In an effort to understand my Chinese-American girlfriend, symptoms I recently read Amy Chua’s “Hymns of a Tiger Mother.” In her book, approved Chua promotes the virtues of hard work and discipline that make children raised by Chinese parents successful. While reading, more about I imagined what growing up was like in Jenni’s home. Because Jenni’s parents do not yet welcome me and I have not had a chance to know them, I come up with fictional characters for their personalities. Jenni’s mom always comes to my mind as Amy Chua. I picture Jenni’s dad as Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid.
Jenni’s parents raised her with high expectations of work ethic and productivity. While I was playing baseball with my neighborhood kids, Jenni was at piano lessons, violin lessons, after-school math class, junior engineering team and Chinese language school. I used to think that she was such a nerd. She hardly watched tv and had very little time “off.”
This now carries over to our relationship. When we started this project a year ago, I began to realize that I had a Tiger Wife. It first started with the cancelation of cable in her apartment…right before my beloved Giants were playing the World Series. Then came the creation of to-do lists. She started asking for my weekly “output.” This lead to the dreaded question at the ended of the day, “What did you accomplish today?” When I had not produced enough, there have been extreme statements at 11:30pm such as “You are not allowed to go to bed until you finish that email.”
VIDEO: What can my Tiger Wife and I accomplish when we work together? Check out the video of our amazing launch party last week. Of course, Jenni learned how to use iMovie and put this video together.
At times I have resented her and mumbled my way to the garage swearing that this can’t be good for our relationship and that I would never open up a business with her. But then I look at all that we’ve accomplished with our project, and I can’t help but feel glad that she pushes me. One of the hymns of a Tiger Mother is perseverance. More than anyone I know, Jenni works through challenges to get the job done. She can google and youtube her way to make anything happen. When I get frustrated with a task and want to give up, Jenni rattles off numerous ways to problem solve.
So, I love my Tiger Wife. Working on this project together has deepened our relationship. My most cherished times with Jenni come after we’ve met a Supergay and share how the interview has inspired us. We constantly discuss LGBT news updates, travel stories, and cultural issues.
We’re learned that our strengths complement one another. As a Silicon Valley worker with a background in investment banking, Jenni is Out and Around’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Financial Officer. As a logistical social worker with advanced people skills, I am the Chief Operational Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer.
I also put my foot down with my Tiger Wife, and we agreed to spend no more than four hours a day on our project with one full day off a week. We get pretty intense working on our blog posts, networking with people, and researching the next country we’re going to, but we don’t want to forget to just relax too.
So, I’ve helped keep Jenni more balanced, and she’s spent more hours reading trashy magazines than she ever would have on her own. She’s helped me to push myself and think bigger than I ever would have on my own. I have to say that I never miss watching tv and am enjoying being a nerd now too.