Am I American enough?

 

Hooray!  It is the day that our country got free! wait, today is not August 15?

For 20 years, August 15 has been an only independence day I have known. However, two years ago I got another independence day to celebrate.

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‘Three different density of vitamin waters will make different color levels’ theory and it worked!

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Turkey meat burger with veggies and delicious spicy cheese dip

Hailey, my friend Shawn’s sister made amazing spicy cheese dip with meat inside. Even though I don’t like chips that much, I couldn’t stop eating the dip sauce with it. It was perfect typical fun family holiday that I imagined. Barbecue grill filled with firing sausages and patties, fresh tomatoes, celery, onions, other veggies, and home made s’more chocolate cupcake made me gaining little holiday weight that I haven’t gotten for a while.

 

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Sitting all together on camping chair like a family! :)

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Dave Weddel, Shawn’s father owns boat and jet ski. He is a professional photographer and made a nice video from lots of pictures he took on that day. I have been trying to change the format from gomplayer to youtube but couldn’t.  It has all the fun I had in their home. I got to meet Shawn’s whole ( father side and stepmother side and his sisters) family and their cute little kids who kept asked me to play with them. At first I could tell they were too shy to even look at me but after half an hour, I became their best friend.

Sometimes I think our world would be more wonderful place to live if everyone has heart of children.

With a flag in behind, I had the most family gathering American holiday. At first I wasn’t sure if I could go since in Korea it is really hard to imagine bringing guest especially who does not speak native language at big family holiday. I was invited several times from other American friends who wanted to show me their family and the the way they spend it. Every time I was invited, I tried to make excuses to not go since I was afraid and scared not accepted.  But this time I know Shawn is very good friend and felt it is time to get out from this scary cat thinking. And it was a good decision.

 

First time trying jet ski was scary but after 3 minutes I was driving it in 30m/h speed! Neighbors who own boat and jet ski participated in parade. Some set up theme such as bumble bee or pirates and decorated their boats and dressed up like it. It was just the best legit American fourth of July I have ever experienced. Can’t wait for another holiday to come ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Roses are red and my bag full of chocolates

Life is complete with three things; Food,fashion and last but not least love.

Imagine you are a fashion star and work for Man v.Food but haven’t found a love of your life. Would you be truly happy?

There was one time 92-year-old woman on news said the key point of her long life is not having sex entire her life. She never dated a guy in her life and according to her it made her to stay healthy without any stress.

Well I don’t know about this. Personally I can’t live without love and all those little winks going back and forth ;) Anyhow to celebrate valentine day International Club hosts small valentine event on hallway.

 

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with Lalli, president of APAA

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E-board also made Oreo chocolate truffle and sold it at $1.

It was our first time hand making bake so it did not professional pretty but lots of people who were hungry enough to eat it bought a lot.

While making it, our e-board members were able to hangout and chat about our lives.

It is already several months ago but those times that we were together will be forever in our memory.

Our world is becoming one and sharing lots of cultures such as Valentines day, Thanksgiving day,  Christmas. It is pretty universal holidays that lots of countries besides western are celebrating it also.

One thing slightly different from the  way Korean celebrate this event day is that in Korea it is normal for girls to make chocolate and give it to guys on the day. Few years ago when I was in a relationship with this Korean guy, I, never baked before, made whole box of chocolate. So typical but person who is receiving or giving expect it to happen and yes it is how it goes in Korea at least from what I have expected.

Chocolate,which is made of the most bitter fruit, turned into a most sweetest love portion in the world. Love happens from the most  unexpectedly way but with perfect mean, chocolate, wouldn’t it come faster and more enjoyable?

 

 

Man of the Year

 

Who is gonna be ‘the man’ of the year?

This question led me to the Ballroom.

Not only because one of my officers, Victory is participating but also heard there will be some guys wearing spido swimsuit and  it was  interesting enough to draw my attention ;)

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Victory posing in front of International Club cube lol! So proud of him!

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Anyway, it was very entertaining. Basically male students who applied were on stage either dancing or singing. Victory and his back dancers who appeared to be other club members dance Gangnam style. It was the first ever that colored man won the Man of the year award.  I had to leave almost at the end of the show but for sure this event was very entertaining and fun.

As soon as I entered I was surprised to see how many of white students were sitting. Since I came to UMD I have been to lots of cultural event but did not know this man of the year is this big thing.

To be honest, I still do not know what the purpose was for this event and how the judges decided on a winner but one thing for sure, watching guys who were brave enough to dance on a stage and wear swim suit made me laugh.

Probably some Korean universities can adopt this kind of event to gather students for ice breaker.

Wait, what about woman of a year?

 

 

 

 

Another coloring journey, Happy 46th birthday

It’s been a while but it is still so vivid in my memory. Red, black with smiles on people’s face filled my night. Our International Club has two big main events; International Taste Of UMD and Feast Of Nations. We have been preparing the Feast of nations since last 2013 fall semester.  Our theme of 2014 was One love, one world with red and black as theme color. I still remember our club peer adviser recalling with amaze that she still remembers officers spent about half an hour for deciding on colors of napkins. Officers, 7 of us total, we spent so many days with the most 5 hours meeting only for this one event. We all agreed after that no one had ever experienced so many works for one event and gotten out of comfort zone before. For other people it might have looked like just another foreign event where they could try all new food. However, it is not how it felt to me. This position, president of the club may have given me too much biased judgement or reflection on the event or anything that has related, but I can say that it truly did change my boundary. While preparing and after the event, the limitation that I drew faded away. It had same location routine as last year, it started in Ballroom than moved to MPAC ( Marshall Performing Arts Center). When I was hosting 2013 Feast of Nations, I felt great to be on the stage of MPAC and that made me to decide to have same routine. Also I wanted to change from having non-related host to having our own officers who put so much effort in for the event as host.

With that decision the very first step has started

. IMG_1220 (Hosting Feast of Nations,Color our world, in 2013)

The most hardest part that everyone expected was setting up the theme words but actually as like it was planned, it came to us easier than expected. We were brainstorming and wanted to show that year of 2014 is focused on embracing cultures and we have commonality ultimately. After few more hours of debating, we decided to go with “One love, one world”.

After many days and nights struggling with decisions, we were set up for the big day.  Here is some peak of the day.

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E-board :) Peilin, Min, Chanraksar, Victory, Me, Jiaqi

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Our official poster

( Pic from Chanraksar Wat’s FB) Volunteers working on a banner :) It took them whole three days to finish! It was beautiful.

Table decoration with red rose candle

 

One of performances with B-boys !

Ladies dance group

 

After several audition times we finally narrowed down with around 18 groups and solos of singing and dancing. Lots of participants tried to represent their own cultures and some also shared their own beautiful talent with very creative ideas. We had around 500 people enjoying the event with great feedback.

So our night was planned in three separate parts; I. Dinner& Fashion show II. Performing show time III. After party with DJ As a first step our e-board took each’s part for example, VP takes Fashion show and manage flow of it with music and pictures, PR takes performing show and check routines, Media Specialists take volunteers and decoration. To make a difference, we added some special details in our fashion show. Usually people just wear different cultures’ clothes and just show people for like 10 seconds.However, we expanded the concept of culture. Culture that not only covers regional district but also timeline, subculture such as school, hiphop etc. We had UMD fashion style which is UMD hoodie with sweatpants and ugly backpack with water bottle, Korean school girls’ fashion, 1920’s high-end fashion, Western cowboy fashion, Pakistani traditional clothes, Indian boys and girls clothes with their style dance movement,,etc.  Fashion show MCs were the best I have ever seen. They were funny, fancy,respectful and made very alive stage. Dinner part was very hard. Since we tried to embrace lots of different cultures’ cuisine it was not that easy. But we tried to mix the balance well between Asians and Europeans and Africans and other dish that could represent cultures well.

After party with DJ was to just have fun with people and become one with various of music. We actually had a famous DJ BankE  for the night, from 9pm-12am. Just to make sure people get both fun and full, we had chocolate fountain with marsh mellow, fruits and snacks. I could see everyone becoming one with smile on their face. After the night, I passed out with happiness. It has been already four months since it happened. But it is still so vivid in my head and our head. When e-board meet up we can’t help stop talking about all those preparations, stresses and happiness we felt after.

 

Some may thing it is just another college culture event that they are not comfortable to go. No. You are invited. Let’s be honest, who does not want to stay in comfort zone and don’t feel uncomfortable when confronting differences? You are truly making yourself home when you experience conflicts, tear sharing, laughter and will be able to invite others too. I have been keep telling others since I learned. Come. Put yourself out there and you might find yourself enjoying Korean food or Ethiopian food. All I want to say from this post is that this Feast of Nations gave me precious memory that I can never forget and matured me by communicating with tons of diversities. I am so thankful to be here now.

.IMG_292539202659571One love, One world

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Light to celebrate new year from Eastern

(Picture from Zhengtao’s Facebook)

”         .”

By watching Zhengtao Chen, one of Chinese students in UMD, performing Tai Chi the traditional Chinese marshal art, I learned the true aesthetics of the margin. Lots of things between China and Korea are similar but also very different. Korea have Taekwondo which is also type of marshal art but more tough.

2014 is the year of horse in China and Korea. Since our ancestor used lunar calendar, January 31 was New Year’s Day in Korea and China. On February 01 Chinese Student Association celebrated New Year’s Day huge in Ballroom and MPAC.

2014_02_01_18_25_09This is the picture of food I had for dinner at the event. Different from other events that I have been attended, CSSA served dinner not by buffet style but as Chinese take-out style; white rice and sesame chicken with vegetable and fortune cookie in brown folded bag. I was quite surprised at first but it was quite clever thought since it was more ‘real’ Chinese style dinner.  Most of the food were marinated in sauce which are very sweet or little spicy. All of the food had meat in which might have been hard for vegetarians. But then I kind of realized that I have never met any Chinese who defined themselves as vegetarian which explained a lot. Since I was familar with Chinese food since I was young and also had been to China few days, most of it taste good. My roommate, Hmong, even packed and I do not blame her since the food quite fit our taste.

2014_02_02_19_36_00They had piece of paper that explains menu and handed us small red bag as you can see in the picture. It was really pretty bag and I had to save it. After dinner we moved to MPAC to watch performances. Since dinner started 30 minutes late, the show started late too. There were some complaints about the time but later bigger problem evolved.

They hosted in Chinese.

It was really new experience and made me felt that the event is not for all but for Chinese or those who can understand the language.

Most of the events I remain seated to respect but I could not understand the word the hosts were saying and even with awesome performances, it got boring. I could see lots of audiences ( who are not Chinese) were shocked that there were no translation and started leaving.  Personally, it could have been more successful if the association considered others who have different language background since they did not mention any language requirement or warning to people. After the show, this unsatisfactory led me to question the purpose of the event. No offense but it also led the discussion on ethnocentrism.

Whole construction of show was great and it is always awesome learning new perspective through other’s culture. However, it is also important for the culture who are expending to put lots of effort to help others feel inclusive if the purpose is to unite closer by sharing their cultures.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, the Tai Chi gave me a lesson on the beauty of blank through different mean. In Korea history, arts and life the margin, black was considered very important but Tai Chi was different notion of beauty. I couldn’t breath while the performer was drawing smooth but strong invisible line on air.

Culture could make us unite together but also could define us separate.

God bless Korea.

P.S. I love you

“That emotion showed me how much pain can sit in this body of yours;

pain and sorrow that you don’t know you have until it is unleashed.”

“If we are all alone
we are all together in that to”

-P.S. I love you-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gerard Butler-

Booze, Hot chocolate, Booze

First time I met Shawn, he was holding a beer.

You might disagree with me but get the  fruity make-you-fat beer right now from the store. It is from my experiences and if you do not have as many International friends as me and you better follow me.

Okay that was too harsh. And that’s what happens when you drink. You cannot control your mouth. But sometimes it helps too because I tend to speak more fluently when I am drinking. The moment I put my mouth in to the beer bottle, I get 20 more friends!

I know that you may disagree but listen carefully. Let’s go back to 2012 summer. I was a FOB (according to my besties..) that time since I just came to United States on 2012 January. For six months I didn’t have any new friends except my super nice friendly 10 hall mates. During summer I happened to take the class “Intercultural Communication Class”, one of the favorite classes. Not in the class of course but outside of class I became friend with them so fast. Because of  the party we had  with tons of different flavor, nationality booze. I am still keep in touch with them and we still talk about that night since we had so much fun/history that night.

Second, I went to party hosted by homosexual guy and at that time I still had some negative perspective on them. Lots of thought and belief I had are strongly connected with Korean society. Not only since I was raised all my 20 years in there but it is so conservative society that you end up with making your own zone and never come out.  Anyway I became friend with him which I never could have dreamt  in Korea.

Because we played card games with shots and beers!

Third, the first conversation I had with Shawn was about the beer he was holding. And yes as you could see below picture we trade booze as belated birthday gift.. The green bottle he is holding is Korean vodka “Soju” which is around 20% but really really bitter. Usually Korean people drink 1-2 bottles.

IMG_6157Since we are talking about Korean drink culture I will explain it more. We drink Soju usually when we are having meal. We have these informal meat restaurants where could look ghetto but feel cozy. It is called a perfect table when it has rice, grilled pork/beef, 5-7 side dishes with Soju. Almost everyone drinks Soju so when you are making friend in Korea, take the friend to the most ghetto looking meat restaurant and order Soju. We use small shot glass for Soju always! We also have our own manner to have when you are drinking with elders in Korea. But it is complicated and I will tell you in later post.

20140105_212242And yes he gave me this. I had no idea that beer could have orange/raspberry flavor scent until he suggested one. First I thought it was okay but I became liking it more. I am not advertising or anything but it was just another cultural learning.

And even with 50 years old guy you can talk about your favorite beer and share some interest. In my previous culture, I can never imagine but it is possible because it is AMERICA! I love it!  You may feel like a kid when you have hot non whip cream on top hot chocolate but suddenly you feel grownup when you have that bottle in your hand.

Believe it or not it has made my college life smoother and also help me breaking some cultural/language barriers easier than other friends.

It must have a magic in it. Xoxo good night Blue moon.