Nov 21

What a Phone Booth in Panama is Reminding Us

  A few years ago I wandered through the cobblestone streets of the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood in Panama City, Panama. In the midst of gentrification, the area was an eerie juxtaposition of old and new. You could pass by a hipster cafe with a facade painted in vibrant shades of pinks and blues, and …

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Nov 19

The Magical & Mysterious Fairy Caves of Borneo

I’ve never been to a place for which photos do so little justice as the Fairy Caves in Kuching, Borneo.   At some point during the planning of my Borneo trip I came across these caves and, along with the Bako National Park, they became the main reason I flew to Kuching for a few days. …

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Nov 17

Close Encounters at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Borneo

One of the main reasons I was excited to go to Borneo was to see the famed and endangered orangutans. My wish was granted on my first full day in Borneo after a quick flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan and an hour cab ride out into the jungle. Before embarking on our Kinabatangan river …

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Nov 16

Failing and Other Things From My Weekend

Well folks, I went and did it. I blew my 30 day writing challenge. I didn’t post on Friday OR Saturday. GASP! For shame! In my defense, I was busy doing very important real-life things, like getting my hair done to a surprisingly darker-than-requested shade,   having a girlie movie night with a friend during …

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Nov 14

Superstitions on Korean Suneung Test Day

The entire country of Korea came to a halt this morning. Businesses opened late, flights were grounded, high schools closed for the day, and people were encouraged to stay off the roads. Rows of flags lined the streets and emergency personnel stood ready to assist. If you think it sounds like the start of a war …

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Nov 12

It’s Time You Met My Demon

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Percy.   Percy is the demon that lives in my belly.   Percy first moved in with me several years ago. We haven’t gotten along from the very beginning, when he first decided to make my life a living hell. But over the years we seemed to reach an agreement that …

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Nov 12

The Realities of Hiking in Korea

Last weekend I was surprised to find myself hiking 20km up a mountain. I mean, I knew that I would be hiking; what was casually omitted by the friend who planned it was the length of the trail and the severity of the incline. Not that knowing in advance would have changed anything. I still …

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Nov 10

Sh*t My Students Write: Part 3

It’s time for another installment of Sh*t My Students Write!  Last week I had my students write acrostic poems (choose a word and write it vertically, then write a word or sentence horizontally for each letter). Despite the fact that most of my students can barely string a sentence together, they came up with some …

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Nov 09

Sunday Sunrise at Jirisan

Ok, so this picture was actually taken about two hours after sunrise. Oops. But after sleeping in a noisy mountain shelter we couldn’t bring ourselves to go outside at the literal crack of dawn. Anyway, because I have an affinity for alliteration, here are some other “S” words that described me and my day: Sunny as …

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Nov 08

Hello From a Snoring Mountain Shelter

This is Kaleena, reporting to you live from the Korea Fart and Snore Bonanza 2014, Jirisan Mountain Edition. We spent 5 hours nonstop hiking a mountain today and arrived at the top to happily find a nice shelter with sleeping bunks. We’re currently in a small room of approximately 75 men, women, and children. Because …

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Nov 08

Ridiculous Moments From My Day

I awoke to a message from my neighbor downstairs asking if I’d heard the people I share a wall with at 2am. Apparently they had an all out brawl for two hours with screaming, banging, throwing things, and a crying baby. Eventually the police were called. I slept through it all. Let’s hope North Korea …

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Nov 06

The 100 Day Countdown

Koreans tend to celebrate anniversaries and countdowns in days, not months and years. A couple will celebrate their 100 day anniversary (and if they make it that far, it’s considered a pretty big deal), and later their 300 day, 500 day, etc.   Yesterday was a momentous occasion for me if I were to use …

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