Archive for February, 2011

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cali.

February 27, 2011

I made a trip to California last weekend. It was a surprise visit to see the boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. I had to enlist help from his roommates to make sure 1) he didn’t have plans and 2) I could get a pick up from the airport. It all worked out really well (thanks to United for rebooking me on Delta!) and he was super surprised.

It was a good little vacation for me, despite not quite adjusting to the time difference. We went to Santa Cruz the first day. Perfect – it was warm weather and a couple hours on the beach make everything better. My favorite part was watching the sea lions that congregate on the pier. Mostly they were sleeping. But at one point, a boat got too close and they all jumped off in a scramble – quite amusing to me.

Then on Sunday, we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. We went across the bridge to Sausalito (which was a super cute little town) and then on to Tiburon. It ended up being about 17 miles. I learned that biking in San Fransisco area is mostly a lot of uphill and downhill – neither of which is too fun in my opinion. It was also much closer to traffic than I prefer.

I got dim sum; I got Chinese food; I got sushi. Then I jumped onto a red-eye in order to make it back to work on Tuesday. Short vacations are the best.

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steps.

February 24, 2011

Just like I’m obsessed with personality tests, I absolutely love anything that will give me statistics about…well, anything. I even like stupid stats, like how many posts I’ve made and how many time my profile’s been viewed. But those don’t have a whole lot of meaning to me. I can’t do anything with them. So instead, I got a Fitbit, which is a cute little pedometer that will also track my sleep habits.

It’s the greatest thing ever to me. It tracks all my steps during a day and my sleep at night. Then I can upload the information online and tracks it in fancy graphs and stats (steps, distance, calories, etc). It allows me to log activity, food, weight, etc if I really wanted too. That’s too manual for me though. However, I do like the goal setting features. I can set a goal of 10,000 steps a day (which is about 5 miles) and it tells me how close I am to accomplishing that.

So it’s super easy to see how I’m doing and when I need to improve. In fact, it’s made me ridiculously conscious about how many steps I take each day. Going to one of my gym classes accounts for about 50-75% of my steps for a day. Days when I don’t go to the gym and have only a couple meetings – I take very very few steps. So I try to do little things (taking the stairs, parking a little farther away, etc) to try to get more steps in. It’s almost like a game now, which I guess ends up being good because it’ll make me healthier.

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bank.

February 21, 2011

I go to the bank a lot – more than most people. My main reasons are 1) I deposit rent/utility checks from my housemates every month, 2) I like having cash in smaller bills than $20 and the bank tellers will always give me cash in specific denominations, and 3) the bank is in my grocery store and is open all the time. And because I go so often, I recognize several of the tellers.

One of them is this cute Asian girl. She used to be there every time I went to the bank. Not so much now, since I’ve usually been going on weekends. And because I would see her all the time, we chat more than seems normal for going to the bank. For example, I know that she’s married and her husband works at my company. She knows that my boyfriend lives in California, my family is in Milwaukee and that I work at her husband’s company. On some level, it’s super nice to actually be recognized as a specific person and not just a random customer. On the other hand, it feels a little awkward to have those kinds of conversations with the bank teller.

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mixed.

February 4, 2011

This article came up on my Reader feed followed by a comment about not fitting in with either purely white or Asian circles. And I find this idea of race/ethnicity and identity fascinating. Maybe it’s because, not being mixed race, I’ve never really had to think about it. Maybe it’s because I lived in a town that was non-diverse enough that these things don’t come up.

Either way, I never had any weird existential crisis when filling out the race/ethnicity question on standardized tests – I’m Asian. Chinese if I’m asked to specify. But the article is obviously about something larger than a multiple choice question. And this is why I’m interested. Logically (or rather biologically) I’m Chinese. But I grew up in Wisconsin, in a town that’s 95% white and is made fun of because it’s so white. So as far as culture is concerned – I’m almost as white as you can get without actually being. Or as my housemate once asked me, “do you ever look in the mirror and are surprised that you’re not white?”

Sure, I might have some stereotypical Chinese values, but I bet most of it stems from being in a very upper middle class environment (things like doing well in school/college/job, maintaining a good family reputation, etc). And I understand those small idiosyncrasies – like covering your furniture in plastic, keeping your house cold, eating fish eyes because it’s good for your brain – but mostly only on a level that I can joke about it. So it seems ridiculous to read this article about how young adults aren’t sure how to identify or where they fit in or how to deal with being pigeon-holed. Should I have an identity crisis because I don’t fit in with the only box that I can check? Should I be spiteful and just start checking the white box too? Who cares?

The two sentiments expressed at the end of the article – about wanting both races to be acknowledged or having neither matter – to me, are really the same. How does one acknowledge two different racial identities without potentially stepping on your metaphorical toes? Or in my position – how does someone obviously acknowledge I’m Chinese without it getting awkward when they ask “where are you from” and I answer “Wisconsin”? The way you do it is to not have it matter. Either you don’t get all antsy if someone assumes only one race or everyone else doesn’t ask stupid questions like “where are you from” or “what are you” because that’s rude and unnecessary.

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psych.

February 1, 2011

Apparently women in higher education aren’t doing so well psychologically. The reasons are because women often participate in more stressful recreational activities (debatable), or because they tend to take criticism more personally. You could also chalk it up to the pressure girls feel to do “as good as the boys”. I guess it’s no coincidence that these are similar reasons to why women can often struggle in the work world, especially right after school. Girls are different from boys.

But then this comment makes an interesting point about how single-sex colleges could use this to their advantage. Obviously the positive is that you can tailor the classroom environment to be better for only females or only males. That when you put them together, it’s always going to be somewhat of a compromise. The only problem is that you don’t stay in college forever. And unless these all-girl schools are going to teach girls specifically how to deal with criticism and competition and how to relax, then it’s just delaying the inevitable til after graduation.

By and large, the females I know do need significantly more positive reinforcement. I would also put more females into the “perfectionist” category than I would males. They’re also less confrontational. It makes me wonder if this behavior/thought process is something that’s truly ingrained in females, or if it’s something that’s taught to us when we’re young. I’m guessing it’s the latter, but that’s just my guess.