Catcalls of NYC street art

CAT-CALLING IT OUT


Growing up in New York City, I’ve been dealing with catcalling for a long time. Even before I was 15, I remember men whispering at me and my friends in cars. I didn’t feel like there was a good way to respond to it. I felt silenced by these comments — I’d just keep walking. I forced myself to believe it was OK for someone to call out, “Hey, beautiful” on the streets even though I felt uncomfortable.

As a freshman in college, I was given an assignment to immerse myself in something and then document it in on social media. The project, Catcalls of NYC, gave me the opportunity to respond to catcalling in a different way.

I came up with the idea to actually chalk the words of catcallers on sidewalks and post them on Instagram, creating a collage of different catcalls. The most troubling part of catcalling is that people say they’re just words, or that it’s a compliment. I wanted to take those actual words and show people it’s not just words — they have a really big impact when you’re walking down the street.

At first I was writing about my own and my friends’ experiences. Slowly, people would find my account and message me their experiences to write down on the streets of NYC. Right after the #MeToo movement in December 2017, my account went viral and grew from 900 to 10,000 followers overnight. It’s then that I realized a lot of people care about this and a lot of people need to share their story.

Catcalls of NYC has become such a huge part of my identity. It’s made me grow to be really unapologetic in condemning all forms of harassment and discrimination in the public space. I found the power to say “I don’t feel OK with that.”

It’s unbelievable to see the plethora of stories people open up about. They are looking to be believed and to be heard. If you’re an empathetic person, you’re reading their stories and trying to respond in a way that makes them feel supported — but it’s hard to read more than one story at a time and set boundaries. I’ve learned to cope by taking breaks, as well as by assembling a team to build this community and continue the conversation online and offline.

I’ve found that a great place for dialogue, especially in NYC, is on the street. When you’re chalking, a lot of people stop to see what you’re writing and to talk to you. It’s something special because normally nobody ever stops for anything here. It’s important to build community, but it’s a rare thing since people in NYC don’t often talk to each other.

A few days ago, I talked to a guy who mentioned how he used to catcall with his friend. They were practicing how to flirt, and it was a way for them to bond. He thought seeing the words chalked on the street was disgusting, and never wanted people to go around saying those things.

Having conversation is such an important tool both on social media and also on our streets. If someone is genuinely asking, “Sorry, I don’t understand, I would’ve thought this was a compliment, but please explain,” that’s where the change can come from too. I’m learning how to engage allies who have room to change and grow. Before, I was so strong in believing, “Well this is harassment, you should understand it immediately.” But we don’t talk enough to those people who are maybe somewhere in the middle and learning. In the end, we are all learning.

The Handmaid's Musical actors on stage

IGNITING THE FIRE


I moved to New York from London in September 2016, where I witnessed how everything in America was changing politically. It was a scary reality to see the way women were treated in a different country. It didn’t necessarily have to translate into actions — it was the way women were being talked about, like they were objects and their bodies were under scrutiny. Everything was ultimately dictated by a man’s opinion.

At the time I came to the city, I was continuing my acting career and going from one audition to another. It was such a tough process. I finally decided that if it wasn’t going to happen, I was going to make it happen. A combination of being someone new in the city pursuing theater and the political climate inspired me to write.

Being a big fan of the book and the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale, I realized I wanted to adapt a musical parody of the story that paralleled with the reality of present day. Though the TV show is about a dystopian America, everything in the book is relevant to something happening at some point in some part of our world.

It almost makes sense to laugh it off, but also create a line of communication where people can be inspired to do something about it. That is why much of the show relies on dark humor and black comedy. In fact, the Little Mermaid’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls” song was the first piece that inspired me to create the show.

I hadn’t ever written a show, but I found comedy to be a way to deal with the most difficult situations. Stress is always handled in a flight or fight mode. I remember when I was growing up my mom told me that “when life throws you lemons, you gotta deal with it because it doesn’t stop.” I don’t know if it’s the healthiest approach, but you need to learn to make the time.

I have been juggling a lot — it came down to time management and priorities. The last three months, I needed to focus on renewing my visa and getting back into the country. The uncertainty of not knowing where I would be was stressful, and my mental being needed to cope with getting back to NYC. In the process, I learned how to delegate and the importance of having a team.

Living in our 20s is an interesting ride. There are always highs and lows, but that’s what makes it even more real. This experience has opened my eyes to the world. We can all get stuck in what we know and what we are comfortable with — it’s rejuvenating creating a space and a voice that can kickstart change.

There is a fire burning inside of me. Maybe it has always been there, but now it’s ignited.

A city road sunset

LOVING WITH NO BOUNDARIES


I’ve experienced both sides of being in a long-distance relationship living in and out of New York City. Leaving and returning to the city has definitely made me appreciate it in a different way, but it also taught me how to be more honest and communicative in my relationship.

When I first moved to Venice a year ago for a short-term job opportunity, my partner, Denise*, and I had been dating for almost four years and had just moved in together. We met during our last years in college in NYC and since Denise had been in investment banking for two years and two years in private equity, the time we’d always had together was limited. Typically, we chatted for half an hour before bed and hung out on the weekends. Realistically, she’d have to work on many projects during the weekend, so it was mostly Saturday night or part of Sundays.

When we started living together, it was really nice to see each other more. But, after a while, we realized we were no longer spending quality time together. We had to start scheduling dates to really catch up. I always thought when you start living with someone, you’d spend more personal time with them. Yet, it is easy to take the relationship for granted since that person is always present. Scheduling quality time for each other really helped us communicate and build the foundation for when we went long-distance. It’s not like we didn’t care for each other, but more so we needed to be open in managing realistic expectations given our different schedules.

We also learned that we needed to be open with our pet peeves. In the beginning of a relationship, you don’t want to bring certain things up. You try to be easy going. Over time, you either blow up or you learn to talk about. There are times we blew up and now we learn to talk about it before it gets to that point. We needed to come to a certain medium since we are both living in a shared space. Even if it’s small and random like “stop taking my pillows” or “don’t leave the toothbrush there!”

When I first moved to Italy a year ago, it was really sad. But, what made it easy was Denise visiting me the first month and then again the second. The times she stayed were also really long both during the holidays. Spending those long amounts of quality time never really made me feel like we were never apart. And when I returned back to NYC, we resumed the cadence of scheduling date nights and making time for each other.

Now, Denise has moved abroad for grad school and it has been tough. Yet, we still manage to keep in touch with Whatsapp and Google Voice. We try our best to be mindful of each other’s schedules given the six-hour time difference. Normally, I wake up at 6 AM and go to bed at 10 PM. So, I’ll do a half run in the morning, come home, shower, catch her on the phone, but then go to work. We occasionally message during the day but we understand it is hard since I’m working full-time and she’s settling in a new city.

Now being on the other side of the long-distance relationship, I can empathize more of how Denise felt when I first left NYC. I remember the first time I slept in our bed there was all this empty space and it felt odd. When I told her how I felt, she mentioned that’s how she felt the first night I wasn’t there. I never realized what she was experiencing when I moved to Italy since my first night there was a flood and all I could think about was how to carry my luggage in knee deep water when Venice flooded the first night I was there.

My mind was pre-occupied with a lot and it was a distraction to feeling lonely. Being back in New York has helped me be more thankful to my friend group and support system to get me through this period. Being able to count on a group of people who’ve known you for 7+ years is truly invaluable. I also realize what it takes to be communicative in a relationship being on both sides of the distance.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

A green neon heart with dollar bills inside

TALKING MONEY WITH LOVE


Going into the relationship, I think we both had a good idea of how the other person thought about money. My boyfriend and I went to middle school together, and both grew up in lower income backgrounds as first-generation students. We reconnected after college and have been seeing each other for almost three years now. When you’re going into a relationship with somebody, an explicit “values talk” may not necessarily come up, but you’re definitely on the lookout for what their values are and what they invest their money in. Coming from a similar background really set the tone for us, so from the very beginning I found we were compatible in our values.

Our relationship started off very slow and mindful, and we did not cut any corners. He and I previously discussed that we hadn’t learned how to communicate properly in past relationships, and we hadn’t had good examples. We knew that whatever we had been doing didn’t work. This is the healthiest, most vocal relationship I’ve had, and it definitely started out the hardest simply because we were so worried about doing everything right. Honestly at first, it did not feel natural to constantly be so open and vulnerable. But I think that’s what geared us up to have a very “unnatural” talk about finances.

It started off with our income disparity. I come from a very prideful family — we don’t talk about money and we don’t take “handouts,” so I grew up not accepting big gifts or shows of money. In the beginning of our relationship, he was very honest about the fact that he was making more money than he’d basically ever seen in his life. It was very new to him, and he never bragged about it, but I most definitely watched what he did with that money. The first thing he ever did was pay off all of his college loans and then send money to his mother, so I knew his priorities were straight. When he moved into a sleek Nolita apartment — 2BR/2BA between him and his roommate, brand-new appliances, washer and dryer — I thought to myself, “I don’t even know if we’re ever gonna be able to live together if these are what your standards are.” But even still, he was attached to his values from before all of this and kept money-saving habits like meal prepping, so I was able to be a part of that with him.

I hit a really bad rough spot in my finances one year after my graduation when my second student loan was activated. I’d not signed up for electronic billing, so they were sending paper bills to my home in Virginia. Months later I came home to about $800 of bills. I knew that waiting would hurt my credit score with the amount of time that had already passed, so I wiped my bank account, including a lot of my savings. I was an anxious mess. The ever-present tension I felt with New York City lifestyle and my income and class started seeping into other places in my life.

My anxiety persisted until one day he asked me about my wellbeing. We’d agreed that when one of us asks if the other is okay, we owe it to our relationship to be very honest. I was so embarrassed, I was crying, but I told him I’d wiped my bank account and I honestly didn’t know how I was gonna eat that week. I had -$32 to my name because I’d overdrawn my account. He never asked me if he could send me money, because he knew I’d tell him no, but he Venmo’d me $200 for the month saying, “Pay me back when you can — I’ll never ask you to. This is just to make sure that you eat, and I would love to feed you too as much as possible.” I declined the request, and he kept sending it to me, until he eventually was like, “Will you please take this money? It would make me feel better.” So I did, and of course I eventually paid him back, because money comes and money goes.

We got more comfortable having explicit conversations. We started planning our very first trip together, which I think was a nice look into future planning as well. I really appreciated that he actually cared about getting the cheapest flight, but also making sure it wasn’t a red eye that would leave us dead; getting a nice AirBnB but making sure we were getting a wonderful experience for the amount of money that we paid, rather than just balling out. He’s always been able to see everything from every angle and keep a lot of his core values present. It eventually got to the point where I started asking about his thoughts on investing, cryptocurrency, and getting out of debt. I felt very comfortable having those conversations only because of how much I admired his values and the way he truly weighs every option. He gave me deep talks and great advice about all of that.

These honest insights into each other’s values are what lead up to deciding this is someone I’d like to live with — someone I like being teammates with. He wanted Manhattan and I wanted Brooklyn, so we settled on Williamsburg. We were honest about our max budgets and priorities. Once we found the perfect place, we roughly estimated equitable rent proportions based on our post-tax incomes and other bills, like my crushing student debt. Having these talks every step of the way has been such a worthwhile exercise, and we still do check-ins to make sure neither of us feel stretched too thin. We’re just starting our financial journey together, and it’s nice to see the mindfulness we practiced from the very beginning still be present in our relationship.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Person on a street corner underneath aboveground subway tracks

NEW YORK MY WAY


Last year, I found myself crying over missing out on the cherry blossoms at the Botanic Garden. By the time I found the opportunity to go, they weren’t blooming anymore. It seemed silly, but it wasn’t about the flowers — it was my whole relationship with New York City.

I had never been to New York until I moved here for college. Everything was so fresh and new and dazzling. I wanted to experience everything I couldn’t in my home country: world-famous attractions like the Met, smaller wonders like 24-hour dollar pizza, and absolutely everything in between. The idea of nonstop entertainment was dizzying — at any moment, I could be doing something new, something exciting, something life-changing.

Which meant that every moment I didn’t do something life-changing felt like a waste.I started stressing out at my own downtime, whether or not I needed it. Taking a nap in between classes, scrolling through social media before bed, watching Netflix on weekends — all I could think was I could be doing something greater. When friends and family would visit, they’d make comments like, “It must be amazing to just be able to go to Central Park every day.” I’d feel so guilty for not taking advantage of that.

Today, I haven’t been to Central Park in probably two years, and I’ve accepted that that’s okay. I can’t live my life in New York as if I’m a tourist all the time. I have a full-time job to do, an apartment to clean, errands to run, just like anyone living anywhere else. I thought I was taking New York for granted by not running around checking off items on a bucket list — but really, I’m showing my love to this city every day by sticking around and building a life in it.

I still feel anxious sometimes, late on Sunday nights when I’ve spent most of the weekend at home. But I try to put that energy into something positive — instead of beating myself up over it, I plan something new for the next week. The cherry blossoms will be here next year, and so will I.

Seats in front of a stage

PAINTING A NEW STORY


Storytelling was my escape, especially growing up in a harsh environment in Houston, Texas. I wasn’t very proud of my circumstances. On a role model level, the men in my life all did things I didn’t stand for or represent. With that, I had always used storytelling as a way to escape to other characters or perspectives. In 6th grade, I realized I wanted to be an actor and from then I saw something that could get me out of my current circumstances. I ran with it through middle school, high school, and college to study drama.

Once I graduated, I realized I was trying too hard to fit into a traditional mold, a cookie-cutter lifestyle that was not designed for me. I needed to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to survive. The only way I thought to thrive and survive, to get through this transition, cope with the 2016 election, and not to conform to the lines of being a starving artist with no back-up plan, was with some spiritual connectedness with my deceased father.

I lost my father when I was 5 years old, but I wasn’t able to properly mourn for him until I was an adult. When I turned 23 and I was reaching 24, it was a scary moment because my father didn’t make it to 24. To give more background, he was a prominent gangster rapper in the Austin, Houston area. I began suddenly inheriting what he left behind for me over the course of the last two and half years. And so when I graduated college, I wrote and performed a one-man autobiographical show called Baba and Me in honor of my father.

I traveled to London, other parts of Europe, Cuba, West Africa, and my hometown with this performance, and spoke to brown and black youth communities similar to what I grew up within. Through this journey, I realized I was no longer ashamed of my background and I could be unapologetically black and authentic. I was finally leading not with my best self, but my whole self.

I’ve always been pro-Black, which means believing in black liberation and going against the stereotypes of the African-American community in the US. Me embracing my full self as well as my other ethnicities has separated me from the construct of Blackness — my mother is French and Native American from her family history, my father African American. For me to address my family history helped me understand myself better and to share the truth of my story.

Even though I’m not an immigrant, I’ve had this mindset of achieving the American Dream since no one was going to hand me an opportunity because of the class and racial gap I grew up in. With me supporting my mother and siblings, trying to pursuing acting was a burden. Thankfully, I’ve been able to use my entrepreneurial and leadership skills to be more confident in journey.

This is the dialogue and narrative I create to many of the youth I mentor and speak to — they need to be proactive in their career journeys because the system is designed to lead them straight into mass incarceration.

In grad school, I decided to research student perspectives on activism, education, and opportunity. I am now applying to residencies to take the project to the next level and reach more students and stakeholders — i.e. principals, parents — to address opportunity gaps in public education. My hope is to create a dialogue and action around this topic.

I’m also working on a recording mixed tape and a performance sponsored by the Houston Arts Alliance to target 15-20 year olds in urban settings to create conversation on gun violence control, specifically in the city of Houston and the state of Texas.

My hope is to to add to the artists from diverse backgrounds who are painting new pictures, and to be a contributor to that table, whether I’m bringing the fried chicken or the silverware to the cookout. I want to play my part in the best way I know how.

If you want to learn more of his work, see Robert’s website!

Audience looking at a stage

SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON REPRESENTATION


I was born and raised in China, I didn’t go to international school. I applied to schools on my own, took the tests on my own for the American application process. I never dreamed of being accepted of being accepted by NYU, where I’m currently a junior studying Media, Culture, and Communication. Growing up in China, I never realized the importance of race and ethnicity. Everyone around me was just like me. There were few distinguishing features.

In my college applications, I said that I wanted to be an advocate for Chinese culture, especially in media and arts. I feel like there’s so much that comes to mind when you think of Korean or Japanese culture, like K-Pop and anime. But when you mention Chinese culture, people think “Jackie Chan” and that’s it. And that’s not fair. We have so much culture, history, so many amazing bits of arts that people should know about. So that’s what motivated me to come here to the US. To learn more about the media industry.

I had never categorized myself as Asian before the US, because it was so instinctual. It was a default. I never had to put that label or hashtag on myself. After starting college here, I met a lot of hyphenate Asians who struggle to learn about their culture and where they come from. I’ve been lucky to not have to go through that. Representation matters so much because you don’t know who you are until you see someone who looks like you. You need a lighthouse to guide you to move forward.

I’m currently working on a Mandarin production of Man of La Mancha as an associate producer, based on the famous Spanish novel Don Quixote. It was a hugely successful musical in China and couldn’t continue due to copyright issues. Our other producer Eva, who worked on the Chinese version for 100+ performances thought, hey, why can’t the show run in NYC? The legal rights company agreed and it’s been a sparkling moment that brought us all together. The show means so much to all our cast members on different levels. 1 out of 6 in our production are Chinese speakers who don’t come from a purely Chinese background or didn’t grow up speaking Chinese.

For many of our actors, this is one of the first musicals they saw in China, and they’re very emotionally invested. So it’s just everyone coming together for a greater cause. Every time I step into the rehearsal room, it’s an emotionally fulfilling moment for me.

I see so much communication during those moments between people from very different backgrounds. Our production members hail from the US, Canada, China, with varying levels of professional training. Helping to build that space for them to talk to each other is so very fulfilling. A conversation we have in real time during rehearsals often is the difference between cultural appreciation vs. appropriation and what it means to tell a Western story with a Chinese cast in a Chinese language. It’s a very open space. People come to this project for different reasons and everyone has valid opinions. We can be frank about what we believe in and what we care about. And we accept each other for those concerns and where we’re coming from.

My director and I have reached an agreement — that before it’s an Eastern or Western story, our story is a good story. It resonates with us on a human level before anything that adds additional layers on it.
Don Quixote sings about “the impossible dream,” about how no matter how far, no matter how many barriers there is in between, we need to hold on to our dreams. There’s obviously so many difficulties for our productions or ones similar to ours and many barriers to cross to have more Asian American representation in the media. There are very few stories that feature us. What it means to tell this story at this time is that we’re able to convey our story on a human level and emphasize what’s more similar and shared amongst people than to emphasize our differences. At the end of the day, we have more similarities than difference, and those similarities connect us.

Man of La Mancha is open for general ticketing mid-April (10th-19th). The show will run at the end of May. If you’re interested, please support the production or spread the word!

A keychain

THE “REAL” IN REAL ESTATE


I purchased an apartment in NYC when I was 23 years old.

Growing up, my mother and father always told me that purchasing real estate in a good place will always be stable and I should invest in that when I’m early.

I come from a family where real estate is a big part of how we operate and stay financially stable. As I look back, I wonder if my Persian culture played a role in my family’s philosophy. Because my family was politically involved in Iran, their financial assets were frozen during the revolution. After the revolution, it was very hard to say something was yours unless you had a deed. My family invested in real estate post-revolution since that was the only thing that they trusted — a piece of paper that said this land was theirs.

When I knew I’d be staying in NYC for awhile, buying a property with the support of my parents made the most sense to me. We spend so much on rent — yet it doesn’t go toward anything in the future for yourself. The money just goes for that month. When you pay a mortgage, it is a healthy debt since you’re paying for an asset and building a good credit.

I had no idea how to navigate NYC real estate. It wasn’t a happy time. I cried when I couldn’t find a place, when I couldn’t find a place fast enough. I didn’t know what I was doing and it was stressful. While my family was there for emotional support, they live in LA and have no idea how real estate works here. What’s the difference between a co-op versus condo? It was a learning process for all of us.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from purchasing a property, is how to be an advocate for myself. Not everyone will have your back in this process. I realized if I didn’t stand up and say no, I wouldn’t get what I want. My advice for anyone who decides to go through buying is to give yourself the time to do your research, ask questions, and trust the right people.

This isn’t going to be the last apartment I ever live in. Yet, I have a control in the choices I make. I don’t see purchasing a property in my 20s as a heavy weight on my shoulders. I’m looking at this as a stepping stone to continue building my future. One day, I want to live in a beautiful Brooklyn brownstone and this is a step in that direction of the bigger things I want for myself in life.

Red sky lanterns with Chinese characters

YEAR OF THE PIG


“Come on, Johanna, you don’t need to take an entire day off just to booze up.”

That’s what a college professor said to me without skipping a beat when I asked if I could have the day off to celebrate Chinese New Year.

I laughed it off, and silently walked away from the white-dominated classroom, confused as to why a holiday I looked forward to every year seemed to hold as much bearing as National Cheese Day, while everyone else got designated days off for Easter, Rosh Hashanah, and Christmas.

I haven’t been home for Chinese New Year since 2012. Between midterms, a busy schedule at work and a comedown from the holiday season, it has just never worked out that I had the days off to fly to Vancouver for a celebration so close to my heart.

Even though it was just my mom and I before my stepdad entered the picture, we’ve always celebrated the holiday surrounded by the warmth of family, even though none of them ended up being blood related. Dishes would be prepared in multiples of eight – a homonym for the word “fortune” or “wealth” in Chinese – with certain dishes considered lucky always making an appearance on the spread.

Aunties and uncles would often be seen whispering in corners of the room, an open secret that indicated they were packing last minute red envelopes based on how many kids made it to dinner that night, a comical allusion to when I’d rush to complete school assignments moments before the bell. They would then move around the room, wishing “gong hay fat choy” to the younger generation as they handed out two red envelopes per couple. Single mothers or divorcees would still hand out a second, insisting, “this is from uncle.” Every year, without fail, I’d forget the four-worded blessings to say back, and my mom would have to whisper them in my ear.

My favorite part was always after everyone has left for the night. My mom and I would be halfway through cleaning up when she’d announce, “Let’s finish this later,” and we’d bundle up before getting into the car to drive to the temple. Parking was scarce and the air was thin from the incense smoke. My eyes would tear up almost immediately and I’d cough — my history of allergic asthma tainting what would otherwise be a perfect night. I’d follow my mom from shrine to shrine, lighting incense and praying at the different alters. I didn’t have a particularly religious upbringing so I didn’t always know what to pray. Instead, I followed her movements and thought of my family and the ancestors I never knew and hoped that would bring us just as much luck in the New Year.

If I could have done it over again, I would have been more patient to learn the customs and traditions so deeply ingrained in my blood. I would have insisted to my mom that I would one day leave this place, and one day, I wouldn’t be able to look to my neighbors, my coworkers, my friends and my family to carry on the traditions of our people. I would have skipped the moment in my childhood where I pretended I didn’t know Chinese and wanted nothing to do with my culture, all in a bid to be liked by the “cool white girls.”

But I can’t do it over, and instead will cherish every moment with my family when I become one of the nearly 3 billion people around the world who travel home for Chinese New Year this February 5th.

Stack of Polaroid pictures on top of a map

WHICH COAST, BEST COAST?


I moved to New York six-and-a-half years ago from San Jose, California and studied Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.
When I first moved out here, I thought I was going back to California immediately after graduation. But as the date approached, I realized I never really lived here, moreso studied here. As a student, I had an entirely different state of mind. Priorities were already set for me — studying, doing my homework, and meeting academic deadlines. There was also this endless pressure from my peers and the city around work. We were told that we go to college just to get a job, and it felt reckless to have worked so hard toward building a career here to just leave the city right after senior year.

While in college, I also constantly considered how much my education costed and was intentional in making the most of it, including getting involved in student government and doing internships. Then there were people I was meeting through my major, from other colleges around New York and all these connections stemming from my time at NYU made me realize I wanted to stay in touch with my college as much as possible.
Ultimately, I wanted to know what it would be like to live here, and decided to stay. I ended up going into the tech industry, and one of the unintentional upsides was that it did keep me in touch with San Francisco. My first internship was a startup in San Francisco called Zumper, and was able to live at home that summer and commute into their offices as one of the company’s first ever interns in a hybrid sales and marketing role.

I now work as a New York-based recruiter at a tech company. When I first started here, all but two members of the recruiting team and talent sit in SF. I was the only recruiting coordinator in New York, there were a lot of things against me from the professional ladder angle, so I just worked extra hard to be visible. Eventually, members of the SF team, whether managers or heads of recruiting, couldn’t forget who I was and that offered me the opportunity to interview for my second role.

It can be hard being in a remote role, working in one time zone, on one coast, when company headquarters and the majority of your team are all the way across the country, but I realized that in tech specifically, SF provided me with a direct look into tech, but New York is where I get to see tech’s impact on other industries. Being very vocal about the benefit of keeping me in New York while also working hard helped me land a role where I got to be connected to my two favorite cities.

I’m also lucky enough that both roles I’ve had at my current company have afforded me the opportunity to travel between SF and New York several times a year, which has allowed me to keep up with my friends and family still living in the Bay Area, all while never having to give up living in New York. It’s really the best of both worlds.