Why 2017 Was the Craziest Year of My Life… With a 2018 Surprise

I just have to say that 2017 was undoubtedly the craziest, yet also most unforgettable, year of my life.

My aunt told me that I had more life events happen in 2017 than people have in their entire lifetime.  She’s totally right, because…

I Had Lots of Big Life Events…

Getting married on a mountain… no big deal

In 2017, I planned and executed a wedding while concurrently completing an intensive graduate degree in international relations.

Graduate school, as I mentioned, was really hard but worth every penny.  Learning about international relations changed my life for the better, and now I suddenly see the whole world with a new lens.  I don’t regret grad school one bit.

Planning a wedding while going to graduate school, on the other hand, really sucked.  I not only had a strict budget to stick to, but I also had to coordinate a Utah wedding from California.  Yet thanks to my friends, family, husband and the best maid of honor a woman could ever ask for (shout out to you, H!), I survived my wedding.

I had my perfect dream wedding.  I got married in the mountains of my home state with the man I love.  I couldn’t ask for more.

Some of my favorite bloggers (Marta and Learn to Love Anywhere) were even more hardcore than me and coordinated two weddings on two continents (and with no complaints)!  Autumn of East Dates West had not one, but ALL of her groomsmen drop out of the wedding!  Props to you girls–and here I thought my wedding was tough!

….Lots of Moving….

Summer in Utah

Newport Beach for Thanksgiving

Fall in Minnesota

…and winter in Portland.

In addition to marriage and grad school, in 2017 I moved a total of ten times.  From Socal, to Norcal, back to Socal, to Salt Lake City, then Minnesota, San Francisco, and now Portland–I’ve been goddamn everywhere.  Honestly, looking at my suitcase makes me feel physically ill.

My husband thought taking short-term contracts around the country would give me flexibility to look for a job anywhere in the USA.  I thought it was a great idea, but in the end, our nomadic lifestyle put an immense amount of strain on our well-being.

In 2017, I realized just how important it is to have a home and some sense of stability.  I never thought I’d say this (especially since my blog is called the Ruby Ronin ((wanderer)) but; dear, god, I just want to settle down.

…insane amounts of traveling..

Hello Nagasaki, Japan!

Now I’m back in L.A.!?

Now we’re in Vietnam!? Wha?

In addition to visiting way too many cities and states in the USA (Minnesota, Washington DC, San Diego, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Portland), I also went on many trips abroad.

I thought I would have few opportunities to travel after leaving Asia.

Oh, how wrong I was.

This year alone I went to Ireland, Japan, Vietnam and China–with the last three vacations happening in the span of one month!  I’ve already written up some posts about my journey through Northern Ireland and Northwest Ireland, but more posts will follow chronicling our trips to Kyushu, Hanoi and Saigon.

…as well as many interviews on the road…

…I even had one interview in Utah at H’s house, with her cat providing moral support

As I moved and traveled around the USA and world, I was also looking for a job.

I conducted an interview over Skype in a hotel in Fukuoka City, Japan.  I completed another interview in Ho Chi Minh, City, Vietnam.  Another interview was done mere hours after my landing in the USA from Vietnam.  Two interviews were done in hotel rooms on the road.

If I have advice to anyone job hunting, it’s this:

Don’t travel (too much) while you’re job hunting

It was REALLY stressful to coordinate across different time zones, find a stable connection, and most of all secure a quiet place to conduct the interview.  There were at least three instances where I spent money in Japan and Vietnam to book my own private hotel room to execute a Skype interview.

Don’t do what I did.  Stay in one place when you’re job hunting.  It helps… a lot.

Which, Finally, Leads to My Big Surprise of 2018

I’m pregnant.




Just kidding!  But believe me, this news is almost as shock inducing…



….I’m moving to Texas.

You know that platitude about “you never know where life will take you”?

Well, holy hell, coming back from China I could not even imagine that I would move halfway around the USA and end up in Texas.  None.  At.  All.

Although I experienced some inner turmoil with the decision to take the Texas job, I went with it.  I won’t go into details, but I will be working for a huge private firm in their Japanese business department.

Texas was definitely not high on my ‘places to live’ list, but I’m trying to be positive with the move.  I think Texas will pleasantly surprise me and give me a kick start to a new beginning in 2018.

More than anything–after all these months of being a nomad–I’m particularly looking forward to one life change in particular:

Having a permanent home.

Happy New Year Everyone!  明けましておめでとうございます!新年快乐!

Wishing all of my readers, friends and family a very happy and joyous 2018!

15 thoughts on “Why 2017 Was the Craziest Year of My Life… With a 2018 Surprise

  1. autumnashbough says:

    Wait, you’re going to Texas? Wait, you’re pregnant Wait where the hell are you?!

    I feel kind of airsick just looking at your pictures! 🙂

    Still, that’s pretty amazing and congrats. Now, Texas is huge. Please tell me you’re going to be in Austin? Or Houston? Or anywhere but Dallas/ Fort Worth because, well, there are a lot more assholes in Dallas than anywhere else.

    If you’re in Plano, then you will have a ton of Californians to hang with, since Toyota took so many.

    Also, thanks for the wedding disaster shoutout. Yours looks gorgeous! Sniffle, sniffle.

    • rubymary says:

      Haha, no pregnancy! But yes on Texas! I move to Texas at the end of the month… until then I’m going to suck up the liberal grandeur of Portland, Oregon, lol. I feel like I’m in a liberal lala land here.

      Unfortunately I am going to Dallas 🙁 I was hoping for Austin, but I guess Dallas is where all the big firms put their HQ. I hope I make it out alive there… I never EVER imagined myself living in Texas. I always tell Richard it’s the anti-Mary state (guns, capitalism and city sprawl run rampant…hooray); but, the job was too good to turn down, so I had to give it a shot.

      Yeah, I heard that 70% of the Toyota team decided to relocate to Plano (gasp!). When I did research online about moving to Dallas, it seemed like there were many people in my situation (having to move to Dallas for work). It’s a city with a lot of jobs, that’s for sure.

      Thank you for the wedding compliments! And Autumn, just had to give a shout out because no one writes better wedding disaster stories than you 🙂

      • autumnashbough says:

        Dallas! Nooooo, well, the good thing is that you will find a liberal niche pretty quick. Or at least I hope so. And you can start a fun “Texas Quote of the Day.” I spent a week in Dallas once (Houston, too) and I could not get over a) how much Dallas Texans thought Texas was awesome and b) how many of them had never left Texas.

  2. Joelle says:

    Oh man, you’ve really had quite a year! Enjoy the liberal quirkiness of Portland while you still can! I’ll be in town for the next week and a half (my parents live across the river) visiting family before returning to China.

    I’m kind of jealous of your year, but just reading about it is also super exhausting!

    Loads of people I know have been moving to Texas over the past few years, so looks like the Texan economy has been growing. Hope you find your tribe there!

    • rubymary says:

      Hey! Nice to hear from you again!

      Oh man, I love Portland… I really don’t want to go. Are you originally from the Portland area? Are you enjoying your time here? And how are things in China?

      Haha don’t be jealous of my year, it gave me more white hairs than I care to have. The wedding was wonderful, I must admit 🙂

      I read online that many people my age are being “forced” to move to Texas for job reasons. I didn’t think I would be that statistic–but yeah, I’ll give it a shot. Hopefully it works out!

      I hope you’re enjoying China!

  3. Marta says:

    What a hectic year you had, Mary! I get the feeling that mine, despite the two weddings, was not so exciting, haha. BTW I only organised one wedding, the Chinese one was completely arranged by C.!

    Good luck in Texas! Looking forward to reading your news from there.

    • rubymary says:

      Haha ok, if Richard and I have another wedding I’ll make sure he plans that one. Good thinking 😉

      Thanks again! I hope Texas will pleasantly surprise me….

  4. Jocelyn - Speaking of China says:

    Wow, what a year for you Mary! I’ve been moving almost every single year for I don’t know how long, so to see that you moved 10 times in one year, gosh I feel for you! Hoping things settle down a bit in 2018 and congratulations on getting married!

    My sister lives in Texas and she enjoys it, if that helps.

    • rubymary says:

      Oh Jocelyn, I know you can feel my pain! You moved a lot too… not only around the US, but also in China! Does it feel nice to kind of set up roots in Beijing? How has the transition feel?

      Glad to hear your sister likes Texas! I hear more good things than bad, so I think it should all work out 🙂

  5. Audra Edmonson says:

    I love what your aunt told you – and it’s totally true! You really did have an intense year. I’ve moved a few times in the past few years and each time was rough. I can’t imagine doing it ten times!

    But I hope you have a great time in Texas! I’m actually a Dallasite myself, and while we do have some not fun things, there are some fun things too. AKon is nearby (for anime fans, that’s a big plus), and with all the outsiders moving in, it’s not as cloistered and homogeneous as people think (plenty of liberals, don’t worry). if you want any tips or recommendations for the Dallas/Plano area, DM me! I’ve lived here almost twenty years, not counting my years in Asia.

    Wishing you best of luck, and a (hopefully) peaceful year!

    • rubymary says:

      WOW! I can’t believe I have a reader in Dallas! The world is a small place, indeed.

      The longer I spend in Dallas, the more I think it’s not a bad city at all (and there are a ton of things to do!). I’ve definitely been to cities that are far, far worse. I am excited for AKon, and I’ll probably be there because I help do interpreting/translating for a friend who owns an anime company. Lookin’ forward to it!

      Thanks for reaching out. I explored your blog and there are a lot of points I can relate to–and it’s inspired me to write more. I can’t wait to see writing from you!

      Coincidentally, I had a friend of a friend who recently moved here from South Korea! We’re both completely new to Dallas, so it’s been such a blessing to explore a new city with someone who is equally as lost as I am, haha.

      I guess my big question is: is there any good nature stuff to do? And do you have any advice for meeting new people? I might join a book club or take swing dance lessons, haha! I also heard there’s a place to develop artistic talents? Like take painting/photography/writing lessons?

      I’ll definitely PM you! Thanks so much for everything… seeing your comment really made my day. The first week here was rough, but it’s definitely getting better 🙂

      • Audra Edmonson says:

        I might try to find you at AKon then! 😉

        As far as nature things, there are a few. I’m personally not a big fan of heat so I tend to stay inside except in Dec-Feb. White Rock Lake has a lot of activities and nice trails; I was just there this week with a friend and the sunset walk was gorgeous. There are many parks around but I wouldn’t say they’re anything special. Just parks.

        Meetup.com is a great site to use for specific interest groups; I’ve found tabletop gaming groups and dancing groups, ladies groups, book groups…everything! (I used to do swing dancing at a place in Deep Ellum, but that was years ago, so I have no idea if they still meet, and I’m afraid I don’t recall the name…) And all pretty close, at least the ones I was looking at. I know there are some studios and things that do classes, but I’m pretty sure those are mostly in the downtown area. Speaking of which, downtown has all the great museums. Seriously some amazing work.

        I’m sure it will take time to adjust, and if you’re adventurous and visit and try out things often, you’ll quickly find what you like. Being a hub for a lot of transplants, there’s something for everyone. If you like Korean food, for instance, or miss Bingsu (for your friend from SK), the area of Carrollton near Old Denton Road and George Bush has a big Korean population. Restaurants, Korean style coffee shops, and even a Korean grocery store, H-Mart. It’s awesome.

        Yeah, definitely let me know if you have any other questions! I look forward to seeing you more around the blogosphere!

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