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, May 31, 2005]

Lobster Quadrille.

We had lobster tonight, in honor of my younger brother being home for the week. I watched as the lobster crawled around in our sink, unaware of his coming demise, but surely aware that not all is right. After all, he used to live in the great sea, and is now scrabbling around in a cold metal sink. They were a bit feisty, as my dad had to hold the cover down on the steamer before they would stop their struggling. I felt a little bad about the whole thing, and made the mistake of mentioning this thought to my dad - who scowled at me fiercely and told me that if I had such a problem with it, I shouldn't eat them. I wonder if mama lobsters tell stories to their little lobsters about huge monsters that will catch them and take them away if they stray from home too far. These monsters roast you alive, and then tear you limb from limb, sucking the meat out of your insides, leaving only your shell.

Posted by ink |  7:53 PM

[Monday, May 30, 2005]

Plants and Pests.

I went out to check on the vegetable garden today and found the most horrific thing. These two cute little turds

had done THIS to my cucumber plants!! (For those who can't see it, there's supposed to be TWO leaves on that plant, but clearly - there is only a stalk left instead!). Oh the fury.... My dad shook his head at them and also shook a finger at them. I threatened to touch them with my human hands if they ever did that again (mother bunnies kill their babies if they smell human on them). Our vegetable garden has a fence around it to keep the big bunnies out, but the little ones can just dodge between the slats and partake freely of our baby plants! My dad sighed and told me, "See. Life is unfair sometimes. I'm sure this plant is thinking 'Why me? Why do I now have to grow up with only one leaf?' But see Ink, sometimes life just happens like that. And you have to make the best of it. This plant will still grow some cucumbers. You just watch."

We decided to try and protect the baby plants from the baby rabbits until they grew up a little more. Being that my dad and I are the two engineers in the family, we improvised a little device to shield the plants from the bunnies, but still allow them to have light. Lampshades!! Of course, now our garden looks distinctly alien and sci-fi-ish.

I'm happy to report that my lilac bush is also doing well, after its dose of Weezer. Since we're touring the back garden, may I introduce you to the dahlias (shown here with the grapevines behind it), who are also new to the neighborhood. These are the bearded irises (don't ask why there's a pig there). Awfully feminine for such a masculine name, don't you think? Our blackberry bush, which is a tangle right now, will not be shown. Out front by the driveway, we have lilies of the valley (the first bloom they've shown since we planted them three years ago!). I like to think they'll attract faeries to our garden. Along the front walkway leading to our front door, you run into two kissing couples (my mother's influence of course), , then the chickens hiding in the shrub, , and lastly, the ducks under the bushes . My dad obviously wishes he had a farm instead of a half acre lot in a suburb. Because sure enough, in the backyard, rounding out the "farm" theme, is a cow . I don't know why he's holding a basket. He's a bit "naked" at the moment, as my dad hasn't decided yet what to plant there. But I'm sure he'll be clothed in time.

Posted by ink |  8:27 PM

[Thursday, May 19, 2005]

Why are old Chinese men always wise?

My uncle sent me a congratulatory check today. For getting into med school. The check was made out to me, and on the little Memo line on the check - he wrote "scholarship". Ha =). In the letter (which my mom translated for me), he wrote that he hopes I'll be a good doctor, and tend to my patients with love. Because care without love doesn't work. And working without love is no use, because money can never fill that void. He told me to care for the poor and needy, and be merciful when they cannot pay. And he said that if I do good things with my life, in the way of Buddha, good karma will come to me. I will receive peace, and happiness will come to my children and their children.

For some reason, the letter and the check made the tears burn behind my eyes as my mom read it out loud (even though I'm Catholic). Considering how difficult this process has been - quitting my corporate job in 2002, going to grad school, traveling to S. Africa, fighting the odds - I feel like it's been an uphill battle the entire time. It's been been so difficult, and so easy to lose sight of the original intent. But, his letter reminded me of all the things I originally started this journey for. It reminded me of all the reasons why anyone should go to medical school. And it made me feel like it was finally okay to have done what I did with my life.

Posted by ink |  12:40 PM

[Tuesday, May 17, 2005]


My dad came home from traveling on business today. Over dinner, he asked me if I've gone out to see my lilac bush since we put it in the backyard last weekend. I blinked at him. No. I could see it from the kitchen window and it looked like it was doing okay.

He looked at me disapprovingly.

"You should go out and visit it. Plants are like children. They grow better when someone comes to see them and sing to them a little."
"Dad. A plant is not going to know if I visit it."
"When people are sick in the hospital, they can't respond to you either, but they still know when you're there, talking to them. And it helps them grow and heal."

I scoffed at him. But I bit my lip and looked out at the plant nervously. I'd feel awful if it died in its first week. It'd feel like a bad omen of my med school years to come. I decided I'd rather be safe than sorry. When my dad went up to take a bath, I snuck outside to water the plant a bit, and play it some Weezer through my ipod. No, none of that awful new stuff on their latest album Make Believe. I played the plant some classic Weezer, a bit from Pinkerton (Pink Triangle) and a bit from the Blue album (In The Garage).

Posted by ink |  8:21 PM

[Monday, May 16, 2005]

Sliding Doors.

Whenever I make any major life decisions, I always get this strange Sliding Doors feeling, like the Fates are spinning their threads, and its only up to me to choose which thread I want to walk along. I wish I could see into the future, see where each thread leads, and then make a truly informed decision. As it stands, all I can do is speculate, and then make choices based on speculations.

I got a brief extension for med schools, and today was the Big Day. I'd already half-decided that I wanted to go to school in Philadelphia last week. But I hadn't withdrawn from Boston yet. I like my decisions to sit on the back burner and simmer for a little bit. Make sure its something I'm comfortable with. I knew I had to write that withdrawal letter today, but I couldn't seem to bring myself to do it. All day, I could hear the dice of Fate rolling thunderously in my head. Which will it be? Will I roll a perfect 7? On the way home from work, I had the sudden urge to write that letter, and write it now. I sped at 85 mph, and pulled into the driveway, tore up the stairs, whipped out my laptop, and pounded out a withdrawal letter, clicking "Send" right away - without even proofreading or spell-checking it. I had this feeling that if I didn't do it right away, it'd never get done. It was over. But instead of relief, I felt strange. Like a door was slamming shut in my life forever. So then I felt the need to send out thank-you emails to my Boston professors who wrote me recommendations (and informing them of my decision), write a mass-email to my friends (also announcing my decision), and calling a few people. Just to make it official in every way possible.

Writing the emails to my professors was especially hard. I know one of them was really rooting for me to go to Boston. I hate disappointing people. Ultimately though, I realized that I wanted to go to Philadelphia. The only reason why it was such a tug-of-war was because everyone I'd polled had told me that Boston would open a few more doors for me. I was essentially asking more and more people, looking for a reason to go to Philadelphia. Ultimately, I'm a pragmatist at heart. Only one friend, Scratchy, had advocated Philadelphia. But since he was only 1 among the 8 people I had polled, I eliminated him as an outlier. My friend Alice Wonder, was ultimately the deciding factor.

Alice and I met when I was in undergrad. She'd gone to the same undergrad as I did, and was a first year in med school when I was a freshman. We became fast friends, as she was in all senses - the older version of me. We both had a love for sci-fi and fantasy, we were both engineers as undergrads, we were both painfully awkward around boys (we like to think we've improved since then). In a nutshell, we were the same person, in different bodies. Her experience with med school was what led me to reconsider medicine as a career. When I was considering leaving consulting and returning to medicine, I called Alice again - to ask her if she has any regrets. She firmly and definitively said No. She's glad she did it. And with that, I embarked on the turning point of my quarter life crisis, ending up where I am now. As usual, a phone call to Alice this time was also the deciding factor.

Alice (surprise!) advocated Philadelphia, without having heard my personal feelings on each school. Coming from a top 5 med school graduate, her words made my feelings legitimate. "I do not know one Philadelphia grad who is unhappy. They loved it there. Boston? Well, I heard the students there are pretty miserable. It's pretty competitive. Besides, I drove by the campus once when I was interviewing for radiology residencies, and it is hideous. All I could think was, why would anyone want to go to school here?"

And just like that. It suddenly became okay to go to Philadelphia. I realized that although 8/10 people had voted for Boston, the two people whose opinion I valued the most, and who knew me the best - had said Philadelphia. At the end of the day, I didn't believe that Scratchy and Alice would tell me to go to a school that is clearly inferior.

I was relieved, because quite frankly, I hated Boston even though I tried very hard not to. Boston is filled with chains. Even the stores that seem like they might be independent, are actually chains. Incidentally, my best friend Kenmore had voted for Philadelphia too (though I had discounted his vote since he works in the finance industry in NY and knows nothing about med schools). He referred to Boston as a giant Starbucks. Filled with kids wearing khaki pants and different colored polo shirts. You like being in there, because its Starbucks and you're supposed to like it, but you're horrified by the high prices and the people around you. They may be politically liberal, but they're still very conservative when it comes to values. Take all the wealthy suburbs of New Jersey and squash them into city limits, and you have Boston.

True, I've already spent 4 years of undergrad in Philadelphia, but I wasn't opposed to spending more time. Philadelphia's social problems are a little more visible than most cities, but it feels real to me. Real, and gritty. There's South Street, which is like the area around UC Berkeley (put kids with tattoos and multiple piercings in Boston, and people look at them askance). There's the sports fans, who keep it real (who else boo's their own team and holds them accountable when they're playing poorly?), and there's the Philadelphia Art Museum, which puts the Boston MFA to shame. In a nutshell, I'm happy with my decision.

It was scary going against majority opinion, just because I always wonder if everyone else knows something that I don't. I decided though, that I should go to a school that I want to go to. Not a school everyone else tells me to go to. Even though in most circumstances, I'm a "go with your head" type of girl, my head has never disagreed with my gut before, and I've never had to choose between the two. Though ignoring my head is a frightening plunge into the unknown, it's also exciting. I've never had to go on gut before. But I'd like to think I can trust my instincts. I suppose we'll see.

Posted by ink |  7:48 PM

[Sunday, May 15, 2005]

The Garden.

I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from weeding, for some strange reason. There's something very gratifying about grabbing the plant at the base, tugging on it gently to loosen the dirt around its root, and then with one huge tug, the entire thing suddenly breaks free. On the occasional moments when the stalk snaps instead, you get to dig a small hole around the stub until you reveal enough of it to grab onto, and then you start over again. It's a lot like plucking your eyebrows, except you actually get a second chance if the hair breaks at the root.

My dad and I have been going a lot to garden stores recently, since its planting season. I realized a few very telling things about Americans (because of course, I consider myself American when its convenient, and distance myself when its not).

A) Every family there was buying these dinky little annuals. Annuals, for those not green-thumb-inclined, are plants that only last for a year and then die. Perennials come up on their own every year. Not only are they buying annuals, but they're buying the boring kind - petunias, impatiens, etc. I hate those. They come in a 12-pack, and the families buy them in trays. Need I say more? If you took one block of American suburbia and then copied and pasted them a million times, you'd get a million homes with petunia and impatiens borders. How much more generic can you possibly be?

B) The neighborhood farm has changed!! I haven't been to Springdale Farms since 1997, when I bought my blind prom date's boutonierre there (spelling? I've always been awful at spelling French words). Now, it's got glass walls and rows of plants, like a supermarket. I liked it better the old way. My dad agreed, but said that even Springdale Farms moves forward with time, like everything does. We pulled into the parking lot, and it was paved, instead of the dirt patch it used to be. Not only was it paved, but it was also filled with BMW's along with BMW owners who were getting out of their cars with their oh-so-cool shades on. In the vegetable aisle, looking at the green bean plants, was a girl in a sundress and stiletto heels, with a Prada bag swinging from her arm. A little further down was a guy browsing the tomatoes with his ipod on. I wasn't sure whether I should feel heartened by the fact that these individuals were actually browsing for plants to grow in their garden, or dismayed that Springdale Farms and my formerly rural suburb has turned properly surbuban.

We picked our normal vegetables (green beans, eggplant, watermelon, tomatoes, squash, cucumber, blackberries, garlic, etc.), picked up a rosebush with a yellow flower fringed with red (very pretty!), and a lilac bush - which my dad said he was planting in my honor. Since I've successfully navigated my quarter life crisis and emerged surprisingly intact. I thought perhaps I should be offended by the last portion of that statement, but I decided to ignore it. He was, after all, planting a lilac bush for me in the backyard! Most surprisingly, I saw my dad in "shopping" mode. I felt very lucky, as it's very rare to see this sort of activity in any male of our species. He peered down at a giant dahlia plant. "Look at this shade of orange!" He crowed. "I've never seen this shade before!" He inspected the tag on the plant carefully. "Hardy down to -10 degree! This is perfect!" Then he looked at the pricetag. "Forty dollars. Expensive." He hesitated for all of a split second before saying "Well, it'll last for years, it's a perennial", and then set it in our shopping cart. I was aghast. This is my thrifty dad? Between the potted dahlia, the pretty rose bush with the red fringe along its petals, my lilac plant, the vegetables, and all the potting soil that goes along with all these, we spent almost 100 dollars at the store! And I've never seen my dad so happy. We loaded all our plants into the back of our Camry (my mom's going to have a fit when she sees all the dirt in the backseat), and drove them home. "Careful," he said, as we tried to fit them all in the back, "They need room to breathe."

I realized when we got home that planting plants is a lot more boring than weeding. You dig a hole, and then stick it in there. I lost interest quickly, and looked around for weeds. I wonder what it says about me - that I'm more interested in pulling up plants than I am in planting them. The lilac bush went into the backyard, along with a bunch of the potting soil. The rose bush went in the front beside the driveway, along with the dahlia, and the veggies all went into the veggie garden in the back. I did learn that our soil is pretty bad. It's all yellow and clay-based. I only learned this because weeds are easier to uproot if they're growing in good soil than bad soil. I did notice though, that certain weeds are very sneaky. They grow among the leaves of the good plants, intertwining their roots.

I did pull one giant dandelion up successfully. I'm always shocked at how long their roots are down below the earth. "Look Dad!! Look at how long this is! I had to work for TEN WHOLE MINUTES to get it out!" My dad looked up, "Yes. It doesn't give up, does it. It's a very stubborn plant. Very stubborn and difficult." He peered at me over his glasses. I hate how parents can make a point without directly saying anything.

Posted by ink |  7:17 PM

[Tuesday, May 10, 2005]

Deadline looming.

When I applied to medical school, I wasn't expecting much. With my long and winding road to medicine, I felt lucky to get into any medical school. It didn't even cross my mind that I might have options. But options I do have. And with those come choices. My friend and I used to discuss whether being privileged was truly a blessing, or just a different kind of curse. After all, having choices implies a right choice and a wrong choice. Having choices implies self-empowerment and also self-punishment, for you have no one else to blame if your life goes awry. This leaves you petrified of making the wrong choice. Life on the edge.

SCHOOL #1: Philadelphia
Gives me the warm fuzzies about medical school. More laid-back student body, more supportive administration, lovely campus, great neighborhood. Generous funding for international health projects (which means more travel!). Name not easily recognizable.

SCHOOL #2: Boston
Graduate school credits transfer over, so will only have to take a half-load my first year. Better match-list (where graduates of the school go). Students more driven and competitive. Buildings are ghetto. Has large well-known undergrad, so name is reputable and well-known. Have college friends in Boston. Feel "eh" about it, but recognize that it may give me more opportunities.

Quite frankly, I want to go to school #1, but I'm torn because I'm afraid I'm giving up on benefits I might not otherwise have. 12/12 people polled (fourth years, interns, residents, etc.) have said that School #2 would open a few more doors for me. The thought of going to school #2 makes me feel... resigned. Then I chide myself, I don't know that I'm going to hate it at school #2. There's a good chance I'll get there and it won't turn out to be so bad. After all, I'm not going to med school to be best friends with all my classmates. I'm there to get a degree. It's only one step in my career path. You only need 1 or 2 good friends, and you're sure to find at least 1 or 2 in your class that you like.

Another part of me says that life is too short to be miserable. That I create my own opportunities wherever I am, and that if I'm happier, I'll do better academically and thus make up for whatever slight advantage school #2 may have with its more recognizable name. After all, there are people from school #1 who get into specialties. There just aren't as many as school #2 has. But that may be a reflection of the student body's interests. Med school is hard, and the last thing I need is to be at a school I don't like. I should always go with my gut.

Another little voice whispers that you go with your gut on boys and "feelings" stuff. When it comes to career choices, you should go with your head.

I like both Philadelphia and Boston equally, so location isn't so much of a factor. Though, I could argue that I like Philadelphia a little more since its less stuffy than Boston.

I only have two days left to decide.

Posted by ink |  12:34 AM

[Sunday, May 08, 2005]

Text Message.

I woke up this morning to a text message from The Bat.

"Hey happy mother's day! I hope u had fun the other nite. Im sorry had some um trouble, i was nervous! =) I had great time though talk 2 u soon."

For some reason, I felt extraordinarily embarassed, on his behalf, when I read that message. I could feel my own ears burning in sympathy. I'm not even sure if we should try again. I'd rather spare him the humiliation. Though it feels heartless to cut a guy off because he couldn't get it up twice.

Posted by ink |  11:04 AM

[Saturday, May 07, 2005]

Wake up, Peter!

Last night, The Bat was in town. I call him The Bat because even despite the fact that he's really funny and nice (and super smart to boot), he bears a startling resemblance to a small bat. Sort of like an Asian version of Harry, Charlotte's bald lawyer-boyfriend, from Sex And The City. Except The Bat is a med student, and he's not bald. My relationship with him is a bit like Charlotte's as well. When we first met in 2001, I had little attraction to him. However, he's pretty funny and nice, so we dated on and off in 2002, and then again when I was in Boston last year. I had a vague feeling that we were only dating each other because no one better had come along for either of us. He wasn't really my type. He dresses extraordinarily preppy. He wears sunglasses, and not just any sunglasses, but the fashion sunglasses that are clear so they don't really block any sunlight. His dad's a doctor. He's a Martha's Vineyard sort of boy - he belongs on a golf course. I tend to like my men a bit scruffier, I like them creative, and if they write music - that's even better. The funny thing is - I don't think I'm really his type either. He seemed to like high maintenance women, because he mentions a lot that men really appreciate it when a woman takes the time to get ready and look nice. His favorite actress is Carmen Electra (she's not an actress!). If he was working in corporate America, he'd be the type who dates models. But, we have fun when we hang out. So both of us continue to hang out, even despite our lack of chemistry. Though, our lack of chemistry is what leads our dating to fizzle whenever we're not in the same town. We don't even keep in touch the way friends do - through email or occasional phone calls. It's kaput. Out of sight, out of mind.

Last night though - he was in town visiting his brother (who's also a doctor). So, he invited me to spend the evening with his brother and his brother's wife. Every time we hang out, I always think it's such a shame that I don't like him a little more. He's so... convenient. He's the type of guy that parents love. His family lives in the same general area my family does. He's a doctor. And he's actually pretty funny.

Last time we hung out in Boston, I bought him too many martini's at the bar. He couldn't drive me home, so we stumbled back to his apartment where he proceeded to not get it up, snore loudly in my ear through the night, and then spend the next morning puking in the toilet. The type of romance a girl swoons over. The only redeeming quality of the night was his sheets. Not only does he have the most spick and span apartment I have ever seen (his bathroom was so clean that I could've eaten off the floor. In fact, I was afraid to use his toilet), but he also has the best sheets ever on his bed. They were pure white and must've been a million thread count. I've been told that alcohol can affect a guy's ability to perform, so I was willing to overlook it.

Last night though - it happened again. And both of us were sober. I thought it was a little fishy when he told me he was back in town, had a hotel room, and wanted me to take him out barhopping/clubbing in Philadelphia. Do boys think they're all tricky? I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. It's Mother's Day weekend, which comes along once a year. The least I can do is try to stay sober on that weekend. And not get knocked up. But we ended up back in his hotel room, doing a little kissing. I was determined not to let it get any further than that (and I'm a very stubborn gal according to my mother), but I shouldn't have bothered worrying about things getting out of hand. Again - his choo-choo failed to rise to the occasion. Even despite my determination to not let things go too far, it would've been nice to know that he wanted to. He even gave it a few pulls himself amidst kissing, to no avail. I was very offended. And I knew it wasn't me. An erection is the one of the few things you can depend on in a guy! It happens if you just breathe a certain way in their ear, it's almost too easy. Regardless, I decided to put him out of his misery and go home. Through it all, the only thing he really said was, "You're so cute. You know that?" I hate hearing that. I want to be a sex goddess. Not "cute". Especially not when we're kissing.

Perhaps the lack of chemistry on my part exists on his part as well. It's really a shame. As he walked me back to my car last night, he said that he always like hanging out with me because he has so much fun and I'm so cute (that damn word again!). I looked at him in his pink polo shirt, tailored jeans, kenneth cole shoes, and black blazer over it all. I thought about the fact that he once asked me how come I never wear high heels when I hang out with him. I thought about the fact that his apartment (which his parents bought for him) is cleaner than mine. I thought about Charlotte and Harry. And then I decided that I do have fun when we hang out too. Though the not-getting-it-up thing was simultaneously puzzling and relieving. Perhaps we should just give it up at this point and admit to each other that we're just friends.

When I got home, I told my best friend Kenmore about what happened. Instead of sympathizing, he laughed. And he said he was glad I didn't blame myself. His girlfriend always points the finger at herself when he occasionally can't perform. He did ask me if I put it in my mouth. No! I was shocked. Good, he said, he doesn't deserve it. I did think briefly about it (because the competitor in me was chomping at the jib), but good rationale won out and I decided against it. I couldn't think of anything more humiliating for either of us than having him STILL not get it up after that. And, I don't think I like him enough to do such an otherwise unpleasant task. The Bat didn't even say anything. Not even "Sorry"! A sorry would've been nice.

Though he did send me off with a "Good night cutie." Grrrrr....

Posted by ink |  9:43 AM

[Thursday, May 05, 2005]


One of my male co-workers has a beautiful teenage daughter. A bunch of us were sitting at lunch yesterday, discussing this.

Muppet Boy:What's it like, having a beautiful daughter?
Coworker: It's karmic punishment for every bad thought I had about a woman, and every bad thing I ever did to a woman.
Bat Boy: There's no point anyways. By the time they're 16, you know they're sucking dick.
Ink: That's such an awful thing to say. At 16?!
Bat Boy: It's true! You were just sheltered.
Manager: I hope my daughter is fat and ugly.
Bat Boy: ...Sometimes that makes her even more likely to suck dick.
Manager: Dammit you just can't win!!
Coworker's wife: He sits in the living room, cleaning his gun when the boys come by. He tells them that he's been to prison before, and he doesn't mind going back.

Posted by ink |  9:51 AM

[Wednesday, May 04, 2005]

HURRAH!!! Who says you can't have winter in May?

I did it! I bought a snowboard off of Ebay!!

I've been coveting this snowboard for the past 8 months. I liked the fact that Arbor is environmentally conscious, that they use innovative technology (bamboo-reinforced core), and that the Arbor Mystic got rave reviews. The Stance is the female version of the Mystic, which probably means I'm boarding out of my league, but hopefully my skills will improve with the help of the Stance and my foam buttpad. I ran it by the guy at the snowboard shop, and he said it'd be suitable for someone like me to grow into. Not too stiff, enough soft flex, but quite snappy. The fact that the artwork on the Stance is by Brian Froud only made it all the more dear to my heart.

I won the board for $225 including shipping. Coupled with my $40 Burton boots from Craig's List (that are bright paddy green and likely to clash with everything I have), I'm 2/3 towards a full set! Currently, I have an eye on a pair of Salomon Antidotes on Ebay. Luckily, my Burton boots fit into the Salomon bindings.

I'm supposed to be saving money for my Central America trip. And even more importantly, I'm supposed to be saving "sanity money" for when I start school again in the fall. AKA beer money, shoe-shopping money, quarts-of-ice-cream money.

Posted by ink |  9:03 PM

[Monday, May 02, 2005]

The Taste of Friends.

Yesterday was Brin's wedding. Brin, from my consulting days. Brin, who made Charlotte, NC and BofA bearable. He married the sweetest, most beautiful woman. I met Brin when he was 5 months away from proposing to his girlfriend, though it didn't stop him from shamelessly flirting with me regardless. What I loved about Brin was not only his sense of humor, but also the fact that he was irrevocably safe and irrevocably dedicated to his girlfriend. Because after all, it's nice to know that you're still attractive to men even despite your corporate misery and bloody stumps of feet (damn business shoes).

It was my first time at an Indian wedding. I stood and watched, in my pink and chocolate dress, and cream colored shoes, feeling for all the world like Neopolitan ice cream, grossly out of place among all the colorful sari's milling around. So beautiful. And the dancing - I want to learn how to dance like that. I've never been anything more than an average dancer, even despite having taken lessons all my life. But I'm still always convinced that the next lesson will bring out the inner dancer in me. The bride and groom didn't have to start off the dance floor. The Indian pop started up, and the boys as well as the girls enthusiastically hopped in. At Arabic clubs in Boston, and at summer camps in S. Africa, the men are similarly unshy about dancing. What is it about Western culture that leads our males to feel such reluctance towards movement to music?

Brin made a speech at the wedding dinner, and told a story of each member of his wedding party. In honor of his tying the knot - I'm telling my own story of Brin.

Back in summer of 2003, when Brin and I worked with the same client, he had this wonderful jar of animal crackers sitting in his cubicle. Every few days or so, I'd make a pit stop at his desk and munch on a lion or two, eating the heads first like I've always done since I was a kid. Murderer! He'd accuse if he ever caught me at it. He preferred popping the entire animal into his mouth at once. More merciful, he thought. A few days later, Pint (Brin's roommate) and I headed to the grocery store. We had corporate apartments, and we had to share cars, so grocery trips always became joint-events. It'd been a particularly bad day, and on the way to the grocery store, I ended up crying. True to his male sensibilities, Pint didn't know what to do with a crying girl. So he said, "Um. Watch the road. Do you want me to drive?" The entire analyst class would know about this since we were a tight-knit group, and would sympathize as our main bonds revolved around our shared misery, much like how fraternity bonds are formed through hazing. But I didn't care, all I knew was that I was a desperate woman on the breaking point. This was a few months before I turned in my resignation.

The next morning, I arrived early to the office, resigned and resentful at having to work with my incompetent manager. In my cubicle was an animal cracker. Strange. Then I realized there was a trail of animal crackers, and as I followed them, picking them up as I went along, I had a good idea of where they would lead. I poked my head into Brin's cube with a handful of retrieved crackers, and he was staring straight ahead at what looked like a very important spreadsheet. I opened my mouth to apologize for interrupting, but before I could, his screen saver came on in front of him. Haha. I poked his back and he woke up with a start.

"So, how was your welcoming menagerie?! Did you have a good animal breakfast?"
I started laughing, "I don't eat them off the ground!"
He looked disappointed. "It's the only way I could lure you to my cube."

Then he showed me photos of his vacation to Italy with his girlfriend. They were on a carriage and he had a series of shots of her crying because he'd just proposed. And that alone shows the type of guy that Brin is. When his girlfriend is crying, he snaps close up shots of her until she starts laughing. And when he knows a friend is near the tipping point, he fills them up with the sweet gooey taste of murdered animal crackers until there's no room for anything else, not even misery.

Congratulations Brin.

Posted by ink |  9:39 AM

[Sunday, May 01, 2005]

Darkest Peru.

I've always had a fascination with Peru, probably stemming from my childhood days with Paddington Bear, who was from Darkest Peru. He still had an aunt residing there, in fact. Since I spent my childhood abroad and only my later years in the U.S., children's book stores always held a strange sort of fascination for me. Largely because they were so foreign. I didn't grow up with Curious George or Dr. Seuss. For me, Richard Scarry and the Mr. Men and Little Miss series was the staple of every kindergarten class (or, as it was called in Britain, "Nursery", which came before Primary 1). Mr. Messy figured largely in my drawings for art class (he's just a bunch of scribbles), and Mr. Strong was my personal favorite. My mom used to tell me that Mr. Strong eats FOUR DOZEN eggs everyday to be strong, and I only had to eat two. Now I realize that Mr. Strong likely also had heart disease. Nostalgia central. I wonder if this is how American-born-and-bred people feel about going into the children's section of a bookstore.

On a different note, I found out why my tummy has been troubling me lately. On the back of my bag of cough drops is a small innocuous label: "Excessive use may have laxative effect." I guess that explains why I've been losing weight, seemingly magically without exercising. Pooping my way to sexy. Ugh.

Posted by ink |  3:34 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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