Top 3 things our younger siblings taught us

Now that my little sister has headed off to college, the home isn’t a home until all the members are…home.  There are now silent nights where my sister and I used to fight for our privacy in our shared bathroom.  There are now spoiled bananas, clementines, and pineapples because the fruit monkey used to eat them whenever our mom buys the fruits for sacred offerings.  There is now peace in the house that at times it’s hard to get used to.  Now I think of it, there are more than 3 things my sister taught me, but I hope these make you think of your siblings as well.

1. Try new things

My little sister is a fearless little thing, she would be willing to travel to places that she has never been.  She’s always been open to going to new places, meeting new people, and eating new foods.  Watching her, I used to fear for her.  No, she doesn’t do anything dangerous, but I fear because I myself would not be courageous enough to travel to Ohio for chorus concerts, or cheerlead for the school football team every freezing, cold, fall nights.  From watching her, I learned to slowly ease myself into doing new things.  From watching her, I was brave enough to travel to 2,000 miles away from home for work, enjoy the amazing taste of sushi, and going to live concerts.

2. Being a better friend

I am an introvert who loves quiet places, I paint, I bake, I like scenic places.  My sister is completely opposite.  She’s an extrovert, she socializes, she volunteers, she likes meeting new people.  If we were to ever met as complete strangers, we both agreed that we would never see things eye to eye.  Being sisters, I learned to see things that are different from my own perspectives.  As an artist and a pastry chef in training, I would offer her fashion advices and teach her how to bake cakes and cheesecake pies that she likes.  As a people person, she taught me to be assertive when someone steps over the line, to be confident in front of people, and how handle my awkwardness in a social setting.  Fate and our blood lines tied us together and we learned as we grow up, to respect and support each other.  She doesn’t just teach me to be a better sister, she taught me to be a better person.

3. A better listener

While growing up, we all had to go pass stages where we see there’s more beyond ourselves.  The world doesn’t revolve around us, it’s only a matter of perspective.  Whenever my sister would tell me stories, I tend to interject with my thoughts and opinions.  She would tell me to “stop talking, and listen to my whole story first!”  We would often share our stories of our high school and college crushes, broken heart stories, and fun things we did with our friends.  One time when I was upset about one sided relationship with a friend that didn’t treat me with respect, my sister would listen quietly and offered supportive advices to me.  For someone who’s younger, she is more mature than she looks.  Whenever I feel the urge to interject my thoughts, I would remember her telling me to stop and to actually listen.  In some ways, I supposed I listen better now…I’ll find out what she thinks when she comes back to visit for spring break.

Siblings pick up on each other’s quirks and behaviors.  They are almost mirrors of ourselves.  Without my sister, I would not be the person I am today.  So, despite the times where we fight for bathroom, food, and family dog’s attention, I’m grateful my parents gave me a little sister.

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The Art of Asking for Help – Who knows what?!?

I used to feel extremely humiliated when I have to ask for help.  What’s worse was when I had to reach over to my (secret) arch-enemy in 9th grade Algebra Trigonometry class to ask him for help.  Oh! The humiliation!  He was always happy to help me, but it was because of my inflated ego that ballooned way too big, making it very, very difficult for me to be humble enough to seek for assistance.  I would be extremely frustrated with myself and imagined my arch enemy sneering at me as I struggled to untangle this monstrous math equation.  That’s how I lived through middle school and high school, I always had this foolish idea that I’m smarter than everyone else and no one could possibly be smart enough to be of any help to me.  Boy, was I wrong!  There’s that one day when I got stuck on a math problem that even I can not solve.  I could not even match up to my own standards!  How embarrassing was that?!

I have to admit, it was the first time I had to deflate my ego and muster what self-respect I had left to admit to myself that I didn’t understand the problem.  The next step was to ask my classmate for help.  Thinking back on my school days, I was just being silly.  However, these experiences helped me come up with these 6 steps for how to ask effectively.

Please keep in mind that asking for help is a two-way street!  Here’s how you start!

1. Identify the problem 

The only way to solve a problem is to know what is the problem.  If you can not pinpoint what’s the problem, then it will be difficult to find the best fitting solution.  While asking your “expert,” always keep the problem in mind.

2. Acknowledge you don’t know the subject.

It sounds easy but it is not at all.  When I had my inflated ego, it made me less receptive to new ideas and ignorant of the problem.  My mind would find ways to deny that I don’t know about the subject and would make up things for what it’s lacking.  Don’t you find yourself making up weird explanations when you can’t answer a question?  Exactly.  If you can catch yourself before your mind makes up excuses or explanations for you, you find out what you don’t know.  As a result, you will be more open to novel ideas from others.

3. Be curious

Once you know the problem, and be open to new ideas from other people, you should definitely crank up your curiosity.  Think like a kid, question things that your mind draws blank lines to which you can’t answer.  Once the first few questions pop up in your mind, several more will surely follow, I promise.  😀  As your “expert” answers your questions, create different paths with the stones given to you.  By doing so, your creativity will help you find the best solution to your problem.

4.  Know your “expert”   

Definition: “expert” – The person who may or may not have all the answers. Be nice to him/her

Hmmm, how many times have we been frustrated or confused when our teachers gave us the wrong answer or pointless answers to our questions?  Many times!  If you know your “expert,” you should definitely phrase your questions in a way that he or she can understand what you are asking.  If the person does not understand your questions, it will be difficult to get anywhere with the information given to you.  Be flexible, rephrase questions for when the questions are not clear or concise enough.  I find that if the questions are not clear, I give examples and definitions to give alternative ways to help the “expert” understand my problem.

5. Be patient and grateful

Being patient with your “expert” is very important.  If it takes you a while to understand your problem and phrasing your questions, it does take the person you are asking, some time to be in the same context as you.  Being patient is beneficial for both people because there’s less stress between you two, therefore, he or she will likely be able to think and answer your questions precisely.  Think about it, if I rudely ask you a question and I ask you to give me the answer QUICK! You may end up ignoring me!  I will be even more stressed and annoyed!  Don’t forget to be grateful that he or she is taking time out of his or her busy or not-so-busy schedule to help you.  Regardless whether the information he or she provides is useful to you or not, always thank him or her. Don’t burn bridges by insulting him or her if your “expert” is not useful to you…yet!

6. Return the favor

Most of the time, people do not expect you to return the favor when they helped you out.  However, helping the other person is a mutual relationship.  Although you are not of any help to your “expert” now, later on, he or she can ask for that favor from you.  I always try to return the favor as soon as possible because that way, I don’t forget, and it shows that I’m eager to help, when I can.

These six steps have helped me many times and I believe I no longer have that silly inflated ego anymore (hopefully.)  I’m more humble because I can readily admit I do not know certain subjects and I’m not afraid to ask.  I make sure there’s always a reason to my questions, and I try to make good use of the answers given to me.  Most of the time, I guide my “expert” with my questions, this allows me to keep the goal in sight.  I hope this is helpful to you!

***Side story:  What’s sweet was that my arch enemy had a crush on me so he was always happy to help me.  He asked me out one time and I didn’t really understand what “going out” was, so I told him I had to work on math homework.  What’s sour was that my house got egged later that week.  You do the math.

Forgotten passions

Forgotten passions

Lately, my life has been busy but wonderful, nonetheless.  I have many, many exciting moments of joy, laughter, love, and awkwardness.  My career has been going well; my persistence and efforts paid off.  I got the opportunities to obtain more time sensitive tasks and attention from my upper management.  It’s amazing to know that I’m no longer a forgotten, working gear that’s creaking quietly in a corner.  Now, I’m being dusted off and shined!  Maybe I’m doing something right, I should definitely continue to put out 110% effort in my career.  Some nights, I’m tired, but still overwhelmed with happiness.

For the past month or so, I spent some quality time my little sister, who was home for the winter break.  We talked about money, school, friends, and boys.  I’m kinda sad to see that my sister is no longer a little 7 year-old girl who readily believed in my fantastic ventriloquism.  I have to admit, I was a superb ventriloquist.  I made her childhood a living nightmare that was filled with tears and nonsensical conflicts caused by her favorite bossy and annoying stuffed Labrador Retriever, Fifi.  Of course, now she tortures me with her endless teasing and puppy faces that I can’t resist.  Many times I caved in to her invitations to eat out, going to spa, and shopping, it’s breaking my bank!  (Gosh, I need to figure out how to resist this…cute devil!)

When Christmas passed, “he” came, nah let’s say stumbled…rolled…uhm ok, walked into my life.  There were definitely LOTS of awkward moments.  It was full of silly jokes, laughters, and of course, countless mini heart palpitations.  We went on an explosive number of date nights consisting of ice skating, movies, drinks, and eating out.   While I was trying to juggle work life, family life, and personal life, “he” made everything around me feel so effortless and worthwhile.  I’m very grateful that someone as wonderful as him exists.  “He” is the best fitting lid to my pan so far! 😀

Today, my cousin, who I considered as my older brother, spent some time with me to catch up on things since we haven’t seen each other in a month.  He is awesome.  My cousin is always supportive and he never fails to give me his male perspectives on life.  I really enjoy being with him because he tolerates (hehe) my quirky comments and spontaneous spurs to do things that are definitely out of his comfort zone (i.e. going to shooting range.)

Usually when I write, I want to share meaningful advices or things that brighten everyone’s days.  However, on this post, I want to be selfish and talk about my passions for my career, and loved ones.  I called this title “Forgotten Passions,” not because I forgot.  I want to remind everyone that when you start to forget your passion, you forget how amazing it makes you feel.  Just remember that those moments you share with the people around you or you doing something you enjoy, you can never get them back.  So, if you are passionate about something, cherish them, or if you are like me, share them to the world!

“Improving oneself”

“Improving oneself”

There are many things I want to change about myself…

THINGS I want to improve that I have procrastinated for so long.

I tell my friends, and family about these visions of my self-improvements

BUT these changes have not become actions yet.

If I say it enough times, I start to believe in these words…

and soon enough they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

“Believing that you can change yourself is half the battle.”

“Drive Safe” Prayer

I always tell my close friends and family to “drive safe,” before they get into their cars. I hope that it will remind them to drive carefully and that there’s someone who waiting for their return.

“Why frown when you can SMILE?”

Here’s loads of quotes that will convince you why you should smile!

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness ” ― William Arthur Ward

“It takes a lot of energy to be negative. You have to work at it. But smiling is painless. I’d rather spend my energy smiling” ― Eric Davis (former MLB star and cancer survivor)

Smile, it’s the key that fits the lock on everyone’s hearts.

“When I look out at the people and they look at me and they’re smiling, then I know that I’m loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems.” ― Etta James

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ― Mother Teresa

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

“I was smiling yesterday, I am smiling today and I will smile tomorrow. Simply because life is too short to cry for anything.”
― Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday

“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”
― Greta Garbo

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.”
― Charles Chaplin

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

Smile photo link: http://finkorswim.com/2012/01/06/smile-a-guest-post/

“The things that I like”

Things that I like

random cloud shapes

sunny side up eggs

my dog’s smile

scarves!

fields and fields of dandelions, sunflowers, and tulips

leaves!                        yellow, orange and red leaves in the fall                    leaves!

snore!!!                        the sound of my                     dog’s snores                            snore!!!

the smell of watermelon on summer’s day

pitter-pattering sounds of rain against my window

the sweet, and airy taste of chocolate croissants

and finally, that certain person’s smile…

he’s smiling

back

at me.

What do you like?