Memories of Albania

Sensory memories are funny things, aren’t they? We can inhale a whiff of fall air and suddenly remember the scratchiness of jumping in leaf piles in elementary school, or see a white pine tree like the one we used to climb and have an intense recollection of sticky sap, white fluffy clouds, lunchboxes, and laughterContinue reading “Memories of Albania”

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Ask Me About Busses!

Over the past 4 years, I’ve lived in 6 countries and owned a car in none of them! No two locations were alike. There were so many adventures and even more misadventures at every step of the way. When fresh-off-the boat Grace first took the bus to her new teaching job in Suzhou in 2018,Continue reading “Ask Me About Busses!”

Tips for Long Flights

Having done my fair share of long global flights, including journeys with multiple connections, I have to confess that there’s no secret to it. The flying part itself is the easiest thing in the world – just stay in your seat as long as the seatbelt sign is on! Booking tickets, getting to the airportContinue reading “Tips for Long Flights”

Houseteads Roman Fort (and Hadrian’s Wall)

Near the end of 2021, I got the chance to tag along on a road trip up to Scotland. My friend from Wales, whom I met while we were both teaching English in China, was part of a wonderfully motley band of historical re-enactors who were going to be displaying authentic Viking garb and swordContinue reading “Houseteads Roman Fort (and Hadrian’s Wall)”

Confessions of a Former Homeschooler

K-12. All the way. The only in-person class I ever took was drivers’ ed. That was fun. I got to sit at a desk. This was not an easy article to write. It’s why I haven’t published any other content on this blog for months. I’ve been on a full writing hiatus/freeze, emotionally trying toContinue reading “Confessions of a Former Homeschooler”

Holyrood Palace – A Bloody, Beautiful Home

Mary Queen of Scot’s chambers can be seen here, her royal rooms the scene of a shocking and very personal murder. By way of very brief context, Mary was the younger daughter of Henry VIII and younger sister of Elizabeth I, queen of England. Elizabeth was Protestant, like much of the country at that point,Continue reading “Holyrood Palace – A Bloody, Beautiful Home”

How Horrible are the Elsie Dinsmore Books?

They need to be taken out of print immediately. The behavior of these adults is not portrayed as villainish, and that’s a huge problem. This stuff is normalized, not presented as a tragic backstory or obstacle to overcome. Children’s stories, from Harry Potter to Cinderella to A Series of Unfortunate Events, but especially Victorian literature,Continue reading “How Horrible are the Elsie Dinsmore Books?”

Leftover Impressions of China

Dongbei, the region composed of three provinces in the very northeast of China, was particularly well-represented in our company for some reason none of us could figure out. A blunt, sometimes rough-around-the-edges people even by Chinese standards, Dongbei-ren (“ren” means people) have stories of icy winters, growing up without a phone in the house, coal-Continue reading “Leftover Impressions of China”

No “They”, Only “We”

There is no default kind of human being! There is so much freedom in not seeing yourself or people like you as the standard norm for society. This “one of the bunch” mentality unlocks something more refreshing and rewarding even than superiority. You are not interesting or worthy because you’re the right kind of person,Continue reading “No “They”, Only “We””

Being Alone

Being alone is hard, worth it, draining, empowering, and lethal to overdose on. Do it, learn to enjoy it, do it often, and know when to quit. It’s more than just taking yourself out to eat or on a solo vacation. It’s watching major life moments – the happy ones – happen in front ofContinue reading “Being Alone”