This summer, I held the first ChinaTalk meetup in SF. Prior, I had only done meetups in DC, where most attendees had a professional connection to China and regularly interacted with like-minded peers. For the SF group, that wasn’t the case. Many longtime China residents, students of Mandarin, ABCs, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, and PRC nationals came out really excited to finally have new friends to talk about the content ChinaTalk covers.
The piece I struggle most with in making ChinaTalk is the constant negativity I feel I can’t help but fixate on when covering current events. I’ve been hunting for something uplifting to do with this platform, and figured helping readers find love isn’t the worst place to start.
ChinaTalk is going to start running occasional personal classifieds! If you (or a friend) are single, would rather not be, and think the sweetheart-to-be might be adjacent to the extended ChinaTalk universe, get in touch!
First up, we’re featuring a longtime friend I can personally vouch for, Zheng.
Jordan: First off, basic details?
Zheng: I am 27. I live in San Francisco and grew up in Hawaii.
Jordan: Zheng, what's your day job?
Zheng: I work at Twitter currently. I'm on the machine learning algorithm team, so we tweak the algorithm that makes Twitter run.
Jordan: What's your favorite flavor?
Zheng: I like sour things. I grew up in the tropics I like tropical fruits: pineapples and mangoes, mango yogurt, mango parfait…
Jordan: What was the Hawaii-to-mainland transition like for you?
Zheng: Hawaii is a unique spot of land in the world. It has different perspectives than the mainland. For one thing, it's much closer to Asia; for another thing, it's much more small, homey, and communal. I think the things that people find meaningful and valuable are much more grounded in the earth, the environment, the community, and this kind of warm feeling. Culturally, it was a bit of a shift to come to the mainland.
Jordan: Zheng, what are you looking for in a partner?
Zheng: Someone who's curious about the world. Someone who understands my bicultural background. Conversation between us can go very easily and smoothly. I think we're all very distinct and unique people, and we all think about very, very different things and very different ways. I don't know if there's a criteria, but I'm sure there are people in the world you connect with and go from there.
Jordan: Zheng, talk a little bit about your bicultural background. What does it mean?
Zheng: I'm a first-generation Chinese American, so I was born in China but I grew up most of my life in Hawaii, which is pretty mixed culturally. Now I live on the US mainland, so I had a Western education. I'm very interested in China from a cultural, historical standpoint.
Some of my mindset is, I suppose, more Eastern. I think that there are ways of thinking about the world that are just more naturally accessible for me from a Chinese perspective, even though I will say I find that it's very hard for me to, in the final instance, not be a Western in many, many ways.
Jordan: Now’s the point where someone would ask “how would your friends describe you,” but I guess since I am one I can fill this space myself! Zheng is an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent, caring, self-aware, adventurous, and exceptionally pleasant person to spend long amounts of time with. We spent a number of years in China together, exploring from Qinghai down to Xiamen and everywhere in between. I’m already very jealous of whoever is going to end up with you!
If you are/know an eligible female companion in the Bay Area who's interested in meeting up with Zheng, get in touch with me via LinkedIn, Twitter, or by responding to this email and we'll set something up.