The Asian American Quarter-Life Crisis.

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I was very fortunate to get the chance to read and respond to this post about the Asian American Quarter-Life Crisis written by a very insightful and inspiring blogger, Liz. Here is my comment on her post and her response to me. (Click on images for a clearer display.)

Comment on Liz' Post

Liz' Response

my name is elizabeth

aaqlc

In the 10 years since I graduated from college, I’ve had the same conversation hundreds of times:

“What are you doing now?”

“I’m an engineer/a lawyer/a pharmacist/an analyst at [insert name of large bank here].”

“Oh, cool!  Do you like it?”

[shrug] “It’s work.”

Or maybe:

“Not really, but… I guess it’s okay for now….”

Or maybe just:

“No.”

I’ve had this conversation so many times that I feel like this problem is epidemic:  So many Asian Americans I know have great jobs.  So few of them enjoy their work.

I’ve dubbed this the Asian American Quarter-Life Crisis: intelligent and hard-working twenty- and thirtysomethings in stable, well-paying jobs that they detest but don’t leave.

If the conversation continues (and often it doesn’t, because the other person is depressed by it or just doesn’t want to talk about it), the reasons for staying in the job are sometimes predictable.  “It pays…

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Having Friends Makes You More Knowledgeable

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Read time: 1 minute

Last weekend, I was introduced to two well-known people, Harry & David. I had hoped that there would be mention of a Prince or Bowie during the conversation, but it was not meant to be.

Apparently, and please excuse my unawareness, Harry & David is an American gourmet gift company that has been around since 1910. While Harry & David’s existence is general knowledge, according to my friends, and I consider myself to be culturally American, I had never heard of these gentlemen.

Growing up as an Asian American, I had little exposure to the custom of giving gift baskets to friends and family during the holidays, which is probably why I’ve never heard of Harry & David until now.

Aside from contributing to our emotional well-being, friends are also an integral part to how we learn and develop our cultural competence. While finding out about Harry & David didn’t changed my life (although, pear gift baskets do sound awesome), it did give me some insight into another part of American culture that I was unaware of.

I always knew that having friends was great for me emotionally and socially, but it was mind-blowing to think about how much information I was exposed to because of them. Think about your closest friends, each of them has his or her own intellectual curiosities, hobbies, networks, backgrounds, and have essentially soaked up, in my case, about 24 years worth of ideas, information, and experiences.

The great part is that your friends can share that with you. (If you’re really lucky, the knowledge they share will be factually correct. Actually, you should probably fact check sometimes, just in case.) The better part is that your friends will present the material in an engaging way. What better way to learn than through hilarious stories, inspirational conversation, and, spirited debate? Okay, Sesame Street might be tied.

David & Harry

What have you learned thanks to your friends?

Top 5 Things New SF Residents Like to Do

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Read time: 1 minute 45 seconds

Good news! Cool people are coming to live with us here in San Francisco! This afternoon I did some research on new SF residents. I picked a sample of meetup groups geared towards new SF residents and went through 100 profiles to see what their top interests were. (To answer your question, yes, I feel like a stalker.) What do you think new SF residents like to do? Let’s see!

#1 Drinking (59 out of 100 profiles)

New SF residents are interested in checking out cool bars, going to happy hours, and socializing over some good drinks. The drink of choice? Beer. Wine and cocktails were a close 2nd and 3rd. What is your favorite bar in SF? Share below!

#2 Hiking (45 out of 100 profiles) 

New SF residents are embracing SF’s scenic trails, enjoying the outdoors every chance they get. Honestly, who could blame them? SF is a good-looking place. With fresh air, great views and beautiful weather, SF is definitely a great place to hike. Check out the scenery at Battery Godfrey in the Presidio if you’ve never been there. You’ll get a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. (There’s a nice trail in the area as well!)

 #3 Dining out (39 out of 100 profiles)

I’m so proud that dining out has made the #3 spot on this list! SF is, indeed, drawing an awesome crowd! Choosing which one of your 20 favorite restaurants to go to when you’re hungry is tough. It’s a great problem to have, though your stomach will probably suffer while you take 20 minutes to go through the endless possibilities just to realize that you want In-N-Out. (Always a great choice, btw.)

#4 Exploring the city (29 out of 100 profiles)

Exploring the city is probably the one of the easiest ways to start becoming a local. Heck, I think everyone should take the opportunity to explore SF, regardless of how long you’ve lived here. Apart from the many unique spots the city has to offer, SF residents can experience familiar destinations in a new way just by taking a different mode of transportation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen new things just because I’ve taken a bus instead of the light rail or walked instead of drove. Go out and have an adventure!

cable-car-san-francisco

#5 Checking out the music scene (28 out of 100 profiles)

If there’s one thing I can say about people that just moved to San Francisco, it’s that they come with an eclectic taste in music. It’s awesome to see how excited new residents are about checking out local artists, attending music festivals, and joining groups that play music together. Stopping by Amoeba Music to browse vintage records or The Warfield to watch a show is always a good time. Happy listening!

If this is a glimpse of what new SF residents like to do, I am excited to meet them and, potentially, help them build a network of friends in SF. http://www.friendtailor.com/

Welcome to SF! I hope we cross paths soon!

Dear 2014 Problems, We’re Coming for You!

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So we’re making our way through January and if you’re anything like me, in the sense that you’re a human being, you’re already obsessing over problems you think are going to happen this year.

Whether the problems are related to your family, your friends, your living situation, your career, your education, your finances (we could go on, I’m sure.), all seem equally daunting and are, somehow, actually taking the pep out of your step. NOOO, not the pep!

When faced with problems, we have a natural tendency to panic. While panic doesn’t always have physical manifestations, it finds a way to pervade our lives. How we deal with this panic is a true testament to who we are.

Often times, I find it too easy to blame others or turn panic into something negative. It’s troubling how easily we can create things like hate, betrayal, and resentment, and then spread them into the universe by handling our problems poorly.

We’re not doing that this year! You, me, and the 5 other people who read this blog, including my mom (Hi, Mom!), are going to face our problems with good character.

We’re going to think about problems in a larger context and realize that problems are only as intimidating as we allow them to be. We’re going to remember that the awesome people in our lives are not worth losing over a million of these pesky problems. Lastly, no matter what happens, we’re not going to let these problems change us into petty people who hate, betray, and resent.

Trust in yourself and choose to be happy. (Oh, and make a new friend this year – I can help if you’re in SF! http://www.friendtailor.com/)

Problems Post

This picture because it gets me every time. This is what we’ll feel like when we show these 2014 problems who’s boss!

How FriendTailor Works

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Read time: 2 minutes

Since a lot of people are usually confused about how FriendTailor works, I thought it’d be a good idea to use this post to clarify how FriendTailor works with some role-playing fun!

FriendTailor Script

Scene 1: The Appointment

[Scene takes place in Dolores Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Awesome FT Customer is lounging on the grass and using the free wifi to browse the internet on his/her laptop. (Thanks, Google!) Awesome FT Customer magically stumbles upon http://www.friendtailor.com/.]

Awesome FT Customer: This site looks amazing! I love making new friends in SF. Whoever thought of this service is a genius! I’m going to sign up for FriendTailor right now!

[10 seconds later. Jessica excitedly sees that there’s a new message in the inbox she had been staring at for hours.]

Jessica: OMG! I love this person! I’m going to ask when this person is available for a quick 20-minute chat. I want to know what he/she is looking for in a new friend and how FriendTailor can help.

[10 seconds later. Awesome FT Customer gets a message and sends his/her availability for the week. Appointment booked. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.]

Scene 2: The Chat

[Scene takes place at a hip cafe. Awesome FT Customer arrives.]

Jessica: Nice to meet you Awesome FT Customer! You have a great name! Let me buy you a coffee or tea.

[Jessica buys Awesome FT Customer a beverage. They sit down and start talking about one of the best things in the world, friendship.]

Crowd: Awwww!

[Happy background music plays as Awesome FT Customer and Jessica laugh, smile, and have a great time getting to know each other. Jessica gets a good understanding of what Awesome FT Customer is looking for in a friend and how FriendTailor can help Awesome FT Customer.]

Scene 3: The Match

[Jessica contacts Awesome FT Customer once there is a friend match and introduces the pair via e-mail, which informs Awesome FT Customer where to meet  and gives him/her a chance to engage with the other person prior to the meet.]

*I actually don’t really know what happens in this scene, since I haven’t observed a friend match happen. I think that’s a good thing? I don’t want to be creepy.

[Cue happy background music again as Awesome FT Customer either meets 1-on-1 or in a group, depending on his/her preference, for a fun activity. Awesome FT Customer has a great time meeting compatible people who are also actively looking to make new friends!]

Scene 4: The Follow-Up

[Jessica e-mails Awesome FT Customer to see how the match went.]

Awesome FT Customer: The match went really well! I see friend potential in Awesome FT Customer 2. He/she and I had a lot in common and our personalities work well together. We are planning to meet again next week. Now, I’m going to stop saying this out loud and start typing this in an e-mail to Jessica.

[Jessica receives the message and starts tearing up. Friendship is a beautiful thing! She plans to check in with the pair again to see if they need any further assistance planning/scheduling activities.]

The End

Girls Got My Back

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Read time: 1 minute 30 seconds

After completing a whole week of blogging, I would like to thank the Academy, my friends, my family, and, of course, my girls. Before anyone jumps the gun and thinks that two daughters have miraculously sprung from the ground, I would like to clarify that these are the girls I am referring to: Kimberly (amazing roommate), Jolena (my absolute favorite sister), and Cary (bad-ass friend till the end).

I would like to close out this week by reflecting on how lucky I have been to have some great girls supporting me and helping me on my journey to build FriendTailor. (I think I’ve guilted some of them into doing my work for me by guest blogging in the future! Hooray!!!)

KIMBERLY, thank you so much for reading blog!

Story time: After Kimberly got back home yesterday, I shared some ideas for the blog with her while she was on her iPad. She immediately stopped playing the dinosaur game she was preoccupied with and said, “Oh, I haven’t read today’s yet!” The fact that she went straight for my blog wasn’t what touched me. Kimberly stopped playing her dinosaur game for me. (Yes, I cried. I finally understood what friendship felt like.) Of course, staying true to who she is, Kimberly immediately pointed out some grammatical errors and told me to fix them. Is this friendship? I think so.

Back to the thank yous.

JOLENA, you’re the best sister ever. Thank you so much for the support! We got something special, sis. Who else is going to mess with Mom and Dad? We gotta keep their lives exciting! This is my sis in action:

Jolena's Message

CARY, you’re a boss and I know it. I owe you more than you know. Like the $10 I borrowed from you when we had lunch that one time and, of course, this bad-ass friendship.

Here, see for yourself why this girl rocks.

Cary's Message

I swear she’s the only girl that would sign up for an account that she will never use again just to like one of my posts. I know what you’re thinking, so back off, she’s mine.

Yep, I have some pretty awesome people in my life. Now back to work!

When was the last time you were touched by the support you received? Tell us how lucky you are!

In 48 Hours, I’m Getting a Gift from the Universe

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Read time: 1 minute 15 seconds

As you can tell from the title of this post, I’m kind of best friends with the universe. I don’t mean to brag or anything, but the universe called me up and was like, “Yo, Jess, I’m going to give you a gift within 48 hours. Is that cool?” Yup, that’s my buddy, the universe.

So I’m actually getting this gift because of a group of very special ladies I met this evening. In addition to my friends and family, I have been looking for a good external support system to give me another perspective on life as I continue growing FriendTailor. I was lucky enough to meet Mariel, Diana, Marissa, Kim 1, Kim 2, and Jenny.

I have to admit I experienced a bit of culture shock when I first met up with the group. With unfamiliar terms, like manifesting dreams, Law of Attraction, and energy experiments, casually flying around during conversation, I had to wonder whether my reading comprehension skills had failed me when I read the description for this event.

As I continued listening, I realized that what these women had been talking about so elusively, was something super relatable, life. The awesome part? I love talking about life!

I spent the evening listening to strong women give their thoughts on things like happiness, passion, and purpose, the fundamentals of human life that deserve to be thought about and discussed on a daily basis.

At the end of the night, members were challenged to push boundaries and take a risk before the next meeting. For me, I’m taking the risk of sharing this blog post with the wonderful women I just met a couple hours ago. I hope they like it!

As for getting a gift from the universe, each of us wrote down today’s date as part of an exercise to track any positivity coming our way for the next 48 hours.

(I’ll let you know when my Lamborghini arrives.)

Life Group

Inspiration cards from Mariel: Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself. -Rumi

If the universe was giving you a gift, what would you want?