Tag Archives: Culture

iPads and chicken slaughters bring me clarity after five years

One little boy lifted the silver bowl of chicken heads to receive its next occupant, and I snapped out of my time-traveling thoughts. I stood up and returned to Vita’s house to find that the iPad had locked away its contents from the curious kids indoors. When I unlocked the iPad, I found the following paragraph, scribed by Samu:

An emotional, highly anticipated return to Nakavika

Returning to my first lemon leaf tea in five years, I happily settled on the grass mat with a Christmas mug. I was nearly out of the emotional woods with this favorite, sweet elixir and a few cold pancakes. I sighed and scanned the room, finally noticing two photos taped to the wall, one of my mother in the snow and another of my grandmother holding my baby niece. I should have just accepted that a breakdown was inevitable.

The time I took ten students to the
war-torn region of Kashmir
and they loved it

Have you ever been on a trip that you knew was so special: every detail seemed divinely delivered, every moment one to journal about, every vision worthy of an Instagram? This was the sentiment possessed by all involved in our trip. Lazy nights spent huddled around the fire were coupled with songs or thoughtful talks about travel. Even in moments where the students were out of their element, up before dawn, freezing, or pushed to their physical limits on hikes, they were still so engaged. The usual shyness of students in need of filtering questions through their teachers to the guides dissolved after a half hour on the ground. The students loved Ashika.

A journey back to north India, a mind running in place

Though my steam was running low by the end, the students and I agreed that the trip was a bit of a mental recharge to engage with where we were living. I spent many hours chatting with the students about their upcoming first graduation ceremony, gender inequality in India, and traveling solo as a female around the world. I pretended to be a guru in a cave on the train, accepting students into my lair (joining me in my double seat) for questions about life and happiness. My answers were usually, “Write about it!”

After three weeks in India, I finally feel like I’m traveling.

Flickers of lightning are faint but always to the left of my aim toward the horizon. They provide an additional layer of drama to my nighttime ride home from the city of Hyderabad. I booked a taxi with the help of a Hindi-speaking friend, someone whom I quickly and liberally offered my trust purely on […]

Photoblog: Sundays in Buenos Aires make the whole week

For over a month, I’ve been sinking my claws into Buenos Aires, Argentina. Within the first two weeks, I found an apartment with a new roommate/co-worker in the beautifully-located barrio called Recoleta. Its coordinates in the city as well as decor and baller terrace(s) cause me to internally chant: I’m not worthy!

Adios, America. It’s time for new places and fresh air.

It’s time to navigate away from Indiana again. The school year is starting, and I’m about to move to a country I’ve never visited. Come Tuesday, I will have some new students, new co-workers, a new home with someone else’s furniture, and a new culture to study…thankfully in a language I’m already comfortable with. Last […]

My global kids romp through four countries in five days

Some of my students called it “the best five days of their lives.” That kind of statement carries a good load coming from kids who visited the Galápagos, the Amazon rainforest, and the Bavarian Alps this year alone.

Photoblog: Details of the hipster haven that is Berlin

Ten days ago, I descended into a brisk, foggy day at TXL, equipped with a new currency, my crusty old travel backpack, and a vague awareness of my new home‘s coordinates. In the time since my arrival, I’ve gotten familiar with the suburb of Kleinmachnow and explored my neighborhood on foot. Yesterday was my first […]

One meal inspires three months of memories in Thailand

I keep mentioning to our students that this phenomenon occurs constantly, with no warning, regarding foods, flavors, experiences, and beyond. All of a sudden, we’re okay with what we formerly weren’t (and of course, the opposite is always possible). I’m inclined to believe these mini-epiphanies are more perceptible on the road where they can be constantly questioned.

Coastline and culture in New England

I’ve decided that, these days, if I can produce a blog post a month, I’m a lucky gal. Lucky to find breaths between beloved jobs to do similar work of my own volition. Lucky to be able to reflect on experiences and milk what value can be gathered. I doubt the cafe I edited in […]

The Sweet Sorrow of Departing: Day 62

I opened my eyes as if they’d been closed for only a few seconds. Stains decorated the holey mosquito net, which now ensnared a circling bunch of blood-filled bugs. Though I’ve never been physically beaten up, I imagine the next morning would have felt akin to how I felt there, in that bed, feeling the […]

The Hell-raising Fundraiser: Day 61

What you’re about to read is the final event we took part in, created, or witnessed in the Fijian Highlands. It occurred on a Saturday, fifteen days before we were scheduled to leave the islands and thirteen days before we initially desired to leave Nakavika. It was because of this event and the clash of […]

The Danger of Not Processing the Bad: Day 55

How does that make you feel? Go on…let it out. It’s okay to feel these feelings. Let’s talk about that… We all shake our heads at the shoulder-patting, “aww gee”-inspiring cliches from the psychology world, but there’s no doubt they come from a necessary concept. When the traumatic, the all-of-a-sudden, the shocking occurs, our heads […]

When in Raki, Dive Like the Locals Dive: Day 31

This is what we woke up to. [This post is a continuation of Breaking Away to Rakiraki.] Garrett awoke me with a cheer, but I could barely move. Having not shifted an inch the entire night, my hardening body was attempting to fuse with the modest mattress like a mother to her long-lost-but-now-found son. It […]

Climbing Mountains for Funerals: Day 21

Regardless of our desires to infuse routine into our Fijian lifes, the days always promised to be unpredictable. Waking up in the morning, I could lie in bed, staring at the illuminated ceiling and think: Today, I could eat something crazy, go some where amazing, end up crying, hurt myself, receive a phone call, get […]

Two (Extra)Ordinary Days on the Luva River: Day 20

Stir at 7:30am to the sounds of giggling children, bossy dads, and falling billiard balls into play. Emerge from half-slumber at 9am to eat a pound of crepes and cups of lemongrass tea. Wash face. Brush layer of cane sugar off teeth. Contemplate what today will bring. This was our morning routine during those first few weeks in Fiji, when we had a host family and the sole mission of experiencing Fiji before our classes began in the afternoon. Some days we scribed on our computers until they died. But what we usually opted for were outings with our host mother or the children, and these trips always centered around satiating that primal desire to cool off.

Am I a Cultural Imperialist?

I got on a bright yellow bus with “Awesome” scrolled along the side of its body. I lined up behind rolling suitcases, backpacks and wide-brimmed hats to book a ticket to the islands. I arrived to five resort employees singing a Fijian welcoming song, somewhat half-heartedly. A tourist I became after months of being on […]

Rights vs. Blame

I anticipate this topic sparking some vocalization from my normally docile reading crowd, but I want to bring it up as it bothered me during my last week in Fiji. Freshly departed from all Nakavika affiliations, I sat atop a barstool for seven hours at Uprising, telling friends and barmen my stories from the Highlands […]

Sacrificing Mentality

This post was written by Garrett Russell. Every aspect of the environment in which I grew up defines who I am. My language, my customs, my values and morals all define me as a person. I am very proud of my heritage, and there are many things that I don’t want to ever forget or […]

Video of the Week: Village Life

While half our day is spend documenting and planning educational activities, the other half involves doing all things villager…playing rugby, working at the farm, swimming with the kids and just being a member of the community. Take a peak into village life in Nakavika. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

Video of the Week: World Traveler Intern Highlights

One of my least favorite questions to answer is “What was your favorite part?” Slimming down a trip into the best moments leaves out all the thrills in between and the trip’s entirety as a journey, which amplifies the highlights even more. The experience of the World Traveler Internship had an obvious highlight for me: […]

Video of the Week: Ireland

I know you’re just burning to know the blogs behind this video, so just click here to check them out. Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts

Video of the Week: Ireland on a Budget

Stay in hostels with free internet. Buy food to cook in the kitchen. Save your money for the pints of Guinness and ice cream you know you want. Occasionally have a pub meal, but remember all the things you can buy with a 20 Euro restaurant bill. And always be on the look-out for fun, […]

Video of the Week: Scotland

She’s certainly hard to describe, but I’ve done so right here with my blogs on Scotland! Subscribe to Nomadderwhere’s posts via RSS feed or e-mail

The Love of the Irish

I once loved Lucky Charms cereal. Back in the day, my mom would only purchase whole grain, non-sugary cereals for our morning bowls, so I would pounce at the chance to grab that box packed with clover and rainbow marshmallows at friend’s houses. That leprechaun really hypnotized me with his marketing schpeal. They really were […]

Wild and Sexy Scotland: Day 68

We bolted for the Highlands. There was no stopping us. The bright yellow tour bus resembled the Coors Light Silver Bullet Train in my mind as it streamed like a beast across very green and steadily growing hills. When there was a need to stretch the legs, we stopped in a town that brings to […]

Why it will be a while for India: Day 28/29

Imagine an alternate universe that’s accessible by easy flight. A Mars or Twilight Zone with roaming holy cows, instant disease upon the consumption of food, toilets seemingly nonexistent, and pimped out buses roaming the streets. And imagine this place has so much of great appeal: colors, spices, drinks, music, dancing, people, animals, mountains, beaches, and […]

Feeling Balmy and Looking Skyward: Day 22

The extent of my knowledge on Sikhism stops at the turbans. That’s pretty sad, which is why putting on a headscarf, washing my feet, and walking up the steps to Bangla Sahib, the Sikh temple in Delhi, was an experience I happily embraced. Red, beautifully woven rugs covered the marble floor completely, and we slinked […]

India, Shock with Awe: Day 20

The last time I left India, just eight months ago, I related the effect the country had on me to a scruffy, irritating, acidic kiss from which I recoiled…and then later longed for. As the horns screamed around our taxi from the airport, I turned to Chris and said, “Home Sweet Home.” He nodded. This […]

Why I’m Coming Back to Fiji

What kind of question is that? You’d think everyone would die for the chance to go/return to a paradisiacal island in the South Pacific. But with so many wonderful places on earth to visit, enjoy, and love, why spend your money on a trip you’ve already done? It’s easy. It’s the people. Yes, people are […]

Back to Sugar City: Day 11

At 4am, I arose to pack my bags over a sleeping six year-old. At 5am, I pulled my bags onto the billiard table and waiting for the call to the carrier. At 6:30am the mosquitoes claimed victory over my right leg as we crawled up into the carrier, which would take all the volunteers and […]

Last Day with Second Families: Day 10

Our final day in the Fijian village had quite a build up. I must have answered the question “What day are you leaving Fiji and the village” about twenty times during my entire stay, unsure as to why they were so anxious to know my departure date. I believe they were just gearing themselves up […]

What Little Work and Plentiful Play: Day 9

Being a “volunteer” in this village of Nakavika seemed to barely have the connotation that any work would be done by you. Given we came on the weekend and had to do no labor, I assumed Monday would crack down on our fun time with some blood, sweat and backaches in the farm. Ah, but […]

Bamboo Bear Grylls: Day 8

Bui and I could only appreciate a few games of “Last Card” before one bite of breakfast had her running for school Monday morning. I took my books and journals to a mat on the patio for a little writing when Abel joined me for a quick lounge and giggle. The important thing to note […]

Kava and Waterfalls: Day 7

Bui’s knees in my back and adorable, obvious rustling in bed wake me caused a laugh to accompany my first breath of the day.  She had spotted something in my bag that she liked, so I proceeded to pull out the bag-o-tricks from my sister-in-law that included bubbles, a very high-pitched whistle, a hypnotizing hourglass, […]

What Culture Shock?

We anticipated wild animals or at least poisonous critters; there were only slightly famished mosquitoes. We were prepared for long drop squat toilets; we sat on flushing porcelain thrones. And we assumed we’d make many a cultural blunder within our first days, but honestly, living in the Fijian Highlands for a week was only culturally […]