ei·do·lon (-dln)
     n. pl.   Image of an ideal.

Plato believed that we lived in a world of images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one.  What we see with  our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.  For  example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists.  We carry on everyday with flawed perceptions of the true ideal form. 


Life After College: Year 3 -  In Transit    

[Tuesday, August 31, 2004]

There's something funny about South Jersey.

I can't say I've ever really considered it home. It was just where my parents lived. And in that sense, I suppose home is wherever my parents happen to be. In no way is it connected to "South Jersey". In fact, I'm not sure I really have a home. I always have a hard time answering the question, "So, where are you from?" That's like saying, "How did I grow up? Let me count the ways..."

Milan, Italy
Chattanooga, Tennessee
South Jersey
Philadelphia, PA
New York, NY
Boston, MA

...and now back to South Jersey. I suppose in all senses, I should say I'm from South Jersey, but what does being from somewhere consist of anyways? If you're counting the length of time spent there, it's a tossup between Milan and South Jersey. If you're counting where I have warm fuzzy feelings towards, it would most definitely be Milan. If you're counting where I feel like I fit in the most - it would be nowhere. Milan was the last place I remember having a happy childhood. I went to a niche British Catholic private school there and had tons of friends. I was on my way to a Swiss boarding school when Chernobyl happened, cutting my father's nuclear career in half. I was 10 when I left Europe and all my friends behind to land in Tennessee. There, I traded in friends named Camilla, Antonietta, and Khadine for American bullies. In the South, pleated skirts, knee high socks, and loafers weren't appreciated. Neither was the Brit accent as revered as it is in the Northeast. I was sent to the principal three times within the first week for forgetting to say "Ma'am" at the end of every sentence.

"Ink, please clean the board."
"Uh, yes ma'am."

I came home every day and fervently practiced speaking 'American' in my bedroom, intent on losing my Brit accent, if only so I could survive the playground on a daily basis. I wasn't ever really beaten up, but considering how small I was for my age, a push was just as good as pommeling me to the ground. My scabby knees couldn't take it anymore. Every night I'd pray to God and ask him to make me sound just as Southern as the other kids. He never answered my prayers, but we did get to move to South Jersey, where I was no longer pushed around, but merely regarded as a curiosity. Much like an animal at a zoo.

"Say something."
"Um. Like wot?"
"Ooooo.... Aaaa...."

Needless to say, my childhood in South Jersey may have been easier on my knees, but it wasn't any easier on the soul. I ended up burying myself in books where dragons and princes kept me company. South Jersey was where I eventually lost my Brit accent, replacing it with a slight Valley girl one. Wonderful. Life in South Jersey wasn't terrible, but it was rather isolated. I bear no grudge against it, but I certainly don't feel any warmth towards it.

I've been in the U.S. too long to really consider myself from Milan. But, considering that I moved to the States when I was 10, that's old enough for most of your formative years to have already taken place. So I never quite felt like I belonged in the U.S. either. Lux and I were talking over email about this. Lux grew up in England and she lost her plummy accent in Ohio. Both of us feel a bit robbed of our identities.

The funny thing is - coming back to South Jersey used to fill me witih a sense of glumness. This time though - hitting the Jersey Turnpike on my way home from Boston felt like a sort of homecoming for the first time. This state really isn't too bad. I like the green on both sides of the highway juxtapositioned with the geometric shapes of the white oil refineries. It looks oddly futuristic. Pulling into the driveway at home felt comforting. Seeing the usual gigundo spiderweb near our front door (my friends used to call it the halloween spider) made me smile instead of shudder. My dad won't knock it down because he says its bad luck. Spiders are good for the garden. The house was its usual cluttered mess, but I plunked my things down, and my mother hugged me too tightly like she always does, and insists on patting my face, which I insist gives me zits. I kinda like this place now. Not because of the people, but just because. I was coasting down the highway earlier today, with the strip malls on either side, listening to my favorite radio station - Y100, one of the only independent rock stations in a major city. I swung by my old favorite bookstore, visited my old haunts. Philadelphia isn't half that bad. Neither's South Jersey. But maybe it has nothing to do with whether it was ever bad. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that I've finally stopped shutting it out.

Perhaps being home with the parents for a few months will be jaunty instead of glum.

mood: cautiously optimistic.

Posted by ink |  2:15 PM

[Monday, August 30, 2004]

Moving Day #6.

I think the longest period of time that I stayed in one place since graduation in 2001 was one year in New York. Since then, I've moved on average once every 8 months. I find boyfriends to be generally more of a nuisance than anything else, but on days like these - I have never wished more fervently for one. I'm not looking forward to moving home. I feel like I'm entering a pool of piranhas. I can no longer stave my parents' wrath off with distance but must face it full force.

Posted by ink |  5:20 PM

[Thursday, August 26, 2004]

"In your opinion, what contemporary medical issue needs to be addressed in the U.S. healthcare system and why?" - Stonybrook application

I had my last date with Doogie last night. He's gotten better!!! He was wearing a button down shirt with khaki's, and his hair was smashed against his head. Granted, it wasn't the best of hair-do's I've seen, but at least he took the effort to smash it. About halfway through the night, I leaned in enticingly and said...

"So. In your opinion, what contemporary medical issue needs to be addressed in the U.S. healthcare system and why?"

I shouldn't have bothered asking. Today's experience gave me more than enough fodder to answer that question. I've been getting all my affairs in order for South Africa, including all my jabs and pills. Apparently, the shots for hepatitis A and typhoid aren't covered under my insurance plan, even though they're required by the CDC Traveler's Health. Anti-malaria pills are, interestingly enough, covered only if you HAVE malaria, but not if you want to prevent it. Which seems entirely counterintuitive if you ask me. However, a little bit of research and googling revealed that doxycycline is an anti-malaria pill. It's not as good as malarone since you have to take doxy daily, and malarone is a weekly pill. But the advantage of doxy is that it's also prescribed for acne (and, among other weird things - syphilis and anthrax). I called up my dermatologist and told her I was having a breakout and thought I should go on doxycycline. She called up the pharmacy and voila! I'm now protected against malaria. And insurance willingly covered the cost of curing my acne, if not to prevent a potentially life-threatening malarial infection. Wahoo! I've cheated the system!! Such a rebel I am. And I also have a ready stockpile in a post-apocalyptic scenario in which anthrax runs rampant.

Also in that post-apocalyptic vein, I noticed recently on the tag of my spanking new backpack that besides being able to tote around 45 pounds comfortably within a 60L space (top loading), it's also bomb-proof. Very handy since my flight leaves Philadelphia for London on September 11. Though, I'm not sure what good a bomb-proof backpack would do me since I'm not bomb-proof myself.

Posted by ink |  3:36 PM

[Wednesday, August 25, 2004]

Ann Landers, Jr.

I'm The Advice Girl.

I know my roommate thinks I'm completely shady, because my best friend Kenmore came to visit this past weekend, and instead of sleeping on the futon in the living room, he slept in my bed with me. Little did she realize that I spent half the night not getting nookie, but giving him advice on how to get nookie from another girl. Yes, I'm "that girl". And I don't mean THAT girl, as in the It Girl. I mean That Girl, the one who all the boys go to for advice on women.

So many girlfriends owe me. Big time. That picnic in upstate New York where he rented the convertible, packed a lunch, and brought out chocolate covered strawberries at the end? Yeah, that was my idea. Remember when he brought you to the ocean and then whipped out the wine from his trunk, where it was prechilled in a cooler? That was me too. Boys, no complaining about the Friend Zone, because I rule that zone. If I had a quarter for every girl a boy asked me about - I'd be able to put myself through medical school. I'm like Heidi Fleiss, but without the hoes. I've got an audience of at least 4 regulars who call about some woman or another. Some, like Kenmore, are longtime clients. They know I'm discreet and I can get them the goods.

Being The Advice Girl means I also conveniently fall into the Backup Date category. Need a date to a wedding? Yes, that's me. Going to an event that's all couples and you need a woman? Ask me to be your pretend-girlfriend. Been through it all. What's funny is that even though I wouldn't want to be any of these guy's girlfriends, I'm somehow tired of being That Girl. I'm obviously attractive enough that you wouldn't be embarassed to introduce me to your friends as your "date" when you can't find another one. But oddly, it's not very comforting.

I suppose I should feel grateful that I inspire this sort of trust, but right now I'm just tired of waking up at 1 am because my cell phone has gone off and someone wants post-date analysis. So, I've decided to create an FAQ for boys to refer to:

1) "How come she's so suspicious of me? I told her I'd give up all those other girls for her."

Come on. What do you do again? Ah, you're an investment banker. You make financial models, don't you? How do you make predictions? Based on history and past behavior of that particular company or stock.

2) "Baby, I just want some sugar. I don't understand why she won't give it to me."

Take your time. It's not like the world's going to end tomorrow. Stick with kisses and holding her hand, and when she's ready to give it up, she'll let you know. You can't forget that women are raised to believe that every guy wants to get into her pants and then leave her. So our only protection against that is to hold out. The ones who are just after the booty give up and leave. The ones who actually like us stick around. It's a weeding out process.

3) "So, I think this girl and I really hit it off, but she's got this boyfriend. The thing is - she's hinted that they're kinda rocky. We've been hanging out alone recently and we're meeting up for coffee again tomorrow. What should I do?"

Just because a girl has a boyfriend doesn't mean she's entirely happy with him all of the time. Lots of girls have boyfriends that just... happened. But, it's important to respect the relationship. Girls who are interested in you but are in relationships may give you little flirty signs to test the water before they jump ship, but they're not going to outright let you know. Largely because they don't want to come off as someone who would be unfaithful. Trust your gut. You can let her know that you're interested very subtly. Like, over coffee, mention that you'd love to take her out sometime. Likely, she'll blush and say "I have a boyfriend." No problem. The point is to plant the seed in her brain. She knows she's got options now. The key is to plant it and then LEAVE IT ALONE. If you're pushy, she'll think you're rude for disrespecting her existing relationship. And if she really is unhappy with her boyfriend, that seed will stay there and continue to grow. And now the ball is in her court. All you have to do is wait for the breakup and then swoop in. If she -is- happy in her relationship, then no skin off your nose.

4) How do I cross that line between being friendly and flirting with a girl at the bar?

At bars, it's all about body language. Don't accost her per se, but angle your body slightly towards her and see if she responds by angling slightly towards you. Move a bit closer into her personal space. If she moves away, outlook not good. If she stays, or moves closer, you're golden. This advice can be found in any men's magazine.

Posted by ink |  11:03 PM

[Monday, August 23, 2004]

The never-ending war.

Sometimes my parents frustrate me. Even more frustrating is my love for them. I wish I could just not care. Why am I so fucking desperate for approval from them all the time. Why can't I be like the goth kids and just do what I want regardless of their desires. But no, when they disapprove, I hesitate and falter, weakened.

My dad and I have been at war via email for the past week. It started out as an argument about S. Africa and turned into an argument about us. In his last email, he accused me of being ungrateful and apologized sarcastically for not being as rich as my friend's parents. He pointed out that him and my mom haven't taken a vacation in three years because they've been working hard for me and my brother and that obviously, they must not be as smart as me, who is taking a "vacation" to S. Africa.

Right. Because if I was to go on vacation, I would go to Africa. Granted, my dad's pretty close to the target. I do have a penchant for roughing it, but I'm still a city-bred girl. My idea of "third world" is Costa Rica and Belize. You know... adventurous but they still have running water and hotels. Not dirt poor, largely infected with AIDS, and potentially dangerous. That and I'm well aware that they haven't been on vacation in years. I know this because I've been telling them they should, and they continue to ignore me.

What hurts me is the realization that my dad thinks he has a pretty crappy daughter. What kind of kid would accuse her parents (who shelled out over 100k for her Ivy League education when they could've forced her to go to public school) of not doing enough for her? I'm half hurt, and half angry. Hurt that he would think this. Angry, because even if he did think that I wished he was richer, what does that have to do with me going on a "vacation" that -I'm paying for-. When I told him that I was one of the few kids who had a part-time job while in school, I told him not to make him feel bad, but to show him how hard I've worked. Because I know he thinks I'm financially irresponsible and not hardworking. I once made the mistake of absent-mindedly giving him an honest answer when he asked me on the phone what I was doing. "Trying to pick beer." Oh man. I really got it. And not a lecture on the badness of drinking, but a lecture on time management. Why am I picking out beer (because beer implies hanging out) when I should be using this time to study.

Part of me wants to scratch the whole thing. Is S. Africa really worth losing my parents over? But another part of me is mad that they're even threatening me like this. Every change I've wanted to make in my life has been met with opposition from my parents. I go through this Every. Single. Time. I don't know why everything is always an uphill battle. When I wanted to quit my corporate job and make a stab at med school, I had to fight them also. The difference is that there's a different feel to this one. It feels more crucial, and it feels more bitter, and it feels like a World War. Not just a battle.

The thing is, I've already booked my tickets. I'm going. I'm flying out on Sept. 11. For some reason, flights on that day were about 100 cheaper than any other day. Gee, I wonder why. My mother hasn't spoken to me in 2 weeks. Everytime I ask to speak to her on the phone, she's "sleeping", or "busy", or "just stepped out".

It's not that I'm unappreciative of what they've done for me. I'm very grateful. How could I not be? I'm very aware of the sacrifices that they made for me and my brother. But I'd like to think that they sacrificed their dreams so we could have ours. So we could have the opportunities that they never had. What's the point if you never let me take these opportunities? Did they sacrifice so I could lead as hard of a life as they did?

Regardless, I'm not looking forward to this weekend. I'm leaving Boston on Sunday and moving home before I leave the country.

Why must happy things always be marred as such.

Posted by ink |  11:46 AM

[Friday, August 20, 2004]

Trials and travails.

It's official. I'm going to S. Africa!! I just got confirmed to be a camp counselor for HIV/AIDS affected children with the WorldCamps organization. The parental units, predictably, were not too thrilled. But I didn't quite foresee the extent to which my mother would take it. My brother im'ed me and insisted on asking me the price of my ticket. When I questioned how that was relevant since I've been independent from my parents for three years now, he said he wanted to know how much it cost to fuck up a family.

The requisite dinnerware was smashed, and I no longer call home. It's a little sad. I spent 3 hours at B&N last night picking out a tour guide to S. Africa. I left kinda excited and I wanted to call and tell my dad about it. Then I remembered that it might not be a good idea. So I went back to my apartment and planned my trip alone. I feel like it would make them feel better though if they helped me plan it. I could show them pictures of the hostel I chose (recommended by Let's Go and hostels.com) and how they provide door to door service to national parks and the airport. I want to remind them that I lived alone in New York City, West Philadelphia, and Boston (though Boston's nothing commpared to the prior two). I want to tell them that I'm by no means trivializing the safety issue. In fact, I'm a little apprehensive about going now that it's become a reality. I want them to know that I really feel like this is something I want to do. I think it'll be a great experience. I have no doubt that I'll feel uncomfortable at first when I get there, but I think extending comfort zones is a good thing. I want to tell them to not hate me. Because there are worse things in life than having a daughter who wants to help the AIDS children in S. Africa.

Besides, even if something was to happen, I don't want to die thinking that my parents are accusingly saying 'I told you so'. And, I want to tell them that I can't live my life always afraid of the unknown and the what-if's. My life thus far has been ruled by their fear. I wasn't allowed to attend sleepovers. I ended up at a college 20 minutes away from home. I wasn't allowed to go backpacking through Europe with my roommate after graduation. Sometimes I get the feeling that my parents have no idea who I am. They only catch a glimpse of it when they keep trying to fit me into that mold of a perfect daughter and I keep popping out. Sometimes it makes me sad that I can't share my life with my parents, because so much of what is important to me would only elicit rebukes and disapproval. I only tell them some things out of consideration that I feel like I'd want to know if I was a parent. You know, little things like, "Hey, I'm leaving the country in a few weeks."

I want to tell my mom that you can try to force people to your will, but they're going to dislike you for it. And that of course, I'm going to avoid getting myself killed or maimed. I want to be able to call them and not hear angry yelling voices instead. I want to tell them that I'm 23, not 15. And that I'll be careful.

Posted by ink |  11:03 PM

[Thursday, August 12, 2004]

I'm on a reward system.

So, I promised myself I could buy unreasonably expensive jeans after the MCAT's are over. I bought them today instead. Whoops.

Somehow, the girl at the store talked me into buying them one size smaller than I intended. I'm wearing them at home right now and am starting to seriously question the wisdom of that decision. Obviously, I can never wear these jeans anywhere where I will have to eat or sit down.

Posted by ink |  3:02 PM

[Wednesday, August 11, 2004]


Instant Messenger

"It's 10 pm!! Bedtime!"
"Yeah. No joke."
"Do you fall asleep right away when you go to bed?"
"I wish. Do you?"
"No. I putz around. Then I agonize over the fact that I'm not falling asleep. Which of course, only makes the situation worse."
"Same here. I have to daydream about something. Agonizing only wakes me up more."
"So, what do you daydream about?"
"I knew I shouldn't have told you that because I knew that'd be the follow up. I daydream about stuff. Flying and explosions n'shit. Doesn't everybody?"
"...you daydream about flying? what kind of explosions? terrorist stuff? And what does "n'shit" consist of? Anything related to n'sync?"
"Plasma explosions. Manly shit."
"Oh. I see."
"Yeah. You know. Like in dragonball. Comes from my hands. Sometimes from my eyes."

Why is it that everytime I try and understand men, I'm thwarted.

Posted by ink |  10:07 PM


I fell this morning on the street. I'm not talking about a simple slippage or stumble. I tripped on a curb and dove towards the cement sidewalk. My hands went flying out to stabilize myself unsuccessfully, and my cell phone went flying. All I could think about in the split second before I hit the pavement was "Thank God I'm falling on my face. My body will cushion the blow to my laptop in my backpack."

I laid there sprawled for a second before scrambling up quickly in embarassment. Of course, everyone saw. A boy handed me my cell phone, a girl asked if I was okay. I tried to play it off like it was nothing.

"Damn Mondays always get me."
"...It's Wednesday."
"Ah. Ah yes."

Obviously the perfect picture of complete coherence. I got away with just scrapes on the heels of my hands, for which I should count my blessings. I could've ended up with a scraped chin. Now wouldn't -that- have been embarassing. Scraped chins are only okay when you're 10, not-so-okay when you're 23. In fact, 10's a bit old to having scraped chins anyways.

I can only pray that none of my brain cells were jarred loose. Saturday is the big day. MCAT-day. I've been told that no prior standardized tests can possibly prepare you for the MCAT. It's a different beast. A monster of an 8-hour-long exam. I don't even sleep 8 hours a night.

Posted by ink |  9:56 AM

[Tuesday, August 10, 2004]

"Perhaps I should let you all in on a little secret. No one likes you in the future. This time period is looked at as being full of lazy, self-centered, civically ignorant sheep. Perhaps you should be less concerned about me and more concerned about that." - John Titor

This is what spooked Yelofngr when he heard about it on CoastToCoastAM radio and gave him nightmares. He of course, decided to spread the joy and pass the whole thing onto me by showing me the www.johntitor.com website. Generally, I take all doomsday predictions with a grain of salt, but as someone who has a longstanding relationship with scifi and fantasy, all doomsday predictions hold a weird sort of fascination.

John Titor appeared in 2000-2001 on a few online newsgroups, claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036, sent to our time to retrieve an IBM 5100 which is needed in the future to fix a UNIX bug (yay! unix survives!). Hokey-sounding I know. He said he's from a different worldline in which events happen very similarly to the events here, but slightly different. He disappeared in March 2001 and no one has yet come forward claiming to be the perpetrator of this hoax. Also during this time, he drops a few hints here and there about the future as it happened in -his- worldline, and implies that similar events could happen here.

Most interesting to me was his statement (made in 2000) that there is great civil unrest before the 2004 elections, and that a civil war begins in 2005. It starts off with small uprisings here and there, Waco-style, and then escalates into monthly occurrences. The civil war flares up and down for the next 10 years, culminating in World War 3 in 2015 which kills off some 3 billion people worldwide.

So, it was recently posed to me whether I could find 5 people within 100 miles that I trust with my life and stay in contact with them. And to consider what I would bring with me if I had to leave my home in 10 minutes and never return.

Five people. That's a lot. I'm not sure if I can think of 5 people who I'd trust with my life. I have a lot of friends, but how many of them could I count on not to eat me if they were starving and I was injured? Or sacrifice me to a band of hoodlums to save their own life, calling out guiltily "Sorry!!!!" as I'm dragged away? I suppose I should be thankful I'm a woman as my survival odds greatly increase. I can at least sell my body in exchange for food or transportation. That's more than men can do. The whole thing makes me feel a bit better about going to medical school also. Being a doctor is a timeless profession. In the face of threat and potential eating by wild-men, I can say "Halt! I can have sex with you AND I'm a doctor that can tend to your wounded." I doubt shouting "Wait! I'm a consultant!" would be of any help.

Though it all seems fantastical in the light of day, part of my mind keeps twisting along that pathway of "What if the world was really to fall apart? How would me and my brother find each other in Boston? Cell phones would be down. How would my family find each other again?" All of a sudden, my grandparents' naming convention of having all the grandchildren share a character of their Chinese name doesn't seem so silly anymore. They grew up in wartimes. We obviously, didn't. It's a Chinese tradition to have a family poem. So, for example, if your family poem has 26 words/characters in it, then each subsequent generation would share the next word in the poem as part of their first name. This way, if families are separated by war, they can recognize each other 20 years down the line. Each family member is supposed to memorize the family poem and name their children accordingly. My mom recently ran into a woman at the hospital who recognized my mother's name because it's part of her husband's family poem. As it turns out, her husband is from the same village in China that my grandfather is from. Villages back then were pretty much your extended family. My grandfather left to join the army and never found out what happened to the rest of his family. Her husband shares the same character as my grandfather's name, marking him as part of my grandfather's generation even though he's the same age as my mom. He must've been my grandfather's youngest uncle's youngest son.

Being born in peacetime and in America, I don't know the family poem. My cousins and I share parts of our name of course, but that's about where it ends. So, if the U.S. was to be attacked, and all communications were to be cut, I don't know how our family would find each other. I decided that the only way to find each other is to have a plan beforehand. Not anything silly like buying a bomb shelter, but just a verbal agreement. That in case of terrorist bombing, we'll all make our way to... Cleveland, Ohio, or some other equally distant place that no one would ever bomb and wait for each other there. My brother made fun of me when I called him with my suggestion. I told him that it sounds funny now, but wait till something actually happens - then it'll suddenly feel smart that we have a meeting place.

As far as what I would bring with me if I only had 10 minutes to leave the house - that's easy. As a former inhabitant of New York City, this is something I thought about back in 2001. I don't hold gallons of water in stock and such, but I did do a few things back then that have become such a regular part of my life now that I don't notice. I stuck two LED lights on my keychains (came in handy during the blackout in 2002). Instead of having 1 box of granola bars in my cupboard, I have 3 at any given time. My friend's sister made me a flee pack when 9/11 first happened, that I've since lost. But, given 10 minutes, I'd pull on jeans, my hiking shoes, a raincoat, and collect the following things:

granola bars
a few canned foods (not too many that it weighs you down while running)
warm sweater
large switchblade (in case I have to hack my way out, or defend myself)
journal + 5 pens
a few family photos

Yelofngr said he'd bring just his photo albums. "I'll have to eat my photos. Chow down on Kodak paper." Of course, I'd only last in the wild as long as my contacts supply does. Then I'd be a blind babe in the woods.

Posted by ink |  6:03 PM

[Sunday, August 08, 2004]

Depends. Adult Diapers.

I'm in the library watching my friend's stuff because he'd be right back. Two hours later, I'm still here watching his stuff and he isn't back. Granted, the time hasn't been wasted since I got a lot of work done, but I really need to use the bathroom. Badly.

I comfort myself with the thought that I'm working out my Kegel's muscles.

But at this rate, I'm at risk of developing incontinence like the elderly.

I may have to ask the strange boy sitting at my table to watch my things while I make a run for it.

Posted by ink |  3:55 PM

[Saturday, August 07, 2004]

Balanced Diet.

I've eaten nothing all day but cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, salt and vinegar Kettle Chips, and tomatoes.

I have this new addiction to cucumbers. It can't possibly be a healthy diet, but I love it so much because it's so yummy.

Dad's Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe
sesame oil
little bit of soy sauce
minced garlic
(optional: vinegar and sugar)

Peel the cucumbers and slice them into semi-thick slices. Thick enough that it'd be annoying in a salad, but not so thick that you can't fit it into your mouth. Quarter the slices. Dump it into a bowl, add minced garlic, add a bit of salt, add sesame oil, a tad of soy sauce (too much and you'll have a sodium overload between the salt and the soy sauce). Stop here if you want Mom's version of it. If you want Dad's version of it, add a little bit of rice vinegar and sugar as well.

To make it extra yummy, add some love into it, as my friend Nathan says. "Adding love" to me just means that you taste it often and adjust accordingly to make sure you're getting it right.

I eat the cucumbers as a meal. It makes me feel a bit like the BFG who only eats vile snozzcumbers instead of guzzling and swallomping nice little childers (I love this website about Dahl). I've already consumed two cucumbers today and I bought two more for my meals tomorrow. Cucumbers for lunch and then berries for dessert! With salt&vinegar chips and cherry tomatoes to top it off. I'd make a fabulous pregnant woman.

Posted by ink |  6:55 PM

Priests on Motorcycles.

As I was trudging back home last night from the bus stop, with my all-too-heavy "thin and light" laptop practically snapping my back, I looked up to see someone getting off a motorcycle and locking it to the curb in front of my building. His pants look vaguely familiar, I thought to myself.

Now why would his pants look familiar to me. Scandalous.

As he reached up to take his helmet off, I suddenly realized that it was the young priest who had caught me in my towel a few weeks ago. Since when did he ride a motorcycle? He took off his helmet, shook the hair that's cut just like my 55-year-old dad's and smoothed the pleats on his shorts. Ha. So that's why they look familiar.

"His shorts were worn higher than most boys of our generation wear them, but I suppose socially slick boys don't become priests " - 06/23/2004

Looks like this priest has decided to become a priest with an edge. Next thing you know, he'll be offering little boys rides on the back of his motorcycle. I used to think I was edgy. In fact, when I was 15, my cousin's friend offered me a ride on the back of his bike, I shrugged nonchalantly and said "Sure" while I smacked my gum in that way that every teenager does. I had this vision of myself on the back of the motorcycle with my long shiny hair flying in the wind. Oh so cool. Ten minutes later, they had to pry my terrified fingers off of the poor boy long after the ride was over.

I came home and told my roommate that Young Priest To Be had bought himself a motorcycle. She didn't believe me. We peered out our living room window and I pointed at the covered bike sitting by the curb. This morning, he was sitting in our living room talking to my roommate about his brand new shiny bike. He claimed that he needed transportation and he didn't having enough money to buy a car. So a bike it was. Pssh. Right.

Granted, I thought about buying a motorcycle myself for the same reasons. But I was thinking more along the lines of Vespa.

Vroom vroom. Babe coming through.

Posted by ink |  9:43 AM

[Friday, August 06, 2004]

The Stuff of Dreams.

I met with Push last night as he was passing through Boston on his way to Maine. Push is one of those people who seems to like me for really no reason at all. Though I love the fact that he loves me, a part of me can't help but feel bewildered as I feel rather undeserving of such attention. I mean, he's part of a band, which of course makes him cool by default. I'm an ex-corporate-rat turned premed - the very definition of not-so-cool. Regardless, conversation with him is never boring, and I always laugh entirely too much throughout the whole thing. What really strikes me about Push is the certainty that he seems to have about music and following it. I always have an admiration for those who not only know their dreams but also chase them. Knowing your dreams is relatively easy, but it means nothing if you don't have the courage to pursue it. Walking home from the bus after our coffee soiree, I thought about what it takes to do something like that. Yelofngr is the only other person I know who's unabashedly chasing his dreams. Both of them show irrefutable talent, and they both struggle against the practical world of finances, parental pressure, and rent. As for me, I don't even have the courage to chase something that's creative, or the energy to fight my parents about it. I'm blessed with big dreams and an unhealthy dose of pragmatism. Those two things don't particularly mix well. Like all people I admire - I wish I was a little bit more like both of them. A little bit more committed to things I want, a little bit more bold, a little bit more willing to risk. I suppose what I truly love is that they not only dream, but they're actually -doing- something about it. And not in any wishy-washy sort of way, but in that determined dogged way that boys have when they really want something. They wear that same look when they're really intent on beating that video game before bed.

Push handed me a copy of his album, which I'm currently listening to. I have to say - it really takes balls to sing. I can't even stand hearing my own voice on the answering machine, and I can't imagine how horrified I'd be if I heard myself on a CD. It inspires me to be braver, and to perhaps make a second attempt to learn guitar. I hope he becomes famous one day so I can shag him in a Banger Sisters replay sort of thing. I made the poor boy sign the CD insert, in the offchance that he strikes it big in the future.

Posted by ink |  9:48 AM

[Thursday, August 05, 2004]


I've been told that my pessimism is part of my charm. Ha. I like to think of it as hopeful pessimism, where you hope for the best but prepare for the worst. But at some point, you have to ask - does pessimism and skepticism to more harm than good? One of my friends is an analyzer and the eternal Skeptic. Everytime I speak to him, I'm dissected into pieces and asked, "Don't you think that this and that may indicate that you are ultimately [insert negative trait here] at heart?" I used to defend myself but I soon grew tired of being under the microscope. After being accused of being defensive because I know ultimately that what he says is true about me, I decided I wasn't going to argue with him anymore. Then I was made to feel guilty for not wishing to indulge in discourse. After all, he's not really being accusatory and critical, he's just conjecturing and wondering what I think about all this.

I terminated contact for a little while. Between my classes and my student loans, I didn't have space to squeeze in presidential debates about my strength or weakness of character. And my days carried on with a little less frustration. Now, a week before I take the MCAT - the 8-hour-long exam that will pretty much determine my chances at medical school, Skeptic pops up in my life again. Instead of supporting me during this semi-stressful crucial time, he decides to question what I've been pursuing for the past year of my life. "Do you really think you made the right decision by quitting your corporate job for just a chance at something that might not happen?" Right. This is exactly what I need at this moment in my life.

It's amazing to me how little people can change. But I suppose I'm guilty of the same thing. I hide behind the "Well, this is me, take it or leave it, I'm not going to change for anyone" statement. But it never struck me that people may just... leave it. It only occurred me now because I find myself idly considering it. I'm tired of going over in excruciating detail all the reasons why people may or may not succeed. I don't want to analyze all the possibilities of my potential failure and all the minutiae of the risks I took to pursue medicine. I don't want to have my life decisions questioned by someone who plays Devil's advocate of his own delighted accord, whether I ask for it or not. Whether its conscious or unconscious, all this conjecturing - regardless of whether it's just speculative or "philosophical" - is doing nothing but undermining me. It has nothing to do with my wish to ignore facts of life, but everything to do with wanting to do better things with my time - like study for the MCAT.

What I found to be the most concerning is that this entire ordeal has me questioning the vocation of "philosopher". As I find all his constant thinking and conjecturing to be tiring, I find myself thinking that perhaps Plato and Socrates were equally tiring - two people I used to admire. I find myself with less and less patience more and more recently. All it boils down to is hours and hours of talk. And I am so tired of just talking. What I realized recently is that my desire to become a doctor has nothing to do with rejection of writing, but everything to do with wanting to be amazing in some way and really -do- things.

I want to live an extraordinary life.

That, in a nutshell, sums it up. I've spent my entire life observing and commenting on things. There comes a time when you become tired of sitting on the sidelines admiring or picking apart people and you want to become a part of the game. Be a mover and shaker, or die trying. That was when I realized that a life of writing would never completely fulfill me because my ability to directly effect change would be limited. Granted, not all doctors lead extraordinary lives. I could spend my years shooting botox into rich people's foreheads, but medicine does give me the opportunity to be extraordinary if I so choose. Doctors Without Borders. World Health Organization. Red Cross. So many ways to make a significant difference - however small. Skeptic said, "I don't believe that one person can make a significant difference in this world." Spread your apathy like a disease. Does it not occur to him that saying this one week before I take the test that will determine the rest of my life is an inopportune time?

Do people think I'm doing this for fun? I wish I had a love for finance, technology, or law (wouldn't my life be so much easier and less complicated if I liked such things?), but instead - I have an unfortunate love for science and am entirely too attached to 'feel good' professions. Is that not the downfall of every one of my classmates? We've all left behind jobs or degrees that made us slightly discontent for the chance that maybe we can be happy and comfortable with who we are and what we do. I want to do more with my life than feed the economy - which granted, is no small potatoes. But it's not for me. So, is it really possible for one person to make a significant difference in this world? The only people who say that are the people who either don't care or are too afraid to try. As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Don't rain on my parade buster. Even if it is a naught but a small desperate little parade struggling vainly to learn the last of her organic chemistry equations before the Big Day - August 14th. I do quite a good job raining on it myself.

Posted by ink |  1:37 PM

[Wednesday, August 04, 2004]

Shh!! Hot boy nearby.

There's a v. cute boy facing me at the next table over in the library. Finally! A boy who doesn't look like he could use an eyebrow wax! He's completely and utterly engrossed in his laptop.

I generally like my short hair, but at times like this, I wish I had long hair to toss over my shoulder. Doing the head toss doesn't quite have the same effect with short hair. I just look like I have Tourette's.

Maybe I should suck on my pen. Use my tongue.

Perfect timing! Now I'm growing hives on my face.

Ooo... he just stood up. He's the same height standing up as he was sitting down. Why God, why?

Posted by ink |  4:58 PM



 about a 25  year old girl, ex-consultant, ex New York City inhabitant, newly minted med student, (still) largely single.

  about big change, the choices we make in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what makes us happy.  

  about being young and clueless, hoping that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.

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