A couple additions

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Just thought I would point out a few new things on my website that can be found just over there on the sidebar –>

The first is a section I’m calling “Thoughts On…”. I just finished writing my thoughts about China, and I’m hoping to finish my thoughts about Thailand, India, Portland, Tennessee, and Europe sometime soon. The reason I’m adding this section is that I’m often asked “Why did you decide to move to _____?” Or, “Why did you go ____?” In Portland, my short answer was, “I moved here because I wanted to walk to work.” In China, it’s “I want to see the country now because it’s going to be completely different in 20 years.” These answers are completely honest, but there’s more to it than that.

The second section is called “City Guides”, and it’s just that. Guides to Cities. Each guide will be a list of places (parks, restaurants, shops, streets, markets, etc.) I frequent in the city that I live as well as links to blog posts I’ve written and websites for the venue if one exists. I’ve started with Shanghai because it’s the freshest in my mind, and I will continue to update it. Eventually, I hope to do Chiang Mai and Portland as well. My goal is to show you the spots that are still exciting to me after living here for a while because that’s what we’re all looking for, right? The places that are tried and true that you might not find in guidebooks and aren’t overrun with tourists.

I hope that someone somewhere finds these useful, and if you do, please let me know! If you think they’re crap, you can tell me that too….just make sure you tell me what’s crap about it so I can make it better. Enjoy!!

Head in the Clouds

Friday, May 29th, 2009
A huge balloon floats above the crowds at today's Dragon Boat Festival

A huge balloon floats above the crowds at today's Dragon Boat Festival

My head is in the clouds, and these are the things I’m thinking about.


My mother has always told me that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I wanted to live alone in a completely different area of America than the place I grew up, and I did. I want to travel the world, and I am. I want to become an architect, and I am well on my way. These are the big decisions that I have made so far, and I know another big one is just around the corner.


It has been exactly 1 year today since I left my job in Portland to travel in Asia, and at the time I never imagined I would be away from architecture for more than eight months. I figured that after Thailand, I would have a job at an office in whatever city we chose to move. Now it looks like I’ll be away from it for at least a year and a half, and I really hope that this won’t hurt my career. I fear that I won’t be able to get back into it, but at the same time I have been able to learn about Shanghai and myself in a way I never could have if I had a full time job. I know that this will all work to my advantage in the long run, but I’ve had a hard time seeing it that way lately.


Pending any unknown changes with Nik’s work, we have decided that we will be home by Thanksgiving. While Shanghai has been a great place to live for the past three months, I don’t think it’s a place we want to stay long term. I long to live in a San Francisco apartment with a bay window and hard wood floors that I am responsible for cleaning (ever since we arrived in Chiang Mai last June we have lived in “serviced” apartments). I want to want to go out of my apartment every day the way I did in Portland. In Shanghai, I can spend the entire day inside and not feel like I’m missing anything. I don’t like that feeling.

I also can’t wait to have a holiday season at home with my parents and siblings. Last year we were traveling through China, and I couldn’t believe how much I missed it. It’s barely summer, and I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving Dinner…is that a bad thing?


I have found a ceramics studio in Shanghai!!! It’s the Pottery Workshop and I’m going to start taking classes this week. I can’t wait, and I might even try to go to the Jingdezhen (THE pottery city of China) studio for a few weeks in July. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself quite yet.


I’ve been teaching nearly every day for the past few weeks and I love it. There is a long-term substitue position opening up this fall that I have applied for and I really really hope I get it. I know I am not the most qualified applicant because I don’t have a teaching degree, but it is geometry….and as we all know, architects are generally good at geometry! Wish me luck.



Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Recently, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what is next. Here’s what I’m thinking….

1. I will work on my website so that it truly reflects who I am, personally and professionally. So far, it has been a travel blog with lots of pretty pictures and a few good stories. My personality does come through after reading/looking at several posts, but if I want this to be a tool for my career and my future, I need it to be more immediate.

2. I will do a significant project on my own. I have been saying I would do an architectural competition for over a year now and I need to actually do it, or something like it. I need to get the creative juices flowing again, and I need projects like this to strengthen my portfolio so that I can accomplish #3.

3. I will work in an architecture office whose work and mission I admire. It will be a firm that I want to grow with and be an integral part of.

4. I will save money. Living life out of two bags and no paycheck for nearly a year has taught me that I don’t need very much stuff or money to be happy. Therefor, once #3 is under way, I should be able to save a much higher percentage of that income than I previously thought possible.

5. I will become a master of a craft. Ever since I took a ceramics class my last year of college, I have been fascinated with what my two hands could create. Since then, I haven’t touched clay because I told myself I didn’t have enough time or didn’t have enough money to invest in a class at the local studios. Instead I taught myself how to knit and sew in the comfort of my home. Eventually, I will go back to the potter’s wheel and I will try working with wood. It has already led me on a path of making things for myself rather than depending on others, and who knows, perhaps others will want me to make things for them too.

6. I will own my own business. Right now, I want to own a bed & breakfast. If I do it right, it will be located in an amazing place that I want to be forever, I will be able to use my interest in craft and background in architecture to make the b&b unique, and I will fulfill my passion of travel vicariously through others. I have also dreamed of owning my own hardware store that won’t be your run-of-the-mill Ace, but it also won’t be as hoity-toity as Restoration. It will be a neighborhood hardware store with a modern twist where you can buy the basics while having the personal attention that you might find at your local knitting shop or used bookstore. I also talked with a friend one night over drinks about opening a design bookstore. It was a fleeting moment, but I still think it would be amazing.

All of this is exciting. I don’t know when any of it will happen, and I’m sure that over time, some of it will change. But as of today, April 18, 2009, these are my personal goals.

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