Update – Oct 2019

Almost one year later, another blog post. As I was mentioning to a friend of mine, I feel a constant tug-of-war between thinking I might be over-sharing — Who will see this and do I really want them knowing? — and under-sharing — I didn’t write enough about my life in X place and now I wish I had so I could look back on those times with more detail. 

As we know, memory can be quite fleeting, so why not document these unique moments in my life and keep those memories stored safely for future readings? After all, this blog is for me, myself, and I.

With that said, I was inspired to write a post after re-reading an old post about one of the lowest points in my life. This was in 2014. 

First of all, I had been let go from my job in Prague due to visa issues. Even now I look back and realize how unprepared I was for the process and how little I understood it. I abruptly left Prague for this reason and flew to Phuket and secured a great job, but I had not prepared myself mentally or financially for the big move. I earned enough to live comfortably in Phuket, but I was not earning enough to send money home to pay off my credit card debt and student loan debt. I felt irresponsible. So when I heard that my dad was ill, I felt like a lot of signs were pointing to “return home.”

I returned to California and I was thankful to hear that my dad was recovering, feeling much better, and overall making efforts to take care of himself. I then had to figure out how to take care of myself until I could go to South Korea as I had originally planned. The process of applying for a job and a visa would take several months. Accomodation was not as reliable nor as inviting as I had hoped. I didn’t have much money and I was back in the Bay Area where life was just expensive. I had some family members treat me so poorly they brought me to tears. But thankfully, I had quality people in my life who loved and cared for me when I really needed someone in my corner. With their support and my own resilience, I pushed forward and told myself that this would never happen again — I must never return home without enough means and a solid plan to take care of myself.

Five years later and I’m on a great path. My credit card debt is no longer haunting me. My free time is mostly spent on studying, reading, listening to podcasts and music, and finding peace in my surroundings. I spend a lot of time in cafes or my new apartment which I’ve grown very attached to. I completed a full-time contract at my school so I’ll be earning a completion bonus next month, and as a treat I decided to book a spontaneous trip to Seoul to indulge in all of my favorite Korean dishes! And in December I’ll be going to Bali, Indonesia and potentially trying out the location-independent lifestyle of teaching online.

But what I’m most excited about is a new career path. I recently completed a 16-week online specialization about UI UX Design and I feel confident that this is a great potential new career for me. When I enrolled in the first course in June, I woke up every morning ready to work on my projects and learn as much as I could until I had to go to work. I followed designers, listened to related podcasts and subscribed to countless platforms related to UX Design and Research. I joined Slack channels, reached out to potential mentors on Linkedin and Facebook, and I even started a Twitter account to follow all the valuable UX accounts on there. I was (and am) very much hooked. 

I plan to enroll in an intensive 6-month course in 2020, and I am very excited to begin! In the meantime I want to learn at least the basics of essential skills that should help me understand UX Design from a variety of perspectives, so I’m dabbling in HTML, CSS, Python, Data Analytics, and refreshing my algebra and statistics while I’m at it. And of course I’m still teaching and living my life here in Ho Chi Minh City, trying my best to not let the congestion and crazy traffic dampen my mood.

Overall, I feel good. And I wanted to share that. 

Vanessa

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