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Archive for October, 2009

Saw 2 apartments I can afford! In Bronx :o. Which one would you choose?

October 26th, 2009 at 02:19 pm

Both have issues.

One is lovely, good light, good condition, walkable to MetroNorth, facing park, good condition and layout. The problem? 2nd beroom and kitchen face a very busy highway that goes out of NYC (traffic never stops there) And you can hear it a little, even with a window closed. But the place is beautiful and we can definitely afford it.

Second one is quiet, 18th floor, and has a huge terrace with a gorgeous view of Hudson river and tree tops. Just breathtaking. However, it is a 1br dump. The "dump" part can be fixed. The seller will come down in price to cover the renovation. But it is not a type of 1 br that can be converted to 2. And if we have a baby (eventually) what will we do? I can't let a todler sleep in a living room with an access to the stove and a terrace 18 floors high....

But it would be a very cool place to entertain, to have breakfast on weekends, to sit with a laptop... Like a private retreat in the sky.

I am confused and don't know what to do!

Studying a foreign language is a cheap and rewarding hobby.

October 19th, 2009 at 03:00 pm

It is a useful one, no doubt. It helps you connect faster with other people, it makes travel more freeing, authentic and enjoyable, and very often – cheaper.

It makes you more open-minded and more familiar with other cultures. It can help your career (I believe speaking 4 major languages, even if 2 of them are on a basic level, gave me an edge over other candidates).

I believe that the costs associated with learning a foreign language are more than recouped by the benefits.

First time I went to China I did not know a word of Mandarin.
I after 3 weeks, I decided I would like to stay there for a while (first 2 weeks I hated it Smile ). So I came back to the States, talked to the Head of Humanities Department, and convinced him to let me go to China for a semester and accept all credits I will earn from the University in China. It was incredible that I was allowed to do it!

So instead of paying 14K for a semester in my school, I paid a little over 1K for tuition in China, and around maybe 6K to live there like a queen, eating out every day, hanging out in cafes/tea houses/bars and having a tonn of fun.

That included traveling after the semester was over – hitchhiking through Tibet (We managed to convince a local official in a small Tibetan town to give me and DH permits) and we went by ourselves all the way from Lhasa to Nepal, than flew to Russia(I also speak Russian), met up with some friends, took a train to Belarus…. All together it was an 8 months trip for HALF the cost of 1 regular semester at my university.

I have been to China 5 times now, and my employer is paying for my language classes.
It is a very difficult language, not intuitive at all, unlike some languages - Spanish, for example(with just high school Italian you can understand about half of it, without even studying).
DH takes few months of classes though, each time we go on vacation to a Spanish-speaking country. He also knows enough Cantonese for us to travel in Southern China more comfortably. So we are able to speak while travelling across a good part of the globe. That experience also gave us confidence to travel ndependently in counties where we don’t speak the language. We have met a ton of interesting people and saw so many beautiful places…

So far we have been in half the provinces in China plus HK and Tibet

And going on your own is a COMPLETELY different experience than getting some tour. You really get to FEEL the place only when going independently and staying for a while. Those who have done it understand what I am talking about. Those who say they do not enjoy travel... it is because they have not travelled this way.

So learning languages takes effort. It is a long process. You have to be persistent. But it is something that you will have with you wherever you go. It can come useful in unexpected moments, it brings many surprises, and it is very rewarding.

Help me dress DH - a fasion question.

October 15th, 2009 at 04:43 pm

I just bought 2 nice silk ties for DH, now I am thinking how to pair them.

The first one, I think I have an idea.
I think it would go well with a very very light pink shirt and dark navy(almost black) suit. White shirt also good.

The second one, however, is a challenge:

The obvious answer would be brown pants, but I really don't think that would work.
I am thinking maybe gray pants with white shirt. Though I am not sure.

Or maybe... very light blue shirt. Green and blue do not usually go together, but with blue flowers on it, it may be an unusual combination that may work. What do you think?

And no, I can't ask DH - he always thinks I know better when it comes to these things.

This was the dream that I lost.

October 7th, 2009 at 09:33 pm

That I came so close to having - it was the best apartment in our price range that I have seen to date:

It was large, it had a tonn of closet space, the views were nice, everything was thought out, it was mint, it was close to the subway, it was in a great area....

And I'll never live there. Frown

We made another offer! I'm very nervous.

October 7th, 2009 at 03:27 am

For far more money. Pretty much at the limit of what we can afford: 500K with $1,200 monthly maintenance.
It is a real 1 bedroom though, not Junior.

Can it all work out? I have spend so much time, energy and nerves looking for a place.

I fear that our offer won't be accepted (even though it is above the asking price).

Plus, we will need help with the down payment, which is tricky and not guaranteed.

There are so many hurdles.

We are responsible people with no consumer debt, stable professional jobs and great credit.
Yet it is so difficult!