I never wrote about Viennese Ball. I don’t know why I’m writing about it now, I just feel like it.
First of all, me and Jieun had the best time of any couple there. I know that sounds bold, but I mean, I was looking around, and there’s pretty much no question.
You reach another level of enjoyment when you can lose yourself. Leo once talked to me about this, that this is the reason he likes dancing. You can just lose yourself. At the time, I had no freaking idea what he was talking about, because when I dance, I’m the most self-conscious being in the entire world.
But with social dancing, I mean, it’s more set, so I’ve reached a level where I’m comfortable with it. And like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Jieun is just the perfect partner for me – perfectly complementary. When I dance with her, I lose myself, I mean don’t care about what happens around me; I’m not even aware of it. When you reach that, you’re on another level of enjoyment. And I think you can tell when people are there.
I ran into some members of the class of ’98, and one of them mentioned to me how it was incredibly Asian this year. It really was. And it kind of made me angry, for absolutely no good reason. But seriously, it was just overwhelmingly Asian, it was a little scary.
So here’s some things I realized about Viennese Ball.
One, it’s primarily a dance. Meaning, if you have no intention of dancing, or don’t know how to dance, you’re not really going to have a good time. It’s not like prom where you can get away with just going to dinner, taking pictures and shmoozing, and looking as busy as you can without actually stepping foot on the dance floor. If you’re at Viennese, you gotta dance.
So like some of the people there, I just had no idea what they were doing there. I mean, it’s like they didn’t really come to dance and that was just strange to me. It’s just not a schmoozing time, there’s no picture time, I mean, it’s primarily a dance, and if you didn’t come with the primary intention of dancing, it’s impossible to have a good time.
Second, the point of Viennese Ball isn’t to dance well. Dancing is the primary activity, but ultimately, the point isn’t to dance the best, but to have a good time.
I remember one summer me and Eddie and John Yoon and Ernest? We played basketball with these high schoolers that were there for some summer camp or something. I know I’ve mentioned this story before. Anyway, the whole time, they would not crack a smile. They were just so obsessed with being cool it was ridiculous. Anyway, I was being intentionally goofy and John was being his normal uncool self, trying to get them to loosen up and have fun, but to no avail.
I just never understood that; why you would do things then if you wouldn’t let yourself have a good time? I mean, when we play basketball, we play to have a good time. Winning is good, whatever, but really, the ultimate purpose is having a good time, and I don’t get why people would want to play basketball and not have a good time doing it.
At any rate, the same thing happens with dance, I think – people get so caught up in the dancing that they lose sight of having a good time. I mean, the dancing is the means to having a good time, so you gotta concentrate on it. But some of the people I watched, I mean, they were so fixated on the minutiae of the dance steps that they couldn’t smile while dancing. And in my mind, they lost sight of the whole point.
Ben, Andy and Janice taught me and Jieun how to Lindy and seriously, it’s revolutionized my life. It’s really a whole lot of fun, and it’s the real deal. I mean, you just look cooler Lindying than doing anything else. I remember Big Swing ’98 in the Quad and Will Chen was there and he just looked dope Lindying with his partner. It’s a real cool dance.
Switching topics. This quarter I gave a lecture for the CS class I TAd. It went pretty poorly. I was just really nervous and I think I did a terrible time conveying the ideas. What made it worse was that the material I did was the most tedious material of the entire course. I really believe that. Anyway, I honestly do judge lecturers when they’re bad, and maybe it’s justified, but really, it’s harder than it seems.
Anyway, I’m kind of proud of myself about that. I just feel like I kind of made my mark at Stanford, you know? Stanford the institution, that is. Here’s this weird idea I have, but I really think it’s good when Christians penetrate society. I don’t mean politically or whatever, but they just become a part of society and kind of leave their mark.
Let me explain. So like, one thing that I perceived, perhaps incorrectly, when I came to Stanford, was that the Christian fellowships were so insular, they were nearly invisible to the campus. Like a lot of the Christian drawgroups, like, they were always to themselves. Even the people I respected, like, they were pretty insular.
In general, the fellowships were insular too. They weren’t really involved with campus activities or causes or groups; pretty much their entire sphere was their fellowship.
I don’t know why this bothered me so much. It just strikes me as not right. Actually, what struck me was Jimmy Ahn. He was an AA for Junipero my frosh year. And that just impressed me. Maybe because it seemed a rarity in the Stanford Christian community.
I guess what bothers me is that Christians just tend to rescind into their little Christian community shells and don’t become a part of what’s around them. So no one sees them, and this doesn’t strike me as being salt and light. Maybe I shouldn’t say it bothers me, because that’s not quite it. It’s more really that I get very encouraged when I see Christians becoming more involved in things, such that they are visible. Like at Stanford, it just encouraged me when I saw Christians in visible campus roles, not just fellowship roles. Like you know, being AAs, or TAs, or whatnot. To be specific, when I took CS 107, one of the TAs was Christian, and for some random reason, that encouraged me.
It’s not like I thought they had a better opportunity to witness or anything like that. I think what it was is that it encouraged me when Christians could be seen, could be visible. I mean, no one will come to Christ if they never see a Christian. And I like it when Christians are visible for something good, instead of something controversial, you know? Like finding out someone is Christian because he’s an RA is just infinitely better than finding out someone is Christian because he’s yelling that you’re going to hell in White Plaza, at least in my mind. It’s just good to me when Christians are visible for good things, not necessarily their faith.
I think a part of it also is I just feel we need to do our part. Make a little difference at Stanford, not necessarily to witness, but just to make it a little better, put a little Christian influence in the goings on instead of leaving it for the world and rescinding into our shells.
So like I said, it impressed me when Christians kind of got involved. I just think they made Stanford a little bit better, and that it’s a good influence when people see Christians in visible positions doing good things, even if their not explicitly witnessing.
So like Jimmy Ahn impressed me a lot with his AAing when I first met him. Paul Kim impressed me a lot with what he did for Alternative Spring Break. I mean, it was a great moment for all Christians, I think, when he won the Stegner award. Andy Hsiao impressed me also, with ASB and AAing and all that. Just basically, it impressed me when Christians put themselves in influential positions, mostly because I just think it’s good for Christians to be seen by the world.
Anyway, when I came, it just seemed like Christians were all to themselves. I mean, there were very few Christians AAs (I’m making this all up), maybe no Christian RAs, I only knew one Christian TA. Was anyone in IV or whatever a CS 106 section leader? I don’t think so. They just mostly kept to themselves, so they didn’t become involved with Stanford, and I don’t know, that’s just a little discouraging.
Anyway, I’m not good at it, but I decided I kind of wanted to leave a little mark at Stanford; not be another forgotten Christian that no one knew, but kind of make my mark on the institution somehow. That’s one of the big reasons why I wanted to section lead. To kind of leave a mark.
At any rate, now that I’ve TAd 3 classes, I feel just a little bit proud. I think I kind of have left my mark, you know? I didn’t do a lot, just left a little mark. I gave a lecture at Stanford. I’ve been broadcast on SITN. Little stuff like that. And you know, maybe I was just a little bit of encouragement for the Christians in my classes. I don’t know, I’m making this all up.
But I’m very glad things changed. I’m glad Brent Becker was an RA. I’m glad other people (Beverly, Henry, Brian, Eric, Simon) became section leaders. I’m glad Rodney’s an RA. I don’t know, if I could encourage the younger generation to do anything more, I’d just encourage them to be just a little bit more involved with Stanford the institution. Leave your mark in some way. Even without evangelizing, I think it’s a good thing, an encouraging thing to let people know that Christians don’t just stay in their subculture, but they can get involved in visible institutional postions and make a positive difference.