Archive for April, 2011

If you were a dictator, would you always want to decide everything?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I love planning. Despite not having the best organization in physical spaces, I will almost willingly plan out the 4 hours, the next 24 hours, the next 2 weeks…

I love seeing the cogs spinning when I finally put them in place.

But then what if I want to delegate the tasks and not determine everything. It’s an inner conflict of mine—I know that I can plan the best—that I dig deeply into every minute detail, perhaps annoying many people in the process. But I don’t want to be the only one responsible.

Although the initial travel plans didn’t fall apart, it could have. I was the point person for all the domestic flights, the tours, the hotels. And I was already in Lima while my sister missed her connecting flight in Miami. But because I was already in the airport, I had all the documentation because it was all centralized to me. I could pay for it and about 20 minutes of international roaming and $302 USD later, everything was resolved.

I sat in the cafeteria worried, staring angrily at the flight that would have carried my sister if her flight from JFK to Miami wasn’t massively delayed. That anger spurned me into calling all the numbers I had for tours at 2 AM in the morning, sending emails having not slept for more than 20 hours. I attacked it head-on. Was that necessary?

When I arrived at my hotel in Cusco, the front desk said that she heard from my travel agency. And said that everything was taken care of—they would even pack a lunch for us since we would miss the breakfast buffet.

Then she said, “Don’t worry.”

The instant click doesn’t mean forever

Monday, April 18th, 2011

There’s the crucial first minute that you meet anyone. You know immediately whether the conversation will continue or whether it will die because it never started.

There’s this awkward moment that you have with someone—both of you give introductions, then you do the small talk of who/what/where you are, and then it’s open from there. It’s right at the third point where it can continue branching or end with an awkward “I am going to get a drink”. But what makes it the former rather than the latter. Is it because the two of you were destined to…click?

The Game says it’s different. You can engage someone through different means—trickery, negs and the like. And it works.

Like everyone, I find those instant clicks easily. Perhaps I am engaged in their ideas—not just for my professional goals, but because it is sooo fascinating. Or that I am drawn in because their choices in life are so similar to mine and I never thought about it that way. Or what usually strikes me is when there a similarity that I have always believed was unique only to me—and I find it in someone else (see Chris and always drinking horchata when eating at a taco truck). Whatever the case, I am jaded now, because the instant click doesn’t usually last beyond the first three encounters. It fades into everyday mundane-ness, realizing that you both have very different goals and desires. Sometimes it’s fundamental differences.

But what about when it lasts more than the first three encounters. It’s like magnets. I think though that you often find someone that is like yourself—a friend…someone deeper—but different enough that’s there is always so much more to discover.

To start, it will be my sister and me

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

My dad titled the above video “It’s all about sharing”.

My sister and me at Verlaine!

It was always my sister and me. I had almost no friends growing up, but my sister would unwaveringly stick by my side even though I was socially awkward and lacked much normalcy.

And so for the first week, it will just be my sister and me trekking through Peru (while Chris has his hands tied by work). That was the initial plan a few years ago when I first flung out the idea of an international trip.

But will she have something tasty with her? And will I run around sticking my finger into it and scolding her for being a baby? Maybe.

This is what it’s like to be broke

Monday, April 11th, 2011

She saved less than $10. I saved $341. Chris saved $631.

I saw Jane McGonigal’s tweet about playspent, a game simulating a month of…what an American may be like today unemployed, single parent, foreclosed home, surmounting debt, etc.

What surprised me through the choices that the game presented—those choices…not that I have made myself…I know people that have made similar choices. To forgo health insurance and to purchase carbs from the grocery (because they give more bang for the buck) rather than fruit/veggies. There’s some underlying immorality too—why buy toilet paper when you can “borrow”? And why not have a yard sale?

All those things—I have had some experience with. There’s the morality issue. Ethics. But what do you need to do to survive?

Disappointment is a luxury

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

“I was a modern woman and disappointment was something I understood better than fear.”
– A quote from Little Bee, the novel

It’s that in most of the world, when someone makes a mistake or someone is angry, there is only fear of your own death or the fear of the death of your loved ones. Only in the Western world, do we have the luxury of disappointment.

We can show up to DMV at our appointed time and unexpectedly wait 3 hours to just get your license renewed. Or your car can get side swiped by another car in a parking lot. Or that your boss gives you a ton of work due Monday that you didn’t expect before a fully planned weekend.

But there’s no fear of death, no fear…of the core primal instincts. It’s only disappointment that you could have spent your time elsewhere, that you have to pay extra or that you won’t sleep that much.

As Westerners, we have that luxury. When a deadline is not reached, we won’t die. Perhaps there may not be a job…but there’s always hope.

I remember a colleague telling me how he did not like working for a financial institution. They would have him and his colleagues up late working to a deadline. But the deadline was meaningless. So the work was completed by then…but then what? Was there something so earth-shaking that another day wouldn’t matter? Was someone going to die? Literally is what i mean.

Sure as Westerners, we think about ourselves first. But isn’t that the way that…once our primal needs are satisified…that we attain completeness?

By the way, how could an employer (namely Chris’) suddenly decide that 2 weeks of vaccay (11 days before departure) when notified two months in advance is not possible? I am disappointed as any other Westerner.

If I was more reactive, then I would have a better response

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

She unleashed some kind of fury. And I immediately sought for cover. I did the only thing that I could do—agree. As the nurse listed out how horrible the diseases that I could contract was, I cowered and said ok, I’ll take the vaccine.

Pussy. That’s the word that can be used to describe me sometimes.

And yet, I am a brooder. Afterwards, I often think about how I was pushed around and I can’t help but feel unhappy. I start thinking of what I could have said.

But she insisted that I take a pregnancy test to assure the safety of the vaccine. And yet, what if I decide that no matter what, it was going to be taken care of. So pregnancy test or not, I already had a plan.

It has bothered me so much that my current evening has been consumed. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

To be adult and own furniture

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

After more than 4 years in San Francisco depending on my roommate to have furniture, now my current roommate and I lack any “adult” furniture.

Do I scour craigslist for a “temporary” item? Or do I buy a real nice piece from Pier 1, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware or that super expensive furniture store down the street?

There was this article recently that suggested that “adulthood” was stunted for many of us now. That many people still weren’t married, many did not own a home, many did not have kids, many people lived at home. What bothers me the most is that this is a Western ideal.

My parents have given me grief about wanting to live in San Francisco and pay extraordinary high rent when I could save money living at home. And it’s just cultural of Asian culture that until one buys a home, it’s ok to live at home.

People forget that many philosophies here are Western in its origin. And that simply drives me crazy.

“Of course, everyone does it that way.”