2016: Moments

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2016 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2016

2015 5 minutes, 2014 5 minutes, 2013 5 minutes, 2012 5 minutes, 2011 5 minutes, and 2010 5 minutes

  • Watching Black Mirror
  • Visiting Sweden and Finland
  • Appreciating winter (cold) destinations
  • Not quite seeing the Northern Lights in our special cabins
  • Realizing that a vacation can be enjoyed without eating out at all
  • Visiting four museums, eating hot dogs, and more in one day in Stockholm
  • Giving a talk to approximately 1000 people in Interaction 16
  • Launching Ice Cream Travel Guide into the world through book festivals, advertising, launch party and more
  • Giving the Pecha Kucha about Ice Cream Travel Guide for EPIC 2016
  • Being the enthusiastic emcee for an ice cream eating contest for National Ice Cream Travel Guide
  • Watching my sister get married and being part of her chillz bridal party
  • Eating a n/naka (and meeting Chef Niki) with my sister and Chris
  • Hosting multiple movie nights
  • Hosting friendsgiving for a total of 15 people
  • Getting a job at Mayo Clinic
  • Some freelance jobs at a consumer electronics company
  • Being part of XX/UX senior-level peeps group
  • Shipping and autographing copies of Ice Cream Travel Guide
  • Telling my story in Bangkok in a succinct and engaging way
  • Traveling to Minny Apple and Minny Soda again
  • Making more ice cream and more ice cream
  • …and not quite wanting to remember the election…

    2016: Making

    What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

    In 2010, I made xmas photo. In 2011, I made metaphorical things—that were intentionally symbolic of relationships and history. In 2012, I made ice cream. In 2013, I made design. In 2014, I made “my room”. In 2015, I made the last line of Ice Cream Travel Guide, literally.

    This year, it could be a number of things—the creativity that comes in the burst in this year. Whether it was the youtube video for the Christmas greeting (see below). Or the directing people to make the cheesecake in the Instant Pot for at home Christmas Eve dinner. Or whether it was the creativity that I lent toward the Christmas gifts this year. It’s all of that, because it’s my way of expressing myself.

    It’s the creativity of the holiday magic. I love creating things. The video is the second time that I have done it, coming up with the idea in the span of the day and executing it with as little overhead as possible. But what I have in my mind has been churning for a number of days—the vision was already set in my head with shots and poses. Or the gifts (aka #smallacts) had settled in my mind, because my desire to be less materialistic and shallow — I tested the water at a White Elephant exchange a few weeks ago where I offered an anonymous gift that was simply $20 in honor of the white elephant gift recipient. No gifts for anybody because you’re just going to get something donated to charity in your name! Or food, in an effort to demonstrate a gadget or food that people normally never eat. Thus CREATIVITY.

    On the video above, it took about 30 minutes to shoot. Part setup in getting the stuffed animals and Game of Thrones video together. Just one walkthroughs, one dry rehearsal, one dress rehearsal, and two shoots. And getting my sister on board to shoot everything. It was awesome.

    Then I had an egotistical moment once completed. I wondered aloud whose name would be present if I had credits rolling. Like for director, editor, writer, location scout, sound editor, director of photography, producer, production designer. “Oh wait, that’s me!” I shouted.

    2016: Moment

    Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.

    In 2015, it was the moments after my hat was “stolen” in Rio. In 2014, it was a moment in a writing workshop that I had achieved greatness. In 2013, it was talking to Yasar Usta in Istanbul. In 2012, it was using the ocean as a “big toilet” while floating outside Palawan. In 2011, it was my birthday moment. In 2010, it was the success in Journey to the End to the Night.

    There are moments that will stay with me this year. The launch party for Ice Cream Travel Guide. The getting up on stage, not once, but twice, at huge conferences. The first day at a full-time job in four years. Watching my sister get married and giving a speech. And of course, the realization that the president wasn’t going to be who I thought it would be.

    But the moment?

    Perhaps it was in this moment:

    Another #icecreamtravelguide event a success in Noe Valley!

    A photo posted by Jenn Ng (@jennism) on

    I realized how much I had perfected the story of ice cream, starting with that moment in Bangkok. I know all the beats that I need to take. I know how to push the emotion to ride high and then ride low. Then twist the narrative to bring it back to the concrete. What people don’t know is all the sweat and tears that went into telling that 6 minute story. There are things that I cut out—the breakfast at the American hotel, the sliding along in flip flops. The fact that a friend was actually with me the entire time. There is also the mixed feelings I had that were actually more optimistic than the way I told the story.

    What I learned through studying writing is that the narrator doesn’t have to be the true self. It can be somewhat fictionalized. Even better if it’s exaggerated. Who wants to hear about someone who isn’t quite there? We want to hear about someone whose emotions are clear and vivid, instead of complex. At least for the sake of this complex lovey-dovey melodramatic story.

    So at Umpqua bank, I sat on the stool reading the excerpts from my book to an audience of 10. I realized how I had mastered so much more than that story. I had also overcome my fear of public speaking. I looked for the hints of how people were paying attention and adjusted accordingly. I remembered what people said and addressed them directly. Eye contact. And in all of this, I held their rapture, at least I thought that I did.

    There were kids in the very back, enjoying the ice cream. I do remember that. But I kept going.

    And telling my story about that singular ice cream in Bangkok. I don’t know the flavor. Perhaps it was vanilla, mango, peach? Whatever the case, it changed the direction of my life.

    2016: One Word

    One Word. Encapsulate the year in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2017 for you?

    From years past: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010

    The one word that captures this year:

    Unexpected

    Last year, the word was Goal and I hoped that 2016 would be about Confidence. Interestingly, it wasn’t. I published my book, but didn’t expect that the marketing would be difficult. I applied to jobs, but didn’t expect that the job I wanted would turn out the way it did. I achieved the goal of giving talks at conferences, but didn’t expect that the intended goals from giving those talks would be less than I wanted. And most of all, I certainly didn’t expect the election to end up the way it resulted.

    Everything is not what I expected.

    I was able to achieve my short-term goals, but the long-term goal wasn’t achieved. So what’s left is disappointing. Or in a different perspective, it’s simply unexpected. There’s an opportunity for change and improvement, so it’s not wholly negative.

    Next year, the word should be Improvement. I want things to change. So this time, instead of looking for a goal that I hope would lead into my goal, let’s make sure that both of those goals are actually aligned. The first step should always lead to the second step that I actually want.

    It wasn’t supposed to be this hard, but it was.

    Come visit me at @baybookfest on Literary Lane and learn about #icecream from #icecreamtravelguide

    A video posted by Jenn Ng (@jennism) on

    Year 2015

    2015 was goals and success

    There were the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2016, I hope, can only be a continuation of that. Although I had looked at my goals this year, I had achieved more than I had anticipated. So for my goals this time around are just stepping those goals a bit more.

    2016 goal setting exercise with @seeetthere

    A photo posted by Jenn Ng (@jennism) on

    Continue reading

    2015: Moments

    Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2015 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2015

    2014 5 minutes, 2013 5 minutes, 2012 5 minutes, 2011 5 minutes, and 2010 5 minutes

  • Driving rules in Brazil
  • Visiting Ihla Bela (beautiful island) and coming out as expected with black fly bites
  • Presenting at a UX Strategies workshop
  • Presenting a short ignite talk about ice cream and my book
  • Going to Epic and being able to make the relationships that I wouldn’t have been able to do earlier
  • Really finishing my book about ice cream around the world!
  • Visiting Walt Disney World as part of a conference
  • Establishing a user research practice at a startup that didn’t have any
  • Talking to a lot of people with diabetes type 2—for some who never had been listened to ever
  • Submitting a talk to Interaction 16 and getting accepted!
  • Attending the (disappointing) Interaction 15
  • Leading a diversity workshop earlier this year
  • Leading and partnering on research with rheumatoid arthritis patients in January/February
  • Visiting Chicago, Atlanta…and Bay Area in the span of three weeks
  • Learning about behavioral design
  • Seeing my cousin get married
  • Hearing my sister get engaged
  • Having apple cider in Michigan
  • Having acai and fresh juices in Rio
  • Visiting the favelas in Rio
  • Eating lots of good food in Rio
  • Getting the hat “stolen” in Rio
  • Still having the ability to make great ice cream from scratch
  • Finding ways to make quick, fresh meals from things that i just have in the fridge, especially tomato basil pasta
  • 2015: Making

    What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

    In 2010, I made xmas photo. In 2011, I made metaphorical things—that were intentionally symbolic of relationships and history. In 2012, I made ice cream. In 2013, I made design. In 2014, I made “my room”.

    The last line of my entry last year bemoaned the fact that I hadn’t made my book. But this year, I DID. It is the very last thing I made.

    Through lots of sweat, blood, and tears, I did it.

    On January 1 of this year, I decided that I had to finish this book. It was the worst burden to have weighed on me my entire life. A burden that I decided to take on willingly.

    So I pushed through the remaining writing. The remaining editing.

    And then…

    At the end of November, after a month of begging the person, I realized that I couldn’t entrust him to finish my book layout. In the worst way possible (just like many potential contractor relationships), I was realizing that the project wouldn’t be done to my specifications. What I wanted was clearly enough in front of me. Perhaps, I didn’t articulate it enough. Perhaps, I didn’t get enough motivation. And all that resulted was simply that: my book was delayed.

    I had to take control.

    So I pushed myself through the horrors of Indesign, photo selection, Photoshop.

    And then I was done.

    I made my book.

    All I need to do now is press the button that says “PUBLISH”.

    2015: Moment

    Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.

    In 2014, it was a moment in a writing workshop that I had achieved greatness. In 2013, it was talking to Yasar Usta in Istanbul. In 2012, it was using the ocean as a “big toilet” while floating outside Palawan. In 2011, it was my birthday moment. In 2010, it was the success in Journey to the End to the Night.

    I want to say that it’s the moment that I realized that I really finished (writing) the Ice Cream Travel Guide. Although it can’t be it, because the layout isn’t finalized. So is that it?

    What I think of is all the moments that I felt like I had truly achieved my goals: getting accepted as a speaker for Interaction 16, successfully established a design and research practice at the last project, writing the short story “Rainbow Sprinkles”, building a “ship” at Epic, giving a talk about ice cream and research.

    But interestingly, it might really have been the moment about 10 minutes after I took this photo:

    Catedral Metropolitana de São Sebastião

    I had been casually following the idea of manslamming—the idea that I don’t move aside for anyone. And yet. After visiting the catedral, Chris and I walked to the main street through the catedral’s parking lot. By then, because it was a Saturday, the lot was deserted. We didn’t think much of it, and Chris walked ahead (to this day, he claims that he was ahead to confirm that an exit existed so that I didn’t have to walk more than needed). I noticed a group of young boys walking toward us. Chris walked away from them. I walked behind and with the manslamming philosophy in my head, I kept going in the direction I had set for myself, not changing my path even though it seemed the young boys were directly walking to me.

    This ridiculous thought crossed my mind: Boys need to be taught that women don’t go around them.

    As we passed, one young boy leapt up and grabbed my hat. Surprised, I turned and tried to think of all the Portuguese words that I could. But I couldn’t think of any and yelled “hey” as I ran after them. It’s interesting that I would say that I felt alive at that moment, because thousands of thoughts ran through my head—let go of the hat, what to do if I catch up to them, does Chris know, do I beat them up if I catch them. A Catedral employee in a car yelled at the young boys, and the hat dropped to the ground. I ran up and picked it up as the young boys ran away. The employee came up to me and yelled at me in Portuguese, gesturing that I needed to put my bag in front of me. All I could do was agree. And I was angry at myself for heeding the whole manslamming philosophy.

    Perhaps the being alive is the idea that in situations like this, where there is a clear right and wrong, I insist on making things right. And I will make it right. And in that effort, I felt alive.

    2014: Travel

    How did you travel in 2014? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

    In 2013, I finished off the bulk of the travel for the Ice Cream Travel Guide. In 2012, I started the journey of a life and went to what I thought was unfathomable (in my life) — six domestic destinations and eight international destinations — for professional and personal reasons. In 2011, I went on one international trip, one domestic…and one super local. In 2010, I went on one international trip and multiple domestic trips.

    As expected, I was less than enthused for much traveling in the year of 2014. I wanted to stay focused as much as possible (and not to mention, make income).

    In 2014, I traveled to:

  • Short weekend trip to Tahoe for my annual call of skiing
  • Short weekend trip to Los Angeles to Disneyland
  • A 2+ week journey throughout the Northeast stopping by “beachtown” stands for ice cream, a writing workshop on windjammer off the coast of Maine, and most importantly, landing at the headquarters and factory of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
  • Multiple business trips to Chicago, Austin, and Los Angeles
  • Weekend at a farm 2.5 hours northeast outside San Francisco with family for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary
  • In the coming year, I anticipate that I will finally visit Michigan for my sister and my cousin’s wedding. But where else? Will I catch a whiff of a deal like the trip flights to Asia? Will the grandfather story lure me to my dad’s hometown in China and my grandfather’s adult home in Peru? Then will there be short trips to Tahoe (most certainly) or to Portland, Los Angeles? With now a cycling crew, will I be moved to do an overnight cycling trip? And will there be more dairy destinations that I must include? To be continued…

    2014: 5 Minutes

    Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2014 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2014

    2013 5 minutes, 2012 5 minutes, 2011 5 minutes, and 2010 5 minutes

  • Organizing and reading at Litcrawl
  • Organizing and leading the aspirational writing group
  • Finding a writing group of older, experienced people
  • Dropping out of a memoir writing group because the people didn’t seem right all the way in Oakland
  • Leading not one, not two, but three startups in a design thinking strategy exercises
  • Increasing and marketing my skills of design thinking to the world
  • Succeeding as a UX freelancer and still reaching the salary goal for the year
  • Attending many many advance movie screenings
  • Choosing the friends that I really want to be around
  • Discovering that I really enjoy cooking and baking (when it doesn’t include decorative elements)
  • Always meeting new people
  • Learning that some meetups are not really worth it
  • Reading almost 24 books
  • Visiting Boston and learning about a friend’s children’s book
  • Visiting an old style house in Boston with fascinating culture
  • Visiting Kennebunkport, Maine, the birthplace of George W. Bush
  • Staying and writing on a windjammer off the coast of Maine
  • Attending a writing workshop led by Pam Houston
  • Visiting all the ice cream shops and lobster roll places in the Northeast
  • Applying to my first writing fellowship (didn’t get in, but failure is expected)
  • Visiting and interviewing people at Ben and Jerry’s HQ and factory
  • Staying in the excellent Brooks Art House outside the Vermont capital
  • Driving through dangerous rainstorm through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont
  • learning about real maple syrup and realizing that the brown corn syrup isn’t “maple syrup at all”