BBT 9/23/07

Where to begin? I want to write down everything — everything — so that I may read it in years to come and remember as vividly as if it were yesterday. So much, so much… I don’t know how to get it all down without making a muddle of things… This post will most likely prove to be very confusing to those who are unfamiliar with how my mind works; it will be a collection of the usual observances one blogs and conversations written out as best I can remember. I am sorely tempted to jump around and write what comes to mind first… but that would be beginning too near the end… So let me try to keep my head on straight and not get too emo…

Friday, 9/21/07


We left the house at about 10 AM. I’d made a list of everything I needed, but that didn’t keep me from going over the list every five minutes. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t forget anything this time!!! I’ve always forgotten something before…

The trip was uneventful. I slept most of the time, and listened to music. We had sinangag for lunch.

As soon as we got to Unc’s house and had unloaded everything, Unc and jammed. :D That was awesome. He taught me a new song… kind of. :P I have to work on it. And we listened to music and he showed me the power tabs for stuff and some YouTube videos and stuff. We had nilaga, salmon and mushrooms, and asado for dinner. Absolutely delicious.

Saturday, 9/22/07

After breakfast, Mum and Dad and I went shopping. :D I found my Christmas dress!!! Yay!!! and two jackets (formal) and a denim dress with the most gorgeous flowing skirt. I’ve got to do something about the denim dress, though, because the top part of the bodice is this sort of net-like material with appliqués, but they look rather worn, so I’m going to replace them all… the netting, probably with a white sheer or something of the sort, and then we’ll see… Anyway, I had a good time.

When we got home, the kids showed us pictures of a turtle that they’d found while we were gone. It was huge! Hmm… I kind of forget what we had for lunch, haha. Leftovers, yeah, but there was something else, and I can’t remember what it was, now… That is not typical of me! Food is normally the highlight… sheesh. I’ll probably remember later. Anyway…

After lunch, I started sewing my flag patches on to my uniform sleeves. Unc sat by me and jammed. Everyone else took a nap, after which, we went to the 4:00 Mass. Before we left, though, Dad checked his cell phone and found a missed call from Paolo, at 10 AM. So I called and it turns out that he was at the CLP thingy or whatever, and so I got to talk to him and Gabe and Mariel and Kim for a bit…

We got home from Mass, I finished sewing my patches, and we made the most awesome dinner. :D Unc made the filling, and I rolled the lumpia. There was also more nilaga. That was the most AWESOME lumpia I’ve had in FOREVER. Yum Yum Yum.

After dinner, I went over my terminology, and then we watched the Matrix (just the first one). Ughhh that movie can get so sick. Haha. But it was motivating in its own way.

Ahhh I didn’t sleep well that night. Not nightmares, I just could sleep. I kept waking up and wondering what time it was and how many more hours I had before they would wake me…

Sunday, 9/23/07

We left the house at 9. We prayed the rosary, and then I slept. When I woke up again, we were already in Dickson City, just past McDonald’s before the hill up to Jo Ann’s. What a sight. That place never changes. Do you know… up until March last year, I observed that I still got butterflies in my stomach on my way to the school. And not just to testing, I used to get that way for classes as well, for no apparent reason.. it was weird… but this time, it just didn’t happen. I wonder what that meant, haha.

We got to Wegmans. (Pics 1 thru 4.) Man, the view still hits me, it’s so majestic. There is still something so refreshing about mountains and trees.

When we walked in, I looked around and didn’t immediately spot anyone… Everyone went to get food, but I lingered and looked around again… and noticed someone looking at me. I tried to get a good look at the guy without being obvious, but he was most definitely staring at me… and with a jolt, I realized it was Lyndon. I ran and jumped and he stood up and caught me and we were just laughing so hard, I couldn’t say anything beyond, “Omigosh, I missed you!!!” I honestly don’t remember anything else I said… oh, except to ask if Sean was coming. Turns out he couldn’t; he had work…

After a few minutes, I moved off to get food, and right when I turn away from Lyndon, who should appear ’round the register, but Sarah, Danielle, and Katie!!!! Squeals galore. Hahahaha. In a few seconds we were all hugging and laughing and probably getting plenty of attention, we were so loud, but then we walked off towards the sushi bar (Lyndon and his girlfriend were behind us by this time) and Dad was there and shaking hands and hugging everyone, and Mum arrived and said she’d barely recognized Lyndon, it was so funny. I had a hard time choosing sushi…

Sarah: Aisa, how can you eat that?
me: What, it’s sushi… you’ll still like me, though, right?
Sarah: Gee, I dunno, I mean…. Hahahaha jk.

Eventually, I chose a dragon roll and tea, the latter of which I shared with Yena, who ended up drinking about 75% of it. I must’ve been too busy talking to notice, really… When we were all sitting down, we called Aaron and asked if he’d meet us there, and he said he’d get there as soon as he could.

Lyndon had to go to work, so he and his gf said goodbye, and it was just us four girls left… so we went outside for a photo shoot. (Pics 5 thru 15.) Hilarious. First, we tried some profile pics, and some candid group shots, with some still life somewhere in there. Bwaha, then we decided to do a karate pic. So I asked who wanted to go on the table… Katie was all for it. :D *cough* It didn’t quite work, though… So I asked who wanted to go to the school and take pics on the steps. This was about an hour and a half before testing. We called Aaron again to let him know that we’d be at the school, instead.

Oh, somewhere in the middle of it all, when we were deciding how to pose, Katie showed me some of Sip Soo. Ah, and when we were getting food…

Sarah: Are you scared?
me: Yes.
Sarah: I’m scared.
me: I’m so not in shape.
Katie: You look like you are.
me: Seriously, though, I’m not, I’m worried about how I’m gonna hold out…

When we got to the school, Aaron had opened it up, and Brian, Master Frank, and the guy who was recording the test were there, also. We brought our stuff inside, and hugged and said hi and all. It was HOT. Katie went and changed, and Master Frank started teaching her the sword form he’d made up for her. I watched some of it — it was SO COOL!!!!!!

Anyway, while they were working on that, the rest of us went outside and took pictures. That was awesome. Check ’em out; Mum says we look like wanna-be thugs — pics 16 thru 23. Some quotes:

Pic 17:
Aaron: Let’s all be attacking each other!!
me: OK!!
Sarah: No, seriously?
me: Yeah! Go for it! *presses button and runs to take position*
Sarah: Are we supposed to be smiling?

Pic 20:
me: Aaron!!!
Aaron: What?!?
me: I SAW THAT!?
Sarah: What?
Brian: Did he stick his tongue out?
me: Yessssss!!!!
Aaron: I swear, I did not!!
Brian: Where is it…
me/Sarah/Brian: (varied cries of) Aaron, you ruined it!!!!!!

Pics 21 & 22:
me: wait… AARON! You didn’t kick!!!
Sarah: He didn’t?
me: Ok, fine, let’s do this again… Aaron, will you kick this time!?
Aaron: maybe…

But he did it the next one, as you can see. Haha. We went in and people started arriving… and of course, I started the whole squealing and hugging thing… can’t remember what order they arrived in, but here, check out pics 24 to 47, and… some snippets of conversation in no particular order:

Mexican Tom had arrived, and he and Sarah were sparring.
Tommy: Are you ready Sarah? Are ya?
(Sarah just keeps fighting.)
Tommy: Your name… wow… in gold letters… I don’t know if you’re ready for that!!
(Sarah’s answer; the highest kicks she can manage in jeans.)

Andy walks in.
me: ANDY!!! Do I get a hug?
Andy: Nope.
me: As usual!
Aaron: What’s up?
me: Andy won’t give me a hug. As usual.
Aaron: Aw, well, don’t be sad, I’ll give you a hug.

me: Dude, since when do you have an earring??
Andy: Since… like… last September.
me: WHAT?!
Andy: Yeah. So?
Ashley: You’re gonna want to take that out.
Andy: Why?
me: Cuz it’s gonna rip.
Andy: No, it won’t.
me: Fine. It’ll rip, though.
(He eventually took it out.)

me: Does anyone know how Shaun Taylor’s doing?
Kristy: Oh, he’s tall. (She indicates his height.)
me: Really??
Kristy: Yeah… I’m pretty sure he’s only a couple inches shorter than me.
me: What happened to Master Todd?
Andy: What? Who?
me: Master Todd?
Andy: Oh, you mean Lucke? (Says something about thinking I meant Erb.) I dunno. I never see him anymore.
Ashley: He’s in college…
Andy: Well, yeah, but so is Kristy.
me: And Danielle.
Amanda: Todd Erb got tall.
me: Oh, yeah, he told me he was like 6′ 2″ when I last talked to him, but I didn’t believe him…
Amanda: No, it’s true! I saw him at a football game! He was like… *indicates nearly a foot taller than herself*
me: Dude, are you serious??
Andy: Yeah, he is.
Aaron: (Something something that I didn’t catch…) … and he’s like “He’s fine. He’s not coming back.” (Said in an aggressive, angry sort of tone.)
me: Wait, what? Who is this?
Aaron: His dad! I saw him the one day and he’s just like, “He’s fine! He’s not coming back!” I mean, he just starts shouting at me for no reason…
(Laughter all around.)

Andy: I haven’t talked to you in forever. You’re never online.
me: That’s cuz you’re blocked. Duh.
Andy: What?! Why am I blocked?!?!
me: Cuz you always block ME, that’s why!
Andy: Well, you’re not blocked now!
me: Well, that’s news to me!
(Ashley says something about Andy blocking her, too.)
me: Oh, yeah, would you believe, the night I said happy birthday to him, he blocked me.
Andy: What? That wasn’t my birthday!
me: Yes it was!!!
Andy: No… oh, no, wait, you save conversations… right… Yeah, well, when’s my birthday??
me: December twenty-si–
me: Duh.
Andy: When’s my birthday?
Ashley: December twen —
Andy: STALKER!!! Now unblock me.
me: Why? You always block me, anyway!
Andy: Well maybe sometimes I actually want to talk to you!
me: Psshh. Whatever.
Andy: Unblock me!
me: We’ll see.

(Something about Ashley being crazy about Andy and proposing. Kristy laughs and says she’s going to tell Andy. She goes over to tell him. Ashley is somewhere behind me squealing in protest. Kristy goes to tell Andy. Andy mimes retching and comes over.)
me: Hmm… I could see it happening.
(I run and hide behind Kristy. Andy is looking murderous.)

me: Oy! How come she gets a hug, but I don’t?
Andy: Because. What are you talking about, I’ve hugged you bef —
me: No, you haven’t!
Andy: Yes, I have!
me: Oh? When?
Andy: I dunno… sometime!
me: Kenny’s coming, right?
Amanda: Yeah, where’s Kenny? He said he was going to be here!
me: He promised!!
Amanda: Yeah, he told me every day at school that he was coming!!
me: Then where is he?? The test is going to start.
Ashley: We should call him or something…
Amanda: Yeah! But… I don’t have his phone number!
me: I have his number.
Amanda: And I have my cell! What is it?
me: ***-****
(Ken picks up.)
Amanda: Where are you!?!
me: You’re supposed to be HERE!!
(Apparently, Ken asked who it was.)
Amanda: It’s Amanda and Aisa!
Ashley: And Ashley!!
(Amanda tells him to get over to the school. I take the phone.)
me: Ken? Hello? You said you were going to be here.
Kenny: Yeah, sorry, I forgot.
me: You promised. Where are you?
Kenny: I’m frying fish. What time does the test start?
me: Well, supposedly 2:30, but we’re running late.
Kenny: Ok, I can do that. I’ll come as soon as I’m done frying fish, ok?
me: Promise?
Kenny: Yeah, I’ll be right there.
me: Ok. See you.
Kenny: See ya.
(I give the phone back into Amanda. And then… I go into a blitz and slam into Andy. :D)
Andy: Oh fine, c’mere, you want a bear hug, too?
me: NO!!!! Andy! OWWW!
Andy: There. Now how do you feel?
me: Thank you.
(Andy makes some dismissive gesture.)

(I hear something about Red Robin.)
me: Oh, right… you guys going after testing?
Andy: Yeah. You coming?
me: I dunno…
Andy: Why not?
me: Well… we have a two hour drive after testing back to my Uncle’s house… I dunno… Convince my dad.

Migi: Hail, Princess Andy!!
(Andy comes at me and kicks.)
Andy: You did it! I swear, you started it!!
me: What?? What??!
Migi: Hail, Princess Andy!!
Andy: YOU DID IT! You started it, I swear!
me: No! I swear I did not!! I didn’t do anything!!

me: Sir! Tang Soo!
Justin: Hey, how are you??
me: I’m alright, sir.
Justin: You ready?
me: Ehm… I don’t know, sir.
Justin: I’m sure you’ll do great, honey.

Sarah and I practiced our one-steps, and then she and Danielle and I ran through our staff forms. Oh, Kwan Jang Nim arrived, and I didn’t see him come in, but someone pointed him out to me, saying hi to the rest of my family, and I ran to hug him, dropping my staff somewhere along the way… It was funny; he picked me up, and then when he’d put me down again and asked how I was and all, he called to Bob, and was like, “Bob! See? This is how you’re supposed to say ‘Hi’ to me!” and we all just laughed. :D

Eventually, we all lined up and warmed up. 100 jumpingjacks, 100 crunches, the usual kicks and punches, and then 50 pushups for black belt candidates, and 35 for evaluators. (Pics 51 to 55.) Ahhh… that’s where I had to slow down a bit, yeah. Leonard had the hardest time of it, and we all cheered him on and counted with him, and when he was done, several people got up from their places to hug him or pat him on the back. What a family.

We all sat down after warmup, and Katie, Doc, and Tommy went first (was there one more person? I think that was it…), because Katie had to leave early. She had come from college, see, and since it’s her freshman year, she’s not allowed to have a car on campus, yet, so her parents had had to go get her, and she is two hours away and all, so she didn’t want them to get back home so late from dropping her off. :D Katie’s a good and thoughtful person, and I love her parents.

I can’t remember if they went through their techniques, or if they just went straight to forms. Anyway, I remember they performed Nai Han Chi Cho and Ee Dan, and Sip Soo. They also went through their black belt one-steps… I think 11 through 20 or something like that… I forget what else they had to perform. :P Must’ve had something to do with the butterflies in my stomach. I didn’t notice when Katie left, so I can’t tell you when she did… I felt a little bad that I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, but at least we’re constantly in touch over email and FB, so it’s ok, I guess.

When Katie and Doc and Tommy were done, BB candidates were called up. We went through hand and foot combinations… to list some:

Ha Dan Magki, Tuel Oh Choong Dan Kong Kyuck, Sang Dan Magki
Ahneso Pakero Magki, Tuel Oh Ahneso Pakero Magki, Sang Soo Ahneso Pakero Magki
Wheng Jing Kong Kyuck, Hu Gul Ahneso Pakero Magki, Sang Soo Ha Dan Magki
Choong Dan Soo Do Magki, Tuel Oh Choong Dan Kong Kyuck
Sang Soo Ahneso Pakero Magki, Tuel Oh Choong Dan Kong Kyuck
Ha Dan Soo Do Magki, Tuel Oh Choong Dan Soo Do Kong Kyuck
Ha Dan Soo Do Magki, Tuel Oh Kwan Soo Kong Kyuck, Choong Dan Soo Do Kong Kyuck

Danielle’s asthma was really bothering her somewhere in the middle of hand combinations, so she needed a breather, bless her. We had another quick breather before forms, and then we went through all Kee Cho, Pyung Ahn, and Bassai forms, and then Nai Han Chi Cho Dan. (Pics 56 to 58.) We were not asked to do Chil Sung or Sae Kee forms. (Pity, really. Sarah and I were both looking forward to doing our Chil Sung forms.) Then we got out our staffs, and we did the first two staff forms.

Several times, we were reprimanded for lack of spirit, and were given 50 jumpingjacks for not paying attention sometime in the middle of our up and down the floor combinations. Bah, I was making it through alright, but that took my breath away.

We sat down, and Danielle had to have her other inhaler… We were all eternally grateful for water. First evaluators were called up.

Andy: I thought they said first evaluators?
me: Yeah, they did.
Andy: Then what’s Justin doing up there?
me: It’s his first evaluation as a 2nd Dan.
Andy: Ohhh… I thought they meant, like, first, first evaluations.
me: No, they mean a first evaluation after any test, second evaluation after any test, so on.
Andy: Ah, ok. How do you feel?
me: Tired.
Sarah: I sucked.
me: You did not!
Sarah: Yeah, I did. Look. *looks down at her hands* My hands are shaking.
Andy: Sarah. Look. *looks down at his own hand, which is also shaking* It’s normal. You’re fine.
(I looked down at my hand. It wasn’t shaking. I’m the abnormal one. I didn’t feel like pointing that out.)
Sarah: My forms sucked. I was going too fast.
me: We all do that, girl. I know I was.
Andy: It’s just your nerves. We all look better in class.
Sarah: Yeah, but my forms sucked.
me: Mine, too. My legs were shaking.
Andy: What are you talking about; you’re one of the best ones out there.
Sarah: Oh, thanks.
Andy: Well, I meant you, too. You alright?
me: Yeah. Just tired, that’s all. Oh, I love this form! (They were doing Nai Han Chi Ee Dan.) Andy, do you know that… oh, wait, yeah, you do… (I’d just remembered watching him and Kelly perform that back in March.)
Andy: Yeah, of course I do. I won with that form. At the tournament you didn’t come to.
me: Oh, what, and you think I don’t regret that?? I’m sorry.

*shrug* I guess I was feeling a bit hurt. It’s not like I didn’t want to go or something, honestly…

(Justin was up alone, doing a form.)
me: He’s like Master Rommel, geez.
Andy: Who’s Rommel?
me: You don’t remember Rommel? Master Rommel?? Dude! He was like… How could you forget Rommel??
Andy: Who’s Rommel?!
me: Master Rommel was, like, the only one who could take on Master Todd! I mean, until Justin came… and besides Sa Bom Nim, of course.
Andy: What are you talking about? I can take Todd!
me: Pssh.
Andy: What? I’ve scored on him… once.
me: Yeah. Once. *grin*

Anyway, I’d finished my first bottle of water (it was actually Paco’s, I think), so I went into the dressing room to get another one. Must’ve finished three bottles of water during that whole test.

BB candidates were called up and we partnered up for one-steps; I went with Sarah, and we went through all of them without any major memory loss. :D I think we were the second pair to finish… Anyway, Sarah’s hands were shaking again, so I told her to look in the mirror and see who was standing in the lobby, and maybe that would calm her down. It was Ken. And then I kept her calm by asking her who he was talking to, which, even though I was facing him, I couldn’t see because I didn’t have my glasses on. I figured it was Tommy and Brian and Jonathan, and Sarah confirmed that…

I can’t remember if the evaluators were called up to do one-steps, or if we went straight to our water break. I can’t remember when second evaluators were called up… they would have to have been, I’m sure… bleh. Anyway, water break, I went straight to the lobby to talk to Kenny and Lyndon. (Link to the next album — See pics 2 to 6.)

me: Yayyy you’re here!!
Kenny: Yeah, because you called me.
me: How could you forget??
Kenny: I was frying fish! Here, smell my hand. *holds out fist* (It really did smell like fish, btw. LOL.)
Amanda: Yeah, but you told me every day at school that you were coming!

LOL. Something something something, blah blah blah, I forget. :D I’m sure we talked about a lot in those few minutes, trying to cram everything we’d wanted to say in a long time and all… Eventually, we were all called back…

me: Ok, talk to ya later.
Kenny: Here, wait, gimme a hug.
me: Thanks for coming.
Kenny: Yeah, you bet. You could say I came just to watch you.

BB candidates were called up for sparring, so I went and got my braces and my mouthguard. Leonard and Mike went first, sparring Aaron and… oh, I think the other one was Andy, if I’m not mistaken… Gah, I’ll have to check the DVD when I get it. Anyway… It was just one-on-one at first. Danielle and Sarah and I went next, and I was partnered up with Kelly. In all honesty, I was much relieved. Kelly spars hard, but she controls it well, and I knew she’d be hitting me hard, but not like if I was sparring, say, Cara. (I think Sarah got Cara, but Sarah can handle her; she’s used to her.) Ahah, I’ll be perfectly honest — Sa Bom Nim and Master Frank forgot that they’d promised me that I’d spar Andy, and I didn’t bother reminding them. *cough* Now that it’s all over, I think it would have been ok to spar Andy when it was one-on-one, but not once we got to two-on-one… oh well, there’s always next time. (I promise myself, I will ask to spar him at my first evaluation, since that won’t be nearly as bad as BB testing.)

When I was sparring Kelly, I suddenly remembered what I’d heard Master Todd saying to Todd Erb… years ago, when he was telling Todd about sparring during BB testing, and how “… I know it’ll feel like 3 years have gone by, but you’ve just got to keep going…” and I finally understood. When Sa Bom Nim calls out the last 30 seconds, they feel like forever. Kelly got my right eye, so that watered up a bit, and Kwan Jang Nim had a talk with me… and then I had to keep going, and I got Kelly’s mouth (I cut my right pointer finger on her teeth)… When Sa Bom Nim called stop, I actually did not hear him. All I knew was that everyone had stopped moving, and we bowed, and then Kelly hugged me tight. I cannot express my relief in that moment. Now that I think about it, knowing that I would get Kelly’s hug at the end made it easier. I mean, I knew she would, because we’re like that, and somehow, that in itself was fuel… Oh, I heard Mum yell “There’s no spoon, Ais!!” somewhere in the middle of it… oh, no, wait… was that when it was two-on-one? Well, she did at some point, anyway. That made me smile inside.

When we girls were done sparring, we sat down. The guys were called up for two-on-one sparring. Kelly came and put her arm around me and talked to me about what I had to do when I was called up, about keeping the easier person between myself and the harder person. Yeni brought me water, and boy was I glad to get it.

Two-on-one, and I was up against Kelly and J. Whew! You won’t believe how insanely thankful I was that I got J! I mean, that kid spars hard, but I knew at least that I wouldn’t have a hard time deciding which one to keep away from!!! I think I did ok keeping J between me and Kelly. Kwan Jang Nim was still on my case about keeping my eyes on my opponents (that’s what the talk from earlier was about), but that was made slightly easier by keeping my eyes down on J, and just watching where Kelly’s feet were taking her. In terms of endurance, that match was considerably easier because it was mostly getting away. In terms of actually fighting back, by the time it was all over, I felt like I couldn’t lift my legs. I remember wanting so bad to kick and just feeling like I couldn’t. That was probably one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever had, come to think of it.

I know I’ve been hearing for years and years the line “Line ’em up!!!” and I’ve yelled it countless times, myself, at BB tests — I’ve only ever missed one BB test since September of ’01 — but that moment made it Real. I suppose when you read this, you’ll figure this is to be expected, but you don’t know the weight of it unless you’ve been through it yourself — in that moment, I had a new view, a new respect for every single one of those people that had a name on their belt. It was so profoundly different from anything I’d ever felt for any of them before. I know I’ve been inclined to be intimidated by the black belts I’ve known. I know that I’ve never felt any disrespect for any black belt that I’ve ever talked to, or had the honor of shaking hands with. I’ve honestly always been in awe of them, especially since I started watching their tests. But this was new. I have known the name of every single black belt that has passed through that school since ’01. This was what they had all gone through. This was what Dad and Paco and Migi had gone through. And it made me want to be like them. I guess for me, I’d reached that sort of point where you either make up your mind to go one way or another. Either you choose to quit or you want to keep going. I guess that was when I really decided to keep going.

I sat back down, next to Leonard, and Dawn was there, and congratulated us both. I was not feeling very proud of myself, actually. I was so so so thankful that it was all over, but that it really was all over had not quite registered yet, I think. I pulled my knees up and put my elbows on my knees and put my head into the darkness and just closed my eyes and breathed. I still had my mouthguard in. Then I feel a sharp tap on my shoulder, and I look up, and it’s Andy, sitting right in front of me. He holds his arms out. Funny — I really felt like I just wanted to be alone. But when I pulled out my mouthguard and said I was fine, he just looked at me and made this sort of gesture, like.. like emphasizing… oh, you know, he sort of… hmm, half ‘re-threw’ his arms out? Haha, how else does one say it.. Guess he could see that I needed it. I brought my knees down and sorta just fell forward onto his shoulder. I hadn’t realized before then that I was shaking, until he whispered “Don’t cry,” and then I really knew how close I was to crying. I didn’t cry, though, I just hung on… like I was hanging on for dear life or something, honestly. I remember saying stuff… No idea what that was, though. Something along the lines of being scared and not being able to breathe because of the mouthguard or something. What I do remember clearly is Andy saying stuff like, “Aisa, it’s over. You’re done. You did it. You made it. It’s ok,” and just patting and rubbing my back and stuff. I don’t know how long I stayed there. Either my eyes were closed, or they were open, but I wasn’t really seeing anything. (You know how you stare at something, but it doesn’t really register that it’s there?) The evaluators were almost done sparring by the time I felt safe to look up again and smile.

Andy: You ok?
me: Yeah. Thanks.

He stood up and patted me firmly on the head, and then we got called to line up for breaking a few minutes later. Lineup was Sarah, Danielle, me, Leonard, and Mike. How many times have I watched it done? A jump front kick to a board, a dive roll, and a hammer fist to a cinder block. Sarah broke her board on the second try, and her cinder on the first. Danielle made both on the first. Hah, my turn. Board on the first try… but I didn’t break the block. Bleh. I tried again. And then all of a sudden, they go, “Oh, no, wait, Aisa, that’s a concrete block. Here,” and they switch to a cinder block!!! Well, by that time, figures I was already starting to feel down… So I tried twice with my other hand. Nope. I try one more time with my right hand, and then Sa Bom Nim asks if I want a break, and I say yeah.

I walk away from everyone in the direction of the lobby. I guess I was aiming to stand by the wall where no one was, but I passed the mirror on my way, and Aaron and Andy were waiting for me, and I walked straight into their arms. You know what, I wasn’t sad. I was angry. I was frustrated. Not at anyone but myself. How that decided to come out in a long and looks-like-she’s-close-to-tears face, I don’t want to know. All I know is, they figured I was about to start crying. Yeah, alright, my eyes were watering up, but I was more frustrated with myself than anything else. Dad came over, and Aaron and Andy let go of me, and Daddy hugged me and told me to go from my dive roll. Again, I know I said stuff, but I have no idea what I was saying. I do think I was speaking in tagalog, though, because Dad was the only one talking, and everyone else standing around me were keeping quiet and just patting me on the shoulder. Dad told me that my power had to come from the dive roll, that I had to use the momentum to drive straight to the ground. He asked me if I wanted to do an axe kick and I told him, no, that I absolutely had to do it with my hand, that there was no way I was going to do it with my foot. (I do remember saying that part.) After a bit, Daddy went back to the judges table, and Andy took over until it was my turn again. He told me I’d broken it, that if it had been a cinder block, it would’ve broken easy, that it wasn’t my fault it was concrete block, and that by all rights, I had broken it. Again and again, he told me I’d done it. I actually didn’t see Mike or Leonard break (can’t wait to see it on DVD); I had my eyes on the floor until Andy gave me a squeeze and said, “Look! Leonard’s trying to break the concrete block!” I looked up and watched Leonard’s hand slam down on it. “See? Leonard can’t break it either! And you hit that first!” Not that it was funny or anything, because I honestly felt sorry for Leonard — I knew how hard it was — but I gave a weak sort of laugh, and Andy grinned. Eventually, Leonard broke it. I was up.

I went from the dive roll. Nothin’. I absolutely refused to do it with my foot. So Sa Bom Nim went to the back to get a holder so I could do it with my elbow. And then Kwan Jang Nim comes and says, “You want me to break this for you?” and I replied, “That would help, sir.” and laughed. But he actually did! And then Sa Bom Nim comes out and asks what happened, and Kwan Jang Nim tells him I did it, and we’re all laughing and I’m saying Kwan Jang Nim did it. Finally, Sa Bom Nim gets two boards and lays them without spacers on the holder. I went through them like butter. Oh, not to brag or anything, but what I mean is, I can go through boards like butter; it gives me a heck of a lot of respect for people who can go through multiple cinder blocks ‘like butter,’ which is a term we use often at Tang Soo; people like Master Todd (4 cinder blocks), Kristy (2), Katie (2), Amy (2), etc., go through everything ‘like butter’ and they just freak me out, honestly… And of course, every person who tested for black belt before Steve came along. See, before Steve came, everyone was required to break a cinder block, regardless of age, but when Steve came, that rule changed, and Juniors and Tigers only had to break double boards without spacers. Which I’ve always had problems with, because that meant people like Todd Erb and Christopher Dolinski made it through BB testing without having a go at a cinder block, which I know and everyone knows they could’ve handled easy, but just because they were still in the Juniors’ class… bleh. I can understand the rule for the Tigers, but half the Juniors, or at least, the guys, are perfectly capable of breaking cinder blocks. Not to put down the girls, I mean, but I’ll make more of an exception for them up until they’re maybe 14… Ok, sorry, no more side-tracking, haha…

So, yeah, I broke my double boards easy. *shrug*

We lined up again. I could not believe that it was all over. Kwan Jang Nim called Kenny over to sit at the judges table for the end; I don’t know if maybe he had not seen him standing in the lobby before then. Some of the judges stood up and spoke to us, and then we received our certificates. (Did I mention that our belts did not arrive in time??? Andy had said earlier that his belt hadn’t arrived in time, either.) When I went up, I shook hands with half the judges, and hugged the other half (dunno how it happened that I only hugged half?) and ran ’round and high-fived Sarah. What we have been through together… my gosh. Sarah and I have known each other since we were orange belts. The first time we talked was May 21st, 2005, when we competed against each other at the CSE tourney. She was in Black Belt Club by that time; I didn’t join until I was a green belt, but we’d hang out while waiting for her’s and Dad’s class to start. I remember us talking about getting our black belts. Wow. We had done it. You can’t imagine how I felt when we reached out to high-five each other. No long flowery sentences of congratulations, not even a hug (at that time), just a high-five. But MAN! I just.. I don’t know how to explain what it was like.

So. We Were Black Belts!!!! IOW, we’re white belts all over again. :D Hah! But my post is not finished! I must tell you what happened after; nearly 75% of the pictures are of before and after testing, after all!

I was a black belt. So you know what the first thing I did was, that I’ve never done before? I’d always run up to Sa Bom Nim as soon as we were dismissed, and asked him to yell for a picture. This time, I did it myself. “PICTURE!!!!!!!!!!!” BWAHAHAHA That was SO much fun to yell!!!! I loved it.

So we had a group picture, pics 7 and 8. Pics 9 and 10 are of us four black belts — Dad, Paco, Migi, and myself — with Sa Bom Nim and Kwan Jang Nim, our totally awesome instructors. I remember the day Kwan Jang Nim asked me when I was going to start karate, and I told him, most impertinently, that “I am a gymnast.” Haha!

I’d walked over to Mum and Yeni and hugged them and all. As I was walking away, Andy comes over and gives me a hug. While he’s still hugging me from the front, Kristy comes and hugs me from behind. I laughed so hard; they had me squashed between them, and the three of us pulled each other along a few steps…

Pics 11 thru 13: I was trying to find people for a picture. Andy comes up behind me and Danielle and puts his arms around both of us.

Kwan Jang Nim: Aren’t you feeling lucky?!
Andy: Yessir!
(We all laughed. We did a lot of laughing that day. I feel it necessary to record it all.)

Pic 14 is of Kwan Jang Nim and I.

Pic 15: Yena came and hugged Kwan Jang Nim. :D

Kwan Jang Nim: Oh, look! Hi, honey… Remember how she never used to come near me?

Pic 16, left to right — Migi, Kenny, Andy, Ashley, me, Sarah, Paco, and Amanda. I absolutely love that picture.

Pics 17 thru 26 is while I’m desperately attempting to get everyone together for a group photo because Mum is waiting. Hahaha. Pic 22, Andy’s starting to sneak up on me, pic 23, he picked me up as you can see. And scared the heck out of me in the process, and pic 24, I can’t speak for laughing so hard. If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I would’ve kicked him…

Pics 27 thru 32 are where I’ve finally gotten everyone to pay attention to Mum standing with the camera. It was hilarious when Aaron came and lay down, what a laugh. And then he picked up Migi and that was even more hilarious.

Pics 33 to 38, Lyndon came over and said he had to go, so we had a quick picture with Paco and J, and then you see me commenting on how tall Des got…

Pics 39 to 50 are of Migi and Paco (and Yena?) vs. Mexican Tom and Brian. HAHAHAHA. I found Brian outside, afterwards, sitting on the bench and not doing anything.

me: Hey, is something wrong?
Brian: It’s too loud in there.
me: Awh.
Brian: Your brothers wore me out!!

Pic 51. Take note that there are two embraces taking place. One is a loving sisterly “WE MADE IT!!!!” embrace… and the other is a trying-to-destroy-each-other hug. Rotflwtime. I believe Andy asked Migi for a hug, and Migi got close enough for one, but punched him in the stomach instead, and Andy must’ve caught him or something…

Pic 52.
me: You know, he looks so much like Tommy.
Sarah: What? Who?
me: Him… he looks like Tommy Renjilian.
(I talked to someone else for a bit. I guess Jonathan came over, then. So when Sarah spoke to me again, I was only half-paying attention…)
Sarah: Aisa, this is my brother.
me: Hi… Nuh uh!!! Your bro’s 35!!
Jonathan: What, I’m Sarah’s bro…
(I just laughed.)

Pic 53.
Andy: Aisa, your mom is taking random pictures…
me: Oh, yay!

And then you see that pic 54 is a random pic by Mommy. Hahahaha.

Pic 55. Red Robin again.
Andy: So are you coming?
me: I told you. Convince my Dad.

The rest of that album — more random pics by Mommy. She told me later that she was just taking random pics and hoping that some would turn out well. Hey, I do that, too. :D

Here’s the next and final album:

Pic 1 is of Brian, followed by Migi, followed by Des.

Pic 2 is of Kelly and Paco.

Pic 3 and 4 are of my certificate. :D I still have to frame it.

5 and 6 are more random pics.

While I was inside, I asked Daddy if we could go to Red Robin. Andy asked again if I was coming. I said yeah. But then I asked Daddy again while Andy was listening, and he said “Maybe,” and Andy starts going, “You lied to me!!!” and runs after me… with his bag and everything… lol. I ran outside to ask Mum if it was ok with her. She talked to Dad and they said sure. I went back inside and found Andy on the phone.

Andy: Aisa!
me: Huh?
Andy: You coming??
me: Yeah, I think so.
Andy: Ok, ’cause you’re Kenny’s date.
me: WHAT?!
Andy: (Into the phone –) Yeah, I told her. Listen, why don’t you tell her yourself?? *hands me the phone*
me: Kenny, what on earth is going on?
Kenny: Are you coming to Red Robin?
me: I dunno. Maybe?
Kenny: Well you better be — I’m going! And listen, you’re my date, ok?
me: OY! NO WAY!
(But he’d hung up on me.)
Andy: (As I was giving him back the phone –) What did he say?
me: He hung up on me!

Pic 7: So I walked outside, right, and there they were…
me: Oh snap! Don’t move! I gotta take a picture of this…
Andy: Wait, wait. *puts on sunglasses* Ok.

Migi and Paco started up the Hail Princess Andy thingy again, and Andy pointed to me and goes, “Oy! There’s my prince!” and everyone laughed — everyone being Jonathan, Tommy, Kristy, Aaron, and Gabi — and I just enjoyed myself, “What?! Oh. Well, yeah, I could do that.” Bwee hee I had the camera on one arm, and Tom was provoking me, so I was attempting to kick and hold on to the camera at the same time, and I chased him some way and yelled, “IF I WEREN’T CARRYING THIS CAMERA, I WOULD SO BEAT YOU UP!!!!!!” *cough* Not that I actually could, however, because Jonathan would side with him, and then I’d be dead… Oh! We had to jump-start the van!! with Kristy’s car. Once it was running, we went to Red Robin. I walked in and said I was with people, and they said I could walk around. So I walked around the whole place, but didn’t see Kenny anywhere. When I got back to the front, the hostess asked if I’d found who I was looking for, and I said no. So Mum and Dad asked for a table for 6, and I said I needed to reserve a party for 20. Then the hostess was like, “Oh! Right, the party of 20…” and I was like, “Oh, yeah, did Kenny already reserve, then?” and she said someone did, but they didn’t leave a name, so we got the description down to a young man in a black shirt, and then I asked if he’d left, and she said that Kenny might have gone somewhere, so I went outside to wait, and my family went and sat down inside.

I sat there for three minutes. Then who should drive up, but Kenny! with Andy in the front seat, I recognized the blue shirt before I recognized the face. It was hilarious — guess what was playing? That horn intro fanfare whatever thingy. I stood up and walked toward them and go, “Dude, I’ve been here 9 minutes!” and Kenny goes, “Yeah, but I got here before you! And then I had to go back for Andy!” :D

The rest of the pics are at Red Robin. Pic 8 is of Aaron, Kristy, Gabi, Brian, and Andy. Pic 9 is of Jonathan on the other bench, all alone… why was he over there…

Kenny and I were standing were standing next to the desk.

me: Oy.
Kenny: Wha?
me: I’m not your freakin’ date.
Kenny: Hahaha, ok, it was a joke.
me: Yeah, it better have been.
Kenny: Look, here in PA, we have TVs in the floor. Watch, watch, imagine if I fell through. *jumps on the screen*

Pic 10:
Andy: Shoot, I don’t have any change. Does anyone have quarters?
(Everyone goes something along the lines of “No, sorry.”)
Kristy: There’s a change machine right there…
Andy gets change and starts playing… oh, whatever, the claw thingy. Kenny’s helping him. )
me: I’ve never won at this game.
Kenny: Wha? I have.
Andy: When?
Kenny: On the cruise.
me: Yeah, I bet the motion of the waves had something to do with that.
(Kenny actually laughed. *shrug* haha.)
Andy: (After three quarters –) That’s it, I’m not wasting any more money on that.

When Mr. Parry arrived with the rest of the gang, we all went and sat down. Our table (or, rather, our four tables that had been pushed together) was near where my family was sitting, so that they were directly across from the last table in our set. Kenny called for me to sit by him, anyway. *shrug* Ok. And then he goes, “Oh, look! It’s your family! Hi, Aisa’s family!!!” Bwaha. So we all got around to ordering… and then talking, of course… As we were ordering, Kenny caught a glimpse of our waitress’ name tag.

Kenny: Wait, what? Her name is America.
me: What??
Tom: No, it’s not…
Kenny: Yeah, it is, look…
Tom: You idiot! It’s AMANDA, not america!!!
Kenny: Oh, well… it looked like America from where I was…

BAHAHAHA. So Kenny ordered Dr. Pepper with some terminology that was unfamiliar to me, and apparently to the waitress as well, because she had ot ask him what he meant. Turns out he wanted a Dr. Pepper without ice. Good thing Amanda was a very friendly waitress, because later, when she was asking if any of us needed more drinks, Kenny asked for an ice water.

Amanda: Without ice?
Kenny: No, with ice, this time.
Amanda: Ah, ok. I was going to say… Lemon?
Kenny: No, thank you.
Amanda: Ok, an ice water with no lemon.
Kenny: Thank you. You’re amazing.

As she walked away, he muttered, “Now what’s your phone number…”

Oh! Hahahahaha. When we were deciding on drinks, everyone was joking about ordering alcohol. What a laugh. Kenny was saying he had a fake ID, and did we think he could pass for 21? It didn’t look anything like him. It was absolutely hilarious. Oh, and when Amanda did come, she started at the far end of the table, and Tom was sitting across from me, and he yelled out his drink, and Sarah smacked him and was like, “SHUSH!!! You’re supposed to wait your turn!!!” When she finally did come, he ordered a Margarita with a straight face, and she just looked at him and grinned, and was like, “Sorry, no can do.” and so Tom ended up ordering a sprite.

Jonthan: Tiny Tim. Tiny Tommy.
Tom: No! GRANDE!!
Sarah: Andy, he’s saying “Grande!!” again.
Andy: Mexican Tom.
Tom: I am not Mexican Tom!! GRANDE!!!

Pic 11:
Sarah: We didn’t get to do Chil Sung forms!
me: Yeah, I know! Why didn’t they make us do them??
Andy: ‘Cause they don’t have to make you do EVERYTHING.
me: But I LIKE Chil Sung forms!
Sarah: Yeah, me, too! That’s not fair!
(I think Andy gave up.)

Pics 12 thru 18 are of Kenny. He’s like Gabe. Honestly.
Kenny: Can I see your camera? (prononced caMEra)
me: Why?
(Something about taking pictures of himself.)
me: Um… fine. Go ahead.

Pic 19 is of our waitress, Amanda. Kenny took it and he made me promise to send it to him. *shrug* I tagged him in it on FB. LOL, don’t ask why…

Pics 20 and 21 is of Sarah and Mexican Tom.

Oh, haha; Tom said something to me, and it was sort of with this either very respectful or very condescending tone. Turns out it was respectful. Bother! I can’t remember what it was… but, anyway…

Tommy: I am trying to have more respect for you, now.
me: Uhm… ok. Cool. Now, is that because I’m now a black belt, or is it because I’m a girl?
Tommy: Both.
me: Ah, ok. Good. Thank you.
Kenny: Wait, what?
me: I was asking why Tom is attempting to treat me with more respect.
Kenny: Ohh, ok… I thought I heard you say, “Is she a girl?” and I was like…
me: Uh… huh. Right… *cough*

Pic 22 is of Tommy and Jonathan.

I cannot remember how we came to be talking about it, but somehow, it came out that Danielle and Jonathan and I are Catholic, and Tommy isn’t, he’s Protestant Christian, and he was arguing…

me: Yes, I’m Christian. I’m Catholic.
Danielle: Roman Catholic?
me: Yes.
Tom: That’s not Christian.
me: Yes it is…
Jonathan: Yes it is.
Tom: No, it’s not.
Jonathan: Yes, it is! Now stop talking about things you don’t understand!

Oh, no, we weren’t fighting. We were having a good-natured argument. I mean, when Jonathan said that, we laughed, if you need an example of how easy we were meaning it to be.

Kenny: This is the black belt table.
Brian: I’m not a black belt.
Sarah: Neither is Tommy… or Jonathan… or Gabi…
Kenny: Oh… so there’s only like three black belts… (In reality, there were seven.)
Andy: Red belts suck.
me: OY!!!!
Andy: What? You’re a black belt.
me: Yeah, but I didn’t get it, yet, so…
Andy: Well, you earned it.
(Inside, it wasn’t really that I hadn’t gotten the belt, yet — I followed Andy’s argument — but it was more like, being a red belt was fun. I was trying to stick up for Brian and Tommy and Jonathan. Heh, I failed to get my point across.)

I asked people here and there to sign my autograph book. Kenny decided he wanted to write something besides his last name, which was all he’d written the first time around, so I let him have it, and he wrote down EVERYTHING. Seriously — his cell, his home phone, his address, his birthday, both screen names, his other nicknames, and his social security number. What the heck. And then he…

me: You still have my Mom’s number??
Kenny: Wha, yeah… it’s right… oh, no, wait. I don’t have it anymore, ’cause it changed.
me: Oh, right.
Kenny: What’s your number?
me: Hmm? I don’t have a cell.
Kenny: Oh. Well, what’s your home phone?
me: ***-***-****
Kenny: Ok.
me: Wait… what?? Oy! You misspelled my name! Spell my name right!
Kenny: A-I-S-A. There. I spelled your name right.
(Andy laughs.)
Kenny: What, she told me to spell her name right…
me: I meant on your phone!!!

Eventually, I took it and put in my name. Properly. Haha. The trouble I had… couldn’t figure out where the freakin’ backspace was. :D

Ah, Kenny asked Mr. Parry if he’d been to Japan, and so we listened to them as they talked about Judo and other styles in Japan, and the things Mr. Parry had seen there. He laughed and said that he thought our school was good… until he went to Japan. Seriously, the descriptions he gave were awe-inspiring.

Danielle and I talked about cooking, because her brother has extremely severe food allergies. He’s allergic to peanuts, to the point where if he simply smells them, he could die. So she was saying how everyone in her family learned to cook, and she was telling me about stuff that she’s cooked, so I said…

me: Ok, then we are so taking over the kitchen when you guys come over.
Danielle: Hey, sure!
me: Sarah! You wanna take over the kitchen sometime when you guys come and visit?
Sarah: Hey, yeah, I can cook!
me: AWESOME!!!
Kenny: What’s going on?
me: Ohey! You should come, too, since Andy won’t!
Andy: Wait, wha??
me: Hmm? Oh, nothing.
Andy: No. I saw a finger pointed at me. I heard my name. What did you say.
me: Nothing, I just told Kenny he should come over next summer, since you won’t.

Earlier, before testing, I’d randomly asked Andy to come, and he said he had work all summer and that he was going somewhere for a month, something something, blah blah…

Pics 23 to 28 are group pics that I asked Mum to take of us… On my side of the table sat Danielle, me, Ken, Brian, Gabi, Kristy, and Aaron. On the other side sat Mrs. and Mr. Parry, Andy, Sarah, Tom, and Jonathan.

Kenny: Aisa, Aisa, we have to smile. Smile!
me: Wha?? (I was chewing. I ended up sticking my tongue out. :P)

And then the last two pictures are of everyone digging into Aaron’s bday cake.

Kenny: Excuse me, Amanda?
Amanda: Yeah?
Kenny: You see the scientist in the black shirt over there? It’s his birthday. Could you bring out the crew and do the whole thing?

I’ll never know if she actually believed him, because she asked if he was pulling her leg, and Ken said he wasn’t. Well, they ended up bringing doing the whole thing… but I honestly don’t know if she really believed him.

Tom: You know, with all the “birthday”s Aaron’s had, he should be about 50.

Kenny was re-telling the story of Aaron’s “birthday” at Texas Roadhouse back in June.

Kenny: And you know what, it was actually my birthday then.
me: What?
Sarah: What?
Kenny: Yeah, it was June 25…
me: And your birthday is June 26. Why didn’t you say it was your birthday??
Kenny: I did! But they thought I was pointing to Aaron…
me: HAHAHA. Well, that sucks.
Kenny: No, actually, I thought it was hilarious!!

Eventually, Paco came in to get me, so I said I was leaving, and Kenny gave me a hug, and then Danielle, and then I got out of the booth. I turned and half hugged Jonathan, but Andy came up and gave me another bear hug that hurt but made me laugh, and when he’d put me down again, I turned to Jonathan… I suppose to complete the hug that I felt was only half-given, but as I hugged him, he said, “Oh, cool, I get two,” but I only half heard him because I went to hug Tom, and then Sarah, and Mr. Parry, and Mrs. Parry, and Brian, and Gabi, and Kristy, and Aaron, and then one last hug from Andy, and I said goodbye to everyone and… I walked out of Red Robin, with Paco trying to put his elbow on my shoulder. :D

Goodbye to Dickson City.

Until Next Time.


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