Sunday, December 13, 2009

Taiwan Blog

Just to let you know I'm going to be posting at my blog for Taiwan from now until I come back in December! :

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Je Je Je-jeee-je

Totally unfinished:

smells like Autumn
cool air
a tingle
natural in my skin

twice pierced
skin like mine
hair like yours
i just want to touch
things the same again

since September
reminds me
of silver acorns
on a chain
hand walks in
crumpled leaves

stop to breath
the books and
the birds
walks warm in your hand
face cool to my cheek

both wanting to talk
but hating to care
hearts as hard as the paths they chose

Sunday, September 27, 2009

But I didn't touch a pig!

Hey so life has gotten pretty busy pretty fast. Mid-August I found a dance partner and we practiced every night for the team tryouts in September. My goal was just to make Pre-C. I wanted to go to team lessons so bad! Drama eventually ensued and I switched partners a week before tryouts- this time I was confident we'd make the team. And September 15th we did our best and somehow we made it!!!!! :D You can check out a few videos of the tryouts at this link:

So anyways, I'm EXTREMELY excited. My life right now is work and dance- and that's a good thing. :) I just hope I improve fast.

I got a project on the side: I have two latin dresses and I have pretty much nothing for standard (waltz, tango, etc) so I bought a pattern, a sewing machine and I'm making a standard dress. I'll put pictures up as soon as I finish. I got a friend from work (Julie) helping me- she makes costumes from the 1800s and early 1900s. In fact I modeled one of her costumes recently for a photoshoot. Another Rachel and I went out on a canoe at sunset and Julie and her dad were in a second canoe taking photos. It's traditional film so it'll be a while before we get to see the results. However, I got her to take some digital photos of us- it's up on facebook for you to see.

Other than that life is normal. Some drama...which I'm not posting on the internet, and some sickness. It happened Friday and somehow I'm thinking it's the swine flu :(. At least I'm not throwing up- that's the worst. So I couldn't go into work and I'm home for the weekend. It kinda worked out for the best since I wouldn't have time to go home otherwise. Things get really busy at the bakery in the fall up through Christmas so I'm working pretty much everyday and I need the money so I don't want to ask for time off.

And the final bit of news: I'm taking a couple Chinese classes this semester! :) Yeah I know I'm a #2 alright, but I really love languages and this is a perfect opportunity to get fluent in one! Plus Chinese is pretty useful. So I'm not feeling guilty. What's really cool is that I actually can speak Chinese to customers and they're pretty friendly about it! One of them taught me how to say : Would you like a slice of bread? (Ni3 yao4 yi1 pian1 mian1 bao3 ma?) (The numbers indicate what tone you say each word in.)

PS- Aaron got a betta fish for his birthday and I'm super excited. I normally don't like fish :embarassed:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

English Country Dance

So I just had the craziest, adventurous evening of my life (so far)!!! A friend from work invited me to go to her dance club tonight---and the dance of choice=English Country Dance...aka. what they do in Pride and Prejudice, etc!!!!! My first impression of the dance (from tv) was that it looked boring because you didn't have as much one-on-one contact with your partner as I was used to. Going into the club house and watching the end of a dance changed my mind completely. It was so fascinating and looked really fun. I was amazed that everyone knew where to move because it's an intricate group dance, and I was psyched that I was doing something Jane Austen used to do.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...the adventure happened on the way to the club house. I, not having a car, chose to bike and take the bus... at least that was the plan until construction on Maiden Lane foiled it!!! So the bus stop I was meant to take was not operating and, being lost, I biked the rest of the way. Correction: I got lost two times. So I'm on my merry way, thinking that I'll be late but at least I'll be there and it wasn't exactly my fault Google can't tell you where construction is. I realize I left my waterbottle at home and I am DEAD thirsty. So I bike until I see a gas station, lock my bike's wheels up and go in to buy a bottle of water. When I come out, my bike is GONE. One of the mechanics says: "Sorry 'bout that- it was his idea" before I can do a double take. Turns out they just wanted to play a prank on me and teased me for locking up my bike (with two locks) when their gas station is apparently safer than anything (according to them). They were friendly guys, though, so I didn't get mad. It was nice to be able to voice my frustration at having to bike all the way when I wasn't sure how far it would be.

So I got my water, I'm biking across the street and I go over bumps all the time.. you can't avoid them (just the small ones). And as I bump off the part where the sidewalk meets the road ... my right pedal falls off! So I'm gliding along from the momentum and my brake doesn't work because I lost that pedal (it's a primitive bike). So I use my feet to stop it, go get the pedal FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and try to screw it back on. It wouldn't let me get it back even half way... so it's barely hanging on by a few rings and I get back on... pedal again. I'm fine for a while, but four more times this happens and finally I said ....well... and walked the bike the rest of the way. I was getting close to being there by the time I gave up on the pedal so it wasn't too bad. Oh... and I had to change my shoes on the way because the ones I were wearing weren't meant for long distance walking.

Besides that, I got sprayed two or three times by sprinklers spraying into the sidewalk area and my skirt got caught in the bike's wheel and got all muddy.


But it was a blast when I got there. Everyone was friendly, and guys were clamoring to be my partner (and that doesn't exactly happen at Open Dance). There was a live group playing music: a violinist, a clarinetist, and a pianist, and one person was designated the "caller" for each dance. He/she would walk us through the dance by giving instructions as we moved, and the set of moves is repeated down the line of people.

I had a really good time. :) I really felt like I was in Pride and Prejudice. I started imagining everyone in Regency dress (tell me if I get the era wrong), and the actual dancing was fun. It was a relief not to worry about my technique or my frame.

Rachel, Amanda, I wish I knew about this club when we were living together. I think you two would've loved it. Maybe not as much as if you were in the 1700s and you were dancing with people your own age (it attracted a more elderly group), but I think you would have liked to try it once just because.

But the night ended well. The pedal's still off my bike but I got a ride home and now I'm writing this entry up for y'all. And I assume someone else had a good night because as I was walking up to my room, a non-female came out of the bathroom in a towel and went into one of my housemate's room. O.O

Here's a video example on youtube of English Country Dancing:

It might not look like much but you have to be there to really experience it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you just realize what I just realized...

Hey y'all! I thought I should update, since it's been a while. I'm still working at the bakery. Two weeks ago was the anniversary of when this specific store opened so we had a week-long celebration sale, which translated into more hours for me :)....and, subsequently, a cold the following week. I was really scared because the symptoms felt just like mono- AND I DO NOT WANT IT AGAIN!!! I don't think you can get it again either... but all the same I was worried. Luckily, I've pulled through, although I'm still suffering from some post-nasal drip.

Something interesting that's happened is that Steve and Susan, the ballroom coaches apparently know my name!!! Surprising, since I haven't had the best of luck with partners and haven't actually made it past the newcomer division. :'( But they singled me out a few times in class to answer questions or tell me what I'm doing wrong. It's exciting! That must mean I'm not a horrible dancer, if they noticed me (I hope). But right now we're learning technique as opposed to steps, and it is hard! But worth it!

So A. came back from Taiwan, and brought back a farmer's hat (the one in my picture)... just like I wanted!! It is sooo cute, but I look like a dork in it because this is not Taiwan and I'm not a farmer! Very good for keeping my face out of the sun, however.

I tried taking a mandolin lesson the other week, but I decided it's too expensive!!$25 for a half-hour! I'd rather look at videos online or read a book. I found a really great website, where this guy posted videos of how to play some popular songs on guitar. I have a hard time strumming so it's good this guy breaks it down. I'll send you the link if you want! I really like the new song by Colbie Caillat "Realize." Kinda makes me want to cry though.

And I found someone to practice Chinese with/practice teaching English. She's from Taiwan and took English in school but this is her first time in the US and she's not very confident speaking English. So we meet up once in a while and talk. She's actually very good- not fluid, but I can understand her perfectly. If she doesn't know the word she's looking for, she describes it so I can guess. So I think she's amazing- especially if you compare my second-hand Chinese with her second-hand English. I think her main weaknesses are vocab and writing/reading, but again she's pretty darn good for only studying it in school. Sidenote: she says my tones are very clear!!! :)

So I've been watching So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and I loved the premier show! Kupono is my favorite so far (last year I liked the Hawaiian guy!). I also like Brandon, Asuka... and the guy who does really awesome locking/popping/whatever it's called. The only thing I don't like is the word "buck" or "stank." I just dont' get it. :P I want to learn some hip-hop sometime though. AND if you search for any clips, look up the bollywood number! I just about died at the ending kiss.

In other news, A. and I are planning a trip to California in August!! To see my darling Kathryn and explore the San Franciso/LA area. I've also never been to the ocean so we have to put that on our list. Part of me wants to go to Disney World because I've never been to either Disney park...but I gotta keep in mind that we're only going to be there for a week.

My lord, there is so much I want to do but so little time to do it! I always paint over the summer but I haven't gotten around to it juuust yet and I've been meaning to go work out for weeks...

So I haven't heard back from EMU yet. I'm starting to get .... frustrated. I'd kinda like to know if I got rejected so I can freak out about what I'm going to do with my life: teach English in Taiwan, go join a convent in France, etc. :P If you have a moment, please say a prayer for me, because I don't want to have to reapply to grad school. :(

Okay, I'm signing out, and going home this weekend for Father's day!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movie Reviews (and a small life update)

Life Update:
  • I got a job!! :) I'm working at the Great Harvest in Ann Arbor, doing the morning shift where I knead the bread and get it ready to go in the oven. Lately I've been scheduled to stay till the early afternoon so I can do some customer service. It's really fun and I'm so glad to be making some money.
  • I just moved into a sublet right across from St. Thomas church! :) I had no idea before I said yes that I'd be across from a Catholic church. Maybe I'll get to go everyday now!!
  • I'm trying to get Daisy in Mario Kart Wii. So far I've done 50cc and 100cc. I barely got bronze in the Mushroom and Flower cups 150cc and I'm working on the Star cup right now. If you have any tips please let me know!!!
  • I want a vespa so bad.
  • Albert left for ten days in Taiwan, and the girl who survived two summers without you-know-who feels disgustingly lonely.
But on a lighter note, here are some...
Spoiler Free Movie Reviews:
  • Singh is Kinng: This movie is extremely interesting, especially to someone who's been exposed to the Sikh community. It's a bollywood film so there's a singing and dancing interspersed throughout the film. Watch out! The music is really catchy, though. The story is about a Sikh named Happy Singh who's entertaining, the life of the party, but also annoys the heck out of the people in his village (in the Punjab region of India). He decides to go to Australia to bring back Lucky Singh, another Sikh who became the leader of a Sikh gang. Something happens and Happy becomes the sit-in "King" (leader of the gang) and tries to use the gang's powers for good, while reforming the members. Throw in a little romance, and you have Singh is Kinng. I thought it was great. It was funny, there was good music, the premise was not too cheesy, and the main character Happy was really adorable.
  • Star Trek: This movie was also great! Again, the main character was very fun to look at. It was interesting to see the story of how Capt. Kirk became Capt. Kirk, and likewise with Spock. All I can say is it's a must-see, and I love how Capt. Kirk breaks the rules to get things right. It's so exciting! AND I won't tell you how but the original Spock makes an appearance.
  • Terminator- Salvation: OH MY GOSH! Another must see! I love the Terminator series so I knew I'd like this one. Christian Bale's character gets pushed to the background by a human who you know from the beginning has terminator parts inside him. His character was fascinating--you keep wondering whether he's the good guy or the bad guy. Is he a sleeper robot? Needless to say, you find out at the end and it's a great ride the whole way. Tim Burton's wife also makes an appearance, as well as the guy who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek movie.
  • Night at the Museum- Battle of the Smithsonian: Although it was entertaining, it was not nearly as good quality as the first one. Amy Adam's character Amelia Earhart was... interesting. And the Jonas Brothers made a cameo as three cherubs. That's about all I have to say. Wait until it comes out on dvd before shelling $8.00 to see it.
  • Angels and Demons: MAJOR TWISTS AND TURNS! I was not suspecting the twist ending and that made me happy. Along with Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor's in it! And I don't think it's anti-Catholic- it's anti-people-who-take-advantage-of-religion-for-their-own-means.
  • X-Men Origins- Wolverine: I liked seeing Wolverine's beginning. There's a romance that affects him, a malicious brother Sabertooth, army craziness, and Gambit! I liked it a lot. The enemy they fight at the end is scary as heck!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Post-Graduation Update

Hey y'all!

This is the Rachel that just graduated from college. Woohoo! I can't believe I'm an alumni of U of M, and that I have two B.A.s. This is so unreal. I've been working toward my degree for so long that it doesn't seem like it should be over yet. I still feel like I'm 18 and I got three years to go-- but it's happened. I did it!

My family came for the ceremony and lunch at Weber's where apparently they went after my dad graduated from here. I love traditions- that's so like a two, wait... what am I again? Oh well. The parents threw a nice party afterwards. It's a shame my family couldn't stay but I'm so grateful they at least came to the ceremony. The coolest and scariest thing was that we each were asked to give a speech on the porch. If I had known that was going to happen I would have prepared something thoughtful to say but, knowing me, my mind went blank and then I started crying. Doik! In retrospect the main message I would have wanted to say was that I am so grateful for my parents' support, emotionally and financially. When I was applying to U of M my Dad took me to the Art School and set up an orientation appointment, encouraging me to pursue my passion, regardless of how much (or should I say "little") I would be able to make with a bachelor of fine arts. I also understand how much effort and sacrifice went into paying for my tuition and living expenses. My Mom wasn't able to finish college because she couldn't afford it, and my parents worked long hours to pay for me, while at the same time paying for my brothers' college and high school.

I'm also really glad I got the college experience. I got to be independent and see what it was like to live away from my parents. My eyes were opened to new religions (that I haven't even heard of), and I met people who had different viewpoints. I got to dance, which ranks pretty high on the list of why U of M is awesome! I got to room with my other half for two years (darling ;) )and live with a dynamic group of super-women. It was amazing how our personalities were all different and we balanced each other out. My only complaints were the over-priced rent, small bathroom, and paper-thin walls. But it was a good experience.

I also got to be good friends with a group of guys (of all people). Sophomore year was definitely my favorite. A room to myself made it so easy to study and our hall was so racially diverse I felt like I was living in the UN. That hall was also where I found my first relationship, which had its ups and downs, but overall I'm glad I got to experience what it was like fall in love with someone who felt the same way.

Having to say goodbye to people you've lived with and loved for two years is pretty hard. By that time you feel like a family, and family members can move away but you never really say goodbye. Hopefully it can stay that way with us roommates- we'll move away but still keep in touch.

But anyways, to wrap it up, since I've kept this draft on the shelf for too long- I'm in Ann Arbor for the summer. I heard back from MSU, and it's a no because I don't have undergraduate coursework in speech pathology. The ironic (and frustrating) thing is that none of those courses are offered at U of M. I'm still waiting for EMU- apparently they only have 25 spots to fill, so I'm getting pretty nervous. Good news, though, is that I have a temporary job at the University Center for the Development of Language and Literacy where I get to be a teacher's assistant for the first grade-kindergarten starter program. I'm really excited for that! I'm also employed part-time at the Great Harvest in Ann Arbor, and I might be getting some extra hours doing research for the Center. So I'm just keeping my fingers crossed, and trying to make as much money as I can so I can afford to live here until August.

Ok, Starbuck out! PS- check out facebook for photos of my trip to the Detroit Zoo.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ouais- "that's the only way I say it now"

Well I'm starting this up again, partially for nostalgia (remembering the good ole times in high school) and partially for reaching out to people I don't talk to as much as I should. Right now it's my last semester at U of M and things are going just fine as usual. The workload is a little bit too much- readings mostly. I also work as a volunteer at a speech clinic for one of my ling classes (15 hours a week) so finding time to do homework is not always easy. I can't wait to be done with school but at the same time I don't want it to end. I'm sure a lot of you feel the same way.

First semester was rough on a whole bunch of dimensions- one being my health. So far in Ann Arbor I never EVER get sick during school- I can usually ride it out until a break, but I caught three colds in a tonsilitis (That was fun. I couldn't eat solid food for weeks.)...and then mono. I think I'm mostly over everything now but I'm not completely sure.

I've been incredibly sad that I haven't been well enough to dance this semester- it probably would've ruined my grades, but nonetheless I'm not happy about it.

So after this semester it's either EMU or MSU- assuming that I get accepted to both (fingers crossed). There are pros and cons for both and right now I'm leaning toward MSU but knowing I'm not going to be happy with either choice. The pros for MSU are that I'd get to save money by living at home, I'd have some access to a car, and there's a study abroad program in London I could apply for. The cons are that I can't afford to live anywhere else but home, and there are no good opportunities to continue dancing. The pros for EMU are that I'd be able to live near the AA area, I'd be living on my own, and I'd get to stay on the UofM dance team. The cons are that I'd get in more debt than I would if I went to MSU, and there aren't any study abroad programs that'd apply to speech therapy.

But who knows, maybe I'd only get accepted to one of those two schools which would make the choice much easier. I'm just trying not to think what I'll do if I get rejections from both.... I just keep telling myself that it can't happen because MSU accepted me for undergrad.

Well anyways, that's the jist of my life right now.