A – Australian Vacation

In 15 days I leave for my first vacation in 10 years. My first real vacation. I have been on

long weekend trips, business trips with two days of leisure,scouting trips, inquiry trips, business interview trips, and hosting trips, but no real vacation since going to Hawai in 2002.

You might think that since I live in China, it would feel like I have been on one long vacations for the last 5 years, but it really doesn’t.I actually relocated to China just like as if I was in the states and my company relocated me to Illinois from Texas. Longer trip though. Thank God for relocation benefits.

I have a Chinese work permit. I get up every morning and drive to work, just like anyone else in the world. I just do it in China.

Now, I do live in a hotel room at a golf resort and I work in the golf business and yeah, that sounds like a vacation, but let me tell you. It is not.
I pay monthly rent at the hotel. I don’t have to pay for any other utilities, thought. That is kind of nice.
I have to do my laundry just like anyone else. Ok, I pay a lady to do my laundry. But, I have to fix my own meals. That is when I don’t feel like eating at one of the 6 restaurants at the resort.
Oh, and did I mention,  I drive a golf cart to work, not a car. But, I swear in no way does it feel like I am on vacation.

Now, I did travel around China a bit back in October of last year. Actually for 10 days. I went to Hong Kong and Beijing. I saw all the tourist attractions in China such as the Peak and the Big Budda (2nd favorite place on earth) and the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall.  But, that was with my mom and my brother.  I felt like I was more of tour guide then a tourist myself.  And, I didn’t go to another country, so it doesn’t count.  

Australia, now that is a real vacation. New Country, new culture, new experiences and I get to do what every I want to do.  I can’t wait.

If you live in Sydney Australia or have been recently,  let me know what I must see and do!

Bizarro by Dan Piraro

How cool is that?

 What do you you even call such a place?

One of my all time favorite ways to waste an afternoon is to wander around a book store.  I walk up and down the aisle of books with no idea what I am looking for.  I read titles.  I read the back cover. I look at the book cover art and without fail, I always find something thats interesting and something that I have never seen or heard of before.  No matter if it is the small independent book store in my college town or the mega book stores in every mall(you know who you are), I always find something that I just have to read.  I usually stick to certain sections such as brit chic lit, crimes/cops/PI stuff, and the travel section.  Occasionally, I wander into the cooking or biography section.  But, it never failed, there are always books that I have to buy; way beyond my budget and my book shelf space.
Before I moved to China this was a weekly ritual.  Now,  I am only able to partake in this activity when I am home for a visit.  Chinese books stores are nice, but hard to understand. (Note – I don’t speak Chinese).

I think I would be really disappointed if I came back to America and they were all gone.  My comfort, my source, my sanctuary, my inspiration, my book store.

Journey to Tattoo #6

Why in the world do I do this to myself?  Why do I have this urge? Why can’t I be satisfied with just one or two or even three?  Why can’t I just say no more? Why can’t I stop?

Why, oh why must I get another tattoo? 

I have 5 already.

#1 When I got my first one, I had thought and obsessed over it for over 3 years before taking the plunge.  I think the only reason I graduated from college is so I could get a tattoo to commemorate the occasion. Back then, it had to be about something special.

#2 And the second one, well, again it was necessary. I just graduated from law school.  That was a huge accomplishment. It needed to be celebrated.   It was a story that had to be immortalized in ink, permanently on my skin.

#3 Number three was inevitable. You can’t pick up your whole life and move to Asia and not mark that milestone in your life with just photos and memories.  No way, I had to cement that type of life altering occasion by permanently altering my skin.  And, chinese inspired tattoos are so cool.

#4 Then there was number four which doesn’t really count as a new tattoo because it was a re-do of number 2.  And, since he had the needles out anyway, he might as well add to it.  I had him add a flower or 4; a Lotus, a Cherry Blossoms, an Iris, and a Sunflower.

And, flowers are pretty and have meaning, not necessarily to me, but to someone.  No, wait, I have seen flowers in my life.  Let me think about this for a minute.  Ok. Um, well, I don’t know, but I will figure it out later.  And the stars, oh yeah, the stars?  When I told my tattoo artist to add stars, he said. “How many?”

“13.”  No hesitation, “13” Why 13?  I have no idea.  13 is a good number I guess. Well, not really, but regardless, I got 13 stars.

Ok, the flowers  represent places I have lived in my life.

Cherry blossoms remind me of the Cherry Blossoms that grew every April in DC where I lived for four years.

Never mind that I never once saw them or went to the Cherry Blossom Festival.  But, they also represents Tokyo, Japan, which is my absolute favorite place in the world.

But, I got that tattoo long before I even ever went to Tokyo, but hindsight still counts, right?

The iris represents my favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh and spending two summers in London.  I fell in love with Van Gogh in London.  I would stare at his paintings in the museums there all the time.  I read and studied about his life.  I saw a play about the time he spent in England and I went to the house where he lived in Brighton.

But the Irises in a Field painting which is my favorite, I didn’t actually see that painting in London.  I saw that painting in New York.  Well, that counts too, I spent a lot of time in New York and it was my favorite place on earth before I went to Tokyo, so that still works.

The lotus represents my time in China.  Oh, yeah, thats easy and that’s a g good one.

Ok, and finally the sunflower.  I had sunflowers on my wallpaper in my childhood bedroom.  Yeah, really big, pretty white sunflowers.

Or where those daisies? Well, anyway, the sunflowers were a painting by Van Gogh that I love as well, so it still fits the formula.

And the stars. What could the stars represent?  What have I done 13 times in my life?  Um, well I have kissed 13 boys (don’t really want to commemorate that); I have had sex with 13 . . . ish people.  Yeah, no, that won’t work.

Wait, I know.  How many countries have I been to?  Let’s see.

Mexico is one; London is two, Paris three, Norway, Sweden, Finland, four, five and six.  Russia seven.  Oh, that trip to Russia.  What a crazy trip that was.  That deserves a tattoo all on its own.  Wait. Stop. Focus.

Eight is Denmark.  That concludes that trip.  This might work out ok.  Let’s get to the Asian years.

China is nine, Vietnam is ten.  Singapore is eleven, Hong Kong twelve.

Great, this is going to work.  Just one more.  What is one more country I have been too?  Does the Amsterdam airport count?  No. Ok, there has got to be one more.

Oh wait, duh.  America.  I have been to America.  I am American so it stands to reason that I have been to America.  Whew!  Ok, great. Now 13 stars represent the countries I have been to in my lifetime.

*Can’t count Tokyo yet, because at that time I still hadn’t made it to Tokyo.  My favorite part of this rationalization.  I visit more countries; I can get more star tattoos.  Brilliant!

#5 & 5 1/2 Number 5 and 5 ½ began as an impulse buy that didn’t turn out so good, but was reworked into something new that I have learned to appreciate.

Stand to reason that the one time I do make a snap decision about getting a tattoo, it turns out bad.  What makes this even more of an issue is that it is the most visible of my tattoos.   It was the first tattoo that I got just for the sake of getting a tattoo.  An image struck. So, heck, why the hell not.  *Note to self and others, do not impulse buy a tattoo.  Lesson learned.

Number six. I am on my way to get number six right now.  I have the image and the meaning. I have researched the artist and I have a great reason to get it.

Because I love tattoos!

It is that simple I am a tattoo lover and I will always be getting tattoos.  I will get this on and while under the needle for this one I will be planning the next one. I will get them for this occasion or that occasion or no occasion at all.

For me, I have discovered that the best reason to get a tattoo is because I love the art of tattoos.  The creativity, skills, the knowledge, practice, dedication and hard work it takes for a tattoo artist to be good is something that I admire.   Tattoos are an art form created by real artist that express the desires of their clients in a collaborative artistic expression of permanence.

Wow, that’s beautiful, maybe I should get that tattooed on me.  Can you say number seven?

Why do you get tattoos?  I would love to hear your stories.



Crazy Stuff in China

I know this is an on going theme in my blog and if you have only visited China or only heard about it,  you probably still don’t quite understand why these incidents are so amusing to me and my friends who live here.  But, trust me when I say that I have never laughed my ass off over so many situations as I have in China.  The latest happened just 5 minutes ago.  My boss/friend and I were leaving dinner and stopped at this little boutique next door to the restaurant.  We were looking at some pendants and rings and boss/friend sat her computer down to take a closer look.  We didn’t buy anything.  So, we proceeded to exit the store and walk over to our hotel a good 5 minute walk up two flights of stairs.  

We are opening the door to go into the hotel and we hear this guy yelling at us in Chinese, “Miss, Miss, your computer, Miss.”   Oh, ok. boss/friend forgot her computer.  No problem, thanks for letting us know.  Thanks for bringing it . . . 

He didn’t bring it.  He ran 5 minutes, after us, up two flights of stairs,  to just tell us that she forgot her computer.  He didn’t bring the computer. I couldn’t believe it.  He didn’t bring us the computer, he just ran all the way over here to tell us we left it.  Is that not insane.  Why waste all that energy and yelling at us like a banshee and not even have the computer to give to us.  Am I going crazy here? Am I missing something?  Are they missing something?  

Unbelievably! We had to walk all the way back to the store, down two flights of stairs and then back to the store, with the guy.  He actually started asking us questions like, “So, how long you been in China?”  OMG!  Boss/friend was pissed but we were laughing our asses off the whole time.  

There is just some things about living here that just can’t be explained sometimes.  


Just Another Night in Southern China

It is 10:39 pm on February 17, 2012, what are you doing?

Let me tell you what I am doing.  I am sitting on my bed, watching season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance.

Now I know you are are probably thinking, what are you doing in Southern China. Well, this is were I work.

Why are you sitting on your bed watching TV.  I happen to live in a hotel and don’t have any other other furniture to sit on.

But, why do you live in a hotel? Because I live at a golf resort.

But the most important question you are asking yourself is why is she watching season 8 of SYTYCD.  Well, because it is my favorite show.

But no, why season 8. Because I already say season 7.  Duh! But, season 8. It aired over 6 months ago.  Why are you watching season 8.  Well, I live in China remember.

I have lived here for 4 1/2 years.  So, I don’t know what happen on season 8, yet.  I know you are probably asking yourself now, what doesn’t she just look up the winner online.  She obviously has internet access and she is pretty internet literate.  I mean, she writes this wonderful blog for God sakes.  Look up the winner already.

Well, don’t take my joy away from me.  I am going to stay up until midnight every Friday and enjoy the very few pleasures I am still able to enjoy while still living in this amazingly strange foreign place.

Living in China really isn’t all that hard.  I live in a very westernized place. Westernized with a very thick Chinese accent.  The food is edible, not good mind you, but edible.  The people are nice. Frustrating to deal with a lot of the times, but nice.  My employees do some very strange things at times and I am talking about the American’s as well as the Chinese.  But, business is going well.  And, my job, well . . .  did I mention the people are nice.

But, when things get frustrating and I miss home, what keeps me sane is these little nuggets of normalcy and for me that’s watching my favorite show every week, no matter how late I have to wake up.

I have several stories on this blog about my adventures in China.  I really would not have made it this long with out being able to share them with you. So, check them out under the China Category.  Some of the stories are good, some of them are bad.  All are amazing in the following sense:

1. This stuff would never happen in America and 2.  I am pretty creative, but no way could I have made this stuff up.

Enjoy them and if you care about my sanity even a little bit for the love of God, please don’t tell me who won Season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance!