Turning 30= handstands, lattes, wine, cherishing friends and saying goodbyes

my dear Chinese friend





When I was 22 or 23, my college roommate remembers how I couldn’t wait to be 30. Then last year I went into *slight* panic mode and decided I didn’t want to be 30. Now that it’s officially my birthday month, I’ve decided I’m treating the day like any other. After all, half of my students think I’m 21 anyways. Ha! “Teacher, you don’t look 30, so young.” Why thank you students.

November in Shanghai has started off sunny and clear skies. It’s getting colder, and rain is forecasted, but for now, enjoying the niceness.

At the end of October I took a weekend getaway to Hong Kong. It’s definitely one of those crowded cities that makes you slightly claustrophobic, but the views were awesome of the city and mountains and sea together. It was good to be out of Shanghai for bit. So many people rave about Hong Kong, however if you were to ask me, I prefer Shanghai. Though I think it has to do with circumstance. For instance, when I was living in Makassar, Indonesia (a crazy port city) and travelled to Kuala Lumpur, I thought that city was paradise. Now, that I have been living in Shanghai, Hong Kong is oddly similar, way more expensive, and more stacked. Maybe I would have felt differently about the city if I would have been in a different place originally.

I did get to go to one of my bucket list places: the highest bar in the world, Ozone, at the Ritz Carlton. Amazing drinks and amazing city light views below.

Sunday November 13th. Today I am thankful. Thankful for sunshine after this morning rains. Thankful for sweet serenity the candlelight brings. Thankful for the hope worship music brings to my soul, knowing my God holds me. Maybe that’s why I feel an odd sense of peace after a weird week. My sister sent me Chai tea earlier this fall. And it is amazing. Soul soothing. And today I took time for myself at home, sipping my tea, chatting lovely friends, making french toast. Just being as the light floods in. It helps to sit. Alone with thoughts, with inspirational words and music, taking comfort in my simple life. Wondering if turning 30 can be this good? Perhaps my early twenties were a disaster, but each disaster brought me to where I am now. I like this me. This new decade is going to be full of growth and goodness. Of more moments to be who I am and not who others want me to be or who I think I should be because of worldly influence.

Good Morning 30.

My birthday day was simple. Just how I like the day to be. I started the day with yoga, taught my classes, then met a friend for Mediterranean food and wine. Like a bottle of deliciousness. Good conversation and lots of laughs. My kind of day. On Sunday, friends and I ate dinner and went to Godiva for hot chocolate after church. So much silky smooth delectable chocolate in liquid form. Our Shanghai Hot Chocolate tour had begun.

Christmas at Disney!
Cheesecake deliciousness.

The next week we went to Thai food and Farine’s, for hot chocolate place #2. So quaint and rich scents of fresh baked goods. A homier place for sure.

I spent Thanksgiving at an expat potluck party. It was wonderful to celebrate the holiday with other foreigners, fun conversation and good company.

daily metro grind.
random street mirrors.
sunny fall day.
glowing yoga studio

And now it’s December 9th. Where does time go? Shanghai time moves faster, I swear. Too much busy-ness or hypothetical busy-ness, because are we really that busy? Or just the time is allocated differently so it seems busy? I feel some days it’s all a facade. People really aren’t that busy. Just pretending to be busy. So they don’t actually have to face reality or interact with others.

To close out 2016 in December… one of my dear friends came to visit me…it definitely means the world when friends come to see me in my international city. Though it’s so hard to say goodbye again as visits are never long enough and the missingness is more poignant after, I feel so blessed to be able to share a snippet of my Shanghai life with him.

Also in December I spent a weekend getaway in Kuala Lumpur with my dear Aussie friend before she moved back home! A great weekend of food goodness, luxury hotel lounging, and relaxation.

Cheers 2016, you’ve been fabulous. Between having two best friends and grandparents visit, traveling to Thailand, stateside road trips, a trip back east to New York and Maine, completing my thesis and graduating with my Master’s Degree in International Studies, to moving back to Shanghai and getting an apartment and teaching at a new school I’d say it’s been quite a year! 🙂

touring Shanghai before his island adventures begin
thanks for making Shanghai a stop over!
global citizen status necklace from a dear friend
almost ready to get clothes made…but first a cafe!
these kiddos make me laugh so much.
coffee chat with my University students
Miss them!!!
International church singing
another lovely lunch chat
latte and red nails
new mustard color scarf and
coat made from the fabric market
tastes of home…beer and grilled cheese
ready for our KL adventure!
new lip gloss=a picture for sure.
what a treat!
breakfast at 5pm
so much sunlight
after an afternoon nap

glam night
more airport goodbyes
expat friend love

so cold.
my new thing?
leg warmers
foggy yoga night
more wintery sunset
sun obsession
a lovely evening ritual of tea and candles
and city glow
love tutoring this fabulous lady!
Rockin’ my
“Handstand by 30”
saturday fun of tea chats
and baking pumpkin scones
thank you Trader Joe’s
sent via Sister
introducing him to lattes and quaint Shanghai cafes
saying goodbye makes me cry, blurry eyed bus ride back to the city
cinnamon rolls and sunset for comfort
cozy wine sipping Christmas eve
Merry Christmas from my sweet International Church
last latte of 2016

Stay tuned for 2017 adventures and thoughts.

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