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I was born in July, and one day has never felt like enough to celebrate the marvel of existing in this form, so for years now I have been having adventures – my favorite gifts – on many of the days in the month of my birth. Some of the best, and occasionally the worst, are documented here.

2010 McLeod Ganj, India
Today's adventure: Interdependence Day? Last year, when I was learning Polish, a colleague said this gave me independence. Lately, I have begun to think that language-learning is more about a relaxed and efficient interdependence. In Poland, I could ask politely if the bus went to Szczebrzeszyn (yes, really) instead of saying "Gongaikondacholapuram?" (yes, really) with a quizzical expression in Tamil Nadu. But in both cases I still needed help to find the right bus.

2009 Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The contrast from Dubrovnik to Mostar was shattering, the countryside, too, full of ruins. It looks as if the war in Dubrovnik took place a hundred years ago, and the war in Mostar took place last year.

2008 Tallinn, Estonia
I told a few people I was from Poland yesterday, and I got a tour of the mine museum in Russian for my reward. One of the guys there even spoke a little Polish and pointed out a booklet with a tiny bit of Polish in it.

2007 Granada, Nicaragua
I saw dung beetles yesterday, rolling a perfect sphere of what Miguel imagines the world would be full of it weren’t for these little iridescent blue miracles. It was part of our adventure to the other side of Laguna de Apoyo, a long ride and a short walk, half of it uphill in the sun.
Looking back on dung beetles, all the years I’ve read and wondered about them, and then to see them completely unexpectedly in the middle of a dirt road in the hills above Granada, well, I get that feeling in the back of my throat that precedes my eyes filling up with tears.
I may be thinking about Independence more so today then usual, but I don’t want independence from dung beetles. I am completely joyful in my dependence on them, though I fear I have nothing to offer them in return, except perhaps my admiration. I could have rolled their dung ball a little further in the direction they were taking it, I suppose. Maybe next time.

2001 Portland, Oregon
I’m having small adventures this month, all I really have the energy for. I sat on the porch and looked at my book called On the Porch first thing this morning.

1997 Portland, Oregon
David, acting as my biographer, wrote that I divide my time between Portland and Coos Bay. “That sounds sort of glamorous, doesn’t it?” he asked. “And it’s true, too,” I quipped, “just read my odometer.”

1993 Coos Bay, Oregon
I like what Lynn, my tent-mate, the other vegetarian-of-sorts in my field geology class, is trying to do by eating only fruits, parts that don’t kill the whole plant. Would eggs be okay? Dairy products should be fine. No rice. No sushi. Well, I might do a thing like that once every so often for the sake of adventure. It’s a bit like eating all foods that begin with the letter “p.” It makes me stop and notice what I eat.

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