London

Lessons from living in 3 of the most expensive cities in the world

Sometimes where you live determines the standard of living you can afford. It can be a harsh reality, or something you deal with and plan for.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve lived in 3 of the most expensive cities in the world: New York, Singapore and London. Although salaries are generally higher in these cities to match the cost of living, if you are a poor student like me then you still need to be a bit careful with your money. Here’s what I learned from living in some of the most notoriously money-sucking cities of the world.

Snow covered Riverside Park in New York City

Snow covered Riverside Park in New York City

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Scattered leaves on grass

Leaving London, life and moving on

That’s it, I’m done with London! Although my student visa for the UK goes until May 2017, I’m leaving London in 2 months. Not that there is anything wrong with London. It’s just not working out for me at the moment given life and circumstances.

How I got here

I’m in a joint PhD program that allowed me to spend half the time in Singapore and half in London. I lived in Singapore for most of 2013 and 2014. In January 2015, I moved to London with the intention of staying through until I finished my PhD. I kept my mind open to the idea of staying in London, but wasn’t sure either way. Now a few short months from finishing, I had to decide how I would deal with my living and financial situation. Continue Reading

Graffiti art of face on side of building Street art in Camden Town, London, how I feel sometimes about British English

An American’s guide to British English or how to not feel like an idiot in London

Not all English speakers use the same terms and slang, just like how in many places where people speak Spanish there are differences. There are a few embarrassing ones, and a few that make your head tilt sideways and go “huh.” This is for thos people asking what’s the difference between American and British English.

I’ll try to add to this list as I go along, but here are the main ones that I’ve discovered in the last year.

The list follows this format: [British word or phrase] = [what it means in American] with my personal notes in italics.

Day to day phrases

You alright? = How are you?/How’s it going?
It took me a few months to realize that they weren’t questioning my mental or physical state or making fun of me, but were just opening up the conversation with a general greeting.
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2015 #AnnualReview Part 2: The Goals

I wrote yesterday about what went well this year, and what didn’t go so well. That was the first part of this Annual Review process to review 2015 and start thinking about how I want 2016 to go. This post is about the specific and measurable Annual Review goals that I’ve set for 2016.

Last year, I started this process but I didn’t follow through with setting all my goals and specifying the actions needed for each goal. I also didn’t go back to my goals each month or quarter to check my progress or update what actions needed to be taken to work towards the goals. This year, I’ve filled out the spreadsheet template so that I can keep updating it each month and use it to stay on track for meeting my goals. I think it’s a good idea to come back to goals periodically, or else the only thing you’ve actually done was set the goals and not take any action towards them. The chances of actually achieving them will be quite low without reassessment and action.
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