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:
- 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.
Thus, The Ruby Ronin. I’m a wandering vagrant in red.
2. What do you find most challenging about blogging?
Just how personal should I get on this blog? There are times where I say screw it, write a really emotional entry, and then wipe the whole thing when I’m finished. It’s hard to decide just how much I want to open up on here, but I noticed that my favorite posts on other blogs always tend to come from personal and well-told stories–something that I, and many readers, can relate to. I’m trying harder to peel away my shell and be more ‘raw’ on here, but it’s definitely not easy.
Also, finding the time to update this thing. Good god. Starting a blog sounds easy, but by the time I’ve picked out all the photos and read through the post a few times, 3-4 hours have already passed. It’s crazy how much time writing a post can take (but still, I love it).
3. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
I work at a university and help international students study in the United States.
When I’m not at work, I’m usually at yoga, jogging, or trying some new workout class (body combat, anyone?).
Richard and I also go on a lot of hikes (although recently it has died down–too busy!).
Oh yes, and I love to curl up in bed with a cup of tea or glass of wine and read or watch J-dramas.
4. Everyone has a favorite post. Name yours and tell us why it is your favorite.
Ooo. This is hard.
My favorite post is Revisiting Vietnam, because I vividly remember this particular night when my father was telling me about his war stories in Vietnam. It was enchanting. When I was growing up he never talked about his time in Vietnam, but as he grew older he was more willing to share his war stories. I felt like I relayed the story true to his memory through this post.
Although it’s not on my blog, I also really like my guest post I did for Jocelyn, Thank you, Mom. I’m proud to be biracial and Vietnamese. It’s a very open and real post about growing up biracial and going back to my Vietnam roots.
5. What do you consider the best part of your day?
If I wake up early enough, I love sitting at my table with a fresh cup of coffee in the glow of sunrise. My brain is working at full capacity (which makes for great writing) and the world is silent and still.
I also love the hour before bedtime, where I’m curled up in bed writing with a cup of tea (like right now), or reading a book and watching j-dramas and just unwinding.
Oh yes, I also love when Richard and I go out for dinner (usually Korean BBQ or pho)… it’s the highlight of my week (yes, no cooking!).
6. Could you share with us a beautiful moment or experience you had recently?
I went to Joshua Tree National Park and camped there with one of my Airbnb tenants (and also my now friend). We watched the sunset, made a campfire, grilled some grub, opened a bottle of wine and gazed up at the stars, talking the night away. When we fell asleep in the tent, we were awakened in the middle of the night by howling coyotes nearby. I felt them brush up against us. Scary, but cool.
Joshua Tree is a desert in the middle of nowhere, which sounds really boring but is GREAT for stargazing. Not only was I able to see every star in the galaxy (at least, it felt that way), but I also enjoyed the silence of the desert. Sometimes, we take silence for granted. Being out there in nature, with no car engines or horns or cell phones–it was bliss.
7. Tell me about your proudest achievement.
Learning Chinese and Japanese. Damn. That sucked. Especially Japanese. Don’t do it.
Also, repatriating back to the United States. It’s been a rough two years.
8. What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
I feel like I have a new circle of friends that really get a certain part of me, despite the fact we’ve never met.
9. Share with us one of your favorite books, and why you like it.
Oh man, this is hard.
My favorite book is probably the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Leguin (even though all of her books are awesome). The world of Earthsea is unique, the main character is black (woo!), and the writing is so magical–she always takes me away from reality, which is what I really need from a book sometimes.
My favorite book I read in 2015 is 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (in honor of his death last year). My friends raved about this writer, so I had to see what the big fuss was about.
And wow. What a book. It’s really bizarre (I could never write anything remotely similar, even under the influence!), but the prose is so chock full of meaning. An entire college course could be taught on this one book alone.
10. What do you think would make the world a better place?
Selflessness. I think more than ever (especially with the refugee crisis at hand and financial crises all over the place) people are less willing to help others and think only of themselves.
I think we all need to learn to give unto others, even with the little things. One of my best friends from Japan, a very shy and timid girl, signed up to be a math teacher in Honduras with the Japanese Peace Corps. I’m amazed at her bravery and courage to go into a dangerous country to help those less fortunate than herself.
And while that’s an extreme example, the other day a random woman paid for my Starbucks coffee just because “she wanted to do a good deed that day.” It certainly made my day, and it reminded me that one act of kindness goes a long way. I’ll never forget her.
Ok, now it’s my turn to nominate someone!
But oh, wait, Jocelyn pretty much nominated all the blogs I love and frequent:
- Autumn from When West Dates East
- R Zhao from Rosie in Beijing
- Marghini from The Love Blender
- Ruth from China Elevator Storie
- Marta from Marta Lives in China
- Lani from Life, the Universe and Lani
- Marissa from Xiananigans
- Chi from Talking of Chinese
Still, I have to nominate someone–and I nominate the following awesome bloggers!
Charlotte Steggz: She feels like the British version of me. We both repatriated at the same time and experienced similar difficulties and triumphs. She also did the JET program and speaks fluent Japanese (plus German!). Her blog is super entertaining and I read it every chance I get.
Daydream Japan: AMAZING PHOTOS. These photographs capture the essence of Japan. Her blog posts also give me great insight into the differences and similarities between Japan and Germany.
Sincerely Shalom: A personal blog filled with the good and bad about life in Shanghai, Taiwan and America.
Origami Kiwi: Another fellow JET! Annabelle is living in Tochigi-Prefecture, Japan. Her blog has a lot of awesome Japan travel tips, as well as advice for prospective and current JETs. It’s a fresh look at Japan from the perspective of a kiwi.
Nama-Mama: A fellow American woman who is not only married to a Chinese man–but to a native of Tibet! Her blog posts about Tibetan tradition and culture, as well as raising a child in China, are truly remarkable!
And the questions for my nominees:
- Why did you start your blog?
- Do you have a favorite travel destination?
- If you could go back in time and change anything, would you? What would it be?
- Tell me about a random encounter you’ve had during your travels.
- What’s your favorite book and why?
- Do you speak another language? Why did you decide to study it?
- What do you do when you’re not blogging?
- What’s your favorite memory from this year?
- If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be and why?
- What would you consider your greatest triumph this year?
If you’re too busy to do this (I understand–really!) I will not be offended.
Enjoy, and thank you again!