Spring Break in Tulum

Spring break isn’t just for students! After surviving a busy first semester at the University of Alabama, Matt was itching for some downtime on a beach. And, after some debate and cries of horror at the prices for the Caribbean this time of year, we chose Tulum, a small, arty town a couple of hours from the Cancun chaos.

Matt visited Tulum as a kid and again as a backpacker, but this trip was my first time to the Yucatán. Matt was struck by how much the town had changed in the last decade, and I was struck by how different it was from the Pacific coast of Mexico, where we traveled together in 2012.

Tulum is a quirky mix of New-Age wellness, Mayan revivalism, Mexican-American fusion, and … Canadians. It’s not your “typical” anything, but it is a very special place.Read More »

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New Orleans Voodoo

Fall in Alabama is different than it is the Midwest. There’s no apple picking, cornfield mazes, leafing, or heavy wool sweaters here. The air is crisp and pleasant, though the roaches that sneak inside for warmth and water are less so. It’s a season that might slip by unnoticed, except for one thing: college football.

After a few weekends of battling crowds and traffic in Tuscaloosa, we decided to escape to New Orleans during Matt’s fall break from the university. We timed the trip for the weekend before Halloween, because what city anywhere in the world is better at being spooky?Read More »

Birmingham’s Avondale Neighborhood

“We picked a house close to the highway to Birmingham.”
“The real fine dining around here is in Birmingham.”
“I bought this blouse in Birmingham.”
“Whole Foods is in Birmingham.”
Lots of faculty commute from Birmingham.”

Birmingham, Birmingham, Birmingham. In my first three weeks in Tuscaloosa, I’ve already heard a ton about Birmingham — as if the “Magic City” is a Promised Land of sorts for yuppie thirty-somethings who end up in northern Alabama. So this weekend, we decided to check it out and see what all the fuss is about.Read More »

European Victory Tour

After almost two years in Austria, it’s time for us to head home to the States. But before leaving our adopted continent for a new life in Alabama, we embarked on a “grand finale” backpacking trip through France, Spain, and Portugal. We dubbed it our Victory Tour in honor of surviving Vienna, the academic job market, and almost two full years of marriage — the trifecta of tough!

We were on the road for about five weeks, with one backpack and handbag apiece, and I snapped more than 1,600 photos. Here’s a quick look at the highlights of our trip … and a more reasonable number of photos.Read More »

Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna

The time has come: We’re leaving our European home. Matt has lived in Vienna for almost two years, and for me, it’s been about a year and half. It’s been an exciting, frustrating, and ultimately empowering experience for both of us. Vienna is a city of secret doors, and we consider ourselves very fortunate that a few cracked open for us.

It’s impossible to capture the complexity of our expat life in a single blog post, but I can distill what we’ll miss most into a list of ten:Read More »