The Calm Before the Mom

(Excerpts from an essay I wrote in 2010. While I’ve changed a lot, it shows I’m still fundamentally the same person).

“Life is the greatest gift and the only one who can change and live it is you. This has always been a philosophy of mine and I truly believe it. Life is a journey that throws many adventures, challenges and lessons and other emotions and events at you. It is how you react, adapt and move forward that determines the person you are. The smallest moments in my life have often made the largest impacts on my philosophy and who I am…I also believe and know that my actions each day define who I am, the person I am the next day and forever on. Life is going to get rocky and tough, but if you sail through it win a fearless attitude and supportive people, the water will eventually calm and become clear.

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Beautiful Beijing Part II

This was by far my favorite part of the trip and an experience I will treasure for some time to come! It was so special! I’ve been to other parts of the Great Wall and this one was the most special. Not to mention that it was lightly snowing with ominous clouds that added to the beautiful morning. You take the cable car up the wall and can walk the section before either taking a chairlift down or as we opted, a toboggan! I really enjoyed this day so much and it’s part of what makes Beijing and China so special.

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Beautiful Beijing Part I

Happy Chinese New Year! For three days of my break, I went to Beijing with two friends and had a great time in the freezing cold! We visited all the tourist spots, had delicious food and the highlight was going to the Great Wall! I have been to different sections of the wall and this without doubt the best one so far! Loved it. This post is broken into three parts because even though I was only there for three days, a lot happened!

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Lessons in Life

You know you live somewhere and are not just visiting in the smallest of ways that are all related to people. Life is about relationships. Not just with our family and friends and coworkers, but the daily people we pass by and have interactions with. Living somewhere is when the local Family Mart cashiers know you like the brown sugar syrup in your latte, the bakery cashier assumes you want honey lemon ginger tea whe she sees you and the dumpling lady doesn’t ask for your order because she knows you want two orders of the first dumpling on the menu. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and one was talking about making impact in the world and how they are often big and small. Yet, these labels are just what they are, labels. Because what is often perceived as a big impact is actually much smaller compared to the waves that small impacts continue to make.

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Nadine .L

People come in and out of lives and I am so thankful that Nadine and I both serendipitously both ended back in China. We first met in Malaysia six years ago when we were both living there for a year. We shared our challenges living in a new country, laughed at the funny cultural idiosyncrasies and ate all the food. Six years later and not much has changed! Nadine is finishing an internship in Kunshan which is a city only a train ride away from Shanghai. We have shared several weekends together running around Shanghai, ordering food from the comfort of my apartment and exchanging hilarious stickers on WeChat. My mom always encouraged me to be friends with redheads so there you go mom! Nadine is a German beauty who has traveled the world and is finishing her undergraduate studies in business before pursuing her masters. The other weekend I sat down with her and interviewed her about all the adventures she has had and all those to come.

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I’ve Got (Holiday) Spirit, How About You?

Happy Holidays! Did Thanksgiving even happen? The Christmas spirit is here and thriving in Shanghai through excessively decorated malls, bright lights and consumerism. The holidays can often be a tough time for everyone no matter who they are or where they are in the world. Ive been doing lots of fun things to celebrate including going to a German Christmas market with the girls, decorating gingerbread houses with coworkers at my apartment and happily accepting the chocolate presents my students are giving me. Shanghai is very festive this time of the year and I am loving it!

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The Power of Thoughts

I joke that I like gloomy and cloudy days because they are thought provoking days. It’s funny because it’s true. As the days in Shanghai are becoming increasingly more cloudy and cold, I find myself making more time to create through art, writing, photography and my yoga practice. One of the main reasons I love yoga and meditation so much is that it has helped me learn to not think and find clarity in my thoughts that like anyone can look like a Picasso painting exploded.

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December

On the eve of the beginning of December, I am reflecting on the past few months of this chapter of my life. The middle of December marks fourth months of living in Shanghai! I was talking to a friend yesterday over Facetime and trying to describe how “right” my life feels at the moment. I feel to the core of me that I am exactly where I am meant to be and doing what I am meant to do in this chapter of my life. To me, Shanghai is pretty magical. My friends have always nicely teased me when I use words like “magical.” How I feel right now is as close to real life magic that I have ever left. I feel so settled in myself, passionate and excited about teaching, curious about everyday happenings and have consciously surrounded myself with some really phenomenal human beings.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Shanghai!

Happy Thanksgiving from Shanghai! Life lately has been a lot of fun, very busy writing midterm reports and of course funny because what is life without humor. A few days ago I was at a museum with a friend and sat down only to be bombarded by Australian high school students who after learning that I was American proceeded to interrogate me about the news. “What do you think of Donald Trump and gun control” was the first thing out of their mouth. Nice to meet you guys too! It was actually a very interesting conversation. They were on a six week trip, spending two weeks in China and then the other four in Israel as they went to a Jewish prep school in Australia.

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Creativity: Here to Create

Part of the most beautiful thing that has come from my move to Shanghai and my own desires is that I have made time to pursue lots of my own passions. Through my daytime job as a teacher I have been able to become a student (again). I would hope that we all want to be lifelong students, but dedicating the time to learn and explore can be challenging when our lives seem like they are going a million miles an hour. Creativity has always been such a huge part of my life and something I use as an outlet for stress, place to find serenity and for pure fun too! Fun and silliness is so important.

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