30 Things I Learned Before 30

Courage is a necessity, not a luxury. If you don’t have it, you can’t get through even ordinary life. If you have it, the world is at your fingertips. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” – C.S. Lewis Empathy – choosingContinue reading “30 Things I Learned Before 30”

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The Guardian Lions of Okinawa

They were everywhere, and I was intrigued. On the garden wall or gatepost of nearly every house was a pair of grimacing lion-dog figures. I had seen giant lion statues outside the sleek downtown Bank of China back in Suzhou, and for that matter at some American Asian restaurants, but these were as common asContinue reading “The Guardian Lions of Okinawa”

Bunk’Art 2

The museum that is Bunk’Art 2 couldn’t have a better, more appropriate setting – a large, concrete, underground nuclear bunker. Like almost all of the much smaller pillbox bunkers littered around the country, it was never used, not even during the fall of communism in Albania in 1992. Bunk’Art 2 is perhaps one whole blockContinue reading “Bunk’Art 2”

Okinawan Turtleback Tombs

Imagine my surprise at meandering down a side street during my first week on the island and finding myself in a small neighborhood of concrete structures vaguely resembling graves or mausoleums! Most of them looked to be from within the last 50-70 years, if I had to make a snap judgment on how old theContinue reading “Okinawan Turtleback Tombs”

Fun Facts About Albanian Culture

After living in this unique, easygoing place for about six months, here’s what I’ve learned. Now, this list focuses on the positive or neutral aspects of life here instead of the negatives, because no one in the entire world wants to hear one of THOSE expats whine about little stuff like bad drivers. (Insert eyeContinue reading “Fun Facts About Albanian Culture”

Vila Ebel

Cozy, homey, historic, and charming, Vila Ebel is like nowhere else. It feels like going back in time in a place so aesthetically pleasing it must be straight out of a movie set, or at least one of your Pintrest boards. This coffeeshop in Korce, Albania is exquisitely, earthily picturesque and everything I’m looking for.Continue reading “Vila Ebel”

Control is a Poison

Terry Crews, at the end of a very personal, candid interview in which he described growing up with a violently abusive father, was asked what message he would like to send to young people. What do you predict he said? Was it something cliché and obvious like “Hitting is never okay” or “No matter what,Continue reading “Control is a Poison”

Perks of Living in China

Many outsiders are unaware of what life in China is really like, and some of the lame stereotypes making the rounds are just silly. Expat life there has its perks, and China does many things well. In the wake of anti-Asian sentiment and hateful, ignorant racism, I’d like to chime in and brag on theContinue reading “Perks of Living in China”

Jagalchi Fish Market

It was so rainy that day, but at least it was mostly a steady, manageable sprinkle. An umbrella would have been great. Instead of that, I had a light purple, quick-dry, button down shirt (my favorite for excursions), a pair of thin all-purpose black slacks, Chaco sandals, and hair pulled back so the raindrops couldContinue reading “Jagalchi Fish Market”

Singleness: A Woman’s Rare Good Fortune

We are the lucky ones. In a world rife with child marriage, teen marriage, and many more millions of women trapped in traditional patriarchal societies where women are expected to be household servants and treat their husband as an honored guest/helpless man-child, we lucked out. We made it. We got out. We dodged a bullet.Continue reading “Singleness: A Woman’s Rare Good Fortune”