Categories
General

The 7 year California journey comes to an end

“Time is our most valuable commodity. We can always earn back money, but we can never earn back our time. Stop worrying about the future, and treasure the present. Cherish the people we have around us and the time we spend with them,we don’t know when they might be gone someday.”

So finally my place did sell, (although the buyer came close to backing out for $1000 in repairs) but thankful to at least get 4% over asking for it.

Aside from that, I’ve said all my goodbyes to the few friends I have left in SF, gave away most of my furniture, and gave my company notice. I’m actually a little bit bitter about my company, because I thought I would have been able to work part time remote for them, just like previous co-workers have, and my direct manager thinks I’m valuable enough to keep, but the upper management rejected the request. For whatever reason I don’t know. Half of our team is remote, a lot of them are full time remote, and other than the front end team, which is me and 2 other people, the rest of the engineering team come into the office only twice a week. Front end team comes in 4 days a week, and I haven’t missed any days. I’ve been pretty loyal to my company the past 1.5 years, and they are probably just going to replace me with someone from India who works full time remote anyways. It doesn’t make any sense.

Plus, its not even about money. I’m asking for my salary to be cut in half here. So apparently they are willing to pay me full time salary just to be able to come into the office (where I don’t really talk to anyone anyways), rather than pay me part time and have me be remote. It’s unfair and it doesn’t make any sense to me.

In other news, crypto is still having the blues, and I’m still 90% down so its highly unlikely I’ll get anything more than 50% of my money back even if it recovers. ICOs have lost me at least $25k and Masternode scam coins have lost me another $25k. So that’s $50k (a years worth of savings) lost in scammy coins right there, neither of which will ever recover. At this point, I’m not sure what I will do. I will probably take most of the proceeds from my apartment sale as a downpayment for a future Canadian home (most likely in Vancouver), and invest the rest in Wealthfront. No more crypto currency / gambling for me. It’s way too risky. Can’t believe I lost 90% of my savings ($150k turned into $15k). Lesson learned, I guess.

I’ll definitely miss California/San Francisco, and I’ll definitely miss my apartment as I had many good memories there with my friends. I think more than just missing the scenery though, is missing the moments I shared with my friends and other people. That’s what I kind of regret. I regret not taking more pictures / videos with my friends, I regret not saving any of my Kakao chats from 2012/2013 (they were erased when I switched from my iPhone 4S to 5S in late 2013), because 2012-2014 were probably the best times of my life. 7 years of California memories, 2011-2018. I had so much fun meeting people (especially from San Francisco ESL group meetup), and traveling to places, just wish I had some way of remembering it better. I rarely took pictures/video back then compared to now. I never even took a selfie until I first went to Korea in Sept 2013. That was the first time I took selfies with anyone. As I grow older, I realize more and more that time really is the most valuable resource, and it’s not the scenery or the environment or the atmosphere I should cherish, but the people I shared it with.

As for where I’ll go next, I’ll probably head to Korea for a few months, meet all my Korean friends, and then go back to Canada. My grandpa is becoming senile, and my grandma has really bad dementia now, so this might be my last time seeing them, unfortunately. Of course, I also want to see my parents + my brother who I only see once a year. Sometimes I wish time would pass by slower, or even stop. I don’t really want to get older, I’m 30 already and felt like I wasted all of my 29 year old life and half of my 30 year old life due to my savings being annihilated and I haven’t really got anything from this year at all. I originally planned to take a trip to Singapore/Bangkok/HK/Shanghai/Osaka and go to Seoul/Busan early but that all changed because of crypto.
I’m glad I could hang out with Tony, my best friend here more, but everything has to come to an end. Since my work doesn’t want me remote, I’ll probably have to find a job in either Vancouver or Seattle but most likely I’ll try for Seattle first since the pay is much higher for engineers there, but its not guaranteed because this would be my 6th TN Visa, and knowing Trump and my horrible experiences applying for a TN last year, it’s probably not going to be easy to get another Visa again. If not, I’ll probably just have to settle working in Vancouver for roughly half the salary. Or maybe I’ll think about teaching programming in Korea, who knows… I need some time to think, and this would be the first time I’m unemployed since I graduated (I also haven’t taken any PTO this year since my company gives so little), so I need a well-deserved break from work for a while.

As for a gf or wife, I don’t know. (this is at a time when most of my friends are in stable long term relationships and/or married now). At the beginning of the year, I had a gf who was beautiful and sweet to me, and I thought I was going to marry her. Later on in the year, I found out that she was kind of crazy, and definitely not the type of girl to marry. We’ve been broken up for over 4 months now. I don’t know if I can find another Korean girl, because I can’t think of any good way aside from remote work (which I don’t want to do unless its on my own hours this time) to live in Korea long term again. Will I find a Korean girl in Vancouver or Seattle who isn’t a student and who is interested in me and won’t leave in the long term? Who knows. It’s all uncertainty in my life at this point, but I hope I find some answers soon.

Categories
General

San Francisco vs Toronto, California life vs Canadian life

So it’s been over a year that I’ve been living in California now and I’m really loving it. San Francisco is definitely a nice change of pace from Canada, and I feel the city is much more alive and there’s much more to do and see. Here is a summary of what I think.

Things that San Francisco has that Toronto doesn’t
-Beautiful sunny, sometimes foggy weather all year round
-Slightly cheaper gas (yes even in Cali)
-Mild temperature (15-25 degrees C) all year round
-Rarely rains here
-No snow, no snow shoveling, no freezing in the cold
-MUNI/BART system is vastly superior to TTC, including telling you when the next bus / train arrives, and speaking in multiple languages, all at a lower price (TTC doesn’t have any of that and charges $3.50 per adult). It also takes you around the metro area (Toronto’s TTC doesn’t take you to Richmond Hill or Vaughan or Brampton, etc).
-10% sales tax (Toronto’s is at 13%)
-A bigger Chinatown
-Japantown
-Surrounded by the Ocean
-A park as big as Golden Gate Park
-Wide variety of fauna, including palm trees
-Availability of stores such as Quicksilver and J.Crew, restaurants such as In and Out and Carl Jr’s, and faster availability of items such as the Macbook and iPhone (which often get released months later in Canada)
-A top marginal tax rate of 35% as of the Bush tax cuts (Toronto has 47% top MTR)
-Cheaper fast food (a dollar menu item in SF is $1.40 in Canada, chicken nuggets are 8 for $10 there too)
-Generally cheaper everything, clothing, electronics, cars, etc (Canadians get hit with import taxes and duties on everything)
-Free shipping on a lot of items (a lot of merchants don’t ship to Canada at all)
-Generally a higher salary for Software Engineers and IT people
-Houses that reside on mountains
-Booze gets sold in grocery stores (this may be a shock to Canadians, who have to deal with LCBO all the time).
-Numerous scenic views of mountains, lakes, beaches, forests, bridges, sloping hills, and the drives are never boring because of this. (Toronto has flat land around it)
-Lots of tourist destinations within a few hours away like Napa Valley, Marin County, Monterey, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Silicon Valley, etc (Toronto doesn’t have such a variety of scenic places around it).
-Everywhere is walkable by foot (You have to drive everywhere in Toronto)
-Numerous online services you can get in the US but not in Canada, such as Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, LivingSocial, + many startup apps.
-LOTS of job / networking / conference opportunities for tech people.

Things I miss about Toronto
-My Friends and Family (obviously)
-Less homeless/crazy people (SF has too many of those)
-Poutine and Sausage snacks
-Less demonstrations/protests
-Free walk in clinics and generally simpler healthcare system (Americans have a very complex healthcare system)
-Cheaper rent (getting closer to SF’s rate tho)
– ketchup potato chips
-Tim Hortons
-A higher minimum wage (Sf’s is around $10/hr)
-Driving (it’s much easier in Toronto than SF)
-Places close later ( Starbucks closes at 6pm in SF which is crazy)

And that’s about it. In general I find SF to be a much better place to live, despite not having a green card here. If my family and friends were in the Bay Area then it would be perfect. I hope my family/friends can come visit me around Christmas!

Here are some pictures expressing the beauty of SF and California:

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Napa Valley
Napa Valley
Big Sur
Big Sur
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach
17 Mile Drive, Carmel by the Sea
17 Mile Drive, Carmel by the Sea
Bay Bridge from Treasure Island
Bay Bridge from Treasure Island
La Jolla
La Jolla
Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks
Los Angeles Sunset
City of Angels
Point Reyes
Point Reyes
Stanford University
Stanford University

I think these pictures highlight why I’m not keen on going back to Canada anytime soon :).

Categories
Business General

Chinese and Conservative

First post of the year.

One thing I noticed about myself as I got older was that I started becoming more aware of my Chinese culture.
Well here’s the story. I was raised in a small city with virtually no other Chinese people. So I started becoming very white washed. I lost all my Chinese skills and sense of culture. When I came to Toronto, due to the influence of other Chinese people, I’ve started rediscovering that culture – and in the process becoming more traditionally Chinese.

Even more so than my parents. My parents never really thought much about going back to China, but I’ve been wanting to go back for a while now. There’s a sense of beauty and history there I wanted to experience. I guess you could call it “一种落叶归根的感觉”, a sense of belonging. I wanted to go back to visit because my ancestral home and my relatives were calling me.

My ideals for what the ‘perfect woman’ for me changed as well: It used to be that I had crushes on Caucasian girls, or Asian girls that were raised here. No longer the case. Now I’m all about the ‘traditional’ Chinese beauty – the shy, quiet reservedness, honesty, politeness, calmness, loyalty, obedience; basically the same qualities I had myself.

I’m the Chinese student that the average Asian parent would probably like to have. I’m obedient, reliable, took orders well, and work efficiently. I have ‘artistic’ talents, rather than physical talents. I wished that my parents had pushed me harder during elementary / high school because I wanted to get into a good university. I went into Computer Science not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. I wished my parents made me learn piano; instead I learned it by myself because I had no money for piano lessons. Same with guitar. I wish my parents sent me to Chinese school; I learn it by myself during my spare time. I’ve designed websites since I was a kid – again in my spare time.

In short, I didn’t really relate to other Asians saying their parents ‘forced’ them to do this or that, because I wanted to be a good student. You only get one chance at life so make it your best, that’s my way of thinking. Get a good education, network well, find a good job, marry into a good family. I’ve wanted to live a good life – hence I was never bothered by overwork; I liked working hard; I like striving; I wanted to be the best I could be. My brother is like me – but even more competitive. I think it may come from our genes – my dad was a farmer so he’s worked hard his whole life, and my mother’s side was descended from Chinese nobility so the ambition was always there. I guess some of it passed on to me.

Basically, during these past few years, I’ve ‘rediscovered’ who I really am; I’m at my core a Chinese person, traditional and conservative, and heavily influenced by American ideals of innovation and leadership; I’m also politically conservative. But I don’t think I would be satisfied with myself if I was any different.