The past couple of weeks have been just so full of activity. I need time to relax and just pause.

It’s funny, you’re on a different timeline when you’re an expat. You can run on “fantasy” time where everything just melds together and there is no sense of what you would normally do back home, such as deadlines for bills, etc. Then there is the other kind of  ‘time’ where you have to be so prepared for big changes, such as job applications (if you are an international school teacher you will understand what I mean!) months and months ahead of the next school year, packing and leaving friends behind.

I’m trying to find that balance at the moment. Lately I’ve been too busy getting documents ready for job applications (more on relocation later), visas, new policies at work, spending quality time with friends.  I’ve unfortunately cut back on experimenting with cooking because I hate to say this, I just don’t have the time or the energy right now.

I got up a bit early this morning just to sit and do nothing, watch a little TV, blog on here.  I think I forget sometimes that just taking even a moment to reflect and relax makes a world of difference.

Off to my busy schedule now.

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complimenting myself

I’ve been feeling down about where I needed to head with my goals I forgot to look at how far I have come in the past year and a bit.  I’ve been down on myself about most things (mostly diet and exercise) so complimenting myself will help motivate me further

Here’s my list:

-Successfully cut out most highly refined/added sugar from my diet.

-Added new foods in my diet (dried beans, quinoa, eggplant, radish, I’m sure there is more)

-Reduced intake of beef

-Shopped more at local wet market (also called farmer’s market)

-Cooked more meals at home

-Stopped eating pastries/bread

-Ate more fruit in diet

-Drank more water daily

-Decreased dependence on nutritional supplements (only on dairy-free probiotics and calcium occasionally)

-Reduced caffene intake

-Ate less highly processed foods (instant noodles, premade sauces, potato chips)

-Ate less salt

-Used less oil in cooking

-Exercised 3-4 times a week even though work schedule is hectic

-Watched less TV

-Gotten very efficient with planning lessons and units at work

-Learned better ways to build rapport with students

-Through mimicking others and obessively reading menus, have improved my Mandarin skills to the point where I can have basic conversations with people (well, at least I can get by)

-Maintained a wonderful relationship with my now husband

-Improved my film developing skills, and taking images of people with heavy TLR

-Made better financial decisions

-Made diet choices and reduced/virtually eliminated ezcema symptoms

Looking at at this list, it sure is a lot! I should be very proud of myself.  I still have a long way to go until I am where I would like to be with my eating goals (trying to make sure 2/3 of our meals are vegetarian/vegan, weed red chillies out from most of my diet, weed out highly refined foods for good, eat seasonally as much as possible) but this is a good start. For a girl who used to indulge on anything and everything, and not caring about consequences of what I ate, it is very good. Granted, it was hard, but I am glad I made the choice (necessary or not) to get here.  I am also happy that I am more confident in what I do at work. I also feel more confident in my photography and feeling happy that I do have the leisure time and disposible income to afford film supplies for what I love.

I do have a pretty good life. And I am awesome 🙂

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10 Things I’ve learned

I`ve been inspired by this post to write what I`ve learned in my short time here.  I`ve always mulled it over and over (sometimes a little too much) in my head but it`s the first time I`m writing it down:

1. Constantly remind yourself of long term consequences – This is important with money. Some people buy things that end up costing them more in the long run, even if it is cheaper each time.  As well, any decisions you make can have a consequence, such as food (which I`ve learned the hard way) or exercise.  Even the way you treat people will come and bite you in the butt later on.

2. Take time to take care of your body – I think people get lazy with their food choices, and it`s a shame.  Food should be something that is of utmost importance and to eat well means that you value yourself highly. Same with exercise. Trust me, it`s taken years for me to realize this.

3. Live with less – This means you spend less, less debt, which is better for everyone.  Also, when you`ve been living overseas for as long as I have, packing your bags to move from apartment to apartment is not something I`d call fun. Nor is packing your life into two suitcases to bring back to your home country.  If your place is so cluttered with stuff you forget it`s even there and you just buy the same thing over and over again.

4. Don`t be too hard on yourself – I still do this occasionally. If you take yourself too seriously you`ll just end up not enjoying the moment you are in. And it will stop you from putting yourself out there and have fun.

5. Wasting money is really, really bad – no explanation needed here.

6. Take responsibility for your own actions – Too many put blame on others, because they`re afraid of what will happen if they point the fingers at themselves. But this is the first step to improve yourself and live a happier life. It took me a long time to get here, but once I figured out what I`ve done (good or bad), I was able to grow, personally, financially and professionally.

7. There are always two sides to a story – Don’t rush to judge so quickly. I could have been less angry if I’d only waited and listened to the other person. It also lets you form your own opinions.

8. Stick to your beliefs and keep your integrity no matter what – There have been many times at work when I could have stooped to my coworkers, such as them not filling out paperwork or manipulating other people to give them promotions that they did not deserve. But I am happier and much better for not doing that.

9. Curl up with a good book – A computer, ipod touch isn’t all that. AND I save money by not buying a lot of that stuff.

10. There are more hobbies and enjoyable things in life other than drinking and partying – I know too many people who spend too much, suffer horrible hangovers only to not remember what they did last night (even though it was “fun”).   What is the point of life when you don’t remember the fun things?  There are more fulfilling things out there, trust me.

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