Monday, January 9, 2017

a life update, the winter edition

Um, hi. 
It's been a while. 

Time sure is flying by because we are on a few countdowns: countdown to our 25 day winter break (1 week away), countdown to the beginning of my maternity leave in mid-April (14 weeks away), and countdown to Baby B's arrival in mid-May (18 weeks away).

Life has just grabbed a hold of us, and we are along for the ride:

school & work & looking ahead 
We are both having good years with our kids. I am really enjoying all of my classes, which is a real treat. Usually each year, there is one class that is just tough for one reason or another. Not this year. The kids are good and my curriculum is smoothed out. 

We recently signed contracts for two more years. We both doubt we will leave after then though. We are in a really sweet spot right now. We pull home nearly $7,000 USD a month after taxes, and our cost of living can easily be less than $500 if we choose for it to be. That doesn't even account for our October or February bonuses, which together amount to 2.5 extra paychecks each. I know it seems weird to write about our income, but I've always believed in the power of proclaiming your goals to the whole world. It makes it more real, and I find myself more accountable when I am not only telling myself that this is what I will do. 

While we do not think it is wise for us to continue along this path long term, we want something to show for ourselves besides good memories and a passport full of stamps before we leave Taiwan. We came up with an arbitrary savings goal: $500,000 USD. We believe that in 5-7 years, we can accomplish this goal. Then, we will be ready to hang up our teaching hats and contemplate what's around the corner. 

There are a few things we do know though.

We do not want the American Dream: big house, car, big screen TV, etc. 

While we may choose to live in America again, we will do so on our own terms. Perhaps a tiny home. Perhaps being our own bosses. 

That said, neither of us really relish the idea of living in America again. After some outside perspective, it's easy to identify America for the circus it is. Healthcare? Gun control? Donald Trump?

No thanks. 

We are going to get our permanent residencies here in Taiwan, which will allow us to live here regardless of work. Our $500,000 could last us a lifetime here in Taiwan. So maybe we will stay here for a while. Or maybe we will move to Portugal. Or Thailand. Or Costa Rica. Or all of those places or none of those places. 

We definitely have a lot of thinking to do.

baby b
I am now almost 22 weeks pregnant, and so far all is well. At 20 weeks, I had my anatomy scan ultrasound, and Baby B and I are both healthy and happy. Baby B is a little girl, and we have decided to name her Ruby. We still cannot decide on a middle name. I kinda want it to start with A though, so she can have the initials R.A.B., like Sirius's brother in Harry Potter. Regulus was kinda awesome in the end.

We have done some shopping and have acquired a crib, changing table, and 10 newborn outfits. We also realize how inept we are and that we have a lot of learning to do in the next 18 weeks.

I also bought 15 boxes of macaroni and cheese online and am having them shipped to Taiwan because pregnant women need mac & cheese.

Thankfully, my mother is coming out in early May and staying for 10 weeks. Thank god for mothers like mine!

winter break
I have never been more excited for break, not even when we were headed to New Zealand for a month-long road trip or to Thailand for a one month hop around the country.

Why am I so excited?
I cannot wait to rest!

This past quarter at school has been so hard. I am tired all of the time and achy. All I want to do is sit on my couch with my dog. Luckily, we will have 25 days to do just that.

We decided not to go to Japan. We were both kinda ambivalent about it. Sean wanted to go to Thailand or Vietnam, but both countries have had cases of Zika. I wanted to go to Iceland or New Zealand, but both of those places would cost a pretty penny. While ultimately Sean was okay with it, I kinda wondered whether I would just sleep most of the time in the camper van. We decided on Japan purely because it was close and Zikaless.

Now that we have a real, tangible savings goal, we are less inclined to go somewhere just to go somewhere. Been there, done that. This blog is a testament to that. Instead of going to Japan, we will be hanging in Taiwan and setting money aside every month for our big trip to Iceland in 2018.

That is more than good enough for me.

... is perfect, and I am so in love with him. I am not ashamed to admit it. I love my dog, and I am pretty sure he is the best friend I have ever had.

To get away with these proclamations, I assure Sean I mean girl friend. Yes, I consider my dog to be my best girl friend-- even though he is a boy.


Bubu has finally figured out how to do all of his pottying outside, and he is even starting to kinda act like a normal dog. Kinda. He almost barked at a dog that was barking at him today on our walk. Almost.

That's progress guys.

To summarize:
exhaustion-ruby-bubu-mac & cheese
This is my life. 


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