Summer 2013 2273Mountains and The Sea is and isn’t a travel blog. I used to view myself as a traveler; I’m now an expat, so part of the blog is about experiences living abroad.  It’s also a place where I explore ideas and questions that hooked me in academia: How do people create communities? How do we learn second languages? How do the languages we acquire change the way we shape our communities? How does a society- a state – develop, and how to we deconstruct the layers of its present occupation?


Peter Cat, le lazy photobomber.

There’s also a lot of food, a lot of cat pics, expat advice, analysis of news pertaining to Turkey and Central Asia, and occasionally a few too many rants about Bishkek. As I’m a new parent, it seems most of my recent posts have at least touched on that topic. I hope it will be informative, or at least interesting.  We all trace different paths traveling; even if you don’t agree with my views, they may at least help you see the same sights and sounds in a different light.

Navigating Your Way Around the Blog:

Blog: This is my ongoing, ever-updated blog where you will find all the aforementioned (and much, much more!)


Cappadocia, Turkey

Some of my most popular posts to date are:

Places: Eventually this will include travel/expat guides to Urumqi, Bishkek, Ankara, and my favorite vacation spots stretching the Turkish Riviera. You can also look for posts under the category Bishkek Guide

Books: Book reviews, free language books available online, and (soon-to-be) links to my language book (still in publishing, but soon to be out under Nobel Publishing in Ankara!)

Nokut Uyghur Food

Uyghur-Style Nokut and Liangpi

Collected Stories: I’ve left photos and stories scattered across half-a-dozen blogs since beginning my journey.  Here I’m finally beginning to collect and edit the tales from China, Chicago, Central Asia and everywhere in between, from high-tech punk concerts in Beijing to almost being bride-napped in a rural Yi village locked in the Sichuan highlands to sweating out summer days in an old red communist riverside town.

Food: Food. Pictures and recipes, enough to make you hop on the next plane (or just cruise down a new grocery aisle)

Language: Basic travel language guides and language-learning resources for Turkish, ChineseUyghur, and Russian (the last still being edited). Print off the guide and stick them in your pocket.

My Other Sites: Social Media, a trail of blogs tracing my travels in China, a few professional sites

And…A Little Bit About Me:


photobombing kitten

I’m an American expat currently living in Kyrgyzstan. I lived in China for four, five years after graduating from Reed College and before heading off to grad school.  I have lived in Beijing; Lincang, Yunnan; Heqing, Dali, Yunnan; Foshan/Guangzhou; and Urumqi, Xinjiang, and I’ve traveled to every province but Hainan, Anhui and Dongbei.  While living and exploring all corners of the country I developed strong interests in how rural-urban migrants are re-conceptualizing their personal and community identities, and how states use/attempt to use language policy in propaganda and education in an effort to shape national, local and ethnic identities, particularly among minorities and in border regions. I returned to the US in 2013 to pursue my PhD at a school known by the misnomer “Where fun goes to die” (or just freeze, as winters in the windy city are really, really cold) and was immediately put off by the bureaucratization of American higher education.

01af6fef23fa9fa54b3896c93c747ef93399c2dbcdI’m now in Kyrgyzstan (hence the mountains) living with my wonderful Turkish husband with whom I take an annual roadtrip down the Turkish Riviera (hence the sea), and now our infant daughter.  I’m currently mostly at home (a lot of posts about that), though do some writing and editing online.  I’m passionate about education, community creation, language & identity, mapping the process of Second Language Acquisition, and facilitating intercultural communication.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello there, interesting info here. I am also a U.S. citizen currently living in Bishkek (I just marry my fiancée who I met at NAU Flagstaff). So far, I like it here (totally different than the US). I noticed that people could be rude as you mention if you don’t speak the language (which I don’t, but some are nice as well) and I also noticed how the police stops cars on daily basis (I don’t know if I should get a car because of this). It is really inexpensive to live in this city. Perhaps you could help me with some tips via email (or get together at your convenience) to help me get “adjusted” in Bishkek, thanks.


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