Sunday, June 29, 2008


Recently, several friends of mine have started writing in blogs about their experiences (mostly about the summer). It's got me thinking about LiveJournal and how so many of us were into that fad for so long. Up until 2-3 years ago, I'd update it all the time. But I would always write with the knowledge that other people—my friends making up the vast majority—would be reading, which I think led me to exert some level of censorship in writing about what I did and thought. But I was in the world of LJ for almost four years. And as much as it embarrasses me to admit, I had a DeadJournal before then, which to this day keeps my silly 7th-8th grade notions. In short, I've been documenting my life on the internet since I was 12—roughly seven years ago.

Last year when I started up this blog, it was around the time I officially called it quits with LJ. At that point, I'd been updating sporadically, while still keeping up with friends' updates. LJ gradually lost its novelty during the advent of high school usability on Facebook. I still have an account but I removed all my friends and locked all the entries. In case I ever want to be nostalgic, I can always look back on those, and in fact I've done so at least once or twice in the recent past.

It feels good to write without an official audience. Whereas with LJ, you can control who has access to your entries and generally anyone whose friend list you're on will be reading them, Blogger doesn't have any option like that to my knowledge. There are no "communities" where users with similar interests can blab about the same tired thing, and information on one's Blogger profile is relatively limited.

So that's where it stands. I update this blog every once in a while, usually whenever I feel like I have a thousand thoughts running around in my head, rushing past and colliding into each other. Presently I don't have a whole lot on my mind, but since this whole LiveJournal vs. Blogger idea occurred to me I figured I should write about what's been going on lately. summer rocks. I can pretty much come into the office whenever I want, provided I have work to do. For the most part, I'm trying to work whenever I'm not busy (which is most of the time during the day) and when I'm needed more (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Though now I need to work as much as possible (more work = more money) to pay off my huge credit card debt after Bonnaroo/my excursion to Tennessee. The trip was amazing, although no words could do it justice and I don't think I'll ever get around to actually detailing what we did each day on paper/the 'net. Facebook pictures should suffice.

Also, I've been volunteering at South Miami Hospital since March-April. If I could concisely explain what I do there, I would. (I may have already done so in a previous post.) For the most part, I get to visit patients and ask if they need anything (magazines, water, blankets, etc.), run errands to/from the lab and other places, and get some office work done. Just like my job, the time I'm there varies from boring to stressful. I kind of like that. But being a volunteer allows me to help other people with my time, instead of always "doing my own thing." It's awesome.

So far, I've had seven Chinese classes, and they have been wonderful. To be honest, I can barely write what I've learned, but reading and speaking it are much easier. It's scary to look at a page full of Chinese characters and actually be able to read it (slowly, of course). I think the curriculum is great, though. The book's called "My First Chinese Reader," and judging from the flashy colors and cartoons, it's meant for children. Here's a reading example:

Ni hao! Wo jiao Bai Dawei, wo jiu sui, wo shi mei guo ren.
Wang Xiaowen shi wo tong xue, ta ba sui, ta shi zhong guo ren. Xiexie!

Hello! My name is Dawei Bai, I'm nine years old, I'm American.
Xiaowen Wang is my classmate, she's eight years old, she's Chinese. Thank you!

Like, what the eff? A month ago I would have wished to be able to read, speak, and understand the above. I guess it all depends on how much you study and practice; good thing this summer's provided me with a lot of time to do that. My classes are an hour and a half long, twice a week. And my teacher is excellent!

Have I mentioned I'm not taking a single summer class at school? That may be the best part of all. This is the first summer (since elementary school) that I haven't done anything academic, and it was about damn time. I laugh when I think back to a few months ago, when I was planning on taking physics, calculus, and chemistry classes all within a twelve-week period, and now I'm not doing anything remotely close to that. Speaking of which, I registered for my fall classes on Friday. Considering my courseload, my major should be "liberal hippie studies." No math or science classes. I'll go into all that nerdy stuff later on, if ever.

So besides being busy most of the time, I've still been able to go out more than I ever have before. My parents are apathetic at this point as long as I tell them where I'm going. At first they were lamenting the fact that I'm never home for dinner (which I've tried to do more often), but I've made it clear that I'm going to take advantage of my summer as much as possible. I won't even begin to list the myriad of people I've hung out with and all the crazy-fun-chill stuff we've been doing. Overall, it's been great. So much for a curfew.

To be continued...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

lo que me gusta

I like being with people. Laughing. Talking about life and love and insecurity and the future.

I like speculating.

I like the summer, which is the only time of the year I can see everyone I want to see whenever I want, work and volunteer as much as I want, and learn whatever I want outside of an institutional context. I like the idea of learning Chinese with a private teacher, without testing and grading constraints, able to advance as much or as little as I want with no pressure. I feel like I am fully responsible for how quickly I learn how to read, write, and speak. And I like that, too.

I like that I have no idea where I'll be a year or so from now. I like the prospects of a new school year: new opportunities, new people, and new classes. I like the fact that I learned from my mistake of putting all my eggs in one basket, and I like that I have a second chance to do the opposite.

I like the idea that I can be a broke college student and still spend a ton of money to go to Bonnaroo next week, because I know the experience will change me and at the end of the day it will have been worth it. I love the friends I'm going with, and I'm 99% positive that the five or six days will envelop some sense of change for them as well.

I like transistasis. I like the fact that things are changing, that I can be more open with my parents than I have ever been before, and that I finally feel like I have freedom. I like that this summer has catalyzed an internal change for me. I don't like my faults but I really like that I am starting to shift them into other things. Although they may not be eradicated, I like that I am trying.

I like my sense of undying happiness. I like having the comfort of knowing that the little things do not affect me (and even the big things will not stand in my way). I like writing for myself, which is why I like this mostly-neglected blog.