Fears, doubts, inspirations and pink Cadillacs

I may have made some mistakes. But isn’t there some sort of saying about life being about taking risks, making a mess of things, and somehow coming out on top – or happier – or wiser – or some shit like that? If not, such a saying should exist.

I was in the U.S. for a couple of months a little while ago. I traveled quite a bit while there, getting to see lots (though not all) of the important people, including my Mom. It was at my Mom’s when I started to have some doubts about returning to Amsterdam. In a safe refuge where I was fed, emotionally supported, and understood the language spoken, I wondered if it was time to close the chapter and wrap up the fantasy of living in the Netherlands.Perhaps all signs were directing me back to a stable and U.S.-based reality.

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Savings: Status Check

It’s been awhile since I’ve given an update on my savings strategy. Mostly because it’s embarrassing.

I set the goal to save $10,000 by the end of this year, which will provide me with some cash to help me survive the student life while in Amsterdam. I started out pretty well, cutting back in various areas of my life and regularly adding to my savings account. Though it’s only ever been small amounts, the steady progress I was beginning to see was comforting.

But now, a few months later, progress has come to a screaching halt. After an expensive July, including car repair and travel expenses, I had an even more expensive August, with more car repair and unexpected medical costs. And September hasn’t allowed me to catch up. It seems like the more I lose control over what I’m spending money, the more I feel compelled to spend it voluntarily on things that are nowhere in the budget. My logic goes something like, “well, the budget is already shot. So I may as well buy these platform shoes with fish in them.” So as much as I’d like to blame my derailed spending solely on the cruel universe that doesn’t want me to succeed, I must take at least 10 percent of the blame….or 60.

Nonetheless, I’m still trying. And if anyone has ideas about how I can make some extra cash, I’m wide open.

Here’s the latest.

The Next Challenge

Now that the hard part has been accomplished (getting into school and having a reason to leave the country), I need to figure out the fun stuff. Well, wait. Not quite. There’s one more gigantic hurdle that I need to get over before I can think about finding an apartment, registering for classes, and meeting new friends – MONEY.

These are not the first thoughts I have given to the question of money. The worry has actually been looming in the back of my mind since I first had the idea to move to the Netherlands. Although I would never let worries about money stand in the way of pursuing something worthwhile, the statement “I’ll figure the money thing out” can only take me so far. I’m now at the point when I need to figure it out. I’m just thankful I have a bit more time than I expected to pull a few grand out of thin air.

A few grand. I just need someone to give me $100,000 and I’ll be more comfortable with my situation. People talk about wanting millions and millions to be happy. I really would be happy with $150,000. I don’t need to buy a beautiful house in the Oakland Hills (yet), drive a fancy car, or have a flashy wardrobe. All I need is $200,000 to pay off my loans, buy a few basics, pay for more school, and live comfortably in Amsterdam for a year and a half. So right, $500,000 and I should be straight.

Anyone have any ideas where I can find that? Anyone?