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Paula kicks off her flip flops as she sits down on the bench in Washington Square Park and curls up in her yoga pants and T-shirt like it’s her couch at home. She laughs contagiously as she continuously pushes her long black hair back from her face or tucks it behind her ear. It’s clear that Paula can make herself at home anywhere, whether it’s with her family in Taiwan, her boarding school in Connecticut, her 66th Street apartment in Manhattan, or any old Washington Square bench.

Paula Ya-Jen Ho is an easy-going NYU junior, majoring in journalism and politics. After spending her youth at an international school in Taiwan, Ho ventured to the states to attend a boarding school in Connecticut. She’s an opinionated, self-assured student with an ease about her and a vibrant sense of humor. Where is she going? She couldn’t say. But wherever it is, she’ll burst through the doors, kick off her shoes, and curl up into whatever life hands her.

 

Home Sweet Home: I say I’m from Taiwan, but my mom is Thai so I was born in Thailand, but I grew up in Taiwan. My dad was a banker for a while for Goldman Sachs and he decided that it wasn’t his thing, which was nice. He said that he’d rather have the time to spend with his family, so my dad decided to become his own boss. That’s why we moved back to Taiwan. I actually went to boarding school in Connecticut for high school. It was a very diverse community. They were really appreciative of what other people had to share and say.

 

A Little More American: I went to an international school in Taiwan growing up and it wasn’t my thing. I felt that a lot of kids weren’t really like me. I was a little more American than Asian. I felt like maybe the Chinese culture could have made some students less vocal. I feel like I’m more vocal.  In class I felt like the annoying person who always wanted to talk and move the discussion along. I wasn’t one of those girls who was scared about what the boys thought. I was convinced other girls were truly afraid to speak up because they were more concerned about their image. Some girls were interested in boys. I was interested in making a class less boring to sit through.

 

Self-Proclaimed Foodie: During class I think about food. After class, I go find food. I love Japanese, but sushi is a little overrated now that you can get it anywhere in New York. It’s not my thing anymore. Unless I try to find dives or hole in the wall places, the quality isn’t so good either. And when the quality’s good, its way, way overpriced. In Connecticut at boarding school it was a treat to order out. When we did order out, we’d get the whole platter of sushi. Sushi was the thing to get together with. I think college has decreased my food preference though. French fries will do. Maybe a smoothie. Just something quick. Eating is de-stressing—or at least it is for me!

 

Artsy-Fartsy: My best friend goes to Barnard so my week hypes up around the weekend. We’re very artsy-fartsy people so we go to museums, we try to do cool things. We went to the Rain Room at the MOMA the other day. We tried to go a few times before and they kept telling us it was a four hour wait, and we just said, hell no, we’ll come back. But the day that we did, we’d already committed four hours. The line moved so slowly outside, and they didn’t tell us there was another line inside. It was painful. We went at 7 in the morning and got it at 3 in the afternoon. I was telling her, “If you weren’t my best friend, I would have killed you along the way.” When we go in there, everyone else said it was all worth it. I thought it was cool, but it wasn’t that cool. It was a dark room, with water falling from the ceiling. Basically sensors stopped the water wherever you walked. It was cool for photos, but it was overrated.

 

Dream job? What dream job?: My dream job has changed so much. When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor because I wasn’t afraid of blood. But then I realized you have to take all these science classes, and that killed my mojo so I couldn’t do that anymore. I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of some fashion magazine, but it wasn’t really my thing after a while. I take very little time to get dressed in the morning. Usually it’s yoga pants and a T-shirt, which is bad, so whenever my friends see me in jeans or something else, they are like, Wow! You are way dressed up today. Writing for the Times would be nice. I’d love to work for the New Yorker, just get me in, I don’t care what job. I’ll be the coffee person or the copy-machine person.

 

Written by Nicole Gartside