USA

    Hello, America!

    August 19, 2017

    “Presione el botón! Si, el botón. No, a la derecha! A la derecha!” I fumbled frantically around the dials on the car door but to no avail, then turned to the driver apologetically. “I don’t speak Spanish.” “Oh, you don’t?” “I’m not from here.” “Where are you from?”  “South Africa.” And so began a very colorful story about Uruguay, soccer and too much weed.

    Staring out from the passenger seat of a Lyft while listening to the drivers recount stories like Mario’s has become the highlight of my day. There was Carlos, who was a millionaire in Spain before the economy crashed; Chol, who spent his childhood in South Korea; Brian, a right wing gamer who’s starting his own website; and Satinderpal, who claims that only Saffas and Aussies ride up front.

    Our candid conversations are a daily reminder that everyone is from somewhere, and that it’s never too late to start over. They don’t know it, but they have made me feel welcome in a place where I don’t altogether feel like I belong.

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  • Japan

    Goodbye, Japan!

    After four years, the time has finally come to say goodbye to my life in Japan. In just a few days, I’ll be getting on a plane bound for Stars Hollow. That’s right, ladies…

    July 24, 2017
  • Japan Kyushu Miyazaki

    Sun Messe: The Maoi of the East

    In the Valparaíso Region of Chile, a group of statues equal in shape and size rise from a site known as Ahu Akivi and stare out into the Pacific Ocean. These mysterious Maoi are…

    July 20, 2017
  • Fukuoka Japan Kyushu

    Yanagawa: The City of Water

    “Aaa-eeh,” the punter sang, “tsukino dokoromo hatsukano yamimoe.” His throat danced around a different note for each of the syllables of the old Japanese poem. The sun was beating down, making me wish we…

    May 30, 2017
  • Japan Kyushu Nagasaki

    Glover Garden and Dejima Island

    On top of Minami-yamate, a gorgeous hillside overlooking Nagasaki Harbour, sits Glover Garden (グラバー園), an open-air museum of the homes of former Western residents of the city, who settled there after the end of Japan’s…

    May 16, 2017
  • Japan Kyushu Nagasaki

    Inside Japan’s Dutch Theme Park

    I’ve always dreamed of visiting the Netherlands, partly due to my Dutch ancestry but mostly because of my love of cheese and other edibles. So when Golden Week began approaching, an annual string of public holidays, and Austin and…

    May 11, 2017