25 Memories for Turning 25

Surprise I’m 25! On my birthday, my coworkers totally surprised and pranked me! They had a decoy cake on the morning followed by a prank in the afternoon where they told me our December holiday was canceled. I actually was fine and said I would be gone no matter what. Ha! Needless to say, I had a great day and wonderful dinners with friends. 25 feels so good and I’ve had an amazing year. Here are 25 memories that I have loved and will cherish forever. And I truly believe the best is yet to come! Cheers to 25.

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Shanghai Life Lately

I love a “life lately” post as it allows me to reflect on the latest and greatest and share with all of you! It is the most perfect weather in Shanghai right now, with sunny days that have a light breeze and aren’t too hot…yet. Summer is coming and it is going to be a struggle surviving the heat and humidity. Lately I’ve been ordering a lot of food and not cooking. I know people don’t believe me, but ordering and having food delivered is often cheaper than cooking. Welcome to shanghai and high consumerism! I love my delivery via moped. Lately I’ve also been thinking a lot. What’s new. I’ve been planning future trips, scolding naughty kids, singing Queen songs with my precocious students and wondering what’s the next step! So here’s a little glimpse into what I have been up to….

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First Few Days of 2019: Shanghai Edition

Ni Hao 2019! 2019 is here and the holidays have had me in a state of sentimental reflection thinking about the past year and immensely looking forward to this one! There are so many moments in life, and even more now, that I pause and think “is this real life.” So many funny moments that are absurd, magical, wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking. I spent New Years Eve with my favorite British gals, Stacey and Fran eating delicious food, watching Taylor Swift on Netflix and popping some Proseco to ring in 2019. I was also introduced to the show the Inbetweeners, had a proper cup of British tea and danced around in a circle singing some old English song.

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Lessons in Life

You know you live somewhere and are not just visiting in the smallest of ways that are all related to people. Life is about relationships. Not just with our family and friends and coworkers, but the daily people we pass by and have interactions with. Living somewhere is when the local Family Mart cashiers know you like the brown sugar syrup in your latte, the bakery cashier assumes you want honey lemon ginger tea whe she sees you and the dumpling lady doesn’t ask for your order because she knows you want two orders of the first dumpling on the menu. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and one was talking about making impact in the world and how they are often big and small. Yet, these labels are just what they are, labels. Because what is often perceived as a big impact is actually much smaller compared to the waves that small impacts continue to make.

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Daily Shanghai Essentials to Take Everywhere

I decided to take a moment to do some yoga meditative poses on my nightly walk and reflect on the past few days and challenges that have come my way. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come as a person and my growth in learning to truly feel my emotions and to do my best to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion for myself and others. The past few weeks I have learned what are essential things to always have with you to make life easier and for basic survival skills. I thought my backpack I got at REI and it has been the perfect bag. It’s canvas, light, durable, has lots of room and I’m so happy I brought it. The first thing I learned was to ALWAYS bring an umbrella with you because rain or shine, the umbrella is critical to surviving the weather extremes and changes of daily life in Shanghai

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Falling in Love with Shanghai

I’ve only truly fallen in love once before. Love is the most inexplicable emotion that doesn’t quite make sense but is like nothing else and perhaps the purest of all the emotions. When it is real and lasting, there is nothing better. There are so many variations and types of love. I fell in love with school from a young age, have a true love for food and love traveling. I have also received the most pure and unwavering love from my family that as I get older continue to be so grateful for. I know how fortunate I have to have a lot of love in my life from my family and friends. There is a great quote from the movie The Fault in Our Stars that perfectly summarizes love for me.

“Falling in love is like falling asleep, it happens slowly then all at once.”Β 

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Cruising Through History in Cambodia

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After some of the best days in Laos, we flew from Vientiane to Β Phnom Penh, Cambodia where we immediately visited the Aspara Arts Association Β for a traditional dance performance before going to our hotel for the evening. The next morning we were privileged to have Bou Meng, only one of two living survivors from the prison SJ31 where tens of thousands of people were tortured before being set to the killing fields. It was an honor to hear his story and candid remarks about his experience and how he moved on from it is educating the next generations. This man is my forever hero for overcoming the absolute worst of humanity and coming through to the other side of joy and compassion. I also purchased a few of his books for friends to read as his story completely moved me and shook me to my core. Humanity can be so cruel to each other. Bou Meng is also an artist, and this talent helped him survive in the prison until it was shut down, as he was commissioned to make paintings of the leaders.

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Travel blog from Malaysia: Langkawi, Melacca and Kuala Lumpur

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After concluding my first year of college in early May and seeing friends off to the airport, I packed my bags and headed off to Malaysia with my dear Mother. Before entering college I had taken a gap year in Malaysia as a youth ambassador under the State Department and was ready to go back to visit friends and (host) families, while bringing my mother along for the ride. This trip was long waited and someday I will elaborate more on my experience in Malaysia before college.

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The Open Road: Adventure Updates

 

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Lately in life I have been lost in the world (as opposed to school). I have been far too distracted and interested in the world (and less in my reading) and can’t seem to stop moving; its as though I have an endless adventurous twitch in my body that won’t let me sit still. I had an amazing weekend and went on countless adventures, mostly by myself which was kind of perfect. I think a lot of people have a huge fear of being by themselves, solo and alone. I think there’s no better way than to be my yourself; we all are stuck with ourselves our entire lives, so you might as well learn to enjoy it.

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