Mountains and The Sea is and isn’t a travel blog. I used to view myself as a traveler; up until recently I was 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 political bodies become nations? How do nations incorporate minorities with disparate backgrounds into their national history? How do the languages we acquire change the way we shape our communities?
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 may 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.
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 a History PhD student recently returned to the US after several years living in Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. I lived in China for four, five years after graduating from Reed College. There I lived in Beijing; Lincang, Yunnan; Heqing, Dali, Yunnan; Foshan/Guangzhou; and Urumqi, Xinjiang. 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’m now hoping to explore how political states (particularly China and Turkey) have re-cast (ahem, created) their histories in order to justify their existence as modern nations, in particular looking at the role of ethnic minorities and diasporas within this national history. My main focus will (likely) be on the Turkic peoples of Northwest China, as they straddle that role of diaspora and ethnic minority.