mister bates.

Meet the newest member of the c dynasty: Mister Coco Bates.

He was originally named Coco but I want to nickname him Mr. Bates after the lead character in one of my favorite television series, Downton Abbey. Like the character, my little doggie has a bum leg. I want to keep him. Let’s hope our allergies don’t kick in.

Excuse the photo. He’s very particular and coy. :)

papa c: the tohng dahk.

Today, I’m going to launch the papa c and mama c series on my blog. Papa c is my crazy dad, and mama c is my crazy mom. My parental units are first generation immigrants. They are annoying but wonderfully cute and endearing. They are hard working but quirky. I love them with all my heart.

This is going to be a weekly, ongoing series on my blog about the random and lovable and personal anecdotes from the lives of my parental units. This is not to make fun of them but to actually record my fond memories of them. Hope you grow to love them, too.

In honor of Memorial Day, I’m going to tell you a story of my dad when he was in the marine corps in South Korea. In Korea, to this day, young men are required to enlist in the army for about two years in their twenties. Almost forty years ago, papa c had to do the same. Instead of taking the normal route of enlisting as a regular foot soldier in the army, my dad prides himself in going to the hardest unit of the military — he went to the marine corps. But he wasn’t a regular foot soldier in the marine corps either. My dad wanted to enter as a lieutenant, which required an additional 10 months of rigorous training and boot camp. But once he was an officer of higher rank, he could do whatever he wanted.

Back then, South Korea was not an affluent country. In fact, my dad grew up quite poor. Soldiers in every regiment didn’t have much to eat. So one night during his service, my dad used his power as a lieutenant to get what he craved: he wanted a roast chicken, or a tohng dahk, to eat in the middle of the night. His subordinates–his hoobaes–were thus required to find a chicken in the middle of nowhere at the darkest hour of the night. They ended up sneaking into the mountains and found a small farm. They stole a chicken, roasted it in the ground, and served it to their lieutenant–their sunbae–with fear and exhaustion running through their bones.

My dad accepted the tohng dahk, didn’t share it at all*, and immediately went back to sleep with a full stomach and happiness written across his face. He tells this story with pride, little remorse, and with fond memories of his service in the marine corps and ordering his subordinates around. He talks about how delicious that tohng dahk was every time he tells this story :)

While you’re eating your hamburgers and hot dogs or maybe even some roast chicken today, let’s take a moment to remember the hard working men and women of our nation and around the world. Happy Memorial Day, lovelies!

*My dad corrected me. He did share with his subordinates who roasted the chicken! :)

an ode to bmp.

Today, I had the marvelous opportunity to visit my primary place of employment from 2010 to 2011. It was so very good to see old faces, catch up, and let them know that I’m ready and excited to move onto new ventures. Now that I’m about six months removed from my last job there, I knew that my visit would be one of closure…but never did I expect so much love, support, and well wishes for my future in my next career. My old workplace was my foot into the industry, and I will always be grateful.

BMPers, you have a place in my heart. Thank you–ALL OF YOU–for the impact you’ve made in my life. I was blessed to call all of you coworkers, but I’m beyond blessed to call you friends. Keep in touch, dear ones. I’ll be in contact soon :)

minorities on sytycd.

In anticipation of one of my favorite summer tv shows ever, I’m posting some of my personal favorite auditions from last year’s So You Think You Can Dance. Season 9 premieres tomorrow night, and I am SUPER EXCITED. I love SYTYCD. Something I really appreciate about SYTYCD is that minorities, especially Asian Americans, absolutely thrive on that show. Quest Crew, one of THE BIGGEST all-Asian hip hop dance groups has danced on the show, and several of their members have gone pretty far in the semi-finals. I LOVE Quest. I have a teeny crush on Victor Kim, just saying.

When I worked at the SYTYCD offices a few years ago (worked on another show, not on SYTYCD itself), I saw Nigel Lythgoe, Executive Producer, in person. He’s so baller that his license plate says SYTYCD, can you believe it? I just wanted to hug him, though, because I love that he roots for any amazing dancer, no matter what color their skin is or what their background is. It’s humbling and inspiring.

Enjoy the following videos. My personal favorite is Patty Anne Miller.

Quest Crew on SYTYCD Finale

Hero McRae, SYTYCD Season 8

Patty Anne Miller, SYTYCD Season 8

Melanie Moore, SYTYCD Season 8 Winner

Update: Oh, boo, I’ll have to figure out how to embed the videos themselves into WordPress. Blogger is so much simpler?!

and so it begins.

Dear friends and potential friends :)

On May 6, 2012, I spoke in front of approximately 1500 people. 2/3 of them were strangers. 1/3 were acquaintances. A handful were friends, those I consider family.

Since then, a whole can of worms has opened up: people started to divulge their secrets, their hurts, their pains, their real life struggles to me. I didn’t know how to receive it all, and I was on emotional overdrive for days; I think I’m still on overdrive actually. I was so sad for a lot of my friends who shared their deep, deep struggles with me. I was so sad for the strangers that courageously decided to tell me things they’ve probably only shared with a select few in their life…or maybe not. Maybe they’ve kept it to themselves. It was like I was a real life PostSecret. My heart was slowly–nay, quickly–breaking.

I am and always will be a lover of stories: sad ones, happy ones, just not boring ones :) And though I am open to hearing your personal stories, please do understand that I am not a trained, licensed therapist or clinical psychologist. In fact, I only took Psych 1 at a community college this past semester (which was fascinating, btw). So I’m not here to give you advice if you are seeking professional help. This blog is going to be my outlet, my medium, my place to try to hash out a lot of the what if’s and why’s of this crazy thing called life. It’s beautiful and painful, but it is just that: it is life.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, I firmly believe in honest communities of broken people, but I also strongly believe that there is glory in the ashes and joy amidst the darkness. This is my blog. I want to discuss topics that affect me personally, but I also want to show pretty pictures of things I love and food I eat. You’ll soon discover that I’m a foodie — no longer can I consider myself a FIT (Foodie In Training). I love travel. I love design. I want to talk about hipsterdom and WHY I’M NOT A HIPSTER haha. I love talking about Asian American identity. I love discussing this amazing thing called grace and the journey of being Christian. I absolutely love breaking down walls and stereotypes.

You won’t agree with me on everything. That’s okay. I probably won’t agree with you either. Or maybe I will? We’ll see!

But I do want to stress something here and probably in future posts: it’s okay to not be okay. It’s taken me a long time to plant that truth in my heart.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me. Hope you’ll join me on the ride :)

P.S. Not all my posts will be this long, I bromise. And the layout will be prettier soon, too!