In the last year alone, I’ve managed to live in almost every single region of the United States. West, Pacific Northwest, Rockies, Midwest, South–you name it, and I’ve probably lived there for a month or two.
The experience was eye-opening and made me realize an extremely important fact: not all Americans are the same. In fact, the US does not feel like one country at all. Each region is so culturally and geographically different that, when I travel from coast to coast, I have to remind myself that I’m still in the same country.read more
According to the news, China is about to rule the world and the Japanese are poised for extinction via low birthrates. With an ever-rising China and a Japan on the decline, one has to wonder: Will learning Japanese actually get me a job? And more importantly, will learning Chinese get me an even better job?
However, via this particular post, I received multiple emails from young college students asking for even more advice. What kind of jobs can I get with these language skills? What level of proficiency do I need? And most of all: Are learning these languages just a massive waste of time?read more
Northwest Ireland is sadly passed over for its southern cousin. Most people skip County Donegal, Mayo and Sligo and take a bee-line from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher in Southern Ireland, bypassing this part of the country entirely.
I’m here to tell you that Northwest Ireland is a must-see. Thanks to the expert vacation planning of my husband, I was able to discover a charming and grossly underappreciated corner of Ireland. The rugged northwest may be known as Ireland’s no-man’s-land, but after setting foot in the region I soon realized this is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets.read more
Today, I found a memoir-like post hidden away in the depths of my hard drive. I thought this little piece perfectly conveyed what it was like to teach on the JET Program, as well as introduced some unforgettable characters all JETs are bound to meet on the journey. It’s a long post, but if you can slog through it, it perfectly summarizes my unforgettable experience working with my Japanese English Teacher (JTE).
“You have to meet Uchida-sensei,” all of the staff at the school told me repeatedly. “He’s going to be one of the English teachers you work with. Plus, I think he’s about the same age as you.”read more
I could hardly contain my excitement when my husband told me we were moving to Minnesota for the month of October. After living in the land of eternal sunshine (aka Southern California) for the past three years, I was in eager anticipation to finally enjoy a proper fall season. I couldn’t wait to wrap myself up in sweaters and scarves, make pumpkin scones, wash it down with spiced cinnamon tea, and most of all:
See the colors that make Autumn my absolute favorite season.
Minnesota is renown for having some of the best fall foliage in the US, so last week I set off to Itasca State Park to see just what the state had to offer…. and this is what I found:read more
As someone who has roots from the deep-Celtic-south of the REPUBLIC of Ireland, my jaw hit the floor when my husband told me our first stop of the Ireland trip was Northern Ireland….aka, Great Britain.
The few times my grandmother talked about the old country, she always managed to slip in an insult about the British with a spit and went on a tirade about how they ravaged her homeland. To say that I grew up with prejudice against “the north” is a vast understatement. I was aghast. I grew up telling myself I would never, god help my soul, go to the North.read more
I apologize for the long, silent hiatus on this blog. I usually try to update once a month, but since May ’17 my life has been absolutely crazy.
I honestly thought going back to school would be a nice break from “real, work life,” but it was actually more demanding and taxing both mentally and physically than my previous 8-5 office job. In graduate school I literally spent 10 hours a day in the library reading (and comprehending) the 500+ pages of literature, as well as write an average of 2-3 essays per week. Graduate school was a repetitive schedule of sleep-study-eat-study-sleep. That was my life for ten months.read more
My fiancee was dying to write a post about travel, and the both of us just couldn’t get memories of our trip to Japan out of our heads (and trust me, Japan tends to do that to people), so he offered to write a great piece on Japan. Unlike me, my fiancee has yet to live or study in Japan, so it has been fascinating to read his account of discovering Japan through the eyes of a tourist. Enjoy! (PS, if you enjoy my fiancee’s writing take a look at his finance blog, Millennial Lifehacker).
Mary has already written a fabulous article on Japan, but aside from the one week that we spent together there, I also wandered across part of the country with my parents while she acted as a tour guide for some other friends. Here are some things that I noted. Apologies in advance as I am not nearly as captivating a writer as Mary.
1. There are so many Chinese in Japan
Yeah, I know, Mary made this observation already, I know, but I still could not get over it. Seriously, everywhere you go in Japan has tons of stealth Chinese people. One particularly memorable encounter was at the hotel. After we checked in, there was a maid who came by with extra sheets and to do some supplemental cleaning. She was Chinese! I guess Chinese maids are the equivalent to Hispanic maids in southern California; they’re everywhere! Apparently they all have the same story as well. They moved to Japan after China started to open up but was still kind of poor (think most of the 1990s). They usually worked in low skill employment but stayed on even as China became wealthy because they got used to the environment and made their circle of friends.
I know, the title of this blog post seems strangely unrelated–and actually, it probably is. The only common link between job hunting, the controversial United incident of this week and the Girl Who Escaped ISIS is my mental state of being.
So let’s delve right into that:
The United Incident
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know about the United incident. A United flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville was overbooked and, despite offering an $800 voucher, no one volunteered to leave the plane and make room for four crew members who needed to staff a connecting flight. United felt that the only remaining option was to “randomly” select four people to forcibly vacate the plane.read more