28 May, 2010

Bob Marley

Three Little Birds. 

"Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right. 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!" 

Rise up this mornin', 
Smiled with the risin' sun, 
Three little birds 
Pitch by my doorstep 
Singin' sweet songs 
Of melodies pure and true, 
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:") 

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right." 
Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!" 

Rise up this mornin', 
Smiled with the risin' sun, 
Three little birds 
Pitch by my doorstep 
Singin' sweet songs 
Of melodies pure and true, 
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:" 

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh! 
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!" 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry! 
"'Cause every little thing gonna be all right." 

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right" - I won't worry! 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right." 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, oh no! 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

27 May, 2010

26 things...

....about me. 

I'm feeling egomaniacal.... why 26? 

Because that's how old I am.... stop asking questions. 

  1. I like to do easy crosswords- they make me feel smart and give me the satisfaction of completing something. 
  2. Red wine- I will drink it any time of day. It completes me. 
  3. Hair Bands... not elastics, or pony tail binders... HAIR bands, as in Motley Crue, Warrent, Ratt, Poison, Dokken, White Snake etc. They are like a first love- always in my heart. 
  4. I have a mild addiction to tattoos. I have 5 and I feel like I've barely started. 
  5. All though I may seem like a social butterfly- I have a social disorter... I am socially handicapped. 
  6. I love food. I will eat almost anything. 
  7. My 24th birthday was spent taking a shot of a beating cobra's heart mixed with it's blood and Vietnamese Vodka. 
  8. I like- no I LOVE to color. 
  9. I am 26 years old and have just now started to live my life... honestly and openly. 
  10. I love driving motorbikes... don't think I care for driving cars. 
  11. I am addicted to video games
  12. I cannot pass a used bookstore without buying something. 
  13. I LOVE to be alone. My 'me' time is the best time ever. 
  14. I am an accent chameleon... I can't help it, when I hang with someone alot I adapt to the way they speak. 
  15. I am very interested in foreign languages- but crap at learning/speaking them... unless I have a few drinks in me. 
  16. My goals and ambitions in life are to take what life gives me and go from there. 
  17. I tried to be a smoker when I was 17 years old and I had just broken up with my boyfriend.. bought a pack and ended up giving them all away at parties. 
  18. So far in life I have had the pleasure of finding a handful of soul mates (some people never meet one) One's that will always be a part of my life no matter what. 
  19. My best friend- through my entire life- is my brother Joe. 
  20. I love liver and onions. 
  21. My biggest insecurity is my teeth... but I smile 100% of the time. 
  22. Refer to #21... I smile non stop. No mater how I feel - I smile.. I feel better. 
  23. It took me 4 years and 3 different schools to obtain a 2 year degree... one that I don't even use. 
  24. People are my passion. All sizes, Races, ages, colors, genders etc. 
  25. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Always. Which brings me both sadness and happiness. 
  26. I strongly dislike talking on the phone. Text, email, facebook, whatever- I will respond. Call me... I might not answer. 
And bonus number 27 because it's the 27th... I can (And do) injure myself at anytime and anyplace- I am the true definition of KLUTZ. 

26 May, 2010

One Month...

... a lot has changed. 

I almost feel like a new person. Maybe it's not that I'm new, or different even... Just improved. 

A lot can change when you take a chance on yourself. I find that I've surprised myself more then I have done in the past. Probably more than I ever have. 

I'm experiencing new feelings, new emotions even a new thought process.

I feel as though I am more "Me" than I have ever allowed myself to be. 

Through these challenges, I've come to actually fully understand that good ol' cliche... 'life is too short'

I think it is a complete shame to sell yourself short, to follow someone elses dreams and expectations. You limit the world- how cna the world ever know who you really are unleass you take the time to know yourself? 

I'm very excited to have the sky truly be the limit. 

It's far too easy to fall into routines - stick to what's easy and waste your time going through the motions. 

I want to ask those people, you know the ones... the people who are never excited or satisfied with anything.  The one's who only map out their futures built on the way society, their family, their friends want them to be. Are they never satisfied because what they aren't sure what they truly want? Or are they unsatisfies beacuse what they truly and honestly want isn't what society, families, friends, have told them they should want? I'm out to solve this problem- purely for myself and my own personal growth. 


I love living in Vietnam. One of the main things I get to teach, isn't English at all... It's creative and independent thought. 

These kids are brilliant, they are dedicated to learn and make some thing of their life. 

Yet, you can ask them something like "How old are you and where are you from?" and they can answer it no problem. However, you ask "What do you like to do in your free time? and their mind goes blank" 


Anyway, I'm excited to continue challenging myself, growing closer and closer to my  own personal "Self Actualization" and meeting people along the way. 

Buying a one way ticket was the smartest and most beautiful things I have ever done. 

I look forward to continuing to share it with anyone out there willing to be a part of the journey. 

I encourage feedback, suggestions, thoughts, questions, and directions to new challenges. 

21 May, 2010

AAA would have been nice...

So, the past week has been a doozy. I started filling in for a few days at the International School of Saigon- going from no work to a 7:30 - 4:30 pm day can be a challenger.

For more information on ISS- click here

I absolutely fell in love with it. Kindergarten, such an inspiring time in little kids lives. This school is beautiful, because its focus' is on developing all necessary skills, through play, singing, art, maths, vietnamese, swimming and many more. 

It's a Monday through Friday gig... I'm pretty sure I've never had one of those in my entire life! I am so excited to have such a steady routine. 

Now, for the lull before the next school year starts. I have been looking into a few different summer school programs and had an "in" at a certain one in District Phu My Hung. Don't know where that is you say? Neither did I! 

So I set up a demo lesson, just a short lesson showcasing your abilities as a teacher. I left with an hour to get there, which I thought was the perfect amount of time to allow for getting lost. 

However, it was not enough time for me to get a flat tire, on one of the many little bridges there are in Phu My Hung, while being lost. Pushing a motorbike over a bridge while desperately looking for a tire shop isn't exactly fun! 

So after getting all patched up and filling up on petrol the morning was kind of shot and I had to reschedule my demo lesson. Come to think of it, I might look for a school closer to my house- there are loads of them! 

I soon became even more lost than ever before on my way home. I found myself riding towards the huge new suspension bridge and thought I should try and get a little closer for some great photo opportunities.... little did I know I was actually driving on the beginning of it! It is the longest bridge I have ever driven on, and it was quite nerve wreaking seeing the awesomeness of it's size up close.

But alas, by the time I had headed over it and coasted all the way down I couldn't wait to go back up and over! The other side of the bridge was pretty much a jungle which was super cool to see and there was "fresh" air to breath : ) 

I headed home to hang out and relax. Having a house is really fun. It brings you a bigger sense of belonging. 

Here is a glimpse of the new house: 

Can't wait to start nesting and decorating. I love it here. 

18 May, 2010

Viet F*n Nam

Hard to believe, but I love this country. 

There is absolutely nothing like sitting in a bar, owned by a friend, having glasses of wine and sharing good conversation all night. Fills my heart with happiness : ) 

After a long days worth (who am I kidding, they are kindergartners with 2 snack breaks, a lunch and a nap hour) it feels beautiful to meet up with old friends and feel as though you haven't skipped a beat- even after 2 years. 

I really am having the time of my life. Finding my place in this world and laughing/smiling every bit of the way. 

Who could ask for anything more? 

17 May, 2010

Mission Q.12: Failure?.... or Adventure??

After two hours of driving across parts of Southern Vietnam that I had never seen before- which includes a few trips on the highway which was another first (Giant trucks included) I had to throw in the towel. 

I think I may have had miscommunication as well- with the grand opening's location, but of course- the phone number I had for the contact didn't work and I didn't have a map, just the directions I had written down before I took off that morning. 

Never the less, I had an amazing morning solo road trip via motorbike. 

So instead of this: 

I ended up driving this: 

A bit of sunburn, and a numb bum never hurt anyone right? Some of those side roads I took where deep into jungle land, which made for a very beautiful drive : ) And It may look like I went out of my way for destination C, but that was meeting my friend at her School for lunch! 

After spending so long searching for the unknown, I decided to adjust my goals to something I knew I could accomplish that day.... Moving into my new house. 

Jake and I had always talked about moving into a house here in Vietnam and just when we were about to start looking, he got an incredible promotion moving us from Asia to Europe. So, now is my chance to live out the narrow, tall, asian home dream. 

I moved in with a great friend named Aimee, she was my closest friend when I moved away two years ago and it has been like we didn't even skip a beat. Her roommate moved out this week, giving me a window of opportunity. 

In July, she is moving on and starting a new position in Poland. I was initially going to look for a roommate so I could save a few bucks here and there, but after careful consideration- I've decided to live alone. Something I have never in my life done! Pretty exciting if you ask me. It's a beautiful house, the entrance level has a kitchen, the next floor is the living room, followed by my room on the third floor, Aimee's (the guest/office once she's moved on) on the fourth floor, the washing machine and balcony and then a rooftop as well. 

Each bedroom has it's own bathroom which is a huge plus. I feel like I can settle in here. I feel like I can nest and make this house a home, for however long it is I plan on staying. 

Stay tuned for information on the school I am substitute teaching at : ) 

15 May, 2010

Mission: Find district 12

My goal is to get from A to B... sounds easy right? Nothing is really easy in Vietnam : ) 

Tomorrow is the grand opening of The Thien Phuoc Centre for Children with Disability. I was referred to this centre by my good friend Rechelda. 

To learn more about the Centre, click here

I was looking forward to simply starting a weekly visit with this centre and when I contacted Ms. Kim, the woman in charge, I found out that I was just in time for their grand opening! 

The challenge is that this is not only a new location, it's in a district I've never even heard of and at 10 am! I kind of wish I had a partner in crime to get lost with (which I will indeed get lost) but am looking forward to attempting this one on my own. I'll just leave extra early, allow myself one or two wrong turns, sit back and enjoy the ceremony.

When I looked up the address, I had to keep zooming out in google maps because I couldn't recognize a thing. Luckily, I was able to put in Eric's apartment address as the starting address and I was provided with direction... however, how will I know when it's been 240m? 

Oh well, wish me luck! I'm looking forward to it! Stay tuned for more information and pictures- that is if I reach my destination! 

14 May, 2010

Constant Surprises...

I was walking home
Looking at the trees
Got the feeling that they
Were looking back at me

Thoughts that occurred to me
Where not of the usual kind
And I don’t take it granted no
I don’t call them mine
I don’t call them mine
‘Cause in my life things
Are built on

Constant surprises
Coming my way
Some call it coincidence
But I like to call it fate

13 May, 2010


Doesn't this smile solve all of the worlds problems? 

My day began with a 7:30 am rendezvous at my old work, where I met up with other volunteers and shared a taxi to the orphanage. I arrived a bit early and was ecstatic to have Bánh cuốn from my all time favorite street vender, who remembered me and said "long time!", only to find that she was only making Bánh mì... a slight disappointment however it was still one of the best breakfast experiences I could have asked for! 

What a great way to start the day, having a woman who has seen tons of western teachers over the years, remembering me after a two year absence! 

After a long taxi ride, and plenty of time getting to know a few new friends, we had arrived at my favorite orphanage. It was like I had been there yesterday, it felt so beautiful. So familiar. 

My heart was filled with excitement, love and anticipation as we headed in and I saw fifteen kids playing on the playground. At this point, I also experienced a very hard life lesson. The children playing were the children I had worked with two years ago. The children with down syndrome. The children no one wants to adopt. 

Even though I was sad, and confused- my heart was lifted up once again with the hugest bear hug from one of the little boys who remembered me. It actually took two of the vietnamese staff to get him to release his embrace when it was time for them to go have lunch. 

It was this boy: 

(Picture is from 2007 ) 

I went on to assist in the initial breakfast feed for the infants... Wow is all I can say. 

After this, this gorgeous connection between myself and an amazing little girl named Hanh, I headed over to the infant room to laugh, play and snuggle. 

While there I met this young lady called Phouc. 

At first, Phouc did not appreciate me sitting next to her. This did not last long, as she curled up in my lap and didn't leave my side until nap time. 

We played airplane, we danced around, and we went around the room making friends with the other toddlers. 

I ended the morning with the second round of feeding in the infant room. This time, a little girl named Ngoc was bright eyed while all the other infants rested. I was drawn to her and she just stared at me with this huge toothless grin and I simply melted. 

And like I said at the beginning of this entry.... One look at a this alluringly pure smile and all of your troubles, all of your worries, your stresses, your fears- simply fade away. These children aren't bogged down with the pressures of modern society. They smile even though they live in terrible conditions, and live in a state of constant uncertainty. They wait in patience, filled with hope that a family will bring them home. These children did nothing to deserve this, and yet they smile and laugh every single day. 

What a gift they give to me, to bring out my laughter and to reward me with unconditional love. A few hours with them and everything seems manageable. All goals seem reachable. A sense of calm, peace and comfort fills your heart and lasts for days. 

I can't help but post this image one more time: 

12 May, 2010

Going to the gym.

I finally needed to get up off my butt and go to the gym- and with it costing a ghastly amount of 50,000 VND ($2.65 hehe) I couldn't let myself get fat and lazy! 

Even though the facilities were pretty nice, and there was AC, I still nearly melted away! 45 minutes was long enough for me- burnt off about 450 calories as well! 

However, I did look like a goof because apparently I forgot to pack my work out shoes- I had to work out in my TOMS! First paycheck, will bring a brand new pair of shoes for this girly. 

I'm thinking if I hit it up two times a week I can fight the lazy fat American syndrome that I picked up back home! 

Up next for tomorrow: My triumphant return to GoVap orphanage. Now, if I can only fight this delayed Jet Lag I seem to be experiencing and get to sleep before 3 am- the 7:30 am meet up time with be easy : ) 

Stay tuned for stories and pictures. 


Reflection: serious thought or consideration.

Dwell upon: think, speak, or write at length (a particular subject, esp. one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction).

The first is something I need to do. The second is what I need to learn not to do.

I often find myself stuck on the things that have caused me emotional pain, made me unhappy, anxious, or stressed. I get lost in them. My emotions take over and I no longer make sense, not only to myself, unfortunately, but to others as well.

I get lost in subjects I don’t understand, am too stubborn to accept my faults and too proud to allow for growth. I hold onto arguments and unpleasant things, forcing myself to relive them time and time again. 

At 26, is it late for me to acknowledge these handicaps? Or am I right on course?

I have the pleasure of finding myself in a third world country- where it’s familiar yet new and exciting. One in which almost every task is a challenge, and I’m forced to face them all alone. Literally every single day I find myself facing a fear that has crippled me for so many years.

Something as simple as finding my way to a new place, forcing myself to go out to a social event (even though I am frozen with fear and anxiety), pushing myself to meet someone new- shoving myself head first into a job front that I know will be a challenge (one where I feel completely rusty with as well), coercing myself into asking for help when I truly need it and convincing myself that I don’t need at time where I normally would have buckled and had someone else do the task for me.

These are simple things that happen every single day. I’ve been dependant on others to do the most difficult tasks in life- even the ones that may seem simple to others. Something as little and effortless as calling and placing an order for delivery usually fills me with anxiety at the basic thought of it.

But every day I wake up and it’s a new day. It’s a new chance to prove to myself that I am a strong and independent human being. My heart is too big, too filled with love and happiness to be bogged down with social handicaps.

When I took the leap and went for a two-month volunteer trip in Africa, I was that beautifully strong person. I was left to fend for myself and I fell in love with every part of it. 

I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost who the real Cori is, and who she can be.

I’m ready to find her. 

11 May, 2010

Norah Jones

Painter Song

If I were a painter 
I would paint my reverie 
If that's the only way for you to be with me 

We'd be there together 
Just like we used to be 
Underneath the swirling skies for all to see 

And I'm dreaming of a place 
Where I could see your face 
And I think my brush would take me there 
But only... 

If I were a painter 
And could paint a memory 
I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you 
I'd climb inside the skies to be with you 

And I'm dreaming of a place 
Where I could see your face 
And I think my brush would take me there 
But only... 

If I were a painter 
And could paint a memory 
I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you 
I'd climb inside the skies to be with you

08 May, 2010

Three Cups of Tea.

 Wow. All I can say is wow. This book was given to me by one of my closest friends back in southern California. There was a post-it note on the cover that said “Happy Birthday Cori! Here’s your new favorite book”… He wasn’t kidding.

I’ve been through a lot of thoughts involved with this move. It’s includes knowing that I would not only make personal sacrifices, but would ask my husband to make sacrifices as well. It’s a decision that weighs heavily on the fact that I would spend months apart from husband, leave my pup and not know when I’d see her again.

But if I stayed… If I stayed I would be settling, I would be selling myself short and living out someone else’s’ life. I would be living a lie and trying hard every day to ‘fit in’ somewhere that I know I’m not ready to belong in.

Greg Mortenson felt something drawing himself back to Pakistan time and time again. Even through some of the most horrific warfare where a majority of  the people hated Americans.

He promoted books not bombs, built schools to educate the youth- and more importantly the girls this way he helped fight in a greater war. Fighting ignorance, and providing many different communities with opportunities that their parents, grandparents etc never had.

He made this happen, through hard work and dedication. Spent many months apart from his wife and children- and with their support, changed the lives of thousands and thousands of people.
I’m thankful to have this support from my husband. 

This book was so inspiring and exactly what I needed to read. I highly recommend this book, and it's sequel Stones into Schools. 

Up next for Cori: 

07 May, 2010

A good day.

Today is a good day. 

I met up with a friend of a friend. A friend I've met in person only once, but have been in contact with for several years over the internet. One who I've shared stories with and kept contact with through it all. 

She's no longer a friend of a friend. She is one of the best friends I will ever have. She is a soul mate. 

Talking to her was such a breath of fresh air that I immediately felt at peace. I feel honored, and thankful to have met such a kindred spirit, and in Vietnam no less! She's from Minnesota, and has lived in SoCal on and off for years. Currently she resides in the Philippines. 

We only spent a few hours together and it was terribly hard to say goodbye. However, I had that calming feeling like it wasn't goodbye- it was more like 'see you later'. 

I look forward to meeting up with her at several different places in the world, at several different times in our lives. She's a beautiful person inside and out. 

After having such a great afternoon, I spent the early evening hours researching different orphanages and ways to volunteer. The opportunities are of course endless.... now I have to decide where to start! I hope to return to GoVap next week, and then on to new places. 

Now, with a beer by my side, pinback playing in the background, I'm reading a very inspiring book. Linh is also reading, while she cooks dinner for us both. 

I am exactly where I should be. 

06 May, 2010

Feeling the pressure...

Now that it's been a week in Vietnam, I'm starting to feel the pressure and desire to get things going. Internet has been down the past two days which put a little crimp in my search, but now it seems to be up and running. 

I had an interview this week which went great!! However, the job offer starts in August (if it fully goes through) which means I need something more immediate to save up! 

I knew coming here funds would be tight. I didn't exactly get the three months of saving time in the states that I thought I would so I came with less money then I had planned.... no worries. Everything will all work out, I know it will, just a bit of a stress until it does! 

I read this today in 'Three cups of tea': 

" There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
   There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. 
You feel it, don't you? " 

Kind of perfect, wouldn't you say? Keeping true to myself and to my dreams is what will keep me going until I get settled. Now, I just need to have a skype chat with my husband and all will be right in the world. 

Đền Ấn Giáo Hindu Temple

Views of Vietnam

From Eric's apartment: 

From the back of Aimee's bike:

Of MY bike :) 

Of my friend at the pool: 

03 May, 2010

A good Jam

If you found the words, would you really say them?
Or silent through the verse,
Will mumble punctuation?
Remembering the line, an empty metaphor
That you savor by yourself
Your never cure
If I forgot the lines, is it easy enough to fake it?
Or do you need a moment to rememorize
And model it like a curse half disguised?

Leers, cheers, whispers and tears
The final taste before you're taken away
Odds, ends, final amends
It's all right to say it
Just as long as you don't really think so

Give me a little room
To get on with concentration
Just enough to know
What I'm missing in education
Borrowing all the hours that you gave to me to
It's a wonder I could ever breathe
Under all our thoughts
We'll hear the final answer
Of all the things you are that have been paralleled
All the voices that were raised and finally fell

Leers, cheers, whispers and tears
The final taste before you're taken away
Odds, ends, final amends
It's all right to say it
Just as long as you don't really think so

No show
No sex
That's all you get
No wait
No calls
No remittance for what you know

Leers, cheers, whispers and tears
The final taste before you're taken away
Odds, ends, final amends
It's all right to say it
Just as long as you don't really think so 

02 May, 2010


This was read to us at our wedding, right before we signed our marriage license. 

It makes me happy and reminds me of my beautiful husband, I thought I would share it: 

"Where we belong" 

In every town and village, 
in every city square, 
in crowded places
I searched the faces
hoping to find
someone to care

Then you rose into my life
like a promised sunrise
brightening my days
with the light in your eyes.
I've never been so strong
Now I am where I belong. 

-Maya Angelou- 

* Pictured above: my wedding party.