Hey Haotian, Slow Down
Updated: Jan 2
Where will you be when the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve?
Different from other years, asleep in midnight or hangout with friends for that moment, this year I am spending some time actually sitting down in front of my study desk myself and have some reflections on the past year and the past decade, because the year of 2019 and the 10s are remarkable in my life, indeed. As it's at its last hour, draining so quickly from me, I can't stop but thinking about those moments of my life.
I came to the US in 2012 as a student in Seattle, but the initial idea of studying abroad came out in 2010. At that time, I was still a linguist student, thinking about a future career of Chinese teacher. Thinking back, I feel everything is unrealistic, from a Chinese teacher in Beijing to an engineer in Silicon Valley, from a single boy feeling mixed-up about life and future to a busy husband having a regular married life.
If I summarize the theme of the year of 2019, it would be Working Hard But Rewarding. This year, we have a major product release with cutting-edge technology, and it went very well for its debut. Also, I got a full-points performance review for the work, thanks to the lovely release, which means a lot of cash bonus and stocks, really motivating. But thinking about days, nights, and weekends of working, it's really more about money and rewards, but some kind of recognition of my life achievement as well. Different from all my colleagues with CS degrees, I actually learned all CS basics and ML knowledge by myself throughout years. I'm happy for myself about all what I've achieved so far.
However, more work means less time for family. This year I know I've spent less time accompanying Sung-A. Every night, I either back to work on my desk immediately after dinner, or lie down on the bed for rest. My wife has never complained about this, but I feel not really good, and want to have a better work-life balance soon. For the year of 2020, I would also be under a work transition in the next year from my current responsibilities to some new work challenges. Therefore, I would try my best to spend more time for family and self-improvement, as everything would slow down a bit.
The year of 2019 is also a very good year for Apple, as the stock price got doubled from the beginning of the year. I feel so happy to see how resilient Apple is on this voltaire market now. Thanks to the appreciation from all my saved vested stocks, we have some upgrades in our life as well.
We've bought a Tesla Model 3 car for daily use, and so far we like it very much. It changed my original idea of how cars could work for people, especially with its OTA software updates for improvement and better user experience. Next year, we plan to sell all the stocks (hopefully before the highly-expected next recession) to use as the down payment for buying a new house in California. From when I got laid off from the last employer, I've been relocated from Seattle to California for three years, and finally we are close to reach our dream of affording a house in Bay Area soon.
Speaking of real estate, I have finally separated myself from Seattle property management, as it became more and more impossible for myself to manage remotely, and hand it over to the property management company. When dad and I finished a full-week cleaning and remodel of the house and on the road trip back to California, I suddenly realized I would not have a place to live in Seattle next week when I visit there, and I have to book a hotel. The feeling is unreal in both that how soon I could no longer miss Seattle and how long I spend to separate from the past. However, I'm not leaving the business completely, but rather a new start. With my green card petition approved soon in 2020, I will get real estate agent license and start my weekend hustle of real estate in California soon.
There are few other life highlights this year.
This year I have some regular business trips to LA, and every time I flew over the LA, I have witnessed SoFi Stadium was built piece by piece. Even I cannot travel outside of North America this year, I've had some awesome trips to Oregon with dad, Upper New York with parents, Boston with parents and my wife respectively, Vancouver CA with my colleagues, and Christmas Trip to Las Vegas with my wife. All the destinations are not new to me, and but every time I could discover something new there, like Cantonese-style Garlic Scallion Lobster from Boston Chinatown and VAN-couver as the pronunciation of Vancouver from locals.
From our Upper New York trip, I had the rental car collision for the first time when we left Pittsburg, PA on our way to Niagara Falls, NY, where I'm a bit distracted and the rental car collided with the highway guardrail. I called Chase Sapphire Reserve rental collision insurance hotline, and the case is resolved within two months with a lump sum payment from the insurance directly to the rental company (Around $6,500). The claim experience is actually great. All I did is to initiate the claim and submit all the supporting documents.
After more than half year PERM audit, my immigration case finally got some progress with the PERM LC certified. We expected to complete our green card petition in 2019 and now it would happen in 2020. Hopefully, by the end of 2020, we could have our immigration status settled then.
For the second anniversary of our marriage, I prepared a great dinner for Sung-A. I cook dry-aged New York Strip steak by myself and it tasted so good, as good as those from Alexander's Steakhouse. Sung-A liked it very much as well. The steak I bought was from Whole Foods and it only cost less than 20 dollars per pound.
Recap all the happenings throughout the year of 2019, I hope my year of 2020 would take its own pace and do not hurry. Take time, slow down, and get everything settled down. High expectations for this coming year would include 1) smooth work transfer and new work challenges, 2) more time and money invested in self-improvement and self-enrichment, 3) new house and remodel work (this would be the first-ever family house after our marriage), 4) immigration status settled down and officially become a US permanent resident, and 5) travels back to Asia for conference, family and fun.