Despite limited education and little social interaction, I still managed to thrive. In this time of uncertainty, your kids can too.

Photo by Stephane YAICH on Unsplash

First off: my heart goes out to all the parents who have been forced to homeschool during COVID-19. Maybe you’re scared for your kid to go back, or maybe their school has gone virtual for the rest of the year. Whether you're juggling a career in the background, trying to get your kids to pay attention to virtual classes, or stressing about their lack of social interaction, this is a difficult and uncertain time for every parent and child.

While I don’t yet have children of my own, I distinctly remember my own struggles with an unconventional childhood. I was…


Even during an unprecedented pandemic, people are still trying to cheat the system.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I got a weird check in the mail.

It was from our state’s department of labor and industry, for a man we’d never heard of. At first we thought it was a mistake, and that one of our neighbors might have mis-typed their address somehow.

But then yesterday, we got some more mail: a debit card for the same person, as well as another unemployment check addressed to someone under a different name.

At this point we were suspicious, and started to look up how to return unsolicited unemployment checks. Apparently this sort…


Why a lack of diversity on social media is so dangerous for women trying to love who they are.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

When I was a little girl I wanted all sorts of typical kid things — pets, a scooter, a trip to DisneyWorld. My parents would either give me a compromise (“Do some research on how to take care of a hamster, first”) or tell me I could do something “when I was older.”

One day, while watching my mom tidy the bathroom, I asked her if I could dye my hair blonde when I turned nine.

My mom stopped and stared at me. We are a Chinese American family. I was five years old.

Why?

As a kid growing up…


I started dating to compete with her and ended up hurting innocent people.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

A few years back, a friend from work and I independently decided to break things off with our respective boyfriends. Though we still had strong feelings for our former partners, they just weren’t right for us, and we both felt like we deserved better.

Before both of our breakups, we had been fairly close friends, through our shared struggles with life and career-building in our early twenties.

After our breakups, that changed. Whenever I saw her, she’d tell me about her dating experiences, about hooking up with hot men on Tinder “just for sex.”

Whenever I asked her to hang…


Overcoming the difficult transition out of college-style living

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I was one of those messy kids. My toys were permanently strewn across my bedroom floor, and my bed was never made. At night, I’d shove down my pants and leave them in a puddle on the floor, then step right back into them the next morning.

I didn’t improve as an adult. I was messy throughout college (I had three messy roommates so we didn’t mind). In grad school, I slept on a mattress on the floor surrounded by paper, clutter and the occasional empty ramen cup. …


A guide for having an immersive cultural experience, using CDMX as an example.

Enjoying the nightlife at Plaza Garibaldi with our new group of friends (all pictures taken by the author)

Last year, it was cheaper for me to fly to Mexico City (abbreviated as CDMX by locals) over Thanksgiving than it was for me to go home, so my partner and I decided to take a five-day vacation there. We love experiencing local cultures, and this trip was no exception.

There are a couple of techniques we used to make the most of our cultural experiences when we traveled, which will be covered in this article. …


How to maximize 24 hours stuck driving a box truck to reflect and explore (without going nuts)

The box truck, and my Prius, in front of my old house.

I spent the days leading up to Christmas driving from Pennsylvania to New Mexico for a new job. We had to figure out the most economical way to get my possessions, a queen sized mattress, my Prius and my boyfriend’s motorcycle across the country all at the same time.

The cheapest option was to rent a Budget truck with a car carrier behind it. Though my partner is an experienced driver, I was hesitant as I’d just gotten my license a few years ago. …


A dutiful daughter’s dilemma: leave them or bring them?

Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

Growing up, I was always close with my parents. Though my sister and I were home-schooled, our parents tried to expose us to new cultures and ideas by bringing us on road trips and international vacations. At the same time, we were heavily sheltered. Our parents dictated what we’d do and how we could go places, both on and off vacation. I wasn’t allowed to get my driver’s license til I was 21 years old.

Despite all this, I never rebelled as a teenager. Though this was partially because I was sheltered to the point where I couldn’t physically rebel…


How accepting our own pace plays into the narrative of “self-improvement.”

The author, sending a route. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Fong and used with permission.

I didn’t want to get into rock climbing. When I started, I was mostly doing it for my boyfriend, who loved the sport and was eager to share it with me. I would struggle and hyperventilate on easy 15-foot routes in the gym, scared to fall or break something.

It took a solid year to get used to the mental aspect of climbing, and the engagement of muscles I didn’t know I had, before I actually started enjoying the sport. I’d always loved hiking and camping, and outdoor rock climbing was a natural extension of that. …


Not quite supportive, not quite toxic…

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

There are tons of articles detailing what to do with toxic friends — people who clearly don’t support you, people who gaslight you, and so forth. There aren’t as many articles talking about what to do with those people who are on the hairy edge of acquaintance and friend.

They might happily agree to do things with you, but you never quite bond in the way you wish you could.

They might hang out and be friendly whenever you reach out and contact them, but never offer to make plans back.

They might have shown up for you at first…

Fiona Y.

A writer-scientist who leads with her heart. Makes mistakes so you don't have to.

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