Tag Archives: #sol15

Head Too Full- SOL #8


My head is so full, it feels like
an overfilled balloon that can’t handle one more puff of air
a can of biscuits left out on the counter too long
your belly after Thanksgiving dinner when you wore tight skinny jeans
a rusty pipe, whose screws have lost their strength, trying to hold back the dam
a stick of dynamite, lit and ready to blow

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?

Sleepless Nights- SOL #6


Sleepless Nights

can’t shut it off
the endless loop
the record skipping
the song on repeat
tossing and
trying to find
that one comfortable spot
maybe then
I can sleep

watching the clock
counting the hours of
sleep I’ll get
if I can just
sleep now
the bags
under my eyes
reveal the truth

can I sleep tonight?
can I shut if off
long enough
to fully rest?
will the worry
cease to invade
my mind?
I hope so
I really, really
hope so

I LOVE Myanmar…and You Will, Too!- SOL #5


Have you ever heard of Myanmar? I hadn’t until I lived in Asia. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is located in Asia between Thailand and Bangladesh. Having been closed to tourism for a long time, it’s relatively untouched when compared to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I recently returned from my second trip, and I absolutely LOVE Myanmar! Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding it to your list.






The People

The people of Myanmar are extremely friendly and helpful. “Mingalaba” is called out to all, said with a smile on their face. When you’re in trouble, they help you out. Like the time I was scared of the stray dogs growling and barring their teeth and the hotel owner drove me around Inle Lake to find Shaggers. Or like the police who found my friend Aaron’s wallet, then called around to find out where he was staying, and upon realizing he had left for another town, traveled to the other town to hand deliver it to him with all the money and cards still in it. And you can’t forget the babies…they are just so darn cute! ­čÖé


The Food

I have 4 words for you. Burmese. Tea. Leaf. Salad. Oh my goodness…amazingness! Once I tried it I was hooked, and I proceeded to have at least one each day. The mix of flavors and textures explodes in your mouth. And then there’s the fresh juice. Lime was my favorite, but pineapple and mango were a close second. The abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits made it a vegetarian’s dream (especially in Bagan)!





The Vibrancy

Myanmar is vibrant, full of life, with splashes of color everywhere. Walking around, your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the bright, rich colors. The sounds and smells are vibrant, too. You’re inundated with the sounds of motorbikes whizzing by, cars honking, people shouting to one another, and the sound of hooves as the horses pull their carriages. The scent of spicy curries, manure, fresh flowers, and dust assault your nose.





The Lake- Inle Lake to be exact

Inle Lake is one of my favorite places on earth. Seriously. There’s just something about it that I love. Maybe it’s the lake itself. Riding across the lake in a long boat, taking it all in- the villages, floating gardens, the mountains off in the distance, the fishermen- puts a smile on my face. All my cares in the world seem to disappear. Maybe it’s the simple way of life, the quaint little town, with it’s dirt roads, markets, and delicious restaurants. Maybe it’s the bike riding trails around the area, where you can ride around and get lost. I’m not sure exactly what it is that I love about Inle Lake, but I do know that my heart is happy when I’m there.



The Sunsets

I cannot tell you how much I love a good sunset. And Myanmar has some great ones, especially on Inle Lake. Photographs can’t even begin to do them justice.






The Temples

Awe-inspiring, full of history, beautiful temples abound in Myanmar, particularly in Bagan, where there are about 3,000 of them. While you can get “templed out” after looking at so many of them, they really are spectacular. I especially like them at night, the way they contrast against the night sky.

IMG_3044┬áThere are many more reasons why I love Myanmar and think you will, too. Check it out, plan a trip, and discover it for yourself. You won’t regret it. ­čÖé

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┬áthat I appreciate.


  • I am loved. My friends and family┬áhave poured so much love on me through┬ánumerous 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?

My Happy Place- SOL #3



When things are tough and it’s hard to keep going, it’s good to have a happy place, a place where you can find peace. For me, that’s my apartment. I love my little haven, away from the noise, away from the pollution, away from the stuff that brings me down. At home, it’s just the way I like it.



My apartment is comfortable. It’s large enough to not feel cramped, but small enough to be cozy and warm. I finally have a couch that’s comfy and large enough to seat many people (game nights!). I have space to display my artifacts that I collect on my travels without it looking cluttered. When I look at these sculptures, paintings, and creative pieces, I’m reminded that I lead a very blessed life. I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do- travel the world!



My kitchen, although small, is just right for me. I have everything I need to cook and have even made enough food to serve over 20 people in my tiny kitchen. It’s (nearly) always clean, thanks to my wonderful ayi who comes 4 days a week to keep me organized. I told you I had a blessed life! I love my tea station, where I have a wide variety of tea to choose from. A cuppa tea in the evening is all I need to chill. Well, that and a good book or an episode of Scandal (my recent obsession- thanks Michelle!).



Having an extra bedroom means room for guests, a desk to do my work (although I tend to work on the couch lately), and more closet space (I have way too many clothes!). I love having a second bedroom, as it helps me not to feel cramped.


I love having fresh flowers and plants in my house- it brings life and a touch of green. Plants make me smile, and I’m proud to say that I have kept almost all of my plants alive since moving in last August. This is a huge accomplishment for me! ­čÖé



Lastly, I love my bedroom! It’s such a comforting place, where I am surrounded by plants, artwork, and pictures I love. I love my window seat and view of Shanghai. I love my comfortable bed- thank you IKEA mattress pad! I love my art wall. I love that I go to bed and wake up each day looking at my OLW from last year- Balance (thanks Andrew for the art!). It’s a daily reminder to live a balanced life. I certainly need that reminder more lately.

I love that when I’ve had a tough day, when the world has beaten me down, I can come home and be surrounded by things I love that make me happy.


Back to Slicing- SOL #1


Every year I look forward to March, the month of slicing every day. I look forward to the routine of writing, the pressure of the daily deadlines, revisiting old friends whom I’ve missed all year, the lessons I learn from others, sharing in the triumphs and struggles, and the feedback. As a fifth year slicer, I’m used to it. Used to living my life with wide open eyes, looking for a slice idea to share. I’d like to say that today’s slice came easy, but as I stare at my computer screen, writing, deleting, and writing some more, I’m struggling to come up with a slice to share. I’d like to share a slice that lets you get to know me a bit, something lighthearted and fun, a poem or anecdote full of whimsy and personality perhaps, but I don’t have it in me today.

This week- heck, this past month- has been particularly difficult. Without going into it too much, work has been a series of ups and downs, heartbreaks and disappointments. Being a leader has been hard. Knowing the right thing to do, weighing all the options and making the best decisions under trying circumstances, hasn’t always been clear. I’ve followed my heart and stood up for what I believe to be right, what I believe to be the best decision in the midst of it all, but I’ve learned you can’t make everyone happy. With so many stakeholders, each with their own needs and wants, it feels like you’re walking a tightrope, trying to balance it all and not fall off. I haven’t always been the most popular person. There have been many tears, many my own. But what I’ve realized is that all I can do is take the information I’m given, the situations that are handed to me, and try my best to do what’s right, to stand up for what I believe in. As long as I do that, I can hold my head up high.

Trying times not only show you what you’re made of, but they show you who you can count on. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by loving friends and colleagues who show me their support, listen, and love me through the mess. Without them, I’m not sure how I’d get through it. So as I go into battle tomorrow, I take solace in knowing that my friends have my back. Thank you! I love you guys!

Join the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers! I highly recommend it!

I swear I lived…

Have you ever come across a song that resonates deep within you? One that you have on constant repeat? A song that stays with you long after the music has stopped? 

For me, that song is “I Lived” by One Republic. It holds so much promise. Speaks to my soul. Is a mantra for how I want to live my life. I long to live life to the fullest, taking chances and stepping outside of my comfort zone. The chorus, “I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. Yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”, is all about living intentionally, my OLW for 2015.┬á

“Hope that if everybody runs, you choose to stay.” When things are scary and unknown, it’s easy to run away. I choose to stay. Life isn’t made through easy decisions and experiences. Real life, the life I want to live, is made when you stick it out, when you stay- when everybody else chooses to run.┬á“Hope that you fall in love and it hurts so bad.” Falling in love is taking a risk. It’s trusting someone else, even though you know they can hurt you. I hope to fall in love again, even if it hurts. “Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up.” Life is meant to be lived, experiencing all you can experience. I want to spend my days intentionally, ensuring they add up to greatness. When I look back on my life and count my days, I want to know I spent them well, that they added up to a truly remarkable life.

Taking the leap to move abroad was the best decision of my life. It’s when I truly began to live. I took the jump without fearing the fall. And┬áduring this time, I’ve strived to do it all. I’ve seen a lot of places, and I’ve done a lot of things. I swear I lived. It hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve failed a few times, but I’m not giving up. I intend to own every second that this world can give.

“I Lived”

[Verse 1]
Hope when you take that jump
You don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises
You build a wallHope when the crowd screams out
They’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs
You choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love
And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know
Is give it all you have

And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain
Hope when the moment comes
You’ll say…

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

[Verse 2]
Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up
And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup

I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes
I’ll say…

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived



A Year in Photos

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post from one of my friends, Jee Young, where she reflected on 2014 through photos. It was such a unique way to show the past year, and I just had to give it a try! Now that I’m back in Shanghai with my laptop that has all my pictures, I can. I’ve sifted through the photos I’ve taken over the past year, and have narrowed it down to my favorites. These pictures make me smile, show an interesting perspective, or carry a certain memory. Here’s my year in photos…