So many people have asked me what law school is like,

and there has been a rather baffling increase of TV shows about the legal world and lawyers this past season (How to Get Away With Murder, Bad JudgeA to Z). And since the only thing you can talk about after finals is finals and school (trust me and my over 15 years of experience), I thought I’d finally write a blog post about it. So here it is: Five Things They Say About Law School, And Just How Accurate It Is. I’m going to write this as a list of five items, because a girl’s got to sleep.

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Two days after I moved to Los Angeles,

I received a text message from one of my readers who asked if I would write a blog post about what it was like to live here, and compare and contrast it to living in New York. I replied saying that I would, once I had lived here for more than five minutes.

So, as half my readership has been waiting for it for three weeks, this post is long overdue.

The other day, I was going to see Wish I Was Here with Jed. We didn’t have a car, so we took the bus. On our way back, there was this guy who was rambling loudly about past American Presidents (as you do, in every major city here). After we got off the bus, Jed turned to me and wanted to discuss something that the man had said. I told him I’d tuned the guy out completely.

“Really?” Jed blinked. “You just completely tuned him out?”

“It’s my superpower,” I said. And it was only recently that I realised how I developed it.

You see, one of the first things I noticed about LA is that the people here are more forward than in New York. Sometimes, it is a good thing. Most of the time, it is godawful.  I have been here for three weeks, independently roaming for two of them, and have experienced more unsolicited interest than I have in an average year in New York. (To be fair, there are pretty good reasons, like how I ride the bus every single day since I don’t live two feet away from campus any more, but let’s forget about that for a minute).

Men have come up to my friend and me saying something unintelligible under their breaths. (My friend, a tourist from Poland who apparently heard what they said, turned and asked if it was really bad catcalling. I shrugged it off.) One guy has waved his hand towards my direction and said loudly to his friend as I walked by, “Hey, do you speak Chinese?” Another man has looked me dead in the eye, patting the seat next to him and smacking his lips on the bus. (I wanted to take a belly flop into a swimming pool full of Purell.)

But the cake goes to a certain individual who once sat next to me while I was waiting for the bus. He couldn’t have been older than 22. He told me about how I should smile more because life sometimes sucked but I was “too beautiful to not smile”. This became his refrain.

After that, he told me about how he saw me crossing the street, how he hesitated to park his car somewhere to talk to me because he had coffee stains all over his shirt (and he did). “I’ve never done this before, but I had to try because you are just so beautiful.”

I’m still not sure if the problem was with him for not thinking that he was being creepy, or me for thinking it was. Either way, I welcomed the bus like it was my new Messiah.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t talk to strangers. Very often, I meet a friendly guy on the train and we discuss books and work and school. But if some people could stop trying to sweep strangers off their feet or making their first words romantic or sexual at seven in the morning on said strangers’ ways to school, we’ll get along just fine. And I promise I won’t try to tune you out.

Every major holiday,

I go back home to Hong Kong, a place that I haven’t really felt like I could call home for at least three years, probably more.  I am not the biggest fan of this city, and there are any reasons why.  The biggest reason is that I feel like an outsider when I go home.  I don’t think I have anything in common with most people here.  And after tonight, I think I have less in common with people here than I previously thought.

My parents and I were walking around a supermarket when we saw a phenomenon that was the pineapple bun crossed with the croissant.  It was advertised by the following sign, and I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why any of the words appeared as they did:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

Let me explain a few things.  Firstly, the bun by itself is $16, making that slab of butter worth pretty much the same as the bun.  If that butter basically doubles the price of the bun, it had better be—and please forgive me, dear reader, as I just finished catching up on Game of Thrones—softer than a virgin’s thighs.  I’m not embarrassed to be making a sexual joke here, and you’ll see why later.

Secondly, allow me to explain the pun.  To be 大膽 means “to be brave”, though a closer and more colloquial interpretation is “to have balls”, hence the “Ball” part of the product name.   “Ball Law” sounds vaguely like pineapple bun, but I’m not sure about why the “Law” part is there.  I’m also not quite sure why the rest of the slogan—which the author obviously thought was awfully clever—would be funny.

I’ve been told that I was giving the author of this thing more credit than s/he is due.  Because I am generous and twelve hundred times cleverer than this person and I cannot fathom anybody writing “Pineapple” in “Pineapple bun” as “Ball Law”.  Do you realise just how devastating it is to despair at something that you think is a crass joke by a person who’s not very clever—only to realise that you’ve been giving this person way too much credit and that the author wasn’t clever enough to make even a crass joke at all?

Thirdly, because of the shape of the croissant, the Chinese term for it literally translates to “Bull’s Horn Bun”.  And in Chinese, unless a specific “male” or “female” is specified, there is no difference between a bull and a cow.  Hence “cowssant”. This is, by far, the single saddest existence of wordplay I have the misfortune to see, because it is the only one I know that makes a hybrid between two words that mean the same thing.  This is not how you pun, fellow human being.  Please, stop.

What depresses me is that people are actually paid to write this down and say, “This is it! This is the name of our next product.”  And that other people are actually paid to approve of ads like these.  Days like these, I think I should come back and teach English.

On the End of an Era

Let’s be honest: at some point, nearly everybody stopped watching How I Met Your Mother.  I didn’t, but that’s because I get ridiculously attached to my TV shows.

(For goodness’ sake, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy, and I’m really not sure why.)

Anyway, after the finale aired last night, I saw a whole slew of comments on my Facebook newsfeed (spoiler free; thanks, everyone!).  A friend even texted me to warn me about how horrible it was.  So this morning, I got up early, made myself pancakes, had my work ready for QC-applying to the eighth episode of Nisekoi and got on The verdict?

Life lesson: Even a nine year old show, that practically everyone dropped at one point or another, can go out with a bang.

Comments after the jump. There are spoilers. You have been warned.

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Taking three types of drugs

means that I have to check my blood (well, liver functions, cholesterol and blood count, but they’re blood tests, so I’ll just say that they’re checking my blood) pretty often.  Once a month, as it turns out.  Once a month I get out of bed, shower and get my blood drawn before I can eat breakfast (usually a bagel and a bottle of Snapple).  This ritual was last performed nearly a month ago.

Like everybody else who’s had blood tests, I’ve had some pretty bad experiences. The first time I got a blood test, I told the nurse I was scared. She replied, “What am I supposed to do about it?” She had a point.

Nurses at the medical centre of my school aren’t exactly known for their bedside manner.

Anyway, once, the nurse who drew my blood looked up the tests that my doctor had requested, grabbed the tubes she needed and then looked at my arms. I’ve had enough experience to know which arm nurses prefer to draw my blood from, so I showed her one. She looked at the other one for good measure and then tied the elastic around the one I had originally shown her, and wiped the inside of my elbow with an antiseptic pad.

Here’s the weird bit: she wiped the outside edge, rather than the middle, of my arm. I didn’t say anything because I figured that she knew better than I did. It turned out to be a huge mistake on both our parts; she was aiming for a vein from which I had never seen a nurse try to draw blood.

She missed.

For a second, she sat there in shock. Then she stood up and said, “It moved! I hate these damn things — they always move!” with a huge smile on her face, as if it were a joke or a ritual or something.

I sat there in disbelief, wondering when she would take the needle out and try again.

Sometimes, people don’t care nearly as much as you do when you fail. They just want you to fix it, and fix it fast, damn it.

Imagine a conversation with a friend

in which you are told about said friend’s relationship.  

They’re not happy.  They have fights with their partner all the time — every day, or every second day.  The partner has hit your friend once.  Your friend reacted in shock — screamed or cried or laughed in a way that didn’t suggest they were hurt; just that they were not in their right state of mind.  The partner begged your friend not to tell anybody of authority; your friend gave the partner an ultimatum: lay a hand on them again, and they will call the cops.  Since then, the partner hasn’t really done anything at that level the partner unleashes violent tendencies on objects — doors, walls, anything that’s supposed to be sturdy, really — rather than your friend now, and everything the partner breaks, they pay your friend back after the fight.  The partner checks their phone for messages from other people.  Threatens suicide at the drop of a hat.  And when your friend wants to check the partner’s messages, the partner starts deleting messages from other people.

Let’s cut to the chase, you say.  This is abuse.  The partner is violent, manipulative, childish, possessive, abusive.  Your conversation is suddenly filled with laughter — nervous laughter that occurs whenever somebody addresses the pink elephant in the room.  You hope that your friend knows.  And, deep down, it’s not that your friend doesn’t know; it’s that they think they won’t find someone who will love them as much as their partner does right now, albeit in a twisted way that doesn’t make sense to the average onlooker.

It frustrates you that victims of abuse usually don’t even know that they are victims.  They think incredibly stupid things like, “It’s not as if I have to ask for permission to get out of bed and go to the bathroom at night.”  There are people who have it worse, and they use this to justify to themselves their partners’ behaviour.  They even develop some kind of a Stockholm syndrome: “It’s their way of showing love,” they say.  Excuses, excuses, excuses.

But back to your friend’s partner.  How dare they treat your friend like that when your friend is such a wonderful person?  How dare they do these things to them and then claim that it is out of love? How could your friend be so singularly stupid as to actually believe that?

Then you start remembering these things that happened to you, things that you’d thought you’d gotten over because they happened years ago.  When you were going through exactly the same thing, almost.   It wasn’t nearly as bad for you.  Sure, when you get down to it, you didn’t feel so safe back then, but your friend’s situation didn’t apply to you, not exactly.  And when you finally broke up, the sense of relief was  unbelievable.  You didn’t tell a soul because there was no reason to; he told everyone you knew, and needed the consolation.  You didn’t want to tell people, anyway, because you didn’t want to hash out all of your feelings with your friends; some things were better left unsaid.  He still tried holding a grip on you, making you make promises you couldn’t and didn’t want to keep.

So when you told people about single line letters he wrote and slipped under your door and he heard about it, he sneered. Called you a drama queen. “That’s not hate mail.” The letters didn’t threaten your death, no, but they made you feel unsafe, no matter how many times you laughed about the whole situation in public, hoping it would loosen the knot in your stomach. It didn’t exactly untie it, but it did help.  Maybe being a drama queen is better than being a martyr.

No, no, it definitely is.  You look at your friend and you want to shake them, demand why they hadn’t already ended the relationship when their own life was in danger.  But you know that you have to be patient.  Telling somebody was the first step, and now they have to make up their mind to escape their situation, once and for all.

This post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


I’m home in Hong Kong right now for another two days before I take another fifteen hour flight back to New York. My awesome, awesome senpai thought of me when he bought a toy camera and bought me one too.

It’s a cute Mikona (a rip-off of Nikon, obviously).  Everything’s made of plastic, everything’s not adjustable. A perfect point, shoot and pray camera.  It’s 25 US cents a pop.

(Side note: I’ve been here my entire life and have never bought anything for less than about 70 cents, so I’m very impressed.)

After we had some food, we stocked up on some Kodak Ultramax 400 and set out on a (partly) cloudy afternoon.

The film saved the pictures, that’s for sure. Still, I  really like the photos for their toy-ish looks.

The camera is only redeemed by the following photo, which I took the following noon on a sunny day: