I'm Tara.

I'm just a silly little girl who likes to go places and tell her silly little stories.

SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents & who I've become on my journeys. 

You can read my full story here!

nĭ hăo from China

nĭ hăo from China

So, I'm here. 

It's surreal, guys. 

I arrived on my first night at nearly midnight. It was the roughest start to any move/country I've had thus far. Picture arriving in pitch black, getting dumped out of a taxi in the middle of a street, then getting picked up by a random {maybe} Uber, getting dropped at my hotel, not being able to get on the WiFi to tell anyone I had made it safely, calling my best friend like a complete pathetic wreck, and then waking up to construction workers outside singing karaoke. I also didn't sleep on a single one of my flights and still have only eaten an apple {which caused my throat to swell and burn in a plot twist allergic reaction...} and have survived off of green tea and water, which makes the mind and body ill-functioning. 

I thought I had prepared pretty heavily for this. My boss has been "pleasantly surprised" that I did as much "homework" as I did. I read every blog post, news article, and expat page I could to know everything I needed, but I still feel overwhelmed by the task of living here. We'll see how long I last, aye? China is a beast that I am not even remotely positive I can tame, though I don't really think I came here to do that. I'm not sure what exactly I came here for. The unknown I suppose? To test myself? 

Prior to my arrival, you may have noticed that I took some needed time off from the blog. I guess it's simplest to say that I tend to take time away from the blog, randomly, usually for a few weeks or a couple of months tops. Sometimes the website is being updated {which will be the case soon}. This time, however, it was simply because this blog, at its core, is a love letter and I wanted to take some time to focus on loving those people who have been a part of it harder-- focusing less on writing and more on the big move and the wonderful people who have been supportive of this strange journey.

The aforementioned journey has been both {super} emotional and exciting. I've called my best friend crying and talked with other special people to give me a boost in 'bravery' or whatever you like to call it. Keeping in touch with people has been my saving grace when the obstacles of settling in seem daunting. But, that surprises no one, right? It's an absolute necessity for me to be plugged into the people in my finely-woven circle. 

I only ever get homesick for people, but I really get homesick for them. Like talking to Tash on the phone this morning. There we were laughing and catching up, she was telling me all about the football match her and the gang are headed to this weekend, and I just felt this tiny tinge of sadness. Like, gosh darnit I miss the loves of my life a whole fucking lot.

It's funny how in a city of millions, you can meet some fantastic people {shout out to the Aussie lads}, and at the exact same time want nothing more than the comforts of being at home {NZ} surrounded by the familiar laughter of the people you love most or being wrapped tightly in the arms of your best friend.

I write often about how special the people in that life are. I love them all, with real depth. I wish they were on this adventure with me, but I'm carrying them snug in my heart until we can all meet up for life talks and brunch at Cafe Vicky One. Ya know, my favourite stuff with my favourite humans. {SOON! I can't stinking wait!}

I've been in China only a very short while. but my senses are in overload.  My brain hasn't turned off from the second I got here. I definitely have both the challenge and adventure I asked for. There are signs I can't read, people I can't communicate with, and food that has neither picture nor English equivalents to make eating simple. Nothing about China is breezy. I should have guessed that during the visa process, aye? 

I've learned so much in my first few days, all of which I will share in an upcoming post, promise. 

I also wanted to make a little plug for my rebooted YouTube channel. I've taken this short time 'off' from blogging to create the videos I told you all a while ago I was in the process of making. I've taught myself, so be kind and gentle with the comments, as I'm still learning so much about the world of video and editing {like breaking the habit of filming vertically or using my fancy DSLR instead of my iPhone camera...}. I am kicking myself that I didn't start all of this sooner! You can watch all three of my videos in the 'Watch' tab located at the top of the screen. I'm working on weekly 'vlogs' {I hate that word so hard} about life here in China, which makes me really excited! I'm also currently discussing potential video/blog collabs in South Korea with one of my favourite travel bloggers and an all-around badass, Kirstie Hall from Hall Around the World. So. Exciting. 

I think part of what I love about video is how unaffected it is by everything else. Instagram is boxed in by strict ideals of aesthetics. Blog posts are either marked too personal or too basic. But video is a bit more real. I really like its authentic-ness. It's something I always hope to bring with me to the blog and all things attached to it. Which is why I write posts openly about being homesick for people, or feeling funny about being in China, or about every mishap that happens along the paths I tend to take. 

I don't expect to love China, especially not like I do my precious New Zealand {pfft, c'mon} or feel peaceful in it like I do Laos {ha, umm...nope}. I don't think the scenery of the city can compare to Montana mountains. I don't know that the food will ever be something I crave with Netflix late at night in bed {I haven't had any Chinese food yet, as it's all heavily cooked in oil and every menu I've come across in fully in Chinese...}. 

I don't know that I'll love China, but I hope to fall in 'like' with it.

I do know that I intend on documenting this journey, as I have the journeys of the last 7 years. And I do intend on remaining an open, bleeding heart {too emotional for its own good} about all that I experience. 

room with a {new point of} view

room with a {new point of} view

a guide to Notting Hill

a guide to Notting Hill