Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week 2 reflections

I've been in Moscow for 2 weeks now, and am starting on week 3. When I first starting planning this trip, I wondered how I would "act" when I'm able to be my own manager boss.

For context, I always felt that setting my own goals, metrics, and such at my own job was hard, and I was always distracted from various projects. I based this idea off of when my higher-ups left for a month and I was allowed to have more control over my own schedule. Being the scientific and analytical mind I am, during these points I would start journaling my schedule, pay attention to my actions, find patterns, and act on them.

When the higher-ups left, my first week was spent in a re-adjustment phase. I still spent a ton of time on youtube, I stuck close to the scheduled tasks, but I started to think about what I wanted to accomplish. Looking back on it, I wonder if I did start to try new things during things during this point. Here in Russia, without a job, the first week spent re-adjusting. There was a literal physical readjustment to deal with; in the first few days I had to get used to where things were, take stock of what I have now, and getting over jet-lag. Mentally there is a readjustment as well, as I was spending time being excited about my new surrondings, seeing the work I would be doing over the next few weeks, and what there is to offer, I still spent my time by myself sitting around watching videos. I did start trying new things though. It's more like a horse or an animal testing the boundaries of its living space, but it's an attempt to see what is around. Things like trying to blog again, or testing the dating scene, or trying to leave the house. During this time period, I begin to think about WHAT I want out of the experience.

When people were gone for 2 weeks, at this point I began to see myself put more time into my own projects. In the past, this was things that were already my responsibility but became neglected. Neglected for various reason, due to "feeling busy" or "being busy" or simply being distracted and ruining the "work flow". When allowed to work on my own projects, go figure I did them in the space of a few days. This begins to lead into the next week, because the analytical part of my brain began to examine the projects and figure out how to make them more efficient. Translated to now in Russia, this becomes learning the goals of class, and obsessing over my thoughts on dates.

Now I'm starting on week 3, and I've a week to adjust and a week to test my boundaries. The natural thing to do at this point is to look at what I have accomplished, what I want to accomplish, and how to organize myself for 'longer' term success.

What have I accomplished? Well, I'm not broke. Cooking has become easier here because I know where to go to buy food and what to buy. I already have some tools for cooking, mostly just storage bags. Being able to keep leftovers is cheaper than buying food every fucking night, right? I'm actually finding myself working on my hobbies this week, I found some time to do Math, do some programming, and do some graphic design. Now, the results aren't much to brag about: I spent a couple hours on each but didn't get to a point of feeling completed. In the case of the graphic design, I deleted the file. In the case of the math and programming, I can continue to work on what I have. I went on dates. This is special to a workaholic nerd with trust issues. I started working on the initial steps of building a new resume.

Let's build off of this by beginning to plan the week out. Overall, what do I want out my experience here, and what are my personal longterm goals? Knowing these now will help me communicate to others. Of course, I'm here to learn Russian. At the moment, my original plan of getting an offical certification from the Government has been sidetracked due to the testing center being closed until September. There is another testing institute however, and I need to contact them to see if they are open and able to take people. I want to keep the finacial independence I have at the moment. No major bills beyond rent and groceries since last year, but without a source of income I'll be broke. So, it's time to move forward on finding income. Dating wise, I seem to have the pick here for the first time in my life. So let's fall in love and have fun. By just dating I can figure out what I want. The thing is, I still need to find my own identity here and my own activities.

Well, this a start to the week, at least. I guess next I need to start setting goals.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Grocrey shopping on budget and in another language.

Well, I was going to write something about financial organization and meal prep, but I was struggling with it and realized that instead writing advice for others it would be easier to organize my own thoughts and post that instead.

Part of this comes from a revelation of the struggles I'm having within the first few days of adapting to a new environment. Learning where to shop, what to buy, and what items are worth my money is something I should be reflecting on. Not having tools to make cooking more convenient and less wasteful. In that case, not knowing the words of said products (I spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure out the Russian word for Plastic Wrap yesterday. Of course I just gave up and tried to find it at the store. Bought a strange form of ziploc bags instead.) Budgeting is always important, but being in a place for a few years it's natural to learn the place to get the best deals. In a new city that speaks a different language however? It's time to reflect and optimize the life lessons learned.

Luckily, certain types of food look the same no matter what.
Chicken picture from Wikipedia

For example, that's a chicken. Thankfully, if your in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere Mongolia, that is still a chicken. The way it's served might be different, but that is a chicken. It might have a Mogolian name, but we all know that it will taste like chicken. The first step to surviving is learning what the natives call food, then. In the US, this was a simple as learning to ask for a "hoagie" instead of "grinder" when relocating from Vermont to Pennsylvania. Ask for a grinder either got me a toasted hoagie at best, and blank stares at worst. In Russia, it's learning to call chicken Курятина. Kur-yeah-tina, perhaps? Whatever, it took me three years to pronounce Lancaster like someone from Pennsylvania.

The next thing that I have to keep in mind is how to take basic steps to budget. As much as cards are awesome and convient and everyone and their mother uses them, cash is better for budgeting. As my mom used to say, you can't spend money that's not in your pocket, and when cash runs out, then I am no longer able to spend money.

My challenge this week is to build a grocery list with some Russian words, and set a simple spending limit for it. Short, sweet, and hopefully efficient. From there I can begin to decide what can made and how long it lasts me for. Any other shopping tips out there?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Chapter in life

I decided to start a new journey based on the crazy wild idea of "Quit my job to study Russian in Russia." Well, the "quit my job" part had to happen because I couldn't take a sabbatical or at least get 6 weeks off.

Man, getting back into the concept of this blogging thing is hard. Of course, I've never stopped writing for the past few years, just nothing seemed to be worth more than a journal entry. Of course, I've read other's blogs, and they seem like journal entries so how hard can it be. Starting now, for the next few weeks the only things that can distract me are my thoughts. This isn't Pulitzer prize winning stuff, mostly just a return to filling up this website with something for the time being. It's also an attempt to tell myself that I do know how to organize myself and my thoughts.

That right there. This is the thing that bothers me sometimes, am I organized but distractions at work keep me from realizing my potential, or am I still just struggling with this concept of organization because I have ADHD and am genetically flawed? The evidence to the first is that this was similar to a worry I had about finances and money years ago when I was dealing with a mountain of bills. In that case I worried that I knew nothing of keeping my finances straight and that I was just another spoiled millennial that mooched off an older generation of dedicated go-getters. To put my mind at ease, I read every book and article I could get my hands on, and it dawned on me that my parents had taught me all the basics of finances. The problem became apparent that even though I knew how to make a budget, and save, and make a grocery list, and do all the things covered in the literature, the problem was that I didn't make enough of an income in order to afford rent, a prepaid phone, food and bills. Once I got the income straightened out, I soon had enough saved in order to quit my job and go to school to Russia. To anyone wanting to mimic this success, it's easy: Don't date, don't leave the house, and only eat homemade bread, pancakes and rice for three years. It's simple!

Also in my favor, when my manager would leave for a month to help with the overseas business, I kept track of how productive I was with her and without her. I felt I was more productive, but now I have a slighty different hypothesis, and here is my reasoning. What the difference between setting my own goals and having someone set them for me, is that by setting my own goals, I also create my own metrics to gauge myself on how well I'm doing. Recently I've read "Is it You, Me, or ADHD" by Gina Pera which inspired me to read more about organization in ADHD in general. In her book, she spends a lot of time explaining how ADHD craves stimulation because the ADHD brain lacks the same pathways as "normal brains". And this craving leads to many classic ADHD behaviors, like impulsiveness, tendency to argue, and the drug abuse that tends to affect adults with ADHD. In a few of these cases, there's a chemical release that's happening, from testosterone to dopamine to adrenaline. What I'm getting at is that there are suggestions out there for getting a dopamine fix other than an 8-ball of coke. Making a list and crossing things off it gives a small fix. And looking at that completed list later is a small hit. And all these small hits make up a nice self-esteem boost when you've quit your job to live as writer in Jamaica after saving up the capital to do it. I've gone off track, but my point is that maybe I was just as productive working for other people rather than managing myself, but managing myself felt better because I was able to keep track of how well I was doing.

Look at this! I start writing and I just keep going! Nobody calling every few minutes about needless things. Before I go, I do want to think about goals I have this week, or at least the ones I can write here. I want to keep up on writing here, even if it's just small things about how my attempts at organization are going. I want to get some art worked on and I want to have some math stuff worked out. Maybe a paetreon for set up? Maybe that's further down the line. I need to think about the goals I have for this Russian course. And I addicted to setting goals for myself. I am a very goal orientated person because goals are my drug! Better for me in longrun compared to acid, at least. Any thoughts out there about organization or self esteem?