Free food in china?

IMG_3807So I have one full day left until I leave for Los Angeles. I didn’t want to change $100 US dollars for such a short time so I have 1 something yuan left and my hostel key deposit which I get when I check out on wednesday. I figured I’d use my visa credit card. But guess what, it’s not widely accepted here.

So I decided to go to mcdonalds because like it’s from America right?

Everyone pays with their cell phone here in shanghai. No one carries cash…except maybe foreigners.

So visa was not accepted at mcdonalds in shanghai.

One of the employees tried to help me download alipay but gave up and just decided to give me free food. Like….I already ate dinner so I wanted cake.

So I can have cake and eat it too.

She even made me hot chocolate which is not on the menu. I will definitely remember her when I have some front row seats to my one woman show.

I tell people that I like slow travel….

Like sitting at a cafe drinking hot cocoa and eating cake.

And talking to a stranger…

who knew it would be fulfilled by a mcdonalds employee.

So there are nice people in china- because after some miserable experiences of rude interactions I thought “I’m so ready to go home”, but there is hope.

Thank you dear friend.

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100 Bucket List & Shanghai Local Eats

I’m eating lunch at a taiwanese restaurant called YongKang. I also bought a 100 bucket list journal…a few things I wrote:

1. Go to the top of the Eiffel tower

2. Go scuba diving

3. Live somewhere outside of the us for more than 6 months from now on.

4. Get married to the man of my dreams and have a loving marriage

wifi is really slow here so I will write later! I also found a Japanese restaurant and was so hungry I forgot to take pictures 😜🤣

Ps- I had to change the formatting of my photos because it was taking too long to load a story individual images.

Shanghai Local Eats and Zoo

Besides the one time I ate yoshinoya and secret recipe, I usually opt for small hole in the wall eats.

Today I found a fish noodle soup place…and I’m including some photos from the shanghai zoo. I spent 4 hours in this place, my goal was to see pandas play and I definitely met my goal.

Walking In Faith Always Requires A New Level Of Trust

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(Catba Vietnam)

Whenever a new challenge comes my way and I have doubts and feelings of lack, I remember how God delivered me.

For one, as I was walking home, I thought about how whenever God called me to something, I never actually had the finances or resources for it. It required faith and trust and follow through. I had to obey and walk through the steps. I don’t know why God has given me this kind of faith or why He has required it from me, but maybe because I was born into situations that required me to have faith.

When I went to Thailand I had a one way ticket and $1000. The paycheck I was “relying” on never came through and as much as I chased down that client, I had to learn to let it go and forgive him. 

I would hear a country, a city, and go. One way tickets. There were times I pretty much ran out of money and then something would show up like the idea of selling an old tablet, which afforded me one week at a 10′ by 5′ prison celled size room.

Or how I would be dancing at a bar and a Vietnamese lady would offer to pick me up at the train station the next day and I would learn about their lives while I lived with her.

Or how I would forget but randomly mention my blog and be offered rooming for my marketing and writing skills.

But at the end of the day, God always called me to people.

He never showed me exactly what would happen, but He would tell my heart to trust Him. And I would be petrified, but I would walk forward, trusting that I wouldn’t be stranded on an island.
And that has almost happened too.

But then I’ll be eating my last $2 and then a group of travel agents would join me and ask me to drink with them. And then somehow I would become friends with people I would have never met if I wasn’t out there eating alone at Catba Island, Vietnam.

MY life is full of stories like this.

And so when I am feeling challenged, I would remember, God did this and that….and I would never fail to be in awe once again.

So whatever new challenge you are facing today, remember how God delivered you then and how our whole life is a series of trusting for the next level. 

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My couchsurfing host in Hanoi, now a sister.

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Saigon, Vietnam

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Biking in Melaka, Malaysia

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Dancing at the temple, Melaka, Malaysia

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Catba Islands, Vietnam

The Value of Trying

Today I met with a publicist. She was incredibly nice and kind- unlike the many people I have met in LA. She offered me advice on putting together a media kit and showing companies my numbers on social media and blog.

To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed. Because I’ve done all that before. I’ve put together media kits before. I’ve tried to show people my value….but at the end of the day, if people really truly know WHO I AM, I wouldn’t have to try so hard. Because I know what I have to offer- me. 

Not the numbers, not the views.

Me. The authentic, the imperfect, the enough me. 

Instead of being gripped by fear, I did approach some of the past opportunities that I felt like “it wasn’t the right time” to pursue last year….and even though I knew the “numbers” weren’t there. Yes, I don’t have 80,000 followers on instagram. I have over 1,200.

So I got no’s. 

But I felt relieved. 

I felt like “you know what. I actually don’t want to go down this path”.

Because I know what I have to offer is greater than numbers, followers, views.

It’s about authenticity.

I write and live out authenticity. 

I am not better or less than. 

I am who I am and I want to write about the imperfect, complicated and simple life that I have. I want to write about how I get rejected, how I get no’s, how even though my numbers and qualifications don’t add up, God’s grace is enough for me. 

And so if God’s grace doesn’t open that door for me, I know God’s grace isn’t on it. 

I want to write about the fear that is so real and makes my arms numb, about the belly fat that I sometimes loath, and how I try to do yoga at night but realize I just need to love myself for what I look like now, fully and completely. That NO I can’t get abs in one week.

Self- care.

Self- love.

Self- acceptance.

Take it or leave it. That’s me.

I’m not going to figure out how to get more followers so I can go on a press trip, because I’m more than that.

I write to change lives, to tell people, it’s okay to be authentic and imperfect…to speak your mind, to speak the truth, to be politically incorrect, to be insecure, to make mistakes. 

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I’m going to keep doing what I love and what I’m good at.

I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole of trying to be good at something I don’t like doing.

Trying and getting a “no” is better than not trying and living in fear.
Because when you get a “no” or a rejection letter, you feel relieved.

You know you can move on and no longer have to be thinking about it. You know something more SUITABLE is ahead for you.

It’s like closing a chapter and knowing that another is coming.

What doors are you leaving open that needs to be closed?

Sometimes those new doors won’t open until you say NO firmly to the last door.
If you claim it’s a new season, why are you still flirting with the past. If you claim you don’t want to, why do you keep doing it. Do your words mean anything if you don’t stick to your own intention?
Half ass intentions leads to half ass results.

Let your no be no. Let your yes be yes. And last of all, say absolutely YES to yourself.

This is me. All of me. I believe that if it’s meant to be, God will open the door. It doesn’t mean you just wait on your ass for manna to fall down from heaven…you still try, but you try knowing that rejection is just an open door to the next good thing.

Let the spirit lead. Everything has already been completed.

Planning a Vancouver, Canada Trip

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2 days ago I saw a really great deal on roundtrip flights to Vancouver and immediately texted my mom. It was $195.11 per person. I know! RIGHT! Anyways, I subscribe to Airfarewatchdog, Tripadvisor and several other sites for good flight deals. I input cities I want to go to and watch my inbox as the year goes along.  I get flight deals sent to me so I don’t have to search. 

The great thing is that my mom is just as spontaneous as I am, but we’ve been wanting to go to Vancouver for a few years.

I know that deals like this are rare. I hopped onto American Airlines directly since it was the same rate and I heard customer service is usually better when you book direct (also complaints are heard). While I was waiting for my mom to reply, and every SECOND MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO GREAT DEALS, the best return timed flight WAS TAKEN. I was left to book 6am RETURN flights, which is a bummer because you have to wake up at 3 am or even earlier. And I HATE waking up early because I feel like throwing up but I can’t. 

We are leaving in about 2 weeks. That is the reason I NEVER tell people where I plan to go, BECAUSE I really don’t know! It’s true.

My mom wanted to go to the rocky mountains and lake louise, but now I had to do my research.

When I backpack on my own, I usually book one night at a hostel or hotel and then wing it from there. Since I don’t usually have time restraints, I ask around the hostel what and where I should go to. To be honest, when I was healing from some heart wounds, I literally walked around the city, wrote in my journal and drank coffee. Sometimes I would make friends with people and travel with them. It was very laissez-faire.

I started by googling “how to get from Vancouver to Rocky Mountains”. This led me to several tour sites. One was deceiving well-priced at $354 for 4 days. I knew immediately, “this is an ASIAN TOUR”. Of course, when I plugged in the dates it was actually $700 or so.

I HAVE HORRIBLE experiences with ASIAN TOURS. I hate them. I really do. I don’t care how cheap they are….the only thing I remember is HOLDING MY BLADDER YO!

They won’t let you piss on the bus!!! Every two hours you get a bathroom break, but as a paranoid bathroom person…the whole time I’m on the bus, I’m thinking about the bathroom (I think it’s a safety thing for me). Even though there is a bathroom on the bus, they don’t want you to taint it with your smelly piss.

And then you are rushed like a herd of cows. Last time I went to San Francisco with my mom, we had like 30 minutes to eat and look around at Solvang. I literally waited 10 minutes for my food, ate for another 10 and was rushing back to the bus afraid to be left behind! LOL. Also we usually had to wake up at 6am or 5:50am and some of the stops were not vital for us to see. We finally had enough and told the tour guide we wanted the afternoon off and NO we did not want to go on the city bus YO! 

I think the most enjoyable moments of our day was going to Philz Coffee.

I will continue this later….I haven’t eaten breakfast and I’m getting hungry.

SO far, I have decided renting a car is the best, easiest and most affordable way to travel to the Rocky’s. I google mapped it and saw that there was a HOT SPRING PLACE so WE ARE DEFINITELY GOING. HOT SPRING IS MY THING!

I hope you look forward to everything I’ll be writing about for my SUMMER EDITION!

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Ecuador, My Life In The Jungles- The Sequel 1

This day brings into remembrance of my time in Ecuador. I wrote about my first leg of the trip on Kiss From The World but of course, time and perspective holds even more colorful stories.

As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep because it’s 7am on a Saturday, I suddenly saw myself on a truck riding to the jungles of Tena. My mind replayed my trip in vivid details as if to remind me of all the adventures I’ve had in my life. For some reason, people accuse me of my inexperience and youth because I look young….but if they heard what I’ve been through. But it’s really none of their business.

So here goes.

Backpacking solo as a women.

  1. Do research, but don’t RESEARCH TOO much. Don’t ask too much of other peoples’ opinions. It was my first time backpacking in a “3rd world country”. My last backpacking trip before Ecuador was Australia. I asked a few Asian women and was filled with more fear than excitement. My boyfriend at the time gave me pepper spray and told me to hold onto it at all times. My experience was contrary to those opinions…I met the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met.

A kind man offered to help me translate, my Spanish was quite broken. I finally arrived at a local hotel, it was $10 a night with 2 beds. One for me, and one for my backpack. The plastic walls separated me from the grandma who owned the hotel and was watching some drama. I could see the technicolor bouncing to my wall, as if to welcome me. My bed sheets were thin and crinkled from the 1970s and hot red florals covered my second bed. Please excuse the quality, I don’t think I had an Iphone back then.

My days in the city of Tena was a blur but after visiting my sponsored child, I roamed the streets and attempted to eat street food without getting sick. I was successful. Ecuadorian salsa is BUENO. Almost as good as Mexican salsa out here in LA. They also love animal innards, and as a Taiwanese person, I could get with that, no problemo.

I decided to visit the jungles, there was another $10 hotel over there. I asked my new buddy whether he wanted to go with me. He was hesitant as he was very American, even though Ecuadorian American…and also he had gotten robbed once at an Ecuadorian bar. Oh I meant, he got roofied and robbed, and woke up in the bushes without his Iphone or wallet. So he was pretty petrified at the thought of going with a strange Asian woman to another city hours away.

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First we were to wait in front of my hotel for a yellow taxi. We waited. 1 hour, 2 hours. Wow. Okay, we called a few times and finally taxi came.

Second, we were dropped off at a bus station where tons of people played volleyball or was it basketball, I can’t remember. Now, we were transported into a truck but we had to wait for the tour guide. Now, this was another hour or so.

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The trip took 2-3 hours, riding on dirt, rocks and rickety paths. Towards the end, we were pretty much off-roading and the sky was getting dark. We finally parked and the tour guide took out his flashlight. In these photos I think they were carrying gas into the hotel.

We walked into the jungle and I thought “that’s it, I’ve met my time of death”. (No, actually I was a lot more positive back then since I was young and inexperienced (LOL)). A huge castle jungle house appeared before my eyes.

I was in heaven.

The individual rooms were not fancy, but it was enough. Mosquitoes roamed around me as I quickly sprayed myself. The bathrooms had concrete gray walls and straw walls surrounded me in the bedroom. All I could hear was birds, bugs, snakes and whatever else was out there. I could feel my soul spreading into the jungle and saying hi to each creature. I was becoming one with the earth. 

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The one part of the jungle that had reception was on this outdoor patio on the second floor. You had to put your phone on one point of a statue.581041_10151770635875603_255176119_n

The next day, I was expecting my friend to be there but after some looking and asking, I found out he had left. YEP, I am not kidding. My new friend left the jungles early in the morning, I think he was SO scared by the whole journey that he decided to leave. 

And yes, he was a male person. And yes, I am a female. And it just so happened I was the only person staying there. So I had a whole castle to myself. SO please LORD, do not judge people based on gender.

“hey what the fuck? you left?” -me on the phone.

“yes, well my mom needed me for something, so I had to leave right away”

“oh okay, whatever. Have fun!”- me

So my friend for the next few days was the tour guide, who I was not paying because I did not want to go on a tour. However, as a friend he still showed me a few things like how to cut down cocoa.

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He had escaped from a life of American gang -hood to live in the jungles. He saw friends get shot, and the most horrific of all, children being trafficked in crates. There was nothing he could do about it because he could get gunned down right there and then. This was no Narcos, this was real life. Then we talked about Jesus and I showed him how to hear from Him directly. Jesus and gangsters all in one day.

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To be continued…..