Weekly Roundup: Oh the Places You've Been

We didn't have a very big turnout for this week's round up so I gave it an extra day....alas, to no avail.  So consider this a little nudge to all you bloggers who read but haven't quite mustered the courage to contribute.  We all want to hear what you have to say :)  Make sure to check the calender next week and send Enclos*ure your submissions  - for yourself or posts you've found during the week.  ...Not that I didn't feel like a giant hypocrite writing that - I did.  I too will be a better contributor.  The more the merrier.     

But anyway, this week's roundup is about 'place related joys'  - where do you love?  In a sense being in the Foreign Service means you get to collect favorite places.  Whether it's a coastal retreat in Cameroon, the waterfalls of Iquazu or the snow cone shack in your home town - there is something grounding and sustaining about falling in love with a place and returning to it.  

I settled on this topic after listening to a fabulous piece on NPR on two travel writers, Pico Iyer and Paul Theroux called "Five Tips for Making Travel Meaningful".  Everyone travels differently and what makes a trip -or a post in our case- for one person might sound like torture to another.  But the bottom line is, we are all seeking for ways to make our travels and current post meaningful on a personal level.  We want to do good, sustaining work in our jobs, but we also want to have some personal connection with locals, with geography, with history, and with culture.

As a follow up to this week's round up - feel free to comment on how you have managed to make those relationships and connections - with people, with culture, with history, and with geography.  "Favorite Places" seemed like an easy way to capture some of that idea this week.

Favorite Places Overseas

Catembe, Maputo
3rd Culture Children starts us off with a wonderful post about her time in Southern Africa.  She so perfectly describes a combination of amazing travel opportunities in conjunction with trying personal times.  Difficult posts and changing personal circumstances can really mark a place in our hearts. 

On that note I'll add one of my favorite places to the list.  (I have many - I'm becoming almost indiscriminate about falling in love with a place...get a hold of yourself Brooke!)  Before joining the foreign service my husband and I spent a year as students in Jerusalem. Whenever someone asks me what it was like I pause, not because we didn't have a terrific experience in Jerusalem, but because it's not really the type of place you say "It was so fun.  I, like, did all these things and had a blast".  We were able to travel freely throughout Israel and the West Bank and it was an experience I'll never forget.  We saw things that were difficult for both groups of people, but on the other hand, we made friends with people from both groups and saw their joys and their triumphs up close.  The struggle is almost palpable in Jerusalem.  But we were also able to spend time outside of Jerusalem in the many beautiful natural sights that the region has to offer - wadis and oasis', lakes, the dessert, green hiking trails, snorkeling, stunning shorelines. We made great friends that we'll have for a lifetime.   Like 3rd Culture Children it was our first big experience overseas as a family.  For those reasons I think Jerusalem will always be one of my favorite places.
Achziv National Park - that's Lebanon you can see in the background.
Below: Video of a candy shop in Hebron - an illustration of the region's many contrasts

So, when you are in these foreign favorite places - how do you communicate?  Ogles and Observations has some great language learning tips that can help us making connections wherever we are. 

Favorite Places at Home
Small Bits
posts about a favorite place near to her home that has been on my list for sometimes.  Being away from our homes for so long can sometimes give us new eyes to appreciate it.
Mesa Verde

Hello Taylalay shared one of her favorite places with us this week: Maine.  Be sure to check out the great photos - it's like I could taste the lobster roll!

Shores of Maine

A place that we will all call "home" at one point or another is DC.  Paul Benjamin: Writer, Editor, Supermodel  spent some time there before heading to his new assignment and he posts about some of the great things DC has to offer.

Washington Monument

And to end on a sweet note Wife Mommy Woman really gets at the heart of what "home" means and her favorite place related joys. 


  1. Brooke - thanks for hosting, and also, for your kind words about my post! Always a pleasure to participate. Cheers from the 'Brazilian Venice'... :o)

  2. Beautifully done round up! I met a friend of yours this week! Jacqueline & family are now here in NBO. it's fun to see how bloggy buddies help to make the FS world just a little bit smaller and friendlier. (:

  3. Good work! You did a great job with the submissions. I hope things are going well for you.