December 2014

Arriving home from three months of adventuring around Asia, this Christmas I’m feeling more blessed than ever. In a warm, happy, spacious house our family – just Mikie, Katie, Mom, Dad, Luie and I – will share our love and exchange gifts, and enjoy the most scrumptious breakfast egg casserole as tradition! My stomach is already gurgling thinking about the gooey goodness.

Mikie bug me xmas 2012 (2)

Every year, I’m eternally grateful to have a family that not only loves and supports one another no matter where we are, but genuinely enjoys spending time with one another when we are together.

I’m eager to see my God Parents, Aunt Robin and Uncle Chip, this afternoon as they bring a sense of reality and dose of humor to the occasion. In addition, my Aunt Robin closely competes with my mother for best chef in the kitchen and her appetizers are to die for! My Mother, Chef Cathy’s Holiday Feast this evening, will be no shorter than five courses, as it has been for nearly a decade. We will say grace and descend upon the food and drink and fill ourselves full of expensive wine and locally grown, home cooked food until we are silly.Uncle Chip and Aunt Robin

The fact that we can eat like this does not go without recognizing how many hungry, lonely people there may be across the globe tonight and our hearts are with you. In honor of this, we support local endeavors in Milwaukee to end hunger and educate children on growing healthy food and practicing a nutritious diet.  Read more about The Farm at the Hunger Task Force here!

Nana, at 93, recovering from multiple strokes in 2014, may not exactly be herself. However, this classy lady’s charm will surely sear through her senility and her quips on politics or past adventures of her own global trotting will slip out from time to time. I will hold these priceless moments in my heart so tight, understanding that there may be a time when these mumbles are only memories. I love my Nana dearly and her wit and resilience throughout her life is an inspiration to all who know her. Both my grandmothers have made a tremendous impact in shaping who I am as a young women.

nana present

This Christmas, I reflect upon the friends and students I’ve met all over the world. Some will be celebrating “the reason for the season” or simple family traditions, or not celebrating at all; May your day be merry and bright no matter what Christmas means to you.

My mind drifts to a favorite student and local village girl from Chiang Rai, Nah-ah, who in several English lessons, shared a special passion for learning about the holidays. Nah-ah let me know her family celebrates Christmas. Tonight they will go to church and sing which brings her great joy. I hear your sweet voice, sweet girl, from the opposite side of the planet and I hope the carols we practiced come in handy today!

May the volunteers I met have a purposeful celebration and may your adventures continue at home or wherever you are! Every individual I’ve met “on the road”  has helped to shape me into my healthiest, simplest, most grateful self and that is the best gift anyone could ask for- Thank you!

MerrEEE Christmas to All!

Lots of Love,

Hallie (LouLou) Jaeger

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Luie and I found the secret colors of the woods… Happy Solstice!

What at first glance may seem a world of interminable drear,
Lives a land singing with color to the unspoken ear.
For beauty finds fervor in the perspicacious mind,
Alas, rouse your perception so enlightened wonder you will find!

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Frienz’s market has a marvelous sense of humor. The sign advertising their Christmas trees read: Free range, non GMO, gluten free, cut and live trees. We bought one! Too bad it’s not organic…hah!

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*****LUIE my dog!!!
1. Drinking shower water
2. Sleeping butt naked
3. Jet fuel Jaeger coffee and cream
4. Sprawling my stuff across my bedroom floor in organized chaos

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My travel fedora is faded, my backpack deflated, the exotic prints I’ve purchased are scattered across my bedroom floor, and I’m wide wide awake before sunrise (good morning jet lag)…all signs I’m home sweet home safe and sound.

Words cannot express the gratefulness in experience the past 3 months. Every single morning I woke to a new adventure whether wandering through the green hills for a perfect yoga spot, cuddling with village dogs in the moss, conversing via body language with elderly ladies about their Tom Yum recipe, or rehearsing the ladyboy dance with the school children… Thailand has a huge part of my heart soul and mind that is engrained into my spirit and will walk with whoever I walk.

Last night I collapsed with exhaustion into my extremely comfy fluffy bed after a scorching hot spider free shower at 5:37pm. As the covers swallowed my nakedness (yes I love sleeping naked and it is a luxury after sharing a room for3 months), I erupted into deep quiet moaning sobs. Perhaps it’s a combo of 36 hours of travel across the globe, or my dog not being as jumpy to see me because he’s older, or the drab snowless dreary landscape that greeted me at O’Hare and the fact that I could not hear the thai orchestra of tree frogs peeping but the hum of the heater instead… I just cried myself to sleep and I’m ok with that. It’s was needed. Crying is the body’s hydro cleanse to eradicate negative energies. This cry worked.

I woke up (albeit at 2:30am) extremely happy to be home. So snuggled in. So ready to catch up with my Besties. So motivated to figure out my next adventure, straighten out my finances and tackle my Xmas to do list.

I’m so thankful my parents and buggy came to get me in Thailand because I truly loved it so much it would have been difficult to make it to the airport without them. We had a fanatical fun vacation and I will post more about that later.

Just glad to me home safe in Wisconsin and surrounded by loved ones for the holiday season.

For all those who have let me know you enjoyed reading about my adventures, stay tuned. I just scraped the surface on the photos and experiences. A goal of mine is to continue posting a
Through the new year and sharing the joy, simplicity and connectedness of Thailand with you!

Happy holidays,
Love LouLou

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In the middle of Bali I sit on the porcelain and stone floor of the guesthouse Bali moon, under the moon, at 3am unable to sleep. Bali is supposed to be the land of peace so I am even more frustrated with myself that I cannot succumb to the zzzzzs. However, I know what the problem is: I need to slow down. Slow Down. SLOWww downnnn….And stop my mind, thus body, from racing.

So many of us spend our daily lives thought after thought after email after insta after rush rush rush to the next to do.
It even happens when traveling. Now after five outrageous days in Hong Kong with no sleep (all thanks to the greatest tour guide on the planet and dear friend paul Parisi for putting together an absolutely packed and marvelously fun itinerary more on that trip here) and arriving in Bali with places to be everyday in order to explore the extent of the island in another 5 days, it’s no wonder I cannot sleep. I am traveling too fast just like you are working too fast.

Leo blank brilliantly considers this “fast mode” in his blog and partially inspired me to write this post.
His surmise of our difficulty to truly focus on anything when we are in fast mode is accurate.

On another inspiring note, this photo I snapped on a bus ride from Chiang rai to Chiang Mai has to be one of my favorites as it captures the chaos circling us all. It symbolizes how we let the world whoosh by us in a verdant whirlwind seldom pausing to breathe deeply and accept all that is happening around us.

And when we do just stop- S T O P.

When you do escape the highway of your mind and park in rolling green pastures it’s such a beautiful, amazing, vivacious world! Even the chaos is charming when you are aware of it.

Why are we so nuts about vacation!? Why is yoga so popular?
These are societally accepted times to slow down.

The greatest moments of my past two months have been when I sit back and take it all in.
Andy, one of my travel besties, who is captured in this photo, lives her life in this gloriously cognizant manner which leads her and others to an enlightened perception of the world. Her positivity and beauty she sees has inspired me to slow down and I miss her immensely.

When I don’t worry about what I will be posting on this blog, or if that photo will get a lot of likes on Instagram, or what I will do when I return home, or how badly my backpack smells then reality happens and it’s so exciting!!

Now deep breath and take control of the speedy roller coaster ride- or at least how you perceive it- and just make its slow enough to take in!

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In the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary Forest I sat down and whispered… I want a monkey to sit on me- he heard! Loved every second of getting fresh with this little guy! Thanks to Catherine Perkins, a colleague turned travelista, for flying half way around the world to share theses moments with me and capturing this shot!

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