part travelogue, part cultural critique
Our neighbors were taking a short trip to visit their ancestral village. They invited us to join them for two days, promising take us up to a famous Christian mountain that rested on the border between the Bago division of Myanmar, and Karen state. After a 6 hour bus ride to the city of Taungoo and a hearty meal of rice in the sweltering heat, we piled into a private van that our friends had rented for the final leg of the trip, excited to drive up to a high altitude and to escape the thick heat of the lowlands.… Continue Reading
In Myanmar, wedding season is dictated by the lunar patterns of the Buddhist calendar. Every year from about June until October, Buddhist Lent takes place. During this time (which also happens to be the monsoon season), the monks generally stay within the confines of the monasteries, and it is seen as an inauspicious time to make any major life changes. Buddhists are discouraged from changing jobs, moving houses, starting new ventures, or marrying during this time. The October full moon festival of Lights (Thadingyut, as it is called in Myanmar) marks the end of Buddhist Lent, and not long after the full moon, weddings parties are taking place all over the city.… Continue Reading
It has been three months since we moved into this house. I have wanted to share some photos for those of you who are curious about the inside of our place (and honestly, who isn’t curious about the inside of other people’s homes?), but I’d been putting it off until we installed some shelves. Just the other day, Jim put up the last of the shelves, and the living space feels more settled now. So, without further ado, here is a little home tour.… Continue Reading
I recently had the opportunity to tag along with Yangon Food Tours for a dinner tour. It was a great experience, and I wanted to share some of it here on the blog for those of you who are curious about Burmese cuisine, and for anyone who might be interested in taking a food tour while visiting Myanmar. It was a great experience, and, as someone who lives locally, the dinner tour is totally worthwhile in terms of getting a good sampling of Myanmar foods.… Continue Reading
We started looking for a new place to rent in May. A variety of circumstances, not the least of which was the nearing advent of Baby #2, caused us to realize that our current home is just not the right place for us anymore.
From a foreigner’s perspective, renting a house in Yangon is an arduous undertaking. If you are new to Myanmar and cannot yet read or speak, it involves doing everything through a translator, as even the rental signs are nearly always written in Burmese.… Continue Reading
Elisabeth’s Birth Story
I only had time for one pre-natal appointment with my Chiang Mai OB before giving birth to Elise. At the appointment my doctor echoed the words of my Myanmar OB and mentioned that I was measuring small and that the baby seemed small. I wasn’t overly concerned, as they said the same thing about Lena, and she was 6.5 pounds at birth (She was born at 38.5 weeks). I was nearly 37 weeks at this appointment, so I expected that I had some time for the baby to pack on some more weight before birth.… Continue Reading
It has been rainy season here since late May/early June. The appearance of the rains is always a source of refreshment, as there has been no precipitation since November, and March-May tend to be difficult months, relentlessly sunny, in the 100s most days, and hardly any cooler in the evening. We sweat through several changes of clothes each day. The dust and the pollution increase and it gets really tough to go out with kids on public transportation. Toward the end of April I start haunting the long-term forecast websites for any sign of rain, and I tend to get a bit too hopeful if I catch a breath of a breeze or see a darker-than-usual cloud.… Continue Reading
In our Pacific Northwest home, nature was as close as one’s backyard, or as far as a 20-minute drive to a well-wooded park. It didn’t take too much effort to get away from the sight of buildings or even other people, and was not difficult to find places where nature dwarfs humanity. In Yangon, there is no such luxurious way to get a change of pace. In the past year, I can only think of one 30-minute period of time where I could neither see nor hear other human beings.… Continue Reading
A journal of our wintertime
This has been my first tropical winter overseas. While our North American counterparts were donning scarves and hats and trotting out to the Christmas tree farms with hatchets or sledding snowy hills, we have been absorbing an entirely different sort of winter season. Sweet December—this is what the Karen and Burmese Christians call this time of year. And they are right. December and January have been pleasant months filled with cool breezes, 85-degree days and a (slightly more distant) winter sun.… Continue Reading
This fall has been a little more hectic than we anticipated! In between all the trips to medical clinics and hospitals for Breanna’s health, we still have had a great fall, and we were able to document it (thanks in part to Jim’s dad)!
This is where you go when you want to buy LOTS of tea.
Everyone in Yangon is pretty excited about the elections. One of the rules is that parties are only allowed to campaign for the 60 days prior to the election.… Continue Reading