future, I have emotional meltdowns. Not the kind where I’ll be throwing shit around the house and screaming at everyone and tearing my hair out, but the kind where I’ll just start crying. God, I’m such a wuss.

Let it be known that my parents do read my blog, so I will likely have to deal with lectures and possibly even psychotherapy after they read this.

And when I go back to school on monday, I have to put on the “nerdy-genius-Asian girl” act so that people don’t start making fun of me for being un-Asian and whatnot.

Such is my life.

~Hedgehog

While I was writing yesterday’s post, my brain started spazzing and I could not stop writing. Like, I’d finish one train of thought, and then I’d start another, and another, and another, and another.  Luckily, I realized that I was really, really rambling, so I chopped off about half of it and whatever was left was what you got to read.  The funniest part is that none of what I had originally written was important in the least; I was writing because I felt like writing.

…I think I’d better start updating more often, or I might go completely insane.  So my goal for the summer, among other things, is to update my blog daily.  Hopefully you won’t mind if you get 2-sentence posts every once in a while ^^

On an entirely different and random note, I went to watch Eclipse (part of the Twilight Saga) with my friend Lucky (not her real name).  I didn’t go to watch it because I was desperately looking forward to seeing it or anything; I went to watch it because I was dead tired from my psychology class, and I figured that I hadn’t seen Lucky in a while, so it couldn’t have been too bad.  The other option would have been to watch the (as she so delicately worded it) “wack-Asian” movie, The Last Airbender (which I honestly wouldn’t have minded watching, if not for the terrible reviews and the fact that it lacked Asian actors–hence the “.  Lucky and I decided that Eclipse seemed a more mature option, anyways).  The Last Airbender does not meet the Asian standards. At all.

Watching Eclipse with Lucky was an experience, seeing as she happens to be a die-hard Jacob/Taylor Lautner fan.  I watched Twilight with my mom, which was a totally and completely awkward ordeal because of the random make-out scenes between Edward and Bella.  I watched the second in the series, New Moon, with my school friends Fish, Phayle, Circle, Beta Foof, Barwelro, Eesechay, and Fish’s cousin (who does not happen to have a nickname and who therefore will not be named at all.  ‘Hedgehog’ seems normal in this lineup), and we had went to watch it purely for the purpose of ridiculing it (in the beginning, the rest of the audience laughed at our jokes, but towards the middle, a few of them began telling us to shut up. Which we did not).  So Eclipse with Lucky was different.  Very, very different.

For me, the movie was most definitely not the highlight of the evening.  It was more fun when we were waiting outside, waiting for Lucky’s dad to pick us up from the theater and taking tons of stupid-looking pictures:

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So there’s me, with my fail-attempt at acting Asian, because I’m so white-washed I’m pretty much not Asian 😛

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Me and Lucky.  This was actually before the movie, so…I lied. Sorry.

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BWAHAHAHAHAHA. This was such a stupid picture.  I was kind of just leaning against the lamp post, and Lucky snaps a pic.  So I tried to get her back, but she actually posed for the pic. 

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Me squishing the liony thingy.

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…She completely caught me off guard. I think I realized what she was doing a little too late, so in my failed attempt to smile, I ended up..sticking…my tongue…out…?

 I don’t have this kind of fun with my friends from school.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my friends and all the crazy things I do with them…but that’s a different kind of fun.  The kind of fun I had with Lucky was the girly, “ohmygosh!” kind of fun, while as my school friends are not girly at all.  The past couple of years, I’ve really hidden my girly side because I thought that being a tomboy would be so much more fun, when in reality, I really needed to incorporate both the “ohmygoshtaylorlautnerishotttt” (which he is so notttt) side of me and the “i’msocoolbeingalltoughandrandom” side of me.

Not saying I’m going to start being girly in school, because I’m not.  Girl moments are reserved only for my girly friends.

So share your experiences with writing, spazzing, girliness, tomboyness, and The Twilight Saga! Haha, but if I end up getting 100 comments telling me how great Twilight is, I will probably go and commit suicide in the corner.  Kidddinnngggg 😀

See ya tomorrow!

~hedgehog

OH, and for those of you who wanted to know about how I did in the State Science fair, I’m sorry to say I got absolutely nothing. Nope. Zip. Zero. Nada. Missed my state testing for the fair, had to suffer through interviews for about 5 hours, had to wear a very very very uncomfortable suit for the judging, and then….what? I get nothing.  Not even an honorable mention.  I’d love to tell you that the comptetition was tough and that there were a lot of projects in my category, but I cant, because there was a grand total of 17 projects in my category.  With 4 rankings and 2 honorable mention slots, you’d think I should have won something, huh? I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that 2 other people happened to have the exact same project as I did?

Goes to show that I am nowhere close to meeting those dreaded Asian standards.  But good luck to the rest of you, regardless of whether or not you’re Asian.