WB – Washington, D.C./Las Vegas

January 31, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of January and what caused you to feel that way?)

On January 31, I was kind of deep in thought about a talk I had gone to the day before put on by Rightcare Alliance DC, a grassroots organization that put on an event that detailed Democratic presidential candidates’ strategies around healthcare reform. After working at a healthcare consulting company for about 5 months now, I’m starting to better understand the different players and stakeholders in the US healthcare system, and I feel like I just had a different perspective from the other people in the room, who were very gung ho about the single payer Medicare for all model, but didn’t quite have great insight into how it would actually be implemented. I asked a few questions that got rather quickly dismissed by the moderator (who, I realized, I’d spoken to about a job opportunity last summer). We can’t ignore the reality of big, rich stakeholders in the game. I think the question is: how do we incentivize them to rework the healthcare system? How can we design reform so that they have some stake in it, too?

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

My January 31st felt like any Friday, really. Work wasn’t too busy so I got a little early as usual, reveled in the fact that it’s the weekend, and that I got paid today! I still feel pretty lucky that I found a relatively decent-paying job where I get paid to do work that isn’t too difficult. I still wish the work was a bit more interesting but for now, I’m getting a pretty fair deal. After work, I got dinner at this Asian food hall out in Virginia, a hearty-sized portion of braised beef, rice, and some pickled mustard that made me nostalgic for Taiwan. I went with a guy I’ve been seeing for several weeks and enjoyed my time with him. After dinner, we ended up at HMart–a Korean grocery store–but I’m not complaining. Going shopping in an Asian grocery store reminds me of growing up in Vegas and accompanying my mom and family to Chinatown. Plus, they sell stuff that I can’t get in the DC area. It’s both a fuzzy nostalgic feeling and a practically good experience so I can stock up on some good food for the week.

Question 3: What are some aspects of your routine now (daily/weekly) that you think should be changed (for health reasons, stress, etc.) and what are some things you do that you would recommend to someone else? What are a couple things you would want to add to your routine to enhance your lifestyle?

I’m still trying to wean myself off holiday-level eating, but it’s been hard. My roommate AK got me addicted to these Tate’s Bakery cookies and we discussed earlier today how they were “a paradise and a war zone:” they’re so, so delicious, but because of that they are so, so dangerous. I’ve been trying to work out around 3 times a week, but just eating these cookies might as well make it once or twice a week. So: fewer cookies. I also want to maybe start intermittent fasting again–I really did feel a lot more clearheaded and lost some water weight, and it also felt almost nice to follow some kind of discipline or regiment. 

In terms of non diet/food related habits, I do want to start reading more often. None of the books on my bookshelf are really calling me to me right now, but whenever I go to a bookstore, I always tell myself I have books at home. Maybe I’ll start a book and if I’m not into it, I’ll buy another one. There’s an Amazon bookstore (!) across the river in Georgetown, and I feel really conflicted about it. It’s a nice bookshop, but it seems like a really big fuck-you to all the physical bookstores that closed because of Amazon. Anyway, I used to really be into fiction, but recently I’ve been on a non-fiction kick. I still haven’t started that podcast life, mostly because I feel like there are just so many good ones that it’ll be difficult sifting through all of them initially.

February 29, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of February and what caused you to feel that way?)

This month went by just as quickly as I had expected. My friend AK and I had planned a trip to New York City this weekend for a food tour. She pointed out that we chose to eat our hearts out on our extra day of the year, which I thought was both hilarious and accurate. Highlights from this month included having my mom come back safely and soundly back from China where she had spent Chinese New Year in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, spending my first Valentine’s Day with a special someone, and feeling progress from working out consistently.

On this last day of the month, we toured around New York City and had some really, really incredible food. We were thinking that Flushing, our first stop of the day, would be empty, but much to our surprise it was completely packed. Highlights from Flushing included a mouthwatering big plate chicken dish from a Uighur food stand that cost only $9.99, and a brown sugar milk boba stand that was worth the 20 minute wait. We also walked around the SoHo area and popped our heads into strange concept stores before eating a smaller dinner–fresh steam rolls and delicious cream puffs!–at the Canal Street Market. We got a few drinks at bars in the nearby area and reflected on our lives from the past few years.

A few years ago, we would have probably gotten smashed and gone out somewhere. Today, I felt content just relaxing and chatting, even though it did feel old to be in a bar with NYU students who definitely weren’t 21. AK and I returned to her friend’s place tired but extremely content with our day and happy with where we were in life.

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

I felt awesome today, mostly due to the amazing food and company from the day. AK’s friend’s S and J graciously hosted us for the weekend, and it felt refreshing to be in a different city. I feel like sometimes I get sucked into the DC bubble; it’s when I travel or go to other places that I realize that I’ve settled down here in a way, with my commute and familiar biking paths and workout schedules. It was nice to get away to New York to not only get a slightly different perspective but also to reaffirm that it was good idea to not move to New York after graduation.

When we arrived the night before, we went through Penn Station, which was so different compared to DC’s transportation hubs. In other words, I was completely shocked. It was 11pm at night, but there was a construction crew jackhammering away and a shoeless homeless man sleeping less than 5 feet away. This image is still emblazoned in my mind–the sounds, the smells, the sights–and I’d never felt more grateful for DC’s public transit system.

Question 3: Two paths diverge in a yellow wood… which do you choose? One winds into a dark canopy headed towards a beautiful valley, and the other heads straight for the top of the mountain. Choose wisely 😉

If alone, I  would probably go to the valley because it’s downhill! But if I were with a group of people, we’d probably tackle the mountain. I love the views from mountains but am less than enthusiastic about the hike sometimes. I need a crew of people who can hold me accountable and encourage each other to get to the top!

March 31, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of March and what caused you to feel that way?)

The end of this month couldn’t have felt more different than the end of the previous month. I officially started self-isolating on March 13 (two weeks prior). Since then, I have not taken any public transportation or met up with anyone I know except for my roommates. It all happened so quickly. First, my sister, who had been studying abroad in Rome, had to return back to the states–she was (and remains) crushed by her brief 1-month stint studying abroad, and I felt so bad for her. I had a trip planned to the Galapagos Islands for the last week of March–Ecuador’s borders closed on March 17. My parents were supposed to visit DC for my birthday–obviously not happening. In lieu of the Ecuador trip, I wanted to rent a cabin somewhere with the guy I’m dating–nope, not a good idea either. It seemed like huge revelations were coming out every hour, every few minutes on the news. At first it was almost exciting to see how things were developing, but it quickly turned into horror and sadness. I’ll admit that I had kind of underestimated this disease at the beginning, but now it’s very obvious that it’s much more insidious and deadly than I had originally thought.

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

To the outside stranger, there’s probably never been more solidarity than now. When I’m outside for a walk or a bike ride I actively try to stay away from people, but when I’m at home online I’ve never felt closer to strangers who are going through a similar thing. It’s an interesting feeling. Obviously there are a lot of polarizing opinions out there–i.e. blatant racism towards the Asian American community–but overall I feel like this situation is bringing a lot of people together. I keep joking that I’m single-handedly bolstering our neighborhood’s economy by ordering out a lot more and tipping much more than usual. I’ve donated to a few GoFundMes for causes and organizations and companies (!) that I care about, as well as to the Wellesley community. I feel very lucky to work remotely and have good job stability, as well as enough money and resources saved up in case something terrible happens (I haven’t hoarded anything though!). Feeling really lucky right now that my family has also been following CDC guidelines seriously and are self-isolating back home.

Question 3: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from social distancing?

I.e., Thoughts about how to feel connected during this time/How are you spending all this (presumably more than before) downtime?/How do you feel about the worldwide impact of COVID19?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past few weeks has probably been that I am definitely, unquestionably an introvert. Besides the low hum feeling of anxiety in the back of my head at times, this transition hasn’t been too difficult to bear. I’ve also learned that despite all the horrible things that are happening in the world, there are people who are really stepping up and forming resource pages, donation sites, and finding ways of helping people. I’m bowled over. I wish I were a leader more than a follower in this sense, which is something interesting I’ve learned about myself during this time. In college, I think I had seen myself as someone who would rush to the front lines during this time, but I’ve found that I’m content following guidelines and more “passively” supporting communities in need.

July 31, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of July and what caused you to feel that way?)


I can’t believe today was the last day of July, and that we’re going into August. I feel weirdly okay about it, and I feel weirdly okay about today, given that this week was oddly all over the place. People weren’t kidding when they said breakups are a nonlinear roller coaster. Last weekend I was feeling pretty lonely and restless, but today all I am looking forward to is signing off work, biking to the Navy Yards, and journaling a bit. And being alone. I want to bask in this feeling of being solitary for a bit. What has helped me get through the past several days has been reconnecting with a high school friend. We bonded over kitchen appliances, which is hilarious. I notice we talk the same to each other even though we haven’t seen each other in five years, even though I rejected his prom proposal eight years ago. It’s bringing back feelings of nostalgia, and the tiniest twinges of regret, too. I need to journal about it, I think it will help parse out my feelings a bit.


So I probably won’t be even eating outside for a while because the patio tables at the Navy Yards restaurants definitely aren’t close to six feet apart. Though that’s just an addendum at the back of my head because I’ve just cried inside Wise Guys, while waiting for my pizza, after checking my phone and getting a Text. My first tear-stained thought was, how dare he? How dare he ruin my fantastic day. I had a lovely bike ride, I’ve just bought popcorn at Harris Teeter, waiting for pizza, planning on watching a movie when I get back home. Instead, everyone inside this Wise Guys can see my eyes tearing up, and I’m glad I’m wearing this mask. I pick up the pizza, walk outside, and after taking a big breath, attach it to my bike. How dare he send that. I should have blocked his number months ago. Why didn’t I? I know the answer, I just don’t want to admit it to myself. I eat the pizza, but I don’t make the popcorn. I don’t watch the movie.

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

You know that Tyler the Creator meme? The one where the caption is, “So that was a fucking lie”? That’s how I feel about the situation right now, including about myself. Maybe I was just lying to myself. I thought it was over it and I had successfully walked away. But clearly, that’s not the case. Can you tell me why? Why is this so hard, even though I didn’t even feel the beginning stirrings of love, not even close? I feel conflicted, torn, guilty, angry. Tell me how I should feel and what I should do.

Question 3: When do you feel most social and comfortable around others? Covid has taken away a lot of opportunities to be around the people we love, but what are some qualities about another person (that you know or don’t know) or a situation that makes you feel like you can be yourself?

This question is really interesting because I’ve been thinking about this recently. My social skills vary widely depending on the social context.

When I used to volunteer at the hostel in Boston, I felt like the Hospitality Queen. It was so easy to start conversations with, “Where are you from?” and connecting over shared travel experiences, sharing tips about what to see in Boston, our lingo loosened over a glass or two of wine or beer.

When I’m with my close friends, I am a Social Butterfly. Everything I say seems interesting or funny to them, and our senses of humor match up so well. It’s these moments that make me kind of confused when I have weird or awkward interactions with other people that I don’t jive as well with.

When I meet people initially, it’s hard to gauge how personal and vulnerable I should be with them. It’s a risk, right? If they do understand your personality, the interaction goes swimmingly, or even wonderfully. If you are on different planes, it gets awkward very quickly. This has happened to me more frequently in work settings than anything, or happy hour socials where you go in knowing no one. I still get nervous going to them, even though I’ve traveled around the world and made friends with people in less constructed contexts, even.

I put on A Face and put myself out there, and try to brush off all the awkwardness. I try not to let it get to me because I know that the other person is trying too, and it might not always be successful. I think I have been easier on myself in recent years in forgiving myself when situations turn uncomfortable.

August 31, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of August and what caused you to feel that way?)

Oh Mr. Bennet, we are all in an uproar! This is one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. I think?

I had a FANTASTIC Saturday with a Very Cute Guy who I’ve been talking to the past few weeks. He picked me up in his family’s Buick SUV and we went to a bookstore, got ramen, and took a gander around Great Falls. The words and jokes came so easily. He lied about being 6’, but he’s tall enough.

He bought a Snoop Dogg calendar at a stationery store we passed by. He didn’t pay for my ramen, but I didn’t really mind. He has a large Harry Potter-themed chess set and asked me to play chess with him. He’s astounded to learn that buffalo sauce originated in Buffalo, NY. It is an incredibly beautiful day outside.

We stop by his house (in McLean, the rich part of Northern Virginia) to pick up his National Park pass only to find it expired last month. We try to use it to get into Great Falls anyway, but our plans are foiled by the park ranger. When he takes out his driver’s license, I see his birthday is December 21. As we whizz down the George Washington Memorial Highway, blasting The 1975, I’m taken back to that first weekend in March 2017, that very first road trip up the North Shore.

My heart hasn’t felt this a-flutter in ages. Ironically, they have the same initials, too, which is hilarious. But also makes me take pause? Because as soon as he drops me off in front of my apartment, things feel delicate. What do I say? Why doesn’t he say anything?

I send him photos of the pandas and otters and prairie dogs from the Smithsonian Zoo and he keeps a neutral distance. I think about this as I eat outdoors for the first time in the pandemic. I think about this as I go home and think about the upcoming week, the next month.

Because this is mutual, right? We feel the same way, right?

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

I had a great weekend! Started out rough–helped a friend move and got caught in the rain on the way back. Still, over the weekend I went on a really great second date, saw a panda fall asleep over a melon, squealed over really cute otters, and had a nice Filipino dinner outside with some great friends. We also got ice cream afterwards, but I think I prefer Jeni’s. I’m really looking forward to September–hoping it’s better than the roller coaster of August.