Doing Dubai

Burj Khalifa

After 2 nights in Riyadh, we flew to Dubai for vacation—the folks sponsoring my husband paid extra for us to leave earlier because they apparently felt so bad that I had to spend time in Saudi Arabia.  Turns out, I wished they had let us stay longer but set up times to talk with local folks so I could hear their stories, pick their brains, and learn more about life in Saudi Arabia. Sigh.  Another time.Here are my impressions of Dubai:From burkas to bikinis: If Riyadh is the most cons … [Read more...]

Birthday with Burkas: Initial impressions of Riyadh


Last week I spent my 48th birthday in a Saudi Arabian mall wearing an abaya.  Several weeks ago, I speculated Should I go to Saudi Arabia? mainly because I didn’t want to spend a ton of money to sit in a hotel while Scott went to his conference.And indeed I didn’t stray far from my hotel.  However, the 4 Seasons Riyadh connects to Kingdom Centre, a huge upscale mall, and even though I obeyed the rule that women can't be unaccompanied outside, because malls are indoors, women are free to be dr … [Read more...]


be brave little man

{Be brave my little KoolAide faced soldier} Bravery is moving forward in the face of courage. Bob Loblaw.  We all know this.  This is a distinctly different experience when you are ACTUALLY DOING IT. Not the race-to-the-finish fears, over in 5 minutes, maybe 5 hours if you're running a marathon, maybe 5 days in you're giving birth.  Yes, those things are bravery, of course.  But, what is it called when it's 5 months of pushing through fear?  5 years?  Then, it should get a new title.  Something … [Read more...]

Buying My Burka (or Abaya)

I leave for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday and need a burka.  Or abaya.  Burka’s cover everything.Abaya’s cover just the body.Hijabs cover the head, but my friend’s already lent me her supply including one with glittery gold and one with leopard print.Turns out buying an abaya’s more challenging than you would think—especially if you wait until your visa’s approved because you don’t want an extra abaya lying around the house unused.Last week Scott reminded me to get with t … [Read more...]

Mourning the Bomber

I don’t know Dzohkhar Tsarnaev.  But the kids of several friends do because he graduated from their high school two years ago.   And all of a sudden, in the same way Boston became a small town because I either directly knew a victim or am a degree or two away from others, I’m struck that I’m only one degree of separation from the perpetrators.Last week as I reeled from the news of the bombing, like many others, I felt outrage towards the nameless and faceless bombers.  How dare they attack my … [Read more...]

Why I Hate the Images from Kabul and Syria to Boston.

to boston

When is it coming to get me?When is breast cancer coming for me? When is someone coming to shoot up my son's elementary school? When is a tornado ripping my house from root to roof? When is a bomb blowing up the next race I'm training for?It has hit home for me, yes.  But I'm keenly aware that people all over the world are bombarded with these when-am-I-next questions every. single. day.I hate the image above.  And I hate the 'To Boston from Kabul with Love' image too. I hate them … [Read more...]

Mourning the Bombings

When Scott texted me the news of the Boston Marathon bombing, I was looking at impressionist paintings in the National Gallery ofArt in DC.  We’re spending part of April vacation here both for fun and college visits, and the shocking news felt surreal.  Immediately I wondered if anyone I knew was hurt.  But statistically speaking, with such a crowd, everyone I knew should be well, shouldn't they? Seconds later, he texted that his brother and sister-in-law were fine.  Both qualifiers for the mara … [Read more...]

If I Had a Second Chance. . .

I'm responding to the Patheos challenge to write about "If you had a second chance and no limiting circumstances, what dream would you pursue?" as part of promoting "The Moment" If I had a second chance with no limiting factors I would:Have taught English in China instead of attending graduate school straight out of college.  I would have had my adventure, solidified my Mandarin, and opened myself to who knows what doors?  Then if I decided on graduate school, I would have known why I was t … [Read more...]