Adventures in Passion

Don’t worry folks; I’m not going to go all Blog Noir just because I have a snazzy new address. I won’t even mention the love lives of my kitchen lizards again. I think this post is actually going to be about fruit…but I’m only 1 paragraph in, so who knows where we’ll end up.

Passion fruit is in season here now, which is great because I can walk around my house all day saying “PASSION!” as often as I like without sounding like a weirdo. (Well, maybe I still sound like a weirdo – but at least for the next few weeks, I’ll be a weirdo with a reason.)

Woot! Woot! Passion Fruit!

Woot! Woot! Passion Fruit!

I do love that word: Passion.

The linguist in me likes the explosive popping of the ‘p’ paired with the shushing of the ‘ss’. To me, it comes out tasting like smooth dark chocolate flecked with chili peppers, and should be spelled with extra ss’s.


Go ahead; say it out loud a few times. I’ll wait. (Just be careful if you’re reading this at work or Starbucks, or on your iPhone in a public washroom. Things could get kinda awkward really quickly.)

See? It’s not like one of those awful words like slacks or yeast that you try to avoid saying. Phonetically, it’s pretty great. On its own, it’s a good word – but I get antsy when it’s wrapped up in that impossible question:


It’s a question that’s guaranteed to make me freeze. Eventually I’ll thaw just enough to blurt out crazy words at random:



Yup, I kinda want to wear this every day.


Also kinda want to dress like this every day!

Also kinda want to wear this every day!

Or I might choose something from this handy list:

All things awesome, in one handy list.

All things awesome, in one handy notebook.

Don’t get me wrong. Those things are ALL AWESOME. But at the next step in the passion identification conversation, things get tricky. Apparently, once you’ve identified your passion, you’re expected to follow it.

How do you follow a zombie-pirate kitten wearing a hoop-skirt and a snorkel??

Around this point in the conversation, I usually realize I made a wrong turn somewhere.

There are some people who can answer the question easily, and without hesitation. Those people make me think of bananas. They have one, consistent, reliable passion that fits perfectly in their skin and fills their life – and they’re confident enough to wear bright yellow. I’m not a banana.

I’m more like a passion fruit. Kinda lumpy and plain on the outside, (I’m not body-snarking, it’s just an analogy) and a mess of sweet, sour, tangy, mushy softness on the inside that doesn’t quite fit snugly in its own skin. But the messy innards hold dozens of solid seeds that represent things like faith and justice and education and hope and literacy and all the other things that I really am passionate about.

But explaining all that to someone who asks, “What’s your passion?” is kind of exhausting. And comparing yourself to a passion fruit can make you seem like a weirdo. Maybe it’s best to stick with normal answers like hoop-skirts and zombies.

How about you? Are you a banana or a passion fruit?

Adventures in Moving

You should move.

My friend was talking about my house. (Because, you know, giant bugs, leaky roofs, scampering critters and such.)

That’s a great idea!

I agreed, thinking about my blog. (Because, you know, fancy widgets.)

So, here we are, you and I, together again for a few minutes. I’m so glad you found me! I really had been worried that you wouldn’t find me. After all, my old blog was waaaaaaay over there on the other side of the internet, and traffic can be terrible.

Since you’re here, this is kind of the perfect opportunity to share with you why someone who LOVES to travel HATES to move.

1. Boxes, Dust, and Finally Seeing What’s Been Growing Behind The Fridge.

My sister moved last week. Just hearing about movers and trucks and uprooting and disconnecting made me feel all clenchy and squeezy inside. However, her new postal code ends with 0B1. Yes, young Jedi, 0-B-1. That alone might have made the entire hullaballoo worthwhile.

2. Empty Chairs at the Brunch Table

What’s the very worst thing about living abroad? It’s not the giant bugs or the weird green jelly in the bread, or even the corn on the pizza. It’s saying Goodbye. To everyone. All the time.

You say it to your friends and family at home when you leave, and to your friends-like-family here when they leave. And people in expat communities are always leaving.

It’s not like on Sex-in-the-City when what’s-her-name with the red hair moved to the other side of town, and all the other what’s-their-names with other colours of hair acted like she was moving to another planet with no shoe stores. (I never actually watched the show, but I think that might have happened. Yes?)

In my world, one person doesn’t just move to the other side of town. No, around here, ALL THE PEOPLE eventually move to ALL THE EVERYWHERE. To all the other sides of the whole planet. And when they do, they leave holes in my life that come in odd shapes and sizes.

This past week, I said goodbye to this lovely lady and her wonderful husband:

For years, we’ve regularly shared life and laughter and (most importantly!) brunch. Now, they’re on the other side of the whole planet and I have a new hole in my life.

This particular hole is shaped like a blueberry pancake. Do you know how hard it is to find new friends to fill such oddly specific shaped gaps in your life? Do you? Of course you do. You know it’s impossible.

So there you have it. The very worst part of living abroad is going through life with holes in your heart shaped like pancakes and zebras and yoghurt tarts and knitting needles and tea cups all the little things that make the people in your life worth knowing.

In the end though, having the privilege of sharing a slice of life with such precious people makes it all worthwhile – just like a new widget on the blog or a Star Wars postal code.

Why do you hate moving? (Or do you love it?) Leave a comment below and share your story. (And let me know that you found your way to my new site. Thanks!)

~~ Like after any move, I’m still unpacking on this new site, so don’t be surprised if I re-arrange the furniture once in a while. And please, don’t be shy to tell me what you think of the changes! ~~

Adventures in the No Body-Snark Diet

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Sally over at UnbraveGirl. It might be because she’s a super-fun award-winning travel blogger, but I think it’s mostly because we’ve eaten something that looks like this:

Yes, it’s a giant stack of bread covered in ice cream and honey

In a place with decor like this:

Yes, it’s a giant yellow dog-man guarding our giant stack of ice-cream bread.
That’s not an encounter you’ll easily forget.
In fact, it’s how life-long “I’ll-read-your-blog-forever” bonds are formed.

Last Thursday, Sally threw down the gauntlet and issued this 2-part challenge. It was a challenge that struck a chord with her readers, set bloggers abuzz, and prompted a gazillion* responses. 
(* Actual numbers used anywhere in this blog are always either approximations or completely made up.)

Sally’s 2-part challenge got me thinking about 3 things. (I warned you, numbers around here can be a little sketchy.)

Thing #1: 

I don’t usually write about deep-down serious stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a reason, but it’s  mostly because funny stories will always be funny stories. (Well, funny for you maybe. You’re not the one who had ants in their pants.)

However, unlike some types of cheese, my writing about heart swelling feelings’n’such, (cue melodramatic 7th grade diary) or issues of sober importance and solemnity (cue pretentious undergraduate essays), don’t get better with age. I cringe when I re-read serious things I’ve written after days, weeks or years have passed. I cringe because my fiery rhetoric has mellowed, my opinions have matured, or I’ve realized that my 7th grade heart-throb is actually a bit of a chowder-head.

But once it’s out there – in print – it’s too late to take it back.

If I wrote about such things here, I’d either have to put genuine thought into them, or else I’d be issuing caveats, apologies and clarifications all. the. time. So, I try to reserve this space for lighthearted musings.

In the days ahead, that might start to change – but not too much, and not too quickly. If that giant stack of ice-cream bread I shared with Sally taught me anything, it’s that moderation is key.

Thing #2: 

When Sally issued the challenge to post honest-to-goodness full-body photos, I didn’t think I shied away from posting unflattering pictures of myself. (No, I won’t provide a link to November 2nd, 2006. It’s really that terrible. Honestly.) However, I just went through my entire archive, and realized that in the ten years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve only published one full-on full-length photo of myself…and that was from a costume party in 2005, so I didn’t even look like myself. I’ve always made up some excuse about why the full-on photos never make the cut, but it actually has very little to do with artistic merit, and much more to do with the fact that I don’t like the way I look in them.

Thing #3:

This body has stuck with me for a loooong time, even after I uprooted it, and dragged it through 13 countries over the past 14 years. Sure, it gets banged up now and again…

Working on a campus with a great special-ed program and extra wheelchairs available had some perks when I took a spill on the ski hill!

…but that’s because it agrees to let me do wonderful things like go skiing, and scuba diving, and rock climbing, and horseback riding, and kayaking, and skydiving. (It doesn’t agree to let me sing Karaoke in public, but that’s probably a Very Good Thing. Thank you, body.)

It even lets me enter the Run for Relief every year. Why have you never seen me mention the Run for Relief on my blog? Primarily because the plight of displaced people in Burma is a serious issue (see Thing #1). Secondly, even though I spend the entire race thinking about, and praying for, people in Burma who are forced to run for their very lives, as soon as I see post-run pictures, I immediately focus on how much weight I’ve lost (or gained) since the previous year (see Thing #2).

So, to participate in Unbrave Girl’s very brave No Body-Snark Diet challenge, I will:

1. Stop being a jerk to myself, and quit referring to my participation in the Run for Relief as my Waddle for Relief.

2. Post a full-on picture of myself finishing the race:

Sure, I’m disappointed that I was slower than the year before, and walked a little more than I ran…but that’s not the point. It was never the point.

As I’ve been writing this post, a funny thing has happened. As I’ve taken a moment to focus on all the great things my body lets me do, I want to take better care of it. I don’t want to chastise it for picking up a few pounds over the years, and shame it into shedding them. Instead, I want to reward it with tons of vegetables and healthy things. Why? Because it’s an aging machine that’s faithfully allowed me to do things I love for a bazillion years. I don’t want to force it to be smaller so I can fit into skinny jeans, I want to keep it healthy so it will let me keep on adventuring.

But if Unbrave Girl ever comes back to town, I’d totally share another giant stack of ice-cream bread with her.