Profiling the Unseen – San Francisco Edition – IV

Continuing the series, here are three more people I’ve met through this project.

10. Meet Jennifer, who works as a Nanny

Profiling the Unseen

I met Jennifer at a diner along with the girls whom she takes care of as their Nanny. The girls fondly referred to her as “Super Nanny” 🙂
Jennifer became a Nanny as a way to earn an income. She loves being with kids and she gets to literally raise these kids as her own. The job has its perks too. She has traveled across many countries, including countries in Europe, along with the families – all paid for by the family! The kids seem to know her inside out. As I asked her what she wanted to do as a child, before she could answer, one of the girls piped up that Jennifer wanted to be a bus driver! Turns out, it’s actually true because she had a crush on her high school bus driver.

Jennifer wants to work in a library. She likes reading a lot, and believes that once she loves this family, she won't work as a nanny anymore and start working at a library full time.

Jennifer wants to work in a library. She likes reading a lot, and believes that once she leaves this family, she won’t work as a nanny anymore and start working at a library full time.

11. Meet Gina, who works at a Laundromat

Profiling The Unseen

Gina works in a laundromat in The Mission area in San Francisco. She attends to customers, takes payments, answers their questions, etc.
She comes from a very diverse family – her mother is Mexican, her father is Italian, and her husband is from El Salvador! And that’s what she loves about San Francisco, the fact that it so diverse. In fact, one of her best friends is Indian!

Gina says that the Mission has changed a lot since she first came here in 1993. The area has become much more expensive, and there are a lot of people getting evicted. There are many immigrants from other cities and countries due to rise of the tech industry.  Gina wants to go back to El Salvador one day. Her family owns a salon and a martial arts school there and she wants to help expand these businesses.

Gina says that the Mission has changed a lot since she first came here in 1993. The area has become much more expensive, and there are a lot of people getting evicted. There are also many more immigrants from other cities and countries due to rise of the tech industry.
Gina wants to go back to El Salvador one day. Her family owns a salon and a martial arts school there and she wants to help expand these businesses.

12. Meet Wang Tung, who works as a street musician in China Town

Wang Tung works as a street musician in Chinatown in San Francisco. Since he did not speak any English, our interaction was primarily via sign language. The name Wang Tung is my best guess at what his name sounded like to me. Wang Tung was playing what looked like a traditional Chinese version of a guitar. Despite it being fairly hot and sunny, he kept playing for a long time, as passers by dropped a few coins in his open case every now and then.  His music could be heard over several blocks in Chinatown, adding an air of "festivity" to the place. Unfortunately, I don't think he makes much despite being a talented performer.

Wang Tung works as a street musician in Chinatown in San Francisco. Since he did not speak any English, our interaction was primarily via sign language. The name Wang Tung is my best guess at what his name sounded like to me.
Wang Tung was playing what looked like a traditional Chinese version of a violin. Despite it being fairly hot and sunny, he kept playing for a long time, as passers by dropped a few coins in his open case every now and then.
His music could be heard over several blocks in Chinatown, adding an air of “festivity” to the place. Unfortunately, I don’t think he makes much despite being a talented performer. Wang Tung is perhaps among the many who come to the US in hopes of a better life, but not able to really find themselves here. Wonder if there’s a way to help.

 

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Profiling the Unseen – San Francisco Edition – III

Today, we have three women with very inspiring stories to share.

7. Meet Alty, who runs a cyber cafe and computer repair shop

Alty is from Dominican Republic and is fondly called "The Dominican Lady who helps" by her customers. Starting from a small purse shop, she runs a successful cyber cafe and computer repair business today.  She has even gone through a major fire at her store, and had to rebuild everything from scratch.

Alty is from Dominican Republic and is fondly called “The Dominican Lady who helps” by her customers.
Starting from a small purse shop, she runs a successful cyber cafe and computer repair business today in The Mission. She has even gone through a major fire at her store, and had to rebuild everything from scratch.  She is a true entrepreneur at heart. When customers started asking her to let them use her computer every now and then to check stuff, she thought “why not put more computers in her shop?”. Now it’s a full fledged cyber cafe and more.

Through her cyber cafe, Alty is fulfilling a big need in the area - teaching people how to use the computer, getting them familiar with the internet and helping connect immigrants with their families back home. Alty has been witness to many tender moments - families celebrating birthdays together over Skype,  friends being able to see eachother after many years over video chat. She has been a part of many tears, many smiles, many emotional moments. Alty hopes to start a non-profit that would teach people how to use the internet.

Through her cyber cafe, Alty is fulfilling a big need in the area – teaching people how to use the computer, getting them familiar with the internet and helping connect immigrants with their families back home.
Alty has been witness to many tender moments – families celebrating birthdays together over Skype, friends being able to see eachother after many years over video chat. She has been a part of many tears, many smiles, many emotional moments.
Alty hopes to start a non-profit that would teach people how to use the internet.

8. Meet Metha, who has a started a second career teaching English at 70

Metha used to work in the Parks department of San Jose. When she retired, she was suddenly at a loss about what to do. "One day I was busy, next day I wasn't," she says. So upon the recommendation of a friend, she started teaching English, to students here as well as kids in China and Saudi Arabia, over Skype.

Metha used to work in the Parks department of San Jose. When she retired, she was suddenly at a loss about what to do. “One day I was busy, next day I wasn’t,” she says.
So upon the recommendation of a friend, she started teaching English, to students here as well as kids in China and Saudi Arabia, over Skype.

Today, Metha feels happy that she continues to lead a full and happy life, despite her "age". She has taught English to 3 year old kids in China, and grown up women here in the US, trying to adjust to the new culture after having moved here from a different country. Metha's advice to youngsters - "No matter how old you are, don't let the grass grow under your feet!"

Today, Metha feels happy that she continues to lead a full and happy life, despite her “age”. She has taught English to 3 year old kids in China, and grown up women here in the US, trying to adjust to the new culture after having moved here from a different country.
Metha’s advice to youngsters – “No matter how old you are, don’t let the grass grow under your feet!”

9. Meet Christine, a trained soprano turned ice skater

Christine wears many hats. She started out as a singer, and is in fact a trained soprano. However, she broke her front teeth during a boxing training session and lost her voice. After going through a period of depression, she picked herself up and became a production assistant in movies. She has helped bring costumes to life for movies like Matrix, Fast and Furious and The Avengers!

Christine wears many hats. She started out as a singer, and is in fact a trained soprano.
However, she broke her front teeth during a boxing training session and lost her voice.
After going through a period of depression, she picked herself up and became a production assistant in movies. She has helped bring costumes to life for movies like Matrix, Fast and Furious and The Avengers!

Christine's true passion is ice skating. She practices regularly for two hours, and has been doing so for the last 10 years. When she skates, she feels at peace and happy. Her dream is to compete internationally in ice skating.

Christine’s true passion is ice skating. She practices regularly for two hours, and has been doing so for the last 10 years. When she skates, she feels at peace and happy.
Her dream is to compete internationally in ice skating one day.

Profiling the Unseen – San Francisco Edition – II

I am bad at updating my blog regularly, even though I’ve been continuing to speak with people here in San Francisco for my series. For today’s post, I have three ladies who have the luxury of doing what they love as a source of living 🙂

4. Meet Grace Anderson, who works as a tour guide for kids

San Francisco

Starting from a young age, Grace has been in love with nature and the outdoors. She loves the peace and quiet, and the opportunity being out alone with nature gives for you to think, reflect and feel happy.

It is no wonder then that she loves her job as a tour guide for kids! She has had some fantastic moments with these kids - like when a young girl saw her first shooting star while on a trip with Grace. Or when the kids could just not believe that they were able to climb a mountain with a backpack on their own.  On of her tours, one of the kids told Grace that he had never seen stars in his life before. Turns out, he lived in an area with lots of buildings and lights and somehow never saw the stars. Grace's dream is to get into green city planning, so that she can build cities that allow its residents to enjoy nature in its full glory.

It is no wonder then that she loves her job as a tour guide for kids! She has had some fantastic moments with these kids – like when a young girl saw her first shooting star while on a trip with Grace. Or when the kids could just not believe that they were able to climb a mountain with a backpack on their own.
On of her tours, one of the kids told Grace that he had never seen stars in his life before. Turns out, he lived in an area with lots of buildings and lights and somehow never saw any stars.
Grace’s dream is to get into green city planning, so that she can build cities that allow its residents to enjoy nature in its full glory.

5. Meet Kathy Mok, who works as a Chinese language translator

San Francisco

Kathy works as a translator for Chinese language. She loves reading and writing, and while her parents were at first not happy with her job, today she lives a very happy life with her husband, enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with working from home.

San Francisco

Kathy loves her job. She sits in this nice and sunny cafe everday, working and sipping at her tea. In fact, she has started to get a lot of business and is even considering hiring other translators to work for her.
Her dreams? She says she could not have asked for more. She has great friends, great husband, great parents and a great job. “If I die tomorrow, I will have no regrets, ” she says.

6. Meet Natasha Barredo, who works as a Character Designer for Animation

San Francisco

Natasha loves sketching, reading people, and cartoons. Her job as a character designer allows her to do all three. In fact, when I met her, she immediately told me “what my aura was” (orange apparently), and was sketching people around her in her notepad that she carries with her everywhere.

San Francisco

Natasha says her sketches are like a conversation that she has with herself about what a character is all about, what her emotions are, and what makes her who she is. She loves sharing this conversation with others.
Natasha finds that the animation industry in the US is not very diverse. She wants to open her own studio one day, which would staff predominantly people of color.

Profiling the Unseen – Taipei Edition – VI

Today’s post profiles people from very different walks of life – a dumplings cook, a luggage check person at the Taipei museum, and the owner of an organic rice and beans farm.

16. Meet Mr. Chong and Ms. Chung, chefs at a small dumplings place in Taipei

Mr. Chong has been working at this tiny dumplings place for the last 8 years. Starting out as a cook, he now manages this place that is a haven for dumpling lovers like myself.

Mr. Chong has been working at this tiny dumplings place for the last 8 years. Starting out as a cook, he now manages this place that is a haven for dumpling lovers like myself.

Miss Chung has been working here for only a few months. She learnt how to make dumplings by simply watching how others were doing it.

Miss Chung has been working here for only a few months. She learnt how to make dumplings by simply watching how others were doing it.

As expected, like many Taiwanese who dream of being “their own boss”, Ms. Chong wants to open her own dumplings restaurant one day.

As expected, like many Taiwanese who dream of being “their own boss”, Ms. Chong wants to open her own dumplings restaurant one day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. Meet Ms. Yie-Uh-Hwang, who works at the luggage check at the National Palace Museum

Ms. Hwang has been working at the museum for more than 11 years. She joined in the beginning as a cleaning lady, as a way to support her family. Her boss however has been very kind to her. Despite being only an elementary school graduate, he has taught her to use the computer and been very supportive. Now she is able to sell tickets as well as help customers at the luggage check. She owes a lot to this job – it has allowed her to support and provide well for her family. She is proud of herself as in her generation in Taiwan, most women cannot say the same.  One of her grandchildren is about to get married now. She is happy.

Ms. Hwang has been working at the museum for more than 11 years. She joined in the beginning as a cleaning lady, as a way to support her family.
Her boss however has been very kind to her. Despite being only an elementary school graduate, he has taught her to use the computer and been very supportive.
Now she is able to sell tickets as well as help customers at the luggage check.
She owes a lot to this job – it has allowed her to support and provide well for her family. She is proud of herself as in her generation in Taiwan, most women cannot say the same.
One of her grandchildren is about to get married now. She is happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Meet Ms. Yi Ling Chen and her son Yong Tien, owners of a rice and beans farm

Ms. Chen and her husband own a rice and beans farm. While they had a vegetable farm 3 years back, they moved to rice and beans when they saw the heavy trend towards importing these grains in Taiwan.  Ms. Chen and her family’s goal is to provide high quality grains to the people of Taiwan, and ensure that they can lead healthy lives. They rely purely on word of mouth marketing. A recent article in the newspaper about them helped get a lot of customers and create further awareness. As can be seen, her son Yong Tien, who is just 2 years and 7 months old, is getting trained in the family business starting from a very young age.

Ms. Chen and her husband own a rice and beans farm. While they had a vegetable farm 3 years back, they moved to rice and beans when they saw the heavy trend towards importing these grains in Taiwan.
Ms. Chen and her family’s goal is to provide high quality grains to the people of Taiwan, and ensure that they can lead healthy lives.
They rely purely on word of mouth marketing. A recent article in the newspaper about them helped get a lot of customers and create further awareness.
As can be seen, her son Yong Tien, who is just 2 years and 7 months old, is getting trained in the family business starting from a very young age.

Profiling the Unseen – Taipei Edition – V

Every once in a while, you come across those who love what they do. I met some people like that through this project. Allow me to introduce three of them today.

13. Meet Rock, a magician in Taipei

Rock is perhaps one of the few magicians still existing in Taiwan. He has been practicing magic for the last 10 years. He got into magic after watching videos of great magic performances.

Rock is perhaps one of the few magicians still existing in Taiwan. He has been practicing magic for the last 10 years. He got into magic after watching videos of great magic performances.

 

His favorite part of doing magic? It is the moment when the viewer experiences shock and surprise and expresses his wonderment at what just happened.

His favorite part of doing magic? It is the moment when the viewer experiences shock and surprise and expresses his wonderment at what just happened.

 

Rock does not perform magic for putting on a show. His goal is only to teach children this slowly dying art form. He can teach simple tricks in as less as three minutes.

Rock does not perform magic for putting on a show. His goal is only to teach children this slowly dying art form. He can teach simple tricks in as less as three minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Meet Jane, who works part time at the Taipei Public Library

Jane does a number of things at the Taipei Public Library – she maintains book records, she issues books, she takes care of returns, and generally makes sure everything is in order. She is also a student of Library and Information Science, which is why she started working at the library part time.  She loves her job. She got into this because she loves reading – detective novels and books on finance and economics are her favorite. Her favorite part about this job is when children come to reserve books. She enjoys seeing them interested in reading. However, there are also times when customers are rude to her, especially when she asks them to return overdue books. Jane is another example of exemplary Taiwanese kindness. She came all the way outside the library, just so I could photograph her, since photography is not allowed inside the library. She wants to become a reference librarian eventually. She will stock the best books in science, economics, fashion, and all subjects possible.

Jane does a number of things at the Taipei Public Library – she maintains book records, she issues books, she takes care of returns, and generally makes sure everything is in order.
She is also a student of Library and Information Science, which is why she started working at the library part time.
She loves her job. She got into this because she loves reading – detective novels and books on finance and economics are her favorite. Her favorite part about this job is when children come to reserve books. She enjoys seeing them interested in reading. 
She wants to become a reference librarian eventually. She will stock the best books in science, economics, fashion, and all subjects possible.

 

15. Meet Mr. Lai, who works as a Tailor in Taipei

Mr. Lai has been working as a tailor since he was 13 years old. Since he did not want to study, his father asked him to pick up a skill instead. Mr. Lai can fix anything – clothes, bags, belts, etc. He believes in the importance of finding the right man for every job. “Just like you need the right doctor when you’re sick, you need the right man when you need to fix something. I am that man”, he says. “He can even fix leather pants for Harley Davidson riders,” he laughs and tells me.

Mr. Lai has been working as a tailor since he was 13 years old. Since he did not want to study, his father asked him to pick up a skill instead.
Mr. Lai can fix anything – clothes, bags, belts, etc. He believes in the importance of finding the right man for every job. “Just like you need the right doctor when you’re sick, you need the right man when you need to fix something. I am that man”, he says. “He can even fix leather pants for Harley Davidson riders,” he laughs and tells me.

 

He is 73. Yet he works till 2:00am every day. In this age of technology, his customers post about him on FaceBook and Line, and that gets him enough word of mouth marketing. Mr. Lai ruminates how lesser and lesser people in Taiwan want to become tailors. It is cheaper to buy new clothes than to get them fixed, and youngsters don't have the patience to spend 4 years learning the skill, well.

He is 73. Yet he works till 2:00am every day.
In this age of technology, his customers post about him on FaceBook and Line, and that gets him enough word of mouth marketing.
Mr. Lai ruminates how lesser and lesser people in Taiwan want to become tailors. It is cheaper to buy new clothes than to get them fixed, and youngsters don’t have the patience to spend 4 years learning the skill, well.