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God bless people who buy low and sell high

Arbitrage and speculation get a bad rap sometimes, but they're incredibly useful.

I'm leaving Ulaanbaatar shortly and I'll be heading to Japan. I went to stock up on some basic supplies - personable consumables and work stuff.

Strikingly, paper is really expensive here for Western-grade, Western-style paper. The local shops literally don't carry it. Instead, they have this checkered sort of paper. It's like graph paper, but with thick black lines. I prefer black ink, and after trying out one of those notebooks, I couldn't read what I'd written.

I tried some of the upscale department stores (Sky Department Store, State Department Store) and there's literally no Western-style, 60 sheet lined notebooks in the $1 to $2 range like you'd see in the USA. They have high end notebooks for $6 to $12, and they have these thin flimsy 20-page booklet-type things for around $1. I settled for the booklet.

Now, if there was the demand to make it worth it, someone importing Western style paper from China at 20 cents a notebook and selling it here for $2 per notebook would be creating a lot of value. If this presented a large enough opportunity, eventually you'd see the margins go down towards cost, as happens in almost all industries.

Year in Review: 2013

On Imported Blog

Welcome to 2014. For me, it feels like my year started in June. Being on a semester system in school, it feels like January-May was a totally different year.

It's been a bit exciting, if not grueling. I've grown a lot, but at the same time, I've fallen back towards resistance and am still struggling with Step 1 of How To Take Control of Your Life. When I let the biggest hindrance go, I start to look for something to fill the time with, and sadly, I fell back into it.

I was wrong about a ton of stuff this year, but I can also say I was also really right about a lot, too. I've probably made a ton of mistakes that are going to affect me in the long run, but the time to change my life is coming up one week into the New Year, so we'll see how it goes.

I think I'm struggling the most with a sense of direction. I know what I want to do in the long run, but right now, no options seem viable for my unique situation. Yes, maybe I'm a teenager convinced that I'm a special snowflake, but it's still difficult in the present. One of the best skills you can have is to look at your present hardship as how you do when you look at your hardship in hindsight.

All I can attest to doing this year is trying.

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