Friday, December 31, 2004

Reliving the Phantom of the Opera

*loud organ music*

"In sleep he sang to me...."

Who would have thought they'd make a movie version of the Phantom after all these years? I had the privilege of watching it on Boxing Day. For a movie, it was actually quite good. Overall, it was a very aesthetically pleasing and cinematically substantial movie experience.
First impression: the music was so overpowering! Probably because it's been in our pop culture for so long. It overshadowed almost everything in the movie, but only at first. It soon got better.
Later: newfound respect for the actors when I discovered that all of them except Minnie Driver sang their own parts in the movie. Nice.

Actors: Emmy Rossum, with her dark melancholy eyes and innocent face, was a very fresh portrayal of Christine. Patrick Wilson fulfilled his role as Prince-Charming-Raoul nicely. And Gerard Butler played a most human and un-horrific Phantom to date.

At first, I felt like these characters were pawns on a chess board who were dictated solely by ALW's haunting music. However, I later realized that they gave very good understated performances and should be acknowledged properly. People who want an exact replica of the musical are missing the point, because the purpose of making this movie is not to create a blownup version of the musical, but to make something beautifully different. All in all for me, I was glad to relive this long-forgotten dream of the Phantom's music and story. Of course, you should watch it only if you don't mind having Phantom music floating in your head until it is slowly weaned off!

A very Happy New Year to all of you.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Sweet sweet candy cane

During Christmas time, many people go crazy over candy. It is almost an excuse to gorge oneself. This philosophy also surfaces during Thanksgiving, which we've just had. Why do people like turkey so much? It is beyond me. Anyway, I was surprised to know that the candy cane was originally a Christian symbol. Before you visit the link, think about the candy cane's shape, color and texture. These will probably clue you in. Acknowledging another blogger for this piece of info. And early Christmas greetings to you all.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

G-Sea's 1st Anniversary! Presentation of Flowers

In honor of this blog's first anniversary since its launch on November 1, 2003, I've created new lyrics for one of GC's recent tunes. It's called Like the Flowers and the Grass. Actually, it's been sitting in my computer for some time now, and finally it is here!

I chose this particular theme from Isaiah 40:8 because I've encountered it so many times in choir from different pieces. Though poetic sounding, it's a tough reminder that nothing lives or lasts forever here on earth. However, if you look at it another way, this is hardly depressing. This just calls for our total surrender to God. At exactly the right time, He places us at a place where we can grow the most. The rest of the message is quite obviously in the lyrics themselves. Sincere thanks to dad who suggested the more descriptive "Risen Lamb" instead of "Holy Lamb".

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's all Greek Orthodox to me

I was supposed to have dim sum with some friends this late morning, but because it's a rainy day and I don't feel particularly well, I decided not to go. Does this have anything to do with rehearsals? Perhaps. Well it's best not to take my chances, get sick on the day of the concert, and regret having gone out.

Since there's no school today, I decided to catch up on blogging. It's pouring quite substantially outside. Last night when I was getting ready to sleep, Rachmaninoff's music was still floating in my mind. This always happens if rehearsal ends after 6pm, and yesterday's ended at 10.

I still remember the cathedral. It's situated on a hill, so we saw the vast array of city lights and the Bay Bridge down below. In the lobby area, I saw unused skinny candles placed flat on the table. I assume that worshippers could take one and light it. This reminded me that I was entering a sacred place.

Once inside, the first thing I noticed were the round iron-cast lights that looked like candles that were hung low from the ceiling. They reminded me of the light in the house where Yuri sang. This quite lifted my spirits from the cold that I felt even when I was indoors.

Looking up, I saw the dome-shaped ceiling, where square sections of gold-colored tin (?) looked pieced together. In the middle of the ceiling was a dark-skinned Jesus, and around Him, the 12 apostles. I attempted to decipher the Greek names next to each and to determine who was who. I think I found Peter and Phillip. We were discussing if Judas Iscariot was present (probably not, we concluded). My friend next to me said, "Well it's all Greek to me--ha, ha, ha."

At the stage in front, tall icons graced the walls. The middle inner was veiled by a gold curtain, and we were instructed not to look inside ("no curiosity allowed!").

Rachmaninoff's music requires lots of outer-calm-but-inner-energy from all of us. Our conductor told us an overview of the legacy that the Russians have left behind. There is outward solemnity but an inner strength that helps them survive during the difficult times. I think this also rings true for us. Yes, the music is hard not in the sense of notes but in the enormity of emotion which we have to convey through our eyes. If we hold onto this thought, we will able to finish strongly in these two concerts.

Rock, man!

Rock man!
Rockman who?
Rachmaninoff, of course!

I'm singing in the choir again this semester. We're performing Rachmaninoff's Vespers All-Night Vigil in Old Church Slavic. I've been drowning in work lately that I've quite forgotten to mention it. Just last night we ran through the whole piece at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral where we'll be giving our first performance.

Some characteristics of this piece:
1. We're going to sing a cappella for the whole thing, which means no piano, no nuthin'.

2.Some examples of the Slavic syllables that we'll be singing: vozdvigsha, svobozhdsha, pomishliayete...

3. The time signatures often change from measure to measure.

4. We're singing with another choir, and it's always a time for adjustment when two groups come together under one conductor.

5. We're performing this twice: this Friday and Sunday, in fact.

6. The stage at the cathedral is small, so we'll most likely be holding the scores up to our noses--all 200 of us.

7. Our conductor will be standing close to us to allow the back row to see her. This means that we who're in front would have to invent some clever way to simultaneously:
look up at her,
look down at our scores to remind us of the words, and
to maintain our singing alignment with our chins held in.

However, I'm in no way complaining. For one thing, we have our beloved conductor again this semester. I can't imagine any other person having the power to create beautiful music using ordinary people than she can. Moreover, it is exciting for me because it's my first time singing in Slavic. It really is quite different than Handel's Messiah.

Most importantly, what's impossible for man is possible for God. The piece is really a chance to give glory to God, and with that in mind, it will turn out wonderful. PTL!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What is J-pop?

If you are:
-clueless but curious as to what J-pop music is,
-a fan of J-pop but don't really know where it comes from, or
-just generally interested in J-pop,

then check this out.

Searched engine: Clusty.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Live! review

Just received my Messiah recording. Since it took so long for them to make the CDs (five and half months!) each person got two copies! I was really happy. So I've spent some time listening to our choir sing, but I haven't gone through the whole thing yet.

I think if I had to be fair, I'd give the musicians 90 points and ourselves 80 points. Many of these musicians have played Messiah before, so they're really familiar with the music, whereas many of the chorus members are only singing it for the first time. They're using period instruments too, which gives a more authentic feel to the music. Also, the guy who played both harpsichord and organ improvised many of the chords, and the other musicians improvised many of the embellishments as well. Our director told us that there's less chance in inviting such a talented group to accompany us in the future, due to the unfortunate budget cuts.

Tell you a secret: we sang a semi-tone lower than indicated on the page, not because we're chicken! but because this was how it was done back in the day. So all you people who thought the soprano part in "Hallelujah!" was insanely high? Well it isn't actually too bad. I give ourselves less points because in the movement "We shall purify", the timing between the parts was very off in the beginning. I don't know how our conductor got us back on track again! However, the emotion that we created with our singing was excellent in some parts, especially when we sang "And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all".

I cringe inside when I realize that every little thing, good and bad, has been immortalized in this live recording. It will never be perfect as a studio recording will be, where talented programmers could splice parts to make a flawless masterpiece. But this CD represents the fruit of our labors, and I'm thankful for the experience.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Chinese Philadelphia Food

Know Chinese? Came upon this link about an incident from the East Coast. Couldn't resist linking it here. It will be more intriguing if you know the Chinese language. Warning: do not read on an empty stomach.

How refreshing it is to hear someone put in a good word for Cantonese! I got quite a pleasant "haha" from it. People should do this more.

What is Garnet yam?

Hey, I'm officially out of blog hibernation mode. Aren't you glad? Well, just finished my class on Biblical Hebrew today. I must say it's only now that I'm beginning to enjoy it. The beginning phases of learning Hebrew has been hard--even harder than Greek, because it's just not easy letting go of years of being conditioned by the writing and pronunciation system governed by English. *

Here's the story: I missed the first 3 class meetings because I only knew about it from friends later on. During that class, I was completely confused with the mysterious symbols (really cursive script: the S column) the teacher wrote on the board. And of course, he was writing from right to left. He was explaining examples in the book. But how would I know, since I didn't have the book then! Nevertheless, I tried my best to imitate the symbols in my notes. Now, of course, I've got the book.

Our teacher is a funky guy with white hair, no signs of old age, and earrings on both ears. The atmosphere is always light and fun. So this helps when I'm feeling overwhelmed by it all. I'm really thankful that friends from church are also taking this class. They've helped me through those difficult first weeks.

As for the title for today... yam (pronounce "a" as in "call") is the Hebrew word for "sea," so it just means Garnet Sea. Wouldn't it be funny though if there was such a lechem (Hebrew for "food")? I'd buy it without blinking.

*I've heard from a pastor that although Greek seems easier than Hebrew at first because it's similar to English, it's harder to master than Hebrew because the grammar is more complicated. So I far I haven't learnt either language long enough to observe this.

Monday, August 23, 2004

10 Things Every Girl (or Guy) Should Do

...before age catches up on you. An article that I came across:

1) Be in love at least once, and at most twice. If you've never loved at all, it would seem like you've wasted your youth. However, true love never comes easy, so if a person has loved more than twice, that love would seem fake, wouldn't it?

2) Make a few good friends. They can be guys or girls.

3) Learn how to cook, and be able to make a few good dishes. The important thing here is not the art of cooking itself, but to enjoy the little pleasures of everyday life through cooking.

4) Take a little vacation every year. Take a big one every few years. You'll be able to expand your horizons this way.

5) Maintain a healthy body through exercise. It's best to pick an activity that you like, that you don't mind doing over a long period of time.

6) Make an effort to get a good education. Have a specialty or skill at hand so that you can use it to make a living and feed your family.

7) Develop a taste for reading good books. Make friends with the literary part of yourself.

8) Try to like at least one thing related to the arts. It can be music, dance, or painting--some creative project you can either be actively involved in, or just appreciate.

9) Make a habit of writing in a daily journal. This can help you enjoy your solitude, and to train you in having conversations with yourself.

10) Experience a major setback, then spring back. As long as you spring back, you'll end up being many times stronger than before. If you hadn't experienced this, you probably would never have thought how much strength you actually have.

Hope not too much was lost in translation there. Yup, I translated this news article!

Visit mini site

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

So you're from Scotland?

A family's just moved here to California from Scotland. The couple has three sons aged around 9, 11 and 13. Very cute family.

One day, my mom was to give the missus a ride. In a flash, the mother opens the door to the driver's seat and plops onto it. As you may already know, in the U.K., passengers sit on the left, while drivers sit on the right. It's the exact opposite here. Mom's amazed that Mrs. F didn't even notice the big steering wheel in front of her! The right-wheel vehicles in this country that I can think of are: the postal truck and the one giving you parking tickets. I wonder if Mrs. F would be comfortable driving those here?

Another thing: the 3 boys got a real kick out of crossing the Bay Bridge. It's because every time they see a car on their left, they'd exclaim, "Ooh, there's no driver in the seat!" All to entertain themselves of course. Same left-right principle. And when I looked to my right, I was surprised to see no driver on the left seat either! Then I understood: the car was being towed. Whew.

I heard that the kids used to walk to school in Scotland. And the whole family bikes. The parents have no driving experience at all. Also, the boys' school friends ran after the car and waved goodbye to them when it was time to leave. Very heartwarming. Reminds me of The Railway Children.

The parents are now trying to get a handle on this new concept of driving. And the kids must learn the potential differences in how American kids interact. I wonder how they would react to the kids' U.K. accents? I personally think it's amazing to talk like that. I just pray that things won't be too overwhelming for them.

Friday, July 23, 2004

making of Til I Reach Your House

Just finished putting up new lyrics for Garnet Crow's debut song "Kimi no Uchi..." on Garnet Sea.

So far, this has been the hardest song to put in lyrics for. At many points, my brain was near explosion point about what word to put in next! At the monotonic parts of the refrain, I had to break down each note and try to match the accented notes with stressed syllables. That took a while. But it was all worth it. I'm glad I could keep the "pizza" part. That makes the song. Finally, I've worked on a GC debut single! I will keep on trying and trying til I get bored with this project. That's the plan.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Go Pistons!

Congrats to the Pistons for grabbing the Best Upset and Best Team ESPY awards, as well as to Larry Brown for Best Coach. They truly and fully deserve the recognition.

PS The Lakers must've been the most joked about subject tonight, hands down. What a way to end a season. For both teams. Can't wait for next season!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Taking out wisdom teeth

Had four of them pulled out a couple weeks ago. The first time I went to the dentist, the operation couldn't start right away. Why? They had to take an X-ray of my teeth first. From the way the X-ray machine moved, it felt like a surveillance camera that spanned across my face. All while wearing a leaden vest, holding onto handles and biting a tube. Like driving a submarine. No problems there.

The second time I went to the dentist's, there were people waiting. Little kids were running around, because this clinic worked on kids as well. If you stood against one of the doors, you could measure your height. Two little boys were wrestling for the spot. The shorter one said, "My dad is higher, higher!" while signalling with his hand. The taller kid responded, "My uncle is taller than this door." They then clambered onto the plastic playhouses. Over and over again, they jumped down from the top and yelled like little Tarzans.

Also, I could clearly hear cries of "No no, please don't hurt me!" from a kid inside. Dad and I exchanged glances. Then we tried to concentrate on our reading.

When it was time for me to go, I settled into the chair. Tense classical music was playing in the background. The dentist then put shots into my gums and tongue. One side anesthesized. My heart was beating really fast at this time. Turns out that was the only scary part.

After 20 minutes, the dentist returned and said, "Now I'm gonnna push against your teeth to test it out. Tell me if it hurts." When I said no, he gave another shove. Then he said, "It's done. Tooth's out." Just like that.

That was the top right tooth. For the bottom one, it took longer because he had to drill my tooth open before he could take it out. Not as bad as it sounds. He explained beforehand that other dentists cut open the area surrounding the tooth before pulling it out. This makes the dentist's job easier. But the patient will be sore for 3 weeks. This method--takes longer for him, but most of the pain will be gone after 3 days. So I'll take this method any day.

The other side was pretty much the same. Except the dentist started working away immediately after anesthesizing my gums. And it took a little longer to get the bottom tooth out. By the time we finished, classical instrumental versions of "Imagine" and "What a wonderful world" were playing in the background.

I still have the top two teeth with me. The ones that aren't hacked. I wrote on a paper towel thanking the dentist and nurse. The nurse replied, "You're very kind to say that." The dentist said, "Oh, thank the Lord." Very true.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Last Day: Tiger tiger!

We cancelled our outdoor plans for the morning because it was just too hot. What can I say? We get pampered by the California weather. Oh, last night our hosts made shaved ice desserts for us. We'd bought grapes and strawberries for everyone before we came home, so we used those for toppings. Add condensed milk and red bean paste for a finish with a flourish.

We had dim sum for lunch. At the end of the meal, the little 7-year-old was very sad to leave us. Who wouldn't miss someone (me) who'd listen to her and ask and answer her questions, and play and laugh with her? It was all very educational for me, I assure you. However, our hostess couldn't be more wrong when she said aloud to me, in front of the girl,"Oh, your happiest experience in Las Vegas must have been playing with my niece." I didn't say anything. Sometimes smiling's the best response.

1st stop: The Mirage Hotel. We checked out the giant aquarium behind the front desk. I wish it were closer up. Some of these fish seemed to have come right from the tank in Finding Nemo. Then we went over to see the white tiger. It was walking about very energetically today. Then we walked to another area when we found ourselves at the entrance. No good. So we went back inside. Remember to walk into the middle where it feels like you're in a giant greenhouse with palm/tropical trees all around.

2nd stop: Took the tram to Treasure Island. Did some rare shopping at a boutique. My only purchase at a Vegas hotel. I think this hotel was supposed to have shows with fighting between pirate ships, but only at night.

That's about it. Some last points...
1. The restrooms say on the door "Ladies" and "Gentlemen" more often than "Women" and "Men". Is this casino talk?

2. In one of the bathroom stalls, the hook for placing your handbag was directly above the toilet bowl, instead of behind the door. There was a sign next to the hook which read, "For your added protection..." Does this mean that people here know how to steal belongings from off the door?

3. The airport shuttle driver asked the family next to us, "So...Did you guys spend a lot of money?"
"..... "
I'm sure the guy was trying to be friendly. And thought that he was free to ask these types of questions in Las Vegas.

4. Wear running shoes if you're flying Southwest. Our flight was first-come-first-served. Suddenly, the announcer would say, "We've changed our gate to ___... If this is your flight, please proceed to that gate."
All the people waiting at the old gate became elephants. Very fast ones. Including us, of course. So naturally, we got a better place at the line than before. All because we wore good shoes. And because I kept saying to my parents, "Go go go! Move move!" I almost wanted to shout this through the rolled up Cezanne poster that I was holding and guarding.

In closing, click for "50 Fun Things To Do in Las Vegas," many of which we have yet to try.

Thanks for flying with us. We hope you enjoyed your flight. Please come again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Win win win!

Let's take a break from the trip. Tuesday night was a great night. It was a moment fit for popping the bubbly and celebrating for real. Everyone felt so relieved. It was a collective good feeling.

Speaking only for Pistons fans of course.

The NBA guys in the white jerseys did it again. Game 5 of the NBA finals really summed up this team's work ethic. The ingredient for their success was good sportsmanship. A genuine concern to look out for one another. A true bonding of a team.

The super star power glare of the Lakers did not faze the Pistons one bit. The fact that the Lakers had many Hollywood stars as their fans did not intimidate them either. The excellent coach Larry Brown seemed to really know what the Lakers were all about. He saw through everything. And he knew how to engage his team to defeat these big guys.

I'm glad that now, people will believe that you can win if you "play the right way". It really is possible. You don't have to foul, flop, fight, hack, whack, bad-mouth, or shove your way to a win. Actually, even I was disappointed at the Lakers' performance for Games 4 and 5. Shouldn't they have tried a little bit harder? Their usual aggressiveness was all gone.

Oh wait. They've already won 3 times already. And suppose the old guys worked really hard to get a win. The old newbies would just be in for a free ride, more or less. Would that be fair? I think all the different self-interests of this team just got tangled up a little bit.

The aura of the Lakers has been shattered. The Zen master will be out for quite a while. It's exciting to know that changes are in store for these players.

It turns out there was no need to worry about the Lakers getting an unfair advantage this season after all. The Pistons have steered NBA basketball back to a good direction. No more "hohum" attitudes towards Eastern Conference teams!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Day 5: Seeing Red

No, no one got angry today. I was referring the color of the rocky mountains we saw--a firy red color. We visited these sandstone structures at the Valley of Fire.

What happened to going underwater? Well, all the terrain we saw used to be at the bottom of the ocean 600 million years ago. And now everything is dry, and all the rocks have weird shapes as a result of erosion.

We went inside the visitor's center, where there was air-conditioning. Some watercolors depicting close-ups of the flora of the area really caught dad's eye. It was all we could do to talk him out of buying any of them. In the end, he instead got a CD featuring screensaver shots of the mountains.

2nd stop: We stopped at the Monte Carlo Hotel. It looked very regal outside. This place was small inside compared to the others we've seen. Probably the most interesting thing there was a pub that had giant brewery pipes (?) all over the place. Otherwise everything looked very humble looking. But as with everything, don't take my word for it. The best thing to do would be to do more research than we did(!) and make sure you didn't miss anything worth seeing.

3rd stop: Paris again. This time we really looked around. Next door, there was a medical convention going on. Since I took French before, it was fun to see French "road" signs on the indoor streets. I regret not trying the crepes at the crepery because we were very full at that point. And no way could we try anything at this store Le Notre because we had absolutely no room. And why were we full? I forgot to say that we had buffet (#4?) at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Overall, there weren't as many choices as Bellagio, but the scallops and raisin dessert were excellent.

Back at Paris, we saw bars that promised live jazz in the evenings. There was a bride and groom holding an after-party in one of them. Actually, we spotted at least 4 couples in bridal gear during our stay here. I think there is a chapel in each hotel. And I forgot to mention last time that the casino is located at the foot of the scaled down Eiffel Tower. And people who love taking pictures of views should go up the Tower to look at the Strip at night time and take some pictures, for 9 bucks.

4th stop: Caesar's Palace. Another hotel in the grand style. Roman statues were everywhere. We were walking along the shops when we came upon this fountain in the middle. A crowd was gathered around in expectation, but nothing was happening. It was just an ordinary fountain with four statues.

On closer inspection, the material on the statues looked kind of strange. Mom said "There's something weird about that fountain." So we waited a while. And sure enough, the statues started talking a bit and the "sky" above it started doing stuff like what they do at the Space Museums. It's especially nice if you are familiar with Roman mythology.

Another fountain worth seeing was the one where a restaurant surrounded it. Horses looked like they were ready to leap out. Many people were taking pictures at this spot. And so many people were waiting in line to eat there. However, I think it'll be hard to hold an intimate conversation at such a place. If you like shopping at brand name stores, I'd suggest checking out the ones at this hotel. And we also took a picture with a Caesar-like actor and his small band of Roman soldiers.

Next post: something white...

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Day 4: A Dam Day

"I've got to get this dam thing out of the car." (thing=brochure)
Later: "Dad is our dam leader for today."

Mom's exact words.

1st stop: We went to visit the Hoover Dam today. Although it was very hot and there was no shade, it was nice to see this large dam from above and to take some pictures. People who are really interested in how everything works should go on the paid tour that takes you underground.

For lunch, we had buffet (again) at Hacienda Hotel. It's just outside the Hoover Dam area. It was just 5 bucks and the food was decent American fare. Of course, there was a mini casino there too. You could never escape those machines. Also, helicopter rides were offered next door at $29.

2nd stop: We drove back to the Strip to check out the other hotels. We stopped at Mandalay Bay, which had a tropical theme. All the restaurants there had wonderful atmosphere. Read: very dark with dim lights in green or fire. There was also a large pool and water slide outside. It was dark everywhere inside, even when it was bright outside. This made it hard to see anything. We'd planned to go to Shark Reef to see some sharks, but it was very expensive.

3rd stop: Next we went to Luxor, which had an Egyptian theme. From the outside, the whole hotel was a dark pyramid, and there was a large sphinx statue perched right at the entrance. A light beam shone straight through the top of the pyramid. There were so many people at the casinos, whether it was slot machines or at the tables. Perhaps people preferred to gamble here because there was no high-class vibe getting in the way.

The top floor were the attractions, where all the shows were held. The whole place felt like Epcot Center in Florida. Eventually, we returned to the check-in area where there were tall statues and water. Many people were looking up and holding cameras. They were checking out the pyrmaid formation of the building. This means that each floor of rooms would get closer to each other as you went up.

Our hostess told us that many Chinese shied away from staying at this hotel, because it felt like sleeping in a tomb. Also, some workers had died during construction. Shady feng shui?

4th stop: We walked outside and took a tram to Excalibur Hotel next door. I was really looking forward to this place, because I liked the prospect of a "Knights-of-the-Round-Table" theme for a hotel. The outside was a magnificent castle. However, it was very different on the inside. The casinos resembled those at Luxor: low ceilings and quite crowded. We went to the food court inside and got something to eat. The decor of the shops tried to invoke a practical "castle grounds" atmosphere.

In conclusion: I didn't much like the 2 hotels today. However, if you like Egyptian stuff, you should visit Luxor.

End note: We'd planned on staying overnight at Mount Zion today. However, the news this morning reported that an oil truck had overturned on Highway 15. All the cars that were on it had to experience delays. So we went to the dam instead.

Next post: going underwater tomorrow?

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Day 3: "I Want Buffet Every Day"

The niece told me about a children's Christian song. The kids sang "I walk by faith every day". However, since the singing was so fast, all you could hear was "I woh bah fay", which sounded very much like "I want buffet I want buffet every day". That was in fact prophetic. We were on our way to another buffet. And this plan couldn't sound more perfect for this kid.

Before that, we picked up some snacks at a small Asian complex (kinda like Chinatown in LA). And guess who I saw at the supermarket? A couple from church. How fun! They disappeared before I could say hi. However, as I came hurrying to the car with dad, I spotted them getting into their car. I gave them a bright smile and waved. The husband waved back, while his wife looked totally confused. Unfortunately, I didn't see any more familiar faces in this city.

1st stop: Our hosts treated us to lunch at one of their favorite places: buffet at the Bellagio. For about 16 bucks, it was a pretty good deal. The pastas and desserts lived up to the quality of the hotel. I liked the caramel flan, hazelnut cake, and strawberry cake. There was a screen on the wall that had flashing numbers on it. Our hostess explained that diners would play Keno (pronounced "kee-no") while eating.

After lunch, we visited our hostess's friend's new house. We had all come to bless it. It was very pretty. In the walk-in closet of the master bedroom, I saw a safe in the wall. Only in Las Vegas I suppose. Afterwards, we went to pick up maps. I went into a souvenir shop and bought a Western pouch for my brother.

Then we waited a long while until we finally got our rental car. It was a Pacifica six-seater. To apply the parking brake, you had to stamp on a pedal with your left foot. To release it, you had to lift a camouflaged switch right above it. I'm glad I got to show dad where these were and how to operate them. ;)

2nd stop: We drove over to Bally's Hotel and bought tickets to see the Jubilee show. Since there was still time before it started, we sneaked into the Indigo Lounge, a small elevated area normally reserved for live music performances, and caught part of the 3rd quarter of Game 6: Pistons vs. the Pacers.

For Jubilee, we sat on plush seats relatively close to the stage, which made it really easy to see the performers up there. Right in front of us were dining tables. I noticed many Asians sitting there. However, I'd suggest sitting farther back because some performers were lowered from the ceiling directly above us. The show seemed like a parade, musical, and a circus show all rolled into one. During the opening and closing acts, there were as many as 50 performers onstage at once. There were 85 total dancers and singers involved in the show.

There were four main acts with different themes, like Titanic and Samson, alternated by three smaller acts. The most annoying act was a pair of guys who said they were from "Arrr-ccchhhhen-tina", acted macho, and drummed and threw a string-like weapon around. The one act that quite escaped Vegas cheesiness was another pair of guys who did acrobatics on sheets of silk that were hanging from the ceiling. The other acts provided good variety. They may even inspire adventurous honeymooners. However, I would not recommend bringing your date to see this show. Not even if all you want is to prove to each other that you're 18 and old enough to see it.

On the next post: my nice Christian family has resorted to swearing?

Day 2: Desert Roads

No, there were no Cleopatras or Elvises running around the streets.

To be sure, we saw a bride and groom standing through their limo's sunroof. Dancing while there was a traffic jam. But the people walking around us were tourists just like us. Most men and women were just in casual shorts and sandals. And it's ok to hold beer bottles on the streets in LV. I'd suggest bringing a water bottle or some other drink while you're walking, because it could get incredibly dry.

A relatively small number of women were wearing nice dresses and 3-inch stilettos. Their dates were wearing dress shirts and sported goatees. They wouldn't look at home in California. Some women just went as a group a la SATC. All these people probably made up only 30% of the crowd at most. There were lots of families with young kids. And sometimes you'd walk and realize a camcorder was staring straight at your face. I suppose many people are eager to share the LV scene with their folks at home.

1st stop: For today, our hosts drove us to Red Rock Canyon. The rocky mountains reminded me of Tom Cruise's climb in Mission: Impossible. Some young locals were kind enough to take a picture of everyone in our group. Our hostess said that this place would look much nicer in winter, when everything is topped with snow. However, the horizontal sections of brown and red seen on the huge mountains were interesting enough for me. All around was desert vegetation like cacti.

We drove to a point where we could walk down and look down from a mountain. Although the sun and heat were overhead, I became excited at the chance to experience the rocks up close. Tip: Don't forget your face when applying sunscreen. I used oil-free Coppertone. I ran down the gravelly ground in my slippers to catch up with dad and the rest of the crew. I really wanted to climb onto a big rock like I did at Yosemite, but couldn't because I was unwisely wearing a skirt. We still took a pic and noticed another party way up on the mountain opposite. They looked like ants! I decided to walk up after I saw a kid slip and fall flat on his back. Then a big guy with no shirt on walked over to our host, asked if he was a vegetarian, then asked where the best steak restaurant was.

2nd stop: For lunch, we went to an Asian buffet, which had amazing apple pie. Afterward, we went to The Venetian Hotel, which was based on a--surprise!--Venetian theme. There was a mini canal right in the middle of the specialty "shoppes". A small crowd plus my mom were busy taking pictures of a couple in a gondola. The gondolier, who was dressed in the appropriate black-and-white shirt and hat with red sash, was belting out some song.

Mom and dad took a pic with Pavarotti...the wax figure, at the hotel entrance. All around on the walls and on the ceilings were "paintings" of angels and scenes of coronation, etc.

Art galleries never escape my folks' attention. At The Venetian, we visited the Guggenheim Museum, which showcased a small but relatively modern collection "From Renoir to Rothko". We were given devices resembling walkie-talkies. If we pressed the corresponding button, we'd be able to hear more about a certain painting.

I was completely unprepared but happy to see an actual painting I'd analyzed in art class seven years ago, when I was still attending Sha Tin College. It's called "Improvisation 28" and the painter is Vasily Kandinsky. I ended up buying 2 different postcards by this artist. Not missing a beat, my dad, in his usual fashion, bought an art book of the whole collection plus an art print by Cezanne. In fact, he just framed it today and it's hanging at our house.
[2009 update: Yess!! I was cleaning my room, and finally found the postcards in my closet! Was wondering where they were all this time.]

We had an excellent dinner at our friends' house again. After dinner, I learned what "Polly's" were from my hostess's young niece (the "new" Barbie). Unlike Barbies, they had clothes made up of soft but durable plastic. They made my hands really dry though. And although you probably won't play with plastic, it's good to bring lotion when you come to LV.

The bright 7-year-old shared something with me which I'll mention in the next post.

Day 1: LV is for...

"We're going to Las Vegas! The 3 of us." was what my parents said to me.

Why? There was a couple living there who loved them and was very eager to show us around. So we packed our bags in preparation for our week-long trip and headed for the airport.

We flew via Southwest and got to see Las Vegas from above. All around the city were desert mountains. At the LV airport, there were numerous slot machines scattered across the area. There was also a sign which read: "It is against the law for a person under the age of 21 to loiter around these machines." However, I saw many young people operating them.

The couple came to pick us up. Their little white dog had pink tinsel ribbons tied to her ears. We settled down at their house, had a wonderful home-cooked dinner, and headed out.

The time was about 8:30 pm, but the place looked like it was just coming alive. We were at the Strip, which was really the main street where all the grand hotels were lined up. I'll refrain from mentioning all the puns related to this name. I'm sure you'll understand why advertisers use it as much as they can.

Anyway, all the flashing lights against the night sky looked really beautiful. Among them: the Coca-Cola Bottle, half a giant Harley Davidson, the Seven bar from the movie...even the In-N-Out sign looked like a blinking Broadway billboard.

1st stop: We parked at the Bellagio hotel lot and followed the "To the Casinos" sign. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, the place was packed. You had to move as if you were waiting in line. Right next to the lobby was a display made from flowers. Fake children on swings and in boats smiled down at us. There was a giant bell at the far end and a mini fountain that squirted water out to the rhythm of the music.

As we neared the lobby, I looked up and saw giant flowers made of glass filling out the whole area of the ceiling. I wondered how they could secure those glass structures up there.

2nd stop: Next, we decided to walk to Desert Passage. The weather outisde was a bit warm but thankfully dry. This place had an Aladdin theme to it. There was a fake sky and clay-looking jugs peering from the fake 2nd floor. We strolled around the area with the specialty shops.

3rd stop: Paris. There was a fountain with statues in the center. Next to it was a scaled down Eiffel Tower and accordion music playing in the background. It was really easy to feel the French vibe at this place. We peeked in at the casino and the chandelier-filled check-in area. I'd suggest sitting at one of those round sofas there, for they are really comfortable.

I saw a girl drinking something white out of a 2-ft long Eiffel Tower. I've also seen many people drinking out of what looked like an extra long dumb-bell. The drink is called La Salsa Cantina, and I found out that it cost about $12.50. I think every hotel has their own specialty drink with a corresponding container.

Last stop: We headed out into the middle and came across this huge fountain. It was a musical one and would dance to a new song every 15 minutes at night. So many people were hovering over the rails waiting for the next song to play out. The songs we managed to watch: My Heart Will Go On, Fly Me to the Moon, a song by Faith Hill, and a classical piece whose real name eludes me right now (remember the "Beef" commercial theme? I believe it was Aaron Copland).

And what about the people? What are they like there? Maybe I'll save that for a later post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

What is good?

I was flipping through an old Japanese magazine recently when I came upon a picture. It featured a small layered dessert topped with blueberries and strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Just really colorful and delicious looking. I don't know why food always comes up! Anyway, I just realized that although it looks appealing, in reality it might not taste that good.

Yes, I've heard of stories before that ads with peaches in them aren't really peaches. They're really apricots with some kind of chemical sprayed on them. Yuck! But only recently have I really thought of what that meant. I'm learning that it's best to trust God about what choices to make instead of relying on my senses about what seems good to me. Sometimes it's too easy to think, "Is this part of God's plan for me?" when something surprising/trying/drastic happens, but maybe that's not the point.

Instead of solely worrying about the future, maybe I should be more diligent in my daily contact with God. There can be no substitute. When I pray: God You are faithful, You are my strength, thank You for loving me, it's a good thing. Because it's never wrong! Or always right, depending on how you see it.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Passing Notes

Tension is to be loved
When it is like a passing note
To a beautiful beautiful chord.

~6p None the Richer

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Monday, May 10, 2004

Farewell... Sixpence None the Richer. Their acoustic-driven music makes for high listenability. And their "Kiss Me" video was really cute wasn't it? Never thought I'd buy their album though. Not until I found out they've decided to disband. ! It's sad. So now I've acquired "Divine Discontent" which I've always liked. Farewell to 6p.

Additionally, got an album by an artist that I've never heard of before. Gave it a go at a listening station and decided to buy that too. It's called "Now" by Peter Frampton. It has lots of electric guitar in it, which I liked. Quite a change from what I already have. I was at first excited that finally, this is American music that I like! I later found out this guy's British.


No matter. What matters is that I like it.

Got these two at the Tower that has just fallen down. Farewell Tower Records!

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A Curiously Good Day

Spent countless hours on a group project yesterday. It went on until an hour that I would rather not mention. The good thing was that most of it is finished. Then my friend drove me home.

Today. Woke at just the right time for church. There was no sermon because it was graduation Sunday. Many graduating students gave testimonies. One female student read Philippians 3:7-14 with meaning. Something I haven't experienced in a long while. Then a male student gave a very heartfelt prayer, without any notes. I've always admired people who have poise and can share or pray in public. I believe it is the Holy Spirit leading. I felt my eyes stinging afterwards.

Went into a bookstore. Why? I like it there. It was the same one where I bought a book for mom. It was a photo book presenting different floral arrangements for apartments in the city. It's Mother's Day after all.

Didn't know what I was looking for. Didn't know why I was there. Just hoped to have something catch my eye. And something did. The picture of a dog. A poodle, in fact. It was only a white silhouette of a poodle. It reminded me of the key chains of dogs that are found on expensive handbags. This dog was right side up, but the title of the book was upside down. I took one copy down from high above on the flat table and took a look:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The cover reminded me of the first editions of famous novels because of the color combination: orange-red and pale yellow. Saw these in a Japanese magazine somewhere.

At that exact moment a man walked past me, followed by his dog. It was a black poodle. Its tail was wagging happily up and down. I stared. Then I stared at the poodle on the cover. I opened it at the first page and started reading. I was still standing. To the left was the information desk. There were employees behind those desks. I soon retreated to a bench in the Travel Guides section of the store.

I continued reading until I finished it 2.5 hours later. Its simplicity astounded me. Just really simple and honest. If you liked The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend, or the movie A Beautiful Mind, you may like to check this book out. Read the first page and decide for yourself. Do not read the reviews or your judgment may be clouded. Doesn't matter what others say. At least initially.

And now I've to go meet my project buddies. And off to finish our project paper. I had a really good day today and I hope you will too.

[After reading the whole book in one sitting, I found myself subtly influenced by the writer's style. I tried to mimic that a little bit in this post - tried to use simpler sentence structures, and tried to see things from a child's point of view. =) ]

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Pull You from Your Tower

Just remembered some more stuff about what happened at Tower Records...

H and I heard this really familiar R Kelly song, but it was sung by this incredibly off-key guy. He also proceeded to sing such songs as YMCA, etc. I winced and wondered, "Who chose to put this on? It's horrible!" Then when I paid for my Getz CD, the cashier guy told me who it was. William Hung. I should've known. William Hung. Even I can't be immune to this name or his singing. Why oh why?

And also before that, we passed by a whole slew of CDs selling for just 10 cents. Yup you heard me right, 10 cents. Understandably, some were singles. Also, H smiled when she held up a Backstreet Boys CD. Apparently their music's worth no more than 10 cents these days? Ouch.

Gotta go.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Monday, May 03, 2004

Night with Getz and "The Girl"

Just had a late midterm today. Decided to go get a mango drink to treat myself. And who do you suppose I see at the place, but two people I know from music class! One was from choir, the other was from another music class that I took a year ago (and looked exactly like a young Dai Nagano from DAI). I never expected them to know each other. Isn't it a strange feeling when this happens? Afterwards, one went off to class, the remaining two of us went to Tower Records to check out CDs. I've never gone into this particular one because the prices are always quite high. However, H told me that everything's 20% off because they're closing down. So today's a perfect day to go.

I didn't plan on buying anything at first. I followed her while she checked out Sting. I saw R.E.M.'s 2-CD set and was thinking of buying that, but decided to wait. Then we went upstairs while she checked out some Algerian music she knew from class. Upstairs was also the jazz section, which got me quite excited. I don't know much about jazz except that taking a class last summer introduced me to some artists. I really liked the bossa nova style we skimmed over, for our teacher preferred "black" jazz e.g. Dizzie Gillespie from the same time period. Well, I agree that "white" jazz improvisation felt a little different, but it doesn't matter. I'd still like it whenever I heard J-pop or any other music that had a bossa nova influence in it.

So in the end I picked up Stan Getz playing Jobim. People usually recognize their big bossa nova hit "The Girl from Ipanema" sung by Astrud Gilberto. This was on the CD! I didn't really know their other songs, but many of them had vocal versions, so I decided to trust my instincts and buy it. Since I don't own anything like it, I hoped it would be a good addition.

It certainly was worth it. It was really soothing to hear this fusion of samba beats and cool jazz at this time. And I realized today that they sang partly in Portuguese! I never could pinpoint the language before, for it neither sounded exactly like French nor like Spanish. And its roots are Brazilian not French! So I learned something today. Portuguese is a really pretty language to sing in.

My fave instrumental piece so far is "Once Again", and my fave vocal piece apart from "The Girl from Ipanema" is "One Note Samba". Well, I think I need more time on the other pieces, especially the instrumental ones where I've to plant the melody in my head while listening to the chord changes. The only complaint I have is sometimes the tenor sax just seems too overpowering. But since it's a 60s recording, that's ok. I'm willing to listen to these recordings since these are jazz's pioneers.

Some people say this type of music's really boring, but I don't think so at all. It's a refreshing change from pop music.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Monday, April 26, 2004

It is finished.: Hallelujah, no cheese please.

The Messiah performance is finished. It's unavoidable feeling a little bit empty after a heavy thing such as that has taken place. Of all 4 semesters of chorus, I believe the Messiah has been the most difficult and above every other piece of work I've done. MD really pushed us to achieving something close to impossible in my opinion. There were so many newbies and freshmen in chorus this semester that I'd have been amazed if we'd just plowed through the piece and emerged in one piece (us) afterwards. However, it turned out to be much more than just another vocal workout. It's something indescribable that must be experienced by itself. I believe if I had the chance to sing this again I definitely would.

And remember I was saying the church was kinda "blah"? Well, apparently it's a completely different church with the lights on. The bare "candles" on the chandeliers actually gave off welcoming neonish gold light, making the whole church glow. I thought that the walls were blue until the lights came up and I realized that they were pale yellow! I've told everyone that the place now reminded me of the Hogwarts Dining Hall (Harry Potter). Such a transformation.

It was a full house down below and mostly full in the balcony. Mostly people just wore polos, t-shirts and khaki slacks--just a casual night out. The weather was kinda hot that night. So many students, because I guess student tickets are cheaper. I had a friend who came to see me! So that was very nice. And of course not to mention my sweet family came! And they said they enjoyed it a lot, that it was one of the best.

I'll spare you the details of what went on the night of the very last rehearsal. Let's just say all the tension that last night was channeled as positive energy on the actual eve of the performance. And we figured out when to stand and sit!

Some of my fave passages:
Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain (Rev. 5:12-13)--just everything
All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray (Isaiah 53:6)--just the idea that the Lord is our Shepherd who'll call us back to Himself no matter how far we may've strayed, is an immensely comforting thought and strong promise
And with His Stripes We Are Healed (Isaiah 53:5)--the alto melody is beautiful and suits the doubleness of the words very well
And I'm glad our Hallelujah chorus, which everyone must be familiar with, had zero cheese in it. Bad for pizza, good for us.

After all this, this is my prayer:
Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
Psalms 80:3

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Rain and sun, Sweat and blood

It rained yesterday and it was freezing. Can you imagine? And today it's sunny like it's been sunny all along. Rainy days never stays [sic]...

Ah yes, rehearsed Messiah from 7-10 pm last night with the orchestra... It's really beginning to feel like an endurance race of sorts... Clearly not a walk in the park! However, what's not been easy hasn't been the length of rehearsal... time goes by pretty fast... Instead, it's trying to look all happy and relaxed and light when we're singing impossibly fast with all the different parts coming in at different times, and no time to look down at our scores.
More than once, MD has told us, "You guys shouldn't look angry when you're singing!" We weren't even aware of that...
I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. It's really satisfying when I'm at a point where I can actually hear the other parts when I'm singing. It's much more enjoyable... I'm just incredulous that we've pulled it off so far...

Of course, there comes a point when an upper limit is reached... I wonder if we've reached the ceiling yet? I wonder how far our MD will take us? I'm trying to compromise for now by singing really soft when it seems the altos know this passage very well, and singing in my normal voice when they don't quite remember what's going on...

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Open Day Epilogue: Okonomiyaki & the Magic of International Exposure

I just realized something about international experiences: people love it if you know their food, and bonus points to you if you like the food. At the Japanese food stall that day, my friend Vee, who was mostly the one getting the food for us, told the Japanese student, "Um, can I have one of those... I'm not sure how to pronounce it..." And though the guy was patient enough to position the body forward a bit (you know Japanese manners...) he wasn't sure what to say or do. So I said from behind Vee, "One okonomiyaki please!!" The guy quickly nodded and the whole team came alive and set to work to cook it for us. And I was delighted at their response. Needless to say that was the favorite moment of my day. The people at the Malaysian food place came a close 2nd.

Am I exaggerating? I'm not sure... I just think that people can sense it if you like their food or not. And frankly on that day, I had no idea what most of the other stuff was, and I wasn't sure if I was willing to pay $5 each time I was trying a different country's food... People are smart and they know if you know your stuff or not. So, the lesson is: find some friends who have tried different foods before, and just tag along with them until you gain some exposure! Then you can go on your own next time. And though taste is so subjective, it can be acquired...

In a way this is for personal benefit--a reminder that
1) it wasn't totally pointless for me to post what went on that day and
2) it's good to know I'm not fated to be displeased with certain people forever. That just isn't healthy... Well, even when experiences get tough, I usually try to frame them in a funny/amusing way. Even when other people don't think that "my funny" is funny at all. That's ok. I've a strange sense of humor sometimes...
I read at a site about a person who has decided to find 2 or 3 things to make herself laugh for every one that makes her upset. And this from a cancer patient! If a cancer patient can do it, why can't I? Gotta learn how to do that. Then I can survive...

And you can just click for free to help the world be a better place...

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Sunday, April 18, 2004

"We have tur---------ned" crazy...

You can say I just came back from yet another grueling choir practice on the Messiah--2 hours straight from 6 to 8! (Well, we had a 5-minute break in the middle). We sopranos and altos basically just drilled more. Basically I had the parts where we've to sing the word "turn-ed" as quick notes in succession (symbolizing the action of "turning"), memorized. The memorization started unconsciously at first, and then I put in conscious effort to finish remembering the whole phrase. And there are quite a few! But they are worth the trouble.

For the last half hour or so, this other lady (a vocal instructor) tried teaching us altos not to lose air in the middle range of our singing, while MD rehearsed with the sopranos. She told us not to puff out air when singing "he". However, if I don't sing "h"s, it's easy for me to sing nasally though. And if you remember, we shouldn't do that! Frankly, the two music instructors have conflicting theories about vocal technique:
one wants us to sing "h" and the other doesn't want us to let out air
one doesn't want nasality and the other makes us do a nasal "ne ne ne" in place of the real words...
So I just try to sing softly during this time and not be too conspicuous.

MD has applauded the women by saying that no matter what kind of acoustic space we've been to (the resonant church, the dry building on Saturday...), we still sound wonderful! We all were so happy at hearing that. Sometimes a sincere kind word can go a long way...

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Open Day Part IV (final)

I think it is fair to say that some couples are paying more attention to *ahem* us than to Giovanni and his partner. One couple finds it very helpful to watch the two of us demonstrate the basic step. Probably because we seem more approachable? Bert tells them, "It's easy. Just count." as the couple stares on at our feet in wonder. I don't know whether to cry or laugh at this. I can't believe people are watching us and learning from me as well! It is quite overwhelming.

So, while Giovanni is teaching salsa at that side of the dance floor, Bert (and I, I suppose) completely ignore him and do our own thing. Like going around in impossible circles in both directions until it gets dizzying, facing the same direction with me in front and him at the back while doing the "turning basic" (as I later found out) in opposite directions, trying to figure out how our arms should go (this is hard if you imagine Brian Cardinal dancing with a 5 foot 3 girl), watching Bert go off improvising on his own and enjoying himself, trying to remember which way to turn, trying to feel the music... I'm vaguely aware that people must be watching but I tell myself I can't worry about that right now, since I don't know them anyway. I know I must've looked really dorky because sometimes I had to jump to get my arms over Bert's head, and I've absolutely no rhythm. I'm serious about this. I tell Bert that I haven't danced since high school, and he says, "You're ok, you're alright." I think he was just being nice, and desperate besides, to have a partner... If I was horrible at least he didn't let me know...

What is most fun though, is when Bert is about to turn me and then right at that moment he says "right!" and I turn on my right foot, then "left!" while I turn on my left foot. We do so many of those!! I confess any help I can get is a life-saver! So it just seems for a split second that I (sometimes) know what I'm doing, and am enjoying it too, when I try to look like I'm enjoying myself... when it's more appropriate to say that I'm in shock and utter disbelief at what is happening to me. Here I am, dancing salsa with some guy from Belgium who I hardly know, while my poor friend Vee is wondering where I am! I felt really bad, yet I couldn't do anything about it... At times I just felt like a puppet on a string because my dance partner was so much taller.

After 15-20 minutes, I'm exhausted and so heated up that I have to call to stop. (Before, when I say I'm getting hot, Bert just says, "It's ok", ignores me and keeps dancing with me!) A couple next to us, who has been eyeing us enviously for some time, say we are really good. I'm quick to tell them that I don't know how to dance at all, and all the credit goes to Bert. However, the guy looks at me and says, "But you look so professional!" (Was that the word? Oh I've forgotten! It was something nice like that, but I think it's an absolute exaggeration. Or maybe Bert was that good a dance leader?) He seems genuine about it too, and I decide to just take it at face value and let it make me happy. I hope I didn't do all this for nothing, that I didn't make a complete fool of myself... I decide to head to the restroom now (frankly I've had enough) while Bert starts dancing with this guy's partner.

In the restroom, I try to breathe deeply and calm down. My face is flushed red. An African-American lady in uniform comes in, looks at me, and asks if I'm ok. (That bad, huh?) I explain to her what just happened. She seems to understand and asks if it is Giovanni teaching. I nod and don't bother to explain that I never heard a single word from our instructor because I was trying to keep up with Bert. I ask her if she dances salsa. She replies, "No...I work here and I dance, but not salsa..." and gives me the idea that she think it's difficult perhaps? You bet it is. And remember my soy milk? I thank God for it, take it out from my backpack and drink it now.

I put my jacket back on and re-enter the room. Bert's still enjoying himself with the same partner while the guy looks on. I then go out and call D (at many many points during dancing I tell Bert that I probably should call D and tell her to come dance with him, cuz I'm no good). I reach her, but she says she has to study at the library and will have to pass. And then my family calls me and I try to talk to them in the middle of the noise all around. I manage to take a peek into the room again, and Bert is still dancing, but with a different girl. He's crazy!! There're no more people in the room. It's now 3:45, which means he's been dancing for 45 minutes non-stop! That guy is a salsa maniac. It seems like he can't get enough of the stuff. I feel it's probably better manners to say bye, but I'm afraid to stand too close to the dance floor for fear of being pulled onto it again. Instead, I try to catch his eye, then wave at him. At least he has the decency to wave bye back at me...

4 pm: Ok, mission accomplished. Frankly, I could've stayed a little longer to catch all the shows, but it's not fun just going alone, so I decide to leave. (sadly, still no sign of Vee) As I walk slowly back out of the I-House, my whole body feels dead. And I couldn't remember a single thing about salsa, at least not in the way I'd wished. Well, at least I've gotten my workout for today, and I don't need to finish my Pilates routine from this morning, I try to cheer myself up by thinking this. Then, I wear my yellow sunglasses with black frames. I usually don't wear those because they look so Asiany (sorry to offend anyone here; also those other nationalities...), but yellow's our school color and I just can't care too much right now (as you can see, this is one of my favorite phrases of late; used it way too much...). In a way, I just want to tell others: Leave me alone! I need peace and quiet!

And really, it is a beautiful day today: blue skies, sunny yet very breezy. I've this funny feeling that I want to go back in because the fest hasn't ended yet, yet at the same time I'm relieved that I'm out in the open here with nothing to bother me. Soon, I reach a shaded area with stone steps and call home again. And everything is back to its peaceful calm....And if I didn't blog this right now I'd never believe that all this actually happened...Thanks for patiently reading to the end about my day... How did it get so long? Now you understand why I don't blog about life often...

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Open Day Part III

People out here near the entrace are selling Malaysian food (still no sign of Dee...). I see the cream puff girl again and say hi to her. A nice girl stands next to us and patiently explains each and every food item they have. That has never happened before inside the building! The nice guy behind the counter even lets me sample something resembling sweet rice with peanut mixed in it! All the time while he and another guy are making it. It's a wonderful wonderful experience to be treated so nice. I've learned to appreciate it. I guess I've been so spoilt...used to people treating me nice that when they're just normal (i.e. don't do anything), I feel all weird...

Anyway, this is where the trouble begins... I buy one of those coconut "cakes" and try to finish my Okonomiyaki while Vee sees a person she knows and starts chatting with her. She also hands me a free small carton of soy milk since we bought so much food there (Vee gets four fishballs for $1). Since the music (with tin pan percussion) aka noise and people, seem to be all around me again, I retreat back into the entrance a bit, all the while keeping an eye on Vee. the time I look back outside, to my shock and horror Vee is gone! I thought she might've gone to the farther stalls but I can't see her there. I ask the friend she's been talking to about where she is, and the friend tells me Vee has gone back inside! So I rush inside but still can't find her. (This is my version--what good is a blog if you can't state your version of what happened? I'm sure I was just careless...)

At this point you'd probably ask, "Why don't you just call her cell?" Thank you for asking. Yes, I've been so "smart" that I didn't even exchange phone numbers with her! Remember I don't know her well. It never occurred to me that we'd get separated at all. Well, now it's happened. Exhausted, I flop down on a bench near the restrooms, finish my Okonomiyaki (though my hands have gone quite messy at this point), throw away the foil/paper, put the (free!) soy milk in my backpack and eat my coconut cake in silence. People stare at my bright pink dessert as they walk by, but honestly I'm too at a loss to care too much right now. I then get into the restroom and surprise! I see another choir member. She is a German girl with a Greek name who lives in the I-House. After saying hi and washing my hands in the hopelessly hot water, I head back out.

I've hardly time to think of what to do now when double surprise!! I see Dee in her Malaysian costume! I'm so happy at this point to see her. She looks lovely in that dress since she's so slim (I've rarely seen her dress up). She explains that she's not really helping with anything. And here's where a weird episode starts happening... a big tall guy stops next to us and says hi. Dee introduces us. We talk a little. His name is Bert (pronounced with a trilled r and a vowel similar to French) and he's an Econ grad student from Belgium. If you want to know what he looks like, he kinda resembles Brian Cardinal in height and build of the Golden State Warriors if you watch the NBA. This piece of info will make sense if you've the patience to read on...

In the meantime, Dee is stopped by an Asian guy who looks really bored (the hanging lower lip, about my height, stocky build, droopy shoulders, bushy hair) but is holding a camera. Dee, always the little PR person, cheerfully says hi to him. He wants to take pictures, of course. I remark to Dee, "You're dressed so prettily that you have to get your picture taken!" D smiles. I ask the photo guy what his name is and he boredly replies, "Alan". So, at first I presume he wants to take pictures of people at the party (us 3). Then I quickly realize he just needs to take a picture of D (presumably because she's in costume?) Ok.... I try to tell myself: this is a good thing because memories of all these people in costume (I agree I love all the costumes: the Robin Hood style ones were my favorite) will be made. So Bert and I stand aside while Dee smiles for the camera. Then an Indian girl comes...Dee hugs her...they get their pic taken together...this time by both Alan and Bert's digital! Double ok... Then, the suspected boyfriend appears as well, and he seems to be keeping Dee's cell phone for her...interesting... and he and Bert exchange some words.

3 pm: After all the socializing, Bert announces that there seems to be "salsa instruction" starting at 3:15, and he wants to go. However, D says she has to meet up with her host family first, so I say I'll call her later. I'm not sure what "salsa instruction" means. Isn't salsa supposed to be one of those "sexy dances"? Isn't it supposed to be really complicated? How can people learn salsa in one session? I tell Bert, "I don't dance at all." He doesn't seem to mind and is still intent on going together. I shrug and follow. At the very least I can watch how Bert and the others learn it, I tell myself.

When we get there, it's still early and there's no one there yet. We meet the instructor who's called Giovanni (he kinda resembles the host in Fear Factor if you've watched that show) and I say hi to him (he and Bert know each other). They hit it off immediately. They start conversing in rapid Spanish I suppose (I know from talking to Bert that he speaks Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian?, and learned Latin). Bert can't wait to get started and tries out some steps on the dance floor, without music. And that's when I'm stunned. He looks like a pro--why would he need lessons? It turns out he just wants to have some music to dance to. I'm like standing in front of him with my mouth hanging open. Then he takes my hands and wants me to dance with him. And I think, "Are you crazy? I can't do that!" Then it kinda dawns on me why he's been quite friendly and seemingly open to coming here together (I thought he was just a nice down-to-earth guy). It's because he just needs a dance partner. And I happen to be female. Well, this realization is a tad bit too late right?

I'm utterly confused, laugh and say I cannot dance, I really can't. Bert hesitates only for a sec and then takes up my hands again, intending to teach me. He tries to teach me the rhythm and the basic step, all the while reminding me to take smaller steps. Salsa kinda reminds me of Chacha, but Chacha (the kind I learned in high school) was much easier by comparison. This is so syncopated! Anyway, he teaches me some steps without music. I try to follow doggedly. At this point there aren't many people around. I was mistaken to believe that there'd be enough people for Bert to dance with. So actually I'm doing him a favor! I try to tell myself...

Then the music comes on, and it's at least 3-4 times faster than what we've been practising. It is just too much for me. Even Bert says it's too fast a song for beginners. There are now 2-3 other couples on stage. Giovanni introduces himself and tries to teach people the basic front step/back step. His demonstration partner is a fashionable blonde wearing a pink frilly skirt that is really (and I mean really) short, and she has strappy heels on! Clearly professional looking. I'm just wearing flats, jeans and my pale yellow t-shirt...
(end of Part III)

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Open Day Part II

The first thing I notice once I get into the I-House with my friend Vee is that it's quite dark and there're lots of people there. Right in front are people selling jewelry. I try to take a look and then I see a familiar face! The girl used to be in choir together with me. She and her friend are carrying a plate of something resembling cream puffs. She offers me some, and I eagerly proceed to take one. Then, she says, "They're a dollar for two!" and explains to me that one is mango-flavored and the other is "kana"? flavored (coconut I think if memory serves me right). Since she's made them herself and since I do like cream puffs, I pay and give one to Vee.

We go into the auditorium where there're lots of stalls selling things you'd expect to see at a Museum Gift Shop: beaded necklaces, colorful percussive instruments, light shawls, wooden animals, intricate mini handbags with shimmering flat discs sewn in ($25.99 for just one small one! agh!), etc. We catch a glimpse of the end part of an Israeli Dance performance on the stage. I later realize that you had to pay for 90% of the food here! Which is understandable now that I think of it.

We then head to another area where there are mostly European countries with tables set up. Food was nowhere to be seen (Vee had told me earlier that she had wanted to feast on international cuisine..) except for a table that had cookies and cornbread (which you had to pay for!), measly sandwiches, biscuits, and milk tea. We get some free milk tea as a big European-looking guy with a square jaw serves us.

While we are wandering around, we spot people in the outdoors. We are wondering how to get out there when a strong breeze blows open a patio door, allowing us to go outside... Here, people are cooking in a row, and there's bustling activity! A Chinese guy is cooking dumplings and graciously serving someone in front of him. Vee asks him if people have to pay for it, and he says it's free. What happens next...I end up being slightly put off because he seems unwilling to give a dumpling to Vee, and when she asks if she could get one more for me, the guy responds, "Yeah, serve yourself." Well, why is he serving all those other people? with a smiley face? Anyway, I try not to let it get to me, shrug it off and head down the aisle.

I notice we're on the second floor. Below us is an open courtyard with chairs laid out and a guy is playing guitar and singing some lively-paced song. A light breeze is blowing and people below seem to be relaxed and enjoying themselves... Frankly, I'm much more interested in listening than in crowding around food stalls where they give you so little food for $5 at every stall... People at the Italian stall are cheering some random guy on because he's drinking a whole bowl of something...alcohol maybe? And it is really loud. I then see the Dutch table with the preppy blondes helping out... A guy with square brownish sunglasses starts talking to me and I realize he wants to sell the Greek food at his stall. I ask him if he's Greek and he says yes. Then Vee emerges from the crowd with something like French bread with tomatoes on top, and she hands one to me. The Greek guy then shouts, "Why does everyone get Italian! Get Greek food here!"

I then catch another familiar face! It's my friend Dee! She's at the courtyard below wearing a close-fitting Malaysian costume that suits her perfectly. It resembles a Singapore Airlines uniform. I really want to say hello to her but then I see a tall Caucasian guy with glasses (about her age also, maybe a grad student) speaking to her and standing really (and I mean really) close. As I see it, it seems that he's more into her than she him. He keeps looking straight at her, but she only glances at him briefly and looks around a lot. Or maybe I'm just bad at guessing these things...So at this point I'm not sure if I should go down and say hi. I tell Vee what I think and she listens amusedly.

Eventually we get down there anyway (can't see Dee anymore) and there's more food stalls. The music has ended, but people in period costumes are performing a play. It turns out to be Romeo and Juliet. A tall guy is playing the Nurse, all for the fun of it! I see a sign which reads "Okonomiyaki" and for some reason relief washes over me. Vee sees the sign too and asks me what it is. Finally, something familiar!! Something Japanese!! I explain to her that it's sort of a pancake made with special sauce. In fact, I've special memories of it since my brother used to buy the mix and the sauce, and then he would treat the family with his rarely-used cooking skills and cook some for us! Thanks Chris! Ah the good old days... So we both get one (they're only $2 each!) and the Japanese people running it are really helpful, cheerful and friendly. It's as if I can be on an equal plane with them. The Okonomiyaki turns out to be really good too (we didn't get the Choco Banana since half of one costs $1, though they are decorated with colorful swirls on the chocolate part--so cute!). Then I realize why I'm so relieved: it's the first time that I'm truly comfortable, relaxed, and happy. I guess I've had too little contact with European people in the past and they just seem threatening or whatever, making me nervous. Maybe it's because they're so tall in the first place... Some of them just seem to want to make friends with people who come from the same country as they do (perhaps trying to cajole those international students to come to our school and stay at I-House). Am I being too harsh? Where is my school pride?

Anyway, we manage to get some mini potatoes in a special sauce. Maybe I'm just not loud enough: the people usually respond to Vee's questions better than to mine. I guess I'm just too intimidated to ask directly. I later realize that if people can't hear me, they've no way of knowing if I know English? Since this is the International House... Vee also gets a cup of fruit drink that she later finds out has alcohol in it. Also, we wander to a small art exhibit with absolutely no one in it, then grab some free lemonade there...Then, since Vee wants to check out the activities at the main entrance, we head back outside...
(end of Part II)

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E-mail: GCat

Open Day Part I

I'm going to blog about what happened today, although I'm quite exhausted. Usually I refrain from blogging about everyday stuff here because it's usually not too interesting. However, today was the Open Day at my university, so I did some stuff that was not routine, which is good for me occasionally, I think.

10 am: I awake from my slumber, say a little prayer, and thank God for good weather today! It's because I'll be heading out later. For breakfast, I eat Kellogg's Fruit Harvest with strawberries and peaches. What's more, I add real strawberries to the mix. Cool, huh? I've never done that before and I must say it's rather nice. Thanks mom!
Then I cheat a little and eat some smoked salmon as well. I must confess that I felt I was living quite a luxurious life just by eating the strawberries and salmon! It's a good feeling to have every once in a while. In fact, right now I'm eating salad with strawberries and salmon mixed in with it. Yum.

11 am: I then do what you can call daily devotion. I first catch up on my Daily Light and tear down the page on my daily calendar of bible verses: "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9. I pray that it is so! Then I read the Bible. Today's passage is 2 Corinthians chapter 13. I read it in English, then Chinese, then try to ponder at the questions in my study bible. It is also the last chapter from 2 Corinthians so I'm quite glad.

11:30 am: I see that I'm running later than I should. I take a quick shower to wake myself up. And unwilling to just leave like that, I sneak in part of my routine for Pilates. You know it's great because the deep breathing makes me more relaxed in preparation for singing! And I've to do just that at noon. So with only 7 minutes left until noon, I dash out the door...

noon: I arrive at the building where we're giving an open rehearsal to anyone interested in listening to the Messiah. I'm glad to see my friends and that the chorus people are still standing around outside. Eventually, we go in and sit down in our respective sections (soprano alto tenor bass). After some pointers from our Music Director (MD), we go onstage. She asks me to stand in the front row (agh) probably because I've absolutely no lung power.
Everything goes fairly well and the people below applaud in the end. People are mostly on their formal behavior on stage, except that the tenor next to me asks me twice where in the music we are at, and the alto next to me asks if she could borrow my pencil. Needless to say, I know both of them and I definitely would also have offered my help at any other regular rehearsal. I don't know why I'm saying this. I guess I just found it sweet that our everyday behavior seeped through a little during that public rehearsal.

1pm: Some of us in chorus stay around to listen to the Chamber Chorus, who's a much smaller, elite group of some 30 singers singing a cappella. They're really good! And unlike us, where we really rehearsed, they actually performed flawlessly. I particularly liked the tango piece and the one where many in the chorus mimicked sounds in the tropical rainforest. For example, one person did a high-pitched "wawawawa" really fast.... It was all so realistic and entertaining!! And in perfect rhythm too.

2 pm: One of the girls in the choir wanted to go to a party that was taking place at the International House, but she had no one to go with her (she was planning on going alone). Although I didn't know her too well, I figured going together would definitely be more fun. Besides, I've never participated in that party before and wanted to see what it was all about. So after some strolling around at some tables introducing most of the uni's majors, we head to I-House.

We were happy to know that students get in for free! That's good considering that the regular fee is $6. Needless to say, I later found out, that there seemed to be very few high schoolers (prospective students) and more just people from the area, inside. This is presumably because it'd be very expensive if the whole family had to pay (people 18 and under had free admission though). Or maybe people just looked tall to me...

We get our wristbands and proceed through the doors...
(end of Part I)

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E-mail: GCat

Friday, April 16, 2004

When is your birth day?

Came across this randomly at a cute blog. Perhaps I've seen this somewhere before, but I must've forgotten. I think except for one person, it's quite true for the people I know if I interpret them correctly. However, it's harder to tell with the love life section *rolls eyes and fakes a faint* since that is quite a personal matter unless you're a blabber, haha... Total insight or absolute nonsense? As with everything else, only you know...

Is your birthday day 1 of the month?
Your Life
You are very curious and dedicative. When you are interested in something, everything else has to wait. This is your quality. But if you learn to be more patient and complete what you have started, you will be successful in life.
You believe in love at first sight. You won't wait to learn more about the person. Vice versa, people who fail to impress you will hardly get a chance to be your friend. Your emotion is on the extreme. You can only love or hate, nothing in between and this often shows in your _expression. Try not to end a relationship in a quarrel.

Is your birthday day 2 of the month?
Your Life
You have great common sense but usually fail to follow through. This might happens because you are too busy with your mission and shut yourself from the outside world. You are clever and profound so there's a slight chance for self-control problem.
Your love progress slowly, and quietly. You seem to be contented with your unrequited love. Your are a romantic and loyal lover.

Is your birthday day 3 of the month?
Your Life
Although you are innocent and romantic but your _expression often mislead others that you are an active, fun loving kid. Because of your double personality, it's hard for others to really know the real you. You are careful and patient.
Your love is the greatest which often surprises others. No one can bring you to light when you are in love. Your confidence
might lead you to the track your parents disagree.

Is your birthday day 4 of the month?
Your Life
You usually think before acting which makes your life quite easy. But you often are the one who give yourself a hard time by being paranoid. People might not truly understand you but you are really nice to be around. You are cheerful and friendly.
Still water runs deep, that's what you are. You always surprise others with your new character when you are in love. Your love trap often comes unexpectedly and your love life is full of surprises.

Is your birthday day 5 of the month?
Your Life
Although you are on the quiet side, but you enjoy excitement and changes. Routine is something you cannot stand. Because of your extreme confidence, you hardly ask others for opinion. You believe in leading your own life, and you have got the gift in doing so.
Nothing can stop you from making progress in your love life. Once you are in love, you feel the ownership of your lover. A third party can only makes your jealousy becomes worse.

Is your birthday day 6 of the month?
Your Life
You are generous with people in need, sometimes to an extreme that people find you nosey. Your hidden courage and dedication often surprise others. Your imagination is extremely unique.
Your love life is on the smooth track because it grows from friendship. Although you may not make a sweet lover but your sincerity bring happiness to your couple.

Is your birthday day 7 of the month?
Your Life
You are sensitive to changes around you but your feeling is hardly expressed. You hate exaggerations. Under your quiet personality, you are rather stubborn and self-centered. These qualities are the force behind your extreme persistence.
You have enormous courage to please your lover. Your relationship often progress quickly.

Is your birthday day 8 of the month?
Your Life
You have pleasant and friendly personality. People look u to your wit and imagination. You are unpredictable and hardly complete what you started, which sometimes create negative impact to people around you.
Falling in love becomes your routine. Most of the time you are lucky. You fascinate people with good taste but you never have enough with one. Although your love progresses very fast, it never lasts.

Is your birthday day 9 of the month?
Your Life
You often have problem in promoting yourself, just because you don't know how to express your true self. On the other hand, you don't really care what they think. This is why people misunderstand you until they really get a chance to learn about your pleasant personality.
Opposite sex find you mysterious and worth searching. Your wit is remarkable but sometimes you are too fast to follow.
You won't reveal your feeling even after dreaming about the same guy over and over. Your first love lasts forever. You are responsible to the feeling of your lover. The chance to betray your lover is none. You have luck with children.

Is your birthday day 10 of the month?
Your Life
You are very capable. If you are a woman, you have high chance to be a renowned workingwoman. If you are a man, your path to fame and honor is near. As an innovator, you are not a good follower. You are good in implementing your imagination and share it with
others. You are always well dressed.
You often lose your love ones from being too jealous. You always feel like you own the person you fall in love with and that often blows your relationship.

Is your birthday day 11 of the month?
Your Life
You are gracious, elegant and prudent. People admire your qualities and some even become jealous of you. You are realistic, flexible and adaptable. You are remarkably kind and moral person.
You are willing to sacrifice yourself for the one you love. Your lover will always have your gentleness, care and loyalty. You will always be happy to hand around the one you love.

Is your birthday day 12 of the month?
Your Life
You are friendly, humorous and full of energy. You are open-minded and do not care for minor details. Your weak point is your hot temper.
You are willing to start off in one-sided love affairs because you strongly believe that you will eventually win his/her heart. On the other hand, once you are together, you always want to do things your way, which is often the fire starter. You usually run in and out of love quickly.

Is your birthday day 13 of the month?
Your Life
You are sincere and easy going. Flattering and charming around are not your style. You care so much for freedom that often leads you to the difficult path. Because of your sincerity, most people find you easy to be around although you are sometimes too straightforward.
Your gentleness, care and sincerity make you an attractive person. Eventhough you don't intend to be charming, but you naturally are, especially in the eyes of opposite sex.

Is your birthday day 14 of the month?
Your Life
You are so confident that sometimes you forget about the people around you. If you have to be in one of the two teams, you will choose to be in the winning team. On the other hand, you are kind and caring but above all, you care for your own benefits. Your imagination is
unique and often gets implemented shortly after it comes across.
You will not get soft with the one you don't really like, no matter how hard he/she tries. But once you feel for someone you have chosen, there's no getting back.

Is your birthday day 15 of the month?
Your Life
You are outgoing and love to be at the center of attention. From the outside, you may seem flashy, flirty, and tricky but your true self is strong, full of hope to be the leader. When you
fail to convince someone, you will get frustrated, and perhaps let your temper shows.
You are emotional. Many can win your heart at once, but not for long. This is why you hardly win a decent relationship.

Is your birthday day 16 of the month?
Your Life
You always follow the good and the right instead of listening to your heart. Another word, you are a perfectionist. You care for every word people say about you. You often seen isolated while you are, by nature, curious and a dreamer who is ready to get over the edge to make
your dream comes true.
You often fall in love with a person who is much different from you, in age and other aspects. Your relationship grows on friendship. Love at fist sight is not your style.

Is your birthday day 17 of the month?
Your Life
You neither want to be interfered nor have the desire to mess with others' life. But you are friendly and occasionally a party animal. You are always in a circle of friends. You often do things in your own way that occasionally go beyond the acceptable limit. People may find you childish and not very attractive in that sense.
Your fun-loving character attracts opposite sex. Many of those are great.You often find yourself trapped among a few great guys while you have to choose only one.

Is your birthday day 18 of the month?
Your Life
At first glance, people think you are quiet type of person. Actually you are cheerful, but conditionally. You will show your joyful character only in good mood. One the other hand, when you are moody, no one would dare to be around. Because of your emotion fluctuation and frank character, some find you hard to be around.
You hardly show your feeling towards opposite sex no matter how much you like him/her. Your partner also has similar character so your love affairs often take quite a while to flourish. Time tells it all. Your sincerity makes you very attractive.

Is your birthday day 19 of the month?
Your Life
You are great in managing everything in your life and this is how you gain respect from others. Because of this quality, you sometimes feel that you are better than the rest. Extreme confidence might lead you to the wrong path. You are a free bird and want to lead your
own life.
You love life is rather different from others'. When you are in love, nothing can stop you. You may often fight with your partner but, soon after that, you will make up in a way that surprises others.

Is your birthday day 20 of the month?
Your Life
You are prudent, circumspect and take things seriously. Before you make any move, you will think of a few alternatives that might take a while. You are patient, imaginative and target oriented. You value friendship more than anything else.
You usually study your partner carefully before making any move. You never demand anything beyond the natural quality of that person. Your sincerity doesn't bring excitement in your love life but it brings deeply grown relationship.

Is your birthday day 21 of the month?
Your Life
You are curious and a true follower. You can please someone so much that it seem like you are trying to charm that person. You hide your disagreement under your smiling face. This is a charming quality of yours.
You are quite unlucky in love. You are loved by someone you don't like while your dream man is so far away. Your love life is occasionally under turbulence. Sometimes you don't have the clear view of the guy in your heart.

Is your birthday day 22 of the month?
Your Life
You have the boss character, but not a leader. Most people look up to you for your capability and confidence although they find you quite stubborn. You should listen more to others. You are a unique and charming individual.
You hardly take the moderate track. You either love or hate someone. Whom you call friends are the chosen ones. If any of them betray you, you won't let them get away without having hard time.

Is your birthday day 23 of the month?
Your Life
You never live your life in the way others want you to. You are an independent individual who loves challenges and excitement. You are ready to face with the result of your decision. You are usually the one your friends count on.
Because you love excitements, you occasionally get involved in forbidden love affairs. You may fall in love with a married person and no one can stop you from making progress. You are very charming, although you might not realize it.

Is your birthday day 24 of the month?
Your Life
You are very optimistic and that's why you always enjoy life. You are gifted in entertaining others. Your friends love and trust you. You'll be the first they come to when they are in need of someone to speak their heart out.
Sometimes you fall in love just because you want to be in love, not that you really like that person. You always be seen as a sweet couple but you can't really get over your love ones from past. Your partner is usually crazy about you because you are remarkably charming and

Is your birthday day 25 of the month?
Your Life
You are a warrior. No obstacle can stop you from reaching your goal. You always keep yourself busy. This quality plus your responsibility will eventually bring you success.
You adore your partner as the number one priority. You value your love one
more than yourself. Your love is the greatest of all and your have potential
to get married young.

Is your birthday day 26 of the month?
Your Life
You are always curious and responsive to changes. Routine life is not the way you choose to live. Travelling is your favorite hobby because excitement is what you are after.
You will not stand being around the one you dislike. Your love comes and goes quickly. You can be deeply in love but soon after you will be looking around for the next one.

Is your birthday day 27 of the month?
Your Life
You are sensitive and vulnerable. Tears often run down your cheeks even when the matter is not that bad. This might be the result from being to pessimistic. You might seem cold on the shell, but your inner self is a kind loving person.
You will be elegantly dressed, no matter how casually dressed your date may be. You are emanding in love and sometimes to an unacceptable extend.

Is your birthday day 28 of the month?
Your Life
You are a capable person but you usually underestimate your own ability. This is the cause of missing numbers of opportunity to step forward. If you try to give yourself a chance, you can be successful in life. Try to see things on the bright side and you will be happier than ever.
You are quite unlucky in love. The one in your arm is not the one in your heart. Your love has so many ups and downs. You often chicken out before seeing any progress in love.

Is your birthday day 29 of the month?
Your Life
You can trust your sixth sense. Life is exciting so routine job is not your interest. You have great ideas and fantastic imagination. You often feel tired of things and people around you.
You can tell what's in the mind of another person just from looking into his/her eyes. You are paranoid and jealous and these are the cause of fights between you and your lover.
Sometimes the thing you believe in is just your imagination.

Is your birthday day 30 of the month?
Your Life
You are always surrounded by a circle of friends. You are friendly and fun to be with. Though you occasionally disappoint them by being stubborn, but over all, they love your qualities.
You want to have full control of your love and that's not a nice way to treat your partner. You take your time in saying yes to his wedding proposal or if you are a man, you will not propose anyone until you are certainly confident which might take ages.

Is your birthday day 31 of the month?
Your Life
Your emotion is hard to predict. You can be sad this minute and happy in the next. People might find it difficult to follow your emotion and understand you. You tend to take things seriously.
You take your time to study a person before falling in love. Once you decide that he or she is the one, no one can stop you from making progress, even your partner.

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