Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The List

Time to decide on some resolutions for the new year! 

  • Write this blog more regularly, infact, at least every Monday and Thursday.
  • Keep exercising.
  • Eat less sugary things.
  • Choose a path and stay on it. 

I can't think of any others  for the time being. If I do I'll add to the list!

Things that I want to have done in 2012:
  • Started on a career path.
  • Been to at least three countries and completed at least one thing on the adventure list.

The adventure list:
  • Cycle around New Zealand.
  • Muay Thai training in Thailand for 3 months.
  • Cycle Vietnam Hanoi to HoChiMinh, then motorcycle back up.
  • Drive around Australia, living in a van.
  • Yoga in India for 3 months.
  • Trek Africa.
  • Backpack across many countries.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

What a difference a day makes

It's November

How did this happen?

The last time I wrote anything was back in September and now here we are in November. I really need to set more time aside to write. 

In the time since I last wrote, I've cycled from Taidong to Hualien, been to Green Island, and many other things. I don't know how this happens.

I had a great Halloween last weekend but unfortunately I lost my bag! So there goes my camera, my keys, my purse and my phone! So silly of me. 

I can't believe that I've only got 2 months left in Taiwan. I guess this means I should start organising my crap and planning my next move. I mean, if time keeps going by as it has been recently, I'm going to wake up tomorrow and it'll be January. The thought of leaving Taiwan makes me so sad, but at the same time I am just full of excitement for the next step, the next phase, the next destination.  I'm excited for the people I'm going to meet, the sights I'm going to see and being reminded again how beautiful the world is. 

October was a great month, full of love, laughs and adventure. 

I made more time to see friends whom I neglected in my pursuit of new things and remembered how amazing the people I've met here are. I've pushed myself, challenged myself to do things that scare me. Studying Chinese has been given me a new confidence in my own capacity to learn and given me more determination to study other languages. 

How can I leave the country which has made so many positive changes to me? 
I've learnt to be more independent, happy to be alone and cut my own trail. 
The outdoors is no longer a daunting place full of nothing but dirt, insects and uneven terrain. I want to go out! I want to get dirty and explore! Find a waterfall and jump in the plunge pool without worrying about whether it's clean or not. It's just mud. I know I couldn't have said that before. Getting sweaty is not disgusting, if I don't sweat then I didn't work hard enough. I want to be fitter so I can climb a higher mountain. 

Tell this to an 18 year old me and I would've been incredulous. Sports wear was definitely not something that was on my list of cool. 

I have a friend staying with me right now. She's been great to have here. She's a yoga instructor and actually one of the people who have inspired me to go to India for a yoga retreat. We've been doing yoga the last couple of days and it's been brilliant. We had an hour and a half session this afternoon before work and I feel fantastic! I appreciate having her here so much. She's listened to me whine and complain about the same old things patiently and always had advice. 

It's hard to say that I haven't had a blessed life. Sure I lost my bag over the weekend, but really, it's such a first world problem. I miss my phone the most. But it's material, and can be relatively easily replaced.

You know, I woke up this morning super hurt, upset and unmotivated. But now, aided by my amazing friends I feel wonderful and happy. 

I love you all. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I'll take a tall skinny love please

Ah, another week is coming to an end, and time continuously ticks. Neither slowing down or speeding up for anyone or anything. 

I think I will only have 3 more months left in Taiwan, I will finish this semester and go to Hong Kong to save some money before setting out what I always intended to do: Travel. 

With everything that happens in life, you have to learn to recognise the difference between settling and opportunity. 

I thoroughly enjoy living in Taiwan, but it's like I said before. It's just become so routine and mundane. It's easy to forget where you are. As more friends leave the island, I feel that it is time for me to do the same. But for the first time since I arrived, I am actually very excited for the next step. 

The deadline is January. Then onwards to a new unexplored (by me) frontier!

In the meantime, here's the latest song that's been circling around in my head for the last few days. It's by a girl called Birdy and she is only 15 years old.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A song for you - Count on Me

This song has been stuck in my head for the last 2 weeks.

I was hooked on Bruno Mars' album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans for the longest time. But for some reason, for the last two weeks, this song just keeps repeating itself and I find myself humming it without even thinking. 

My life is a musical.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it

The day has finally come! 

Yes, I knew it would come eventually, but it just always seemed so distant.  

Next week begins three new things for me.

1. Chinese lessons every morning Mon-Fri
2. New schedule at two new schools, Banqiao and Yonghe
3. I move to the new apartment in Gongguan

It's nerve racking I must admit. Not just the prospect of all these new things but how I'm going to manage my time both working and studying and also, I'm going to navigate between them. They're all so far away from each other!

Nevertheless, I'm very excited for this new chapter. Hopefully it will put some spring back in to Taiwan, which, after 15 months has become so normal. 

Time to spruce up the old routine and find a new perspective. Meet some new people (I hope my classmates are cool... I hope my new classmates are cool I hope my new classmates are cool I hope...)

It's time for a new adventure!

You only live once, and only a tiny fraction of it can be responsibly devoted to irresponsible hedonism  :)

Peace out 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

You're worth it

So recently I learnt, or was told, that the reason Taipei seemed to have so many lesbians was because parents encouraged it.

Don't confuse this with being supportive of being gay and then be disappointed by the lack of a gay pride parade and most of the gay community congregates in a cool but small area in Ximen (西門).

No, the real reason they support this is so that their over protected daughters can have some relationship practice

Read that how you will, but parents like their daughters to find a "girlfriend" that they hold hands with, hang out and go on "dates" with so when they get a real "boyfriend" they'll know what to do. 

I'm pretty sure it doesn't go any further than the hand holding but wow Taiwan. In a country where there are so many girls who will admit to being in a relationship for the sake of the label rather than notions of compatibility, maybe there should be less emphasis on being in a relationship. 

Women! You're allowed to vote! Your opinion and existence has the same value of any man. So why do you find it so hard to believe? 

Instead of finding a man to define who you are, why don't you first define yourself? 

Men! Those of you who are intimidated by strong women: Shame on you! 

What is society turning in to when women always have to be these submissive, helpless, damsels in distress waiting in their ivory towers for their prince charming to ride up on a white horse and save them from being a social outcast and eternal loneliness???

Girls shouldn't need to feel like they have to be in a relationship to be acceptable in society. It's ridiculous that they should reach a certain age (30!!) and be seen to have "expired".

No need to follow the white rabbit!
That's not your biological clock he's holding.
Do you believe that true happiness lies in a relationship? How many people could truthfully say no? From the moment we could hear, we are fed stories of blighted princesses who were saved from the claws of misery by a devilishly handsome hero. We are told that men are the key to happiness, they open the door and the other side is nothing but rainbows and bunny rabbits. Without them we are but at the whim of an evil step mother, an overbearing father, or these days, the critical eye of our peers.

Let's just ignore the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, we deserve more than the man we have. You know what they say; a bird in the hand is worth giving up ever finding true love and happiness. That's how the saying goes... Right?

I feel like I'm stating the obvious when I say, "You deserve better!" 
It's the old cliché isn't it? The guy obviously doesn't respect you enough, he talks down to you, expects you to do everything for him, but every now and then he'll show you a morsel of appreciation and because you're so starved of affection it feels wonderful and that'll keep you going for another year or so. 
Wake up and smell the burnt toast! 

Every person has the propensity to be an asshole. 
It's whether or not the people around the said asshole puts up with it. We are but human, and we will push boundaries to see how much we can get away with. You allow us to act like assholes, then we will act like assholes. Essentially, we are all still children. We will push and push and push until someone slaps us on the ass and tells us to behave ourselves or we'll lose something we want. Be it a bedtime story or our spouse.

The sad fact is, is that some lessons can only be learnt by walking away from the offending party. Forgiveness is not always a virtue. If a person cheats in a relationship, you can put them through hell to atone for their mistake, but if you forgive them, the lesson they learn is that you can forgive them for cheating. So it's likely to happen again. 
You walk away and they learn that they will lose the one they're with. 
So many times, relationships end, a few months down the line you see the other party in another relationship being everything you ever wanted them to be. You're left wondering why they couldn't be like that with you. It's because you taught them that lesson. The only thing left to do is to walk up to their new partner and whisper, "you're welcome".

You deserve to be loved and happy. But contrary to popular belief, it comes from yourself. Only you know what makes you happy, and if you really think about it, it's probably not making compromises and arguing about bills. Being single is the only time you're allowed to be selfish; embrace it: You can go on an around the world vacation and not worry that you're spending your children's tuition fund. You can quit your job and not worry that your children will starve. You can pick up sticks and move to an exotic country and not worry that your partner doesn't want to. You're free to go with the wind and do anything you want.

Don't stick in a relationship you're unhappy in. It will only get worse. Don't believe that a relationship is the key to happiness because unless you're in the right one, it's more like a big heavy iron padlock on that door to happiness.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

This picture is drawn by artist Jeffery Thomas and is shown on his blog.

He has many drawings of zombie-like Disney characters.

My favourite is Sleeping Beauty because I think it's the creepiest.

I don't know when I started thinking this kind of thing was cool and not just totally creeped out by it.

I mean, I'm the girl who's scared of skeletons, zombies, and gets nightmares from haunted houses.

Maybe it's because this is actually really beautiful even though it's gory? 

See more on Jeffery Thomas' blog:


Friday, 3 June 2011

Au Revoir La Cottonade

Charlotte left us this weekend and has gone to the sunny island of Australia before heading back to her home country of France. 
Then she will be working in Montreal with a marketing firm and meeting the people behind the magic of Cirque Du Soleil. 

My jealousy may contaminate this entire post.

Her leaving party was epic to say the least. Started with a pool party at her beautiful but distant apartment in Banqiao, followed by some KTV. While we figured we'd do KTV for about 2 hours, it turned in to an all night event which we finished at 3am! We didn't even have time to go to a club as they were all closing! We ended up chilling out outside a 7-11 until the police moved us on and we chatted way in to the morning. 

Ah Charlotte, always ready to have a good time, forever cheerful, optimistic and carefree. An alcohol induced kleptomaniac and great friend. I, and everyone who knew you in Taiwan will miss you greatly!


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Ah those folks at Google sure do have a great sense of humour

Driving Directions from Missouri, USA to Xindian, Taiwan by Google.

Click on the image to see full size

Monday, 18 April 2011


So it's almost the end of lent, only 5 more days!!!!!

This year, as I have for the past four years now, I have given up meat and it's been going well!

But then I thought, you know, it's been a bit too easy.
So in looking for a new challenge, I also merged another goal of mine which is to lose 15lbs.

A couple of my friends have just begun a low carb diet this week so I thought I would give that a shot. Lent round 2 if you will.

I thought I would at least wait until the end of lent to give myself a fair chance. Giving up two delicious forms of happiness at one time is unrealistic for anyone.

It hit me today that I have no idea what I would eat once this low carb nonsense starts so I decided to try and have a low carb dinner. I ended up having a salad sans dressing, an egg and a green tea. It wasn't so bad, it was yummy and I felt good about myself.
An hour and 17 minutes later I had scoffed a packed of chocolate digestives and bought my first loaf of bread this year with full intention of eating the whole thing by tomorrow.

This is going to be tough.


Sunday, 17 April 2011

New Leaf

I think it's about time I turned over a new leaf. Again.

How many times can a person turn themselves over? Surely you turn yourself over a few times and you're back to where you started...

Who knows. 

This year, my self improvement aims include:
  1. reading more
  2. blogging more
  3. trying to be more understanding and patient with people
  4. learn to rough it
  5. be more outdoorsy
  6. learn to live frugally
  7. getting my life goals back on track 
  8. have more self discipline
  9. don't be so emotionally lead
The first two are pretty basic and straightforward. Done.
Trying to be more understanding and patient is hard when the other person is truly baffling in their thought process. 
Take for instance, a conversation that happened last night:

Guy: "Are you Taiwanese?"
Me: "No, I'm from England"
G: "How long have you lived in England?"

Thought bubble from my head reads - How long have I lived in England?? All my life?? I don't want to sound like a smart ass... Does he mean how long have I lived in Taiwan? 

M: "How long have I lived in England?"
G: "Yes"
M: "All my life"


This is a guy from Delaware, U.S.A. You would've thought that he would be at least aware of the possibility of an Asian born abroad.

That's when I cut and run from the conversation and avoided him until he left. I'm not sure all the patience in the world could humour that level of stupidity.

Learning to rough it and living more frugally go hand in hand for me. I have slept in a 12 person bunk bed in a room that slept 20 people. This meant I slept in the same bed as 6 other people on the top bunk of a bed that stretched from wall to wall and 6 people slept below us on the bottom bunk. Opposite was a similar bunk bed that slept 8.
But for $300NT (£6gbp/$9usd) a night, it's hard to argue and it was a comfortable nights sleep!

Being outdoorsy for me is a challenge since I am pretty petrified of nature. It's not just the crazy poisonous insects that want to drink your blood and snakes that bite you (or eat you whole so I've heard) it's the uneven footing, the unpaved terrain and the lack of an adequate safety barrier between you and the 3000ft drop that's either side of you on hikes. Don't even get me started on the sketchy ladders and rope system that's meant to act as an aide to scale these vertical sheer cliff faces as you put your life in it's stringy "hands" if you will, and swing over a massive gap in the path. I'm sure if I got the right shoes it would be much easier... (Ha.)

Getting my life goals back on track would not be a problem if I knew what my life goals were.
Beyond being rich enough to be happy, I have lost my way a bit.
Let's come back to this one later.

More self discipline!! Who doesn't need more self discipline? This year, for the fourth year, I have given up meat for lent. By golly it's not been easy. But it's definitely gotten easier as the years have gone by. Moreover, I give up one thing only to become fixed on something else - this year it's chocolate. Nutty chocolate. Ferrero Rocher, Chocolate Almonds, Peanut M&Ms, Snickers... You name it, I've eaten it in the last 35 days. Time to find a more worthwhile habit to kick.

This leads me to my final aim on the list. I will give up being so damn emotionally lead. I feel it, I do it. I devise reason and logic around the thing I feel to justify it. This process should occur the other way around. I believe that in giving up this emotionally lead lifestyle, I will have less drama. I don't know what it is, but drama seems to follow me. Maybe I'm a drama queen (quite likely) or maybe I make decisions without thinking about the consequences (extremely likely), either way, I would like to lead a drama free life. Nay, let's be realistic - a drama reduced life.


Reasons Men Cheat

Ah, the age old question... Why do guys cheat? Many reasons.

In no particular order..
1. Because they don't know what they already have.
Let's over generalise here for the sake of simplicity. Some guys just have very low self esteem, hence why they will not realise what they have until it's gone. Or, as the case is more likely to be, they don't know what they have until they see other people wanting it. They see a new girl that the other guys are keen on and to prove their own self worth, they pursue it. They don't have enough confidence in their own decisions, neither in their own convictions, so they conform to what is in mass demand. Without third-party confirmation, they just don't know what is good and what isn't.

2. Because they think they're special.
Men with powerful influential jobs sometimes confuse this power and influence in their personal lives. They have A-type personalities; ultra competitive and ambitious. They want to be the best and always looking for a challenge, they don't want to stay in one spot too long. 
See how easily that could be transferred in to one's personal life?
Think about the celebrities who cheat on their wives. You would think that being married would mean the end of such things. But unfortunately no. It's not even like they're cheating on Anne Widdecomb lookalikes, they're cheating on the likes of Liz Hurley, Hilary Clinton and Elin Nordegren, so what hope does that leave the rest of us? NO! Don't think like that! The fact that men can cheat on beautiful, intelligent and self-made women goes to show that it's really not so much about us, it's about them.

3. Because they got married too early.
This can almost go under the first reason; they don't know what they already have. But in this case, they did know what they had, they married it, and then later realised that maybe they should've played the field a bit more for some genuine appreciation of what they really have. Or quite simply, they thought they had it good but then realised it could be better later on. No one's at fault, people grow apart. Romantic as it is to marry your childhood sweetheart, if you're 35, married for 15 years to a person who you no longer have anything in common with and is not even on your wavelength, it would be understandable to break up. Cheating however, is just the cowards way out. 

4. Because he's not ready to commit.
You're perfect, he's perfect, it's the perfect relationship. But then you find out he cheated on you. And with some girl he doesn't even care about. And she's ugly. The only question you have is "Why?"
This whole thing can be summed up with one sentence I heard recently.
"I want to spend the rest of my life with her, I want to marry her, but just not yet."
In other words, this is the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I'm not quite ready for the rest of my life to begin. (When Harry Met Sally anyone?)
But not just that, it's the stability and the perfectness of the relationship that scares him. He still wants to play, but he knows that the relationship is too perfect and there's only one direction it's heading in. 
It's that needless self destructive behaviour that has us reading articles like this one.

5. Because they thought they could get away with it.
Pretty self explanatory this one isn't it? Also over laps a little with the second reason a guy thinks he's so special that no one will ever find out and the only people who do know are inconsequential. Sadly, if this is the reason he did it, then it's grounds for breaking up anyway since it shouldn't be about whether or not he would get caught, it's about how much he respects you. Sure he probably thought something along the lines of "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". But does it really? Try telling that to your doctor the next time you're at the GUM clinic.

6. Because they're scared.
Scare to be alone, scared of making a mistake, scared of breaking up, scared of hurting you blah blah blah. You've heard the excuse and the obvious response is "So you cheated on me?"
It's preposterous isn't it? 
The reality is that they just wanted to have their cake and eat it. Maybe he still loves one girl but meets another who he also really wants to get to know because they just "click". 
Blah blah blah... 

In fact, this whole article should just have one reason:

Because (some) men don't have the backbone to break up before he gets with someone else.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011