Food for Thought (Literally)

Throughout the years, I’ve been exposed to a lot of things I’ve grown to care about and follow closely.  I used to live in my own bubble, and my life mostly consisted of my parents, my piano, my books, and the internet, most of which I used to casually stalk other people on facebook, and watch korean dramas.  During my high school years was when I started to pay attention to movies and film music and start a notebook.  But it wasn’t until college that I ventured out of my bubble,  became friends with gay people, started reading up on news and politics, and discovered through experience how wrong it was to assume people thought, felt, or processed things the same way I did.  I made friends, drifted apart from friends, and learned how it was normal for shitty things to happen, but that it was still important regardless to retain my empathy and sensitivity in a healthy amount. I’m proud that I’ve decreased my level of ignorance, even though I’m sure there are still tons of things out there I’m not aware of.

And now it’s come to the chapter of post-graduation life.  In the three years since college, I’ve continued to grow by becoming more aware of myself as a person as well as building on my understanding of different issues globally.

  1.  I’ve struggled with my one-foot-in-one-foot-out stance on Christianity
  2.  One of my passions have become following the representation of Asian-Americans across the spectrum of different things, particularly media (shout-out to BTS and Awkwafina in particular this week!)
  3. I’m really disappointed in the Kavanaugh-Ford result this week, and find it harder to have faith in our government in general.  I also need to read up on what the current election situation is.
  4.  I’m now a partial-vegetarian:  I’ve been such for about 2-3 months now. I consciously avoid beef/cow and pig/pork now.  I don’t buy it, and if there were other food options I would choose the alternate food option.  The only time I still eat it is if for example, my mom made pork soup and it’s already been prepared, or if I’m at a friend’s house and it’s rude to refuse.  The reason being, from a moral perspective I’m not sure I could kill a cow or pig unless I had no choice, especially being aware that a pig is smarter than a dog, and dogs are so wonderful and intuitive.  I think I’d be okay killing a chicken or seafood though, so I still eat those.  I also understand why people consume meat, but the food should be treated with respect.  My mom used to lecture me on starving kids in Africa and never to waste food.  It gave me a lot of pressure especially since I had eating problems as a kid, but as an adult, I fully understand what she was getting at.  From my perspective, eat it if you want, but don’t just eat a bite and throw it away nonchalantly.  This is particularly for meat, because an animal did have to be sacrificed for you to fill your stomach.  And because the meat industry is so industrialized, we don’t think about this when we purchase a slab of steak at the supermarket.  That’s really upsetting to me.
  5. Related, but Americans in particular are so wasteful, and our environment is in danger.  We’re all conscious now about global warming and entire ecosystems being tainted with pollution, and polar bears drowning or starving because of us.  I know the problems are so convoluted and big that I can’t change things alone, but I’d like to rid myself of the guilt of adding to the problems.  So some changes I’ve made are to always use my refillable water bottle, and I haven’t touched a plastic bottle in the past 3 months or so.  I’ve been nagging my parents to do the same, which is ironic since my mom used to be the one to nag us.  It’s really easy to grab a plastic water bottle on the go, but in my opinion, those are there for exceptions, such as emergencies, or for a guest in need.  You don’t need a plastic bottle to use at home.  I also have been trying to put leftovers in containers so we use less plastic wrap.  We have a semi-compost situation where we throw our rotted vegetables and egg shells in a separate bin.  My next step is to buy a refillable bubble tea container, or at least a silicone or glass straw.
  6. I need to organize my clothes and Marie Kondo the old clothes that do nothing for me.
  7. Some mistakes have happened at work this past week, but not even knowing if those mistakes came from me or something else made me realize I needed to have a talk with my boss about receiving additional training.  I needed to understand from a holistic perspective about the company, and he wholeheartedly agreed and supported my thoughts.  My co-workers encouraged me to stand up for myself and have that discussion, so I feel grateful and proud of myself for again, venturing out of my comfort zone.

I guess life consists a lot about making choices that you’re comfortable with.  I can’t keep focusing on upsetting thoughts like where my potential life could be at if I wasn’t held back by my illness.  Even though there are an infinite amount of things happening around me that are terrible, I feel a bit better in the knowledge that I am trying my best to do my part to make a difference, even if it’s just a tiny bit.  At least I can live with myself, knowing I have no regrets, that I don’t have guilt in my hypocrisy, and that I continue to push through, admit to my mistakes and grow.  That’s what’s most important to me these days.

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What’s Your Cause?

A few months ago, my dad and I were coming back from UPenn hospital.  We always saw a few homeless old men standing on the streets with their cardboard sign, asking for money.  We drive by them so much that we don’t really give money.  It kind of hurts to see them standing next to the streets every time, with every car passing by as if immune to their need.  It hurts that they probably would prefer not to be standing in the cold all day, laying aside their pride so they could live.  To be honest, when people hate on homeless people because they might use it for alcohol, if I ended up homeless, I’d probably rather stay drunk all the time too because I’m too sad.

This time, my dad and I decided to give one of the usual old veterans two bucks.  A few minutes later, we arrived by another one, and before the traffic light turned, I quickly dug out a spare dollar in my bag.

It’s barely enough for them to get a nice, hot meal.

How many times in our lives do we pass by someone in need?  While it hurts to see all those cars passing by, it also makes sense that we don’t give every single time we want to,  because there are just too many damn times it happens.

How many times do we see homeless people?  How many commercials do we see of starving children and animals?  Or families requiring funds for a funeral or hospital bills?

So, we have to choose our causes.  What are we willing to spare our efforts to?

And then I think, how many hours do I waste doing nothing?

On my birthday, I wanted to choose a cause to ask people to donate to.  I ended up not creating a fund for any cause on Facebook, because I couldn’t decide, and because I felt awkward asking people for money, even if it wasn’t directly for me.

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My question is, what’s your cause, your passion, your purpose, the reason for your drive?

I know chasing riches and fame doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness or satisfaction.  But I always felt like at least it gave you more power and control to change the world and influence it for the better.  I know you can still dedicate other efforts, like afford to donate $5 here and there, or volunteer your time and efforts.  But I do also feel that money and voice used in the right ways can really make a difference.

America is one of the leading powers in the world, yet I think America encourages greed and selfishness in its capitalist system… we ask other nations to do things that we wouldn’t do ourselves, like reducing waste.  Americans are hella wasteful.  And obese.  lol.  Guns.  Fast food.  Trump… these come to mind first these days, rather than Freedom.  Opportunity.  Equality.

Some Personal Causes:

-Environment; Waste, Reducing one of the top 10 causes of plastic waste, which is straws

-Endangered species

-Asian Americans in Poverty

-Everyone else in Poverty and starving–> microfinance?

-Worldwide Poverty and Issues related to it- Clean water for them

-Mental Health

-Gun Control; aka Everytown donations

-Funding for Medical Research, specifically more rare chronic illnesses and lung disease which are often overlooked…

-Assistance to Animals –>  shelters, rights… even for the ones who are going to be slaughtered for food.  Humane ways to treat the living with more respect for life.

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Edit: Jk, I decided to make a fundraiser for WWF, Worldwildlife Fund.  Whatever happens happens.  多少算多少 – more or less it counts.

Update:  It’s only been a day so far, and omg, I’m beyond excited!!  I expected it to be a sad result of $5 by yours truly, but I set a goal of $100 and we’ve hit $90 so far!  PEOPLE DO CARE.  HUMANITY IS RESTORED ^_^

 

 

My Strengths (Job Interview Self-Reflection)

As I’m all antsy for my job interview Monday, my therapist told me to list all the things I believe are my strengths.  It’s always been difficult for me to believe in myself and that I deserve to be hired, and that I have all the assets within me.  I listed some to her, but it was hard to sound confident and also truly wholeheartedly believe it.  I think one of the issues is that Asians tend to value qualities like humility, quietness, and Americans tend to view extroverted characteristics such as confidence, loudness, bolstering of your skill sets.  I know there’s somewhere in the middle where you can be humble but also relate your strengths and past experiences and apply them to why they should hire you.

Here are my strengths-

I was recently in the hospital and home-ridden for a couple months.  I didn’t give up though, and used the time of rehabilitation to work on anything I could continue working on, because I have a deep thirst for knowledge, because knowledge is power. My friend worked on developing a coding project in Python and had me test it out as a beginner so that I could learn as well.  I also had a series of books that targets all aspects of perspective, mindset, and more concrete concepts.  Some of these include Warren Buffet’s three favorite books on understanding stocks and bonds, the need to further develop empathy, a necessary quality dealing with human relations and interactions in terms of Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Thinking.  I also read about the history of Pixar and the importance of allowing creativity and flexibility to let the workforce blossom successfully in Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc.

Relating back to empathy, I read Birth of Korean Cool written from the perspective of a woman growing up in South Korea, which explains its impressive growth from a nation that is constantly taken over to the nation now that is expanding everywhere, with Korean dramas featured on Netflix as well as Netflix Originals, to korean skincare and products highlighted in Sephoras everywhere, and the rebranding of Samsung.  I countered that by also reading one of a woman growing up in North Korea, comparing and contrasting the two different Koreas and the experiences of those communities that share so many similarities yet are so different.  I also spent time to roam on human rights issues such as the Syrian refugee cause, environmental waste websites and blogs, as well as developing my passion for linguistics by practicing a bit of spanish and korean on phone apps each day.

  1. Hungry and driven for more knowledge and growth
  2. Very disciplined and work-oriented
  3. Developed interpersonal skills at customer service jobs where I learned to develop skills at approaching or interacting with clients
  4. Balanced in terms of technological aspect of job as well as human aspect, both of which are important in a work environment

My greatest weakness (if I had any ohoho) is that I can get a bit stressed about projects and deadlines, but that is because I highly value my work ethic and take it seriously.

That’s all I can think of for now for my self-reflection.

Moments of Pride

As a person who is constantly overwhelmed by self-doubt and lack of confidence, I spend so much time as an INFJ also meditating how to make the world a better place- how can I impact the world and leave it a bit better than I found it?  I don’t have ambitions as high as becoming the first female president, but there are subtle moments in our day-to-day that we can change and influence others, that become a wave of a bigger movement with one small decision.

It’s okay if you’re not perfect and live in a zero-waste house, for example, as long as you are at least conscious and working on improving lessening your wasteful contribution to the garbage landfills.

After researching a lot about environmental waste, particularly about non-biodegradeable products that are incredibly harmful in mass doses, I came across this website that discussed a movement in Berkeley, California encouraging restaurants and other cities to become straw-free.  Of course, there are always people who might dismiss the idea with the thought that we are those annoying hipster tree-huggers.  But I don’t consider myself one, in that I don’t censor and become super paranoid about using a plastic bottle for example.  However, it is a simple solution that makes a lot of sense to me in persuading restaurants to become straw-free, cutting costs down for them as well as benefitting the environment.  Straws are a superfluous product, one that we might enjoy using, but definitely do not need.  It was surprising to me to find out that straws are one of the top 10 items contributing to total garbage littering our natural environment.  So I thought, where can I make the biggest impact in as short and efficient of a time as possible?  I looked up Applebee’s, a place that my fellowship and I frequent with up to 20 people if not over, almost weekly.  I sent an email complimenting their staff, but also suggesting how cutting down on offering straws would make a huge difference.

Today, the manager called me and talked to me about it!!  He said he never thought about it, but it was a pretty good idea and he would talk to upper management about it.  The issue was that they used it as a difference between straws used for alcohol so that they could catch underage kids drinking.  We talked for a couple minutes and he said his name was Jesse and I should flag him down next time I’m there so we could meet.  I just thought it was so awesome of him to reach out and seem to actually CARE.  YAY HUMANITY IS NOT LOST.

The second moment was when I wanted to join a bunch of dudes in watching  basketball, and when I went to watch, one of the guys jokingly said, “get outta here, we’re tryna watch the game.”  At first, my instinct was to laugh since they were laughing too, and I knew they were joking.  One of the guys next to him was like yo that’s sexist.  However, somehow I found the courage to speak up and ask him to apologize, in which he did, twice, the second time sincerely.  I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t worth writing a long post about, but I felt empowered and proud of myself for these small moments of hopefully contributing to a bigger wave of change in our thinking and our choices that we make.