trying my Korean food at Taste of Culture day! Over 40 countries repped at my truly international school.

For the last few years, I have written birthday blog posts filling out the same set of questions each time, so I can look back each year and feel what it was to be me in that moment. A time capsule, of sorts. I like to have a word for each year, too. Last year was “the year of yes/promise.” This year feels like….I don’t know yet. Still searching. I’ll let you know if it hits me. Here’s the last 365.25 days:

What are you doing exactly right now?

Drinking wine from a glass that says “let’s go wine tasting on the couch,” occasionally looking over at the wall I thought would be a good idea to try and paint with zero experience in painting, and laughing. Wondering how long the bag of M&Ms I bought will last.

What shoes and clothes are you wearing?

Well, for shoes I am settling on dust from when I sandpapered a wall last night. Clothes include a YoungLife shirt and some track shorts I have had since college so definitely my longest term relationship is with them.

What did you last eat? 

An entire avocado.

Where are you living?

IMG_3840 2HONG FREAKING KONG. I moved here in July last year for a job and a new start and a ‘don’t have anything else lined up so.’ The story of my first apartment goes best over a happy hour (think cockroaches falling onto my bosom in the early hours, special needs dogs chasing me around the house, shirtless men on the couch and not in a good way) but now I share a flat with Suze, who is gifted in party planning, meal prepping, and cool in all the ways. We don’t keep tabs and we have a rooftop so. Its amaze.

Where do you work?

Admissions and English as an Additional language at an international Christian school. The world of private education in Hong Kong is fascinating. And I share an office/class space with the PE boys, who are like the older brothers I never had, and it always smells like feet. To get to work I walk to an escalator, take a mini bus, go down Ladder street, and boom I’m there. It’s pretty sweet. I really really love the people I work with and the kids I teach.

Where have you traveled this last year?

IMG_2266Japan, back to the States for my first Christmas home in a while, Philippines, Indonesia.

When did you last cry?

Weeeeeelllllll my birthday makes me feel a bit blue, and the end of my solo Indo trip made me a bit crazy – I went five days without speaking out loud to anyone beyond “yes/no/please/thank you” so that was hard and a lot of other things went wrong and there were many tears.

What was the last movie you watched? Eat Pray Love on Netflix when I got back from my trip. I’d heard it was terrible (I loved the book) so I had held off on watching it this whole time, but having been to Bali, I now wanted to see. I liked it! The last movie I saw in the theater was The Greatest Showman and I loved it.

Favorite TV show of the moment? Roomie and I binge watch Brooklyn 99 like no one’s business. I’ve also really enjoyed Handmaid’s Tale this year.

Favorite toy/present of the moment?

I bought myself laser hair removal for my birthday. This is 34.

What book are you reading?

Got two new ones for my bday, which I’m excited about. Something so nice about holding a real book in your hands.

How many books did you read in the last year? Only 15, not including several rereads of old faves. That’s embarrassing. Highlights? Been on a feminist kick lately, and really loved Shrill, Handmaid’s Tale, What Happened, and Men Explain Things to Me.

IMG_5809When did you last laugh really hard? This whole weekend, getting to hang out with people I love. Everything felt really fun and funny. Lots of good giggles.

What are you most looking forward to right now? We have Tuesday off for public holiday and we’re going to dress like tourists and ride the hop on hop off bus. I’m wearing a fanny pack and a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a hip flask so nothing can go wrong.

What’s your favorite song at the moment?

“Sun Comes Up” by James Arthur and “Build My Life” at church.

What’s the same about your life last year that you’re happy about?

Hmmm this is tough. The last year has brought about some pretty dramatic changes. I’m happy my besties and I still have never-ending text message threads. I’m happy I fit in the same clothes, although a bit better since I lost the 20 pounds I had gained.

IMG_3540What’s different about your life from last year? What surprised you about this last year or changed it for you?

I live in Asia and know Asian things now. I have always been so drawn to Latin America and speaking Spanish and then Portuguese that I never even considered Asia, but it’s pretty cool to live here and learn a bunch of new cultures. More of the world makes sense. I’m surprised that even at 34, I can make new best friends that I can’t imagine my life without.

When and what was your last vacation?

IMG_5297I went to Indonesia for two weeks and caught up with someone I hadn’t seen in ten years, threw peanuts at monkeys, rode a motorcycle for the first time, took an otter selfie, spent a week on islands, four days in Ubud wandering temples. It was pretty sweet.

What are you proud of this year?

I have pushed through some really hard circumstances where I wanted to quit or give up. I’ve been reading a lot of self-help and getting better at setting healthy boundaries and expectations. I traveled alone again twice, planned three big trips, went on a blindish date, went to two social meet-ups with strangers, started leading worship again. I wear more sunscreen.

What’s your current favorite joke?

What’s red and bad for your teeth?

A brick.

What would you like as a gift right now?

For someone to figure out if I have to do taxes or not . . . and then do them for me . . . like every year that would be great.

What’s an important relationship at the moment?

my bros.

My roomie and my besties. But at the moment, I am so grateful that I get to share a room with my boys at work. Nick and Jake are like older brothers, and so different, and I have such awesome friendships with both of them. And they are dudes that I really admire as teachers. They genuinely care about their friends, and are freaking hilarious. It’s nice to have good guy friends in my life again.

What are your goals for the next year?

I am going to publish a book.

I am going to finish my thirtyfive x 35 bucket list.

More travels more blogs more love no hurries no worries.