Think Twice


January 17, 2014

On the evening of the 18th we had the option of either leftover hamster - which I personally did not venture to investigate any further - or fish, with a choice of fufu or rice, of which I had the latter. Throughout the following night and into the morning I, and later John, were afflicted with a most virulent, and thankfully short-lived, case of the runs...putting a distinct end to our plans of a rainforest hike to the bamboo forest and a short lesson at the nearby village school (for which I promised to return later).

I caught a ride to Soda Zhim/Dim with the Frenchman and from...

That Time I Fell Asleep and Woke Up on The Coast of Cambodia Instead of the Mekong Delta

January 16, 2014

[Note: I do not have any images from this nightmare, but this serene image represents the antithesis of this horrific journey from transit hell.] 

After a wonderful day/night in Otres Beach, I hopped on a bus to Phnom Penh, where I would be meeting my mom’s good friend/my hero/role model/coolest woman I know for a few days of mothering before heading back to Long Xuyen.


The journey to Phnom Penh was unremarkable.


My mom’s friend, Kath, works for PATH and is the woman I hope to be in 30 years.  Long story short, she is...

Livin with Salmon-ella Ella, Ella, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay.

January 16, 2014

Morning 5, Koh Rong aka Paradise: I woke up, mid-dream about my cat back in America, to groggily feel a warm being next to me in bed.


I leapt out of bed, grabbed my phone and searched my death trap of a  bed for the culprit.  I soon discovered it was not, to my great relief, any sort of poisonous being, but a small cat. A small, flea ridden, bed hog of a cat.  Had I known the physical agony this cuddly monster would cause me in the coming days, I would have...

Thyroid Cancer Blows, But At Least I'm Learning to Cook, Right?

January 14, 2014

Warning: This discusses food. I hate hearing about other people’s food issues/dietary restrictions, so feel free to skip. The jist is that I can’t eat any of the food I came home to eat and am being forced to cook. LAME.

December 23rd: D-day. Or should I say T-Day. No, no, not Turkey Day. Thyroidectomy Day. Second times the charm, as they say.  I stomped into the hospital hours before the crack of dawn (here in the PNW, the sun rises around 8:30 and sets around 4:30. Depressing), ready to give my birth date about 40 times and answer endless...

Thanksgiving: A Time to Celebrate Rampant Consumerism and Genocide Memorials

January 13, 2014

Thanksgiving. The beginning of the (American) holiday season: a time to join hands with family and friends, stuff yourself with loads of crap food and give thanks that you were born in the first world, all while ignoring the fact that this holiday does, basically, celebrate a genocide. Not nearly as bad as Columbus Day, but it’s probably up there in terms of blatantly insensitive American revisionist history. To add insult to injury, I don’t like most of the food served at Thanksgiving, which is why I have successfully evaded traditional Tgiving celebrations for the last 3...

Logo property of U.S. Peace Corps

New Colors

January 11, 2014

In less than three weeks, I will be departing for a great and unknown, yet well-trodden adventure in the U.S. Peace Corps.  My country of service: Zambia.  My packing list: nearly complete.  My emotional preparation level: zero. 

In preparing for these 27 months of service, the average volunteer (myself included) does a lot of soul searching.  Why am I doing this? What will I gain?  What I will I lose?  Sometimes, we forget to ask ourselves a more important question.  What is the value of my service to others, and to...

Phnom Penh

100 Miles to Phnom Penh

January 10, 2014

My trip to Cambodia got off to a comically disastrous start: my favorite professor from college had come from Australia to Vietnam to visit me, and we were going to Cambodia together for a few days before I headed south for a tan and he west for the temples of Angkor.  Having never traveled in SE Asia before, I was a little apprehensive as to how he would react to the reliable inefficiency and discomfort of international buses.  Having never actually been in charge of travel plans for another human being before, I was apprehensive that we would wind up killed, maimed or, worst of...

Black Mamba


December 19, 2013


Yesterday was my birthday. I thought I might go the entire day without thinking of it. But they handed us out this information sheet with bios and brief information on our fellow group members, and Melissa, one of the other PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) remembered it was almost her birthday, then mine, and spread the word. I also called my parents for the first time since I arrived in Ghana on my "new" phone, so I got a few nice "Happy Birthdays".

The beach is relaxing after a few days in the dark rainforest that is John's site. He just left...

Rainbow after the rain

06/16 Continued... Recap of last week in Accra

December 19, 2013

Right before heading to the Ambassador's house it began raining, fairly hard, drenching us all as our groups made it back from our Accra tours. We were all wearing loose clothing, myself a Hawaiian shirt, khakis, and flip flops - not, mind you, what we were told to expect back in the US prior to departure - putting my dress dockers and formal wear to waste.

I was especially excited at the chance to speak with one of the US foreign service embassy officials at surprising length and breadth. We discussed some of the *hidden* truths regarding the selection process and conditions...

Drawing - Ship Battle

Ghana - Day 1, 06/16

December 19, 2013

Today...I ate a hamster, and it was good. My vision quest host John has an eclectic counterpart of some rather notable geographic experience throughout Europe and Africa. He is a local chief with children by both is wife and girlfriend. But I should go back...

I arrived in Accra, Ghana 5 days ago via Frankfurt, Germany  flying Lufthasen after two days of training and various excitements in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where our stateside orientation was held and we first met our fellow Peace Corps volunteers and new friends. I roomed witha fellow world traveler named Jesse who...