Open Floor Plan

Thursday, December 27, 2018

San Francisco - Spring 2018

This morning, I looked at my half full closet and 80% occupied dresser...with much space for more stuff...but also feeling like I don't even need all the space I have. A sweet reminder of how much space I've created for the unexpected and how stuff really doesn't make me any happier.

2018 has been more than enough for me, and this is how it has shown up...

I am thriving in my own skin. I listen to my body, and I am learning to rest.

I am loving God and faith without constraints of what it should look like.

Writing. I've had so much time to write and blog, and co-blog with beloveds.

Continuing sacred's and rituals - cousin facetimes, bestie birthdays, 3rd of July reunions, pageants over Thanksgiving, 4th annual Giants game, and a yearly hello email to all my former student leaders and teams.

Co working dates, daily starbucks runs, and new happy hour spots.

Got to officiate my besties' wedding; Saw Drake in concert; Traveled to Mexico City.

Hosted 26 visitors between San Francisco and WA.

Walked through the streets of San Francisco after a rowdy rooftop bar night.

Went go carting on the gravel roads passing through my family's acres on a warm July evening.

Felt the worn out moving boxes holding my belongings that are mostly gifts and the art I feel connected to.

And with who I've become and what I've done, this is where it has left me into 2019;

I miss driving on the Bay bridge into San Francisco at night. The lights were bright enough to reflect off the water and warm enough to make me feel at home.

But the green and precipitation of the Seattle sound is enough to nourish my soul, and I know I'm blooming in a season of what feels like starting over, but really it's just a continuation.

Love really does exist.

I also learned what it meant to let go of someone you have love for because that's what that person really needs...and also hoping the absolute best for them.

I like my grey hairs and wrinkles around my eyes, and the stretch marks on my thighs. It shows a well lived body participating in the life in front of me.

My smile feels so real; My heart is a direct line to my smile.

Getting to see the fridge with my loved ones holiday cards on it - each one of them drenched in memories.

I like moons, flowers, reading books that I bought so long ago, but never had the capacity to indulge in. I love celebrating. I like cheering people on. I love all the things that make others feel good about themselves.

I'm operating this next chapter of life like an open floor plan.

My family is healthy, strong, and very happy. That's probably the highlight of this all.

Experiences over things.
Presence over presents.
Humanity over perfection.

& Turning 30 this year, and I feel like life is just getting started!

South Dakota - Summer 2018
Seattle - Winter 2018

My 7 year relationship with California

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Castro District - San Francisco

This post is dedicated to one of my longest relationships, my 7 year love of my life, California.

I wrote a year ago about how when I moved to Southern California, I was 22, scared, cried when my parents left me - this small town girl from South Dakota. In many ways, I am still that same girl, and in about every obvious way, I have evolved into a woman I am also proud to be.

Southern California was all about re-exploring the ideas and values that I was taught, and if they really matched me. It was about Disneyland runs, receiving my Masters degree, doing all the tourist things - the beach, Santa Monica ferris wheel, wine country, big bear, dodgers/angels games, and establishing my CA pageant family. It was a beautiful life, but I ended up moving to California's Central Coast, Monterey Bay for my first job post grad school.

Monterey Bay gave me the career I needed to define the type of professional I'd be for years to come. It gave me friends who I am so lucky to be officiating their wedding next month, a home 2 miles from the beach, students who I talk with regularly, and an almost reality show gig...Monterey Bay was slow, steady, and sweet. It breathed clean air into my life that felt polluted with personal mental health, my mom's cancer, and my dad going blind. Monterey Bay brought me to almost whole and it gave me space and community that held me when everything I mentioned piled in the same year.

But, like in every story, there comes the part where you feel this is the reason the story exists.

It is so cheesy, but I now understand the song, I left my heart in San Francisco. After Monterey Bay, I was looking for a faster paced life - filled with creatives, night life, and being close to an international airport for ease of travel. So, I moved to San Francisco.

San Francisco was all about my liberation of what it meant to be a woman...and a woman of color, and the power and sacredness it holds in my dark locks and my brown sugared skin. The light and energy that pour from my dark mocha, and beautiful almond shaped eyes. I was surrounded for the first time, with like minded peers & students who were organized and I felt like the student instead of the educator for the first time in awhile.

Despite the dramatic comments from family members gossiping about how, "Liberal San Francisco is making me sin"...Still makes me laugh out loud...San Francisco also gave me a great sense of who God is, what my faith actually meant and how it was practiced. It's where I started my side business, it gave me my first live in boyfriend, the best birthday parties I've ever had, it gave me friends who I consider family, friends who know entirely too much about me. I also came out of a job with skills that prepared me to move up the ladder in my field.

San Francisco was everything I ever needed AND wanted.

I've lived in DOZENS of cities. I have made places that felt like home, but as a friend said, they thought San Francisco was etched as my forever home. And all of these experiences have now spit me into the sound of the Seattle area. 

Seattle has been the easiest transition I have ever had, but when people ask if I miss San Francisco...You have to understand, I am the only blood relative I know, so finding home has been a life journey, and so I am going to respond as if I am recovering from a heart break.

This is a good life, even though I left my heart in San Francisco, I think rooting my dreams to bloom in Seattle is also going to be its own adventure and love of my life in its own time.

Sanctuary City Tales by Elise

Saturday, August 11, 2018

August's author is Elise. Elise was on the first team I oversaw post graduate school. In short, the supervisor before me tried to put Elise on probation aka get her fired because she had an "attitude" problem...But, I found the complete opposite, Elise was a dream to work with! She was bright, funny, great peer mentor, and she kept me accountable. That year she was nominated by her peers and selected by professional staff as Student Leader of the Year. Fast forward 5 years, she still teaches me, encourages me, and checks me when I need it. She wrote about the realities of house hunting while black in San Francisco...this was not an exaggeration. I tagged along for 1 home tour...and the racism she faced was blatant...Read her journey and please pass this to folks who need to hear this. Her story is real and of many:

Elise Washington is an unapologetic Black American woman who cares deeply about justice and equity. She was born and raised in Southern California, educated on the Central Coast of California, and is now adulting in Oakland, California. She is passionate about social justice, traveling, and unpacking the world’s most pressing issues with her homegirls.

Sanctuary City Tales: House Hunting While Black 
  • “Can you pass a criminal background check?”
  • “Do you have the right house?”
  • Looks of disappointment when I arrive
  • “No access to the kitchen!”
  • “Do not make any noise after 10pm, be home by 6pm, no cooking after 7pm!”
  • “Who is renting the room you or her (my former Korean boss)? Followed by a sigh and tone of disappointment
  • “The price is $1,075 for you!”
  • “I pay $875 but I want to save money so you’ll pay $900!”
  • “I placed the ad on craigslist for $950, but you will pay $1000!”
  • “I have 1 African-American tenant, he’s actually respectful. He’s my favorite”
  • “How do you speak Spanish, but you and your family are black, where you really from?”
  • “How long have you been in the United States?”
  • “Most black people live in East Bay..."
  • “It has nothing to do with you being black, it is hard for anyone to find housing in San Francisco”...

It is a shame black people have yet to be treated with dignity and compassion in the United States of America. I wish these quotes came from a book written by an author who wrote a juicy, drama-filled story about a black female house hunting in San Francisco. These are real life quotes from the mouths of white and people of color alike in San Francisco, California. Yep, I said it beautiful, liberal, progressive, culturally diverse, 420, LGBTQ, immigrant friendly San Francisco. It seems there is one population SF has not been welcoming to way before gentrification; the black race. 

Before, you write your defense statement below please understand these “quotes” are not isolated events, I am not being too sensitive, I do not own a race card, nor am I using the political climate to gas light social issues. The experiences I share are real, raw, and unfiltered. This is my experience looking for housing in San Francisco, California in 2017. 

Only 14 days after completing my undergraduate career I accepted a position in the Bay Area with decent pay and full-benefits. I could not believe it, I would be living, breathing, and working in one of the most progressive, liberal, diverse, and culturally rich cities in the United States. I knew the cost of living in the Bay Area was high, but I figured I have a decent-paying job, college degree, lit credit score what could stop me? Racism and discrimination is what stopped me. 

I had been actively searching for housing in three specific areas: OMI (Ocean view, Merced heights, and Ingleside), Daly City (outskirts of SF), and inner sunset. Upon arriving to the apartments, I had a notebook in one hand and a pen in the other ready to write down information. Y’all would have thought I showed up with an axe and a scream mask the way people greeted me at the door. Sometimes there was a look of genuine confusion, fear, disappointment or all the above. Now most folks who are reading this know, I am 5’5, 140-pound female, but apparently these folks saw something different. 

One landlord’s first question was, “Can you pass a criminal background check?” Excuse me while I get ethnic, but Bruh, REALLY? I brought proof of employment from my job stating I was hired as a case manager to work with CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. So yes sis, I can pass a background check in fact I had my finger prints ran that day. 

On a different occasion, I met with a woman who refused to shake my hand. This should have been the first sign.  I reached in my bag to pull out a credit report and proof of employment and she literally started backing up slowly in the other direction. She did not want to touch the paper so she said, “E-mail them to me and I will get back to you”. I e-mailed her the papers later that night and the next day she responded saying she rented out the place. So basically, overnight someone passed a background check, paid the deposit fees, and moved everything in. Maybe she was telling the truth, or maybe it was racism.

Each day I would organize one-hour home visits to view 5-6 rooms. Yes, I would give myself an entire hour for each visit and the landlords would give me five minutes max of their time. Majority of the landlords I met were White or Asian and/or males/females. I am not sure of the exact age, but it was an older generation of Asian folks. When I met with them there was an initial reaction to my presence that I could not and still do not understand. For the record, discrimination/racism is not always as blatant remark or a physical attack. Sometimes it looks like what I stated at the beginning.

Eventually I decided I would have to venture out or I would never find housing in SF. I found a place in East Oakland near Fruitvale station. The potential roommate (who will be called “K”, white female) and I talked over the phone and bonded over the women’s march (red flag #1).   

I expressed my frustration and dissatisfaction with my experience trying to find housing. She validated my experience and stated it was unfair and unethical for landlords to do this. She went as far to tell me she would help me take “legal action” if her landlord tried to do that. She and I agreed I would sub-lease from her as her roommate decided to move out before the lease was over. I felt good about the space, the roommate, and the location. I had my deposit, credit check, and proof of employment ready.  The landlord of the house told K he would prefer my name to be on the actual lease instead of subleasing. Originally K was advertising the room for $900, however once it came time for me to sign the lease from the landlord the price “suddenly” dropped to $875. Due to my previous experiences in SF, I knew something was off. I contacted the landlord and he disclosed the room had always been $875 and K advertised the price higher on her own. Yep, K was indeed trying to get over on me and “make a little extra cash and save on the rent."

K left me a message about how sorry she was, but she did not believe she was wrong. She felt bad for being misleading and she hoped there was a way we could work it out. She stated to me in the voicemail “it was a minuscule amount of money and it was not a big deal.” But folks, it is a HUGE deal, the fact that people feel they can scam people into leases, be dishonest AND feel it is “okay” frightens me. As a black woman, I cannot remain silent and not speak out against discrimination because of someone else’s discomfort with the color of my skin. 

I wish I could say this is not a common narrative, but I have connected with other black transplants who have experienced the same or similar experiences. The new mayor of San Francisco has plans to tackle homelessness and I hope those plans include looking at the intersection of racism, class, and homelessness. 

Fast forward I am living my best life in Oakland with my fiancĂ©. We have our own apartment and can afford rent. Oakland has given me the best welcome any transplant could ask for. However, I also want to acknowledge the gentrification and displacement of black people in Oakland as well. There will be a change in leadership in November, I hope the next Mayor of Oakland will allocate resources and take initiative to keep black folks here.  

Pro tip: the quickest way to get housing in the Bay Area is to get engaged and “shack up” 


- Elise 

San Francisco to Seattle!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Christmas 2017 in San Francisco
During Christmas, I started to thin out my apartment - getting rid of excess clothes, books, decorations, and items that aren’t useful or memorable. I was starting to mourn San Francisco - I stopped making new connections, only strengthened ones I had, I started visiting all my favorite places, etc...

What. Was. Happening.

Every time, high school, college, grad school, my 3 moves in Northern California...this was a trigger that change was in the air.

When I was in South Dakota back in March, my friend who is getting married this weekend also on her 3rd move post college, asked me, “Are you a pre griever or a post griever?”...I never even thought of it like that, but I am a PRE griever.

I didn’t want to leave San Francisco. I don’t want to leave San Francisco.

But when I was talking to my best friend, I said that "I don’t know what it is, but truthfully, my life was evolving more a year ago:...and I can’t let another year go by without making some changes in my life.

So, I started slowly to job search.

In reality, my contract at work was up this next year, I am in a phase of life where I want to slow down, invest in more personal projects, and start making moves to move closer to home eventually. Professionally, I knew this was the time to move up the ladder in my field and that I needed to build new skill sets that don't currently exist in my experience.

Similar to every next life chapter, I made a list of requirements: X amount of salary, must be in a city that is diverse, title and responsibility bump, healthy work environment, room for creativity, near an international airport to get home quickly, and a role where I had less emotional stress compared to my current role.

After 29 applications, only 10 call backs, and 2.5 on campus visits...this was quite the process.
But in May, this small tech school interviewed me and gave me the salary range...I immediately declined. Taking advice from friends and mentors, and wanting to practice the advice I give, I knew that salary amount was not competitive to the city I’d be living in and it was about a $600 pay cut per month on my paycheck. Last week, they reached back out counter offering more money to the range I had asked for. 1) This meant my potential new supervisor likely advocated for the role and for me to receive a more competitive compensation. 2) This meant, I finally found a mutual fit!

I will be at a small tech school in the Seattle area! Although I am extremely sad to be leaving everyone in San Francisco...a post for later, I am also looking forward to a fresh chapter while I continue to move up the West Coast.

Seattle 2018

It's funny as I mentioned I was a pre griever. Because I've made every life decision not very excited about the future...when I was picking a graduate school, it made logical sense I go to this East Coast public school, but no I went to the private expensive Christian liberal arts school in Southern California. Then, I was set on the University of Connecticut as my first job out of graduate school because of the pay and the name behind the school. My mentor told me I needed to visit Monterey Bay since they offered an on campus...and guess where I went? Monterey Bay. After that, I was hesitant to move to San Francisco for a job and live with a family that I didn't know, but it got me into the city and then when a role popped up at San Francisco State, and after being asked 5 times to apply for a Residential Life role where I'd be on duty / on call again, I said NO. And then on the 6th time, I said yes...and although SFSU had its moments, its been the biggest learning and HEALING experiences of my life. So...if you ask me if I am excited to move to the Seattle area, I am...I am just a pre griever who has to take about 6-8 mos to warm up to change.

Although this 3 week turn around time is short, some things I still continue to learn - don’t settle, speak into existence what you desire, WORK FOR IT, and regardless of what happens, enjoy what is. You will never have the phase of life you’re in right now ever again. I will never be the Jayme experiencing what July 2018 has to offer again. So many celebrations to be had in the midst of transition and the space of no longer and not yet.

I am also now accepting moving boxes, tissues for tears, hugs, and get togethers :)

Self-Forgetting by Katie Koho

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I wanted to introduce my first ever guest contributor Katie Koho. You can read about my 2018 blog collaboration HERE. If you'd like to collaborate, please email me at Katie and I crossed paths as colleagues at San Francisco State University. She has taught me more about myself, exuding light to others, and reminding me to bring humor to the work place. Becoming friends with her this year was one of my 2017 highlights. Read her story about alcohol recovery:

Katie was raised for 18 years at the base of a dormant volcano, Mount Shasta, and moved to San Francisco in 2009 to attend San Francisco State University.  She completed her B.A. in Psychology, and is now in pursuit of her M.A. in Adult Education through SFSU's Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies program. When Katie isn't working (holler, SF State ResLife) or attending her night classes, she enjoys nature walking at a non-incline and attending various support groups in the Bay Area.

I was very young when I first heard the word ‘alcoholic.’  When my parents decided to have children, they also had the very serious discussion of whether or not to include their children in their recovery meetings.  They ultimately realized that it would be in our best interest, long-term, to expose us to the not-so-pretty-bits of human life, because they wanted us to learn empathy. 

“What is an alcoholic?” I remember asking my mom.  She was a social worker and an educator, and she understood the importance of answering a child’s question about a sensitive topic. 

“An alcoholic is a person who has a disease of the feelings.”  She went on to clarify that they were empathetic people who had never been taught to intrinsically self-soothe or to set boundaries.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, these people transformed from people dependent on a substance to heroes who had learned to alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I continued to go to meetings with my mom until I was in third grade. 

Taking care of a family when you’re in fourth grade is no easy feat, but I assumed my role as my mom’s caretaker, my dad’s business organizer and helper, and my sister’s stand-in mother.  When I left that household at the age of 18, I had only known alcohol as a destructive force that made messes of peoples’ lives and robbed them of their mental sanity… and anyone, myself included, would be smart to stay away.  This worked for a bit with the help of being a Resident Assistant, where role modeling correct behavior permitted me a valid excuse to not go too HAM at parties, although, I’ll admit, there were two nights where I voided that rule. 

I allowed myself to experience my first drunk 9 days before my 21st birthday.  But there were still things to do, people to take care of, and people to impress.  In 2013, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (I see you fellow first generation college students), my sister was supporting herself and being a successful bada** at Sonoma State University, and I no longer had 60+ residents.  Yeah, why not afford myself some experimentation?  I fell into a deep, self-medicating, and harrowing depression.  At that time, I fueled my troubles and withdrew from people.  I remember very clearly one night drinking a whole bottle of champagne by myself in my tiny, San Francisco room and convincing my roommate to drive me all the way to Santa Rosa to see my sister.  Sitting on the swings in the rain with my best friend (extremely drunk) at 3:00am, while my roommate was in my sister’s house doing homework and awaiting our leave, I knew I was an alcoholic. 

“Do you think I’m an alcoholic?” I asked her.
“That’s for you to decide,” She replied.

It took me up until July 2, 2017 to walk myself to a meeting, where I am celebrated for being a wreck and am loved up by fellow women who share an identity with me.  They loved me until I could love myself (corny and clichĂ© as hell, I know). 

Where I’m at today because I place my recovery first: I attend at least three meetings a week; they are my first priority and I cherish them.  Today is my six-month birthday.  It is not my first birthday in sobriety, but it is the birthday I am claiming today.  I have gained a higher power of my own understanding, as well as a community of people who, like myself, alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I have learned humility, forgiveness, and acceptance.  For anyone trying to find the courage to go to battle with one of your addictions… you’ve got this.  You are loved; you deserve healing; and your recovery matters. 

You might be sitting there thinking, heck no, Katie, I’ve done a lot of shitty things… nothing is going to absolve me now, but as someone once said to me, “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.”

Katie Koho
Instagram: @KatieKoho

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival - Chinatown

Monday, October 9, 2017

I love Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest one outside of China - which obviously makes me feel like it's the most authentic experience I can get without traveling abroad. It's rare folks take credit card, speak English, and for the most part, I appreciate that much of this area is untouched and less gentrified. The streets are narrow. Kids to senior citizens are singing and playing games in the parks. So much energy. So many knick knacks, food, music, and dancing.

And too fun not to share our accidental pit stop:

Dating in San Francisco: The Ex Porn Star

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I posted about Modern Day Dating and Stranger Danger  in my last 2 dating stories, and I figured now that a year has passed, this story was safe to post.

I was sitting at this restaurant and my date was an hour late. If I wasn't hungry, I would have left because nobody disrespects my free time! Especially a first time date.

So, my date arrives all inked up, which I personally do not care, but that was not visible in his photos on Bumble. Trying to be a good date and ask questions, I asked him what this particular tattoo meant...I mean, it was a sword through a woman's face...and that was one of the less abrasive tattoos he had.

He said, "One day I dreamed about it. Drew it when I woke up, then got it tattooed...but don't worry I don't stab women in the face!"....AWKWARD LAUGH. UHHH OKAY. I am SO glad you don't stab women in the face.

So, now that we are on that page, we got into talking about past lives. He was in a metal band for years and I was exchanging road trips and tiara stories from my youth.

Then he started talking about how he used to do porn, but then he got burned out. Honestly however people want to make an income is up to them - no judgement.

Then, he started saying..."Yeah it got really weird with my Dad being the Director"...OH...OKAY. GREAT. So this was a family business!?

Again, no judgement, but this guy was an hour late, dreams of swords through women's faces, now porn is a family business, and he talked the entire time and never asked me 1 question. Not to mention he kept mentioning how he loves Asians...


So, I went to the restroom and called my friend A. I said literally drop everything you're doing and pick me up.

Inked metal ex porn star did not get a second date from me. But it sure does make for a very good story.

Welcome to dating, in San Francisco.

Dating in San Francisco: Stranger Danger

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dolores Park on a rare empty day.

Its been a minute since I talked about modern dating in San Francisco. And since I am not dating in 2017, I figured I'd tell you some of my most awkward and embarrassing dating stories from the year as promised.

This past June, I went to my first Pride parade in San Francisco. Hours of celebrating the significance of this gathering and little did I know I was about to watch life do its thing.

During the parade, a major tech company float had stopped in front of us and I looked at this guy and I thought, where do I know him from?...We made eye contact, started pointing to each other, and then we started mouthing, "How do I know you?!" and after exchanging an ah-ha moment while literally thousands are lined up and down the street, it's basically a rave but above ground...he pointed to his phone and told me to check mine because his float started moving forward and I wouldn't get a chance to solve this mystery.

Turns out we were snapchat friends. On snapchat, I read his name and quickly realized a couple of things...

1) Turns out parade guy actually tried getting me to hang out for 2 months...but I didn't really care because I wanted to make friends versus go on dates when I moved to San Francisco.

2) He then tried hanging out again with me 2 weeks prior to Pride (5 mos after we started talking), but I declined because I wanted to go skydiving and I didn't want to invite a new person to the group that was already going.

What is life.

We decided to do an impromptu date at Dolores Park after the parade....and I pulled every rookie move in the book!

I took a pre-made drink from a stranger, my phone was almost dead, and I didn't update my friends to tell them which park I was headed to. I thought this was going to be the next lifetime movie, but I went anyway.

To make it worse, after some very sweet compliments, you want to know what my compliments to him were?

His sock game. Hey, they were colorful.
His eye lashes. I don't think it's fair when guys have long pretty lashes.

I'm not sure it gets more awkward than this people.

Luckily, he does sales in tech and is used to schmoozing, so he was able to brush off the social awkwardness that is me and we ended up having a lot in common - I'm going to spare the details, partly because my family reads this...but turns out an impromptu date wasn't so bad after all. And overly planned, calculated me, actually had a good time....

So, stranger danger maybe wasn't so dangerous after all. 

Dating in San Francisco: Modern Day Dating

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I've been meaning to write a dating post...

But it's far too embarrassing and until I get permission from former datee's or remove them from my social media, I didn't want to venture "there".

This incident though, is further removed.

My life. Some times. The things that happen. I cannot run into someone who doesn't know someone who doesn't know something horribly embarrassing about me.

So last Monday. Typical Monday. I was meeting a friend and the first few places we tried, were not working out for us.

After walking all over the city, I decided to use UBER - carpool. All of a sudden, a guy hops in the front and turns around and says my name! I was like UMMM WHO ARE YOU?!?!

Turns out, I matched with him on an online dating app and never messaged him back....Awkward. Talk about the LONGEST 3 blocks of my life riding in uber with this stranger. I was so mortified I ran out of the car and bolted across the street where I almost got ran over by a prius.

And I'm not sure about you, but when I think of my "this is how it ends"'s not by ummm, a prius.

A preview to modern dating in San Francisco.

No to reality tv, yes to my reality.

Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 ... HA HA HA. Let’s start there. This post is all over, which if you know me, at least it aligns with my personality ;)

March 11-14....In that 4 day turn over I left my former job, moved to a new city, and started a new job. I was also hiring a manager for a non-profit my friend and I are handing off as well as signing off my clientele to a new consultant with a few pageant systems. Essentially, I was leaving an industry I have been involved in for 17 years...OH and on top of that, my mother and family had been anxiously awaiting to see if she still had cancer. Then to add to the bizarreness of my life, a reality tv show wanted to follow my life for 2 weeks so they could cast me on a tv show about love. Because apparently I was nominated, passed 4 screening interviews, and they were in the process of filming my story........Yeah what a normal 4 days.....
My cute former office evolved a lot in the last 3 yrs.
Now I am in San Francisco. I am no longer in the honeymoon phase. It has hit me that I am no longer visiting...I am going to live, work, and breathe here...

Ready, set, PANIC......WHY GOD?! 

It doesn't even make sense. I liked my life. I was comfortable. I was living in one of the most beautiful places. I had a huge apartment, lived next to the ocean, worked a job that I had more seniority in, had a deep community of people who I loved and adored and it was instantly returned. I was going to be on reality tv with this cute little picturesque life.

And I exchanged all of this for....

A job that I have 0 clue what I am doing. Instead of overlooking the rugged California coastline, I walk through a homeless camp every day. I stepped on a bundle of used needles that people disposed of on the curb. I live with a family that doesn't speak English and not to mention I live in a very run down (sketchy) part of the city. I went from no commute to commuting on public transit every day. I went from nonprofit to for profit/corporate and when you consider cost of living, I am actually taking a $500 deficient each month paycheck wise - which also means I'm living on a smaller budget than when I was in college! 

I also left a guy that could give me the life I dreamt of since I was a little girl and traded that dream in for a life I wanted to create from scratch, possibly on my own...and finally, I threw out or gave away between 40-50 boxes of "stuff" to my students, the womens shelter, or the dumpster. I only took with me 2 car fulls of items and as I am unpacking, I'm still finding I could have gotten rid of more items. 

NOTHING SEEMS LOGICAL, yet I am INFINITELY happier, more joyful, and more rested. I am more gratuitous, light hearted, and giving. I can't stop giving away my possessions, food, money, clean water, clothing, and positivity. 

But my illogical decision has also led me to the following:

A personal life. 

Time to chase my dreams/goals. 

My career now does not own me. When I leave work, I have my best energy for my family and friends. I get to focus on being a better daughter, sister, and a more engaged friend. Someone who is able to treat others with a 100% presence. 

A better understanding of my Korean heritage. What is more emerging than living in an all Asian neighborhood? My cul de sac speaks Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Korean. When I go to the bank, the bank teller greets me in Korean. So, maybe this city is not teaching me about my specific country of origin, but I am absolutely getting a cultural experience with my continent of origin. 

Dating. Creating an Alumni Chapter for my Alma Mater. Cultivating friendships and  acquaintanceships into deeper relationships. Exploring the city without a time crunch. Finding a Church home that I later have found out is a church plant - something I've always desired to be apart of! Oh and finding an awesome community group from the Church to boot!

Another layer to my ministry. For those of you who are a bit lost, in my Christian faith, ministry can also translate into purpose. I have been trying to be more inclusive in my wording in my blog posts while still remaining true to my Christian faith.

The opportunity to share my lunch on Tuesdays with a homeless family or any day that I find the other half of my lunch can be given to the person who was digging through the trash to find left overs. 

Having more time to love/live/speak/be.

Making connections on public transportation or in uber. One woman invited me over for her daughter's 2nd birthday just because I was the first person to ask how her day was...We really are in need of connection with others.

So yes, this life I am living seems illogical, yet I am obsessed with every minute of it. Even the messy minutes. The lonely ones. The minutes I yearn for my old life. 

I may have said no to reality tv and my life may not be documented for the world to see, but it can be documented through living what I consider an honest life and that is enough for me, my reality. 

Quick video from my birthday & going away party!

zipcode hopping

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It's all too familiar. My same boxes are being re-taped - 8 addresses in 6 years, they're vets at holding my belongings.

Yes, it's moving time. It's transition. It's the uprooting from a community of people and things I love in exchange for growth, a new purpose, and serving Christ in a different capacity. This season is familiar, yet unexplored.

But this time is different. Every move feels different.

As I mentioned, I am concluding an era

This life, being a Community Director – supervising RA’s and indirectly overseeing 700 residents, essentially being a camp counselor the last 3 years is and will be one of my favorite jobs. I love all of my students, deeply. They amaze me with their love for LIVING life. There is a big difference between existing and living and I am constantly inspired by their choice to LIVE.

I've gotten to do everything I wanted to do at California State University in Monterey Bay. I have gotten to create, love, motivate, expand, educate, mentor, learn, and connect.

I don’t have a single regret of giving so much of my 20’s to invest in college students. It has been an honor to live alongside the next CEO of a company, humanitarian, educator, artist, banker, and parent and spouse to their future family…I am so grateful for every moment living with college students because I did a lot of growing up too.

I grew up alongside many of the students I supervise. They see me in my success, my failures, and love me, despite my messiness. It’s a powerful and HUMBLING experience to have an evolving circle of people who practice forgiveness, love, and encouragement.

But there is also something to be said when it is time to move on. When you’re leaving not because things are miserable, but rather that you are ready for the next chapter. You know, the next era, the next phase that is going to break you down, build you up, all to discover more about who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, and to impact others along the way.

I turn 27 next week and people have always said, “There is nothing to look forward to after 21 or 25”…My friends, that is false. Every year has gotten better. 26 is better than 25. I have more love and energy to give today than yesterday. I am not too old or too young to start over, move forward, or attain whatever it is I am looking for.  I am not too late or too early to treasure loved ones, find love, go back to school, change careers, and/or find a new passion.

It's never too late or too early for any of that. Define your own time. Make your own choices. It's your life, choose to navigate it. 

I have chosen to accept a position in San Francisco. I have chosen to make another home a new adventure. I am choosing to actively love where I’ve been the last 3 years and celebrating life with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in Monterey Bay. I’ve never felt more myself or so gratuitous.

Thank you to my students, colleagues, friends, family, and everyone who has supported my journey. You never fail to root for me; I hope to do the same for you in return.

I love you.
2013-2014 Student Team

2014-2015 Student Team
2015-2016 Student Team
The original hive. The homies. The people I wouldn't have survived without here. The people who mentored me. Co-workers, friends, family. I've experienced every type of emotion and thought with this crew. I love you. 

San Francisco: Coit Tower & Union Square

Monday, July 21, 2014

I have a slight obsession. 
I'm in love with a city I've never lived in:
San Francisco.

I've explored this city and its neighborhoods quite a few times in the last year and I always leave wanting more.

Reasons to crush on San Francisco:
Balance of nature + city.
Boutique galore. 
Good live music.
Coffee shops........
Incredible views.
People watching.
Food....but seriously the food...

It's a magical city. They say Los Angeles is where dreams come true, but San Francisco is where you go to create what dreams you want to come true.

Views from Coit Tower
Getting close to Union Square aka Tourist City
Cable Cars :)

Mother's Trip: The random's

Sunday, March 30, 2014

 Throughout the week, my Mother and I made random stops at some places that didn't accrue many photos, but they were all great visits!
The Garlic Shoppe is in Gilroy, California. They even have Garlic ice cream. I definitely didn't try it, but I think you should if sweets and garlic is your thing :)
Our goodbye drive through San Francisco. Probably one of my favorite cities in the U.S.
Lala's Grill in Monterey: Rosemary chicken with Crab and Gorgonzola Cheese potato.
Fish Hopper:  Smoked salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
Fish Hopper view
Point Pinos Lighthouse: Tour is $2. Well worth the money. It doesn't take more than 30 minutes to read and see everything. It's located near the Point Lovers Golf Course in Carmel, CA.
Spring is in CA!
Lovers Point Park

Muir Woods

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In February, I got to see patches of the Redwoods Forest. However, this was the first time I had gone to the iconic Muir Woods, just North of San Francisco. This was stop #2 for the first day of my Mother's trip. 

I also thought the $7 fee was worth it. It's a beautiful sanctuary of some of the worlds largest trees. It's quiet, serene, and the smell of pine whisks you in for a pleasant walk around the main loop of the park.

Travel tip: Get here before 10am. Trust me or there won't be any parking. There is one small lot that can fit 12-15 cars and their overflow lot can probably fit 50 cars at most. No parking fee either. Also, if you get there in the morning, less people crowding your photos of the gorgeous scenery.

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