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a little bit brave… in Taiwan

Reader, I’m so excited to share the next installment of my series, “A Little Bit Brave.”

Each month, I’ll be posting an article by another blogger who took a leap and moved themselves away from everything that was familiar to find the next “right” step in their life. Next up: Celeste Banks. Celeste is a family friend of mine from childhood and is living (as you guessed from the title) a little bit brave in Taiwan.

If you missed it, several weeks ago, I completed a project outlining the story of how I was a little bit brave and came to Korea. (You can read them all here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4…) In an attempt to share with you how others have been a little bit braveI decided to start asking some friends to share their stories with you as guest bloggers on this site. You can read the first installment by my friend Anna, who was living in the Philippines, here.

To read more of her awesome stuff, check out Celeste’s blog, From Kansas to Taiwan.

So, without further ado, here’s a little bit brave… in Taiwan. Enjoy. 🙂

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I was sobbing and hyperventilating, sitting at my kitchen table in my college apartment on April 14th, 2014.
I compulsively checked my phone’s email for months. Like any good senior in college knows how, I nervously evaded the consistent, droning,  “What are you doing next year???” I celebrated for all my other friends after every acceptance and job offer came in, all the while feeling so nervous!
I was talking to my sister on the phone, but squealed out, “I HAVE TO GO!” when I saw the email.  I had won a Fulbright grant. To move to Taiwan. For a year. I called my mother, screeching into her ear, “I GOT THE FULBRIGHT GRANT! I HAVE TO CALL DAD!”
A year before, a friend of mine suggested I look into Fulbright. I met with the head of National Scholarships at Emory, where I went to university, and started pestering professors about writing me recommendations. I spent 2-3 hours a week the entire summer working on the damned essays. Then I turned in my application to Emory and awaited my interview time.
In September I met with a panel of professors from Emory to explain to them why I wanted a Fulbright grant. I showed up in my brand-new $40 black blazer from Target and practiced power posing before hand. They asked me tons of questions, from “Why haven’t you studied abroad?” to “What do you want to do post-Fulbright?”
After a few days, the interviewer let me know that Emory would be recommending me for a Fulbright, so I officially sent in my application in October. I heard back in January that I was a finalist. Three and half months of Mardi Gras, spring break, sorority and frat formals flew by, and then I was at my kitchen table reading an email that said, somehow, I had been accepted to this program; and I was hyperventilating.


Continue reading “a little bit brave… in Taiwan”

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be your own "Beyoncé," girl…

Things are starting to stir as we approach that special time in the Americas when candidates start coming forward and declaring their intentions to begin the race for the next presidential election. (In fact, Hilary Clinton officially launched her campaign publicly today.) I came across a video a few days ago that sparked my interest in all this election-talk. I follow the very millennial-friendly news outlet, Mic.com, on Facebook and read a lot of their stuff. This particular video caught my eye, though, because it had an interesting title:

Here’s What “Beyonce Voters” Really Want From Government

Now, I effing LOVE Beyonce. I like her music and I like what she stands for (for the most part). She is an incredibly talented woman and she seems, from my average-citizen point of view, to be a pretty cool person that really wants women to feel empowered. I dig that, dude.

Continue reading “be your own "Beyoncé," girl…”

A Little Bit Brave Is Changing!

Hey, hey, gentle Reader! 

If you’ve been following along on my journey, you might know that I’ve been a little bit of “all over the place” with this blog.

When I started A Little Bit Brave in 2013, I had no clue what I was doing or really why I was doing anything… Blogging was still fairly new and I had dreams of becoming some kind of big-time blogger, but I didn’t know what I was going to write about. 

In the end, it started as a chronicle of my adventures overseas and a major outlet for learning how to blog. I stuck with it for a while and then let it go for long periods… I’ve never been good about consistency (if we’re being honest).

And then, in 2016, after the U.S. election that shocked the world, I wrote this. In the aftermath of that night, I felt completely blindsided by what had happened. And I realized, writing about how I was feeling, what I wanted A Little Bit Brave to become.

The Early Path to Transition

If you read through that post, you’ll hear my first “new” battle cry. In some respects, I may have already been making my way toward becoming a blog specifically for brave women

I wrote about standing up to people we’ve known our whole lives who one day, when we’ve grown up, shock us with something they say.

I wrote to ask you, Reader, and the hundreds of other foreigners in my community what they were doing with their (Korean) lives. I encouraged you (and them) to take steps to think about what’s coming in the future.

I wrote about being single and loving myself.

I wrote about being kinder to myself in my failures and doing my best to be satisfied in what I accomplished.

I invited 4 other wonderful women to guest post on the blog about their own brave leaps.

There are lots of hints that point to where this change was going. They were all very small and incremental, but they began to pave a way for where I find myself today.

The “New” A Little Bit Brave

After much contemplation, I’ve realized that I do want to continue to write specifically to and for women who are making big changes in their lives and taking big, brave leaps.

However, I have also realized that I am passionate about other women who, like me, moved abroad to teach English. More precisely, I have a deep desire to help these women find or create jobs for themselves via the internet so they can make more money without sacrificing or jeopardizing their teaching visas.

This is my new “why” and where A Little Bit Brave is going.

In the next several weeks, you’ll see the look of the site change. The content will be more specific and less of me rambling on about… well, whatever. 

This little blog is about to become an actual thing and I’m super excited for where it’s going.

What This Means for You

This may mean nothing for you. You may be a woman living abroad and possibly teaching English. If so, you’re in a great place to get helpful information and encouragement for whichever path you’re on or heading toward.

On the other hand, you might find that you’re not a good fit for this audience anymore. And that’s okay. The content I put out from here forward may not apply to you. But even if it doesn’t, you’re welcome to stick around and read through it.

Whatever you choose, please know this: I am so grateful for all the times your eyeballs have grazed the likes of my blog. Without readers like you, I probably wouldn’t still be doing this or have landed where I am. For all your reading and commenting, thank you. 

What’s Coming Next

I’m working behind the scenes to make some changes, as I mentioned, to the types of content I write and adding other elements, like videos. I’m also developing a coaching program and creating a course for women who want to start or improve their own blogs while living abroad. 

I’m so excited for all the things!

If you’re interested in learning more about my course offerings or coaching, please sign up to be added to my waiting list. There are some great goodies I’ll share with you, including a link to my private Facebook group for expat women with entrepreneurial ambitions.

If you choose to part ways with A Little Bit Brave, there are no hard feelings! As I said, thanks for coming along for the ride while you did. It’s been a great trip.

 

And with all of that, my dear Reader, I leave you. I hope to see you on the other side of this transition. 

Much love,

Interested in learning more about my coaching packages or blogging course? Add your name to the waiting list! It will take just a minute. 

Goals Are Hard: Here's How to Get Un-Stuck

I woke up bright and early (and naturally, I might add) at 5:26 this past Saturday morning and I was pleased, kind of, but not thrilled.
The sun was already up and making its way further into the sky. I rolled over hoping to fall back asleep for another hour or two and wake up around 7:30 but I was wide awake. (And, let’s be honest, that’s never what happens anyway. It’s always later than I want it to be when I do that.)
So I rolled back over, grabbed my phone, and proceeded to allow myself to fall down the rabbit hole that is social media and my email inbox for about 90 minutes; then I dragged myself out of bed and went for a jog.
I’ve been on a kick lately of feeling motivated but not actually doing anything about it and even though I planned to eat like shit that day and I wasn’t really planning to track exercise until this week (another story), I made myself go. It was awful – I haven’t run in months and the air quality was pretty bad, but the point is that I did it. I got up and I went and then, later in the day, I took a 3-hour nap but that’s not the point. I started somewhere even though maybe it wasn’t the best place to start or with the greatest of intentions.
Because the first and hardest part is starting. Am I right?
Continue reading “Goals Are Hard: Here's How to Get Un-Stuck”

Fear of Failure: Where I've Been Hiding – Part 2

A few weeks ago, I started chronicling my long absence from this little writing exercise. (If you missed that installment, you can check it out here.)
Looking back at that rambling essay, I see that I promised to continue my story the following week and I (unsurprisingly) dropped the ball. This seems to be a bad habit of mine that I’m currently (and very actively) working on overcoming.
So, I wrote out the basics of my sabbatical and here’s where I wanted to go with that “continuation”: I was afraid to take a step I saw as “backward.”
Let me explain.
Continue reading “Fear of Failure: Where I've Been Hiding – Part 2”

Where I've Been Hiding – Part 1

I’ve allowed myself to be very absent from my blog for a while. It wasn’t intentional… it just happened.
I’ve been putting off writing about it for a long time, too, because I didn’t want to put forth the energy it would take to sort out my feelings. While I know it’s perfectly okay to cry and be emotional, it’s also exhausting. I wasn’t ready to open the blinds and let the sunlight in yet.
But I’m finally ready.

Here’s where it started.

I left the U.S. in February 2013 to be an English teacher in South Korea. From the minute I started, I loved it. Living in Korea was the literal best decision I had ever made for myself.
Continue reading “Where I've Been Hiding – Part 1”

my fellow Americans… everything you need to know about voting from abroad…

No matter who you are and what your nationality, there’s no question: your Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of news about the impending American elections to be held in November. Regardless of what side you’re on, you’ve seen stuff from both ends of the pendulum’s swing. This year – perhaps more than ever – Americans’ voices matter when it comes to choosing the next Commander in Chief.
I’ll be honest about this: when I arrived in Korea 3 years ago, I didn’t know I was going to stay this long. I was open to it, sure, but didn’t know it was actually going to happen. I voted in the States before I arrived in Korea in Feb. 2013 and figured that would be it for me for 4 years. Clearly, as I see it now, I was wrong.
I decided a few months ago when I chose to stay one more year (really, this time; this is the last Korean year) that I just wouldn’t bother voting in this election. Even in December, I didn’t like any of the candidates running on either side all that much and anyway, I was going to be in Korea so what did it matter? I wasn’t terribly concerned about figuring out all that absentee stuff. I’ve since changed my mind.
If you’re an American living abroad, I can’t urge you enough to register to vote absentee this year. You might be thinking, “But Krissi, it’s only April. I have plenty of time to worry about this crap.” Well, Reader, I’m here to tell you that you don’t. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll be to actually do it. Don’t wait; read on and get shit done.

Where Do You Stand?

It’s a scary time in America. The economy seems to be in a bit of an upswing (finally) and everyone has finally made their peace with Obamacare (for the most part). Last year, love finally won and marriage equality is now a real thing and legally recognized everywhere in our great country. We’ve come a long way, people.
But despite the strides we’ve made, we’ve still got a long way to go.
Continue reading “my fellow Americans… everything you need to know about voting from abroad…”

What Are You Doing with Your "Korean" Life?

I wrote this post with the intention of having it published by the Daegu, South Korea city blog, but after careful consideration, I decided to publish it on my own. 
If you don’t live in Korea, that’s okay. Instead of reading it like you’re in Korea, insert your own life circumstance. It could be your physical geographical location, your job, or whatever you want it to be. But no matter “where” you “are” in your life right now, take a good look at your surroundings and consider what you’re doing with your opportunities. If you’re not happy, where can you make a change?
As we exit the first month of our new year, to me, it always seems as though people (myself included) lose sight of the goals and aspirations we had when we broke into our new calendars. This year, reignite that flame you had. Chase after those dreams you dreamt. Pursue the things that matter most to you.
Make this your year, Reader.

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If you’re like me, you love living in Korea. The day I arrived in Seoul, I was scared out of my wits, but I knew I had made the right decision – literally the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
I decided to come to Korea to teach because I was tired of being in dead-end jobs that I loathed. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and like so many others of our generation, I realized too late that I didn’t want to work and retire in my chosen industry. So, what did I do instead?
I worked in sales. And I was really good at it. But I effing hated it.
There is nothing in life quite like doing a job you hate. I was always stressed, always sick to my stomach, and I watched as the companies I worked for turned me into someone I wasn’t. I was tired of standing on the sidelines of my life and whispering to myself that there had to be “more out there.” I decided to do something about it.
I came to Korea to teach for a year. And lo and behold, a year has turned into nearly 3.
Continue reading “What Are You Doing with Your "Korean" Life?”

a little bit brave… life and love in the land down under…

Reader, I’m so excited to share the next installment of my series, “A Little Bit Brave.”

Each month, I’ll be posting an article by another blogger who took a leap and moved themselves away from everything that was familiar to find the next “right” step in their life. You can read other women’s stories here.

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Koalas. Kangaroos. Australia has this amazing mystique about it. It always has for me. I remember when I was 14 or 15, my mum told me she just had this feeling I would live far away when I grew up. I’ve always had an adventurous heart, but I can honestly say that I never expected anything to end up like this.

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When it came time to go to university, I left my parents’ house in Shawnee, Kansas to go two hours away to Kansas State. It was basically like high school, round two. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but wasn’t without its challenges. The day after we moved in, I played football with my roommate and two new friends. One of these friends would impact my life in a big way, and give me the illusion of a safety net that would help me to jump into the best decision of my life. 

I decided in December 2008 that I was definitely going to study abroad in Australia for my sophomore year. The whole year. Not the measly six months everyone else did. I wanted the full cultural experience. I was now also dating this previously-mentioned friend. I was in love. So I packed my two suitcases. Whoever invented the 50lbs/23kg limit never knew a 19-year-old girl packing for a full year. You have to be able to have nice things to go out.. Aussie summers are hot… Nobody has central heating… It’s a delicate balance!

I fell in love with Australia. Head over heels in love with Australia. But how could I stay? About as soon as I landed back on American soil, I was homesick. I can’t explain the tie this country has to my heart, but I knew I had to find a way back. I was prepared to make plans to leave my family, everything I really knew, to spend exorbitant amounts of money on finishing my degree, and to create a life halfway around the world.

 

Continue reading “a little bit brave… life and love in the land down under…”

a little bit brave… and uncertain

Reader, I’m so excited to share the next installment of the “A Little Bit Brave” series.

Each month, I’ll be posting an article by another blogger who took a leap and moved themselves away from everything that was familiar to find the next “right” step in her life. You can read more of the series here.

So, without further ado, here’s a little bit brave… and uncertain. Enjoy. 🙂

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At 27 years old, I had finally decided it was time to test my wings. Like a free-spirited bird, I jumped from my nest with hopeful abandon. I spread my wings wide to the open sky and embraced the tickle of the wind in my feathers. And then I plummeted straight to earth.
At 26, life had been pretty comfy-cozy. I thought I had finally made it. I had the job, the car, the downtown apartment, and the professional wardrobe of my poor girl dreams. I had the PTO and the 401(k) and the HSA. I had the friends and the family and the kind of coworkers you actually look forward to seeing every day. I thought I had it all.
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So why did I feel like I was suffocating in a glass coffin every night as I lay in bed? Why did I want to scream and pound my fists against those imaginary walls as I tried not to cry myself to sleep? Why did I feel like everyone was skipping around outside my prison while I lay buried alive?
Perhaps I needed therapy, but all the psychobabble in the world wouldn’t have been able to tell me more than I already knew. I was simply afraid. It was fear that put me to bed every night and lingered with me as I went to work every morning. It was fear that made me dread waking up thirty years later only to realize I was still going to work every morning. It was fear that kept me wondering if I would hit retirement only to regret all the years I had worked to save for it.
Continue reading “a little bit brave… and uncertain”

to all the brave girls out there… this is for you…

When I started “A Little Bit Brave” in early 2013, I meant for it to chronicle my experiences living and teaching abroad for what I thought would be just a single year. Since it’s inception, my hopes for the blog have changed and grown.
I had started a couple of blogs a few years before during a very difficult period in my life and I hadn’t really shared them with anyone… I complained a lot and, in my defense, was experiencing some pretty serious depression. After what seemed like an eternity of difficult years working shitty jobs and feeling like I was drowning in a sea of depression, I set out on a new adventure: teaching English in South Korea. I felt like I was truly embarking on a new chapter in life, finally, and seeking the happiness I so desperately had been searching for over the past few years. I deemed my leap to move halfway across the world to teach English as being “a little bit brave,” and so the title was born.
Since starting the blog, I have tried (not always successfully) to share some of my cultural experiences here in Korea. Despite my poor blogging habits, I’ve also rediscovered my love of writing. I found my voice again and started sharing my opinions on things, wrote about things I think are funny or that will make you, Reader, laugh. I also realized that there are other women out there whom I truly respect and admire. The internet is a scary and beautiful thing – it has opened a door to me that I didn’t bother to open before.

All across our world, women are taking steps that are leaps for them. They are writing their own stories and making their own rules.

They are a little bit brave.

After finishing a series telling the story of my journey to Korea, I wanted to keep the “series” habit going, so I reached out to a friend about doing a guest post about her “brave” story. After two of these posts by two awesome women living and working in Asia (you can read them here and here), my plan for the blog evolved yet again.
In asking these women to write and starting the recruiting process to find others, I started thinking about women I know back home in the Americas: many of my friends in the States hadn’t left the shores of our homeland, and yet I knew they were still living and writing brave stories of their own. Suddenly, it was clear to me that “A Little Bit Brave” wasn’t just supposed to be about me. It wasn’t just supposed to be about other women who had left their homeland to find an adventure. It was about all women who were taking leaps and risks, no matter where they were. 
We live in a time where women are becoming more empowered and encouraged to take these risks. It’s time that we embraced this and shouted our stories into the wind.
It is my hope that this blog will be a place of empowerment and encouragement for women of all ages. No matter where you are in life, no matter your story, this is a place for you. We are women and we are strong. I hope you find the story here that will convince you to take your own leap and start writing your new story.
We may not be fearless, but we are a little bit brave.
*This post was written partly in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: Singular Sensation.