During my decade abroad I kept a blog about life in Japan, Switzerland and Spain. Here are a few of my favorite posts-

TOKYO, JAPAN (2003-2006)

Hello Kitty Office Party “For the evening’s finale, “Shatcho” (which in Japanese means “The Big Boss”) played Rock Paper Scissors with the entire company and the winner got a trip to Singapore!”

Japanese “I really love it when candy falls from the sky”

I Hope So “Now see, this is your baby’s blain. It is a very small blain you see? Children with chromosomal abroralities also have very small blains.”

The Tale of the Irrestible Salaryman  “Nico had his sites set on this drab looking man and while he seemed like a fairly unappealing creature to me, Nico apparently felt otherwise.”

Oh Brother “How about “Who is the best pervert?” I can say that in Japanese…”

Got Miruku? “Granted, I’d never expected my fairy godmother to turn out to be a middle-aged Japanese man with a bad comb-over and a Member’s Only jacket but life is full of surprises.”

Hokkaido  “I imagined it must be something incredibly sci-fi and wicked. Sewing eyelids onto kneecaps or dying people purple.”

Another Day in Tokyo “After Nico wakes up from his nap we have perhaps another 45 minutes before he comes to the unevitable conclusion that actually, he has already seen all these toy 5 gazillion time before and you know what? They suck.”

Special Small Animals  “Excuse me, but do you have any small animals that can help me put elastic into a fabric casing?”

Onsen Theme Park “That’s right! An entire theme park dedicated to taking baths!”

When You Are With Romans  “Well I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve gone and done the thing that I said I’d never ever do.”

The Baby is Dirty  “This stroller was a big giant mistake. However, should the big one hit Tokyo, I’m convinced that this stroller will be the only thing left standing and that counts for something I suppose.”

Colombia “Colombia was fun and aside from bowing to everyone I laid eyes on, a tendency to walk on the left, rather than the right side, and the uncontrollable tic of saying “sorry” and “it’s okay” in Japanese all the time, I’d say that I fit right in down there.”


Can you say Lausanne? I can’t.  “Later I figured out that I’d said something more akin to “As usual, I’m two staircases behind” which is in fact, a much more accurate description of where I stand these days.”

French “Sadly, by the time I realized my faux pas, the conversation had awkwardly stumbled off in another direction- Haitian cooking terminology I believe it was.”

Leaving Switzerland  “As she steered me toward the bread aisle, I reflected that perhaps her method might be my best option unless I wanted to head home with a lifetime supply of Swiss toothpaste.”


L.A. Stories  “When I arrived at my brother’s little house in the Hollywood Hills I was pleasantly surprised to find that his decorating style has progressed quite a bit since the days when he found it chic to use a stop sign as his bedside table.”

Greenpoint  “As time went on however, things began to change. We started seeing less and less of Jason and although we’d often hear the strains of Judy Garland emerging from the crack under his door, days began to go by when we wouldn’t see his face at all.”

East 63rd Street “Well, that’s what you get for wearing big puffy shoes”.

MADRID, SPAIN (2008-2010)

Eat Your Idol  “Maybe the real problem was just that the Spaniards are not in the habit of eating desserts in the shape of exalted cultural figures?”

East and West “Now, to get to the matter at hand: It has became a matter of somebody here being fired, Tanaka-san, and this relates to you.”


The Easter Bunny  “…the phrase “it’s time to dye the eggs” can be easily misconstrued by little boys who spend the majority of their days plotting superhero wars.”

Morocco “This trip will be marked in my memory by my decision to carry all my money and credit cards in a giant pot mitt.”

Fishy Incident “So the little fish spent the weekend in a plastic bag in our freezer before being brought to school on Monday in an insulated lunch bag covered with illustrations of astronauts.”

Subversive Nostalgia “I think television really lost something when it abandoned the subversive muppet concept. Now our children love watching subversive sea sponges instead and although this has its virtues, it’s really not the same.”

Thanksgiving Abroad “We have considered making them dress up as Indians (we’d be the pilgrims of course, or would it be the other way around?), but we decided they’re going to have enough trouble just wrapping their heads around an entire holiday meal that doesn’t include anything made with olive oil, squid ink or codfish.”

Couch Potato “So when you die would you like us to put your ashes under the couch?”

Ikea “…the only surprises I get will be of the small pleasant variety rather than the large exciting but disconcerting kind. Perhaps a new line of vegetable peelers or an innovative way to store scarves.”

Kitchen Culture Clash “I don’t want your bland-ass mayonnaise!”

Lord of the Flies “I peered inside to see only a large nearly empty bottle of Scotch and a broken Hello Kitty thermos…”