Endless Red Tape

Today I feel Disgust (purple) toward government agencies and their mountain of forms that need to be filled out to exist in this world. Forms that are so convoluted that without intimate knowledge of how they work, I feel doomed to failure…

And sure enough, I was greeted first thing this morning with a letter from the IRS that I have made mistakes in my taxes. Taxes that I don’t have to pay mind you, I just need to file twelve pages of forms so they know I still exist in a foreign country. I’m honestly not surprised. I’m not an accountant that charges almost $300 USD for safe completion. I am just a lowly peasant. But now I have my own case file and a government agency full of representatives to tell me what I need to do… that is if I can ever get through.

We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes right now. Did you know most questions can be answered on our website? You can even do most things there like pay your bill. If you still wish to speak with a representative, your call will be answered in the order it was received. We are currently closed. Office hours start at 7am and end at 6pm…

If you’re wondering, no there was not any kind of pause between sentences. Someone please tell me how on earth this works? If they are closed, then how are the experiencing higher than normal call volumes?

I did manage to get through to the federal loan services department regarding my student loans. I got some good news from them, but in order to make the good news into reality, I have a lot of paper work to fill out online. I was warned that once I complete it online, there will be a glitch in the website which will flag it as incomplete and therefore deny my claim. After that happens, I have another office I can call to complete the forms…

At least she warned me ahead of time that this error is guaranteed to happen?

I would just like to mention, that I also have to file Taiwanese taxes in the next few days. That process will consist of me going to the tax office, them using my ID to pull up the tax information provided to them directly from my employers, me answering a few questions, and then me walking out of the office with everything done. If I go in the early morning, chances are that I won’t even have to wait. The receipt for my records will be a single page.


By Your Side

Today I was feeling Overwhelmed (a mix of red, teal, blue, purple, and dark green). It was a cocktail of all the emotions generally felt when needs aren’t being met. I was informed that my school is actively seeking to replace me next fall. They want to take the company in a different direction, and are hoping to have a more senior teacher in the position. Obviously this was shocking (teal) news, and I wasn’t super happy about the situation, but at least they are giving me a few months notice. Long story short, it’s been a rough few days.

A song that has been a song playing in the back of my mind since I got the news, By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North. A little history on this song, I heard it in passing while alone and depressed in Washington D.C. years ago. Remembering that time, and the song itself, have become a dull ripple from the depths of my mind, that has been creating a calming hum. The last two lines of the chorus to be exact.

’cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Today I was going to another branch to teach a Saturday afternoon class, and I did something I only do about once or twice a year… I missed getting off at the correct MRT station. I got off the train, and crossed to the other platform to go back the way I came, but the screen said there were a few minutes left to wait. My back has been acting up a bit again because of the weather, so I looked for a bench to sit down on. There were people on them, so I kept walking. I saw this:


The plaque was very nice too, so I’ll share what it said. Try to look past the broken English, and just feel it. After you read it, pause for a moment to try and feel all the people who have ever sat in these hands.

Wandering in a quiet, green park, feel tired? How about take some rest in a chair? A Chair is a comfortable company for humans; no matter people are in psychological or physical fatigues. The shape of this sculpture derives from the hand gesture that meditators often use, called “Samadhimudra”, which symbolizes the fluctuating emotions. The transformation of this gesture into a useful chair can be compared to the elevation of a fun life to a metaphysical lever. Sitting on it could invite insights to the passengers’ minds; children climb on it as well. This sculpture serves for various functions; it is reflective, visually amusing, fun to play with, and it is useful as a chair itself. In real life, very often, a minor stuff has certain temperament to induce our insight. Chairs are often no exception. This piece of work is a miniature of national park. As such the creator of this artpiece names it “Small Park”

All of the overwhelming emotions are still here. I still feel hurt, tired, and angry. But at that moment, waiting for a train, they no longer felt as heavy.  In the midst of a very dark moment, I have been wishing that actual hands would hold and comfort me. I felt tired of symbolic or imaginary hands, and wanted real hands to hold me. A rare mistake on a route I only take to teach a class a few times a month brought me to these.

I couldn’t ask for more.

Knight of Habitica

The adventure has begun! Quests have been accepted! Avatars have been damaged!

Today I feel a mix of Contempt (purple and red mixed) and Joy (yellow).

On one had, I got a lot of things done today. Dishes, some backed up recycling, and some admin stuff for work. Most of the habits I’m trying to work on (or keep going) are in the green. I gained a level, and got some gold. I assigned an amount of gold that an hour of “Reward Time” costs, and spent all of it. Now that I know how much gold I get in a day, I need to adjust that cost a bit, but overall it’s like a budget of time. I still worry a bit that getting left out of the monster fighting part might leave me bored with the game all too soon, but it’s on a good start.

On the other hand… all the things I did were things taking care of my general life and home. Things like taking the time to cook, and tidy up. Important for sure, and will start to affect my overall mood and motivation levels… but I didn’t really get much solid work done. I lost over half my health, and almost died getting to level two.

It’s really hard to look at what I did, and not focus on what I didn’t do. I’m still judging myself pretty hard for the parts I didn’t do and feel like I’m only doing the easy stuff to get what I want. Of course some adjustments to rewards over time should help with that… but I want everything to be perfect now damn it… if only reality worked that way.

I don’t know if I should be more relaxed with myself, be happy for what I did do, realize what time of year it is, and give myself a break… or if I should be tougher on myself and crack that whip.

If nothing else, at least I’m getting xp and gold for writing this.

March 1st, 2017

Today I feel Disconnected (purple).

One thing I am looking to balance back into my life is my writing. I do want to keep this blog going, however I’m not sure every day will be the best way to do it. I don’t have anything to write about till the end of the day, and by then I just want to relax. I decided to take a short break at the beginning of March.

I haven’t figured out in that time how I want to change things, so rather than schedule it I’ll just play it by ear for now. Things have continued to happen so I will take some time to write about them and list them as on the day they happened.

February 16th, 2017

Today I feel Apathy (purple).

There are things I should be doing today. I need to write more in my book, I missed posting a chapter last week… after my first mini burn out, and hell week at work I haven’t gotten back into a routine. I have cleaning I really need to do, and I just can’t. I have been too lazy to cook recently, and still have work to do getting files off my old computer onto my new. I need to contact my landlord about my washing machine (which will help with cleaning) and my toilet (I’m using a coat hanger to keep it alive right now….).

Really, the list goes on for quite a while. I’ll spare you all the rest of the details. I haven’t had a bad week or anything, just feel a little drained I guess. I’m falling back into bad habits of not taking care of myself. I know if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else… so tomorrow I’m going to wake up, and get my butt to working on some of this list.

January 28th, 2017

Today I feel Contempt (red and purple mixed), Remorse (purple and blue mixed), and Disappointment (blue and teal mixed)… pretty much teal all the way to red.

Today I tried practicing my Chinese with a friend (typing, not speaking). I always do a little better than I expect, but honestly after three years I should be doing much better… Simple conversations are still a real struggle for me. I really should have studied harder in college…

January 27th, 2017

Today I feel Boredom (purple) and Annoyance (red).

First day of vacation, so it’s not a bad kind of boredom that I feel. Mostly I haven’t left my cave, and have taken three naps. I’ll have something to do soon since I need to cook dinner. I felt a little annoyance because I haven’t done any writing today… and I really should if I want to keep on schedule. That annoyance is starting to fade because I’m starting to feel more like writing as it gets later. I guess since I usually write after work anyway, it makes sense that I struggled to start right after waking up.

Maybe after a little food I’ll be ready to crank out a thousand words!