My Kind of Paradise


My Kind of Paradise

Bali, Indonesia

The entire island is about the same size as Delaware. This is a destination-must. It’s breathtaking. The lush trees and grass are shades of bright greens. The ocean is so blue and clear – it practically pierces your eyes. This is a place where people can find serenity and escape. It’s relaxation at its finest.

Note: This is also one of the destinations in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” staring Julia Roberts.

The Edge – Bali

The Balinese culture is one that is carefree. People want to talk with you. There is a natural curioristy with the locals.

According to a Bali tourism website, 95% of the population practices the Hindu religion or Hindu Dharma.

Ayana – Bali

Bali has had issues in the past with global politics. Back in 2002, one of the largest tourist attractions, Kuta, was bombed. More than 500 people were either killed or injured. After the attacks, the island’s tourist industry faltered. As the Balinese tried to regain ground – in 2005, the island was bombed again. Again, tourists did not return.

Ayana – Bali

Years later, it seems that Bali has picked up. Thousands of tourists are lying on the beaches, swimming in the pools, walking around town, and eating at local restaurants.

Bali is truly amazing. It’s cultural. It’s beautiful. It’s breathtaking.

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Bad Hair Day

I was walking to my Mandarin class when I ran into this fella – who probably wasn’t feeling so great about his new hair do.


Mama gave him the buzz cut at the groomers – and let me tell you – I would have snapped at her too if she did this to me.

The weather is beginning to get warmer in Shanghai, so I’m sure this was a quick fix to cool a hot dog (yes, I had to). But there is one more problem…

Camouflage is probably not a good look when you’re walking the streets of Shanghai.

Dear Sydney,

You’re beautiful.


The iconic Sydney Opera House – multi-venue performing arts center


The ocean breeze gently kisses my face. The sun warms my skin. The scenery pleases my eyes.


Manly Beach

Mix New York City’s metropolitan feel with California dreaming and you have an idea of what Sydney, Australia has to offer. You won’t find people rude, rather with a surfer, laid back attitude.

ImageManly Beach

Sailboats glisten as they swarm the sea. The wind catching and pulling them through the thrashing waves.Image

The background immediately goes from a sea full of sailboats, small islands with cliffs to  awe-inspiring buildings that almost bring a Catalina feel to Australia.


The architecture that surrounds the city has character. High rises are in the midst of Victorian and Colonial buildings. Old post offices are turned into shopping centers instead of big box stores. The city has the Old World charm.


An area known as The Rocks in Sydney Harbour

From the”In 1788, Australia’s first European settlers-British convicts and their overseers-claimed the land and built their camp atop the sandstone cliffs.”


Sydney Harbour Bridge (The world’s largest steel bridge.)


And even though Australia is not the easiest country to get to – it’s hard to leave views like these.


Darling Harbour

Land Down Under


Vibrant, friendly, beautiful, active, colorful, captivating – words that describe Melbourne, Australia.

There is a sense of energy in this city (population 4 million). The people are genuine. The ambiance of the city could be compared to Denver or San Francisco. There are plenty of parks, waterfront restaurants and buildings with character.

You can head to the National Gallery of Victoria and find yourself looking at french impressionists like Monet. If you walk down the street and you can hop onto a free tram.

The Aussie’s have a sense of humor, that is for sure. This is not a place for the serious folk- c’mon mate. Hippies are in the midst of a sea of businessmen and women. And there are always people at the nearby bars ready for happy hour , which begins at any hour.

This part of the land down under is pretty spectacular – beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Plus, the weather (it’s autumn, right now) is perfect.

If you can jump to this part of the world – it is worth the adventure, rhinos on skateboards and all.


The rhinos on skateboards sign is to warn pedestrians not to walk in front of moving trams. The weight of a tram is comparable to being hit by 30 rhinos.

What a delivery looks like in China…

When a van doesn’t work – use your bike.

It’s unbelievable how many things are toted around on the back of bikes in China. I have seen a guy pack on more than 100 chairs on one before. (I wish I had a photo of that.)

Then there’s the guy with the styrofoam. (seen in my earlier blog post – “Trunk Space”)

Or the man who bikes around with fish tanks. It’s different from the US, but after all – not everyone can have a car in a city that’s population is 23 million and counting.

Traffic here resembles thousands of drunk drivers on the road.

Getting a license is extremely expensive here, so people often ride their bikes to get around town and – of course, make plenty of deliveries – whether it’s beer, styrofoam, or the next big thing.

One thing is certain – there’s plenty of space on the back of your bike.


Dictionary definition:

1) Kidnapped.

2) To induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force.

My definition:

1) To be convinced by your boyfriend (now fiancé), of more than two years, to quit your television career and move to Shanghai, China to be with him.

I was shanghai’d!

I am glad it happened. It was the best decision I have ever made. I made the, around-the-globe leap, in October 2011.

With this blog, I update my friends, family and now readers of my hometown newspaper, The Register-Mail ( in Galesburg, Ill. about my adventures within China and outside of the People’s Republic (China is referred to the People’s Republic of China, or P.R.C.).

Now, I can share my stories with you and what it’s like living abroad and in a communist country…

And to tell you the true meaning of being – shanghai’d.

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