9 May 2017

Today has been a super productive day so far.

I woke up at 5:20, got up around 5:30, drank coffee and chilled for half an hour, then did subtitles work for 2 hours straight.

And translated exactly 425 lines. You may not know how much that is, but it’s a massive amount. I usually average just above 100 lines per hour.

In minute terms, I was taking 4 minutes to translate each programme minute. That’s like a million light years away from my speed (as of Saturday) of 1 programme minute every 7 minutes.

That’s like… WOAH.

Then after that I prepped my class for tomorrow; I’m teaching two students at 7:30 and 10am. I finished prepping the first and outlined the steps for the second. Then I got tired of working so I stopped. It was about 10:47am. (Ok fine, it was exactly 10:47am.)

So I did one-third of my current subtitles project and finished more than 60% of my class planning in less than five hours, with a half-an-hour break in the middle watching Hannibal.

That’s an incredible improvement on the 4th of May, which I wrote about here. I blame George Lucas. The Dark Side must have been at work.

So yes, I had an amazingly productive morning, which I’m super happy with. Then I got ready and left for town.

I decided to take the bus the whole way today rather than the usually bus-purple line-MRT-BTS combination, and lo and behold, it was faster! At a fraction of the cost! I’m only taking the bus from now on outside rush hour.

And here I am now, one hour away from my “Amazing Service at Reception” training, blogging in a café. I wonder what they’ll train us today. I’m prepared to be amazed.

After the training my friends from school are having dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I haven’t seen them in many months, so that should be nice too.

Today’s set to be a good day!

Time for me to go work on my second short story. It’s called “One Seventy-Two” courtesy of my friend.

Love,

Val

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11 October 2014

I have not been this busy since… since this time last year actually. I was working then. Part-time. Now that I think about it, I’m not too sure why I was so busy. Maybe it was due to lousy time management on my part. Maybe I was trying to do too many things.

It could have been anything. One year goes by in a flash, but that doesn’t mean I remember everything that happened last October. The mind works in mysterious ways.

*pause for all of us to reflect on the wonders of the mind*

Are those synapses firing yet? If not, give it a bit more time.

If yes, let’s continue.

do know why I’m busy this time around. First reason: I am starting my first real job on Wednesday (15th October) – *round of applause* – and I have two books to finish between now and then. I’ve made it through almost half of one book – *another round of applause* – and I really should be able to get them both read by the end of Tuesday.

Second reason: have I told you I signed up for an online Digital Marketing course? Probably not. It’s called ‘Squared Online’. Here it is. Since my digital experience so far is limited to two blogs and a baby, I thought I would educate myself. The shiny name of Google associated with the course was also extremely persuasive – I was still on the job hunt back then; I mean, it couldn’t possibly hurt! Right?

And I do not regret the decision. Two weeks in, I am finding the course stimulating and enjoyable. I feel like I am having my eyes opened to a brave new world (loved that book). But with the course comes homework. That I decided to start a blog (my third and latest) to accompany my 7-month journey as a Square (pardon the course lingo) didn’t help.

So yes, the past three days have been almost entirely spent on the course and prepping for my new job. The good news: I have now finished the project for the first module of the course, which is the most time-consuming activity I’ll have to get done in the next 3 weeks. It’s a two-minute video to introduce myself to my fellow Squares (course lingo again), which took me… four hours in total to make.

Since I’ve spent so much time on it, I might as well get as many people to watch it as possible. So here it is:

I’ve just realised I haven’t actually told you guys what my job will be.

*drumrolls*

From Wednesday, I will be an Internet Marketing Analyst at a tech start-up based in South East Asia. Pretty cool, eh? I think so too.

Incidentally, this is not the job I went to the interview for (and got) last Friday. It goes to show: you never know what’s going to happen. You just don’t.

Wish me luck!

I’ll be back to let you know how things go.

Love,

Val

p.s. I just realised I actually talk about the job in the video. Oops. Well, too much of a good news can’t hurt, right? 😀

 

 

 

3 October 2014

I was going to prepare for the interview. But obviously I’m not doing that, because I am here writing to you, my lovely readers.

As you might have gathered, I have an interview. As you’re about to find out, it’s happening in exactly 3 and a half hours.

And I’m nervous as hell.

It’s not a typical job. Certainly not one I planned on doing. But not one I can’t see myself doing. Did that make sense? Of course it did.

It’s a job I’ve done before and have enjoyed to a considerable extent. Not something I see myself doing as a lifelong career (though I wouldn’t be surprised if I do – it wouldn’t actually be too bad). But certainly a good opportunity, and one where I see myself (potentially) learning a lot.

I will give my CV another read-through in the cab. Or when I’m there waiting. Yes, I’ll do that. There will be time. I plan on arriving well and early. No rushing around on these heels. I am no interview expert, but I’m pretty sure a sprained ankle and/or sweaty palms won’t make for a good impression.

I don’t believe in being too prepared for interviews. It doesn’t work well for me. Of course, I read up on the company and the role, and make sure I understand what I am applying to do and what will be expected of me. But I don’t rehearse my CV or prepare stock answers to interview questions – you know, those questions.

Why? I believe in spontaneity. I believe in a good night’s sleep. I believe in a full stomach (I’m stockpiling as I type). When I go in to an interview, I don’t want to come across as ‘well-prepared’; I want to exude confidence.

I think that’s the best thing that can happen in an interview. Anyone can be prepared. Not anyone can ooze confidence and appear in control.

That’s why I’m here writing to you guys rather than hunched over my CV preparing answers to questions about my past educational and professional experience. This is my confidence pool. At no other times do I feel more relaxed and assured than when I’m writing here. For reasons fellow writers would understand, and which I’ve abundantly enumerated here.

Wish me luck.

Love,

Val

p.s. I got the job.

27 September 2014

I broke a promise to myself.

What is more: I can’t remember when and where I made this promise. I’ve just spent a frustrated few minutes quickly sifting through my social media platforms for the promise. I couldn’t find it.

This is extremely frustrating. I do not like not remembering things.

*harrumph*

I also don’t like breaking promises. Which is why I make very few promises. I hardly ever promise anyone anything. If I promise you something, then you can be sure I’ll give my head to make it happen. Metaphorically, of course.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m not even sure if it was a promise. Maybe it was a resolution. Nah. I think it was a promise.

Damn.

This is really frustrating. (Not the breaking of the promise. But the not remembering where I wrote it on social media. And the not being sure whether it was a promise or not.)

I can be a maze of confusion and contradiction sometimes.

*sigh*

Curious observation: being in a state of frustration drastically reduces my attention span. However, it also produces a strong burst of energy and really concentrated focus, with which I am (rapidly) producing this blog post.

Interesting.

I can already feel my interest in finishing this blog post waning. So as a pre-emptive act, I’m going to finish this post now.

Love,

Frustrated Val

p.s. A note on the aforementioned search for the promise. Twitter is great for that. Facebook, however, is not very search-friendly. Come to think about it, it’s not very anything-friendly, is it?

p.p.s. I should also probably tell you what this promise-breaking act was.

*guilty pause*

I started another blog.

*clears throat*

Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. *cough: serial blog starter!* But I can justify it I swearrrrrrr… And not just with the pleasure of customising a new theme, which will probably take up my whole morning tomorrow… *mental jumping up and down with hands in air*

p.p.p.s. I am heading towards a life enslaved to WordPress aren’t I… Ah well!

12 September 2014

I’m taking it slow today; I felt like it.

I am supposed to have dinner with a friend in two and a half hours. And for the past (*check time on phone*) hour (wow, time flies) I have been sitting in the dressing room of my sports club, waiting for my hair to dry.

I don’t think I’ve ever sat and waited for my hair to dry. I’m usually in a hurry to get somewhere, and the services of my trusted hairdryer are usually called on.

It feels good to take it slow. Really good. I didn’t realise how good it would feel, but it does.

Taking it slow also happens to be my philosophy of the day. It has been 3 months since I graduated, and I’m still unemployed. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Why rush into a phase of your life that will last for well over 30 years? What’s the hurry?

I have no urgent financial need for a job; if I’m careful with my money, I can stay unemployed for the better part of a year. I don’t plan to; but if I happen to, it’s not the end of the world. Far from it.

So yes, I’m taking my time. Am I looking for a job? I keep my eyes open. But am I in a hurry to get one? No. For the first time in seven years, I have no immediate obligations; I literally have all the time in the world. And I plan to take advantage of it.

So if you ask me what I’ve been up to since I graduated, don’t be surprised if my answer is “mostly reading and blogging”. That’s exactly what I plan to spend most of my time doing. Because once I do get a job, I won’t have as much time for it anymore.

Maybe you’ll disapprove of my slow approach to graduate life. But I’m currently quite happy with it.

We never know what’s going to happen, though. We’ll see how long this phase lasts; I have no idea.

But I guess that’s the beauty of it.

Love,

Val

5 July 2014

I’m flying to Brazil tomorrow.

Which is why I’m watching Brazil vs Colombia right now. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that Brazil wins. I don’t have anything against Colombia, but arriving in Rio two days after Brazil leave the World Cup would just be bloody depressing.

And extremely unfortunate, given the World Cup prime I paid on those flight tickets. #Capitalismisabitch

(I realise I’m being inconsistent in my use of singular/plural in the second paragraph. To be honest, I have no idea which is correct. I just went with what sounded right in my head.)

I also realise I haven’t been the most regular of bloggers. I would apologise, but I don’t want to set a dangerous precedent (of making myself feel guilty for not blogging). So I won’t.

I hope you understand.

I’ve been busy. And I’ve been not busy. I think it’s the latter that’s the problem.

The past two months have more or less confirmed a crucial piece of information that I have suspected about myself for a while now: it’s all about routine. I won’t be elaborating on this just yet. I’m sure I’ll get round to it in a future post.

For now, let me catch you up with what’s been happening in the life of Val:

– I graduated! (big news no. 1)

– I am officially at the end of my seven-year scholarship! (big news no. 2)

– I moved back to Bangkok! (big news no. 3)

– I’ve travelled a decent amount around the UK. I intend to blog about these travels. Most likely on my other blog. After I’m back from Brazil.

[Aaaargh… the match is getting intense.]

#brb

WE WON! BRAZIL WON! WOOHOO THIS MEANS I GET TO WATCH BRAZIL VS GERMANY IN RIO ON TUESDAY. WITH MY FRIENDS. THIS IS AWESOME.

OK. I’m going to calm down now.

So yes, that’s what’s been happening with me these past months.

My 25th birthday is in three weeks. Just a few days after I’m back from Brazil. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

I hope my granddad is planning an extravaganza. He always wants to have a big celebration. Not because I’m special, but because he has lived enough years to know that any such occasion should be celebrated and enjoyed.

And for once, this year, I’m not going to be a bitch about it. I’m not going to be the teenager who resolutely refused to graciously accept the effort and thought that went into the planning of the birthday lunch. Year, after year, after year.

I’m going to embrace it and be grateful there are people in my life who want to make my birthday special.

I am looking forward to it.

I am happy.

And that’s really all I hope to be. 🙂

Until next time,

Val

p.s. I’m not bringing my laptop to Brazil. And I doubt I will be blogging from my phone. I’m considering short daily travel updates, but then…

 

4 March [I meant April] 2014

I’m back.

Where did two days go?

This is my catch-up post. It serves the ostentatious purpose of explaining my absence, but really it’s to help me make peace with myself over my manifest lack of organisational skills.

I mean, how difficult can it be to set aside 30, 40 minutes each day to write a daily blog? Not to mention a blog about myself.

Overwhelmed with guilt and disappointment with said lacking organisational skills, I had originally planned to write two posts today. I had even titled the post ‘4 March 2014 (1)’, thereby implying a (2) to follow over the course of the day. Then I changed my mind.

Better not count the eggs before they hatch. Events may yet unfold in such a way as to deprive me of my quality laptop time this evening. Was that a correct application of that saying? Somehow I don’t think so.

To return to the ostentatious objective of this post, let me attempt to explain my two-day absence without it sounding like an excuse. It’s a narrow rope to walk, but a girl can try.

It has been a whirlwind two days. Actually, this whole week has been a flurry of events. Monday was crazy revision day, as some of you might remember (ah, good old times). You don’t know much about my Tuesday, though you may actually know more than you think (despite the disclaimer, the post did reflect some of the events that transpired on that April Fools’ Day).

In fact, two things that happened on Tuesday account almost entirely for my undue absence:

  1. UCL published my exam timetable which at first solicited a huge sigh of relief, but then launched me into a fit of panic anyways. (More on that in a bit)
  2. The British Embassy announced in great fanfare that they have “made a decision” on my visa. And I was to wait two working days before collecting my passport and other returned documents at the visa application centre.

Both announcements caught me by surprise. As the old adage would have it, a watched kettle never boils. For differing reasons (too mundane and detailed to recount to you in full), I was not expecting either the timetable or the visa decision on that particular Tuesday. And yet, there they both were, in black and white, staring at me from my laptop screen.

This was always going to be a busy week. Extraordinarily, I had two social engagements planned for the evenings of Wednesday and Thursday. This was to take away at least 6 hours of revision time, the realisation of which had already put me on a bit of an edge going into Tuesday. Then came the timetable plus ensuing panic and visa business which always stresses me out (I really don’t like the possibility that someone may decide not to allow me into the country, just because they can).

First the timetable. I don’t want to bore you with details, but I’m going to do it anyways. So I have 5 exams: 2 French, 3 Econ (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in a previous post). My worst fears were that the 3 Econ exams would fall in the same week. In which case I am utterly [insert rude word of choice].

As it turns out, they don’t. UCL was kind enough to give me a space of two weeks between my fourth and fifth exams. And two weeks to revise for that particular Econ module will do just fine. Hence the relief.

As I noted down my various exam dates, I began to calculate how much time I had left to revise for each module. My first exam is on May 1st. The second on 6th. Both are French. Then I have two Econ exams the following week. I’m flying to London next Saturday. Going off to Lake District for four days over Easter weekend. Subtract some days for jet-lag recovery, settling into flat, seeing friends, seeing boyfriend. I suddenly realised: I don’t really have that much time left.

Especially for my French exams which require skills you need to build up gradually (translation, redaction, synthesis – if you were wondering). One does not, cannot, cram for French. And considering I haven’t touched my French folder in almost a week, which – trust me – is a really long time in revision universe, this realisation was somewhat disconcerting.

That’s when I panicked. And imposed a golden rule: every day between now and 1st of May, I will do French. And doing French does not include reading my French fiction which, albeit altogether enjoyable and useful in terms of vocabulary acquisition, doesn’t really help with the skills requisite for the exam. Not if I’m honest with myself. And at this late stage in exam preparation, dishonesty comes at a high cost. So it was resolved: at least one French exercise, translation, or oral preparation per day. Every day.

Jeez that was long. Are you still with me?

Now for the visa business. The Embassy said my visa would be ready to collect at the application centre after two working days. The centre itself offers an online tracking service which would supposedly notify me when my documents have been delivered back at the centre.

And here’s the situation as it stood on Tuesday. Last time I applied for a UK visa, they managed to spell my name wrong and I had to send my passport back to the Embassy for them to correct it, which took a few days. This time, I was applying for a visa category I had never applied for before. And I was applying under rather extraordinary circumstances: in short, I had interrupted my studies the previous year and was flying back just for the exams. My flight was on the following Saturday, which gave me a margin of exactly 8 working days for whatever it was that might go horribly wrong.

And I could think of plenty of things that could go wrong. The application centre had moved while my visa was being processed (I almost went to the wrong place to collect it yesterday). Maybe they’d lose my passport, deliver it to the old office, lose it in the old office, lose it in the new office, spell my name wrong – I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time. Plenty of things.

Also, the centre had a new website which wasn’t completely glitch-free. So at times I couldn’t access the tracking page. How else am I supposed to know if I can go collect my documents if I can’t access the only place that gives me that information? Oh, did I mention they don’t have a phone number for the new office? And when I called the old ‘call centre’ number, I was greeted with a recorded message in English and Thai that they no longer offered this service.

I mean, one would think a phone line is a pretty basic service to offer for the amount of money they’re charging for their ‘services’.

Needless to mention, passport-collection-related anxieties made me rather nervy the whole of Wednesday. I couldn’t focus very well on revision, so I decided to channel my anxiety into more gym time (which turned out, as always, to be a good decision). It’s a good thing I had social engagements planned. I wouldn’t have been capable of much otherwise.

Finally, after checking the tracking website a gazillion times, a different message popped up on Thursday, late in the morning, informing me that my documents were ready for collection. And by the time I got myself to the new centre, waited (45 minutes) for my queue and for the extremely bored-looking staff to dig up my documents from the back room, checked that everything was in order, and squeezed myself into the packed sky train (it just had to be rush hour); I only had two hours left before my dinner engagement.

Two hours I could have spent blogging. But the disciplined (read: panicked) student that I am, I spent the time on a French translation and some practice phrases.

A small aside, in the two days post-golden rule, I have spent more time on French than in the whole of the preceding week. It’s always a question of time allocation, isn’t it? You’re never too busy for something; you’re just choosing not to make time for it. All those days where I thought ‘I could do some French now’ but didn’t actually open the folder. Well, better late than never, as they say.

To sum up, the French golden rule and the visa, plus the social engagements which fell into my prime time blogging slot, are why you didn’t hear from me for two days.

Sounded a bit like an essay there.

It’s 9.30am right now and I am extremely tired (a combination of too little sleep last night and the 10% Belgian beer – why did I not take my Tylenol before I went to bed? WHY!?!). This really does not bode well for today’s revision. Maybe I’ll go to the gym now to wake myself up. I probably should.

I’ll try revising for a bit, see if it works. If not, I’ll get myself over to the elliptical. Listen to French radio while I ellipticalise my way through yesterday’s fries, and the beer. Oh God the beer. And then there was the spaghetti… and the…

I’d better stop myself there.

Have a good day everyone.

Until tomorrow,

Val

p.s. There’s not going to be a second post after all. Given how long this post was, I don’t think you’d mind too much. I can probably just cut it in half and publish it in two posts. But that’s overcomplicating things.

p.p.s. Having gone through the post once to make final adjustments, I’ve decided to go to the gym after publishing this. The amount and silliness level of typos and other mistakes were horrendous. I don’t think my current brain state lends itself to productive revision. See how I’m rocking time management? (Excuses, excuses)

p.p.p.s. I just realised I thought today was 4 March. Out of wishful thinking for my revision time possibly, but more likely because I’m really tired/hungover. I can feel my head throb. Why do I do this to my revision? NO MORE BEER.