Happy New Year, friends! I hope this year brings you and your loved ones peace, joy, health, and safety.
It’s been quite a year for me — and most of it was good despite the pandemic. I got hired as a staff writer with Scary Mommy and then promptly got doxxed by a white nationalist forum because they didn’t like an article I wrote. That was unexpected (to say the least). I got quoted in the New York Times — my quote was the lead for the title, too!
I got published in a lot of places, but also wrote less for my own site. I didn’t really mind, but for those of you who only follow me on the blog, I thought I’d do a quick recap of 2020.
Chinese and homeschooling updates
Sometimes, I feel like a huge fraud. I haven’t written about teaching my kids Chinese in a super long time — not because they’re not still learning it, but because it’s pretty much on autopilot and we’re in a holding pattern. 2020 and the pandemic definitely threw a huge wrench in the works, though.
Here’s the quick sum up of where we’re at:
- Older three kids (11, 9, 7) are continuing with their Chinese tutor via Zoom and have to do lots of Chinese reading every weekday. The older two have to read 2 Chinese books (~60pages = 1 book) every day. The younger one has to practice reading 2 Chinese books to me with the aid of zhuyin. They always have to do their Chinese homework.
- The youngest (4) would normally be in Chinese preschool 5 days a week. But alas, no more. And he’s really too young to sit in front of a Zoom call and so, when I can bring myself to do it, I read him Chinese picture books and we’re slowly going through Sagebooks. He’s effectively monolingual in English and perhaps passively bilingual. Folks, I just don’t have the energy to do it.
- The kids all speak English to each other, get upset if I make them watch Chinese anything, and only speak Chinese to their tutor and maybe my mother. I’m really, really upset about missing out on Taiwan in 2020 and likely 2021.
- As for homeschooling, I’m really terrible at it, and my husband is pushing for my kids to go to public school next school year. I’m going to have to decide which I hate more: homeschooling or dealing with public school.
- However, my kids took super fun classes last year — one course on the Ohlone tribe that originally lived where we currently live — and learned animation, pottery, and a bunch of other fun outdoor education classes (before it all shut down).
- Did I mention I really, really hate teaching my kids? I’m not bad at it, I just don’t enjoy it.
All things BTS and K-pop related
Folks, I can’t help it. I love BTS and K-pop. It’s a serious problem — but one that I welcome. Thanks to BTS, I’ve written over 190,000 fictional words this year. That’s a lot of wording. If you’re interested, here’s my latest finished fic. (18+ material for sure.)
I started reacting to K-pop and BTS videos on YouTube and went from 35 subscribers on 1/7/2020 to over 6,000 subscribers today. My favorite part though, is the community of K-pop lovers — who are also middle-aged and originally felt so alone but now, don’t. It’s lovely. I even recorded 20 podcasts!
Here’s my most popular YouTube video:
I’m about 30 subscribers away from hitting 6,100 subs — which I would love to hit before the anniversary of my first YouTube reaction video on 1/7/2021 — so if you’d like to subscribe to my channel, I’d super appreciate it.
Due to writing 190k+ fictional words this year, I realized that I essentially wrote the equivalent of two novels. This has inspired me to write the book I’ve had in me for the last 4 to 5 years (but was ill-equipped to write) and that’s what I’ll be writing in 2021.
In 2021, I got published in so many more places than I ever imagined: Romper, Scary Mommy, Mom.com, Healthline, Diverging Magazine, Mochi magazine, Inheritance Magazine, and The Influencer Activist Toolkit. I’m hitting about 20 articles a month now — and that’s been surprisingly doable (though somewhat exhausting).
Here are 3 articles I’m most proud of from this year. (My favorite one got pulled off the Scary Mommy site for my safety, so alas.)
All the King’s Horses – on forgiveness and parental estrangement
“I am always astonished at how fragile we humans are. How easily we burst open, leaking everywhere.”
Child Care Challenges: How Are Parents Managing in the Pandemic?
I’m mostly proud because it was my first “journalist” piece that wasn’t an assigned SEO article or an opinion piece — and it made me realize I could write hard things.
Kublai Kwon: The Social Engineer Behind Joy Ruckus Club
There is a whole frustrating tl;dr backstory to this piece, but ultimately, I’m pleased because I wrote a damn good profile on a significant Asian American in the music industry.
Wrapping it up
For 2021, I’m aiming to be more proactive instead of reactive. I tend to only pay attention to whatever is currently on fire at the moment — but that’s not a way to live long-term. I hope you all are safe and healthy, and I thank you for taking the time to read and share your life with me.
What are you hoping for in the new year?