Monthly Archives: May 2014

let me give you some reasons to go abroad after college.

Thinking more and more each day how much I miss Copenhagen. I mean, circumstances were certainly different. Having a low-stakes year abroad to fuck around in Denmark and do clichéd shit like discover myself and binge drink was obviously going to be a lot more fun than living at home in the same town I hit puberty in and having to explain to everyone why I am not doing time licking obligatory ass at a startup in the financial district like everyone else my age.

I have suddenly come to this alarming realization that I haven’t spoken to any truly inspirational individuals in a very long time. I’m probably not looking in the right places, but there it is. Last year, I was hit with an overwhelming amount of people and things and projects and I was just like YES, PLEASE INVOLVE ME, I want to help you do this so hard, I’m surrounded by all this entrepreneurial spirit and creativity and WOW, everyone is so humble about how fantastic and fucking smart they are, and the hardest thing to do was to just FOCUS on where to funnel all that energy to help create something wonderful and now the challenge I face every day is resisting the temptation to knock over all the shit at my job and quit on the spot in some brilliant rebellion-inspiring spectacle.

This is an overreaction to life in the service industry and I will probably be put in my place immediately by somebody reading this but I don’t even care.

The point is that I am again recognizing the value of taking a year to figure out what is important, what makes you tick, and what you need to be happy. Figure it out early in the most extreme of circumstances so that when things are getting weird you can blow the whistle on your own life and chase down those things that made you feel good when you were so far out of your comfort zone. I would not trade my year in Denmark for anything. Go somewhere strange and live there for a little. You will cry a bit and it will be fucking hard. Maybe nothing will work out and things might suck. But expats are a certain breed of people created by these situations- you will be open to anything and everything. It is this stage where you become a sponge for ideas and everything that crosses your path is an opportunity.

I never wrote about my time in Denmark after the fact. I even stopped writing about anything at all come April because I was so distracted that I didn’t have any energy left to sit there with zero friends (i.e. all posts dated before April) and write about all the wonderful things that were going on, something I highly regret now because very little of the amazing stuff is preserved in writing.

I guess I needed to come down from the high of kicking it in Copenhagen to fully appreciate how very very nice it was.




Well. I wrote this back in February and just found it recently on my computer. I’m thankful I can say that I am nowhere near this level of frustration anymore. But for the sake of putting real, and (maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here) valuable blog content, I chose to post it unedited.

Pretty much immediately after writing this post I started planning a trip to New York to check out journalism schools and explore some opportunities at various media outlets. New York City was where I wanted to go immediately after college to pursue a career in writing. It was also where one of my professors told me (verbatim) all my dreams would go to die. Go to Copenhagen, he said, it’ll be so much easier. You’re not ready for New York.

I don’t keep in contact with this professor anymore, and I haven’t since I had this conversation with him at a café exactly two years ago. Creating a life for myself in Denmark was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’d do it again (okay I’d maybe aim for a place with more sunlight… but that’s irrelevant). For the first handful of months I was living abroad I was depressed. I was too busy pining for Davis, home to all 100 of my best friends (#frat) who I saw every day, my gigantic house I paid a measly $400 per month for, with all of three bars down the street and perpetual blistering heat. I was confused because for four years I felt I’d been working toward something and then I had it… and suddenly, after facing the San Francisco job market of endless recruiting, tech, and sales jobs I felt like I had nothing at all. What did a diploma mean if all people wanted me to do was something else? No, I cannot deal in the headhunting industry. I want more. But my teacher told me I was doomed to fail in New York. I was left with little to no confidence… and then, Josie gave me the perfect out. Moving to Copenhagen meant a clean slate. Zero expectations, undiscovered opportunities.

Moving with my head in that sort of place meant I had some things to work through. But I packed to return to California roughly over a year later feeling so immensely proud, and so incredibly lucky. The Danes are a magnificent people. From the friends that I made there, I learned how to be humble. I learned how to slow down and enjoy the little things. How to balance my work and play. How to entertain and be a good guest. How to live simply. How to harness creativity. How to seriously chill the fuck out. How to be okay. When I think back to this time I feel rich in a way that has nothing to do with money.

I’m in the early stages of planning a move to New York next fall. Because, New York, I am ready for you. I’ve been thinking about you for years and if Copenhagen has taught me anything, it’s that I can handle it. I’ll probably have to learn how to code. But I’ve learned not to doubt things the way I used to.

And you shouldn’t, either. Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, a place you think you could thrive? It’s waiting.





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Filed under Copenhagen, Postgrad blues, Travel

thoughts on cinco de drinko, and being PC…

Once upon a time, I was an employee at the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo). I was also a member of a social sorority and a lifeguard/swim instructor for Campus Recreation, which meant there was more social stuff going on than I can even think about being able to handle these days. There were exchanges and gatherings being hosted every weekend and pretty much the only thing that differentiated them all was the theme.

Margaritaville, South of the Border, CEOs and Office Hoes, Mardi Gras, Jersey Shore, White Trash Bash AND White Trash Wedding, FantasyLand, ZombieLand, 60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s, Graffiti, etc etc…. and basically all you did was dress up as something ridiculous and it would matter for the first 2o minutes, and then each party would just turn Drunk-as-Fuck themed. Davis is small and we hung out with the same people every weekend. The themes gave us the idea that we were keeping things interesting.

So yesterday after work I get five or so Facebook notifications telling me all the social events planned by CoHo supes/managers have been canceled. (Yes, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been drinking with the CoHoes and the conversations have zero relevance to me whatsoever, but none of us ever left the Coho Party Group.) I then find out this morning that somebody came across the event page for the ‘Cinco de Drinko SLOSHBALL’ event and went totally apeshit at the description and accompanying picture of some people wearing sombreros and dressed like border patrol.

The outrage started with a letter to the Aggie: Guest Opinion: Cinco de Drinko

As a result, it seems the CoHo is no longer allowed to have parties and the (private) social group has been deleted from Facebook. Tomorrow morning, a boycott is scheduled. The organizer is asking students to ‘wear red in solidarity as a response to hate and bias.’ The event page for the boycott is bound to be taken down soon because of all the inflammatory statements on it, but just in case, you can check it out here.

OK. Think of the people you are surrounded by as a student at Davis. Incredibly intelligent but also very young individuals who, at twenty-something, seldom have the deep-rooted motivation to demonstrate an act of true racism. That is, an act that endangers a group of people or creates a situation of hostility.

Can Cinco de Mayo Sloshball really be the event that disturbs the perpetual peace of spring quarter at UC Davis? Seems to me that the real shit kicker is the organizer(s) of this outrageous boycott, who have ignited a stream of debate across social media and created a hostile situation where there was none.

So people are entitled to their own feelings and I get that the point here is to not write this off as a harmless joke but rather to understand that there are certainly people who will not think it is funny.

But Davis is about the most diverse, accepting, and progressive-thinking little bubble of a city I have lived in. In my personal experience, instances of encountering flagrantly racist individuals happen rarely if ever. I feel that if putting on sombreros for ‘Cinco de Drinko Sloshball’ was enough to enrage a leader of a particular student group on campus and spark a boycott, the real world is going to be sort of a challenging place for her.

I think that an important part of cultural sensitivity is being able to separate the sort of behavior poses a threat from what doesn’t. Flagging harmless activities as ‘racist’ only encourages racism itself and further drives a divide between individuals. Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is much less of a hurtful reminder of tragic incidents in Mexican history and experience rather than… let’s say, an enthusiastic celebration of Mexican culture in a contemporary context. Come on. We wouldn’t sit around drinking Negro Modelos and eating tacos all the time if we weren’t appreciative of what you’ve done for us and what we all now eat on Tuesdays.

I feel such a deep connection with Davis that watching this all unfold on my computer over the span of a few hours was enough to get me back into binge writing mode again. It’s such a small and precious little town that when something tips the scale, I wonder what is wrong with the world. The last time I remember an incident causing such an internet flare-up, students were getting pepper-sprayed. That was awful and all the media attention and subsequent discussion was 100% necessary. But this?

Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA this week for making some pretty atrocious comments regarding black people and it is literally all over the news. Well, it was more so in my face all week since I work in a bar where we show only sports-related TV programs, and that this week we hosted a press conference for the Legends of Candlestick so every sports journalist in the Bay Area was in the bar freaking out about it. The ban (and $2.5 million fine!) was seen as a victory and it was, as downright racist remarks made by someone in his position should definitely not go unpunished.

Reportedly, the Clippers reacted to Sterling’s comments by dropping their logo-ed shirts mid-court and wearing their red warm-ups inside out in solidarity before the game. Several other NBA teams followed suit too, which is awesome. I’m imagining that the CoHo boycott tomorrow might aim for the same thing but GOOD LORD, this is not the same thing. Let’s please not pull the racism card every time something hurts our feelings.

Speaking of the racism card, I’m now going to take this opportunity to defend myself. I had pretty passionate argument recently with someone close to me about how the title of my blog and everything in it is inherently NOT PC and how I am essentially blacklisting myself from potential employers because by casually dropping racial slurs and cursing I label myself as a ticking time bomb. There was a point made that my use of the word ‘chink’ takes the Chinese race back a hundred or so years.

This blog, title and all, are not going anywhere. If you have been offended by my use of the word, I sincerely apologize. If you look past the URL one might notice that I do not intend to demean Chinese race and culture but rather to express a need to break away from the stereotypes that surround us. My adult life has thus far turned out to be a stark contradiction from that of a textbook Asian (a definition which is changing but THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT). I thought it was downright hilarious when, in a job interview for a sales position for a recruiting firm two years ago, I accidentally used the phrase ‘not another chink in the chain’ to stress how I wanted to avoid falling into occupations that seemed right for me based on how I looked.

I will not go off on this from an Asian American Studies standpoint because that would be an entirely different can of worms and I’ve exhausted enough word vomit for one evening (seriously… 1100 words in a little over an hour? My old editor Erin would have adored this sort of efficiency). Essentially, this blog is what it is. A blog. I won’t change what it’s called or how I write in an effort to organize myself in a neat little politically correct box so that I look clean and polished from all angles. That being said, it’s important to note that it still an open forum. Each of these posts has my name on it, but as soon it’s published, its much yours as it is mine. Good writing makes people think, and you’re welcome to share what you’re thinking.

I think that’s enough for serious things. I missed this! I’ll be back shortly with some musings on being back from Copenhagen that I found in a draft folder a few months ago. Until then, somebody please tell me how this boycott works out. My hope is that everyone learns a little about cultural insensitivity vs. racism… but also gets a much-needed dose of humor.





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