Current Progress

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wow the year is almost over. What a year. Let's see what I accomplished this year and what I want to accomplish next year.

Accomplishments in 2009
- Lost 35 lbs.
- Did the Tour De Cure Bike ride in Napa Valley.
- Hiked to Inka Trail to Machu Picchu.
- Started my own business.
- Moved to Vancouver.
- Fell in love.
- Survived getting dumped.
- Built upon priceless friendships in Toronto, California and Vancouver.
- Got to know myself.

Goals for 2010
- Lose 15 lbs.
- Do a Sprint Triathlon in May.
- Travel to Africa or Eastern Europe.
- 20,000 happy users of YouCook.
- Continue to keep in touch and build on my priceless friendships.
- Continue the rebuilding and discovering who I actually am, what protective layers I've built up over the years.
- Critically assessing who I am and who I want to be and how to get there.
- Be comfortable on my own two feet and in my own skin before falling in love again.

Thanks for following my journey in 2009. I'm really touched by all the support I've had in the last year. When we all build and design technology, we never consider the side effects - at least I never thought apps such as Blogger and Facebook and Google Talk were the key tools which saved me from going down a deep dark wrong path this year. The way I was able to reconnect with a lot of you guys this year, the kindness and friendship and compassion you've shown me has been more than I ever thought possible. Thank you technology :) Thank you to you that's reading this!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've reached out to my support network in the past 2 weeks. And I'm really really grateful at the kindness of my friends.

I've learned a lot of things:
1) When you think you have it bad, there are others who have it 100x worse.
2) Be true to yourself. Only you know what makes you happy, sad, what you want, what you don't want. Only you can change how you feel about something or how you deal with a situation.
3) Accept reality. Stress, anger, tension only arises when you're not in grips or accept reality. When you make assumptions about reality, when you don't choose to deal with current problems or disagreements and deluding yourself, you only ask for problems you arise. Not talking or facing something now just means you want to fight later. Or if it's too late to even fight, well you'll live with regret later.
4) Your #1 Goal should be your own happiness (being true to yourself as to what that is). Nobody can make you truly happy except yourself.
5) Friends and people that care just want to you to be happy. It's simply a happier place when you're happy.
6) Sometimes, you gotta realize, he's just not into you. And it's not the end of the world.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Life experiences

When I started this journey last November - it was about realizing that life was short. That I should not let life and opportunities pass me by. I realized that you should live life by the minute, live in the present, worry about things under your control.

I was unhappy before because I was living within other people's definitions.

I couldn't make a decision until a gun was pointed at me - be it time constraints, health constraints, career constraints, financial constraints. I let life dictate to me. I was happy with other people telling me what to do. The difference between being a kid and growing up is the acceptance and taking responsibility over your decisions.

I've always been good at not trying and when I fail, I'd blame other people. It was a good fall back and it protected me from getting hurt operating in that model.

Anyway, I said I changed last year when it came to decisions about making my own food or working out or smoking. Then I decided to take my career into my own hands and struggled with the same concept - that now I make my own decisions and the result of it is directly my responsibility. I still struggle with that everyday and I know in the big picture, it is rewarding and amazing to say, hey, I was responsible for that. Even through the failures, if you persevere you'll be successful.

The one thing I never talked about in my blog was falling in love. I had lived my whole life not knowing what makes me happy and being miserable about it and blaming other factors. When I found out that I could take control of my life, I felt that a lot of people were proud of me and were attracted to the new Thu. Inside though, I still felt fat and insecure about not knowing a lot of things. See there's all these things I didn't know how to do as a result of me losing weight. Like buy new clothes. I used to HATE shopping because I had to go to the plus size section where everything is ugly. But now suddenly I'm fitting into size 6 jeans and tank tops and really liking it. Now, I didn't know what to wear and how to put on makeup. I felt insecure that I'm a grown woman who didn't know the basics of being a girl, much less a woman.

I can't believe how things fall into place, when you just let go and be true to yourself and do what makes you happy. Gawd, every movie, everything your parents tell you, every book you read, it says the same. But I didn't know until I experienced it. It's like, when you let go and just be true to yourself, thats when all these opportunities come by.

Falling in love was the last thing missing in my life while I got the other parts of my life. It was exhilarating, it gave me a new source of energy and meaning in life. It was the missing equation of balance and living a fulfilling life.

Well, it is if I let the experiences play out. My downfall and the doom of my relationship is when I was super scared and stopped being true to myself. I lost focus of my original goals of being healthy, of taking my career into my own hands, of living everyday - and it slowly in time got replaced by the same insecurities and the same need for someone else to define what I should do or what is the prescribed method of doing something. As soon I started being selfish and want to protect myself from taking responsibility and finding other things to blame, thats when things started breaking down.

What I learned from the past year was that I was on the right track of coming to a realization of being true to what makes me happy and just doing it and accepting the consequences. Once you start hedging your bets and not being true to yourself, you set yourself up for failure.

Hey, whats important is that I'm alive and I'm healthy and I live to talk about my past year and my life. I've learned, the hard way, what happens when you don't. Even if it means carving your own path and not being able to reach for old experiences. I remember loving this poem in Highschool and graduating University. I do hope I keep at it, remind myself and stay true to myself and take responsibility and control of my life.

Thank you for all the support and for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cars in my life

My friend and I came up with a really analogy to explain life, especially relationships. If this post makes no sense, its ok just ignore it. If it does, I think I should write a book because it's helping me a lot.

I bought a civic. I needed a car right away when I moved to a new city. I realized that Bay Area public transportation sucked and I couldn't keep renting a car because it was expensive. So I went to a Honda dealership and I bought a brand new civic. I didn't bargain, I didn't shop around, I knew I needed it and it was in my price range so I bought it. It didn't need maintenance. I didn't want to repair it or worry about things going wrong with it, at least for the first 2-3 years. I was happy putting gas into it once a week and an oil change every few months. Obviously if I could afford a bmw or a honda s2000 or a ferrari, I would've bought it. I didn't consider it cuz I couldn't afford it and the luxuries that it offered didn't appeal to me at the time.

I took my civic on many road trips, I've driven a lot of people in it. So many memorable conversations, so many times where i had to clean it out from puke or dirt from hikes. I have a lot of pictures of my car in different places. I drove up the west coast, I drove to yosemite, I drove to tahoe. I imported it to Canada and went through that paperwork and traffic tickets.

So I've moved to Vancouver and my requirements for a car has changed. I don't actually need a car that much anymore - i live in the city there's public transportation and walking is convenient too. So hypothetically, say I got into a car accident and my car is totaled.

Obviously it's a shock that I've lost my civic. So many memories. So many things things that the car has helped me through. The car took me places. It provided conveniences of getting from point a to b quicker. It was reliable. But now that it's gone...I can choose to see if I can go to the wreck and get someone to rebuild it and salvage the workinig parts. I can choose to put it back together myself. But even if I got it back in some working order - it might be a lot of effort and parts of it might be missing or broken and I have to constantly repair it. It wouldn't be the same civic. I'd get bitter about having had spent all this money and time working on this car. So looking at the opportunity cost, that wouldn't be how I'd spend my time with this civic.

OK, so the civic is a write off. Now what. I can spend my time dwelling on how much I missed the civic. Or I can think....well what are my requirements. Do I really need a car RIGHT now?

The answer is no, I don't at the moment... Walking in Vancouver is totally fine. If I need to get somewhere faster, I can take the bus or skytrain. Actually walking is more healthy. I buy only what I need at the grocery store if I had to carry it back. I'd go check out local farmer markets and walk to china town to get a better deal since parking sucks and it was a hassle to take my car there.

In fact, I should be grateful that I'm alive!! That I'm healthy and still can focus on my business. That I shouldn't let the car being totaled affect the other parts of my life. I should realize that if I need a lift, friend could help me out. I realized that it is inconvenient to drive to visit friends places in vancouver because parking is expensive. And sometimes walking there, well it'll burn more calories and that I wouldn't worry about getting a ticket. I should be relieved that since I don't need a car right now, I'm not paying for insurance and have more money in the bank every month.

Also, I know that I don't actually want a civic. That my next car needs to have 4 doors so its easier to carry more people. Like if I had kids. 2 door civics won't do the job. I understand that needs change and requirements for picking a car changes. I know that I actually want an M3 or a toyota FJ next time. So let me spend my time now figuring out how I can get that car - making more money, being healthy enough to drive it, pick up hobbies like biking so that I have more reason to have a car that can carry my mountain bike next time.

There's a whole bunch of listing of cars - autotrader, craigslist. There's always cars on the market. Obviously I won't look at cars which already have people in them like wives or kids. I also need to define my price range and the features that I'd like in a car. The more specific I get, like the colour and each part of the car, the harder it will be for me to find a car that fits my criteria. Actually after driving the civic, I know more about what I want in a car. Maybe the horsepower wasn't enough or I want to learn how to drive stick next time. I'm glad I got to drive the civic for a while and understand what I like or what I don't like. And I think there's nothing wrong with the civic being my first car that I bought and now I know more about what I'd like in a future car.

Anyway, I can look at other people's cars and see all the things I like about it. They can even tell me their own experiences with their car and what they like and what they don't like. I can take their advice and put some things in my criteria of what I like and what I don't like. But at the end of the day, my car won't be a replica of someone elses' car. And I might like other things.

The profound realization that I had was....well there's a lot of cars out there. There's not just one special car that's going to last 50 years which requires no maintenance and that you'd always completely be happy with it. Look around, there's all different colours and features. It's ok to test drive cars and it's ok to not want a car when it doesn't benefit you in any way. All cars eventaully will require work and maintenance as well and it depends if it fits your needs and gives you the utility you need. And sometimes its ok and you dont to total the car to know that you need to upgrade or downgrade or get rid of a car. I'm lucky that my car is totaled and that it forces me not to think about getting rid of a perfectly good car even when I don't need it.

This analogy is helping me a lot put perspective on things. I'm going to miss my car....a lot. I'm going to look back and remember all the moments I spent in it. But it really isn't productive to dwell on it. I'm ok with walking right now but of course if there's a good deal that comes my way, I'll evaluate it at that time.