the big 200

thebig200

Guess what? I just hit 200 posts on TFA! ShaZAM! That’s a lot, and considering I don’t post every day (or even every week sometimes…ahem) that’s a long time. It means a lot, and when I saw the notification, I had to stop and think a minute. 200 posts. What does that signify, if anything? Where have I come from? Where am I going? It’s also kind of a coincidence that I also recently hit 200 followers. That’s not a big number by internet standards, but that’s a really crowded virtual room of people all (reading) listening to me. Kind of blows my mind.

This milestone sparked a train of thought. My history as a blogger has been pretty casual. If you want to read my blog journey, go here. I’ve always dreamed about making my blog my job, but it wasn’t ever very realistic in my head.

Now that I’m going somewhere and have been at this for a while, I can see how I can make it better. Yes, I’m still basically just a dinky lifestyle thought-spilling, stream-of-consciousness writing, mind-drooling blogger. But experience begets wisdom, and I’ve been watching the environment for a while now. I have big plans for when I get to Korea. Before then, even. You notice I’m expanding my talent base to include drawing – expect more new things. It’ll be a slow process. I’m going to self-host at some point, get my own domain name, spice things up a bit. I haven’t really ever had a goal before. I like sharing my life and thoughts, but it wasn’t for any specific purpose. I didn’t have an aim.

I’m working on one now. It’s like starting a business. You need a vision, and then the business plan. I’m still working on defining the vision, but you can be sure I’ll share it when it’s hashed out. And I want it to be big. Something beyond “Sharing about life in Asia from a white girl’s perspective.” That’s been done. It needs to be unique. After all, I’M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.

So happy 200th to me! May the next 200 be just as awesome. (And you guys, all you dear readers. You guys are awesome. Mwah.)

otter.

blog planning

It’s happening again. I can see in my mind how I want my future blog to look; I have the layout, the logo, the posts, the life behind it, everything all ready to go. The problem…is doing something about it.

Alright fellow bloggers, do you do this too? Do you sit and plan and sketch and draw diagrams of blog posts but put off actually writing the darn things? I mean, if I’m resorting to writing about not writing like I am at this moment…well, shoot.

But I love planning. I may even like the planning better than the blogging. I should be a professional Blog Planner, and have a movie made about me. But let’s go with action rather than rom-com.

I digress. Lately I’ve been planning my Korea blog. Once the Flying Armchair flies to Korea, things will change. I’ll have some new topics and a new focus, and hopefully a lot more material to share (school isn’t that interesting). That’s what I meant about planning the lifestyle behind the blog. Right now I’m not a good uke player, I can’t draw the things I want well, I can’t sing, I don’t have a balcony garden, I don’t homestead, I don’t use natural products and cook organically, I don’t tweak traditional recipes, I’m not teaching, I don’t go to indie concerts…the list goes on. All those things are things I want to do once I get to 한국.

But what I am doing is making lots of lists with colored markers that detail the kind of life I want to lead. Now, living it? That’s another matter.

otter.

stop, awesometime!

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Hey yous alls! Just a quick update since it’s been a while…

I got a ukulele! Obviously. And a haircut! And a sore finger!

But seriously, lately it’s been school, sick, school again, and now a ukulele. Ha, one bright spot. I have some posts on the back burner but they’re very intense and academic; all about education and the fate of the next generation. Dun dun dun…

But I need to organize my thoughts better and pare them down from rambling essays to actual post length.

And as some of you have undoubtedly noticed, the blog has undergone some changes. I’ll be redoing it a lot in the near future, so it may look a little wonky from time to time. I’m attempting to move it all to the self-hosting from WordPress.org, but that’s very involved. CSS, *sigh.

In the meantime, who wants to hear me play a song I made up about doing homework? No one? Thank goodness.

otter.

the businessman vs. the fisherman or; losing sight of what really matters

fisherman

A businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

-Author Unknown

So many people fall into this trap. I thought only those who were blind to the peril would be foolish enough to act like the businessman, but yesterday I realized that was wrong. I myself had fallen prey to the desire to expand and make money. I came into blogging for fun. I still blog for fun; it’s what I think about most, it’s what I want to do in my spare time, it’s what I see in my future. I’ve always thought it would be nice to make money from it, but that wasn’t why I started blogging.

Recently I’ve become very obsessed with monetizing my blog; making it a breadwinner for myself so I could have time to do all the things I want to do. It’s funny, because it’s just like the businessman and the fisherman. All the schemes I’m reading about or researching involve a lot of time and effort invested in things I don’t care to do, and all for what? Making more money. So I can do what? Blog more, right? If I had all the free time in the world, what would actually change? Sure, I could do a few things I can’t now, maybe travel more, but for the most part, my life would be the same. I’d blog a lot, read a lot, learn languages and eat out a lot. Those are the things I love to do. The environment might change, but my habits won’t.

I have to remember to quit falling into the pit of feeling like I’m missing out without money. I need to quit looking at those mind-boggling success stories and feel like I’m doing something wrong if I’m not the same. I need to remember what I enjoy doing and do more of it. That’s the mark of a successful life. Being with people you love, taking siestas, and doing what you enjoy.

I gotta make my inner businessman shut up and listen to the fisherman. Seems like fishermen always get it right, eh?

otter.

my current dream

spring4

A sunflower. Which has nothing to do with dreams. 

I think humans must always have a dream. (I DREAMED A DREAM IN TIME GONE BYYYYYY!!!!!) Even when we are in the midst of depressing or insufferable circumstances, I think we will tend to imagine a greater place of happiness. I knew I wouldn’t stay in Taiwan forever, but until around four months ago, I didn’t have a clear picture of where I wanted to go. I had vague, nebulous ideas, but nothing concrete. I fully believe that those who plan where they want to end up are the ones most likely to reach their destination. My dream could change; it has before, but some things have always remained the same. I want to live in Asia; I love Asian culture and I feel that it suits me. I want to work with language; either as a teacher, writer, translator or blogger. I want to create and enjoy a beautiful life.

So below is a specific outline of where I see myself in five years. (Now I can answer that pesky interview question.)

After I finish school and get my BA, I’m planning on moving to Korea and teaching English. Ideally, I’d like to teach high school or middle school. I really love getting people excited about things, and I would love to be able to go more in-depth on topics related to English, America, and Western culture. I wouldn’t really be able to do that with younger students, and I feel that college-level is a bit beyond me…

I want to build my blog and become a pro, perhaps even moving into vlogging once in Korea. I know plenty of people who live off of their blogs, and that’s been a dream of mine for a couple of years now, ever since starting TFA. But I know it takes a while, and so I need a good job in the meantime. (If nothing else, I would need some better and more expensive equipment.)

I want to build a ministry for girls. Once I move to Korea, I want to connect with a local church and start a Bible/English class for older teens. Or perhaps connect with an overseas mission project and help establish clubs where I live.

Remember my other post about living in the future? These things are what keep me floating in Tomorrowland. I have to be careful not to lose myself in dreams of a future in Korea. I have to rein myself in and buckle down to Chinese even though I really prefer Korean. It takes discipline, but I’m learning and getting better at it, and I think this acquisition of self-control will be invaluable in my later life, no matter where I end up.

So for now, I’m keeping all this in mind, but not my whole mind.

Huzzah! SUNFLOWERS! (Which, again, have nothing to do with dreams.)

otter.

just do it

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Going somewhere? AT 150MPH! HUZZAH!

How many of you are like me? You are major dreamers, major planners, majors in figuring out how to live and do better without doing it. If you are a Chronic Over-Planner, raise your hand. Even in reading all these fantastic books about change, dream jobs, dream lives, more with less, and so on, I am still just waiting, not doing! I’m reading about a better life, not having one. I’m reading about how I should just sit and write, but I’m not sitting and writing. I’m reading and my brain is going, “Yay! THIS is how I should do it. At last, a solution!” But guess what? There’s always another book to read. There are lots of books out there now about how to get off your tush, out of your bad job, out of the drudgery of life and into something marvelous that will be an adventure every minute of the day! </sarcasm> Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh. I mean, these books are fantastic. The advice is good. But for the over-planners and chin-in-the-palm dreamers like me, I can spend the next two weeks reading all these books and won’t have accomplished much of anything.

It takes doing. Like Nike, man! “Just do it!” If I had to sum up all the advice in all these books, that would be it. Most of us know what we need to do. For us over-planners and dreamers, we’ve planned and dreamed everything about everything. Even if we don’t have all the steps laid out yet, we have the first one. You do, right? If I want to be a blogger, what do I need to do? Blog. Write. Post this article. Simple. I can worry about just exactly how awesome my blog will look when I get that new software, how I need to work on my photography skills until they’re stellar, how I need to have a full two-month plan before I type a single thing, but in the end, the first step is to write.

So here’s me, writing. I did it, Nike!

otter.