Facial hair and air mileage

The reason for the enigmatic title of my blog? They’re just the topics I’m writing on. First, facial hair: I’m trying to grow something on my face for about the ninth time—the foliage is and has thus far been disappointing. As an Asian, I’m not particularly endowed with a lot of non-head hair. And I’m discovering that absolutely no hair grows on my cheeks or on my jaw line. I just have a kind of fuzz on my lip and a little soul patch that’s a little lower than the normal place of a soul patch. Plus … I look virtually clean-shaven from anywhere beyond six feet away. That’s how successful my facial-hair-growing-experiment is going. Exciting, no?

What’s more exciting is the mileage I’m going to be racking up this coming year—actually, it’s not that exciting for my pocket, but otherwise, it’s freaking awesome! So at the end of August, I’m heading up to Seattle for a week to visit Hannah and Jason (who’s jetting over from London), and of course the MARINERS!! Yeah, I’m going to (pending the purchase of tickets) watch the Mariners-Angels series at Safeco Field, which will be my first trip to Safeco and my first time seeing the Mariners outside of Angel Stadium. So I’m looking forward to that.

And then in December, I’m heading back to Hong Kong for three weeks (7th to 27th). It’ll be the first time that all the family (all the brothers and all the kids) are together in five years, so it’ll be an amazing experience. We’re all (parents, two brothers, two sisters-in-law, one niece, three nephews and me) staying in the four-bedroom apartment that I grew up in … so it’ll be cozy. But I can’t wait for that, either.

Finally, just by way of update, I finished my first two-week intensive (Systematic Theology 1) last week, and I have my next one (NT Ethics) starting on July 30th. So these two weeks that I have in between, I’m working on my coursework and my distance learning class (Philosophy), as well as working part-time in the Admissions Office. Summer’s busy.

But it’s still summer. And things are going well. Thanks to those who expressed encouragements after my last blog. Things are a lot better and a lot clearer than they were three weeks ago: I spent a lot of time processing, praying and talking things through with friends and family, and I’m happy where I am. Not 100% content … but will I ever be?

Anyway, until next time …

Summer's here!

This is how I know that I have time: I’m blogging more, journaling more, and my email inbox is empty (coz I’ve replied to everyone). Which is the state I now find myself in. Glorious.

It’s kind of strange to think that I’ve been in California now for coming up to 10 months. It’s gone by like nothing else. Much has changed in the last year. Much has improved; some has regressed; very little has stayed the same. God has remained faithful.

A year ago, I still thought I was staying in London to complete an MA in Human Rights at UCL. I had no idea the things that God had in store. I had no idea that I would finally see the realization of my dream to live in the States (and in SoCal at that!). I’d never gone on a date with anyone I wasn’t already going out (it’s complicated, but I’ll explain, if you ask); I’d never owned a car, or lived by myself; and I hadn’t lived close to anyone in my immediate family pretty much since I left Hong Kong in ’98 (notwithstanding the six months Gabe was in London during my final year at UCL).

I have to admit, there were still a bunch of things to adjust to; among other things: the currency (I no longer convert to GBP to see whether something’s a good deal, coz inevitably, it’ll be cheaper here than in London); the average speech volume (yes, Americans are louder on average—Daren attributes that to more space per person, so we have to speak louder … it’s as plausible as any other explanation, and more polite, to boot); the approach to spirituality and Christianity (both in a theological academy like Fuller, where there’s a gamut denominations and backgrounds, and in US culture in general); the overwhelming quantity of cars, and by implication, greenhouse gas emissions (I drove a friend to the airport at 6am one day, and it was already rush hour); and the weather, which was a happy change, and which has enabled me to thrive in my fair-weather-footballing skills and get rid of my London tan (i.e. paleness).

WeddingsNext Friday, I’m off to Colorado for Tim and Tiff’s wedding. It’ll be awesome.

A friend of mine somewhat jokingly pleaded for the glut of weddings to stop … I know the feeling. It’s that time of life where almost everyone I know is getting married, or already married, or in a serious relationship.

The next season … babies.

Music newsSpeaking of babies, the lovely Natasha Bedingfield’s new single is called “I Wanna Have Your Babies”. It’s a bunch of fun, as well as some pretty insightful social commentary (as some of her other singles have been.)

Finally … I got to be part of the audience for the taping of Lifehouse’s Nissan Yahoo! Live Set. It was a bucketload of awesomeness, as they played their two biggest hits thus far (“Hanging by a Moment” and “You and Me”), five new songs (including the awesome “Broken”, which will, I hope, come out as a single eventually), and one redux (the song “Storm” has its roots in Jason’s days at the Malibu Vineyard, and appears on the album Diff’s Lucky Day, released before Lifehouse were signed/big).

Being slightly behind the band, I got to see what they see, and I have to tell you, it made me miss being in Lifesize, playing gigs, writing songs, making music, having fun, having people singing your songs. I was slightly distracted by a girl in the front row … but to be fair, I couldn’t really see the faces of the band. Yes, that’s my excuse.

Anyway, Lifesize reunion tour, anyone?

Almost there …

[Ben, Rob and I at Hermosa Beach pier on a less than sunny day (boo) during their visit to CA last month.]

Alright. There are three weeks until the end of the quarter, and the beginning of summer. I’ve been hard-pressed to find time to take a breath, let alone blog.

Lost in translation?
So I had one of the strangest experiences of my time here the other day. I went to get my course notes for my online class printed out and filled in the request form with the page numbers which I wanted printed: “8-15, 22-24, 51-114, 116-147, 159-222.” Pretty straightforward, I thought.

I came back the day after to pick them up. The lady manning the copy shop gave me a sheaf of paper that was ten pages thick. Hmm, something’s not quite right. I quickly deduced that she’d only printed pages 8, 15, 22, 24, 51, 114, 16, 147, 159 and 222. So I explained this to her. Her reply: “No, that’s not what the paper says. It just says ‘8, 15, 22, 24, etc.’”

I was very taken aback by this, being unsure how else I could write down what pages I wanted printing, short of writing down all 140-odd page numbers on one line. In the end … I had to write this: “8 to 15, 22 to 24, 51 to 114, 116 to 147, 159 to 222.”

Totally unexpected. I thought Arabic numbers and notation were (pretty much) universal. Apparently not applicable in my part of California.

Series finales
This fortnight also marks the culmination of a number of TV shows that I watch. Coinciding with the end of the quarter is the freeing up of a few hours in my week: Bones, The Office, Scrubs, 24, and Lost. And Veronica Mars, but I don’t really publish my following of that show. Until now. Doh.

[Yes, watching TV is another factor in my week being busy, but I’ve never watched TV without doing some work or reading at the same time. My grades have not suffered thus far (and I’m going on my eighth year of higher education. Thank you very much.]

Anyway, that gives me another 4/5 hours to my week, which will be greatly appreciated with this summer coming up.

Summer plans
Speaking of the summer, in case you’re wondering—well, you’ve read this far, so you’re at least a little interested in what I have to say …

  • I have two weddings: Micah and Christie’s in Orange County next Saturday, at which I’m the ‘lead usher’ (I’ll tell you when I know what the difference between ‘lead usher’ and ‘normal usher’ is); and Tim and Tiff’s in Colorado in four weeks’ time, at which I’ll be the best man (probably the only time in my life I see myself being a best man).
  • I’ll also be taking a couple of 2-week intensive classes (unless one or both are gone by the time I register tomorrow morning) at the beginning of July and August, respectively.
  • I’ll put in some hours at the Admissions Office (so I don’t go broke when I have to make my next car insurance payment or buy my ticket back to HK for Christmas).
  • And I’ll go to the beach lots, play soccer lots, hang out with friends lots, and spend lots and lots of time with God. Amen.

I’ll let you know how the implementation of this plan goes come September. I’ll also blog again soon. (No promises, though.)