Monthly Archives: November 2014



In the past few years, I’ve strived to be a more positive person, and in doing so, I’ve become very thankful (and more frequently) for practically everything that exists in the world. In addition to the usual things most people are thankful for, like family and health, which are important, I am also thankful for the experiences and opportunities that I’ve had in my life so far. I am glad to have grown up in a culture of many freedoms, including independent thinking, and I’m glad to have had the exposure earlier in my childhood to a different culture where such freedoms are limited or lacking.

I am thankful to have the ability to live independently in a place and in a city that fit my needs and style. I am thankful for where I’ve gotten in my young career so far, to be working in a profession that I’m passionate about and to do it with people I enjoy working with. And I am thankful for the opportunity, the resources, the support, and the courage to go on a little world trip the way I wanted and return safely and with the desire to do more trips like this in the future.

My trip around the world has shown me more clearly the things I am most thankful for and the things I’ve taken for granted. Honestly, there are lists of sublists of things to thank, which I will share at another time, but the general categories are: my gear, the people, the places, and the countless events that make the trip go the way it did. So, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s practically everything.

Being thankful reminds me of all the things I have had and have experienced in my life up to this point as well as the things that I can have and experience in the future. Seeing how far I’ve gotten so far gives me hope that anything is possible; it makes me optimistic and it motivates me about all the other things I could accomplish and experience.



11 (Day 111)


<!– //–>

<p>I first learned about web design and programming in sixth grade. It was rea</p><p>lly basic HTML along with some sort of image editing s<br />oftware that created “J-P-E-G”s and gifs. Marrying my logical and <br />visual sides, this was the perfect medium for me to g<br />et into. Turning pure text into stylized text and shapes of differen</p><p>t colors is a beautiful type of magic that filled my brain with j<br />oy and wonder. My teacher Ms. Trask saw that I clear</p><p>ly excelled in it so for Christmas, she gave me a “T<br />each Yourself HTML 3.2 in 24 Hours” book (with CD-ROM!). There w<br />as a lot of material to cover, and some went ove<br />r my head, like the section about creating forms that i<br />nvolves back-end processes and services, which as a soo</p><p>n-teen, I clearly lacked access to. Regardless, I would sp<br />end most of my free time at the computer making <br />web pages, one better and more complex than the one before, and usually on one of </p><p>the many GeoCities accounts I’d created. Since then, I <br />had always assumed I would learn to really code someday and become an expert at both des<br />ign and programming. But visual design had <br />naturally became a greater focus, and programming had only become a <br />good-to-know. After college, I had the opportunity to work with the <br />startup Portal A as a contract designer of sorts<br />, and I designed the company’s first logo and we</p><p>bsite. It was the first time I had worked with PHP and jQ<br />uery, and while it was exciting to realize the powers of these two languages, I also started <br />to feel overwhelmed by the pressure of having to learn very quickly on the job </p><p>in my first professional project. When the opportunity to extend my role beyond the initia</p><p>l contracted project (logo and website), I had to decline for the benefit of the c<br />ompany and for the stability of my young career. When the iPhone de<br />velopment platform came out, I had high hop<br />es for things I could cr</p><p>eate. For two or three times in the past fi<br />ve years or so, I had tried to learn Objectiv<br />e-C and iOS development, but the la<br />nguage and structure was too different fro</p><p>m what I was used to, and without an actual and small pr<br />oject to work on, there was little motivation or di<br />rection to learn anything that I could practically us<br />e. So in the past year or so, I finally realized tha</p><p>t despite my seemingly unlimited ambit<br />on and excitement over every new s</p><p>kill I come across, there is only a limited amount of time I have and there are certain<br />n areas that I truly excel at. It is up to me to decide if I should continue and take the time t<br />o learn and master, or move on to another activity and discover ne<br />w things about myself. </p><p>Wit<br />h web and visual des<br />ign, I feel the level of <br />challenge is right where I need it to be, and wit<br />h programming, it is something that </p><p>I am glad to have a s<br />mall foundation in, and it is somethin</p><p>g I would pull out of my back pocket when necessa<br />ry, but for now, I will keep it as a side skill and def<br />er to the pros when it matters most. I pl<br />an to continue to keep up wi<br />th it once in a while and m</p><p>aybe learn a lit<br />tle more whenever I can<br />.





My home is Earth.

Just before I turned ten, my family and I moved from China to the United States. As the youngest of my family, I was the most ready to adapt to a new life and therefore became the most Americanized. Even though I am now twenty-nine and only a third of my life was spent living in Macau (and probably only half of that has real memories), my perception of time is distorted to a point where I still think of Macau as spanning half of my life.

Similarly, I’ve been having problems defining my identity, especially in the past few years. Technically, I am Chinese-American, but can that title be split up and still have it sufficiently define me? Am I Chinese? Ethnically, I am. Culturally? I can read a good amount of Chinese and I can speak Cantonese. But I have limited knowledge and experience with customs and traditions; I only know whatever I was exposed to before I moved to the States and during occasional family events like weddings and holidays. Traditional ways of thinking about family structures and behaviors, while I obligatorily follow to a certain extent and when convenient, are lost on me, especially if there are based on ancient superstitions or how the pronunciation of the phrase is similar to another good or bad luck phrase. So one might find it hard to make me pass all this on to my future children, unless I was asked to by my family. I also find that Chinese shows and movies are two-dimensional in plot lines, character development, and acting. Those more familiar with the Chinese culture (like the rest of my family) would look past that and better relate to the stories and be emotionally invested in them.

Well, then how American am I? Do I share the ideals? I favor and prefer individuality and freedom of expression. I believe everyone is responsible for their own success and can do whatever they dream of if they put their mind to it and work hard. Do I think “America is number one”? Sometimes, sure. But there are many things (especially social issues, from what I’ve heard) that other countries (usually European) are much better at. Do I follow American football or baseball? Only bandwagon-style. Do I eat fatty and deep-fried foods? Only on rare occasion.

So what does that make me? Where do I belong? At the very least, I know I am a citizen of the world. My home is Earth. As my first trip around the world nears its end, I realize that a lot of places are practically the same, all thanks to globalization and sharing of best practices. In the metropolitan areas, there are usually subways or trains, there are supermarkets, and there are bottled waters. All places have a complicated past, documented in museums, bring to front painful events and celebrating proud moments.

After being in so many places in a short amount of time, I somehow feel numb to these similarities among cities, but it’s the type of numb that makes me comfortable and feel like I could belong in any foreign place, even for a few moments.

When I watched the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, I felt some pride for the Chinese people for putting together such a spectacular show, but the pride can only be the smallest possible amount for I have very little to do with the seemingly amazing outcome, other than the fact that I share ethnically with majority of the people who put it together.

At the same time, I felt just as much pride for the successes of Michael Phelps in the ’08 Olympics, while the only links I had with it were that we both live in the same country and we’re both swimmers.

Instead, I felt more pride, the most pride, for humanity, because whenever I see people come together peacefully and show the world the best that they could be, I feel belonged and safe, like I’m home. Even though the Games are a competition among nations, I focus on the “human spirit” story and just be proud of anyone who’s overcome hardship and succeed to the world stage, and I get all inspired and motivated to be a better human being.


6, 15.