Category Archives: Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year 2015

Lunar New Year marks the one year anniversary of the DiversityNerd blog and I have about 50 posts on this site. Considering I committed to posting once a week, I didn’t do too badly in reaching that goal. The last two paragraphs of my first post read as follows, written about the Year of the Horse:

 

On New Year’s Day, look forward, not backward, as this is not a time to even talk about the past.  Keep positive thoughts in your mind about the future.  This year, give love.  Remember karma?  Well, the Horse can be impulsive, “act now and think later”.  Be sure to radiate positive energy so impulsive actions won’t bite you in the ass.  Don’t be a douche, be good to others, give more than you take and do it all with love.

If you’ve read this far, mahalo nui loa/salamat po (thank you very much) for hanging in with me, I really appreciate it.  There will always be a message about Diversity and Inclusion in this blog, as my career is truly a part of who I am.  In addition, I will continue to nerd out over important things like “Star Wars”, “The Walking Dead”, “Downton Abbey”, “Scandal”, “24” (can’t wait for the re-boot) and “Elementary”.  My daughter turns 16 this month and her high school experience an endless source of material to write about.  I’m waiting for the ink to dry on my divorce papers so a story or two about me dating is a definite possibility in 2014.  And, I stay active with fun things like paddling outrigger canoes, dancing hula, wogging half marathons and occasionally kicking and punching at the dojo.  On some days, this blog will be a mindless string of run-on thoughts and other days, I will say something profound and prolific.  The only thing I can promise is that it will be my truth, the truth of Jennifer “Jae” Pi’ilani, a DiversityNerd.

It is sort of crazy how much my life has changed in just one year. As the ink continued to dry on divorce papers, the spark of a new friendship with a man who lives 2,000 miles away ignited to a long distance romance which is now a stable, loving and committed relationship. I am not sorry about not having blog posts about Tinder swipes or bar hopping or booty shaking at the club as I re-entered the life of a single woman on the dating scene. When I least expected to find a friendship on fire, this man walked into my life back in 2013. What started with an innocent night of talking and laughing about nerdy stuff led to a new beginning for both of us. Since then, only two days have passed where we haven’t communicated in some form or fashion. I am more connected to him than anyone else I have ever date, including the man I married.

Work continues to undergo chaos and change as we work to transition all four HQ locations to Texas. People are leaving the company for new opportunities every day and that is a new experience for most of us. I feel a weight on my shoulders to help the company be successful in this move. I also feel a responsibility to ensure that the new work environment continues to live the values that we have all grown accustom to in our current affiliates but evolves to include new cultural priorities. Business as usual won’t cut it in the future.

My return to the dojo has filled my life with new goals around martial arts. I want to train and become the badass black belt that Sensei Richard always wanted me to be. Not because rank is important to me but because it proves that I have accomplished the first stage of obtaining knowledge to pass along to students. I want to teach new students, especially young people, that the basics are everything. We need a foundation of basics to build our self-esteem and to understand how discipline on the dojo floor creates an avenue for success in all aspects of one’s lives. And the dojo is more than a room to sweat in three times per week, a dojo is safe environment in which to learn and where you can make mistakes in the spirit of continuous improvement.

And I am so grateful that my daughter is happy and healthy and still loves school. We have a special relationship because it has just been the two of us for so long. I see her developing her independence and it makes me proud. But I also see her struggle with the usual teenager drama and I wince when I remember how hard it is to be in high school. All I can do is to try to give her space to be a kid and to make mistakes and to know that I will always have her back.

I looked up what we have to look forward to in the Year of the Wooden Sheep and found this at: http://www.2015chinesehoroscope.net/

“2015 is the year of the wooden sheep (or year of the wooden goat if you’re using other sources).

The Meaning Behind the Year of the Sheep

The Sheep is generally considered a very lucky animal by most Chinese, and this is because the Chinese character for Sheep, which is Yang, sounds very similar to the Chinese pronunciation for luck, which is Xiang. Because of this linguistic similarity, the Chinese horoscope associates Sheep with luck, which is why they consider them lucky animals.

Predictions for 2015

Because the fire cycle is coming to a close, 2015 is believed to conclude many trends that had existed in the past few years. Many of the processes which have unfolded in the past are also believed to be wrapping up, which means that political and economic situations throughout the world are more likely to end. The downside to this, however, is that new troubles may also arise to replace the old problems that are expected to pass away. So the best way to greet 2015 is to expect a lot of changes, both good and bad.

If you’ve had nothing but bad luck in the past few years then 2015 may just offer you the chance to turn your life around. On the other hand, if you’ve experienced nothing but good fortune in the past then you may want to reexamine your priorities and make certain preparations just in case the worse happens. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting year.”

So buckle up and get ready for an exciting year of change, as if that is news to me. I hope to launch my podcast this year, earn my brown belt and do the Catalina Crossing this year. Cheers to the Year of the Sheep!

2014 Lunar New Year – DiversityNerd

Thinking about my childhood, I have fond memories of making decorations in my elementary school classroom in January/February.  The smell of tempera paint and stick glue (was it really made out of horses?) still fills my nostrils when I think back to those days.  We would paint signs with “Gung Hay Fat Choy” in large red letters, complete with dragons and firecrackers and cute drawings of the current Chinese Zodiac animal.  Now that I think about, maybe things were a little stereotypical and definitely over-simplified for my non-Asian peers to understand these customs.  However, the handful of Asian kids in my school and I really enjoyed the holiday.  We always went to a parade.  I remember red envelops with coins or cash tucked inside given to us at my friends’ homes and that money was always given out in even dollar increments.  So, at a minimum, we made off with $2.00, which was an absolute fortune to a seven year old.  I couldn’t wait to walk home from school and stop at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital cafeteria for a chocolate milkshake with extra whipped cream or caramel sundae with chopped almonds, not peanuts.

This isn’t to say that my parents and I celebrated Lunar New Year.  They are Filipino immigrants and I was raised Catholic.  But without anyone telling me, it was quite obvious that I was more like the other Asian kids than I was like the other students at Monterey Park Elementary School.  And we were truly a minority, I could count the number of non-white students in each of my classes on one hand.  The Asian kids were all second generation or brand new immigrants.  Most of our families came to the U.S. to pursue higher education and some left to escape war-torn countries and oppression.  Either way, we were all growing up with parents who were bilingual and grand-parents who may or may not have spoken English.  We were stuck between becoming Americanized and acculturated or hanging on to the family/cultural traditions, victims to incessant teasing by our white friends. “Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, Look at these!”

But back to Lunar New Year…

2014 Lunar New Year is on January 31, 2014.  Lunar New Year Day is the first day of the first lunar month of Lunar Calendar

To truly welcome Lunar New Year, some people follow the tradition to open every door and window at midnight.  Not sure I will ever do that, even if I’m wearing my hot pink snuggly Hello Kitty fleece PJs.  But the idea is to let go of last year and let good fortune flood into your home.

My mom said that to welcome in the New Year, grandma always bought a new sack of rice before New Year’s Eve to signal the continued abundance of food for our family.  Grandma also used to hit all the pots at midnight.  Filipinos believe in making a lot of noise to scare off the evil spirits.  But my favorite story was hearing that my grandpa would light firecrackers inside the house, at the same time.  Close your eyes and picture that scene and the racket, just smell the flash powder.  And my mom added, “Can you imagine how dangerous that was?  We survived, though.”  Yes, you sure did survive and I love the stories you have to share because of it.

This year is the Year of the Horse.  Susan Levitt gave this quick summary on-line:  “The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.”

On New Year’s Day, look forward, not backward, as this is not a time to even talk about the past.  Keep positive thoughts in your mind about the future.  This year, give love.  Remember karma?  Well, the Horse can be impulsive, “act now and think later”.  Be sure to radiate positive energy so impulsive actions won’t bite you in the ass.  Don’t be a douche, be good to others, give more than you take and do it all with love.

New Year’s is a time for new beginnings and endless possibilities, just as my new blog is a vehicle to record the endless thoughts, feelings and emotions that run through my head.  If you’ve read this far, mahalo nui loa/salamat po (thank you very much) for hanging in with me, I really appreciate it.   There will always be a message about Diversity and Inclusion, as my career is truly a part of who I am.  In addition, I nerd out about things like “Star Wars”, “The Walking Dead”, “Downton Abbey”, “Scandal”, “24” (can’t wait for the re-boot) and “Elementary”.  My daughter turns 16 this month and her high school experience an endless source of material to write about.  I’m waiting for the ink to dry on my divorce papers so a story or two about me dating is a definite possibility in 2014.  And, I stay active with fun things like paddling outrigger canoes, dancing hula, wogging half marathons and occasionally kicking and punching at the dojo.  On some days, this blog will be a mindless string of run-on thoughts and other days, I will say something profound and prolific.  The only thing I can promise is that it will be my truth, the truth of Jennifer “Jae” Pi’ilani, a DiversityNerd.