Diary Entry n.1

I first started this blog in 2016. And between now and then, so much has happened. I look back through my old posts and see a girl in her early twenties who was starting her second year of teaching, loved to travel, and wanted to document everything—from hair tips to cruise excursions.

Fast forward to 2021, and I feel so detached from that girl. I’m now a mother, I’ve got a different career, and I’ve traveled and seen the world. I’ve lived in Chengdu, Haikou, Hong Kong, St. Cloud, and, most recently, Utrecht, Netherlands.

When I started out my expat journey, I intended on living in Urumqi, China. I jetted off to East Asia, with a suitcase packed with the warmest of clothes, planning to live in a place with arctic temperatures. But I never did make it there. Instead, I moved to Sichuan, China, followed by a stint on the tropical island of Hainan. During those two years, I watched the government close its doors to foreigners, and I knew it was only a matter of time until I would have to leave too.

And that day came in 2020, shortly after Covid broke out. I popped over to Hong Kong from China to have surgery and ended up stuck there for 6 months. China had officially closed its doors to people like me, and I could never go back. This led me to spending a year in Florida. I traveled around the South, watched my niece and nephews grow another year older, had a baby of my own, and learned how to be a mom.

All the while searching for a new country to live in.

After months of praying, we were led to the Netherlands. If two years ago, while I was in Haikou, you told me that I would one day be living outside of Amsterdam in a city called Utrecht, I would have told you that you’d lost your mind.

But alas, life is full of surprises to say the least.

And as I look through my blog, I’m sad I didn’t document more of my life in East Asia. I was so busy learning mandarin, traveling out of the country every two months for my visa, and adjusting to near constant changes and challenges. Instead, I posted photos to my Instagram, which was much easier than posting an entire blog entry.

But I’ve missed writing. And living in charming, historic city has made me want to write all the more. I just want to bottle up these days and preserve them here on my blog, so when my daughter grows up she can read about all the adventures we had.

Here on my sight, you can expect to find diary entries as well as my latest book recommendations. For more, you can follow my daily life over on Instagram stories and see occasional videos on my Tiktok.

And as always, I’m just an email away if you ever need to chat.

In the words of Ferris Beuhler, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This blog is my attempt to stop, reflect, and make sense of all the happenings in my life. So heres to the future, and a pensive moment for the past. The years just keep flying by and I’m thankful to have you, my faithful readers, along for the journey.


Courtney Livin

2 thoughts on “Diary Entry n.1

  1. Welcome back! I knew most of this from Instagram and your email newsletters, of course, but you’re right, putting it all in words here has a different effect. (And let’s not forget, I wouldn’t know you guys at all if you hadn’t left a comment on my old blog years ago.) Good to see you on here again.


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