things I'm excited for
It's been an oddly stressful start to the week (mostly attributable to coming back from vacation and a school reunion) and as I get over hump day, I thought I'd take this time to iron out things I'm excited for the in the near and future term. I fully intend to treat this almost as self-pity exercise as there's nothing particularly interesting going on in the future in order to satisfy our never ending desire for something exciting and fulfilling. Note that these are in no particular order.
The biggest thing on my mind recently has been my mission trip to the Dominican Republic this July, my first mission trip since 2017 (thanks to adulthood and COVID). This is especially meaningful to me as I should've gone to my yearly pilgrimage to Mexico back in 2019 but had to miss it for a completely unnecessary waste of my time invested in Wall Street prep hired by my then employer. Looking back nothing pisses me off more about that year than the company requiring me to stay that weekend (it was July 4th) to listen to someone talk about financial modeling using excel, a skill they don't allow analysts to take ownership of until late into their second year of banking. No need to focus on that in a post about things I'm excited for - the DR trip is something I'm thrilled about independently of the past events, as it's the first mission trip I'm attending with this new church as well as with a fully "Korean" ministry, which may bring interesting dynamics of its own. I've always been pretty vocal about my passion for Latin American youth and as this church typically only heads to the Middle East, I'm very thankful the Lord has opened up this opportunity.
Accompanying this DR trip, I've also been going full nerd and looking forward to practicing my Spanish after work so that I can be useful in the ministry while also being as communicative as possible with the students and adults I'll be serving there. I was actually rather fluent back in the day of one Mexico trip a month - to the point where someone asked me which part of Latin America I was from. Similar to riding a bicycle, there's still some level of comprehension and pronunciation remaining, but vocabulary and grammar seem to be quite lacking. A big shoutout to Duolingo for making my day every time I get a perfect score on a unit test.
Speaking of languages, another passion of mine recently has been learning how to code. It's something I'm naturally good at (I've always known this and somewhat regret not finishing out my major in college in trade of finishing a semester early) and perhaps one of the few sources of accomplishment I've had since coming to NYC. I'm not sure if I'll ever make a full career change to being a SWE - I still think my biggest natural talents are with people - but if a recession ever hits, it's something I'm willing to fall back to.
A big part of adulthood is being able to eat whatever you want, and NYC definitely is no short of options (although my perception of its quality differs from others'). I've made it a mission to have at least 2 good meals weekly with people I care about and having this carrot after a long week of just the stick is a simple and not too costly pleasure in my weekly life. I'd highly appreciate any recommendations you might have in the NYC area for good food (don't worry about the $ sign on this one, food is the only thing I find no need to be frugal about).
I'll most likely be going home for a week or two in August, especially if we become more of a remote-first company, and look forward to seeing my immediate family, grandparents and cousins again. My trip in April has reinforced this idea that family truly is best and beyond the comfort that comes with hanging out with them, my family is objectively a good crowd to be around and as my brother gets older he's a lot more fun to be around. I anticipate college friends to also visit SoCal at this time, at which point I can finally prove to them why I speak so highly of Orange County (and inversely speak down on the East Coast).
I started volunteering as a youth group teacher at the church I've been attending, and while it's only been two weeks, it's something that gets me through the week. I'm really looking forward to getting closer to the ministry as a whole and the class that I'll ultimately be responsible for - it's always been hard not being able to commit to a church and serving it extensively as I've been moving around a lot in the past 7 years, but it finally seems like it's coming to the light.
Outside of learning Spanish, I intend to add at least one more thing that I can consistently look forward to at least on a daily basis so that my days are more enjoyable. Adulthood is making me realize it's not the expensive or extensive pleasures that get you going but the simply joys that you make for yourself that change a bad day to a nice one. I've never really been a hobby person or a gamer, and I'm trying my best to get off the watch videos for 4 hours grind. Reading is almost getting me there, but I anticipate adding one more to the list - let me know if you have any thoughts.