Wednesday, December 24, 2008

personal challenge

so much for attempting to post something at least once a week. while a lot has been going on, i just haven't had the desire to write or share about anything. also, the abundant time i used to spend online was increasingly replaced by more hours at work, which is a good thing and very grateful for it. aside from growing and developing amazing relationships with customers and team members at Apple, i've also been just going through some personal stuff that i wish would just stop re-surfacing. i'm putting all my effort into focusing on other things right now. 

for weeks, i've been meaning to blog about my thoughts on the holidays and my friend ansley's missions in Chad...

as time allows, i try my best to catch up with Ansley's stories and experiences in Chad ( when i reflect on the timeframe between when I was in Peru to now, I've come to the realization of how easy it's been for me to quickly forget the needs of the world. I'm saddened by how easily I've allowed myself to become wrapped up in what I want, in my goals and ambitions rather than thinking about what I can do for others with my [current] talents and resources. I thank and admire Ansley for her courage and dedication during this year-long mission because she reminds me of what's truly important -- especially during this commercially driven holiday season. 

I wish I did not have to be reminded this lesson so often, unfortunately that's the reality of the human mind and time. Time is unforgiving and sometimes selective with our memories. If we don't strive to exercise/live our convictions daily, time will do it's natural course and will slowly become just merely memories. 

so, this is more a challenge for myself but i encourage you also to find a small way that you can make a difference in someone else's life this season. it can be as simple as being a listening ear, offering someone a ride who's walking through a snowstorm, or reminding the people in your lives that you appreciate and love them. this Christmas let's dig deeper beyond the checking accounts and credit cards.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a New America

as the sun sets on Nov 4, 2008, the city of Chicago, the American nation and the world await the results of this historic election to see who will next lead this nation we call great.

pushing through crowds just to stand elbow to elbow and watch CNN from a giant jumbotron with thousands of people was exactly how i preferred to spend tuesday night November 4, 2008.


i'm so lucky to live in Chicago and be a part of this historic event! imagine people actually flew in from all over the country to be at this rally--i met a couple from Curitiba Brazil and a girl named Jamie Barnes from Atlanta, GA (whom we adopted for the rest of the evening). Jamie flew in after she got off work, arrived in Chicago at 6:00pm, partied with us, and flew back to Atlanta at 6:00am to go back to work. she was a ton of fun and we're glad we were able to share this memory with her. 

shortly after Ohio's electoral votes went to Obama and surpassed the needed 270, the crowds erupted in cheer as CNN announced the breaking news--America, we have a new President-Elect, Barack Obama!!

we jumped, we screamed, and jumped some more and everyone was hugging everybody...i've never hugged so many random people but it was great because we all shared the joy of the moment.

it was invigorating, exhilirating, exciting, energizing to be amongst sooo many people sharing similar values and hopes for a new America. i'm sure all of you felt an array of emotions on this day so i will just post a few pictures and let you view the rest on my Flickr!


now that the election is finally over, it is our duty as an American people to come together regardless of partisan membership and work together to unite this country. it is not enough or morally correct for us to depend on one man to do all the work and mendings that loom ahead--we each have a civic duty to our communities and country to do our part to bring the CHANGE that we seek. just because Obama won doesn't mean the work is done, rather the journey is just beginning. each individual living in this country has a responsibility to him/herself to do their part and not sit back and wait for CHANGE to happen. any CHANGE begins with you, with me, with each their homes, in their communities, in their state, in the nation and as they interact with the world.

so, i hope you take this challenge seriously. do your part and the CHANGE we are all seeking will come in time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Salmon & Spawning--Campaigning in TV shows

I couldn't resist. I have to blog this one--

I enjoy watching my shows on Monday nights..the final of my Monday line-up is Boston Legal. As we all know, tonight is the eve of a great historic election, thus it is only natural and patriotic of every single TV network to find ways to subtly slip in political messages to encourage viewers to vote.

the episode begins with Denny and Alan out on the balcony enjoying their regular cigar. for those who don't regularly keep up with this show, they are two of the several lawyers in the firm and are sexists, chauvinistic men. 

Alan and Denny are chatting and smoking  and Alan asks Denny if he's going to vote tomorrow. Denny says he's never missed an election, so Alan inquires whom he's going to vote for. Denny admits that he's going to vote the same way he's always voted in the past. Alan's curiosity continues to escalate and pushes him further. Denny says that his side has won 8 of the past 11 elections confirming that his vote is going towards John McCain. Alan is on the verge of making a discussion of this, but Denny quickly tries to avoid any confrontation. Before agreeing to shut up, Alan requests two reasons why Denny wants to vote for McCain. 

Denny states that he votes according to his values. 1st reason: Because of the salmon. McCain isn't directly going to do anything about the salmon, but if he gets elected, people will migrate to Canada and indirectly improve the spawning of the salmon. 2nd reason: women. (Denny is infamous for being a womanizer) He believes that when a Republican is in power, women tend to be more vulnerable and are easier! When a Democrat is in power, women feel more empowered to take leadership roles and feminism is higher. He admitted the [popular] Republican view of women is that their role is mainly to be at home. 

This episode (along with a host of other shows and talk shows) is basically a very clever and strategic way to integrate political messages that are very much relevant to today--literally TODAY! Denny and Alan go head to head with the government when the USDA prohibits a cattle rancher to test every one of her cows for Mad Cow Disease.

The episode was set to be the actual election day and half way through the day they were supposed to go and vote. Alan continues his attempts to change Denny's mind regarding his vote until they break out in a little "gun" fight involving paint bullets in the office and embarrassing themselves in front of all their colleagues. 

either the writer or producer for Boston Legal is a huge Obama proponent or the Obama campaign paid ABC huge, it doesn't matter. the entire message of the episode was fairly accurate in all the facts that were presented regarding the cases that were fought and reflect views that Alan and Denny represent in the general population. In tonight's episode, Denny represented an American who appeared to have his mind made up but in reality was still susceptible to persuasion.* 

it is these Americans that every media channel is working overtime for in the next 20+ hours.
if YOU are that American and you have not yet voted...please, you have less than 20 hours to make history. BE a part of History! Go out and VOTE!

"Tomorrow (24 hours from now) we're going to wake up with a NEW America."

*to find out which candidate Denny Crane ended up voting for at the end of the day, watch Boston Legal on

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

politics entertaining?

I'm watching the Late Show with Jay Leno and he starts his show with short responses from children regarding the current presidential election...

Here's a couple of the funnier ones that stood out to me:

8 yr. old girl--
Q: what will the new president do first day on the job?
A: "Lie, lie and lie some more!"

10 yr. old boy--
Q: what's the difference between Democrats & Republicans?
A: "Republicans are elephants because they stomp all over Americans. Democrats are donkeys because they carry everyone on their backs."

Let me tell you, I really got a kick out of it. As the Nov. 4 Election day comes closer, every network is talking about McCain, Palin, Obama, & Joe the'll even catch snide remarks in Boston Legal! And SNL with their weekly updates...well, if you've been keeping up, you know what I'm talking about...
NBC has really found a way to make politics a little more entertaining.

Here's Sarah Silverman's Great Schlep for Florida:

Anyways, regardless all the angles the media gives us, I encourage you to do YOUR own research on the issues that matter most to you. I know it's only 6 days left until the OFFICIAL LAST DAY TO VOTE, but you still have a chance to make a difference.

Yesterday, I went with my parents to our local village hall and voted for the very first time ever in my life (I forgot to register during the last election). Unfortunately my parents and I don't share the same political views, but let me tell you, it felt great!! I really feel like my one vote counts for something. Also, take time to learn a little about your local Senate and Congress candidates. They are the ones that directly impact your community. Get to know who they are and what they represent. is a really easy site to navigate to learn about all the candidates for each state. It provides you a complete list including their websites.

What you choose in this election may not only affect the next four years of your life, but who knows may directly influence the rest of your life. Make an educated decision and choose wisely.

Anyways, there's my speil...GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND VOTE TODAY or NOVEMBER 4!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

lessons from tank

this lovable, black haired, labrador/australian shepherd mix joined our family three summers ago when we went to Monterey Bay, CA to help my brother settle in to his senior year of high school. 

as children, my brother and i always begged for a puppy but never got one. you can say tank accidentally worked his way into our home because getting a dog was never really part of the plan. we accompanied my brother to his new boarding school (Monterey Bay Academy) facing the beach and surrounded by strawberry fields. it's a beautiful place and he's very lucky he had the opportunity to go there even for just a year. anyways, we spent a couple days getting supplies for his dorm room, unpacked his stuff, painted the walls, etc. 


on our last day there, the day before my parents and i were supposed to head back to Chicago, the dorm dean (strategically) placed six beautiful black puppies on the front lawn of the dorm. if you know me at all, i'm instantly drawn to animals, specifically dogs and i couldn't resist. i had to go and play with them. he was busy bumping around his smaller sisters with his giant swaying butt, he barely noticed me picking him up. the moment i picked him up, my heart melted. i called for my mom to come and see the little guy (he was actually the biggest of the litter) and apparently he had the same impact on her because well...she changed her flight to accommodate a puppy, we went to a vet to get his shots on that same day, and he now lives with us and keeps us company every day. 

 (there he is playing with some boy in the dorm before we took him away)

i'm sure the dean didn't intend to lure parents into taking home a puppy that day. no actually they were probably hoping that as parents were leaving their children behind for a year to four years, they'd feel lonely and empty at home so the thought of adopting a dog would probably be more effective on Dorm Move-in day than any other day of the year. since the puppies were being given for free, they each were brought home by different sets of families that day. most stayed in california while one went on an airplane to live in the suburbs of Chicago where he is currently being pampered and probably spoiled beyond belief ;) 

my parents (especially my mom) have been truly grateful for tank's company in the past three years because he essentially became their only child left at home. she would buy him sweaters and toys and oh my goodness the list goes on. but what makes life different since tank entered our home and joined our family is the constant love and joy he provides us. 


there's nothing like coming home and being greeted with a wagging tail and excited sway in his body. tank seems to know when we're not feeling so good, when we're sad or angry. i've read that labrador retrievers are especially more sensitive to human emotion than other breeds but having experienced so many things with tank in the past three years, i know that now for sure. two months ago i was extremely upset and crying about something and he just instantly came to my side. i was laying on the couch and he just did his best to console me by licking up my tears and resting his head on my shoulder. what a dog! 

anyways, something happened the other day. if we're not careful to throw them away, tank has this habit of stealing paper towels from the kitchen counter. so he snatched one that probably had the smell or leftover taste of food on it and was chewing it underneath the living room coffee table. he know it's not good for him because it always gives him a hard time when he's trying to relieve himself outside, but he eats them anyway. i was trying to prevent this from happening so i got down on my knees on the opposite side of the coffee table and scolded him to drop the paper towel. he got so caught up in the moment that he growled at me and probably didn't intend to bite me but my hand was too close to his mouth. one of his teeth punctured a gash into my left ring finger and i instantly pulled back and squeezed my throbbing finger. it began bleeding and my mom came to the room to see what had happened. tank immediately knew what he'd done and came to me as if apologizing for allowing himself to get out of hand. but in my anger and pain, i refused to forgive him and yelled at him instead. i was so angry and bitter at him! since i've moved home, he and i have been constant companions every day. i make sure he doesn't miss a meal or a walk every morning and evening. and this is how he repays me?! i told him i would not speak to him for the next whole day and he really seemed to understand me. he just sat quietly on the floor and would steal a few glances at me every now and then as if to say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." 

later that night, rather than jumping on my bed like he normally does, he just looked at me kinda hesitantly from the hallway and just had this mournful look in his eyes. he was trying to melt me with his eyes, but i wasn't going to budge. i went to bed with my finger still throbbing. the next morning when i woke up, he didn't greet me with a good morning lick, rather the mourning eyes and hesitant body language continued. he was waiting for my approval but i had to hurry and get ready for work. when i came home from work really late last night, he came to door and was waiting for me to pet him. i got down and gave him a long rub and told him that i forgave him and reminded him to never do that again and to obey when we tell him to do something. 

friends again, i sat on the couch with my laptop and he curled up next to me. it's amazing how we humans can hold on to feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, etc, but dogs are easily let it go. when they make a mistake and you make it known to them, they acknowledge their wrong and try to instantly fix it or beg for forgiveness. they just want to be friends again. humans (us) on the other hand, we can stew and begrudge for months and months on end before we realize we have a part to play in bringing relationships whole again. 

sometimes i think labs (or dogs) are more sensitive to humans than humans are to humans. we are so afraid of how our response or emotions are perceived by other humans that we're afraid to be 100% transparent with everyone around us--more often than not with those that are closest to us. i think we have a lot to learn from animals, in this illustration black labrador retrievers. they can teach us how to love unconditionally and forgive when wronged. 

how can i apply this lesson that tank has indirectly taught me to my human relationships?

Friday, October 24, 2008

decluttering: letting go & embracing the future

Rather than trying to promise daily posts, my new goal is to write at least once a week if not every other week.

so my journey at HOME (referring to my parent's house) really just began last sunday when i unloaded my car of the remaining belongings i left behind in Michigan.

while i began my new job at Apple almost a month ago, i was really still a guest in my own house because i hadn't even begun to at least unpack my suitcase. how could i when the current state of my closet and bedroom has been used as storage space since i started college? there was literally no room for me and the other things i accumulated while i was away for the past five years. i was totally tempted to stack these storage bins on top of the other ones i brought home at the beginning of the summer after graduation, but like my hard drive, i knew i was coming close to reaching the ceiling before our house would be packed full of storage bins. i really did not want to unpack them and sort through the other crap in my closet and bookshelves because i knew it would not be quick and easy.

i hate to admit it, but i did just that. i lounged around the house feeling sick, watched tv with tank, and let my stuff sit in a pile in the living room while contemplating how i should begin to sort through my mess. alas, i woke up one morning (maybe it was tuesday) and decided to put my contemplating into action. unfortunately i didn't do a very good job at visually documenting every step of the process. i should have taken a "before" picture before i started attacking each corner but i only started taking photos halfway through the renovation. my room is a square with two windows (on the left of one wall), adjacent to that wall is a wall painted red. the other walls are a light gray with white trim. my parents originally positioned my bed in the corner between the windows and the red wall. at the foot of my bed was a stack of plastic drawers and a large 5-tiered bookcase against the red wall. directly to the right of the bookcase is a mirrored closet that really is not meant to contain much more than one person's regular-sized wardrobe. my mom has from time to time been guilty of storing unwanted clothes, blankets, towels, typical household odds and ends mixed in with the few items i left in there for the times i did come home for a visit. so if you were to just quickly glance in there, the closet would appear quite full. anyways, here's what my room began to look like after i started the DE-CLUTTERING process:

my dad and i rotated the bed so it would be centered against the red wall with the foot facing the opposite grey wall rather than it's previous position against the corner opposite the closet. since the goal was to also move the tall bookcase, i temporarily unloaded my library into a box until i could get the bookcase to the corner diagonal from its current position.

yes, the goal was to clear up this corner and move the beige bookcase to the corner where this black bookcase is currently standing. also, to the left of the black bookcase stand two consoles side by side. they too were fully loaded with a bunch of crap i had accumulated through time. a few of the items i found are displayed below. after painstakingly sorting through each item and discarding a majority of them, i moved one console to each side of the bed. it was not an easy feat.

there were two spindles of old burnt CDs with MP3s, movies, and games my brother downloaded mixed with some originals i.e. Spice Girls and the 1996 Grammy Nominees. I began my music library at a young age (12 years ago I would've been 11 yrs. old) and at that time the iPod did not yet exist hence homemade mixes. unfortunately i think i already threw away all the old cassette tape mixes the first time we moved. so, i threw away most of the CDs, they were scratched up anyway and kept these few so my brother can reminisce and take his own journey through memory lane when he comes home for Thanksgiving.

the contains of this box used to be an authentic marble vase handmade in Egypt. I went on a 5-week tour of the Middle East in summer 2005, bought this in Luxor, Egypt after seeing a man work his magic with marble stone. Considering i paid quite a bit for it and made sure the man wrapped it as securely as he could, I hand-carried it for the remainder (4 weeks) of the trip intended on gifting this to my parents when i returned home. unfortunately the contents didn't quite make it to the United States in one piece. the shards you see above actually occurred halfway through the rest of the trip. i didn't realize it until i opened it upon arrival at home. i was so heartbroken that my prized gift to my parents couldn't even resemble a vase anymore. for some reason, i couldn't part with it right away, left the shards in the box and tucked the box away down in a corner in the lower part of the console in my room. i quickly forgot about it and other items i brought home from other countries began to take up space to my already small room. i could've just thrown it away when i saw it was beyond repair, but maybe it was the thought of having spent so much money on one item only for the tangibility to be shattered before it could even be used. or maybe it was because i bought it in Egypt and even if they were just shards i could still hold on to a little bit of that experience regardless the direction our individual lives (my travel partners) would take us. maybe it was both.

anyways, i've decided that moving on doesn't necessarily mean i have to forget those experiences, i'm just making room for new ones. while these shards apparently meant something to me, i let them go and put them in the trash (after taking photos of them). they were only taking up precious space that i need to use for new souvenirs.

next item(s): two walletbooks. huge back in junior high and high school. i decided to keep them, after all they are full of pictures and it's fun to look at them every few years just to chuckle about how much we've changed (or not) since those days.

a taste of my massively increasing book collection.
- my fave Dr. Seuss book: "Oh the Places You'll Go" gifted to me when I graduated high school from my best friend's sister.
- a few old yearbooks
- marketing research books i bought as reference for some papers i had to write but turned out they were quite good reads--Why We Buy by Paco Underhill is so mind-opening. I recommend you pick up a copy. You'll find yourself in the book more often than you expect.
- some of my books were obviously for classes i.e. Advertising & Promotion. actually, that was probably one of my favorite classes; 1. because i loved the teacher 2. i took it as an elective 3. it's a very well-written textbook.

i did discard quite a few books, but in the end i actually ended up still keeping the majority of them. i'm now trying to convince myself to go through them again and sell some of my older textbooks despite a voice in my head telling me that i may need to refer to them some day for future papers or research i may need to do...i dunno, it seems these are the hardest items for me to let go. hmmm, don't judge.

the hallway and guest bedroom where packed with stuff while i was busy moving and organizing in my room. eventually, it all got cleared out of the way and went to the garage. while i threw away lots of old papers and contents of binders that i've collected from possibly every class in college, most of the other stuff i just threw in storage bins and marked them "Garage Sale items." if anyone needs binders (i have pretty much every size), un-used college rule notebook paper, dividers (color and clear, with or without pockets), notebooks, just let me know! it'll save you some money if you're still in school! don't worry they are all in good condition, i threw away anything that was broken or looked crappy.

after pictures

while i still have very mismatched furniture. at least it looks cleaner, less-crowded, and organized. i removed all the things that are no longer pertinent to this part of my life and kept those that i think can still presently serve a purpose and possibly the future. of course tank is a permanent fixture that i'm glad my family attained three years ago. life wouldn't be half as entertaining without him. he's the one thing (or creature) that brings joy to this home.

transitioning from a 40+ hour work week, living in my own apartment, having my own routine and activities, to working only 10 hours a week, moving everything i owned from that apartment and finding space for it in an already filled household, and coinciding with other people's (my parents) routines and schedules...this entire week was a cathartic process for me. sorting through the past and making space for the present and future is really helping me adjust and cope with the change(s) that have naturally developed in the past few months.

my room wasn't the only room that went through changes, actually i re-arranged the entire family room downstairs as well, i just didn't document it. it may have only been two people living in this big house, but somehow they've just made it their own. my parents didn't intentionally shove us out of the house; my brother and i just went off to college and only came home for a weekend or week(s) here and there. since we weren't here on a daily basis, each room kinda acclimatized to my parents habits, activities, routines, etc. the entire house molded to their daily life. since i will be living with them now, i need to transition from just being a visitor to a daily resident meaning the shape and mold of the house has now to adjust to having a third person with a different lifestyle and routine. i'm not the only one adjusting, my parents are too. it's not just about them anymore, it's about all of us and living harmoniously together.

this re-arranging and organizing was just the beginning of the process. the next few weeks will only see more progress in this development process i call "moving home and decluttering." next week's project is my brother's room and then maybe i'll take a break, find some recipes and take up some cooking. we'll's going to be one week at a time.

thanks for enduring my extremely long posts and therapeutic rants. i don't assume you read it all, but if you do Reader, thanks. thanks for being there with me and going through this with me. i encourage anyone who's going through any life changes to find something productive to help you embrace the change and process it in a healthy manner. good luck!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

udpates: i've been too busy living or no one woke me up after september ended

you know the song, "wake me up when september ends?" yeah, it took me a little bit longer past september to wake up. now, it's mid-october. It's not that I have nothing to write about, rather I've had too many things going on that I didn't know which to blog about or if I even wanted to share what's been going on in my life. matthew says the truth: "if you're not blogging, it means you're too busy living."

or...maybe i just wanted to wake up when october ends? haha...nice try huh? anyways, here's the updates:

since my last entry of Aug 29, Obama and McCain have debated twice, both of which I think were quite unsuccessful and demoralizing--the American people don't want to hear two grown men bicker and throw insults at each other (you know who does what more than the other); we want to actually discuss the issues and concerns currently relevant to our lives! Plus side about the political antics, Sarah Palin has just provided more fuel for SNL and Tina Fey to provide entertainment for America so we can be distracted from the reality of our lives.

besides politics, since my last entry I stood as a bridesmaid in my childhood friend's wedding with 10 other bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen...yes, it was a VERY large wedding, but fun nonetheless. most traditional weddings are typically the same if the couple doesn't get wed in a Vegas chapel: a large bridal entourage, lots of flowers, toole, lots of guests, lots of pictures, and a dance party after the reception.

the very same weekend of my friend's wedding (Labor day weekend), i discovered that I did not get accepted for the job I really wanted, realized that I was now officially unemployed and made up for it by becoming the proud owner of my very own iPhone 3G. the rest of that week I spent wallowing in despair. my mood lifted momentarily when i received a phone call from Apple a few days after receiving the "bad" news. the manager at the local Apple retail store near my home had just finished reviewing the resume I [forgot] sumbitted a month before and invited me for an interview. Of course I accepted! I interviewed two days later, gave them my all, and a week later I called back to ask the results...the follow-up phone call went like this:

me: "hi my name is karen. how are you doing today? i came and interviewed with Manager 1 and 2 last week and I was just calling to follow-up and see what your collective decision was?"
manager: "hi, karen I was just about to call you. unfortunately, at this time we have decided to accept some of the other applicants. I'm sorry."
me: speechless. I politely thank her for her time and the opportunity to interview and hang up. still speechless. thoughts run through my head, "what could I have done better? what did I say wrong? am I really that bad of an interviewer?" etc...

10 minutes pass and my iPhone rings again. it's the Apple store. what else did she forget to say?

manager: "hi, Karen! I'm so sorry, I read the wrong file! I made a mistake and I actually wanted to tell you that we do want to go ahead with you and have you start as soon as possible."
me: speechless. "Thank you! I would love to"

now, here's the clincher. between the time I interviewed and the above phone call, I went back up to Andrews to get some of my stuff and visit some friends. While I was there, a dear friend who's also the Alumni director, offered me an opportunity to do some contract work while waiting to start with Apple. I graciously accepted. who's going to turn down money and awesome experience? not me. ever.

so, I respectfully told the Apple store manager that I would be doing some contract work for a couple of weeks and they told me that I wouldn't be starting training anyway for another couple weeks so it ended up working out perfectly! I gained some amazing event planning experience assisting with Homecoming events for Alumni weekend, got to spend a little more time at Andrews, and Apple was flexible enough to let me start when I completed my contract. It turned out to be a win-win situation! It definitely helped keep me from twiddling my thumbs.

I helped out with one last event (the Harvest Picnic) on Saturday night, the last weekend of September, woke up super duper early on a Sunday morning and drove down to Chicago with a few of my belongings from my apartment. I stopped by my parents' home to check on the dog (tank) for half an hour (the parents went on a weeklong road trip) and went straight to the Apple store in Oak Brook to begin my new experience in retail.

I have had a wide variety of work experiences in my short life, but never actually dabbled in retail, so why not give it a try now? who said you had to go directly to a full-time career straight out of college? there are no absolutes about post-college career options. anyways, i've always been curious to experience retail and who better to work for than the giant conglomerate Apple Inc.? I've been a huge fan and Apple user for many years now (thanks to my great friend andriy who converted me from a Windows Sony Vaio--he was the original commercial).

after four scholastic days of training, I officially became shirted "Mac Specialist." This week marks the completion of my second official week since I finished training and I can truly say "yep, I'm proud to be working retail and working at Apple." :)

while I've had some depressing moments during this whole process and transition(s) between college and home, old comfortable campus job to no job, successful interviews and contract work, i'm still grateful for having gone through these past couple of months. everyone comes out of college and goes through something different. some may seem to have more of a clearly directed path while others will fumble for a while until they realize their focus or passion or both. but regardless, we will all learn something about life and about ourselves in the process.

what i've learned so far about myself during this (sometimes enduring) process is that i love to work regardless what kind of work it is. but not necessarily for the right reasons. i like to work for the experience [and money], but really i liked to be constantly working and being busy because it helps me stay distracted from the deep, jumbled emotions that have been stockpiled for so long but have to be eventually dealt with. that's the reality i learned about myself. so now i'm accepting it and trying to find ways to be real with others and more importantly with myself.

also, in addendum (to this already long entry) i've begun to like living at home again, getting accustomed to a new routine, reconnecting with old friends, and making NEW friends! it might have just taken leaving Andrews for me to realize that there is a whole world of wonderful, beautiful people out there ready for me to discover and meet.

that's the update for the past month and
half. hopefully i will be more faithful and blog more regularly so i don't stockpile it all in one long speil another month and half from now.

quick recap...

1. interviewed for a job, got denied -- it's okay, i LIVE
2. my friend entered the life of marriage
3. got an iPhone 3G!
4. interviewed with Apple for retail position
5. did contract work for Andrews Alumni office
6. started work at Apple store
7. september ended

8. making new friends
9. learning to deal with life's cards for me
10. choosing to LIVE and continue my journey

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's acceptance speech in Denver

With crowds screaming and chanting, "Obama! Obama! Obama! Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes We Can!" Barack delivers yet another empowering speech that will transcend through time.

Watch the full speech here or go to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

45th Anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech

Fourty-five years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Tonight, the first African-American man in history will stand before the nation at Invesco Field and accept the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

To read more about the Presidential Nomination, please go to the following sites:
Obama Wins Nomination; Biden and Bill Clinton Rally Party
Obama seeks to woo nation with speech

The following are excerpts from MLK's original speech:

"In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..."

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.

It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

[you may find the rest of the speech @:]

Happy Anniversary Martin Luther King!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

good friends are...

i dunno where my mother got this from, but i found it to be quite true, and yet amusing at the same time. go figure, i would.

"...good friends are like good [quality] bras --

they are supportive,
they are comfortable,
they don't let you down,
they don't keep you hanging,
and most importantly,
they are close to the heart."

--Victoria's Secret (fyi, my mom's name is Victoria)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

embracing change

i've been staying away for various reasons, one is that all my current musings would only reflect the same redundancy of the last couple posts: the post-grad anxiety i've been experiencing.

today i was just reading a blog a PMC associate pastor wrote. he wrote about change and how the general population usually reacts to change. most people tend to run the opposite direction when confronted with change, while there are only a very small few that actually embrace change. in our current day and age, change is a constant part of life. technology, scientific discoveries, economic situations, relationships, etc all undergo change at rather rapid speeds. most of the time, it's a speed we're not yet comfortable with until it's time for another change.

i've been having progressive epiphanies on this matter when i realized what i was attempting to do--run away from change. i'm in my early 20s and have been somewhat protected from drastic changes. now that i've graduated from the safety, security, and structure of college, i was a bit caught off guard when i didn't know how i would maintain those three S's i was accustomed to having.

after two months of pep talks from close friends (whom i'm very thankful for), i finally decided to be a little more proactive with the change that's so-called part of [MY] life. rather than just sit and read job descriptions of what i'd ideally like to do, i finally took one and wrote the bestest coverletter and resume i could muster. just the very act of writing the company got me excited and started to alter my entire frame of mind.

i feel much more motivated, optimistic, driven, and passionate about pursuing something than i was a month ago! i realized how deep into depression i really was and the hole was only getting deeper. the very act of taking a day off to do things i really needed to do and improve my resume renewed the fervor and zeal i knew i once had within me.

now, i feel refreshed and ready to embrace the changes and challenges that LIFE will present me. thank you God for these dear friends of mine who take time from their busy LIVES to care enough to give me some perspective and even leads to job opportunities.

here I am LIFE! I'm ready for ya!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

After-College-20Something Talk

a word of voice to undergrads out there: prolong your college experience for as long as possible.

I do not know what I'm doing or what I will be doing. I'm studying for the GRE so I can pursue a Masters in a field that I'm not so sure about yet. And after five years of studying and reading textbooks (I actually read the chapters assigned), you'd think my vocabulary would be somewhat larger. Not so much. yep, I have nil to offer.

man, am i wallowing in self-loathe? no, this is so unlike me. why am i beating myself up so much?

because it's a big, scary world out there with so many possibilities! i don't know which one to face first!

does putting off the "Real World" really prolong the fact that I will have to continue the journey of life--begin a 'career,' build financial security, pursue higher education, and if it's in the cards for me, find "the ONE," get married and start another cycle of life.

am i a coward if i choose to go abroad and search for more adventure using the guise that I'm looking to enhance my international professional skills? in my heart of hearts, i do want to do all of the above: the American Real World, but i'm scared.

what is it that i'm scared of? a former mentor once taught me the following acronym: FEAR is nothing but False Expectations Appearing Real. i'm so good at preaching that to others too, but when it comes down to practicing it myself, now that's another story.

so this is the challenge i have for myself: face my FEARs, they are only inevitable situations. whether i choose to accept them and face them this year or in the next two years, i will still have to go through them. so why waste time, a friend asked. life isn't that long. life is definitely short, which is why i'm babbling about this to you friends and stalkees.

i understand this is what everyone says is typical "After-College-20something" talk, but i'm glad i can still express it amongst all the other 20Somethings out there that blog about their mundane thoughts. thanks for letting me be one of them!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Next Chapter of My Life Huh?

A whirlwind update: a month ago, I graduated from Andrews University with a BA emphasizing in International Communication and a BA in Spanish Studies (so yes, that does mean that I have the ability to speak with at least 90% fluency). The past four weeks, I was traveling around Chile and Brasil with 49 other students to complete the last six credits I needed for my Spanish degree. A great end to a college career huh?

Do I sound marketable enough yet? Well, I'm sure after 2 Master's degrees, 3 Doctorates, a PhD, and a command of at least 5-6 more languages, I can get that dream job--whatever(s) it is that I'm dreaming to achieve.

Anyways, I came back home less than a week ago, spent a long weekend at home with my family and dog, did some laundry, got my fill of TV and home-cooking, and packed up again to move back to good ol' Berrien Springs where I'm currently living [pretty destitutely] by myself in a basement apartment right next to the house, formerly known as the 'Filipino Sorority House,' where I lived with 3-4 other [Filipina] girls for a large part of my college experience.

Before I drove away from my Permanent home, my mother and I bowed our heads as we typically do before I drive or fly away. Her prayers usually requested for my safe travels, blessings for my studies and exams, wisdom in preparing future plans as I finish college, etc. This prayer had a little variation to it. This time, she said: "as Karen embarks on the next chapter of her life...please guide her...." and I can't remember the rest of her sentence. My attention got stuck with the first part of her sentence, "the next chapter of her life." Have I really already arrived at that chapter? What a cliché question, but true. When I first started college five years ago, I didn't think I'd arrive at this chapter of my life so quickly! I thought I still had plenty of time to figure out what to say to the staple question that seems to automatically activate in everyone's minds once you graduate from college: "so, what's next?"

My answer to "what's next?" isn't the most glamorous, but it'll have to do.

While I have lived away from home for at least 6-7 years now, I have never actually lived without a roommate. I'm supposed to have a roommate this summer, but circumstances altered at the last minute; therefore I am currently learning firsthand how to literally live alone for the first time in my life. I admit, the first night in my unfurnished, spacious apartment, made me feel a little nervous. It was almost as if I didn't know how to act around myself. Haha, okay maybe I sound a bit exaggerated. But seriously, I guess it really does take some getting used to. Don't get me wrong, I still have friends here, it's just different coming home to [sometimes a lot] people or coming home to walls and carpet. The walls don't have much of a witty remark to the question: "how was your day?"

Anyways, the second night was a bit more comfortable with myself. I could easily just call one of my friends and hang out at their PAD until I grow sleepy, but I wanted to give myself and I a shot. So, after collecting the rest of my belongings from a friend's basement, I unpacked them, discovered my small collection of DVDs, unrolled my cozy sleeping bag in the middle of the large living room, popped in season 4 of Friends, propped my PowerBook on a RubberMaid top, and settled in to five very old and still amusing episodes of Friends. I heard myself laughing out loud several times throughout the couple hours and realized that the family upstairs could most likely hear me. Despite that, I didn't want to reprimand myself from laughing. Not then, not ever. I realize this is something I will always have with me. If you've ever watched anything with me, you know that's true. As hard as I try, I have an honest to goodness difficult time keeping myself silent. It's just uncontrollable. However, I have to say I sincerely improved when amongst bigger groups of people and am somehow managing to keep the comments to a minimum. But, when I am by and with myself, as I was the second night, I don't even try. I just let myself lose. Boy did it feel good! And I did have fun by myself!

As for the first chapter of my life after college...I guess as a response to the question 'what's next', it would read: "Having Fun with and by Myself."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Travel Update

here's a quick summary what's been going on in the past few weeks:

1. I finally graduated from college on May 4! yaya!!

2. The day after graduation, May 5, I flew out (along with 40+ other students) to Santiago, Chile.

3. We spent a week in Chile where we were shivering our butts off because it's fall there right now and summer is just approaching in Chicago and Berrien Springs.

4. We arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil on Sunday evening where we've been disfrutando a variety of things like El Cristo Redentor who overlooks and protects the entire city.

5. I will probably have a hard time putting up more pictures since I didn't bring my own laptop. anyways, there's one.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bush's top-down policies on torture

Please read the following and take action:

You can read more about U.S. involvement in torture and waterboarding at the website of American Civil Liberties Union.

You can either passively read this and move on with your daily activities or you can take an active role, make your voice count and click on the following link.

It's easy and simple, you can write a personalized message yourself or use the sample provided: Demand Accountability Now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Here are a few highlights of today's happenings in celebration of Earth Day on the campus of Andrews University.

An Eco-Concert held on the steps of the James White Library

More will follow...For now: GO GREEN @ WORK, HOME or DORM!
Please go to for more tips to living a life for a greener Earth.