Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Three Funny Stories From Work

Three funny stories from work:

1. When I showed my pictures from my trip to one of the senior ladies at the Korean Center, she puffed out her cheeks and said "You look fat!" Then she let out this long, evil laugh. I told her it was rude, but she just kept saying it over and over and pointing "You look fat! Hahahahahaha Vely fat!"

I tried to tell myself that she probably just meant "healthy," but this woman is one of my best students. She comes every day and her English is pretty good. I hate it when you think someone is really cooperative and hard-working and then you realize that they just have mild dementia.

I had the bilingual social worker come translate because I'm not above getting upset if some old lady calls me fat. It turns out that she meant that I looked fat IN THE PHOTO but that I wasn't fat in real life and she thought that that was funny. And apparently, in Korea, it's rude to say that someone looks nice in a photo because it implies that they are ugly in real life.

So Mrs. Bae is actually sane, but I still gave her a harder assignment today than I usually would have because she laughed so evilly.

2. I got some pictures back from when I taught the Chinese ladies how to play "Go Fish."

With my Chinese students, I enforce this "No Chinese (!)" rule during games because it helps them learn. However, it's kind of hard to turn off that part of your brain that knows it's wrong to yell "Speak English!!!" at old Chinese ladies. But if they break the rule, I'll take away one of their pairs!!! And I mean it!!! Good thing you can get through the whole game by just saying
"Give me all your ____" and "Go Fish"

I like this picture cause it looks like I'm teaching them how to count cards and take over the casino:

Lin Ruie Fen (on the left) is all "She's got snake eyes!"

3. Today, I taught a small Chinese class at a senior residence that also houses American seniors. American seniors are my least favorite, cause in California they're not even cute or cool like they are in Georgia. They eat canned spaghetti and hate foreigners ("they're taking away our spaces!). Plus, the old men are creepy. I'd rather walk past a gigantic construction site in a mini-skirt than walk to the bathroom if a bunch of old Californian men are in the hallway. Today this man WITH A WALKER approached me before class.

He's all, "I saw you drawing some pictures before of a pig and a cow. I'm an artist and I'd like to help you."
I said, "Thank you. That's great. What your name?"
"Hi Ron, I'm Susanna"
"Do you speak Chinese?"
"No, I don't."
"Oh, so, do you pantomime?"
"Yeah, a little...You don't have to speak another language to teach English"
"Oh, well, I just got my new teeth yesterday."
"Oh. They look good."
"Yeah, I'm ready to bite into things, like an apple, or maybe some young girl's neck if you know what I mean."

Is there a woman out there who would be swayed by the newness of dentures? This guy was not demented, just creepy. If he had been twenty years younger, I would have told him to mind his manners. Damnit, I should have anyway. I wish, OH HOW I WISH, I had just asked him how old his granddaughters were and how he'd feel is someone said something like that to them. But, of course, I didn't think of that fast enough, so I just ignored him and set out some expired Laffy Taffy for my students. (Which he COULD NOT have bitten into)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Marie, Marie, Hold On Tight

I just got back from an excellent vacation. I spent the last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing, snowmobiling, and hanging out with about 60 of my relatives. My grandfather sold an old piece of family swamp land and, instead of willing the money to us after he and my grandmother die, decided to take us all on a vacation together now. I'm the youngest of 10 grandkids, the rest of them are all married and everyone (except one) has kids. Thus, I have like a million second cousins and huge family.
My grandmother was born in Jackson Hole, and her grandparents helped settle the place. My great-great-grandfather helped establish the national elk refuge there, and supposedly even helped decorate the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Now Jackson Hole is an expensive winter tourist town teeming with hot guys who never forget their gloves and can get your snowmobile out of a ditch with one hand. It's a good place for a girl with a broken heart.

I love the snow! As long as you're wearing long underwear and a million layers, you don't really get cold. If you fall down, it doesn't hurt and you can just roll around in it without getting dirty. It's like swimming. It's like being a toddler.
And skiing is the most fun thing in the world besides doin' it and looking at pictures of cats. I swear to God, if I have fucked up some part of my grad school apps and I don't get in anywhere, I'm moving somewhere where I can ski all the time. Unlike every other sport I've ever tried or played, I was actually good at skiing right away. Mama was right when she told me to be proud of my big ole' strong legs ("those legs are going to carry you through life, Susanna").

Here's a photo of me going down a pretty steep hill:

And then wiping out:

Whenever I fell, I would laugh. I felt like a baby falling down on the carpet. Plus, my cell phone was in my pocket and it'd get jammed and go "De-Dah" everytime. When I'd go back on the lift, the guy would go "Did you fall again?" because my jacket and my pants would be covered in snow. It didn't hurt, though, even when I fell with my face in the snow and my skis fanned out behind me. It reminded me of the first time my old boyfriend and I put on our scuba diving equipment in this pool in Mexico. Neither of us could move without tipping backwards or getting our heads underwater. We were like little fetuses. Both of us looked up
at our instructor and said "Mommy!"

Another amazing thing we did in Jackson was go snowmobiling to these natural hot springs:

We rode in about 10 miles, took off the 500 layers we were wearing and got in the hot water. It was snowing and there was about 5 feet of snow on the ground. While we were swimming, our guides cooked us each a steak.

I put my bathing suit out to dry on the snow.

Then I pushed my mom down.

Snow is quiet. It's soft under your feet. It's also very, very cold.

But I think it's good for you.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

She Was Born In Spring, But I Was Born Too Late

So one of my all time favorite hobbies is breaking up with my boyfriend. I pull it out and jog with it every few months. Some others in my bag of tricks are quitting smoking, changing the litter box, flossing, and badmitton. I do these every few months as well.

We're all doing the best we can. I'm a very judgemental person, and this comes back to bite me when the tidy facts of my life-résumé seem a little fucked up. The best decision I ever made in my life (leaving the Mormon church) was decided in a vacuum, when everyone else around me told me I should do otherwise. For a week or so back then, I felt like there was a 50/50 chance that I would either be fine or I would live in hell (or at least without God)* for all eternity. That is a really fucked up thing to carry around.

Now, I feel like I'm in a similar situation. However, this time I'm choosing the sensible option, the logical decision, the one that makes sense to other people, and, most importantly, the decision that feels right in my gut. My heart is absent. I've silenced it. It's broken, really. And it's been a week or so, and though maybe not 50/50, I do feel that there's two possible outcomes: I will be fine, or I will be sad for long long time. I can't tell you how bad this sucks.

I'm older now and I'm not as scared as I used to be back then. I know I have done everything I could, and even though other people may think it's fucked up for breaking up and getting back together with someone over and over, I'm so glad that I did. I did my best to love him, and that was the right thing for me to do. My conscience is clear.

**Mormons don't believe in hell. I'll explain if you want to know.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Susanna's Helpful Hint Number 49

When throwing a large party, invite your downstairs neighbors with a handwritten invitation the day before. Tell them they're more than welcome to come, and tell them to call you if it gets too noisy. They probably won't come, but they'll never complain about the noise, even when you and your guests are dancing and jumping on the floor at 1 in the morning. Plus, it'll help dispell the ice-bitch persona you've cultivated so well because you don't always shoot the shit everytime you run into someone in the hallway. They'll think you're the nicest person alive and you get to maintain your privacy!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Everyone Else

In my opinion, the most humane way to walk around in the world is to assume that everyone else is suffering horribly. The woman in front of you in line to order coffee has just lost her mother. The guy serving it just learned that his bank account is overdrawn. The car in front of you in traffic, the annoying one, just left the hospital. The woman on the left is about to throw up. The man who passed in front of you on the way into your apartment was just betrayed by his best friend. Their house burned down. Her purse was stolen. He's been fired. She hasn't slept in two days. He wants to die. Her heart is broken.

And it's his birthday. The woman over there just found a $100 bill in her coat pocket. He's just had sex. She has a date tonight with someone she's been in love with for months. The man who walked by is almost finished with his novel. The woman on her bike is going to a surprise party and she doesn't know it. He had the exact same dream as you last night. The lady drawing her blinds met your grandmother in 1963. The man waiting for the bus is wearing identical underwear to the man waiting at the light. She bought the package of bobby pins immediately behind yours at Walgreens. He's just arrived from the airport. The woman with the duffel bag works the night shift.