Should gay people raise kids?

Few days ago I attended a seminar on MBTI from McKinsey – MBTI is an indicator based on Jung’s theories that will tell you which type of personality you are – how you view the world, make decision etc… This indicator is widely used in business school and in many corporations, every year millions of people undergo this testing. There are some controversies whether it is actually valid – so I will let you decide. In my opinion, it is a useful tool that I would like to use, even though it is not perfect. But how would you design a perfect indicator for billions of people?

One of the key learnings I have from the seminar is that it is not only important to get to know yourself and your “limits”, but also to admit to yourself there are at least 15 more different personalities. And each of those people view the world differently and if you limit yourself only to the view you were born with, your world is going to be very small. I often remind myself of this quote:

“We see the world not as it is but as we are.” – by unknown

Now, in MBTI, there are 4 dimensions, I am going to write only about one of them. It is the one that is one of the hardest to “overcome”. This is called Thinking – Feeling dimension and its purpose is to determine how you make decisions. I’m leaning more towards “feeling” dimension and I really would love to learn to think more critically.

Therefore I chose the topic of this article – should gay people raise kids? in order to form my opinion with facts. Let’s put together some arguments.

PRO’s

  • most kids come from orphanages and isn’t it better to be raised by gay parents than no parents?
  • gay couples become parents by choice, therefore they try harder
  • children grow up more open-minded and tolerant – I can confirm this – since I also grew up in a “different” family (Vietnamese among Czech)
  • according to 75 out of 79 studies focused on the wellbeing of children adopted by gay couples, they fared no worse than children of heterosexual couples (source by Colombia Law School, one of the Ivy League universities)
  • everyone should have equal rights (gays should be able to adopt just like heterosexual couples) – this is an argument that I hear often but I find it quite weak… in a sense that if we find a group of people unable to raise kids well, we should not grant them this privilege.. for example I would not allow criminals to adopt kids.. just because “everybody should have equal rights”

CON’s

  • it is not natural – this argument is more of an opinion than a fact – what is natural? – however, this extends to “there is a reason why gay couples cannot have children”, an argument usually made by religious folks
  • children can be bullied at school, have lower self-esteem – but you can be bullied about literally anything… and to be honest, this seems to be a vicious circle – if being “gay” was perceived to be normal, there would be no bullying

Conclusion

I am sure I have missed many Pro’s and Con’s but I have made up my mind already. I would like to point out that I was biased before – I was more leaning towards YES, you can adopt side. However, that was only based on my FEELINGS rather than FACTS (see, thinking, MBTI!). If someone would have argued with me, I would not have had many cards up my sleeve except “that’s how I feel it should be”, which is one of the worst arguments, but often made by Feelers. So thank god I found the Colombia’s research – a credible and scientific source. So yes, from now on, whenever someone asks me, I am a strong supporter of gay adoptions. 

 

 

 

 

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Just let it go.

This girl. Let’s call her Amy. I know her for over 10 years. We are friends on all social media. Sometimes we like each other’s stuff. We used to hangout a lot. We used to hug, drink coffee together, sport together.

We haven’t spoken together for five years now. Sometimes I think about her. I know how she is doing. She took a completely different path in life. Not a bad path, just different. It’s a path that makes HER happy and that’s what matters.

I often wish we continued our friendship. Because she is a beautiful soul. I like beautiful souls. I like people that are good in heart and that I can have a good laugh with. But we have let it go too far.

This is the worst kind of state. Dwelling on your past friendships, when you know that each of you have moved different directions in life. If we met now, we would have nothing to talk about. And I am so sad, because I just hate letting go of people. But I guess it’s the right thing to do. Realising that certain people are not meant to stay in your life. And just let go.

Bye, Amy.

My New Year Resolutions

  1. Read at least 1 book per month
    41-vhbulmfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ Atm reading my 1st book, which is called The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal. It’s genius and I love it! A lot of advices supported by scientific research. Getting back to reading with my attention span of 5 secs was difficult, so I first started with finishing reading Hunger games to ease myself in this whole book situation. But it was not really necessary, this book is great!
  2. Exercise at least 3 times per week
    I actually exercise every day right now because I am following a Blogilates monthly plan, but after I finish it, exercising 3 times a week seems to be more realistic. Not sure what I will do though. I am considering picking up running again, even though I dread it so much. Pro tip from a Unilever recruiter: companies love active people! Not only you can participate in team building better, but it also shows your determination and strength. And strong body = strong mind, heh?
  3. Meditate 5 mins per day
    This sounds perfectly ridiculous to me, or it used to. However, it seems to be the best way to relieve stress, anxiety and most importantly, it helps you concentrate and focus. Which is important for me. As you know, I might have a mild version of ADHD. To my shame, I have only been meditating ONCE since the start of 2016. I might create a vision board or smth to help me. Do those things even help? Hm.

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How I got my internship at Google

In February 2016, I am starting my Google Marketing Internship. Google – the most desired employer in the world.

Me getting this position is a huge coincidence and I am so thankful that I applied for it!

To get this internship, it took 2 months, about 25 exchanged emails, 1 mock interview, 2 real interviews, 1 borrowed bedroom, 3 phone calls and plenty of support from friends.

There are basically two ways how you can apply for the position:

  1. The easiest one is to fill in their online forms, send your CV and wait for an email.
  2. Google often holds seminars, sometimes you get lucky enough to visit their offices at in-house days or you can meet them at career forums. Talk to their employees/recruiters whenever you get a chance! Do add them on linkedin, follow them on Twitter etc. as well.

I have not been searching for a position at Google actually. My story is therefore a bit different. I was just lucky enough to browse Twitter when I saw someone retweeting a tweet from Google’s Marketing Director, David:

‘I am looking for a bright student for a full-time paid position at Google. Send me an email with your CV!’

Wait. I knew David. He gave a lecture at our university a year ago about Google’s way of marketing. Wait again. No motivation letter? Oh yes! I was a bit uncomfortable with the ‘full-time’ part, but I decided to ignore it and send out my CV. What were my chances anyway?  I still remember when I was applying for my current masters, CEMS, the recruiters told me my CV was among the worst they have received. I did re-structure it since then but still.. I bet there are much more clever, amazing, witty people applying for Google! Why would they choose me, right?

But as I said, I sent out my application. The email looked like this:

Subject: [Application for the Student Internship at Google]
Dear David,
I remember you from  the lecture ‘Google – the secret of online marketing’ which you gave at the University of Economics last October. It left me very enthusiastic.
My goal is to have a career in marketing. Therefore having an opportunity to intern at Google would be a great step forward. I really want to get this position, I am willing to work even without any remuneration. My CV is attached.

Have a great day,

Thuy.

Now that I am reading it again, I probably would omit some sentences and add more, but at the time of sending this, I did not believe I would stand any chance anyway. I just like trying stuff. It doesn’t cost you anything.

David replied an hour later (lord praise the people who reply that fast!), saying thanks for the email and that they are still in the process of collecting CVs and will get back to me later.

A month passed. I slowly forgot everything.

Then I received an email from Laura, which later turned out to be my contact person and recruiter. She was super sweet and informal. She asked me to fill in an additional online form, which basically asked me to upload my CV again, state my availability and to be more concrete which internship I would be interested in (you can choose between Marketing, IT, Sales, People operations…).

A week later.

Laura messaged me that she has great news: they liked my CV! Now it was time they set up my two interviews, so I had to state in detail my time availability for the upcoming week. I was going to be interviewed by David and by someone I did not know, Ilona. Yes, they do tell you the names of your interviewers! Which is the greatest advantage you can get. Because now I could google them. With David it was easy, I just re-watched the lecture he gave at our school and was luckily filmed. After that I knew quite well how the guy thinks. I could not google much about Ilona, but she does have a LinkedIn profile, so I checked that out.

In addition to me snooping around, I also took one extra step forward. Because now that I got to the next round, shit got serious! With CEMS, we have a thing called GAMP – CEMS Global Advisory & Mentoring Platform. There you can find CEMS alumni and where they work or used to work. If they have any connection to the company you want to apply for, you can ask them some random questions, have a mock interview or have your CV checked. I found one perfect match, Tobias, who worked at Google for 7 years, as a recruiter. What more could I ask for? He was super nice and agreed to give me half an hour of his time to practise for the interview.

Later when the interviews happened, I was much less nervous. First interview with David went very well. The day I was supposed to talk to Ilona, it was Black Friday. All the interviews are held by Google Hangout, by the way. So that day, at 12 pm, I was trying to join the call. However, even after 15 mins, I could not. I was freaking out! If that happens to you, you have to email the recruiter. This interview was set up by Kha, so I emailed him. Bummer. He was on holidays. Then I noticed an email address he attached ‘in case of emergency’. At that moment, it felt like a great emergency indeed! So I emailed there.

In two minutes, Jenna called me. She was the sweetest! She calmed me down and said I was the third person that this happened to today. Apparently there was something wrong with the Google Hangout system. And on top of that, many of the employees were not at work because they got holidays from Google, probably for the Black Friday Sales. UH. So then she rescheduled the interview I was supposed to have with Ilona for the following week, because Ilona did not have time that day anymore.

Funny enough, at the time when I was supposed to have interview with Ilona, I had to be on campus at school. I could probably bike home (remember, I was on exchange in Rotterdam), but I would be sweaty and disgusting for the interview (yes, the video mode is on). So I had to ask my schoolmate, who lived on school campus, if I could come and use her bedroom for the interview. And she agreed (thanks, Britta!), but she warned me that there is construction work going on next to the campus and if they start drilling, probably I won’t hear my interviewer. Really awesome, I thought, but at that point, I could not do anything anymore. However, me being lucky as always, the construction work began ten minutes after the interview was over.

Then I waited one whole week for Laura to contact me again. It felt like forever, especially because I was used to her sending me emails every two days. And when she finally did, she said:

‘Hi Thuy! Great news! You are the preferred candidate for the position! Could you please specify your … Send me your transcript of records, passport scan… etc. etc.?’

This confused me. Should I be celebrating that I am the preferred candidate? Why can’t she say if I am in or not? Can I start celebrating already?

Two days after I sent out all the documents, I looked at my phone. One missed call from an unknown number. I usually ignore those as no one calls me at my Dutch number, except my boyfriend and people from Dutch National Lottery, which is a huge scam. But then I noticed the number started with +353, which is an Irish calling code. And holy molly, who has a HQ in Dublin? Among others, Google.

Useful advices I learnt from Tobias and later from my interviews:

  1. Google assess candidates by a STAR model. That means when they ask you something, you answer by describing them an exemplary Situation, relevant to the question you were asked, what was your Task, your Action and then Results. This information was also provided to me by Laura. Your recruiter usually sends you a lengthy email with how to prepare for the interviews. It makes sense, as Google is infamous for keeping track of numbers, data and results.
  2. When they are asking why did you choose Google, don’t say because you love Google. Everybody does. They appreciate if you show interest in the position itself, for example: ‘This position is perfect for me because I really enjoy marketing, I see it as a way how to help people with their decisions.’
  3. Important is not only what they ask you, but what you ask them. Nice question to ask them is: ‘How did you get to Google? What did you do before?’ Everybody loves to ramble about themselves.
  4. They do ask classic questions such as:
    • ‘When did you show your leadership skills?’
    • ‘When did you solve some problem during a group work creatively?’
    • ‘What do you consider your greatest achievement in your personal life?’
    • ‘What do you think will be most challenging for Google in the upcoming years? -> How would you solve it?’
  5. Sometimes they ask quirky questions, especially David was very informal and it felt more like a friendly chat:
    • ‘Which programme from the Microsoft Office Pack do you prefer the most? Which one the least? Why?’
    • ‘How do you see the future of advertising?’

Two days later, Laura gave me a call again. I got the job. I was so excited, I forgot to eat my lunch. Twice. Life is awesome.

P.S. To those interested, I could not convince them to give me a part-time position, as I wished for. They indeed needed a full-time person. However,  Google being as awesome as they are, they agreed I could attend the necessary lectures at school as long as I fulfil my duties at Google. So no worries. If they really like you, they will be willing to adapt to your conditions.  :)

 

 

 

October – Does long-distance make or break our relationships? | Rotterdam Diaries

I’ve always been close to my mom. Typical Asian family, you’d say. What might make our relationship special is that she underwent a heart transplantation when I was 9, blood cancer when I was 16 and leiomyoma removal surgery when I was 20. She takes about 10 types of medicine everyday at the moment, including antidepressants, has migraines, sleeping problems and back problems.

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So naturally, she was always home with me because she was not able to work anymore. At the age of 9, I had no idea what are the consequences of a heart transplantation. All I knew was that I could no longer have a pet because my mom’s immunity system was weakened. As I got older and taller, my mom seemed to get smaller and smaller. I slowly started realising that my mom is a little fragile human and that she could pass away any day. I was trying to suppress that thought. And I was good at it.

I never told any of my friends about my mom’s condition. I would start crying whenever I started talking about it. Heck, I’m even crying now as I type this. However, not so long ago I’ve learned it’s a crucial part of me that I need to stop avoiding.

So, my mom was home every day. I got used to that quickly. I’m naturally a quiet person just like my mom. Our typical conversation wouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes. It was very silent at our home, especially when she had headaches. We knew we loved each other, don’t get me wrong. But somehow I started taking her presence for granted. There was not so much to talk about. And right now, I just I wish we talked more about the little things.

Fast forward, I was going abroad for my exchange semester. I was used to not seeing my mom for a month or so and 5 months is not forever. Right now it has been 2,5 months of my exchange. We chat, whatsapp or skype with my parents about three to four times a week. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 30 minutes. And I realised something. Of course, long-distance couldn’t break us. Nothing break Asian family’s bounds. But I did not expect the distance to make our relationships stronger. We actually talk now. About the little things. I told them how I set my boyfriend’s kitchen on fire, how I bought new raincoat or even how my butt is getting firmer from biking. They tell me how they feel, what they are working on right now. That’s the things we would not discuss if we were living in the same household.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from each other. Look at things from distance.

Does the same apply for romantic relationships? It’s funny, but even though me and my boyfriend are together for almost 5 years, I can’t say for sure. Ironically, sometimes it’s short-distance that breaks people, not long-distance.

September – when people threatened to break into my room and take my stuff | Rotterdam Diaries

Prague Airport - last pic of me before leaving my home country!
Prague Airport – last pic of me before leaving my home country!

On August 17th I flew to the Netherlands as a part of my exchange programme within CEMS – International Management. We could pick 8 schools we would like to do our exchange at – of course Rotterdam was my first choice. I was quite lucky to get the spot, one of my friends ended up in a school he did not list at all.

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Of course, first thing I got myself was a bike. I got it even before I found my room, which is a bit crazy. There is a huge demand for bikes, but even bigger for rooms. I love my bike! It really is the most convenient way of transporting yourself in Holland. I’m thinking of getting myself a bike in Prague too… my butt is getting extra firm, haha!

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Many people told me Rotterdam is an ugly city… and it is true. But what really drives me crazy is the weather here. Since I arrived, there is no week without rain. Sometimes it would rain for 5 minutes and then get sunny for 5 minutes, on repeat. Once it caught me when I started biking to school and because I live 4 kms away, I had little pools in my converse shoes and my sweater was dripping. Worst day ever!

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On the other hand, when it gets sunny, it has some charm to it. I love watching/walking/biking the Erasmus Bridge. Although there is a little hill and I always get ridiculously exhausted and I breath like an asthmatic there. There’s just something awesome about bridges – Golden Gate Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Charles Bridge..

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When in Holland – visit Belgium! I can’t stress that enough. I have visited The Netherlands many times – Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Breda. And probably my favorite place is the city lying at the border with the Netherlands – Antwerp. We went there one sunny weekend with my boyfriend and his papa en mama. They think it’s gezellig and I love shopping. My favorite shops there are definitely Brandy Melville, Jutka&Riska and a second-hand called Think Twice.

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Also, they have the best waffles in the world.

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Back to Rotterdam, eventually, I found myself a room. I was really lucky, found a great roommate and the location of the place was perfect. What was my surprise when 3rd day, after I moved in, someone put a letter underneath my door. It was addressed to a previous tenant. Apparently, this woman owed someone 2000 euros and they wanted it back. On the letter it stated: “We’ll come with police and a lock-man and we’ll take your stuff.” Signed by those Hollywood-like gorillas. It scared the crap out of me. Especially because the previous tenant was a Chinese woman and you know, if they come and see me, another Asian, they will just assume it’s her! I was really worried.

I ordered my boyfriend (who doesn’t like bothering people even though it’s their job to be bothered) to call those gorillas. The woman on the phone was pretty pissed. Apparently, this debt goes back to 2012 and she has been sending the letters for at least a year. However, the people who lived here before me, just kept ignoring them and were throwing them away because at that time, there were no threats written on the envelopes. They told me to call my rental agency. So my BF called them. They told me it’s not their job and to sort it out myself (in case you are wondering, it’s Stadswonen). They kindly told me to go to a city hall of Rotterdam and announce there that miss Xu no longer lives at my apartment. So my boyfriend had to call the city hall. There they said: “You have to get a BSN number first to get an appointment to start an investigation. BSN’s a citizen number. But we are full for those appointments, sorry.”  So we decided to go to Breda (1 hour away by train), where we knew officers in city hall basically have all the time to think of meaning of the life and whatsoever. The woman there was really nice. She calmed me down and told me to send back the letters I have received with “return to the sender” written on it. Also she gave me my BSN number.

So with a BSN number, we set up an appointment in Rotterdam city hall. I had to wait for a week. And every single day I was worried that when I come home from school, there might not be anything in my room anymore. I mean, I know there wasn’t much but there was my pineapple lamp I was emotionally attached to and also my awesome Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Do they take such stuff? Anyway, on the day D, I finally arrived to the city hall of Rotterdam to start the address investigation. I was happy that finally we’re getting somewhere. The woman at the desk looked superbored. She stared at me, at my BF, at my BSN number and then slowly whispered: “Where’s your registration?” MY WHAT????!!!! “She’s here only for four months, she doesn’t need it.” Thanks, Spike! “Ja, but without registration, we cannot start the investigation.” I was THIS close to exploding. Then we decided to fuck this shit.

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Eventually, the city hall started the investigation itself so now I’m safe. But man, those few days  of stress and errands were challenging.

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To balance this a bit – I witnessed an awesome fireworks by the Erasmusbrug. It was part of Port World Days festival in Rotterdam and it was beautiful! Also, there was a live orchestra playing from a boat. I love how there is always something happening in The Netherlands. I’m afraid I’m missing out so much because of school, haha!

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Speaking of missing out, this place is a must! I have been 5 times to De Ijssalon: probably the best ice cream store in Holland. It’s crazy good and relatively cheap! About 2euro per scoop. My personal favourites are “grandma’s apple pie” and “white chocolate”. Yum!

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Another favourite of the month: Ter Marsch & Co. burgers. I first heard of this place from my American teacher who said “this is the best burger I have ever eaten in my life”. And he is American, right? It must be amazing, I thought. And I can confirm as well – the meat was super juicy and real deal. What I liked about those burgers the most: you can actually see they cut it so that the bun on the bottom is thicker. That is because usually the bottom bun gets soaked and it’s not that good anymore. This is such a simple yet brilliant thing. BIG LOVE.

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And yeah, I’m enjoying it here with my CEMS schoolmates! Rotterdam is starting to grow on me.

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