Regaining my life in new territory.

I was becoming exhausted just being in my own body. Another suffering cause was the fact that I hadn’t been giving attention to my hobbies due to the change in my life. Moving here had turned my world upside down. I started to feel suffocated in my own house, trapped by my chores, agonizing over the memories I missed so much from back home. It was tearing me apart. I looked at myself like a quitter. Giving up on my routine and my hobbies of gardening, belly dancing, kundalini yoga sessions, dog parks, making a big breakfast every morning, going to crystal shops, hiking, going to church, etc. I had stopped doing it because I didn’t know where any such places were. I was accepting the fact that the Towne Park a mile away was enough to suffice, because the few dog parks Danny and I did check out, the dogs were all aggressive. Giving up on hiking, realizing that this isn’t Utah, this is the woods. Giving up on gardening because I no longer had a yard to do it in and overestimated the cost for indoor plants. Giving up on yoga because the classes here were just so expensive. I had succumbed to my own mental prison and wide range of excuses. Work and dog walks is all I will be doing here,  I thought, trying to hold back my tears. I just kept breathing and praying for something to change. Please, anything to get me back to a state of well-being, I begged. When you stop doing what you love, you stop being the person you are and you allow yourself to lose your spirit, it not only affects yourself, but everyone around you. I started feeling sad, depressed, and irritable, out of the unhappiness I had felt within myself.

On a day like many others, I was cleaning our house and sleeping the floors and organizing the DVDs on the shelf and that’s when I saw it: The yoga DVD I had bought at a pawn shop last Autumn! I stared in disbelief as tears of relief swelled up in my eyes. It was when I stopped looking so hard and so desperately, that it came to me at the right time. The next day, I met a neighbor who lives 1,000 feet away from me. Cristyn’s dog is the same breed as Zai and six months older. They run, they play, and I had found comfort in someone with a very similar lifestyle to my own. A holistic yoga instructor with a Masters in Sports Psyche raised by a homeopathic, animal loving massage therapist. My soul was fed. The bond was cemented and a friendship was born.

One week after that, I go across the street to get Danny some slices of pizza to have ready for his return after a 12 hour day of work. The same manager who was working is the same fellow with whom Danny and I are acquainted with there. Making small talk with Kade, I tell him about the beach in Stamford and he recommends a secluded and quiet beach in Norwalk for me to try. I say, it’s expensive, but I’m sure one day on a special occasion, it will be perfect. He knows Zai, and throws in a few other recommendations. Stone Hill Road, off route 137 and 124 has a dog park that is a wooded trail. It’s quiet and in nature. There are creeks and it’s off leash, he says. And as an added bonus, tells me about Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, not even 10 minutes from my house! It’s a 5,000 acre piece of land where people take their dogs, horses, and go just to enjoy nature. Sometimes there are workout classes there or meditation classes. You can even go camping! Lakes and ponds everywhere. Lots and lots of hiking too. Maybe not like in Utah, but you can certainly venture there, he adds.

My salvation was returning and my depression was diminishing. 

I have accepted the fact, that I may not find a belly dancing class here for a while, but why should that stop me from belly dancing in the comfort of my own home? The same day I went to the Stone Hill Road dog park is the same day I stopped at the library and got a library card. One week ago, Danny bought me house plant. I am not just gardening again, but building upon my happiness that is growing and connecting to Earthly life inside the comfort of a home that has no outside options.

I have met four neighborhood dogs, with amazing owners who I now walk with everyday and our dogs play together. Amazing women of all ages.

My spirits are up and my mood swings are down. My happiness is much and my depression, very little. I have a hunger to do things now. I clung to Danny when I had nothing of my own and it had put a strain and pressure on our relationship that neither of us could escape. I was dependent on him to give me what my hobbies had given me. I didn’t know who was happier when these past few weeks have filled my life with my answered prayers! The strain has been lifted. Being with each other is a choice everyday that we make and it’s enjoyable to make it now. I no longer feel guilty for clinging to him for comfort and a way to be alive. He’s happy for me that I have regained my own life I once had. The life that he loved seeing me have, a free woman who flies by what drives her and interests that she puts her heart into, he says. That’s what made his eyes unable to be taken off of me.

My days are much different now. Filled with moments of care-taking and soul work. Ego releases and breath of fires consume me as I sway around my house cooking and cleaning and running with Zai, falling onto my yoga mat and exercising until I am swimming in sweat to then relax and read whether in my home or at the beach, taking the time to paint my nails and sugar scrub my body and research and write and smile and kiss the Sun every morning that I wake, with a profound sense of fulfillment that must be worked for in life.

I am happy and I am free from my mind’s solitary imprisonment.


 

It’s hard to move to a new place and feel like you’re losing your sense of routine and then feel helpless and succumb to the overwhelming sadness that fills the void. What makes us happy is just too damn important to disregard or make ourselves believe we can live without it. No matter what it is we love, we do it for a reason. It will take a moment to make a new life in a new place and to figure out where your hobbies and craft fit into the schedule of the new environment. It will take a moment to hunt down the places you love going to and finding replacements for the ones you miss.

Moving and rearranging your schedule, routine, and timing for things when you uproot and move to a new place are inevitable. But if it’s an event you think you might ever do, it’s best to prepare for it. Unlike myself, I figured I wouldn’t have a hard time with coping. And assuming that, was my biggest error.

So, first step: Prepare (even if you end up being fine)
Consider what will be different for a bit and what will be the same. Research ahead of time, nearby places that you like to go to and map out areas you will be in a lot. Develop a sense of time that you will spend driving or doing things in your new area.

Second step: Confide in somebody you can trust and be comfortable with. Let them know if you feel like there is something missing and it’s hard for you to sort out your emotions on your own, because, sometimes it is. It’s a time where we can become confused and disoriented.

Third step: Make a plan for the future on what your days will look like at best. Fill in the blank areas with that of which you love doing. Make it realistic and make it count. Don’t wait like I did and struggle with heavy emotions and irrational thoughts. The more you prepare for, the less will surprise you if it happens and the calmer you will be in dealing with it.

You will remain happy, because you did.

 

The Game Plan

the Pink Queen’s Chair

Day #1 of waking up at 7am everyday:

Of course the night before my first day of my challenge, I wasn’t able to sleep. I can usually sleep like a champion regardless of what the next day brings. Nowadays anyway. I remember the night before the first day of school, I was never able to fall asleep as a child. Christmas Eve, the night before my birthday…… it was all a loss and waste of time for me to lie in bed.

So I read instead. My grandparent’s bought me a book Passage On the Titanic for my birthday this year while I was in the hospital. At first I thought, “Jesus, another book with LDS religion innuendos. Just what I need.” Because usually I am against that. It just gets entirely suffocating to my being to be continuously pressured and urged to “find the right path of Jesus and friends” because I think the path I’m on is pretty awesome and if God and I drank a cup of tea looking through the photo album of my life, he would agree, I have fully taken in the lessons and opportunities he’s made available to the human population.

But that’s getting off topic.

This book is impressively thrilling. I find myself getting all sorts of emotional and I feel a connection with Ella Brown, one of the main characters. She has the worst habit of self doubt, because growing up a rich and spoiled girl, she saw her parents lose it all and she ended up on the streets and got pressured into prostituting herself and giving birth to an illegitimate baby that dies at the scene and becoming friends with her Mormon nurse who helps her get back on her feet.

I know what you’re thinking – whoa whoa whoa!!!!!! Too much turbo!

No, I didn’t go through the same life experiences, but through the experiences I have been through, I have felt many of the same things. Through all the tough mental moments Ella Brown has with herself, she fights every petty comment with an action of perseverence. She is unknowingly courageous to herself, but believes she must be because everybody else tells her so. She is wonderfully smart and talented, and holds a beautiful heart inside her glorious chest cavity. She survived the sinking of the Titanic and continues on her journey to America with the worry of not being able to successfully start a new life for herself there in New York City.
-if you want to know more, I highly suggest to read the book. If you’re not into reading, it’s cool, there’s a dvd.
Just like Ella Brown, I have been having tough mental moments, going through the motions of unemployment. And can I just point out really quick how nasty of a connotation the word “unemployment” has? You say the word in society and you instantly lose face. I don’t like that, because nobody knows why you’re unemployed. People hear unemployment and think “loser” which gives the person of unemployment absolutely EVERYTHING OPPOSITE of what they are seeking.
A fighting fucking chance.

Yes, it’s an inconvenience to the people who feel the obligation to help them out financially until they get back on their feet; it’s rare you find someone who wants to help out just because they want to see you okay and gratitude and motivation is all they ask from you. But, this is America, and everything comes with a debt.
It’s not ever all lost though, there’s always moments of clarity and opportunities just waiting outside your door.

If you are unemployed and there has yet to be a job offered to you, instead of hitting your head into a wall unsuccessfully everyday, why don’t you use the free time you have to not only persevere in the job seeking, but also, cross some “to-do” items off your list?
After all, you have all that free time that would otherwise be spent working. I guess now there is no more excuse to avoid the other life demanding chores, tasks, and goals.

That brings me to my next half of the topic.

CHALLENGE STRATEGY!

Every great challenge has a game plan. Nobody chooses to challenge themselves for thirty days and then wakes up to conquer it with a shot in the dark. You think Genghis Khan developed one of the largest empires in history by just “going for it”? No! He had a game plan! He refined his skills! He practiced his strategy time and time again and put his knowledge and strength to good use to make something of his ruling! He divided and conquered time and time again because he mapped out what he was going to do and he did it. And nothing in the World stopped him until he was satisfied.

It’s important to develop a game plan, because it’s the reminding to keep you on track when you’re feeling like quitting. It keeps you at ease, knowing that there is time to be waited and accomplishments to be made. Change doesn’t come in a day, but we grow impatient anyway. Deep breathing is a concept I will forever be practicing.

my challenge game plan:

  • What sort of awakening routine will I develop to ensure I get out of bed everyday at 7am? Upon awakening, I will let my dog outside for her morning bathroom break. While she is outside, I will go to my bed to clear it and make it before I can think too long about getting back inside of it. I will make my dog and I some breakfast, do the dishes if needs be, and spend thirty minutes stretching the muscles in my body giving me a slow but sure way of waking up.
  • How will I utilize this time to progress in life? By having all this free time that I would otherwise be spending at a job, until I get offered a job, I am going to have the means: 1) To go to my school and make up the classes I have missed. I will regain my 100% attendance and set the example, as an ambassador, that school is a top priority. 2) Everyday turning in resumes in person and over the internet, calling companies, getting updates for interviews, dressing for success, & on the lookout for any application or hiring signs. 3) Making my list of tasks, chores, and goals into a broken down list of what takes the bigger priority and how the time can be managed gracefully with each project regardless of the size. 4) Reading my book collection. I used to read an average of three books a week. And I find with all the time I have now, I can definitely meet that mental craving. 5) Now that my blood clots are stable and dissolving, I can successfully get back to working out without the fear of having a pulmonary embolism explode into the right chambers of my heart.
  • What do I hope to learn/gain from this challenge? From this challenge, I am mostly eager to see what I am capable of. I hope to learn the driving characteristics to my spirit and gain a new sense of confidence. I expect to learn that words won’t get me anywhere, and it’s action that brings the goal to accomplishment. I will gain respect and consideration for myself and the people around me and in turn, receiving respect and consideration. I expect to gain a new outlook in life, I expect some of my beliefs about things will change as my mind widens and allows for more diversity of possibilities to reach my core. I seek to learn what is holding me back, how to fix it, and progress forward – leaving the thing that is holding me back in the past. I crave to fix my procrastination and the laziness I have developed in the past couple months. I pray to gain more humility, more strength, and more patience.

    I will reach each and every one of these desired outcomes by giving my best and absolute sincere effort and not taking a moment to stop under the temptations of the weaknesses. By recognizing my weaknesses, I can further dominate my challenge.

  • What am I willing to sacrifice for this challenge? I am willing to sacrifice my “fun spending” money and exclude shopping from my calendar events until all the priorities get paid first. I am willing to give up my chances of sleeping in, forcing myself to make a productive day out of anything. Naps. Staying up late at night.
  • How will this challenge help me grow as a person? I believe this challenge has come to me at the right time in my life. Although it seems incredibly easy to just wake up at the same time everyday, when you are unemployed, there is a criminalistic sense of freedom you get from allowing yourself to get comfortable. All the way until obligations have to be met. And then the panic sets in and pray for something to come our way. It’s the same concept of asking for forgiveness after you’ve already been caught. You’re either sorry or you’re not, and pretending doesn’t give your morality anymore points than blatantly not caring does. In fact, honest emotions will give your morality more points than anything, because at least your whole heart is in it. At the end of this 30 day challenge, I will become a more patient person and hold a tighter grasp onto my time management throughout the days. I will hold more realistic expectations of my goals and when I can and will accomplish them. I will see free time as a chance to explore an interest or further blossom a hobby or passion, instead of sitting and staring into the blue skies of daylight space. I will become stronger, smarter, and hold my being with a bold confidence. I will refine my problem-solving skills and open my communication to widen my crowd versitility. This challenge will be the barrier that breaks the transitional wall from girl to womanhood.

Hi again,

It’s one of those nights. Those nights to let it all go.
After a long day of thinking about my actions and life choices and seeing how they have come to effect my life now, I’m wiped out. Everyday, you do something, anything, and it moves you one step closer or one step further away from where you want to be.

Our problem is that we rarely stop to assess. Some of us have more awareness. Some of us truly believe we are aware people, and sometimes come to surprise even our self in the observations we have.

Let’s begin:

I haven’t been onto my website in a long, long time.
The worst part is, I have had so many great ideas on what to write about.
I used to just stop and write it out on my WordPress app on my phone, but now I am finding that I’m becoming more and more lazy about it. I am thinking about the idea of writing out a giant, long, detailed blog for so long that I actually end up getting overwhelmed and deciding to leave it alone completely, claiming that “I will just remember this topic and write it down when I get home.”
Really?
Who am I kidding?
I won’t remember. And even if I did, I wouldn’t do it.I’ve been exhausted for months.I have been living with two female roommates since the end of January, in downtown Salt Lake. It was fun for the most part. 

  • I got a dog at eight weeks old and have been juggling being with her, training her, playing with her – all things Zai.
  • I have been working a job that became more and more dissatisfying every day I went in for another shift.
  • I am going to a school where, besides my dog, is the only thing that keeps me sane all the time.
  • I have been in a six month relationship and have gone through the ups & down, in the end, enjoying every minute of it. I’m in love. I love another person’s soul. And I have loved his soul longer than I have loved him.

After all, isn’t that how I should feel about my other half? We connected on ways we’ve never connected with other people before.

And with Zai… I have never communicated with any animal the way I communicate with her. I think people forget to realize, more or less of the time, how much animals can understand. If you give them a chance, they will understand you. It’s a wonderful thing, mammal communication.

I quit my job yesterday. All the time we hear or read, on blog and motivational pieces, encouraging you to quit your job and take the risk of doing what makes you happy. And it really is great advice, except for the fact that sometimes, certain people are just sillier than others and quit without a) having a concrete backup and b) stacking those racks and really preparing for the time spent off track.
Oops! But what can you do? You can use that unpreparedness to your advantage and boost your motivation to fulfill a position that fits your current lifestyle exactly how you see fit.

I’ve taken my hiatus from blogging and reading, unexpectedly. It’s driven me nuts, and all along I have recognized the feeling of unbalanced energy in my life. I have to hit my forehead, bringing me back to reality, quite frequently, saying to myself, “Of course this is what’s missing! Why am I holding back? Why am I not writing? Why am I not engaging in the passion that drives my soul?”

 

Excuses.

It doesn’t make me a phony in how I carry myself, in any sense, however I have come to the comfortable realization that sometimes when you grow and progress so quickly in so many different ways, you forget about your foundation.
“forgetting where you came from phase.

It doesn’t make your person any better or worse, it just leads your core in a tornado across your entire thought process. It can be overwhelming or stressful and not only until you bring yourself back to center and remember where you are, how you got there, and where you want to be; will you make the necessary changes to pick up, regroup, and move forward in the best sane matter you know possible.

It’s not about doing it like anybody else, it’s about doing it the best way you know possible for the moment until you find the next big thing that will encourage, drive, and push you into the limits you never knew were available at hand.

That’s when the universe answers your call and decides you’re ready for the next big thing.

 

 

 

Dear Universe,
I don’t know if you know me as well as I know you. But I get you.
And I’m ready for you.

Yours Truly,
Z.

 

I pay my respects out of respect.

Skeletons In the Closet.

I’ve been having this intense feeling lately that for every big change you make in life, you won’t complete the process of change without confronting one forgotten situation of the past.

Secrets come out.
Skeletons are dug deep out of the closet.

And in a completely twisted way, we wouldn’t have been able to make the change, without confronting our hidden past.

Why do people have experiences others don’t? Is any experience truly random? Or is it a mix between our current thoughts and past secrets – coming out to form a new age enlightenment?
Hoping that maybe this time, we’ll get it.

I’m a strong believer in the Law of Attraction. I’m a strong believer in communicating with the Universe and using my faith to protect me and others.

But nothing protects you from bringing those things to life. Nothing ever stops surprising you when you must practice your faith out of fear, disappointment, or danger.

I recently took a weekend trip to LA. I had trusted someone who made himself out to be a bigger deal than he was. I was under the impression we would be talking business, fundraisers, and hip hop.
I was also hoping to see one of my best friend’s who now lives there.

So, on Saturday I got ready, packed my bag, and flew out of the Salt Lake valley to the Golden State of the West Coast.

I didn’t think anything of it when Mr. Ivvs picked me up and his cousin was driving. Rick was acting questionably towards me.
As if I was random – which I suppose I am.
As if I was there for illegal business – which I was not.
As if I was there to do dirty work – which, the only kind of dirty work I planned to do was wash the sweat off my body from the plane ride.

 

I’m lucky.

I’m lucky to have recognized all the warning signs that came after. (although I really should have been more aware to realize them before any trip was planned).
I’m lucky  to have had the strength to stand up to him.
I’m lucky I got out.

 

I couldn’t help but stop myself and hit my head. Because of the small choices I make and the life I lead, followed by the persistent thoughts of my wrecked past, I have literally created this moment all by myself. I have made this moment re-livable only so I could demonstrate the strength I wish I had years ago.

I have been thinking a lot about the lie I told, about strength, about courage, honesty, and bravery. I have been thinking about change and growth and life choices and how to make them healthier.

So, it’s only natural that my thoughts and actions have manifested into a life experience my gut has been urging me to conquer. Not only did I stick up for myself, to my predator, but I stuck up to every damageable choice I have made – every sick fear I’ve been holding onto – every unwanted, anticipated thought up occurrence.

 

 

Veni Vidi Vici

Reaching Perfection

My mom built a new house in the Springtime of this year. Given that it’s still under warranty, she can have anything replaced for free until next April. So two weeks ago, she had some construction workers come over to patch up a few things around the house.

In the kitchen, there is a small bubble my mom pointed out on the front wall towards the ceiling. It’s the same color as the paint on the walls so in all honesty, nobody could notice. My mom noticed and that’s what bothered her. She would point it out to everybody who came over when she would tour them through the house. What she doesn’t accept, is the fact that if she never pointed it out, not one person would have ever noticed the bubble on the wall.

So, she got it fixed and now there is a definitely noticeable, big, white spot of plaster on the wall, in replace of the invisible bubble.

So it makes me think about life in general. Why is it that we feel the need to change the smallest things, thinking it will reach perfection? What is perfection for that matter? If we never put our imperfections on blast, how many people would really notice? And even if they did, how many would think of it as an imperfection or as individuality?

Striving for perfection will almost always backfire to your advantage. How many times have you tried to fix something and in the end it turns out worse than it was before? This also happened to me as of yesterday. I had very different and apparent tan lines, so on Sunday, I went into a tanning bed…. at two different tanning salons. I know.. horrible mistake, right? I always knew why you shouldn’t do it. I know I was just begging for what came next. But I was desperate. Today I am in a lot of pain. It’s hard for me to move, because I am burnt in the most inconvenient places. I am peeling, which wouldn’t be so bad if it were just peeling. However, underneath the peeling (which is coming off by the chunks), is bright red, brand new skin. Kind of like that gooey, slippery feel as if you just intended to give yourself a 2nd degree burn.
Now, I don’t think my burn was quite a second degree, but it’s definitely worse than if I just didn’t go tanning at all. Or I just went to one tanning salon. I have not only learned my lesson, but I also learned that people and things will never be perfect.

Perfection is not real.

When we try to reach perfection, we’re taking away a small part of our happiness due to instant gratification. We want something that instant, we forget about the process, the recovery, the tools needed, and the unexpected things in the future.

Getting cosmetic, unnecessary surgeries, surrounding yourself with materialistic and unimportant items just to prove to people that you have something, not asking for help when we need it… we do so many things (sub consciously or not) to try and get to that peak. That nonexistent mountain peak where we will feel beautiful and powerful in one way or another once we reach it. But the secret is that we will all die reaching it.

The more we get plastic surgery, the less we become ourselves. The more material items we buy, the less original and down to earth we become. We would no longer buy things that actually mean something to us or our personal style, we would be buying to “keep up with the Jones'” or just to impress people. And why should we have to spend money to impress other people? If they like you for your things or your money, they will never care about you. Just about what you have.

Life is not about how perfect we can be. Life isn’t about competition of who has the better things, environment, or resources.

Life is about sharing. Sharing friends, family, memories, photos, videos, experiences. Life is about giving. Giving to those in need, giving food to the hungry, giving a coat to someone who is cold, giving someone a trax ticket that has yet to expire when you are done with it. Life is about helping. Helping people who need it, helping your parents clean the house, helping to keep the streets cleaner by putting garbage in the bin – even if it’s not yours. Helping a child reach something on a high shelf.

Nobody cares about what you have physically. When we die, we will not be remembered for the things we had, the things we wore, or the car we drove (for those that drive a car). People will remember us for the good times we had with them, the ideas shared, the knowledge shared, the times that we acted like friends. Like family. The times you make mistakes together, make messes that take days to clean up. The times you accidentally put something red in a load of whites and your laundry all turns pink. When you try new recipes together. The times you forget not everybody is in the car and you start to drive off and suddenly realize a block away you are missing a person.

Imperfection is the secret to perfection.

It makes life exciting and more valuable. It makes us who we are as creative individuals. That’s what makes us important. That’s what makes us loved. There is no reason to chase perfection, because perfection is predictable and boring.
How do you want to be remembered?

Seven Days To Go

I have never believed that people can fully change in a span of five months. However, I do believe that with the right experiences and opportunities, one can greatly improve the path he/she is on to be the best person they know they can be.
I am definitely still on the road to becoming exactly who I want to be. I know there are some views that I have changed, some I gained, and some that I will always stick by. Living in China has opened my mind up greater than I have expected and has shown me a new life I thought I’d never live.

My first seven days I remember thinking, “What in the hell am I doing here? I can’t teach. I can’t feel my toes, and I keep forgetting to not flush the damn toilet paper in the toilet.” I was pretty nervous to talk to anyone. I didn’t care to get ready or look nice because I felt too cold to do anything. I slept at any given moment because I was even too cold to be active. I had a [short-lived] fear that I would be a rucluse while teaching.

And then within my first two weeks, I met Ya Wei. We instantly became close and exchanged many emails all day long. We enjoyed talking whenever we could, sharing our different cultures, telling stories, and swapping pictures. I never would have thought I liked all the things about him that I do. That is someone who has completely taken me by surprise.

Wang Meng and Dong Mei. They are probably the absolute closest friends to me. I have never met two more honest people in my life and I am forever grateful to call them a friend. I never would have thought the majority of my time would be spent on campus with them, laughing, learning, and talking about life. While Dong Mei have each other to watch basketball games, Wang Meng gives me lady lessons, which I will definitely continue to use while back in America. I have no insecurities around them, no second thoughts, and absolutely no doubts. I believe that is when you know you have a true friend.

I have been at Mayflora long enough to get to know many people on my school’s campus. We joke together, we play sports together, and cheer each other on during sporting events. We help each other out, feed each other, and do favors for the other; not because we feel obligated, but because that’s just what friends do, and we’re happy to do it. And in fact, it’s never made me feel happier.

I now love practicing my Chinese on any given stranger in the city or on campus. I love flirting in Chinese and bargaining while shopping. I love the street food. I have really come to ignore all the staring, and now, find some fun in playing around with it. The field at night has become my unannounced territory as I put my ear buds in for a couple hours of dancing. My students are my everything. My memory has gotten better (thank you healthy food!) and I feel the culture has significantly helped me to “be what the moment requires” – a quote from Robert Greene in his book The 48 Laws of Power.
I never fully understood what it meant, until today.

Being what the moment requires is more than just forcing emotion and nodding your head in agreeance. It’s truly deciding to make the conscious effort to be what is necessary in any givent moment. You would never jump and run in a skirt and heels. You would never use profanities in front of anyone that doesn’t actually know you on “that kind of level.” And I certainly hope that you would not ever be the loudest one, unless given a valid reason to do so. That last one I am still working on.
Because of Wang Meng, we agreed I could be 70% lady like and the rest, I can get sweaty, play sports, have a beer with the guys, practice kung fu, be loud, be crazy, be wild – but not when I should be a lady. And it really shows me just how inappropriate and unattractive it can be if I am not in “the place” where it is permitted. It’s a conscious choice on my part to put his advice in action. I don’t need to be all those things or show I am all of those things all the time. Only when required.

I have learned more things than I thought possible. I have learned to love kids more than lot of other things. I have become more of a woman. I have bathed in sophistication. Fought with a Kung Fu Master. I became tolerant of using my right hand. I can be completely confident in my words and actions and refuse to apologize for any of my honesties. I played with little kids. I’ve played in soccer games, got more into NBA, and learned exactly how to throw a punch. My flexibility has significantly increase. I have seen glamoous sights right down to the fece-infested streets. I’ve given and taken meaningful gifts. I’ve made solid bonds. I’ve been inspired and inspired in return.

So for these last seven days, now that I know this city so well and truly love these people I surround myself with on a daily basis, it becomes harder to pack my luggage. To go back to America and literally count down the days until I step foot in Bengbu again. And not just Bengbu, for that matter, but all over China. All over the world.
With seven days to go, I remain grateful. I remain honored. I remain in love with the city that opened its arms to seven strange, ignorant Americans.
It’s something that can never be topped.

Better Than A Salary…..

They have a school newspaper here. I have never seen it before today.
Last Thursday, my ELE class was skipped, because the students all had to an annual required test. You know, to graduate to the ascending grade. When I was talking to their teacher, Annie, she asked me how to spell my name. She said, “The kids! I have them write something for you. You see!”
And at first, it meant nothing to me. I figured, to test their skills for English, she would have them write a passage about me to explain how they have come to know more English.

So, walking into my class today, the last thing I expected was Annie running up to me with bright rosy, flourished cheeks and had me the paper, exclaiming, “Look what the kids have done for you!!!! They write this about you!!!” She was giggling and laughing and I was squealing like a kid!!! I could not believe how amazing it was!!! They describe me as  “a beautiful and lovely teacher” 🙂

When I was telling my friend, John, tonight, he said that he would translate it for me next time we hung out. I am going to laminate it and frame it with pictures of the class. John didn’t know that I don’t get a salary here and when I told him I am here as a volunteer, he said the coolest thing. He said, “Ahhhh, where there is your salary right in your hands. That is better than any amount of money.”

They don’t lie to you when they tell you that the best things in life are for free. I never expected my name to be next to Chinese lettering. Letting it be known that to some people, I really did make an impact. I made a difference in their lives. I uplifted them. I changed something for the better. I was a good force on the world! I couldn’t thank those kids enough. Not even with the cupcakes and cookies I am bringing them this week to class. I could not thank them enough for the gift they have given me. In turn, they have made an impact on my life. My world has gotten better with all the surroundings of the kids here at Mayflora. I am only a month and a half in, and I am already missing everyone around me!

The Change Waves of Life:

Current Location: The Playboy coffee table.
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: Northstar – Ice Factory

First off, I am probably going to sound like a hypocrite during this topic. I have no intention to. The concept of change is on my mind today.
My best friend is growing a conscious finally.
My other friend has an intention to change but has no action at all, she just likes the thought of it.
One of my best friends is letting her life being taken over by drugs, and it’s the most unfortunate change I have ever seen in my life.
My mother, bless her heart, has been working so hard to change, and it has paid off by her getting a new job that is double her current salary; which helps her out tremendously.

Four different stages of change.

The best friend has done stuff that would make people’s jaws drop. But she has kept the conscious of a little kid, which in a way is extremely beautiful. She doesn’t get bad karma because she never cared. She never thought twice. I have been watching her world slowly unravel as she has opened up to me about wanting to be more mature, smarter, and do something with her time besides party and do drugs until the wee hours of the morning. I am extremely proud of her and commend her for her success and failures. After all, you can’t have success without failure. She is probably one of the most amazing women I have ever had the blessing to meet in this lifetime and in many ways, has been both my inspiration and motivation to become who I am today. She is strong, yet, sub consciously doesn’t believe in her ability to change on her own. It has taken months of watching me, to push her into her own mind, telling herself, “I can do this”. I can feel her spirit trying and doing. I can almost touch her determination. She still inspires me everyday to be great alongside with her. I am happy we are back on the same page and more comfortable now that we know depths of each other better than we know ourselves. We have everything ourselves that the other doesn’t. She is the yin to my yang.

I am feeling frustrated with my other friend and I feel bad that I do. I know how hard it is to motivate yourself and to stay on the track that is right for me. I think the only reason I am feeling frustrated is because she saw how hard I worked and now she comes to me to confide her stress and emotions. She asks me for advice about everything and I am always more than happy to give it to her. The thing I get frustrated on is when she doesn’t take it. I feel like it’s a slap in my face. Like she took a bag full of my genuine time and energy and threw it in the trash. It’s almost like she is put to a test by the higher being…… Not even an hour after every heartfelt conversation and her reassurance that, “Damnit! I am going to stay clean and be temple worthy! I really want to be temple worthy!” Someone asks her to either buy drugs, buy alcohol, or if she wants to get obliterated. And she always does. She gives me a look as if to say, “oh, you meant change now? I know I said I would, but I’m not strong enough to say no. I’m so sorry….” I would rather her just be confident enough to say, “yeah I wanna change, but I know I’m not ready to.” And I would never have an objection. It is okay to be a late bloomer, friend. Just because everyone around is changing, doesn’t mean you should feel forced to. Not only will it slow your progression, but you will be innocently digging yourself a deep hole. Change doesn’t come instantly, my friend. It takes patience and time and more importantly, EFFORT. I know you have it in you, but you need to know it too, or you will never find your happiness. I pray moving back to McCall, Idaho helps you and shows you how great you are. I wish you could see it.

One of my other best friends is slowly losing her soul to cocaine. Yes, for anyone who has ever done it, knows it’s a great time. It’s the drug from Planet Awesome. We get it. But when is it destruction? It’s a beauty on the outside. It looks like everyone is having a fun time, and indeed they are. Trust you me. But it is now changing one of my closest friends to the point where I can’t even look at her in the eyes anymore because I can’t find her soul. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, well…. where is it?! This is the girl who inspired me to WANT to go back to school. To WANT to be successful. She paid her off her college loans within the first six months she graduated from Massage Therapy School. This girl just bought a freaking 2011 Chevy Camaro and only works four days a week. She is beautiful, hilarious, and is the best shoulder to cry on. She is now late on her rent because she would rather by an 8ball. Her diet includes coke, beer, liquor, hot pockets, white wine, and the occasional fruit or vegetable. She is obliterated everywhere she goes. She has turned to calling me lame, stupid, dumb, party pooper, and any other loner label in relation because I choose to not do it with her. One year ago exactly we were in the opposite positions. She saw how the drug and alcohol lifestyle took over my personality, responsibility, and shine. She saw the friendships it tore apart and saw the road bumps a mile away. It’s my chance to show her and help her, and she just refuses. I have seen this change and it now aches and breaks my heart. How do you help someone who has changed for the worse? How do you get them to care again? No one around her is sober enough to tell her she is digging a trench in the middle of the bridge. Eventually, she is going to fall through.

My mom, despite her craziness, gives me hope for the future. I have seen this lady in the past year go through suicidal depression, medication, therapy, tears, hair pulling, and a state of lonely that makes the wrinkles on your forehead permanent. She is worked harder than anyone I know to get better. Today, she is smiling like she doesn’t know what frowning is. She laughs like she has never heard anything funnier. She sticks to her views and still gives me the chance to express mine. She has gotten her social life back and has been offered a job doubling her salary. Her whole life, all she has wanted was to be available to her kids as much as possible and buy a house on an island. Next year she will be building a house with enough rooms and a yard big enough for the whole family. She will be getting a house down on the San Jose island of Costa Rica! She will have every bill paid off. She has found security within herself and realizes she doesn’t need a male’s attention to feel pretty. She is powerful and beautiful and still the hero of my time. This wouldn’t be the first time I have praised her for her success and struggle (the first time would be for my 4th grade paper on who my hero was and why). She encourages me when I feel like giving up. She picks me up when I get scrapes on my knee. She is the icon of change and evolution. She is a prime example of why the rest of everyone in the world can change and succeed. I feel truly blessed to be half of what she is. This is the kind of change that makes me shake my head in respect and appreciation.