Granny Square Obsession

Last week at knitting and crochet club I decided to learn how to crochet since I didn’t have any knitting projects in the works. And then, I found out that the airline I’m taking to Hong Kong prohibits knitting needles. So, what am I going to do on a 25 hour flight if I can’t knit? Needless to say that I don’t want to be detained in Russia for having knitting needles on my person causing me to ruin my entire summer or worse, have to throw out a project and bamboo knitting needles, I’m going master the art of crochet and hope that that won’t get me into any trouble.

I discovered the Granny Square. It might be my new obsession.

IMG_1744I learned with this WikiHow article.

Crafting with one stick in my hand is definitely something I’m going to have to get used to, but I’m pretty addicted to making Granny Squares so I don’t think it will take me long to accustom myself to this.

I love how crochet is so much faster than knitting, even at my beginner level! I might take on a blanket project that I’ve always been reluctant to start with knitting. A Granny Square blanket for my apartment next year? Sounds awesome to me! And I also love that a crochet finishing can really step a knitting project up. I can’t wait to combine these two crafts.

Does anyone have tips for a crochet beginner or know any easy first projects?

P.S. WordPress is telling me it’s my blogging anniversary! I’ve been doing this for one year already? I’m just disappointed in myself that I don’t post often enough, but I’m trying harder recently. In the next year, I hope to really share more good content.

Somewhere Between

As if being Asian American isn’t enough of an identity crisis, how about add the fact that you’re adopted?

Last weekend I spontaneously watched this documentary Somewhere Between that I found on Netflix. It follows the stories of four Chinese girls who were adopted by American parents. They all lead very different lives, yet they all find commonalities in their stories.

Being a product of two cultures myself, I sometimes find it hard to find where I “belong.” Sometimes I catch myself wondering how I am so comfortable around my predominantly white friends yet so proud of my Asian heritage. And then I wonder why I don’t have many Asian friends despite my gravitation towards studying and learning and embracing all types of Asian culture.

There is a theory out there about Asian American identity that says that during childhood, one day the kid realizes that she or he not white. They go through a period of “whitewashing” which is followed by a period of extreme Asian-ness (I made up that term myself). Eventually, they find balance and acceptance of their race. This happens to kids who are raised in an Asian household and so far, it’s been true for me. I think I’m between the Asian-ness and acceptance phase.

Now what about the case that the child is adopted? I could only imagine that the realization that you are “different” aka not white is more confusing and troublesome. So what makes someone “Asian” besides their race? Because clearly when you are raised by non-Asian parents and grow up as the only ethnic Asian in your small suburban town, genetic makeup is the only thing that constitutes the label. This documentary explores some of these questions.

Of the cast, I was especially inspired by Fang (Jenni). Despite being an adoptee she is still fluent in both Chinese and English. It’s times like these when I look back at my own childhood and wish that I kept up my Vietnamese studies. Fang goes back to China every year to help at orphanages and the documentary depicts a particularly touching relationship between her and a young Chinese girl with cerebral palsy. All the while, she is looking for the family/ethnic group that left her to be taken into an orphanage.

I think that this documentary goes to show that  it’s never too late to reconnect with the culture you were born into. Reading the bios of the cast on the website, I see many of them have started learning Chinese and traveling to China in their college years. I think it’s important to understand where you come from. It helps you understand your family history and yourself.

I could go on and on about these topics, but I’ll stop here.

Documentaries are starting to become my film genre of choice. I highly recommend this one. It’s available on Netflix and if you check out the website, there may be a screening near you.

The next documentary I plan to watch is Seeking Asian Female. Watch out for a little review of that as well!

Charlie the Octopus and Oh yeah, I started another blog? + Random Thoughts

IMG_1698

 

Yes, I made a knitted octopus Charlie Chaplin. I didn’t really plan for him to turn out this way but he ended up looking strangely similar to the silent film star.

So what’s on the needles currently? Nothing. There is just too much going on in my life to knit anything with a big commitment. However, it does seem like I have a commission for one of my bow ties coming up from my new boss/supervisor. Yup, I have a job now, too.

And as I mentioned in a post before, I’ll be studying abroad and working in an internship there at the same time. I made a new blog for my adventures in Asia so check it out! I’ll be posting there sometimes and here sometimes depending on the subject. When I go searching for a yarn store in Hong Kong I’ll definitely be at least linking the blogs to each other.

I am just so ready for this semester to end already. Next week I register for fall classes! Holy poop, my college career is nearly half over. They weren’t lying when they say time flies fast. That reminds me. Today I found out that this last post I wrote to any rising college freshmen and college students in general was not completely unfounded in my unconventional thinking. I went to a networking/panel event today called “Empowering the Next Generation of Business Women” and all the wonderful ladies there said almost the exact same things that I wrote about. Women like them are definitely my role models in life. One day I hope to find success and happiness like them.

But back to reality. I’m trying this thing when I live in the present. My uncle gave me this book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and I’m trying my best to take his advice. Focusing on the Now is more difficult than you think. So, now, at this very moment I think I’m going to go to bed early (haha 11pm is early for a college student!) because I have a headache and an exam tomorrow that I don’t want to study for any more. There’s no use in studying if I won’t be putting my full effort into it so I might as well do something good for my health.

I hope to get back to blogging more so look forward to more updates like this.

A word of advice

As the weather gets nicer, I begin to notice more and more tour groups trekking their way across campus. Just the other day I found a random family wandering the business college, mother toting a bright yellow admissions folder.

Yup. Looks like it’s college acceptance season.

Thinking back to this season two years ago (wow, two years ago already!) I don’t think I ever imagined myself being where I am today, sitting in this dorm at this university, with this pile of books and unfinished homework infront of me. Actually, my local state university was the last place I wanted spend these “best four years.”

From the second half of my junior year in high school up until the beginning of May my senior year I had one and only one thing in mind that I wanted for my college career. I wanted to be an industrial engineering major. So badly. So much that tears were shed. And it’s not often that I cry. Honestly.

But the University of Delaware does not offer that major. So I settled for Operations Management when defaulting to the school in the state that I so wanted to get away from, skeptical of the supposed similarities. I could not call myself an engineering major anymore. And what was I doing in the business college?

For the past two semesters my advisor has asked me if I was okay with my switch. And you know what? Yes, I am. I am so okay with it. So okay that I’ve taken up to recruiting people to my major because it’s the best major ever. And I haven’t even gotten into my major’s course work yet.

There’s always those “what-ifs.” What if I switched to a different type of engineering?

I wouldn’t be able to study something I’ve always had an interest in – the humanities – with my Asian Studies minor. Remind me why I wanted to be an engineer when I dislike studying the natural science so much? But don’t get me started on the math versus science issue. They are not the same thing. Nevertheless, I am able to pick up a Math minor along the way as well.

I believe I wouldn’t have discovered what I really want to do, my ultimate life goal. I wouldn’t have time to find out that I really wanted to start a non-profit to help minority women because frankly, I’d probably be drowning in calculus and differential equations problem sets.

So where is this going?

My point is that goals change. You can’t expect an 18-year-old to know exactly what he/she wants to do with the rest of his/her life. Rather than locking yourself into something you could potentially become unhappy with (even if you believe you know what you want to do with the rest of your life, but especially if you are unsure) leave a little room for exploration.

Here’s a few things I’ve picked up in my two years in college:

  1. A major is just a label. Don’t be upset if you don’t get what you want. Don’t expect that what you will do what you study. People always end up working in a different field than what they studied in college.
  2. Don’t get tunnel vision. Keep your eyes opened. You might find something you’re passionate about in the least likely places. It it may be completely different from what you believed you wanted to do for the rest of your life. It’s okay.
  3. Make the most with what you’ve got. Take advantage of every opportunity. It’s just another chance to find what you love or realize that you actually don’t love it. And you’ve only got four years to do it. It goes by faster than you think.
  4. Receive an education. Obvious, right? Too often people are too obsessed about making the mark but what good is a degree if you haven’t received an education? You do not go to college to regurgitate facts from a a text book. Just because you got an A on a test does not mean you’ve learned anything. Take what you’ve read and heard, look at the world around you, and raise a question. This is how the world changes.

 

I mainly wrote about the academic side of college, probably because it’s such a hot topic back home with my brother who’s currently a junior (if I hear one more thing about the SATs…) But always consider the overall “culture” of the college and what kind of extra-curricular activities are offered. I shiver just thinking that I might have attended a college without a marching band.

So for all you high school seniors out there, I’m not trying to scare you but this is probably the biggest decision you’ve had to make so far, right? Keep in mind that just because a school has prestige, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Rankings and retention rates can only do so much. This is just what I have come to think because of my personal experience, but no matter where you end up, I believe that if you approach college with an open mind, you will find satisfaction. In the end, it’s only four years of your life and it’s up to you to make the most of it.