Tuesday, April 30, 2013

more teethy shots 30.04.13

Was just comparing some older photos with a few I took today...

I will say it again, "Oh, little tooth, I'm so glad you're back."
Yay! No more ugly witch's tooth. :)

I'm truly amazed how much my teeth have moved in a month. I shall drink ALOT more warm drinks from now on. :)

Friday, April 26, 2013


Hello little one, we missed you!
Finally! Reunited!!! <3 My left out tooth has finally been accepted back into the fold.

My little left out tooth finally got its bracket today! Welcome back lovely! <3 I've been waiting for this day for so many months now, so it really made me uber happy to know that I didn't need to wait for another month to get my little tooth back in line with the rest. Orthoman basically cut the spring out today (the one that was helping to make space) installed the bracket (along with two more brackets on my two lower back molars which he left out previously), and voila

My teeth are all happy now. :)

On another note, and possibly slightly bigger news today, Orthoman actually laughed. I was surprised how surprised I was when he did. I was so surprised I got a little bit of a positive shock when he did. It was a little bit like that feeling you get when something wondrous and unexpected happens in an unexpected moment. I suppose it was because everything in my brain linked to Orthoman included the words "emotionless", "probably depressed", "maybe hates his job", or "doesn't look people in the eye when he talks to them". Well, he still doesn't look me in the eye when talking to me, but at least there was SOME emotion today. I was weirdly happy for him.

At that same moment, I also realized that I forgot to carry out my little plan to encourage the Orthoman... I meant to prepare something to encourage him, but I guess I've been having a pretty rough time myself in life so I haven't been able to find the time to do anything for him. :( I shall have to plan better for the next visit...or something. I really don't want to have to change to a new orthodontist if he decides he actually wants to be a ballet dancer or something in between my treatments! I really don't cope with stranger anxiety very well. =_=

Movement of my teeth seem to be progressing quite well though! I really feel that the constant drinking of hot water has really helped (yay science!). I'm really looking forward to the day Orthoman tells me, "Wow, you should be ready in less than 6 months!" I hope I'll be ready by the end of the year! Come on good little obedient teeth! You can do it!

I don't know why it is, but I'm really really excited about this process and for the surgery. It feels like it's going to be a new season of life for me after I finally get this done.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

setting some financial goals

Part of my Becoming Ariela lifestyle revamp has included that of getting my finances straight and I've been investing quite a bit of time recently trying to understand all the different financey stuff (which honestly, hasn't been the easiest thing I've ever done; considering that I struggle with math phobia). Still, because of its importance, I've decided to just get my butt into it and have begun the journey. My learning plan so far has basically been that of downloading a Personal Finance course off iTunesU, and basically following the "homework" from each class.

It's quite interesting really - this change from listening to the radio, to having really productive learning time whilst on my drives between places. The class has made me think a lot about my personal finances, and my latest assignment has been that of calculating my net worth (determining what is my current financial situation) as well as that of setting seven financial goals (one of which has to be non-financial, apparently).

Just yesterday, I went surfing for information on one of my life-goals which I've always wanted to achieve - to purchase a house for my parents. And this is not just any house, but a very specific house which we used to live in when we were kids - to which my father sold away in order to help a friend (yes, tis' the kind-heartedness of my father). You see, this house is really important to me because of the story of it in my family -  to which I know that my dad made a promise which he thought he would have been able to keep (if only his friend didn't run away with the money), which was that he would buy it back for my mother when the investment grew. Since I heard the story from my mum, and still remember the look on her face - which spoke of a tinge of sadness and a slight disappointment - and remembering the slight sadness and disappointment in my dad's eyes too when he reflected on those years, I knew that I HAD to get the house back. 

About a decade ago, I remember looking across the road to the bungalow I spent the first 10 years of my life in, and telling myself "I have to get this house back for my parents" as I sat on the patio of our ex-neighbours' for a Christmas party. At that time, I heard the going price was hovering around 2ish million and somehow, I remember being somewhat not too concerned about 2 million. It just didn't sound like a lot to me...perhaps I just didn't have a very good grasp of the concept of money. Still, that goal stuck and it's something I still want to do - except that yesterday, I found that the going price in that area was now at 5ish million...and some even 9ish million. I think it was knowing exactly how much I would probably have to save to gift this house to my parents, that really gave me the biggest shock to how much I really need to consider my financial plans.

I mean, where in the world am I going to be able to get that kind of money?! And as a present too! :( I was really sad yesterday because it suddenly felt all the more unachievable, but I'm just going to have to find a way! Then there's the possibility that I might (maybe) eventually get married, the cost of a wedding in Singapore is apparently about 35-85K, plus a house perhaps - which is now around 400-500K if I get a basic place... Gosh, I have SO much work to do!

Currently, here are my seven financial goals (including one "non-financial" one as according to my iTunesU professor). I had to adjust one of my goals this year (to pay off my student debt by the end of the year) to in order to take care of those that are more urgent and important now:
  1. Get back to 48kilos by 31 Dec 2013 (this is my non-financial goal) (Short Term)
    • Run every morning between 5am-6am, 6 days a week. 
    • Go for a walk/hike/swim/something sporty on Saturdays.
    • Join a pilates class. Seriously, do it already.
  2. Get educated about finance, insurance and asset management (Short-Mid Term)
    • Finish iTunes U course on personal finance
    • Read a book or two on Insurance and Asset Management 
    • Consider taking up the CFA exam, just for kicks...and so I have a structured learning plan. Going to meet up with my financial adviser and ask her for advice.
  3. Save up for jaw surgery (est. 20K needed in June 2014) (Short Term)
    • Saving at least $1000 per month. 
    • Cut down personal spending to $200 a month (of which $110 already goes to my braces). 
    • Increase income, negotiate contracts.
  4. Increase income (Short-Mid Term)
    • Increase main income stream. Increase main basic salary, or add a sales component.
    • Get a secondary, and maybe tertiary source of income by end of the year - perhaps one of which is a passive one.
    • Invest $100/month in something with a good ROI.
  5. Pay off student debt by end of 2015 (Mid Term)
    • Pay off in $200 installments monthly.
  6. Save up $500K for probable life-events that might happen in the next 5-10 years (marriage, kids, house...) (Mid Term)
    • Need to save $1.7K per month for next 5 years (if I start next year, and not get married till 5 years later...which means I'll be like...old by then). =_=
  7. Purchase house for parents by 2020 (which might then be worth like, 7-8 mio? then) (Long Term)
    • Need to save $10-15K per month for 6 years (if I start next year). OMG, how is this going to happen?! I'm actually even sad that it's over a 6 year period...I mean, how much longer will my parents be able to enjoy that house even if I purchase it?! :( I would love to purchase it sooner.
    • Find out current market price (I shall write a letter to them and hope they respond to me. I don't know how it's going to work, but I will try because it's a dream for me.)
Saw this online, and it really looks
a little like my old place... gonna call
the agent tomorrow and ask.
Looks like next year onwards is going to be a killer year for me if I really want to achieve some of these goals - which looks like I will have to be saving something like $15K per month...which is probably only achievable if I'm earning $20K monthly...which I don't think is really that impossible if I plan ahead and work hard to ensure that the business does well enough to be able to support that. But still... gosh. Are these goals really realistic or achievable?

Lord, give me the wisdom and favour to be able to accomplish my financial goals somehow, and that I can bless my parents in a way that I cannot even imagine achieving!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Profile shots and encouragement plans

Days since I got my braces put in (since 28 Dec): 101 days

Next ortho visit: 26 April 2013

Hurrah! I have a new spring in! :) I don't know if you can see it, but it's nice and somewhat seemingly tighter and more windy than the last one (which I really don't think made much of a difference since the last time).
Hello new super windy spring. Please work well with my teeth!
Orthoman was the same stoic self. I don't know what it is, but somehow no matter how bright and cheery I am, he's...emotionless? Then again, he has been having sad eyes for the past few visits. :( I am convinced that he is either sick of his job, or is going through some stressful situation in life...like relationship problems, or sickness in the family, or a naggy mother, or something. As a concerned patient, I really hope...that it's not him being sick of his job. I have another year more of my treatment to go! I need him! So we cannot allow him to be sad at work! But what can I do if it were the latter? Naggy mother, relationship problems, or sickness...I can't help with. Hmm... or maybe he just needs some encouragement.

I know! Maybe I shall prepare some happies for him on the next visit. I do have to plan this very carefully though... so that it's very clear that he knows that I'm not flirting with him or something, but just feel really uncomfortable when people around me are sad (and secretly that I really don't want to lose him as a dentist and have to go through getting to know someone new... *stranger anxiety attack*). Hmm... what should I do? I obviously can't bake anything because they are technically not "dentist-friendly" and he might possibly be one of those crazy no-sugar-because-all-your-teeth-will-rot-and-die peoples. He's a guy, so flowers are out...and I can imagine that might create a really weird situation. Okay, I have three weeks to think this through. Don't worry Mr Orthoman! I can help cheer you up! :)

Well, either my efforts might help some and he'll be cheered up, or he'll think I'm this weird patient and transfer me elsewhere - which would make me sad. Or that he'd freak out and think I have some sort of prepuberscent crush on him and make things uber awkward and scary for me... or that he'd break down and cry or something and decide to leave his job...NNOOoOOoooo... Okay, I'm overthinking this. Maybe I should just get him a nice imported toothbrush or something... Dammit, thinking of encouraging gifts for strangers is not easy.

Anyhoos, the most WONDERFUL thing that he said was that we might be able to put in that last bracket on my little left out tooth on the next, or following, visit!! YaY! Now to just pray that my new little spring works well and makes enough space! :) I can't wait to bring him/her/it back into alignment with everyone else. Come be reunited, my dear tooth! We miss you!

Things are straightening out a little more I think.
 It's quite amazing - this technology.

I'm really looking forward to the next visit. Not just for the tooth, but that I might be able to do something to encourage stoic, emotionless Orthoman who might be going through some crisis. Or maybe he's just one of those boring emotionless men by default? *ponder* I can imagine him smiling though. Maybe I should just pray for him that God will give him joy....okay, maybe I'll write that in a note. Wait, that means there's a card now?! Okay, I really have to be careful that he doesn't get the wrong idea with my simple encouragement plans... argh! Why do I have to be aware that humans can be so complicated that I have to think through this so carefully? At this rate, I might just randomly end up throwing a bun (probably something mid-range and non-suggestive like a ham and cheese one) at him at the end of my next appointment and mutter "smile more" as I scuttle out of the door.

Anyhoos, here's how my teeth are looking now. Thank you for cooperating little teeth!

Still stuck with a spastic smile. =_=

Ariela Overhaul

Just do it.

Friday, April 05, 2013

don't bite off more than you can chew

Okay, I gotta be realistic now. I don't have all the time or the brain capacity in the world to do everything all at once.

EDX:7.00x Intro to Biology (5 Mar) * No time.
EDX:14.73x Challenges of Global Poverty (12 Feb) One of the most interesting classes ever. I need more time though!
CSA:  Property & Liability: An Introduction to Law & Economics (18 Mar)  Too much to absorb. I'll pick up in my Law and Entrepreneur class.

EDX: Stat 2.2 Introduction to Stats (12 Apr) I'm just not ready.
CSA: Introduction to Ops Mgmt (29 Apr) Important for work.
CSA: Generating the Wealth of Nations (29 Apr) Important for my rural entre. project.
CSA: Smart Growth for Private Business (29 Apr) *  I'll go for a the first few classes and see how this feels.
CSA: Inspiring Leadership through EI (1 May) Not really a priority right now.
EDX:PH278x Human Health & Global Env Change (15 May) * Interesting topic just for general interest.
CSA: English Common Law: Structure & Principles (June) Pretty important to at least know the basics.
CSA: Introduction to Finance (3 June) Foundational stuff.

EDX:UT.3.01x Age of Globalization (1 Sep) * I'm interested in the building of national identity part, but it may just be another Sociology 101.
CSA: New Models of Business in Society (2 Sep) Interesting, will prolly go for a few classes to see what it's about.
EDX: UT 4.01x Impact of Drug Development (16 Sep) * Just general interest, but not a priority.
CSA: Law & The Entrepreneur (TBC) Foundational.
CSA: The Science of Gastronomy (TBC) * Might help in my work, but yeah...I'm not a big fan. We'll see.
CSA: An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health (TBC) Public Policy stuff...might open my eyes to new perspectives.

Okay, I'm gonna have to put this in my sidebar so I don't forget.
Somehow, enrolling into these classes have affected my motivation at work a little - because I so much rather be studying than working. Gotta kick myself out of such thinking and remember the person that I called to become and be a good steward of the position the Lord has put me in.

Life is fleeting, make it count.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

feeding my mind

So I've been spending a lot of my time trying to get through somewhat of an existential crisis I have been battling - which has also included a prevailing tendency to overeat nowadays, a dent in my disciplined routines, and an altogether too-worried mind - and somewhere in between I decided to make an effort to do things that I have always been passionate about. One of these things just happens to be studying and learning.

Other than my Bahasa Indonesia class, I also have enrolled into classes on edX and Coursera. These portals were introduced to me by a mentee of mine and they have been a complete treasure trove for me. Run by some of the most prestigious universities, the lectures have been truly amazing so far, and I was surprised how many courses I eventually enrolled in.

Here's the running list:

EDX:7.00x Intro to Biology (5 Mar) *
EDX:14.73x Challenges of Global Poverty (12 Feb)
CSA:  Property & Liability: An Introduction to Law & Economics (18 Mar)

EDX: Stat 2.2 Introduction to Stats (12 Apr)
CSA: Introduction to Ops Mgmt (29 Apr)
CSA: Generating the Wealth of Nations (29 Apr)
CSA: Smart Growth for Private Business (29 Apr)
CSA: Inspiring Leadership through EI (1 May)
EDX:PH278x Human Health & Global Env Change (15 May) *
CSA: English Common Law: Structure & Principles (June) 

EDX:UT.3.01x Age of Globalization (1 Sep)
CSA: New Models of Business in Society (2 Sep)
EDX: UT 4.01x Impact of Drug Development (16 Sep) *
CSA: Law & The Entrepreneur (TBC)
CSA: The Science of Gastronomy (TBC) *
CSA: An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health (TBC)

* Courses that I may have to reconsider depending on the workload.

And on my iTunesU, I've been watching a Game Theory course run by Yale University (which is really really interesting).

Right now, I'm trying to juggling the two courses of The Challenges to Global Poverty, as well as Introduction to Biology. It's a pity I enrolled in both the classes late as I only recently discovered their existence. Especially for the biology class, though it's immensely interesting, I doubt I'd be able to stay in it for long considering I enrolled so late and have so much of the class to catch up on....not to mention the four modules I have starting this April. Sigh, there's just so little time i have for so many things I want to do... even though the thought of understanding biology all the way into the cells, DNA, water, and carbon molecules, and learning biological vocabulary like "prokaryotic" and "eukaryotic" cells, is immensely curious to me, I doubt I will have time to consume and digest it all.
I guess studying and learning has always been something that I have thrived on - well, as long as it doesn't have much to do with numbers. Other than the math phobia that has appeared at times during the Global Poverty & Game Theory classes - which creates major jitters in me (see: possible onset of hyperventilation) whenever a graph, chart, boxes, decimals, fractions, and other weird squiggly lines are drawn or presented - lessons have been otherwise wonderful to sit through.

The Global Poverty class has especially been something that I have been enjoying thus far. Discussing on issues of health, family, insurance, risk, education, and even entrepreneurship, somehow I've been brought back to a time a couple of years back, when I was in a little place called Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh in India, when I wrote a research paper and developed a model for rural entrepreneurship which I truly believed would help make a huge difference to people living in poverty or in a poverty trap - a model which I do hope to be able to materialize one day. 

In fact, a couple of days ago, I shared the model with a friend of mine and was just praying that she would be the right one to join me on this journey... which looks like a few rounds of talking to partners and investors, going down to rural villages to survey infrastructure, and heading to the urban areas for pitches... I'm most certain it would be an amazing experience!

The upcoming classes have been a mix of personal interests, some graduate school testing stuff (to once again try out whether I have the tenacity for such a thing...like... statistics *shiver* *sad face*, as well as some business and industry equipping modules. It's probably not going to be easy to juggle studying or "studying" with work, but it's been great so far.

All this, along with thoughts of doing a Masters, as well as the language classes I'm taking up... I wonder where all this is going to be leading up to.