After years of aimlessly plugging away 9 to 5, and having people continuously ask me what I really want to do with my life (while offering some good and not so good suggestions), I've taken a bold step in this adventure called life, and I'm teaching English in Asia. I started out in Shenzhen, China, moved on to Guangzhou, then Bangkok, Thailand, rural Malaysia, and now Kuala Lumpur. I also travel around Asia and enjoy sharing those stories as well.

This is not an undertaking for just anyone, as my friends assure me. I documented the ups and downs of my preparations and now my actual experiences in China, Bangkok, and Malaysia. I've been in Asia for nine years I'm working on another, but where I'm going after that... who knows?! LET THE ADVENTURE CONTINUE!

Come with me, if you will, on what I hope will be the experience of a lifetime. Share my joys and agonies; laugh with me and cry with me; I'm sure you'll laugh at me, too. Let's see how this shapes me and maybe it will even shape you, too.

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang » Kuantan March 2nd 2016

Living overseas it's easy to get into a routine and to miss out on some of the things in your area. I've been here a year and a half and I just heard about the LaoZi temple. I like temples. They're usually quite peaceful and pretty. But this one was special and only half an hour from my house. Winding down a road, I parked, and realized I was looking at the dragon's tail. There's an ticket booth, but it's empty. In reality you pay at the end. I walked into the dragon's tail and enjoyed the breeze and blue sky overhead. There was artwork on the walls, each section with a different theme. After winding around for ages, and being spooked a little by dried leaves blowing in the wind (it's really quiet otherwise) I ... read more
It's long, alright!
See, proof!
Tail up close

Asia » Malaysia November 30th 2015

Unemployed. On sabbatical. Between jobs. Taking a break. Call it what you like, but I call it, "Extended, unpaid vacation in a tropical country." I've got a few months off between jobs and have decided to lay low, take advantage of having a comfortable house of my own, and use the bulk of the time to work on projects, rest, and explore Malaysia a bit more. When you live in a foreign country (or anywhere, really) there's so much you don't see or do because you always think you'll do it later. You get busy living life: work, social gatherings, sleep, work, clean, shop, sleep, and so on. Suddenly a year or five has gone by and you still haven't done it. My last year was a whirlwind of activity (see previous sentence)--a fabulous year--but while ... read more
Homemade roasted pumpkin and curried lentil soup
This spicy fish dish is a Kuantan specialty
Using Visual Aids

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Kapas Island November 25th 2015

One of the popular get-aways on the east coast is Kapas Island. It's a tiny little island with pristine white beaches and perfectly blue waters. (I never got around to going since I always seemed to have weekend plans.) But like many places on the east coast, it closes for the monsoon season. A friend suggested during my extended, unpaid vacation that I visit it anyway. We decided to go for it and see if perhaps the boat to the island was running; if the weather was clear, it might be, even though the island is closed. We awoke to perfect blue skies filled with fluffy white clouds and realized this might be our lucky day. We drove down to the pier and found we were in luck--the boat was running that day. We waited about ... read more
What a view!
What a view!
Looking up

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang September 30th 2015

Teacher: I just found a new band and they share your name! Me: Who's the band? Teacher: Rotting Kris. Me: Rotting Kris? Teacher: Yeah, they're a thrash band. Me: I think you mean Rotting Christ. Teacher: Yeah, same same. Right? Hahahaha! When I lived in the US and called in sick, I usually got a response along the lines of, "You're vomiting... so does this mean you'll be a few minutes late today? We still need you to come in." Here, just feeling achy and lousy got me warm wishes, many suggestions to take a day off, and help finding my closest clinic. And then the clinic gave me free medicine. I only had to pay a small registration fee since I'm a new patient. This is a welcomed change. Today at work, the students were ... read more
Me and some of my teachers
As does this.
The ladies

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang » Kuantan September 28th 2015

Every year, Indonesia has a lot of fires from the burning of palm oil trees. It's something I'd never noticed until this year, now that I'm far enough south for the smoke to reach me. My friend refers to this as the annual Haze Festival. (Last year the fires weren't as bad/didn't last as long, so I didn't notice them.) Despite complaints from neighboring countries, Indonesia hasn't done anything to stop it yet; but supposedly they will in the next few years. Until then, we get to choke when we go outside. It certainly doesn't look as bad as what I saw in China many days, but it's still bad enough to close schools several times. And for me to decide that going to the mall (with closed ventilation system) sounds like a pretty good idea. ... read more
View on my street

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur August 30th 2015

This year, I decided I wanted to glam it up for my birthday. Kuantan is lovely, but it's not terribly exciting. A friend and I had been talking about doing a joint party since we have the same social circle and our birthdays are only two days apart. Another friend suggested we move the party to KL since we were having trouble coming up with a fun idea. And thus, the plan was hatched. The plan was simple: August 31 is National Day, and celebrations were planned for Aug 30. Including fireworks. We decided to maximize the opportunity. A nice, small group of us met for a fabulous sushi dinner and then went to a bar on a helicopter landing pad! We had great views of the city (including the towers) and a bird's eye view ... read more
The group

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang July 21st 2015

Hari Raya is the big celebration that follows Ramadan. In the US, everyone I knew called it Eid, which is the Arabic name for the day. It's supposed to be a short holiday (one main day followed by a few extras) but in Malaysia they make it last a whole month. School closes for a week, following special ceremonies, perhaps games, and Koran recitation. Ramadan is observed by about 60% of the population here, and it affects lots of things in daily life. Many restaurants aren't open because the owners (and most of the customers!) are fasting. My school canteens closed. Things move at a slower pace because by mid-afternoon, people are tired and hot. Food bazaars pop up all over, all selling a variety of foods. Since many people don't feel like cooking during the ... read more
I'm at the palace gate!
I'm at the palace gate!
Food at the first house

Asia » Malaysia » Pahang » Kuantan June 30th 2015

Today at work, I asked one of my teachers if there was anything interesting in the newspaper he was reading. "Not really, it's yesterday's. The most interesting thing is the article about Ronaldo winning the award." "Ah, okay. Why is he making such a stupid face in the photo?" "I have no idea. You're right, it's not a good expression." A quiet teacher in the corner spoke up: "He's single, you know, Kris." As I was walking to the beach a group of middle/high school boys yelled hello, smiled and waved. On my way back up, they said hello again and asked if I'd take a photo with them. I sighed, not really in the mood. "Okay, " I said. All 7 of them let out a whoop and a "YES!" Glad I changed my mind. ... read more
This is how I like to start the day
Well, on the weekend
Fo' shizzle!

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon June 13th 2015

My last few days were spent in Yangon with an old high school friend. He's made a few appearances in my blog before, but usually because he's been visiting the city I'm in. Now, it's my turn! We're quite pleased that we've not only been friends for over 20 years, but that we've also managed to spend time together in four countries so far. It was great to see Yangon through his eyes, meeting his friends, seeing places he loves, getting an idea what it's really like to live there, rather than just travel through. He took me out and about, giving me a guided tour of historic sites, favorite restaurants, basic shops, and the bank. (As a former bank employee, I always find foreign banks interesting. And in this case, wonderfully air conditioned.) I'm already ... read more
Our Spread
Coffee time

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Pyin U Lwin June 9th 2015

Up in the mountains is a quaint little town. It's nice and cool. It's quiet. It was exactly what I needed at this point in my trip. I had grand plans to explore the area, but didn't quite stick to that plan. I'd done a lot of walking in the heat and I really needed a change of pace. I visited the botanical gardens, took a horse drawn carriage back (fulfilling a dream I've had for decades), and then ... did nothing. I stayed at a little resort (the only time I intentionally had my own room) and my chalet had a little porch. And across from the porch was a little bubbling fountain and garden. So I spent the rest of the time eating, drinking fresh juices, and reading a book while enjoying a little ... read more
On the road
On the road
On the road

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