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Living & travelling abroad

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
AI has members from many countries. Some live in their home countries, some do not. Some have travelled, some have not. This is an open thread to share experiences and such.

Who lives in a country different from the one they were born in? What is life like? Does anyone want to ask about their experiences? Has anyone travelled and care to share about it?

To start things off, I come from the US and now live in Japan where I have been for about 15 years. Along the way, I have visited Canada, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, England, Denmark, Detroit (at least I consider it a foreign country) and Sweden. I speak English, Japanese, German and Swedish, though the latter two are fading fast. AI helps me support the first one.\ Life abroad has been such a wonderful experience that I doubt I will ever return to the US (to live). If money and time permit, I hope to travel the world a little more.

 

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post #2 of 32
I was born in New Zealand, and I now live in the states.

About every two years I go back and stay in Auckland with friends, I absolutely love it there!
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post #3 of 32
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Originally Posted by tdnc101 View Post

I was born in New Zealand, and I now live in the states.

About every two years I go back and stay in Auckland with friends, I absolutely love it there!

I was born in Wales - Welsh was my first language and I moved to England to go to school when I was 6.

Married at 19 to a German but when we split up 5 years later I decided to travel overland from Amsterdam to Afghanistan to fight with the mujahedeen. Didn't know anything about Islam or anything then, just wanted to be in a war situation as I was not quite emotionally balanced due to the break-up.

Went by train some of the way and got stuck in the Balkans when some aggro kicked off there and had some trouble in Bulgaria also. Made it to Istanbul after a while and stopped to recharge myself but ended up staying a while. Eventually moved to Damascus, travelled to most countries in the region on trips and holidays but after a while realized I wasn't going anywhere. Never did make it to Afghanistan.

Tried NYC - partied for a while but eventually moved back to London for a bit. Met Mrs Segovius and we set off trying to find 'home'.

So far we've tried (and rejected) Amsterdam, Barcelona, Florence, Barcelona again, Paris, Edinburgh and now Barcelona yet again.

Thinking of one last roll of the dice. So far it's evens between staying, Istanbul or Berlin.
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #4 of 32
I'm English, born in England and live in England.

What is life like here? It can be rather mediocre. Growing up and living in London is fantastic - particularly for the young and carefree. Jobs are great too. It's great if you're into the immaterial.

Actually I spent half of my university years in France - living in Paris as well as the south of France. Spent a lot of time travelling abroad to the States and Canada (where most of you guys livfe). In terms of preference, I love the university lifestyle in France; the food; the people; the language and literature. When I return to England, I really think Wordsworth sucks, English food sucks; English taxes suck and English Fixed Penalty Notices and Congestion Charges suck. To say nothing of the inane drabble that passes for several hundred pages of the 19th century literature and British music. Whereas I love French literature and culture, I find their bureaucracy depressing. Trying to get a job in France for any young person is riddled with with a hierarchial pandering to authority. It becomes rather tiresome, and fantasies of a meritocracy become stillborn. For that reason I live in England, where as least because I'm a native, I'm qualified to do something, not because I'm necessarily good at anything, but just because I'm English ;P

Clearly that means if I move to Scotland, I will become useless.


Last year I travelled on the rough to China with a visa, a camera and not much else. I spent most of it alone, although I was working as a freelance for several corporations, I only ever touched base with them in Hong Kong for a few weeks. It was a fantastic opportunity. I speak English, French and German and Mandarin fluently - or so I thought! Mostly I spent time travelling off the beaten track in China, visiting remote villages, writing articles for magazines and discovering the generosity of the chinese people on the way. I was really stunned at how generous and kind they were to me in villages and rural provinces. Life for 24 hours on the train from Hunan to Beijing is a real experience! In one journey in Hunan, I decided to discover the mountains of Zhang Jia Jie without knowing much about the geography. On the packed train, some of the local lads started trying to talk to me. I joined in a game of poker with them and got talking. By the time we finished the 8 hour journey, they'd invited me to go on a camping tour with them in the mountains - we weathered torrential thunderstorms; losing our way, thickets of fogs for days and had a fantastic bonding experience (not Brokeback Mountain thank you very much). I felt really honoured that they were even bothered with a foreigner with me - they made a real effort and were so hospitable (and yes - they told me my Mandarin really sucks!) It still brings tears to my eyes thinking of their kindness. The lifestyle was more simple; nothing like the modernityof Beijing or Shanghai. The remote villages have a delightful humanity which I'm yearning to return to before the Beijing 2008 Olympics destroy the rest of rural China through modernisation.

A year later, back in England, I'm still working as a freelance, although the dreary middle-classness of the English gentilly is rather stultifying. Can't wait to leave England - I'm reflecting on how decadent living in materialistic countries is
post #5 of 32
Lived in Skopje, Macedonia for two years and a rural village in Macedonia for a few months, all with the Peace Corps. Travelled to Greece a lot, Cyprus, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and flew to England once and then visited Cardiff, Wales.

Calling a different culture home, learning the languages, and working in and with local organizations was a life-altering experience. Been back in the states since September. Already getting tired of experiencing my country through a windshield after living carless for the past two years.

Can't recommend Peace Corps enough to the Americans. Grassroots international development experience, some travel opportunities, language learning, and general awesomeness all on the government's dime.
post #6 of 32
I was born in Washington DC. Now I live in Florida. It looks like next it might be silicon valley.

Although, I'm always trying to add impressible, tax-haven, emerging nations to my list of places to eventually move. At the moment, Slovakia is at the top of the list. I would like to go build battery recycling plants there. . . but I need some more seed-income first.
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post #7 of 32
I was born in California, moved to Hong Kong in 1995 at 24 years old, and this has been my home ever since, aside from a 6 month trial return to Cali in 1997, and six months in Switzerland in 2001.

Was married in 1997 to a HK Chinese, separated in 2001 and now have an 8 year-old daughter who stays with me on weekends.

I return to Cali every few years for a visit, and my parents come to HK every few years. We're not that close, so we don't need to see each other a lot. It's more important that my parents have more chances see their grand-daughter.
post #8 of 32
Born in New York, living in Montana, which, believe me, is like living abroad.

I plan on living in Germany next year. The only concern I have is that the iPhone is available there when I move.
post #9 of 32
Born in India, lived there for a long time, then lived in England, Sweden, The Netherlands, USA, currently live in Canada. In addition to the countries I have lived in, I have worked in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hungary.

People travel on vacation. I on the other hand prefer living in each country for a while, going native, living like the natives, eating what and where they eat, getting to know them, working a regular job with them, not doing the tourist thing, and then when my feet get itchy again, move to some other country and live there. This has made me pretty well-informed and tolerant of other cultures.

Ethinicity-wise, I am Indian (the chocolate-brown kind, not the red kind).

Cheers
post #10 of 32
Actually England really sucks. The winds are awful. http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/

I've changed my mind - I don't live in England. I'm living in denial.
post #11 of 32
Is this thread making anyone else feel un-worldly?
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post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdnc101 View Post

Is this thread making anyone else feel un-worldly?

sure, i've known for a while just how crap my situation is, the question is how to change it. I live in a pathetic small town which I largely ignore because I hate pathetic small town people, but the problem is I have been institutionalized by being bought up in a pathetic small town, and to be honest, I don't know how to get out.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
This thread was not intended to make anyone feel unworldly, but to serve as a space where people can share their experiences, big or small. Some of those posted here are rather big, but many people have their own stories which are big to them.

Try a short trip to another country if you can; the experience is very rewarding. If you can't travel, try an international club in your town or a nearby city. There is likely to be something and some of the events can be fun and educational.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post


Married at 19 to a German but when we split up 5 years later I decided to travel overland from Amsterdam to Afghanistan to fight with the mujahedeen. Didn't know anything about Islam or anything then, just wanted to be in a war situation as I was not quite emotionally balanced due to the break-up.

Went by train some of the way and got stuck in the Balkans when some aggro kicked off there and had some trouble in Bulgaria also. .

When and where were you in the Balkans if you don't mind me asking? If you were going to fight with the Muj we were on different sides and most likely didn't meet each other, but I was in Sarajevo for a bit and it'd be kinda cool to run into someone on an Apple site that was there at the same time. Small world and all that.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdnc101 View Post

Is this thread making anyone else feel un-worldly?

a bit yes. I have travelled to Wales, NY, Boston, Paris, Amsterdam, and all round Spain/especially liked Barcelona, but I've never lived outside Ireland. It's not that I love Ireland, it's that I hate everywhere else (joking). I absolutly love NY. I absolutely love Spanish people, especially Spanish women, they are really special indeed (maybe it's the weather, but I could marry them all). I like Americans for the most part too, and those that I do like I love. I like the States a lot. I have dreams about living in NY or San francisco. Not too sure what the future holds with regards to where I end up living, but I prefer it that way. And no, I can't speak Irish.
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post #16 of 32
I was born in Mississippi (country #1), moved to Oklahoma (country #2) and now live in Utah (country #3). For anyone who's curious, I now live 1700 miles from where I was born.

When I travel (and I'm working on it every other Summer, at least), I spend most of my time in London, where I spend 3-5 weeks at a stretch.
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post #17 of 32
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Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I was born in Mississippi (country #1), moved to Oklahoma (country #2) and now live in Utah (country #3). For anyone who's curious, I now live 1700 miles from where I was born.

Goodness, what a bumpkin!

I'm picturing Midwinter as a Mormon Creole with a straw hat and overalls...
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Goodness, what a bumpkin!

I'm picturing Midwinter as a Mormon Creole with a straw hat and overalls...

Carharts coveralls and a dash of Cherokee, thank you. The rest is fine. Except for the Mormon thing. I ain't no Mormon.
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post #19 of 32
Interesting thread.
I get so caught up in the day-to-day that I often forget about the larger world beyond the abstract political and economic issues.

I'm from the USA and spent some time living in Central America in my 20s. It was fascinating and I loved meeting people and seeing things, but I always felt out of place. I felt like I could have lived in Nicaragua for years made tons of friends and I still would have felt like an outsider. While I can understand, tolerate and celebrate cultural differences, I couldn't give up my own cultural perspectives. I felt like that left me separated from those I was living and spending time with.

By contrast, my sister lived in the remote mountains of Mexico for a year and found that she could essentially become Mexican. Her perspectives seemed so different when she returned that my parents were worried about her. I didn't worry much as she was happy. She has since married a Mexican man and lives more in the Mexican culture than she does in the traditional North American culture. My parents are used to it now.

One of my favorite traveling experiences took place in El Salvador in the early '90s just after the civil war was ended. I popped off to ES without so much as a map after breaking up with my girlfriend in Costa Rica. My first 3 days in the country were just freaky as I found if almost impossible to engage anyone in greetings much less than conversation. The results of years of civil war, guerrilla war and death squads were appallingly obvious. No one made eye contact with me on the street or in a bus. My greetings were not even brushed off--they seemed to pass right through people. I don't know if it was that way for strangers in general or if my obvious USAness put people on edge. The only people who spoke to me not during a financial transaction were grandmothers who would approach me on the street to make sure that I didn't stay out after dark (crime was rampant).
This doesn't sound like a good beginning for one of my favorite travel stories, but it is essential back-story. I was on the verge of giving up, and leaving the country dispirited, but eventually I was able to meet some people. Once I had gained some trust, people were as I have found them throughout Central America. I ate with them and danced with them. I was invited into their homes.

I took a road trip toward a national park and cloud forrest, Montechristo, that straddles the border between El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. I was looking to hitch a ride up the road so I would be able to day hike back down. The people I hitched with decided that I needed to go all the way up with them. They took me up (somehow getting governmental permission to the restricted park) shared their food and their tents and blankets as we spent two misty days and chilly nights on a remote mountain rainforrest.
The enduring image I have from that trip was when they found out that I was celebrating my 25th birthday the second day. There, on the side of a mountain, during a break when the clouds were not above, but below in the valleys, with a rainbow in sight, they linked arms to toss me in the air 25 times as is the Salvadoran custom. It was one of those moments that seemed just perfect in my life.
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post #20 of 32
I was born in Manchester, England, where I lived until I was 26. I then moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for five years, before relocating to New Orleans, LA.

I've been around most of Western Europe, North America, North Africa, and the Far East in my time.

Living in New Orleans has been the hardest five years of my life, marked by culture shock, long periods of unemployment, and, ultimately, losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. I thought I was well-travelled, but nothing truly prepares you for moving abroad on a permanent basis.

The funny thing is, I went back to Britain last summer, for the first time in five years, and I felt like a fish out of water in my own home country. And it was so cold! I honestly can't see living there again. There is much about America that frustrates me, but there is much to embrace here, too. Americans exude a positivity that I can't help but respond to, and, despite all that has happened, I believe my opportunities are greater here.
post #21 of 32
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Upon completing primary school, at 12.5 years old I went and studied in Singapore (350+km South of KL) under scholarship in a private boarding house and going to a private school. At 16.5 years old I went to live with my brother and a housemate in Brisbane, Australia, doing 1 final year of high school and 3 years of undergrad uni/college. I did my final year of uni/college in Melbourne, Australia. In 2000, around 20+ years old, I attempted the big move to San Francisco to get my first job. Travelling between Malaysia and Australia during holidays and renewing visas, I essentially lived and worked in San Francisco Bay Area from 2000 to end of 2002. When in the USA, I travelled briefly to LA, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Boston, Southern Oregon... (to be continued)
post #22 of 32
(continued) ... In 2002 I had a bit of a holiday in Netherlands and visited Cologne, Germany. At the start of 2003 US-wide-fearlevels, highly restricted immigration, the nosediving Northern Californian economy and the rumblings of a totally fucking unnecessary Iraq invasion prompted me to dump my job in San Fran Bay Area and I moved to live and work in Sydney until November 2004, when I burnt out of my creative endeavours in a bad way and was financially and mentally in bad shape. Cried mommy and went to live with my parents in KL, Malaysia, back to the birthplace for 2005 to middle of 2006. From middle of 2006 returned to Australia, Brisbane for about a month and Melbourne for 5 months. And that's the story so far...............................................

Being ethnically half-Chinese half-Indian, I look kinda Indian, but with some twists. The interesting thing is that in the USA hispanic immigrants talked to me in Spanish [thinking I was Mexican]. In the Netherlands people spoke to me in Dutch [thinking I was Indonesian, Indonesia being a major former Dutch colony]. Somewhere on the way to the USA from Asia/Pacific I stopped over in Osaka on transit. Tiny hotel room but good Japanese porn. It is really stunning, Japan is basically the *only* Asian country with very liberal sexual attitudes. Strangely somewhere around Osaka airport some of the security people spoke to me in Japanese. Anyway Japan, I feel is a very unique Asian country in and of itself... In Australia people generally regard me as "Indian ethnic from somewhere - modern International version" (or so I like to think). In Malaysia people assume I am Malay ethnic but the moment I start speaking English they think I am a foreigner from the Indian subcontinent or maybe the Phillipines or the Middle East or who knows where.

At this stage I have a Malaysian citizen card and passport. I have an Australian live/work permanent residency until end of 2011. I also now have a working holiday visa to the UK for April 2007 to April 2009. I have never been to the UK/ Ireland... It scares me. Poms (with all those different accents!! WTF!!), Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish [Northern Ireland]. For some reason though I wanna really immerse myself in Ireland [Ireland proper]. Eire...! (Is that right the spelling??)

My list of cities I have/ do enjoy living in (given reasonable family, job, financial, social settings), is, from best to not that fantastic:
Sydney
San Francisco
Melbourne
Brisbane
Kuala Lumpur
Singapore
.......................
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste View Post

I was born in Manchester, England, where I lived until I was 26. I then moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for five years, before relocating to New Orleans, LA.

I've been around most of Western Europe, North America, North Africa, and the Far East in my time.

Living in New Orleans has been the hardest five years of my life, marked by culture shock, long periods of unemployment, and, ultimately, losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. I thought I was well-travelled, but nothing truly prepares you for moving abroad on a permanent basis.

The funny thing is, I went back to Britain last summer, for the first time in five years, and I felt like a fish out of water in my own home country. And it was so cold! I honestly can't see living there again. There is much about America that frustrates me, but there is much to embrace here, too. Americans exude a positivity that I can't help but respond to, and, despite all that has happened, I believe my opportunities are greater here.

Thank you for your touching story. How are you doing now, if I may ask? Hope things are better. Due to Bipolar Disorder (Type 2) I have been generally chronically unemployed for 2 years or so. I am thankful for some recent government assistance in Australia but I may have to relinquish this soon to go back to KL Malaysia with my parents where I will not get government assistance but instead depend on my parents and maybe, some sort of part time job.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcUK View Post

sure, i've known for a while just how crap my situation is, the question is how to change it. I live in a pathetic small town which I largely ignore because I hate pathetic small town people, but the problem is I have been institutionalized by being bought up in a pathetic small town, and to be honest, I don't know how to get out.

One step at a time. My moving around has been strongly influenced by my desire to dump old friends and their perceptions of me and re-invent myself. One can only do this to a certain degree before one desires more stability. AppleInsider is certainly one of your first gateways to "get out". I think the biggest thing you can do is get your passport, if you don't have one already ...Then travel..! Travel and holidays/ vacations give you that culture shock without "hurting you" because you know you will return to a "home base".
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdnc101 View Post

Is this thread making anyone else feel un-worldly?

Don't worry. For all my travels I have mostly stuck to the old colonies of the British Empire. When I was a kid I could speak and write primary-school-level Mandarin but now, I am pretty much wannabe-Caucasian, I just speak English. A jumbled, yet dignified in some way (thanks to my Oxford/Cambridge-based Singapore private schooling) mishmash of Australian, British, Malaysian, Singaporean, Californian and Internet English. I have only ever been with Caucasian women.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

a bit yes. I have travelled to Wales, NY, Boston, Paris, Amsterdam, and all round Spain/especially liked Barcelona, but I've never lived outside Ireland. It's not that I love Ireland, it's that I hate everywhere else (joking). I absolutly love NY. I absolutely love Spanish people, especially Spanish women, they are really special indeed (maybe it's the weather, but I could marry them all). I like Americans for the most part too, and those that I do like I love. I like the States a lot. I have dreams about living in NY or San francisco. Not too sure what the future holds with regards to where I end up living, but I prefer it that way. And no, I can't speak Irish.

Due to my recent (past several years) growing interest in Ireland (the island, not you specifically ) I researched some facts (well, Wiki facts). Apparently only 250,000 claim to be fluent speakers of Irish. And Ireland has about 3-4 million people? Fairly small... And apparently Northern Ireland is like 50% more British, 50% more Irish in their self-perception...? I would like to discover the true Pagan Ireland beneath the cheesy global-exported "New Age Celtic Style" stuff. Though the Catholic presence would get in my way....?
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

Thank you for your touching story. How are you doing now, if I may ask? Hope things are better.

Things are a little better, Sunilraman; thanks for asking. I'm finally working again, after 15 months' unemployment. (My new MBP was my congraulatory present to myself!)

After the hurricane, I was severely fucked-over by my employer. Basically, they told me they couldn't afford to pay me, and that I would have to go on unpaid leave until we could return to our downtown office (right across the street from the Superdome). So, off I went to my girlfriend's house. Naively, I didn't get anything in writing from them, but it was a small firm and I trusted them. Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I got a deposit in my bank account, and -- being an accountant -- it didn't take long to work out it was two weeks' money, plus unused vacation time. So, I went to the company website, and who should I find listed in my position but my boss's husband! What a despicable thing to do to another human being, not to mention the fact it is both illegal and unethical.

So, 15 months of shit, $10-an-hour manual labour jobs and borrowing money off my parents later, things are finally getting back on track. I'm still living with my girlfriend -- my old home, and most of my possessions, being long-gone -- which is pretty difficult at times. To be honest, we wouldn't have made it this far if I hadn't been forced into moving in with her. Relationships are never easy, of course, but this one is very, very stressful. After everything she's done for me, it is difficult to just up-and-leave now that I can finally support myself again. I just don't have the heart to do it. Advice welcome!
post #28 of 32
Quote:
After everything she's done for me, it is difficult to just up-and-leave now that I can finally support myself again. I just don't have the heart to do it. Advice welcome!

You could dice her up and cook her in a cauldron.

There was a full feature article on the mystery of cannibalism in our British papers last year on a young couple who moved to New Orleans and lived above a voodoo shop. The guy killed her after she tried to turf him out for having an affair. He wasn't having any of it and killed and cooked her

But seriously, you're too sweet to do that to anyone. That's quite a journey in life - living through Katrina and rebuilding your life. Good luck from us here!

Bageljoey - that's a really touching experience in El Salvador too. I don't know the Latin Spanish countries at all so it's great to hear such human-warming stories like yours. Hearing such warm adventures makes me feel like I'm coming out of living in denial
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post

You could dice her up and cook her in a cauldron.

I'm vegetarian. But don't think I haven't considered it
post #30 of 32
Any one visited São Paulo Brazil recently?
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post #31 of 32
Sunilraman, you intrigue me... because I too am a chronic underachiever. You're obviously of brilliant intelligence (as I believe myself to be ).

But I attribute my underachievement to adult ADD and I'll be quickly seeking treatment with Ritalin, which friends of mine with similar problems claim saved their lives.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Sunilraman, you intrigue me... because I too am a chronic underachiever. You're obviously of brilliant intelligence (as I believe myself to be ).

Heh. Seriously, good luck with things. Study-wise I was decent achiever all the way up to the end of my university degree. (Bachelor of Science Class 1 Honours from University of Queensland/ University of Melbourne) <--- means something to people that care about this sort of stuff.

Work wise I handled about almost 5 years of achieving alright. Then in 2003/2004 bipolar started kicking in majorly and hence the high "achievement" part of things starts to get a bit astray -- too many ideas, commercially viable for a while but eventually not because it's too diverse creative products and also high anxiety levels. I would be in an office and if things were good it felt soo wonderful I got really anxious. Or, if I was in a dodgy job and could sense office tensions due to nasty people, I would feel extremely trapped and had to get out of there.

Once I was put on psych medications from 2005 until now, and being zapped in Feb 2006 (ECT), memory, cognition, moods, etc., it's all a restart. Like a full-on BIOS wipe and reinstall, not just hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del.

So we'll see where we go from here. Also, achievement I find, outside of academic settings (just grades), is a very wide area where you define it yourself in the real world. School and uni/college was so much easier, there are like 6 grades from Best to Fail, and that's it. In the grown-up world, achievement is so hazy - money? sex? saving the planet? fame? desirability? good abs? big business? corporate go-getter? quiet smart thinker? inventer? globetrotter? fashionista jetsetter? good with animals? organic farmer extraordinaire?

I never wanted to grow up. ... But growing up also means getting to know God/ Goddess/ Universe/ The Source/ Quantum Singularity of LOVE better....
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