Posts Tagged ‘akpsi’

365great Day 289: reunions

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,

365great challenge day 289: reunionsOk, I’m going to break a cardinal rule of mine and post a picture of others (I usually choose ones where you can’t tell who they are or I don’t post them at all – sorry PBs! Hope you don’t mind). I just got back from a mini reunion with my pledge bros for AKPsi and I wanted to share that. While it was only about a third of our class getting together, it was nice to at least see some familiar faces again after all this time. It’s been years since I’ve caught up with many of them and I feel so out of touch with their lives! Here we are 7 years later and so much has changed, yet they pretty much all look the same to me. That’s good, right? It’s nice to be able to reconnect with them briefly and revisit old memories. Oddly enough, we ended up eating at a place with great meaning for us completely unintentionally. What an appropriate setting for us to get together again. It’s great to see how they’re doing in their lives now and I hope to have more reunions for all those friends I’ve lost touch with.

365great Day 248: random acts of kindness

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 248: random acts of kindnessMy fourth year of college, for Valentine’s Day, I was super surprised when I got a delivery. My fraternity was doing one of those fundraisers where you can send a flower and bear in a cute little package to anyone on campus. When one of them came to me, I was sooo confused. Who in the world would have gotten me something for Valentine’s? I didn’t have a boyfriend or even anyone I was seeing. Baffled, I took to the web and eventually got a message from a random friend who just thought it’d be nice to send me something, so he bought one for me to support the fundraiser. How sweet is that? Then when I was in the UK, I joined LoveSoc, a club that some students put together where they’d prompt you to do random acts of kindness, like giving hugs or leaving change. It’s those little surprises that can be so wonderful, especially when they’re completely out of the blue. I really should do more of those. As a kid I was very generous – probably even too generous – and I miss those days of bringing a smile to people’s faces. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
photo credit:

photo credit:

At moments, my mind is clouded by a foggy haze.  Thoughts no longer come in lucidly and I can just imagine the transmissions in my brain slowing down.  It’s hard to focus when an invisible weight sets foot on your cranium and won’t dissolve, no matter how you try.  In fact, it’s almost like corn starch in water or a Chinese finger trap, where the harder you try, the more resistant it gets.  So I’ve given up fighting against the current and decided that it’s time to let my weary mind rest for the night.  I have no clue what has brought on this mental murkiness, but along with it I feel a sense of increased agitation and restlessness.

Snippets of thoughts run through my head – things to remember, things to do, things to… wait, what was I thinking again? A train of thought is lost just as easily as another takes its place and my mind jumps around lethargically in a way completely unlike the normal stream of thoughts that has me working at a quick pace.  I remember websites I meant to visit and read, but I’ve no patience to go through the words.  My left eye feels more strained than my right and that irks me.  I remember moments that I was harsh or irresponsible towards Panda and I get a pang of guilt.

Too many choices lay in my path and I can’t seem to rationalize my decisions.  Everything is a good path, so how do I choose just one?  I want to go to all these events, but I don’t have the time and shouldn’t use the resources to.  I’ve been craving ice cream all night long and never got around to getting some.  I’ve wasted way too much  time agonizing over when I’ll gain access to Google Wave, then researching Google Voice and MetroPCS instead.  Why?  Because I’m curious and wanted to learn about them.  But I feel at a standstill, unable to get what I want though I know what it is that I’d love so much.  A lot of that has to do with my job search.

I wouldn’t say I’ve found a dream job, but I’ve found one that fits my main specifications and sounds wonderful:

1. with UCLA

2. environment-related

3. decent pay with benefits

4. small work environment

But I haven’t heard back and it’s frustrating because I hate the whole job hunting process and I’d like to just get a job and settle a bit.  Much as I enjoy what I’m doing now, there’s huge pressure from my parents to find a job.  I don’t think they want anything else from me now, even if I win an award or get to do something prestigious.

I'd like some tranquility and a sense of accomplishment right about now.  photo credit:

I'd like some tranquility and a sense of accomplishment right about now. photo credit:

My body feels out of sync and I’m getting more conscious of my unevenness.  I haven’t had a proper workout for ages because I’ve been telling myself that I’ll start up a routine once I get a job.  See, even I’m placing these restrictions on myself.  I just want to land that job, get an apartment, get that new car, and begin a routine.  Strange.  I’m not one for routines and doing the same thing over and over again.  But at the same time, I’d like a little more pattern in my life.  Living week to week is not sustainable.  So many things hinge on settling (and having money): starting to attend yoga classes, joining a massage clinic, picking up more hobbies, getting more creative with cooking, hitting up more restaurants, going to football/basketball games, getting alumni membership in Alpha Kappa Psi, reading books again…  I’m putting off everything requiring money or a steady time commitment.  After all, I don’t want to start something just to have to change when I do start working full-time.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

commencementWell, it’s that time again and everyone at UCLA is done with finals and have been spending the past few days graduating.  Today marks the final day of all the ceremonies, from commencements to departmental graduations to the ethnic-based ones.  I’ve been getting e-mails on the AKPsi listserv of people talking about taking pictures together, attending their respective ceremonies, and otherwise celebrating the Class of 2009’s achievement.  It’s really a festive time of year, as everyone has summer on their sights and just this one last hurdle before induction into the world of alumnihood.  For just a moment, any worries about the future can be set aside as we focus on the here and now and rejoice in the completion of a degree.

Still striking.

Still striking.

All this hubbub reminds me of my own graduation last year, with the drama of the strikers, the excitement of the surrealness, and the hectic whirlwind surrounding finals and graduating.  The summer of 2008’s kickoff will always be a bittersweet one for me, since some of my relatives were able to fly in from China to attend, but the strike drove away Bill Clinton and Ariana Huffington as commencement speakers.  I still feel it would have been better for Clinton to come and talk to us about the strike, rather than avoid the issue completely and leave us all so bitter over that outcome.  Overall, it was still a good time, to enter Pauley Pavilion and see so many of my peers filling the floor as their loved ones crowded the arena.  The Deans of each segment of the College of Letters and Science introduced us with flair and I got to be represented in both the Life Sciences as well as the Social Sciences.

Phil Wang at the APIG.

Phil Wang at the APIG.

The following day I had both my Psychology and Economics departmental graduations, which my relatives split up to attend, with half coming for the morning Psych one and the others coming for the afternoon Econ one.  It was a crazy day that started way too early and had me going far into the night as I ran around to get to places on time and find my family amongst the crowd.  I still had some packing to do, which I needed to complete by the next day so I could go to the Asian/Pacific-Islander Graduation (APIG) in the afternoon and head back immediately thereafter to celebrate Father’s Day.

The APIG ceremony was truly special, since it was much smaller and was held outside in Dickson Court.  I gathered together with a bunch of my fraternity brothers and we sat quite close to the front.  Far East Movement and Wong Fu were there, with Far East performing customized lyrics and Phil Wang speaking to us about how the Asian-American community needs to unite.  We had a local Asian-American leader as a guest speaker, but of course I’ve forgotten his name.  All of the graduates even got t-shirts commemorating the event, with our names on the back!  It was great that one of my fraternity brothers was actually organizing the event – I was so proud!  Now he’s graduating as well.  Amazing how a year can pass just like that.

Reaching out

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,

I’ve never been one to ask for help.  Even though the people around me have been more than willing to do so, I grew up so used to doing things on my own that it doesn’t even occur to me to ask much of the time.  I have learned to be an extremely resourceful person and therefore, I love to share all the things I discover.  Yet rarely do I turn to my family and friends to ask them for their opinion or input on something.  Instead, I take the “I can do it” attitude a bit too far and miss out on the opportunity to bond with them and make them feel useful to me.

This is something I’m working on changing so I can allow myself to rely on others every now and then.  But it’s a hard thing to do, placing trust in someone else when you’d much rather just do it yourself.  It’s hard to resist the urge to hop online and find the answers I need on my own.  I realize I’ve missed out on a lot because of this, from time spent getting help on my homework so I wouldn’t waste so much time not getting it to relationships that didn’t deepen because I didn’t open up very much.  It’s a slow process to break this instinct to plow through piles of information to get my desired answer, rather than to interrupt a conversation or approach someone to ask them for their wealth of knowledge.

One great thing about my fraternity’s mailing list is that we can share with each other all sorts of information and ask for help if needed.  That is one of the few places I’ve ever reached out to ask for others’ opinions, thoughts, or knowledge.  Even then, I much prefer to help out whenever I can and share my experiences and expertise.  I think it’s wonderful to have a network like that that I can tap into whenever I want, it’s like having friends who never leave you, even if you hardly keep in touch.  I’m more used to maintaining relationships that are far less maintenance than traditional ones, where the closest people to me only talk to me periodically, typically monthly or less.

So, now with a boyfriend who I can’t go a day without talking to in one way or another, I’m starting to learn more about maintaining relationships.  Though it’s difficult to remain close to people when everyone is moving about all around the world, there are still plenty of ways to stay in touch and remain updated on each others’ lives.  I’m also trying to keep track of who is doing what, who is good at what, who likes what, etc. so I can tap into that in future, whether by asking for help or offering an opportunity.  I don’t know how quickly I can change an age-old habit of self-sufficiency, but to feel more in touch with people, I’ll try to make the effort.  Perhaps getting around to replying to all my facebook wall posts will be the start!

Kollaboration 9: the aftermath

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

What a day!  I left for Kollab around 4:30 in the afternoon yesterday and just got back 11 hours later.  It was intense.  From the obscene amount of traffic to get there to getting in early enough for awesome seats (and pit access!), it was quite the adventure.  I even ran into three accidents on the drive down from home (somehow always ending up in the lane where the debris was from the collisions).  Not the best start to the day, but it ended on a very high note.

First, let me explain:  Kollaboration is a sort of concert and talent show all rolled into one, with an after party to boot!  This is their ninth year putting it on in various cities around the country with the mission: Empowerment Through Entertainment.  It’s about bringing the Asian community together and promoting the presence of Asian/Pacific Islanders in the media.  Of course, it’s not exclusive to only APIs, but it is about awareness and support for the issues surrounding them.  Anyone who believes that APIs deserve to play a larger part in the entertainment field (and really all fields) is more than welcome to come celebrate what has been acheived.

Kollaboration 9 was at the Shrine Auditorium and the after party was held adjacent to it at the Shrine Expo Center.  The night was comprised of seven competitors, six guest performances, five celebrity judges, two freestyle competitions, tons of free giveaways, and a slew of sponsors.  All in the course of three hours.  There were even NINE letters from government officials printed in the program, talking about their support for the show.  (Yes, even Arnie.)

So who all was there?  Well… Kenichi Ebina, Jazmin, Paul Dateh, Kina Grannis, Lilybeth Evardome, Jane Lui, and David Choi competed; BoA, Jo Koy, Kaba Modern, Fanny Pak, Norman Ng, and Team Millennia performed; Printz Board, James Kyson Lee, James Ryu, Welly Yang, and Teddy Zee judged; random volunteers from the audience freestyled; and of course, my lovely AKP brothers and I attended, along with the rest of the sold-out crowd (including Philip Wang, Wesley Chan, MySpace Tom…).

Aren’t you jealous?

Well, maybe you aren’t.  Maybe you don’t really know who these people are.  In fact, the only ones I had known were the Wong Fu guys and Kaba Modern.  David Choi, Kina Grannis, Jane Lui, Jazmin, BoA were very new discoveries that I had just learned about.  Everyone else was new to me.  See, that’s the unfortunate situation we are facing (and hopefully eliminating).  How many API performers do you know of?  How many of them are mainstream?  Very, very few.

Jane Lui on the piano, earning her second place.

Kina Grannis at the after party.

Yet, interestingly enough, a lot of popular YouTubers are of some sort of Asian descent.  What happened there?  It seems that having a platform that empowers the individual to make it on their own enables these Asians who are not making it on the big scene to create a following of their own.  Kollaboration is a means of getting those types of artists to the forefront through exposure beyond social media.  Social media is more grassroots whereas Kollaboration is more mainstream.  It can help slowly bridge the gap between online phenomenon and nation-wide star.

As for the rest of the night, there were a lot of entertaining moments throughout, and the performers were great.  David Choi and BoA are really good live and it was wonderful to watch them perform from the pit.  Though it was about six feet deep, I’m really glad I moved there during the intermission so I could see the facial expressions better.  I also had a clear view of the fancy fingerwork that Kaba incorporates into their routine.  My arms did get rather sore and there were times when I started to shake a bit, but it was all worth it in the end.  We were also treated to a sneak preview of another song on BoA’s first American album, set to come out next month.

Aww, David Choi was really enjoying himself.

BoA wants to Eat You Up.

When that part of the evening ended, my fraternity brothers and I took a break to get something to eat before heading over to the after party.  I was fortunate enough to come across Philip Wang, Wesley Chan, David Choi, Kina Grannis, and the guy who won the freestyle vocal competition (gosh, what was his name?).  And I took pictures with them.  Of course.  😉  It was sooo exhilarating!  I never run into people that I know from some sort of media outlet.  It’s cool to see them in person.

I was catching up with an alum of the fraternity when I came across these people and he took the pictures for me, bemused at my giddiness.  I don’t know why I was SO excited (mostly for Phil and David), but it felt awesome.  I have so much respect for them and it’s really great to get to meet them in person, even if we just take a picture and I am forgotten.  Phil did ask for my name though when I told him how much I enjoyed his speech at my graduation this summer.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he forgot it as soon as he repeated it, but it was a very sweet gesture.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!  I heart Wong Fu (too bad Ted’s in NYC).  They’re so sweet.  🙂
Smiles all around.

Maybe this is why I like low-key “stars” – they don’t have some sort of upkeep to make them happy and they really appreciate their fans so much more.  I’m not into the big Hollywood stars and I probably would want pictures, but wouldn’t care to really interact with them beyond that.  Part of that is because they probably wouldn’t give me the light of day anyway, but part of that is because they’ve got so many fans they’re probably used to that whole lifestyle already.  I’d much rather appreciate those who are more real, living like I am, working in less than ideal situations, but nevertheless pursuing their passions.  Not that there aren’t A-list stars who do that, but they just don’t interest me.

Changing times

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Every quarter, my fraternity (Alpha Kappa Psi), goes on a retreat.  In the fall, I have no idea where we go since I believe I’ve actually missed those whenever they came up.  In the winter, it’s up to Big Bear for a lovely tromp in the snow.  Then in spring, it’s off to some beautiful beach house or someplace out in Palm Springs.

This winter’s retreat is my first as an alumna – no obligation to stay for whatever period of time or participate in whatever activities.  Just me, my fraternity brothers, and making it whatever I want.  And though there are treasured moments of bonding and fun, I find myself spending much time contemplating by myself and desperately trying to stay connected to the internet long enough to hold a decent conversation with my boyfriend.  Ay.  I didn’t even step out into the snow!  Not that I was prepared at all, what with no thick clothes to speak of.

Maybe this whole adjusting to life outside of college thing isn’t as hard as I anticipated.  It certainly would be nice to get that job though…  I’ve been so used to earning income these past couple of years that I don’t even know what to do without it.  My bank account is dwindling far too quickly for my comfort.

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