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Shanna Bright

I just love Facebook!

I don’t remember this moment…Jenny and I were inseparable then.  And I can see I still have braces.  Plus the hair is total indication this is my sophomore year in high school.


I don’t know how many of you are hooked up on Facebook, but if you aren’t, I would highly recommend it.  Perhaps my 20 year reunion stirred up all too many emotions.  Recently, I have reconnected with so many people from high school, it’s been just wonderful.  The Class of ’88 was something special, but we were surrounded by other great classes.  I was lucky to grow up with so many terrific people.

Of course, I’ve met a ton of people here in Vietnam, and so that circle of friends is growing nearly every day.  But I’ve also gotten back in touch with people I used to work with at AFI, my sorority sisters, and lots of the UCSB gang, and stay in touch with oodles of people I’ve met on my travels.  I am totally a people person, and so I couldn’t be happier to be in touch and stay in tune to everyone’s lives.

One fun aspect of Facebook is the photo albums.  I don’t tend to post photos there, since I have my website.  But I love looking at other people’s photos.  The one on this post was added by an classmate.  Some people are going nuts with the scanners and some very old and sometimes scary photos are popping up.  This one isn’t too bad, but the 80’s were not so kind to us – horrible era in fashion.

I’m not so pleased that Facebook keeps changing its format and layout, but I’ll stick with it, because I am so delighted to have these old friends back in my life – even if in the slightest way…

On the Bright Side,


Berlin Birthday – 39

A unique b’day party! Can you tell the boys from the girls?


Before leaving for Berlin, I realized that from now on, as long as I am in this job, it will be most likely that I will be celebrating my birthday in Berlin.  After my introductory weekend with Paul, I realize, there are worse places in the world to be stuck on your birthday.  Berlin is fantastic!

My new colleagues were so kind and wanted to help celebrate.  Pantanida, who is based in Berlin has a boyfriend whose birthday is the same day.  So on the 13th, my actual birthday, I went out with Edwin and Dominik and Dominik’s parents (Germans) for dinner.  I enjoyed a traditional Berlin dish – Currywerst, which is essentially 2 huge sausages smothered in a German style curry and french fries.  I followed Edwin on to a very cool bar and then to another before calling it a night at 3am.  A fun night, indeed.

The next evening, Pantanida had made a reservation for us at a Thai cabaret show.  I mentioned in another post that she is from Thailand but lives in Berlin.  So she is dialed into the Thai community in Berlin.  Good friend to have, for sure.

As you can see from the photo here.  The show is quite unique in that all of the ladies in the show were formally men.  This makes for nothing but an entertaining evening.

We had a great time at the show.  I enjoyed all of the celebrations.  And I am looking forward to many more birthdays in Berlin.  Even the one where I turn 40!

On the Bright Side,


An Affair to Remember

It was New Year’s Eve.  We said hello.  Our eyes met.  We clicked!

We went upstairs to the Press Club party.  We talked.  We danced. We kissed! Repeat.

We was on vacation.  Bummer he doesn’t live in Hanoi.  Or Vietnam for that matter.  He lives in Aachen, Germany.  I said a few times, “I’ll be in Berlin in March.”

E-mails exchanged.  Flights reserved.  Ready to go!!!

We met at the airport.  OMG.  Even cuter than I remembered.  Three days together in Berlin.  Such a beautiful city.  What a great guy.  Fun fun fun!!!  I totally needed that!  A fabulous weekend, for sure.

I’ll be in London in November!  How about a weekend in Dublin before that?

On the Bright Side,


Yup! That’s me!

I am posting this photo and this entry merely as evidence that I am still alive and well in Hanoi.  What you see here is me “assuming the position”.  As of late, that is in my office, at my desk, slaving away at the computer, either writing articles for newsletters, reading e-mails, reading reports, writing reports, writing e-mails (way too many!), managing my team or coming up with some *brilliant* idea of how to market and sell our six properties!  I’m also likely to be setting myself up for a slipped disc in my neck again with my horrible posture, hunched over my laptop – but that’s a story for another day!

I really want you to know much I love you, I miss you, I am thinking about you and wishing I had the time to take a huge breath and break and touch base with each of you personally.  I’m in my third week of “OH MY GOD I HAVE SOOOOoooo MUCH TO DO” mode.  But I think all of us have been in this situation where a new job, a new adventure, a new chapter in life is nothing short of all-consuming.  And so it is for me.  I’m lucky if I remember to brush my teeth before I go to sleep (OK. That was totally an exaggeration!  I only forgot to brush them on Monday night.).

As you can see I haven’t lost my sense of humor.  Nor my enthusiasm for what I am doing.  I am so proud to be the Director of Sales & Marketing for Apple Tree and I am thoroughly enjoying living in Hanoi (what I experience of it when I’m not in the room you see in the picture!).

My favorite 15 minutes of the day is my motorbike ride to work.  The “Tang Man” (real name: Anh Tanh) picks me up at 8am most mornings.  I hop on the back of his bike with my brief case between us and purse clutched over my left shoulder.  I watch with wide eyes as mornings in Hanoi unfold.  Sights of ladies selling produce, men setting up their barber shops against tree trunks, families of four on a motorbike, random people trying to cross insanely busy streets, buses full of middle-aged tourists, and young “cool” guys without helmets all whiz by in a blur.  But the wind in my face and the sights and sounds (even the smells sometimes) are all so exciting.  It’s a thrill.  I can’t wait to get my own motorbike and learn the city streets.

I hope you can lend me your patience and understanding.  I miss my routine of writing, of updating my blog, of chatting with you.  Love and miss you oodles and will write again soon.

On the Bright Side,


Gotta love it!

A quick hello and a note to let you know that things are going well in Hanoi.  I hope to negotiate a contract on my apartment tomorrow, a huge task which I will be very glad to get out of the way.  I now have a cell phone and am starting to feel a bit more settled.  Not 100%, mind you, but closer.

On my way back from apartment hunting today, I just had to pull out my camera and take this photo.  Mind you, I was on the back of a motorbike, so it is not the clearest photo in the world, but you get the idea.  I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing what the Vietnamese can carry on a motorbike!

I hope to continue to post snapshots like this.  Stay tuned.

And when I get a break this weekend, I will continue my story from home hunting.  You would not even believe…

On the Bright Side,


Gone Surfing

Helllooooo!  I know, I know.  Where did I go?  Ten days since my last post!  My goodness!

Well, I’ve actually been traveling the world again.  Yup, that’s right.  I’m searching the world for my next life adventure.  I’ve been to Spain’s wine country and charming seaside cities, taken a drive in Portugal’s countryside.  Florence popped up on my radar again, too.  This latest tour has taken me to exotic locations in Africa.  Have you ever heard of Mauritius?  Gorgeous.  South East Asia is always a favorite, and I continue to find beauty there.  Seeing that I’m physically here in San Diego, I’ve even allowed myself to explore my hometown a little further, and a bit of Northern California.

I’m job hunting, my friends!  And I am in the unique position of being able to go anywhere!

When I first came back from my travels, I was considering teaching in Spain.  And during my research, and while writing my resume, I really started to evaluate my professional history and personal interests.  I began to open my thoughts to more than just teaching, to more than just Spain.

With my background in the member/alumni relations, experience in hospitality and my passion for travel, I have looked a lot at five star resorts and hotels.  Many of them are part of a family of hotels, like Starwood, Intercontinental and Ritz-Carlton.  Some are unique properties, like the game reserves in Africa.  Nonetheless, my research has been driving down this path and the resumes are starting to flow in this direction.  My credentials are a great fit.

Many of you have suggested I try my hand at travel writing.  This is a brilliant idea, and also an area of interest.  I have to say I would probably just die if I could actually get linked to the right people.  It’s a tough business to crack.  Especially with prestigious publications like National Geographic or Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure and the like.  But if you know someone…

I did send a press kit off to a production company, one which films travel programs.  The company accept showreels, and I hope they think mine is good enough to welcome me as a host of their programs.  You’ll remember I filmed a few segments from the cooking school.  That was great fun!  The educator in me wants to share all these wonderful travel experiences, just as I have with you here on the website.

I’m putting together a proposal for one of the websites I frequent and I even applied for a job at the SD Convention and Visitors Bureau.  So the idea of settling in Cali is being considered, too.  One might think I’m spread a little too thin…but actually, I think I’m playing it smart by exploring all of my options…throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks.  It’s a bit of a scary time in my life, but I am used to taking risks and stepping into the unknown.  The thought of picking up again and moving overseas somewhere is almost more comforting to me than to stay put here in California and build my life here.  Strange, I know.  I have a bazillionjillion thoughts and ideas running through my head each day, all of them pertaining to what my future may hold.  I am confident that it will all shake out soon.

If you have ideas, contacts, inspirations you want to share with me, I welcome you to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.  And if you haven’t taken a look at my resume, you can do that HERE.  I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, realize that it’s a unique and special blend of experiences, but certainly, quality stuff.  As I have said…I’m excited to see where I land, literally.  The future is a bright one!

Ooooh…gotta go…taking off to Santiago, Chile in a moment…

On the Bright Side,


All Good Things Come To An End

After a terrific twenty-eight days, the European tour has come to and end.  The tour ended in Greece, after just a few short hours in Athens.  My flight schedule took me back to London, where I pondered the idea of traveling to Spain to find work.  I mentioned in my previous post that I wouldn’t mind staying in Europe, particularly Greece or Spain.

Well, after greater contemplation, I realized I was unable to camp out in Spain, or anywhere in Europe.  Hotels and transportation cost a pretty Euro or Pound and I simply could not afford to stay and look for work.

What that means, my dear friends, is that – SURPRISE! – I’m writing to you from San Diego!  I’m back in the good old US of A.  I just got back on Monday, and have spent the last couple of days recuperating from a long and delayed flight.  I’m also adjusting to being back in the U.S.  Reverse culture shock always seems to hit me harder than culture shock.  How weird is that?  I do love being immersed in foreign cultures!

I find it oddly coincidental, that I returned from my travels the same exact day I returned from Japan last year.  Interesting how things fall into place that way.  Even though a year has passed, I still miss Japan and often thought of my friends, students and life in Japan while I was traveling throughout the world.

My goal, while here in comfort of casa de papa y mama, is to polish up my resume, do some research, and figure out what the next step is in my life adventure.  After five months living out of a backpack, I need a break, a job and routine in my life.  I love, love, love traveling and exploring the world, but even “Shanna the Adventurer” has her limits!  It was time to come home.

What I feel so grateful for is that I am in the unique position in my life that I can do anything and go anywhere I choose.  Yes, I will look for jobs in Spain and Greece, as I said before.  And I will still keep bugging Kurt in Vietnam to find a way to put me in that Sales and Marketing position in Hanoi.  But I will also research opportunities a little closer to home and see what pops up.  It just may be time for me to settle in the US again and plant some roots here.  We’ll just have to see.  Point being, I’m open and flexible.

I have posted my resume online here.  And you know me well, so if you would like to forward my resume to someone you know, please feel welcome to do so.  If you know someone who’s looking for a person like me, please put us in touch.  Any efforts you make on my behalf are GREATLY appreciated.

Soon enough, I’ll be writing my OTBS newsletter, both an Asian version and European version, to highlight some of the experiences I’ve had during my journey.  I know many of you have kept up with my travels here, but I’m hoping to tickle some of my friends and acquaintances who haven’t visited the website as frequently as you!  Look for that news very soon.

If you want to reach me, you can find me on my cell.  It’s the same number I had previously.  I’d be delighted to hear from you and catch up in person.  Thanks so much for being so supportive and I look forward to speaking with you soon!




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