Where are you from?

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It starts off as an innocent (and usually simple) question. “Where are you from?” asks the person meeting you for the first time. For most people, a city or country name will suffice to bring about a certain level of understanding regarding their background.

But for me, this is a truly complicated question. Do you mean where am I from ethnically? Do you mean where I am from as in where I’m living right now? Do you mean where I am from as in where I grew up? Do you mean where I am from as in where I identify with most and consider home? I mean, really, this is a loaded question dressed up in innocence. The poor people asking me that question never know what’s coming until they’re knee deep in my explanation. So let’s break this down bit by bit.

To start, the easiest answer I have is when I am traveling abroad. Then I can say either the US or China, based on if the asker wants to know where my family heritage is or where I grew up. Since I’m in another country, I don’t have to explain in as much detail and general answers like that work. But when I’m in the US and people ask me, it’s too broad to just say “United States” – they’ll want to know what state, what city even.

Where am I from? If you mean my ethnic background, my familial “roots” then the answer is China. More specifically Northern China and even more specifically, Shenyang in Liaoning Province. This drills down enough that those familiar with Chinese geography and culture will know right away some basic things: I am from a Mandarin-speaking area, I probably have some Mongol in me, and there are certain slang terms specific to my region that I may use. This also explains why I often get mistaken for Korean – we are very close to (both) Korea(s) and people living in the same region tend to look alike. However, this doesn’t mean I’m truly Chinese. I’m certainly nothing like those who grew up there.

Where am I from? If you mean where I’m living now, then I would have said California, Southern California, Los Angeles, or Valencia. Do I feel like I am Californian or an Angeleno? Yeah, by now I do, since I’d been in the area on and off for a decade. I didn’t grow up here though, so I don’t consider it anything more than my most recent home that felt like it. For now, I’m still not connected enough with Virginia to think of this as my real home, even if my beloved condo, husband, and cat are here.

Where am I from? If you mean where I grew up, oh boy. I didn’t grow up in one place – which do I choose? I really can’t pick, since I spent an average of 3 years in each throughout my childhood before moving on to the next. First, 3.5 years in China, then about 2 years in Pennsylvania, then 3 years in Kansas, 1 year in China, 1 year back in Kansas, 2.5 years in Missouri, 3.5 years in New York, 4 years in California (2 in Valencia, 2 in Westwood/UCLA), 1 year in England, 2 years in California, 0.5 years in Singapore, 2 years in California again (El Segundo), and then back and forth between CA and Virginia for 1.5 years until my most recent 1 year in Virginia. Do I feel Mid-Western, as my 7 years there would suggest? No. Do I feel like an East Coaster? Certainly not. Do I feel like a West Coaster? Only in more recent years.

Where am I from? If you mean where I identify with the most, where my childhood memories are, where I consider home… I really don’t know. I can’t pick a single place, whether a city, a state, or even a region. For my adult life, it has mostly been the greater Los Angeles area, within about 50 miles. But my childhood? There is just too much of a story there to give a simple answer. And then of course I am now officially moved to Virginia, giving me yet another piece to the identity puzzle.

Who knew such a seemingly straightforward question would create so much havoc in my attempt to answer.

iPhone 6 countdown

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It’s almost time to order the newest iPhone and I can hardly wait!! I’ve been waiting eagerly for a year, ever since hearing about the 5S and knowing that the 6 would only be better. Now we’re getting close to that 12:01 PDT deadline. I’m going to bed and hope l wake up to my alarm. Should have slept two hours ago, oh well! I just need to get through one more intense day and I can crash.

[update] Well, I set an alarm for 2:40 EDT and then foolish lay there thinking I had time. I ended up falling asleep until about 3:27 and then scrambling to go order. First I tried the Apple Store app, but it said my product was unavailable. I suppressed panic as I tried the AT&T app (stuck on a landing page about how they’ll be ready soon) and then pulled up the website. Things kept freezing, error messages cropped up a few times, and I started over half a dozen times. Ultimately the best path seemed to be logging in to my AT&T account and then clicking the prompt there to check my upgrade eligibility. The pages there looked a bit different, but I chose my space gray 64 GB iPhone 6 and was able to check out with no further glitches!

screenshot of ordering process for iphone 6 at at&t wireless

I have an order confirmation page, but I don’t see an email confirmation yet and when I go back to my account, the line upgrade doesn’t seem to register (so in theory I could accidentally double-order if I tried the process again). I’m paranoid that this isn’t totally official and/or I won’t get my shipment next Friday when they first go out. The confirmation page has a spot for the date and it’s blank, though when ordering it specified the Sept 19th date. I guess we’ll just have to see if I am fortunate enough to get it on schedule. I sure hope my order is early enough in the queue! Still, I’m not feeling confident enough to sleep just yet.

part of confirmation message from at&t for iphone 6 order

Video editor extraordinaire

laelene Posted in general blog
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Too tired to type much today. Meetings back to back today, demoing for customers, coordinating with partners, and filming for the sales conference tomorrow. In between I started editing the video clips to make them better. Didn’t even have time for a restroom break for a 2.5-hour stretch. Next two days are jammed with conference stuff (internal training for the sales team). I’ll be a video master by the end of this.

Tonight I edited the ones we need first tomorrow. Too tired to finish the rest. At least I have less talking the rest of the week. My throat hurts.

Work anniversary

laelene Posted in general blog
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It’s my one-year anniversary at Canvas! Hard to believe, since it has felt like many years already, given the massive changes and wealth of experiences so far. Things are completely different now, including the office we’re in, the team/department I’m part of, the teams I work with, the roles I undertake, and my ever-expanding responsibilities. What a ride! We’ll see what the next couple of months bring. Will it be intense as usual or will it simmer down a bit?

Also on this happy day was the Apple event announcing the iPhone 6 that I have been eagerly awaiting for over a year. Ever since they announced the iPhone 5S, I’ve been wondering what the 6 would bring and when I could finally upgrade. The thing I’m most looking forward to is the Touch ID, so I don’t have to deal with passcodes to unlock my phone. Of course I’m also happy to see continued improvements on the camera options and many other things as well, but that’s the feature that came with 5S that I really wanted.

Two auspicious things coincided today and I look forward to what the future has to hold.

The man in my dream

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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[I started writing this the day after I woke up from this dream back on 7/26, but I only recently finished it.]

I had a dream last night.

Of a man who picked me up on my way home from work and led me on this fantastical voyage. He was charming and sweet and blonde and rich. Somehow he managed to be a mash-up of some of the men from my past. He drove a Mercedes, which none of them did though. There was the one who drove some sort of Cadillac, another with a Ford truck, the Bentley guy… even one with a family yacht. But this guy, he drove a Mercedes and he struck up a conversation with me as I was walking along a hallway lined with large glass windows on one side. It seemed we worked together and were friendly. I had the impression that I was heading out for the day, but the sun was high in the sky and the welcome rays streamed in to the hallway as we walked.

Physically, he reminded me of a cross between a teacher I had in high school and a man I met in Whole Foods. Personality-wise, he reminded me of a flirtatious friend or two. Somehow he convinced me to take a ride with him in his car instead of heading home. So off we went, driving down a small country road as the breeze swept my hair and the sun warmed our faces. We were exploring the region, down quaint two-lane roads lined with fields of green. He drove me to some place in the middle of this landscape, where all my long-lost friends were. It was a town of sorts where my friends from high school and previous jobs were, together and mingling. The scene was reminiscent of a part of a canyon that I was at for boot camp for AFJROTC one year. It was a sweet reunion, as I happily caught up with some of those friends.

He then took me to a little cozy brunch spot, where we got to enjoy breakfast foods. (Was this day somehow going backwards? Don’t ask me why we were eating brunch midday supposedly after work.) The meal wrapped up with a surprise treat. A rare, fancy dessert that apparently is part of a classier lifestyle. It was as if we were celebrating something. At this point I noticed some coworkers eating in the same establishment. They were eyeing my luxurious dessert with envy. There I was, being shown the finer things in life and rather confused as to how I got into that situation in the first place. Still, I wasn’t about to complain. I was enjoying myself.

Before I knew it, we were wrapping up our grand adventure at a hotel spa later that day. In front of us lay a giant tub brimming with a steaming herbal bath. This is when I really started to question his motives. The day had started off innocently and with a friendly undertone. Somehow as the events progressed, it got more and more suggestive. Then this. The assumption was that we would bathe together. As I stood there taking in the scene, pondering whether I should go for it, I woke up.

The homebody lifestyle

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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cat laying on newspaper on porch

Family activities include Smokey getting in the way of some reading downtime.

Panda and I aren’t much for a partying lifestyle. We’re pretty big homebodies, completely content to stay at home relaxing together, enjoying takeout, and doing (or not doing) other such quiet activities. We could spend the whole night watching some shows or browsing online as we tuck ourselves in bed. It’s a nice sort of bonding for us. We may not be doing things together, but at least we are next to each other sharing our space. It’s comfortable and comforting. I’m at the stage where I’m ready to start building a home life. Suddenly I’m thinking about stuff I can get to personalize our home (guess that comes with the territory of having a home to personalize)!

I’ve always enjoyed this sort of home life, even as a teenager. Of course there have been plenty of times that I’ve gone out to various events or just to hang out with friends late into the night, but usually I just want to hole up in my room and spend my time on my computer, chatting with family, or reading a book. Back then I had plenty of homework to keep me busy for ages too. I see a lot of my peers going out to bars and parties and whatnot, but that doesn’t interest me. Similarly, more active home activities like board games or running around the house playing tag or hide and seek don’t interest me either. Maybe it’s not good that so much of my habits are sedentary, but I am in good health.

Just the other night, Panda and I were going out to eat, but on the way decided to get takeout. I enjoyed that option a lot more than sitting at the restaurant. It was really nice to have our food ready, eat at our own pace, and get some other things done while eating. Plus, I got to wear super comfy clothes that I probably shouldn’t go to a restaurant in lest I be taken for a slob. Perhaps that’s my true motivation – being able to relax without people judging me because I’m dressed so casually and never wear makeup. Home is a place to take off all those layers you throw on for the outside world, a place where the true you comes out.

Are we the only ones our age like this? Seems like everyone else always has some grand night or weekend plans coming up. Ours are just quiet – stay in most of the time, get some chores done, maybe go out to grab some food or stroll through Target, and return home again. No happy hours or late nights out or parties of any sort. It’s not that the opportunities aren’t there – in fact, Panda often turns down invitations to social gatherings with his coworkers and I often skip out on activities with my networks. We do like to plan some nice vacation getaways though!

So what’s your preference? Are you still living it up on the social scenes? Or maybe you’re like us and pretty settled into a calmer pace of life?

By and by

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
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cover image for by and by poem by mary qin

By and by
A month went by
By and by
A year.
Then,

By and by
A decade had gone

And she found herself alone,
Stuck in a job she did not enjoy
Spending her nights with TV dinners —
Numb to the years marching on.

On and on and on
They marched.

On and on and on.

Til she could no longer grasp the joy of her youth;
The triumphs, the failures.
It was just her in an empty apartment,
Wishing she hadn’t let it all go.

How did her life just float on by?
By and by, it did.

Juice Beauty deal

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
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When I saw an email from Juice Beauty about their new brightening pads, I was immediately intrigued. I love wiping my face with cleansing products and lately I’ve started to take note of the dark spots and unevenness I have. At their original price point, I wasn’t so sure about getting them. So, I do what I always do. I waited.

juice beauty green apple peel nightly brightening pads pre-order offer

Lo and behold, come Labor Day weekend, I see an offer for 15% off and free shipping (use code LABORDAY through tomorrow!). While I would have already gotten free shipping with this pre-order offer, that 15% is what made all the difference. While still pricier than I would prefer, I was convinced that I should at least try one jar. I’m waiting on a new credit card to arrive and I was hoping it would make it to me by Saturday so I could use it for this transaction, but the mail came and went with no card.

Today, I went to place my order and found that it was no longer pre-order status for this product. Not a huge deal, since the price is the same. The only thing I lose out on is the deluxe sample of the Green Apple Peel Sensitive – no worries, I’ve gotten plenty of samples of that from Yuzen! Instead, I got the normal sample set with my order (a trio of cleanser, serum, and moisturizer). I much prefer saving $6.75 to getting more product I won’t get a chance to use up.

I can’t wait to get these pads and try them out! If there are any Juice Beauty products you’re interested in, definitely take advantage of their Labor Day sale too. :)

Biweekly, bimonthly

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Today I was putting together a spreadsheet to compare offerings from some companies we’re evaluating. As I was listing the frequency of something they do, I was going to put biweekly, but then I wasn’t sure how that would be interpreted. One thing that has always frustrated me (and confused me to no end) is this term with its conflicting meaning. Let’s take a look at the definition:

bi·week·ly
adjective & adverb
  1. appearing or taking place every two weeks or twice a week.
noun
  1. a periodical that appears every two weeks or twice a week.

 

I mean, is this somebody’s idea of a joke? How do you allow one single word to simultaneously mean two things that don’t jive with each other? They differ mathematically by a factor of 4. FOUR! What if I demanded my paycheck (paid out biweekly) twice a week? After all, that’s biweekly too. Then I’d get paid four times as much, given each check amount is the same. So if I agreed to pay you $100 biweekly, would you expect $10,400 by the end of a year or just a paltry $2600? That’s a staggering difference, isn’t it?? I just don’t get how this so often and so easily overlooked.

The same goes for the similarly infuriatingly vague “bimonthly” term that runs along those same illogical lines. When I say bimonthly, how do you know if I mean twice a month or every other month? There really is no true way to tell without using other phrases… and doesn’t that rather defeat the purpose of a word that is supposed to have a meaning that people understand? Can’t we assign only one definition to it or get rid of the word??! What if I said I’d meet you at noon, except noon meant either 6 in the morning or 10 at night? When would you show up?

So ultimately what did I decide to do for my conundrum at work? I used the term fortnightly.

That whistling gal

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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Today, my coworker started chuckling when I walked towards her whistling. I thought it was because of something else, but when I asked her why she was laughing, she said it always amuses her when I whistle, since she usually only hears guys do that. I’ve never really thought about that before, but it’s true enough. I can’t seem to think of a single female I know who also whistles. I haven’t considered that from the perspective of those who see me. What do they think when I whistle? Is that an oddity?

It’s interesting how something so normal to me suddenly gets this halo of specialness just because of my gender. Why don’t more women whistle? In the public eye, the women I’ve seen whistling generally do those really shrill, loud whistles to get attention. Is there a time when they’re just whistling a tune like I often do? I’m going to be more self-conscious when I whistle now. It always seemed rather natural to me to try to whistle and when I finally taught myself how, I just kept practicing. Today’s observation has brought new light on this activity. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I’ll certainly continue my whistling ways. With so few women whistling, I might as well represent.

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