something that happened in my life – family cruise/reunion – december 15-22, 2012

in late 2012, my (favorite!) cousin’s family (cousin+wife+kid+mom) came to visit my family, and we went on a carribean cruise, where i saw people dance to gangnam style every day and learned that muscular pecs can become precariously similar to manboobs when you gain weight.  we also stayed a night in new orleans and some time in atlanta.

xmas cuirse video recap

i know, it opens with a long story in chinese.  i don’t really know who i make these videos for.  myself!  and my blog readers <3.  and daniel/mark/mason <3. 

THE CRUISE GAMES.  each time i cruise (my 5th weeklong cruise), they always play these two games mentioned below, and i always have different takeaways or highlights each time they play them.  one year, i was mildly traumatized by the adult scavenger hunt, where part of the game struck me as being homophobic.  he first offered points to any team that could present two girls kissing (which… most teams did, to some cheers).  and then he offered points to any team that could present two guys kissing (which few teams did, which then elicited jeers/groans of disgust from the crowd).  and don’t forget the perpetual hilarity of men crossdressing as the grand finale. 

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1) the newlywed game. the game: three couples are chosen (newlywed, oldest married couple, and one in between).  the cruise director asks the husbands and wives questions separately and then sees if the answers match.  hilarity ensues!

the questions.  it SORT OF bothers me that the questions are ALWAYS THE SAME from both a 1) cmon, just talk through the questions before you go on stage, and 2) are there really no better questions!?!?!?  but it’s fun to see them get flustered and share stories.  it’s like “never have i ever” in the sense that “winning” (in newlywed game, matching the most answers; in never have i ever, having been the least salacious) often makes you the least fun/biggest loser of the group.  

FOR THE MEN:

her least favorite family member on his side
what he wants larger/smaller on her body
her bra size
he is still like a child because he plays with what?

FOR THE WOMEN:

what she finds most annoying about him/his most annoying habit
the first thing he touches in the morning
the movie that best describes their sex life
wildest sex location 

hottest moment: the middle couple had this really hot guy.  the couple was clearly very sexual.  according to the wife, his most annoying habit was that he liked to stare at himself in the mirror.  naked.  he was a child because still played with his penis a lot (that’s what he said, though his wife said….oO (super ellipses) YU GI OH CARDS hahahahahahhahaaha).  but then they were talking about the craziest place they had sex.  and they both talked about how they had sex on a beach…. in front of everyone.  that was pretty hot.  it’s pretty cool/awesome/impressive that they have such an intense sex life after being married for 10 or so years.  

funniest moment: so you have this guy (mentioned above) who’s supposed to be this super MANLY MAN, hunky, etc.  and then they get to the movie that best describes their sex life (a good variant to “which car would most describe your husband’s manhood”), and she pauses and goes….. GONE IN 60 SECONDS.  lol.  he said that one too.  and then he got really sheepish.  it was -the best-.  

another one was the newlywed couple, who, when asked what he wanted smaller on his wife, said “her legs”.  which was weird, i mean, does she just have really muscular legs?!?!  everyone in the crowd was super confused.  but then we realized that it was because the girl was taller than the guy :(.  the whole “men have to be taller than women” thing always.. surprises me.  because it’s such a strong societal bias.  even i find it to be weird when a girl is taller.  but isn’t it really arbitrary!?!?  or are our evolutionary instincts really that powerful?!?!

most heartfelt moments: the oldest couple was by far the most heartfelt.  i was really hoping that the cruise director would ask them the secret to their 60+yr marriage, which they sometimes do.  

in response to what he wanted bigger on her body, he answered, “well not her heart, because her heart is already big enough”, which was heartbreaking and wonderful.  after struggling, he eventually settled on “hair”, which was really confusing at first, but was later explained when she revealed she had cancer and lost all her hair to the chemo.  man.  definitely a heartslap moment.

and the first thing he touches every morning?  “his underwear!” “to scratch himself?” “no, to put them on”.  you go, old married couple!!!!

meta-comment on honesty: most of the appeal of this game is that basically there’ a bunch of things that we aren’t honest about with our significant other.  like the annoying habits question or least favorite thing.  harkens back to the other entry though, which is, should we tell SOs what we think the areas of improvement are of the relationship/each other?  anyway, see the other entry

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adult scavenger hunt.  the rules: the audience is split into teams.  each team has a team leader.  the cruise director announces things that he needs from each team, and the team leaders rush to retrieve the items from the audience to present them to the cruise director for points.  things start off sort of goofy and PG rated (chapstick!  a passport!  a casino chip!) to weird stuff (6 belts tied together!  a woman piggybacking a man!  fake teeth!  a sock with a hole in it! (all socks have one hole in it, zing!)) to vaguely sexual vaguely haze-y sort of stuff (a non-ear piercing!  a tattoo!  3 bras!  5 shirts!) and them always ends with “two men wearing lipstick, in their underwear and a bra, with a purse and in high heels” and then end up parading them around the room.  great!

being hot makes you charismatic/confident.  i love talking about how important it is to be attractive (like right here).  one of the theories being, you’re hot, people naturally are forgiving, and look up to you.  and then the hot person goes out on a limb, he’s rewarded, and then it’s a self-reinforcing cycle.  

so on this cruise, i was doing my due diligence and on the entire cruise ship, there were about 10 guys who were out and about who were beautiful.  FIVE of the eight team leaders were from this top 10.  so basically, if you’re hot, you had a 50% chance of being a team leader.  if you were not hot, you had a 3/2,000 chance (<1%) of being a team leader.  the evidence is irrefutable.  but they were charismatic, animated, and looked great shirtless.  

i am probably the reason why google glass shouldn’t exist

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DISTRACTED BY HOT GUYS.  i know that this just makes me come across as being SUPER CREEPY, but 1) i am, and 2) if i literally record everything and take photos of everything, hot guy photos/videos are merely incidental?…..

but honestly, what happens if the most exciting thing on my trip is seeing random hot guys?!  like shouldn’t i just go to the castro every week!?  way better than a vacation.  AND DOESN”T THAT MAKE GAY CRUISING THE ULTIMATE VACATION EVER!?!?!?!

god, our teamleader for the quest was…. god.  he knew he was the shit too, he did a little strip tease.  and he was a great dancer.  GET THIS, he had mindblowing chemistry with his female co-leader, and -everyone- on the team was in love with them as a couple.  like even my mom and sister commented on it, a ton of people asked them how long they were dating and for photos, and… TURNS OUT THEY’RE NOT EVEN DATING THEY”RE JUST SIBLINGS!!!!!!!!!!!  but both fucking beautiful.  anyway, i did some stalking, and he was dating one of the performers on the ship?!?!  in which case, how could he possibly not be cheating on her at home!?  

FAMILY PROGRAMMING.  i have this grand vision that i can’t really implement with my family, but if/when i have a family, i plan to implement it myself.  which is, basically, at the family reunion, one day will be set aside for “family programming”.  basically, each person in the family (young or old, doesn’t matter) will be responsible for a short activity that everyone can participate in.  (i sort of attribute this to a thanksgiving visit to bristin’s house, where the parents’ responsibility was to cook, and the kids’ responsibility was to entertain (we did a song and dance routine)). 

it goes back to this idea that people are most attractive and most engaging when they’re sharing something that they’re really passionate about.  examples of activities:

1) sharing a game that you just learned (set/liar’s dice/various logic puzzles/salad bowl/puerto rico/whatever)
2) having a serious discussion on a policy issue, a personal decision, or an idea
3) sharing a skill that you learned (sewing/drawing/cooking/exercising/whatever)
4) educating someone on a topic of your interest, such as something scientific, politics, etc.   

i love this idea. anyway.  it’s unique, it gives each person a change to talk about something they love, which honestly one of the most attractive sides of people.  it gives each person a chance to give respect and also to be respected.  it gives people a chance to show a different side of them that wouldn’t necessarily come up.  it’s different and structured and a great way to connect in a way that “just hanging out” sometimes doesn’t get to.  and most of the time, there are things that we want to share that everyone would enjoy, but the opportunity just doesn’t come up.  we just need an EXCUSE. 

it really begs the question what we look for in a family vacation (bonding?  sharing?).  vacation-existentialism.  what does it really mean to “VACATION LIKE YOU MEAN IT” (disney’s new travel slogan, thanks cbs survivor streaming ads!).  

how would my mom describe a great family vacation?  it really puzzles me because i really think my mom’s ideal vacation is how much lecturing she can do on the vacation.  it certainly isn’t creating interesting, fun discussions or having everyone enjoy their time there.  i don’t know, so many things she brings up, i’m just … so perplexed why she insists on acting a certain way and making everything turn sour.  i mean, i guess that i’ll get moody or snap at people unnecessarily but.  ugh. 

KIDS. 


random things that i heard about kids while on this trip:

1) “a boy doesn’t become a man until they have a kid”
2) “once you have a kid, then you join the secret club”
3) “the three things that couples argue the most about: sex, money, and kids.”

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having a kid is a hassle
.  this trip was a really eye-opening trip for me.  like i always knew that having a kid would be difficult but…. i honestly didn’t know that it was going to be so difficult.  like really made me think twice about having kids.  and it was like 9 people taking care of 1 kid!!!  and it was still…. really difficult!!

just some of the random snippets of thoughts that we went through as a group:

  • who’s going to take care of the kid at all times?  especially when everyone wants to go to shows or everyone wants to go off the ship at the port and do something fun.  so on the nightly cruise shows, the kid’s parents came to some of the shows, sometimes leaving the spouse back in the room (aka MAJOR GUILT TRIP WAITING FOR YOU WHEN YOU GET BACK) or bringing the kid (aka BEGGING THE KID NOT TO MAKE ANY NOISE BUT THEN STILL LEAVING HALFWAY THROUGH THE SHOW BECAUSE THE KID WAKES UP).
  • at the ports, port 1, my mom, sandie, and i hung out in a cafe with the baby.  port 2, just my mom.  port 3, we did an activity that was baby friendly.  but i hate this idea that someone has to “take one for the team” and dealing with the baby at home by yourself because you want the most number of people having fun, or you’re away and feeling guilty that you left someone behind.  
  • they were never on time (baby was waking up from a nap!  baby had to change his diapers!  had to breast feed!  baby wouldn’t change clothes!).  not to mention, you always have to travel with a stroller and three bags of things.  caravaning all the time.  
  • dining becomes a hassle.  what does the baby want to eat?  what happens when the baby cries during the meal?  people were always feeding the kid, paying attention to the kid, taking the kid out for a walk.  and the baby destroyed the table every meal.
  • DIAPERS.  also, did you know that when you potty train, you can’t let them wear diapers anymore, and then you basically have to “cross your fingers” that they don’t just poop everywhere.  
  • your entire schedule revolves around the baby’s nap schedule.  and unless you want to just chat in a room or walk around in circles or eat, etc, you probably will have to split up as a group.  the people sleeping with the baby don’t sleep well at night.  
  • someone has to be giving attention to the baby all the time.

i really think that a very large chunk of our time and problem solving skills and sacrifices were made for this kid.  and i now have infinitely more respect for single mothers.  seriously, i don’t understand how they could possibly do it.  like having the time responsibilities and financial responsibilities of raising a kid would be the most daunting, overwhelming thing ever.  

the baby’s mom.  this…. is an interesting question, i thought.  she was in my mind, sort of like a desperate housewife.  just … so defeated.  she moved to the states from taiwan (where she had a nanny!!!) for her husband’s job.  her english is conversational but not fluent.  she lives in the suburbs without a car.  her closest friends in the states are neighbors who she doesn’t have a great connection with.  her husband has a pretty long-houred job.  she feels really isolated and her life feels routine and all about the baby and not exciting and she feels unmotivated and unfulfilled and it just feels like she’s given up.  i mean, some of that is editorial, but her talking about her life at home just reeked of desperation.  

“facebook is the only thing that keeps me happy, it’s my only connection to the outside world.” in the sense that she really can’t interact with anyone in real life and just interacts with a lot of her taiwan friends and mommy bloggers online.  she posts WEEKLY photosets and gets hounded when she misses a week.  

so of course we then try to offer advice.  and on the one hand, i understand why it’s difficult.  i’m not going to say that we came up with great suggestions.  but on the other hand, if a housewife with a husband with a successful job can’t make it work and be happy, then who can raise a child and be happy!?  like she talked about her typical daily routine, which were basically just childcare and errands.  and even if she did have “free time”, she couldn’t do anything with it because she had to watch the kid.  as;dfkljas;dfkj.  and just being like “WELL FINE GET A JOB” is not really a great suggestion either.

ow much do you have to spend on household help to replace a traditional at-home mom—someone to do the schlepping, cooking, cleaning, child care, and laundry? About $96,261, according to Investopedia.  (Daily Beast – The True Cost of Leaning In)

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power dynamics with her husband.  i think in some senses that part of the … non optimal situation is due to the extreme power differential between her and her husband.  caveated: people obviously like different power structures.  but even though i want kids, i would never, ever want to raise a kid with 100% of my time.  i would go crazy.  the breadwinner/housewife dynamic just strikes me as being awkward.  like if the breadwinner says “ugh, i’m tired, could you wash the dishes?”… you better go wash the dishes.  

the sort of heartbreaking thing i heard was, the husband needs to decide if he wants to stay in the USA to continue his job .  and i actually do think they have a very healthy relationship and share a lot of their feelings and are a good team.  the answer seemed obvious to me that the wife would be way happier in taiwan, but the husband wanted to wait to see how much money they might offer to keep him.  and then the wife said: “if he wants to stay, who am i to tell him that he can’t take the job?”

like i’m SURE that they don’t have one-sided conversations and he seeks her input, but like, even in the healthiest of relationships, how can the two people possibly be equal and have equal decision making power when one person makes all the money?  it strikes me as being very difficult.   

BEING SOMETHING FOR MY MOM THAT I’M NOT.  there was a dance party on the cruise ship, and my mom was like “dance with me!!!!” and then started dancing energetically.  but i just couldn’t do it, be that goofy dancer that has fun with her.  like the way that i would with angeles at bootie.  just makes me feel really uncomfortable.  

in think in many ways, she looks to me (and my sister, to some extent) to fill the void that my dad left when they got divorced.  still get the asian guilt for not moving back home.  i don’t really know how to balance “parents should want the best for their kids and for them to live their life” vs. “kids owe them this obligation.” to be continued.

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One thought on “something that happened in my life – family cruise/reunion – december 15-22, 2012

  1. jon says:

    Set!!!!!!!

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