Friday, May 25, 2012

Childhood Summers


For those of you who have not been to Mama Kat's website Mama's Losin It , you shoudl quickly remedy that.

She has weekly writing prompts and since my first  instinct was to complain endlessly on my next post (about the smog and my job), I decided instead to spare you my pity party and choose one of her recent writing prompts. (For those of you secretly disappointed that you will be missing me rant about my life, be assured...its only Tuesday...yeah thats when I started writing this and now its Friday)

List your top 10 favorite things about summer growing up

I had a rather atypical youth...not for the first 9 years, but after that... definitely not mainstream. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and went to a nearby Episcopal Elementary School. We lived in a beautiful neighborhood in a custom riverfront house. I had a adorable cat named Mickey and a younger sister who drove me crazy.

When I was 9, my family moved onto our 50 foot sailboat "Nighthawk" and lived at the marina down the street from our house. For 1 year we lived on the boat, getting acclimated. Then we left to sail around the world. For the next 6 years, we would visit sail to 27 countries for mostly short stops with the exception of Australia (1 year) and New Zealand (almost 2 years).

So for this post I will split my 10 favorite things in half. 5 for <9 years old and 5 for >9 years old (the rare math symbols that I remember).

Pre 9:
1. Not having to be in school anymore (The best part...damn I miss having 3 months off in the summer...why is work not like that?)
2. Getting to spend all day out on the water on the boat (Waterskiing, all day)
3. Getting to stay up as late as I wanted (Doesn't every kid like this)
4. Summer birthday parties (always more fun)
5. Kanuga (A family type retreat in North Carolina where we used to spend a week in the summer. In the woods, no TV's, barely any reception, very relaxing...I worked there for a summer in college...never seen more pot smokers in one place)

Post 9:
1. Not having to study (although since we were always on the move, I didn't have the typical 9 months on and 3 months off schedule..more like 11 months on 1 month off)
2. Getting to spend al day with my friends exploring whatever new location we were currently located at

Yeah...that's all I got for years 9-15. When I was 16-18, I loved getting to drive to North Carolina and spend the week with my cousin or spend the whole day out at the beach. I would spend days at my friend Kelsey's house just back and forth from the beach.

-As many of you have probably guessed, I am not a small child in any of my pictures...that is for the sole reason that I am in China and can't access my mothers desktop. Oh well, these are some of my favorite summer pictures. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Vacation Planning

Plane Tickets: Check

Now...time for everything else. At first I thought we would stay in Phi Phi Don which is about 2 hours from Phuket but then I decided that this choice meant being a 2 hour ferry way from the main island and the airport and meant paying higher prices for everything with no increase (in fact an evident decrease) in the quality of most hotels.

So, we will now be staying in main Phuket and are looking at hotels on Kata Beach
Based on the amount that we want to spend and various views from TripAdvisor, we have decided on The Andaman Cannacia Resort.

It's hard for me to choose hotels from websites like this because I have a tendency to want to read all of the negative reviews. Thankfully, although this hotel did have some negative reviews, most of them were a few years old...and lets be honest, the fact that you could stay in that hotel the years after the tsunami was a blessing anyway...so be real. Almost all of the recent reviews were good and the majority of the reviews were very good (excellent would have been better but we are not really wanting to spend the excellent dollars).

Just a note to anyone looking to travel to Asia, before you book something with any of the regular sites you may visit, look into AsiaWebDirect (where you can also book tickets to anywhere else in the world I just discovered). The prices from this website are SO much better than what I found with Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com etc.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the hotel and the room that we booked
View from the room
We went for the more expensive villa section of the resort and chose the Garden Spa room for the precise reason that it has a terrace complete with an outdoor Jacuzzi. We don't take too many vacations, so we feel good about this little splurge because we stayed in Asia.
Excited doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about this vacation

Now all that's left is booking our excursions. We know we want to see Phi Phi Don and James Bond Island and I definitely want to go water skiing (I miss it so much). Hubs also wants to get some surfing lessons so we have a decent amount left to book. Anyone with any excursion ideas for Phuket, please feel free to share!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Proof of busyness


Life as of April is hectic! My husband tells me that I make my world hectic which is crap which may be the case but nevertheless…it is crazy. On the things I can take “credit” for are: changes in the way my family eats and changing anything I can in my environment that will make me healthier and happier.
We have a very American way of eating…meat constantly and not enough fruits and vegetables. Who the hell has time to eat a pound of leafy green vegetables every day? So, as I mentioned before, I have been preparing green smoothies every day. Take a handful of spinach or lettuce or whatever green leafy veggie you have and toss it in the blender with some fruit and any other healthy stuff you have around. Flax seeds, cinnamon, herbs, wheatgrass…whatever floats your boat. The end result varies on what you put in (shocking I know) but for the most part they taste anywhere from good to really yummy. Since this change we have both felt fuller throughout the day, lighter (hard to explain but like we aren’t so heavy) and have both had less cravings. I have been eliminating as much salt from my diet as possible as well as bread, white pasta and meat. I have lost 2 pounds (though I am not trying to lose weight, just be healthier) and my skin has been looking a lot better. I also found the Insanity program and we are going to try to start that! Going to be different…hope our downstairs neighbors don’t complain…I hear there is a lot of jumping jacks and jumping in general….yeah, we’ll see.
Anyway, I started looking into water filters and found a great company, Aquasana, that has a China branch and their filters are specific to the interestingness of Chinese tap water. Filled with Chloramine, it has less of a smell than Chlorine but is a carcinogen…aka causes cancer long term. We don’t ever drink tap water, opting instead to buying tons and tons of bottles of water, but I read that taking one hot shower in Beijing unfiltered water is the same as drinking 4 gallons of tap water…awesome. So, we got a filter for the shower, a filter for the bath and a drinking water filter for the kitchen. It has been great.
                In other news, my husband’s boss’s wife J is a therapist and she works at an international clinic here, which is (shock) international, and has branches in Singapore and New Zealand...and just about everywhere else. She thinks she may be able to get me some work there doing testing! This would give me actual working experience in the counseling field before getting my degree (basically unheard of!). This is in combination with the fact that one of my coworkers has gotten the police interested in the foreigners in our office and I will be working from home until further notice (yeah..now permanent). Seems to me like the perfect time to have a meeting with the boss’s wife about future opportunities.  I got this work at home news upon stepping foot in the office this morning…surprise…turn around and go home.
                Add to this my regular work responsibilities and a full load with classes, and I have been feeling hectic. Does this not sound hectic or does this sound like I overreact and hectify my life?