Category Archives: Holidays

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to all of you.

Though it is a day to celebrate women, it is also a day to remember.  A day to remember strong women like Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou, Tina Turner.

Maybe more importantly it needs to be a day to remember the not as popular, not as well known, and even the not as strong women.  They are the reason we need the strong and public women to continue to rock their badass selves. 

The unspoken women.  The trying to fit in women.  The not sure what to do women.  The I want to be brave, but someone might hurt me women.  The don’t know any different way of life women.  The under someone’s thumb women.  The just living every day women.

They are the reason we need an International Women’s Day.  A day to recognize that women are just as vital, just as capable, just as deserving of the rights of life, as a man.

But, for me, most importantly, we need to remember that women, start as girls.

Recognize the diversity, the importance, the strength in girls before it is systematically stripped from them.  Before they are repeatedly taught to believe they are less than, let’s remember.

Celebrate the humanity, the capacity, the ability in our girls.  Don’t insist they must be a round peg to fit in the round hole that social norms created.  Give girls the belief that they are, because in fact they are, capable of learning, doing, being, wanting, finding, creating anything they choose to.

As this International Women’s Day comes to an end for me, my wish is that, from birth, we give our girls what they need to be the strong women we are preparing the world for. That we continue to recognize the worth of women.  That we respect the difference and diversity of women.  That we carry on with the work to bring light to the injustices of objectification and minimalizing.

Light and love to you all.


Almost three weeks

Almost three weeks

It’s been almost 3 weeks.  I’ve made it through Christmas and now the New Year is on the horizon!

Here are a few photos of my time so far.  First weekend was a lot of fun meeting new people and seeing the night life scene!

My first sight-seeing trip introduced me to the beautiful mountains I’m surrounded by.  Loved it!

A day out with my new co-workers, a birthday celebration, and some fun seeing the new school I’ll be working at.

I’m helping some new friends to start their own bar.  My first New Year here will be at their Grand Opening!  So glad to be part of this new adventure among all my other new adventures.

A few random shots from around the city.

Christmas dinner was delicious and I am glad to have shared it with some great people.

It’s coming together.  I’m lesson planning like a mad woman along with all the wonderful other things that are going on here.  I’m feeling so grateful.

I made the big “mistake”, if you can call it that exactly, of challenging the New Year, last year.  I will not be doing that again this year.  This time, for 2016, I am asking for some time to continue learning and growing, with gentleness and ease, from the lessons I’ve already had.

2016 I’m glad you are here.  Let’s be good to each other, shall we?




























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Getting ready to start again

A new adventure!

I’m always amazed when I first get to a new country.  There are so many things to learn, look at, eat, and know.  Once I arrived, I knew I had found a place I could stay a while.

Along with a few ESL classes, I am the new Science teacher at an International School.  I’m spending my Winter Break creating science units and lessons for grades 3-8.  It’s So, So, SO much fun!   That is not sarcastic.  I’m really enjoying it.

My classes are truly international, with students from Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, Asia, and the Americas.  I’ve been welcomed in from the first day and have met many other expats as well.  What a fun place I’m living in!

Dancing on the weekends never disappoints!  And, I have a new puppy, Zoe.  Technically, she’s not mine, my bestie rescued her, but I get to claim her while I live here 🙂  Zoe’s about 7 months old and had been hit by a car when very young.  She’s got a funny little gait, but she keeps up on our walks.  Getting to know how to be a good doggie second mommy has had its ups and downs, but mostly ups!  Yeah for conquering fears a little more every day.

I’m grateful for a good job, in a good city, with good people.  It’s the season to show our love for humanity.  And so, I will also be doing some volunteer work at the local orphanage hospital.  Holding and comforting tiny newborns and infants sounds like a pretty sweet way to celebrate the Season well.  I will let you know how that goes, because I expect pure, exuberant awesomeness to come from those days.

I need to get back to planning for a semester of science, but I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi!  Go be awesome.

Tell ’em Ms. McKahsum told you to!





Well folks, it’s official, A New Year is about to begin

A NEW YEAR. A new start. A new/ old type of job. A new country. A new continent.

I will be taking a short leave from teaching and doing some nice quiet paper pushing for the time being, in Mozambique, Africa.

I’ll be living on a small island off the mainland recuperating, and centering myself again.

I am always grateful for learning moments as well as teaching moments. Turkey has taught me. And as I needed to let go of this place, a new opportunity presented itself. Where one doors closes, another opens.

2014 was a year of discovery for sure.

I managed to visit Hong Kong (airport haha), Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, the US, Jamaica, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Greece this year!

I gained even more insight into myself, what I will take, what I won’t, what I can take and what I can’t.

I’ve opened up and drawn myself in, in an ever ebbing tide this year. And right now, I’m leaving the drawing in phase and heading into an opening up phase.

I wonder what 2015 will bring.


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Merry Christmas mush to munch

Merry Christmas mush to munch

After days of making cookies, perogies, and planning for what to cook for dinner, Robin and I pulled off a remarkably delicious Christmas dinner!

Beef tenderloin, yummy yummy perogies, awesome side dishes, apple pie, and sugar cookies!  Learned how and why to peel and orange.   The peel gets hung to dry and used during bbq’ing meat.   Cool.

Got to talk to all my family back in the states, and got some defining news to start into the New Year.


See you in the next year!   Come on 2015!





Merry Christmas and Happy NEW YEAR everyone!!


It’s 8 days until Christmas

It’s 8 days until Christmas

I’m not necessarily religious anymore as you know.  But Christmas for me is about the tradition of decorating, lighting, candles, gathering people, gift giving, baking, cooking, laughing, and being with my children.

This will be the 3rd Christmas away from them.

I miss those moments with them.

Cori and I would have already started on our annual bake-a-palooza.  The boys and I would be soon starting our gingerbread houses.  No one would be allowed to look any where for any thing without first making the general announcement question if such place was OK to look in.

Someone would usually say no and have to go hunt for the needed item themselves.

The Harry Potter marathons, the traditional movies on TV, the stupid silly song-fests as we sing and dance around and cook.

The typical family nonsense.

Taking gifts to friends, wishing everyone happiness.

I miss those moments.

And, snuggling with them.  Yep even as grown up kidittos, they always snuggle with me.  And I love it.  It’s my favorite.

Hot chocolate or cider a big blanket, a book, and my favorite people all puppy piled in.

I hope that never changes, but I suppose it might.

Tonight, I am missing my babies.

My first Christmas away this is what my Sweetpea wrote me:


“This is the first year I haven’t been with you for the holidays. The first year we didn’t bake holiday treats for a week straight. The first year we didn’t go into a sugar coma from baking those treats. The first year we didn’t set up the tree together. The first year we didn’t get into a fight about how long we can leave the Christmas decorations up before it gets tacky. The first year we didn’t tunelessly sing Christmas carols to annoy the boys until they finally joined in. The first year that we didn’t get obnoxious Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. The first year we haven’t unsuccessfully attempted to take decent Christmas pictures. This first year I haven’t been with my mom for Christmas. I’m proud of you for everything you are doing, but around this time I just kinda wish you here for the holidays. Christmas kinda isn’t the same with you half way around the world. I love you mommy, Merry Christmas”

I read this all the time, not just at Christmas.

Over my birthday my Boo wrote this:

“well, just don’t internalize it mama your an amazing person. You don’t need a man in your life ‘ Find yourself a good woman, they’ll love you more haha  ‘ it is hard but your such a strong person, we all know it. I owe so much of my strength to seeing you mom and I love you so much for it. I know you’ll get through this. You’ve gone through worse”

And my Monkeysan, well, he just makes me happy with this one:

“well i don’t care what day it is i just wanna hang out with my mamma”

They were so little not so long ago!  And freakishly cute fyi

They were so little not so long ago! And freakishly cute fyi



 Best Christmas Present Gift faces EVER!!   Unplanned and in the moment awesomeNESS

Best Christmas Present Gift faces EVER!! Unplanned and in the moment awesomeNESS











Aboard our only (so far) family cruise in May of ’12










I make good humans, I can’t lie…










Sweetpea made us Christmas Baking Headbands! Oh I love this girl.













At David’s graduation this summer….. They’re turning into good, good people.


 They keep me strong even when we’re apart.  So this week, in tribute to my amazing children, who are becoming amazing adults, I am going to put on stupid Christmas songs, sing and dance around my apartment, make a few goodies, and spread some general cheer to a few people.  Whether they like it or not.

I can handle one week of this without going too nuts  🙂

Peace and happiness everyone


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1st day trip in Santorini

1st day trip in Santorini

Really, truly loved Santorini.  Now to go in late spring!!

Photo fest time!!!!


1st view of the white buildings, white clouds, blue sky and blue ocean combo that makes Santorini so spectacular


One of the many beautiful churches on the island. Love the colors here!


The view from our room!! It was amazing!


A lovely picture painted on a side wall.


The painting and the wall



So many colors, textures, I was in awe everywhere I went


The sun shone on the ocean as far as the eye could seeee


Another pretty church with the Greek flag in front


the crater basin of the caldera that is Santorini


I love the old and new together…….


Friends keep life fun!


color combo awesomeness




the skies are so blue here


yes, to all of this.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The grapevines are all wrapped in circles to help retain moisture…. pretty cool




beautiful boat just about a 10 min walk from the beach



if only





did I mention beautiful?


sick or not, I got to the ocean!


so much blue happening!!


by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea


in love with my ocean



Measuring cups

Measuring cups

Who knew that measuring cups were going to be so difficult to find?   People still cook don’t they?  In Taiwan and now in Turkey there are no measuring cups to be found…..

I have searched high and low.

I would kill someone for some measuring cups. 

I can’t find any here…… no body apparently makes things that require measuring 

ok, I wouldn’t actually kill anyone 

for that

I just want to make a cake without guesstimating

That’s all I want


I want a little more than that……

Like………  sleep, perfectly behaved students that are eager willing sponges, a massaging chair that reclines and rolls away the stresses of the day, a hot tub, to not have my fingernails get caught on everything, a magic quiet button, endless supplies of stickers,

But seriously….  Measuring cups are SO useful!

Besides their obvious use in measuring flour, sugar, butter, etc,  You can use them as……

Pencil holders, decorations, drinking cups even… planters, fake Chinese cupping cups, gravy containers…

And apparently my wish for measuring cups is about as grantable as the magic quiet button here.

So, I will bake, oh will I bake!  But I make no guarantees on how it will turn out.

Eat at your own risk around here people.






My first holidays in Turkey

My first holidays in Turkey

Halloween has always, ALWAYS been my favorite holiday.

Maybe it’s the secret actress in me but I love dressing up and getting to be someone else for a night.

Halloween is not really celebrated outside of the US. In fact, it’s pretty much only “celebrated” in other countries where there are concentrations of Americans that will make it happen whether or not it’s recognized.

Luckily for us here, a few establishments and another US expat held Halloween parties, so Wendi, Robin, and I got to dress up a couple times. First, we went to a house party as 3 Bad Ass Biker Babes!





Dunno who he was, but he kept asking me about serious, so we got his photo!


Then on actual Halloween, we went to a local bar for a little dancing fun. There really aren’t any dance clubs here, so going out dancing is more like finding a space by your table to dance if you want to. And since we bring our friends along, and our friends dance, we danced like we came from out of this world ………until it was time to go get food.




I really like how the colors of the lantern, the flower, and the wine looked together, so here’s a little artsy photo just because.



In between Halloween outings, there was Republic Day. Adana held its first Oktoberfest at one local “pub”, so of course we had to check that out before going dancing.












All in all a good week of first holidays here in Turkey. Now to start planning teaching stuff for November. I’m thinking Gingerbread…..


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What?!?! How did I get this lucky?

What?!?!  How did I get this lucky?

I just sent Sven back to Germany, some could say it is a sad moment, but amazingly it is not. I am not sad, though I miss him already. How can I be sad when I am this lucky??!!

Two and a half years ago, I was graduating with my teaching degree, preparing to go to The Czech Republic, and ready to begin teaching abroad. I had just ended a relationship with no plans to have a new one. I was heading out on my own, happily.

During my time in CZ and in Taiwan, I was not without male suitors, don’t get me wrong. But I had no need to make any of them permanent, in fact no real desire to. I’m not the one night stand gal, but you know, being with someone more than once doesn’t mean I needed a relationship. In fact I was quite happy without one.

And then somehow, this guy changed everything. All my flying solo, make my own plans, don’t worry about where I’m going next, do my own thing outlook got turned upside down. Completely out of the blue, with someone I never expected it to happen with.


How did I get this lucky?

I’m still a little turned around at it. But here it is

I’m engaged – I’m going to marry this amazing German man.

We have so much in common and still so many things to share with each other.

Sharing two weeks in Jamaica was beyond amazing!! We laughed, played, swam, kayaked, hiked, drank, went sight-seeing, and learned about how we work together through new situations, having nothing to do, and having too much going on.

We make a pretty damn good team. Now for some Jamaica photos!

I’m pretty much in love right now and am so excited for our families to get to know each other. I am blessed. Hope you all feel that you are too!!!!!!

john pavlovitz

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