long-distance relationship

best friends makin' it work

Archive for June, 2010

meg

Folks, Rohini has hit the STL scene and she is liking loving what she sees. Though an unwelcoming humidity Diana Rossed my hair the minute I stepped off the plane, with a little frizz gel I can see this place becoming a new home sweet home. One thing I did note while dragging two oversized suitcases and my backpack (at the heaviest it’s ever been) on and off the Metrolink: must buy a car. While I spent many of my post-grad and pre-job days perusing the latest, hippest automobiles on the Internet, it’s now become a more pressing and urgent matter. How urgent? Let’s just say that the metro started moving before I had a chance to sit down and my bags and I all came tumbling down.

The car search to me has become one of the more stressful parts of young adulthood. Perhaps this is because my father is one of the most finicky buyers you’ll ever meet (not out of selective taste but paranoia) and it will likely take four to five trips to the dealership before he’s convinced that we’re making the right choice (which both Yang and I agree is the 2010 Toyota Prius). So I’ve left my father with explicit instructions to purchase some form of auto transportation before I come back. Cross your fingers I have something to drive to St. Louis and that it is preferably not a ’99 Sienna with a broken A/C system (my current ride).

Anyways, all this talk of cars (and just the general big life transition time period) has got me strollin’ down memory lane thinking about some of my firsts (drink, kiss, etc.). For a lot of people first love is high on the list of things you reminisce about. Understandable, but I say your first love probably came with a lot of tears, Kleenex and Backstreet Boys songs played on repeat.  Maybe this is just a symptom of recently spending one too many days at the used car dealership, but in my opinion, first car trumps first love any day of the week. I stroll down memory lane in the burgundy ’92 Plymouth Acclaim I affectionately called Meg.

When my parents drove Meg out of the car dealership, she was hot shit, definitely the car to have. Twelve years later she fell into my hands. The only hot by then was the sweat-inducing climate of a dying air-conditioning system. Let me start with the name. I’m sure you’re wondering why I might choose a name as hideously simple as Meg. Or if you watch Family Guy and have seen my first car you might draw a connection to the socially awkward eldest daughter of Lois and Peter Griffin, Meg. But my story digs a little deeper than that.

One day in high school, I sat down to watch one of my favorite romantic comedies, the 1993 motion picture Sleepless in Seattle. Guess who drives a burgundy ’92 Acclaim. None other than Meg Ryan herself. Sign? I think so. And thus my first set of wheels was christened Meg.

I have a tendency to look back on my times with Meg through rose-colored glasses. But as Yang will often remind me, she was more of a character than a car. Let’s just say the Meg mobile would have been a prime candidate for the TV show “Pimp My Ride.” Here’s why:

– When you turned on the air-conditioning or heat the sweet scent of gasoline would fill the car.
– A few years before I came of driving age the radio in Meg broke. This meant several long drives of either listening to my family’s bickering or sitting in awkward silence. When I started to drive Meg myself, I found a cheap pocket radio in my house and buckled it into my passenger seat. Later, we got a bit more high tech and started driving to debate tournaments, Yang would bring her iPod along and we’d each have a headphone in one ear.
– Prior to my driving days, my brother’s friend Josh tried to light up a cigar in our car and broke the cigarette lighter. While I didn’t miss the black lungs and hard to kick tobacco habit, broken cigarette lighter also ruled out a lot of electric appliance possibilities in the car.
– Once while babysitting I pulled up my car to the neighborhood pool only to see steam coming out of the hood and a liquid substance leaking from underneath. One of many “breakdown” instances. Scary and not fun.
– Cracked windshield. No rundown car would be complete without a crack in the glass. Meg had a large fracture line running just below my direct line of vision and so of course it was an issue that my parents never considered necessary to fix.
– While the actress she is named after definitely steams up the silver screen, Meg lacked a bit of sex appeal as I pulled into my high school parking lot next to younger and hotter cars.
– “Shotgun” was a word rarely ever uttered by Yang. She would never get rides from me if she could help it. Between Anandi’s MIni Cooper, Ian’s convertible VW, and Rachel’s Honda sportscar, she had several ride options far nicer than my own.

Despite all these imperfections and Yang’s less than discreet contempt for my burgundy bud, I can’t help but remember Meg without a big smile crossing my face. She carried me to all my debate and Model UN meets, to the house where I used to babysit, to school each and every morning, to my senior prom and to my high school graduation. She was there for some of the most defining moments of my teenage years.

Some time during my sophomore year I got a call from my parents saying that the Acclaim had engine problems and it was going to cost too much to repair. They had decided to donate the car to Goodwill; I never got the chance to say goodbye. So yeah, maybe I get a little teary-eyed when I see a certain shade of maroon or watch Sleepless in Seattle. Can’t help it. She was my first.

In the near future I’ll be driving off to St. Louis in a shiny, brand new car,  but I won’t ever forget my first car love. Will I have a minute of silence every car ride to remember the days of radio-less driving? It only seems fitting. R.I.P. Meg.

FYI, I also feel a significant attachment to Yang’s first car, a black Toyota Rav-4 that we named Raven. So many times we almost died from dancing too hard in that car. Bless your heart, Raven, and thanks for all the Wendy’s drive-thrus. I miss you too.

karate kid

From a text message chain on June 13th at approx 11:30pm

Y: Karate kid is so so so good. You have to see it.

R: I can’t wait to see it might not be for a while though because they have like every minute mapped out for us. How was jaden? I love him.

Y: So so great. Such a great movie. Loved it. Love Jackie.

R: I’d like him to be my mentor

Y: Jackie chan deserves an Oscar for this movie. I mean that. You know how we felt after akeelah and the bee? I feel that way about this. What is it about us and movies about underprivileged black kids defeating the odds?

R: We can relate to them with our own life struggles. How many times did they tell us a Chinese and Indian girl can’t debate together? Our lives are a movie about underprivileged black kids beating the odds

Y: Well said, sir. Well said.

With that said, go see this movie!

a letter of apology

dear readers,

let me be the first to apologize for our current lack of inspiration. we haven’t forgotten you. we’re just in a bad, cold, dark place in the middle of what has to be one of the hottest junes ever.

you see, since the creation of our blog back in january, we’ve always had a reunion to look forward to, so that even after a sad goodbye, we knew exactly when and where we would be meeting next. as such, the last 6 months have been our best months as far as reunions go. you might be asking yourself, “self, isn’t the distance between dc and providence considerably greater than it is between providence and new york?” and yes, you’d be right, but with me no longer working on the weekends in nyc, and rohini not abroad in another country we’ve had the luxury of seeing each other many more times times. for instance, we last saw each other 3 weekends in a row in 3 different cities.

but alas, that time has come to an end. rohini is in colorado at the moment and leaves for st. louis on the 13th. after that, she’ll be doing her teach for america institute in the fair city of chicago, and will finally settle down in STL in August. i will be staying in dc for the foreseeable future.

when will we be meeting next? i can’t say, but i’m not too worried. the silver lining to this cloud is that a new location makes for new stories and new trips. trips and reunions that i hope will happen much sooner than later.

much love,

yang

i love college

The past few days I’ve heard the sound of a distant ringing in my left ear.  A well-practiced physician would tell you that I’ve stood too close to booming speakers at one too many parties.  And while he would be mostly right (particularly considering the boom that was Senior Week 2010), I’ve come to a different diagnosis.  The ting I hear is the unmistakable sound of fork meeting glass, a shot, so to speak, heard round the world of recent graduates.  “Speech, speech, speech,” they cry and in response we, the capped and gowned, fumble through words in an attempt to capture that life-altering period of time known as “college.”  Now, you and I both know the truthful answer to this tell-us-what-you-learned plea sounds a lot like Asher Roth’s lyrics, “I love college…and I love drinking.”  But let’s not forget that fork we hear isn’t hitting a shot glass or beer mug.  It’s time, I fear, for a more grown-up response.

As I sit in a post-grad purgatory of almost adulthood, I feel inclined to share with you a few lessons I’ve picked up over the past few weeks.  For all you fork and glass holders, here’s what I’ve learned.

Graduation is a time to let go of your childish loves. Whether by choice or due to a strange set of circumstances involving a super-hero dance and a misplaced inflatable spider-man, now is the time to move on. Note: the train bed sheets formerly fitting my full-size bed without a box spring now tuck in some kid at St. Mary’s Home For Children in North Providence.

When graduating, you should gradually ease yourself out of excessive alcohol consumption…or at least give the impression that you’ve become a more moderate drinker. At my latest physical check-up, when posed with the questions “Do you consume alcohol and if so how much?” I responsibly (falsely) informed my physician that I consume a couple of drinks every week. I’m not sure whether the “2/week” recorded on my chart is the start of a new lifestyle or a cover-up for my ever-increasing tolerance. Time will tell.

Spending four years in one place, particularly a place as small as Brown is likely to produce its fair share of tension and drama (friend turned enemy drama). Before you leave college, reconcile all the differences that may have built up over the years; don’t sour everyone else’s day by leaving your hostility in the campus air. My reconciliation may have come in dream form with my freshman year roommate and I holding hands while eating cupcakes together, but hey, it’s the thought that matters.

The words young professional and post-graduate are often used interchangeably. As such, graduation means ditching daisy dukes and tube tops for a sensible, neutral-colored pantsuit. While I will always hold on to the token corset I bought freshman year, my latest shopping excursions have been hunts for cardigans and button-up blouses. As a soon to be teacher I also feel a bizarre new attraction to broaches and apple-themed jewelry.

Finally, graduating is that humble realization that you did not make it on your own. The people most responsible for you getting that diploma are likely the same individuals who willingly sat through a six-hour commencement bore fest only for the minute of fame in which an over-decorated professor butchered your foreign sounding name. Big thanks to my father (despite his nagging), brother (for shaving before my diploma ceremony), mother (who cried more than I did), extended family members (for driving hours just to see me don a hideous black uniform) and, of course, Yang. I know it was probably more torture for her than fun but I can’t imagine anything more perfect than walking off stage with diploma in hand to give my best friend a hug. If it wouldn’t upset my parents so much I would Sharpie in “Yang Yang” under my name on my diploma. She helped me earn it as much as I did.

So now let’s all clink our glasses together, yell “Cheers!” in unison and take a hearty sip.  (Drink number one out of two for the week)  Congrats to all my fellow 2010 grads!