Happy Labor Day

So here I am on the last holiday of summer at work. I will be the first to admit, just as I struggle to get up in the morning, I am struggling with this blog. I am not a creature of habits. Brushing my teeth 6 our of 7 nights a week is an accomplishment. I’m sorry Dr. P that after almost a year of trying, I still do not have flossing pinned down into my daily activities.

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I am struggling with a topic. Travel is exciting and I love it, but it’s hard when I know I won’t be going anywhere for 58 more days (Charleston, followed by Florida, followed by China). Hopefully packing my bags again will renew my love. I am also struggling with the idea that I want to do more than write about travel, I do after all need variety in my life. I like fashion, but I don’t love it. I can’t be bothered to cook let alone blog about it (I’m sorry Adam, but you knew what you were getting when you asked me to marry you).

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Don’t ever expect to see something like that coming out of my kitchen. And this is not a wedding blog. I love weddings and events, but I don’t want to live weddings forever. I am also completely sick of people asking me, “How is wedding planning going? Ohmigosh yay!” Really people, my fiance lives in China. How do you think it’s going?

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So in short, I’m lost. Dazed and confused, I wander through the abyss of the blogosphere. I have no focus, no audience, nothing to write about. And frankly, it makes me kind of dizzy.

I guess this is my warning that this project is slowly drowning. I will never be like Emily (cupcakes and cashmere), Della (The Wedding Row), or even my coveted Alexis (J.Crew Aficionada). These girls have found their niche, their audience, and something that they love. I’m back to the struggle that sent me across the world: what do I love? What am I passionate about? What can I devote myself to? Right now, the answer is dangerous love stories (I’ll admit it, I’m re-watching The Vampire Diaries season 1 before the new season premieres on Thursday), ruffles made of organza and tulle, and counting down the days until November 10 (66 perhaps?).

Maybe if I’m feeling better tomorrow, I’ll start writing again. Because everything can be put off until tomorrow.

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

Back From the Nap…

So I wanted to apologize for my hiatus the last few days. I’ve been in a blogging nap, both from lack of inspiration and from being busy in real life (sort of). Here is a mini life-update:

Friday, we took our usual office outing to Murphy’s Irish Pub, where I of course followed along with The Unicorn Song, doing all the hand motions. I even went to bed at a sensible hour.

Saturday, I attempted to bleach my hair with good old-fashioned lemon juice

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but alas the sun was not cooperating on the project. I also successfully organized my scrapbooking stuff, which I will begin to work on tonight. Then we had an office-sponsored Washington Nationals versus the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

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The Nats lost 2-9. And later that night, I attempted diplomacy with my fiance’s friends. I also learned that ‘tear-away jorts’ are in fact my biggest fear.

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Sunday, I came into the office for a few hours to jumpstart some work for this week. My massive allergy attack that ensued prompted me to pop a Benadryl when I got home. I woke up several hours later with my best friend banging on my apartment door coming to borrow a dress for a wedding San Francisco this weekend.

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So now we are back at Monday. I have successfully tapped my beauty-product-obsessed sister for skin care advice, and will try to persuade her to write a few guest posts to share her knowledge with you. I have also scheduled a job interview for a position in Colorado starting in January, which means I don’t have to feel guilty going to Monument with Adam or about spending two months with him in China at the end of this year.

I have also decided to put John Frieda to the test. I’ve been unhappy with my hair color for a while now, and I’ve never dyed it (that’s right, 100% natural blonde here folks). So I’ll be testing out some of the JF products to see if they do in fact improve my blonde from a brassy corn field color back to a more champaign beach blonde shade. So keep posted for that project.

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Anything exciting happen yet on your Monday?

Cheers,

Jenna Kate

Match.Com.Cn

In China, it seems like the strange and curious never cease to amaze us. Adam’s friend’s brother Peter is currently living in Shanghai, China. You can check out his blog here: Tall Guy in Shanghai. He posted an interesting fun fact about dating in this very westernized city. Young people in Shanghai are so busy, their mothers have to find dates for them. Not the typical way like match.com or through the local horticulture society mixer. But by typing up a page-long summary of their kid and posting it in public.

Thanks Peter, sorry we’re not friends or I’d ask to post your photo. Isn’t this just remarkable? A clothesline matchmaking service, free of charge. Just send mum down with a fur hat, a pair of gloves, and an inspector’s glass to dig through the potential mates hung out to flap in the wind like a string of loneliness. And I thought the community notice boards in New Zealand were impressive. Thanks China, for taking love to a whole new public forum.

It is generally considered rude…

Since I’m attempting to visit several different countries while using NZ as home base, and was recently the recipient of some classic, cold European manners, I thought it would be interesting to compare a few things American with those of the South Pacific.

In America we hold doors open for others, chew with our mouths closed, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and answer telephone calls and/or emails/text messages/etc. promptly (unless we’re avoiding you, and hopefully we have a good reason).  At prep school, we learned to pass pitchers with the handle facing out, to greet everyone older than us as ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am,’ and not to use dirty words when the dormitory mother was within ear shot.  We also kept the television volume on ‘super-low’ during study hall hours.  These are just a few of my favorites.

So how do we compare?  It’s always quite interesting to learn about other places around the world, especially other English-speaking countries.  The variations in language, culture, conduct, etc. are intriguing.  Many places have been impacted by the global market, economy, and media machines so it is difficult to say how much of the pure society has been kept from some new and some ancient societies.  Here’s a little that I dug up.  Please feel free to make comments or post suggestions/discoveries of your own.

New Zealand: According to one ex-Kiwi now living in Portland, it’s rude to address someone as ‘sir’ in NZ culture. I find it hard to believe an ex-British colony does not use such honorary titles, and kiwiessential.co.uk confirmed that.  Also, apparently it’s polite to smile, but don’t be too friendly until they get to know you better.

Australia: Australians on the other hand have absolutely no qualms in calling you by first name from the get-go.  It is also similarly considered rude to not participate in a social activity without good reason.  Friendships, ‘mates,’ are also vitally important, and society reinforces reciprocal friendships even in business.

Thailand: Raising your voice and speaking negatively are faux pas’ in Thai society.  I knew several girls at prep school from Thailand, and they were unequally pleasant ladies.  I’m sure they would not appreciate good, American sarcasm.  You also are not allowed Public Displays of Affection.  Not sure this is such a bad rule  actually…

Fiji: Not much info out there…Anyone know a Fijian so I can ask them?

China: Apparently the residents of Beijing are going along with the customs of the rest of China: the New York Times reports spitting on the sidewalk is down by half and even less continue to litter.  Also, the Chinese are supposedly humerus enough to appreciate American jokes, which can be quite bad, and don’t mind making small talk about the weather, general business, family, or Chinese food.  I’ll be sure to remember that.

Links for this post:
http://www.hobotraveler.com/ma2newzealandmanners.php
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/  (australia, new zealand)
http://www.guidetothailand.com/thailand-travel-faq/thailand-manners-customs.php
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/13/opinion/13iht-edgardner.1.13693509.html
http://chineseculture.about.com/library/weekly/aa031901a.htm