Bat or Spider?

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If you read my post from the start of May called Spider in Shower, you might like to have a read of this story called “Bat in Apartment”. Maybe you notice a theme…

Last night, after hours of sitting in basically the same place working on our laptops in front of the TV, we had a friend pop out of the shadows and flap around the apartment. Where he was lurking and waiting for the right moment to make his entrance, we will never know.

Our little bat friend, Batty, made his presence known for 60-90 seconds, I’d say. He started swooping in circles quite suddenly, as a bat would do I assume, without me even realizing.

Then Brett’s comment came. Something like, “holy crap there’s a bat in here.” Just like that. Remaining seated, same spot. I, on the other hand, laid on the floor. Thank goodness for high ceilings – however they weren’t high even because I wanted to get under the floor, which of course, was not possible. Not the best way to take care of a bat – laying on the floor while it swoops around the living area!

So Brett calmly watched the swooping, saying that it was okay that Batty was flying erratically about because he would in fact, get tired. Nonsense! Bats don’t get tired! They chase mozzies to eat, they don’t get tired. But we don’t have mozzies so I figured Batty would be going for my hair soon! And if he did get tired, where would he go? Back to his hiding spot we know nothing about? Hell no!

So meanwhile, I took action. (Meanwhile = simultaneously in a matter of seconds). I got up from the floor but stayed low and crawled to open the patio door – the only place this little guy could have come from earlier in the day when the door was open. Unless of course he had been living with us for weeks and snuck out to do his flying around the apartment every night having fun eating up the geckos….

So anyway, in a matter of seconds, Batty found his way back out the patio door – confirming he had to have come from that way because he knew exactly where to go. Smartass bat. Why didn’t you just ask me to open the door instead of flapping around all crazy?

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DIY

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It’s been a number of years since I’ve spent time in the DIY laundromat to do this household chore. Our Bosch has decided to do it’s own thing so I Google-mapped the nearest laundromat. It was just a short bus ride away, so I threw the sweaty mound clothes in the Ikea bag and off I went to the DIY.

If you’ve never had the privilege of participating in this life-lessons event, try it out some time. Maybe try it in your hometown, and then in some places you travel to.

Pourquoi, you ask?

I say, pourquoi not?

There are a number of things I thought about during this an hour and a half excursion:

There is comfort in washing clothes; in the smell of the laundry detergent that fills the air in every laundromat.

You learn to read and follow instructions. Hopefully it’s before you go buy the potentially unneeded detergent.

The signs that are so easy to follow that almost anyone could clean their clothes independently.

You will learn that the dryer “averagely takes about 30 minutes to dry” (I do love finding those intricate English misnomers).

You will use some time management skills and see how much you can actually do in that 30 minutes while the dryer is averagely drying your clothes.

The laudromat is a wonderful place to observe others, and reflect on life.

I value these mini-life lessons. They are in everything we do. We just tend to overlook them.

What The Hell Happened?

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Seriously! What the hell happened to March, April and 3/4 of May 2019?

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In February I was all set to record a bunch of podcast episodes and see how that whole thing would work out. And somehow it is May and I have the one mini-sample episode posted. What!?

Well, you know how life happens.

For me it was: a conference, meetings, calls, writing, travel, life planning, learning a new skill set to increase work/life flexibility, managing a new project, planning an institute, teaching. And somewhere in there – eating and sleeping.

Anyway. These life events are not any kind of excuse that I set the podcast to the side for several weeks. However, now is the time that I can refocus and get back to my writing new stories and recording old ones from my bank.

I’m still excited for this and hope you’ll have a listen when episodes are available!

Spider in Shower

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Yes. That’s what I said.

Spider in shower.

When you visited tropical places, you have to expect tropical things.

My friend, Alaa was visiting from San Diego so we took a weekend trip to Bali. We were staying at a lovely villa I have stayed in before with Monica and Jeanette a couple of years ago. When staying in Southeast Asian resorts and villas, there usually a customary welcome tour that the staff and hosts do for you to show you the features of your accommodation.

Our gracious host walked us through the fountain, kitchen, pool and rooms. One my most favorite features of villa stays are the outdoor showers, which of course our host was happy to show us. When we entered the master bath area, I noticed a visitor in the shower on the wall. A big visitor. One that had 8 legs and was about 4-5 inches in diameter (although it was likely bigger because we were standing back a ways).

There was no freaking out. There was a just a statement.

“There is a really big spider in the shower”, I said.

“Que?” he responded (okay he didn’t say que), but I did repeat my statement for him to hear and pointed to the large creature.

The gentleman apologized and said he would take care of it. And he did. He stayed behind as Alaa and I went back out to the main area.

Not long after this minor spider/shower incident, Brett joined us at the villa. We blah, blah, blahed and after some time we decided to turn in. And as it turned out, the “take care of the spider” was just temporary because, when we went into the large bathroom area for the usual nighttime routine, guess who was back in the shower?

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Brett tried a second round of “taking care of it” but that sucker was fast! So we decided to be at peace with our shower-spider-friend and just use the nozzle to scooch him out of the shower with some water.

And we never saw him again.

“Just Take That Car Right There”

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Brett and I have started traveling a little more in Australia, exploring areas off the regularly traveled road and at times we hire a car to get us from A to B and then to C or D.

On a recent trip to Ballarat, about an hour and a half north-ish of Melbourne, we experienced something unlike anything we had before. No, it had nothing to do with spiders or snakes.

We normally take the red-eye to Melbourne and then catch a train from Southern Cross Station to some of the smaller cities to the north. It’s a welcome return to train travel that we miss so much.

After a tightly scheduled hop on the train to Ballarat, we had to pick up a rental car since we would be driving to some park areas and off to Bendigo, another smaller city in Victoria as few days later.

With us were our rolling bags and backpacks, both feeling a little disheveled from the night’s plane trip and the busy train up from Melbourne. When we got off at our stop in Ballarat, we had to walk about 10 minutes to the rental car pickup location. It was midday by this point and we were a bit hot and bothered, and just wanted to get to our little AirBnb.

So we arrive at the supposed location of the car rental and look around a bit confused, thinking it doesn’t look like a rental lot but rather an autobody shop. As we stood in the lot, re-checking the Google Map location, a gent came out and asked us if we were looking for the car rental shop. Of course, we responded, that indeed we were! So the guy proceeds to tell us that the car rental office had moved down the road. But it was too far to walk with bags and in the heat. Obviously we were a bit miffed because clearly the location hadn’t been updated in the maps. Dude said he had people coming by often looking for the care rental office.

As we were deciding what to do, dude says, “Just take that car right there”.

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Que?

Are you are offering your scar to two people you do not know, to drive (albeit a little clunker of a shop car) a couple of kilometers up the road without you?

Hmmm, ok. Yeah, no problem. Let’s do that, we say. How bizarre! But it was exactly what we needed to hear.

So we drove that car up the road to the car hiring agency, bags and all, as if we didn’t need to bring this car back, and of course – we are driving on the opposite side of the road from what we are used to. And this was my first time having a go at it! But we made it back to the shop with the shop car without a hitch.

After we thanked the shop dude again and went on our way, we took note that he saved us a few choice words and negative feelings (and some blaming each other for the glitch). Trusting a stranger with someone you rely on in order to help another person out, knowing that they will return what they borrowed or needed. Something society needs today. A kind gesture can certainly change the outcome of someone else’s day.

In the end, of course we enjoyed our Aussie adventure and have a nice little story to tell about the nice guy from the autobody shop.

Blog to Podcast!

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And here it is!

This is the “pilot” episode of Jibber Jabber and Happenstance! It’s bare-bones… but it’s a start. Had to post it some time, might as well have been today.

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Jibber Jabber is Growing

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Dear Subscribers and New Readers!

Jibber Jabber & Happenstance is undergoing some development.

Here is what is to look for!

Developments completed. Always the easy stuff first:

  1. JJ & H on Twitter: @JibberyJab
  2. JJ & H on Instagram: JibberyJab
  3. JJ & H’s own email: jibberyjab@gmail.com

I’d love to hear from you, but please note that constructive feedback and thoughts are what I would hope to receive. Dropping seeds of kindness, positivity and encouragement is one of the most important things we can do for each other – even though I know that some of my stories are gripes, I do learn something about myself in reflection and I hope you do as well. Moving on – please follow and share!

Developments under way and blogs coming about:

  1. JJ & H on Apple Podcasts!
  2. Promo JJ & H merchandise in partnership with The Vinyl Vixen
  3. Purchasable merchandise in partnership with The Vinyl Vixen
  4. Something else I’m not prepared to share yet.

Thanks for your support!

Tam

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.”

ikea bag

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.

adult black and white darkness face

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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.

colorful colors colourful colours

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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.

choices decision doors doorway

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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!

bloom blooming blossom blur

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