2017 Review and 2018 Vision

Another year has passed us, time flies. And that’s why I hate celebrating birthdays, cause it reminds me of how old I am. But come next year, I will have a new meaning to birthdays. More on that later, let’s review 2017 first.

2017 was the first time I change a job in USA, it is quite a leap but also a small leap in the end. I wanted to leave MSFT for awhile, it wasn’t challenging and I wanted to try out some other companies just to see what difference there is. I am glad to have joined AMZN in the end. It was a small leap cause I still had a few good colleagues of mine that helped made the transition for me easier. It was still a leap mainly because it is very different. First it is in Seattle, thankfully I have public transport and shuttle from work as well. It is still time spend on traveling though. The other big change in AMZN is how different the focus is, I am not sure if it is my role or the company? Probably the company, there is a greater focus on customers, and I think employee so of suffer. Or should I say family of the employee suffer. I made have to work holiday, be on-call for weird dates/timing. I don’t quite get how someone who has a family is able to be on-call without having any friction at home. I learnt new technology, writing skills, interview, just learn a lot more of what should help me in my professional life, so for that I am grateful.

2017 was the first time we spend big on our home. We decided our home is not going to be big enough, so decided to splurge on a small addition. Like real small 🙂 The idea was if we want bigger, we might have to spend more just because of how picky we are, so it would be like a new or almost brand new home in a good location that is bigger than our current home. Excited to see it finish and hopefully in time for…

2018 is the first time we will be adding a new member to our small family! Ringo will always be my first, but this new member will be my favorite. We didn’t plan for it, so maybe its a fated. We already know what to name her and I am excited to bring her into our life. I know its going to be tough (we have already booked a house cleaner to help out) but I can’t wait to write her birthday cards, teach her how to play with Ringo, and hopefully one day see her grow up to be a capable beautiful woman just like my wife.

If there is one thing I wish it could be better, well a few things:

  • Ringo to be better behaved, I think we lacked the conviction in training him properly. That’s our fault…
  • Spend more time with wifey, I can’t help but want to do work all the time. Sorry Amanda…

What to wish for next year? Next year with the addition done, new baby on the way, its going to be super busy. I hope for a healthy baby and smooth birthing for Amanda. I also wish Ringo will be more obedient and his eye will recover. I do not wish for anything for myself, just my family’s well being and health.

Happy new year to all and wish you all good health and wealth too!

Binghuan’s year in review 2014

This year was tough, I don’t know why but I feel this year was the toughest so far in the USA besides maybe the first year. Maybe it is due to me aging, maybe it is due to not having anything that is life changing happening to me…

Let’s recap all the biggest events again..

1) I ticked off something in my bucket list of giving a talk. Granted it is a small talk, I always wanted to do it, not so much that I think I am great at it. In fact, I think there are lots which I can improve with. It is more because I like to challenge myself. I hate that people will say you cannot do this or that, and I showed that I did it. Obviously I have lots of supporters in the form of my wife and my wonderful team. Challenge accepted and completed.

2) Was selected as the only person from my team to attend an Adobe conference for marketing analytics and I got to go to watch an NBA match in a suite! If only the teams were better, but hey its all free. With that trip, I also manage to visit Utah which is a really interesting city with its Mormon background. Would definitely re-visit it again with Amanda to for the rock and mountain.

3) Was fortunate enough to be re-assigned to a really hot project and deliver it on time. The Halo Channel is by far my toughest assignment so far. With less than 2 months, we had to almost re-write an entire app for Xbox one and Windows. I love UI work but obviously it is not my strongest skill set. Still very happy to learn new frameworks like AngularJS and be able to take a small leadership role to guide 2 vendors is awesome. I think I did overwork but it was all made up for with a 2 weeks break that I got for free…

4) Road trip with 2 close friends to Alaska! I don’t think Amanda and I have done anything as extensive as our Alaska trip with Jo and Dave. It is really hard to find friends especially friends who are of similar age and circumstances. I think we spend so much time in 2014 with them that facebook might think we are 1 big family with their year in review. Alaska was lots of fun, I hope everyone else enjoyed it too.

5) First all-inclusive resort in Cancun. So I got the miles from Southwest and decided to go all out and fly to Mexico. We didn’t want to splurge too much so chose a resort which I think we sort of regretted. There wasn’t a lot of good food choices within the resort. The food and drink is good but I think we both felt that we could have gotten better one. I actually enjoyed us visiting Moon Palace the most, if I have a choice, I think I might have chose that resort instead. Lot more food choices, activities to do. The view and water isn’t as nice though, so I guess its a coin flip. The other issue I have with all-inclusive resort is I miss my wife’s food… 🙂

Did I miss anything, feels bland to me. I am wishing 2015 will be a big year for us, I wish things will change drastically in every facet. I think I am tired, or old. I am tired of getting old. I am thinking of travelling to somewhere far, like Machu Picchu or London. But we have to go back for a wedding, so I guess that is the trip. Amanda and I have like this 5 years plan which I am hoping we will just finish next year too. So that will be great if we do execute that plan.

Hope everyone else have a good year and an even better one next year.

Binghuan’s 2013 Year In Review!

Numbers just keep adding up doesn’t it?
Things were sort of chaotic this year.

1) We move to an older place. First time we compromised our living conditions in hope of savings. We did save more alright but not sure if its worth our sanity.

2) I changed teams for the first time in MS. Sort of change since I rejoined my old lead and another colleague. I don’t think that was a mistake, leaving my comfort zone. It also made me realize how much more I like Kirkland compared to Bellevue. Still love Redmond too..

3) We went out of our way to look for a home for us. We were really serious and I think we found a place (Took months cause we were soooo picky) that we know we would love only to finally decide against it. I will put that blame on me. Won’t go into details why but we just didn’t.

4) We didn’t go for any travel at all (beside San Jose which I will go into later). Once again, to save money…

5) I won a Hackathon! My very first one too, the Paypal Hackathon was an eye-opener. I got to visit Paypal HQ, meet new people, play with new technology. It was tiring but I have no regrets. The final for the big money was sort of a let-down, the other teams that placed in top 3 was okie and I thought we did well enough to place but apparently not. Maybe it was the MS connection that pulled us down.

6) Lots of savings! I just calculated and it was incredible the amount we saved this year. It is hard to see the amount as it is spread across a few accounts but I was really glad the compromised above wasn’t for nothing.

2014 will be a super exciting year, I cannot even wait!
1) GC process is finally moving to the last stage. Which means I will get GC, Amanda can be free to choose what she wants to do! For me is probably more of a job security as I can jump to other places but I can’t really decide if I want to. I have some friends here, and Seattle isn’t that bad besides the cold weather. San Fran would be nice but property is so expensive there that I can’t really put myself through moving all the way there.

2) We might just decide to move to another rental if the HDB appeal failed. No point suffering, and lots of new places around so maybe we will just move to enjoy 1 more year of rental.

3) I do want to return to Vegas with Amanda. We skipped it for 2013, lets return to our annual routine. 🙂
We will also be flying first class to… BALI haha on SQ. Okie, short trip but hey still first class! Can’t wait for that too.

Some longer term goals?
1) I really want to go Peru and visit Machu Picchu. Not sure when but soon I hope. If not too old to climb… 🙁

2) The elusive home that we can grow our family in. I really hope appeal goes through and allow us to sell our hdb.

3) Maybe a cute dog? 🙂

2012 review

2012 has been a fruitful one for Amanda and I.

Quick recap of the year
– Went for our long overdue Euro trip
– Went to magical Disney World
– Getting recognized at work
– Broke Amanda’s bond with MOE!

However, as I review my resolutions for 2012, I know I miss something.. 🙁
Keeping fit.

I think this will continue to be an issue for me as I have been putting too much emphasis on work such that I have no balance in life.
So with a new year, come new resolutions!

I will cook more often at home for us! I just discovered this wonderful app on Windows 8 (Everyday Food) that has simple 15-30 mins recipes which even a novice sous chef like me can accomplish! I am already the crepes expert at home! 🙂

I will learn to keep my work-life balance in check. No more late night work unless its really necessary. One’s got to know how to enjoy the finer things in life, after all you only live once.

There are several things to look forward to in 2013 actually…
1) Mayday LA 2013 concert
2) Getting a new car
3) Moving to a new apartment
4) Trying to sell my HDB flat again
5) Looking for a puppy

I don’t think we would be doing too much travelling next year but who knows?
Here’s hoping that 2013 is as good if not better than 2012!

Wishing all a happy new year!
Binghuan

2011 Review (Booboo edition)

Woof Woof!
(Hi my name is Booboo)

Woof woof woof Woof WOOF!
(If you do not know me, that’s cause I am shy…)

Woof woof woooof wooff woof…
(I am an English Bulldog, so my owners call me Booboo)

Woof woof wofwof woof woof WOOF woof woof woooof
(2010 has been great! I live comfortably in my owner’s apartment and laze around all day on the sofa)

Woof woof woof woof woooof woof
(I do wish I will get a doogie friend soon to play with)

Woof woof woof woooooooooooof woooof
(That’s all. Happy New Year!)

2011 Review (Binghuan’s edition)

It is that time of the year again! It is the annual blog review, in fact I do this more than exercising.
So my new year 2012 resolution is to…. DO MORE EXERCISE!

I actually had my first physical exam here in the States a few weeks ago and pass with flying colors, but this won’t last long if my wonderful chef keeps cooking delicious food for me everyday. So my first task next year is to get into shape.

So I read my past entry for 2010 and am happy to say that I have upped my cooking attempts. Just check out our year end feast where I prepared the lobster tail with ease. :p

Next year this is what I want to accomplish:
– Do more exercise
– Complete my tower of defense game for WP7
– Step up my cooking (I actually really like to cook if my expert chef would be more willing to teach :p)
– Have a taste of pet ownership

What I am looking forward to:
– Travelling to Euro for the first time
– Training my dog and exercising with my dog!
– Spending another fun filled year with my wife *hugz*

I am really scare when I look back, it seems like time keeps creeping up faster each year, maybe its an artifact of getting old? 2011 seems to just fly by, you know the feeling you get when you feel like you could have done so much more but only managed to accomplished a few…

My forecast for 2012, I don’t think its going to be an exciting year but who knows, maybe it will surprise me since life is just filled with that…

Wishing all a happy new year and stay in touch with me when possible!
Binghuan

2010 Review (Binghuan’s edition)

Happy New Year!! Whoa another new year has gone by so fast… looking back I cannot really think about any negative issues that happened in 2010, so it must have been a good year for me! 😀

I have a wonderful wife whom cook the best food a man could eat. She takes good care of us too, I am so thankful to have her around.
Work has been great but the year ended in a mix note, hopefully next year is better for me. Maybe I need a new direction. hmmm
I started writing apps for Windows Phone 7 (Check out FotoChop) late in the year and it made me realize how much I still love to create stuff. Don’t get me wrong, working in MS still allow me to do that, but its not something that I can say “Hey that’s all me!” Really glad that I jumped on the train and started development on my own again.

Next year would be a challenging year ahead for us, with a HDB flat in Singapore and juggling all the needs. I still have faith that we will do well and get to all our end-goals, just another new set of challenge, but hey what is life without challenges? 🙂

Resolution? I hate resolution cause I never remember that far. I will probably want to cook more often and better (edible) food in general next year.

That’s all folks. End of 2010. I will miss my twenties and looking (reluctantly) forward to the thrities…
Godspeed all.

Happy New Year 2010 (Binghuan’s version)

Another new year another new place, not sure if I should consider it a blessing? Having to move so much furniture with the help of another guy is just torture, but somehow I feel happy that I did it. I think that almost sums up 2009 for me? It is just more and more new experience of stuff I would never go through if I didn’t jump up such a wonderful chance.

New experiences of staying independent without anyone’s help, just me and my wife? Having to go to market every week or two. Having to clean up dishes every night. Having to make the bed every morning, having to clean my own clothes, having to do all the things which one may have taken for granted last time as we are all so well-taken care of by our parents last time. Is this considered to be growing up? Well I think I took a bit longer than others to be going through all these. I cannot imagine myself turning the big 3 but here I am staring at it as it comes heading to my direction like a bullet train. *sigh*

No time to waste thinking about what if, what could, maybe? That’s why I am a die hard Nike fan now. Just Do It. Damnit just do it!
Why bother thinking about money… time is actually more expensive as you can’t really save it… If you want it, get it. (Of course only get it if you can afford it.)

So here I am, at my brand new place (which I hope would be more permanent is moving is just too tiring :p) Staring outside, waiting for the new year firework. Thinking about the many other places I want to go and see. I picked up a new form of hobby in photography in 2009. Something I am quite proud of actually! 🙂 I always loved doing design but time was never there for me to do all the design on the website that I dreamt of last time… Was just telling Amanda “Hey you know this site was something similar to what I wanted to do last time, but I had no time…” So I am very happy I got a dslr, although it cost a few hundred, at least it was instant gratification. I can see my work of art immediately! Plus it helps when I travel and take photos of the places…

Sorry for the randomness of this entry, jumping here and there. Think I haven’t blogged for too long and am too rusty. Back to 2009…

2009, visited some places like Whistler where the 2010 Winter Olympics is going to be held! Visited some of the more famous city in USA, like Las Vegas and the more boring one like San Antonio. Went to my very first tulips farm? Should really have gone out more… but we were on a mission in saving. And did we saved. We saved almost twice of what we did last time when both of us were working in Singapore. This year is no different. We will still be on a saving mission. You can imagine Amanda asking why I leave the TV on with no one watching… heh

And the thing about 2010 which we are not really looking forward to is we have to go back to settle our VISA and home… not that we don’t want to go back and see our families, its just that going back is going to hurt our saving mission… We will probably be back around Aug, Sept period… and stop over at Seoul for a short visit. We cannot even leave USA as our VISA won’t allow us to re enter USA… So 2010 only overseas trip will be Singapore.

What else to look forward for 2010? Hmmm, windows mobile 7 😀
Yea hopefully it can be strong enough to fight with iphone (kinda of hard)

Resolutions…
– I think I have been really bad to my body, so my resolution is to at least exercise once a week with the help of my personal trainer Amanda Goh.

I can’t really think of anything else actually. I love my wife like forever already. (Lub her deep deep is what we usually say in Singlish)
Hope the firework later is worth it, will post pics if I have good shots. 🙂

Happy new year to all!

Happy New Year! Binghuan’s Perspective

Happy New Year! What a year… so many things have happened this year for me… let’s do a recap first…

1) Married the most wonderful companion I could asked for.
2) Got to work in the company that I dream of when I was young
3) Seeing snow for the first time!
4) Purchasing my first car
5) Renting a loft!

Most of it seems to be related to my new job which I am sort of enjoying at the moment, just hate the commute to work sometimes, but I have great colleagues so there isn’t much more then I could ask for out of my job.

And it was this year where I truly realise what a wonderful cook my wife is! It is a relief that at the end of a tiring day, I have hot readymade dinner waiting for me at home. All thanks to my love 🙂

Snow was nothing actually, it was just cold and icy. And the roads will be blocked if there is heavy snow which traps us at home. That sucks although I really like to work from home. lol, hopefully our Earth gets better and there will be less snow here…

I wished I had a better car but decided to save some money and get a car within my means. Not that a Honda Fit is a bad car, but I *might* change a car next year… have to build a good credit history before changing…

The loft is the exciting part! Can you imagine a loft? Something we will not have back in Singapore. At least I don’t think I would pay a huge amount to get it back at Singapore. Then the problem is we need to get some stylo milo furniture and deco to make the loft look cool. Sigh. think we will have to do that slowly…

So that was roughly the exciting year for me, resolutions? Hmmm I hope that I can contribute to my work significantly and hopefully be able to get promoted at the end of year? Quite hard but I will try. Think I need to work hard now especially with the economy looking so gloomy everywhere…

I hope to be able to just enjoy couple hood life with Amanda. Like we are here, with nothing much to worry about and just enjoy our time here like its honeymoon every weekend. More specifically, there are places which we must visit! San Diego Zoo, Disney Land, Yellowstone, San Fran, Los Angeles, New York, Hawaii. Lol mainly all the attractions in the state and even Mexico or South America cities like Argentina or Brazil sounds exciting to me.

I am not going to ask for too much next year as time seems to pass so fast nowadays, I hope my friends and family will still remember me even though I may seem to have neglected them. Been just too tired everyday and the timezone difference is certainly not helping. Just want to tell you (if any of them comes) that I miss everyone back in Singapore.

May all of us have a good year ahead of us and that the world becomes a better place. 🙂

New Home!

So this is it! The new loft! We are so excited about it! Now we scare our furniture are not up to its standard… lol

We are so happy we had steamboat to celebrate today. 😀