hakuna matata

Back in 2007, I had gone on a missions trip to Kenya with my home church.  It was the opportunity of a lifetime.  It was also one of the biggest mistakes of my life and I still regret it to this day. 

I never told anyone, but those two weeks I spent in Africa were terrible.  It was quite possibly the worst missions trip I have ever been on.  But I couldn’t exactly say that, especially after all of my friends, family, and campus church had invested so much money and time in prayer on my behalf.  How could I come back and say anything short of God is amazing and truly showed his blessings upon us and other church-approved sayings?  My PR training kicked in and I told them what they wanted to hear.

The thing is I KNEW I shouldn’t go on this trip from Day 1.  I told Pastor James I wasn’t interested in another missions trip, that two back-to-back missions trips was enough for me.  But nope.  Him and Pastor Kang wouldn’t take no for an answer and soon enough I was signed up for more than I had bargained for. 

Life is all about the choices we make, right?  Well, if there was ever a crucial turning point, it was the night before our flight.  The whole team was sleeping at church since we had to leave for the airport at around 4:00am.  I was lying down in the pews and just about to knock out when I had this clear and urgent sense that I shouldn’t go.  That moment was honestly the closest I’ve ever come to receiving a direct message from God about anything.  He was giving me one last chance, and I totally ignored it.  My stupid logic and reasoning kept saying how I couldn’t turn back now.  That if I did, I would be wasting months of training, the hundreds of dollars my campus church had donated…how could I show my face back at KCS and tell them I hadn’t even had the guts to go to Kenya afterall?

The trip wasn’t all bad though.  It was just the team chemistry that was driving me insane.  First of all, I was the youngest on the team, which was ironically something I was looking forward to.  Ever since I first accepted Christ in my freshman year of high school, I had never felt that ‘high’ again and was constantly in search of it.  I chocked it up to a lack of older people to look up to.  Everyone that had helped me through that time had gone to college or gotten married, basically moved on, and now this missions trip seemed like a chance for me to relive my ‘glory days’ with God if you will and, hopefully, reinstill my faith as I entered the new realm of college.  Instead, my expectations came shattering down when I realized that most of the team had NEVER been on a missions trip before and how much that really made a difference.  They viewed this as a vacation of sorts, and missions is supposed to be so much more than that.  To me, missions is truly one of the most important and sacred things in life, and the way these older people were acting was an insult to that.  For example, while on the trip, they would constantly complain about not being able to take a shower.  HELLO.  WE’RE IN THE FREAKIN DESERT.  Water is not a commodity to be wasted on conditioning your hair.  Another problem was hormones.  A lot of the people on the team were in their mid-twenties, yet single, which led to its own slew of complications.  Rather than working with the children, they were flirting with each other.  Really?  You paid $2,000 and traveled halfway around the world to try and get some?  If you need a release, go work a corner back in the States.  At least you would make some money then.

Clearly, I was frustrated, which was interpreted as I’m a bitch.  The only thing that got me by was my new friend, 읍이.  She was a fob from Korea that was also working with the missionary that was guiding our team.  And even though I’d only known her for about two weeks, we kept in touch over the years.  We’re actually meeting up tomorrow in NYC and I still consider her a good friend of my mine to this day. 

Basically, long story short, I am more sure now than ever that everything happens for a reason.  The message the night before, the doubt, the frustration…it was all just a necessary step so that I would reflect and mull over things later on like I am now.  The way I look at it, this missions trip, though stressful, has not only taught me to be more patient with people (a skill I am still trying to perfect), but has also brought a friend in my life that I would never have met otherwise.  I also got to meet a lot of great Kenyan children and witness their strength and inner joy despite the difficult situations they face. 

Most importantly of all, I realized that I need to chill with my expectations and standards, especially when it comes to church stuff, hence my more…let’s call it ‘relaxed’ lifestyle this year.  It’s funny because when I was trying to be a super-Christian, people called me too self-righteous and now that I’m trying to be more normal, everyone at church has forgotten me.  I’m invisible.  I guess there really is no in-between.  But no worries.  I know things will turn around and that my crazy standards won’t seem so crazy one day:   

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
— Psalm 27:13 —

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2012

So on my roadtrip home from Syracuse, my friend told me this interesting theory she had heard from one of her friends…

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2009 was the year of the pig, and it was also when swine flu terrorized the nation.  A couple of years before that, when the bird flu was what everyone was worried about, it was apparently the year of the cock.  Strange, right?  Well, what makes this theory almost eerily nerve-racking is that 2012, the year everyone down to the ancient Mayans believes to be the end, is the year of the DRAGON.

Dun dunn dunnnnn.

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a night at the movies

I’ve been an absolute movie whore this past summer, but there’s still so many movies I want to watch!  Check out these trailers.  Some of them are mad old, but I can’t help it.  I’m a sucker for chick-flicks.

The Time Traveler’s Wife – starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams
Law Abiding Citizenstarring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler
The Stepfather – starring Penn Badgley and Dylan Walsh
New Moon – starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson
The Invention of Lying – starring Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais

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snakes on a…nissan maxima?

Blogging is probably the last thing I should be doing right now with pages and pages of reading as well as assignments yet to be started, but I’ve had the worst night and must document.

Here’s some background.  About a week and a half ago, I bought a pet snake.  I thought he was perfect, but soon realized he was quite grumpy and aggressive.  So I called PETCO and they suggested I come in and trade him for another snake since they have a 15-day animal return policy and I did just that.  When I got home, I was prepping the cage when Wayne and Michelle came in and asked to see my snake.  I opened the box nonchalantly to show them but he was gone!  Needless to say I flipped out.  I tore my room apart trying to find him.  I searched the car twice and scoured the parking lot.  And of course, there were about 50 people (no lie) in my parking lot for a party on a Tuesday of all days.  When I searched the car for the third and final time I saw him peeping his little head out of the vents in the back of Stacy’s car.  I tried to grab him, but he got scared and ducked back into the vent.  Soon, everyone in my building had heard what had happened and came out to help, but to no avail.  I’ve gone out to check the car about 5 times since then, but he still hasn’t come out.

On the fourth check, I nearly had a heart attack because I lost Stacy’s keys.  And to make matters worse, I had just locked her car.  I, again, was flipping out.  The last time I remembered having them was when a drunk guy from the party I mentioned earlier had come up asking me to help him put a cork into his liquor bottle.  And no, that’s not “what she said.”  He legit needed help putting a cork into his liquor bottle.  I helped the poor guy and he wobbled down to Marshall Street when the parking lot party was busted.  I thought I might have possibly dropped Stacy’s keys into his brown paper bag or that the guy grabbed the keys by accident so I sprinted down to Marshall in search of him.  I went to Faegan’s, Chuck’s, Harry’s, and every other bar on Marshall in search of said drunk guy, but I couldn’t find him.  Defeated, I walked back to my apartment and searched the trunk of Stacy’s car one last time to find the keys.  No luck.  Then, right when Nicole and I were closing the trunk to go inside, we found them!  They were in the keyhole of the trunk the whole time.  I was relieved, but have never felt more retarded.

So, to summarize, I lost my pet snake which is still loose in Stacy’s car; I thought I lost Stacy’s keys but didn’t really; and it’s 1am and I haven’t started any of my homework.

The end.

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the wonderful world of disney

While bed-ridden from a killer hangover, I was watching endless episodes of The Simpsons on Hulu when one of them made an intertextual reference to Snow White.  I suddenly realized that I’ve seen pretty much every Disney movie but this one.  When it came out in theaters when I was like six my mom took me and my brother to go watch it, but it was sold out.  We were already at the theater so she figured we might as well watch something and picked Jurassic Park because “it sounded interesting.”  Needless to say I was scared shitless.  For the next couple days, whenever I went to the bathroom I would run out the moment I was finished because I was afraid I would get eaten by a T-Rex while on the toilet  just like that one guy in the movie.

So now that it’s been years since said aforementioned traumatic childhood experience, I decided to watch Snow White on YouTube today.  It was okay.  Not Disney at his best by far.  I think I was extra critical of this film though because every week in my summer class we watch popular movies/shows and analyze them.  We’ve done The Matrix, Pleasantville, Fight Club, I Love Lucy, Grey’s Anatomy, House, and Hairspray so far and it’s made me super aware of things I never noticed before.  For example, did you know that House is modeled after Sherlock Holmes?  Holmes, Homes, House.  Get it?  They both have drug addictions, are obsessed with solving “the puzzle,” and both even live in the same apartment number, 221.  And Wilson is basically House’s Watson.  Snow White is no different.  It’s riddled with messages about how beauty is the most important trait a girl can have and that her life should revolve around finding a guy.  And there’s that overplayed reference to Adam and Eve when the Queen tempts Snow White with an apple.

Other Disney movies aren’t much better.  Did you ever notice how the mom always dies or is already dead in every Disney movie?  Bambi, Finding Nemo, The Fox and the Hound, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas…the list goes on.  What’s up with that?  And how come every race has a Disney movie except Black people?  Asians have Mulan, which is by far the best Disney movie of all time, Native Americans have Pocahontas, Middle Easterners have Aladdin, even mer-people have The Little Mermaid, but when it came time for a movie set in Africa, Disney chose to use animals instead of people.  We might have a Black president, but when will we have a Black Disney princess?      

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to sleep, perchance to dream

A few days ago, a guy from Time Warner came to hook up my internet and cable at my new apartment.  The only time he could come was 8am, so I crawled out of bed to answer the door and pretty much went back to sleep right after he left even though I had work at 10am.  During that brief 45-minute nap, I had a crazy dream.  I don’t remember much, but the one part I do remember is that I am back at the apartment complex I lived in when I was a little kid.  This guy that I worked with last summer, Joe, is there and he’s stealing my mom’s car.  He drives it around and crashes into a parked car, denting my mom’s car in the process.  I’m furious and chasing him and then out of nowhere a baby appears in the middle of the parking lot.  I pick him up and try to find his mom when Jamie Lynn Spears, the notorious little sister of Britney Spears, comes up to claim him.  Then my teeth fall out and I wake up.  The weird thing is this is the third dream I can remember where my teeth fall out.  What does this mean?!?  If anything, I guess I should make an appointment with the dentist the next time I’m home??

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dollar dollar bills y’all (the power of a well-written email)

Tuesday, August 4 (4:51PM)

To Whom It May Concern,

I am currently employed as a federal work study student at Hinds Hall.  I submit my hours for approval via email on request by my employer and it has worked well thus far; however, a couple of weeks ago, the Human Resource Administrator misplaced my email – forcing my paycheck to come a week later than usual.  This was a hassle, but not detrimental by any means.  What I am trying to get at is that her mistake caused my paycheck the following week to be combined with the missed one and thus increased my taxes disproportionally.  I ended up losing about $30 in the process, which I know is petty cash when I am addressing a department that must deal with hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more but to an undergraduate student that is a significant loss.  I basically lost 10 percent of my normal pay for an administrator’s mistake.

This might be a silly question, but is there any way that I can request this difference back?  I would greatly appreciate any and all help with this matter.

Sincerely,
Minhee Cho

***

Wednesday, August 5 (8:52AM)

Good Morning,

After review, due to the departmental oversight, a one-time tax refund totaling $30.26 (Federal = $23.81 and State = $6.45) will be issued to you in the pay you will receive on 8/12/09.

Please contact the Payroll Service Center if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Tiffany

Syracuse University
Payroll Service Center
Skytop Office Bldg, RM 106
Syracuse, NY 13244-5300

***

SUCCESS 😀

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