Gypsy Kitty: My New Look

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Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Every time I move, or experience a transition, I tend to rebrand myself and my little corner of the internet. When I got married and moved to North Carolina, I went from DC party girl “Bad Kitty” to “Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake,” documenting my attempts at domesticity and “blooming where I’m planted” as a new military spouse.

When I moved from Georgia (yet another “keep calm” sort of location) to Okinawa, Japan, I still felt the need to keep calm and bloom, but decided to revamp my blog to suit the Asian adventure upon which I was about to embark: lotus flowers, better photography, menu items, a new template. Mostly, Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake became a travelogue.

Now, I am living in Southern California, and it is time for a change!

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Taipei, Taiwan

My experience in Asia taught me to explore anything and everything. I had taken DC for granted in my youth, mostly staying within my comfort zone and only occasionally venturing beyond what I knew. Of course, much of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a lot of disposable income with which to have such adventures. Still, there was plenty in my own backyard that I failed to become acquainted with, because I was too busy with work, family obligations… and being a Bad Kitty.

With Asia – and with growth – came a greater understanding and appreciation for the nooks and crannies all around. Sometimes that was an exciting new country, and other times, it was a particular corner of a particular street in the village outside my gate. With all of my transience, I’ve learned to make the time to explore the world around me, whether it’s a foreign country, a different state, a new city, or even my own backyard. (Not to mention my own state of mind!)

At the same time, I continued to explore the nooks and crannies of my own life  – learning from others, as well as myself. Now that I am starting over yet again, I’m ready to blend that curiosity and wanderlust with the fun girl that loves to dance, sparkle, and drink wine with her cats. A Gyspy Kitty, if you will! Purrfect. For now 🙂

As always, this blog keeps me connected, introspective, and contemplative as my definitions of home and self continue to evolve. I’m surely enjoying the ride!

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La Jolla, California

My Favorite Little Corner of the World

Goodbyes are never easy. It’s an old clichĂ©, but we all know it’s true. My Okinawa goodbyes were not particularly graceful or memorable. They were actually rather abrupt, but in some ways, I like that better. As my friend Sally said, it’s like ripping off a BandAid. Or diving head first into cold water. You’ve just gotta do it. And in the end, most of my goodbyes were not that serious, because I know I will see many of these people again. But there was one goodbye that was harder for me. Because I know I will never see my Uken family again.

IMG_0099_20160207124157It’s hard to explain what Uken Beach means to me. On the surface, it may seem obvious: I like cats. Cats are my spirit animal. And believe it or not, I haven’t always been as obsessed as I am today. Sure, I’ve always loved them, but it wasn’t until my mother got rid of my cat while I was in college (without my knowledge) that I truly realized their significance in my life. As my mom struggled with mental illness and my home life disintegrated, Sammy was my consistent source of comfort. When I didn’t have her anymore, I felt her absence on a very deep level, and from then on would obsess over when I could finally get another feline companion of my own. Continue reading

Happy 2017!

This year, I am excited to make my blog more dynamic again. It used to serve as an outlet for any number of different topics or issues on which I could pontificate and ruminate. Since moving to Okinawa, it’s been largely a travelogue.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course! I have lots of travel posts to catch up on, in fact. I’ve had many international adventures since Singapore, and will soon share my experiences in Bali, Paris, London, and New Zealand. But, I do miss writing about other things, too – however interesting or mundane. And I don’t like that my writing has gotten rusty.

Now that I have completed my Master’s degree (woohoo!), I should have more time to write again. To reflect. To read for pleasure. To explore new things. To prepare for our next big move, as our time in Okinawa draws to a close…

I am looking forward to sharing what 2017 has to offer, especially since I have no idea what to expect in this transitional time. I am a little nervous, but I also can’t wait  ❤

Annie, I need you…

Annie Bean was the cat that everyone liked, even if they typically didn’t like cats. And when I say everyone, I mean that fairly literally. Many people close to me passed through Annie’s life at one point or another, making note of any number of various traits: her laid back demeanor, her pleasantly plump figure, or her sassy self-assuredness, juxtaposed with her surprisingly social and tolerant approach to strangers.  The fact that Annie was so known, liked, and even loved has made her memory that much stronger and the comfort that much greater in her untimely passing.

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An Easter Update

It’s hard to believe that Chuck and I will hit our 2-year mark in Okinawa in just a couple of weeks.  One year left sounds like both a lot of time, and no time at all. Much has been done, and yet there is still so much to do!

I didn’t mean for this blog to turn into a travelogue, in which I only update when I go somewhere exciting. Even if no one ever reads it, I want to look back on it myself and remember all the adventures I had, big and small. So, here’s a quick re-cap of what we’ve been up to since our Thai Holiday, in reverse chronological order.

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Celebrating 5 Years

IMG_2670Every now and again, Chuck and I get so caught up in the separate things we have going on in our lives, that we start to lose touch with each other. This calls for what I have dubbed a “reset”, when we share openly and honestly over a glass of wine (or scotch, in his case.) We talk about what has preoccupied us individually, and then what we miss in each other. I hope this is something we can maintain over the years, because it goes without saying that communication is vitally important in a healthy relationship.

This particular exchange was well-timed because it was mere days before we celebrated five years of marriage.

Our reset made for a truly enjoyable, distraction-free October 8th. I think we both felt relaxed and in-touch with each other. We don’t typically exchange gifts on our anniversary (opting for a trip somewhere, instead), but – unbeknownst to each other – we both ended up purchasing items that we had been wanting for a while – an XBOX One for him, and a Kerrie Hess painting for her.

We enjoyed a romantic and satisfying dinner at Soupcon, a favorite local Okinawan cafe, before wrapping up a last day of work and jetting off to Kyoto!

I think it’s been our best anniversary so far… and I know there will be many, many more to come 🙂

De-Clutter & Cleanse

IMG_3252With Chuck away and a break from grad school coinciding, I have a unique opportunity to step away from the frenzy that has been Life lately by refocusing and realigning my routine, goals, activities, and self just in general. I have felt rather overwhelmed and distracted lately, which makes me tired and irritable. I don’t want to become so stretched thin that I miss the value of the experiences I’m blessed to have these days. So, I’m trying to make the most of my 3 weeks off from school and my 10 days of solitude, with Chuck off doing his thing. Continue reading