June 30, 2011

stingy/frugal/generous



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As the above picture suggests, some people eat money. I am not one of those people. I'm probably more the opposite. Growing up, my parents taught me the value of what I like to call the 'half-and-half' policy. Excusing birthdays, Christmas, necessities and the occasional spoil, if there was something me or my brother wanted, we would have to contribute towards the cost. As a seven year old I wanted my ears pierced but I was only allowed to when I was eight. We came up with an agreement that if I wanted pierced ears during my seventh year, I would have to save up and pay for half. (Mind you it was only $6!) Our contribution has always depended on the situation and still does today, but often we hear, "We'll go you halves." My parents have always taught me the value of hard work and saving. I can remember saving my pocket money for that particular something and I saved for almost a year in 2009 for my Nikon, which my parents also generously contributed to. 
I don't like spending excessive amounts of money, unless it's merited. When shopping, I consider purchases over-thoughtfully and want my value for money. When I started casual work at the beginning of grade nine, it really made me value money a lot more. It's very easy to spend your parent’s money and expect them to pay for everything, until you know that every ten bucks or so, is an hour of work. I sometimes worry that I'm stingy and I probably sometimes am as I don't have a ridiculous amount of money (sometimes I have barely any at all). There is a big difference between stingy and frugal though. Stingy is defined as, "reluctant to give or spend, not generous." And frugal as: "economical in use or expenditure, thrifty." I like to think I'm more on the economical side of my spending, but seeing as I regularly add up the total of my whole outfit and give myself a pat on the back if it's under $50, I'm most likely a tad stingy. 

I'm thankful for the way my parents have taught me about money. They have taught me the value of money and to work hard for it. To save for future aspects but to always be generous. And that a little splurge every now and then is perfectly okay. Most importantly, Mum and Dad have shown me that money isn't everything. I see kids and teenagers whose parents buy them everything that they want. Obviously the responsibility is with the parents, but I worry about kids who are used to getting so much without effort. For them, money can mean everything, yet they have no concept of what it takes to attain it. I'm currently saving for a Mac Book and my parents have agreed to contribute towards it. Not half though, because now I'm older, more responsibility lies with me. While my parents still pay for a lot of my things and constantly surprise me with their generosity, I'm glad that they've given room for me to be independent in my finances. I know that when I'm older I'll be fit for supporting myself more so than the kids that never learnt the value of money.    

June 18, 2011

race ya?


I love The Amazing Race. It’s one of my favourite shows, and I say that completely unembarrassed. It’s an epic combination of scavenger hunts and travel – two things that I think are pretty damn awesome. I get so excited when it’s aired on television, which hadn’t really happened much of late. I love the challenges they do and the places they go. Everyone has one weird quirky thing that they’ve always wanted to do. And mine is to be a contestant on The Amazing Race. This used to be a dream that could never happen, because appearing on the American show is very unlikely for an Australian living in Australia. So you can imagine my excitement when The Amazing Race Australia was launched last month. Yes! My dream was no longer crushed. It can (and hopefully will) happen.

Half of the drama and excitement on the show is how the teams relate with one another. Or how two members of a team get along. Or how they don’t. The American Amazing Race is very dramatised and I love it, even if it’s incredibly annoying at times. I thought the Australian version would be perhaps not as over the top in that regard, but no. It is at times sometimes even worse. It’s hilarious when a team is made up of a dating couple who have clearly not dealt with much conflict together. There is a couple on the Australian version at the moment exactly like this. The guy is totally over controlling and will not let his girlfriend do anything that he hasn’t told her to do. He yells at her for turning on a tap and claims she’s selfish for not apologising to him when she did nothing wrong, yet he refuses to apologise himself. In last week’s episode, while riding quad bikes on sand dunes, she crashed and he checked that the bike was okay before her. He then said, “If you were behind me like I told you to, this wouldn’t have happened.” Did someone say jerk?

While this particular couple is an extreme case of conflict during the Amazing Race, it can happen. Two people being with each other for every single moment is enough, but throw in strenuous physical activity, navigating through foreign countries, doing things out of your comfort zone, all of it in the nature of competition. A big competition. You can see why people get a wee bit stressed. I think that entering the Amazing Race should be a prerequisite for any marriage. It’s better than any marriage course you could do. If you can get a decent way through the Amazing Race, co-operating and not killing each other, I think you’ll be right. When I’m a contestant on the Amazing Race Australia, which I definitely will be one day, it will probably be a good idea to utilise the free marriage course and do it with a boyfriend or fiancĂ©. The weird thing is, the couple I mentioned before, actually decided to go on the Amazing Race for that very reason. Apparently they’re still together.

June 11, 2011

nerdosaurus


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On Wednesday, after 3 years, 1 month and 22 days, my braces came off. I didn't mind having braces at all, and although I'm glad to see the back of them, I at first felt like I'd lost a little piece of me. (I'm over that now). Despite that the good old days of headgear are behind us, there's still a 'nerdy' stigma attached to braces, even though a lot of teenagers have, or have had, them. Perhaps to be considered even nerdier, are the beloved glasses. Add them to the braces, perhaps some frizzy hair, an outdated cardigan and BAM. Ultimate nerd. Apparently. Last week for the first time I got prescribed for reading glasses. So for a mere five days I had glasses, braces and probably an outdated cardigan (I will add that I make second-hand cardi's look exponentially cool) minus the frizzy hair. I was the epitome of ‘nerd’.

But then I lost the metal mouth and lost my nerd status. I'm glad that I only had braces and glasses at the same time for a short time, but I still embraced my outer nerd. But it got me thinking, why are these outward characteristics considered nerdy? A nerd is defined as "an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a non-social hobby or pursuit". A nerd is basically an extreme enthusiast. They come in many varieties. Whether it be a computer nerd, a Star Wars nerd (I know an extreme case of one of those), a school nerd, (think Hermione) or God forbid a Glee nerd. A nerd is intelligent and an expert on their topic. If they were to go on a game show with questions specifically catered for their nerd topic, they would know all the answers. Nerds are nonconformist. They don't go along with trends or popularity; they are a nerdy about whatever they like, based on their own interests and hobbies.

Having mouth problems and visual impairment does not make us nerdy but it perhaps contributes to the overall look of it. I like to consider myself a nerd, but upon learning the real definition, I know I fail. The closest thing I would be is a Harry Potter nerd, but seeing as I'm not that obsessed and Potter is a very conformist thing of late, I don’t fit the nerd code. I'm a bit of an English nerd as I love reading, writing and talking about books. And I like learning. Does that count? I want to be a nerd. So if like me, you are unsure of your nerdiness or perhaps would appreciate some more nerd in your life here are what I like to call The Three Steps to Ultimate Nerdiness. After choosing what you will become nerdy about, Step 1 is to LEARN everything you can about your chosen field of nerd. Step 2 is to become an EXPERT. You must know every single pointless detail and be ready to whip it out on any occasion. And step 3 is to DEFEND. A lot of people don't like nerds for some reason (probably jealousy), and will try to test you. So be proud of your nerdiness and defend your subject with your great intellect. And maybe throw on a pair of glasses to seal the deal.