I Made a New Old Friend

While riding back from San Jose to Rosemead with the usual Vietnamese bus company Xe Do Hoang, I didn’t think choosing to sit next to an elderly woman would gain me a new friend. In the million times I’ve ridden this bus, I have yet to ever make a friend. Well, I had a good conversation with a woman who called me “hefty” once.

One ticket from San Jose to Rosemead: $40. Making a new old friend?: Priceless.
One ticket from San Jose to Rosemead: $40. Making a new old friend?: Priceless.

**Side story: During my freshman year in high school, I was able to make conversation in Cantonese with a kind middle-aged woman. We got to talking about our families and what not, and it was nice to be able to share life on a 6 hour bus ride home. She then proceeded to ask me if my family was from Beijing, and I told her no. I asked her why she guessed that, and she told me that people from Beijing tend to be hefty. Thanks, friend.

Helen is her English name, and Hai is her Vietnamese name. Hai Pham. My roommate Miss Jessica Pham would appreciate that. She’s 68-years-old, with five children ranging from the ages of 22 to 49. Yes, a big gap but she’s satisfied nonetheless. I later found out her son, also 22-years-old, goes to UCLA for Dentistry, and that he also lives right in Westwood. In order to protect his identity, all I will say is that he also has only five letters in his first and last name together. Soul mate?

Hai kept pouring flattery over me as she told me repeatedly that I was a “sweet girl,” that she felt like she knew me for a long time, and that she “loved me.” She even gave me her fan and said for me to keep as a gift from her and also in remembrance every time I used it. I was a little surprised, but I accepted her gift gratefully. I guess I’m part of her, would you say, “fan” club. Hahahahahaha…no? Sorry. I definitely enjoyed her company and conversation more than anything. She reminds me of my Great Aunt May, with the same spunk and pretty good handle on the English language.

I was invited to go to her house some time whenever I was in the Santa Ana area, and she even gave me her contact info. Both home and cell number, and her home address. She told me delicious food was only a phone call away, as she promised me she made a mean North Vietnamese style fish. I was excited to take that offer up, and am seriously considering doing so.

I gave her my cell phone number, and that if she was ever in Westwood visiting her son, she should give me a call.


Hey, I’m not an ageist. 68 or 16, as Camera Obscura put it, “I need all the friends I can get.” So if you want to give it a try, get on the Xe Do Hoang yourself.

Did I just advertise a Vietnamese Bus Company as a new way of networking? Oh dear.

This is Amy Hu signing off for October 3rd, 2009.

Everybody Loves Raymonds, Weddings, and Birthdays

Raymond's Wedding 015
Me, Dad, Vera, Mom, Denise, Aunt Nancy, Raymond, Uncle Ken

Congratulations to my cousin Raymond on becoming a wonderful new husband to his lovely wife, Denise, as of Saturday. The wedding ceremony was held outdoors at the lovely Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City by a beautiful lake. Despite the warm weather, noisy planes, and hotel clientele watching our gathering half-naked by the pool, it was a lovely evening. The open bar, dancing with my 7 year-old cousin, and red velvet cake definitely were some memorable highlights. The reception was held indoors and dinner was a fancy selection of fine American cuisine.

Raymond's Wedding 002
Big sister Vera on the left. Pre-disaster.

The funniest yet worst thing was that Vera decided to vomit on the way home. While I was at the wheel, she expressed how sick she felt and pulled down the window. I knew she was pretty drunk at the wedding considering her excessive amount of physical affection and decreasing number of blinks. When she stuck her head out the window, her puking skills allowed her to spread her half-digested-once-expensive-cuisine equally in the car and outside of it. As the mixture of food and stomach juices splattered across the window, my mother was puzzled as to why it was wet outside and convinced herself for approximately five seconds that it was raining. Her countenance soon fell at the moment of realization as the stench penetrated all our noses. It was a disaster to clean up. I nearly hurled myself in doing so.

I also got a haircut the day before I went to the wedding and I was so relieved to finally get one. I hadn’t cut my car in six months, and that was way overdue for my already unhealthy hair. I had attempted to get an appointment with my hair stylist last time I was back in the good ol’ San Ho, but that was a fail. He was completely booked. With much success this time, I had to lock in such a lovely rendezvous in Cupertino at the local Cali Hair.

Raymond the Hair Stylist
Look at this guy. Doin' his thang. That's not me, I'm the creepy one behind the camera phone.

Now hairstylist Raymond, not cousin Raymond, usually does a fabulous job with my hair. I’ve been going to him for 4 years now, and so we always manage to catch up and make good conversation every time he works his magic (get your head out of the gutter). The only thing is, his style is that of a very “Asian” style, basically. But the cut is good, and I just simply wet my hair and reshape it to the way I want when I come back home. Unfortunately this time, it seems this look never left me. He cut my bangs too short this time, and it’s a bit disastrous.

It's time.
It's time.

You might think, “Oh Amy, the drama queen you are. Your hair looks fine.” This may be true, but I had been in love with my long hair and was wary of cutting it. But it was getting way too long, as my bangs were not functioning as bangs anymore, but as an eye mask. So I had to.

A family favorite. http://www.satosushi.com

My mother’s birthday was uneventful as predicted, but we did get sushi from what we think is the best sushi restaurant in town–Sato Sushi. It’s my mother’s (and family’s) favorite Japanese restaurant, and we do love our raw fish and special rolls.

This is my favorite roll at this fine establishment.
This is my favorite roll at this fine establishment.

My dad managed to ruffle my feathers on my last night here and during my mother’s birthday dinner. He was late because he was too busy “fixing” their new duplex in Milpitas they recently bought as another source of income. (Hey, now’s the time to buy real estate in an economy like this. My parents plan on renting it out until they decide to move into it themselves. I’m skeptical.) Not only that, but he chugged my beer right as he sat down so I had no more to enjoy and then later proceeded to let me know that I had enough food when he asked us all to finish the rest of the food. Apparently his encouragement to “everyone” to not let the food go to waste did not include me. He had been commenting on my weight the entire week, and in the emotional state I’m in, I, Amy the block of silky tofu, broke. I’m used to those comments, but during this season in realizing the relationship between my brokenness and my family, I was not ready to take on anymore from them.

It was a tough week at home overall, but it had some good moments. There’s always a risk in doing anything in life, and the more you expect, the higher the chance of things not going your way. I don’t believe in expecting nothing to shy away from disappointment, but I do believe in at least hoping for it and moving on. Whether you hope for the best haircut, a chance of vomit-free drunkenness, or a nice family dinner without being put down, the desire for it is much better than expecting. That is a lesson I have learned all my life. But hey, it still sucks when it doesn’t happen right?

And of course, Happy 25th Birthday Jenny Elizabeth Varghese. Go rent that car and take youngin’s to D&B’s!

This is Amy Hu signing off for October 1st, 2009.

My Life Is a Sitcom (III)

My life is a sitcom.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a mini-series of events that further affirm my starring role on the boob tube. I now share them with you all.

Episode 1 copy

Episode 1: Car Wash?Tis Futile

My car was filthy. Absolutely disgusting. The thick layer of collected dirt, avian feces, bits of forestry, and unmentionables clung onto the metallic skin of my new Honda Accord. Oh yeah, on top of that, someone decided to egg my car. My baby was in dire need of a wash.

During this time, my entire family (paternal) was gathered in Rosemead. Yes, all 30+ of us for my grandma’s 80th birthday. It was the first time my family was together in ages and it was the best chaos ever. Hu family fun topped off with some epic drama. Yum.

The family was ridiculing my car, and even my students decided to write messages that communicated the obvious need of my car to be cleaned during one of the many retreats we just had that month. So it was time, and my wonderful Aunt Shirley gave me a free ticket to a car wash near her house in Whittier–right in La Puente. Bless her soul.

So I took advantage of this and got lost for a good 20 minutes until I found the place. I got the “Premium Gold Package,” which meant for a fancy wash with all sorts of waxing and scents. I decided on Pina Colada.

After the wash and about 20 minutes of Luxor on my iTouch, my baby was shining in all its glory in the parking lot. But as I approached the car, I noticed something wasn’t right. One of employees of this fine establishment approached me and apologized (in Spanish too) they couldn’t get the stained and imprinted splatter of egg off my car. I should have gotten the Platinum Package. Apparently that includes major detailing and removal of huevos.

But I brushed it off and decided my car, despite the works of college douchebags, looked significantly better than before and was screaming cleanliness.

The next morning, I woke up at 10am to move my car as usual only to find my car was attacked by the sprinklers and my car was completely stained once again by the filthy water of Westwood.

I drove almost 30 miles to get my car washed and spent two hours doing so. I was patient with the egg stains, but this was ridiculous. I just got it washed and my baby looked like a machine with measles.

So I say, a fancy car wash for those who park their car in Westwood seems counterintuitive now.

Episode 3 copy

Episode 2: Of Course It Hit My Head
After two hours in LA traffic and arriving at our pre-fall conference for InterVarsity, I strolled into the park to join in on the fun festivities. As we were lazing about after some fun group games, I suddenly heard someone yell “Watch out!” I sometimes forget that is a warning to everyone to be on high alert and probably engage in some movement. It was one of those times.

Surely enough, I was struck in the head by a football going at impossible speeds and I blacked out for two seconds. Just two.

Stars flooded the summer sky and I grabbed my head hoping to push down the throbbing, sharp pain. One of our students ran over and apologized for a bad throw. But the key is in what he said in his apology:

“Amy! I’m so sorry! I threw the ball as hard as I could to Mike and I missed.”

Yup, you definitely missed. And you admitted to throwing it as hard as you could. No wonder. This is my life.

After the incident, everyone laughed and affirmed that of course it happened to me. Who else?

Episode 2 copy

Episode 3: My Fatal Dance Moves Strike Again
I was furiously creating fliers in my room for InterVarsity on my spiffy new Microsoft Publisher and just having a ball. I was grooving to some music as I clicked, dragged, cut and pasted. But you see, my dance moves have a history of being quite self-destructive, and that moment was a case-in-point.

**Side story about my fatal dance moves: I once danced out of my bathroom in my college dorm room (for entertainment purposes) and almost got stabbed doing so. I somehow “danced into the knife” as my sister held it out while cutting an apple. I was saved by the fact the knife was facing me at its dull end.

I somehow elbowed my wonderful water dispenser that lies on the left corner of my desk, and it tumbled down and knocked over the white paint that was being used to bring life in Me and Jess’s bedroom.

Everything was in slo-mo as I watched the paint spread furiously across our industrial blue carpet. I then proceeded to scream to the heavens and yell things that affirmed my stupidity and the high probability of unfortunate situations happening in my life.

I quickly put on an old pair of jeans and scooped the paint furiously and had to pick out all the wonderful hair along with it. I looked at the paint that covered the power strip and the things plugged into it and prioritized the cleaning of those things. I looked like a 5-year old not knowing any better than to stick her hands into a mess and find fun and enjoyment out of it. I found no fun or enjoyment during those three hours of cleaning.

My hands were burning and sore after I scooped and scraped with them until most of liquid was gone. But after two hours of that, the carpet looked like I vomited yogurt.

Praise the Lord because Jared, Jess’s boyfriend, came over and assisted in the cleanup. He provided much joy in a stressful situation, and pwned the spots on the ground. Furthermore, he had a job interview and work afterward and still decided to take on the cleaning. Bless his heart.

I eventually gave up and finished up what I was doing and later that day, Janice came over and also assisted me. We were on the spatula phase and so we worked out a system of scraping and towel blotting. I love that girl to death, and she was indeed heaven-sent.

I put in my last efforts to clean late that night, while putting on my Carpenters and Beatles records. I had paint everywhere on me for days, and it was actually quite hilarious. It looked like I got french tips and highlights. Sexy.

Yup, the carpet still looks pretty bad but thanks to Jess’s patience and understanding, we decided to leave the carpet as it was. Now it just kinda smells funny. Whoops.

Episode 4 copy

Episode 4: Guitar (Hero) Solo
My attempts to get to know people in leaving Jon and David’s door open was failing, as I banked on people passing me by and being attracted to the popular game I knew people loved. And after three songs, I realized how much of a loser I must look like if anyone
actually did walk by. Possible awkard conversation:

Student: “Oh hi, looks like you’re having fun playing Guitar Hero here by yourself.”
Me: “Oh by myself? No I would love it someone could join me. Would you like to?”
Student: “Sure, that sounds fun. Hey, like how you decorated your room.”
Me: “Oh yeah, this, um…isn’t my room. It’s actually Jon and David’s room. Have you met them?”
Student: “No actually…so you’re in their room playing Guitar Hero alone while they’re not here?”
Me: “Yeah…but you know, they’ll be back soon and I’m just hanging out and seeing if anyone was around.”
Student: “Oh cool. So do you live on this floor then?”
Me: “No actually…I live in the apartments.”
Student: “Oh, are you an upperclassmen or something?”
Me: “I graduated this past summer actually…”
Student: “So you don’t go here anymore and you’re in in Jon and David’s room alone playing Guitar Hero hoping someone would walk by? That’s weird…What are you doing here?”
Me: “I actually am friends with them and some other people on the floor and am starting a Bible Study soon. You’ll see me around here haha.”
Student: “Oh…interesting. Hey, you only have one guitar controller for your Guitar Hero, and it looks like you were really into it. I’ll let you go. It was nice meeting you. Bye.”
Me: “Well if you ever want to hang out, we should! Crap what’s your name and what room are you in! No, I mean I’ll see you around! Frick…”

Disaster. Absolute disaster. I am an idiot. Ryland, Amanda Lee and Lai, and Anna affirmed that I didn’t look too good at that point. Agreed.

Episode 5 copy

Episode 5: Time for New Shoes
But because of the duct tape, it has also made it so the bottom of my shoes lack in grip. This was apparent when I strolled to the Activities Fair at UCLA and fell in front of everyone at the entrance.

The worst part of it all was that it wasn’t a full-on slip and fall, and then a big thud on the ground. There was a slight grade and I stepped in a slippery spot and my foot just simply slid in front of me slowly. So very slowly that it looked like a weird dance move.  I got plenty of unwanted attention and it was terrible.

My life is a sitcom, and the September mini-series provides such further evidence. I want a larger variety of laugh tracks please.

This is Amy Hu signing off for September 22, 2009.

My Life Is a Sitcom (II)

My life is a sitcom.

Last week, I was meeting up with Miss Jessica Pruett at Westwood Park, one of the few places that nature is found in the area. It’s still a pretty depressing looking spot compared to what we know parks can actually be.

While we were engaging in some deep conversation, an elderly woman, pulling her small rather annoying canine, stopped at our picnic table.

You see, as one who is reading my written thoughts and perhaps will continue to do so in the future, you must understand my dislike, fear, and even hatred for animals. I will simply say that through my experiences, which are many, there has been little affirmation to me that any living creature that is not of the human species is willing to engage with me peacefully. If I was bold enough, I would wear a t-shirt that read “Humans rule!”

With that in mind, I continue.

As this poor elderly woman attempted to pull her dog away from us, the pooch continued to sniff and, basically, be “all up in our business.” My comfort zone was breached and I oh-so-wanted to break free. But my desire to be polite and respectful gets the better of me most of the time, and so I stayed put. It was absolute torture.

As Jessica (one who does not carry an irrational dislike or fear of animals) petted the dog, the elderly woman proceeded to say something while she tugged that made me feel like the cameras were rolling once again. She yelled to her pet:

“Amy! Get over here. Amy! C’mon.”

The little beast’s name was Amy. She named her dog Amy. My name is Amy. I fear and dislike dogs. Amy the dog wouldn’t leave me, Amy the human, alone. FML.

What are the chances? This, my friends, was no coincidence. During moments like these, I know for sure that God has the best sense of humor of all.

This is Amy signing off for August 11th, 2009.

My Life Is a Sitcom (I)

My life is a sitcom.

Last weekend, the women staff of InterVarsity Bruin Christian Fellowship was privileged enough to indulge in a getaway at a beach house in Port Hueneme. Jess’s coworker so graciously lent us her humble abode by the sea for us to unwind, get refreshed, and bond. I believe we accomplished all of that except not through the most expected of ways. Allow me to explain.

Us six women had just finished a wonderful feast of sweet potato fries, salad, corn, crescent rolls, and grilled Mahi-Mahi and was gathered around ready to head out for a moonlight stroll with a possible stop at the Dairy Queen. After some conversation, we decided to clean up before going on such a walk and praise the Lord we did.

Ingrid headed to the kitchen first and proceeded to ask, in the most kind and calm manner, “Guys, is there supposed to be a fire outside? Wait, there shouldn’t be right?”

I and some of the others rushed to the kitchen to the double doors that led to the patio. They were a bright orange and it looked like I was on the set of Backdraft. And I thought to myself, “Shit. I was the one who barbecued.”


You see, I would not do it justice in sharing such a story over my blog. The story’s beauty comes from a group effort, told from multiple perspectives and that, in its fullest effect, is where I have moments where I pause and ask myself, “Where are the cameras?”

Yes, this used to be a broom. I was wielding this firey object and whacking the flames unsuccessfully.
Yes, this used to be a broom. I was wielding this firey object and whacking the flames unsuccessfully.

But I’ll at least say that by the grace of God, the house was barely even charred. The stupid move came in me deciding to be resourceful, a both useful and destructive characteristic of my Asian culture, when I put back some warm charcoal into its original bag. I’ll leave you with that.

So go ahead, when you see any of us women, ask us “How’d you manage to not burn the house down that weekend in Port Hueneme?” We’ll probably chuckle, pause for a couple of seconds to gather ourselves, and start with “Amy put some Mahi-Mahi on the barbecue grill for dinner that night…”

What was once a broom now hangs on our balcony door. It's very special to us.
What was once a broom now hangs on our balcony door. It's very special to us.


Happy Birthday Lisa. I hope Disneyland was fun today, and the cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen in our room is still creeping me out a little.

This is Amy Hu signing off for August 7, 2009.

I Find Humor In Everything

I attempted to not make one joke for just one night. That in itself was a joke.

My roommate Lisa and I agreed on a bet where my endurance and self-control was challenged: I was to not crack one joke from 5pm on Tuesday until we went to sleep that night.

A “joke” was defined, basically, as any words, gestures, or facial expressions that would provoke any sort of laughter or response. This could be in response to what someone else said or an observation I was making. Laughter was also tricky because if I was laughing at someone, that would mean I was teasing, which is considered me provoking humor.

When I came home from work a little after 5, Lisa had the best setup–she was lying on my bed on her borrowed laptop, waiting for me to notice the Twilight desktop background she had added as well as my internet browser opened up to Scooter World. That was a taste of what the night was like. It was absolute torture.

So very many things I wanted to say that I strained my throat and face to the point of pain and soreness. I wanted to laugh so many times, as even Kelly, Mel and friggin’ Tammy ganged up on me. As Lisa put it, I was a volcano ready to erupt and everyone was poking my bulging mountainside.

Lisa was actually quite lenient in the whole process, as it was obvious the supposed “observations” and facial reactions itself was intended for humor, even with my serious tone of voice.

We ended up at the Century City Mall getting Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and further torture and poking at my volcanic self occurred as the worker of this infamous ice cream shop decided it would be funny to have a hypothetical food fight. I was the kid at the playground who oh so very much wanted to join in on the four-square game. But I instead pretended I was not interested and chuckled in pain.

And then my lava leaked.

No, that is not an analogy for my menstrual cycle and pants wear, but I cracked the most subtle joke without even thinking about it. There was Lisa, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and the color green involved.

Yes, it was the most “unepic” ending to this whole ordeal, but I just simply could not take it anymore.

So what lesson did I learn from last night? I do find humor in everything, and it’s a large part of how I communicate and relate to people. Sure, I can be serious when needed, but I naturally look for opportunities for a subtle joke here, and a ridiculous comment there.

Twilight Movie Poster

As a result of being on the losing end of such a wager, I had to buy Twilight on DVD, and Lisa just cannot wait for us to watch it together. I do not look forward to adding such a movie to my DVD collection. And no, I cannot give it away. It was part of the deal.

She feels terrible about making me buy it and watch it, but I am a woman of my word. I think it tortured her more to see me buy it than me. Oh Lisa.

I’ll tell ya, I really wanted Lisa to wear her penguin robe while eating dinner before our summer small group community. But then again, I might have a near-death experience in watching her attempt to eat with flippers and a hood. But it looks like I’d better find a two hour block of time for some vampire/human love.

This is Amy Hu signing off for July 14th, 2009.

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