BB: Before Bali

Joy

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I don’t have much of an update right now…..I take that back – I don’t have the energy to write out a detailed passage right now. It’s a lazy Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the sun at a corner coffee shop watching Old City slowly wake up. Being a teacher is very tiring, so I appreciate these mornings of chilling, wandering, and taking in my surroundings. But as exhausting as teaching is, it is worth every single minute.

Things are going really well. 🙂

Hugs to you. 💙

Settled

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Holy moly, I’ve finally found the time and energy to sit down and write a little bit. The past few months have been go, go, go, go, go! No time to slow down. But now that I’ve officially started working, I am finally feeling a sense of routine and balance. I normally haven’t been a fan of the word, “routine,” but I’m discovering that it’s important for me to have some sort of consistency with my time. The past few months I’ve gone from road tripping down and up the West Coast, moving out of Seattle, visiting home, traveling to Vietnam, getting my TEFL in Krabi, traveling North to Chiang Mai, looking for a job, going back home for the holidays, and finally settling in with a job and a home. I’m tired just writing that…

But I’ve made Chiang Mai my home, and I’ve started a job at a beautiful international school. I’m so excited to say that I’m a kindergarten teacher to 20 hilarious and precious children. Finally reaching a goal I set a very long time ago.

I’m finally feeling grounded, centered, and stable. I’ve loved traveling around and finding my way – but it feels so good to know that every day I’m going to my classroom and helping these kids grow in this wild and crazy world.

Life outside of school has been beautiful as well – Thailand is a lush and adventurous country with so many things to do and places to explore. Last weekend I went with a group of friends to a beautiful campground – even though I had my $12 tent, the conditions were so perfect, I actually slept outside. I was laying in the middle of a big field with a clear view of the bright stars everywhere I looked. It was warm, dry, and no bugs. It was perfection. After the sun rose, we went to a natural hot springs and then a beautiful temple on a mountain tucked away in a cave.

I like it here…

And then there’s school… My heart expands whenever I think of my students. Not only is it amazing when things I teach my kids stick with them (I taught the word “mountain,” then Danny ate part of his sandwich at snack time and held it up and said in his cute Korean accent, “Teacher Andrea – mountain!” His sandwich did indeed look just like a mountain. Ahhh!) – but I want to cry each time a parent tells me that their child loves me and doesn’t want to leave after school. These kids are giving me so much purpose and inspiration. My creativity is also coming back and I’m so thankful for that.

Friday was Children’s Day and all the kids dressed up as their dream career. My classroom was full of doctors, soldiers, ballerinas, teachers, policemen, and even a couple of Supermen. One of the challenges at my school is a vibe of negativity – I won’t go into detail, but I’m working really hard to avoid the drama and focus on the positivity. One person looked at my kids and said, “The sad thing is that the majority of these kids won’t become what they want to be right now.” Why do we kill the dream??? I look at my students and I cannot wait to see what they will become – and I believe in them. I remember in elementary school, I dressed up as a forest ranger. That was my big dream when I was a child. Although I’m not officially a forest ranger, I spend a lot of my time in Nature and with the trees. Then in high school, I wanted to get into film (I was obsessed with the idea of directing music videos). I wasn’t in Hollywood, but working in production and marketing at a TV station for 8 years fulfilled this passion. And now my dream is to be a teacher and make our future a better place. My dream has come true – and I plan on guiding my students into believing that their dreams will come true as well.

I can’t wait to spend each week with these kiddos and keep teaching them new words, concepts, and morals. But I’m also excited to continue learning from them. A teacher and a student at the same time – this is what life is all about.

Can you handle the cuteness?? I can’t either…

Feeling so lucky.

I take back what I said earlier… I don’t like it here – I love it here.

Thinking of you all and sending you Thailand love!

xoxo

Pause

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Last time I wrote was in March and, well, a lot has happened since then (big surprise). I’ve been thinking about this blog (ugh, I really don’t like the word ‘blog’) a lot and how I want to write about SO many things. Over the past 2 months, I have enough content to write a book, truly. Maybe one day I will actually find the time to sit down and share some photos and anecdotes from my busy life in West Seattle.

I just wanted to take this time now to share a little story that happened recently. Before ‘work’ (by the way, I LOVE MY JOB, but I’ll save that for another day), sometimes I stop in one of the local Starbucks – what can I say, my white mocha addiction has not faded. There are two men that sit in the comfy, leather chairs every morning and they’re always chatting up a storm. They speak really loudly and sometimes I can’t help but eavesdrop. The other morning, they were talking about people who have been influential to them.

“One of the most important people in my life is my wife, Sue. What about you?”

“Definitely my Mom.”

Then the man with the slightly higher pitched voice who adores his Mom paused and said, “You know? I just want to say that you are really important to me. I really love our mornings together and you have made my life better. We don’t tell people enough how much we appreciate them, and I appreciate you.”

I almost cried when I ordered my drink…

He’s totally right – we go about our business, meet with some friends and family consistently, others not as often, and swiftly make our way through each day…without stopping to pause and acknowledge the connections we have built and the life we have created.

Right now, I’m sitting in a bustling coffee shop filled with people chatting. The four women in front of me look like they’ve probably been meeting weekly for years. A dad just pulled out a coloring book for his daughter and she just screamed with excitement. 3 pairs of girlfriends are gabbing at the window tables (all oddly wearing pink…). Two older men are laughing and have been sitting at their table since I got here an hour ago.

I’m the girl sitting in the middle of it all and (probably awkwardly) observing the relationships around me. It just feels like there’s a lot of love here on this Friday morning and it’s making me smile.

I wonder what the two men at Starbucks are talking about right now…

All forms of relationships take effort, time, and care. Seems like these days, everyone’s schedules are packed to the brim, mine included (fortunately and unfortunately) and it’s getting harder to create quality time with people consistently. But I’m starting to recognize the relationships in my life that are unconditional. No matter how much time passes or how many ebbs and flows we have in our connection, the love is always there.

Anyway, that’s my really long and loopy way of saying, I really appreciate you. If you were sitting across the table from me right now, I’d pause and tell you that I am grateful that you are in my life.

I’ve been feeling an unbelievable amount of love and support recently and there are some magical things being set into motion…hoping this translates into more writing (feeling a bit rusty!) and more adventures to write about! The energy of Love is far more powerful than the caffeine in this white mocha… 😉

I hope you all have a great day and a happy weekend with the people that you love. And if you happen to see any dandelions, don’t hesitate to make a wish. It just may come true…

Eat, Yoga, Love

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

IT’S NOVEMBER. WHAT?! 

How is it already almost 2018??? I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – time blows me away. Especially in Bali – I swear it totally slows down…and then the next thing you know, it’s a whole new month. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written and it hasn’t been because I didn’t want to. It’s because life was happening in a really magical way. I had been consistently writing and it surprisingly takes a lot of time. The past couple of weeks, I wanted to keep living and not pause life to update my online journal. I knew there would be a good day to sit down and write again. That day is today. 

The last time I wrote, I was still in Singapore. As soon as I got back to Bali, I felt like I was back home again. It was so odd going from such a futuristic, orderly place back to a slower pace of life. Back to a place where I could be completely myself.

In August, before I left for Bali, I was sure I would practice yoga more than ever before. That’s what people do in Bali, right?! I was slightly confused when 2 months had passed in Bali, and I had only done 2 yoga classes. I was just never really in the mood for it and I didn’t know why. So one random night, the little voice in my head told me to go to yoga. I don’t know why, but I was super motivated that night to go to a class. So I did, and it was the best decision I ever made. 

I headed to Life in Amed, a cute boutique hotel in my favorite village in Amed – Lean Village. They said class would be a little more expensive this particular week because there was a retreat happening. I was a little hesitant and almost went back home in order to save my money…but then I met the teacher, Tiffany, and she shared the retreat calendar with me. Her hair is rainbow colored and the retreat’s theme was all about chakras. No way was I going to go home…

The night that I randomly decided to go to a yoga class happened to be the very first night of the Yin Yang Retreat. I was definitely meant to be there. 


Yoga, women who refer to themselves as Goddesses, burning sage, tea, healthy meals based on each chakra, sound bowls, massages, crystals, excursions, and bonds that were magical. The first night was an extremely stormy night and I’ll never forget that yoga class. It was POURING RAIN. It was absolutely wild. But it was the most perfect night. During savasana was when the rain came down the hardest. I was getting completely drenched, but I embraced it. And because this is how everything works in Bali – as soon as we came out of savasana, the rain completely stopped. What I loved was that instead of everyone saying, “Well that was interesting timing! What a coincidence!” Our teachers Tiffany and Monica both talked about the energy we created and how the storm was a result of it. These are my kind of people.

Lots of people would think everything we went through is hokus pokus and silly. But to us? The retreat was completely magical. We all spoke the same ‘language.’ We believe in magic and that the Universe is guiding us through life. The retreat was 9 days and we created lifelong friendships and I am so grateful I listened to that little voice in my head that stormy night. 

Since so much time has passed since I’ve written, there are so many things I’d like to share. If I shared the story for each photo, though, this post would turn into a novel. So I have a fun little challenge for myself. For each photo, I’ll only use 10 or less words for the captions. Here we goooooo.

Super Trees are the Space Needles of Singapore.

Traditional fare with Tiger Beer in Singapore. DELICIOUS.

Met in Bali. Reunited in Singapore. So happy.

Back in Bali. Villa Candi Matahari = happy place.

Mila in pain. Prayed then healed. Big ceremony as thanks.

Two of my very favorite little humans ever.

First meal of yoga retreat. Root chakra. Gado Gado.

New friendships that will last forever.

Sacral Chakra meal. Could eat daily.

Backyard BBQ. Grilled mackerel. When staff turns into friends.

Last night at Villa. Megibung. Dance party. Best night ever.

Balinese family photo. So much love.

Solar Plexus Chakra meal. Warriors.

Back to Diver’s Cafe. Lucky room #7. Home.

Heart Chakra meal. Full and happy heart.

Welcoming new wonderful friends into retreat. Meant to be.

Throat Chakra meal. Favorite. Eating a rainbow.

Life in Amed.

Creative break. 

Color, sand, and glitter. All I need.

Anticipating the rush. Every moment can be fun.


But taking that step and flying is the best part.


A morning that would make anyone believe in magic.


Agung alert level downgraded. Back to normal. Hallelujah.


Yoga with kids. FAVORITE DAY. SO HAPPY.


Craft time. Paper crowns. STILL SO HAPPY.


The Kings and Queens of Amed. LOVE.


Queen Tiffany passing on her rainbow magic. 


Last day of retreat. Loving life.


Soul sisters. So grateful.


New neighbor. Her lucky room #8.

Poetry slam in Ubud. Complete with snaps.

Yoga and Writing workshop. Reader and Writer’s Festival. Inspired.

Group poem. I love it.

Family. Monkeys are just like us. We’re just like monkeys.

 

Look up at the light.


Appreciating my feet and where they have taken me.


Les Waterfall. Scooter gang. Time warp. Cleansing.

LOVE. 

Floating

Monday, August 28th, 2017

In June of 2015, I was in Denver and while Lauren went to her maternity yoga class, I went to the Farmer’s Market. I took “The Alchemist” along with me and picked a restaurant with a table outside so I could watch all the happenings in the Market. I remember being nervous to go to brunch all alone. What would people think? What am I supposed to do with myself? 

Turns out, the book, the meal, and the experience were all awesome

Two years later and I’m eating brunch while reading one of my favorite books and watching the happenings on the beach.

I’ve been getting more and more comfortable on my scooter on these roads…or rather, the road. There’s only one road through Amed and I’ve been zipping back and forth on it – getting used to the feel and the language of the road on my “commuter scooter.”

I’ve been thinking about the word language a lot lately. I’m in a place where I’m not only trying to learn a new spoken language, but there are unspoken languages I’m slowly learning as well. Diving, riding, bartering, body language, rupiah and of course, Balinese.

With diving, I was sent back in time to my science classes, refreshing my memory on volume, density, and buoyancy. I was never very good with math and science, which is why I was studying that manual like crazy before my test. It’s all very simple, but it didn’t come naturally to me. Now being under the water, that came naturally. I felt like I was making eye contact with all the fish that I crossed paths with. Sometimes, I’d slow down and just enjoy the feeling of floating. Mind and body.

There seems to be a lot of floating here, in and out of the water.

My Lazy Sunday was one for the books. It started out with this sunrise. As the waves were crashing, I was paying attention to the sound. Ocean waves and birds. In Seattle, my apartment was directly across the street from I-5. I got used to the sound of the traffic and constant car horns. To make it better in my head, I’d pretend the sound was of ocean waves. I am so happy I don’t have to pretend anymore. 

This sunrise set the tone for a very calm and relaxing Sunday. No wonder every single day here is so calm and relaxing…

For Sunday dinner, Paul, Stacy and Villa Candi’s staff made an incredible chicken dinner. I still can’t get over how amazing it is to eat such delicious food with the Balinese Sea right in front of me. Pinch me, please…

This morning, I went on a little longer scooter ride and on the way back, I came across what they call “The Stairway to Heaven.” 

It’s confirmed. Heaven.

Leaping

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Bags are packed and I’m ready to go. FINALLY!


And my last meal in Seattle?

DUH.

An incredible shout out to Kris. Thank you so much for letting me stay in your home, aka the Adult Treehouse, the past month and a half. I found so much zen here, finally slept peacefully, and enjoyed every meal, conversation, and quiet night. It’s going to be hard to leave this place. Yes, even for Bali. Love you, Kris. Can’t thank you enough. 

And thank you, Landin’s, for taking my car and storing half of my life… I didn’t realize how much I love my car until I had to say goodbye to it. This is all worth it, though.

Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith. -Margaret Shepard

Next time I write, I’ll either be in Taiwan or my final destination: BALI. 

Selamat Tinggal!

Greenlake

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Instead of sitting in Bali right now like I was supposed to be, I’m still in Seattle. But you know what? I’m so happy I am. Feels like that damn little tooth was meant to wreak havoc so I could get it pulled…and have a couple more days in the Pacific Northwest. Because of this extra time I was given, I was able to see some of my very favorite people and simply have more time to get ready. That fear and doubt I felt last week was short-lived, thank GOODNESS. All I feel now is excitement. Just a few more hours and I’ll finally be on my way to the other side of the world.

But today? Today is about Greenlake. 

One last walk. One last sit in my old back yard. My “terrarium.”


Greenlake is a place that has left a mark on my heart. It is the setting of so many days and so many nights for me. Rain or shine…sometimes even snow.


Countless books have been read here. In my ‘terrarium,’ I knew the exact spot to sit to get the longest amount of sunlight.


Hundreds of walks – solo and with friends. Deep conversations were had while next to the water. Pages of journal entries were written here.

Softball games, 5K’s, and naps. All here.

I was here so frequently, I knew who the regulars were. Some of them knew me as a regular, too. We’d acknowledge each other with a smile and a head nod. 

I’ve watched ducks grow up here. I’d come here during my darkest days and find glimmers of peace. I felt like I grew here, along with the ducks.


I’ve walked in the pouring rain here, swam here, and I’ve even walked on the Lake. 



Sunsets, sunrises, and even moon sets. 



So many encounters with my Spirit Animal. 


I have unconditional love for this Lake – it is spectacular in all seasons. In full color and black and white.



Thank you, Greenlake.

You were the water that nourished my soul.

You are the reason I bloomed.