Reflections and Expectations: I Did Good Tonight

It’s been a month filled with personal developments that I feel, as always, can best be shared in this space. Let’s look back at my month that was and look ahead to the month of March in this edition of Reflections and Expectations.

February

SoCal trip, part two – Last weekend, I was in Southern California for the second time since late January.

A few hours after I arrived in Orange County on Feb. 19, I met up with a few former colleagues of mine at the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for lunch. I still keep in touch and maintain good relations with many of my former colleagues since I left my two-year internship with the agency back in August 2012. I rarely get to see them in person since I left so it is always a delight to have as much face time with anyone there as possible.

Following the lunch, I spent part of the remainder of the weekend with my aunt and uncle in Huntington Beach as well as my biological mother, who wrapped up her month-long visit to the United States from South Korea this week.

On Saturday and Sunday, I was in San Diego to see my cousin and his family, the same relatives I normally spend the holidays with since 2010. Last weekend’s visit made up for not being able to visit them myself over Thanksgiving and Christmas last year due to financial difficulties of my own.

My mother’s latest visit marks the fourth time since 2007 where I spent a significant amount of time with her. Yet, I still do not feel there is the kind of mother-son relationship between us that everyone is expecting. I remain emotionless toward my mother and we lack the kind of connection that I have with my relatives such as the ones in San Diego. Language barriers, cultural and personality differences and the great geographic distance that separates the two of us will continue to make progress a difficult one to achieve.

Regardless, I’m always grateful to have the family I have here in these United States of America. I have known them longer and better than my mother. At most, I can only hope my mother will be up there with the rest. Those chances are slim but who knows? She still has my respect as a human being, something that I have always maintained for her.

HPIM2801Stan Chambers (1923-2015) – In a week filled with major developments involving journalism legends and figures, there was one legend who passed on that I am honored to have met while he was alive.

On Feb. 15, 2008 I was at the KTLA studios in Los Angeles for a personal tour of the station. During that tour, I met Stan Chambers as he was strolling through the newsroom. He served as a reporter for the station from 1947 to 2010 — a 63-year span of covering all of the major news events in SoCal.

Our interaction that morning was brief but cordial throughout. He displayed the same warm and kind-hearted personality when I met him that day as he often does on air. It was a great honor to have met a legend who represented the Golden Age of Journalism in Los Angeles.

Stan Chambers passed away on Feb. 13, nearly seven years to the day since I met him at the KTLA studios. He was 91.

March

  • Graduate school – Stay on course, as always. I’m expected to enroll in a new class this month that will take me into the start of summer break in June.
  • Career developments – Finding more stable, relevant and permanent career opportunities continues to be a challenging but necessary goal. Redemption is long overdue and I hope it materializes soon.

How did February pan out for you? What are your expectations for the month of March? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.

On This Sunday: Making Up for Lost Time

On This Sunday, I’m in San Diego for the weekend where I’m spending much-needed time with family.

This visit makes up for not being able to spend time with them over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays a few months ago. With the help of my mother who is visiting the United States from South Korea, she made it possible to make all this happen while I continue to financially recover and get my career back on track. I’m simply grateful for her help and for being able to see everyone I couldn’t see when I wanted to see them most.

Have a wonderful week, America!

On This Sunday: Stan Chambers

This week has been a difficult one in the world of journalism.

Aside from the career changes and developments involving Brian Williams and Jon Stewart, the journalism world lost three respectable figures this week — Bob Simon of CBS News, David Carr of the New York Times and Stan Chambers of KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

Among these figures, I’ve had the great honor of meeting Stan Chambers at the KTLA newsroom in Los Angeles seven years ago today during a tour of the station. Chambers served as a reporter for the station over a 63-year span from 1947 to 2010. He was a true legend who represented the Golden Age of Journalism in Los Angeles throughout much of the 20th century and into the new millennium.

Stan Chambers, the last among the great L.A. journalism legends, was 91. HPIM2801

Reflections and Expectations: Now, you know how I feel

(clockwise from top left) San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, ARTIC in Anaheim, Davies Symphony Hall

(clockwise from top left) San Francisco skyline from Coit Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, ARTIC in Anaheim and Davies Symphony Hall

Happy New Year, America!

2015 is already getting off to a cautiously decent start for me. Slowly but surely, everything that weighed me down in 2014 is fading away and becoming less impactful to my life.

The year is still young so I wouldn’t be quick to celebrate anything. I’m still committed to taking actions throughout the year to ensure this truly is a better year and that I would finally recover from a prolonged personal and professional slump that has entered its third year this month.

To look at how 2015 is getting off to a seemingly good start, let’s look back at the month that was in the latest Reflections and Expectations.

January 2015

Graduate school – My third semester and fifth class for the Master of Science in Transportation Management program at San Jose State University (SJSU) began earlier this month.

This current class deals with transportation finance and funding, taught by a former CEO of the transportation agency I used to work at as an intern and someone I worked extensively with. It helps to have that kind of rapport already established, especially when it crosses over from a professional to an educational setting.

Only five more classes and 17 months to go until I earn that master’s degree. June 2016 is just around the corner.

Also worth noting is that I earned an A minus in the two Fall 2014 classes I took. Adding those with the A that I earned in the two classes in spring semester last year, I have virtually earned all A grades so far. Only rarely in grade school and college have I ever earned an A in any of the classes I have taken. I hope to keep up this streak with my remaining six classes including my current one.

Get-Gutsy-Week-graphic#GetGutsy essay contest - Earlier this month, I submitted an essay through a blog post in this space as part of my good friend Jessica Lawlor‘s second annual #GetGutsy essay contest. This was my first year as a participant.

The post simply details my relocation to the Bay Area back in October and how it played into the narrative of getting gutsy — one of Jessica’s signature taglines and philosophical principles emblazoned on her wonderful blog. Give it a read as well as that of others. I enjoyed sharing my story for others to read as well as reading a few stories others have shared.

IMG_4204Mother’s visit to the U.S. – My biological mother from South Korea made one of her rare visits to the United States this week.

Last weekend, I hosted her visit in the Bay Area. For someone who is quite the world traveler, she has never visited San Francisco before. We went up there on Saturday and Sunday to visit many of the tourist hotspots in the city including Chinatown, Lombard Street, Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Coit Tower. On that Friday afternoon, I gave her a brief tour of the San Jose area with a tour of the SJSU campus and dinner at a sushi restaurant I previously visited on my own a year ago.

This past Monday until Wednesday, I flew down to Orange County with my mother to visit my relatives in Huntington Beach as well as to spend some time with our respective friends in the area. I’m already planning on a second trip to Orange County late February, shortly before my mother flies back to South Korea.

IMG_4229Expectedly, the biggest challenge of hosting her visit was the language barrier that exists between us — she only speaks Korean while I can only speak English. Although we did our best to communicate through the Google Translate app on our smartphones, minor conflicts broke out between the two of us over not being able to fully understand each other. Cultural and personality differences also led to clashes between us, including her repeated insistence on photographing me with her. In general, I rarely like to be photographed and I am often selective about who I want to be photographed with.

Despite those issues, we made the best of our time last weekend and ensured as much positivity between us as possible.

After the show at Davies Symphony Hall

After the show at Davies Symphony Hall

John Mulaney – On Thursday night, I went to the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco to see a stand-up performance from comedian John Mulaney.

My good friend Jon Negroni invited me to go with him to the show although he ultimately wasn’t able to attend. Nevertheless, I enjoyed John Mulaney’s comedy as well as that of his warm-up act, Ron Funches. The venue seemed unusual for a stand-up comedy performance as it is a classical music hall but it was a magnificent place to be in, regardless.

February

  • I’m still focused on getting my career back on track. After more than a year of being out of work and experiencing continued difficulties in looking for the right jobs, the focus in the last few months shifted from finding any kind of work to finding opportunities relevant to my goals, interests and background. Not before long, I hope to finally get there. I know I will.

How’s your start to 2015? What are your expectations for the coming month and year? Share your thoughts below. I would love to hear from you.

On This Sunday: An Interesting Weekend

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Golden Gate Bridge

On this first official edition of On This Sunday for 2015, I’m hosting my mother’s visit to the Bay Area this weekend.

She’s visiting from South Korea for the next month or so, traveling to different parts of the United States to meet with my relatives on my paternal side as well as some of her friends.

It is rather challenging to host someone who doesn’t speak English while I don’t speak Korean. You’d have to know the full backstory regarding my relationship with my biological mother (or at least the gist of it) in order to understand why moments like this are rare, remarkable and somewhat controversial.

For the large part, it’s been a drama-free weekend and I’m doing my part to ensure positivity all around as much as possible.

Have a wonderful week, America!