Wowwee! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on this corner of the internet, but I’ve been itching to write/create/speak so cheers to me bringing PseudoMidlifeCrisis back! The last year I’ve learned so much and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how therapeutic words can be. SO even if no one reads this, I know I’m healing myself a lil with each post.
Enough of that. I want to start light so here are five things this week that humored/amused me.
#1 This Kid
Real talk – she will probably always and forever be my #1 for any list, even 5 thangs Friday. But let me explain this picture. This here is my daughter, the thief. You see that chocolate on her face? She stole that out of my purse. This was her face when she got caught. Cutest thief ever.
#2 Goghing on a Date Night
Pun TOTALLY intended. My husband and I finally got out of the house after what felt like five million years to go on a date. We had tickets to see the immersive Van Gogh exhibit. Overall, it was super fun! The music and the animation of the paintings were beautifully done. Of course, the creme de la creme was the abundance of “Gogh” puns scattered throughout.
#3 A Potential New Hobby
School is officially out for the summer so that means I have more time for hobbies, like crafting. A girl I know posted an instagram photo of yarn art and I was immediately enthralled. *cue trip to Michaels* I tried my hand at it the other day, but it didn’t come out to my liking. I’ll be playing around with it more and hopefully, by next Friday, I have results to share.
#4 Good Ole Thrift Shopping
Nothing puts me in a better mood than a good deal! Today, I found I had some spare time so I hit up a Salvation Army. I recently got rid of the majority of my clothes because they didn’t bring me joy (or more likely they didn’t fit as I would have liked) so I have space in my closet that obviously must be filled. I found a few super cute pieces today! Score of the day was deffo the brand new Lululemon windbreaker that I scored for $4.
#5 My New Job!
Last but not least, I found out I secured my dream teaching job this week. Starting in August, I’ll be starting a new cluster program for students with moderate disabilities. It is my dream to start from scratch and to have complete autonomy over the program and I AM FLIPPING JAZZED!
So that rounds out my five thangs for Friday. After writing it all out, I have to say I had a pretty great week. On the downside, I am on my final taper of Lexapro so my brain feels like mush and my face is number, but things could be worse! I’m excited to be back in this space and hopefully you cannot wait for more word vomit from yours truly. XOXO.
I had grand plans of writing at least once a week once quarantine began, but I haven’t. I think it would be good for my soul and all that if I did but for some reason, it’s easier to just not.
Today is day 41. Since then, I’ve left my house for some walks (which I have since traded in for scenic treadmill walks) and 2 doctor’s appointments. Groceries have been delivered, either by my gracious mother, my brother-in-law or the ever lovely Instacart.
I am grateful that we live in a comfortable home, that makes quarantine not so bad at all. I am grateful for a job that I can continue to do remotely (especially during the third trimester). I am grateful to be quarantined with someone I absolutely love and enjoy spending time with. I am grateful for my health, the health of my family, and the health of our baby.
While I am grateful for all these things, I am beginning to feel a bit cooped up. And that’s okay. I can be grateful and frustrated simultaneously. I wish I knew when it would be safe to go get breakfast with a friend or go for a walk in my neighborhood without anxiety. I wish I had no worries about what the world will look like when our baby decides to make her appearance. I wish I knew a lot of things.
In the meantime, I will take it day by day. I will follow the news (but not too closely). I will continue to connect with the people I care about through FaceTime and messages. I will soak in the extra time I get to spend with my husband, just the two of us. It’s a special treat almost, before our baby’s arrival. I will continue to reflect on all the goodness there is in life.
When this is over, I will try to remember how this period of time was and not take for granted being able to hug my dad or see my friends. While this period of time is rough for some, it’s also a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed me to slow down, to rest. We don’t get a lot of time for that, and when we do, we often feel guilt. I am loving being able to leisurely read a book in the morning, or chat with my husband. My daily naps have become a highlight of my day. Taking is slow is just so damn nice. I hope to continue some of this slowness when the world is back to “normal.”
2019 – damn were you a year. Like everyone else on the planet, there were highs and lows and days that just felt fine. 2019 brought me lessons, laughter and my fair share of tears. 2019 brought me travel and adventure with the people I care about. So before 2019 melts into the other years, I want to reflect on what happened and what I learned.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably understand the role that travel plays in my life. It’s always been important to me, but it’s importance grew during my first two years of teaching. I wasn’t able to find much joy in my day to day life, so I escaped by planning trips. Maybe it’s my vice or my coping mechanism, but honestly, I’m okay with that. 2019 was a travel heavy year for me.
In January, my husband and I wrapped up our road trip through Texas, during which we learned that pick-up trucks take a LOT of gas and that creative pursuits are worth spending time on. This year also brought me to New Orleans with one of my best friends, where I saw my first Banksy piece and binge watched too much Yummy Mummies.
I had two trips out to Denver to see another best friend of mine, one of which had me gambling for the first time (I lost a whole $10). The other trip brought me to New Mexico to see the hot air balloon festival, which absolutely blew my mind.
For spring break, my husband and I ventured to Italy, where we ate some delicious charcuterie boards, but were overall not that impressed. We did get some dope matching tracksuits and made some pasta from scratch though!
During the summer, we traveled to Singapore, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Of those places, New Zealand is the spot that truly took my breath away. As my husband says, cities are cities are cities. New Zealand, however, had nature that we don’t get to see very often.
I rounded out the year with a trip to Spain with my mom. It was great to be able to spend quality time with her, especially as I grow older and life gets busier. While we did get on each others nerves, it was a trip that I will hold dear to my heart.
2019 was the year that I finished my first year of teaching outside of Teach for America. It was the first year I didn’t hate what I did. When I decided to teach for a third year, I was nervous. What if it wasn’t where I was teaching that I hated, but just teaching in general? Thankfully, I discovered that I love teaching. I love working with kids and seeing their excitement when things click for them. I finally can say that I love what I do. I am so grateful for that – how many people can claim the same for their jobs?
I was unsure if teaching was the right path for me, so I completed a fellowship on career choice this spring. While a lot of paths seem interesting to me, the fellowship reinforced my decision to stay in the classroom, at least for now. It was great for me to be able to have dedicated time and space to really think out my career plan. To be honest, I don’t have much of a “plan” at the moment. All I know is that I am happy teaching right now, so happy I will remain!
2019 was also the year that I bit the bullet and got my real estate license. My husband had been encouraging me to get it for quite some time, and I finally sat down and did the damn thing. Working with real estate on the side allowed me to work skills that I don’t generally have to work while teaching – like talking to adults! While I didn’t do much with it this year, I look forward to what kind of endeavors it brings in the future.
The older I get, the more important quality relationships mean to me. This year, my husband and I celebrate four years of marriage and five years of being together. I would say that this year brought us so much closer to one another, through the hard times and the good times. Leaving 2019, I feel more confident than ever in my relationship with my husband and excited to see what the future holds for us and our growing family.
In terms of friendship, I invested in the relationships that mean the most to me and drew myself back from those that did not bring me joy. The older I get, the more I realize that one or two solid friendships is all I need. If I’m not truly thrilled for a person when good things happen to them, then I know that I can’t be a true friend to them. 2019 is a year that brought me a tight circle whom I truly trust and care about.
I worked on myself a lot this year. For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I felt comfortable in my skin. I attribute a lot of that to hot yoga. One of my friends convinced me to give it another shot and I fell in love. The fact that in one hour, I can sweat, meditate and grow stronger absolutely amazes me. The funnest aspect of yoga is watching myself improve. To see my body move into positions that it previously couldn’t made me think about how incredible the human body truly is. While I’ve had to take a break from hot yoga during the pregnancy, I am excited to head back in 2020!
In 2019, I also invested in my health in other ways. I (very casually) took up meditation and mantras, and found peace and relief through acupuncture. My body and mind had gone through quite a lot this year, and I am grateful that I found coping mechanisms to help me rise above it. Listening to and making music helped put my soul at ease. Books helped me get lost when I needed to escape the most. Writing played a role in my self improvement as well. While few people may read this blog, every time I post, I feel relief. Writing makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I hope to do more of it in 2020.
Overall, 2019 has been wonderful to me. I had new experiences, both good and bad. I felt low so that I could feel really high. I surrounded myself with people I love. I became a better version of myself. 2020 has a lot of changes in store for me (cough motherhood cough) and I’m excited for it all. But for now, I pay respect to what 2019 brought me. Cheers to 2019, and to 2020 vision.
We have a scratch off map at home with all the countries we’ve been to, and I’m having a serious moral dilemma. Can I scratch off North Korea now that we’ve been to the DMZ?!
When we were in Korea a few weeks ago, we booked a tour to go to the DMZ – the area between North and South Korea that serves as a buffer zone. The tour included stops at the Doransan Station, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, the Dora Observatory, Imjingak Park. The tour itself was $40 – so quite a good bang for your buck, in my opinion. Now let’s break it all down.
The Dora Observatory is an observatory (duh) that you can see North Korea from. Well, usually. The day we went was extremely hazy so this was the best that we could do.
According to our tour guide, on a clear day, you can actually see a North Korean town (although she claims it’s a facade and not an actual town). From the viewing deck, you can also hear North Korean propaganda music!
Downstairs, they had videos playing about North Korea, as well as artwork made by South Koreans. All of the art centered around how it felt to lose family in the separation. The picture above was one of my favorite pieces. (For anyone looking for a latte – this is the one of two stops on the tour where you can get one. You’re welcome, in advance).
I will preface this by saying this is the second stop on the tour where you can get your coffee fix. Aside from that, this park is located in Paju, South Korea and is known for the Freedom Bridge there.
While Imjinak Park is an important landmark, as an outsider it was just an okay stop along the way. I think my favorite part would probably have to be seeing all those prayer ribbons, because it made the war and the separations that followed feel real to me. It made me understand that there are people, to this day, that are hurting because of it.
The next stop was a train station. Random, right? It’s actually the last train station in South Korea, and if trains were allowed, it would continue on to North Korea. Not so random after all, my friends!
At the station, we learned that South Korea refers to itself as an island. If you look at the map above, if it weren’t for the inability to go through North Korea, you could hypothetically travel Europe via train from Seoul!
At the station you can purchase a “ticket” to get inside the station. I guess it was cool to see where we would hypothetically catch a train to North Korea.
3rd Infiltration Tunnel
After the Armistace Agreement, South Korea found a series of tunnels that the North Koreans dug into South Korea. Most of them routed themselves to Seoul, making the South Korean believe that they were planning a massive attack on their largest city.
Interestingly enough, North Korea claimed they were mining for coal, and after getting caught, painted the interiors of the tunnel black to look like coal.
We decided not to go down into the tunnel as it was incredibly crowded but did watch the video that South Korea made to discuss the tunnels. Holy propaganda guys! If you get the chance, go to the tunnels and watch the video. Bring some popcorn. It’s pretty damn amusing.
Also – pro tip, buy the hoodies at the gift shop there. They are the comfiest hoodies I’ve ever owned.
No travel post would be complete without a food pic, so here ya go! For lunch that day, we had a choice between bulgogi or bimbimbap. We both went for the bulgogi and it was surprisingly delicious. Lunch was served in what looked like an old government building and was buffet style. I would just like to point out that they had cherry tomatoes in the dessert section. I did not snap a pic because I was too infuriated by the fact that someone could call tomatoes a dessert.
At one of the many gift shops, we picked up a bottle of North Korean liquor. It was fine. It tasted like plum wine and communism.
That’s all folks! I personally enjoyed the tour, although I don’t know how much of that is just because I can now (kind of) say I’ve been to North Korea. If anyone is looking to book it, book it far in advance as they do tend to sell out! We went through a tour group called Kooridoor, although there are numerous other tours that go out that way.
I’m trying to write all these thoughts out before too much time passes so that the details are still clear in my memory. Today is July 29th and we are 11 days into our 5 week trip through Asia and Australia. So I guess all of this word vomit is 11 days old.
We left Chicago on the 18th on a flight to Singapore, with a layover in Korea. Our first flight from Chicago to Korea was glorious… meaning we had the seat next to us empty. There’s nothing like sitting cross legged without butting your neighbor with your knee on a fourteen hour flight.
After a 2-hour layover in Seoul, we had one more flight to Singapore. Why Singapore? I’m an airport geek. I love watching YouTube videos about airport features, and apparently, Singapore is #1!
We stayed at the Yotel at the Singapore Airpot for both nights. It’s fine for a layover, but expect to be stepping on the toes of anyone you happen to be staying with. I didn’t get get any photos of the room, but I assure you that one photo would have captured it all. Also, there’s no real divider between the bathroom and bedroom, so I hope you’re comfortable with your roomie.
Moving on… we arrived around 1am and decided to have a little walk while it was empty. The Jewel, which is the part of the airport that the Yotel is in, is a brand new addition to the Singapore Airport. It was opened this past April and is essentially a massive mall attached to the airport with an indoor forest and waterfall. It’s pretty spectacular, especially at night when no one else is around.
Around 3am we finally fell asleep, and woke up the next morning to explore Singapore! Singapore has been intriguing to me ever since watching Crazy Rich Asians. Was it really that rich? Was it really that manicured? After 24 hours there, I can safely say that I don’t have an answer for the first question, and a definite yes to the second one!
Driving out of the airport into the city, you couldn’t help but noticed how well maintained everything was! Every bush, flower and tree we passed was in pristine shape. Garbage on the road was nowhere to be found. It seemed almost too perfect.
Our first stop was to a hawker center, or Singapore’s version of a food court. The one we went to was called Lau Pa Sat. When we got there, we walked around and saw about 100 different food stalls selling a variety of food. We finally settled on a serving of Kaya toast, which is toast with a spread of coconut milk and eggs (something that Singapore is known for) and a plate of char sui, which is Chinese barbecue pork. In all honesty, neither blew me away.
After eating, we walked over to Gardens by the Bay. Along the way, we found an Ayurvedic shop called Ega Juice Clinic, which sold pressed juices, as well as goods based on your Ayurvedic type. The woman at the shop was so kind and explained the concept to us, which we both found incredibly intriguing. She gave us some soap for our type, and a couple of quizzes to determine what we leaned towards. (For anyone interested, I’m a Vata).
After drinking our juices, we finally made it to the Gardens by the Bay. While there, we explored two of the conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Both were beautiful! It was incredibly hot, so we didn’t explore much of the outside – although we did get an obligatory picture.
After exploring the gardens, we headed back to the airport to explore the Jewel some more. The taxi driver along the way gave us an interesting insight into what it meant to be from Singapore. Singapore was established in 1965 when it broke off from Malaysia. Singapore is a city-state that is only slightly larger than the city of Chicago, yet it is an economic hub. Essentially, they have limited natural resources, due to their size, but have made a name for themselves in finance due to their political stability. The taxi driver was incredibly excited to talk to us about the Jewel, and rattled off all kinds of facts, such as how many stores they had and the exact date of it’s opening. Clearly, the launch of the Jewel was a source of pride for those from Singapore.
The Jewel has no shortage of delicious food, but what few may know is that it also has several restaurants which have received Michelin stars! That night, we ate at Putien, whose other branch had earned a Michelin star in 2016. The restaurant specializes in Chinese food that is sourced from the best regions in China.
In all honesty, I wasn’t blown away by the food but it was an experience. Most of the Chinese food I’ve had in my life has come from either Joy Yee or Panda Express so I was glad to get have some real Chinese food. The best dish would probably be the dumpling soup. Interestingly enough, the wrapper isn’t made of flour but of pork meat! #keto
With that, our 24 hours in Singapore came to a close. My thoughts? It was beautiful, but almost too perfect. It kind of felt like that scene in Passengers where they’ve built a garden in the space craft. I’m grateful to have visited, but in my opinion, one day was enough to get the gist of Singapore. For anyone visiting, take some cash out for the hawker centers, but everywhere else will accept credit card. Taxis are extremely reasonable as well!
When we woke up the next morning, we boarded a flight to Seoul, South Korea… which is where I will pick this blog back up at (soonish). Side note – Singapore is one of those airports where you can’t bring water past security, however you can bring empty bottles and fill them up before boarding. Just in case any of ya’ll are into hydration like we are.
I went to the DMZ yesterday (that’s a story for another post), and along the way, in an effort to reduce my battery usage to increase Instagram story output, I rediscovered some of my old downloaded playlists.
Does anyone remember Kodaline? I know they’re still active, but let’s be real, they peaked in 2014. They have this one song, that I listened to on repeat yesterday, that has had me thinking. A lot.
Are you still following your fire? Do you even know what it is anymore? Remember in college, when you had passion? Lord knows about what – possibly a war in a country that you hadn’t even heard of or being a vegetarian – but it was passion. It was something in the pit of your stomach that just made you feel all these exquisite feelings at once. You felt like you could possibly be an agent of change one day. You felt like you could matter.
Then you graduated college, and your passion became your career. Maybe your drive became paying your bills and keeping up with rent. Passion became productivity.
I’m on a 5 week trip at the moment, and I really hope that this helps me rediscover my fire. I’ve been feeling a bit drained lately. I want that fire in my life again – excitement, too much energy to sleep, the whole nine yards.
In the past, I’ve always taken away so much from travel. Much more than I ever expect to. I can zoom out and see my day to day life clearly. I can see how others live and see what I need add to my own life. I’m excited to see what comes of this trip.
I’d like to have a conversation. For anyone who is reading this, what is your passion? How do you balance your fire with being an adult? How do you ground yourself in the fact that you are more than your job description?
I have been neglectful AF towards this blog – which is audacious considering I pay to have it! I don’t even have a good excuse – I’ve been on summer break for the last two weeks doing nothing but going to yoga and annoying my husband.
I thought it’d be fun to do a quick scrolleroo (can someone with the hook up at Websters get that word in please?)through the phone and use my pictures to show you what life has been like lately.
First things first – I got licensed as a real estate broker. My husband works in real estate and it’s a nice little side hustle for me, especially with the down time I get with teaching. Plus I’m super nosey and very into HGTV so the fact that I get to sneak peek into people’s homes and lives has been a great lil perk!
I mentioned this before, but when my friend and I went to New Orleans, we ended up binge watching practically the entire first season of Yummy Mummies. (Side note: Yummy Mummies is NOT fun to watch alone – you must have a companion whom you can trash talk with) Last week, we had a private viewing party (real talk – it was me and her and a few bowls of carbs) to watch the second season. We made it 80% through. In my humble opinion, there was just not a whole lot of drama happening which made it not as enticing to watch.
In more royal news – last month someone told me that whenever Meghan Markle goes on tv, they’re reminded of me. I have been riding incredibly high on that compliment horse. The combination of joy that I got from that compliment, combined with my abundance of free time has resulted in me making too many photos to show off the similarity that I, a simple Muggle, have with royalty.
If you’re local, you need to check this place out. I had it last night with my mom and ugh, it was so good. It’s basically Chipotle style bimbimbap! Definitely go with the beef over the chicken though. Also – they have free miso soup! Like $0.00 free! GO NOW!
What a great introduction into my next photo, which is an image of the 50,000 Korean Won. I have never felt so wealthy. In reality, that bill is $40. BUT IT SAYS 50,000! WOAH! We’re heading to Korea next week and I am so excited. Stay tuned for a review comparing Korean bimbimbap to that of the previous photo!
Lastly – I am obsessed with these pants. They were $10 at the Gap and I am looooooving them. I have recently discovered that I do indeed like shopping which I thought was a problem, but it’s only a problem if you say it is. I will continue to allow myself to purchase clearance items because why the feck not? Maybe this will turn into a pseudo-fashion blog?!
That’s all for now folks! I’ll be (hopefully) keeping this blog more updated – especially with our upcoming travels! Enjoy your tans, ya beautiful people!
Just don’t do it in someone’s ear. Don’t be that weirdo.
It’s been a long month. Things have happened that have made life difficult for me – emotionally, physically, and mentally. I took a break from writing, and quite frankly, a lot of other things as well (like kale and yoga).
One thing that has helped me out during this period of time is breathing. LOUDLY. Let me explain. When I’m frustrated, I sigh. You probably do too. It feels… good. It feels like relief. Now close your eyes and sigh, but don’t suppress the sound that comes with it. Doesn’t that just feel SO much better?
I think my point is to be verbal about your emotions. Don’t hide them, especially from yourself. If you’ve ever been to a Corepower class, they often talk about your “lion’s breath.” It’s that loud, throaty breath you take throughout class. You feel it not only in your mouth, but throughout your body. It’s as if your whole body sighed relief.
Use you lion’s breath. Be loud. Allow yourself to accept the frustration in life, and let go of it, loudly. Now apply that to all the other emotions you have in life. When you’re happy, embrace that shit and feel insanely happy. When you’re sad, accept it and figure out what you need to do in order to not feel so sad. Do not belittle your emotions people. Express them, loudly.
It’s bizarre how much of our identity is tied to our profession. Maybe it isn’t so strange – we spend so much of our time at work, getting ready for work and unwinding from work. Work is where people tend to spend most of their days. It makes sense that our self worth is so deeply tied to our jobs.
When it comes to careers, how does one decide on one? What should I do? It’s a question I’ve asked myself often over the past few years. I began to teach right after college through Teach for America. The first two years were brutal. Every day on my drive into work, I would ponder how much time off I would get if I crashed my car. Not just a little crash either – I considered slamming into highway medians at 80 miles per hour. Those two years were rough.
Instead of quitting teaching altogether, I decided to give it a shot in a different building. I started working at a school that I absolutely adore this year. It’s been great – I have an amazing class of kids and far less anxiety than I had the first two years, but I was still asking myself what I should do next.
I’ve thought about it a lot and I realized that I kept saying that I was “just a teacher.” I saw peers leave teaching to become lawyers and doctors. Some went into tech. It made me question why I was still here, “just” teaching.
I’ve made the decision to continue teaching next year. Why? Because teaching is not “just teaching.” Teaching is something I am good at. Teaching allows me to give something to this world. Teaching is where I am meant to be right now.
Teaching isn’t easy. It’s emotionally draining. The stories that my students bring to the table – often stories of struggle and hardship that no child should ever have to face – weighs on me daily. I worry about them, and for them. Teaching has opened up perspectives that I had never even considered before. Teaching has made me a better human being.
I’ve considered leaving to do something less draining, like work in an office. But the phrase that powered my through my illness during high school continues to come back to me. No rain, no flowers. I blossom where I have struggled, and I do that through teaching.
So this is me, saying that I am a teacher. Not just a teacher. And you know what – I’m pretty damn proud of it.
I had a lovely weekend, and I really needed it. I’ve felt so tired lately. I think it has to do with the monotony of the day to day life. We’re 11 days away from Spring Break, and I am yearning for it and our trip. I’m so damn grateful that I have the opportunity to truly get away several times a year and reset. This weekend was full of friends, my love, nature and self care and it felt so damn good.
Hubby and I ventured out to the Morton Arboretum yesterday afternoon and it felt so good to be near trees. There was a study I heard of that said that the effect that being in nature has can last weeks, and I’m a believer in that!
It was chilly, which meant it was not crowded, which was exactly what I was hoping for. We took a nice two mile walk through the trees, stopping to admire the trolls along the way. The arboretum has an exhibit of 15 different trolls by the artist Thomas Dambo and it was quirky and fun to see the menacing things the trolls were up to. If you’re interested, I believe that they will be around until the summer!
This weekend I also finished up Under the Tuscan Sun, which was a beautifully written book but quite repetitive and slow for my taste. I also went to a CorePower class for the first time in a loooooong time, and damn, did it hurt so good! We went to a sculpt class – which felt more like an aerobics class than yoga, but I won’t complain. I think I would like to make yoga a more regular thing – maybe even my main exercise source!
Between the yoga, the time with hubby and friends, nature and good ole’ reading, I had a lovely weekend – just the kind of weekend I needed. Happy Monday ya’ll!