Looking Back: Decade in Review

The 2010s. What a decade.

The first five years were painful and the lowest period of my life; the last five were exciting, yet stressful, with many important milestones checked off: I bought my first place, got promoted, and most importantly, reconnected with CT. We’ve since renovated our first home together, went on some amazing adventures, and got engaged (underwater!).

One of the most important things I’ve learned this decade is that asking for help is OK and this applies to all aspects in life: home, work, friends. I’ve had to work through this internal struggle of being burnt out but still wanting to do everything myself and then beating myself for being burnt out. In the beginning of the decade, I would have never, ever, ever, even have thought about hiring cleaners or a wedding planner, but here I am now with both because Iwe need the help. I’ve had to learn to delegate at work to save my own sanity – this is still a work in progress but I’m getting better at it. So as flattering as it would be to be considered Superwoman, I am not and I’m OK with that now. And btw, this is in no way a humblebrag – in fact, if you are someone that can do everything, I applaud you; YOU are amazing.

2010

I started this blog! I initially wanted a place for me to document the food I was eating, making and the places I was visiting. I started trying out more restaurants this year and one of my favorites was Alinea (and it still happens to be on my top 10 list).

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Alinea

2011

There was a lot of snowboarding. I even hiked up 13,000ft to ride the bowls at Breckenridge.

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2012

I took a hockey clinic hosted by the LA Kings!

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Also experienced via ferrata for the first time

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2013

I ran my first marathon.

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I also moved down to San Diego, intending to only stay for a year or two, but ended up living there for 6.

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2014

A rough year for me, but I got through it by getting back to the basics and focusing on myself. I read and cooked a lot this year.

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2015

I finally got a chance to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF.

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And became a first time homeowner!

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2016

I reconnected with CT ♥

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2017

CT and I ice skated on Lake Louise and snowshoed to Peyto Lake.

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We also explored Machu Picchu.

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2018

We renovated our first house together. This really tested how well we’re able to work together and communicate. There were definitely miscommunication at times and differences in opinion, but we got through it all and we’re super happy with the end result.

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kitchen before
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living room before
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master bath before
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downstairs guest bath before
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kitchen in process
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kitchen in process
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living room in process – CT’s sketch haha
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master bath in process
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downstairs guest bath in process
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kitchen after
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living room after
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master bath after
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downstairs guest bath after
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downstairs guest bath after – still in love with these floor tiles

We went on the vacation of my dreams and spent 2 weeks eating our way through Italy (and also a few days Barcelona). We listened to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in Vivaldi’s church in Venice, made fresh pasta in Bologna, reenacted “hey cutie” from Master of None Season 2 in Modena, witnessed a beautiful sunset in Florence, biked through Tuscany, hiked Cinque Terre, made pizza in Naples, and visited the historic sites of Rome.

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ode to Master of None season 2 – “hi cutie”
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2019

We completed our PADI certification in Maui.

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And then got engaged while diving in Seattle.

I’m excited for what lies ahead in the 2020s. And what better way to start the decade than by marrying my best friend ♥

Certified

My first time to Maui was in 2008. With H. I don’t remember much from that trip with the exception of snorkeling at Molokini Crater. The visibility was fantastic, but the water was really rough at the surface which made snorkeling a bit challenging. I took in a good amount of water, which really dampened the experience (no pun intended).

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So when CT initially asked to go to Maui together, I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. One, because I had already been. And two, I had already been with H. I know there shouldn’t be a problem with returning to a place that you had been with an ex, but I don’t know… it just always felt weird to do so. I was able to hold him off for about a year and a half by going to other places like Canada, Peru, and Italy. But it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore his request any longer. And besides, it would have been unfair to keep doing so.

To differentiate from the past, one of the things I thought we could do together on this trip was get PADI certified. This has been on my bucket list and it just made sense to check this off in a beautiful location with exotic marine life such as Maui. Luckily, CT was interested too!

I was considering two dive shops: ProDiver Maui and Maui Dive Shop. I ended going with ProDiver because it was cheaper and just had great reviews across all platforms (yelp, google, tripadvisor). ProDiver was $369/person for 3 days, while Maui Dive Shop was $499/person. E-learning is paid separately to PADI and the cost was $190/person.

The open water course spanned across 3 days so much of our vacation was dedicated to scuba. The first half of Day 1 consisted of taking a short quiz of the E-Learning material, practicing assembling and disassembling our gear, and then moving to the pool for the swim and float tests. These tests involved swimming for 200 meters without touching anything and floating/treading water for 10 minutes. This is non-negotiable – you must know how to swim in order to proceed. We were told that there are have been people that have signed up for the course thinking otherwise, which honestly blew my mind. People… DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?

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After the swim and float tests, we put on our gear and started practicing skills in the shallow end of the pool. That first breath underwater through the regulator was such an awkward experience for me. I kept panicking and thinking, this is NOT normal. It took a while for me to feel completely comfortable underwater, but once I did, I had no issues completing skills with the exception of mask/snorkel skills. As a contact lens wearer, mask skills were THE WORST. I was always afraid that I would lose my contacts in the water.

We then moved to the deep end of the pool where we practiced additional skills such as 5 point descent/ascent, proper weighting to achieve neutral buoyancy, hover, BCD oral inflation, etc. The first day felt a little bit overwhelming, but we were really excited to take what we learned into open water.

Day 2 was the first of our open water dives. The dive site was Makena Landing, which is about a 20 minute drive from Kihei.

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We set up and put on our gear, performed buddy checks on one another (CT and I) and then headed off into the water for OW Dive #1. I still panicked initially and it didn’t help that I seemed to have a difficult time descending down (our instructor had to check that I was weighted properly), but after I got over the initial descent, everything felt so natural and effortless.

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the first of many turtle sightings

After about 45 minutes or so, we headed back to our dive flag, ascended and swam back to shore. Once back on land, we switched out our tanks and discussed the dive plan and skills for the next dive. We performed buddy checks again and headed back into the water for OW Dive #2.

Once again, I was having trouble descending so our instructor tried to help by adding more weight to adjust my buoyancy. He started getting concerned when I had more weight than he did so he checked my BCD and lo and behold, the left weight that was supposed to be clipped into my BCD was missing. BUDDY CHECK FAIL, CT! Good thing one of the snorkelers near the shore found it and a ~9 lb. piece of lead wasn’t lost on the ocean floor!

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The last day of OW certification was our designated boat dive. We hopped onto a boat at the Kihei Boat Ramp and headed out to Molokini Crater.

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kihei boat ramp, taken in 2008
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same ole kihei boat ramp, taken in 2019
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Before we could have “fun” and explore, we had to knock out a few skills. One of which was to hover via BCD oral inflation. This means I had breathe in through my regulator, switch to the BCD, blow into that to inflate my BCD (and become more buoyant), but save enough air so that when I switch back to my regulator, I can clear it with another breath out before resuming normal breathing.

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oops! too much air

Another skill was the mask removal. This involved removing my mask completely, putting it back on and clearing it. I honestly thought I was going to have a panic attack, but I somehow managed to stay calm. I kept having to remind myself to only breathe through the regulator in my mouth and not through my nose. Sounds easy, but it really did take a lot of focus. And surprise, surprise, I also had trouble clearing my mask this time and ended up opening my eyes while I still had water in my mask. Ugh. THE WORST.

After completing our skills on OW Dive #3, we spent the rest of the dive exploring around Molokini Crater before heading to another dive site, White Rock, for OW Dive #4.

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The highlight of the dive was seeing a manta ray. What a great way to finish our certification!

Aaand just like that, we became PADI Open Water Certified. Bucket list ✔️

This was another great trip in the books, not only because of what we achieved but because it helped me get over my anxiety about returning to a place that I had been with an ex. Wonderful new memories of Maui have now replaced the faded old ones and I am actually looking forward to sharing the places that I love with CT and creating more memories together.

On Healing

I saw this on Instagram and it really resonated with me…

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Instead of beating myself up for not magically getting over T, I have accepted my sadness and am continuing to let myself heal. It’s ridiculous to believe that such an abrupt change in my life wouldn’t impact me in any way. But day by day, it gets easier. Day by day, I feel stronger. On some days, I find myself wanting to cry, and honestly, that’s OK. For now, it really is OK to not be OK.

On Moving Forward

“How were you able to tell me that you love me while you were seeing someone else?” I asked.

“I just pretended,” he replied, matter-of-factly.

At the time, that wasn’t enough for me. For someone who relies so heavily on logic and reason, someone who believes in the universal law of cause and effect, I needed a thorough explanation that connected all the dots and made sense. But what I eventually learned from this experience with H is that no one owes you an explanation, not even the person that you loved for the majority of a decade. You can bury yourself in the how’s and why’s or you can move on realizing that an explanation of any sort would just be a band aid, not a cure all for your pain.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that everything happens for a reason, but instead of letting that reason hold me back, I’m learning to let go and move forward.

On Changes

We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better. – C. JoyBell C.

The past year has been a time of change for me. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

I kicked off the year by continuing my pursuit of becoming fit and living a more healthy lifestyle. I achieved this through…

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endless tucking at Pure Barre

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my new-found obsession with inversions (and love for yoga)

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Getting back into shape wasn’t the biggest change of the year. It was moving down to San Diego for work.

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Despite the positives of living in San Diego, I’ve had a hard time adjusting. It’s been four months and I still don’t feel connected to my new home. Every chance I get, I go back to LA to see my family, friends and Henry. There is nothing that keeps me in SD. Nothing. It could have been an easier transition if I had a friend here who had an established social circle that he/she could introduce me to. Or maybe if I lived in the same area as most of my coworkers.

Before I made the move, I thought I would love living alone. I envisioned Bruce Willis screaming out “Freedom” in Braveheart. Um, negatory. Living alone SUCKS, especially after living with someone for the past 7 years. Living alone doesn’t lessen responsibilities, it increases them tenfold.

Who is going to move a 100 lb box of furniture into the living room and build it? Me.
Who is lugging 10 bags of groceries from the car to the 3rd floor? Me.
Who is lugging trash from the 3rd floor to the garage? Me.
Who is doing all the household chores? Me.

And while this whole experience has been mostly a pain, I owed it to myself to live alone at least once in my life. I needed to understand what it was like to not rely on anyone, to do things myself and for myself. Because only then would I be able to truly appreciate cohabitation with Henry. It’s kind of like how you need to learn to love yourself before loving others 🙂

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Whistler 12/26/2013

Speaking of Henry, we got past the “seven year itch”. Barely. We were broken up for a bit. Our relationship had been on cruise control for the past few years and as a result we got too comfortable. We mistook living with each other as spending quality time together. It’s not. We also mistook talking to each other because we lived together as communication. It’s not. So as painful as it was, having that short time apart was a good thing for us because we learned these important lessons.

As if making a big move, transitioning to a new job, and going through relationship issues weren’t enough to deal with, I had a health scare about a month ago. I found 3 enlarged nodes in my neck. After an ultrasound and 11 vials of blood (9 in one day!), my Dr. said that it’s likely not cancer or anything serious. I’ll continue to monitor the nodes and decide in a month or so whether I should go forward and get a biopsy… just in case.

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2013 has been rough, especially the last half of the year. So on this last day of 2013, I am happy to say, good riddance!

Hello, 2014!