My Morning Routine | Thailand 2017

Hello, everyone. Today I'm going to share my Morning routine with you. I'm going to take you through a typical weekend day, since during the week there isn't much to my morning except showering and eating.

6:30am
The first thing I do when I wake up is say good morning and thank the Universe for another day. I then stretch and say at least three things I am grateful for. After this, I usually stay off of the internet until I'm about to eat breakfast, but sometimes I spend thirty minutes to one hour online.

7:30am
The next thing I do is make my bed. I find that a made bed really helps set my day in the right direction. Then it's breakfast time. I make some form of oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast because it's quick, easy to make, and the possibilities for what you can put in it are vast. This particular morning I made a Peanut Butter and Jelly oatmeal, which tasted delicious. I can make a recipe post for this, if that is something anyone would be interested in.

7:50am
I usually watch something on Netflix while eating breakfast. I just finished watching all of Gilmore Girls and the revival, so I'm still trying to figure out which show Im going to watch next. Thailand Netflix has Vikings and Outlander, so I think I'm going to watch one of these next.

9:00am
After breakfast, I sometimes do yoga or some form of meditation. I've been doing yoga every day this month and I'm loving it. I used to do yoga two to three times a week a couple of years ago, but I stopped when I went off to college. After I exercise, I clean my dishes and take a shower. I tried to get a cool picture of my shower, but there isn't really a cool way to get the shot. You can see that Thailand bathrooms are different from Westernized ones. The bathroom is all one big room where as opposed to America where the shower is its own separate room.

10:00am
I put my laundry in the washer after I shower. Then comes kitten time. I usually make a cup of green tea and go sit outside of the balcony while I drink and pet all of the kittens. They are growing up so fast. This picture is of Carla. She is an adventurous little thing, but she loves to take a nap in my lap.

10:45am

Once I've had my morning kitten fix, I read. I just finished Beyond Wirds: What Animals Think and Feel, and I'm working on Thinking As Fast As I Can. I usually read for somewhere around an hour. Sometimes more or less, depending on my mood.

11:30am

I'm starting to get hungry, so I'll put beans or rice in my rice cooker to get those started for lunch. Then I hang up all of my clothes outside on my balcony to dry.


So that's my Thailand morning routine. I'm not sure how great of a post this was, but if you enjoyed hearing about my morning let me know, and I can do a night routine post as well. See ya next time.

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

How to Make a Home Away From Home (10 Tips)



I've lived on my own in Thailand for over six months now. This has been a life-changing experience, full of positive moments, but there are times when I am homesick. I miss being able to visit my family and friends, drive myself wherever I want to go, comfortably shop in a store, etc. I don't let my homesickness get me down though. I acknowledge the way I am feeling, let it sit with me, and do something to move past it. Here are some tips to make a home away from home.

1. Have a movie night.

The first thing I recommend is to have a movie night. Try and find one of your favorite movies online and watch it by yourself. Put on your pajamas or some other comfy clothes, dim the lights, and enjoy. Since my computer is broken, and I can't watch the movies I brought with me, I find movies on Netflix to watch.

2. Hang up DIY artwork.

Make some DIY artwork for your room. I like to take index cards and write inspiring quotes on them. I then put some washie tape around the borders of the index card and put them on my wall. You can make an entire gallery wall of these if you want to.

3. Keep your space clean.

Do the dishes from the day before you go to bed, make your bed when you wake up, sweep the floor one or two times a week, clean out your fridge one day a week, spend one weekend morning or afternoon a month cleaning your entire apartment, etc. Keeping your space clean keeps your mood up. The cleaning process is also a great time to get in some exercise and clear your thoughts. I find cleaning to be more of a therapeutic experience as opposed to a chore. If you find cleaning to be boring, change the way you view cleaning. See it as a fun activity rather than something you have to do.

4. Make your favorite food.

If you don't live in rural Thailand with nothing to cook out of but a rice cooker this will be easier for you to do then it is for me. Make some chocolate chip cookies if they are your favorite food. Cook some mashed potatoes. Indulge in your favorite food. I like to make French fries in my rice cooker sometimes. They're truly one of the greatest things I've ever tasted.

5. Do something you love to do at home in your international home.

Draw, knit, write, exercise, play an instrument (if you brought it with you), start a blog, take a nap, listen to music, cook, bake, ride a bike, etc. Whatever it is you love to do, do it. Set aside a specific time once or twice a week to do the things you love most. Work can be stressful. Add on the stress of living in another country and you can get overwhelmed. Take some time for yourself to do the things you love.

6. Talk to your family and friends.

Something that always makes me better is talking to my friends and family. It's so easy to stay in contact these days with Facebook, Line, email, etc. I like to call my friends and family at least once a week and talk to them for a couple of hours. It makes me feel better to be able to stay connected with those I love and care about.

7. Have a solo dance party.

Sometimes you just have to stop what you are doing and dance your feelings out. Put on some of your favorite tunes and let the crazy out. Whenever I feel a lot of built up stress coming on to me, I just put my headphones in and dance for as long as I need to. I always feel better afterwards.

8. Meditate or do yoga.

I love doing yoga. I've been practicing every day this year and I honestly never want to stop. Yoga isn't just a physical practice. It's also a mindful practice. I like to meditate as well to help clear my mind. Many people are under the impression that meditation is about not thinking at all. Meditation is really about letting your thoughts come, being mindful of them, and lightly pushing them away. It is an easy practice. With either yoga or meditation, the point is to do your best at whatever stage you are at every day. Some days you can meditate longer than others. Sometimes you won't have good balance during your yoga practice. The point is that you show up and try.

9. Pamper yourself.

I did bring some face masks and nail polish with me to Thailand. Sometimes I like to pamper myself by using a face mask while I paint my nails. Your pampering could involve putting cucumbers on your eyes while you listen to music. It's up to you how you want to go about this.

10. Reorganize your space.

When you get homesick or feel stuck with where you are, one of the best things to do is to reorganize your space. This could involve changes like moving big pieces of furniture around, or it could be small. I recently cleared off a shelf in my apartment to put some of my dishes on because the top of my fridge was getting crowded. I also cleaned out some things I kept outside in my kitchen area. I never used them, so I wondered why I was wasting valuable counter space with these things. I now feel like I'm in a different apartment.

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me over the past six months. Please leave any suggestions you have in the comments below! Let's build a community!

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

Being in the Moment



Life should consistently be full of astonished moments, but it's not. Most people focus their time on the past and future. We stress over every little thing they could possibly go wrong, and don't get me started on those worst case scenarios. There's always something that needs to be fixed or an event that needs to be planned right now or the world is going to end. How about you try something else instead.

Take a moment now and just breathe. Feel the air enter your lungs as you inhale and listen to it leave your mouth as you exhale. Don't try and control your breath. Be an observer. Once you've done this a few times, think of three things you are grateful for. They could be anything from being grateful for the coffee you're drinking to being grateful that you're driving a car that works properly. Now observe your surroundings. Watch the trees. See how they sway in the wind. They aren't frantically wishing for rain or worrying about who could chop them down today. They are simply existing. Watch children playing soccer down the street from your office. See how the children aren't focused on anything except the ball and the game. They are simply existing.

When we take the time to be in the moment, we feel better. Our stress levels go down, which in turn helps with our blood pressure; we have mental clarity; and we become aware of our surroundings. We spend every second glued to social media or the events of tomorrow instead of focusing on what is around us. Life has a simple beauty about it if you just stop, breathe, and take it all in.

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

Learning Thai: The Basics



So I've been living in Thailand for over six months now. I've picked up some of the basics that you need to know to get by. If you're visiting Thailand, most likely you'll be in a place where everyone speaks enough English to communicate with you, but if you venture from the touristy areas, you need to know some Thai. I'm also a believer that you should know some of the native language, regardless of which city you're in. You're in a different country, and I think it's respectful to at least know how to say hello and thank you in the native language.

So let's break this down.

Tones

Thai has five tones: mid, low, falling, high, and rising. The tones are difficult to differentiate, but do your best to learn them. Thai people will appreciate you trying to speak their language and won't yell at you if you say something wrong. Because there are five tones, there are less words in the Thai language then there are in English. The same word could have two or more meanings because it means one thing in the low tone and another in the high tone. In my case, this makes learning Thai difficult. But I always do my best.

How to be Polite

A way to always be polite in any language is to say thank you, but in Thai, you can take it a step further. It's seen as polite to put the word 'ka' or 'kahp' at the end of a sentence. If you are female, you use 'ka'. Males use 'kahp'. So as a female, if I wanted to be polite when saying hello, I would say 'sa wat dee ka' as opposed to just saying 'sa wat dee'. When I say anything in Thai, I always put 'ka' at the end of my sentences.

Basic Words

Hello: Sa Wat Dee
Thank you: Kahp Khun
Bathroom?: Hong Nam
Yes: Chai (Sometimes people who speak fluent Thai will just say ka/kahp instead of Chai.)
No: Mai


I hope this post helps those of you traveling to Thailand. If you have any questions, please leave them down below and I will answer them as best as I can. Have a great day, friends!



Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

Day 3 in Tokyo, Japan: Lost on the Subway, Ueno Park, and Off to Bangkok

This post was written in August 2016 and will not be edited from its original form.

Day 3 in Tokyo started out with another delicious breakfast. I had a salad, bread, rice, and other various fruits and vegetables. They did not have miso soup available like on the first day, so I skipped out of the soup.

Vanida wanted to go to a big Buddha Statues somewhere outside of Tokyo (and off the subway map). We asked the hotel staff for subway route directions, and they told us to take the Ginza line down to a certain stop before transferring to a different line. I got us as far as the stop and we asked a worker at the station how we transferred to get to our destination. Somehow we failed to get on the correct line. We later discovered there are two JR lines, but we took the wrong one. By the time we realized we were on the wrong line, we decided to just go back to Ueno and head to Ueno Park. When I look back now, I would have liked it if we had pursued going to the Buddha statue more than we had, but I’ve said before that jetlag is not a joke. We were tired and fancied riding the subway back to Ueno more than pursuing an unknown destination and getting lost.


We managed to make our way to Ueno Park after asking some of the Ueno Station workers how to get there. The park was stunning, even on a hot summer afternoon. There were a few temples and exhibits. Be cautious that the exhibits are temporary and cost money to enter. The exhibits we saw were not crowded while there, but I would recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, just to be on the safe side. The views of the nature inside the park had me hypnotized. I am a lover of mother nature, especially trees. This is a tourist destination, so it is difficult to take pictures without people being in the background. It is possible to get some good shots though.





After the park, we went to a nearby restaurant and ate a Japanese version of a pizza along with a Japanese salad and dessert. I liked that all the restaurants we went to, as well as many others, had menus in English. It made my life easier than just pointing at pictures, like I’ve had to do sometimes since arriving to Thailand.

Our flight was at 6:20PM, so at this point we went back to the hotel to get our luggage and make the 1 ½ hour journey back to Narita Airport. Going back to the airport was a lot easier than going into the city, as I expected it would be. I liked having the opportunity to see more of Japan through the subway windows on the way back to the airport.

We made our way to our gate and still had a couple of hours to kill. Vanida did some shopping in a Japanese candy and sweets store in the airport while I manned our cart. At this point, I was pretty much our of Japanese yen, and I didn’t want to convert anymore of my money, so I didn’t get anything. Once done shopping, we went to our gate and waited to make our journey to Bangkok!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Next week I will start to post about my many adventures in Thailand! See you next week!

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.
Check out my other Tokyo posts here, here, and here.

Quotes That Make You Think Vol. 3

Hello! Here is the third installment of one of my favorite posts to make. I hope these quotes challenge your thoughts and opinions. Stay open minded, my friends.












Shannon

Check out my previous post here.
Check out Vol. 2 here.
Check out Vol. 1 here.

Books I Plan on Reading: January and February 2017


If you read my New Years Resolutions post you know that one of my goals is to read 2-3 books per month. I love spending a lot of my free time reading. It's especially easy to find time reading where I live in Thailand because I don't have wifi at work. I also want to read more because it's important to me as a writer to read everything I can get my hands on from the news to autobiographies to mystery novels.

So, here's my Reading To-Do List for January and February.


Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

I am incredibly fascinated with learning about animals. This is a scientific book that studies the conscious minds of elephants, whales, and wolves. Do they think the way humans do? Do they have feelings? I guess we'll find out.


The Starch Solution

For those who don't know, I went plant-based with my diet about two and a half months ago. This book is seen as the holy grail of books about the plant-based diet. So naturally, I'm going to read it.


The Atlantis Gene

This book is about Kate, who finds what she thinks is the cure for autism, but is really a gene that could change the human race forever if it gets in the wrong hands. I saw that this book was popular, read the sample, and became interested. I can't wait to read this and potentially get the other two books in the series for later months.


Talking As Fast As I Can

I have been OBSESSED with Gilmore a Girls for the past month and a half. It's all I watch. Growing up, I would watch Gilmore Girls when it came on in the morning and there wasn't anything else on that I wanted to watch. I enjoyed it, but I was never in love with show. I then tried to watch it early last year and didn't like it. Then I decided to try again when the relaunch happened and I seriously don't know what was wrong with me before because this show is comedic gold. I love reading autobiographies, so of course, I've grabbed Lauren Graham's. This autobiography is centered around the Gilmore Girls time in her life, which works out great for me, since I love that time of her life as well.


Me Before You (if I have the time to fit this one in one of the two months)

I know this book will probably make me cry, but I gotta read it before I watch the movie. I typically like having the knowledge of a book when going in to see the movie. I'm usually not one of those people who compares the movie to the book (although the movie version of Beautiful Creatures did set me off one time). I like to see the two as different art portrayals. So I'm going to read this popular book and see how it goes. Hopefully I'll get to this one in January or February, but if not, it's not a big deal. I'll just add it to March's reading list.

What are you planning on reading in January and February? Let me know! I love hearing about books and getting book recommendations and I just love books, books, books!

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

Day 2 in Tokyo, Japan: Asakusa, Skytree, and Tusukiji

Disclaimer: This post was written in August 2016 and will not be edited from the last draft I saved.


Hi, everyone! I hope you are enjoying my Tokyo posts so far! I’ve had a lot of fun going through all of the sightseeing pictures I took on my trip and picking the best ones for my posts.

Day 2 was our only full day in Tokyo. Breakfast was served between 7 and 9. The food was laid out buffet style, similarly to how it is in hotels in the US. What was different was the food served. Instead of the typical American breakfast food (waffles, cereal, bacon, orange juice, etc), we had many vegetable dishes to choose from, chicken, and soup. There were also different kinds of bread that you could toast if you wanted to. The bread I ate had pink swirls in it. Turns out it was strawberry flavored, and delicious. I also ate a bunch of vegetables and a cup of miso soup (my absolute favorite!).


After breakfast, we headed back to the subway and towards Asakusa. When you get to Asakusa, you pass through Kaminarimon Gate, which is guarded by two protective deities, Fujin and Raijin. Keep in mind that you want to get here early if you want to get pictures with as few tourists as possible in front of the gate. We got there around 7:45 in the morning and there were already many tourists present.



Past the gate is the Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street (ANSS). Since we were there so early, many of the shops were still closed or were just starting to set up for the day. All of the shops should be open by the time you are done sightseeing at the Senso-ji Temple. ANSS has plenty of small souvenirs for those who don’t have a lot of room in their suitcases. I bought a keychain of the Kaminarimon Gate. There are also plenty of shops with bags and other larger souvenirs. If you are ready for a snack by the time you are making your way back towards ANSS, I suggest trying a few different flavors of hot bean buns. I’ll insert a few pictures of the shop we stopped by. Vanida and I ate the flavors “Standard” and “Monja”. Both were delicious!




Once you get past ANSS there are a few other sights to see, including the second gate and the water statue. I’m not sure of its technical name. At the water statue, you can fill up a cup with water and make a wish while pouring the water onto your hands. I was also told the water brings you good luck.





Senso-ji Temple sits beyond the water statue. The temple was absolutely beautiful. The paintings on the ceiling were my favorite part. I tried to capture all of them as best I could. You are not supposed to take pictures of the innermost part of the temple, but of course, I didn’t see the sign until after I had taken 10 pictures. Oops.








There is a smaller temple past the Senso-ji Temple. If you walk behind the main temple towards the bathroom, you should have no problem finding it or any of the other sights.





After Asakusa, we went to the infamous Skytree. I was really excited for this because I love birdseye pictures of cities. Seeing a city captured from this angle always amazes me, because it shows you just how small us humans are in this big world. To get to Skytree fast, you can buy a ticket for what I believe is just called the “Skytree Line”. The ticket costs less than $1 and takes you right up to the Skytree building itself. The signs to the ticket counter are very easy to follow if you can read Japanese or English (or just follow the arrows). Vanida and I opted to only buy a ticket for the lower deck, called Tembo.

You take a quick elevator ride up to Tembo Deck. Be warned that if you go during the day, the deck will be very bright. I wore my sunglasses most of the time we were there. Tembo Deck is completely indoors. We got there around 10:15AM and it was already crowded. Be prepared to be patient and to wait your turn to get pictures with the views. Tembo deck does have photography areas set up where a worker will take your picture for free.




After you explore Tembo Deck, do not take the elevator. Follow the stairs down and explore each level before you take the elevator down the rest of the way. My favorite area of Skytree was down a couple of levels. Like in many famous sightseeing buildings in major US cities, Skytree has a small area of glass flooring where you can see down to the streets of Tokyo. I tried to take good pictures, but they don’t do the experience any justice. This area can get crowded, so wait patiently for it to clear up and you can take your time getting the best pictures possible.


We ate Korean food for lunch and did some more exploring of the city, a few stops down in Tsukiji. We had heard from one of Vanida’s friend that there was a large fish market we should check out. Naturally, I didn’t get any pictures at the market, but I did get some pictures around the area.





After exploring, we ate more food and headed back to our hotel. We were tired and jetlagged, so we had to call it an early night, even though we didn’t want to.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I will see you guys next week with Day 3 in Tokyo!

Shannon

Check out my previous post here.

Check out my other Japan posts here, here, and here as they are posted.