Saturday, December 29, 2007

Open Letters

Today we know Paul through his epistles.

I wonder what things would be like if I lived my life in open letters, if instead of private and protected blog entries and signed, sealed, and delivered musings and caffeinated (or Tabasco Sauce marinated) one-on-ones with lovely confidantes and the occasional confident I were held publicly accountable.

I wonder if I can ever reconcile all the different compartments of my life and live as I so admire in some of my friends as an open book. Well I guess I don't need to wonder about this one, because obviously I haven't succeeded. Christ is the Only who can firm and gather such a scattered heart as mine into a life of consistent worship.

But then where is that line... Between transparency and discretion, edifying rebuke and destructive scorn, sharing and gossiping. Much to learn.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Five Love Languages

I dug through my old Xanga (did any Asian not have one back in the day?) and found my March 30, 2006 results for a quiz based on Dr. Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages:

Quality Time: 10
Acts of Service: 7
Words of Affirmation: 6
Receiving Gifts: 4
Physical Touch: 3

So of course I took it again to see if much had changed in 20 months:

Quality Time: 10
Words of Affirmation: 8
Physical Touch: 5
Acts of Service: 4
Receiving Gifts: 3

Obviously the quiz has its limitations and some of the questions are very telling or just silly (like choosing whether "kissing me unexpectedly" or "giving me a gift for no occasion" excites me -- wouldn't both of those excite anyone? and what if I just like spontaneity in general?) but I'd say it's pretty accurate at identifying your primary and secondary ways of receiving love. The questions remind me of those career map survey thingies we did in high school -- "Do you enjoy watching for forest fires? Do you enjoy packing things into boxes?"

In answering many of the questions, I had to think about which of the two I was most craving or lacking at the present. Which helps me understand a little bit of what Plato meant in his Symposium when he said that love was the child of lack and abundance.

Also it's interesting to note that the way you express love to another, although I guess we tend to surround ourselves with people who speak the same love languages so it's some form of mutualism, can vary from person to person, and I think that is because if we really loved someone we would try to understand him and to place his needs and desires above our own. And I think this is why we sometimes have to learn to love certain people whose ways of communicating love differ from our own. But as long as both parties try to speak the other's love languages, maybe in some mutually commensalistic arrangement although this would clearly require more effort, the relationship can work out. A somewhat related thought: I don't necessarily believe in "the one" but that is a wholly separate discussion.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Hooray for December. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite months.

One winter, my brother and I made an igloo. It was so... baller. What a convenient word, to be used in place of anything adjective with remotely positive connotations.

My mood is so entirely governed by the weather, it's sickening and SAD.

Today it got dark at 4PM. The shortened daylight hours constrict the span of time in which I can safely tromp around Harlem. Perhaps this year I will finally invest in full-spectrum lighting.

Today the heavens opened up and unleashed some freezing acid rain fury. Is there such a thing as acid snow? Slushy New York city streets, socks wet and grey, puffy down jacket and puffy down comforter and puffy down pillow are at home.

A snippet of a conversation I once had with a dear dear boy:

XX: Oh my goose!
XY: Oh no, what happened to your goose?

And now I can give a plausible answer: I killed it and stuffed my belongings with its feathers.


Where with my soul all was well
Here, still I'm always sheltered from hell
Where I'd been since the 80's
Here, men don't hold doors for the ladies
Where even strangers are polite
Here, I can't wander the streets at night
Where Fridays meant church, not bars
Here, the streetlamps upstage the stars
Where the carpet was lined with my hair
Here, I can't ever go with my feet bare
Where each meal had a serving of rice
Here, at the subways I count up the mice
Where I could always just hop in my car
Here, every person is just so bizarre
Where my mother looked out for my health
Here, are extremes of both poverty and wealth
Where I barely ever saw my dad
Here, I know he cares if but a tad
Where I airsoft-hunted rabbits with Josh
Here, pooping pigeons are my entourage
Where birds sing and the willow trees weep
Here, the sounds of the city stall sleep
Where I leeched Carina's WiFi
Here, everyday is a chicken and fish fry
Where my mother at me always frowned
Here, still her lectures and warnings resound
Where every next house had a lawn
Here they'll raise skyscrapers until the sky's gone
Where my bed- and bathroom are unkempt
Here I'm so crazy... lame poems I attempt
Where life was so comfy I settled
Here I've learned that I'm not self-contrettled
Where everyone knew of my name
Here the bohemians put me to shame
Where at times, I could kneel and be small
Here, I think I have no choice at all
Where I tried more to write meaningful things
Here is God still... and then my soul sings
Where my heart stays although I leave
Here, for the comforts of home I do grieve
Where the Lord prepared me for pain
Here, it seems godless but remnants remain
Where it's comfy but we still lack shalom
Here, I dream of again going

Well I'd say more about home vs. the Big Apple, but this is getting boring and difficult because rhyming is hard and obviously these couplets don't really contain direct comparisons and are starting to just be nonsensical strings. It's hard to stay afloat, alert, hungry, focused in a fast and godless city, my corner of which always smells like fried chicken and where living somewhere between the urban poor and the rich & famous, I forget ubuntu, forget shalom, and start to think that I'm okay doing nothing where I'm at. Cowering from pigeons is easier than fearing the Lord. Groping around in a dark pit is easier than reaching out and trusting that the pit is not too deep for His presence, because He is present... even here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Forgiven so that I Could Forgive

"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven -- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." Luke 7:47

Dear Jesus, You have pardoned and redeemed me from so much. Make Your mercy and grace evident in the way I love You and love others.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


So I'm NOT Crazy!
Not delusional at least.

TT called.
I think he was terrified.
I think only the thought that this is what You wanted him to do could have encouraged (en- being the causative prefix not really encourage as we use it) him to go through with it (though I kind of wish he hadn't...). How am I such a grammar nazi geek.

No one's ever been so forward or upright with me.
I guess this constitutes a DTR.

'Twas no mirage after all.

I guess that's comforting.

Although... I'm afraid...

It's only gonna get more confusing.
There will be no more let sleeping dogs lie.

The dogs are very, very awake.
And a leash is hardly restraint enough.
These rules... God what a fine line.

Protect him, please!
And me.

But the thing with this one is...
I feel like I could let him go. And that is new.
In fact I'm already letting him go... And it is hard.
Especially here and now...

Where I crave anything familiar, stable, comfortable.
I will let him go. I will find it in You.

It's just uber complicated now, knowing. I wish I didn't know.
So close to something when we halted it.
Or attempted to.
I hope it works.

Good thing tomorrow brings so many other concerns.

How long do I have to feel this way...
Not long, I pray.

This is all so new.

I really want to just pick up a pen and scribble down all the things I feel and couldn't say and stick it in an envelope and make him read it and agree but... I've confused him enough as it is.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

This Week in GTalk

My brother, on flying home the weekend of 10/8.

Joshua: you saved us
mom just called and was like
esther is coming home, so me and dad are no longer going to go visit you guys
Sent at 11:14 AM on Saturday

Calvin Chung, on saying "oh I'm sure" when I said I had a tiring first week in NY.

Calvin: i'm being non-sarcastic
travel back and forward is a lot of work
Sent at 12:03 PM on Friday

Mallory Baysek, on the cruelties of Yale.

Sent at 3:19 PM on Thursday

Paul Liu on google chat.

Dad: what's up meimei
Sent at 2:43 PM on Thursday

Ed Hsu, on mutual missage.

Ed: :/ we all miss you a ton!!
i wish you could be closer by
or at least more often visitable/visited
Sent at 10:26 AM on Thursday

Laura Chou, on potential love interests.

Laura: that's confusing you can only pick one
You can't be a sports jock, a softie, and a nerd
that's what categories are for
and not a vinn diagram
Sent at 3:59 PM on Wednesday

Leo Hua, on NYC.

Leo: gotta love the 3rd wheel action
me: but it makes me sick for home or something
not that theres a boy waiting for me at home
but it just makes being alone even more glaringly obvious
Leo: nothing wrong with being alone :o
me: err i dont mean single i mean alone
Leo: yeah alone =P
well it's better to choose to be alone
than to try to make friends and end up alone
nyc is a pretty lonely place
i hope to make some friends someday
Sent at 10:44 PM on Tuesday

James Jih, on Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

Jimmy: and then finally seeing the benefits of color coded note taking
one look of a boring all pen or all pencil note taking i get so zoned out
and think that these notes are boring
Sent at 10:40 PM on Tuesday

Bobby Wei, on my lasting legacy.

showmethewei: check this out
one of the survey questions that we had to fill out for our dorm building
was what movie/book would you recommend
4) For films, I would recommend either “Remember the Titans” or” Zoolander”. The former is an inspiring story while the latter a classic comedy, bringing spiritual enlightenment to all who see it.
Sent at 10:11 AM on Tuesday

Ed Hsu, on the inner workings of the male mind.

Ed: guys do not invest time on a girl unless he 1) likes you or 2) likes your friend
Sent at 11:24 PM on Monday

Laura Chou, on being feverish.

Laura: the fever is burning away the intelligent brain cell
and yes i do mean "cell"
Sent at 8:08 PM on Sunday

I love love love my funny friends. :)

Coney Island

Now I can check off on my list of things to do in this lifetime my most recently added accomplishment... Frolic in an old-school sea-side amusement park at night! A very Mitch Albom thing to do. And eat hotdogs at Nathan's Famous, like Kobayashi! Clearly I just add things as I go along. There's actually no organized list, yet. Well there used to be a bunch of lists at but that was such an embarassing blog thank God for delete buttons. I'm not sure I like this whole blogger as part of Google thing. Not quite ready to have it so obviously linked to me... I think I'll keep the separate login for now.

Went to Coney Island tonight. Last stop on the D.

It's not really an island! But according to Wiki, it used to be one.
Elephant ears are not really the ears of elephants.
Cotton candy is not really made of cotton.
I survived the Cyclone & the Topspin with minimal whiplash and nausea.
I got scammed by the carnival game people.
I love the feeling of sand between my toes.
I won a teddy bear.
Tonight I saw the most brilliant fireworks display of my life. I've never been so close before! The smoke was overpowering though and there were occasional chunks of the cardboard mortar shell falling out of the sky. Almost as cool as the fireworks themselves were the wispy ghosts of fireworks past. They looked like smokey jellyfish or daddy long legs, or just really bizzarro clouds, as if a giant invisible Cheshire Cat were on steroids.

Ahhh... The smell of the sea.

Hmm... God I'm so thankful for Vivian.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


No garden gnomes or marshmallow peeps were injured in the making of this blog. Estherogenic exists mainly as a brain dump for yours truly. You have been warned... I do take responsibility for the nonsense that I may write here, but know that they probably were not very carefully evaluated and that my views are likely to change if given more thought. I'm open to discussion, dissent, whatever, though I probably won't be writing opinionatedly.

Disclaimers are exceedingly Asian.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Remember that movie Serendipity you (I? who do I blog to anyway...) used to love.
Well James & Grace took me to that restaurant yesterday!
Unfortunately it's overrated and expensive
And not at all like it is in the movie.
Had their signature frrrozen hot chocolate,
which I know makes no sense.
I told Tim it should have been called a chocolate brainfreeze.
Andy Warhol declared it his favorite sweet stop before he made it big.
His favorite table is on the first floor of the store.
The menus and stuff feature his doodles.
Lenny worked at Serendipity in the cornfields.
No, they are not the same.

I'm glad he's on this island too.
Makes it seem a bit smaller,

... but not that much smaller.

I used to really like that word...

serendipity (n) --
the art of making happy discoveries, or finding the unexpectedly pleasant by chance or sagacity; an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

But as it turns out, nothing (random, crazy, heartbreaking, jarring though it may be) is by chance or by accident.

Everything, on the contrary, is solus Christus.
I hope I'll remember this concretely, everyday.
Err I mean...
God, help me believe this everyday.
And occasionally (because I'll need it),

Or often (because it's delightful),
Please make Your hand super obvious.

Serendipity is cute and sappy.But I'd much rather count on providence (n).

Oh god and on the topic of TT...
No that's much too exhaustive.

I'm so confused.
I've been confused.
Yes that must be it.
I don't want any of it.
Am I seeing things that aren't really there?

Am I sensing them because I wish they were?
Do I wish with they were?
Sort these thoughts another day.
Good thing I'm several states away.
Some crazy good timing on Your part.

Or else I'd probably break him.
Or confuse him to no end.
Or string him along.

I don't know what's going on

What's clear is I don't need, I can't have, I'm not ready for a relationship.
And I don't need, I can't have, I don't want (or I shouldn't want) anything in between.

Let sleeping dogs lie.
I almost typed die instead of lie. Ironic.

Well I'm sure whatever this confusion is is just a crush.
I was so sure I wouldn't like again.
Not for a long, long time.
Not after the burn
Not after playing with fire
Not after being played by fire
Not after Elijah. Josh. Gosh.

I didn't trust You.
You were protecting me all along.

And when I was finally free...
You worked in me to forgive.
And the freedom, the unrestraint, the growth
Was so exhilarating. You are so delightful.

So I resolved to maximize my singlehood.
And maintain that purity.

Or what was left anyhow.
Rejecting Thang and Jason was even easy.
I'm exhausted now but I gotta write this down

In case I forget or reason it away

And settle... into a relationship.

The good thing though...
Is I don't think that he would allow it.
Not that he even wants it.
I'm convinced I'm just deluded.
Reading into what was never there.

Oh well... it was a confusing time.

But maybe it wouldn't be settling
(Oh... I guess the forgetting/justifying is already beginning)

He (or someone like him) would keep me on my toes.
God is this okay? I think what I'm really drawn to... is You in Him.
Your very disarming kindness

That my walls which worked for the sons of earth
Will not hold against.
You... come guard my heart.

Ok well at least my radar is working.

So... maybe, hopefully, x(t) will increase with t.
Distance is good.
Yes... fickle fickle heart.
I'll get over it soon.
Priorities, Esther. And timing.

Although... other people called this pairing long before I ever entertained the thought.
I can hardly remember the days when the yg girls all had crushes on him,
And I just thought... why? Haha I get it now. I'm just way behind.

Ed made us take a picture at the baptism -- weird.
And then e-mailed it to me and said to show the grandkids.
Gosh. Juvenile.
Bobby doesn't seem to be letting me forget either.
I think he's addicted to matchmaking.
Oh I hope he doesn't make this worse.

I couldn't possibly handle a boy right now.
You're all I want. Wait... clearly no.

You're all I want to want.

So the good thing about new things (new blogs) is that they're undiscovered.
Think I'll keep it that way for now...
So much for sorting it out another day.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Awake in September?!

Where on earth did August go?!
*Cue overplayed Green Day song*
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last...

Between Your crashing into my plans and my very frail response... I must have missed the slew of goodbye parties. Life will go on for them. Will they even think of me... Do they even know where I am, how I am? Do they care? Sometimes I feel not just forgotten, but actively ignored.

God what the heck is it that You want me to learn through this all? You. Come and be enough.
I wish I could flip eggs.
Without a spatula.
Can't believe I have to cook for myself.
I'll probably be eating lots of eggs.
Tasty and easy.
Dorm food and meal plans are startin to sound pretty damn good.

It's Ariel's birthday.

It is strange having to dial 630 to check my voicemail.
I really miss my area code and everything that comes with it.
I wonder about 410 too,
And how life would have been like there.
My memory rests but never forgets what I lost...
Baptisms are so happy!
I'm glad I went home over Labor Day, if only to celebrate.
I'm so stoked that Bobby got baptized!

The tourney was fun too and dinner was good at Saint's Alp Teahouse.
Each year the tourney has churned my heart with some Elijah thing or another.
God I'm so glad You freed me from that.I had an Avocado Shrimp thing which was fabulous.
And so was the dollar chicken.
There's a store here too, on 3rd St.

Apparently I have a Chicago accent.
What is a Chicago accent anyway?

What a charming little... no, sprawling, city here.
The lights, the horns.
Everything is loud and fast.
Left, right, up, down.
Lights and sights and sounds.
It's easy to forget to breathe.
Which almost seems okay -- the air is so polluted anyway.
So much to see, do, eat, buy.
So easy to drown in.
Must stay afloat.
It makes me want to go home.
Wake me up when September ends...
I hate how planes stuff up your ears
It's a good feeling the first time your ears pop (owwie) and clear up (whew) after landing.
Such a relief to hear Your voice again
After I've muffled it for so long.
Though the things You had to pop to get to me...
Were very beyond dear.

Airports can really do a better job of recycling.
Actually, everyone can do a better job of recycling.
I've been on 8 flights within the last 2 weeks.
And this cold is kicking my butt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

H for Hopkins

Am I, for instance, just sidling back to God because I know that if there's any road to H., it runs through Him? But then of course I know perfectly well that He can't be used as a road. If you're approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you're not really approaching Him at all. That's what was really wrong with all those popular pictures... the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End.

Lord, are these your real terms? Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you so much that I don't care whether I meet her or not? Consider, Lord, how it looks to us. What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, 'No toffee now. But when you've grown up and don't really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose'?

A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Start of Something

Day 1 in
New York.

New life, new mercies, new trust. New hopes.
New doubts, new fears, new need. New disappointments.

New blog.

What a craaaazy day! I feel like I've been saying that everyday for a few weeks now.

Please make it stop soon...
Or just remind me that
You Are.

I moved into the apartment just before noon, and none of my 3 roommates were here yet, so I got first pick as far as beds and closets and cabinet space. Last night I was pretty happy about packing relatively little (2 duffel bags for all of college? Josh packed the whole Element) and yet having everything that I needed (or so I thought). There was no trash can, no food in the fridge, no toilet paper on the roll, no laundry or dish detergent... No bookshelves and things like that. Mother and I went on a 3 hour safari trying to get from Harlem to Elmhurst (near Flushing in Queens). Sunday afternoon with weekend schedules and route changes is probably not the best time for your first exposure to New York's MTA. I much prefer Taipei's MRT.

Sooo... I'm back now from a long day of dorm (it's not really a dorm but I will pretend it is. I wish I were at Wolman.) shopping at Target (I love over-the-door hooks and racks) and grocery shopping and fooding in Flushing. To taste Taiwan again was wonderful. My roommate had settled into our room in the meantime and was cocooned in her sleeping bag and fast asleep while my crazy mother and our crazy extended family (or her crazy extended family, really) helped me unpack a day of shopping. They were being loud and Asian.

Tomorrow morning when we wake up is going to be the first time my roommate and I meet each other. [Insert awkward turtle]. I'll do an extra swig of mouthwash now to prevent morning breath. I'm writing her a letter right now because I feel bad for ditching all the floor/hall functions. I'm in the lounge because 1) I don't want to disturb her anymore and 2) I get farty WiFi from my room. There's supposed to be a wireless network for each floor here, and I can pick up the signal from the 5th and 7th floors, as well as from Columbia University, but not from my floor. Boo.

I missed orientation, and I don't have my schedule yet (hah I'm not even really registered) although class starts tomorrow (or should I say today). It's going to be an interesting year. Everything as UNplanned.

JetBlue planes have good food and DirectTV for every seat. I missed the programming because I was trying to sleep. Unsuccessful. I haven't slept since 8AM in Pearl's bed.

Too full of thoughts
Restless. Sad to leave

Where are You taking me...

Tonight my cousin's boyfriend told me to watch the sky at midnight because for the first time in 10,000 years, Mars was going to be closer to the moon than the earth was. I watched intently but all I saw was the full moon and the Empire State Building. I think this city might be too well-lit and too fast for some of the things I like to enjoy slowly. Like... taking in the sky, or a deep inhale of clean air (not a chance here). Writing letters and journaling. Making the perfect demitasse and enjoying it without a plastic lid. Sitting on my driveway until strange hours of the night (something I did a lot last summer on too many occasions with too many different people).

Shall I forget those as things behind...
Shall I press on...

I'm not sure I can do it, Dad

Okay well I didn't see a bloated Mars in the sky tonight, and according to Google news, it was all an e-mail hoax. Buuut Tuesday morning there will be a second total lunar eclipse for this year.

I think I'm going to go hunt down my RA and grill him, because I kinda skipped that whole new student process. It's a wonderful and terrifying thing, not knowing in the least what to expect. Not comfortable. But then again, it's not home. Nor is it Home.

So far people in New York (especially at the college) seem nice and really willing to help out. Hope that doesn't change.

Please don't let that change...
Unless I come to love Your gifts too much

& if You take away...
Let me bless Your name, as Job.

I'm excited for Greenwich excursions with Lenny, and for Reg to move in later in September.

I am losing track of the days because each has been so unpredictable.
But I'm here!

It's the city that never sleeps for a girl who never sleeps.
(Oh Lord I hope I get some sleep.)

Wonderfully terrifying.

Not much is familiar.
I miss you.

How did I get here?
What are the chances?

Once in 10,000 years.

Here I'm just one of 10,000 students.
And yet You know my name --
Let that be enough for me,

Fairest One of 10,000.
You are God Emmanuel now
You have gone before me here
Sustain me with Your presence from here.

God how I need You.

I would absolutely die without You right now.
Keep me in this constant need of You in these coming months, LORD I pray...
Though experience and Your word have shown...

That this may be an excruciatingly daring prayer to pray
& that I had better be ready for Your bold answer to bold prayer.

Whatever the furnace...
God I trust... You'll send to be by me a son of the gods as in Daniel 3:25
Though You might also be the One tending the flames,
Let me rejoice in this kiln because You are with me.

Let me persist as Job.

Only... be merciful, God, O God.