Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Orientation Leaders

For those of you who are coming in the Fall, check out your Orientation Leaders!


Apparently last year's OLs are already facebook stalking this year's new group of OLs. In the words of a wise friend: let it go, guys, let it go.

I was reading these with my friend and I was also just amazed at what a variety of organizations people were involved in. It makes you want to go "Huh, I didn't know we had that... I want to join!"

Anyways, a couple of my friends are being OLs so be nice! :]

Monday, April 26, 2010

10 page paper

Hello. It is 7:42am and I am writing my first 10 page paper. Truthfully it is a five-page paper disguised as a 10-page, double spaced. In fact, the range is 7-10 pages, so it could actually be a 3.5-page paper. The margins are fixed at 1" all around, and the font is standardized at 12 pt Times New Roman. There isn't much flexibility there.

I have broken it down so I know how many pages each section of my question should take. I gave an oral presentation to my friend on what my paper is about. I solicited four pages of quotes from my reading sources. (Essentially, I retyped the book.) I am writing a blog entry on how I am writing my essay. I created a diagram on the organization of my essay.

But I have not written my essay.

It is a topic that I am passionate about: How the rigidity of ethnic nationalism in Korea affects biracial children. However, thinking about 10 pages is daunting. Perhaps I should think about my fellow RA, who is in his last year at the Batten School and has to write a 50 page thesis by Friday. (He hasn't started, because he was taking his CPA exams. Bless him.) Perhaps, I should write my essay in blog entries. You all know that I enjoy pouring my opinion into four-paragraph chunks online. Perhaps I should opt for a youtube presentation of my essay.

If only it wasn't a 10-page paper, with a bibliography and endnotes.


I AM singing at Para Coffee's open mic. It is hosted by People United for Music and Arts (PUMA). Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

jamming at the french house

I visited the French House for the first time. The French House is one of the language houses, where *surprise* you live to be immersed in French. The Maison Française literally looks like a French mansion. I went to visit for the Snobby Cheese party. Yeah, that's right. I went to a Snobby Cheese party at the French House. Judge me. Well, I was actually dressed in Red Keds and my latest guilty shopping pleasure, a soft hoodie with cute button details, which contrasted with the little navy dress and heels that my friend wore. I could have gone all out, but I decided to go for comfort because I had to hike back to my dorm.

Anyways, after the cheese party, I visited another friend who is a phenomenal guitarist. A bunch of us were singing along, and then someone busted out a tambourine (yes, judge me again) and shakers. Another guitarist-friend was called over, and soon we had a huge jamming session going on. I loved it. I missed singing with live music, and the company was fantastic. I hope we can have something like this at my dorm.

To take it further, I think I'm going to sing at the open mic at Para Coffee! Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4th Year Studio Art Major Exhibition

"It's like the equivalent of your thesis," explained D, as she carefully placed sliced strawberries on top of whipped cream and double fudge brownies. I was slicing tomatoes in our friend's kitchen, which another friend placed between two slices of rye bread smothered in red pepper hummus. We were helping out for D's art exhibition yesterday.

Being an art major was something I considered. In fact, art school was a serious consideration for me. RISD, Pratt, FIT, Parsons, Cooper Union... all of those were common buzzwords amongst my friends who were preparing their portfolios. I loved art and I had dedication. Why not?

The why-not came in the form of opportunity cost (see post on April 17th for an explanation about opportunity costs.). I had received a perfect SAT score according to the 1600 scale and was 80 points off from a perfect score on the 2400 scale. The SAT scores of the middle 50% of incoming class of RISD was 1690-2050, and for FIT... you probably didn't even have to take the SATs. If opportunity cost is the cost of not taking the next best choice, for me the opportunity cost of art school was research universities and liberal arts colleges. It was too big of an opportunity cost. In layman's terms, if I went to art school, I would be missing out on too many other opportunities that I could have had at research universities and liberal arts colleges. Essentially, I had to be absolutely sure that art school was right for me, and I wasn't sure.

Now that I am at UVA, an established research university, would it have made sense to major in art? After all my reasoning, the answer is no.

Having said all that, I absolutely envied my friend D as she rushed to prepare her exhibition. Perhaps she should have looked into a career in event planning, because she was making the most of her physical and human capital in getting this event together.

The 4th Year Studio Art major exhibition was fantastic. We explored three floors of art, people, cheese, and drinks in Ruffin Hall, the newly built building for studio art. I fell in love with one of my friend's wood printing pieces (actually the set, but I'm too poor for a set), and so I decided to purchase one. I'll take a picture of it when I make the transaction. (Note to the art connoisseurs out there: never go for the listed pricing. I would start bargaining at half... sometimes less than half. A good example is the one that I will buy: the listing was $220. Due to the fact that we were friends, she said she would sell it to me for less than $100. I know she made the frame, which would normally cost $50, but because she made it it costs about $25.)

I suppose pictures of the art exhibits would convey absolutely more than my words, but sadly I did not think we could take pictures of it and I was too forgetful. I will try my best to describe D's exhibition.

D's exhibition was on the ground floor of Ruffin, the bottom floor was dark with no windows, and spotlights haloed her paintings on silk. She had gone to high school in Japan and learned the Japanese tea ceremony there. The subject of her exhibit were hands, drawn in the brush-style that she had learned in a study abroad program in Hong Kong, pouring tea. The theme was brilliantly conveyed as sequences of these delicate hands pouring tea, outlined in bold black ink. Then in the center, she had at least nine female figures in similar sitting positions. They were clothed in the stiff, ceremonial costume associated with the tea ceremony. At a first glance, it looks like they are all replicas, but after close examination, you realize that they are different moments of the tea ceremony. For example, one drawing showed the woman placing a sweet in her mouth, which D explained to me happens because the tea is so bitter. I really enjoyed her fusion of her passion for tea, the techniques she learned in Hong Kong, and her painting style.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Third Culture Kids

I attended the first hosted event of TCKs at UVA. Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are defined as:
“a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture" (Pollock and Van Reken). However that doesn't fully capture their identity because some TCKs have traveled between two or three countries and some TCKs have been to nine countries. Some quotes about what a TCK is that I stole from the section describing the TCK identity:

"A global citizen independent of cultural distinctions yet whose identity lies in his/her membership of multiple cultural groups."

"A TCK is someone who spends a lot of his/her time growing up outside of his/her native country. A TCK identifies himself/herself best with other TCKs. It is almost as if it is a nationality in and of itself!"

From what I hear, you are a TCK if any or all of the following apply:
  • It takes you at least 15 minutes to answer the question “Where are you from?”
  • You swear in a myriad of languages.
  • You have a favorite seat in airports and on airplanes.
  • You've filled out so many customs/immigration papers, you don't even need to know the language to know what they're asking.
  • You don't know anything about the history or geography of your country of birth but know pretty much everything about any other place in the world.
  • An earthquake, heavy storm, bomb threat, or anything else doesn't freak you out
  • You have more than one type of currency weighing down your wallet with typically more of the currency that you don't need.
  • You plan vacations to different countries just to get things cheaper than they are where you live.
  • You have multiple vaccination cards because they keep getting filled up.
  • You have to explain how you learned to speak certain languages, why you can speak some but not read others, and why you still can't speak some even though you lived in the country where they're used.
  • People constantly tell you you're "interesting" or "different.”
  • You practically jump someone when you find out they're also a TCK.
  • The thought of living in one place for longer than a few years and NEVER leaving scares the living day lights out of you.

Truthfully, this is a fascinating phenomena for me. The idea of a global citizen is appealing, and the fact that there are highly mobile family units that travel so much that they "float" in between nationalities is a lot to wrap your head around.

For more coverage, there was a UVA Today article about TCKs and the group on Grounds, TCKs at UVA.

The talk itself was fantastic. Tina Quick was a great presenter. She introduced fairly well the complicated identity of the Third Culture Kid, the benefits and downfalls of being a TCK, and the importance of colleges recognizing TCKs and their different needs from internationals and domestic students. She was engaging, she was humorous, and she was comprehensive. I could feel the weight of her expertise, having been a TCK herself and currently an adult TCK with children. Her book, The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition, which is about how to ease the transition into college for TCKs will go on sale this summer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Now that the title got your attention, FEEL MY PANIC. It's the breathe before the dive, people. Before deadlines hit. BAM BAM BAM! Before exams start. BAM BAM BAM! Before physical ailments spring up. BAM BAM BAM! Before people graduate. ....uh, I don't have a sound effect for that.

It's the glorious time of the year when the weather lightens up and even at 7am it is light outside. The UVA campus is glorious in its pink-flowered trees and fragrant azalea bushes. Even looking at The Week in Photos, you spy at least two photographs centered on flowers and trees, and a couple others with them peeking in the background. If you visit with Days on the Lawn or a random campus visit around this time, you'll be astounded by the beauty. I know I was when I first came.

Okay, I need to stop being so nostalgic now that I'm going to be a third year. Oh, you prospective students, enjoy life. Before I end my reminiscences, I want to point out that because this time of the year is about transitions, it also brings nostalgia and longing. Exhibit A is an email that one of my best friends sent me. The title was "and we thought they were so cool then...", and her body said "if your feeling anxious about the future, remember, change is good :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is6gtilerPk&feature=channel." Oh, Justin...

At 11am, I am going to go to the PURSUIT Conference. An 8-hour day affair, the Conference will take up my valuable time for studying. And I think it's absolutely worth it. On Thursday, a visiting Professor from University of Illinois commented that she was amazed when she realized that the time spent and knowledge learned from Professors is only a small fraction of the knowledge we learn in college. In fact, one could argue that the time in classrooms competes with time that could be spent in conferences, listening to guest speakers, and other ways of "learning." For those of you who have taken economics, think about opportunity cost. For those of you haven't, I recommend taking at least an intro economics class AND I will explain. :) For every activity that you do, there is a next best choice. For example, I am currently typing out this entry for half an hour now. That half an hour could have been spent searching for breakfast. Or it could have been spent starting on my ethnographic research paper. Instead, I choose typing this entry out, because I found more value in doing so than the others. (Or I am procrastinating... you decide.)

I applied for summer Resident Adviser and summer Senior Resident. Hopefully I receive one of the positions, because I will be here all summer long. Perhaps I am mellowing out, because this will be my second summer in Charlottesville.

On a random note, someone told me that people read my blog! Hello hello! Please post a comment!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Transitioning into Power

It's April, and that means a lot of CIOs on Grounds are changing leadership, recruiting for next year, and looking past the summer haze into the muggy times that is August. I am also transitioning from a position of regular resident to one of the highest positions possible in my residential college. While that may seem like a quick one-step jump, in actuality transitioning is one of the most hardest places to be. (Think about transitioning into a new school, a new home, a new group of friends, college, your first job-- the list goes on.)

In class yesterday, one friend introduced the idea of liminality in her presentation. Coined by Victor Turner, it is an anthropological term that describes the spot in between the structure and another structure. We can call that spot the "anti-structure," because Turner defines it as ambiguous and when rules and hierarchy are turned up on their heads. However, you usually pass from the state of liminality back into a structure, albeit possibly a new one. This diagram might make this very clear:
A great example of liminality is the time when final exams are over, but you haven't "graduated." High school seniors may experience this feeling of liminality, and so do 4th years at UVA. You aren't part of one structure and not tied down to the next one; you are in a state of liminality where you are free from both rules and free to reflect on both structures.

So back to my example, I am in a state of liminality. I have been elected into a position, but I do not have the powers transferred to me yet. I want to take advantage of this liminality to look back and forward and critique what I want to do.
As with all organizations, the transitional period is crucial in setting standards for the change of power, the turnover of members, and introduction for new traditions. I hope I can be mindful of this, and will work closely and carefully to maintain a sense of continuity to ease the transition.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Perfect Saturday

The Farmer's Market opened yesterday. It's a local city-market that now opens 7a.m.-noon every Saturday until December, downtown. In addition to interaction with Charlottesville residents and occasional strollers with cute babies, the Farmer's Market offers crafts, vegetables (some organic and many locally grown), and the occasional bluegrass musician. Past highlights have also included unique cheddar cheese, the Jam Man, orchids, a Bagelini, and a visit to the nearby hole-in-the-wall crepe place. Transportation to the market place is really easy from the University, because there is the free Trolley.

Did I mention that the weather was 23c or 82f? With sunny skies and temperature conducive to lemonade and free samples, I was thoroughly enjoying my Saturday morning. I frequently encountered yummy signs like the one to the right. Who can argue with $4 a bag of "mmm's"?

Coming back to my dorm, I was pleasantly surprised that there was free food, because of Japan Day! The Japan Club was hosting a free food / performance-filled Japan Day. My friend and I got to try out yakisoba, onigiri, bubble tea (actually from Taiwan), and other yummy foods served by the diligent Japan Club.

At 3pm, my friend, JJ Towler, picked me up to go on a ride through Albemarle County. We visited beautiful parks, scenic highways, and old estates. At one of the estates, we saw a peacock! The roads were gorgeous, lined with peach orchards and daffodils. We stopped by at a park, where a bullfrog croaked like a motor. As a student, I rarely saw beyond Grounds, except for Barracks Shopping Center, the Corner, and Downtown. Once in a while, I will be tempted to take the 7 Bus to Fashion Square shopping center, but most students do not even venture there. This drive with JJ showed me that as students, we are missing out on a lot of the public parks, lakes, and historical areas of Charlottesville, Crozet, and beyond.

Friday, April 2, 2010

you know you're pathetic when...

I am currently held hostage in my room by a cockroach. It's outside my door. Yeah.

Someone told me that "using the term 'lame' to describe what you consider to be a pathetic situation is hurtful to those people who are actually physically lame." It is equatable to wrongly using "That's so gay," when you really meant "That's so stupid." Point taken, loyal reader of mine! Sorry about that!