overwhelmed by information

There is too much to read, to look at, to surf, and to think. I am having a lot of trouble turning it off. I read the NYTimes, and then I read Lifehacker, and then I read some blogs, and then I read the Huffington Post, and then it just keeps going.

I’ve determined that I really need to prioritize. I need to simply draw the line somewhere. Maybe I won’t read everything that is interesting. Or listen to all that there is to listen to. But, I do also need to live my life. I can’t just spend all my time absorbing all of this information.

But damn, it is hard.


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a truly green place

After reading about this place in a bunch of Sydney food blogs, I had to check it out. Reclaimed/reused/repurposed things can be so beautiful. The food was pretty good too.

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terrace houses

I love these terrace houses. They are found all-over Sydney. Sometimes, the ground floors are cute little shops. But usually, they are homes for lucky people.

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Failure of Language

I was talking with a friend the other day, and we were talking about something that she is doing that requires conquering her fears and facing additional fears. And I told her “I’m proud of you” but really, it’s not quite the right word to express how I felt.

It seemed a bit patronizing to say “I’m proud of you.” After all, she is not my child. I have nothing to do with her actions. I’m just a friend who is happy to know someone like her–and who feels lucky to have friends like her.

But “proud” is the only word I could think of. What I really wanted to say was: “I think what you’re doing is awesome and I’m impressed.” But, we don’t have a word (at least, I don’t know of a word) that can express all of that simply and eloquently.

It reminded me of the time when my friends were starting to lose their virginity. The first word that came to mind was “Congratulations!” But really, not quite the right sentiment. And I recognized then that it wasn’t quite the right word to fit the situation. I really want to say: “I’m so happy for you!” but even that is not quite right. In fact, I really can’t describe what I wanted to express–I suppose some sort of acknowledgment of happiness.

Another failure in language.

This reminds me of the fact that there are often times when I can’t find the right words in English. Granted, I think all languages have the same problem. But, there are times when I know the perfect word in Taiwanese–and I just can’t translate it. Grinchy has the same problem, except he knows the word in Spanish. It just doesn’t translate into English.

I suppose this is the language we are given. At least, hopefully we can still find some way to express the sentiment that we have in the imperfect language that we must use. Hopefully somehow we can communicate effectively, or at least acknowledge that sometimes there are awkward words we have to use instead.

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thoughts on being Asian

I was talking with a friend today about guys who seem to really like Asian women. As in, they seem to only date Asian women. (Sometimes, for some unknown reason, we say that these guys have an Asian fetish.) We both agreed that our initial reaction upon recognizing this behavior in a guy is repulsion.

I think we are grossed out because we are concerned about the various stereotypes about Asian women. Oddly, the stereotypes are a bit contradictory. Asian women are submissive. Asian women are “dragon ladies” in bed. Sometimes, they are combined–sort of like the Asian version of the “virgin-whore.”

But then I considered other ethnicities. When a guy tells me that he really likes Latina women–I nod in agreement. It seems to make sense to me. And maybe I’m wrong, but I assume Latina women would also agree. Of course guys like Latina women. How could they not?

So I wonder if we are grossed out by guys who like Asian women because we think there must be something wrong with them. What’s so attractive about Asian women? They must believe in those annoying stereotypes–that is the only reason they would be attracted to Asian women.

This is warped thinking. Maybe it’s time to alter my initial reaction. Of course guys should like Asian women. We’re sexy and beautiful. Thank you for recognizing our fabulousness.

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what is it about food writing?

I have become completely enamored with books about food and cooking. I suppose this makes sense. The gateway drug was food blogs. There’s something about seeing all those provocative pictures of food. It makes you lick your lips.

I attempted to wean myself from food books by reading This Side of Paradise. But I hated the book. I got annoyed with Amory. What a stupid name for a stupid boy. I got angry at the book. Why the heck is this book a classic?

After weeks of suffering, I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I went looking for another book on my bookshelf and found Heat. And suddenly, I relaxed. This was a book I could enjoy–akin to comfort food. I stayed up reading 60 pages, caught up in the story of food and cooking. It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve read about the same subject. I was enthralled.

Hmmm. I might be addicted to food writing.

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I could be anyone

Sometimes, as I’m wandering around this big city, I feel like a small little ant.

I moved here with Grinchy. And he is the only one I know here. Sure, we have met some people, but I still feel very anonymous. No one knows me here. I could be anyone I wanted to be.

I sat on the top level of a train car. There was no one around me.

I could have danced in the aisles. I could have stood on each chair. I could have streaked the car. Instead, I took pictures.

For some reason, I sometimes get embarrassed about taking pictures. Even though I am just a small little ant, I don’t want to call attention to myself. I just want to blend in.

Even though no one knows me here, and I can be whoever I wanted to be, I am still me.

So, it was nice to have the train car all to myself. I took pictures without a care. Although really, I’d love to take pictures of people, without them noticing. But maybe that’s a bit invasive. People are so interesting though. Maybe if I can figure out how to silence the stupid shutter sound on my camera phone. I promise I won’t take evil pictures.

There is something mesmerizing about watching the scenery pass by a train window. Even better if you can take silly pictures, anonymously.

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celebrity malaria cases

I really love reading Nicholas Kristof. He often writes about something thought-provoking or inspiring. I bought this book, but haven’t had a chance to read it. I’m sure it will be similarly thought-provoking and inspiring.

Today, I was amused by Kristof’s latest “ask a question”.  There is a part of me that is sad that it takes a celebrity getting malaria to make the general population want to learn about an illness that can be devastating and that millions around the world suffer from. But then again, there is something about George Clooney that would make even malaria pretty sexy.

Wait. No. Malaria is bad. But Clooney with malaria is probably still sexy.

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stuff to settle down

This post reminds me of a conversation Grinchy and I had recently. After living in Sydney for two months, Grinchy wondered if I felt settled yet. He did, since he started work over a month ago. Whereas I have been wandering the streets of Sydney, exploring neighborhoods (and doing altogether too much shopping).

I felt settled in the sense that I was comfortable in Sydney. I knew where the post office was. We had a bank, and could easily get money. I could relatively quickly rummage through my wallet and bring out the correct cash to pay for things. And I knew how to ride the bus and train.

Despite this, I didn’t quite feel settled. Partially it was because we had our stuff packed up and shipped (via slow boat) to Sydney, and therefore it still had not yet arrived. Which then made us wonder: “How much stuff does it take to feel settled?

There’s the stuff that we couldn’t live without, which we brought on the plane with us.

  • computer
  • MP3 player
  • Kindle
  • camera
  • cell phone (sadly, we had to buy new ones since the ones we had in the US didn’t work here)

Then, there’s the stuff that we really want to have. I was a really missing my cookware. Not that I cooked as often as I’d like to–but it was still annoying to be cooking with crappy pots and pans. The pot (that I used almost every time I cooked) with the wiggly handle was particularly annoying.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am seriously attached to my stuff. Sure, I can live without it, but there are definitely things that I missed. Now that our stuff has finally arrived (yay!) and I’m in the midst of unpacking–unwrapping each item is like opening a present.

But I still have to be careful–and not get too attached to things. I’m already stuffing our apartment to the ceiling. I need to stop finding things that I love when I shop (or surf the web). Because there’s a definitely line between making a house a home, and being so settled down that you’re buried under all your stuff.

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lights and sounds

I’m not always a fan of modern art. There are definitely times when I simply stare and do not understand what I’m looking at. Other times, I don’t try to understand, I am simply happy to experience.

The other night, we went to an art installation, at the Chinese Friendship Garden in Sydney. There were strange sounds, which I didn’t always enjoy. Although I suppose it is interesting to creating an “instrument” out of objects you wouldn’t normally consider.

But even if I didn’t love every aspect of it, I was continually amazed by the creativity. And I couldn’t help but think that it must have been a fantastic opportunity–to have the Chinese Friendship Garden as your canvas–and free reign to add lights and sounds to it.

Even better if your light consists of balls of fire.


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