Gibberglish

I’m on a flight to American Samoa to meet my birth family and, like any teenager, I am daydreaming. Of exotic red flowers, blooming behind my ears; coconut milk, and pineapple-scented breezes; digging my toes into white sand under a bright sky full of stars; smooth-skinned brown boys, roughly my age; and a parade thrown …
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Shush.

Hiss. Chirrup. I’m standing knee-deep in a thick carpet of heather on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere —  and my brain is trying to escape through my ears. Rrrrribbit. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert where you hit the interval and suddenly there’s nothing squeezing your head in a …
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Guest Post: Oktoberfest Virgin

Okay, I admit it. I hate beer. Always have and probably always will. So why did I go to Oktoberfest? Well, it’s just one of those things you HAVE to do if you’re in Germany (during Oktoberfest, obviously). It’s a requirement, or something. My husband and I had already lived in Germany for four years …
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Chanterelles and Shotgun Shells

A few years ago when I was in Perugia attending the Università per Stranieri, my host family invited me to go mushroom hunting. Nothing heralds the arrival of Fall in Italy more than a trip to the bosco (the woods) to gather chestnuts or mushrooms. That, and the sound of gunfire are leading indicators summer …
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Blocked in Vladivostok

In 2003, my husband and I were in the process of adopting our two sons from Russia.  During our first visit to Vladivostok in December, we stayed at the Acfes Seiyo Hotel.  From our point of view, it was a somewhat upscale hotel and catered more to business travelers rather than adoptive parents like ourselves.  …
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