My brother Ivan and I have always been very close. Nearly five years older than him, I've often felt more like a second mom to him than just an older sister. Growing up, my parents always said that I was just a big brother in female form – I admit I'm kind of tough on him sometimes. The easiest way I can put it is that I've been an older sibling that takes no bullsh*t. I'm not sure if I can say we actually ever fought, but we've had many moments of being frustrated with one another and how we communicate differently:
I've always been very articulate and coherent with my thoughts (verbally and on paper) while Ivan has always been skilled kinesthetically. I've never been injured seriously once in my life while he's had numerous trips to the emergency room. I can sit still and type for hours while he can sit still long enough to solve a Rubik's cube in a blink of an eye.
I've always gravitated towards writing, history, and liberal artsy subjects while he's been a little more adept at math and the sciences. Even now, he'll call me in the middle of the night (without checking the time zone difference!!!) to say that he emailed me his essay and that he really needs help with writing it.
It usually only takes one trip for Ivan to remember how to get somewhere (street names and everything) while I'm absolutely terrible with directions. There have been countless times where we'd be driving and I'd say, "Woah, when did that store get there?" And he'd reply, "It's been there for over ten years Emerline..."
I could keep going on and on about our differences, but I'll stop here... because the point I'm trying to make is this – I never really thought we had anything in common.
A lot has happened in the past six years:
- I finished high school / moved out of the house / started college / lived in Seoul for a year / started actively writing and making projects / fell in love with creative communities / graduated from college / moved back home / moved to New York City.
- Ivan finished high school / discovered rock climbing and bouldering / started taking photos / started college / came across role model figures in the adventure industry / has started taking his photography more seriously.
Throughout these years though... we shared many late night conversations. Conversations that made us realize that we actually had quite a lot in common. In fact, we had the most important things in common – our values, our hunger, our love for authentic harmony, and our dislikes.
This should have been obvious all along, but it wasn't until we spent some time away from one another that we realized we were thinking and feeling the same things in different places. We were restless and were tired of following the status quo of the environment we grew up in. The Ji family DNA was strong and it's taken us this long to see the patterns.
Here are the facts about how we were raised & our common beliefs:
- We were raised to behave and think fairly independently.
- We were taught to not be lazy and to be of service to other people. (This isn't easy most of the time, but we hear mom & dad's voice loud and clear in the back of our heads.)
- We didn't have a lot of relatives or extended family around so we got used to figuring out how to have fun on our own terms.
- Most of our childhood memories were created outdoors in national parks and exploring new cultures abroad. Traveling has always been a very strong element to what makes our family the way it is. Something we've come to appreciate only recently.
- We strongly dislike illogical conflict and hurting other people.
- We don't appreciate fake personalities that pretend they're down to connect, but end up not showing up and flake continuously.
- We might not end up becoming lawyers and dentists, but we still believe that we can craft lifestyles that we'll love if we work hard and work smart.
- We'd like to feel like we're thriving and not just surviving.
- We want to stay true to ourselves.
I know a lot of talented individuals who have equally talented siblings. I've heard these people sharing stories about their siblings and how s/he inspires them to do more and to do better. This is also true for me and my brother. This is why we've decided to try starting something together. Tweaking the name of the street we grew up on, we're mashing our creative skills together to see what we can do and how we can learn from one another.
Despite being on opposite coasts and different phases of our budding adult lives, there is no better time than now to create this kind of creative alliance. We don't know where it'll lead or how long it'll last (hopefully a long time)... but we've decided to make all those late night conversations into something real and something we can say we built together.
Established in July 2016, Wentworthy is the creative content and experience studio of Ivan and Emerline Ji. They are brother and sister. Ivan currently lives in California and Emerline is based in New York City. Ivan loves the outdoors. Emerline loves cities. Both believe in balance and being thoughtful + creative world denizens.
We believe in understanding our roots, trying new things, and staying true to our natural instincts. We love exploring new possibilities and going down the paths that are worth experiencing. We fiercely commit to defining our own notions of success and strive to build lives dedicated to significance. We transform our fears into fuel for overcoming internal and external obstacles. Our work will evolve as we evolve.