All posts by Jen

2 Books set on Cruise Ships

Want to get pumped up for your upcoming cruise????  Below is my comprehensive list of every book I have read that is set on a cruise ship.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Summer at Sea by Beth Labonte


VIPKID DIARIES- My first 1000 classes

I am starting to realize my story is vastly different than a lot of people on social media.  I have joined quite a few VIPKID facebook pages for tips and advice and I am learning that the number one topic is…

How do I get more bookings?

When I see these posts I never comment because even though I have a great schedule I really don’t know the answer.  I also don’t really want to say I worked 148 classes last week.  I feel like that is rude when people are really upset about their lack of bookings.

I really don’t know why I have been successful and I know that it can change at any time but I am going to continue to give 110% every class and build my base.   I am hoping that I stay busy and that I can save a lot of money doing this.

I am currently working over night all Summer.  My current schedule is anywhere from 90-150 classes a week and I am not closing any spots.    Once Summer is over I will share my thoughts on working the crazy China Summer schedule but I can sum it up with one word… intense.

But for now, what have I learned about teaching ESL in my first 1000 classes?

I can act out any animal.

TPR (Total Physical Response) can be a workout but necessary to teach online you truly can get your point across with TPR… my street game abroad is going to be stepped up now thanks to VIPKID.

Chinese Education is insane and very regimented.

Introverted children need a calmer more relaxed class vs the over the top videos you might see on YouTube.

You need to be able to read a student’s personality in the first few minutes of class or you will never see them again.

Some parents just might not like your style and you absolutely have to accept that.

ADHD exists in China.

You need to know math to teach English at VIPKID lol

Having fun is so important.

Really while some of these are joking (well actually I am not joking about any of them) the most important thing you have to have is a positive attitude.    I also think part of my success is I am very update to date about Chinese education.  I read articles, I learn about their standardized tests.  I understand what school is like for them and I think that matters.    I read so many comments on the groups from people who have ABSOLUTELY no clue about the culture they are teaching and yes I 100% think it affects their bookings. Without a doubt.

I believe to be successful in any job you must understand who you are dealing with whether it be business on wall street or children in China.   I really think parents come back to me because I try to teach to their expectations and not my own.   (I would have never made it in China… seriously they have homework over the Summer… that they are expected to know BEFORE they go back to school)

I absolutely love my job and it is perfect because it let’s me dive right into a culture every single day.   I look into lives of a culture that is vastly different than my own but at the same time very much the same because at the end of the day we are just people.   I love that.  I love everything about my job and even though I am working 90 hours a week right now I would not change it for a single thing!

For every thing I have written about VIPKID, click here.



The food in Chengdu… ya’ll.

Guys as you know I am not a food person.   I often joke if there was a way to stay healthy and not eat I would likely be that way… in fact I am the worst to travel with because I rarely budget in food breaks.  hahaha.   People who travel me are often like “Yo Jen, can we please eat?”

I am also one that doesn’t venture out and eat anything other than fruits and veggies when I travel.

Except in Chengdu.

Guys the freaking food in Chengdu is by far the best food I have ever had.   In fact, I am still trying to master Dan Dan noodles.   I have dreams about those noodles ya’ll.     The best I had were in a random restaurant in Leshan.   Check out my insta for all the food photos I can share this week!   This is just a small sampling of the food in Chengdu… every corner has 6 restaurants all offering amazing food that will make your food dreams come true.   I was really worried it would be over the top hot but I was truly able to handle it!  So delicious and I can’t wait to get back!

Recipe from Cooking the World- Guatemalan Chicken

GUYS you already know I love everything Guatemala, so when I decided to cook something Guatemalan I reached out to all my Guatemalan friends and came across this recipe.

I wasn’t able to get ANY pictures because when dinner was ready, it was eaten.  Every. Single. Bit.

It is so yummy and I modified it to cook in a crock pot.  SO yes I have been taking the lazy route lately because I work all night and I am adjusting to my new schedule.

SO without further ado the recipe:

2tbsp – Corn Oil/ Divided

3lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, you can use skinless but it will have less flavor.

A packet of Goya Adobo All purpose seasoning

1/2  medium onion, finely chopped

1 whole  green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 whole red bell pepper, finely chopped

Tsp of Coriander

1 can of Coconut Mil

1/2 a cup of Cilantro


  1.  I seasoned the chicken pieces with the Goya packet of seasoning.   I placed the seasoned pieces in the crock pot on low.
  2.  I processed the onion & bell peppers in my food processor so they will would be finely chopped I then poured the pieces around the chicken.
  3. I then added all of the seasoning except the coconut milk and cilantro.  I added one part of the divided corn oil.
  4. I let this cook on low for about 6 hours, then I added the remaining ingredients the cilantro/second half of the corn oil and coconut milk to the crock pot, I switched my setting to simmer for about a hour.
  5. Voila all done.

Serve hot and it will be gone.   Even the picky eaters in my life ate it all.   You can serve with tortillas or rice or both!

You can cook this over the stove top if you like but I am all about the lazy girl life and use my crock pot for everything!