March Cafe Tour

Brace yourself for local cafe goodness. best chai teas, in house roasters, and cute nooks.

Sumerian: hands down the best chai that I’ve discovered in Shanghai. A cozy cafe near West Beijing road, this cafe offers Boom Boom Bagels for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or whatever you prefer. Desserts are available as well; we got the cheesecake. South Shanxi Road Metro Exit 10 is ok!

415 Shanxi Bei Lu,near Beijing Xi Lu
陕西北路415号, 近北京西路

Cafe Voce: located on Hengshan Lu Metro, Yongjia road, this cafe has weekend brunch, lattes, teas, juices etc. And their tiramisu is delightful, so is the brownie. The outdoor patio is perfect for Shanghai’s spring days…even in the misty rain.

Egg: famous for their toasts, but ordered a delicious breakfast hash instead. Verdict on their Chai tea? Amazing. Order it with cashew milk for a dairy free treat. Egg also has gluten free options, but clearly we are not on that path as we also shared the most delightful lemon cake coated with thyme infused frosting.

12 Xiangyang Bei Lu
near Julu Lu

Brut Cake Cafe: weekday afternoons are less busy if you have work to do, weekend brunch time is packed. This is probably due to the fact their chicken and waffles is only served on the weekends. Order it. My sister made a good point- you went to Shanghai for Southern food?? Yes, yes I did. And it was fantastic. Also ordered a spicy latte that paired well with the seasoned chicken and honey waffles. Their Kenyan blend is a great choice for regular coffee drinkers. And of course, get an original Brut Cake during one of your visits, trust me you’ll have more than one.

Jiangsu Road Metro (Exit 2 is ok!)                                                                                                                                                                             698 Yuyuan Lu
near Zhenning Lu
愚园路698号, 近镇宁路

Little Bean: one of Shanghai’s hidden coffee roasters. And you know it’s going to be good when the coffee bean grower’s personal information is displayed. Located at Science and Technology Metro Stop, take exit 6, pass the bus stop, and over the bridge, after the bridge turn right and walk. You’ll pass chain places along the river, but just keep walking until you spot the sign. The cafe offers plenty of seating and baked goods, like chocolate croissants, but just trust me and go straight for any of the local coffees. The smell and tastes are tantalizing. I ordered the Mariana Meireles, Tahiti coffee from the Vale de Jequitinhonha region of Brazil. Pretty much everything you would expect from a Brazilian coffee: sweet and smooth.


March Madness 2017

Welcome to my updated blog website!

My New Year’s Resolution was to learn a new skill so I’ve been learning about web design and search engine optimization. For a non-tech savvy person like myself, I highly recommend WordPress, for their customer service and tech help is amazing! The specialist who has been assisting me is just the best…because basically I freak out when I accidentally delete something I haven’t saved after hours of trying to figure things out…turns out there’s a way to recover all lost data. Needless to say it’s been a great transition to this new platform despite lots of frustration.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted so let’s start with the week of March 7th . This week in Shanghai: so much rain over the weekend, but today the sun came out. Wonderful…now if the days would just keep getting warmer. The sporadic weather makes kids crazy and in turn makes teachers crazy too. I mean yes, child, please do shred your paper into tiny balls and throw them across the room; and yes, when we play “head and shoulders, sit down-stand up” please by all means stand on your chair and act like you’re king of the hill. Never mind when I stand with a piece of chalk at the board to draw a star it’s dead silence, but if I move one inch, the chaos continues. Perfect pure entertainment. It’s Friday, right? No.

March lessons include learning about personality types and debating. So far this semester is better. I implemented a contest. Whichever team earns a 100 points first gets a prize, once every team earns 100 points then the class gets to decide on going outside for a lesson or watching a movie. It’s worked wonders. The students are more attentive and productive, even the weaker students are participating. What a relief!

On Monday (the 14th) I went to my first boxing class at Aboro. (Gloves and all!) We were paired up once we learned the jabs and cross technique. My partner and I were speaking Chinese and English and laughing so much! Maybe more laughing than punching. It was so much fun and I hope I can go to another class soon.

Last week. Well, about a week and half ago, Ed Sheeran dropped a new album. Um yes, all of it. Just listen. So good. From slow to fast, rap to African sounding beats…definitely something for everyone. He really needs to come to Shanghai. But obviously tell me first as there’s 24 million people here and tickets go fast. That being said he will be in Omaha, Nebraska in the fall. All my Nebraska peeps should probably go. Anyways, his album got me through a crazy week and a mental health day. My fave tune? “Barcelona.”

I know I’ve said it before but mental health days are a must in my vocabulary. They should be in yours too. My mental health day was supposed to be productive. And it was in ways of going to  a 7 a.m. spin class at becycle: “not a spin class, but a cardio party,” followed by a long chat with a USA friend over breakfast, then home to get ready before heading out to get my hair conditioned (it’s super dry…it misses island humidity) and meet a friend for lunch at Sumerian Coffee, and a tutoring session. Such a good day off that lead to an even more academically productive weekend of online classes and reading.

Now we’re in February. The first two weeks of the semester were slow after arriving back from Chinese New Year holiday. On the 4th of February, my dear sister got married in Arizona at the Desert Botanical Gardens. Gorgeous day, beautiful ceremony, Congratulations T2! Much love. Before heading to Arizona, I was in Nebraska for about 10 days in the sweet silence of my parent’s house in our small town. It was absolutely glorious. Night and day, black and white difference compared to Shanghai. I could see the stars, breath the fresh air, and stretch my eyes on the snowy fields. The brilliant colors of the wintry sunrise and sunset are etched in my mind.


And now, today, the 25th of March, I participated in open enrollment activities for my school in the morning and have been working on my blog, reviewing a project for a friend, and writing a guide to Shanghai! I’m so excited about these projects, but thrilled to have built this site myself. It may need some tweaking, but it’s on it’s way!

bohemian summer style
fresh white yoga studio
zen night.
seriously..wake up!
becycle crew!
what goes on around my apartment
RAWK! a healthy food delivery service.
electric bike takeover

That’s all for a scatterbrained daily life recap! I’ll be posting more soon! 🙂


stand and look pretty! Open enrollment day.
rain or shine; these fried noodle are the best!


PELIKAN, a restaurant by mr. willis

Impeccable. Really the only word to describe the service and dishes at Pelikan, a Nordic inspired restaurant in the Shanghai food scene. Located at 225 Xikang Lu, a popular side street in the Jingan District of Shanghai. This restaurant offers a full wine list ranging from white and reds and sparklings from Italy, France, Austria, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and others. (Don’t worry, if the list is too overwhelming for you, a wine flight is offered). The menu, an exquisite list of appetizers and cheeses, but most importantly a personally prepared Chef’s set menu. This 4 set course menu and dessert offering proved to be the best choice. And oh the flavors. I can’t even…

First course: smoked salmon tartars with mustard and dill glazed carrots

Second course: seared scallops with cauliflower and oyster cream

Third course: plaice fish fried on the bone with black kale, grilled shrimps, and shrimp sauce with pickled dill

Main course: *we substituted the braised pork belly for Australian sirloin with black garlic, grilled kale, and roasted onion sauce

Dessert: baked white chocolate puffet, chamomile paffet, bitter yogurt powder and dark chocolate (oh the creaminess and blended crunchiness all in one decadent dessert; the bitter dark chocolate and the sweet white…perfection)


The manager, Aleksandra, was amazing. She made sure our food was cooked to perfection and inquired about our satisfaction. Basically the best manager ever, such personable service.

And make sure you at least take a sip of their homemade Limoncello. Though I’ve never been to Italy, I could have been whisked away in a sip of this refreshing *muah* taste of Italy. (basically insert an Italian accent and a kissing gesture and you have that taste in a glass). Dreamland of a summer breeze in a white dress in the Italian countryside. Yes, please.


*Disclosure, I am usually not a fan of seafood, so if you are questioning your like for seafood, I can assure you that this is the restaurant of choice. My friend and co-taster, loves seafood and she also enjoyed this place.*

Azul: Peruvian Tapas on Ferguson Lane

So my friend and I had this awesome conversation about living in Shanghai. We live in an International city, full of amazing cuisine. And being as we both love fine food (or just food in general as long as it is scrumptious in flavor, texture, presentation, Etc.) and wine… (or specialty cocktails and  don’t forget coffee: basically, coffee…then wine, really no in between time) Our goal? One new restaurant per week. Trust me, in this city it can be done. Here goes.

Brunch Review: Azul
Location: Peruvian/Spanish Tapas on Ferguson Lane, French Concession, Shanghai.
A gray cold Sunday about 12 o’clock…thank goodness we made reservations as the place was quite busy. “Tapas” were slightly misleading as the menu was set up in courses and full entrees and less of ordering a bunch of things to share. The brunch was mediocre, but we took the waiter’s recommendation and ordered flan dessert. This did not disappoint, neither did the red sangria. Definitely  not a “top” brunch spot, but worth a visit for a cozy atmosphere, the flan, and an excuse to walk around on this quieter street of Shanghai.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Highline: cityscape views and American fusion

Dinner Review: Highline
Location: Metro: Take South Huangpu Rd, Exit 2. Corner of Songshan and Huaihai, in the Ascott Hotel, 6th floor- just walk through the lobby.
Wow. This place is a hidden gem. They did it right with the patio. It’s going to be perfect in the spring and autumn to sit outside and sip a cocktail. I mean they have palm trees. Could it get any better?Absolutely stunning view of the city. Swanky lounge and the mix of older tunes added to this American fusion restaurant. Tip: order “Chinese” style and share everything! 🙂 
What we ordered: 
sweet potato fries: nori parmesan, korean chili aioli
hairy crab and butter shrimp toast: rice puff, chinese yellow chives, garlic toast
squab and foie gras, apple, baby turnips, le puy lentils, natural jus
girl scout thin mint ice cream bar: mint chocolate chip ice cream and fudge brownie
butterscotch pudding: whiskey infused custard, sea salt chocolate chip cookies
Wine: Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, 2012
Where do I even start? The foie gras caught our eye immediately, so we knew it was a must. However, it was prepared differently than either of us had seen before; still, it was delicious and savory. The hairy crab and butter shrimp toast was more of a high-end dip. Scrumptious for sure and we would recommend it. Tip: Definitely order a second round of toast to finish the dip. The sweet potato fries were good, and the Korean aioli was a nice touch especially since both of us had lived in Korea and were used to the spicy kick! Dessert. Oh how we love dessert. My pick was the girl scout bar. This was more about presentation than anything. Probably the fanciest ice-cream bar I’ve ever eaten and the girl scout thin mint tasted like the old fashioned cookie. The best part however was…the butterscotch pudding. Order it, no questions asked. The sweetness, the subtle whiskey…perfectly complected into this pudding dish. And the sea salt chocolate chip cookies were divine. A real, soft, “just out of the oven” warm cookie in Shanghai is a rare find. 
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A fabulous night of friends, views, fine food, wine, and conversation! Cheers to Friday the 13th.

foie gras
sweet potato fries and
hairy crab and garlic toast
city lights on the patio
i love my stripes!
must order: Butterscotch Pudding and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
girl scout thin mint ice cream bar

When your love affair with the city continues the minute the sun comes out

dinner at Highline

I have to admit, I’ve always been a goal setter. Making lists, devising new plans, adventures, and seeing them come to light… that’s one of the reasons why I love the New Year. A fresh start…not necessarily “new year new me”, but a chance to evaluate and think about the continuation of bettering myself. Each year, I think about where I’ve been, who I’ve interacted with, enlightening conversations, achievements in physical activity, and goals accomplished. This year, my focus is on being present, being mindful. I’m slowly developing a meditation practice. I’ve gained a lot of insight from a friend in Arizona who coaches at Mindfulness Life Center and through research. I have noticed if I do the practice in the morning, I am a lot calmer throughout the day, but I need to work on my attitude. Sometimes it’s hard when certain events happen that make a person feel unappreciated at their job, when things don’t go how I anticipated, and things are taken the wrong way. I should be more accepting, more tolerable. But it’s really hard, ok? I’m working on it.

Another thing I want to do this year is read more. Mostly because I miss reading and I want to make it a point to read every month…my goal is 2 books per month. Suggestions welcome! 🙂 I want to keep learning, so taking free online courses or random classes in Shanghai will be something I will make it a point to do too.

because brewed coffee is a simple indulgent
that makes mornings better.
so does Trader Joe’s chocolate.

January 8th. Today in church the song hit home: perhaps because it explains my abroad life…it re-emphasizes why I can’t sit still…I have to go where He leads me…every place I’ve lived has felt right where I needed to be…I’m still changing from the inside…more walls fall down year by year…

“Called Me Higher” by All Sons and Daughters

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all Your goodness
Hope to feel Your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You
Hope to feel something again I feel something everyday…even though I can’t explain it…even in the frustration, the questioning, the sickness…somehow there’s peace.

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You
Change me from the inside

And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home obviously you called me to leave, and now I don’t know where to go next…but I wait for your answer…
Never let these walls down break my walls down…everyday, it’ so easy to build up walls in a foreign country, where people come and go, it’s so transient here Lord, it’s hard to open up and be real. But it’s what is so important, to Be Real. It’s something we all crave, but these days it’s so rare to find connection in such a connected world.

But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You lead me Lord
Where You lead me
Where You lead me Lord

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You
Change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down

But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You lead me Lord
Where You lead me

And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life

And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life

And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy

And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy light the path before me because I basically don’t know where to go or what to do, and I’m so lost without you. Should I stay or should I go, should I go back “home” or somewhere new…show me, Lord. I’ll go wherever you lead me to… You know my heart’s desires and frustrations and sadness and longing, but Your will is the only way and ultimately you guide me…I give all this to you…

Cause You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord

Where You lead me
Where You lead me Lord

(Jonah Part 1 of 4) Today’s sermon was about Jonah. Jonah was a prophet, in those days it was a person whom God chose to deliver a message of grace, mercy, and joy. God wanted him to bring this message to Nineveh, to restore borders, to bring grace. Jonah had a choice to obey God and he ran. Ran away. He forgot what the message would mean to the people of Nineveh…to show them forgiveness…something this harsh and brutal nation needed. I suppose it would be a scary thing to have God say “go for me, speak for me…” So this prophet said no. And ran.
And in his running he was caught red-handed in prejudices, narrow world view, disobedience…on a ship in a storm. On the ship the sailors were facing their reality and calling out to every god imaginable, and ending in calling on Yahweh..Jonah’s God. Our God. And Jonah? He was fast asleep in the lower deck, blocking out God, blocking out reality. This shows the contradiction: I love God and fear the Lord (so why do you run?) This instance exposed Jonah’s heart and when the sailor’s woke him up, He would rather be tossed overboard than face reality of running. (Little did he know…)
4 Take Aways:
1. You can’t run from God (Psalms 139:7-10)
2. Storms are meant to get our attention.
3. It’s not over till it’s over. (We ask Why?, God asks When?)
4. God’s initiative plus my obedience equals more than we can ask or imagine.
when a complete stranger scoots over to you
after grabbing her mom’s phone
and wants to take a selfie.
tucked back in a cozy booth
my nails match my wine
classy, right?



January 11. One Week. One week until I’m back under Nebraska skies and blue and icy cold freshness. Can’t wait to breath again. At school everyone is on each other’s nerves…teachers and students alike. The last week should not be allowed. The job of an Oral English teacher becomes math and science exam monitor and “can I just take your class?”…basically I am over this week.

Tonight I had to get a glass of wine to decompress.
I had an awesome lesson planned and it was an epic fail mostly because the students are so checked out that they don’t give a crap. Something has to change for next semester because I’m annoyed at their lack of participation…especially when they blatantly sleep and tune out…I’ve really never met such disrespectful students…. and they have to pass the TOEFL test…so between keeping them “entertained” (heaven forbid we don’t have a movie clip one day) and “engaged in English speaking” we have to practice TOEFL test prep. First Graders are angels compared to high school. What was I thinking? I am only determined to finish this contract with a better attitude before moving on. Deep breaths. Tutoring my dear friend, yoga, church, and wine and texts from friends get me through these rough days.

i get weird looks for ordering ice water
oh how rice has become a staple
random mirror on the wall




a bleak day in the ‘Hai


 Cheers to Friday the 13th and the start to my holiday! Dinner at Highline.

must order: Butterscotch Pudding and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
girl scout thin mint ice cream bar


January 14th. 🌅When your love affair with the city continues the minute the sun comes out. Seriously though, these past couple weeks have been rainy and gray and smoggy. Press repeat: I was made for Sunny Days. My mood? Instantly lifted, as the fluffy clouds give way to rays of sunshine on this gorgeous Saturday. I had to have a lazy morning in bed before an afternoon of cleaning begins.


my favorite shade of blue

Happy New Year 2017!

January 2nd. Time to publish an outdated post and begin anew. On New Year’s I went to bed quite early and woke up refreshed on the first day of 2017. We did 108 sun salutations with 108 yogi’s  above a cafe at 10 a.m. It felt amazing, though today I am so sore. The first day of the new year brought a lovely coffee chat with one of my yoga instructors after the class, then church, followed by a glass of wine at a cozy wine bar before meeting friends/colleagues to celebrate my friend’s birthday.




Today I met a couple other friends for brunch spritzers and mimosas to toast in the new year and a day off of teaching. Then spent the afternoon reading and bawling my eyes out over a Nicholas Sparks novel. Nothing like a good book cry. It’s been a great long weekend of relaxation, reflection, and friend time. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

Yesterday, in church, we discussed the International church. How the first church was an international church and throughout the centuries the church has molded to fit one ethnic group, one social class, one country, one language…how the International church is important to recognize…that One Day every church will once again be an international church, every tongue, every nation under one roof. For people abroad, the international church is where your tribe is found…
* 3% of the global population lives in countries of which they were not born.
* By 2050, the US population will be majority ethnic minorities
* By 2050, 28% of the world’s Christians will be in Africa, 23% in South America, and 13% in Asia
The beauty of the international church *in Shanghai* is that it comprises all 3 mission types: near neighbor witness, regular missions, and frontier missions…International could be defined as global citizens.
Note: Acts 10.

and this song…

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are you Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are you Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

All the earth will shout your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are you Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

Pour out our praise to You only
Pour out our praise to You only

As I sip on my red wine, I pen thoughts on a napkin…because it’s more real…my scribbles, my cursive ink bleeding onto the thin paper…where I think the clearest…they play deep house music and I can stun.
New year’s day 2017. I feel good even though I have a lot on my mind. The sermon and worship reminded me that it’s not a matter of if God will fulfill his promises, but when. This gives me hope. Comfort. That the life I’m living has a purpose, even though it seems so scattered and disorganized to the world. He makes His will be known in the chaos, leaving me feel at peace in all the uncertainty that I know. 

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.

The Oddness of National Week Holiday










China: Here are 7 days for a holiday in which traveling in China is the busiest, most hectic, but here are 7 days for Thank goodness I’m basically a local and stayed on the back streets away from the go-to tourist areas, but could still get good food and coffee and do yoga. Life essentials, right?
Also China: Now that we have given you 7 days holiday, you must “make up” the given holiday days by working Saturday thru Friday.

National Week. The holiday time has been filled with ups and downs…fun social activity, an amazing get-together with a dear friend from Korea, and spending a couple days in bed, coughing up gross stuff, losing my voice, and getting better. Awesome stuff let me tell you. Losing my voice But thank goodness for home remedies and natural health cafes that make honey lemon ginger goji tea. Lesson planning ahead did not get done, but lesson planning for the 7 days did get done. And Sports Day is Monday. Sports day: when students ask to miss my class to practice basketball or to finish a mural (don’t ask) (Tuesday: No, you may not miss my class; Friday: just go. it’s whatever, have fun. Really teacher? Thank you so much!) All teachers must report at 7:40a.m. for the opening ceremony, classes are cancelled, but teachers must also stay until 4p.m. for the closing ceremony (my day usually starts at 10:25 and ends at 3:30) so there’s that.

On any given day I could be speaking to people from multiple countries. For example, today I texted my Mother “Happy Birthday” in USA, called a friend in Indonesia via WhatsApp, and spent the day showing my friend from Canada, whom I met in Korea, around the side streets of Shanghai. My favorite kind of day. I love these days. I am inspired by people all over the globe. Their words, their stories, their adventures and challenges have impacted me so. I met this friend 5 years ago when we first went abroad to live and it’s incredible how we both have grown and changed except for our friendship. How special to show her and her new husband around my city!

Ahhh Fall has arrived to Shanghai. It’s beautiful, cool air, fresh-ish air….and blue skies! It makes for a good start to a long teaching day. Trying to power through and stay positive on this long stretch. It’s only Tuesday when I’m writing this and it feels like a Thursday afternoon. Groggy and tired and my words don’t come out right when I try to explain something. Maybe teaching first graders dance and song isn’t such a bad thing at this point in the week. Ha.

And then I torn my hamstring during a yoga class. As many of you know I’m going on year 2 of rather consistent Ashtanga yoga practice. It’s a sequence of poses and breathing and once you have memorized and achieved certain poses you move on to the next. It’s a purely individual practice. So I was getting into a new posture and my yoga teacher was helping me. I have really tight hamstrings, but the stretch felt good up until the point it crackled and popped. For about a week now I’ve been limping around Shanghai. I can’t touch my toes. It feels better to stand and walk than to sit because then the back of my knees become stiff. Needless to say, I’ve been in a lot of pain and trying to work through it. This past week has taught my a lot of patience. I’m really frustrated, mostly because I had improved so much mentally and physically since arriving back to Shanghai. So I’ve taken this week to chill, drink wine, and sleep. My yoga teacher is the sweetest and has provided me with natural “icy hot” pepperminty oil that seems to be working. If it doesn’t improve, I will see an acupuncturist.

It’s hard to believe that it’s the latter half of October. The weather has still been warm, a bit humid, rainy some days, it’s been a pleasant temperate month. Part of me wants to just curl up in a sweatshirt and jeans, but I refuse to wish those days upon us now, because once they hit, warm weather won’t come again until April! BRR.

To make it seem a bit more like fall, my lovely sister has sent me pumpkin things like tea, scone mix, and cookies. I’m trying really hard to ration these things. And now I have mastered the perfect French press cup of coffee to make mornings a bit more cozier. Yay home things.

It’s nights like tonight with rain pattering, country music, red wine, and chocolate that make it good for writing and getting back to focus. It’s about perspective, about taking a step back. Thank you God for subtle signs that help me realize the importance of slowing down.

Reading List: Present Over Perfect by: Shauna Niequist. Read it, be inspired.
Music: “Gulf Coast Time,” Roger Creager and really anything by the Eli Young Band. Also note Hillsong Young and Free remixes are great jams for cleaning house.

And now it’s November. Oh my goodness. Sometimes the days go by too fast and then I realize a month has past and I haven’t posted. Stay tuned for birthday month updates.



















Shanghai: Take 2

Last days in the USA and the first week back in Shanghai… read on.

An American luxury is a dryer- a timed dryer in which you can press an indicated time and right before you go to bed you can have awesomely comfy warm sheets.

An American luxury is also sitting at a small town bar, listening to country music, eating tacos and drinking super strong margaritas with your parents.

An American luxury is the bluest skies and greenest grass, and open skies speckled with fluffy white clouds and a running path with sunflowers.

An American luxury is also homemade cookies right out of the oven. Heavenly.

And one more thing…evening walks, game nights and coffee chats with friends are just the best. I am so blessed to have spent time with dear friends this summer.








small Nebraska town cafe.
delicious caramel latte.

My friend wrote a book. You should buy it and read it. Your life will be changed. Being apart of the launch team and seeing the interworking of words coming together has been so inspiring! (I can’t wait to write mine now… #unfrozen) much love! So excited for you dear friend! Unfrozen by Andrea Joy Wenburg.

Basically I still have this goal that one day I will make the NYT Bestseller List. Actually I really hope one person would read my book. Making the list…now that would call for a step up for my $3.96 bottle of wine. though that wine is really good and I would pry drink that and the expensive stuff. because wine and books. done and done.

Did I tell you I graduated? Yes. Master’s program of International Studies with a concentration in International Education is complete. I made the deadline. to the day. YAY!

My cousin just had her second baby. In LOVE. She is precious and adorable and the sweetest thing you will ever see. Scarlett Kimberly, love you. And Life is good and timing is everything. My ticket out leaves the 5th and she arrived with time to spare. Like I get to meet this baby before she’s six months old.

Learning to chill is this year abroad life’s motto. Chill about people, circumstances, opportunities, timing. Zen out and just breath.

That moment you get the English version of your schedule (instead of the Chinese one that you google translated) to find out that you are not only teaching high school levels, but also primary and middle school as well…anyone? 

My best friend in Taiwan just had her baby girl. I’m going to call her Huan Huan (歡歡) which means cheerful and lots of joy in Taiwanese. PRECIOUS. I’m also obsessed. My friends make the most beautiful babies ever.. and I love being Aunt Megan. So many hearts. Ugh. Yay.

And just like that I was sitting at the airport in Chicago after a 4 am drop off by my brother and parents at good ole Epply Airport (it’s seriously the best airport ever, hello 5 minute lines and super happy people at the crack of dawn) and an hour and a half first flight. One last thing before leaving the USA, a pumpkin spice latte. I really could not have timed this any better. Now to brace myself after receiving not so nice emails from my director for not arriving until the 7th of September due to visa paperwork and flight prices.

magical sunrise.
got my PSL
it’s all about timing.
and FALL.

I arrived in Shanghai about 2 pm. Easy customs line. And I felt like a local when I could turn on my phone and use it without wifi to let people know I had landed. So weird. A whole lotta déjà vu going on…airport signs, directions, speaking Chinese to my taxi driver, and knowing the route he was driving to my friend’s house. Spent a few days at a friends before securing an apartment; she seriously is a huge life saver!!!

adult grilled cheeses are the best.
because it’s the first Friday.
so rare to see clouds.
thank you G20 summit aftermath
because bubble teas…mango smoothies…and whatever else.


Before arriving back to Shanghai I was looking for places to potentially rent online. I had found some really cute places so I scheduled an appointment with a realtor. (The first appointment schedule she actually forgot, so we arranged to meet the day after). As I was heading out of school the second day of class I checked my wechat as a second realtor was always posting listings. I found one that caught my eye. So many windows, white and airy, kitchen space, and room to move. I had to take a look! I messaged her right away and it looked like this:

Yep. This is how I secured a viewing at this apartment.

The first viewing with the first realtor went well, but it wasn’t what I thought. The room was bright, but claustrophobic, a tiny space and one window, no kitchen space, and barely any room to breath. However, it wasn’t the room that was the deciding factor, the whole building reeked  of chemicals and smoke and by the time I left, my head was pounding and I felt ill. I couldn’t do it, no matter if the second place worked or not.

I walked into the second apartment and knew right away I had to have it. It’s simple, but clean and so many windows. It’s perfect for one person. It’s in a very “China” area of town and in perfect location. 10 minutes walk to the metro, 5 minutes walk to a gym, noodle and dumpling restaurant, and cafes. And it’s in walking distance to tutoring and yoga. My school is a bit of a metro ride away, but having only one easy transfer makes it totally doable and morning rush hour is really not that bad because I am going the opposite way of most.

I spent the weekend moving and unpacking and cleaning. I also killed a baby cockroach. I figured out how to turn the light of on my AC unit and how to turn on the hot water. Because everything is in Chinese and I use google translate and context clues.

The first meal I ate in my apartment was beef noodles and a vanilla cashew latte. Because there’s a cafe called Lizzy’s All Natural. A place where bulletproof coffee, almond milk, smoothies, and bowls exist. It’s the best.  It’s a good and bad thing that it’s so close.

peanut butter bowls.
cleaning supplies!
I’ve missed my chicken and rice.
first meal.
beef noodles and a cashew vanilla latte
moon cakes.
are not very good.
but it’s a mid-Autumn festival
more Shanghai sky.
evening snack


Teaching is going well considering it’s my first week back. I didn’t have books the first couple days. Literally winged all my classes because I was in a meeting and getting a tour of the school right up until my first class started. There’s nothing like teaching not even 24 hours after landing after 19 hours of travel. By the time my 5th class had ended for the day, I had been in Shanghai for a full 24 hours and I was beat. But I made it. I did summer holiday and getting to know you activities, introduced myself, and had the students make name cards. I have 35 students in each class for 1st grade, 6th and 7th grade, about 25 for each class in 8th grade, and 20 students in my high school class. I do not have a curriculum to follow for any of my classes, but luckily I have a book for my high schoolers and first graders and sample lesson idea for my middle schoolers.

I made it my first week and now it’s Mid-Autumn Festival, which means eating mooncakes and watching a full moon tonight. A tradition for Chinese is to also eat duck soup. Mostly I’m just excited because we get Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off. However, because it’s China, we must make up one holiday day so I will be teaching on Sunday thru Friday next week.

blue sky before the downpour
gotta love an empty metro
at the end of line 12!
the best dumplings down the street
back to tutoring.
more delicious food from the Muslim restaurant around the corner
rainy day burgers and shakes
after the crazy plumbers fixed my toilet!
jammin’ to Nicki Minaj and drinking my latte
afternoon Cajun food and wine
much needed conversation with a dear friend
typhoon clouds


I am back to tutoring my business people and they were so excited about my return! Yay! Yoga is rough since I mostly did cardio activity over the summer, but it’ll get there. Church is amazing and I still get teary-eyed during worship. God is present and alive and real. It’s really the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced. I found a community group, and will hopefully be able to continue attending the weekly meetings. It will be fun to continue exploring my new area of town and meet new people from school (my colleagues seem nice) and church.

Here’s to another year in Shanghai! Stay tune for more adventures and happenings.

what an absolutely gorgeous Saturday!
palm trees.
now I just need a beach…
blue skies and sunshine mean laundry day
my neighborhood view
more typhoon clouds rolling in.
Teacher’s Day texts from last year’s students…so sweet! 🙂

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