family travel

Overseas Travel: Taiwan and Hong Kong

Last month, I had the opportunity to take a ten-day trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong with my parents and brother. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t traveled abroad in the last decade, especially with the ebbs and flows of my career (and my personal finances). This particular trip was well-timed, since it was right after the Christmas holidays, so I could still stay with my family until we departed overseas. This was also a moment where I saw the huge benefit of working for myself/freelancing: I could work from anywhere in the world (of course, I also see the downside of this–I can work from anywhere, and I must keep working at least part-time to make sure I’m able to pay bills!).

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

family travel

History Repeats Itself in March

….or at least for me it does, and especially since 2013.

History Repeats Itself in March

I had anticipated March to be busy this year with two trips planned (one to SXSW and one to Beaver Creek, Colorado); I don’t know why I didn’t prepare better for the month of travel, though.

In 2013, I had three separate trips planned in different parts of the country: San Francisco, DC area, and Colorado–that was the start of my family’s annual ski trip in Colorado. On top of that, my parents also spent some time with me in Denver that year in March…so I remember that year being super busy. However, my first business wasn’t doing so well by that time, so I didn’t have much work to think about then.

I had two trips in March of 2014 and only the ski trip to think about last March–but again, still, I didn’t have much work to think about.

Hopefully this Texan town is truly happy. Seen on road trip to Austin, Texas.
Hopefully this Texan town is truly happy. Seen on road trip to Austin, Texas.

This year has been very different from the previous three years: lots of forward motion happening with Hashtagitude PLUS two trips equals a frazzled, nonstop-working Helene.

But, this has been an enjoyable month though–lots of reunions with friends at SXSW and spending quality family time at Beaver Creek. The best news of all is that I’ll be able to come back up to Beaver Creek on Saturday to celebrate my niece’s birthday with the rest of our family (minus my younger brother); that’s what makes all this hustle and stress worth it.

It’s important to know when to pause work for those priceless moments.

family feelings Who I Am

And so it is.

No fear in standing before others.

I broke the news to my parents last night about my big life decision.

At first, they were bewildered, perhaps slightly angry. But then they calmed down, or psyched themselves out, with words of encouragement for TAOpivot ‘s future success and that I don’t need an advanced degree to have my own company.

I was expecting much worse of a reaction, but thank goodness for clients rolling in already (slowly, but surely). Still, I spent the day today anticipating a phone call from my dad, angrily spewing “WHY DID YOU LEAVE SCHOOL” to me. But, he didn’t.

Even if my dad decided to blow up at me, I need to learn to not be so sensitive. A lot of times, I worry about telling my parents many things because I worry about what they’d think and say to me. I suppose I have these same fears with other loved ones as well; I worry too much about what they may think if they knew everything about me.

In the end, though, I know I cannot control how others think of me; I can only control my reactions, my thoughts, etc. There’s only so much life to live; I’d rather spend my time working on TAOpivot and other things I enjoy than worrying about others’ opinions about me.

death family Who I Am

A Beautiful Life.

Last night, received news that a long-time family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer. She survived longer than expected, but it still shocks the system to realize that she’s now gone.

Life is so incredibly short. I found myself feeling terrible about how I get caught up in petty drama. Why not just let that go & live life to the fullest?

We take others for granted so much. One moment they are there to greet us; the next moment, they are gone. Why do we continue to act as if we will live forever? That our loved ones will always be there for us?

I remember last year, when I was about to leave my hometown and move to Denver. We had a birthday party for her & she gave my sister and me going-away gifts: the necklace shown below.

She said to us,

“Never forget where you came from.”

And, I won’t. Her family has helped our family out so much. Now, to make her spirit proud…I won’t give up.


#foodie family

Daily Post Day 55: If I could have anything to eat…

…I would eat something cooked by my dad.

I really miss his cooking. He can cook pretty much anything and I’m so thankful to have grown up with a diverse palate.

It is hard to replicate my dad’s cooking on my own because I am still not familiar with the different spices, oils, condiments that he uses. I either use too much of one or another ingredient. Don’t get me wrong, I am able to cook pretty well on my own with recipes I find through magazines/the Internet…but when it comes to my father’s recipes, I still have a long way to go.

In our family, we have talked about compiling a cookbook of recipes from our father. Well, we best start gathering those recipes if we want to preserve our family history of cooking.

P.S. How convenient to write this post on my father’s birthday! 🙂