Hong Kong made me realize I’m wasting time on a lot of things in Nanjing. I spend too much money on drinking, taxis, and things I don’t need. This is my restart. The next one hundred and five days are for me to reinvent myself. I’m changing my habits, focusing on dance and writing, and thinking more about my day to day choices and their impact on those around me. Instead of complaining and wishing things were different, I’m taking charge of my life.

Alongside those changes, I’ll be performing the 100 day challenge. I think doing this will help me keep this blog updated as well as keep me on track and focused when it comes to making the changes I want to make. Though there are many changes I want to make happen, it is better to do them one at a time, week by week.

This week my goal is to reinvent my diet. I’ve strayed away from the healthy food I was eating and started down the path of junk food. For the next seven days, I’m dedicated to removing junk food from my diet and eating healthier. (I am inserting more working out as well, but it isn’t the main focus. Working out will be the focus starting next Tuesday)
In case you missed my selfie posting spree this weekend, here is a photo recap of all the HK fun:


The Peak and other views of Hong Kong


Disneyland Hong Kong with Ernest aka Canada

Hair in Hong Kong

I’ve put off getting my hair cut for long enough. On this latest trip to Hong Kong I finally gave in and picked a place.
My wariness comes from having curly hair and that I’ve had one hair dresser for the last 9 years. I’m anxious about letting someone that doesn’t know me or understand the physics of curly hair near my locks.
Never fear: I did some research and took the dive.
My selection: Hair Corner
A little over priced, but a wonderful experience overall.
I chose the cheapest of the four cut options and then spoke with my stylist while sipping a cup of coffee. Just a trim to get the deadends.
They washed my hair for quite a while, which was okay because it included an amazing neck and head massage. Afterwards, my stylist went to work.
The result made me incredibly happy.

Communication might have been the biggest problem; I couldn’t seem to have a straightforward conversation with Thomas. But the front desk lady spoke fairly good English, which made me feel better.
Complementary food is the only thing that could have made it better.
Unless you know your way around, it is a little difficult to find. At the same time, that means the clientele aren’t just off the street.

Location: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Price: 420 HKD
Customer Service: 9/10
Experience: 8/10
Satisfaction: 9/10

Looking Forward

Everyone says time flies, but I disagree. As time moves forward, there are moments where you feel very present and other times in which you’re so focused on what has passed and what is too come that you miss the now. The last few months have been that way for me. I know I won’t look back on my experience here and wonder where the time went because I’ve been living in the moment. I force myself not to dwell for long periods of time on my past or wish to much for the future. It isn’t the best excuse for not updating my blog or sending post cards, but it is the only one I can give my friends and family.

February was an interesting month on this side of the world. We celebrated the lunar New Year. Almost everyone I know went home or on a long trip across south-east Asia. I was the odd one out; Nanjing’s streets emptied and I caught up on sleep, ate a lot of junk food, and practiced billiards (while drinking lots of Corona). There are two reasons I stayed in town. First, traffic traveling in China around any holiday is ten times worse than what you see state side. Second, I am taking another trip to Hong Kong in mid March to visit my aunt. I’m considering it a late New Year vacation.

Before the lunar celebrations though, I spent a majority of the last two months fighting a variety of illnesses. My favorite sandwich shoppe gave me food poisoning, which led to stomach problems, which led to an inability to eat food at all for several days. Once I stopped eating Chinese food things settled down, but every day I have to triple think my meals and make sure the food I ingest won’t do damage. Then of course, I caught a cold that lasted over two weeks. It is only now that my lungs are clearing up and my nose only sniffles when I’m out in the cold for too long.

I expect to continue being busy over the next 3 months with teaching, working, studying Chinese, dancing, and writing. Speaking of which, I am submitting a piece for a writing competition on March 15th so fingers crossed that the judges see my genius work for what is really is.

Thanks for checking in on me J

PS – If you’re ever curious about what I’m up to, check out my Twitter & Instagram. (I update those a lot more than my blog). 

A New Year

Happy New Year! I spent the evening at a friend’s party and met with some Rollins College alum. Nothing too exciting.

Since then I’ve been swamped with work. In the next two weeks Stephaine and I will take several trips to interview students in Hefei, Nantong, Suzhou, Yixing, and Jiangyin.

I’ve also been finding time to continue my writing and dance. I’ve started a podcast and will be posting it here soon. The PC will revolve around life in Nanjing. If you have questions, please send them in or tweet me! @fictionbrewery

Happy Holidays: Abroad Again

The past few weeks have been wild. I’ve been to Nantong and Jiangyin and will be on my way to Hong Kong tomorrow morning. Work isn’t what I expected; I’m immersed in English all day, which makes learning Mandarin that much harder. I spend two or three nights a week teaching English. That experience has taught me how ridiculous the English language is and how much I do not like teaching low level English learners.

       I built a desk and finally had my landlord fix the heat in my apartment, which makes getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier. I still miss home, my family and friends, but it isn’t as bad as it was a few months ago. My new friends have kept me company and help me when I’m down. Plus, I realized I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. I spend all my time writing and dancing and traveling. My next goal: earn a living through dance or writing (as an author).

       Sometimes I can’t wait to return home, in fact I have a count down started (159 days and counting). Other times, I know I’ll never live in the States again because I can’t be what I am over there. At heart, I am a wild, untamable soul—America doesn’t have the capacity for that anymore. Back home, they push and prod until it is squeezed out of you and you’re slightly less than what you were.

       I won’t settle. 

Time on My Hands

Living in Nanjing has provided me with a surfeit of time. Introspection is my forte. Though I do interact with people daily, a majority of my time is spent thinking at my computer desk or walking between work and home. The amount of self-reflection I do on a daily basis would astound most people. Stuck in this country, I have nothing else to do but look back on how I’ve spent my life since graduation.

The conclusion I’ve come to is quite simple: I’m an inconsiderate person that is incapable of loving anyone but her cat; I manage to corrode and poison the positive relationships in my life, and my sanity is questionable.

How do I live with myself? All the great writers were depressed drunks with disputed sanity. 

In other news, I’m planning a trip to Hong Kong in March, and have a few trips coming up in December.

To my friends and family that follow this: I’m fine. I love you all. Come visit. Free room and board. Thank you for all the support and care packages; they mean everything to me.