It’s been about 16 months since I moved out to the bay area and started working, and about a year since I moved out of my sister + brother-in-law’s house into a rented room. And it’s been almost a year since I posted about my fledgling experiences with “real life.” You might be wondering, “Wow, what has changed in Hain-Lee’s life since 1 year ago? I can’t wait to find out!” But more than likely you’re thinking, “I’m remotely interested in this because there’s a picture; I guess I’ll skim through this really fast and then get back to work.” Regardless of your state of mind, I’m flattered that you actually keep up with this blog at all so I’ll try to make this as exciting as possible. No promises though.
Let’s start with the living situation. For comparison, here’s what my room looked like a year ago.
Here’s what my room looks like now.
As you can see, I have acquired a few more pieces of furniture, namely a computer desk from Costco and a 3-shelf floor lamp from Target. I would’ve gotten rid of the old desk, but as you can see I’ve already made use of the surface area and the new desk doesn’t have drawers. The small coffee table in front of the window is another donation from the sister + brother-in-law, and the white shelf on top of it was donated by a church member who was going to toss it (I think it’s supposed to be a shoe shelf, but for me, it’s more surface space). Oh, and that random pillow on the floor is my prayer mat Taped to the wall, from left to right, is the local church schedule, my half marathon bib, and my RETS mission statement. Not very decorative in any sense, but I’m a little hesitant to do any wall-related decoration because most of it involves making holes or using sticky residue that won’t come off, all of which are potentially damaging. In the second photo, I noted that I have a smaller bed than before, which is nice because it means more open space.
What you might have noticed is missing is a dresser. I don’t have one so all my clothes are in the closet, either hanging (shirts, jackets, hoodies), in a bag on the floor (socks), or folded and stacked on the top shelf (everything else, which includes pants, shorts, underwear, shirts you would use for gym class, and other random things). As you can imagine, it’s not all that organized, but it’s sufficient I guess. I could use some more hangers though…
Onto food. I’ve actually been eating less Trader Joes. Instead, I’ve gotten most of my food from Costco and Safeway. In one sense I’ve been cooking more, and by cooking I mean heating stuff up on the stove or in the oven. I haven’t gotten a rice cooker which means my meals are mostly american/western. Off the top of my head, I’ve been living on salmon or turkey burgers, simple salads, frozen pre-cut vegetables, frozen chicken breasts, pasta/spaghetti mixed with aforementioned frozen vegetables and chicken, cold cut deli sandwiches, cheese omelets, strawberry/fruit smoothies, yogurt, and cereal. Just recently I started trying to make noodle soup and stir-fry noodles using noodles from the asian supermarket, which turned out to be simpler than I thought (but it also turns out tasting plainer too, haha). Occasionally, if I get lots of leftover rice and other random stuff from church, I make fried rice. This week, I’ve been eating mostly spaghetti and meatballs because those are the ingredients I happen to have fully stocked right now, and I didn’t want to buy other ingredients because I’m going on vacation at the end of the week.
Today, though, I decided to stir fry the rest of the spaghetti because I didn’t have enough tomato sauce (and opening another can of tomato sauce would’ve been way too much). I was kind of worried about how this would turn out, because I was essentially going to stir-fry spaghetti with meatballs, a little bit of tomato sauce, sesame and olive oil, a mix of frozen “asian” vegetables, and soy sauce. It seemed like a quirky sort of fusion dish but fortunately, it tasted pretty good compared to everything else (which isn’t much) that I’ve cooked. After I ate half of it, I realized I should’ve added egg, so I stir-fried egg with the other half. Here’s what it looks like.
If you have any sort of standard in cooking, this is probably the most ghetto stir-fry noodle dish you’ve ever seen, but hopefully it at least doesn’t look disgusting.
As if it wasn’t obvious already, Costco has become an essential part of my life, and living literally next door to it is simply a blessing. People usually think of Costco as a place you go once in awhile to buy a few months of supplies and the occasional DVD set or electronic gadget. For me, I can go to pick random things up pretty much any time I want. One time I went in just to buy cookies and a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate squares. I mean, who does that? And living close to Costco isn’t just good because of the food – let’s not forget discounted gas! Also, the past month or so my low tire pressure indicator was on. Most people would probably find a gas station with an air pump or a shop or dealership. Being a complete noob, I didn’t know how to inflate my tires and I don’t have my own pressure gauge. The only thing I could do was find what the recommended pressure was for my tires in my car’s instruction manual (for the curious, its 30 psi cold temperature). So what did I do? *light bulb ding* I thought I’d go to Costco and ask if they could inflate my tires! I asked the dood at the gas station, he directed me to the tire center, and the guy at the tire center set the air pump to 31 psi and gave me the pump to do it myself. Then the guy watched me utterly fail at inflating my tires and ended up doing it for me. And it was free!
So in summary, thank God, I think I am learning how to take care and manage myself. I’ve had the opportunity to serve God more as well, and it’s helped me grow but has also exposed even more weaknesses in me. I’m starting to see that servitude is a completely different thing from cultivation, and a Christian needs to do both. The good thing about working is that after work I can focus more on other things like church responsibilities, without having to worry as much about “work.” I’m curious to see how I’ll be able to manage my time when I start going to school again (yup, I just finished submitting my applications!), but hopefully I’ll still be able to get my act together and be productive in church.
A lot has happened in the last year, especially in the latter portion. In some ways it’s gone by really quickly, but in others I wish time would go faster.
As I mentioned before, I’ll be going on vacation at the end of the week. I’ll be in Taiwan until January 5. This vacation is actually a bit of a “forced” vacation but I’m going to try to have a good time and hopefully blog about funny random things that I witness in the fob culture. Until then, happy holidays!