November 2016

I applied for my passport the same day I voted for the 2016 presidential election. It was a wonderful day because I thought things were definitely going to go “the right way.” First female president, the perseverance of good and rational thought, women breaking that last glass ceiling. I felt like I was taking control of my life and opening doors for myself as well by applying for my passport. I didn’t have any clue how things would unravel. I applied for my passport at the encouragement of my then boyfriend who suggested we go somewhere warm the upcoming winter. I though that sounded amazing especially being easily affected by Minnesota winters. I finally took on what I thought was going to be a tedious process only to find that it wasn’t so bad. Obviously you need your original birth certificate which I didn’t have a copy of, and my mom who had continued to say “oh it’s around here somewhere,” finally admitted she didn’t have any clue where it was either.

So after notarizing the correct documents, scanning them and sending off the digital documents to Los Angeles County Vital Statistics, the ball was in motion. My paperwork showed up and I headed down to Dakota County to complete the rest of the application process, wanting to avoid the offices in the Twin Cities, figuring it’d be a DMV type of experience. I was the second person in line, and it was so easy and they were so helpful. I couldn’t believe I’d been avoiding this process for so long only to find that there was no resistance to be found.

Well, as you can guess, that evening turned out to be one of the most traumatic nights of my life as I watched the election results pour in, refreshing and refreshing my news feed hoping something was wrong or about to change the direction of what I was witnessing. It was supposed to be a night of celebration, lighthearted banter and champagne.

No.

IMG_1101 I stayed up watching until the very end and as soon as Mike Pence and his family took the stage I started sobbing. People say politics don’t matter, that their life isn’t affected by who is in the role. I completely disagree because I find that I identify with who my leader is and when it feels like the absolute wrong fit or altogether wrong message to be sending to the rest of the world- if feels gross. The results of the election left a pretty big crater in my mind and changed the way I view my country but that’s all for another time.

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Personal Space 

Most people call themselves introverted these days. I consider myself shy and need a connector whether that be a person who can start the conversation or a role that’s very clearly established such as my job as a hairstylist. Then I’ll chat your ear off however deep or surface level you want to go. I’m not a hugger either but I like when I get them. I don’t know if I’m supposed to aspire to be more open or if I’m at a point where this is just me. Flying has made me very aware of the horse blinders I throw up as soon as I enter a large group of people or when I have to sit two inches from others. But being on the plane is a very prescribed role, once again. Eh. Just some stuff to throw out there. Enjoy this photo from my flight to Tokyo of my very comfortable neighbor. 

Best Coffee Experience in Bangkok

I’ve always enjoyed going on extra long walks in cities early in the morning and it turns out Sunday morning is the best day to do this in Bangkok. The heaviness of the humidity and heat hadn’t hit yet. I made my way to a top ranked coffee shop a few miles from my hotel on foot. In Bangkok the best places are unseemingly located down puddle and pot hole covered alley ways. I don’t know how these places thrived before the internet. I made it just before the brunch rush and the coffee and desserts were so good. This restaurant is located in a multiplex called “the Commons” in the Loh Prong area, on the top story. It feels clean and fresh and the service was wonderful.

Walking tour of Downtown Bangkok- Wonderful Architecture 

Toured the city on foot today leaving from my hotel, Icon Bangkok. I stopped in a beautiful shopping center, grabbed a coffee and took off making a large figure 8 of the city. I didn’t do any research on the building names however I did make a point to stop a Lumpini Park because I was under the impression this would be like Bangkok’s Central Park. Not the case. Pretty swampy but plenty of bikers and runners making loops undisrturbed by vehicles. Came in from the sun and now off to enjoy the pool and a cocktail so I don’t roast. 

Last Full Day in Bangkok

I woke up early to try and beat the heat but most coffee shops that I was considering heading to are not open until 8 or 9 am. Had a wonderful buffet breakfast at my hotel, only complaint would be no hot water ( which they fix if you just speak up) and the construction site right next door. The humidity is unreal- people in Minnesota complain about humidity… lol yeah. Today I’ve got a list of the top 5 cafes I want to try and I plan on visiting my favorite store Muji, since we don’t have any in Minneapolis. I prefer exploring during the day so I can actually see where I am going and unbeknownst to me- google maps works even without wifi or data… so my life has become a million times easier and I’m just bummed I didn’t know it the days I set out exploring and got lost for two hours. Headed out to see what I can find 

Wat Arun: Temple of the Dawn

Getting to this location was a bit difficult since I have a strong urge to not use taxis or tuk tuks in order to learn my surrounds by foot. However after passing then stopping and then passing the same girl three times as we were each looking at our own maps and screenshots on our phones, I decided to ask her if she knew where Wat Arun was. She didn’t but we decided to travel together from that point on. Eventually we split a tuk tuk after staring at a Catholic Church that wasn’t on either of our maps. Once we arrived at the temple I was told I needed to cover up my shoulders and legs since I was in shorts and a tank top. Luckily my friend had extra sarongs with her which I never stopped to consider packing. Huge life saver. The following are photos from this temple and I’ll speak more to the great people I met today in a later post. I also want to post a ton of pictures and figure splitting up the media might be less overwhelming. Behold, my take on Temple of the Dawn! *a majority of the temple was under repair so some signature architecture is missing

Bangkok Day 1.5

Bangkok is riding me pretty rough. I’ve found things that I like such as the people, the variety and the scale. On the other hand it’s caused me to recall another time in my life where individual air condition units kick on at their own time, and the air stays dense and warm with or without the sun. I had a friend who lived on the University of Texas campus in a student dormitory in a room that was very small and down a carpeted hallway. We mostly were there on our way to somewhere else, but we’d always sit out on the balcony which was about 18 stories up and smoke cigarettes and either recount all the ways our other friends were messed up or how the people we were about to hang out with were messed up. Each balcony had its units air condition unit sitting outside and they would kick on about every seven minutes and run for awhile. I hated the noise but it kept you humble. This large mass of people were all seeking individual comfort while living severely close to one another and wanting peace and distance from each other as well. Bangkok feels the same. Hoards of people all seeking what will validate them next while simultaneously living like ants following the same trails as one another. It’s not romantic or exciting, it’s bake in an oven or drown in the rain. I don’t love cities unless they’re beautiful and by that I think I mean clean. Well constructed, not thrown together with miss matched sidewalks and asphalt that doesn’t make it to the curb. This city feels haphazard or not cared for but life’s too fast to take the time to do it right. Quick change or expansive growth followed by bars that maybe have five guests all night. I know I’m being short sighted or not appreciating the beauty of alley way entrances, I’m just expressing that so far this place isn’t for me. I’m not seeking to buy anything, I don’t need a massage or shock value. I do like the soft rock covers of all the top 40 hits from the last five years, however I also like good infrastructure and urban planning. The fact that they have a skytrain does kick ass, but the constant hum and cranking of air conditioning units plus the bwap from the exhaust pipes of every motor vehicle make this city feel loud and massively unplanned. Tomorrow is a new day, maybe I’ll fall back in love. 

Krabbbiii Babyyy 5/2017

After a very quick stop in Bangkok to sleep in a tilting hostel I bumped over the Krabi, Thailand at the recommendation of several coworkers. I was advised Phuket is the Cancun of Thailand, so I diverted over to both Railay Beach and Phranang Beach and I couldn’t be happier. So beautiful and peaceful and no haggling from vendors on the beach. Stunning walks through stalagmites and caves, tree roots and twisted vines to suddenly turn a corner and see the Andaman Sea. The lack of grandstanding by the local business community is by far my favorite part. No show offs here. I visited each morning at sunrise (mostly due to my body clock thinking 2:30 a.m. local time sounded good) when the tide was out, and again midday and sunset. If you want quiet, sunrise is best. The water is warm and even if it rains a bit it still feels like heaven. You can collect washed up coral, although I don’t know if it’ll make it through airport security without issue. What I’ve come to learn after talking to other tourists is that this is a world class destination for rock climbing and if you’re a lady who likes to dress up, this is not the town for maxi dresses or shoes that can’t take puddles and constant sand. My hair hasn’t been dry once this whole trip but no one gives two licks. Sunset on Railay Beach is followed by cute lanterns illuminating restraunts and bar huts and you can sit and drink on the beach as long as you’d like. It feels undisturbed and unpretentious and nothing competes with the panoramic views except maybe the long boat motors which take off around sunset. 

“Like, Realizing Things”

headed to vietnamIn the past month I’ve been jolted out of sleep several times with a sudden understanding or what feels like heavy clarity. This morning at 2:30 a.m. the wallop of a thought was that I am grateful. Grateful to have been shoved out of my routine by my then partner. Grateful to have felt secure enough to purchase several plane tickets into the future guaranteeing that I was making every effort to physically be there for him. And now he’s gone. I don’t think I was needed anymore once he found friends abroad. I could dwell on the feelings of being left, rejected or disregarded but those feelings have evolved through releasing my anger and hurt.

I’m solo traveling though not initially by choice, but now here I am. I would never have done this on my own. I didn’t even own a passport before I met him because I thought the paperwork process would be too hard, and I figured I couldn’t afford to travel anyway. So now as I boil water while the sunrise tames the humidity in Thailand, I’m present and pretty fucking happy about it. Do I know where my life is headed? No. But the direction I was forcing it to go in for the past few years is now dismantled and it’s liberating as hell. I know I have five more round trips booked, I know I have an amazing career that gets better with each passing month and I have a family that will roll out the repair kit literally and figuratively to bolster me up.

So, big heart eyes to those who have soothed my burns and thank you to the universe for gut punching me into the direction of a more fulfilling life. I didn’t expect to see the silver lining of losing my favorite person so quickly, but there often times seems to be more at play than just my own free will. It feels good to let go and see the potential in the new path ahead.

Cowabunga