100th Post

This is an exciting and special day not only because it marks one year since my liver resection surgery, but also because this post number 100 on my blog! Double yippee!

What started out as a way to keep in touch when my husband and I moved to China has turned into a resource for cancer survivors and illness sufferers. Oh and in-between, I chronicled six months of living in France. What a ride!

To commemorate the moment, I wanted to share a few of my favorite and most popular posts. It was really fun to look back. I love how this blog has served as a history of my life.

Thank you for reading.  Here’s to the next 100!

Most popular posts:
Waiting for Hair: The Toll of Chemotherapy and Cancer
For me, losing my hair wasn’t hard — it was the waiting for it to grow back that has been the most challenging.  And for the hair update, click here.


2014, 2015 & 2016

Living Universal Truths on My Cancerversy
September 1st is my cancerversy and the universe conspired for some incredible things to happen.

Testing My Confidence
My terrifying debut to the french language.

Belgium: More Than Beer and Chocolate
Christmas in Brussels, Bruges and Ghent.

My Night in a Brothel
Spending the night in a 24-hour Asian spa – sketchy or awesome? Both.


Favorite posts:


At the End of the World on Cancer Survivor’s Day

The Ordinary World
My journey through cancer and to the Camino de Santiago.

Lessons Learned in Advocating
Your life depends on not letting your guard down for a moment. Here are some of the important advocating lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Why I’m Kicking Italy to the Curb
Where my obsession with the Camino de Santiago all began.  To read all my Camino posts, click here.


Holly visits China

Hol(l)y Crap
When one of my best friends visited me in China.

The Adventures of Henri & Moi
Driving a manual car in a foreign country is terrifying.


Moments to Remember

So, I’m not even sure where to begin on wrapping up my whole Asian experience. Of course, I had the time of my life. I did and saw things that people dream about. Honestly, before arriving in Asia, I couldn’t even show you on a map where Thailand or Bali was located. Really, the whole experience just blows my mind and often bring tears to my eyes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would climb the Great Wall or ride an elephant through the jungles of Thailand or take a road trip in Bali or see the shocked faces of school children during a bus ride through the Philippines. These are the moments I will carry with me and talk about for the rest of my life.

Not only did I learn countless things about the world and other cultures, but I learned even more about myself. I realized that I am pretty hardy and adaptable. And that I can hold my own when I’m outside my comfort zone. Also, this experience taught me to dream big. I learned to be able to depend on someone. And that I am a good writer. I learned how to negotiate and not take shit from anyone. I learned to appreciate home. And really, I could go on and on.

And lastly, I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for Fabien inviting me to come with him. We will always share this amazing experience. I often go through our pictures and am thrilled that we have all of these great memories and stories we can share with our children and grandchildren. I don’t want to make you all nauseated and completely embarrass Fabien so I’ll just sum it up by saying that he is really the greatest man that ever lived in the entire universe and I love him so very, very, very much!

Well kids, this is the end of Stacie in Asia. The response, feedback and praise was simply overwhelming. I was stunned overtime I checked my stats and saw that I had over 100 hits a day. You all made me feel very loved and missed. So….as they say in Mandarin, Thai, Balinese and Filipino…..Xie xie, Kop khun kha, Matu suksama, Salamat or simply, THANK YOU!

Outside the Great Firewall

Now that I’m outside China, it’s time you all should know the unfiltered truth about the country….

It’s a common belief that the Chinese government monitors everything from email to blogs and censors everything from news to mail to internet content. The only thing that I ever noticed was different was the fact that I did not have access to Facebook. I still accessed news websites and blogged without consequence (but with some reservation). My personal opinion is that there is no possible way the government is reading everything. For one, there are so many freaking people that they would require another country the size of China just to handle the monitoring. And 2nd, they are just not smart enough, which is something I could blog about for months. But, I won’t bore you and generalize all Chinese people.

The government is also on one big power trip for no reason at all. One night, we were at the train station trying to get out of town for the weekend. While we were in line, there was an altercation with a man and the police. Instead of arresting him and taking him to the police station, they just kicked his ass in front of everyone for a couple hours. I’m assuming they did this to set an example. There was no need. In a city of 12 million, crime was really rare. Basically, if you steal something, they just cut your hand off. Hurt or kill someone, you’ll be dead within a few weeks.

In addition, the country loves a cover up. When I went to Beijing, I assumed everyone would speak English because of the huge overhaul they did for the 2008 Olympics. No. A friend of mine told me that the government just forced all the Chinese English speakers to work in the city for the event. Guangzhou is getting ready to host the Asian games in November and as of July 1st they’ve taken action to reduce the pollution in the city. So, no more big trucks or construction in the city center but once the games are over, it’s okay to go back to polluting the Earth. At least they actually acknowledge that the city is polluted. Also, I don’t think it was a coincidence that in the last month, most of the taxi drivers, all of a sudden spoke a little english. I’m sure once the games are over the old, rude, farting, burping, lougey hacking drivers who scream mandarin and refuse to take you to remote parts of town will be back in action. So, if you ever go to China, just remember that almost everything is an illusion.

And lastly, there is a big rumor that China is on track to be the next world power. Not gonna happen. The only reason this rumor exists is because of the huge number of people. Of course the economy will grow when you almost have nearly 2 billion people and many of them are coming into the age where they have a little spending power. But, until their government gives them a little more freedom, how can they advance, try new things and grow into this power. And even when (and if) that happens, it’s going to take decades for the people to embrace the change.

Of course, these are all just personal opinions. And if the government is reading blogs, I can probably consider my Chinese visa revoked.