Lessons Learned – As of Late

Replacing the formulaic response of sorry with thank you in most situations does wonders for interpersonal relationships.

It’s more than okay to say no, and remembering this will ensure less anxiety.

Coldplay, with every new album and song, still gets me.

Continue to care less and less about gaining acceptance.

Don’t ever give up.

“Getting it together” takes time. Chiseling at the “it,” bit by bit.

Not sticking to my editorial calendar hurts no one but me.

Avoid using 微博 for movie-watching inspiration, instead rely on thorough research, recommendations, and the power of a Google search.

Getting wrapped up in politics, gossip, material wealth, and situations beyond one’s control only hinder personal growth.

Positive intent, it’s all about assuming positive intent. Negativity feeds insolence.

Listen to more podcasts; the delightful assortment I’m plugging into includes Popup Chinese’s Sinica, The China History Podcast, and Mortified.

According to one of the more horrid “films” I watched for ten minutes,  I am attracting all that comes our way, including the windshield cracking of its own accord on Thursday, and winning ipenstore’s paws fountain pen giveaway last month.

Watching classic films will never lead you astray in terms of delighting you with its cinematic experience.

Accept what comes, deal with it, and then let it go.

And, Happy last night of Hanukkah to those who celebrate. Happy Holidays to all!


Guest Posting

In case you missed my second attempt at guest posting over at Jocelyn’s Speaking of China, where I disclose advice on repatriation:

Staying connected to China, however you see fit. I read Chinese several times a week, picking up children’s books, written in Chinese, from the public library. The librarian bequeathed a stack of books to me, saying the library had no room or real need for them. Among them was Eric CarIe’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a children’s story I had a copy of and had my sister purchased for one of my nephews. I also read literature by Chinese authors, in translation of course, or books, fiction and nonfiction alike, interweaving China into their narratives. Keeping up with your spoken Chinese, even if, like me, you are merely conversational, proves as yet another way to stay connected. Talk to your in-laws, even if saying hello, how are you, and wishing them good health is all you can muster. Nag your husband to keep in touch with his family, friends, and acquaintances; it is easy and free to connect on WeChat. Watch Chinese films and TV shows together (we fawned over Jia Zhangke films and Hunan TV’s 爸爸去哪儿第三季…kudos to readers who uncover why 😉 ), partake in Chinese chess 象棋, mahjong 麻将, and Chinese card games. Find your area’s most authentic Chinese restaurant, frequent it, making sure to use the visit as a chance to practice Chinese with people other than your spouse.

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26 Lessons I Learned While Being 26

As the sun sets on my 26th year, I recall how this year in particular was filled with lessons.

The First Five Months: Photos

Sunset at Xiangji Temple on the outskirts of Xi’an, 2010.

You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t every?” But something about 26 was particularly teaching. It was messy, freeing, scary, and slightly fun. And above all, it was loving.

I grew, with pains, and a new perspective. I laughed, cried hard and wondered, wandered far too often.

So my birthday gift to myself is one to you. May you learn from my lessons, remember you are not alone, and follow the worst advice ever: It is all going to work out.

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