Author:

jennifershipp

AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Amputations and Revelations

Last night and often, the neighbors fight. Not just the neighbors to the left, but the neighbors to the right. And the neighbors who live diagonally across the street from us fight too. Last night was a big fight. Or at least, everyone was involved. And, in a culture that values saving face above all other things, street brawls that involve the whole neighborhood (sans the white folks who live in the only ...
The Pirate at the Window: From the Shores of Southeast Asia — By Jennifer Shipp
Southeast AsiaThailand

The Pirate at the Window: From the Shores of Southeast Asia — By Jennifer Shipp

Stories are spherical like planets. I orbit around my story, once a comfortable, well-explored habitation of warm caves and tall trees. But now I’m a satellite in outer space, watching the drama of new planets forming out of the two moons that once graced my night skies. And it’s both lovely and terrifying. My world is no longer a planet, it’s a solar system. My moons have become their own planets with ...
As the World Turns — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSouth AsiaSoutheast Asia

As the World Turns — By Jennifer Shipp

Every morning John and I go for a jog together. During the first month of our tenure here, it was over 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit during both the daytime and nighttime hours, but now the air is cooler so we can survive longer runs that take us out into the countryside.

There are several indigenous tribes in Mexico and Guatemala and even in the states that run, not for personal health or ...
Grace — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Grace — By Jennifer Shipp

 Some stories are like lotus flowers; they bloom in layers with each new set of petals adding a transformative shape to the whole. It’s hard to tell these stories, because they aren’t linear and so they require special treatment in order to overcome the tendency that human beings have toward relegating the ethereal shimmer of sacred things like a magic wand polished by hand oils and passed down through ...
Before and After Life in Bagan, Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp
MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Before and After Life in Bagan, Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp

I’ve given myself just enough time to write about 1000 words about Bagan and our lives at the moment. I’ll probably write more than that, but I have other things to do and I need to get on it! I try to dedicate time to learning Burmese every week. As a language that’s not regularized at all and that I’ve never ever heard before in my life, the process is going slow. I don't have a dictionary yet, for ...
Rabies Encounters: On Caring for Random Sick Animals in Developing Nations
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Rabies Encounters: On Caring for Random Sick Animals in Developing Nations

So, I have this problem. It’s a sort of an obsession or a compulsion that has to do with sick animals. If I see one, I always think that I can take it home with me, take care of it and it will heal and grow strong and be okay. The challenge of bringing a sick animal, on the brink of death, back to life is almost irresistible to me. I’ll throw a fit about walking up 777 steps to Mount Popa because of the ...
Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: eBikes, Scooters, Tuk Tuks, and Taxis — By Jennifer Shipp

The transportation options in Bagan and in Myanmar are important. In Guanajuato, Mexico, where we’ve lived for the past 3 years, taxis and buses are available, but most of the time we walk everywhere. In Bagan, Myanmar though, the hot weather makes walking unpleasant. Climbing on an ebike and having the breeze blow through my hair is a lot nicer than walking when it’s 100 degrees outside. So we’ve all ...
Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Adventures in Burmese — By Jennifer Shipp

Yesterday was a long day. We’d decided to try to get air conditioning installed in John’s and Naing Naing’s office space, a necessity in a country that hits over 90 degrees+ every day of the year. We’d put it off as long as we could because John and I needed a break from all the inconsistencies of our daily lives. We’d spent about a week dealing with the heat in order to avoid dealing with people. But we ...
Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Lydian and Naing Naing: In Myanmar — By Jennifer Shipp

Some stories are like lotus flowers; they bloom in layers with each new set of petals adding a transformative shape to the whole. It’s hard to tell these stories, because they aren’t linear. They’re like Indian epics--Ramayanan characters engaged in famous battles but meanwhile imagining new worlds or earnestly wishing new beings into existence that cast off on digressive journeys of their own. Over the ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Notes on Learning Burmese…

So it looks like we’ll be spending quite a lot of time in Myanmar which means that it could be helpful to learn Burmese. The language, so far, has not been totally impossible to learn, at least the 27 words or so that I know right now. It’s a tonal language, but the tones have proven to be less straightforward than those in the Mandarin language. Some Burmese language systems say that there are three tones, ...
Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: Housing and High-Speed Internet — By Jennifer Shipp

During the first two weeks of our time here in Bagan, Myanmar, we needed to find a house to live in, furnish it, get Internet (we hoped for higher speed Internet than what was available at the hotel) locate food to cook with, and figure out how to get around the city easily in the heat. We were staying in the Crown Prince Hotel in New Bagan, which had adequate Internet services in the lobby, but we had only ...
Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp
AsiaMyanmarSoutheast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar: The Inner and Outer Realities of Place — By Jennifer Shipp

When John and I were here in Bagan, Myanmar in January, before we knew that Lydian was going to fall in love and get married to Naing Naing, we loved it here. There was something about this place that was just really comfortable to us. It felt like a small town in Nebraska, but not a modern small town...a small town before there were color TV’s, Netflix, and a hundred plus channels in every home. A small ...
The Full Central America-4 Experience: On Being Turned Away at the Border –By Jennifer Shipp
Central AmericaCentral AmericaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasNicaragua

The Full Central America-4 Experience: On Being Turned Away at the Border –By Jennifer Shipp

My brother sent me an email that the border crossings in Central America could be difficult for us with the changing Trump dynamics with Mexico otherwise I wouldn’t have known about the “problems” there. Our lives are intimately following the so-called “immigration issues” in the U.S.We aren’t crusading for change. We aren’t trying to change the world. We just want to cross the border with Naing Naing, ...
Working Toward, “Yes”: Crossing the Most Important Borders
Caribbean

Working Toward, “Yes”: Crossing the Most Important Borders

Every time I sit down to write about This Journey, I don’t know where to start. There are pragmatic bits that seem really important. Like how Naing Naing, a Burmese citizen with a very weak passport, has now visited 11 countries (by tomorrow around 8:00 PM he will have visited 14) while many American citizens (with one of the strongest passports in the world) never visit even one country outside of the ...
Hoping for Honduras: Planning a Wedding from Outer Space — By Jennifer Shipp
CaribbeanCentral AmericaHondurasUncategorized

Hoping for Honduras: Planning a Wedding from Outer Space — By Jennifer Shipp

The people on remote islands tend to be a bit closed-minded, like people in small, isolated towns in the Great Plains.

But people in bigger cities bumble. They stare at the their phones as they walk down crowded sidewalks. Why are big city people so tuned out?  John has taken to running smack into them head-on just to prove a point.

The language of the country where ...
Spring Break — By Jennifer Shipp
Uncategorized

Spring Break — By Jennifer Shipp

Spring comes around againInto my hemisphereAnd I feel something missingSomething that was lost in the winterThat fell from my heart like teardropsFrozen



I imagine the green and I exhilarateOver the possibilityOf having fewer imperfections this timeThough the imperfections are the mostSun-drenched parts of me that poke through the ...
Choose Your Own Adventure: The Big Bang vs. Blisters
Uncategorized

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Big Bang vs. Blisters

When I was 5 years old, Grandpa had a heart attack. My dad found his body in the field on the other side of a truck where they’d been scooping wheat or corn (as I recall). Dad and Grandpa were alone in the field, miles from town and other human beings, so Dad rolled up a coat and put it under Grandpa’s head. Then, he ran to the truck and drove to my Grandma’s house to call 911 (this was before cell phones ...
Opening Act: Nuclear Pig / Main Stage: St. Vincent and the Grenadines — By Jennifer Shipp
EcuadorSouth America

Opening Act: Nuclear Pig / Main Stage: St. Vincent and the Grenadines — By Jennifer Shipp

Where do you want to go?How much do you wanna risk?These are the lyrics of a Coldplay song called “Something Just Like This”. This song is smack dab in the middle of a playlist that I listen to almost every day. It's like the song was written with our family's current life situation in mind. Sometimes, out of the blue, there seems to be a blip in the matrix of life and the lead singers of my ...
Near-Death Experiences and Thoughts from Terminal 4
Uncategorized

Near-Death Experiences and Thoughts from Terminal 4

Over the past two years, John, Lydian, and I left a place we called Home and we named a new place Home. We camped inside this cement structure like squatters and learned, through this physical and existential discomfort to regard this Home-Base in a new way. Two months after the building was completed, Lydian, John, and I left on our annual winter trip abroad. Southeast Asia was the chosen destination; a ...
Wishing for Death in Thailand: Malaria — By Jennifer Shipp
Uncategorized

Wishing for Death in Thailand: Malaria — By Jennifer Shipp

You know you’re really sick when you shit yourself.

I won’t say more about that, but I do want to point out that, malaria is quite a trip. A lot of people don’t realize that malaria is a long-distance journey. It can last for years if you’re not paying attention to yourself. Like all parasites, it brings people down in cycles and then loosens its grip insidiously to allow timely returns ...
Bruised Banana