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How to plan a Birthday Weekend in London

The Perfect Weekend in London Itinerary

The Perfect Weekend in London Itinerary

The Perfect Weekend in London Itinerary

50 turns around the sun. A half a century. I am still letting that sink in. It is a long time to have been alive. To celebrate this milestone I decided to spend a few days in a place that I have a long history with. London is a city where I have been a teenager, a college student, a young bride, and a new mother. It is where I left from to go live in both Niger and Zimbabwe. It seemed like it should be the place to launch the next few decades too. Here is my guide for a weekend in London. Whether you have something big or small to celebrate.


How to Eat Your Way though Naples {Culinary Backstreets: Culinary Secrets of Backstreet Naples}

Naples Food Tour

Naples Food Tour

I used to visit Naples pretty regularly, but somehow I had let the months slip by and it was now years since I been. A few weeks ago Culinary Backstreets invited me down for a few hours of non-stop eating. 


Rome in August - 2017 Edition

August in Rome

Rome in August

Rome in August, love it or hate it there are a few things you need to know.

Click on over to my updated post to see what is open here in Rome this August.

Right now here in Rome there is a heatwave they have named Lucifero. You can read a few of my tips on how to cope. I am escaping to my favorite island paradise.  

See you all in September! 


Home Leave in 15 pictures

home leave expat life

home leave expat life

One of the hallmarks of expat life is the bi-annual home leave. If you are not familiar, a home leave trip the most important thing to know is that it is less vacation than flurry of bureaucratic paperwork, Target shopping sprees, too short visits with family and friends and as much Ramen, tacos, donuts and iced coffee as I can possibly eat in a few weeks. Imagine trying to squeeze in two years of life back home into 19 days and you start to get an idea of the pace. 

We have been doing this for close to a quarter of a century so we are pretty good at it. We managed to see our parents, all of my brothers, lots and lots of friends, get our drivers licenses (in two separate states) and still have time for a few days on Cape Cod and in New York City and see a Sleeping Lion show.  Here is a brief visual guide to our whirlwind trip.


Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

When I first married my husband on a beach in Benin, he had a job that required him to travel all over west Africa. A decade later he covered 28 countries in southern Africa. I rarely went with him on these trips mostly because they were work trips and partly because I had a little kid at home and partly because I wasn't all that interested in staying in a grim hotel room in Malawi while he was at meetings all day long.

When we moved to Rome his job changed, his travel docket came to an abrupt stop and he has been home for the last ten years. As is the case with most things you grow accustomed to, things change. All of a sudden he is traveling again for work. Instead of African capitals, though there are still a few of those on his to do list, he also gets asked to go to meetings in European capitals. Noah is away at school, my work is flexible and Mark is finally going to places where I am happy to tag along. A few weeks ago he had a couple of days of meetings in Budapest. For some reason this European city was not really on my radar. I guess that a lack of coastline had somehow struck it off the list in my mind. Let me be the one to tell you if it is not there already put Budapest on your radar. It is beautiful, easy, affordable and delicious.


La Tavernetta {Eat Like a Roman}

Where to Eat on the via Appia Antica

My overseas life as an adult began in Niger, a dusty expanse of the Sahel just south of the Sahara. I went there somewhat blindly and very unexperienced and I was younger than most of my colleagues by about a decade. That meant that I made friends with the young marines who guarded the US Embassy and with Peace Corps volunteers. Both of these groups of people have had a profound effect on my life aside from my not being a member of either group. I met my husband at a Friday movie night at the Marine House and Peace Corps volunteers have been our friends and colleagues for the many decades that have passed in between those hot sandy days and our current life in Rome.

We have now reached that point in adulthood where our friends children are are graduating from college and making their first steps into their grown-up futures. A few nights ago a colleague of Mark’s invited us to dinner to share our wisdom about life in west Africa with his son who is about to leave for his Peace Corps assignment. Dinner was planned at a restaurant across the street from their house, which I have to say a quick word about. They live on the Appia Antica, one of the oldest roads in Rome, and the apartment is inside the mausoleum of Emperor Caracalla's brother. Only in Rome.