Browsed by
Category: America

Travel in America

Southern California vs. Northern California… and a Life Update

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. read more

Moving Abroad And Saying Farewell: It Never Gets Easier

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. read more

How My Vietnamese Mom Forgot Thanksgiving

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. read more

Cost of Living: Los Angeles vs. Shanghai

Cost of Living: Los Angeles vs. Shanghai

Shanghai Los Angeles Cost of Living

One of my biggest forms of culture shock upon moving back to the United States was cost of living.  It felt like everything in the United States was way, way more expensive than Shanghai.

In my previous post, I calculated and compared the cost of living between Los Angeles and Tokyo, and I found that living in Tokyo could actually save you 10,000 USD per year compared to life in Los Angeles. I’m a huge advocate for living abroad to not only broaden horizons, but to also save money.

So how does life in Shanghai fare when it comes to cutting costs? read more

America is Not The Greatest Country on Earth

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. read more

The Perfect Weekend in San Diego

The Perfect Weekend in San Diego

San Diego Picnic

As most of you know, I don’t really like Los Angeles.  It’s congested, crime infested, inconvenient and expensive. It still boggles my mind why anyone would actually want to live here, but I guess we all have our personal reasons (like myself).

Sadly, I started to become disenchanted not only with L.A., but with all of California.  My business trip to San Francisco was met with high hotel prices and countless encounters with aggressive  (and dangerous) homeless people.  Going to Orange County was a venture rife with traffic and expensive parking. read more

The Ethnicity Question

The Ethnicity Question

The Dreaded Ethnicity Box
The Dreaded Ethnicity Box

After years of being uninsured in the U.S. (and a few more years of having third-world equivalent healthcare in China), I finally received fully covered health benefits through my new job.  In fear of medical bills and non-preventative coverage, I went years without a standard check-up.  When I got my shiny new insurance card, I booked the first appointment I could to get tested for–well, everything.  After all, I was fully covered.

“It looks like your application is incomplete, Ms. Mary O’Connor,” the secretary smiled sweetly.  “You’ll need to answer a couple of quick questions before you can see the doctor.” read more

Life in Los Angeles is Killing Me

Life in Los Angeles is Killing Me

Los Angeles Sprawl
Los Angeles Sprawl

My alarm buzzed at 6:00AM, waking me out of my deep slumber. I fumbled in the darkness of the early morning to shut the alarm off and begin yet another 12+ hour day of work and commuting.

Originally, I didn’t want a car. I wanted to just get by with a bike, a ride form my boyfriend every now and then, and the trains—yet it was impossible. The distance from my boyfriend’s house to the train station was 20 minutes away by car, which is almost 90 minutes away by bike. Thus I was forced to lease a car, which costs me a ridiculous amount of money every month. An asset I honestly don’t want, but is impossible to live without in the United States. read more

The Best Place to Visit in America

The Best Place to Visit in America

Zion in the Narrows

My favorite vacation in America is a place I have been trying to escape from my entire life, yet found a whole new appreciation for upon my return back to the United States.

It’s a state with not one, but five national parks.  It hosted the winter Olympics and is known to have “the best snow on Earth.”  It’s home to what some would call an over-zealous and somewhat strange religion.

Yes, my favorite U.S. vacation so far is not San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or even Boston: read more

Merry Christmas from Salt Lake City!

Merry Christmas from Salt Lake City!

IMG_0877

For the first time in five years, I’m spending Christmas at home.   I’m not flying in on a 13 hour flight from Tokyo or Shanghai.  I’m not spending Christmas in China and Lunar New Years in the states.  I’m actually home during the holidays, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I flew into Salt Lake City on Christmas eve and was greeted to a white blanket of snow on Christmas morning.  It was the perfect Christmas present to my morning.

IMG_2279

Although I’m spending the holidays in the United States, the month of December hasn’t felt much like Christmas because of Los Angeles. read more