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Friendlier Skies

2017 March 23
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by Stanley Quan

In my current job, I have been flying Southwest every week.

After years of frequent travel on the other major airlines, Southwest has been a breath of fresh air.

There’s a very noticeable and palpable difference in the company’s service and personality.

All of the gate agents and flight attendants are friendly, nice, and have a good sense of humor. That tends to rub off on the passengers as well. People aren’t as cranky. People are more understanding and considerate towards their fellow travelers.

This makes the whole travel experience much better than what I was used to elsewhere.

It’s remarkable how a company culture can have such an impact that you can personally feel.

Air travel is still a hassle, but Southwest definitely does their part in making friendlier skies.

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To Relate

2017 March 6
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by Stanley Quan

Something that has been on my mind recently is the subject of “being able to relate.”

I read this article about a city that overwhelmingly voted Trump for President, only to now be shocked when the crack down on immigrants hit home.

The hateful rhetoric of getting rid of “all immigrants, all those bad guys” was easy for them to support, until they could finally relate, when one of their own, a neighbor and friend, was targeted.

I’ve also seen examples where employees have time-off considerations treated differently based on a boss being able to or not able to relate to their personal situation.

It’s an interesting conundrum… and one I feel too. How can you truly relate to someone and understand how they feel if you’ve never been in their situation?

It’s impossible, really. Empathy is an ideal.

But even if we can’t truly relate to a certain situation, we can still relate as people, with an assumption that we are all trying to do our best in a situation.

Just see them as who they are, another person (just like you!) trying their best to navigate this crazy thing called life.

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Music City

2017 February 8
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by Stanley Quan

After a pit stop in Kansas City, I spent the weekend in Nashville!

This might be a strange highlight, but we stayed at the Union Station Hotel, which was one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It was originally a train station built in 1900 that was eventually converted into a hotel. The high ceilings, chandeliers, and design were awesome.

After marveling at the hotel, we walked over to eat at a cool Indian fusion restaurant called Chauhan Ale and Masala House. Loved the ambiance and creative dishes like Tandoori Chicken Poutine.

Next day, we started by exploring the Gulch, an up-and-coming area. We stopped for some beer flights at Jackalope Brewery, which was started by two women. I don’t see many of those in the male-dominated brewing world, so it was great to support some #nastywomen.

We walked and bussed around the downtown area a fair amount after that, checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame, Pinewood Social (a hip hangout spot with bowling and bocce), some workout circuits and swings along the waterfront greenway, the State Capitol Building, and Bicentennial Park.

At night, we got dinner at Acme Seed & Feed and dessert at Mike’s Ice Cream before hitting Broadway for the honky tonk bars and live music. One thing we noticed was that there were a lot of pretty sloppy drunk people out at night. There were lots of bachelorette and bachelor parties, so maybe that should have been expected, but there were also lots of smokers (the public health part of me hated that).

Anyways, live country music ruled the bars here. Nashville is “Music City” after all. Tootsie’s was a fun honky tonk with three floors of live music. The Stage at Broadway was really fun too.

After a sleepy morning, we went to see the Parthenon replica at Centennial Park. I don’t really understand this nation’s tendency to replicate things like this. We should be encouraged to visit other countries and see and understand other cultures and history. Sigh, this was peak America…

On a better note, we got a chance to do a driving tour of the Vanderbilt University campus. It was cool to see a lot of classic Southern brick architecture.

To cap off the trip, we got some hot chicken at Hattie B’s. The food was good, but to be honest, after a week of being on the road, all I wanted after that was a big bowl of steamed broccoli.

Overall, Nashville didn’t have as much stuff to do as I had expected and things were quieter in general (probably because winter isn’t a popular time to visit), but it was still a fun weekend.

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KC

2017 February 8
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I made a short trip (less than 24 hours actually!) to Kansas City at the end of last week mainly for work orientation but also got a chance to explore the city a bit.

Started off by getting some really good food at Reiger and then moving underground for a drink at the speakeasy Manifesto.

The next day was spent at orientation, which ended with my first time playing whirlyball, a combination of lacrosse and bumper cars. It was fun but also a little hard to pick up.

Before leaving KC, we made a few quick stops to see outdoor art pieces at Nelson-Atkins Institute of Art and took in the city skyline view at Liberty Memorial.

Something interesting is that Kansas City actually straddles two states: Missouri and Kansas. It was funny to drive around and pass by a bunch of “Welcome to Missouri” and “Welcome to Kansas” signs everywhere.

From the parts I was able to see, Kansas City felt like a fun, spirited city.

I hope to return in the future to explore more.

Kansas is state #44 in the state race!

 

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Women’s March

2017 January 26
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Last Saturday, I participated in the Women’s March in San Francisco.

I made a sign and was proud to be there in support.

It was estimated that over three million Americans (plus more overseas) marched on Saturday.

There have been so many women in my life who have stood with me and made me who I am today that it felt only right to help strengthen their voice in this important time.

It was inspiring.

The fact that so many people still marched in the pouring rain made it that much more powerful.

To see people from all ages and walks of life- women, men, children, old people, young people, and everything in between- gave me some hope in fighting for a better, more equal future.

I stand with them and I march with them.

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