Graduating, Leaving California, Traveling to Ireland and Getting Married

I apologize for the long, silent hiatus on this blog.  I usually try to update once a month, but since May ’17 my life has been absolutely crazy.

Graduating

I honestly thought going back to school would be a nice break from “real, work life,” but it was actually more demanding and taxing both mentally and physically than my previous 8-5 office job.  In graduate school I literally spent 10 hours a day in the library reading (and comprehending) the 500+ pages of literature, as well as write an average of 2-3 essays per week.  Graduate school was a repetitive schedule of sleep-study-eat-study-sleep.  That was my life for ten months.

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Job Hunting, The United Incident, and The Girl Who Escaped ISIS

I know, the title of this blog post seems strangely unrelated–and actually, it probably is.  The only common link between job hunting, the controversial United incident of this week and the Girl Who Escaped ISIS is my mental state of being.

So let’s delve right into that:

The United Incident

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know about the United incident.  A United flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville was overbooked and, despite offering an $800 voucher, no one volunteered to leave the plane and make room for four crew members who needed to staff a connecting flight.  United felt that the only remaining option was to “randomly” select four people to forcibly vacate the plane.

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In Honor of Women’s Day: Women Studying International Relations

Ok, I’m biased about this subject matter (international relations being my main area of focus, and me being a woman), but since entering my graduate international relations program I’ve noticed something quite striking:

Males outnumber females.  By a very large number.

In my Chinese International Relations and Security Class, there are 5 females and perhaps 15 males.  My other classes also hold the same demographic.  I always imagined international relations to be a relatively balance degree of gender (it’s not engineering), but I was alarmed by the contrast.  International Relations (IR) is basically an extension of politics–and there are no women in it.

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Finding Inspiring, Powerful Female Leads in Asian Media

Image courtesy of Lord of the Rings Wiki

If you couldn’t tell, I grew up a fantasy nerd.  My brother loved fantasy books and passed the tradition onto me–which meant that in 5th grade I was reading the Hobbit, and by the end of the 6th grade I had already finished the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After reading Lord of the Rings, I was a diehard Eowyn fan.  She was the only female in the entire series to kill a nazgul.  Not only that, but she disguised herself as a male to participate in the war to prove herself.  What. a. badass.

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The Ruby Ronin’s 2016 Year in Review

newyearcover

As social media and the internet have already proclaimed, 2016 was not exactly a great year.  Dozens of amazing, life-changing and truly respectable celebrities passed away–and most of them, in my opinion, left this world too soon (Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince… just to name a few).

The most devastating public tragedy to occur in 2016, in my personal opinion, is the election of Donald Trump.  I’m in disbelief that a bigoted, low-intelligence, tax-evading, rapist could become president.  I go into 2017 with a heavy heart and sincere concern about the U.S. and the world.  As someone studying foreign policy day-in, day-out, I am extremely aware of the damage an unpredictable president like Trump will do, and it is very frightening indeed.  I went into graduate school with the high hopes of graduating, working hard to get a job in the federal government and serve under the first female president–and now everything has changed.  My future looks uncertain.

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3 Reasons Chinese People Like Trump

Chineseliketrump

Like most of America, I was devastated on the morning of Wednesday, November 9th 2016.  The impossible happened.  The United States elected a KKK endorsed rapist to the most powerful position in this country.  As a minority, I was horrified; and as a woman, I was absolutely disgusted.

Ill with a hangover and still in a state of shock, I rolled over in bed and reached for my phone.  I had a slew of frustrated and hopeless texts from friends around the states.  My Facebook feed was awash in anger, denial and filled with dispute.  I opened my WeChat account to find…

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The Life You Never Knew You Changed

lifechanged

H called me.  I was in my new second home, the university library, writing a policy memo on the conflict in Yemen.  I knew something was different about this call.  I stepped out of the library and picked up the phone.

“Hey, what’s goin on?” I answered naturally.

“Um,” she was quiet.  I listened intently.

“Derek P, you know.  He passed away today.  He crashed into a semi-truck.”

I grew up in a small, coal-mining town in Utah.  As mentioned before, I was the only half-Asian around and I was often teased for being ‘weird.’  Luckily, I had great friends to help me survive the battlefield called elementary school, but middle school was an entirely different playing field.

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The Double Standard of Diversity in California

calidiversity

After growing up in Utah, living in Southern California for three years has given me a different perspective of the United States.

For one, white is no longer the majority in California (at least, in the big cities anyway).  Almost all of the friends I’ve made here are either Hispanic, Asian, Arabic or Black.  In fact, I’m sometimes hard pressed to find a white person here and it’s a great thing.  As someone studying international affairs on a professional level, diversity warms my heart and it makes for a very interesting place.  Now, after three years in diverse Southern California, I’m dumbfounded by how white dominated Utah is every time I return.

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I’m Going to Graduate School at 30

Masters30front

Remember how I said I’d update you on the most recent events of my crazy life?

Whelp, I’m going to get a masters at the ripe, old age of 30.

In my ‘turning 30’ post I wrote back in February, I mentioned some big life plans in the works that might involve graduate school–and, well, let’s just say it all worked out.  I got in.  I committed.  I accepted the student loan.  I live in graduate housing (aka, a dorm) and, somehow, I live with a Chinese family.  Don’t ask.  At least I’m not sleeping on an inflatable bed anymore.

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Stories of My Irish-American Family

As far as I can recall, my father always had white hair. When I was only five years old, he was already fifty—yet he refused to act his age. I remember playing basketball with my father at the nearby courts of our humble apartment. He used to urge me to get my head out of the books and go out to the track and run alongside him. Although he was decades older than me, his energy was infectious.

Like myself, in his younger years my father was all about adventure. When he hit 28 and felt lost in his career, he signed up for the army and volunteered for Vietnam. What possessed him to go to a war torn country and dodge bullets is anyone’s guess, but I imagine that he was hungry for what most young people my age are looking for now: excitement, travel, and meaningful work.

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