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July 2013 | safariRoo jQuery(document).ready(function($){$('#aside .widget-archive > ul').addClass('fancy');});

Learning to Prioritize: A Note to Self

When you’re like me, there are at least five different things, at any given time, that you’d LIKE to sink your teeth in to.  At this very moment, literally, this very moment, there are exactly five things I want to be doing.

1) Studying for the GMAT

2) Studying Mandarin

3) Working out

4) Writing (which I, technically, am doing)

5) Sewing (or at least trying to put together the puzzle that is my new, very used, industrial machine)

One child is out on a daddy-date, the other sleeping sick by my side.  SO, theoretically, I have some much-coveted free time on my hands.

Now let’s dissect the word LIKE.  The key element behind the word LIKE is that because there are SO many things to do, my brain decides that too many things actually cancel themselves out, leaving me reading the New York Times, or basically ANYTHING that is NOT on my list.  I think it’s something similar to procrastination.  I’d LIKE to be doing, but I’m overwhelmed, so I’m just thinking about doing.  Like when you were in college and you’d end up watching an entire season of Sex and the City, instead of studying for finals.  Or when you’re moving and the packing feels like it’s going to implode on you, so you end up going for a walk instead.

It’s not exactly procrastination though, I think that it is the brain’s defense mechanism against feeling overwhelmed.  TOO many things to do self?  That’s okay, let’s just not do ANY of them and then we won’t have to feel overwhelmed.  I don’t have the time to full heartedly do EVERYTHING, so let’s just not half-ass any of them.  It’s my brain’s fault, not mine.  Damn brain.

But this is where you pull a fast one on your brain.  A little word called P R I O R I T I Z A T I O N is employed.  Break it down by task, make the vastness smaller, and tackle slowly.

Find the LARGEST wall calendar you can and give yourself a daily goal.  A daily task to tackle.  And not all five.  Just ONE.  Maybe TWO.  But NEVER five.

My daily hopes (LIKES, if you will) are most often somehow, directly and indirectly, connected to the current overarching question in my life:  how to create a career with two young kids and remain flexible enough that we can take off and travel when my old man has the time.

When I was pregnant with our first, I listened to an NPR show where there was a woman who was speaking about the effect her children had on her career.  She spoke about her fear that having children would derail her from her path and her surprise that they only made her path more clear.  Now, I didn’t exactly have a career at that point, but knew how utterly important it was for me in the future (I had actually deferred acceptance into law school for a year and was planning to enroll the following year); a fear that was real and terrifying for me.  But I listened to her words with hope that I too would speak them someday.

Fast forward 5 years, and I’m definitely not yet singing that sweet tune.  I am, perhaps, more lost than ever, as ever relates to my career self (read here for more clarity).  As I approach 30, time feels like it’s barreling forward and I’m left behind trying to catch up.  I want so deeply, to speak of how my children helped positively sculpt my career.

Here I am, left with 3 million interests, trying to find the time to pursue them.

Life’s a journey and as long as you keep walking, you’ll get to where you’re meant to be, right?  My children ARE teaching me how to PRIORITIZE and how I can have everything, but perhaps not at the same time.  I need to be patient.  I need to take it one goal at a time.

And so, a note to my self:  it’s OKAY.  chill.  alright?  just chill.  take it one day at a time, put one foot in front of the other.  week by week, set goals.  define a daily task and stick to it.  work when you’ve set out time to work and be in the moment, with your kids, when it’s time to just be.

Buena suerte, self.

 

Welcome to safariRoo, Friends!

I don’t know about you, but at this point, inviting new blogs into your life is a bit overwhelming, no?  The shear number of blogs, with genuinely good content, kindof blows my mind.  In all honesty, there are only a small handful of blogs I read regularly.  And like I said, it’s surely not because there aren’t dozens more that are full of content I find totally worth reading, it’s simply because I have a finite bandwidth, you know?

With that said, THANKS for stopping by!   You’ve probably got children bickering over a pez dispenser to mediate in the background, or lunch to fix, or work to do, so seriously, THANKS! for taking a moment to click on my link and come to my page.  I’ve already told you a bit about what’s going on here at safariRoo (assuming you read my blurb before you clicked the link), so I won’t bother you with more details, but I do hope that you’ll take another moment (pretty please, you’re already here, you may as well take a peak around) to read about our journey as a family and my journey as a mother.  SO THAT WE CAN COMMISERATE.  So that you can tell me that I’m not crazy and I can tell you you’re not alone.

I understand that for most of you, this visit isn’t going to turn you into a lifelong reader of safariRoo (and that’s totally okay, like I said, I get it).  But, HEY, I have an idea.  See that little Facebook icon to the right?  Click on it, like my page, and then YOU can decide how and when you want to interact with safariRoo, in small, easy doses.  And when you do, make sure to tell me who you are… SO THAT WE CAN COMMISERATE, okay?  I actually find that for myself, this is a much less overwhelming way to interact with blogs, so I promise that if you stop by, it won’t go unnoticed.

Oh, and hey, there are some exciting things happening in these parts.  Things that in the hopefully-near-future will involve original product giveaways and such.  Cool shit, for free.  All YOU have to do is follow us on Facebook and wait, patiently.  [And don’t pull a me and decide you’re not patient enough for some fanciful-may-happen-in-the-future event, okay?].

With much gratitude,

Lauren

Four Days in Hong Kong: On and Off the Beaten Path

We were recently “stuck” in Hong Kong unexpectedly, waiting for the Mister’s resident visa to be processed, which we were pretty bummed about… NOT.  So what started as a one night journey, turned into a four day adventure.  We had never stayed on Hong Kong Island and after having found The Butterfly on Wellington, near Soho, we may never stay anywhere else.  Even though the lifts moved about as fast as a sloth, the room was clean and quaint (and even equipped with a Nespresso machine) and the location was unbeatable (as was the price – roughly $100 a night, as compared to the $250-$400 pricetag of most large hotel chains in the area).  From our doorstep, we could walk a block and hop on the escalators into the heart of the mid-levels or up into Soho, grab fresh fruit at the street market 30 feet away, or take a short walk to the ferry terminal to go island hopping.

And so, we did it ALL.

Below is a sample itinerary, more or less based on our experience, that I think gives a fairly well rounded Hong Kong experience and is slow enough to manage with young kids who still require a nap.

Day 1: Soho Walking Tour – Mid-levels Exploration and Shopping

You can spend HOURS walking the streets, exploring hidden alley-ways, and learning about the nuances of Central Hong Kong.  On one block you’ll find Prada, on the next a wet market filled with sides of beef, freshly pickled ginger, and sidewalk eateries.  Soho is absolutely full of restaurants and bars; it’d take months to experience them all.  Same goes with the mid-levels, which kind of spill into Soho.  As those with kids well know (and those without can attest to), fine dining with your trolls isn’t exactly a recipe for success, but there are a handful of restaurants open enough to accommodate a stroller and casual enough to accommodate screeching children.  Also, be sure to go shopping here.  I personally think that the shops in and around Central Hong Kong are as good as Hong Kong shopping gets.  You can buy a $500 Louis Vuitton purse (not that I would condone such a thing) AND a $5 dress to go with it, all within a few blocks of eachother.  But beware, this part of Hong Kong is full of hills – which both adds to its intrigue and the amount of sweating you’ll be doing.  If you rely on the mid-levels escalators to get you up the hills, just remember that it’s a one way escalator and runs the direction of commuter traffic (down in the morning, up in the evening).

Day 2: Lamma Island

Oh, lovely little Lamma Island.  What began as a fishing village has turned into a thriving, progressive, bohemian, self-reliant community.  After a mere twenty minute journey, you are wisked away from the city and  transported into an entirely new culture altogether.  Complete with a recycling campaign, a fantastic natural foods store, two natural foods cafe’s, and a multitude of local design shops, Lamma Island kind of stole my heart.  All that on a tropical island lined with beaches and NO cars… only 20 minutes from Central Hong Kong.  What’s not to love?

Day 3: Peak Tram

Though a little birdy told me that the lines waiting to board the tram can be HORRENDOUS (especially if you’re hungover, apparently), we oh-so-cunningly chose an off time to head to Victoria Peak, so my impatient self’s experience wasn’t a wash in complaints.  Waiting for the tram was actually a pleasure because there is a bit of a history museum set up along the path, so I got to learn all about the history of the tram.  Built in the late 1800’s, the tram has been both a draw for tourists and a form of transportation for those who dwell on the Peak.  The mall at the top is a bit obnoxious, but if you can jam your way through it, incredible views and picturesque hiking await.

Day 4: Wan Chai and Causeway Bay

Hoping to get the not-napping kids to nap, we decided to walk from Soho to Causeway Bay, which is about 4 kilometers.  Not far, right?  Throw in a few thousand people along your way, roads that require finding an overpass to get across, and a few wrong turns and it’ll feel like you just ran a marathon.  It was actually quite a pleasant walk.  Causeway Bay is home to Times Square, which could easily be skipped, as could much of the shopping there as far as I’m concerned (I mean, really, how many Coach stores does one city need?).  It is, however, also home to many smaller, boutique shops and restaurants.  Though it’ll require some serious walking shoes, I think getting out on foot and exploring through these areas is well worth a half day of time.  And we also came across a movie theater and took the kids to see Turbo (about a snail who snuffs nitrous, heard of it?), in English, which I think I liked more than they did.

Intersperse the array of good restaurants to breakfast, lunch, and dinner at and you’ve got yourself a perfect Hong Kong visit.  Restaurant recommendations aren’t my forte, but here are three I’d recommend, in and around Soho:

1) The staff at Nico’s Sputino is FANTASTIC (a good spot to grab the kids a gelato and Mom and Dad a beer).

2) Life Cafe is a great breakfast/brunch spot if you’re wanting something healthier/are a vegetarian.

3) Wagyu has great food and is good for the kiddos.

Oh, and get a foot massage.