nixing narcissism

24 02 2013

thanks to Tri for xkcd

the funniest phrase heard in vietnam

21 02 2013

was “if you’re unhappy, go to the happy room.”
means toilet.

38 first dates

19 02 2013

i miss steve.
as darrell says, the end.

i took a friend’s advice and put up an online dating profile for two weeks then took it down. this led to a United Nations of first dates. i went out with a belgian, a german, a hungarian, a canadian, a brit, an american and finally, a kiwi.

the belgian was a carefree, traveling landscape artist. good conversation but 63kg. i learned from him voting is compulsory in belgium.

the german engineer had a baritone, monotone voice, and i think, lied about his age.

true to stereotype, the brit had bad teeth and was appalled by my being divorced, though he said his dad cheated on his mum for years.

the hungarian was fun to hike with but self-admittedly selfish. i imagine he will match well with someone much younger.

the canadian has been in korea for some time and now has a disdain for dating korean women. this i find distasteful, when western men make generalizations about asian women.

the american was handsome but no magic.

the new zealander is fun. i like him. he’s and the most like-minded in terms of politics and values, but i fear a narcissist. i know from experience i will never be enough for someone very insecure and self-centered.

the kiwi makes me think of both tula and steve. tula also followed or interrupted other people’s stories to share his own experiences, so great was his need to be accepted. steve, well, i think of steve all the time, but especially when the kiwi reaches for food first or orders before me or says something critical about a person. it may be that the kiwi is a narcissist. or it may be that i have little tolerance because i have little room in my heart.

out-of-state tuition is too expensive

18 02 2013

so i did a little recon. US News has a WA school in the top 10 best MPA programs in the country. University of Washington in Seattle has an MPA program ranked #9 by US News. For non-WA residents, the MPA costs ~$64,000. that would be a no go.

duke’s program ranks #16, but the deadline was jan 5, and the cost and competitiveness likely prohibitive.
i looked at Portland State University earlier this year, but see now it’s ranked #46 after UNC. nc state is ranked #53. the MPA@UNC virtual program, at $52K, is toooo d@mn expensive. i can dispense now with applying to UNC-Greensboro and NC Central.

other top programs outside of nc, well, the deadlines have all passed, and idk that i would have been accepted or could have afforded them anyway. so, i can reason now UNC is the best US option for me for pursuing an MPA.

i’ll poke around at some international options and then be able to put this puppy to bed and start planning this year.

going back to school

17 02 2013

huzzah. unc accepted me into their mpa program. i didn’t think i’d get in. maybe grad schools are hurting for tuition.

now i have that buyer’s remorse that always surfaces after getting something i want.
woody allen says it best in Annie Hall:

“i would never want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

i’m excited! i would like to enjoy the good news before ceding to the eternal self-doubt:

  • is this the best path for me?
  • how can i go back to grad school in nc when i’m enjoying living overseas?
  • wouldn’t it be better to attend a different school for my graduate ed?
  • can i transition this education and US experience into international work farther afoot?

tuition costs are not so bad. unc is ~$20K for the program vs. ~$17K for ncsu, not that ncsu has said “yes”. idk yet how i’ll work to live and go to school full-time. i don’t like the idea of student debt, but unc offered a $4K scholarship this year, which brings costs down to ~$17K.

i wish i made decisions more quickly. i admire people who can be all in and pack up their belongings into a station wagon and follow their true love across the country.

my process is deduction through kvetching.
i weighed international studies vs. mpa, deciding on public admin for the greater emphasis on economic development. lately, i’ve thought mpa vs. tesol, but think pursuing a discipline > pursuing an education degree. i could supplement with a TESOL or CELTA cert down the road to teach overseas. today, i’m wondering about nc vs. out-of-state or out-of-country.  the only in-country option that holds any appeal is being in WA to be near my dad. anywhere else would mean out-of-state tuition and no social network. i want to explore these last two options, WA or overseas, to be able to be content with going back to school at UNC.

for now, i’m excited and grateful.

District 7 to Dalat

8 02 2013

The bus driver shook his head “no” at my banana leaf-wrapped snacks, so I guess I will find out what’s inside them at our next stop.IMG_3606


fish sauce-fermented, basil-wrapped pork parts?

We are three hours from Dalat. I’m excited. Today is my fifth day in Vietnam. Four days in Saigon was fun with Darrell and his expat friends. Now I am ready for a different scene alone and away from Saigon’s district 7.

We are climbing gradually through green hills and rubber tree plantations. Five km back, we passed a small river with floating, wooden homes. Roadside, there are plastic chair cafes and open-air shops but no buildings to be seen on the horizon.


Our bus driver bonks his horn liberally for motorbikers to make way. O good fortune, this bus is a sleeper, even though we are traveling by day. The bus stop bathrooms we just left had clean water and soap, a far cry from the midnight pit stop between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, where you peed in a hole and flushed by sending a pailful of water down after.


If we make good time, today I’ll have a few hours to poke around Dalat, known for its produce and flowers, thanks to mist-covered valleys. Tomorrow, Phat Tire Ventures will take eight others and me from Dalat to Nha Trang ~90km away.

The bike ride in Chiang Mai turned out to be the highlight of that trip, and I’m hoping for the opportunity again to see beautiful countryside and meet curious people.


Make Your Momma Proud

1 02 2013

korean cafe playing MYMP from the philippines. i like these sweet lyrics.