Yearly Archives


connections, lessons, transportation, travel

Notes from the Bus

Notes from the Bus-2

If you read my post No Car No Car No Car No Car from a few weeks ago, you may recall that I, well, have no car. You might also remember that my full-time job involves frequent within-town travel, which means that I rely heavily on public transportation to get from place to place throughout my day.

Our public transportation system in Boston is called the “T”, and it consists of both buses and subways. For various reasons, however, I tend to spend more time on the bus than on the subway while traveling around for work. Honestly I think I probably spend more time on the bus than pretty much anyone except bus drivers.

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big questions, productivity, questions, systemic problems

Scheduled Up

Scheduled Up

My high school had kind of an unusual schedule—or at least I think it was unusual, but maybe you can tell me. There was no such thing as a lunch period or study hall. Instead, each class only met four days per week instead of five: for example, maybe your French class didn’t meet on Tuesdays, your Geometry class didn’t meet on Thursdays, your Biology and P.E. classes didn’t meet on Fridays, and so on. This meant that you usually had one or two free periods—or “X periods”, as they were called—built into your schedule each day, and during these periods you were allowed to do whatever you wanted. You could eat lunch, work on your homework, wander the halls, check your email at the email station (I went to high school in the late 90s, guys), or simply walk out through the front doors of the school and go off-campus.

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calculations, numbers, oops, student loans



So now that I have a job, I finally have money coming in again. Which is great. I get paid twice a month: once in the middle of the month and once at the end. And now that I know how much my take-home pay is, I have fewer crazy merry-go-rounds spinning through my brain than I did a few weeks ago.

The monthly saving/spending/debt repayment plan that I devised, based on my salary and semi-monthly paycheck amounts, looks like this:

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budgeting, purchases, stories


Choosing Wisely-3

Last weekend I decided it was finally time to go shopping for a pair of walking shoes. I’d been alternating between rain boots and regular boots for the past five months, but now the weather is getting a bit warmer, and there are days when wearing boots feels weird and constrictive. And my go-to walking shoes—a pair of Converse that I’d been wearing for six years straight—were literally falling apart. While I don’t have to dress up for work, I do need to look presentable, and that probably means no falling-apart shoes.

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health insurance, stories

The Chinese Hospital Story

The Chinese Hospital Story

When I lived in China back in 2006-2007 I got around mostly by bike, as did many thousands of other people in my city. I never once wore a helmet, because no one else did. And that’s why it was extremely lucky that when I eventually got into an accident I did not land on my head. (Side note: As someone who is now older, wiser, and has worked in a hospital brain injury unit, I implore you to never, ever ride a bike without a helmet.)

Instead, I landed on my tailbone. After a few seconds of sitting stunned on the concrete, I stood up and walked the couple of steps to the curb. The guy on the electric bike who had hit me stopped to see if I was okay, and I told him I was. But the next morning I was in too much pain to go to work. So I took a taxi to the hospital. My Chinese friend Sylvia met me at the hospital to translate—a kindness for which I will be forever grateful, since I didn’t know enough Chinese to communicate anything useful, other than saying the word for “bicycle” and pointing at the base of my spine.

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