Reflections and Expectations: Keep the Faith

I’m currently in the midst of, yet again, another major transitional period — one that remains up in the air, at the moment. I have officially finished my AmeriCorps service term and ready to move on to what I hope will be a new, better opportunity soon. As to where that opportunity is remains to be seen.

Having encountered times like this in the past, the most important thing to do, as someone recently told me, is to “keep the faith.” No matter where I’m going next or how things will turn out, better days are still on the horizon.

That being said, let’s look back on what went on this month and what I can expect for August.


IMG_0554Final month of AmeriCorps – On Thursday, my 11-month service term with AmeriCorps comes to an end. The official end really came last Saturday when I completed the 1700 service hours necessary for this term.

As I may have alluded to in previous posts, I served at a school for the first nine months of the term while I finished out the remaining 1.5 months with Philabundance, the food bank serving the Delaware Valley.

In a later post, I might share how I felt about this experience. In the meantime, what I will say is that at the very end, it was worth the experience although I wished for better.

Fourth of July fireworks at Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia

Fourth of July fireworks at Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia

Fourth of July – I spent my first Fourth of July holiday in Philadelphia this year. It also marks the second year in a row that I spent this holiday outside of southern California — last year, I was in Portland, Ore. during that time for a vacation.

Despite some drunken idiots, troublemakers and the humid weather hampering the experience, it was still great nonetheless. When I joined in, John Mayer, Ne-Yo and J. Cole were among some of the artists performing at the stage as part of the Wawa Welcome America festivities before the fireworks show started.

Toward the end of the fireworks show, I suddenly heard people screaming and running in converging directions, for which I was nearly trampled in the process. After initial rumors that gunshots went off in the crowd, local media later reported that someone set off firecrackers, causing the pandemonium that I witnessed. I was okay and so was just about everyone else.

The Phillie Phanatic (Courtesy: Googie man, Wikipedia)

The Phillie Phanatic (Courtesy: Googie man, Wikipedia)

High-“Phived” by the Phillie Phanatic – On July 7, I was volunteering for Philabundance at Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies plays. The food bank was hosting a food drive that day, collecting canned and dry goods from fans going to the game.

While I was getting set up with my team a few hours before the game started, the Phillies mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, was driving around in a cart near the gate my team was stationed at. He drove toward our direction and waved at us; since I was closer to the path of the vehicle, I proceeded to give him a high-five as he drove by, for which he returned the favor.

I know that this moment is small and rather mundane but given how the Phanatic is one of the most recognizable mascots in Major League Baseball, it’s hard to find a good reason not to share about this moment.

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@KeithOlbermann tweets @SimonOh

Keith Olbermann on Twitter – Being a fan of Keith Olbermann, this really made my day and helped to make my month as well.

On July 9, the former host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and Current TV and soon-to-be host of a new show on ESPN2 starting late August, tweeted me after I tweeted him a question regarding someone we both worked with at some point in our lives.

With Ed Arnold during Salvation Army's annual awards ceremony in Anaheim on May 30, 2009.

With Ed Arnold during Salvation Army’s annual Spirit Awards ceremony in Anaheim on May 30, 2009

The tweet was regarding Ed Arnold, a veteran Los Angeles broadcaster who spent his early years as a general assignment reporter and sportscaster for ABC7 and KTLA, respectively. He currently co-anchors Real Orange, a nightly news show on L.A.’s PBS station KOCE.

As part of a project during my senior year in high school, I spent my Friday nights from January to May 2007 at KOCE’s former studios inside Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Each week, I observed and took notes on how the process of a live television production is carried out. I met with Arnold each week to learn more about him, the broadcasting industry and how I can follow in his footsteps someday — an aspiration of mine, at the time.

It was an honorable experience to have worked with a legend like Arnold even though much of his career with the major network affiliates took place before I was even born.

My new U.S. Passport.

My new U.S. Passport

Passport – After some delay, I finally have a new U.S. Passport. I got it in the mail on July 21.

It’s been more than 10 years since my last — also my very first — passport expired. I decided on getting one in preparation for a future international travel somewhere although I had no immediate plans in mind. The last time I ever went outside of the country was about 20 years ago when I came back from South Korea for the second time since my birth. I remember little of my time there and had always hoped to go back someday.

That last point brings me to this major announcement: I will be going to South Korea for two weeks beginning on Aug. 13.

After some thought, it is a decision that I made later that same day I received my passport. I will be visiting my biological mother and my maternal family, neither of whom I really know as much. The family I have known for years are all on my father’s side and reside in the United States while I never had the opportunity to know my maternal family all that well.

While I still hold some reservations about embarking on such a trip — and it will be no easy task for me — it is one that I always believed that needed to be taken eventually in order for me to get some answers, rediscover my birth country in my own right and see how it will impact my life going forward.


  • Chicago – I’m off to the Windy City for the first time ever this Friday. Amtrak, you’ve been good to me in the last three long-distance trips. I’m counting on a fourth consecutive long-distance trip with a stellar experience.
  • South Korea – Now that you know, I’ll be looking forward to this trip as well. Any tips on how to deal with a flight lasting more than 10 hours? I’m used to five-hour flights across the country but now, I’ll have an 11- to 12-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean to sit through.
  • Transition – This month will be predominantly dedicated to traveling, as it wasn’t obvious enough already. After all that is over, it’s anyone guess as to where I will truly end up next.
  • Job hunt – I’m still on the case. Hopefully, it ends sooner than later.

Play me off, Billy Joel!


4 thoughts on “Reflections and Expectations: Keep the Faith

  1. Wow! Heading off to South Korea- that’s very exciting! It also sounds like you had a HUGE month, full of lots of excitement and change. Here’s hoping for the best in your job search and the month of August!

    • Thanks, Jess! I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes from here. Have yourself a wonderful vacation too!

  2. Awesome post, Simon! I am confident your trip to South Korea will give you something to remember and stays in your heart forever!
    Keep us posted! 🙂

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