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2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
I am considering my neighbors all over the world this morning, beginning with the big spider I chased under the gap below the front door before I even got my coffee water boiling, not a favored morning activity, but a better outcome than if the arachnid neighbor had managed to scurry in some other direction on its eight tippytoes.
A jin-joh - Khmer for the smaller of the two local geckoes - appeared on my ceiling not long after the spider was dismissed, and I welcome a jin-joh anytime, which is a good thing because it would be a challenge to remove a jin-joh from the high ceiling of my apartment.
My students, who are also my neighbors, are not just unenthusiastic about our neighbor the tok-kai - Khmer for the larger of the two local geckoes - they are frightened and repulsed by the creature that has apparently taken up residence in a little nook above the backdoor to the classroom. They shudder when it calls out its name in its loud mechanical voice.
I have a neighbor across the globe in British Columbia, Canada, a woman I have never met, but who has given me a multitude of profound and hilarious surprises on Facebook. Her latest is five break-up songs for those of us who are less than enchanted with the upcoming Holiday of the Symmetrical Heart.
My favorite break-up song, Bob Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street," wasn't among my Facebook neighbor's five, but I remembered, fondly and awkwardly, how patient the neighbors of my youth were with me during a particularly bitter ending when I frequently threw my windows open wide, turned the volume all the way up, and sang along.

2010 Banglamphu, Krung Thep, Thailand
Monitor lizards in the park, in the canals, who knows where else they lurk? They're a bit more skittish than pigeons, and I'm not sure what they eat, but when I return to Krung Thep - short name for what the locals call Bangkok - I'll consider trying to feed one. Fortunately, they seem to travel alone - like me! - and since they are just a little intimidating - enormous cat to medium dog in size - I'm just as glad.
The road
A week ago I was waking up for the first time in this city. If my cold is breaking up, as it seems to be, maybe I can get on that bus for Siem Reap tomorrow. If not tomorrow, the next day, Chinese New Year, which shares the date of the Biggest Hallmark Holiday of Them All this year. Chinese New Year may be a big deal to the locals, but it isn’t that big a deal to me, though I do think I’d rather spend it in a smaller place, or at least on the road there.

2009 Tarnow, Poland
Reading over one of the discussion board comments for my Creative Teaching Techniques and Utilization of Multimedia course, I realized that I had been thinking that one of my classmates was a guy, and she turned out to be a girl! Now there's an experience I never would have had in a traditional classroom!

2008 Robotnicza, Debica, Poland
Settling in
The teacher whose place I'll be taking here at my new school encouraged me to spend as much of today as necessary getting to know my students, and letting them get to know me, which is about all the energy I have, reeling as I am from my first two master's program classes and from an uneasy adjustment to my new apartment, where I apparently have an undisclosed number of rats for roommates, and where said roommates have had a negative impact on the bathroom plumbing, to put it politely.
My greatest sources of stress at this time are the possibility of having to leave this apartment - where I’ve had a couple of wonderful nights’ sleep, and where I’ve finally unpacked all my suitcases - and getting to the different places where my classes are held on time - I so want a bicycle - and shopping for everything from vegetables to boots.

2007 Parque Xalteva, Granada, Nicaragua
Temporarily back home
It was lovely to walk home to Parque Xalteva from Parque Central, where the bus from Leon dropped me, after the ayudante who seemed to like looking at me as much as I liked looking at him, wished me, “Que la vaya bien.”
Leon was the perfect experiment in solo overnight travel. I didn't do much book study of Spanish there, but I spoke a lot, expanding a guide's role into that of Spanish teacher by asking him how to say various things, when I was able to demonstrate - knocking on a door - or point - to my compass - and by shifting conversations from English to Spanish with two new acquaintances, and rarely fumbling.
Now where will I go next?

2006 St. Johns, Portland, Oregon, United States

Damage control

I don’t recall her name.
I do remember I admired her
as much for inviting her best girlfriends
to the corner table at the Alibi

at eleven in the morning,
where she kept the pitchers coming
while we matched serial numbers
and taped the torn pieces back together,

as for ripping up all the twenty dollar bills
he tried to bribe her with
the night before while he looked on
in queasy disbelief.

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