actuality.log


All entries tagged 'life news'

Thursday, January the 17th, 2013

The web has changed a lot since the early days of this journal. And in many ways, I miss the way things used to be. I guess it’s that nostalgia that brings me here today.

A lot too has happened in my life since I stopped updating the journal regularly, but here are a couple of the highlights. First, I got engaged to Stacy,

Engagement ring

and I am to be married later in the year!

Second, I quit my job late last year to try and make it on my own. I was quite brave and sure of myself when I first quit, but after a couple of months of making little progress on my ideas, I’m starting to get a little antsy.

I guess that’s how it is with life. It’s trivially easy to keep things emphatically static. Change, on the other hand, takes serious effort and is as daunting as it is exciting.

Oddly enough, I have a feeling it’s all going to work out just fine.

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Sunday, October the 17th, 2010

It’s taken me a long hiatus to realise this, but I need to write. I think putting my thoughts and feelings down in words plays an integral role in how I go about processing them. And so, starting today, I plan on rekindling my writing habit by jotting down at least one entry here each day. I’ve resolved to keep it up for a year, but we all know how well such proclamations usually pan out. However long this lasts, I expect that the writing style will be unfocused, raw and in the moment. Though today, you get a little back-story for the tales that are to follow.

  • After a month-long holiday in India with Stacey, followed by a couple months alone there doing very little, I returned to Oslo. I’ve been here for just under a month now, and live in a new home with a couple of housemates who are also my friends and colleagues. This leads to some interesting situations which we’ll definitely be getting into. Either way, this is a temporary situation as Stacey and I will be moving into an apartment together before the end of the year.
  • Things with Stacey have been almost perfect, and she makes me very happy, despite the fact that she’s needed to go to the States for a few months to study. She’s managed to take breaks and visit me in the interim, which has made it a lot easier on us. I’m much happier in Oslo than I was in India, and my feelings toward Stacey gives me a surety about my decisions that I lacked before she came along. Even so, I have some misgivings about her past, which is a topic of some consternation when I feel low. (Which tends to happen when I feel separated form her. Which tends to happen when I am separated from her.) I hope this changes as we spend more and more time together.
  • I am trying to make all sorts of positive changes in my life. I have started to work out and I dress better. I am motivated to work hard (to ensure my stay in Oslo). I am trying to form and maintain additional friendships beyond my current set. These changes help me feel better about getting older.
  • I work in a new scientific group, and not knowing many details makes me feel like an idiot. You’ll hear about this more and more if my reading doesn’t improve the situation.

I am sure a lot more back-story is required to orient you to subsequent stories, but I will stop for now. Instead, I’ll try to insert relevant bits as necessary, and now go to sleep.

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Tuesday, September the 1st, 2009

I barely got any sleep over the weekend, and nearly all my time awake was spent having fun. It began with a concert (where I was the only non-white person in the crowd!) on Friday evening and ended on my couch in the wee hours of Monday morn over an episode of Nip/Tuck along with my friends. The events in between are still a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I remember it being a blast.

When I was first contemplating coming to Scandinavia over a year ago now, I thought of the move as a very temporary step. Like it was some unpleasant detour I needed to take before I proceeded with the actual course of my life—where I’d have interesting and fun things to do, where I’d form bonds with like-minded people, where I’d feel peaceful and relaxed… but the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes that I already have all these things. Right here, right now. This place has been good to me. The people I get to be with are warm and friendly. Work is interesting and relaxed. I spend a lot more time doing fun things—including activities outdoors. I eat healthier. I feel healthier. I make more money, and I live a lot better.

But why am I bringing any of this up now? I think it’s because the chance I have to go to Cambridge has resurfaced again, and I am not convinced I should leave all of this behind.

Even if it is a fancy uni. Even if everyone there speaks English by default. And even if the population there is a lot more diverse.

Wednesday, May the 6th, 2009

I don’t know what I did to cause it—I sure as hell don’t lift heavy things—but I seem to have thrown my back. It’s been hurting like hell ever since I woke up last morning, and I’m having a hard time moving around. Or sitting. Or even lying down.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I had nowhere to be, but I’ve had a lot of itty-bitty things to take care of lately—like spending much of last morning in queues at the neighbouring U.S. embassy. Actually, it really wasn’t all that bad, it took less than a couple of hours in total—my back just made it seem a lot longer.

I was there applying for a visa to enter the States. I plan on spending some time at M.I.T. next month and later attending a cousin’s wedding in Georgia (I think). I’m pleased to report that there weren’t any problems or unpleasantries with the visa proceedings, and my travel plans are still on.

While I am in life news mode, I’d also like to report that my mom will be here in a couple of weeks, She plans on spending a few weeks in my home before heading off to the U.S. (separately, we’ll rejoin after my M.I.T. stint) to partake in the festivities of the aforementioned wedding. I need to make my home a tad more habitable (like buying a few chairs!) before she gets here, and figure out fun things to show her, but that’s not the direction I want to take this tale.

I gingerly broached the subject of her needing to draw as much enjoyment from this wedding as she could—for she wasn’t going to experience any of it at her own son’s. I’m nearly certain I’m not having a wedding wedding even if I ever were to get married, and she should have her fill of festivities elsewhere. At this point, I was expecting a disappointed tone on the other end of the phone, or at least a solemn talking-to—but nothing. Instead, she nonchalantly goes, “Oh, but I’ve always known that. You’ve been hinting ever since you were four that you felt weddings were a waste of time and money. And I tend to agree with you.”

I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I tell them I’ve always felt jaded and old.

Sunday, March the 29th, 2009

hlea. I’m having difficulty focusing on the live band.

I’m pointing this out only because it hasn’t happened before: I’m writing this entry drunk. It’s about four in the wee morn and I just hobbled back home. I had a fun evening out—one that began with a viewing of the latest comic book-turned motion picture extravaganza, “Watchmen.” Overall, I really liked it and thought the copious shots of naked male bums and proud glowey penises were well done.

My silence has belied it, but I’ve been doing a lot more adult-y things with my life lately. I’ve been entertaining guests at home, hanging-out later at bars and inviting people over afterwards. It’s like for the first time in my life, I’m not embarrassed about how I live it. And that’s made me comfortable with the notion of sharing it.

It’s not like anything has fundamentally changed, it’s just that life has become more fun to navigate after moving here. With everything being so laid back, I have all the time in the world to focus on whatever catches my fancy. Without guilt.

Of course, with all that leisure time and substance-induced inhibition reduction, my mind often tends to revert to its core state. And rather than explicitly spell out to you what I mean by that for the 400th time, I leave you with the following metaphor.

Most of the buses and trains in this city have an approximately equal number of seats that face forward and back. I’ve been keeping some notes over this past couple of weeks, and guess what? Given a choice, 98% of the people choose a forward-facing seat from which they can see where the bus is going.

I always pick a seat that faces backwards.

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Wednesday, October the 22nd, 2008

I keep working on these in-depth introspective pieces that don’t really go anywhere, and never seem to get done. I think it’s about time I tried something different.

My move to Scandinavia has been far more pleasant than I’d imagined. (Which isn’t really saying very much given my imagination, but you know what I mean.) I’ve gotten to spend far more time outdoors, the people are open, friendly and drag me into their fun, and recently, as the weather has turned unfriendlier and everyone’s spending more time indoors, work has begun to pick up as well.

No longer just a “lowly student,” I’ve taken it upon myself to expand the scope of my work and my responsibilities. I now split my work time roughly in thirds between new, challenging work (which is hard and takes a lot of effort for little payoff), expanding on stuff I worked on during my Ph.D. (which is easy, and involves little effort for sizeable payoff), and finally, helping lost kiddies around the lab who seem to gravitate toward me (which takes substantial effort and offers a reward of a very different kind). All in all, between the intelligent and friendly company, the nearly unlimited resources, and the heavily subsidised food, it’s been a very positive intellectual environment.

The only thing that has irked me thus far has been my ghetto living conditions. Actually, it hasn’t really irked me that much (or you would have heard me whine about it every day), but what really has bothered me is how hard it has been to find a decent replacement. How much ever I enjoy mocking and deriding the U.S. (doesn’t everybody?), things there were usually a lot more streamlined and systematic. If you were willing to pay for something, you usually received it without questions. Here, well, I don’t want to use words like racism, nepotism, and xenophobia (Hey, I just did!), but things are just a lot more convoluted and arbitrary (to my detriment). As a colleague remarked of my experiences, “It’s not surprising, but it’s regrettable.”

Even so, I’m relieved to report that through a recent sequence of events (fortunate or not I am yet to decide), I’ve found myself a nice place to move into. It’s a chic little flat in a quaint little neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s ridiculously expensive, but what the heck, I’m fairly certain I can afford it. (What could possibly go wrong with that kind of logic?)

But I know that still leaves some central questions in your minds: “Why aren’t you ecstatic? What is it about this mysterious ‘recent sequence of events’ you chose to mention but not elaborate upon?” You see loyal reader, the reason this flat even opened up in the first place is because a cute girl I know is moving in with someone else (who she’s known for even less time). And while I am delighted by the location, the view and the ambiance, I’m not particularly thrilled by the context.

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Sunday, October the 12th, 2008

So much for writing more regularly. You wouldn’t believe how many pieces of paper I’ve lost to random rants soon devolving into even more random doodles.

Anyway, you know you’ve become really old when you only remember its your own birthday after someone else wishes you. Fuck.

Monday, June the 23rd, 2008
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I’m nearly done packing my bags. They’re heavy and uncouth, snickering at me knowing how much bother they’re going to cause me in my journey.

But I’ll show them, I hope.

(I’ve retrogressed in the past 6 years, haven’t I?)

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Sunday, June the 15th, 2008

Condensing your life’s possessions down to two small suitcases is quite a daunting task, but that’s a task I have in front of me. In just over a week (Monday the 23rd), I’ll be leaving this country (for good?) hoping to pursue a more gratifying life in Europe. My journey first takes me to Oslo (which I’ve just realised is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in, eek!), and how soon I’ll move onto greener pastures, be it Cambridge or anywhere else is anyone’s guess.

Organisationally though, even leaving aside the painfully-selective packing, there is much left to do; like actually winding down life here. Just a short while ago, I sat down and made my first semi-serious list of some major things that need to be done, though I honestly don’t know where to begin. I’m beginning to get really really nervous about all of this, and it’s tending to have a paralytic effect on me.

All of this seemed cool and exciting when I was first looking into Europe in earnest. It felt novel, I felt almost original, for deviating quite strongly from the path well worn. Now I just don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into, and the anxiety is taking its toll.

Wednesday, June the 4th, 2008

It’s been a while. I’m uncertain as to whether I can even do this any more, but there is news to share: I just nervously booked my tickets to Oslo!

I intend on leaving here on the 23rd of June, and arriving there the afternoon of the 24th. I haven’t applied for a visa yet (plan on doing so shortly) but I received word from the consulate that I’ve already jumped through all the major hoops, and there is little reason to worry about it being denied.

I’ve been busy sorting out a few things over these past busy (silent) days, and I now have travel insurance, a temporary apartment for when I get there, a fancy new computer for when I begin work, … .

But I am yet to sort out other major things, like cleanly winding up the show in this country. I think I’m stalling because I am still uncertain whether this is the right move for my life, but when am I ever?

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Wednesday, March the 26th, 2008

I just did something exciting that I have to share. But before I get to it, I’d like to set the scene.

These past few days have been tremendously productive for me, marked by events such as the completion of my taxes (for the first time ever before April 15!). It was in this energetic frame of mind that I embarked on the mountain of paperwork due toward my European expedition, only to find out shortly thereafter that the entire ordeal is going to take a couple of months.

My rational side was almost expecting me to be disheartened by this news, but my actual response was quite the opposite. Suddenly, two months seemed just ripe to bring to fruition all the things I’ve always wanted to see and do in this country—but just haven’t gotten around to. Besides, given that my entire life savings is worth about € 6 (and falling!), it only makes sense that I spend it all here.

One of these things I’ve always wanted to do was to work with an experienced photographer. I would love to be more confident and comfortable around people, especially when I am trying to capture a moment or emotion on my camera, and somehow I feel that observing a professional at work and seeing how they interact with their subjects will benefit me profoundly.

With this in mind, I spent a few hours trawling through the Internet looking for opportunities in April, and after quite some thought, I narrowed my options down to a few. Unfortunately, the workshop on the top of my list was booked-full months prior, but I did something I usually wouldn’t have—I sent an e-mail to the photographer asking him to inform me if there was a happenstance cancellation and an opening cropped up.

Moments later, I got a reply telling me there just had been, and I’d been lucky enough to e-mail him before this information reached his web site. Before I was in though, I had to send him a few photographs of mine for evaluation. I hastily prepped a few of my current favourites and mailed it across, and now that I’ve been approved (and I’ve parted with a lot of money), I’m heading out to his studio in L.A. for a few days in April to learn about and work on portraiture.

In spite of the fact that L.A. is a pretty fucked-up city, I am excited by this turn of events.

Now, onto planning other things on my life’s to-do list.

Monday, December the 10th, 2007
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I woke up today to a message on my phone.
From my mother.
Telling me she’s going to be turning up here on Thursday.
Yes, Thursday.

Since then, I’ve begun to freak out and have frantically been attempting to sort out my dwelling environment and my life. I don’t really know why though, I’m going to fall short of her unrealistic standards anyway.

This entry was pushed through outside the regular chronology because it contains breaking news. You probably don’t know this, but the way this journal works is that everything first begins with daily tidbits on scraps of paper forming a physical journal. Under normal circumstances, portions of these scribbles are transcribed, polished upon or expanded into the entries you see here.

As you’ve realised, I haven’t been transferring anything from paper of late, and working through the regular chronology wouldn’t have allowed for this entry to show up in a timely manner.

Never to fear, there is more life news that exists on paper which will make it up here, and I don’t intend on falling from my on-average ten posts per month frequency.


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