Tuesday, May 25, 2010

another transition

I am back in Charlottesville and will be all summer, minus some road trips. Finally all residents moved out of dorms yesterday, and I officially moved out of my room as well. (Only the Senior Resident are in dorms.) I am in the process of moving to my apartment on 14th street. You can tell because I have a huge garbage bag of blankets and a pan behind my desk at my internship.

I will definitely post some graduation pictures and have a post on it, but that will require my unpacking and finding my USB drive. My room is a hot mess. I'll keep you updated!

Friday, May 21, 2010

my day out

Yesterday was glorious. I met up with a friend, Dee, and she drove us to lunch in her cute, old-school Volvo. That's right VOLVO. If you're thinking about a souped-up 1992 baby that Dee's father drove off a parking lot in Europe, yes you are right. (PS. The picture on the left is not a picture of her car, but just a picture of a 1992 Volvo to demonstrate its antique 90's class.) Volvo means "I roll" from the infinite verb of volvere. We rolled.

Because both Dee and I were bad at directions, it was fail when Google Maps lied, to our chagrin. Nevertheless like good sports, we cursed Larry Page and Sergey Brin for fooling us with their marketing brilliance and popped open the GPS on Dee's phone. What should have been a 10 minute drive ended up being a 20 minute drive around Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. It was all good though, because both of us were just using the trip as an excuse for human conversation and I was getting a great tour of Northern Virginia.

On the side note, Northern Virginia is the worst nightmare for an urban development major. I am not an urban development major, but even I could see that having construction everywhere at the same time is not a smart idea. We saw more orange construction signs than regular green ones, and I swear they were building an overpass directly over a couple of business buildings. The roads are also confusing as heck. One road changed names three times. Why would you do that?

A reoccurring theme in Dee's and my conversation was the fact that we were bored college students at home. Dee is going to travel to South Korea on a Department of State scholarship in June, and I was home for only a week before heading back to Charlottesville. Yet we both found ourselves immeasurably bored at home. We were used to going down the hall and finding six people with whom to talk. At home, I sang along with my Glee show and Dee talked to her cat. Both did not make very scintillating conversation.

Another thing was the realization that I was a college student in a town that wasn't a university town. Two days ago I went for a run in the morning and decided to head to a nearby high school, hoping that the high school had a track. Having arrived at the school's parking lot, I was approached by a security officer. To sum our encounter up, he rudely told me to not trespass while school was in session and then followed me in his car a good 800m into a side road. While I was duly offended by his tone and lack of manners, I also realized that he had a good point in that it was 10:32am and it was probably third period. I forgot that students were still in class. Dee and I relished this truth as we sped down 66.

We ended up going to Jammin Java in Vienna, VA, which has live music every night. Apparently Kina Grannis is going to perform there on June 15th! Kina is one of those guitar goddesses on Youtube, and I stumbled upon her while searching Missy Higgins (Where I Stood). She does collaborations (My Time with You, w David Choi), covers (If I Were a Boy), and her own originals (Valentine). While I was ogling Kina's flyers, we were both munching on some huge sandwiches (Dee got fresh mozzarella and tomato and I got homemade chicken salad) and still talking.

I think we talked for four hours straight. After Jammin Java, we went to Shilla Bakery, which is known for their sweets, breads, and shaved ice treats (called bingsoo), in Annandale, VA. We didn't order a bingsoo (but I'll post a picture of one on right to show the glorious goodness of what we could have had), and had little baked hazelnut treats instead. Both of our voices were sore afterward, because we just kept on talking and laughing! This probably goes back to the human need for conversation..

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

... now what?

I spent all day indoors. I am not meant to be inside all day (which is why I would be terrible in an office job in the future). This means I'm seriously bored. It's funny how three days after finals madness ends, I am bored.

In my lack of things to do, I finally watched Atonement (watch the trailer). I don't know much about cinematography and I am by no means a movie connoisseur. However, I do think Atonement was brilliantly done. The plot itself is actually very simple, but the way the plot is presented, with flashbacks and other techniques (I lack the words to describe!), is glorious. I loved the artistry of the scenes. The music is fantastically creepy. Another point to mention is the brilliance of the director in showing the two different perspectives of the same chain of events. I could definitely relate to the innocence, fright, confusion, and then finally conviction of the younger sister as she perceives the budding love affair of her elder sister. At the same time, I am swept away by the romance, struggle, contradictions, and passion of the elder sister as she tries to find a space for her feelings. Are these the same chain of events?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I'm home! The day I came home, my parents decided to buy a new sofa, move bookcases around, and switch my "room" and my brother's room. The house that I moved into 8 months ago is all the more unfamiliar now. It's in a neighborhood where I have no high school friends, I don't know where the post office is, and I could not tell you where the extra dish soap is. My house is not my home.

Nevertheless, I came home and had some hearty food. My father prepared haemultang (해물탕), which is spicy seafood stew (see pic), and there were the familiar side dishes like kimchi (김치), spicy pickled napa cabbage, and rice. My stomach was so happy, because during finals I have been eating cereal and milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner sometimes. Instead of snacking on Doritos, Ben & Jerry's, and Skittles (all brand name items, I just realized) I have been munching on healthy snacks, like steamed corn, sweet rice cakes, and orange slices. My stomach is home. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

finals season

Quick update: The blue books were returned. I don't have to retake that test. The actual tote bag was never returned!

10-pager is due tomorrow at 5pm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

summer housing + stealing

At this rate, I will be one of the homeless on the corner of 14th St and University Ave. (Contrary to a myth about homeless people, some people are homeless not because they don't have a job but because it's not within their budget. Of course, this isn't a new generalization about homeless people and why they are homeless, but a thought to challenge the myth.) Like those people, I have a job over the summer, albeit now with reduced hours, but cannot match up my budget with an ideal living place. Where to live? Will I be able to afford it? Is internet included in the price? Is it walking location to my internship? Can I hop a bus to Barracks from there? Is there AC? Do you have a bug-problem? These questions are stressing me out at a time when stress is at an all-time high.

Finals: I had my first final test and I submitted my portfolio yesterday (ironically not in a portfolio but sandwiched between a cardboard box. Cheap, I know.). My first ever 10 page paper is due on Friday, and a paper and final on Monday. Then freedom.

However, surprise surprise. According to an email I received earlier this morning from a sad and angry Professor, someone had decided to swipe my Professor's bag of finals. That's right. Someone stole a bag of blue books. Not only were my grades and hard work gone, my Professor's favorite bag is lost forever. Give them back!

This is a honor code violation. The stakes are high, because if this person is found out, then he/she will be expelled from the University. Now that the crime has been committed, it is very unlikely that the person will return the bag. Now I have to retake my final on Monday. Times are sad.

Monday, May 3, 2010


It's what affects us, but we don't think about it on a daily basis. I am spending an average of $38.26 a day just to be in college. Currently, tuition of full time undergraduates (per semester and broken down into Virginia and non-Virginia):

ARCHITECTURE: $4,869.00 / $15,869.00
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES: $4,840.00 / $15,840.00
COMMERCE: $4,878.50 / $15,878.50
EDUCATION: $4,841.00 / $15,841.00
ENGINEERING: $4,846.00 / $15,846.00
NURSING: $4,843.50 / $15,843.50

According to the UVA Today blog, the Board of Visitors just approved hikes in the cost of tuition, meal plans, and housing for next year. The number given for the tuition of an undergraduate (school is unspecified) is $5,314 / $16,787.

Reasons for this hike include unexpected costs and a decrease in state funding. This year there was a total unexpected cost of $11.2 million and a reduction of $14.7 million. Sounds like a lot, right? "Sound financial management calls for the University to look beyond 2010-11 to the following fiscal year," Sandridge said. Ok, way to not mention a large, approved spending.

Does sound financial management approve a $58 million price tag on SIS and yearly several million maintenance fee? According to a friend who graduated as a computer science major, if you put a team of graduate computer science majors together, you could have gotten a more user-friendly and efficient product than SIS... for a lot less. SIS is better than the previous system, ISIS, but I don't think it was worth $58 million.

While having a sound financial management means cutting excess, it also means making good choices in what you do choose to spend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Stop Micromanaging, Idiot!

I tend to talk to myself, so yes, the title is directed towards me and not other micromanaging idiots out there. This terrible habit reveals itself in my emails.

(Side note, as I tend to have many of these: College is all about being on top of your emails. If you are going to involved that you are considering reading books on how to manage your time, I say hit up the how-to books about emails. UVA has list-serv emails, which range from having three to hundreds of members, and can encourage using it for the force of good-- i.e. forwarding great opportunities-- as well as the force of evil-- spamming. In one hour, I have seen my inbox go to 36 unread emails. I could write a whole other entry about little things you can do to about this, but my two-liner-of-advice is filters and folders.)

I am a compulsive email-checker. I refresh often, I am constantly on chat, and I will spontaneously send you an email if I think of something. Therefore, when I remembered something before a BBQ that the RAs was hosting, I sent my supervisor a reminder email. "Don't forget to remind the new RAs that the BBQ is happening!" it said cheerfully. The reply was grateful and simply said, "Thanks." This is an example of an okay reminder email.

It becomes micromanaging when I sent my supervisor a reminder email after the BBQ, saying "Don't forget to thank the RAs who came!" He testily replied that yes he did thank them verbally and I sound like his supervisor--- and worse, I thought, like a nagging wife!

You know it's bad when your supervisor is complaining about a switch-a-roo of roles... and you sound like a 50-year-old grouchy woman. I need to let it go.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yard Sale

Because I have been waking up at 7:30am to finish writing my essays, I woke up at 7:30am again yesterday and today. On a Saturday morning. 7:30am. Uggggg. On the other hand, it was already sunny and the birds were chirping, so although I knew it was 7:30, it felt like 9am. It was a good way to wake up at 7:30am.

So I pulled on my running shoes and lightly jogged down Emmet St towards Barracks. I hadn't even reached Barracks, when I saw a sign that said "Yard Sales!" Stop running now!

To give a little background information, I am a big fan of yard sales (we could simplify it to being a fan of just sales as well). In New York, I went to high school in a suburban neighborhood bordering NYC. During the summertime, the manicured green lawns and asphalt driveways were often dotted with yard sale pickets and blankets with items. Because I learned how to sew and wield pliers in middle school, these yard sales were my source of unique clothes. A large scarf could become a dress; an interesting but broken brooch could become a necklace; an oversized T-shirt could become a jersey dress; the possibilities were endless!

Going back to the yard sale on Emmet St, even though I had no cash, credit, or debit, I ended my run and just had to look. If I had $10, I could have bought a Coach bag (ew), three pairs of sandals, an entire VCR collection of Disney movies, ten pillows, two five foot lamps, five cases of makeup, or a black ballgown dress. Unfortunately, I didn't have $10 and that imaginary scenario went through my head in a second.

Instead, I booked it to the box that had the "Free Clothes" sign. The woman attending over it held a baby to her hip and looked about late twenties. While I was rummaging through presumably her XS Anthropologie skirts and American Eagle shirts, we struck up a conversation. She is a graduate student, finishing her degree this year. She's looking to go to Boston afterward with her husband and kid. She told me there was a fluorescent stain on the large American Eagle shirt that her husband had gotten in his lab work and refused to wear it since. It sounded sketchy and sci-fi-esque, because she didn't explain what the stain was or why her husband refused to wear it since, so I gently folded it and placed it back in the box.

The conclusion? A tie-back dress with a plunging V-line, a cute black sweater, a button-up linen shirt, and a New York Comapny top. Well done and it's only 9:48am right now.