I made my quarterly trek to what I call the ‘Asian corner’ in Falls Church today: Great Wall Supermarket for Chinese groceries, then H-mart for a jar of kimchi. They’re about a mile from the closest metro station, but the walk makes for good exercise.
L to R: Shanghai and Canton zongzi, jar of ja cai (spicy pickled veggies), sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, kimchi, celeries, thin noodles, green pepper, white turnip, ‘milk’ bok choy
I also stopped by the secondhand store next to Great Wall to see if they had any useful junk on the shelves. And boy, did they! The vast majority of that massive store is clothing, but that’s where I draw the line in terms of buying secondhand. Instead, I picked up a $5 iron (which I have no idea whether it works or not, fingers crossed), a baking sheet, a towel for the purpose of scrubbing floors, and a set of 7 wooden bowls.
I carried all of this in a backpack and a giant tote. You can’t do this without feeling like a very overworked pack mule. So I am thinking about getting a folding grocery cart, even though they seem kind of lame and are only used by little old ladies.
I stopped by a Thai restaurant tonight for dinner. It wasn’t one of those hip Asian fusion restaurants for white people; it was a no-frills, run-of-the-mill Thai restaurant with all Asian servers. I had been there once before, so I thought I knew what to expect.
As I was walking in, this old white lady in front of me held the door open, letting me go through first. I thanked her, walked in, and stopped to wait in front of the hostess station, which was vacant. Then something incredible happened: the old white lady followed me inside, perched herself behind the hostess station, and said, “Can I help you?”
At that moment my brain legitimately shut down. I couldn’t process what was happening. A white woman who looked like she could be somebody’s grandma, working at an Asian restaurant. I just gaped at her. She blinked at me, concerned. “Yes — what can I do for you?” she asked again, more slowly.
I quickly recovered — but I simmered in embarrassment for the next five minutes.
I recently moved from a three-person house into a studio apartment, which means that for the first time in my life, I have complete and total control over when and how I get to use the kitchen, tiny as it may be.
To celebrate this milestone, I placed an order with Blue Apron for the first time. I’d been curious about it for a while, since it advertises on at least one podcast I regularly listen to. And there was a promotion–new customers could get 50% off their first week’s order, slashing the price from $60/week to $30. (That’s $30 for three meals for two, or six meals for one person.) I thought I’d give it a try, just for one week. Continue reading
I can’t remember where I read this originally, but here’s a cure for aching legs and throbbing feet: tea soaks.
- One large plastic wash basin
- Cheap tea leaves (I use jasmine)
The steps are simple:
- Scoop a generous handful of tea leaves into the basin.
- Run tap water until it’s scalding hot and fill up the basin, or just fill it up with boiled water.
- Wait for the water to cool slightly — only slightly — while it soaks up the tea leaves.
- Place feet inside basin and sit there, occasionally flexing your toes, until you feel better. (This is most convenient when done inside a bathtub.)
Alternatively, you can also buy these ‘resting time neat foot’ patches from Amazon, which I discovered on my trip to Japan last year. But the tea soak thing feels more therapeutic.
A friend recently reached out via text, wanting to catch up over coffee. We made plans to meet up over the weekend, and that very day, just after I’d gotten on the metro, she sent a text – “Sorry, something came up. I can’t make it anymore.”
That’s when I realized something: I wasn’t even surprised. Continue reading
I am sometimes asked how I got my DC job. Or DC jobs, rather. At the time of writing these words, I have been living in DC for 4.5 years, and am currently on my third job in this town. In this post, I try to distill what five years of cover letters, networking attempts and disastrous interviews have taught me about trying to land a job in DC — particularly if you’re standing on the outside and looking in, with no one to vouch for you from the inside. Continue reading
Life is hard. Like so hard. Why not spend money on some little things that will make it feel, at least momentarily, as though your head weren’t mere inches above the deep dark water?
#1 in this series: bamboo sheets. Asian kids knows what I’m talking about. Your air conditioning probably sucked in your house growing up, or your parents never bothered to crank it up all the way, same difference. Which is why bamboo sheets on your bed will make all the difference in the world.
This is the kind you want:
This is the kind you do not want, because your skin ends up pinched by the crevices:
I live in a rowhouse that’s nearly 100 years old (there’s a staircase in the back that was purportedly built for servants), and there is always something wrong with the HVAC. For the past month, it has been releasing a steady drip drip drip of water through the second floor ceiling, filling up a bucket each day and making my roommate’s life very hard. As a result, we’ve been keeping the AC low (high?), hovering at around 78-82 degrees.
If I didn’t have a fan and a magical bamboo sheet and pillow set that my parents had sent me, I probably would have passed away in my sleep some time in June. But it is now July and I am still alive. All hail bamboo sheets.