I Dare You – Book Tag

I got this tag from Kirsty over at Kirsty’s Book Reviews. She didn’t tag me but it looked fun and I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging again so I thought I’d go ahead and do it.

Rules

+ You must be honest

+ You must answer all the questions

+ You must tag at least 4 people

~*~

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I’ve had War and Peace sitting in a box at my parents’ house for almost 10 years now and I’ve still not read it. I don’t tend to keep many books though because they take up too much space when you’re constantly moving around.

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One Year Later & a Return to Blogging

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It’s been a year.

A whole year since I packed my bags, left Korea, and moved to Singapore.

The last time I properly blogged, I was 3 days in to my new life. I was living in a hotel in the red light district, getting adjusted to the heat and new atmosphere, preparing myself for a new job, hoping & praying that this move would heal my depression, and that I’d eventually find some happiness.

Thirteen months have passed and I’m here to tell you that Singapore has been good to me. Living has been easy and kind to my mind. I feel like me again and I’m enjoying everything I surround myself with.

I love the feel of the sun on my skin every day. I love the ease with which I can get around on this island. I love the sounds of the Singlish ‘lah’, ‘lor’, ‘ah’, and ‘leh’ that roll off the tongues of my neighbours and colleagues. I love that I’ve discovered how good I am at working with children and that it drives me to work hard and give it my all.

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Books Read in 2016

I broke my own reading record and hit a total of 70 books this year. The most I’d previously read in a year was 50 (back in 2009).

This year, I can proudly say I killed it. 😀

And, before I list the book titles, here are some figures …

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And here go the titles. The ones in bold were my favourites …

1) Just Kids by Patti Smith

2) Are You Experienced? by William Sutcliffe

3) Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

4) Sex and the Beatles by Jeff Walker

5) Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

6) Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim

7) Yes Please by Amy Poehler

8) Nana Vol. 2 by Ai Yazawa

9) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

10) Miss O’Dell by Chris O’Dell (re-read)

11) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

12) Shoot Down the Wendy Bird by Julie Zantopoulos

13) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (re-read)

14) Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr.

15) Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

16) Why Me? by Sammy Davis Jr.

17) Forget You Had a Daughter: Doing Time in the Bangkok Hilton by Sandra Gregory

18) Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

19) Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

20) Born into Slavery: Voices from the Past by Stephen Braxton Thompson

21) Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

22) A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion

23) Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton

24) A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday

25) Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

26) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

27) The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

28) Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio

29) The Vegetarian by Han Kang

30) Life After Death by Damien Echols

31) Run River by Joan Didion

32) Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou

33) Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

34) An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

35) The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes

36) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read)

37) Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

38) The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

39) Once by Alice Walker

40) You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down by Alice Walker

41) I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About On Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

42) Does This Bible Belt Make Me Look Gay? by Krista Doyle

43) Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

44) The Confessions of Nat Turner by Nat Turner

45) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

46) We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

47) The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary Prince (re-read)

48) One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

49) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

50) The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

51) The Girls by Emma Cline

52) Gather Together in my Name by Maya Angelou

53) You Can’t Touch my Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

54) Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from my Bedroom by Sara Benincasa

55) Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

56) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

57) Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler

58) A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday

59) Passing by Nella Larsen

60) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

61) Ayiti by Roxane Gay

62) The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

63) I Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson

64) Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

65) The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

66) Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos

67) Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli

68) Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

69) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

70) Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

First 72 Hours in Singapore

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I’m here! Woohooooo!

Here I am at the end of my first 72 hours in my new home. I’m currently wrestling with a piss poor wifi connection in a pretty average hotel smackbang in the center of the Red Light District. My neighbours are sex workers and a lot of men but there’s an element of seediness missing from the area – Possibly due to the fact that prostitution isn’t illegal here.

View from my Red Light District window

View from my Red Light District window

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Sunday Post: My Last Weekend in Korea

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday.

What’s new?

So this is it.

I’m less than a week away from my big move. In fact, I only have 3 full days left in Korea.

At this moment I’m sitting on my bed, trying my best to calm down after getting overwhelmed with packing and then worrying about every little thing that could possibly go wrong this week. It doesn’t help that in the last 6 hours I’ve had 4 iced coffees and a can of coke.

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Mentally, I’m all ready to go. Even though it’ll be hard to say goodbye to my students, coworkers, and friends this week, I’m really looking forward to starting my new job and exploring my new home.

Even though I’ve had the odd night of weird dreams and occasional moments of doubt, this has been the calmest move of my life so far.

It helps, of course, that I have an incredible amount of support from friends and family who’re also keeping me from having an epic freakout every day.

Today actually marks the 2 year anniversary of being in Korea. I’d usually fill a post up with words of reflection on these occasions but I’m going to save it for Wednesday night – my last night here – so keep an eye out for that one. 🙂

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Sunday Post: International Women’s Day & Teens with Attitude

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday.

What’s new?

International Women’s Day was this week but, thanks to work and being preoccupied with packing, I barely acknowledged it. Instead, I’ll leave links to some great IWD things at the bottom of this post.

Classes were back in full swing which meant that, by Wednesday, I’d lost my voice. I do wonder if this is something that’ll ever stop happening. For the last 2 years, after a long period of winter/summer holidays, I always end up losing my voice. Maybe I should start doing vocal exercises before the start of each semester. At least my students do the majority of talking in class. If I had to stand there and talk at them for an hour with a lecture, I’d probably end up completely mute.

Overall, though, all classes this week went smoothly with no hiccups. Except one.

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(A Late) Sunday Post: Back to School

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday.

What’s new?

The new school year started: A batch of fresh-faced 1st graders arrived, staff were moved around to different offices, and the old students returned looking quite grown up. As everyone piled into the gymnasium for the school’s opening ceremony, I actually got quite teary-eyed (surprise surprise!): I’ve been teaching the 3rd graders for 2 years now but won’t be around to see them graduate; My 2nd graders have finally shrugged off last year’s wild beginnings and have returned with a long-awaited maturity; And the little ones? I won’t get to know them at all.

Seeing all of the kids together in one place finally made me realise that I’m really going to miss them. I love them all and worry about their future. They deserve an English teacher who loves what she/he does and puts 110% into teaching them. I’m not saying I’m the world’s greatest but, for the last 2 years, I’ve put my heart and soul into what I do because my kids deserve it. I can only hope that whoever replaces me doesn’t come here just to waste time and earn a bit of money (because, believe me, there are plenty of those). My kids won’t go to college so their English classes aren’t a priority. That doesn’t mean they only deserve minimum effort from their teacher.

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