Women are Just People too

I’ve been reading some articles and thinking a lot about how gender plays into our lives and destines us to certain fates and expectations in our lives.  I guess this came from a conversation I had visiting my friend and her baby recently.

She told me that she wished so hard that her baby would be a boy.  I asked her why.  She said because she did not wish her baby to suffer more than what the world would already have out for it as it grows up.  If it were born a girl, she would worry about her  baby having to grow up with more inequalities stacked up against her:  she’d have to worry about her baby being raped, sexually harassed, prejudiced in the workplace, and many other horrible things.  It made me really sad as I don’t have my own baby and it really opened up my eyes to how many of my friends have repeated the same thought to me before.

So it’s not that women are “weaker” and need to be protected, but we generate this belief and want to protect them more in order to shield them from the dirty world out there… the odds that are stacked up higher.  They’re not the problem, they are not placed on this earth to ruin you or tempt you or whatever bullshit.  The world and its perception towards women is the one that needs changing.  Take responsibility for your own faulty beliefs.

At the end of the day, we’re all human.  We’re all just people trying to make it through life.  I wish more men would treat and view women as fellow people first, and women second.  Our values and our potentials and our rights are not defined only by our being female.  There is a reason why terms like “friend zone” is such a problem when its original definition should be innocuous:  because it does exactly that- it creates this erroneous idea that women are not worth keeping around if guys don’t get what they wanted or pursued.  It’s not okay, and people need to become more aware of their own misperceptions because it is so deeply imbedded in our culture.

I’d like our babies to grow up in a world where we don’t have to fear that our child is born a girl.

UGH. ranting cause so worked up all of a suddenly.  I think I’m too mad to post this publicly lol I just sound bitter now -.-

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Attempting to Make a Korean Dinner Pt. 6

Ok… I am done with Korea at this point LOL.  I made japchae again for lunch, and then a quick cucumber pickle and baked the remaining fire chicken, and added a few soft boiled eggs to the fire sauce.  I also redeemed myself with the eggplant dish this time, simply by stir-frying it and adding a bit of water to my sauce in the pan, ensuring that it was well-cooked and saucy and delicious (just realized I forgot to add fish sauce… oh well).

Today was supposed to be seafood pancake day… so I planned and prepped for the simple potato pancake, the kimchi pancake, and the green onion pancake.  I added some chopped shrimp to the last two… the potato pancake turned out quite delicious, although I had a wee potato left, and grating it as well as the onion took forever.  The kimchi pancake broke and never solidified, so each time I tried to turn it over, it just ended up becoming scrambled.  I think this is due to me using the smaller pan, using the bigger pieces of kimchi that I bought instead of chopping it finer, and not adding enough oil.  I even tried to save it by adding an egg on top.  Bless my mother, she said it still tasted good though.  The last one, I kept adding oil, and it ended up looking like a sad mushy oily mess 😦  It still tasted okay, but I think I added too much green onion, even though I tried to add more batter, it just didn’t work out proportionally correct.  I’m also not good at flipping things in the air, so I pathetically kept scraping at the bottom and using my spoons to turn them over.

28276086_10156248855058960_396464713_o.jpgI think I just don’t want to attempt this dish for a good while  because the prep work exhausted me and the result was less than decent, definitely unsatisfied.

Attempting to Make a Korean Dinner Pt. 5

I followed this recipe to make buldak, aka fire chicken!  It’s a popular dish that I’ve seen on Youtube mukbangs and also on some select menus at korean restaurants.  It’s always piqued my interest, and I wondered what it tasted like, especially with a combination of mozzarella cheese on top. Turns out, it tastes amazing.  I followed Maangchi’s recipe here:

https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/buldak

28208336_10156246513673960_898021416_oFirst of all, the sauce that Maangchi gives is DELICIOUS:  sweet, tangy, spicy.  Also very simple to whip up, although very messy particularly with the vivid bright red color. It also took a long time to control the cooking and baking of the chicken, especially since I had to use what was in my fridge, which was chicken drumsticks instead of 1-inch breast.  I’d say I spent total around 50 minutes in the pan and also in the mini oven.  I also added a bit more water to let it simmer longer, but it could have used a bit more time actually.

In addition, I found mini rice cakes and went ahead and boiled that and threw it in there on top after rinsing in cold water.  Lastly, topped it all off with a generous heap of mozzarella cheese to toast and melt.  The combo is very interesting and surprisingly delicious!   I’d def crave this dish again!  There’s a few more drumsticks marinating in the fridge as I just couldn’t fit anymore into the pan.  This yields 8 drumsticks, and we ate it over plain white rice.  My family enjoyed it very much!  Maangchi is great.

Tomorrow, Korean green onion and seafood pancake time.  My mom also wants me to make Japchae again.  I may also attempt to make korean fried chicken, and red bean buns too next week since my mom loves those.  We’ll see.


P.S.  I was disappointed because my friends are all out in NYC and Jersey City celebrating their birthday, and I couldn’t join, partially because it’s too much walking and cold, and it’s also snowing.  But, as I’ve had to learn many times over, you gotta try to make the best of what you have through your disappointment and try to still do what you can.  It still turned out not a bad Saturday, and I still feel like I can go to bed having accomplished something productive and new.

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 4

We are almost nearing the end of Korea Week!

Today I made Bibimbap, which apparently means Mixed (Bibim) Rice (bap)!

28275312_10156243886508960_1054264151_oBefore and After Pics:

Again, I followed Maangchi’s recipe, and altered the ingredients a bit according to what I had left in my fridge.  I used:

-1 Cucumber

-1 Large Carrot

-12 oz. beansprouts

-8 oz. spinach

-1/2 a portion of enoki mushrooms

-whatever of the red bell pepper I had left from the previous day for japchae

-green onions for garnish

-gochujang (red pepper paste)

-1 portion of steak (marinated first with sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and honey)

I’m very proud of how it turned out!  I attempted to fry the bottom of each serving of rice before serving and topped it off with a fried egg as well.  I think the process is simple enough, just a lot of chopping, mincing, and prepping.  It simultaneously makes me appreciate the food I’ve eaten at the Korean restaurants before, admiring it as a dish I had no idea how it happened before, to making it in my kitchen, but not being as excited by it anymore now that I understand the process.  Never thought the day would come… but I think I’m actually ready to leave Korean cuisine and won’t be super hyped by the idea of going to a Korean restaurant from now on.


I believe the remaining to-do lists that I will most likely target next will be some version of Korean pancake, as well as the Korean Fried Chicken.  Since starting this cooking journey for Korean food, I’ve used up most of my bottle of sesame oil and at least 2 bunches of garlic lol!   In the future at some point, I’ll try making cold spicy noodles as well as the pine nut porridge.  Perhaps I should redeem myself in the eggplant and potato banchans as well…

Trying to foodventure my way through the tastes of each culture is pretty fun, and I have ready guinea pigs at home to try them out 😀

Stay tuned for next week as we enter Japan, and I attempt to make dishes like Chicken Katsu and Tamagoyaki!  I think after that, it’ll be soul food or Indian cuisine.  Not a huge fan of Mediterranean, but my dad likes it and it’s quite healthy so I may try some falafel wraps or something like that.

Although I have not been successful today in finishing all the tasks I wanted to do, the bibimbap still leaves me with a deep satisfaction since it was always a really colorful and delicious dish that caught my eye on the menus at restaurants… and especially since I was really hungry heh.  It makes me happy to make my parents eat healthy dishes hehehe.  Lots of veggies, all tasty.

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 3

My chopping and mincing skills are getting better I noticed! Regardless, I roughly followed Maangchi’s recipe for japchae and it still took me a long ass time to prep everything.  I had to utilize 1 pot, 2 pans, 2 chopping boards, and prep 9 different components of veggies for my japchae cause I’m greedy.  It was fun though, and the result was quite delicious! My parents seemed to genuinely enjoy it which made me happy ^_^

Yields 4-5 generous servings

Ingredients:

(All medium heat unless otherwise specified)

-1/2 bunch of enoki mushrooms (20-30 sec. cooking time)

-1/3 lb beansprouts (20 min. boiled with cover on –> idk why so long but Maangchi said so)

– 1 egg, yolk + white separated (matchsticks)

-5 green onions (2-inch chopped, 40 sec. cooking time)

-1 generous handfuls of baby spinach (30 sec. blanched)

-1/2 cucumber (matchsticks, 20 sec. cooking time)

-1/2 onion (fat matchsticks, 2 min. cooking time)

-1 red bell pepper (matchsticks, 20-30 sec. cooking time)

-1 carrot (matchsticks, 30 sec. cooking time)

-1.5 cloves raw garlic, 1.5 cooked garlic

-16-20 shrimp, deveined (1 min. cooking time maybe, or whenever color has turned orange immediately)

-1/2 lb. japchae (boiled for 8 min, taste test)

-adjust soy sauce and sesame oil, roughly 2-2.5 tbsp each, 1 tbsp sugar

-sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top


Other mini accomplishments for today:  Used up my spoons on folding laundry and cooking.  Tomorrow will be gym, data science, cooking bibimbap, wash hair.  Hopefully I won’t run out!

Random Late Night Thoughts- On Lung Transplants and Perspective

On Goals and Motivation:  The beautiful thing about goals is that you can always achieve them and make new ones, the possibilities are endless, and you have a lifetime to keep going.  When I was a kid, I read this book about this really old man who decided to go to school and teach himself how to read.  It was really inspiring.  He could’ve decided to stay home and been embarrassed or made himself sick with worry on what others would think of him.  I think a lot on our battle with these inner demons and realize that at the end of the day, our biggest challenge in any goal is overcoming our own mentality and insecurities.  They could be something as apparent as being in a wheelchair or having a stutter, they could also be secrets of our past that we’ve buried deep but still influence our daily thought process, and seep into our choices and actions in life like poison.

Goals can be big or small.

My smaller goals lately have been mostly to aim at realism.  I want to make goals I can achieve more immediately- cooking new kinds of food, learning a new language, focusing on building my mentality and body.  All of these are goals as long as you chip at it each day and work towards it, they aren’t less valuable or successful than typical dreams like becoming rich or becoming a movie star.  The hugest part of reshaping my mentality the past recent years was to becomes strong enough to go through the lung transplant evaluations that I knew were leading down to a path of not a maybe, but an eventually.  I had many meltdowns at night and at the hospitals because the fear was always hanging over me, my anxiety became so bad I freaked out at the very idea of sitting in someone else’s car or trying to fall asleep.  It felt like the world was weighing down on me when anyone even tried to make me talk about it:  because I could get away with it sometimes, I wanted to shove the parts of me that was ill away and try to carry on looking fine and dandy and blend in with the “norm”.  I was determined to live the life of a regular kid, to worry about friends, boys, and all the petty drama that came with it, handing my paper in on time, getting a job.

I need to take a moment now and appreciate myself and the fact that I went through that and got through it in 2017.  I don’t often reflect on how far I come, I usually focus on what didn’t work out.

Recently, one of my goals was to go through Harry Potter World in a wheelchair for the first time, and not break down.  Check.  Huge win for me, even though it’s not the same as everyone clapping and cheering for you on stage or something like that.

When I think of this and all that I went through, I almost want to laugh at how petty everything else compares in life:  when I get frustrated or disappointed with people, stressed over things I don’t have, and most of all, finding out how entitled and weird people are out there that you come across at your job.  I remember being annoyed and complaining about it, but the truth was I felt happy.  Happy that today, I got to be “normal” and complain about petty things like other people who don’t really matter in your life anyway.  It’s just noise.  Letting things get to you and affect you negatively is draining- you gotta choose what is important and worth being stressed over. This is something my dad has constantly reminded me growing up about not being too sensitive or upset over everything.

There are always going to be situations and people who suck.  You can’t go through life only meeting nice and good people, never getting hurt – and I don’t mean just by strangers or acquaintances, but the people closest to you sometimes – yes, your friends, your family.  But that’s how you learn and grow each time.  Who other people are, what you can reasonably expect, how you can deal with the situation better, how you yourself can be better.

I had an epiphany recently, and that was the realization of just how low my self confidence has been.  I always knew I was shy and reluctant to open up to others, but I was thinking about how I subconsciously approached my friendships I’ve had in a way as if they were not only valuable to me, but that I owed them the world for taking the pity and time to be my friend at all.  As if I brought nothing to the friendship, and had to spend the rest of my life trying to prove that I am worthy of being a friend.  I tried to be more extroverted, bubbly, happy, to smile and be more fun.  To go out of my way when I could for them so they wouldn’t see my flaws.  And when it didn’t work out with the friendship, it cut me deep. To the core.  I would be resentful with them, disappointed that they must’ve seen that I didn’t measure up and was too much of a burden.

  1. There is a difference between understanding who is precious in your life, but also understanding your self-worth and all that you contribute with your presence and actions.  As from the movie “Wonder”, it’s okay if you were born to be different and to stand out.  Embrace it.  You are worthy of friendships, and as long as you try your best and care for them, they are lucky to have you.
  2. True confidence comes from within. Today I came to the revelation about how regular people can walk 5-10 times more than I can at 2-5 times the speed and still don’t get tired…. how do you not feel fucking invincible??  I would.  My second revelation… if you can feel at peace and accepting about yourself even as you sit in a wheelchair with no make up on as a bunch of people you know stare at you and question you, then you’re still fucking invincible. (I haven’t reached this point of invincibility yet ._.;)
  3.   I used to think of a strong mind as a fortress, one that can protect itself from negativity, and barricade positive vibes within.  But now I think of a strong mind more as a temple- why? Let the negativity enter, sit there even.  And STILL be able to have your positive vibes rise up higher than all the noise- this is what constitutes a strong mind.

“All that shit will feel petty when you feel pretty” -Dumbfoundead

APPRECIATION FOR EGGS~

While I’m finishing up my last post on food, I just want to stop for a second and say I am just starting to understand the amazing ingredient of egg- just the versatility alone blows my mind.  I always wanted to host a food competition where in one round, we blindfold the contestants and they have to taste the ingredient and guess what it is.  I just discovered what my second contest would be… the best dish showcasing EGGS.

How many ways can you feature eggs?  The possibilities are limitless, I tell ya.

I grew up hating eggs because my parents liked eating them crispy and with ketchup.  As I started to learn how to cook, I discovered I much preferred eating them lightly scrambled and tender, or in liquified yolk form that you find in poached eggs, sunny-side up, etc.  Now I’m looking into Japanese egg custards and Korean omelettes. I actually like eating soft boiled eggs or dipped with oyster sauce.

-Fried egg

– Soft boiled egg

-Medium boiled egg

-Hard boiled egg

-Poached egg

-Sunny side up egg

-Scrambled egg–> French method is over low heat = ultimate tenderness

-Egg omelette

-Korean egg omelette (folded technique)

-Baked or “Shirred” egg

-Taiwanese Egg custard (dan ta)

-Japanese Steamed egg custard

-Japanese Tamagoyaki <– my new goal to master

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 2

I’m very happy with the dishes I whipped up today for my family!  It was much faster since I only focused on 3 dishes, and we ate it with shin ramen.  I think the thing about Korean food that makes me happy is how colorful and playful it is with the variety of each small dish.  I made:

-Steamed Egg with green onion

-Pickled Cucumber <– honestly could devour a giant bowl by myself

-Beef Pancakes

I’m only going to follow Maangchi’s Youtube recipes from now on… hers seem to work better.

I’m not really a fan of grating, shaving, or frying things because it’s annoying, so I try to avoid those.  But today I tried coating my beef slices with flour and egg before pan frying it, and it was quite successful in my opinion!  My parents enjoyed it, and you can tell it’s good when most of it’s finished by the end of the meal.  I did remember to take a quick picture… here’s me with my game face on and my lucky Harry Potter shirt on, and then the actual dishes, topped with leftover bean sprout banchan from the day before:

27939794_10156231878993960_449260070_n

28081171_10156231878928960_1009116257_o.jpg

Notes to self:  need to do the steps more carefully for the beef pancakes, and coat with more flour so there’s a clearer egg casing on the outside, also try to slice the steak thinner.


Tomorrow’s Banchan Attempts:

-Potato Redemption

-Eggplant with a different recipe

-Seafood / veggie pancake

 

Attempting to Make A Korean Dinner Pt. 1

I need to write up a quick documentation so that I can refer back to this when I do succeed in making the utmost DELICIOUS Korean food 😀

So today, courtesy of HMart I attempted to cook a few banchans to accompany our rice, stir it up to excite our tastebuds!  My parents and I have gotten chubby and eaten one too many donuts lately, so we’re trying to eat healthier and lose some weight together.

What I made:

-beansprout and cucumber dish (Success)

-green sprouts from sweet potato with red pepper flakes (Success)

-Korean egg roll (Not bad) –>  add less salt, more sugar next time

-chilled eggplant (Fail)  –>  too much acidity, more sugar

-sweetened potatoes (Fail)  –>  burnt… add more water next time, cook potatoes longer

I took one poor quality Snapchat photo, and will post a better version of the final perfected dish one day and post it here.

What I discovered:  sesame oil and garlic are THE essential items for banchans, not actually red pepper flakes.


Attempting tomorrow:

-Steamed egg https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/ttukbaegi-gyeranjjim

-fix the eggplant…  or make a different dish with leftover eggplantshttps://www.maangchi.com/recipe/gaji-namul

-Korean egg-beef pancakes
https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/soegogi-jeon
—————————————-

Attempting another day:

-Korean style coffee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zNKal3PI_Q&t=122s

-Japchae

-Chicken Bulgogi

-Pine Nut porridge

-Kimchi Seafood pancake

-Kimchi fried rice

-Korean Fried Chicken

-Kimbap

-Bibimbap


 

My dad’s friend joked once on learning how to make Taiwanese food for himself once moving to America alone:  “It’s not hard… first time, too salty, second time, not enough salt, third time, got it just right.”

This ^ proved true for me in attempting something that is known for being easy to make… pancakes.  I bought pre-mixed buttermilk pancakes that you only need to add WATER to… yet somehow, it tasted kind of gross the first time I made it.  I used a pan since I couldn’t find a griddle, and my friend overmixed it so that it was too watery of a consistency.  So the second time it was a bit better, but still kind of thin and wimpy looking.  Third time, PERFECTO.  So delicious and what I had craved since I first bought the mix.  Fluffy, thick, and tasty.  Here’s how: a little less water than the instructions say so that the batter is thick when you pour it onto the griddle, lumps are completely fine, even good.   I added Jacques Torres dark chocolate pieces into it and drizzled maple syrup, whipped cream, and sliced bananas on top.  Yeah… maybe not losing weight anytime soon.

 

 

 

Storytime: That Time I Got Robbed and Other Musings on Gratitude and Empathy

~StoryTime~

There was this one time when my parents and I were on vacation in Canada and my mom and I had gotten into a fight the previous night; I was about maybe twelve years old.   The next morning, we ate at the hotel complimentary breakfast with the expected aftermath of awkwardness in the air- I kept my eyes lowered to shield my puffy red eyes under my hat.  There weren’t many other people around, but I remember seeing two tanned men sitting near us at the next table.  I was in a foul mood, angry with the world and still upset at something my mom had said earlier; my feeling ashamed reflected clearly in my flushed face.

I was so lost in my own world of sulky thoughts that I only barely took notice that my mom had left the table to get more food.  Soon after, my dad also got up to head to an aisle leading to the men’s room, leaving me alone.  The next minute, I was whipped out of my thoughts by a man who approached me, pointing furiously towards the direction my dad had left in and jabbering in a foreign language.  His panic was infectious.  The first thing that came to my mind was that something had happened to my dad: he had a heart attack, he had passed out, there was a fire.  I hesitated and stood up as the man bolted off – confused, I wondered if I should follow him or call the police.

Next thing was my mom’s alarmed voice; she had come back and immediately exclaimed, “Where’s my bag?!”

I glanced around to the chairs around me, and only saw mine.  That was the moment  I realized that I had been hoodwinked.  The men who were sitting near us were gone.  The police arrived and questioned us, and after watching the security footage, confirmed that the two men had dashed out the backdoor.  The police told us that it was one of a few cases that had happened recently in the neighborhood hotels in the same exact fashion.  The next hour was filled with my mom calling various places to cancel her credit card accounts, phone accounts, and anything else the police advised her to do.  My mom’s camera, phone, and unfortunately, more than half a thousand dollars cash had been in her favorite bag.  She said she had forgotten to remove all the cash since her recent trip to Taiwan where she wanted to exchange some of it for Taiwanese money.

The shock that had hit all of us that early afternoon had us immediately forget, or rather, let go of any ill feelings harbored towards each other.  I remember feeling a mixture of emotions.  I felt guilty that I had not watched our things more carefully, that I had so naively been fooled by that guy, who must’ve distracted me to one side so that his accomplice could grab my mom’s bag to the other side of me.  I felt a bit regretful that so much money had been lost, especially since my younger parents worked hard to save up money.

I also felt tremendous relief that nothing in fact, had happened to my dad; he was okay.  My mom was okay, I was okay, we were all okay.  Nobody had held me at gunpoint or knifepoint threatening to kill us if we hadn’t handed over our possessions.

I also felt the weight of grudges just a couple hours ago melt into incredible gratitude, realizing by comparison the full pettiness of my sulky world.  One argument was a bad grain of sand in the spectrum of our lives.  Even though I don’t count myself as particularly religious, I remembered thinking that this incident must have been God’s reminder to me to wake up and understand that much worse things could happen at any given time.

We really tend to see what we don’t have, and what others do have.  Even on days where I’m in tremendous pain physically or emotionally, or my car broke down,  I would just think, if only I didn’t have to deal with this shit.  How much better the day would be if I just wasn’t in pain, if the car just worked and I could get to my friend or my groceries.  That’s how we see that the ordinary, “boring” events are actually extraordinary.

Today, some tragedy could’ve happened that left my family homeless.  Today, I could be so destitute that I don’t have enough money to buy dinner.  Today, I could’ve lost a loved one.  Today, I could’ve found out someone I loved didn’t love me back anymore.  Today, I could be feeling so depressed that I want to kill myself.  Today, I could be lying in the hospital again, just wishing that I could sleep in my own bed and get a hot shower.

Today, none of those things happened, and I did get to feed myself, sleep in my own bed, and take a hot shower.

I was in the car the other day and musing over the whole “glass half full, glass half empty” cliche.  Maybe we’re missing the point when we look at it that way.  Maybe the truth to finding Zen and acceptance of everything around us, including the shitty parts, is to see the glass itself.  That the glass exists at all.  That we have a glass.  That we have water at all.  It could all so easily be nothing, just empty space floating into more nothingness.


-Just a passing thought about how to find happiness and peace since that is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.

Reminder though, that even though we should strive to be more appreciative and notice all that we do have, it’s still okay to let yourself feel the sad parts too.  We’re wrapped up in a society that expects us to feel fine all the time or try to get us there (“Feel better!” “You’ll be okay” “I’m sorry” other crap etc.).  Is that true healing?  No.  You have to walk through the tunnel to get to the other side, there is no shortcut.  You can’t magically Apparate or sprout wings over the tunnel.  What we can do for each other?  For true empathy, be there for one another.  Rather than a “Feel better”, I want to live in a society where we hold each other’s hand.  We offer an embrace, we tell them yes, what they’re going through sucks, but I’m here for you.  I will walk with you through the tunnel.  You’re not alone.

There’s a difference between finding pleasure in sulking in misery, and brushing off any pain like it’s nothing.  Validation, entitlement, to your feelings… I guess it’s a bit of a fine line sometimes depending on perspective.  There’s a balance.

I’ll admit that this is one of my faults too.  I’m a hypocrite, because I have told people to “feel better” before.  Because when I feel their burden, I just can’t.  I can’t even handle my own burdens sometimes.  “Put the oxygen mask over yourself before helping others put their masks on” <— wise words of a flight attendant.  But I’m working on it, and I wish more people would just give more of a shit to be honest.


Today’s Obsessions (Music):

-Heaven by Julia Michaels

-Sacrifice  by Black Atlas & Jessie Reyez

-Wait by Maroon 5