Monday, March 30, 2015

Those oh so hipster downtowns.

Spring break is over, and just like I predicted / hoped I didn't do anything during spring break besides laze around and sleep in. Well, other than go to the Blink-182 concert of course. On Saturday, me and my little sister went out because her finals ended when I was going back to school.

We were originally going to eat in Downtown Claremont and then go to a bar there as well since it has a lot of hipstery places.

We had some yummy Thai food and were looking for a bar to chill at but while we were walking we stumbled across a vintage movie theater that was playing Cinderella. 

I have actually been wanting to watch it and my little sister said she did too so rather than going to a bar we went to watch the movie. 

We ended up really liking the movie. I actually didn't like Cinderella because she was too perfect it seemed unrealistic, but this version gave you a better understanding of why she was the way she was and it made me appreciate her character.

After the movie we were so cold since it was cold in the theater and it became cold at night. We ended up going Coffee Bean to get something warm, two chai lattes. It was a nice outing.

My spring break is over and I am already back in Irvine going to school. It's my last quarter and I am so happy, I cannot wait till I am done!

Which reminds me, change of plans with the Mexico trip. My little sister can't go to the Cancun trip since she is starting an internship and we didn't want to go without her so instead we will be going to Nor Cal, which is just as great if you as me!

We will be going on a road trip to San Francisco. I honestly can't wait! I get to cross things off places in Nor-cal on my travel list, which I guess I should add to my bucket-list.

Still so happy it's my last quarter, 11 weeks until I am officially done with my undergrad.

Oh, in other news things with my family have been good lately. The whole spring break I was home me and my mom didn't fight even once. I am so glad and I hope it continues like this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dreaming of you.

Selena Quintanilla Perez (1971-1995)

I recently re-watched Selena, a biographical drama on the singer Selena's life and boy, did I forget how much that movie impacted me. I cried a lot at the end of the movie, and it is still hard to not cry every time I heard her song "Dreaming of You."

For those of you who don't know, Selena was a famous Mexican-American singer born and raised in Texas. She was known as the Queen of Tejano music (Texan-Mexican music) and as the "Mexican Madonna." She did not only break barriers as a women but as a minority and managed to have her music be well-known throughout America, not just among Spanish-speakers.

I grew up listening to Selena. I remember being little and constantly playing her cassettes and singing and dancing to them with my younger sister and my family.

I honestly cannot describe how her presence impacted my life, not only as someone I could relate to who also dealt with similar issues as a fellow Mexican-American but also as an inspirational human being who accomplished so much and was so kindhearted, goofy, and genuinely a beautiful person inside and out.

Her music and her as a person, honestly inspires me and makes me have confidence in myself. She also reminds me to not be ashamed of my roots, but to be proud and more importantly, to stay connected to them.

Sadly, Selena was murdered at the age of 23 by someone she was close to and it makes me sad every time I think about it because I know she was meant for so much more. March 31st will be the 20th anniversary of her death.

Rest in Peace Selena, an angel that was taken from us way too soon.

"Right now I have, except for her, everything that I want. But I would give that all up...just to have her back. You know? Because that's how much she means to me. I feel like literally a big half of me died with her. I feel like nothing has filled up that half. I'm just there...empty."
-Chris Perez, Husband of Selena

Interviewer: “When you’re gone how do you want to be remembered?”
Selena: “As, not only as an entertainer but a person who cared a lot, I gave the best that I could. I tried to be the best role model that I possibly could and the best person that I could, I tried to help out.”

"Selena, I'm still dreaming of you."
-Chris Perez

Monday, March 23, 2015

Let's make this night last forever.

Yesterday was the Blink-182 concert at Musink. The show didn't start till around 7pm and me and my older sister arrived there around 5:30ish where we decided to walk around a bit and see the convention. 

It was mostly a tattoo convention so there were mostly only places to get tattooed. A few artists I liked were going to be there but unfortunately I don't have any money to get any tattoos at the moment so we just looked around for other stuff. 

There was a piercing place which ended up being perfect because I wanted to buy new jewelry for my tragus since I lost my other one. They only had hoops but I didn't mind since I was thinking of getting it and they even helped me put it in.

There was some cars there for the car show portion but not as many as I hoped, it was still nice though.

Me and my sister got some Mexican food as we waited for the show to start. We weren't planning on getting too close to the stage but as always, as soon as the band starts playing I want to get closer so we did.

It was really fun. There were lots of people dancing and singing along to the songs and drinking beer. My older sister has never been to a concert and even though she likes rock music she didn't enjoy the moshing or anything. She had no idea what to expect and was confused most of the time and a bit annoyed so I felt kind of bad for her.

I had fun though, I liked that I could sing and dance with the other fans. There was this one guy that was by us that had a shit load of tattoos, hands, face, and stretched ears without his plugs. He totally seemed tipsy an would be hanging on his friends dancing and singing to all the lyrics.

These type of fans make me happy. There were some dumb fans though, a drunk girl spilled some  of her beer on my flannel but since it was tied around my waist I didn't trip. And after the concert this couple were fighting and yelling "fuck you" at each other and it was a pretty intense fight lol but you know, that's 'murica for you.

Blink played all the songs I wanted and Travis was amazing on the drums. They were pretty chill when they talked to the audience. In the beginning they made a comment saying "hey, I smell weed. we should call the police" and everyone laughed.

It smelled like weed during the whole concert haha. It was fun. Drinking, dancing, smoking, punk rock, mexican food, classic cars, tattoos, best combo if you ask me. Awesome night.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Today I was speaking to my mom on the phone, when she asked me when my last final would be for next quarter in Spanish, I replied, "El dies y uno de Junio" (eleventh of June) to which my mother responded, "What?? That's not a number!"

I thought about it, and realized I was thinking in Japanese, "juu-ichi" which is ten and one which thus equals eleven. "Dies y uno" is ten and one which in my mind made sense to equal eleven. But in Spanish, eleven is "once." 

I apologized to her and told her what happened and we both starting laughing so hard, I started to cry from the laughter. 

We also have a similar counting system to the Japanese where we say the first number plus the second number, for example: "dies y ocho" which is "juu-hachi" (eighteen) but eleven wasn't one of them.

This happens a lot, whenever I speak Spanish I mix my Japanese into it sometimes without knowing it. My other Spanish speaking friend says it happens to her too. 

This can get very awkward especially when some words in Japanese are the same in Spanish but have a different meaning. Don't get me started on the times when my dad hears me say a word in Japanese and thinks I said something completely different in Spanish lol.

It can be annoying and frustrating at times, but overall it's funny.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Culture Shock Experience in Japan.

I wanted to share some info we discussed in my Teaching English Internationally class. The other day, we had a lecture on culture shock which reminded me of my experience in Japan.

I feel that many people think culture shock is a specific event that shocks/surprises you about the country you are living at. Like japanese toilets, packed trains, weird food, etc. These do play a part in the culture shock but it isn't culture shock.

Culture shock is a psychological process of adjustment to a new environment. I'm not going to get into all the details but I'll give a clip-notes version of the stages/process:
Fascination / Honeymoon Stage. everything is dandy, wonderful, awesome, and you're having the time of your life 
Discomfort and Withdrawal from New Culture / Seeking Familiar Ties. things that were easy feel complicated and challenging, things are not familiar so you're looking for the familiar 
Frustration. You feel like an angsty teen; people don't understand you, you're complaining, you don't want to be here and this is usually the stage when people leave.
Adjustment / Adaption. Healthy reality, everything isn't perfect but that's okay, you're happy.
In all the culture shock discussions/orientations I've ever attended this was the best one, and I've been to four; before I went abroad, when I got to Japan, when I got to the host university and this one.

With that being said, everyone gets culture shock. Everyone. It may not be exactly like this, I know mine wasn't but it is still something everyone goes through when they are in a new environment. There are several variations of culture shock and everyone is different.

Although people tend to view culture shock as a bad thing it's actually a good thing because it shows you are learning about the culture you are living in and actually experiencing it. Progression, my friends.

Though it does have it's benefits, it can still feel like shit. So here are some stuff to help you overcome the hard times:
Find local people to interact with. This seriously helped me when I was feeling like crap. Interacting with my Japanese friends made me feel less like an outsider, for obvious reasons. 
Surround yourself with familiar things. This also helped me, and probably helped me the most. Whenever I was feeling pretty down I'd watch an episode of Game of Thrones, TVD, The Originals or listen to some Blink-182, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday because it was something I would do if I was in California. I had polaroids of me and Lyy on my wall, and band posters as well haha. 
Writing in a journal. I have this blog and a private blog for myself and I felt writing in both was helpful. Especially the private one, where I can totally spill my feelings out just for myself to have something to look back on like a good old fashion journal. 
Chill with close friends. Hanging out with my friends Lyy, Hopy, Jenn, etc. made me feel a lot better because I could relate to them so well. Most of my happy times in Japan were with these girls and when I felt alone, they reminded me I wasn't. Especially Lyy.

My Experience.
My experience of culture shock was not exactly like template above, oddly enough I skipped the honeymoon stage and went to the straight discomfort stage. I knew the language barrier is what made me feel like this, which was what I was most worried about beforehand. 

Also, the ILP program I took over the summer contributed to me feeling very much alone. Even though I was with fellow UC students for several reasons they made it worse. The ILP program was probably my lowest point. The fact of doing simple things was so much harder because I didn't know the language, really impacted me as well. 

I was in the frustration stage for a bit where I would complain here and there to family and friends, mostly due to the language barrier. But I actually blamed myself for not studying more tbh. Most of the time it was more of things feeling much more complicated and having trouble finding someone I can relate to and build a connection with. And in all honestly, these feelings would come and go for the first six to seven months.

It wasn't until after that, I started getting more comfortable with my surroundings and started meeting people I could relate to that I ended up in the adjustment / adaption stage. And luckily, that lasted until my departure.

I remember being so bummed that when I was comfortable with my life in Japan I already had to leave. Everything was falling into place, I was being comfortable with myself, and more than ever I knew what I wanted.

I honestly loved my experience in Japan, culture shock and all. It makes you stronger, and you learn more about yourself as a person.

I hope people can relate to this post and even help others dealing with culture shock or hopefully it was just a fun read. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hello March.

It's finally March, is it just me, or does time seem to be flying by?

So a lot of things have actually changed for me. I recently quit my second job at the Japanese market. Working full time and going to school time was extremely hard, and it showed in my grades. I decided to quit my job when I started failing tests in Japanese and my Japanese teacher gave us a lecture about our grades. Graduation is more important than side money.

It was the right decision. I started getting A's on my tests and now I am working out again. I go to my apartment's gym on my own on the weekends, and during the week I go to some classes at my school's gym with friends. I am happier than ever, but hopefully I can bring up my grade in Japanese.

It wasn't till this job that I realized how important weekends are. You need them for your body to rest and recuperate, and it showed me I actually do use the weekends to study more than I thought I did. Although it was for a short while, I enjoyed working there and helping with a few months rent for my parents.

My parents were understanding and preferred I didn't work the job, and so did my sisters but they told me since I wanted it they felt that it should be my decision. I respect them for that.

March will hopefully be a good month, besides all the final exams. Spring break is coming up around the 20th and will last about a week, probably just going to laze about. Also, the Blink-182 concert and tattoo convention is on the 22nd, I'm very excited for that.

Also, been talking to my mom more about my plans on going to Japan and she has been very supportive recently. I asked her when would be the earliest she would feel comfortable letting me go to Japan and she said next March.

I don't mind because this gives me time to save up money and apply for jobs for next spring, which is also when their school year start anyways. Let's hope all goes well! Until then, school and working out are my priorities. Graduation is coming up.