2011 – Thoughts

Happy New Year Everyone!

I know it has been a very long while since my last post but I have been extremely busy.  As these posts go to the unknown internet I won’t tell you what events have happened but I can tell you that what are categorized as life’s most stressful events, I went through two of them in succession.  No worries however, they were both good.  On top of that the holidays happened and I had many many guests, also which was a great pleasure but left no time for posting.

Now that the holidays are over and I’ve had time to get to the gym to clear my mind (and work out all the wine I drank) I’m back in posting mode.

The problem is that I have nothing in particular to post about except various fragments which came to mind during my hiatus.  So, in no particular order here are things I have thought about recently.

I.  The first world vs. the third

I still cannot get over how many things I have to do just by living in the first world again.  Some people would call this “being an adult,” but for me it seems like a big bunch of stress.  Let’s compare my life in Vietnam to my life now in regards to “things I have to do.”

A.  Vietnam

– Collect salary in cash, put the cash in a vault in my room
– Buy a motorbike to get around
– Rent a place to live

That’s it!!!   Everything else was for personal pleasure or to gain said salary.

B. America

1. Open Bank Account
– Fend off offers for ID theft, Credit Cards almost daily
– Fend off offers for mortgage services, loans.  
– Delete e-mails offering said services

2. Buy a car
– Pay car insurance
– Pay the State for renewal
– Deal with the DMV when I change my address
– Send proof to the state that I have insurance
– Put thousands of dollars of gas in my car.  (In Vietnam it was  a dollar to fill up the tank)
– Prove to the state that it is not a polluting vehicle.

3. Buy a house

– Pay taxes on house
– Deal with all sorts of paperwork
– Insure all regulations are met  (like putting a fire alarm bell outside my house that is visible)

4.  Politics

– Try to turn off everything related to politics so I do not go crazy.  (In Vietnam it was communist and I was a foreigner so not much to do there)  
– Try to figure out my health insurance and fill out all sorts of papers and try to understand how this healthcare thing is going to affect me.  My current health insurance sends me updated benefit notices daily which I promptly delete…   (This is the fault of the MBAs (see post MBAs – A Scourge).  We can be sure that these updates are not to my benefit.)

5.  Pay a massive amount of bills

– Yes I had bills in Vietnam too but these took me about 5 seconds to finish.  Here I not only have many more bills but some cause me headaches like Comcast.  For an internet service provider their website is awful and when I pay online the transaction only completes half the time and I get no confirmation page.  Then I have to wait to see if my card was charged before trying again.

6.  Many many other things I cannot think of right now

I have to tell you that Thoreau’s quote “Simplify, Simplify” sounds quite good right now.

Every day I deal with these things and to add to that have a massive amount of information entering my brain.  If I do get a moment to step into nature and silence I tell you I feel almost dizzy.  I have been known to stand for half an hour in one spot just staring at the trees and trying to get my brain to slow down.  I don’t remember having this issue when my life was much more simple in Vietnam.

II.  Politics

I think one of my New Years Resolutions should be to stop reading about politics.  I won’t blather on too much here but two things stand out.

1.  Sarah Palin

– Apparently to get your name in the news these days you just need to be opposed to ANYTHING the Obama’s do.  Palin is against the First Lady’s campaign to stop obesity by putting apples and fruits in cafeterias.  And Palin is opposed to this!!!


Instead of going on I’d like to examine this word “really” when used in this context.  It is what we Americans say when we cannot believe something.  I think we all have a bit of common sense in our heads which serves as a base.  When something goes WAYYY outside these lines, the first word that comes to mind is “really??”

So as Palin’s attack on the First Lady is full of all kinds of stupid, this word comes to mind and seems short and succinct enough that we shouldn’t even have to offer a counter argument as it is just plain dumb.

2.  CNN

If you’ve read my blog for a couple of years you will know that I started to dislike CNN around 2002.  Well, today while I was on the treadmill I had the misfortune of facing a TV with CNN on the air.  And do you know who now has his own show?  ELLIOT SPITZER!!!

Yes ladies and gentleman, if you cheat on your wife while in office and are a national disgrace, you could possibly have your own TV show if you play your cards right.  REALLY???

I tell you, the more experience I gain, the more I read the more atrocious the world around me becomes.

Therefore, for my 2011 resolution I resolve to simplify, simplify.  Since I’m not really in a position to change the world I feel the only thing I can do is try to tune out all the nonsense.  I have simply had too many “REALLY?” moments.

I’m not in a position to do so, but I think that becoming a Buddhist monk and absconding to some mountain retreat seems like a good idea.  What I can do however is to simplify and try to concentrate on what is important in life.  So what are those?

1. Friends
2. Family
3. Love
4. Being a good person
5. Learning
6. Ponder the big questions
7. Share my discoveries

That is all I can think of for now and I think it is a pretty good start.

At 33 years of age I am really getting a sense of how quickly life goes and I would like to be able to say I lived mine very well.  I’ve seen quite a few souls born and die in 2010 and the quickness of life is hitting me pretty hard.

So, I guess that it is me trying to cast off all the superficialness of our current society, ie. the accumulation of goods and perhaps I would just prefer to tune it all out?

The problem is that we are a very HYPER society when it comes to material things and as an “adult” we have to face these sales onslaughts daily.  There is always some service or item being offered and sometimes we have to fill out a lot of paperwork (or throw paper away) to try to get it to stop. (Well, we should probably shred it because of the whole ID theft thing, which is another service I have to say no to 1000000 times.)

Well, I’ve gotten off track.  For 2011 I will be simplifying my life as much as possible and concentrating on the “good” things.  As far as this blog is concerned we’ll continue to share our insights we have gained from living and traveling abroad.

To end this very random post, I would say live well, remember life is grand and try not to let society make you too crazy.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/