“Blogging’s totally a legit job and I feel embarrassed when I feel embarrassed to say that that’s how I’ve made my living since I’ve graduated from college, but uh… “online journalists” sounds a lot less … made up. That’s all.”—
If you could identify one thing you feel is missing in your life, what would it be?
Life abroad. I miss it EVERY day. I love exploring, trying new food, experiencing different cultures, not knowing what’s next. I love exchanging stories with strangers and enjoying each other’s presence for fleeting moments, not knowing whether we will actually ever be more than those French doctors that thought Jager was exotic / those American college girls on the third floor of the hostel to each other (Israel, March 2009). I love being able to hop on a plane to a neighboring country with one week’s notice.
Don’t get me wrong. I live a very fulfilling life. But I don’t think that itch will ever go away.
does your mom know about your tattoo? will she after your tattoo post?
My mom is well aware of my tattoo. She’s OK with it because it’s tiny (which makes me wish I got it bigger).
She doesn’t actually read my blog (“too many words!”) but she looks at the pictures. However, if she hadn’t known I’m sure one of the crazy ladies of the Fremont, Calif. Asian Mother Network who read my blog for to collect incriminating gossip for Sunday’s dim sum roundtable would’ve notified her, since that’s how my mom seems to learn new things about my life these days.
Yesterday, I was cleaning my room — a rare occasion, as my roommates will attest — when I stumbled across a giant folder of study abroad pamphlets, course syllabuses, receipts and random paraphernalia from my semester in Cyprus.
The neatest find from my archaeological dig? A piece of scratch paper from exactly one year ago bearing my sketches of the tattoo I wanted.
Last April, we were in Amsterdam as part of our spring break Eurotrip. After a morning of visiting the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank’s house, my friend Tracy spontaneously decided she wanted a tattoo. We had already wrapped up our agenda for the day, so we all accompanied her to a tattoo parlor, based on the recommendation of some dude in some souvenir shop on some random street corner. (Glad we did our research, right?)
I’d contemplated a tattoo for years but never really decided on it. But in the moment, I thought, why not?
Above is my attempt at drawing. The tattoo artist tried drawing me some much more elaborate lotuses (loti?), but I didn’t particularly like any of them. My boring lotus outline in the bottom left won out. (I drew the cross on the top right, which is what Tracy ended up getting.) Am I an artist or what?
Next, he sketched out some possible locations for my tat.
Here’s the final product, moments after completion. It took maybe three minutes.
Given that we were in Amsterdam on 4/20, and my tattoo somewhat resembled a marijuana leaf, for the remainder of the trip I was known as “that Asian chick who got the weed leaf tattoo.”
It’s really an itty-bitty thing, and from far away, my friends inform me, it just looks like I have a mole. Thanks, friends.
You would think that given the short-term thought I put into it, I’d regret my tattoo. But it’s inconspicuously small and most days, I forget I even have it, unless I’m wearing a back-baring dress like the one above.
To commemorate our one-year anniversary since we left Cyprus, my BFF Amy and I are contemplating getting matching Greek tattoos when I’m in Boston next weekend. I’ve been tossing around the idea of ἀγάπη (love) for awhile, but I’m not totally set on it.
Thoughts? Comments? Ideas?
(Oh yeah, and still waiting for Annie and Kelly to jump on board with the matching #TAK <3 tats. Hee.)
I came across your blog when I did a google search of one of your piano teachers. Just wondering if you still play piano.
Unfortunately, no. I played for almost 13 years, from the age of five until I was 18. (Sometimes I wish I grew up playing piano in the YouTube era so that I might have captured some of my talent on video).
I entertained the idea of doing a music minor, but the music center on campus was kind of a hike from my dorm … so, yeah. That idea died with a quickness.
I can still do my scales and sightread basic stuff (Celine Dion sheet music? I’m there). But I wouldn’t even bother to attempt any Lizst these days — he’d roll over in his grave. I refused to let my mother sell the Steinway, though, and fully intend on inheriting it one day so that my kid can pick up my musical slack.
Joe Catterson, the general manager of Alinea restaurant in Chicago, said that, increasingly, people can’t. “One guy arrived with the wrong lens or something on his camera and left his wife sitting at the table for an hour while he went home to get it,” he said.
Such compulsion is apparent even at restaurants where the plating is less elaborate. “They’ve got to take a picture of their pancakes and send it to their friend,” said John Vasilopoulos, the manager at the Cup & Saucer, a diner on the Lower East Side. “I don’t get it because their food gets cold, but I take it as a compliment.”
Evidently aware of the trend, manufacturers like Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Fuji have within the last two years released cameras with special “food” or “cuisine” modes, costing around $200 to $600. “These functions enable close-up shots with enhanced sharpness and saturation so the food colors and textures really pop,” said Terry Sullivan, associate editor of digital imaging technologies at Consumer Reports.
This bemuses Tucker Shaw, the food critic for The Denver Post, who made do with a basic point-and-shoot digital camera to take pictures of everything he ate in 2004; he published the photos in his book, “Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth.”
“It used to turn heads if you took a picture of your food, and I even got in trouble at a few restaurants,” he said. “Now it’s ubiquitous and just shows that we are in a spastic food era — we couldn’t get more obsessive.”
This is hilarious to me because I am — and have been for years — *that* girl who whips out her camera to take pictures of her meal. Froyo? Steak dinner? Carne asada fries? Whatever it is, I’m on it with my vivid/macro settings before you even touch your fork. It’s come to the point that if I don’t pull out my Canon as soon as dinner is served, my mom asks whether I need to photograph my food before she starts eating.
I do wish they’d add a mini-light to cameras. Most of the time an expensive restaurant (and thus aesthetic plating) also coincides with dim lighting, which is a shame. I JUST WANT TO TUMBLR PICS OF MY SEARED FOIE GRAS, DAMN IT.
Read about my experience getting an IUD and why this 99%-effective, economical, long-term, reversible, and maintenance-free contraceptive still flies under the radar. (Hat tip to Lena, who first introduced me to the IUD and was my go-to person throughout the process.)
Also: 11,000 views, 15 reader e-mails, and 177 comments = why writing for the web is sometimes much more rewarding than writing for print.
You guys always ask about the random and incrediblyfun opportunities I’ve experienced as a result of blogging.
This might be the most exciting just yet, just because my nerd-dom transcends all (even gluttonous vacations): At the end of this month, Serena and I will be flying out to Boston to speak at ROFLcon on a panel about race on the web. I’m honored to be on a formidable list of the people who are singlehandedly responsible for putting hilarity on the internet.
Unlike SXSWi, which consisted of a somewhat uninspired lineup of panels, when it comes to ROFLcon, I actually want to attend, well, everything. As of four days ago, there were only 75 tickets left — if you’re located in Boston, don’t miss out.
I'm a broke soon to be college graduate moving to NYC, trying to pursue the lovely world of magazine journalism. Should I give up now? Go join McDonalds? I've had some opportunities thrown my way, but let's face it-I'm scared!
First of all, why in the world are we asking me? I’m in the same boat, my friend.
Secondly, magazine journalism is a crapshoot. If you’re going to go into publishing, at least do it on the web.
If you’ve had opportunities thrown your way, you’re probably already in better shape than a lot of people. Take them. And don’t work for McDonald’s unless you’re going to get a good story out of it.
What's the most random thing that has happened to you (or person you've met) as a result of blogging?
When I was studying abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus, we went clubbing. All. The. Time.
Naturally, after clubbing, we’d hit up our favorite late-night munchie spot: Jack in the Box. And seeing as we went out, oh, four nights a week at minimum, we were at Jack in the Box — all. The. Time.
I’m talking fanatical enthusiasts. One time, we were in the beach city of Ayia Napa, and I actually slightly injured my finger from jabbing it at the window in excitement from seeing Jack in the Box.
One night, for whatever reason, while purchasing our standard round of pizza subs, my best friend Brittany decided she wanted the shirt off the JITB employee’s back. And I quote: “I just want to smell it.”
Suffice to say, she woke up the next day nestled next to a bright orange shirt with a JITB logo on it.
Soon, it became a running joke that all the girls in our posse had to acquire Jack in the Box shirts. (After all, we were die-hard, loyal customers. They should have been thrilled at the free brand representation.)
In subsequent weeks, with Brittany’s brute force / persuasive tactics, Amy and I each had one to call our own.
Anyway, having stripped half the night staff of their clothing, we jokingly promised that in our travels, we’d be sure to mail them postcards of us rocking our orange T-shirts in front of landmarks around the world.
And thus, this happened:
(For those who are lost: Those are the Egyptian pyramids.)
After returning from Egypt, I wrote on my (old and now-defunct) blog about our trip, posting the above photo on my blog.
In the next week or so, I received the following e-mail:
Hi Teresa! Great blog site. I discovered your site after getting a tip regarding a “Jack in the Box” sighting in Nicosia, Cyprus. I work for JACK IN THE BOX, Corporate Offices, in San Diego - as TM Enforcement Manager. Anyways, like you, I’m a local San Diegan, graduated from SDSU…and Asian (or Pac. Islander, if you want to be technical about it). So…I’m curious to find out more about your Jack in the Box shirts you and your friend are wearing in front of the Egyptian pyramids. We no longer operate JIB restaurants overseas so your comment regarding “…Jack in the Box workers…” is curious. Could you please contact me when you have a free moment to help answer a few questions? I will continue to investigate the matter using other resources, but I’d be interested to hear what you have to say. Regards, Leo.
Basically, our favorite, beloved fast-food restaurant was ALL A SHAM. And it took me wearing my Jack in the Box T-shirt in front of the Egyptian pyramids and blogging about it and having a Jack in the Box rep stumble across my blog to uncover the fraud that was Jack in the Box Nicosia.
I briefly entertained the idea of outing Jack in the Box Nicosia, but that’d be like telling your mom that your diabetic grandma steals a Girl Scout cookie from the cupboard every now and then. (OK, and admittedly, I don’t eat (American) fast food, so any compensation they could offer me in free burgers was unappealing. If it were free Ben and Jerry’s we were talking about, it’d be a whole ‘nother story.)
1. How did you afford to live in NYC for two summers? Were your internships paid?
2. I've always heard that if you want to get into the journalism/publishing business you should write for your paper. What was your school newspaper experience like?
1. Um, I BARELY afforded it. Hahah. My internships weren’t paid. (I just counted — I’ve held SEVEN! unpaid media internships to date.) My mom helped me out with rent, but it wasn’t glamorous — that much I can tell ya. I may have mentioned this at some point, but this past summer I lived in a SHOEBOX in which I could literally touch both walls of my room when laying down.
I fluctuated between living it up (yeah! I can totally rationalize this exorbitant $24 brunch!) and flagellating myself for such behavior by eating single cans of corn for dinner. One time I went home with these two guys at 6 in the morning because they had pizza.
But that’s another story for another day.
WALK. EVERYWHERE. (In the summer of 2008, I didn’t pay for a SINGLE cab ride in my three months there.
Avoid Soho like the plague. Or just go to the boutiques that are so ludicrously expensive that you can’t imagine actually buying anything.
PS: I have always worked (tutoring, teaching piano, folding t-shirts, campus jobs, freelancing, etc.). Even though I am, on some level, perpetually broke, I am a Money Saving Ninja. People ALWAYS ask me how I have money, and I will tell you this: I have been reading Iwillteachyoutoberich.com since its inception. (Hearts for Ramit Sethi. I hope he finds this via Google alerts of his name.)
2. I started my “illustrious” journalism career as a writer, then editor-in-chief at Mission San Jose High’s Smoke Signal, which remains the finest publication to ever hit American doorsteps. In college, I had brief stints as a columnist, copy editor and then managing editor at the UCSD Guardian, which — imagine this hilarity! — I did for the money more than anything, since they were easy, on-campus jobs.
Nobody actually ever taught me how to write a news story, and other people are embarrassed of my headlines on my behalf, but I could wax poetic about capitalization all day and rebuild a ravaged country if you gave me a ticking deadline. While no one in the “real world” actually ever checked out my clips from my days at the student paper, I’d say having the experience on my resume helped me land internships I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten.