Monthly Archives: March 2019

More Days Like This

Today was a perfect day. I need more days like this.

A Perfect Day

Morning slicing
No rush
Sunny and breezy
The wind in my hair
Ninety minutes of stretching and kneading
Melting into a Thai massage induced coma
A short walk through the familiar neighborhood
My favorite Penang curry by the lake
A bit too spicy this time,
But still delicious
Quick stop for some Thai snacks
Before heading to the pool
Water the perfect temperature for lounging
And catching up with not one,
But two friends
Sunkissed, heading back as the sun set
Showered and in our pj’s
Pizza, laughs, and Netflix
The perfect end to
A perfect day

Five Stages of Grief: Bangkok Traffic Edition

After landing in Bangkok, I breezed through immigration, and having traveled with only a carry on, I was chuffed with myself that I wouldn’t have to waste precious time waiting on my luggage. Ready to get to Callie’s, I made my way down to the taxi queue. What in the world are all these people doing just sitting around? Maybe they’re waiting on people to come pick them up, I thought.

Making a bee line for the booth, I asked the attendant for a taxi, showing them Callie’s address in Thai. She gestured for my ticket indicating it was my turn in line. Thoroughly confused by this new system, I grabbed a ticket from the machine. Number 614. Ah crap! The number on the screen was 567. The realization hits me that this is why all these people are waiting around.

Surprisingly, the wait only took 20 minutes, after which I was loaded into a taxi on my way to Callie’s. Since it’s Bangkok, I know I’m in for about an hour’s worth of traffic. As anyone who’s lived in Bangkok or Jakarta can tell you, travel time has nothing to do with distance. ‘How far away are you?’ is never a question met with 5 km. It’s always explained in time. Being 5 km away could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic.

Cruising along the toll road, we were making good time. The sun was out, so I picked up my book, diving back into the stories of Jack and Libby. As the sun started to set, I switched my book for some tunes, happily lip syncing along while I smiled at the city passing by outside my window. We’re making good time. I should make it by 7:00, just in time to go to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the area.

No sooner had the thought passed through my mind, we came to a complete standstill. Red lights as far as the eye can see. Feeling myself getting frustrated, I tried to think happy thoughts, but the stop-go-stop-go wasn’t doing anything to calm me down. In fact, it only made it worse.

Well, maybe we just need to get past this one jam. We’ll pick up speed again, making up lost time. As the minutes ticked by, I kept making deals with myself, guessing what time we would arrive, adjusting the time frequently. Unsuccessful attempts to communicate with my taxi driver only fueled the frustration. How far away? “Close,” he said, whether he really believed it or not.

The maximum speed of 10 km per hour was taking its toll. I became antsy and resentful. Frustration built up in my chest. My jaw clenched. Looking at my watch only increased my anxiety. Staring at the red light we’d been stopped at for what felt like eternity, I willed it to change. Of course, it didn’t. Finally, I gave in.

I’ll get there when I get there. We’ll miss dinner. Callie’s probably wondering what happened to me. She’s probably starving and ready for a meal, too. Maybe she’ll have given up and eaten at home by the time I arrive.

After my driver missed the turn to Callie’s, I refused to let him make the u-turn and try again, knowing that would add even more time to the journey. Directing him with hand signals, I led him through the back streets and we eventually made it. Two hours after getting in the taxi, I was finally able to give Callie a hug! And, we made it for dinner.

Rereading Childhood Favorites

As an avid reader, I’ve been in love with books as long as I can remember. My reward for any good deed I did as a child was a trip to Hasting’s or Half Price Books where my parents would buy me a book (or two or three if I was convincing enough) of my choosing. Frequent visits to the public library were a staple in my summer life. The Scholastic Book Fair was one of the most exciting weeks of the school year, where I was given money and allowed to buy any book my heart desired. Anywhere I went, I carried a book, never wanting to waste a spare moment of time I could have been reading.

Needless to say, I amassed a long list of favorite books as a child, ones that I recommended frequently, sharing the joy they had brought me when I read them. By the time I got into chapter books early on in elementary school, I wasn’t a re-reader. Despite falling in love with different characters and series, I thought it more important to devour new titles rather than spend my time re-reading a book I’d already finished. However, as an adult, I fondly looked back on these childhood favorites and longed to read them again, in hopes of them taking me back to a simpler time, allowing me to experience the joy they once brought me.

Although what I’ve realized through this read down memory lane is that the good memories I have of reading these books as child don’t always translate into my adult reading life and preferences. Oftentimes these revisits leave me empty, wondering why I fell in love with the book in the first place, souring me on the title altogether. It’s a bit like your first love. You look back fondly on the relationship, reliving the highlights, romanticizing the person and wondering why you ever let them go. But when you see them again, you’re let down, doubting your memories and left wondering, What was I thinking?!

So, rather than slog through some of my childhood favorites just to come up short, I’d rather look back on them like an old love, savoring the memories and the good feelings they brought me. In my opinion, it’s better to maintain the illusion than shatter it.

Bad Case of Writer’s Block

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”

Dan Poynter

I’ve been incredibly indecisive today. It took me over an hour to decide what to eat for dinner. I couldn’t decide what to watch on Netflix. I’ve avoided writing by spending too much time on social media. I’ve looked for inspiration on Pinterest and my bookshelf. I’ve stared at the screen for over an hour trying to figure out what to write.

But instead of finding inspiration, I’ve come down with a bad case of writer’s block. It happens once every SOL Challenge, but since I got through the mid-month hump, I figured I was safe this year. It’s Day 28. By this point in the challenge, I’m usually coasting, already mourning the impending end of the challenge.

It happens to us all, but let me tell you, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my normal writing self tomorrow.

Still

Today’s slice was sparked by reading The Lit Coach Lady’s blog, where she’s been writing her slices from a SPARK! each day. The spark that piqued my interest was the Word Spark, where you start with a word- any word– and let it guide your writing. Not knowing which word to choose, I Googled ‘random word generator’ and clicked until I found a word that resonated with me.

Still

I feel called to be still. After a busy semester and a full-on week, I’ve been tired today. I struggled to get out of bed this morning, craving more rest. Rather than going out to dinner like I’d planned, I came home, where I can be still. Sometimes our brains and bodies need that. With all of the noise that swirls around us constantly, things pulling us this way or that, we crave stillness to center ourselves again. I can’t wait for next week, where I can just be still. Where I can just sit by the pool, fresh juice in one hand and a book in the other, letting the stress and responsibilities melt away. Still doesn’t really have a positive or negative connotation, does it? You can be still because you’re being mindful, relaxing while watching a movie or reading a book, or listening to someone else. Conversely, stillness can come when you are brought to a halt, when your world stops spinning, the wind is knocked out of your sails and you’re just trying to gain your composure again. No matter the cause, stillness forces us to stop and be in the moment. Slicing does that, too. For those few minutes or hours when you’re pouring your heart onto the screen, you can’t do anything else. You are still. March is a month to be still and focus on what’s around us. For that, I’m grateful.

Stress Relief

It’s that time of the year where the stress has built up. It’s been almost 12 weeks since we came back from Christmas break, and we are all in need of a holiday. After school, I was frustrated. My typical response to frustration or a stressful day would be to come home, stew about it, veg out on the couch watching Netflix and eating junk food, feeling sorry for myself. But today I chose a different response. I chose to honor my commitment to the gym despite feeling cruddy.

Stress Relief

grumpiness started
to make itself at home
the chocolate chip cookie
doing little
to stave off the feeling of frustration
dreams of the couch
coming to my rescue
played in my head

but I have an appointment
do I cancel? or do I go?
begrudgingly i went
convinced I’d do my thirty minutes
and leave

the beat started off slow
then sped up
motivating me to row
faster than normal
picking up speed
with each passing minute

endorphins taking over
the stress started to thaw
my training session
over too fast
but i was ready
for more

Good for the Soul

You know those friendships that can withstand time and distance? Those ones where you can just pick up right where you left off, no matter how long it’s been? Lauren’s one of those friends. We’ve both had a lot going on and haven’t been able to catch up in way too long, but when she called me tonight, it was like being enveloped in a big hug.

Not wasting any time, we launched right into our conversation, catching one another up on the details of our lives, celebrating one another’s victories and empathizing with the low points. I’m honestly so damn happy for her. She’s had a lot to overcome these last few years, but she’s in such a good place now. Of all the people out there, she deserves it. Lauren’s the kind of person who would do anything for the people she cares about, oftentimes putting herself as the last priority, so to see her looking after herself and thriving instead of just surviving makes my heart swell.

As we meandered through topics of conversation, time stood still. Before we knew it, well over an hour had passed. With both of us needing to wake up early for school, we reluctantly ended our chat, knowing we could have kept on going for at least another hour. It’s definitely a to be continued conversation. Luckily the next time we pick up where we left off, we’ll be able to do it in person. We will both be in Bangkok next week and have already set aside Monday as our day to hang out, doing all the things we love- eating yummy Thai food, getting massages, sitting by the pool, and engaging in deep conversations, of course! One week to go…I can’t wait!

Talking with Lauren was good for the soul. I needed that tonight.

This picture of us was from 2 years ago in Thailand when we went on a crazy adventure road trip that I won’r soon forget! ūüėÄ

Currently…

I’m currently…

Listening to a chill playlist including some of my favorite artists- Dermot Kennedy, Wrabel, and Sleeping at Last. It’s oh-so-soothing and the perfect backdrop for writing.

Loving the new Queer Eye episodes, my dinner of a veggie burger with paratha, and the fact that I’ll be heading to Bangkok to spend time with Callie in just 6 short days.

Drinking sweetened iced tea. Feels like home.

Thinking about how I’m going to pack for my summer adventure in only a carry-on. As a habitual overpacker, I just know I’m going to struggle to fit everything in under 7-10 kgs. I still need to research the baggage weight limits on all my flights.

Wanting to see all the new movies coming out this summer, especially Toy Story 4 and Aladdin.

Procrastinating my inbox clean up, lesson observation feedback emails, and a few other jobs. Weekends aren’t my most productive time.

Needing to sort out everything for my background checks in China, Thailand, and Albania. Ugh…wish I had gotten them when I lived there. Not my smartest move, for sure.

Reading very little this month. My reading life takes a nose dive in March, as writing time fills my free time. I’m currently in the middle of a few books, and I’m looking forward to finishing them up next month.

Worrying about how I’m going to get everything done before the end of the school year, which is a mere two months away.

Wondering if I should start one of the new books I bought this week before I finish the ones I’m currently reading. I am just so excited for my new books!

Anticipating my summer travel plans. Now that I’ve made my plans, I can’t wait to travel to all the places and see all the people I love. I know it’s going to be here before I know it, but 10 weeks seems so far away!

This weekend has been hard for me to decide what to write about. Hoping I can finish out the challenge without having to rely on any more formats. What are you currently doing?

Hello there…

I am an adventurous person who enjoys seeing as much of this big, beautiful world as I can.

I keep thinking about my upcoming travel plans. I vacillate between wanting to speed up time so I can be there already and savoring the build up that makes traveling so much more enjoyable when you actually get to go.

I wish I could be more motivated. Lately I’ve been slacking on things that I know I should do and those I want to do.

I love spending time alone and with others, listening to music that stirs my soul, eating delicious food, making plans and being spontaneous, traveling to new locations and revisiting places I’ve been before.

I dance when there’s a beat I can’t resist. I might not have much rhythm, but I bop along anyway.

I sing¬†often when listening to my favorite playlists, but most of the time I lip sync, since I’m usually listening at the gym, while walking, or when riding on the back of a Go-Jek.

I think¬†often about where I see myself in the next few years. I have some ideas, but I’m not really sure. Part of that scares me and part of it excites me.

I really wish I had one more day this weekend. Finding the balance of relaxing and catching up on work/getting ahead is something I struggle with often.

I need¬†to clean out my inbox. If I don’t stay on top of it, it becomes so unruly that I don’t know where to start (like now!).

I should¬†get to the gym more often. My goal is four times per week, but lately I’ve only made it three times a week. I’m going to go today!

I can¬†be silly or serious, sarcastic or straightforward. It all depends on my mood, the situation, and my relationship with the person to whom I’m talking.

I make playlists to match my moods, pancakes on the weekend, plans and lists.

I always request the window seat, pack too much, have lots of snacks, and bring my iPad filled with music, movies and books when I go on a flight.

I really like this format for a slice, especially when I’m not really sure what to write about (like today). This is my fourth attempt at Hello There (see versions one, two, and three), and I like how they are all different, yet contain some of the same themes.

slice-of-life_individual

Around the World in a Summer

Scribbling, researching, erasing, scribbling, researching some more, narrowing down the choices, matching up the dates, looking for the best deals, working into the night, a weight lifted as I finalized my summer plans.

My adventures will take me on a trip around the world this summer. Like, literally around the world. I’ll visit 6 countries, take 10 flights, traverse 29,803 miles, and spend 73 hours traveling on planes and in airports plus many more to and from said airports, all in just under 6 weeks. It’s insane when I think about it, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun!

My Summer 2019 Plans:

2 June- Jakarta to Hong Kong

I’ll spend two nights in Hong Kong visiting friends and eating at my favorite restaurants.

4 June- Hong Kong to London (arrive 5 June)

London stopover for 36 hours, during which I’ll stay in Piccadilly Circus and watch ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Prince of Wales Theatre, a show I’ve been dying to see.

6 June- London to Tirana, Albania

I’ll spend 5 nights/4 days in Tirana with a friend, where I’ll visit old friends and wander around the city I called home back in 2015-2016, visiting old haunts and taking note of all the changes. I’m really looking forward to going back to a place that I left on such a sour note, now that I’ve moved on and can look back on the fond memories I had there.

11 June- Tirana to Paris

Ahhhh, Paris! I’m so excited to go back to this city that I love, only this time with my cousin Katy. She flies in the day after me, and we will spend a week sightseeing, walking, and eating our way through Paris. We’ll take in my favorite sights, such as the Lourve, D’Orsay, Montemarte, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower, plus a day trip to Versailles. I can’t wait!

19 June- Paris to Calgary, Canada

Katy and I head out together from Paris, but part ways at JFK, when I head to Calgary as she goes back to Texas. I’m so looking forward to spending time with Shaggers, Jeezy, and Marlowe in their new-ish home in Okotoks, near Calgary. I haven’t seen them since 2016, unless you count the many FaceTime calls, so this is going to be a special trip!

24 June- Calgary to Texas

My trip wouldn’t be complete without some quality time with my family in Texas. In addition to my dates with Randi and Logan (a tradition started years ago), movies with my dad, mani/pedis with my mom, dinners with old friends, and the Kesler Family Reunion on the 4th of July, I’m ready for some of my favorite foods that I can only get in Texas- chips and queso, Shipley’s donuts, and Tex Mex food.

11 July- Dallas to Hong Kong

Fifteen hours being trapped in a metal tin can. Oh joy! ūüėČ

12 July- Hong Kong to Jakarta

What I’ll look forward to most when I come back home after nearly six weeks away is my own bed and a bit of routine after a wild, crazy summer!

With my summer plans completed, I’m now looking forward to planning the smaller details, such as where we will stay in Paris, who I’ll see in Tirana, and where I’ll eat in all of my destinations! More to come, I’m sure.