1985 – The year I was born. My dad had left China to go to grad school at Penn State. Not much else happened since it was quickly a new year!
1986 – The year my mom left to join my dad at Penn State.
1987 – The year I was raised by my grandparents and extended family. Of course I have little recollection of this, except for a vague memory of my grandma chasing me around the sandbox trying to feed me rice.
1988 – The year my future husband was born! Little did I know that there was this boy on the other side of the world.
1989 – The year I immigrated to reunite with my parents, who were basically strangers to me at that point.
1990 – The year I was studied by education grad students at Penn State as part of my child care. My mom even clipped an article about the research with a picture of me in it. I remember they had really awesome ice cream for a special event each year and I thought the minerals display was magical because the stones all seemed to glow in the dark.
1991 – The year we moved to Kansas and I started kindergarten. I learned that I was really good at memorizing the Peter Rabbit play. I believe this was also the year that my mom made me an awesome lion mane from yarn, so I could be a lion in a play.
1992 – The year we moved from a townhouse to a house house and I changed schools. This was just the beginning of being the new kid at many places!
1993 – The year I made my first best friend, who was a year younger than me. I loved going to her house to do something crafty like those baked art things. I believe this was also the year my dad got in a really bad car accident and I drew him a picture of us and our pet snapping turtle, which he had caught fishing at the lake.
1994 – The year my parents sent me back to China to stay with my other grandma for a year. I went to class with my cousin, who’s a year older than me, and was basically lost in most topics except for English (where I was far too advanced). I ended up never going to third grade in either China or the US. My language skills improved immensely according to my parents, though I feel I’ve always been pretty good! 😛
1995 – The year I returned to Kansas and went on to fourth grade as if I never left the school district. I had a special tutor who taught me cursive because that was really the one thing I missed in third grade. So I’m really good with cursive (if you can tell the difference between the Q and Z then you probably are too), yet who even uses it? I journaled in cursive for awhile just to keep practicing. Speaking of, this is the year I started my daily journal because I reeeeally wanted a diary that was being sold at the Scholastic Book Fair and my dad made me promise to write in it every day. Little did he know I’d keep doing that for 13 years, even when he and my mom would figuratively roll their eyes and question why I spent so much time doing it.
1996 – The year we moved to Missouri because my dad decided to leave his local government job and move to the private sector. I was doing well in school, so I was chosen to be a traffic monitor for the kindergarteners and I got to miss part of class each day to walk the kids to the buses. I think I still have the silver badge and orange belt I wore. I played a Native American in a school play about Lewis & Clark. Around this time I got my first cat Tom/Mimi in Kansas and then Jerriey in Missouri.
1997 – The year I had a pseudo boyfriend over the summer (this guy I had a major crush on who I told on the bus the last day of school – was started calling each other and I walked to his house to take walks with him and his bouncy ball). I started middle school that fall (and maybe this is TMI but I got my period after two years wondering when this whole puberty thing would hit). I think this is when we found a Chinese school for me to start attending on the weekends. Or maybe it was the following year?
1998 – The year I moved during winter break and the only time my education was split in the winter rather than the summer. My first half of seventh grade was in Missouri and my second half was in New York. This led to some incongruency in the classes I was taking and what I learned. At this point, I had chosen French for my foreign language after testing out Japanese, Spanish, and I think German. My school in Missouri had us learn all four language options in 6th grade so we could better choose one to continue with in 7th.
1999 – The year I settled in New York, found friends with a group of girls, and decided to join track & field. This was the stage when I decided that of my three career options, I most liked businesswoman. The other two options were doctor or engineer. I don’t know if my parents said this to me or I inferred that they’d want one of those. Well, this is when my dream to get an MBA was born! We got Jerriey a friend, my third cat Simon.
2000 – The year we all thought Y2K would shut down the world, so my parents and I went to Times Square for NYE to watch what would happen… and of course nothing did. Alas, it was still historic! I started high school and joined the founding swim team as well as NJROTC.
2001 – The year I took 11 classes – one on Monday nights, two alternated days, and the other either were during the remaining 8 class periods in the day. I did not have a lunch period (is that still legal?) so I’d grab something right before ROTC class. Usually a sandwich or Gatorade and Rice Krispies. Yeah, I’ve always had a penchant for junk food. One Tuesday morning, I was in math when the principal came in and said something to our teacher. I remember she was young and a strawberry blonde type. The shock on her face as she told us about the Twin Towers did not help me grasp the situation. I think she cried. We were all so stunned and in the next class, we just huddled and watched the TV looping awful footage. One of my classmates found out his aunt had died and many others weren’t sure of their impact. One of the planes must have flown right over our area just an hour earlier. I was grateful my mom was home and my dad was on business. We waited as the buses came to take us all home and then we sat glued to the TV, watching the same horrific scenes. I later learned that my mom felt she got lucky because she had nearly taken a job in one of the towers. Meanwhile, my dad had heard the plane flying way too low over his hotel on its way to the Pentagon. Closer calls than I ever expected, but thankfully still plenty out of the way for us all.
2002 – The year my parents and I moved from New York to California and I felt miserable. I did not like this new state at all and I was forced to choose between track and swimming. Swimming won out because my dad’s coworker had a daughter on the team. I also had to switch to AFJROTC because there was no Navy unit in the area. Luckily, I got to keep all my ribbons so I ended up having more than anyone else!
2003 – The year I learned that I was deterred by guys who showed interest in me. When my crush asked me to winter formal, I balked and never liked him again. I felt awful, but we reconciled and now he’s married to one of my best friend’s sister. I also had a foray into Christianity, but it turns out my “faith” was a feeling I couldn’t figure out and it was actually my feelings for said crush. Simon got lost while out playing and we never saw him again. 🙁
2004 – The year I graduated high school and started college at UCLA! I had the longest summer since we were the last school to start and I ended up joining Facebook to get a head start on making friends.
2005 – The year I interned on a movie, Wristcutters. I mean, it’s LA. I did enjoy it, but didn’t feel the need to make a career of it.
2006 – The year I pledged AKPsi and then interned at Smith Barney for the summer before moving to the UK to study abroad.
2007 – The year I absolutely loved being abroad, making international friends and living such a different lifestyle. I returned after a year and attended Monster DLP before interning at UCLA Live! and working as a product demonstrator (more about those jobs if you like).
2008 – The year I met Panda, became an Orientation Counselor, and graduated from UCLA. <3 Jerriey had been moved to Beijing with my parents and he died while we were on vacation in Cancun. </3
2009 – The year I moved to Singapore for a stint out there that was my first job out of college. When I returned in the fall, I interned for Opportunity Green and really got into sustainability.
2010 – The year I got my first “real” full-time, salaried job. I stayed with Panda in his apartment by UCLA most of the time and got to stay close to Bruin life.
2011 – The year I moved close to work and began to take yoga. Panda moved out to the greater DC area, though he was able to visit almost once a month. I got Missy and Molly!
2012 – The year I quit my job and decided to strike out on my own. I didn’t have much opportunity for growth at work, so they had kind of seen it coming. I was also struggling with not being able to see Panda as much anymore (he was traveling less) and I had long wanted to be an entrepreneur.
2013 – The year I transitioned from self-employment back to working at a company and officially moved out east. I learned that my entrepreneurial bug is something best satisfied with a co-founder. Solo work is so very lonely and not the type of environment I find invigorating. Panda got his Master’s degree and proposed to me on commencement day! We then found our dream condo and got the keys in December.
2014 – The year Panda and I got married with a simple ceremony at the courthouse with my parents, his parents, and his brother as witnesses. We’re not much for hoo ha. Early in the year, we moved into our first home and got Smokey from the shelter.
2015 – The year Panda and I had our 1-year anniversary “wedding” celebration with some extended family: my aunt and cousins and his uncle, aunt, and cousin. In January, I flew Missy from LA so she could live with us and Smokey would have a fur sister.
And that brings me to my 30th! This is the only time in my life when the dates match my age: on the 29th, I was 29 and on the 30th, I was 30. Fun, huh? Or am I just a numbers nerd? Whatever the case, I hear the 30’s are a time when you get into a rhythm of life and become more in tune with who you are. I certainly hope that I make good progress towards my goals and better understanding myself. I plan on making 2016 the year I went off to start my MBA. And there will be so much awesomeness to follow. 🙂