Resolutions for 2015 and my Favorite Posts of 2014

Before I delve into 2015, let’s look back at the resolutions I kept (and dropped) in 2014:

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I did travel!

  • Learn French.
  • Take a class in web design and economics.
  • Find an amazing job in the USA (although it’s not very amazing)
  • Keep up the habit of going to the gym 3 times a week, aim to run for an hour nonstop (can do 30 mins now, up the score!)
  • Take the GRE.
  • Grow out my hair.  It looks good short I must admit, but I do miss having my long black locks.
  • Continue to write, and publish an article!
  • Volunteer!  Find an organization in Shanghai or the USA, sign up, and go help others! (volunteered on Thanksgiving and have joined a volunteer Meetup group in my neighborhood).
  • Practice J-E interpreting 3 times a week, C-E once a week
  • Learn how to properly, and effectively, invest money (I purchased my first stocks this year)
  • Travel somewhere new (have plans of Thailand in March, so this one’s definitely going to happen!) (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore–you were amazing!)

Alright, Time for 2015 Resolutions:

To more adventure in 2015!

To more adventure in 2015!

  • Lose 20 pounds–and more importantly, lead a healthier life.  I know.  It’s a typical resolution, but this year it means even more.  I gained a lot of weight since moving back to the United States.  I want to blame the unhealthy food, the portion sizes and the lack of physical activity (I used to walk everywhere in Shanghai–now, I drive).  But still, I can’t just blame America.  I already downloaded MyFitnessPal and I have a plan set in motion.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll join weight watchers.  Either way, I need to take control of my weight, my health, and my life.
  • Learn Italian and Sign up for an Italian Class.  I tried to learn French and my god, it just didn’t stick.  Since most of my friends are Italian, I’ll take this as a divine sign from heaven and just learn what I love: Italian.
  • Learn Advanced CSS, HTML, and Javascript; as well as Photoshop, Illustrator and In-Design.  I love drawing, coloring, and creating.  I have always loved web design and I want to teach myself more so I can make creativity my source of income instead of just a hobby.
  • Publish an Article (or ten).  While I did continue to write (as this blog so clearly showcases), I have yet to publish my work.  I want 2015 to be that year.
  • Update this Blog Once a Week and Really Commit to The Ruby Ronin.  I love this blog.  It’s my baby.  I love the people I meet through this blog, and I love writing.  I didn’t start to really invest time in this thing until 2014, and I want to go even further in 2015.  I know life gets in the way and sometimes I only update once a month–but that’s just ridiculous.  I need to show this blog, and my readers, that I’m serious about this thing.
  • Become an Irish Citizen.  I know, random.  I’ll write a post about how to apply for Irish Citizenship later, but for the time being, I just want to make this happen in 2015.
  • Pay Off My Student Loans.  After almost ten years of paying my stupid loans, this year will finally be the year where I write my final paycheck to the Federal Government.
  • Visit at Least One National Park.  Here’s lookin at you, Yosemite.
  • Run a 5k.  While this isn’t #1 priority, I’d really like to make it happen!

Realizations from 2014 to Push me Forward in 2015

I didn't just leave friends in Shanghai--I left a family.

I didn’t just leave friends in Shanghai–I left a family.

I will forever remember 2014 as the year of great change.  I moved back to the United States from my wonderful life in Shanghai and experienced some of the worst reverse culture shock to ever grace an American.  It was truly a painful and difficult experience.  Even a year later, I cannot say with confidence that I have fully adjusted.

2014 was also a year of love, since I found my lovely boyfriend and life partner, and now we live together.

Although it’s a bit personal, 2014 was the year I was utterly lost with my life.  I moved back to the USA because it seemed like “the right thing to do.”  I left a job at a high-profile ad agency in downtown Shanghai and a life full of friends to return to a country that didn’t care about my experiences abroad, didn’t want to give me a job, and offered me meager salaries and a four hour commute.

It was a very tough transition.
I realized that while I want to go to graduate school, I don’t want to be, literally, tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  I decided against grad school, but hope to pursue it later in life in the EU or UK where education is more affordable.

I realized I didn’t want to become an interpreter or translator (thus, I stopped practicing).

I realized that, while I absolutely love Japan, I want to distance myself from Japan professionally.  My entire resume is full of Japan, which has thus led me to work at Japanese companies in Japan related jobs.  As Hanzawa Naoki clearly showcases, Japanese companies are not a pleasant place to work.  The mindset is so different from that of the west, and frankly, I’m unhappy putting up with it.

Essentially, I realized that I want to switch careers in 2015.  From Japan, to the things I really want to do.

However, I will still continue to do Japanese freelance translation (since it’s my work on my terms) and use it to sustain myself.

2015 is going to be a big year for me.

To an epic 2015!

To an epic 2015!

I’m going to be healthy, I’m going to work hard to do the things I love, I’m going to make sacrifices to save money for a better life, and I’m going to continue to enjoy my greatest pleasure in life: Travel!

And Last But Not Least, My Favorite Posts of 2014

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Here are a few of my favorite posts from 2014 that I dug up from the archives.  Some are touching, some are strange, and some were just fun to write.

Revisiting the Vietnam War: Last year I sat down with my dad and he shared some of his Vietnam war memories with me.  It was a touching moment of unbelievable stories, and I wove that into my own personal journey to Saigon in 2012.

Biking Around Ayutthaya and Feasting in Bangkok:  Before saying my final farewell to Shanghai, I went on an adventure through Thailand with my best friends.  Discover the food and sights of Bangkok, and the lovely Z!

How to Get An Asian Boyfriend in China and Japan:  Some helpful tips for finding love in Asia as a western woman!

When Are You Too Old To Solo Travel?  Inspiration from older female travelers that gave me motivation to never stop discovering the world!

Being Half Asian in China and Japan This is the most popular post of 2014, and a very personal one as well.  Growing up biracial in small town America aint easy!

Finally, Happy New Year to All of You!  May everyone have an exceptionally wonderful 2015 filled with opportunity, joy and happiness!

6 thoughts on “Resolutions for 2015 and my Favorite Posts of 2014

  1. Marta says:

    Happy new year, Mary! You have a bunch of life-changing resolutions there… I hope you get to where you want to go!
    And what is that about the Irish citizenship?? I am really intrigued, haha.

    To a great 2015!

    • rubymary says:
      Profile photo of rubymary

      Haha I’ll write about the Irish citizenship later.

      I usually don’t get around to all of my resolutions but I do my best, haha.

      Hope you had a very happy new year Marta!!!

  2. Charlotte Steggz says:

    Ok…are we the same person?? Except for the Chinese, and the lovelife! I came back to the UK because it seemed like the right thing to do…like Wendy coming out of the nursery. 2014 was harsh for me too, with reverse culture shock and with life in the UK being just so damned hard. I’ve wanted to run away abroad again so many times.
    Here’s to you and I, both the same person, to having awesome 2015s.

    • rubymary says:
      Profile photo of rubymary

      Haha I know, sometimes when I read your blog I think to myself: Wow. She’s the British me!

      What do you do when you think about wanting to go back to Germany? My boyfriend is constantly telling me (in a nice way), “if Shanghai life is so good, then why not move back? Seems logical.” But to me, I think of it as a step back rather than forward–or maybe again, that’s just all in my head. Anyway, I miss Shanghai so damn much sometimes (I’m sure you feel the same about your old life, maybe) and it’s almost like denying an old lover. It’s so hard to say no.

      I also saw on your blog that you had a horrific commute (me me me!) and a hard time at Japanese companies, so it was very therapeutic to read your posts and think: I’m not alone!

      Anyway, 2015 is going to be awesome and full of opportunity. Here’s to us!

    • rubymary says:
      Profile photo of rubymary

      Happy New Year Ruth! Best wishes to you and your family!

      I’m also looking forward to more ‘elevator stories’ on your blog. Very fascinating!

      Merry 2015 😉

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