Two months and a half in

I think it’s about time that I write another blog post, to commemorate my two month and a half “professional” “adult” life.

In July 15th I started my first job, and although I still make plenty of mistakes every single day (when will my stupidity stop…), I feel like I can say I learn a rather valuable lesson: how to accept and live with one’s own mistakes.

Sometimes at work, I make a mistake, and instantly someone points it out. Looking back, I don’t think people generally keep track of which mistakes I make, what time I make them, and so forth. In anyways I get enough criticism from myself, sometimes so much that I feel suffocated. I am slowly getting better at preventing myself from drifting away into unconscious guilt and regret, whenever a minor mistake happens, but I think as a student, I didn’t develop the ability to deal with mistakes. Well, if one looks at my blog posts, I had my share of “down time” in Universities. But somehow I feel like, in Universities one’s mistakes are almost always “insured”, meaning, the gravest mistake I could have committed on a campus would still be my responsibility, but there will be plenty of people ready to clean up behind me. Also, another thing I realized, is that as a student, the type and size of “mess” one can make is rather limited: it’s hardly likely that if I mess up one comma on my exam, the SEC will be behind my back. In other words, the amount of “responsibility” that I was taking in Universities, is nothing in comparison to what an actual adult needs to take in real life.

And this realization scares me. Sometimes when I am working, I get scared of making mistakes and even more, of the years to come, each containing millions of chances that, everything could, and maybe will, go wrong. I am scared of the uncertainty partially because, it is the “unknown”, but also because I don’t think I have the ability to deal with whatever mess I will create in the future.

And then I tell myself that life goes on, and that out of necessity I will develop the ability to take a deep breath, and just deal with it. In school I learned to perform well in a scheduled manner: the exams and classes are scheduled, if one follows the syllabus nothing bad is ever going to happen. At work there are no schedules, one minute I could be feeling like this is the day I re-deem my confidence, next minute I realize that I didn’t achieve 100% of whatever my boss wants me to do, despite clear instructions.

Anyhow, to myself in job-search from earlier posts: life did not get easier for me, I still feel suffocated from time to time. But the happy times and freedom from spending my own salaries and living alone somehow balanced it out.

I also encountered people at work who might share different views from me, which I thought I was well prepared by attending one of the most radical universities on this planet. I am trying to not let the differences get to me, and to be honest my colleagues are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Hopefully one day I can truly learn what “live and let live” means. It’s just really difficult now because I am (sort of) getting rid of the importance I put on some of the ideas I received from Berkeley. Maybe I need to set them aside for a while, or maybe that part of me has to shine from a different angle. In any cases, having relationships with people outside of campuses is also complicated.

At the very least I am slowly adapting to a new stage of my life. I don’t want to say good bye to who I was as a student, and my studying skills came handy in preparation for the CPA exam. But for now, amidst all the confusion, I don’t try to seek immediate answers anymore. Maybe the answer comes years later, and all I can do now is to record the confusion.

Random thoughts on interviews

Recently I have been receiving a flood of interview requests (which is weird considering my job prospect last semester). I wouldn’t say much changed in this semester, probably my stats have even gotten worse. But somehow someone has worked the magic.

I want to talk (or vent) about recorded interviews in this post. Which genius in their right mind created this? I mean, did they think it’s fun to speak to a camera for 30 minutes? I had to ask a friend of mine to sit behind my webcam once just to get the feel of talking to an actual human. He refused to do it again, and honestly, with the amount of info I generously spill out during interviews, I wouldn’t want him to do it again!

I am very grateful that God has given me so many opportunities lately. Somehow it always makes me sad that the interview (in person ones) come to an end. It’s like giving a solo performance only to know that the judge has to leave before the show ends. I doubt many job-seekers feel the same, so lets keep it a secret between you and me.

For whatever reason, whenever people hear that I speak German they think automatically that I am “polite”. I beg to differ! One interviewer actually told me to be “less polite”, what does that even suppose to mean? Another interviewer sent an email to my career service, saying that apparently, I amazed her to the point that she thought her company wouldn’t be able to keep me in the long run. Really sister? Just let me in and we can sort it out from there!

I am going to change the publishing date of this post to next September I guess. I really hope no recruiter is going to care enough to stalk my blog six months after our interview.

And to me in September, did you find a job? Please let me know! Your older self is struggling here! Anything, even a dream revelation would be great! Thanks and take care of yourself!

REG

I started studying for REG part of the CPA exam!

I am not sure how many people will read this post, but I am writing this in a very tired state of mind. I just finished working a full 10 hour work day, and it’s not even busy season yet! Today I switched between three new clients, worked on an Accounting research on ESOP plans (don’t even… look it up), had a “professional” serious talk with my colleague, balanced out an entire Trial Balance in less than 30 mins (it’s because of the luck, but still I am proud), and found out that Pho does not always come with soup!

And now I am back at my desk studying for REG. what a day.

Sometimes I wonder if I can actually pass the CPA exam. Even with a master degree I still find it so… humongous. But to think that one month into my new job, with all the information and emotional rollercoasters, I still have energy left to even start studying, Youth really is a fleeing but valuable thing.

These days I try my best to pack my lunch, but it’s getting more and more difficult. I eat my lunch and then take a nap in my car, because I’m just drained all the time. From time to time certain memories pop up out of nowhere, but most of them are from night walks I took from libraries in Berkeley and Champaign back home. Some of them smell like summer jasmine and thousand stars, others still freeze my cheek off. Then I realize that fo the past 6 years, almost every evening is spent studying something. I still think about the days when I try so hard to land a job, not because I want to stay here, but simply because I didn’t want to lose. Partially I am driven by the same “pride” to want to take the CPA exam.

Sometimes I ask if it’s all in vain. If one day I look back on these posts and laugh so hard about them my tears would fall out. To thee happy child of the future, I, from the past, sent greetings and remind you that, memories are unreliable beautification of what is real to me now. May you only remember the random happiness, but also don’t forget that pain, on some degree, can be romanticized as well.

Thoughts amongst Quarantine

Am I spelling Quarantine correctly? Let me check…

It feels weird to write about Quarantine, especially since I planed to write about it, well, when it ends. (A part of me feels like it’s never going to end, but I do have a tendency to be dramatic)

In my last post, I wrote about “more exciting things” to come upon my graduation from my Master program. I now inform my dear readers, that not much has happened since then. I moved to a new city, into a new apartment, but my life by itself didn’t change in any visible way. And since this blog serves the purpose of recording in some ways my mental state, I would say my mind has gradually moved from frenzy/frustration in March to boredom/irritability in May & June. Some of my friends told me to cherish “little joys” of life through this pandemic. Instead, I realize that sometimes, I get deeply disappointed and angry at the smallest inconveniences/annoyances in life. I don’t think this pandemic is helping me to become master of Zen. Instead, it’s turning me into an impatient cell-phone lady, as in I hang around my phone all day long. My phone is now my salvation: my friends or family sometimes video-call me, and I try to cling onto them as long as possible. If not, I scroll through my podcast list, just to hear someone talking to me. Oh God, when is all this going to end.

Another thing I started to notice, is that the word “Quarantine 15” started trending on social media. I tried to avoid it at the beginning, just like I tried to restrict my addiction to phone in March. I regretfully say I have achieved not much on both front. The extra time made available during this pandemic allowed me to learn 8 different recipes to make banana breads, which I ate all by myself. (because honestly, who would I give them to?) I followed an online HIIT regime, which started out too simple but now became too difficult. And it’s always the same dude, “give me your EVERYTHING, nothing less”. I gave EVERYTHING to you yesterday, and the day before yesterday! Even when he says, “don’t overheat yourself, it’s very important”, it sounds ironic and full of pity. Online fitness classes are another type of clown plays, especially getting kicked out by Zoom, when I was upside down! I used to have a friend who said he could never gain weight. How jealous am I right now… If only my digestive system isn’t so efficient as it is.

Besides, I have realized, that sometimes, even I myself was annoyed by some of my behaviors, which is in itself a whole discussion that leads nowhere. One day I decided to sit down and do a puzzle, yet half way through I was so frustrated by it I shut myself in another room, refusing to see the puzzle. The only things that keep me nice and mellow now are crime series and horror films, and the creepier, the better!

I don’t regret anything I did during the Quarantine, but I do sincerely hope that it would end soon. If not, I can’t promise what kind of crazy mumbling might come out in my next post…

More exciting things!

Sometimes I go over the posts I wrote from last three years and realized that all I could do here is to provide perspectives. A certain perspective that is only “alive” given a certain age, environment and circumstances. I want to preserve as much of my “youth” as possible, so that not only it’s fun to go back to where I started from time to time, but also see how different “excitement” can feel like as time goes by. And since words are the medium I am most familiar with, here I am.

Anywho, the time has come! I am finishing up my Master degree in Accounting. I can’t believe the past year flew by so quickly, in the sense that I don’t “feel” like I am changing that much. But when I think about things happening in Berkeley, or even before that, I can no longer see them clearly. Things that happen a year ago became somewhat like a video game that I log on and off, but the mentality then no longer represents me as a person. It’s so hard to describe with words, but I grew so much in this year. I learned to adapt to an ever-changing environment, willingly or unwillingly. I constantly questioned my ability when job searching didn’t go that well. I made new friends with whom I cried, laughed, and contemplated about random threads that seemed to lead no where but secretly weaved my 24th year walking on this planet. So many ups and downs. But most importantly, so many questions that I had to push aside just to keep on going. (Maybe a year later, the 25-year old me will judge my “questions” and mumbling. But that’s her problem, not mine.)

Nonetheless, I managed to land job offers, in (probably) the harshest job market in past 5 years. I think there are many lessons to be learned in this process, but maybe one of them is to dare to throw away the past. People say when you travel, pack light. I seem to come to a stage in which the “new normal” is much lighter, and I prefer it that way. And speaking of “future” and “exciting things”, I finally started registering for CPA exams… I started the process at least three months ago but because of the virus, bureaucracy, changing addresses and so on, I had to re-do the process several times. So hopefully in the future I can exercise my wish to write more posts about the CPA exam.

Life update again: 02/07/20

This is a long overdue post of my new semester. Since the beginning of my blog, I decided to write a blog at beginning and end of each semester. Nonetheless, this is my futile attempt to make up for the past three weeks.

I am graduating in May, and as a result of that, need to start studying for CPA exam. I have decided on taking the CPA exam in California and am waiting for results from CBA, whether they have approved my units for taking the tests or not. Meanwhile, as part of the CPA Review curriculum embedded within the MSA program, I aim to finish reviewing BEC and AUD, two sections of CPA exam this semester.

Besides CPA, I also need to find a job. There are many difficulties in this area, and probably I should dedicate another post to this. I put myself down many times in the past but now I firmly believe that it’s not completely my problem. In the world there are many issues that I cannot control. All that is in my hand is how I treat each day for what it is: just a day in my long long life.

I started boxing and love the sport. It brings much needed strength and relief both physically and psychologically. What I learned from boxing is, it’s important to keep relaxed and only focus on my goal. Do not get too stressed otherwise the muscles can’t function correctly.

During winter break I found out that my spines were very unstable. As a result, I began to take Pilates classes. I think Pilates, if practiced in the correct way, is a very nice workout for small muscles and in general to gain better balance and culture of the human body.

I intend to keep blogging, but am thinking about a new way of formatting the site. Maybe more posts about the CPA exam? That should be interesting… But also my update schedule is just as unstable as my spine. There really ain’t that many interesting things in my life to blog about as well, lol.

My classes are going great. For Merges and Acquisitions, my Professor is! He is one of the few people who can deliever complicated accounting issues to students in a clear and simple manner. I am so grateful that he is teaching us… If I took my MSA at other universities, probably Accounting will continue to be the boring but useful tool in my eyes. But now, I really see it as “language of Business” and believe in value of Accounting work.

Sometimes I find it weird that only last year I graduated from Berkeley, but so many parts of me changed. At least it felt that way. Champaign is where I call home now, despite slight unwillingness in the beginning. Maybe this is what happens when one is twenty-something..

 

I finally cleaned up my room

Per this blog’s title. But I also want to write about some interesting

Two weeks ago, I went to Oktoberfest in Champaign with a friend from UIUC’s German conversation hour. I have to say the Oktoberfest was a bit disappointing, but nevertheless my companion and I had a good conversation. He is planning on studying abroad in Austria next semester, and we both hope that he gets it. Despite the utterly cruel rainy weather, it was one of the best Saturday mornings I have had this month.

Afterwards I decided to go get some candles before the winter really hit. Because of the remote location of UIUC, I thought I wouldn’t have any “happy places” here. However, I soon discovered a candle store near campus, which I frequented since the beginning of the semester.

Ohne dieses Geschäft wird ich mich ganz langweiligen. Die Kerzen haben verschiedenen Farben, z.B rosa, blau, eigentlich so wie ein Regenbogen. Meine liebelingste Kerze ist jetzt die “Mittsommernacht”, so-gennante perfekt für Sommer und (vielleicht) Frühherbst.

Doch versuchte ich einige andere Kerzen: die “Chasing Ray” Kerze, eine Mischung von frischem Duft der Wäschen (aus irgendeinem Grund riechen das ganze Kerzesgeschäft so wie eine Waschküche) und dem Salzgeschmack der See. Eigentlich entdeckte ich, dass die Kerzen mit dunklern Farben riechen besser als die anderen. (Tätsachlich sind die anderen zu mädchenhafte und temperamentvolle…)

Lezte Woche habe ich auch ein E-mail von einer meiner altern Professor erhalten. Für eine Bewerbung in Frankfurt habe ich mein Professor gefragt, ob es möglich ist, ein Empfehlungsschreiben zu bekommen. Er hat ehrlich schnell gestimmt, und nach zwanzig Minuten kommt dieses E-mail. Was für ein effiziente Akademiker…

Ich habe auch keine Antwort von Rödl & Partners bekommt, und deswegen war ich gestern so traurig. Danach ermutigte ich mich, dass vielleicht eine bessere Chance schnell kommen wird, doch weiß ich nicht, ob es nur Lüge oder was Gottes Plan für mich wird sein… (Manchmal glaubt ich, dass vielleicht gibt Gott keines Plan für mich… wie verheerend ist das!)

Gestern habe ich der Film “The lighthouse” gesehen. Heutzutage gibt es so viele verrückte Direktoren, die verrückter Filme gerichtet habe. Keine Glücklichkeit hab ich von “The lighthouse” abgeleitet.

Life update: 10/08/19

What happened in Berkeley seemed to be a million years ago. I still havent figured out how Accounting works, and now I fear that I never will. At some point I would have to take the CPA exam, maybe for that reason, grades don’t matter, as long as I can pass the exam.

Fall semester in the Midwest is not that different from the West Coast. And some part of me realized that my fervent urge to work back in SF is only a superior and self conscious inability to accept. To deal with the past, one has to first mourn its loss. And then one can move forward. But so many part of me are doomed to be forever tangled with my past, how can future embrace me, when I never wanted to leave.

Every day seems so long and remorseful. I am surrounded by people I neither know nor like. Chicago airport is always malfunctioning, just yesterday when traveling back from Minnesota our plane got stuck on runway for half an hour. My job hunting prospect in SF isn’t where I hoped it would be, and for that reason I had the feeling that SF no longer wants me back. Maybe thats the case. Maybe there is no way back. But to move forward takes so much courage and will, when I consider neither in my possession.

Amidst the grey prospects of my new life, I do hold this tiny hope that one day, maybe in the distant future, I do find my life joyful and lively again. Until then, I shall not go gentle into that good night.

The curtain drops

“Feelings are just that, feelings; you need to use your brain.” — my therapist

I think I am at the edge of breaking down; it seems like I have been getting rid of things around me and now, I am finally left alone. When the outside world silences down, the real struggle within begins. I. Such a simple letter, yet it commands so much determination and rationality. When in doubt, I replay Kant like a mantra:” Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!” I repeat to myself: this is the best I can do now, I just need to continue. Bird by bird. Stone by stone. Breath by breath. Eventually I will get there.

It was a hard decision. But I cannot disillusion myself any longer. My only regret is that I should have finished the job in January/February. I gave it a second go, so that things would be painfully undeniable: Love is this anxious child between us, always seeking affirmation and consolation. It has to be the joint account. It has to be marriage. It has to be the ring. It has to be NOW. Nothing else suffices. It forces, demands, coerces, until both of us are cornered. When do we know, how do we know, if enough is enough? Were we so much tortured, that all we could cling on to was the pathetic verbal yes? Did we long run out of love?

Maybe I am a difficult person: I am moody, secretly selfish, notoriously controlling: I have to rule my uterus and my life. This much I was certain. I find it hard to rely on anyone, because “we are never so vulnerable as when we love, and never so hopelessly unhappy as when we lose the object of our love.” The guilt. The constant self-questioning. The neurotic moods. The phantom pain. The numerous noise. All has to be sealed perfectly underneath the veil of silent composure. Fake it until you make it, right?

It was never easy, but it was necessary. If you read this, I broke my heart into pieces, not for my family, my grad school, but for me. Ain’t nobody gonna force me into nothing, no more, in the name of love.

London, london

Last weekend I went to visit my all-time favorite physicist (I call anyone who does physics a physicist)/hiphop star (she likes to wear her baseball caps backward-forward, dope!)/great friend (there are different kinds of friends: friends you can show off with because they study quantum computing at imperial college london; friends you better keep them to yourself because they are just pure hot-mess, trolling on internet at 5am, stuck in apartment all day long like a hermit crab) in London! I was also stocked to see LSE in person, which turned out to be a huge disappointment, but more on that topic later.

My trip to London was very troublesome: for whatever reason I bought a transit flight from SF to LA, then LA to London on February 14th. It rained all day long, and my flight to LA was delayed by an hour, which in turn made me miss my flight to London. After one night in LA, which I spent listening to too much Gabriel o Pensador, I boarded on another flight the next day from LA to London. The flight itself was quite smooth, except I was sitting next to a British couple, who turned out were not pissed off by me from the very beginning, only that they, like many other British people, have their eyes grown on top of their heads.

Anyways I arrived in London, surprised by the nice attitude of UK custom officers. I met with my friend Lulu (who has appeared in this blog some two years ago; good memories: she was the one who brought/kidnapped me to Japan and introduced me to wonderful addiction of Snowboarding) and again, was struck by the efficiency of London subway system. We had Mexican food after I arrived in Lulu’s place, I actually thought they were good tacos.

Then off to visit Notting Hill’s long stretching street of antique dealership. Less formal than it sounds like, the Notting Hill markets proved to be a mishmash of hand-made delicacies and jaw-droppingly expensive —- Maps.

I was completely out of battery once we returned from Notting Hill. After two hours of conscious-less nap, Lulu and I went to Chinatown for dinner. Lulu, with her usual humor, commented that the Chinese people can somehow always plant their community in the center of a given metropolitan. Chinatown in London is much more organized. We walked around and had a Chinese crepe for dinner. After that we walked more, with a surprising encounter of a Scottish street-singer. He had such great voice: it’s deep like drums; and proficient skill in playing Guitar. The way he played his guitar, he laid it on his lap and played it like a piano. Lulu, who was also a guitar player, told me that he probably learnt Guitar like that. I was amazed. We also went to a bookstore, ah heaven on earth! I realize I should restrict my visit to bookstores now, I’m like a drug addict in Amsterdam there.

The same night we went out to watch a movie at the Museum of Natural Science. Jokingly we tried to act like a lesbian couple, since it’s an event in celebration of Valentine’s day. Apparently we were really bad at it, the doorman stopped us to check our authenticity as valentines. We got busted, but felt much more relieved to find out that many normal friends also showed up in groups at the viewing. I loved the Humpback whale skeleton sleeping in dead silence right above our head. Have I mentioned they are my favorite marine animals? Lulu was also there when I admired Humpback whales’ penes in Iceland. Alert to male readers: I wouldn’t click/visit if I were you.

Lulu is still the active thinker, with whom I spent many nights figuring out my life back in Berkeley. She has a big heart, keeping updated with many more friends than I do, at the same time providing brand-name high-quality advice. I told her about my frustration in having my life too easy: I became more aware of my privileged family background, and the many conveniences I enjoyed growing up. Would I be tough enough to compete with other people who experienced life the real way? I am also glad to see that she has taken one more step to challenge herself, I simply wish that she knew how great she was already.

The next morning I overslept, and had to arrive at mass late. Lulu came with me to experience holiness in St.Paul’s Cathedral. The mass is longer (1:30 mins), the group much larger, and the environment much more solemn than Newman Hall at Berkeley. One really feels one’s powerlessness and urge to obey in that architecture. We came forward to receive our blessing, a very gentle crossing on our foreheads.

Despite living for almost 1 year away from one another, we still like the same food. Ramen in front of the British museum turned out to be the best Ramen I have had abroad. We talked about “The Rape of Nanjing”, a book Lulu has been reading. Turns out John Rabe, a German businessman and Nazi party member was the founder of safety zone in Nanjing, which sheltered approximately 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre. An interesting find.

“How come he would be in China?”

“He worked for Siemens AG at the time.”

“Ah.”

“Now it all makes sense, right?”

The British Museum is huge, but my favorite part is the Ottoman Empire section: such delicate and beautiful civilization. I first developed my love towards Ottoman Empire in a class at Cal, my GSI apparently speaks Turkish and is studying the history of Ottoman Empire. I was intrigued by the Devshirme system and the religious freedom it promised. How come that we as humans achieved tolerance once in the past, but can no longer do it now? I napped in the British Museum, on a bench for 20 mins. The time difference has turned me into a sleeping machine.

Afterwards we went to see LSE. I really had such high expectations towards the school: I had friends who went there, friends who are currently enrolled there, friends who wish to be admitted there. But one had to admit, the campus itself is nothing like campus of Berkeley. I realize that I am finally falling in deep deep love with Berkeley during my last semester here. Nothing seems to match its lovely quirkiness. And to think I found the campus mediocre when I first got admitted!

We had kabab and Turkish yogurt for dinner. Lulu enlightened me again in terms of good restaurants in Berkeley: so many things to try before I graduate! The next morning after one cup of breakfast tea, and several pieces of cornbread, I set off for the airport and said goodbye London, for now.