in less than six hours, i’ll be moving my things into my new apartment in the city. for at least the next year, i will be living in hell’s kitchen, on theater row to be exact, just a few blocks away from perhaps the most dense tourist area in new york (times square). it’s exciting to think about the life that lays ahead, but at the same time, things do get intimidating and worrisome.
i feel as if i am leaving home on less than good terms. in the past three weeks i’ve been here, my relationship with my mother has deteoriated rapidly to the point where i feel i am personally being attacked by every one of her comments. today, we had another shouting match after she and my grandma made a fuss about my desire to have my room painted. i understand she is trying to voice some concerns about the practicality of painting the place since it’ll take extra labor and i will have to repaint it when i move out – which may be in only a year. but what pissed her off the most was when i mentioned that since it was my money, i would decide what to do with my room. the comment must have hit a nerve because she could not stop murmuring things under her breath (which i overheard as something along the lines of “selfish”) as she threw me dirty looks and slammed the door hard wherever she went around the house. in a way, i am glad i will be away from home and the possibility of getting into more shouting matches, but then again, i regret that the things we’ve said to each other have been hurtful enough that we no longer remind each other of things that bring smiles or happy images to mind, but instead conjure up moments that want forgetting and stinging words that discolor our history.
i played basketball at hidden park the other day with andy, and while i suffered a rare loss to him in a grueling one-on-one game, it was a great relief to feel the overexertion of the body and the unending stream of sweat pouring down from my head. i reminded andy again after our game that basketball was a wonderful sport because it was a game you could take seriously at any time and have enough passion for that you would be unconcerned about how your body felt as long as you did what was required to win. the game never gives you time to think about how tired or beat up you are; it only pokes at your pride and taunts you until you can finally claim that you’ve given your best and, if it was a good day, that you won. it’s difficult to talk about sports without spewing the necessary string of cliches, but i really mean it.
i drove to the dry cleaners down the street with my grandma today. i had borrowed andy’s large SUV for the day, so when i sat in the driver’s seat and waited for my grandma to get in the car, i noticed that it was a pretty steep step up to the passenger seat. i watched as my grandma nimbly pulled herself up and sat in the seat. i remarked to her that she was very agile and she laughed saying she was still spry and healthy. “but i hope i don’t live too long,” she said. i asked her why and she said she didn’t want to grow old and senile, and worse, immobile. “if i get that old, do me a favor and take me somewhere far away and throw me out to die,” she told me, half-jokingly. she then went on to say the usual things about God and how she wished she had her own home. i do admit that i am impatient and annoyed by my grandma most of the time, but deep inside (if i ever dare to venture) i do have a soft spot for her. i remember reading her congratulatory letter that she gave me for my graduation and how proud each of her sentences read. today, while i was packing up my things, i gave her my nametag i received from Lehman Brothers when i went to some recruiting event. she seemed so happy to be able to recognize my name and asked which part of the name tag had the name of the company so she could go about memorizing how the letters looked. i broke down the company name phonetically in korean so she could tell her friends at church. sometimes i feel very guilty in realizing how little it takes to make my grandma so happy and how i still find it so easy to neglect her and take her for granted. i can sense her excitement on the phone every time i call after being away from home or if i eat something she’s made, she is quick to praise me. i do hope to show her my gratitude in some sort of genuine manner – i don’t quite know in what form that will be – but it is something to consider as i move on into a more independent life away from home.
i’m looking now at my sister’s resume. it’s the first resume she’s ever written up, and i’m glad i can be of assistance to her now that she’s back home from school and looking for an internship of some sort for her first summer break of college. i remember my first summer after freshman year and how much it sucked the first month struggling to find a job. i must have sent out over fifty emails to various employers only to be rejected over and over again. i did end up landing a spot at Columbia College Today and also tutoring history to a high school kid, but i remember the moments of feeling lost and hopeless in my pursuit of paid work. it’s nice to know that my sister’s first resume will not suffer from the inexperience of my first resume, an unwieldy and clunky document that probably warned employers not to hire me more than let them know how capable i was. i saw a piece of paper on her desk with her hand drawings and i was thoroughly impressed with the talent that seemed to scream out from the page. her strokes and lines seem so natural and she’s definitely developed her skills since taking some art classes at dartmouth. maybe she will find a job that takes advantage of her talents.
i just finished watching wong kar wai’s Days of Being Wild. as with his other movies, it took several tries to get through the entire film, and again, as with his other movies, the film left me in awe at the power of image and sound and how a loose and even disjunct story can turn out so well with superb acting, cinematography, and directing. to skip over exposition and instead give us raw moments of two people at a time interacting with each other – such craft fully exploits the language of cinema and makes me wonder if i will ever be able to create works in such a manner. i do have one or two shots in mind that may evoke a sense of the wkw mystique. if only i could find some good songs.
after skimming through various blogs on the internet, i’ve decided to try my hand at creating a blog that may actually inform people of things outside of my personal life. while there are sites that cover asian american entertainment, it was hard for me to find sites that focused on asian american arts from a less commercial perspective. while my idea is probably nothing new, i am planning to launch a blog site that will be very similar in style to a site like the gothamist or kottke.org (in that entries will be short and updates will be frequent) and focus on asian american efforts in cinema, theater, fine art, literature, and media. it’s not anything super-entreprenurial, but i think it can grow into a nice online platform for up and coming asian american artists to be noticed and their works reviewed, for groups to have their events publicized, and for interested readers to find a convenient webpage with many topics. it’ll take planning, time, and lots of help from others, but until then, i’ll start small, keep things fresh, and hope that the idea catches on with potential volunteers. if you dig the idea and want to contribute, let me know! i still a name for this thing though.
the next mayor of this town will be a korean american who graduated from MIT as an undergrad and SIPA at Columbia as a grad student. i am pleased that edison will get a taste of new leadership from someone who seems to have lots of enthusiasm and plenty of idealism. hopefully things work out for him and other korean americans will be inspired to seek political office elsewhere in the United States. as for me, i will be moving into a city where the mayor – currently a shoe-in for re-election – made his fortune selling machines with his name on it, machines that i will familiarize myself with very much in the coming months. summer is too short, life is too short, and everything moves too quickly. sometimes it takes a late night to catch a minute with persepctive.