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Always Nicole
Nicole Kayam Lam


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I Told You So, Andrew


So everyone knows about my cereal idea. Three years ago, I thought of opening a cereal shop when I grow up. Last night while sipping her bubble tea, my friend told me,


“You know, I recently found a cereal shop.”

“Really, where?”

“I can’t remember.”

“But that means there is one?”


“Oh God.”

“When I saw it, I instantly remembered hearing someone once telling me about some cereal shop.”

“That was me.”

“Yeah, now I know.”


Cnce I got home, I went on Google. This was what I found.  






I even found an article about the New Idea. The USA Today newspaper writes, “Think Starbucks of cereal.” I could not believe that I said a similar line to my friends just a year ago. I remember trying to convince them that the shop could be located in Manhattan, next to a high-class financial district where I can sell cereal to people coming and going.


“It would just be like Starbucks – selling breakfast to people in Manhattan who have no time,” I said.  


But it wasn’t just that. I wanted to design my shop so that it would be super classy with nice big windows, just like Starbucks. That way, I could get rich people living in the Upper East Side of Manhatten to come to my shop. I made it clear to my friends that I did not want to open up my shop in Chinatown. Like Starbucks, it was going to be a little boutique, elegant store.




Well anyway, I have pretty much stopped searching for the hundreds of articles and blogs that people have written about this franchise. It just makes me more upset that I did not grow up fast enough or the world could not wait for me. As a college student, I already worry about being poor and unemployed. Now with my idea already taken, I feel even more left behind. I should have studied harder in my economics class so I would have known somehow how to patent my idea. Now that the idea is made public, I know it sounds lame to say that I thought of it too or perhaps first. But really, I did think of it before the real thing happened. I have witnesses. I remember, last year, I actually called up my parents from my campus dorm to tell them about this idea. I was just waiting to do it – meaning when I graduate, have a job, earn enough money to start something, and have business education and experience. After reading the article, I immediately began hating all those friends of mine who criticized my idea. They said it wasn’t going to work.


“No one is going to spend that much money on a bowl of cereal they can make at home,” one-who-should-not-be-named said. “You need something newer.”


 That’s why we had joked that I was going to call my shop, “I Told You So, Andrew.”


I am really just joking. I know my friends were only trying to help. They wanted my shop to be flawless and successful.


Anyway, unlike me, my mother was actually excited to hear about the franchise. I guess she was very happy to know that my ideas are actually not ridiculous. She immediately advised me to go work in Cereality.


“To get experience,” my mother suggested. “There is apparently one in New York City.”


She now sees me becoming somebody. For the last couple of years, my brother has taken the spotlight in the house and my mother has remained worried that I will remain in the shadows for the rest of my life. She is nervous that when I graduate from college, I will be unemployed and be left to live in the basement. She thinks I have no ambition and no passion for anything. She thinks I do not work hard enough. My ego further deteriorates when I feel I am gaining weight. Watching Bridget Jones was funny and encouraging but it is not getting rid of the fear that I am perhaps getting fat. I am so afraid of going to Hong Kong now.


“I look like a football player when walking among those skinny Hong Kong girls,” I complained to Lei.


My brother on the other hand is what I call a workaholic but his work ethic is paying off so I can not say anything. He is getting better grades than I did when I was in high school. He probably will get into a better college. To top it off, recently he has been going nuts working out so he is super skinny. Over dinner, my older cousin told me she actually suggested Nigel to one of her friend’s daughter as possible date partner to the high school prom.


“Nigel has that very unique, handsome look,” Anita said while eating a mochi.


 But what about me? I never get that kind of praise.


So now my mother thinks I could at least become the co-owner of a cereal shop while my brother goes off to become a top human rights lawyer.


“I can see now that you have an interest entering into this field – starting your own business,” my mother said in Cantonese.

But that is not the end of it. While I am the co-owner, my mother plans to be the store manager. She obviously will never stop intruding in whatever I do. She got so excited thinking about becoming the store manager that she could not sleep. She has always talked about owning her own store. Ten years ago, she thought of openning a bubble tea shop. She went to “get experience” by working in a bubble tea shop in Chinatown. She quit after two weeks. I think she could not stand being subordinate to those Chinese waitresses.


“I have a bachelor’s degree,” she reminded me. “Those girls probably have not finished high school yet and decided to immigrate here. They probably will be waitresses all their lives.”


She also told me she hated the conversations those girls had.


“With their miserable lives, no wonder they have those disgusting conversations about men and sex.”


Months later, she began her tutoring school. That lasted six months. Now she places the dream on me. Since she could not sleep, she decided to watch television at two in the morning. As you can tell, she also loves those Tawainese dramas.  


She gave me two suggestions. Work in Cereality to “get experience” or go to cooking school. She thought that instead of opening a cereal shop, I could open a Chinese boutique store selling sweets. With these crazy ideas, no wonder she couldn’t sleep.


I am still very optimistic. My friends love me for being so. Personally, I think the name is lame. Cereality? It is like calling your dog Doggy. I still think that maybe I could open up my own boutique cereal store because I have some ideas that the co-founders of Cereality have not thought of. I obviously would not write the ideas here but just to clarify to myself and to all my friends who will read this, I will one day have my own cereal shop. Maybe I could open up a shop with my friends. Now, I am thinking of all those Tawainese dramas that have plots of a pretty, skinny Tawainese girl opening a bakery with her other pretty, skinny Tawainese friends. In the end, maybe I will bump into a celebrity eating at my boutique cereal shop and marry him. You never know.




I obviously learned that I should always believe in myself. My ideas aren’t ridiculous. This experience has made me believe that perhaps my other ideas are also great and very possible.


In a way, I am a very realistic person. Some people say I am too idealistic or too happy. For example, I dream of being rich, successful, pretty, and skinny when I grow up. Lei tells me that life might not turn out sweet and happy. People don’t always get married at the end of the story. Lei tells me she has been thinking very negative lately.


“I feel like my life is so boring. Like, I will graduate from college, work in the same, mundane job, get married with my high school boyfriend, have kids, and then die,” she said.


To me, she sounds so old. New York City does this to people. However, sometimes I fear I maybe am living in fairyland. I think I am unique when in reality, I am just like everyone else. When walking down the street, no one would think I was special in anyway.


But maybe I am special because I can think of some creative stuff.




Posted: 1:02 AM, June 28, 2009
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