Happiness Check-in

Recently, as I was cleaning up my hard drive, I found a survey that I had filled out the summer before freshmen year (and then promptly forgot about thereafter). One of the questions was:

What would you most like to have accomplished by the year 2020?

Continue reading


April 28, 2017

Belated post for April 28, 2017.

Today was a great day. I was determined to start the day right. Woke up to Jay Park’s Joah, steamed my outfit, and got dressed in my new Reformation lilac-colored uber-chic dress. Drove down to Palo Alto and worked out of Philz on Forest Ave, with a delicious sausage breakfast burrito for lunch and a mint mojito ice coffee for dessert. Two hours of hyper-productivity. Then, ran some errands at the Stanford mall, rehearsed and performed with Swingtime, and attended a social dance at the Elliot Program Center, where I got a solid 3 hours of exercise. It was great to dance again. The only wrinkle in the day (literally) was my dress, which I found out wrinkles easily. But all in all, still felt like a boss wearing it, so I think it’s gonna be ok.

LA, NY, SF, HI, home

On March 20 at 2am, when I descended upon LA driving down the 405, I felt joy for the first time in ten months. It burst forth, welling up from within, and I almost literally shed tears of happiness. Homesickness has always been a foreign concept to me. This was the first time I’ve ever thought, “Ah, I’m home.”

I spent the first eighteen years of my life in beautiful Hawaii, with summers in Taiwan. In Hawaii, I was the children of Taiwanese immigrants who were always too intense for the locals. “Da loco kine” island life is all about being relaxed, “overachievers” were frowned upon. In Taiwan, I was too American; too tan, too “athletic,” and too accented. I was an outcast, neither a Hawaii local nor Taiwanese.

I then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for college, and spent the next 8 years there. Again, I didn’t fit in. At Stanford, my lack of respect for social norms made me a weirdo. Beyond Stanford, I often felt a suffocating lack of diversity, whether it was socioeconomic diversity, ethnic diversity, industry diversity, or diversity of thought. Luckily, I made a few life-long friends, despite my social awkwardness.

Los Angeles was different. Here, I had friends who accepted me for who I was, tons of family nearby, beautiful weather, and cheap yet delicious food. There was diversity in all ways, every passion hobby imaginable, amazing arts — a true metropolitan city. I could lose myself amongst the crowds. I was no longer in a small town, with a narrow, small town mentality.

Now, I’m based in Brooklyn, New York. We’ll see if this will be another “home” or just another stop in my life journey.

At this point, I’ve moved 24 times since turning 18, and 12 of those times were post-graduation. My heart remains in the city of angels — home.

I end with a poem, which I saw on the metro the other day:

A Map of the World
by Ted Kooser

One of the ancient maps of the world
is heart-shaped, carefully drawn
and once washed with bright colors,
though the colors have faded
as you might expect feelings to fade
from a fragile old heart, the brown map
of a life. But feeling is indelible,
and longing infinite, a starburst compass
pointing in all the directions
two lovers might go, a fresh breeze
swelling their sails, the future uncharted,
still far from the edge
where the sea pours into the stars.

Social Good

With the recent political turmoil in mind, I have began to be more generous in donations to organizations that I feel make a difference. Previously, I had only donated to friends’ Kickstarter campaigns or foundations (Dragon Kim Foundation), on occasion a crowdsourced campaign (for example, Stand with Leah), the World Wildlife Fund, Volunteers in Asia via Amazon Smile, The Stanford Fund (designated to Swingtime), and other various charities that I vetted. I’ve donated time to volunteering at CARECEN, helping domestic violence victims process paperwork to gain legal status. I tried to volunteer at IRAP, but they didn’t have enough attorneys to supervise the willing volunteers.

Yesterday and today, I decide to be more proactive with my donations. I donated to the ACLU and International Rescue Committee. I bought an annual subscription to the New York Times, in an attempt to support honest journalism. I also pledged to help my friend’s Kickstarter campaign, but that has no political implications, only support for an aspiring entrepreneur, haha. (Though I do believe that innovation is the key to “keeping America great.”)

My old mindset was to keep these donations and volunteering pretty private; I’m pretty private about my political beliefs to begin with, and these “causes” that I support seem to me an extension of political beliefs. I also felt that the point of good deeds was to help others, and not to get praise or recognition for these deeds. However, I’ve become increasingly public with my actions…publicly donating to ACLU on Facebook, occasional articles shared on Facebook, and writing this blog post (not that anyone really reads this or connects it to me).

I’m still hesitant to go public with a lot of the issues I care about. Some of them, like women’s rights (equal pay and equal education, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.) are pretty socially acceptable. Others, like mental health awareness or Taiwanese independence, may have an adverse impact on my career. If by going public, I would have some sort of positive impact on these issues, I would gladly go public; however, I remain cynical that my exposure would have a meaningful, lasting impact.

The last couple days, I decided to be more proactive about taking a public stance. Although I don’t really believe that it will have a meaningful difference (and will potentially harm me instead), I decided to say “fuck it” and take the gamble. As an entrepreneur, I’m always taking risks that may leave me with nothing, so I believe I can survive through whatever adverse effects may arise — I only hope that even a little bit of positive sway will result from my gambit.

If the name of the game is survival, then I have plenty of endurance to tough it out. I also bought some iodine tablets today in preparation for nuclear war, so there’s that too.
Continue reading






Benefits of Depression?

Took the long way home today, stopping at Pacifica beach, which was dark and soothing and beautiful in the moonlight. Then, as I rounded the intersection of highway 1 and 92, I saw the gigantic, blood-red moon emerge from the forests’ silhouette. It was a half-moon, but still the size of my fist; each crater was clearly visible and veiled in a mysterious fog.

The stunning vision spurred a thought — perhaps this is the benefit of depression. I began to think about what other benefits there might be. A few come to mind:

  • Increased empathy: you gain a deeper understanding of humanity (or you could argue it is this deeper understanding of humanity that gives you depression, hah!); able to empathize with a wide range of personalities and emotions
  • You see things from a different angle: oftentimes behaviors that don’t make sense to healthy people somehow make sense to you; you’re also more prone to taking a meandering side path and seeing the beautiful things that others might miss in the bustle of their daily lives
  • Many beautiful sunrises: thanks to insomnia, you experience a lot more sunrises than most
  • Courage: when you’ve stared at death in the face a couple times and survived, you learn to find strength (in your convictions, in yourself, etc.) from the deepest, darkest places in your heart; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?