2012–2013: The round-up post

I have never done one of these round-up posts before, even mentally, and I suppose by the time I finish it, I’ll know whether or not I’ll do it again 🙂

The Personal

  • I turned 27, but was still mistaken for a minor, most notably by the electrical inspector. I fully expect that this will continue to happen. My parents are both still seen as being in their 30s or early 40s quite often, especially with their respective younger children.
  • We decided to start our own family!
  • My husband got his Green Card on our second anniversary, and if you know things about Green Cards, you know that is extra wonderful. He also finished his doctoral comprehensive exams in March and can (should) be formally referred to as Dr. Adrián Sandí 😀
  • I got my first little tattoo. I’ll never have sleeves or anything super visible, as much as I love the idea, but I doubt it will be my only one.
  • I finished paying off my eye surgery (PRK for legally-disabling but stabilized astigmatic near-sightedness). I took a zero-interest health care loan because I needed to build credit – adult life, eh? Within the next 6 years or so, this will have paid itself off because I no longer have to go to the eye doctor, buy glasses, order contacts, or spend time doing any of the above. Worth it. Also, opening my eyes and being able to see clearly in the morning is nothing short of magical. If you have good vision, don’t ever take it for granted.
  • Not quite 11 months after moving there, we moved from Wichita, Kansas back to my homeland of the East Coast in a two-week whirlwind of activity, settling in a really awesome place in Jersey City at the end of June. I miss Boulevard Brewery beer, The Anchor, and The Alibi Room, but it’s not like I’d be doing any of that now, anyway. I am supremely happy to be near family and friends again.
  • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding, which I am quite hilariously bad at, but seeing two of my favorite people get married was worth it. As a bonus, they had kegs of Ommegang Hennepin at the reception, so my last beer for a while was a very, very good one.
  • I made some really amazing and inspiring friendships, mostly with various WordPress people I’ve managed to meet in person.
  • I now tweet all the freaking time, because that’s how the WordPress community works, and because I do consider my Facebook to be more of a non-public zone. My Facebook friend count has been decreasing, because I remove people. It is in no way mean or personal – I just find myself not wanting to share with not-so-close acquaintances so much, especially with more communication in a short-form public medium like Twitter and starting to feel like more of a public figure (whatever that means). Anticipating a baby while being pretty private about the details probably doesn’t help, either.
  • I traveled quite a bit in general:
    • February: Phoenix
    • March: Austin
    • May/June: Rochester, Boston, Richmond, Virginia Beach (home!), NYC before we moved back
    • July: Lake Placid, Albany
    • August: San Francisco, Chicago
    • September: Baltimore, Puerto Rico
    • October: Tybee Island
    • December: Costa Rica

The WordPress: Maker and User

  • Without a doubt, WordPress has become an integral part of my daily life. It encompasses paid work, volunteer work, idle brainstorming, and some of the most interesting and close friendships I’ve ever made. No, we don’t talk about WordPress all the time when we chat or get together 🙂
  • I was given commit access to core as a guest committer on December 18. Woohoo!
  • I contributed to the 3.4 and 3.5 cycles, earning myself a spot as Contributing Developer in the credits for both after being a Recent Rockstar in 3.3 at the end of 2011. I was especially active in 3.5, with (I think) 45 patches committed and even more time put into administrative-y things like helping lead and shape the UI group.
  • I passed my one-year anniversary with 10up as the first full-time employee, and don’t have plans to go anywhere. I’m now the “Lead User Interface Engineer”, which means any number of things, but most importantly it means that I am a worthy and tested engineer of code, code reviews, interfaces, and workflows. I adore the team and also get to spend some of my time hopefully making work lives better all around.
  • I can’t share salary information (sorry-not-sorry, because who really cares beyond just being curious), but I’m making enough to comfortably live in the NYC metro area on my pay alone. Money only matters to me as much as I need it to get by and avoid that shallow type of unhappiness, but let’s face it: it feels nice to earn more toward the area of your own self-worth and survival without having to take on a part-time job or two, like I did when I worked for the university.
  • I spoke at WordCamps Phoenix, NYC, Chicago, and Baltimore, and attended WordCamp San Francisco and the WordPress Community Summit (along with the preceding Contributor Summit).
  • I was on WP Late Night twice as a guest, which was fun.
  • I wrote a blog post that spread farther than I anticipated, or would ever have anticipated. And another one. Both were wonderful experiences, especially since I’m not usually much of a long-form blogger, or even really much of a sharer of things that are actually personal.
  • I made this blog my photo-posting location of choice, and try to keep myself looking at the iOS app like a plain old user (because I am). I also finally hooked in some more IFTTT recipes, so it’s an ever-growing collection of things I find to be of interest.
  • I care exactly zero about page views, so you’re going to get none of that in this roundup, even though technically I track it. I think it’s probably pretty low, and probably exactly because I don’t care about it.

The Music

  • I performed in January and April, and haven’t really played since. Though I am proud of those performances, I am not proud of this overall trend. However, I recognize it as a not-abnormal tip in balance as what I do and think about the majority of the time is ever-changing.


I’m not one to extensively plan or set specific goals for a given time period, or to compare one time period to another as a measure of anything specific beyond just observation. My goal and primary motivator has been the same my entire life: to be better than I was before. I don’t compete with others or with external pressure. All that said, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to write down a few of my daydreams.

  • Become the best damn mom I know I can be. I know I share a bit about the normal pregnancy things, like the baby kicking (REALLY HARD) or feeling fatigued, but am pretty reticent about everything else outside of one-on-one or small group conversations. I won’t be sharing pregnant belly shots, or talking about names, or anything like that, but I will ease up on the hiding for a moment and just go ahead and write down that we are expecting a boy sometime around April 1. I still hold my breath about it, because I know how much can change in every moment, so this better not be a jinx. That also means that right at this moment I am 6 months pregnant and yes, I look it.
  • Be a better all-around WordPress-er. This means blogging more and being a user, blogging ABOUT WordPress more over on that blog, helping in the forums (even if just in Alpha/Beta), updating and writing plugins, continuing to push the front-end development of core forward, working on getting Trac under control, etc. I would also love to help lead a release (which is much more project management than writing code or pushing an agenda), since I was disqualified from possibly being co-pilot in 3.6 thanks to the impending baby 🙂
  • Take some long-developing and suffering ideas for personal web projects and use maternity leave time to make them happen.
  • Make music. I don’t know if I’ll be performing at any point during the year, but I need to at least decide on some personal projects and goals when it comes to learning and practicing at and away from the piano.
  • Be creative again. I’ve taken cake decorating and calligraphy classes in the past, and enjoyed them thoroughly. It ain’t cheap to indulge, but seeing as I have the equipment at least, I should use it. And maybe seek more classes. Also: bake more bread, because I have to admit that I am good at it, and it is delicious.
  • Travel somewhere new and enjoy it fully with my husband, not as a whirlwind WordCamp speaking trip. I actually want to travel less, and probably don’t have much of a choice in the matter, anyway.
  • Be a better and more active friend. I can make excuses about how it’s hard to maintain friendships once you’re outside the confines of school, and even harder when your work and hobbies involve a lot of alone time at a keyboard, but nobody cares. I should just be a better friend, because my friends are amazing.

Happy New Year!


About our wedding

I’ve promised to write about this at least 10 times, so I guess I better do it! Talking about money does not embarrass me, I don’t really understand why so many people are reluctant to talk about it, and I think the wedding industry is kind of ridiculous, so why not share, right?

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My sister is beautiful

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and since I missed writing/publishing a post during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, I think it’s time to do this. It was originally planned as something much longer, with more backstory and talk about how cultural pride that suffocates open discussion of such darkness is so harmful. Instead, I think I’ll keep it relatively brief.

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Childhood, Language

Language confusion

After our mom left when we were little, our 外婆 (wai po, maternal grandmother) continued to live with our dad and us for several years, I suppose out of family obligation and to take care of us. We are both very thankful for what she did for us and taught us (gardening, embroidery, knitting, cooking, etc.), but there is one funny thing she left the two of us with: a general confusion about proper Chinese.

Our parents emigrated from Shanghai, which has its own very different dialect: 上海話 (Shanghainese), which we grew up hearing and sometimes speaking. We also learned Mandarin Chinese at a Taiwanese-run Chinese School, which meant that we learned Zhuyin (an alphabet of sorts, if you want an analogue) and Traditional writing, rather than Simplified. Between those and English, we were already confused enough and mixed up our own sentences, but our grandma had yet another Chinese accent and said words that, when we repeated to other Chinese friends, elicited looks of “huh?” and “what are you even speaking?”. Some prime examples: our childhood best friends’ mom looking at us funny because we always used the Shanghainese word for trash can (she spoke Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and I think even a little Fukkein or similar); still remembering that day in middle school when I finally learned the English word for drawer1.

Last night we watched Please Vote for Me, a documentary about a democratic election for a class monitor at an elementary school in Wuhan, China.2 I actually missed the part where they mentioned the location, and spent the first 20 minutes or so thinking to myself “man, these people really sound like my grandma”. I vaguely recalled that she or somebody on that side of the family was born in Wuhan, so I thought I’d ask my mom.

She told me that, first, she was proud that I have such good ears for language and sounds (yay), and that I was correct: she and her sister were born in Wuhan, and their mom, my grandmother, lived there for 15 years and absorbed the local dialect and accent in order to excel at her job (locals preferring locals and all that). My grandma was apparently never very good with language and between various dialects and accents from other places she had lived (Changzhou, Nanjing, etc.), she would mix at least three and up to maybe about five different dialects per sentence. My mother and aunt were apparently especially embarrassed by this as kids and would never let her go to the parent-teacher meetings at school and teased her often.

I like this kind of knowledge/story from my family. It helps me (and my sister) understand why we were often so confused as children and even today when it comes to Chinese and its various accents and dialects. It also feels really good to know that we have the ability to discern even slight differences in sounds. Then again, add this background to later studies in Latin, Spanish, and German along with diction in French and Italian and let’s just say that I get confused aurally quite often, especially if I start listening in the wrong place or expecting a different language3. So, if you’re ever speaking to me and I get lost/confused and have to ask you to repeat, this is probably why.

Bonus: a non-Chinese girl speaking Shanghainese really well! Shanghainese people are so proud of being from Shanghai – even my mom laughs about how if I’d grown up there, I’d be expected to marry another Shanghainese. Makes this girl learning the dialect and speaking it so well even better.

  1. Which I still have a really hard time saying, between learning it late and drawling a little.
  2. Review: It was interesting. Watch it.
  3. The same goes for if I start listening to a piece of music on the wrong beat or expecting a different key. Extreme confusion.

This title has deliberately been left blank

I am starting this blog post as one of those exercises in writing what you’re thinking/feeling so that it doesn’t eat you alive, and then maybe publishing the post if it doesn’t suck. So if you’re reading this, it’s because I thought it didn’t suck. Don’t attack, and don’t think that I think you should feel the same way I do. Unfortunately, since this is on the internet, people are going to be reading this who don’t know me at all. I recognize that, and so should you. You don’t have any context for what I’m about to write and I am probably not going to give you much. Such is the way.

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