The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Marriage has never been important to me. Having a loving relationship, yes, but marriage, no. To me, it’s a contrivance of society and religion that forces people to stay together when they don’t want to be. Given the number of divorces and sham marriages, it’s foolish to think that marriage is more of an indication of love and commitment than simply living together is, but, furthermore, people drastically change every ten years.

As a teenager, I was extremely talkative and outgoing, then I became a very quiet introvert in my late 20s. In my teens and 20s, I was firmly a city girl, but in my mid-30s, I began to crave the mountains. Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I was heavily into national politics and constantly fired up about issues, while now, I’m largely politically disengaged. Up until my mid-30s, I was constantly going to live concerts, but now I have very little interest in that. I’ve never been into exercise more than I needed to be to stay basically healthy, but I’ve become a full on gym rat in the last year and a half. I’m constantly acquiring and dropping hobbies and interests, and I think it’s very likely that by the time I’m 45 or 50, I’ll be engaged in certain activities that are currently beyond my imagination. Continue reading →

Lima

I have a friend from Lima. A mutual acquaintance introduced us because I was looking for a tutor to work with me on my spoken Spanish when I was applying for a special appointment in South America with the State Department. She is personable, well-educated, fun, and we clearly had a lot of common interests, and I knew after our first meeting that I wanted to be her friend. So, I invited her to my first birthday party as a single gal, some six months after I left my ex-husband. This was probably not the smartest move if I wanted her to be interested in me as an intelligent, considerate, and valuable friend because I was a bit of a wild child in my newfound freedom and I may have been obscenely drunk by 5:30PM at a party that went until 2 or 3AM. I won’t go into all the sensational details, but let’s just say that four years later, my friends are still talking about how epic that party was. Continue reading →

eXpatriation

Yes, I’m aware expatriation doesn’t really begin with X. But what else can I write about for the letter X? I don’t think I had any big misconceptions in my younger years about x-rays, xylophones, or Xerses the Great. I’ve never been xenophobic either, obviously, or I wouldn’t have been an expat for so long. In fact, I love all things foreign – people, food, traditions, geography, climates, history, cultures. Bring them on! When I started travelling, I thought I would never return to the United States. I even contributed several segments to a book on leaving America. There’s just so much to explore and experience that it seems a waste to just sit around the same place all the time. But in some respects, Dorothy was right.

My longest stay in any foreign country was in Russia – I spent one academic year in Volgograd and two in Moscow. We were five foreign teachers at my language school in Russia and I was the only non-Russophile. I chose to teach in Russia because, well, why not? I had taught in Mexico first and then South Korea, so I was looking for some place that would be very different from both of those. Aside from Greenland or Vanuatu, I think Russia was really the best choice. Continue reading →