We can be set FREE from our brokenness, for $19.99!

JK, it’s actually for free… not some Jenny Craig Program for the heart or something…

Last week, my women’s Bible study group was studying about brokenness. And as I was one of the youngest in the group, I didn’t feel like I had much life experience to share. People shared about broken relationships with spouses and family members and parents. People shared about death and mental disorders and other severe chronic ailments…

Mine? A breakup… sounds quite silly and young… actually. Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day… WHAT? Single Valentine’s Day = Wonderful!

So… Now I’m married, I’m wondering if I really have to celebrate this valentine’s day thing… since we married, doesn’t that show ultimately that we love one another? Enough to take the vow… “till DEATH do us part”?

Now I don’t mind if buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a guy means flowers and a teddy bear plus some chocolates… except not.

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Midwest Postive

Notice that it’s singular.

Just kidding.

But I’ve noticed one big thing is that moving here has made me realized how rude the East Coast is… i.e. how rude I used to (still can be??) to be. And since it’s for survival, you just become so toughened up and used to the rudeness. You grow a thick shell. When someone yells at you or honks or yells at another driver or screams out their window, it’s no big deal. You shrug it off, or shake your fist, or yell back, whichever it is… you keep on going about with your life.

Here… I have not seen people yelling or shouting or shaking fists (or even shaking their heads) at people.
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Football is the talk

I have noticed here… that people always talk about… Football!

NFL or College Football (University of Michigan and Michigan State are the popular ones here) are both hot topics that everyone seems to talk about.

But that’s not just it… it seems like in the Midwest… that’s ALL they talk about. That plus “What church do you go to?” (Just kidding… no sane person would immediately sak that… except in the South… or maybe here in Michigan… just saying…

I sit at the bar, and the bartender brings up some football talk. I’m standing in the elevator, and some dude brings up football. My friends meet my other friends, and after introductions, they’re not sure what to say, and suddenly they talk football.
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Midwest doesn’t like Obama… what?!?!

So a few more items that I found that may hinder my attempted subtle transition into the Midwest… I’m trying to be inconspicuous, and fit right in… Looks like it’s going to be a lot harder.

First of all, people in Michigan speak with an accent. I am NOT joking. It’s very slight, but it’s most apparent in how they pronounce their “a”‘s, particularly the short “a” sounds…

Tangent.

Second of all, everyone (ok, fine, not everyone, many people….) is Christian and Republican. (obviously excluding places like Ann Arbor where there is high percentage of high education, research, teaching, education….) Apparently, it’s common for dinner table conversations to be bashing Obama and the administration.
Now, obviously, as left as NYC and CA can be… people aren’t always 100% pro-Obama and think he’s God’s chosen one… However, we also know to be PC and polite and not be bashing a certain side of politics in mixed company. What makes you think everyone here is Republican?! And even if everyone is Republican, that doesn’t mean everyone agrees!

It just makes me really uncomfortable. When people start going on and on and on, and suddenly if they bring up religion + all these other things, then I am not sure. I should stand up for what I think, right? I shouldn’t feel like I’m being silenced. But it’s strange, we’re talking about a “free country” and a “free market” yet suddenly, I don’t feel like my speech is very free anymore… We don’t have to agree, but to be condemning and mean is just not okay (no matter what corner of the earth you’re from…)

And moreover, WHY ARE YOU STILL YELLING?? Is it really the policies? Or perhaps its the race that you’re bothered by, but since you can’t openly complain about that (against federal law of racism) then you displace your dissatisfaction and target his policies and parties. Look, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Obama’s decisions and policies either, but I don’t say horrific things and bash the leader of our country. I still try to give the man some basic respect, you know, the ones promised and mandated by the Constitution? Oh, and btw, I’m also Christian. So now what? Why are you telling me that the Democrats are the devil?

Obama is already in the 3rd year of his term, if anything, why don’t you focus on who’s running? As opposed to, “Let me count the ways of his mistakes, and though I can’t do better, nor do I understand or know better, let me just complain, instead of using my complaints and energy in a positive way to influence the community, you know, in that same way that you think Obama isn’t doing well.”
Ohh, but of course, you’re Republican and Christian (?! I don’t see how this is relevant here…), and you think there should be a new development on ways to euthanize poor and sick people (oh, and don’t forget the immigrants) so that YOUR tax dollars don’t have to pay a cent.

Except, why do you have income today? Don’t say “because my own two hands got me here.” That’s never true. I went to some of the most expensive schools in this country, and I KNOW that I can’t ever say “by my own two hands,” because it’s just NOT true. It’s so untrue.

If I were born a different race, or a different family background, how about a different SES? Then what? I could work with my “own two hands” but I wouldn’t have the guidance “towards what should I work for”, “how should I work for”

ok, stepping back. This blog was never supposed to discuss politics.

Anyhow, I just found another obstacle in my transition to Michigan. Great…

I’m not saying I have to find friends that are pro-Obama, not at all. But I hope I’m not clamored with hoards of people/politics bashing company… Hopefully, we can have intelligent and cordial discussions, where we can talk about our thoughts and opinions. I always want to know what people think and why they think so, even if it’s worlds apart. But it shouldn’t become a battle, or attacks, or anything mean and barbaric.

Anyhow, I guess I shouldn’t hang my Obama poster back in 2008 anywhere visible. I kept it, thinking it will be an awesome memorabilia, since it really was our first black president ever. Thinking I’ll keep something to show my kids “I was there!”

But now… I guess some parts of the country think that it’s a disgrace, and want nothing more than to scrutinize and crucify his every move.

Good job, Midwest America. Finally overcoming 300 years of racism, and you just set us back to the 60s. Good job.

Becoming a Midwest Girl

After a few trips back and forth, and making some new friends over in Michigan, I’ve noticed some striking differences in general fashion style, life pace, attitudes, etc.

I’m trying my best to adjust to the fact that I will be moving to Michigan. It’s been taking awhile, but it’s getting harder as the time till the move shortens.

One thing, is Midwest peoples move at more a leisurely pace. Which I think is wonderful! Seems like they really take their time and enjoy moments in life.
However, unfortunately, I’m a person who thrives in the fast-paced lifestyles of international metropolitan like NYC, London, and Taipei. When walking on a sidewalk, it is truly more of a human motorway. It’s like cars, but you’re on your feet. If a person behind you starts coming up faster (we don’t have rear view mirrors, but you can hear by the footsteps, coughing signaling, and breathing), then you need to let them pass. If you’re rearing up to a person at a slower pace in front of you, then you “switch lanes” and pass them. This is the patterns and survival techniques in a city.

When one person comes out of Grand Central station or 30th Street Station, and large streams of people merge or diverge, you need to keep your eyes straight, high alert mode, to get to where you’re going without bumping and hitting or tripping on anyone, and there will be many many people walking in opposite directions, horizontal directions, 45 degree, anything.

In these hyper cities, if you’re just a little bit slower, they will honk at you, and if you’re not being honked at, you will assume that all is fine. Honking is our way of communicating, “please move forward; wait, I’m here; please move up so I can turn; please move more to the right so I can pass on the left; please move, just move.”  In the Midwest, most people don’t utilize the awesome horn function on their car, except for emergency situations (which I think is the proper etiquette… however, in hyper cities, everything is an emergency…)

I’ve also noticed that people speak slower. No joke, I’m completely serious. They take more time between words, pauses, sentences. They add more tones and additional ad-libs and information (most of the time just small talk and/or stuff), etc.

When I’m there, I stick out like a sore thumb. I talk to fast. I get to the point, I want them to get to the point. My voice isn’t soft or gentle. I’m straightfoward. I pair my “Hi, How are you, ” immediately with  my next sentence, “I was wondering/ I had a question/ Can I order”.

I remember when I used to live in Pittsburgh, I was a different person. I think I used to be one of the Midwesterners. I used to talk slower, walk slower (just a bit though, I was always a fast walker), I used to not feel like every second of my day was delaying the next seconds of my day. I used to add small talk and ad-libs and random non-important information…

I changed, into something slightly different when I started living in Philly. I don’t mind it, I fit right in.

But now that I look at the difference… I think there’s going to be a lot more adjusting that’s coming up.

But alas, as with most Third Culture Kids, this is nothing new.

But the million dollar question is: Who am I really? And what style is my preference or fits me better? I have the ability to morph into any international or local culture necessary, but what is MY style?

Am I East Coast? or am I Midwest?

Maybe I’m East Coast. I think I’m east coast (or hyper metropolitan, whatever you want to call it). I think I will always feel like I’m in the right place when I walk at high speed. I think I will always have a small sense of excitement when I’m living in the high paced life. I am re-energized and I feel alive when I’m zooming around.

Or maybe I’m Midwest? I do look forward to the time I can finally buy my SUV in Michigan (a staple item of the suburb/midwest lifestyle…), and have large areas of parking, a driveway, and the ability to drive everywhere, instead of learning all the complicated public mass transit systems in all different cities (Boston, London, Taipei, Rome, SF, Philadelphia, NYC, New Jersey Transit, Hsinchu, woot!).

But I don’t know… because I love knowing (and memorizing) all the mass transit systems and maps…

We’ll see… We have to move again in 3 years when his residency program is done. Maybe we’ll get to try the south next… (omg…)

“What are your favorite flowers?”

Umm… I don’t know the names of flowers, but I usually like the ones… that are pretty?

So that question was asked to me about 2 months ago by my bridesmaids. I had NO IDEA. The only flowers I knew by name (and could quickly recite) were ones like roses, daises, umm… and… err…. well … hmm… let me think.

Yes, so that’s how our flower conversation started.

My awesome stellar bridesmaids put together a “Flower Ideas” googledoc, where they chose 10-15 different types of flowers, and collected photos of these flowers. Then I was given the document and asked to rank them. The first tier being the top 3 that I liked best. After doing some “flower-lessons,” I learned these things:

1. I love peonies! (and I figured out how to pronounce them…)
2. Sweet pea is a flower, not just a scent you can buy at Bath & Body Works, and no, it’s not a pea that tastes sweet.
3. I do NOT like lilies.
3b. There are 50+ types of lilies. Maybe those Calla ones aren’t too bad.
4. I do not like multi-colored flowers (I already forgot the names of them…)
5. Plant-ology (herbology??) and Flower-Studies is some SERIOUS business!! Do not make fun of it. People will kill you.
6. Just like how you can cross breed mice for transgenetic phenotypes, you can cross-breed flowers.
7. Flowers are expensive.
8. I will have a tougher time figuring out this flower business than the last time when I had to figure out the dress business.

Anyhow, I learned a ton, which is nice.

Tonight, I have an appointment with a florist. I heard that I should’ve done this much earlier…  But I had no idea how to locate a florist. When I send flowers to my mother, I call a florist in Taiwan and have them sent (after looking at the images of options they have online). If I were to buy flowers for any of my graduating students, I go to a nearby florist on Rittenhouse, point at the flowers that look nice, and ask for them to be wrapped in pretty paper. I had no idea how to even approach the topic of bouquets and wedding flowers.
(Yes, I went to Telaflora.com and looked to see if I could just order all my wedding flowers online… it seemed quite a viable option!! That is, until my friends and fiance vetoed that idea…)

So, two of my girlfriends from church are taking me to the florist they used for their wedding, should be good.

Now… time to learn what the pricing will be.

I’m rolling up my sleeves to get ready for some negotiating! That’s always my favorite part! 🙂 The negotiation! 🙂 I live for that!