Thursday, July 30, 2009


Smiles today... life went well... the world worked out in a way that seemed so seamless and natural like it was just the way life is meant to be.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Airplane Rides

I always have the most interesting plane rides... or maybe my innate ability to people watch and analyze their physical cues just makes plane rides more interesting for me. Like my flight from England to Dulles... (wow, Dulles sucks!) There was a young girl, very pretty but slightly duncecapp'ed with a Carrie Underwood charm to her sat between me and an older gentleman. You could tell he was slightly enamored... he was asking her questions the entire flight, even while she fiddled with her headphones talking about her anticipation for the in-flight entertainment... needless to say, they were my in-flight entertainment.

As for my flight from DC to SF, I was pretty sure we were going to be punished by the stewardess... I mean, flight attendants. I believe we were taxi'ing from the gate and a few passngers still had their cell phones out when this message blasted from the PA: "Excuse me, all electronic devices including cell phones must be stowed! If you cannot do this, it will delay us, I will have to restart the emergency message, we'll lose our place in line for takeoff, and we won't leave on time! So please make sure all your belongings are put away!" Scaaarrrryyyyyy...

But the flight itself was pleasant. I sat between a BioTech marketer and semi-conductor engineer. The engineer was obviously interested in the Canadian brunette marketer... I crushed his dreams and asked if she was married to which she said "Yes! He's amazing, I love him so much..." Mr. Semi-Conductor got really quiet for a few moments. However the 3 of us still managed to spend a good four hours chatting. We started out of course with the inane small talk (oy, small talk.. it can be the lubricant to deeper social discourse or it can just be useless) so I actually closed my eyes for part of it. Then we started to talk about more interesting things... we covered everything from marriage, religion, history, education, psychology, therapy, love, travel, etc. I love deep conversations with strangers. It is probably one of my favorite things about travel: You get an endless supply of strangers and therefore an eternity of various topics to discuss and hash over... at the end of the day, you can choose to keep that stranger as a friend or move along, and just be thankful for the new views and company of a life-passerby.

One of my favorite travel moments was actually on a plane. I was on my way home from Rome and was seated next to a 5'5", 40-something man with Alan Thicke-textured light brown hair. We started talking about our travels at first and he started buying ourselves glasses of wine. He wasn't a fan of planes and actually gets drunk for every flight to help him pass out. He ended up giving me some of the most endearing and important advice of my life. While in a bit of a drunken, reminiscent stupor of a past Brazilian love and the pink dolphins they watched together along the Amazon river, he said this to me: "If the two of you together are better than the sum of your parts... that's when you know it's good."

It took me a few years, but I finally know what he means by that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My weekend was fairly busy and fairly not busy. Clint and I have found ourselves rather enraptured with our new workout program (CrossFit) and although I am enjoying it and I love that I have a new workout everyday in accordance with the website, it is hard for me to fathom the workouts will be enough to prep me for a marathon or that I will ever be able to do any of these exercises without first scaling them down. I imagine it will take years and I hope this is something Clint and I stick with.

As for the marathon... there is something my friends and loved ones have a hard time understanding. When I am faced with a possible challenge, my expectations of myself are to overcome them. Not just overcome them but be great. Unfortunately, this creates a lot of pressure on myself. In my mind, doing something without doing it well is failing. And I would rather not try than fail. To say, attempt the marathon and then not finish or have to walk a great deal would be a failure to me in my mind. So accepting the challenge of the marathon is not just saying "I'll try", it's saying "I will RUN it all." It has been difficult for me to fully accept this challenge. The idea of running 5+ hours (I'm an idealist but I'm not out of touch with reality--I don't expect myself to finish in under 5 hours) is daunting and even a bit boring. But so long as my feet don't stop moving and don't slow to a walk or trot, I'll be satisfied. If I can RUN it... if my body can reach a fuller potential and allow my lil legs to hit that finish line in under 5 or 4.5 hours... I'll be happy. (If, by the grace of Buddha and the CrossFit creators I can finish in 4 hours or less, I'll be ecstatic....)

These "expctations" of myself create a hindrance in my life of what I am willing to try and how I approach challenges in my life. Perhaps, accepting that I will not always do things well doesn't necessarily mean the attempt was a failure, will help me better embrace challenges in the future.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mix it Up

"If you only do what you know you can do... you don't do very much."
Tom Krause

Some great tips on freshening up your daily routine... It'll do a bit to lift your mood and your health! Some ways to implement these ideas? Cook with your eyes closed? OK, maybe shower with your eyes closed... Watch a foreign language movie and really listen to the words... Try wiping your bum with the other hand... Lots of ways!

Speaking of new things we add to our routine, Clint and I have been trying the CrossFit workout to help us train for our marathon in Athens in November. Is it coming up really soon? Yes. Are Clint and I ready? Not at all, we just started. Do I have faith in my ability to run 26.2 miles on the same path the original marathoner ran? Not really.... BUT, if I am going to fail anywhere, why not in Athens!?
In seriousness though, I am really thankful to be living somewhere where I can even fathom having the time, resources, and proximity to consider running a marathon in Athens! Who knew loving this random pilot dude at a wedding would bring me to England where I can do cool things like that? Granted it is all perspective... someone in England would probably think it's awesome to live in the states and be able to run the Boston Marathon.... I'm pretty grateful I lived in the bay and could run the Bay to Breakers! (And I re-did the math--YES, it IS 12k/7.5 miles... I'm Asian, don't question my math abilities).
Oh and even moreso, I am grateful I have working legs. Honestly, I tear up when I read about Pakistani children getting their legs ripped off in random bombings... I feel like an ass not being more grateful about these things. We should all feel so grateful....

off I go to rest up before another CrossFit workout today! :P


"Dogs have owners. Cats have staff."
--The same is true of children. Teenagers have parents. Toddlers have staff.

I worked at the CDC (on-base Daycare) for about 2 months. In those 2 months, I was completely healthy for about two weeks in June--no stuffy nose, coughing, sore throat, oozing gak-like mucous from my nostrils... My immune system really didn't get along with toddlers who were able to sneeze projectile snot at me in hurricane speeds. Now, I've been out of the CDC for a week and I'm still sniffly, runny nosed and coughing. Lovely, I know. But the lil gremlins got me and left more than just an impression in my heart but a dent in my kleenex boxes as well. So today, I'm incredibly thankful for the time I have to nap and just rest up until this passes over.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I've been reading the Happiness-Project and it amazes me how all the quirky faults she outlines about herself, I totally understand and see within myself. One of them is showcased in her commandment titled "Let it Go". She describes her problem as such.

"I hate to be wrong, I hate to screw up, I hate to forget to do something – and it really bothers me when I do. I want to bore everyone with my endless explanations, justifications, and excuses."

I can relate completely. I grew up thinking I needed to be "perfect" and when I do anything less than perfect, I like to rehash every error elong the wayand explain how that error came to be despite my detail oriented ways. It's just who I am--I am fixated on composure and not looking foolish. (I am a "green" person according to a recent personality test... green people are private, they're perfectionists, they are oftentimes crazy). (If you'd like to take the

And so, today I am grateful to come upon The Happiness Project. I am hoping to come up with my own set of commandments which so far look a lot like the author's. I am hoping these little commandments will help me stay focused on the bigger picture and what really matters in life...

1. Accept yourself... Be Margaret.
2. Be fair... Be understanding.. Be polite.
3. Let it go. Ask yourself, Does it really matter?
4. Be Patient.
5. Act happy. You will be happy.
6. Don't overanalyze--just accept.
7. Do what matters.
8. Be silly.
9. Take it in--each moment only lasts for a moment.

I hope these commandments will help set me up for when I write my DayZero list!

To be cont'd.

The Happiness Project

"Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my life, my decisions and choices have been guided more by the ideas of success and failure instead of by happiness and attitude. Now that I am sharing my life with someone, I am learning more and more blatantly everyday where my faults lie in the way I have been thinking and dealing with life. It's funny what happens when you live with someone else and share your lives together--the reflection of yourself you see in them can be quite eye opening...

And so, I am trying to let my guard down more these days... trying to not let me prickly thorns reach so far out, and embracing more of the opportunities I have in my life instead of measuring my life in my successes and failures. I am not a package of grades or percentages but a person with moods, attitudes, and ideas and I need to work on what I do with those moods and attitudes and ideas. After all, Clint fell in love with me for how I make him feel, for who I am, and not for my grades, job accomplishments or bank accounts.

So now that I've survived the past few months in my privacy coccoon, I'm trying to let my guard down more and remember just who and what Marge is. Sometimes I feel like I've left the best parts of me back in the U.S. and instead I arrived with two pieces of luggage and a protective shield instead. I've decided to break that down and reclaim the best of Marge that I remember by remembering what I am grateful for, where my ethics lie, and what my heart loves.

During this reflection I came upon "The Happiness Project" Blog. Inspired by this blog and a few others, I've decided to start a Gratitude Blog. Here I'll write about the things I am grateful for and/or what I have learned. And so far, I have learned that I need to get back to the core of who I am and hopefully, in this quest, I'll let down my ready-to-pounce guard and get back to a zen-state-of-mind...

*my own commandments to come soon*