Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolution Tyme

The worst part about writing resolutions down is then they're available the following year to look at. Last year I resolved to floss every day. I (practically) did and still wound up getting three fillings this month.

Despite my Swiss cheese teeth, it's been an incredible year, yet another full of travel:

9.5 months Taiwan (with lots of travel throughout the island(s))
2 weeks Mongolia
5 weeks China
3 nauseous hours (Thanks, United Airlines catering) San Francisco
3 weeks Oregon

I learned to speak Chinese. I learned a ton from teaching - about working, about responsibility, about cross-culture communication, about myself. I pitched a horror movie. I made story outlines for an established Chinese production company with international distribution. And I rode the train through China and Mongolia. That's a cool year.

I didn't think it possible then, but I might actually have less of an idea what next year holds than I did this time 365 days ago. That doesn't seem like progress. But I keep telling myself to enjoy it as the rest of my life will probably, probably be pretty predictable.

On to resolutions:

1. Ruin less stuff. I'm hard on my stuff. And, consequently, it doesn't last long - nylons, phones, bags, shoes, pants etc. With a little more consideration and care it would last longer and look nicer.

2. Continue serious Chinese studying, begin learning simplified characters.

3. Write more.

4. Don't be afraid to fail.

5. Cut out cute spelling (gotta toss in an easy one). I promise never to spell "time" with a y ever again.

Buh-bye decade of double zeros.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas on the Coast

After a busy week with family, the relatives all shipped out today. I've been slacking on the blog front due in part to the festivities, but mostly because of a supreme lack of motivation. For a year the computer was my primary portal to the western world. Now that I'm surrounded by the familiar, it's hard to work up the motivation. But I intend to get back at it and figure out what I'm going to write about now that my life isn't all crazy adventures.

Christmas was lovely. I got lots of nice presents. The one that's occupying me presently is Death at Chappaquiddick, which is Papa Jones' idea of a timely, educational Christmas present, seeing as Senator Kennedy recently passed.

For the Taiwan folks - here's what Christmas looks like in my hometown.
Lake Woahink, taken from my parents' dock.
Bob Creek, north of town.
Me at Bob Creek
Heceta Head, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world!
Aunt, cousin, brothers, dog & moi
Seal at Siltcoos Outlet
Our Tree!
Brothers opening new guitars Christmas morning
Ricky admiring his bass
Robe I got Billy in Shanghai

To see larger pictures, check out my Picasa.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Child Rights

As we sit down to watch a movie:

Billy: Hey that's my spot!

Me: I used to wipe poop off your butt, I'll sit wherever I want.

Hard to argue with that one - zing!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm now into week two of my garage residence in Florence. I haven't blogged because I have nothing to say. Drinking coffee, watching the light change on the lake, and family board games are lovely, but there's not much to say about them. Then there's all that "what's next" anxiety, but I don't want to write about that. I also don't want to write about the Rose Bowl frenzy around here. Every time I hear this, I want to kick a UO fan in the shins.

I've spent a miserable, awful, depressing amount of time trying to organize my trip pictures, and eventually (hopefully) those will go up in vignettes here so you can see what I did for 7 weeks in Mongolia and China.

I went out in the kayak yesterday. Charlie whimpered as if distressed I was going to venture out on the water and just leave him on shore like that. So that's worlds better than my homecoming. I'll put up home pictures for the Taiwan folks soon(ish) too.

The middle school dance was fun. Lots of jumping. And screaming. And maybe a couple of sixth-grade girls crying. That covers all the bases, I think.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Welcome to the United States of America, enjoy your food poisoning. That would sum up my first 36 hours on the ground. We left the airport and stopped into the Dixie Cafe on our way out of Eugene. The waitress slid a plate of potato salad under my nose and I promptly left for the ladies room and threw up. After more than a year of fantasizing about what there is to eat in America, I couldn't eat anything for my first full day.

I think the cause was some "chicken" United gave me, but then my brother is sick today - so maybe not food poisoning?

I'm all better now and loving being back with my people. Although my dog was pretty disappointing upon my arrival. I expected him to trot up wagging his tail. I spent so much time with him as a puppy and James' kept telling me about a dog's keen smell memory. Plus he's a lab. He's supposed to be smart. Instead he got all nervous and ran around barking, though he's usually friendly to strangers. My mom said the only other time he's been that upset was when she hauled a roll of fringed carpet out to the garage on her shoulder. He's over it now (I mean he's being nice to me, don't know how we feels about carpet).

Since I'm no longer globetrotting, the frequency of posts will probably depend upon the speed at which outrageous things exit my brothers' mouths. Yesterday Ricky told us he can't wait to grow up and blow up Billy's car. Tomorrow I'm chaperoning the middle school dance. Have yet to convince Billy to slow dance with me. Maybe if he sees my killer moves first.

I'm going to be here a good long while and after that I'm not sure what. Hopefully something awesome...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It's Thursday evening, I have two more full days, and then back on the plane to America! It'll be the first time in almost 15 months.
I'm so excited to spend some QT with the fam. But I'm also curious as to how everything will seem. Will it smell different? Will I remember everything the same? How's it going to be to have all that clean air, quiet and space on the Oregon Coast after so long in such dense environs. What I'm really excited for is reliable western plumbing. No more excursions to the putrid bus station shit river/trough (which lacks stall doors, by the way).
Shanghai is fabulous, the most livable Chinese city we've been to yet. We spent the morning walking through art galleries in the French Concession and touring Sun Yat-Sen's house. In the afternoon our feet were so tired we shelled out a ghastly $15US each to park in a movie theater for the 2.5-hour long 2012. After that we ate ramen in a Japanese beer house and discussed which of our friends we would choose to repopulate the world after the apocalypse (engineer/science types and anyone with medical background curried strong favor).
That's most the news here. It's been an incredible trip. This will be my last blog from foreign soil. So toodles!