Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Up Close and Unpersonal

I am an extremely private person when it comes to everything. My grades in university, what my plans are for the week, what I like to do outside of whatever realm I know you in, etc. On Christmas, my mom mentioned my long distance boyfriend's name and my dad said, "Who?"

Sure, he lives 5,000 miles away in France so there are never moments of me going out with him or having him over for my parents to have known I was dating anyone, but we have been dating for six months now and....dad had no clue. 

I'm not a private person to shut people out of my life, but something about the idea of having people know too much about me freaks me out. Like how can they use that information against me? How weak will I come off as if they know what my fears are or my insecurities?

The crazy thing is, I am incredibly self-reflective, emotional, and have existential crises on the daily. But to all but a select few who I have chosen to let in, I guess that I would come off as secretive, apathetic, perhaps standoff-ish. 

But I don't mean to. 

I think the key to understanding me lies in the fact that I rarely let people in, but when you're in, you're in for life. 

Loyalty, trust, and having people who will always be on your side. That is what I truly cherish. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Am Globalization

What is globalization? That's a question I get asked in class quite often being a sociology minor. 



Before you get bored with what sounds like an academic blog post, let me just promise you there will be no pop quizzes involved. In fact, I don't really have any academic way to answer that question. The only true way I have been able to understand the idea of globalization on any concrete level is by answering the question with, "I am."

I am globalization. I'm a first generation Korean-American who met her French boyfriend in Asia, maintains a long-distance relationship via Chinese manufactured technology, will be studying abroad in Italy, and speaks Spanish. Can I tell you in academic terms what globalization means? Not really. But in layman's terms, I am globalization. 

The idea that we live in a globalized society didn't really mean anything to me until I started studying abroad. I'm lucky enough to get to go on my second semester abroad next month, and as much as I tried to not take it for granted, it's almost impossible not to do so. 

I had a talk with my mom when deciding whether or not to apply to study abroad in Italy next semester and, despite all my mom's good advice, was having a rough time deciding. But at the end of our phone conversation, stretching from Washington to California, she said the thing that would make me realize I had to take this (second) opportunity. 

"Your dad and I wish we could have traveled more. But when we were young, it wasn't really an option for us like it is for you today. And now, I don't really have a strong urge, or the energy, to travel all over the world."

See, I knew I was lucky to have the chance to study abroad once, let alone twice. But I thought I was lucky because I had the financial means and university encouragement to do so. What I didn't realize is that I'm also lucky to be young in these times when students are so encouraged to travel the world. I'm grateful for being in a position to travel to Asia and Europe for my studies, but I'm also grateful that this world has created a social climate that makes it so accessible to me. 

"Globalization" in academic terms is much more complex than I've written about here; it has it's upsides and it has it's downsides and it affects more than just our ability to travel and use technology invented in other countries. But as far as being able to really start to grasp the concept of globalization, I just think of myself. 

Heck, I toggle between five different languages on my phone keyboard. If that's not a sign of globalization, I don't know what is. 

-A

Friday, December 27, 2013

He asked me if I loved him, and I said no...

He told me he loved me
and I told him "no you don't"
but as the days weeks months passed
he insisted

He asked me if I loved him
and I said no
because I had never loved before
my heart sat guarded in a cage

He told me I loved him
that he could tell I did
and I sat in silence
waiting to see if I would realize it too

-A

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Chris----I Missed It...

Before I knew it, Christmas was over.

I usually spend at least four solid weeks celebrating Christmas by blasting Michael Buble, watching all the GOOD Christmas movies, and making gingerbread houses and paper snowflakes. But something was just off this year. I don't know exactly what it was. Part of it was technical, sure. Thanksgiving fell a week later this year, leaving me with less time to get into the holiday mood, and I started working the day after I flew back home with only one day off to shop for presents before Christmas and absolutely no time to spend with friends or family.

But I think the real reason my favorite season came and went without me noticing was that I neglected to seize the day. Since coming back from my semester studying in Seoul, South Korea, I have felt a bit of reverse culture shock. Nothing is new. Nothing is exciting. I fell back into a routine that I never really enjoyed but felt I had no choice but to follow.

My mistake is in my procrastination. It's not just the homework and studying that I seem to put off until the last moment, it is the merry-making and adventure-seeking that I put off, too. Because if I am busy right now, today, this week, this semester, I use it as an excuse to put everything but the task at hand on the back burner. It's finals week? Then I have to deactivate Facebook and ignore my boyfriend until I can get through my exams. I have to work eight days straight this holiday season without a single day off to go Christmas shopping? Then I must sleep in as late as possible and refuse to make coffee dates with my friends who I haven't seen in four months.

It's not rational, to put my focus entirely on the thing that is stressing me out and to ignore any potential distractions, even if they are good distractions.

Good distractions.

It's a concept that I tend to refuse exists. But this holiday season, I have really realized how important it is to have good distractions, whether it be spending quality time talking to your family, strengthening your friendships, or decorating your entire house with tinsel and lighting a Christmas scented candle at midnight after a nine hour shift. It takes extra energy, energy you might think you don't have, to engage in things that make you happy. But happiness doesn't come to the lazy. You have to work at happiness. You have to make time for happiness. But the good news is, working at happiness doesn't really feel like work in the end. It just feels good.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season.

-A