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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

Monday, September 14, 2009

In 3 Hours...

In three hours I turn twenty three. For the past year I have been looking forward to my birthday. I came up with a birthday list months ago, mainly consisting of small items I was too stingy to buy before.

Now that it's hours away, it's not that big of a deal anymore. I was supposed to make cupcakes for myself. I bought the necessary ingredients, but I later found out that butter was no where to be found. I also forgot that we were low on eggs, and eggs are necessary to make cupcakes.

It's just another year to add to my age. Actually, I've been fooling myself to believe that I've been 23 this whole year. That's what happens when you go back to China and tell people that you're 23 instead of just 22 and turning 23. It feels like I haven't aged at all.

I want to be happy. It's my birthday. It's my turn to celebrate. Maybe I'll just have to wait for the feeling to kick in when I wake up in the morning.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: I Give Up

Previously I...
  • worked at a law firm for 3 long, miserable weeks
  • left with renewed hope and confidence
Unfortunately life doesn't always pan out as expected, and this was definitely the case for me. I quit my job at the law firm, but I didn't have a job to replace it with either. I was okay with the lack of money in my bank account. I just wanted to find a job that was a better fit for me. I certainly did not want to waste my life away and be miserable.

My renewed hope and boost of confidence didn't last for long. The economy was continuing to get worse. There were less jobs available and way too many people in the market. I could see huge changes in the six months I had been in the job market, and it certainly was not in my favor. My hope disappeared. I didn't get that job in Pennsylvania. I was back where I first started. Slowly I started sinking back into the normal routine. I gave up on finding a suitable job, and I was back to finding any job available. I applied to work at the cafe inside ING Direct serving coffee. I applied to be a bank teller with WSFS. I got interviews for both jobs. I never did hear back from ING Direct, and they hired high school graduates over me for the bank teller job.

I officially gave up. I quit. Even though I didn't want either one of those jobs, I also did not want to be rejected. I didn't get the one job that I desperately wanted. I was falling apart and giving in to self destruction. Constantly people would ask me about my job situation. They all had the same reaction to my answer. They all looked down upon me. Not one of them thought that I was doing enough or looking in the right places. They all assumed that I just stayed home and did nothing all day. It got to the point where I just wanted to scream, but all I could do was politely answer their questions and walk away. I hated family events because it meant that I had to face my problem. I'm starting to tear up right now as I type because it was just a sad time in my life. I would go in my room and hide in the closet, crying until I exhausted myself. I hated my situation.

I really did give up. I stopped applying for jobs. I deleted every single one of the emails from Career Builder and Monster. I stopped writing cover letters. I stopped mailing my resumes. I took my focus away from looking for a job because it was literally destroying me. Emotionally, I was a wreck. Each rejection hurt more than the last, and I was drowning in despair.

When I had to face reality, I tried to not let anyone in my world. I tried to be cheerful and optimistic around them. Inside I was crying. Everyone assumes it's easy to find a job. They all liked to give me suggestions. It felt like they were stabbing me repeatedly instead. I tried everything they suggested. I had already applied for those types of jobs. It really isn't that easy. I just hid all of my emotions from others. I would later take those feelings with me and cry to myself at night.

Even though I quit searching for a job, I didn't quit on life. Instead of facing my problem, I turned away. I focused my energy elsewhere, and it changed my life completely...

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: Finding Work

Previously I...
  • graduated with a business degree
  • spend the first couple of months searching for a job in HR
  • summer came to an end and I was desperate
Now I am employed...

After months of dead ends, I finally struck gold (or so I thought). I got a job at a law firm in Wilmington, but it wasn't glamorous. They called me one morning, asked to see me the next day, and I went to work right away. No real interview needed. They were desperate, and I was too. Oddly enough I had three other companies get back to me within 24 hours of accepting the position. I straight up told my boss (who was located in Philadelphia.. odd, I know) that this would be temporary for me. I had another interview lined up, and it was a good one. She was okay with all of this, and that didn't seem right.

The position at the law firm had a very high turn over rate. The person training me had only worked there for a mere week. She barely even knew what she was doing herself, and with my boss being all the way in Philadelphia, there was no one to really give me any direction. I was trained for 1.5 days. The lawyers were damn right mean. The secretaries were scary too. It took me a while to get adjusted and actually figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I felt miserable filing paperwork all day long without anyone explaining to me what was going on. After a week of taking the bus everyday to the city and back home, I was ready to quit. My boss emailed me and asked me for my opinion of the position and what they could do to accommodate me. Well they had already given me a raise (after working for 2 full days), and they couldn't possibly change how miserable I felt everyday. So in the end there was nothing they could do to keep me. I was nice and told them that I would stay until they found someone to replace me and also train them.

After working for three weeks the job from hell was finally coming to an end. I had a successful interview with a company in Pennsylvania (very intense & I had to give a presentation), and I was hopeful for an invitation of employment. My last day at the law firm was actually a somewhat sad day. The place grew on me. The secretaries actually liked me. The lawyers even found that I was helpful and organized. Right before I left the secretaries told me how great of a job I had done there. I was the best worker in that position for over the past two years. That made me happy. It also made me realize that I was too good for the job. There were more opportunities for me, and I left feeling very optimistic about the future.

Unfortunately I was the only one feeling happy and optimistic. Hubby was upset that I had quit. I told him numerous times that I was miserable and that I would leave. I just made it official without consulting him first since I thought we had already discussed this. I thought he would stand by my decision, but I was wrong. To this day I feel bad. I know that I made the right decision. I know that it would have led me no where. I'm just glad that I only spend three weeks there and not more.

I was unemployed again, back on the market in a spiraling economy. I was hopeful. I was not hopeful when I graduated, and for the first time I had that bit of hope and confidence. I knew that it would get me far. It was exactly what I needed to head towards the right direction. Or was it?

Previously:
Looking Back on the Past Year: The Beginning

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking Back on the Past Year: The Beginning

Life has been treating me really well these past couple of weeks. I am very lucky and fortunate to have everything finally settle into place. I think I've had enough time to look back on this past year and be able to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was rough. I'm not going to lie. I spent many days crying, being completely drained of hope and confidence. I constantly wondered why it was all happening to me. In the back of my mind I knew that everything does happen for a reason. It was just so hard to see it back then. Let's take a look back.

I graduated college. I was happy to finish in 4 years, especially with my last year being one of the biggest challenges I had faced in my life (moving out of my parent's home, applying for loans for the first time, and being financially independent). It was a difficult year. My family ties were strained. My sisters turned their backs against me. I had to rebuild my relationship with my parents. They were just happy to be there at my graduation and take a few photos with their daughter. I don't think many people thought I would be able to graduate under the circumstances. My oldest sister was the rebellious one before me, and she took 10 years to graduate.

proof that I graduated, wore a blue gown, and posed with my proud parents

I'll admit that I probably wasn't prepared for the job market. I assumed that it wouldn't be too difficult, especially with a business degree and experience. I was an assistant property manager for my dad, and I managed 3 rental properties in Newark. This was all while attending college and having no clue what I was doing the first couple of months. While my experience may have sounded good on paper, I didn't have the important internship to lead my career. I'll admit it was my own gosh darn fault. The summer before senior year I was consumed with my own personal problems. I was desperately trying to piece together how I would afford my last year of college and be able to keep myself clothed and fed with a roof over top of my head. Mistake #1.

I was undeclared for the first two years of college. I really had no path. Later I figured out exactly why, and I had to be over 8,000 miles away to come to my conclusion (will elaborate later). I pretty much had no confidence in myself to begin with. I settled with business because it was the easy way out. Right after declaring my business major I fell in love with my nutrition class and wished that I could take back the last two years. Oh well. At least there are a lot of different aspects in business. There was sure to be something for me, right? I tried to stay positive. After taking a class in Human Resources, I was determined that it was the right kind of business for me. I spent the first two months looking for HR related jobs. It was difficult. I didn't qualify for any of the job descriptions I saw, but I applied anyways. That's what they always tell you to do. Let's just say that I wasted the first two months of job searching. Mistake #2.

With the summer coming to an end, I had only a few interviews, and they were all dead ends. Many never had the decency to even tell me that I didn't get the position. I even had a few connections, and they never did work out. I became desperate. The economy was taking a turn. I needed to find any job. My original goal was just to find a position that I was fully qualified for, and that pretty much meant using my degree. I didn't want to work in a position with people who had an English or History degree. No offense to them. I was just a business major, and I studied it for the past 4 years. I wanted to make use of my degree. With desperation, I didn't even care about that anymore. I started to apply for jobs that only required a mere high school degree. I applied for jobs that I knew I was too good for. I was desperate. Mistake #3.

By October things started to look up for a change. I had a few potential leads. I was even hired for a job. It wasn't a very pretty one. It was actually all sorts of horrible...

Want more details? Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Back to the Motherland: Adventures in Hong Kong

The "Back to the Motherland" series continues!! You didn't think I would forget.. did you? Well I'm back and ready to continue my series. My goal from now on will be to reduce my number of entries and jam pack as much as humanly possible. Enjoy!

Previously I had just landed in Hong Kong and enjoying my sweet hotel room. After a peaceful night of rest I was ready to discover the city. It was quite difficult to figure out our way through the city at first, but my parents know how to ask around. Of course I can just read the signs just as well as them, but I let them lead the way.

After going every which way possible we took a ferry to Kowloon and got on the HK subway for the first time using my Octopus card. It was reallllllly clean and advanced. By advanced, I mean ten times better than any other subway system on the east coast of the US.

We met up with my mother's friend, ate dim sum for lunch (inside a mall!), and he entertained me with the most amazing mall ever. At one point I did figure out the name of the mall, but my latest research has yielded no results. With limited space in the city, it's all about building up. This mall could possibly be one of the tallest malls around with escalators connecting each floor. It's pretty amazing.

I am a kid. No joke. I was immediately drawn to everything amazing, awesome, and cute. I had to ask my dad for money (like a little kid) to buy something from the toy machine. Being the awesome dad that he is, he bought me quite a few toys and even encouraged me to buy more. Hehe.

We took a break from shopping to meet up with some more of my parent's friends while enjoying discounted dim sum. This was also my second meal of dim sum for the day, and boy was I stuffed. I love dim sum, but I was not prepared for the amount of it I would consume on my trip. Also my parents have older friends, much older than your parent's friends I'm sure. For my mom and dad it's very important to visit every year to ensure that they don't miss any opportunities.

After another yummy meal of dim sum we walked around Avenue of the Stars and saw the Hong Kong city skyline from Kowloon. It was pretty spectacular. I had always known of Hong Kong through pictures of my sisters' childhood (they went 3 summers in a row as teens) and through my Hong Kong movies & dramas. Never did I imagine it to be so amazing in person.

After enjoying the view it was time to head back on the ferry. Since not everyone had recovered from jet lag, we ended the day fairly early. It was time to rest up for another day in the city.

Fast forward to the next day, and we meet up with my parent's friend. We get lost. We walked around. We asked for directions. We walked past our destination. We walked back. It was fun.

Our destination was the Peak Tower where I was able to pose with orchids, Jackie Chan, and enjoy a very steep ride to the top of the Sky Terrace to see the skyline of the city from high above.

I have something call Hello Kitty radar. I can sense it from a mile away (give or take a couple thousand feet). Right after getting off the tram I immediately spotted this cute store. Unfortunately it was still really early, and the store was not opened yet. =(

We took the elevator up a few stories and walked out to this view of the city. It was kind of windy and cloudy that day, but we were still able to take it all in and enjoy our view. It's really amazing how many buildings can fit into such a small amount of space. With limited space, that just means bigger and taller buildings all around.

The cloudy weather did put a damper in our schedule later in the day when it poured like cats and dogs for about 20 minutes. Luckily the rain went away, but the clouds still lingered.

We spent most of our morning and afternoon at the Peak Tower, and we were hungry, hungry hippos. Being cheap and always looking for a good deal, we waiting until the special discounted dim sum hours to eat (after the typical lunch hours). This restaurant in particular was located in a mall (almost all of them are), and it was definitely super fancy. The dishes were even fancy. The food was not all that great, and it was pretty expensive. I did enjoy watching this skinny girl pick at her food and look pretentious from afar. I can't remember how we ended the day. I'm going to assume that I ate dinner that night.

After two full days in the city, it was time to pack my bags and leave the next day. I was getting so adjusted to the city, and I was sad to have to say goodbye. We checked out of the hotel before noon and took the public bus to our bus station. There were a lot of people all waiting for the bus to China, and I was dreading my departure. What will happen to Yin after spending 7 hours on the bus with way too many other Chinese people and a grumpy mother? Will she survive (well that's pretty obvious now)?

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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Exciting News!

Remember this photo?


We put down an offer. They counter offered. We came to an agreement. It's all ours!!! *does a little happy dance* Those 7 showings this weekend will be no more because we're going to be the happy owners!! Sweet!

Time for celebration? Me thinks so. =D Time to go to Ikea! Hehe.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Chapter

A lot has been happening, and that means that I've been thinking a lot. Over the course of a few weeks, my life has been changing. I'm trying to get adjusted to a new routine. I know not to get too excited about the new, and I really do miss the old.

After today I will finish my full second week at my new job. 2 whole weeks, and I'm still alive. It's a great job, and everyday I realize a little more how lucky I am to be working. My first bank deposit went in this morning. It's been almost a year since that last happened, and that was a crappy temporary job that I stayed at for only 3 weeks. I feel the need for a celebration, just to pat myself in the back for surviving this past year. While I may not be working at some big fancy corporation job, I am happy where I am. Why would I want to waste my efforts helping a big money hungry business? Sure, I probably get paid less now, but then I'm getting paid A LOT more than just staying at home blogging and crafting to my heart's content. Now I can actually afford to triple my crafting supplies. Heck, we can now afford my craft room in a house of its very own. =)

Speaking of houses, something is going on down in the house front. While I don't want to get too excited about it, I am glad that we waited and didn't settle in the process. More details to come when we have more information. *keeps fingers crossed*

doesn't it look like we're already at home?

Remember when I got engaged, started a wedding blog, and never started actual planning? Well I told myself that I could start planning once I found a job. I now have a stable job, and it's finally time to start the planning process. I'm super excited inside, and I think it's time to purchase a few more wedding magazines to add to my (very small) collection. I'll add that to my to do list this weekend. Maybe I'll even return to Paper Source one day... oh how I love thee.

stumbling upon my first paper source store in reston, va

So life is turning around for me. I'm a happier camper than I was before, and there are many more opportunities down the road. My depression (pretty much attached to my unemployment status) has subsided, and I'm looking forward to what the future has in store. I will admit that I got used to my life at home, and I enjoyed my "me" time. I'm still learning how to balance work, hubby, and me time. It'll probably take a few more weeks until I'm fully adjusted and balanced.

I want to thank everyone who has been there to help me through those rough patches. This is now a new chapter in my life, and I'm so glad that I can take you guys along for the ride. Thanks for being such great friends.

p.s. How do you guys like the new layout? It's still a work in progress. Hubby and I will be working on the header soon. I have a lot of ideas, and hopefully a few of them will work out. Keep checking for changes!