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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..

Simply Onion Soup

This onion soup recipe is very simple but requires love for flavour to fully flourish.

This is YOUR soup, you can make this soup to your preference. Don’t worry about the recipe too much. Bring time, patience and attention to detail when prepping the onions and your taste buds will be impressed.

What you need to buy: 

Onions, lots of them. I am sure some onions are better than others but work with what you have. 1kg minimum

Almost everything else is optional.

What you need to do:

Shortform instructions

  1. Slice your onions finely
  2. Add oil to pot
  3. Take time to caramelise onions
  4. Chardonnay splashes
  5. Add spice 
  6. Add garlic
  7. Add stock cubes
  8. Add water
  9. Simmer & stir frequently
  10. Add more chardonnay and/or water
  11. Add potatoes cut into cubes
  12. Stir, simmer,
  13. Serve

Longform instructions:

  1. Slice your onions as finely as you find the patience and endurance to.
    The thinner your onion slices the better the final result in my opinion. 
  2. Add some olive oil and heat in a heavy base pot. Add your onion slices and bring up the temperature to a low medium, sweat your onions, stir them lovingly while you keep chopping and slicing and adding more onion slices to the pot and watch your onions become translucent and don’t stop until they start to take on a caramel golden colour. Keep tabs on the heat: It mustn’t be too high or you will burn the onions and that’s NOT the flavour you are going for. The more care you take in caramelising your onions the sweeter and deeper the final onion soup flavour will become. 
  3. The more time you take at this stage the more impressive the final result will be. This part of your cooking process could take 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your onion amount and pot size and your patience. 
  4. Add a splash of chardonnay once in a while to cool down the pot in case the heat is a little high and your onions are getting a little dry. Chardonnay will add extra flavour, you can use a budget bottle, but the nicer the wine the better it will support your soup. If you don’t have wine use warm water straight from the kettle. That’s ok.

    During this stage you can also add your bay leaf and other spices you are using. (clove, juniper berry, black pepper)
  5. Add garlic and sweat it into the caramelly onions. Stir regularly until the garlic has softened. 
  6. When you are ready, ready is when YOU choose that you think those onions are finally caramelised. You add warm or hot water from the kettle. Add a fair amount. Submerge your onions with an inch or so of water above them. 
  7. Add more black pepper
  8. Simmer & stir
  9. Simmer
  10. Simmer & stir
  11. Repeat as long as it takes for the soup to develop a nice consistency and the flavour to become rich.


1kg Onions (minimum)essentialslice then finely, infinite patience is needed
wateressentialMeasurement by eye, start with 1 liter and reduce by simmering. Add more water towards the later stage of the cooking cycle, to meet your consistency preference.
Stock cube(s), onion flavoured if possibleusefulIt helps to have a couple but you can make soup without
garlicOptional, but nice (as much as you like, 5 -8  sections is good, use more or less to match your preference)
saltessentialYour stock cubes will do much of the saliness lifting but in case you don’t have a stock cube, just salt and pepper will get you there.
Black pepperimportantimportant
Chardonnay white wineusefuloptional but oh soooo good
1-2 Bay leaf niceoptional
3-5 cloves niceoptional
juniper berries niceoptional
standard potato
or japanese sweet potato (the purple one with white core is my favouite)
stretch your soup without diluting itOptional.
Add when you think it will take another 20 / 30 minutes for your onions to become so soft that they almost melt into the soup.

Take care of your onion soup like you would take care of a risotto and you will be rewarded.

Stir, add a little more water, keep checking and stirring every so often. Check the onion consistency, they should melt in your mouth without chewing and you know they are ready.


With fresh or toasted bread

Optional fine tune serving options: 

Add a heap of grated cheddar cheese and/ or single or double creme.
You can even experiment with non dairy creme replacement options (but at this point I would opt for chardonnay over vegan cheese/creme)

Soup Shelf-Life 

This soup keeps GREAT for a few days in the fridge.
You can prepare it 2 days before a special occasion and it will taste fabulous. 


Food is life and making your own food makes for a better life. Sometimes I feel a little bothered by being the main chef in the family. I sometimes find it burdensome to cook on most days. But whenever I stop and reflect I remember what a privilege it is to HAVE food to cook and to have the skill to make food taste amazing with simple ingredients.

I don’t want to cast a shadow but there is a possibility that the best times in our collective experience of life are behind us. It is possible that during our lifetime we will get used to having less than we had just 5 years ago. That possibility is always there for everyone, anywhere. I think we should celebrate the food we have today and give it some time, love, spice and probably a lot of garlic. 

Add food to your gratitude list.

Even if your food is simple or basic. (Rub some garlic on it.)

Maybe you can’t afford to splash some wine on your onions, you can compensate by taking more time and you may have black pepper to add with enthusiasm (use as much as you like but try using a LOT).

Let me know how your soup turns out.

(If you are feeling adventurous you can share and tag me on instagram #birgitsonionsoup )

2023 – I am a little late to arrive

But here I am. It is February 1st and the Chinese Lunar New year already started, too. Year of the Wood Rabbit. I want to say that I am not really an astrology person but then again: This is MY year! I was born in the year of the Wood rabbit and I feel like this is my once in a lifetime opportunity to have a really great year.

Welcome to MY great year.

I was thinking about what to share on my blog this year and aside from a definitely necessary focus on financial health I want to give my physical health more attention. One of my plans is to walk more and to bring YOU along every once in a while by sharing what I see on my walks. Since I live in San Francisco I figured that this might be something you, too, might enjoy.

Let’s declare Bohemia alive (sorry to my friend who so rationally declared it dead) and let’s see if we can’t find a few small things to enjoy this year. (I am thinking of finding a secret coffee society of Bohemians who survived the great drought of capitalism having made life rather tough on the average day dreamer.) But also: let’s declare making financial health a major mission for this year.

(This may mean you’ll see more posts where I share what has saved me money or in some other form been of benefit to me. I hope that once in a while you’ll find something as useful as I do and will use my links to sign up to whatever it is.)

Today is February 1st:

I have an acupuncture appointment in 11 hours. That probably means I should go to sleep first! Yes, it is 3am. I will try and take a photo on my way. But here are a few photos from the last time I was in San Francisco Chinatown for my acupuncture.

San Francisco China Town and Union Square, January 4th 2022

A list of writing job platforms – For my friends

Let’s make some money with writing

Have you spent hours looking through job postings getting depressed, too? Have you spent months looking for job listings sites and not found the one right for you? That’s been my problem.

That’s why I am starting this side project of building a collection of job boards for writing gigs and full writing jobs. It’s starting a little rough and tumble. I’ll update this as I find more and as I test a few out. If YOU also want to test if you can get some writing work then please DO and report back the success stories.

None of these links are affiliate links at time of writing. I will update if I find a recommendation that also pays me for sharing it.

Anyway, you clicked to get the goods. Here are the goods (job listing sites) that I was able to find so far. Please at least tap the like button and maybe leave a comment below. Then it would feel like sharing was rewarded with something.

I would try the platforms below myself but can not yet vouch for them because I, too, am only at the start of this writing-for-money-experience:

  8. this actually looked promising when I just checked it.
  9. there was only one single listing for ‘writer’ and 3 for ‘writing’ .

Useful tips:

1) I haven’t closely checked everything yet. If platforms require you to pay a membership: DON’T do it. Check if you can find a job for free first.

2) DON’T provide free custom written articles as part of your application. That is working for free. Don’t get disillusioned. Just don’t do it. Have writing samples in a Google Doc folder and you can share this (view only, not edit)

3) ‘writer’ & ‘writing’: use both search terms, you may get slightly different results on whatever platform you are searching.

Seems more professional than I currently feel:


Not sure about the ones below this line at but sharing to complete the list.

Requires a membership, I don’t like to pay before I earn, so it’s a no from me:

Affiliate income platforms, I think they are a valid option:

One way that you can support my website and my work is by using my affiliate links when you see them. I have several in a tab called recommendations and I share referral links throughout my blog posts, usually they are marked. There are NONE on this page. I think this year I would like to focus on my financial AND physical health more. So I hope you are ok with that direction.

You could also read: Do affiliate links make you cynical? it’s. bit long and very unedited. But you could.

Do affiliate and referral programs and people who share links make you cynical?

Not everything is a ponzy scheme designed to rob us. I see sharing affiliate links as something positive that is sharing what works for me and getting rewarded for it. Sometimes I make lists of things that might be of interest to someone even if I haven’t tried them myself yet. Some of those lists don’t contain any affiliate links. I once spent 2 full days collating a YouTubers in Thailand list. Effectively promoting them and making it easy for Thailand Youtube fans to find so many new creators. I made nothing from this work. But a lot of people clicked on it and used the links

Right now I have a great offer from an online payment card that works borderless and has a string of perks, but I can’t for the life of me find a friend to sign up. If they did I could get $90 referral bonus. You have no idea how helpful that would be right now. I have phantasies of 10 people or 100 signing up and how much that would lift me up financially without costing anyone anything extra that they don’t already spend. Except for a little time to follow through with the steps to complete the signup. But people end up doing it anyway, years later, just not with my recommendation.

(I may be slightly disgruntled. It doesn’t make sense to me to NOT sign up. It’s useful, practical, 21st century and you’d be helping a friend. And in the future YOU could get referral bonuses like this, too for inviting a friend or imagine if you invited 10!) Well.. I am not putting the link here because I need people who will really follow through with the signup process and take the steps needed to activate the digital card. There is a short time window for this and I only get a referral bonus offer between $70 to $90 once or twice a year. The rest of the time it’s much lower.

Always use affiliate links when you can find them! It makes such a difference to the person whose link you are using!

In case affiliate and referral links make you cynical, don’t be. Why shouldn’t we (you, too) get a referral bonus for sharing something that could be useful for someone else?

It takes time to type to share, it even costs money to keep this website hosted year after year. I have never made anything from this website. But wouldn’t it be nice if I did?

It would be comparable to you inviting me for lunch but NOT having to spend your own money and instead you might be saving or making money if one of the recommendations that I found turn out to be right for you.

If you are ever in doubt:
JUST ask me in the comments or if we know each other then ask me directly about the recommendation that you aren’t sure about.

My personal feeling is that the future is here and we need to move on with the times. It’s no use if us 70’s born generation get left behind because we are spooked by change. I agree with your concerns, I can hear them inside my head (I hear a series of friends right now!) but I also disagree that you should let those valid concerns influence you to end up with less than you deserve.

I remember trying to convince people to give Airbnb a try. I just couldn’t get people to believe in it. At that time I could have gotten amazing referral perks, but my friends all said no. Years later they signed up one way or another but not with my code, so I got nothing for it. It’s a shame.

Below are a couple of recommendations that I genuinely recommended. I use both.

Wise, for borderless banking, lowest cost money transfers. This has saved me hundreds of £ and $ when I had to send money to myself across borders and when I received payment in foreign currencies.
I often use it to receive payments for photography sessions and language lesson packages. I lose less money to fees using Wise than if I use Paypal. It also works like a normal local bank and can receive salaries. But I tend to use a different account for that for the time being.

Revolut – this is the card I would need you to be 100% on board signing up for because the time window is very tight. Reach out to me via the comments if you want to go for it but need help to navigate. Even better: reach out to me and wait until I get a great referral offer. That would be the most amazing!

I will compare Revolut and Wise some time soon. They are different. But some Youtube travellers I follow use Revolut on a daily basis to pay for their coffees in cafes and make their supermarket purchases around the world. That won me over. I use Wise on the other hand more for larger transfers of money ($200+) and to hold international currency.

Let’s say I received $200, I might just leave them in my Wise account until I need $. The same goes for other currencies. I wouldn’t exchange Euro to Dollar because why pay the exchange rate when I know I’ll soon be able to make a Euro purchase.

This is possibly a little more interesting when you have a slightly more international life and have potential clients and students from around the world. Living in San Francisco I am more likely to run into a a European client for a photoshoot who might be happy to be able to pay me in Euro without losing money to money exchange fees. I can accept 50 currencies. Not that I think I’ll ever need to but it just feels so flexible and freeing to have the options.

I have a whole tab for recommendations with multiple referral links and some that don’t pay a bonus. I think I am pretty clear about which services I personally use and which I would consider. Sometimes I just make lists for things I found but haven’t used myself, but that is currently rare and I am clear about it when that is the case.

(Bear in mind that if you do click on one there is a limited time in which you need to activate your account whatever it is. For some referrals I only get 7 days, for others 30 and only very few have longer time periods. If the person I refer doesn’t complete sign up within a given time frame then the perk to me expires. You will still get a good recommendation but I won’t get the reward for sharing it with you. So you could invite me for lunch..)

No time for paragraphs, my thoughts in bulletpoints

Is the digital revolution becoming our digital oppressor?

Change is coming faster than our brains can comprehend

Dear friends,
please bear with me as I develop my thoughts. First I need to put down everything that is on my wind and perhaps then I will be able to organise it into a text that ends with a more optimistic conclusion. The below are the type of thoughts that pass through my mind as I live in proximity to Silicon Valley and the digital revolution that (I apologise for the negativity) appears it could become a digital oppressor. In the future I would prefer to share text with you about PRO-active actions we can all take to create positive futures for ourselves. But today I need to get these concerns off my chest and put them somewhere.

  • will NFT be useful to help us prove authorship over all digital creation? (not just vauous monkey pixel art but illustrations uploaded to instagram, photoshopped photos, any drawings, illustrations and art of any kind uploaded online, writing of all kinds including blogs, articles, essays, research papers, books, video editing…
  • Does it matter than already we have no way of discerning who created what we see: Artificial intelligence or people with talent or a mix of both? (YES it absolutely matters, we would be completely ignorant to consider it a benign phenomenon.)
  • The number of jobs that will be lost is staggering. 
  • Who has control over machine learning when a supercomputer can process data faster in a few seconds than humanity combined?
  • How long ago was it too late to turn back from this tidal change that in due time we will see is changing our history beyond recognition and beyond access to a return?
  • Meta is clearly modelled on Second Life by Linden Lab — I read that meta made an offer to buy Linden Lab, I haven’t followed up with the outcome. But likely Second Life was aquired. 
  • Why do these things matter to all my computer and internet shy friends and acquaintances? Because it will affect your world! You won’t be able to hide from this next stage of digitisation.
  • Globally the trend of the World-Wide web is reversing. Countries are opting out. Some devising complete internet ecosystems of their own other controlling access, others modifying which pockets of the internet may be accessed, a few are barely connected. 
  • The accessible: ‘democratise education’ dream of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) morphed in large parts into subscription based online education and pay-per-course programs. At first there were several dominant players, now every other digitally active entrepreneur is releasing a course to capture a slice of the pie. Learning got expensive. The dreamers saw money and it was just too tempting. Or perhaps it’s a confluence of financial temptation and the knowledge that if the tide and big(ger) tech is resisted there is a fair chance of just being copied and left behind. Better to capitalise and play the game by the rules that emerge as unavoidable.

  • Will digital technology, that also promised a more democratic future, turn against this promise and continue to lead to an ever more divided society? Those who embraced digital technology and those who hesitated or chose to refuse to participate. How will the lives of those that don’t get onboard turn out? It is already a fact that banking and various technologies are reducing website based access and moving towards app based access. This is problematic because controlling technology’s access to our personal data becomes ever more difficult, if not impossible. But to opt out is to become obsolete and in the words of Zygmunt Bauman, I don’t think I am going to dystopian far here, those not participating will be relegated to  “Human waste”.
  • The future we accept digital technology into our life the further we sign away our agency and control over our most personal data.
  • For years we have trained AI in recognising our voice, each time we spoke to Siri and Alexa, asked a question and received a satisfying reply. It doesn’t matter that I personally never used voice recognition softawre, nore face recognition to unlock my phone or secure fingerprint technology to safeguard my phone, enough people appreciated the novelty at first and the practicality thereafter that collectively we are training the machines that may end up taking control over every aspect of our lives.
  • Is this too dystopian? Too far-fetched? 
  • In San Francisco I now see the first driverless cars, completely empty, with no human to control it, driving on the streets. The other day I saw one not at nighttime, which is when I used to see the driverless cars with their human minder, but at daytime, driving on a street with traffic and pedestrians crossing the streets. There is something eerie about this. Something a step too far. Something also tantalisingly reminiscent of Science Fiction series of my 1980’s childhood. 
  • Am I really too concerned? Driverless cars are already on the streets. It may be only a matter of time before they displace all manner of delivery drivers, public transport employees and more. 
  • Did you realise that AI can now create images based on prompts that we provide it with? Give AI a brief and it will create the collage, illustration or photo realistic rendering. (add links in footnotes)
  • Did you realise that AI can now write better articles with better arguments than a large part of the population? Not to put people down but writing well isn’t everyone’s top skill. AI as instant access to the entire library of knowledge and AI doesn’t need rest to accomplish complex or quantitative writing tasks. 
  • Can you REALLY hold on to your belief that AI won’t change the world as we know it? Consider the number of people engaged with image creation, content creation, and writing. And then consider what a life will look like if ALL of them lose their livelihood. Then consider how this huge loss of jobs will affect all of society as large numbers of people will not have the economic means to go shopping for essentials nor to participate in leisure activities. The economic fallout will be catastrophic. 
  • What are governments doing to keep population safe? Or are governments resigned to this tidal wave that they are powerless to stop.
  • Amidst the unbelievable quantity of text available online it is becoming increasingly difficult to fact check. I have observed this concerning trend for several years. I consider myself to be an excellent fact checker but these days am coming up against the obstacle of mass of information. If AI can create Gigabites of content in the space of a second, how can I as a discerning and educated fact checker outpace the avalanche of potentially false or misrepresenting data? An age of propaganda may be in full bloom again, if it isn’t already (and I would argue it increasingly has been for some time.)
  • Shall I continue?…
  • If you are reading this: please remind me to add my footnotes to some of the things I referenced.

(Some keywords of my concerns about machine learning, AI, artificial intelligence, human integrity, economic opportunism, fact checking obstacles, digital tidal wave, digital revolution and digital technology as a potential oppressor.) 

Does all of this point to Societal collapse being a possibility?

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.