Sunday, April 27, 2014

Picnic at Mount Bonnell

I had a wonderful time Saturday morning, hiking up the so-called "mountain" (which was, in all actuality, just a very big hill) with my boyfriend, R, my best friend, A, my high school underclassman, S, and my FIG friend, L!

Before the climb!!

With the bestie at the viewing platform! :)

Later, R tries to hide from the camera in what appears to be an attempt at strangling me.
Setting up food for the picnic!

R demonstrating that he indeed knows how to use chopsticks... by force-feeding me a cookie.

Me and my friend L!

 Beautiful day~ wasn't too hot either!

Just your typical group of college students sitting over the edge of a cliff, enjoying the view over expensive houses in Austin...

I was thrilled about the potluck-style picnic too. Everybody brought something! A brought Sprite, cups, and popcorn; L brought cookies; S brought forks and spoons, chocolate brownies, some Indian potato dessert; R brought plates, cups, sandwich materials (roast beef or honey ham), chips and salsa; and I brought chopsticks, napkins and paper towels, Polish sausages, and sparkling non-alcoholic white grape beverage. We had ourselves a merry feast^^

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte (1848)

 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a powerful and sometimes violent novel of expectation, love, oppression, sin, religion and betrayal. It portrays the disintegration of the marriage of Helen Huntingdon, the mysterious tenant of the title, and her dissolute, alcoholic husband. Defying convention, Helen leaves her husband to protect their young son from his father's influence, and owns her own living as an artist. Whilst in hiding at Wildfell Hall, she encounters Gilbert Markham, who falls in love with her.

On its first publication in 1848, Anne Bronte's second novel was criticized for being "coarse" and "brutal." The Tenant of Wildfell Hall challenges the social conventions of the early nineteenth century in a strong defense of women's rights in the face of psychological abuse from their husbands. Anne Bronte's style is bold, naturalistic and passionate, and this novel, which her sister Charlotte considered "an entire mistake," has earned her a position in English literature in her own right.

So I began reading this because I've read Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" and Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" when I was younger and was curious about the third sister. This book seemed a little more interesting than "Agnes Grey" (which I will probably get around to eventually too), and so I went ahead and downloaded the free Kindle version. Here are my thoughts.

  • This was a very creative format for a Victorian-era book. The entire narrative is read through a series of letters or diary entries, which gives you a very keen perspective on the feelings, thoughts, and reactions of the main characters.
  • Gilbert, the narrator, does not seem like your typical Byronic hero, which is insanely refreshing. He jumps to conclusions too quickly, acts rashly and violently when enraged, and constantly has doubtful and immoral thoughts. It's great - I like the way his character undergoes a change for the better throughout the story, and his jealousy and doubts are very relatable.
  • Helen is one of the best female characters ever conceived, I believe. She appears very cold, but is actually very practical and has had terrible experience with love and marriage before. I am fond of female characters that are very strong but don't come off as bitchy or pushy. Helen shows her strength through self-sufficiency, which can be seen through her unwillingness to owe Gilbert money and other small details like so. I didn't agree with her attitude towards raising her son, admittedly because it seemed unnecessarily harsh towards the male gender, but it's understandable why she thinks the way she does. She is witty and resourceful and always thinks ahead, making her very likeable.
  • Bronte's depiction of alcoholism and infidelity is brutal. I absolutely loved it, how the book showed the dissolution of what seemed like a picture-perfect wedding, and how feelings are crushed as reality settles in. Expectations are constantly being lowered until both partners are unhappy; psychological abuse takes place; shit happens. It's sort of fantastic in that way, because you really feel for all of the characters. Except Helen's husband, who is such a dick, and the woman he was cheating on Helen for.
  • Religion is also a very interesting theme throughout the book. Helen is good mostly because she is "Christian"; her husband wonders aloud whether or not God will accept him as he is dying. It's all very interesting, especially when tied up with the town's gossip.
  • The ending gets really sentimental, mostly because you can really "feel" the struggle. Waiting for someone is always really hard, and I imagine it's even worse back then, before you had technological means to reach out to someone within a matter of seconds.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This Past Week Has Been Hell

Two Organic Chemistry lab reports due on Tuesday, one Microbiology exam on Wednesday, and a persuasive presentation due on Friday. Not to mention the crapload of discussion questions, prelab assignments, homework, and PLUS preceptor responsibilities that I had to deal with. Ugh, but I'm so glad that's over with. I really tried my best to go all out on Friday, mostly because I'm going to be spending my entire Saturday and most of my Sunday studying and preparing for next week, and on Sunday night I have a banquet so I want to finish all my work before then.

Beautiful day on Friday! The fountains were on and everything.

So first, I went to a Crawfish Boil with my best friend and her boyfriend. Free admission, we got tshirts and drinks and a hardcore reminder of why college parties are so dumb and overrated. But still... free crawfish! So good.

Yum, they seasoned it with Cajun spices and added sausages, potatoes, and corn!

This was A's first time ever even eating crawfish!! I taught her how to eat them, haha.

Later on, I had dinner with my Lab Rats at Hopdoddy's! Well, most of them anyway. L invited us all. Out of the group, L and B are probably my closest friends from the FRI FIG, but after last night, I realized I was close to each one individually as well, and the personal jokes made me more fond of them. We've been through a lot together, even if B is now International Relations major and C is now in Computer Science.

B was probably the first friend I made in the FIG - I remember us getting lost together when we were trying to look for the Underground Bowling. L was the first to actively reach out to me by offering to buy me an ice cream. W goes to LPPA meetings with me - he usually asks me a lot of questions about pharmacy school applications and classes and such. I always run into C so randomly on campus, and he once asked for my number after a random encounter. K is the nice, smiling guy who invited me to his birthday party and introduced me to his group of Asian pre-health friends. And I remember how E used to always tell me funny anecdotes about his high school and parties and roommates right before a Chemistry exam.

Hanging out with my college friends always makes me realize how much I will miss them once I go off to UNC. Even if they're not a huge part of my life, it's great keeping updated and just laughing at each other. (They were making a bunch of jokes about how the Nanjing massacre happened when Japan was testing out its Gundam robots and made a stupid mistake, and other refreshingly insensitive jokes.)

Oh, and apparently I was voted as the one who would have the least trouble finding a significant (or insignificant?) other, which I thought was really funny. I have no idea how I got that reputation, but L was exaggerating about how I had so many guys clinging on me, and E said, "I'm not surprised - look, I bet dating is the least of her worries when she has a pretty big selection," and C said, "I bet you're going to end up with a good-looking doctor up in North Carolina. Such a basic thing for Erin," which really made me laugh because "basic" means "a typical, white-girl thing".

Anyway, I do hope I make really good friends over at UNC too. I'm not exactly looking out to marry a doctor from Duke or something though, the idea is pretty laughable because it's so "basic." I guess we'll see what the future holds. Until next time!

Friday, April 4, 2014


So it was a typical Friday night, and B invited me out to see Arden Cho. I'd never heard of her before, but apparently she's a famous Youtube star and singer and actress, and so that was a pretty cool experience. She sang well too, of course, and I recorded some of her original music live.

Me and B!

With the actual Arden Cho! Yay, she's so lovely and seems to have a great personality.

Honestly though, I preferred Joseph Vincent's concert more;; but that could possibly be because he's a very attractive guy, haha, and he didn't really talk a lot. Whereas with Ms. Cho, she was supposed to talk about inspiring the Asian-American community, and I just fell asleep while she was talking because it was a long day and I didn't feel like listening. In any case, I don't feel like Asian-Americans necessarily have it hard, especially when compared to other minorities. And she was mostly talking about the entertainment industry, and I'm a Pharmacy student, working in the labs all day, not really concerned about finding a job later on because so far we're still in pretty high demand. So it was hard for me to really relate and care about what she was saying.

All in all though, that was a great concert and a good way to unwind!