Catch Me Live

So, we’ve been in Taiwan ten days and I have not written a word about our trip. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing stuff for my public!

Thanks both to a challenge in a blogging group I’m part of, as well as great ideas and encouragement from my friend, Brittany Minor of Clumps of MascaraI have been trying out Facebook Live Videos.

(Seriously, Brittany is really amazing with her own videos – and she suggested all sorts of great topics to discuss, checkout, and asked so many great questions that I feel kinda guilty that she so generously helped me without asking for anything in return. All she got were some FB Live videos of questionable value.)

Now that I have done a few of them, I don’t know why I was so hesitant about doing them before. I think part of it was that it never occurred to me that people would want to see videos of me wandering about Taiwan. I mean, a city is a city, right? Just how interesting is a tour of 7-11?

Well, just because I personally am not interested in this stuff, I suppose doesn’t mean that other people wouldn’t be! And I also realized that I have been taking my trips to Taiwan for granted.

Most people do not get the chance to travel to Taiwan, let alone often enough for it to become familiar and not entirely intimidating. And even if they came, perhaps their language skills are nonexistent, not good enough or if they are, they still don’t necessarily know how things work.

Plus, all this knowledge that I now take for granted (eg: going on an MRT, shopping for stuff in a store, what to bring, how to shuttle kids around) – that is interesting and helpful to people! And folks, I am what we call a helpful person.

Also, I am somewhat of a narcissist.

So, because I’m a giver, I am collecting a bunch of my FB Live videos into this post, but if you are not following my personal FB page (sorry, I only friend folks I know In Real Life), you can still follow along at my Mandarin Mama Facebook Page.

Also also, because I’m never one to let a good suggestion go, please let me know if there is stuff you want to see or ask or watch a FB Live about. If I can swing it, I’ll do it. 😀

Anyhow, without further ado, here are most of my FB Lives up until today. (Holy cow, I did a lot!)

1) Traveling in Taiwan with Kids Q&A

2) Tours of Playspaces

Leo’s Playground

Fantasy Island Playspace Tour

3) Tours Around Town

Taking the MRT


Taiwanese Bus


Taking out the garbage

Wellcome Mart Tour

My Kids’ Favorite Escalator

Watsons Tour

PierMei Hair Accessory Store

Guang Hua2 Technology Mart

4) Restaurants

Modern Toilet

Costco Food Court Part 1

Costco Food Court Part 2

Yong3 He2 Dou4 Jiang Da4 Wang2 Taiwanese Breakfast

Taiwanese Department Store Food Court

Local Taiwanese Breakfast Place

Checking In on My Year of Risking Dangerously

I briefly mentioned it in Monday’s blog, but a college friend recently approached me to ask me about blogging. He wanted to know how to make money with the blog, increasing visibility and readership, how to make his blog better, and general advice (like writing) for his blog.

I had a really great time discussing the business side’s minutiae and dispensing advice.

Ok. I won’t lie.

I LOVE dispensing advice regardless of the topic. I am definitely my own favorite echo chamber.

But anyhow, after texting with him over the course of several days, it reminded me of my lofty goals at the beginning of the year and kinda lit a fire in me again.

Now, I’m not saying that my goals are now exactly the same because, HI BABY4! But I didn’t want a pregnancy and subsequent new life form to be an excuse. (Even though it’s been a very handy excuse.)

As a result, I thought I would check in on my Year of Risking Dangerously and see how I was doing.

So, here are a few things I mentioned that I wanted to accomplish this year, as well as some goals I had written for myself in my planner.

1) Become “internet famous.”

I’m not sure how to gauge this exactly. I definitely haven’t gone viral or won any awards or taken the internet by storm.

However, in my little niche of Mandarin stuff (you like that technical term?), I seem to be “famous” enough. And although it’s not the same as going viral on HuffPo, it’s acceptable to me.

Of course, if HuffPo comes calling, I’m not gonna object. So, you know. Get to working, internet.

2) Submit my work to online publishers.

I was pretty good with this the first few months of the year.

I pitched Postpartum Progress and they published an article of mine on How to Get the Most Out of Your Therapist

I was interviewed at Moms and Biz about Chinese homeschooling and loved my two minutes of fame. 

I also submitted to a few other places, and although it’s technically not an online publisher, I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother and made their San Francisco cast. (You can see the video and read the transcript here.)

So, even though I didn’t do much else after that due to my extreme fatigue, I am satisfied. I may get my act together enough to submit a few more articles, but truthfully, I probably won’t.

I am content to hold off for now (unless I start getting some second or third wind).

3) Create and publish ebooks from my Chinese (and other) series.

I have TOTALLY dropped the ball on this. Like, completely.

I deluded myself into thinking that I would do this during my Taiwan trip, but mostly, I just focused on eating my own weight in shaved ice.

However, after talking to my friend, I am newly re-inspired.

So, I will definitely try and make this happen before the end of the year. (Heck, even if it means squeaking in just under the wire or right at the new year.)

Of course, to get it out in time, I have to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies and maybe not have the ebook be as completely re-written as I’d hoped.

But sometimes, good enough is still good enough.

4) Create material for and launch my own YouTube channel and series. Start a podcast.

Total fail.

I did record some videos, but I don’t think this will realistically happen this year or the next. UNLESS I stop caring about the “professional” look of the videos and just post whatever. Like, Facebook Live quality types of videos.

We’ll see.

Otherwise, I’m content to let this go for the next year or so and wait until Baby4 is a little older.

5) Take myself seriously by owning my talents/abilities/influence and acting like a professional.

Although it did not quite manifest in the ways I originally had in mind (such as starting a newsletter, revamping the website, making it more businessy by getting sponsors or ads), I did start participating more in online communities, subscribing to blogs and Facebook pages and interacting more with the writers.

Also, I’m not sure what it is exactly, but my personal attitude about my writing and abilities has shifted. For some reason, I no longer feel embarrassed (not even sure if that’s the right word) about blogging.

Instead, I’m confident in my writing and my voice.

I don’t know how it happened, but I like it.

So, I give myself a C. I did well on certain tasks, but others, I completely failed. It kind of averages out, right?

Ok. My brain is mush. Introspection apparently hurts me. But thanks for reading anyway! We’ll see if my sudden surge in energy is going to last long enough for me to get things done to my satisfaction.

Otherwise, I’m ok with letting things go.

See you Friday!

My Year of Risking Dangerously

riskWhen I look back on my youth, I am always so puzzled as to why I had such a hard time asking my parents (especially my mother) for what I wanted or needed.

I mean, we’re talking about basic needs like menstrual pads for when I was menstruating. And yet, instead of asking my mother to buy me more pads, I would just surreptitiously sneak into her bathroom and raid her supply. When she ran out, she would just buy more for herself.

Or, for instance, I am uncertain to how I ate lunch from junior high onwards. I either had to make my own lunch, or I somehow paid for lunch at school. But I always remember being hungry – or not really having a lunch. And either scrounging for change around the house to pay for food items in nickels, quarters, and dimes – or just bumming snacks off of my incredibly patient friends. In high school, I finally decided to work in the cafeteria in order to get the free lunches. (I also considered it a way to build up my college applications.)

When I mentioned this to my mother and brother, they both looked at me as if I were crazy. Why didn’t I take money out of the cash drawer when I needed money? I had no idea what they were talking about.

But now that I think back, I do recall a cash drawer. And I was pretty sure I knew what it was for. So why didn’t I avail myself to it? Was I trying to “make it” on my own? I have no idea. But it’s weird, right?

I also remember that I used to covet all those teen magazines and would want to buy them but never asked my mom if I could because I was certain she would say, “No.” So instead, I would shoplift them. Or tear out certain pictures and shove them in my backpack.

One time, I was with a bunch of my friends and a clerk caught me shoving magazines in my backpack. He accused me and I was terrified because it was obviously true. I said I would pay for them. But one of my friends said she was certain I bought magazines from another friend who was selling them for the school fundraiser. And another friend’s mom accused the clerk of racism so they backed off. Of course, I called the friend who was selling magazines to say that I bought them from her if anyone asked. Of course, they asked.

This inability to ask for what I wanted or needed followed me through college and most of my adult life. I stayed in a major I hated because I was afraid of both acknowledging my changing and evolving desires as well as possibly being forced to transfer to UC Berkeley if I were no longer pre-med. (My father had made me write a huge pro/con list as to why I should attend UCLA instead of Cal. A big reason was that UCLA had a medical school and I wanted to be a doctor.)

As a result, I didn’t tell my parents until I was about to graduate that I didn’t want to be a doctor. Turns out, they didn’t want me to be a doctor, either. They thought it was too hard of a life.

When I reluctantly became a financial advisor, I didn’t want to tell my mother (who was my partner) that I absolutely hated it out of fear of disappointing her. After I finally told her (a decade and a child later), she wasn’t as crushed as I thought.

I wasted so much of my life tamping down on my desires and needs, constantly lying and dismissing myself. It’s no wonder that it’s taken me years to finally admit what I want and grab it.


This is my year of risking dangerously.

This is my year of taking my desires, talents, and abilities seriously.

This is my year of pushing through terror and fear of disappointment. Of putting my money where my mouth is.

This year, I’m acknowledging the hidden corners of my heart. I’m giving voice to the whispers that I shunt to the side, thinking I’m not good enough, brave enough, or diligent enough.


This year, I’m going to risk for what I want and what I want is to be “internet famous.”

I’m going to (and have already started) submitting my work to online publications. I want to create and publish a book out of several of my Chinese series. I want to create material for and launch a YouTube channel. Maybe start a podcast.

Who knows how many of these things will succeed?

I find the process terrifying and overwhelming. That is a huge reason I didn’t want to write about what I wanted for this year.

But you know what I find even more terrifying?

Ending 2016 at the same place as I did in 2015. Yearning and wanting but cowering in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (and having to reproduce that success). Fear of finally taking myself seriously only to be confronted with the prospect of my possibly not being as great as I think myself to be.


There it is. That’s what I want. What I most desire.

I’m done hiding.

Here I come. Ready or not.