this

This was the view as I stood outside Dubrovnik’s walls after a long day of driving down the Croatian coast, continuously thinking this country couldn’t be more stunningly beautiful and continuously finding it could.

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the fading day along Dubrovnik’s shoreline

 

This scattering of dandelions pushing through the top of a stone wall made me pause and consider how the little things that we see as weeds can be both pretty and persistent.

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nature wins on the grounds of Bratislava Castle

 

This glimpsed in my review mirror made me stop, get out of the car, watch the sun slowly fade behind the mountains and muse that inauspicious beginnings can lead to surprisingly good ends.

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mountains rising beyond Mystras on the Peloponnese peninsula

 

This Christmas was unexpectedly and quietly lovely as I wandered the lighted streets of two capital cities and explored the beauty of a new country.

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the festive lights in Ljublana

 

This is the perpetual pose of the professor: papers and potables while pondering life choices.

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This is an image I seldom see.

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what 8am looks like from a Romanian classroom on a winter’s day 

 

This was my street during winter walks home.

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Strada Horea outside my apartment on a frosty evening

 

This is my daily reminder that the growing pains of history are both recent and raw.

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memorial to those killed in the street beyond during the 1989 Revolution

 

This is the sort of image reminding you that Romania has worked its way into your heart, despite all the surprises.

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sunset over Cluj

 

This kid – forever known as Wonder Twin – has been travel companion, commiserator, conversationalist, convivialist, conspirator and co-pilot, here in Romania and far beyond.

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Anna, deciphering the Latin inscription above a church door in the mountains of Montenegro

 

This little group – forever known as the #FulbrightFunFam – emerged through shared laughter, loves and lengthy conversations, in adventures far and near.

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Rick, Aidan and Anna on a Spanish hillside in Malaga

 

This is what happens when you finally decide to get that tattoo.

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“Is this going to hurt as much as Rick said it would?” — “Well…probably.” — “Oh boy.”

 

This has been a most unexpected year.

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this is an excellent way to approach life