The Sweetness of a Sad Christmas

My first Christmas alone was the saddest Christmas I had ever experienced. That’s what makes it so special. It’s one of my golden and blue mixed memory orbs like in “Inside Out”.  All alone in my cold apartment, in the Xingxing Huayuan apartment complex, with the palm and pine and mangolia trees still green inContinue reading “The Sweetness of a Sad Christmas”


Captain Hilts was gloriously unbreakable. He knew that no one alive had the ability to reach inside of him and break his will, and he really enjoyed that knowledge. It’s where his swagger came from. Back in 9th or 10th grade, my straight-laced homeschooled self saw Steve McQueen’s character smirk and talk back to theContinue reading “Unbreakable”

Tattooed in Okinawa

I finally worked up the nerve to compliment the owner of BB Coffeeshop on his Polynesian tattoos, and ask him which places he would recommend. He gave me a name – Spiderweb Tattoo Parlor. After mulling tattoo ideas off and on for months, I had finally chosen a word to place on my body. (AboutContinue reading “Tattooed in Okinawa”

Top 5 Places to See in Korcë, Albania

Korcë may not be a large town, but it is quite well known in Albania. Its mountainous climate is noticeably different from the lower Mediterranean areas, making the winters snowier and the summers cooler. People from the capital of Tirana like to come up to Korcë for summer getaways. This town has so much toContinue reading “Top 5 Places to See in Korcë, Albania”

The Flying Cockroach

This was my word-for-word account of a fun little event on May 29, 2020. Actually, it was not fun at all. It was a distressing little event but very fun to talk about. Evil, evil, nasty creatures. Enjoy! A BIG ole FLYING COCKROACH was skittering around my windowpane this evening. I grabbed a shoe butContinue reading “The Flying Cockroach”

Culture Shock

Have you ever been homesick? Maybe you were young and away at summer camp, and started missing your mom (or her cooking). Maybe you were older and away at university, and started missing your dog. Or your friends from your hometown, or just having a sofa and a fully stocked fridge instead of bunk bedsContinue reading “Culture Shock”

Misogyny and the Canary in the Coal Mine

The canary in the coal mine was a live, chirping alarm system for poisonous gasses. In the heyday of coal mining, men worked in small, tight, dangerous tunnels with little light. Banging on pipes with a shovel could sometimes serve as a communication system, but there was no technology to measure or detect the presenceContinue reading “Misogyny and the Canary in the Coal Mine”

Christ and the Chapel Above the City

Nothing. I walked into the stone chapel and felt nothing, of course. Two days after my arrival in Albania, my brother Freeman and sister in law Natalie drove me up the hill to see the large white cross and the small stone chapel overlooking the city of Korce. We parked the car in the lotContinue reading “Christ and the Chapel Above the City”