Is it because…

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Moving homes is a bit of work. It always requires a bit of a purge, which I quite enjoy. We don’t have a lot of stuff, but it’s always a good time to go through the things we have and deem the importance of each item, or lack of.

In my second round of item purge, I didn’t collect a lot to take for donation drop-off, but what there was, I did want it out of my way. So I tossed things in a big Ikea bag, grabbed my PMD (Personal Mobility Device) to ride home on, and ordered myself a taxi for the ride to the donation center.

Once the taxi arrived, I didn’t expect help with my items. It isn’t a consistent practice here in Singapore, so I didn’t expect the driver to help me out. I didn’t need help anyway.

After taxi uncle popped the trunk, I put the Ikea bag in first, pushing it to the back of the trunk, then folded my PMD and was about to place it in the trunk in front of the bag. I knew it would fit because I had done this before, and I knew the bag would add some stability for the bag and my PMD in the trunk. Since taxi drivers are known for their abrupt stop-start method with the gas pedal, I didn’t want things rolling around.

As I’m placing my PMD in the trunk, uncle gets out of his car and removes the Ikea bag from the trunk and places it in the front seat of the car instead, stating, “Much better in the front seat.”

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I took a breath, clenched my jaw a little, and began the thought journey about why his way to pack was better than mine.  I simply responded, “Sure, thanks!” 

I got in the backseat, confirming for him my Point B when he asked, then sat in silence for the next 10 minutes.

As we drove, I wondered about his motive for moving my already well-placed bag. Was it because:

  1. He knew his trunk capacity well and really thought that the bag and the PMD would never fit.
  2. He thought I’ve never packed a trunk before.
  3. He was just being a helpful taxi uncle.
  4. I’m woman.
  5. I’m 20 younger.
  6. I’m a foreigner.

Feel free to make your own decision, but in my mind, I knew exactly why he moved that Ikea bag.

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Paper Straws

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A few mornings ago, I figured I would try the new little cafe near our apartment since we are moving neighborhoods in a couple of weeks. Looked cute, had a menu I could work with, and of course, Wifi available.

Found myself a spot, got settled and got working. I’d eaten some food, but needed a little something else so I checked back to the menu for another something to order. I picked out an avo, banana, honey and whatever else smoothie for my late morning snack.

Now.

For smoothies, a straw is usually a necessary tool to have around to have a fairly clean drinking experience, so obviously mine arrived with one. A straw of the eco-friendly variety.

Cool. Good.

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But it was a paper eco-straw. In a smoothie. Iced coffee – no problem, paper-straw me. But not for a smoothie. While the drink was everything I wanted it to be, the texture of the paper eco-straw turned me off a bit when in fact, I thought maybe the avo would throw me off. Yeah, yeah. First world problems.

But you know what? It’s feedback and story worth knowing. I survived that soggy straw experience and you can too. I probably should have just removed the straw and let the smoothie make a little mess as I drank it, or I could have brought my own eco-straw since I now have a variety of them. At home. Don’t forget yours. 😉

FlexiWorkLife: Not What You Think It Is

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FlexiWorkLife is not what you think it is.

It looks pretty on the outside, but inside it’s a contorted and complicated. It’s twisted and needs organizing. It’s way harder than one would think it might be.

This is mid year two of me choosing not to teach full-time to work on passion projects and develop other skills – things you have no time or energy to do when you teach full-time. I didn’t think the transition to FlexiWorkLife would be an easy one, don’t get me wrong. I adore routine and schedules and knowing what’s happening at all times. I was stepping into this abyss of so many unknowns and that was going to take some major adjusting. The choice to make a change was a tough one to make, but I knew it was the time to do it.

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Here’s what I’ve learned in the last year and a half. There’s a lot more than what I’ll list, but I’ll give you the things that stand out to me the most:

  1. Working from home is not easy. It requires motivation, dedication, focus, focus, focus, planning, scheduling and mandatory breaking times.
  2. I valued and needed routine more than I realized. I missed it just a few weeks into this change.
  3. Questioning my decision would be a normal event.
  4. It wasn’t a surprise that I would need to adjust my working routines often. I just didn’t realize how often that would need to be.
  5. Variation in working location is more important than I realized. When you teach, you are forced to use the spaces you have and now I was facing this open pit of choice in working spaces. This was tough. Some places I tried: co-working spaces, every cafe and coffeeshop in the neighborhood, the condo pool.
  6. Feeling lost in life would also be a normal event.
  7. Feeling extremely emotional would be a normal event.
  8. Realizing that many other people were in the same boat was comforting. Extremely comforting.
  9. Having a network of go-to people would become central to my life.
  10. It does get easier over time, in a way. But there will always be days that are way harder than others.
  11. Time is way more valuable than I realized and it’s one of the most important parts of learning to live an efficient and effective FlexiWorkLife.
  12. Opportunity is literally everywhere. Like every kind of opportunity you can think of. And if there isn’t an opportunity that you want, you can make it! It just takes time and focus.
  13. It’s possible to learn things you didn’t think you wanted to learn, but then discover how important those things are for understanding a greater scope of other things (a bit meta, I know).

That’s a longer list than I anticipated writing, and there is more I could write. But I’d like to hear from you!

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All Those Family Trips

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I’m usually pretty happy with how I’ve planned trips for the family over the years, but this year when I was planning our trip to Halifax for the holiday, I really regretted something. Something that I think could really add meaning to the time spent together.

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All these years of tripping with the kids in many kinds of places, I should have built in a volunteer experience, or even planned a volunteer trip. It’s not too late to still do this, of course, but I really should have thought the purpose behind some of the things we were doing when away. I fully support vacationing to unwind, be somewhere else and just enjoy the new location. However, I’m also not one to pack too much into the trip for fear that everyone will be disgruntled by a timetable (myself included). We will tend to experience the highlights of a place, but we also like to venture into the local scene. To me, part of being a local is understanding the community you are visiting – and sometimes it isn’t pretty. Every community has it’s woes and challenges and if we are going to spend time there, shouldn’t we do something helpful because spend money in the local coffee shop (which is one of our favorite things to do).

I think it just really came to mind this year because we were planning a trip in our home country over the holidays and holiday time is often when volunteers are needed to help at dinners or pack toys and such. I’ll keep this in mind for the next trip.

Thoughts?

 

#Gratitude for Awesome People

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Let me tell you something.

I know some amazing people. All kinds of amazingly intelligent, kind-hearted, there-for-you kind of people.

It’s noticeable to me that I gravitate to a certain type – we all do. But it’s really interesting when I think about the range of people that have come into my life. Having met so many people from different countries, cultures, and life experiences, you’d think it might be hard to adjust to ways of thinking or understand someone else’s background. But in the end, what really matters to me is what kind of person you are. And those people are thoughtful, reliable, and probably best of all – they challenge my thinking. Those are the kind of people we all need in our lives.

I’ve got my friends from long ago that have taken different paths from my own, but it doesn’t change the respect we have for each other or the way in which we value each other. I’ve got sets of friends from more recent years, having changed work and living environments that I also just can’t imagine my life without.

Perhaps the turning of a new year has got me thinking. It’s a hard time of year for many people for a few reasons and so I wanted to just throw my teeny bit of gratitude out into the atmosphere. I value the updates and conversations, the sharing of thoughts, the venting, and celebrations we have with and for each other. I think of you often and you know who you are. I just wanted you to know.

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$20

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On a recent trip to Nashville for a conference, I ventured out for an evening of country music and dancing with some friends.

Obviously a trip to the bathroom was inevitable. Having gotten used to the luxury of clean, pleasant smelling bathrooms in Singapore, I was unsure how this bathroom event might be. What I got was something I definitely wasn’t expecting.

When I entered the doorway to the bathroom, the bathroom attendant was standing at the door with her legs crossed chatting with a patron who was washing her hands. The attendant lady was telling the hand-washer how she had to go to the bathroom so badly that she was afraid to walk to the toilet stall to go for fear of going on herself. She explained that she waited a long time to go because she was afraid to leave her tip jar. By this point, there was now another lady in the bathroom. We told the lady we would hold down the fort, urging her to go use the toilet, which was literally just a few steps away from where she stood with her legs crossed.

Attendant lady agrees and basically jumps into the stall. As she is trying to pipi machen in the toilet, she is giving us commentary of her situation in the stall. She alerted us that she didn’t make it to the toilet in time and had wet herself. She told us about her incontinence problem so she wears an adult diaper, and that she doesn’t want to risk her job for having to use the toilet too often. Because this was something that happens frequently, the lady had a bag of extra clothes in case of accidents.

This broke my heart. This lady was so worried about the few dollars in the tip jar that she was willing to pee herself.

I stayed in the bathroom for a few extra minutes so she could get her wits about her. After she was cleaned up as much as she could, I went back to my friends at the dance floor. After a few minutes I had to go back to her and see that she was ok. And I took the only cash I had and gave it to her – a lone $20 that my friend had given me from dinner. That lady needed it way more than I did.

That one bathroom incident has left an imprint on my mind. And I just thought I was going to walk into a typical sticky-floored country bar bathroom.

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Eye Roll

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I’m in a bit of a mood this morning for a few reasons – mostly because of some job-related disappointment, but whatever. That’s the first eye roll.

I’ve found myself doing a lot of eye-rolling at things lately that really shouldn’t matter, and don’t matter in the grand scheme of life…. but when you keep hearing and seeing some of the same duh-ness, you HAVE TO ROLL YOUR EYES! You can’t not.

So the Eye-Roll Award this morning goes to the server I had at one of my usual coffee shops. I come here often with my laptop, order some cold coffee and toast or something, and work for a few hours.

Like most days, today I do the same. I sit at the window, look at the menu and decide on food. She comes back and takes my order.

Me: “I’ll have the french toast and an iced coffee please.”

Server: (Furrowed brow) “Iced coffee?”

Me: “Oh I’m sorry. I meant cold brew.”

OH. MY. GAUD.

Not just once has this happened, but several times here and at different coffee spots. Is there really such a huge difference between iced coffee and cold brew?? Am I too 2010 with asking for an iced coffee? It’s not like I’m talking about a beta video machine to a Gen Z person. Come on now…

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That Time I Went Surfing

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Our family trip this summer was to Waikiki. I hadn’t been since 1997, and the rest of the fam had never been, so why not head into the islands of the Pacific?

I prepped a little by watching a few episode of the new Hawaii Five-0, so I was ready for some ‘O ka’oihana Hawai’i.

One of the things we kept bringing up in conversation throughout the week was whether we should go surfing or not. Despite it being the end of August and fairly “quiet” in the water, there were still a lot of people out riding those waves. After many conversations of deliberation, we finally decided we would check out the surf lesson stations and just do it. We were in Hawaii, after all!

I was unsure until the last moment if I was going to boogie board with Bray or get on a big ole board…

Well, had I not gone surfing, I wouldn’t have said hello to Scott Caan as he swam by on his own board.  So I made a good decision. 😉

https://www.flickr.com/photos/brucyebabes/5610481153/

Obviously I didn’t take this photo. I was busy surfing and saying hello to Scott. 04-08-11 Oahu, HI Exclusive: Actor Scott Caan out surfing with some buddies in Oahu, HI. Scott is in Hawaii shooting the hit TV show ‘Hawaii Five-O’… Exclusive Pix by Flynet ¬©2011 818-307-4813 Nicolas 310-869-0177 Scott

Dude, Stopping Dropping Your Tails

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Perhaps you read about the live-in gecko we have. If not, you might want to go back and read those posts. No pressure.

So when we thought that life would be back normal with our little friend, as he nonchalantly goes running across the wall from the air conditioner over to the plants, something else happened.

I was cleaning one day, between the coffee table and the TV table. Just picking up little threads and tiny leaves that track in front outside from the rug before vacuuming, because that makes sense, of course. So I picked this little, maybe centimeter long piece of something up to investigate it. And when I felt the texture of this thing, which was, in fact, a little squishy but still firm, I dropped it immediately. Our live-in guest left us another little appendage, for a reason we do not know. That was so nice of him.

So I left the little, discarded tail on the coffee table where I dropped it so Brett could see it when he got home. That went over well, hahahaha!

I wonder what will happen next in the tail-dropping sage!

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Um, Dude is Back

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You may have read the tale (tail – hahaha) of the little guest we had who lost his tail.

Well, wouldn’t you know that the little dude has returned? With a new tail. But this time, he’s not hanging out in the kitchen to bathroom corridor – perhaps that was a bit of PTSD situation for him. Dude now scoots his way out of the air con unit in the living room! The unit is high up on the wall and is sometimes on during the day so I’m not sure how he hides out in there when it’s on! Very strategically I suppose!

The scooting strategy is to come out in the late evenings now – every evening! When we have lights on and are watching Netflix or CBS or something, and there is talking and noise. Brave little soul considering what happened to him! He makes his air con exit quickly and pauses on the wall, perhaps adjusting to the light and heads over to the plants. This is fine. Eat up those ants, buddy.