1.5 Years Later

It's been a year and a half since I cut all ties with a long-time friend of mine. After over ten years of friendship, I think a lot of people would have a hard time dropping someone unless they did something catastrophic. Especially people who value Being a Good Friend. But Being A Good Friend doesn't make someone else be a good friend to you.

Some people think getting into your life early enough is all they need to do to be a life-long friend. Some people don't contact you unless they need something out of you. Some people don't know how to treat people with respect and don't care to learn. I'm not saying this as an indictment-- just fact.

This is a short post, but in the spirit of spring cleaning and new beginnings, I just wanted to remind you that you can get rid of pretty much anything you want if it is not helping you grow or be better. Just because you're used to something, or have put a lot of time and energy into something, doesn't mean that it is a good idea to keep moving forward with.

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Book Review: The Wangs vs. The World

As you may know, I'm trying to read more this year-- specifically books. I read a lot of articles and internet pieces but I genuinely haven't picked up many books since grade-school for non-academic purposes so I'm teaching myself to carve out time for that again. This month I told myself I had to finish the book I've been picking up and putting down for months.

I got a free copy of The Wangs vs. The World from Houghton Mifflin way back in October and finally got through it. Here's my take on it.

Centering on the fall of an immigrant family that "made it" and then suddenly found themselves "unmade" at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, The Wangs vs. The World centers on the family and their cross-country road trip to reunite and somehow reclaim their family's former glory-- once lost to the Communists, twice lost to America, where Charles had to start over, and now thrice lost to financial institutions.

This book is not "hilarious" but it does have some funny moments-- I would say the majority of the comedy is more in the absurdities of the improbabilities and indignities the family faces, which is a very common comedic sensibility in Asian immigrants and their descendants. The characters are well-written and multi-layered, each with their own quirks and absurd dreams which is also a hallmark of the first generation of Americans born to immigrants. The charm of those book lies largely in how very real the portrayal of the family dynamic is and the varying values of the different characters based on their generation, cultural upbringing, and social standing-- unique to each character despite their all being a family. 

My two main grievances with the book are these: First, I did not like the Charles, the patriarch, at all. He's the kind of man I have known very well in life and I find him insufferable. The story, though very much about everyone else as much as him is set in motion because of him. It begins with him and ends with him. To me he is the epitome of the idea of "loving your family, without liking them." He is the father that his children love, but don't really like. The story really did feel like, for all its expansion on the other characters, a universe built around him and his own ego and its results. Secondly, I did not get much closure from the book's end, which I will not detail, but I'd say I felt that only 60% of the emotional loose ends were tied up and the floor fell out below me on the last page. And not in a powerful way, just in a bewildering way that had me feeling like I should have read a version with about 30 more pages to wrap everything up.

Overall it's a decent read, and as someone who is trying to read more books by and about Asian Americans, it definitely represented the family dynamics in a robust and real way. It's a little crass, a little too-honest, and very much about humor in situations moreso than the turn-of-phrase in the narration. Perhaps it's just not for someone who is turned off by stories centered on a patriarch and how his mistakes affect everyone else. 

This review is also available on my goodreads account-- if you're a user too, feel free to connect with me there an recommend some books to me!

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Videos from Austin

2 weeks ago I went on a trip to Austin to see Mia (of xoMia and Fake Goth Girls) and Nicole (of Writes Like A Girl and Breakfast for Dinner). I finally got around to editing video from the trip so here is a little video of some of the fun stuff we did together!

I didn't capture everything we did-- we watched some serious Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix. I also petted Mia & Colby's cats and we did Tarot things and had lunches with other new friends.

We also filmed some collab videos. The tag for Mia's channel isn't up yet, but you can check out the mystery Disney Lyric challenge we did together!

I still have to film a haul video for this trip too, but I will get around to it soon. If you want to keep up with my videos, please subscribe to my channel.

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march small goals

Okay, so I've really been neglecting goal posts, but they are pretty important to helping me focus on stuff each month, and Nicole has a really cute round up of them that I miss participating in. So I'm getting back on this (and worrying less about the blog image for them which was making me weirdly anxious). 

I didn't give myself goals last month, but moving forward I'll start with how the last month's goals went. For now, I'm jumping straight into goals for this month!

Get on To-Doist. So, I love my paper planners, but they are honestly better for conceptualizing outings and major tasks each day than they are my everyday functioning. After listening to Fake Goth Girls talk about their love of Todoist, I'm sold. 

Finish a book-- maybe even two! I'm in the middle of one book right now, and while I do want to aim for finishing 1 book every two months at least, I've also decided that I want to alternate fiction and self-improvement-y types of books. I'm hoping to finally finish the book I've been stalled out on for the past couple weeks and start a business-oriented book!

Start Meal Planning again. Another better use for my paper planner, I think this will help me stay healthier and make me better about grocery shopping. 

Go to the gym twice a week. I'm really trying to push myself to be more active as the weather gets less grim. Maybe I'll skip the gym if I can get in an hour long walk or something, but I need to stop planning weekends around food and netflix...

Blog more, get more videos up. I've shot several videos that I haven't edited... that needs to change. I'm hoping to get 2 more blog posts and 2 more videos up this month. 

What are your goals for this month?

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