Aug 17, 2011

New Blog... No, Really

Hey peoples,

I actually made a new blog. I know. You're shocked. It's actually a little insulting. Stop it.

I did. Honestly. It's right here: At The Sidewalk's End. 

It's pretty much the same blog, only now I have pretty shoes on the header. Yay header! If you don't know what I'm talking about go check it out. If you still don't, it's OK. It wasn't that important.

(but i made the header. just so you know. i'm enormously proud of it.)

See you on the other side. Over.

Aug 4, 2011

Of Adjectives, Expectations, and Frozen Yogurt

WARNING: I'm thinking of starting all of my posts with warnings. Anyway, this is extremely long. I hadn't realized how long until I posted it. I could go edit and cut it down... but I've been editing an essay all week, so that's not happening. I would recommend skimming. Or you could just pretend you read it and move on.

Some of you might remember my epiphany in the dandelions that came last year about how all adjectives are relative. (i've since discovered that all words are relative, but this disturbers me less.) You may remember how very annoyed I was to discover that the only way I could define myself was in comparison to other people.... which totally stinks because in comparison it is mandated that someone is the loser. And, of course, that someone is me more than I'd like it to be.

Every time I tell someone I grew up in Hawaii they say, "Why didn't you go to college there?" And I say something like, "I just thought I'd never grow up if I stayed at home." Which is totally true. Like, if I hadn't gone away to college I still wouldn't know how to use a laundromat, I still wouldn't own a wallet, and I wouldn't know how much milk costs.

(ok, we'll be honest. i still don't know how much milk costs. i haven't bought it yet. i don't drink it that much. but i know i'm a grown up because i have a wallet and keys.)

What takes more time to explain is that, cliched as it sounds, I'm curious about me.

I mean, I've been living with my for eighteen years, I kind of want to get to know me a little better. You know how you'll know someone for years, at school maybe, and then when you see them somewhere else they're totally different? I thought I'd pull myself out of the context of my life and see what I was like without it. Silly of course. I haven't left behind my context at all. I find myself giving it no matter who I'm talking to. "Back home..." "In Hawaii..." "Where I grew up..."

I thought I was escaping the labels and expectations of everyone who knew me since I was six. Everyone who sat in sunday school with me and said, "she's haole," or "smart," or "weird." I thought once I was away from all of that something would blossom in my stomach and vola! Look! So that's who I was all along. Who knew?

Actually, even thousands of miles away from my context, I'm terrified of setting it down. Because who am I without it? I'm self-imposing all those expectations on myself now and I don't even have my sunday-school mates to blame for it.

This is not where I was planning on this post going. I wasn't going to really delve into identity. (though i do have a question: is there a healthy thing to base your identity on? honestly? if i think of myself as smart and then i am disillusioned out of this and just crushed, or if it stops me from doing things i'm bad at because that makes me seem less smart, then that isn't healthy. but isn't that true about basing your identity on anything and making any judgments about yourself? now i'm just confused...) I was actually going to note a few things that I've figure out about me. 

Of course they're comparative. You see, you thought I'd entirely forgot that I'd opened with my adjective thing didn't you? Nope, see, I was going somewhere for once. I know. Weird. So, from living with people who aren't my family I've come to some (comparative) conclusions about me. Nothing real earth-shaking.

I'm actually pretty clean. I don't take any responsibility for this. I think it's my mom's handy work and is probably a bit over the top right now as I try to prove to myself that where I am living is actually my home. But still. I have compulsions to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, etc. These are compulsions that my roommates do not have and do not understand. I'm mostly cool with that, but I wish they'd let me do it. I don't need them to do their dishes, I just need their dishes done. I'm good with cleaning them, but for some reason they haven't really borded that train of thought.

I go sleep early. Really. I'm going to sleep later than I used to and I still go to bed early. Yesterday was eleven thirty-ish because I had a paper due today. It felt late then and this morning it really felt late. But try complaining about a eleven-thirty bedtime to college students. See if you get away without a social stoning. I haven't really decided what I think this says about me... but I thought I'd share it. So if you happen to be my floor mate who keeps playing the ukulele at obscene hours of the morning, take pity on the poor socially awkward girl who lives across from you and stop. Or at least learn a different song.

I am socially awkward. Which does seem sort of fundamentally unfair. I shouldn't have to be physically and socially awkward. I really must have been at the back of the line when the stars were passing out skills. Because I'm a self-justifying person, though, I have come up with a perfectly plausible reason for why I'm socially awkward. The meeting new people part is because I've lived in a tiny town my whole life, so even people I didn't know knew me. Now I'm in a place where no one knows me... and I don't know what to do. Do I just walk up to people and say, "Hey. I'm Marissa. I'm a socially awkward Asian Studies major, looking for a job and craving sugar?"

Not really, right? There is some secret to this whole meeting people thing that I am just yet to discover. Right? Like a secret password.

... Hey, guys. Now would be a great time to let me in on the secret. Just saying.

I actually have a lot to tell you. Like I bought bubbles because I decided that I couldn't live without them. And I was walking back from blowing them on Sunday and got invited in by people I'd met that day ("hey. i'm marissa....") to eat a muffin. Which was fun. I felt intimidated though, because they were talking about politics. And I know nothing about politics. I do, however, know a lot about China, and I got into a heated discussion with a Pakistani in my ward about it. I met him, told him what I studies ("i'm a socially awkward asian studies major..."), and he leaned forward said, "Do you think Mao was a good leader?" We argued about it for twenty minutes, until he had to go talk to the Bishop.

My father has mandated that my entire family will eat sugar only once a week (with the exception of holidays recognized by hallmark) and it works well. Most of the time. Everyone once in a while I just really.... need... ICECREAM. ("looking for a job and craving sugar...") Tomorrow will be my once a week, though. I'm going to go get frozen yogurt. As a treat for me doing a whole half of the things I was supposed to this week. Because I'm responsible like that.


Jul 30, 2011

Boredom and It's Children

Boredom has a rather strange assortment of offspring. I am well aware that she is the mother of invention. This is widely known or at least widely held. Invention must be the favorite child. Drowsiness, lethargy, and, homesickness are neglected by the world at large, if not by their own mother.

Saturdays used to mean excitement. They used to mean sleeping in, movies with friends, walks with Katie, baking, beaching, hanging with my family. Now they mean a whole twenty-four hours that I must fill on my own. I am not very good at it, I'm afraid. Essays, bread, stretching, and youtube have been my companions today. Hopefully I get a hold of the two people I know on campus and we can go get ice cream or something.

My dad has commanded me not to think about the future. I'm not supposed to think about the two weeks of essays and finals in front of me. And then I'm not supposed to think about the two weeks of agonizing boredom between the summer and fall semesters. And then the three and a half months after that where hopefully I will be happier, less bored, and more competent, but still away. It's such a tragic word: away.

It's funny, I've been blogging in my head all week. I walked a past rape brick in the hallway the other day (it's a brick with "rape" sharpied all over it, supposedly there in case of, well, rape) and I started describing it to you in my head and thinking about the several ironies and strategical problems of it's position and function.

When my (somewhat nocturnal) roommate was writing her paper at twelve at night and then, an hour later, my next door neighbor started playing an ukulele next door I lambasted both of them in a pretend post. At least I wasn't lambasting them out loud, right? Besides, I had a test the next day.

I've been talking to you all week, but this is the first time I've written to you.

And, honestly, if there was someone I'd know for longer than two weeks that I had the option of communicating with right now then I wouldn't be writing to you. When I left home I was annoyed that so many people I knew were coming here--here, to my new beginning. Now I can't wait. I wish everyone I ever knew was coming.

Everyone! Come!


Jul 23, 2011

It's OK, I'm Not Dying (too much)

Maybe the "two teenagers" in the name of this blog has morphed into meaning me and my (various) alter personalities.... Yeah, I know it's a stretch, but I don't want to have to make a new one. I don't know how. And I'm in college. And I'm learning too many things I don't know how to do by command to go and learn something for fun. Those days are disappearing in my rear view mirror.

I mostly got on to tell you that I'm OK.

I mean mostly. I got a very concerned (and sweet) text from my cousin Tisha the other day and realized that you might come away from my last post thinking that I was dying.

And I kind of was. Thursday was a day of nightmares. In every possible way. It was my wallowing day. I wallowed. A lot. Yesterday was much better. I made cookies and played Apples to Apples with my cousins Kelsey and Thayne (seriously, my cousins have saved my life this week), explored the grocery store, went to class, talked to my parents on skype (skype is one of those things the gods brought down to us out of pity, like fire), laughed with my roommates, and made Saturday plans.

(my teachers say my sentences are too long, what do you think?)

Anyway, the sum of it is that I'm doing much better. There was only an hour or so yesterday that I felt any hardcore hollowness. The rest of the day was OK. So I'm not dying. I am still planning on transferring back to Hawaii for college after Christmas, but if I do I'm not going to be running away. I'm not going to do it because I can't do this. If I go back home it will be because I've decided that that's a better place for me right now. But this--this college in a desert thing, this being away from my parents and Mei and almost everyone who's ever known me--this I will conquer.


Jul 21, 2011

I'm So (Home) Sick

WARNING: Serious whining ahead. I wasn't even going to post this, but I haven't finished a post since I left Hawaii and I wanted to assure you that I'm still alive. Mostly. Read at your own risk.

I now understand why people live in their parent's basement all their lives.

Why would they leave? Why would you go away from people who love you and walk out into a world that gives you weird looks and treats you like every other person on the street? Why would you leave when you don't have to worry about how to best work things out with your roommates, what you should by at the store, and where your checks were sent? When you were comfortable and happy?

My parents say that they don't really remember saying goodbye to their family or their first couple days at college. I'm putting mine down on record: It stinks. It stinks worse than anything else. Ever since I gave my little sister that last hug I've felt hollowed out inside. I'm constantly fighting back tears. My voice sounds thick and there are these hideous, painful bags under my eyes. And even though I'm sitting here on my bed crying, my mom can't give me a hug. And she isn't going to be able to for another four months and fifteen days. No matter who else gives me a hug, it won't be the same thing at all. I hate this.

I know what my dad would say if he were here. He'd say, "Why aren't you watching that movie with your sociology class? Why aren't you going down and talking to those guys who are blasting music from their truck (as long as they're not return missionaries, because you're not allowed to talk to them)? I told you not to just sit in your room and do homework and watch Korean dramas and Doctor Who."

And he did. He told me. And I probably should have stayed up on campus to watch that movie with my class. But I was hungry, I didn't want to have to pay for food, I didn't know if it would be dark by the time we finished, and I didn't want to walk for forty minutes. And I probably should go talk to the girls who are yelling downstairs, who came in place of the music-blasting guys. I should. And maybe even could.

But I don't feel like I can. My hair isn't washed, I'm in a PE shirt and shorts, and face is all swollen up. That would be OK. I could wash my hair, change into something else and wash my face. But I don't think that I could talk to them without crying. I haven't really been able to talk to anyone today without crying. I don't even want to talk to the people passing under my window. I feel no interest in them. No sense of kindred-spiritness. I'm sure they're nice, but I don't know them. And after growing up in a town where you never have to talk to anyone you don't know, I wouldn't be comfortable with them. And all I want right now is to be comfortable. All I want is to get hugs from my family, to sleep in my bed back home, to run down to Katie's house, and complain to Sister Handcock, and make bread in my oven. And for my mom to hold me and tell me everything is alright, and that she loves me, and that I can do it.

That's it. I'm transferring back to Hawaii. There is no way I can do this for a whole year. I'd live in my parents basement if they had one, but since they don't I'll content myself with sharing Mei's room.

I probably won't. I'll probably end up liking it here, meeting friends, growing up, learning about myself and the world in general. Probably. At some point. But tonight I'm by myself and I can't think of any good solution.


Jun 3, 2011

Four From Exit

So I was at the airport and had just had a quick and silent freak-out about the possibility that they won't accept my drivers permit as identification (curse me, why didn't I just get a licence!). I had also just paid a hundred dollars because my baggage was overweight. But I guess that's what happens when you pack everything you own.

I was taking a flight separate from the rest of my family, even though we were leaving at the same time and going the same place, because it was a thousand dollars cheaper that way.

My mom hugged me, told me that she loved me and said, "When you get on the plane, count how many seats you are from the exit, so you can find it if the lights go out. And get off within 90 seconds. That's very important. I read an article about it."

I was grinning at her and she said, "That's so mom, isn't it?"

"So mom," I agreed.

I thought I'd be more emotional than this. I'm leaving Hawaii for six months. Six. Months. My friends (katie...) and the beach. And non-chapped lips. For six months. And I was going on my first flight by myself (i kept checking my pockets every three seconds--ID, boarding pass, cell phone... ID, boarding pass, cell phone). And a pre-recorded man had just announced over the loudspeaker that any unattended items would be confiscated and DESTROYED  which I thought was really funny, even thought it was probably to prevent bombs from going off.

I'm flying out of my childhood and off to college, metaphorically but officially jumping off the end of the sidewalk. This is the part where I thought I'd be freaking out. But so far... not so much.

I was four seats away from the exit on the plane.


May 27, 2011

Graduation and Such

Victory is mine! Victory is mine... Bring me all the finest muffins and bagels in the land? (Name that show?)

I am now all graduated.

People keep asking me how it feels and I tell them, "Like a long weekend." Remember how I was afraid of crying in the middle of graduation? Didn't happen. I think it's because it didn't hit that I was, you know, graduating. It still hasn't. Or maybe it has and I'm just handling it much better than I though I would. Maybe I really wasn't very attached to high school after all. (attached does not have a "t" in it. just so you know.)

The other question people keep asking is what I've been doing since I graduated. I wish I had a more impressive answer. I mostly say "sleeping," or "eating," or "watching a lot of foreign movies and documentaries and Korean dramas."

We have really got to talk about kdramas one of these days. But, once again, not today.

I've also been cleaning a lot. I'm leaving paradise for a desert in less than a week now. (you know, i always remember the difference between desert's spelling and dessert's because you always want one more dessert (thus the extra "s") but no one wants more desert. except my mom. who thinks they're pretty... we're related, really.) So I've been sorting through my clothes and books and cleaning out kitchen cupboards so that I won't be freaking out next Wednesday any more than is necessary.  I still need to clean out the closets and buy some lotion so I don't shrivel up, die, and become mummified in the lack of moisture.

I like wet air. And green vegetation. And rain. These are things I am expecting miss.

I should probably tell you that graduation went nicely. Graduation practices were actually better than bearable. I played angry birds for the first time (so addicting, stupid pigs) and got to hang out with my friends. Graduation itself went fairly smoothly. I don't remember stuttering in my speech more than once  (if I did, don't feel obligated to disillusion me). I had two favorite parts. One was right before the ceremony when one of my classmates told me I was just like Emma Thompson.

This was the other one:

After the ceremony, when we were supposed to walk calmly off the left of the stage the boys lept up from the bleachers and started doing the haka. I'm sure this wasn't completely spontaneous. My bet is that during the eternity that they spent passing out diplomas someone employed the trusted and true "pass it on" tactic. But I hadn't heard about it. And it was way awesome.

I'm going to go sleep now. Or eat. Or watch a foreign film, documentary, or kdrama.