Monday, September 19, 2005
count the cost
As you can see, I've finally found housing for the duration of my grad school career. Happy happy joy joy. O_o
Being a grad student, I find that I obsess a lot about money these days. It's not like I didn't think about money before, because I'm generally a frugal person with money. My crowning achievement was being able to save almost 40% of my annual salary when I was in Japan. Not a lot of money, but the percentage sounds impressive. Strangely enough, I'm usually frugal with money so when the opportunity arrives, I can afford to be generous.
Unfortunately, the circumstances of my life at the moment are that I have zero flexibility with money. As I dreaded, I had to take a federal loan to cover my grad school tuition, but even with the loan, I still have to come up with about 30% of the tuition on my own, not to mention the stacks of books, reading packets, and commuting expenses I have to cover. Bleh.
Since I never found a real 9-5 job from the time I returned from Japan to now, I'm pretty much entirely dependent on my mom... again. It's hard for me to cope with being a dependent person. I feel bad enough that my mom has to work hard at a demanding and low-paying job; I feel worst having to constantly ask her for money to pay even the smallest expenses, when I know it's probably chipping away at her retirement.
I hate being a burden.
I know this whole grad school thing is supposed to be worth the cost, but I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't some doubt in my mind. People try to encourage me and say things like You should be happy or Things will work out, but half the people who usually say those things to me aren't in grad school, aren't poor, and aren't unmarried. The cynical side of me isn't expecting a golden ticket to fat stacks of cash from this whole endeavor. Afterall, my master's degree in education will make me a teacher, one of the most under-paid and least-respected professional occupations in our country. Yes, I know I'm crazy.
The culture of Christianity has always reinforced the idea to me that money isn't the most important thing in life, and that the quest for boo-koo dollars is ultimately unsatisfying. When Jesus taught in parables, the most frequent subject was money and possessions - more than love, prayer, or even Heaven.
While I wholeheartedly agree with the anti-bling mindset, the Chinese side of my psyche is screaming "Weishenme ni meiyou qian?!?". Even though I'm 4th generation, it's like I've inherited part of my ancestor's immigrant experience, the longing to escape poverty and hunger, the dream of not having to worry about money or eating well.
I read once in a book about this prayer said by a man that went along the lines of:
"Lord, please provide me with everything I need, or please give me the opportunity to obtain it honestly. Don't let me become so rich that I become arrogant and forget about you... but also don't let me become so poor that I become tempted to take from others or break the law."
I'm not really sure what exactly the point of all me writing this down is, but it's just things that have been marinating in my brain. When I pray, I'm always trying to restrict myself from "wishlist" kinds of prayers that turn God into the cosmic vending machine. At the same time, I really do desire the same thing as what that man prayed - I don't want to be rich, but I certainly don't want to be poor either.
piss off, racist
Check this story out. An Asian couple in Ann Arbor happened to walk by a balcony when a man on the balcony started verbally abusing them saying "learn some English" and "go get a green card". If that wasn't bad enough, the racist bastard then started urinating on the woman! What. the. hell.
ok, so i am in grad school, i am poor, but i am married, and have a kid. i'm not going to be a teacher after grad school, but it's kinda the same thing with being a pastor...i'm not really in it for the money, unless i manage to write the purpose driven something. so yeah, it's hard to find encouragement in "things will work out" when your wallet gets thin...i guess all i can say is God is faithful. he provides for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air, so he'll take care of you too. not much, but i hope it helps.
i also been finding myself waking up, and the first thought i have is calculating how much money to send home at Christmas...
for me, i would rather work at someplace i truly enjoyed and earned a comfortable wage (enough to not worry about groceries), than elsewhere and be miserable, but richer (& most likely spend MORE money just trying to be happier).
hi mr. chen,
do you have anymore "lost"?? thanks for making that for us. it was really good. :)
chris and david
mark- thx for the encouragement. much appreciated.
angela- mmm, true.
chris & dave- you're all caught up for season 2!
i can definitely empathize with this.. i guess thats all i can really say.Post a Comment
but hey wu tang is for the kids, and so is gar. good luck with grad school. oh yeah and that lego story was great.