I love entertaining, but…

This is me:
I love having people over. I love chattering about nothing, cooking, hearing about your life, philosophize about our beliefs, think about why people are they way they are, and more.

But there is a time limit. There are very few people that I want to stay forever and ever. For everyone else, I don’t want to be rude, but I want you to leave.

This is him:
He loves having people over. There is no time limit. Absolutely because time need not exist.

Everyone, please, please stay forever. There’s video games to talk about, there’s a story to tell, there’s movie trailer that you must see, what about my bunny, how are your parents and you are…so interesting.


This may be the last time that I say my age! Maybe just once more.

This year was a quandary for what I wanted to do for my birthday. In the last year, I have realized what a mess I become when I try to entertain. I love cooking for people, but the fact that I spent more time cooking than actually talking with people…was less appealing to me. And I was over the idea of doing something that everybody loved but I didn’t.

And so I thought about what elaborate scheme that I could come up with.

Not bar-hopping.

But how about…ice cream…hopping. Or better yet, as Chris coined it…Sundae-hopping on Sundays!

What I thought was fascinating of the group that attended:

  • You can find my group of friends in a crowd pretty easily—they’re the ones checking in on foursquare and tweeting
  • Number of males > number of females
  • Most people do not know each other
  • Not the same people from the previous year
  • Maker Faire, others’ birthdays, Rapture, graduation will always eclipse my birthday—for some people
  • Some highlights:




    The CMU crew! (And one little crazy bday girl)



    And some that my friends tweeted:

    From Paco:

    From Mike:

    From Annie:

    Here’s a jennism: Treat old and young the same

    Even though there is a jealous wave that comes over me when someone younger has achieved as much as or more than me.

    Although I find that I relate to them better than someone older.

    Regardless if they are 5 years junior…or even 10 years….

    I (almost) never say “that kid”. Young un. The young whippersnapper. I don’t say that I am old—beyond comments like “oh that’s what I would do when I was younger…as in 3 years ago…” or “I am too old for this”.

    I try not to even though there are young twentysomethings doing what I do…as I start the ascent into my thirties.

    I am not insecure about my age. I am only insecure about what I haven’t been able to do.

    Things I learned in Peru

  • I am psychic (I located my bike group within 7 minutes after being accidentally left behind)
  • Going down stairs is still my enemy even though I conquered them…temporarily
  • The “worst bathroom in the world” isn’t really that bad…really
  • The crazy-looking bird in the Amazon is called a hoatzin but pronounced as watson
  • If I go with the flow, everything usually will work out
  • Travel insurance can come in handy in…South America
  • The Lima airport is incredibly small!
  • And the Cusco airport is even smaller!
  • You can hike the Inca Trail with fake eyelashes and makeup—I know, because I saw it
  • You can climb Machu Picchu (probably not the classic Inca Trail) with high heels—if you’re Brazilian
  • Keep an eye on your passport. Always.
  • Make a copy of your passport and keep it separate from your passport
  • Carrying US cash is incredibly useful despite the danger
  • There aren’t many ATMs in Peru
  • Act like an expat and you’ll get better rates on the taxis than if you act like a tourist
  • It’s always useful to know the local language of the place you’re visiting
  • Birdwatching really means 30 minutes of waiting around until the bird comes into view—I did not know that apparently and thought it was meant to be like…as seen on Planet Earth
  • I love my bed
  • There really isn’t that much to do in Lima
  • Peru is a rather religious country, so many things are closed on Sundays and other significant holidays
  • For the Inca Trail, when they say the limit is 6 kg for the porter—this would include the sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • A microfiber towel is super handy
  • And toilet paper—always
  • Mosquito repellent on the skin and clothes…still never deters insects
  • Take photos of all the food
  • Or better yet, don’t be afraid to take all the photos that you can—you want to remember why you spend over 2k on those 14 days
  • Consider whether it’s really worth it to stay in the Lima airport to wait for your early morning Cusco flight, especially if it can be up to 9 hours waiting
  • Negotiate your taxi in Lima before getting in—determine your rates
  • Tip well
  • Do things that are off the beaten track—take the time to research on trip advisor, etc. to find what you would love to do
  • Be happy even when things are going awry—all of this is an once in a lifetime moment!
  • I do truly love vacations where I am going, going…
  • Always write something like this afterwards
  • The consequences of a trip

    From a trip like this for Peru:

  • Insect bites will not go away
  • You will look at stairs in the subway with no angst
  • You can actually read signs in Spanish
  • Beds are such a pleasure rather than a given
  • Same with toilets, Western that is
  • Hiking locally has some appeal
  • Until you realize that you really would rather not hike
  • And that you will be asked for your advice multiple times for the next several decades
  • When my mom was my age…

    She went to the United States for the first time. To find her father.

    Like mother like daughter. Very much like me, we don’t think that deeply about consequences of our actions. And we are often very surprised when reactions do not match expectations.

    After finishing nursing school, she had planned a trip to the Bay Area with a friend to visit a classmate. At the last minute, the friend bailed. Yet with the same headstrong characteristic that she passed onto my sister and me…she continued with the trip. Fiercely independent, she traveled around the Bay Area (and met my dad who was her classmate’s older brother).

    To this day, I don’t know whether it was planned early on or impulsively planned once in the Bay Area, she decided that she wanted to meet her father who she hadn’t seen for decades. Having doused some older letters with vinegar, she found her father’s address in Queens and flew to New York City. Once there, she waited at the address and finally met him.

    Impulsively, she said dramatically, “I found you!”

    After that, she realized that she didn’t have a plan for what would happen next. Just like most Chinese families, he invited her out to dinner…and other usual customs.

    I don’t have a similar family situation now (both of my parents live in idyllic suburbs in the same house that I lived in since I was 7)—but I think that I would have done the same thing.

    Upon returning…I have never…

  • Had my hands darker than it had ever been
  • Been always consistently exhausted before midnight
  • Dread going down stairs without a handrail
  • Look upon quiet nights with jealousy and desire
  • Appreciate businesses having change even for large denominations
  • Thankful for clean Western-style toilets
  • Been happy for bike lanes
  • Thought unmarked streets were a bad idea
  • Drinking tap water is ok and sane
  • Upon the return…

    It is surreal. Somehow what I remember does not match what I see or hear.

    The English seems so blunt, forward. The trees—they are larger and grander. My apartment somehow feels smaller than I recall.

    But then it’s all the same again as I tumble into sleep back in my own bed.