I decided to go back to Mint.com today to check out how my finances are doing.  It's really an amazing tool, putting all of my money in the same place for me to easily see.  It was always a chore for me to sign in to my bank accounts, then my various credit card accounts, all so I could see how much money I had, how much I owed, and how things were doing for me overall.  Now I just need Mint.com to keep track of it for me!  As I was filling out the information for my new retirement accounts (gosh, that is a strange thing to think about), I also completed the rest of my profile.  One of the questions they had for me was what my credit score is.  Well, I certainly don't have a clue.  In fact, I've never known my credit score!  So, I decided it was time to find out.

It's an interesting thing, these credit reports.  I spent ages filling out information at various sites, trying to find one that gives me my three credit scores (for free), period.  For some reason, whenever they ask me verification questions, I get a little nervous that I will answer incorrectly.  I should know my own activity and history with no problem, right?  And I do, but nonetheless, I have that little tinge of worry when I have to give a correct answer for authentication.  I guess it stems from my childhood fear of authority, where anyone with the power to affect my life can make me uncomfortable.  So in this case, it is their control over whether or not they believe I am me, which in turn determines whether or not they will allow me to access information I want, that scares me.

Well, it turns out my credit ratings aren't half bad (all in the excellent range, yay), but I still have room for improvement.  Luckily, I've never been rejected credit and I tend to get way more than I need, but I still have a ways to go, once I start having a mortgage.  I don't plan on having any loans, but who knows, maybe I will get a good financial adviser who can manage all that for me and actually make me better off by using loans.  I do believe my mom is a guru at that sort of thing.  I am also really pleased with Mint.com because they provide me the information I always was afraid I wouldn't have once my mom can't help me with finances anymore.  As of now, she's always the one I go running to when I have a money issue (like not knowing what type of IRA to open up).  I feel more secure in being able to take care of my own money responsibly now.

I have been very lucky in my life, with parents who have always had the foresight to save money for things we needed/really wanted.  I never had to pay a cent for college, or take out a student loan.  It's an amazing gift to start off my career with no debt hanging over my head.  I don't think I can fully appreciate it since I don't know what it's like to be in debt, but nonetheless, I am grateful.  At the same time, I tried not to exploit this privilege and got a scholarship that helped pay some of my way.  Also, we've never not had the money to purchase things when we really needed them.  Granted, that has a lot to do with our concept of what we actually need.  We're not a very materialistic family, so all the nice things we get we get only when we more than have the means to get it.  I have learned some very good spending habits from my parents and I hope that I can retain that, and not live beyond my means.

My mom has always told me that too many Americans get trapped into spending more than they're earning and borrowing a lot, which leaves little room for error.  On the contrary, our family only takes out loans we know we can pay back, only buy cars that are within our means, and only get houses that have mortgages we can handle.  I admire how well my mom handles money and I wish I had a knack for that myself, but if it were up to me, we'd all just live with cash and never worry about credit cards throwing you into debt or losing money on investments.  Ironic, I guess, since I studied finances quite intently during my undergrad career, but it's not a topic I really care for.  It certainly is very useful though and it's a pity I don't know more.  But, with the booming internet, I can always look up what I need to so it won't be too bad.

So, though I may not know the best ways to handle my money, at least I'll make good choices with what I do know so far and just keep educating myself on what else there is.  Ultimately I'm hoping I can make enough to hire a financial adviser to do all that for me.  I'm not much of a risk-taker though, so I don't know how I'd feel about my money being put into the volatile markets.  It seems lame to keep it all in a savings account though.  Which, by the way, has been disappointing me with the economic downturn.  Supposedly my interest rates are still higher than market rates and rather competitive, but it has been sliced to at least less than half of what it used to be!  It's so unfulfilling to see your money growing so slowly.  With the magic of compound interest though, I just need to wait it out and see better results later down the line.

 
 

Today, I got an e-mail from my mother asking if I had set up an IRA yet.  I had joined Mint.com a few weeks ago, which sent me a couple of e-mails since then, reminding me that if I opened up an Individual Retirement Account before Tax Day, I could save thousands!  Thrice I went, filled out all my info to see what I qualified for, and decided that I should go for a Roth IRA.  Thrice I left it at that, not daring to click on the links below to Fidelity, Scottrade, E*Trade, or Charles Schwab to actually set up an account.  So today, I decided it was now or never.  With only two and a half days left before the big deadline, I went ahead and tried out Fidelity.

After filling out some basic info, I was in and they had not only my Roth IRA info, but also the other retirement accounts I had from previous jobs.  The money I chose to transfer was due to show up in the account in a mere day or two, which is quite speedy for banking transactions.  I've got to say, setting up an account was never so easy!  In fact, a little part of me started to get paranoid that if it was that easy, perhaps it was a fake site I had somehow stumbled upon.  However, the little lock symbol at the bottom corner of my browser reassured me that this site was safe and legit.  I hope I'm not too dependent on that little thing!  Plus, Firefox has been amazing at finding phishing scams and redirecting me before I get to that site.  So all in all, it checked out and I was pleased.

Now I had just closed down my 401(k) from the University of California, since I stopped working there a few months ago, and my mom remembered hearing something about how I could still put that money into my brand new Roth IRA if I had not cashed the check.  Well, the check is still there and just a few weeks old, so I e-mailed in a question about how to take care of that.  Quite early into their work day, I got a very nice reply, complete with caring questions to make sure I knew what I was getting into before I chose to move my money like that.  I have always slightly feared having to take charge of my own money and figure out what to do with it, between stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and the myriad of investment options out there.  But with a message like that, I felt taken care of and it put me at ease.  Now that's some great customer service.

So, just before my taxes are due, I have taken care of something that makes me feel good about my future.  Yeah, sure, things aren't looking up in the economy right now, but hey, that means the deals now should be the best as companies vie for your business through higher quality or better deals.  Plus, having the deadline extended four and a half months definitely encourages us to save!  Normally what happens in 2008 would have stayed in 2008 for this season's tax reporting, but to push national savings, we were given the new deadline of April 15th.  Lucky me!  It's about time I finally got around to it; I've been meaning to do something about a retirement fund for a couple of years now, but while in college, you don't really feel it as much.  Now that I've entered the working world, it's time to be responsible for what happens to my money and do what I can to maximize my returns while preparing for the future.

I'm feeling a lot better about my finances and I'm no longer so scared about not knowing what to do with my money.  It's great to know there are knowledgeable people out there who can help me.  Thinking about this reminds of my ex-bosses from Smith Barney, who were financial advisers for people in the aerospace industry.  Maybe someday they (or their proteges) will be able to handle Panda's finances for him.  :-P  Ultimately, I would like to be well-off enough to hire someone to help invest our money for us.  Otherwise, it's just too stressful to keep up with the changing markets and understand the latest benefits of putting your money in so-and-so.  For now, I'll just keep putting as much money away as I can manage and try to reap the benefits of compound interest.

 
Family life 04/10/2009
 

At times I wish I had more family living near me, or a greater extended family sprawled around the world.  I have always dreamt of having an older brother to rely on (or a gay best friend).  Since I tend to connect a lot better with guys, I have always wanted to have one who was very, very close to me in a platonic way.  Unfortunately, though such figures have come and gone, I can't really claim one guy who I can run to when I am hurt or scared or just have a great secret to share.  More than that though, I wish that my cousins and I were closer.  When I was young, I would always follow them around so closely that they nicknamed me their shadow.  It was true enough, since I only got to see them once a year for a few weeks and that was my only tie to my background.

I have lived my life very much alone, or in a tiny family unit consisting of me and my parents.  I always love to have people over to my house simply because nobody ever visits!  It's always just me, my mom, my dad, and for some years, my cats.  There are no random second cousins or great aunts, twice removed who can swing by to say hi.  In fact, there isn't a single other person in our family in the country, from either side of the family.  So, other than the summers that I got to go back to China in my childhood, I've hardly ever seen my relatives.  Lately, I have also spent a lot of my time on my own, first as I went off to college, then as my dad moved back to China, then as I studied abroad in England, then as my mom moved back to China as well, and finally as I moved out to Singapore to work.

Granted, I am not alone alone.  Yet, I have had nobody I can call family in the same country as me for the past two and a half years, but for the few months my mom came to visit, the couple of weeks my dad has spent back, and the lucky few days that some of my aunts and uncles got to come watch me graduate from UCLA.  Family, after all, are the only people who are linked to you from day 1.  And in my life, they are the only ones who have always been there, even if it was largely in the background and rather out of reach.  But year after year, they are there, growing in their own ways, and eventually we will catch up again.  For me, friendship has not worked out quite that way, since each move brought another group of people to leave behind.  I can never claim a best friend from my childhood who watched me grow up.  The only people who truly watched me grow up were my parents.

I have certainly been blessed with a lot of wonderful people in my life, but once again I find that they come and go.  I'm so used to people leaving my life and becoming a great memory that I didn't even notice I do that, until a close friend pointed it out.  Perhaps I got too conditioned to having to leave people behind with every move we made over the years.  I don't have the mindset that makes me think of someone, pick up the phone and call them, or drop them an e-mail to catch up.  Instead, I just wonder whatever happened to them and how they are doing.  I am always grateful when I do hear from a long-lost friend and get to see how they are doing in their lives.  I love that we are becoming a more globally connected world now and facebook was the first social media tool that allowed me to get in touch with friends from lives past.  I also love that you don't need to be maintaining a conversation with each other to keep tabs on and be able to find each other years down the line.

I like to dream about a handful of aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins bustling around during Chinese New Year, as the whole family makes time to be together.  Sadly, I've only been in China once during that time of year since I left (which was when I was too young to remember anything anyway) and I don't recall a thing about it.  My dad has told me that to truly experience Chinese festivities, I need to spend Chinese New Year back in his hometown, the little place that he grew up in.  Now that truly has small town flair in its celebrations, with all the stops pulled!  Maybe if I have time next year, I can make it come true, in the second Year of the Ox that I will experience since the one I was born in.  2010 will be an important year for me because I will have gone through two full Chinese zodiac cycles.  I'm sure that has some sort of significance.

Someday, I'd like to be able to gather with all my relatives (or at least one representative from each family unit).  But over the years, even our not-so-big family has had trouble reuniting as my cousins married off and started to create their own little families.  Between work, children, spouses, and friends, it's hard to find time to get together like we used to when everyone lived in the same town and the only ones missing were me and my parents.  Now I'm embarking on my own life as well, sacrificing time with loved ones in hopes of building a strong foundation for a successful future.  Work is hardly as flexible as tertiary education was, with more hours and less ease of changing schedules.  Plus, there's a lot less time off per annum.  On the other hand, I am very fortunate to be working for a company that would, like no other, work with me to try to make it happen, if I so chose.  One of the things I will miss most about education is the lovely summer months filled with enrichment learning, extracurricular fun, and personal fulfillment.

Despite all this daydreaming about a huge family, I still don't want more than two or three kids, if only because I don't know if I can handle any more.  Growing up so independent and with all the attention focused on me makes it difficult for me to conceive how it would be with a handful of children running amok.  The grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?  And that is why I wish I had a companion to grow up with, whether sibling, cousin living nearby, or best friend from childhood.  But, because I know there is this tendency to think that the other way is so much better, I do recognize the benefits of only childhood.  Thus, I don't want to overcompensate by having so many kids I don't know what to do with myself.  Instead, to create that feel, I'd like to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other and the kids can play together.  This would also be a great way to expose them to how others live their lives, especially if it's a multicultural community!

 
 

You know when your mother loves you when she is willing to fly to a country she has never been to to live with you to help you with your language skills.  o.O  And you know she really sacrifices for you when she's willing to make time outside of a full-time job to help you translate things.  Sometimes, it still amazes me how much my mom has and would give up for me.

It all started pretty much from birth.  My dad had to leave for the US 6 months before I was born, so she bore the pregnancy herself.  Then, 6 months after that, she had to leave to join my father in Pennsylvania.  She and my father had to work as Research Assistants (and my dad was also a Teaching Assistant) to save up the money to bring me over three years later and support us from there.

From then on, she supported my dad in every move we made, from PA to Kansas to Missouri to New York to California to China again.  Sometime in Kansas she decided that to provide the sort of flexibility in mobility that we would need, she would stop working and be a stay at home mom.  That meant that growing up, I was rather spoiled with the ease of having my forgotten homework delivered to me during the day, being driven to all kinds of activities (mostly sports meets), and having my mother on call for all of my wants and needs.

Starting the day she started staying home, other than the years she went back to China working on a business she started with my dad, I never had to go home to an empty house.  She'd wake up at 4 in the morning to drive me to swim practice, she'd sit around waiting in the car for me every day after school that I had to stay late (back before we had cell phones), she'd trek out to school in the middle of the day to drop off something I needed, and she even came back from China to live with me after I graduated UCLA to keep me company until I started working.

Throughout those years, she has also spent her time managing our finances, making sure we were saving up and investing wisely, laboring over the pains of day trading (thank goodness she gave that up), anticipating my dad and my own needs, finding a balance between giving me what I wanted and what I needed, always supporting my dad with what he needed, cooking, cleaning, and tirelessly devoting herself to being a great mother and an amazing woman.  She did so much behind the scenes that I may never know about, but one of the things I learned a few years ago was that she always carefully planned trips to either be the whole family traveling together, or she and my dad splitting up.  That way, it decreased the odds of both of them getting killed in an accident, leaving me an orphan.

Beyond that, she had great potential to be a highly successful engineer (and potentially, manager) in her own right, but she gave that up to be the cornerstone to her husband and daughter's success.  Even now she is extraordinarily gifted in that area and could be a great engineer for an aerospace company (which is her dream), but being out of the work force for so long has hindered her aspirations.  She has never complained about what she has given up for us and happily shifted her life to fit our needs.

Now we are all in different countries, though she is based in Beijing with my dad, and she is willing to come to Singapore to stay with me!  I was explaining to her how it seems that people here seem to assume that I know so much of the background for Chinese language and culture just because I have a very standard accent and sound quite like a native, but I essentially grew up American, so much of that knowledge is lost on me.  I am concerned about my reading and writing skills in Mandarin that I may need to use for an upcoming project, so she suggested she come so she can be here with me and help me.  Of course, she's still got her own work to do, so that would be a lot of time out of her day to help me improve my Chinese.

To her it may seem like a small gesture, but to me it really speaks volumes for her deep commitment to me, my future, and my success.  It really meant a lot to me.  I'm learning to appreciate her more and more.  A few years ago, I probably would have thought it was normal and nothing special.  That's just how much she has conditioned me to her support.  So I hope she doesn't feel under appreciated, because she isn't.

 
 

I just overheard my mom on the phone, booking her plane ticket to Mongolia, due to leave just about 12 hours after mine to Singapore leaves LAX.  The past couple of days she has been lamenting what to do about our mail, since many statements cannot be sent to P.O. boxes and there is no one in our family here to take care of it for us.  We used to get it forwarded to a family friend's place, but that's such a hassle to do for just a month or two.

Now that I'm leaving the country, my mom is left to figure out what to do with the house (and her life) again.  When I was studying abroad in England, she rented it out and moved back to China with my dad.  Should she do that again or stick around to try to pursue a career in aerospace, as she's dreamed of doing?  Strangely enough, my life is what gives her some stability - whenever I'm around, she can stay at home and do various types of work happily.  Yet, once I leave, she needs to figure what her life is about, sans moi.

All of this made me think of the fragmented time I spent with my parents growing up and how multiple moves affected my sense of independence.  It's no wonder I did become so independent, what with one parent or the other often away and our family hardly ever staying in one place long enough to make lasting friends.  As I grew older, it became my time to be away from home and friends on my own - to swim camps, to boot camps, to a swim competition in Australia, and the frequent visits to my relatives in China.  Another factor contributing to my independence was early on: I didn't even meet my parents until I was three and a half (my dad left six months before I was born and my mom left six months after I was born, so I hardly remembered her).

In the early days, my parents were busy finishing up their graduate degrees at Penn State - a Master's for my mother and a Doctorate for my father.  To support us, they had to be research assistants and my dad worked as a teaching assistant as well.  From there, it was off to Kansas, where my dad worked for the government and my mom found a random job with Payless Shoes.  I would come home to an empty house and do homework or play by myself.  I think that's when my desire for a sibling or pet began to grow, as I spent many quiet afternoons alone in the house, waiting for my mom to get home from work.  I had one or two good friends, but mostly kept to myself.  I enjoyed playing around during recess, but I rarely mixed home life with school life.

Three years later I was sent back to China for a year to reacquaint myself with the culture and language.  It was a blissful time of no homework, no worries, since I was so far behind in all the subjects - except for English, where I was so far ahead - that I was kind of just a dead weight in class.  Nevertheless, the kids loved me because this little 3rd grader was stronger than the 6th graders, and faster than anyone in school.  I didn't really contact my parents much during that year and when I returned to the US, I had no viable way of staying in touch with my friends from that school.

When we moved to Missouri, my dad had been working there for awhile.  He had secured a position with a company that kept him traveling as he and my mom started their own company, so my mom went back to China for two or three years to work on that.  The internet had just gone public and I was immersed in the world of HTML, making a variety of websites that I have since forgotten about.  I was also an extreme bookworm, preferring to spend time poring over novels to that of physical company.  At school, I was a social butterfly, known by everyone but not close to many.

By the time we made the move to New York, I was in the smack middle of my middle school years.  Afraid that I would get gaps in my knowledge if I took the honors track for math and science, my counselor advised me to follow the normal track and then test out of it after 8th grade.  The classes, unfortunately, were far too easy and filled with immature peers who I did not connect with.  My close set of friends didn't have many classes with me, since they were all on the honors track.  After finishing middle school, I found that this test that my counselor talked about did not exist.  I was stuck.  Meanwhile, my mom busied herself with the stock market as my dad worked hard at his new Vice President position, often going on business trips.

During my freshman year of high school, I took a math class that was nearly a joke for me - algebra.  I aced nearly all of the tests and quizzes and got a disappointing 99 on my final.  Frustrated with the lack of challenge, my mom had me talk to my teacher to find out what I would need to know for the next level of math.  I spent that next summer learning geometry with my mother, meticulously practicing, learning, and writing out homework.  At the beginning of my sophomore year, we took all the paperwork to the principal and my new counselor to show them that I had mastered the material.  It was agreed that I should be allowed to learn trig at that point, however, I still had to attend geometry class.  (Apparently a New York State law that I needed to spend a certain number of hours in the classroom - utterly useless.)  So, I took two math classes simultaneously that year (along with either other classes, ensuring I never had a lunch period).  Though I finally caught up academically, socially it was a bit too late - the honors track students had already formed their cliques.  And I was not a part of them.

My dad had moved to Texas when his company moved headquarters and waited there for us to move there to join him sometime in the future.  Instead, a headhunter found him and convinced him to take a new position as VP over in a Californian company.  So, with just two weeks notice in the summer following my sophomore year, we packed up and moved across the nation.  Being that it was summer, not many people knew what had happened to me and why I left.  Once again I had been the social butterfly, knowing everyone in my grade, but hardly close to any of them.  Only my closest group of friends saw me off and the rest of the school I didn't know well enough to call up to inform.

I started life anew in California as a junior.  With just two years of high school left and a lot of focus on college prep work, I made friends only with people in my classes, on my swim team, and in my JROTC unit.  This was the most present my parents had ever been, but I was far too busy with schoolwork, SAT prep, ROTC training, swim practice, and meets to really spend time with them.  For the last blissful weeks of high school, I lived it up driving around with my friends and enjoying life after APs and before college.

Then came UCLA, where I was so busy with being a college student that I only went home when I needed to do laundry.  When I was about to start my second year, my dad moved back to China to work and has been there ever since.  My third year of college I went abroad and by the time I returned, my mom had joined my dad in China.  I spent my fourth year and extra quarter on my own in this country before my mom came back to join me until I found a job.  Now I'll be off to Singapore and by the time I get back, who knows how things will be.

So you see, much of my life was spent with my parents traveling around or busy at work.  I had a lot of time to myself in the afternoons when I came back from school and spent many years away from them.  Even when we are together, we all are busy with our own obligations, so I don't just hang out with them much.  In fact, the only true bonding we get is the periodic family outings we go on - road trips my dad concocts to all kinds of places.  It's been an interesting lifestyle and it just amuses me that in a week, our family will once again be split amongst three different countries.  I do love being independent and traveling a lot, but eventually I'd like to settle somewhere long-term to have as a home base.

 
 

I mentioned before that I was going to take the opportunity to go work in Singapore.  Well, I am on my final two weeks here and we just booked the ticket!  I'll be flying out March 1st on Singapore Air, which I'm excited for - I hear it's a posh airline.  It's not really sinking in that I'm leaving yet, but by the time I get back in six months, things will be drastically different.

The house will most likely be rented out again.  My mom will either return to China to continue working or find a small house or apartment a little closer to downtown LA and try to get into the aerospace industry.  My boyfriend will be entering his senior year of college.  My other friends at UCLA will mostly be moving out into the apartments (woe for no more swipes!).  Meanwhile, I will be homeless, trying to figure out how to make things work over here.

Though the prospects don't seem that great, I am excited to see what will come of this experience.  It's part of the beauty, not knowing how things will be.  It leaves the door to opportunity wide open.  There are a lot of things that could happen and I am excited to get started on this new leg of my journey.  At the same time, it's rather daunting, so I'm taking it one step at a time... first, pack, then, go.  After that... well, time will tell as I integrate into the company (Caelan & Sage) and learn, learn, learn!

I am extremely lucky to have this chance to work abroad, experience a new country, and shadow the CEO and managing director.  Most importantly, I will be given plenty of room to develop and even freedom to decide my path from there!  Do I want to start a branch of the company here?  Do I want to create a new division to go under their umbrella of services?  Whatever way I end up going, the company will be behind me, supporting me in so many different ways.  From finances to connections, manpower to ideas, I will have them to lean on.

Caelan & Sage's slogan is "Infinite Possibilities" and they certainly do live up to their name!  There is a plethora of choices I face and countless paths that I can eventually take.  What lies ahead of me is a wide expanse of land, waiting for me to forge my way.  How many people can say they have that opportunity?  And how many can say they have it with one of their closest friends?  I am truly blessed.

 
 

It's early in the morning and I have yet to sleep all night.  This has been an ever-increasing problem with me in the past week.  I've always been a night owl, but now I'm up until brunch time and then I end up sleeping through until dinner.  If I have something to do during the day, I just take a nap before I have to go.  It's not enough sleep, but I get through the day and usually pass out in the evening.  However, that sleep is never very restful and I end up waking up later that night, which just leads to another all-nighter.

I'm starting to get a headache from this, but there are so many things to occupy my time!  Sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to do it all and next thing I know, the birds are chirping outside and the sun has come out to shine again (or, in today's case, just light things up through the clouds).  I have found so many blogs that may be worth following and now I just spent hours creating this website on Weebly.

My mom just got up to go to the local swap meet.  She loves to take a walk around there and try to haggle a few deals here and there if it's something she needs.  In just two hours I should be driving down to UCLA to meet up with Panda and a friend for brunch.  At least I haven't been sleepy or tired while driving!  That has only happened to me once in the past three or four years, as far as I can recall.  (I got off at the next exit and pulled onto a small street to take a nap.)

Should I take a two-hour nap?  Probably.  I'm at the point where my eyes start to feel heavy and I can sense the bags developing.  I also get ridiculously hungry at this time... grumble.

 
 

[originally posted January 27, 2009]

As my mom and I wandered through a store last month, we saw a section of rakes on sale and it made me wonder who in the world would need one here, where all there are are palm fronds.  I miss having the seasons and I can't recall the last time I raked a pile of leaves and jumped in them.  There's something so simple and wonderful about that experience, which certainly can't be replicated in Southern California, where all the leaves in one county would be required for such a pile.

I also miss the snowfall and waking up to a world whitened overnight, a thunderstorm with bolts of lightning illuminating the sky as thunder roared, and the various other phenomena to be found in other parts of the country.  I don't mind being rained on, which is probably why I loved England so much.  It's so nice to curl up with a hot drink and your blanket as the world outside rages on.  I always feel so safe when I am inside, hidden away from the downpour, yet still privy to watching it through the window.

 
 

[originally posted January 6, 2009]

So today I spent an exorbitant amount of time downstairs chatting with my mom and after a happy time I retreated back to my room with a hot cup of water.  Little did I know how much trouble that would cause.  -___-  As you may be able to guess, I consequently spilled said water and created quite the disaster for myself.  Now I am stuck using the on-screen keyboard, which is a painstakingly slow and arduous task.  I spent ages blasting the keys with those keyboard cleaners after letting what I could drip out first.  Then I dug out the one hairdryer that my family has owned and tried to save the keys that weren't working.  Instead I managed to ruin more keys.  :(

At first it was just 1 2 3 4 and 7 8 9 0 that weren't working.  Now q w e r u i o p, the right shift key, and the arrow keys don't work either.  Strangely, when I use the broken shift key with qwer I get 1234 and for uiop I get 7890.  Hmm.  So after all these desperate attempts, I was, of course, very sad and it just didn't help when my boyfriend decided he needed to lecture me on being more cautious.  Now here I am, keyboardless and with noone to talk to.  :'(  Sad times.

 
 

[originally posted January 5, 2009]

Today, all across the nation (and likely, the world), students are returning to the classroom.  And I?  I sent my dad off at the airport with my mom this morning and returned home to scan some documents.  Just another day, just another chore.  Now, for the first time in my life, I'm not going back to school.  It's a strange sort of feeling to hear about all those who are going back to the old routine.  After 16 years of that, what else am I to expect?  Classes, breaks, homework, midterms, finals... it was all so familiar and now I'm in a whole new dimension, dealing with job searches, applications, cover letters, interviews, networking...  sigh.  It's time to move on with my life, whether I'm ready to or not.

My parents and Panda have been on my case to apply for jobs, send out my resume, get something going.  I know they're right, but at the same time... it's so hard to find the motivation to because I have such a specific image of what I want!  Anything less is just not good enough and I'm afraid I'm being too picky.  I'm sure there are a lot of options that I can settle for, but that's the problem: I don't want to settle.  I want to find a job I'm passionate about, something I'll look forward to doing every morning.  Something I can do for the couple of years that I'd need to before business school.

Well, I guess I just need to hop on it, do my research and see what's out there.