Friday, March 13, 2015

Watermelon Hysteria

So, I'm taking the SAT tomorrow, and far from studying or preparing or anything, I am doing what I excel at. I am wasting time.

I have a story, however, that I hope will not be a waste of your time. It is, to me, both a bit terrifying and extremely hilarious. I'll probably make it seem boring, but oh well.
So, grab yourself a cup of (insert favorite drink) and a bowl of (insert favorite snack), and without further ado, let's begin our story.

Firstly, I'd like to paint you a scene. (this isn't really of any importance: it's sole purpose is to make me seem sophisticated). It is a warm summers day (summer 2013), but definitely NOT sunny. The air is heavy and humid and somewhere in the distance, there is a slight rumble of thunder. All around are the sounds of cars, people, and the general sounds of a Chinese city. Yes, we are in China.

I am with my family. This includes Emma, Ben, my dad, my uncle and his fiancee, a great-aunt (I think), my grandpa, and some old family friends or something. I haven't actually met the friends until just this day in question. Maybe it's a Chinese thing, but every time we visit China, we meet hitherto unknown relatives as if my dad is pulling them out of a magicians hat. I swear we have an endless amount of relatives and close family friends!

We have just been at the friend's apartment. The adults have spent about two hours talking and catching up, while we (meaning my siblings and I) were offered a tub of Garrett's Caramel Popcorn. One of the family friends claims that it was from Singapore or something, but for some reason I doubt it. The last time I saw a tub of Garrett's Popcorn, we were in Chicago. NOT Singapore.

Anyways, it's almost dinner time when my one of the friends suggests that we go out to eat a fancy dinner, seeing as its almost time to eat. They decide on a place a couple blocks away, so we gather our things and head out. We walk in pairs, because the sidewalk is a bit narrow, and we arrive at this building. the first floor is a restaurant that looks quite fancy and sophisticated, though it looks slightly unprofessional, because the front door is open and large windows gives us a good view to the grimy and rather sad looking street outside.

A waiter in a fancy suit leads us to a table where we are given menus. I sit between my dad and sister. We let the adults decide what to order, because 1. we can't read Chinese very well, and 2. my dad knows best what we'll eat and what we'll avoid.

It's not until after we've ordered our food that things get interesting.

Without our notice, a grubby and poor looking man from outside has wandered in carrying a sack of watermelons. I'm guessing he's homeless. I'm sitting with my back to the front door, but I turn around just to take in the restaurant's style I guess. I notice him before the rest of our group does, but I don't pay much mind. I suppose he'll realize he's lost or something, and will wander out again. I turn back to the table, and begin a conversation with my sister.

A few minutes later, he sidles up to our table, directly behind my sister and I. He announces that he is here to SELL WATERMELONS, and asks if we'd like to buy one. I jump and turn to look at him. As my gaze slides away from his careworn figure to my dad's surprised face, I hear my great-aunt tell him politely that we aren't interested.

The man looks a little disappointed, but nods his head and walks away. Everyone else at the table turns back to their conversations, but I watch his progress around the room as the hobo walks to every table in the restaurant, offering to sell his watermelons to each of the people sitting there. Finally our food arrives, and I turn back to our table to take in the heaping dishes of Asian food.

We begin eating. The adults pile their plates with food, but I carefully choose from the dishes that smell and look the least offensive. I'm not a big fan of authentic Chinese food. I like fried rice and orange chicken. Not stewed octopus or whatever that jiggly, squishy thing is in the steaming pot. . .

Anyways, the Hobo man seems to have visited every table in the whole restaurant and hasn't managed to sell a single watermelon. He finally circles back to our table, this time determined to sell a watermelon. He asks again if we'd like to buy one, and again, my great-aunt says, "sorry, but no."

He won't take no for an answer.

In no time at all, he's on his knees BEGGING us to buy a watermelon. I feel bad for the poor guy, but frankly, he scares me a little. Upon closer inspection, he seems slightly insane. Our waiter walks over, and calmly tells the man to leave the restaurant, but he remains on his knees, still begging us to buy his watermelon.

Suddenly, he pops up again, and pulls out a watermelon from his sack. He begins pointing out the great qualities of his watermelon to my dad in an urgent, slightly hysterical tone. My dad nods as he talks, and a police man from outside is brought in by the manager of the restaurant. The policeman also politely asks the man to leave, but he ignores the police and talks even faster.

The police doesn't back down. Here is what happens next:

*police grabs hobo by the arm* "Please leave them and go back out side..."

*hobo wriggles free and continues to rave about his watermelon*

*police grabs hobo around the waist and lifts him away from my dad*

*hobo grabs the back of my dad's chair in protest*

My dad is nearly thrown from the chair as my extended family exclaim indignantly. I shrink back away from the flailing man. My dad takes pity on him and says that he'll buy the watermelon, but the poor man is beyond reason. He continues to scream about wanting to sell his watermelon. Besides, the rest of our group, the restaurant manager, AND the police are telling my dad that he doesn't need to and shouldn't buy the watermelon.

At this point most of the rest of the dining room has turned to watch the action. Finally, a back up policeman arrives. With the help of the waiter and the second police, the first policeman drags the man and his watermelons back out onto the street. The police kindly give him some money in exchange for the watermelon, and the man wobbles down the street in search of other customers.

The rest from here is rather anti-climactic. The restaurant manager apologized to my family for the interruption while my siblings and I struggled to hold in our laughter.
Unfortunately, I hadn't had enough sense to pull out my camera and get a video of the whole ordeal. I regret to this day that we don't have a record of this whole scene, as it would make for great home videos. I do have pictures from our group photos taken by the embarrassed and trembling waiter, but I look like a hot mess in them. I have no desire to show off my ugly hair-cut from that summer.

I know that was quite a long story, and hope that you aren't bored out of your mind. I apologize for my seriously lacking writing skill.

Anyways, I thought it was a great story. . .
And I'd better get back to actual work.

x Alexis

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


 photo 1d1588cf-9e08-44a0-8cda-d352c64a4739_zps5hxzg80y.jpg


Thursday, March 5, 2015

On second thought, French Exams are also Trés Difficile

My last post, about essay writing skills and my lack of said skill. This post is about French-ing skills and my lack of this said skill.

In Missouri, it is optional to start a high school foreign language in middle school, therefore I opted to take that path. This meant that over 7th and 8th grade, I took what was equal to one year of high school French. By the time I reached freshman year, I was in French II. That means Junior year, I should be in French IV, yeah?

Plot twist: This summer, we moved unexpectedly. The day we registered for school, I arrived in Frisco after waking up at 7 am and driving four hours in order to make it in time for our registration appointment. Lets just say that I was feeling a bit out of sorts. Filling out all those enrollment forms absolutely fried my brain, and by the time I was actually supposed to tell the counselor what classes I wanted, I was just DONE.
After filling out a sheet where I wrote down what classes I'd like to take, I was told that one of the classes did not exist, two weren't required, and there were actually 2 other classes I should have taken before junior year. By the end of the discussion, I was thoroughly confused. I just agreed to anything and everything the counselor said with reckless abandon.

When it came time to decide on what level of French I should take, I decided I'd go out on a limb and take the AP level- French IV, because it was logical for me to take the next level of French. (It was definitely NOT a desire to seem super smart because I've got Asian standards to live up to ...)

The catch: In Missouri, the AP level French isn't until French V, so technically I needed another year of French to be at the AP level.

On the first day of school, I showed up in the class, and the teacher began spewing a slew of fluent French. The whole class nodded and acted on her instruction. I, on the other hand, realized I had made a GRAVE mistake. How on earth could I ever have possibly thought I could survive in a class full of smart people (three of which I was sure was fluent already anyway). I understood two statements the teacher made that day : Bonjour when I walked in and Au Revoir when I walked out.

I went home feeling rather dejected, but decided to persist with the class anyways. I am supposedly a respectable Asian who DOES NOT GIVE UP on any account! I muddled through a semester of the class and miraculously ended up with an "A" in the class by winter break.

Now standing on the other side of the New Year, the AP exam is hurtling towards me with the speed and force of stampeding cows. After several practice speaking exercises, reading and multiple choice exercises, and essays, I'm realizing that maybe I should have NOT taken AP French IV. Someone rescue me because this French IV life isn't working for me.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

College Essays are Trés Difficile

Goodness, time is just flying by. I swear yesterday was February 20 or something. But apparently today is not February 21, it is actually March 3. My mistake.

My kind and very considerate mother signed my sister and I up, the other day, for a seminar on how to write amazing college essays. I was rather reluctant to go, because, let's be honest, I got better things to do! But, I figured, it can't hurt to just show up. So, at 6 o'clock, I duly left the house, and drove to the seminar hall with Emma in tow.

As much as I'd like to be hip and scoff the idea of actually taking to heart what the speaker said ( I mean, what nerd ACTUALLY LISTENS to silly speeches like that?!), I was really quite impressed by the speaker. Yes, there was the usual load of waffle consisting of cliché statements like "You may think you're ordinary, but you're EXTRAordinary!!" But, on the other hand, she did really mention how admissions admins choose which applicants are suitable for acceptance.

To make a long story short, it was indeed a pretty good presentation.
My problem lies in the fact that sometimes my life is like...

Person: Anyone, even YOU can be extraordinary!
Other people: *tries very hard*
Person: See? I knew you could do it!
Me: *also tries pretty hard*
Person: . . . You gave it your best!

I guess, maybe I underestimate my self a little, but the whole time, I got so excited because I was actually being told what ideas to build off of and how to go about doing things, and then I remembered that I'm not good at essays.

x Alexis