Malida’s Questions — Work Friends

This post features two of my closest friends in Seattle. We met at Amazon.

In reading their answers, I remembered that our friendship started over meals. Food remains a grounding force: we go out to dinner almost every week, usually on Friday night, at a new restaurant in the city. Last night, we went to Fat’s.


How did we meet?

Emerly: We met at a party…back in Fall 2014. We ended up finding a [shared] connection where I previously worked. The next morning our mutual friend, Matt, the one who invited me to the party, said that you and Tina thought I was cool and wanted to have brunch with me.

Tina: We met at the RUP Amazon Interview day. I remember you standing out from everyone else, and was thankful you let me join you for dinner when you caught up with another Amazon RUP friend.


Emerly, in a rare colorful moment. Em is usually in all black — maybe dark green or gray if it’s a holiday. This photo also captures her ‘in between’ hair phase. Leave a comment with your vote on hair length! (I usually encourage the chop.)
Tina, pictured with a Fendi bear. The only things you need to know about Tina are evident in this photo: cool, good hair always, never shy to wear comfortable shoes. Like most great people in this world, Tina loves New York City.

Have you ever wished for a different name?

Emerly: Yes. I wanted my name to be ‘Emily’ when I was younger because it was hard for kids hear the distinction between ‘Emerly’ and ‘Emily’. I was too shy to correct others when I was younger. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to like my name because it’s different and has helped to build my sense of individuality — but I still say ‘Emily’ at Starbucks.

Tina: I think names are incredibly special. I am grateful for the name given to me (Kristien is my mom’s creation, a Vietnamese take on a traditional American name. The ‘ie’ is very linguistically Vietnamese), but I also love that the name I go by could not have been planned by anyone. My nickname was given to me based on circumstance. When I was about 4 or 5, my Puerto Rican babysitter had difficulty pronouncing my Vietnamese name, ‘My Tien’, and decided it would be easier to call me ‘Tina’.

How many unread text messages do have right now?

Emerly: Zero.

Tina: One, from Digit (I have them send me a text every morning to get a balance on my checking account, so I give myself a pass to check this whenever).

What’s an app that you recently downloaded?

Emerly: Scoutmob — it’s a coupon app.

Tina: I downloaded iTunes U to listen to UCLA’s Mindful Meditations, BodySpace from Bodybuilding.com to find workout routines, and NYT Cooking for recipes (best one I’ve found).

What is the last movie that you enjoyed and what stuck with you?

Emerly: Interstellar — there were a lot of themes about human nature and ethics, but the theme that resonated with me was that love transcends dimensions of time and space.

Tina: It was also the last movie I saw — Raw. I really enjoyed the art direction, the coming-of-age story, and the perspective of a foreign film on the trope of cannibalism.

What do you pay a premium for that others might not?

Emerly: Skincare.

Tina: Lately, fitness (training sessions) and food (farmer’s markets).

What is one staple of your weekend routine?

Emerly: Face mask.

Tina: Eat a breakfast that I wouldn’t normally be able to eat on the weekdays.

Name one activity that you wish you did every day.

Emerly: Read the news.

Tina: Stretch.

What is one activity that you prefer to do alone?

Emerly: I enjoy doing lots of things by myself. My favorite right now is putting on a face mask, having a glass of wine or a glass of grapefruit LaCroix mixed with cranberry juice, and reading or watching videos about people who inspire me.

Tina: Shave.

Who is the first person that you call or text when when you have good news to share?

Emerly: My immediate family (we have a group FB thread) and Zachariah, my boyfriend — in that order.

Tina: Jennifer, my best friend from college. She gets my bad news, too.


Emerly and Zachariah, 2016
Tina and Jennifer, 2014

What is a relatively small — but significant — accomplishment of yours from the last 6 months?

Emerly: Understanding what inspires me.

Tina: I started to become familiar with how to be alone.

Name one habit of each: I want to quit…, pick up…, and maintain….

Emerly: Quit eating out for lunch, pick up exercising 3x/week, and maintain a close relationship with my family.

Tina: Quit making excuses, pick up good habits, and maintain accountability.

Name a quality about yourself that receives criticism but will be key to your future success.

Emerly: Some say I’m too process-oriented.

Tina: My warm-heartedness.

What’s one thing that your friends make fun of you for but that you enjoy thoroughly?

Emerly: Face masking and spending a lot of time reading about skincare.

Tina: Being optimistic.

What keeps you calm under pressure?

Emerly: Mapping out a process to get out of the fire.

Tina: Preparation for situations that I can control, meditation for situations that I can’t.

Name your least popular belief.

Emerly: Creating value and driving results is more important than making friends with teammates at work; both are important but the former is necessary. (I tried to re-word this a couple times to make it sound less like I’m an empty-hearted jerk — not sure if those attempts worked.)

Tina: Not sure if this is my least popular (in order to know, I’d have to test this belief against many people, which I have not). My little brother once observed that when someone does something wrong, I believe that they must answer for it — or, at least, face it. It seemed to rub a sore spot with him; ‘not everything has a clear answer.’ But I believe that all behavior has an underlying cause and that it’s important for the culprit to acknowledge that action, especially when it can harm others.

Choose your own question and answer it.

Emerly: You’ve mentioned face masks a few times…any recommendations?

Ren Glycolic Radiance Renewal Mask is really good for exfoliation. I also just started to test Sephora eye masks. I got a couple of different types and, so far, they have provided a fast way to get a boost of moisture around the eyes.

Tina: What is something you’re having difficulty with recently?

Having certainty in knowing what I want, and crossing the delta between where I am now and why I don’t already have what I want.

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