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Friday, December 25, 2009

12.25.09

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blogging Flu

looking all sorts of sick and miserable - water to keep me hydrated, toilet paper for blowing my nose, mucinex to get rid of that blogging flu, and ramen to make my tummy happy

You might be wondering where I've been lately. Well I've caught something called the blogging flu (yes, I totally just made that up). It takes over all bodily blogging functions, and I am paralyzed from typing or forming thoughts. I guess I am trying to make some progress with this little bit of typing. There are some thoughts starting to form. This could be the start of my recovery. Wish me well. I shall return before you know it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Thoughts

Since I'm not ready for a real entry, I'll just fill up this empty space with some random thoughts of mine...

  • I have not regularly used AIM for the past 2.5 years. Is this a sign that I'm getting old or just growing up?
  • Bloggers are more famous than television and movie stars to me. I would have driven to NYC just to see Jaden Hair of The Steamy Kitchen and get a copy of her new cookbook. She's one of my online blogger celebrities. Unfortunately, I had to work that day (and every other work day).

  • I am really out of tune with the news. I have to discover major headlines through my blogs just to keep afloat. I choose not to read or watch the news because it saddens me to know the bad that is happening around the world. I prefer to be uninformed.
  • I have a 4 year old first generation iPod nano, and it's still working. It was out of commission for 3 out of those 4 years (due to neglect on my end), and it's back and running. I like having music playing on my Hello Kitty iPod dock in the kitchen. It keeps me company while I wash the dishes.
  • I love Christmas! I am patiently waiting for Hubs to put up the Christmas lights outside. I think we're going to get our tree tomorrow!! Excited. Oh and I love Christmas music too. PBS helped me discover this great a cappella group...



  • I enjoy waking up early in the morning. It gives me more time to catch up with my life.
  • I spoke to my little sister and had an actual conversation with her the other night. It's been 2.5 years.
  • I'm hungry... time to find some food

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Re: Anonymous Comments

One too many anonymous comments have tipped me over the edge. From now on users must log in (via Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, Aim, or OpenID) in order to comment. It's only fair. I don't hide behind an anonymous name, and you shouldn't either. The name of my blog is "Yin Thinks." I even give you my name and share details of my life to complete strangers on the Internet.

Quite honestly, I don't do well with negative remarks. I've never have. For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to please others. I fear being disliked or judged. Even on the road, I am very observant of drivers around me because I don't want to piss them off. It's part of my nature, and negative comments on my blogs will bog me down for days. If you have something not so nice to say, then please think about it first before you say it. I am open to everyone's opinions, but do not rip me apart. I'm a very fragile person. I take everything you say to heart. I can appreciate a good argument every now and then. That's fine. I just don't like it to be taken to a personal level like some previous comments on this blog have.

From day one I wanted this blog to be completely me with no filtering of who I really am. I am here to tell you the good and to tell you the bad. Here's the truth.. no one wants to read the really good stuff or the really bad stuff. People don't want to see a happy Yin, and they don't want to see a sad, depressed Yin.

This house has made me happy, and I'm sorry if I can't hide it sometimes. I never lived in a neighborhood before. This is my first home in a community (a great one in fact). Living on a busy road on top of a restaurant isn't what normal kid experience. I have spent the last two years searching for a place called "home." I lived with Hub's parents for those two years, and I never felt comfortable. I never called it my home. Here we are today in our own nest, and I'm finally home. It's one of the best things that happened to me this year, and I apologize if it's over bearing. I'll refrain from talking about it unless people convince me otherwise.

evidence that I didn't live in a normal house.. see that doggy house on the right? yup, I lived there with my doggy.

I also don't understand why people keep commenting on the house related entries (all 3 of them). No one ever says anything about my "Back to the Motherland" series or my "Looking Back on the Past Year" series. Is there nothing worthy of tearing me apart in those entries? I just don't understand. I work very hard and take hours (yes it takes hours sometimes to put together just one entry) out of my day to blog. Sure, it's purely for my own enjoyment, but I would appreciate it if others would understand that I pour a little bit of me into each entry. When you say something bad, then a little bit of me falls apart and dies inside.

Can you believe I would let a few anonymous comments prevent me from blogging ever again? Well it's true. I intended to start this entry with a simple "I quit." Somehow it transformed into all the words above. I'm not ready to give up. If there's anyone out there supporting me, please say hi. I need to be reassured that not all of my readers want to attack me. Thanks. I'll be returning to the blogging world, but it's going to be a slow process to get back on my feet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back to the Motherland: Going Back to My Roots, Part II

We last left off at my mother's village visiting my ancestors' graves for the Ching Ming Festival. The next day we were off to my father's village to pay our respects. My dad's village is only a few minutes away from my mother's, and I bet it would only be a short bike ride away. The day started out early like the day before, and we followed many of the same traditions.

There was a community prayer spot where we first brought our offerings before making our way to visit my ancestors' graves. Even though my parent's villages are very close to one another, there are a lot of differences. I spent most of the time taking in the environment around me and observing.

Not all of the graves are marked, and family members have to remember the location of each ancestor. It can get might confusing, especially with so many ancestors buried throughout the village. I have a video of my dad telling me which family member's grave we were visiting, and my mom had to correct him. I think a grave stone would greatly help, but there is some family drama over that idea.

Then I met this cute little kiddo. He just so happens to be related to me, and we hit it off right away. He was enamored by my camera, and we became instant buddies. I would wave to him, and he would wave back. He would smile at my camera, and he instantly made my day.

He has to be the most photogenic kid I've ever met. He loved posing for the camera and was amazed to see himself on the camera screen. His burst of laughter filled my tiny heart with happiness.

I was pretty much addicted to taking pictures of us together. I had to prove that we actually interacted, right? I love the bottom right picture. I'm trying to teach him how to use the peace sign since it's such an Asian thing to do that in photos. He struggled and just kept putting up random fingers. He is just too adorable.


Here he is with his dad, and I could tell he's a daddy's boy. He was such a trooper going around with us. We walked a lot that day, and he kept up until the very end.

I got made fun of for taking this picture of the cattle. This is part of everyday life for them, but it's not very normal for me.

After a full day of weaving through fields of crops and muddy tracks to get to my ancestors' graves, it was time to unwind. We feasted on the freshly roasted pig and enjoyed the fatty meat.



The wall of my dad's house is filled with old photographs. Some are faded with water damage and others are new from recent weddings in the family. I wish there was a way that I could restore those damaged photos. I'm sure they are filled with great memories and capture the faces of many of my relatives.

Even though I don't have many photos to show for the day, I did capture a lot of videos of my experience. I may post them later and add them to my posts. My dad was very proud of me for coming with them and for experiencing this for the first time. I'm one of the first to visit my parent's homes and my ancestors as well. It made me feel connected to my roots, and I knew this would not be my last time back.

Previously:
Back to the Motherland: Leaving on a Jet Plane
Back to the Motherland: Arriving in Hong Kong
Back to the Motherland: Adventures in Hong Kong
Back to the Motherland: Going Back to My Roots, Part I

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Little Clarification...

Hmm.. I think the main benefit about having a more private blog is the ability to forget that people may be reading and forming their own opinions about you. However, this is not a private blog. It is public, and I love that people actually read what I have to say. Unfortunately, there will always be comments that I might not always like. It's part of putting myself out there.

Let me go back and clarify a few details with the home that Hubby and I bought. I am 23. Hubby is 26. He has been doing one heck of a job paying off all his debt in the last 4.5 years. During settlement our lawyer was mighty impressed by the lack of debt Hubby had (one credit card in the middle of a cycle). I myself also do not have much debt. I have a very small student loan from my last year of college, and that's all the debt in my name. I am a stickler for paying all of my bills on time and in full, no matter what the circumstances. I would like to make it clear that Hubby and I did not accept any charity with the purchase of this home. We have been planning every step of this process and have our finances in place. Because of Hubby's great credit and our ability to put down a decent down payment, we have a super low interest rate and manageable monthly payments for the next 30 years.

I'm sure that we could have stuck with a smaller home in a less desirable area, but that was not in our best interest. We purchased this house as an investment towards our future. It's a place that we will call home for a long time, maybe even forever. From all the houses that we looked at this summer, we are confident that we got the best bang for our buck. The closest house that we had considered was about $20k less, and it was only a ranch home that still needed a lot of work. We would have probably ended up putting over $20k in renovations within the first couple of years to make the space livable. Our house now is in great condition, and we comfortably moved in with no problems. There are some areas that we need to improve on, and we're going to take our time. It's the perfect home for us, and I couldn't be any happier with our purchase. I cannot wait to start a family in this house and raise all of our little kiddos.

I might include an additional post about a few options we had in our house buying process and how we went about narrowing down our location and our needs/wants. I don't want people in the Internet land to make false assumptions about me or Hubby, especially with the purchase of our home. I'm going to be talking about it a lot, and I just want to be comfortable doing it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

5 Weeks

It's been 5 weeks since we sealed the deal and moved into our very own house. What have we done in the past 5 weeks?
  • sweep, sweep, sweep.. I love sweeping hardwood floors!
  • cooking very healthy dinners & eating a lot of rice
  • 6 loads of laundry (3 darks, 3 lights)
  • celebrated our first Halloween with decorations, super awesome pumpkins, and too much candy for the trick-or-treaters (most of whom melted in the rain)
  • cleared out half of our garage and currently parking inside
  • raked our leaves twice and left them out on the street
  • two neighbors cooked/baked us yummy foodies
  • recycle like no other.. our recycling trash can is bigger than our actual trash
  • painted the inside of one of our cabinets & finally have food inside of them - original location was above our washer, dryer, & dish washer...
  • finishing up insulating our attic - thanks to hubs and FFIL
  • unpacking and organizing my very own craft room
  • homemade chicken noodle soup is sooooo yummy - I've got skillz
  • unpacked my clothes & claimed my half of the closet.. hubs is still living out of boxes
  • replaced all of our light bulbs with energy efficient ones or lower watts & less bulbs
  • made one too many trips to Lowe's and Home Depot
  • opened our first joint bank account & now owners of yellow checks with both of our names on them
The past month has been super busy for Hubby and I, and I wonder when life will calm down a bit. We're constantly jumping from one project to the next. Even cleaning the toilets is a project.. we have 3!! Oh and we're hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Yup that gobble, gobble, turkey holiday is going to be celebrated in our house, and we'll be in a rush to clean up for the big day. Don't forget the cooking of the turkey and all of the turkey fixings. Yeah it's going to be an adventure, especially in our small kitchen with barely enough counter top space.

Life is treating the both of us very well, and we couldn't be any happier with our first home. I am hoping that life will start to calm down a bit (less sweeping, more blogging) so that I can actually blog about our house adventure.

Since I have readers, I might as well pose a question. A few weeks ago my sisters came over for brunch, and one of them said that she could not imagine owning her first home at such a young age. She was probably 30 when she bought her first home, and I'm only 23. Is 23 a young age to own your first home? Facebook tells me a few of my "friends" are proud homeowners themselves, and I'm not alone. Plus Hubby is a few years older than 23. What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Losing "Me" Time

It only took me 17 days to get back online and start blogging again. Why has it taken so long? I start writing, and I find myself deleting everything I wrote. It's a bad habit from my Xanga days, and I guess I just can't stop it. I promised not to censor myself on here, and I'll try not to. I haven't been blogging because there are not enough hours in the day to actually sit down and have time to myself. I am constantly being stressed out by life right now. While there are a lot of great things happening (new job, new house, new routine), there's also a lot that goes on in my mind because of it. Changes don't necessarily make life easier.

I lost "me" time in this whole process of change. I started to realize how important it was to have time for myself when I moved in with Hubby. While I would love to spend every waking moment by his side, I also need time to be alone. It's an important component in keeping me sane. This past year was rough. I had to deal with the transition from college to adulthood. It was crappy and not the way I ever imagined it would be. One of the few good things that came out it was plenty of "me" time. Then I started my new job. Within a few weeks Hubby and I bought a house. In came the new, and out went the old. No more time to myself was to be found. In the past month I have not had the opportunity to sit in front of the computer and just catch up on my Google Reader or even write a decent entry on here.

Less time for myself also leads to bad thoughts about everything imaginable. I can turn the smallest problem into the biggest one in my head because I have no outlet for my frustration. I keep it inside. I let it build up, and it's a not a pretty picture.

I guess this just gives me more reason to blog. I apologize for this being a crappy entry, but it is a reminder for me to create time for myself. It is a vital part of my existence, and sometimes I need a good old blog entry to remind me of that.

When was the last time you had "me" time? Stop and take a break from life. You can thank me later. =)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lovin' the New Changes

*knock knock*

Who's there?

It's me!!!! Yes, I am back and so ready to attack with a butt load of entries to come. Someone in the house has been pestering me to update my blog. I can't blame him. It's been weeeeeks since I last posted. So much has been happening, and I barely have enough time to sit down and relax. Work and a new house has pretty much consumed my life. I am constantly needing to adjust to the recent changes, and something new is always popping up. I just can't keep up! Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the changes, and life cannot be better. =)

celebrating Anthony's birthday at Harry's for some 1/2 priced oysters.. yumm!

Hubby taking better pictures with his camera at Ikea.. that was such a long day

This is days before moving into our new house. I was extremely tired of the long week and not having enough packing time.

Our room looks soooo empty. Goodbye tiny room.

Hello, house! We got mail on our first day!! Of course Hubby went to Shop Rite the week before and applied for a card using our new address. Hehe.

Don't we look like happy homeowners? We LOVE our house!

Celebrating our first night in the new house with Anthony over some really amazing glasses of wine and cheap sushi from Mayflower.

Best buds since almost as long as I've been alive. Hehe. Just kidding. 15 years? Maybe?

We rented a Budget truck to bring along our bigger pieces of furniture, and it definitely helped out.

I just took this picture for the blog. Pathetic but awesome.. I know.. hehe. Happily relaxing in the new house is just amazing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: What Happens Now?

I'm back home. I use the first couple of weeks to adjust. I still have that great excuse of being in a different country to divert all of those annoying job related questions, and it worked.. for a little while. How long could I keep using that excuse? As much as I had hoped to come back with a renewed sense of hope and confidence, I didn't. My emotional state was the same as when I had left.

While I gave up on myself, others did not give up on me. There were wonderful people out there who wanted to help. They kept an eye out for me. Whenever a possible job opportunity came up at their work, I would get the head's up. I wanted to apply. I wanted to look at the websites, but I couldn't gather up the will to do it. It got to the point where even looking at a job ad would bring me to tears. The past couple of months had been pure torture, and every little reminder flooded my thoughts with those memories. My hope had been crushed so many times before. I didn't want to subject myself to the process again.

I also lost the will to do a lot of things I originally enjoyed doing. I lost my ability to be creative and craft. Some days I would have a huge urge, but I couldn't get myself to do it. I also avoided cooking, something that I had gained interest in only a few months before. It was like there was a weight on my shoulders, preventing me from doing anything. I spent more and more hours in front of the computer, trying to forget about my problems. Some days I would try to create a routine for myself, and it didn't always work out. I did continue reading blogs. It may sound stupid, but they kept me alive during the lowest time of my life. I gained inspiration by reading what others wrote. I spent many times throughout the day refreshing my Google Reader, hoping for a new update to read.

Then I took the plunge. I went to my favorite wedding blog, and I posted on the boards. I just wanted to let it out, tell strangers what I was going through. There is such a supportive community on Weddingbee, and I knew that there was a possibility that I could gain some support and insight. Sometimes it's hard to just release your thoughts and feelings to total strangers. I feared that they might judge me, but I knew the benefits would outweigh my fears. It did. The responses were positive. There were other people out there just like me, going through the same emotional process. I felt a sense of relief. I let it out on the Internet for all to see...

"... Unfortunately I have been hit so many times with disappointment since then that I just gave up. I am mentally beat up from this process, and I don't want to try anymore. Opportunities have come my way and fallen through each time. Each rejection has ripped my heart into pieces, and I just can't take it anymore. I lost hope, confidence, faith, and myself through this process. I am tired of people telling me what I am doing wrong. I looked in every direction that they told me to. I applied for the jobs that they suggest, and they don't understand how gruesome it is out there. It is difficult to understand how this process of unemployment can mentally and emotionally affect someone unless you have gone through it yourself. I never thought it would be this difficult and hurt this much... " - Unemployment Woes from my post on Weddingbee

Previously...
Looking Back on the Past Year: The Beginning
Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding Work
Looking Back on the Past Year: I Give Up
Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding New Inspiration
Looking Back on the Past Year: Escaping

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: Escaping

While I thought crafts had saved me from the emotional ride of unemployment, it was only temporary. As much as I wanted to push my problems away, they were always there staring me in the face. Part of me didn't believe that I would quit so easily, so quickly, but I did. I was lost, and I did not want to go back. Weeks turned into months, and I was falling apart at an exponential rate. I tried to write down my feelings, hoping it would make me feel better to let it out. Sometimes it did, and other times I felt worse.

"Time had flown by so quickly these past couple of months. It feels like everyday is the same with slight variations. Monotony can make time fly. Even though that can be a good thing at times, it doesn't seem to benefit me. I've fallen into a depressed state, and it continually gets worse. Unfortunately it's not one of those things that get better in time; it only gets worse." - Excerpt from Personal Journal

The most difficult part of this whole process was losing confidence in myself. Every time I saw a potential job come my way, I had to have zero confidence in myself. Hope was nonexistent. If I let myself give in, then I would fall and burn so hard when the rejection came my way. Sometimes I wouldn't even hear back from employers, and that hurt just as much as the official rejection in email form. There were some leads, and by that point I had conditioned myself to not feel any strong emotions. I was pessimistic, more pessimistic than ever because I had to be. Those leads went no where. Those opportunities turned into my problems. I couldn't overcome the impact of each rejection. Each one would hurt more than the last. I found myself so emotionally damaged that I wanted to just escape.

"I looked forward to the holidays this year, while at the same time I feared it coming. Even though I tried to prepare myself for the bad (endless job questions), I wasn't prepared for the other feelings to come out of it. I try to keep a straight face, but it's hard at times. So what other feelings came out? Frustration. Inadequacy. Anger. Sadness. Maybe it's because I was around more people these past two days, and normal interaction would yield such results? Nonetheless, it hurt my insides, and I feel miserable. As I constantly compare myself to others, I fall short in every way. What good am I? Sigh. Oddly enough there is some sort of good news out there. Unfortunately I've been conditioned not to react in excitement. I fear the pain that will result if I allocate some hope. " - Excerpt from Personal Journal


That's what I did. I escaped. I ran as far away from my problems as I possibly could. I went back home, the motherland. I wish I could say that I went back solely for the purpose of enjoying vacation with my parents and seeing the motherland in its full glory for the first time, but I didn't. Sure that was part of it, but the other part was me escaping. I couldn't handle the questions anymore. I couldn't handle the thought of people saying, "You still don't have a job?" This was my excuse. I was going to leave the country for 5 weeks, and maybe if I came back my problems would disappear. That's some wishful thinking, but I thought it was really possible at the time. Once I was thousands of miles away, I realized that this was only temporary. My problems were still there, even in a different country. I couldn't possibly run away from them. I still worried about what others thought. I still worried about the future with no job and no will to continue looking. I was upset with myself. I was upset at my situation. No distance could take my fears away.

"I had a bad reason for coming here. I wanted to sound like I was doing something with my life. I didn’t want to stay at home and still be a bum. I want people to stop asking me about whether or not I have a job. I wanted a break from the questions and the feeling of being completely useless. It sounds better to tell people that I’m doing something other than sitting at home every day waiting for you to come home from work." - Excerpt from Letter to Hubby

"I just want to escape from my problems, whether it be with my mother or with my lack of a job. It’s been hard not to think about those things, and I feel trapped. I wouldn’t be here if I had a job. If I wasn’t here, then I wouldn’t have to deal with my mother. It all turns back to me being insufficient. I’m not good enough for anyone to hire me. College education means nothing. Being a good, hard working person means nothing. Having a strong work ethic… who cares? I hate life. It’s not fair. When people see me they’re not supposed to see failure. They’re supposed to see a successful, strong woman. I would disappoint every person who ever believed in me if they could see how much of a failure I’ve become." - Excerpt from Letter to Hubby


Even though I was still an emotional mess, I did find a piece of myself while I was there. In China I wrote every single day. I wrote to Hubby, and I told him everything from what I ate that day to my emotional status. It was a release for me. I dug into my problems instead of ignoring them. It wasn't easy. I spent many times crying as I typed because it would hit an emotional chord inside me. Months later I wonder if that jump started my desire to write and continue my blogging life. Well that letter to Hubby turned out to be 100 pages long. That's practically a novel!

What will happen when I return back to the States? Will I come back a new woman? Will I head towards the path of self destruction? You'll just have to wait and see. =)

Previously...

Looking Back on the Past Year: The Beginning
Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding Work
Looking Back on the Past Year: I Give Up
Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding New Inspiration

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to the Motherland: Going Back to My Roots, Part I

Leaving Hong Kong would be more difficult than I ever imagined. After crossing the bridge from Hong Kong to China, I knew immediately that I would have to be prepared for something completely out of my comfort zone. There was a drastic difference between the modern city of Hong Kong and the developing country of China. My parents did not tell me much about the home town I would be visiting, and I was not prepared.

The bus ride from Hong Kong to my parent's city of Enping, China took about six long hours. The seating was comfortable, and I had a decent view sitting at the window. I was weary of the bathroom situation, and I tried to drink as little as possible. The bus was completely full. My parents told me that most of the people on the bus with us are from Venezuela. I didn't fully understand why until a few days later.

Upon arrival, I was shocked. The environment was completely foreign to me. My mom scared me even more by saying that I should stay close to them and make sure that my purse was out of sight. Since it was fairly late at night, it was even more dangerous to venture out on the road just to catch a taxi. We would be staying at my grand uncle's house, and it was very difficult for me to adjust at first. My room was small. My bed was hard. I had a desk, and this was where I sat most of the time. The window was the entry way for the mosquitoes to come in. It would take time for me to get situated.

The first full day in Enping was spend in my mother's village. My parents go back to China every year for the Ching Ming Festival where they visit their ancestors graves to pay respect. My dad is posing in front of my mom's house. Since my mom is an only child and a woman, it was really difficult to get ownership of the house. Instead of full ownership, she shares it with her cousin.

My mom's village is a farming community. This is my grandfather's village.

It was a dark and dreary day. The clouds were heavy. The sun was in hiding. The village was relatively quiet.

There was a basketball net set up. I would later learn that basketball is everywhere in China. Kids look up to basketball stars like Yao Ming, and everyone inspires to be just like him.

In my three weeks in China I would become quite familiar with geese. Many people raise them in Enping. They are roasted and eaten just like duck. The texture is different. It's a bit chewy and leaner. I prefer duck.

Food is prepared as offerings to the ancestors. We have a whole roasted pig, geese, chicken, rice, and alcohol. The food is freshly prepared and brought to each grave as we pay our respects. The men do all the work carrying the offerings and clearing the graves. My parents do not participate in either activity. I found it kind of odd. We pray and bow our heads down three times.

The graves are spread across the village. Sometimes they have plaques. Other times they do not. We used cars, motorcycles, and bikes to get to each grave, traveling down very narrow, muddy pathways. It was scary.

My mom spent most of her life living in Guangzhou, the capital of the province of Guangdong, and Hong Kong. Most of her life has been spent living in more prosperous cities. I wonder how connected or maybe disconnected she feels when she visits home. Life certainly is different.

The kids did not like me. They immediately knew I was foreign. I took their pictures anyways. They climbed the trees to get berries. My dad advised for me not to eat them. Their mother showed no signs of worry or concern for her sons climbing the skinny tree. I guess that's just normal.

My parents hate pets, dogs especially. It's odd because we owned a few dogs when I was young. Of course they were given to us by family friends, and we couldn't say no to taking care of them. In China dogs are pets, companions. For the most part they are very well behaved and follow their owners. They eat just as well as humans do. Leashes are not necessary either. Sometimes they'll wander around, and they always come back home.

Bikes and motorcycles are the preferred modes of transportation. I think both are pretty dangerous when cars are present. In the city of Enping, there is no real traffic regulation. Everyone goes as they please without the safety of traffic lights. It's much more calm in the small villages. People do try their best to fit as many people as humanly possible on their motorcycles and cars. Can you imagine a mother with her four kids on the motorcycle above? Well it did happen, and they all survived.

more geese, a lot more geese

the motorcycle fully intact after the dangerous ride

the women and kids keep cool under the shade of their umbrellas

This was my first full day in China, and I was quickly immersed into the lifestyle and culture. I learned a lot. I observed even more. This would just be part one of the visits to my parent's villages.

Side Note: I later got bitten by dozens of bugs, and that was not so pleasant. Just imagine 25 bites on each of my legs from the knee down to my ankles. The weird part was that the itch did not come until a few days later.

Previously:
Back to the Motherland: Leaving on a Jet Plane
Back to the Motherland: Arriving in Hong Kong
Back to the Motherland: Adventures in Hong Kong

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding New Inspiration

Previously I...
  • lost confidence, hope, and motivation
  • gave up and quit job searching
  • was an emotional wreck
October was a busy month for Hubby. He spent it studying for his certification exam, and there were many long nights for us. There was this one night in particular where we stayed up to probably 5 or 6 AM. We both drank a big cup of coffee to keep us up. He was studying. I was crafting. It made me happy. I made felt flowers all night long, and it made me feel so warm and satisfied inside. I spent hours trying new techniques, googling everything about felt flowers. I was addicted. I wonder if Hubby knew that our one trip to Michael's for felt ($2 worth of it) would turn into multiple trips to craft stores throughout the past year.

the beginning of my craft obsession - pretty felt flowers

I love blogging. It's really what I do best, both the reading and the writing. I've mentioned multiple times how much it is incorporated into my life and makes me the person who I am today. Well I think it also saved me from one of the biggest lows in my life. I'm not sure how it started exactly. I was probably led from one site to another, and before you know it I'm subscribed to 32 craft blogs. I get inspiration in my Google Reader daily, and it fuels my craft obsession. I found myself at the craft store almost every week, buying small, cheap supplies since my budget was limited. I would skip a sale on clothes to spend it on crafts. It was probably an unhealthy obsession.

Is it sushi or a fish?

gahhh... the sushi roll turned into a fish!

While I was emotionally probably not so stable, I found my outlet through crafting. I tried to focus less on my unemployment status and focus my energy on doing something I loved. I was hooked. I spent many late nights up by myself. I can't seem to fall asleep when I have a lot on my mind, and being out of a job gave me a lot of things to think about. I just didn't want to. So I would craft to my heart's delight until I could no longer keep my eyes open.

Christmas was around the corner. I was still trying to recover from Thanksgiving and all the questions asked about my lack of a job. Instead of crying every night, I worked on making the best Christmas presents ever. Lack of income makes a girl like me go into super craft mode. I spent hours slaving over each present. It was truly satisfying to see the end result.

spending hours crafting into the early morning hours and injuring myself occasionally

Crafting too much results in the messiest room ever.. I definitely need my own craft room. On the floor you can see the cardboard I used to make magnetic photo frames. I also used pretty scrapbook paper, felt, and free magnets to complete the project.

I made each and every one of those kusudama balls (14+) using recycled paper, glue, and markers. Paper cutter to the rescue!

Hubby and I got each family a set of photo coasters from Michael's (using the 50% off coupons every week), and I selected 3-4 photos for each set. I was too cheap to buy gift bags. I used recycled shopping bags and wrapped them in Costco wrapping paper.

All good things must come to an end, right? Those 3-4 months were great. I crafted like no other, but then my lack of employment situation got worse. My emotions took over me. I dug myself into a huge hole, and I didn't want to come out. I lacked motivation to look for a job, and it also took all of the energy I had left in my body. As much as I wanted to push myself, I just would not budge. It was weird. I desperately wanted to get back into my craft mode, but I was stiff. What was happening to me...?

Hubby did in fact pass his exam with flying colors! I was so proud of him, and we celebrated with lunch at Sonic. Yumm!

Another felt flower? Yes, I was obsessed.

It's funny how this one origami flower jump started my kusudama obsession

Previously:
Looking Back on the Past Year: The Beginning
Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding Work
Looking Back on the Past Year: I Give Up