Trying to Grow Up

One of the reasons why I wanted to start working, as opposed to continuing onto graduate school, was because I wanted to force myself to learn how to be independent. I probably haven’t made too much progress, but hopefully it’ll be steady. I just moved out of my sister + brother-in-law’s house to a new house that is an overwhelming 2 minute walk away. In any case, it’s still much of a step up towards trying to survive on my own. While I was shopping for regular furnishings and necessities, I realized there was so much I took for granted.

Soap, tissues, hand towels, hangers, kitchenware, sheets and other bedding, shower curtain, the list goes on. The other day when I was shopping for kitchenware, I first started with, “Okay, I need a pot and a pan so I can start learning how to cook my own food…that means I probably need a ladle and spatula….oh yeah then I need bowls and plates to put the food on…oh yeah then I need forks and spoons….fine, chopsticks too I guess….OH! Knives!…also cutting board…measuring cup cause I like to make jello…oh yeah then tupperware so I can hold the jello…” (you get the idea). So after about 20-30 minutes, I had a decent amount of stuff in my cart. Then my mom called, and when I told her I was shopping for kitchen stuff, she said, “Aiya! Don’t buy any kitchenware! Just bring whatever you want back with you from home!” I’m thinking, that’s a good idea and a good way to save money. But there goes 20-30 minutes for nothing.

My landlady is kind enough to provide a mattress and a small old desk, and my sister + brother-in-law gave me this higher-surface table with two racks. Combined with my $20 shelf from Target, I have a semi-ghetto home office corner that has no style but some function. Here’s a picture (taken with my new DSLR!):

As you can see, at the time this picture was taken, there were no curtains yet so I had to use whatever resources that were available at my disposal. Thank God I bought a 23.6 inch monitor.

When my landlady went out shopping to buy curtains, she called me and asked me what color I liked. Needless to say, I felt really childish. Anyways, I said blue, so lo and behold, I now have blue curtains haha.

So after I was “done” with basic setting up and arranging and procuring stuff, I realized I had no meal food (although apparently gummy bears and potato chips were somehow considered as basic necessities in my mind). Before I went home for the holidays, I had nothing to eat in the house except for holiday cookies from my cousin and my younger older sister. I think the lack of proper nourishment, coupled with the lack of heat at night/early morning (my landlady programmed the temperature to like 55 degrees!) and lack of proper sleep, resulted in triggering some headaches and toothaches and half-facial swellings that lasted the duration of my Christmas weekend at home. Thank God though, the pain was not as bad as when I had severe toothaches during the semester at Cornell, when I had a couple sleepless nights and emergency visits to the nearest walkable dentist (fortunately there are quite a number of home dentist offices in the surrounding area of campus). I attribute malnutrition because it did gradually become better as I ate more wholesome cooking from my mom and some vitamin B complexes. And gummy multi-vitamins. T’was a shame that I had slight loss of appetite because of the dull but constant pain above the upper corner of the inside of my mouth. It was kind of amusing, however, to wake up and look in the mirror and see that my right cheek was noticeably bigger and rounder than the other side of my face. I could even tell the difference tactile-ly (pretty sure that’s not a word), as in when I moved my hand to touch my face, I was like, “Wow, I did not expect to make contact with my face that fast.”

Anyways, going back to food, today I did some shopping for the “essentials” which included frozen chicken breasts, salt, pepper, olive oil, and eggs. Oh yeah, and cereal. Thank God for cereal. All that’s required to eat it conveniently is a spoon and some container. It doesn’t even have to be a bowl; I’ve been eating cereal out of tupperware at work this week (the cafeteria is closed all this week, which is unfortunate for me if you couldn’t deduce that for yourself already). At my sister’s request, I also cooked something for dinner today too! Oven chicken fingers with cranberry-orange dipping sauce! Recipe is here. I think they turned out pretty well, although I couldn’t find frozen cranberries so I used raspberries instead. And instead of buying grated parmesan cheese I bought shredded. And they are not really unhealthy because they’re OVEN roasted and not deep fried! They were not crunchy though; will have to try to broil for a portion of the time next time.

One of the other issues I’ve been trying to workout is money management. This is a disaster because I don’t know anything about finance, stocks, 401k, mutual funds, IRA, whatever….but it’s really important that I do know. It’s on my todo list…as of now my employee stock purchase plan has randomly selected stocks and my 401k investment plan is also littered with random selections. Anyone have any recommendations of a book or website for someone like me to quickly get up to speed with money management and investment?

Oh, and it’s just SCARY at how quickly money is spent. Scary. I need to be a bit more frugal and calculative with what I spend on. Let the asian instinct to go for the cheaper stuff dominate when the quality really does not matter to me.

Okay, that’s enough blabbing for now. Still working with django and brainstorming ideas for my next website and photoblog. This is when I wish I could become as creative as I was when I was a little kid.

4 thoughts on Trying to Grow Up

  1. I know how you feel–it’s a shame financial stuff isn’t really taught in school. When I first started working, I would regularly read during breaks at work for money/investing basics. Defintely read up on Roth IRAs and open one if you don’t have one already. And remember the power of compound interest! I wound up maxing my 401k and Roth IRA every year that I worked with a fairly aggressive 85%/15% stocks/bonds asset allocation. Stick with mutual funds if possible rather than buying individual stocks. And though ESPPs are a nice discount, remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.

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