I feel like I'm having an anxiety attack... One more week till the LSAT and my head feels like it's exploding. A sure sign that it's time to put down the book and go dancing. Or drinking.
Three more weeks till the LSAT! I've increased my practicing dose to four sections a night, twice as many as recommended by McKnight's wife. The result has been encouraging, at least on the reading front where I averaged 2-3 missed questions. Yet logical reasoning is still a giant headache. While my mean and median wrong question have lowered to 4 instead of the usual 6, it's still not good enough to break the PR of 172. And that's assuming I made no mistake in Games - where I'm most confident yet most subject to the tiniest panic. Good news is, as demonstrated by recent LSAT tests, two questions are offered as freebies - test-takers can usually miss two and still score a perfect 180.

Last week, when Mugg committed his first step in studying for the GMAT by buying a load of books, we came to the somewhat sad realization that we won't be doing much as a couple for the next half a year, possibly more. 2009 is devoted for graduate school applications, CFA level II and marathons. Luckily, that we can do all of those things better together is a real comfort.
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he'll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
- "Happy New Year", ABBA -

On the eve of 2009, I declined an invitation to join middle-school classmates to opt for a peaceful night cooking at Mugg's. Not because I disliked any of my middle-school friends; in fact I was eager to see them again and curious to gauge their changes. They have all stayed much more connected to home than I did - a realization so poignantly revealed when I was the only one unable to remember the Vietnamese term for random words like "equator" or "lava." We had met the night before to muse over Vietnamese food, dirty jokes and old memories. I found the moments fond, but rather painless. The craving for familiar cuisines, humors, and semantic expressions of early New Orleans days has, for better or for worse, completely vanished. In a way, the self-identity quest has simply been resolved. This feels like home.

As soon as that night, as I labored over dense reading passages and logical nuances on the LSAT, I felt again the glass ceiling of the American Dream. After seven years of teenage angst and college transformation, words still do not register. I couldn't feel it: images, lyrics, flow that I once internalized from reading Dumas, Nam Cao, Hugo in Vietnamese hopelessly slid off my mind, like water on a duck's head, without even a trace of recognition. All of my neurons desperately try to rebuke the idea. After all, I've studied the language since I was five, and have completely submerged in it since 15. How long does it take to internalize a language, for something a bit complex but not terribly sophisticated like the LSAT? I feel like dragging on a long, solidifying clay track.

On the eve of 2009, Yuko, Mugg and I cooked, watched Kathy Griffin annoying the hell out of Anderson Cooper on CNN, and toasted champaign in paper cups for yet another year. Despite economic downturns and unsolved problems of the world, life has been specially kind to me in 2008 - runs were finished, tests were passed, laughters were brisk, and hands were held in sleep. I am nervous and excited for 2009, a busy year to come:

- Jan: a jampacked month of studying
- Feb: taking the LSAT
- March - May: run run run, Bollywood dance recital
- May: trip to Canada, visa renewal and first marathon
- June: Mugg takes CFA, Yuko takes exams in Japan, time to start law school application/ retake the LSAT if need be
- July - August: law school research and essay, law seminar in The Hague, home (?)
- September - October: sending out applications for law school
- November: New York marathon
- December: ... relaxing time?

Thinking about the year head, I felt a rush similar to my feeling at the start of the Staten Island Half Marathon last October. The race has begun, the clock is ticking, the miles are closing in. I anticipate the pain to kick in, and welcome it. For I can only think of, and want so badly, to cross that finish line, even if I have to drag on feet of clay all the way there.