Work and friends

I’m putting a lot of time and effort at work lately. I had my annual review at work and got a sweet bonus. I’m aiming for a promotion this year so I’m making friends of my teammates and figuring out how to work on the most important tasks with good visibility for the next few months. I’ve been spending a lot of time at work but I observe myself getting better both technically and socially. It’s been gratifying. My manager is learning how to be a life coach and he guided me through finding my top 5 values. They are, in order of importance: practicality, integrity, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and caring.

I went skiing for the second time ever this past weekend. I went with teammates and it was actually really nice, my coworkers are a fun bunch even though I was terrible at the actual skiing portion. I had taken a break from taking exercise classes for two weeks last month in order to attend dance practice for my performance in my company’s Chinese New Year celebration so I worked out extra hard this past month to make up for it. I’m able to see my triceps now!

A college friend is visiting from the east coast and I had dinner and a nice conversation with him two days ago. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep so many friends from college even though I live so far from them, there’s a handful of friends I phone with on a weekly or monthly basis. Old friends are the way I keep in touch with the world outside of the tech bubble I live in, they keep me grounded by sharing what they’re up to, what they’re excited for, and what they’ve been thinking about lately. Finally, I’m thankful for my boyfriend who pushes me to become emotionally mature. He meditates regularly and had me join him a couple times. Afterwards he asks me what thoughts I had during the meditation, but I didn’t have any because I fell asleep. (o^_^o)

Focus on Friends

Native peoples, who were, of course, already here when the pioneers arrived, stayed at traditional camps in the Pioneer Square area. Many intermarried with settlers. Cultural diversity was again broadened by Chinese arrivals, who built railroads to the West and stayed here. Over and over, as immigrants came to Seattle, many became a part of Pioneer Square. Today we get a lot of people from California...

This past month has been nice. I’m focusing less on work and more on friends. I met up locally with a few friends from high school and college over the weekends, and I flew to Seattle over MLK Day long weekend to meet friends there. My boyfriend’s resolution is to change jobs so he is following a strict schedule these days. I’m trying to give him space by using my time to deepen my friendships and rekindle my creative side. I used a vinyl cutter and heat press to add a design on a shirt yesterday and I bought a voucher for horseback riding with lessons today.

As you can tell, I’m in that cash crunch week right now. One bank’s site is down for maintenance so the credit card debt number is an estimate. I did finally fill out the auto-pay form so I won’t need to do it manually from next month onward.

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2018/01

Korea with friends

Seoul Lantern Festival

I didn’t really post an adequate update last time, I’ll fill in some details from October. I think I missed mentioning that I got a new cash rewards credit card while on the east coast to use on gas and dining out. After I came back to California and somewhat recovered from being sick, I was busy practicing the choreography for a group dance I performed during the Diwali celebration at my company. I also organized a Diwali get-together with all my friends at my place. My boyfriend was really impressed with that gathering (^_^) I spent one day at Santa Cruz Boardwalk (my company had raffled free pairs of tickets so we each paid only 1/3 the normal price!) with two alumni of my Masters university the next weekend (I got my Bachelors from one university and my Masters from another). And the weekend before Halloween I got dinner with my cousin who’d flown in from the east coast.

I also had a fitness evaluation the last full week of October where the resident personal trainer at my office gym walked me through what I wanted in terms of fitness for the next 6 months and helped me set goals. Since that week I have exercised on average 3 times a week, up from only doing yoga once a week since mid-2015. I still do yoga once a week, augmented with a run and a group exercise class at my company gym. I also track which days I did which workout in my phone calendar. I feel my thighs getting thicker as my skinny jeans feel tighter as a result. I feel hungry more often and have a good appetite. I have to constantly manage my time so I can exercise 3 days a week, but I hope it eventually becomes a habit.

On to November, so much has happened! I joined a meetup event for a group archery class the first weekend of November. I met up with my Masters roommate the next weekend. But mostly I was wrapping up tasks at work and planning for exciting Thanksgiving travels!

I would work hard at work so I could come home, conference call my friends, and research our trip as best we could without knowing Korean. No joke, we had a shared Google spreadsheet and shared maps account to plan out where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and how to get around. I got a physical, went to a travel clinic and took the typhoid vaccine over the next week. I got a prescription for anti-diarrhea pills, packed a first aid kit, and registered our trip with the State Department. My friend and I searched up and each got a new credit card with no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee. I even looked up my company’s travel insurance policy. I impressed myself on how much of an adult I had become.

A note on health, I fasted and got my blood drawn one day and had an ultrasound another day. Everything is normal, just my cholesterol levels are higher than last year. I had bought new glasses earlier and had mistakenly submitted a claim to my eye insurance even though I paid for them through a separate health account. So I mailed in a request and undid that claim. I made my open enrollment elections for next year during that second week of November and kept my insurance similar to last year. Now after having an eye exam and ordering contacts today, I’m second-guessing that I should have put more money into the tax-advantaged health account, I wonder if there’s any way to modify it now…

I hosted my undergrad friend from Chicago the week before Thanksgiving. I really got to connect with him since it was just the two of us hanging out that week. We talked about faith (he’s Christian and I’m Hindu), we talked about love (he’s single and I’m not). We talked about parents and siblings, grandparents and ancestry, languages and our lack of competency with them. For some reason I was surprised that my boyfriend hit it off with him. I really shouldn’t have been, he’s starting grad school at the same college my boyfriend graduated from. My boyfriend is a silver-tongued chameleon, he can fit into any group I drop him into.

He and I and my college bestie spent all Thanksgiving week touring Korea. It was a blast and I’m so glad I went! I ate the best meal of the year at a temple food restaurant in Seoul and visited a handful of UNESCO World Heritage sites, both natural and cultural. I got a layered haircut and bought cosmetics. I impulse purchased a multi-purpose USB hair iron that works as either curler or straightener 😝. I went to a cat cafe, dog cafe, and fish market. He’d gotten in touch with our college friend who teaches English in Seoul so we saw the Seoul Lantern Festival together and she invited us to her place for an expat Thanksgiving. That was my first international trip without my family and I feel really complete having gone.

My boyfriend flew to his parents place less than a week after I got back. He’ll be gone the rest of the year spending time with family. I’m trying to keep myself busy by exercising and spending time with old friends. It’s nice that I had the chance to catch up with my high school math teacher as well as a college friend this past weekend. I’ll get a few days with my civil engineering friend when she visits me Christmas weekend. One last upside is that I am able to focus on work without being distracted or feeling guilty. It’s a red flag that my boyfriend makes me feel guilty if I spend as much time working as he does. He agrees it’s unfair of him as well. We’ll work on it.

Money-wise, I set up autopay for one of my new credit cards and will work on setting it up for the other one. I’m also not including the balance from the other one under credit card debt since I don’t know what it is. I locked myself out of my online account. I should also save up some cash right now. I’ll get a smaller paycheck come January because of retirement account contributions. Finally I’m reading “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity”, a personal finance self-help book from the Buddhist perspective. It guides you through writing a financial autobiography and meditating on your philosophy and biases around money. I started writing my autobiography yesterday and am liking it so far.

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2017/11

Impostor syndrome and friends

Saint Charles Air Line Bridge

Hello world! Usually the first day of my period is the worst day of the month, but today was pretty good considering. My manager has doubled as my career coach for the past 6 months and I’m really grateful he invests so much time in me every week. His birthday was this week and I drove the team to buy him a birthday cake and surprised him at the end of a team lunch with 40 or so people! He was really touched and thanked me later, and organizing it made me happy too.

I’m starting to realize my X factor is communicating and doing people stuff. My presentation from last month went well and I’ve made good progress on my next main task. I’m easily overwhelmed by information especially since I’ve been oncall for the past two weeks so I’m depending on my team to help handle some of it because in the end we all have the same goals. I’m learning to be more comfortable taking their help. I’m transitioning to the attitude that my not being able to handle oncall duties and make progress on my own tasks is not a reflection of me being a bad coder.

Chicago was amazing! I had a ton of fun catching up with two friends from undergrad and seeing the city. I stayed with my friend right in downtown, about two blocks from the Field Museum. And I hung out with them Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday and did touristy stuff the rest of the days. It worked out really well.

The next weekend a different undergrad friend visited and stayed with me. I took her to see the redwoods, San Jose downtown, and the beach. And she took the Caltrain to San Francisco while I was at work on Monday. Friends are the best.

Last weekend and the next few weekends I’m busy deep cleaning in my car and apartment in preparation for my family staying with me for the first two weeks of August. My living room is completely empty (it’s better than a week ago when the room was being used as storage). I have two weeks until I host a get-together of 10 people to make it look like a normal living room. Yep, I have my work cut out for me. I’m planning to buy a sofa bed and a couple folding chairs.

Those checks from my old 401k are in a giant pile of paperwork I need to sort through…so yeah. In brighter news, I got the first proceeds of my company’s ESPP! That’s why the amount of money in my stocks category jumped by 10K. I sold the stock immediately (well, a couple days later) and now I need to invest the cash in some index funds. I only have domestic equities right now so I’ll look up some good international ex-US funds.

Last and most crucial, my boyfriend’s parents flew here last week. Tomorrow, I’m meeting them for the first time. This relationship is at a point of no return. Wish me luck!

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2017/07