Changes

I promised some exciting news in my last post, and here I am, as promised!

I wanted to wait until I had everything settled, but now I can tell you with certainty that I have a new job!  Yes, I’m at a new company with a new position and although it was bittersweet to leave my old position and coworkers, I made the decision to move onwards and try something new.

I’m no longer doing PR, but still working with live entertainment, just now a little more behind the scenes in a management role that involves a lot of coordinating between my company and the events/venues we work with.  My current position is less creative than what I’ve done in the past (and sadly I am nowhere close to managing our social media sites, so I can’t tell people anymore that I go on Facebook and Twitter for work) but I’m not too sad- if anything, perhaps some of that creative energy will be transferred back into me and I’ll get fired up for some of my creative writing.

It’s a new chapter in my life and I’m excited to see where it takes me!  Also, start placing bets about where I’m going this summer!  Hint: it’s abroad, and it’s somewhere I’ve never been before.  If I already told you, you can’t say anything because that’s cheating.  On the down side, since I just started a new job I’ll be going into vacation debt (I booked the trip before I got the new position) so after this summer, the next time I’ll be going abroad for any significant amount of time will probably be 2015…oh well.  Small price to pay for this year’s trip!

On other news, I was belated with my thanks for Mother’s Day, so it’s only fitting that I be belated for my Father’s Day thanks as well.  I’m equal opportunity like that.

I unfortunately never knew one of my grandpas who died shortly after I was born, but I imagine I would get along famously with him as I love my grandma and if she loved him, then he’s OK in my book.  My other grandpa I’ve been lucky enough to have constantly in my life- whether it’s teaching me to drive or tutoring me tirelessly on math or being the hero of my elementary school class by bringing in goldfish as classroom pets, he’s always been there for me and I am thankful for every day that we get to spend together.

People have said (and I fully agree) that my dad and I are the same personality in two different bodies.  We went to the same college, both love and performed in musicals, and we like things that are very organized and take an effort to sort out (my thing is genealogy and family trees, he’s really into maps and topography).  Though I tend to think his jokes run a little more on the pun-ny side than mine.  Here’s an old email I found from a few years ago when I was in college and had a weird mysterious rash on my face (all verbatim):

Me: My co-worker took a look at my rash and said it definitely was hives.  I’m going to drop by the health center later but I wonder what gave them to me…the only time I got them was when I ate buffalo wings and that was on my body not my face.  WAHHHHHH it burnssssssss

Dad: Bee strong

Me: THATS NOT FUNNY.  I’M IN PAIN HERE!  Also, what do bees have anything to do with it?

Dad: Bee hives.

Me: THAT’S STILL NOT FUNNY.  It’s so not funny, I’m laughing.

Dad: Hope you feel better soon.  Love you.

Love you too, Dad.

Belated Thanks for My Mother

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to everyone!  I hope you all had a chance to express to your mothers (or other significant mother-like figures in your lives) how much you appreciate and love them.  I don’t care how cliche it is, I totally admit that my mother and grandmothers are my heroes.  They have all gone through so much and have more strength and willpower than Superman can ever hope to have.  If I turn into even half the woman my mother is, I’ll be happy.  But I’m pretty sure I can never be as great as her or my grandmothers though, since at this moment in time I have not mastered any of these achievements that they have:

  • master a second/third/fourth language
  • successfully sew clothing from scratch (I still wear some of my grandma’s handmade creations and get compliments all the time, like this coral and gold beauty.)
  • kill, pluck, and prepare a chicken (or any number of domesticated livestock and fowl)
  • write and publish a novel
  • raise children
  • live through and survive a revolution
  • etc, etc, etc (If I list any more achievements I will start to feel super lame)

A few weeks ago my family visited the cemetery to pay our respects to my great grandparents and great aunt.  We do a very casual version of the Tomb Sweeping Festival, wherein people go to honor and remember their ancestors by cleaning off the tombs, offering food, etc.  We only clean the graves and leave flowers behind and then go out for dinner; we’re fairly Americanized in that we don’t burn incense or pray or do anything else traditional to the festival.  The heavy majority of my ancestors are in China and I may not ever see their resting sites, so visiting the few relatives I do have buried here helps me, however tenuously, retain a grip on my family back in the motherland and our shared history.

We’ve been doing this annually since as long as I can remember, so cemeteries have never freaked me out (although I’ve never stayed in one overnight.)  If anything, I loved to visit it because the one we frequent has large, sloping hills, perfect for running around on and picking dandelions to make wishes with.  Cemeteries give me a sense of peace and in my own small way, by visiting their graves, I can pay my respects to the relatives I never knew (or barely knew before they passed away) and thank them for what they have done.

photo(6)photo(5)All this might seem rather piously filial for Americanized ol’ me, but I guess I am a little “old-fashioned” in the sense that I always remember to acknowledge and pay respects to my family members, no matter how distant (or dead) they are.  They have shaped me into who I am now, and I am especially thankful for the strong women in my family.  Especially my mom, who must have ESP or something because she seriously can read my mind and knows me better than I know myself.  How do moms do it?

Outliers

I’ve been a bad flash fiction writer- I’ve had a story sitting in my draft pile for weeks, and I just haven’t had the creative energy to finish it.  Not that I have nothing there- on the contrary, I’m only about 100 words away from the limit, which is a problem in itself, as I have an approximate idea of where the story is headed but I know that 100 words is nowhere near enough to wrap things up.  Which means I’ve got to go and do some chopping.  I’m also perhaps dragging my feet on this story because the next one I’ve got lined up is, per my friend’s request, a mystery.  I’m not a big fan of mysteries- mainly because I get impatient and I skip ahead to the ending (thus rendering the point of a mystery moot.)  We shall see what my brain comes up with (disclaimer coming out now so no one throws rotten tomatoes my way when you read it.)

I did recently finish Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers- The Story of Success in one sitting and found it very intriguing.  Like his other book that I read (The Tipping Point) Gladwell takes very broad ideas and explains them in very simple terms for us laymen to read and actually grasp.  It takes stats and facts from studies but integrates them with anecdotes, personal histories, cultural backgrounds, and more so that everything he says just seems like plain common sense when you read it.  (His theory: you need 10,000+ hours of practice at something before you’re considered a genius/master/outlier.  Anything less makes you good and maybe great, but not brilliant, like Mozart.)  Also, extraordinary people are made from a combination of luck, the right circumstances, higher skill level/intelligence than most people (but not necessarily all people), the ability to spot and seize opportunities, and just plain old-fashioned hard work.

Whether or not you fully buy into his premise is up to you, but it’s a fairly quick read and certainly makes you reconsider the genius of Mozart or the brilliance of Bill Gates or even the reason why many Asian students are better at math than the other students (this Asian student is an exception- my parents recognized that my interests and strengths lay with the liberal and creative arts and thus didn’t force me to become a doctor.)

Though Gladwell didn’t need to go into the history and culture of rice farming in East Asia to talk about Asian students’ academic success.  Amy Chua, aka the Tiger Mom, (or any Asian parent) would probably tell you that the secret to a successful student is a combination of: instilling good work habits with discipline and practice, stressing the importance of education and not being a disgrace to the motherland by being a crappy student (my parents never actually said that but stories of kids in China going to school on weekends were not lost on me), threatening to take away certain beloved items or hobbies (and I knew darn well that my parents would make good on their vows), and making sure that kids early on understand that an A- is NOT an A (I think A+ should count for more than 4.0 in college. Just saying.)