Friday, September 28, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Just over a year ago, I never would have imagined my life the way it has turned out. This past May, May 8th to be exact, marked what would have been my 3rd wedding anniversary. I was once married to someone I’ve been with since I was a child – well, I had just turned legal when we first met. Although it was not happily ever after, my marriage was not a mistake by any means. It was more like a practice or starter marriage. When you have dated someone for half your life, you become so comfortable in the relationship that you don’t dare question whether it really is right for you (or at least you don’t verbalize it even to yourself.) So you live through your 20’s unsure of who you are and what you want. And the next thing you know, you are walking down the aisle marrying who you thought or wanted desperately to be the love of your life. It took moving to the other side of the world (Tokyo last year) to give me the courage to face the truth and do something about it. The truth was: no matter how much we loved each other and what a great husband he might have been, we weren't right for each other. Staying true to my zodiac horse sign, I was born a free spirit where the world is my home. I needed to be set free from my 2500 sq. ft. cage in the zoo of suburbia. And along the way, I was also setting him free – allowing him to devote his love to someone else to settle down with who can provide the life and family he so desires, someone else who truly deserves his love, someone else who is not me.
The day I took off my wedding band, platinum entwined with diamond pave rose gold, and gingerly placed on his dresser, I felt as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This sense of newfound freedom – that I could now live the life I’ve always wanted to live but was too afraid to even dream of before – I would never trade for all the Dior shoes in Manhattan. And since then, I’ve quit my job in Tokyo, happily added to the statistics of the other 50% of marriages, fell in love with someone who may have seemed too different from me but turned out to be perfect for me, lived a month in India where drug experimenting was not optional but required, learned how to cross country ski and almost skied right into a half frozen stream at 4 in the morning, did a road trip from Tahoe to Utah to Colorado, and snagged a short-term contract in NYC.
I feel like I’ve crammed and lived a lifetime in the past year and it’s only just begun. Now I'm off to spend the rest of the summer in Colorado where my boyfriend lives. Our only agenda is to go fishing, rafting, hiking, biking, and camping. Yea camping... I’m sure my friends who’ve known me for years must be asking incredulously, “Are you for real?” YES I AM. We're renting llamas for a 6-day camping trip on the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Being with Justin, a real mountain boy, brings out a whole new side of me that may have always been there but suppressed for way too long. Being with someone who shows me there’s so much more to life than Gucci bags and a luxury brownstone in suburban MD allows me to finally live. After the summer ends, we plan to spend the rest of the year living in Southeast Asia where the most beautiful women were once men.
This is where I sign off and retire my blog. But I will be back with my next adventure. So long and GIT DA FOCK OUT DA HEEYA!
Pictures: 1-2: My Neighborhood. 3: Barbie dollhouse in Times Square Toys R Us. 4: My Karaoke Goodbye Party. 5: Justin and me in India.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
It started sprinkling when the opening act (Go) was performing but then it started pouring cats and dogs midway through their act. We were not allowed to use umbrellas while the band was performing so after sitting there in the rain for 15 minutes, we decided to walk back to the entrance area which is covered. Then it started thundering with strong winds blowing but they refused to cancel the show. After 45 minutes of standing and waiting for the rain to subside with no end in sight, we decided to call it quits and walked back to our car in the heavy rain. As we ran to the car, our feet were completely soaked in 5-inch water, swimming in puddles of water in my ballet flats. But what happens after we got to our car? The rain stopped. So after another 15 minutes, we decided to go back to the stadium. Guess what happens as soon as we made it back to our seats? It started pouring again! We just couldn't win! This time we accidentally left our umbrellas in the car so we had to use trash bags they were passing out as ponchos. Again we waited for the rain to clear up but after 20 minutes of rain and thunder and wind and girls screaming, we decided one last time to join the mass exodus out of the stadium. Again. We finally made it to our car completely drenched and after about 30 minutes of driving, we realized we were driving the wrong way. Honestly it couldn't have ended any other way don't you think?
The next day Kevin found out they canceled the show after all and was rescheduled for 7/3. Unfortunately I would not be in NYC by then so I mailed Kevin back his ticket so he can take another friend to the show. So much for my free concert...
Saturday, June 30, 2007
We met on a Sunday early afternoon, and after Joe treated us to brunch at a 50’s diner, we walked over to the studio in Soho. Jarod decided against the Empress card he originally envisioned for me. Instead, I’d pose as the Lust/Strength card as depicted by Beauty and the Beast. I’d play the Beauty (shut up!) and the kitschy goat devil necklace they found in Chinatown would play the Beast. I stripped down to next to nothing in my pink frilly Victoria’s Secret lingerie (sponsored by my bridal shower 3 years ago which I’ve finally put to good use.) The always accommodating Joe even provided a DVD player and two DVD’s for me to choose – Madonna’s Girly Tour and a teeny bopper horror movie Jeepers Creepers.
As I lied on the couch in a very comfortable position, after about 20 minutes or so, I wanted to die. No matter what position you’re in, if you have to hold still for a long stretch of time, your body cannot help but tremble and wish to move just even half a millimeter. I turned out to be not so good of a model as I must have moved a thousand times. Every time Jarod looked down at his sketch to draw me, I quickly moved just a little bit to give my muscles a tiny break from the torture. Of course Joe had to call me out and yelled, “Stop moving Evan! You’re as bad as me!” In the end, my self-imposed two-hour long torture was definitely well worth the lovely drawing Jarod was able to miraculously achieve for his art project.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Spelling Bee: With cracks on Scooter Libby and Pres. Bush and songs about erections, this laugh-til-your-stomach-hurts spelling bee should be rated PG-13. At the beginning of the "competition," the host calls out by name 4 members of the audience to be contestants. (Sidenote: My friend Andrea was one of the chosen ones when she saw the show a couple years ago. How fab!) You are not only the audience of a Broadway show, but you also become the audience of a spelling bee competition where you get to see inside those little geeks' minds as they take turns asking for a definition or word origin before spelling each word. You also get Darrell Hammond from SNL as a surprising part of the cast who, not surprisingly, has some of the funniest lines on the show. A two thumbs U-P!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Then this past weekend my other friends were visiting from DC. And although I was sick with a fever and had swollen lymph nodes on my neck, Sylvia called me a hypochondriac and made me come out to Buddakhan (9th Ave. and 16th St.) for dinner at 11:45. Again, catering to my out of town friends, I dragged myself out of bed against my better judgment. Although it was great catching up with Sylvia, Kyung and Nathan, the restaurant itself was nothing to write home about. The decor was exquisite but the food was nothing more than a glorified P.F. Chang's (which as we know is just glorified Chinese food - but at least we're actually full when we leave Pak Foo's. Yea I'm totally making up what P.F. stands for but it sounds about right.) Like anything in the city, portions are inversely related to price. When you have to pay $44 for peking duck (which you can get in Chinatown for $8), you are still left hungry and could easily go for pizza after your three-course meal.
Speaking of misses, my fever still hasn't gone away so I missed work (which as a contractor is very expensive to do) as well as my salsa lesson last night. I had tickets to see Erasure and Cyndi Lauper which I also missed. Being sick SUCKS in so many ways!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Unfortunately Kevin had a work charity function to attend and wasn’t able to make it until 9. Since the show started at 8, I didn’t want to go alone or miss the first hour so I decided to skip the event and moped around in my PJs instead watching the season finale of One Tree Hill. At 9:15 Kevin called and said “I’m here and they haven’t even started yet. Get your ass out of your PJ’s and come now!” I’ve never changed so fast and was in a cab and at the lounge in 10 minutes.
Then The Cured (obviously tribute to The Cure) came on stage and looked every bit the part. They got The Cure DOWN with the crazy hair, pale skin, black eyeliner, and smudged lipstick. They opened with a dead-on rendition of Just Like Heaven - the lead singer even had all the mannerisms of Robert Smith. We were front row and center singing and dancing along to Friday I’m in Love, Lullaby (which I thought was from The Crow soundtrack but later found out it was Burn which they did not play), Love Song, and many more I can’t remember (sorry I’m not a true Cure fan like the guy next to me who knew every word to every song). When they ended their show with The Forest, a song I did not know, I was severely disappointed they did not play Pictures of You which everyone also kept screaming for. As predicted, they got back on stage and performed my favorite Cure song. Kev and I left soon after with feelings of euphoria and nostalgia, wishing it was 1987 all over again. I got in the cab and sadly returned home to 2007.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The ten of us had to meet in the lobby of our apartment building at 8am to catch the 2-hour-long train to Minakami for our full-day canyoning tour. I almost didn’t make it as I was out the night before until 5am. When we finally arrived, we were greeted by our tour guide – an overly excited stocky white guy from New Zealand in his late 30’s with long blond dreads and sun damaged skin who speaks fluent Japanese with a New Zealand accent. After we squeezed into our wetsuits, our tour guide led us through an hour of canyons and freezing cold streams before approaching our very first jump…off a 20-feet waterfall. No joke – 20 feet and no baby waterfalls to ease us in!!! That’s almost as tall as a 3-story building – which I know may not sound so intimidating but imagine looking down a steep waterfall and realizing that seconds later you’ll be free falling and potentially plunging to your death. I was scared sh*tless but volunteered to jump second right after my friend Tommy since I wanted to get my death over with as quickly as possible. With my eyes open and my nose held shut, I took the plunge. It was one of the most, if not THE most, amazing and thrilling experiences I’ve ever had. After a few hours and more terrifying waterfall jumps, the adventure finally ended. Would I do it again? HELL NO!!! But I would highly recommend it to anyone to try it once in their lifetime.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
My severance pay was a spot on the tres exclusive guest list (no fewer than 600) and I got to bring Karen who was visiting from Maryland. The event was held at the Adidas flagship store in Soho where I spotted Prudence running around with her Adidas T-shirt and shoes (unlike me, she did not get laid off from her one-night job). There wasn't really anything too exciting going on - no fashion show, no speakers, no cake - just free drinks. It was like going to a happy hour after work at a really busy Adidas store. Karen and I were lit by 7:30 after just 2 drinks. I guess filling up your cup with pink vodka infused with caffeine with just a splash of OJ will do that to ya. There was also a semi-celebrity spotting (model wannabe from America's Next Top Model - she wasn't even the winner). Although I did not get my T-shirt and shoes, I did walk away with free drinks and a party gift (a black and pink Adidas knapsack).
Monday, June 4, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
6. Katz’s Deli (Houston and Ludlow ): Yes – it’s the same famous deli in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan showcased her talent to fake an orgasm and the old lady next to her told the waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having.” The pastrami on rye is well worth the jaw-dropping $14 they charge for a sandwich because it is hands down the best pastrami I’ve ever tasted and humongous enough for two. Get a side of sweet potato knish and a refreshing Cel-Ray (celery soda) to complete your meal. Don't let the burly guys behind the counter intimidate you - just don't lose your ticket before you pay on your way out.
7. Congee Village (Allen and Delancey): I chink you can’t go wong with the best Chinese food in town – scrumptious and cheap! (Hey only I can say that because I’m Chinese.) Try their silken tofu with mushroom and rice clay pot, steamed fish with ginger and scallions, and dow mew (Chinese spinach) stir fried with garlic - definitely not your kung pow chicken or shrimp fried rice. And if you're feeling a little adventurous, order the various frog dishes (like the deep fried frog with pepper and garlic) - it's actually very tasty.
8. Kunjip (32nd and Broadway in K-town): Mouthwatering Korean BBQ and spicy bibimbop are a must at this busy restaurant which is always a good sign. (Bibimbop is rice in a stone pot with fried egg and ground beef – make sure you mix it up really well with their red house sauce.) My only warning is your clothes will stink of Korean BBQ for days!
9. Asia de Cuba (Morgans Hotel on Madison Ave): As the name suggests, this trendy restaurant fuses Asian with Cuban cuisines. A teensy bit on the tres cher side (I’d have to sell an organ or two to be a regular patron there), but the uber hip crowd and the uber stylish décor where the bathroom door magically transforms from transparent to translucent when you shut it are enough for me to break my piggy bank for one more visit.
10. Beard Papa’s (Broadway and 8th): No list of mine would be complete without something sweet which I purposely saved for last. I was first lured by the sweet smell of cream puffs at the Beard Papa’s in Hawaii. Then I devoured the green tea and the pumpkin variety in Tokyo. When I kept passing by their location in Midtown, I just couldn’t resist. I would gladly give up my firstborn for a lifetime supply of their fondant au chocolate and royal milk tea cream puffs. The royal milk tea flavor is only available on Thursdays, but you can still get the original Vanilla any day of the week.
So here it is. Check out my recommendations for yourself and let me know if you disagree with my taste (I will pretend to give a sh*t.) The best part is you don’t ever have to repeat a restaurant in Manhattan so I can continue to expand my list. I wish I had compiled something similar while I was in Tokyo. Unfortunately, if you were to ask me for any good recommendations for your next trip there, I wouldn’t be able to remember anything to save my life…or my firstborn that I’m planning to give up for cream puffs.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
1. Jin Sushi (Broome and Orchard): I know I’ve become a bit of a sushi snob, but delish does not begin to do Jin justice, especially for the reasonable prices. I highly recommend the Tuna Amazing roll, Spicy Lobster roll, and the Kamikaze roll. It can give Tomoe Sushi in the West Village where Madonna apparently frequents a run for its money. I need a moment…can’t believe I’m disagreeing with my idol and role model.
2. Joe's Shanghai (Pell and Bowery in Chinatown): You must order the xiao lung bao (or "soup dumplings" as white people call it) with scallion pancakes and drunken chicken (steamed chicken soaked in rice wine). Then when you're done with lunch, walk down on Bowery street and get the little egg cakes from the street vendor for dessert (they're like waffle batter in the shape of miniature eggs.)
3. Craftbar (Broadway between 19th and 20th): This is the less pricey stepchild of Craft but just as heavenly (not that I’ve ever been to Craft but I’m certain of its heavenliness.) We commenced our dinner with a Pecorino cheese fondue with honey and hazelnuts for appetizer, then the scallop with onions for entrée, and the brown sugar cake with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. The portions are a bit on the paltry side, but then again, we’re not in Chinatown anymore, Toto.
4. Momofuku Noodle Bar (First Ave and 10th): At $14 a bowl, it is a bit pricey for ramen but the perfect combination of Berkshire pork and savory noodle and broth can almost pass for authentic ramen in Tokyo (which is unlike any ramen you’ll ever taste at only $4 a bowl.) You should also get a side of steamed buns with shitake and the spicy crawfish (which I was too cheap to order but was salivating and green with food envy when my finger-licking neighbor was wolfing them down. Bastards...)
5. La Palapa (St. Marks and First Ave in East Village): I'm not a fan of Mexican food at all, but this place is excellent. Every entree we had was yummy tasty, and margaritas come in a myriad of fruit flavors which is very easy to get drunk on. For dessert, their sweet corn ice cream parfait with macadamia nuts is to die for.
Ok I’m tired and really hungry from reminiscing about all that food so I will wipe the drool off my mouth and continue with my list soon.
Monday, May 21, 2007
The smell of these subway stations is a whole other story: quite foul and yet distinct from each other. One station has the stench of 5-day-old urine, another smells like you're stuck in the same stall as a homeless guy with diarrhea. Then of course there's the rats. I'm not talking about the cute little mice dressing Cinderella singing "Cinderelly Cinderelly night and day it's Cinderelly..." I'm talking about the blackish gray nauseating vile vermin that crawl up and down NYC subway tracks. I even saw one on the staircase munching on popcorn at the Times Square station right before I was meeting friends for dinner (very appetizing). But once in a while - after throwing up a lung - something magical happens and it smells like honey roasted nuts. Just so happens, there was a nut stand right outside that station.
Then once you're inside the station or train, it's like opening a box of cracker jacks - you never know what you're gonna get. No matter what time of day, there's never a shortage of entertainment: dancers with their own breakdance competitions, singers performing melancholy songs like "My Heart Will Go On," and musicians playing anything from light-hearted Calypso to heart-wrenching Chinese pipa. There are also merchants selling random knick knacks, a homeless guy pretending to be a conductor and telling everyone to "Step away from the door" (which has been witnessed by people on numerous occasions but I have yet to see him in action), or just plain crazies walking up and down the train yelling obscenities. Can't wait to see what other cracker jack "prizes" I'll get to experience on the subway for the rest of my time here.
Friday, May 18, 2007
When we arrived at Central Park, we found the perfect spot to lay down our makeshift blanket: singing hippies to the left, college kids playing Frisbee to the right, and a girl with fake boobs in front. We started with a wine and cheese party but quickly realized how small the 3 pillowcases were for the two of us to sit on. We then ripped them up to double the size of our “blanket.” Besides feeling like we were homeless, it worked like a charm. Who needs dignity anyway when you are already drinking wine out of a mini paper cup (you know – those little Dixie cups for brushing your teeth and making jello shots)? We finished our first bottle of wine so fast that we had to get a second bottle after 40 minutes.
We spent the next four hours people watching, eating/drinking, reading, napping in the sun, and waiting in line for the bathroom. Justin even got picked up by a drunk girl while he was in the bathroom line (I’m so proud!) Nothin’ like getting a good wine buzz (and getting hit on for some) in Central Park. We ended our perfect day with a great Mexican dinner with friends at La Palapa and capped off our night at a hookah lounge with a belly dancer!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
As much as I enjoy my jog, the only annoying thing about running by yourself in NYC is the gawking. Nothing to be flattered about, the gawkers can be divided into 2 categories: 1) Chinese men older than my dad who stare at you up and down as you run past them (if my dad ever did that to other girls I'd throw up on him) and 2) high school punks who say "hey momma" (eew you are young enough to be my kids if I were a delinquent teenage mom which your mom probably is and if I had a son like you I'd run myself right off the Williamsburg Bridge.)
OK I guess I, too, have done my fair share of gawking. But how can you not when you run past a human stick figure with the best rack money can buy - double D spilling out of that skin tight sports bra which made me turn around to pick up my jaw off the ground...or that hot I-banker (I know for a fact he works on Wall Street by the crimson Harvard tank top he was sporting that showed off his muscles which glistened and bounced with every step)...or that middle-age Monica Lewinsky look-alike with a full blown camel toe - no make that moose knuckle (Hey lady, the 80's called and wants its spandex back)...or that quintessential New York corporate guy - flabby, fifty, and pasty -"jogging" slightly faster than grandma on a leisurely stroll, with a cell phone in one hand and a Dunkin Donuts iced mochalatta in the other (buddy - you might as well give up now and just staple your stomach before you get gout)...
Being directionally challenged, I decided to follow this cute blonde running with her iPod. She looked like she knew where she was going, and I could tell Weight Watchers was really working for her. 15 more lbs to go and she can pass for a poor man's Jessica Simpson (post Nick Lachey divorce but pre lip collagen injection). I ended my 50-minute jog with a lemon icing cupcake from Babycakes right around the corner from my apartment. After that long jog, I WILL have my cupcake and eat it too!
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
When we arrived at the studio (after downing a couple drinks to “loosen up”), we almost had a private lesson when we thought we were the only couple there. But another couple sauntered in late and joined us, or really just held us back. They were a bit slow in learning their steps – never mind the guy was legally blind with a guide dog. Come on people, keep up! She said “lead with your left foot”…LEFT damnit! We learned a few basic steps in the Waltz (not my first choice but the short bus couple picked that one and of course we did way better), Swing and Mambo in the span of 40 minutes. We did pretty well if I may say so myself. Who knew I was semi-coordinated? When the lesson was over, I signed up for two different classes starting in June. TWO hour-long classes meeting once a week!!! One class is Salsa and the other is Merengue/Rumba for beginners. I’m waiting for JLo or Antonio Banderas to walk through the door any minute now to give us lessons…(if you don’t get the reference, you HAVE to rent Shall We Dance and Take the Lead.)
Monday, May 7, 2007
We visited the Warhol museum which was pretty interesting - even for a non-museum lover like myself. We ate yummy corned beef and fried egg sandwiches stacked way high with french fries and coleslaw inside the sandwiches. We drove to the countryside where I picked asparagus and mint from the garden and fed grass to horses. The fresh clean air did give me a bit of a headache since I'm not really used to that sort of thing.
The wedding itself was your typical Catholic ceremony two hours long with 400 guests. And since the bridal party consisted of 28 bridesmaids and groomsmen, yea 28, the procession itself took an hour. I managed to squeeze in a cat nap at church - I figured being Asian, no one would be able to tell if I'm awake or asleep. I've also never seen such a racially diverse crowd - it was like attending a UN summit with countless shades of WHITE congregated in one room. Just a tad out of place being the only Asian girl there. Furthermore, my date must have abandoned me a thousand times to get drinks and smoke outside with his buddies. Does he not know how shy I am with a paralyzing fear of socializing with strangers? It seems no matter what season it is, I always have this strong urge to stick his skis up his ass. To his credit, we did dance to a couple songs and he even took me out for ice cream the next night. Oh wait - I was too full from dinner so I ended up watching him eat his Peanut Butter Puddles waffle cone ice cream instead (though he was generous enough to let me have 5 and a half bites.) But all in all, it was a good time. My weekend in Sh*tsburgh, I mean Pittsburgh, ended with a 4am wakeup call to catch a 6am flight back to JFK and made it to work by 9:30.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
As we walked through the busy streets of Tokyo, every Japanese we passed by giggled and some even pointed and screamed out “Minnie-chan!Kawaii!!” (translation: "Minnie Mouse! So cute!" - yea that's me - Minnie was a real hit!) And tons of fellow costumed Halloweeners requested to take pictures with us. We felt like celebrities. Since words cannot do justice the chaotic bedlam that took place on the Halloween train, check out video clips on You Tube.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
During the ceremony, I listened to the entire sermon without falling asleep (though my feet were a different story) and even cried a little on the inside when they were tearing up (I’m not heartless – I’m just not the crying type.) The wedding ceremony and taking pictures in DC actually went off without a hitch, although the reception was a bit chaotic. I also drank a little too much in the limo and should definitely have not had that mojito right before my maid of honor toast. But I did OK and even managed to entertain the guests (over 400!) with embarrassing stories of my sister. As much as I wanted to get drunk and dance all night with the bride and groom and their little friends, I was overwhelmed with exhaustion as I finished my last MOH duties and was home in bed by 1 am. The next day our cousins and I (all 12 of us) met up for pho for lunch to say goodbye and to send Mark and Mayan off then we all went our separate ways home. I love family weddings for this very reason – getting together with all our cousins since we hardly ever get to all be in the same town (oh and to celebrate eternal love and commitment and all that crap.)
Monday, April 23, 2007
Like a new relationship, you also learn to adjust to your new environment. Kinda like closing your eyes to ignore all that body hair (or throwing up when you open your eyes.) Or when he lets out a silent fart but it’s your nose that delivers the news so you have to smack him before running away to avoid the smell. Or you learn that he’s obsessed with a certain winter sport and even when you travel 3,000 miles to visit him, he’ll drop you like 5-day-old sushi for any powder day and makes you want to shove all ten pairs of his precious skis up his skinny little ass. You know, the usual…but I’m just speaking hypothetically of course.
Once I get my DSL/cable set up tomorrow, I will post pictures of my new apartment!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I really feel at home because this seems to be common practice in 75% of the women here in NYC. However, Japanese women do the exact opposite. They wear their 4-inch hooker high heels/CFM boots walking all over the city but once they get to work, they change into these hideous orthopedic slippers. I really don't get it. They even wear heels while hiking or going to parks. While Japanese women often looked at me (and all my American friends who did the same) with such obvious disdain after taking a glimpse at our flip flops mismatched with our work clothes, in the end they're the ones with painful bunions - which is also why podiatry is such big business in Japan.