The Ruby Ronin’s Review of 2018

The Ruby Ronin’s Review of 2018

There are many moments that make up the Ruby Ronin’s 2018–but none ring louder than one word that acts as a theme to the entire year:

The Year of Texas

This time last year, I was horrified at the prospect of moving to Texas.  I remember sitting in our temporary Portland, OR home, staring out the window into a sea of gloomy skies and barren winter trees, wondering why the hell I was moving to Texas.  As the days nearing my move inched closer, my anxiety only grew.  Portland was starting to feel like home to me.  I was finally with my husband.  Life was good, despite being unemployed.  Why was I leaving again?

When I set foot in Dallas, I knew I wasn’t in Portland anymore.  Hoodies and tattoos were replaced with leather cowboy hats and boots.  In place of Portland’s public transportation and walkable streets were sprawl and traffic.  My European bakeries, a dime a dozen in Portland, were now replaced by Whataburgers, Chik-fil-a and jugs of iced tea.  Most of all, the trees, mountains, and nature I was so accustomed to in both California and Oregon were gone.  Now on the horizon were the flat, barren plains of America’s heartland.

Still, not all was bad in Texas.  The people are polite, although distant.  The food is actually insanely good, and diverse.  The winters are mild.  The cowboy culture is kind of cool.  Many of my friends came to visit, and we had a great time exploring the city.  BBQ is awesome.

Overall, for me, 2018 was the year of Dallas.  It’s a year I’ll never forget–both good, and bad.

The Year of the Introvert

I moved to Texas and I didn’t know a soul.  I didn’t even know a friend of a friend of a friend.  My husband often wasn’t here, as he still worked in Portland.

So, I tried to make friends at work–but let’s just say, it’s extremely hard to break into the circle of the South (all of my coworkers are native to Dallas or the South).  I tried Meetup groups.  Classes.  Group outings.  A few language exchange clubs.  It got me out of the house, but it was socially exhausting with few rewards–I didn’t make one single friend.

One Friday, instead of agonizing about how to meet people during my days off on the weekend, I said to myself:  I’m done.  I’m exhausted trying to make new friends in a new community yet again.  I’d rather be alone than try to befriend someone I’m simply not compatible with.

Now I go to the movies alone frequently (I’ve seen over 15 movies this year).  I read books like a maniac (one per week).  I go on many walks alone.  Binge watch TV.  Explore coffee shops.  Cook elaborate meals for myself.  Exercise like a maniac.

I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but I’ve learned how to handle being alone for very long amounts of time.  I have discovered my inner introvert.

But still, the loneliness was crippling.  Worse than Japan.  I hope I never have to relive this ever again.

The Year of New York

Despite forcing me to live in Dallas, all of my managers and teammates are in New York.  I was flabbergasted to move to Dallas and find out that I’m actually part of a larger New York team and I’m working “remotely” from Dallas.

As a result, I flew to New York–a lot.  Sometimes twice in a month.  I went from never setting foot in New York in my life, to flying there every other week.

I love New York City–it’s the kind of place I always imagined it to be.  The neighborhoods.  The cast of characters.  The food.  The skyline.  It’s a place deeply embedded with character, history, hope and ambitions–and honest to god, there is nowhere else like it.  I may not want to live there, but damn, it’s a fun place to visit.

The Year of Jet Setting

If I wasn’t flying to New York for a meeting, then I was flying to Portland to see my husband.  I had to go to the Bay Area for some holidays, and Utah for others, and a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana.  In terms of international trips, my boss suddenly put me on a plane to Japan in July and I traveled across much of Canada for a wedding and leisure.  In between, I hopped on a plane to see friends and family in California to keep my sanity.

In summary: I was on a plane.  A LOT.

The Highlight of My Year

My husband took me to Montreal, Canada in August…. and I loved it.  The European architecture.  The good, French influenced food.  The bilingual residents. Parks, natures, and adorable neighborhoods galore.  Markets with fresh produce.  Delicious beer and coffee to kill for.

I’ll (hopefully) write about Montreal in a later post.  It’s a magical place and was my most memorable moment of 2018.

Overall, 2018 was the year of survival

I try to be grateful.  I have my health.  All of my limbs.  My family is doing well.  I’m happily married and, as a couple, my husband and I couldn’t be better together.  We take vacations.  We both have jobs.  In some ways, we’re living the dream.

However, if I’m brutally honest on here–and somewhat selfish–I must admit that there were moments when I thought I wasn’t going to make it through my Dallas tenure in 2018.  The learning curve at my job was steep, and as a “remote” worker in Dallas I had no one to rely on for help or training–and I had no colleagues on my projects.  I failed again and again to make friends, and although in the end I was content with being alone, the isolation still stung.

I had no colleagues to vent frustrations to or ask for help, and I had no friends to fill the gap of loneliness created by my new workplace.  While I was physically healthy and on the financial upswing, my mental well-being took a huge nosedive in 2018.    This also explains my minimal updates on the blog in 2018…  I felt no motivation to write.

As this kind of lifestyle away from my husband was simply unsustainable, I decided to confront my boss.  A nervous Mary told a very high-ranking stakeholder that you either let Mary move out of Texas, or Mary’s going to move out of your company.

And I’m happy to announce that he not only consented, but was very supportive.  I can finally reunite with my husband.  We can finally be together–and I can keep my job.

See you soon, Portland!

The year of 2018–or Texas, as I like to call it–was a rough one. I survived, and I’m moving on up–back on up to rainy Portland with my husband.

16 thoughts on “The Ruby Ronin’s Review of 2018

  1. GOOD FOR YOU!!! I’m so happy for you and I’m so proud of you (if that’s allowed of non-parental persons, if not, I’m just extra happy for you).

    If you’re working remotely, who the heck cares where you are? Okay, I am sure there are reasons…no, no, I’m not. Still seems stupid.

    And oh! The crushing loneliness of being a transplant to the south. It’s really hard. I’m so sorry, and here are some words I thought I would never say: good job giving up. It’s hard enough to break in if you’re in school, or work in an office, or have a church, or have a kid, or have a dog, but to be working at home and living alone? Impossible. Effing impossible CUBED.

    I’m glad you had the experience and yet…I feel like you already knew what it was like to be alienated and who needs to go through that more than once? You already learned compassion and empathy. Another go round is just sadistic.

    Huge hugs and I’m looking forward to posts with lots of trees.

    1. Wahhh Autumn your comment felt like a virtual hug and it made me feel so much better. Thank you!! Sometimes I thought something was wrong with me (because I struggled to make friends), but your sympathetic words made me feel better (not having coworkers or any connections man… hard!). My friends in California and China kept telling me I was a nice and sociable person and it was just the circumstances, but sometimes I let it get to me. Ugh, it was rough! I can’t wait to get the F out of Texas, haha.

      And yes, I think after a year my boss realized that I could do this job from anywhere (thank god). I still think putting me in Texas was so stupid. New York would have made more sense (and wouldn’t have been so lonely on my end), but oh well.

      Thanks again for your comment–it means a lot!

      1. You are welcome! And never for a minute think it was you. I have a friend with kids and a job who also does a ton of volunteer work. She’s got boundless energy and is also super social. She moved to the deep south a few years ago and has yet to make a good friend. It’s really tough. Nice to your face, but just won’t let you in.

        My sister and her husband could not wait to see Texas in their rearview mirror after her residency there.

        Another couple I know who moved to Charlotte took about 10 years to make decent friends. Everyone who grew up in Charlotte already had plenty of friends and no interest in adding anyone to their social group. They had kids in schools, joined local pools, etc., but it took years and other transplants to find real friends.

        Humans are social creatures. We’re miserable without a community. I’m glad you are going back to yours. Texas never deserved you anyway. 🙂

        1. Oh, your poor friend! I CAN TOTALLY RELATE!! Ugh, a few of my coworkers would repeatedly say to me: “you and your husband should come over to our house for game night, it will be fun!” I enthusiastically said yes many times, but not once did they invite me over. Nice to my face but, in reality, they don’t give a sht.

          And wow, your sister did residency in Texas? I had a friend (from Colorado) who was dating a resident in Houston; she tries to tough it out in Houston and make it work, but eventually she couldn’t take it and they broke up. After living here, I TOTALLY GET WHY.

          And yup, the point about everyone already having a core, social group in the South is so on-point. I told my coworker I joined a random book-club that I found online, and she laughed and said: “wow, I cannot even IMAGINE joining a book club with a bunch of strangers! My book club is a close group of girlfriends–we’ve all known each other since high school.” Yeah. It was then I knew I wasn’t going to be let into any social circle ever.

          Sniff, thanks for encouragement again! I’m happy to go back to west-coast-best-coast. The South is a beast man, and I don’t think I can tame it.

          1. The South is a pack of hyenas. You’re a lioness! Leave them to their inbred, close-minded ways — with pride, of course. You were never meant to be a hyena. 🙂

  2. Oof. I was friendless and in a long-distance relationship for maybe like two months a few years ago… it was awful and I would not wish it on anyone. I tried to focus on exercise and eating healthy and my job and whatever, but really those months felt like useless nothingness. Either way, you survived it! You’re moving back to Portland! Yay!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad someone else knows the pain of being utterly alone! Luckily my husband came to visit frequently and I could escape to other states to see friends; but man, when I was stuck in Texas for 3-4 weeks at a time, I would straight up lose my mind.

      I’m glad you also survived that 2-month stint! Huzzah!

      And yes, can’t wait for Portland. Don’t know if that’s “the place for me, but having more nature and husband nearby already improves the situation 100 fold!.

  3. What an interesting year. It sounds like you did make the best of it though. And you got to experience Texas! But I’m still so confused as to why your job had you move down there. To be honest, I was hoping for a happy ending in Texas, but then I didn’t really realize your hubby was still in PDX! So it’s better if you’re up in the NW, although I have SUCH a love/hate relationship with that dang city. But yeah, you got to be with your man…

    Are you going to be traveling as much? I remember you saying how it was rough (and I can imagine).

    Like you 2018 was ROUGH so I felt like barely blogging. I think I went down to once a month and I pretty much stopped posting on FB. I was so miserable and didn’t want to burden anyone with it. Plus, when you have a public blog, it’s not like you can really bitch about work. I still don’t feel like I can be open about why we really moved.

    Here’s to a brighter 2019! xxoo

    1. I’m confused why I had to move to Dallas, too. I think they thought I’d be more useful to the company here, but that was not the case (instead, they spent more money flying me up to NYC to attend events/seminars/etc..).

      I know you had a rough time in Portland, OR… tbh, I’m scared of moving there, too. I only lived there for a month and, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t really interact with the local community much. I consider myself liberal, but I’m afraid that Portland will be off-the-scale-liberal and I won’t be able to fit in. Plus, it seems like everyone in Portland doesn’t have a real job? Haha, I see so many baristas and bartenders… I wonder how they make it! As one of my friends once said, “Portland is where ambition goes to die.” I think that statement is accurate, and it scares me. At the very least, Portland has more nature and I don’t have to deal with crazy Texas drivers, so that’s already a massive improvement.

      But man, Texas was tough. It’s definitely not the worst place I’ve ever lived in, but once I’m moved out of Dallas I can say with 100% certainty that I never want to come back. I’ve had a lot of bad memories here in 2018 and the community of the South is just not my jam.

      I know you had a really rough 2018 Lani… I hope 2019 is better for you! I think we’re both going to start on better footing, and we both know what we want! Here’s to more blogging in 2019!

      1. Absolutely. Its already better! Yeahhh, I love to hate on PDX. It has incredible parks, Powells, and great restaurants. Theres a lot to love too. And I just drove through Dallas – and it was a monster, so I get it.

        But you got your man! Any city is better if you have someone to lean on! Hugs!

          1. Hahahaha. Aww, you know, everyone has a different experience someplace and who knows what I’d feel like if I went there now? I thought Portlandia did a good job. 😛

  4. So glad to read you can reunite with your husband now. Your work arrangement sounds very weird indeed… Why didn’t they have you relocate to NY? It doesn’t make any sense to make you move to Texas to work remotely!! Anyway, good that it’s in the past now.

    Your 2018 sounds very similar to my 2011, although I was single then. But I moved to a city in Spain where I had never been and it was so hard to make friends. Locals had lived there their whole lives and had their group of friends. I thought they were quite insular, they even went on holidays to beach town apartments 10 minutes away from their winter homes. I made a grand total of two friends, one was not even Spanish and the other went to another city for college so wasn’t the “usual” local. At least my colleagues were nice, but most of them were closer to my parents’ age…

    I just realized I have always moved for jobs. From Beijing to Shanghai, from my hometown to Valencia, from Suzhou to Shanghai… Next time I hope I can either work remotely or find a job in Suzhou xD

    1. “Locals had lived there their whole lives and had their group of friends.”

      Oh man, that’s just like Texas!! Why make new friends wen they already had a set group of friends, right? And like you I’ve only made a grand total of 2 friends in Dallas (and both of them are expats, haha!).

      I thought your job was remote? It seems like you work from home a lot! I’m always moving for work too… I hope that after Portland I can take it easy and not move for a while, haha.

      Thanks for the comment, Marta! Made me feel better

      1. Yes, my current job is remote. I have been working from home for 3 years. But before I was always moving for new opportunities, ha ha. Hope you can stay in Portland! BTW, are people there antivaxxers? I think I read of a measles epidemic around there?

        1. Really!!?! I have to ask my husband (cause he’s a doctor in Portland). I thought the antivaxxers were mostly in wealthy enclaves in California… sheesh, rich, crazy Americans. They’ve lost their minds.

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