Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twinkies and Racial Incidents

From Wikipedia: The slang "Twinkies" used by Asians describes other Asians with very little difference in lifestyle and/or mannerisms to caucasian or "white" people. The term is further described as being "yellow" on the outside and "white" on the inside, identical to the composition of the Twinkie snack.

I am a Twinkie. I was born in South Korea in November of 1974 and adopted by a Minnesota couple at five months old. I do not speak Korean, I don't have any memories of Korea and if pressed, I'm not sure I could immediately locate Korea on a map on the first try. (My high school geography teacher is rolling his eyes). I was raised in a small farming town in Minnesota, with a population of 5000. Three Asians, 4997 white people. I don't have an accent (unless you count Minnesotan as an accent), I don't hate the Japanese, and I can assure you, I've never fought your people in a war.


Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about racial incidents. I moved to Arizona six years ago and since then, I've had quite a few of these incidents. My first job here was working at Barnes & Noble. The very first racial incident happened at the check-out counter. A guy came up to buy a book and there was some small talk and then out of nowhere, he says "are you black?" I was thinking fast that day (unusual for me) and said "if I am, is that going to affect whether or not you purchase this book?" He looked at me rather oddly and then said "no" and I took his money and he was on his way. That was the first of many incidents that happened in that bookstore. I overheard myself referred to as "that little Japanese girl", and I had someone ask me if I could tutor them in Japanese. I always told my co-workers about the incidents and they kind of laughed. Then came the day I was standing at the Information Desk with two of them and a girl walks up and starts speaking to me. In Chinese. I looked at her blankly until she said "oh, you don't speak Mandarin?" Um....no.

The worst incident was when I was working as a teller at the credit union. An older gentleman (I use that word facetiously) walked up to my station and said "Hi, Kim." I kind of looked at him and pointed to my name tag and said "my name isn't Kim." He said "I call all you people Kim." I looked at him with one eyebrow arched (I'm not good at it, but I try hard) and said " 'you people'?" He replied "don't look at me like that. I fought you damn people in the war." At this point, my boss overheard a bit of what was going on and made the very timely suggestion that I walk away for a few minutes.

The ironic part, of course, is that when I was placed at the orphanage in Korea, I didn't have a name because I had been abandoned, so they gave me a name that involves "Kim". Tim laughed a LOT when he saw my birth certificate after hearing that story.

A few weeks ago when I was having the sister of a friend cut my hair, her 5 year old son and I were talking about the Olympics. He asked if I was from China and his poor mother was mortified. He's a child and I laughed it off. Most of the time, I am able to laugh off racial comments, but they are tiresome. I have never in my life asked a white person, a complete stranger, if they're German or Norwegian or Irish. I am not ashamed of being a Korean, but I also don't think it's appropriate to walk up to someone you don't know and ask them what race they are.
Am I being too sensitive?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why I'm Working This Weekend


This was my desk as I was leaving tonight. (I've blacked out some of the stuff, including company logos).

Let's go left to right, shall we? On the left, we have a couple pieces of paper. What you can't see in this picture is the pile to the left of that they fell off. It's about the same size as the two other big ones. That pile will take me about two hours to get through. Right next to that is a stack of blue files. That is something that was dropped on me just this week. It will take me about 6 or 7 hours to get through that pile.

Then we have my iHome iPod clock radio and a really, really, really old iPod (both gifts from Tim. Honey, if you're reading this, I'd really like an iPod Touch now. Thanks!) :)

Then you see my computer. What I've blacked out on the screen is my email program that currently has 42 unread emails. I was in a 3.5 hour meeting early in the day, and a 2 hour meeting late in the day. The entire day was spent covering for the receptionist who took the day off, preparing for meetings, and sitting in meetings. I came out of said meetings with more work.

Next to the computer is pile #3. It will take me approximately 8-10 hours to get through this pile.

Then we have several small piles. About 2 hours.

To the right of that (couldn't fit on the picture), we have another pile. That should be relatively easy to take care of - an hour at the most.

You also can't see the pile of stuff to be filed that's underneath my desk.

I really like my job, though. I love the people I work with and I am learning so much. I love having the responsibility, now I just wish I had time to get everything done! So, that's where I'll be spending my weekend. Sigh....

I Slept Through The Whole Damn Thing

I love thunderstorms. Love, love, love. I used to be really afraid of them, but I distinctly remember one night my stepmom said to me, "I'm not going to have you go through your life afraid of storms. Let's go." And she dragged me to the porch and she showed me how cool they really are - we watched the lightning, counted until the thunder came, drank hot chocolate, and bonded a bit. Ever since then, I love storms and anxiously wait for them every monsoon season in AZ.

Last night was a doozy of a storm - check out the slide show from our local paper. Wow is all I can say. The bugger of it all is that I was freaking exhausted last night and I missed the whole thing!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Enough, Already

When I lived in Minnesota, March was my least favorite month of the year. By the end of March, it had been cold for literally six months. March was also the snowiest month of the year. It was enough already. That's how I feel about August in Phoenix. It's the end of August (can you believe how fast this year is flying by?) and it's enough with the heat already. I believe we've had a record number of days over 110 already (don't quote me, I 'm guessing based on something I read a while back), and it's enough. I know this will all be over in a month or so, but sheesh.

I have officially been in Arizona for six years now. I moved here in August 2002. When I think back now, it's amazing to me how much I've grown and changed since then. I don't even recognize the girl who moved here. What I remember very clearly, though, is the car ride to Arizona. I got to my new apartment, got out of the car in the 115 degree heat and said "my God, what have I done?" Everyone told me that by the third summer, I'd "get used to it". That's like saying you can "get used to" the cold in Minnesota - you don't get used to it, you get used to dealing with it. Big difference. Well, I rolled my eyes and said "yeah right" and then sat in front of the air conditioner for three years. Here we are, six years later, and I'm chilly when it gets below 75. I can honestly say I've learned how to handle the heat.

I'm still sick of it, though. Enough already.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

100

This list has been ALL over the blogs lately. It's a list of 100 things every good omnivore should try at least once. This list was developed on a blog called Very Good Taste. Here's a link to his original post. Tim and I both saw it and counted how many we've tried.

Okay, so before I post the list with the items marked that I've eated, let me disclose something so you can all stare at me with your jaw on the floor like Tim did. I've never eaten a PB&J sandwich. It's true. I don't like jams/jellies/marmalades. I've also never had S'mores. I don't like marshmallows either.

So without further ado, here is the list.

Here's what to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. I couldn't do this in Blogger, so I just made the text red)

I can't have spicy food, so I'll never be able to eat some of these things (like a raw Scotch Bonnet or some of the curries). I didn't mark these, though.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese (I just can't)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Again, I just can't)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill (I just can't imagine a situation in which this would seem like a good idea)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a Michelin 3-star restaurant (Not yet, but sign me up!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (I've had the American version, but not the traditional Hungarian stuff)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

For Jen

Have you been sitting on the edge of your chair, wondering how my new job is going? I'm sure you have. After all, it's all about ME, is it not? :)

It's going pretty well. I am struggling to learn a new industry, which has been frustrating for me. If I had gone to another mortgage company, I would have at least had a clue. Obviously everybody and every company does things differently, but if someone asked for a 4506-T, at least I would know what it looks like and where to get it. This is all new territory for me and it's a little scary. I hate the learning period - I want to be able to just walk into the job and know how to do everything. Unfortunately, 99% of the world needs at least some training before being able to be 100% effective at their job, so I know I'm being unreasonable. (Some people are never 100% effective - believe me, I know.) I was telling Tim last night that I wish it were like four months from now. By then, I'll know what I'm doing and I'll be more of a help to my co-workers. I hate feeling like I'm a burden.

So really my only complaint is that I'm not already great at the job, which is just me being a Type A freak.

The people are very nice. I'm also working with three former co-workers, which is just awesome, too. I had two really good meetings today, which helped to define my job a bit and answered a lot of questions. I'm still a little at the point where I don't even know what questions to ask, much less who to ask and how it all fits into the big picture.

I sound pretty negative, huh? I really do like the job. The company is great and I have real benefits. For example, when I get paid, the company doesn't automatically skim 10% right off the top and put it in their pocket. And I get paid time off. And health insurance that doesn't cost me $400 a month (1/10th that amount, actually). All good things.

So, Jen, that's how the job is going!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Help My Friend Propose!

My friend Michael is proposing to one of my very good friends, Leslie. Click here to help him propose!