Out of Comfort

Dear Taipei,

Today, I finally walked out of our Nangang apartment alone to spend the day alone, exploring Taipei, which to many seems like such a small feat. It’s Taipei, for goodness sake – how have you not wandered on your own, they look at me in judgment and bewilderment. But even after several years, I’ve never explored the city on my own. To blame an overprotective and loving mom, would be complete and utter nonsense because honestly, I actually have preferred the comfort of just following her around because then, I never need to feel uncertain or insecure about people figuring out I’m not a native, despite being fluent in Mandarin.

After only 2 hours of being out of familiarity and without the comfort of my mom’s perfume even in the midst of smelly alley ways, stinky tofu and bodily odors on MRTs, I became exhausted from looking for a place to eat and from my obsessive need to be able to read every character on the menu. I mean, I could just speak English and act like I have no idea how to order and then be presented with an English menu, but my pride stands in the way, to the point, where I almost resorted to just purchasing a rice ball at 7-11. I wish I could truly explain to you how rewarding this plate of food was at the moment because it reminded me of my urgent need to get over silly fears of mistakes, of trusting myself a little more and of embracing adventure for what it is – an adventure.

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice, on some unknown street, near RenAi Road, thank you from saving me from a fully diminished pride. It’s time to force myself out of comfort more often.

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Xoxo,

An uncomfortable Taiwanese-American

A-Blazing into 2015

Dear 2015,

There are so many woulda, coulda, shoulda’s in life.

There are so many things, people and situations to be upset about, to be envious of, to complain about, to regret, to be bitter about, to cry about, and to wish you could forget about or change. If we sat here thinking of only those things each day, those lists of things would never end, and happiness would never see daylight.

I only wish for us to all thank those around us a little more, love a little more, choose to see the beauty in our lives a little more, give a little more, smile a little more and be grateful a little more. A little more of a light each day, brings even the dullest flames to fire and encourages even the furthest fallen to stand.

I choose to live my 2015 a-blazing and sharing that fire with all. Join me in loving and thanking this life and its wonderful people a little more this year. Cheers to 2015!

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Xoxo,

A Little Flame

My Ex-Love, 2014

Dear 2015,

2014 was a messy one but to only focus on the harder parts would do the full year injustice. It began with working to the bone, being constantly exhausted without comprehension, immersing myself in work, choosing work over relationships, and choosing my expectations and needs over everything else – all due to my unwillingness to say no, to be perfect and to not disappoint, especially myself.

But then, God flew me into unfamiliarity in a country where being selfish and being constantly on the go and immersed in self was not only counterculture, it seemed blasphemous. With a world of so much beauty, how could one not be joyful, said all its faces. I fell in love with the world and its people again, as I saw how looking beyond the scope of my hands and only my comfort and convenience, God’s creation is and always will be unforgettable in all its forms.

Yet even with such an awakening, coming home was met with the reality of past choices and the possibility of falling asleep again. The world had moved on as I had ventured into a lifestyle of busyness – people were married, celebrating new births, had moved to other states and countries, in new relationships, and I had become a stranger to many of them. Yet it was all a lesson to be learned in recognizing that there are many wrong turns even in a bold 20-something-year-old’s choices and that youth is fleeting as tears were shed for young deaths, illnesses, broken relationships and difficult goodbyes.

So today as I look back at 2014, despite seeing it as a former lover who did not end happily, I bring with me the reminders that boundaries doesn’t mean walls, independent doesn’t mean selfish or alone, mature does not mean lacking joy, and grown up does not mean having forgotten those who have guided you there. This chapter may be one I cannot wait to put away but it is one that has a story in which I will never forget as I move onto 2015. To my former 2014, thank you for your love, laughter, hurt, rude reminders and being a part of me. To 2015, I can’t wait to be with you. I hope you all have a beautiful one as well!

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Xoxo,
Your New Love

Wrapping Up 2014 with a Giving Heart

Dear Giving Hearts,

UPDATED: Guys! Today is the last day of 2014!!! (At least in Taiwan haha)

Can we help a student out in Zambia get a full year’s worth of food and educational needs covered before the year is up??? We only need a little more than 1 month, which is around $50! Let’s get to the full $600 and anything over will just roll over to the next year 🙂

Please please help!!!! Any little bit goes a long way 🙂 https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3v2q7/sh/13C7I1

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Thank you!!

Xoxo,

Giving Into 2015

Changing It Up! – Chocolate Banana Strawberry Milk Biscuit Cream Cheese Cookie Bites

Dear Baking Girl,

As you know, I have posted the recipe for “Chocolate Banana Milk Biscuit Cream Cheese Cookie Bites” here: http://alettertoadeargirl.com/2014/12/18/chocolate-banana-milk-biscuit-cream-cheese-cookie-bites/, so I not going to re-write the recipe, but I just tried it out with the combination of strawberry and bananas and it turned out to be fantastic!

I also melted some strawberry chocolates and matcha chocolates to change up the drizzles and decor! Here are some of the pictures!! Try it out.

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xoxo,

Baking Girl

Chikumbuso: Remembrance

Dear Kindest Hearts,

Over the summer I had the most amazing opportunity to visit the organization, Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project (http://www.chikumbuso.com/) in N’gombe, Lusaka, Zambia. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful the people within the organization are!

I worked with the school for over 2 months and learned a little more about the students and their backgrounds. I learned that many of the students come from large families from the community. They often times have many siblings and may live with other relatives or even have been raised by family other than their own parents. Education is often times a difficult priority because of their background – sometimes even just the basic day to day needs are even difficult to fulfill. Because of this, Chikumbuso has set up a sponsorship program for the students of high needs.

Because the new year is just around the corner, I wanted to urge us to do something special for someone else for the new year! I especially am hoping for support in sponsoring a student this coming new year of 2015.

It takes $50 a month (which equals $600 a year) to sponsor a student. Child sponsorship sends a child to school with all the requirements and benefits. The sponsored child will also receive a monthly food stipend package to help the feed the whole family.

I realize that $600 is a lot to ask for from one person but from many, if we could donate $1, $5, $10, etc. each, we could do it! My hope is to sponsor a student for at least one year. If we go over $600, we can continue to sponsor the child for as long as we can make it possible!

If you are interested in helping out, please go here: http://fnd.us/c/3v2q7/sh/13C7I1

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Thank you!

Ainz