• Tibetan Stovetop Bread - Balep Korkun
    Food,  Travel

    Tibetan Stovetop Bread

    Once upon a time, I lived next door to the Dalai Lama. I was studying abroad, and a research project led me to Dharamsala, a Tibetan enclave in Northern India. I rented a house with a few other students. When we arrived, we were shocked to see that the Dalai Lama’s palace was right next door. Despite being neighbors, I saw him only once. He waved from his car. Although I still chuckle at this brush with spiritual fame, the real gem of my time in Dharamsala was the food. Each day there, I discovered some new and delicious Tibetan delicacy. I devoured endless street dumplings, rich stews, and pillowy steamed breads. Tibetan…

  • Motherhood,  Travel

    Raising Bébé in France

    When my son was four months old, we moved to a tiny village in the South of France. It was the most idyllic place I’d ever lived, with 18th century stone façades, vineyards, and a quiet river running through. The perfect setting to raise a child. Like most women, I’d imagined my parenting style would look something like my own mother or the moms I saw on social media. But moving out of American culture and into French felt like stepping into a world of possibilities. I could suddenly be something very different than anything I’d ever seen. Cultural pressures were still there, of course, but they felt muted by distance or lost in…

  • How to Eat Cheese Like the French
    Food,  Travel

    How to Eat Cheese Like the French

    I thought I knew a little something about cheese…and then I moved to France. Not only are there delicious cheeses in abundance, but there are also RULES about cheese: how it will be served, how you will cut it, how you will taste it. No more eating sub-par cheese straight from the block à la Liz Lemon. It’s time to get cultured! Here’s my simple guide on how to eat cheese like the French. Buying Your Cheese To make a true French cheese plate, you’re going to need at least three different types of cheese from three different texture groups: soft, medium, and hard. Here are a few examples of each cheese texture.…

  • Motherhood,  Travel

    Having It All

    Like most women, becoming a mother was a huge turning point in my life. I suddenly had to reassess everything I wanted and decide if and how I could do it with a baby. Did I want to be a stay-at-home mom? Did I want to work? Would we hire a babysitter for date nights and adult get-togethers with friends? Would I still pursue my personal callings? Of course, being me, I decided I wanted it all—motherhood, career, relationships, purpose—and I wanted it all at once. Thankfully, I was offered a job that allowed me to do just that. While most women have to choose between staying home or going back to work, I get…

  • Faith,  Travel

    The View From France

    As I type, I can see cliffs and gardens out the window: Southern France in all her glory, bathed in blue skies and sunshine. We arrived here last week, and it’s still sinking in that this is our home now. I never imagined living somewhere so beautiful. A year ago, we were living in Kosovo, and I had just found out that I was pregnant. I remember feeling weak and afraid, looking out the window at the dusty minarets and the swarms of blackbirds. I couldn’t picture where we would live as a family, but I knew it wasn’t there. It had been a hard year for me, and I was ready to move…

  • Personal Updates,  Travel

    Back to Expat Life

    This weekend, we’ll be packing bags, praying away sickness, and preparing to move to the other side of the world. We’ve been in America almost an entire year, and it’s been an amazing time of reconnecting with family, friends, and churches we love. But France is calling, and it’s time to venture back out into the great unknown of expat life. Back to a life with no dishwashers, no dryers, and no Walmart. Back to lost-in-translation moments, conversations made entirely of hand gestures, and fixing your shower head with a spoon because attempting communication with your landlord would be more exhausting somehow (true story). Back to figuring out every little thing as if it’s the…

  • Travel

    Clothespins and Culture Shock

    I’ve been back in America for six months now—my longest stretch since college—and I have to admit, I’m still not over my reverse culture shock. A couple months ago, Sam and I thought we were pretty well re-assimilated into Midwestern life, and then we went to an Olive Garden, and there was bacon and cheese on everything, and it was weird. Weird in the excessive way that only America is. We rolled home with heavy bellies and swore to eat nothing but vegetables and rice for a week. Then, as if we needed to prove our patriotism, we went to a craft store.  Holy glitter. Our mission was simple: buy a package of clothespins. I…