slippers

The Heels Have Clicked

Back in another airport. Are you sick of reading those words yet?

As I wait to board a plane to the coast where I spent the last dozen years, it is no triumphant return.

For better or for worse, I have made a vow to California. This visit East is to say farewell – at least, for now. There is reluctance, trust me. I am fearful of what it means to make a decision to stay in a place with no definitive reason to do so. There is no job offer enticing me to stay in the Golden State. I still find myself impatient with some of the slower-paced San Franciscans. When fall hits, I am going to be longing for the rock-your-world foliage of the Adirondacks and wishing deeply for the plentiful apple cider of upstate New York.

Yet thanks to some pretty fabulous weather, a grandmother who brings me bananas after I fall asleep (ask me about it) and a church community that has given me roots and growth at the same time, I can’t deny the longing to stay here. Blame it on the drudgery of wanderlust, or the allure of start-ups and playground-like offices. It’s not quite ‘home’ yet, but the potential. Oh, the potential.

IMG_3898

Sonoma

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San Francisco

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

 

And if I were holding Toto and wearing shiny ruby slippers, I have a feeling I would open my eyes after three heel clicks and find myself facing the Pacific.

#nolongerinnaefarawayplace

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A tragedy that reflects back hope

For all those who took the time to read Ki’s story (and comment online or to me directly!), thank you.

Leah Loves That Photography

Credit: Leah Loves That Photography

Toya didn’t flee from country to country. Her first language is English. Yet what this Pittsburgh woman made of her life is inspiring, incredible and illuminating. Even without meeting this woman face-to-face, her story drew me in. Take a look.

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Link

When two worlds collide

You may accuse me of being quiet.

(This is partially true. I feel that my tendency to be an extreme extrovert has weakened with time).

The words are still spilling out, though! The reason for my silence on my blog and other social media outlets is all the planning and tweeting and writing I’m doing for Kiva Zip. If you don’t know what that is, I will cast no judgment if you go now and make a $5 loan! ;)

That being said, I still wistfully think about my former reporter life. Having conversations via Twitter is not quite the same as face-to-face.

Then the opportunity came in the form of a meeting with a Cambodian woman who was forced to take refuge in Vietnam and then immigrated to the U.S. She and her husband want to borrow $5,000 to help their small sandwich shop succeed.

Ki Giang

For a little while, philanthropy and reporting are going hand-in-hand. Meet Ki. 

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#whatinnaeworld?! New York 2nd Edition

In a world where everyone is connected and life is digitized, a simple sign in a New York cafe stirs shock.

Cafe with no computers

Computers be gone!

For an unemployed New Yorker who was looking for a haven to job-search, this was not a pleasant sign. For a coffee drinker who finds herself full through conversation? Well, it left an impression… and a blog post.

Happy #ThrowbackThursday! #tbt

Abbotts Lagoon

The humble brag about a humble brag that isn’t supposed to be a humble brag

This already got complicated.

The problem with humility is that when it becomes public, there is a very strong likelihood that it turns on itself. Humility in the limelight? Heaven forbid, that’s nonsensical! Oil and water, attention and humility. Hence, the long-winded title of this post.

Right, back to the post.

Zip team building

fdjisfojsf

My team at Kiva had an off-site team-building day last week. We stopped by a few businesses who have benefited from the 0%-interest loans that Kiva Zip and crowdsourcing provide. The day ended at Abbotts Lagoon in Point Reyes.

I have never been to Point Reyes. It was stunning. Also, this is not the humble brag.

In a team-building discussion, one of my managers paid me a very high compliment.

“She is so humble, when she has every right not to be.”

I heard this and felt two emotions:

1) Gratitude

2) Guilt

—————————————————–

I have a lot of experience. Well, a decent amount. I’ve worked for years in a unique field that requires communication, aptitude at learning and a tolerance for pressure and deadlines,

The last month, however, I have felt incompetent more than I would like to admit. I have been absent from many friends’ and family members’ lives because I felt like I was fighting to simply keep my head above water hour by hour. I have felt panic – sheer panic – multiple times since starting my internship at Kiva. I found myself constantly checking my email to ensure there wasn’t a task I had left undone, then realizing there was always something I could be working on.

While my manager meant his words as a compliment, he touched on something in my heart that I knew I had to articulate.

As someone who has “succeeded” in the worldly sense of the word throughout most of her life, these four weeks have humbled me. It wasn’t that I needed to be acknowledged for my display of humility. I needed to acknowledge my need for it.

While it is odd to share about one’s failings, I’m not the first to find this contrary belief the path to freedom.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Once I did, the panic subsided. The incompetence shaken off, bit by bit. Now I know: I am humble.

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#whatinnaeworld?! Hartford Edition

It’s been awhile.

Seeing that today is Thursday, this is an appropriate time to #tbt it to a month ago (does that really count?) to a trip to the lovely capital of Connecticut. In the tour given by the illustrious Cary Chow, he made sure to bring me to this very Starbucks because it was sure to be…

closed.

closed.

 

I’m sorry, which Starbucks do you know that closes at 6:30 p.m. on a weeknight?

And remains as shuttered on the weekends?

THEN WELCOMES CUSTOMERS ON CHRISTMAS EVE?

 

Boggling. Welcome to Hartford.

Not in Kansas Yet

A few confessions:

  1. I avoid Home Goods like the plague.
  2. The photo of my family in my living room dated back to my high school graduation until I changed it out just two years ago.
  3. I refuse to buy a salad spinner even though I desperately covet it.

 

Stay away.

Stay away.

 

Let’s unpack these, shall we?

 

Since college, I discovered that I inadvertently chose a nomadic life when I chose to enter broadcast journalism. From contract to contract, I found myself in places I had never even heard of. Moving became commonplace. Minimizing my possessions seemed necessary.

Then I’d enter a friend’s beautifully decorated house and feel envy.

 

I dream of a home. Home means a space I can decorate, with the creature comforts of ottomans filled with board games, a wine cabinet and a memory foam bathmat. I know, my fantasies are extravagant.

settlers

Source of fun. Takes up too much space.

 

There are so many physical items I have refused to purchase until I can guarantee the next and possibly final destination of my life. I am waiting for the freedom to call a place home without an end date in place.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas... yet.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas… yet.

 

There seems to be potential in the area of San Francisco. If only I could click my heels twice and know. However, I will be lugging a percentage of my belongings across the country in a meager few suitcases. The rest will remain in a generous and clever friend‘s basement and wait to be unpacked… one day.

 

Did I tell you how much I enjoy unpacking? Ask my friends Annie and Steve: I unpacked their entire kitchen in an afternoon and managed to send a few boxes to the dumpster while I was at it. The enjoyment comes from knowing each item has its place. It will return to the space in which it dwells.

 

Unlike their kitchenware, I’m still #innaefarawayplace. Sure, I lived in NYC for two months but I tacked that hashtag all over my Instagram feed. I know New York isn’t an exotic place. In fact, I remained in the same state as my last job. Not so far away.

Also, even though the opposite coast awaits me for the first half of 2015, it’s very likely that I will continue to use that phrase. This journeying isn’t over yet. I have yet to find my Kansas.

 

And when I do, I’ll buy my first salad spinner.

How to Make the Right Decisions

A wise man (also known as a friend of mine) says he faces at least 20 forks in the road each day. How do you decide which direction to take at each crossroads?

 

In his words:

Pick the path that means more for someone else and less of yourself.*

 

This is not to say that you allow yourself to be stomped on, crushed, ignored and forgotten. Rather, if there is a benefit to someone else, it is very likely that should be the choice you make, even if you walk away with no apparent reward.

 

Completely counterintuitive. What about getting ahead, stepping atop others to attain success? I looked at him a bit skeptically across the table.

 

—-

My mother came and sat down on my bed right after I pulled the covers up to my chin. “I have something I want to talk to you about.”

I sat up.

“I’ve been thinking this for awhile. You are too nice.”

“Huh?!” my high school self exclaimed.

“You are too nice,” said my mother. “You will be taken advantage of, if you haven’t already. You need to be more selfish. Your dad and I have discussed this. Stop being so nice.”

I fell back onto the bed in disbelief.

 

As my friend and I unpacked this concept, I realized that my parents and I were both wrong.

 

As painful as it is to admit, there have been too many ulterior motives in my kindnesses. Was I really offering to cook a meal for a family because I genuinely felt the burden of a newborn child? Well, yes and no, because I have never raised an infant. However, there is a tiny corner of Innae realizing there is some social perk to performing this public deed. I will be viewed as altruistic! I will not be wasting my time! I will be considered a great cook! (highly unlikely) And I will feel good about myself!

 

Select service, Ted* urges. Give my time, energy, wisdom, all of it away.

 

He isn’t the only one to say such nonsensical words. Who can forget this?

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

[Mark 12:30-31]

 

‘Tis the season for giving. Time will tell if I’m ready to make it year-round.

 

——————————————————-

*This is paraphrased. Sorry, Ted.

One More Airport

I haven’t been in New York City long, but I will admit the Big Apple has become quite satisfying. Sure, I’m still the person who takes candy from strangers on the subway and then spins like a ballerina to orient herself once on the surface. At the same time, there is a coffee shop I can call mine and I have successfully completed multiple loads of laundry at my local laundromat in my six weeks here.

 

 

In the middle of all this comfort, though… there’s another airport waiting to greet me.

Hint: It is one of the two that feels like home to me. Who remembers? Prizes if you know! And by prizes, I mean a shout-out and an enthusiastic high-five if you’re anywhere near San Francisco or NYC.

 

Oops, there it is.

 

It’s an unconventional decision, but I am going to take my next very large step over to the other side of the country as an intern with the non-profit Kiva.org. If you don’t know what they do, well, that’s why there’s a hyperlink for you to learn! So click and get to it!

 

All kidding aside, I have been intrigued and inspired by what this organization and what many other microfinance groups are doing to encourage entrepreneurism, and more importantly, empowerment. My interest in small business development grew throughout my reporting career as I witnessed and contributed to the growth of the downtown areas of Salisbury, Md. and Troy, N.Y.

We dressed like this every Friday night.

We dressed like this every Friday night. [Main St, Salisbury]

I am pretty sure all – and yes, all - my hard-earned dollars went to wine and cheese at the Confectionery.

I am pretty sure all – and yes, all – my hard-earned dollars went to wine and cheese at the Confectionery. [Troy]

 

 

As someone who often lacks courage, I admire the bold spirit of these visionaries and I only hope that I can help foster that among men and women in countries where aid can’t be found in the form of loans.

That’s where you and I come in.*

 

 

I am leaving for California in January for five months. That’s the charted territory for now. You’ll be learning more of the life that’s unmapped alongside me as we go. Well wishes are welcome. So are food, hugs and prayer.

———————————————————————————

*Check Kiva.org again, please, if you don’t understand.

#whatinnaeworld?! New York Edition

I’d like to think after six weeks, I’m a bona fide New Yorker.

This weekend, however, I realized I am far from it.

 

It’s not just because I ended up in a different part of Queens because I forgot the hyphen in the street address (yes, 40-17 Broadway is quite different from 4017. Is that not obvious to you?). It’s not because I still manage to come out of the wrong exit at the 34th Street stop which is always, always, always closed on weekends.

 

Well, maybe it is. However, the realization came when a man offered me candy on the L train.

 

It was a wrapped Starburst. Red. Still in the original row, though the outer packaging was torn open.

... And possibly laced with coke?

so inviting

 

My companion stared at me once he realized it was already in my mouth. “Did you really eat that?” he asked.

“Yup,” I mustered with teeth half-clamped together.

“I would’ve never eaten that.”

 

Still a newb, my friends. Still green. And apparently still in need of reviewing my stranger danger kindergarten education. Oops.

 

P.S. It wasn’t laced with coke.

Eric Garner March

Being Silenced: Where Change Can Begin

I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read, statements posted, comment threads and tweets resonating with anger and injustice. This has been a charged, painful, frantic few weeks, and while one would hope it is to come to an end, this is the beginning.

Eric Garner March

Funny. There is hope in that statement, isn’t there? We are entering another civil rights era, a time where men and women march to ensure equality. This time, people of all races and backgrounds will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, repeating the cry. Black Lives Matter.

 

I have wrestled with blogging about these current events because I did not want to simply fume on the internet until I had all the facts. Yet it wasn’t until I realized how uncurrent these events were that I began to type.

#CrimingWhileWhite has been a shameful testimony of how many times one’s appearance has provided a second chance. Granted, these are anecdotes. Here, however, are the numbers. In this ProPublica article, there is proof of the racial disparity when it comes to bullets fired and lives stolen in an instance. Just a few years ago, the federal data revealed that “blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.” Essentially, the authors of the article estimate that young black men face a 21 times greater risk of being shot by an officer than a white male of the same age.

Image courtesy of ProPublica

And this is data that isn’t even fully complete.

 

——————————————-

All this being said, this post isn’t just a rant about what is wrong.

 

We must recognize we have created an enemy too. Who is “the other side?” Do we condemn all uniformed men and women? I know many who have taken the oath who grasp the dignity of life and the delicacy of justice. There is no doubt that a medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, and the man last seen with his arms around the black man’s neck is not facing any repercussion. The days to come though, may be punishment enough. What we need to seek is a solution, not revenge.

 

A former mentor of mine urges us all to “lean in and listen” in his editorial in the Huffington Post. Call me old-fashioned, but respect garners further respect. I have no right to command that you silence your voices now. I just ask you to be aware of the potential prejudices spilling out of our hearts as we speak. At times, a listening ear will heal more powerfully than a spoken word, and a conversation more effective than a lecture.

——————————————-

Chaz Howard also wrote about the incongruity of Philadelphia’s protestors against the backdrop of the Christmas tree lighting at City Hall Wednesday night.

“A huge tree stood over all of us. Today shiny ornaments and lights hang on it. Not very long ago a black man would have hung on it.”

 

 

About 2000 years ago, a Middle Eastern man hung on it too. And He did have the right to say this:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

All lives should matter. Let us strive to make them so.

How I Know I’m Still A New York City Newbie

It’s been awhile since I’ve packed a lunch. The last time was when I went on a road trip with my friend Molly to the mountains and rivers of Colorado this summer.

 

It was glorious. So were the turkey and veggie wraps we made.

 

This weekend, however, I scrambled to grab whatever I could from my fridge (think yogurt, fruit and the oh-so-basic peanut butter sandwich) so that I could eat a cheap meal and avoid purchasing something on the way to Philadelphia. As you know – or should have heard – New York City meals are not so friendly on the wallet.

 

In my haste to be frugal, I let some precious minutes slip away. Having then missed the express 2 train by seconds, I found myself at Penn Station with 4+ avenues to walk and only fifteen minutes (for the record, avenues are very, very long). I walk at a fairly fast clip normally, but armed with two heavy bags, I doubted my feet. Begrudgingly I raised my arm…

 

 

And hailed a cab.

 

So much for saving money. New York, I know you’re chuckling.

Never Say Never

You know when you say you’re never going to eat monkey brains? Or you would never jump out of a plane for “pure pleasure”? Or that you would never live in New York City?

 

So that one might just be me.

 

The thrilling skyline of vibrant skyscrapers. The epicenter of tourism. The hub of finance, media, fashion and food. Home to 2 to 8 million rats (Actually, I need no further reminder as to why I did not want to live here).

 

Yet here I am, a now two-week resident of NYC.

 

Granted, it was more than a decade ago when I first said I had no interest in living in the Big Apple. Since then, I’ve visited countless times, navigated the metro system with ease and recognized most neighborhoods by name (I don’t think I’ll ever understand TriBeCa). Even so, there was a reluctance to fully embrace the highly revered metropolis. I loved the grittiness of Philadelphia, the natural open arms of San Francisco, and the hard earned knocks of Boston. New York? Too glamorous for me.

 

When I realized I needed a place to lay my head at night for more than just a week’s stretch, I had a couple of hospitable options. In the end, I was given the opportunity to live in an amazing apartment with a reduced rent, and friends who would continue to look out for the rest of my belongings upstate.

 

God works in beautiful, but humbling ways. Unsettling, too. I’m still adjusting to being a quasi-Manhattanite, no matter how short or long my time here may be. I guess it’s time to put on my high heels and get to work.

 

(Who am I kidding. I’m still wearing flat shoes).

Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding for the Soul

Have you ever heard of a guard llama?

How about a pet skunk? They aren’t allowed in New York State (with the exception of certain permits), but there’s an underground effort to justify the domestication with a therapy sort of role.

 

These aren’t the topics one would expect in a conversation among food bloggers and foodies (+ one wannabe foodie named Innae). Yet across breakfast pizza, cheddar biscuits and apple muffins with a date and garam masala crumble, I found my belly aching from gluttony and giggles.

 

We actually sat across from each other in the same room, not in a web conference.

That’s right, we sat across from each other in the same room, not in a web conference.

 

The reunion was unexpected. I reached out to Deanna Fox of Silly Goose Farm to follow up on a promise to visit her home, and the hostess-extraordinaire decided a full-fledged brunch was nothing short of necessary. Along came a few of my favorite food writers and lovers from the Capital Region, and I was giddy with anticipation for the delights that would soon be in front of me.

 

Case in point.

Case in point. Yes, that’s also homemade maple burnt sugar ice cream.

As I caught up with the ProFUSSor – whom I hadn’t seen since he and his wife left for her sabbatical over a year ago – we chatted about the merits and difficulties of a changing menu for local restaurants. Expected, right? Also discussed with Albany Jane, Albany John and the others: pregnancy, mining and honey badgers (I have now made plans to watch a documentary on these apathetic animals thanks to the recommendation of this marketing guru).

(she made this. stunning flavor profile)

(These are those aforementioned muffins. Stunning flavor profile)

 

 

There were also moments that morning where the laughter waited on the sidelines as these men and women listened to my journey thus far. They offered encouragement, advice and suggestions with such sincerity that my heart was just as full as my stomach.

 

As we’re all aware, the Internet is a connecting, yet isolating place. While I’ve carried conversations with these eaters online for some time, the in-person opportunities weren’t as frequent. A few minutes here, inbetween bites at a tasting there, and soon we’d have to finish up our trains of thought on Twitter.

 

Even with so little face-to-face contact, I felt fully comfortable. The words I had seen on a screen or in print were backed with the warmth of a voice. The delightful images I’d scrolled through were taken by hands that baked and cooked to delight my tastebuds. And now we’d created memories that would feed my heart.

dinner with dad

At the Table with 아빠

A series of moments with my inimitable 아빠 (dad) during my three weeks at home.

 

—–

We had just sat down with our first round of buffet plates.

“Before we continue the conversation,” my father said. “I have something for each of you.”

He pulled out four envelopes from within his ever-present journal and handed one to my mother, one to me, and the last two to my sister. He instructed her to give the other to her boyfriend.

The cards too gave instruction.

IMG_0826

 

And that night, we celebrated each one of us.

—–

Hearing groans from the living room, I immediately ran out to see why my father was in pain. He was gingerly lowering himself to the ground, moaning as he went, since he had thrown out his back a day earlier. He picked up a fallen honey cracker even as I told him to stop.

I then said, “아빠, 제가 버려줄게요.” (Dad, I’ll throw it out for you)

He grinned, popped it in his mouth, and then offered me a cracker from the full bag in his other hand.

—–

After getting stuck in traffic, we rushed into the rice-paper walled restaurant two minutes before our reservation. Our faces fell: there was no television inside. My father hollered at the hostess, “TV 없어요?” (You don’t have a TV?)

Her answer, with an arched eyebrow, “우린 전통 한식당 인데, 왜 물어보세요?” (We’re a traditional Korean restaurant. Why would you ask that?)

His answer: “박태환 선수가 지금 수영하잖아요! … 금방 갔다올게요…” (Park Tae Hwan is swimming right now! We’ll be right back…)

At that, my sister, father and I ran back to the parking lot and watched the Korean swimmer win bronze in the 200M freestyle of the 2014 Asian Games —

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 — in our car.

—–

“It’ll only take a few minutes,” he said, as he started to boil water.

“Only if you’re sure, if you don’t mind,” I worried in the last hour before I had to take the shuttle to the airport.

He looked at me and said, “As long as you want to eat my food. You sure you don’t want Korean food for your last meal?”

“Absolutely.”

I set the table for two.

photo (1)

 

As he grated parmesan cheese onto our plates, he said, “You won’t find anything this simple at a restaurant in Korea. Oh, and you have to drink this wine with it.”

 

I ate my last meal of my trip sitting across from the man who made it for me. Just a few ingredients made up this pasta dish, and its simplicity reflected the purity of his love for me.

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Why America Needs Refugees

innaepark:

A few months ago, I was moved by a young girl skipping rope in a refugee apartment complex in Denver.

While she and her family may be struggling daily in ways that I can’t understand because of my unsolicited abundant life, they have changed the life of my friend Molly. Not only her life, but those of the people around her, like me. I’m still blinking in disbelief because I so often choose to close my eyes and the light is only going to keep streaming in.

enjoy this reblog:

Originally posted on mojoy1494:

Yesterday, I went back to visit my former apartments. The beauty and chaos of the 3-tiered brick-on-concrete low-income-housing buildings located right off the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Route 225.

Sandwiched between streets that have only letters for names, construction projects, and strip malls with cell phone stores, liquor marts, and fast-food joints are the Shadow Tree Apartments.

I suppose the name comes from the few scraggily evergreen trees clinging to life in the middle of the cement  courtyards of “A” and “B” buildings.

I haven’t visited often this past year. Not as often as I’ve wanted to, and certainly not as often as I’ve thought to.

There was the time I showed up with bags of items to drop off that were given to me by my sister’s former roommate (the contents of which were quickly claimed and made new homes to grinning faces). I saw an 8th

View original 1,688 more words

Two Decades

I’m frantically writing a blog post as I reflect on the last few days of wedding preparation.

 

Don’t be alarmed, there’s no ring on my finger.

 

It’s that of a friend whom I have known for more than 20 years. A friend who has been by my side through thick and thin (she being the thin and I was the former). A friend at whom I shook my head for years because there were times where she was just beyond me. And then a friend who received the same head-shaking in recent years because of my delight at who she’s become.

~1995

[around 1994]

Now, after two decades, I get to see her walk down the aisle and marry a man who cherishes her deeply. We’ve seen our share of hurt, of mistreatment, betrayal and even abuse. Now her story will be marked by a new beginning – where another friend will be by her side for hopefully more than twenty and beyond years.

[before 2002]

[before 2002]

 

 

Don’t worry, Yong Hee. Janet and I will always be around.

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#whatinnaeworld?! Bay Area Edition

I thought NYC was exclusive.

 

However, I was awakened to the rarity of certain dim sum options in the Bay Area thanks to two cousins who went to a restaurant and then returned the next day because this dish wasn’t available the first time.

IMG_0489.JPG

You’re looking at (what’s left of) 1 of 6 crispy pork belly portions that are served each day at Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae, Calif.

ONE of SIX.

We made sure to come before noon AND tell the primary server we were here to get this particular plate. It was hand-delivered (versus cart-delivered) as a result.

Was it worth two days of dim sum in a row? Go try it.*

Happy eating!

 

 

*Okay, fine, it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Go.

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#whatinnaeworld?! Lisbon Edition

Seeing that I just wrote about how Lisbon’s history has touched my heart, I figure I’ll head back there for this #whatinnaeworld?! post.

 

A seemingly ordinary sight, no?

free

free bread box!

 

FACT: This is not complimentary. I repeat, not complimentary. In fact, you will get charged for any seeming courtesy treats before your meal in Portugal, and even in restaurants in Spain. That includes bread, olives, cheese, you name it. So be sure to turn it away unless you really want to carbo-load before your entree arrives. Don’t worry, this tip IS free, no charge ;)

 

Happy Monday!

Earthquakes

Remember how I realized that I’ve explored two cities this summer whose goal is to be bizarre?

 

Another fun fact: I’ve also ventured through two cities whose identities have been heavily molded by an earthquake’s devastation.

 

I have never experienced an earthquake (knock on wood – preferably a sturdy doorframe). This is rather surprising, seeing that I called California home for years, visited the state frequently and am now considering it as a future home. However, even without the personal experience, I feel aghast at seeing what such a natural disaster can undo.

The Carmo Convent: ruined in 1755, still beautiful today.

The Carmo Convent: ruined in 1755, still beautiful today.

 

It is even more gasp-inducing to see what humanity can re-do afterward.

 

In Lisbon, my sister and I stumbled upon the work of a pair of designers who have captured the personality of Portugal in childlike cartoons.

lisboa_02

(courtesy of Soma Ideas)

A poem accompanies each city or national icon. For Portugal’s capital, one line immediately held my attention.

(courtesy of Yelp.com) Urbanity risen from an earthquake.

(courtesy of Yelp.com)

Urbanity risen from an earthquake. 

 

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Saints Peter and Paul Church, San Francisco

National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi (photo courtesy of about.com)

National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi             (courtesy of about.com)

 

These churches are also the progeny of a post-earthquake era. Both existed before 1906. Both fell in that year. Now both have been born again.

 

“Born again” has a spiritual association, and I profess to fall into that Christian category. Joining my spiritual life is now my professional life. Please don’t misinterpret this: my decision to leave a career does not compare to the pain and destruction experienced in an earthquake. I am, though, starting anew. What existed before is no longer in front of my eyes, and I have to envision, reimagine what will stand there in the years to come.

That’s why the tales of these shifting tectonic plates has so grabbed me. Look at the beauty around you. Humanity is a people of resilience. Of strength. Of determination. In a time of desolation, the answer is not, “Let me leave.”

 

Instead, it has been, “Let me live.”

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As I survey what is no longer there in my everyday, I pray for an existence greater than what was before.

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#whatinnaeworld?! Albany Edition

I’ve posted quite a few in this #whatinnaeworld series, but hopefully you’ve been as entertained/shocked/illuminated as I have been along the way :)

Now back to where I’ve spent the last few years. I’ve had some phenomenal meals in the Capital Region. Then there are some dishes that have simply fallen short.

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Now, I can’t call myself a connoisseur of fish tacos, and I don’t even like cilantro (blasphemy, I know). However, I’ve never seen raw green
onions in a tortilla alongside battered fish. And in such abundance!

For the record, they do not mix. Do not try this at home.

*disclaimer: I also ate the best fish tacos I’ve ever had in San Diego this summer, so I may be more critical than most after such a heavenly experience. But really? Scallions?

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#whatinnaeworld?! San Francisco Edition

Strange to think that it’s been more than a month since I was in the Bay Area, but the good news is… I’m returning! I’ll be in the Bay Area as I revisit friends and family and prepare for the wedding of one of my oldest friends.

 

However. This photo needs to be shared. I was folding a friend’s laundry when I found THIS:

This is in one's laundry in the middle of July.

Mind you, this was taken in the middle of July. JULY.

 

Gotta love NorCal weather and its sharp temperature changes. At least Karl the Fog has a sense of humor.

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Calling: Let Your Life Speak

Here’s the promised post. However, I won’t do the book justice so please just read it..

 

As I’ve been traveling, I’ve been hoping that suddenly, epiphany will hit. A voice will pierce through the separating clouds. An owl will carry a message from who-knows-where (yes, I love Harry Potter). That’s the hope. Is it reality? Not… yet. Perhaps, not at all.

 

Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God. 

 

These are the words of Parker J. Palmer, the author of “Let Your Life Speak.”  It’s quite the contrary view of what a ‘calling’ truly is. Instead of waiting for the outside to resonate within, why am I not being called by my own heart? My own gifts? My own talents?

 

Interestingly enough, the primary reason I began to work in broadcast journalism in 2006 was that I felt that this profession suited me. My talents and abilities fit into the job search puzzle. I was never a news junkie, never dreamed of seeing myself behind the anchor desk as a young girl. Since I began this career though, I’ve developed an earnest desire to understand the business and give it my all. Does that signify passion? Or calling?

 

What a tricky concept.

 

Palmer urges the reader to listen. Not to others, not to self-help books, not even for a celestial voice to boom down from the heavens. Instead he asks you to see where your dreams head. To linger among what your heart longs for. To note the itchiness in your fingers when you’re given a task that captivates you.

 

So a few things that have come to my heart in the past few weeks — and these may not be the final landing place:

– I have a heart. An organ that hurts, empathizes, and has compassion for those who are in need. Who exactly might I serve? That’s yet to come.

– I love to listen. I love to share, but more importantly, I desire to draw someone out of their shell, discover the person beyond the name tag.

– There’s a standard I want for myself. That’s about all I’ve got there; within that lies an element of pride. I’ll be the first to admit that despite the confidence I show, there’s a very insecure woman underneath, daunted by the challenges that lie ahead. Yet I can’t deny there’s an innate reason as to why I am resistant to taking just any job.

 

There’s more peeling to do.

 

 

Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.

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#whatinnaeworld?! Seattle Edition

I’ve got a few gems from SF that I look forward to posting, but seeing as I just landed in Seattle this weekend, this photo needed to be on the interwebs.

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Identity crisis. Or tourism efforts gone sour.

Guess I should be off to the Lone Star State?! Just kidding. Well…

Not really. I’ll be there in a few months. That’s NOT a joke. Maybe the Sea-Tac airport has been following #innaefarawayplace too ^_^.

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#whatinnaeworld?! San Diego Edition

Unfortunately, these posts are coming a bit later in my travels, but you want to hear the words in my head, don’t you? Rather than just the sights I see? DON’T YOU?

 

 

Fine. Just be sure to follow me on Instagram (icon to the left!)

 

Anyway, back to the series.

I have never seen this before. And I am elated.

pill: 50 cents. a night without digestive pain: priceless.

Pill: 50 cents. A night without digestive pain: priceless.

 

Thank you, Lighthouse Ice Cream for blowing my mind (and not my stomach).

Status Report: 6 Weeks

It’s been exactly six weeks since I walked out of YNN (still in the habit, dang it. I mean Time Warner Cable News). As I recount my thought process anew to friends I haven’t seen in years, others are checking back in.

 

“What are you learning?”

“Any clarity on where God is leading you?”

“Did you find your spirit animal yet?”

 

Unfortunately, the answer to all these questions is still: ____________________.

Well, perhaps not the latter. That’s just a “no.”

 

Or is it…?

I'd like to think mine is either a dolphin, giraffe, or koala. The latter a new addition because of my recent stint in Australia.

I’d like to think mine is either a dolphin, giraffe, or koala. The latter a new addition because of my recent visit to Australia.

 

As exhilarating and exciting as these six weeks have been, there have been moments of anxiety, even agony. Looking ahead also means looking back, and tearfests have made their way into my life more often than brainstorming sessions.

 

Truth serum. Better known as some crazy concoction of alcohol my recent college grad of a niece decided to order for us.

Truth serum, or some crazy concoction of alcohol my recent college grad of a niece decided to order for us?

 

 

I knew it was going to be difficult. I didn’t realize how difficult.

 

For example: the balancing of time.

If you know me, you know I’m delighted by people. I’m also a chronic people-pleaser. This manifests itself in a packed schedule, day-in, day-out, with friends/family/strangers (?!) lined up in my calendar. As I meet with them, I have to look ahead to also plan which activities will be on my agenda in the rest of the Pacific Northwest, then on the East Coast, then across the Atlantic, and oh wait, Texas too?

 

*breathe*

 

It may not sound like a task to you, but for an über-organizer like myself, it’s been overwhelming. And there have been more moments of helplessness.

 

Yet, even in that simpler of examples, it becomes clear. This period is not just about who I will be, but who I already am.* Who I am not. And most importantly, who God is.

 

In which case, falling apart is acceptable.

—————————————————————————————————

*TEASER: Expect a post ahead about a truly insightful book called “Let Your Life Speak.”

California Dreaming

Hi.

such beauty.

I’m now in sunny Southern California.

 

If you’ve been following me, you’ll realize I was on a plane for three 10-hour-long trips within a week. o_O

I spent a few days in Australia, came back home to Seoul for a day, and then flew for another 10 hours to the Golden State. The Fourth of July weekend was spent with some incredible women, most of whom I met for the very first time, as we celebrated a woman I’ve known for almost my entire life. Now the last few days have been spent in the City of Angels, as I catch up with other family and friends whom I love.

 

Thus far, I think I’ve had the conversation explaining why I left journalism at least ten times. I expect to repeat myself many times more.

 

However, I’ve also conversed with a man who wants to start a wave of Korean-American history awareness, an architect who has the success anyone would crave but chooses not to claim it, a tour guide who failed to achieve his dream of architecture but made art his muse, an ardent supporter of North Korea’s first privately funded university, a deputy director for the Ready for Hillary PAC and of course, the most loving and loyal friends I’ve ever had.

 

These conversations haven’t shaped a future path for me just yet. Right now, they’re pushing and expanding and opening my heart so that I can begin to grasp how big this world is and the hearts of you who support me in this state of uncertainty.

LACMA

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Gosu Cave walkway
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#whatinnaeworld?! Danyang Edition

Sometimes things just leave you speechless. Like a 3 foot-high tunnel that a tourist spot in rural South Korea doesn’t warn you about – and normal adults are expected to be able to get through. Good thing I can kimchi squat.

Expect the use of this hashtag throughout my travels!

 

 

Oh, and that’s my mother saying “조심” [careful!] over and over and over again.

Home: Where the Heart… and Hate is

“So much love and hate.” Words from my father at dinner two nights ago.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh because that’s exactly what I felt I needed to write about next.

 

We all have our issues with our hometowns. Too small, too big, too indifferent, too intimate. And the relationship between Seoul and me is no different.

 

For example, LOVES:

The food. All of it. Now. [차이 팥빙수 / Chai Paht-bing-soo]

The food. All of it. Now. [차이 팥빙수 / Chai Paht-bing-soo]

Transportability

Transportability

ddukboki

More food. [떡복이/ddukboki]

Cafes: perfect for hours of conversation

Cafes: perfect for hours of conversation

Did I mention food?

There are so many reasons why being home = happiness.

 

At the same time, there are moments where being home can bring about a sense of lowness.

 

Here’s where I get real (welcome to the new-and-improved blog?)

 

A few things make S. Korea less palatable. Hard to believe with some of those photos I just showed, I know.

 

1. The land of couples

Don’t believe me? In 10 seconds, I snapped these four photos.

They're everywhere.

They’re everywhere.

 

With the Westernization of its culture, Koreans began to embrace romance wholeheartedly. A little obsessively so. Now, wherever you go, you will find yourself surrounded by couples, arm-in-arm. For a single lady, it’s a bit trying. I may sound bitter, and you can judge me for that, but I do enjoy being alone right now. That gets shaken when I realize I’m the only solo person on the street.

2. The image paradigm

Even after years of being in a career where one’s physical image is scrutinized, I feel the most insecure when I’m in Seoul. Women here are just naturally tiny, and somehow I didn’t get those genes. I grew up in a city that didn’t carry my size in clothing. I was taller than most. While those two facts are now false with the passage of time, the warped self-image still takes hold: I need to diet. Why am I so large? How do I look like her? I can’t possibly be attractive in this country.

 

While I was reflecting on this, thankfully, another fact came to mind.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

– Psalm 139:13-14

 

This home is not my home forever. I don’t write that because I know I’m returning to the States. I write this knowing that I have faith in a God who gives me a greater purpose than looking like the elevated example of beauty. He sees me as beautiful, born to belong to Him, and better for that.

 

 

——————————————————————————————

It’s time to enjoy the city and all I love.

 

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Sweet Potato Pie

Thanks to a friend‘s recommendation, this went in my belly today. Feast your eyes on this ‘za from the Korean chain Mr. Pizza, complete with BBQ ribs, sauce, broccoli, small potato wedges, squash and garlic (the garlic is optional, but that question is always answered with a “yes”).

 

Oh, and I forgot.

the Gold 'Oh My Rib' Pizza

the Gold ‘O My Rib’ Pizza

 

There’s sweet potato mousse in the crust.**

 

*drops mic*

 

 

——————————————————————————————–

**Honest assessment: I enjoyed it enough to eat three of the small slices, and the sweet potato in the crust was intriguing, but not desirable enough to order it a second time. Go for the cheese cap (cheese-filled crust).

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P.S. This is not an advertisement.

P.P.S. Thankfully (?) Mr. Pizza has gone global, so K-Towners, feel free to give it a shot.

P.P.P.S. This is a tease to my next blog post! Ta da! Applying journalism skills.

A Korean-American’s Thoughts on Korean-American History

The first memory I have of the name Dr. Philip Jaisohn was as a teenager. I walked into a slightly run-down waiting room and sat, looking curiously about me. It had been awhile since I was in any sort of medical clinic in the U.S., having lived in Seoul for three years now.

 

“Ah, the waiting rooms still have magazines,” I thought.

 

I asked my grandmother how she was feeling. “괜찮지 [I’m fine],” she replied, next to me.

 

Soon she was welcomed by a nurse who addressed her by name, and I saw my grandmother’s dentures flash as she realized she could understand everything the young health professional was saying. This an anomaly for a woman who immigrated to a country where she still didn’t speak the language and had managed to survive as head matriarch of a transplanted and scattered family.

 

A short time later we left, and I asked my mother, “How is there a Korean hospital in the middle of Philadelphia?”

 

She answered, “This is the 서재필 (Dr. Philip Jaisohn) Memorial Foundation.”

———————————————————————-

fd

KALAGNY 28th Anniversary Gala

This week I was honored to emcee the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY)’s 28th Anniversary Gala Dinner. The theme: The Korean American Experience: 150 Years in the Making, as it recognized what would’ve been the 150th birthday of Dr. Philip Jaisohn, believed to be one of the first Koreans to immigrate to the United States in the 19th century. He was the first Korean to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen, the first Korean to graduate from medical school, went onto marry an American woman, and then later returned to his native soil to demand democracy for the people.

 

His accomplishments are far-reaching, but knowledge of them is not. At the New York event, one of the evening’s honorees asked the room of 300+ attendees who had heard of Dr. Jaisohn prior to that night. Barely a few dozen raised their hands.

 

In a conversation with the honoree afterward, he lamented the ignorance, including his own. “Honestly, I didn’t even know of him until I started researching him for my speech,” Young Lee admitted. “Yet how many others still don’t know of this great man?”

 

Thankfully, there seems to be progress. I was privileged enough to attend a university (go Quakers!) where Korean history classes were an option, leading to my Asian Studies minor.

 

At UC Riverside, a center devoted to Korean American Studies opened its doors just four years ago. It is named in honor of the only Korean American officer in a mostly Japanese-American Army unit during World War II: Col. Young Oak Kim. Be sure to learn more about him, as my dear friend’s father is the one who researched and brought awareness to this great Asian American advocate’s accomplishments.
Clearly, this is only the beginning.

 

I’m getting ahead of myself, but these are the conversations I hope to keep having in the next few months. I look forward to these triggers, catalysts, sticking points where I’m forced to stop and self-ask,” Is this where my heart wants to venture forward?”

 

More thoughts and questions to come. Let’s chat.

Apparently not alone

A good friend of mine sent me this link (thanks Nancy and J!) of a news scrum.*

Whether you know what that is or not (I didn’t), the viewpoints of the contributors are insightful, varied and telling. Please read.

 

The point of this post is a self-realization: I am not the only journalist to be leaving my field. In fact, the article cites another USA Today reporter who’s left his post for a digital communications firm. Scott Martin’s primary reason is also concern for the direction of journalism. In his case, specifically technology news. Martin writes, “…Social media giants are becoming the new distribution powerhouses and gatekeepers of news as well as the place to put advertising dollars to work,” and as a result, he believes news is indirectly becoming corporate advertising.

 

My thoughts on journalism’s future are similar, though Martin addresses the introduction of advertising at a level deeper than my thinking.

1. Despite my interest in local news, its audience is diminishing.

2. The demand for viewers leads to efforts to engage the public.

3. Oftentimes these efforts focus on social media.

 

That timeline seems innocuous. New attitudes, approaches and mindsets are necessary to keep up with society’s changes.

 

Here’s the problem. With fewer people tuning into their local stations, those newsrooms are making decisions that tend to lean toward the more scandalous, the ones that will grab your attention. They’re also using social media in a way that gets people to tune in. Oftentimes it’s a simple copy/paste and putting the audience’s thoughts on the air.

 

Is this the right platform for random comments? Is this news? As stations become more desperate for viewers and engagement, I feel there will only be more changes that will not reflect the heart of journalism.

I will say that the current station I’m at does not compromise on many of these things, but I’m looking ahead.

 

It’s an unusual state-of-mind for me to be in. I generally plan in the short-term. But again, after much prayer, reflection and conversation, I’ve been able to take this leap of faith, leaving a job I love, to find out what else is in store. Stay tuned.

——————————————————————–

*I had no idea what a “news scrum” was either. Fast Company describes it as a place where “senior reporters add crucial context and information to a mainstream technology story.”

A significant announcement

 

Thacher State Park

Thacher State Park

 

I took this photo at the end of January. Trees – in case you didn’t know – don’t grow sideways. Yet this one ended up parallel to the earth that gave it life, going against the direction of all the other trees.

 

I took this photo thinking of me.

 

This was a day spent in prayer and reflection, in praise and in apprehension. It’s when I decided I was going to run counter to what was expected of me and leave the field of journalism for now.

 

So there’s the announcement. After years of reporting, anchoring, producing and informing, I’ve decided it’s time to step away to see the people I love, explore other paths I may be passionate about and challenge myself in ways I haven’t in the past.

 

There are multiple reasons for this. Among them, the fact that I’ve said no to many opportunities, events and moments in an effort to say yes to a career. I’m also sensing a growing concern about the direction that local broadcast news is headed. If you’d like to chat more, feel free to ask.

 

Back to reality though. This means in June, I’ll be leaving Albany. For a few months, I will be roaming my home countries and a few others while searching for my next landing place.

 

For those of you who have been a part of this journey with me, I can’t thank you enough. You’ve been by my side at career fairs, stayed up with me until midnight or woken up at 3 a.m. with me, juggled my strange weekends, visited me in cities you never thought you’d be in.

 

oh, how I miss this

oh, how I miss this

fdsaf

my family, my rock

 

Most importantly, you’ve believed in me, especially in moments when I lacked faith in myself. Thanks to you, I’ve learned, grown, and become so much closer to the journalist I wanted to be.

WMDT in Salisbury, Md.

Salisbury, Md. [WMDT]

NYS Fair, YNN

NYS Fair, Syracuse [YNN]

Reporting, TWC News

Reporting [now TWC News]

 

Just as that wayward tree is being held up by the other upstanding ones, you carry me.

 

Your name is on my byline.

#innaefarawayplace

I’m going to start off by saying I am so blessed.

 

Now I’m going to note there is a hashtag to follow what I’m about to say next. teehee.

 

I’ve spent many a year telling myself ‘no.’ Whether it been a denial of sleep, denial of free time, denial of relationships and/or denial of travel, I’ve made these choices to move forward in my career. However, I hope this is the start to being able to say ‘yes’ to some of these things.

 

Hi, I’m in Argentina. In the Southern Hemisphere! Me!

More posts to come. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (and of course, #innaefarawayplace).  Ah, the beauty of hashtags.

Becoming a Massachussettsian*

It’s funny how a town you’ve never been to can grow on you within a few days. Five, in fact.

Last Tuesday, I was startled to read that a hospital in North Adams, Mass., was abruptly closing in just three days.

Starting on Wednesday, I began to meet the hundreds of people who didn’t know what their future would look like. They told me their town of 13 and half thousand people would not survive without North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH). I met the daughter who moved within walking distance of the facility to ensure her mother, her children, and she would have immediate access to health care. And I joked with the Mayor who showed shock in his eyes but fearlessness in his words as he promised to do whatever he could to bring the hospital back.

 

And I kept at it for the next four (work)days.

 

Each day came with its own burdens, hurdles and stress. Daily, sometime in the mid-afternoon, there would be a late-breaking development. For a reporter who’s off the clock at 6 p.m., any news at 3 or 4 o’clock when it takes over an hour to travel is not welcome news. This led to late hours, extreme hustling to meet deadlines, and getting the necessary news out.

I was there a lot.

I was there a lot.

 

As exhausting as it was to make the drive daily (the trip from Albany to North Adams was at least an hour and 10 minutes), I came to welcome these views as I crossed the Taconic Mountains from the Empire State to the Bay one.

 

After a storm

 

Those mountain tops. Stunning.

 

It meant, that after all the winding, the bumps, the steep precipices, the curves beyond which I couldn’t see… there would be a city that I could try to help through my work.

It meant that I would soon start recognizing certain landmarks and towns.

It meant that I could give one of the recently unemployed leaders of the Massachusetts Nursing Union a hug.

It meant that I could stop by City Hall and get a heart-to-heart from Mayor Alcombright.

It meant that I would head down Main Street to pick up a muffin from Luma’s Muffin and Mug.

 

In less than five days, I found another home to love.

 

 

This is what I love about the news business.

—-

For some of the coverage I provided, check out these links:

Patients Respond

Adjusting to Health Provider Changes

Temporary Injunction Falls Through

The Unemployed Look to the Next Step

State Leaders Address NARH Crisis

 

*I don’t know if Massachussettsian is actually a word. I found it somewhere on the Interwebs and liked it.

 

A new day for a night noodle shop

Sometimes I like to call myself a foodie. Then there are times when I spend time with real foodies and I resign myself to being just a good eater. Nonetheless, thanks to some lovely Capital Region bloggers (Saratoga Food Fanatic and Chopsticks Optional), I was invited to check out a Vietnamese food tasting at Good Morning Cafe in Ballston Spa, an American brunch place.

Yes. Vietnamese pho at an American brunch place. You can say that out loud.

Here’s how the two incongruous meals come together:

A NIGHTTIME NOODLE CAFE!

A NIGHTTIME NOODLE CAFE!

You can peruse their Indiegogo campaign site, which has much more information than I will post here, but a quick recap: Good Morning Cafe owner Nancy Holzman and (hopefully) future Good Night Noodle operator Linh Sullins are coming together to transform Good Morning Cafe into a Vietnamese noodle bar. It will be open in the same space for three nights a week. Voila! Good Night Noodle.

With each bowl of pho sold, they will donate the funds to purchase a bag of rice for a family of 4 in Cambodia. You eat. They eat.

(If you don’t know what pho is, you REALLY need to push this campaign forward because you’re missing out. Or just click this useful link)

It’s an incredibly altruistic business model, and Holzman calls it “Direct Impact Giving,” or DIG. However, to get this new business off the ground, they are looking for YOUR help. There will hopefully be more on this on Time Warner Cable News in Albany next week, but until then, go BACK to their site. Wait, finish reading this first.

Back to the tasting!

There are again, other real foodies who will give commentary on the food better than me (check out Burnt My Fingers, featured on FussyLittleBlog, or Chopsticks Optional). My two cents?

These noodles, homemade chicken sausage, intensely rich broth (with low sodium!)…

Chicken meatball pho

Chicken meatball pho

and premium fish sauce you add in yourself…

Red Boat: high quality

Red Boat: high quality

all make this endeavor worth supporting.

Rooster!

Plus: a rooster!

Not to mention, it led to some great puns in the Twitterverse.

pho-ny ;)

pho-ny ;)

So support Good Night Noodle, especially on Wednesday evenings! What does that mean? Stay tuned.

Trust me, once you taste that broth, you won’t pho-get it.

When to stop

The interview by Christen Cooper of Bode Miller. Need I say more?

It’s likely you’ve already formed an opinion, and that opinion is one of outrage. How could someone push a grieving man? Personally, I’d love to hear from you, feel free to write your thoughts in the comment section!

However, since this is my blog, i suppose it’s time for me to pen a few thoughts. Also, disclaimer: I realize this is outdated. shhhh. I fell behind in my thought-penning.

So, being a reporter, I understand the pressure to land the “best” interview. Consider just how many people have watched the clip – and while they’ve expressed anger – they’re still tuning to NBC. Tears hit the top of the list when it comes to “good TV.”

Here’s a confession. This week, I asked a woman if I could interview her. She refused because “that other reporter already interviewed me and made me cry.” I learned that it was because a journalist from another news station touched on a sensitive and painful subject.

My thought was, “I want to talk to this woman.”

I realize that makes me sound calloused. However, that incident was almost three years ago, and the motive for wanting to speak to her was because I knew she had the ability to speak freely and comfortably.

Yet, she refused. And I walked away. I didn’t persist.

Back to Miller. I would have asked the first question Cooper asked.

I would have also asked the second question.

Whether or not I would’ve gotten to the third, I’m unsure. I feel I would’ve given Miller a reprieve. However, I understood why she kept up the questioning. You want to know who it is that’s in front of you.

What angers me most about this interview is that we continue to see Miller. How many cameras were there? How many lenses captured the man, knees buckled, sobbing? For several seconds, his grief fills the screen.

A woman asked a question that may have gone too far. And words can’t be taken back in the face of raw emotion. But don’t keep highlighting the hurt. Give the grieving their dignity.

Sunshine online

Today I consumed more dairy than my stomach will be able to handle come tomorrow. Until then, here I am.

 

That’s right. Hello!

Yes, I’m just as surprised as you are that the itch to write has returned. I’ve always loved writing, but as it turns out, my insecurity prevents me from doing it. That and a busy social calendar that I inevitably schedule and regret.

 

 

Last year an event gave me a first-ever experience in my journalistic career: A crash that killed two young teenagers and deeply wounded two others. A crash that ended first love. A crash that sent a father to jail. A crash that began wrapping up the grieving in a bandage of community solidarity. A crash in which Dennis Drue was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison on Thursday.

You may not have known I was covering it because I didn’t appear on television it. Twitter gave me away.

There are so many thoughts that could be scrawled on this screen right now. They range from:

1. The moments that made me bite my lip to keep the tears at bay. I was unsuccessful.

2. “Closure”

3. The justice system

 

Maybe I’ll get to those. Maybe I won’t. This post is for hope.

4. Social media positivity

 

Thanks to my news director, I know I tweeted at least 70 times throughout the day. My handy smartphone notified me of every time someone RTed or favorited my 140 characters.

My tweet with the widest online ‘footprint’?

12.7.2013 1:55 pm

12.5.2013 1:55 p.m.

 

There is so much pain in this story. I am unable to fathom what it is like to lose a child, sister, brother, significant other or friend. There are many still grieving and trying to pick up the pieces of the lives that once were. Others are leaving them behind, understanding the future will have to look nothing like what they hoped for.

Yet enough people found these words describing a beautiful girl and her beautiful heart worth noting.

Is there anger behind those words? Possibly.

Is there full healing in the heart that loved her? Not yet.

But in <140 characters a young man articulated what was so worth loving about Deanna Rivers, and tweeters knew they had to respond. Whether they knew her or not, this is what’s worth remembering.

 

Rays of sun will break through the darkness.

Good-Bye and Good Luck, on Repeat

There are many perks to this business. Every day is different. You get to meet new people who tell you stories you couldn’t have even dreamt up. Once in awhile, people tell you they recognize you and/or they tell you that you’re doing a wonderful job (this actually doesn’t happen as often as you’d think).

However, one of the downsides… is the frequency of these words:

Good-bye!

Good luck!

 

In life, we all have our shares of farewells. For some reason, professional good-byes seem to cut more deeply in the news biz than in other ones.

 

Reasons why they happen so frequently:

– Contracts end every few years

– Poor ratings mean less revenue, which could mean cut positions

– It’s a grueling line of work, and people leave the field

– And IF you believe the saying, TV news is a dying business

 

Now factors as to why these departures are felt so strongly:

– The stress often creates stronger bonds

– New gigs usually are far away. At least 2 hours, because it’s in a different DMA from you

– The unusual work hours mean you are the only people who have the most random days off

Case in point: 5 people who watched a movie at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday.

Case in point: 5 people who watched a movie at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday. Movie Club is born.

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I write this post because in just the past month, a few dear friends have moved on to wonderful new jobs, but those jobs have taken them further away from me.

Tee Lee!

Tee Lee!

Terrence Lee is now the morning MMJ in Cleveland, Ohio, after being the primetime anchor for WMDT in Salisbury, Md. for years.

Lainey :)

Lainey :)

Elaina Athans hit the ground running as a new reporter in Raleigh, N.C. after spearheading the Hudson Valley newsroom for YNN.

A true Troylet

A true Troylet

Casey McNulty just landed an incredible role as a producer in Boston. The offer came just over two weeks ago, and she leaves tomorrow.

 

While I have so much joy for these friends/former colleagues, it is hard to know that our friendships will have to remain long-distance. At the same time, I can’t bemoan their success and their future endeavors.

Guess that means I’ll have to make my way to the Buckeye State or plan a night out at the Raleigh Times. I’ve already scoped out some places in Boston, Casey!

Obsessed with speakeasies. This one's called Backbar.

Obsessed with speakeasies. This one’s called Backbar.

Congratulations! I am so proud of you all.

Reminders of Love

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

 

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

 

“If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.” – Matthew 18:12-13

It’s okay to cry

It’s the third night in a row I’ve come home to process my day with a glass of wine (oh, cursed calories that soothe me so) and my trusty laptop.

So here we go.

 

Over the past two days, I’ve come close to crying for two strangers. I didn’t. For the record, I would call myself an emotional person; I don’t think “stoic” has ever been used to describe me. Even so, I’ve learned to turn off the tears in public situations. At least, most of the time.

But tonight, a victim who was seriously wounded in Saturday’s crash braved the public and his own pain of losing the girl he loved… to honor her and his friend.

matt hardy

I fought to keep my hands still and my breathing to a minimum as I held the camera. Once photographers were finally called to head back to the media box, my lungs filled with air and my eyes with tears.

[I am thankful to my friend Erin, who held me to her side as I wept… and then brought myself back to a calm state.]

And the rest of the night, I was tear-free.

Sometimes it must be bottled up, other times it will sneak out before you can stop and grab it back. As a journalist, am I able to just let myself go? For whatever reason, extreme emotion seems taboo.

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This weekend I had the privilege of listening to Ira Glass in person.* Glass is the host of NPR’s “This American Life,” a phenomenal show I recommend (obviously, by the adjective). In his talk in Troy, he expressed gratefulness that he was a journalist on the radio because it allowed him to show and articulate certain emotions in a way that broadcast journalists couldn’t. He gave the specific instances of humor and surprise.

 

I envy that.

I love to laugh, and if you listen to many interviews I conduct, funny comments will elicit a hearty “ha, ha!” from me. I just can’t help myself! Do those guffaws get included in the final story for air? Rarely.

Tears too, are out of the question. Broadcast journalists are expected to empathize, but not exaggerate. To be caring, yet composed. To sympathize in moderation. Restraint is the rule.

Today, I broke it.** And I don’t care.

 

Tell me again, why can’t we share?

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*More posts to come on his words.

**So did my colleague.