Texas: There’s No Place Like Home

One of the many (many MANY) odd quirks of Foreign Service life is a little something we call “Home Leave.” A congressionally-mandated series of leave days following the end of an overseas posting, Home Leave is designed to help culture-shocked American readjust to life stateside.

Since July saw the official end of our time in Suriname, we’ve been spending our month-long Home Leave traipsing around the country, visiting loved ones and preparing for our move back to ‘Merica, where we’ll be posted to the D.C. area. Our trails took us from D.C. to Michigan to Indiana to Texas, seeing treasured family and friends all along the way. Continue reading “Texas: There’s No Place Like Home”

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Father’s Day

 

On this Father’s Day, I think (unsurprisingly) about my dad, who’s really always been my hero. As a little girl I looked up to him completely… and honestly, none of that’s changed now that I’m a girl all grown up, and moved (at times very, very far) away from home.

My dad has given me many things. A sense of safety and security in the loving family he helped build. A drive to learn, a strong work ethic. A penchant for adventure that’s stood me in good stead in my life married to a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. A love of the outdoor world that is so deeply rooted in me. My passion for all things water-related, that, as a surfer, swimmer, and ocean-enthusiast, I find to be at the very core of who I am as a person.

These mark but a few of the gifts my father has bequeathed me. But perhaps the one that is easiest to take for granted is the support he’s provided me as a writer. Many parents, I think, would’ve been tempted to herd me (out of love, of course) toward a more stable career. Instead, my dad listened to my ideas, read and edited my early (terrible) drafts, paid for writers’ conferences and even traveled with me to attend them. He’s believed in my dream even when I didn’t. And for this writer, there aren’t words enough to say thank you.

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Dotted Lines & Dynamic Books

If you’ve noticed some radio silence ’round these parts, it’s because my husband and I recently enjoyed a lengthy R&R back in the States. Usually, I’m pretty rigorous with myself about my writing time. But with long-missed friends and family to see–and a few chilly surf sessions thrown in for good measure–I granted myself permission to take a blogging break.

Proof that Dad and I faced off with the 48°F water and 20-25 MPH northerly winds to go Post-Christmas surfing.
Proof that Dad and I faced off with the 48°F water and 20-25 MPH northerly winds to go Post-Christmas surfing.

But of course, all holidays must come to a close; thus I’ve returned to both my writing and my Chinese language lessons.

The transition back has been less than elegant.

As I found myself staring off with my  Chinese lǎo shī (teacher) at that first lesson following my six-week siesta, I knew I was doing a pitiful job concealing my lack of practice in the interim. All my vows to rehearse my vocabulary, to practice Mandarin conversations with my husband… all were forgotten in the happy busyness of the Christmas/New Year season.

And now I’d be paying for my laziness à la linguistic humiliation. Continue reading “Dotted Lines & Dynamic Books”

Surfing & Sagacity

Today’s post is an ode to my brothers. How lucky am I to have two brothers that I not just tolerate, not just like okay, but whom I really, genuinely enjoy?

Unfortunately, I don’t know many people who can say the same.

When my husband and I are off capering about overseas, I miss my brothers something fierce. Because they’re AWESOME. They’re both witty and kind, fun and adventurous, intelligent and chill.

Despite being twins, they’re actually pretty different from one another. Which is spectacular for me, because when I’m hanging out with them one on one, I get to savor doing different things with each.

Jared is always game to go shooting or attend a Texas Country Music concert.

Hunter is my surf buddy. Continue reading “Surfing & Sagacity”