Very unique. Not like being above ground in other places.
DAY ONE: took the metro to the far corner of Shanghai to fly SHA>>XMN. Just the journey to the airport itself took nearly two hours. Shangers is ridiculously large. Man sitting opposite me clipped his fingernails directly onto the floor. As one does on the subway.
Flight was comfortable, minimal amounts of stares directed at the tall white person sitting 24C.
Continue reading “Being Above Ground in Fujian: A Travelogue”
Please, ask about anything other than how it was.
Whether you meet someone after they completed an exciting trip, or you’re the relative or friend of someone who has just been abroad, you’re probably eager to ask all about it. Just know that someone who has been abroad will get asked mostly the same questions: “How was it?” and “Did you have a great time?” or “Did you see [insert stereotypical noun pertaining to that location]?” and “Do you miss it?”
This is like the jet-lag of all conversations: it puts you to sleep and you just want to get past it because it’s annoying and exhausting.
Continue reading “What to Ask Someone Who’s Just Been Abroad”
Evening, approaching the Mekong/Nam Khan confluence.
Tucked in the far back corner of an outdated sleeper bus headed toward Luang Prabang, an impatient American passenger searched through the dirty window for a sign — any sign — that might suggest an end to his 27-hour journey from Kunming, China.
Bumpy, unpaved dirt roads had led him here: cramped and sweaty, peering into the darkening of North Laos. His bus, now hurtling at about 45mph on a thin, one and a half-lane highway in dusk, couldn’t arrive fast enough. A series of yellow-white lights off the left-hand side of the bus peeked through the blanket black night; the passenger blinked back at the shy lights. Air whistled through his opened window, damp like breath. Two left turns separated by a stretch of road resulted in a bus station where he alighted.
Shoving his shoulders back and stretching his arms into the sky, he stepped into the blacked-out indigo-blue of Luang Prabang.
Continue reading “The Two Rivers of Luang Prabang, Laos”
The Gansu/Xinjiang border is the edge of the world.
Figuratively, of course. But when you’re there it feels plausible. Like when the sand and soil ends, the world ends too. Walk off and you’ll likely fall into infinity.
Although, the friendly owners of Dunhuang’s local guesthouse seem unfazed by the fact that they live so close to boundless space. They have kids and a dog and offered us dried red dates and coal-furnace hospitality in the middle of winter.
Continue reading “The Deserts of Dunhuang”
“Do you have a husband?”
These five words form a question that causes me to tense up like a deer spotted by a hunter.
Continue reading “Hi-nice-to-meet-you-do-you-have-a-husband?”
I am lucky enough to have a fellow ELCA global missionary friend who is in a year-long program called, Young Adults In Global Mission (YAGM), and is living in the largest and arguably most historical township in South Africa. She resides in Central Jabavu in the South West Township called Soweto, also known as the home of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Continue reading “Soweto: Scratching the Surface of A Rich Township”
The past few days have been a whirlwind of so many things happening at once.
There has been a lot of anxiety about when I get there, and how I will be able to find internet, phone cards, even drive a stick for the first time on the opposite side that I’m used to. But on the outside, the world is busy.
Continue reading “Connected Remotely”