long-distance relationship

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rohiniandyang say thanks

thanksgiving brings with it many time-honored traditions: football games, turkey dinners and elaborate parades.  my favorite tradition, however, is the rohiniandyang reunion.  from the time we started college, thanksgiving became a special time of the year that we could count on being home together.  this year is no different.  last night, in the grocery section of our local wal-mart supercenter looking for last minute meal ingredients, yang and i embraced one another after spending four months apart.

since we are so thankful for this holiday, we decided to pay thanksgiving some respect and share more of what we give thanks for.

we are thankful for

1. wordpress.com – the gracious host for our blog…wordpress we couldn’t do it without you.

2. family – both yang and i are blessed with families who are very understanding of our long-distance relationship.  while we come home to see them, a certain block of time must be dedicated to rohiniandyang.

3. the yangs – i’ve spent many a thanksgiving eating the vegetarian items at their dinner table.

4. friends – living so far apart from one another, yang and i might be lonely if not for the many friends we have found in our respective cities.  shout out to my stl crew, particularly my lovely roomie.

5. pinterest – yang and i have always shared our potential purchases with one another, but this online pinboard makes side by side comparisons much easier.  follow our boards!

6. adam levine – i think this video explains why.

7. my kids – though they drive me to the brink of insanity on some days, the 20 some kids in room 213 make me come to school even when i don’t want to.

8. denver – we couldn’t ask for a more purple, more majestic backdrop for my thanksgiving meal.  cheers to the best city in the states.

9. footloose – though i’ve been wanting to see this movie for a while, my weekends were usually filled with…other activities.  in retrospect, i am glad to have waited.  yang and i are now going to see this hit dance drama tonight to cap off our thanksgiving together.  thank you, yang, for agreeing to see this movie a second time just for me.

on a concluding note, some wise words from my father post lions-packers game.

“watch out as you are driving, rohini.  there will be a lot of drunk drivers out there.”

“dad, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon.  but okay sure.”

give me a bake

my dearest rohini,

i get it.  you feel bad that you haven’t had the chance to enjoy the amazing (if i do say so myself) baking that i’ve been doing these days. well, last i checked, it takes two people living far apart to make a long-distance relationship, so please spare me your bitterness. you know you’d be my test-taster if not for the several mailing restrictions on perishable goods that stand in our way.

and for the record, i don’t buy your ” i myself am anything but talented in the kitchen.” we both know that if you could just force yourself to pour the cake batter into the pan and in the oven where it belongs and not in your mouth, you’d have some great creations of your own.

so, i’ll gladly accept your proposal but ask that you bake with me. i already have the perfect recipe in mind. we’re going to bake your favorite funfetti cupcakes from scratch (!!!). i sincerely hope you’ll rise to my challenge.

let me eat cake

if you have been on facebook and are friends with yang you have surely been witness to the website titled fortune goodies.  you may have also stumbled upon the website after Googling “adult asian films.”  either way i’m sure you are aware of yang’s second profession: baker.  if not, let me give you a sneak peek.

 original and coconut macaroons

red velvet cupcakes

mini baked donuts with chocolate ganache

cheesy cheez-its

thanks, yang.  thanks for buying a camera that would take pictures of your baked goods and make me salivate in front of my computer screen.*  oh and double thanks for the red velvet cupcakes.  they’re my favorite.  i’m sure you baked them for me…to look at.

perhaps you sense a tone of bitterness in my voice.  if not, let me spell it out for you.  i’m bitter.  as you scrolled past each of these images i’m sure that one thought crossed your mind…mmm, how can i get some?  well i have the same thought, only considering i AM the best friend of the fortune goodie maker you would think i would be fortunate enough to feast on the goods.  fate has dealt me no such fortune.  not one of these impeccably baked, decorated and photographed treats has made it past jpeg form for me.  to add to the misery, i myself am anything but talented in the kitchen.  my idea of baking is eating my roommate’s cookie dough and praying that i don’t get salmonella poisoning.  cruel, cruel world.

i know what you’re thinking.  does yang even know that you want her to bake for you?  well, i’m not one to be rude and obvious about it.  let’s take a look at some of my more subtle clues.

new game: how many m’s will rohini have to use in the word yum before yang gets a clue.

i know what your next thought might be.  yang’s pictures are popular.  a lot of people comment on them.  maybe she wasn’t paying attention to what you wrote.  true.  if only there were were a way to know when someone reads your facebook comments…

oh wait.  there is.  she knows i want her baked goods and she fucking likes it.*

i’ve had it.  a girl can only take so much and my frustration has reached its limit.  either yang bakes me a cake or i will try baking one for myself and burn my apartment down.

here’s my proposal.  i will be in d.c. next wednesday.  that is a full week’s notice to buy whatever flour, sugar and rainbow chip frosting it will take to bake me a cake as fast as she can.  can’t wait, pattycakes.  oh and in case you’re afraid yang might be baked out after making fucking cheez its…she’s not.

thank you, twitter.

friends, join me in my desperate plea.  my request is quite simple.  LET ME EAT (YOUR) CAKE.*

*that’s what s/he said

a series of unfortunate events

…followed by one very fortunate event: my return to rohiniandyang the blog.

here’s the deal:

recently, i’ve taken to cautiously glancing over my shoulders to make sure i’m not being followed by a group of dark and thundering clouds.  the glance is more a metaphorical glance really…my response to a very unfortunate, very bad stroke of luck that I’ve had recently.  i’d rather not go into the gory details of what exactly has happened, though the stories are pretty ridiculous (a.k.a. hilarious), so ask yang to tell you about them.  let’s just sum it up by saying something was shredded, something had to be replaced, some things were taken, some things were lost, something had to be changed, something had to be replaced again, something was canceled, some more things were lost and most of these things i’d really like to forget (or laugh about).  either way it’s not important how i got here, just that i am here.  again.  for good.

everyone has those comfort items they turn to when the going gets tough (and the tough can’t always get going).  well i’m going to list mine.  christina aguilera’s “i turn to you” is playing in the background.

1. beary – my aptly named stuffed bear from childhood is my number one cuddle buddy and greatest confidante (after yang of course).

2. the dark knight – though the film is dark and twisted, batman is my favorite superhero and this is my favorite movie.  it doesn’t hurt that yang and i share a love for christian bale.

3. rainbow chip frosting – everyone has their comfort food.  mine happens to be sugary, colorful and easy to scoop from the jar.  after 10 to 15 spoonfuls i usually feel like vomiting from sugar overdose, but until that point it’s pretty satisfying.

4. family – though phone calls home often result in more stress than anything, being home is probably one of the best feelings in the world.  home also means colorado which i’m sure you all know by now to be the best state in the union.  they didn’t call them purple mountain majesties for no reason.

5. writing – while i don’t consider myself the best writer in the world, i enjoy putting words together whether that be in a blog post, essay or persuasive email to a friend.

6. yang – who better to turn to that my #1 best friend and mate in this long distance relationship?  they say it takes a village to raise a child.  well it took a yang to raise me (and a set of parents who i love as well…happy father’s day, dad).  i don’t want to imagine where i’d be without her.

looking over this list in my current position, i feel like i have two options: sugar comatosing on my couch, spooning a stuffed bear and intently watching the dark knight, or writing about yang and our promance.  i choose rohiniandyang (though a dark knight movie date may come later this summer).  the blog is back in business.

Lalaland

(Our mutual hero’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame)

As some of you may already know, I recently returned from a 5 day trip to Los Angeles for the Asian American Journalists Association’s annual convention. Was sitting in panels all day my primary reason for going? Not quite, but the conference was a great excuse to see old friends and make new ones.

The few other times I’d been to L.A. I was on family vacations that included rental cars, parents paying for everything and visits to Disney Land and Universal Studios. This was my first trip as a visiting independent adult, and sadly, Mickey Mouse was nowhere on the agenda. I was never a big fan of the City of Angels, and my opinion remains unchanged. Perhaps it’s my east coast bias, but I’m not one to become starstruck and generally dislike smog, traffic and high sales taxes. I will say that L.A. has some out-of-this-world shopping malls and movie theatres going for it, and judging by how much time Rohini and I spend in each place, it’s quite possible we might even enjoy living there, but I’m in no rush to find out.

Here’s a quick look at my trip.

My first gay bar/club experience
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 was a historic day in California, when a U.S. district judge struck down Prop. 8. To celebrate this piece of news, our dear friend Liz took me to the Abbey, supposed “Best Gay Bar in the World.” Pretty big claim, right? I’ve seen ‘world’s best’ hanging crookedly in the windows of way too many bagel and coffeeshops to buy that one right away. But when I saw the satellite trucks from local and national news outlets stationed outside, I decided the claim was probably a legitimate one. As we danced to great mashups of Lady Gaga and comeback kid Enrique Iglesias, I wondered why I never stepped foot into a predominantly gay establishment before. In a typical bar/club setting, straight men ‘dance’ by standing in place , putting their hands wherever they can as their female counterparts rub up against them. At the Abbey, males, females, and she-males alike danced without care or concept of personal space. It was great. Thank you, Liz for being the great friend, confidante and tour guide that you are. My first gay bar experience will not be my last. Next time I’ll make sure I don’t eat two dinners beforehand.

The Food
Rohini and I are perfectly content getting our fix of ‘mexican’ food from chipotle, but being that close to the border, I had as many tortillas and frijoles as I possibly could. This meant fish tacos at lunch and fresh tableside guacamole at dinner with my friend and former class/roommate Courtney in a nice restaurant by Rodeo Drive. The best meal of the entire trip was shared with Liz at Aroma Café, an all-organic eatery in Studio City. I had originally planned to get In n Out Burger for my last meal, but Liz did a good job of convincing me to try “one of Ryan Gosling’s favorite restaurants.” The meal was fantastic. Even their Heinz tomato ketchup was amazing. I had a smoothie, curly fries, blue velvet cake and an amazing wrap with the number one greenest lettuce I have ever seen. Less than 24 hour later, I found myself staring at a similarly colored number two in the ladies’ room at work. And yes, I appreciate the irony of calling myself a lady after divulging that piece of information.

The Convention
This was my second AAJA convention and it was drastically different from the first. Last year in Boston, I was still in school, not sure where I was going and desperate for some vague outline of a job waiting for me after graduation. I would have been immensely grateful for a local reporting gig that paid 30k a year in a town with population 100,000. This time, I was there as a lucky, gainfully employed recent graduate, happy to have my job with weekends and federal holidays off. A year ago, I wouldn’t have seen myself where I am now. The me now is very happy with the unexpected turn of events that brought me here. Suffices to say I swapped career fair time for fun with friends.

I don’t see myself returning to Los Angeles or California anytime soon, although I do miss my friends who now live there a great deal. I do know that the next time I head that far west, I’m taking Rohini with me. We can go to San Francisco, a California city that I love, and on our way home we’ll make a stop in Las Vegas for some roulette and a mesmerizing musical performance by Celine Dion.

burrito buddies

Today I had Chipotle for the second time in 8 days. This might seem excessive to you if you’re not from my home-state, but to my co-coloradans once a week just isn’t enough consumption of our best contribution to America since Coors light & the Jolly Rancher.*

Why Chipotle took a hiatus from my diet the past two months is a question I still don’t have an answer for. It certainly wasn’t the distance, because there’s a Chipotle 2 blocks from where I live, but I have a theory.

Now before I go any further, you’re probably thinking to yourself why is Yang writing about Chipotle? where does Rohini fit into all of this?

Well, since you asked, back in New York, I’d get my usual veggie-no-beans-tomato-salsa-corn-green-chili-sour-cream-lettuce-skip-the-cheese-tortilla-on-the-side burrito bowl twice a week at the very, very least. Chipotle is one of those things that reminds me of home, and eating it was my way of coping with my homesickness for mommy, daddy & Rohini. Fortunately, my time in DC has been marked with trips home and several Rohini reunions, so I’m sure that has something to do with it.

For years, chicken was a must-have element in any Chipotle creation. As I’m sure my fellow meat lovers already know, the white meat is seasoned to perfection and grilled with immense love and care by the staff wearing those always-witty t-shirts. I love chicken, but when your best friend is a vegetarian certain sacrifices have to be made.

Meat is prohibited in the Hindu sanctuary that is Rohini’s household, and any Chipotle that was going to be consumed watching tv with her parents needed to be sin that delicious grilled chicken. In case you didn’t get it, sin means without in Spanish. How fitting that it’s also almost sinful to eat a burrito without it.

Anyway, after many meals of our favorite food chain in her house & shared burrito bowls as ‘light’ afternoon snacks, I quickly found myself ordering veggie burritos all the time. To be fair to the burrito that I now love, the veggie burrito has something that the chicken burrito does not – FREE guacamole.

I guess what I’m saying is that even without Rohini around for most of my Chipotle dining experiences, I order my burritos just as I would if we were headed to her place to watch our latest rental from redbox. That, dear readers, is a sign of true friendship.
__
*personal record: I once had Chipotle 5 times in the span of 6 days. No joke.

getting a little mushy

Did I have a take home midterm (10 – 16 pages long) due at 4:30 p.m. today?  Yes.  Did I spend several hours formatting the cake picture you see above?  Yes.  Did I sleep last night?  No.

The answers to the three questions above typify senior spring behavior: disregard for important academic deadlines, last minute late night/early morning word processing, excessive time spent with nostalgia and photoshop.  As such, I present to you a caketastic story.

Four years ago a group of seven friends who had sat together through a four hour graduation borefest decided to celebrate the completion of their high school education by throwing a joint graduation rager.  And so the day before, going through the standard rager prep process, Yang and I found ourselves in the baking aisle of King Soopers, our local grocery store.  Now while you probably look at a list of groceries and see items to be checked off or a basket to be filled, Yang and I look down a shiny aisle of food products to see pure uncooked potential.  Some of our best ideas have come to us while pushing a shopping cart.  So on this day, staring at a line of boxed cake mixes, an idea was born.

Seven friends, seven cakes.

Rohini – Spider-man, naturally.  Would anything else even make sense?

Yang – Hello Kitty.  Anyone who owns a matching Hello Kitty pencil case, stationary and sticker set deserves a Hello Kitty cake.

Anandi – Many of us watched The Italian Job and dreamed of someday owning a Mini Cooper.  Anandi lived this dream.  Having her cake and eating it too?

Kelsey – For as long as I’ve known Kelsey, she has loved the Japanese art of origami.  FYI, she made the cranes on that cake.

Ozzie – While we all loved the TV drama The OC, it had a particularly special spot in Ozzie’s heart.  Or maybe it was Mischa Barton in his heart.  Either way this cake only seemed fitting.

Rabah – Her name is Rabah and it’s a rubber ducky.  Enough said.

Triveni – While attempting to think of a theme for Triveni’s cake we all dug deep into our knowledge of her personality.  The best we could come up with was a Bollywood theme.  And then we made this pink (you might call it cake).  Not quite sure how one relates to the other.

I hope your mouth is watering and you feel a little less complete because you didn’t have a seven-person grad party with personalized cakes.