Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Hanoi Tattoo

Just when I think I am getting really snazzy and great with my bike, a higher force intervenes. Last night was no exception. I have been navigating the streets of Hanoi quite great ease and skill, impressing myself by a)being able to find myself around b)being able to drive well. I'm even able to carry a passenger pretty steadily.

Last night was great. I drove all over town, I found the street that I was meeting my friend at dinner, I drove both of us home with no problems whatsoever...until I got to my parking garage.

The garage is underground and you are supposed to turn your bike off and ride it down in neutral. No big deal, I do this three or four times a day. But last night, for some reason, I got off my bike and tried to walk it downhill, which as you can probably imagine was a complete disaster! As my bike started going full force down the slope in an out of control fashion I tried to stop it using all of my body weight....which I was able to do...

...the only causality is the now HUGE burn on my outer calf. It's huge and ugly. It's in a prominent visible spot and it's going to blister, scab and possibly scar. I guess if that's the worst thing that happens to me on that bike then I should be happy and grateful. In the meantime, I am going to moan and groan about how hideous this burn is and how it is deforming my leg. I hope it's not permanent.

Before I head out I'd like to send the following shout outs
To my mother...just in case she still reads this blog. (she said she had to stop reading because it made her "anxious") I love you!
Diane Johnston...who sent me the BEST birthday card ever
to Alex...just because he's the greatest ever

AC out xo

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm addicted to the's a dangerous love affair

My life in NYC was like most others in the fact that it was one hectic whirlwind. I was always running from one place to the next, never had enough hours in the day and always complaining of being tired. It's part of the territory.

The idea of moving to Hanoi (while in some ways-like traffic-is far more hectic than NYC)was a welcome change...I knew that no matter what, the pace of life would be significantly slower.

When I saw that I was living in the SUBURBS I thought to myself that I have a lot of time to think, rest, relax and ENJOY life. I thought that this was exactly what I wanted and needed.

Turns out I was wrong. The crazy hectic pace of life that leaves me head spinning? Well it also ignites my passion and soul? It is the fuel that keeps me running. I NEED IT to be me.

I discovered this several weeks into my journey here. I love my friends here and the routine that we fell into easily, but for me, I need more than the same corner bar every night followed by hang out sessions at an apartment. Don't get me wrong, I love nights like those...just not every night.

I decided to get a life. I made the vow to myself that after Tet, I would restore myself to old Alice, and begin to live in standard which will keep me happy (and sane)

I am looking for every opportunity to expand my horizons here, make new friends, and do everything possible to make sure that my time here is well spent. I joined New Hanoian (a social networking/info site for expats), I went to play NETBALL at the Australian Embassy, and I began reaching out to people I met once or twice here to see what they were up to.

Tonight, I ended up at a gallery opening (something I do in NYC and love) and was alone for about an hour (before Trang came) and instead of shrinking into a corner and "texting" people, took it upon myself to strike up conversations and make friends.

And I have no issues shamelessly reaching out to the people that I met tonight and continuing to go out and make more and more friends until I build up a base to rival NYC :)

It's the first time since I've gotten here that I feel like myself, like I have a life.

It's about time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh La-LAO Part 4

Take aways from Lao:
1.Lao Food is really not that great. Especially in Vientiane. in VV we ate fried chicken for every meal and LP was ok but still nothing special. Nothing compared to Vietnam.
2. Lao's a lot more expensive than Vietnam.
3. When is Lao, take the bus as often as possible when traveling in Lao. The views are unparalleled
4. Chip thinks that if he puts sunblock on one day and doesn't shower that the sunblock is still good for the next day and he doesn't need to put more on. He got sunburned.
5. I thought I took a lot of pictures. I was wrong. Between the two of us there were 670 pictures and I took about 150 of those.
6. I have never looked more hideous than I did on the Lao trip. this may include middle school.
7. I am a GREAT backpacker. A great traveler.
8. I can't even think about drinking alcohol in the near future
9. I got more cuts, bruises and scars in two weeks than I think I've ever received in a lifetime
10. I am capable of waling around in a bathing suit and across a bridge with no beams.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh La-LAO Part 3

I was so excited to go to Luang Prabang, it was what I was looking forward to the most. My best friend and world traveler, Alison, had raved about it and I was in dire need of culture and the fact that it's French Colonial only added to my anticipation. LP was my favorite stop on our trip. I loved wandering around the adorable streets taking in the architecture and shops. There was Bougainvillea everywhere you looked, there was a night market, there was the river, and while it wasn't as scenic as VV, I was enamored. (Let me state: it still can't hold a candle to Vietnam)

The first day was spent really trying to figure out how to get back to Hanoi before school started up again because we had found out that all the borders were closed to buses due to the holiday. (We ended up having to fly)

We spent a great day wandering around a stunning temple, meditating and then going down to the river and swimming. We spent every night the same way: watching the sunset, eating street food, going to the night market, shopping, returning back to the guesthouse and hanging out outside with the other guests until it was time for bed. We made some fun friends who i hope we get to see again when they make it to Hanoi.

I will elaborate more to anyone who wants it. But that's the sum up of our trip.

Oh La-LAO Part 2

STOP 2-VANG VIENG "I'm just going to throw my tube and crawl:"
We hopped on a bus to Vang Vieng. When most people go to Lao, that's what they think of. the crazy, hippy, party tubing town. I was skeptical going in to this leg of the trip. Those of you who know me, know I'm not a huge partier, I hardly drink and I thought I would hate it there. While I am not going to blog that my experience in vang Vieng was utterly different than most people's, I will say that it's very different than I expected. To accurately describe Vang Vieng is impossible, it is something that needs to be seen and lived for itself but I will try: it's beautiful. A town nestled between huge green gorgeous mountains. the Mekong flows in the middle of the mountains and that's where the action is. Someone, somewhere decided to turned this scenic quiet town into party central. Along the river are shack bars that are complete with cheap (or free) buckets of drinks, some kind of greasy food (French fries), some offer massive swings into the water or slides, and to get the tubers off from the lake, little Lao children throw ropes with plastic bottles at the end of them at you and drag you in. The whole time I kept thinking what a corrupt and terrible view these people must have of Westerners.

The thing that most people don't realize though, is that the drinking partying madness is only for the first 1/3 of the river. most people get too incapacitated to make it down the whole river, but I assure you it's well worth it. The bars disappear, there is not a building in sight, just breathtaking nature. I was fortunate to see over 20 sunsets in one night, as the sun kept disappearing a peak and as we floated along it would appear again. We made it down the river once out of our three days. (Day 2: we only got one tube. Chip was supposed to swim put ended up taking up half of my tube, my sunglasses got lost to the river, and I fell off the tube, hit my head and thought I had a concussion so had to be dragged off the river and thrown in a tuk tuk...turns out I was just being dramatic. whoops) (day 3: no tubes: we just walked the river, got a ride back to the top of the river from Phaeng and hitchhiked back to town)

We did however, befriend an owner of a bar (SLINGSHOT BAR if any of you are going to VV) and he was amazing. He took Chip hiking (I opted to sleep in) and gave us boat rides up the river and in return we made Slingshots THE place to be. It was nice though, to befriend a local and not just engage in debauchery.

Most of the land bars offer ridiculous specials like FREE BUCKETS from 8:30-9:30. The first night was my night to be guided home. the second night was Chips. And the third and fourth we were both tired and kind over it. There was one night however that Chip fell on me and I fell over the balcony and onto the SLANTED roof and when he tried to catch me he toppled onto the roof too and all of the Lao people came out and stared at us. I think we got two more buckets after that.

The fact of the matter is, that we did go get the free buckets and partied a bit, but most nights we were home around 10PM, sitting on the balcony of our guesthouse playing cards. I won 90% of the time. HA! Most people in VV are in their early early 20s and at 26 and 28, we felt old and that we were past this stage in our lives. We were more than ready to leave after four days.

Oh La-LAO Part 1

Let me start this blog off with: I am not spelling "Lao" incorrectly, I know we Americans throw an "S" on the end of it but since they don't do that in Lao I am going to trust the country to know how to spell itself.

I am going to break this blog into four sections/separate posts so i can maximize the amount of photos I can share!

Our adventure to Lao began on the 23 hour sleeper bus (which actually turned out to be only 18 hours.) When first presented with the idea of 1. taking a bus to Lao and 2. only bringing a backpack I didn't believe I was capable of it. I can safely say now, that I proved myself wrong ten times over. AND I actually liked the bus. It was a GREAT way to meet people (that we ran into all over our trek of the country) AND a group of eight of us decided to soften the long trip by having a full on party in the back of the bus, complete with cards, Bombay sapphire, gin, boxed wine and an Irishman vomiting. We had to walk across the border and the board the bus again, which was exhilarating at 6am.
side note: the sleeping pods were not big enough for my 5'10 frame. and for some reason they tried to give us assigned seats. our bus rebelled.

When we arrived in Vientiane, I thought, "This must be a joke. This must be a rest stop. no way this is the capital of a country." Don't get me wrong, i had been warned about the charms of Vientiane (or lack there of) but truly couldn't appreciate them until I saw them firsthand. Luckily, the hotel was beautiful and right on the Mekong. I would've left the next morning, but my travel buddy (Chip) needed to get a Vietnam visa so we were forced to stay another day. The only really notable thing that I can report happened in Vientiane was that my camera went missing for twelve hours and I was hysterical and really bitchy and psycho until we got it back. Long story short, these great girls we met the night before had it. Chip thought I had it, and vice versa but the girls had it, I got it back. End of story.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All Toast the Birthday Girl

I had a dilemma. Should I blog about my crazy 10 day trek over Laos or about my birthday first?

On account of still being exhausted from the former (and it would take way more energy to properly capture the essence of the trip) I opted for the latter.

For those of you who know me, you are aware of how seriously I take my birthday. My mother says it's immature, but hey, we all have our things. I like to feel like a goddess and be worshipped on my birthday. It's MY day. I don't want to share it and I don't want you to forget it.

In the past, I've gone as far as writing down everyone who wished me a happy birthday and "blacklisting" my friends who didn't. Sometimes I send them nasty messages. Ok, so maybe I take it a little far. ;)

The point is, that this year I won't be doing that (partly because it's harder to do from Asia)

I am overjoyed to say that my US and European friends and family sent me an abundance of love and well wishes that I didn't doubt for a second that I was thought about and missed. I felt the love and I can't tell you all how much I appreciate it. I love you all back.

I knew that this birthday would be different. I knew I wouldn't have the blowout bash that usually accompanies February 20th. I don't know that many people out here, and it is still the new year holiday here so a lot of people aren't even around. I was fully prepared to let the day pass quietly, unnoticed and let myself wallow slightly but all the while would tell myself to grow up.

I woke, obsessively checked my facebook and email, talked to my parents and then began to do laundry and download LOST. My phone buzzed. My friend Chip. He wanted to get me a chocolate cake but the cake place was closed. I can't even tell you how much it even meant that someone took the time to think about doing something like that. Chip then suggested that I don't "sit inside alone all day on my birthday" and we went grocery shopping, bought food, and hung out for the duration of the day and evening...which ended in him cooking dinner, drinking wine, and uploading pictures from our trip to Lao. That's another thing I should mention, this kid just spent the past 10 days with me on a trip and was still nice enough to make sure I didn't wallow alone on my birthday.

I also got to video chat with the love of my life, Alex for close to an hour. I missed his face, his voice, and wished that he could actually be with me...

Later that evening, I get a phone call from Hai. She says she is having a problem and needs my help. She sounds really upset. Can i meet her in the morning? Of course, I say.

I arrange to meet her early afternoon. I get to the place and wait. And wait. And then start to worry because I had been getting all of these distraught notes from her. I finally see her, hop on her bike and we drive. We pull up next to this tall, blond, blue eyed boy holding flowers. CHIP!

These two are sooooo sneaky. They played it perfectly. Especially Hai because she is the most straight forward person ever who doesn't believe in any form of lying so she would be the perfect person to pull off a surprise. Of course I would believe anything she'd say.

The two of them had wanted to take me to a chocolate factory but as it is still the holiday it is closed. Once again, I was so excited and happy that I was even thought of.

I spent the day with the two of them (third wheel) laughing and eating delicious food. We were joined for a little bit by my friend Trang and her friend James. It was a nice day. It meant so much to me that these people who I've known for six weeks took it upon themselves to make me feel special and loved on my birthday weekend. Things like that just reinforce how lucky I am.

So that was my birthday weekend. It was great.

Oh yeah, and I crashed my motorbike. That wasn't so great. But it's ok and so am I.

Trang also told me that I looked fatter. I guess that wasn't great either. But what did I expect after my trip to Lao? I am starting out 26 by working out and not drinking and being healthy. Right. Ok?

(this picture is from my 25th birthday)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Today is a big day. After school will be the beginning of Tet holiday in Vietnam, an almost two week long celebration of the New Year...and I get 8 days off of school (plus an extra 4 for the weekend)

This is a time where the Vietnamese spend with their family and friends and the expats travel Southeast Asia. I am heading to Laos for Tet. I mentioned that i will be taking a sleeper bus (yes I will take pictures) and only carrying a backpack (this is true, and yes of course I will take pictures) and travel in a way that I never have before!

I have no itinerary, no concrete plans, nothing really. Just going with the flow, enjoying the holiday, taking great pictures and of course storing memories to blog about later.

I will be gone until Sunday the 21st. So you will have to live without me until then.

You all better not forget my birthday.

Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who love love as much as I do :)
Happy Birthday to my father...who is the greatest and coolest father ever.
Happy NBA All Star Weekend!!! It would be better if Ray Allen was an All Star
Congrats to Teddy and Lindsay for getting engaged
And anyone/thing I've forgotten, my sincerest apologies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How Like You to Make the Whole World Disappear

Sometimes (more like 3 nights a week) when I am alone, I sit at home, eating chocolate, listening to sappy music, watching the video that Alex and my friends made me and cry.

I love it here, I really do. But it is very hard for me at times, to enjoy myself fully because I left my heart in New York.

I know that sounds cheesy and pathetic almost, but it's the truth.

I'm the first to admit that I had no idea what my trip out here would do to my relationship with Alex. "Make it or break it" is what everyone said. I was slightly worried because in previous travels I had always had so much fun and never really missed him that much. obviously I was excited to go back, but I never sat around missing him. I worried that maybe this meant we weren't right for each other.

It turns out this just means that our relationship is healthy. That we love each other, love being around each other, but that we can spend a week or two solo without losing our entire sense of self. If only I had recognized the beauty of this at the time rather than panic that I wasn't co-dependent.

I came out here to discover. Discover myself, discover my passions, discover what i really want out of life. To seize life and enjoy it.

What I've discovered, above all, is how incredibly in love with my boyfriend I am. That while I can exist and function independently, that I don't ever want to be in world that I am not with him.

I apologize to all of you now gagging from this post, and wonder why i didn't opt to write the guy an email sharing this privately (have done that too)But this is my blog. And you read it because you want to know how my life is in Vietnam...and this is a huge part of my life.

So there are nights (like tonight) where I cry a ton, and think about coming home to the safety and love that I am so fortunate to have. I won't actually leave because this experience is helping my define who I am...but above all, it's shown me, with absolute certainty that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a guy like Alex. And I love him more than I could ever find the words to say.

AC out

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Miss Independent

Before I begin this blog post I must warn all of you that I may have one or two more posts and then will be silent from the 11th-21st. I know it will be difficult for all of you but I can't help it. That is when I will be in Laos. I won't be bringing a computer with me, but I will hopefully be able to check email once or twice and will have my cell.

This does not excuse ANY of you from sending birthday wishes my way. My birthday day will most likely be spent on a 23 hour sleeper bus home, so my mood will not be happy to begin with. Add the day being forgotten by you good people, and I just don't know what I will do.

I found out today that Global Crossroads has canceled the Vietnam program due to how bad it is. While I am happy that someone else won't have to endure what i am dealing with, it's like, well what about me? They may have canceled it but I am still here and need support.

I am trying to work things out for myself but I shouldn't have to.

Here are some new things I learned in Vietnam:

1. Yesterday, I tried to change my Vietnamese dong into dollars. Banks no longer will do that in Vietnam because the dollar is too strong/rare. Dollars are like gold here. i need them desperately. Anyone who wants to give me American dollars let me know

2. They use gum as currency. If your change is something small (like 15 cents)they will give you gum instead. At first I didn't get this. I nice they hand out gum when you buy things. Today is was explained to me. Could you imagine if that happened in the US? If, when you bought a new pair of shoes or went to the grocery store they gave you a back of Doublemint instead of $.25? Somehow I don't think it would fly. I am especially peeved now because I don't chew gum...I think it makes people look like cows

3. Drinking and driving here is not illegal. People (not me) do it all the time. This is terrifying.

4. Street food is amazing. Yesterday Trang and I had crab. wow.

5. If you are in hanoi, alone, or just want to meet people, go to Bia Hoi Corner. It's in the lonely planet. You will meet so many people and have great conversation. heck, you'll probably even meet me!

Ok I am signing off, I have a busy afternoon ahead of me. It's Provi's last night and Trang's last weekend and life will be a little more lonely. So I will have a little more time to blog for you people

PS-I got an adorable cowboy hat. so cute I love it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

You're good at finding shortcuts around this part of town

First and foremost: please put a hold on the gifts/care packages/birthday cards. If you must must send me something, contact me and I will give you the DHL address but don't send it to my other address.

The past few days have been really tough work/program wise. In my opinion, it's a matter of days before I get kicked to the curb like so many greats in the program before me. When that time comes, I will write one heck of a blog.

Let's move on to more interesting things, shall we?

I drove into town tonight. And back. It was scary and people asked me why it took an hour and a half (traffic, I drove slowly, and I got lost)Luckily, Hanoi is pretty small and being a city girl I can figure things out. I had a moment, of terror, when the police pulled me over.

Before I go into more details about that, let me talk about the way they pull people over here. Policemen sit on the side of the road and then wave a flag at you asking you to pull over. I never thought I'd be one of the idiots who actually did.

Anyway, so the policeman STEPS IN FRONT OF ME with his little flag and I did what any self respecting white girl in Asia would do...started screaming in English that i was lost, scared, and looking for my father. He looked bewildered and waved me on probably thinking, "I'll let this one go...she seems more trouble than she's worth"
(hey Alex...don't you wish you had the same insight all those years ago?)

I still don't know why I got pulled over. My lights were on. I was driving well. I didn't run any lights.

Sean and Harry, if you repeat any of that story to Lucie or Tom then you will lose your status as best Godfather ever.

Speaking of drives, I am heading to Laos next week. Woohoo. I am going by bus. 23 hours. Sleeper bus. The fact that the chairs turn into mini cots or whatever reassures me. The articles I read about it being a death bus still startle me a bit.

but it's $30. And I am working on being this backpacker, free spirit type of traveler. I actually think I am a good traveler, I mean I've gone to enough places. It's not like I expect or am used to five star treatment, I've just never been a backpacker (partially because I think I look like a huge dorky loser in a backpack)before and I am kind of excited. While I am a very light packer, I am unsure whether my clothes and supplies for an entire week will fit in a backpack, but we will see. It's kind of my goal.

Now all i have to do is resist the evil temptations of partying this weekend. Bia Hoi has made my tummy a little rounder and I have facebook pictures to think about.

One quick shout out to CJP: for sending me incredible links to stellar songs, being a great skype chat buddy and most importantly sending me the following link which, I have played on repeat (if you don't like/know/understand Flight of the Conchords you may not appreciate):

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teardrops on My Guitar

The other night, a small group of us sat in an apartment, drinking beer and watching Taylor Swift videos on YouTube. Actually, let me clarify...watching the LYRICS TO TAYLOR SWIFT songs on youtube while we sang along.

It was always exciting when someone's favorite part of the song came on and they announced "right here!!!!!" with an goofy grin.

Needless to say, there's not a whole to do in My Dinh.

While you all snort with laughter and think about how lame that sounds I'll have you know that I had a lot of fun. So much so that i went home and wrote an email of just song lyrics to Alex who actually ignored it which is a terrible thing to do but whatever.

Do I picture myself doing something similar when I go back home? Probably not. Though I will never say never because you never know when you are stranded at a concert and the only way home is hopping in a limo with a bunch of middle aged tourists who literally expected you to sing for the entire duration of the 45 minute car ride. ("I don't even like Nickleback" 'How do you know all the words to Taylor Swift's "Our Song?"

When I came to Vietnam six years ago with my family, I was struck by many things. Obviously, I loved it or else I wouldn't have returned. One thing that really stuck out to me (and this is really sad) was how great the coffee is here.

Those of you who know me well know that this is a HUGE statement for me.

Being born to a British mother means that I am predisposed to love tea, and I do. Too much. I am unfailingly loyal to tea. British tea. Not the junk they give you in an American supermarket. I trek to West Village in the freezing cold and pay $15 for a box of the good stuff. I drink it three times a day and have the mindset that no matter how bad it is, a cup of tea will help. (try it, it does!)

I have grown up rejecting coffee. Barely touch the stuff, the OCCASIONAL cappuccino after dinner. But I am NOT a coffee addict like so many of my peers. But here? In Vietnam. I have it every day. it's just SO GOOD HERE. It's one of the things I was looking forward to when I thought about coming here. It had a tantalizing taste and gives you a wonderful jolt. I love love love it. (And I apologize to Tetley's for cheating on you...but it's just a fling, I'll be back. promise!)

Don't worry everyone, I haven't done a complete 180. I may be nicer, slightly more confident, coffee drinker and a hot biker chick now...but I am still super awkward.

I will leave you with my favorite lyrics from the Taylor Swift song which the title of this blog is named for...

(And it's no secret that the lyrics remind me of a certain someone)

good lyrics:
____ walks by me, can he tell that i can't breathe?
And there he goes, so perfectly
The kind of flawless I wish I could be

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Learning to Fly

I might have big news...but I can't share it yet. Watch this space.

I must lead with that I had my first night ride last night. If you are in contact with my parents (Sean and Harry!) please keep this information to yourself. No need to worry them (and I don't want a stern lecture) My friend needed a ride home so I was put in an awkward position. Luckily it was only ten minutes away, but those ten minutes felt like hours. I was gripping onto the handlebars like they were the only life raft in the middle of the ocean.

What didn't help is that mid ride my helmet flew off. Unbuckled itself and flew backwards hitting Trang in the face. We both screamed and for THE SECOND TIME IN TWO DAYS I was struck by..."How could this happen?!" Clearly I need to get a better helmet. I'm not sure what is more dangerous, my screaming and freaking out when my helmet flies off, or riding without a helmet. Thoughts?

So anyway, I had my first night ride and clearly I am still alive. I am getting pretty awesome at the motorbike thing. Anyone want a ride? I want to show off. And last night when it was kind of cold I cursed myself (and Alex) for not investing in that leather jacket I've been eyeing for the past two years. Not only would it keep my warm, but it would protect me and also really add to my sexy biker chick persona.
Reminder: my birthday is this month. Just sayyyying.
(let me know if you need details on specific make, style, and size)

So this blog will be kind of choppy because I have two thoughts that are completely unrelated. So in actuality this blog is realistic because when do my segues ever make sense?!

There are many of you who tell me who they admire for what I am doing out here and that they wish they could do the same but they couldn't possibly sidetrack their careers. I understand that. And I wish I could tell you that my master plan all along was to grow as a person and build skills out of the boardroom that could pertain to the business world but it wasn't. I wanted to travel and have fun.

I had no idea that I would actually learn something. And grow. And become more marketable.

For those of you who have ever been around me when I had to make a presentation you would know that my stellar DSOA theatre training was thrown out the window and that I crumple into a shaking, sweaty mess. The idea of talking AS MYSELF and PRESENTING MATERIAL to a group was about as appealing as plying off each toenail with a wrench or getting a filling sans Novocaine (not fun)

I digress.

Skills I have acquired teaching that will make me a better executive upon my triumphant return to NYC:

1. Public speaking/presentation skills: Being out here has totally kicked my fear of public speaking. I have to perform as myself in front of 40 kids (AND ANOTHER TEACHER) eight times a day. If that doesn't numb stage fright then God help you. Not only do I have to not be scared BUT I have to be interesting AND engaging. See what method is working and carry on with that or adjust approaches/tactics. Take that to any boardroom.

2. Winging it. Many times I will walk into a classroom only to find that what I have prepared is not what they want me to teach. Or I will be pulled into a random classroom with no preparation. This isn't easy at all. I can say now that I can wing it like the best of them. In fact, I am great at it. Once again, boardroom basics.

3. Preparation. Ok maybe I didn't learn this out here, in fact it's something I should've picked up at age seven. But I didn't. This is the first time I have diligently prepared for anything, made PowerPoint, known material and could confidently discuss it from all angles until I am blue in the face. What did I learn? That I like being prepared and it's something I will continue.

4. Fear is a 4 letter word. I stayed at a job that I was miserable at for months because I was scared to leave. thought to myself, "I don't know what I want. What should I do?" I was so concerned with not knowing what I wanted to do, and being scared about it that I stopped concentrating on the bigger picture: myself. Fear was holding me back, keeping me from exploring, experimenting and discovering my true passion. That will never happen again. I packed my bags and moved to Asia on my own. not knowing a soul. And guess what?I'm doing ok. More than ok. I am happy. And I feel invincible. Like I can do anything I set my mind to. (I hope that everyone realizes that they can do anything they want to. Just don't let fear hold you whatever you think is right for you at that time and then your purpose/passion will come! I truly believe that. stay positive.)

I haven't found my life's calling yet, but what i have found is that it's really fun to go experiment and find out what that calling might be. Try it some time. like today. :)