Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:
• Thank the blog that nominated you in a post on your blog.
• Answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you.
• Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers.
• Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
• Notify all nominees via social media.
I must admit, I don’t follow many new or small-scale bloggers, so I'm opting out of the chain, but I will share a blog that I like at the bottom of this post.
Here are my answers to Shannon's questions:
1. What is your favorite topic to write about? (This may or may not be what you write about most often.)
My favorite topic to write about is the main topic of Bao Meets Bagel: dating and relationships. It’s a universal and timeless topic. I enjoy writing about each milestone – from the first conversation to the baby shower. I’ve had quite a journey finding the love of my life, Alena, and growing in our relationship, and I want to share my experience to help others.
2. What are your highest goals and aspirations as a writer?
My highest goal and aspiration as a writer is to make an impact with my writing. My hope for Bao Meets Bagel is that it can serve as a tiny ripple of hope in guiding someone to a good relationship. I also want to show through the blog something that mainstream media and Hollywood doesn’t show often - an Asian American guy in a romantic relationship. It’s my own small contribution to defying the silly stereotype of Asians being seen as just smart but never in the romance department.
At this time, I would like to finish putting all that I know and experienced on dating and relationships in Bao Meets Bagel, and spread the word as much as possible about the blog. There will be a day when I’ve done all that I could with it, and when that day comes, if it has helped, inspired, or entertained anyone, then I would have achieved my goal.
3. Do your family members read your writing? If so, what do they think of it?
Yes, my mother-in-law reads it! She loves it. Of course, my wife Alena enjoys it since she’s a main part of the story and contributes to the ideation. My brother Anthony, niece Sara, and others in my family also read it.
4. What is your best travel story?
My best travel story is when I flew to Barcelona, Spain for one night with some friends while I was studying abroad in London to see one of my favorite bands, Queen, perform in concert. It was an adventure from beginning to end.
I was 20 years old. Fate had it that the semester I studied abroad, Queen and Paul Rodgers decided to go on tour together. My friend Jeremy won the tickets off Ebay and we flew to Barcelona from London early in the morning. Soon after getting out of the plane, things started falling apart. I was hustled out of most of my Euros from some people in the street. Feeling terrible, and without much money left except to buy some Sangria, Jeremy and I ended up walking for what seemed like hours to the Olympic stadium, tired and hungry. Queen showed up late, and we waited for 5 long hours, baking in the sun before they opened the doors. Thankfully there was a random Asian Freddie Mercury impersonator there that warmed up the crowd for hours. Finally, we got in the stadium, and since we had standing room tickets only, we rushed to the front, standing only a few feet from where guitar god Brian May was playing. Queen played for almost 3 hours for what was the most amazing concert I’ve ever been to. I sung along with tears of joy towards the end - the only concert where I teared up. We ended up making it back to the hostel for about an hour of sleep. We woke up early and downed a large pitcher of Sangria for breakfast with the only money we had left before leaving for the flight back to London.
5. What is your favorite piece of writing OR what piece was the hardest to write?
Hmmm…it’s hard for me to pick one favorite piece of writing but one of my favorites is a 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' from Martin Luther King, Jr. Articulate and persuasive, and still relevant today.
6. What is your favorite movie and do you believe it’s the best movie you’ve ever seen? (It may not be!)
My favorite movie is Rocky, not because it’s the best movie ever made, but because of the impact it had on my life. Rocky was about an underdog fighter who against the odds goes the distance and finds love and self-respect, and the movie (or one of its sequels) always seemed to motivate and speak to me (like a good song or artist), whenever I find myself in a challenging situation.
7. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever voluntarily done?
Tandem skydiving for the first (and only) time with an instructor who barely spoke English, after eating ice cream and bunch of fries. I was the last one off the plane, and waiting nervously while the plane was playing the Gotye song "Somebody that I Used to Know." After the 40 second freefall, the instructor was trying to tell me that we're preparing for landing but I couldn't hear him from his thick accent and the wind. I then felt my top two straps get loose, and suddenly I dropped like 6 inches from the original harness. That was scary, especially since we were 1000 feet up still. :) But as we got closer to land, I understood that it was part of the landing.
8. Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met?
Hillary Clinton. At Costco. Alena and I met her at Costco, where she was signing books. We waited for a few hours in line outside, and I spent a good amount of time thinking of what to say to her. When we finally got to meet her, I was star struck and I don't know why or how I blurted this out, but I said: “Hello, I’m John and I work for the Department of Energy and this is Alena.” She was very attentive though and a good listener, and said back, “Oh, great to meet you, John and Alena, and thank you for your service.” And then we were ushered on. It was a blur.
9. What is your favorite children’s book?
I don’t have a favorite, but I like these classics: books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Also, my mother in law bought Liam a book called Chu’s Day, which is a cute story that I'm sure I'll be reading a million times.
10. Where is your favorite place to have lived?
I’ll always love where I was born and raised, Brooklyn, NY, but I also love living in DC. London is a close second if I had to live anywhere overseas.
11. What was the best part of your day yesterday?
The best part of my day was spending time with Alena and Liam at the park – and trying out that running stroller for the first time. Stroller runs are tough! Liam was having a blast, and I’m sure he felt like he was in an amusement park ride when going up and down hills.
And my recommended blog is:
Babaganosh by Kate
Many thanks again to Shannon!