Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Frohe Weihnachten

Hoping everyone has a fantastic day with family, friends, and those who they care deeply about.

Call/text/skype someone you haven't spoken to in a while; it will make their day.

Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël/Frohe Weihnachten/God Jul

Much Love from DC,


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I didn't cry when I said goodbye to my host parents one last time at the airport, but it was definitely one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. I couldn't wait to come home to Virginia but I also didn't want to leave the charmed life I was living in Denmark.

The flight back was mostly uneventful. I had a stopover in Iceland and then then a 6 hour flight to DC where I sat next to this middle aged lady who was super sweet but kinda weird. She had been working/vacationing in Europe for the past two months and we talked about her kids (also in college) and she even bought me some food because she felt bad for ordering food and eating next to me without me having anything. Also, while it was probably just her being endearing, she kept calling me "baby" which made me slightly uncomfortable since she was also a big "toucher" when talking. I just tried to smile along the entire time. I ended up catching up on a bunch of movies during the flight too - Prometheus (meh, not very memorable), The Dark Knight (So awesome), and Independence Day (A bit long, but pretty good). Passport check was a huge pain in the ass and took about an hour to get through but after I got my luggage, my mom was there waiting at the arrivals area which made me really happy.

The past few days have been me basically reintegrating back into American society. I've been eating at all my favorite restaurants, falling asleep on the couch, putting up Christmas lights, and of course driving. Some other things I've missed about America:

1. Everything is SO cheap - People complain about how everything is getting more and more expensive, but four months in Denmark and Europe has shown me we have a VERY low price point compared to the rest of the world. Paying $2 for a cup of regular coffee is never going to be something I will complain about again.

2. People walk faster - I'm a city guy in this respect. I cannot stand when people walk slowly and I often got really frustrated when everyone was walking so slowly in Europe, even in downtown.

3. Forced-air heating - Sounds silly, but radiator-based heating sucks ass. It's inefficient at actually heating up a room and I don't see how it is any cheaper, especially the natural gas heating I have in my house.

4. Big portions - fun fact, I actually lost a few pounds abroad. I attribute this to the amount of walking/commuting I did but also the fact that I felt awkward going in for my regular 3rd and 4th servings at dinner. I was sated at dinner, but I like feeling full. Late night snacking helped somewhat, but yeah, returning to the land of two pound Chipotle burrito bowls makes me very happy.

5. I'm one of the best dressed again - One way my gay shows is how I dress. I don't wear tight clothes or anything, but I dress well. Even my jeans and zip hoodie days leave me looking better and more put together than the majority of how people dress (it's all about the fit dudes). In Denmark, people really cared about how they looked which was nice, but I wasn't a stand out anymore as cocky and haughty as that sounds.

6. Family/Friends/Dog - So happy to see them, like, elated-I'm-walking-on-air happy.

7. Brandon - Let's just say he was as excited to see me as I was to see him last night - meaning a lot. We chilled at his place for a while, chatted with one of his roommates, and just cuddled on the couch again. I spent the night at his place and it was that magical night in August all over again. I really like the guy, and I hope, really, really hope this will become something more.

I'll probably start my summer internship search in the next few days and also start prepping for move-in for my apartment back on campus which won't be until January but whatever. For now though, I'm just enjoying life and everything home has to offer.

Take it easy guys,


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The End of Study Abroad: Vi Ses Denmark

I can still remember clearly as day the first time I walked into this house. I still can feel the warm sun on my skin, the light breeze, and the perfect 70 degree temperature. I still remember starting to unpack everything, unsure of what to expect out of the next four months of my life and the people I would meet, the classes I would be taking, and whether I would love my time here or hate it. Today, exactly four months to the day, I sit in my room with it looking like it did the first day I arrived: the desks are clear, my suitcases on the ground full of clothes, and me wondering if everything around me was reality or just a dream.

Where did the last four months go? Did they even happen?

Four months ago I was excited, scared, and nervous; today I am conflicted. I'm ready to go home. I miss my family, my friends, my dog, my car, but I also feel like I'm leaving my family all over again. I cannot even begin to describe my gratitude to my host family and everything they have done for me. They took me, a complete stranger, into their home, their family, and their culture with a level of warmth and openness I have never experienced before. I was their first host child so I can only imagine what their expectations were when they picked me up from the airport. I can only hope I lived up them.

Looking back at everything I did and saw in the span of a semester makes me dizzy. I saw a nation from head to toe, travelled to Paris, to Hungary, and to Austria. I made dozens of new friends, tried new things, and even did a little learning along the way. Even with all the photos on Facebook and the stories in my head I can now tell, it still all feels like I was in some dream, some massive, beautiful, surreal dream, and I don't want to wake up.

Angels, both of them
I can only hope I won't cry when I say good bye at the airport tomorrow. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 7: Life Aspirations

Better late than never. I knew this post would probably take a while and originally I thought it wouldn't even be done today, since I had been working on a paper, going to the gym, and some friends wanted to go out tonight. Given that however, the usually oh so perfect Danish rail system had an off day as some tracks, mainly my friends' tracks, weren't running. So now, dinner is done, I'm taking a break, and hey, let's finish this Week of 10s thing up. So here, awesome readers, are my 10 life aspirations and dreams.

1. A Solid Job: One thing I definitely want/need in my life is to have a stable, well paying job which can afford me to live comfortably and also give me time to vacation, have fun, and time with family (which I will discuss later). I don't know where I want to go in my life really, it feels like I'm walking through dense fog, trying and hoping I eventually run into something great, but I have some ideas. I would love to have a job working with Europe-East Asia relations when it comes to business/consulting/marketing. Given I am Asian and can speak English, French, and hopefully by the end of senior year, German fluently, this could be a good niche to carve out for myself. But for now, this is just a dream.

2. A Home: My mom achieved her American dream when she bought her/our house. She made good money, lives a comfortable life, and moved way up from when she first arrived on these shores. For me, I also want to achieve my American dream, and one of those things, is a nice home. I don't want anything huge, yeah I want probably around 4 bedrooms and a 3 car garage, but not one of those massive monstrosities you see in the suburbs near where I live - ones with massive porticoes and empty rooms for the hell of it. I would rather have a house that has everything I need, but have those things be nice. I'm a bit of a sucker for classic interiors - so even if the world has moved on from granite, warm woods, and stuff like that, I will probably include those in my house. Top of the line? Hopefully. And a decent sized yard? - yeah.

3. A Husband/Family: Have I been in a relationship yet? nope. Have I had guys chase after me? Yes, but they were not for the reasons I wanted (at least for the long term). Will I hopefully be in one before I graduate? I sure as hell hope so. By the time I'm 30-35, I want to be settling down with someone I can love and appreciate. Someone fun, romantic, good looking, and family oriented would be ideal. I do want a family, and as of now, I would prefer to have the child be one of our own rather than adopted. I know adoption is the good thing to do, but if I'm raising someone, I would want them to have some of me as part of who they are, as awkwardly worded as that sounds. Two kids I think is my ideal number. An Older brother for sure, not picky about the younger, but I think a daughter would be nice to balance things out.

4. To provide my mom a nice retirement: When I was little, I promised my mom two things - The Empire State Building (which for the longest time called the Eiffel Tower. fail), and a Mercedes. Now the former will probably never happen, but the second, among other things, could and hopefully will be. My mom is in her late 50s now and will be retiring in the next few years. By the time I graduate I hope to have a job, and a few years after that be making enough money for myself and also for a nice gift. I think my mom wants to sell the house and move to a nice condo nearby after I move out and find my own place, so housing is fine, but for her 65th birthday, I think an E-class might be in order.

5. Travel: I've been lucky in that I have seen much of the world, but if I can, I would love to be able to spend plenty of time traveling, whether it be for work or for vacation. Australia and New Zealand are at the top of my list right now.

6. Own my own restaurant: I love to cook, and if I make enough money, I would love to open my own restaurant one day. It would be a pet project type thing, one where I could work at and be a part of when I retire or if my work allows for it. It would probably have a rotating menu, by reservation only type thing. I love experimenting and I could never stick with only one type of cuisine which is part of the reason why for the concept.

7. Philanthropy: If everything does go absolutely swimmingly and I have enough disposable income that I am willing to part with, I have a few things I would definitely give back to. Most things would be related to something important in my life, and specifically, my childhood. Libraries would definitely get some, as would probably my old HS crew team that you guys are probably tired of me reminiscing about. Animal shelters would also be something I would definitely give back to. Max, my now 11 year old Jack Russell that I adopted 8 years ago is doing well. Still a lazy bum and sweet when he wants to be, there is nothing in the world I would trade him for.

8. Go into outer space: Very likely, given commercial space flights have already sorta begun. I don't want to just go to the edge of the atmosphere though, I want to be in true, free float, International Space Station type space.

9. To still be a kid on the inside: I don't understand why people want to grow up so much. Sure you can earn money, but adulthood is stressful, your metabolism slows, you only get shorter, and the simple thing in life don't get you as easily excited as they used to. Heck, if I could stay a kid forever I totally would. That said, my inner 5 year old is going to stay alive and well when I grow up. I'm still going to go on swings, binge on ice cream, play with clay, and maybe even break a few useless old things just for the heck of it (because making things go boom makes me all giggly on the inside). Indulge that little kid inside you, he or she is still there, trust me. Go swing on some swings, eat too many Twinkies, or just do something stupid and silly; as Amy Poehler said, "No one looks stupid when they're having fun."

10. To stay close with my friends: You know the whole "friends for life" promises you made in school? How many of those still exist? I have at least a solid dozen people who basically shaped me into who I am today. These people grew up with me; we laughed together, cried together, shared secrets, and did stupid things together, and that I think deserves more than "falling out of contact". I will put in the effort to stay close with them, no matter if we are across the country from each other or even next door neighbors. I love them more than they could probably ever know.

Alright folks, that concludes this More-than-a-week of Tens! I hope you enjoyed the ride. If you do decide there is something you would like for me talk about, you know how to get in contact. I have a few things I want to talk about in my mind so back to regular programing soon.

All the best,


Also - I'm going home in 5 days. Whaaaaaaaaa!?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 6: Feel Good Songs

So I had a request to do my top ten "feel good" songs. Songs that make me smile. My music tastes change constantly, but there are a few songs which I always enjoy going back to and listening because they're fun, upbeat, or just too catchy. Here are my top 10 "feel good" songs.

1. The Killers - Mr. Brightside

This song came out when I was still in middle school and I can still remember rocking out to it today. It's just a great song and the fact it has had such lasting power for me must mean a good thing.

2. Queen - Don't Stop Me Now

My ultimate feel good song and also driving song. If I do well on an exam, do something epic, or and just in a great mood, I always play this song. It's a really upbeat and happy song.

3. Nicki Minaj - Superbass

Freshman year of college, this was one of the first songs I really danced and had fun to with what would become my core groups of friends today. Basically, whenever this song plays, I gotta dance. Great memories with this song.

4. John Denver - Country Roads

While I might be a state over, this song makes me miss home too. They played a remix of this at the club I was at last night. I don't know if Danes even know where West Virginia is on a map but everyone was singing along. It's one of those songs which makes me all fuzzy inside.

5. Frank Sinatra - Come Fly with Me

I love oldies and classics, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I feel classier just listening to this song. But Frank, he's a musical god.

6. Cartel - Let's Go

I love Cartel. They're definitely one of my favorite bands and one of the few I actually follow. Let's Go is one of those really loud, hard, and fast songs which I love. It's one of my pump-up songs when I'm preparing for something big.

7. Tina Turner - Proud Mary

So I didn't know much about Tina Turner until I did a project on her with Miss X during junior year of HS as part of a AP US History class. Since then, I've fallen in love with Tina and especially this song. She's the original diva, and you can't be the original.

8. Kap Slap - Guetta's Calling Solveig Up

This song was one of the songs which spurred the growth of my love of mashups. This is freaking epic. It's a staple of my workout playlist, my rage playlist, and I also play it whenever I just want to celebrate.

9. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

My favorite Christmas song. One thing I look forward to every year before Christmas is Darlene's performance on Letterman. Actually, it's the only time of the year I actually watch Letterman.

10. Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You

Because Christmas.

Hope you found something that you like too among my picks.

All the best,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 5: Dream Garage

I'm slightly behind, yup. Even though I sometimes feel like I'm on vacation here in Denmark, I still am a full time student and this week has been my last week of class and some classes also are holding finals as well. Today was my final marketing report and presentation for my International Marketing class. We had to do a report focusing on how H&M should brand it's new Concious Collection of eco-friendly clothing. Long story short, my group's recommendation ended up becoming a 13 page report detailing a complete company revamp and 30 minute presentation which ended up with our professor calling our report and presentation "perfect". The only fault he could find? He wished we included a table of contents. Basically we aced it. Fucking awesome!

So what I have for today is actually a question I had for another blog I follow, Closet Car Guy, who is also doing a post-per-day type thing all December. I asked him (and he awesomely answered) about his dream garage. I asked for his top 5 regardless of price which I will now answer myself except with ten, given this is a Week of 10s afterall.

1. Toyota Land Cruiser
2010 Toyota Land Cruiser SUV
It's a big brute of an SUV, but if the zombie apocalypse were to ever happen, I can not think of a better go-anywhere luxo-tank to be in when running them over.

2. Volvo V60 T6 AWD

The perfect everyday driver. 300HP, all-wheel drive, wagon space and versatility, sporty driving dynamics, and traditional Volvo comfort and safety. Too bad it can't be bought in the US.

3. Lexus LFA
2012 Lexus LFA Coupe
Have you heard this thing!?

Total track day car

4. Aston Martin DBS
2012 Aston Martin DBS Coupe Exterior
Because I get a boner just looking at it. My ultimate "time to impress" car. Pure class.

5. Scion FR-S

It's a no-nonsense, fun to drive coupe that's affordable too. Good for those mountain roads.

6. Jaguar XJ-L Supersport
2011 Jaguar XJ XJL Supercharged Sedan
Because large cars don't have to be boring. 510HP on tap also helps for when you want a little oomph as you waft about.

7. Lexus RX 450h
2013 Lexus RX 450h 4dr SUV Exterior
Another everyday driver. 30mpg from a pretty large sized SUV is quite good, plus I'm sure mom would love it.

8. Volkswagen Golf TDI
2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI 4dr Hatchback Shown
I've actually tried one of these out, and it's brilliant. The DSG geabox is solid and it's almost GTI like in handling. Plus this evens out the all the supercars and SUVs along with the RX Hybrid above.

9. Jeep Wrangler
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara SUV
I read somewhere once that the Wrangler was voted the gayest car in the US. While I don't know if I would agree with that, for a pure off roader, it's the obvious choice. Classic.

10. Volvo 940 Turbo

I've always had a fascination with those old boxy Volvos. The 940 is one of my favorites, and in Turbo guise, it's a bit of a sleeper too. Overall, more of a weird childhood dream car than anything.

If you have any suggestions for future 10s, comment below or shoot me an email.

In the Works:
-Favorite feel good songs
-Life goals

If I keep getting suggestions, I'll probably kep writing about them so keep them coming.

All the best,


Photo Source Credits: Edmunds.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 4: Favorite qualities in a guy

I've talked about this before in the past but seeing as how my tastes have changed and evolved over time, I think it's time for a new one. Here, in no particular order, are ten qualities in a guy that make me all hot and bothered.

1. A Sense of humour: I have a pretty dry sense of humour. I do laugh easily and often, but if I do make a joke, it's usually pretty snarky, logic based, or situational. All things considered though, someone who can make me laugh scores major bonus points in attractiveness, as is the ability to make the occasional dry humour joke.

2. Height: I'm a bit of a height whore, I admit it. If you have hit 6ft or more, your hotness is like immediately doubled. Nothing against shorter guys, but I would say my absolute minimum for a guy is 5'8".

3. He's fit: I take care of my body, so should you. You don't have to look like you just walked off an Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot (though that doesn't hurt) but please go to the gym regularly or at least look like you do. I like guys with a little bit of bulk, but not too much. A swimmer build is ideal but soccer players (skinnier but still hella fit) really also are damn hot. Ripped is not necessary, but toned is awesome. I don't mind skinny guys, but if you look like I can break you with my hand, then things probably won't work out either. I sound really picky and like a bit of a dick but if I put work into making myself look good, I feel I deserve a little in return from my partner.

4. Intelligence: There are many kinds of intelligence out there. Book smarts, street smarts, they are all valid and useful. While I love silly conversation as much as the next guy, I do eventually intend to have deeper more complex conversation and debates. Here is where I hope to have someone I can debate with for long periods of time and hopefully gain new perspectives on things that I never would have considered otherwise. I want a guy who I can learn from. It should be noted though that I would prefer to be the smarter one in the relationship. Dunno why, just would.

5. We're not carbon copies of each other: I want a guy different from who I am. I tend to be attracted to guys who are from different social circles and have different interests and passions than I do. Despite having been an athlete before, I don't consider it a key aspect of my identity today. Despite this however, beyond just the physical reasons, I find athletes attractive because they're different than me. Same goes for bros and country guys. While I do want shared interests, I don't want to be doing everything he does, some independence is essential.

6. A dude's dude: I posted this photo a while ago. I made it during my freshman year for a sort of post-secret type thing at my school. It still rings true today.

7. Multilingual: Knowing and speaking multiple languages indicates a few things for me. 1. They are dedicated to what they do. Learning a language takes time, effort, and lots of struggling before you're eventually good at it. I admire anyone who is willing to put in the effort. 2. They are curious and open to new things, and given I'm one to adventure and am willing to try almost anything once, that is also a plus in a guy. So multilingualism is something I find quite sexy, especially German and French...but I'm biased haha.

8. My age or older: While I won't rule out dating a guy younger than me, someone my grade or slightly older is my preference. Basically anyone in university is fair game right now though.

9. Messy Blond Hair: Something I've always found really, really attractive is slightly longish tousled blond hair on a guy. I think it takes a certain kind of guy to pull it off, but if they can, it's really hot. I have a thing for blonds in general though.

10. Well Dressed: Someone who takes pride in their appearance appears so much more confident and attractive to me. A well groomed and well dressed guy is a total plus in my eyes. He doesn't have to be wearing the latest designer stuff or look like he just robbed a J Crew or Brooks Brothers, but two things should be present: fit and coordination. Guys who wear baggy jeans, gym wear, or sweat pants all the time come across as lazy to me. Probably one of the most stereotypical "gay" things I do is that I am pretty picky when I do shop for clothes. I gotta try everything on and will not settle until I find exactly what I was looking for.

There are more things but then again I could probably blabber on forever about this kind of stuff. My internet was down last night so I couldn't post anything, but I'll try and get something down tonight, I promise. Also, to anonymous, your question shall be answered, no worries :)

Music Bonus:
I'm a huge fan of mashups and this one is pretty sick. Basically take 50+ top hits of the year and put them together. Very well done.

Keep the questions coming please.

All the best,


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 3: Things I can't live without

Day 3 of the series has arrived and today I'll be talking about things I can't live without. I'm not talking about air, food, and stuff like that, but actual things that would make me feel really uncomfortable if they weren't a part of my life.

1. A Watch: I started wearing a watch back in high school and today I can't leave the house without one. I feel naked without it and actually have a permanent watch tan which dates back to my crew days and is maintained by being outside a ton in the summer. I currently have 5 watches which I rotate between. I have one casual everyday watch, an orange and grey Timex Weekender, one sport watch, one semi-formal watch (my favorite because it has a blue face with analog arms and a digital background), and two formal watches, one metal and one leather. This is my most recent purchase which I bought for my birthday.

courtesy of Amazon
The face is a bit darker indoors but in the light it has a nice charcoal colour and sundial detailing.
2. My crew ring: Yeah, I still can't escape those crew days. For me, my ring has sentimental value since I bought it at my very last regatta (Stotesbury Cup 2010) along with almost all the guys in my boat. It's something that is very special to me and I hope to keep it for as long as I live. Plus, I also have a ring tan from wearing it every day for almost three years now.
It's silver and has crossed oars going all around it
3. My laptop: Yeah, I'm part of the tech generation. My life basically revolves around my laptop: school, organizing social events with friends, porn, wasting time. Since buying myself a tablet last Christmas, some of the duties of the laptop have been removed, but still, I love it, I need it, and I can't live without it.
4. My family and friends: I'm very thankful to have such a strong network of family and friends, especially an exceptionally strong inner circle of people who I know I can always rely on. They keep me sane, we keep each other in check, and all work to each others mutual benefit. What's not to love?
5. Coffee: I know some people can't wake up or do anything before they have had their first cup of coffee; thankfully I'm not one of those people. I still love the stuff though. If I need to get work done and need to prepare for a long night ahead, nothing does it better than a simple black coffee with a splash of milk and a little sugar or some sugar free flavoured syrup (I'm partial to vanilla and hazelnut). I have coffee probably at least every other day and is probably my favorite drink after water.
6. The Internet: Honestly, I don't know how people survived before the internet. Plus, I wouldn't be writing on this dandy little corner of the digital world without it now would I? Nuff Said.
7. My car: I'm a huge car guy and living without a car is an awful nightmare I would rather not have to ponder. The only reason I haven't gone insane in Denmark is because I know I will be returning home to a car which I can drive. My current car, the ever so wonderful yet temperamental Heindrik Konrad, a dark blue 2006 VW Passat 2.0T, has been a great first car though I question the long term durability of the thing. I'm looking to move on to a "new" (see: probably a few years used) car soon. I would love a Volvo C30 but for a student paying for his own gas, a current-gen Mazda 3 would probably be a better choice. I also like SUVs though... What will I end up with? I don't know, and honestly, it will likely come down to what can I get at a reasonable price and will cause me the least hassle down the line. My current dream car that's reasonably attainable? A 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD.
8. My phone: You can't be without a phone nowadays, for convenience and for safety. I don't have a smart phone, and quite honestly, I have no need for one. I can avoid having to pay for a data plan and considering I just text a hella lot, my good ol LG Chocolate Touch I got during junior year of HS does the job just fine. In addition, I prefer not to be attached at the hip to Facebook and Twitter all the time. Also, can your phone go a week without having to charge? Yeah, thought so.
9. Pho: Yeah. If there is one thing that will get me through a bad day, make me even happier on a good day, or just keep me warm on a cold day, it would be a nice bowl of pho. It's pretty much already confirmed with myself that lunch the day after I get back will be a big bowl of #1 with jalapenos and extra hoisin and sriracha sauce. Mmmmmm.
10. A good chef's knife: Most of y'all probably know I cook a lot. It's one of those things I do as a means to relax and also because it's just fun to experiment. The most basic tool of the trade then is a good knife, and a high quality chef's knife will get you through 80% of whatever you come across. My mom bought a JA Henkles chef's knife over 20 years ago and it's still in great condition and is used basically every day today. I bought myself one this past summer which I use and will bring with me when I move back on campus this winter.
11. My iPod: Yeah yeah, I know this is more than 10 but I realized I couldn't do this list without including it. I listen to music all the time: in the car, at the gym, when doing homework, on the train...well you get the idea. So basically my iPods are wonderful little things of magic that get me through my day. Before that, I had a CD walkman where I also had to carry a CD book of mix tapes I burned for myself and over ear headphones. I honestly don't know how I got through middle school with all that in my backpack.
Keep the suggestions coming. We still have four posts to go and I'll try to get to as many as possible. Comment below or shoot me an email.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 2: Best Memories

Choosing my top ten memories is kind of difficult, mostly because sometimes I have trouble differentiating between simply very memorable things that were good versus actually great memories that may be more subtle, simple, and less dramatic. I have tons of really good memories to choose from, but in no particular order, here are my top ten memories:

1. When I got accepted to the GT middle school: Some time in Spring 2003 I believe, I got accepted into the GT (gifted and talented) program at one of my local middle schools. Me, along with maybe a dozen or so people from my elementary school got accepted into this program and were divided up among 3 or so middle schools in my county that had such a program. Maria, Christine, and a few other of my best friends then, and happily also today, were all put in the same school. However, it wasn't the actual going to the school that excited me; it was finding out. I remember clearly me, my mom, and my dad were at my dad's Manhattan condo when my aunt called my mom to tell her about the letter we had received which said I got in. I was so elated that I was screaming, jumping up and down, and making such a ruckus I'm surprised the neighbors didn't file a complaint. Nevertheless, I will always remember that day because that was one of the earliest moments of pure unfiltered joy I can recall.

2a. Driving for the first time: This is kind of a two part favorite memory because I have 2 driving memories. My first takes place when I was maybe still 12 or 13 and I was at Kings Dominion which is an amusement part in Virginia. They had a "ride" there where you could drive some old Ford's (like a simplified Model-T with just a push-to-go throttle and steering) around an enclosed track at maybe walking pace. While it may be kind of lame now, to my little pre-teen self, this was the coolest thing ever and I remember going on that ride so many times every time I went there. My love of cars definitely has some roots here.

2b. Driving for the first time(2): The second driving related memory is of me actually driving for the first time. I was now a junior in high school and I just qualified for my driver's permit. My uncle, who had taught basically all three of my cousins how to drive for the first time too, took me for my first experience at a local office park. The car was a piece of crap. It was a 1990 burgundy Toyota Corolla DX with over 250,000 miles on it and a terribly worn front left shock absorber that made an awful noise going over bumps, but, the thing had charm. Really, if there was any car that I wish could talk and hear the story of, it would be that one. My first real drive was a pretty good one I must say. I've never had a problem with going out of lanes, turning enough, etc. I guess video games did help with that. The only thing that took some practice was parking since I did sometimes end up too close to the lines or wasn't perfectly straight. Even though it was a lesson and maybe not the most exciting thing ever, I loved driving that thing. The car is unfortunately no longer with us. It was donated, still in working order I might add, to the Red Cross and hopefully someone is still using it today.

4. That Regatta: I had plenty of exciting regattas during my crew years, but two regattas and two races truly stand out. One was the Stotesbury Cup regatta in Philadelphia during my senior year. Rowing on the Schuylkill was a blast; it was hella fast, and seeing nearly 200 schools and thousands of fellow rower compete was truly magical. My boat didn't place but it was still a great experience. But while Stotes was great, for me, there will always be one specific race that I will always remember. During my first year rowing, my coach put me in a varsity boat to fill a spot since one of the guys couldn't make it to the regatta. That heat was literally one of the closest groups of 5 boats I've raced in. We were in lane 4 between two other boats and I remember we were never more than maybe 2/3 of a boat length from each other during the whole race. At the end though, during the last 250 meter sprint, we pulled away from both of our neighbors. First the boat on the left started drifting back and then we "walked" ahead from the boat to my right. I remember catching out of the corner of my eye the coxswain of the right boat doing a double take as we pulled away from them, a moment made even better as they were ahead of us by half a length up until that point. I still get chills from remembering that moment. We ended up placing second in that heat, .07 seconds behind the first boat which basically put us in a dead heat. Today when I erg, I still picture the end of that race and imagine I'm back on the water during the final sprint of my workout.

5. Scholar Athlete: More crew related memories...during my senior year, I was awarded the Scholar Athlete award for men's crew at my high school. Two athletes, one guy and one girl, from each sports team from my school were awarded "scholar athlete". It was up to the coaches to nominate who they believed best deserved the award. It was a great honour to be given this recognition and the sports banquet held at the end of the Spring 2010 season was also amazing. Hundreds of athletes were all there for a number of awards to be handed out that night and the spirit of the place, with everyone cheering each other no matter which sport you did, was truly inspiring.

6. High School Graduation/All Night Grad: Unlike many people, I actually had a wonderful high school experience. Sure, it was awkward as hell at times, but as a whole, I think high school was one of the happiest periods of my life. In the end however, graduation was the cherry on top of my experience. Graduation wasn't horribly exciting until the hat toss, but walking across that stage just really made it clear that I was done with compulsory education. It was bittersweet, but still very positive in my mind. The All-Night Grad Party that followed a few nights after was also epic. Vegas/Casino themed, it was a full night of table games, laser tag, food, carnival games, and free professional massages with my best friends which ended with a trip to a local diner for pumpkin spice pancakes at 5:30 in the morning. It was great.

7. 2nd semester Sophomore year grades: My first semester of sophomore year wasn't very good. My grades took a dive compared to what I was used to and I wasn't pleased with my own performance, so second semester, I worked my ass off to make sure I would do better. The classes I took weren't easy though. I remember clearly writing about how much I hated International Trade specifically and all the work I had to do for all my classes combined. After finals finished, I didn't know how I would fare. The exams were really difficult and since they each made up at least 35% of each class' grade, I didn't know where I would end up. However, all that work paid off. I ended up pulling off a 3.7 that semester, essentially balancing out first semester and maintaining my GPA where it was as a whole after freshman year. Seeing my final grade results, especially the A- I pulled off in I-Trade and Marketing (more due to the crap business school curve than it being an actual hard class) shocked me so much I almost cried.

8. Prom: Prom was simply too much fun. The limo, the dinner, my wonderful friends, my lovely date Maddie, everything was just amazing. It was a truly carefree night, which since they rarely come around ever, made it a night I would never forget. No need to say more than that.

9. That night with Brandon: About two weeks before I left for Denmark, I spent the night at Brandon's place. I told my mom I was staying a friend's for the night which wasn't too far from the truth but I digress. We basically just chilled on his balcony drinking beer, having simple conversation, and whispering sweet nothings until one of his roommates came back and we talked all three of us, well, three of us and her dog Allie, way deep into the night. That night was special however since that was the first night both of us admitted that we liked each other and were considering pursuing something more. Drunk words are true words I think and that night many words were shared. I really could have spent all night on that balcony, just laying in each other's arms in the cool summer air and talking about stupid things all night. Falling asleep in his arms and waking up to that warmth and secure comfort was something amazing. I really wished I didn't have to leave so soon after that. Today I wonder what will happen when I get back. If he would still be interested in seeing me, if he had moved on. I guess I'll find out in two weeks.

10. Camping: I've only gone camping once, and despite the bugs, the heat, and the nastiness of waking up all sticky, smelling of bug repellent, and dirt, it was fantastic. That trip, me and four of my friends went all out the summer before freshman year of college. We went to a camp ground in the woods, put up a giant tent, made hot dogs over an open fire using old coat hanger wire, toasted marshmallows, had a glow stick rave in the dark, and did everything else one does while being a camping n00b and had a great time doing so. I also remember the conversation as we just laid in the tent at 3AM looking through the tree tops at the stars. We were discussing what we thought college would be like, our favorite names, why Nutella was the best thing in the world, and more before eventually falling asleep. We were all at the edge between one era of our lives and another but had no worries, no obligations, and just the taste of freedom in our mouths. After getting home the next day and taking the best shower of my life, that camping trip claimed a spot as one of the best memories and experiences I've had.

Stay tuned for another round of Top 10 tomorrow. If you have any suggestions about what you want me to write about, put them in the comments or email me at the address on the sidebar.

All the best,


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Week of 10s Day 1: Things I Dislike About Myself

I'm going to try something on this blog. Each day for the next week, I'm going to do a list of 10 things about myself; things I like about myself, my top 10 dreams, and things like that. I'm going to start with 10 things I dislike about myself. It might seem like a cruddy way to kick it off but I'm not in some weird depressed mood or anything, it's just what popped into my head first.

But before that, it snowed here for the first time this winter!

from my room
But let's begin...

Top 10: Things I Dislike About Myself

1. I can be horribly jealous. I admittedly have a jealously problem, especially when it comes to other people performing better than me or when it comes to relationships. Seeing someone I like with someone else who I see as a potential challenger or threat can put me on edge in seconds. Also, while I don't like to admit it, I have actually intervened into conversations to divert attention away from their own meeting. Soap opera-esque dick move? Yeah. I also hate it when other people do better than me. I know I'm not the best at everything but it still pains me a little when other people do better than I do whether it be in school or just everyday activities. Speaking of....

2. I suck at writing papers. Whether it be a research paper, a book analysis, or a simple prompt answer, my writing level and abilities aren't very impressive. I think the main problem I have when I write is my general writing style. Many friends of mine have a considerably more formal and eloquent style when they write for assignments than I do. My papers, in my eyes, seem very juvenile and lacking in comparison.

3. Moodiness. I'm not a very moody person, but when I am in a bad mood, things are truly bad. On the rare occasion that I get very annoyed, I can and will lash out and be an all-round horrible person. Luckily, things like that happen very infrequently.

4. Messiness. I try to keep things clean, I really do, but the law of entropy always wins. Always. Here's my desk now as I write:

5. Indecisiveness. I hate making decisions and have a bad habit of switching between options every five seconds. If you saw my browsing history for my recent new/used car search, it would show something new being chosen at least 4 times each day.

6. I wish I was a bit taller. Okay, so this is kinda beyond my control. I'm the second tallest person in my family after one of my cousins but I still wish I was taller. 5'11" would be grand. Sure, it's only about one inch taller than I am now, but still, it makes a difference.

7. I'm not very open. I bottle up emotions and rarely share them with my friends or family. I don't like burdening others with my own problems. The problem with this is that it can be very difficult at times to handle everything going on in my head, and when I do end up spilling my guts, it comes in massive tsunamis which I'm pretty sure make my friends think I'm a nut job. This blog has helped though in letting me say things I don't say in person.

8. I'm an impulse buyer. See something I really like? Have the money? Do I need it? If any two of the three are there, I buy it. Not good news for my wallet but I'm working to control my spending habits. So far, this trip to Denmark I've been very good at limiting how much I spend. I'm probably going home with a few hundred bucks leftover from my original cash stash that I brought when I first left home.

9. I'm too shy. One problem I have, especially when I go meet guys, is that I'm really shy and often just won't go up and introduce myself to anyone. Adding on to this, I also have strong anti-social bouts where I just shut myself away from the rest of the world and only have "me time". Most people do this from time to time, but I think I probably do it more often than the regular everyday person.

10. I don't believe in myself enough. I know that I often don't give myself enough credit for what I do and can do. I worry about everything and always think I did horribly on something though that is rarely the case. I have a deep fear of failure which may play a role in this. All things considered, I've turned out pretty well, but I still am always thinking I messed up somewhere, somehow, and on some thing.

So there we are, ten things which I dislike about myself. Tomorrow I'm going to choose ten other things to talk about. Maybe ten things I want to experience before I die or my ten favorite memories.

If you have any suggestions on what I should do a top ten on, please suggest them in the comments. I love getting feedback from readers.

All the best,