Friday, August 28, 2015

Giving Is A Rare Opportunity

"We only have what we can give"

You know those times when somebody needed you to do stuff for them or someone to do something for you? For example, taking someone to work. Then one day, they're like, "I got a car, so you don't have to take me anymore." Sometimes it's a blessing...but that wasn't my situation. I was devastated. I had helped them so much with their need, and they tell me I'm free from helping them? I was actually hurt. The truth was, I was hurt that I was no longer a need. It felt good to be needed. It felt good to simply be there for someone. It felt even better that they acknowledged it too.

I've told my family or friends that I don't need much and I also work on my end to not need/ask for so much. Therefore, when I do ask, see it as an opportunity. Fortunately with the financial that I’ve been needing, they’ve all been to the rescue. But hey, I earned it too. I’ve never let them down either. There were times where I felt like my parents weren't doing much for me, but it was just all me.

I guess this was why when we finally ask my parents to help us do something as adults, they're kind of excited or make it their priority. Here's a story. My dad jumps on the mission to fix cars when we get into accidents (so sorry father). He's super on top of this. He reports to the insurance, go over the guidelines/qualification, and even does his own rate research. I'd always get mad that the actual person who caused the incident didn't do the research because my dad barely knows English and that makes it hard to communicate...until I was the person who caused it. Even though I knew English, I lack car research skills. However, my dad took over the responsibility, even though it is a 'fatherly' job anyway. But you see, I'm 'Miss Independent' and try not to bother my parents with financial or physical labor. In fact, I told them to save the gas and drive from visiting me when I was in Whitewater. My father also took on the mission to find my brother a car when he decided to work on his soul searching journey. I was like, “Father, he’s 21, let him learn.”

But little did I know, my parents saw these moments as opportunities. They never stop giving to begin with. As you grow, you become more independent and ask less or need less help (or else I'm just alone on that mindset). That's why when you finally ask your family to help, they kind of look forward to it. Of course, don't do it all the time too; that's abusing. I'm glad we didn't abuse our parents’ assistance, and as a result, they looked forward to helping us. In hidden messages, it's a cause for bonding time.

I watched an episode of My Name is Earl the other day. His younger brother would act helpless and clueless, not because that's who he is (or is he? lol), but so his older brother can be the 'older brother.' In my case, my friends have told me that I need to be less 'Miss Independent,' so my partner feels needed and appreciated. But I thought that would make me a burden/luggage. But but then, that also backfired when I felt I wasn’t ‘treated as a lady’ too; I’m into shopping sprees and manicure stuff too! Seriously though, my theory was that my partner should want to spoil or be good to me out of their own liberty, not because they have to 'man up' or meet society standards. I don't know, just be a good person and get/do things for people you care because YOU see that it’s a need for them. For example, oil changes or anything related to car maintenance :D

So if you are a giver, it’s ok to ask sometimes. And if you are an asker, learn to give. Try not to see it as an inconvenience or that someone is ‘using’ you. Just be a good person and give while you can, because your actions reflect who you are. If you were being ‘used,’ just believe that karma will make up for you and the opposite for the other person. Kindness and compassion comes in other forms; landing a job, raise at work, random free stuff, and good days. Thank you for reading as always; I know, this entry was long.

I guess this entry reminds me of Yes Man by Jim Carrey. I’ll have to watch it later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Do I Maintain My Size?

Many people have asked me how I’ve maintained my weight/size over the years. The answer is simple for me, management. I noticed the most drastic changed for girls was sophomore year in high school, which aligns with puberty, so that could be another factor to weight change. But I am not here to talk about the major factors of weight gain or loss. I’m just here to share my story of how I manage my weight. Your weight has to be a lifestyle change, not a short term “beach body” goal before summer. What tends to happen is that you go back to your normal routine because that was just a goal and you reached it or what not.

Lucky me, <---this isn't a challenge. I don't do it for just 7 days, it's a lifestyle and that's my secret to maintaining my size. I probably have alcohol about twice a month, but it's a total of probably 4 cans and 6 shots.

I've always been this size ever since I stopped growing, probably about ages14-16. For some people, this size is a treasure, and for some, it's trash. Whatever your view is, it's your view and I'm not gonna hate you for it. This post is just about how I've maintained my size. These tips are not just for anyone my size or wanting to be my size; it's just healthy habit tips. Take/leave what you want.

Side history: First of all, maybe I do have an advantage of my metabolism. Supposedly it works fast to keep my body size the way it is. I've never actually tested it before, but I do wake up some mornings and get super hungry. I've always kept myself active as a teenager, but it's never too late to start an active lifestyle.

1. Water - I drink and order water at restaurants/fast food 90% of the time. I played soccer in high school and cut soda out of my life since then. I probably drink 1-2 cans per month.

2. Stairs - Take the stairs as often as possible and everywhere you can.

3. Walk - Remember how I was carless in college? Walking to campus was the only reason I had any exercise. That was my blessing in disguise!

4. Workout when you watch tv - Just get down and do some crunches or push ups. If you can do this every night for 10 minutes, that's a good start. I used to watch a whole movie mixing crunches and stepping steps/chair together. That worked my belly and butt :D

5. Limit alcohol intake - Again, fortunately and unfortunately, I am not a professional alcohol consumer. No, don't mistake that for alcoholics. I respect anyone that enjoys alchohol as a daily part of their liquid intake as long as they can afford it, be my guest. I can't drink a lot of beer/liquor, therefore I also don't like beer. In fact, I'll eventually create a mix drink that tastes like Gatorade, because that stuff is good!

6. Portion - You don't have to starve for days to enjoy food. Just watch what you eat. For example, just eat 1 ice cream instead of 2 even if you want 2.

7. Have a size icon - Sure, I'm lucky that I am my size, but I've always had that goal too. Growing up, I ate what the media fed: tall and thin. There was this K-pop girl group that I thought were super cool because they were so much taller than the other girls. SES was like 5'3 and under, but Baby V.O.X were 5'5 +. In my head, I used to think, "I want to look like them when I grow up."

There are many ways to change your size, and some of my ways may not be your style too. Your weight/look can't be a short term goal, it has to be a lifestyle of being, looking, and eating healthy. Remember, you are in control of your life.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Confession of a Student Loaner

The time has come that I face my biggest fear in life and it's not even death, but it pretty much is: student loans!!!! I say that with anger and unhappiness. This month is the start of my 20k+ student loan payment. I will be paying the rate of $270/month and it varies for everyone. This entry will tackle things no one shares when they confess about their loans; most of the time we blame our degree and how it had caused us debt. But it's not, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." It was a simple formula; don't go to a school or chose a major that costs $50k+ to get a degree that makes $30k.

As much as I want to be an innocent victim of student loans, I'm not, so are many people who claim to be so too. Like many Asian immigrant children, I didn't want to go to college in the first place. It was mainly a dream to fulfill for my parents that they wanted me to benefit from. My loans were a horrible decision I made and regret to this day that I can't blame anyone else but myself. But it was so easy to just click "accept" and wait for the refund check to splurge on things I didn't need. I can't blame my loans for putting me in debt; I fell for the bait; shame on me. Anyone can graduate college without debt.

1) High grades = qualify for many scholarships. Unfortunately, I'm not as smart as I appear/sound to be, so my grades never made it to that requirement. Or if it did, someone else was at a 4.0 that I couldn't compete, so I quit the scholarship route. So if you have amazing grades, keep it up because you would basically get pay to go to school! You are awesome!

2) Work and save. I knew this guy who worked for the school newspaper and all year round just to pay his tuition. He didn't want his parents to worry or worry after he graduated. I should've done the same thing, but I didn't. I bounced between work-study and non-work-study jobs; I have no one to blame for my lack of work credibility. I also chose to live off my refund money to pay for my missions; regret and also don't regret that.

I also accumulated so much loan was because I went on two oversea travel studies. The loans suck, but the memories were truly everlasting. To this day after I graduated, I haven't really gone anywhere. Had I not took those loans, I would've never set foot outside of the US. But hey, try to get good grades to qualify for grants/scholarships. That would've helped pay my travel studies.

My loans also paid for my rent and fed me for 3 years. If I could start again, I would have never accepted those loans and took only what I needed, and pay for my living/everyday expense. I also want to add that I worked toward my degree field, but that wasn't going to pay me to stay alive. I was worried for the longest time that I wouldn't be able to pay my student loans, but I'm glad my current job pays me enough to pay it now.

So how do I feel about my loans? More like what do I want to blame my loans for? I blame my loan for causing me to have a low debt-to-ratio when I need to buy a house. I blame my loans for not shopping because I have to pay it first. I blame my loans for not saving. I hate my loans, but that was my decision. But hey, "I have a college degree."

-----------Just a quick sidenote about college in general
1. College isn't for everyone
2. Everyone doesn't have to go to college to be successful
3. Going to college doesn't default you to be successful
4. Just because you have a college degree, you'll get a job (or can be an ass and rub it in everyone's face)
5. Not having a college degree doesn't degrade your value

College is basically an accessory to your resume. Your success is all up to your own will and college is simply a stepping stone feature. There are plenty of ways to become "financially" successful. You can stick with your high school job and move up the ladder. You can just go after a demanding degree, like IT (Information Technology). A good amount of people just go to college. It works out for some and it doesn't for some. Your life is what you make of it; don't blame college or anyone. In fact, I work for an engineering firm and some of these people make more with their associate degree. It's all about how you market yourself and your network. I mean, look at the people who got famous through social networks. In fact, some people are living off their own youtube channels. That's my dream, but I don't live a normal life for people to relate to. I like to just watch movies and surf the web. Ok, I'm kidding. I go on pretty cool soul searching missions.

5 tips about college
1. Make sure you major in a demanding field, like IT, nursing, doctor. sounds like your parents, huh? (but I was rebellious and did what my heart wanted and graduated with a degree that isn't a need) :P
2. Just have good grades. Quit partying and buying alcohol.
3. Work! You need a good work history after you graduate too.
4. Some friends are forever and some are just for the moment. Be careful who you invest in.
5. If you feel like quitting...don't. Unless you're going to get an IT degree at a technical college :P

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grateful and Blessed

I am so thankful for my family and Josh for being a part of this second relocation of my life. The first time I left home was for college in UW-Whitewater. When I decided to move for my job, I felt the same fears as I did the first time, but just a little bit heavier. Rent was no longer coming out of my student loans or refunds; that means I have to work and be good at it to have a stable and consistent income to provide me housing until the lease is over. You see, in college, you get a chunk of money (applicable to only a few), then you use it. In real life, you work first, and by the time you get pay, life happens and your pay is gone. I wasn’t worried about rent, because it was easy to save a chunk of it first hand. I could do the same thing with my current situation, but it’s different than college; student loans + car loan + car insurance + rent. Back in college, all I had to worry about was where the next adventure was.

Reflecting on my parents, I am so amazed at how they did it and still continue to do so. Let me also top that with little to no English literacy and speaking skills. Seriously, I get pay more than she does, but I am failing at life :(. Ok fine, I just need a few months to be financially comfortable.

I’ve been really emotional, as you can tell in my previous entry and lion photos on my FB, because I just can’t believe and soak in the willingness, distance, and heart my family and Josh has gave to me in this transition. I try to do as much as I can alone, so it’s rare that I ask for assistance. “But if you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” and I finally asked because I was in need. Parents were understanding about my car. Sister #2 saved a dresser for me. Sister #3 picked up a dining table set. Sister #4 + brother-in-law let me stay at her place until I found an apartment and helped financially, along with Sister #6. Josh’s sister’s bed.

When I compare my first apartment experience to this one, it doesn’t even compare. Back to the whole “Miss Independent” thing, I didn’t ask anyone for help. I had to carry and assemble my dining table. Only a few people were nice enough to help me move the sofa; haters gonna hate. I was bed-less for a whole month because I didn’t have a car at that time to move at my own convenience, so I didn’t want to nag anyone. And oh gosh, financially was I hurt. Any kind of shopping sucked. I biked to Wal-Mart for pretty much everything, which was about 15 minutes away. I couldn’t buy much due to only whatever I could fit in my backpack, but it’s ok and it worked out anyway. Although those were horrible days I lived through, it made me a stronger person.

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”

I’m so grateful for the support from my family and Josh at this change in my life. Every time I reflect on the struggles I've overcome or even when I'm going through one, I think of this quote as a coping mechanism: