Thursday, August 28, 2014

this is exactly why I want to elope.



I watched this and couldn't decide if I should be laughing or nodding in sympathy. So I did both. I laughed so loud and nodded so hard.

Guys, I've we've barely started on all of this wedding planning shit and already I'm cringing. (Sidenote: I have to be careful who I say things like that to, but here's the thing: I'm excited about the marriage, just not the wedding.)

I would love nothing more than to elope with maybe two friends, say some vows, exchange the rings, and then eat some yummy food, drink some delicious drinks, go on a relaxing/fun trip, and be done with it.

More thoughts on engagements and weddings coming soon. Maybe.

Monday, August 25, 2014

all about that bass.



Am I the last one to fall in love with this song? Seriously, you guys. I've been having solo dance parties all over our tiny apartment.

Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass. 

P.S. I've been thinking a lot about body image lately, and I think I'm starting to love myself more. Or maybe just care less about what others think? (Or about what I think others think.) I should write a post about it; I just don't know if I can put it into words.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

notes upon returning to beijing for a third year.


I flew back to Beijing a week ago, so I've officially begun my third year living and working halfway around the world. Of course, everything has seemed kind of a jumble since then, but luckily, not so jumbley as the past two years. (Autocorrect is telling me that "jumbley" is not a word; it's suggesting "jumbled" and I thought oh! yes! jumbled! that's what I meant! but my mind thought "jumbley" first, so "jumbley" it will remain.) 

Anyway... 

I was really lucky that I sat between my two friends Paula and Alanna on the long 12+ hour flight AND I managed to sleep almost the entire way. I didn't watch a single movie or read at all and I can't believe it! There's a first for everything I guess. 

I also haven't been too jetlagged, although I have obviously felt sleepier than usual, but that might also be a side effect of spending hours in meetings and setting up a classroom, etc., etc. Duh. 

And I've been getting up at 5:30AM. On purpose. I know! I know! But one of my goals this year is to not be rushed. So I set my alarm for 5:30 and then I can take my time puttering around the kitchen, making coffee (I brought back two bags from Second Cup and a bag from Tim Hortons), brewing tea to take to school, eating breakfast; brushing my teeth; showering; make-up applying and hair-drying; all while listening to my favourite podcasts. We'll see if I can keep up the momentum throughout the school year. 

Other than that, I've been re-adjusting to the apartment. Again, I know! I lived here last year! What needs re-adjusting to? But don't you find that if you've been gone from home for a length of time, when you return it feels like you're being reaquainted with an old friend? I've been taking baths and admiring our mismatched water taps, getting used to the odd way they turn. It's taken me a few times to remember which are hot or cold. Then there are the noises. The hum of the water cooler, the gentle roar of the air conditioner, the thumping and bouncing of the washer. 

Finally, I've been drinking tea from the new mug Alanna gave me because she saw it and thought it was perfect for me. (Isn't that the best feeling, knowing you're thought of?) That's it in the photo above and it is all kinds of perfect. Especially when paired with all of the tea I bought from David's Tea while I was in PEI. (So far I can tell you that I love Watermelon Mint and Birthday Cake, but Caramel Corn from the Carnival Collection is my current most favourite.)

P.S. Is it just me, or does my hand look like it belongs to a mannequin?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

faces of long distance.

Tony went back to Beijing on Saturday, so we've been FaceTiming at least once a day since then. Which has reminded me of the photos I took while we FaceTimed on New Year's Eve in Vietnam/Beijing, which at the time, reminded me of last summer, when I was in Canada for 8 weeks and he was in Beijing. Follow all that? 

Aaaanyway, here are the photos; I call them "The Faces of Long Distance" (hahaha!):

Waiting, waiting, waaaiting.

Yay!

Hmph!

Fun Thing: While I'm waiting for FaceTime to connect, I usually make a funny face to try and get Tony to laugh. It works every. single. time. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

highlights from thailand: koh phi phi & koh lanta.

Well over a year ago, I went to Thailand and am finally finished blogging about it with this post. Since it was so long ago, there's a lot I don't remember, but I'm sharing what I do. (I know this for sure: the trip was fun and relaxing and I'd recommend it to anyone!)

I've broken the trip into three parts: Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and islands Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. 


After playing with elephants in Chiang Mai and sightseeing in Bangkok, Alanna and I flew to Krabi and then took a ferry to Koh Phi Phi. 



I feel like Koh Phi Phi is most known for two things: being beautiful and being a "party island." I'd say both are true. But other than drinking one bucket, I didn't party. (Partly because I'm just not usually a partier, and partly because I didn't feel like partying after finding out my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in Bangkok.) 



I loved the little details, like the Thai writing on the Heinz ketchup bottles and the inspirational sayings on the sugar packets.

Another thing that struck me but I didn't take a photo of were the signs on the island that said something like, "In case of tsunami, go this way" with arrows. Sombering. 


After a couple days laying in the sun (and eating delicious food!), we took another ferry to Koh Lanta. If Koh Phi Phi is known for partying, Koh Lanta is known for relaxing. And relax we did. 

We were only here for a couple nights, so we splurged and stayed at a tiny resort right on the beach. (It helped that we booked it last minute while we were in Bangkok.)



These two photos (above) were from our tiny balcony off our room. 



While I was on the islands, I tried to eat as much seafood as possible. Mmmm. (But I also ate as much green curry as possible; I discovered it and fell in love with it on Koh Phi Phi.)


This was our view from dinner at the resort. I loved watching all the fishing boats come in. 


We didn't explore Koh Lanta at all. We spent all of our time relaxing here, splashing in the water to cool off, and playing Candy Crush (Alanna) and reading (me) in our room. Heaven.


While waiting in the Bangkok airport for our flight back to Beijing, I wrote this note on my phone: 

Innocent, joy-filled smile from a girl, playing with kittens as the worn out momma looks on, a waiter saying, "slow down, sister!" because I'm stirring my tomato soup too quickly, causing it to spill over the side of the bowl, laughing 'til my belly hurts, a scoop of mango gelato, riding in the back of a pick-up truck - a common mode of transportation - feeling a breeze.

Those little things and all of the inside jokes I now have with Alanna are the real highlights from Thailand. I will also remember all of the iced coffees from 7-Eleven I drank.

P.S. One of the things we laughed the hardest about:

Our last morning in Thailand, we had to fly from Krabi to Bangkok. We got up super early to get to the airport for our flight, but almost no taxis stopped for us and the ones that did, refused to take us. Stressful. We thought for sure we were gonna miss our flight. Then a tuktuk driver stopped for us. We tried to explain that he couldn't help us, there was no way his little tuktuk could make it to the airport and even if it could, it wouldn't make it on time. He kept motioning for us to get in, so against our better judgement, we did (7-Eleven iced coffees and plastic-wrapped pastries in hand). 

He drove us slowly to what we assume was his house and motioned for us to get out of the tuktuk and into a nice looking half-ton truck in the driveway. Again, against our better judgement, we listened to the man. And he disappeared into the house. 

We were nervous. I mean, we were in danger of missing our flight, but more than that, WE HAD JUST GOTTEN INTO THE BACKSEAT OF A STRANGE MAN'S TRUCK! Ummm... 

And then we saw this and felt a bit safer: 


"There's no way someone with a stuffed toy Spider-Man would hurt us, right?" Ummm... 

And then a mustached, puffy-haired, tired-looking teenage boy came out of the house and got into the driver's seat. We imagined what had taken place: The man (father?) walked in and yelled, waking up his teenage son, "Hey! Wake up, ya lazy bum! You gotta take two silly white girls to the airport!" 

Alanna and I laughed and laughed. What else could we do? 

We got to the airport safely. I can't remember if the man had asked for money, but if he did, it couldn't have been that much. I remember thinking these people were so kind. Just like everyone else we met in Thailand. 

P.S. Highlights from Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Shanghai, Boracay, Vermont, and Montréal

Monday, August 11, 2014

these are not engagement photos.

They are "We Are in a Serious Relationship and it Is Tony's First Time Visiting Canada" photos. 


This photoshoot was planned months ago, because I thought it would be fun for us to get photos taken. Photos that were not selfies, not taken with an iPhone, not edited on Instagram. Photos that would capture who we are at this stage of our life. 

But! 

Confession: I found the ring the day before these were taken. And I thought for sure that he was going to propose during this shoot. So I was kind of waiting the whole time for him to say nice things and get down on one knee hahaha! 

Spoiler alert: He didn't. And I told him I was a little disappointed because my sentimental side though it would have been cool to get the proposal captured on camera and my practical side thought it would have been nice if these photos could double as engagement photos. I also told him I was happy he didn't propose because now I knew that the proposal would be a complete surprise; I had no idea what he had planned or when. 

A huge thank you to Kandise Brown for being so laidback and fun, and for taking awesome photos! We felt a little nervous (that was me), and awkward (that was both of us), and I thought for sure we'd look like dorks (we do in a couple photos but in an adorable "that's so us!" kind of way), but she put us at ease and we love the result!

If you want a peek, here you go (I tried to edit down the amount of photos I posted, but this is the best I could do; it was so hard to choose!):


Haha! I told Tony I look great in this photo but his expression ruins it ;)















This happens daily for us, minus the gorgeous background and great light.

So does this.



He's being a fool and I look like I'm gonna kill him. Typical.

Also typical.

Turns out the ring was in the backpack the whole time!!


(Photos by Kandise Brown, who we chose because we loved her photos, and I loved her website and blog. The kicker was that this is in her FAQ: "WE’RE ELOPING/HAVING AN UN-WEDDING. I’m there.")

Friday, August 08, 2014

my song of summer 2014.

One of the things I look forward to most about summer is driving around with the windows down, blasting the radio, singing along at the top of my lungs.

Usually, there's one song every summer that stands out more than the rest. Usually, it's the song that everyone else has also declared the "Song of the Summer."

Well, this summer I've complained a few times that "there's no good music." That there are "some okay songs, but I haven't heard any that I love."

And then.

The day after Tony had "the talk" with my Dad, I heard this:



MAGIC!'s "Rude" will forever be my Song of Summer 2014, no matter what the charts say.

P.S. Our proposal story.
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