Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Friends are Getting Married, I'm Just Getting Drunk

I was once asked to join a Facebook group called My Friend are Getting Married, I'm Just Getting Drunk. I don't think I joined the actual group, but the name of the group really struck a chord with me. It seemed like (still seems like) the perfect description of my life. In fact, I think a more apt description would be All my Friends are getting Married and/or Having Babies while I'm just Getting Drunk.

Once upon a time in the not so distant past, it seemed like all my friends were single. Together we enjoyed girl's nights out that consisted of talking about all the men in our lives over glasses of wine, getting drunk, dancing, flirting with men, possibly going home with some man after flirting and dancing with him, then calling your each other the next morning trade stories and laugh about the many shenanigans that took place the night before... You know the deal.

But sometime, when I wasn't paying attention everything changed. It was like the rest of the people around me suddenly grew up and started being adults and I just stayed the same fun-loving immature single gal. Suddenly I look around and everyone is either married, getting married, getting divorced, getting married again, or having their first - and in some cases their second or third - babies!Let me give you some statistics to prove my point. Since last November, 5 of my close friends have had babies, this summer I will attend 5 weddings. And sad but true, I can only count 4 single friends and unfortunately not one of them lives in London. And with Facebook bringing you into up-close-and-personal contact with the daily lives of your 500+ friends and acquaintances through exuberant pictures and status updates (seems like the thing to do is post your baby's picture as your profile picture), I can't help feeling like there is some kind of massive marriage/baby boom going on out there? And how have I managed to miss this? When I decide to just get drunk and not get married?

I try to think back to when I was a little kid and what I envisioned my life to be like when I was older... Where did I see myself at 31 years old? Honestly, I draw a big blank. Besides wanting to live abroad and become an International Woman of Mystery (seriously - I actually saw that as my destiny but that's a whole other blog in itself), I didn't really ever see myself getting married and having children. But I didn't actually see myself NOT doing it either though. I just never had a visual picture of myself with a baby and a husband. I guess I just thought that at some point there would be some natural progression towards that lifestyle - that like all the others around me (or so it seems) I wouldn't have to think about it - it would just happen. However, so far. It has not happened. And actually, I still have trouble conjuring up an image of myself with a husband and a baby - I mean can any of you see me with a baby on one arm and a man I go home to every night? Exactly... See... that's what I'm talking about.

The very strange thing is that I feel that my childhood and upbringing should have given me a good view of marriage and kids. I mean my parents are still married. I had a great childhood. I love my parents and they love my brother and I and they brought us up well (although admittedly I might be a little biased here). And despite the fact that my brother and I both currently live abroad, we have an extremely close family and enjoy spending time together and try to do so as often as we can.

But if I reflect back on my childhood, I have to say that I have never really seen myself as a very maternal person, nor have I ever seen myself as a traditional wife. To me the word HOUSEWIFE has always equaled a dirty word. I knew early on that I was going to be a career woman. I think this in part comes from having a very strong and dominating Mother. There was no question who ruled our household. Even today she is more driven and ambitious than my Father - and she makes more money than him(Dad - if you are reading this - don't worry I love you anyway, you were the "fun" parent). My Mother taught me that being a strong woman was important. She was my role model from day one and I have admired strong women ever since. I can honestly say that I was shocked to find out that women were not the dominant sex in the rest of the world. In fact, it was my neighbor who pointed this out to me. I still remember the day that he tried to tell me women belonged at home with the babies cleaning and cooking. From that day on we became rivals and I set out to prove to the world that women could in fact dominate the world and were absolutely the superior Sex.

Another unusual reflection from my childhood involves "playing house." It is a natural thing for children to want to mimic the lives of adults or imagine how their lives as adults will be. Playing house is a natural part of childhood. However... being the strong-minded (and admitedly sometimes strange) child that I was, I had very strict rules on how I thought you should play house. I never ever ever played house in the traditional sense. In the elaborate stories I created for my friends and I to act out (I'm sure you are all very surprised to hear that I was a bossy child - shocker) we never had a traditional family unit with a mother, father, kids, dog, the house with the white picket fence etc. Instead I always insisted that we play run away children or even better, I liked to play that I was a single woman (an Aunt maybe) who adopted children. Although I often convinced guys to play with me, I never once wanted to be the mom or wife in the game of house. Can you believe that? Even as a child, I could NOT even pretend to have a husband or pretend to get married. It seriously grossed me out! And I never pretended to be a mother as in having actual children that were supposed to be my own. When I played with my dolls - it was the same thing. Barbie and Ken were always either boyfriend and girlfriend or brother and sister or more likely just plain friends. Actually, usually I was too busy enacting camping scenes in the woods and having them drown in the river and need rescuing to really care too much about the intricacies of their relationship (I was a bit of a Tomboy as a child). So, even as young as 5 years old, I already knew that I couldn't see myself as a mother or as a person who gets married. Or perhaps even at that age I was already doubting myself as the kind of person guys would want to marry.

It will probably come as no surprise then that Peter Pan was my favorite book as a child. I used to make my father read it to me over and over again. Even at an early age I felt a strong identification with Peter Pan and the lost boys who lived in Never Neverland and never wanted to grow up. I remember telling my Father that I was never going to grow up either. But I guess even Peter Pan had to grow up... I mean we all saw the movie Hook right? If you haven't, seriously - watch it. It's great!

The thing is... I'm not exactly ready to trade my international life and my career in tomorrow for a husband and kids - just the thought sends me into a semi-panic attack. But I'm starting to realize that kids, a husband, stability are probably things that I want in the future. I'm also realizing that partying every weekend, working long hours, and jet setting around the world is not exactly conducive behavior for fostering any kind of permanent relationship or settling down and there is absolutely no way to fit children into this lifestyle. I kept thinking I could do it all. But now I'm realizing that maybe it's just not possible. And since I can't run away with the Lost Boys to Never Neverland and hide away in some ageless world full of fun and games and pirates, the clock - oh that scary clock (much like the one that the alligator in Peter Pan swallows - I'm SO getting the deeper message of this book now) continues to tick, and no matter how hard I wish, I'm not getting any younger. So, if I'm really serious about settling down sometime soon, I guess I should start thinking about some making some changes in my life.... But don't worry! NOT YET! Fear not my faithful blog readers. At least for now, I will continue to amuse you with my silly stories of international singledom.

Luckily one of my 4 single friends is coming to visit me in London for the long Easter weekend. So, while my friends are all at home with their babies and husbands and boyfriends, well you know that we'll just be getting drunk!

Monday, March 29, 2010

What did we do Before Facebook?

I'm just back from an exciting weekend in Stockholm. Although I spent some very busy working days in the Stockholm office, I still managed to fit in some time for fun and catching up with old friends and as usual the girls had planned a big social schedule for us. I also had the great pleasure of meeting 3 beautiful new babies of good friends! It was really great to see my friends as new moms although it made me really realize how far there lives are from mine at this point ( do feel that this topic deserves a whole other blog). And as if to prove that it doesn't matter that everyone else is having babies and I'm still out partying like a 23 year old, I partied pretty hard 3 nights in a row despite having a massive cold that would have sent any normal person running for bed. I also went with a friend to the spa where we had great ambitions of having a work out session at the gym but unfortunately were so hungover we could only mope around and hang out in the outdoor (heated) pool and get a massage. Then, hangover still holding on, we met the rest of the girl group for an adventurous afternoon of pole dancing. Believe me. Swinging around a pole and trying to be sexy and graceful when you are hungover is something I DO NOT advise. However... hangover and all it was a really good time and I was amazed at how good we all were at the little sexy dance routine we all learned. The bruises in obscene places and the sore muscles on the other hand, are not so fun. Who knew pole dancing was such a good workout or so much fun?

If pole dancing was a high point... Unfortunately on Friday night I experienced a major low point when my friend (innocently enough and still feeling bad that she was the one to tell me) dropped the bomb that I knew was coming sooner or later when she said "Oh I hear the Beautiful Swede has a new girlfriend." Even though I was prepared for this kind of revelation about my Ex Boyfriend as I somewhat assumed that there was a possibility he had continued dating the New Year's Eve date, I was devastated. Directly after New Year's I had made a decision to not stalk him on Facebook (In one small moment of weakness over Christmas I did look at pictures of the girl I thought he was dating and then realized that I was only hurting myself and no good could come of following his life especially when I realized she looked like - to borrow a phrase from a friend - a "bad copy" of me). So, I "hid him" on Facebook so I would no longer see any status updates/relationship changes/pictures etc. Notice that I didn't actually "block him" which would mean that then he can't see my updates. I just hid him so I can't see what he's doing, but he can still see how great and wonderful my life is through my cheery status updates and frequent pictures of me with other men - as I might have mentioned before, I'm very very mature when it comes to relationships. So, because I had "hidden him" I didn't see when he changed his Facebook status to "In a Relationship." Luckily I have friends to watch out for me...

Even more devastating is the fact that that although we dated for over a year, we never changed our Facebook status to "In a Relationship." Ugh. Did I just write that? Oh yes I did. Ok. Let me explain. On the outside, I pretend that I think that changing your Facebook status is really cheesy and is not something I ever will do (I'm pretty sure that I expressed this to the Beautiful Swede) however, on the deep deep inside... I really secretly want a guy (ok - we're getting real honest here, I wanted that guy - the Beautiful Swede) to ask me to be "In a Relationship" with him on Facebook. I can't believe I'm saying this, but my deep dark secret is that I want a guy who wants to proclaim to our closest 500 + friends each on Facebook that we have a relationship. Ok... maybe I'm getting a bit carried away... I mean I haven't figured out if I will actually accept the relationship request - I have heard that you can always "deny" or "ignore" - but I still want to be asked. And it definitely makes me feel bad that he was so quick to jump into a Facebook relationship with someone else... Cue the insecurities... So, despite being prepared to hear that my Beautiful Ex had a girlfriend, it hit me hard. It ruined my night and it was in the back of my mind all weekend. And obviously I have been obsessing about it ever since. I only hope blogging about it will help me to get over it.

So, I was feeling a bit down about the Beautiful Swede having a new girlfriend, but luckily The Tennis Player (aptly named since he was a pro tennis player at some point in the recent past) thanks to my enthusiastic Facebook "I'm in Stockholm Y'all" status update, knew I was in town and sent me a message asking me if I wanted to meet up...

My relationship with the Tennis Player is a simple one. It doesn't really exist (outside the bedroom at least). But we have known each other for 3 or 4 years - neither of us can remember but it either way it seems like an extraordinarily long time for a relationship of this sort to continue to exist without any drama. We see each other from time to time depending on when we are both single. He actually fits my "perfect man" description exactly. He is tall, extremely handsome, dark hair, blue eyes, in good shape (he was a former tennis player), reasonably smart - well at least I think... capable of interesting conversation (mostly in the form of bedroom talk), a bit shy though and not seemingly a player, has lived in the US for 4 years while studying, close with his family, and whenever I see him, I want to rip his clothes off (just in case you were still in any doubt as to the nature of our relationship). But the relationship doesn't go anywhere (outside the bedroom at least). I think we are both happy with this set up. And seriously every perpetually single girl needs at least one man in their lives like this. Anyway, I had trouble deciding whether to contact the Tennis Player or not and had finally decided not to mostly because I was very tired from the night before and still sick with a never ending cold and I felt that a good night's sleep might do me some good. However, fate intervened and as I went to walk out of the club on Saturday night I literally bumped into him. We had a good laugh about our "destiny." And well I'm sure that you can guess the rest. Keeping in the PG-13 spirit of this blog, I won't divulge the dirty details.

So, all in all... A good weekend. Sad about the Beautiful Swede but saved by the Tennis Player. And as always a great time with the girls - and that's what's most important anyway.

But of course, back at work on Monday morning, the Beautiful Swede gets me on Google messenger to say: Hope you had a nice weekend in Stockholm. Guess he was also following my enthusiastic Facebook updates... I wish I could say that I easily casually ignored this comment, just easily brushed it aside and went on with my day - obviously not since I'm still thinking and writing about it now. Instead it threw off my whole day. First I created and rejected many one-liners to give him such as: Leave me Alone; Never Contact Me Again; Drop Dead Buddy; It was a fabulous weekend and the Tennis player was fabulous too (The Beautiful Swede wisely didn't like the Tennis Player - we had accidentally bumped into him out at least once)... See there goes that maturity shining through again. Then I wrote 3 different emails:
  1. The angry never contact me again, I wish I never wasted my time with you email

  2. The I hope you are well, I'm well too, my life is wonderful now without you. I know it must be hard, but I do hope that you might manage to have a semi-nice life without me.

  3. The sad teary-eyed, I miss you lots but I heard you have someone new and I just want you to know that it's really hard but I'm trying to move on too and it's better for me if you never contact me again because it hurts so much, if I think we can ever be friends again, then I will let you know but don't hold your breath.

Finally the maturity kicked in and I decided not to send any of the emails but they are all sitting in my "Draft" section of Gmail just waiting for me to figure out which one to send... In retrospect, maybe I can just send him a link to this blog. Nothing else... Hmm....

But here's the test. Read this post again and look at all the ways that Facebook intervened in the dynamics of this weekend (say nothing of the fact that I used it to contact all my friends to arrange meeting up with them). So, I ask you all this one question. Where would we be with out Facebook? Seriously? What did we do before Facebook? How did people know what other people were doing and keep in touch with each other? How did they arrange to meet up? How did people make their Exes jealous or post fun pictures of girl outings like pole dancing so the memories of fun weekends can live on in cyber space long after the party's over. How did we know that our exes had moved on to someone else? How did people proclaim their relationships? And are relationships these days really relationships without a Facebook proclamation? Was my relationship with the Beautiful Swede less real than his relationship with "her" because we did not set our Facebook status to "in a relationship?" I mean there are probably hundreds of my friends who didn't even know I was even in a relationship with him because my status on Facebook always remained "single"! Ok - I'm kidding - kind of... And is technology really helping? In the case of the Tennis Player it helped him to know I was in town, but wouldn't we have bumped into each other in the club anyway? Or is it hurting? In the case of the Beautiful Swede, do I really need to know he is dating someone else? And do I really need to be tempted to go in and check out pictures of him and his new girlfriend? I have to say that I am for the most part, a real Facebook addict. With my international lifestyle, I find it an easy and fun way to keep up with friends all over the world. On more than one occasion Facebook has enabled me to meet up with people in random cities just because we caught each other's Facebook post that we were going to the same place at the same time. But a sometimes, I just can't help wondering were we all just better off before Facebook?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Internet Dating Strategy

Well, I'm back from my China adventure and realize that there are actually no boys on the horizon. I guess it's back to good old Match.com for me. The problem is that March is a REALLY busy month for me and I actually am not sure I have time to date. Between a launching a new product at work, a good friend leaving (and insisting we party every night this coming week), a trip to Paris next weekend (to party for the night with friends) and a trip to Stockholm the week after (a mix of work and fun), it seems that I have very few free nights! Well, maybe I will meet men the old fashioned way when I'm out and about in my adventures. We will see.

But this morning I took a journey into the virtual dating world via Match.com who byt the way have annoying changed their UI and I HATE it. But that's beside the point. I still managed to email and wink at some cute boys and that's what's important right? Which brings me to my Internet Dating Strategy which I would like to share with you all.

All in all, I think that my strategy for Internet dating has been pretty good. I have only been on one truly bad date and that was a second date. Boy managed to hide his true colors during the first date... Sneaky. All of the men I have met have been reasonably attractive, able to carry on a good conversation, and more or less what I expected from their profile. I have had no awkward silences and no dates where I have run screaming from the bar because they were old, overweight and balding and nothing at all like their attractive profile picture.

And now, because I'm a nice person, I will share with you my secret Internet dating strategy in case you want to try it out yourself!

My strategy consists of only responding to men with the following criteria:
  • Tall - over 6'3 preferably (although I will consider anyone over 6 feet - all others are instantly deleted - I like tall men)

  • Handsome (I've already told you I'm superficial)

  • Must live in London

  • Must have a picture - more then one, preferably lots

  • Must be between 24 and 35 years old - Apologies to all the Grandpas who insist on writing to me even though I clearly state I don't like OLD men

  • Must not have kids or be divorced - who wants unnecessary baggage when it can so easily be avoided by a careful criteria screen

  • Must not post pictures of themselves posing in front of a mirror without a shirt on - Unless they are of course incredibly gorgeous and have a smart and serious profile to match

  • Must not have the headline of "How YOU Doin'?" - seriously do you know how many men out there have this as their headline? Can you be any less creative or cheesy?

  • Must have put some time and effort into writing there profile, not just write: "Don't know why I'm doing this. Friends told me it was a good idea. Hit me up with an email if you're a hot chick." -Ok, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but if if their pictures are really really great, I do sometimes write them back
  • Must have reasonable spelling and Grammar - If they can't properly write sentences, chances are an intellectual or stimulating conversation is not in the cards either

  • Must not list Dan Brown (or John Grisham) as his favorite author - seriously, do you know how many men do this? I have nothing against Dan Brown and I enjoy reading his books although I think they lack substance and have terrible character development - so if he's your all time favorite author... Nope. It's not going to work.

  • Must be willing to write back and forth with me several times before I actually meet them - I think people do tend to reveal their true selves in emails
  • Must be patient with me if I get cold feet and have to cancel the date and reschedule (yes, this sometimes happens to me)

  • Must not solicit sex, make inappropriate sexual comments, or get too desperate in emails

  • Must not be a stalker

But the most important rules are as follows:
  • Never take Internet dating too seriously

  • Use Internet dating, but don't forget the old fashioned way as well

  • If one boy doesn't work out, another one is just a click away

Time to tear myself from the computer and my virtual dating world and go back to the real world for now. Hosting a party tonight then going out clubbing in Lodon. Maybe I will manage to meet a real life man! I'll be sure to keep you posted! Enoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Woman of Mystery

I have recently had a very unusual experience. I didn’t travel ANYWHERE for 8 whole weeks! This is the first time in 5 years or more that I have managed to avoid getting on a plane for that long. And let me tell you it was AMAZING! In addition to getting to actually have a life (there is so much more free time when you are not waiting for planes, having dinner with colleagues and spending nights in hotels) and make plans with friends, I didn’t have to deal with the hassles of traveling or my fear of flying! It was wonderful. Unfortunately, I’m currently writing this post from the Beijing airport where I’m waiting for a very delayed flight to Shanghai… So, I’m back into travel mode again and for the foreseeable future will be on a plane every other week (at least).

You would think that being the International Woman of Mystery I am, flying and traveling would be easy for me. Just the thought of an International Woman of Mystery probably conjures up some image of a classy woman gliding through the airport with the perfect and appropriate travel bag clutched in perfectly manicured hand. She wears black and impossibly high heels and has dark sunglasses covering her eyes or casually resting on her head. She is calm and cool and never flustered. She definitely never looses her passport, her ticket, her phone… She never runs to catch a flight (she is wearing high heels that are not made for running). She is the essence of travel chic and her blasé attitude toward travel is admirable if not a tiny bit intimidating. She is who you wish that you could be. In fact, she is who I wish I could be.

For some reason, no matter how often I travel, I can’t really seem to get it right. No matter what, it feels awkward. First of all, I’m always late. Actually, that’s not true – but I always feel like I’m late and spend the 4 hours before the flight stressing that I’m going to miss the flight. The funny thing is that I’m late for absolutely everything except for planes and trains – then I have to be ridiculously early. My colleagues who have truly perfected the blasé attitude towards travel that enables them to roll up to the gate “just in time.” Actually, they miss a lot of flights this way – it stresses me out too much and therefore I usually just meet them at the gate, then I can arrive ridiculously early and let them sort themselves out on their own.

Second, I am bad at packing.
I always bring too much stuff because I want to have “options” and also because I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with working out and always need to bring full workout gear for all the days I will be traveling (and yes, I do usually use them so it’s not a total waste) in addition to my business clothes and casual clothes (if necessary). I also have to bring an absurd number of books because I tend to read a lot when I travel (waiting in lines, waiting for planes, when I can’t sleep) and my worst fear is being stuck without a book. But although I always seem to pack too much but also I usually inevitably forget something really important (like underwear).

Third, my checked in luggage seems to have at best a 50% chance of arriving with me. Seriously. In fact, there are even people who don’t like flying with me because they feel that it increases the chance of their own luggage getting lost. So, I have learned that if I am checking in bags, that I must then pack a carry-on with essentials (which includes at least one set of work out clothes and 3 books). Therefore, I can never be that very chic woman with just her laptop and purse. (Update: Guess what? I arrived in Shanghai without my luggage! Luckily I had my gym clothes and books stashed in my carry on. However, that left no space for my work clothes so I had to wear the same clothes I wore on the plane to the office – shows you where my priorities are).

Fourth, I always feel flustered when I travel. I constantly misplace my ticket or passport, forget to carry a pen to fill out the landing cards, think that my phone or Ipod is lost (they are usually just at the bottom of my big bag) so you often find me kneeling on the floor of the airport while dumping out the contents of my bag on the ground and searching frantically through them to make sure I have not lost my: passport, tickets, Iod, wallet phone etc. Adding to this, for some reason I either have a ridiculously looong layover or such a tight a connection that I literally have to run as fast as I can from one gate to another.

Fifth, I never have manicured hands, and high heels are totally inappropriate for an airport (I’m always amazed at women who can pull this off) as you usually have to walk A LOT between gates – especially in London and China airports. Seriously, I am wearing low high heeled boots right now in an effort to look a little cool. I’m pretty sure I just walked two miles. I have a blister. Was it worth it? I don’t think so. But I’m also not ready to be one of those women who wear sweatpants and sneakers and carry their pillow.

Sixth, I have managed to somehow develop an unfortunate fear of flying. It has gotten worse in the past couple years – the more I travel… A little bit of turbulence or a strange noise from the plane, is enough to set me into a panic and cause other people around me to pat me on the shoulder and tell me it’s going to be ok as if I’m some novice flyer. At those times I want to whip out my massive passport and show them that I fly all the time and that I realize I’m being silly, but I can’t help it. And please just stop touching me!

I am not generally a religious person, but I literally pray the whole time during take off and landing as I have heard this is the most dangerous part of the flight. And during the rest of the flight, I can’t help thinking about how it would feel if suddenly the plane just dropped and nose dived down killing us all. I know it’s much more likely that I will get hit by a Double Decker Bus crossing the road in London because I forget to look the “right” way. But for some reason death by plane crash seems pretty dramatic. I mean, you KNOW you are going to die for at least a couple minutes. Imagine the absolute panic this must cause as you and the rest of the passengers are falling straight down out of the sky!!!

But in fact, I think my biggest problem with flying is the fact that I know I will not be able to control my environment for several (sometimes more than 20) hours. For example, you can’t control the temperature, or the people (I seem to always get to sit next to fat people who snore or sick people who throw up the whole way), or the food. Knowing there are just too many factors out of my control that can lead to an absolutely miserable experience, puts me into a panic about flying.

I should mention that there are at least 2 colleagues who will no longer fly with me. I think it might have had something to do with the Brazil trip we took where I had an all out panic attack in the Amsterdam airport which involved staff assistance and switching around seats and a whole bunch of people needing to calm me down in order to get on the flight. I did however get on the flight and managed to arrive in Brazil in pretty good shape despite it all. In my defense, part of the panic was brought on by external factors that had nothing to do with flying or traveling and more to do with the Swedish Ex and the fast that the night before said flight we decided that we would no longer talk anymore… This decision set me off on a long crying spree which included calling my mother and trying to convince her to London and come and get me (yes, I realize this was unreasonable – but a girl can still want her mom when she is feeling bad), and a very sleepless night. I then channeled all of these emotions into a general panic about the Brazil flight. Say nothing of the fact that just weeks before an Air France plane (same operators as KLM) had just fallen out of the sky on the way to Brazil and much was made of the fact that when flying to Brazil from Europe, the plane goes off the radar for 3 hours (and yes, I thought about this the ENTIRE trip and wondered at which point we went off the radar). And being the control freak that I am, the Brazil trip was especially hard for me because I had never been to Brazil. So, in addition to the flight, there were a whole bunch of unknowns at the other end. I find that knowing what to expect when I land helps a lot.

Seventh, I can’t sleep on planes. At all. Ever. Unless I’m so extremely exhausted that I just can’t keep my eyes open – which only has happened a few times usually after many days of getting 4 or less hours of sleep each night… If I DO manage to sleep, I have nightmares about the plane dropping out of the sky and usually wake up totally panicked only to check the time and realize that there are still 8 MORE hours left of the 12 hour trip. Needless to say, not sleeping on planes is not a good thing when you are traveling intercontinental as usually I’m expected to be in the office looking fresh and polished and ready to work a normal 12 hour day… Needless to say I do not do well with this. I try to schedule flights so that I can get in the night before. I don’t really believe in jet lag. I don’t really have trouble fitting into the local time schedule. However, I do believe that sleep deprivation is a real thing. But usually one good night’s sleep of 6 – 8 hours can put me right back on track. Just don’t make me do a full day in the office first!

Eighth, traveling these days is no fun! Planes never seem to do anything on time… and you face endless security battles For example, I’m currently sitting in the Beijing airport where my flight was supposed to take off several hours ago and as usual Air China is giving absolutely no information as to why the flight is delayed or when the flight will actually take off. And of course, I didn’t sleep one wink on the flight on the way here. I didn’t even try. I just watched bad movies the whole way and read half of a 500 page novel. So, I’m WAY tired and feeling completely out of sorts. For some reason for me being completely over tired manifests in the following: first I start to feel a rocking motion – like I’m on a boat; second I feel majorly depressed as if the world was going to end, as if all the happy parts have been taken away from me. And for some irrational reason, my instinct when I feel this way is to stay up and try to “fix” myself. Being the control freak that I am, I have trouble understanding when my body is not following it’s usual behavior and I always think that it’s just because I’m being emotionally weak and I just need to pull it together. I have learned that it’s much better to just make myself go to bed. I’m always just as surprised to wake up the next morning and realize what a difference just a few hours of sleep can make.

Well, I think that my flight is finally about to board. The International Woman of Mystery is off again! Hopefully I will make it to Shanghai safely.

Update: I did make it to Shanghai safely. But as usual, my luggage didn't! But this time it WAS ALL MY FAULT. Despite having taken this flight about 20+ times previously - the last time being just a couple months before. I somehow managed to forget to get my luggage in Beijing and bring it through customs. So, of course it didn't arrive in Shanghai! Ooops - see, I told you, I'm a super cool traveler.

However, I did manage to persuade the Chinese officials who tried to tell me to go back to Beijing and get my luggage (yeah right) that not only was I not going back to Beijing. I was not even coming back to the Shanghai airport to pick it up when it arrived (which they told me was absolutely necessary). I made it very clear to them that they were going to get it from Beijing and to my hotel by the next evening at the latest.

My direct approach worked. My luggage arrived safe and sound the next evening with no hassle. Note to any travelers - do not listen to Chinese officials at the airport, tell them what you want and make them do it. See... maybe I am kinda a cool traveler after all. At least I've learned a few tricks...