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mind, how far you have fallen

This is a story that is either a result of…
(1) my complete and utter lack of faith in humanity,
(2) proof that I have been hit on by one too many creepers, or…
(3) the fact that I possibly have a dirty mind.

I think it’s the first two, but what do I know, right?

Not too long ago, I started volunteering at a local nursing home as a music entertainer, which really just means that I play piano on Sunday evenings at their supper social, when they’re all eating dinner together. While we’re still on the subject of music, I’d like to mention that I grew up in predominantly-Asian suburbia. Asian supermarkets, bubble tea, fobby Asian mom sun visors, SAT classes by junior high, A- Asian fail, Hondas and Toyotas galore. Davis was very much the same way, and to be honest, where I lived in New Jersey was pretty similar. (I suppose the college town atmosphere helped.) That said, I’ve never really lived in a place where I was actually part of a minority. For the record, I was a terrible Asian and was more often than not at the bottom of the smart barrel, but I managed to make it into medical school, so mayhaps I managed to do something right! (I think I can safely attribute most, if not all of my accomplishments to hard work/dedication as opposed to pure genius/intelligence.)

I make up 25% of the Asian population in the town I live in. (It’s a little less skewed if you throw me into the percentage in the town my school is in, but still.) The closest Asian supermarket is in the next state. As a result, I’ve actually started to learn to make Chinese dishes with one of my friends here (go figure, I’m friends with almost all the Asian females here; I swear it’s not because I’m racist. My mentor introduced me to Kosina, so she was the first friend I made here. There are 5 including me, so it’s not really as bad as it sounds.). Most days, I don’t notice the difference. It’s just when I’m really craving Thai/Vietnamese/Indian food. Or some other variety of sushi.

But there are definite differences here that I never actually thought about. Musical preferences, for instance. I was classically trained as a pianist (I don’t like saying this because it gives off this impression that I should be really talented, and while that may once have been the case, it no longer holds true). Here, the musical taste amongst the locals tends to be gospel, country, or bluegrass, none of which I’ve ever learned (unless you count playing church hymns). I couldn’t even tell you for certain what bluegrass was. :/

This long diatribe was really just to explain why I was encouraged to not play classical music while I was volunteering. (Much to my dismay, I was told that most people here probably wouldn’t appreciate it. :[ ) My plan of action was to just play a billion church hymns and then throw in a classical one here and there and hopefully, people would start to like it.

But on day 1, about an hour in, after hearing that I was most used to playing classical, someone in the audience said, “Hey, play some classical!”
F: :D!!!

They loved it! :D (There is hope for me yet!)

Here’s the story I meant to write about. (Finally.)

While I was playing, one gentleman who’d been visiting stopped by before leaving and said that he was going to check himself in on Monday just so he could hear me play; he said my playing was beautiful, and that he looked forward to hearing me play again. (I was pretty flattered, not gonna lie. :O I was plunking along on an electric keyboard and had been making a pretty healthy amount of mistakes.)

Later on, I went to talk to my volunteer coordinator and here’s the conversation that ensued:
I: Did a silver-haired gentleman stop to talk to you?
F: I’m not sure…unless he’s the one who said he was going to check himself in on Monday?
I: Did he say anything else to you? Did he ask you if you wanted to make some extra money on the side? At the hotel?
F: . . .

My silence was due to the fact that I was completely shocked and insulted. My initial thoughts = that he was propositioning me as a prostitute. In my defense, when you’ve been stopped on the streets of Hong Kong whilst wearing jeans and a modest t-shirt to be asked, “How much per night?” and have also been the unfortunate witness to someone masturbating in public while staring at you, I think my initial thoughts were not altogether unreasonable.

After I recovered with a very incredulous, “…what?” (mind you, I tried to keep all the insulted-ness and disgust I was feeling to an absolute minimum), she told me that the man who’d stopped to talk to me was the head hunter for Jim Justice (the guy who owns the Greenbrier, aka the place where we had our med school prom. If you want to rent a room there, the cheapest rooms appear to go for >$400/night). He was apparently extremely impressed with my playing and wanted to know if I’d be interested in playing for the Greenbrier.

Um. Hell yes!? That would be beyond the realms of awesome, and I could offset some of this crazy med school debt that’s been accumulating. *-* I hope it really does come to fruition. *-* My audition is tentatively set for March 2nd (ironically the same day as our school’s talent show fundraiser), so I hope I get it! As long as I’ve compiled enough music that would be considered “easy listening,” I should be fine. I feel like most of the music I like to play tends to be rather depressing-sounding. Or “contemplative,” as my personal spin doctor, Elspeth, puts it.

[On a sidenote, I may also get to practice piano in Carnegie every week. *-*]

Just so this post isn’t completely without pictures, here’s a lunch I had at church the other day:

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culture shock

So I’m still kinda getting used to this whole “everyone’s so nice”¬† phase. It’s not that people in the other places I’ve lived weren’t nice, but…I’m really not sure I’ve ever encountered this level of hospitality. It’s kinda unreal. I’m not used to such a small town, nor am I used to everyone just knowing…everyone. There are no secrets here–if something happens, everyone will know. So we have to be careful what we say, because for all you know, one of their relatives could be sitting right behind you listening to every word. Tis a good thing that I never made it a regular habit to talk negatively about other people. I guess I’m really just not used to having to really care about what other people in the town think of me (never was an issue before because [1] I’d never see them again, and [2] the chances of people talking about me were rather low).

I also think the place I grew up in was fairly liberal, and I’m not entirely sure what it’s like here yet, but there are churches everywhere and not being Christian is definitely out of the norm. They actually have an SDA church here though (I was very surprised :O ), so I’ve been going there. People are super nice, friendly and welcoming, but part of me wonders what they’d think if they found out just how cafeteria-y of a Christian I am. Joanne mentioned last month (I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a full month since I left California) that when she thinks of someone Christian, she thinks of me, so she doesn’t associate terrible things to them. <3 Makes me happy. <3 I’m not so sure this sort of cafeteria-y Christian-ness will fly around here though, so I’ve been careful with everything I’ve been saying lately. :X

I also can’t tell if someone’s hitting on me anymore. It used to be fairly easy, but here, everyone’s just so nice that it’s hard to tell if they’re really just that nice, so I reciprocate and vaguely hope that I’m not accidentally lead them on or anything. lawl. Also slightly concerned about offending future patients with questions like, “Do you have sex with men, women or both?/How many partners do you have?” since this is not California, but…yeah. :O

I went to Blue Bend last weekend (separate post on that later <3 it is absolutely beautiful) and stopped in Caldwell for dinner at a church friend’s place. (Apparently, practically 2/3 of WV consists of uninhabited crazy-beautiful wilderness.) They live on a farm, so I got to pick/shuck some corn to roast for dinner/pick up firewood. It was pretty awesome. :D They have 2 horses, a bunch of chickens, turkeys, ducks…and speaking of which…

Meet Duck! :D She (we think it’s a girl) is kinda afraid of water where she can’t touch the ground at the moment, but hopefully she’ll grow out of that soon. so cute. ;_;

All in all, it was a pretty awesome, super-peaceful day, although I can’t shake the feeling that I’m always supposed to be studying. It’s kinda like studying for finals, but every single day. :[