Revisiting work

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
0

This week and last, I went back to my old work place to say hi to come of my colleagues and grab dinner or drinks. It was so strange showing up and not being able to get in without someone letting me in, then hopping around from conversation to conversation while I was there, with no desk or seat that was mine.

It was great to see everyone I ran into and get caught up on some of the changes that had occurred. I was at once surprised at how little had changed yet how much had. It was so strange – the past six months I’ve been in an insane bubble away from much of the world and since I’d undergone intense changes, I sort of thought more would have happened at the company too. At the same time, some of the things that did transpire during that period were changes that could have meant major changes for what my role was.

How often and how frequently do you go back to visit your previous workplaces? I’ve found that I initially return every 6 months or so and it seems to taper off after 2 years, since by then many of the people I knew best move on and there becomes a weaker tie back to the company. I do have some good friendships that came of each place and I maintain loose ties with those friends as our paths find ways to crisscross in the future. In fact, one of my old colleagues who had left will now be moving to NorCal, not far from where I’ll be interning over the summer!

Funny how life works sometimes.

I hope that over the course of my career, I can maintain strong relationships with the people I worked with and maybe we can even work together again in another capacity. It’s always so nice to see them again and be able to get the group back together for some conversation. I don’t know when I can visit again, but I do hope it’s a few more times before life moves on and we disperse to more places.

Shock and awe

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
0

24 hours ago, I went to bed stunned. I really did believe that America would vote Hillary Clinton into office. Perhaps I was too naive.

It’s been a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions in the ensuing hours. I’m pretty sure I went through all the stages of grief and then started all over again today. For a period, I also blocked out the memory and managed to forget. I’m still grappling with how exactly I feel and what I think. It’s pretty insane.

I know it’s not the end of the world, or even the country. But I do truly feel that we could be headed down a dark path. Based on what happened in the campaign, there’s a lot to worry about. Luckily the government has power spread out and things don’t generally move very fast. I’m hoping the more extreme ideas never come to fruition and I know we’ll be looking out for ways we can help ensure that’s the case.

At this point, I think it’s important to remain hopeful and to be strong with those who value humanity without labels that separate. There has been so much division and disagreement in the discourse. I can empathize that certain Americans have been unhappy. I do not pretend to understand their plight, but I would certainly be upset if I felt marginalized and ignored.

However, I wish that this election wasn’t the way for the disenfranchised to lash out. Will they really get what they want out of it? I’m doubtful… only time will tell. I personally could not ignore the consistent bullying and belittling. That is not the temperament and character of a president. I cannot respect a man like that.

I’ve seen a lot of people shocked, disappointed, upset, appalled, disgusted, and in disbelief. I am many of those things too, but at the same time, I have hope that the next couple of years will pan out in a more positive way than we expect in our fearful state. I know many will be working to secure a better future than we might foresee right now. I believe that’s what we’ll need.

For now, I’m taking a moment to mourn. There will be some tough roads ahead.

Good news and good fortune

laelene Posted in general blog
2

This was an awesome week. First and foremost, I got an internship offer!! This was a major win for me and I’m thrilled. I’ll share more details on recruiting and internships once everything settles in the coming weeks. I’ve now rewarded myself with a night meeting new friends, sleep, grocery shopping, lots of boba, a massage, Ethiopian food, and a long-awaited iPhone order (expected to arrive in a month). This is the good life.

cart with last set of honest tea for sale at costco

Score of the day.

Compounding that awesomeness are other wins:

  • I was selected for a workshop to develop my strengths, Gallup style. I’m told over 175 people applied! I’m curious how many were selected – 50 maybe?
  • I randomly came across Honest Tea at Costco and when I tried to find more, was told I was lucky because they sold like hotcakes and they had no idea how I even found any left. I claimed the very last one, which wasn’t even in their system anymore, lol.
  • Last-minute, I called up Massage Envy to book an appointment and got the next slot, with their most popular therapist nonetheless. He was amazed at how much pressure I could take (comfortably) and how flexible and loose I am in the shoulders and hips. Apparently only dancers and gymnasts are like that, yet I’m neither. He said I was one in a million and even thanked me after the massage because he had so much fun.
  • And I even got a fortune cookie that said “Your opportunities are many.” Indeed!

Now before I get too carried away, I do have homework and studying for a quiz that I’ve been putting off… So I guess I should buckle down and stop acting like I forgot all about school. I’m going on a hike tomorrow that I thought was 3.5 hours roundtrip but upon further research, that might only be the way up. I guess I can spare half a day for fun and to finally hike the Hollywood sign!!

Busy time

laelene Posted in general blog
0

Has it really been a week since my last posting?! I don’t think I’ve gone that long without writing something since I started blogging more seriously. Yikes.

This might be a preview of what’s to come with business school. Things have been busy with all the preparation and I can hardly believe all the traveling, packing, unpacking, and repacking I’ve done in the past three months. I’ve been on 20 planes, 11 trains, 2 long distance bus rides, and countless car rides. From Admit Weekend to a wedding to a full month in China and a Europe vacation to boot, I’ve covered a good part of the globe.

Since coming back late the night of the 20th, I’ve been working out the details of my move and trying to get back to PST. Luckily, it only took two days for me to get out of the jetlag funk and now I’m on a pretty normal schedule. I have now moved in as of yesterday and am settling in and trying to get my homework done before the start of the pre-term prep course.

There are also a bunch of administrative things I needed to do, like get my student ID, get books, pay for my parking permit… it’s all so overwhelming that I have trouble even picking which one to do first. I’m slowly chipping away at my to do list before it completely balloons into insanity sometime next week.

I have no idea how the workload will be once classes kick into gear, so postings may become rather sporadic. I’ll certainly try to continue with minimal interruptions!

For the record

laelene Posted in general blog
0

I get my sentimentally from my paternal grandfather. This has become clear to me in recent visits, as he gets older and it presents itself more.

A visit to his room and you’ll see pictures of his children and grandchildren plastered all over the walls and dressers. I hadn’t noted it much before, but it’s his way of preserving memories of his burgeoning family. It’s a nice way to see what family members were like, like a little collection of time capsules. I might just be the same when I’m old and proud of my progeny.

When he was in his mid-eighties (86, perhaps), he wrote a log of our family history. My aunt carefully helped me read through it and I learned of his origins, my dad’s and ultimately mine. I had not known that my dad had another brother in his youth – a child who drowned when he was just 12. Apparently a few more of my distant relatives had also perished this way. (And there I was an avid swimmer in middle and high school… irony? Fate? An anomaly?)

For someone fascinated with family trees, this was a gold mine. He gave me a copy to keep and I cherished the gift of knowledge. I’ve been interested in my ancestry but looking at online sites wouldn’t be very useful since Chinese records aren’t as readily available. I don’t think I even have a birth certificate.

Last time I was there, in early 2014 (which may have been that same trip – I can’t recall), he gave me two photo books of pictures when I was small. There were some I hadn’t seen before and others that were a reminder of my childhood. It felt like he was passing them on to me, a sort of memory inheritance. This time, I received another one, with pictures ranging from when I first arrived in the US to when I was around 9, growing up in Kansas.

This visit, I was also told that there’s a new, updated version of our family history. My family members chuckled and sort of brushed it off as the silliness of an old man, but I appreciate his efforts. He even took a formal portrait and had copies given to each branch of the family. My sentimentality smiles at these gestures and I see myself in him. Now I know where this behavior comes from. How did I miss it all these years?

Life pain

laelene Posted in general blog
0

My heartstrings are tugged easily by all sorts of creatures in life. It’s difficult for me to think of pain or death for almost any living thing. This has been exacerbated by being in China, where life and death are constantly on display.

That tank of fish at the restaurant? They’re there so you can pick one fresh to eat. The meat market? Freshly killed animals that morning. Even a gaggle of geese by the side of the road could be plucked for a meal at any point.

I’ve never been crazy about meat but now I truly spent some time considering whether I should go vegetarian completely. I saw a truckload of pigs in the freeway and all my heart could do was cry at the thought of their fate. Visiting my uncle, there were geese and ducks and chickens abound. He eagerly had one of the geese caught for us to eat. I was nearly sick at the thought. Why should I be the reason a goose had to die that day?

Strangely enough, my hypersensitivity started when I noticed a massive ant and pointed it out to my mother, only to have her stomp on it. I was so upset that in my mind I was thinking about shoving her or even punching her. Had I not pointed it out to her, it would still be alive. This was a desperately upsetting thought and I suppressed the urge for all maturity to fly out the door and kept myself from throwing a tantrum. Inside, I was fuming.

Life is so precious yet we humans so carelessly take it left and right. We kill bugs out of fear or sometimes even pleasure. We kill animals for food. We even kill each other in anger. It’s crazy and sickening. I know that eating animals for food is a natural part of life, but it’s hard to accept sometimes. I hate being the reason for death.

It makes it hard for me to enjoy meat now. I found myself averse to eggs, fish, and various meats. Guilt riddled every bite, if I could bring myself to take it. All I could think of was the pain of a piece of my flesh being torn, cooked, and consumed. Seeing bone made me imagine my bones being broken. Pigs’ feet reminded me of that truck. Everything makes me sad and this sudden closeness with the source of my food has increased my sensitivity to it all.

It’s difficult imagining the pain of the creatures we eat. But at least we’re using them. What bothered me most about the death of the ant is that it was completely senseless. It was not a pest in our home we wanted to be rid of. It was not something we would eat. It was not attacking us or endangering us in any way. So why did it have to die? Thinking about it makes me so sad. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it.

Our world revolves around food

laelene Posted in general blog
0

My entire visit to my grandfather was predicated on food. First, food for the kids. My mom put together goodie bags of all sorts of crackers, cookies, etc. for my cousin’s children.

Then, breakfast at the hotel before heading over.

Once there, we sat and conversed until lunch was served.

In the afternoon, we went back to rest and then returned again for dinner.

As we left, we were given an assortment of food to bring along, including zongzi (sticky rice and meat or dates wrapped in leaves) and fujiu (a family fav of fermented rice).

The next day, it was breakfast at the hotel again and we were off to the next destination.

My slang gives me away

laelene Posted in general blog
0

Whenever I speak to a Chinese person, they very quickly figure out I’m from the Northeast. For years, I couldn’t figure it out. I spoke perfectly standard Mandarin! Right?

It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned certain phrases gave me away. Most of my conversational Chinese I learned from my mom and maternal grandmother. That side of the family is from the Northeast of China. While accent-wise we generally sound like the folks you’d find on TV or teaching you Chinese pronunciation in a language learning course, we’ve got our own slang phrases.

Our local “dialect” isn’t like many other dialects where it’s completely unintelligible compared to the national language of Mandarin. It’s basically like a Californian who uses “like” a lot, refers to freeways with “the” and that sort of thing. Growing up, that’s all I knew, since so much of what I retained was learned from Northeastern sources. I even went to school there for a year. It never occurred to me that our vocabulary would be different.

I used to be very conscious of this fact (ok, if I’m completely honest I still am) and sometimes carefully chose words and phrases to try to mask it. I also do so attempting to ensure I sound like a local and not a strange person who didn’t learn enough in school and speaks using strange phrases. But really, what am I so worried about? So what if they can tell I’m Northeastern and didn’t grow up in the motherland? At least I speak the language fluently unlike so many others who grew up stateside.

It’s strange how I embrace being different, yet whatever mode I’m in I want to be flawless. The Chinese role becomes ever harder as I get older – at once more understanding is expected of me yet I’m more disconnected with cultural norms. I’m trying to learn to embrace what I do know and can say without being too harsh on my skills. I’ve got to keep practicing!

Communal parenting

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships
0

In China, personal lives are a family affair. I’ve seen this playing out day after day in my family, even in my relatively short visit. Everyone spends time worrying about others’ situations. Is that nephew struggling to find a job? Can that granddaughter get into preschool? Does that niece have a significant other yet? Is a cousin’s marriage in the rocks? Does that uncle have financial troubles?

These all seem to be each other’s business. It even extends to the in-laws’ families, so it can get quite complicated. One person may be helping pull strings to get so-and-so into a good school, at any age. In fact, the younger children have a harder time just to get into a program. At least when they’re older, their grades play a factor.

Meanwhile other family members are discussing how best to interfere in a relationship that has gone sour. One aunt might go talk to the wife and another aunt or uncle would approach the husband. Of course the parents and in-laws have been heavily involved all along, often in the middle of the conflict.
Then there are those dealing with some crazy complex financial situation regarding property ownership or some business venture. Who lays claim to what? Should they engage in a lawsuit? How much money should each family give? It’s a big muddled mess.

These aren’t exactly what’s happening in my family per se, but you get the gist. I don’t think Western cultures put as much emphasis on meddling in each other’s affairs. It’s completely normal and expected in Chinese families though. Sometimes I wonder about my own sense of obligation to participate in family affairs in the future. In a way, I’m shielded from this because I’m so far and there’s little contact between me and my relatives outside of my occasional visits to China.

Yet, I can choose to engage. As a connection to the Western world, I can help those who want to send their kids to school in the US. Some of my cousins have expressed interest in this when their toddlers get closer to that age. We’ll see what happens when the time comes. Having Eastern and Western influences growing up, but slightly more from the West gives me some freedom of choice which way I want to lean. My heart has always been on the helping side!

What was your upbringing? How much involvement would you think is normal for an extended family?

My 5 Chinese favs

laelene Posted in general blog
0

These are some of the things about China that I’ve been reminded I enjoy:

Hot drinks

You can get hot water all over the place and trains even have an area for you to top up your jar. People tend to bring their own reusable drink containers, whether actual jars that used to hold something else or actual thermos type cups. Even juice drinks come out warm (typically some sort of orange-esque drink). It’s like a warm cup of Tang, which may sound gross but I love it.

In the US, I’m constantly asking for water with no ice or straight up hot water. In China, I don’t have to worry about it. I know I can get it by default. My stomach can’t really handle cold things, which may be due to my cultural heritage.

Salted duck eggs

These are brined eggs with a very salty egg white and an oily yolk. I absolutely love these and is the only time I actually seek out eating yolk. Usually I avoid yolks, but these are sooooo tasty. I can find these at the Asian market in the US, but I don’t really eat them there for whatever reason.

Minimal meat

There are plenty of delicious dishes with little to no meat, which might be why I don’t really crave meat. I never got used to eating it like Americans tend I’mgo and  perfectly happy with vegetarian options and lots of fruit.

Chinese cucumbers

They just don’t grow’em in the states like they do here. I’m guessing it’s a different variety, but I haven’t seen cucumbers quite like Chinese ones in the US. They’re bumpy on the outside, have a yellow flower on the end, and are so very tasty. American ones are all watery and rather tasteless. They make for great pickles though. Still, I prefer the Chinese ones that are sweet and have smaller seeds.

Wear whatever, do whatever

I can look however I want and act however as long as I’m not disruptive. I don’t feel the need to suppress a burp or worry about how big my belly is. Folks here don’t care and I don’t care what they think anyway. I’m free to try out different looks without running into someone. It’s not like I’m doing anything crazy, but it’s amazing how something as simple as wearing lipstick changes how people see me. With family and strangers, it doesn’t matter and my image is not affected like it could be at work.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...