Being home with family this week sort of recharged me. It was nice to just get away and rest for a bit—something I really needed. It also gave me time to think about a lot of things…

I think I’m going to start looking for a semi-permanent home here in Chicago in the next 5 years. I love this city, and I love the family of friends I’ve built here. I want to put down some roots and stay for a long time. So I’m going to start researching, but ideally I’ll be looking for a flexible, long term lease (so I can do some renovations/decorating), or possibly some sort of condo.

I still don’t know where I’m going career-wise, but I’m not really worried about it any more. I’m doing well with my job, and I still get to pursue my passions on the side. However, I will be cutting back on some activities yet again to free up even more time for writing.

I’m in an “update your wardrobe” mood. Which means going back to that failed plan of “The Great Wardrobe Purge” and actually following through. Still hoping to get rid of about 40-50% of what I currently own. I’m ready to look like the director at work, yet still fit my own personal style. Things that say “hey, I’m kind of a real adult now with a legit job, and I look good.”

I want to start dating again, but at the same time I’m kind of indifferent about the whole thing. My life’s slightly busy, but not in a bad way. Basically I’m more interested in finding someone to go have fun with, who I can also make out with… otherwise I’d be happy with my current social life with my friends.

I’m re-evaluating my blogging goal and might be refocusing some direction. I don’t want to call it “blogging with purpose”, because seriously, it’s just a blog. But I would like to be a little more focused on a few different areas, all while still keeping this a personal blog. We’ll see.

I’m enjoying being 28 and transitioning further into adulthood. I’ve got a good life, and I’m really thankful for it. It’s time to continue moving forward, and keep having fun.

It’s beginning to look a lot like… home.

I don’t know if it’s because of the holidays, or the change from student to employee, or maybe partially because of the new couch… But finally, after living in this apartment for over 8 months, it’s starting to feel like home.

I started classes before I even got a chance to move in, and well, if you remember, classes were intense. And they only got more-so. By the time the second quarter came around, there was no question that I was spending more time there than at home. (It also explained why on weekends I just crashed.) But that meant for the most part, my apartment was little more than a storage unit with a bed. A place to store and sleep.

I still technically haven’t finished unpacking, but at least I’ve taken the boxes out of the living room. So now I have a living room, and a bedroom/storage space. So, yeah, still work to be done, but I’m not as concerned with the bedroom since, well, it’s not like I’ve got anyone other than myself who’ll be spending time there.

Okay, so Kaija may beg to differ on that point… (She did not move from that spot from the time I made my bed until, like, 9pm. Seriously.)

I know I only have just over 3 months left in my lease, but I’m glad I finally put in some effort into my place. It’s now feeling like a home. Which, yeah, having a couch and using my living room like a living room rather than spending all my time in my bed… totally helps. If I do decide to move when my lease is up, hopefully I won’t take this long to settle in to my new place.

And well, because it’s the holiday season, figured I should share my Christmas decorations–which I’ve got to say, having a larger place all to myself, means I keep feeling I need more decorations! So hopefully I’ll post the updates as I continue to decorate my place.

My tree. I’ve had this for 3 years now, still love it. I looks nice right next to my tv…

The cats’ tree.. it’s fiberoptic! And yeah, they do try to eat it. Hence why it has a body guard. (Also, any one else notice I seem to store/stash my Nintendo stuff near my trees?)

*If I do decided to renew my lease, I’ll continue to make the place more homey, and I’ll get some photos up of that once it’s done.

tough choices: to move or not?

So.  Classes at the Portfolio School start the first week of April.  That’s just a few weeks.  YEAH.

This means trying to figure out whether or not I should move back to Chicago.  There are pros and cons to both — moving and staying.  But well, moving to Chicago will mean having rent to take care of, but less stress with my commute (and figuring out who I could crash with a couple nights a week).  Anyway.  I’m leaning towards moving back, but we’ll see how these things play out.

Moving to Chicago


  • It’s Chicago.
  • Less of a commute.
  • I have friends here.
  • I don’t have to rely on someone else’s schedule to get to and from work or school.
  • Much easier to balance work & school schedules since I’ll be in the same city.

  • Rent isn’t cheap
  • I’ll have to pay for food too.

Staying at Home


  • Free rent & food!
  • (as much as they stress me out) I do love my family
  • Duneland Friends Meeting
  • Free laundry

  • No privacy.
  • Very stressful
  • Commutes are going to suck balls.
  • I don’t get much, if any, say in the meals.
  • I don’t have a real room.
  • I don’t really have peers here to hang out with.

So, basically, it comes down to Chicago is just awesome, but will be more expensive.  Home is definitely cheaper, but way more stressful and the commuting isn’t ideal at all.  What out weighs what?  If I didn’t have my debt to think about, I’d be back in Chicago in a heart beat.  But I’m going to have to pay for school, rent, and food on top of my cell phone bill, whatever utilities aren’t included, and also credit card & medical debt.  That’s a bunch.  And chances are I’ll be working at Starbucks and Target or whatever place I can find that might have a flexible schedule.

Luckily, I have enough money to cover the first month of school. (THANKS.)  … I’m still not sure how it’s all going to work out.  I would love for school to just be paid for.  Or for my debt to just magically disappear.  Isn’t there some sort of fairy for that?  It’d be nice to have those burdens off my shoulders.  But what it’s going to come down to is a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

Did you know I am only one of two graphic design students admitted this quarter? Yeah, kind of awesome.

5 Years: home

Five years ago, not quite to the day, I was posing for this picture. We arrived at the Waiban in early September, after a week in Beijing and Xi’an. Chengdu, Sichuan — our home for three months. Living and teaching at the Sichuan Normal University.

It’s hard to believe it was five years ago… The fall my late stepmom was diagnosed with the cancer that would later take her life… The fall my amazing niece was born. I came in damaged. I returned damaged. But for those three months… those three months I had an escape. And it was beautiful and different. Exactly what I needed.

Beyond Sichuan Da Xue becoming home, China became home.  And this morning, with the cool fall air blowing in, over my steaming bowl of rice, washing over my face.  For a few brief seconds, I was home.

*That crooked old man in the front row, in the yellow shirt.  That’s Frank Huang.  A poet and translator.  I still have a copy of ‘Dream of a Red Mansion’, a book he translated.