Bem vindo!

Hey! We’re in Brazil! In Manaus, specifically – that’s the gateway city into the Amazon Jungle. It’s warm and very humid. So far we’ve seen the Amazon Theater, the old and new markets, and walked around town. Then we spent two days in the jungle but I don’t have access to pictures right now so I’ll talk about that later, but it was breathtaking! Tomorrow we’re going to see the Meeting of the Waters, where the Black River and muddy Amazon run side by side for a while before starting to mix. So far, we are having a great time!

I’ll post pictures of the Theater later, too, because they’re on NJD’s camera, but here are some old buildings, a painted wall hanging, port, and the old market.







So, yeah.

Ok I keep (well, I have multiple times previously) saying I’m gonna start writing on here again and then, uh, not starting.


Here’s another attempt. As you (inshallah) already know, NJD and I are finishing up in Jordan next month. We’ll be in California from December 20 to Jan 15, and then off to Brazil.

A couple of people have expressed concern about safety in Brazil. I realize it’s not the same thing, but after having been the conspicuous white person in multiple countries and almost getting kidnapped in India, I feel like we can handle Brazil… :p But rest assured we ARE aware of Brazil’s reputation as being, well, not-super-safe. We’ve (well, I’ve) looked into the situation and decided to go for it. Even if Brazil is not the safest country in the world, it’s still unlikely that something would actually happen to us. I mean, stuff can happen anywhere. No, that doesn’t mean we should take unnecessary risks. But there’s a fine line where “avoiding risk” becomes “holding yourself back from the things you really wanna do in life.” Brazil has long been on my list for many reasons and NJD is all for it.

So to sum up, yes we are aware of Brazil’s reputation, yes we are aware of the actual state of crime in Brazil (as aware as one can be without having been there yet), and yes we are taking steps to reduce the already-low likelihood of having a problem.

Planning to post pictures here once we get there, so, yeah. Look out for that. FRUIT AND BEACHES. And hopefully a few monkeys.


Times they are a-changing

So… as usual, sorry for the radio silence. I was sick, and then lazy, and then they changed the posting format so I got grumpy, then I forgot. So.

A lot has changed for me in the past year. I went from Japan to Jordan (technically that’s over a year, but work with me). I upped my language count from four to six. I learned that people aren’t always who they seem, and that can be both good and bad. I found that in Jordan, you don’t shovel snow, you squeegee it. Oh, yeah, and I met, fell for, and decided to marry NJD. You know, as you do.

Speaking of NJD, we should be on our way to Amman now, preparing to fly home. But the weather decided not to cooperate, and dumped snow on us. We’re both snowed in. So we’re going to arrive on Friday instead of Thursday. We’re still coming, don’t worry! Just a day later. We’re both super excited, and hopeful to see what the changes for us will be in the next year. 🙂

Pictures of Turkey – Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Aya Sofya (or Hagia Sophia) is a church originally built in the year 360, but that was converted into a mosque in 1453. It’s now a museum. There are old Christian mosaics and paintings, with Muslim additions all around.

Part of the Aya Sofya

Inside Aya Sofya.

Looking out the Aya Sofya window at the Blue Mosque.

The Blue Mosque (actual name Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built in 1609. It’s still in use, but it’s also a tourist attraction. You can go in between prayer times. It’s called the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles inside.

Place for washing your face, hands, and feet before praying.

Dome of the Blue Mosque


Apparent end of the line nearby.

Pictures of Turkey – Pamukkale Travertines

The travertines in the small town of Pamukkale are these white steps with water flowing all down them. They’re ridiculously beautiful and from a distance look like a mountain covered in snow. Up above them are some Roman ruins which we were a little tired to explore.

Natalie enjoying the pools.


Yaaay bath time!

Natalie convinced me to try the fish-eating-your-dead-skin foot thing. Creepiest. Feeling. Ever. Also, not doing that again.

Travertine pools.

Water is flowing all over the place.

Pictures of Turkey – Fethiye and Oludeniz

We went down to the southern coast for some beach time (yay!); we stayed in Fethiye and took a bus to Oludeniz both days, which is a lovely (and ridiculously touristy) lagoon. There were tons of restaurants, clearly catering to British tourists. Hardly any Turkish food around, but tons of cheese toasties, Irish breakfasts, and the like.

Shortly after getting there, we went paragliding! And neither of us died! Yay!

Turkey’s “dead sea” lagoon.

Flyin high.

Pictures of Turkey – Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an area in central Turkey where the wind and water has worn down the soft rock into crazy formations. Parts of Star Wars were filmed there, so you can imagine the awesome that’s involved (even if I don’t like Star Wars). We took a lovely walk through “Love Valley.” I’ll let you figure out what inspired the name.

General view of Goreme town.

Another view of Goreme.

The “Fairy Chimneys” of Goreme.

More Fairy Chimneys, where people used to live (they’re really high up because erosion has brought the soil level down, exposing more of the rocks).

View of Love Valley.

I mean, why not?

Love Valley from the other side.