How do you feel about the question "what do you do?"

March 2016
some say life isn’t all about rainbows and butterflies…life isn’t all about the cafes and cherry blossoms, but these things make life a bit easier to appreciate the good and tough stuff. tough stuff is not being physically there when changes happen at home. tough stuff is struggling with exploring the mystery of exotic countries and swinging on my parent’s porch swing with equal want. tough stuff is not even knowing what you would do if you were to move back to the USA. tough stuff is knowing you were made for something more, but you’re not sure what that “something more” is. is it going to outback lands or staying in my familiar backyard? tough stuff is not knowing how to explain any of these crazy rollercoaster emotions to people who haven’t lived abroad, but wanting them to so badly to “get it.” tough stuff is not talking to people from home every day like i did when i started living abroad. tough stuff is change. even though travel makes a person flexible, more adaptable, i’m probably the most resistant person when it comes to change. i hate change. everything needs to stay the same in my little life bubble that i’ve created. and heaven forbid i’m the one actually changing too. just no. just stop. but inevitable life happens. i change. people change. even if the change sneaks up on you one day, it doesn’t happen overnight, but over months, and then one day you wake up and realize all the differences, and what exactly has changed. and in reflection you realize this moment had been building for months and you were ok with it as it built. but on that specific day it was just.too.much.
life events occur back home without waiting for me to come. and it’s tough, ok!? one cannot shove those “everything is ok” “life is fabulous” all the time feelings. because it’s so i reevaluated. prayed. bought some self-help books courtesy of a friend’s awesome suggestions. and everyone should read them because seriously self-talks are the best. not the beating yourself up, “why did i do that?” or “i’m such an idiot,” but the talks that encourage yourself and build yourself up. the ones that you talk to yourself as you do to your friends. maybe from the blog you see smiling faces, beautiful flowers, cute cafes, delectable desserts,  inspirational songs/quotes/student journal entries…but i hope you also see that those things, the simplicity of enjoying the choice of happiness is what makes life worth living doesn’t mean that tough stuff isn’t less impacting. those things are what make the tough stuff bearable, the goals achievable, and motivates me to keep living the best life I can.
I would not define these thoughts as jealousy, it’s merely just accepting the changes and being happy for the other person, and perhaps sharing my opinion is just my way of showing how I care in the best way I can thousands of miles away.

March came and went and now it’s April. Celebrated my First Passover Meal with a group of new friends…and sat on a patio on Easter Sunday.. This past weekend I flew to Yunnan province and spent the weekend with friends in Kunming and Qujing. What a cultured weekend…apparently it’s “Real” China. It was definitely not Shanghai. It was a much needed refresher away from the city. Blue skies and sunshine every day. And fresh air and warm weather. Local foods and walking around…went to a cafe in Kunming called A Slice of Heaven and then on to the Minority Village. There are 25 minorities that live in Yunnan province alone. We toured around the various houses and saw a couple traditional dance shows.
30 days left of the Spring semester of grad school classes and the first draft of my thesis will be written…I’ve so got this…! Just hope I can shake this cold and the sun comes out in Shanghai…the gray skies have been covering the city for over a month now. Dear Nebraska, please send your open skies, sunshine, and fresh spring air to Shanghai! 😉























Turkish brunch







Passover dinner











Yunnan Province















Happy Birthday Sam!

In a friend’s blog post she posed this question: How do you feel about the question “what do you do?”
In an attempt to answer this questions I stumble over…I teach English to students whose first language is not English…also know as ESL. Somedays my students speak to me in English, sometimes they don’t, like today: “Ni hao, lao shi” (hello, teacher!) “Fantastic teaching,” I think to myself. I also navigate on a daily basis through another culture and try to integrate into their way of life…and usually fail miserably or go about the day with a lot of nods and smiles and “ting bu dong” I don’t understand. But really. I don’t understand why I choose what I do…Somedays I really just would rather sit on the couch and stun. But then I would want to DO SOMETHING. So I leave the comforts of the USA and find job in other countries and cultures. and I learn. That is also what I do. I learn so much. Maybe more than I teach my students. And that’s the beautiful reality of living abroad. Is learning. Every day. 


April 27th..I’ve been slacking I know…but days are full of writing grad school papers and lesson plans so fun writing has taken a back burner for a hot minute. As I welcome June 28th at 23:05 with glad travel bags (not packed yet) I will be relieved to step back on home soil for the summer, (this time last year I was still in Indonesia…so much has happened then…what a FULL 2016 already!) but I am on the search for a new job…perhaps in Shanghai, perhaps somewhere new! I have finally finished the spring term for grad school…now all I have left of my Master’s program is writing…my thesis!

May 4th. Drinking yogi sweet tangerine positive energy tea, eating Dove dark chocolate with almonds (because these are my favorite and grandma bought them for me), windows open, country music on, curled up on my chair. It’s a beautiful morning and I am so blessed. Reflecting on the past few days…Sunday Turkish brunch at Pasha’s on a terrace with a friend, inspirational church service on Rest, and dinner  and conversation with another friend. Girl’s day on Monday complete with a wine happy hour and good talks. and

Tuesday. Grandma and Grandpa arrived to Shanghai the night before and we spent the day touring the city, seeing my University and the spots I like to go, as well as The Bund both in daylight and night time. Perfect blue sky sunny clear day in the city! It was so wonderful having them here in the city before they take off on their cruise tour of China highlights. Love that I got to show them a piece of my Shanghai life, I am one lucky woman they came to visit me. The best feeling in the world…showing people a glimpse of my abroad life…seeing their faces, sharing the day, taking so many pictures, speaking Chinese, and eating delicious food and just talking and commenting on the sights around.  

This spring has flown by…but here’s a glimpse in pictures…

Stay tuned for more May happenings… 🙂

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