Conversation between two strangers & Chinese people in general

As I mentioned earlier, I commute in a train. This morning, I have struggled hard to solve my crossword puzzle. It is indeed a difficult one *sob*sob*. So, I ended up over-hearing a conversation between a chinese young lady (let’s call her X) and an american middle aged gentleman( let’s call him Y) who were standing right where I got a seat. The chinese girl seems upbeat, energetic and full of life. These two were conversing and it seems like they just met in the train few minutes ago or they had some prior appointment to meet for business like discussion. Conversations like these are very common and people talk to each other all the time in the train. If it’s interesting for me, I will pay attention. So one of it is this.

What attracted me in this conversation is the girl’s education and what she does for living. She works on a mobile development (she was showing off her windows and android phones to Y). Her background..she hardly spoke english until she finished her under graduate degree in china. She picked up, fared well in united states when she came here to pursue graduate degree in educational technology. She worked on face recognition using matlab in a university lab research center. Her works were interesting and she aims to get phd some day. And she is a very good skater. How do I know all these, the Y has been impressively extracting all this information in a span of 20 minutes. He did speak about what he does for living and that was interesting as well.

I have had come across many brilliant, talented and hard working chinese people. I have complained so much around that I cannot understand their english when they speak. What I failed to learn is that, they have hardly been exposed to english until undergrad and it is certainly difficult to learn and communicate well in english. Their english sentences seems very funny as they try to translate mandarin/cantonese (their language depending on which part of china they live) to english in their head and speak it out. I enjoy chatting with them to learn their culture, about their life in their country, relationships and so on.. Guess what, some of them are really interesting.

Diversity is a beautiful thing. I am so glad to be in NYC to meet different nationals. After spending a decade on American land and 4 years in NYC definitely taught me to appreciate cultural diversity and to be more empathetic towards people around me.

Have you have any friends/ meet people from different back grounds? How do you feel about them?

My new found obsession – Crossword Puzzles & More

Crossword Puzzle ????

Crossword Puzzle ????

As you very well know, if one needs to work in newyork city, there is some commute time involved until unless you live a block or two away from your work place. I have about 25 -30 minutes commute in the train one-way every day. It is very hard to stay calm while you are underground and the turbulence s that occur make me feel as if there is a problem and I may be stuck for an extra 30 minutes. Sometimes, I get very restless and eager to get out of the train.

So, to utilize the time, I either play games on mobile, read books or if at all I come across some nice co-passenger ..I would chat.. (well, this is a rare one, most of them do not like to be disturbed or I am so tired to start a conversation for such short period). In the recent past, I have been grabbing a free news’ paper called AM New York and try to solve the crossword and sudoko. Crossword is bit difficult for me, sometimes I do well and other times I can not get more than 10 words right. I get this puzzle to work and everyone during our lunch time chips in their knowledge.. and in case of getting stuck and going no further, then we cheat by googling for the solution online.

Yes, I have a crossword puzzle app on phone, but I enjoy doing it on paper more than on the phone.

I am addicted, I do not want to do work from home just for this sometimes. The paper is available for grabs from monday-to-friday and you can see the solutions next day. It is addictive and improves your vocabulary and sometimes general knowledge about certain things.

All you dear readers, who commute longer for work – what do you do during your commute ?

Financial Independence

I have been working for 8 years now and make decent amount enough for saving and yet, I feel I like I live on pay check to pay check basis. So where does all my earnings go? I am too afraid to take a stock at where my pay goes. Where do I spend most? why am I not able to save at least half-my-check towards investments. Just last year I opened a 401k to maximize my savings, that is at least the good thing.

I had wished, if only I started 401k right after I started working I would have saved quite an amount..It bothers me now as I enter my 30’s for being so ignorant and not very responsible for my savings. I spent money for other’s benefits for all wrong reasons and what a mistake I did. Spending money on others meant to display how much I love them and feel responsible for them.. NOT TRUE. I spent recklessly on impulses and at the end of the day – if I question my self – is it all worth it? I cannot ever tell. May be or may not be.

I have determined 3 days ago that I will not buy anything for at least a month. And then I go help shopping with a friend and I end up spending. Then other day I had to give a farewell to my colleague – oh well, I thought this was unavoidable so it is an acceptable spending. Then I was not in a mood to cook, so I spend money on dinner. I will try one week at a time to begin with and let all my close friends, family and colleagues know about it so they would not ask me to attend events where I had to spend money. But in the process I will miss lot of fun but I really want to see what it feels like.

Ever since this minimalism came into picture, I started looking at my finances and ways to save more and spend less, do something more meaningful than just do what other’s think of me doing something is right. This week has been bit roller coaster and very disturbing to look back at my life from a neutral perspective. It is still an ongoing process.

Ever since I started consuming less, These blogs really stand out where I am regular reader

1. Becoming Minimalist ( I have even purchased an kindle version of this author’s book and I like it.. it very short and sweet.. yes and I must say for the content provided.. i think it is over priced)

2. Miss Minimalist

The reason for this post is because of this link I came across – Money Mustache (from becoming minimalist blog)- A guy who did the similar job as mine but retired by 30 and does what he likes to do and still makes money. The more I read about him, the more I feel like being ignorant about my own needs and necessities and goals. But I also understand that every one’s path is different.

Question for you all – how do you deal with your finances?

Dilemma – On clothes

Being an Indian native (not the native indian), I have different sets of Indian clothes and the unfortunate truth is that, when ever I visit India or if some one from my family visits, I will make sure I get many Indian dresses.

At the rate, I got the stuff..I sent back only some of it. Result is that I have more dresses than I possibly get a chance to wear them here in United States.  It breaks my heart to give away any of these dresses that I brought. I really really love them but I do not wear them as much as I want. Yesterday, while re-organizing my closet, I was sure of some dresses (Indian and Western) that I am not going to wear them. I landed them in three bins – 1. Charity, 2. Trash  3. To India. (Total of 20+ pieces and my closet is slightly lighter.. feels great!)

The problem is, I am not sure if I will be visiting India anytime soon nor I expect any of my family or friends visiting India and take my clothes away. One of the reasons, I try to send my clothes to India is…I will be sure these clothes will help many families and they love it. Yes, they could be our neighbors, financially challenged family members or our maid’s children back home. The dresses are worn only twice or thrice by me and they obviously are in great condition and they do not mind at all.  If I give away these to good will, I am afraid they might toss most of it for no relevance but I am certain when it comes to India. Every piece of the cloth will serve some purpose.

And other clutter I have is – My family who rarely visits me, hope that they might visit often and leave their stuff here as if they will be a regular visitor. The hard fact has been that they never visited in last one year and the clothes lie here. May be a lesson learned to not let them leave any of their belongings. It has been difficult to maintain with lot of my own clutter around.  Or probably it all started as I began considering being a minimalist. Ohh the perspective.. it changes!

The journey towards minimalism has begun (Hopefully..?), I would want to sell/give away/recycle/trash anything that I think will not fit in our Tiny home. It hit me hard when the amount of my precious time goes into maintaining the stuff that I hardly need. But as I said in my earlier posts.. It is indeed very hard to part with things even though they are of no use to us.

I digress.. Now if parting with things was that difficult.  it hurts me every time some one leaves the work place. Even though they are not my friends or the mostly friendly people I deal with.. But with time, I get used to the reality. And I hope my new journey towards minimalism becomes part of my life style soon.

And it is easy if we take one step at a time, than trying to do all at once. It certainly helped me and hope it does in case if you are up for simple living.

Distractions – everywhere

I woke up very early this morning hoping to get my work done and be free of any mental taxing this weekend.

Oh I have had plans to go visit a friend this weekend.

But…

I ended up using every minute of my  precious time  browsing blogs, watching you tube videos, reading some random articles, browsing through unknown profiles on facebook.. you know your friend clicked like on some of their family or friends and I end up navigating up there.

At the end of the day – my day goes “Useless” without any real productive work.. and I end up slacking until deadline approaches.. there I go.. start panicking, getting tensed and use up my “Supposed to be fun-filled weekend” to work on the stuff that I have successfully procrastinated.

This repeats constantly on and off until unless I have some serious travelling lined up.  This entry should serve me as the beginning to treat my time as valuable and I should be relieved at the end of the day.  The day I am the most productive, be it at work or returning any emails, finishing any paper work or staying in touch with my friends and family..  is the day I sleep happily.

How does it work for you all? I am seriously on my way to change the way I deal with my time. I want to do more meaningful and be very productive at work and home.  Most importantly I must learn to avoid all the distractions that consume my time.

De-cluttering Jewelry

For now, I guess I am obsessed with “Minimalism” and trying very hard to get out of the cycle of consumerism at least for a month to begin with. Once I read some where, I cannot find the source now.. they listed some great tips to parting with jewelry that I have been accumulating over past few years.

These tips really helped me to get rid of 17 pairs of ear rings and 2 chains. I think this is a lot. I may have to do another round of de-cluttering session in the future but for now I am happy to get rid of them.

Tips that helped me to part with my possessions:

1. Does it suit my current life style needs?

2. Do I look forward to wearing it?

3. Does it mean anything to me at all? – Yes, there are some gifts that my family or friends gave me. Few that I really like kept it and other’s I parted with.

Jewelry has always created mayhem in my head, I guess I had too many and I still have many. Some day, I hope to come down to very few. In the near future, If I do purchase one pair, I will part with at least one another pair and try to maintain the same count.

First round wasn’t that difficult at all.

What am I going do with it? – I will show them to my friends and if they like it they will pick and rest all will make a way to good-will.

Minimalism – a difficult path

As discussed in my earlier posts of my steps towards embracing minimalist life style – here and here.

I must tell you, it is not easy to keep up with my excessive consumerism. I guess I do not have nothing better to do in life. Most of my time goes into organizing on and on and it never ends ..and I give up to re-start the whole process again. On the pretext of shopping for a friend with a friend will only add a dent in my bank account and “More” stuff will land at my home. I am so tired of this and yet cannot restrict myself from purchasing even though I do not need them.

I have been reading a lot lately about minimalism..Be it online articles, books, brought some kindle version of books to get some tips of letting go of things and not getting more into life, and organizing home, be it kitchen, living or bedroom, closet, bathroom and what not.. It has been 6 months and I think I realized “Less is More Joy”.

Every time I read information related to minimalism or organization, and immediately I would want to spring to action. But, by looking at the enormity of task ahead..it kills my spirit and wonder why I have been accumulating and not organized bothers me and I leave it at that. It is the most difficult path than I thought it would be, especially with my never ending purchases.

I read on some minimalist blog as “One in – One out” strategy, but in my case it has been 5 in and one out *Sigh*!

And some one said-  living with 13 pieces of clothes or 100 possessions – this is not going to work for me.

I live in a tiny home where space is at premium and I learned that the less stuff I have, less time would go into organizing and more time for the activities that I love. It is the clutter at home in turn creates mayhem in my head.  One of my friend said, there is no way out if you just crib. If you need to make change, you must start somewhere and keep doing it until you get there. Complaining never benefited any one.

Beyond all, I am exhausted just thinking about it. On a more positive note – I have lately been trying to donate/trash at least 5 things a day from home. So that would be 150 things less in a month. I hope to continue until I reach my goal of “Satisfaction”.  (I got rid of all expired food, non-expired but not opened food items were donated away.. slowly but steadily)

I think I will have to deal with it one-day-at-a-time, after all slow and steady wins the race. I just need to be more persistent and consistent.

All dear minimalists and organized people out there – how do you deal with this?