Wednesday, August 31, 2005

First Day of Classes

8:43 am: I started my first day of school with a bang. A very real, very loud, very excruciating bang. In a last minute rush to get ready for school despite having given myself an hour to prepare, I ran my forehead straight into the handle of a metal pot in the pantry which was sitting on a shelf two feet from the floor. Only I could figure out a way to do this. The same woman who always "forgets" to bring a notebook to the first day of class. So far, I got another mini-lecture from Dana whose exact words were something like, "You still forgot after my lecture from last semester? Well, at least you weren't late this time." Last year, on our first day of school ever, I showed up to class more than fifteen minutes late despite having gotten to school two hours early. I was sweaty and miserable and shot my professor a dirty look when she reminded me the time class actually began. She and I would battle over my tardiness and her inflexibility for the next two semesters. My first exam I obtained a perfect score and felt justified - though deep down, I always knew the truth. I am a chronic late comer. It's in the blood of my people.

But today, I happened to arrive fifteen minutes early - just enough time to borrow some paper and a pen from a fellow classmate. I fear though, that no amount of note taking will save me from this class: the dreaded Statistics with Dr. Shu. Two years ago, he told a student, "Trying to teach you Stats is like trying to teach a blind person to read." Of course, she burst into tears though I doubt Dr. Shu meant it to be more than a joke. He's intimidating but seems nice enough. Just one of those brilliant statisticians who assumes the general principals of his world to be a given part of everyone else's. Twenty minutes into class, I hear all this giggling behind me and I turn to find K pointing at me. He whispers, "You can't start day dreaming already!" And then he does a quick imitation of me - wide eyed and wide mouthed as well. I turn around slightly embarressed that my "smart face" wasn't working. Then Lara looks over and mouths, "what the-" and before she can finish, I just nod and finish, "I know - Fuck."

and into student life once again

I am actually excited about classes beginning tomorrow. Not necessarily the idea of having to take Statistics, but I'm drawn to the possibility of having more structure in my life. This summer was a mess of waitressing, babysitting, testing, and of course - going out.

It's a new year. A fresh start supposedly. Well we'll see.

Monday, August 29, 2005

blissful mornings

I forget how much I loved my mornings. Especially after a good, hearty sleep. I used to start almost every weekend morning with a quick eye flutter or two to take in the sunlight streaming in through the windows and then roll over in bed a couple of times to make sure I didn't have a little sleep in me yet. And with one giant cat stretch, I'd slither off my bed and make myself a cup of coffee. And as I listened to the coffee brewing, I'd go peak at my little herb garden out on my little stoop - a garden that consisted of only a few things like parsely, mint, cilantro, thyme, and basil but it was mine and I tended to each plant so lovingly. Afterwards, I'd take my coffee right to bed and write. Lord I used to write a lot. I'd go through three - sometimes, four journals a year. Eventually, my sister would call to chat about mom or my roommate would come softly knocking on my door and I'd smile as she jumped on my bed to share stories of our nights out. And oftentimes, we'd end that perfect morning with a homecooked breakfast or with some friends at a local restaurant.

I can't remember the last time I wrote in my journal or actually allotted some alone time. It's strange - since moving to New York, I'm not sure if I ever even wanted any alone time. Unwinding was redefined as meeting up with friends and having a few drinks. And going out always meant coming in after 2 and mornings can often be slept away. Maybe these are the differences between my San Francisco and New York life, but now I'm in Philly and just spent a lovely morning reading and writing while my friend slept happily in the next room. And I've realized that I have to find a way back to those San Francisco mornings. My life this past year has become one whirlwind of obligations, parties, and a million other things listed on my Top Things to Do by such and such date. I know I have to re-learn to relax and enjoy time apart from everything and everyone else - just time enough to enjoy myself for a little while...

......(insert a little beccup sigh here) nice.

ok. That's enough time. Now I have to prepare my famous Peak family cat jump. It's time for Patrick to wake up and feed me.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The happy couple

Maid of Honor

It's official. Okay, it has been official for a few weeks now but grace and dan are engaged and I have been asked to be the maid of honor. I'm not sure exactly what that means but it's got to be better than being called the 'worst bridesmaid in the world' - Seriously, the whole world? It's true that in previous weddings, while most bridal parties were tending to that woman in white (just kidding, just kidding - the bride), I was often found at the bar chatting it up with the rest of the single's scene. And yes, I never knew where I was supposed to be in pictures or how to pose for them. Although I think the photographer just liked holding my hand and positioning me. Oh and there was that one incident when I forgot to bring my dress, but I brought pastries and COFFEE - the essentials! I guess some girls seem borned to play this role. I am biologically predestined to throw giant bashes with cocktails of every kind, shape, and color. And to shop. Who else but the Maid of Honor should help decide what the bridal party wears? Those other girls? Merely maids.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


My mother called me this morning to set me up with a man my aunt knows in Korea. IN KOREA. She called me twice today to see if he's contacted me. I haven't returned her calls. Meanwhile as I was apartment searching tonight, the one guy who I may have considered living with hit on me. I figured that set the stage for an uncomfortable living situation. It's too bad because the location was perfect. Although I do wonder if I really want to live with a boy. Sometimes I feel like boys can be a bit smelly. Anyway, between these two exciting events, I attended a picnic to welcome the new first year students. They seemed cool enough and I even interviewed one of the girls. There was one cute guy who all the girls in my class already called dips on.


Monday, August 22, 2005

marks of change

Hammee leaves for Korea on Tuesday. She will be gone for three years but will probably come home once or twice between then. I met Hammee on a bus in 8th grade. It’s been thirteen years. And as I watched her last night at our little farewell dinner, it amazes me to think that this chick once got suspended from school for calling our 9th grade English teacher a bitch. Now she’s running after her two year old making sure that everything he touches stays intact and moving to Korea to help follow her husband’s dreams of becoming a film director. Real obligations. The funny thing was – saying goodbye to her felt so normal, like she’ll always be there when I come home. Even though I know in my head she won’t be, my silly little heart just doesn’t want to admit it.

And I’m meeting up with Leah tonight who is already back from her archaeological dig in Turkey. She’s in New York for a week before she moves to Michigan for school. She called gushing about a man she met – and I mean a real man, 30 years older. She giggled about a possible future complete with wedding and kids. All very nice I suppose. Last week, I had lunch with my sister and wondered whether I really want to have kids anymore.

Friday, Marsha’s grandmother died. She was 94.

School starts in a week and this time, there will be more responsibilities for me. I’ve already been working directly with clients and providing information that could very well be ‘life changing’ for some. I’m not sure when my opinion became worth the 600 dollars some people pay for it. But I’m hoping in the future, others will be willing to pay more since my school loans keep building as well.

These are all the subtle markers of change I woke up thinking about. And I’m feeling a bit blue about it because I wish I could just hold on to the past forever. And though I would never want to go back in time, sometimes being an adult just sucks.

But then again, when you go out with a boy and you’re mother calls and leaves 15 voicemail messages demanding where you are and you have to lie for fear of being “grounded”, then you wonder how much change time brings. My sister laughs and says 26 in Korean years is really 12. All my Korean friends agree.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ms Foxy F$%@ing Brown part II

It's late and maybe I've had too much to drink but all I want to say is: Ms. Foxy Brown is a dirty fX#4!ing, cheap bit@#$c who left me a zero tip on a 70 dollar tab and whose "man" was so F$%@ing high, it was probably the only way he'd spend time with her. She told my bus boy that I cocked an attitude. If I did, she deserved it and probably should be thanking me for even recognizing her existance in the first place after the way she treated me the last time. I even argued with my manager and questioned why we even took in her business. Do we really need to put up with her shit for 70 fucking dollars?

I'm so pissed. I need a popsicle. A cherry one.

Friday, August 19, 2005

call me scrabble master

My nephew bit my twice this morning. My arm still bares his teeth marks from over two hours ago and as I backpacked him around the house to get him asleep, he fought back and bit me under my right shoulder blade. You never realize how fleshy that part is until you have a little guy chomping down on you there.

And I got angry with him because he just wouldn't sit by himself and insisted on being held. So I held him while doing the dishes with my one free hand, folding the laundry while bouncing him on my hip, and trying to eat breakfast without his hands all in my food. When my sister came in from grocery shopping I looked at her and said, "I don't know why but your son is crabby." And she says, "There doesn't always need to be a reason. He just woke up cranky!" As frustrated as I was, I couldn't argue with them because there are times when I just wake up with a bit of crank in me for no reason other than the world feels blue.

Oh, last night I kicked my sister's ass in scrabble by more than a hundred points. The best moment came when I laid the smack-down with a seven letter word as she was busy going through another one of her trash-talking rampages. We are a competative bunch in this household. It always feels good to win. Besides, I'm still annoyed that she actually scared me with a simple "boo!" while sitting across the dinner table. That was shameful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

a quick glimpse into my life at 5:26 pm

I just made a desperate coffee run and am trying to absorb the caffeine as quickly as possible. If I could smoke this coffee, I would. I'm pretty sure smoking is the fastest way to get the effects I need since my next appointment is in 7 minutes. Two more hours to go and then I'm off to veg out with a friend in front of a giant movie screen. Two more long hours to go...

Ok. This is the reason for the lack of posts this week. There just isn't many exciting things going on.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Two stories from our last day in the Hamptons

Pictures tell it all.

Story #1:
My mother doesn't know how to swim. We have tried so many different ways to teach her, but still she sinks like a rock. I've even watched her sink in water two feet deep. So when she decided to brave the ocean waves, I immediately took her hand. You can't tell from this picture, but the waves here are really rough.

And despite my best attempts to save her, we almost lost her.

But no worries. This story has a happy ending. As you can see, she's even wearing her lucky hat.

Story #2:

Raul-Andres meets his first lady friend on the beach. Little, curly haired Megan. And like his uncle, seems to go for the older gals. He's a charming lad, isn't he? Look at that smile!

And like his aunt, doesn't take no for an answer. He's a charming, yet aggressive little guy. It's in his blood.

If only he could stand, he might have had a better chance. Though she's 8 months older - notice the height difference?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Wednesday at the Beach.

I sat on the beach in my little tent so happy, so free, so relaxed and just watched everyone else bake in the hot, hot sun. Everyone here is lobster red. It kind of grosses me out thinking about it - human flesh cooking in the sun like that. Ick. Two words: sun-screen. Oh, here's another: beach tent. Due to my nephew's fair skin and my wierd sun allergy, my sister bought us a beach tent. It's the best thing ever. I don't know how I functioned before. I have to get a picture of it but forgot. But here's a couple others.

From our morning walk.

My mother barely leaves my nephew's side. Poor guy has been sick and has barely enough energy to shoo my mother's worries away. I am the worst emo allowing him to bear the brunt of my mother's anxieties just so that I don't have to hear more complaints about my lack of spirituality. But hey, god and I are going to have a moment over some drinks right after this post...I might go buy a couple beers and sit on the beach for a while. By the time I get back, I'm hoping my mom will be fast asleep. Last night, I took a walk and there were bon fires up and down the shore. I wonder if I can get myself invited to one.

This kid is all smiles for me - despite his cold.

Caught in a very wierd moment.

And that's the end of the day...well, we'll see.

Monday, August 08, 2005

my first hamptons tale

We're here. Three hours and twenty three minutes after we left Brooklyn, we arrived in the Hamptons. And it's finally hit me, I am going to spend an entire week with my mother and her crazy antics - although at the moment, it's sort of endearing. So far, our conversations have gone like this: "Li-bah-kah, why you wear that shirt and show everything?" Mind you, I'm wearing a simple, baby-blue, linen tank top with a long beaded necklace draped twice around my neck. I reply with a - Because mom, it's comfortable and it's too hot for anything else. Besides, we're just driving. "You shouldn't follow what's comfortable. You should follow morals. The only men you'll get are 'party' men." Of course, my sister has to jump in and complement my mother on her advancing English vocab. In the same breath, my mother reaches over and pinches my cheek sighing, "Boys must be so blind. You so cute!"

So we roll into our hotel room around 4:30, drop off our fifty small plastic bags because no one thought early enough to pack one large and convenient suitcase, and head over to the beach. Andres is sick and the waves quickly lull him to sleep. It's his first trip to the ocean but he seems less than impressed. I on the other hand love the ocean and everything about it. Pretty soon, I can't help but kick off my sandals and jump into the waves, still stupidly trying to keep my clothes from getting too wet. Linen is dry-clean only. The waves seemed pretty mild but out of no where, one builds determined to drench me. And it succeeded. I have never encountered a wave to build up to five feet high only a few inches away. My sister laughed as she watched it come crashing over my screeching little head. I crawled out dazed and wondering how I got so wet standing in knee deep waters. Of course my mother starts running around screaming about her hat that she bought for a dollar earlier that week. The thing had washed off my head. I have to say though - watching my mother chase it around was worth the long, wet walk back to our room. She did manage to save it and now I'll have a hat for tomorrow.

weed under the shadow

Over breakfast this morning, my mother tells me that my nickname as a child was "weed under the shadow". I look at my sister and we burst out laughing. I was a skinny kid and not very tall. Unfortunately the later remains true but I'm not as skinny as I used to be. In fact, whenever friends of my mother's past come to visit they always comment about how huge I've gotten. It's always prefaced with a wide-eyed, "whaaaa!" If you know any Korean immigrant parents, that's the sound of true amazement. My mother continues, "Even though Paul younger, you always make him do everything. Lift this, hold that. Ever since three years. So funny. Paul only drink milk. You only drink orange juice. That's why you so small and always sick girl." Although a few years back, my mother once lamented, "You so short because mommy always make you carry heavy bags. I'm sorry, daughter." She still makes me carry heavy bags.

So the Paek woman are going on a vacation to the Hamptons. I have been so busy this past week that even the idea of going away stressed me out. But as of 11:20 last night, I have put away my waitressing shoes, picked up my anti-bad-reaction-to-the-sun medication, and bought a shit load of trashy magazines. I still have to do a bit of school stuff while I'm gone but I think I can manage.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

faceplant kisses

My nephew likes to sit up now - especially since he's become such a pro at it. So he sits while I lay at his feet. And every once in a while he'll just fall foward and chomp down on whatever part of your body happens to find its way in between his six little teeth. You really have to be careful too because he's left a few bruises behind. And when you yelp, he looks up at you with startled eyes and you have to immediately start singing those ABC's despite your pain just to keep him from crying.

Well today, we learned a new game. During his usual routine of fall-foward-chomp, he happened to fall on my face and before he could chomp, I began to kiss him all over his cute, little forehead. He popped up and looked me straight in the eye. Then giggled. After a pause or two, he fell right back towards me nestling his head into my neck and this time, I kissed him all over his pudgy cheek. Again, he popped up and giggled right after looking me straight in the eye. Over and over he fell, and over and over I kissed him. After a while, I realized he wasn't even trying to chomp anymore. He was just falling foward for more and more smooches.

What a way to ask for a kiss. I don't think I will ever be able to resist a faceplant kiss again.

Friday, August 05, 2005

unfolding a very simple mystery

A few months ago, my frient blogged "fifty things you didn't know about hunie". It was hesterical. My favorites were his private dance lessons in front of his mirror and his obsessive love affair with dental floss. I've always thought that would be fun: to reveal to the "world" all of my hidden mysteries. But as I sit here staring at a blank screen, I realize there really isn't all that much to be revealed. I wear my "mysteries" on my sleeve. My mother once told me, "You know - Paul and Jennifer were hard children and always so complicate. You, daughter, have simple mind." Though I might have fought it for a while, I think in a period where being so unique is the fad today, I don't mind being average. Simple's nice and at times, refreshing. Or I could just be trying to make myself feel better.

The first and most basic thing is that I love candy. If you don't know this, then you don't know me. I need a good gummy worm or two just like others need vitamin C and D. Popsicles: Orange, cherry, or grape - they are the answer to world peace. Or at least in this household. As soon as my sister buys a box, Raul and I are tearing through them as if they were the last popsicles on earth. I once found his stash hidden behind some frozen chickens. And poor Jennifer can't even compete with our sugar thirsty war tactics. She's lucky if she's left with a stick to lick. I think I might have seen her eyeing one in the trash the other day.

I live for a good practical joke. I still find woopy cushions to be a riot and on any given night, you can find a Paek, Yun, or Guttierrez on all fours ready to jump out of a hidden spot and scare you. We've been known to wait for hours. Apart from that, humor is the only thing that got my family through any of our trials. And chances are, the harder you make me laugh, the harder I'll fall in love with you.

Oh wait. My family is the other thing that got my family through any of our trials. We are insanely close. I talk about them so much you'll soon feel as if my mother's your best friend or wish she was. Okay, not really because my mother is a nut, but it's that quality you'll quickly learn to appreciate.

What else. I am painfully foward in love and relationships. Sometimes I wish that I had a greater fear of making a fool of myself. Instead, I take risks with my heart leaving it vulnerable to being broken but open to live freely. The downside is that while most men profess to respect my directness, few actually do. But really - if you can't take a few risks with your heart or in life, then we're really not meant to be together in the first place. The upside is that I'm pretty direct and abhor games. Usually, when I ask you to call, I'm simply saying - call. If not, oh well. Someone else's loss...

And don't worry, Jim B., I am picky.

I still want to believe in a God, but as I get older, it gets harder and harder. This makes me sad.

I stock up on stationary because every once in a while, I take the time to write a letter.

And I never forget a birthday. Your gift might come a day or four late though.

I have an inner diva, a secret soundtrack of songs to my life as if my life was one giant movie and I the star, an inner nerd, and an outer dork, a cutesy exterior, and en even cuter 'interior'...ok, this "list" is boring me. Like I said, there really isn't that much you don't know upon meeting me.

And no, I never did get that hug yesterday but got a lot of cute comments from the post - even an on-line squeeze. But that's okay, I had a great day. In fact, it was the perfect pony tail day. The little things in life matter most.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

premenstrual philosphy

This morning I rolled out of bed and could tell that today was going to be a hard day. I could just feel my hormone levels rising with each passing moment and by 8 am, I desperately needed a hug. It's funny that in those moments, I know that I have all the love in the world around me but no one to give me a hug. And its enough to make you feel incredibly alone. But life moves on and so did I, right into a day full of ups and downs. Truthfully, I think I secretly find a lot of comfort in that 'aloneness'. As I've gotten older, "wiser" I've noticed how much energy people put into running away from loneliness or the idea of being alone. I've watched friends settle down with men while still dreaming of their soulmates and have even known a few to just say fuck life altogether. Of course like everyone else, I struggle with it - fears of being abondoned, forgotten or misplaced perhaps - ultimately of being alone. But as much as I wish I could keep running from it, I'm simply too tired. So I just accept it. I hate it but hell, that's part of living, really living. Whatever that means. All I know is that every once in a while and sometimes more than that, I have a tendency to fall back into myself to simply be alone.

In college, I used to believe that we should all try to live life out to the "fullest", which to me meant facing all your fears and pushing the limits of your insecurities. Its how I defined my own search for truths. Now I find myself wondering if there really is a right or wrong way to live, just as long as you have strong enough defense mechanisms to sustain your lifestyle (ok, that was a bad Freudian joke). Or maybe that's just my own justifications for wanting a future with comfort and ease and lots of vacations to exotic lands. I come from a background of working in non-profit with "at-risk" youth which doesn't mix well with my giant guilt complex. And now, I'm forced to reckon with my own "demons" since half my day is spent fighting with everyone else's.

Well, I think I shall take myself to bed. I just spent the past hour singing my nephew to sleep. I wish someone would sing me my ABC's because I've had another long day. I have finally realized that once again, I've found myself dictated by too many obligations, all of which I put on myself. I'm actually looking foward to classes starting up again. All I know is that tomorrow morning, there better be a good hug by my bedside or maybe I'll just get my period.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Someone scheduled a 12 pm appointment into my phone for Thursday. It read: "shave legs?" Who did it? I've already called my friends who I suspect would have done it and so far, just got a couple howls of laughter and an "I'll take credit for it, but didn't do it." I haven't shaved in six years now. Apart from my one "man-hair", which keeps me in touch with my masculinity, I don't really feel the need to.

small glimpse into wedding ceremonies

I've put a few pictures up of the various weddings I've been to in the past year and half of so. I think you can access them somewhere on this site. This year I have six more to attend. woah.