apartment living

I realized recently that I haven’t talked about apartment life at all. Sheesh. It’s like it’s not even a big deal (it’s not). Well I won’t go into too much detail (I will). I moved in with my brother about three weeks ago, and have been slowly settling in.

Now, adjusting has been hard. I just about feel at home now, but it was really weird the first few days especially. Originally, I didn’t like living so close to other people. I mean, people could be there when I walk out my front door. People could be at my mailbox. People could be near my car. People is everywhere!!! My deep-seated introversion meant this kept me inside as much as possible. Until school started, I don’t think I went out unless it was absolutely imperative.

Well, three weeks later and I’ve gotten over that. I even kind of enjoy it now. Funny, isn’t it? How something that was so alien and unsettling could become something you look forward to? I really do. I like waving to my neighbors, and I like walking to my mailbox and seeing the kids playing basketball. I even like seeing people walk under my window as I type this. I feel sort of urban, and this could be a taste of what life in Seoul might be like if I ever move there.

Otherwise, I super heart my locale!!! There’s literally EVERYTHING around us. Every fast food, every chain of grocery store, a comic book store like just around the corner, the library and post office also around the corner, a gajillion churches, and town festivals! I love living in a town that, while large, has banners stretching across main street announcing town events. How quaint is that? But seriously, I can drive ten minutes and get anything I need. Huzzah town living!

On another, related note, I am thoroughly enjoying living on my own. Well, with a brother, granted, but I’m in charge of food and stuff. I like it. Sure, it’s hard with school to cook as often as I should, and we still get junk food on occasion and pig out – but all in all, I’m doing better than I thought I would (I made a roast chicken and squash and kale side – YUM). I hate grocery shopping, but that’s good cause it means I won’t spend time getting food not on my list. I am cooking much more than I ever have, and pretty healthily too.

Of course, I’m still far short of where I want to be. I have a great evening routine that I stick to, and my morning routine is consistent if not quite what I had envisioned. I just can’t seem to eat a big breakfast or exercise. That’s the worst – the exercise. I don’t have that much time in the mornings, and after school I’m tired out and need to cook…*sigh

But, that will come. I haven’t even lived here a month. Perspective, girl, perspective. You’ll get there. *nods head to mirror looking determined* Anyone have any tips for making yourself exercise? I don’t like going anywhere to work out, but I’m wondering if that’s what it would take to get me doing it. Maybe take a class? Taekwondo…yoga…windsurfing…

otter.

Also, I’ll be taking picture soon, so you can see what my awesome *cough* pad looks like, man!

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am I an adult yet?

I just – finally – moved into the new apartment. It’s been weird and awesome and weird. I know it will be a while before this feels like home, but right now I’m wondering if it ever will. And all this moving out and junk has brought up the question; am I an adult now?

This question has been plaguing me for years. Well, a few years. I’m early twenties. I can drink, smoke, join the army, whatever. I can get a house, get married, hold a job, move to Antarctica, join a rally, write a book, become a nun, or learn kung fu. I can do anything. So, does that make me an adult? Is it an age thing? A character thing? A status thing? An accomplishment thing?

Is it having a mortgage on a nice house? Being married with kids? Having a nine-to-five? Having health insurance and a 401k? Having a degree? Not living with your parents?

What makes an adult, an adult? From when I was 18 until about now, I’ve had different feelings. When I worked retail and was an assistant manager, I felt like an adult in my job. I was in charge most of the time, with people younger than me taking my orders. But I still felt like a kid at school, where all my professors were older and wiser, and at home, where my parents were still in charge and knew a heck of a lot more about things like finances and life-living than I did.

When I moved to Taiwan, I was on my own and independent. I definitely felt like an adult when I compared myself to my team-mates, also adults, and our students. My position was clear. But not so much when it came to my co-workers, the Taiwanese teachers. Most of them were older than me, and since we were noob foreigners living in their country, they had the upper-hand the majority of the time, and had to help us with rudimentary things like banking and transportation. The status was less clear in that respect.

Maybe it all depends on relationship. I will never feel older and wiser than my parents, because I never will be; and I look at other people my age and some things I do and still feel a bit fledgling. Is there an objective moment when someone becomes an adult, and if so, have I reached it? I just moved out, I’ll be going to school, making my own decisions – in my opinion, I should be an adult. Does the world think so?

otter.

thumb-twiddling

Preparations for moving out are going well. I have at least gone through all the rubbish in various corners of my room and decided what to keep, toss, or sell. A rather large accomplishment and one that has been niggling vociferously in my noggin for some time. Go me.

I have sent off all of the paperwork on my end, signed what needs to be signed, and we have a definite date for moving in and the enlisted help of some friends.

So, what now? I have a couple weeks left until the actual move – I’m stuck at home waiting and twiddling my thumbs, playing hours of pyramid solitaire and trying to blog. Books and TV only vaguely old my interest, and most of the time I’m just waiting in the time between meals.

But never fear, oh readers of mine who despair over my lethargy; I am not all lost. I have created some lists to help me set down good roots in my new abode. For instance, I have created both a morning and evening routine full of relaxing and/or productive things to help me round out my days. A day well rounded is, well, rounded.

I got the idea from the book One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider. She has 52 projects to help streamline your life, finances, and home. I love the book. Simple and doable. As far as the morning and evening routines go, she argues that having a set of habits that you repeat, as simple as they may be, helps structure your life by providing ‘book-ends.’ I agree.

For a taster, my morning routine;

  • Drink water
  • Make bed
  • Shower/get ready
  • Breakfast outside on the patio (my apartment has one. Huzzah!)
  • Pray/Meditate

And the evening;

  • Make to-do list for next day
  • Bible reading
  • Quick Journal/Brain dump
  • Pick out clothes for next day
  • Read for 10-15 minutes

She has more options and ideas – I just picked the ones I thought would work for me. I tend to be on the computer right before bed, and it makes sleeping difficult, so I want to change that.

I honestly think it will help me, especially as I have added brain dump for my list of evening habits. My brain is one of those that like to poke at me all through the night with interesting anecdotes and ideas. Accursed thing.

I’m also slowly working on a meal and exercise plan, to be started immediately upon arrival at the new place, and school will start soon after, so my schedule will be full and unable to be gotten round. I do love being busy because it saves me the trouble of doing it myself. I sound utterly lazy. For shame.

otter.

back in business or; responsibility is a grand thing

Well this past week has been….interesting. Not bad; great, actually. I’ve spent it unwinding and relaxing, eating mountains of American food, getting fat, organizing my room, enjoying new old clothes, the works. (Aside – I love how all the clothes I haven’t had for a year feel all new.)

But…it’s been a bit weird. I’ve been suffering from reverse culture shock in a big way. Maybe jetlag too. I keep getting overwhelmed by silly things, like going grocery shopping. I mostly just want to stay home and hide behind this new laptop of mine. (Yay!)

I think I’m getting overwhelmed because of all the intake my brain is getting. I’ve been used to a very small circle of awareness and comprehension – living in my little Western English bubble in Taiwan made coming back to a country-sized sphere a little difficult. But I’m adjusting. I’m good at that. I haven’t been using kindergarten English on people, I haven’t accidentally used any Chinese, and for the most part, I’ve gotten back into all my old habits.

The flipside is that some of those old habits were bad, and they die hard. I wanted to start afresh on a healthy diet, exercise plan, and learning schedule. It’s proving to be challenging, not least because my jet-lagged brain-fogginess doesn’t want me to do anything productive 20 out of 24 hours a day.

Having no responsibilities is nice on one hand, terrible on the other. Without anything forcing me to do anything, it’s hard to have the gumption and moral fiber to make myself get out of bed, eat right, exercise, do what I need to do for moving, and a host of other things getting moldy on my to-do list. Sheesh.

Today has been better. I’m getting bored of doing nothing, and I finally made myself some timetables for getting my room taken care of before the move. No boxes yet, but I have several piles of stuff to sell or donate. Oh, that feels good.

I daresay I won’t be blogging much in the next couple of weeks. Not unless I can get some motivation up and running alongside creativity, and find something worth writing about. And until we’re settled in the new apartment, I won’t feel like I can think clearly.

Maybe once I get some responsibilities I can calm down.

otter.

(Also, I revamped my ‘About’ page for my next phase of life. Check it out.)

my next adventure…

ocean16

For those few friends who will get this joke – “I don’t want to leave Asia. I just cry the whole time.” Yeah, cry an ocean of tears. Inside.

One of my readers recently asked me what my next adventure will be. Well, friends, and not friends, and the general public…it’s college. I say it with mixed feelings. Let me break it down for you.

I do not believe that it is at all necessary to get a degree in order to have a great life. So many people succeed beyond their wildest dreams without one that it’s simply foolish to link success to education (at least of the public variety). HOWEVER…there are some jobs that can’t be had without a degree. A lot of companies require it, or at least, mad experience equivalent to it, which is hard to get in some cases.

For me then, why a degree? Well, because I want to live in Korea. A degree is not necessary for that, you say. True enough. But in order to make a living, I’d need to be able to support myself fully without a job in the country (part time places don’t hire non-Koreans), so I’d need an independent income from a free-lance or small business, and that’s not going to happen in a couple of years. I could work towards that goal so I don’t ever have to work for anyone else, but it takes years to build up a successful enough business that you don’t need another source of income. Usually. There are stellar cases where people make a million overnight, but those are the exceptions. I don’t want to expect that.

So, I could either spend the next few years pursuing a job that might make me enough money to move to Korea, or I could spend the next few years getting a degree so I could definitely get a job in Korea. I want to be a translator, at least for right now, and so I need to learn the language. Easiest to learn it while in the country. Easiest to get in the country teaching ESL. Need a degree for teaching ESL. Get it? Makes sense, right? There is no program that hires full-time teachers without a degree. If you know of one, please tell me.

Anyway, details and long stories aside, I’m going to college. A degree may not be needed but it can be useful.

I was pretty bummed about this for a long time. I didn’t want to go to college. I don’t like most classes, I hate the propaganda most colleges spout nonstop, and I didn’t want to be surrounded by partying college punks. Ahem. (I know, some of you guys are nice.) So I was dragging my feet and dreading the next two or three years until I could get back to Asia and start my ‘real life.’ Never mind that most people consider teaching abroad a break from ‘real life.’

I was getting so bummed I had to stop and evaluate my reasons for being so put out. What was it I was so upset about? The time, mostly. Two years or more of my life down the drain, so I saw it. But that’s not fair. I can do a lot while I’m there; a lot of really useful, productive things. And it doesn’t mean I won’t get to Asia again until I graduate. There are quite a few study abroad programs at my University. Or I could take another, shorter break and teach again. There’s no real hurry except my impatience. It’s not like I’m old and need to get a move on. Sheesh.

I’ll be moving out soon too. My brother and I are getting an apartment together, so that’s another adventure right there. Sure, I’ve lived away from home this year, but it was with roommates, without housing or utility bills, and at the school. A bit different.

I made a list of things I could do while I was in college. It made me actually excited. Things like; learning how to manage money, learning how to cook organically and naturally, developing an exercise routine, getting fit, learning something like singing or Taekwondo, studying Chinese and Korean, making close, like-minded friends, and getting involved with or starting a ministry at church I can continue in Korea. When I look at it that way, two years seems like a short time! I think of all the things I want to know about, and it’s incredible how two years will fly by.

I’m still a little hesitant, because this is new. I’ve been to college before, but I’ll be moving out this time and taking upper level courses. This will be a big deal. I can’t just skate by.

My blog will change too, of course. I don’t know what my focus will be, but I’ll be continuing to talk about Asia for sure. How Taiwan changed me, what reverse culture shock is like, my plans for Korea, and so on. I’m not sure how much I can write about college. Would be kind of mundane, I think. I’ll probably start up the natural health thing again. How to cook well on a budget and so on. My experiments with natural deodorant or toothpaste or whatever. We’ll see.

I wish I could say my next adventure was another country, getting to know awesome people and eat awesome food, but it’s not. It’s college – one of those steps towards becoming an adult, don’t you know. (Am I not one now?)

otter.