We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharmine Park and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sharmine, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Since I was a child, I’ve been keen on trying different things, hoping that gaining diverse experiences will eventually lead to something unique and interesting. With that attitude, I constantly find myself juggling heaps of activities ranging from teaching ESL, performing at band gigs, organizing events for family and friends, engaging in Buddhist studies, writing for my ESL textbook, and squeezing in workouts between everything else. I’ve sometimes wondered if an alternate lifestyle of having just one or two major focuses would make more sense to avoid wearing myself out. However, I’ve known people who also lead active lives successfully pursuing a multitude of achievements – greater achievements – who can still maintain their wits and composure. I aim to become one of those people. As cliché as it may sound, life is short, and there’s simply not enough time to try everything there is to try! So I persevere and trust in my choices. I believe one of the keys in being able to achieve everything I want in life is to become a master in balancing it all: family, friends, work, and me-time. I’ve learned through life experience that the more support I receive from the people around me, the higher my chances are in realizing my dreams and goals. It can be a challenge at times, but I do my utmost to orchestrate time with loved ones, work commitments, and Buddhist chanting daily so I can stay focused, appreciative, and find joy and value in everything I do.

What should our readers know about your business?
At first, I was a little wary and didn’t have the confidence to open up my language school back when I just moved to LA, since there were already established schools around. However, with my colleagues’, students’, family and friends’ encouragement, I mustered up the courage to open up English Park in Torrance. Truth be told, I didn’t have enough capital to take English Park to its full potential, but I focused on what I can do best first: teaching ESL and creating positive rapport with my students and fellow teachers. I believe it was through my genuine efforts to help my students reach their goals that my business grew, mostly through word of mouth. English Park may be a small business, but with our team of incredibly talented teachers and highly motivated students, we have created our own little community of language-learning and we are proud to celebrate our 10th year anniversary this year!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My friends and former students from Japan continually come to LA to visit me (and, of course, explore the city!). I adore that Los Angeles offers a wide sea of culinary delights, and I feel blessed to find Italian, Korean, and Mexican food all in one strip mall around the corner from home. I take all my visitors to my favorite restaurants, such as Pampas Grill Churrascaria—a Brazilian restaurant located inside The Original Farmers Market; other times, we’ll pick up take out for a picnic at one of my favorite hiking spots, Eaton Canyon in Pasadena. My bunch loves cafes, and Urth Caffe is definitely a stop I’d make so they can sample their amazing Berries and Cream cake. Follow that up with a stroll perusing and posing with the colorful murals of the Arts District, and we’ve had a tasteful and tasty day. And if they miss Japanese food, Little Tokyo is only 5-minutes away, where we’ll have ramen at Shin-Sen-Gumi for dinner. Under the always beautiful coastal sun, we’ll drive to Venice Beach and play volleyball with the locals, and go to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to check out the latest Angelino fashion and trends.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Person: My mom, Eufemia Tokugawa Organizations: English Park’s awesome teachers & students, and my Buddhist family at SGI-USA
Groups: The New Originals band, and the Japanese-English Torrance Meetup

Website: https://www.englishpark.us/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/englishparkla/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/englishparktorrance

Other: https://www.facebook.com/NewOriginalsBand

Image Credits
Photos by Jessy Lu

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