Wild Beauty is the official hashtag of Montenegro, and yes to both of those words. If you want someplace to go for an adventure vacation, this is it. This small country is in the process of building itself up into a desirable, modern European vacation destination and wild nature is its huge selling point. It's … Continue reading Wild Beauty
Since the saying is "thank god for...", it's tempting to start this post with "thank god for vaccines." But "thank science for vaccines" is the more logical statement, even though it doesn't roll off the tongue naturally. In any case, yay, vaccines! Thanks to science, I recently took my first international holiday since the start … Continue reading Cards and Tests and Masks, Oh Yes!
I've never thought of ambient sound as something that some of us get to choose and some don't. I've never thought much at all about the sounds around me. I grew up in a house with four kids and an endless rotation of babies. The television was always on. I went to public school with … Continue reading The Sound of Sound
I've been fortunate so far to have lived my life surrounded by people who support me. My dad worked extremely hard his whole life to make sure I had not only my basic needs of shelter and good nutrition met, but also that I had opportunity to explore my interests, learn, and ultimately become a … Continue reading Turning 40: The People Who Changed My Life
My two year unofficial hiking project is complete. Yeah, I missed my mark by a few weeks (February 19, 2017 to March 9, 2019) but close enough. In just about two years, I've completed 100 distinct hikes. I use word "hike" loosely in this context to mean anything from a two mile stroll up a … Continue reading Well I Would Hike 500 Miles
Holy moly was China ever cold. So, so cold. My first day there, my tour guide looked at what I was wearing and said she didn’t think I’d be warm enough. I was wearing all the usual winter clothes: knit hat, scarf, gloves, boots, and heavy wool coat. I laughed it off. I was born … Continue reading On the Twelfth Day of China: Not Just Cold, China Cold
I'm going to start this post by saying that I was blown away by all my tour guides' English abilities. Seriously blown away. As tour guides, I expected their English to be good, but they all had vocabularies far beyond what I expected. They understood everything I and the other guests asked, they understood all … Continue reading On the Eleventh Day of China: Who Speaks Chinglish?
One thing I noticed fairly early on in my trip is that the Chinese use the word "new" to talk about anything from the Qing dynasty onward. The Qing dynasty started in 1636, just moments after the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The thousands of years of dynasties before that are the real history to … Continue reading On the Tenth Day of China: History’s History
When I lived in Russia, I felt incredibly safe as an average citizen (that is, someone not involved in politics or oil or big business or journalism). The sheer volume of people in places I lived and the large police presence made me feel more secure than I generally do in cities in the United … Continue reading On the Ninth Day of China: Safety First
Prior to my trip, I learned a bit of Mandarin, including the essentials like basic food and drink. So I knew how to read and say different kinds of meat, noodles, water, beer, and a few other key words. But what I didn't know were the words for the hundreds of different types of vegetables … Continue reading On the Eighth Day of China: What Am I Eating?