Oct13

A Day in the Life: October 2015

Hi! This is my first time participating in one of these linkups! Georgie said the preferred day of October 12th is best but that was yesterday and I was working which is not very interesting … nor did I have time to take photos. So, I’ll be rolling back to Saturday, October 10th.

Before I get started, thanks everyone who commented on my last post telling me there’s no need for me to apologize. I’m glad all of you guys focused on it because that was empathy, which is more important to the Christian faith than anything because it’s what we are called to do by being followers of our God. It is what we actually practice daily rather than praying for miracles or hating the “sinners”.

Anyways more about October 10th now!

I started my day at 12:00AM. One of my best friends was coming back from Boston, where he lives, for the three-day weekend. As a grad student and someone who works in a creative studio, my weekend was as short as ever and this particular one I was even more crammed than usual. My only chance of seeing him after more than two months was Friday night. However, his bus was more than two hours late due to the bad evening weather! By the time he got here it was close to midnight already. Another friend drove to the city to drive him back to the suburbs where his parents live, so I got a safe ride.

Photo by Linh Nguyen, accurately portraying where we had to eat at midnight.

New York is the city that never sleeps, but not everywhere. There were lots of places still open at midnight near where I live, but no parking spots. We had to drive to Chinatown where the streets are empty enough for parking, but reasonably because everything was closed! There was exactly one sketchy joint that was still open. Luckily I was with two male friends, otherwise there’s no way I would go in.

We ordered pork over rice, and I only ate it because of how hungry I was. I’m no fan of Chinese food and this place was no exception. The dish was way too salty and there was no flavor except for the pork, which I don’t like much but sometimes trick myself into eating because I’m so hungry. My friend ended up eating half my dish for me. The important thing however, is getting to spend the time with him since time is so scarce and precious. Thanks to technology we can keep in contact but that’s not the same as being able to snap cute selfies. Pictures are good. To everyone who doesn’t like taking pictures like how I was for many years, I recommend them. They put smiles on our faces every time we look back.

We ate for about an hour, then the boys were tired and still had half an hour’s drive home. They dropped me back at my apartment at 1:30AM. I went to bed around 2:30 but did not have long to sleep.

At 8:30AM I had to wake up to go to New Jersey for my fellowship’s annual Girls Retreat. The guys of course had their own retreat at the same time. People might joke about our segregation and how old-fashioned it is, but I find it important to spend time with other girls. When we are spending time with just girls, we grow together in sisterhood and explore how life is set up for us to live as women.

I feel many girls around my age struggle with their female identity because I know I did throughout college. For example, you naturally act a certain way, but then get criticized for not being feminine. And if you try to make yourself more feminine, you get criticized for trying hard to be like other girls. Then there’s the debate about what being a female really is. It takes time to know exactly what it means to be feminine, and it’s definitely not about following what is traditionally accepted as feminine. Nor is about flaunting male traits and marketing them as freedom of expression for females. This could be a whole other post on its own so I won’t talk more about it, but I’m so glad I got to talk to some of my sisters about their female identity!

Anyways, my travel group girls and I had trouble getting to New Jersey because the subways in Manhattan delayed me for over half an hour due to weekend construction, then the train into New Jersey broke down. We began our retreat by being stranded in a sketchy part of Jersey City and had to make our way towards a different train station on a bus with a capacity of 23 people. I sat on top of someone’s suitcase. It kinda felt like when I visited southern China 9 years ago.

The photographer-to-photographer photo is mandatory in every social situation.

Eventually we finally made it to the house of the family hosting us, which was the family of one of the 20 girls on the retreat. We went apple picking in a farm! I have not been on a farm in exactly 10 years, ever since the year I moved to New York.

I think I wanna be Isaac Newton.

For the first time I got to taste a fresh apple from the tree. It was so good I stopped caring about whatever it was that my mom didn’t allow me to eat from the tree when I was a kid. I think I spent more time taking pictures of the other girls than picking apples, because I couldn’t take a bag home anyway.

The leaves are turning orange!

We also got to play around in the pumpkin patch like kids. But who said we’re not kids? One of the management ladies lashed out at us because most of us didn’t buy apples and were just there to play. Erm, did she forget we paid $2 each for admissions? Sigh.

After our little adventure at the farm (I heard the guys went paintballin’) we went back to the house and made tacos. It was my first time washing lettuce too, since I couldn’t contribute more than that. I witnessed a lot of girls expertly chopping up the tomatoes and onions. Maybe one of my goals should be learning how to cook soon … because the tacos were TOO GOOD.

The retreat was supposed to end in a night of games, movies, and the sleepover, but five of us had to leave after dinner. That included me, because I had to host a lunch event on Sunday. This time one of the girls with a car got to drive us back to Manhattan so we didn’t have to brace the unreliable public transport in New Jersey.

However, our journey back was as rough as our journey over. The bridges into Staten Island were closed by the time we got there, so we had to drive into Manhattan meaning one of the girls couldn’t get home! The bright side is that we all safely got back despite how much I worried about five girls traveling in a car in New Jersey that late at night since New Jersey doesn’t seem to have street lamps.

I got back at 12:30AM, oy, and had only a few hours to sleep before needing to get up and prepare for my lunch event at church. It went VERY well, in case you were wondering! I’m sad I didn’t get to have brunch with the girls on the retreat but I have to divide my time as equally as I can.

I’m tired and dizzy all the time for sure, but I wouldn’t give up any of this for anything. The love of community and being able to serve everyone is the greatest love given to us.

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6 Comments to "A Day in the Life: October 2015"

Chantelle wrote on 16th October 2015 at 11:56 AM

It sounds like a nice weekend. I’m glad you got to catch up with your friend.

I don’t mind some gender-segregated activities because sometimes they just make sense. Other times, they don’t, so maybe I’m generally against them. It’s hard for me to say because it’s really complicated, you know? I grew up with a brother who is only 13 months younger than me and I love diversity, so most of the time when people try to exclude a group of people, I get annoyed. I also have an alpha personality so when others tell me to behave in a certain way simply because I’m X, I see red. Regardless, I think it’s very important for women and girls to bond with one another so retreats are good.

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cantaloupe wrote on 17th October 2015 at 6:03 AM

Having spent the past day and a half surrounded by men only (my boyfriend and his all male friends), I would greatly cherish some girls-only time. But to be honest, in general I tend to find mixed groups the most entertaining. Perhaps because there’s options.

It sounds like a great weekend! I always end my weekends sleep-deprived, but it is always entirely worth it.

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Tara wrote on 17th October 2015 at 8:49 PM

Yowza! Sounds like a super long day, but I’m glad you had a blast with your friend in late-night Chinatown and then the retreat. I probably wouldn’t enjoy the girls-only thing. X_X I’ve always gotten along better with guys, coming from hanging out with a group of gamers/otakus who were all boys, so I notice I just have more fun with them then the girls. XD;;;

Anyway, gender-segregation aside, I can see some merits for it, but I can’t really see myself doing a lot of those activities XD Like Chantelle said, I much prefer the diversity of having both guys and girls at an event!

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Liv Reply:

I know the feeling “get along better with guys” because I came from having only guy friends in high school and roughly being one of the guys, to having no really good friends in college because it was literally a girl’s school. Then when I started graduate school I wanted nothing more to be the girl in a group of guys again. That was how I was initially, all my buddies were gamer guys. But as I began to fellowship more I realized I needed my girls. A relationship with a guy is completely different from a relationship with a girl, and they are supposed to be different. I can tell you 10 months ago there was no way I would have gone on an all-girls retreat.

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Michelle wrote on 17th October 2015 at 9:44 PM

I’ve always wanted to try apple picking but playing in the pumpkin patch is my favorite thing to do in the fall. Looks like you had a great time. ^^

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Cat wrote on 17th October 2015 at 11:45 PM

Wow, that’s a packed day! I’m glad you were able to see one of your best friends 🙂

That retreat sounds fun! In the past, I wouldn’t have been a fan of an all-girls retreat, but over the years, I’ve realized how important it is for women to have support for each other. I actually just got back from a tech conference for women, and it was pretty amazing.

I used to go apple picking when I still lived in NY. I miss that! I’m glad you had such a great weekend!

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