Eva: The earlier part of my childhood I spent growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. Very much small town vibes – there was a lot of running around barefoot, riding bikes, catching turtles by the lakes. Not a lot of diversity there so my family stuck out like sore thumbs; more times than not we would be the only people of color in public spaces. It wasn’t until I moved to Georgia where I had another East Asian student in my class who I quickly befriended.
Family meals were always major as to how my family spends quality time + expresses love. One of my earliest memories is when my grandparents lived a couple blocks down from us, so every weekend my parents, brother and I would walk over for morning dumplings, congee, etcetera.
Emily: I grew up in South Brooklyn. I lived in a house with my three cousins, my aunt + uncle, and my grandparents since my parents were always working. We were right in between a hasidic Jewish neighborhood, a Latino community and BK Chinatown - safe to say I had a pretty diverse friend group growing up! One of my favorite memories was using the dollars my grandpa occasionally snuck for my brother and I to buy sour candy and ice cream at the Mexican candy spot down the block.
Dinnertime meant me, my cousins, my brother, aunt + uncle and grandparents sitting on the floor around the coffee table for soup and shared dishes. The TV was always playing basketball and the rice cooker was always on the floor for easy access.
Eva: Staying at Chinese restaurants for hours on end, with the adults shouting and laughing while pouring baijiu. Pulling at the lazy susan to get my favorite dishes, while my mom “tsked” at me to be more considerate of others still picking at dishes. Having all the uncles and aunties spooning heaps of food onto my plate, stating to me that, “it’s tasty, it’s tasty!”
Lots of small moments like that are forever embedded in me!
Emily: Going to those big Chinese restaurants in BK Chinatown with me and my whole family (all 17 of us!). My mom was always in charge of ordering. Usually by 9pm, we’d only be on our second course and I would be asleep across the restaurant’s chairs.
Both: It’s something that’s always been embedded in our lives. Watching our parents do it and make beautiful lives for themselves was a huge inspiration to us, and they did it all while still learning English and the ways of the US - a lot of Land to Sea is a tribute to them.
As it was for lots of people, I think the pandemic fast-tracked our process. We both wanted work we could pour ourselves into, something meaningful - we always spoke about creating a safe space for creatives, especially those of color. That’s where Land to Sea started, and at its core it will always be that.
Both: Things will probably not go according to plan. That’s ok and that’s what makes it fun! Lots of our growth has come from learning to roll with the punches. Learning that it’s normal to not know where to start, or what exactly comes next. Start with your foundation: what really matters, why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for - the how of it all can come after.
If you’re working with a partner, know that it will be tough, but it’s the most beautiful and gratifying thing to build something with a friend. It’s like we’ve gained another sister. There are highs and lows, for sure, but at the end of the day we’ve both grown so much together from this experience.
Both: People come first. It’s all about taking care of each other first, making sure we are all healthy, both physically and mentally.
Eva: Ham and Cheese Bolo Bao (pro tip: ask for chili cheeks to be added 😉)
Emily: Best duo: kaya toast + oat milk dirty chai for a light afternoon pick me up
Eva: Birds of a Feather - Spicy Fish Filet
Emily: Guilty pleasure - Jongro!! The marinated beef platter but most importantly, the frozen mango bomb 😌 There’s nothing like it after a night out.
Eva: TJ Peanut Butter Cups
Eva: Hot sauce
Eva: 3 coffees a day
Emily: Single’s Inferno
Eva: West coast 👀
Emily: Whooo knows : )