On This Sunday: Missing out

On This Sunday, I still lament having to miss out on Christmas this year.

It’ll be my first Christmas holiday since I was 12 in 2001 where I had no formal plans. Combined with not having Thanksgiving plans year, this also marks the first time since 2001 where I missed both holidays in the same calendar year.

Perhaps the biggest loss for me this year is not being able to spend time with my family in San Diego — something I have looked forward to every Christmas since 2010. These are people I care greatly for and don’t see as often as I wish to. Being able to spend time with them each year is far more valuable than any presents that I get from anyone.

Ordinarily, having to travel between the Bay Area and SoCal would not be much of an issue if I had the kind of disposable income I enjoyed in years past. With my lagging career prospects over the last year and a half, I took the huge leap of faith of moving to the Bay Area from my native Los Angeles in October with no job or housing lined up. I moved to the Bay Area as my career prospects appear much brighter up here than in the other part of the state where I spent most of my life in and my career began. There are indications that the gamble is slowly paying off. However it pans out over 2015, I truly hope that I won’t see myself missing out on any more holidays from here on out. One missed holiday is too many.

Merry Christmas, America! For the rest of you, have a great rest of your holiday season.

On This Sunday: Staying on

On This Sunday, I am staying on with a national leadership body in 2015 that I joined for the first time earlier this year.

I will continue to serve on the PRSA New Professionals executive committee, this time as a newsletter co-chair. I’ll have the privilege of serving with Hanna Porterfield of New York City, who rounds out the other half of this two-person team in a 15-member committee. Hanna and a few others are new to the committee while the rest will be the same folks I’m currently serving with.

My new role in January involves putting together the section newsletter for new professionals in public relations. This includes curating content by publishing articles and posts from fellow young professionals, recognizing new members of our section and highlighting ways to get involved with our section. Together, with Hanna, we’ll continue to make all of that happen.

This new responsibility with the section newsletters begins in January. By that time, my current post as a diversity liaison will come to an end with no successor in 2015.

Have a wonderful week, America!

On This Sunday: Christmas Came Early

Although we are still 18 days from Christmas, I feel that my gift came early this year — even if it doesn’t seem like an ideal one at first.

On This Sunday, I lament having to miss out on spending the Christmas holiday for the first time in 13 years. Ordinarily, since 2010 at least, I spent the holidays with my family in San Diego. This year, since I expended what little money I had left to relocate to the Bay Area from L.A. to rescue my flailing career prospects, it left me unable to afford flying back to SoCal as well as purchasing gifts for anyone. It is a disheartening fact that this will be the case this year as these are the few people in the world I love and care greatly for and do not see as often as I wish to.

Yet, despite it all, this holiday season won’t be as bleak as I envisioned it to be. For once in my life, I made an incredibly gutsy decision with no guarantees and little certainties as to what the future has in store for me. I made this decision based on an informed knowledge that this area holds more hopes for me than where I previously lived. There are already signs, based on my own efforts, that my career prospects are better in the Bay Area and slowly on the rebound. Somehow, I still continue to attend graduate school at San Jose State University without much trouble.

It may not seem like the best gift I could ever wish for but with patience, it very well might turn out to be what I have always wanted. While I’m not able to spend time with anyone this year, I won’t feel alone thanks to the continuing love and support from people that matter most to me. I won’t forget that.

Have a wonderful week, America!

Reflections and Expectations: There’s Always Next Year

A month and a half has passed since I moved to the Bay Area from L.A. in hopes of getting my career back on track.

There are already signs that things are looking up. Granted, it is a slow progression and it will be a while before I fully recover from a nearly three-year-long slump that continues to plague my personal and professional lives. I expect and hope 2015 will be that year for a full recovery. It’s long overdue.

For now, let’s look back at the month that was and look ahead to the final month of 2014.

November

Steel Wheels Conference – On Nov. 15, I was in Sacramento for the Steel Wheels Conference, hosted by RailPAC.

The one-day conference featured rail industry experts, advocates and current and former public officials all presenting ways to enhance and expand passenger rail service of all kinds from light rail to high-speed rail in California and across the country. It’s the kind of conference for passenger rail enthusiasts and policy wonks alike. I’m a bit of both.

I’ve been involved with RailPAC for a few months in an informal capacity as an occasional contributor to the organization’s publications. I expect my involvement with RailPAC will gradually increase in the new year once I officially become a paid member.

Thanksgiving – For the second time in 12 years, I had no plans for Thanksgiving this time around. The last time I had no plans for this particular holiday was when I lived in Philadelphia back in 2012. Much like two years ago, I did not have any family nor close friends in the Bay Area I could spend the holiday with.

I still took it upon myself to make the day as productive and enjoyable as I can possibly make it. I treated myself to a Thanksgiving lunch / dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant in San Jose, followed by a trip to the movie theatre near where I live in Campbell to see Horrible Bosses 2. At least the meal was good.

December

Holiday season – Although I’ve had Christmas plans every year since I was 13 in 2002, I have great doubts I’ll be able to have one this time around due to continued financial constraints. I can only hope for a holiday miracle where I still have the opportunity to spend time with my family in San Diego, as I have done every year since 2010. There’s always next year.

Mineta program – I am just about to wrap up my second semester and fourth class in graduate school at San Jose State University. Six more classes left until I earn that Master of Science degree in Transportation Management, projected to happen in June 2016.

How was your Thanksgiving holiday? How about the month of November? What are you expecting for the rest of the holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone!

On This Sunday…: Not All Bad

On This Sunday, I’m marking the end of my second Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 12 years where I had no formal plans.

As I moved to the Bay Area just last month, I was unable to afford making the trek back to Southern California to spend the holiday with my family there. I expected as much that I would miss out on Thanksgiving this time around long before I officially relocated from L.A. on Oct. 11. Christmas, however, still remains up in the air due to continued financial constraints.

Nevertheless, I still made this Thanksgiving just as productive as the last time I missed out in 2012 due to living in Philadelphia at the time. This time around, I treated myself to a Thanksgiving lunch / dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant in San Jose — certainly a lot better than the McDonald’s I had to settle for two years ago. Afterwards, I went to a movie theatre near where I live in Campbell to see Horrible Bosses 2. My take on the sequel? There never should have been one. Save your money, folks.

My next new edition of Reflections and Expectations will be posted tomorrow. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

On This Sunday…: Let’s Talk Turkey

Philadelphia Center City. One of the pictures I took Thanksgiving Day 2012.

Center City Philadelphia, Thanksgiving Day 2012.

On This Sunday, I’m gearing up for what will be another lonely Thanksgiving holiday this year.

I have no plans for Thanksgiving this year. It’s only the second time in 12 years where I am expected not to have any plans on this particular holiday — the last being in 2012, when I lived in Philadelphia. Much like two years ago in Philly, I do not have family in the Bay Area nor any close friends that I can spend the day with.

Although it will be another lonely affair, I don’t expect it to be all bad.

Two years ago, I took SEPTA around the city of Philadelphia with my camera to take pictures of the skyline and various landmarks, taking advantage of the low traffic in the city to embark on that endeavor safely and easily. For Thanksgiving dinner, I went to a McDonald’s near where I lived at the time as it was the only restaurant I could find that was open that day.

Not sure what I will do this Thursday. I’ll probably go see a movie or find any restaurants other than McDonald’s not closed on that holiday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, America!

On This Sunday: Only one so far?

On This Sunday, I’m glad the midterm elections are finally behind us. The results were truly disappointing and I won’t miss any of that.

When it comes to the racial composition of congressional leaders, among the Asian-Pacific Americans that currently serve or have served in Congress, only one was Korean-American — Rep. Jay Kim, a Republican who represented a district in Diamond Bar, Los Angeles County from 1993 to 1999. Makes sense since Diamond Bar has a significant concentration of Korean-Americans along with the L.A. area being home to the largest Korean population outside the two Koreas.

Unless someone beats me to it within the next ten to twenty years, I hope to be the second Korean-American to serve in Congress as well as the first Democrat in the legislative body. It could likely be a district in California or some other state that I may find myself in down the line. Wherever it happens, I would be honored to make a difference on many levels.

Have a wonderful week, America.