Saturday, June 30, 2012


Hello everyone!

The first day I arrived in NYC was exactly what a post-redeye flight person needed.
As I mentioned, I'm staying with my friend Timmay who lives in New Jersey, but for the first day, 
he invited me for a lunch with his grandma.  
As an added bonus, I got to see my violin teacher Julie there as well along with her whole family.  
If you're wondering why my violin teacher is at Timmay's grandma's house, here is the relatedness.
If you've met Timmay, you've heard this before, he loves explaining the relatedness  ;)
Timmay is one of my bestest friends. Julie is Timmay's cousin, who is also my violin teacher. Greg is Julie's husband, who is also Timmay's cello teacher.  and I just love Greg.  the circle of life. there.
We love it.  Well, we can't speak for Julie and Greg, but Timmay and I love it!  haha!
It was such a lovely afternoon of eating, hanging out with their adorable daughter, 
and taking a nap (hallelujah!) 
and I am so grateful for the invitation!  =)   They are the greatest.

Because I was running on perhaps 20% brain power, I didn't remember to take many photos... and the photos I did take, I found, were all of their daughter Noori.  haha. Can you blame me? she's adorable!

See what I mean?!  she has got to be one of the most adorable kids I know.  
AND she likes me!  little kids usually don't like me!  haha
She's a special one  ;)  

She really liked my camera, and tried to take photos with it, but kept pushing the wrong buttons.  
It was the cutest thing.  but she did succeed in taking this one!
It's pretty good, no?
She really captured the essence of Timmay.

This one is my FAVORITE of our playtime with Noori.
 A girl after my own heart!  If you know Timmay and my relationship, you'll understand what I mean.  
A very sibling moment.

Cutest family eva.  =) 

After the lovely afternoon with Timmay's family, we went to Times Squre.  
(It's kind of strange really. Times Square has to be one of the most famous touristy spots in NYC, and though I've been to NYC 5 times or so now, I've never been to Times Square!)
It was really fun, more so than I expected.  I think it had something to do with having seen the place so many times in pictures and in movies, and then finally seeing it in person.

Timmay was a champion gentleman and carried both of my suitcases up countless flights of subway stairs!
Thanks Timmay!

Almost as soon as we got off the subway, we met Elmo.
Poor guy, I think he was dying of heat... it was in the 90's that day--it felt like it was in the 100's.

Though I don't necessarily share the infatuation with NYC that some people have, 
I can understand why this city is loved by so many people.
There's something interesting happening at all times, there's so much diversity that I had fun just sitting back at a drugstore people watching for 20 minutes (not very many other places can say that!), 
and the energy of the place is truly contagious.
It's a place I will always be excited to visit for short periods of time.  =)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Congratulations to the new Jung family!

Hello everyone!

I have made it safely to New York!  (well, now New Jersey).  I took a red-eye flight (not recommended) and was too exhausted when I arrived to update anything.

Before I launch into an update of my NYC adventures, I would just like to take the time to congratulate the new Jung family!  I attended Jinu and Hosoo Jung's wedding only hours before I left, and here are some of the photos of their beautiful and incredibly intimate wedding.

the beaming groom and the beautiful bride!

It was a 'fusion' wedding, a cross between an American and a Korean wedding, and in the middle of the wedding, the bride and groom each wrote and read a letter to one another.
I thought it was incredibly sweet.  
Not only did the audience get a glimpse into how they met and how they fell in love, 
but hearing their vows in their own words was incredibly powerful. 

and then he got down on one knee to put their wedding ring on her finger!  aww!

I was supposed to play violin as part of the 'gift to the couple' section of the wedding, but when I got there, it was requested that I also play for the entrance of the groom, the bride, AND their exit...
Have you ever improvised at a wedding?
It's seriously nerve-racking haha 
Thankfully, and surprisingly, everything went smoothly.  
yay to whipping up Mendelssohn's Song Without Words on violin!

then the groom sang for the bride.
I really think he should think about going pro.  It was really good!

and the bride's brother played a song for them on the guitar.

Lastly, possibly the most touching event of the whole wedding--
the sister of the groom, my friend Yoojin, read a letter to the couple.

I know for a fact that everyone was crying during her reading it was so touching.

After the end of the wedding, we had an hour until the reception, so Grandma (my plus one) and I enjoyed the beautiful weather and the breathtaking view of the venue.  
It was at the Newcastle Golf Club.

The reception was really fun as well. 
There were only about 30 guests, so everyone got to spend quite a bit of time with the couple.
Also, I feel like I got to know more of the guests at this wedding than at any other one because every single guest was announced and their connection to the couple explained.

cutting of the cake
And because we are Koreans, there was also some Karaoke action at the reception--which I sadly had to miss because I had to get on an airplane.  shucks!

Thanks for a wonderful evening, and CONGRATULATIONS!!!
I wish you the happiest of marriages  =)

Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Packing. Minimalist Version

Hello everyone!

I am leaving tonight on a red eye flight to NYC!!!  Foulger Music Festival starts on July 1st, and I will be spending a couple of days with my friend Timmay (Tim Paek) and his wonderful family before the festival starts.  Usually, I would have started packing a couple of days in advance, but this time around, I didn't get to start packing until last night. eek. Within the first 5 min of packing, the room was a mess, and I was panicking a tinsy bit.  My parents always say that I carry my whole closet and wardrobe with me when I travel, and though I always deny it, it's mostly true.  So this time, I set a goal for myself to pack only the minimal amount of clothing and accessories, use only 1 medium sized suitcase (and a carry on rolly), and be under the 50 pounds limit.  This, my friends, is a tall order.  However, since I will only be gone for only 4 weeks this time around (in the past it's been 5-6 weeks), I thought I could manage... perhaps.

I started out by throwing down what I thought I needed, but this soon became a mountain of clothes...
Below shows my progress only about a minute into this process.  
Obviously, this wasn't going to work.  

So I began to categorize the clothes to see exactly how many of each I was bringing, 
and this actually helped to minimize the wardrobe selection quite a bit!

I started with the dresses because they are something I absolutely need.  I will be wearing them not only to perform, but also to attend other performances.
I packed 2 full length gowns, 5 shorter dresses, and 2 maxi dresses.

Then, the tops.. These are always the hardest for me to whittle down...
but I chose 6 sleeveless blouses and tops and 6 short sleeved blouses and tops for everyday wear. 
And just in case it gets cold, I also packed 3 longer sleeved shirts, 2 cardigans, and 1 sweater-ish top.
I hear it's like an oven in New Jersey (where Foulger is), so I probably won't need the warmer tops,, 
but better safe than sorry!

bottoms are where I tried to minimize the most,, and I can see myself throwing in a couple more in my suitcase as I am heading out the door.  I don't know if I can survive on such few items of clothing 
for the bottom half of my body!  for 4 weeks!
It's only 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of capris, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of leggings, and 1 skirt.
I try to tell myself that it's alright because I also have the dresses...

ok. I'm going to have to throw in another pair of shorts and another skirt. 
and maybe another pair of leggings..

Then, I packed the basics, the necessities, like camis, pjs, etc.
6 tank tops, 2 shirts, 2 workout shorts, and 1 pair of pj pants.
These will probably all be worn for sleeping.  I'm not even packing tennis shoes because every year I tell myself I will run, and I don't end up doing anything of the sort.  Maybe I'll do some yoga.

Accessories were pretty easy.  I don't wear that much jewelry because violin playing is not very conducive to jewelry wearing,, at least not for me.  I've lost so many earrings because I take them off to play and never remember to pick it up; I can't wear rings on my left hand because it gets in the way of playing;
necklaces fight the losing battle against my violin for a space on my neck; 
and bracelets,, well, they get in the way on both of the arms when I play.
 so 4 belts and 2 boxes of jewelry 
(only because pearls take up a lot of space in those boxes--it could have been 1 box).

 and TADA!!!  all ready to go!

I really can't believe how little I am packing!  We'll see if it actually works out...  My grandma still thinks I'm packing too much, but I just don't know what else I can cut out. 
I keep reminding her that I will be gone for 4 weeks (emphasizing the 4 to show how long of a time that is), but she seems to think that's the reason I should cut some more  haha.  Baby steps, grandma, baby steps... Though this was definitely a huge step for me.

Do you overpack?  What do you do when you are trying to pack less?
Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

power outage makes the heart grow fonder...

Hello everyone!

A couple of days ago, we had a pretty long power outage at our house.  
We aren't sure what caused it, but it lasted for a couple of hours, from about 8 pm until about midnight.  Almost as soon as it happened, I noticed a very strange phenomenon; 
it was like we gravitated toward each other in the darkness and conglomerated in the living room.  
Our living room was being used as an actual room of gathering!  This hasn't happened in... I can't even remember the last time we were all in the same room without each of us being on our laptops!  

It was a night filled with guitar playing, singing, talking, sharing stories and laughter...
all in almost pitch darkness!

the first group

Then grandma and Chang joined. and we lit a candle.

and because kids will be kids, we goofed around. 

it would be perfect if I was telling ghost stories

this particular species is incredibly difficult to observe.
It seems that they only come out into the open to mingle when the power goes out  lol

the boys
The power was only out for a couple of hours, yet we felt the absence of it immensely:
First of all, it was so dark!  The whole neighborhood was out, so there wasn't even a sliver of light anywhere.
We had to carry candles everywhere, and this meant no reading, studying, or practicing.
We lost the internet connection right away, and I learned that day that a computer without internet access is equal to a dead computer. None of us were on our laptops for the duration of the outage.
Also, our poor food stuffs in the refrigerator and freezer!
I don't know how people survived before electricity!

but at the same time,,,  it was actually really nice to just spend some time in what seemed like the Stone Age together as a family, disconnected from the rest of the world for a couple of hours.  =)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Road Trip Musings

Hello everyone!

I am convinced that road trips are the fastest and the surest way of getting to know someone really well.  I mean, you are stuck in a small box together for an extended length of time:  You can't avoid issues if they come up, you can't just leave the house or just go into your room and shut the door...  Also, you are not as connected to the rest of the world, especially if you are old school like us and don't own iphones or any phone with a data plan.  So these are some of the things I have learned, experienced, and thought about on this road trip with my lil bro, grandma, and an ipod plugged into the car.

  • Grandmas always tell the BEST stories!  I mean, they are like walking history books, right?  It's so much more fun learning about history through them than learning it through a textbook (although I find reading history really interesting as well  haha)  Also, I think they had waay more fun back then.  Also, I'm glad arranged marriages are not common anymore,, even though both of my grandparents had arranged marriages, and their marriages were very happy.  Grandma dated grandpa for only 2 months before getting married!  2 months!   D=
  • If you are driving, and you get sleepy, you should ask someone else to drive right away.  Because it's dangerous.  But, say, if you feel like testing your willpower to see how long you can stay awake, continuously slapping yourself lightly works pretty well.  (lil bro made fun of me for it, but I woke up once to find him doing the same thing!  haha)  Trying to count multiples of 7, on the other hand, doesn't work very well--it only works for a couple of minutes.
  • There are some really odd names for roads and cities.  For example, Bond Butt Rd.  After 13 hours of driving, this becomes 'James Bond's Butt Road' in your mind.  Also, after many hours in the car, one of these odd names will be enough to have everyone in the car dying from laughter.

Martinez Hercules!!!

  • Actually, now that I think about it, an incredible amount of things are funny after 10+ hours of straight driving.  And then you look back and wonder,,, 'why did we think that was funny?'
  • Bring a blanket for those not driving!  When you are driving, for some reason your temperature runs higher than those of the passengers.  Also, the cold temperature helps to keep you awake, so naturally, you blast the AC.  Unfortunately, this means frozen passengers.  A simple blanket will take care of this issue.

  • Lil bro is one smart cookie.  I took a Theory of Ethics class last year, and I was explaining some of the philosophical views and the issues that came up in the class, and we had fun discussing philosophy for quite a bit of Oregon.  We also discussed how history can be interpreted in so many different ways.  President Lincoln is always a fascinating subject.  We also discussed his future.  Though he is going into Pre-med, and I couldn't have been farther from Pre-med in my undergraduate studies, I had many friends who were Pre-med, so I tried to be helpful.  I think he's going to be just fine =)
  • When you want to eat a picnic lunch and see a sign for a lake, make sure to check just how far this lake is.  We didn't, and ended up driving 10 minutes out of the way just to get to this 'lake'.  In the end, it wasn't even a lake,, and it smelled funny.  but it felt very adventurous because the road was extremely narrow and squiggly.  We also saw a rope bridge which was blocked off.  If Grandma wasn't there, we probably would have attempted it anyway.  Grandma probably saved our lives.

  • I've seen deer crossing signs, but Oregon has bear crossing signs and California has cow crossing signs. I wish I would have taken pictures. We were laughing so hard when we saw the cow crossing sign.
  • The West coast is incredibly beautiful.  The landscape varies every hour or so, but I enjoyed seeing every single one.   It's funny how quickly the changes happen as well.  As soon as we got into California, almost in an instant, the landscape changed!

  • Did you know that Seattle is NOT the capital of Washington?  It's Olympia! Who's heard of Olympia?  (I actually learned this on my last road trip with daddy, but I just thought I'd share)

  • My brother can pop his ears just by thinking about it.  For me, I have to yawn to do that.  I thought that was how it was for everyone?   I spent the rest of that car ride trying to pop my ears by sheer willpower.  I didn't succeed.

  • We were incredibly happy to see I-80.  It was kinda surprising.  (it's the highway that runs through Nebraska)  Aurora, NE, the first place we moved to from Korea, will always have a special place in our hearts =)

  • The way we felt when we saw the Seattle skyline after so many hours on the road must be how one feels when seeing an oasis in the desert.  Also, why oh WHY does California have to be so long?!  We cheered for a good couple of minutes when 'Welcome to Oregon' sign came up.

  • I had another popular music crash course (because I am always behind on the latest popular music trends and lil bro is always on top of these things).  I learned that I still am not a member of the Bieber fever.  Still not a Taylor Swift fan.  Still don't get rap. at all.   We whipped our hair back and forth (and the car did a little bit as well) to Willow Smith.  My favorites are still the oldies.  We really like Michael Jackson; we tried to sing as high as he was singing.  When Mexican music comes on while surfing the radio, our heads automatically bobble side to side.  I found that I really enjoy acoustic music--like AJ Rafael, Jason Mraz, Jeremy Passion.  so nice!  Oh, and Lil bro and I can now belt out 'Lucky' by Jason Mraz and Colby Cailllt--right harmonies and everything!

  • and it reminded me of the last road trip we took to the East Coast.. about 8 years ago.  We were belting out duets back then as well.  It was High School Musical...  Don't judge, we were young!  haha   but they had some really nice, singable duets on the soundtrack CD.  =p

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Impromptu San Francisco Day 3.

Hello everyone!

We were planning on driving back home yesterday morning, but somehow, we ended up going back into San Francisco for one more day!  I think the main reason was that we are nerds, 
and wanted to explore the science museum (the Exploratorium)  haha.  

On our way there, we decided to go by the Namugaji restaurant because we liked their food so much, 
and stumbled upon the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade!  It was a sight to see.  
I was so busy just taking it all in that the pictures are a bit lacking, 
but here is the gist of what was going on.

There was so much excitement in the air, and though we were stuck in traffic for almost an hour, 
I'm so glad we got to experience a part of the parade.
Because we were stuck in traffic for so long, we barely made it to the Exploratorium.
Though they recommend 2-3 hours, we decided to go in anyway for 40 min.
We zipped around as fast as we could, trying to tinker with as many toys and exhibits 
before we got kicked out  lol

bubbles and shadows
Racing.  I won, by the way =p

hovering bubbles

hug a tornado

What do you read?

Tallest I've been in ma life!

As a last stop in Cali, we had In-N-Out Burger.  It's a must, right?  =)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and thanks for reading!