Well, it’s certainly been awhile, hasn’t it?
It may come as little surprise that life back here at home is significantly less exciting, and thus significantly less interesting to write about, than life backpacking through Asia, South America, and the Middle East. But I suppose reality has to catch up with you sometime, so here I am doing my best to beat it back as quickly and thoroughly as possible 😛
So far, this bout in Los Angeles has consisted of five (main) rounds. The first of which is FP3D…
Over the past year or so, I’ve frequently referred to a coding project that Peder and I have been developing part time – interleaved with our other jobs and various international adventures. Finishing this project was one of my biggest factors in deciding to fly back from China this February; I figured it’s high time I really kick it into overdrive and push as far towards that final goal as possible.
So what exactly is FP3D, you ask? Many times now I’ve wanted to come out and share its full details, but to maintain a competitive edge (until we’re near ready to ship), I’ve refrained. What I will tell you is that it has to do with 3D visualization for interior design.
If you’re really interested, feel free to login to this page (left sidebar) – I actually have prepared a fairly detailed post that I intend to make public farther on down the line, but for the time being I want to keep it away from those nosy search engines. Once logged in, viewing it requires no special permissions – simply visit the main page and you’ll see it.
FP3D proved to be more than a full-time job for the first couple months I was home, but I’ve now progressed just about as far as I can until Peder returns from his current adventure in India and Thailand to link up our two halves. So for now, I’ve set it aside and moved onto several other projects…
…The second of which is Chinese. This I’ve really been enjoying. It’s now been more than four years since I moved to Kyoto and started studying Japanese – so long that I’d almost forgotten just how much I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of learning a language. But now I’ve got a whole new start, a whole new challenge, and I’m lovin’ it. I can’t wait to get to a point where I can actually converse (although I’m sure that’s still quite a way down the line).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of learning Chinese has been finding all the differences between it and Japanese. Learning the characters, for instance – one of my biggest challenges with Japanese – is an absolute cakewalk this time around; instead, it’s the tones that are really kicking my ass. Being able to correctly pronounce the difference between “ma” (mother), “ma” (hemp), “ma” (horse), “ma” (abuse), and “ma” (question mark) within a sentence is even harder than it sounds. As is pronouncing those weird phonemes that don’t even exist in English (like pinyin’s “qu” versus the retroflex “chu”).
Round three since returning home is another little entrepreneurial attempt that just made its way to the top of the queue late last week: setting up an online marketplace for a big diamond wholesaler downtown. Initially this will be done entirely through eBay – which surprisingly turned into quite a bit more work than I’d anticipated. Far from just “setting up a few auctions,” it’s thus far involved issues with bank accounts & credit cards, shipping contracts, international import/export tax laws, insurance for very high-value items, accepting international wire transfers, determining return policies, designing a nice storefront & per-item template, calculating store fees and seller fees and Paypal fees…lots and lots of logistics. Nothing’s up and running yet – and like FP3D, I still have little idea of when it will be. So for now I’ll just keep plugging away, and keep my fingers crossed that it ends up profitable. In any case, that’s round three.
Round four has been more of a personal project. Every time I return home to Los Angeles, I “set up camp” here at my dad’s house. No use in finding and renting out my own place when chances are I’ll be on the other side of the world in just a few months’ time. But the problem is that my “camp” here…sort of sucks. So with his kind help, I’m now moving into and revamping a different room of the house. I just climbed down from the attic not five minutes ago, and am coughing pretty bad from crawling through asbestos and running speaker wire. But in the end, it’ll be worth it: a nice, cozy place to call home 🙂
Last but not least, round five: the ever-present fitness battle. Unfortunately, two of my favorite hobbies – weight training and world traveling – don’t complement each other very well, so life ends up turning into a bit of a cyclical effort. I train hard, get fit, go abroad, get skinny; train hard, get fit, go abroad, get skinny. Well, I’m happy to say that after just over 2 months (of 5-6 days a week) of hard lifting I’m finally back to where I consider “base-level fitness”…not peak level, but enough to feel comfortable.
So there you have it: the bulk of what I’ve been doing to keep myself busy for the past couple months. Not quite as glorious as sidestepping across kilometer-high rock faces deep in the heart of China, but hey, the bills have got to be paid somehow 🙂