Tag Archives: lists

Currently… #sol16 10 of 31


After reading lots of slices that use this format, I thought I’d give it a shot!

I’m currently…

Listening to:

chill, techno music playing at The Montrose, my new favorite hangout in Tirana. Hello quesadillas, homemade chips, and guacamole!


the Slice of Life Challenge this year. Even though I have so much going on right now, I don’t feel stressed at all. In fact, I feel energized by the daily practice of reflecting and writing.


fruit tea and water


about what I’m going to pack tonight for my trip to Thessaloniki. A friend of mine and I are leaving tomorrow after work, driving 7 hours to Greece, and staying through Monday. IKEA here we come! (Yes, we planned a trip to another country for the sole reason of going to IKEA. But, while we are there, we will also hit up a Starbucks to drink a Chai Tea Latte and go to a grocery store to buy cheddar cheese, goat cheese, and other foods we can’t get here. I also see tzatziki, baklava, and Greek salads in our future. Oh, and we’ll see something cultural to make ourselves feel better, too.)


more time in the day. Doesn’t everyone want this? Sometimes I just wish I could hit pause so I could get more work done, or slow down and binge-watch my favorite TV series or read a book, but still have time to do everything else I want/need to do.


the PYP resource room inventory, and subsequently the annual order. Why is it that I have tons of energy for work I want to do, but things I need to do, but aren’t that fun, are harder, and I put them off? Sometimes I need a fire under my ass to get stuff done!


someone to do the inventory for me. 😉


lots of emails, fellow slicer’s blog posts, comments on my blog, PYP unit planners, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, and about to start Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.


that I’m forgetting something. With so much on my plate, I sometimes worry that I forgot to do something.


how Shaggers is doing. She went into labor today, but I haven’t had an update in a few hours. Hope she, Jeezy, and baby Shags are doing well. Love them!!!


my trip to Senegal to visit Melissa, T, and baby Reina during Spring Break (only 8 more days til I leave!). I cannot wait to see them!!! And, Senegal is country #30 for me…woohoo, another milestone!

What I Believe- SOL #24

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI recently read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I was struck by the chapter entitled “What I Believe,” so I used it as a mentor text for today’s slice.

What I Believe

I believe in laughter, the kind where you laugh with your whole body, and your belly aches when you’re done.
I believe in good food and good conversation with good friends.
I believe in going and doing all that you can, before it’s too late.
I believe in the country and the city.
I believe in family, the people who will be there for you no matter what happens.
I believe in fighting for what you believe in.
I believe in love, messy, not-sure-if-it-will-work-out-but-you-go-for-it-anyway love.
I believe in a higher power, a God that is there for us and loves us, even though we don’t always deserve it.
I believe in working hard and giving it all you’ve got.
I believe in desserts, indulgent, comforting, make your mouth water desserts.
I believe that a smile or hug can make someone’s day.
I believe in words; they have the power to move mountains or tear down the most powerful fortress.
I believe that sometimes all you need is a good cry.
I believe that books are meant to be shared.
I believe in giving.
I believe that everyone is a writer, just waiting to be discovered.
I believe that reflection and change, while hard, is a necessary part of living.

You Know You’re a Traveler When… SOL #23


You Know You’re a Traveler When…

You’re thinking about your next trip right after getting home from your last one.

You run out of pages in your passport and have to add more.

A great gift idea for you is travel gear- a new backpack, packing bags, travel-sized accessories- or better yet, an airplane ticket!

You buy a ticket to another country just because you suddenly realize you have a three-day weekend!

You have 3 currencies (or more!) in your wallet at the same time.

You speak in airport codes.

You know that familiar itch, the one that signals it’s time to GO!

You’d rather not buy the latest gadget if it means you can take one more trip this year.

You choose your next destination because the airplane ticket is the cheapest. Skyscanner’s “anywhere” destination search is the tool for that!

The thought of living in the same place your whole life scares you shitless!


Dreaming of Vacation- SOL #7


As I sit here, donned in multiple layers of clothes and wrapped in a blanket, watching the rain fall against a dreary grey sky, I’m dreaming of my next vacation. Luckily, it’ll be here in 3 weeks!

In 3 weeks, I’ll be in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
In 3 weeks, I’ll trade cold and dark for warm and sunny.
In 3 weeks, I’ll be lighter, as I shed the layers that have been weighing me down this winter.
In 3 weeks, I’ll be spending quality time with friends.
In 3 weeks, I’ll wear a swimsuit. (Eeek! Maybe I’m not ready for that one.)
In 3 weeks, I’ll be eating some amazing food. And even learning how to cook it!
In 3 weeks, my biggest worry will be what flavor of fruit juice to have each day.
In 3 weeks, I’ll be slicing from another country.
In 3 weeks, I’ll get an adrenaline rush from zip lining.
In 3 weeks, my passport will have another stamp.
In 3 weeks, I’ll visit with an old high school friend who is an expat in Thailand.
In 3 weeks, I’ll have more photographs to add to my collection.
In 3 weeks, I’ll have more experiences and memories to write about.
In 3 weeks, I’ll get to play with elephants.
In 3 weeks, I’ll soak up as much Vitamin D as possible, and hopefully have a tan to prove it!
In 3 weeks, I’ll get to exhale, as I slow down and relax.
In 3 weeks, I’ll be ready.
Has it been 3 weeks yet?

TBAs- SOL #4


Today was tough. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was hurt. But despite the fact that I’m going through a hard time, I’m going to give gratitude. I going to intentionally look for things that I know to be true, that are beautiful, and that I appreciate.


  • I am loved. My friends and family have poured so much love on me through numerous messages, emails, comments, and hugs these past few weeks and days. Everyone of your words and gestures has touched me deeply. Thank you!
  • I am in pain, but there will be a day when the pain will stop. Everyday I take a step toward the end. Everyday I hope that today will be the day.
  • I may not be able to make a difference, but I can stand up for what I believe in. I can use my voice. I hope this is enough.
  • I’m still standing.
  • I live a truly remarkable life. I get to travel the world, meet new people from diverse cultures, try new foods, indulge in luxuries, and work with kids. For that, I am truly thankful!


  • The sight of my e-bike today. My e-bike that I left at Bubba’s (a restaurant) on Thanksgiving was right where I left it today. I know, with my track record with stolen bikes, I’m not too smart to leave it for 3 months, but it was COLD! Just glad it was still there!
  • Green plants
  • My clean apartment (that I didn’t have to clean)
  • The song “Mean to Me”…I want love like this!
  • Shanghai at night…love the lights!


  • I appreciate my team. My team has stuck together through this trying time, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
  • I appreciate chai tea lattes. They make me smile.
  • I appreciate Pizza Express, unlimited sweet tea, and good conversation today at lunch. Just what I needed!
  • I appreciate the Two Writing Teachers SOL community of writers…you guys have uplifted me so much these past few days! Reading your comments not only fuels me as a writer, but shows me that I’m not alone. You mean more to me than you know.
  • I appreciate Sherpa’s…on days when I don’t feel like cooking, I love that I can get food delivery at my door in less than an hour. Tonight was Thai yellow vegetable curry…yummy!

What are your TBAs?

10 Interviewing DO’s and DON’T’s

Let me preface this by saying that I’m an international school principal, so these are my recommendations when interviewing for an overseas position, although many are transferrable to local positions.

1. DON’T wear your pajamas.
International schools conduct many of their interviews via Skype. While you don’t need to wear a suit and tie, appropriate clothing is appreciated. Take that little bit of extra time to at least make sure the top half of you looks professional and presentable. If you want to wear your flannel panama bottoms, I won’t judge— I’m probably wearing them, too.

2. DO use your real name.
While you may have a cutesy nickname that your friends and family call you, go by your real name during the interview. Unless it’s a name you go by all the time, like Mike for Michael, refrain from sharing on that first interview.

“Hello Hannah, how are you?”
“I’m fine. By the way, my friends call me Heavenly.”
“Oh really? Why’s that?”
“They say I’m like an angel from Heaven.”
“Okay…I think I’ll stick with Hannah.”

3. DON’T tell the interviewer what to do.
Interviewers appreciate feedback and questions, however telling us what to do is a sure way to guarantee we won’t call you for a second interview.

“Have you read all of my recommendation letters?”
“No, that’s usually something we do when we want to offer someone a job, not for the first interview.”
“Well, I suggest you read them all so that you know who you’re talking to.”

4. DO your research.
Before your interview, take the time to get to know a little something about the school. Peruse their website, read their mission statement and values, find out about the curriculum the school uses, write down any questions you have. Employers are impressed that you took that little bit of extra time to find out more about their school. There’s an added benefit for you, too. You’ll get to know whether this school is a good fit for you or not. Do you believe in their mission and values? What about the curriculum? Is it one you are familiar with or one that you believe is best for students?

5. DON’T ask about salary details during the first interview.
The first interview is a time for both the employer and the potential employee to get to know one another, determine if it would be a good match (getting a job goes both ways), and ask some preliminary questions. Asking about the salary right away tells your potential employer that you’re only in it for the money, and not really interested in much else. Of course, salary and benefits are important, but this is something we save until later, when we are interested in making an offer.

6. DO display confidence, not cockiness.
Confidence is great—showing what you have to offer, highlighting your strengths, and selling yourself—but cockiness is not. A cocky attitude is such a turn-off for an interviewer. Look at it this way, if you are this cocky now, what will you be like when you work here?

“So, Sam, what are you looking for in a school?”
“I’m looking for a school that recognizes that I’m the whole package.”
“Oh, okay…”

Pretty sure I was looking for something along the lines of…collaborative, good sense of community, a place to grow professionally, but okay.

7. DON’T bad-mouth your current school.
We get it. You don’t like where you work now. This is probably the reason you are searching for a new job. But please, don’t complain about your current school. While you may think this makes the school look bad, it really just makes you look bad. What goes through my head when someone does this is, “What are they going to say about us if I hire them?”. It’s kind of like when your friend gossips to you about another friend. You have to worry about what they say about you when you’re not around. You don’t have to paint a flowery image that doesn’t exist, but avoid blatant complaining.

8. DO ask questions.
Most people think the interviewers are the only ones to ask the questions, but especially when looking for a position overseas, the interviewee should ask some questions, too. After all, you would be committing two years of your life to this school should you get the job. Preparing questions ahead of time will help you remember what you want to ask. Common question themes include: specific curriculum-related questions, demographics of student body and staff, what life is like there, professional development opportunities (particularly if it’s a new curriculum to you), support and resources available at the school, and school culture. Don’t bombard your interviewer with questions, but ask ones that you truly important to you.

9. DON’T be boring.
Interviewing on Skype is different than in person. I get that. But that’s no excuse to be boring. Let your personality shine through. Be engaged, listen thoughtfully, and show us who you are. The saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is true. If you’re a dud during the interview, it won’t matter how impressive your resume is, because we won’t be calling you back.

10. DO follow up the interview with an email.
Employers appreciate a short email after the interview, thanking them for taking the time to interview you, expressing your continued interest in the position, and even asking a question or two you might not have had the chance to ask during the interview.

Anyone else have any interviewing tips to share?

Travel Tips for Nepal


Having recently visited Nepal, here are some of my tips for you when you go. And yes, you should definitely go!

  • Visit Kathmandu. Really, you should go. There are some pretty interesting places to see like Durbar Square, Thamel, Patan, and the Monkey Temple to name a few. But don’t spend too much time in the city. The countryside’s where the real Nepali experiences are. Go out into the small villages, take a trip around the valley on the back of a motorbike, play soccer with some kids, buy souvenirs from the local artisans. Just get out of the city. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Engage with the locals. Nepali people are some of the warmest, most genuine, helpful people you’ll ever meet. Sit a spell and swap some stories, hand out chocolate to the children in the villages, practice English with some kids, learn from them. Despite having no money, they find happiness in the small things. We could all stand to learn a lesson about how to be happier with less.
  • Bring a face mask. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. The air pollution in the city coupled with the insane amount of dust flying through the air makes it tough to breathe sometimes. Wearing a mask will make it easier to deal with.
  • Bring some USD in cash to exchange. You don’t need a ton of money since Nepal is really cheap, but finding an ATM that is working can be tricky at times. Oftentimes the ATM would be out of service, out of money, unable to connect, or missing altogether. Save yourself the hassle of trekking all around to find an ATM like I did and bring some cash. One more thing about ATMs- Standard Chartered Bank ATMs were the most reliable for me, so if you happen upon one, that’s your best bet.
  • Try the food. Nepali food is yummy. I highly recommend the momos. Delish!
  • Go to Pokhara. Although I didn’t make it there on this trip due to my short time there, it is said to be paradise on earth. Nestled near the foothills of the Himalayas, the backdrop of the mountains against the lake offers breathtakingly beautiful views. Google it. You’ll see what I mean. Only 200km from Kathmandu, you can easily get there by flight (~30 min.) or you can opt for the scenic route and take a bus which will get you there in about 7 hours. Not sure why it takes so long, but that’s what I’ve heard. It’s a definite must on my next trip to Nepal.
  • Bring some extra passport photos with you on your trip. You’ll need one for your visa on arrival as well as any sort of trekking or adventures you may decide to do. You can easily get them taken there, but that’s time and money you may not want to spend.
  • Bring comfortable clothes and shoes. Make sure that you only bring things that can get dirty, because especially in Kathmandu, your clothes will be covered in dust. Another thing for you ladies out there- while they understand that Westerners have a different way of dressing, it is a good idea to dress modestly while in Nepal. This means long pants or skirts at least to the knee and shirts that aren’t revealing and that cover your shoulders.
  • The high tourist seasons are March-May and September-November, so make sure that if you are traveling during this time, you are aware that hotels and tour costs will be higher and availability at popular accommodation spots could be sparse. Might want to do a little research and book ahead if you are traveling during these times. The weather during the Spring season (March-May) really can’t be beat though!

Hope these tips are helpful as you plan your Nepali vacation. Let me know if you have any questions or any of your own tips to share!


A Few of My Favorite Things- SOL #26


Here are a few of my favorite things…

  • my writer’s notebook, a place where I can play with words
  • belly laughs
  • the smell and feel of a new book
  • fresh ripe strawberries
  • hugs, especially from children
  • goat cheese, of course!
  • waking up without my alarm, slowly easing into the day with some reading or writing
  • reading a book aloud to a group of kids
  • my niece and nephew, who I don’t see often enough
  • Pizza Marzano, my own Cheers, where everyone knows my name
  • a good story
  • igniting the spark of writing in others
  • friends that listen and put things in perspective
  • no-agenda Saturdays
  • Ande’s cupcakes
  • manicures and pedicures…in fact, I’m in need of one of each right now!
  • using the Internet in a non-censored country–VPN-less makes me happy!
  • putting on comfy clothes after a long day
  • English breakfast tea
  • reading in the bathtub
  • bike riding–can’t wait to get back out now that it’s starting to warm up!
  • participating in the SOL Challenge…can’t believe it’s nearly over 😦

Today I…- SOL #5


Today I struggled (literally) to get out of bed.
Today I made a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast.
Today I was asked if I was having a bad hair day (admittedly, I was).
Today I led/attended four formal meetings and countless impromptu ones.
Today I was grossed out by a teacher’s story…pubescent boys are the worst!
Today I laughed at the Pre-K students dancing down the hall like The Wiggles.
Today I was a counselor to many people.
Today I wondered how I was going to get it all done. (I didn’t, but there’s always tomorrow!)
Today I had a student in my office for ISS.
Today I hobbled around like an old lady.
Today I sent 53 emails.
Today I talked to a 3 year-old about how we shouldn’t stomp on our food, even if we don’t like it.
Today I strategized with my Head of School.
Today I answered a lot of concerned friends’ questions about my back.
Today I made some tough decisions.
Today I stayed at work late.
Today I bought 1kg of fresh strawberries from a vendor’s cart outside the ditiezhan for 30 kuai.
Today I rode a motorcycle taxi home in the cold…brr!
Today I Skyped with Shaggers and Jeezy.
Today I laughed and smiled, but not as much as I would have liked to.

Today I… – SOL #10

SOLS button 2013

Two Writing Teachers‘ Throwback Thursday post linked to an older post about writer’s notebook strategies, and one of them was “Today I…”. Thought I’d give it a go.

Today I slept in later than I had intended.

Today I shared a pizza with a good friend.

Today I swapped book recommendations.

Today I got a manicure, and now purple and light blue adorn my nails.

Today I wrapped up in my winter coat again due to the 40 degree drop in temperature.

Today I read.

Today I did some work for school, but not much.

Today I caught up with two friends, frenzied conversations flitting across the table.

Today I blogged.

Today I read and commented on fellow slicers’ posts.

Today I went grocery shopping for lunches this week.

Today I wished for more time to devote to reading.

Today I sent a few emails.

Today I was semi-productive.

Today I was happy.