It’s 2020! I can barely do a “year in review”—so much has happened this past year in my life. But I do think it’s worth taking a little bit of time to see what comes to mind when I think of the past 10 years.
1. Got my BCom
At one point, this seemed like all my life was ever about. From 2011 to 2016, I spent my days and nights working towards that piece of paper that promised me a job. One year into my degree, I was torn between wanting to continue so that I could get to the promised land, and also realizing that I did not want to go into Finance or Accounting—both of which were mainly what my classmates seemed to all be wanting to work towards. In year 3 of my studies, when I started co-op, I realized I found the light at the end of the tunnel in Marketing. Sure, it wasn’t as prestigious as opting for a career in the big bucks found in Accounting/Finance, but it offered something I found to be much more valuable: happiness.
Within Marketing, I explored many things. I worked for a marketing agency, allowing me to work with brands such as Coca Cola, BMO, and other big names. I then wanted to test my hands working in the world of startups and got involved in Pinshape, in which I started as a marketing specialist, and then moved on to be their community manager. Later on, this inspired me to start my own company: Mana Marketing. At Mana, we provided our busy clients with marketing solutions directed towards gaming communities. It was through Mana that I realized that my passions lay with community building. I missed what I was doing at Pinshape, but at the same time, gaming was a lifelong passion. This ultimately led me to taking up a job as a community manager at Gameloft in 2017. And then in February 2019, I moved to Ubisoft to become a Community Developer.
In the end, I don’t think I landed where my parents and friends thought I’d end up with a BCom degree. But I am very happy to say that I am ecstatic with where I am now!
2. Moved across the country
In my entire life, I’ve never thought of moving out east. Back in Vancouver, when my friends were getting internships and jobs in Toronto, I remember thinking that sounded terrible. I suppose if I knew I was going to move to Montreal one day, I would’ve tried a lot harder in French back in high school.
But here I am, in the middle of winter in Montreal. As I write this, there is a thick layer of snow beyond the double pane windows that trap the always-too-warm central heating in my apartment. Probably more snow than I’ve ever seen in Vancouver, but this isn’t even Montreal at its maximum.
I do miss the West Coast a lot. The summers in Eastern Canada are far too humid and hot, yet the winters are brutal. Not to mention, my family is very far away. However, I’ve found a lot to love here too. The distinct culture that is Montreal, as well as some of the most dedicated and hardworking people in the gaming industry are all things that I’m super glad to be acquainted with. The fact that my boyfriend moved with me across the country also makes the whole experience much more enjoyable than what younger Karen might have imagined.
3. Understanding family
This will likely be a lifelong pursuit. However, this decade, a lot of things have happened that made me rethink family. Not in a bad way. Just that my idea and attachment to what I thought of as a “family” has been redefined.
I’ve always grown up securely surrounded by my family. My mom, dad, and sister were always with me ever step of the way. As my sister started growing up, she shared her ideas of not wanting to stay in Vancouver after she graduates. She wanted to work in the States. This always made me a little sad to think about.
For me, I’ve always wanted to stay in Vancouver. It’s a beautiful city, and British Columbia in general was a wonderful province. But as I started advancing in my life, it felt that Vancouver was no longer allowing me to grow. And so, I made the decision to move in order to pursue my career.
Two short years after leaving, my mom then decided to take up a job in Cambodia. This came as a surprise to the whole family. It was a confusing time as my sister and I tried to work out what “home” was. I always returned home to Vancouver for Christmas. But what does “home” mean should no one be there? My dad’s nearing retirement, and he has a lot of family residing in Hong Kong. It seemed no one was tied to Vancouver.
This last year, with my mom in Cambodia, me in Montreal, my sister hopping here and there as she juggled internships and school, and my dad being our anchor in Vancouver for now, it made me rethink the idea of a family. The four of us and my boyfriend are in a family chat together on Facebook messenger. We all try to say good night/good morning each day. But it’s difficult. With the different time zones, lapses in conversations, it really does take away from the sense of security I used to find in my family.
I understand we all love each other dearly, but I do think that this next decade will be when we finally find out how we will function together, while at times being apart. There’s a lot of sacrificing, investment, and understanding that has to be factored in, and it’s still something we’re all trying to adjust to. At least here’s to hoping!
4. Started this blog!
On June 22nd, 2011, I started this blog. And somehow, I managed to keep it going. Throughout my life, I’ve started many diaries and journals, but I’ve never managed to fill up even a single notebook. While I’m not the best at updating this site on a regular basis, I’m still super proud of all the times I’ve managed to sit down and jot down memories and thoughts. I oftentimes reference old blog posts I’ve written to relive events. I try to remind myself how important these posts are because it allows me to re-experience my past with much better clarity than what my brain is able to recall. I’m sometimes astounded when I read back and realize there are certain pieces of info that I’ve completely forgotten, but luckily, I’ve jotted down. My posts have turned into not-quite-SEO friendly pieces of content, but they will continue to be ME-friendly 🙂 Just something I have to remind myself from time to time when I lament over how much more views I used to get, compared to now!
Many times, I’ve set a New Year’s Resolution to blog X amount of times throughout the year. I’m not going to do that this time around. I know I’ll write when I find inspiration to, and that I am able to sit and jot down my thoughts when I put myself to it.
Hoping everyone has a wonderful 2020!