Expat Essentials: The Mighty Kindle

January 31, 2012


How do you pack up your entire life into two suitcases? This is a dilemma that many people in cross-cultural relationships must face, especially if they become expats in their spouse’s home country.  Amidst piles of clothing, important documents, and beloved knick-knacks like that special coffee thermos your grandpa gave you, there’s a lot that […]

Posted in: Expat living

Tips for Starting Fresh

January 26, 2012


I recently wrote about emotional moldiness.  That, again, refers to the pattern we often get stuck in of becoming too comfortable or lazy in our relationships, which results in a slackening of our emotional boundaries and oftentimes causes us to treat our partners badly.  Couples really know how to make each other feel crummy.  Indeed, […]

Posted in: Tips

On Starting Fresh

January 24, 2012


Right when the States is getting into the heart of winter, here in El Salvador we’re enjoying the “summer.”  For me it’s counterintuitive to call it that, since this is the coolest (relatively) time of the year.  But we call it summer simply because it’s not “winter,” that is, the rainy season. Let me tell […]

Posted in: Relationships

New Year’s Grapes

December 29, 2011


Forget the masquerade parties and kiss at midnight, El Salvador’s New Year’s traditions are all about family dinners, fireworks at midnight, and partying til dawn (we have that much in common, I guess). But one Salvadoran New Year’s tradition that I just learned about and LOVE is The Eating of the Grapes at midnight. Apparently […]

Posted in: Culture & Customs


November 25, 2011


Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and today Black Friday.  Do you find these two days to be filled with such odd, trippy juxtapositions, as I do?  For me, they possess a slight twilight-zoney vibe that always sets me ruminating.  I think the obvious juxtaposition is to frame Thanksgiving as the good cop and Black Friday as the […]

Posted in: Culture & Customs

Home is whenever I’m with you

November 3, 2011


Jumping back and forth recently between El Salvador, Chicago, and Minnesota led to a crazy hopscotch of emotions.  Gratefulness to see loved ones, giddiness to get back to others, twinges of homesickness and nostalgia jumbled up with the sensation of feeling incredibly comfortable and at home.  I guess that’s to be expected when you have […]

Martes = Micheladas

July 27, 2011


Yesterday I had great plans to write a heartfelt post on Facundo Cabral and so continue with the Troubadour Tuesday series as promised. But, it was just TOO HOT.  I didn’t feel like writing.  I felt like drinking.  Drinking an ice-cold michelada to stave off the heat. And so I pass along this non-recipe recipe […]

Posted in: Recipe Roundup

Papas para las ojeras?

July 22, 2011


So I was working at Lima/Limón the other night, and Victor, our waiter comes up to me.  Here’s how the conversation proceeds: Victor approaches, and from out of the blue simply states:  “Papas.” JJ:  Blank stare.  Pause.  “…Que?” Victor:  “Papas!” JJ:  “Por qué me estás hablando de papas?” Victor:  “Se usan para los ojos.  Para quitar las […]

Caminante, no hay camino…

July 19, 2011



One year ago today, Juan and I began walking.  We set out walking from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the French Basque Country.  We walked up the Pyrenees.  We walked down the Pyrenees.  Then we just kept walking.  We walked across Spain.  All of Spain.  Five hundred miles of Spain, until we hit the Atlantic coast.  And then […]

Posted in: Poetry, Relationships

Today is still forever.

July 15, 2011


Speaking of Antonio Machado,I thought I would leave you with some of his meditations as you enter the weekend. Everyone should know at least a little bit about Machado, a central figure in the famous Generación del ’98 (that is, 1898 –the Spanish-American War).  This was a literary school of composed of Spanish intellectuals that […]

Posted in: Poetry