Sunday, July 31, 2011


I've accomplished the impossible! Last night I was close to tears because my room wasn't packed and emptied out for my subletter, and I could barely zip any of my 3 suitcases. I was so overwhelmed and extremely hungover which didn't help the situation. How did I handle the stress? I piled everything into the corner of the room and watched a movie with my roommate.

I woke up early this morning and finally got everything done. All of the bags are under 50 pounds, I'm packed for North Carolina when I return, and emptied out all of my storage space. I've never seen my bedroom so clean and clutter free, and look so much bigger. Too bad it doesn't look like this all the time.

So I'm all set and ready to take off tomorrow afternoon! I'm so looking forward to spending a month away with my family. Bon voyage!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Picture Perfect

I loved the old photos of my mum looking pretty and poised in her pose but I equally adored the ones where she wasn't quite ready for the shot. I almost feel like I'm in the moment with her and can hear her saying to her photographer, "You have to hold down the button," or, "Hold on, the wind is blowing my hair." And yet, she still looks perfect. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pretty in Midi

While packing up my stuff I came across these photos of my mum and I just couldn't stop looking at them. They were taken inside the classroom and outside the school she taught at. They look like Sartorialist street style photos taken circa the '70's. I'm in love with her midi skirt, open toe heels, and of course, her smile. Doesn't she look so timeless?

Pre-trip Diary: Reading List

On my last trip to Thailand, about two years ago, I packed five books. I finished two during the 21 hour journey and the other three in two days of being in the countryside with my mum. I like to keep my books too, so by the end of the three month trip I was toting a really heavy backpack. I've been toying with the idea of putting books on my iPad but I still having warmed up to the idea of e-books. What will I read on the beach where the sand is so fine and sticks to absolutely everything? What will I do when I run out of batteries and there's no socket? I decided to compromise a little bit since I definitely don't want to be stuck at my grandma's house without a book. I bought some paperbacks for the beach, and added books to my e-library for the times where I don't have to worry about sand or water getting into my iPad. 

I've been having to restrain myself from reading the books that I bought before the trip, but I caved and read two already. I saw a movie preview for The Help by Kathryn Stockett and couldn't wait any longer.   It's a beautifully written book, told in 3 different voices, of life in Mississippi during the 50's. I hope the movie is just as good. I also finished Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok. I just wanted to hug this book. It's been moved into my top five all time favorites list. I've never read a book that I could relate to more about being an Asian immigrant in the US. Kwok touches on how immigrant children have to grow up quickly and take on adult responsibilities because their parents don't speak the language, and the sacrifices that a parent makes to give their child a better life. I highly recommend both. 

So the rest of my reading list includes two paperbacks and three e-books.

  • Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
  • History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Bossy Pants by Tina Key
  • Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
  • The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
I figure I could always download more while I'm there if needed. Have you guys read any of these? Do you have any other recommendations? I am so looking forward to lazy beach days, curled up in a hammock with a book. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pre-trip Diary: Subletting

My pre-trip to-do list has been so long, and as I get closer to my departure date it feels like more "things to do" keep popping up. I guess life doesn't stop for you when you want to take a month long holiday, huh? I've been tackling the list pretty well, saving, figuring out bills, packing my apartment, and so on. Everything had been going as planned so far, and just when I thought it was smooth sailing (or flying) from here, my subletter changed her mind on the apartment. There's never a shortage of people who need apartments in NYC so I wasn't panicking, but I did want to have everything sorted out sooner than later.

I have so much to cram in to the next few days and now I'm squeezing in sorting through craigslist ads and showing the apartment. My boyfriend makes fun of me because I get attached to the people I've met and really do want to help everyone find a place, which probably makes the search process much more time consuming than it has to be. I guess I've just been in their shoes before and know how tough it is to find a good, affordable living situation in New York. I feel like I'm a pro at craigslist by now. It's crazy the lengths we go to to live in this frustratingly lovable city.

Last night, after I was done showing the apartment, I rented a Zipcar and took the things I had packed to my storage space in Jersey. By the time I got there it was 9:30 PM and already dark out. I never realized how creepy a storage space can be late at night with nobody else there. I kept getting flashes of Dexter and other scary movie scenes, and braced myself for a murderer who was dumping a body or looking for a fresh kill. I have an active imagination. After I was done with that dusty, sweaty job, I drove over to a clothing drop box to donate some clothes that I was finally able to part with. That was another scary setting. The parking lot was empty and pitch black and I imagined the people who could be rifling through a clothing drop box late at night. Just as I parked I saw some headlights coming towards me. Who else would decide to donate clothes at this hour, I wondered. A large pick-up truck pulled up next to me and four shirtless boys, who didn't look old enough to drive, hopped out. I waited in my car for a minute, sure that they were about to beat me with bats and stick me up for my worn t-shirts and old slutty dresses. Coincidentally, to my relief, they too were just dropping off old clothes, never even looking my way. How anti-climatic.

So that was one more exciting thing crossed off my to-do list. I just showed the apartment to the last person today and hopefully will be making a decision tonight and getting that out of the way. The last guy had his mom with him and she was just the sweetest lady ever and I almost want to rent the place to him just because of his mom. There I go getting all personal with my decision again. Anyway, we're hoping to pick someone tonight so wish me luck!

*Update: Found a sublet! Ended up going with the guy who came with his mom. She sent me the sweetest note thanking me for helping him set off on his "new adventure." Aww.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm coming home

Probably the biggest news that I have so far is that, in less than two weeks, I'll be leaving for sunny Thailand. I have some family business to take care of and I haven't been back for two years, haven't seen my mum in over a year so I figured I'm just going to make a holiday out of it. I'm looking forward to the trip and having some time away. I have been working my tail off these past few months and haven't had much time to enjoy the summer. The next two weeks are going to be madness, packing up my apartment to sublet, packing my bags for Thailand, packing for North Carolina (which is where I'm headed a day after I return), and seeing friends, all in between the double work load I've taken on. (My life seems pretty boring when all I've been talking about is work, packing, and my neighbor's dog's poo). Anyway, it will all be worth it though when I step foot off that plane and get to exhale and say, "It's so good to be home."

This is my grandmother's house, which is where I'm headed shortly after I arrive.

This is the view from the backyard. I'm looking forward to the peaceful mornings sitting on the deck with a book and Thai coffee and just staring out to the mountains.

Only 13 more days!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

funny notes

For the Fourth of July my roommates and I were having friends over for a BBQ on our rooftop. When we got up there to set up, we saw a shitload of dog poo. There were piles of it all over the roof. We didn't know what to do because we felt it shouldn't be our job to clean up after someone else's pet, but we also couldn't just leave it because it's going to get dark and our friends surely wouldn't be happy about stepping in poo. At first, we decided to sweep it all in to a corner, but since the poo had been up there for some time it was very dry and would crumble into tiny pieces and we were essentially just spreading a dusty layer of poo across our roof. I had no choice but to scoop it all up and dispose of it in a plastic bag. But I still felt like our neighbor shouldn't be able to get away with such inconsiderate behavior. We knew there was only one apartment in our four apartment building that has a dog so it wasn't too difficult make an assumption.

I thought of so many things I could write to my neighbor in a note but I had been drinking a bit and wasn't sure if I could articulate well. I decided on a simple note with an innocent question: Does this belong to your dog? Very diplomatic and civilised compared to other variations I composed in my head.

I saw this funny note below on a site filled with more hilarious notes to neighbors.

PS: I was quite surprised by how satisfying it felt to leave a bag of dog poo with a note in front of a neighbor's door. You should try it some time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm back!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. I've been working on changing my website from a personal blog to a professional website, and I'll be back to this blog (On Being Nina) for all of the blogging. It's been kinda nice to take a break from the blog but I've been up to so many exciting things this past few months and can't wait to start sharing. I'm going to be tinkering around some more on this blog before I get all the customization done but I'm excited to start blogging again.

What have you guys been up to? How's your summer going so far?