It’s very exciting to think that a week from now we will be in Japan! We’ve entered trip prep mode, and are taking care of things like making sure all our bills are paid and other household chores are done before we go. Packing will commence next Wednesday – we’ve got our fingers crossed we can fit everything into our bags. Our suitcases are definitely going to be a lot lighter coming home than going over!
In spite of all her fundraising, we still have been spending a lot for YaYu’s activities recently. There seems to always be something she needs, and Brett and I have felt like money has been flying out of our accounts the past few months. Next month we have to buy a graphing calculator and earphones ($$$) for her AP/SAT testing in May and for calculus next year. However, next month will be the last for Chinese tutoring, so that will help, and we’ll hopefully get a break over the summer before her senior year starts up. We used to think Meiling was the expensive one, but YaYu has broken all records. She’s not a demanding kid, and a good fundraiser, but when the heck did high school get so expensive?
I am probably the only person around who welcomed the arrival of Daylight Savings today. Why? Because a) Hawai’i doesn’t do daylight savings, and b) it means I can start a new day of Swagbucks at 9:00 p.m. versus waiting until 10:00 p.m. The new Swagbucks day starts at 12:00 a.m. PST, and with DST that means 9:00 p.m. here. I try to earn my daily goal before I go to bed at night, and starting at 10:00 has meant sometimes staying up later than I wanted. I will be taking a break from SB while we’re in Japan, mainly because I can’t access the site from there, but plan to be right back at it as soon as we return.
One more thing: For some unknown reason I have been having a difficult time commenting on some blogs hosted by Blogger. I write a comment, hit publish and the comment vanishes into the ether. But, on other Blogger blogs, no problem. I don’t know what’s going on or why, but I have tried to comment on several blogs recently with no success. I’m still faithfully reading though!
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I tried a tip from Barbara at Living Richly in Retirement and set my Kindle to airplane mode (i.e. shut off the WiFi connection) which means that I can continue reading Nobody’s Fool even though the download has expired. I just downloaded A Man Called Ove from the library this morning, so as soon as I finish Nobody’s Fool I will be digging into that.
- Listening to: I woke up this morning to the sound of the washing machine – Brett’s getting an early start on today’s laundry. It’s beautiful outside today, and the birds are singing like crazy. It almost sounds like we’re in the middle of a nature documentary! We’ve heard some of our neighbors outside, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet around here.
- Watching: Brett and I are still watching Ripper Street, but are now in the last season available on Netflix. We’ll have to find something new after we get home.
- Cooking/baking: We were supposed to have baked chilis rellenos for dinner tonight, but I had to postpone them and a couple of other meals from last week’s menu to fit in some things that needed using up quickly. So, tonight we’ll be having the pork noodles that we were supposed to have this past Thursday. I’ll probably bake another cake this afternoon or tomorrow – any leftovers can go in the freezer before we leave.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: I worked out our budget for the next six months to see if it was possible to kick up the amount we put into savings. My income is going to change mid-way through though because I go on Medicare in May, so we will lose the amount for that payment every month, and working around that was tricky, but doable. The family that YaYu will be staying with in Honolulu during the orientation for her summer trip to China will be on Kaua’i the day we return from Japan, and we set up a lunch date with them so they could meet YaYu and she won’t feel like she’s staying with total strangers. I got in all my bike rides (105+ miles ridden, 3885+ calories burned), drank all my water, and studied Japanese and Portuguese every day.
- Looking forward to next week: Japan! Our flight from Lihue over to Honolulu leaves before 7:00 in the morning, which means we will have a nearly four-hour layover at the Honolulu airport before our departure for Japan. We’re planning to have breakfast once we get to the Honolulu airport, probably coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks for Brett and YaYu, and fruit for me. Although it’s going to be a busy week, Brett and I are hoping that the weather and our schedule will align so we can go to the beach for a couple of hours.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Both Meiling and WenYu have received their financial aid awards for next year, and they’re pretty much a repeat of this year’s so we’re all happy. They each got a generous award directly from their respective colleges and each got a small Pell Grant. WenYu was offered a small Federal loan but won’t take it because she’s saved enough to cover the rest of her costs, and plans to work this summer to begin earning for the following year. Meiling will continue to earn enough from her job to cover her own room and board. WenYu and her roommate applied to room together again next year, in the same dorm, so that’s taken care of as well. Meiling just interviewed for a summer job at the college that will provide room and board, and she’s already found a roommate for apartment sharing next year, so that’s settled as well. We put $8.53 into the change/$1 bill jar.
- Grateful for: I am feeling very thankful right now that YaYu’s high school requires students to wear a uniform – it has saved us a great deal of money. All she needs to be outfitted properly are shorts, a school related t-shirt, and flip flops, and she’s good to go. We will have to buy her new running shoes this fall, and probably a couple of team tank tops, but otherwise she is set for her senior year.
- Bonus question: What do you think would surprise your parents most about you now? I think both would be surprised by what a good money manager I am. They both saw me as flighty and unserious as well as a spendthrift, even though growing up I used to save my babysitting money to buy things I wanted that they didn’t want to buy (i.e. clothes or shoes). I also think they might be surprised as well by how organized I am, and how I set goals and achieve them. My dad especially loved to say that I never stuck with anything (although I did) – what he didn’t see was that I knew when to bail out of something that wasn’t working or never would. I know both my parents would be very proud of how Brett and I have raised our children. My Mom told me toward the end of her life that one of her greatest joys was meeting our girls and getting to know them, that we had done a great job raising them (all three girls joined our family after my dad had died). No one on either side of my family had ever adopted before, and my parents unfortunately had all sorts of preconceived beliefs about how adoption just never worked out.
That’s a wrap for this week at Casa Aloha. How was your week? What good things happened for you?