In which I learn that this is for reals

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Before I went on my mission to Canada, I lived in an apartment with 3 other guys next to campus. It was very enjoyable. We’re still close friends to this day and we’ve made lots of memories. But this last week I realized that (despite that year being one of the best years of my life) I always felt deep inside that everything was just temporary. And because things were temporary, there were things that I should not and could not do.

It was the same in high school too where everything was temporary because I knew that the next thing in my life was invariably going to be to go to college. In middle school, I knew my next milestone to be high school. I feel like I missed out on a lot because of this.

For the first time in my life, there is nothing set before my by either parents or cultural norms. I was standing in my apartment looking around when I suddenly thought to myself, “Wait a minute… I’m not just staying here until I go off on a mission anymore. I’m not even staying here just until the end of the semester. This is my home! I can do whatever I want here!”

I’m pretty sure this is what they call an epiphany.

Anyways, things just suddenly clicked that I can do whatever I want. Nothing is out of bounds, really. I’m at the point in my life where I set the limits and no one else. If I wanted to quit school (which I definitely am not thinking), who’s to stop me? Or if I wanted to paint the walls in my apartment and buy nice furniture, I can! If I wanted to go vegan, then why the heck not?!

I’ve got to say that this sudden increase in my awareness and understanding of my options is quite liberating. It’s different from when I was in high school, living in my parents’ home, where even though I had said that I’m free to do whatever I want, let’s face it. There were limits! Limits placed in order to discipline and teach me! I’m grateful for those limits; they really were educational and I’m sure served a great purpose in “training” me for the real thing.

Now things are for reals, and I had better learn to make the right decisions without making the mistake of placing imaginary limits on myself.

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Boy howdy y’all, it’s been a while!

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I am now back from a 2 year hiatus and, boy, what a hiatus it was! Now you can all imagine what kind of change a person can go through in two years, especially during the impressionable times of one’s early 20’s. And the change that happens if that time is spent as a missionary is even more so.

The lifestyle of the Mormon missionary is quite different from many. Up at 6:30am to follow a schedule of exercise, preparation, and hours of study. No dabbling at all in worldly things, meaning no TV, no movies, no radio, etc. The entire focus of a Mormon missionary’s life is to spread what he or she knows to be true about God. No worrying about getting a job, paying the bills, schooling. The two years is a given (and taken) opportunity to focus as much as one can on spiritual things with very little distractions.

Now, I know many people have a problem with people who proselytize (or sometimes in their words “sell” or “push”) their beliefs, and I apologize if it’s been offensive. But I think that it’s the same as letting other people know about a great movie I just watched. Anyways, that’s the approach I took. I have something that gives me a lot of happiness and I’d like to share it with whoever is interested.

Anyways, enough about that. The past two years have been great. I’ve done a lot of growing, and I feel like a different person. It’s typical, even cliche, for a previous Mormon missionary to say this, but it’s been a turning point in my life, a time when I went through a lot of changes that will stick for the rest of my life.

Since coming back home, things have been hectic. Suddenly being thrown into my previous life has been a big adjustment, but it’s been good. In the past month, since I’ve been back, I’ve gone on a vacation with the family and then moved to Utah to continue schooling at BYU. My major is technically Electrical Engineering, but I’ve been wanting to go to med school lately. I’ll have to think about it.

I’m hoping to get this blog started back up. I’d hope I can at least record some good things on here every once in a while so  that I can have something to look back and smile about some day.

Broadening my horizons

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I’ve been rethinking my major for some time and after much reading of major descriptions and requirements, there is now a post-it on the wall at my desk that reads civil engineering(?). I’d like to get into architecture or journalism but unfortunately, my school does not offer an architecture program and I don’t have the balls to go into journalism for fear of living in a box. I am one who enjoys currency.

So for now, I’m considering civil engineering. I suppose it’s like architecture except with less of the imagination and more of the government projects. I should probably find out more about what a civil engineer does. Or maybe I can transfer schools. I’d love to move to the east coast.

When it comes to journalism, I just need more time. I had dinner with my mom today and she told me that one of her customers is a very well known columnist for the Orange County Register so I’m thinking that maybe I could talk to him and ask him a couple things. Then, I can wait for the foreign idea of journalism to sink in.

Deep down, though, I think I want journalism more than architecture. However, the idea of science and engineering majors is already well bred into my brain. In fact, I may have been born in a giant tub of it, so I’m not so nervous about deciding to be an engineering major. It’s the thought of the liberal artsy fartsy stuff that turns my brain into a useless chunk of proteins. You can see why it’s hard for me to really even think about journalism.

So, yeah. This is good. I’m going from your typical science and math oriented asian kid to the indie music listening kid. Broadening my horizons, if you will.

Ironically, I’m going to miss school

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I leave in eleven days. At midnight on July 29, my family is driving up to Provo, Utah. The plan is to get there by noon that day so that we will have time to buy cheap missionary gear such as suits that come with two pairs of pants. Then, we go to a family friend’s house where we’ll probably crash spectaculary into a gangly mess of limbs. On July 30 at 12:30, I report to the Missionary Training Center, and that’s the end of everything.

Once I go into the MTC, I will not be able to see my parents, though I will be able to write and email, for the next two years. Just a few weeks of training and I will be flown out to Vancouver where I will start my missionary work. I thought I’d be more nervous or be more reluctant to go than I actually am.

Because of the way I was raised, I am predisposed to feel that I’m wasting my time by not going to school and I’m very competitive. In two years, by the time I get back, I’ll be starting my sophomore year while all of my friends will be getting ready to graduate. But the funny thing is that I’m not worried about these things at all.

The only thing that’s difficult for me is that after 13 years of schooling, I can’t seem to let go of school. Tests, deadlines, and constant loads of homework have been so well beaten into the very fiber of my being that even though it’s been about 3 months since my last final, I still wake up in the middle of the night worrying that I didn’t study enough the day before and I have a deadline that I’m going to miss.

Then, I realized why I can’t let go of the fact that I won’t be going to school for two years. I love it too much. The other night, one of my best friends and I were at the cafe at the top of a Barnes and Noble and saw some students huddled around a table with books. We used to do the same thing in high school. To get ready for a test, we’d go to the Grove, have a burrito at Chipotle, and mosey on down to the Barnes and Noble to study.

As I watched the students studying at B&N, I realized that I miss school. I miss the constant stress, the deadlines, the finals, the procrastinating. All of it is all part of the fun and I’m not sure how I’ll deal with not getting to go to school for two years. Maybe that’s why I wake up in the middle of night with my heart pounding.

Life is for living

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People who have no vision frustrate me. By vision, I mean people who limit their opportunities just by refusing to consider the possibility of things.

“Quitting smoking is too difficult for me.”
“I’m not smart enough to get the grades to get into an Ivy league university.”
“He/She wouldn’t want to go out with me.”
“They wouldn’t hire me.”
“I’m not even going think about it because nothing will come out of it.”

STOP IT. NOW.

If we were to be negative about everything, we’d have to stick with only what we are perfectly comfortable with, and exactly how many things are we that comfortable with? Maybe if all we wanted was to go to work, sleep, and eat, it would be fine to confine ourselves within our comfort zones, but that is a pathetic existence. Life is for living and I don’t categorize existing with living. Tables exist. So do rocks and plants, but people live.

Let’s not settle for surviving either. Surviving is what animals do. They are born, they eat and sleep, they have babies, and then they die. It’s not much of a step up from simple existence. So how about we try to improve ourselves in everything we do so that we’re are not simply existing or surviving? Why don’t we “shoot for the stars,” as they say and make our lives so much more meaningful?

Let’s not think we’re only capable of this much and not that much. With sky high goals and firey passion, we could reach infinitely further – even in failure – than with self-deprecated attempts.

Effective use of the transitive property

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I’m working six hours short of full time now. My boss decided the Koreans were getting out of hand so my hours have been geared up. I am now working four 9 to 5 days. Then, I have a two hour staff meeting on Fridays. I’m translating for two different projects, one in downtown Los Angeles and one in San Pedro, and today was the first day I worked on the San Pedro project.

San Pedro wasn’t bad. Not as bad as the Los Angeles project, at least. In San Pedro, we only have to worry about 180 apartment units whereas in the Los Angeles project, we trying to get about 1200 units taken care of. It also turns out that there are plenty of parking spaces in San Pedro and that the morning commute is not deadly. Perfect recipe for a nice job, wouldn’t you agree?

Still, I have to deal with a lot of old people, and we all know my saying right? Old people are bitter people and bitter people are no fun. Therefore, according to my fine Californian public school education in mathematics, by the transitive property, old people are no fun and sometimes, neither is my job.

I’m not complaining though. I know how hard it is to get a job these days, what with the economy suffering as it is, and I’m grateful I have such a nice job that pays decently. I shall not take it for granted and the next time an old man sasses me about how there are cracks on his walls that will cause his ceiling to cave in on him in his sleep the next time there is an earthquake when he should be bowing to us for renovating his unit and moving all of his crap FOR FREE while making it as stressless as possible, I will only silently wish it to really happen and not say it out loud.

 

Too much time = movie madness

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I have a lot of spare time. Now that school is out, I’m just kind of hanging out and working. Ironically, I feel like I have less time. I find myself not blogging as often not because I don’t want to, but because I’m so caught up trying to figure out what to do with all this extra time that before I know it, its after 10 and I have to go to work the next morning.

I watch more movies now, though. In the last week, I watched The Golden Compass, which was really boring and hard to finish, and Juno, which basically was the best movie ever. I also have Cloverfield and Casino Royale from Netflix waiting to be watched. My friend and I watched The Forbidden Kingdom, a movie I thought was pretty fun, and Iron Man. Oh, man, I can’t get over Iron Man.

It was so cool! Obviously, it is not a thinking movie. Comparing a thinking movie to a nonthinking movie is like The Old Man and the Sea compared to the Harry Potter series or The Da Vinci Code on the literature front. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Iron Man immensely. I thought they could not have casted a better person to play Tony Stark. I mean, seriously? You can’t get much better than Robert Downey Jr.

Anyways, I should probably get over it. “Get over it! It wasn’t that good,” my friends say. Oh, but it was! Except Juno was better.

OK, now I’m just rambling. I’m working tomorrow so this is it for this post. Good night.

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