Browsed by
Author: rubymary

Traveling Provence and Southern France in March

Traveling Provence and Southern France in March

My fellow friends and family looked at me in horror when I said my husband and I would travel to Provence and southern France in March 2022. When we bought the tickets to Paris in January 2022, the omicron virus was still raging in both the US and EU and the border situation was precarious. Regardless, we took a gamble on the tickets. It was our last chance to take a long vacation and go abroad (due to husband’s work duties), and we were itching to travel.

So why France, and Provence in particular? read more

What Christmas is like with an Asian Mom

What Christmas is like with an Asian Mom

Growing up, I dreamed of a Christmas like the one I saw in the movies. A big shining tree, a table surrounded with family, a house decorated in lights, and most of all the anticipation of waking up on Christmas morning to a tree filled with presents just for me.

Well, with my Asian mom around, all of the above seldom happened.

My Irish dad expected his wife to be in charge of making Christmas a joyous, holiday season — just like his mother did for him as a child. Instead of do it himself, my dad (like most men) had the unsaid expectation for my mom to accomplish all these things for his children. read more

The Best Winter Street Food in Asia? Sweet Potatoes

The Best Winter Street Food in Asia? Sweet Potatoes

There’s a certain Thanksgiving dish that, with one bite, takes me back to my favorite winter comfort food in Asia: sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular winter street foods throughout China, Japan, Korea, and basically any country in East Asia with temperatures that drops below freezing.

In the USA, we know the typical sweet potato dish at Thanksgiving as a diabetic’s worst nightmare: mashed yams sprinkled in brown sugar and baked with a blanket of marshmallows. In China and Japan, however, sweet potatoes are prepared au natural: just the potato, wrapped in foil or paper, and baked until soft and moist. read more

A Year of Change: Making Big and Difficult Life Decisions

A Year of Change: Making Big and Difficult Life Decisions

One of my greatest faults is my inability to make quick decisions, even about minor issues. I am so indecisive that I will see-saw back and forth for mundane decisions such as what to wear for the day or what meal I should select at dinner. So when I’m faced with the task of making a big and difficult life decision — such as relocating or pursuing a new career — I am usually paralyzed with anxiety.

This year was filled to the brim with life-altering choices that I saw as junctions in the big road we call life. read more

Escaping the Summer Crowds in North Cascades National Park

Escaping the Summer Crowds in North Cascades National Park

After a truly devastating year of loss and isolation, I was dying to go on a vacation and get away from it all. However, with a new job and little PTO under my belt, I was stuck taking time off during the most dreadful holiday weekend of the summer: Fourth of July. I knew the Utah, Wyoming and California National Parks were going to be oozing with humanity, and fighting for parking spots and waiting in long hiking lines sounded like my worst kind of vacation.

A quick google search soon had me scoping out North Cascades National Park in Washington state — one of America’s least visited National Parks with “only” 120,000 visitors per year (for comparison, Yellowstone gets 650,000 annual visitors). Turquoise lakes, majestic mountains, lush forests AND no tourists? This made North Cascades an easy sell to my husband and two close friends. Within minutes, we had plane tickets booked for a summer adventure that was (crossing fingers) relatively empty. read more

Asian Parenting vs. Western Parenting

Asian Parenting vs. Western Parenting

I was on the phone with my friend Coriander, a social worker in Pittsburgh.  We grew up together in the deserts of Utah in a coal mining village.  Growing up in a remote desert location makes for some unique experiences, but even more so when you throw my mom — a refugee from Vietnam — into the mix.  

Coriander has fond memories of my mom bringing plates of fruit and cups of tea to us during our middle school playdates, but he also remembers the constant frustration and fighting that would play out in front of him as my mom and I struggled to communicate with each other through an invisible, but powerful cultural barrier.  read more

Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho: A Perfect Summer Roadtrip

Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho: A Perfect Summer Roadtrip

The Sawtooth National Forest near the Sun River Valley in Idaho is a perfect summer getaway for those who live on the West Coast. Why go to Sawtooth National Forest, you may ask? Not only does it lack the massive crowds that most other national parks have, but it also offers equally stunning hikes and activities.

Skip to the four day itinerary at the bottom if you want to go straight to the logistics!

Never heard of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho? Me either.

My friend in Utah and I were looking for a nice halfway vacation in between Portland and Salt Lake City. When I opened google maps and scanned the geography, I saw that the Sawtooth National Forest was right smack dab between Oregon and Utah. read more

The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

I recently listened to a podcast where a New York Times journalist interviewed employees at Conde Nast about corporate culture at a company famous for being predominantly white and upper class. The journalist focused on one employee in particular: a black woman who served as the personal assistant to one of the chief directors. The personal assistant said she was treated well, her opinions were heard, and she was given the utmost respect from her boss and colleagues.

Yet in the end, after a year and to the shock of her colleagues and boss, she resigned. read more

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Whenever I travel to a new city, I explore the sights and take in the sounds with a lingering question in the back of my mind: could I live here?

When I was younger, cities like New York and Shanghai appealed to me for their sheer number of job opportunities, excitement, and cultural amenities. As I start to get older and think about what I truly want in a city, I tend to choose easy-going over exhilarating. In other words, I ask myself: Could I raise a family here?

Ranked below are my top five most favorite cities that I would easily relocate to if given the chance. I selected and ranked these cities according to six criteria: safety, convenience, culture, stability, comfort, and cost. read more

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

The view from my previous company’s Tokyo office

Working for a Japanese company actually has many unseen benefits compared to an American company. Despite what I wrote in my previous blog post, it’s definitely not all bad. While there are still many drawbacks to being employed at Japanese companies, I think it’s worth looking at the silver lining.

For the first time in my 10 year career, I am starting a job that has absolutely zero involvement with Japan. I will not work with Japanese clients, I will not have Japanese colleagues, and I am most definitely not working for a Japanese company. read more