Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Third Culture Kids

She knows how to travel...

While I've been busy working on the e-book, Moving to Myanmar, that will be available in April, I came across this great new video about Third Culture Kids.

It's called "So Where's Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity" by Adrian Bautista.  It's only about nine minutes long, so I hope you get the chance to watch it. If you're in Yangon, I know it might be hard to find a good enough internet connection to watch it.

There's a part where one of the third culture kids says she thinks it's "ridiculous" how at home she feels in an airport and that probably many tck (third culture kids) feel similarly.  I've realized that F, even only at age six, is quite competent getting around in the airport and doesn't seem stressed about it.

The first time she flew on a plane, she was only a few months old. In under a year, she's been on at least 16 flights.  By the time August rolls around, she'll add at minimum six more flights to that list. No wonder she was appalled by Junie B's behavior on her first flight.(Junie B. is a fictional character in a chapter book series.)

What did you think of the video?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Love - Blog Circle Post

This month, the blog circle group of amazing global, creative women, decided to write about love.

Love is all-encompassing.  Where to start? I wondered which part of the word should I tackle.  What type of love? Romantic? Familial? Platonic? The passionate love of your creative process? Not easy, really.  I settled on sharing with you some of my favorite quotes and poems about love.

See, I love poetry. I adore it. Pablo Neruda is one of my ultimate favorites; I could read the following poem daily (Poem 14 from 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair)

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.
You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind. The wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.
You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.
Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,
dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
Translated by W. S. Merwin

My favorite lines? "I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees." And "I go so far as to think that you own the universe. I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses."  And "I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth." And "Everyday you play with the light of the universe." (Gasp. Actually. I can't gasp. I'm too busy holding my breath.) And "Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?  Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed." 

Seriously? Swoon doesn't even come close to covering it. I want to jump into the words and lay there. Imagine someone feeling that way about you...

 "Love is my religion." - Ziggy Marley

 "...every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thought there are: A THOUGHT OF LOVE OR A THOUGHT OF FEAR." - Neale Donald Walsch

 "In your light, I learn how to love.  In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” - Rumi

Rumi knew it: love is art. Art, poetry, words, beauty are all expressions of love. Whether you're sharing your love with another or your expressing your love of the words/beauty/images within you...expressing love to such a degree that others respond to it, feel it. React. That's art. That's love.

What are some of your favorite quotes about love? 

Please join in with our blog circle and travel over to Amy Riddle's beautiful, inspiring blog. I invite you to get a nice cup of tea or coffee, sit down, and read through the other beautiful blog posts about love. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Big Announcements!

Big announcement time! 

First: arriving in April, I will launch a new e-book called "Moving to Myanmar." 

Its purpose is to serve as a stepping-stone for the information-deprived expat about to move to Myanmar.  The book is jammed packed with resources about what to expect when moving here, including top-tips from current Myanmar expats and local Myanmar people.  As we know, it’s still difficult for prospective residents to get information about Yangon. There’s relatively little available online. 

The book will not replace any of the fabulous guide books already out there on Myanmar, nor will it replace the go-to guide for the already arrived expat, The Golden Guide. It’s a simple book to help people know where they can access all the information they need while I walk them through the “mentally preparing to move” stage, continuing on to the first six-12 months of living here. 

At the end of each chapter, there are self-helpy type exercises to help expats process their present experience: the aim is to create strategies for dealing with all that is involved when moving abroad.  But really, the book is all about letting people know they are not alone.

I'm excited about the launch of the book and am grateful for the many individuals who have already participated to help make it possible. 

My second announcement is that I will soon offer a newsletter that you can sign-up for. When you sign-up there will be some fun little goodies for you...and if you're super nice, maybe even some excerpts from the forthcoming e-book.  The goodies are especially for expats and I cannot express how excited I am for you to see them. They are lovely and beautiful. I have the talented Jane Bell Lassiter from Virgina, USA to thank for her gorgeous design. That's all I'm saying for now!

Thank for all of your support. :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Moving? Insure Your Belongings

You may remember the post I wrote in August about the warehouse fire that destroyed all of our belongings we left in a storage unit. The fire occurred six months after we placed our most prized possessions in the unit.

This week, the Husband and I have been going through all of the items lost, trying to place a value on them. Doing research online to dig up the cost of many of these items is difficult from Yangon. Internet connection is slow, making the process tedious. 

It has also been difficult and sad to recount and actually list each of the lost items. As I sat at 50th Street this week trying to access internet (the connection was awful!), I often had to hold back tears. I didn't want to make the list. It was hard enough to write X number of photo albums, but then to actually document which albums they were was sad There was the pregnancy journal, and my daughter's Baby Book. My baby book. Family heirlooms.

We've been slow to document all of this for the storage company's insurance claim. Sadly and frustratingly, we did not insure our storage items, even though we left the possessions most special to us there. We would've had to pay out-of-pocket for the insurance and we thought it was safe. We thought the biggest risk was our air shipment or our ship container. So we insured that instead.

Calcuating the actual cost of our personal effects - almost $20,000 worth - infuriated me. I wished we had taken a moment to sit down and calculate the worth before we decided to not insure them. We wish we would've put some of the things in my mother's house. We wish we would've shipped them here.

Of course, we couldn't have predicted what would have happened and we also know we're lucky that no one was hurt in the fire. We're aware that others lose their homes in fires. We were lucky. And sometimes I feel like a brat, like I don't have a right to complain.

But it sucks.

And I'm writing this to all of you who are in the process of moving: insure ALL of your belongings. Insure your air shipment. Insure your ship container. Insure your storage items. If you're in a rental house, get rental insurance. You never know what will happen and it's better to be safe.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dreaming of a Writing Studio

In the e-course I’m taking, Creative Courage by StephanieLevy, students were asked to create a dream jar. A wish jar. Or even a box. The idea is to write down all of your dreams and hopes for the future then place them somewhere special. No dream or hope is too big, too extravagant; in fact, the bigger, the more extravagant the dream, the better.

To help me get started, I used the dream generator questions from Andrea Scher’s Mondo Beyondo course. I haven’t taken that e-course, but by signing-up for her newsletter, freebies were given…including the dream generator questions. The other day, I filled out the questions and placed them in a glass jar: my new dream jar.

One of my biggest dreams – a dream I have a long yearning for – is to have my very own writing/art studio/cottage.  I imagine the cottage is in my backyard and has a teensy front porch, just big enough to place a few pots of flowers on.  There’s an awning where I hang my beloved, well-traveled wind chimes. The wooden flower boxes hanging below large windows make me smile.

Inside, the cottage is open-spaced, but with designated areas.  To the far right is my art area where there’s a sink and counter space for cleaning and storing art supplies but also the electric tea kettle, tea, coffee, and my favorite mugs. The little mini-fridge holds my lunch and snacks.  A craft table, storage unit with drawers and a cupboard, and easel dominate the space.

In the middle of the room there’s beautiful electric fireplace, creamy chaise lounge, and small, plush loveseat beside a comfy, large chair. A few lamps and side tables along with a grounding rug make the area perfect for relaxing, drinking tea, and writing poetry. (I usually lay down when I write poetry.) Built-in, low bookcases and windows provide a view while facing the cozy fireplace.

To the left of the front door is my long, white writing table. I don’t need lots of drawers, but some are good. The table has storage space on top and I can roll myself to the different sides, housing my projects, on my chair.

The cottage/studio has white walls and lots of natural light. It’s heated and has a restroom so I don’t have to trudge through the snow back into the house on cold, wintery days. There is A/C for the dry, hot summer. 

The cottage is my work space, my office, my sanctuary. And having one would be something I’d ask a fairy godmother. If I were really going all out, I’d even ask the fairy godmother to throw in a big bathtub; but then, maybe my family wouldn’t ever catch sight of me if that wish were granted.

If you’re interested in what my ideas of a dream writing studio/cottage look like, you can check out my Pinterest board here.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting Over Overwhelm

Last week I told you about how I'd been feeling overwhelmed, run-down, and tantrum-prone.

I asked you - and my Facebook community - how they handle projects and what they do to take care of themselves to help avoid nasty overwhelm. 

It seemed many people were experiencing similar feelings and had also been getting sick after lots of stress. Could it be the change in the seasons? That we push ourselves hard in the new year after having holidays, then we find we have little left to give? I don't have the answer, but I did think it was interesting that many people in my circle were feeling overwhelmed, too.

Several friends offered lots of advice and every bit of it was useful, validating, and soothing.

Some of the wisdom that others passed on to me:

  • Finish one project before taking on another (Lisa Rivas)
  • Learning to say no to things and letting a few items off your to-do list go when you can (Taproot Studio)
  • Create daily rituals for self-care, even if it's just having a cup of tea on the porch (August Wren)
  • Slow down and try to find the right balance for your own life (Suzanne McRae)
  • Start the day centering yourself on your intentions while trying to remember that you're working towards goals for two reasons: immediate output and for 'big picture' reasons (which are the reasons, the purpose behind your work). (Alma Art)

Taking on the advice of such wise women, I decided to let things go and just do the best I could with how I was feeling.

Recovering from being sick, I rested. I watched a lot of Downtown Abbey and Grey's Anatomy.   Sometimes I even watched dvds on my laptop while lying in bed. It was great.

By the end of the week, I was feeling much better and was ready to organize my projects into more detail.  I found lots of cute, free, daily and weekly schedules and printed some off.

I decided to organize my week days according to projects. Some of the work I'm doing does need to happen simuletaneously, so I've split up the days of the week to focus on specific projects.

Thursdays have been my creative, free day where I don't schedule meetings and I spend time alone. This hasn't always worked out and there have been plenty of times I've used my Thursdays to work on my projects instead of letting them be.  I want to be more protective of this day.

My intention is to only do creative things on Thursdays that don't have any bearing on big to-do project lists. It's just for me. To paint. Or do creative writing. No blogging. No course work.  No meetings. Just whatever I feel I need to do to take care of myself that day.  Last Thursday, I did exactly that. I painted. I wrote. And I felt very happy.

I hope this helps some of you if you've been feeling overwhelmed, too.