Tag Archives: San Diego

Abroad Blog of the Week: willtravelwithkids

If you have children or not, this Abroad Blog of the Week is definitely one you should add to your reader. Even though Hubby and I don’t currently have children, I have been enjoying willtravelwithkids now for several months. The author blogs from her home base in San Diego but she is no stranger to travel with her two little girls. Her posts detail their adventures exploring God’s creation whether they be in Japan or Nova Scotia. My personal favorites so far include her exploration of cemeteries around the world and her reminisces of Anne of Green Gables while visiting Prince Edward Island. When not traveling, willtravelwithkids is a global from home expert and explores San Diego just like she were abroad. I caught up with the author via email and found out more about her family travel the globe with stroller in tow.

This is just after dawn in Istanbul, before the tourist buses arrive and the view is continually obscured.

Why do you think it’s important to include your children in your travels?

I want my kids to grow up experiencing the unfamiliar and understanding that just because something is new to them or different, it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable, scary or considered inferior to what they know.  Experiencing new things should be a normal, desired part of life experience.

From your experiences, what are some of the easier places to travel with kids?

We don’t usually pick our travel locations based on ease.  I could push my stroller down the aisle of the train in Germany, which made traveling in Germany with small children ‘easier.’  We had wonderful kid-friendly travel experiences in Germany utilizing public transport.  However, when we visited family in Africa, we took the baby carrier/backpack, knowing the stroller would not be practical.  Transport with a baby was not ‘easy’ and required significant pre-planning.  But, the people we came across in Africa were so glad to meet our baby and were thrilled when we let them hold and hug her.  They were more touched by our willingness to share our precious child with them and come all that way than anyone I came across in Europe.  They did not take our effort for granted.  In the same way that raising kids isn’t “easy,” traveling with them is also not easy.  But we know that raising children and also traveling with them are both extremely rewarding.  The positive outcomes outweigh any negative experiences along the way.

How does your faith play into how you see the world?

My faith is the primary component that impacts how I view the world.  People, cultures and geography were created by God to show us some aspect of his nature.  The more experiences we have outside of our cultural comfort zone, the more opportunities we have to learn something new about God or have God show us something new about himself.  Of course, most people can step out of their cultural comfort zone without spending a lot of money and globetrotting.  That why I like your blog, Elise!  It’s a good reminder that we can stretch ourselves and seek new experiences without owning a passport.  It’s a mindset.

Considering all the places you’ve lived and traveled, where do you feel the most at home?

Home is wherever we can be together as a family or, as I often say, home is where my toothbrush is.  Last summer we spent three months away from our house so we could be together while my husband worked on the east coast of the U.S.  I felt more at home in that hotel than if I had stayed at our house on the west coast with the babies (3 months and nearly 2 years old at the time).   No matter where we are in the world, when we are together as a family, it’s home.

What advice would you give other parents who are about to embark on family travels?

  • Focus on what is important – time together as a family sharing an experience.  If you show up to a museum and it’s closed or a visit to the zoo is cut short because of an ‘accident’ or your hike gets rained out, all is not lost.
  • Try new, local foods together.  You can even do this from home!  If it turns out you don’t like what you ordered, you will laugh later about the experience.
  • Germs are everywhere and are normal – get over it.
  • Don’t focus on the places, but focus on the people.  People matter.
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Global from Oklahoma

As of 12:02am this morning, Global from Home has officially moved to Oklahoma. When I started this blog from our home in San Diego in May, my objective was to explore the world within a thirty mile radius of my front door. In San Diego, that is pretty easy. With the international cottages in Balboa Park, Little Italy, a huge refugee population, and tons of ethnic cuisine, San Diego provided a plethora of opportunities to explore international culture.

But with our move to Oklahoma City, I think being global from home may be a bit more difficult. However, I am taking it as a challenge. I hope to prove that anyone can be global from home no matter where you are. I hope to be more creative, more adventurous, and more broad in my posts. So hold me to it!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Tomorrow we leave San Diego for last time as residents. Hubby will drop me off at the train station with three suitcases, two carry-ons, and large painting covered in bubble wrap. He will then drop our car off to be shipped to Oklahoma, take a taxi to the trolley, and then take the trolley to the train station. We will then take a train to LAX where we will catch a bus to the airport and then a red-eye to Atlanta, where our parents will pick us up tomorrow morning. Whew! I’m already exhausted and the day hasn’t even started.

San Diego, you’ll be missed. You’ve been an incredible place to work, play, and be global from home.

Atlanta, I can’t wait to be home, see family, and sleep!

Oklahoma City, be ready. We’re coming next Friday!

Varieties of Goodbye

Yesterday I emailed my students to say goodbye. In two weeks it will be my last day in the Study Abroad Office and then Hubby and I will move from the beautiful coastlines of San Diego to the plains of Oklahoma City for him to start an awesome new job.  I am so proud and we’re both excited, but with every move comes the challenges of goodbyes.

I’m moving from this (literally the view from my campus)

To this  (courtesy of Brit Gal Photography)

Personally, I have never been all that great at goodbyes. As a child I would cry every time a friend went home after a play date or sleepover. On the day my grandma was supposed to go back to Illinois after visiting us, I would hide her house slippers because I figured she couldn’t leave without them.  I just don’t particularly like when people have to  leave.  And I’m not much better when I’m the one doing the leaving either.

For those of us who have traveled, I’m sure we have all faced challenging goodbyes. I am most familiar with the travels that last a semester to a year where we have to say goodbye to family, friends, colleagues, Sundays school classes, book clubs, running groups, etc.  They can be emotional goodbyes because often they are a lifetime of relationships, but usually you know that you’ll be back which provides a great deal of comfort.

When we leave our host country to go back home, the goodbyes are often different.  We have to say farewell to host families, tour guides, bus drivers, professors, roommates, classmates, and travel-mates. Though we may have only known these individuals for a few months, the goodbyes are often more difficult.  So much has been shared.  So much has been experienced.  And usually we can only leave with the hope that someday we will have enough time, money, and vacation days to come back.

For me right now, I would say this particular goodbye feels somewhere in the middle. We have only lived in San Diego for a year but in that short time, I have made fast friends and gotten very attached to my students. However, the experiences have not been as intense as they were when I studied abroad. There was never any rush to see and do everything here in San Diego, because it wasn’t always known that we were going to leave so quickly. And though this isn’t home, as I begin to say my goodbyes, it feels more like a “see you later” rather than “I hope someday our paths will cross again.” At least I hope that truly is the case.

There are so many types of goodbyes. The quick farewell to colleagues as you run off to your evening gym class. Kissing your husband goodbye as you drop him off at the airport for a conference.  Saying goodbye to a friend as she heads off for a job in Amsterdam. The permanent farewell of a loved one after she takes her last breath. While each goodbye may seem to vary in distance and finality, each is important. I think the act of saying goodbye, while it may be difficult, shows that they matter to me. So though it is one of my least favorite activities and I’m not very good at it, I have to say goodbye.

To Ali, Andra, Karen, and Rose, I cannot express enough gratitude for how you have each embraced and accepted me. There is a bed for you in Oklahoma if you ever want escape from paradise for a while. I will really miss you but will see you later.

Kissing San Diego goodbye and Oklahoma hello

As for you, my dear readers, I’m not going anywhere. My 30 mile radius is just moving about 1353 miles east.

Guest Blog: Volunteering in the Refugee Community

After learning about World Refugee Day, which was held on June 20th, I realized that volunteering with the refugee community would be a great way to be global from home. However, I am far from an expert on the topic so I asked my good friend, Becky, to do my first ever guest blog. Becky currently works with refugees in San Diego and she offers great ways to get involved and help refugees get resettled as they transition to life in their new home. If you live outside the San Diego area, be sure to visit the agency directory at Refugee Works to find where you can donate your time and talents.

Guest Blog by Becky Morines:

After interning at a refugee resettlement agency here in San Diego during my junior year at Point Loma Nazarene University, I was instantly attracted to the refugee population in San Diego.  Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their own countries due to persecution, people whose own homes have become a place of fear and danger, and people who have seen political upheaval, instability, war, terror, and in some cases have experienced kidnappings, torture, and had loved ones murdered.   After having my eyes opened to this population, I focused the majority of my academic research on the process to come to the United States for a refugee and the challenges faced during the assimilation process in the United States. I now work as the Employment Coordinator in the refugee resettlement department at Jewish Family Service of San Diego.  Most of the refugees that we work with are from Iraq and Burma; however our agency is open to refugees and asylum seekers from all across the globe.

As the Employment Coordinator, my job is to act as the bridge between the refugee and the employer.  I assist our clients prepare a resume, complete job applications, mock interviewing, and go out with them to look and apply for jobs.  The refugees arriving in San Diego have English skills from proficiency to none at all.  Some have never held a job, yet many hold Bachelor’s and Master degrees from their home country and have attained incredible professional experience.  It is very humbling to be able to help with the job application and interview process that seems so normal to Americans, however extremely abnormal for those who have traveled thousands of miles to get here.  I am inspired by every encounter simply based on their experience, courage, and strength.  I am also encouraged by the incredible team that has dedicated their work to the refugee community in San Diego.  There are new arrivals coming every month that need help adjusting to this new country and new people.

There are various satisfying ways to volunteer in the San Diego area.  The refugee resettlement department has several different opportunities to volunteer that include administrative support, employment scouting, furniture delivery, and translation in a variety of languages.  At Jewish Family Service, we have a Friendly-Match program that matches a mentor with a refugee family.  By joining this program you would be able to build a lasting relationship with a family with hands on experience.  These volunteers can assist the family grocery shopping, going to the bank, practicing English, or even just going to the beach!  Lastly we need Employment Mentors who familiarize newly arrived refugees with the job search and application processes in the United States using a hands-on approach. Mentors play an integral role in helping refugees to become self-sufficient by providing them with the education and support necessary to secure employment.

If you enjoy traveling and working with people from different backgrounds, there are incredible opportunities right in your own backyard.  You can also visit our website or contact me at for additional information.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

www.jfssd.org/refugee

Exercising Around the World

After eating my way through Vegas this weekend, I am feeling a little round. It doesn’t help that my motivation for exercise has been lacking…I’d rather blog, read, cook, blog, etc. So this evening I decided to search the web for inspiration. I thought I’d look for exercises or tips from around the world, but what I came across was even better. In my search I found Nerd Fitness and the video Exercising Around the World in which Steve, the founder of Nerd Fitness, does just that. He travels over 120,000 miles and videos himself exercising in every country along the way. Watching him actually made me get up and do some jumping jacks (I did 50).

After being motivated by Steve’s international exercise, I thought I should keep reading and see if he had anything else good to say. It just so happens that he did have some great advice and now I have new rules for my exercise goal setting. As I get back into my routine, I’m determined to start small and do something I love: hike the cliffs. I’m actually excited.