Bao's weblog


Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

Mad props to you if you read through this in one go.

Even though I’m not the only one in the house at the moment, I’m at a break in the storm where all is amazingly quiet. Usually when things are this quiet, it’s just me inside. Ah, this brings me back to that nostalgic weekend when my parents and sister were in L.A. for a wedding while I stayed behind studying for a physics final. With the house all to myself for three whole days, I’ve never been more productive.

So what was I going to write about? Oh right, probably going to write about my past week. I haven’t done those in awhile have I? I remembered mentioning a long time ago that I stopped believing in those posts. Those days were just too spectacular for mere words to do them justice. Yet, here I am. Does this make my life any less amazing? Umm…

Okay. Thanksgiving… or perhaps Needless Turkey Murder Day to you vegetarians out there. How was it for you guys? For me, my day of giving thanks was spent in a small apartment with loud parents and loud kids, with the cousins my age talking on their phones, unleashing the angst that will become Black Friday. You know the whole American Thanksgiving dinner setup, with the two ton turkey, honey ham, mash potatoes, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cornbread? In my eternal quest for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, I DID have turkey this year, prepared the Vietnamese way. Don’t get me wrong, for a regular dinner this exceeded my expectations. But for Thanksgiving? It was a step up from last year, but it’s still not quite what one looks for on Thanksgiving. And then again, the turkey was the only thing on the table that was traditional.

My bedtime that night was at one. How exhausted I was with the constant clamor of yelling kids and irritated cousins. The righteous food coma I was in didn’t make the ride home any smoother considering that I was driving. One cousin’s Black Friday had already begun at midnight.

I remembered being so disoriented when woken up by my friend’s text. It was terrible timing that he woke me up at the wrong time in my sleep cycle… the kind of waking up where you’re too tired to even think I want to go back to sleep. Even with a serene, mostly pitch black room and light from the orange street lamps gently leaking through my blinds, the harsh glow of my phone’s touch screen with my friend’s screaming text burned my cornea and gave me a small headache. Before I knew what was happening, I was car-bound to Valley Fair with two of my friends, trying my damnedest to keep up my facade of active and excited friend, for it was my idea to go on this venture to begin with.

The mall was bustling and parking spaces were few. I felt electricity (or maybe it was the cold outside air) which shocked my body into its “active” state. The quotes are there for people who know me and find me the most dreadfully tired person ever. For me, this was when my Friday truly began.

We waited in line for an hour in Forever 21. The store’s alarms rang periodically as the occasional shoplifter casually walked pass with clothing, shoes, and whatnot. Our genius plan to buy some Starbucks coffee while waiting was quickly shot down when we saw the long line of customers dying to be caffeinated on this early a.m. We waltzed out of Forever 21, my friend satisfied with her purchases, and I bought a clam chowder in a sour dough bowl. It was cold, I was starving,  and this was hands down the best clam chowder I’ve ever had.

We walked across the street to Santana Row between six and seven in the morning, marveling at the fact that we’ve been awake for three hours and that the day hadn’t even begun. Well, that’s probably a bit of a misstatement I have to say, as the parking lot was jam packed with people looking for nonexistent parking spaces. Honks were long, loud, and unceasing. Over at Santana Row, the same friend who bought shit at Forever 21 made a beeline towards H and M. I don’t think we had the patience to save her a spot in line again, but there didn’t seem to be one! Patience nevertheless wearing thin, we went to a much emptier Starbucks and played cards.

Fast forward really quick.

My friend wished he had access to plastic explosives. We drove out of Valley Fair with him fantasizing about blowing up rude drivers. Back in Evergreen, I had my second breakfast of the day: pho. It was nine in the morning. Pretty good. If I had later classes, I wouldn’t mind going there for breakfast.

Fast forward. I’m getting pretty lazy.

My friend who actually bought stuff on Black Friday flirted with the border between sleep deprivation and certain death, so she slept while we took a joyride over the hills of Evergreen. These hills were steep, but nevertheless we saw bikers who might have as well have been training for the Tour de France. How hard core do you have to be to be able to bike these hills… on Black Friday of all days? They must be doing something right nevertheless, because they were a fresh contrast from the hectic rat race that was currently taking place thousands of feet below.

Rewind to Wednesday really quick.

My statistics midterm was on Wednesday, something I was dreading and looking forward to simultaneously. A friend of mine who transferred over from a high school in Vietnam talked about her old study habit when she had daily midterms at six in the morning, which I thought was useful enough to try on my own. I hit the sack at 8 p.m., then had my girlfriend wake me up at 2 a.m. As crazy as it sounds, this gave me a good 6 hours of sleep, better than most people my age I’m guessing. So from 2:30 (30 minutes was just fucking around, trying to get myself awake enough) to 6:30 I studied at home with green tea and the occasional IM to keep me company. I took a quick shower and arrived at the school cafeteria one hour before the test, hoping to run into somebody from my class. I ran into one person. Then we met up with her friend, also from this class. Then we ran into a group of classmates studying for the midterm and going over the take home portion. Now that I think about, it’s pretty amazing how in the end, 25% of our class met up in the cafeteria and studied together.

I took the midterm. Were these questions hard? Easy? I was cautiously optimistic at my potential score. For the last midterm, our class average was in the 60’s. When I got home, I saw that my professor had emailed the answer key and felt sick to the stomach. Not only had I not seen these answers before, but I didn’t even remember the questions! Shit! But wait. Okay, there was one question I remembered… Damn. I got that one wrong. Too depressed to look at the other questions, I closed the file and tried to forget. I had Thanksgiving and Black Friday to look forward to.

Fast forward to Monday (yesterday).

The class average was better this time around. I literally heard the class sigh in relief as the professor showed us the distribution via stem leaf plot (it’s a statistics class). Most people got scores either in the sixties or eighties. Four or five people even got A’s, half of those being over 100%. Better than the first midterm, where the only A was a 92. Thinking of my early encounter with the answer key, I dragged my feet over to pick up my midterm, praying that it was at least a low B. My professor’s poker face as he gave out our tests one by one offered no clue as to what our scores were…

Good God. 96!? Is this my test!? So this is what winning feels like! It turned out that I missed only one question on the exam.

Go figure…


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