A good idea has a life of its own.

Can you imagine making a recipe from every country in the world? Sasha Martin did it. Over the course of a few years, she made a meal from every country in the world. She did 52 countries in a year, took each week to research the food, recipe, ingredients, and customs and make the selected meal and then published a blog post about the experience. Her husband did not really start out as a fan. A picky eater from the start. I would say she changed his life. Eventually her blog turned into her memoir: “Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness” by Sasha Martin. She did not give up. Even at times when she was completely burnt out, she was relentless in her priorities and effort to complete the project.

It is a book about food, family, and how to balance life. I love the idea she shares on page 335 as it is often the way I approach things in life:

“’When I don’t know what you do about something,” she tells me, ‘I just leave the idea alone for a while. A good idea will feed itself and grow. A bad one will disappear—as it should.”

It happens all the time at work. A project surfaces and the solution that presents itself looks to make sense, and then sometimes it just does not happen or work right. Whenever that happens, I do not look at that as a failure, I see it as a product that is developed and it not ready. Maybe it just needs to go back on the shelf for a while. Sometimes it gets taken off the shelf months to a year later, and then it is ready, it makes sense, and is timed just right. Other times that product never leaves the shelf, its time was not meant to be.

It might be in your personal life. It happens for me sometimes when we plan a trip. There are times when we know immediately that we should buy tickets. The timing, cost, and event all make sense, and it all works out. Other times, when a decision is not easily made, and you let it alone, you might find that a new idea pops up, or maybe a fare sale happens, or you learn that plans have changed at your destination. Then you are grateful you gave it a bit of air and delayed your decision.

Martin’s quote is such a good reminder to let it go, leave it alone, and see if it finds it way off the shelf. A good idea has a life of its own.

I heart SH: pedestrians beware

I miss Shanghai. There are definitely parts of it I would never miss, but of the cities I have been to in the past few years, there was something very endearing about it. Last night Chris flew back from Memphis, Tennessee and due to his late night return I decided to be the horrible wife and not make the drive out to the airport to pick him up. While I am always exuberant to see him after he is gone (regardless of how long he is away), I am exhausted that late at night, and it is best to keep me in my pajamas on the couch then driving in the rain. So — he took a cab. Which reminded me of taxi’s in Shanghai.

There is one thing that is the complete opposite in Shanghai than Portland (and many cities in the United States). Pedestrians do not come first. Cars do, and taxis can be aggressive. If you are on foot, beware. Even if you have the right of way at a cross walk, do not trust that it is truly your turn. It was something that I had to constantly remember, as it is so different from the United States. Taxi’s can range from chill and quiet, to loud and maniac drivers. I guess the same could be said for cabbies in New York City. In Shanghai they honk all the time and especially if a pedestrian or cyclist is in their way, and often yell at everyone and everything in their vicinity. (Not that I could understand what they are saying, but you can tell by the tone). The exact moment the stoplight changes from red to green the horn is blaring, not giving anyone a second to be distracted.

While I never saw a single accident, there were quite a few times when I saw near misses. Somehow though they glide through the streets and dodge people and cyclists left and right without any harm done. They have a poise and agility about them. In some ways they make cabbies in New York City look like they are little league in comparison. There must be some unwritten rules for how people drive because somehow (and I could never explain it) it all works out.

Since some foreigners cannot rent cars while visiting China (probably a good thing) they are reliant on public transportation, car services, or taxis to be transported to each destination. Or, as we often did, walk. I cannot imagine if you added drivers from the rest of the world into the mix. What chaos that would be. Now, what it does make me ponder is why the United States lets almost anyone with a driver’s license in the rest of the world rent a car and navigate our roads. Does that make sense? It makes you think. I will say one more thing:

I got nothing on taxi drivers in Shanghai.

An airplane first

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of talking to my seat mates on an airplane. I am more of the put-on-my-headphones and check-out-of-the-world passenger. Call me snobby, an introvert, or selfish, but I just do not like to engage in dialogue on an airplane. I am fine with the quick “where is your final destination” or other banter that only lasts for a few minutes.

So when I was flying back from Chicago late last week, I had quite the experience on my flight – in a good way. I was in a middle seat, which is my least favorite. I am more of an aisle girl, which gives me more freedom to get up whenever I want, and no one on one side of me. The flight was completely booked, and my ticket did not allow me to select my seat until I checked in. At the time of check-in there were only middle seats left, and I was a bit bummed. It meant being stuck if the individual in the aisle was asleep, etc.

So back to my flight. I settle into my middle seat and look to the man at my left who is in the window seat and is asleep. He looks familiar to me. For awhile I cannot place him, but my intuition tells me that I know him, but just cannot place him yet. I am wiped out after a full week of meetings in Chicago, and know I may sleep most of the flight. I close my eyes for a while as we take off, and eventually my neck hurts based on the horrible seat on the old plane and how I am sitting. The man to the right of me, in the aisle seat, brings his laptop down from the overhead bin, and based on the tag on the bottom of his laptop I knew he worked at my same company. I decided to ask him where he worked within our company, and we ended up talking for the first half of the flight.

I then was able to place the man in the window seat. He is the father of a good friend’s daughter’s husband. I know a few degrees of separation, but I met him about a year ago. We ended up talking until the end of the flight, and near the time of our descent into the Portland area, both of my seat mates began talking to each other about surfing in Oregon, California, and Hawaii.

I remarked to each of them that it was a first for me to sit between two people on a flight that I knew or was connected to in some way (of course other than someone I am specifically traveling with). I told them that I generally try to sit in my own bubble during a flight and not talk to others. They each remarked that our row of three seats were some of their best traveling companions. Such an interesting flight – it went by fast. You never know who might be sitting right next to you!