4 Asian Problems

malaysian girl living the american life

I’d be lying if I said that writing this post was easy…

For the past 24 hours, I’ve been debating whether to write this post or not. Finally, I thought, “why not?” I’m already considered a ‘banana’ anyway.

Banana: Slang term used for Oriental Asians (mostly those in my generation) who are yellow on the outside, but white on the inside.

Before I go on, I want to list the ways why I think I can write this post with an honest, outsider’s view. After all, I may be Asian, but I’m also a proud ‘banana’.

1. My education – I was homeschooled using American curriculum. Since I was able to pick up Western culture more easily, this made me think differently and act differently from my peers. More about this later in a post I’m writing about my homeschooling journey.

2. My environment – I grew up among typical, conservative Asians. My family is conservative, and the church my dad pastors were approximately 90% elderly people right up to my high school years. Being constantly in the traditional, conservative Asian environment, taught me much about what Asians value the most.

Growing up with my education and environment in conflict with each other was difficult. Sometimes, I wondered if I was more Asian or Western. I’ve tried to reconcile both in my life, but I’ve given up on that. After all, I can’t change who I am, and my differing education and environment has given me the best of both worlds. Later, I’ll probably write about Western themes I think are wrong or could be better, but right now, I’m focusing on the Asian ones.

These are some points I’ve thought about many times before. Since this is the first time I’m trying to put my thoughts about them on paper, it’s probably not going to be so well-written or expressed as I want it to, but I’ll try my best.

~~~

 1. Fear of losing – If there’s one Asian mentality that I dislike the most, it is this fear of losing. Admittedly, one of the reasons why I dislike it so much is because it is a trait that I can see in myself the most. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to teach myself that it’s okay to relax and have fun. Getting good grades is not the only goal in life. It has been hard to think otherwise because it is so ingrained in the culture and environment I grew up in, but I’m trying.

It’s no secret that Asians fear losing. In fact, it’s an ego and pride thing. Parents pressure their kids to get A’s in school, the nation seethes at an athlete who loses a game, and the list goes on. Although this is a trait that has made many Asians successful in life, it is unhealthy if taken overboard as in most cases.

For example, growing up, it was not uncommon to hear stories of my peers doing homework past midnight. After school, their parents would send them to extra classes. By the time they get home in the evening or night, they’ll have a mountain of homework to do. Stories of students committing suicide because of parental and societal pressure in school aren’t uncommon either.

This needs to stop. It’s not only unhealthy, but it’s also the wrong way to live life. The fear of losing is such a horrible cycle, and it can only be broken once people realize that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Life is not just a chase for money, successes, and wins.

2. Beating around the bush – I’ve always been blunt, and this is a characteristic that has become even more prominent since I’ve come to America. I don’t like the Asian way of circumnavigating around things. Asians are always afraid of offending other people.

I admit that I’m sometimes that way too, but if you’ve been reading this blog, you’d notice that the outspokenness in me wins in the end. Honestly, I don’t see a point in beating around the bush. It’s hypocrisy if you’re willing to think such things, but end up sugarcoating them instead of speaking your mind.

3. University/college degrees – I can’t emphasize enough how important they are for Asians. Asians like to be book smart, and most of them think that without a degree, you can’t go anywhere in the world. After graduating from high school, the common assumption is that the student will go on to college. I wish Asians would stop thinking so.

Throughout my high school years, I never really wanted to go to college. But I was told that I should go to college if I want to get a good job. Now, I’m being told that it’s going to be difficult for me to find a job as an ESL teacher (many Asian countries require that ESL teachers be Westerners) and that I should get a Master’s in TESOL after graduation. Frankly, studying and working like crazy (just so that I can study in college) makes me miserable, and hearing all this makes me even more discouraged. I’ve never entertained the thought of dropping out of college more than ever.

Going to college is not the only way to get a good job. I know many people my age who didn’t go to college, and yet they’re contented with their jobs. I think the main difference between Asians and Westerners is that while the former emphasize on book-smartness, the latter focuses on having good skills. Both are good to have, but really, if you graduate college with a 4.0 GPA and still not have good working skills and ethic (two characteristics most valued by employers), you’re never going to be 100% successful and fulfilled in whatever you do.

Also, Asians don’t seem to realize that billionaires like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich, Michael Dell, and many others were college dropouts. College can be a means to success, but it isn’t the only way. The pressure on young people to go to college needs to cease.

4. Close-mindedness – I dread this Asian mentality. Asians are so close-minded and quick to judge anyone who doesn’t fit the mold. I know that being too open-minded is dangerous, but Asians, especially the older generation, hold on to their traditions very tightly. Compared to their Western counterparts, older Asians aren’t as accepting if the younger generation do not comply with their values. They view the younger generation as kiddos who have been brainwashed by the Western world.

The times are a-changin’, people! We live in an era where we can wear shorts without being seen as loose women, marry at 18 years old and still be married 50 years later, listen to contemporary music and know that it isn’t from the devil. If we don’t conform to the mold of wearing long skirts, marrying after college, and listening to whatever it is that older Asians think is good music, we are seen as rebellious.

I know that there are some inherent values that shouldn’t be abandoned, and there are things I wouldn’t do because of my values and beliefs. However, some things can be changed and not all change is bad.

~~~

This post, which took me a couple of hours to write, is not written to intentionally disrespect or offend anyone. These are thoughts that has been borne out of my struggle to reconcile my Western education with my Asian environment. If I had kept a regular journal in my teenage years, these will be the thoughts written out in them. I’m also aware that ‘Asian’ is a very broad term. This post refers to the general populace and not to any particular individual.

However, I’ve learned to embrace the positives and negatives of straddling both worlds, and I know that my identity is not found in either of them. My identity is ultimately found in God, and I can be secure in that. Still, it has been a rocky journey and experience.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think! 🙂

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Contentment and Gratitude

Here’s the truth – I’ve been feeling restless and antsy. I’m jaded from school and work. Most days, as I trudge back to my apartment after a long day of classes, homework, and work, I think of the “what ifs”. What if I don’t have to work to pay the bills? What if all I need to do is focus on school? What if I have my friends with me instead of hundreds of miles across the oceans? What if I’m more outgoing? What if I transfer to a cheaper college? What if…? What if…?

As always, it’s not long before my conscience starts pricking me. I hear it telling me to be grateful, to appreciate the opportunities I have. In my mind, I know I should appreciate them. There are many girls my age who would never get a chance to go to college. But my heart is reluctant to be grateful. My wanderlust tugs on my focus, and I want to leave the monotony for greener pastures.

I spent yesterday working on my American Studies paper, and today was spent working on my Western Civilization History paper. After a day of sitting in front of my laptop, poring over books, and churning out pages, I was frazzled, restless, and tired.

I took a walk. The drivers, lone biker, and people who walked past me probably thought there was a deranged person on the loose in campus. My hair was wet from the shower I had just taken, and I was clad in a hoodie and blue-spotted pajama pants. To complete my odd outfit, I was wearing blue socks with my Birkenstock-like sandals. I could have easily won the Most Unfashionable Award. In my defense though, all I wanted to do was walk. It was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and I couldn’t be bothered to dress up.

I walked to Stubblefield Chapel, just down the road from my apartment. As I sank down on the bench just outside the gazebo, I felt even more restless. I wished I was back in a city, where everything was loud, a hive of activity, and there was always something to do. I forced myself to put aside my cellphone, felt myself relaxing, and breathed in the cool air.

stubblefield chapel arch and raley chapel steeple

Of course, I wouldn’t be Evangeline if I didn’t have random thoughts flitting through my mind. Thoughts like… “I wonder how many brides have walked under this arch. Wow, Raley Chapel’s steeple has very bright white lighting.”

I felt calm, contented, at peace, and accomplished for the first time in a long while. As I sat and observed my quiet surroundings, I realized that contentment and gratitude was something I had to be purposeful about. Unless I wanted to continue walking around feeling as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and constantly worrying about grades and money, I had to surrender. I must refuse to allow the cares of this world to drag me down. 10 years from now, I don’t want to look back and regret my college years.

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 [1]

So the next few pictures is about me being grateful. And the next few days will be about me being contented.

me and sarah, my roomie

I’m grateful for my roommate. Before coming to college, I was worried about who my roommate was going to be. I prayed for a good roommate whom I could possibly become good friends with. Sarah was my roommate Freshman Year, and we’re roommates again in Sophomore Year. Sometimes, I think it’s crazy how we’re both so alike yet different at the same time. I am blessed.

me and erina

I’m grateful for Erina, who is not only my little Japanese friend (sorry Erina, I couldn’t help it), but also my best friend. I met her before international orientation even started last year, and we’ve been friends ever seen. She’s the sweetest and kindest person I know, and her passion to tell others about Christ encourages me greatly. I am blessed.

me and leena

I’m grateful for my other close friend, Leena. I’m encouraged by how she keeps me in prayer even when I don’t ask for it, and how she intuitively notices when something is wrong without me saying a word. Her unwavering faith in God always amazes me. I am blessed.

 

Ironically, after I returned to my apartment, I saw a message my uncle posted in our family WhatsApp group. It was a picture with a quote by Max Lucado that was so apt as it echoed what I’m learning now.

When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? — Max Lucado

P.S. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did bump into someone I know on my walk. To my embarrassment, as I was walking back, I saw a familiar figure. I was hoping he wouldn’t recognize me in the dim lighting, but unfortunately for me, he did and waved. Lesson learned – next time I take a late night walk, use sweat pants instead of pajama pants.

[1] English Standard Version

What Modesty Means to Me

my best friends and I wearing shorts

This is me with my two best friends, Leena and Erina. All 3 of us come from conservative Asian cultures. Before doing a casual “photo shoot,” we went shopping for shorts. We returned empty-handed because we didn’t find any that were of appropriate length. Even before taking this photo, we had a discussion about whether the length of our shorts were okay or not, and what our families back home would think about them.

My family is conservative, and I was the black sheep of the family when it came to clothing choices. Even when I was in Malaysia, I would wear clothes that my sisters never dared to wear. Their wardrobes mostly consisted of baggy t-shirts and longer-than-knee-length pants. My wardrobe, as I grew older, mostly consisted of t-shirts that were my actual size and jeans that were an inch above my knees. This was a very marked difference between us.

However, ever since coming to the US, I’ve realized that modesty is such a subjective term. Modesty is defined differently by people in the US, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Italy, Kenya, etc. What people in the US thinks is modest is not what people in Malaysia thinks is modest. What people in Malaysia thinks is modest is not what people in Afghanistan thinks is modest. And so forth… You get the picture.

My friend, Marcus, shared this article on Facebook – Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means by Rachel Held Evans – and I think the author hit it on the mark. If you have a few extra minutes, I’d encourage you to read the article. There are some things I would add to it, and I don’t agree with the part that we should dress for ourselves only, but overall, it’s a great, thought-provoking article.

Modesty: /ˈmädəstē/ (noun) behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. [1]

With this definition of modesty in mind, this is what modesty in dressing means to me – it is about dressing comfortably, appropriately according to the event, and in a way that honors God. If it’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit outside, there’s no way I’m going to be wearing long jeans and a t-shirt, especially when I know that’s only going to make me sweaty (and in the end, stinky, unless I douse myself with perfume) as I rush from one class to another. If the weather is hot, I’m going to wear shorts and a tank top.

Modesty is not a tool for judging others. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard conservative folks judge a girl based on the way she dresses and vice-versa. If you think you’re honoring God with the “appropriate” way that you dress, and yet condemn and look askance at someone else because of the way she dresses, do you really think your behavior is honoring and pleasing to God? We are called to love.

I know that modesty is a controversial topic. There are many things that can be said about it, and many angles from which the topic can be approached from. But this has struck me the most – so many times, a girl is judged based on what she wears or doesn’t wear. I confess, I’m guilty of that too. When I was younger, I would cringe when I see a bride walk down the aisle in a strapless gown (remember, strapless clothing in Malaysia a few years ago was still considered taboo by certain circles).

I vividly remember one minister telling us that he told his daughter that her wedding dress must be modest or else he would not walk her down the aisle. He also threatened to use paper to cover up his daughter-in-law’s body in her wedding photo because he didn’t think that her dress was modest enough. Looking back, I now realize how ridiculous that was, and that instead of laughing, I should have been appalled by his statements. The only thing accomplished is that more focus is placed on a woman’s body, and she is now viewed as a sex object. She isn’t seen as “the bride.” Instead, she is seen as “the bride with the immodest dress.” Her clothing, the gown that she will wear once in her lifetime, has defined who she is.

It’s high time that we stop placing so much focus on the way someone dresses and instead, focus on the character of the person. Everyone has different standards for modesty. It’s time that society recognizes and accepts that. The inner character of a person is what matters the most, not the way he or she dresses. The media is already placing enough focus on the way someone dresses. You and I don’t need to add to that.

Now, when I dress in the morning, there’s only three questions in my mind: Will I be comfortable in what I wear throughout the day – whether I’m in classes, at work, or hanging out with my friends? Am I dressing for myself, others, or God? Do my clothes reflect that I am a child of God, His princess?

Ladies (and gentleman), remember that your identity is found in God, not in your clothing.

To end, I want to share a quote by Evans from her article:

But our bodies are not something to be overcome; they are not dirty or shameful or inherently tempting. They are a beautiful part of what it means to be created in the image of God. These are the bodies that allow us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, the bodies that feel sun on our skin and sand between our toes, the bodies that nurse babies and cry with friends, the bodies that emerge from the waters of baptism and feast on the bread of communion. They are beautiful, and they are good. — Rachel Held Evans

Tell me what modesty means to you!

[1] Oxford American College Dictionary

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

d now group

My group of 7th grade girls, co-hosts, and co-leader at #FreedomWeekend2014.

This weekend, I was a college leader for a D-Now at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, Texas. This weekend was also the most awkward weekend I’ve ever had since coming to the US. Remember what I wrote in my Dear Ol’ Quirky America blog post about loud and energetic Americans? I think God decided to test my patience with them.

There were 14 other OBU students with me. They were loud, they were crazy, they were super energetic. And most of them already had their cliques in the group. I spent most of the time awkwardly sitting by myself and watching them dance (think waving hands and arms wildly, jerking one’s body around, flopping on the floor, etc.). I had never felt more out of place.

Now, if you haven’t seen how Americans dance, you should. The first time I saw how people here danced, it was at homecoming dance. My Japanese friend and I were staring in disbelief. We like to have fun, and we sometimes dance crazily as well, but we definitely exhibit more self-control and don’t things too far.

After the first day, I started questioning myself more. What was I thinking when I signed up for this? Why am I here? When I heard that only a few of us was chosen out of a pool of applicants, I knew that God wanted me to be in Brownsboro over the weekend. Still, that didn’t help matters. I confess that sometimes I had to bite back the irritation that arose out of the sense of frustration and misery. All I wanted to do was leave the scene of uninhibited behavior and no self-control, and return to my comfort zone.

By Sunday morning, I was wishing I could be back in Malaysia where I actually fit or at least back at OBU with my calmer friends. Church service came around and we were singing “Your Grace Is Enough” by Chris Tomlin. As I sang the chorus, it was all I could do to keep the tears at bay. I have had a bad week at one of my jobs, I was exhausted both mentally and emotionally, I missed my friends, and I had enough of crazy Americans.

The sermon was about the Good Shepherd, and why Jesus is the Good Shepherd. It was just the thing I needed to hear. It taught me that even when I’m struggling the most, I have a Good Shepherd who is also the real example of love.

blizzards at dq

On Saturday night, our co-hosts took us out for Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

This didn’t mean that things became perfect right after that. I still felt like an outsider, horribly uncomfortable and painfully awkward, right until we left. When I got back, I never felt happier to be back in OBU and Shawnee, and to be with my calm and collected American roommates (I gave Sarah an extra, big hug that probably spoke volumes of my relief to be back).

But, I left with a sense of reassurance that when I step out of my comfort zone and take the plunge, God remains MY Good Shepherd. He will never leave me nor forsake me. Stepping out of my comfort zone this weekend was definitely worth it because I got to learn this lesson. I know that I might not ever be able to adjust to the culture here, but at least I have my Good Shepherd with me, and that alone is a comfort.

oyster po boy

First ever oyster po-boy at Wade’s Place for Sunday lunch.

Live Loud, Live Wild

Late one night, I came across Jacqui’s Baby Boy Bakery Instagram. It was a post about her son, 3-year old Ryan Cruz, who tragically died five months ago. Ever since following her Instagram, I’ve been given glimpses into the life of a grieving father and mother.

Death and grief are not unknown strangers to me. My dad pastors a congregation that comprises mainly of old people. Growing up, I hated hearing about deaths. You would think I’m used to wake services and funerals after attending dozens of them. No, death is something impossible to be immune to.

After coming to the US, I thought I had escape news of death (Yes, people in my church have died since i came here, but distance created an emotional detachment). I was so wrong. In fact, now I’m regularly faced with news of deaths of young people. Babies, little children, an Arts and Ideas professor, all people who were too young to be already dead.

I’ve learned that I easily grieve with mourning families, especially those who lost someone in premature death. Sometimes, I hate feeling so much heavy grief for people I barely know. But, all these has taught me something that was only reinforced when I read Jacqui’s latest blog post – I should live life fully because it’s too short.

Living loudly and wildly is not about drinking and partying every night. Instead, it’s about living the life God has given me to its fullest. It’s about hoping and dreaming. I decided to compile a list of what living loudly and wildly means to me. What does it mean to you?

live loudly and wildly

Filtered Water: Yay or Nay?

You should meet Arthur Tweedie, the Water Critic from PUR Water, because he is introducing a new product. PUR Water has released a new product, the PUR Ultimate 11 Cup Pitcher with MAXION technology. As seen in the video, this new product is supposed to reduce 14 contaminants.

I first heard about PUR through its Influenster campaign. I used to drink filtered water only until I came to the US. It still surprises me when I see people drinking water off the taps. There must be a lot of trust placed in the cleanliness of tap water!

When I returned to Shawnee after summer break, the water tasted awful. According to some people, it was because the water in the Shawnee lakes had been contaminated because of the rainy season. I sure was glad that I drink water from the bottle instead of tap water. However, after having to buy cartons of water, I’m thinking it might be easier if I have my own filter pitcher.

 

Review: Dean’s List VoxBox from Influenster

Like everyone else, I love getting free stuff. About a year ago, I joined Influenster and have been receiving free stuff since then. Influenster is a company that does campaigns for companies that want to get their products “out there.” The higher your social impact score (based on your influence in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), the better your chances are to receive these VoxBoxes. The high-ranking members are then selected based on whether they meet the target demographic requirement for a certain campaign. Go to Audacious Reader’s Facebook page and leave me a message if you want an invitation to join Influenster.

The Dean’s List VoxBox is for college students, and it’s probably the largest VoxBox I’ve received so far. Every item is perfect for a female college student. A mix of cool, fun, and useful items makes this my favorite VoxBox so far.

deans list voxbox

deans list voxbox items

Airheads Bites: $.87-$1.29

I’m not a big candy fan, but I liked these Bites, especially since they were bite-sized. They had a chewy texture and fruity taste. I usually avoid eating candy because they make me feel unhealthy, but I was able to indulge in a couple of these Bites each time. The small size probably helped too.

Pilot FriXion Clicker: $5.75 for a 2-pack

These pens are too cool for words! I never thought that such things existed. I mean, who even thinks of inventing them?! The pen ink is thermo-sensitive. When I rub the erasing tip over my writing, the little bit of heat generated makes the words disappear. Now, tell me this isn’t cool! I was also surprised by how the price of a pack of these pens is similar the price of a normal pack of pens, even though they’re so much more special.

SinfulColors No Text Red: $1.99

sinful colors no text red

This nail polish is supposed to serve as a reminder not to text while driving. I think it’s a great idea, especially since so many people text while driving (I’ve been guilty of this too). Ladies are encouraged to paint their thumbs red, so that when they try to text while driving, they’ll be reminded not to when they see the red color. I painted all my fingernails instead of just the thumbs. I really like the color. I hardly ever paint my fingernails because I’m a pro at smudging nail polish. I was pleasantly surprised by how liquified this polish was, unlike others that are clumpy. Of course, since a single layer of color was a bit “thin,” I added a second layer. I finished with a couple layers of a top coat and was very satisfied with the result.

KISS Looks So Natural Lashes: $3.99

I’m excited and looking forward to trying this product! Since getting ready in the mornings is a rush (I have less than 20 minutes to wake up, get dressed, put makeup on, and grab some breakfast), I’m going to have to wait to use these lashes. I like how natural it looks, and it feels soft. According to my information card, the lashes are made with Tapered End Technology so that the lash strips would blend seamlessly with my own lashes.

Softlips Cube: $3.49

This is probably my favorite product in the VoxBox. As a 5-in-1 lip care product, it’s supposed to hydrate, replenish, smooth, protect, and add shine to my lips… and it does all of those! It comes in an elegant-looking cube-shaped package that is small and easy to carry around. I was happy to learn that the flavor on my cube was Vanilla Bean, which is pretty much my favorite flavor ever. The other flavors available are Pomegranate Blueberry and Fresh Mint.

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance: $3.99

I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m looking forward to trying it… especially since I’m much more active and have regular tennis classes now (totally loving the almost-daily burning feeling in my legs and arms now :P).

Luden’s New Watermelon and Blue Raspberry Throat Drops: $1.49

Each DLVoxBox contained either these throat drops or a Covergirl Liquid Foundation. I had hoped for the foundation since it was oil-free, but my shade probably wasn’t in stock, and I received the Blue Raspberry Throat Drops instead. I’m not complaining though, even though I’m tempted to see this as candy. It tastes great, and I’m definitely using them the next time I have a cough or sore throat.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these products free from Influenster for testing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Boyfriend Dilemma

cooking over campfire

No “wifeherup” hashtags, please!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this particular problem a lot. It has bugged me ever since the semester started. It’s called “the guy craziness.”

Ever since coming to OBU, I’ve been shocked by how crazy and desperate girls are when it comes to the boyfriend topic. It’s no secret that there are some girls who come here to get their MRS degrees, but the desperation I see in them astounds me.

Things were so much different back home (I know I keep referring to “back home.” I can’t help it). Maybe it’s because of the particular group of friends I knew in Malaysia. Maybe it’s because of the traditional Asian view that marriage should only come after graduation and a stable job. Maybe it’s because of the Ring by Spring tradition found in Baptist universities here. Maybe it’s because of peer pressure – a girl feels the need to have a boyfriend because her friends are dating. Or maybe it’s because of the culture here.

Whatever the reasons are, I wish this wasn’t the case. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against dating or getting a boyfriend in college. I think it’s great if you have a boyfriend. I think it’s great if you don’t have one.

What I don’t like is the expectation placed on a girl by her peers. She’s expected to have a boyfriend. If she doesn’t have a boyfriend, no problem…her friends will help her find one. And by helping her, I mean listing out the names of single guys that they know and suggesting potential boyfriends. Stop it! You might have good intentions, but it only makes the girl feel worse about it.

What happened to college being a place for learning and gaining experience that will help someone find a job? When did college become a place to find a husband?

If you don’t believe me, go to Instagram. If I get a dollar for every time I see a single girl post a picture with the hashtag #wifeymaterial, I wouldn’t need the 3 jobs that I’m working now. I’ve even seen a #wifeherup hashtag. I cringe at such shameless calls for a boyfriend.

Honestly, ladies, that isn’t attractive at all. You’re not going to get a boyfriend just because you post pictures of how domestic you are. It doesn’t work that way. A guy is going to have to fall for you because of your beautiful character, and not because you posted a picture on Instagram of some fancy cuisine dish that you made.

This problem has bothered me a lot. Hence, this post. I must confess – after more than a year at OBU, I’m tired of this. I want to have a conversation that doesn’t inadvertently include the topic of how cute So-and-So is or anything related to dating and prospective boyfriends. Considering my social circumstances (more about this later…maybe), is going to be hard to find, but I can still hope, right?

Side note: In case you haven’t realized, my blog posts are going to display raw honesty. I want my blog posts to be an unfiltered lens into my world. I might be unintentionally offensive sometimes, but if you’re one of my friends in OBU, just know that nothing here is a reference to you.

Dear Ol’ Quirky America

odd things about americans

I came across this article, and it made me laugh. It’s so accurate! Even though I’ve been in the US for over a year, I still think these things are odd. Here are just some of my thoughts when I was reading the blog post. Call this a peek into the mind of an international student if you will.

I find it strange when I see lawyer advertisements on the highway. What’s up with those billboards? I actually feel a little bad for those lawyers. The competition must be tougher here, and that’s probably why they have to put their faces up (complete with cheesy smiles and thumbs-ups) in blown-out billboards along the highway.

Don’t get me started with bathroom stalls. The large gaps in between the wall and door bothers me. Sometimes, the gaps are so large, I can clearly see the people standing outside the stall.

The loud and friendly people? I’ve (mostly) gotten used to it. I have to. After all, I’m living in Oklahoma. When I’m in a large group, and the Americans are being their usual self, I find the facial expressions of new international students very amusing. What I find puzzling is how these perky Americans can be so energetic even after midnight. It’s almost like they have an endless energy supply. Confession: The Asian in me finds this really irritating sometimes, but really, there’s nothing much I can do about it.

I dislike pickles. Whenever I see my friends happily munching on a pickle, I can’t help but wonder how anyone can enjoy it. I’m very adventurous when it comes to food, but I refuse to eat pickles. Really, pickles are the only food I don’t eat.

When I first came here, I was introduced to the concept of “how are you?” being used impersonally as a colloquial phrase. I’ve finally understood why all international students dislike this phrase. However, this is just something that is so ingrained in the culture here, that I can’t help but go along with it. I use it casually now, but I still cringe and feel bad about using it so meaninglessly sometimes.

Sales tax, oh how I dislike you. I still forget about it sometimes, and then I’m caught by surprise at the total cost of my Walmart bill.

Changing my meal times is something I was forced to adapt to quickly. Of course, it helped that my body’s concept of time was turned upside down because of the time difference. But, I had to get used to the idea of eating at 6pm instead of 7:30pm though.

By now you should be able to understand a little the struggle of adapting to a foreign country. All these being said, America is America, and I truly love my American friends, quirks and all. The culture is so unique and diverse in every part of the country. I definitely don’t regret coming here!

Side note: I’m sorry if this blog post offends you. I’m trying to give a perspective that is unoffensive, but yet honest at the same time. My opinions here are just my views of the general American society.

I’m Back!

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I know I suddenly disappeared from the blogosphere with no warning, and I’m sorry for that.

But life happened.

Since starting college, I am sad to say that I have barely read anything for leisure. It seems incomprehensible for this to happen. After all, how could I go from reading a novel almost everyday to not reading any novels at all?

Well, this is college life for me, I guess. After a day of reading academic textbooks, the last thing I want to do is pick up another book and read, even if that book is a novel.

A couple of weeks ago, my English professor told the class that being English majors will “ruin” how we read a text. Apparently, after finishing our major classes, we will no longer be able to read a text without analyzing every word in it. That’s a pretty scary thought.

Anyway, back to my original motive for writing this post. I am indefinitely not going to post anymore book reviews. I’ll completely understand if some of you decide to un-follow my blog after this.

However, I would encourage you to continue following Audacious Reader. I’ve decided to return to blogging. I’ll be blogging about different things…mostly the things I’ve learned or am learning as a college student.

Let’s just say that this blog will give a peek into the life of an international student in Oklahoma. I would love for you to continue reading and commenting.

Thank you for faithfully supporting Audacious Reader! I would never been able to sustain the blog for this long without y’all. 🙂