backwards and forwards

nikeWhen I turned 25, I was sooooo old. That was before I went to Taiwan. I knew everything by then.

When I turned 26, I went hiking and ate “authentic” Italian food at Pizza Olmo in Sanjhih.

When I turned 27, I was the director of an English camp in Taiwan.

When I turned 28, I was a teacher in Hong Kong. I learned that love can be like a pile of laundry—and that that’s a good thing.

When I turned 29, the pope abdicated his “throne.” I visited friends in San Francisco. I realized I have 365 days to accomplish all of the goals I set out to accomplish before 30. And I remembered:

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”Anatole France


Playing the “word game” in Taiwan.



Assessing students’ English ability. Taiwan.



The best group of kids ever. Taiwan.



Field trip in Hong Kong.



Goodbye, Benedict. The world will miss you. What will happen to us both this next year? We shall soon see.

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35 thoughts on “backwards and forwards

  1. Jeff Walker says:

    Act. Dream. Plan. Believe. Four rungs to a ladder in which all steps are organic and necessary, and none can be skipped. You got it covered I’m sure.

    I love the pictures of the kiddos; such radiant smiles!

  2. Eric Alagan says:

    “…I knew everything by then….”

    Yup, every year I say this. Then, I take another step and —-

    Good one :-)

  3. say “I’m growing old,” but add, “the Pope will miss me.” changes things, doesn’t it. tony

  4. marcelino guerrero says:

    Go for it!

  5. Love the quote and the emphasis on believing. I find that’s something I do a lot yet I still have to remind myself to believe in what I’m doing and “know” that it will come true. -AB

    • Jessica says:

      You of all people know what’s inside you, Arash. You are a hero and always have been. Your dreams *will* come true in ways you might never expect… I thought of you when I drove through Berkeley yesterday and today.

  6. Oh was yesterday your birthday? If yes, Belated Birthday wishes. :)

    May all you good wishes and dreams come true!

    Loved the post, pictures and the quote. :)

  7. Karen Tilstra says:

    Hey Jessica – I enjoyed your blog & love your photos. They capture movement & the human spirit! Very cool…. We must not only act, dream, plan, and believe – but save a little time to retreat and reflect. Reflection brings meaning to it all. Keep up your good work… I look forward to your next blog! xoxoxo Karen Tilstra

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Karen! So good to hear from you! Yes, trust me, I reflect and retreat a lot. It’s inherent in my naturee—and what spurs a lot of my writing. Thanks for reading! Hope you’re well!


  8. You are admired

  9. Heath Capps says:

    A great life you are leading, serving others in such a way. Amen.

  10. plaridel says:

    nice quote from Anatole france.

  11. whatuful says:

    Hi! I accidentally visited ur blog. Now I’m studying abroad in Taiwan. u also visited here wow.

  12. You are a natural writer with a punchy style and great humor. I don’t want to hit the “like” button.” I want a “love it” button to hit. Also, the pictures are outstanding! Keep it up!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you! Your encouragement and feedback means the world. I’ve been thinking really hard about my “niche”! Having a hard time narrowing it down, but it will come with a little more time. There are definitely themes that run through my work.

      Anyway, thanks again. And I’m glad the pictures turned out! Thank goodness for my trusty little Canon!

  13. ocelot81 says:

    Sometimes when I read your post I just wanna grab my bags and travel the world again… Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Lawrence says:

    i think you need to go back!

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