Farewell 2017: A Year of A Vision Trip
As we say farewell to 2017, soon I’ll also be saying farewell to Ethetica.net when it expires in January. If you haven’t yet, please change your link to livperspective.me for my rebrand, due to launch in 2018!
This year, I graduated with my Master of Science in design from NYU. I moved across the country to San Francisco, California, an entire world I’ve never been in before. I got my first driver’s license – Californian. I decided to keep my hair blonde rather than keep dyeing it red or purple. I met hundreds of people through networking, volunteering, and made many great friends. Being in a new environment expanded how I saw life and challenged me to face my deepest struggles without anyone to run to.
My family’s been stationed in the East Coast my whole life. Besides visiting our relatives in Northern China and going west only once as far as Las Vegas, our trips were weekend drives to nearby cities, or to Florida. 2017 was the year I was going to change our ritual, so I started off the new year jetlagged on a couch in Hong Kong.
I traveled 5 times this year to dozens of locations and took my first solo-trip to Singapore, a country I’ve dreamed of visiting for years.
- In January, I visited Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Malaysia. Then I went to see my grandparents in Beijing for Chinese New Year.
- In April, I flew to Chicago and attended my first wedding!
- In July, I finally made it down to the Los Angeles area but it’s so big I only saw the beaches and Koreatown.
- In October, my mom visited me and we drove from San Diego all the way home and hit many Central California towns (Santa Barbara, Solvang, Carmel).
- Just last week, my parents both came to San Francisco and we drove to Yosemite National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore.
In 2018, I want to go to at least Seattle and Vancouver. If timing allows, I’d love to travel to Portugal and Switzerland. I’ve never been to Europe!
I didn’t spend much time trying to complete games this year, but I played my fair share of mobile games. My favorite is Love You to Bits, due to its simple, but adorable game mechanic and story. The illustrated worlds where the game takes place are all so creative and innovative.
When Breath of the Wild was released I was in the process of moving, but three months later I brought my Wii U to California and immediately bought the game. I can’t rank it as the best Zelda title in terms of storyline and dungeons because it’s incredible in a whole different way.
The characters are so much more interesting and developed on a new level, including Link himself. You can dress him in many cute outfits that give you bonuses or just protect you from the cold/heat. The game world itself is so interactive in terms of climates and flora and fauna that you feel truly engaged as you’re navigating through it. This game kept me entertained all the times in the summer I was bedridden.
In 2018 I want to focus on playing more games that inspire my design, which I’ll blog about under AgithaHime Diaries.
Speaking of bedridden, health-wise this year has been very tough for me. I had my first ankle sprain and limped in a brace for most of July. By September I made myself hike to recuperate, but my ankle was still too stiff for running or exercise. Only recently was I able to rotate it without pain.
The more serious issue is my chronic cough that started after I got sick at graduation. I got better after a week, but my cough did not. I spend most of June in bed coughing. I had to take my driver’s test wearing a mask and an ankle brace! When San Francisco got warm weather in autumn my cough improved, only to relapse again in November.
In 2018 I just want my cough to go away so I can work out my ankle and finally wear shoes that match my outfit.
My emotional and spiritual health however, have improved greatly. Being far away meant I needed to be less dependent on my friends for comfort and also make new ones without bringing my struggles towards them. I had a lot less anxiety and fear of performance, and if they did hit me, I had more room to be alone to work it out. This autumn season I also got better at keeping in touch long distance with New York and spending more time with the same group of people in San Francisco.
In 2018 I want to continue building good relationships in all aspects of life.
When I said I’m moving to San Francisco, everybody told me I’d get a job in no time because of how much experience I have making websites. Only, web design is not really a thing here, but a small part of much more extensive roles. Sure, there are still web design and development jobs that matched my previous experience, but I made the tough choices of turning several of them down. I’ll be writing about why in my rebrand.
After I was able to get up from bed this summer, I joined The Expat Woman as a photographer. There was something I needed to learn from the hundreds of women that showed up every week at their events. I spent about 3 months photoshooting for them and participated in my first hackathon.
My goal was to get a paid role before the end of the year, but I think I got something even better. Last month I started as the 2018 Design Lead for ChickTech Bay Area. ChickTech creates engineering workshops for high school girls and mentorship for women transitioning to tech. My job is to design all the materials for these programs. I’m using this as an opportunity to design a visual language for a brand that empowers females by taking back femininity to own it. My first assignment was our High School Kickoff event we had earlier this month – and I followed our brand personality with these modern femininity x technology assets.
Last but not least, I learned how I can add impact to my thesis. For those who are unfamiliar, my graduate thesis is a twee-looking game that explores the unseen conflicts of social class and human trafficking. I wrote the story myself and illustrated the concept art. I came back to New York in the summer to attend the Games for Change conference, and have been studying the intersection of design and gamification that companies like Google are known for. Here’s a new prototype of my game, but it’s nowhere near final.
In 2018, I hope to learn new technologies to bring my game to life, dedicate more time to the girls we serve at ChickTech so I can also design better for them, and of course get a paid job.
If there’s anything besides driving that’s 100% Californian-bred for me, it’s the new visual style I have developed for photography. I started by documenting my travels at the beginning of the year and continued doing so in California like I was still traveling. Over time, I grew my eyes to create photos in a way that mirrors my design style, and it was probably what finally landed me the work I wanted to do.
Just by looking at my top 9 on Instagram, all but 2 of the photos are from the last three months.
A lot of people have asked me why I don’t become a photographer. I see photographers in a different discipline – they are way more professional than I am and capture moments, which involves models, techniques (e.g. long exposure), and a lot of things that I’m not very good at. I like to say I paint my photos – I have amateur equipment (e.g. my iPhone 6S+) and take photos of mundane things then add colors like it’s a canvas. Check out my favorite photo of the year, which narrowly missed top 9. Real life doesn’t look that much like cotton candy. I just love capturing San Francisco this way.
In 2018, I want to make Instagram part of my personal brand which means putting an effort to gain more followers. I’m not looking to be an influencer but I’d like a few thousand people interested in my work.
Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down here! Writing this post has helped me really self-reflect on my hardships and accomplishments this year and my vision for next year. This is the last post on this blog before the rebrand, and I’m really looking forward to bringing more organized and more dedicated content in the new year. I’d love for you all to be part of my work, so stay tuned on how you can! For now, happy 2018!