vendredi 3 août 2007


I just got my visa today at the French consulate in Los Angeles on Wilshire Blvd. My appointment was this morning, and Dad took me. We first got breakfast at this place he used to frequent when he was still working. It's called Grinder or The Grinder, and it's on Figueroa and 28th. I had an omelette, and it was tasty. Dad had pancakes.

We arrived pretty late, but it was okay. I walked to the visa section, which was behind this door that had a window, but it was covered up, and I don't know why, but I was scared. I really had no reason to be because behind it were all these chairs and some people, and even one of my classmates, Lucia! We saw each other, and I was all, "Hey!!!" And then I piped down because everyone looked at me, and even the visa ladies behind the glass heard me.

She was ahead of me in line. The girl, she was young and had an accent, called me up, and I gave her my passport and application. She asked me if I spoke French, and I said, "Un peu." Which means "a little". She was really happy though that I spoke French, I think, because after that she was really nice and sweet. I paid and waited for the other French lady to call me up.

When she did, she was really curt and asked for all my papers, and "where's this?" and "do you have that?". After she had everything, she finally took a good look at me, and I was just all smiles because I was so happy about how smoothly this was going. And she said in a light accent, "You stay away from French boys!"

And I laughed and said sure. It felt like a compliment. I told her that I won't even look at them. She added, "French boys are more aggressive than the American ones." And I said probably. She told me what to do when I get to France. She gave me back my passport and even Lucia's and bid me farewell, and I said merci.

Then Lucia said when I sat back down next to her, "She was so nice to you!" And I just shrugged. We exchanged numbers and might hang out together before we both leave for Paris.

Afterwards, Dad and I just drove around LA. It was nice. He wanted to drive by his work, and we did. Then we headed home.

So I'm done with the most important stuffs. I saw my doctor, and I'm healthy. I saw my dentist, and she said I'll get my wisdom teeth out when I get back next summer. Now I need to see my optometrist. Today, I'm going to go get my international driver's license. Yay!

mercredi 1 août 2007

the meatball story

Okay, enough sad things. I have to stop being "saddo". I first saw the word "saddo" in a message from my cousin Fah to my brother Noel (also known as "Kuya" in recent posts). And I've adopted it and have been saying it. It's also fun to say. Say it out loud: "Saddo". Here's a link that explains the word: saddo.

So the meatball story. It's a funny story, and I've been saving it for after the sadness that is leaving my friends in San Francisco. It's truly a testament to me and my brother's social awkwardness and just one of many interesting and funny adventures that we share together.

Two weeks ago when I was here in LA, Kuya and I went to a wedding for a family friend. She went to my high school (Rosary) and was in the same year as my brother who went to Rosary's brother school (Servite). We went to the Mass first. We sat in the back since we were late. I asked him if he was getting communion, and he said no, and I said, "Is it because all your high school classmates are here?" I don't remember what he said, but he didn't get communion. What a dork.

We arrived at the reception that was in the heart of Orange County at this golf course. Kuya and I always make fun of Orange County, and I think we both secretly knew that this was going to be a riot. Sometimes, when we see some emo boy walking down the street or some skinny boy with tight pants on, we'll just look at each other, and then start laughing. Outside on the deck, there were loads of people heading to the open bar and socializing. I'd go and get drinks from the bar for my brother and parents, and we stayed inside in this sort of darkened sitting area, away from the crowd, but perfect for people watching.

Kuya then started eyeing all these people who had small plates of appetizers. I didn't know where they were getting the food. Here is what transpired.
Kuya: Go get me some meatballs.
Me: What?! No you go get meatballs. I'm not even hungry.
Kuya: I think there's meatballs and fried dumplings. They're outside on the deck. GO GET ME SOME!!!
Me: NO! You get your own! Why don't you want to go out there?!
Kuya: Why don't you want to go out there?!
Me: 'Cuz there's people out there.
Kuya: (silence)
Me: Why are you shy?
Kuya: Why are YOU shy?

This conversation went on for a while...I tried going out there to get his stupid meatballs, but then chickened out at the last second. We even prowled around the lobby area if we could see exactly where the appetizers are outside without having to go outside. It was fruitless.

Kuya: Okay...if you get me meatballs and dumplings, I will buy your backpack for Paris.
Me: Really?
Kuya: Yes. How much did you plan on spending?
Me: At the most $150.
Kuya: Okay.
Me: So you're willing to pay $150 for a small plate of meatballs and dumplings just because you don't want to have to see or talk to people.
Kuya: Just go!

I went. I thought about the deal for a second, and my Dad just told me to go already and get the stupid meatballs. I did it and was pretty stealthy about it, and I didn't have to talk to anyone. What dorks we are. What hermits. We won't even get a freaking plate of meatballs if it means having to navigate through a crowd.

mardi 31 juillet 2007

goodbye san francisco: the last 2 days...

Everything is such a blur. From the packing, the lack of sleep, and the drive home I can't remember it all. And at one point I even fused the last 2 days in nor cal into this great, huge day in which so much had happened, some of it very personal, that I won't even share all of it with you. Sorry folks.

Day 7, Sunday
Breakfast with friends at a lovely cafe near the house. It was my first time there. I had French toast (appropriate no?) and potatoes on the side, and I barely finished either of them. I had no appetite for obvious reasons.

Went to see Sunshine with C., and it's funny because we saw my friend Jason there too. It was either Sunshine or Rescue Dawn, and we chose the lesser of the two downers. It was pretty deece, and I love Danny Boyle, and sci-fi, but this combination didn't totally work for me. It had some good parts though.

Went to my Grandma's (Dad's aunt) house and had a lovely dinner there. I wanted to see her before I left because she's been so hospitable to me and I was always welcome in their home in San Francisco. They have an amazing house, a truly San Franciscan home that could be a setting for something like The Royal Tenenbaums. My parents drove up that night and met up with me there too. I went home early though since I still needed to pack.

Day 8, Monday: the last day
Woke up pretty tired. I had a long but an amazing night, and I couldn't get to sleep because there was so much to think about. Everything was ready and downstairs.

C. and I got coffee, our last time getting coffee. Ben came over and he and C. helped me move out when my parents came with the truck. C. even called in sick to work and missed part of her class to help. It was so nice of them to be there for me when I left.

When I said goodbye to them, I cried. I couldn't help it; and I couldn't hold it in, as hard as I tried. But I hugged them, and then drove off following my parents in the truck.

And I swear that was the hardest drive home in my entire life. I've never driven from SF to LA alone, but I was so glad I was because there was so much to think about. And it would be so comfortable, so nice to be able to stay and go on with my warm, routine life in SF, but that was not going to happen. The choice of going abroad for a year had really cemented itself. I had willingly chosen a difficult path, and there as no turning back now. Even though there were so many good reasons for staying, I couldn't. And that was my choice, and I will have to deal with that.

Got home pretty late and pretty tired. I unpacked everything the next day.

lundi 30 juillet 2007

goodbye san francisco day 5 (with more details) and 6

Ouchies. My head hurts. It might be because I've been averaging about 4 hours of sleep in the last three days, but it was totally worth it. And I should be sleeping now, but, I can't help but want to type. I've remembered a few more things about Day 5, and I wanted to write about it.

Day 5, Friday
Packing, packing, packing. I biked to the store to get some things for the picnic the next day, and I was sad because I thought that that might be the last time I bike to a store. Down here in so cal, nothing is bikeable with my single speed unless I want to die of exhaustion. I thought of buying a cheap bike in Paris, but with the new bike rental thing they started in Paris called Velib maybe I will get to bike to the store to get things. Sweet!

C. and I went to Costco for one last hot dog hurrah and to get foods for the picnic. We laughed at all the crazy people buying bulk things and getting angry because the line for food was so long. You people need to relax. Yes, hot dogs are $1.50 and come with a bottomless drink, but just chill out. A worker spilled a tub of mouthwash down an aisle, and we wanted to laugh, but we felt so bad about it, and people didn't care and would just run their carts right through the mouthwash spillage. We avoided the spill, went down another aisle, and laughed then.

When we came home, we watched our favorite quoteable film Kelly's Heroes. God, Donald Sutherland is such a riot in that film.

Day 6, Saturday
PICNIC! Oh what fun. C. and I found a lovely spot in front of the lake. It took us a while to start the fire. And we were laughing because everyone around us had this amazing fire, and we had nothing. But we got it going, and my friend Jason arrived to help us out too.

Yay yay yay more people arrive and bring goodies. My friend Brandon brought a frisbee, Stacy brought tongs (which I needed for the barbeque), Jason brought drinks, Ben brought ice cream, and my friend Andy brought me a lovely present: 50 cards with different walking paths all throughout Paris. Yay! It's already in the suitcase.

I am so thankful for the people who came and brought things and for the people who took time out of their busy lives to just bring themselves and say goodbye to me. Here are some ducks I saw at the lake: Later that night, Brandon and Ben came over to our place, and we had drinks. C. bought sake and vodka. Brandon brought wine, and Ben brought other alcoholic stuff. We watched tv mostly, passing the remote around since no one really wanted to choose something to watch. And C. was so funny, because she's so talkative when she's sauced, and she kept wanting to play soccer (it was 1 or 2am) and wanted to watch the anime Berserk. She finally got her wish with the anime, and we all conked out after the first episode. I could not have asked for a nicer night.

I will re-cap my last day and the drive home later. Nighty night.