many things happened this weekend. Melanie finally left for taiwan on saturday to start her fulbright program. she’ll be back in a year. it was unreal to embrace her for the last time before getting on my NJ Transit ride back home and unreal again as we exchanged goodbyes on the phone just moments after she heard the announcement calling passengers to board the plane. the last meal we shared, in a restaurant called Wildflower, she told me that the stuff they put along with her avocado sandwich was called alfalfa. i’ve had it before, and i think i’ll put it in my sandwiches when i pack lunch for work. hope the humidity there isn’t too unbearable!
i saw Harry for the first time in a long while. he is currently working at a consulting firm near Times Square, very close to the Lehman office where I will be working after training. we played tennis at the oak tree courts. i told him beforehand that my game had improved while he told me that he was sick and out of shape. our match was competitve in the beginning, and for a time we were taking turns winning games. but i told Harry in my cocky manner that he would fold under pressure, and he did just that. he gave up big leads and allowed me to squeeze by when we faced deuces, mostly on unforced errors. i did have a few moments when i felt confident about my serve, but i mostly relied on Harry’s mistakes and his unwillingness to tire himself out by chasing some of my well-placed balls. our 2-hour match (we played best out of three sets, which I took 6-4, 6-2) reminded me of the months after our freshman year of college, when we would be gung-ho about playing tennis and play at least twice a week, sometimes in the mornings. nowadays, a few hours of tennis can be the difference between having exercised during the week and not having done anything at all. oh man, i ought to hit the gym.
later in the evening, my mom eagerly put on a later episode of a korean drama series that our family has been watching lately. the translated title is: “My Name is Samsoon” and the easiest way to explain the series is to say that it is like a Korean Bridget Jones. but the only parallel i see is that the protagonist is chubby and adored by guys who look more effeminate than her. otherwise, she is a vulgar, loud, and annoying character who has supposedly won the hearts of korean viewers. my mom was very good about explaining all the idioms and more difficult words that i didn’t understand, and i found the experience very enjoyable. it not only helped me to refresh my korean-listening skills, but gave me a few clues about the culture there as well. i love how it seems like at every street corner, there is some food cart that also serves soju. i heard it was like two dollars there for a bottle. damn.
my attention was turned to one of the female characters in the story. i later found out that her real name was Jung Ryeo Won, a former Korean pop music star turned actress. she is very slender and has a pretty face, and my mom kept making comments about how pretty she was. what my mom liked best was that the girl seemed to lack the unnatural plastic look that many korean actresses have as a result of multiple surgeries to enhance their look. Jung Ryeo Won had supposedly lived abroad in Australia, so my mom was even more convinced that the actress possessed natural beauty. soon, because mama knows best, i found myself fancying the actress and asked my mom if she would like me to bring home a girl that was as pretty. my mom just laughed at the question and hardly entertained a possibility. “well, such a girl is very pretty,” she said, as she did a little jog in place for exercise. i should note that in the drama, Jung Ryeo Won’s character, Hye-Jin, is a stomach cancer survivor whose doctor is this half-Korean, half-British guy named Henry (an American-born model named Daniel Henney in real life). my mom’s only problem with Jung Ryeo Won was that she is too skinny.
the story line of the drama series is hardly unique, but i guess having the protagonist be a heavy-set and assertive woman is a new thing for korean drama. i’m not so sure i should call it a drama; most elements make it seem like a comedy series, such as the multiple instances when the characters sit on the toilet and talk about the various options when out of toilet paper and finished with pooping. i am not really a fan of korean drama series because they are time-consuming and often very cliche, but this is one that i would recommend because it is easy to follow and bolder than some of the other series i have watched before. i found a message board with various links, and you can even watch some episodes off the internet. sorry, no subtitles. check it out at koreanfilm.org.
i went to the driving range with Andy on Sunday afternoon. the last time i went – i think the day after New Year’s with my dad, Wally, and his girlfriend Meredith – i had a terrible time because i could barely hit the balls and my hand hurt terribly. this time, i patiently took tips from Andy, who has a way of being the most encouraging and helpful instructor, and eventually found myself making some clean connections with the ball. while many of my swings ended up with balls veering off to the far right, i pleased myself with a few shots that went straight and around the 150 yard mark. i never knew what the golf club numbers signified, but i learned that the lower the number, the farther the distance. while i doubt i will become as interested in golf as to drop a week’s paycheck into golfing equipment (as Andy had done), i surely would like to see if i can improve my technique and learn more about the game. there is something very artful about a sport that requires careful command of various reflexes and proper positioning.
after finishing our bucket of golf balls, Andy and I went to New Brunswick in search of a place to eat. we didn’t find too much on George Street although driving by Soho on George reminded me of that precocious date with Sara way back in high school when I nervously ordered wine using my fake ID and also of the joint-dinner with Warren’s family after graduation. Andy and I decided to eat at a burrito place a few blocks away from the Grease Trucks. i ordered a grilled chicken taco while he ordered avocado quesadillas. we sat in the backyard terrace, which was nicely covered in shade and offered us a cool, quiet place to eat. as usualy, i enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Andy, this time mostly about technology, business, and the desire to become an entrepreneur. we also tossed around ideas for an upcoming film project we plan to complete before the end of August.
i came back to new york around seven, and i realize i should have long been sleeping (it’s almost 4am now). Jay Mung came by around ten, and we updated each other on the state of our lives. i really do hope he finds a job soon – he is one of the most likeable and admirable people i know, and an employer will surely benefit from having such a person around. last week, i came across some stories about our Lonely Man Club that I had written during my junior year. Mung left the club to date Kayle later that year and they have been together ever since. i sometimes do miss the days of the LMC, when we used to sit around and browse photos of girls on dating sites or discuss the latest Craigslist posting – all while sitting at a table in Butler library trying to scope out chicks. okay, fine. we did look at some photos today also, but strictly for reference purposes. Mung had been looking for friends in his area (Newark, NJ) and found a girl who seemed to be near him. he wrote to her on platonic terms, but was nearly shocked when he saw her name. it was Kaye Lee, which sounds exactly like “Kayle.” Mung is one of the funniest people i know. one time, when we went camping, we were setting up our fishing poles and Mung said – “For reel?” i couldn’t stop laughing but Kayle didn’t find it funny at all.
well, another week of work. or excel training, that is. and yet, life is quite do-able.