Joy Jar 2013 Unveiled

This is my end of the year post that closes up my 2013 goal of capturing some of my joys this year. So, you can revisit my original post at the start of the year on my Joy Jar! Along with this post is an accompanying video as shown below! Watch the video and read the post!

So now, I hope to close the loop on 2013 by sharing what came out of my Joy Jar. Here’s the original photo I found on another blog:


So, I was inspired to start my own Joy Jar and use post its and paper to capture some of the highlights and joys of 2013. Here it is:

Joy Jar 2013

So instead of the typical “in review” post, I’ll use these joys as a way to recount those moments this year. They are not in chronological order, so this will be fun going back and forth through the year! I’ll write a short description of the joy if I need to further explain or reflect. I’ll type out the note as well in case my penmanship was bad a certain day. My little mini-blogs within each “joy” may be really short, really long, or non-existent (self-explanatory). I know it’s a couple days before New Year’s Eve, but I doubt I’m going to add stuff into this year.

JOY #1: Thanks to some awesome AB friends, I met and exceeded my fundraising goal to attend the ACC training!

Photo Dec 26, 12 10 32 AM

I got to attend the Active Citizen City training and Alternative Break trip. Although this did not pan out the way I wanted it to and we didn’t successfully start-up a new organization here in Boston, I think the trip really grounded me. It also showed me people who would support me if it means I get to perform service work and enrich my life for the greater good. I wrote a blog post about it, so you can read here.

JOY #2: Drinks with JJ, JMah, and Marc.

Photo Dec 26, 12 10 58 AM

JOY #3: NASPA Region 1 Conference

Photo Dec 26, 12 11 29 AM

One of those professional development moments that changed the way I look at the field and what I”m getting myself into. I know that my Masters will pay off because of the amazing people I will work alongside and the students I’ll get to serve. This was a networking time for me and I’ve met some people I think I’ll stay in touch with long after this conference (and actually do it, because I have). It was my first time in Florida and Orlando, but it didn’t include any time at Disneyworld. Sad, I know, but my trip was for the conference and I spent a lot of time in educational sessions, meetings, discussions, and networking events. It was really worth my money and I enjoyed taking a leave from the cold New England weather for sunny and warm 80 degree weather. You can read a past blog post about this here!

JOY #4: Friends donated to my Active Citizen City Trip Fund!

Photo Dec 26, 12 11 50 AM

One of those moments I know people believe in me, the things I put my mind to, and the experiences I will get that will help shape me. The ACC did not turn out, but I think I still gained so much knowledge and experience from this trip. I think I gained a confidence that even though I don’t do alternative breaks anymore, service is what I believe in, working with college students is what I love, and that I need to work on being an active citizen long after a single alternative break trip.

JOY #5: Networking with NEU Student Affairs

Photo Dec 26, 12 12 52 AM

I met lots of people at my own school. Sometimes as graduate students, we forget about our own campus. I say a collective “we” because I know most people in my program don’t interact with student affairs professionals at Northeastern University. That’s a fact! So, this mixer helped open those doors. I found that I know a lot more people. I got an interview and a job offer from this mixer. I didn’t take the job offer because of different reasons, but I know networking really works and helps you get yourself and your name out there.

JOY #6: Brandeis Department of Community Service

Photo Dec 26, 12 13 11 AM

My beloved internship placement as part of my Practicum for my Masters program at Northeastern. I completely love working here and meeting with the three students who I work closely with. I know it’s a 3 hours round trip bus ride two times a week, but it’s well worth it. I always feel good going to my internship and I’m not afraid to say that. I feel like I’m getting a lot of experience and it has been a highlight of my Fall semester.

JOY #7: I had the best Skype chat with Rachel Tran. I miss her!

Photo Dec 26, 12 13 53 AM

I must have had this conversation back in January or something. That’s the last time I remember us Skyping. I remember Rachel saying such sweet things about me and it made me feel very motivated. I don’t always seek validation or recognition, but there are times when I just need to be reminded that I often put my mind into amazing projects and that I’ve accomplished a lot in my 25 years of life. Thankful to have Rachel in my life and thank you for always reminding me to keep on going.

JOY #8: Seeing Yaa and Mercedes after a long time!

Photo Dec 26, 12 14 08 AM

JOY #9: Dinner with Albert and JJ crashing it!

Photo Dec 26, 12 14 32 AM

I met Albert at an Alternative Breaks@UCSD Benefit Dinner 2 years back when I flew home for a couple of days to visit. He came up to me and introduced himself and wanted to know all about City Year. So, he applied within 24 hours and was accepted soon after. He is now doing his Senior Corps year in the Boston Civic Engagement (BCE) team, which is completely awesome. He reminds me that I impact and affect people, and sometimes without knowing it. Anyway, we had dinner after a couple of months of not seeing each other. JJ then came by and hung out and ate with us towards the end. It was a great night!

JOY #10: I love that Yaa sand me “Happy Birthday” over the phone. Best friends ❤

Photo Dec 26, 12 14 46 AM

Having a friend who can call you on your birthday. Great. Having them sing to you and sing well. Priceless. Thanks, Yaa!

JOY#11: Coin Collection and Big Sticks. Inside jokes.

Photo Dec 26, 12 15 10 AM

I couldn’t remember what this was about for the longest time between me opening these post it notes in the jar and me writing this out. Then I figured it out. It was definitely an inside joke between me and this guy I went on a date with earlier this year. I guess it was super funny at the time.

JOY#12: Someone told me I’m cool. The little things!

Photo Dec 26, 12 15 22 AM

JOY#13: Emerging 1st Year New Professional Award

Photo Dec 26, 12 15 36 AM

Every year, my Masters program has annual awards that take in nominations. A group of my cohort mates nominated me for the Emerging 1st Year New Professional Award. It was nice to hear what great things they had to say about me and that I try my best to help people and that people notice my passion for what I do. Thanks people!

JOY#14: Duct Confit Panini at Duck Fat in Portland, Maine

Photo Dec 26, 12 15 56 AM

This place is amazing. Everything cooked in Duck Fat. It’s a restaurant started by one of the Chopped winners. Check it out here.

JOY #15: Meeting Alec.

Photo Dec 26, 12 16 10 AM

This is going to be long. He’ll hate that I wrote this, but July 9th, 2013 was when we first met over YouTube subscribe and Twitter tweeting. Social media is a funny thing, but sometimes it can actually do some good. Fast forward and Alec visited and stayed with me back in October and then is moving here in January. I hope he never reads this, but I think he made me realize what I want and need in a relationship with someone (friends and more than friends). This is where my tangent begins.

I want someone with a background story. Rather than just the same old same old okay life growing up, I want someone who understands the things I understand. By this, I mean someone who has had to work hard, persevere, and struggle (and hey, cute would be nice, too). God knows I have had to do all those things just to get here and he shares that with me. I need someone who will just get me. That’s hard to do because it just has to happen. So, looking back, I’ve been on some dates with people who really like me, but there has always been something missing, which is the true connection of understanding each other.

I would say a lot of people in my life come and go. I’ve noticed that through high school until even now, people come into my life and I think I’m friends with them. Then, they just disappear, whether it is my choice or just something that happens. I used to put in so much energy cultivating connections and friendships, but it was always me. I stopped fighting to keep friendships (and long distance friendships) alive because I grew tired and found no point in doing this. Now, back to Alec.

But then I met Alec and I think it made me realize there are some amazing people I have met along my own personal journey of life. So, I think I actively started to reconnect with people again from California then Alec has been in California over the last 2 months, so he was the test if I can keep in contact with someone when geographic distance plays a barrier. We basically text, tweet, or talk somehow all the time as if he’s here. So, I took this and I’m actively trying to reconnect with friends back home who I never see and I think it has made me a little bit happier. It’s weird because I don’t see him face to face, yet I feel like he’s just down the street. Nope, it’s been 2 months.

So, Alec (aka @WhyNotDoStuff) tuned out to be an actual real person who I actually met off the Twittersphere and YouTube, which is kind of funny when I think about it. The 6 days he was here was actually really fun. He already knows this, but he reminds me of a compilation of friends I have attained over the years all put into a single person. He reminds me of my Boston Best Friend, Yaa. They’ve met, which is cool, but I think he brings some of that deep and real conversation with deep-rooted morals, values, and beliefs (even if they come from different areas/places). He reminds me of Tom K, who is one of the most spontaneous, real, and funny people I’ve met who is always willing to sing along to some Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and whatever else is good. He is also a combination of two Tiffany’s I know.

So, why did I write this much about Alec? Well, I talked about how I usually don’t fight for friendships to stay active and a little bit about what I want and need. I think that he’s been the first friendship in a long time I made sure to cultivate and keep alive rather than just fizzle out (which usually happens with people normally when you don’t see them for a long time). I want us to be friends and I feel like I need him in that way (how selfish of me, kidding). I think I miss having those spontaneous friends (most of which I had back in high school and a few in college). I used to have my friend Tom K, but he moved back to Minnesota and it has never been the same.

Sometimes, people need to be told that they’re pretty awesome. I’m good at telling people how much I appreciate them, usually not verbally, but in written words. So, when I say I am in awe of someone, it’s not just because the way they look or present right now, but in their collective past experiences. Within 6 days, I think I’ve seen Alec go through both highs and lows and something just told me I want to be there for him, much like any of my friends I’ve known for  years. I feel like I can truly empathize with him when he’s having a bad day and be there to laugh with him when he’s having a good day.

So, I’m 100% excited for Alec to move here, start a new fresh chapter in his own life, and for random adventures. And, I feel embarrassed for writing this much about him publicly, but I think it will give people some clarity on this random-turned-not-so-random guy I met over the internets. For what it’s worth, it gives me a sense of clarity on why I like talking to him so much. I know, I’m a cheese ball, deal with it.

JOY #16: Temple Run 2

Photo Dec 26, 12 16 22 AM

What an improvement from the first Temple Run. Such a simple concept, but so addicting! It deserves a true joy post!

JOY #17: The Active Citizen City Alternative Break Trip was Awesome!

Photo Dec 26, 12 16 32 AM

I made a similar remark about this earlier, but it was truly awesome. The people who were there were truly awesome. We did service at the Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue. We worked really hard in the cold, but it was worth it. Our first project together was literally scooping up sheep poop and it was delightfully smelly and stinky. What a great bonding time we had. Sarah R, our host, was amazing!

JOY#18: Deciding on NASPA 2013

Photo Dec 26, 12 16 51 AM

I decided very last-minute to attend the NASPA Annual Conference in Orlando, but it was worth it. I spent so much money to make this a reality, but it was great! I learned so much and networked. I already posted this above, but there’s an old blog post about it here.

JOY #19: I got FREE screening tickets for Zero Dark Thirty at a random draw. Thanks to Nate fro coming to all these sreenings with me!

Photo Dec 26, 12 17 12 AM

This was the year of free screenings. I don’t know why I didn’t discover this before, but this year was a big movie year for me. I went to the movie theater so many times, either me paying, or me going for a bunch of free screenings. I went to Zero Dark Thirty in January for free and I saved hundreds this year on free screenings in general. I love movies so much. You can read some reviews on a past blog post from recent screenings.

JOY #20: “I woke up this morning and I couldn’t see the future!” – Lindsay Higgs

Photo Dec 26, 12 17 36 AM

I hope she doesn’t hate me for posting this, but I loved it. It’s funny because the Active Citizen City trip just made us all a little silly, maybe from so much service and so much cold weather? Or it could have been the cute dogs? I don’t know, but this trip bonded all of us from all over the country. We had some funny moments that I couldn’t believe, this one is included. We laughed so much after Lindsay said this one morning. I think Lindsay was super tired when she woke up. I don’t remember exactly what this quote meant, but I think that’s what she meant by my interpretation.

Anyway, I loved Lindsay and she reminded me of a couple of my friends here in Boston and my friend Rachel. I think we laughed so much on this one week winter trip. The other funny moment is another “joy” in this list, but one other moment was the time we had to shovel so much gravel that it felt like our arms were going to fall off. We had to spread it out on the driveways and I literally dropped and laid down on the gravel because I was completely tired and every muscle in my body could not keep me standing anymore. Also, the gravel man. I remember I thought he was cute. He will forever be known as the Gravel Man (I remember texting Raina about this).

JOY #21: I love watching American Horror Story: Asylum because it creeps me out!

Photo Dec 26, 12 17 49 AM

This isn’t my favorite season of AHS (Coven is my favorite), but it was goo when I wrote this out. I think the episodes were dark and creepy (and disturbing). I didn’t like that some story lines never got completed (like the aliens…why…we didn’t need them). But, it was creepy. Also, Adam Levine was really sexy in this. The end. But really, I love this series/anthology.

JOY #22: SJTI & new friends who get me!

Photo Dec 26, 12 18 05 AM

SJTI stands for Social Justice Training Institute. It was a week long of pure race discussions and was absolutely what I needed this summer. I needed a chance to think critically on a major part of my identity, the one people see when they meet me (or see my name on paper). It took me 2.5 days to let the experience become what it needed to become. Even now, I still think about what we talked about and how social justice comes out in reality (or not enough and how we are all still fighting the fight). Everyday, I think about my race an being Asian-American. I think about how many relationships/friendships I have or don’t have because of my race. I think about the reality of this. I think about how it angers me that some people still think we live in a colorblind society and that we shouldn’t talk about differences because we are one human race. So, where do I put this anger?

SJTI exposed me to some supportive people who showed me where this anger can be channeled. I think I yelled at a lot of people a couple of times at SJTI, but I think everyone understood why. When I take myself out of that context and I start getting angry or sad or upset about race, people think I’m being dramatic or taking it too far or being too intense. I essentially become the Angry Asian Man, which I found out is also a blog called Angry Asian Man. Maybe, it’s okay for me to be angry. What ways do I channel this to be productive and to actually make change happen.

Well, what I can say is that I lost one relationship that was just starting due to pure ignorance from that person. I made the decision that it was not worth the fight and struggle. Usually, I would not give up like I did, but I think I had to. Now that I look back, I didn’t give up. I am letting him know that his ignorance (him insulting me because of my beliefs and my belief in the fact that I am Asian and that he is White actually makes a different) is not worth my time. I am not here to try to convince you of something or present some proof or to tell you to do something. Sometimes, people need to find out and learn on their own. I cannot prevent your ignorance nor is my role to continue to hide my beliefs because you won’t accept the. Sorry, no.

The guy (who claims that he wanted to know me as a person and have a human connection and not talk about race or social justice) kept apologizing for walking away from me (literally) and for yelling at me. Then proceeded to yell at me some more over text. Um, you’re not sorry, you’re just trying to cover your own behind. THIS is why I think I made a good decision to let him go and realize there is a community who accepts me for me and my beliefs in something that is true (that there is inequity in this world) and that there is such a thing as power and privilege and White Privilege. There’s all kinds of “privilege” but White Privilege will always fall on top over any other type of privilege.

So with this, why was this a joy? I felt like my eyes opened even more.

JOY #23: Thanks Roxy, Ela, and Lindsay for coming out to Tasca for my birthday!

Photo Dec 26, 12 18 20 AM

I truly hate birthday dinners and celebrations because the part is it’s always difficult to get people to come out for anything because no one is around when it’s my birthday. But, this year was fun because I got to hang out with some of my friends from City Year. They made a couple of hours of my cumulative day into something I enjoyed!

I’ve only a couple really good birthdays in the last 10 years (the one where all my college friends kidnapped me and took me and about 20 people to the Chevy Diner in San Diego). Most of the time, my birthday (the actual one) sucks. I am asking for a pity party in a way because if I was planning a birthday for a good friend, I’d do one HELL of a good job. So, the masterminds behind the San Diego one, thank you. Thank you to those who have tried to make my birthday be more than sucky. Sorry this is totally against the “joy” theme of this post, but it’s my blog and I can cry if I want to.

JOY #24: JJ and I were bound to be friends. Hooray!

Photo Dec 26, 12 18 55 AM

It all started with an extended chat in the 2nd floor paint can open space. I think this year, we got to hang out a lot more, but we need to see each other more often. It’s been awhile as I type this.

JOY #25: Thanks for all the Facebook wall comments, texts, emails, and especially phone calls on my 25th Birthday!

Photo Dec 26, 12 19 14 AM

I was actually surprised I got phone calls on m birthday. Usually, I get some texts and the usual Facebook wall post, but phone calls? That was new. I usually get sad on my birthday because people go and do their big New Year plans and I’m usually at home organizing my sock drawer, watching a movie, or crying by myself (just kidding). So, to get phone calls from some people was nice. Yaa sang to me. That’s new!

JOY #26: “Wait, stop! My glasses!” “Um, Jack, they’re on your head.” “Oh, I mean my phone, something fell.”

Photo Dec 26, 12 19 37 AM

A lot of my favorite moments came out of the first week in January. The Active Citizen City trip was great because of the funny quotes that happened. I said the one above. We were playing games in the dark (for the ACC Olympics). Of course, Boston won, but it was me and one of our trip leaders from Delaware, but still). Anyway, we were running around and I fell on the ground at one point. Then, I lost my phone but that it was my glasses, so I made EVERYONE freeze and stop to look for my “glasses” when t was my phone, but I was confused. I remember taking off my glasses and putting it on my head but thought because I couldn’t see, they fell off. Yeah, confusion. That was part of the plan…right. I guess it was more funny if you were there.

JOY #27: Finishing my First Half Marathon

Photo Dec 26, 12 19 45 AM

By far one of the greatest moments of my life. I won’t write a lot here, since I wrote a blog post about it, but I want to run one again this next year! I am doing a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to run it and to donate. I think that’s the least I can do and it all goes to charity.

To donate, click HERE now! Thanks!

JOY #28: Brians Sims. Drool.

Photo Dec 26, 12 19 57 AM

The sexiest Rep alive from Pennsylvania during my NASPA CLDE Conference. What a hunk. He’s gay. He was an athlete turned politician. Woof. He is a LGBT Rights activist. Hot. He’s funny and charming in real life. *swoons* Seriously, true life stalker fantasies (just kidding). He told us about how he reads and orders his emails for responses. I have this email, but I think I might sound like WAY too much of a stalker to email him about anything. But truly, scruffy and hunky. And he wears glasses. Rawr. Okay, I’ll stop.

JOY #29: Peapod makes grocery shopping and my life easier!

Photo Dec 26, 12 20 18 AM

My friend who used to live in the North End always would tell me how she loves Peapod through Stop & Shop. So, since I lived in Mission Hill the last academic year, I decided to use it to save my arms and the number of trips I would have to make to the market up and down my hill!

JOY #30: Ben Mallare’s voice.

Photo Dec 26, 12 20 31 AM

Oh, Ben Mallare. His sweet, sweet voice. True Northeastern University undergrad crush. His voice is like…buttery on a warm english muffin on a warm morning in May. When he sings on stage and looks at you, it’s like, he’s staring into your soul. Yeah. I sound like such a stalker right about now. I told him he’s so cute and I think he moved to LA, so it’s not as stalkerish…”as stalkerish” I say. His abs. Oh, my, god. Okay, the end.

JOY #31: Trip to Portland, Maine with Hayley and Alyssa!

Photo Dec 26, 12 20 46 AM

Random trips with Hayley and Alyssa were always fun. We did go to the Cape, too. Our trip to Portland was my idea and was truly really fun! We got to walk around and just spend time with each other. We got to get drunk on the Shipyard Tasting Tour and ate Duck Fat together. Good times.

JOY #32: The Season 4 Finale of Parenthood! 🙂

Photo Dec 26, 12 21 05 AM

JOY #33: Getting a new MacBook Pro Battery…finally!

Photo Dec 26, 12 21 15 AM

Well, it was about time! Plus, I am a Notetaker for class so I have to take notes in class and type them. So, it made sense. It was an investment, but a much-needed one. Since then, I also got my hard drive upgraded and RAM upgrade. More money, but my computer runs SO much faster.

JOY #34: Roxy gets accepted at Harvard (HGSE)

Photo Dec 30, 11 33 41 PM

This moment made me happy. I knew Roxy really wanted to get into Harvard and she did. I played some role in that reading her essays and giving her advice. It’s one of those moments when someone’s happiness becomes your own. When I first met Roxy (actually the second time because we met each other briefly in college) during City Year, I knew we were going to be on the same team and get to work together and eventually become friends. I know I have challenged her to grow and not just enter a situation where things are just spoon fed to you and be okay with that. Rather, I asked her to challenge what’s given and to make things better (and not to accept mediocrity). I know she probably despised me as her Team Leader a couple times during that year in City Year, but I did it with a purpose. And now, here she is, Ms. Harvard Graduate student. Roxy deserves every one bit of greatness coming her way because, she’s pretty amazing and I’m glad to be associated with her.

SO, that’s my entire year’s worth of joys. Obviously somethings have been left out because I forgot to write it on a piece of paper, but I think this really captured some of those in the moment kind of joys. I’m going to continue this into 2014. Want to join in? Do it! Let me know if you do! Peace, love, and joy to all as we close up 2013 and welcome in 2014!

Wherever you’re journey leads you, find the joy in your life (big and small)! Here’s to a new year coming soon with new joys and new adventures ahead!


One thought on “Joy Jar 2013 Unveiled

  1. Roxy Pirnia

    Jack!! I literally just saw this. Thank you for including my acceptance to Harvard as one of your joys 🙂 I appreciated your help and support throughout that process. On to the next joinery! xoxo
    P.S. Congrats on your almost grad too!

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