Moving to Wakanda!


From Oakland to Zamunda to Wakanda ….

I am here for it all!

…. yes im gonna move to Wakanda because ash doesn’t exist there

…. yes im gonna move to Wakanda because all the pillowcases are silk and your head scraf never falls off at night

…. yes im gonna move to Wakanda because you never have to ask who made the potato salad (and boy do i love potato salad)

…. yes im gonna move to Wakanda because no matter what time you get to the cookout there is still food left

….yes im gonna move to Wakanda because why not move to uncolonized Black Utopian ????

YO! these were not me … check out the #InWakanda tweets on twitter if you haven’t seen them already (

The world has embraced BLACK PANTHER and is so beautiful. Really beautiful. I could give a list of adjectives – but – welp- yall already know. Folks are showing up and showing out for the movie. I mean – I saw it in Bangkok, Thailand in a packed room – and I have friends from Shanghai who made it a point to see the movie while enjoying their CNY Vacation in neighboring countries. The move will not be showing in Shanghai until March 9, 2018 so we weren’t playing around. I was so happy to see the movie opening weekend- and because I am a MARVEL fan yes I knew to stay to the end…. The end … THE – VERY- END!

If you are not a MARVEL fan, if you have not been interested in seeing the movie, I encourage to see it. I appreciate this film because I do not know the last time a movie – a movie folks- has had such an impact on people or all ages, colors, backgrounds, from countries all over. Go!



(Terri Davis-Merchant posted this and I am sharing it)

Sharing Terri Davis-Merchant’s post below:
Day 15 of 28 Days of Black History

Happy Wakanda Day!

I feel like this is the highpoint on Black History Month for 2018. If you haven’t noticed, there is this little movie called “Black Panther” coming out today. I have some thoughts about why this movie is culturally and socially important right now, and maybe I’ll share them. I’m not a comic book fan per se, but I do love a nice non-gratuitously violent action movie. The Marvel movies usually fit the bill, and this so far is one of the best reviewed yet.

I saw this little background run-down posted in a Facebook group I’m in, and I wanted to post it here with attribution to a Mr. Kamasi Hill. I’m not the first to post this, but for some, this might be educational.

1) The Black Panther character was introduced in The Arrival. in Fantastic Four (1961) #52. T’ Challa’s first appearance!
The Fantastic Four head to Wakanda, the African nation where Black Panther is king.

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was founded in October 1966.

2) The title of #BlackPanther is a ceremonial one. It’s hereditary. All monarchs of Wakanda are known as the Black Panther. King T’Challa is the current Black Panther.

3) Black Panther is the first black super hero in “mainstream” comics.

4) T’Challa has a PhD in Physics from Oxford University. His nemesis in the film Erik Killmonger (M. B. Jordan) has his PhD in Engineering from MIT.

5) T’Challa was married to Storm (marriage was annulled after 6 years). In an alternate timeline they had a son named Azari.

6) Due to a meteorite crash in Wakanda, the country has a rare mineral resource called vibranium (Captain America’s shield is a mix of vibranium and steel).

7) Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country on earth and it has never been colonized by any European nation.

😎 The Dora Milaje are the elite warrior women who protect Black Panther. They are also known as the Adored Ones/Midnight Angels.

9) Black Panther is faster than Wolverine and Captain America, he can run up to 50 MPH.

10) Black Panther is immune from all diseases, he is the richest man in the Marvel universe, his suit is bulletproof, and his superpowers include hearing, sight, smell, and strength.





There are so many more things we can say about this movie. I refuse to engage in the conversations that are negative, find fault, or put down this movie. It is amazingly refreshing to see African/Black individuals being portrayed this way. What the world is use to is – poverty, uneducated, slaves, ghetto, drug addicts, confrontational, violent, prisoners, or even extremely negative. It is rare – that a movie that shows something otherwise, is given the attention that this one is receiving.

Why is my heart smiling? Why does this movie mean so much to me (and so many others)? Why am I patiently waiting for the movie to come to Shanghai to see it again?

Because- Wakanda is Real. BecauseMelanin Magic. BecauseRepresentation Matters.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with imagining. It is what we teach students to do. Parents teach their kids to be creative and to think outside the box. We want people to think critically and beyond what they see. So, Black Panther did exactly that. How amazing to imagine what life in Africa would have been like it wasn’t overtaken by – well you know- colonizers and welp – slavery- and you know the Middle Passage- and – eh – yall know the history of it all. I love the story of what could have been.

Really – – What Should Have Been!

  • This movie is important because people are telling Lebron James to “shut up and dribble” – when he speaking and giving his opinion on issues that matter.
  • This movie is important because young black girls and boys deserve to have positive images of individuals who look like them to look up to.
  • This movie is important because women are in positions of leadership and their voice matters and counts. #BlackGirlsRock #BlackGirlMagic #MelaninMagic #WakandaForever #WomenWarriors
  • This movie is important because the community is rallying together and encouraging people to vote and to register vote #yourvotecounts #registertovote #everyelectionmatters
  • This movie is important because even the costumes pay tribute to Africa – everything was deliberate in this film
  • This movie is important because representation matters!
  • This movie is important because nothing like it exists. Yes, there have been movies with Black Superheroes – and yes, they were good – but nothing on this level. Nothing! Marvel does movies well – and this was AFROTASTICALLY FANTABULOUS!
  • This movie is important because there are people who are upset that – well – issa movie. And I am okay with people being upset and feeling a bit uncomfortable. The story has been changed and the narrative has been changed. I actually read – “what if I made a movie with a white superhero” …. really??? really??? I couldn’t even finish it – it got bad yall. They Mad! It’s Okay.
  • This movie is important because, for a moment, and hopefully the moment last and last and last, families were smiling, communities were buying out theater rooms, organizations were coming together, and support was going out for something positive about – you know- US! I love all the photos of people dressing up for the film. I will continue to like them all and share them all. It makes me think of how people dress up for STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER, and other DC/Marvel movies. When I went to see Wonder Woman – people dressed up. They took pictures. They smiled and they enjoyed themselves… ‘make it last forever and ever’. Let’s do this!
  • This film is important because of the amazing and tremendous impact it is having on- the world! The world I tell you. Not just Black people, not just people of color, not just America, but the world.
  • This movie matters because Dark Skinned Women are important in this film – Black women and girls can see themselves on the screen. The movie celebrates and elevates black women.
  • This film is important because it speaks of BLACK BEAUTY (and you know I am here for that). From the first time there was a trailer people were amped about the films release. Do know that people refer to those close to them as ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ now and I love it. This Black Beauty says – curly, nappy, bantu knots, locs, braids, weave, straight, afro, wig – do you and rock it! I have been excited about this movie since Captain America: Civil War. One of the the first things Althea said to me when I decided to move to Shanghai was, “You’re gonna miss Black Panther” – Its serious yall!
  • This movie is important because: LUPITA NYONG’O (NAKIA)
  • This movie is important because: DANAI GURIRA (OKOYE)
  • This movie is important because: LETITIA WRIGHT (SHURI)


I don’t know how to stop reading about the film. I just don’t. I don’t know how to stop making my wifi and blockers work so that I can catch interviews and snippets with the cast. Living as a foreigner in another country makes me love and bask in my Black Beauty even more. I have always loved my dark skin. ALWAYS! I have made it a point to encourage young girls, students, others I come in contact with to love their skin too. I remember one student I had who struggled with being DARK – and smiled when – Ms. Gurley was her teacher. So …. she called herself my twin! I fell in love with her. It’s kinda cool her initials are KG, right?!?!? I love that girl. My friend Christen says I have a shirt for everything. I do! I have a lot of cool t-shirts. I like to make a statement – and the statement will forever be – BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL- BLACK IS AMAZING- and our history is one of strength, beauty, courage, and wisdom!

We must be for those in our REAL circles what this movie is doing for the world. Those we see, when we do “LIFE ON LIFE” – we must be intentional about the words we use, the way we dress, and the interactions we have with the generation to come.

May they all know that they are:

“Princes and Princesses”

who are

‘Kings and Queens’ in the making.


There are articles on articles on articles on articles about this movie. Some for it and some against it. There are interviews on interviews. Blog on blogs on blogs. FB posts. Twitter Posts. IG Posts. It continues and will continue and it makes me smile. Smile really big! If you haven’t seen it I encourage you to see it. Enjoy the movement!

At the same time: I encourage you – to vote in all elections. To support your community. To volunteer when/if you have time. Become a Big Brother/Big Sister. Start a scholarship fund. Buy someone’s schools books (you know if you can- or one book). Spend time with your family. Forgive (Life is short). Eat some vegetables and drink more water. Smile. Do Something.

Do! Be! Motivate! Encourage! Change! Mentor!

Build Bridges Not Walls



Live a Life of Joy


In 2018 Black America the film is having a tremendous and defining impact on the country and the world. Black America is hurting. But, that is not new. Black America is experiencing pain (and this is not to say that others in America are not hurting or experiencing pain – I am up to date with American news – and my heart breaks for what’s happening at home). While my heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones – I am filled with immense JOY for how the movie is changing minds. It is my hope that young girls and boys, that adults, – everyone – sees all that they can become all that they are- and celebrate it daily.


Can I move to Wakanda now???? Please???? I’ve been looking for it in Google Trips and can’t seem to find it -sigh-

Image may contain: 1 person, standing
Black Panther and ’68 Tommie Smith – It was a total surprise to see this film in Bangkok  – I would have went all out with my outfit – but this shirt = PERFECT!!!


….and don’t you worry the really cool February/ 4th month in Shanghai- birthday post is coming #thisisthirty5 #35funthingsformy35thbirthday #thirtyfiveforthirtyfive #thirtyfiveshenanigans ….

I just felt the Black Panther was worthy of a great post!



I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ (one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic 

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*


As Always I am so thankful for the support of you all. Financially. Prayers. Following this blog. Share the blog. I am encouraged by your responses/messages and many people have been intrigued by the thought of living overseas. Hope you are well 😊

Enjoy the track!




Happy February 2018

 Happy February and Happy Black History Month!

I love this month for many reasons – one being – My Birthday is this month!

I just wanted to stop by and say I plan on doing 35 fun things this month for this BIG 35th year!!! I will share pics and details about my #35thingsfor35 at the end of the month.

Starting with my first of 35 things– my donation to:



#tbpp turned 6 this year and had a big party at The Bomb Factory (in Dallas – hate I was not there) to celebrate. Just wanted to show you that I kept my word and made my $35.00 donation – if you feel so led feel free to make a donation of any amount – stop by their website – get their email updates – or even volunteer if they are in a city near you!

Have a wonderful day!!!

Paige and I – she reminds me to always choose JOY
#numberoneofthirtyfivefunthings donation to #tbpp!!!! 
                                Paige and I at #tbpp big birthday party a few years ago!!!                                               #givingisgood #joychangeslives #eatsleeppartyrepeat #birthdayenthusiasts #tbpp #JOY


a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilationtriumphexultationrejoicinghappiness, gladness, gleeexhilarationebullienceexuberanceelationeuphoriablissecstasy, transports of delight, raptureradiance

i hope that you can find JOY in something TODAY…if you have a moment please share with me some JOY from your day!!! 



I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ (one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

 IF you did not know I am a huge PJ Morton fan!!! OMG HUGE — I am loving this latest video. ENJOY!!!! You may not be as huge a fan as me or a fan at all but I do hope you enjoy this song/video! 


life in shanghai is busy but good…. its cold right now … we had snow last week and i am looking forward to spring when it is warm again! yall know i’m a California-Texas Chick …. i do not enjoy being cold at all. nope! 

CNY (Chinese New Year) & A New Month!!!


WOW!!!! Today is February 1, 2018 — How about them New Year Goals – Resolutions – Plans – Hope they are going well.

I am actually on track with the goals I have set – so, well, yay!

As for me…. I brought in the new year in Shanghai with people from all around the world. I was cleared to work in December and started teaching my own students about two weeks ago. We had a big Disney English CNY event last night to bring in Chinese New Year… and in just a few days I will celebrate my 35th birthday here in China. How amazing is that????

Also, some students from home are studying China right now so I was able to do a SKYPE video call with them and they prepared questions for me. They really loved talking to Ms. Gurley in China. SO fantastic- learning coming alive!

Whats new with you???

Wanted to share some pictures from last nights event and month number 3 in China ….   — DISNEY ENGLISH- CNY 2018 — Month #3 – This album has a little of everything since I have had issues uploading pics. Christmas, New Years, Jingle Bell Run, fun with friends, Italian Cooking Class, and China adventures. Enjoy!

Shanghai Disney English Black Girl Magic


I said I would leave my mark here in Shanghai with Disney
CNY 2018 Disney English



I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’


(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.


#FearlessinShanghai #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*



Adjustment Phase Still Happening



-a small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result.


synonyms: adaptation, adapting, accustoming, accommodation, accommodating, acclimatization,

-the process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation.


whoa! 1300 Hits!!!! That’s exciting. Thanks for rocking with me the past 91 days …. I have almost hit my #100thDayInChina


Yall know I am still adjusting, right? TO EVERYTHING. The food. The culture. The People. The City. Taking The Metro everywhere. The horrible air quality. Everything.

On Sickness/Air Quality: A fellow American coworker and I commented on how we have been sick / with cold more here than ever at home. She arrived in Shanghai in August so a few months before I did in October. We have been sick and its like nothing helps. I brought lots of medicine with me here from home as did she but it keeps coming back. So, I am working on being as healthy as possible. The air quality is awful here. Most days it’s really bad. I have an app (of course there is an app for that) so that I can check the air quality each day. I never even considered needing to check it at home before. So now I check it at home too and its always, well, “Excellent”. The AQ is even worse in Beijing so I am glad that I am not there.

On The Food: Of course what we eat in America and call Chinese food is not Chinese food here in China. Do I miss some of the things I would eat at home, of course I do! SO adjusting to the food here is, well, still and adjustment. I am able to find some items from home but there are very expensive because they are imported in to the country. I definitely splurge every once in awhile so that I can eat things I enjoy. I am slowly finding some Chinese items I enjoy and I hope to show you pictures soon!

On The Culture/The People: Shanghai is a big city with a lot of people. When I think about home we often (of course not everyone and not all the time) say, “Excuse Me” “My Bad” “OOPS” “Im Sorry” “I didn’t mean that” or something of that nature if we bump into someone or do something by mistake. That’s not happening here. People go about their day and business without so much as a word to someone else. That’s been hard to adjust to because I’m like, “Did you see me” ??? “I’m right here” “Oh I guess I’m invisible”!!! But that’s just how they roll! Also I don’t see people cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. It’s just out there in the atmosphere – so in my classroom we learn how to do that properly and to use always use tissue and clean our hands after sneezing and coughing. Personal space is non-existent – that’s just that. I have definitely met some great people- and I am always in shock when someone does move out the way, holds a door, or even offers me a seat on the train.

On Using The Metro: I literally take the train everywhere I go here. It’s a way of life. You can take a DiDi (which is China’s version of Uber) if needed or get a cab. But the train will get to almost any place you need. Some days I am just exhausted from walking through huge train stations, standing on the train, and walking to my destination. I am enjoying not dealing with a car and all that comes with it (gas, insurance, registration, oil changes, upkeep – all that jazz) but I have moments where I miss being able to get into my car, drive to where I want to go and just come home. I think long and hard about what I need and how I can accomplish getting everything while I am out.

The City: I absolutely love Shanghai! I do. It’s a big city with so much to offer. I have only seen a small piece of the city so as it gets warmer I plan on getting out more to explore the city more. There is always something to do here which is great. You can find just about anything. There is a small club/lounge really close to me that I go to on Monday nights to hear live music. That has been fun to do. — Whatever you enjoy. It is here.

On Working For Disney English: Its okay. It is totally not what I expected, but at the same time I did not have many expectations because I have never taught a language to kids in an other country. I have taught reading and writing to kids who speak the same language as me who were raised in the same country as me and speak the same language as me and speak the same language as me and speak …. Well you get it. So the teaching part is okay. It is nothing like teaching at home. NOTHING LIKE IT. I don’t really feel like I am teaching so much as I am giving some information each day that I hope they can remember and repeat the next time they see me. Sounds like teaching, right? Eh! It’s something. It’s hard to explain and put in words, but I miss teaching my kids back in the States. Yep! I do. At the same time the experience is extremely NEW. I just got my own classes last week and we are all adjusting to each other. The kids are adjusting to a new teacher – and a new brown teacher so that’s a lot for them. I am adjusting to having 8 classes with Chinese students and teaching them a language that I hope they will really use!

With all of this being said – I really do like living in Shanghai! It is my first time living in another country. I have made friends from all over the world. Literally all over the world. I am paying down my US Debt which was/is a BIG goal of mine while I am here. I am traveling more than ever. Well I haven’t yet – but I will! And that is exciting. I tried CrossFit Body in Motion which was great. CrossFit really overwhelmed me back at home but this Body in Motion class was great. I plan on going back soon. It has been cold, but I have been running. I try to watch the AQ when I run so that I don’t get super sick.

Today it is snowing. Flurries but still snow. BRRRRRRRRR!!!!! I don’t lie being cold. 

Yall! I’m in China. Like for seriously. I live in Shanghai and it’s pretty amazing that I did this. Some of my friends and family from home said that I did something that they could never do. Move and give up everything I know to live in another country. I am still very basic with my Chinese so I am trying my hardest to practice the language when I can. Taking a class doesn’t fit into my schedule right now so I am practicing with friends.

If any of you want to come to China – and I see deals all the time on Groupon/Travel Zoo/ and lots of other travel sites just let me know!!! IF you get email updates from airlines you may see deals that way too. I would love to have you here! I work on the weekends and in the evenings and my weekend is during the week. I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. Doesn’t mean I can’t hang with you and we can’t see the city together. There is always something to do at night and once we move through winter it will be warmer with lots more to do.

Last year was tough. It was. So many wonderful things happened last year and so many not so wonderful things happened too. I pray that whatever goals you have set for 2018 you have set realistic steps to meeting those goals. If you didn’t meet some goals in 2017 you still have time to work on them this year. Be easy on yourself and work towards success.

Mistakes are just proof that you are trying.

Keep trying. Keep pushing. Keep Going.

You are so worth it.


….. im just here adjusting….

I owe you all pictures. Can you believe I really haven’t taken any lately. Here are a few though (below)!

A Big Thank You to the mail that has come from America and the care packages. So Awesome. If you would like my mailing address I can email it to you!


Christmas 2017 in Shanghai, China



A Thai Christmas lunch with my COWORKERS in SH, China



January 2018 – Italian Cooking Class


January 2018 – Italian Cooking Class



January 2018 – Italian Cooking Class
January 2018 – Italian Cooking Class


Brought in the new year with a surprise friend from home! We are all smiles 
Me and my brother. Because this guy called me today and has a way with helping me be alright! 



My birthday is coming up. You know if I was home I would have multiple parties and get togethers planned. Well this year let’s donate to one of my favorite charities. The Birthday Party Project. I can’t find the link from yesterday, but I did share it on my FB page. Here is a previous article about them and a link to their site. I just love Paige and the work that she is doing. If you are led Please donate. I am turning 35 so I am donating $35.00 to bring JOY to kids who deserve it. I would love it if you joined me in this! Donate whatever amount you choose – check out the site- or volunteer if they are in your city. The best parties ever!


Here are two links for you to check out!


I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #EatSleepPartyRepeat #GivingIsGood #JOYChangesLives #Joy 

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*


James Fortune: I Forgive Me

3 months yall! i’m still here

Happy 2018

WOW! I brought in the new year before many of you reading this at a NYE Party in Shanghai, China. I know I’m here but I have to keep reminding myself, “KG – you live in China!” Actually it really is not that hard to remind myself because I can’t read most signs and advertisements when I am out and about, but I am surviving.

I am in month 3 yall! WOW!!!! I have started teaching (I believe I touched on this in my last post). It’s going. It’s not the most amazing thing ever but it is also not worst thing ever. Like on a scale of 1 to Coconut (Coconut being something I HATE)…. Its like a 3.Pear – Three Point Pear. Yeah makes no sense right??? It’s hard to explain. Currently I am covering a teacher’s class who is on contract break. You get 4 weeks off of work when you sign for another year’s contract. After covering this class I will cover another class then transition into having my own class. It is a nice transition for me into having my own class because I get to learn the ins/outs, understand the curriculum, technology, and resources, without the responsibility of “my class”. Though I take teaching very seriously, lesson plan, and give it my all, I know in a few weeks I will get a new set of students and have a new hundred or names to learn. So here’s to being positive and learning more names that are super hard to pronounce!!!

Christmas was – well Christmas…. I had to work. This is the first year that I have ever worked on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We had a gift exchange at work which was fun. On Christmas day I did breakfast with a friend, lunch with my co-workers, and dinner with my neighbors.

Just wanted to check in and tell you all Happy New Year – 2018 Blessings to all of you.

Shanghai is A HUGE city and it trips me out that I am here living in it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think KMG, just a girl from EPA, would bel living in Asia! But, here I am living and doing it. Just sprinkling my #blackgirlmagic and #blackexcellence throughout this city. When people say the world is small they mean it. I have met people from Dallas, Atlanta/AUC, California – coast to coast back in the states. Crazy – even met people (people yall- more than one person) who know where Hooks, Texas is! You know that made me smile.

I will bring in a host of holidays in Asia! So far, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Christmas, NYE/NY Day …. And soon to come my birthday! I will also get to celebrate national Chinese holidays which will be nice. I am learning about the culture here so I am very interested in experiencing some of their holidays and traditions.


Do you all set resolutions for the new year? I set a few goals for each year. I was quite ambitious with my list last year so here is my 2018 plan:

  1. Because of my work schedule it is hard to sign up athletic events like 5K/10K/Stair Climb type events I would do at home. I want to do 1 event this year. If I can work that in my schedule that would be great.

(oh – Christmas week I did Jingle Bell Run 5K with coworkers- it was cold – I don’t like being cold)

  1. Read 2 books for pleasure
  2. Visit 4 new countries – I have my list ready so I can’t wait to share with you all as it happens about my adventures abroad.
  3. Pay down some US Debt – lets see how that goes!
  4. Play in a waterfall – I didn’t get to do this last year and I’m still mad about it!!! – so clearly some things carry over from 2017 and that’s okay
  5. BE!!! Just BE. Enjoy each day as it comes. Live. Love. Laugh. Smile. Live a life rooted and established in JOY! #EverdayJOY



  • If you would like my mailing address email me at: and I will send it to you.
  • I know have an international phone number so if you had my -214- number it is no longer in service.
  • My social media life is random but I check when I can- FB/IG


Thanks for reading and following my adventures overseas. It makes me smile to know yall are reading and you all care. Anything ya wanna know????


She Believed She Could >>>So She Did …. this is me. I believe I can so I am


I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY! 

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.


#FearlessinShanghai #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJOy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #EPARockingIt

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE* 

…..until next time yall….


……wifi – pictures – and youtube are not being nice to me today – and if i don’t hit publish on this post who knows how long before I can post again – pictures to come soon. hopefully!



its the people that i miss most (&ribs)


Google created this collage for me and I love it. It was my last Sunday at OCBF before leaving for Shanghai. Church will look so different when I come back to Dallas. I listen to Pastor Evans sermons via Tony Evans App or YouTube daily!

Faith and I talked about GOG getaway – she prayed with me before I left. She has such a sweet spirit and I am thankful we were able to connect before I left.

Chimeka means so much to me. Meeting her has changed my life! She is so gracious, so loving, and so caring. She is transparent and loves really hard. We sat and talked before I left on her “row” in the sanctuary and the emotions that were felt. Sometimes you don’t know the impact you have made on someone until something big happens like a move, or a graduation, or some career advancement. Chimeka has been a part of my journey. With Grad school, me applying for work overseas and her not wanting me to go, but believing in my need and desire to go, my relationship with Kingston, and just building a solid relationship. I am so thankful for your presence in my life! I love you forever and a day cousin. I miss our #SundayCousinSelfie pictures….



I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*


Shanghai Living- 8 weeks IN!!!


….and just like that we are wrapping up 2017….

Okay – so maybe not just like that – its clearly been a FULL YEAR …. But it’s almost 2018! WOW!!!

Did you set goals for 2017? Did you meet them? They year isn’t over yet so you still have time. 11 days – but that’s still time.

I have a CORE group of girls of whom we pretty much talk about everything! We laugh together, talk, text, message, email, eat, lunch, brunch, hold each other accountable, talk about the tough things– and most importantly PRAY TOGETHER! Each year by January 31 we send out in a group message our plans or goals for the year. Everyone has their label for it – ‘goals’ – ‘resolutions’ – ‘task list’ Whatever you want to call it …. We send out our plans for the year and by the end of the year we can ask one other how we did and through out the year we can discuss our work towards our goals.

Well I asked one of my girls (thanks Kim) to screenshot and send me my list cause …. Welp …. I’m in China- I don’t have the app anymore- and blah blah blah …. YO! She sent me that list and I was trippin! My list was so over the top and long IDK what I was thinking in January when I wrote it. I had 14 serious things on this list and OMG … would you believe me if I said …. I only have 4 things left on the list — because I am in Shanghai I can’t complete all 4 – but I took a cooking class – that was on the list (pictures included in this blog) and I said I would read 5 books for pleasure … I am almost done with 3 – so 2 more books in 11 days? Eh, we shall see! One of them just won’t happen until I move back to the states … so…….

All that to say I was very excited that I completed all the things that I did complete. My biggest goal for 2018 is to work on my Chinese so I can hold a basic conversation and visit two new countries!!! I am sure I will come up with a few more things to add to the list but that is at the top! One day I read ‘The only person I want to be better than is the person I was yesterday’ — I really try to live by that! If I can be better than KMG yesterday- – I am doing pretty good in life.


It’s been about a month since my last post! So much to catch you up on… Life has been busy – ish! Work keeps me busy. Learning my community. Pretty much got the metro down or just take a cab somewhere or get a DiDi (China’s version of UBER), navigating shopping while out and about, running like I did back at home, and I have a 5K next week!!!!

Shanghai Living:

I am really enjoying living in Shanghai. It is a HUGE city with so much to do. The area that I live in is a nice balance of expats and local Chinese. There is a good balance of English and — oh my gosh I can’t read that – but GOOGLE TRANSLATE APP is very helpful when gesturing and pictures saved on your phone don’t work!

Yep! There is Garrett’s in Shanghai!!!
Out Enjoying the Christmas Lights and decorations.

Disney English:

I was frustrated for a while because I was having a lot of Visa delays. I have been here 8 weeks today and I just started working on Friday. 5 days ago Friday. I was really unmotivated for about two weeks while at work because all I could do was observe classes. Whereas I know that observing classes for so long gives me a lot of time to learn, grow, and prepare, it was hard sitting back and not being able to do ANYTHING at work. What I do know is that teaching English at a training center- I work at a training center and not a traditional school, is nothing like teaching at home. You’re teaching – but not really teaching- if that makes sense. It’s a whole new ball game. Having a foundation in the classroom is good, but you are entering something totally new and have to be flexible as you are challenged and stretched.

Disney English Hongkou – My hoodie says “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” – In Chinese!

When we took this picture my visa had not yet cleared. Which means I couldn’t even wear my Disney work shirt and name tag… SO I decided to just rock my “Black is Beautiful” hoodie. The visa process for China is ….. hmmmm …. let me find the words….. something!

I’ll give more insight with teaching English for Disney after my first term – a term is 12 weeks. Right now – its new and different.


KMG and Joy – Yall know I Love that name!!!


KMG and Ruby


VoluntEARing: I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local school with my job. We had a ton of fun and I even dressed up as Santa. We taught some simple English words/sentences and gave gifts to the kids. I was curious to see what a local school looked like so it was great for me. The school was Huge. The classes were Huge. Though I didn’t observe class as I walked the halls the students seemed very disciplined and focused on class. I am definitely looking forward to volunteering again.

Karla-Nicole-Crytal-Lecia-Kelsie – a few of the folks I ‘onboarded’ with in October volunteering at a local school


The kids were hype for Black Santa!!!!


Sooooooooo…… I am working on Christmas Eve and Christmas… IN all my years of living I have never worked on either of those days. Christmas is not a Chinese holiday so I do not have it off. Some people at some traditional schools have it off – and some businesses give the day off to foreigners but I will be working. Disney English does work very hard to help their staff members feel as much at home as possible. We had a Thanksgiving celebration at work and we will have Christmas gift exchange and lunch at work. I do appreciate the little things that our center does to help us feel a little piece of home.

I don’t have anything concrete or set in stone, but will probably do dinner with friends and make lots of video calls to everyone at home!!!

You will see Christmas trees, lights, and decorations all throughout the city. Its fun. But the holiday itself isn’t really celebrated.

I hear that New Years is a big deal so I am excited to see what that will be like here….bringing in 2018 in Shanghai before all of my family and friends back in America.

Chinese New Year – YAY! I get this off  — February 12-21 I will be off from work! (

Quiming Festival– April 5-8 ( )

May Day- May 1

Dragon Boat Festival– June 16-18 (

Mid Autumn Festival- September 22-24 (

National Holiday– October 1-7 (


I have had some wonderful visitors since I have been here in Shanghai.

Donald- Donald and I met while I was at Georgia State. He has been a great friend since my time there and we have kept in touch since my graduation and my many moves from Atlanta-California-Dallas-Shanghai. It was so great to see him, learn about what he is currently doing- Semester At Sea-, and catch up about future endeavors! I am looking forward to seeing him again in 2018 – just speaking that into the atmosphere.

Donald-Jess-KMG-Kyla B

Ashley- My sweet friend Ashley was on her way to Manila and had a long layover in Shanghai. She was traveling with a group of friends and we all had a little time to meet up, eat dinner, check out THE BUND, and I could get them to the metro so they could safely make it back to the airport. It was so nice seeing friends from home.

….and if any of you reading this feel the urge to want to travel to Shanghai just let me know – I will be happy to have you here….


Tiana: whew! MY heart hurts yall. I My dear friend Tiana passed from Cancer recently … yeah … #CancerSucks …so I am oh so honored to wear her name every day at work! She was such a joy in my life and we grew so much closer after my dad passed and when I was preparing for my Shanghai departure. She encouraged me and prayed with me and supported with me when she heard of the loss of my dad even while she was dealing with her own pain. I didn’t even want to talk to her about it because I knew she had so much going on in her life, but she reached out to me and showed me so much love!!!! She loved deeply and worshiped tough. Her smile and sweet spirit could light up a room and I am a better person for knowing her. I love my sweet Tiana and I am so glad I chose “Tiana” to be a part of my work identity.

Tiana with my everyday!!!!

When I look back over my 2017 I smile! I finished a year of teaching 4th grade. Survived my second round of STAAR Testing. I graduated from UTA with my Masters in Education. I completed my TEFL-C. I completed my Texas Teachers course work for certification in Texas. I completed the process to work/teach overseas and I am now in China teaching English. Traveled to two new states as I try and cross off all 50 off my list. Substitute taught high school in Temple, Texas and 3rd/4th grade in Copperas Cove. That was fun!

Experienced loss like no other when my father died. Still amazed that I was home in Hooks that day. God giving me a last few moments with my him. My mother is so amazing and so strong. How hard that must be to lose the love of your life!

It was a full year. Full of tears, laughs, joy, smiles, new experiences, traveling (my summer was great) and lots of love. I am so deeply loved! I feel like I feel it more and more since I have left. I received so many beautiful text messages, phone calls, voicemail messages, emails, responses on my blog, comments on FB/IG/Twitter since I left. I appreciate all of the love, support, and encouragement since I made the decision to go overseas to live and work. This is such a great opportunity and I am so grateful for it.

I miss friends and family at home for sure. I miss FREEBIRDS, Twisted Root, and Feul City Tacos. I miss California sunshine and being able to read all the signs and speak the language when I am out and about. I miss DR. PEPPER being readily available. At the same time, wow! I am in China. I am learning so much. I am growing and being stretched. I am meeting people from all around the world, and making memories like no other!


You ever meet someone that just makes you smile 🙂 Well Brittny makes me smile  …. we met at Afro Open Mic and she also works for Disney English (just a different center than me)

Brittny and KMG – enjoying Afro Open Mic- talking life- Shanghai- Blackness and workng for Disney


Merry Christmas from Shanghai! Happy Holidays. Happy New Year! I pray a prosperous 2018 for you. May you experience blessings like no other. Enjoy your family, friends, make memories, tell those close to you that you love them, smile, encourage someone today, be strong for someone else when they can’t be strong for themselves.

….lets see if I can find something fun to do in Shanghai tonight…

I love your comments and responses…I look forward to hearing from you soon!





Facebook: Karla Marie – should be able to find me through my name or

Instagram: @misskarlamgurley – I am not on there as much but every once in a blue moon I may post a pic or two

Skype: Karla Gurley – we can video chat– its free if you have SKYPE!!!!

WeCHat: kgarlandmarie0527 – WeChat name – this is a Chinese App that is life here! How we text, call, message, video chat, pay for things, order stuff, everything! LIFE!!!!

IF you would like to mail me something just send me a message via email and I will send you my mailing address!

Big Thanks to those of you who have downloaded the app (WECHAT) to make keeping in touch easier … BIG THANKS to all of you for following the blog …. HUGE THANKS…. For supporting me and this adventure!


Pictures: – Shanghai Month Number Two – Disney VoluntEARing – Italian Cooking Class (In Shanghai of all places)   China Art Museum KOOZA

I apologize if any of the pictures are duplicates… and I am still working on an album of videos that I have taken … its coming!


I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*



Posting this because its me and ACH – and the sun is shining- it was warm this day- and I’m sure I ordered DR. PEPPER because it was TREAT YO SELF Day…. memories!

… spreading my JOY across the water…