Archive for the 'Bay Area' Category

the future is so much awesomer than the past

Happy 2010! Since that last post, there have been a few adjustments to my life. For one, I’ve decided to stay in the Bay Area for at least another year (unless I get a really good job offer in NYC, or I end up not finding a job and entering the Peace Corps for four years). For another, I’ve figured out most of my game plan for the next five years. Also, 2009’s finally over and it’s the fucking future! They say 2010 is the start of a good stretch for the Rabbit.

My decision to stay on the West Coast was a hard one, but it’s nice to have family around when you’re just getting started in the real world, just in case you fuck up and they have to save your sorry ass. But yup, I’m probably moving to San Francisco the first chance I get, given that most of my friends are up there and I’m turning into a hermit in my house. “Empire State of Mind” still makes me feel both homesick and proud, but I’ve got history here, now, too.

As for doing the things I want to do: I still don’t know exactly what career I’m going to end up in, but I know for sure I’ll be doing lots of music on the side. There’s this producer in Daly City I’m working with to make some epic vocal trance, and one day when we have a place to practice, my Motown punk band will be back on. And I will eventually edit and re-write my novel and get it published, but I’m going to try and find some meaningful work first, hopefully involving a fun, possibly do-gooding company or NGO. Yes, this is not the starving artist schtick I expected it to be, but you can’t really do that when you’re 22 with a Stanford diploma and $100k in debt ($200k with interest!). I might as well be useful.

So, I’ll be investing my free time in music, my extra money in stocks and savings, and all of my trust in only my closest friends. The student loan thing is still a problem, but I think it’s one I can solve. Things are on the up and up.

P.S. I’m sorry that this blog hasn’t been living up to its name. There hasn’t been much serious “transit” going on besides the CalTrain and BART I take to get to SF. I’ll try to write more pieces on cultural stuff, but since I’m staying put, this blog is effectively on indefinite hiatus. PTFO.

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ahoy again

It’s been a very, very strange year. I wish I could get a do-over, but at the same time I’d MUCH RATHER NOT have to go through all that crazy shit a second time. I graduated and transitioned into the real world of unemployment and despair. I went to Burning Man (again). I got dumped (again). I went to war with and cut myself off from some crazy, pushy, confounding, conniving people, stressed to the point that I had to question my priorities, my morals, and the very nature of my character, and sometimes I still have to remind myself why I did what I did. I moved back in with my parents and got a sweet little dog who cries when she’s alone. I’ve got lots of free time now, and I spend it working on two novels I’ve written for NaNoWriMo, tinkering with GarageBand and my resume, learning how to drive, and trying not to get cabin fever.

I realized that the three-year cycle that keeps me ever “transitory” is coming around again, and after a two-week jaunt to NYC in October, the “Empire State of Mind” song is stuck in my head. I really might go back to where I came from, that ghetto-ass Chilltown that my sister and I spent years trying to forget. I think I want to finally live in the city proper. I think I’m finally prepared.

Then again, I’ve got a bunch of loans to repay, and maybe staying under my parents’ roof would be a better idea. I don’t know. I’ve talked to so many people this past month. Some of them are my age, or younger, or decades older, with kids a decade younger than I am. Some of them are still at Stanford, some graduated with me and are still unemployed, some have been working the same insanely cushy job for the past five years, some are my parents’ friends who have been working for the past five decades.

I’ve told each person something different about myself and what I want in a job. Everything I’ve said has been true. Everything I’ve said has been me talking out of my ass. I’ve gotten more advice than I know what to do with.

My sister scared me best: You have a degree that will make you more money than mine will, but because of that you also have more debt than I ever had. Pay your dues.

A thirtysomething friend and father of two put it this way: It’s never too late to do what you want to do.

I feel like my clock is ticking, but this is a recession. Despite all of those newspaper articles on people finally chasing their dreams because they lost their jobs and are retooling their priorities, I need to be making bank.

I’m clinging to hope. A friend currently at Columbia told me about a fellow neuroscience Ph.D. candidate who is in a fairly popular Brooklyn indie band. The guy spends all day at his job and all night rehearsing and doing gigs. Sure, you can always make time. Am I really that dedicated, though?

how to go green without becoming a self-righteous douchebag

One of the things that annoys me about living in the co-op community (and in Northern California in general) is the vast number of people I have to deal with who shop exclusively at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, scoff at non-organic and non-local products, shell out shit tons of money for Dr. Bronner’s (and perhaps console me with “It’s totally okay” if you can’t afford to be good to the environment), spend their summers Flying Out to Third-World Countries to Help Poor People, bitch you out for leaving the lights on, and carry themselves with a smug holier-than-thou air for being so goddamn good. The superbaby progeny of doting soccer moms have evolved into a generation of everything-conscious neo-hippies who embody American whitebreadism. While the vast majority of them are harmless and mean well, some of them can be as stereotypical and annoying as the extremist factions of GreenPeace and PETA.

I’m vegetarian for ethical reasons, and I try not to bitch about it. For lack of money I can’t do the all-organic all-local thing, but I’m also wary of all that shit– those labels sometimes don’t mean anything, just as kosher sometimes doesn’t equal humane practices; small-time farmers with excellent farming ethics don’t always get those expensive cage-free and organic labels, and “certified organic” companies aren’t always what you think. Also, I use lots of jet fuel and electricity, and it’s not even to volunteer to help poor people.

Do I feel guilty about my T-Rex-sized carbon footprint? No, because I’m trying to reduce it, and I’ve learned that guilt over climate change, like guilt over third-world countries, gets you nowhere. (I’ll probably write more about guilt later.)

So the question is: Can you “go green” without turning into a rabid environmentalist? Sure, but it might take conscious effort to both 1) start becoming aware of your products and practices so you can change them, and 2) prevent yourself from proselytizing once you do become aware.

I approach green/Fair Trade/socially responsible/”conscious” living as I would religion: you’ll probably mess up sometimes (or all the time), but try your best. I’d say focus on changing your habits. Use less toilet paper. Turn the lights off. Slow your faucet use to a trickle. Read magazines online. Bike instead of drive. Carpool. Start a compost heap. Dispose of batteries properly. Bundle up instead of turning up heat. Don’t use plastic grocery bags. Buy used. Freecycle. Eat less meat. Drink tap. Cook. Blah blah blah. (It helps that most of these tips also save money.)

Like religion, the whole point shouldn’t be about consumerism, about splurging on rosaries blessed with water from Lourdes or being able to afford fancy bikes, solar panels, organic cotton and Dr. Bronner’s soap. It’s about believing in the gist of things and having your actions speak louder than words.

So yeah, I do think going green is like trying to be a good person– and to me, a good person isn’t self-important or judgmental (I’m obviously still working on this one, given this bitchy post). They would generally be ready to talk about or defend their beliefs if they were addressed directly, but otherwise wouldn’t turn their nose up at people who “aren’t trying hard enough”.

In short, my advice on saving the world is try your best, but shut up and get over yourselves. The end!

new year’s round-up

Once again, sorry for being MIA and back-posting erratically. You guys probably don’t check this blog out as often as I do anyway, but still, I have a lot of catching up to do.

In the meantime, a couple of things that’ve crossed my mind since coming back:

1. Who are you and what did you do to the other girl??

I feel like a completely different person now. For one thing, I’ve been dressing more stylishly. I haven’t left the house in a sweatshirt and sweatpants since March, and I intend to keep it that way. I seem to have lost my appetite lately, so hopefully that’ll offset all the macarons and pasta and choc-nut I had over the past nine months and I can go back to my 110-pound self. I don’t cuss as much as I used to– in Paris I was constantly muttering putain merde de bordel! for some reason or another, but I was high-rolling in the Philippines so I couldn’t come off as an uneducated low-life. :P I’ve also been speaking more Tagalog, but I don’t think that’ll last very long…

2. What the hell are you gonna do now?

The year’s adventures had to come to an end at some point, and now I think I’ll be grounded in the Bay Area at least for the next two years while I finish my bachelor’s degree. I’m still trying to figure out whether my horrible academic record is really just me being lazy or if there’s actually something up with my health, so a trip to Vaden is in order (once I get my student health insurance back in January!).
Even if it is all in my head, I guess I’ll have to be a hermit for a while and focus on not screwing up my $200K education. The twenty years of loans I’m gonna have might as well be worth it!

3. What about the Sorbonne/Peace Corps/grad school?

Maybe in 2009 or 2010 I’ll go back to France and try my hand at Sciences Po or Paris IV again (while trying to break into the French rock scene). I’ll need braces and laser eye surgery– and some moolah– before then, though, so pfft (it sounds more like “pffuu, euh…” in French).
The Peace Corps can also wait. As for grad school, I still have no idea what the hell I’d want to study as a grad student, so that plan is definitely the least pressing.

4. Are you ever gonna learn how to drive?

I like being eco-friendly, and if that means taking a lot of inaction, so much the better. But the freedom driving affords would be pretty nice… as long as the first car I buy is a hybrid.

5. Who reads this blog, anyway?

The other day, one of my mom’s co-workers mentioned that she’s read my blog. I nearly passed out when she went on to tell me that my mother passed on this blog’s address to a lot of people in her office. I don’t know how long ago that was, but according to WordPress’s Blog Stats, I got 500 hits in June, so I’m guessing it was then.
This made me curious– who’s (still) reading this? At the risk of exposing myself to TMI and e-mail contact from creepy stalkers, I’d like you to post a comment here. It doesn’t matter who you are; if you’ve spent more than three minutes on transitory residence, you’re fair game.

This is the end of my 2007 posts. It’s been a fun first year. For 2008 I’d like to wish everyone Bonne Année, あけおめ/ことよろ, Manigong Bagong Taon, 新年快乐 and Happy New Year. Hope it’s a good one!


What?

This is a blog of things place-related, by a cash-strapped Stanford grad who's lived in various places and writes about life. She's currently looking for a job in Manhattan or the Bay Area.

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