Saturday, March 31, 2012

Things I Don't Feel Guilty About Spending Money On [Part 1]

          The first Saturday in a while that I've woken up with the propensity to accomplish things. So today, I'm up for a fun blog post with pictures! Yay! Because that's all you visitors come here for, right? We all just skim through the text, don't we? Just kidding. I know you guys read what I write! (*insert nervous laugh here*)
Anyway... In no particular order of importance, here are the 
5/10 Things I Don't Feel Guilty About Spending Money On:

1. High Heels
You have to understand where I'm coming from - that is, 152 centimeters from the ground. 
The need for elevation has thus brought me to appreciate the art of these "treacherous contraptions".

2. Books
"Get a kindle!" I'm often told. The thing is... when I buy a book, I not only buy the author's idea; I also buy the tangible paper pages that make a crisp sound when I turn them over between my thumb and index finger. The paper pages that have the ability to indicate the age of a book by color and smell. And the paper pages that make up sizable objects to fill up my bookshelves so colorfully. There is no way I could give up such an amazing form.

3. Ice Cream
Living in Thailand, you can't put a price on things that keep you cool. But to be honest, even when I was in Japan or America where the weather is cool and ice cream is expensive, it was just impossible to be frugal about ice cream.

4. Camera-Related Things
Got a good DLSR - need additional lens to take even better pictures. Got the lens - need lens filter to protect it. DLSR too big sometimes - need a small digital camera. Got a digital camera - need a film camera. Got a film camera - need film. Got film photographs - need to have them scanned into digital files for this day and age. Have every camera other than a polaroid - need a polaroid camera. Got a polaroid camera - need polaroid film. Polaroid camera has no strap - need a strap for polaroid camera... And throughout this endless cycle, no guilt is felt.

5. Cereal
It can be a snack and a legit meal. So easy to whip up. So fun to consume. No shame on how much I spend on it.

Stay tuned for the next 5 things on this list. =]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

These Are The Days

          Where to begin... I feel like my lifestyle has never been in better shape. Most of it has to do with how I've been starting my days. I've been getting into the habit of going to the gym early every morning. This is followed by a very longgggggggg and leisurely taken shower. Then I'm invincible. Throw anything at me, I can handle it. My heart is pumped. My eyes are wide. My muscles are tight. And my hair is clean.
          Gosh, it sounds like I'm on drugs, doesn't it? I admit my persistence does qualify for addiction, but at least the outcome is a healthier pair of lungs and heart, rather than the opposite. Being diligent in the gym also motivates me to be healthy outside of it as well. I've become fond of brisk walking, opting for stairs, and balanced meals. Remarkably, I've even become more positive, enthusiastic, and tolerant (except for slow walkers; they still piss me off.)
          The positivity thing is really what I'm most grateful about these days. I might have finally discovered the cure for my bad habit of disappearing on people.  (Somewhere out there, Tripti, Aim, Pond, Nice, and Sookhee are cheering.) I notice myself wanting to spend more time with friends and having the stamina to do so. I can't seem to shut up on the days I run in the morning! It is also an asset to my teaching job. Believe it or not, despite the recent influx of editing requests (#LiteraryStudiesClass), I am even more passionate about teaching English these days. I surprised myself several times last week not thinking twice about going the extra miles for my students. It is so satisfying too, to receive their sincerest gratitude in return. I feel genuinely appreciated and honestly go to sleep at night hoping the best for my students. This all makes me eager to get involved in the freshman entrance process taking place at my faculty. Who's my nong is going to be? He or she is going to get the best roon p' ever! (<-- The fact that this is NOT said sarcastically is just enthralling!)
           And somehow I have organically returned the things I used to love to do in my spare time: (running), reading, martial arts, writing, illustrating, movie-watching, photography... and performing dance, a chapter of my life that I thought was long over! I even got into the debating spirit - which is very rare - last Thursday, going back and forth between university and the place I tutor at, to participate in the ongoing varsity debate tournament. 
          Finally, I get to say this about myself: diew nii fit khode khode! (damn fit these days!)

"Mascara": a recent spontaneous photography project I did.
It was a night both my mom and I had dressy events to attend to.
I came home with stage make-up and she with masks. Thus creativity was born.
My favorite picture is the second one down from the left.

Tript, Pond, Sooks, Nice, and I threw Aim a surprise birthday lunch last Tuesday.
The weekend before, I had the pleasure of losing track of time with some of the TwoOHElevens at Bang Na.
The night before that, us Nitade gals danced for our roon p's in the "Thank Roon P' Event". ["Thank Roon P' Event"photos by: Pakky]

This week, through grainy eyes of my BlackBerry camera.

And now I leave you with my ultimate work-out song. The relevance. Check it out:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Year Later

          A year ago, we saw one of the strongest and most well-prepared nations faced unbelievable disaster that would have surely destroyed many other nations. There is no excuse I can make to prove I am not biased because of my nationality, and perhaps it's not possible for me to be impartial in this situation, but the event really changed me. It galvanized me to start and lead my own relief efforts for the Japan Earthquake Situation, something a formerly passive sympathizer like me never imagined I would ever be able to do. I've written about "Project HOPE" before, and the purpose of this post isn't to re-glorify what I did last year. Rather, I'd like to share a response to HOPE I have recently received, on the 1 year anniversary of the incident, and I guess a little bit about what I was up to on March 11th, 2012.
. . . . . . . . . . 

          I've really only met my cousin Mike once, last summer in L.A., for just a few hours, but we got along so well and he was really enthusiastic about supporting Project HOPE. After I got back to Bangkok, I mailed him a HOPE shirt, and he gave me the best gift in return. He spread the word about my project. He took a picture of the packet I sent him, posted it on his Facebook, his Tumblr, and kinda just told people about me and what I did. I was moved by his support then, and here I am a year later being moved by Mike again.
         Yesterday, Mike linked me to his Tumblr, and to my surprise I found myself looking at a few very familiar photos. An even greater surprise, however, was a new note. He wrote:
"Wore this shirt today that my cousin sent me a while back to mark the 1 year anniversary of the earthquake in Japan. Project Hope was started by my cousin Mika from Thailand and raised thousands of dollars which she eventually presented herself to the Minister of The Japanese Embassy. She REALLY did make a difference... You guys should follow her because she’s really an amazing, caring, and loving person. There’s not many ppl like her..."

I wrote back:
"Making a difference has always been my greatest life ambition, but in the back of my mind I always thought it was an unrealistic one for someone like me to have. Mike, I can’t tell you enough how much your kind words mean to me. Thank you. I also feel like thanking you for wearing the shirt on the anniversary. That was really sweet and thoughtful. =] "
          It stuns me with happiness to realize that HOPE still lives. That there are people like Mike out there who still care. In fact, people like Mike are more amazing than me because they aren't inherently biased to Japan like I am. I am dearly inspired by them.
. . . . . . . . . . 

         It may seem unlike me not to wear my own shirt this past Sunday, but I had a good reason. I was wearing another shirt and... a running number. On Sunday, I ran in a charity mini-marathon for the anniversary of the tsunami/earthquake. Funny story: I signed up for just the 3 km because the other category was 11 km, BUT I got off route, following a mixture of 11 km people and other off-route people, and I ended up running about 8 km. I actually ended up running past the front of my university faculty, which was personally hilarious. Anyway, that was a really good start of the day for me. I was done with the marathon by 7:30 and was so awake and alive for the rest of the day; I felt like I could do anything.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bad English Suck

Dear People,

          Why do you not appreciate when I inform you that you are using a word out of context, that "me" cannot be the subject, and that you are putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable? I point out not to interrupt your flow of language, but to improve it. I do it out of love - for you and for the English language.
          "Get a life!" You scream at me. "Don't you have something better to do that correct my grammar? No body cares!" Well, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I think speaking English correctly is important. And I'm sorry you think that speaking English correctly is such a backbreaking undertaking for me that it robs me of my livelihood. Let me assure you that I take no effort to correct you, so don't worry about it. Thanks for the concern though. =]
          What I don't understand is the duplicity of people's attitudes towards grammar. In formal settings, you are so grateful for my editing favors. Why, you even laugh with me at the emails our faculty office sends us that sound like they were written by 10 year-olds who know copy-paste long words like "communications". Once we're outside though, I'm suddenly public enemy number one because correct grammar is only for the workplace.
          If it really annoys you that much, I'll limit myself to a grimace. However, I still think that keeping the grammar switch on continuously is a better lifestyle, especially living among people whose first language isn't English. The society I live in tends to express a desire to improve English skills, but people have yet to align actions with attitude. My question is: why even need correct English anywhere then? If it seems that unimportant to people, why even require it at all?
          So keep slapping me in the face. I won't stop telling you that "you're" = "you are."

Your Friendly Neighborhood Grammar Nazi <3