Tag Archives: moving home

Weekly Update #7

Alright.  So here’s the deal, readers.  Weekly updates will still be on Sundays (with the exception of today).  Wednesdays will be topic posts, generally consisting of a specific thing I’m dealing with (money, jobs, moving, etc), with the 2nd Wednesday dealing specifically with Japanese language or culture and the 4th Wednesday dealing with a specific academic-type topic.  For example, I think I’ll be starting with cats.  The science of cats.  Yeah, that sounds good.  Fridays will be a creative day.  For the most part, it’ll be writing.  I’m going to try a mini-NaNoWriMo this November, so this month will be gearing up for that.

With that news out of the way, let’s get into the update.  I’m all moved home to IA.  Have been for about a week.  I’m not unpacked or settled in by any means, but I’m here and I’m slowly making myself comfortable.  Right after I got here, my cold caught up with me and basically KO’d me for quite a while.  I’m still sniffling and coughing and I would prefer to spend a good chunk of my day curled up under my fluffy, warm comforter in bed, but I can function now.  The day after I got here, I was down and out.  Body aches, backed-up sinuses, persistent coughing all the unhappy things that come with being sick.  So this week has been relatively uneventful in terms of things to write about.

But tomorrow, I should hopefully find out whether or not I got the job at ECC.  The direction my life will take in the next few months will be hinged on this one thing.  So, positive vibes, please!

That’s really about it.  I don’t lead a super exciting life at the moment.  It’s mostly waiting.  Waiting to hear back from a job, specifically.  And not just ECC.  I’ve been applying for jobs locally because I do need money to save up for my move to Japan.

Anyway, check back on Wednesday for the topic post!

Even if it’s slow going, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

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Toss vs Donate

As you know, dear readers, my mom came up over the three-day weekend to help me pack and start slowly moving things back to Iowa in preparation for my imminent move back in with my parents at the end of this month.  Both my mom and my dad tease me for having too much crap.  And I’ve even jokingly admitted it when moving between apartments.  But this move is different because I’m moving with the mindset that I will be moving to a foreign country in the near future.  I’m not going to be able to take my bed or my desk to Japan with me.  And in that same vein, I don’t need my couch at my parent’s house – they already have several.

So I’ve been faced with the constant debate between tossing an item or donating it.  Add the options of selling it or giving it to a friend to that equation and, for me, it’s like trying to do advanced calculus.  I’ve never been good with numbers.  And I’ve never been good with the idea of throwing things away that I don’t really need.  I mean, I still have notebooks full of school notes from freaking high school.  I graduated in 2006.  I don’t need notes from English class anymore.

My problem with getting rid of stuff I know I don’t need is that I have this irrational fear that I’m going to need whatever item in the future, regardless of how unlikely it is that I’ll need it.  If I know I’m not going to need it, then it becomes an issue of the item being sentimental.  Even marginally sentimental items get packed into a box where I won’t look at it until I move again.  I still have a diorama I made in 2nd grade because I vaguely remember making it.  That’s really the only reason it’s sitting in my drawer.  I vaguely remember working on it with my mom.  That’s it.  I don’t need it, I don’t display it, I don’t look at it unless I’m going through my massive amount of things and trying to get rid of stuff.  That never makes the “toss” pile.

My favorite option is to donate things that are still useful.  That way I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything, and if it’s something that’s marginally sentimental, then I tell myself that someone else will be able to make memories with it.  Whether it’s donating to a GoodWill or other charity or giving to my friends, this is the option I most often choose.  While this doesn’t make it any easier to move back to my parent’s (because I’m still taking practically all of my crap with me), it’ll be worth it in the long run.  Once I’m settled in back in Iowa, it’s going to be several trips to GoodWill with clothes, books, craft supplies, and other things.

What about you, dear readers?  Do you have a borderline hoarding habit like I do?  Or do you live minimally?  Share in the comments!

Weekly Update #4

Alright, I know I’m a day late again posting this, but life happens!  And by “life” I mean “my mom came up for the holiday weekend to help me pack up as many non-essentials as possible.”  So I’ve been busy working and entertaining.

But that’s mainly what I’ve been up to this past week: packing.  Packing packing unpacking and packing again.  I have a lot of shit.  Too much for one girl to really have.  If anything, moving home has shown me that I need to par down my belongings quite a bit.  My apartment and my room feel emptier.  Mainly because they are, but it’s also a feeling of a sort of sadness.  I have less than a month here in Minneapolis now, a place that’s been my home for nearly three years.  I’m really going to miss it and all the people I’ve met living here and seeing my place so much emptier is making the reality of it all sink in.  That’s life, though.

Otherwise, I’ve really just been recovering from over-socialization.  That wedding I attended last weekend took a lot out of me.  I’m an introvert, so by the end of the last night there I was sort of hiding in a corner going “Can I go home yet?  Please don’t talk to me.  Is it okay if I go back to my room?  Oh god, don’t come talk to me.”  I was running on social fumes, having used up all my energy taking bridal party and family photos earlier that day.  So it’s been nice to sit at home, alone.  To watch movies or TV shows and just sit, unmoving, on the couch for hours.  To lay in bed and read a book.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hanging out with my friends.  But I need a lot of time to myself, too.

Speaking of reading books, I finally finished Good Omens!  I bought my friend John and I a matching pair so we could read somewhat together.  But I don’t think he’s finished yet.  I think he’ll enjoy the rest of the book, though.  We’re both big Neil Gaiman fans, and we both have very similar tastes.  For example, we both adore Welcome to Night Vale.  New episode came out yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.  I had my mom listen to the pilot episode and she, surprisingly, enjoyed it quite a bit.  I didn’t think it was really her style, but she has a habit of surprising me.  She is not, as I found out, a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, though.

On top of brushing up on English grammar for my interview later this month, I’ve also been re-learning Japanese.  I cracked open a textbook I used when I studied abroad at NUFS, couldn’t recognize anything, and went back to my first-year textbook from way back in highschool and have been working my way up from there.  It’s embarrassing to me that I used to be fluent enough to hold my own in discussions about politics and now I can’t think of the word for “homework.”  I’m betting that it’ll come back to me once I’m over there and immersed in it, but I want to give myself a head start.

Well, I think that’s all for the weekly update!  I’m working on coming up with a new posting schedule for this blog, meaning I’ll be posting more than twice a week.  We’ll see.  I wanted to implement it this month, but I’m already off track.  I’ll catch up this week and hopefully get it all up and going next week.  So look forward to that, dear readers!

And whatever happens, enjoy the journey!

-Kate

Weekly Update #3

Okay, okay, I know this is late going up.  But you know what?  I was at a wedding on Sunday.  No time to post!  As for yesterday, I drove back down from Walker, MN and sort of crashed for the rest of the day.  I’m an introvert and being around so many people took a lot out of me.

So, let’s just recap the wedding first.  MIKE AND MISSY ARE MARRIED!! I’m beyond happy for them!  Mike is one of my best friends and I’m just pleased as punch to see him find someone as special as Missy is.  She’s basically perfect for him in every possible way.  It was a gorgeous ceremony at an amazing location.  And free booze at the bar at the reception!  But really, it was really just perfection to see two people who love each other like Mike and Missy do united by marriage.

I was lucky enough to be invited to hang with Mike and Missy, Missy’s sister Molly and friend Missy S., and Mike’s friend Pat at the MN State Fair on Thursday before we caravaned up to Mike’s parent’s place in Nevis.  So many delicious fried foods!  I’m sure I lost about 6 months of my life from all that deep fried goodness.  Not that I’m mad about it, mind you.

Friday and Saturday were spent hanging out with the M&M gang on the lake interspersed with wedding work – I was the wedding photographer.  Friday we scouted locations for bridal party photos and family photos, Saturday was the rehearsal.  And Sunday, of course, was the big day!  Busy day for not just the happy couple, but for me as well!  I have somewhere around 1,000 photos to go through and edit.  I’m looking forward to seeing my shots on my nice, big computer screen, but I’m socialized out from the past four days and need to recuperate.

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to meet new people and get to know others a bit better – Missy’s sister Molly and her friend “Other” Missy for example.  And I got to meet more of Mike’s family, too, which was cool.  His brother Eric and his sister Emma I got to meet for the first time.  Mike’s whole family is simply too sweet for words!

I got a lot of color being outside so much, too.  Burned at the State Fair, like I always burn when I neglect to put on sunscreen, but managed to keep the sun at bay on the boat with some SPF 70 liberally applied.  So for the first time that I can remember, I’m what some might consider tan instead of either a pasty white or a fiery red.  That’s what you have to deal with when you’ve got Scandinavian blood!

Let’s see, what else?  Moving day is coming up pretty quickly.  I was just informed my mom is coming up this weekend to help me pack and start bringing things back to IA.  I have a lot of work to do before then and I really don’t want to do any of it.  Sometimes packing seems too overwhelming for me.  But, it’s gotta get done.  Maybe I’ll reward myself tomorrow by packing all day and then getting ice cream.

It’s almost time for more Welcome to Night Vale.  I hope you’ve all given it a listen, dear readers.  It really is quite the entertaining podcast.  You know, as long as you stay away from the dog park.

Sorry if this post seems to ramble; I’m still feeling drained from my busy weekend.  I just wanted to get some sort of update up before I got all off schedule. Regular posting schedule should be resuming tomorrow.

No matter how busy it gets, enjoy the journey.

-Kate

Dollars and Sense

So, I have my confirmed interview date from ECC as September 24th in Seattle, WA.  Now, I don’t know if you remember, but I live in the Midwest.  Specifically Minneapolis.  That’s a little far away.  And by “a little” I mean it’s a 2 day drive at least.  If I were to drive.  The other interview locations are all just as far away from home base for me.  San Francisco, New York, and Toronto.  All out on the coasts.  I kind of wish ECC had a location in Chicago.  That would make life way easier for me and everyone else from the center of the US who wanted to apply.

My plan is to fly out to Seattle the day before my interview, and fly back home the day after.  This requires a plane ticket and a hotel room.  As well as money for food and cost of transportation to and from the airport.  And if I land the job, there’s even more money I need to throw at a plane ticket to Japan and an apartment and all the other costs which come with moving, let alone moving to a different country.  On top of all of that, I have student loans looming over my head.  I have bills to pay and currently have zero money coming in to offset those costs.

So what can I do to at least try and make ends meet?  I’ve lucked out on having basically the best parents out there.  They’ve been helping me financially since I got out of school and haven’t been able to find a job.  But I know I can’t rely on them for much longer.  They have their own bills to pay.  My current lease is up at the end of September, so I’m doing something I swore to myself that I would never absolutely ever do:

I’m moving back home.

I was of the mindset that I’d live on the street before I moved back home.  There’s a lot of reasons I was set on never doing this.  The biggest reason being as that I saw moving back in with your parents meant that you failed.  You failed at being a functioning adult.  You failed at living your dream.  You just failed in every way you possibly could fail.  And failure – even the mere idea of it – terrifies me.  I still struggle with failure and my attitude towards it, and I still struggle with the decision I’ve made to move home.  But I know it’s something I’ve just got to bite the bullet and do.  I can’t save any money when I do get a job if I have to spend all that money on rent and electricity and internet and whatnot.

I recognize that living with my parents for a while again is financially necessary for me.  And even though I don’t think I’ll ever really be comfortable with the idea, I just keep telling myself that it’s only until I can move to Japan.  I’m fairly confident that I’ll do well in my ECC interview and will land the job.  Then it’s just a matter of getting a start date.  If I had my choice, I’d move over in March.  I feel like that would give me enough time to find a job in IA and save up the money required to get myself and my stuff to Japan without pushing my limits on living with my parents again.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and I’m beyond grateful to them for helping me out at this rough time in my life.  But I am 25 and I’ve been living on my own since I started college (the first time) in 2006.  I’m used to having my own schedule and living my own way.  I’m worried that I might clash with my parents over that sort of thing.

I already get frustrated with my father over silly things that don’t matter in the long run.  For example, he suggested I contact a cousin of mine who has a teaching degree and teaches ESL in Indonesia.  Which is a fine idea, one I will probably end up doing, but the way it was suggested to me made me feel like he wasn’t just suggesting, but telling me that I needed to do this.  We got into a bit of a fight then because I mentioned that my best friend already works for ECC (the company I’m applying to) and has gone through the exact same application process I will be going through.  Then we butted heads about how I should contact my cousin – email or Facebook.  My dad said email because he said my cousin might not like having a conversation like that in a place where the whole public can see.  But, Facebook does have private messaging, as I mentioned, and since my cousin is the same age as me, probably is quicker to respond via Facebook than via email.  It boils down to my father wanting to help me in every way he can and coming across as wanting to control how I do things while all I want is for him to be supportive of my choices and decisions while letting me make my own mistakes and letting me do things in my own time and on my own terms.

So while I’m going to get frustrated with Dad over this, I’m going to ask him to help me keep a budget to save as much money as I can while I’m living at home.  I know I’ve never been good at managing my money or sticking to a budget.  But I want to give myself the best start in Japan, and I know the amount of money I can stockpile will play a key part in that.  I know my downfalls whenever I try to create a budget is that I don’t write down every single thing I spend money on.  I’ll leave off the $5 I spend at CVS on snacks that I don’t really need.  I’ll forget to write down the lunch I grabbed while I was out running errands because I didn’t bring my designated budget notebook with me.  And next thing I know I’ll glance at my little budget notebook as I carry in groceries or pull out my guilty book buy that I “didn’t intend” on buying but really did intend on buying.

The other big thing that kills my budgeting plan before it even gets started is that I typically use my debit or credit cards instead of cash.  It’s very true that it’s easy to overspend if you’re not physically handing paper money over to the cashier.  If I’m paying by card, yeah, I’ll throw that box of tea I’ve been meaning to try in my cart without even glancing at the price.  But when I’ve got $30 in my wallet and I need milk, bread, and eggs, then I’m only getting milk, bread, and eggs, no matter how longingly I stare at the pint of ice cream on sale.  Okay, well, maybe if it’s on sale…  But then I can’t afford coffee when my friends want to hang out downtown and catch up.

If you have similar poor spending habits, might I suggest the envelope system?  I’m going to try this once I have income to try it with.  In Japan, it’s a very cash-based society.  I hardly ever used my debit card, unless I was withdrawing money for the weekend or whatever.  But I tended to spend more wisely and think twice and twice again about the things I was buying because I was handing over cash.  And when a coin says “100” on it, even if it’s only the equivalent of US$1, it feels like it’s worth more, silly as it may seem.

So I think I’ll just leave this post about budgeting and save my fury over the ridiculously low minimum wage for another day.

However much it costs, enjoy the journey.

-Kate