The Little Prince: The Essence of Life

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After days of enjoying and reaping the benefits of #SXSW, I finally had the chance to catch up on some movies and the latest news. I came across The Little Prince. While I was initially thinking that this would be a great film for my kids to watch, it turned out to be a great film for me to watch as well.

The Little Prince focuses in on a little girl and her hard working mom. The mom is plagued with the obsessive thoughts of getting her daughter into the top school in the area. After a few setbacks, the mom decides to plot her daughter’s way to success and take control of her days with endless studying and learning. The daughter ends up befriending her neighbour, The Aviator, building a great bond and friendship. The Aviator is an odd character who is seen as weird by most, and also completely out of touch with the rest of the neighbourhood. While becoming friends, The Aviator introduces the daughter to the Little Prince. Introducing the little girl to the Little Prince opens her mind to see what great things can happen when you use your imagination. Along with opening up her imagination she learns to step away from her books. The little girl gets a chance to see how the Little Prince grows up; he begins to lose the essence behind life when he grows up. But he’s able to recapture his creativity and live a happy life again.

If there’s one takeaway from The Little Prince, it’s to not get so lost in our usual 9 to 5 and academic and social standards. Too often in life, we find ourselves trying so hard to get the best grades, having the best house, best car; or just quite honestly trying to fit in with the social norm. What gets lost in the shuffle is what is truly essential in life. The constant phrase that is repeated to the prince is, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”. In today’s society, we work so hard to get things that are in front of us and only seen with our eyes that we lose track of the things that are much more essential in life. Live life being happy, and don’t let anybody else determine what is essential to your life and your own happiness.

Restaurant Stereotypes

Do we judge a book by it’s cover when it comes to restaurants?

Yes, I’d have to say that it’s something I was guilty of and I’m sure I’m not the last and not the first person to have done this before.  In terms of judging restaurants,  I’m talking about when you’re attempting to try out a new place in town and find out that it’s run by someone other than the ethnicity of the type of food style that is being served.

While we live in a day and age where we want to be politically correct and avoid social pain, we as a society do have stereotypes when it comes to restaurants.  When it comes to restaurants, we expect Thai or Hmong people to make Thai food, Chinese people to make Chinese food, Mexicans to make Mexican food, etc… The moment that we try out a place where someone other than who you would expect to be running the restaurant is there,  we assume the food won’t be as great or that it might be lowered down in terms of the taste of each dish.

The truth of the matter is that if someone who is Caucasian and is running an Asian restaurant or vice versa,  we put up our guard and expect the worst out of the restaurant and stereotype the place.  Without even getting our food, we assume that the food might not be that great. 

I personally have gone through this experience.  When I first moved down to Austin, I was really craving some sushi and wanted to try out a place based off the great Yelp! ratings that it received. When I walked in I was completely caught off guard.  What I thought was a Japanese sushi restaurant was run by a mix of Caucasian and Asian adults. While eating away at my appetizers and sushi,  I was blown away.  The food was absolutely delicious and much better than most places that I’ve been to before.

In conclusion,  the moral of the story and topic is to not judge a book by it’s cover.

Made in the USA?

 

America is the home of many great things in this world.  When you think of America, you think of Apple, Facebook, Chevy, Nike, 11602910-Made-in-USA-Stamp-Stock-VectorNFL, NBA, etc…  However when you look at some of the most iconic American brands, are American companies still making everything in America?  I would say that back in the 80’s, there was a true sense of everything being American made by American companies, but things have changed.

American Companies

In our great American culture, we’re influenced by society to buy American, and support American made items.  While we have big brands such as Apple and GM that are American companies, they’re truly not making products strictly in the US anymore.  Most production of GM cars and Apple products are being handled in countries outside of the US.  While the sales of the products ultimately benefit the American companies, the manual work and labor are benefiting another country and the economy of that country.

Foreign Companies 

On the flip side of things, we’re lead to believe as a society that import brands such as Honda and Toyota are only benefiting Japan, and not benefiting the US and our economy.  In my opinion, this could be further from the truth.  Although Honda and Toyota are technically Japanese companies, they also have factories and corporate staff based here in the US.  If we’re truly looking at companies for having the label “American Made”, Honda and Toyota are technically making cars right here in the US.  The products are being made here, and helping to support local economies.

At the end of the day, all things being made in the US truly aren’t from American companies anymore.  It’s not a bad thing, and more or less just a sign that companies are more geared towards globalization versus being tied down to one particular market.

America: Home of the Brave?

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Is America truly the home of the brave?  Based on our history,  some would say yes.  However when basing it off how some of our citizens live from day to day,  I’d say no.  While we’re a brave country when it comes to helping out the world and our allies,  we’re not brave enough as a country to break the norm and provide more for our citizens.

America provides opportunity seekers with the freedom to make a living and avoiding the threat of suicide bombers and guerilla warfare in our backyard.  However,  the simple things that other countries have that we lack are the means to provide our citizens with proper health care and affordable education.  In this day and age,  it’s honestly inexcusable that Americans must make the decision to feed their families or get health insurance and a college education.  Health insurance should be given to all citizens no matter what, as we should be talking care of our citizens. Along with health care,  education shouldn’t be that much of a life altering decision. All Americans should have the freedom to go to college without the fear of going broke and putting themselves in an extreme amount of debt for years to come.

Outside of being brave with world issues,  I’d love to see us as a country be brave enough to offer all Americans the ability to have health care and education without having to financially impact our citizens in such a negative way. It’s no way that a modern super power such as America should be handling things when other European countries offer such benefits as a benefit to all of its citizens.

Losing a dad, Moving On

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Recently,  I took a break from my blog.  Blogging has given me such a great outlet to share experiences and express myself, but a recent event turned my world upside down. I recently lost my dad to a freak accident, taking away my dad,  my one and true hero.

After losing my mom when I was 9, I guess it was always a given that my dad,  my hero,  would always be there.  I had always planned my life around the clear certainty that he would always be there for me to call, visit, and there for my kids and siblings. I never truly prepared myself to deal with losing him and what life would be Iike with him not around.

With my dad having passed away,  you’re only left thinking about what would’ve been and what you could’ve talked about.  There’s so many things that I would say or want to share with him. I wish I could just pick up the phone and ask him how his day was,  tell him what amazing lesson he taught me that recently came true,  or plan a trip to see one another.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned with my dad passing and now having lost both parents,  it’s that life is truly short and never guaranteed. When your parents are gone, life truly changes.  The holidays will change, birthdays will come and go, and life events are definitely not the same anymore. Love your parents and spend every moment that you can with them. Because when they’re gone, they’re truly gone and we must move on with life.

Today’s Immigration Crisis: A Personal Take

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One of the hottest world issues for Europe and the entire world recently has to be the recent immigration crisis. We all may have varying views on how to stop or handle it, but it’s definitely a world issue that will not go away immediately.

When I initially heard about Europe’s recent immigration crisis,  I had the same thoughts that I’m sure many others had.  Instead of reflecting back on how my own family and ethnic group made their way to America,  I was focused more on how this process was portrayed in the media and how there should be a formalized process to handle things. 

After actually reading stories and watching videos on the struggles and reasons behind people wanting to migrate to Europe,  I realized I was completely wrong.  Reading the stories hit home to me,  as my family and countless other Hmong people know the struggles of the new migrants all to well.  It wasn’t too long ago when Hmong people were in the same situation. Having agreed to help out the American military,  similar to the Syrian rebels,  the Hmong were tasked with assisting with the American war in Laos and Vietnam.  When the fight for democracy hit a clear wall and the war was ending,  the Hmong faced the prospect of being hunted down,  and a grim prospect of a normal life in Laos.  Like the Syrian people,  the Hmong were forced to make a decision.  Live in war torn country and suffer,  or leave the country in search of a brighter future with democracy providing the way.

While I was not born in Laos,  I’m a product of what the Hmong sought out to seek with leaving Laos.  Instead of being born in a war torn country,  I was given the chance to be born and raised in the United States of America.  If my family didn’t decide to make the move and leave Laos,  I can’t imagine where we would be or how life would be. Moving to the United States gave my family and I the chance to live a normal life,  go to school,  and have a roof over our heads without the worry of gunfire or bombs.

In comparison to today’s immigration crisis,  it’s not any different than what the Hmong experienced years ago. The current migrants simply want to provide their family and their people with a chance at a normal life, future, and a simple sense of well being. While the migrants may not be arriving into Europe and countries around the world in a formal way,  we as a society need to do our best to help those who are simply looking for a better life for themselves. This is not the first crisis that we’ll experience in our lifetime, and certainly not the last. 

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Play it safe or take a Risk?

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Today marks a year and two months since I left my home state of Michigan.  I enjoyed some of the best times of my life in that great state, but I always felt like something was missing.  I constantly traveled across the US and to countries close by, but I always ended up coming home with a sense that something was missing.

Like most of my peers,  I held a stable job for over 5 years.  Along with a good paying job,  I had great benefits and was thriving in the city that I was born and raised in.  However,  after 27 years in Michigan,  I decided it was time to stop playing it safe. Sure,  I had family, friends, and a great job; but I just wasn’t happy anymore with being safe and stable.  While I enjoyed my work to an extent,  I saw no room for growth,  no room to challenge myself,  and no desire to continue in my line of work.  Looking at my coworkers,  I realized that if I didn’t make a change, I would be trapped at my desk job for the next 40 years.  Sure,  I would collect a nice salary until I hit retirement age, but I would be a grumpy worker wondering why I never made a change or took a risk.  I can honestly say that I hit my midlife crisis.  Yes,  I was a hell lot younger than most who go through this process, but I reached my limit. 

After some careful thought and consideration,  I made the decision to go back to school. Pursuing a completely different field,  it would allow me to pursue a job that would best utilize my skillset and give me a chance to do something more fulfilling.  Schooling was initially a challenge.  Having been out of it since getting my Associates degree,  I simply just wanted my free time back.  However, after finally engaging with my school work and pushing through everything,  I found that I needed the work more than it needed me.  Going back to school would push me to think again,  and to actually set goals that would help me succeed.

Once I neared the end of my Bachelor’s journey,  it was time to make the career change that I so longed.  Doing so left me with another decision,  as the job market for my field would be dictated by the major cities in the US that had a need for someone of my skillset.  Putting me in a position to take another much needed risk,  I chose to take the leap and move to Austin, Texas.  Being the best city for job growth in the US, Austin was a city that I simply had to check out.

Being in Austin for over a year now,  I honestly don’t regret the decisions that I’ve made. My career and life had hit the point where I was losing a part of myself for the sake of being safe and avoiding any potential risks at losing my safety net, which was my job.  The risks that I’ve taken have helped me jump right into the digital media field,  meet some new people, make some lifelong friends,  and try new things.  Moving has finally given me the chance to clear off my treasured Bucket List, which I wasn’t able to do before. 

While Michigan will always be home,  sometimes what we need in life is a nice change of pace, and also to just open ourselves to new things and experiences.  Now I feel younger, energized, and I feel like I serve a purpose in what I do.  I look forward to more challenges, changes,  and also hope to eventually take my hand at living abroad as well.  I encourage anyone who feels like their trapped or lacking motivation to take a risk and throw caution to the wind.  You’re missing out on some great experiences if you don’t.