A New Kind of Marathon

IMG_8664Autumn has long been my favorite season. For running, for traveling, for baking, for being outside… simply for being. I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Autumn is typically the time of year when I run the most miles and some of my best races. This autumn, though, things have been different. Very, very different, in fact. I’ve hardly run any miles at all, let alone any races and certainly no marathons. I withdrew from the November ultramarathon I had signed up for, and I have traded my morning runs for walks. I have fallen woefully behind in my quest for 2,017 miles this year, while pushing to the back burner other things that normally occupied my free time, including writing in this space. Instead, I started a new kind of ultramarathon this autumn… one that requires a different kind of endurance and involves more sleep deprivation than any running race I can imagine. I became a mother.
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Back in the USA

IMG_7932It’s been a little more than two weeks since we arrived back in the USA. We have spent the time reconnecting with family and friends, relaxing in nature, and trying to readjust to all of the little things that make the United States unique. The reality that we aren’t simply on vacation, soon to return to our home in Latvia, is starting to set in… not necessarily in a bad way; rather, in a time-to-move-on kind of way. We’ve recovered from our jetlag, and hearing English spoken all around us has started to feel familiar once again.  Continue reading →

Saying Goodbye to Home

Pond 2After growing up as a Third Culture Kid in an Army family and then living in several states and countries as an adult, I have moved enough times to know that home does not have to be a physical place. I’ve written about this idea before, and the more I move, the more I find myself able to make a home wherever I live. In fact, it’s been rare that the places where I’ve lived have not, at some point, begun to feel like home. And in one particular instance, that feeling extends even to a place where I’ve never lived. Continue reading →

Panoramic Views from the Top of the Washington Monument

IMG_5522Earlier this week, we enjoyed a wonderful visit with family who made the long journey from Washington (state) to Washington (DC). In a city with so much to see and do, it’s always hard to pick and choose between DC’s numerous museums, monuments, historical sites, parks, and so on. We tried our best to give our relatives as full a DC experience as we could with limited time (and without completely exhausting them), and that included a trip up to the top of the Washington Monument. Continue reading →

Lugano: The Gem of Southern Switzerland

IMG_1633This afternoon, I had a long overdue “visit” on Skype with my great aunt. Tante A. (German for Auntie A.), as we call her, is my grandmother’s sister. She lives independently on a hillside overlooking beautiful Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region. While my grandparents  immigrated to the United States from Germany and Egypt in 1960, Tante A. chose to stay in Europe and moved to Switzerland after World War II. She has more or less called Lugano home ever since.  Continue reading →

My Mom, the Veteran

Mom collegeIt’s an unlikely story: a little girl from Egypt, the only girl in a family of five children, immigrates to the United States at age ten and emerges from her patriarchal roots to join the U.S. Army, eventually advancing to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving a twenty-year career. Unlikely though it is, it is the story of my mother.

Mom was born in Giza, a suburb of Cairo, to an Egyptian police officer and his German-Egyptian homemaker wife. To make a really long story short, when things got rough …Continue reading →