Sylvia

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Probably in the car. There was this song my fiance sings, his son sings it. The watch me nae nae song. Some rap song. [laughs] “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)."

 

What is your favorite journey?

My journey. Growing up with nothing and working to the point where I can afford to travel the world and share my experiences with other people.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

A lot of my friends are very genuine, very honest. Down to earth. Just chill about things.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Having to take care of so many people. [laughs] Yeah, being responsible for a lot of people. I’m a hair stylist, so I’m always at people’s needs. It’s always about everybody else. It’s never ending. Having time for myself is very limited. That’s why I like to get out there and travel where I can have my own bubble.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Honesty and trust. If you go into any relationship, even with your friends and family, that little lie or that misguidance of trust or honesty, it puts it on a rocky start. It creates more problems. It’s never ending. If you just go in pretty honest with any type of relationship, then you’re just pretty much happy all the time, you know? Be real about it. You don’t need to fake or lie about it. That’s the thing, you can never get away with a lie because you can never remember a lie, but you can always remember what happened.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I want to say in the past few years I’ve been pretty happy, you know? I’ve worked really hard and been able to do a lot. It’s been years now, so I haven’t had a down time where it’s like anything’s really brought me down. I travel about every two to three months, inside the U.S. and mainly outside of the country. I can’t complain, you know. Everything just keeps going up and up and up.

 

What do you fear most?

I don’t really know. I always think I’ve been put through so many different things in life, there’s really not that fear factor any more because I feel like as a human being, you get put in tough situations, and you always figure it out.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yes. I’ve been able to do more. It’s certainly changed. Being really shy growing up and being more open-minded and doing a lot of things I wasn’t able to do as a child, and passing it along to my brother and sister. So yes.

 

What’s the key to life?

Happiness. That’s the key to life. Travel, enjoy, experience everything, you know? Keep an open mind and keep an open heart.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Let’s see here. basically, I’m opening up my own business, getting married, probably be on my tenth country I’ve visited soon. Crossing off my bucket list. It’s pretty good.

 

How do you see yourself fitting in this world? What’s your place?

Spreading my experiences with other people. You know, like, because I’m a hair stylist, I’ve definitely inspired a lot of girls who either get stuck in really long relationships or they’re too scared of venturing out and trying something different. I have a friend who, after talking to me, she quit her job and left and moved to India for the next three years. So I definitely feel like as part of my life with all my experiences I definitely have a very good impact. Try to help others live life a little more positive.

 

What should I ask the next person?

That’s the hardest one. Are you happy with where you are now in life? If not, then what do you think’s going to make it better?


Jim

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

[laughs] Yesterday. “When I Was Young.” God, I don’t remember the name of the artist. I’m so bad on names. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

That’s a good one. Actually, driving up the coast of California. Route 1. I start here in San Diego, and do the best we can, because we don’t have a lot of 1 down here anymore. Carmel is my favorite spot.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty. That’s the big one. I don’t like games. You don’t have to lie to do anything. You don’t have to make yourself more than you are. All’s you got to do is be yourself. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Uh, money. But I’m working on that. It’ll be fine. I’ve been getting by on $521 a month for 20 years. That’s what I get from the service. I got hurt off base in 1977, and so they won’t pay me. They said, You got hurt off base, unauthorized parachute jump. I get my medical and I get $521, and that’s all they’ll give me. However. The guidelines just changed for Agent Orange and Vietnam vets. Within the next six months I should be getting $3,500 a month. So that will be nice. Now I’m going to be taking over management of an apartment building, and my rent’s free, so that works good. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Man. I’ve had one for 37 years with the same woman. Honesty. Caring. Geez. Being friends. That’s a big thing. You can be in love with somebody, but you need to be best friends too. That’s about the best I can do on that one. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

The happiest? Right here. San Diego. I’ve lived here my whole life. I used to live one block up there for 17 years on this street going here. They tore it down now. It used to be a bungalow, a two-bedroom bungalow. We had a nice little balcony out there. You could see everything. Rent was $150 a month. If the same place was still here, it would be $3,000. 

 

What do you fear most?

Actually, what I fear most is if something happened to my other half. We are like this. We have been for 37 years. We think alike. We don’t even have to talk half the time. We know each other’s thinking. And to lose her, which is going to happen…I don’t know if I’m going to go first. I would rather go first. But who knows. That’s my biggest fear. I’m not scared of many things.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m an 11-year Army Ranger vet. Served my country well. I know he would be proud of me. I’ve done everything I can do. It’s not my fault I got hurt. Well, I guess it is my fault. I’m doing everything right. I treat people right. I volunteer in three different drug programs in San Diego trying to help people. 

 

What’s the key to life?

Gee, now I don’t even know how to answer that one. Let me think about that one for a second. The key to life I guess you would have to say is being true to yourself. True to, actually, the world. No games. Take care of yourself. Never, ever guess a woman’s age. You can get in big trouble. Life is just living it. I’m a very spiritual person. Spiritual is not religion. Spiritual to me is self, what’s in here. I try to be true to my spiritual self. It seems to work pretty darn good.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

I’m actually going to retire. I had my own plumbing business. I couldn’t do it anymore, but I ran it. I’ve had my plumbing contractor’s license since ’70. Two things. My best friend, who’s 70, retires in two years. I’m going to build him a solid wood house in Sedona, Ariz., which is the most beautiful valley in the world. And my other greatest accomplishment is, quite frankly, to keep Linda — who is my other half — to keep her happy and give her what she deserves.

 

Are you happy with where you are now in life? If not, then what do you think’s going to make it better?

Oh I’m definitely happy. You can always be better, unless I won the lottery last night. [laughs] But you can still be happy because money is not everything, believe me. I’ve had millions of dollars. I’ve been broke. The money is not the important thing of life. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

Man that’s a hard one. Geez, I can think of 30 questions. I want to get the right one. What will you do with your life to be true to yourself?


Brian

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Last time I sang was actually yesterday. During my morning times, just having a devotion with God, I’ll sing songs, worship. As I went on our little prayer walk yesterday, I was just singing between God and myself.

 

What is your favorite journey?

I’ll take the abstract approach. I love seeing a journey where people are transformed in any area of their lives. When someone first gets a conviction about something, first feels like, I can’t stay the same, whether it’s physically or whatever. And then they start making their mind up to transform. Similar to, we just saw a guy who never worked out, was out of shape. He was motivated, had a conviction, started preparing, training his body. We saw him take a journey from being one thing to becoming something else. Process of transformation is my favorite journey.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

I would probably say I value authenticity, the ability to be in a relationship without feeling like there needs to be facades up for us to relate. Authenticity.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

[laughs] Let me think. My biggest problem is also my biggest opportunity. It’s seeing our church,  which is a start-up church, continue to grow and become all that it can be.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Conviction. I think. When two people just make a decision that they’re going to walk through something together. They feel called — whether it’s a friendship or whether it’s in marriage, or what have you — I think if they both have a conviction that this is what they are called to do, I think that becomes the foundation. They can learn everything else along the way.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Hm. I’m typically happiest when our whole family’s together, and we’re not in a rush to go anywhere or in a rush to get back. It’s just us enjoying each other’s company. When I got my three little kids, we’re all together. Yeah, that’s where I’m happiest.

 

What do you fear most?

[points out the window of the plane] I’m just joking. Probably not accomplishing everything that I’m supposed to accomplish. I do believe in God giving us callings and creating us for particular purposes, but I also think he’s the one who gives us the ability to accomplish it. So it would really be a crazy fear to have, being that it’s not me that posed that. But I also think it’s my own desires. Sometimes I think there’s an inner desire to not mess up or not to miss out on opportunities. Some of that’s probably self-imposed, maybe cloaked in a little bit of spirituality. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yes. But my childhood self would’ve thought I’d have a lot more money by now. But he would’ve loved the man I’ve become. He would’ve been proud of the family I have and helping people. So, yeah. Yes.

 

What’s the key to life?

Ah. [laughs] I believe the key to life is surrendering the one who’s given us life, Jesus Christ. I believe that’s the key. The key is living in a relationship with him and loving him with everything we have and loving other people as well. That’s not original. I took that from Jesus. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. I think that really simplifies it.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

My greatest accomplishment — five years — seeing our children grow and becoming wonderful young men and women. They’ll still have a ways to go in five years, but they’ll at least be a lot further along. I think that will be my greatest accomplishment, is that my children will serve God, will have confidence to do whatever they believe they’re supposed to do, and have a great foundation to go off and do some great things in the world. That’s a good question. I might take that one. 

 

What will you do with your life to be true to yourself?

Funny, I never think about it in that way. I’ll constantly take time to be alone with God, be alone with my thoughts, and not allow my life to become so crowded where there’s no margin to quiet my soul.

 

What should I ask the next person?

Okay, here’s question. A bit predictable being the nature of what I do. Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?


Taehyung

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

It was kind of like eight years ago, to my wife, my present wife. It was not romantic, but normally in South Korea and Japan, I normally enjoy the singing but normally sing together with more than five or ten people. I couldn’t remember the last time I sang to myself or someone specific, but it could be to my wife. One of the Korean songs. I’m not sure. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

Some travel I enjoy that popped up in my mind is travel to the Sichuan area of China. Sichuan is innermost area of mainland China. The cities facing the seashore of China was recently economically developed, but most area of China was not developed so far. It has a lot of beauty for nature and unique culture. Sichuan is homeland of panda. I had an experience to see more than hundreds of pandas playing here and there. It was real scenery there. Sichuan is also famous for old traditional performance of changing face. This is very interesting. Kind of play. Kind of opera. They quickly change their face from the angry face to the smile face. No one notices. Famous food named huo guo — "boiling hot pot." You can cook the beef, every meat, herbs, and make it hot, and you eat it. The restaurant I visited there, there are more than 400 kind of ingredients and food sources there. Can you imagine that when I travel there 10 years ago, I couldn’t understand a word of Chinese? I’m familiar with Chinese letter. To the South Korean, the Chinese letter is kind of Latin to the West. I’m familiar with Chinese, but I couldn’t say a word of Chinese. With help of kind persons there, because it was rural area, I enjoyed everything there for two weeks. We had a backpack trip.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

I don’t know how I can express it in English word. Sincerity is best virtue I value when I think of other guys, including me. Many of the educated guys and guys from urban area, guys from Western advanced country, normally behave very politely. Sometimes, I don’t know what it is, kind of like official, automated manners. Some really good guys and lady behave like from the deep heart of her or his mind. That kind of sincerity. With that, with sincerity, I can really fully communicate with the other guys. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

[laughs] Second baby. I’m working as a lawyer in my own country. My wife is working as kind of like medical doctor. It was very busy. Sometimes it could be very hard to maintain her career because she spends so much time and concentration for his wants. No, she normally said it’s too hard to manage her career and raising the two kids. I really wanted my second baby. I really wanted it to be a daughter. I should like talk much about the matter, and when she come here two weeks later, I want to deeply talk about the matter with my wife. But other than my career or money, having more than two or three kid would make life more abundant, more full of excitement, full of happiness. Til now, she refuses.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Could be the same. As I already answered, could be sincerity. Specifically, it means time I spend. Attention to my wife. Thinking what my wife is saying. Looks very simple, but it could be the secret and key to lasting relationship. Mostly it was very hard to share so much time to others. I was so much obsessed my work and other friends. Sometimes I only want to spend so much time on my own hobbies, my area of interest. Sometimes I lose my attention to what she is thinking or what she is talking. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I can easily answer. Things are going to change, but these days my kid grows up, like 6-year-old. Around like 2 years, 1 year, I was organizing short trip with my friends with kids of similar age. Once or twice a month. Organize a short trip to suburban area of Seoul. Some of the fathers gathering together, having a beer. The wives of our friends talking to each other. It looks also very simple, but you know it is hard to organize it because I’m in my late 30s, and this age the normal business working life in South Korea is very busy. Company occupies every time of my friends. It was not normally easy, but at that time, it was kind of like really happiest time.

 

What do you fear most?

After graduating my school and spending some years on my career, I think I was very optimistic guy. Try to forget about every bad thing and something that feared me, I tried to forget about it. Doing other thing to forget the bad thing. I don’t want to try to not think about the bad thing. As my age going up, it is more and more competitive in my company. So I am working at one of the big companies in South Korea, and kind of my teammates like going competitive. The atmosphere is my department going very competitive, so that concentration could hurt the chemistry of our teammates. Because I spend most of time in my company, you know, in Asian company, the official thing and private thing is normally mixed. When the chemistry between our teammates is damaged, something is going to happen these days. That could be very unpleasant and make me uncomfortable.  

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yeah I think so. In my childhood, as far as I remember, so many anxiety and agonies in my mind. I fear everything. One of the biggest virtue I value is keeping a good relationship with my family and with my friend. If I were going back to my childhood self, maybe many anxiety was got rid of. 

 

What’s the key to life?

[laughs] Every question makes me think of myself in the airport. Maybe like it could change as time goes. It depends. Try to keep sincere. Try to keep friend to myself. Until two years ago, so many obsessed — many of my time is occupied by the other duties, manners, things to do to be a successful guy in my company and in the family and in friendship. But I started to realize that most of them I spend doing things I really do not want to. Doing things by the custom, by the regulation, under the manner, etiquette. Things to do to be a successful guy. Maybe I shouldn’t abide by every custom. Maybe I should cut two-thirds of them. What is the priority? What things could be neglected? Should put a balance and priority on everything. Spare some of my time to my friends and to my family. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

My answer could be very specific, but recently I was involved in some of the big projects. Huge class-action litigation. It lasted four years just for the first trial. Finally got a great result in April. Last year, I prepared to study for one-year law school program in United States. Everyone thought it could be very hard, could hurt my career. My company didn’t allow me to leave off for one year. Fortunately I got a good result from the litigation from the huge and long-lasting cases, and I find a nice program in Berkley Law School that consists of two consecutive summer. If I take two consecutive semester in that school, I don’t need to quit my job. It could be the perfect trade-off. I will return to the Bay Area next May.

 

Who do you say that Jesus Christ is? 

Complex question, you know. Good guy.

 

What should I ask the next person?

For the next year, what do you really want to do? I’m asking for the one-year plan.


Per

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

I sing for my dog pretty often. I think last night probably, when I came home after being away. I make up little songs. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

It was a literal trip around the world in 2007. I met my wife on that trip, my wife-to-be. It was 100 days on the road, turned out to be. I kept a journal. I opened the last page. Day 100. That was pretty fun. Started in Italy, I lived there at the time. Florence. London. Thailand. Bangkok. Took a train down south out to an island. One of the Full Moon Party islands. Malaysia. Singapore. Australia. Over to New Zealand. I met a couple girls from Scotland. They were both named Fiona. We split a car in New Zealand. We toured the south island for a week. And then over to Fiji for a week in a hostel. Then I was about to fly to Los Angeles. I met this beautiful girl, and I had to talk to her. Turns out her name was Melissa. She’s my wife now. Great experiences in the U.S. A ski trip in Colorado. East Coast. Oregon. Then back to Italy. And Sweden a little bit, that’s where I grew up too. A little Sweden in there first.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty and reliability and a sense of humor. I have to be able to trust them, and they have to be funny. It doesn’t have to be ha-ha funny, but more quirky humor in an intelligent way.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Contact lens is bothering me. That’s the biggest problem exactly in this moment. [laughs] I have a blessed life. A place to live in San Francisco, which is great. A wife and a dog. I get to play pinball a lot. I’m organizing a pinball tournament in December, and I’m stressing about it. That’s my biggest problem right now. I don’t know why. I love doing this, and it should be fun, but I think I put pressure on myself to make it perfect. It’s just pinball after all. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

You’ve got to have fun with the other. To feel like you want to be with them. Being good friends, I think. Physical attraction helps me, but it’s not the end all be all. It’s more the same qualities as friends, to have somebody you really can count on when the wind blows. Communicate. I have a tendency to hold things in a lot. It’s not the best thing. Communication’s good.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

On my wedding day. I’d been married before. I didn’t think that was for me, that’s it. And then I decided to ask one more person, and they said yes. My second wedding, to be specific. That was the happiest. That was awesome. When you think that maybe your life is going to be a certain way, and then there’s a way out, and another door opens. Wow. That’s great. I’m very lucky that way.

 

What do you fear most?

It’s all about my wife, it seems, but that’s my one fear, that something will happen to her. That she’ll die, and I’ll be left without her. That’s my one and only fear.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

It may say, Ok, you had fun, you’ve done good things, but don’t settle in. It may say, Get out there more. Be content, probably not proud — I would say, yeah, Good start, keep it up. I’ve become a little complacent lately, I feel. A little too comfortable. I’m too comfortable on the couch. There’s good there, but keep it up, that’s probably what my childhood self would say.

 

What’s the key to life?

I knew it was coming up. Was it Bob Dylan that said a happy man is someone who puts his pants on and does what he wants that day? That is freedom. Definitely a key to happiness. I wasn’t born in this country, but I love how your Constitution has that built in: the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t guarantee happiness, which you have to point out a lot of times, but it guarantees pretty much the pursuit of happiness, life, and liberty. I think it’s taken for granted too often here. First Amendment is a fantastic one — being able to express ourselves. All these Communist countries, that’s the one thing they want. They want to be free to express themselves. That was it. They could deal with misery and other things, but if you’re not free, everything else just pales. Freedom to make decisions and to be able to affect your own life. I think that is the key. If you feel locked in by other people’s rules — and I understand there’s a need for rules and government, but I’d like it as limited as possible — if you’re too locked in, you can’t really be happy. This might be a long answer, but I always read these polls. Oh, the Danes or the Swedes or the Norwegians are the happiest in the world. I don’t know. I grew up in Sweden, and I moved to Italy, and I laughed a whole lot more there. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Breaking the top 50 in the world ranking of pinball. Yes. I said it. I’m 103. Top 50, baby, here I come. [laughs]

 

For the next year, what do you really want to do -- what’s your one-year plan?

I have a good job as a tour guide. I like that a lot. I also run my own bike tour business. Maybe I should spend a little more time with that and a little less with organizing pinball tournaments that don’t really pay off that much. [laughs] But it’s not my goal. I have a hard time setting long-term goals. Be happy. That is what I try. Everything else will work out from there.

 

What should I ask the next person?

In politics lately, the Supreme Court just decided people of the same sex can marry. I’m all for that. I’m all for freedom. But in that vein, shouldn’t we also allow polygamists to get married. Do you think it should be allowed, and if not, why? Why put a limit on two? If it’s all about love, who says you can’t love three or more?