Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Summer work life

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’m starting to settle in to my role at Cisco and create a few habits. I generally get to work around 8 (ugh) and wrap up around 5, with lunch at 12 with some of my fellow HRLPers (Human Resources Leadership Program interns and full-timers). After work I go to the gym to work out and then relax in the steam room and sauna before showering and heading to dinner. Some evenings I have happy hours or other events to attend.

Later in the week, the interns in other Cisco departments tend to get together for dinner. They also try to coordinate lunch together, but I work in a building about a mile from them so it’s too much of a hassle and I like having some time to my own intern cohort and potential workmates.

I usually get home (to my AirBnB) around 8:30-9:30 and sometimes I chat with one of the other tenants. There’s a South American working for a wine company, a Chicagoan who works at the ER at Kaiser, a traveling consultant, a Chinese girl and her friend, plus one mystery guy who I have yet to meet. I then spend the rest of the night in my room grooving to music and doing a variety of things online before calling it a night.

It’s a rather peaceful yet somehow still busy life. I feel a certain amount of stress making sure I do a good job this summer at work and I also want to ensure I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to explore the area with a variety of friends. This past weekend we went to the redwoods and Santa Cruz, which was an amazing time. I held my very first banana slug!! I’m sure there will be more to come. I should also try to reconnect with old friends who are working up in the SF area, but it feels oh so far…

USC Marshall iTrek 2017: Purim & Western Wall

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Spring break was AMAZING. Magical, even. I got a chance to go to Israel with 19 other classmates and I really can’t imagine doing anything better during that week (I can’t believe it has already been a month since, wow). Our schedule was jam packed with activities giving us a wide range of experiences all around the country and we were all raving about it when we got back.

I’m breaking down the trip into multiple posts since there is just so much to share. Let’s start off with the first two days! Friday night I boarded a plane to Istanbul and met five of the others on our trip. We had a short 1 hour layover before flying off to Tel Aviv and arriving at night in time to catch Purim (it’s like Halloween!).

The next day, we bused over to Jerusalem and toured the Western Wall tunnels and Machane Yehuda market. At night, it was Purim time again, since apparently they stagger celebrations and it was Jerusalem’s turn to party. The market by day became an outdoor club by night!

art display in tom bradley terminal of lax

This was my first time being in Tom Bradley since they renovated! This piece of art hung overhead as we lined up for security.

turkish airlines lunch on plane

On the plane, I opted for chicken as my first meal.

turkish airlines breakfast on plane

After about 12 hours on the plane, we ate breakfast prior to landing in Istanbul for a layover.

entertainment screen showing plane path from los angeles to istanbul

My remote didn’t work so I couldn’t watch any shows, but I did watch the map for a long time.

turkish airlines snack on plane

On the Istanbul to Tel Aviv leg, we all got a quick snack.

view of tel aviv coast from plane at night

First glimpse of Tel Aviv from the air!!

view of tel aviv city from plane at night

As we got closer to the airport, we saw more of Tel Aviv upon descent.

electronic display at hotel showing usc group meeting in alon hall

At the Metropolitan Hotel, the rest of our party was busy pre-partying before heading out for Purim!

food at tel aviv hotel

We got in late so there wasn’t much food left.

usc marshall purim party on the streets of tel aviv

Out we went to party on the streets (mainly Rothschild)! We even brought our sign. 😉
Photo cred: “Mr. Photogenic”

late night pizza after purim party with v for vendetta mask

I borrowed a friend’s V for Vendetta mask for a bit as we got pizza on the way back to the hotel.

tel aviv beach and ocean

The next morning, we got our first glimpse of the beach before leaving Tel Aviv for Jerusalem.

towns on the hill of israel

There were all these towns on hills that I barely captured on the right here.

entrance area to western wall in jerusalem

Our day tour for the day was the Western Wall tunnels. Check out the giant cemetery in the distance.

western wall tunnel under construction with empty bath

Underneath the tunnels were arches that are veeeery old. This used to be a bath.

western wall tunnel with restored bath

This is where they uncovered a bath and water mysteriously filled it up! Our tour guide Shani was there for the excavation. (He’s awesome btw!!)

After all that time underground, it was nice to come back out to the daylight.

western wall women's crowded side

We then took some time to visit the wall and write our wishes to stuff in the cracks.

western wall large men's side

The men’s side was disproportionately larger for some reason… ahem.

western wall bushes and birds

Up against the wall, you’ll hear plenty of chirping from the birds that are chilling on the plants and cracks.

walking back to bus

After the Western Wall, it was back on the bus to go over to Machane Yehuda for lunch and browsing.

signs in jerusalem on the way to machane yehuda market

On our way to the market! Who knew that later tonight it would be a raging Purim party?

facebook post on streets of jerusalem

They turned this post into a FB icon.

tuna tartare dish at mona restaurant jerusalem

Dinner that night was at a nice fancy place, Mona Restaurant.

tough pose with israeli security guard

Check out our awesome security guard for the day! He may have had a gun, but he was the sweetest (and who could resist that crown?). 🙂

purim party at machane yehuda jerusalem

Back to the market that night for some dancing!

israelis dancing on bus stop awning for purim

These crazies got on top of the bus stop awning and I was so scared it would break.

mary poppins costume for purim party jerusalem

I spotted Mary Poppins! Her costume was SO GOOD.

And that wrapped up the first full day of being in Israel. It was only the start to something truly special. I’ll try to get the other posts up quickly…

On My Mind, episode 11: summer plans

laelene Posted in general blog, on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I don’t do a lot of journal entry type posts here, but there are some things going on that I just wanted to share. Sometimes there is no specific topic; it’s just about life in general.

This weekend, I was very excited to get a shipment notification from Baubax, which I backed on Kickstarter back in September. I had hoped to get it in time for Thanksgiving. So much for that! They originally anticipated being able to get them completed by November, but their campaign exploded way beyond they ever expected. The product is a travel jacket, which they designed 4 of. I chose the red bomber jacket because it seemed like a nice balance between dressy and casual. I hope it fits me well!!

Panda and I have been looking for someone to rent a room in our home. His organization has interns that will be coming next month and they always need a place to stay. There are a few students we’ve considered and I look forward to finalizing details. We’re happy to earn some extra money to help fund my MBA. I’ll be leaving halfway through their stay to get ready for my program. Things are going to be crazy the next couple of months! Maybe in the future we can consider listing a room on Airbnb.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

Panda got the Whole Dang Thang, which included fried fish, scallops, gator, calamari, shrimp and more.

About a month ago, Panda and I went out to dinner with Calavera for cajun seafood. As I was cracking away at my crab legs, I didn’t realize I was weakening part of my tooth and on the drive home, I noticed that my tooth had chipped. Prior to that, I had noticed a tiny little indentation along the bottom of the tooth, so it must have fractured along that groove. I needed a teeth cleaning anyway, so I scheduled a dental appointment and was told I should get a crown. Since dental procedures are expensive in the US and I plan on going to China this summer, I decided to wait until I go there to get it done. In the mean while, I look silly sometimes with what looks like a gap in my teeth that then shows itself as a missing chunk. At least a gap would look normal!

Now that I know what program I’ll be attending in the fall, it’s all about getting to know what they have to offer. I received a call from an MBA Ambassador today, but I was working and then wasn’t able to reach her later. I’m compiling questions about the program, life in general, and other things to know before I start school. There are four more people I should reach out to (two friends and two ambassadors, one who interviewed me). I think I’ll learn a lot at Admit Weekend next week and I can’t wait to start meeting people, learning, and thinking about what I’ll do. All this looking to the future has me distracted from what I should focus on, but I’m still making good progress at work. Still, I’m itching to train someone up and start handing things off, though it looks like that won’t happen for another month.

I’ve always been interested in helping uncover resources and make them more readily available, so I created an unofficial employee handbook using Trello. Tomorrow I get to train a new girl on it for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what she thinks, get feedback, and hone it into a lasting legacy that I will leave here. I’ve got quite a few projects that I hope will continue to live on when I’ve moved on. I know that our use of Slack will certainly be one of those.

There are so many things buzzing around in my head these days. With my obsession with Trello, I’ve put together various boards to help me track everything I should be doing. Now I just need to get better at checking them… 😛

Pie pops for Pi Day

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Last week I was going through emails and saw these adorable pie pops from Treatsie. My friend “Calavera” and I decided we had to make them, so she came over this weekend to make some belated Pi Day treats.

piece of pie crust stuck in glass cup while cutting out circles in pie crust

We used a small glass to cut out the circles in the pie crust.

circular pie crust pieces with leftover material

Extra pie crust that we rolled out and cut until it was all used.

pie crust strips cut and laid out

The other piece of pie crust was cut into long strips and woven.

thin strips of pie crust woven into lattice pattern

Weaving together the pie crust lattice.

cutting circles in pie crust lattice

Once done, we used the same glass to cut out circles on the lattice.

round pieces of pie crust with little bit left over

After cutting, we had minimal waste of the crust.

putting together pie pops with jam and egg wash

Then we got to work putting together the pops, putting jam inside.

pie pops put together and ready for sugar dusting before baking

Almost ready for baking!

adding sugar to pie pops before baking

The final touch, adding some sugar on top.

pie pops in oven baking

And in they go for baking.

heart pie pop leaking jam while baking

The heart one was pumping and “bleeding” everywhere.

finished pie pops laid out on turtle-shaped cutting board

Ta-da! The finished product. We tried carving our initials and making the sand dollar ones, but the lattice ones came out best.

Happy Leap Day!

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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I know it’s not a true holiday, but it sure feels like it should be. Today was one of the quietest days at the office, with a surprising number of people leaving early. Tomorrow are primary elections so a lot of kids are home and it’ll likely be another quiet day at the office.

In the future, I hope that I’ll be at a company where we can celebrate Leap Day by encouraging people to get one more day of trying something new. I mean, it’s only once every fortyear…

I celebrated with a colleague by taking advantage of Melting Pot’s $29 4-course deal. We saved over $10 each! It was great to slowly enjoy our meal and chat about all sorts of random things. Wouldn’t it be nice to get an extra day here and there to enjoy quality time with others?

So what did you do on this Leap Day?

Confidence: the most attractive trait

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , ,
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When I think of what attracts me to a person, the only common factor I can find is confidence. It doesn’t matter what they look like, what their experiences have been, what their heritage is, how social (or not) they are, how intelligent they are, or how much we have in common. Across the board, my closest friends have been the ones who are neither cocky nor needy. They don’t need to be aggressive, but they’ll be as assertive it takes. They stand up for their beliefs, but don’t overpower people with them either. And they certainly aren’t clingy (I can’t stand clingy behavior). They have a wonderful balanced feel that makes them easy to get along with.

That’s exactly what attracted me to Panda when I first met him. He was comfortable with himself – he knew he was good at what he does, he didn’t feel self-conscious, and he didn’t go around seeking validation. He walked with a strut that was not quite peacocking, but let his presence be known. He didn’t feel embarrassed to laugh at himself when he goofed up. He didn’t sit around worrying about what perception others had of him. He just went out and did what he is amazing at, like being an engineer, managing things, researching, and planning.

guy walking on treadmill with confident stride

His confident stride.

He didn’t even want or need a relationship when we met. He was perfectly happy with how his life was. Maybe that’s exactly what I liked. The time we spent together was not because he was dependent on me to make him feel good about himself or to have something to do with his time; we made time for each other because we wanted to be in each other’s company. I don’t do well when I feel suffocated in a relationship (romantic or platonic) and perhaps I feel so far more readily than most. But when someone wants to see me every moment of every day (or even every day, really), that’s when I feel claustrophobic. I once had a roommate like that, who tried to join me on almost all of my social activities, clinging to me and my friends. I didn’t mind inviting her to some events and having her tag along here and there, but every single time got to be too much.

I must get it from my family’s lifestyle. We don’t see each other much: my parents and I see each other about twice a year (or in passing when we lived together), my relatives in China and I see each other once every few years for a few days, and even Panda and I are often separated by thousands of miles (generally for a week at a time). In these types of arrangements, you need to have the confidence to carry on your own life when others are not around and not a constant presence. While I don’t think you should “need” anyone as an adult, it sure is good to want certain people. If the reasons you spend time with them are because you like them and you get along well, it’s far more rewarding than because you feel obligated or guilty to do so. I certainly don’t want to get stuck in those situations, where the connection isn’t genuine. Why waste each other’s* time?

 

*On a side note, I totally went off on a grammar rule tangent with each other’s vs. each others’ (there seems to be a slight consensus that the first case is accurate, but my spell check indicates I should check it… alas, you get the point).

365great Day 326: travel buddies

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , ,
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365great day 326: travel buddiesI really enjoy traveling solo. You get to experience things in ways that nobody else would. It makes you more open to what will happen. And funny enough, it makes you more likely to find travel buddies to spend your time with. When you travel with someone (or a group), it’s too easy to stay within the safe confines of those social interactions. While you may speak to strangers in passing, you rarely strike up an in-depth conversation the way you could if you were alone. It’s like bringing a bubble with you when you travel, always keeping things at arms-length. Whenever I travel alone, however, the barriers break down far easier and I find myself suddenly having dinner with three guys I met the day before, or being followed around a castle by a couple of locals, or on a moped with some random stranger. It makes things infinitely more fun when I can explore a city with my new travel buddies, whether it’s just for a few hours or for a few days. It’s a great way to enjoy a new city.

The holiday break

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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With just about a day left before Panda and I headed back to LAX to return to our life out east, I started to feel anxious. It had been a wonderful two weeks, exactly the sort of healing, growing, relaxing, and enjoying I needed. I was kind of worried about getting back into things at work and all the other obligations being back entails. Luckily, the transition hasn’t been that bad at all and I’m happy to be (what is now) home.

Here are some highlights from my time in balmy SoCal. Other moments included hanging out with my mom, chatting with my cousin (and helping her get a new laptop at Best Buy), enjoying quiet moments alone at the mall, meeting up with some AKPsi pledge bros, grabbing lunch with an old UCLA AFROTC friend, catching up over tea with a friend I met at a Gogobot event, a session with my microdermabrasion guy (it’s been over a year!), relaxing at my fab reflexology spot, and reminiscing over old pictures (many that will slowly make their way into blog posts).

view of other united flights lined up at terminal at iad airport

And off we go on our winter vacation.

girl sitting in first class seat on plane with blanket wrapped around legs

We got upgraded to first class on the way in! I smartly brought a blanket.

aerial of northern virginia area near dulles airport

As we took off, I tried to spot our new condo with little luck.

overhead view of gray clouds and white clouds with shadows of setting sun

The creepy gray clouds tried to climb over the fluffy white ones…

breakfast meal served in first class on united flight, with eggs, potatoes au gratin, meat patty, tomato, cinnamon roll, fresh fruit, and orange juice

Breakfast is served! I enjoyed the potatoes au gratin best.

tiny ice crystals formed on exterior of plane window

Gettin’ frosty up here but I’m toasty in my blankie. 🙂

aerial view of land with bright light in distance

What’s that brilliantly bright light in the distance? I think it was probably a large lake catching the sun.

girl laying on ground looking over and smiling at cat looking into distance

First order of business at home is to hang out with Missy.

apple that burst around the middle and split apart

Umm, how does this even happen to an apple?!

girl holding giant stick of tornado fries in front of kiosk in mall

I discover a new favorite snack at the mall: Tornado Fries! Take a whole potato, swirl cut it, spread out along large stick, fry, and sprinkle on various powders for flavor. Fun!

manya jewelers storefront at valencia town center mall with engagement ring made there in foreground

Had my ring cleaned at my jewelers for the first time since getting it and it was nice to catch up with the owner.

cat laying against leg underneath body pillow facing up

Hehe, Missy doesn’t mind that the pillow is crushing her. She loves snuggling with me anyway.

girl sipping japanese matcha green tea latte with 3d latte art of bear at outdoor table of cafe

For my birthday, I basically hopped from restaurant to cafe to bakery to restaurant. Happy taste buds and belly!

table filled with giant dishes of northern chinese food and girl looking skeptical about two people eating it all

Oops, we over-ordered for food. Two people got what five probably should have.

cat walking on person's butt while she lies across bed on belly

Missy walks all over me and I love it.

cat taking nap with arms extended over keyboard of laptop while sitting on person's lap

When she’s like this, how can I work? Too cute.

zoomed in view of times square new years ball lit up in blue on tv for new years eve celebration in nyc

I had a quiet NYE just watching the show on TV.

electric guitarist playing music in middle of road at intersection in culver city

Ringing in the new year with this guy jamming on his electric guitar! #culvercitycharacters

booths at westwood farmers market on broxton street thursday near ucla

Lol, I never got to check out the Westwood Farmer’s Market once it was moved to Thursday, and now here I am.

kimchi fried rice dish at gushi's restaurant in westwood near ucla

My absolute fav to get at Gushi.

cat sitting pretty atop luxurious white furry blanket

Little miss princess.

thin crust pizza with half sausage with red onions and half mozzarella with basil

Trying out a new pizza joint in DTLA with my Gogobot buds.

blurry selfie with terrible aim of part of new friend at pizza place

(re)Met a Gogoboter and we do some selfies.

blurry shot of group of friends at dim sum restaurant table

Got together with old friends who I met the year I met Panda! Yes, the picture is intentionally blurry.

box of lady di's cupcakes and two brownies on side

I couldn’t leave LA without bringing some treats.

wolfgang puck express pizza box

At the airport, I got dinner since I hadn’t eaten all day.

wolfgang puck express pepperoni pizza in box

I thought we got a pepperoni and mushroom, but we accidentally left off the mushroom part of the order. Oh well!

A blogger, an author, a poet, a writer

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I want to write a novel. I’m not sure if I even have that much to write about, but I have some ideas I’ve been meaning to get down. I figure I’ll just start writing and see where it takes me. Maybe I’ll surprise myself with tens of thousands of words, or maybe I’ll get stuck after a few thousand. Whatever the case, a goal I have for the coming months is to get this going and eventually build up the courage to share it with some friends.

bottle of gold calligraphy ink and glass pen on clipboard with lined paperThis kind of came about due to a confluence of events, including friends sharing their writing and my personal need for expression beyond blogging. There are some things I want to get down on paper, but in a “fiction influenced by experiences” kind of way. I could post bits of it here, but I also want to explore the possibility of a story line that runs far longer than a blog post would allow. If I find I’m not writing that much, I think I might post installments here, but let’s go big first. At the same time, I had two friends who shared the various prose they’ve written and it makes me want to join their ranks. In addition, after reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, I see hope that you don’t have to be a fantastic writer for people to want to read your work. So a growing need, possible mentors/role models, and examples of success make me feel encouraged to produce something.

I’ve thought of myself as a blogger for a few years now, and occasionally I consider myself a writer. When it comes to being an author or poet though, it’s new territory for me and I like exploring that. It’s been a fantastic way to connect with some friends in ways that I haven’t before (and somehow Joseph Gordon-Levitt keeps cropping up in conversations with writer friends – who is this guy?!). I can’t wait to have more conversations about our writing journeys as we all work to produce something to share. I also find reading to be a completely different experience now that I notice what I like and don’t like about each author’s style. I feel like a new world is opening up to me and I look forward to stepping in!

Love overflowing

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,
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Here’s what I love about this time of year: people are happy, people are celebrating.

I came home initially feeling a bit like I was escaping the challenges of my new life for a bit. Taking a break to return to a place that is familiar, with wide networks of people I know. At first it was a quiet time for me to reflect and enjoy the peace. As my birthday drew near, I started to make plans with people and by the time I leave I’ll have had about half a dozen meet ups with very different social groups. I hadn’t quite realized how lonely and disconnected I felt until I began reconnecting. Suddenly I noticed that I was happier and the feeling multiplied on my birthday, as old friends left me messages. It’s such a marvelous feeling to have all these social connections and I’m going to have to find some groups to get involved with out east.

Not only are a ton of people around for the holidays, they are generally in high spirits. This is a time to reunite with loved ones, to reflect on a year gone by, to celebrate a fresh new start. A new year gives people hope and something to look forward to. It’s the perfect time to try to make the kinds of changes we’d like to see in our lives. Oh, and for me it’s also a time to think about the age I just passed and what another year can bring. I certainly don’t feel 28, but hey it happened! The combination of people being excited about the prospects of a new year, happy to be with family, and wishing me well on my birthday has been such a mood booster.

green tea latte drink with 3d latte art bear and the world love written on its bellyI feel loved. Loved by my family (Missy included), loved by my fiance, loved by my friends. The pride in my mom’s demeanor when she told me about my birthday gift was priceless. My parents’ love for me runs incredibly deep and when they can set me up for a good life, it makes them happy. This year they were able to gift me a sizable contribution towards the down payment of the condo. It’s not about the money itself, but the fact that they can provide me with a springboard toward a life of success and happiness. And seeing how proud it makes them touches my heart. I am so fortunate to have hardworking parents who put so much into me.

It’s times like these that I’m reminded of a quote from Sister Wives: “Love should be multiplied, not divided.” Indeed, I don’t see why loving one person takes away from the love of another. I love the people in my life in vastly different ways, depending on the nature of our relationships. At the moment I feel so much joy in the love around me it’s beautiful. I guess it’s also easy because I can manage my time between all the people (and animals) I want to be around. I don’t have any of them hogging my time and energy or complaining that something else is. And so I’m at a good place again, basking in the final days of this retreat as I look to transition back east and find some friends outside of work. Maybe I’m ready for 2014 after all.

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