blog surfing

October 23, 2004

Tonight I am crabby. I haven’t worked out in over a week, I’m tired from the first week transitioning into my new job location and my husband was annoying me. I probably unnecessarily snapped at him, but, for the record, he really was being annoying. Anyway, it’s late now and I was thinking of going to sleep but some of my husbands relatives stopped over at my house (which is totally normal and acceptable in their culture) which means I don’t really feel like I can actually go to bed, but I will sit and “work” on the computer after the compulsory 5-minute chit-chat to leave them conversing in Spanish.

So, I did a little surfing on, checked my friends’ blogs, and then discovered at the top of all blogspot pages a button titled “Next Blog.” Intrigued, I clicked away. The first blog I was randomly transported to was that of a insomniac Persian-Canadian girl studying in London who describes herself as very opinionated. Unfortunately I didn’t get to find many of her opinions on the blog. The second blog was titled Urban-Cinderella, written by a 14-year-old from Singapore who goes to “like, the suckiest school ever.” The third blog led me to a Spanish-language blog, except the Spanish isn’t the Mexican Spanish I am accustomed to, and there aren’t any entries, just some headings, so I think this one’s in progress. (So far, this has been a very international experience however). The fourth blog hails from Hong Kong, and is basically all in Chinese, so I’m not going to be able to discover anything here either. My fifth destination is completely in French and boasts a large picture of Charlie Chaplin at the top of the page. The sixth blog is by far the least interesting but more what I was expecting from my blogsearch: Tim Gallo sells medical equipment and he has a blog apparently to advertise that fact. The seventh and final hit is in English but is completely incomprehensible. The most recent blog contains a 1960s-looking yearbook shot of a clean-cut white kid with the caption: “This man looks as if he has an insatiable desire for cheese, but not the funds to pay for it. Note: sloppy collar.” Enough said about that one. If there is a moral to this blog-surfing adventure is that you’ve got to jump a lot of blogs to find a true gem.




October 20, 2004

I ran into Cindy, the mom of my best friend of many years’ today in “Jo-Ann,” a craft superstore if there ever was one. Anyway, Cindy (as she requested I call her, rather than Mrs. Berke) called me “an old married woman” in jest and asked me how my husband is and then commented “I just love saying that you have a husband.” In truth, my husband is amazing and I thoroughly enjoy married life at least 90 percent of the time. But it’s still a funny thing. Sometimes I lay in bed and chuckle at the thought of myself married, and us married to each other.

The thing is, life really does change a lot when people get married, but personally, I don’t feel all that much different. The ways I spend my time are different, but I still laugh at the same jokes, read the same news and literature, feel passion for the same things I used to. There is so much hype as a post-college 20-30-something about meeting the right person and getting married. I guess I was lucky enough to sort of trip and stumble into love and marriage. And I’m damn happy about it. I found someone that I can share my life with, a companion, a partner, a lover. Someone that amuses me and makes me laugh and smile. We work on stuff and make compromises as all couples have do, but I don’t have to try and be someone around him, comfort is inevitable together. Our life is my home, where as two we live and work and play together.

Lao pengyou

October 18, 2004

I was going to type “old friends” as the title of this post, but it didn’t seem quite right. The Chinese translation, as you see above, somehow fits 10 times better for me. I talked to an old friend this week. She and I met in the summer of 1999 when I was studying in Beijing. We clicked immediately because of mutual interests in current events, languages, journalism etc. We talked at length about religion and spent a lot of time together over the years. Our conversation triggered memories that I still savor.

When I left the U.S. for the first time that summer it was as if something had awakened for the first time in my soul. Beijing is a monumentally large metropolis literally full of people. I was captivated by all of them. I could ride my bicycle around the streets of Beijing to go do some mundane task and be completely entertained and satisfied watching people. Daily life had never seemed so fascinating.

People sold fruit and butchered animals outside in neighborhood markets, people biked like we drive cars in the States. You could never believe how many bikes until you have seen them. Seemingly ancient, run-down alley houses intermingle with huge metal and glass skyscrapers. 30-something yuppies types in fancy suits (on bikes) pass gritty, old, Mao-suit wearing laborers pulling flatbed cargo trailers (on bikes). Both simultaneously pedal and talk on cell phones. It’s dry in Beijing, and people say the government seeds the clouds to make it rain. (I found out later that that’s actually true!) At dawn on campus, old men and women practice tai-chi in the park, their faces so much more calming than the colors of their mismatched sweatsuits.

After I got semi-used to my environment I used to look out for some of my favorite roadside treats. There was pineapple season, when suddenly the fruit stands were selling nothing but pineapple. Whole pineapple, skinned pineapple halves on sticks and the best, a freshly skinned pineapple to take home in a plastic bag for later enjoyment. Those fruit sellers had something I still akin to a magic knife trick to remove the outside of a pineapple in less than 30 seconds, without a cutting board. Another treat was a Beijing specialty called Tang Hu Lu, something like sweet crab apples. I would imagine that if you went to Beijing today you would see stands all over the city selling little red apple-like fruits on skewers covered in an amazing sweet crunchy coating. My aforementioned friend once told me when I told her of my love of tang hu lu that they are usually a treat for children. My favorite memory of street food, however, happened around Thanksgiving. Sometimes a pedestrian is lucky enough to find a seller pushing around a huge heated barrel with roasting sweet potatoes on top. They usually seemed to be dribbled with caramel and smelled amazing. One day my roommate and I wanted to safe some time and buy a bunch to mash up and bring to an American Thanksgiving party. We went out in the morning looking and it didn’t take us too long to find a lady with 15 or so hot sweet potatoes. She smiled in amazement at us we reassured her that we were really taking all of them, passed her the cash and went on our way. Chances are, we just gave her the morning off. =)

My new politics

October 10, 2004

Tonight I got up the courage to rent “Fahrenheit 9/11.” In the past few years I have changed politically. I began daughter-imitator of a seriously Conservative Fox-news loving father and have slowly transitioned into a sort of mutt moral conservative, social democrat as many evangelical types might call themselves. Now I’m not even sure those are proper labels. Although I’m 25, this is the first election to which I have paid any attention. I guess the realization that I am one of those wined and dined swing-state undecided voters finally sunk in.

But really the fact that the world seems so much more complicated, incomprehensible and messed up has somehow driven me to assert myself as a voter. If I don’t care enough to vote, (and shamefully I didn’t in the last presidential election) then I really have no right to complain.

I say I got up the courage to rent “Fahrenheit 9/11” because I’ve always been hesitant to stray from the conservative mold I’ve been brought up in. For many years I considered myself a pretty hard-core evangelical Christian. I thought of life in simple terms; black and white, logical and straightforward. Do this and you get that, believe this and you receive that. Life, however, is anything from straightforward and Christianity certainly does not have to be the way I was interpreting it. But there is social pressure from some to believe a certain political party line because you hold certain spiritual and religious convictions.

I suppose that’s how I came up with the idea that good Christians vote for candidates like Bush almost solely on the basis that he is strictly against abortion, despite the fact that I may disagree with everything else he says and there is almost no political chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So I’ve made two decisions. One is to think for myself and vote for whoever I want to based on my complete personal convictions, not just the fact that I happen to be personally pro-life. The second is to stop thinking about the world in objective black and white terms. This is much more difficult. I’m a labeler like the rest of them. I feel the urge to figure people out and categorize them to decide how I feel about them. But if I know I could never be accurately categorized, then it follows that I’m only misjudging and selling people short myself.

Keeping up with the Joneses

October 7, 2004

Well, I discovered my good friend Mary in Chicago had taken up with blogging, and I decided I had to have it to. Actually I was interested in keeping an online diary for the public (ie. my close friends, because why on earth would anyone else want to spend time reading this stuff) but I never really knew how to do it until I found because of Mary. Nothing interesting to say now, just trying to design my site like a good former Journalism student would.