I see a shower of presents

And I cringe.

Bridal shower.

A high school friend’s bridal shower is tomorrow. Of course, it’s not to say that I am not honored to be invited. In fact, I really appreciate that our friendship has lasted for so long—all through the different phases of our lives, through the good and bad.

Initially, I thought: this is great! My friend is awesome and deserves to be celebrated.

But then I looked up the definition of a bridal shower. An event really centered around the gifts. It’s all female—because generally custom assumes that women have female friends only. It’s about dressing up in nice dresses, looking nice, eating salads…surrounded by lace, pastels, and more.

It’s my first bridal shower even though I am approaching my thirties.

So tomorrow morning, I will get up and drive to my parents’ house. I will have a present wrapped up in my trunk. I will write something on the card. I will wear a dress that I will decide on the last minute. I will wear a touch of eyeliner and mascara…perhaps even a dab of pseudo-lipstick. I will eat lunch with my parents…and then drive the 2 miles to my friend’s parents’ house. I will enter with a smile and stay with a smile through the shower, maintaining the mores of situations. Then I will enjoy it…I will enjoy it.

Because most importantly, this is a celebration of the next greatest phase of a treasured friend’s life.

I valiantly tried to have the best pizza in town

“How did you like it?” he asked after the pizza was consumed.

“Poop,” I replied.

I don’t know why it is—whether it was years of having a distaste for bread, but pizza is not my favored item of choice for edibility. I find it mushy, especially when it gets to the crust. But recently, I was called upon to the fact that there is ONE pizza place that can change my mind.

But it was not the case. I was able to consume through some of the usual bits, but then came the crust. The taste of bread-ness was overwhelming and that shot the rest of the time. I did not want to have anymore pizza.

However, this does not mean that I do not understand why people cannot appreciate pizza. This does not mean that pizza is to be eliminated like the scorn of the earth. It’s simply because of me.

This time though, I tried, because I am always open to possibility.

What are you so afraid of?

Sometimes it’s easy to describe. Bees. Skinning my knees. Stuttering. Loud voices. Cars. Bikes. No money.

But that doesn’t describe the deeper fear. That it’s loss, abandonment, loneliness, imperfection, lack of control.

There was once that I stood there, speechless, because I didn’t know how to describe it. Because the way I would describe it would have no immediate prescription.

Instead, I said nothing.

Today, I decided that it’s just easier, just easier to just say it.

I slept in 11 different beds on my trip

…in a span of 4 weeks and 4 cities. I probably won’t do this again.


  • 1 night at a FOAF #1 (couch)
  • 4 nights at a hotel (shared room)
  • 3 nights at an airbnb (private room)
  • London

  • 2 nights at a hostel (shared room with 3 others)
  • 3 nights at a FOAF #2 (bed in living room)
  • 2 nights at an airbnb (private room)
  • 1 night at a FOAF #3 (bed in living room)
  • Berlin

  • 3 nights at an airbnb (private room)
  • 1 night at a FOAF #4 (private room)
  • NYC

  • 3 nights at a hotel (private room)
  • 4 nights at my sister’s (shared room)
  • In this photo, it is beauty

    Over River Liffey

    The photo is simple. One of my favorite photos taken during my trip—of Dublin, Ireland while crossing a bridge over River Liffey. I had set my digital camera to have a slightly longer shutter speed to capture the colorful lights bouncing over the water. It is amazing.

    However, what it doesn’t capture are the emotions before and after. The nuances that I will always remember from that photo.

    I had just rejected an invitation to dinner, hoping that I would catch up with someone who could potentially connect me with UX in London. My hopefulness and optimism came from a full day of conference networking—where I felt that I made genuine connections. For the first time, I really felt at ease. However, right before I took that photo, I went up to a female that looked like the person and apparently, I was wrong. Attempting to cover up my embarrassment, I laughed it saying that it was hard to figure out how people looked like based on their twitter photo. So I walked along the river…alone…feeling a bit lonely as I saw groups of people walking together to dinner.

    Then I crossed the bridge and saw this amazing sight.

    After the photo was taken, I went to the restaurant that the person indicated on Twitter. Of course, plans change and not everyone had data on in Dublin. I was the only Asian in the restaurant…and I stared at all the white females in the restaurant. In disappointment and anxiety, I ate a small dinner alone—of soup and bread—sitting near the window next to a girl who was listening to the ipod bopping her head up and down. Fortunately, I spotted the ice cream store across the way…and that was the only saving grace of that moment.

    Murphy's ice cream: Brown bread and Dinkle sea salt in cup.

    dslfsldfjsdlfds KAWAII skkaaa dadd

    They looked at me and started gestured to me to come over.

    I hesitated. But Chris gave me a nudge. Go! his eyes said.

    But what do I have got to lose? For LOLz right? I thought.

    So I walked over to stand next to the chef.

    I stood behind the Japanese business men at the Izakaya restaurant. The guy holding the camera phone counted in Japanese. So I put on a smile, because this whole thing was so amusing. The group leaned together as we had known each other…friendliness and all. They said more Japanese to me but I did not understand a single except for kawaii.

    I walked back to my table, mouthing to everyone WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.

    On the way out of the restaurant, the chef came over and said…so cute!. He gave a friendly punch to a guy friend, You boyfriend? You so lucky!

    Anxieties while traveling #1

    It had been two weeks since I had started traveling and I was looking forward to the two days that I would be spending by myself. In the past, I had loved those days, especially in foreign cities. I had wandered through Boston and NYC, discovering magic in every corner. And the same in Bangkok and Saigon. I would aimlessly eat and spend so wastefully…but all of it would be delicious.

    But that Monday did not turn out to be anything like it. I had intended to start the day out by going to Tate Modern, meeting a friend for tea, networking with a colleague from IDEO…and then wandering around Marylebone…perhaps afternoon tea? shopping? And perhaps a meal at a famous Burmese place?

    This is how it went down:

    9:50 AM Missing package
    I realized that I had left a box at my friend’s place—where I had stayed the night before. The box was intended to be delivered to the friend who I was meeting at 1 PM for tea.
    It was 10 minutes to 10 AM and I had planned to go to the Tate Modern, but I could not find that orange box. In frustration, I stomped in my flat, glad that my host was not present. After a few texts and wandering about in fervor in Southwark, I hopped on the tube to West Kensington wasting half a few hours to retrieve the box. Fortunately the friend was hanging out at home. So all was well, but my plans to visit Tate Modern were completely disrupted.

    3:27 PM Wrong address
    I was so impressed with myself that I got to Shoreditch on time. I had taken the correct bus from South Bank. Although it went on a detour, I was able to get off at nearby stop and walk to the address…that was indicated on my Android phone. I kept looking for the coffee shop and found that the marker on Google maps was to a storefront that was obviously closed. Did the guy send me the wrong place? I was confused—because this seemed to be completely correct. Then it hit me. Earlier I had looked at the link on my computer and it had been close to Soho. But now when I had loaded the map link on my phone, it sent me to Shoreditch. I wanted to scream, “NO!” but thought better in a foreign country. After a moment of anger at technology breakdowns, I texted the colleague apologizing for being late and said that I would be there. I bit my lip and spent the next few minutes trying to wave down a taxi. As I sat in the back, I rationalized that at least I was trying out an old school black cab even though it was going to cost me 10 quid.

    5:20 PM Lack of restrooms in Convent Garden
    Just complaining. :)

    6:30 PM Missing iPod touch bag
    I realized that it was missing. NO! I thought again, angry. I told myself to breathe…as I was now wandering in Soho not completely in logical paths. It took me a moment to accept that it was missing. Then panic started rising as I started to wonder if I had my keys. The 30 seconds it took to find my keys raised my anxiety way too high…and somehow my resolve was broken. I knew that I could not spend the evening any longer wandering without panic and anxiety. I dragged myself to the last few places I visited where I knew that I had the iPod touch bag. I described it—blue with a mashimaro bunny. It’s sentimental really since it really didn’t have any value. Nothing was inside, but sorrow of its loss was growing. After the second place I visited, I accepted its loss.

    7:20 pm Non-chocolate candy not visible in Tesco
    This was supposed to be my way of feeling better, but I could not find it. I didn’t want any American candy and I was feeling my annoyance turn into something vicious. Fortunately, I found the right aisle 10 minutes later. About 3 quid later, I was happily stuffing sour wine gums in…forgetting the Monday I had.

    It’s just going to pinch a little

    About a third of the self-help books that cross my desk could be distilled to two things: first, if you can tolerate a little discomfort, you can achieve almost any goal; and second, it’s amazing the lengths we’ll go to to avoid discomfort. The Two Things Project

    For me, I can’t help but be who I am. The quirks, the weaknesses, the affinity to certain anxieties. It’s hard to pretend to be someone else, but it’s harder to just say this is who I am, so accept me.