Sunday, September 27, 2009

In 4 years of night school earning my law degree, I never believed that I would actually practice law, nor did I have the interest to do so. Yet, this freelancing thing made me stumble upon the fact that, well, lawyers get paid. And, we get paid well. So, yes, I sold out! I did it for the money, but I have continued to bid on legal projects because its actually really fun. Writing contracts fun? really? I know it sound strange, but I am enjoying doing this stuff. I like working on the internet in my pajamas, while watching satellite tv. It rocks! I even set my skype account so my Miami number comes up on caller ID. I'm like virtually in America. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Life as a Freelancer...

About a year ago, my sister sent an email around about 2 websites, both of which have had a significant impact on my life. The first one is, a money managing site that is free and has streamlined a very complex banking process I have going on. The other is, a site that help connects freelancers to employers. I registered for guru, created a profile, sent out a few proposals and got nothing. Then I decided to upgrade my membership, paid like 80 bucks, and still no luck. I also created a free profile on elance. After a few months, I gave up. Then all of the sudden, I got invited to work on a project on elance and bid on a project on guru and got them both. That started the ball rolling and in the past 2 weeks I have done 5 projects and pocketed $500. I've done legal work, travel writing, curriculum design, and some other cool stuff. I wrote 8 articles for a travel Australia website, which was fun and actually enjoyed writing some contracts. I am having fun and making extra cash. Who knows, maybe someday I won't have to get dressed and get to work! Freelancing rocks!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Decade of Travels

I have recently grown quite reminiscent, as my passport is up for expiration after 10 years of globetrotting with me. Its been dropped in toilets, had extra pages sewn in (twice), and looks terrible. It earns me status at immigrations checkpoints, as its obvious that I have been doing this for some time. That passport was born in Boston in the week between pseudo-graduation from and my departure for study abroad in Ireland in order to earn the 1 credit (not 1 class, 1 credit, SERIOUSLY!) that kept me from be a bonafide college graduate. I gave little thought to the photo process, went to walgreens in a red BU t-shirt and received a set of underexposed photos in which both my complexion and bleach-blond hair look orange. This is the cross I have had to bear for the last 9.5 years.
As a result, I was determined to make this decade memorable in ways other than "that's you! Ohmigod! You look so different!" So, I went to a legitimate photo lab and put on makeup. I chose a photo that looked decent and returned later to pick up the prints. During that brief sojourn, the photographer decided to whiten my skin and retouch my lipstick, resulting in a greenish completion and vampire lips. I was pissed, but what could I do? So, the next day, I went to a different photo lab and made it abundantly clear that I did not want any retouching. The photos came out much nicer and I am pretty pleased. FYI: You are not supposed to smile in passport photos, so I didn't.
The next day, I got onto the overnight bus to Bangkok and arrived at the embassy at 7:30 am to get the ball rolling. I ordered both a new passport book and a passport card. Passport cards are a new phenomenon, they are cheaper than the books and can be used for traveling overland to Mexico or Canada. As I don't often do that, I thought the card would be a good idea to keep with me while going about my daily affairs, as I don't carry my passport with me often.
The afternoon in Bangkok included a trip to Webster where I picked up my diploma for the MAIR program that I recently completed. Then, I went back to the bus station and arrived back in Ubon the following morning, just in time to teach my 8:00 a.m math class. I will go back to Bangkok in 3 weeks to pick up the new passport and retire the old. Change is good!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Moving on up!

Many of you have followed my adventures on both hipbackpackers and catchnina for the pastfew years. I was maintaining the my website through a .mac account, and paying the requisite $99 a year since 2006. As I am again up for repayment, and have slacked of on really updating my blog on a regular basis, I am experimenting and seeing what the possibilities are for life without .mac (mobileme). Since I am not cool enough to own an iphone, many of the advantages of the account are wasted on me. I also hated that I could only publish blogs from my own computer, meaning I can't post if I travel without my laptop. My sister and brother in law both are avid bloggers on blogger so I'm giving it a shot!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love, Life and Loss...

As always, its been too long since I wrote a blog entry. I will try to write more often, but its most likely an empty promise. I felt the need to write because the past month has been strange and I am at the computer for the first time in quite awhile to do anything other than pay bills. Patty Talisman passed away on my 30th birthday. I knew her for as long as I can remember and she has always been someone that I loved and admired. She was the one who encouraged me to go to law school while her husband (Richard Hersch) told me to become a pilot. I went to lawschool and worked at her law firm part-time throughout. Needlessto say, I was both shocked and devastated and immediately booked a flight to Miami, arrriving in time for the memorial service on the 28th. I stayed for a week, spending time with her daughters who are like little sisters to me. I would’ve stayed longer, but Kami had plans to fly to Bangkok for a weeklong Thailand trip, so I rushed back to meet her to embark on the ourney we had planned nearly a year before. We both flew in from the US at the same time and arrived in Bangkok airport within an hour of each other on different flights. This trip was really important to me because Kam is the first of my family to meet Ran, my boyfriend of almost 2 years. The three of us went traveling in my province to a national park with ancient cave paintings and stayed in a nice resort on the Mekong River, with a view of Laos. After Kam left, I worked for 2 days and then wenton a 3 day teacher field trip in Southeastern Thailand with all of the teachers from the elementary school that I teach at. This involved approximately 24 hours on a karaoke bus. No sleep for the weary. However, after 8 hours of sleeplessness, I joined in and have to admit that bus karaoke is both enjoyable and addictive, which in turn meant that I was too busy at the microphone to get off of the bus at rest stops and had to pee in the bus toilet, not my favorite option. On a different note, I am back in the game of the Foreign Service hiring process, passed the written exam and am moving along. Hopefully, this time will be the one! Meanwhile, HELP! had our first volunteer, Louis from New Zealand, and he was great. Hopefully we can keep em coming to help at HELP!. We were closed this weekend because of Swine Flu, so we had a big cleaning day and disinfected all of the toys and books. Hope all is well wherever you are!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sawat Di Phi Mai (Happy New Year)

Ran and I spent the last three day’s in Udon Thani celebrating the Thai New Year with Ran’s family. We both had a great time, but I had some minor issues such as strange insect bites on by rear-end and a redneck sunburn. New Years here is a water festival celebrating the beginning of the rainy season. Its an all out water war and is so much fun. we filled two large garbage pails with water and drove through the city in the back of a pick-up truck throwing water on everyone we could. Some people put Ice cubes in their water, which makes it not so funny when you are the recipient of that water, but that’s allright. I love visiting Ran’s family because there are lots of kids and they are so cute and they call me auntie Nina. Ran’s mom passed away when he was a teenager. His dad never remarried and continues to live surrounded by Ran’s mother’s family. He has his own house, but the property has three houses on it, which belong to family and about 15 of the houses throughout the village are Ran’s aunts, uncles and cousins. So we have plenty of visiting and eating to do whenever we get to Udon Thani. Udon is about 7 hours by bus from Ubon and this is the biggest holiday of the year, so we had to buy our tickets way early. The bus was overfilled and there were more people standing in the aisle than sitting. Ran and I were in the second pair of seats and couldn’t get to the back of the bus to use the toilet. I had to ask the driver to stop so I could get out at a gas station and go. Anyway, we are back home now and getting ready to resume summer classes at the house tomorrow. Check out the photos from our trip here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Interesting News

I have two major news items to report. First and foremost, I went to Bangkok lat weekend to defend my thesis. My defense was successful and I will graduate in May with a Master of Arts in International Relations. The second bit of great news is that I flew back to Bangkok again and made a presentation on Wednesday night titled “Starting a Grassroots Non-Profit Organization.” The presentation was at Webster and they paid me, paid for my flights, 2 nights in a hotel and gave me spending money. The presentation went extremely well and I did some great networking. It was really good publicity for HELP! and we have a few different organizations coming to do site visits and some volunteering in the next 2 months.