long-distance relationship

best friends makin' it work

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2012: the year of legit

it’s official. rohini and i took our small presence on the world wide web one step further and bought ourselves a real deal domain name. we’re finally legit and our best-friendship has been resealed for life. i imagine the emotions i’m feeling right now are akin to what brides feel when they set up their wedding websites. it’s a real shame best friend registries aren’t a thing. nevertheless, we’re lucky rohiniandyang.com wasn’t already taken. i’m told it’s a hugely popular name combination.*

in the spirit of the new year, and the oft ambitious resolutions that come with it, rohini and i came up with a list of other things we’d like to make legit this year. and we will. here it is:

our gym memberships
total cliché, i know, but it must be done. we pay for them, and we never go. it’s time we start hitting the elliptical with some regularity.  my new slogan is “12 pounds in 2012!” note the exclamation mark, it means i’m serious.

living together
most people our age move to be with their significant others, so it’s hard for people to understand why rohini would move to dc to be with me. our blog helps dispel some of that confusion. it’s time we put an end to our long-distance relationship and swap the 800-some miles standing between us for a reasonably-priced, thick, sound-proof wall.

careers
part of rohini’s moving here is also motivated by dc job opportunities in education reform. her time at TFA is nearing its end and i’m excited to see where her budding career will take her next. i’m also thinking of some professional moves of my own.

our status as bloggers
we don’t blog enough. we have our good streaks, but life and exhaustion keep getting in the way. living together should help.

las vegas for new year’s eve
rohini and i had a plan in the works to go to las vegas this past summer, but failed to get our act together. we now have our sights set on sin city for new year’s eve 2013. i can’t think of a better way to end what has the makings of being a great year and ringing in the next one.

and there you have it. it’s also worth noting that 2012 is the year of the dragon, a sign we both wear with pride. so if there’s ever gonna be a year to get things done, it’s this one.

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*total lie, but we hope it will be someday. rohini and i dream about future generations of indian and chinese girls being named after us and becoming best friends over their shared love of our blog. we dream big.

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.

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.

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.

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