Mountains 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?
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!)
Some of my most popular posts to date are:
- The Tragedy of Irresponsible Politicians: Özgecan Aslan (Turkish News)
- Teaching on italki (Languages, Practicalities and Incomes)
- I Got a Job! AKA Don’t Come to Bishkek Looking for Work (considering the second half of this post title, I’m a little surprised it’s so popular…)
- Buying a Car in Bishkek
- Zumba…in Bishkek (Bishkek oddities)
- Kyrgyzstan, Cake (Again, I think this just comes up in Google)
- Recommended Books for Self Studying Turkish
- Bishkek Date Ideas (Bishkek Guide…and rant)
- Little Things to Love in Turkey (Turkey Guide)
- New Bishkek Favorites: Orto Sai Bazaar (Bishkek Guide)
- Decoding ‘Pro-Family’ Policy (Turkish News Analysis)
- Lunchtime Bishkek in B&W (Photo Essay)
- Vegetarian Eating in Bishkek
- Finding the Best Deals on International Airfare (Oh so helpful travel hack!)
- The Kitten Bazaar (Bishkek Oddities)
- Cats Sleeping (Um…cats)
- Language Hacking: Favorite Turkish Podcasts
- Eskişehir: a Two-Day Travel Account (Travel in Turkey)
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!)
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)
My Other Sites: Social Media, a trail of blogs tracing my travels in China, a few professional sites
And…A Little Bit About Me:
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.
I’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.