2U’s Guiding Principles: Cherish Each Opportunity Give a Damn Strive for Excellence Be Bold and Fearless Be Candid, Honest and Open Have Fun Make Service Your Mission Don’t Let the Skeptic Win Yesterday was my sixth month anniversary working at 2U, so I thought I’d tell you a little about why I’m celebrating. Maybe I’m … More What 2U is 2Me
Moving to a new city is always a bit daunting. Not only because you’re suddenly in the market for new friends and restaurants, but also because you’re suddenly a stranger to everything – even the language. I honestly didn’t expect that to be an issue when I moved to D.C. It’s our nation’s capital, after … More 5 D.C. Words to Know
About one month ago Leif and I moved into our new home. You may recall that, for the three months prior to that move, we were homeless. Kind and VERY patient relatives took us in, but yes, we were homeless. I knew it was a huge blessing to have the time to thoroughly research where … More Intentional Living
Moving to D.C. was a hard move for me. And that’s saying something, because I’ve had a lot of moves in my life. You see, I’m a planner, for the most part (other than when I decided to marry Leif). And usually I make sure to have all my ducks in a row before I … More Lessons Learned Living in D.C.
For the past two and a half (3?) years, Leif and I have been delightfully stuck. I say “delightfully” because what else could it have been? We’ve had each other and learned how to survive life as a married couple in the United States. We’ve been conveniently located five minutes from my family and had … More Delightfully Stuck
For our return to Beijing from our adventure in Zhangjiajie, my husband and I decided to stop by Xi’an and see the famous Terracotta Army. I have to be 100% honest – I think we were too worn out to fully enjoy the historical site. Our train ride to Xi’an was a bit of a … More Terracotta Army | China
My husband and I had the opportunity to escape polluted Beijing for a weekend with some friends. Where did we choose to go? One of the coldest cities on earth for their world-renowned ice festival: Harbin. When I say it was cold, I mean snot-freezing, eyelash-crystalizing, lips-turned-blue cold. The day was no better than the … More Harbin | China
For my last semester of university, I studied abroad in Amman, Jordan. It was an experience unlike anything I could have dreamed. Although most of the semester was spent studying Arabic, one particularly lovely weekend, my study abroad cohort and I were able to get away and take a trip to Wadi Rum, Petra, and … More Wadi Rum | Jordan
Do you ever have those moments where you stop and look around and just think, “Where am I right now? How did I get here?” I do. Most the time I feel like I am moving too fast to stop and think about my life. But, occasionally, there are those brief moments, like on a … More Where am I right now?
It’s been nearly a year since I gave an update. Wow. I guess it’s been a year since I really posted much of anything at all. I think sometimes it’s easier to just snuggle up in my little apartment with Leif and forget about the day, rather than relive the day’s events. It’s probably time … More Life Update: Top 5 Things You Should Know
10 Things I Learned From Being Unemployed Approximately four and a half months ago, I began my frantic job search State-side. I can’t even comprehend an efficient way to explain my anxiety during that time, but I will try. I had one goal: Obtain a job that, at some level or another, required (or at … More 10 Things I Learned From Being Unemployed
Three months ago, Leif and I made the long trek around the world back to the United States. Three months ago, I generally stopped posting about our lives. Why did I go silent? Mostly because I felt a little lost in my own fears of the unknown. I was afraid people would ask the dreaded, … More A New Season
Two weeks ago I hatched a plan for keeping ex-expat blues at bay. This plan I named “Operation: Ex-Expat“. I promised myself that I would take a step each week to fight my sadness over moving back to the States and embrace how life can still be an adventure. Well, guys, I did it. I … More Apple Pie For The Soul
Jet lag. I say that word with deep loathing. Jet lag has always been the bane of my travels. It’s probably because most of my traveling takes place between the United States and Asia. You can be sure that as soon as you cross the international date line you’re in for trouble. However, I’m a … More 7 Tips for Fighting Jet Lag
This past July my husband and I returned to the United States. During the weeks leading up to our departure, I was eagerly anticipating our return. I desperately missed so many people…and well… mostly frozen pizza. Heading back meant being able to overload on the things I had been deprived. I was so ready. Now, … More Operation: Ex-Expat
In May of this year, some friends were having a 1920’s birthday party. In polluted Beijing it’s always nice to have a breath of fresh air by changing up the norm. Also, any excuse to dress up is okay in my book. I pleaded with Leif and eventually he agreed. We were going to the … More It’s Gatsby-Inspired
Fall of 2012. Amman, Jordan: It was a beautiful, sunny day as my roommate, Saba, and I returned from the University of Jordan. We had hailed a taxi in record time and were sitting quietly in the backseat as our driver sang along with the radio and smoked a cigarette. I was lost in thought … More Hey, Miley
In honor of my dad’s big 5-0 birthday, I write this blog. As I considered what I would write to commemorate this big event, I decided that I wanted to tell five separate stories about my dad. I present each one of these stories as a piece of the puzzle that is my father. There … More 5 Stories About My Father
1. You’ve got a playground partner for life. …also, hippo wrangler.
Spring has sprung in Beijing. The trees are turning green. The flowers are beginning to bloom. And the elderly are back on the roads. Unfortunately, the color and life that is trying so hard to fill the world is being muted by a heavy smog that has settled on the city. It becomes incredibly depressing … More How To Make Ordinary Life Extraordinary
In December of 2012, I graduated from college. Over the past year or two, my alma mater, Cedarville University, has experienced a great deal of change. Change that has been welcomingly embraced. Change that has been outrageously abhorred. Change that has completely altered the face of the school.
Alright. I’ll confess. I watch the Bachelor. Now, before you judge me too harshly, let me explain myself. I started watching the show a few years ago with my brother. It was kind of our thing. I’d Skype him while I was at college, and together we’d watch the latest episode of The Bachelor on … More 10 Reasons Juan Pablo Is NOT The Villain We Want Him To Be
My parents are going to laugh and laugh at this post. I don’t care. Better to head them off at the pass before they can get in a loud, “I told you so!” …Although, maybe I deserve one.
On my 13th birthday, my family was hit with life-altering news. My three year old brother was diagnosed with autism. At the time (and, in some regards, still today), no one really understood what autism meant. It was this…sickness, this seeming disease that had suddenly begun being diagnosed all over the Western world. Still, no … More The “A” Word
I don’t know about you, but my list of places I want to visit is endless. I could talk all day long about the beautiful sights I want to see and the different adventures I want to go on. It can be almost impossible to decide where to actually visit next. In light of that, … More 10 Places Everyone Should Visit
When I was two years old, my parents and I visited some family friends in Oregon. Now, these friends had a pet dog they loved more than anything. That afternoon, they informed my parents it was a very friendly dog that loved to play with kids. I do recognize that it’s quite possible I wasn’t … More Why I Love My Scars
I won’t lie; I’m shallow. One of the first things that attracted me to my future husband was his beard. There’s just something about a beard that demands my attention. And, wow, my husband has a nice beard. I was hooked. Over the course of our relationship, I have learned a lot from being with … More 5 Pros And Cons Of Loving A Bearded Man
1. McDonalds I, like you, watched the documentary Supersize Me. And I, probably like you, was disgusted. Whenever my family would suggest McDonalds for a snack, I would cry out in horror, “Guys, we can’t eat there!! Do you have any idea what’s in all that crap?!” I would force them to find a healthier … More 5 Things I Love In China But Hate In America
I have come to the conclusion there are too many people willing to say good riddance to friendships failed. They tell the world how they didn’t need those people anyway. They say that they are better off without them. They make excuses for the pain they caused and walk away.
April 26, 1998. I sat on the chair feeling terrible. My mother had specifically invited me to the Ladies’ Luncheon to hear her speak, but I just didn’t want to go anymore. My brother and dad were going to McDonald’s. McDonald’s. My desire to be a “big girl” and go to the special lunch suddenly … More Good Grief
When I was nine years old, my family moved to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We lived there four years before moving back to the United States. I know that doesn’t sound like a very long time, but it was my home. And I loved it. Since I moved away, I have often had to explain the mysterious … More 10 Facts People Should Know About Mongolia
America has a great many things to offer the international community. For examples, look at my previous blog, “10 Things I Miss About America.” Today, however, I take a moment to point out some things America could profit to learn from the international community. Here are my suggestions for 5 Things America Should Embrace.
I’m sure you don’t think my life is perfect. But, the thing is, I want you to think it is. You see, these days, social media gives us this incredible opportunity to create ourselves. It allows us to set up this virtual version of who we are. Profile pictures, statuses, timelines, likes, dislikes, and updates … More My Life Is Perfect
Despite the fact that I spent a good deal of time growing up in Asia, I still had some preconceived notions about China before moving here. I would like to blame Chinatowns, Mulan, and the media for my terrible stereotypes. In reality though, I know I can only blame myself for not having actually bothered … More 7 False Stereotypes About the Chinese
I love social media. I really do. I have been grateful for it since the day I left Mongolia. It has kept me connected to friends all over the globe and I’m not sure what I would do without it. But, as time goes on, I have come to the conclusion that social media is … More 10 Things To Stop Sharing On Facebook
For as long as I can remember I have said I will never have kids. It’s not that I don’t like kids. Really, I do. It’s just that, after six younger siblings, I’ve already had my kids. I’ve changed diapers, wiped runny noses, read bedtime stories, played dolls, and kissed boo-boos. Honestly, I think this … More What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting
Today marked the first day of classes for the spring semester at Beihang Fu Zhong. Leif and I teach 7th and 10th grade at this high school here in Beijing. At the start of last semester, I remember being nervous. Would the kids like me? Would I be too boring a teacher? Would I be … More 5 Naughty Words My ESL Kids Love
Over the last week I read Anne Frank’s Diary. I’d like to say I picked it up with the intention of edifying my mind but, in reality, the foreign teacher’s library has all of twenty books. I browsed over my options and it seemed like my best choice. As I picked it up I couldn’t … More 4 Truths I Learned From Anne Frank
More than any other year, this Valentine’s Day season I have felt accosted by the concept of finding completeness in my significant other. All around me I hear the reasons someone’s spouse or boyfriend is just divine perfection. I even found myself nodding understandingly. I reminded myself how lucky I am to have such an … More 5 Reasons I Miss Being Single
I’ve never been a big Amurica lover. However, the more time I spend overseas, the more I’ve become an America appreciator. Here are 10 Things I Miss About America while living in China:
The best way out is always through. Robert Frost Ever since I arrived in Jordan, the other students in my program would exclaim, “You’re spending your last semester abroad in Jordan?!” And I would always respond, “Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.” And, really, it did. I had considered going abroad earlier, but something … More Thoughts of Frost
As you know, I have lived in all sorts of places. Everywhere from Midwest USA with their plethora of fast-food restaurants to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with its very hairy yaks. And in all of these places, I noticed something interesting. Not about them, but about me. My status as a person changed, depending on where I lived. … More ‘Tis the $eason
Before I begin, I need to address something. I realize I am only a young college student. I don’t pretend to know everything, or anything for that matter. The things I say are simply what I have seen and experienced. All I will tell you is solely based on my personal experiences. — I have … More A Time to Learn
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good taxi, must be in want of a customer.” When I was 12 years old, my brother and I played a certain computer game all the time. Its name was Crazy Taxi. The premise is that you, as a taxi … More Amman: Crazy Taxi 2.0
I am an American. I am a girl. Therefore, I am “easy.” The past few weeks I have begun interviewing Jordanians for a documentary I am making. This documentary will address common misconceptions (among other things) that Americans have about the Middle East. In the process, I have learned many eye-opening things. Most interesting has … More The Entertainment Industry, Jordan, and Me
Walking alone at night is terrifying to me. It’s scary even when I’m at home and have to walk the five yards to my car in the driveway. So, it’s really scary when I am walking down a dark road to find a taxi in Jordan. The other night I walked alone to find a … More Hide and Seek
This week I learned about love. Eid Al-Adha was October 24-28th. It is a Muslim holiday that celebrates the day Abraham was to sacrifice Ishmael. I have never been more excited about a Muslim holiday. Not because the streets of the Arab world would be flowing with the blood of sheep, but because it meant school … More Love in an Over-Sized Bird
When I started telling people that I would be studying abroad in Jordan, I was usually asked a series of three questions: 1) Where is Jordan? 2) You’re gonna get blown-up. You know that, right? 3) Are you gonna have to wear one of those scarf-things? In response to the first, I began … More I’m a Barbie Girl in a Veiled World
Sometimes, we teeter on the brink of uncertainty. Felix Baumgartner knows this sensation better than anyone. Last night, the Austrian skydiver fell faster than the speed of sound from the astonishing height of 128,100 feet. I sat on the floor of my host family’s living room and watched history being made. As I watched, I … More The Brink of Uncertainty
I vividly remember when I moved to Mongolia. I was the most excited nine year old girl you’ve ever seen. I was practically bouncing in my seat as our Korean Air plane landed in the valley in which Ulaanbaatar is located. I had been dreaming of that moment for years. I didn’t care that the … More Culture Shock: A Reflection