I had heard of belly dancing while I was at university, but heard of it was the sole extent of my involvement with this type of Egyptian dance. I really had no idea what exactly it was until last summer when I had the opportunity to go with this girl who goes regularly to watch belly dancing at Uptown Arts Bar in KC. Every first Saturday of the month there’s this Arabian nights show at the bar where you can get in with a small cover charge and enjoy whatever you normally get at a bar. That particular night I made a new girl friend, enjoyed a cherry limeade kind of drink that had tequila in it, and learned how to belly dance. Yes, I got called on stage at the end of the show and learned a basic dance move called “pop the car door.” It was amusing and thankfully it’s a small stage so I didn’t get stage fright and I was up there with a bunch of other girls so it was nice to feel like another one in the crowd, learning something new. The first time I had tequila and it allowed me to enjoy watching belly dance in all different body types. I had thought in order to belly dance you had to be one certain body type, but boy was I wrong and I’m glad. Anyone can learn how to belly dance and my favorite was watching this one girl dance to this death metal sounding tune whilst balancing a giant sword on her head. I definitely never imagined I’d witness something like that. I don’t know. These kind of events are hard to describe. You really had to be there. I enjoy going out and trying new things.
I’m not going to do this on every post like this, but for this first one like this I want to set the stage. I feel like this wasn’t just about getting sushi with two girls I had never met before. We didn’t do a lot as far as actions go in this event, but I enjoy new experiences and this is me documenting them, even if it’s just three girls who have never met before getting sushi.
I don’t remember the names of the sushi I tried, unfortunately. As they passed by me on the train I didn’t think to write them down like a real journalist would or anything. Before this past Memorial Day weekend, the only other time I had tried sushi via conveyor belt was in Cancún. Even that kind wasn’t the real deal because the sushi was packaged already if I remember correctly. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it was nothing compared to this sushi. Nothing because I can’t even remember how it tasted. Don’t get me wrong. Cancún is still an awesome place to visit, sushi aside. It’s not really known for the Japanese food. But you knew that already.
A sushi train is the kind of thing I can imagine seeing in New York. I bet they have that there. But I haven’t been to New York enough times to know for sure. New York does have excellent Taiwanese beef noodle soup though. I’ll give the Big Apple that. Enough about that though, this post is about sushi. It’s so exciting to see your food being transported to you like it’s a person travelling on a mission to reach your stomach. The train at Sakura Sushi Train Restaurant in Shawnee, KS off of Nieman is an Amtrak and very cute, reminding me of those Christmas toy trains, even though the train looks nothing like those trains.
The key to why the sushi tasted so good is the freshness. I mean, I kind of always knew sushi made and consumed right away tastes better than sushi that’s been sitting for a while, but I didn’t KNOW until I had this sushi. I’m sure the quality of the ingredients has a lot to do it with it too. People can spew a ton of facts at me, but until I experience it myself or see it firsthand, I can’t really grasp something as real.
I also think the excitement of meeting new people enhanced the whole experience. I made two new girl friends that day. One’s from the area and one’s from the East Coast like me. I love how barely five minutes in and we started talking about meeting guys and dating. I guess discussing relationships is a universal interest among women. It made for a good laugh. I remember talking about Orlando and Philly and how much the girl from the area loves sushi. Listening to these girls talk about who they are and what they like to do made me feel how normal it is to flow into a conversation with someone new. Once you start talking, everything else falls into place. Let’s just say I haven’t had good sushi in a while.
OK, so a while ago I said to Stay Tuned…
I’ve been meeting some new people in the city I live in and in general doing a little more exploring than I’ve done before. I also started a new job. I want to share my experiences piece by piece. It’s taken me a while to get started because I’m a perfectionist and I like organizing a “format” for how I want to do these posts. In between I might throw in some fictional pieces, so just check out the categories and tags before assuming anything is a real-life blog.
I think the bravest thing someone does sometimes is show up. Not go fight in a war. Not stand up to a bully. Not shoot a bow and arrow through some sort of coronation ring. Nope. Not any of those things that is typically considered a brave thing to do.
I’m talking about showing up to an event. People take one look at you and start sizing you up. You haven’t even opened your mouth yet and you are being judged by every eye in the room. At least all the sober ones. (Let’s be honest. The inebriated ones ain’t gonna remember you after it’s all over.)
I was at a party over the weekend and I felt brave for showing up. I knew the host and a couple other people on the guest list, but the majority of the people on the guest list I did not know. Right before going I had this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach like the kind of feeling you get if you’re a quiet one like me and sitting in class hoping the teacher doesn’t call on you or the kind of nervous feeling you get before having to give an oral presentation to the class.
Showing up to a party where you don’t know most of the people is in a way, going to battle. You don’t know what these people think of you from how you act to what you say to what you’re wearing. You shouldn’t care what these people think, but there’s always a part of you that will no matter how many parties you’ve been to. Once they’ve met you, it’s all over. You can’t change what they first think of you or go back in time and make them not ever know you.
You may walk away without them remembering you, but you now exist in the world to them and there’s no way to make them think you don’t exist. Even if they forget about the party, meeting you will inevitably come back up in their memory, filed away with all the other fuzzy party memories. It just takes a key to unlock that drawer and once Tinker Bell comes flying out of there, ain’t no way of stopping a mixed up memory from surfacing, like trying to tell the difference between a thimble and a hidden kiss.
I got a text from a girl friend asking me if I wanted “in” on going out to the bars. There was promise of green beers and other such St. Patrick Day’s things I can’t remember exactly now. I politely declined because it was a weeknight and I had to get up early for work tomorrow. She politely understood.
I don’t remember how long ago that was, but I remember a little of how I felt when I got that text, like it was so predictable she would invite me out. Like it suited her to be going out and it suited me to be staying in. I wasn’t always like that.
We had just finished a tournament and we were trying to find our way back to the van so we could get some fuel for our bodies. Somehow I had injured my foot so we were going kind of slow. All of a sudden we found ourselves in the middle of a parade of people wearing green. At the front of the line was this guy who wanted a light. He saw me and came up to me to ask for one. Being a non-smoker, I had to tell him, “no.” He looked disappointed with my response and the girl next to him didn’t look too thrilled he was talking to me. I was relieved though. That meant he had someone waiting for him, the type of commitment from a guy I was not looking for at the time. Afterwards, my teammate asked me if I knew “that guy.”
I don’t remember what street we were on, but I remember the smoker was wearing a green top hat. I wondered if he was really Irish because he didn’t look it to me. Looks can be deceiving though.
I just sat down and Emma White* said to the class, “How come none of the Asians are wearing green?” Then she glanced over at me in my green sweater and goes, “Good job, YuMin!” I felt good about myself, the way you instantly feel better when someone gives you a high five.
This happened in seventh grade and for some reason, every year on this day I think of it.
*name has been altered to protect identity
Going into Django Girls KC I didn’t know what to expect, but I did know I wanted to learn something new, meet new people, and have fun no matter what I’m doing. Mission accomplished!
The weekend of June 24-June 26, 2016 is one I will not soon forget. Part of being a developer is knowing how to solve problems using the computer, or how to be a hacker. Friday night at the install party I learned my first lesson in problem-solving: how to find the table I’m assigned to. Luckily for me, I made my first friend when I noticed someone just as lost as I was. With a little teamwork, we found our table, met the ladies we would be spending the weekend with and of course, our awesome mentor. It became clear right away teamwork would be one of the biggest themes of the workshop.
From getting Python installed to working through the Django Girls tutorial to socializing and networking with women in the IT field, it all comes down to how willing you are to ask for and accept help when you run into problems. While working through the tutorial, you need a lot of patience and it’s like what one of our mentors said, “You will get error messages, but you have the most fun when you find a new error message.”
I found it’s quite satisfying when you get a “It worked!” message. While I did not complete the whole tutorial on Saturday, I’m glad it’s available online and I can complete it at any time. The best part was making new friends and knowing this is only an introduction and I would not become a developer overnight. On top of that, as I listened to what each mentor had to say about volunteering at this workshop, I started to see not only do we need more women in this field, but also empowering women extends beyond this field into any field that may typically be dominated by men. It’s empowering to realize that yes, maybe as women we are built physically different from men, but there is no limit to what field we can go into. What this weekend taught me is you never know until you try. Why should we let men have all the fun?
I am so grateful to all the ladies and gents who lent their time to help me throughout this first-time coding experience. Who knows what step of the tutorial I would still be stuck on without them! And at the end of the day, it’s nice to go out to an arcade bar to put “work hard, play hard” into practice. 🙂
Be grateful for clean air in America. Be grateful for a visible blue sky in America. Be grateful for the freedom to be whoever you want to be in America.
My friend Merj, who is known as Dr. Merjjena B. Hemp to the world, is working on a YouTube project called Complicated Conversations Post 9/11 and her latest concentration is our veterans here in the U.S. She is launching Jump 4 the Vets, a fundraiser in support of those who have done so much for our country and need a little extra help to ask for help. She will be skydiving in as many states as she can to do something bold, courageous, and unstoppable for our veterans who were once bold, courageous, and unstoppable.
Oh, and one more thing. You can find me about 4.5 minutes in talking about how you can help. Be sure to check out the link at the very end of the video description: