day 360

i am SO physically tired…but what a great day for the big move!

woke up a bit early this morning because my dad had to go pick up the u-haul truck, and realized it was snowing! oh boy… 

church this morning felt a bit sparse since we started our service an hour earlier than usual and there was some snow falling…which i bet prevented some people from coming, unless they were on vacation :P but, it was great too because we got to see some old faces! namely, matt from college and julia from arizona :) and well, as announcements were being made about the big move today, i’m pretty sure everyone was getting excited! 

i really liked the message this morning as my mom spoke about vision:

where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18, KJV)

as we went over examples of how God gave visions to his people, i was reminded how as a leader as the youth group, we need to have a vision! because, this vision turns into our mission and guides our direction….and well, without vision, we have nothing to strive for. i think as of now, ROFL’s vision is pretty general: “love god, love others,” and we need to work on what our mission entails…hmm. anyways, as my mom related this to our church and how it came to be and how it has progressed till now, we realized that all of this has been done, not by our own wisdom, but by God’s leading because there have been countless events and stories that were at first glance, impossible to accomplish, but it happened by what seemed to be miracles! sometimes, it’s difficult to see what’s gonna happen next, but looking back, i cannot believe we have come so far, and well, we have a new story beginning for us! 

so, things ended pretty early around noon, but by then, there was a good amount of people too since we had a LOT of things to do! immediately after the message was over, everyone kicked it into high gear, taking apart stuff, packing up boxes, taping boxes, and moving them onto dollys. it was SUCH a good idea that my dad decided to make more because we had unbelievably heavy tables and other stuff, and it just made moving things out of the church THAT much easier. also, we had a quick secret santa exchange with the last few people (matt & julia) who couldn’t do so last week, and so we wrapped it up =) some people still need to pick up their gifts…. haha.

anyways, i cannot believe how much stuff we had accumulated in these past four (almost five!) years… it took three trips of a loaded u-haul truck to finish all our moving… and that’s not including the countless vans that also brought over the more delicate stuff, like the audio visual equipment. it was stunning to see just piles of chairs, desks, drawers, and like EVERYTHING ELSE, lined up at the door despite a truck being filled…. and we had like 30 or 40 adults helping constantly, whether it was moving the heavy furniture, packing up various boxes, or cleaning up the church… and yet it still took at least 3 or 4 hours! and that’s not counting how long it took us to unload and set up again… but we worked very efficiently, so i’m VERY thankful at everyone’s efforts =) even the kids were very well behaved!

well, the blizzard set in around 3:30 or 4… so people who lived far away started heading back to avoid bad driving conditions. i stayed to work on setting up the new sanctuary with all the sound stuff, but it was getting late around 5:30, and we had to head back as well… there’s just STILL so much work to do, but i guess we’ll come back another day. 

however, my dad and i weren’t done… because we had to go help julia’s family finish moving. so we took the empty uhaul truck to their house in the blizzard. it was a fun ride because i got to drive in the snow :P there were a couple times that the car was slipping, but nothing felt like it was really out of control because there were no cars to be seen! but i still drove slow… and so the trip took a long time. better safe than sorry! when we got their house, my dad and i worked with mr. ni and his son timmy in moving out bookcases, desks, and other furniture… we had to go outside a lot because some things were just too big to carry down the basement stairs! this was really tiring, and required a lot of heavy lifting… i guess i didn’t do much at the church since i was more focused on taking apart and setting up the sound stuff. gosh, i can’t imagine how tired my dad must’ve been… but eventually, we finished at 7, and drove back home exhausted.

after a well-needed dinner (i can’t believe i forgot to eat the entire day! lol…), we both felt much better, and it was so good to just relax =) i guess i won’t look over my tumblr entries tonight since i just don’t have the energy to do so… but i’ll start tomorrow! also, work may possibly be cancelled because of this blizzard… oh boy.

day 354

my goodness, i’ve reached exhaustion again… whew.

man, i didn’t sleep till 5:30 last night because both my roommates had a chem final the next day, and nick decided to pull an all-nighter… i guess that didn’t bother me too much but we did talk about black swan since he was the one who recommended me to watch it. i did enjoy talking it over with him, though i’m pretty sure half my brain was functioning with little sleep… haha. 

woke up at 8am, and got ready to send esther to south station. i offered her a ride because i could not fathom how she could bring her freaking ENORMOUS suitcase with her all the way to south station… and i figured driving there would teach me how to get to china town and navigate around… and it did =) well sorta… i basically just learned more about mass pike :P anyways, steph, esther, and i left around 9am, got breakfast and dunkin donuts, and got to south station with enough time for esther to catch the 10am fungwah bus. then, we headed back to BC, and i took a nap until noon…

when i awoke, it was almost time to meet steph’s family! let’s see… i met her mom and dad, her oldest brother tim, and her best friend karyn. initially, i was definitely afraid. or more unsure as to what to do… so i just walked around, haha. steph was busy showing the family around the house, and that gave me time to recollect myself :P things got rolling as we helped steph move out of her place, and then we decided to go to cleveland circle for lunch. when we stepped outside, it was snowing! amazing… the first time it snows is always entrancing and magical… anyways, we decided to go to bangkok bistro, and i brought steph and her brother in my van. while steph was talking to her parents, tim and i (wow that sounds like i’m talking to myself…) talked about his role in being the protective brother… and i realized that i would be in his shoes if either of my sisters started dating… haha. thankfully, he seemed fine with the whole thing and im guessing you’re supposed to be mean as the older brother but i didn’t get that from him. whew. :P anyways, that whole thing started making me think about my sisters… haha. oh boy. well, when we got to bangkok, we realized that it was closed! so we headed to chipotle and got lunch. steph & i split a burrito because after eating a couple times, we had to admit we couldn’t finish one by ourselves… haha. 

during lunch, i enjoyed listening to the conversations because i’m pretty sure this is what happened when steph came to dinner with my family… it gave me a feel of what goes on back at home and how each person relates to one another =) i always find that fascinating just because you’re never sure how things are until you actually talk and listen.  like, i knew pastor lim mainly spoke in english, but it didn’t really occur to me until i was watching (wow now i sound like a stalker…) them :P and i guess that’s different from my family because i would not trust my dad’s english, haha. half of the time, my dad has corny jokes…ah and, i got to talk with steph’s mom in mandarin since she’s fluent in taiwanese, mandarin, and english, and i got to share about how my parents too. i guess my dad’s side is also from the same place in china as her family. interesting… well, after lunch, we parted ways, and sadly, i got a parking ticket! doh… though i’m pretty sure i was only late like 5-10 minutes, but i realized that if this was the worst thing that happened today so far, then i’m totally happy :)

after steph’s family left, i returned to my room to do some errands and took a nap. then, i did some packing and then offered to send my roommates and jv to coolidge corner since they were going to see black swan! the buses were not running too efficiently in the snow, and i thought it’d be better if i just sent them. it was a fun trip there, though there was definitely a lot of traffic! i’m glad i was able to spend time with them on the car one last time before next year, and then after a lot of waiting on the road, i made it to newton to pick up karen. since i didn’t finish packing, karen came back with me to my room to help clean up, pack, and make dinner. i really could not have done it without her help! while i packed, she helped wash dishes/make dinner, and we switched off in making dumplings and chicken nuggets, and we were able to eat and finish packing by 9… we loaded the minivan, and i headed over to 90 to say bye to the guys before heading back home. despite the snowfall, driving went safely, slowly, and smoothly. i think one time when i was driving my roommates to black swan, the van was acting up and not accelerating… with lights flashing and stuff… but i was able to pull over and restart the car. (i don’t think restart is the right word :P) but, thankfully, nothing bad happened! especially since i heard there were a couple accidents on comm ave that day. karen and i finally got back home around 10:30, and i felt SO relieved… i can’t wait to rest :) but at the same time, i gotta start working for my dad tomorrow! man, i guess at least i won’t be bored? i crave sleep…

day 262

church went well today, and i think it’s because i felt more awake… haha, i think the amount of sleep definitely affects how i perceive things… great. we also had a new person come to visit, and while she was in 10th grade, the adults thought she was much older… like 20-30s because of her height. and because she responded toe their questions in chinese. haha, so that was a bit awkward, but once we split up to sunday school, i think she felt more comfortable :) lunch was crazy… there was SO much left over cold noodles, but i guess that was good because everyone got seconds! 

after church, i headed back home to pack. stopped at walmart because my sister wanted to buy a couple things, but in the end, she couldn’t find what she wanted and i bought random things, i.e. candy, paper towel holder, cups… yay. after packing, i had dinner with the family, and i got to bring the leftovers back to school! yesssssss. and my mom showed me how to cook vegetables. yum! well i guess i could eat salad, but i love oily vegetables too :D

back at BC, i did a LOT of cleaning and organizing. while it unstresses me, it was kind of frustrating to have to clean up after my roommates, and we definitely need to sit down and talk it over because they need to get their act together. and, i hope i get enough sleep tonight and not get distracted by my laptop…

oh man, if my chinese workbooks were like this, i bet i’d pay more attention! ahahaha

ah right, i guess i’d have to explain the second one…i had my sister translate it because this is all simplified chinese :/

man: hi. could i invite you to dinner?

woman: really? i don’t know you… why are you inviting me to dinner?

man: because today’s my birthday, but nobody has invited me to dinner…. that’s why…

woman: sir, why don’t you invite your friends?

man: because my friends are busy…

GG OWNED. why in the world would you think of these kind of situations?! 

day 248

today was the 1 year anniversary for the english church service. i totally forgot because it definitely didn’t seem that long ago when it first started… wow, i guess it did start my junior year. church was interesting, though i think at times i’m very overcritical of church (generally when i’m tired and it’s hard to stay focused…), but i think it’s a good reminder for me to realize that a very important part of church is community and in investing in people/relationships. sometimes, i just want to skip all that, but i know that it’s more important than i understand. anyways, it was great seeing stella & nick this sunday because they don’t have many breaks now at drexel… and we got to celebrate stella’s birthday! i’m really hoping for a year of growth in the church and youth group. not just numbers… that i’m not too worried about though it wouldn’t hurt :P i guess i’m talking more about heart and passion, that’s what i need and that’s what will change lives… we’ll see.

went home after and took a loooong nap. that was so necessary because after waking up, i could pack with efficiency, and my goodness, i packed up so many bags again! thankfully, it all fit in the car, and we had a nice dinner at home before leaving for BC. we dropped off my sister at newton because she had a boat cruise to go on soon, and then my parents helped me move into gabelli. they seemed to like the place, but as soon as i left, i got to work unpacking… and there’s SO MUCH to do! what in the world?! unpacking has never been this hard, but even after a couple hours, i felt so confused as to how to put things in places. we definitely have a lot more space to put stuff, but i guess i brought more too :P

anyways, dave and jae came over to pick up some of their stuff they left at my place around 10, and i decided to visit their place at 90 215, as a break from unpacking. it was great seeing the juniors, but then esther kept reminding me that i’m a senior. oh boy. my mind keeps thinking that they’re sophomores, so i have to make a conscious decision in calling them juniors and myself a senior… man, transitioning into senior year is going to be tricky. but, i really enjoyed catching up with everyone who was there, and i’m excited to start the year! i left around 12:30, and headed back to my room. i thought i was going to unpack but my roommate nick caught me, and brought me over to andrew’s birthday next door. talked with some shaw people and it was nice, though my mind started feeling funny with the strobe light going off… so i excused myself. then, i thought i was going to get work done around 1:30, but then, justin vereen came over, and so did eric, and we talked till 3! that was really fun though, because i hadn’t seen eric for a year since he went abroad to china. 

a good night! but… i still have a lot i want to accomplish tomorrow. and there’s a meeting tomorrow… great, it looks like i have to stay focused!

day 246

this is ridiculous… i’ve gotten to the point where i spent 1-2 hours just reading all the media i subscribe to online, whether that’s tumblr, RSS feeds, articles, youtube, etc. i’m afraid i’m going to have to figure out a way to cut this down or this will be a horrible time suck… 

woke up this morning feeling very much refreshed! did some cleaning and organizing for school, and packed some very necessary things: pillow, towels, and stuffed animals :) thankfully, i could come back this weekend and pack for school because this must be the second time i’ve forgotten to pack a pillow. i keep assuming that it’s with my bedding, but it never is… oh, and i don’t want to forget my firebox either!

after that, i went to costco for my eye checkup. i put in contacts today because i left my spare in my bathroom. things went fine, as i didn’t have any problems with the contacts, and my glasses prescription didn’t change at all! but, i decided to get a new pair because i had my old one since 8th grade? or maybe even 6th grade? actually, i bought 2 because it was $30 off the second pair :) i guess i’ll keep it in the car, because that’ll remind me to wear them haha. but, i also decided to get some contacts although i’m hesitant about using them. i’m not too worried about taking them off/putting them on, but my eyesight is 1-1.25 in both eyes, and it’s so little that i’m not sure it’s worth it…

oh and i learned some more about family genetics. i asked my mom about our family’s eyesight, and i discovered that my mom and i have similar eyesight: 1.25. karen has about 1.75, so just slightly worse than mine, but tiffany has 3.00 and my dad has between 3-4. so obviously, it looks like i got my mom’s eyesight while tiffany has my dad’s… not sure about karen though :P i guess she’s much closer to my mom’s… anyways, i don’t know why but stuff like this is interesting to me. like, i have strangely curved fingers from my mom and i’m very skinny/can’t gain weight at all like my mom. yeah… i’ve inherited many characteristics from my mom… so you could say i’m a momma’s boy. and consequently, my sisters would both be daddy’s girls? lol. i should write a thesis on this. :D um, i’m not sure if musical ability would apply but i guess i got that from my mom as well since my dad… isn’t very good at music. unless, my skills are more of a result from my parents forcing me to learn instruments at a young age… ah yes, the genetics vs. environment debate. ok, i’m getting sidetracked, back to the rest of my “oh so very interesting” life. NOT. :) maybe i’ll make more observations when i have a chance.

the hurricane was such a fail today. i ended up changing the ROFL event to kimballs because people were unsure whether there would even be an outing. the clouds looked gloomy, but even at 7pm, there wasn’t even a slight drizzle! sure, there was some rain, and the weather definitely would’ve sucked to be outside. but, where were the 100mph winds?! haha, but bowling was pretty fun. bumper lanes are SO helpful :D but, more often than not, i still would just get 1-2 pins because i would just hit the corner pins. and playing ddr & arcade games after bowling was great too! and julie got a jackpot in one of the games and got 1000 tickets! sooooo lucky! oh and, because of the weather, only keyi was able to make it to the event as the event was for the upcoming 7th graders or in his case, a 6th grader. but, overall, it was pretty enjoyable and it was a good transition without the graduating seniors :)

finally, going back home, i played lots of starcraft 2 with nick :P i can’t believe i’m just playing to get achievements… oh well. i keep justifying this habit because i won’t be able to play back at BC. let’s hope this is this case…

day 245

i can’t believe i pulled an all nighter for the last day of summit… as interesting as it was, i definitely do need the wisdom in discerning between doing something new/unique for the sake of creating a memory and doing something out of lack of thinking… so possibly, it was the latter this time :P

i’m not sure how i felt about summit this year. i definitely liked it, but it sure was different with much larger numbers and all. right now, i can’t reflect on it because my mind is SO tired from that all nighter… 

well, the night basically consisted of playing a HUGE mafia game with BC and some tufts people. thankfully, i didn’t play but i helped dan kim narrate and pick out people to die/save/etc. it was a lot more interesting because it’s funny to see how people react when accused :P. then, i decided to  play some egyptians rats crew because the other card game seemed far too dangerous… spoons required people to jump over the table to grab cups in the middle, and some people got injured. many got their faces drawn as punishment for not grabbing a cup… ridiculous. thankfully, i did not participate. by then, it was 5 am, so i decided to take a shower and wait for the sunrise. but, sadly the sun was blocked by the trees, and we couldn’t see anything… the sky just changed colors and that wasn’t very interesting. :/

i took a quick 30 minute nap against a wall as a caution against sleeping past prayer meeting/breakfast, and i was surprisingly awake for prayer meeting! manuscript study went alright as well, and i think i enjoy it better when i contribute though i don’t like the fact that i have to speak in front of everybody to share. :/ anyways, i REALLY felt the effects of the allnighter during the closing worship, as i would keep zoning in and out and lose my balance slightly as i stood to sing. it was very strange for me because i felt very lightheaded. But, as soon as it was lunch, that seemed to fade away. 

we ate quickly, packed quickly, and left quickly! tufts people drove us to fitchburg, and we hung out at the train station for the 3pm train. it’s so sad that we couldn’t take a group picture like last time… :( anyways, i got off at south acton though possibly off the wrong door because the conductor seemed surprise that i was able to lift the latch hiding the stairs… yeah, not a good idea, haha. my parents picked me up, and i just spent the rest of the night/afternoon bumming around because i felt so tired! i feel like i’m in such a daze and all i want to do is sleep… but then again, another part of me thinks that i can be even MORE exhausted. and i hate that. i hate how i’ve bought into this “fact” that overexhaustion = more rewarding. it’s very twisted i think, perhaps its related to working hard and achieving things… but, if i want to change my sleep schedule, i know i got to get rid of this thought process!

day 241

man, i leave so many things for the last minute, whether it’s printing photos at Walmart yesterday night right before 9 or sending out the setlist the night before. how frustrating because i know it burdens others, but i hate the fact that when i leave it for the last minute, i rush & forget key details. anyways, i stayed up until 3 am last night, trying to get stuff done and finally, writing in karen and matt’s books… why do i do this to myself?

anyways, i managed to wake without feeling horrible despite the lack of sleep. i got dressed and did some final packing but again, because i didn’t prepare, i forgot stuff. good thing i was able to come back home after church to pick up my cell phone charger.

church was fun and it would be the last sunday for matt. we finally gave them their senior gift books, and they seemed to love them! i can’t wait to see matt for christmas break.

after church, we had some time to go back home, so i did some packing and even though i was in a time crunch, i decided to go to guitar center to buy some stuff on sale. what a BAD decision. because of that, i missed the south acton train at 4:25, and i had to get my parents to drive me all the way to fitchburg. what a hassle, and this is all because i decided to leave things for the last minute! lesson learned… i hope. thankfully, i got to the station before the train arrived, and i was able to see everyone! i’m so glad my parents and sisters were so patient with me. i think its times like these when i truly realize how love can be patient.

it was fun seeing everyone and chilling at toah nipi. gosh, it’s so crowded! this is the largest summit ever, and bc probably brought the most kids. i played some ping pong and basketball and we listened to a message and LOTS of announcements. then, we had some campus time and that was pretty interesting but it was LONG. 

i finally went back to the room to shower, take out my contacts, but after spending 20 minutes on my right eye with no success, i went to my left eye and took it out on the first try. what?! so i gave it a couple more shots, but i think i lost my contact in my right eye. it must’ve fallen out when i ran into grace during basketball… haha so i guess THAT’S what knockout means. :D good thing my eye didn’t get knocked out… anyways, i’d much rather lost the contact than wake up tomorrow with an eye disease. most people told me that the couldn’t find it and hopefully it’s not behind my eye or something. i don’t feel any pain aside from all that prodding around with my finger.

Oh, and i met john at toah nipi! i hope he likes it too especially with the tufts group. it’s gonna be a great week at summit, and i totally forgot, but i finished donald miller’s father fiction on friday!

it was good, but it didn’t seem to carry the same impact as the other two i had read. possibly because i really can’t relate to being fatherless…

and i’m envious that my sister has NO trouble with contacts. seriously?! she got them out of her eyes on the first try and for me, it’s been a week and i’m slowly getting the hang of it… spending just 10 minutes.

haha whatever. i’ll put my contacts worries aside and look forward to tomorrow!

days 195 & 196

So, I never had time to write an entry yesterday because I procrastinated a lot in making the slideshow… staying up until 4 am to finish most of it. Anyways, the past two days have been amazing, so hopefully I can illustrate some of it…

We woke up earlier than usual because the kids had to be at the church an hour earlier for the trip to the 921 Earthquake Museum! Some kids were a bit late for my class, but everybody from my class went! Well, except for Charlie because he always has review stuff in the morning and can only come in the afternoon…but Sandy said she couldn’t come yet she still showed up J. We took two big buses to the museum, but there was still a long walk to get to the entrance, and it was a really hot day. Good thing it was mostly indoors. We began the museum tour with an explanation of what happened and such, but I didn’t catch much of it because the woman spoke in Chinese. Thankfully, the actual exhibits had both Chinese and English… though some of it was Engrish, haha. It was kind of amusing to have Jake constantly answer the questions (since he’s one of the adult helpers) that were given to the kids… so eventually the kids gave up in trying to volunteer as Jake would just speak out answers. (I guess he really likes this place, since he was the one who suggested visiting it… at least it was free!) Next, we moved onto the earthquake simulation room! But, it could only accommodate 25 kids, so there was a long wait for my students. Ben felt a bit sick after the bus ride, and he wasn’t sure if he’d feel worse after the “ride,” but it wasn’t bad at all… Actually, it felt like a massage, although I guess I shouldn’t think of that in a real earthquake situation… I just imagined a 7-magnitude earthquake would shake more, but that’s probably because I have never felt an earthquake.

After the simulation, we headed down to the 3D movie! Except, since we were the last group, we had to watch a different movie than the rest of the students, who had watched the entire 921 earthquake story unfold. Instead, we watched a random Mars exploration video that had nothing to do with earthquakes, and it was kind of annoying how the picture would be 3D but the English translation below it was not, so the translation would be blurry with the glasses on. Finally, we went to an exhibit where there was a lot of hands-on interaction, which the kids loved… though one of them was about chopping heads, and I had no idea how that related to earthquakes either. And there were a lot of spider figures too… how random. They also had a room that demonstrated what it would feel like to be walking through a corridor with smoke, but the kids just kept running through it because it looked fun… And there was a whack-a-mole table, and a much smaller earthquake simulating chair for two people (or something like that). I think the most interesting thing would have to be the various explanations for earthquake occurrences by different cultures, and I think the Latin America one explained that they happened to prevent overpopulation… um… that wouldn’t bode too well for China or India. When it was time to go, we walked back to the buses, and there was a store conveniently placed right before the buses that sold ice cream, and since it was so hot, the ice cream bars were SO refreshing after that walk! It had a weird name… I thought it said black store (hay dian), but if you looked closely, it actually said black people store (hay ren dian)… which made no sense at all because the guy inside sold soda and popsicles. Err… asian people are so randomly racist… haha. Anyways, most of the kids had brought money to buy the ice pops, but I noticed a couple students didn’t want to spend money or didn’t bring any, so I decided to get them one (ok, my mom paid for it… but I had money too!) there were only 10NT a bar, which is roughly 30 cents… so they were actually really cheap! And the kids were happy :D I wish I remembered to take a photo of everyone eating them though… oops.

Headed back to the church, ate lunch, and took a very needed nap. It was kind of awkward though because one of the girls from the youngest group decided to watch me nap… it was kind of weird opening my eyes and seeing a face. Yeaaaaaaah… well, the nap helped me get through the day, as we performed out skit, taught English, and ended with songs. There were a couple problems though, as the twins, casper and timothy, started fighting with one another and with their sister, Sandy… and then later, Peter hit timothy because during a game, Peter didn’t really know the vocab and that ruined their team’s chances for winning. He couldn’t really recognize the words, and so he hit Timothy. I guess I wouldn’t blame him because the kids were being a bit hard on Peter, and it was frustrating because it didn’t seem like he wanted to learn. Well, that kind of eliminated casper, timothy, and sandy’s chances for winning best student awards, which I guess was good because I know I gave Sandy that award last year and if I could, I didn’t want to repeat it… I’m pretty sure the twins won too. At the end of the day, Pastor Tu asked who would be coming back tomorrow, and he realized that some of the kids would be leaving to go to the Hengchun Aquarium… and it was a good amount of kids too =(, so he did an altar call for those who wanted to accept Jesus, and it seemed like most of the room went up! That was pretty cool because we didn’t do that last year, and hopefully, they were understanding the messages of the skits and songs that we were doing. And, it was moving for me because most of the students were new, and probably didn’t go to the church we were at, so I wasn’t sure of the response… but it was good!

For dinner, we decided to go to the shabu shabu again, where we ate on Saturday, and it was to be our last meal together. While I didn’t feel hungry at first, surprisingly, my appetite came back, and as I was eating, a strange thing happened… I guess everyone else was already done and ready to leave, but I was still eating my noodles and I guess they didn’t realize I was still working on my meal.. Oh well, by then I was pretty much full anyways and left with them. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before, haha. Usually, I’m done first…

For the last adult English class, it was really fun as we had a couple new comers in addition to the woman, Jake, and pastor Tu. Also, the pastor’s wife joined us as well, and we had in total 6 people! It was only my sister, my mom and I teaching, and Karen couldn’t really control her laughter when she heard Jake’s enthusiasm in learning English… and then when Pastor Tu arrived, it was chaos again! Yeah, it became so contagious that the other woman started laughing too… Oh, and Jake managed to spill another drink on me… well, not on me, but he managed to tip it over again…and it felt like déjà vu. And, an interesting thing about Jake… we thought he was joking that he had to eat dinner with his mom every night, but it seems like he’s a true momma’s boy. Now, he’s a grown man (50 something) with a wife and a daughter, but he still eats dinner every night with his mom, and no matter what the hour is, his mom ALWAYS wakes up at the same time he does. Like, 3am. Or 5 am… weiiiird. But the strangest thing is that every night, his mom always goes through his things… like he’s still a kid. And we asked him, what would she be suspicious of… and he says it’s mostly because he just buys too much stuff. Usually food for children and such, and it was so weird because why would a grown man still need to have his mom go through his stuff every night…

So, for new comers, it was a girl going into college for restaurant management and another man. The girl had never been to church, so it was very interesting that she would decide to come to this, but I guess she was intriguied, probably the same reason for those who came last year and eventually accepted Christ! Anyways, she was pretty quiet compared to Jake and Pastor Tu, but I think she enjoyed it… Oh, and she was known for making certain kinds of noodles because she works at her mom’s restaurant or something. At the end, my mom shared her testimony of growing up as well as what has been happening in our church, and it was pretty good because everybody seemed interested and was asking questions… Oh, and we showed them pictures of our house, and they all wanted to come to Boston =P. Anyways, we ended with prayer, and I hope that girl wasn’t too intimidated by everyone and the testimony, but I think the stories were pretty interesting!

Then, I spent the rest of the night just working on the slideshow, but I didn’t start till midnight because we randomly decided to watch this video of Rose at the aquarium, because we hadn’t seen her for a couple days due to her having pink eye. And, we went over a couple pictures from last year’s camp to show the new teachers, and to see how people have changed =) That was fun, but then I had to start working… and everyone else was busy packing. The only problem was that I kept getting distracted by piccross, because it’s so addicting! At least it’s a good thinking game… those puzzles are like Sudoku… or minesweeper. Well, I managed to finish at 4am, and if I hadn’t gotten distracted, I probably could’ve finished at 2… doh!

I woke up at 730 the next… morning? And felt surprisingly awake after a shower. I couldn’t really eat breakfast though, but I think that was a good thing or else my stomach would’ve acted up. The morning went by pretty fast, as we had a lot of “catching up” to do in terms of bible verse memorization, culture class, and a team chant and song. So, that filled up our morning in addition to the regular vocab/phrase/conversation stuff, and the students were very intrigued by the pictures at my house since its so different and big compared to houses in Taiwan. I think that’s probably the only thing that held their attention for culture because sports, education, and places… are kind of abstract and can’t really be shown… which involved in lots of just talking.

Spent lunch talking to some more kids from other groups because it was the last day, and I kind of regretted not doing so last week in Hengchun. But, I also had to finish up the slideshow, adding in a couple pictures from today, so I did that while the kids watched a video during their usual rest time. Surprisingly, they were calmer watching a show compared to taking a nap…

At the end of the day, we had a couple parents come for the award ceremony, and I was really proud of our group’s chant, as we were able to replicate the Chinese version of the spongebob theme song. Except, we replaced the Chinese name for Spongebob (hai mien bao bao) with Spongebob Squarepants, and the students seemed to know the entire song! Oh, I started the song with the “Are you ready kids? Aye aye captain!” and we all did the nose flute thing at the end… even though it seemed funny, our chant was probably the least awkward one because everybody did it! And, of course, we won best chant! :P For song, we did precious cornerstone, but that was just alright. Halfway through the song, I realized that my singing through the mic probably overpowered the students singing =/. For the best students awards, we decided upon Steward (though hopefully he changes it to Stewart!) and Mellisa (yeah… interesting spelling). And, I just learned today that Peter and Steward were brothers… and that Mellisa also has a brother named Bob (or bobo?). I’m so unobservant… at least I knew Mellisa had a sister named Alice in another group… but wow, Peter and Steward were both in my class! Oh, and I was very proud of my students for memorizing the Bible verses, they seemed to have taken half of all those prizes, as Sandy, Timothy, Casper, and Steward went up! And Cindy went up for the theme memorization. I was hoping though, that Will would’ve gone up because he seemed to have known it too, they even memorized the harder verse for the last day: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself – Luke 10:27” That’s pretty long! At least Steward decided to go up and do it, so all that practicing wasn’t a waste! The closing ceremony went pretty well, as the slideshow went smoothly and I decided to play the three songs that the kids liked the most: Precious Cornerstone, One Way, and Deep Deep Whoa. I even had Pastor Tu shout the “Yes I love my Jesus” for Deep, and he owned it! Haha, the kids had a good laugh too. But, then it was kind of sad, as it was all ending! Pastor Tu had the Boston team stand in the front, and asked the kids to come up to hug us… it was kind of awkward at first, but I was surprised that kids from other groups came up to me =). My own students… were a bit shy and since they’re the oldest, they thought it was kind of “childish” but eventually they did come up! Though, I had to go and hug Bill because he didn’t want to give hugs. Haha. That was a great going away gift from the kids though, and as we sent them off after a prayer by Pastor Tu and a bendiction by my mom, I hung around the exit, as they waited for their parents. I took a couple pictures with the kids, and it was great seeing them off one last time. Hopefully they come back! And, I run risk of the being creepy, but Anna has got to be one of the cutest students :P ok, ok fine… so most of the are cute…

After most of the kids left, we packed up, and was entertained by Rose’s antics… Oh right, she came to the camp for the first time today after oversleeping the first day and getting pink eye the next two days… yeah, she randomly decided to act out a wedding ceremony, three times… and then started to sing on American idol… amusing to say the least :P Then, we ate at the beef noodle place again because we realized that we didn’t have much time before our van would arrive! We were able to meet April and Angel’s mom, as she came to pick them up to go to Taipei (April made her out to seem like she was very big… but she didn’t look fat at all… perhaps the two sisters are just too skinny! :P), and then later on, we saw Esther and Debbie’s parents at the restaurant as well! After dinner, we headed back to the pastor’s house, finished packing, and said goodbye to Esther and Debbie as they drove back to Taoyuan. Then, the chens, Regina, and my family got on the van and were driven to Taipei. And, I just knocked out on the trip up after such an exhausting 4 days.

But before doing so, it was interesting to learn that most people liked Hengchun better than Taichung… and I was kind of torn because I liked each place for different reasons… hengchun students seemed older and more mature because they were poorer but were more willing to interact with you and get to know you (at least that was the case for my students… I felt like I could relate to them better even though I taught pretty much the same age group in Taichung). But, the smaller group in Taichung made it a lot easier to get to know all of them, and the smaller place made a lot of the things easier to handle (especially with everything being indoors with AC!) and, the girls are much cuter :P actually, some of them could be classified as annoying… or bratty… because they’re sheltered compared to those in Hengchun. And, that’s not to say the kids in Hengchun aren’t cute! It’s just that… I didn’t really have time to get to know the other kids. Oh, and I’m not sure which group is more chaotic… because there would be more space in hengchun for kids to run around and go play despite the brutal heat, while in Taichung, everything was more contained and easier to handle although things got loud really quickly as kids would just start running everywhere… anyways, these are my first impressions, and I think I’ll need more time to process it, but at least I can definitely say I’ve really enjoyed this year… it’s been very rewarding, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new things about people and about myself.

Anyways, when we got to the Taipei Bread of Life Church, we saw Katherine and Elizabeth and their mom! They were from our church before moving to Texas, and they were also in Taipei during the summer! So, we talked with them and it’s crazy how much both of them have grown in just a year! Katherine has gotten much taller and more outgoing, and now Elizabeth can walk but she’s still very shy… and oblivious :P and she still has very big eyes. It was very funny comparing her to Sharon because while Sharon’s 5, she’s shorter than Elizabeth (who’s 3) and weighs less… it must be because Rose is eating all of Sharon’s food! :P And, as we moved into our rooms in the church, which was prepared for us (such as blessing!), we got to play with them and we had Rose think that standing on the weighing machine (I can’t think of the actual word at the moment) was a game… and we found out that she weighed 100+lbs… wow. I weigh 130, and Joseph weighs like 110… gg pwned. Oh, and Sharon only weighs 30… No wonder she’s so light! And for the rest of the night, we just relaxed… I just played more piccross while watching Pokemon in Chinese on TV. I went to 7-11 to buy some snacks, including Mala Spicy Lay’s chips, which are surprisingly delicious! But, after drinking green tea, I’ve messed up my sleeping schedule yet again… as it’s now 3AM and now I’m finally tired… I thought playing all that piccross would tire my brain, but I think I counteracted that with the tea… oh and for some reason, I ended up with a room all to my self because the Chens took one, and my mom and sisters took another… Well, I spent the night reorganizing my suitcase and it feels good just to be finally able to relax. BUT I WISH CAMP WASN’T OVER =( anyways, we’ll get to see my uncle tomorrow and his kids, Spencer and Ashley… and we’ll probably go visit Taipei 101! Now… if only I could get internet access… this Ethernet cable in the room gave me false hope =(

Day 191

Woke up around 9, and started packing for our trip to Taichung. It went without a hitch, as everyone got ready by 10, and we just packed up to leave. We were confused though, to find that our breakfast wasn’t ready at 9, but then we found out that Joy, the coordinator, got sick today, and went to the hospital to get it checked out. Thankfully, it wasn’t nothing major as she was prescribed some medicine, but I can’t believe she’s already busy working on another camp today! This one’s for college people though, and I think another group has come (not sure from where) to help host this program.

         We packed onto two vans, and on the van I went on, we had my family along with Esther and Debbie. It was a pretty comfortable ride with AC and enough space to stretch, and for the first hour, we just played DS, whether it was multiplayer Tetris or Big Brain Academy. Then, everyone took a nap while I continued to play videogames, and then we stopped at a really nice rest stop. It had restaurants and a really fun playground, but we didn’t have time to play :/ because we had to meet Pastor Tu at Taichung at 1:30 for lunch. So, we quickly headed back onto the vans after a bathroom and drink break, and it was just another hour until we arrived at Taichung. I think it was a 3.5 hour trip, but it definitely did not feel that long. We dropped off our bags at Pastor Tu’s house and headed over to the all-you-can-eat shabu shabu buffet! We went there last year, and it was just as good this year! Surprisingly, I forced myself to eat even after I felt full, just because I wanted to make sure I tried everything. So, I did, but I reaped the consequences later as I had to basically poop it all out once I got back to the house… This humidity is owning my stomach. :( Or, it’s because I eat too much at these places since this happened last time too… Anyways, the food was great, and I ate lots of meat, and drank lots of green tea and finished it off with ice cream (the vanilla, which everyone said tasted good,… felt funny to me. I thought I was eating cream cheese because the flavor was not very strong and it wasn’t very cold. So, it felt like cream. Tasteless cream. Ugh… It had more texture than whipped cream though, but it was not what I expected.) Oh, but I forgot to play with the chocolate fountain… I’m not too into marshmallows. Or chocolate-covered hot dogs. Actually, I don’t think that was a real choice but the hot dogs were right next to the fountain. During our meal with Pastor Tu, we learned that Tim Tu was at the military (as all Taiwan citizens must do so for a year) but will be coming back this week to help! Whew, I thought we were going to miss him and that would be a bummer! And, we learned that on Wednesday, we will be going to an Earthquake Museum that is dedicated to the earthquake that hit Taiwan in 1999. It’s free on that day and there’s English, so Pastor Tu thought it’d be a great experience for everyone.

         After lunch, we headed back to the pastor’s house, and we met Joseph’s relatives too, including Sandy (who we taught last year). Sharon was very loud and energetic but I guess their baby cousin? Was very intrigued by Rose… haha. Then, we said our goodbyes to Mrs. Chen, Rose, and Sharon as they went to go live with their relatives this week as well as to Rosa, as she had to get on the train to attend a culture camp. She says she’s going to be visiting relatives this entire summer, most likely ones she won’t know and she’ll have to do it alone… doesn’t sound too fun to me :/. For the rest of the afternoon, we just relaxed and played Kemps and Big 2. Making signals was the funnest part of the game for me, and then since we had 8 people, we decided to do a loser and winner’s table for Big 2. I completely controlled the winner’s table :P. Then, we headed to the church.

         The walk wasn’t too bad, as the weather was much cooler at 7, and we stopped by a newly opened store, that was cheaper (by 1 or 2 NT… 30 cents?) than the 7-11 down the street… which I guess would add up if you bought a lot. It definitely looked a lot newer, but 7-11 has a certain feel that’s hard to replicate. I duno. We went to the church, rehearsed a skit for tomorrow, practiced for worship, and ate dinner. We were asked to do a skit last minute because it’s sort of a Gospel morning tomorrow, so for a short one, we decided upon Zaccheus. Thankfully, it was easy to go over, and it went by smoothly. Worship was a different story. It was great to see that they added an actual electric drum set, so Joseph could play! And, there was a bass guitar for Karen! Wow, they totally upgraded their system, with wireless mics as well… So, we decided to do One Way for the song offering, since not all the adults who would attend tomorrow would come for the last day of the English camp. But, then, we kind of hit a problem when we practiced for Sunday worship… as my mom played piano, I thought she was playing in the wrong key because possibly, she had transpoed the song. But, she said F, and the sheet said F, and my capo was right… so I decided to tune my guitar because I hadn’t for the entire past week… and the humidity might have owned it or something. Or my strumming. But, I was pretty much in tune. Then, we realized that the piano was a quarter-tone off key… and there was nothing we could do about it. Even though it’s an electric piano, resetting doesn’t change its initial intonation, and the transposer only moves it by semitones… so that kind of messed everything up. I guess I could’ve tuned my guitar and Karen’s bass to match the piano…but it was too much of a hassle at the moment. Perhaps I’ll suggest it tomorrow.

         Dinner was low-key, as we ate at the church and had bao fan? (pork covered with this white jelly thing…) and lots of fruit. My goodness, the mangoes were SO sweet. I was shocked at how good they were. The lychees were alright, but I hope there will be longans soon… Lastly, as my mom talked to the pastor and his wife about the recent events about our church, I decided to do a “survey” or draft of the students we liked at Hengchun. We first just talked about kids we liked and didn’t like (because everyone seemed to have favorites and those who got on their nerves) but then, we had a draft where we went in a circle choosing one student not from their class that they liked, with the last person choosing two and going back in the circle. At the end, it was not surprising to see that the most popular students were the oldest (my group!) and the youngest (group 5)… which means either I should allow other groups to teach the oldest since I’ve had the privilege for so many times, or we should make sure to focus on the less “cute” or “respectful” or “responsive” kids in the middle three age groups… As for me, I chose Strawberry (group 5) and her brother Ken (group 4) because they have big eyes…and that makes them extremely adorable… haha. Not kidding. From my group, people chose Bob, Jack, Cindy, Wendy, Regina, and Betty (short)…Joseph admitted that he missed teaching this group from last year, and I wouldn’t blame him. Each year, it just seems to get better because we know each other more!

         Okay, so it’s really late now… and we need to get to church tomorrow at 9. Tim’s coming back at 7 am, and sadly, we still haven’t been able to get internet access at the house. Perhaps it’ll work at the church…oh well. No internet means I’m somewhat more productive with my time. 

day 181

         Right now, these three days all seem mashed together, but I guess I’ll start from the 30th. Today was probably the most frustrated I’ve felt in sometime. To not be “in control” and have everything demand so much of me, really irked me. I woke up around 10 after going to sleep at 4, and I was told we were bringing a pastor’s family to the Apple Store and possibly have them buy a macbook using my student discount since NH doesn’t have tax. That was fine with me because I needed to go to the mall anyways, but since my mom heard that I’d be going to BC to conduct Shaw interviews, she thought it’d be convenient for me to send the pastors from Taiwan to the airport. The only thing was that I needed to be at BC @ 1:30, and it takes 40mins to an hour to get to Logan Airport.

         So, it was a rush to the mall, the family decided that Apple was too expensive (the boy didn’t really want it either), so I brought them to Best Buy. I guess at Montreal, where they’re from, the tax is a freaking 12.5%, and the prices are higher! Geez… Meanwhile, my sister bought a new camera to replace that lens error and found that repairing the old one would cost at LEAST $125! (what a rip!) By the time I got back from Best Buy, we had to go back home to pick up the Taiwan pastors, and I couldn’t shop for stuff I needed for Taiwan. Oh well, I knew I could buy it later at Walmart.

         Picked up the pastors around 12:45, and from that, I estimated I might be able to make the 2PM deadline for the first Shaw interview, though Helen recommended 1:30, so I could be told what would be going on. Dropped them off at the airport, and put BC’s address into the GPS because without glasses, I feared I couldn’t read the signs quick enough to make the right decision. Also, I’m afraid of getting lost in Boston because I’m not familiar with all its roads. But, this proved to be an aggravating experience: I was hoping to get on Masspike, but the directions showed me something different. Then, I made some errors in exit-taking because I would be heading toward one exit, which seemed correct on the GPS map, but the voice would be like LEFT, as soon as I chose right…the directions it was giving weren’t too clear either. So, instead of possibly getting to BC on time, I was lost on Boylston Street at 2PM. So I had to call to tell Helen I’d be late. But if I had to think of one good thing from this, I saw buildings and places I never knew existed, and that was nice =). IT was a bit difficult driving through the cramped one-way streets, but that helped make the experience. Oh, and I was surprised at how the Arlington T stop looked above ground because I would always pass it on my T rides to North Station.

         Made it to BC around 2:15, and the lady told me to park at Beacon garage due to construction in the Commonwealth one. But, I knew if I did that, it’d take another 15-20 minutes to walk back to Gate… so, I headed to a random graveyard place across from Walsh and parked for free ;). Got back to Gate in time for the second interview, and that was pretty fun. They took only 15-20 minutes as we would as 4-5 questions, and they would also ask us their own at the end. The conference call thing didn’t really work, so we just used Helen’s blackberry on speakerphone. Tom was there too, as he filled in for me for the first interview, but he mainly looked at the apps of the students we were interviewing. When it was time for my sister’s interview, I had to step out to avoid being biased… so I decided to get lunch because I had totally forgotten about it! It was 3, and the only thing I had all day was an ice cream sandwich… I went to flatbreads, and got a roast beef sandwich. Couldn’t finish it though, and I thought it was alright for the price. I probably would’ve preferred El Pelon though. Went back and conducted 3 more interviews and realized that it took longer than expected, which bothered me because I had told my mom to take the T from Logan to BC and get there around 4:30 since she accompanied the pastors to the airport. Well, I didn’t finish till 5, so my mom was calling me a lot, but I didn’t have service in Gate. Anyways, that was frustrating because I was originally told interviews would go from 2-4:30, but I guess I can’t complain because this would be the extent of my involvement with the application process…

         By the time I got the car and picked up my mom, who was at Lower, I realized we’d be in a lot of traffic because of rush hour. Being late and leaving late really bummed me because I hate the fact that when I say I’ll meet and not fulfill it, it reflects badly on my character and I want to keep my promises, especially to those who are close to me. We left at 5:15 and got back home at 6:30, and I was tired from all the constant traffic jams. As I sat down to check my email, I was told that the Montreal family from this morning were coming to eat with us, and I had to go pick up food. That went fine despite my initial dislike of driving more after that horrendous trip from BC. I ate dinner quickly, and headed to Walmart to pick up some showering supplies (um, I guess I could’ve done without them if you’ve seen my previous post/pics of them…but there was new stuff to try! Haha). But more importantly, I had to print out photos for teaching material at Taiwan, and I was given a receipt saying everything would be done at 8:30, but when I returned from shopping, there was an error because there was not enough paper. And so, I had to wait until 9 before the lady could solve the problem because she was swamped with other people needing help. So, all I could do was wait, but in the meantime, I saw a high school friend, Ivory Farren, and at first I didn’t recognize her, but as soon as she talked, it came back to me. I’m not sure if I can say high-school friend though because I didn’t really talk to her then. So I guess it’d have to be middle school? Haha…I think the only reason she still knows me is because her family goes to my dad’s office for teeth cleaning. Anyways, she told me she worked at Cronos… and it sounded familiar but I can’t seem to recall anything else about it. Back to the photos, or namely the lady. She was very interesting… she had a very deep voice, which surprised me, because it took me a couple seconds to register who was talking to me. And finally, I got my pictures at 9:15 and went home.

         Called Andrew to talk about Shaw stuff, and I’m really excited about his progress along with the rest of the council, and being included in their projects. It was good catching up with him but I had to end it early because I realized how much stuff I had left to finish: packing for Taiwan, sending out my dental apps, and preparing Taiwan materials. This was going to be a long night…

         I kept doing a little of each, switching off because I was afraid I’d forget this or that. At midnight, I decided to start packing, and managed to get all my clothes packed (which was quite heavy!) and I got a surprise call from Steph around then to wish me an early 21st birthday :D. Gosh. I think I really needed that break to talk and it was very thoughtful of her…. I realized that our birthdays are just 1 week apart. Interesting. Ok, so I managed to send out my dental app at 2:30AM, and it cost a freaking $1000! (I guess that’ll be my birthday present… haha), and that’s just for 12 schools, which doesn’t even include the actual university processing fee… That’s separate and an additional $75 per school… GREAT.

         Well, I managed to finish packing and preparing for Taiwan at 3, including my guitar, which I found I could bring as a carry-on for the plane. Took a shower, read the new Naruto manga, and totally forgot that I had to send in some application fees WITH my dental application. So with the help of my sisters, we addressed 7 envelopes and left notes for my dad to write the checks up to the last second… and I realized one of my apps needed essays for its supplement. DOH! So I guess I’ll have to work on it when I get back. That really annoyed me because I thought I was on top of everything, but that caught me off guard. But, I do have to be thankful for what had been accomplished, as 11 of the 12 apps should be fine and my dad was willing to help with the mailing process after I left for Taiwan.

         As soon as that was over, my family loaded the luggages on the car, and left at 4:40AM. By then, I realized I had pulled an all-nighter, and yet STILL had tons of stuff that I didn’t get done, so that kept me up during the car ride to the airport. Thankfully, the line wasn’t that long for the check-in to AA. We saw the Chens and Rosa there, and during check-in, all 6 of our bags were just under 50 lbs! Mine was 48.5… gosh, what a sigh of relief. Picking and choosing what to bring is hard… I think I packed enough to go without doing laundry.

         As we went through the security check, we said our goodbyes to my dad and Mr. Chen, and we were off! The security checkpoint had me raise my hands and split my feet, like a jumping jack. It was funny. And, so we boarded on the plane to Dallas without having to rush, and it was only then that I decided to take a nap…