For over a year and a half, I have promised myself that I would begin to keep a personal record of all the events Leif and I have put together as an Apartment Life team. And yet, with every passing month, I never did. Not only did I not do it – I didn’t even try. Pretty pathetic. So, please forgive me as these posts … Continue reading Jaws by the Pool | DIY Event
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 only speaking for myself, but being a twenty-something has been … Continue reading What 2U is 2Me | A Personal Post
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 nightmare (see A Chinese Horror Story), so by the time … Continue reading 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 night, but it was worth every second of it. We … Continue reading 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 Aqaba. Though Petra and Aqaba were stunning, Wadi Rum stole … Continue reading Wadi Rum | Jordan
My family moved to Geneva, New York, three days into the start of my junior year of high school. I was nervous about starting out, once again, as the new kid, but I was so excited to move to a new city and make a bunch of new friends. So, I put a smile on my face and walked into Geneva High with my head held high. Now, … Continue reading 8 Reasons Why You Should Love Geneva, NY
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 big napper, so I’m always in trouble. Now, it’s possible … Continue reading 7 Tips for Fighting Jet Lag
Our visit to Zhangjiajie National Park, home to the Avatar Mountains, was unforgettable. We had heard that it was more than worth the 23 hour train trip from Beijing, but we never expected it to be as beautiful as it was. Despite the fog, rain, and humidity, we were able to see all the places on our list. Our adventurous natures avoided the cable cars … Continue reading Zhangjiajie | China
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 party. Finding a dress was my number one concern, but … Continue reading It’s Gatsby-Inspired | An Event
Fall of 2012.
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 as I stared out at the busy streets of Amman.
It wasn’t long before I was woken from my thoughts though, as Saba leaned forward to the driver and told him to make a U-turn up ahead. I smiled, knowing that meant we were almost to our host family’s apartment. A few moments later, we asked the driver to stop on the side of the busy road and I climbed out as Saba paid our fare. Continue reading “Hey, Miley | A Jordan Story”
It was eight in the evening and Leif and I were sitting quietly in our plastic chairs waiting for the train to begin boarding. I was working very hard to remain positive. When we had purchased the tickets for this particular train ride from Zhangjiajie to Xi’an, all the sleeper trains were already sold out. Our only option had been to purchase hard seats. Hard seats for a nine hour train ride…overnight.
As the time for boarding the train loomed near, I ran off to the bathroom to change into something more comfortable. I told myself that if I did everything in my power to make this trip comfortable, it would be. I had sat in chairs for endless periods of time before. This was going to be just like that. No big deal. Continue reading “A Chinese Horror Story”
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 is no one way to describe him, (and fifty is far too difficult), so five pieces of the puzzle will have to do. I hope you can appreciate and grasp the fascinating puzzle that is Christian Nunez (Yes, Nunez) Pilet. I love you, Dad! Continue reading “5 Stories About My Father”
1. You’ve got a playground partner for life.
…also, hippo wrangler. Continue reading “20 Reasons Little Brothers Are The Best”
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.
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, I thought I would share with you my ten favorite places I have been so far in my life. They are pretty different from one another and I have so many places left to go, so I’m not sure everyone will agree with me. Simply, these are places that stole my breath at one point or another.
Here are my top ten places in the world that I think everyone should visit. Continue reading “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 the most charming of toddlers. Maybe I pulled on its ear a little much or maybe I straight up punched it in the face. Who knows. Either way, I must have really ticked off this dog, because he decided to attack my adorable, chubby, little face. Continue reading “Why I Love My Scars | A Personal Post”
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 a man and his beard. I thought I would share a little of what I have learned and the great highs and lows of my beard love.
Here they are: 5 Pros and Cons Of Loving a Bearded Man Continue reading “5 Pros And Cons Of Loving A Bearded Man”
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 alternative in order to prolong their lives by avoiding the evil corporation that is McDonald’s. Continue reading “5 Things I Love In China But Hate In America”
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 seemed incredibly boring next to the idea of jumping around in a ball pit at McDonald’s. Maybe Mom would understand? Continue reading “Good Grief | A Personal Post”
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 Mongolia. It seems that although the famous Mongols once possessed a great portion of the known-world, they have since crept back into the shadows.
In light of that, I thought I would share with you 10 Facts People Should Know About Mongolia. Continue reading “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. Continue reading “5 Things America Should Embrace”
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 to learn before now. After a year of living in good, ol’ Beijing, I thought I would share with you my, now, debunked stereotypes.
7 False Stereotypes about the Chinese: Continue reading “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 crossing some serious boundaries. From behind the safety of a monitor, people cross social boundary lines as if it were a hopscotch game. I like hopscotch as much as the next person, but I think it’s time for something to give a little.
So here are my suggestions for 10 Things To Stop Sharing On Facebook. Continue reading “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 may have been my parents’ way of making sure I didn’t get pregnant outside of wedlock. Good work, parents, good work. Continue reading “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting | A Personal Post”
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 too spastic a teacher? Shoot, why in the world was I signed up to be a teacher?! This was definitely not the plan. After my first class though, I was no longer worried. I knew I was cut out to stand in front of kids and laugh at myself. I mean, I certainly don’t plan to do it again after this year, but it’s been a good lesson in not taking myself too seriously.
And here are five reasons why: 5 Naughty Words My ESL Kids Love Continue reading “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 help but think of Cecily Cardew from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest when she says, “You see, it [a diary] is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.” Surely Anne’s diary and the fame that surrounds it made it worthy for publication. Continue reading “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 incredible man that is all mine on this hyped-up-on-chocolate holiday. Then, for just one brief second, as I stared down at my red-sprinkled, heart-shaped cookie, I realized…what is this load of junk? Continue reading “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: Continue reading “10 Things I Miss About America”
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 taxi. The sun sets in Amman around six this time of … Continue reading Hide and Seek | A Jordan Story
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 was cancelled. And what does a study abroad student do … Continue reading Love in an Over-Sized Bird | A Turkey Story
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 introducing the topic by saying I was studying abroad in … Continue reading I’m a Barbie Girl in a Veiled World | A Jordan Story
I’ve decided it’s time to take off the I-love-Jordan-all-the-time hat. I usually prefer that hat because writing about your feelings? Yeah, that’s tough stuff. However, I am feeling particularly brave today. So here you are: my unfiltered feelings. LANGUAGE Living in a new culture is hard, but studying in a new culture is even harder. I took Modern Standard Arabic class for two and a half … Continue reading Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away | A Jordan Story