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?

Another year gone

Well … I’ve finished my first academic year at Fuller; I handed in my take-home exam for Ethics (on homosexuality) half an hour ago. This means that (theoretically) I’ll have more time to blog. I’ll try …

Meanwhile, what’s happened in the two weeks since I last blogged …

Murphy’s Law
Also known as Sod’s Law, this is defined thus: “a humorous axiom stating that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” An example of this is my blog about not getting seriously injured being followed a few days by a pulled hamstring at soccer. So I’ll be out for a couple more weeks—fortunately, being in California, I don’t have to worry about missing the good weather. ☺

Intramural softball
Pulling my hamstring two Saturdays ago was not particularly good timing, since the intramural softball championship was the following Friday. But I could walk by the time Friday rolled around, so I wrapped my thigh up (as well as my wrists, which were also sore), and toughed it out. Unfortunately, I play softball Ichiro-style, legging out infield hits and the like. Hobbled by a strained hamstring, I could only jog, and so didn’t get on base as often as I would’ve liked.

Anyway, the LA Champs of Los Angeles (my softball team) put up a good fight, but came in second after scoring a season-low two runs and having an uncharacteristic defensive meltdown in the final inning in the championship game. Still, there’s next year …

More tomorrow.

Body politics

[Right: Rock-climbing in Salt Lake City, UT; summer 2005]

Those of you who know me at all know that I like being active. I especially love playing sports—soccer/football, baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, badminton, water-polo—you name it, I probably enjoy doing it. Currently, I’m limited by time to just intramural softball on Fridays and soccer on Saturdays. I’m not even finding time to hit the gym (which I also enjoy … most of the time). I loved surfing when I tried it out, I loved rock-climbing when I tried it out, and I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy most activities requiring physical exertion and adeptness.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with good health and few injuries. However, I am still playing softball despite a sore wrist (from landing on it a month or so ago while playing soccer) and a sore thumb (from landing on it a couple months ago while playing soccer); I also got hit by a softball last week on my index finger and knee (yes, I know I’m supposed to catch it with my glove). And I’m still playing soccer despite various lower body ailments (ankle, calf, knee, hip) caused by fouls, collisions and other side-effects of three-hour sessions.

Some would sigh and bemoan the fact that I ought to be taking better care of my body and not playing 110% all the time, maybe resting once in awhile; in fact, some have. The argument, which makes much sense, is that I could be more physically active for longer if I just calmed down a little bit. But the way I see it (and I’m totally open to being wrong), I have no idea when my body will break down with age or incident (whether I ‘take care’ of it or not), so I suppose I’m going to make the most of the physical ability God’s given me while I still have it. Obviously, I’m not going to kill myself with exercise—at least, it’s not my intention, and God’s been good to me in helping me avoid any serious injuries (barring a fractured leg a few years ago that was completely not my fault). Long may the grace continue.

On a separate note, congrats to Micah and Christie on getting married this coming weekend, to Matt and Sara on their two-year anniversary today, and Daren and Helen on their anniversary tomorrow (I forget how many years it is now—fourteen?). And happy birthday to Christie last week, to Fi (as she turned 21 … again), and to Abi and Mom this coming weekend.

Big love to y’all,

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.)

About being in love …

We’re both looking for something we’ve been afraid to find;
It’s easier to be broken, it’s easier to hide

Looking at you, holding my breath;
For once in my life I’m scared to death.
I’m taking a chance letting you inside:

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

The world that I see inside you waiting to come to life;
waking me up to dreaming, reality in your eyes.

Looking at you, holding my breath;
for once in my life I’m scared to death.
I’m taking a chance letting you inside:

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

We’re crashing into the unknown;
we’re lost in this, but it feels like home.

I’m feeling alive all over again,
as deep as a sky under my skin;
like being in love, she said, for the first time.
Maybe I’m wrong, I’m feeling right
where I belong with you tonight;
like being in love, she said for the first time.

Like being in love, she said for the first time;
like being in love, to feel for the first time …

— “The First Time”, Lifehouse

New album coming soon …