A few days ago, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by R., the writer of the blog China Elevator Stories. Basically, this award is a pay-it-forward blogger award, in which you answer 11 questions, post 11 facts about yourself, and then write 11 new questions for a few bloggers you have nominated. I’m extremely flattered that R. listed me as one of her favorite blogs (with less than 200 followers), and if you have some spare time, you should definitely check out her blog. R. is a young Austrian woman living in Shenzhen who shares anecdotes about everyday life in China. Her posts are always funny or enlightening and are extremely insightful about Chinese culture. Also, check out her post about the Liebster Award to get a little more info, and check out the other blogs she nominated in addition to me (I know I’ll be reading some of them!).
Here are the questions I’ve been asked by R.
1. Have you ever regretted starting a blog? I don’t think I have ever regretted starting a blog. It’s been a great experience to record my thoughts and memories, as well as a convenient and fun way to share my experiences with my friends and family as well as anyone else that wants to read along. It also encourages me to go out and try and do new things so that I can write about them. The only negative thing about keeping a blog is that it can be a huge time commitment, and I’m always behind because I want to document my travels and experiences in detail.
2. What was your dream job when you were little? I was really obsessed with being an actress when I was little, and forced my mom to take me to auditions in Seattle. I had head shots and everything.
3. What has been the best experience in your life so far? That’s a pretty tough question to ask a 22-year-old, especially since I can’t default to “getting married!” or “having a baby!”. I would say either going to George Washington University in DC for college or studying abroad in both Beijing and Xi’an.
4. Have you ever regretted going abroad? Why? I don’t think I have ever really regretted going abroad. There were definitely times last year when I was sick of China and wanted to go home, but I never regretted my decision to go abroad in the first place. There have been a few times this year that I have regretted taking a job in China, because it has been one, large, multi-month headache of an experience, but I definitely don’t regret coming back to China in general.
5. If you could only take one small backpack with you for traveling, what would you take with you? My DSLR, lonely planet book, a few changes of clothes, good walking shoes, my iphone to use as an ipod for long bus and train rides, basic hygiene toiletries, some instant coffee packets and some sort of computer or tablet to document my experiences.
6. What is the most beautiful place you have ever been to? It’s so hard to pick just one! Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan was absolutely beautiful, as well as a few areas of Tibet I have yet to write about. Santorini, Greece is also near the top of the list, as well as my home state of Washington! Every time I go home, I can’t get over how beautiful it is.
7. Is there a moment that has changed your life forever? If so, which one? I would say that studying abroad in China changed my life forever. I can’t imagine where I would be now if I didn’t go to China last year. Studying abroad helped me realize a passion for traveling and exploring new cultures, and set me on the career path I have going now. A year and a half ago I never would have thought I would be moving back to China!
8. What has been the most touching moment in your life so far? I believe that the most touching moment of my life so far actually happened very recently. About two months ago, a woman with stage 4 cancer saw a post on my blog about wanting to visit Tibet. She is Buddhist and has always wanted to visit Tibet, but her health has prevented her from going. This woman sent me a message asking me to write her name on a shrine in Tibet, so that a part of her would always be there. This last week I went to Tibet, and our guide told us that if you write a person’s name on a sting of prayer flags, and hang them in a spiritual place, it acts as a prayer for the person’s health and well-being. After hearing this, I decided to take a strand of prayer flags I bought as a souvenir and hang them for the woman who had contacted me. Standing atop a jagged cliff overlooking one of Tibet’s most holy lakes, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life, and I couldn’t think of a better and more spiritual place to hang the flags for this woman I had never even met.
9. What was your favourite book when you were little? Growing up, I was slightly obsessed with Harry Potter, and would completely devour the books the day they came out. When I was really little, I loved Where the Wild Things Are, and I used to hide it in my time-out spot so that I could read it while being punished. Pretty fitting don’t you think?
10. What is your favourite holiday? My favorite holiday is definitely Christmas. It’s the only time my whole family is together, and I love the traditions and festivities: Christmas music, drinking apple cider, putting lights on the tree. I also love baking pies, and I try to do it every year. I never went home for Thanksgiving in college because it’s just too far, so these past few years, arriving home during Christmas time has been a welcome reprieve from college life. I’m a little sad about not going home for Christmas this year, but I’m sure I’ll find some way to celebrate in China.
11. Which language do you dream in? 99% of the time I dream in English, unless I am having a dream where I am in China, and then I may be speaking Chinese, but I’m still thinking in English.
11 Random Facts About Me
- I can move one eye independently
- I used to do synchronized ice skating when I was younger
- I rowed on varsity crew in high school
- I really dislike milk (unless it’s in my English breakfast tea)
- I competed ballroom and latin dance all through college
- I used to show my cats through 4-H at our local fairs (aka I know way too many things about cats)
- I was so obsessed with pokemon growing up that my mom used to take me to get holographic pokemon cards as a reward
- I haven’t dated an American guy since high school
- I went to a Catholic, private, college prep all girls school for high school
- I have been to 25 countries (including principalities and autonomous regions): US, Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Gibraltar, England, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Nepal
- My grandparents came over from Ireland and I’m considering getting dual citizenship (EU passport!)
Favorite Blogs with less than 200 followers
Since I managed the student blogger program with the Alliance for Global Education last spring, it’s only fitting that I link my favorite blogs from China and India. I’m not sure if any of these bloggers are going to continue posting now that they’re back in the US, but I really hope they do! Reading these blogs were my favorite part of the workday.
122 Days in India – This is a photography blog written by Gabriele Weigel when she studied abroad in Pune, India last year. She has absolutely amazing photos of her life in India, and someday I hope I can see all of these places in person!
New in India – This blog, written by Emma von Emmerik, offers great insight into Emma’s life in Pune, India. Her blogging style is somewhat similar to mine, with a lot of different stories of her adventures while abroad.
No Reservations and Never Sorry – Fellow Alliance Beijing alum, Mick Wang, talks about his life studying abroad in Beijing and interning in Chengdu. His posts are more about how China has influenced his views on life and the world, and how his experiences have affected him internally. It’s a really great, honest portrayal of his experience.
In addition to these three, I also really like…
The Reghs– A married couple moves to Zhuhai, China and blogs about their experience living and teaching in China. They just arrived a few weeks ago so you can follow along from the beginning! They’ve already written a few really funny posts about grocery shopping in China and squat toilets.
Here are my 11 questions for you bloggers:
- What made you want to start writing a blog?
- What are the best and worst things about writing a blog?
- What is the craziest thing you have ever done abroad?
- What is the most interesting thing you have ever eaten?
- Where is your favorite place in the entire world?
- If you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- Besides blogging and/or photography, what is your favorite hobby?
- In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve ever written?
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
- Where is one place in the world you want to go, but have never been?
- What is a major goal you hope to attain in the next 10 years?
I hope you guys have as much fun with this as I did! If anyone else has any good blog recommendations, especially blogs about living and traveling in Asia, please feel free to post them in the comments. I’m always looking for more cool blogs to read.