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November 12, 2022 3:57 PM

I'm working again

For the past two weeks it seems like the people in my apartment building are constantly doing laundry. I've had to do my last two loads of laundry at friends' houses. And today, when I don't have to do any laundry, the machine is finally available.

Anyway, I've been back at work for three weeks and it's been an adjustment. Work itself isn't really that bad. It's not as busy during this time of year, and we've made changes to my team's processes so I don't have as many meetings to attend. Work is interesting enough, but not too hard. It's pretty chill.

But work just takes up so much time. How am I supposed to work 40 hours a week, cook my own meals, exercise almost every day, keep my apartment tidy, occasionally hang out with friends, and get enough sleep? I didn't even bring up my personal projects. How do people with families do this? How do other people have so much free time that they get bored?

And there's something about working that gets me so hungry. I am convinced that critical thinking burns more calories than physical activity. I've been eating breakfast every morning, before I start work, and at 10am I'm feeling the shakes, and I need food. It's like clockwork. I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with this.

So yeah, I still want to keep saving money so I can retire early and just have more time to do the things I want to do. I don't need a ton of money. I've been tracking my spending and I spend way less than I make, but the unknown cost of health insurance keeps lingering in the back of my head. My dad is currently on COBRA, and I'm looking into options on the healthcare marketplace on for when that runs out. And holy crap, these options are terrible. COBRA is not cheap. It's like 4 or 5 times the amount he had to pay when he was still working. But the marketplace healthcare options are even more expensive. And none of the options even come close to having coverage as good as what he's getting now.

I hate the fact that getting healthcare is so much of a hassle. I hate that there is even a "healthcare marketplace" to begin with, that you can shop for health insurance. I hate the idea that healthcare is so closely tied to what job you have.

I feel like I shouldn't be complaining about this when I'm privileged enough to even consider retiring early. I'm just trying to help my dad right now, and researching healthcare options has made me very, very tired.

September 14, 2022 11:39 PM

Sabbatical - 4 weeks in

When I tell people I want to retire early, sometimes they ask me how I could stand having so much free time. Won't I get bored? Well, it's getting close to four weeks of my sabbatical, and even though I don't have my 40 hour work week to deal with, I still have way more things that I want to do than I have time for.

I originally wanted to keep a log of what I've been doing with my time, but I quickly realized that even doing that is a lot of work, and I'd rather be doing the things than recording that I'm doing them.

I've been working on the Teochew site a lot. I'm really, really happy with all the progress I'm making and all of the Chinese that I'm learning. But it does take up a significant amount of time, and I haven't really been able to devote as much energy to my food blog or other things like reading or visiting all the interesting local establishments. I asked for video game recommendations, and I haven't spent any time playing video games since my sabbatical started!

That's okay though. I've constantly got ideas brewing in my head, and now's when I have time to act on them. I'm glad I can really dive into a project for myself, doing it in a way that works for me. Some people get into the zone while they're coding and they code for hours and hours and barely come up for air, but I'm not like that. I think I can do about two hours before I need a break. So I spend an hour or two working on the Teochew site, and then I go for a walk or I make some food. And then I get back to it. It's been really, really good.

And I'm exhausted by the end of each day. I'm still working out almost every day, including DDR a couple of times a week because it's nice to go to the arcade during the day when it's less crowded. I'm still hanging out with friends a few times a week. That's important to me. And I try to keep up with chores and errands, and I wonder how people with full time jobs and families do it.

I've been thinking of my sabbatical as my retirement trial phase, to really see if this is what I want. And each day confirms that it absolutely is.

September 4, 2022 2:12 AM

James River

In 2011, I went to the James River with my sister, two of my cousins, and my uncle. I don't think I would have really remembered this trip if my uncle hadn't taken a lot of photos. This was back when I was a chubbier college student, and my sister and cousins were just little kids.

But I'm glad he took all of those photos, because it reminds me of a good memory in a good place.

August 28, 2022 9:00 PM

Sabbatical week 1 - happy birthday to me

So what have you done on your sabbatical so far?

Meals that I've cooked:


Songs I've discovered:

Website updates:

Birffday treats:

Around Pittsburgh:

...and Virginia:


August 25, 2022 9:59 PM


Meyling, do you eat 红毛茄 ang7 mo7 gia1?

ang mo I eat...American...children? Red...haired...child...?


OHH! Yes, 我 ua2 食 jiat8.

I know you know Chinese. You have it inside of you.

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