Sunday, December 5, 2010


It is quite a magical feeling when you realize that at any given moment you could meet somebody who will shake the very ground you walk on. Just think: in a matter of seconds, the course of your entire life could change because of that "chance" encounter...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Love and happiness are ubiquitous but only if you choose to believe in their existences. Your reality is as loveless and as unhappy as you make it to be. Realizing the true potential and existence of these two most sought-after, incomprehensible emotions means you are equipped with the power to wish them away or to embrace the magic that may come towards you in your life...all because you choose to BELIEVE...:}

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sushi with a Stranger

It's time to practice what I preach.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


In these few short months, I have endured the death of a once-close friend, the loss of a coworker, the growth of a new friendship, the advancement of opportunity, the unnecessarily dramatic undertakings of relationships, and the perpetuated curious mixture of what embodies a perfect-less, asymmetrical life.

Do all that you want and love because life is limitless and any moment can permanently change the course of the rest of your day, week, month, year, or life.

Never wish away your life- by moments of anticipation for future events. Never lose sight of your youth. Never forget that love, happiness, and friendship are fleeting and you will never even sometimes realize or appreciate what you have until what or whom you have is no longer existent in your life- be it permanently or not. Lastly, never say never. :}

So live for yourself and possibly even tentatively, by yourself. Seek to love and cherish and value your own mind, body, and soul because the more you age, the less you live, and the less time you have to truly appreciate your own essence in this busy, relentless, robotic world. Do no lose sight of your senses, in every sense of that senseless word. (Re)discover the thirst you have for living life barring boundaries. Cherish the opportunity to travel and to learn and learn and LEARN and grow. Challenge your dispositions and welcome change. Incite a conversation between you and a stranger, you might learn something new or even make their day.

Live and let live. Live with balance, live with openness, do something different every single day of your life, drink some good ol' humble juice, help the elderly in need, be kind, and lock your pride in the closet. Stop living life like an automaton-technologically crippled, socially grappled, and behaviorally antagonistic, because you only live once, so make it harmoniously happy. :}Don't let people tell you what to do (hi), unless their advice is worth your 2-seconds.

And if not for me then for the people or strangers who care, love, and/or interact with you....SMILE.

It won't kill you.

Trust me. :]

Thursday, September 16, 2010


'‎"It's impossible," said pride.

"It's risky," said experience.

"It's pointless," said reason.

"Give it a try," whispered the heart.'

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Intellectual pimp: the art of Journalism

Mr. John Swinton, the former New York Times Chief of Staff and the foremost journalist of his time gave a toast to an independent press at a New York banquet way back when....

“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Other of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

“The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men.

“We are intellectual prostitutes.”

John Swinton, New York 1890? date unknown.

His inebriated efforts may have been the last crimson taste of truth our mirage-blinded, barren-bitten, sandpaper-ridden mouths will ever indulge. Current writers- namely those who have superseded the art of amateur blog-writing (hi) and have instead secured a far more promising/lucrative career in a well-established journalistic institution (insert breath here)- would be ostracized, demonized, ousted, outKasted (CAROLINE!), blacklisted (COMMUNISM!), if they even so much as uttered their TRUE thoughts about the dirty politics of journalism and reporting.

Naturally, these reporters and writers won't ever bite the hand that feeds them ($$), while those who have set their reputation aside in the name of pride and valor are now jobless, "famished", or both.

In her piece, "How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed", Croatian journalist and novelist Slavenka Drakulic describes how journalists of Socialist times were monitored and restricted. Their voices were smothered and dissenters would not only be repudiated from their job, but they were also charged with heresy and were subsequently exiled from their mother-less land (these were some of the more generous consequences).

In 2007, Armenian-Turkish editor and journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated by a Turkish nationalist. Dink made poignant attempts at advocating Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and he advocated for human and minority rights in Turkey; but his quest for truth was short-lived because he refused to repress his opinions in his writings- he refused to conform to conventional journalistic practices in Turkey. His refusal cost him his life.

Attempts at honest journalism have generally failed. While some have the mere misfortune of getting laid-off, others have met a far more dire fate. Courageous and bold, Swinton's speech uncovers a bit of the truth, the filth, and the hypocrisy of news media.

Of course, at the hands of a sensationalist media, the public is bound to read and see and hear about the very things, thoughts, ideas, FACTS, and opinions political pundits and politicized machines want us to absorb.

Just to name a few...NBC is Democratic, FOX is Republican; their news-casting is undoubtedly biased, the presentation of their sensationalist media is indubitably apparent...and the beat goes on an on an on...

We all see it and acknowledge it, we all hate it and complain about it....but how do we change it? How do we prevent others, and even ourselves, from becoming intellectual prostitutes?

Step 1: speak your mind, incessantly.

^ my pseudonym if I ever write for a prominent and legitimate? newspaper...but I guess now I can't use it anymore...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


"Nothing in this world that's worth having comes easy"

Sunday, July 25, 2010


A 62 year-old enigmatic stranger I recently met-- who owns a very successful Space engineering company in Sacramento-- told me that he regrets not doing a lot of things in his life...things that he is now simply "too old" to do. When I ever-so-foolishly exclaimed that he was never too old to do anything, he replied that he wished he had gotten married and had children (-_- ...I'm a real-good people person).

Wishing away his youth with years full of deep vexation and a perpetual (overly-obsessive?) aspiration to reach every career-related goal, this stranger recalled all of the grave instances in his successful life where he simply risked it all to reach his full potential. And reach his full potential he did...but at the price of being truly happy.

Thirty-some years later this introverted and lonely gentleman finds himself having a random and depressing conversation with a loquacious stranger, where he so willingly poured his heart out about his deepest regrets and about his resentment for not having pursued the finer, the human, non-temporal things in life.

...He warned me about the things that would come. He recited a series of statements I should live by, statements that didn't sound so cliche at the time:

1) Life happens (aka shit happens)
2) You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your relatives
3) There are only 3 stressful things you will encounter in your life: moving, divorce, and death in the family (I facetiously added "taxes" after he finished, but to my dismay, he did not find my comment amusing).

My 30+ minute conversation with this stranger had a curious effect on my perception of life. Life is so fickle- we are the actors...the trapeze artists trying to become experts at our own tight-rope balancing act...tip-toeing ballerinas, bloodied nails, stunted toes, paralyzed from the soul down? We wish away our lives by looking forward to that one vacation, that one event, that one opportunity (" seize everything you ever wanted-one moment"); but when we surpass that opportunity and that experience and when we have finally captured that moment, we will most likely look back at our youth in wonderment, or look back at it like that 62-year-old stranger: in regret and resentment- wishing that our magical life wasn't spent in waste, in wishing away our years...our youth, wishing that we did not in fact lose sight of our potential to be truly, unremittingly happy...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

the world

looks pretty different when you see it through an entirely different lens.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The art of conversation

It's a treat to find out that people from different walks of life read my blog posts and comment on them, giving me their profound 2-cents.

Having a good conversation with a "random" stranger is probably the most intriguing forms of human contact. It makes me think that all that human beings really need is to be heard.

So listen to the people around you.

I frequently provoke conversations with people I don't know in an effort to invest in a magical verbal journey. Often times than not, the conversation leads to subjects pertaining to dogs, the failing economy, FIFA, and great movies. Other times, the conversation leads to the meaning of life, to religion, to happiness, sex, and to the other contested topics of our time.

Having a deep conversation with a human being is something I had taken granted for. Perhaps that is why I write blog posts- it is my desperate attempt to engage reader(s?) in a special, thought-provoking virtual dialogue that will evoke insight and enigma on both of our ends.

When I think about it, those who are deaf or mute must truly cherish their ability to communicate with other human beings; at least that is what my coworker who has a deaf sister shared with me. I suppose that those of us who have the ability to speak must take it for granted? Instead we invest in minute and perhaps meaningless conversations over facebook, twitter, and texting that prevents us from wholeheartedly communicating.

Indeed, this is the art of conversation...we have the special ability to speak what the tongues in our minds have been waiting to say.

So let's converse.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The end of the world as we know it

I refuse to lead a "normal" life.

That is most probably the most faulty, reckless thing I could ever possibly do.

"Normal" is defined by what society has created to be the picture-perfect road to living a substantial, dare-I-say mediocre life. "Normal" to me- roughly speaking/writing- means going to school, getting a job, getting married, having children, rearing them, dying.

Life should never be sedentary- regardless of the fact that we are maturing and "growing up". So why do we always move towards a very perplexing and pre-defined path throughout life?

The more people I meet from different parts of the world, the more I feel like life is bubbling and brewing, offering more adventures, much more mystery and intrigue. My experience invigorates me to meet more people, to do even bigger, selfless things in life, and to live a life that lacks pattern, routine, and the loss of youthful enthusiasm or spirit.

I asked a random group of strangers what they thought the meaning of life was, answers varied: to procreate, to find love, to garner success.

Why so limited? We should live it up and live it all. We should live life in the way that makes us truly happy. Then again I suppose, "happiness" is subjective.

Whatever excites us should be in the daily grind of our everyday lives. We should try to live every moment moving up and on, learning more things about ourselves as individuals, about our capabilities, about our future, about how we best interact with others.

My life moves in 3's. 3 years in Colorado, 3 back in Glendale, 3 in Berkeley, 3 in law school, so on and so forth. I'll probably have 3 kids (twins + 1), 3 different careers (lawyer, judge, president), and 3 husbands (just kidding).
But all of this doesn't matter anyway,

2010 here we come :)....

In other news, it's quite intriguing how Al Gore and Tipper decide to get a divorce after 40 years of marriage, which included Tipper's melt-down depression and their son's near-death car accident that shook the family up. After so many years, both decide to mutually call it quits.

Most people, and by most I am referring to Armenian conservative, elitist, post-soviet union married couples (who don't believe in divorce), critique this decision and say that the couple should merely stay in the marriage and embark on their own respective relationships since they already have devoted 40+ years of their lives to each other. Though I myself do not believe in divorce (only in dire and drastic situations), I would have to interpret this decision as Al and Tipper's determination to seek that which make them happy.

So here's to being happy. Here's to living a life that brings us smiles- the warm fuzzies. Here's to feeling magical.


p.s. I hope I receive a total of 3 comments. :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To-do list for the past 8 weekends


Sausalito, Emeryville, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Cupertino, San Francisco, Larkspur, Oakland, Calistoga, Napa Valley, and Sacramento.

Life can only get better when you travel.

Here's to backpacking, road-tripping, and getting lost.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

good things

It is a widely known belief that all good things come to an end.

Life, laughter, pleasure, love, friendship, schooling, careers, successes. These are all good things that have ends in and of themselves.

So how do we humans surpass the agony of defeat?

Besides adhering to the psyche of "shit happens", "you only live once", "karma's a ..", or "everything happens for a reason", as means of psychologically coping with the disastrous turn of events when "shit hits the fan", if we acknowledge that all good things come to an end, the only way to live up and on is to "carpe diem".

"Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary", says English teacher John Keating (played by Robin Williams) from the film Dead Poets Society.

And indeed that is all that will empower us. If you go into a calculus test knowing you're going to fail because you're ill-prepared, you study, memorize, cram, and own that test when it comes time to take it.

Indeed, life is like a calculus test. If all good things come to an end, we must acknowledge it, and fight it, until we own it. We are all but human, in control insofar as much as we can assert our own bodily lives. If we place our fingers on a hot stove, we automatically retract as a result of an unpleasant sensory experience. Initiated by the stimulation or malfunction of the peripheral/central nervous systems, physical pain causes human beings to react. Retraction means withdrawing ourselves from experiencing permanent pain, in this case- fingers that develop blisters or even more detrimental results.

But what happens when the painful experience is not physical?

How do people cope from emotional losses such as losing their jobs, loved ones, relationships, failing exams and essentially experiencing good things coming to an end?

Like the physical reaction of induced bodily pain, if we acknowledge the trials and tribulations we experience as daily norms in human life, then we are one step closer to living life in a happier and healthier manner. Unfortunately, our coping mechanism from such types of "pain" isn't quite as simple as removing a limb from the source of pain, like fingers from a hot stove.

Emotional and psychological experiences are sometimes or maybe even most times deeper than physical ones, and it is up to us to desensitize ourselves from ill-thoughts that will only produce a downward spiral of ever-growing sorrow, defeat, sadness, and hate.

What I mean to say in all this is, the only way to defeat "all good things coming to an end" is to acknowledge that this fact is universally true; but we must also refrain from living our lives in a pessimistic manner that keeps us hopeless, unmotivated, sad, or defeated. Instead, we must recognize this fact as a positive aspect of human nature- that if good things didn't come to an end, then we'd live an unaltered life of perfection, and where's the fun in that?

Regardless of what religion or belief you may or may not follow, this solution can be universal. But of course, such a "solution" is easier said than done. Life-changing experiences such as trauma cannot simply be dismissed or dealt with by merely acknowledging the fact that such bad things are expected to come so me must merely cope with it. This is the difficulty of human life.

As complex human beings, we have developed a biological coping mechanism towards entities that physically harm our bodies, yet we are far from mastering or even understanding what it is that will ameliorate the emotional and psychological pain or trauma we experience.

So what do we do, and how do we do it?

We all have our own ways of dealing with losses. Denial, sadness, hate, resentment, hope, passion, anger, motivation, inspiration, hopelessness, violence, love, defeat, pessimism, regret, guilt, and/or disbelief.

But what would happen if we merely desensitized ourselves from our experiences? What if we consciously retracted ourselves, like we did our finger from the stove, in ways that mentally, emotionally, and psychologically remove us from the source(s) of pain?

What if, in preparation of potential trauma that may or may not come our way, we react to other aforementioned losses through this process of desensitization?

Would that make us heartless creatures- or rather- happier, perhaps even healthier, human beings?


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

because at the end of the day...


if one has not the audacity to address grievances to your face,

then he has not the privilege to exist in your good grace.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Café au lait

Personal request: Please click and listen to the link provided as you read this piece :).

Sitting in cafes evoke a curious mixture of both constant concentration and ceaseless distractions.

Cafes are conducive to an environment for any foreign soul. The noisy atmosphere, with dim music playing in the background, the sounds of baristas yelling different names off of abstract orders, and the clinking and clanking of dishes and utensils while food is.. propelled, ricocheted, grilled-tossed-shaken-beaten, and prepared for the average passerby. It almost seems like a perfect symphonic lullaby of a life that is constantly moving while you, focused, intently do your own work just to keep up with the hectic tempo of life, the daily grind-ing coffee bean-making progress of life.

Ahh yes, cafes are quite an exquisite environment. One can simply sip on their hot tea or cold drink while they sit placidly contemplating and listening in on a peculiar conversation or meeting across the table, even three chairs back- of two, or even three blameless souls merely exchanging private matters, public stories, and personal dilemmas.

It's almost poetic. The coming and going of rushed, calm, worried, love-stricken, angry, annoyed, mellow, sick, hungry, tired, excited, indecisive strangers-all who have their own reasons why they just so happened to have walked into that very cafe that you are in.

It's really quite beautiful. Everyone has their own story...their own worry...their own train of thought. Some sedately stand in line, arms folded while blindly glaring at the counter with unintentionally wide and owl-like eyes (almost as if they're "dogging" the barista), waiting for their drink, as they get lost in their own music prodded into their earlobes, while they dream off and lose themselves in nostalgia.

That same old man sits in the corner, with the same big eyeglasses that are tied around his neck in case he "misplaces" them, while he is reading his daily newspaper. Students come rushing in, covertly eyeing each other in the process, all eagerly waiting for their orders so they could scurry on to their abandoned studies. Loud blenders and archaic cash registers squeak as the receipt prints because naturally they don't take any credit cards...

Indeed, time spent in a cafe seems to be immortalized...seems to be so serene.

How fitting is that! The Godfather theme song JUST started playing- I kid you not. Oh the irony and tingling feeling of Déjà vu, coincidences, and of plainly perfect moments of serendipity.

Cafes are something else...

Let's get lost together in one.

~ rom is roaming in rome with the romans

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anatomy of a Murder

For all of you who are interested in becoming an attorney or contemplating on what type of law you'd like to practice, I highly, strongly, fervently, whoelheartedly urge you to read the best-selling novel entitled "Anatomy of a Murder."

Based on a real 1952 murder case, the author of this fictional novel is Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker, who writes under the pseudonym "Robert Traver."

This is probably one of the most eloquent pieces I've read and the story is based off of an actual case Voelker had taken on as a defense attorney in Michigan.

This ~400 page novel will seduce you into the the legal realm of verbal, tongue-in-cheek jousting; the logically perverted, and even comedic exchange of arguments, the lawyer-led investigations and quest for truth, and the witty cross-examinations are simply titillating. I guarantee you- if you have even the slightest interest in law, you'll enjoy this read. This novel does a wonderful job portraying the frustrated pursuit of a lawyer seeking justice and going through any means to attain it. "Anatomy of a Murder" does a superb job indirectly showing readers what it really means to be a good criminal lawyer. I am a firm believer in the idea that good books- be it ficiton or non-fiction- always evoke some type of emotion. You will undoubtedly lose yourself in the suspense of it all.

Below I've included some of the witty or eloquent exchanges of dialogue in the novel. I believe "Anatomy of a Murder" does an excellent job encapsulating every aspect of life including: love, jealousy, and friendship.

Read it, and tell me if it is murderously unappealing.

Some quotes from the novel:

on friendship: "Friendship itself is such a curious mixture of chemistry and propinquity, of the almost scarily fortuitous quality in kindred souls occasionally being lucky enough to find each other. "

on ego: "He wore his ego like a halo."

on crying: "There was the glitter of a coiled serpent in his eyes."

on the reality of human convictions: "Passion and human nature exceed reasoning and rational thought."

on love: "A lawyer caught in the toils of a murder case is like a man newly fallen in love: his involvement is total. All he can think about, talk about, brood about, dream about, is his case, his lovely lousy goddamn case. Whether fishing, shaving, even lying up with a dame, it is always there, the pulsing eternal insistence thump thump of his case. Alas, it is true: the lover in love and the lawyer in murder share equally one of the most exquisite, baffling, delightful, frustrating, exhilarating, fatiguing, intriguing experiences known to man. And it looked like I was rapidly falling in 'love'."

on jealousy: "I consider jealousy the most corrosive and destructive of all emotions and I long ago made up my mind that I refused to be jealous of anyone or anything. life is simply too goddamn short."

on murder trials: "I have a confession to make..I am a rabid fan of murder trials, a fan just as hopeless in my way as those hordes of panting and painted harpies out there who are jamming our sessions. I am endlessly fascinated by the raw drama of a murder trial, of the defendant fighting so inarticulately for his freedom--his is the drama of understatement---, of the opposing counsel-- those masters of overstatement, flamboyantly fighting for victory, for reputation, for more clients, for political advancement, for God knows what--, of the weathervane jury swaying this way and that, of the judge himself trying his damnedest to guess right and at the same time preserve a measure of decorum..{he paused} Yes, a murder trial is a fascinating pageant."

human communication- or lack thereof: "The lack of knowledge of people, our lack of human communication, one with the other, may be the big trouble with this old world..for lack of it our world seems to be running down and dying- we now seem fatally bent on communicating only with robot missiles loaded with cargoes of hate and ruin instead of with the human heart and its pent cargo of love. And now -- it seems almost as though a despairing God or nature or fate- call it what you will- has finally challenged mankind to open up its heart or perish. "

on trustworthy lawyers (an oxymoron): "A lawyer in court trying to win a big case is like a newspaper man sitting on top of a big scoop-- he's not to be trusted. Never. At such times a lawyer would betray his own grandmother. So help me, I've done it myself." {lol}

acting in the legal realm: "Lawyers were something like actors: their range was limited by the play; they had to take the script as they found it; they dared not change the words or tinker with the dialogue. When they did they became either ham actors, on the one hand, or else shysters."

how attorneys coach their clients before the court cross-examination: "The Lecture is an ancient device that lawyers use to coach their clients so that the client won't quite know he has been coached and his lawyer can still preserve the face-saving illusion that he hasn't done any coaching. For coaching clients, like robbing them, is not only frowned upon, it is downright unethical and bad, very bad. Hence the Lecture, is an artful device as old as the law itself and is used constantly by some of the nicest and most ethical lawyers in the land."

How/why lawyers twist and pervert what they already know to be the truth: "We lawyers quickly develop a protective scar tissue to take care of that…It is our lofty conviction, hugged so dearly to our hearts, that our cause is basically just and right and that those on the other side are just a pack of lying and guilty knaves."


~District Attorney Keshishyan :p

Friday, April 2, 2010

Armenianess: The identity stigma

"What kind of Armenian are you?": a question I was asked recently by a fellow Armenian. I was dumbfounded.

It is an infamous, age-old, diabolical question indeed. That question and the answers that follow seem to carry so much stigma. In my humblest opinion, I believe it takes a bit of small-mindedness to inquire about such petty, unimportant intricacies of one's own ethnic makeup.

I have yet to realize or understand what it is about the answer that will effect the current conversation at hand. Will my answer change, enhance, or diminish my valuation as a human being? Will my answer incite negative or positive (and never neutral) judgment on behalf of the inquirer who needs but that answer to stereotype or conclude my whole entire character and worth?

Me? Born in Glendale (gtown), CA...lived in Lakewood, Colorado for almost 4 years.

Mom's family is from Karabakh (present-day Azerbaijan) with ties to Russian ancestry coupled with a completely unintelligible Armenian dialect that only regional natives can comprehend; this makes her an Armenian, Russian, and Turkish speaking "Karabakhsti".

My brother Denis (a very Armenian name indeed :p ) was born in the capital- Yerevan, Armenia. This makes him a "Yerevantsi" or "Hayastanci".

Dad's family is from Iran, he is of the regional sect of "Bulgartsis" (sp?)..1969 marked the relocation of his family back to Armenia to reclaim "pure" Armenian identity, so that future generations are not enmeshed in an "identity crisis"- so that a future loquacious Romina isn't confused as to whether she should deem herself American, Hayastanci, Hayrenadarts (in Armenian means "returner to Armenia"- more specifically for Persian-Armenians), Zimbabwean..etc..

Perhaps I have difficulty with this question because I myself cannot conceive or distinguish one inherent identity for myself. So I refer to myself as a mut or simply reply that my background is a bit-"eclectic"- for lack of a better word.

Saying I'm Armenian-American kind of, diminishes the value of my own long-surviving culture and traditions, and nobody ever wants to replace their inherent bloodline with a pseudo-identity that has so many divergent shared values, borrowed customs, and an exhausting history of colonization that really only veritably confirms that the phrase "pure American" is an oxymoron.

Saying I'm Persian-Armenian is fallacious, because although there are certain divergent dialectical differences in the colloquial language exchange from my dad's side, I know nothing about the culture or tradition and unfortunately do not (yet) have a strong affinity to inquire more about it.

So when somebody inquires as to what "kind" of Armenian I am, stupefied, I ALWAYS have to take a moment to figure out my identity. And there's nothing worse than constantly questioning one's own identity- 21 years in their prime.

The truth is, I was born in China- so I'm naturally Chinese-American. I'm a day late with the April fool's spell, but I suppose next time an Armenian inquires about my make-up, I'll have no choice but to make fun. Because it really is silly to ask, sometimes frustrating, and often times demeaning - breeding only conversational immodesty.

After all, one never asks an American, "what kind of American are you?" It almost sounds insulting, as if the answer you give will bolster or detract one's own perception of you as a human being.

I naturally have lots more to say, but seeing as how I have a lot of readers (-_-), I should probably do the rest of my bantering of such tedious matters in my sleep. Deep down though- this isn't a tedious matter. There's this entire underlying stigma associated with how each classification of "Armenians" compete with eachother- and how stereotypes are associated with the "kind" of Armenian you are. There are -ian vs. -yan last name wars (that developed here in the U.S.). Family culture, etiquette, class, and eloquence is based off of the sect you represent. And one of my personal favorites: the eugenics test- where each "kind" of Armenian fights their Armenian counterparts and prides on being the "purest" form of Armenian (language purity- Western dialect/Armenia vs. regional puritans- Eastern Armenia(ns)...etc). The list of stereotypes and cultural clashings can go on and on. So no, this is not a tedious matter. People who ask want to size up. People who ask want to equate. People who ask want to judge your character by simply knowing a background that cannot tangibly define YOU.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go finish up my Mandarin homework. Zai hui.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy My Year

When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Albert Einstein

"No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"

Monday, February 8, 2010


In the time of greatest emotional upheaval, be it mourning, fear, doubt, jealousy, confusion, and love a human being is submissive to all sorts of behavioral assumptions.

In the name of mourning, one can forgive the lot of people who have wronged them, and one can choose to embark in a new way of life- one free of absolute hate, judgement, and wrongdoing.

In the name of fear, one can save his or her own life or well-being without considering the lives of others- be they friends, family members, or strangers.

In the name of doubt, one can question another human being's intentions, and (hopefully) realize that doubting is a reflection of self.

In the name of jealousy, one can degrade, subjugate, embarrass, or embellish another being's reputation, character, or wholehearted essence in order to replete one's own maximum utility of happiness and self-redemption.

In the name of confusion, one can mistake an act of kindness and rebel in an act of malice.

In the name of love, one can be inspired, supportive, open, and resilient, or, one can lose themselves in an image or expectation that fits the mold of what love should be, or how love should be experienced within the limitations of their relationship with their family member(s) or significant other.

We are not defined by such assumptions, but said assumptions seem to be components that characterize how we usually behave and react rather than how we should ideally personify ourselves in what we have come to reject as "perfection".

Just an observation.


Friday, February 5, 2010


Being the diligent student I am, I once eavesdropped on a conversation two students were having during class, about how one of them attempted to help an elderly man in a wheelchair move across campus earlier that rainy day. The student was complaining about this man's declination for her generous offer; she was offended why anybody in a wheelchair would decline her offer- especially an unable, "disabled" man of his age, especially because of the crazy downpour that swept all throughout campus. The dialogue they were exchanging was quite mediocre really, but for some reason, it stuck with me. And it came back full circle much much later.

Flash forward one year, and I am the same diligent student scuffling into class just at the dot of the 10-minute-after mark, devastated that wait-listed students had taken my per-usual front seat spot. Forlorn, I traversed across the many students, drenched from the day's downpour that greeted us the first day of our Spring semester, and I found a seat next to a student coughing up a storm. It made me reminisce about my earlier semester in September-October of 09, when I was battling what our University's Tang health center deemed "Mild Swine." 

Tuesday morning, 9:40 am marked the beginning of class- no professor in sight. So I began daydreaming about the term "Mild." You have MILD salsa...not too bland, not too hot. Maybe even..MILD weather..not sunny, not rainy. But MILD..swine? The University Tang Center already failed one year when they realized 6 months too late that over 130,00 identities and records (mine included) were stolen and disseminated. Point of interjection: most call me Romina, others call me John. John Greene from Missouri, that is. -_-

9:45 hits, already 5 minutes into the first class of the semester- and no professor in sight. Then I hear a voice- a bit faint, in the background, and I found it rather odd. Didn't see anybody in sight at the moment, and I didn't bother to look up to see what all the lack of commotion was all about.

My professor is a man of character. Probably in his mid 70's, has the stature of a war veteran and rightly so. His forehead has defined lines. I have counted about 8 profound creases- 8 deeply ingrained, impermeable manifestations of emotion and experience that emerged throughout his seventy some years of existence. One line defines the expression he makes when he is enthralled by an intellectual fact a student mentions. Another distinct line has been permanently wrinkled into his demeanor, that of a soldier, a fighter, a man who has sojourned through many walks of life- education, the battlefield, through hardships and trials. His eyebrows never furrow, and when his eyes widen, his glasses sink. 

My professor is retired. But he fights the vicious winds and rainy, hail-filled weather to come teach us a thing or two about politics 3+ hours every week. But when he comes in, he doesn't speak about the book material directly; instead, he embarks on this mindful adventure, going off on tangential, almost irrelevant subjects. Naturally, overachieving Berkeley students around me snicker about how "he doesn't even teach" or about how "this isn't even going to be on the test." But who needed all of that? He taught us about having no fear, no distractions in life; he taught us about focus, discipline, and about life and about things no other professor would ever offer to impart on us because that simply was not part of their job description....

Last week he pointed to a student, and two students simultaneously responded to his question. He then apologized, and explained that he contracted Polio while fighting in the war, which paralyzed part of his eyes. One seems to be a glass eye that moves along with the same speed of his natural one, though it is hard to distinguish where in fact he is looking.

His wife brought his laptop to class once. She also teaches at the university. I think that's something special. To do something you love and to share it with someone you love whose office is just across the office door from you...must be a blessing; or perhaps a curse? ...

Polio may have gotten his sight, but it also may have been responsible for his amputated leg. A prosthetic leg has been in place since the 1940's.

My professor is a remarkable man.

He always comes into class wearing the same blue sweater, a white undershirt, and business pants and shoes. Sometimes I wonder why he even formally dresses the way he does, seeing as how the younger male professors dress down and more comfortably.

He always stuffs his folders and materials inside his sweater and pulls them out from under his belly at the beginning of class. My professor uses the type of vernacular I have forever ingrained in my old-age lexicon: "tomfoolery," "shenanigans," and "schmuck." 3 words I always love hearing, but rarely ever do or use.

He once asked "4 strong men" to help lift him up onto the medium sized table so that students could better see him, so that his meager voice could better emanate across the small 54-person classroom. As they lifted him up, I tried holding back a tear. He looked like a small, frail child, with his fragile legs and arms in a bent, fetal position, while he struggled to hold back a sense of discomfort while these men carried him onto a table. He then asked the students to pull him up so he could angle his body. He then asked them to place his two legs on his wheelchair. And he proceeded to give his lecture, all throughout the hour and a half of class--with his body uncomfortably tilted so that he wouldn't collapse. He never wanted to teach from his wheelchair; and instead was raised high above us on a large table at the front of the room, so he could meet us eye to eye.

This isn't a pity story. This is an experience that's rather close to my heart. But I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

When that student asked to wheel him across campus, she asked because among other things, he doesn't have an electric wheelchair. My professor willfully wheels himself with his strong army hands, through the rain, through bumpy terrain and steep hills, to get to a class he isn't even paid to teach anymore. And he doesn't even see it as a struggle, or a hassle. He sees it as a privilege, a blessing.

And yet there are students who take advantage of their privileges, myself including. That we can sit around and lounge if we see that the stormy weather is too great a feat to battle when opting not to go to class. He was always there. Balancing his frail body on that table. Glad that he had us to share his stories with.

And to those who listen, we learn. Not about book material that will be on an unimportant test, but we learn about life. We learn about taking risks. We learn about moving forward with life, despite all things that go against us. Everything went against him in his 20s; and that didn't stop my professor.

This is neither a motivational story.

This is merely an observation I've made of an incredible man. A man who could have given up if he didn't have the character that he did. My professor has more strength than most who have been blessed with full limbs and pampered, privileged upbringings. His wisdom is ten-fold.

There is no moral to this story. Go do something good. Be something. Live to your fullest potential. No fear. Respect and don't judge. Live and let live. Love and let love, no if's, no distractions-you schmuck.

~Rome, also known as... John Greene. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Perfection is not about unattainable euphoric utopia, it is about relative self-growth and one's blissful epiphany that happiness, love, good health, family, and success are all interwoven components that truly make one's life...



Saturday, January 9, 2010

This is true

Reevaluate your relationships for the new year friends, for there are only a handful of people who will continuously prove to surpass what petty relations others call friendship, of which such friendship is defined by others through the mere visage of convenience, favors, and motives.

Cheers to that,