31 Times I Instagrammed My Life At 30

30, as it would sound, was quite the transitional year for moi. Transitional sort of makes it sound like it wasn’t a good year, but au contraire my friend, au contraire. Transitional in the way that the year had so many types of ups and downs, but all for the good I’d like to think. I started my thirtieth year on the planet dedicating my day to the fashion of a rapist (unbeknownst at the time), went a bit viral on the interwebs, got heart-swollen and then heart-crushed during the wind-down of my Korean life, left the continent I never thought I wanted to live in to put a new twist on my life in the continent I dreamt of since the age of 10, found out what I’ve always been wondering – do I have a BIG VOICE? and had a couple reunions to set my heart aflame along the way.

And all of these lovely happenings were documented via the Instagrammer. So, to ring in my 31st, and the Age of Aquarius, without further adieu, I give you my thirtieth year on this great planet of our’s through the lens of my iPhone 5S and a filter or two.

1. Puddin’ Pops & Rapist Fashion

I don’t think much needs to be explained here, as the fashion is self-explanatory. However, if you must have your hand held, I rang my 30th birthday in with a dinner in which we were all required to wear a Cosby sweater, alla Bill Cosby. I made chocolate pudding cups and we enjoyed an evening in our old-man best. Naturally, my first thought once the allegations came to be was “Holy shit, I themed by birthday around a rapist!” Not many can say that and…laugh.

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2. Lunar New Year In The Organ Black Market of Seoul

In Korea, and Asia for that matter, Lunar New Year is the big deal when it comes to new years. So, to fully immerse ourselves in the Lunar New Yearsness of it all, a group of us went out to China Town in Daerim, also known as one of the sketchiest parts of Seoul, and where you could very well find your organs for sale if you walk down the wrong alley. We all came back to the safe side of Seoul with all our organs in tact, and a gut full of delicious MSG.  It was perfection, even if we did eat at a restaurant where dog was being served at the table just beside us.

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3. Hello Baby Gavin!! 

Gavin wasn’t the first baby of a friend to be born, but he was the first baby of two of my oldest friends to be born, and Auntie D met him when we was just 2 days old! Mommy Kendra was exhausted, Daddy Justin proved to be a baby whisperer, and baby Gavin had a big head from being a trickster in the birth canal. But my god, was he a dream to hold. Heart swells don’t even come close to how happy this moment made me!

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4. In N Out & A Date With My Boo

Collin came down from The Bay because I specifically ordered him to. However, he came home a little bit earlier because he got in a horrendous bike accident. So, I drove my toy car rental all the way down to Riverside, which beforehand, I had no clue where it existed. I had no service on my phone, and got lost on the return home, but before I left I did get to eat In N Out on Collin’s handmade preschool plate. It was a magical day with my boo.

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5. Fab 4 Bangin’ Booties

These 3 are my hearts when it comes to women. A trip around the world we are, and this winter after a champagne brunch in Manhattan Beach, we took my favorite photo of us. It’s just as perfect as those badonks.

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6. The Baby Tour of Los Angeles Continued

This was a special one. Sista and I thought we’d never get to meet Kian, the newest edition to our crazy clan! But we did, and shortly after he had surgery on his head, making him the world’s cutest little race car driver. He was and IS a doll and I am obsessed with his little face!!

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7. Tommy Boy & His Ego Came Back

Tommy and I got close fast, and this time he returned to Korea, professed his love, and we swapped each other’s rings for a day. We walked the Suwon Fortress on St. Patty’s Day, and drank expensive Yellowtail under a temple whilst overlooking all of Seoul. ‘Twas divine.

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8. Ultimate Finds Whilst Vintage Shopping

This makes me sound like a bitch, but oh well. These 3 words sum up mine and Veny’s sentiments to a tee when it comes to new friends, particularly those LBH’s in Korea. I still regret not making this purchase. OH WELL.

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9. Glamping & KPorn

We had been talking about going Glamorous Camping for quite some time, but alas that never happened. Until we stumbled upon the new Glamping bar in Itaewon on Taeho’s birthday. We sat around on beanbags and he was gifted this very special magazine by Joshua. He’s always so thoughtful with his gifts. Taeho very much enjoyed the black and white imagery.

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 10. Continuing the Love of Abandonment 

Abandoned places that is! Joshy is my breaking-into-abandoned-places partner in crime, and for this wild ride at Yongma Land we took our third member of Destiny’s Child along for the ride. Joshy, Veny, and I nearly broke into Yongma Land, though that is entirely unnecessary. Just leave it to us to find the more ‘scenic’ route to enter an establishment. We basically went off-climbing to get in here, and once we were in we had tons of fun riding broken rides and watching creepers have cosplay photoshoots.

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11. Slumbering With Snoring Ajummas

No one wanted to go out of town for this long weekend, so I took it upon myself to jet out of Seoul solo to Ganghwa-do just off the coast of Incheon. There I fulfilled my desire to do a sort-of temple stay, as I slept on a mat, in the sweltering heat, beside a bunch of snoring ajummas who kept throwing candy and fruit at me. It was an experience I will not soon forget.

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12. Life in Polka Dots

Kusama Yayoi is a Japanese artist who’s work consist of one of my favorite things – POLKA DOTS! She literally lives in a polka dot world and created it for the world to see. The end of her exhibit is a room where you get to put your own dots anywhere and become one with her polka dot world. It was stunning, and smelled like feet in there.

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13. Gone Viral Between Two Ding Dongs

My phallus-loving sister and I went to a penis cafe located about an hour outside of Seoul in Pocheon. The entire cafe is themed around the male ‘important part’, and after I wrote about it, my post got picked up by an online magazine and they used me and these two ding dongs as their enticing photo on Facebook. I was thrilled! What a way to make it big!!! Thanks internet!

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14. Saying Goodbye Is The Worst Thing Ever Invented

A week of saying goodbye to the babies who stole my heart was quite possibly the most miserable thing I ever did. After 3 years it was time to part with my kiddos, and these boys made it so hard!

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15. Lovers Getaway To Yang Yang

Perhaps one of my favorite trips done in Korea was this one to Yang Yang. Veny, Joshy, Dustin, and I rented a swanky Sonata and road tripped to the gorgeous coastal town of Yang Yang. It was bittersweet to say the least, and this photo with my first friend in Korea is perfect. We came full circle from looking haggard (if that’s even possible for her) on our first bus ride, to frolicking on the beach not wanting this amazing experience to ever end. Love my Venylove.

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16. The Fucking Core

Weeding through the nut bags we were surrounded by was some work, but at the end of those 3 years I found some of the most solid friends a girl could ever ask for. For our last weekend all together we ended up at some crazy club in Gangnam. It was loud, there was seizure music, there were tears, but it was the best.

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17. #tits

Korea is good for the Trick Eye Museums and the sex themed locales, even though the mere mention of sex causes a stir. But I’ll have you know, despite the contradictory culture, the Love Museum does NOT disappoint, as my kookster in krime and I discovered one rainy afternoon. After many phallic photos, this one of me helping The Hulk hold up some tits was a great indicator of the afternoon amazingness.

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 18. Dolled Up And On a Boat

What ended up being a failed attempt on ‘everyone’s last weekend together’ turned into a divine evening with these gorgeous lady lasses. We dolled up, took far too many posy pictures for my liking, and watched all the KKouples take romantic selfies of themselves under the Han River water show.

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19. Straddling That Border Up North

In the movie The Interview they show all the North and South Korean military hanging out in this room watching Kim Jong Un get his ass shredded on live tele. Well, it’s a bit different in real life. You actually only get like, 5 minutes in the room, and the guards take shifts for show. Mostly. But, here we are, checking off another BIG must-do on the Korean Bucket list of life. Straddling the most heavily militarized border in the world.

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20.  Asianization Meets Europeanization

Getting this Spanish visa was no easy task. As an American it is near impossible to get a work visa in Europe, but thank heaven that programs like the fakakta one I’m in exist! The day I finally stared at (and immediately snapped this photo) this visa gracing MY passport, I literally let out a giant squeal. No joke. I wanted this visa in my passport since I was 10, and 20 years later shit got real. Thank you Javier at the Spanish consulate in Seoul!

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21. The Saddest Day Of My Life So Far

Joshy holds the biggest chunk of my Korean heart, and being the last person I saw and shared a deliciously overpriced naengmyeon and jjigae meal with tore my heart out, despite what these cheesers may say. Saying seeya later to him turned me into a waterworks show and I did not stop crying until well after take off. It was the shittiest.day.ever.

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22. I’m A Bridesmaid!

First, don’t kill me for this photo. You’ll thank me when we’re old and grey. Second, Jeanelly found her wedding dress, then asked us all to be her bridesmaids, then we had a Fab 4 slumber party filled with dress up, sexual Korean face mask selfies, and of course, watching Bridesmaids. It was only suiting.

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23. Reunited With My Soldier 

What are the chances that the next time I visited NYC my Israeli soldier would be there at the same time, 4 years after our last rendezvous in the Big Apple? Well, he was, and he came to Kayla and Jeanette’s birthday, and my heart could burst I was so happy to see him in front of me.

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24. Imbibing Where Honest Abe Once Did 

With only 2 choices of beer to choose from, light or dark, we opted for the more delicious dark at McSorley’s in NYC. My reunion with my Sammy baby was long past overdue, and seeing Shika Shocka was the cherry on top.

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25. #grandmaswhorally Became A Thing

Here we have my first photo from Spain indicating that I do in fact have friends! This was also the night that the hashtag #grandmaswhorally stuck. What started out as a lazy night where none of us wanted to leave the comforts of our boudoirs (in my case, my hostel cell bed), turned into a delightful evening of sangria, homos all around, evening drinking on a terrace, and feeling old, but still young enough to kick it.

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26. I Found An Apartment, That Turned Out to Be Hell

After a solid 2 full weeks of piso hunting around Malasaña, I finally found one that I should have known was too good to be true. What started off amazing, and quite hilarious, with a naked David hanging in my room, turned out to be a horrendous experience. Let’s just say THANK GOD I’M OUT OF THERE, and someone’s got some (dog) shit flying their way soon.

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27. Mama Schaeff And Her Face Mask Came To Visit

My mother, the world traveler, finally came to visit me in one of my far away homes. We museum hopped, we fought, we ate tons of shitty fast food because Spain is all about the pig and Mama don’t eat the carne, and she walked into a nail salon and asked the nice ladies for a face mask because there’s too much smoke in Madrid. This is what she looked like for the duration of her stay.

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28. 1999 Meets 2014 

A reunion in Madrid that my 14 year old self surely would have died had she known would happen, happened. It was the best, and this cafe con leche from Federal pretty much sums up my feelings about said reunion.

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29. The Asian Who Always Visits Me

Jnetty was my first visitor in Korea, and was one of my first visitors in España. Surely I love her so! So much that I snuck her into my hell hole of an apartment late night, and the next day we popped off to Sevilla and Granada, where we wandered through the stunning walls of the Alhambra in the frigid cold. She even tried her hand at the Español, and failed when she asked for the ‘jambon’. However, she greatly succeeded in getting me kicked out of my dark dungeon of a penis hanging apartment. THANK THE JAMBON ABOVE. No one tells Dani ‘no visitors allowed’.

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30. Leaving Germany In the Most Jewy Way Possible

It might as well have been 1940something that snowy afternoon when I left Berlin headed for Prague. Upon entering the train, our first class tickets became null as our car was ‘out of order’. How, I’m unsure, since it was tagging along with the rest of the train just beyond the locked doors. But, out of order it was. So there I sat for 6 hours, along with about 5o other people, trying to find comfort on the train floor. Here I am finding some semblance of comfort under this man’s rear end. I could not have exited Germany in a Jewier fashion than this. It was utter perfection, and the story itself more than pays for the reimbursement we should be owed.

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31. Why Yes, I Do Have A Big Voice!

For my 31st birthday weekend I popped off for a romantical rendezvous in Brussels, which despite what this blow horn might convey, was quite the quiet little town. We indulged in delicious chocolate and beer aplenty, played with aluminum balls, and even enjoyed a side of terrorist scares in the city. It was a weekend I did not want to return from!

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And there you have it! My life as seen through most likely the Valencia filter with the sharpening tool on Instagram was divine. Though filled with lots of weird emotions, 30 was my favorite year yet and I can’t wait to see what 31 will dish out! If these photos left you intrigued, do follow along on Instagram at @dtschaeff

Culture Shocking My Pants Off In Reverse

For the second time in the past 2.5 years, I made the flight home to the land of LALA, mostly because lots of my friends are maturing at a more rapid pace than I and are bearing children, but also to see lots of lovely familiar faces (but that jibber jabber is for another post).

I’ve been home since I’ve left, and that was after an even longer period of time than this time, however this trip actually felt quite a smidge different than the first. I’m not quite sure why, but it did. It was mostly in the realm of culture shocking my pants off in the weirdest and most microscopic ways. While you may laugh, these are real things that made me feel like a foreigner in my own land of reign. Super weird to you, and even super-er weirder to moi.

Landing In America and Still No English.

For some odd reason I had a layover in Dallas on my jaunt home to LA. Why that makes sense, I have no idea, but I did. After getting through security I had to empty my bladder so I went to the restroom. While I was doing my business, all I heard being spoken around me was Spanish. I know I’m in Tejas, but it was so bizarre to me. Here I was in my own country, land of (obviously many languages, but…) English, and still none in sight, aside from the TSA people that were so cheery and talkative.  I’m so used to Korean making up the white noise in the background of my life these days, and when a different language was being spoken my ears perked up, yet still no super understandable cigar to be found.

Fondling Money & Pressure To Order At Starbucks.

This was perhaps my 2nd day home and the oddest of the odd in my book. We’ve got Starbucks aplenty in the Koko, though I actually don’t go much, unless it’s the holidays or I’m homesick or I’m with my lassie, Veny, and we only eat and drink American things together. It’s our thing.

Well, I was home and I really had a hankering for a Starbucks visit. I’m usually a weird person at the counter on any given day because I usually always order 1 of 3 things, but sometimes I feel like I’m gonna be spontaneous, and then I’m not, then there I am standing there trying to make up my mind, then spit out a wild order of “I’ll have a tall cafe latte. Oh! nonfat!” (Nonfat milk is like nonexistent in Korean coffee shops, so I forget).

This time I still ordered my nonfat tall latte, but that wasn’t the issue. Rather it was the swiftness of the process that caught me off guard. I felt so pressured from the second I stepped in front of the girl taking my order, to blurting out my order to fumbling with my dolla bills. For some reason the fact that I had dollars in my hand opposed to wons made me nervous, then throw in coins. Eeeesh! It was weird. I’m just used to muttering “tall capay latte” and it still sometimes getting lost in translation just because I’m a white face staring back at the scared-of-foreigners Korean face, and then forking over some wons, and it just being an all around slower process.

But like, 2 minutes later my beverage was ready. I was shocked by the efficiency. In Korea, there will be like 5 people making one drink and it’ll still take a year to receive. Blown away, off I happily walked with a puzzled 5 minute encounter giggling in my brain.

When Collin and I had our rendezvous, I had this feeling reassured when he told me some of his most uncomfortable moments upon returning to the States involved paying for things. Phew!

Another Starbucks Soiree.

I went to another Starbucks with sista, this one being the little setup in the local Vons. Much like Cori made fun of me for saying “bye bye” to everyone while we were in Thailand, Jacquie made fun of my way of ordering my tall iced Chai tea latte (one of my 3 staples).  Apparently I was talking to the barista like he was a moron and I needed to speak as if I wasn’t in Asia anymore and he was in fact a capable human being. Well, apparently I didn’t realize I was talking in a drawn out dialect. It’s become a way of life that is unbeknownst to me at times. Adjustments people!

Supermarket Window Shopping.

The morning I went to the DMV to renew my drivers license (I’ve got a great new picture, BTW, and I no longer weigh the 105 lbs. I never was), was also the one day my mother let me cruise around in her vehicle. I took the liberty of showing myself around the neighborhood and those adjacent to see the new popups since I’ve been gone. I was pleasantly surprised. But that’s all besides the point.

I took a trip to the local Trader Joe’s, because I miss it so, and I just have a love for supermarkets. They’re actually one of my favorite things to see when I travel because they’re so unique everywhere you go. Another aside, sorry. Well, I went to Trader Joe’s and I just wandered the aisles to look at all the things that I just can’t get in Korea. This was my preliminary visit to Trader Joe’s. I had to mentally prepare myself for treats to bring back with me. I told this to my sister and she thought I was so weird. I literally just wandered, read labels that don’t require me to Google Translate and checked out the new delicacies that have been added to the shelves.

I definitely felt weird whilst doing this and then exiting without dropping a penny. It’s the little things, like being able to read a label and know exactly what a product is before purchasing.

Nail Talk Jibber Jabber.

On mine and Kayla’s day of wandering in the sun, we also went to get our nails did, something I haven’t actually had done since I was in Vietnam 2 years ago and got them done for $2. I’ve become my own personal manicurist and pedicurist and I thoroughly enjoy it.

In nail salons people sit and talk talk talk, mostly about how the nail polish shade they’ve chosen is going to change their outlook on life for the week, or the latest celebrity gossip, and this was the first time I was acutely aware of all the chatter going on in my vicinity. As I said before, I basically swim through the white noise of Korean being spoken everywhere, so actually being able to fully understand everything being spoken around me  made me so aware of how stupid most people sound.  I’m obviously guilty of the celebrity gossip because I love it, but seriously, most people just need to STFU because they sound like idiots.

Next.

No Crayon Pop.

Only mah peeps in Korea will get that play above there. Anyways…

Korean magazines looks like a crayon box vomited all over paper with flashy bubble print and exclamation points everywhere and guys with makeup adorning cover after cover.  There’s also very rarely American magazines in sight over here. So, while Jacquie and I were strolling through Westwood, we passed by a newsstand.  I had to stop and peruse a few because I was just so excited to see American magazines in English and without the Crayola effect.

I also had a couple incidents where I couldn’t put down the Us Weekly or People at the check-out counter. There’s just something special about having the Hot or Not, Who Wore It Best? gossip in your hands as opposed to a link on the interwebs.

I’m sure there were more exciting culture shockers that popped up, like just how capable of eating cheese for every meal I really am, but these are the ones that were super apparent to me, and when I told others about them they couldn’t help but laugh in my honor. Living abroad is weird, but returning back from abroad is even weirder. Are there any subtle but mind-blowing reverse culture shocks you’ve experienced?! Do tell, because I’m sure it’s happened here too!

30 Spectacular Things I Conquered Before 30

My twenties were freakin AWESOME, and everything they were supposed to be, according to every Buzzfeed post you’ve read in the last 5 minutes.

I started them in love with a spectacular guy, got far too intoxicated all too often at the so appropriately nicknamed University of Casual Sex and Beer, entertained a handful of delicious guys who’s names all started with the letter J, graduated college and immediately hopped a Eurail through Western Europe with my bestest friend, suffered a brief heart murmur for a hott Italian boy named Giuseppe while in Barcelona, worked my ass off in the industry that I always dreamt of being a part of, revisited the place where I became a woman atop Masada, and picked my life up to move to the place I only thought I never ever wanted to live, ever.

And well, since the last decade and everything that came before were so breathtakingly tremendous, I thought it only appropriate to send them out with the same bang that they came in with, only with less vomit and blue tongue.

So, without any further ado, here we have 30 bomb diggity things I did before turning the fab age of 30 this Monday!

1. Skydived out of a helicopter while attempting to shout “HOLY SHIT!!” over the Swiss Alps, in Interlaken, Switzerland.

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2. Road tripped cross-country to spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Disgusting.

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3. Grew my first grey hairs in my “Garden of Grey” while coordinating fancy events and GLAM SQUADS for Jenny from the Block.

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4. Got LASEK and “restored” (if that even means they were ever perfect) my eyes to 20/20!

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5. Got my degree and hit the road for a month through Western Europe with MayMay.

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6. Went on Birthright, and big surprise, came back head-over-heels in intense L**E (?) with a sexy IDF soldier.

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7. Went fishing for the first time in Phu Quoc, Vietnam and caught a school of my very own fish…that I later ate.

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8. Was a bridesmaid for the first time in the wedding of 2 of my dearest high school friends.

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9. Watched, with pure glee, as my favorite dance teacher tapped his face off as Mr. Braithwait in Billy Elliot on Broadway.

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10. Took an authentic Thai cooking course in Chiang Mai.

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11. Schaeff family roadtripped to Graceland, Mt. Rushmore, the White House and nearly all 50 US states in a 15 seater van.

12. Saw *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Madonna and The Rolling Stones (amongst others….) all live in concert. Teeny bopper fo lyfe.

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13. Spent a Fab 4 New Year’s Eve on stage with Kanye West in Vegas, long before he was half of Kimye.

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14. Made the overseas move to Korea and lived in my own apartment for the first time.

15. Swam with Spinner dolphins in the wild, off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

16. Had a great young love (and a big chunky camera!)

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17. Took a bath with, and rode an elephant, through the Thailand jungle.

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18. Gallivanted through Angkor Wat.

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19. Got Bat Mitzvah’d atop Masada, while my family laughed beside me, and then I slathered my body in Dead Sea mud.

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20. Laid with baby tigers, spooned a mama or papa tiger, and caught a couple tigers by their tails.

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21. Got stuck in a typhoon in Osaka, Japan with nothing to do but karaoke Celine Dion and drink sake all night long!

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22. Walked (quite scared) through the Red Light District and watched a live sex show in Amsterdam.

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23. Let my knockers out as part of a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast.

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24. Saw Heath Ledger and Ben Affleck on Leno, James Franco on Conan, sat front row at Ellen and went to the Grammys! Shameless “I’m so LA” brag.

25. Witnessed an actual sea parting, with Moses, during Passover, while wearing a “Shalom” fanny pack, in the Jindo province of Korea.

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26. Visited Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany (and took this severely awkward photo), and Anne Frank’s hiding place in Amsterdam, two WW2 places I’ve always wanted to see.

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27. Taught myself how to make a few signature Koreans dishes. Here we have some kimchi jjigae.

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28. Shot a Vietcong AK-47 in Saigon.

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29. Learned to read and write Korean.

30. Started and MAINTAINED this here bloggy blog!

 

HELLLLLOOOOOO 30!!!