Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reflections on 2013 and Thoughts on 2014

Another year! I just reread what I wrote about 2012 and all those events feels like a lifetime ago. I spent most of this year working on a construction site and really got to see things happen. While on site, I had more time in general and was able to get a lot of life things in order, such as getting my PE and started keeping track of my finances. After paying back all my student loans, I started putting money away in savings and finally ended 2013 with a fully maxed out Roth IRA.

Some highlights of this year:
January - Started my site assignment. I think I need to write something about how my site experience has contributed to my engineering career overall. It has definitely broaden my experience.
February - Adjusted to life on site. Finally got a smart phone.
March - Moved to a new apartment on Hong Kong Island. Parents and brother visited. Xiumin visited.
April - Went back to the US again and took the last of my PE exam. Passed everything and is officially a Professional Engineer in California!
May - Attended Yalu+Mike's wedding
June - Met up with Yi in Hangzhou!
July - Weekend trip to Singapore with roommate
August - Hot, sweltering days at site
September - Major geotech conference in Paris and then vacationed in Marseilles. There are definitely perks to working at a big office with money for "training" and a small professional society that can also support these kinds of activities. Back at the office.
October - Weekend trip to Guangzhou and nearby areas.
November - Adjusting back to life at the office. Celebrated Thanksgiving with friends.
December - Really busy at the office...

Thoughts for 2014:

  • I really need to put some serious thought into how long I want to stay in Hong Kong. It's weird because there's not really a deadline or anything and I can really just leave anytime I want to. But there are a lot of things I like about living in HK and feel like I would really need to re-adjust to living in the US. More on this later. 
  • I heard a podcast (either HBS or TED) about being grateful and that it really makes a difference if you list your blessings on a weekly basis. I might try that.. That would be a good motivation to write in this blog at least once a week.
  • Along with this whole moving/not moving business, I would really like to do more traveling in Asia while I'm here. Definitely need to do a long trip before I leave but in the meantime, short trips would do too.
  • As far as work goes, I will have been working 3 years full time in April/May. Hope to get another chartership status within this year.
That's it so far. We get New Year's Day off and since it's so cold here lately, I might stay around the house and write more. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thanksgiving in Hong Kong

Been really busy lately! I have been meaning to write about Thanksgiving celebrations but haven't had the chance. Anyway, here it is:

I celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time in Hong Kong this year with some friends from work. I baked a pumpkin pie, some cookies, and made mashed potatoes for our small party of five people. People kept being really amazed by the pie and I keep having to explain that the flesh of the pumpkin is attached to the skin. We ordered a turkey from one of the restaurants at the mall attached to our office. At first we thought that we can order from different restaurants because many of them were advertising it. But then we realized that it's from the same catering place. We should really piggback on them and offer a pie option for people. I bet a lot of people would be interested.

It took me a while to find canned pumpkin as it is not popular here. I went through several of the more upscale versions of the big chain supermarkets and failed to find anything. The big supermarket chains here have "regular" versions and more upscale versions, usually branded as "international" or similar that sources more international foods, catering to expats. Anyway, I was forced to look up "American" grocery stores and went to a store that sells things solely imported from the US. They were out of canned pumpkin! Good thing I made a list and a plan of attack. The second store on my list turned out to be closed. I finally found a really upscale supermarket that had a mountain of Libby's canned pumpkins. All through this process I kept thinking of the times I searched through both Cambridges (US and UK) for Chinese food and now that I'm in Hong Kong, I'm combing through the city for American food.

Anyway, some pictures of our feast: