Tag Archives: SOLSC

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. 🙂

Right Where I’m Supposed to Be

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be teaching preschool in Thailand, I would have fell on the floor laughing and told you that you were crazy. Heck, if you had mentioned it a few months ago, I would have had the same response. But here I am, living in Bangkok and teaching preschool.

I was chatting this afternoon with my friend Melissa, who works at the same school and has joined the SOL challenge this year, and we were laughing about my day and my super adorable kiddos, when she posed the question, “Would you have ever thought that you’d be here doing this one year ago?” Smiling, I told her there’s no way that thought would have ever entered my mind, but somehow, I know this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? You think you’re supposed to do one thing, but there’s a whole other plan out there that you aren’t even aware of, and it turns out, their plan is perfect for you. It’s just what you need. Well, it was just what I needed anyway.

Being in Thailand, at this moment in my life, is so unbelievably, serendipitously perfect. Living in my new-found simplicity (more on that in a later post), surrounded by some pretty amazing people, has allowed me space to heal. Something I thought would take forever to happen has begun so quickly. The layers of hurt and fear and junk that I’ve piled on over the last year and a half have begun to slough off, leaving me feeling lighter, more like me. Things still creep up on me, reminding me of the past and bringing me back to those old feelings, but those incidents are far less frequent than they used to be.

Other than my good friend Lauren, who I knew before I came to Bangkok and who has been my biggest support here, everyone else I’ve met is new. Despite my newness, I have developed fast friendships with a few people, and I couldn’t imagine my time here without them. They encourage me, support me in times of doubt, and spend lots of time with me, chatting about life and exploring this incredible city. I already know I’ll shed more than a few tears when I leave.

And then, there’s the whole teaching preschool thing! Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be teaching preschool. The fact that I am, and even more, the fact that I’m enjoying it, is huge! I always looked at early childhood teachers with a mix of wonder, respect, and confusion. I mean, who in their right mind chooses to work with little (and I mean little) kids all day! Well, having taken advantage of being in the right place at the right time and accepting this position, I can honestly say I get it. I know why they do it. Three- to four-year-olds are so full of life! They are unapologetically themselves. They say what they think, they question, they explore, and they do what feels good. What a way to live!

I’m savoring this season in my life, taking each day as it comes, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else unfolds on this new adventure I’m on…it’s sure to be a wild ride!

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Join Me!

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Have you wanted to stretch yourself as a writer? Do you want to cultivate a habit of living life with your eyes wide open? Do you want to foster a routine of writing daily, which will grow your writing muscles? Would you like to be part of a welcoming, supportive writing community? If so, then I have just the thing for you!

It’s nearly time for the Slice of Life blogging challenge to begin! I have been mentally planning for and anticipating this month for a while now, and I’d love for you to join me. This is the tenth annual Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC) hosted by Two Writing Teachers, and it’s my seventh year to participate. My first year, I dipped my toes in, blogging a few times a week, but I’ve blogged everyday (or nearly everyday) since then. I’m gearing up for a full 31 days of blogging again this year!

What is the SOLSC all about?

  • Slice of Life stories are pieces of your ordinary life that you tell through a narrative, poem, photos, etc. For more information on a SOL story, click here.
  • On your own blog (an existing blog or you can create a new one- it’s easy!), you write a blog post daily.
  • Link your blog post permalink to the Two Writing Teacher’s daily call to slice as a comment.
  • Read at least 3 other blogger’s posts and comment on them.
  • There are prizes that you can win if you blog everyday for 31 days and comment on at least 3 other posts daily, but the real prize is in the experience.

Here’s what you can expect if you join me in the SOLSC:

  • A renewed passion for writing
  • To have a place and the space to try out new genres and play with different styles of writing
  • Meet new friends (even if it’s just on the interwebs)
  • Make connections with others
  • Cultivate a daily habit of writing (even when you think you won’t have time)
  • An appreciation for ordinary days
  • To find stories in seemingly meaningless interactions and experiences (this is where that “living with your eyes wide open” part comes in)
  • To be fueled by an audience (there’s something special about knowing others are reading your posts)
  • Your stamina and energy for writing to strengthen

Here are a few posts for you to learn more information about the challenge:
Tenth Annual SOLSC Information
First-time Slicers FAQs

This challenge has personally changed me and helped me become a better writer. I came across this post today that I wrote back in 2012, my second year in the challenge, where I reflected on my writing journey. I love this snapshot of where I was as a writer then. I’ve also “met” people who I now call my friends, even though we’ve never met in real life.

March has come to be a month that I cherish, savoring each day, seeking out that spark of inspiration for my daily “slice.” I want to share my passion for this project with you. I hope you join me this year! If you need help creating a blog, I can help! Just ask. And if you do join the challenge, let me know. I’d love to follow you and read your slices. Happy blogging!! 🙂