Thursday, October 24, 2013

week five highlights — 50% done with fall already?!

Letters for my kuya/ate(s) Obtuse Angle and Heffalump.

Highlights of Week 5 (10/21-10/24):

Monday • My very first APSU board meeting! It lasted two hours (I really had to pee since I'd run over there right after I got out of class) but I learned a lot. I'm really looking forward to working (and ~partying~) with my super cool board members.

Tuesday • Barkada meeting! I painted one envelope and wrote a letter to my kuya/ate, codename Heffalump. I received a big package of Nutter Butters from him/her. When I saw it, with an orange card taped on top, I honestly felt my heart fill up to the brim with warm fuzzies. (I'd written on my KAA questionnaire that I love PB cookies!) About ten minutes later, some guy came over and tapped me on the shoulder. He told me I still had more gifts waiting for me! My reaction: WHAAAAAT?! He led me back into the office and there was a milk tea boba waiting for me, with another letter attached to it! This letter was signed from a kuya/ate, codenamed Obtuse Angle. My jaw dropped! I'm so stoked. I have two kuya/ates. That's more than I could have ever wished for. (Hah—I find it amusing that I've been using the term "boba" more than "PMT.")

Wednesday • I woke up early to write a letter to my second kuya/ate Obtuse Angle! I'm really proud of my handiwork. :') I also participated in my first APSU general meeting! It feels so different to be standing in front of the crowd rather than sitting in it. I think the members enjoyed the icebreaker that I'd chosen for today's agenda, and that makes me feel happy. :)

Thursday • Played badminton again after class! I just hit and rallied with my friend A but it was still  really fun. :3 Then I went to my CSA big's boyfriend's villa and we all made dinner again! (I made sure to refrigerate the leftover rice this time because my big always forgets/neglects to do so and ends up throwing the rice away.) Afterwards I went to Shapell and hung out with some Barkada people until really late.

Friday to Sunday • I'll be writing a separate post on this later! I'll be at Barkada's Friendship Games, so I'll definitely have a lot more than highlights to talk about!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

week four (initiation, family, and little reasons to smile everyday)

The last page in the booklet from Little Joy's eponymous album.

Inspiration for the week of 10/13-10/19:
  • Aaron James Gresham's posters for Vampire Weekend's UK 2013 tour
  • "Emma Approved" — I love it so much already. Thank you, Pemberley Digital!

Things/people I'm grateful to and for:
  • Barkada! The whole KAA family thing is making me so happy and excited!
  • Honestly, I'm generally just super thankful for the MCC family
  • Relatively empty highways on the nights I drive home super late
  • A full tank of gas to start off each week (my gratitude for this is immeasurable)
  • Daily "pings" (i.e., encounters and brief interactions with attractive people who make me smile)

Recap/highlights of the week:

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Old photo, taken during the summer in San Francisco.

Inspiration for the week of 10/6-10/12:
  • Jennifer Dewalt, who learned to code by building 180 websites in 180 days (Seriously, she is currently my hero because I spent about a week over the summer learning HTML/CSS from Codeacademy but I lost motivation because I didn't know where/how to apply what I'd learned. Discovering her feat just blows me away!)
  • Poetry magazine (I need to renew my subscription.)
  • Mathilde Roussel

Things/people I'm grateful for:
  • Google Hangouts and Skype
  • Finding fellow English majors at school
  • The people who have made me feel so welcome at school

Things that happened this week but I'm too lazy to make a separate post for:
  • Halloween Haunt at Great America with some friends. I can handle horror movies, games, and books, but when it comes to being spooked and chased in person, you can count on me to cling onto your arm or hold your hand for dear life. I'm more scared of being jumped at than I am of a person dressed up in a creepy costume. (My goodness, I'm actually considering going a second time with a different group of people.)

What I've been listening to:
  • The Speed of Things (2013) by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the best birthday I never would have imagined celebrating

Feeling so, so grateful. 

I woke up this morning not realizing what kind of surprises the day would have in store for me. I thought I would be passing just another simple day at school, and the fact that today was my 18th birthday would just be a little secret for me to enjoy by myself. I thought the most that would happen would maybe be just a few Facebook friends would remember and wish me a happy one if they happened to pass by me on campus.

Well, I was wrong.

By the time I'd woken up and gotten ready for school, the house was basically empty and I wasn't expecting my grandmother to remember. I loaded my car's trunk and then proceeded to open the driver's door. The first thing I saw was a red envelope sitting on the seat, with the words "Happy Birthday" in Chinese written on it in my mother's handwriting. I teared up immediately and had to stand there like an idiot wiping away tears.

I got to school just five minutes before class started, and I didn't have a chance to see anyone before class. I sat next to Y and noticed she was more tired than usual, but I only assumed that she hadn't slept well the night before and that her morning practice for the rowing team had been tougher than usual. After class we left the building together and before I could say bye she made a beeline for two of my friends who were standing outside the entrance and I was stuck behind a small crowd of people pushing their way out. By the time I went down the steps they were all smiling and that was when I realized that J was holding a plate of cupcakes out for me! They all said Happy Birthday and I was so surprised I didn't know what to do! The reason why Y was especially tired that morning was because she and J had spent the night baking for me. Ahh, I was so unbelievably touched.

As a group we headed to Benson to meet up with others for lunch. After I sat down A met up with us and the first thing she did was place a little box of macarons and a chocolate cupcake in front of me! I gave her a big hug because she knew I hadn't had macarons in a really long time. She remembered that I love pistachio-flavored everything, too. Then D sat down and handed me a big plastic bag. Inside was a giant slice of chocolate cake from Safeway, along with a copy of Aesop's Fables. That was totally unexpected! When he'd texted me in the morning asking if I wanted to have lunch with him, I was just expecting a Happy Birthday and some catching up, but he was so sweet and actually gave me something. At that point I was already feeling incredibly overwhelmed with happiness.

After lunch, I went to move my car to the parking structure, and I saw M and Ch there. Ch gave me a cute little balloon that she'd doodled on. It was a simple little gift, but it still made me smile.

The surprises didn't end there. After my last class of the day, I went to the APSU meeting and a couple of upperclassmen wished me Happy Birthday too, so that was really nice. BUT BUT BUT! The major surprise that basically made my jaw drop was when the meeting started. Our meetings are guided by Powerpoints designed by the super wonderful T, so the first slide was just a regular introductory slide. They clicked to the next slide and what popped up was a bright pink slide that read: "KEEP CALM AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY SERENA." I could not believe it. They'd dedicated an entire slide to me, a tiny little freshman who no one except the board members really knew! I was so moved, oh my goodness. They then had me stand up in front of everyone else and the room sang to me. So flustered and happy and nervous and all those feelings you get when you're just 100% flattered!

Finished the night by eating yummy Paris Baguette cheesecake with my family. :')

I'm incredibly grateful to have found all these people on campus who make me feel so loved. I really couldn't have wished for a better day. I was smiling like a dummy the entire drive home.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

you belong here

Inspiration for the week of 9/29-10/5:
  • James and Aubrey (Actually, just watch all of this guy's videos. They're fantastic.)
  • "I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me." — Tracee Ellis Ross, in an interview for UPTOWN
  • Margaret Howell S/S 13 (photographed by Mark Sanders)
  • Start Small: Why Tinkerers Get Things Done via 99u
  • "We don’t give other people credit for the same interior complexity we take for granted in ourselves, the same capacity for holding contradictory feelings in balance, for complexly alloyed affections, for bottomless generosity of heart and petty, capricious malice. We can’t believe that anyone could be unkind to us and still be genuinely fond of us, although we do it all the time." — Tim Kreider, from I Know What You Think of Me

Things and people I'm grateful for:
  • The cute tech guy who complimented the customizations I'd done to my Mac.
  • The campus library
  • The fact that my dog still loves me even though I'm rarely at home anymore
  • More future concert buddies
  • All the old copies of The Santa Clara Review that I picked up this week around campus
  • The APSU board members who've been taking care of me

What I was listening to while compiling this post:
  • Pure Heroine (2013) by Lorde
  • You Belong Here (2013) by Leagues
  • AM (2013) by Arctic Monkeys

week two

Stranger: "Oh, so what dorm do you live in?"
Me: "I commute, but I actually live in the library. Second floor to be exact."
Week started out slowly, but then I blinked and now it's Saturday. I guess that's a sign that I'm starting to acclimate to college?

Honestly, I'm not really in the mood to pick out every single detail of my week (currently in the library taking a study break from Latin), so I guess I'll just do a general overview and mention a few highlights.

I'm really starting to get a feel for my classes. Latin is pretty awesome. It's tough, but I love learning languages. The grammar is really new to me, but it's a cool challenge. I've been seeing it as a puzzle and it feels so good when I get rollin' on my homework. It's really satisfying. First quiz on Monday—wish me luck! As for Sociology, I'm having a lot of fun listening to my professor. He's quirky and always has something cool to say. I'm hoping to contribute more in class.  English/CTW is pretty good too. I thought it would be my least favorite class (even though I'm an English major, go figure) but my first essay's draft is darn awesome and I'm looking forward to more class discussions.

One thing I've really been liking about the quarter so far is that I have no busy work. Everything that I'm assigned has a purpose that's geared towards improving my comprehension of what we're going over in class. Favorite assignment so far—the Eye Contact Project for Sociology. Everything else is mostly reading and being able to talk about it in class. Cool beans. My CTW class revolves around food (Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan) and it makes me really happy and involved because this past summer I spent so much time researching different nutritional regimes and diets.

I've also been spending a lot of time at the library. It feels good to get stuff done here. I simply can't concentrate at home anymore. My productivity level drops to zero once I set my things down in my bedroom and see my dog.

Club meetings have also started. I joined two multicultural clubs: CSA and APSU. I'm going to run for a position as freshman rep for APSU! Went to their Tomi Seafood brunch today and two of the board members really took care of me and made me feel welcome. Reminds me of back when I first joined Key Club in high school. Fingers crossed and hope I get the position! I also have to email the Santa Clara Review and ask if I can hop on as a volunteer assistant to a genre editor. So nervous but so exciting at the same time!

  • Still feeling a little left out as a commuter sometimes. Once I get more involved in CSA and APSU I'm hoping it'll go away. Keeping a strong, positive, friendly mindset!
  • Playing piano and ping pong in Swig's basement after Curryoke at Sobrato. So much laughter and derping around.
  • The cute tech guy who complimented my Mac's desktop. It made me so happy when he said he liked my dock. He even noticed that I'd substituted the menu bar icons! No one ever notices that part! Ever! He even asked if I was a CS major since I'd done everything manually, but I told him no and said I just have free time. Yeah...these are the little things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

life's too short to even care at all

October 1, 2013:

This year's fall concert featured Young the Giant. I was really excited to see them, and they didn't disappoint. I was a little miffed at how they made us wait almost forty minutes after the opening artist (Nick Checo) finished before they appeared, but once they did I guess the wait was worth it. They played a handful of new songs, so I'm excited for a second album! I've been wondering if they were working on anything new.

Lots more pictures after the break. Hope you like them! They were all taken with my phone (HTC One) but I made sure to fix them up a lot before sharing.