Monday, May 21, 2007

Forever Young.

People have hallmarks of adulthood - some associate it with twenty one, others with careers and responsibilities. In my opinion, Aaliyah - may she rest in peace - had it right. Age ain't nothin' but a number. Twenty one felt suspiciously like eighteen, except you could legally drink.

Seeing as how the last book I read was the fourth installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the fact that I still have difficulty coloring within the lines, I am a kid at heart and perpetually feel light years behind. Like the eight year old rummaging through her mother's costume jewelry or getting into the whiskey (it looked like orange juice!) in the punch bowl at her parents' company function, at twenty-four, I still find myself masquerading in a role that has supposedly come to pass. Instead, I have created my own definition: the moment I would enter adulthood was the day I would finally order fish at a restaurant.

The thing is, I have always been a picky eater. Correction: I was once a picky eater but have since reformed. It's not that I wanted to be demanding - I simply had my preferences, and being a creature of habit in the gastronomical sense, when faced with a decision, I invariably would opt for (a) chicken or (b) pasta, or when the stars were properly aligned, (c) chicken pasta.

Growing up, this proved to be problematic, as it cut out one entire food group. With my eating habits, the food pyramid would resemble more an hourglass - you had your bread base as a solid foundation, fruit at the narrowing, and your fats/oils/sugars teetering precariously on top. And the itty-bitty space where the sand would sieve through - that was occupied by the likes of leafy greens, carrots, and ick - celery. It wasn't that I was never exposed to these foods, but rather, that I had selective sight. I simply did not notice the dishes that were on the dinner table, unless they directly pertained to me. Case in point: I never had kimchi chigae until my freshman year of college. I'm sure it was there, I just never saw it.

Recently, upon a visit to House - an Asian fusion restaurant in North Beach - the unthinkable happened. I ordered the sea bass and savored every. last. bite. I thought it would be more ceremonious, marked by the likes of fanfare and clinking champagne glasses. Adulthood kind of snuck up on me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spring Fever.

It has begun. In a vast desert of romantic interest, already, two couples have sprung up. Oases that I never saw coming, but a welcome sight at that. I do believe Spring Fever is upon us.

Which brings me to dating.

Fast forward through the "once upon a time" and zip right on through the "land far, far away" - I was always more interested in the happy endings. Maybe I lacked the patience. Maybe, I just wanted my knight to canter right on up to my castle and sweep me away from my ivory tower. My only lament was that my hair wouldn't grow fast enough. I associated happy endings with a perfect man (and chocolates galore), as any Korean drama or Disney movie of the 50's variety or 90's renaissance would have me believe, and I knew, I just knew that my day would come.

Fast forward a little bit more: past the tomboy stage and right on through adolescent angst, and somewhere in that time warp, I went from a little girl lost in a fairytale reverie to a twentysomething embracing independence and life as a singleton, masterfully zoning out during lectures from the parentals.

My parents, like any other Asian parents, are very much invested in my future. They always have been. As I am now out of college and can no longer be subject to discussions on grades and standardized test scores, they have set their sights upon more ambitious matters: marriage. SAT’s? Child’s play. They’ve since entered the major leagues. Ever since I graduated, the sparked interest in who I’m dating, how I’m spending my free time has grown exponentially. My mom likes to provide constructive criticism, noting that it is okay to date, so long as he is (a) Christian, (b) not a lawyer, and (c) comes from a solid family.

My relatives have even joined in on the fun. While my meddlesome aunt lacks the subtlety necessary for adequately addressing such topics, my uncle has taken to referencing his unborn grandchildren in his car-buying decisions. I find it amazing that the yet-to-be-conceived demographic has such purchasing power. It's just unfortunate that at this point, the most eligible bachelorette in the Choung/Kim family is eighteen years old.

But back to my parents. They’re sharp, those two, and they adapt quickly. Upon realization that their tag team efforts of inquiries into my romantic life were leading nowhere, they switched to subtler, more subversive tactics.

“You know, I was married at twenty-three.”
That’s nice umma, I say sweetly with a mischievous smile.
“You know I expect you to be married by twenty-six, right?”
You do realize I’ll be twenty-five in a month..

Normally, I'll have nothing of it. But just this once, I'll indulge. After all, it is Mother's Day, and I love my mum.