Friday, June 24, 2011

Alternate Life?

Yesterday a former colleague I worked with as a teacher at a bilingual school in Bangkok confirmed me as her friend on Facebook.

She was another English teacher, an American just a few years younger than me, who had come from Vietnam to teach in Thailand.

Ended up she didn't like teaching at that particular school very much (spoiled kids) and her long-term European boyfriend couldn't get work, so she finished her contract and moved back to Vietnam with him.

On my side, I had a baby and then moved back to the USA with my little family. I haven't seen or heard from her since.

But I looked her up the other day on FaceBook and she's been living in Vietnam the whole time, teaching English, getting her advanced degree to further her opportunities. So that's what - 5 or 6 years in Vietnam?

Now she's moving with her partner to Bangladesh to teach in Dakha.

Wow, what a life. It would have been mine, you know.

Before meeting Golf I was planning on moving to a different country to teach English. I would have gone to at least a few more countries for the experience, excitement and to move out of my comfort zone.

So after contacting her, I reflected on what her life must be like and what my alternate life would have been like had I not met Golf and gotten married.

I had fun doing it because I'm GRATEFUL for how my life has turned out today, but still like to imagine if things had been different. And now I can follow her around on FaceBook and watch how this new chapter in her life unfolds. How exciting!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Out of the Hole & New Articles

I am on top of the world!
It looks like the "Google hole" I fell into in mid-April is no more. As of Friday, my traffic has bounced back to April levels and I couldn't be more thrilled. I feel like I can get on with my career now and focus on continued delivery of optimum-quality information for moms looking for strollers.

This entire experience, while it sucked, was very good for me and my handling of fear and anxiety. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you have the choice to panic and flounder or command the aspects of your business and your life that you DO have control over. It was a great life lesson, but at the same time, I am very glad it's over with.

Some New Articles
And now I'd like to direct you to a couple of new articles I've written! I really love writing for others, and here we go.

First, if you're coming out my way and would like to visit SF, then you must see San Francisco, A Great Family Destination over at Atlas Travel - they've got great deals and are recommended to help you plan your next vacation.

Lastly, if you're a mom in the market for an umbrella stroller and you're considering a Maclaren, you might not be sure about this product after the recent hinge recall. Find out what happened, what parents think about Maclaren strollers now and get a breakdown of all the models when you read Maclaren Going Forward over on Shopaholic Mommy.

Have a great week, everybody!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Still on my Green Smoothies and other updates

So it's been half a year now and I am still on my green smoothie diet. Many who are proponents suggest drinking a quart per day, but I just can't manage that into my lifestyle at the moment. Instead I drink about a pint per day or one large glass of it in the morning.

I've gotten more efficient at preparing the greens, although I still go for the same ones: spinach, collards, kale, red chard and green chard. I tend to buy two kinds per trip, a combination of a bitter, thick green with a smooth mild green. Example: this week I'm mixing collards with green chard.

Mixing it up to make it more palatable is the fruit. I totally love mangoes and you can get them cheap n frozen at Trader Joe's. I've also simply bought what's on sale, like this week it was peaches. Mango and peach taste great together!

Anyway, I've been quite proud that I've been able to maintain this new eating habit and there's just nothing like fresh fruit and raw vegetables first thing in the morning to give you lots of energy.

Thai School
This week Aidan started Thai school at the temple in Berkeley. He goes Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM til 2 PM. He's one of the only kids who utters a word of Thai to his teachers who are teaching students spending a year in the USA. It certainly helps that Golf refuses to speak to him unless it is in Thai - it has made a HUGE difference. The teachers rave about Aidan's Thai language and it certainly makes us proud!

The boy who was a bully last year has returned, much to our disappointment. But the teachers this year are more structured and more strict with the kids, plus we warned them about the bully and how he behaved last year. Today was the first report Aidan had that the bully's true colors finally showed. Took only 3 days! Aidan knows how to defend himself now and and knows to tell a teacher immediately if he is being bullied. He didn't seem upset by it when he came home today, so I feel alright about it.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Making Myself Rich

About two or three months ago I was listening to The Dave Ramsey Show on the radio when Dave began the segment by interviewing a man he called his "brother of a different mother" because he connected so much. This man is named Tim Sanders and they talked about his new book called Today We are Rich. 

The focus of the book is developing total confidence in your life, which in turn, gives your life meaning and purpose. This is the recipe for a rich life. Not to mention it helps bolster your financial prospects.

Many aspects of the Today We Are Rich are practices that I already engage in on a regular basis. Some I did now and then but do more regularly now, like verbalizing aloud my intentions, requests for guidance and my gratitude. I get the opportunity to do that almost every morning along a quiet beach with a gorgeous view of San Francisco in the distance. WOW.

But there was one lesson in Today We Are Rich that took me by surprise and deeply affected me.  I would like to share that with you.

The most profound  takeaway from the book was toward the end, where Mr. Sanders dissected the difference between following your passion and following your purpose. Oh if only I had access to this advice15 years ago!!! I'd be a different person by now, but better late than never.

What is the difference between your passion and your purpose? Your passion is self centered while your purpose is your service to others. Sanders says that when you blindly pursue your passion you end up drifting aimlessly doing what you want to do instead of doing what you need to do to contribute to society.

Oh my gosh, this is so much my life because it wasn't until I moved away to Thailand in my early 30s that my life had any purpose and meaning. I chose to live abroad and teach so that I could make a difference to children and help them with one of the most important parts of life, their education. I also needed to take myself out of my familiar environment to heal emotionally.

It wasn't until I had a life of purpose that the things I wanted in life finally happened. I found love, got married and became a mother.

In my early and mid twenties, my life was all about partying. I was completely hedonistic; I lived for fun. It set the course of my life - self gratification.

Then I had been a dissatisfied drifter, deeply unhappy with unsatisfying relationships and vocations that  were just jobs. I was still living for the weekend and work was drudgery. I totally reaped what I sowed because I followed my passions, which back then was educating myself on topics Art Bell would talk about on Coast to Coast, namely UFOs and extraterrestrial life. It consumed me! And it is still interesting, though not worth so much of my invested time.

Then I got hit by the travel bug in my late 20s and early 30s and my life was focused on being adventurous by following my passion for travel. I was always looking outward, never thinking that looking inward and finding meaning in all of this would end all this seeking.

Now a decade later, I have finally matured and feel spiritually centered. In that time I have discovered  meaning after my first few years being a new mom and redefining my sense of self yet again. It has not been an easy road to take, and this is a huge lesson I plan on teaching my son so that he hopefully will find his way sooner than me. It certainly avoids much suffering!

So the bottom line that Tim Sanders makes in his book is to follow your purpose instead of pursuing your passion. Enjoy your passion because it makes you feel good and it's a fun play time. But in the end it is only self-gratification.

You might want to read Today We Are Rich as well, so that you can find a takeaway in your life that really makes a big difference and helps you achieve the power of total confidence.