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For my birthday I would like you to save money

Instead of receiving gifts and cards I would like you to use my referral link to sign up to Transferwise

so that at any time in the near or distant future you will save a generous amount of fees compared to using traditional banks to send money within the US or between countries from wherever in the world you are. Using Transferwise saves a lot compared to using Paypal. You can use it to send money or open a borderless bank account and receive payment to it.

It’s as simple as it sounds, or even more simple. As a birthday gift to me but also to you I would like you to sign up to Transferwise with my link, especially if you get paid in USD but live in another country and are currently losing money on exchanging your USD into your own currency.

I recently came across a post of a Digital Nomad Facebook group member asking how a person based in South America can get paid in USD. The group members offered a lot of different answers but the simplest and most money saving one of them all was Transferwise. You can open a USD currency account with Transferwise even if you are not based in America. It’s worth exploring.

  • You can register with your home address.
  • For example if you are based in the EU, then this is your primary location and you first open your Transferwise borderless account with your EU address.
  • Then once this is all set up you can add a UK and US account, able to receive and hold £ and $.
  • Each account will have its own account numbers that are fully functioning and you can receive payment into your Transferwise account just like as if it was a traditional bank.
  • Please let me know in the comments if you are having troubles setting this up and I’ll try to help you out..

Progress update from a quixotic life

We got my car unstuck today. We were able to roll it across the car park into a better position for the scrap people to come and load it onto their truck. Hopefully I can get this done in the next day or two. The car is now the main obstacle between me and my return to Jason.

The storage unit is too full. There are too many things in my friend’s house but it’s reached the point at which I will have to just do what I can and let barely good enough be good enough. It is time to get a break. This was a harrowing experience, filled with grief, disorientation and bone deep distress. It’s time to seek what remains in the ashes of life and time to look for life under the ashes. What can rise from this?

All along I was aware of silver linings here and there. It’s a strategy to get through the impossible = search for something, any glimmer of good that can emerge from what appears to be nothing but horrible.

Below is just a little venting ramble about an experience I had today. It felt good to write it down. But serves no further purpose. So do save yourself the time, maybe. Don’t read it. Come back instead for something more uplifting or purposefully informative.

journal entry:

Speaking of horrible: Today I also had the strangest experience with a new former neighbour. (She moved into the house shortly before I moved out.) I forgot that people exist who take no pleasure in being even a little helpful, people who complain about having provided a minute amount of easement in a situation. People who feel put out by having moved their car for 5 whole minutes. Just 5 minutes.

The amount of times I go out of my way to help someone. The number of times I was ready to help even people whom I don’t particularly like. And then a perfect stranger got in a mood about my asking her to move her car so that we would have more room to manoeuvre my fossil of a car, so that it can be moved from the shared car park, so that her view out of her window won’t be that of my derelict car but of whatever changing scene takes place once it is gone.

I know, I KNOW this is so tedious. I KNOW. But I can’t help it. She was in a huff about moving her car. Involving turning her car key, and turning it again 5 minutes later. How was that too much to ask? People never cease to baffle me.

I forget that people exist who prioritise making others feel bad. People who prioritise showing their discontent. Grey skinned people. With frowns.

I know that my ageing face, too, will show frown lines. But it isn’t usually the face I purposely pull when someone asks me for a little help.

When I just think of how kind my friend with so few resources has been to me. And how kind I am to others. And then this grey faced frowning woman and her grey faced, scowling ‘fella’ … One can but wonder how sad they might be. Maybe they had a fight just prior? I want to find a reason that excuses being so unkind. I want to find a reason that would explain making others feels so uncomfortable and unwelcome. But there isn’t one is there?

I have been in so much hardship and I don’t think I ever treat people in a way that feels like I purposely want to make them suffer.

My friend called them postulant people. I am afraid this suits them well.

I really forget that people like this exist. And then I always find it so strange when people tell me how thoughtful and kind I am to them. Like as if it was something unusual. It isn’t until I run into people so distinctly unkind that I realise why people find what is normal to me, so special. People deserve better. Let’s be kind to others. Let’s be helpful when we can. Let’s also learn to draw our boundaries when we have to.

Boundaries drawing is one of the hardest things and it can feel really horrible to do as well as to be the recipient of.

But also don’t go over board with being so agreeable that it leaves you exhausted. Draw your boundaries if your mental and physical health requires it. It doesn’t have to look like scowling at people when they ask for 5 minutes help. That isn’t boundaries drawing that’s just being mean. But draw your boundaries where you need them. Because then you can focus on building a life.. (tangent alert.. I better stop here. yes, mid-sentence.)

New project: Digital Tea / Digital Village

This is Digital Tea, a bilingual newsletter dedicated to sharing what we know – with and for Friends 

Digital Tee ist ein zweisprachiger Rundbrief in dem wir teilen was wir wissen – mit Freunden und für Freunde


There will be invited guest contributors because as it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes a village to support each individual. Perhaps we could become a digital village for each other. 
The dominant language will be English, but when time permits and with your support, there will also be as many translations into German as possible. 
To make our life and the lives around us better. 
among others: self-employment / entrepreneurship, financial security, money talk .. there will be more
Mood & Atmosphere:
Generosity with personal boundaries. Valuing each others knowledge, labour and time. Trust.


Wir werden Gäste einladen Ihr Wissen mit uns zu teilen. So wie es ein Dorf braucht ein Kind großzuziehen, so braucht es auch ein Dorf das Individuum (mich, Dich, Sie, sie, ihn..) zu unterstützen. Vielleicht werden wir so ein Dorf, ein digitales Dorf, in dem wir digitalen Tee trinken.
Die dominante Sprache wird Englisch sein, aber wenn die Zeit es erlaubt und mit Eurer Unterstützung wird es auch so viele Übersetzungen wie möglich geben.
Unser Leben und die Leben anderer durch Wissensaustausch zu verbessern. 


u.a. Selbstständigkeit / Geschäftsaufbau für Laien und Profis, finanzielle Sicherheit, Gespräche über Geld .. es wird noch mehr geben. 

Stimmung & Atmosphäre:

Großzügigkeit mit persönlichen Grenzen. Wertschätzung unseres Wissens, unserer Arbeit und Zeit. Vertrauen.

Call to Action:

Please subscribe. / Abonniere bitte.

Before I forget: I want to tell you about Wise

Just some rough notes from me. When instead of typing and procrastinating I should be packing to get back to Jason as soon as possible!

With the last couple of years having been so relatively stationary I almost forgot my account that I have with Wise. As I am inching closer to leaving the UK for another longer period of time, I am going through my bank cards and credit cards and stumbled across my card from Wise that expired over a year ago. That shows you how forgotten this account was. I didn’t even notice.

But for the rest of the year I want to test it out more. I want to see if my students and clients will pay me either through Wise or in Etherium (another side project). Why? Well. I have at least 8 regular students and clients whoa re resident in as many countries. Currently they all go through PayPal, but that is expensive for them.

I am using Calendly to schedule my lessons and meetings and it offers only Stripe and Paypal as a payment processing service. This means that my first job will be to check if Stripe lets me link to Wise. I feel that I have read in multiple places that it won’t allow this. Let’s see.

My next project will then probably be to figure out a better payment and booking interface for my students to be able to pay for a package of lessons.

I’ll report back how I get on using Wise to accept payment from my international clients. I wonder if it has an invoicing template / option. I could swear that PayPal has one.

2 minutes later – after browsing Wise the website:

I just found out that through an additional app I can allow clients to pay in instalments over a 6 week period. That’s quite cool.
There is also a cash back app? I need to investigate that. It seems SO spammy, but that’s how I felt when Airbnb started and sent me personal emails wayyy back when… And what is Fruugo? An app that helps businesses find customers? I love deep diving into the connectable apps tabs of SAAS companies. Is Wise a SAAS? This just goes to show you how ignorant I sometimes still am.

Well, from what I can see so far Wise doesn’t seem to offer an invoice option. That’s a shame. I would have liked that. It would make it easy to send an invoice to my clients that acts as invoice AND invitation to sign up to Wise. Wise, are you snoozing on the job?

update 5 minutes later: I found it! It’s under the Manage tab on the right side. It currently sits under Manage and then is the 5th option: Payment Requests is what you are looking for.

I am learning the Wise User Interface layout in real time. So bear with me. It takes time to learn to navigate a new platform (or one you forgot to use for a few years..) and that is ok. There are people who get really flustered because Wise isn’t a traditional account and they get scared that they could lose their money. I think Wise could maybe work a little more on building trust. It certainly was an obstacle for me at the start. One that I overcame when my friend stood in front of me in tears because her traditional bank had charged her an incredibly high fee for transferring her savings from the UK to Spain. A few phone calls later and we managed to stop the transaction (giving LOTS of credit to the banks involved!) and she received her money back into her account.

We then tried Wise for the first time. You wouldn’t believe how happy she was the next day when everything had been resolved and Wise saved her hundreds and hundreds of pound! £££ If she hadn’t used Wise in front of me then I wouldn’t have dared to trust it myself.

It just would have seemed too scary when I very first considered them. Even after seeing her safe transaction I used the transfer option cautiously at first until I eventually became bolder and signed up for a borderless account. Now I hold 3 currencies simultaneously in 3 digital pockets that allow me to not lose money to currency conversions. I can send the money to myself when the exchange rate is very favourably or leave it in my digital, brick-and-mortar free bank.

I wonder how the future of banking will affect Wise. Will they allow me to hold Crypto, too? It’s probably too volatile to be a consideration.

I also just realised that I am only ONE person short to receive a referral bonus of £75. (When 3 people take up my recommendation to sign up with Wise and send money across currencies then I receive a referral gift of £75. I have referred 5 friends so far. This means I am just 1 short.)

Do you want to sign up and see how much money you could save sending money across borders?

For example: To your own account abroad, or perhaps you are a customer and need to send a payment. This service is SO perfect for expats, immigrants sending money back home, digital nomads, remote workers, parents of students abroad.

All you have to do is sign up to Wise using my link: and make a money transfer for £200 or more.

I am already thinking about how to benefit from this referral bonus offer. I am getting lots of ideas: I can combine existing service offers to create one that costs £200 or above. Then invite my clients to use Wise to pay me. Perfect.

I think this is going to be the best way for me to benefit from the referral bonus offer. My students and clients would pay me regardless, but by using this service I get a little extra and they save a percentage compared to using traditional payment services like PayPal, bank transfers or even Stripe, that still applies a currency exchange fee that will be more than that of Wise.

Artist Progress Report of clearing the storage of the Past : Sept 27th

1) Choosing between 2 book page sizes today. – It’s taking careful consideration of available data storage & necessity AND available print sizes with print-on-demand company. Probably going with 8×10 but I really like 8.5×11. The difference seems negligible but is significant. 

1.2) I may start with page designs for 8.5×11 because they CAN be downsized. Whereas upsizing isn’t possible. 

2) Currently scanning the last 3 negatives of my Art Foundation negatives. They have never been digitised and are the most irreplaceable.

3) Wrote down the steps to create the portfolio book. (This keeps the head clear)

4) Putting together the first Art Foundation portfolio pages. (Will add sketchbook notes in the future – they are now in storage)

5) THEN the most important and IMPACTFUL step: 

Create digital portfolio pages of the physical portfolio I have here. 

That will begin to show progress in clearing boxes. (I have 2 boxes of physical portfolios that are 50% duplicates and 90% can be discarded once I have the digital portfolio saved into the cloud & on the print-on-demand site – using Blurb)

THAT is what is going to start clearing the path to returning home to you! 

Artist Progress Report of clearing the storage of the Past : Sept 26th

Sharing my daily progress

Good morning. All good here. Tired and not enough sleep but good. 

I finally bit the bullet and ordered the silica packets for safer storage for my books (£30 total). Hopefully I ordered enough. 😊 Am very happy with myself. I also pooped 3x this morning and feel much better for it. 

My neck / shoulder is worse again than last night. But slightly better than yesterday morning. 

Sitting at the desk now to make a MOVE. – I measured the size book I would like for my portfolio. I will use that as a template size in photoshop + 10% (to give me sizing wriggle room when printing. In case the print format available is a little larger than what my ideal size is.) 

I also ordered an SSDsd drive to back up just this project. I got a super-budget Chinese one. Because it will only be my 2nd back-up.

For the nerds among you:
The way I usually store files is:
• 1x on the computer,
• 1x on external drive #1, and
• 1x on external drive #2.
The external drive #1 and #2 are mirrored, this means they are identical. If I delete the file on the computer I will have 2 identical copies on 2 separate storage devices.

I bought an ‘internal drive’ with a separate cheap plastic case to convert it into an external drive. This lets me plug it into the USB port of my computer. It was the cheapest option and because it’s just the 2nd backup drive it is ok if this doesn’t work out. This entire project really just needs temporary storage until I create my portfolio book. The drive I bought has 1000 positive reviews, I am not worried about it failing. If this ‘turning internal drive to external drive’ works then this is how we will back up in the future = It saves 20-30%+ on the price compared to buying ready to plug external hard drives.  

Having the drive will give me a safer workflow and will allow me to delete the files from my computer, where they are taking up significantly too much space. I can then keep only the final project files and curated choice of images on it. 


I also figured out my digital file storage backup system. (this is another nerdy exposition on Dropbox, iCloud, Google One backup comparisons. I will spare you this – for now). Next I need to write down my plan for file organising (so that I don’t forget and stay consistent as long as it takes to finish this portfolio backup.)

Tomorrow I will set up a first file template in photoshop and start my first project archive. (Each art project will be ‘one step of backing up’. First I will work on Foundation & Undergraduate degree projects.) 

Also today’s plan: 

• Exercise before 7pm.  (update: I did it later but I did twice as much as I set myself as minimum.)

• Go for a walk to the shop between 3-5pm (get greens, vitamin D and fish).  update: I did that and it was SO cold. How do people in the UK survive this? Brrr. I am so glad that I now live in California. We have fires and crime but at least not frosty fingers.

• Go to bed at 2.30am NOT 5.30am. update: I failed at this. I went to bed at 4:30am. What on earth is this night owl mode?

Sharing Korean Youtube Channels that I really like

LOTS of categories for Videos set in & around Korea, the Korean language, music, culture, aesthetic, fitness, skincare and more.

American YouTube Content Creator in Seoul: Cari Cakes

Over the years I keep coming back to watch all of her videos. I like her choice of music and her video creation style. I like the diaristic aspect of how she shares about her experience. She likes books, Art, cafes, flaneuring around South Korea and sometimes the world. I find her content accessible and relaxing. She is one of the Youtube Content Creators who purposely ‘Romanticises Life’ and I like this. It is obvious that she does share some personal aspects of life but also that is a very curated experience. I don’t get FOMO from watching her content. The Aesthetic Youtubers that I also share in this post are a little too polished for me, but sometimes I find them relaxing. I think language barrier is also a consideration and may explain why some of the Korean creators choose to go for ambient sound aesthetica that doesn’t require translation..

Cari Cake’s second channel: Cari can Read

Super Sweet Korean-Australian Couple, please support
현 Hyun (with English subtitles)

Same couple again below but now on her channel: 호주사라 HojuSara
(Korean & English, with subtitle options). Please watch a few of their videos, especially the newest ones. You will see why that would be very kind of you to support Hyun, who I hope will receive the royalties for the watch minutes that you put in. He deserves is so much. x Share some love.

Remember to watch her last video. And leave some love. xx

Korean – Canadian Youtube Couple: 2hearts1seoul

Korean-American Youtube Couple (Korea & America)
레이진 [Raye & Jin]


If you can’t quite get enough of this relaxing aesthetic content then check out HamiMommy’s instagram, too!

Korean Singer – John Park 존박

Korean Singer – 성시경 SUNG SI KYUNG

Beautiful voice – relaxing

Not to forget The Boss of K-Kop

You may need to watch it on his Youtube Channel on Youtube. The privacy settings can change at any time later: Some of his videos have a privacy setting that doesn’t allow embedding.: RAIN (비) , Rainism (레이니즘)

After watching Rain’s Rainism Dance Routine are you Inspired to get fit? Here is your personal trainer:

Jae-ho – Trainer & Physical Therapist unfortunately I can’t embed his video. But click on the link and you can watch it on YT. Get ready to get fit. : 9 Minute workout that is possible to do at home

9 Minute workout that is possible to do at home

Korean Music Playlists Channel – sort of Cafe style (better music is linked above)

K-pop Dance Lessons

Kpop Dance Lessons with an English speaker in Melbourne Australia. Each Choreography is broken down into several videos.

Now are you ready to Learn Korean?:

With a Native speakers: Talk To Me In Korean

One of the very, very best and most enjoyable resources available. Lots of structure, learning materials, free and paid options. Totally recommended. (I also really like Billy Go for how he breaks down the language learning process = link below as well.)

Korean with Korean Unnie 한국언니

Korean Travel Phrases with Mina Oh, an old video but she is SO nice, while you are here: watch ALL her travel videos:

Learn Korean with a fluent linguist – Native English speaker and GREAT information (beginner to advanced):

A WHOLE course for free on Youtube:
Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #2: Intro to 한글

With a language learners:

Fluent Speaker, please support her channel, I think it will help out her fiancé – you’ll understand when you see her latest video. xxx

Korean Skincare with: Sara Vi

Korean Comedy (shorts)

Cute and very likeable. In English.

Two white guys living in Korea, fluent in Korean, interviewing others:

In Korean with English subtitles, sometimes in English with Korean subtitles.

What I know / What you should know

There is no use in having great reasons why life today is upside down and nothing works. It’s ok, the reasons are real, but we are no longer children and we need to decide today: Will we sink with these problems and challenges or will we swim against all the odds?

It is easy to have opinions on what other people put out on the internet. But consider this: If your response is a billboard, is it the image of yourself that you want to hold up in the world?

Change is hard. There is no way to sugar coat it: sometimes change is devastating and very lonely. Don’t give up.

You can do more than you think you can. You probably also should rest more than you do. Set your ambitions higher and do the same for your boundaries.

Are you over 40? Where did your dreams go? Find them. It’s not too late.

Start today by making it your goal to each day do something that helps other be a better version of themselves. You put it out there, they can choose to use it or stay tangled in status quo.

Tidy up your life. If it would take you 2 months to pack everything you own, then your life is in a mess and you must fix it. When it takes this long to organise yourself then you are spending too much time taking care of your past and not enough in the present or future.

What message do you have that you wish people would pay more attention to?

Some of Mine:

  • Buy less groceries and eat what you have. It will save you money and reduce food waste. Both are important.
  • Take more responsibility for your life
  • learn something for 30 minutes a day, before nestling into your nest with Netflix or tv.
  • Share what you learn
  • Imagine what it would be like if you earned an extra $27 each day = and you would have $10 000 in 12 months. If only there wasn’t the issue or taxes and healthcare insurance cost, but don’t discard the principle idea just because there are limiting technicalities.
  • Use language as discerningly as your education allows. A well spoken person makes a better impression on the world.
  • Value education.
  • Don’t fall for populism and easy answers. Life is complex.
  • Sleep as much and when you want, as long as you get your work done.
  • Focused 3 hours of work a day for all your life will get you further than worrying about what you should do and living life by someone else’s plan.
  • Don’t idolise others, they may be just as lost as you are yourself. Be inspired by others to fire your ambition and motivation.

Dear Fanchon Fröhlich

Dear Fanchon, I continue to think about you long after you have gone. Your company, art, book collection, inspiration and soirees won’t ever be forgotten. Neither will my first experience of opera and La Traviata.

I wish time could, for just a day, be a-linear and allow me to skip back to June 10th 2016. I’d choose differently.

I would take a taxi to the distant part of town to see you before I left. My poor choice of not saying goodbye is something that forever haunts me. I hope you knew how much you mean to me, still.

Fanchon Fröhlich & Academic Friends at one of Fanchon’s eagerly anticipated soirees

When to withdraw my payment from Preply or iTalki?


What’s the highest amount of $$ you’ve had in your Preply or Italki account before withdrawing it to your PayPal, Stripe, Payoneer or bank account? I’m asking because I always let it accumulate before withdrawing my payment. I wonder if anyone has ever had any issues with ‘saving money’ in their Preply or iTalki account?

The most I have ever stored on a teaching platform is $1600. In hindsight I wouldn’t do that again. I now ALWAYS schedule to transferring money out sooner because Preply and iTalki are teaching platform service providers not insured banking institutions. 

In the event that any teaching platform will abruptly cease business there isn’t a guarantee that they would still be able to pay out all outstanding payments. Teaching platforms aren’t an insured bank. Your money is always going to be safer stored in a bank. Don’t even leave it on a platform or on PayPal or Venmo or other payment service provider either: bank it where it is insured. Borderless banks without brick and mortar are also an option. I use three Transferwise / Wise, Revolut and N26. I have another article comparing them and why I currently regularly use Wise to receive payments in multiple currencies and to save money on transfer fees. And why I use Revolut for daily purchases and how Revolut compares to using my credit card for purchases.

In summary: transfer your money out of the teaching platform and to your bank (traditional or borderless) at the end of a set period of time that you decide. Every 10 lessons, every week, every 2 weeks, monthly. It depends on your income as well as risk tolerance.

Only store on Preply (or elsewhere) what you can afford to lose.

When language learning isn’t showing progress

Someone asked this Question: “I have an Italian language student who improves extremely slowly. I have tried everything I can think of to support her learning progress, with no results. She is becoming frustrated and I don’t know what else to do. I have suggested that she take an additional tutor or learning system but she said she wants to study with me or she will give up studying Italian.” (You can swap Italian for any other language.)

Do you work with a course book? Can you revise an additional resource list that fits with the general themes and chapters of the course book. This list can include Youtube videos and children’s quizzes, comic book pages, graphic novel sections, multiple examples in different formats and different media of the same grammar or theme or vocabulary.

You can gather a list of material resources that compliment your existing lesson material over time. It will be useful for all students. 

Don’t try to move too fast if the foundation won’t stick. Make it feel ok to not do well. Remember that there are other benefits to language learning besides language fluency. It’s good for brain health and for lifelong confidence to keep trying even if the student doesn’t ‘succeed’. At Stanford they found that students who succeed easily develop less brain synapses than those who keep trying, irrespective of failure. Language learning is also a social experience, which is good on many levels including for mental health and expanding the student’s cultural horizon. 

You could encourage your student to save up and take a weekend trip (or a longer vacation) to Italy. Arm the student with a daily list of phrases to use. Day 1: 3 phrases for the supermarket. Day 2: 3 phrases for public transport. It again isn’t about being able to hold a conversation, it’s a suggestion aimed at breaking the barrier between the student and simply trying to apply the language irrespective of the outcome. Send them to the supermarket with a list of phrases. 

In fact you can send your student to their own local Italian Pizza restaurant or ice cream parlour with 3 phrases to say during the visit. Literally 3.
Having an experience of using the language, even if just 3 phrases is going to be a memorable event for them. The student will face challenges and will need to find courage. This experience might go well or show that one of the deeper problems to their language learning is fear. This is something you can work with.

I have experience from both sides. I teach languages and also tried learning Korean. In my own language learning journey I noticed that I started feeling too ashamed to continue because I made too little progress progress. On the other hand as a teacher I also have had a German language student who couldn’t pick the language up and I eventually I told them I felt bad for taking their money. In hindsight I now understand that I shouldn’t have done that. The student didn’t feel frustrated until I expressed my worry that I am not providing enough value. The student enjoyed trying.

Referencing this last example, be vigilant to not let your frustrations or concerns influence your students’ enjoyment and experience of their lessons with you. Be constant. Don’t use speed of learning as a metric to judge the success of your language lessons (as a teacher or student). The success can be that you are doing your best, that it is enjoyable, that it opens cultural pathways and imagination and more…

Bring the joy back. 
It’s ok to not do great.
It’s even ok to feel like hardly anything sticks. 
Enjoy the process.

Keep it simple. 
Aim lower first.

Maybe repeat a core concept for a small portion of every lesson until it sticks? Or just accept it might not. 

journal of personal bits and pieces

Trying something new. This is more for personal benefit than it is for you but if you want to stay in touch with me or get to know me better and know what influences my choices then in this series you can.

I came across a review of Bangkok as one of the safest cities in the world. They speak about UK market towns (sleepy towns) that are much less safe than a dark soi (back alley) in Bangkok at night.. 😊 I agree. I have been to Bangkok several times and always felt unbothered and at ease. I know how to be on alert in urban settings and I found no immediate necessity for this second nature skill during my times in Bangkok.

Listening to Bangkok Pat talk to his Youtube colleague, while carrying on with knitting our chihuahua a sweater. You could argue that this is a terrible use of time. I argue that it is a meditative practice that is restorative to the nervous system and in these wild global times and uncertain personal times taking care of the nervous system and keeping the physical stress responses in check is a necessity.