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A series of events | Stephanie's June 2024

Happy first Sunday of July! It’s officially summer, and June was another month filled with memories and introspective thoughts. It’s crazy to say we are done with half of the year already… The month’s start to get blurry as I get older, so let’s reflect on how this past June went. – Stephanie

Lifestyle, Lows, Lessons:

Do the month’s actually continue to become eventful or is that a conscious choice?

They say everything happens for a reason, and even though I can’t always prove it, I’d like to believe that too. If it truly is so, the events of this month, the people in my life, and the stories I got to hear – taught me either lessons, insights, or something new. 

Friendships. I started off June with a bang by celebrating a dear friend’s birthday, it feels like not too long ago (yet long at the same time) that Christina and I were in SB, it feels even shorter than it’s been a year since she’s moved to SF?! Alls to say is that I am happy to have celebrated her and that I’m happy that she’s happy. I also got to continue my monthly catch ups with Christina W, which has been a fun tradition this year, it’s one of those friendships that even though we aren’t besties and only see each other once a month, the conversations never end, possibly because we are similar at the core values, but our hangouts always feels nice as I feel heard and understood when it comes to family and relationships. And to wrap up friendships in June, at the end of the month I got to reunite with Tiana and Tammie, and surprisingly a childhood friend I haven’t seen since High School. Perhaps this is the start of our friendship again as Tammie and I enjoyed the surprise catch up that we lost sight of time. While I initially only planned to stay for an hour or two in the day because of the long drive, we ended up staying out in the AMs because of the quality time catch up -- I’d like to think Tiana, Tammie, and the childhood friend also felt the same. Hopefully our next reunion is soon!

Professionally. To be honest, I am not doing the hottest in my day job but finding energy elsewhere. In my day job, lots of change has been happening and I may be losing interest, with that being said – I am truly thankful and do feel satisfied with my job. Do I feel fulfilled though? I am not sure. And while I know some see a job as a job, a way to fund their personal lives (which valid, and to an extent I agree) I am also someone who loves nerding out about the things I am interested in. Perhaps you can call it by luck or by chance, or that everything in life happens for a reason – a series of events happened this month that combated my day job and gave me bursts of energy and a sense of purpose. In the last entry, I mentioned how I randomly met someone at the office cafe with a watercooler convo -- this month I set up time over an informational chat in hopes to nerd out about her role in research with children and technology – while we indeed did nerd out about that (a lot, I even got to join her in a lab and shadow her running these studies with kids, it was p cool to me) what I didn’t expect was to connect with her in so many other ways, in a way it was healing, I felt seen and heard, and it also brought out my inner child. She shared her upbringing in Vietnam and how she came here by boat, how she was always curious and wanted to be a writer and listen to the stories of others, but initially pursued a career in engineering for stability due to her immigrant upbringing – but how she pivoted to research to fuel her curiosity, and didn’t give up on her inner child and ended up writing and publishing two books, and how she continues to engage in creative play and art. I don’t share much about my cultural upbringing at work, perhaps the topic never came up or perhaps I would feel out of place because oftentimes the people I meet come from more affluent backgrounds and can’t relate. But hearing her share about her background made me feel safe to share about how my parents also came here by boat (and we didn’t get into the details but there was a pause and mutual understanding) and how I didn’t expect to learn all this about her but I am left with so much inspiration after hearing her story. I mentioned this in previous entries, but I still do believe that we have the power to tackle multiple interests deeply and design a meaningful life, some people may think I am delulu and perhaps I am lol but I will consider this encounter something that happened for a reason in my life, to remind me I can also tackle my childhood dreams while shaping my professional career. 

I am yapping a bit too much in this section so I will try to summarize the other incidents, first of which I got well into my nonprofit review panel group and it is and isn’t quite what I imagined. It is rewarding to get to review and select proposals from the SF community, what I didn’t imagine was the personalities and way my group is voting (lol story for another time once we finish this workstream), but every experience teaches me something and here in this one I didn’t expect to feel strongly enough to disrupt the flow of groupthink. This event just started in my life so I’ll write more about it next time, but I signed up for this leadership program and tbh I didn’t know the cohort I got into was asian specific lol but it has been rewarding as well to see asians represented in corporate. And lastly, multiple people in my professional/volunteering life just happened to come back into my life this month? This first was an intentional catch up with one of my mentors, but the other incidents – I had two mentees I haven’t spoken to in almost a year reach out and get vulnerable about their challenges and how my much mentorship meant to their career, and then I had my nonprofit director reach out to catch up as well where we both yapped about life and lol and differing causes we’re interested in. It’s interesting how life has it’s ways – some of which was intentional on my part, and some of which by chance and timing – where admittedly I feel bad I have not been doing the hottest at work, but I have been finding meaning and purpose in other ways I didn’t expect this month. 

Family. This month we’ve hit some milestones and core memories with family, first of which was visiting my father’s distant relatives in the next city, not sure why my parents never really kept in touch with them but they were so welcoming of our last min visit. Tbh I only remember interacting with them once, but with that minimal history, when we visited them – their whole family was so welcoming to us and carried the conversation, it was also so nice to see them as a family unit where they were all joking and sharing with one another. It breaks the stereotype of asian families that don’t really talk about their feelings and such lol. Seeing them so happy and welcoming, inspired me to do better. Then came fathers day with my grandfather. Not going to get too deep into it, but I have this one cousin and uncle who’s distant with the fam, but I just thought my grandfather would love to see his grandson since it’s been so many years since they’ve had time together – so I decided to treat everyone to hot pot and to my surprise, they actually responded and was down lol didn’t have to do too much convincing. Then we decided to keep it a secret and surprise my grandpa at the restaurant and I must say it was a success and quite a milestone. Through this experience I learned it’s never too late to restart family relationships and that even though I felt out of place being the organizer when I used to think the parents in the family should be doing this, life doesn’t always have to follow the assumed roles and responsibilities and if I wanted to make something happen I had to do it. In which this theme is quite fitting for the last event, which was last minute planning a summer getaway for my parents and sister. Lots of memories, insights, and lessons from this trip – since it took place at the end of June bleeding into early July, I’ll write about this in two parts and save the events that happened in July for the next entry. With the part of the trip that occurred in June, we went on a cruise to mexico which was v relaxing and time off to take a slower pace of life. From many many many meals lol to joining activities on the cruise, to still making time to do things I enjoy in my regular life, whether that’s bringing a book to make time to read, or waking up early to join the cruise studio’s pilates class (plot twist it was $30 and I didn’t want to pay lmao so I went on a satisfying run in the gym instead). An incident that really stuck with me was my dad striking up a conversation with one of the cruise workers (who honestly look my age if not +/-)  to learn more about his life here. We had a feeling the pay and life isn’t easy given the all inclusive meals and # of passengers, it must be a lot to manage. However my dad was generally just curious to learn more about life on this cruise so he asked a worker to tell him more about himself and one thing led to another where the worker told him that while he doesn’t work 7 days a week, he doesn’t have a home back in Long Beach, that this cruise is his home.. Many workers are contracted through southeast asian countries, with what we may deem as very low pay, but to him, it is a privilege to even get selected to work in America because it outweighs the opportunities he would’ve had back in Indonesia.. How for many who got selected, it’s rewarding to get to send money back home, and their goals is to work in America, get married, and have children here to have a chance at education, so they are very happy to be able to serve us on this cruise. Hearing this story made me extra grateful for the privilege of the life I have, and extra respect for the workers on the cruise and people similar. My father always putting me into place and teaching me to understand other’s stories and appreciate the little things in life. As I reflect, I now start to see this pattern in him striking up convos with people in each place we travel to, and reminding us about what we have around us. I hope to one day have that bravery to strike up convos with random people as well lol. Looking back at my drive for curiosity and value of empathy, I now wonder how much of it was influenced by my parents.

My pick of the month: Family

This month I truly feel like I’ve hit some milestones with family that goes beyond just spending time with them. In my last entry I mentioned not sacrificing family time or social/personal life time, I still believe that holds true for me this month to feel satisfied. 

This month was quite eventful in all aspects, from friendships to professional life, to time with family. To what I alluded to at the start of this entry, I’d like to think more good things that seem to happen by chance come to our lives, when we are intentional. I couldn’t find the right place to write about this in my entry, but this month was a lot of intentionally saying ‘no’ to things as well so I could say ‘yes’ to other things and make time for each pillar in life vs overflowing one pillar. As I become more honest and direct with myself, while I used to approach life to say yes to more things that come my way (and at that time of my life, it made sense) at this point in my life, it’s about being direct with myself about which things bring me joy, connection, or excitement – or is it something that i am feeling meh about and would be there to just pass time? I’d like to approach this next month with more intentionality and care. 

July’s going to be a good one, because we’ll make it a good one. Chat soon in August!

– Stephanie


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