Tag Archives: Slice of Life

37 Things That Make Me Happy

While most of the world is focused on the royal wedding today, I’m quietly celebrating my 37th birthday. Rather than having a huge party, I’m keeping it low-key. Due to the fact that Ramadan has just started, parties are frowned upon, at least ones that include loud music and any alcohol. Despite the fact that it doesn’t really feel like my birthday, I am looking forward to spending the weekend in Puncak at a nature retreat and spa about an hour outside of Jakarta with Miriam and Michelle. The plan is to go for a walk, lounge by the pool, read, get massages, and eat yummy food. Sounds pretty good to me!

It’s pretty crazy to think that I’ve celebrated my birthday in a different country the past four years! This year it’s Indonesia, last year was Thailand, before that was Albania, and before that was China. Hopefully I’ll be in Indonesia for the next few! As per a tradition I started a couple of years ago (35 things and 36 things), I like to reflect on things that make me happy on my birthday. In random order, here are 37 things that make me happy.

  1. Country music…lately I’ve been listening to it, which is out of the ordinary for me, but I’m loving it!
  2. Taking my niece Randi and nephew Logan on dates
  3. Bagel sandwiches, toasted with garlic cream cheese, loads of veggies, white cheddar, and a touch of mustard…mmm
  4. Getting lost in a good book
  5. Completing my to-do list, especially when I didn’t think I would
  6. The look on their face when I give the perfect gift
  7. Mango sticky rice…I had a bunch last weekend in Thailand, and it did not disappoint!
  8. No-agenda days
  9. Ice-cold coconut water
  10. Traveling to new places and filling my passport with stamps and visas
  11. Revisiting favorite destinations, stopping by the spots I remember and finding new places to love
  12. Making people laugh
  13. Sunny Shanghai weekends…man, do I miss that place! (Lucky for me I’m visiting again next month!)
  14. Spending time with family and friends
  15. Solving a problem
  16. A clean, organized home or office
  17. Smoothie bowls…Alchemy in Ubud has the best ones, hands down!
  18. Getting to see my former students…last week in Thailand warmed my heart so much when I got to love on my little babes!
  19. A nice-smelling candle
  20. Go-Massages…or massages in general
  21. Feeling strong
  22. Green plants around my home
  23. Teaching others
  24. Nice, colorful pens
  25. Making a difference in the work I do
  26. Pavlova…can’t wait to eat this a bunch in NZ this summer!
  27. FaceTime dates
  28. Participating in the Slice of Life Challenge each year
  29. Iced sweet tea
  30. Watching a movie in the theatre with a big bag of hot, buttered popcorn
  31. My new home…I’ve made it my own oasis, and I love it!
  32. Photography…getting that perfect shot is the best!
  33. Saturday mornings, when I get to do whatever I want…sleep later than normal, FaceTime with friends, catch up on my shows, drink hot English Breakfast Tea, and make breakfast
  34. Comfy leggings to travel in are a must-have!
  35. Buying a new, quirky pair of glasses
  36. Reconnecting with a friend…getting to catch up with Josh last weekend did my soul some good 🙂
  37. Friends who become your family
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Last year at this time I was celebrating my 36th with Julie, Lauren, and Kyleigh in Bangkok. 🙂

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When the Slice of Life Challenge is Over #sol18

I got this idea from a fellow slicer, and thought it was the perfect way to reflect on the Slice of Life Challenge. In my eighth year, I am a seasoned slicer and deeply cherish this gift of writing and community, and today, the last day of March 2018, I am sad that it’s coming to an end.

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
get back to my normal exercise routine

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
deeply miss the daily interactions with the SOL community

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
spend time planning my summer travels

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
miss writing every day

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
have more time to catch up on the work I’ve put off

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
be a better friend to those I’ve neglected

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
try to find a happy medium with my blogging (it doesn’t have to be all or nothing)

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
finish that puzzle I started

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
spend more time writing in my writer’s notebook

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
focus more on my goals for this year

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
miss reading about what karpenglish, shaggerspicchu, elsie, standingtall47, angelina’sgarden, and tomasevichtales are up to everyday

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
read more books

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
strike a better balance

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
have a hard time letting go

When the SOL Challenge is over I will
look forward to next year’s challenge

On Photography #sol18

As an avid traveler, photography is one of my budding hobbies. I haven’t taken a class (I probably should ) and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I try. That’s what counts, right? 🙂 Today, as I swiped through the photos I’ve taken so far on my trip, I’ve been thinking about me as a photographer.

On Photography

At first
center it
point and click
snap, snap, snap
quantity over quality

Through the years
I’ve evolved
no longer
am I satisfied
with mediocre

Now my photos
have to
tell a story
make the viewer
wonder and
question

The focus now
is less
on the famous
or touristy
and more
on the ordinary

Catching glimpses of
everyday life
made interesting
by the angle
the framing
and the focus

Color and
lines
grab my eye
intriguing me
enticing me
to take the shot

The goal to
get the perfect shot
the right angle
subjects in and
out of focus
framing it just so
better than editing later

More concerned with
quality over quantity now
many shots
don’t make the cut
but the ones
that do
are just right

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

A Reading Kinda Day #sol18

Today was a walk around, stop for a while to grab a bite to eat or drink, and read, read, read kind of day. It’s been a long time since I’ve truly gotten lost in a book and spent the majority of the day reading, and I’ve missed it! All too often, I’ll read in short spurts, distracted by technology or something else I have to do. Lately, my reading life has been in a slump, and while I’m always in the middle of a book or two, it’s taking me longer and longer to finish a book.

Today, as I read, I got swept up in the story. I found myself stopping for longer stretches, breaking out my book to read, tuning out the noise around me. And boy was there noise today! I heard cappuccino machines steaming, blenders whirring, spoons clinking, patrons gabbing, music blasting, fans spinning, motorbikes speeding, horns honking, drills drilling, and hawkers yelling. Somehow the noise took a backseat to the story, becoming the soft backdrop, rather than the main event.

I managed to read over half of my book, and I plan on reading more tonight before bed. Of course, reading is on my agenda tomorrow. Frankly, other than trying more delicious food, it’s the only thing on my agenda. By the way, I’m reading Turtles All The Way Down, John Green’s newest book.

Here are a few shots of my day, in between my reading sessions.

Little India #sol18

Craving a taste of Indian food, I headed toward Little India. The bright, in-your-face colors, vibrant aromas, exploding flavors, and make-you-wanna-dance songs drew me in.

After stopping for lunch, I hit the streets, following my whims. Pulled this way and that, distracted by the Indian music blasting from every other shop and the sights, colors, and smells grabbing for my attention, I meandered through the streets, in and out of shops.

The midday sun beat down on me, forcing me to retreat to the shade whenever possible. Passing a small shop, a man outside chopping coconuts caught my eye. As I stopped to watch him artfully maneuver his knife with quick, successive movements, I noticed the sign claiming “the best coconut milkshake in Malaysia” was sold there. Hot and dripping with sweat, I gave it a try. Watching the lady mix fresh coconut water, fresh coconut meat, ice, and vanilla ice cream together, I just knew it was going to be tasty. It was indeed! I was so busy drinking it, that I forgot to take a picture. Guess I’ll have to go back tomorrow to get a pic!

As I wandered through the streets, I happened upon some of Penang’s famous street art. The whimsical paintings mixed with real objects drew a small crowd of tourists all vying for their turn to snap a photo. I was no different.

As I sit here, alternating between writing this slice and sopping up my Paneer Butter Masala with naan, I am wondering what tomorrow’s adventures will bring. While there’s no plan, I know for sure it’ll include some delicious food!

Days Like These #sol18

Days Like These

It’s days like these I love
waking up
when I want to
in my own time
easing into the day
no beep-beep-beep
breaking the silence
disrupting
my quiet, peaceful slumber

It’s days like these I love
being alone
no agenda whatsoever
free to do
what I want
when I want
taking my time
or rushing around
it’s up to me

It’s days like these I love
exploring a new city
no map to guide me
no predetermined list
of must-sees and
must-dos
just going where
I’m led
pulled by my desires

It’s days like these I love
resetting me
forgetting my many
responsibilities
and just living
in the moment
reflecting on my own
happiness
on days like these

Life-long Learner #sol18

For the past couple of days, I’ve been attending the IB Global Conference in Singapore. Different than a workshop, where you are focused on one topic the entire time, the conference allows you to dip your toes into many different topics throughout the conference. At the moment, I’m trying to process all that I’ve learned. My thinking has been challenged, and I realize that I need some time to reflect on the new information I’ve gleaned, synthesize it, and decide whether it’s valuable and applicable to my school context.

So far, what’s excited me most is this whole idea of student agency and how we can empower students to take charge of their own learning. I’ve listened to teachers and leaders present their experiences with an entire grade level who co-teaches in an open, student-centered space where students make their own schedule for the day, share their experiments with letting students choose what, how, and when to learn, and heard about how the shifts in the PYP will put student agency at the forefront.

Another idea I’ve been drawn to this weekend and been thinking a lot about is how to differentiate professional learning for teachers. Attending a few sessions centered around PD has given me much to think about. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I need to change my teachers’ perspectives on what PD is. I am energized to unpack the ideas I’ve gathered, pair it with the research I’ve read and my own ideas to come up with a bigger understanding.

Since this week is my Spring Break, I’m looking forward to having some time to really reflect on everything, rather than jump back into school like I usually have to do. I hope to post more of my thinking in the coming days and weeks.