Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Now Playing:

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

(Jumbled, incoherent post coming. After all these years of blogging and I still have no idea how to organize a blog post. I just...wing it).

I'm drowning in books right now. I think I was the only person in the family not to get some sort of electronic or technology-ish thing. Even my mother got a JRPG from my father, for...some...reason. (Or wait. I got a watch. But still! I got more books, so...I win?).

It's been a quiet Christmas, which I am surprisingly thankful for. There was something terribly off about last year's Christmas. I don't think we had a dinner, everyone was tired Christmas day and still I forced them out of the house for no reason, and it was overall...dead. I got a lot of great books then too--in fact more than I got this year--but it still didn't feel quite right.

I thought the same might repeat this year. For the last few Christmases, it's been starting to feel less and less...erm...festive? I mean, when I was younger it was much more fun. The house was big and warm and fifty family members and friends came to eat and celebrate together. Plus, as shallow as this sounds, there were mountains of presents.

My parents made it a point to never, ever, ever get my brother and I gifts at random points in the year. I have fond memories of going to Toys R Us and admiring the toys--maybe even playing with them through the packaging--but I can't recall a single time I walked out of that store with a toy in hand. That's what made Christmas and my birthday so much better.

On my birthday I usually got a Barbie (always brunette and white). Sometimes I got baby dolls or clothes. When I turned eight, on my first and last birthday party, I got a diary from my dad's best friend, (probably because my parents knew and had told him about my wishes). I can't recall any other gift being more meaningful and influential than that one. I know I'd been dying for something like it, and finally I had it.

When we moved to the United States, it was obviously different. This Monday, with Mom and Dad off to their last day of work before their breaks, I was sitting at the main desktop while my brother played on the PS3. I think I was debating whether or not I wanted to launch Skyrim, but I got distracted. Instead, I sat there for a long while and started browsing through the pictures. I found the ones of our first Christmas here. We must have gotten up at six in the morning because it's pitch black with nothing but the glow of our tiny Christmas tree. My dad kept the camera on the whole time so you see my brother and I diving through gift wrapping papers and emerging with toys in hand. I squeal when I find both an Asian and black barbie dolls, and my brother starts jumping sometime after finding a huge Hot Wheels racetrack. Since we believed in Santa Claus, it made sense that we'd found so many presents. We were young, but we knew coming to America meant a lot of money. We had to be broke. Now I realized my parents had probably saved up for more than a year to get us so many things. It was fitting, really, since we didn't really have many toys in America. I think I arrived with a teddy bear and my diary, and my brother had maybe two plushies and one action figure. Most of our toys stayed behind, never to be seen again.

It's no surprise that my best Christmases happened during my childhood, as is often the case. It's not just because of Santa, but because we had friends and family, big houses, dozens of kid-cousins. That first Christmas here probably takes top spot because it was the first time in a long time my brother and I had seen our father during the holidays. The magic started to fade quickly after that. I don't particularly miss my extended family--I don't think I ever really got to know them enough to miss them--but I do think the holidays might have still felt more alive if we'd been near them.

Most of yesterday was uneventful. With my brother and dad taking up all gaming systems, I settled for taking over my brother's laptop to find something to do. I realized he still had Sony Vegas installed, so I managed to edit together the blooper reel of the AP Environmental video I did earlier this year with some classmates and friends. I'd been promising Giselle and Anthony forever, so I got that out of the way. It was strangely uplifting.

I really realized this was going to be a much better Christmas when my mom started preparing the ham with pineapples. The timer died halfway without us noticing and she forgot to turn it off after the specified two hours, but it still ended up really good. My father's been feeling a little down lately--because of work, and distant family, and like ten thousand other things I can't mention or he'd stab me for disregarding his privacy. Yet he seemed to feel a little better once Christmas dinner happened.

After eating, my brother and I spent a lot of time cleaning--sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, tiding up the living room and kitchen. I did it mostly because I didn't want to have to worry about dishes early Christmas morning, and because I wanted the apartment to look pretty today. I realized cleaning right during Christmas Eve sounds annoying. Since I pretty much forced my brother to help me even though he was dying to go to sleep, it could have been torturous for him. But it was actually kind of fun. He texts me the least while I'm off at college, but it hasn't really distanced us. We managed to spend a lot of time laughing and acting like idiots.

We went to bed at around 11 p.m, though I was still wide awake at midnight. I texted Giselle and fell asleep soon afterwards. I woke up periodically, having maybe three to four dreams specifically about waking up Christmas day. Even at the age of eighteen, I still have trouble sleeping the day before Christmas.

I got up first, like always. I sneaked in more presents under the tree and then settled down in the living room texting everyone I could think of. Silvia was the only one awake, so we spoke for a little while before my brother woke up. We made a deal not to wake up our parents at an ungodly hour, so I was going to wait till 9 or so to go get them. They woke up at 8 in a panic because it was eerily silent. I ended up cooking breakfasts after we exchanged presents.

It's still calm and quiet. When I think about it, it's not really that different from last years. Admittedly, the days leading up to it have been different--I got to spend more times with friends these last few weeks--but on Christmas day? Not a lot has changed. Yet still I'm happier now than I was last year. Maybe it's because I finally learned to appreciate that Christmas has changed, but maybe for the better.

I think it's natural that I've been spending a lot of time thinking about (and dreading) the future, seeing how college is suppose to be that transitioning stage. I hate worrying about my career and life, mostly because I've been worrying about all this crap since I turned thirteen.

Christmas doesn't exactly make me feel hopeful, but it does erase that worry. It freezes time for a little while and makes me think only of the past. On December 25th, I never think of the future, just of today and a hundred yesterdays.

So maybe a bit of the magic is gone, but at least memories and serenity have replaced it. I'm glad Christmas is always going to be a special day, one way or another.

I don't have too many pictures to share D:
I know. I take too many selfies now.
I'd blame Giselle, but I'm the one who won't get SnapChat.
We communicate like this; the evidence remains.
I kept adding empty boxes as decorations.
Except for the pretty one with the ribbon. That was Emzy's gift to me.
(Undying animal: fake, beautiful jellyfish)
Gaby and I, walking around Coconut Grove last Wednesday
The view outside my mom's office. Brickell district.
Silvia's house. We all brought chocolate. Nobody passed out, somehow.
My terrible picture of Berny and her Badass Santa
(we were listening to the Metal Christmas station on Pandora. It was inspirational)
This morning

Unexpected gifts. From Ren, Silvia, and my aunt Priscilla.
Have a happy holiday :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I really just wanted to show off a drawing my friend Berny made.

(She specified "girl" because we know a Boy Bernie. Granted, Bernie cannot draw, while Berny is a master D:<)
She got my nameless pink-haired doll in there (with an extra limb!) which makes me really happy.

It's been so, so nice to be back. The night right after my parents picked me up from the bus stop we went to an Asian cuisine restaurant. I ended up paying dinner--first time I've ever done that. Somewhere on the way there, my parents started panicking because they realized I'd turned eighteen, but I guess there's also huge relief that I made it this far with a pretty sound mind.

I had dinner earlier today with Carla and her girlfriend. She got me a red leather notebook. I almost tackled her out of a balcony--it's just such a perfect present!

I think I just wanted to ramble off how grateful I am to be back and to have all these friends here just within reach. I always heard that you made your true friends in college, and all the high school ones were destined to fade away. When I realized I was going to FSU, I tried to accept the idea that I'd probably never speak to my HS friends again.

I just started college, so maybe these friendships will fade, but I'm starting to think they don't necessarily have to. There's so many myths about college I believed less than ten months ago. I'm glad they turned out to be untrue.

I have little plans and outings set for this break. I'll take Emzy out for coffee, go to lunch with Gaby, have a Breaking Bad marathon at Silvia's house with Berny and Ren, watch Frozen with Gise and Anthony, and then go see 47 Ronin with a whole lot of people. Plus I'm so excited to finally give my parents and brother their Christmas presents.

Few years back, when I got told the Earth-shattering truth about Santa, I couldn't understand how adults could deal with Christmas once the magic was gone. I guess I'm starting to feel it a lot more now, as corny as that may sound.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Now Playing: 
  • My roommate - Sweet Transvestite
  • Spiderbait - Calypso

I'm celebrating. I passed my classes. I get to work on my school's literary magazine next semester. I'm going home today. I wrapped up all my presents. I get to see my family. I get to hang out with friends. And more importantly-

HELL YEAH. I've turned eighteen. Yeah, it's an arbitrary number, the only legal thing I would ever do is vote and donate plasma, and I'm still the same naive idiot who just barely moved away from home a few months back.

But that's not going to stop me from shouting I'M AN ADULT every hour on the hour D:<


Painting done by my friend, Maria Gabriella

This was at my library's Starbucks - ten minutes before I fell asleep

(Cute Google Doodle!)

(And Dream and Spirit pictures because it's almost the three year anniversary? YEH)

Drawing done by Carp's friend

Pretty people everywhere. Sigh~

Saturday, December 7, 2013

And so...

Now Playing: Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi - Eternity (Memory of Lightwaves).

Friday morning I woke up early enough that I could lounge around before heading to my last day of Fiction Technique. Silvia and I were texting each other, and she mentioned having put a poetry collection together which she wanted me to see. I checked my email and saw a message from the Kudzu Review.

That's my school's literary journal. I have all my school emails redirected to my main account, so I've been receiving a lot of: "Our intern applications are filled up," "We do not accept remote internships," not to mention the rejection from the workshop class that nearly made me explode.

Whenever I open writing related emails, I try and tell myself there's no point having any crazy expectations. It is more than likely that a form rejection awaits me. But I can't help it. I always get hit with a little bit of hope, no matter how much I try to contain it. That's what makes opening them and finding said form rejections so much worst: I should and do know that it's coming, and yet I can't help but hope and hope and hope.


I hope my squee-ing and cheering and jumping around didn't wake up my roommate. This is what the letter said:

Congratulations, Rebeca!

You have been accepted as an Editorial Assistant for The Kudzu Review 2014 Spring staff!

Plus information about registering for it as a class. That's the best part: I didn't even know we could get credits for it, which means I'm looking at 18 hours in total for Spring semester. If I'm lucky, working on the magazine will also give me enough experience that someone'll actually accept me for a remote internship during the summer, when I'll be the most free to do work.


I hope I don't disappoint the staff and all the contributors.

Only one week left of Fall semester. Then quick finals and I'm back home the day I turn eighteen.

I'll probably be spending the week studying, revising Ataraxia, and wrapping Christmas presents. I'm getting a few in the mail and sent Carpathia's hers today. Plus after months of pestering by me and university people, my mom finally decided to send me a care package.

Only problem is I don't know when it's getting here....hopefully before December 13th, when I'm still here Dx.

P.S: Additional happy news, my professor really liked my fairy tale. I like to think it wasn't just because she was battling a crippling cold while she read it >.>

Thursday, December 5, 2013

By the way...

I didn't want to bitch about this on twitter, so I'm going to do it here.


I'm sorry. It's just...if I hear one more "Oh thank you, but we don't accept remote internships," I'm going to break something. 90% of these agencies are Manhattan based. One very nice agent said he wasn't taking applications just now, but he asked me if I was going to be in New York by next semester where he would maybe consider something. And it was I could just do it. Just call my mom, talk to my counselor, be all "lolyeahgoingtoNewYork" then fly off.

But the only thing I could do was write a polite email while inside I was screaming-


Wait...can I do distance learning at New York?
Ughhhh why do I only have two years to do this. I'M NOT EVEN AN ADULT YET. WHY AM I MAKING THESE DECISIONS.

Oh god world just let me screw up without it feeling like there's going to be lasting consequences on the rest of my life.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Attached (Fixated?)

Now Playing: Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - More Than His Share, Deference for Darkness, Traffic Jam, and Halo: Reach, Overture.

So I tanked NaNo this year. Badly. I have never written so little in a month in my life. I have no idea what happened exactly--I had it in my head, little scenes, moments here and there, and I care a lot about Anne. But I felt like I was dragging. All I could think was God just get out of the town already. Sweet jesus just start a navy battle. Just SHOW THE MERMAIDS BY THIS POINT. Wait, where the hell is Jane?

In a fit of desperation, I started jumping around, writing the scenes I knew were going to happen at one point or another, but not really sure how they led to one another. When all the essays and studying and panic hit me, I slowed down badly. I kept thinking, I'll write the Run Lola Run essay today, then I can write a little for NaNo. But no, I still have another essay. And another. But then I have Thanksgiving. I have family, and friends who I've missed, and Skyrim--and for some reason, I suddenly feel like doing the Dark Brotherhood questline with an archer Wood Elf named Valianna, who has such beautiful mod hair I refuse to put a helmet or hood on her for like 80% of the time. (Though no problems with that--she just sneaks around and picks people off with arrows before they see her).

So yeah, okay, I procrastinated on a lot of things. But I'm fairly certain there has to be a reason for it. Yeah, I didn't win NaNo last year either, but even though I had college applications, Young Arts, and more school homework than I do now, I got 30k words into Ataraxia. It wasn't a lot, but I was way more focused.

I don't rely on inspiration, so that has never been a problem. In fact, I'm most inspired when I'm not writing. That may sound a little off to some people, but inspiration usually hits me when I'm world building, or when I'm sitting or laying down with my eyes closed, listening to music. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy writing, it just means I've never waited to get hit by inspiration to do it. It's not a chore to me, but it's not super easy either.

While I was writing Ataraxia, some of the trailers for Man of Steel were coming out. Music has always been the purest form of inspiration for me. I do usually get inspired by movies and video games and books, but it's only by listening to music that I start to imagine my characters in more concrete ways. If it wasn't for the song The Way Out Is Through, the central conflict of Ataraxia would have probably never come to be. It was the same with Man of Steel--when I got a hold of the first trailer song, An Ideal of Hope, I started to see Anne's story more clearly. But they were just scenes. I still don't and didn't have anything solid in place.

I know I have to give it time. I'm not planning to give up on it.

But every now and then I catch myself thinking about Ataraxia again. Like a conversation I should have refined, or a scene that still looks cooler in my head so I should probably rewrite it. That novel has so much flaws, and I felt so burned out after finishing it. But maybe I'm not done?

I miss Caesar and Sonya, and I don't think I did them justice. Am I ready to let go of Ataraxia just yet? That's the thing, I'm not sure.

Sigh. But if I start focusing on it too much, in a few weeks, when I'm covered in Christmas wrapping, lights tangled at my feet, and modern British literature spread out because Brace Yourself: Finals Are Coming, I'm going to be one of two things: 1) really frustrated or 2) really hopeful. I'm going to think Ataraxia is good enough to be published. And it's not. This, in fact, is a reminder that it's totes not ready and probably won't be three weeks or three months or even years from now.

Not sure about revising yet. But maybe I shoulder consider it. Or wait for something else? Hmm...

P.S: I know this is going to sound offensive, but I mean this in the most sincere way possible because the reaction of my classmates is confusing me: I can't tell if Christians or Scientologists have been coming to preach at the school.

I can hear their prophetic chanting from across Oglesby Union, from the bookstore at the end of the street to the library up the hill. And yet I have no idea what they're saying. I know the guy with the banner regarding evolution was a Christian, as was probably the dude who got into an argument with three students about...Abraham, I think? But what preacher-guy shouted "Let's get drunk and fornicate!" which elicited cheers? And who was that odd woman this morning? And the dude who got approached by a guy in a horse mask? I don't know. I've only seen that last thing happen with Scientologists. (Okay, once. I saw that once).
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.