9th Jul 2012

When the Sun Shines on the Bay, Do I Want to be There in my City*

Places, People, & Things I’ll Miss When I Move from the Bay

(All with the assumption, that I’m not moving OUT of state)

  • The Presidio of San Francisco (Fort Point, Chrissy Field, Baker Beach, Marshall Beach)
  • Bridges! The Bay Bridge and GG
  • Berkeley (the food, the sports)
  • Photohunting on Stanford Campus
  • My Albany girls: Irene, Elaine, Tiff, Joanne (kinda…you’ll probably be in LA!)
  • …And the rest of the group: Grace, JWang, Aaron, Shay, John
  • being one cubicle away from Geoff
  • Concerts at The Fillmore
  • SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS HOME GAMES and AT&T Park
  • San Francisco 49ers (AJ Jenkins!!! #illini :D)
  • San Jose Sharks games at the Tank
  • Seriously, just being in a city where all your favorite sports teams are. I left the Bay the first time around not liking sports as much as when I came back. And there’s NOTHING better than being surrounded by fellow fans. Bulls were the only Chicago team I loved and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to adjust leaving NorCal, but at least I’ll only be a drive away. :)
  • My awesomely designed room and bathroom
  • Eric Bourman’s ballet classes at Pacific Ballet Academy
  • Living ten minutes away from Chinese food (ugh. LA traffic, I will not like you)
  • Driving on 280 (especially Palo Alto and north)
  • Living with my parents. Love getting to actually spend time with them and talk to them whenever I want
  • Mrs. Chai’s haircuts
  • Adapt Clothing
  • Apple ?

Hmm, did not think that my SF list would be so much short than my Illinois one. Then again, I’ve only lived back here for a little over a year and I’ve already spent six years getting used to not missing CA so much.

I think there a lot less things holding me back this time than when I had to move to Illinois. I was also a lot younger and I’ve already picked myself up and moved from NorCal to Illinois and then to HK already so what’s another move right? I’m just no longer looking for the whole “move-for-two-years” thing. It kinda makes establishing your life hard. And I think it makes other people equally frustrated when you can’t give them a definite answer on if you’re staying, if you’re going, if you’re really going when you keep saying it for over a year. haha. So that rules out moving to NYC. I LOVE NYC, but it’s never going to be a place I can actually see myself settling down in. I’d be 80% more likely to move back to Chicago than to NYC. I used to think I could settle down outside of California, but the longer and longer I’m staying here, I know that’s not true. It’s the culture and the cities that I’ve always loved. Everyone told me I was crazy for choosing to go to Illinois, and I can see why, but I’m still very glad I chose to go to Illinois and I know I’m choosing to stay in California not because it’s the only place I’ve ever really known, but because it is where I want to end up.

*Journey – “Lights”

5th Jul 2012

The Embers Never Fade in Your City by the Lake*

Places, Things, & People I’ve Been Really Missing That I Didn’t Think I’d Miss So Much

  • Driving on LSD (heading south out of the City) — best view of the skyline while driving
  • Which leads me to my next point: spot by Adler Planetarium for the actual best view of the skyline :)
  • The L
  • Chambana
  • Football tailgates and waiting in the freezing cold outside Assembly Hall
  • Big Ten football and basketball
  • Krush Roadtrips (Penn State 2007!)
  • Block Roadtrips, but only if we’re kicking ass (#1 Ohio State, Nov 10, 2007!)
  • Illini Pride Exec (Never have I ever, Apartment Crawls/Sits, barndances, semiformals, barcrawls)
  • Thursday nights at Brother’s
  • Themed Thursdays and Sunday Fundays
  • The Girls of 508 E. Clark St.
  • The Girls of 444 W. Fullerton Pkwy
  • Three In One
  • Quantum Leap
  • Coldplay, Foozer, Yellowcard/Mae, OAR, Lupe, Jack’s
  • Tank and Del Seoul
  • Social 25
  • Lincoln Park
  • Molly’s Cupcakes and Bleeding Heart Bakery
  • MK Chicago, Sunda Chicago, Japonais
  • Millennium Park
  • My Gilly Girls
  • “family” dinners
  • Wrigley and United Center
  • My Chicago Bulls
  • Portillo’s, Lou Malnati’s
  • St. Patrick’s Day and UNOFFICIAL
  • College Gameday
  • St. Louis Season Opener Trips
  • Cly’s and Joe’s
  • One World & Qdoba & Geo’s
  • Being on the 40yd line, the drumline, and all access field passes
  • My basketball photo pass
  • View Camera and 24/7 access to art labs
  • Themed parties from the word of the day boys
  • Barscramble and Campustown Challenge
  • Barndances
  • Carbondale
  • William Tell, Oskee Wow Wow, and Alma Mater
  • CHIEF

Except I lied. I did know that I’d miss some, if not most, of these things. Haha.

*Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”

3rd Jul 2012

You Live Your Life Just Once, So Don’t Forget About A Thing Called Love*

I don’t really talk about certain things about my love (or lack of) life, but here’s some things I’ve learned in the past year or so.

Crazy passion and chemistry don’t make up for lack of compatibility and the pain. Don’t get me wrong. When it’s great, it’s REALLY great, but it was a roller coaster. I don’t think I ever really knew where I stood because of the way his personality was and how hard it is for him to really open up to others. There were just so many glaring comparability issues that I had refused to acknowledge. It wasn’t healthy and frankly, I spent more time being emotionally played with than those moments of happiness.

Don’t settle for good, not great. Dated this guy who was really great to me and really nice. But ha! Therein lies the problem. Girls don’t want a guy to just be nice, right? That’s boring and that’s emasculating to the guy. It wasn’t just that though. There’s wasn’t a spark. I wanted to like this guy. He looked great…on paper. In person, it just didn’t click and the spark was missing. I knew there’s was a problem the moment I realized I was much more excited about the places he was taking me to–rather than him.

Don’t date an Abercrombie boy. “Gilly Girls Date Hollister Boys.” UGH. Gilly Girls date real guys. Never again. It wasn’t so much the whole Abercrombie thing, except that he acted exactly like the type of guys you’d think would work at Abercrombie. It’s too bad, ’cause there are a lot of great guys I’ve met through the Company, but are super down to earth. He treated me like shit, was insanely jealous, and then tried to say I was the crazy one. And, though I didn’t know it then, he was controlling. So really, we never saw eye-to-eye in about almost everything, haha. He did teach me more about what I want in a guy. I’ll be honest, I’m a pretty big tomboy and a guy’s girl, so for me, I want a super guy guy, not just some dude that will always bend over backwards for me. (He was neither, but he did act like a girl). That’s not even healthy. Challenge me.

*Above & Beyond – “Thing Called Love feat. Richard Bedford”

17th Jun 2012

I’m Just The Same As I Was, Now Don’t You Understand? I’m Never Changing Who I Am*

It’s crazy that’s its already been a full year since I moved back from HK. That was an incredibly stressful time, but I grew a lot from the entire experience. Just even in terms of looking out for myself and doing what is best for ME and knowing I had the guts to go through with my decision.

I started my job in January and that in and of itself has been a little crazy. My first real corporate job (excluding internships) out of college. And above everything else, I get to work with one of my best friends. (when we do end up on the same project / in the same city, which is almost never. haha) :)

Everything has been a little stressful lately, but just taking it all one day at a time. This was the first weekend in a very long time that I’ve been able to have almost completely to myself. I spent all of Friday night coding up my website (it’s pretty much done! All that’s left is cleaning the code up, optimization, and more content. I may eventually code the site back into WordPress, just as a CMS).

Tonight I had my first dance performance in maybe a decade (scary that I can even write that now). So happy that my friends made it out to watch me! I was talking to one of my friends earlier today and I realized that I really haven’t known them all that long. Less than a year. In Joanne’s case, really only around five months. But the thing with me is that if it’s a friendship worth having, I’ll go out of my way to help my friends. My friend said that’s the reason they all warmed up to me and really accepted me into their group–because I was willing to sacrifice for them. And I guess that’s just my personality. Some may find it too intense, but that is the only way I know how to be. Don’t ever change. This is me. (thanks Imagine Dragon lyrics!)

I was able to drive up to skyline after going to Tea Station with my friends (Ma-Cha Ice Cream Green Tea! So yummy!). I’m not sure if it’s the driving while blasting Imagine Dragons / Dash Berlin’s EDC 2012 set or the view of skyline that really lets me unwind. Either way, puts me a little more at ease. Before I got my job, I was driving a lot. It just puts me in this cruising zone where it’s just me and the car.

Seriously though. Walk The Moon (WTM) and Imagine Dragons are my two fav (newly discovered) bands of the year thus far. WTM’s full length CD drops on Tues and Imagine Dragon’s EP is on iTunes right now. I can’t believe they’re touring together. Perfection.

*Imagine Dragons – “It’s Time”

2nd Jul 2011

Ooo, You Make Me Live. You, You’re My Best Friend*

I realized that as I grew older, the people who I consider to be my best friends–or even who I would consider friends–have evolved. I didn’t realize it in all my trips back home until I had to actually live at home. That’s when I realized just how different this was all going to be from my life in Chicago.

A lot of my friends here in California, I’ve known since high school, or even elementary school. And all of our experiences in college have shaped us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s great to have friends that are different. But I think it also opened my eyes as to people I’m not quite sure I want in my life anymore.

In college, and life after college, it is definitely easier to find friends that had more similar interests and are more aligned with my values. A lot of this comes from going to a college in a state where I knew absolutely no one else before going there. It’s not like high school where you have only 4,000 kids in the school that you’re interacting with. These are campuses with 40,000 students. Spend four years there, and you can pick and choose exactly the friends that you want to keep in your life.

Coming home though, has been in many ways, a shock. My friends here are fun to hang out with, but they don’t feel like they hold as much substance. I realized that our lives are back from when we left high school and losing those four years in between when we’ve all had time to grow and develop in different ways has left an almost empty space in the friendship. It’s like a relationship that has gone on for far too long and it’s comfortable, and you know they are there for you, but it’s not exciting and just not the same.

In all my trips home, they were never for more than a week or a couple days at time. Therefore, I never really took the time to evaluate some of my friendships. What I found is that there are people in my life that if they did the things they did in college, I would have already dropped them. It’s much harder to drop these friendships, because these aren’t people that I have met for only a year or two–these are friendships that are now six, seven, or even ten+ years long. But I think there comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in, and friendships are sometimes just of the toxic kind and it’s better to “naturally” drift apart.

There are still a lot of friends that I would consider my close friends, just maybe not my best friends anymore. It’s a little sad to think about, but I think it happens; it might have even happened to me in Illinois if I had stayed long enough. And who knows, these are people I would love to be as close with again, and it could happen in the future still.

*Queen – “You’re My Best Friend”

20th May 2011

Ready Ready Ready For The Takeoff*

Let’s see, I last ended with the end of August…

AUGUST 2010
August is the official start of Back to School season, which almost runs seamlessly into Holiday season. Not too big of a deal, except I realized how much more different and crazier things are from the leadership side of things. This month brought along so many changes, but the most important one is my new general manager. She’s someone that I had heard about for a long time, worked a little bit for one day, and was definitely someone I wanted to work with more. She hit the ground running with our store-which is something the store desperately needed.

It wasn’t an easy thing to adjust to at first because I while I’d continued to challenge myself, I really wasn’t being pushed or acknowledged by my peers or by my immediate manager. It was a lot harder to stay motivated when you continuously see certain members of your team always taking shortcuts and knowing you’ll pick up the slack. The whole experience made me learn a lot more about myself though–how to stand up to “mean girls” and how to figure out who you can really trust.

The biggest thing my new boss taught me wasn’t about how to run a store via the day-to-day stuff. She really taught me what it meant to be a true leader; to lead by inspiring others. Aka, be aspirational (which apparently, is an AnF term and not a word that can be found in the dictionary, haha). One of the first things she’d noticed was that I wasn’t really connecting with the girls. I mean sure, I was nice to them and they were nice to me. However, I really didn’t have relationships with them–I never got to know them. I’m so grateful that’s one of the things she really pushed me on because a ton of these girls are my friends now that I’m no longer their manager. And a lot of times, I do see them as my younger sisters who I want to be there for if they need help. I’m completely floored when they do ask me for recommendations for internships/awards/study abroad since I know I am making a positive impact on their lives.

HOLIDAY SEASON 2010
Insane. I think that one word really does suffice. This was the first Thanksgiving I hadn’t gone home for, ever. Tour (CEO’s visit) was on Black Friday–a blessing and a curse. So much to prepare for ahead of time, but the dream team kept me sane (love you, Nic and Britt!). At the same time, if it hadn’t been for that visit, I’m not sure the store would’ve been as immaculate as it was. And if he didn’t know I wanted the Hong Kong Hollister store, he does now and I’m sure my DM was making sure everyone else that needs to know will know.

November 1, 2010. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. I flew home for NLCS Game Four and it was worth every penny.

Had my first boyfriend and breakup. Terrible timing, I mean. Holiday season? Really? Life is hectic enough working mall hours of 7am-11pm without trying to get to know someone and spend quality time with them. Recipe for disaster. Thankfully, my friends and roommates were my rock and helped me understand that I shouldn’t have stayed in that relationship long enough to have gotten dumped. Haha. I didn’t want to just give up on my first relationship without trying! On the plus side, I know a lot more about my deal-breakers and what I want and don’t want in a relationship. I also learned a lot about balance of my time between work, relationship, and friendships.

EARLY 2011
I GOT MY OFFER TO OPEN THE FIRST HOLLISTER CO. (first of any Abercrombie & Fitch brand) in HONG KONG! It was amazing; dream come true. Not only that, but I also go promoted to Store Manager (SM), which is pretty amazing because you normally have to already be a SM before interviewing for an international spot. And I got both at the same time! I did get some flack for that. At the end of the day though, they interviewed their candidates and I was the one that they picked to go to HK. The move was incredibly sad. Saying goodbye to all my Chicago friends, knowing I’ll never live in Chicago again. I really wasn’t expecting if this early. I thought I had a couple more months. Nothing I could do about it though.

Hong Kong was simply amazing. I wasn’t there for very long, but starting to go through the process of opening a brand new store is one of the most exciting things there is. Being the first of our brand, I establish contacts and relationships with the local universities. It’s harder than you’d think since I had to use Chinese or I wouldn’t get the respect or attention at the universities. I’m very grateful now that my parents had made me learn and maintain my Chinese throughout the years. Recruiting was tough too since we had to learn the area–not just what I knew as a tourist, but where locals like to go to relax and have fun. I’m sad I wasn’t able to be there for the day the store opened, but everything happens for a reason.

My biggest takeaways from HK was knowing that I could succeed in and adapt to a new environment and my friendship with Carol. :) It’s crazy how HK brought us together and how she’s one of my closest friends now.

*2PM – “Take Off”

26th Aug 2010

If Perfect Is What You’re Searching For, Just Stay The Same*

There’s been a lot of stuff lately that has just been really frustrating; especially I’m not exactly sure how much I can control that. One thing I have been working on is controlling my emotions more and not necessarily becoming more vacant, but less wearing my heart on my sleeve type of thing.

I just really can’t believe the nerve of some of the people out there and how much they think things are just entitled to them.

I’m super excited for this weekend though! I finally get to see my fam an a lot of my friends. Thankfully most of them have moved back into the Bay so it makes it a lot easier for going out and such. :) That and going to the Giants game on Saturday! It’ll be Mike’s first Giant game ever with Geoff and Charlie. It also happens to be Italian Heritage Night (Joe DiMaggio bobbleheads ftw!). Haha.

*Bruno Mars – “Just The Way You Are”