Need Time Management? Get a Puppy

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been this productive since college. A few and a half weeks ago, Jeremy came across three little puppies at a bus stop at the top of the mountain, and with the help of some wonderful neighbors, we were able to rescue them. We decided to take one in ourselves, so making her first appearance on the blog, Scout:

She’s super loveable, super adorable, and full of wants and needs. lol. Therefore, I have been using every waking moment as wisely as possible. And before I continue, I realize many of you reading this will relate this to having children, but obviously a little easier. I also realize that this is kind of a little glimpse into the (far away) future of Jeremy’s and my life once we do have kids, but what I didn’t expect was that getting a puppy would increase my productivity tenfold. What? Scout will nap for about forty minutes now – BAM – blog post. What? She’ll need her walk about half an hour after she naps? BAM! Essays scored, too. What? Another nap? BAM! Lessons planned and/or food eaten.

In fact, I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to get everything done and would actually be “wasting” more time having to play catchup. Instead, what I’ve found is that I’m better able to prioritize my day and really sink down into every project and activity that I set out to accomplish. This is one thing I never thought would happen, but I’m super thankful for the surprise of it all. And I must admit that due to the mood I’ve been in lately, that I’ve also been quite lazy as of late, and Scout’s gotten me off of my butt (literally and figuratively) to actually do something.

So, here’s some puppy love.

“Arrr…”

P.S. We are still looking for homes for her brother and sister. They look like her, but are black and white. So, if any of my Taiwan peeps would like to adopt one of them, or know someone who may be interested, please let me know! 🙂

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On Dinner Discussion and Recent Feelings

Scattered Post-It notes
Puppy training
Half-finished class projects, finished class projects, ideas for class projects…
Manic dashes to 7-11, the grocery store, and other places to pick up last-minute items and run last-minute errands.
Un-mopped floors
Good talks with  a friend

These have all been parts of my days recently, and I think that I am most thankful for the last one on the list. Recently there have been many thoughts floating in and out of my head. Thoughts of the future, especially. And this past Sunday dinner was very helpful in getting all of my emotions and feelings out there as well as reminding me that we’re never truly alone, even if we think we’re the only one at that moment in time.

See, I’ve passed my two year mark for living here, and if you include the first four months of 2009, I’ve officially been in Taiwan for 2 1/2 years. That’s a long time. A long time of not seeing family. A long time of teaching English to non-native speakers. A lot of sideways glances directed at me on the street. A lot of answering questions about my home. A long time of repeating those same answers…over and over. And it’s to the point where I’m wondering if it’s nearing the end here. I came here to support Jeremy, no doubt about that, and I’ve done my best to help him along, and I want to make sure that everything is in order for him first because I couldn’t be prouder of all that he’s accomplished thus far and want to make sure that  he’s able to succeed in his goals. However, the last leg of his Master’s program is coming up, and while I’ve enjoyed my time here and still have some things I would like to (and need to) do before heading back home, I have begun to feel very stifled lately – like maybe my last leg of this journey is coming just a little bit quicker than his. I’m beginning to pray about it and am giving it time before I officially decide if I will head home early (still another year away), but time will tell.

At first I thought that maybe it was just one of the phases of culture shock rearing its ugly head again, but after some consideration (and discussion), I definitely feel that it’s something different. And I’m not the only one apparently. Stef is leaving in a few months, and she’s been harboring some of the same emotions as I have been – especially in the inspiration department. Maybe it’s the city. Maybe it’s the smog. Maybe it’s the lack of sunshine in this mountain valley called Taipei. Maybe it’s a mix of all of these, but whatever it is, there has definitely been a lack of motivation and inspiration for the past few months. We’ve had goals and things we wanted to accomplish, but this lacking focus and we’re both wondering what it is about this city that makes us feel so…blah.

The days and weather here have been blending together so much so that it’s become hard for me to tell what season it is, let alone when an important event is coming up without frantically flipping through a calendar to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Sunday afternoon was the first bit of sunshine we’ve had in Taipei in almost two weeks. Literally. I felt (and still feel) as though everything has become routine, so this was very welcomed. I took my camera off of the shelf and went out for a bit because I was finally feeling a bit more inspired (thanks to our wonderful talk the previous night as well as the sunshine) in order to complete some photos for my Picture Inspiration course that’s still up and running despite my lack of motivation and inspiration to go out and shoot for it. Last year it helped looking for Fall, and finding textures this time around wasn’t too shabby, either. However, I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for me in 2012 because, while I’ve been feeling better thanks to the sun and shared feelings, there are still many things to ponder and figure out.

Negative Reactions

Looking back on a previous visit to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, there was one particular piece of artwork that my husband and I stumbled across, and then quickly passed by, trying not to stare it in the eye for too long. It was a short motion picture of a girl underwater in a tub, with small air bubbles slowly floating to the top. This disturbed me greatly. I did not want to look at it; my first reaction was to walk away so that no one thought that I was truly interested in what appeared to be a young girl patiently and purposefully allowing her life to end.

Now, granted, the description was in French with a Chinese translation next to it, but I was in no mood to really stop and try to figure out what it said either, nor was Jeremy. Maybe in reality the short film was expressing the motion of her hair as the water lapped back and forth against the sides of the bathtub, or perhaps it was trying to accentuate the way in which the bubbles popped as they hit the surface. While I would love to give this piece of artwork the benefit of the doubt, it is very hard for me to do so, as it struck a chord with one of my values: life. I am an advocate of everyone finding at least one thing that they are truly passionate about, whether you are able to turn it into a career or just a hobby (though, I say go for the gusto!), and it makes me sad when I think of how some people are so unhappy with life that they just want to end it all. And seeing this piece of art, which to me seemed to be trying to illustrate it as beautiful, well, it was a bit much for me to handle. I wanted to find the artist and ask, “Why? Why make this? Wouldn’t you help her, try to talk her out of it?” …I would.

I could be wrong, but again, these were just my initial [negative] reactions towards a piece of artwork that I just couldn’t view as “art.” I believe all life is sacred and that we are put here on this earth for a reason; we have a purpose, and we just need to listen to find it. And then go after our hopes and dreams with heart and passion. Fear will try to hold us back – heck, it does to me all the time – but we have to work on pushing through it.

Follow your heart. Go for your goals. Make your crazy dreams a reality. Never give up, and live life to the fullest.