September 11, 2017

My First Hurricane: Impending Doom, But Mostly...Waiting.

As I write this post, I sit at the kitchen table of a Mexican diplomat in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Gray skies and steady rain have moved into the area as the remnants of what was Hurricane Irma swirl above the Southeastern United States.

It's my first hurricane experience and my first evacuation. Our quaint 1949 duplex in the Beachside area of Ormond Beach, Florida was clearly the wrong place to spend a hurricane that had been predicted to rip up the Eastern coast of the state. The predictions had been bothering everyone in Florida for about 10 days prior to the storm making any US landfall. Seeing the massive storm churn around its well-defined eye in the mid-Atlantic was exciting and worrying. The "cone of uncertainty"--decidedly the funniest way to describe a projected area where the hurricane's strongest force would occur--showed the entire state at risk, with Daytona and Ormond facing what forecasters would have you believe was certain doom. I made Alan come with me to the grocery store to pick up canned food and huge jugs of water on September 2, long before it was cool to get your supplies. Turns out that was a really good move, as shelves were emptied just a few days later with hurricane-preparers loading carts full of bottled water, Gatorade, chips, beer, toilet paper, batteries, and baked beans. I would say that list also represents the priorities of during the storm, though beer could probably also rank number one in many households.

News coverage hailed Irma as a catastrophic storm capable of immense and widespread damage throughout the entire state of Florida. Everywhere you looked, Irma was on the lips of people and on the screens of phones, and coming over the radio waves.

So we had supplies as we watched the storm inch across the Atlantic, still going about our daily lives relatively unbothered. Every day the storm advanced closer to the Leeward Islands, still hundreds of miles from Florida. By last Wednesday, our university announced that we would close for a week to let people evacuate and come back from the powerful storm. In the final class I taught on Wednesday, students were glued to their phones and laptops trying to get messages to their friends and family about their plan. One student was frantically trying to contact friends in the French Air Force stranded on St. Martin.

The beautiful weather in Daytona Beach in the days leading up to our evacuation betrayed the ominous monster looming somewhere in the ocean, wreaking havoc on tiny island nations, decimating houses as it went. Floridians, meanwhile, ran gas pumps out of gas, kept store shelves empty and booked every hotel room south of the Mason-Dixon line.

On Wednesday evening, Alan and I made plans and back-up plans with friends of friends of friends in Atlanta, and parents of friends in Live Oak, Florida. We would have to see what the path looked like, we said.

Thursday morning, we woke to beautiful, clear skies and an eccentric neighbor trying to haul an abandoned couch to her place. We tried to help, but alas, no use. It was way too heavy. She planned to ride out the hurricane at home, so I gave her the ice cream that I knew wouldn't last on our evacuation route.

Preparing for the worst case scenario, Alan and I planned to stay with a friend's parents in Live Oak, Florida, hoping to get out of the brunt of the storm without having to drive too far. We imagined that heavy rain, wind and storm surge could ruin our house and our newly acquired couch and mattress, so we did all we could to prepare. We packed all of our clothes into suitcases, tucked all dishes into cupboards, and got everything off of the floor. We lifted our new couch onto a table and hoisted our mattress onto chairs in the hope of keeping them out of any storm surge. I carefully secured the tarp flap that covers our outdoor laundry area, with our old noisy washer and dryer set, secretly hoping that maybe if it were to get damaged, that I'd be able to get a new one that works a little better. We also put most of our dry food into bags to take with us, and emptied as much of the fridge and freezer into our cooler as we could. The last thing to do before leaving, our landlord had advised, was to turn off the power at the breakers.

We pulled out of the driveway at about 2 PM, most earthly possessions in tow, with two cars and a cat. We were immediately confronted with heavy traffic. Everyone was trying to go north on I-95. It was difficult driving, to say the least. Floridians have a special way of driving that involves hard acceleration and sudden braking. That is fine in a sports car, but not in a heavily-loaded Subaru with an animal inside.

Things cleared up significantly when we turned onto I-10 West at Jacksonville. We met our host at the McDonald's near the exit so that he could guide us to the place where we would weather the storm. As we skirted the very small town of Live Oak, idyllic pastures and green lawns dotted with plantation-style houses again betrayed the impending doom that the radio was claiming. We turned off the paved highway onto a sandy dirt road, dipping down into a dense forest. Small houses stood among the trees, while Confederate flags waved and bald eagle statues hovered over Trump/Pence yard signs. We finally pulled into the steeply-downhill grass driveway of the quaint house of our hosts. Once we had our things inside, the host showed us the grand Suwannee River, rushing by, just a few hundred feet from their house. I remembered playing that song of piano several lifetimes ago.

By this time, the infamous "cone of uncertainty" had shifted to a path straight up the spine of Florida, putting Live Oak more or less in the line of fire; yet, still two days from any mainland US landfall, the path seemed just a guess and no basis to make a decision. Our hosts insisted that we were safe and that there was no reason to worry. The next morning, Alan and I contemplated going further north to Atlanta, but ultimately decided that we would just fill up our gas tanks instead. In the micro-town of Live Oak, a steady stream of cars was driving out of town, toward the interstate. Cars full, we headed back to our secluded river house to spend a lazy day at the dock of the river, pondering the coming hurricane.

Given the updated predictions that the hurricane would be bringing much of its fury to North-Central Florida, Alan and I made the decision to wake up early Saturday morning and head to Atlanta where we could relax a little more. Our gracious hosts packed us big lunches with tons of snacks and sent us off with hot breakfast. It felt like we were leaving on some kind of mission. Turns out that hundreds of thousands of our closest Floridian friends were doing the exact same thing. Even at 6 AM, the interstate was crowded, rest areas and truck stops were absolutely packed, and the coffee makers were nearly out (can you imagine?). By mid-day, the traffic was even more intense, and we waited in chaotic lines to top off our gas tanks. We veered off of the packed interstates in favor of rural highways, which took about the same amount of time, but was far less stressful.

Metro Atlanta was a big mess when we arrived Saturday late afternoon. Traffic on a 12-lane road was at a stand-still, creeping forward with 1 out of 4 license plates from Florida.

We're staying with a friend of a girlfriend of one of my new coworkers. It's amazing how people seem to just come out of the woodwork to help. I must have had 10 or more distant friends contact me offering places to stay. Some of them were way too far away, but it was still nice of them to offer. Things have been uneventful since arriving here. The place we are staying is next to a walking trail and park, so we've been out among fit Atlantonians with their dogs.

We've had one eye on our phones the whole time, checking for updates as Irma eventually did make landfall in the Keys and then up the west coast and into central Florida overnight last night. No word about the state of affairs in Daytona yet. I've heard that the bridges to the Beachside area are closed until they are inspected tomorrow, and that it's very likely that we do not have power available at the house.

The plan, then, is to wait in Atlanta as the wind howls today, and head out early tomorrow morning (with our millions of Florida friends) and make the trip back to the south to see what Irma left in her wake.

Here's to my first, but probably not last, hurricane.

August 13, 2017

Florida and a Short Rant

You know those places you swear you'll never move?

For me, it was anything south of the Mason-Dixon and east of the Mississippi.

Ironically, my new address will be in Florida, which is both east and south of those things I said I wouldn't cross.

Daytona Beach, to be exact. The awesomely 80s hot spot for Spring Break and party-going. That strange mix of affluence and blue-collar (perhaps no collar) America. The retirees and the college students. The coming together of so many Americas.

Alan and I drove from Flagstaff to Daytona last week. 2000 miles, 24 cans of LaCroix, 7 states, 6 tanks of gas, 4 days, 3 LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 2 liters of iced coffee, and 1 lost "Hook 'em Horns" bumper sticker later, we rolled into our new city.  Our AirBnb is in Holly Hill, the blue collar neighborhood between Ormond Beach and Port Orange. "The salt of the earth kind of people" as one apartment manager told us after furrowing her brow at hearing the name. We are staying in a mother-in-law apartment attached to a small house in the neighborhood. It's small, but big enough for us right now.

We've found a cute duplex VERY close to the beach to rent starting sometime in the next 10 days.

Florida is hot and humid. Thailand-level hot and humid, dare I say. Actually, it was hot and humid starting in Texas, and got progressively hotter and stickers through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. You probably know that I've traveled around the world, but you might not know how little of the US I've actually seen. We overnighted in Amarillo, Shreveport, and Tallahassee, none of which had I ever been in.

I guess I want to say something about the American-ness of it all. I've always been a bit wary of the deep South. My mind goes to Confederate flags, sweet tea, and strange accents immediately. I've also never lived in a very diverse place. In fact, even living overseas, the places I was were very incredibly homogenous. I happened to be a minority in those places, but the people around me were fairly uniform. Part of the beauty of the US is its diversity. People of all colors, shapes, and sizes share the same cities and streets here.

If I may go on a related rant, yesterday's events in Charlottesville where a car was driven into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters during a white supremacist rally broke my heart. One person, a 20-something Caucasian woman, was killed when the car plowed through the group of people and then reversed back out, injuring dozens. This is an act of terrorism on our own soil committed by an American who is full of hate and fear. This is not ISIS or Boko haram. This is the state of affairs inside our own borders. There are some people who are consumed by hate for their own neighbors. I think we can all agree that hating your neighbor is a problem. No religion accepts that behavior. No true patriot believes in betraying his neighbor. The governor of Virginia condemned the attack and said that there is no place in America for white supremacists. Good for him. International news coverage of the event points out that the US president did not call out white supremacist groups. It's not a stretch of the imagination to think how the rhetoric would be different if the driver of the car had been Muslim. The future of America depends on each one of us, and especially our leaders, to condemn hate crimes and terror attack, no matter who commits them. There is room for all creeds in this country, but there is no room for hate.

I'm bringing up this rant because I am going to have to face a lot of my own stereotypes about this region of America in my new place, and I am going to continue to learn and grow as a proud American, to love my neighbors and treat the people around me with respect and dignity. It sounds a little too "peace and love," but what can I say? Clearly there is already enough hate and negativity in the world. We all need more love.

So, let me just say some of the things I already love about Daytona: the sun is bright, the sand is clean, the ocean is warm, and the people are nice. I excited to see how this chapter unfolds.

Until then, sending you my positive vibes from beautiful Florida.

July 21, 2017

Another Adventure

Note: This was composed mid-June and it's already mid-July--somehow it went unpublished.

I changed the title of my blog, again, to reflect my current situation. I'm not in Turkey or Thailand. I'm in my hometown, Lincoln, Nebraska. USA.

The new title is "Wanderlust and Everything After." I don't think I'll ever *want* to stop traveling. It's just too interesting; however, it also requires sacrificing many other priorities--family, investing in personal possessions, buying a house, etc. Moving back to the US, is, in a way, one of the biggest adventures I've taken on. There is a sense that I need to succeed in finding a great job and making a great life. It seems like this should be easy compared to living abroad. So far, it's pretty overwhelming. I've been back in the States for a week, and I've already done two days of job shadowing in Lincoln, an interview in Denver, and--happily--several plates of nachos.

Alan and I both got cheap smartphones to join the rest of the world. It's nice to be able to call and text without being tethered to wifi, but it's also just a little more stressful to have one more device to manage.

We're working on getting short-term health insurance and finding a good used car. Hopefully, a Subaru.

Once we get a job offer we like, we'll have to pack up our three-year-old wedding gifts (so grateful to have those waiting for us), drive somewhere, and find a house. Little Egg will be by our side, of course.

Until then, we are posted up at my parents' house, hitting the job search as hard as we can, and hoping for the next phase to start soon.

May 29, 2017

How to Export a Pet from Thailand

I'm writing this post to help my fellow animal lovers who want to take their pets out of Thailand. The information online is outdated and confusing, so I'll give some tips to successfully obtain an export permit.

1. START PLANNING NOW. Regardless of when your trip is, start planning immediately. Ideally, you'll be planning about six months before flying. There's a lot to arrange. English-speaking staff at BKK Quarantine Office: <>; phone: 02-134-0731  

2. Do your research on which airline meets your pet's needs. Not all airlines offer in-cabin rides for small animals. Call your airline and inform them that you'll be bringing a pet. Many airlines have restrictions on how many animals can be in the hold or in the cabin at one time. Ask your airline for their specifications on pet carrier type and size requirements. Yes, you'll be calling your airline at least once. Be patient.

3. Don't forget to figure out getting from your location to Bangkok. For example, it was not possible to fly out of Chiang Rai with a cat in the cabin OR in the cargo, and pets weren't allowed on any of the bus lines, so we ended up renting a car and driving.

4. Arrange to be in Bangkok AT LEAST 3 DAYS PRIOR to your flight. You'll need to visit the Customs Export Building at the airport for the airport vet to do a health screening. They do not take appointments, so I suggest arriving at 08:30 when they open.

5. Do your research about the vaccinations required by Thailand and by the destination country. Our cat had vaccines for "Combination" (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydiosis), Feline Leukemia, HCP+Chlam+FeLV, and Rabies. Your country might have additional requirements, but the US does not.

6. Visit your local vet and make sure that you have all current VACCINATIONS for your pet. You'll need proof of these.

7. Find a vet who will implant a MICROCHIP into your pet. THIS IS REQUIRED FOR ALL DOGS AND CATS LEAVING/ENTERING THAILAND. Make an appointment with the vet for the procedure, and be prepared to pay about 1000 Baht for the chip and accompanying paperwork. Just this morning, I personally saw a cat denied a permit because he didn't have a chip. The owner was really upset. Don't do that to yourself. IT IS REQUIRED FOR ANY DOG or CAT LEAVING/ENTERING THAILAND.

8. About a month before your trip, visit your local vet to get a signed pet HEALTH CERTIFICATE and to get your pet's vaccinations and vaccination dates translated into English. The vet's letter should include a physical description of the animal, the translated vaccine record, owner's contact information in Thailand and in the destination country and a note like this:
"I certify that this animal has been examined by me on this date and the animal appears healthy (by physical examination) and appears to be free of any infections or contagious diseases which would endanger the animal itself, other animals, or public health. The animal has also had all required vaccines."

9. Get oral deworming tabs and flea/tick prevention (e.g., Frontline) from the vet and administer to your pet 1 week before the trip.

10. Go to BKK Animal Quarantine Office between 3-10 days before departure.

Make sure to bring:
1) A copy of your passport
2) Flight itinerary
3) Form R 1/1
4) Veterinarian note of identification, health certification, and vaccination record of pet
5) Microchip information for pet
6) Copy of vaccination book for pet

Getting to the office for the health check in BKK is a little complicated. They are open Monday-Friday 8:30-16:30.

Address: Suvarnabhumi Airport Animal Quarantine, Free Zone Area, Customs Export Building, 1 st Flr, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samutprakarn Province. Tel : 02-134-0731 / Fax. 02-134-3640
The office is not in the main terminal, but in the Cargo area / FREE ZONE. Inside the Free Zone, there are lots of private cargo companies. The Customs Export Clearance Office is in a long, narrow building that runs perpendicular to the private companies. You'll see a huge docking area on the front of the building, and the numbers 1-20. The vet office is near number 20. There are two parts to the office. You'll see a sign that tells you where to start. The office is super tiny and smells like animal pee, so be prepared. Don't go on an empty stomach. You'll get a queue number and the form R1/1, unless you've already printed a copy at home. They will call your number to take your pet's picture and then call you again to go over your paperwork together. Then, your number will be called for the vet check. The vet will feel your pet's body and head, check the mouth and ears and take a rectal temperature. Finally, you'll go and wait for your official certificate and EXPORT PERMIT in the second room. GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME at the quarantine office. We needed about three hours, and it wasn't that busy.

Good luck with your pet travel!

April 15, 2017

Songkran and Other News

Songkran is the Thai New Year. For a week in mid-April, everyone seeks relief from the blazing Thai heat by splashing water on each other.

Yes, a week-long water fight.

Last year, I got just a few buckets of water thrown at me while we vacationed in Southern Thailand. This year, we stayed in Chiang Rai. We experienced Songkran on a motorbike, which is a good (though dangerous) way to see the action.

Storefronts replace customers and products with huge barrels of water. They use small buckets and SuperSoakers to drench all passers-by, especially those on motorbikes. Green bottles of Chang beer line tables behind the barrels, and plastic glasses full of ice and Chang sit full-full, seating beads of water on the tables. Chang-filled young people wipe chalky white powder on each others’ faces and pour cups of ice water down the backs of their shirts. The water and powder symbolize a fresh start, a cleansing. It’s also the only time of the year when touching people of the opposite sex in public is acceptable.

We were absolutely drenched after just a few blocks of downtown. My bike helmet was smeared with white powder, and I was shivering with cold. In an unusual turn of events, this year’s Songkran has been filled with gusty cold thunderstorms that make it a little less fun to be wet. Most people will have a hard time believing that it’s even possible to be cold in Thailand, but let me tell you, it is. Even during Songkran.

Although it’s one of the happiest and most fun times of the year, Songkran is also a very dangerous time, which is why I ended every class last week with, “Wear your helmet and buckle up. I want to see you again after Songkran.” It’s a time notorious for traffic accidents. Alan and I saw first-hand some of the reasons why. I mean, even at other times of the year, Thai roads are dangerous due to the variety of vehicles allowed and the lack of enforcement of laws (and to anyone who wants to tell me that India, Vietnam, Pakistan, etc. are worse, that’s fine. I won’t argue. I’m just saying that Thailand is pretty bad in it’s own way). Stop signs are not observed at all, and the green light mentality extends into the first couple seconds of red light. Almost all highways are divided with a median, which means that the only way to get across the road is a super-risky U-turn. Anyway, anyway, anyway…back to Songkran. So merchants line all roads, including the so-called Super-Highway to throw bucket-loads of water on motorbikes speeding by, who then swerve from their usual position on the shoulder into traffic that is going as fast as 90km/h. Add a bunch of beer and cheap whiskey to that already bad situation, and it’s clear why so many accidents happen. What drives me the most crazy is that people don’t even wear helmets or seatbelts most of the time. It blows my mind (no pun intended) that people will go so far as to have a helmet in their lap (in case they spot a police check point), but not wear it. WHY?

Some statistics claim that 70% of the accidents during Songkran are with motorbikes, and most of the rest are with pick-ups. Kids and adults pack into the back of pick-ups, also armed with water guns and buckets to throw water on people en route. While it looks really fun, if this truck is involved in an accident, all of those back-riding passengers are at a huge risk of injury or worse. There was a public outcry when it was tried to pass a law against riding in the back of pick-ups. Especially in rural areas, impoverished farmers and workers rely heavily on riding in the back of pick-ups as a means of getting to and from their 12-hour work day. Needless to say, the law was not passed, and seeing the Songkran kiddos with their goggles and Hello Kitty buckets standing precariously in the back of speeding trucks makes me crazy.

Perhaps that’s enough rant about road safety. It’s sort of the ever-present problem around here. What has been really nice this year is to see some color return to people’s clothing. The Songkran outfit is shorts and a bright Hawaiian shirt. After six months of wearing only black, white and gray in honor of the late king, it’s so refreshing to see gem tones and neons again.

The countdown to America is getting much closer for the Orr-Lynch trio. Getting Egg to Bangkok is proving to be the most complicated part, actually. Pets aren’t allowed on flights out of Chiang Rai, due to several accidents and over-heating problems for animals in the cargo area of these flights.

We have to go to Bangkok a day early to get Egg checked by an official. That means we will basically have two days in Bangkok with our little guy in tow. Luckily, we have lots of practice. He goes everywhere with us. He’s out with us now at a coffee shop.

We’ve had the neighbor cat over for some play dates recently. Egg seems to love it. We will definitely be getting more animals when we are settled Stateside. We already have some names picked out.

Stay safe out there, Chiang Rai and beyond. Until next time...

February 28, 2017

Updates from Chiang Rai

Hello world. It's me.

I haven't written for a long time. I'm sad about that.

Here are some highlights from recent months:

1) Not a highlight--Egg (the cat) has been dealing with a serious injury to his tail that just will not heal. I think it started with a dog bite. Later a deep infection and failed sedation that resulted in me having to go to the hospital for a serious cat bite and getting a 5-shot series for rabies. Egg doesn't have rabies.

2) A highlight--Alan's brother, Andy, and his friends came to visit us in Chiang Rai. It was one of my favorite weekends that we've had here. The guys went caving (I proctored an exam), then we went to a waterfall, and out for drinks at the rice-paddy bar in the middle of nowhere aptly called "Overdose." No one overdosed. It was just beer. The next day we drove on my favorite road along the Myanmar border up to the giant Buddha in Mae Sai, and then to Chiang Saen to see the mighty Mekong and ancient city. It was so fun to share our lives with family.

3) Another visit highlight--Our good friends that we met in Turkey (Yuliya's blog is amazing) came to visit last weekend. That was also super fun! We went to Khun Korn waterfall and so many delicious restaurants. I got a foot massage with my friend before going for food and fun at the night market. They met Egg and saw our lovely campus. It was so validating to show fellow teacher friends our place.

4) Alan and I have decided to go back to the US for now. Following Alan's father's recent bout with cancer, as well as realizing just how far away we are from our families--and not even to mention the craziness taking over the world with Donald Trump at the helm--we think it's time to be a lot closer to home. It won't be easy. We need jobs, shelter, transportation, and pretty much everything, but if we can make it work in the middle of Turkey and rural Northern Thailand, surely we can handle a place like the American West. By the way, if you know of any jobs in university teaching, editing, writing, academic advising, material development, or related positions located near the Rocky Mountains, please let me know! (jenalynch13 at gmail dot com) We've been getting up at 5:30 every morning to do an hour or two of job search stuff before work. It's a slow process, but not uninteresting!

5) I'm starting a new project today for the Chiang Rai Comptroller General office. They want a speaking class taught by a foreigner--I hope they're ready for a Jena-style course!

6) I'm continuing my action research in second language writing about how students learn to incorporate source material into their writing. I've got some good stuff in the works!

January 8, 2017

Old Passport Memories

The defining feature of my 20s has certainly been travel. My passport's weathered pages are filled with stamps and stickers and visas from around the world. The passport I was issued in 2007 now has four holes punched in the cover to nullify it. I've picked up a crispy new passport from Chiang Mai on Tuesday, and I felt a sense of sadness to see my trusty be-stickered old passport be taken out of commission. As a farewell, I'm going to write a page-by-page post about the memories this passport has helped me make. The stamps are written about in the order they appear in my passport, which is a little confusing, but authentic to how a passport is stamped.

Front cover: 

Sticker: IM [Khmer script?]57. I'm pretty sure that was affixed in Cambodia. Somehow it has survived the six years of shuffle since then.

ID page:

My more precise signature of 10 years ago, where the letters of my last name are actually legible. My favorite ID pic of all time in which I look like a Russian spy, or perhaps a 19-year-old American college student. Issued On September 11. Not a great day for Americans.

Page 1

Stamp: Heathrow Airport 1 Jul 2014. LEAVE TO ENTER FOR SIX MONTHS. EMPLOYMENT AND RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS PROHIBITED. Though, feel free to have the worst night's sleep of your life in our arrival area outside of the international terminal.

Stamp: ADMITTED / CHI / DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY-US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION JUL 08 2008. Returning from study abroad in Austria, one less boyfriend, one more tattoo.

Stamp: FRANKFURT 26.01.08 17. Entering Germany for study abroad in Austria. When you have German grandparetns, you've gotta stop in on your way through Europe!

Visa: VISUM. ÖSTERREICH. 15-01-08. MULT. REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH GENERAL KONSULAT CHICAGO. Visa to study abroad in Graz, my first experience living abroad. I could sum it up as, being an exchange student is mostly about parties, the Euro was really expensive in 2008, and Schnitzel fat goes directly to your butt. Wouldn't change a thing!

Page 2

Visa: KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA [USED]. Phnom Penh, I. A. 25USD. Single. 8 JAN 2010. Capt. Ly Bunna Deputy Chief of visa service. "What have I gotten myself into?" That was a distinct thought while this visa was being glued in. Blog entries from 2010 are all about this plunge into Southeast Asia.

Stamp: IMMIGRATION CAMBODIA. 08 JAN 2010. 08 FEB 2010. P121. Holy shit. I'm actually doing this? Why is it so dark outside?

Stamp: IMMIGRATION CAMBODIA. SIEM REAP AIRPORT DEPARTED 28 MAY 2010. 08 FEB 2010. S068. I cannot believe I survived that. Hey. there's a Dairy Queen at this airport.

Stamp: ADMITTED / CHI / DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY-US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION AUG 01 2015. Agent says, "So, what were you doing in Turkey for 13 months?" Sub-text: so, uh, joined ISIS lately? Please wait in the room where we've made any obviously Muslim people sit.

Sticker: JAPAN IMMIGRATION INSPECTOR. [CHARACTERS] LANDING PERMISSION. 29 MAY 2010. 27 AUG 2010. Temporary Visitor. 90 days. Narita. Officer: "What were you doing in Cambodia? So, are you planning to marry the boyfriend that you are visiting? Ok, welcome to Japan." Answers: volunteering as a teacher; uhhhhh why are you asking me that??

Stamp: IMMIGRATION. DEPARTED. NARITA. 25 JUL 2010. Well, I never saw that boyfriend again.

Page 3

Visa: KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA [USED].  Extension of Stay [Khmer script] Single. 04 MAY 2010. 08 JUN 2010. Neth Savoum.  One more month. You can do it. That prison-style calendar you've been using to count down is not so great psychologically, but you're doing it!

Visa: KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA [USED].  Extension of Stay [Khmer script] Single. 02 FEB 2010. 08 MAY 2010. Neth Savoum. Well, I guess I'm committed to at least three months. Better figure out how to make this work (brownie sundaes).

Page 4


Visa: TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ. GİRİŞ VİZESİ / ENTRY VISA. TRANSİT VİZESİ /TRANSIT VISA. 08.04.2014-08.04.2015. Tek Giriş. 365 Gün / Days. Single Entry. çalışma / work. Y.Ö.K Başkanlığı. 3 MART 2014 tarih. 60,00 USD. 82444403-29. sayılı olur yanıları. A. Semra GEYIK. Konsolos. Consul. KAYSERİ MELİKŞAH ÜNİVERSİTESİ.

StampT.C. İSTANBUL HAVA HUDUT KAPISIGİRİŞ. 07 02 14. We actually arrived in Turkey. I thought I would want to kiss the ground, having been in transit for more than 48 hours, but that is pretty much the last thing you want to do in the domestic terminal of the Istanbul airport. I took a fitful nap instead.

Page 5

StampT.C. İSTANBUL HAVA HUDUT KAPISI. ÇIKIŞ 17 01 15. Excited to leave Turkey for a week in the land of pork and beer: Germany!

Stamp: 17. 01. 15. 53. FRANKFURT AM MAIN. Visiting Oma and Opa in Germany for a break from Turkey. It was surprisingly hard to switch back to German after working so hard on Turkish!

Stamp: 24. 01. 15. 53. FRANKFURT AM MAIN. Back to Turkey.

StampT.C. İSTANBUL HAVA HUDUT KAPISI. ÇIKIŞ 01 08 15. Leaving Turkey for good.

Stamp: CAMBODIA IMMIGRATION. PHNOM PENH AIRPORT PERMITTED 19 FEB 2016. 19 MAR 2016. P107. e-VISA. Going back to Cambodia six years later to present at a conference. Familiar in the weirdest way.  One of my favorite blog entries ever.


Page 6

Visa: KINGDOM OF THAILAND. [USED] Non-Immigrant B. S. 80 USD. CHICAGO. 5 Aug 2015. 4 Nov 2015. ROYAL THAI CONSULATE GENERAL. Welcome to Thailand. Same Jena, different country.

Stamp: IMMIGRATION MAE SAI THAILAND. DEPARTED. 13 DEC 2015. Walking over the bridge to Myanmar--what???



Stamp: MYANMAR IMMIGRATION. ADMITTED TACHILEK. 13 DEC 2015. One of my proudest stamps, though it's super hard to read. Myanmar represents one of the final frontiers to me, a place still largely unexplored by tourists.


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Visa stamp: NON-IMM. IMMIGRATION THAILAND RE-ENTRY PERMIT. Valid until 23 AUG 2016. ONE. Multiple. 23 AUG 2016. 12. OCT 2015. CHIANGRAI IMMIGRATION. [Thai script]


Stamp: IMMIGRATION. DEPARTED. 19 FEB 2016. MAE SAI THAILAND. I think this was a mistake. I was not in Mae Sai on 19 Feb. I did leave Thailand to go to Phnom Penh this day.

Stamp: IMMIGRATION BANGKOK THAILAND. VISA CLASS NON-B. ADMITTED 21 FEB 2016. UNTIL 23 AUG 2016. Back from the conference in Cambodia.

Stamp: IMMIGRATION SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT THAILAND. 16 DEC 2016. Oh! Going to America for the first time in 18 months! Very exciting!

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e-Visa: Kingdom of Cambodia. NATION-RELIGION-KING. [USED]. Tourist. 30 days. 0 Children. 25 January 2016. 25 April 2016.


Visa stamp: NON-IMM. IMMIGRATION THAILAND RE-ENTRY PERMIT. Valid until 23 AUG 2017. ONE. Multiple. 23 AUG 2017.  CHIANGRAI IMMIGRATION. [Thai script]

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Back cover

Sticker: GÖZEN. IST. SECURITY.  Turkey was really big on security at this time. They still are, and with good reason. My passport and luggage were covered in these stickers.


Sticker: Security. 08/07/08. 16. FIS.