Southern California vs. Northern California… and a Life Update

I somehow live here now?

I somehow ended up living in wine country

So, my life has been flipped upside down.  I am now kinda, sorta, living in Northern California.

A month prior to my Asia trip, my boyfriend told me he wanted to take a job offer in Northern California.  Although I’m kind of itching to get out of California, we both knew that taking this job was the right thing to do.

So when you get back from Japan and China, boyfriend said, we’re moving up North.

And… here I am.  North of San Francisco in a place I never, ever expected to find myself in.

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Moving Abroad And Saying Farewell: It Never Gets Easier

Cloudy Skies in Shanghai

I woke up to cloudy skies.  I wanted sunshine for my final day here, but I knew a clear day was a rare blessing in Shanghai.  The weather reflected the feelings in my heart: uncertainty, haziness, fear.

I walked out of Z’s room to find she was already in the living room, staring out into the sea of Shanghai’s skyscrapers from her 25th floor window.  Her apartment wasn’t big, but it was cozy.  My suitcases were lined up neatly near the door, my entire life packed into two large bags and one carry on.  My heart winced as I looked at them.

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What I Learned in My 20s… And My Big Announcement

BirthdayinSD

Last Sunday, I turned 30.

I ran away to San Diego for 4 days and enjoyed myself immensely.  Despite all the anxiety I felt on the verge of turning 30, on the actual day of and after… well, I felt the same as when I was 29 (and 28 and 27).

I feel good.

I couldn’t think of a better way to turn 30 than in the company of my boyfriend, my best friend and my beloved coworkers… on the beach.  In San Diego.  In paradise.

marybday4

coronado beach surfing

As I look back on my 20s, here’s some valuable life lessons I learned and lived by:

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My Chinese New Year 2016 Gone Wrong

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

In America, it’s easy to forget that Chinese New Year is even happening.  Akin to Christmas in China, no one in America gives a flying crap about a holiday based on an outdated calendar.

My boyfriend was no exception.  Although he’s Chinese, he was way more excited about the super bowl.

“Am I allowed to watch super bowl?” he pleaded.

“What about Chinese New Year?” I frowned.  “I thought we could make jiao zi (dumplings) together and watch a Chinese movie or something.  You know, get in the spirit.”

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What it’s Like Dating a Doctor

My doctor!

My doctor!

I remember being at some random party in university, holding a beer and looking at the throngs of people around me who were drunk and stumbling.

I walked over to a table of women and eavesdropped on their conversation.

“I always study at the medicine library, but I still haven’t gotten lucky yet!”

“Oh yeah? Still trying to get a doctor?”

“I went on a few dates with some, but none of them seem serious about me.”

“You gotta get them while you can! Once they’re a full-fledged doctor, they will be harder to snag!”

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Reflections on 2015, Goals for 2016 and Favorite Posts

2016cover

Happy New Year!

Every new year I look at the goals I set for myself the previous year and see how many of them I actually accomplished.

I wasn’t going to do it this year, but since I crossed off more than half the list I felt kinda proud of myself.  Plus, making goals for oneself is never a bad thing (even if we never reach them all).

What I accomplished in 2015:

  • Learn Advanced CSS, HTML, and Javascript; as well as Photoshop, Illustrator and In-Design.  I took a web design course and made a pretty impressive website.  I also spruced up Ruby Ronin’s layout. I still need to learn Illustrator and In-Design, but I’m using more photoshop!
  • Become an Irish Citizen Yup.  Did it.
  • Pay Off My Student Loans.  Aaaand they’re gone.
  • Visit at Least One National Park.  Went to Joshua Tree, although it’s definitely not Yosemite.
  • Run a 5k.  I participated in a color run and I actually thought 5k was too easy.  Time to upgrade to a 10k.
Joshua Tree at Sunset

Joshua Tree at Sunset

What I need to work on:

  • Update this Blog Once a Week and Really Commit to The Ruby Ronin.  Again, fail.  I think in June 2015 I didn’t even post once.  That’s horrible.  I need to make this priority #1!
  • Learn Italian and Sign up for an Italian Class.  Again, didn’t happen.  I tried to look for Italian classes in the LA area, but they were all 1.5 hours (by car) from my house.  Looks like Italian gets put back on the back burner…
  • Lose 20 pounds–and more importantly, lead a healthier life.  I didn’t lose 20 pounds, but I do lead a healthier life.  I exercise 4-5 times a week and cook almost all of my meals–now I just gotta figure out how to lose weight…
Tour De Fat San Diego

Tour De Fat in San Diego: All this beer is probably why I can’t shake off the pounds…

So basically, I rocked all the short term goals but really failed on the long term ones.  Worrisome!

A Look Back at 2015

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How My Vietnamese Mom Forgot Thanksgiving

turkey

Growing up with my mom wasn’t easy, especially in rural, coal-mining Utah.  My mother was the only Asian woman in the entire town, thus meaning we were surrounded by white people (and a few Hispanics and Native Americans).

Growing up in such a predominantly white culture, I was raised to believe and practice in American holidays.  My  classmates at elementary school gathered with all of their relatives at a big table, carved the turkey, and watched the Macy’s parade.  They had large family gatherings with turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy–the works.

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award: Q & A, My Nominees

Wow, I am honored that Jocelyn from Speaking of China has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

It’s my first time being nominated for any kind of blogging award, and even though I probably won’t win (is this a contest?), it’s been great to see the blogs of other fellow nominees and read about so many amazing women living around the world.

Without further ado, here are the answers:

  1.  How did you come up with the name for your blog?

In China I wore red.  Everyday.  I don’t know why, it just happened.

Ronin is a Japanese word for a wandering samurai without a lord.  It also has the connotation of a traveling vagrant.  As a frequent traveler, I often felt like a wandering samurai with no real place to call my own.

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Different From the Crowd

different

“Maybe, in a year or two, you can get married.  You can buy a house in Los Angeles when he makes more money.  Perhaps three, or four years down the road you can plan for your first child.  It’s a perfect plan, Mary.”

Advice from my aunt.  A realist.

Although the demographic is starting to change, thirty tends to be the age when we start to think about having a family; or at the very least, if and when we want one.  When I was 22, I always figured that when I hit my late 20s I would start to feel the tug of motherhood and cave in and have a child (or, at least, be married by 30).

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America is Not The Greatest Country on Earth

America Needs Some Humble Pie

America Needs Some Humble Pie

I remember in grade school we had to stand up, put our right hand on our heart, salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance every single day.  We looked up to the flag hanging near the chalkboard as our nation’s anthem echoed from the school’s loudspeaker and chanted the mantra of our great nation.

At school we were not only taught to be proud at the fact we were American, but grateful.  While no one ever distinctly said it to my face, I was educated that America was the best country in the world.

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