These are all taken by Justin Chien, and his album is here.

I don’t think I’ve let on how amazing my girlfriend is :) In case you wanted to know, let me share with you because this has been quite an unforgettable experience, hehe :)

So, she decided to get my some recording studio time (4 hours!) for my birthday gift, but it had to wait after I came back from Taiwan, which was good because it gave me some time to think about what I would even play… Even better, I got to invite friends to come with me, so it didn’t have to be a solo project, and we all met up last Saturday in Charlestown to record :)

Honestly, I was initially scared when Steph told me of the gift… what in the world would I record?? I have yet to write any material, so the fear paralyzed me a bit haha. So, I kind of put off thinking about it by doing other “important” things, and I didn’t really give myself much creative space to write songs… but in the end, Justin, Young & I decided to do a cover of How He Loves because it was a song we were familiar with when we played in ACF, and it’d be a reunion of Chestnut Hillsong  alumni! :P

It was such an amazing experience at Chillhouse Studios because I’ve never had a chance to record in a studio! And, the sound engineer Will really was chill, haha. He gave me so many tips on recording and I would keep asking questions… Gosh, those 4 hours flew by so quickly because I was excited to be able to play with Justin & Young again, and I am so glad we did a cover because I know I would have worried about lyrics & instrumentation if I tried to write my own song.

Let’s see if I remember the process… We began by playing it through 3-4 times. First, we played through for sound checking, and then we played it a couple more times to experiment with how the song would flow. I think we messed up big time on the 3rd time lol, but the 4th time worked out pretty well, which would serve as our guiding track because we didn’t play with a click track/metronome.

Ah right, in case you aren’t familiar with Chestnut Hillsong… Justin played drums/percussion, Young played bass, and I played guitar and sang. Actually, Young plays guitar, but I’m really glad that he could have come to fill in for bass because I didn’t know who else would be around! 

So, after that take, I believe Justin was fine with his drums part, but Young had to retrack the bass line. Then, I went to record guitar and vocals separately. I was quite afraid of forgetting the lines because sometimes my mind wanders when I sing… and thankfully, it didn’t happen when I really needed to focus :P I mumbled a couple times during the first few recordings, but that didn’t matter, haha. Next, Justin recorded some percussive elements, i.e. shaker & cymbal rolls. Then, we decided to emulate the DCB version of How He Loves with the piano intro, and Will helped set that up for us. The piano part was kind of difficult for me because I had to be spot on or else the delay would get out of sync… oops. Good thing there’s editing! :P After that, Young & I recorded some harmony lines for the chorus, and finally, we had all four of us, Steph, Justin, Young and I, sing for the last chorus :) I really liked that part, and we actually did it twice so it makes it seem like 8 people are singing!

So, all the recording took about 3 hours, which gave Will an hour to mix the entire thing. He said that he usually doesn’t do this but we were pretty efficient with time, so it would work out :) And from watching Will work on our project and making us sound so much better than we could imagine (I don’t know what knobs he turned to do that, haha) I have a much deeper respect for artists and studio engineers because it must take countless hours to think of songs, write them, record them, and mix them!

It feels amazing to have a final product at the end that we could listen to and refer to for our experiences in that studio, sort of like when you get a painting of the beach that you just went to or a sunset you just saw. More importantly, I’m so glad to have been able to spend it with such great friends, as it seems like everyone has their own thing to do once summer ends… This is definitely not something I would have sought for myself because of my initial anxieties, but I am so glad to have such a thoughtful girlfriend and great friends who are willing to push me beyond my fears and support me :) With all this over, now I wonder when I’ll be back in a studio again, haha. I hope by next time, I’ll have an album ready! :o In the meantime, I think I will practice being creative….

ArtistChestnut Hillsong
TitleHow He Loves
AlbumChestnut Hillsong Re-UNITED

so um… we’re graduating in a month… it’s not gonna matter, right? :/ hahahaha. enjoy… i think.

Week 7: Recap

Oh gosh, I haven’t been keeping up to date with my recaps… and for some reason, it’s harder to do! I guess the nightly updates kept me accountable, and the worst feeling is that when I try to remember what happened last Sunday, it’s like one or two things… as compared to Saturday, when memories are so much more vivid. I’ll try to be more consistent in remembering!

Sunday

Chinatown dinner for Chinese New Year’s. My parents got back home from church late because the meeting went on for so long that the superbowl had started… But, we still had to eat dinner, and to celebrate the New Year, we went to our favorite restaurant, East Ocean City, and ate around 8 or so. It was definitely late, but at least we had a large enough appetite to finish it all!

I arrived back on campus for the last 6 minutes of the Superbowl, and upon arrival, I saw so many people in the living room! That sure was great, as there were freshmen from Shaw, the girls/girlfriends from Ignacio, and of course the roommates from present and former years :) Well, I guess my mom was right because while I was reluctant to miss the Superbowl (not that I had much stake in it…), the last six minutes were the most exciting because I originally thought it was going to be a blowout. Good thing Green Bay won! I’m impressed by Aaron Rodgers…

Monday

Bought a groupon for Crazydough’s, and I decided to get dinner with Nick. Despite the ridiculously long wait for the pizza, we had a great conversation. I can’t believe so much stuff had passed by, and there was such a need to catch up! And, we practically demolished the large pizza we ordered…these are exactly the conversations I enjoy :)

Then, I rushed to the Shaw Seminar because I didn’t want to be late… wow lots of huffing and puffing, haha. The seminar was SO fun! It was all about public speaking, and Professor Rosenthal did such a great job in giving the freshmen a talk about it and then doing a fun activity involving movie quotes. My goodness, the ones who went up to give an impromptu speech were quite courageous and talented! I’m pretty sure we were all blown away by Narintohn and Reese :P

Finally, ended the night by catching up on Glee with Justin! Contrary to other people’s opinions, I enjoyed the episode… so ridiculous though, haha.

Tuesday

I surprised myself in that I focused a lot of my time in doing work in the library :) I think with such a different course load, I haven’t put in the same hours as I usually do. But, I’m starting to realize that my other commitments/clubs are catching up to me… I need to return to the bat cave :P Ended the night with a late-night senior dance practice at O’Connell, and I feel somewhat confident in my skills after Eric Lee simplified some of the moves :)

Wednesday

What a long day at lab… I decided to stay after to run some gels, but I also got to sneak into Professors & Pastries during the wait and get some snacks to go :) I had my fill, and then Young Jae and I took some pastries to go for Justin and Steph. Hehe…. Then, I finished up my lab work around 530ish…

Met up with Young Jae after lab and we ate at hillside for dinner. Today’s his birthday! Actually, Justin & I stopped by his place the night before, but it was good to chat over a hamburger at hillside :)

Lastly, Steph invited me over to a Valentine card-making party, and it was in Ruby. I saw Jules and a lot of her friends from ASTEP, and they are FREAKING creative. Wow, I’m pretty sure card stores can’t compare to how amazing these handmade cards were, and it took me the entire hour just to create one because I had no idea how I could mach up to such skill… haha. At least it turned out decent :P 

Thursday

A long day of run-throughs at Eagle’s Nest for the KSA/CSA Culture Show. It was a bit stressful since I felt like I was relearning half of the entire dance again… and it lasted for a good four hours, as we had to go through the acts three times. At least a lot of progress was made, and I got to see lots of people! There are tons of people that I didn’t know were participating, and it was interesting to see all the acts perform before the actual show :) Ended the night by watching the other episode of Glee with Justin :P

Friday

Three month anniversary! :) Steph decided to come to ROFL because we had a guest speaker, Steve Chua. I think for the most part, it went well though the kids were definitely having a lot of fun, saying that I had a girlfriend now… Oh, the parents were surprised too…. I think the only people I really told were the youth, so they didn’t freak out as much… I think it was better to bring her first on a Friday because there are generally less adults there, so that if she comes on a Sunday, at least some people will be like, oh that’s old news. sorta. For some reason, people at BC still don’t think so :P

Saturday

100 Days… Eh. Not really thinking about it, so I guess it doesn’t affect me, hah :)

CSA/KSA Culture Show was so fun! Though ridiculously tiring after. I’m so glad it’s over because I could definitely see everyone’s hard work in making it a success! And, it was great to be able to watch most of the acts as part of the audience, especially the Music Act with David Kim :) I was a bit bummed that I couldn’t see the Fan Dance because I had to get ready, but at least I saw it during run throughs. Also, I had a bit of a scare, when I realized I lost my light before the performance, but it’s a good thing Eric Lee had spares! The senior dance went by SO quick, and after the show, people were asking whether I heard them in the crowd, but I think I zoned out so much in just making sure I wouldn’t let my nervousness get the best of me. And, looking back, I’m really glad that I did this, though I hope nobody expects me to actually dance… :P

Finally, ended the night by going to Hemali’s 21st birthday party, since she’s Steph’s roommate. This was quite interesting since this was one of the first parties I ever went to voluntarily… actually, just in general, haha. People were having a fun time, though I had to duck out early because I had to drive home and I was reallllly tired. I think I was more exhausted than I imagined because when I get to that stage, I just zone out. So, it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience as I just people-watch… and that’s also probably due to the fact that I’m very introverted when there’s lots of people, despite the fact that I knew some of them. Surprisingly, I found that I didn’t judge people when they drank… weird. And, I can’t believe I actually played Pong, except that Steph had to absorb the punishment as I had to drive soon… Funny though, the whole time I was playing, all I could think about was that I wanted to play videogames, i.e. Starcraft 2. It was the strangest feeling because I just kept analyzing the situation… that I’m in the basement. Throwing ping pong balls in cups. I’d so much rather play ping pong… So, I don’t know how well I’d fare in a party situation. I might just spend most of my time looking at people or looking at stuff. or zoning out and thinking about anything at random. I guess I know the “secret” which is to participate, and not anticipate… but, dancing’s not really my thing (contrary to what the culture show may tell you…) and I don’t really mind being awkward. Actually, it might be harder to make things awkward if people are drunk because they don’t catch the usual cues. SHOOT. This might be fun! I must now hone my awkwardness…

day 351

well, i guess i never intended to stay up this late for finals tomorrow… but i am. haha.  it’s been pretty productive for the most part, but now i feel rushed in posting this! i woke up at noon… oops. and then cranked out another extra credit essay for kreeft, phew, now i feel somewhat relieved! my grade is somewhat salvagable hopefully :P

steph accompanied me for much of the afternoon, as she didn’t go to work with jeannette… haha. we dropped off my essay, then found liz and priya studying at 90, and i relocated there for the rest of the night. they eventually left to do their own roomies thing, and i did some studying by myself. then, dan came to study after his nap and his physics exam. and then we ate dinner from lower =) CHICKEN SMASH BOWL YES! watched a bit of the knicks getting owned :/ and then studied more… justin came by and it was crunch time! we got a bit sidetracked as steph came by, haha, along with many other visitors… and i never really felt worried about studying for these exams… it’s just that now i realize i won’t get much sleep! haha… oops. oh well, these are my two last ones, gotta make it good… and memorable!

Justin Chien & I performed this past Saturday at the KSA/ACF Coffeehouse, and it was SO fun! and nerve-wracking :P but i’m so glad that steph took the video for us! justin and i arranged this mostly during our dev bio class because we obviously were paying attention… haha. hope you enjoy!

day 338

what a packed day! woke up and decided to park my car in the garage instead of in comm ave because i didn’t see any cars next to it like it left it last night… and that got me worried about getting a ticket! then, i got ready for acf practice at 10 because we were preparing for acf retreat =) despite feeling tired, i’m SO glad practice went so smoothly and i had so much fun just being able to worship god through making some good music :) and david crowder has SO much funk in make a joyful noise/i will not be silent. what a throwback :D i loved it! and though i didn’t know the new songs too much, after playing them, they really grew on me fast… that actually surprised me :) looks like i shouldn’t treat unknown songs with disdain… especially if chosen by the worship leader!

after cleaning up around 130, most of the guys wanted to get lunch, and we decided on mcdonalds! why you ask?… because today was the last day for mcribs :( so, justin, eric, dave & i hopped on my car and drove to harvard ave for lunch while listening to some relient k christmas music =) sadly, i don’t buy into the mcrib hype because while it was cheap and good… nothing to get overworked about.. i’d still get mcnuggets :D 

after dropping everyone off and actually eating lunch since we didn’t have time to eat there, i got ready to go to the mfa with steph! she wanted to buy some gifts for secret santa, and i thought it’d be fun to explore new parts of boston in my car (since i honestly don’t know it well enough despite living here all my life…) for the most part, it was a pretty smooth ride though driving and looking at a top view of google maps is still a bit disorienting so that confused me a little when i couldn’t find certain landmarks i was looking for… but we got there eventually! the gift shop that we saw at the entrance was SO expensive… and nothing really worth buying. thankfully, when we walked out, we met jeannette since she worked there! and she was able to bring us in for free :P and so we found the bigger giftshop/bookstore, and i was able to even find something for my sister’s christmas gift =) ah, and it certainly helped that jeannette was able to get us a discount since she worked there :P

returning back to BC, i was a bit crunched for time in getting to the ksa/acf coffeehouse, but since justin & i assumed things would start a bit late… i didn’t rush, and took my time suiting up (YES) and picked up justin along the way to higgins for the coffeehouse. and, when the four of us arrived… it still hadn’t started at like 6:15. yay… and since this was my first coffeehouse, i LOVED it! the beginning acts were hilarious and so very much talented =) i especially enjoyed the co-row boys with sam cho’s amazing skill of recovering from messups without losing a beat! i need to learn that from him :) despite the bad sound quality, everyone that performed gave it their best, and i think that’s what made it so enjoyable :)

and, throughout the coffeehouse, i could not get my heart to stop racing! you would think i’d be used to this… because i’ve played and sang in front of people before… but i guess since this was actually more of a comedy act, i wasn’t sure how this would go down… but it was a HUGE success! justin and i have a good synergy in feeding off one another in conversation, and we managed to pull off some awkward jokes :P and of course, justin seemed to have owned all the korean words/lyrics, and i’m pretty sure some people have now been confused about his ethnicity :D fun fun night. and i’m so glad steph was able to capture the act… so i’ll hopefully upload it soon! we also did a cover of true love by phil wickham because we wanted to contribute both a song for KSA & ACF :D 

after finishing our act, i felt drained! i think it finally caught up to me: the fact that i only slept 3 hours the night before and i forgot to eat dinner… oops. but the acts that were after us were SO hilarious and good! not a dull moment at all :) i do feel kind of bad that i forgot to buy something from the bakery… but i couldn’t really stomach anything sweet :(

the coffeehouse ended at 8 or so, and i dropped off justin & eric back at their place while jeannette, steph & i went to bangkok bistro for dinner! it was a bit late, but we were starving since none of us had eaten dinner! and this was the first time i actually went inside to eat… and i loved the drunken noodles =) it wasn’t as spicy as advertised… but delicious nonetheless. and after dinner, i felt MUCH better. 

finally, after making it back to BC, i packed a bit and left for home with my sister around midnight… gosh, no work done today :/ but i guess it’s worth it, so i’ll just have to put in time tomorrow!

day 335

math was fine this morning despite lack of sleep… and right after, i met up with cristina, one of my gajok daughters, and we talked at the rat! i really enjoyed our conversation because it’s times like these that i get to learn things about other people’s lives that i would otherwise never know! and we chatted about work, CSOM, languages, and family. then it was off to class again, and during dev, justin & i worked on our coffeehouse songs :P then we ate lunch at the rat with justin oh =) 

i got some work done in the room before heading down for dinner with marci, another gajok daughter, at hillside! we talked about our semesters so far, balance with studying, sleep, clubs & social life, and dating. then, justin & eugene joined us, and since justin had class, eugene and i talked on our way back about how we thought of our past 3 years… gosh something only seniors could talk about :P then, i met up with sean d and a couple of the 90 boys for a vandy 213 reunion! sadly, phil, chris, & colin were not able to make it… colin’s abroad, haha. and we went to el pelon for my second dinner :P man, it was amazing just to be in the company of all these guys because it was truly a fun and crazy year! the meeting was definitely not as long as i wished it could be, but we soon headed out as we had stuff to do… and i headed over to the csa/ksa culture show signups. while i didn’t sign up for myself, i bought a csa shirt, and got to talk with a lot of people… most of my gajok was there too! so, it was good to see them all involved :) then, i left once the place seemed a bit empty… and i headed over to justin’s place to practice for coffeehouse! we figured out our transitions and such, and then took a quiz for physio… wow google and skimming is so efficient… who needs to read the book :P finally, i headed over to the ctrc to study with steph, but that resulted in much procrastination… :P when i returned to my room, i got some math done, but my mind is tired…

ah yes, and today i found out from the AADSAS website that i got accepted into Tufts & UPitt! i also got waitlisted at UConn, but i was so excited to discover that i got into one of my top choice schools :) wow i guess i can rest a bit easier, though i’m afraid senioritis would kick in… so i have to watch myself! hopefully, i’ll be getting big mail soon, and perhaps an interview to harvard… yay!

day 323

well, it’s been 6AM for the third time this past week, and i can confirm that the sun does not rise at that time… what a bummer. at least now i know that the T begins operating at 5AM on saturdays. and to my shocking surprise, i walk back to my room to my roommate still awake, working on an assignment due later in the day. haha, we have such strange yet similar schedules…

anyways, let’s begin with the morning…made it to my 9AM class being only a couple minutes late. saw priya & maryjo at the Rat, and said bye to priya as she was leaving for home later in the day. also met with kathie and she seemed to have had a similar rough week of sleep. :/ but, i realized that i couldn’t really function, i decided to head back and nap and did so all the way through physio :P i got ready in time for dev bio, but i’m not really sure why i went… i wasn’t very focused although the case study was very interesting! …and unethical. haha…

got lunch with justin at the rat, and we talked and then went to get mail. actually, he got mail… i’m not sure why i don’t :/ (i think my free musician’s friend/sweetwater subscriptions have forgotten me…). then i got jumped by jen li in the quad for not letting her know the details of the first date. thankfully, justin saved me, and we parted ways as he went to print his ticket and eventually get on his plane and i had to catch a bus to meet dan!

i managed to pack very quickly, and got on the same bus as dan.. though it was FREAKING packed! we talked on the way there, and i really enjoy these times and conversations because we can’t really do much else on our way to north station. :P plus, then the ride doesn’t feel lonely! anyways, we made it to north station in time for dan to actually get to his volunteer place on time. =) and i just napped on the train…wow. i almost overslept at the last stop but thankfully someone woke me up! never did that before… and that would’ve sucked because i would’ve headed back to boston haha.

when i got home, i was surprised to see my grandma! it totally slipped my mind that she would be staying with us, but i was really happy to see her =) we all had dinner together, and then i got ready for youth group.

at rofl, i did some follow up on the whole welcome night/conference, and since it was a slightly smaller group, it was much easier to talk to all of them. i’m really hoping that more leaders will rise up, and that i will know how to put them in the right positions! they seem eager, and i can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen later this year =)

then, i headed back to BC after getting gas and pumping air into the tires. since it was a football day tomorrow, i had to find parking outside of campus, and i was able to park my car at steph’s place =) that way, it’ll be easier for me to control when i can go back after the concert tomorrow! well, inside the house, i met hemali, and found out that she actually came from burlington! for some reason, i just thought she was from new jersey, but she lives really close to me. however, it got stranger! i mentioned i was from chelmsford, and she knew a friend named rishi doshi who lived there… and it was strange because rishi is my NEIGHBOR. whoaaaaaaa. i guess they dated last year, but since i don’t really hang out with anyone on my road, i wouldn’t have known that. no. freaking. way. hahahaha, a small world!

then, steph & i went to gate to visit diane & maryjo. then we headed to the harry potter viewing, and we originally planned to just drop by…and that didn’t happen. perhaps it was the magic sticks (pretzels & SUGAR) or the butter beer (liquid apple pie!), but we watched the end of the 6th harry potter movie, and then watched the entire 1st one. since i had never watched a HP movie and only read 4 of the books…maybe knowing how the 6th movie ended and being refreshed by the 1st movie plot could help me in understanding the 7th :P it was a fun night, though most people left after the 6th movie. and people were VERY tired… as there was ample snoring in the background =) but i managed to stay awake and was intrigued by the 1st movie because it felt very nostalgic. at least, the parts i remembered from the book, which wasn’t much… 

after the end of the movie, it was near 5AM, and well, perhaps that was a bad decision to watch that 2nd movie and forgo sleep, but…bad decisions make good stories? :P i forget where i saw that, haha. and, well as we cleaned up the place with dasom, sarang, & christine kim, we realized that the person responsible for storing the stuff… was no where to be found! i never saw john byun the entire time i was there, but thankfully, i was able to get a hold of justin! i was not sure if he would be awake despite the 3 hour time difference, but i got the room code, and we were able to save a LOT of hassle by putting the stuff in his place. whew!

finally, the night ended as i walked steph back to her place because it was so late! oh boy, i dont think i really want to go to the game tomorrow… oh well.

day 288

Gosh, it felt so weird “sleeping” for 3 hours… I went to my 9AM and felt find but crashed when I got back. Nick also got back in the morning since he slept over at Northeastern at Sean G’s after watching a double feature & missing the T. so, we both knocked out from 10 until almost 12! and we both had class… so we rushed to class and we were just a few minutes late. classes were fine, and justin and i got lunch at the rat. shinyoung joined us as well and we talked.

one thing that’s been on my mind is alcohol…i’m 21 yet i haven’t “exercised” my new rights, and in a sense, it’s been a stumbling block for me. for some reason, i came to the odd conclusion that for myself, drinking responsibly is more Christ-like than abstaining…weird. possibly because i hate losing control if i can help it, and i always focus on the negative aspects of alcohol. to the extent that drinking would result in me judging people negatively because of said action. sad, i know… because i’d probably judge some stuff i do as unchristlike. and, i arrived at another conclusion: i’d totally judge jesus if i saw him at a bar. and that’s when i realized i had a problem…

so i talked with justin about it, and i think my main fear is losing control because i’m such a lightweight. yet, hearing how justin & young & dave went out for a drink and how it was a great time, especially since it was dave’s first beer, made me realize that it’s really not a slippery slope.

we headed back to our rooms because we all had retreats to attend, and nick & i packed for kairos! as usual, i overpacked, but we made it to the bus on time, and headed off to dover. on the ride there, nick & i talked about alcohol as well because i wanted his perspective, and again, i was affirmed that it’s not that bad. actually, if god made it, then it’s actually good! it was interesting to hear his stories of trying alcohol and realizing his limit, and i think i’ll have to experiment as well, though with much caution….i hope i don’t approach this like i do to solutions in organic chemistry… that’d be a huge fail. and one last thing that i took back from the two conversations i had about alcohol is that i want to definitely do this in the company of friends i can trust because i won’t be judged (hopefully!) and they’ll have my back if anything does happen. so, hopefully, i can update my journey/progress soon!

arriving at the retreat center, i was excited to see what the secrets of kairos were all about…but since i’m afraid i’ll spoil any fun whatsoever for those who have not yet gone on kairos, i can only say that i’m enjoying my time so far and the leaders really know how to get everyone comfortable & reflective quick! oh and it seems nick & i will be spending LOTS of quality time together! i can’t wait for tomorrow :)

this is probably one of the earliest times i’ve slept…oh but i mean, i don’t have the time, so i’m guessing :P sorta. i’ve cheated a bit by bringing my cellphone with me to tell time but i’m deliberately putting it away to prevent distractions! thought…. what’s harder is to stop thinking about homework :/