Archive for the 'planning' 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?

the road trip: embarking on a classic american tradition

Long time no see? Yeah, I probably have to update this blog more often. But, you know, sometimes I have a slightly more interesting real life to deal with. And last month I had to write a novel, so I was more busy than usual.

But now it’s the first week of winter break and the thunder outside sounds ominous and I’ve got some free time for the moment, so I’ll give y’all a quick update.

My room has been turned into a guest room while I’ve been away and will be in use for the break, so I decided last week to eschew spending Christmas and New Year’s with the family to go on an impromptu road trip to Arizona. Besides, gas is hella cheap right now (this past weekend I saw a gas station in Menlo Park proudly displaying regular at $1.69 FTW!) and my friend Ricky lives in Tucson and is gonna be driving down there anyway so expenses shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Maybe.

FAQ, or, “WTF Are You Thinking?”

Have you got a plan? Sort of– we’ll be hitting up friends in L.A. on the way to Tucson, I’m staying with Ricky’s fam once we get there, and we might spend New Year’s in Flagstaff. (Couchsurfing might be key while on the road. I wish I had in iPhone so I wouldn’t have to worry about Internet, but… oh well, it’s more fun that way.)

Do you even have any money? I’ve got about $50 in cash. So… nope.

Aren’t you worried? Not really. Ricky knows how to throw knives.

So yeah, that’s the plan. My dad’s not too happy about it, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be seeing enough of me when I graduate and move back in next year.

my fake graduation, and why i’m not getting a job this summer

Since I took a quarter off last year and seriously messed up my schedule (I was originally planning to take an entire year off, remember?), I’m actually getting my diploma next year. But I walked in this year’s graduation because I am in the class of 2008 and wanted to walk with my friends. (That, and my family wanted a reason to see Oprah’s commencement speech.)

Unfortunately, my decision to have a fake graduation is having unexpected repercussions. I keep reminding my parents that I haven’t, but everyone they know still thinks that I’ve actually graduated. This means that I’m gonna have to try to avoid all of my parents’ friends for the next twelve months so I don’t have to give them that awkward explanation that no, I haven’t actually graduated yet– ‘coz then they’ll give me that strange look that Filipinos reserve for failures, fags, and teenage girls who get knocked up way too soon. -_-;

But I digress. (And I shouldn’t really care ‘coz in a year’s time, I’m graduating from Stanford, bitches! And then I’m gonna be a rock star.)

Anyway, my aunt from Toronto is helping my mom plan a July trip to Toronto, Montréal and Québec as a graduation present. (I think she knows the deal.) This is in addition to my very first Burning Man in August, my mom and sister’s Waikiki vacation in early September (which I ended up tagging along on), and a weekend in Jersey in late September for my sister’s best friend’s wedding.

I seriously thought I was done with all the traveling after last year, but apparently not. (Surprise!) This strange (and touristy :P) itinerary of mine makes it difficult for me to get a summer job that doesn’t involve Stanford psych experiments or strange odd jobs on Craigslist. But I still need a way to pay for that $300 Burning Man ticket, so psych experiments it is…

an interesting lunch date; or, life plan no. 2987213

Contrary to what most people think, I don’t chill with true TCKs (Third Culture Kids) all that much, even though I really like talking to them because they know what it’s like to have been uprooted and different. I guess I’m really close with Aldo, who’s been in similar situations as I’ve been and likes picking up languages too. But, like me, he doesn’t qualify as a true TCK– neither of us have lived with our families in another country for an extended period of time.

I did have lunch with a TCK last week, though (raised in Hong Kong and London, then went to Stanford for college). She was a breath of fresh air since I’ve been living in a hippie house (read: the co-opiest co-op on campus) and needed an infusion of something to combat the American whitebreadism I’ve been immersed in. We’d both been in the Stanford in Paris program but at overlapping times, so we met to compare notes, then started talking about our various life plans after graduation– serious, crazy, location-based, people-based. Which city to live in? (This is a serious consideration, given that our friends are all scattered around the country/globe.) Sick of wanderlust yet? (She is.) Just gonna screw it all to hell and go for the Japanese rock star thing? (That would be me, and that would be a yes.)

There were a couple of similarities in our considerations that made me feel better about my own indecisiveness. One was wanting to be able to visit our old home bases (for her, London/H.K.; for me, Jersey City) without all the fanfare, since the visit usually turns into a sprint that involves meeting up with a ton of old friends/family in a small amount of time. Another was that we both have a serious plan and a crazy plan— she wanted to be a model in her crazy plan, and I still want to be a Japanese rock star. But we’ve both got more serious “fallbacks”– careers that we’ve been dreaming of since we were little. For me, I’d probably end up working in the field for an NGO.

The thing is, she’s sick of moving around so much. I’m not. I think I’ve still got a couple more places to live in before calling it quits. I’m probably going to keep at it until I have a kid, and even then I’d probably send them to boarding school if I could manage it. Gotten used to being a stranger in a strange land, I guess.

Anyway, talking with her (and Aldo, who also has crazy, highly mobile life plans that change on a regular basis) made me realize that I need to decide what to do after college REALLY EFFING SOON. I already know what I want to do– try my hand at the rock industry! (Because I’d definitely regret it if I didn’t try).

So I just need to:

  1. Move to where I need to be— which is TOKYO. oh shit, my parents are gonna get pissed again.
  2. Get to know the local music scene. Which normally entails some bar- and club-hopping.
  3. Start a band. An international punk rock band, to be precise.
  4. Break into the local music scene. Get some gigs, become a rock star. Easy, right?

I’ve got #3 down, but in the wrong place (namely, here). I got #2 down, but also in the wrong place (Paris!). And I would like to get in touch with my host family before doing #1. (I still haven’t heard from them since 2004. omg. Talk about not tying up loose ends.) Also, the plan requires more thought on these questions:

  • How the hell am I getting to Tokyo?
  • How the hell am I gonna make money in Tokyo in the meantime?
  • What the hell am I gonna do about my college loan repayments?
  • How the hell am I going to find and break into this Japanese-international punk scene?
  • Should I get braces now, before I move again?

Among other things.

Shit, I better get started on re-learning Japanese, then. Wait, I still have to finish college first! Then graduate. Then make some money.

One step at a time.


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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