Last year, I had four different part-time restaurant jobs, so I had to turn up the charm to navigate through the different personalities on each team. For the most part, my incessant need to please people succeeded. At all of those restaurants, I was able to make new friends through the staff and customers, and even some close, lasting bonds. But of course, there were those I could not win over. Because I invest so much time into figuring out how to get everyone to like me, when I fail at it, I feel as though I am being personally attacked. When this happened with one of my bosses, I created a narrative in my head that he had a problem with me, and I was frustrated by what I viewed as his misjudgment of who I am. …


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Fermentation and Patience

“Lynn, think about the best things in life. Kimchi, wine, cheese. All of these things take a long time to make. All of the things you want so badly, a boyfriend, that job or more confidence, they will come to you with time. That’s what will make them meaningful.” -My mom

Fermentation takes time. The national staple food of my country of origin is kimchi, spicy fermented cabbage or other vegetables. Traditionally, the process of making kimchi begins right now, in the fall. First, the cabbage is washed and salted to remove excess water. Then, people make a spicy seasoning to lather all over the salted cabbage. Then, the heads of cabbage are all stored in very large stone pots and stored there throughout the entire winter. Generations of Koreans waited through an entire season to have their next year’s batch of kimchi, eaten at every single meal. Technology has provided precision for all fermenting methods, but even with that, patience is necessary. …


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Being a waitress in a major city is like being an urban anthropologist. Every table I serve, I learn more about the urban human life and behavior. I’ve worked in restaurants in NYC and LA. I currently work at a decently fancy restaurant in LA. I’ve held various positions: host, back-server, busser, barista, server. And worked at various places: cafes, dinner-only restaurants, a bakery. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned from all of these experiences. Sometimes my observations serve as evidence for a point that is so obvious it feels silly to make it in the first place. However, it’s always easiest to overlook the most obvious lessons in life. …


Image for post
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Being a waitress in a major city is like being an urban anthropologist. Every table I serve, I learn more about the urban human life and behavior. I’ve worked in restaurants in NYC and LA. I currently work at a decently fancy restaurant in LA. I’ve held various positions: host, back-server, busser, barista, server. And worked at various places: cafes, dinner-only restaurants, a bakery. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned from all of these experiences. Sometimes my observations serve as evidence for a point that is so obvious it feels silly to make it in the first place. However, it’s always easiest to overlook the most obvious lessons in life. …

Lynn Ma

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