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When she fell ill, she left her financial job to travel the world—which inspired a company

Irene Koo
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Irene Koo had a great job in finance that she absolutely loved until she got sick and had a near death experience. Knowing she wanted to travel the world, she seized the day and started exploring culture and food. Her experiences with traditional foods inspired her current startup journey, Mamakoo.

TAMAR: Hi everybody. Today, I got Irene Koo, who is a local for what it’s worth, on this podcast. Everybody else has been remote. Nobody has been within like a half an hour in that time zone to be perfectly honest, for quite a while. So, it’s so nice to have you here. Tell me where you are, and introduce yourself.

00:38

IRENE KOO: Thank you, Tamar, for having me on the podcast today. My name is Irene. I am founder and CEO of Mamakoo. It’s an app for anxious travelers and diners to find local recommended restaurants that are organized by local specialties, local or regional specialties that you can really enjoy in that particular destination. I’m currently based in New York City, I’m in our financial district. So, during the COVID lockdown, we’ve been able to take a walk here and there around the river, so very blessed to have us but we’re definitely still stuck in the concrete jungle majority of the time. So, it’s very nice to connect with the outside world through this podcast.

01:27

TAMAR: It’s nice that we’re able to connect and I have to say for my personal experience, being able to have community in the context of Coronavirus online community. It’s funny because I’m reading a lot, I’m reading Britney Brown right now. And I think she might have made a comment about how social connection, online connection isn’t the same as real life connection. And yes, she’s 100% true. But I think if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have been able to survive through the Coronavirus. And I think a lot of us would probably feel the same way. And thank God, we do have an element of connectivity in these unprecedented and I’m sorry to use the buzzword at  times. So yeah. I want to talk about you because I know you had a very unlikely path to where you are today. So please tell me your story.

02:15

IRENE KOO: Sure. So yeah. It’s when I first started working, I was in the real world. And I spent about eight years in investment banking. I started off in New York, and I was in Seoul for a bit. And I was also in Hong Kong. And I really enjoyed my job contrary to what a lot of people thought. And that’s because I was able to sort of meet a lot of clients, a lot of these corporate clients. And at times, I felt that I was going with them, we were climbing the corporate ladder together. And I felt that there was a value to what I was doing. And I love the people that I’ve worked with, which actually makes all the difference, right? Unfortunate, that all kind of came to an end because I was faced with an illness. And that essentially forced me to leave my job and seek treatment, which wasn’t quite straightforward. So, now I can speak in hindsight. But it ended up taking me about a year to go through various treatments, operations and procedures. Plus figuring out a self-care regimen that worked for me. And I eventually came to that process, I learned that I had an epiphany. And during that period, I had a near death experience, which made me realize that by this age, I really wanted to have travelled around the world. And now that I didn’t have a job that I thought I had to go back to, this is a perfect time. So, I figured I would reward myself a little bit and booked around the world ticket. And that I thought I could use for a whole year, pack my bags and left solo. And in that journey, I realized that even if I did quite extensive research online or ask the hotel concierge, that I could still miss out on something on a regional specialty, on something that I can only have in that particular country or something that I should have tried because I may not come back here for the rest of my life. So, I really wanted to start something that made that research process a lot easier for fellow travelers and diners, and even for the locals. So here we are. So now I went completely transitioned from an unexpected experience of dealing with my illness to go from finance into tech.

05:21

TAMAR: Yeah, it’s funny, I don’t even know if I would consider it tech,  if I would consider myself. It’s funny. So that’s my biggest challenge as a fragrance founder who’s trying to disrupt fragrance. I don’t know if I’m fragrance, I don’t know, I’m definitely not beauty. I don’t think I’m wellness anymore. And it’s funny because all of my podcasts to date have been, I’m talking about fragrance of wellness. Everyone’s like you got to tackle mental health because that’s more niche and wellness is too saturated. Fragrance is too saturated. I don’t know where I am. And I think that’s the same thing. It’s about dividing and figuring out where you fit. I don’t even know them.

05:54

IRENE KOO: Yeah, yeah, I completely agree. Because everyone has their own story. So, where you find your niche is probably a hybrid of things that exists out there.

06:03

TAMAR: Yeah, absolutely. So, I know we talked about this in general, as part of the podcast, but would you consider your rise above the ashes story kind of like this illness? I mean, you talked about how you had a near death experience, and how you kind of decided, I’m going to just fly, I’m going to travel the world experience, before it’s too late. I don’t want to say before it’s too late, because yeah, you’re here and thank God, you’re here. But what, do you tie into that? Is that part of your identity in that journey?

06:44

IRENE KOO: Absolutely. And honestly, I say that because I don’t think I would have left the industry if it weren’t for that particular experience. So, I’m happy to go into more details, especially because I want to increase awareness. So, what I had at the time and might still have is called endometriosis.

07:09

And, it actually impacts people on a very wide scale, in terms of symptoms, pain for me, it was so debilitating to the point where I cannot hold a conversation one on one without blacking out or experiencing a very acute pain. So, I had to be treated for it. But  it actually impacts about 10% of the female population around the world. Doctors say there is no cure for it, there is no known cause for it. So, we’re really out there to fend for ourselves and figure out what works. And the treatment could start with something as simple as birth control pills. But it could be you try things here and there, but different people experience different side effects. Or it could work for them. But unfortunately, it took me a really long time to figure out something that worked for me. And eventually I had to opt for operations that were quite invasive. I went through a couple of rounds of operation and being told at age 30, that I had to be able to hear from a specialist that I should have my uterus removed, that was actually quite shocking. And I wanted to, not that I always look forward to motherhood, but I never thought that I would have to eliminate that option. So, I did everything within my power to spend time do research and talk to more specialists and really take hold of what was going to be my fate. And I wasn’t going to just let one person’s opinion dictate how I was with my life, kind of a defining moment, because when you go through these experiences, and you’re getting all sorts of opinions, everyone has their opinion. I’ve even had a doctor told me, you’re the pain you’re experiencing. It’s just paired pain, so you should suck it up. And that’s probably the most patronizing thing that I’ve been told because you’re not listening to me. Right? And to have to defend yourself when you’re already feeling so weak and beaten. And to get up and say no, I cannot take that as an answer. There has to be a reason why I’m feeling the way I am. And I’m going to fix it.

10:04

And what I realized through that experience is the more I told myself that I was in control of what was going to happen, the better I felt, the more I was able to get up and kick myself up. This is definitely during the pre-COVID Era. So, I was able to qualify to run. I was able to try different things in my diet. I did this with two doctors to go through treatments, but you cannot let other people steal your rhetoric. Yes, the whole experience of being treated for endometriosis is part of me. It is part of who I am. I can’t change that. But how I respond to that incident matters more, it defines the more of who I am today. So, I was definitely no picnic in the park.

11:17

TAMAR: Wow, that’s crazy. I have to ask, I’m sorry for the approach here. But the doctor who told you to suck it up, what was the gender of that doctor?

11:29

IRENE KOO: He was male.

11:32

TAMAR: All that’s what I wanted to know.

11:34

IRENE KOO: But I’ve also heard patronizing comments from women, some women doctors, some have told me, these women been in colleges who told me this will all go away when you have kids. And please tell me you have scientific evidence of that because then maybe I should consider having kids because I have to. I cannot live this way, right. But you don’t just sort of use anecdotes to tell me that there is a solution. And I’m not in a serious relationship or in a position to get married, like not going to have children to get rid of the pain but like to be told that might be a viable option. It’s really biomedical, professional, as opposed to give me medical life which was really puzzling.

12:31

TAMAR: Well, I could share a story. I don’t know if I want to. Maybe I should. This is a super, super personal story. So, I don’t even know if I should share it. But I have something that I guess you would call vaginismus. And basically, it means that sex, or in the beginning, like was extraordinarily excruciating. And when I first had it, I didn’t know what to do. And I didn’t know what to do. I went to multiple OB-GYN who basically told me the same thing that your anatomy looks fine, everything is fine, but they were very dismissive. I might have gotten to like five of them. And I got so desperate especially because one of the doctors, the gender did not matter. I’ve met with men and women, same situation here. And one of them told me, maybe you need to see a psychiatrist, a psychologist, actually. I went to a psychologist. So, he said to me, maybe see a psychologist and he recommended this specific psychologist. And I went to her and she didn’t have a clue. Like, she wasn’t a sex therapist. She was just a regular therapist. And her salute. Her suggestion was, you know, maybe you’ll have if you have kids, you will you’ll stretch out and you’ll feel better Yay. So well, I was already I was maybe three or four years into my marriage then and we were discussing having children but this is just so painful. So, we tried things like light a cane, but I don’t even want to give you the graphic description here that it’s like kind of rubbing your body against the tightly woven rubber bands. I can’t even describe the pain. As I said, even with lighter cane. I wouldn’t even say was minimized, maybe it was minimized. Ten, 20% of that. I had a baby. And nothing changed. So, I ended up desperate, like super desperate. I did. I found a website called vaginismus.com and I got their guidebooks and their products, which was just like a straight deal dough type thing. It wasn’t decorated or anything. It was just to practice easing your way into that. And with that I wasn’t really dealing with too much agony. But it didn’t work, that product didn’t work, I might have tried that for a year. So, going back to being desperate, finally going to Psychology Today and finding several psychologists that kind of work with this. And I reached out to three of them, and one of them ended up talking to me and taking her time, like she was on the other side of the world. And she spent time explaining to me what the issue was. And she’s saying, what you need to do is see this doctor in this area. She found this doctor, and she said talk to him. I spoke to him, he’s like, you need to see a pelvic floor specialist. I didn’t know that this existed. And I’m already like, how many years into my marriage, now five years into my marriage. And it was not a comfortable experience for me and my husband, my poor husband. And I ended up seeing this pelvic floor specialist. And she did like all these exercises. And thankfully, the pain went away. But it was years of begging people to understand that there’s an actual problem here. So, I totally identify with your struggle and apologies for that strong tangent. But I guess it aligns, and it’s my first time getting very personal in that area.

16:31

IRENE KOO: Yeah, thank you for sharing. It’s just so frustrating. Frustrating would be a euphemism, right. In that scenario, to tell you that it’s real to tell someone that it’s a real problem, and they don’t always take you seriously. And, you just have to keep swimming against the current. So yeah, thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah, I’m sorry, you had to go through it.

17:06

TAMAR: Yeah, one day, I’m going to write a book on all this stuff. Because there’s a lot I discovered in self-discovery in this context. But I mean, to be told that having kids is the solution to your problems is never solution to your problems. And mentally, it causes a lot more split out. Yeah, that’s where I was going with that. Yeah, anyway.

17:28

IRENE KOO: I do feel very passionate about sharing the fact that I had endometriosis. Because I know there are a lot of people out there, that my thing is just the period pain and we’ll be sucking it up because they’re being told the same message that I was. So, I do want people to kind of take a step back and think if this doesn’t feel normal to you, then you should continue to seek out additional advice. Because not everyone is all the same. Not everyone is going to get you, unfortunately. So just trust your gut and make sure you get it checked out.

18:18

TAMAR: Yeah. 100%. And, sometimes it’s about hump hopping from specialist to specialist. It’s not about sticking with the same one, especially when your concerns are disregarded. And I think that’s a big part of the issue here, that people do a lot of the thought process that things are psychosomatic. And I will say there have been times when I was depressed, that I probably have gone to the doctors who have treated me and it was psychosomatic So, but thank God, there were other times where I just needed to be persistent enough to be able to find the assistance that I needed. And thankfully, I will say that there are still issues that I have with my life that I probably haven’t found the right specialists for. But that being said, I’m like I’m from where I was in that particular situation to today. I mean, a memory now for 15 years and I wasn’t able to have any closure on that. I mean, it would be absolutely brutal. So yeah, it’s about being persistent and trying to figure it out and working sometimes, even working through it. I don’t want to say working through your pain. It’s not that you need to be determined that there will eventually be like a light at the end of that tunnel.

TAMAR: Yeah. So, it’s the end of June now. The world is still spinning but spinning slower than it used to. I guess that’s the right way to put it. How? I mean, the product, everything you do, I think is amazing. Are you seeing any type of like fallout in that context? I mean, we’re not so much fallout, but how have things affected you in what you’re doing right now? Is it? Are there pivots that you’re experiencing anything that’s going on, like business wise?

20:35

IRENE KOO: Absolutely. I think, with airlines operating at about 10% of their capacity, there is definitely  I think COVID impact on travel industry and hospitality. Hospitality is probably the biggest among other aspects of the economy, and what we’ve done during this time, is to actually just take a step back and reflect on the things that we would have wanted to do if we had a little bit of extra time. So, we just hunker down and told ourselves some of the feedback that we got in the past was, hey, we would use this, but I wish you had this city. So, we’ve been very prolific, and been churning out a lot more content, we’ve had that local recommendations, a backlog of local recommendations that we have not been able to get to just because the team was so thinly stretched before. But now we’ve had a little bit more time to concentrate on the candidate, I’m producing more city guys, because we do think that travel demand is quite pent up right now. And eventually when it is safe, people will be getting out there. Also,  in terms of bets that sort of continue to do what we intended to do. But the pivots that we added along the way, we’re adding places that are already on the Mamakoo list of restaurants but tagging the places that were doing pickup and delivery. So, you could just search for NYC takeout or LA takeout. Those are the two US cities that we cover right now. We’ll be adding more, but just so you have that optionality to quote unquote “dine out” in this environment. We also already had restaurants tagged for outdoor dining, pre COVID. But I realizing just across the street, we have a capital grille, which is right across like a pile of garbage that comes out of my building, but people were still lining up to get the cab pulled out like these, these bar tables with barstools outside and covered with nice white cloth to make it seem like they have some semblance of outdoor dining. And people are still lining up for that to be facing garbage bags, and eating steak outside. So, if that’s what people want to do, as long as we can do it safely, right, we should be the ones giving people the option to either dine out safely or order takeout or they can just choose whatever they feel more comfortable with. So, we’ve been very actively tagging places so that you can just search again in our app outdoor dining and you’ll see options show up whatever is near you. Another thing that we’re doing is we do realize that travel is going to recover a little bit closer to home now. So, people will start going to from New York, I would think more people have been going out to the Hamptons already to upstate New York, or maybe parts of New England to sort of venture out by car and avoid flying. So, we’re adding more places you can find what in the region. And that goes the same for LA as well.

24:46

TAMAR: Cool. Cool. Yeah, I have to say I think people mostly enjoy the outdoor dining next to the garbage bags for the instagrammable options and moments that they can capture that they’re actually outside closed doors.

25:03

But I don’t know how to get outside. I mean, like you said, you were in the concrete walls. You live in the city Manhattan proper. And I live about a half an hour train to the city. And the difference is that we have a yard and I have so many friends and family who are trying to get out of their concrete walls so that they can make it to the city. That’s a huge thing. It’s a big struggle right now for people. They want to really see a little bit more on the air shafts that they usually get. That was my view when I was living in the city, for pretty much every apartment that I lived in, you don’t really get to see very much. So yeah, I mean, if it’s sitting on the porch, if it’s sitting outside, and you got to see people walking, it’s a completely different dynamic. It’s scenery, it’s completely scenery. Yeah.

26:10

IRENE KOO: Absolutely.

26:13

TAMAR: So, let me ask you your question, the next question. I mean, self-care. I know this is really part of your self-care in terms of adopting a healthy nutrition that kind of speaks to your requirements in focusing on health. What is your standard self-care beyond your emphasis on nutrition?

26:36

IRENE KOO: Sure. So, I think specific to myself in terms of nutrition, which I’ll touch on very quickly, is I did try to eliminate things that give me inflammation. So that was gluten if I can avoid it, and dairy if I can avoid it, but I just love dairy a little too much. Yeah, and so I’ll indulge myself every now and then. One big change for me was I realized I’ve become allergic to soy. And I didn’t realize that until now because I grew up eating soy sauce and soy bean paste. So, I was very much around it without ingredients my entire life. And I did not realize that some of the symptoms I was experiencing had to do with that.  I kind of “Oh, I must have been something else that I ate.” So, it took me a while to actually boil down that’s what was affecting me. So, I had to try to avoid those things. And besides that, I did sort of building a more regimented schedule of going for a jog, I haven’t been as good with that, as I wish I would have during COVID. But it’s also a bit of a balance, right? I do more stretches at home now that we’re indoors  most of the time. Stretches, and I did yoga classes before. So, I would just try to mimic what I had learned. And in my previous yoga classes in my PT sessions, just do what I can, every other day if I can. And normally, I’d say go for runs about two, three times a week. And that’s kind of dropped down to maybe once a week now.

28:58

TAMAR: But you’re showing up, that’s the thing. You’re showing up. That’s important right now. I think COVID has thrown everybody off their normal paths. I mean, we don’t have transitions. That was something that was said in a previous podcast. That to me has changed everything for me. But a lot of people probably have dropped some of their fitness entirely. And the fact is once a week, you still got it. So, it’s also in the back of your mind. When this gets old when this is over, I’ll probably get back to my regimen. I’d like to think that as well. So, good for you. I feel like there’s a little bit of hesitation in your voicing. It drops down to one time a week. Be proud of it because you’re still there.

29:45

IRENE KOO: (laughing) So, on point.

29:47

TAMAR: Yeah. I will say for my update because I have been talking to people in the context of my own self-care that I got. I was taking care of too many restaurants so I put on a lot of weight and I stopped running and I stopped doing fitness and workout classes and certainly like the same thing, you’re kind of figuring out your yoga moves. Right now, I’m trying to mimic my kickboxing classes at home. But I started about six days ago that I said to myself, every single day, I’m going to break a sweat, like truly break a sweat. And I’m using an app called Seven Weeks. It’s only available for Android right now. And it’s based on this Reddit concept called the X Effect. And it’s basically you have a  7 x 7 grid, and every single day, it’s like seven weeks, seven days a week, every single day, you do something, you just exit out, and you’re supposed to look at yourself and say, “Oh, my God, I was able to accomplish something.” So that’s what I’m trying to do for myself. I use the app, I have two goals right now, break a sweat, and one meal a day. I was lax on one meal a day for the last two months, actually it’s been four months now. It’s crazy. It’s really almost four months for me. And back to it. And I’ve picked up running again, and literally breaking a sweat. Which means last night, for example, I started to workout at 11pm so that I can make sure I get in before midnight. So, wow, I’m proud of myself for actually getting back to it. Because the thing if I probably dropped running altogether, I probably wouldn’t be able to do it. It’s harder to pick it up when you drop it entirely. But when you still have it, you still have it and you’re going to get it. So, my takeaway here is that you’re not running once a week now. But we’re going to get there and you’re going to get there. And I have faith in you.

31:32

IRENE KOO: Thank you. Thank you. And that’s really admirable that you’re still squeezing in your exercise at 11 pm.

31:39

TAMAR: That’s the thing for the last four months. I really, did a lot with the community because I said I was in Westchester until I was in New Rochelle. So, that hope was just your patient zero. I know that guy. I think I was part of that. I was part of that outbreak. I had Coronavirus, right. So, in that context, I literally instead of focusing on myself, which yeah, my health went down a little bit. But I focus on our community. I did a lot of that WhatsApp stuff, I did a lot of feeding the community, I probably have to count because  at this point, I think I need to.  I probably bought about 70 restaurants to feed us here. And I felt a financial obligation to support them as well, which obviously translated to extra pounds on me, no regrets doing it. It just means that I’m going to have to work especially because I have a family. I have a family wedding soon. And I want to make sure I don’t look like … especially because I have an overly critical mother. So, this is seriously, like I said, break a sweat. One meal a day is my goal. And so far, I think in the last three days, I lost two pounds.

IRENE KOO: Wow.

TAMAR: And I have it’ like 10% of the way there. So, I’m happy that I’m there. But it’s going to require work and I intend to deliver.

32:59

IRENE KOO: That’s incredible. I’m not sure if I can do that. But that’s really quick kudos to you. Yeah. And good on you on supporting the community. Thank you for doing that.

33:15

TAMAR: Yeah, I don’t think people realize how much work I put into this. I talked about it, but a lot of people just take it for granted. I really think that at this point, I put a lot of effort in everybody else. And I still haven’t forgotten about them. I think as things are starting to slightly reopen, like you said, you’re starting to see more travel as well. We have waning interest in supporting the restaurants, which is a little bit sad. Because when people were furloughed and they didn’t have work, they were so more supportive of the restaurants now but now they can go out and about. For me personally, I never went out. So, this is like my opportunity to be like, oh, let me get to eat all the food that I never got to try. We got to draw our line eventually. And it’s you have to have the right mindset like you said, I can’t do it you might not be able to do right now. But there’s always a time in your life where you’ll have ebbs and flows. And like I said, you’re still showing up, there will be a day where you say to yourself this is my week to start running again twice or three times a week and I guess, the James Clear Atomic Habit model is something that I try to follow, even if it’s incremental stuff, or just again, just doing it, making it a habit. So that is a daily thing for me. But the fact that it’s a weekly thing for you is that you’re still doing it.

34:41

IRENE KOO: (laughing) I did think I kind of left off with one last bit of self-care. It’s I was just reminded; I did try to eliminate using plastic in a lot of aspects of my life just because I’ve also read that, there’s  fear or it disrupt your natural hormones, hormonal balance, and that has been known to be linked with endometriosis.

35:10

TAMAR:  And that’s good for the earth. So, you’re doing our Earth care too. Yay.

35:18

IRENE KOO: Yeah.

35:20

TAMAR: Yeah. I love that. I think that’s great. Sometimes you have to have a selfish interest in being sustainable. I will say that just to make you in. If that sounds horrible, I will say that my kids have been throwing away so many paper plates that I decided to start going Cornell plates. So, I have my own washable plates now. And I’m not wasting plates anymore. It might have been a financial decision. But at the same time, it’s a sustainable decision. So yeah, there’s a little bit of selfishness that kind of ties into some of our sustainability goals. And I don’t know if we regret that. I think for my grandson in particular, I have to start in the most clean and affordable fashion. Like I said, it’s a financial goal. But I mean, that’s something that for me, is on my roadmap in terms of like speaking to that. So, I think it’s important because I don’t know what’s going to kill us. Yesterday, they announced that China discovered some sort of pandemic type of flu that was in pigs, that might be like, COVID. If these viruses don’t kill us first, and the planet will, maybe this is the planet’s way of telling us we need to take care of it.

IRENE KOO:  Yeah.

TAMAR: I want to play my part in whatever way you play your part, however way you need to do it. It’s important.

36:40

IRENE KOO: Yeah, absolutely. I think it was Mother Nature’s way of nudging us stop messing with me.

36:50

TAMAR: Yeah, the human race can become extinct soon. If this continues, I don’t know, this is like a joke. But at the same time, that was totally on my mind, either we have the virus and we’re overcoming it. And we have these masks that are like,  the politics of masks and the safety to pollute. Yeah, that’s ridiculous. It’s just never ending. So, Mother Nature is going to say, you have to respond in some way. I don’t know. Anyway, yeah. The reason why I raised that is because we’re in such an insane, insane time. And in the heat of the mask being political plays for trying to deprive our brains of oxygen.

IRENE KOO: Yeah.

TAMAR: Yeah, sure. Okay. (Tamar and Irene laughing). Anyway, moving on from that.

IRENE KOO: Yeah.

37:47

TAMAR: Let me ask you a question. And this is how I end the podcast. If you can give an earlier version of yourself any piece of advice, what would you tell Irene, the younger Irene.

38:03

IRENE KOO: I think the younger Irene should know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And I had a quote that was written. I think there were a lot of times when I did feel like I was swimming against the current and my life. And I had to sort of beat the odds. And I was graduating from a school that didn’t really turn out Wall Street bankers. So convincing people that I did indeed want to move to New York to work in finance was one thing and then sort of trying to survive in the corporate world, the great global financial crisis was another one. And going through my treatments, which felt like it was just not going to end but and they think I can tell you, whatever I shared with you today is new in hindsight, knowing that I am in a better place today. But I think there were definitely times when I beat myself up. Like why did I get here? How did I get here? I let myself do this and what could I have done differently? And I think I just need to I would probably give myself a pat on the back and just say it’s going to be okay. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I think if I had a little bit more of that peace of mind, I could have gotten there slightly faster, but with less stress on myself, I hope I’m definitely more of a glass full person today than I was before.

39:50

TAMAR: Yeah. Going back to reading Brené Brown, I just finished the chapter on resilience last night. And the beginning, I think maybe the first two paragraphs of that book, that particular chapter, was about how some people are more resilient than others. I definitely felt a certain point in my life that I wasn’t resilient. Like I didn’t, I was a glass half empty person. And now 100% I’m like the glass could be half full, but I’ll see three quarters of the way full. Like that’s a massive attitude change. And I think we all have the ability to see things that way. But it’s a matter of seeing you within ourselves first. And it’s about trusting the process also. Yeah, there is light at the end of the tunnel. But maybe these things are happening for a reason. And when they do and what? You can only go up from there.

40:46

IRENE KOO:  Yeah. I think so. Agree, 100%.

40:50

TAMAR: Yeah, nice. Awesome. Well, is there anything else that you have you want to share?

40:56

IRENE KOO:  For those who are in New York in the Greater New York area and greater LA area, please do check out Mamakoo. And for anyone who is looking to travel down the road, please check out the app. Can I do that?

41:13

TAMAR: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, I would say type out, spell out the URL, so that we know.

41:19

IRENE KOO: Yeah, so you can you can find us @mamakoo.com. That’s Ma, Ma, k, o, o.com. It’s actually named after my mom who taught me to be adventurous and just go for the gusto. And she’s the kind of person who would take me around to eat all sorts of food. And would learn Spanish six months before going to Spain, learn Japanese six months before going to Japan so she can engage with a local and bargain for her things and order food herself. So, this is hopefully a way for all of us to connect through food and embrace the diversity amongst us. So hopefully you do check it out. If you have any feedback, please feel free to reach out to me as well. And I can be reached at Irene, I,R, E, N, E,  at Mamakoo, MA, MA, KOO dot com.

42:21

TAMAR: Love it. Love it. Awesome. Yeah, I wish you the best. And I absolutely hope that New York listeners and hopefully I go Barbie in New York. So, they’ll go to the website and they’ll be able to see you catering to all these different locales. That would be amazing. We’ll get there once this craziness ends. So yeah, that’s awesome. So, thank you so much, Irene for your time, for getting vulnerable, for getting very open and sharing your story.

42:49

IRENE KOO: Thank you so much Tamar  for having me and hope everyone is staying safe.

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TAMAR.