Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Taking Stock

I'm joining in on a blog hop today from Denyse Whelan Blogs and participating in her writing prompt. You can visit the original post here.

From what I saw on her blog, she likes to take stock of her life every few months and stop to examine what she is doing with it. I think a few more people need to do this. It is very very easy to just float through life and then a decade has gone by and you haven't done anything but collect new wrinkles. Living our lives intentionally should be more of a priority.

Denyse listed out what she was making, cooking, drinking, reading, wanting, looking, playing, wasting, sewing, wishing, enjoying, waiting, liking, wondering, loving, hoping, marveling, needing, smelling, wearing, following, noticing, knowing, thinking, feeling, bookmarking, opening and laughing. I'll follow her lead.

Lots and lots of great memories. A few years ago I took this saying to heart. Experiences are more valuable than possessions. It totally changed my life. It's why I travel all the time and now live on the beach in Vietnam. I love my new life.

Absolutely nothing. We haven't had a decent kitchen since we left the States and I haven't figured out yet how to cook when there is no room to do anything. Plus, eating out is so cheap, I'm happy to run down to the corner and spare myself the stress of my kitchen.

It's so tiny!
I have a bottle of Mountain Dew next to my computer right now. Another reason I love this country. I lived in China for almost two years and only had one the whole time I was there. I almost died.

I just finished reading Christine by Stephen King. Other than that, for the last several months I have exclusively read books by Carlton Mellick III. He writes bizarro fiction. Strange stuff.

My new apartment. We rented this place as soon as we hit town because it was cheap, but we knew it would be temporary. We signed a three-month lease figuring that would give us enough time to get jobs, decide how much we could afford and discover what part of town we wanted to live in. I really need an office space. This little corner doesn't cut it.

At our beautiful surroundings every day. Vietnam is a gorgeous country with natural wonders all around us.

Every day. Since I only work about 19 hours a week, I have a lot of free time. It is used wandering the neighborhood, getting to know our neighbors, discovering new foods, strolling the beach, sightseeing and whatever else I feel like doing.

A lot of time exploring my new surroundings rather than writing the book I desperately want to write.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sewing?!? Um…no.

I'm wishing that the new apartment we find will be close to what we actually want it to be and we don't just have to settle for the best we can find. We really want to have some extra space this time. We've been cramped in tiny places for too long.

Our new relaxed life. It has so little stress. I love having all the free time. I feel like I am already retired.

I'm waiting for someone to come visit us. I know we live clear on the other side of the world, so I can't blame anyone for not coming here. However, my wife's sister is coming to see us in December and my mother will be coming in the spring of 2020. That's two visitors in 18 months! I am so excited!

The food of Vietnam. We spent two years in China and I was surprised that I did not like the food as much as I expected to. There was plenty of good food, but not what I was expecting. However, here, I am having a great time trying all the new stuff. Vietnamese food is awesome.

When and if we will ever move back to the States. At this point, we really have no idea what the future holds for us. There are things I miss about my home country, but I can't wrap my mind around going back and paying the hugely inflated prices for everything when stuff is so cheap everywhere else.

The friendliness of the people here. This was not something we experienced in China. They weren't rude there, but they definitely did not seem happy. And they certainly didn't go out of their way to make us feel welcome. Here we are constantly greeted by people on the street and people everywhere are smiling.

I will be ready to publish my book by the end of the year. I'm going to have to get busy on it, but that is my goal. I need to do more than hope.

Still marveling at the quality of the weather and air here. I think I just got used to the dreary and smoggy days of Beijing. Here, I can see for miles from my terrace. I've always been fascinated by mountain views and they are all around us.

I teach English online and need more items for my classroom. My background is lacking and I could use more props, but until I get that first paycheck, I'm just not going to spend the money.

The streets of Da Nang are filled with the smells of food wafting away from the countless restaurants and food carts that are everywhere. I love the smells here.

Shorts every day. I haven't worn pants in over a month. Even when I work. I work in front of my computer and my students can't see my legs. It's very comfortable.

Actually not following. The political fighting on social media has grown very tiring for me. Especially now that I am seeing it from the outside. Every political conversation I have is with people from other parts of the world. It has really broadened my perspective. I've decided to stop trying to keep up with American politics. This is not an anti-American statement by any means. It's just that the talking points change so rapidly, why do I need to stay on top of it when most of it has zero effect on me anyway?

I'm noticing that so many of the things I valued over the course of my life are of little importance. Moving from country to country has really forced me to re-evaluate everything. Mostly the futility of material things.

Very little. This is new to me. I have always prided myself on being the 'smart one'. It's been part of my identity for most of my life. I do have an uncanny skill of maintaining information in my head. The stuff I read stays in there. I'm the guy people always turn to with questions about stuff. I just know things and don't always even know why I have that knowledge. However, I am beginning to realize that I really don't know anything about anything. I'm not trying to be deep and meaningful. It is just very humbling to be dropped into another culture and realize that you have no idea how anything here works. You may be intimately familiar with your little personal bubble you've built for yourself, but that is not even the tiniest fraction of the world.

I just may have found the part of the world I could happily stay in for the rest of my life. After a year or two, we may get more serious about exploring this possibility.

Very confident about our decision to move here. There has never been a moment where I felt we may have made a mistake.

This is not exactly bookmarking, but I have been making lists of the books I want to read next. Some for pleasure, but many are chosen because they are in the genre of the book I am writing, I read these to further familiarize myself with the genre.

Opening our minds to new possibilities all the time. So many of the wonderful things that have happened to us have been because we were willing to attempt something we really didn't understand.

Every day. We have made so many friends in the short time we have been here and all enjoy each other's company and laughing together.

Whew! That was a long list and it was fun. It really made me think about my life.


  1. We really did precious little research before moving here, compared to months of it before China. Of course, there was no several-months-long visa process to move here.

    1. Very true. The advantage we had here was it being close enough for me to pop over for a visit first. But how much can you really learn in a weekend.

  2. This was such a cool read and don't the prompts make us think! I cannot take full credit as another Australian blogger started this...and I think she is a sewer..seamstress...which is why that prompt remains!!
    You are certainly making changes. Wow. I have taught English as a second language myself : to newly arrived 5 year olds through to retired people who came to English classes to have a morning away from home.
    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's prompt may also be on interest! My Home Country. Denyse

    1. I've actually got a Maste's in TESOL and have been doing this for a long time, but now I do it in a very relaxed way.

  3. I'm glad Vietnam agrees with you. Interesting your perspective on politics. We are gearing up for the next election and people are "nutting up" already.

    1. I actually have some pretty strong political opinion, but learned years ago that it is rarely safe (or even beneficial) to share them. It has gotten so nasty lately, that's even more true.

      Now, being so removed from it all, I just have to look away.

  4. Do the visitors have to be someone you actually know?
    Cuz you two make it sound pretty darned attractive over there...

    1. I am happy to entertain anyone. When we were in China, I would occasionally get a Facebook message "Hey, my siter's husband's cousin is going to be in Beijing. Do you guys want to meet?" I always went to meet the person.

      It was one of these that hooked me up with the MONSTER JAM team when they came to China.

      I love having any visitors and getting to show off my city.


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