|Cathay Pacific Chinese New Year Parade 2013. Yes, that was last year. Read on for lessons learned.|
|#2 in the ruins of Beng Mealea, the least known but best temple the Asia Vu family saw in Cambodia. Which MsCaroline never got around to blogging about. So sue her.|
Rather, in keeping with her post from New Year's 2012, she has decided, instead, to pass on Life Lessons that she has learned in the last year in the hope that she may save someone else from the sorrow that can only come from hasty or poorly considered decisions.
Without further ado, here are the Top Lessons Learned by MsCaroline in 2013. May none of you need to learn them in 2014!
1. Keep it Simple, Stupid (or: Finish what you start) This first advice ('kiss') is given by writing instructors all the time, and with good reason. MsCaroline (who is -shockingly- a certified teacher of the English language with a couple of degrees under her belt) knows this and has taught it for years to her writing students. She tries - mostly unsuccessfully - to take her own advice, but this is almost always an abject failure when it comes to Travel Blogging, an area which which is destined to be her Waterloo. Caught up in post-vacation excitement, MsCaroline consistently overwrites, overdescribes, and overphotographs her travel experiences, leading to Blogger's Burnout and a strong desire to throw her laptop out the window after the first post or two. Observant readers need only to think back a few months to the Asia Vu family trip to Hong Kong and Macau or to the more recent trip to Angkor Wat to realize that MsCaroline has never finished up her travel descriptions of either (and may never do so.)
|More Beng Mealea. A brilliant post that will never be written.|
In the New Year, MsCaroline is planning to stick to a more conservative travel writing format, which will look like this: "We went to ______________ for _____ days/weeks/months. It was fun/not fun. Here are some photographs. MsCaroline recommends/does not recommend that you patronize the following establishments. The end."
Yes, it will be marginally less entertaining, but at least MsCaroline will not lie awake at 4am thinking about all that she has left undone and adding 'blog posts' to the Litany of the Unfinished.
|Pre Rup - another worthy temple too long ignored.|
Life Lesson for 2014: Finish what you start.
2. If You Go Shopping for a Cat, Do Not Buy a Dog. Regular readers will have noticed a significant decrease in MsCaroline's blogging frequency, dating almost exactly to the day that the AsiaVu family went out to adopt a cat and impulsively bought a small and beguiling dog of questionable breeding and heritage (but with adorable bat ears.) As it turns out, the dog in question is, at 5 months of age, turning out to be Something between a French Bulldog and Boston Terrier But Probably Mostly Boston Terrier. She is a Highly Active Animal with Many Neuroses -most noticeably, a strong aversion to being alone,which she demonstrates in a variety of ways.
Despite her small size (she is still just under 5kg) she is remarkably nimble and can climb, jump, or otherwise scale nearly any barrier that is erected to contain her. MsCaroline could go on at length about all of her charming idiosyncrasies, but it would
While MsCaroline recognizes that MrL is probably correct, it is her nature to focus on the negative, and she has therefore been fantasizing about how much better her life would be right now if she only had come home with a cat.
Life Lesson for 2014: Stick to the plan or be prepared to face the consequences, however adorable.
3. Sometimes, what you know is enough, or: if you have not been skiing in over 15 years, it may or may not be a good idea to take a 'refresher' lesson. Corollary: if you do take a refresher lesson, hold out for the right instructor. After 11 years in the American Southwest and 1 ruptured disc, MsCaroline doubted that she would ever get on skis again, despite having learned in Austria as a youngish teenager and having enjoyed skiing on the East Coast throughout her young adulthood (eg, 'before children.') For whatever (misguided) reason, after all this time, MsC booked a short ski holiday in Pyeongchang (location of the 2018 Winter Olympics) for the family, and gamely struggled into ski gear for the first time in nearly 2 decades. The first day was a pleasant surprise, and by the end of the day, MsC was competently (if not gracefully) moving down the piste, and almost remembering how to do those parallel turns. But alas! MsCaroline - was not satisfied with this (her tragic flaw.) She decided to take a private lesson to get a few pointers on balance, weight distribution, and turning, which - she reasoned - would help her improve more quickly, and hasten her improvement to the point where she would soon be schussing gracefully down the piste.
Accordingly, she presented herself the next morning at the Ski School and requested a private lesson with an English-speaking instructor. As it turned out, all the fluent instructors were already booked, but, if MsCaroline didn't mind, they could provide her with an instructor who spoke basic - but not fluent - English. Would that do? Sure, MsCaroline (who is, after all, slightly impatient) said -after all, how much English did one need to communicate some simple instructions? - and gamely trundled out of the Ski House behind her 25-year-old instructor, who introduced himself by saying, "My English, only little" as they queued up for the chairlift.
My ever-perceptive readers have probably already followed these statements through to their logical outcome: namely, the lesson was an exercise in frustration for both of us and deep embarrassment for one of us (MsCaroline would like to point out, though, that the lack of success in this lesson was entirely her fault, and not the instructor's, who had fairly represented himself as not speaking much English.) In the first place, MsCaroline had learned to ski approximately 10 million years ago and therefore could not remember the last time she'd done a snowplow ('wedge') turn, much less how to do one, which is where the Instructor wanted to start. In the second place, there was a lot of emphasis on weight shifting which the Instructor conveyed by shrieking, 'UP!' "DOWN" and "PUCE!." It took at least an hour before MsCaroline understood that 'PUCE" was, in fact, meant to be 'PUSH" and the Ski Instructor was trying to get her to put her weight on that foot. What was even more frustrating was that MsCaroline was PUCE-ing - really, she was, which was borne out by the fact that she was turning - but had no way to convey this to the instructor, who simply shook his head and shrieked some more when she pointed out mildly that she was - and even louder when she would forget to ski in the 'A-position' and parallel ski instead (No 11! Only A-position!) At the end of the lesson, the instructor gravely pronounced that she should 'A-position MASTER. No 11s! Today! Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Always, A-position!'
MrLogical pointed out helpfully (having been an intermittent onlooker during those 2 painful hours,) "You were doing a lot better before you took the lesson" which, while annoying on both personal and financial levels, was probably the most useful thing MsCaroline had heard all day.
Life Lesson for 2014: It's OK not be an Olympian. Stick with what you know if it makes you happy: but if you want to improve, hold out for the right instructor.
Happy 2014, Lovely people!