Graduating, Leaving California, Traveling to Ireland and Getting Married

Graduating, Leaving California, Traveling to Ireland and Getting Married

I apologize for the long, silent hiatus on this blog.  I usually try to update once a month, but since May ’17 my life has been absolutely crazy.


I honestly thought going back to school would be a nice break from “real, work life,” but it was actually more demanding and taxing both mentally and physically than my previous 8-5 office job.  In graduate school I literally spent 10 hours a day in the library reading (and comprehending) the 500+ pages of literature, as well as write an average of 2-3 essays per week.  Graduate school was a repetitive schedule of sleep-study-eat-study-sleep.  That was my life for ten months.

Although it was honest-to-god painful to do so much studying in such a short time frame, it was refreshing.  Instead of the repetitive, administrative tasks I was assigned during my previous job, I was pushed to think critically and write my thoughts clearly and with conviction.  I was given so much homework that unless I worked smarter and more efficiently, I wouldn’t finish.  The amount of knowledge I took in from graduate school is simply immeasurable.  Despite my initial hesitation and anxiety about going to graduate school, I can now say it was probably the best life decision I ever made.

Not only was I slated to graduate in June, but I also had four 20-page papers due for finals; my family was visiting from Utah, I had three days to pack up all my things and leave San Diego forever; and somehow I also had to make time to say farewell to the friends I made there.  It was really intense.  There were many, many, many sleepless nights.

And then, somehow, I graduated.  Unlike undergrad, I felt proud.  Like, holy-shit-I-can’t-believe-I-finished-this-hard-as-hell-program proud.  Myself and fellow classmates were beaming, smiling, giddy—we all were—because we all suffered together and somehow, someway, we made it.  Personally, it was a huge achievement and one of the proudest moments of my life.

Leaving California

I had approximately five days to move all of my belongings, fix my damaged car, return the car to the dealer (since it was a lease), fly to Northern California to help my man move, then say farewell to family and friends and leave California forever and ever.  It sucked.  I was almost too busy to be sad.

But for some reason me, the girl who hates driving with a passion, became an emotional wreck when I handed the keys of my red Prius to the dealer and said farewell to my very first car forever.

All things said and done, my Prius was “just a car.”  Yet to me, it symbolized my life in Southern California.  The first thing I did when I decided to stay in Southern California was go to the dealer and get the Prius.  It was almost like making a three-year contract with the state itself, because it’s impossible to cancel a car lease.  I remember feeling like a true adult filling out the papers for the lease agreement as my aunt and uncle stood by my side to help guide me through the process.  That Prius took me all over Southern California and was always by my side.  Fom LA, to the inland empire, to San Diego, and beyond.

And now it came full circle.  With my aunt and uncle by my side once more, I took the keys and gave it back to the dealer.  The return of one’s car in California can only mean one thing: Your time here is up.

California was a weird stage of my life.  It probably wasn’t the smartest place to move as someone who was trying to re-acclimate to US life (moving to the city with the world’s worst traffic? Brilliant idea, Mary!); but despite the initial pain, there was also a wealth of happiness and pleasure.  I met the man of my dreams, my socal coworkers became life-long friends, I spent more time with and got to better know my family in LA, and I went to one of the best graduate schools in the country.

California, despite my complaints, you’ve done a lot for me.

I don’t know if my life path will bring me to California again, but those three years not only matured me—they also blessed me with a wealth of fond memories.


Immediately following our move from California, my man and I were on a flight to Dublin.  We spent two weeks touring the north and west of Ireland.

And man, Ireland does not disappoint.  Like Japan, it fulfills all your expectations.  Ireland is now one of my favorite places in the world and will definitely become a repeat destination.

I’ll write a separate post on Ireland later, but all I can say is: just do it.  Just go to Ireland.  You’ll love it.

….And Getting Married

You know when people say weddings are stressful?


Especially for the bride.  I mean, let’s be real, the bride usually plans the whole wedding.  It’s a long story, but neither my parents or in-laws really helped with the wedding planning, so I had to rely on my man and my maid of honor for all sorts of wedding advice.  Throw in a bridesmaid who threw out her back and canceled a few days before the wedding, along with a groomsmen who is—well, no other way to put this—an asshole and also canceled mere days before the wedding, and I had a complete stress fest on my hands.  Getting 20 Vietnamese relatives, 10 friends from China and Japan and a whole lot of out-of-towners to a venue in the Utah mountains was no easy logistical feat.

But we did it.

Thanks to an awesome groom, a stellar maid of honor, my aunt and her daughter,  helpful friends, some good vendors, an amazing venue and dumb luck—the wedding was perfect.  Our wedding was a smash success and almost everyone who attended said it was the most enjoyable wedding they have ever been to.

And of course, I’m happy to marry my companion, my soul mate, my best friend and my one and only.  He was so patient, understanding and helpful during the whole chaos of the wedding, and we were a happy, giddy couple on our special day.  Now that we’re married nothing really feels different—and honestly, I think that’s what leads to happy and long marriages.

Post-wedding my now-husband returned to work and I took my friends from China and Japan on a one-week road trip to Yellowstone.

I returned from Yellowstone, dropped off my rental car keys, went back to my parent’s home and crashed.  After almost three months of nonstop life events, I can finally give a sigh of relief.  It’s over.  It’s all done.  I’m free.

Will the Ruby Ronin Keep Writing?

Uh, duh.  Of course.  I have a slew of posts ready that range from Ireland, to Yellowstone, to wedding mishaps and more.  I promise to never leave the blog silent this long ever again!  I apologize dear readers—and trust me, I do miss writing—and you!

15 thoughts on “Graduating, Leaving California, Traveling to Ireland and Getting Married

  1. So good to have you back! Though I am glad I could follow most of your adventures on Facebook, at least. I was dying for wedding pictures. DYING.

    Yeah, there’s as asshole groomsman at every wedding. I had THREE not show up, though, 2 weeks before the ceremony — and this is after we flew to all their weddings the year before. Yes, flew. Maybe all good husbands have shitty friends and weddings weed them out?

    Congrats on doing so very much in such a short time!

    1. Yay! It feels great to be back (and finally have a normal life again, haha). I am also dying for wedding pictures–I went to post some and alas, I realized I had none since I was the one getting photographed! Once I get my professional ones I’ll post a few!

      WHAT!!! You had three not show up!!?! WTF!!! Did you send them a severed animal head in the mail? I want to paint a giant flakey dick on my shoulda-been groomsmen’s car. Richard won’t let me but… we’ll see.

      I guess all good husbands must have shitty friends. My best friend and a few of her other friends also had at least one groomsmen drop out. Men *eye roll).

      Thanks Autumn! I gotta catch up on your blog, I promise I will! Phew, I’m going to spend an entire week just getting caught up.

  2. That is a very strong accomplishment and an inspiration for lazy people like me.

    Can I ask the following:

    How did you pay for it? A Masters must be at least 60k?

    Do you think it will help you get a job? You must have or wouldnt put in that amount of effort. I guess Im asking, have you applied for jobs but were declined because you didnt have the Masters or did you pursued it for career advancement?

    Did it change your view of the world, or just make you understand the world better based off your life experiences? Are life experiences more or less important? You seem to be implying it was a life changing, or enlightening event.

    1. Oh man, I don’t think grad school is a matter of being lazy or not–it’s a matter of whether you’re willing to shell out money or not, haha. I’d be happy to answer your questions!

      How did you pay for it? A Masters must be at least 60k?
      I put off getting a masters for years because I didn’t want to pay, and then I tried finding ways around it like getting a scholarship in China/Japan/EU… but honestly, the US has the best higher education system in the world and it’s (believe it or not) worth the money. Without a doubt.

      I paid for it by taking out loans and saving some money. I was in the one year professional program which was more expensive, but shorter. I chose the one-year program because I thought finishing a year faster would allow me to work an extra year and thus make more money (plus two years seemed like a long time at my age). However, the two year students were able to apply for TA-ships and other part-time jobs and get major tuition discounts… so I think a lot of my fellow 2-year classmates were able to get considerable discounts by getting various fellowships/scholarships/TAships/etc…

      Do you think it will help you get a job?
      I was really worried about this because my major (international affairs) isn’t exactly a STEM field. However, my program boasted a 98% employment for every graduating class. Also, the alumni work is priceless. Having alumni working in the government, NGOs, various private companies, etc… it’s a great way to make a connection and get an “in” without having to network too hard. Also, my program came with four, full-time career coaches we can use for the rest of our lives. In other words, this program was worth it because it’s a really good program–I had four career coaches trying to get me a job all the time. Totally worth it.

      I was never denied a job because I didn’t have a masters, but I also wasn’t paid as much as someone who had a masters–and they could use the masters thing as an excuse. I think this is quite common in public sector jobs especially. Having a masters allows me to jump a few rungs in the public sector’s pay grade. As for private sector jobs, I think the graduate degree gives you a good opportunity to shift your career if you’re looking to completely change careers.

      My program was really amazing. I had professors that I will never forget for the rest of their lives. I see them on CNN and quoted in NYT all the time–they’re super famous, yet they’re very humble. They would meet with me multiple times in their office and just chat with me. It was great. I learned SO MUCH and my entire view of the world (and even security in Japan) was flipped upside down. I was truly enlightened. I thought that because I lived abroad and could speak foreign languages I was capable of working an international affairs job… but after this program, I realized I knew nothing (I was like Jon Snow). Now I feel much more prepared to get a foreign policy job.

      And if anything, it helps your writing skills. A LOT.

      Ok that was a really crazy long comment haha, hope it helped 🙂

  3. Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished. Unfortunately, not all your pics loaded (might be my Internet), but since I follow you on IG, I saw all your wonderful adventures and beautiful photos!

    Best wishes on your new journey and chapter. Hugs and kisses from this side of the world!

    1. Oh no!!! I’m trying a new thing out with the images and google… I’ll try to fix it later :/

      Thank you so much Lani! I appreciate your well wishes! I’m heading over to SE Asia next year (possibly), would be cool to meet up in Siem Reap!

  4. Yes that helped, and the vibes your giving from your excitement and motivation alone, youll have no problems ever finding a job, thats like 90% of it I think, even without connections. I just think getting all that done in a year is truly an accomplishment.

  5. Nice to see you back! It’s amazing how many things you did in a few months! I can totally understand that the blog was left aside, haha. Glad I could keep an eye on you on Instagram! 😛

    Congratulations on your masters and on your wedding! The pics I saw looked beautiful! How long does it take to get the pics from the official photographer there? In China it is one month and in Spain… 3-4 months omg!!!

    1. Yay!!! Thanks Marta!!! I’m sure you were super, crazy, insane busy as well–you were better about posting, though, haha.

      Thanks so much for your well wishes! And congrats to you, too!!

      I just got my photos (3 weeks later) but some of them were missing… I can’t believe in Spain it takes 3-4 months!!! Do they do a super great job or something? haha

      1. I hope they do haha! The photographer in the Chinese wedding was quite shitty so for Spain I booked a super star one… quite expensive but I hope it’s worth it hahaha. I think it takes so long because they edit all the pics from all the weddings they work at! I hope I look good in at least one or two xD

        1. Oh, an expensive photographer is definitely worth it. That’s sad the Chinese one was so bad 🙁 I guess they spend tons of money on the 婚纱 photos before the ceremony and everything else is secondary eh? Haha

          That’s kind of fun (and stressful!) you have two weddings, but I think the Spain one will be great 🙂

  6. Congratulations!!! I had no idea it was coming up so soon – that’s awesome!!

    Super proud of you for successfully finishing so many things in a tight schedule – I have absolutely been there (whyyyyy does that always happen!) and it’s rough but you feel so proud at the end.

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