The Final Feature of ’15

This is a chain blog post! I haven’t done one of these since the good old days of LiveJournal. On that note, I still write in my LiveJournal from eighth grade… I have kept up blogging on that platform for over twelve years now. Whew.

Anyway, I was nominated for the Liebster “Award” by my good friend, published children’s author, and fellow linguist Eleanor Glewwe! (Check out her cool blog here.) I use the scare quotes because it’s not really an award at all, just a way for small-time bloggers to give some recognition to each other and do something a little fun. For my last post of 2015, I’m going to answer the questions Eleanor gave me, and then I have to tag other bloggers to continue the chain.

I wonder who Liebster is/was.

1. What is one of the most interesting places you have traveled to? In February 2014, I went on a tour to North Korea with the Pyongyang Project. It was an unforgettable trip, and I wrote a few photojournal-esque posts for the DailyNK, a North Korean issues publication, that can be found here. I don’t tell a lot of people this, but I would be interested in returning to the country, provided that it opens up (or reunites democratically with South Korea), for a variety of reasons.

2. What is a book you read for school (any level) that you really liked/appreciated? Ha… I haven’t read anything for school that wasn’t an academic article in years. Let’s see. One that comes to mind is when we read Candide, Voltaire’s satirical novella, in my high school AP French Literature class. It was not easy to read it in French, but I had a blast following the crazy adventures. Later, I discovered Bernstein’s operetta adaptation, which I also really love. Here’s a link to a 2004 revival starring Kristin Chenoweth and Patti Lupone — enjoy!

3. What’s something tasty you cooked recently? I love baking. I made monster oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip cookies the other day for a party. I’m also pretty proud of a chocolate red wine cake I made about a month ago.

4. How much do you like snow? In fact, I am writing this blog post from Lake Tahoe, and I am surrounded by snow! I love skiing and snowshoeing; being outdoors in the snow is really magical. Of course, I grew up in a place where snow was only accessible after a four-hour drive. Living in a city with snowy winters is very different; my experiences in Philadelphia and Seoul were a little too cold, but I have never disliked snow.

5. What books are on your nightstand (or equivalent) right now? Hey, if you want to look at (non-academic) books I’ve been reading, check out my Bookworm page! Right now, I am reading a cool sci-fi novel my friend Adam gave me called The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. In the realm of non-fiction, I have lined up on my shelf a book my roommate Rachel lent me, called The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative, by Hans Wilhelm Frei.

6. What is one of your favorite U.S. cities and why? I spent some time in Seattle in January of this year, and I really enjoyed it! Lots of great outdoor space, and a cool, pedestrian-friendly downtown, too. I would definitely visit again, but it might be too rainy for me to live there.

7. Which language other than English do you speak the best today? French, which I studied from seventh grade until college. I’m always looking for more native French speakers to practice with! There are apparently a lot of them here in Berkeley, but I haven’t found them yet.

8. What is one place you haven’t been to that you’d really like to visit? I have never been to any country in Africa. I have always wanted to visit the Maghreb (Francophone north Africa), especially Morocco. I also want to see the beautiful landscape of central Africa (Kenya, Uganda, etc.). So those are on my bucket list!

9. What is a musical instrument you don’t play that you wish you did? I wish that I had enough coordination to play a drum set. It would be very useful, I think. But really, I just want to be better at the guitar.

10. Do you have a favorite/most long-lived stuffed animal? What kind? Hm… not really, but there is a stuffed squid that I got in Osaka that has hung out on my bed at home for the past ten years.

11. What is a skill/craft you’d like to learn someday? I would like to learn how to ride a skateboard! And perfect a few more languages to add to my back pocket, of course.

Well, that’s all! Thanks for that fun little exercise, Eleanor. Now, I have to nominate a few more bloggers and come up with my own questions for them.

Here are the bloggers: 1) Sam, who is teaching English in Taiwan on a Fulbright and hasn’t updated his blog in months. 2) Sara, a friend from undergrad who studies and works in DC and from whose blog I osmose a lot of pop culture. 3) Nancy, my ‘little sib’ from undergrad whose blog is almost relentlessly positive. 4) Alice, whom I met at a church function a few months ago and who sometimes blogs in Korean, which is good practice for me. 5) Pokémaniac Chris, who never really writes about himself but only about Pokémon and his research. I have never even met this person, but his blog is nerdy and fun, so whatever! 6) Darren, who works for InterVarsity at UCSD and has a heart for LGBTQ issues.

Here are your questions!

1. What is an interesting word you have learned recently? 2. How would you describe the way you speak? 3. For you personally, what was significant about 2015? 4. What civil or human rights issue do you think should be front and center in 2016? 5. What book(s) are you reading right now? 6. Do you think that religious proselytization is appropriate in any sociocultural situation? 7. If you could live the life or adventures of any fictional character, which character would you choose? 8. For what nation, institution, or cause would you willingly go to war? 9. What do you think happens to your soul or consciousness after you die? (And what do you want to have happen?) 10. Where do you think you would be now in life if you were a different gender or had a different sexual orientation? 11. How do you plan to enrich the lives of those in your community in 2016?

(Even if I didn’t tag you, feel free to answer these questions in the comments below! I would be very interested to hear them.)

– – –

In other news, it’s New Year’s Eve! Here is my WordPress-generated annual report for this blog in 2015. Remember back in the spring, when I blogged about Fresh Off the Boat each week instead of my life? Looks like that generated the most traffic for me; my top five most-viewed posts are all reviews! As for the current season, I’ve watched about a third of the episodes, but I haven’t had the time to write reviews. Tant pis!

Farewell, Fifteen… and Salutations, Sixteen! Happy New Year to all my readers! Thank you for dropping by and giving me a reason to write. Have a wonderful holiday and set your goals high. 🙂


A happy jumping photo for the new year!


Word of the Day: byzantium is the name of a shade of violet. Its name derives from the Byzantine (Greek: Βυζάντιον) empire and is a reference to the color of royal robes (which is actually called Tyrian purple). Byzantium was an ancient Greek city located between the Black and Mediterranean Seas; it became Constantinople during the era of the Roman Empire, and is known today as Istanbul. In addition to referring to the empire or its culture, the adjective byzantine can also mean complex or intricate, subject to political machinations, or related to the Orthodox Church. It is also the current color of my hair, as you can see in the photo above!


About Andrew C.

I'm a grad student at UC Berkeley.
This entry was posted in life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Final Feature of ’15

  1. Alice says:

    your word of the day was in my SAT vocabs list.


  2. So much nostalgia when I think about Livejournal! That’s awesome you still use the platform. 🙂


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