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Monday, July 22, 2024

AK Month-to-month Recap: June 2024


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This month I headed again to the States for a three-week journey — and it ended up being a a lot busier expertise than I anticipated. I based mostly on my new dwelling base of the North Shore of Massachusetts, and traveled throughout within the course of.

Three little journeys — Portland, Ottawa, and Scottsdale — made it fairly a busy month, and that wasn’t all. As quickly as I flew again to Prague, I used to be off once more, to the south of Italy!

It was rather a lot, and I uncared for my work within the course of (see how there aren’t any new posts or books learn on this put up) — however that’s okay. I clearly wanted this high quality time with my family members.

Let’s check out the month!

Kate in a sun hat standing in front of a cactus garden.Kate in a sun hat standing in front of a cactus garden.
Having fun with the Desert Botanical Backyard in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Locations Visited

  • Prague and Mělník, Czech Republic
  • Beverly, Rockport, Essex, Danvers, Peabody, Studying, Wakefield, Revere, Lynnfield, Swampscott, and Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
  • Portland, Maine, USA
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
  • Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Naples, Ventotene, and Ponza, Italy
A river forking in two, with some grape vines growing in the foreground.A river forking in two, with some grape vines growing in the foreground.
The view from the citadel in Mělník, Czech Republic

Highlights

A little bit of sightseeing in and round Prague. We visited town of Mělník, which has a pleasant city sq. (which they had been outfitting in Christmas lights for a film!), a citadel overlooking the rivers, and their very own wine.

Mělník is particular as a result of it’s Lewis and Murray’s hometown, so far as we all know. They had been left in a field outdoors a vet’s workplace in Mělník on a wet day.

Which sounds so unhappy — till you understand they had been nicely fed and socialized, and left in a spot the place they might be secure (most shelters are kill shelters right here). Their first household clearly beloved them loads, and I’ll at all times be pleased about how nicely they cared for them.

Kate's hand posed next to a giant pink peony flower -- the flower is bigger than her hand!Kate's hand posed next to a giant pink peony flower -- the flower is bigger than her hand!
That is the most important peony I’ve ever seen! In Rockport, Mass.

Plenty of nice high quality time at dwelling in Massachusetts. This journey was to spend time with household and associates, in addition to take pleasure in one of many higher climate months of the yr in New England.

I received to spend so much of time with my dad and mom and my aunt and uncle as nicely, and drove up and down the North Shore exploring the completely different cities. My dad is now based mostly in Beverly, and it’s been good to spend time exploring the city, particularly in the summertime.

I additionally drove previous my childhood dwelling for the primary time because it was bought final yr — and I’m glad to see that they didn’t knock it down to show it right into a ghastly McMansion, like they’re doing to so many properties in my neighborhood.

A bird's eye view of Portland, Maine, with rows of suburban streets with triple-decker houses, leading up to a coastline.A bird's eye view of Portland, Maine, with rows of suburban streets with triple-decker houses, leading up to a coastline.
“The opposite Portland” is such a enjoyable metropolis to go to.

A fantastic journey to Portland, Maine. Two of my good associates, who’re sisters, moved to Portland a number of years in the past — and whereas I’ve visited them briefly a number of instances, I needed to come back for a number of days and dive into Portland in depth so I may write a correct information.

Portland is GREAT — and so underrated (maybe as a result of there’s a extra well-known Portland?). Such an incredible meals scene, tons of pure magnificence close by, and a few of the friendliest folks round. Portlanders critically give the perpetually sunny Ashevillians a run for his or her cash.

The most important spotlight was visiting Peakes Island, a brief ferry trip away — which is dwelling to an UMBRELLA COVER MUSEUM. Not an umbrella museum, an umbrella COVER museum. It’s bizarre and wacky and all about celebrating the mundane. In case you’re visiting Portland between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I can’t advocate the museum sufficient!

Kate and Jodi arm-in-arm, flashing peace signs on a bridge in Ottawa, the Rideau Canal behind them.Kate and Jodi arm-in-arm, flashing peace signs on a bridge in Ottawa, the Rideau Canal behind them.
Jodi and I had a good time in Ottawa!

A fast, enjoyable journey to Ottawa. A lot of you right here know Jodi of Authorized Nomads, an absolute legend within the journey running a blog group and a buddy of mine for greater than a decade.

Jodi has been residing with critical well being challenges over the previous a number of years, which she talks about on her Patreon and in her e-newsletter, Curious About The whole lot, and hasn’t been in a position to journey — so I went to see her. Our first time hanging out in particular person for years.

We had such a good time — taking a stroll to the Rideau Canal, consuming takeout on her balcony, a lot woman discuss, and simply having fun with our lengthy overdue catchup.

Kate and her two friends in floppy hats and sunglasses, with the modern red building of Taliesin West behind them.Kate and her two friends in floppy hats and sunglasses, with the modern red building of Taliesin West behind them.
We beloved our go to to Taliesin West!

The last word ladies’ journey to Scottsdale! This month, three of my closest associates and I took our long-awaited ladies’ journey to Scottsdale, the place we celebrated the 4 of us turning 40 in 2024. Expertise Scottsdale put collectively a dynamite journey for us, which you’ll be listening to way more about tsoon!

A few of my favourite highlights had been staying on the midcentury trendy Resort Valley Ho (and the super-fun weekend pool occasion), visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, having fun with one of the best wine and cocktail bars, taking a self-driving automobile for a spin (!!), and consuming SO a lot good meals.

However principally this was all about getting good high quality time with the ladies. It’s been so lengthy since we took a visit collectively! Weddings in numerous cities have been the closest factor we’ve needed to a visit for nearly a decade.

An Italian island's coastline, with sailboats in the water and a big white lighthouse. You see yellow buildings on shore and an island in the distance.An Italian island's coastline, with sailboats in the water and a big white lighthouse. You see yellow buildings on shore and an island in the distance.
The view from tiny Ventotene.

A visit to some Italian islands. Charlie and I are actually trying to go to all the key Italian islands, so we determined to go to Ventotene and Ponza. I flew into Naples, the place Charlie had simply completed a piece assembly, and we every scarfed down a pizza (as one does in Napoli) earlier than hopping on the ferry to Ventotene.

Ventotene is a VERY small island. Truthfully, a little bit too small. The island has one good seashore, which fills up by morning, and the black sand will get so scorching, that for those who don’t have a chair, you’ll be in ache. There are additionally no swimming pools on the island, so there’s no different method to cool off. I will say that we ate two implausible meals down by the water’s edge.

Ponza was extra our pace. There’s not a ton to do on Ponza, which is a well-liked escape for Romans, however there are boat excursions, seashores, and good eating places. Staying at Grand Resort Santa Domitilla was a spotlight — we truly spent a day by the lodge pool for the primary time in three years! We haven’t accomplished that since my beloved Resort Ravesi within the Aeolian Islands!

Kate and her mom sitting in beach chairs on a beach, both wearing sun hats and sunglasses.Kate and her mom sitting in beach chairs on a beach, both wearing sun hats and sunglasses.
Hanging out at Revere Seaside with my mother.
Kate and her dad drinking beers with a big plate of oysters in front of them. Dad gives a thumbs up.Kate and her dad drinking beers with a big plate of oysters in front of them. Dad gives a thumbs up.
Having fun with oysters at The Grog in Newburyport with my dad.

Challenges

The most important problem is that I can’t clone myself. I had a lot enjoyable hanging out with varied family members in numerous areas. That is the toughest a part of residing abroad and having folks you like all around the world!

Falling into an unhealthy way of life. Truthfully, it occurs each time I am going dwelling — I plan to train each day and eat nicely, and I find yourself consuming poorly and barely exercising. Not blaming anybody however myself. Three weeks is a protracted backslide.

A really disagreeable connection expertise in Zurich. I at all times give myself round a three-hour layover once I’m connecting flights, as a result of that’s sufficient to resist a delay. However this time I lived dangerously with solely a 90-minute layover — and OF COURSE my flight was delayed an hour.

The Swiss Air folks rebooked plenty of folks with tighter connections, however insisted I had sufficient time to make my connection. And I did, certainly, make it — solely as a result of I RAN MY ASS OFF by the airport, lower the immigration line, cursed out the voice of Heidi on the airport prepare, and made it to the gate 30 seconds earlier than they closed it.

My bag didn’t make it. Fortunately, I used to be ready for this risk, and had packed my carry-on with every little thing I wanted for Italy. There are three each day flights from Zurich to Prague on Swiss Air, and my bag received on the following flight at midday, nevertheless it wasn’t delivered till 11:27 PM. I needed to go away the condominium at 7:00 AM the following day for my flight to Naples. Which brings me to…

A stately, well-laid-out garden around a gazebo.A stately, well-laid-out garden around a gazebo.
Lynch Park in Beverly, Mass. President Taft truly had his summer time residence proper right here.

Three weeks of busy journey and residential time, adopted by an in a single day flight and fewer than 24 hours in Prague, then flying to Italy the following morning. I knew it could be tough, however I used to be prepared to attempt it as a result of it was the best choice with Charlie’s work schedule.

Lengthy story quick, I’m NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN. It was method an excessive amount of. I used to be exhausted and discombobulated, and crossing 9 time zones in three days turned me right into a zombie in the course of the day and an insomniac at night time. Which isn’t the worst if each individuals are equally jet-lagged, but when one particular person is and the opposite isn’t, it’s a depressing time.

Breaking my lens. Seems operating by an airport with an overstuffed backpack isn’t good. One fall broken much more than my ego.

Selecting the flawed tour! Charlie and I made a decision to go to the previous jail on the island of Santo Stefano close to Ventotene. The tour could be all in Italian, however we didn’t thoughts — we each communicate a bit, and have accomplished excursions all in Italian earlier than.

Properly. That three-hour tour turned out to be a ship trip, adopted by a difficult climb up a steep hill, adopted by a 75-minute lecture, all in Italian. We didn’t even get to discover the jail; we simply sat within the courtyard because the information talked in regards to the historical past. And there was no sign, so I couldn’t use Google Translate to observe.

Yeah, once I say we take excursions in Italian, I imply boat excursions — the place the one Italian it is advisable to know is, “Okay, now we swim,” “Come again to the boat by 2:30,” and “You need your espresso bitter or candy?” We should always most likely follow these!

Two gray tabby cats with white bellies and paws lounging on some paper bags, one of them kind of spooning the other.Two gray tabby cats with white bellies and paws lounging on some paper bags, one of them kind of spooning the other.
That is probably the most Lewis and Murray have cuddled since they had been infants!!

Guide Membership This Month

Our subsequent ebook membership will happen on Sunday, August 18, 2024. We might be studying Dearborn, a brief story assortment by American creator Ghassan Zeineddine.

“Spanning a number of many years, Ghassan Zeineddine’s debut assortment examines the varied vary and complexities of the Arab American group in Dearborn, Michigan. In ten tragicomic tales, Zeineddine explores themes of identification, generational conflicts, warfare trauma, migration, sexuality, queerness, dwelling and belonging, and extra.

In Dearborn, a father teaches his son the best way to cheat the IRS and conceal their money earnings inside frozen chickens. Tensions heighten inside a close-knit group of {couples} when a mysterious man begins to frequent the native gymnasium pool, wearing Speedos printed with nostalgic photos of Lebanon. And a failed stage actor makes an attempt to drive a younger Lebanese man with ambitions of changing into a Hollywood motion hero to LA, however Immigration and Customs Enforcement brokers produce other plans.

By turns wildly humorous, incisive, and deeply shifting, Dearborn introduces readers to an arresting new voice in modern fiction and invitations us all to contemplate what it means to be a part of a spot and group, and the way it’s that we assist each other survive.”

You possibly can join right here. Hope to see you there!

What I Watched This Month

I’m actually having fun with Loot on Apple TV. This comedy stars Maya Rudolph because the jilted ex-wife of a strong tech billionaire, and he or she decides to rebuild her life by throwing herself into her charity.

It’s a enjoyable and heartwarming office comedy with a superb forged. Nice music, too — I really like how the Apple exhibits aren’t afraid to spend massive on music licensing! This present truly has Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy,” Fats Joe’s “What’s Luv” and Ashanti and Ja Rule’s “At all times on Time” as its transition music between scenes!

I additionally lastly watched season 2 of Bridgerton, and I don’t know what stored me away for thus lengthy! Such a pleasant little present.

Kate happily swimming in bright blue clear water off a rocky beach in Croatia.Kate happily swimming in bright blue clear water off a rocky beach in Croatia.
I stay for the Adriatic in the summertime! That is Bačva Bay in Korčula.

Coming Up in July 2024

After a number of extra days in Ponza, Charlie and I returned to Prague, the place we might be spending a lot of the month. We might be flying to London for a really temporary journey to see Charlie’s household, and for my new Czech vacation spot, we’re most likely going to go to Adršpach, a fantastic rocky space that’s particularly good to go to in summer time.

Additionally on the schedule for July: seeing Smashing Pumpkins in live performance, and watching the Euros.

And on the finish of the month, we head to one among my favourite locations — the island of Korčula in Croatia. And we received’t be alone — a number of associates are coming alongside to have a good time my precise fortieth birthday on August 2! We’ve received an extremely enjoyable week deliberate.

What are you as much as this summer time? Share away!

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