Friday, January 30, 2009

holding hands


there's a man who holds my hand, when we're at the movies. when he rests his head on my shoulder - i feel stronger than any celluloid hero has ever been.

even in my weakest moments, when the shadows of my mind threaten to swallow me whole - his touch brings me back and all anxiety disappears.

could it be that i have found True Love's fabled Kiss?

i think so :0)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TAGG: 6th file of a 6th folder

Hey! It's the fourth day of Chinese New Year and things are going swell. I returned from my blitzkrieg visit to Taipei (the girls' pics should be up on Facebook soon - I left my camera at home this time) last night and am enjoying a slow day of domesticity.

In between bundles of laundry (I'm doing the bedding and will be trampling pillows in the tub shortly), I saw that I was tagged by Rambler over at "In the now." I love taggs...

Okay, it works like this:
1. navigate to where you keep your pictures, select the 6th folder, and the 6th picture in that folder.
2. Then post it on your blog with an explanation of the story behind the picture
3. tag 6 other people to do the same, and make sure you let them know about it.

And here's my contribution:
*lol* It's a picture of me and my Rabbit class, playing in the public park opposite the kindergarten. Doris (the real grown-up in our group and my partner in caring for these kids) can be seen coming around on the left hand side. It was a lovely, sunny day and the kids had behaved very well in class all day. As a reward, playtime was an adventure of slides and jungle-gyms outside the school property.

(Photo taken by Iris, a third member of staff who volunteered to help us keep an eye on the Rabbits.)

Hehe - what can I say other than: I love these kids!

Right, so on to tagging 6 of you:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

walking on sunshine

having posted the list of tips to a better life - i decided to really implement them for a change. not just in a "nice thought" kind of way - as i usually "implement" so much of the wisdom that i stumble across.

so let's look at what i'm already doing - and where i can improve:
1. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.

i walk more than i used to in SA, and most stints last about 10 minutes *lol* Okay, sometimes 7 minutes. but i always smile - it keeps the locals happy to see the teacher smiling ;0) i think i'll push the average up to close to 30 - as i'm always filled with an enormous sense of well-being after smiling at the world whilst wandering about.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

this is not difficult for me to do - some would argue that it's too easy for me sometimes. but especially since i started teaching, taking 10 minute breaks in silence has become a necessity for sanity.

3. Sleep for 7 hours.

admittedly i usually get about 8 hours of sleep per night - when i'm not soaring or plummeting the extremes of my bipolar nature, that is. perhaps i should shave them to 7 and see what happens?

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

i've got Empathy down pat. will have to work on the Enthusiasm, which will surely sort the Energy out too.

5. Play more games.

hmm... honestly, outside of school i don't play any games. i should start. i do have a deck of cards here somewhere...

6. Read more books than you did the previous year.

way ahead here! just bought a new Paulo Coelho on sunday :0)

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

meditation and prayer are pretty much one and the same thing for me - and part of every moment of my life. yoga... erm... problem is finding an instructor that speaks English. cool - i'll make this one (or Tai Chi) a priority for summer.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.

i teach kindergarten ;0) getting into the over 70 crowd will require serious improvement in my Chinese ability.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

no problem there - doing it all the time.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

doing famously since moving here! daily fruit intake has gone up by 100% and dinner is always rice-based *lol*

11. Drink plenty of water.

getting there - though i still "substitute" with oolong tea...

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

okay, so my kids at kindergarten are easy. does it have to be three different people every day - or does my rice lady and the buxiban staff count?

13. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.

i'm sooo out of the loop anyway.

14. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.

difficult one - but i'm willing to keep working on it!

15. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

aha! here is one where i need to be more mindful of what i allow into my head-space. admittedly i still have some threads of nastiness i cling to - above and beyond the negative thoughts associated with bipolar depression.

16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

this very nearly captures the entirety of my personal philosophy on life.

17. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

right - so i currently have yogurt, rice rolls and tea for breakfast, big lunch at school and one portion of "chicken rice" with a "green egg" for dinner... looks like i'll have to up my breakfast and downgrade my dinner slightly ;0)

18. Smile and laugh more.

and more and more - every day. good idea, methinks.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.

no hating - gotcha!

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

i need to remind myself of this more often. maybe make a poster of it on my door?

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

this is so true - and something i try to implement whenever the situation arises. (note: "try")

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

part of my 12 step program too ;0)

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don't compare your partner with others.

i thank my Mom for teaching me this one when i was little!

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

in more ways than i care to admit!

25. Forgive everyone for everything.

a daily task i gladly take on.

26. What other people think of you is none of your business.

and i wish i could remember that more often than not!

27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

change is, after all, the one thing you can bet on ;0)

28. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

NB! NB! NB! i've been really awful at keeping in touch these last few months.

29. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

done *lol* welcome to expat living!

30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

another one for the poster on my door.

31. The best is yet to come.

i should have this as a screen saver on my mobile!

32. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

happy meds or no ;0)

33. Do the right thing!

even if it hurts.

34. Call your family often.

thank Heaven for Skype!

35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy.

worth reminding myself when Aunty Debra (Debbie Downer) pops 'round.

36. Each day give something good to others.

love and respect are the best - and they're free!

37. Don't over do. Keep your limits.

another one for the poster!

38. Share this with someone you care about ;0)

hehe - i blogged this, didn't i ;0)

love ya!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tips for a better life

1. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Sleep for 7 hours.

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

5. Play more games.

6. Read more books than you did the previous year.

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink plenty of water.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.

14. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.

15. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

17. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

18. Smile and laugh more.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don't compare your partner with others.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Forgive everyone for everything.

26. What other people think of you is none of your business.

27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

28. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

29. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

31. The best is yet to come.

32. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

33. Do the right thing!

34. Call your family often.

35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy.

36. Each day give something good to others.

37. Don't over do. Keep your limits.

38. Share this with someone you care about ;0)
Facebook | Nithya Shanti se foto’s - Tips for a better life

Kylie Minogue - I Believe In You (Full Ballad Version)

i really do

Friday, January 16, 2009

love is love

thanks Clive!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Luna's heartfire

tonight, the moon will be as close to us as she's going to get all year.
i took to the rooftops and snapped her up with my lens.
she's so bright!
ah love...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Paris je taime 14th arrondissement

J'adore ce court-métrage! C'est vraiment le meilleur de tout le film.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bang Bang (PSM remix, Kill Bill Trailer)

rapid cycling gets you

Ben, my colleague from Seattle, turned 37 on Sunday - so a bunch of us got together at Coast Café last night for dinner and celebrations. he really is a very cool guy - and i am very thankful for having him around! he's been a friend to me since my first day here. come to think of it, he's the closest thing i have to a "best" friend on the island :0)

anyway, dinner was a relaxed affair with the usual sharing of dishes, stories and language tips that make buxiban socializing fun. and then it happened - a very pronounced episode of dysphoric mania reached it's crescendo.

looking back, i can see that this episode has been building for a few days - but it was only when my Taiwanese colleagues started asking me if i'm alright that i realized what was going on... NOBODY gets THAT excited about a cup of coffee! i'm not sure i spotted all the symptoms that got them worried, but i realized i was:

- laughing randomly at myself
- jumping from one idea to another (not necessarily obviously related)
- giddy with excitement when my first (and only)refill (black coffee, no sugar) finally arrived and
- spouting totally random sentences at equally random intervals.

thankfully i recognized the situation and excused myself. i drove home carefully, as i was beginning to twitch - which can be dangerous on a scooter.

walking into my apartment i could feel the switch in my brain flip. i got in bed just in time to sob into my pillows. major high followed by major low.

symptom checklist:
  • period of heightened irritability followed by an excessively good mood;
  • pressured speech; rapid talking
  • decreased need for sleep and insomnia;
  • flight of ideas and the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
  • easily distracted / attention-deficit;
  • increase in psychomotor agitation;
  • unrestrained buying sprees (Ben got quite a gift bag *lol*);
  • feelings of hopelessness (especially with regards to my relationship);
  • unprovoked yet overwhelming sense of sadness and
  • thoughts of suicide (recognized as symptomatic and treated that way)

bipolar disorder is definitely not for sissies - and rapid cycling turns life into an extreme sport! hopefully the risperdal keeps things under control. there are only three weeks left of this semester - and we're preparing for oral tests! not exactly the best time to go nuts ;0)

Monday, January 05, 2009

reviewing 08

not knowing how to start posting again can be a serious pain in the ankle... thankfully, Clive posted this blog-meme that makes it a bit easier to get going again ;0)

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I moved to Taiwan, became a teacher, experienced my first typhoon, experienced my first earthquake, sang at karaoke bars, circumnavigated an island on a scooter and saw one of my t-shirt designs go into production via springleap.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
yup - celebrated 1 year of sobriety one week ago :0D

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Gretchen and Stefan welcomed baby Kasia into their lives, Meagan and Johan were also blessed with a bundle of joy, I believe.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
not this year, thankfully!

5. What countries did you visit?
Taiwan

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
certainty, where certainty is possible

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
6th of August... why? First date!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Definitely making it to the 1 year of sobriety mark.

9. What was your biggest failure?
trying to like smelly tofu... I just can't.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Man Flu!!! is there anything worse? lol - no, nothing significant.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
my scooter!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
my Mom! the way she faces everything that life throws at her is beyond inspirational!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
erm... keeping in mind that i'm bipolar - this one could go on for ever, or not even start.

14. Where did most of your money go?
debt

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Peter

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
every moment is filled with memories and music... which one popped up first when i read the question? Disturbia by Rihana

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
a) happier, for sure
b) thinner!!!
c) richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
spent time with friends.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
self-editing

20. How did you spend Christmas?
working all day and going to bed early.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
oh and how!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
didn't watch much TV

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
hate is way too strong a word. i try to either like people, or not have an opinion about them... but yes, unfortunately there is a person who elicits negative emotions from me.

24. What was the best book you read?
i didn't really read all that much, come to think of it. shocker!!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Colbie Caillat to be sure!

26. What did you want and get?
perspective

27. What did you want and not get?
peace

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Maid of Honor (i think)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
we went to Matjiesfontein for my 30th birthday :0)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
hearing a certain someone say "I love you"

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
worn from the washing line

32. What kept you sane?
my relationship with God

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Han Ju *blush*

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Prop H8

35. Who did you miss?
my sister... i miss her a whole lot lately

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Yeh Chuan-Sheng

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
now is all you truly have - grab it and make it count!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Pappa watch me fly!"

and so i begin

WE CAN all start afresh! However far we have ascended, there is something higher; and however far we have fallen, it is always possible to make a fresh start.

Eph 4:20

always midnight

Are you blind?
Can't you see me standing here
waiting in line?
For you.
Are you mine?
Not just when you wanna be
all of the time?
Are you?
Are you blind?
Don't you see me standing here
Won't you tell me what it is
I'm waiting to find..?


Rod's sound choice by Pat Monahan resonates so strongly with my emotional state... there's nothing for it but to post the video and hope it's enough.