Sunday, February 28, 2010


159 hours until Spring Break.

“Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.”
- William Dement

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Yearning for Spring"

A poem I memorized in high school for Frau Torabi's class:

"Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling"

O, wie ist es kalt geworden
Und so traurig, öd' und leer!
Raue Winde weh'n von Norden
Und die Sonne scheint nicht mehr.

Auf die Berge möcht' ich fliegen,
Möchte seh'n ein grünes Tal,
Möcht' in Gras und Blumen liegen
Und mich freu'n am Sonnenstrahl;

Möchte hören die Schalmeien
Und der Herden Glockenklang,
Möchte freuen mich im Freien
An der Vögel süßem Sang.

Schöner Frühling, komm doch wieder,
Lieber Frühling, komm doch bald,
Bring' uns Blumen, Laub und Lieder,
Schmücke wieder Feld und Wald!

Ja, du bist uns treu geblieben,
Kommst nun bald in Pracht und Glanz,
Bringst nun bald all deinen Lieben
Sang und Freude, Spiel und Tanz.

- Hoffman von Fallersleben

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

나의 사랑하는 생활

In Korean class last week, we read "The Life I Love (나의 사랑하는 생활)," an essay by famous 20th century writer Pi Cheon-deuk (피천득). Our assignment was to write a piece imitating Pi Cheon-deuk's style. Below are some of the things in life that I love. (Apologies in advance for any errors!)

나의 사랑하는 생활

나는 따뜻한 날씨를 좋아한다. 따뜻한 날에 시원한 바람이 살살 불면 더 좋다. 날씨가 추울 때에는 내 입김이 보이는 것이 아직도 신기하고 좋다. 입김이 보이는 날에는 목도리를 매기 좋아한다. 두꺼운 캐시미어 목도리가 내 긴 목을 위해 차가운 겨울 바람을 막아 주는 느낌이 좋다. 구름이 많이 낀 날에는 피부 탈 걱정없이 돌아다닐 수 있는 것이 좋고, 날씨가 덥고 햇빛이 밝은 날에는 집 안에서 우리 강아지하고 놀기를 좋아한다. 누가 내 얼굴을 만지는 것은 질색이지만, 우리 개가 흥분하여 내 얼굴을 핥을 때에는 싫어하는 체하지만 속으로는 많이 좋아한다.

나는 빨래를 말리고 나서 그 따뜻한 옷을 만지기 좋아한다. 옷이 좀 구겨져도 개기 전에 그 위에 잠깐동안 누워 있기를 좋아한다.

나는 외식하면서 맛있고 새로운 음식을 먹기 좋아한다. 그러나 나가서 먹는 것보다 집에서 어머니가 해 주시는 음식을 먹기 더 좋아한다. 우리 어머니께서 식구의 건강을 위해 빵은 제과점에서 사는 빵보다 좀 더 껄껄하게, 케이크는 좀 덜 달게, 반찬들은 싱겁게 만들어 주시는 것을 고맙게 생각한다. 비행기 타기 전 날 저녁에 어머니께서 대추를 많이 넣고 끓여 주시는 삼계탕의 맛을 즐긴다. 그것보다도 더 맛있게 먹는 것은 다음 날 아침에 고소한 삼계탕 국물에 말아 먹는 찹쌀 현미밥이다. 여름에는 밖에 있는 의자에 앉아 책을 보며 차가운 아이스티를 마시기 좋아한다. 그리고 날씨가 좋을 때에는 식구와 집 뒤에 있는 테라스에서 고기 구워 먹기를 좋아한다.

나는 바이올린 음악을 사랑한다. 바이올린 소리를 반가워하고, 내 악기를 집어 들때면 가슴이 뛴다. 음악은 듣기보다 연주하기를 더 좋아한다. 연주를 시작하기 바로 전 손에 땀이 나는 것도, 마음이 떨리는 것도 좋아한다. 그러나 연주를 시작하는 순간부터 걱정은 사라지고 나는 연극에 몰입되어 황홀해진다.

나는 잠들기 전에 조용히 혼자 생각할 수 있는 시간을 즐긴다. 하지만 친한 친구들 또는 식구와 보내는 시간이 더 좋다. 재미있는 이야기, 슬픈 이야기들을 밤늦게까지 나누기를 좋아하며, 같이 지내면서 새로운 추억을 계속 만들어가는 것이 나의 행복이다. 그러므로 나는 친구들을 만나는 것이 참 반갑다. 그러나 헤어질 때 느끼는 슬픔도 즐긴다. 그만큼 보고싶고 나에게 소중한 사람들이 있다는 것을 항상 고맙게 생각하기 때문이다.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Queen Yu-na

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection."
- George Orwell

In that case, Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na isn't human. Or maybe Orwell was wrong, but apparently he was quite a clever fellow, so I'm going to bet that Kim Yu-Na isn't human. On second thought, maybe Yu-na doesn't actually need to seek perfection because she's already attained it. Or perhaps perfection is irrelevant when you're making $5 million in endorsements per year, pre-Olympics.

Facetiousness aside, reigning world champion Kim Yu-na's performance tonight was astounding and set a new world record for the ladies' short program. 78.50!

Some of the hype might be excessive, but there's no denying that the pressure exists and that it is enormous. A New York Times article published on Monday captures part of the historical significance behind Korea's expectations for "Queen Yu-na," as she is affectionately referred to in the Korean media.
  • « No South Korean figure skater has won an Olympic medal, much less gold, as is expected from the willowy Kim, 19.
  • Kim’s main rivals, Mao Asada and Miki Ando, are from Japan, which occupied the Korean peninsula for 35 years through the end of World War II.
  • The first Korean to win an Olympic gold medal, Sohn Kee-chung, took the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but he had to compete for colonialist Japan and take a Japanese name. He remained a fierce Korean nationalist, though, and his story is still taught to South Korean schoolchildren. »
"Kim Carries Nation's Expectations on Her Skates"
(Jeré Longman)

And who knew she can sing, too?


In today's mixed-up world:
  • It is raining in New England and snowing in Houston.
  • Democrats are considering using the budget reconciliation process to push through a $950 billion health care plan.
  • The Russian government will be issuing international bonds.
  • The U.S. government is embracing nuclear power plants.
  • Wall Street bonuses rose 17% in 2009.
  • North Americans dominated ice dancing in the Olympics.
  • Also in Vancouver, the American hockey team beat the Canadians.
  • The Hummer H3 meets new fuel-efficiency standards for imported cars in Japan.
  • The head of Korea's state-funded tourism agency is a German who wants to turn Korea into "Asia's Switzerland."
  • Our favourite Brit and Igor will be heading to a developing country for spring break. How will His Highness ever cope?

"If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music."
- Gustav Mahler

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Kicked off the weekend Friday afternoon with an epic nap and then an even more epic Sushi Palace run. Nothing like spicy tuna rolls and squash tempura to drive away February blues. We tried counting how many pieces we each ate, but I actually can't remember how much/what exactly was consumed (probably a psychological defense mechanism protecting me from the traumatic experience of eating far more than any human being should in one sitting). I do recall, though, that the couple seated next to our table stared openly at our quickly vanishing platters before admitting, "Sorry to stare. We're just really impressed."

Next stop: Top Chef Vietnam
We went to the Ezra Stiles dining hall for a very entertaining fundraising event for La Maison Chance by the Vietnamese Students' Association. Good cause, lots of laughs, and this haunting song I'm still trying to find on iTunes.

The rest of the weekend involved lots of opera music, black licorice, and Planet Earth. ("Shallow Seas" is definitely the best section.)

Also, my new favorite snack:
These whole-grain treats (made by Lotte) are incredibly delicious.

I was very surprised, though, by the description on the back: "라이스와 만난 행복한 오트," which translates roughly to "A happy meeting of rice and oats." Simple enough, right? Except the word "rice" has been transliterated as "라이스" (raiseu). Why not just use the Korean word 쌀 (ssal)? I understand the need for komputeor and chocolet, but rice? I mean, the Korean word for rice has probably been around for longer than the entire English language...

Reminds me of "Denglisch", a hilarious song by the Wise Guys lamenting the overuse of English words in the German language. It begins in German but quickly becomes Denglisch and ends in almost-English.
(The song starts at 1:00.)

« Oh, Herr, bitte gib mir meine Sprache zurück,
ich sehne mich nach Frieden und 'nem kleinen Stückchen Glück.
Lass uns noch ein Wort verstehen in dieser schweren Zeit,
öffne unsre Herzen, mach' die Hirne weit.

Ich bin zum Bahnhof gerannt und war a little bit too late
Auf meiner neuen Swatch war's schon kurz vor after eight.
Ich suchte die Toilette, doch ich fand nur ein "McClean",
ich brauchte noch Connection und ein Ticket nach Berlin.
Draußen saßen Kids und hatten Fun mit einem Joint.
Ich suchte eine Auskunft, doch es gab nur 'n Service Point.
Mein Zug war leider abgefahr'n - das Traveln konnt' ich knicken.
Da wollt ich Hähnchen essen, doch man gab mir nur McChicken.

Oh, Herr bitte gib mir meine Sprache zurück,
ich sehne mich nach Frieden und 'nem kleinen Stückchen Glück.
Lass uns noch ein Wort verstehen in dieser schweren Zeit,
öffne unsre Herzen, mach' die Hirne weit.

Du versuchst mich upzudaten, doch mein Feedback turned dich ab.
Du sagst, dass ich ein Wellness-Weekend dringend nötig hab.
Du sagst, ich käm' mit good Vibrations wieder in den Flow.
Du sagst, ich brauche Energy. Und ich denk: "Das sagst du so..."
Statt Nachrichten bekomme ich den Infotainment-Flash.
Ich sehne mich nach Bargeld, doch man gibt mir nicht mal Cash.
Ich fühl' mich beim Communicating unsicher wie nie –
da nützt mir auch kein Bodyguard. Ich brauch Security!

Oh, Lord, bitte gib mir meine Language zurück,
ich sehne mich nach Peace und 'nem kleinen Stückchen Glück,
Lass uns noch ein Wort verstehn in dieser schweren Zeit,
öffne unsre Herzen, mach' die Hirne weit.

Ich will, dass beim Coffee-Shop "Kaffeehaus" oben draufsteht,
oder dass beim Auto-Crash die "Lufttasche" aufgeht,
und schön wär's, wenn wir Bodybuilder "Muskel-Mäster" nennen
und wenn nur noch "Nordisch Geher" durch die Landschaft rennen...

Oh, Lord, please help, denn meine Language macht mir Stress,
ich sehne mich nach Peace und a bit of Happiness.
Hilf uns, dass wir understand in dieser schweren Zeit,
open unsre hearts und make die Hirne weit.

Oh, Lord, please gib mir meine Language back,
ich krieg hier bald die crisis, man, it has doch keinen Zweck.
Let us noch a word verstehen, it goes me on the Geist,
und gib, dass "Microsoft" bald wieder "Kleinweich" heißt. »

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

하늘나라 선녀님들이...

Yale looks stunning today:

my favorite tree on campus

. . .

I'm not sure what it is about snow that I find so enchanting. Perhaps it's a result of fond childhood memories – growing up on the Gulf Coast, snow meant either a day off from school or a ski vacation in Colorado. Snow was something exotic, usually seen for only one week a year. I learned to associate it with cold hands, hot chocolate, and underutilized winter gear.

At Andover, though, there always seemed to be too much snow, whether it was blowing across the Great Lawn into my face or piling up outside Taylor Hall. Snow was what rudely forced prefects and proctors to wake up shivering underclassmen who grumblingly shoveled the icy walks before breakfast. Snowy days were also when I missed home most, when traffic and drawls and decent guacamole all seemed too far away.

Of course, I'm certainly not the only person for whom snow holds such emotional significance – there must be something universally compelling about crystalline water ice. Maybe it has to do with the brilliant whiteness, a welcome respite from the browns and grays of winter scenery?

Or perhaps the fact that no two snowflakes are identical, and yet entire blizzards combine to form uniformly white landscapes.

Or the fact that snow is painstakingly egalitarian, doing its best to smooth out all life's flaws under a thick layer of nature's lightest cotton. Even the frailest tree branches are graced with frozen divinity. Anything, anyone, any thought becomes perfectible.

Or something about the quiet. Nothing like the splashing of its unrefined cousin or the ominous thundering of summer storms, just a muffled world of pure white. (Usually, though, I can't help but hear roaring music.)

More than anything else, I'm captivated by the earthward flight of individual snowflakes from someplace more compassionate than here. Each flake seems to defy both time and gravity as it dances gently to the inaudible beat of a meticulously choreographed masterpiece. And at the end, how elegantly understated, how breathtakingly deliberate the entire show is!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Favourite Brit

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us – don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

- Emily Dickinson

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Amorous Tigers

who needs Valentines when there's vanilla soy ice cream?

My 20th Valentine's Day was actually quite enjoyable, despite/thanks to the failure on my part to finish the quart pictured above. Lots of sleep, soy, caffeine, nutella, Portuguese homework, and psychology paper-writing (in that order). Somehow, I managed to complete a formidable amount of work while also enjoying serving as a mutual backup Valentine.

Also, Happy Lunar New Year! Professor Lee provided japchae and songpyeon = awesomeness.

By the way, a friend this afternoon:
: how did we ever become friends
: it actually makes no sense
: because think about it
: you are 1. a sweatshirt hater
: 2. a country music listener
: 3. a windsday sayer
: this is something i should spend more time pondering...

"Durch Frauen werden die Höhepunkte des Lebens bereichert und die Tiefpunkte vermehrt."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Reasons it's been a great week

In alphabetical order:
  • Balconies
  • Chocolate-covered bananas
  • Coconuts
  • French toast
  • J. Press
  • Ice cream (melon)
  • Learned how to sew buttons
  • Lull in workload (before midterm season)
  • Electric shaver replacement blades
  • Greece's economy will be backed by E.U. leaders...hopefully?
  • Snow - I despise the cold, but if it's going to be cold anyway, it might as well be nice to look at.
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Tteokguk (떡국)
  • Watching videos of Carnaval in Portuguese class
  • Yale Divinity School

. . .

Using Lasers to Zap Mosquitoes
(Jennifer Lee)
« After hundreds of mosquitoes (which were kept in the hotel bathroom until showtime) were released into a glass tank, a laser tracked their movements and slowly shot them down, leaving their carcasses scattered on the bottom of the tank. While the demonstration was slowed down for public viewing, Mr. Myhrvold said that normally the lasers could shoot down anywhere between 50 to 100 mosquitoes per second. »

No. Way.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



Wende ich den Kopf nach oben:
Wie die weißen Flocken fliegen,
Fühle ich mich selbst gehoben
Und im Wirbeltanze wiegen.

Dicht und dichter das Gewimmel;
Eine Flocke bin auch ich. –
Wieviel Flocken braucht der Himmel,
Eh die Erde langsam sich
Weiß umhüllt.

- Alfred Henschke

Sunday, February 7, 2010


After somehow, miraculously, surviving a presentation in Psychology and the Law and exams this week in Thinking, Korean, Psychology, and Portuguese, I enjoyed an epic nap that lasted most of Friday.

The end of this academically abusive week happily coincided with the annual Berkeley College ski trip. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. Saturday morning—my alarm clock was probably very confused—and boarded a bus with other Berkeleyites for the three-hour ride to Okemo, Vermont.

Despite the sleep deprivation and the fact that most of my ski gear is in a closet at home, the skiing was a lot of fun. And while no self-respecting Texan would admit to enjoying East Coast slopes (compared to the Rockies, for instance), I may or may not have been pleasantly surprised by the variety of terrain. Also, at the base lodge, I met some interesting students from Choate, with whom I have several mutual friends. Fidelitas et Integritas, represent.

. . .

"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."
- T. S. Eliot