Monday, May 26, 2014

Social Media Summer Break


I'm about to do something totally crazy. I'll be signing out of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google+ for a summer break from social media. I'm still a bit on the fence about Instagram, which is my favorite site of all, the one I use quite a bit (I'm @roseknows if you want to come find me). 

I'm not quitting these sites altogether, I just need a little separation from the virtual world and a bit more time interacting with the world in front of me. 

I recently hosted a book club on Erwin McMannus' newest book, The Artisan Soul, which talks about being an original voice rather than an echo. I think lately I've been a little too dependent on the other voices out there, and it's affecting me in unpleasant ways. Plus, Facebook is becoming less and less fun as an expat. It's challenging to stay rooted here if so much amazing stuff is happening there

So it's time to step away for a bit and be that original voice away from the canyon of echoes. This does indeed have a little something to do with my poor neglected book. Some people spend summer reading, I'm going to spend it writing. Which requires purposefully removing some of the biggest distractions and time suckers. 

I'll still post here. Maybe more often. We'll see, won't we? 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Two Year Shanghai-versary.

Yesterday marked two years in Shanghai. We've only managed to stay in one place two years or longer one other time in the last 20 years. I definitely feel less restless than I did at this time last year. Considering we'll likely be here for many years to come, this is a very good thing! My friend Rachel told me this might be because we get to do so much globetrotting while living abroad, which cuts down on the restlessness. I think she's on to something there...

So, here's a little love to celebrate. Join in with a little impromptu dance party?


I love MIKA. I love lyrics that remind you it will be OK. I love songs that encourage you to get up and celebrate. I love writing things by hand on paper. I love making big messes as part of the creative process.
Which means I really, really love this video combining all of the above.

(Email subscribers please click through for a party for your ears.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Private retreat. Finally.

A year ago I mentioned that my sweet husband was going to send me off for a weekend of sweet solitude, sans family responsibilities. What happened instead was a week long stay in a local Chinese hospital where I had a hysterectomy. In the time since then, I've still not had that promised break. Michael, on the other hand, has had a business trip to Los Angeles which he extended for a couple days to see beloved family and friends, several "team building" weekend trips with co-workers to lovely water villages and mountain ranges with waterfalls, and many fancy dinners out while the kids and I ate leftovers at home. I snapped just a little while ago, when yet another team building overnight trip for Michael popped up on my Google calendar. Bless him, Michael sat me in front of the computer and said, "Book yourself a trip. Go somewhere amazing."

I searched and searched for cheap deals on airfare and hotel for anywhere within a four hour flight or drive radius, and came up with a great trip to a place that has comfortable beds, blackout curtains, free wifi, 24 hour room service, and a gorgeous, gorgeous view. But the location will remain a mystery to all but Michael himself. And maybe my parents, as sending a detailed itinerary to them whenever I leave home (even if home isn't on the same continent as them) is a long standing habit.

It's just a four day solo trip starting next Thursday. But it's been eighteen months in the making. I will squeeze every tiny drop of enjoyment out of it, I guarantee it. And then when I get back, Michael can go off and climb to another waterfall or hang out at a lake with his team and I won't begrudge him. Bliss is on the horizon...

This is a lake in Austria. No, it's not where I'm going. But it looks so peaceful and made for a little rest and relaxation with plenty of solitude on offer! That's exactly what I'm going for...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hi Dad*

The Macau Ferry Terminal gangplank.

I'm still around. Real life got busy and tedious recently, and the internet decided it hated me. Or hated most of China actually. Which cut me, and the many people who live here, off from most of the rest of the world. We just got back from a week in Hong Kong and Macau and it was like a miracle to tap the Facebook icon on my phone and have it open immediately without having to sign into a VPN first. It was even more amazing to be in Macau where there is free wifi everywhere, pretty much doing away with the need to get a SIM card with a data plan.

Man, I miss the ease of life in places that aren't Shanghai. Of course, I also remember that while living in both Hong Kong and Macau I rarely would describe life as easy. Which makes me worry about wherever we end up next, and whether I'll look back at these years in Shanghai as easier than wherever we end up. Who knows. No, no plans to move anytime soon!

We do have big decisions to make regarding the boys' schooling though. We are in a strange predicament which requires a longer post with more description and explanation. What we're doing right now isn't continuing to be the best possible situation for any of us, so we're being creative and thinking outside the box we find ourselves in with the hopes that a new situation will present itself soon. Or at least by Fall.

We spent most of today out of doors, enjoying the all too brief gorgeous Spring weather where you can wear shorts and a tee shirt and be perfectly comfortable, no goosebumps from a chilly breeze, no sweating until your clothing is soaked and you show signs of heat exhaustion. It's the sweet spot right now, and you cannot force me indoors!

We have a guest from the States arriving tomorrow. Actually, we've had a long string of guests in the past two months. So pardon my absence here so I can go be social in real life!

*My Dad has been sending me Facebook messages, Facebook posts, text messages, and emails reminding me of my duty to update the blog. Love you Dad!