lifestyle, Travel

Soon to be Summer in Shanghai

Woah woah woah, slow down there pony boy. Shanghai? China? Communism? Sticky rice? Chopsticks? Air pollution? An extremely complicated language named after tiny canned oranges?

The rumors are true. I am departing for China in FOUR DAYS. And I’ll be there for 8 WEEKS.

I, don’t even know how to feel about it. I thought moving five hours away for college was weird. Talk about a 14 hour plane ride to a country so foreign that I’ll need to carry around a business card with my hotel’s address like I’m some type of lost puppy wearing a collar engraved “fuzzy”.

I’ll be kept busy working, which is good for my health because otherwise I’d probably spend way too much time eating noodles. But also I’m so excited to meet all of the people I’ll be staying with/ working with. They already seem like they’ll be some of the smartest people I’ll ever meet.

It’s hard to stay in the present moment here at home when there is so much I am looking forward to this summer. But I will really miss having the comfort of my family nearby. I still feel like a baby bird that shouldn’t really be leaving the nest so often but is anyways, so it’s hard. I feel like I’m always leaving.

People don’t tell you about all the leaving you do when you grow up. You leave to go away to school, you leave your new school friends behind to go home, you leave your family to go see the world, you leave the family you forged abroad to return home and then you leave again to repeat the whole process. It’s a sucker punch to my heart every time. The only thing that makes it easier is the promise of return. But the hard part about that is feeling like sometimes you are making a promise that you won’t be able to keep one day.

Life, man. Sometimes it’s so complex that I feel like the four-letter title doesn’t suit it. It should be one of those incredibly treacherous and obscure long words that only those annoying kids that would correct your middle school teachers grammar can spell correctly. Like, “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”. (Thank you copy & paste).

So, as I am embarking on this trip soon and leaving yet another time, I figure I will start to document it all to try and make the distance between me and the comfort of my nest seem significantly less vast.

But hey, it’s a big world out there, and if you don’t go out and see it while you can it will always remain that way to you; as this big impersonal vast place and not a beautiful home with far-reaching corners where you find yourself loving and living and belonging.

Until next time,


lifestyle, Travel

Day 1 in Paris

It’s 2:30am Parisian time. My sleep schedule is fricked.

Yesterday, or I guess what was really two days ago but felt like yesterday morning, I had the final presentation for my summer internship. I’m really bummed that I have to say goodbye to such an amazing group of diverse people. It’s funny because I never expected to get so attached to them.

And then I got on an 8:00 flight to the city of love.

It smells really nice over here. It’s like a particular smell of freshness and also maybe sewage occasionally, but like, their sewage is nicer than American sewage or something- It’s weird.

Our hotel is in the heart of Paris, it’s fantastic, we’re right next to the Louve which is incredible. Effing Royalty. I also saw the Eiffel Tower but it didn’t seem real because I’ve only seen it in pictures.

Right now I’m listening to a French music channel, and writing some thoughts down. I should go back to sleep, but first here are some pictures.

au revoir,



Spring 2014 in Retrospect and Other Thoughts

(Press play, then read) 

Spring was full of health, hope, happiness, and wondering.

This sense of adventure and yearning for something more buzzed inside of me and this vacation truly couldn’t have come soon enough. My toes were itching to be released from their purgatory that is a snow boot because I live in the heart of a polar vortex. My family and I visited Hawaii and had a helluva time exploring every bit of Maui. We hiked a remote rainforest and waded through a rushing, rocky, knee high river to get to a magnificent waterfall on the other side. We explored a rough, shark infested black sand beach, drove the Road to Hana, milked goats in Maui’s farmland, and got soaked in the mountains of the Iao Needle Valley. My brother, dad and I braved the deep and scuba dove. I was surprised at how hard it was for me to breathe through the tube and getting used to the equipment was difficult, but the experience was beyond cool.

I got my knack for adventure from my dad’s side of the family, my moms side is full of nervous worriers. My uncle (before he was tamed by marriage) scuba dove regularly, ran with bulls, backpacked through Europe alone. He learned scuba from my grandpa, who used to be a diving enthusiast but is now curbed now by a stroke and a wheelchair. Life has a mean way of reminding us of our limited time here. My grandpa truly was an extraordinary man and I feel he, like many, many others, were cheated a bit. But I will have to tell his story another time.

The wildest story of my uncle (besides the one of him running with the bulls in Spain) was when he dove in Cozumel, Mexico and came face to face with a 14 ft. long Bull Shark. His group of divers had wandered into it’s territory and soon after, my uncle was a foot away from kissing a territorial shark. His diving instructor was actually the one to panic first, and began to swim and claw his way rapidly to the surface, I can only imagine the fear and tension built up in the moment. My uncle grabbed his legs, however, to save him from getting the “bends”. They all ended up returning to shore unscathed. I could tell countless adventure stories from my uncle, but I’ll have to pocket those for later too.

I hope that in my lifetime I can live many adventures. Even sometimes I believe its a pity that we don’t have multiple lives because I feel like I could do so much within all of them, not just for myself, but others. But that’s the thing. The thing is we don’t have multiple lives, or to the extent of my knowledge and beliefs, I don’t think we do.

We just have to treasure these adventures and little victories, whether it just be walking your dog in the woods, or hiking a mountain, drinking tea on a porch, or scuba diving. Our time is limited and that is not a negative thing unless you let it be. The ever impending force and reminder of time should make us live our lives better, with a better outlook, to try and look past the negatives and see the positives. Time is the constant that even transcends the universe. It can force us to improve ourselves and the world we live in.

I was recently stripped of my rose colored glasses filtering out the pain of this world. It may seem bleak, and sometimes as if there is no hope or solution for anything. We have to look past that and forge on, otherwise progress is dead.

I am still trying to figure it all out. Im merely a 16 year old looking at everything with a rather naive and underdeveloped brain (the brain is fully grown in your 20’s). I don’t have developed philosophies or beliefs just yet, but I will. If i have learned anything yet, it is that we just have to try our best. That is what the human race is.

To be continued…

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Keep on keepin’ on & thanks for reading,

Ashley created- 6/13/14 posted 12/14/14