Archive for the ‘USA’

Travel Pro Tip: Don’t Lose Your Passport(s)

June 14, 2016 By: erik Category: Complaining, Family, Travel, USA

Papers PleaseOn Saturday, we made our annual family trek to the American Homeland to visit the family. The children behaved absolutely admirably, with Nora, having just finished first grade (actually we took her out two weeks early), taking the gold medal by entertaining herself completely with the in-flight entertainment and later some iPad games. Ian was a little more of a handful, raising and lowering his tray table roughly one million times in the nine hour flight. Luckily the seat in front of him was unoccupied.
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How to emigrate from the United States? Don’t.

March 15, 2016 By: erik Category: Travel, USA

Emigration from USSeveral of my American friends have asked me privately about ways or plans to emigrate from the United States should certain political powers assume control. This is an open letter to them.

The truth is that emigration is hard, and for the most part, Europe doesn’t want you, no matter how white and educated you are (and I can really only speak to Europe; maybe the Canucks will have you?). I am a highly sought after computer programmer – I literally get recruiter emails every day – and it was nearly impossible for me to find a company willing to give me a work permit in the UK. The escape chute might be a little better lubricated if you are a college student. It’s easy to live abroad temporarily as a student, and easier – though still almost impossible! – to find a permanent position once you are already temporarily abroad.
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Kindness Solves Boarding Conundrum

February 16, 2016 By: erik Category: Travel, USA


The following is a true story from my recent trip, written as soon as I boarded the plane.

At the gate in Charlotte, twenty minutes before boarding time, there was an African man slowly getting more and more agitated talking to the airline employee at the gate. He had come to the airport with his wife and kids, and the lady at the baggage check desk had told him that the flight wasn’t too full, so he could just take his large second bag to the gate and either they’d let him gate check it for free or he could carry it on, despite being larger than the carry-on guidelines. He had even brought a smaller bag to the check in counter and had his wife and kids there so that, if his larger bag was too large, he could leave some things and take the smaller bag.
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My Local Machine Gun Store in Spain

December 17, 2015 By: erik Category: Scary, Spain, USA

Gun storeToday, after I dropped my daughter off at her French class, I went for a little walk. As I was strolling down the street, I walked by this shop. Perhaps, had I not been an American, I might not have stopped dead in my tracks, but I did. I evaluated the “Armament” flag in the window and began wondering if I hadn’t stumbled on the local ISIS Я Us recruitment center.
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A Visit to Mimosa Hills Farm

November 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, USA, Videos

Mimosa FarmsDuring our visit to the United States for Thanksgiving, we took a little day outing to a local farm, called Mimosa Hills Farm. They give riding lessons and even have a special program to help people with mental disabilities from the local state institutions. We had a wonderful time.

When we walked into the barn, Ian pointed at each and every horse, declaring “I want montar that one! I want montar that one!” Nora was quite a bit more timid. If her brother hadn’t gone first, she might have chickened out about riding the horse.
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Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
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The meaning of the Confederate Flag

June 21, 2015 By: erik Category: USA

The following post is an essay written by my high school World History teacher, Kevin McCloy, whom I rank as one of my all time best teachers and one of my better friends. It was originally written in a private response to someone on Facebook, but he executed it so beautifully that he shared it, and has graciously given me permission to share it here. This is McCloy’s second appearance on this blog; his first was a heart-rending tribute to his friend, Chris Hondros.

Settle down, class! Everyone please take your seat. It’s time for a history lesson…
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Pinehurst No. 2

February 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Golf, Travel, USA

Pinehurst Resort - Payne Stewart StatueIf you ask any avid golfer to name the three most famous courses in the United States, chances are very good that they will name Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and Pinehurst No. 2. The second course at Pinehurst was designed by famed golf course designer, Donald Ross, who studied under The Father of Golf himself, Old Tom Morris, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The course has risen in prominence over the past two decades as the host of the U.S. Open in 1999, 2005 and 2014. My friends and I, who have done golf trips roughly every five years to places such as St. Andrews, Scotland and County Kerry, Ireland, planned to revisit St. Andrews in 2015, but a combination of losing the lottery to get a tee time on The Old Course and the birth of twins to one of the participants delayed that trip, so we elected the easiest trip to an important golf location, one only three hours drive from where I grew up and one hour away from where I went to school, in the Sandhills of North Carolina.
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Drone Terrorism: Coming to Skies Near You!

December 23, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Scary, USA

QuadcopterUnmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is advancing incredibly rapidly. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of the Team BlackSheep YouTube channel, which regularly displays seriously impressive videos from the point of view of their drones, zooming around places that no manned aircraft could do. It’s about as close to a first person perspective from Peter Pan or Superman that we all imagine as you can find on the internet.
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Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, USA, Videos

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2014This year the pumpkins we got for carving at home were the smallest they’ve ever been since I began this tradition six years ago. However, on the plus side, the walls of the pumpkin were very thin and easy to carve. It was a bit like playing an electric guitar for the first time after learning on an acoustic.

Like last year, we invited Nora’s friends, Carmen and Claudia. Last year, Nora’s and Claudia’s siblings, Ian and Mara, had to take a break during the party to breastfeed. This year, they were racing around like the little toddlers they are. They know each other from daycare. It was fun to see Ian interacting with a kid his own age. Although Marga is a month or two younger, she’s got several kilos and centimeters on him.
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