Friday, December 31, 2010


I’m currently on a bus to DC to visit my lovely sister for the new year and finally have a second to sit down and think! Before getting to Herald Square and crawling over 4 feet of snow outside my front door, I grabbed a sandwich for the long journey ahead. When the friendly (almost suspiciously friendly) cashier handed me my order, he looked me directly in the eyes and said, “You’re going to have a good year. Enjoy your new year!” I was hardly expecting to get a side of good fortune with my avocado sandwich, but I didn’t complain. I smiled and nodded as I rushed into the subway.

What is it about January 1st that makes people make promises to themselves and those close to them? Is it merely an excuse for a new beginning, life, friends or aspirations?

I would imagine that if I were take a poll of what the New Year meant to most people, it would go something like this:

“It’s a time to reflect.” (AKA “Look at your life. Look at your choices.”)


And the one we’re all too familiar with:
“Get a gym membership and stop eating burritos.”

In the whirlwind that has been the year of 2010, I’m finding it difficult to reflect and process everything that has happened. I feel like trying to sort through events, people, and memories of this year is like trying to get to the bottom of a jar packed to the brim with sand.

I’ve grown and learned more than any other year in my life. This time last year I was sitting in my dirty college apartment, laying out my new year’s dress. There was no reflection or speculation involved… I was so incredibly wrapped up in my bubble and generally so happy that the farthest I had thought about the New Year was no where beyond how I was going to get home from a party at 3 AM on January 1st, 2010.

I can honestly say that I am not as happy as I was this time past year-- “happy” meaning “blissfully oblivious” of course. I’ve written a lot about how difficult changing my lifestyle has been… I have a wonderful job and place to life, but the process is nowhere complete. However, I’m not sad or regretful about this (you thought this was a suicide note until now, didn’t you? Maybe not… how many suicide notes have the word “burrito” and “sparkles” in it?). In fact, it’s pretty incredible. I feel so fortunate to begin 2011 with a necessity to make my life happen. When I packed up my car literally two weeks after graduation and threw myself into the middle of a new life, I had no idea what was going to happen. Beginning a new year when everything around you is so comfortable and happy makes it all the more difficult to make a change and keep promises. I feel like I’ve been given an opportunity in disguise.

Therefore, “hopeful” is a good word to sum up the end of 2010 and the start of 2011. I generally try to stay away from the phrase “New Year’s resolution” because, from what I can tell anyway, it tends to be associated with disappointment and expectations that are a bit ridiculous (again, I will never stop eating burritos as long as Chipotle is in business). To bring about change and improvement takes time. In order to train and condition yourself, you have to be ready for a few bumps along the way. Don’t give up at the first sign of resistance! In short, don’t let a change in the date change what you want and deserve. If you’re happy with your life, then keep it that way—who cares that you sign your checks to Chipotle 2011 instead of 2010? (Okay, I’m done with the burrito jokes… but, as a side note, you might want to look at your life and look at your choices if you’re writing checks to Chipotle, just saying.) The significance of your decisions is not dictated by the significance of the date.

 If you’re not completely satisfied like me, face the New Year with a new mindset. Don’t feel pressured to make specific goals (although you can). This isn’t a senior thesis. There's no deadline. This is your life and who the hell cares if it takes past 2011 or even 2030 to finally feel at peace and accomplished?

So as I sit on this bus and pensively gaze out the window (this would be more dramatic and artistic if I were writing in a journal and not balancing a laptop on my knees while inhaling my sandwich but whatever… You work with what you got), I really feel excited and maybe a little terrified about continuing the new chapter in my life. The funny thing is, I probably won’t even notice when it’s over and I’ve started a new one!

I hope everyone enjoys whatever you’re planning to do tonight whether you’re going to a party, going to Time Square (I’ll pray for you), or just staying home (good for you—another ridiculous expectation of NYE is to have fun at midnight which I have discovered only happens maybe 30% of the time… in my experience, most people blackout or have fallen asleep by the time the ball drops).

In the words of middle school teachers who think they’re being funny, “See you next year!” 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Get in the Christmas Spirit!

Rianna, Me, and Chris at this month's Digital Dumbo! Those candy canes did not make it through the night...
  I had a great time Wednesday night at the monthly Digital Dumbo hosted in Dumbo, Brooklyn! My roommate Rianna first told me about it when she was first got hired at her dream job at Carrot Creative and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to meet new people and network. This time, the event was fully equipped with ugly holiday sweaters galore and a SWEET photo booth that I thoroughly enjoyed (as you can see).

Since this was my second Digital Dumbo, it was not nearly as awkward as the first... As I've mentioned before, I despise awkward situations and there is always bound to be one when meeting someone for the first time. However, once you get past the small talk and have a couple (or several...) drinks, it's so much fun. You've got to put yourself out there, put on an ugly sweater, and go for it! How else to find new opportunities and friends? Well, the ugly sweater may not be necessary (although very conducive to starting a conversation), but you get the point.

Hope everyone is gearing up for a wonderful holiday! I'm SO ready to go home! Have a lovely weekend...

Friday, December 10, 2010

At least you're not interviewing in China!

Happy Friday, all! It's definitely been a long week. NYC is currently trying to test my Southern tolerance with unbearably low temperatures and wind, correction, LOTS of wind. This winter will be a true testament to how much I love this city.

I've recently been reading some pretty shocking and tragic statistics/articles about unemployment. I am so grateful to have a great job, especially during the holiday season. Regardless, I can totally relate to the millions of people out of work. Not only are you constantly being rejected (sometimes from companies you don't even want to work for), but you feel as if you're a failure and there is something wrong with you. Trust me-- I know how it feels. But you must remember that you are one of millions that are out of work and a good chuck of those people are not dead beats or losers. They're just people who have hit a few road blocks and it may sound cliche, but a lot of it is bad luck. Things can't always go the way you want them to and, in the end, that is what makes you all the more prepared and grateful for the future. It does get better-- patience and being positive is the key.

In January 2010, 10.6% of the United States was unemployed and as of November 2010, the number has dropped to 9.3% (1). That may not seem like an improvement, but it's something. January 2010 was the highest rate of unemployment in over 20 years (I'm sure it's much longer than 20 years... it's just difficult to type "January 2010's unemployment rate is the highest rate since..." into Google...) and we all lived through it. It IS getting better.

What I learned from my hundreds of interviews is that you can never be too prepared. Firstly, reading up on the company and the people you're meeting with is the first step to picturing yourself actually working there. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to be a creep and list off the interviewer's hobbies and favorite foods, but try to relate to them. I've talked to several upper management people in a casual settings, and they are usually just as nervous and anxious as you are. Finding the perfect person to work with everyday over the next couple years is a pretty daunting task. So relax-- you're not alone.

Secondly, I changed something about my interviewing skills before I got my current job that really helped me. I actually prepared interview questions and wrote out my answers. This sounds so corny and let's face it, nerdy, but it really works. You should always have your answers to basic interview questions sorted out ahead of time. You're already so nervous, do you think you have to capacity to also remember why you're so awesome and will be awesome at this job? It's more difficult than it sounds. Practice what you're going to say and it'll make things so much easier.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm the best interviewer and I can get any job I want now that I have so much experience, but I really have learned so much. I've had some pretty terrible interviews and have said some things that I regretted almost immediately (these stories are for another day). You just have to remember that you'll have other opportunities and believe that you deserve it.

Okay, now that I'm done with my motivational speech, here's some hilarious news from the motherland. I found this article on (not Liz Lemon's show). Not only is this picture one of the funniest things I've seen, but it really makes me feel lucky to live in a country that doesn't makes you drink for a job... I would most likely be currently unemployed and college freshmen would be leading our country.

Have a wonderful weekend! (And don't pass out on the sidewalk after a night of hard drinking! It's not cute.)


China Outpacing US In Blacking Out-During-Interview Skills: "
While we’re on the subject of prepping for interviews, if you find yourself applying for a gig in China, please be advised that according to the South China Morning Post, “mainland job-seekers are increasingly required to exhibit ‘grey skills’ – binge drinking, playing mahjong and even ballroom dancing – to provide them with an edge in the market.” Several individuals took this advice to heart recently, resulting in the following scene.

Those would be the 4 men who were found passed out in Baguocheng Square earlier in the week, after they’d gone on their second round of interviews for sales jobs at an unnamed firm.

At noon, the company leader invited them for lunch. Eager to impress the boss, they competed in drinking more alcohol. In the end they were wasted. At first, they just sat on the ground chatting, but soon three of them lied down and passed out. The fourth guy leaned against a telephone pole, standing unsteadily, occasionally muttered some words out his mouth and shivered non-stop. Two of them slept while hugging each other and their backpacks. The police eventually called 120. And minutes later three men were sent to the hospital by ambulance.

Passing Out Into The Real World [SCMP]

Competing In Drinking For Job, Interviewees Pass Out [CH]


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For John

If I'd lived in Roman times, I'd have lived in Rome. Where else?
Today America is the Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself. -- JL

This seriously cannot be happening. 

I had lived in New York for about 3 months already and I was still getting lost. I frantically walked down 14th Street for about the 6th time and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not only was I incredibly embarrassed for myself, but I was starving. I was on my way to one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (Angelica's Kitchen) and the last thing I wanted was to get lost.

It's got to be around here somewhere... I swear... I've been here before! Like... FIVE TIMES. Gah! 

As I changed directions and let out an exasperated sigh, a strange couple walked past me. A tall, lanky girl in skin-tight leather pants holding hands with a significantly shorter man with long hair and glasses.

My first thought was: Well they are definitely from New York and and definitely know where they're going and definitely know that I'm not from around here. That's it, I give up. I'm going back to Charlotte.

My second thought was: HOLY SHIT. THAT WAS SEAN LENNON.

I quickly looked back as the couple approached the street corner. The man looked left and right to check traffic before crossing. Suddenly my heart stopped along with my feet. His profile was a splitting image of his father's. I stood in the middle of the sidewalk with my mouth gapping wide open. I wanted to shout at people across the street: Look! It's Sean Effing Lennon! You're going to miss it! Look! LOOK! But knowing New Yorkers, they would have shrugged and replied, Who hasn't? 

As I watched (kind of creepily) as Sean and his girlfriend (who I now know is Charlotte Kemp Mulh-- model of course) crossed 14th Street, I suddenly was in disbelief that I lived in this city. This was the city that John Lennon loved so dearly. This was the city he fought for and began his life-- his dream. This is the city where he started his family and made a vow to start over and give Sean a family that he never had as a child.

Although John's life ended before mine had even started, I suddenly missed him. I couldn't help but think how tragic it was that he missed his son growing up to be a splitting image of himself and all the wonderful things that Yoko and his band mates had accomplished. I knew that John would have given anything to see his boy he loved so much cross the street that day. I smiled and felt proud... for John.

10.9.1940 - 12.8.1980

Friday, December 3, 2010

That Day

 Happy Friday to all! It's been a busy week at work and I could not be any more excited about a fun-filled weekend. It's that time of the year to get to my Christmas shopping and start watching some Oscar-worthy films! Black Swan is out today and it's going to be epic. 

Today I decided to write a small short story. It's been told to me numerous times before and I've always thought it was incredibly sweet. It's the story of how my parents met. Hope you all like it and have a fantastic weekend! Stay warm! 

That Day

It was always the same.

The air sagged with humidity as the sun relentlessly left no street corner or sign untouched. She opened the window hopeful for a breeze, but found that it was just the same. Disappointed but not the least bit surprised, she pulled up a chair by the window and folded her arms on the windowsill, resting her chin on top of her hands. It was an ordinary day on the street she had lived on since she could remember. The fruit vendor across the street fanned himself while a stray dog found relief from the unforgiving sun underneath a large palm tree by the road. The distant sound of motorcycles accelerating and taxis honking from the main Taipei traffic filled the room.

It was always the same.

She wiped the sweat from her brow and sighed with exhaustion and boredom. Her long, dark hair clung to her neck and cheeks as the moisture accumulated on her impossibly fair skin. She took pride in her hair that reached all the way down to her lower back.

It is disrespectful to grow your hair so long.

She didn’t care. She loved how she could wrap herself in it as if it were a silk robe. She loved that she was the only girl at school bold enough to go against the dress code. She loved examining the ends for splits and cutting out tiny imperfections.

She carefully climbed into the window frame and hung her hair out in the open air, brushing it with long, careful strokes.

It was always the same.   

He walked down the street, regretting his choice of clothing for the day. He had lived in Taiwan his entire life, but could not seem to say no to his stylish American blue jeans that were replicas of his idols Simon and Garfunkel. He looked cool, but they were regretfully hot. He was late to work, as always, but couldn't bring himself to get to a pace above crawling. 
When he finally reached his building he quickly looked around to be sure none of his coworkers were seeing him coming in so late. He wiped his sweat-drenched forehead on his sleeve and ran his hands through his thick, curly hair. The sun threatened him as it beat down on his tan skin. As he exasperatingly looked up in the sky he suddenly caught a glimpse of something in the window above. She was gently brushing her hair as the sun no longer threatened, but illuminated her almost translucent skin. He had never seen such a beautiful girl in all his life. 

It would never be the same.

Words into a Paper Cup © 2008. Chaotic Soul :: Converted by Randomness