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The Muse is a Harsh Mistress

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June 11th, 2009

We've got 2 1/2 weeks in August between when our S. Korean visa ends and when we can enter the UK without messing up visas. We've got a flight from our Korean employer to anywhere as long as it costs less than flying back to DC.

Any suggestions for a single location in Europe where we could spend that time?

Considering that we'll be between "homes" and likely exhausted from packing & work... we really don't want to do a lot of extra travel.

If this were Japan, we'd happily hang out in Kyoto and do day trips when we felt like, take naps & hit the tea shop on other days.

What would you do?

April 25th, 2009

New Podcast

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I just uploaded the first episode of the Nomad Tea podcast. It's now available at www.nomadtea.com In this episode, Le Voyager and the start of my tea journey. Enjoy!

February 10th, 2009

Enchantment and Loss

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Enchanted and magical are the two words that come to mind when I think of Marysville, Australia. These are not words I use lightly. Although I’ve traveled extensively, I can only think of one other place that is worthy of those two words. Places that are majestic, stunningly beautiful, or breathtaking are common by comparison.

This week, Marysville was decimated by bushfire. The Marysville that enchanted me ceased to exist.

The stories told by the survivors are horrific, and are being re-told by the media around the globe. The reports seek to quantify the loss in terms of property damage and a death toll that continues to rise daily. But, that’s not the story I have to tell.

My story begins in 1990 when I arrived in Ringwood, Australia as a Rotary Exchange Student. The Donovans were one of my first host families. Ma, Pa, and their two sons welcomed me into their family and their hearts. I loved living with them and felt as if I were truly a part of the family.

In the winter of 2004 I returned to Australia and was able to re-connect with Ma & Pa and stay with them in their new hometown of Marysville. They’d relocated there a few years earlier after their sons left home and were running several holiday cabins.

The few days we spent visiting with them were one of the true highlights of the trip. It was so easy to fall right back into being a member of the family, even after being away for 14 years. But, it wasn’t just the company that made this visit so special, it was the place as well.

I wanted to try to describe what made it magical, but words can’t do it justice. It’s like reading an entry in a guidebook. It’s simply not the same as actually visiting that place. So, instead I ask you to close your eyes and remember the places you’ve been that felt magical or enchanted. Remember that feeling and think of Marysville.

Marysville is gone. Ma & Pa are alive, but everything is gone. When I hear about tragedies in the news, it always feels so distant and remote. It’s hard to make a personal connection to something happening on the other side of the planet, or even the other side of the country. Not so this time.

It was a magical place, and the fairies had to go home. http://www.brunosart.com/ It’s my prayer that they someday return and help mend the lives of those who remain.

February 6th, 2009

Looks like we'll be coming home for a 3 week visit to N. America. May 15 - Atlanta. May 16-23 Venice/Tampa Florida. May 23-30th Freeport, Bahamas for Dad's wedding. May 30th-June 6th Harrisburg/DC.

We want to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with friends and family on June 5th.

Consider yourself warned ;)

BTW, I'm really excited and looking forward to spending time with everyone.

February 4th, 2009

Covet

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I want a Flip Mino. We bought a nice DSLR last August, but it's too big to simply pop in my bag/pocket for on the go stuff. So, I've been wanting to get a tiny point n shoot to fill that role. Now I'm thinking.. hmm.. why not go video? We also wanted a video camera. This might fill those roles nicely. The price is nice, $180... Plus, the design options are way cool.

Anyone out there played with one? It's got good reviews. It's not as good as a full camcorder, but it's a mere fraction of the price.

November 28th, 2008

I wonder if we can manage to get tickets to this: http://sports.ticketlink.co.kr/reserve/bridge/skating_isu.jsp The rink is only about 30min away from us. Goyang is the city between us and Seoul. Of course, I totally haven't been following figure skating at all over the past several years, but I can learn.

November 22nd, 2008

I am such a dweeb!

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I am a total convert to wearing hand-knit sock. I'm always cold in the winter, and only wool socks work to keep me warm. I also despise socks with elastic, which means I knit all my winter socks.

Last night, I noticed that one of my favorite socks was getting a hole in the toe. This made me sad. So, I decided it was time to learn how to darn socks. Thanks to the internet, I was able to find a youtube tutorial in minutes. Today I darned my first sock. Now I dug out another pair that had a big hole in the toe, and am in the process of darning that one too. I am such a dweeb.

Oh, and my darning egg is a hand-painted wooden egg I bought in Bali. It's got Ganesha on one side and a crane on the other. It's cool to be a geek.

BTW, darning a sock: 15-30 minutes. Knitting a new pair of socks: 1-2 weeks of knitting time.

October 3rd, 2008

Taiwan Pics

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Here's a link to the first couple sets of Taiwan pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22290245@N02/

Enjoy!

September 13th, 2008

We made it safely to Taipei, despite the impending typhoon. So, we're in the middle of a typhoon that has wind speeds right on the line between tropical storm and category 1 hurricane. Fun!! But, we're pretty safe and aren't worried. The eye is due to pass over the very northern tip of Taiwan tomorrow afternoon. We might have sun by Tuesday. Good thing we brought our rain coats and crocs. OTher than the periods of wind gusts, it feels like Korea's rainy season. We've now lived through 2 of those.

We bummed around the hotel this afternoon, then headed out for dinner & some groceries. We found a fabulous restaurant called Onion Cafe on the way to the subway station. Yummy Yummy Yummy western style food. I feel kind of odd eating western food when on vacation. It's like I should be eating the local cuisine. But, living in Korea we eat very little western food (other than my prime rib fix at Outback) in restaurants. So, this is a special treat.

Then we popped into a tea shop. Tried some high baked (roasted?) Dong Ding oolong, that we're bringing home and a pretty little tea pot. I think we'll be buying a lot of tea and tea ware on this trip.

For those of you familiar with College Park, we stopped in a Ten Ren's tea shop as well. Not impressed actually... but we prefer more of the smaller shops anyway.

One of the nice things about having a new laptop, is that we can bring the old laptop with us, without worrying about it. We'd be upset if something happened to it, but it wouldn't *really* be a big deal. Especially since we haven't turned it on since the new one came home.

August 19th, 2008

Camera Love

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Can I just gush about how much I love my new camera? It's so much easier to take good photos with a good camera. I love the candid shots I've been able to get of our students. Each week we have a photo slide show at our closing ceremonies. I volunteered to take pictures for it this week.

Really, this is the first time in months that I have had enough time in my schedule to even consider doing such a thing. Plus, I really want to be comfortable with the camera *before* our Taiwan trip next month.
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