family & friends | day 21 | 5041 miles

july 21st, 2015 | 3 hours ahead

skip this section if you want the more deep people stuff


I ate a pastrami sandwich at a place that George went to when he was living in New York. T’was delicious.

2nd ave deli on 1st ave

We also went to Café Boulud, which George also recommended


If you didn’t realize, these blog posts are quite backed up, and it’s because of New York. As a blogger you find yourself in an interesting dilemma: how do you blog while truly experiencing the trip. In the places I had been to prior, it was rather easy. I mean, there’s not that much going on in Zion National Park after 9 PM. But I’m in New York, and the thing is there’s always something to do, somewhere to go, and I suppose that’s why people like it.

Insert transition here:_____________. Have you ever had a feeling that a memory from last night was not reality? Last was one of those nights, but probably unlike yours, mine was not alcohol (or substance) induced. The memory of its details are vivid, crazy, and unbelievable just like those of a dream.

All that happened was that I met up with an acquaintance from UCLA who happened to live in New York. We had met once before for a project I was working on, and we had a few mutual friends, but other than that we didn’t really know each other. We mostly had different friends in LA, but I thought it would be cool to reach out to her since I was visiting her area.

We met in union square; we walked around the park and we stayed there until a bug attacked Isabella. She insisted we leave, so we wandered around the area for a great café, but instead, we ended up meeting up with her mom, who happened to be in a restaurant nearby. I followed Isabella as she led me down into a depressed stairway that opened up into a cozy little bar. How quaint, I thought. We sat down at the corner of the bar and waited for her mom to come by. She came quickly, and sat down next to me, introducing herself, and got us a menu.

Some topics of conversation that we all covered:

  • UCLA
  • lamb carpaccio
  • bizarre films
  • pizza delivery and emoticon iOS apps
  • dating

As I’m thinking about this, I’m begining to think that there is no way for me to describe these circumstances to you that will accurately reflect what has happened. I don’t think you can describe emotions, especially ones that happen over good food and champagne. The thing is that we had an amazing time together —though, I don’t want to speak for her — and a lot of it has to do with the context of meeting her in a specific situation. I’m pretty sure that if we had met at school, our relationship would have developed in a very different way.

And I don’t think this phenomenon is unique to me or Isabella, I think this is true of every relationship. So then the question becomes: How can people make sure that they’re meeting people under the right conditions? How can you be sure that you’re connecting on all of the levels that you can? I’m beginning to wonder how many other people I didn’t give a fair chance to because we met under the wrong circumstances. I’m beginning to think that people in general are horribly bad at predicting whom they’ll become close to and furthermore, we are limiting our potential in doing so.

I’d like to take this thought even further to say that even though we meet a lot of people in college, they’re the wrong people to meet. Everyone in college is trying to get something out of the other person or are basically looking for people to use their time with. Imagine though, 10 years in the future when you’re busy with work, your family, and your hobbies. Time seems to move faster as we get older, so it’s unlikely that we’ll have the same feelings about using up time as we do in college — our priorities shift towards more inwardly focused goals. We no longer value people based solely on what they can provide to our lives or the time we can effortlessly waste with them, so the relationships that are created with those intentions before are dissonant with the lifestyle we live now.

That’s why friendships don’t last very long.

Instead of finding people to do things with or get things from, look for people you still like when you don’t spend time with them. It seems paradoxical that you shouldn’t spend time with friends, but the idea is that you should vet people to understand if your friendship will last longer than the fantasy world that is college. I’m reading this book by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, and one of the ideas he presents is that as an employer, you should “pay brand new employees $2000 to quit.” I suggest that you do the same with your friends.

But seriously, find people that make you feel secure about being on your own. Don’t attach yourself to people that would leave you feeling empty if you don’t see them for a while. In the end, we’re all in this world alone, and we are the only ones responsible for what we do with our lives. Good friends will understand this too, so they’ll be on their own journey; they’ll fully comprehend that our paths may diverge but that this divergence is important for us to pursue our respective lives. You’ll never feel lonely when you and your friends are chasing your own dreams — not together per say but collectively because you all have a deep respect for each other and appreciation of that person’s time.

Originally published on from sea to shining sea by Aaron Yih on For more travel blog posts, go to travel section of my blog. Find more up to date info on my Instagram and video-based content on my Youtube.

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