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2008… What Did You DO To Me?!?!

29 Dec

I don’t know if any year of my life has ever been so epic and life-changing.  I was looking over the blogs from the past year and I can’t recall any other time in my life that has been as epic as these as these last twelve months.

In January my Grandmother was diagnosed with bone cancer and after a few months of caring for her weekly, she passed at the end of April this year.  My sister learned she was pregnant and the baby was born in October.  I had also heard from the JET programme about my application just before beginning my last semester of college.

In February I interviewed with JET and both my brother and Grandfather were in and out of the hospital a few times.  March was kind of quiet aside from working on school projects and trying to learn Japanese while I was still waiting to hear back from the JET programme about my interview… that was agonizing.  Oh yeah, and we moved.  I hate moving.

In April I found out I was accepted into JET and just two weeks later my Grandmother passed away.  I drove cross-country three days to attend the funeral.  I also found out the baby would be a girl.  In May I finished my final project for school and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree after what seemed like forever.

In June I just spent time with family and in July I spent countless hours staring into my closet figuring out what to bring to Japan.  I had a going away party and in August I moved to Japan.  The last four months of the year have been an absolute whirlwind.  I’ve picked up a lot of Japanese already, I’ve met lots of great people, and have traveled to several places across the country.

Nara, Japan

Nara, Japan

I’ve had many firsts this year, like a great leap in feeling independent and having a disposable income.  2008 made me feel death, life, divorce, ridiculous drama, knowledge, growth, accomplishment, fear, apprehension, shame, pride… and love.

If this next year is anything like the one that’s coming to a close; I should prepare to get my socks rocked off.  So let’s get ready to eat some mochi, drink some sake (everyone else… not me), and ring the temple bells into the Year of the Cow!

Me in Hiroshima

Back Once Again With A Brand New Edition

13 Jul

So I’ve been away for awhile again.  The power cord for my laptop got busted and funds are low so I haven’t been able to purchase a new one straight away.  To get online I’ve been using either my mom’s company-issued laptop or my brother’s agonizingly slow PC.  Also, as the time draws nearer, things are getting more hectic because I have to get ready to leave for Japan.  So let’s get with the recap, word?

I already mentioned that I got accepted into the JET Programme for the 08-09 year, I also found out that I will be placed in Kobe, which is 20-30 minutes West of Osaka.  It’s one of Japan’s designated cities, it’s a port city, and apparently very metropolitan.  I’ve heard it referred to as Japan’s San Francisco, which is right up my alley.

I’ve already been chatting with other JET participants that are currently there as well as fellow newcomers to the Kobe ALT scene; which is awesome because it does away with lots of initial awkwardness, hopefully; and also almost every question or concern you have about living in your specific city is pretty much answered before you even board the plane.

I don’t really know any Japanese so I’ve been taking a class the Consulate offers once-a-week in SF before I leave.  It’s pretty helpful so far, I just find that when the teacher asks us to say something in Japanese, if I don’t really know it, in my head I start speaking Spanish like somehow that will suffice.  I’ve haven’t said anything out loud yet, but knowing me, it’ll happen at some point.

Oh, and Graduation! It was nice, it was fun, it was mellow.  Gavin Newsom, the current Mayor of San Francisco, gave our commencement speech.  He’s got quite the female following, but he’s sort of irritating to me.  He always sounds like he’s selling something.  Not to mention that throughout his speech, he was hoarse and sounded very much like the piano-playing Muppet, Rowlf:

The amount of graduates was just overwhelming.  My mind was fully boggled.  Check this photo out on Flickr.  At one point, there was even a news helicopter flying over the stadium to do a report on the ceremony, which someone commented to me later on that they actually saw it on the news.  I guess a ton of people just wanted to hurry up and get out with tuitions going up every year…

But the ultimate, out of the entire event, was the entire Creative Arts section.  There were between 8-10 different sections for graduates to line up in so you can march down to the field: Creative Arts (CA), Social Sciences, Humanities, etc.  In order to get the the CA section, I had to walk through all the other groups and since it was right before the ceremony began, I could hear various professors from different departments telling the graduates to line up single file so the ceremony could begin.  I reach the end of all the groups, where CA graduates are located and everyone is just milling around, having conversation, grabbing programs, fixing themselves up, etc.  There are no professors around and most people don’t know we’re supposed to be lining up and those that do just stand in one spot with the idea that the line will form in front and behind them.  It was quite amusing.

Then, once we’d marched in and were all seated, the real fun began.  There was so much side commentary about the ceremony that you would think it was Monday Night Football or something.  I only knew and small handful of people and was lucky enough to sit with an old friend who also didn’t know very many people and was also graduating that day (I think we saved one another).  Then, anytime something was mentioned that made the graduates clap and cheer, the Creative Arts section was entirely lackadaisical or felt downright opposite.  I mean, when they introduced the President of the University, there was jeering.  And when Mayor Newsom was speaking, there was nowhere near the excitement as displayed by other departments.  I mean, one girl even screamed out “Gavin, call me!”  Yeah.  It was like that.  I laughed through my entire graduation ceremony and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I guess that’s a decent enough update for now.  Hopefully I will be successful in maintaining updates.  I want to blog regularly again to keep Fam and Friends updated, too.  But now it’s late and I’m going to roll into bed because it’s been quite a long weekend already and it’s only Saturday.  Tomorrow better be mellow.

Finished, Finished, FINISHED!

16 May

I finished my video piece in time for the critique and I really did crank it out on Monday because it turned out really well and garnered mad kudos in class, even an “above and beyond” type of statement from the prof.  Can you say beaming?  I was so jazzed.  Here it is if you want to check it out:

I started a 2nd channel just for my art videos, 

My last day as an undergraduate was yesterday.  I didn’t get misty-eyed or anything, I actually didn’t really enjoy my time on the campus.  99% of what made it even slightly enjoyable was my department.  There was one class outside of the Art department that I thoroughly enjoyed for the discussion and the people I met in it.  Otherwise, 2.5 years at my current school gets totally pwned by the 3 years spent at San Jose State.  Probably because of I lived on or next-to camps most of the time and could do extra-currics and go hang out after class and the like.

I left for various personal reasons, but deep down I wish that SJSU was my alma mater instead.  But it’s what you make it, right?  I know I could have had a better time here at State if my living situation had been different.  A 50-mile commute makes extra-curriculars tough.  I mean, it makes just going to class tough!  So, I’m just ready to graduate and get the summer started!

Rave reviews!

13 May

I just got out of my Art Final.  My last final.  And I got rave reviews on my video!  Awesome!  There was also some constructive criticism, but my professor said that I far exceeded expectations with the piece.  That means a lot and I’m so stoked.

So now I’m in my department lab… 5 hours to kill until the Dept. Graduation/End-of-Semester party and lots of internetting to do, apparently.  So yeah.  Out!

Procrastination Hurts

11 May

I’m not generally a procrastinator… I like to work on things little-by-little early on in the project, so that when I get closer to the deadline, I’m not freaking out.  I don’t know what it is about finals, though, especially in Spring, that just make me about the most procrastinating person ever.

The last final, and I mean last final of my undergraduate career is due to be presented Tuesday.  It’s a video piece.  I’m probably only 25% done.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I had to re-shoot it but I found that out just 2 days before a 6-day long trip to Arkansas for my Grandmother’s funeral.

Right now, I know I should be working on the piece but good lord I just feel so unmotivated!  Not motivated?!  You ask, But you’re about to graduate!  What more motivation do you need?!?!  It’s that semester-end thing where I’m just barely crawling over the finish line.  I am overwhelmed with the many things that life is throwing at me now.  I know that I will complete it tomorrow.  I know that I will pass the class.  I know that I will graduate.  But at 9:06pm PST, at this very present moment, I don’t know if what I produce will even be halfway decent.  I’m just so done already.

I need to find employment.  I need to clean my bedroom which is an utter pigsty because I did laundry the morning I left and didn’t get a chance to put it all away.  When I got back at 2:30am, I pushed everything off my bed and collapsed and have been so busy since returning that I haven’t had a decent amount of time to clean.  I need fingerprints.  I need to get 2 sets of paperwork done.  I have to submit volunteer hours.  Worry about getting bills paid (I haven’t worked since January because I was looking after my grandmother, going to school, and taking Japanese classes).  I also have to train 5 people before I leave in August.

Sometimes I just get so worried about stuff that I just want to drop it all and start from scratch, but I can’t really do that, so slosh through it I must.

But I don’t mean to sound like a drag.  There are some silver linings to my clouds:  I made an awesome new friend last month who absolutely makes my days.  I will be graduating with a BA degree by the end of the month.  The Drive-In is open.  I have a full summer to spend with great friends before I move to Japan in August.  I will be a first-time Aunt come October.  I will be independent.  I will almost be like a real grown-up!

So there you have it.  Once I get over this hump called May (which, oddly, seems to be a big hurdle every year), it will almost be smooth sailing for a while.

And with confidence somewhat restored, I will rest and relax tonight and (hopefully) go full-throttle tomorrow, probably chatting with my buddy throughout the day, ha!  Oh yeah, and my sister and her husband come back tomorrow, too… so that’s always nice.

Sorry sorry sorry, I’m back

10 May

So sorry for the long (unintended) leave of absence.  I didn’t mean to go away for so long.  Life has been insane.  I have one week left of school. my sister is pregnant and just learned yesterday the baby is a girl, (FTW!).  After caring for my grandmother for several months, she finally succumbed to bone cancer about 10 days ago.  I got in to the JET program and will be leaving in August for Japan.

More detailed updates to come, I’m just trying to get things in order and this next week coming up will be a little hectic.

Want to know what was stealing my time?

It’s been awhile

11 Mar

This is a bit of a housekeeping blog, but as I’ve been tagged by Kathleen, I will start off with 7 random facts.

Here are the rules:
1.Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post “The Rules”
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag seven people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blogs to let them know they have been “tagged”. 

And the facts are as follows:
[1]  I’ve seen *NSYNC in concert a total of 6 times.  I really like them, and they do great shows.

[2]  I’m afraid of birds; but only when they’re flying above me… for obvious reasons.

[3]  I haven’t had a boyfriend or even a date in a 5 whole years.  Pretty sad.

[4]  The right side of my body seems sub-par to the left.  I’m left-handed.  My right eye has astigmatism, my right ear hears only 60% as well as the other, and my right shoes always scuff up worse.

[5]  I have contemplated breast reduction surgery several times but I can’t bring myself to do it because I don’t want my boobs to be all scarred up like I’ve seen in “after” photos.

[6]  I’m a little afraid of life after college.

[7]  When I was a kid, I used to wish for a robot that could do all my chores.

I’m supposed to tag 7 other people, but I don’t really know anyone in the blog world and have already been tagged by the one person I sorta know.  So… that ends that, I guess. 

Other things going on with me.  Still haven’t gotten a job, but Dad asked me to come and help look after my grandmother while he’s away at work (he has two jobs).  I wanted to help and I know it’s a big deal to my Dad.  I’m going to stick around for as long as possible, but when she starts getting a little closer to the end, I told Dad I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle that.  He said that it’s alright and he doesn’t want me to see her in that state either.

So I’ve been helping with her medications and doing laundry and some other things.  She can get around by herself, she can take her own medicine and everything; she just has a feeding tube right now and can’t do solid foods (I’m not sure if that’s permanent or if the doctors will remove the tube later).  She keeps it low-key and mellow.

Even though I only have 3 units, school seems hectic, I guess because of trying to make sure I get my assignments done and helping with grandma and other stuff.  We (Mom’s house) moved to an apartment and we are still undecided on an ISP because we hate Comcast, so we don’t have internet right now.  And Dad is not really a web kinda guy, I mean, with his two jobs, he doesn’t have a lot of extra time on his hands and it’s just him at his house, so it’s not something he cares to get.  So as you can imagine, accessing the internets can be a bit of a hassle. 

Couple other things before I close out:

—– I had my JET interview a few weeks ago and I should know in 3-4 weeks if I will be heading off to Japan for a year, keep your fingers crossed!

—– My sister is pregnant!  They hadn’t planned on having a baby so soon, but it’s a blessing, nonetheless.  The baby is due in October, just 10 months after the wedding!  Everyone says it’s a “Honeymoon Baby”, I agree.  They want a boy, but she’s not far enough along to find out yet, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find that out.So, that’s about it for now.  Don’t want to overload.  I’ll try to do updates, but my internet access is real sparse.