Monday, February 29, 2016

The Art of Being Invisible

I’m very good at being invisible. It’s an art I’ve practiced since I was a young girl, and it’s only recently I’ve realized why I’m so good.

No one pays attention to me because I’m not one of ‘them.’

Let me give you an example:

Traveling through Japan, most people knew I wasn’t Japanese. There was something about me that wasn’t quite right. When I was in Spain, most of the Spaniards could tell I wasn’t one of them. I was too Asian looking. I could walk down the street or in the metro without them even noticing me, and they would say whatever they wanted, assuming I couldn’t understand them. Americans did the same. They assumed I wasn’t American, and couldn’t possibly speak English.

(By the way, if you’re in a different country and in a crowded area, there’s going to be at least one person who speaks English. Even if they don’t speak it, there’s enough video games, music and movies that they can understand a large percent.)


I used to have a lot of fun with it. Most of the missionaries for our church were from the United States, and we would often pull pranks on new ones because they wouldn’t speak to me, thinking their Spanish wasn’t good enough or because they were afraid I would go off in Spanish, leaving them stumbling to keep up.

One time, before a regional conference, I was asked to play the piano minutes before the meeting started. I panicked, running out of the main room, searching for a piano to practice on. I passed two missionaries, one I’d never seen before, and one I’d spent several months with previously. As I passed, he asked,

“How’s it going Krista?”

I responded with a rushed vent about how I had just been asked to play the piano, and I didn’t even know if I knew the songs, and the meeting was going to start in ten minutes. When I finished, I kept running, and as I left, I heard the other missionary say,

“Wow, she speaks perfect English.”

To which his companion responded: “Duh. She’s American.”

Technically, it’s true. I’m a Japanese American. My mom was born in Japan and adopted by a Dutch American Family. My maiden name is French. My married name is Hispanic. My husband is Bolivian. I speak both English and Spanish fluently. At home, we speak Spanglish.

It’s true, I’m not one of any specific race or culture. I may not quite fit in, but I think it gives me a greater chance to see and experience cultures in ways that might not be possible if I was just one thing.

I like being different.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Short Hiatus

Hey Guys!

I've been thinking a lot lately about this blog and about what I want to say. I think it's time that I take a short break, collect my thoughts and rearrange a few things. Don't worry, I'll be back soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Virtual Love Letter

Last week, I attended a seminar through SCWBI, where the presenter talked about the Ladder of Abstraction. It was an interesting class, where we talked about dropping down the rungs of the ladder down to the concrete, rather than the abstract. Afterward, he gave us different words and challenged us to find a way to make it concrete in 5-10 minutes.

One of the words he used was love. As I worked on making the abstract idea of love more concrete, I realized I was writing about my wonderful hubby. He’s displayed so many random acts of love, and he’s my primary example. We aren’t going to be seeing each other until Sunday, so I thought I’d send him a virtual love note, describing love in the concrete, and showing the ways he’s made love real for me.


When she curls up against him in sleep, no matter what time of night, he wakes up long enough to cover her with a second blanket. Usually, she doesn’t even know until the next morning, when he’s already risen and left his pillow for her to hug while she sleeps.

When walking on the sidewalk, or down a parking lot, he takes the spot next to the road, to shield her from oncoming traffic.

He doesn’t make fun of her irrational fear of dogs (very much), and he always steps between her and the dog, to protect her, even if it’s only in her mind.

When she needs to go grocery shopping and wants the company, he goes without complaint, making the trip a chance to rekindle their friendship and to make sure she remembers to buy Oreos.

On the nights when she’s working, and they’re apart, he remembers to text her before he goes to bed, so that she knows she’s the last thing on his mind, and that he misses her, even when they'll see each other in just a few hours.

I love you, and thank you for showing me the real, and concrete aspect of love.

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Top 5 Romance Pet Peeves

Hey all! It’s the week before February 14th, which means love is in the air, right? Unfortunately, hubby and I are both pretty bad at celebrating holidays, and Valentine’s Day tends to be the forgotten one of the bunch. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy love.

Or love stories.

Recently, I’ve been on quite a Hallmark kick, which means I’ve been binging a lot of really bad romantic movies. Every time I watch one, I think about what I like, don’t like, so really… it’s research. The more I watch, the more trends I tend to see, and many of them irk me nonstop. Since we haven’t quite gotten to Valentine’s Day yet, I thought I’d list the top five annoying romance cliché’s I'm tired of.

1.       Instalove.

Seriously. I don’t know how else to say this. Whether it be by magic, or by true love or soul mates, for some reason, it’s acceptable to fall in love with someone, know you’re destined to be together forever (because said magic, soul mates, etc told you) and never really get to know the person. Hey, I’m all for love at first sight, and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to get to know the person either. Everyone has a different background, different beliefs, and if you don’t talk about them, then your romance isn’t going to end up with that happily ever after.

2.       Lying.

This one irks me beyond belief. I know that during the third act, there needs to be something that keeps the lovers from being together, but when it’s a small matter of not communicating, it makes me want to scream. That’s what a good relationship is built on, communication. If you start lying to each other, no matter how ‘noble’ the reason, it’s still going to hurt the relationship. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I actually liked the movie version of Insurgent over the book version. They got rid of most of the lying and secret keeping between Four and Tris.

3.       Love for the sake of love.

I’m all for romance. Actually, I prefer having some sort of romance in a story, but to throw two characters together and tell the audience they’re in love because it moves the plot along doesn’t do it for me. Where’ the chemistry? There are so many stories where I honestly don’t understand why the characters are attracted to one another. Or why they want to be in a same room together. There’s no buildup, and it feels contrived. I’m looking at you, Black Widow and Hulk!

4.       Indecisiveness

This one kind of goes in with the love triangles. Obviously, we aren’t always aware of our feelings, but to be wishy washy for long periods of time makes me frustrated. Or leading someone on that you’re obviously not in love with because – drama! I think this is one of the reason why love triangles are so hated. Because they never last that long in real life. The reader, and the third character are going to feel cheated. Don’t drag it out for so long that your readers stop caring.

5.       The boring, no-good boyfriend.

Okay, where did this guy come from? For some reason, there are so many stories where the girl is stuck in a dead-end relationship with some guy who is either boring, doesn’t care about her interests and hobbies, or is too stuck in his own work to notice her. Of course, this leads to the main love interest to swoop in and save the day, showing her what real love is. How is it that it’s okay for a girl to settle for guys like this? Shouldn’t we be teaching younger girls not to settle? Maybe that’s what the romance is trying to tell us? Also, for some reason, it’s perfectly acceptable for the girl to choose the new guy. There was one movie in particular I’d been watching, where I was rooting for the boring guy to just dump her because she wasn’t being faithful to him, in any sense of the word.

So there you have it! My top five pet peeves with romance. What drives you insane? What trends do you wish would just stop?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Reading Outside My Comfort Zone

Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m reading a lot of the same thing over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the stories and the writing, but there comes a point when I want to try something different.

My cousin, who’s a teenage boy, recommended a series that he loves, and I figured I’d give it a try.
Now, I didn’t know what to expect going in. Sometimes I like his recommendations, and sometimes I struggle just to finish.

This one is kind of an in-between for me. Usually, I don’t give titles for novels that I’m kind of iffy on, but I think I’ll make an exception in this case, just because the book itself is an exception.
The novel is The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan.

I struggled to get through it. I found it incredibly slow, and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t until I finished and sat and thought about it that it came to me. This novel is the inside of a boy’s head. Not just any boy, a teenage boy. I’ve read so many articles on writing from a different point of view, how to have your characters think like a male, but Flanagan has shown me what I thought I would never quite understand.

Looking at it through that point of view, the entire story made so much more sense. I can see the thought process in my younger brother, my husband, my cousins… it’s crystal clear now. The reason why it dragged for me was that there were no side-plots. Nothing to distract from the main purpose, which was to become a ranger’s apprentice. My husband has tried to explain that he thinks of one thing at a time, but it didn’t register until this book. Each time there’s a new bump in the plot, it eventually led straight back to the main goal.

My cousin says that as the character gets older, there’s more, love triangles and the works, but in the first book, he’s driven to accomplish this one thing.

I need to read more books outside of the typical YA fantasy that I’ve been drawn to recently. Any suggestions?