This is part of a monthly series in which we get to know Sifties.
Kyle Kwon is a Support Engineer and has been with Sift Science for six months. If he could eat just one food for the rest of his life it would be burritos, because they’re versatile! Not everything can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Where is your favorite place to be?
On a basketball court. I started playing when I was in the third grade; I’ve tried a bunch of different hobbies but this one has stuck the longest. You can play solo, with friends, and even with strangers in a pickup game. Even though you don’t know each other, you can immediately start speaking the same language. The game revolves around such a simple concept, and yet as you build IQ and appreciation for the sport, you realize there are so many ways to get the ball in the hoop. Analysts often use the phrase “poetry in motion” – and I find it to be so true.
What are five things that make you happy?
- Laughing with my girlfriend
- Staying active and being outdoors
- FaceTiming and visiting my family
- Washing dishes
- Bus or train rides in new places
Washing dishes is therapeutic to me. I see exactly what needs to be done, plus it helps take my mind off of things. And a lot of people don’t like washing dishes, so I make others happy in the process.
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever had?
A few years ago, my girlfriend and I spent three months in Southeast Asia with a loose plan in mind. We started out in the Philippines, but after the first week a typhoon was on its way so we hopped on a plane to Malaysia. Shortly after, we moved on to meet friends sporadically in Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
We went to some places specifically for scuba diving, and there were lots of opportunities for photography. I had just bought by first DSLR camera and went crazy taking photos. I especially loved Thailand and Indonesia, but in general, I really like Southeast Asia because it feels like traveling back in time when you go there. It’s hard to get off the beaten path but we were wandering around unfamiliar places with no data or smartphones. It really puts things into perspective, seeing that we take for granted the things they don’t have there.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Most people would agree that I’m pretty introverted at times, but when I was a kid I wanted to be a performer, either a rapper or dancer. Probably because I watched a lot of MTV. In high school I did a lip sync contest, and in college I joined a dance club. But after the showcase, I realized it wasn’t for me. But I still live vicariously through dancers. Watch the show World of Dance to see what I mean.
You’ve mentioned that you’re an active person and love hiking and scuba diving. Where is the most beautiful natural landscape you’ve visited?
I think when you go on trips to new places, you have ideas in your head of what those places are going to be like when you get there. When we went to Southeast Asia we were chasing a secluded, white sand beach. We didn’t find many, but when we were in Cambodia a friend of ours told us we should visit Koh Rong. No details, didn’t mention any beaches in particular. We took an overnight bus ride to the southern coast of Cambodia, then a long boat ride. Doesn’t sound that difficult, but it’s one of those cases where you had to be there. Figuring out the route to the island wasn’t easy and we had to ask people for directions.
The main port of the island was filled with restaurants and backpackers, but one day we walked through the jungle, didn’t have a destination in mind and out of nowhere, there it was. A white sand beach stretching out across a huge bay in front of us, so much better than what we’d imagined, and no one was there. Finding it that one time on the trip made it even more special.