Sunday, January 26, 2014

Can You Speak English?!

It's been a little while since I've done an experience-based-rant post, so why not bring it back?  Today, I want to start off my rant with a little story.

Last Friday, I was riding a particularly crowded bus.  Now, practically everybody who regularly rides public transportation knows that there are a few rules about riding in the front of the bus.  Mainly, that's fine if you do so, but if you see someone who needs the seat more (ie, an elderly or disabled individual) then you have to let them have it.  They announce this about every ten minutes over the bus intercoms and it is also posted graphically on all windows at the front of the bus.

As I mentioned, this particular morning the bus was packed, although this didn't seem to stop even more people from trying to cram their way on.  As you might imagine, people's patience were running quite short; I know I was repeating an inner mantra of "Stupid bus driver, stop letting more people on!"

At the front of the bus, there were a bunch of elderly women already comfortably settled, and one young Asian woman typing quickly on her phone.  Apparently the older white woman across from her couldn't handle the thought of her taking up a seat in the front, because she said very loudly across the isle, "Can't you speak English?!  You can't sit up here!"

Cue rant.

Yes, at that moment tensions were running high and patience was at a communal all-time low.  But does that make it okay to make a blatantly racist comment on a bus full of other Asians?  I think not!  This woman assumed that, because the young woman was Asian, that she was foreign and therefore couldn't understand English.

I've been thinking about this all weekend, deviating between anger at the older woman and saddness that we still have so far to go when it comes to our attitudes on diversity in the US.  Yes, I know it's 2014 and the fad seems to be pretending that we're in a "post-racial" society because, after all, haven't we elected a black man as President?  But the truth is, we're still a highly racially insensitive society, it's just a bit more implied and subtextual.

I think what made me so mad about this encounter was that I've had experiences like this myself.  Last year, I was riding the bus while reading a book by a Thai author with a picture of a little Thai girl on the front.  One of the white men in front of me tapped on my book and said, "That's cool, you're on your book cover!"

I believe my response was to blink at him and do my best not to lecture him on his ignorant statement.

When speaking of a European or Caucasian individual, we generally specify where in Europe their ancestry is from.  So why should we do any differently with people of color?  All Asians are not the same, just like all Latinos are not all the same and like even people who are African-American have historically come from many different African countries.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you even feel vaguely ignorant or unsure about a racial comment you're about to make, just don't say it.  That's fine if you're not sure what race of Asian someone is; that doesn't mean that you should make stereotypical assumptions that will probably end up insulting someone.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

College Confidence: Body Images and Resolutions

Around New Years, most people set some kind of a "body resolution."  That can be anything from dieting, losing a certain amount of weight, reaching a certain fitness goal, etc.  I know that I personally set the goal to exercise more regularly.  For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the female body because, well, that's what I know.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about why so many people feel so dissatisfied with their bodies that they plan to alter them over the course of the year.  While some people make changes for the sake of simply being healthy, it often seems that others have purely aesthetic body goals.  Of course, this doesn't really surprise me.  We live in such a visual, media-centered society in which we are constantly being presented with the "ideal body": long legs, nice curves and a small waist.  The media doesn't often portray the true range of real female bodies, and we thus feel the need to all try our best to fit the same mold.

I had never really had to deal with any of this until I got to college.  Yes, I had my own insecurities about my body back in high school, but I had mainly guy friends so it wasn't something we really talked about.  But coming to college, I was pretty shocked at just how many girls had significant issues with their bodies and just how often they talked about it.  And again, there was almost no talk about being healthy, just about being smaller, leaner, skinnier.

So I want to open this up to you all.  Have you had this same experience either with friends or yourself?  Do you set health goals or simply want to get down a size or two?  Do you think this is something more young women should be talking about?

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Cutest Little Studio in Sausalito

This weekend was the beginning of the end.  And by that I mean it was the last weekend before classes start.  So to celebrate my last weekend of freedom (and the US premiere of Sherlock!),  I took a short trip to Sausalito to stay with my friend Justine.  I've stayed with her multiple times since coming to school, but this time was a little bit different because she moved into the little studio "apartment" down below her family house this fall.

It is quite honestly one of the cutest little studios I've ever seen.  She has a really cute, shabby-chic style and was kind enough to let me take some pictures to share with you guys!

Her little jewelry/nicknack shelf.  I did the drawing on the top right for her sophomore year!

Her cute little kitchen and our breakfast.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Feature: My Body Image

If any of you spend a lot of time haunting different corners of the Internet, you might already know that last week on Tumblr was declared Body Confidence Week.  I personally wish that I had known about this when it was going on, because it is the perfect transition into another new series I will be starting next week.  It will be called College Confidence, and it is inspired by the tradition of self-improvement New Year's resolutions.

Rather than trying to explain this new series, I will just leave you with this well-spoken video from the YouTube vlogger MorganPaigeLoves.  Hopefully this will not only prime you for some of the topics I be writing about, but that you will truly listen to the beautiful things she has to say about being a human being.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

By the Bay

I still have about a week until classes start, but I am remarkably happy that I returned to San Francisco early this year.  Not only is my internship going well so far, but this is really the first time that I've gotten to just hang out in the city with friends without having to rush home to do homework.  Best of all, we've actually been taking advantage of this free time.  This past weekend, I met friends in the Marina for what turned into an all-day neighborhood exploration complete with a trip down to enjoy the sun by the bay.

It's nice to know that after four years of "exploring," San Francisco can still surprise me.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Feature: Barton Hollow

I have to admit that I feel a bit bad about this Friday Feature.  I first heard "Barton Hollow" on New Year's Eve when hanging out with a friend and was instantly hooked by the bluesy, sexy sound of The Civil Wars.  I promptly went home, bought the song, and haven't been able to stop listening to it since.  I already know that this will be my favorite song of the month.

However, I feel bad about introducing you guys to this amazing song given that The Civil Wars have all but officially disbanded.  Apparently the two singers are having some internal feud and its doubtful whether or not they'll be "getting back together."

"Barton Hollow" is an amazing song nonetheless, and I hope you guys enjoy.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

That Stereotypical Resolution Post

Happy New Year, everyone!  It's that time again, the time to look back on the previous year and resolve to change and improve what we can.  If you remember last year's list at all, you'll know that I like to keep my resolutions fairly short and simple.  In my opinion, the longer and more complicated your list, the more likely that you'll forget about your resolutions or worse, give up.  So here we go.

1.  Remember to read for pleasure.
Last year, I definitely achieved my goal of reading more.  I didn't quite make my 50 Book Reading Challenge on Goodreads, but I did manage to read a whopping 43 books and couldn't be happier with that number.  I had almost forgotten how good it felt to read for fun, and was amazed at how much I could achieve if I took an hour or so out of my day to just read whatever I felt like.  I hope to keep this up in 2014, and if you'd like to know more of my bookish goals for the year, check out this video.

2.  Get better at keeping in contact with friends.
This is something I really suck at.  And I don't just mean friends from high school, but even my friends who live around the block.  Because I'm not someone who every really feels the need to be social, I tend to epically stink at responding to emails, text messages, Facebook invites and the like.  Ironically, I'm the best at responding via snail mail.  This year I'd like to make more of an effort to maintain contact with current and old friends because I know that this will make me a better friend in general.

3.  Exercise more regularly.
This was another resolution from last year that I actually sort of achieved.  I actually started working out and found that I really liked walking, running, hiking, and doing yoga.  Exercising on a regular basis, however, was not my strong suit.  I went through periodic spurts of exercising before slacking off.  This year, I want to try and stick to a more regular work-out schedule, because I know that it's actually something I like spending time on.

4.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.
I have always been really good about this.  I personally try to treat everyone with as much kindness, patience, and understanding as I can.  However, this year I want to extend this idea to how I treat (or talk about) people when they're not there.  This means less gossiping and talking negatively behind other's backs.  Again, just breaking myself of this habit will make me a better and more positive individual.
And now for two Internet goals:

For the Blog:  Get organized and post at least once a week.
This past couple of months, I feel like I have finally figured out what I want to be doing with this blog.  Yes, I know it only took me four years to get it together, but better late than never, right?  I will eventually have to figure out what to do with this space once I graduate (5 months, baby!!), but for now I want to focus on putting out better content more frequently.  This means getting organized, planning ahead, actually drafting posts and prepping visuals during the weekend.

I do have several things I will be sharing and talking about before the end of my undergraduate career, I am always open to post suggestions.  If you ever have a topic you'd like to see addressed here on Little Girl, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.

For YouTube:  Participate actively and start more discussions.
I have been having so much fun since I joined the BookTube community on YouTube.  I've gotten to meet so many fantastic people from around the world that I otherwise would never have known.  Most excitingly, I have gotten to interact with several authors and review their books.  This resolution is a bit of a continuation of the above No. 2: I want to do a better job of maintaining interaction with both my viewers and the YouTubers that I follow in this upcoming year.  I want to keep looking at this as just another opportunity to meet like-minded people, and these relationships will require just as much upkeep as any in "real life."

I also want to do more discussion videos.  I only did one last year, but was completely stunned, overwhelmed, and pleased with the response.  I have so many ideas and bookish topics that I'd like to discuss, I don't know if I've ever been this excited about continuing a creative project.

And those are my resolutions for 2014!  What are you guys planning to work on?