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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leibster Award

Over the last few months, my blog was nominated by four lovely blogging ladies for the Liebster Award.This award is passed from blogger to blogger to share some blog love. Jamie from Gunters Abroad, Patricia from Pink Macaron, Elena from Elena's Travelgram and Adelina from Pack Me To nominated me! Check out their blogs. They are all adventurous, travelling ladies who know how to write and tell great stories!  

There are slightly different versions of this award out there but the basic premise is to share facts about yourself, answer your nominator's questions and then in turn nominate other bloggers, all for the purpose of sharing great blogs with the world. 

So, here goes my [weird] facts:
1. One of my greatest disappointments in life is that I am not quite 5'2". My whole life, I wanted to be at least 5'4" but I am always stuck as the shortest person around. Even moving to Asia hasn't changed that. Facts are facts, and I am short. Luckily, my husband thinks it's cute. 
2. I have this soft spot in my heart for animals that I cannot control. Especially homeless animals. Especially dogs. That is how I ended up fostering and co-fostering two Taiwanese street dogs within four months of living in Taiwan. Just yesterday, I rescued [made my friend Peter Pan rescue because I am actually afraid of] a baby bird that fell out of its nest at school. 
3. I am obsessed with Harry Potter. No joke. I've been to Platform 9 3/4. I have every book. Multiple copies, actually. And the British versions too that I bought in the UK. One of my life goals is to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida. 
4. I obsessively research things that terrify me.  For example: plane crashes, grizzly bear attacks, venomous snakes in Taiwan, alligator attacks, shark attacks, tsunamis, symptoms of rabies, etc. I literally read everything I can find and even watch National Geographic shows [Air Crash Investigation, anyone?] and documentaries about these very things. Then, I have to take sedatives or get really drunk when I fly or hike in places where I might get eaten by grizzly bears.
5. I guzzle coffee like it's going out of style. If I see my friends with a Starbucks cup and they did not get a coffee for me, I feel instantly betrayed. Coffee is my lifeblood.

Okay, now that you know how weird I am, onto the questions from Jamie + Patricia:

1. What have you missed most about living in another country?
I miss moments and places. My husband and I have always been the best of friends. We choose to spend the majority of our time together. We lived in this great little community for a few years and there were so many things we loved to do together: go see a movie at the old-fashion movie theater, take a walk along the beach or through the woods, get a coffee and peruse a book store and so many other things [yummy pizza, Japanese food, French food, drool]. I miss being able to have those exact moments. We certainly found new moments and places in Taiwan but honestly, they just don't compare. 

2. What has been your most favorite travel moment?
My most blissful travel experience was my 3-day honeymoon in Victoria B.C. Everything about it was perfect. We are actually returning this summer for our 5-year wedding anniversary! 

3. What is your favorite indulgence?
Coffee, chocolate, coffee, chocolate, cheesy novel, bubble bath, coffee, chocolate, coffee, chocolate, puppies, coffee, chocolate.... hmmm, after careful consideration, letting myself have one more cup of coffee than I told myself I would have is my favorite indulgence. Especially during the work week. 

4. What/Who inspires you?
This is going to sound cheesy but honestly the people who inspire me the most are often my middle school students. They are still, in general, too young to be jaded and bitter and angry. I so admire genuine kindness and gentleness in people and I find it's my students who exhibit these qualities most often, both to me and each other. They seriously humble me.  

5. What is your all time favorite book?
HARRY POTTER! Don't make me choose because I can't. It's a toss up between 3, 4, 6 or 7 [did anyone else loathe and want to burn book 5? I just could not stand Umbridge for one more second and it is the only book I have not and will not reread].

6. What would be your ultimate vacation?
When I was unemployed and broke and knew I could not take such a trip, I planned the ultimate tour of Europe. It literally took me via train to nearly every country on the continent. My plan was to sleep on overnight trains and never pay for a hotel. As someone who has actually spent a fair few nights on overnight trains both in Europe and Asia, I know this is completely ludicrous. I just thought there was something so romantic and exciting about waking up in a new European city every morning and stepping off the train with just a backpack and a heart for adventure!

7. What is your favorite blog to visit?
I have two, and weirdly enough they have very little to do with travel and a lot to do with the beauty of everyday moments and average people. Check out Humans of New York and Enjoying the Small Things. You will not regret it. 

8. What is your favorite season?
Fall. I love the colors. I even have a tattoo of a turning maple leaf that my husband designed for me. 

9. Where is the perfect place to be in your favorite season?
I can explain it down to the town/road. In Washington State, there is a small town called Port Gamble. The main road that runs through the town is lined with great big trees. Each fall, they turn a brilliant red, yellow and orange. I can imagine it with the crisp blue sky and the brilliant fall colors. It's a slice of heaven! 

10. What have you learned from writing a blog?
I felt on an island for a while after moving to Taiwan. I didn't know anyone who had chosen a similar life path except for the people I met and later became friends with at my school. Through blogging, I have met other international teachers who plan to teach and live abroad indefinitely. It's nice to have people, even if it's just via the Internet, who can relate to your experiences and life choices. It makes you feel less crazy for moving to a random country and staying for years at a time. 

Also, I've learned to stay true to myself and not get swept away by the world of blogging. A while back, I was invited to participate in the launch of a new iPhone app for social media because of my blog. The company was prepared to give me a brand new iPhone and some money but also a list of expectations regarding posts, most of which I already met. I said no. I know some people will think I am crazy but I don't want an iPhone. My husband and I like not being those people who are always connected and on their phone. We like to be with the people we are with when we are with them, each other included. Also, I do not want my blog to be anything but what it is. 

11. Link to your favorite blog post that you have written.
My dad's tribute is the best blog post I ever wrote. Or maybe, it's the one I cherish the most. 

And last, the questions I want answered by some of my favorites on my Bloglovin feed, Elizabeth, Polly, Adelina, Michele, and Melanie
1. What gave you the travel bug? 
2. How has travel changed you? 
3. What was your biggest travel blooper? 
4. Where are you going next? 
5. Why do you blog? 
6. What are your carry on travel necessities? 
7. How do your families respond to your vagabond lifestyle? 
8. What's your favorite city for eating? 
9. What's your worst transportation horror story? 
10. Where do I absolutely have to go and what do I need to do when I get there?

Add your comment

  1. You are a coffee person too! Yes! And a Harry Potter lover! My sister always makes fun of me because every time I want to relax I like to pop in a Harry Potter dvd. I didn't bring the books with me to Lithuania because they are pretty huge but I've been considering it.

    1. Coffee makes me the lovely person I am. I always warn my students when I haven't had two [or five] cups of coffee and they know to be on their best behavior. I can be unpredictable when decaffeinated.

  2. Thank you! Because I am so excited you nominated me, I will try not to laugh over your shorty-status.

    1. Bahaha! Since I love your blog and especially your writing and wit, I'll accept that :)

  3. Love this :) And don't worry, I look up every way there is for my plane to crash...haha. Also, my husband is in the aircraft industry and I make him tell me all of the ways that the plane can break while flying.....I mean why do I do this?!?!?

    1. You're so lucky you know real-life plane people. I have no one to turn to. I seriously have watched every.single episode [some more than once] of Air Crash Investigation and I've read every entry on Wikipedia's page for commercial air plane crashes. It's this sick, twisted obsession. Even my students know about it and email me links for airplane crashes! We had A LOT to talk about with the whole disappearing plane incident.

  4. Thanks for the nomination! :) I love that you're a Harry Potter lover. I'm so obsessed and no one in my real life understands. Its gotten drastically better now that there are no more "new" things coming out, but every so often I go on a HP binge. I would love to go to the museum in London and the theme park in Florida. My favorite books are 1 & 4. Didn't like 5 either. I also don't like 3 because it was to confusing. Time travel addles my brain.

    1. Ah, I'm so sad you don't have HP freaks for friends. My friends are the ones who got me addicted. We would nerd out together. I even got my husband into it! And I loooooved 3 because I looooooooove Sirius Black!

  5. We have so much in common. Chocolate, coffee, expat life, and shortness. Hubby keeps reminding me that I'm 5'1", not 5'2" like I keep claiming. He is 13 inches taller than me which makes us look mismatched. Thank you so much for nominating me for the Liebster Award and giving me leads on other good blogs to read.

    1. Hahaha! I'm glad I'm not the only shorty out there. I used to claim to be 5'2" all the time but got tired of my husband outing me :)

  6. I too love Harry Potter!! I will be going to Edinburgh & London in June and am planning on doing a whole lotta HP related activities!

    1. You will love it!! I had to mail home a box when I went to the UK because I bought the British versions of all the HP books and you know what? They are actually different. Of course the plot is the same but the dialect and idioms are different and it was magical to read them all a second time and notice those differences :)