A Personal Update from Chou

Long time no blog

It’s been a while since I updated my blog. Things have been crazy for me as I have experienced some of the most challenging events in my life in 2010. I have been extremely busy due to Viralogy and some personal issues, so I haven’t been able to write much. However, every time I check Google Analytics I still see that a good chunk of my daily traffic is from Direct Traffic (meaning people typed in “http:yukaichou.com” in their URL bars). If you found my site because you clicked on a link or searched for some content, that is fine. But for those who make an effort to see if there’s anything new I have to say, I do feel apologetic for disappointing you in the past 6 months. I owe an update to you. I’ll try to share as much as I can about everything that is going on in my life, but some things are truly quite personal so I’ll keep it somewhat vague.

Ending of a relationship

Personal life in 2010 has mostly been slumpy. My beloved girlfriend of two years and I broke up due to the long distance and some differences in values. The break up itself was somewhat smooth, but the aftermath became very ugly. I thought I would be okay and can simply focus on work, but it simply devastated me. For the first time in my life I told my team that I needed some time off. I thought a week would be enough, but the effects of having someone you loved very deeply attack you for no reason hurts – really really badly. I’ve never really experienced this in my life, but it felt like there was a fire burning in my head, vaporizing my thoughts. I couldn’t really think, and I could barely feel. All there was was this burning burning burning in the head. Breathing kinda sucked, and my sight was darkened. Yes, it seems like this is something you read in novels, but that’s really how I felt….for 30 minute durations during those bad moments. For being known as one of the most emotionally stable person among my friends, this was quite new to me. I DO NOT want to have this feeling ever again in my life.

Family Stuff

At the exact same time, I went through one of the most trying times I’ve had in my family. Since this is very personal and highly related to my family members, I won’t share much. Just know that there were dark moments where I couldn’t see any hope, and I was required to take the role of moderating what I didn’t want to see happen. Luckily, this issue turned out alright a few months later, but the process was quite draining indeed.

Shortly after, I learned that my grandfather unexpectedly passed away. He was 92 and lived a good life, but it was still a huge shame that I couldn’t see him as his only grandson for the past 4 years due to Taiwan’s military draft. I learned that he called out for my name multiple times in his hospital bed, and was disappointed when I wasn’t there. Fortunately, due to new regulations in Taiwan, I was allowed to visit Taiwan for two weeks and attend his funeral (I am in Taiwan right now writing this).

What made me very sad about the situation is my grandmother. She is 82, and despite having a very healthy body, she has some memory issues. She keeps on forgetting and relearning/reexperiencing my grandfather’s death. Sometimes she would notice something and ask, “Did your grandfather pass away?” I would tell her he passed away two weeks ago. She would then react in devastation and say, “How come I didn’t know this? How come no one told me?” and then start to cry. I have never seen my grandmother cry before this.

What makes things worse, is that the government is taking away her house that she has been living in for sixty years. These houses were giving to veterans in the early days, and now the government plans to rebuild them into high-rise apartments for the private sector. Of course the government is compensating my grandmother for a new place to live, but having such big changes in her life can really be detrimental to her emotional health. Especially with her memory issue, it would be pretty awful if she suddenly forgets where she is at and think she is being kidnapped by her helper that she has never seen before. I wish I could help more but I still have my residency status problems that wipe me of the stability I need to take care of people.

International Status

Speaking of that (okay, I promise I am close to finishing my list of complaints :P), my international status has truly been a pain in the butt for me. Because I don’t have citizen or green card status for the US nor Canada, my company can make money, but it cannot pay me a salary since all income opportunities should be reserved for citizens. My status does not even qualify for a McDonald’s job to support my living and can only hangout with my savings as she continues to lose weight (although sometimes family members and occasional speaking/consulting gigs would feed her). Even more ridiculous is that I need to enroll in local colleges to ensure I have status in this country. Being an entrepreneur without income is tough enough. Now try paying worthless tuition (need full-time status) and spending useless time for classes I don’t need in a local college, despite having a decent degree from UCLA. Do that for three years, and it’s understandable that it’s relatively hard to be the one that is always positive and bringing everyone up in difficult situations.

An interesting note is that, my case is so extreme that I received a call from the New York Mayor’s office and they wanted to use me as a great case study to push through the new Startup Visa regulation. “Look how sucky this guy’s life is trying to make this country better. We need new laws!” It is quite sad being in a country that doesn’t want you there to create jobs and innovation, but instead strips away your rights as a basic human being.

New Relationship

On a brighter side, I have a new girlfriend now. I met her at church in the SF Bay Area and we love each other very dearly and passionately. It’s still early in the relationship so it’s hard to make any final conclusions, but so far it seems like we both know how to appreciate each others’ best qualities. We really make each other better.

The only problem is, my mother completely dislikes her and says she will never accept my new girlfriend, mostly because my girlfriend is significantly older than I am. Lets just say she is 10-15 years older than I am, towards the less conservative side. Yea, it’s okay to gasp right now. I understand ๐Ÿ™‚ But I really didn’t know our age difference was that huge. I thought she was 4-5 years older than I was, and she thought I was maybe 4-5 years younger than her. When I found out our age differences, we were already kinda together and I truly truly like who she is, so I decided that who she is was more important than her age.

She does look pretty young (as well as her personality), as most of my friends guess that she is 27-29. This elder lady in her 60s even thought we were the same age. I understand that one day she will grow and look older, but I think love is more than that. Can a man love an unattractive woman? Of course! Can a man continue to love a woman after she gains 30lbs? Of course. As an entrepreneur, I go for the optimistic outcome, no matter how unlikely, but am ready to take responsibility for the decisions I make in my life.

Some challenges

But my parents don’t think so. I’ve gotten into so many fights with my mother because of this, to the extent that she’s on the merge of disowning me. Needlesstosay, this has been rather disheartening too. I understand where she is coming from, as most parents wouldn’t accept this, but I also think that I should be the one that decides who I love and who I want to spend the rest of my life with, not someone else. Luckily, Angel also understands my mother’s position and have been patiently supporting me emotionally on all battlefields in my life. We have both been praying patiently for this.

Of course, another issue is timing. I would like to have kids one day. However, if I wait it out till I feel like everything is ready, she might not be at the right age for that anymore. Of course I’m not going to be the type that marries a women he meets in Las Vegas 24 hours prior. We would still want to wait a couple years. I just can’t wait for 5-7 years before we get married. Hopefully in this time period, people around would slowly accept our situation instead of disdain it. It would suck if my parents do not show up at my wedding.

Misc info

Hmmm, other random questions you might have on your mind: No, she has not married before and does not have kids. She did not marry because she was in a 7-year relationship that didn’t pan out, and before that a 4-year relationship that didn’t pan out. She is Taiwanese (just like me), is a working professional in San Francisco and has a very stable lifestyle. She also loves the Lord more than anything else and she makes me a better Christian. She is okay that I’m an entrepreneur. I interact with her the same way I interact with any past girlfriends, and nothing is unnatural.

I know this is a very gossip-worthy topic, and being open as I am (that’s what I teach in social media, after all), I can’t stop people who know me from talking about this. But I do ask this: please don’t make any assumptions about who she is, who I am, or the reasons why we are together. I already know this is going to be a less than smooth path, and people will says things that are unkind and inaccurate, but I would appreciate you as my friend or blog reader not being in that group.

Work

Work has actually been pretty good for me in 2010. My company has had more progress than any other year in the past. We have started to attract more customers, investors are getting more interested as we move forward in our fundraising goals, and the team is finally full-time together. I also got invited to be a small guest lecturer at a course in Stanford early next year, which is definitely pretty neat. Obviously there’s still struggles every week and new crisis to manage all the time, but all in all, the company is in great shape and we are looking to make our mark in this world as entrepreneurs and innovators.

Being a hero

Another interesting event is that my previous chess student from years back wrote me an email saying he has a school assignment that requires him to interview someone he considers his hero. He wanted to interview me. Naturally that made me feel pretty good. He sent me over a dozen questions, and the first one read, “Have you ever saved a life? If so, how?” Wow, this school assignment sure has some high prerequisites for being a hero. Luckily, it turns out that I have saved a life before. Once I wrote a blogpost on Asian culture, and unexpectedly a reader emailed me and told me on which exact date he attempted suicide in the past but failed. He was then going to do his second attempt, but decided to go online for some answers before doing it. He stumbled upon my blog, and some how it made him decide not to end his life anymore. This was years back, and we still stay in touch today. So thank you blog for giving me the opportunity to do this and not fail my chess student’s interview! I wish I had more time to update this blog.

Conclusion

This is probably the only blogpost I wrote that focuses on my personal life way more than my work. Before I view my blog as sharing my professional experiences and knowledge (if you call it that) to help others. When I’m busy, I feel like all my “working time” needs to be devoted to running the business instead, especially when what I do is already hard to appreciate. But for this post, I guess I treat it like sharing my thoughts and feelings with my personal friends. This post is more for me than anyone else.

After all of this, I am still the same person. I will still work with much hope and optimism. I will still always be there for friends and strangers who need me. I will continue to do my best to create value and bring innovation to this world. And I will always live my life with love, faith, and hope.

I know some people write personal entries to the world and it comes back to bite them when unexpected individuals read them. I hope this doesn’t happen to me. If you read all the way up to here, you are a true friend that cares about me. You should say hi ๐Ÿ™‚

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5 thoughts on “A Personal Update from Chou”

  1. Dear Yu-kai,
    I am touched by your honesty and by the way you have dealt with
    the negative experiences that came across your path. I have had big ups and
    massive downs myself, including being held at gun point by rebel armies and
    being shot at with RPGs. Twice ๐Ÿ˜‰
    My realization that life is awesome and their to be cherished
    everyday is what has kept me going even after the darkest moment. Good to see
    that you have the same optimism, hope and fighting spirit.
    I salute you!

  2. I actually stumbled on your page when looking up inspirational quotes and your writing about perseverance which was good advice…just came back today and saw the tab about your updates and could not help but read…anyway, it seems like you are destined for greatness because you are being tested with challenges that will only help you grow…I will say two things that come to mind, first it seems like your faith will help guide you…:Faith is the oil that helps you get through the friction of life…but also like a butterfly, it has to go through metamorphosis to evolve…I’m sure you are soaring by now…

  3. Yukai,

    I am sorry to hear you’ve been through a rough time. You know, it is not your fault, it is just how dark sometime life can be, everyone has to go through this, unfortunately, it all come together to you at once.

    Be strong because eventually everything will pass and everything will be good. Just enjoy your life every day and appreciate people around you. You are in good hand!

    I am here to support you whenever you need!

    Olina

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