33 + career update + deep thoughts

I turned 33 earlier this month. I happened to be in LA for about 24 hours so I got to celebrate with both my side and W's side. I also got to see my extended family at my cousin's baby shower, which was another treat. All in all a great birthday.

I haven't shared much about my career on this blog but I wanted to update you as this week was kind of major for me in terms of career and decision making. For a couple of years now I've been pondering what career to enter, and when I moved to Columbus I decided to go into nursing. What appeals to me about nursing is that it is a hands on helping profession, can be utilized on short or longer trips overseas, and is family friendly, as you can work part time (i.e. if and when I have kids). Having not taken any science classes as an English Lit major, I took prerequisites all of 2011, worked and applied to schools. Meanwhile, W applied to jobs. Suffice it to say that it's been a big transition to enter the world of healthcare.

Over the last few months I heard back from most of the schools I applied to all over the country and I turned down some (i.e. ones in Columbus), and meanwhile W got the job in Denver. We took a leap of faith and decided to move to Denver even though I wouldn't find out till later if I got into school there. Luckily, the last day of my trip when I was searching for housing in Denver I found out I got into a school here in Denver that has a great program, so that was awesome.

But it also meant saying no to other great schools. After weeks of reflection, prayer and talking to people, this week I notified my dream school of Columbia in NYC (& dream city to live in), and also UCLA (close to family, and of course I love LA), that I would not be attending. I knew in the end I would stay here but I had to go through this process so that I could work through all of my different feelings about it, not have regrets, not be resentful towards W, and ultimately be at peace.

We've been through so many transitions in the last few years and it finally feels like we're settling down. W is happy with his new job, and I will be starting school in June. We've started lightly looking around at homes. Denver feels like a pretty good fit for us so far. Somehow notifying the other schools this week has made everything seem more real for me and I feel more committed to being here in Denver now.

On the topic of Denver...I think I have a better attitude about being in Denver because of lessons I learned in Columbus. I complained a lot about loneliness, not having friends, not being understood as an Asian American, and experiencing culture shock. But now that I've left I actually realize that I made some solid relationships there and there are people and things about Columbus that I miss. Also, I'm realizing my experience transitioning to Chicago was an anomaly. We made friends and community so quickly there and after just 1.5 years it felt like home. I think I expected Columbus to be the same way. Now that I know the effort and time it takes, and the slower pace of building relationships at this stage of life, I think I have healthier expectations for Denver.

Denver has also been somewhat easier because there are many transplants here from all over, and from California. Therefore, people are more eager and open to forming new relationships, and they know what it's like to leave friends and family behind to forge a new life in a new place.

Additionally, I approach Denver differently with regards to my ethnic identity. Some resolutions I've made for myself are the following:
  • give people the benefit of the doubt
  • be authentic and myself in terms of my ethnic identity instead of swinging between the extremes of isolating or assimilating
  • let mistakes people make be learning opportunities: teach people in grace and truth
Aah, I feel emotional and grateful at the end of this long blog post. If you've made it this far, I commend you. And thanks for reading, as always.