Posts Tagged ‘elle’

When time stands still

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Just like old times, taking self-portraits in the car.

Just like old times, taking self-portraits in the car.

I got a chance to hang out with Katana yesterday and it never ceases to amaze me how each time we see each other, I don’t feel like she’s been gone for that long.  The last time I saw her was sometime during Christmas break a good nine months ago, but it’s easy for us to fall right back into an old pattern, an old routine.  I guess this is kind of how I live my life, since the same thing happens when my parents and I are reunited, and last month when I finally came back to LA and saw Panda again.  In each case, the time we spent apart doesn’t seem so long because of the ease in which we slip back into familiar territory.  Sure, a lot has changed, but fundamentally, we’re still the same.

It’s weird to think about Katana and Elle, who were the two best friends I had from my high school years at Valencia.  Ever since Katana and I graduated, with her going off to VMI, then NMMI, and I going off to UCLA, the three of us have only gotten to hang out sporadically, whenever it happened to work out.  Usually that meant about once or twice a year, particularly the over the holidays and/or during another one of our seasonal breaks.  And though interactions were few and far between, we were still the Asian girls who stood out and didn’t quite fit into the mould of what people expected girls, especially Asian girls, to be.  I guess that’s what ties us together in the end – this common way of life that leads us from “normal” girl activities to things like JROTC, where we met, or to be particularly outspoken about some feminist beliefs.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve known these two ladies for nearly 7 years now!  I haven’t ever known and stayed in contact with someone for that long.  Being that I moved every 3-4 years, that’s not too surprising.  For the first time in my life though, I’m going back to old friends again and again.  They are no longer memories to be stored away in a compartment labeled based on what city I knew them from.  Now they are a consistent prescense in my life, however fleeting that may be.  So I guess this is shocking to me because I don’t know what it’s like to have lifelong friends.  Do they all fare so well seeing each other so infrequently?  No matter where we are, whether it’s spread across three states in the US (like we are now), or spread across countries (as we’ve often been), I don’t need to see or even talk to these girls to know they will be there.  It’s kind of like family.

A picture is also like a moment frozen in time...  photo credit: _Mike_Howard_ on flickr

A picture is also like a moment frozen in time... photo credit: _Mike_Howard_ on flickr

Speaking of family, mine is also a very scattered one, with me seeing my relatives something like seven times over my lifetime and seeing my parents twice a year on average.  And though we’ve all grown a lot these two decades, I still think of my parents as 35-year-olds and honestly, only when I look closely do I realize they’re not anymore.  But in my head, there’s a semi-frozen image of my family members – my cousins are still budding young adults, my parents quite young, and my grandparents still sprightly.  Sure, we’ve added a few new members since then, but they kind of just get tacked on without the others gaining much in age.  I don’t know how it works in my mind, but that’s how I recall my closest kin.  Every time I see them again, even after four years away and so much that happened in between, I remember a lot of my childhood and the main processes remain unchanged.  I still get spoiled and stay with the same people and generally do and eat the same things.

Even for my parents, the few weeks I see them out of the year doesn’t seem so odd because those memories last me a long time.  I’ve got so much other stuff going on while I’m on my own that just touching base with them semi-annually is plenty to work from.  It does get lonely in the house sometimes when I’m the only one, but I’m used to solitude.  That was much like how our household functions anyway.  Besides, at my age, it’s time to be moving out and doing things on my own.  Much as I adore my house, Valencia is not really the place to jump start a career.  I’d rather be in Westwood or Santa Monica, or somewhere more central to the hubbub of LA.

Finally, the day that I came back after months away in Singapore, I was nervous to see Panda again.  It was our first time being apart since things really got started and it was certainly not a short period of time to cope with.  Even now I wonder how we managed, because not seeing him for a day can make me antsy.  I was glad that we fell pretty quickly back into a comfortable rhythm, working out our schedules around challenges, as we’ve always done.  I had been afraid that it would take some time to warm up again and that we may almost be like strangers for a bit, but that didn’t last very long.  Once again, time altered its flow for me (well, at least to my perception it did) and it was like a fraction of the time had actually passed.  I guess that’s what happens with people you care about.  Katana said it best: we have changed enough to have things to talk about, but haven’t changed so much that we don’t connect anymore.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,

I just talked to Elle and she got the Teach for America offer!  Now it’s time to spend the next week deciding if she wants to go for it.  Though she worked really hard for it and is leaning towards that path, you never with these things.  It is a big decision for her life, after all, since it will take over the next two years of her life and take her out to Louisiana.

At this point in our lives, a lot of what we’re going through is all about growing apart.  If she chooses to go through with this, my best friends and I will be spread out between states in the Midwest, South, and West Coast.  Even if she doesn’t go for this, she is interested in moving to D.C., so we’d still be in three very different regions of the country.  This is also assuming that I will make it back to the states by then!

Today I went to a workshop on facilitation and how the International Association of Facilitators emphasizes process-driven versus content-driven facilitation.  Basically what that means that going in as a facilitator, you are not a consultant who provides advice.  Instead you stay neutral and just ask the right questions to get people in the group to talk about the right things for the purposes of that discussion.

The issue of divergence was brought up as a concept for how these sessions work; first you brainstorm and get the contributions from individuals, which is the diverging component.  After you all those little pieces, you parse through and converge again at a point where the group reaches a consensus on the answer or solution they were looking for.  I found this an interesting way of wording it that I had not encountered before.

Oh the parallels in life.

Thoughtful friends make my heart sing

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

You know when you think it’s just another meet-up with your friend and then BAM you arrive and it’s a surprise party for you?  Well if you haven’t experienced this, it’s just about the coolest thing ever.  If you have, then you know the utter shock and amazement that washes over you when it dawns on you what is happening.  And yes, I am writing about this because it happened to me today (well, I guess technically yesterday now).

February 24th was cut out to be a special day.  I thought it was because it was my boyfriend’s birthday.  I thought it was because it’s Mardi Gras.  But more than that, it turned out to be a special day for me!  After spending as much time as I could with Panda this afternoon, I had a few hours to kill before I was scheduled to meet up with my friend “Shadow” for dinner.  I decided to head over to the student store after parking my car, which turned out to be a fortunate decision – I ended up running into an old friend and an alum from my co-ed business fraternity, AKPsi.  It was great to catch up and I was happy that I didn’t end up bored out of my mind for three hours.

Eventually I headed back to the residential halls to get ready to meet up with Shadow, but since I was early, I decided to drop by and say hi to some old friends.  They weren’t in, but luckily, I happened to see them in the window of one of the eateries on campus.  As if that wasn’t enough excitement for a day, I also ran into another friend there!  We all made some plans to meet up later this week before I fly out on Sunday.  Eventually, it came time to head down to the restaurant that Shadow and I were going to eat at.

As she and I walked to the car, I babbled about how I didn’t want to walk down so I’d drive the car and try to get a metered spot in front.  Then we could get our food and park somewhere else to eat in the car.  She calmly agreed to this silly plan and we drove down, coming across a 30-minute spot that had 30 more minutes until they stopped checking meters.  Perfect.  I even babbled out loud about how I could keep the spot now, even though we shouldn’t need it since our food shouldn’t take that long.  Well, I didn’t realize just how fortunate that was!  It freed me up to stay happily put at the restaurant once we did arrive and she hurriedly pushed open the door to reveal three other friends, waiting there for us!

I was completely oblivious this whole time, haha, which worked out just as it needed to.  It was so amazing to see those lovely faces that I haven’t gotten to see in months!  Gosh, I am still thrilled about it now, hours later and even as exhaustion kicks in.  Additionally, Shadow got me this amazing gift baggie with UCLA gear to remind me of my alma mater, some candy for my sweet tooth, and even some gum, since it’s banned in Singapore.  I’m not sure I’m allowed to bring it in, but it’s cute.

A few years back, Katana also did something similar for me, arranging a surprise birthday party.  Sometimes I can’t believe I actually thought I was going to her house for lunch with her parents!  Haha, I can be so gullible when it comes to social gatherings.  Instead of a warm family gathering, I walked into their hosue and found a dining room overflowing with gifts and food, and most importantly, good company!  What a special day that was.

The point of all this is just to express how grateful I am to have friends like this.  Those who take the time and care to arrange these get-togethers and lure me to them.  I feel so blessed that they would go to that trouble and I really wish I was better at these things.  I am a hugely sentimental person and I appreciate thoughtful gifts so much more than anything of great value.  That is why these things speak so much to me – it takes careful thought to plan and execute them!  That sort of effort means so much more to me than anything that can be bought.

I want to explore what I am good at and find a creative way to turn that into something that I can do for my friends, in turn.  I remember when I used to be the picture-taker, Katana used to be the writer, and Elle used to be the CD-maker in our little trio.  We each had our own niche and that is how we shared with each other.  I want to do something special akin to the whole party-throwing thing, like make an artful collage or mini photo album or scrapbook.  Something that will be signature “me.”  At the same time, these little meaningful gatherings are a classic and I’d really like to do them.


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

It’s not very often I get to meet up with my best friends.  In fact, we get around to it about once a year.  Tonight we finally managed to get together for a dinner (and dragged Gimp, Katana’s ex’s best friend, out with us).  Ah good times as we fell back into the old routine: the three deadly Asians threatening the attention-loving ginger.  See, back in high school, Katana, Elle, and I were quite the force to reckoned with.  It’s quite dangerous to spend time with the three of us if you’re a sensitive soul.  So, of course, we abuse those who can take it.  And Gimpy’s a big boy who can take a bit of a beating.

Elle and I shared a meal called the Love Boat.  Lovely, isn’t it?  😉

It was a fabulous time as we stole from each other’s plates, argued about who was going to pay (we volunteered Gimp), and stuffed ourselves full of Japanese food from Kabuki.  The Love Boat that Elle and I shared had an assortment of choices ranging from California rolls to shrimp and vegetable tempura and it came in that HUGE wooden boat pictured above.  I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever ordered.  It was also nice to get out and enjoy the company of old friends since I’ve mostly been staying at home since I finished up at UCLA last month.  Now Katana’s back to Kansas, Elle’s returning to UCLA, and Gimp is off to his job in Texas.  Meanwhile, I’m at home looking for a job and trying to convince my parents that this business venture in Singapore is worth a shot…

Fresh outlook

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

Well, with a new year, I thought I’d start something new.  Recently I’ve been inspired by my best friend “Katana” to do more blogging.  Since she moved out to Kansas I haven’t gotten to see her much, so reading her blogs are a great way to stay in touch (and entertained!).  She’s made a career out of life in the blogosphere and while my hopes are not exactly along those lines, I’d also like to write more like she does.  Granted, I still have my personal handwritten journal to take care of (and that I’ve neglected for a long time), but there’s nothing quite like blogging to capture the small things in life.  I find it’s a great place to explore my thoughts in a more immediate way.

Though I kept another LiveJournal a few years back, I think it’s time to use a different domain for this new chapter in my life.  Maybe I can track my progress as a recent graduate, looking for a job and figuring out where to lead my life.  I know where I think my life is going to go is going to change a lot before it settles anywhere and I’m ready to explore what there is out there for me to do.  I can also follow the development of my relationship (the first!) and how my hopes and expectations evolve over time.

Ok, so… where am I in my life?  I just graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Economics.  I’m looking for jobs nearby (preferably in Westwood, otherwise in Los Angeles somewhere) in marketing or administrative work.  I want to work for two or three years before going to business school for my MBA.  After that I’d like to get into upper level management, get the experience to see what it takes to run a company before branching off and getting into entrepreneurial work.  The first thing I want to do at that point is start an environmental consulting firm focused on conservation and recycling.  I’ve also toyed with the idea of a vocational school for athletes and a craft/party store complete with classes.  But that will be on the back burner for many more years to come.

Well, at least that was my 10-20 year plan.  More recently I’ve been considering an opportunity to start up a branch of a Singaporean company (Caelan & Sage) here in California with my Singaporean “twin” – let’s call her Marylin.  However, there’s a lot of research, preparation, and information I need to look into before I go forth with this.  It would be lovely to get a head start on my dreams of entrepreneurial success though.  I have high hopes and dreams, though I’m trying to stay grounded and be practical about this.  However, I am fresh out of uni and ready to conquer the world!  Ultimately I just want to learn and grow, then take that to inspire and motivate people, as well as create happy work environments.

As for my personal life, it’s the first time in my life that I am happily seeing someone.  I’ll refer to him as Panda.  He is an amazing person and I’m really lucky to have met him.  I’m still grappling with this concept: someone likes me and is good to me?!  I’ve made some poor decisions in the past, leading to some unfortunate experiences, which makes me appreciate this all the more.  My other best friend, “Elle,” bluntly showed her shock when she heard I’d found someone who treated me well.  She’s happy for me, of course, but she’s seen me go through some less than savory characters and never really get into a relationship.  I’ve also been known to run from any guy who shows interest in me, so she’s glad that I still like this one!

The world has a lot to offer and I have my fair share to contribute.  Onward!

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