Cherry blossoms and tulips in Brooklyn Botanic Garden

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Forces of Nature.”

Spring is my favorite season. And this calls to mind blooming flowers and life coming back to the city after a harsh and long winter. I always look forward to going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to go see the cherry blossoms and tulips. They have free admission (or donate-as-you-wish) on Saturdays from 10-12PM. However, if you have an NYC ID (which is free, by the way, and it’s a nice picture ID), you can get free one-year memberships to city museums, BBG included. Even though the city’s museums are mostly non-profit, which means that you can really donate and pay-as-you-wish (instead of paying the stated admission price), having this NYC ID perk is a great addition.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken today!






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Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

photo (4)Hope.

Hope has always been my companion.

It’s funny how life sometimes throws you in situations that leave you no choice but to grow. You will reach new inflection points that cause you to question your previously-held beliefs. You will, as I’ve mentioned to my office mate, “be so frustrated that all you can do is to smile, think happy thoughts, and do better than your best”.

Note that while others would view this as a sign of resignation and weakness, keep faith that this is a source of strength.

Quite the contrary, you may say. But in that moment of resignation, immerse yourself fully and observe how every bone, how every muscle in your body reacts to the situation. Then take a deep breath – you know in yourself that in that moment, there is really nothing you can do. Acceptance is the first step of growing up. Wallow in your sadness and bitter tears – but keep it short.

Then take action. Find comfort in the thought that the best is yet to come, that this is yet another challenge that you should overcome.

I sincerely believe that in the future, as I look back at this particular inflection point, I’d smile and be thankful that I’ve been through it.

Come on Life, bring it on.


Here’s to growing up

One of the 12,000 tulips on display at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

Three things I learned today:

(1) Bates and Anthony won the Amazing Race (I was rooting for the roller derby moms!). Didn’t know that MLK had his “I have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. I should seriously study the map more and show more interest in geography (and maybe brush up on American history?);

(2) “Face time” means “time spent at one’s place of employment especially beyond normal working hours” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Note to self: there’s life outside the workplace; refrain from staying in the office til 8PM, dude!; and,


When I was younger, I had the impression that not having a single white hair yet was something to be proud of. Seeing my first white hair terrified me and it dawned on me that I’m getting old. Questions such as the following flooded my thoughts while I stroke the strand of hair:

(1) Just a few more months before I leave the 18-24 age range. What have I accomplished so far? The clock is ticking, Annie.

(2) Have you been living under your means? Must. Start. Saving.

(3) What are you really passionate about? (Yes, I haven’t figured that out yet.)

Reading Susan Cain’s Quiet helped me zone in and focus on the more important things. I’ve come up with a few “core personal projects” such as speaking my mind out and contributing more insights at work (my office mates had to give me an intervention about being too passive), leveraging my strengths (i.e., I’m more of a thinker than a talker – how do I take advantage of that?), and doing something that I’m afraid of.

Like what they say, growing old is inevitable but growing up is a choice; that growth comes when you are comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is my hope that in the next few days, I’ll be much more comfortable with the art of making conversations (keep in mind Tina Fey’s advice on improv: agree then add something), write that essay I’ve been meaning to work on, submit that volunteer application for MoMath, start investing thru Citisec, and join Toastmasters (aka “Annie’s ultimate challenge”).

Here’s to being open to challenges that’ll make me question my beliefs and take me out of my passive, comfort zone. Who knows, maybe my first white hair would give me good luck?