From Dallas to Greece

 small church in Oia, Santorini

small church in Oia, Santorini

When I suggested Greece for this year's out of country vacation, I had no clue what to expect. I remember seeing a photo of blue skies and white buildings and thought it would be fun wandering around a place with such a mystique. Stunning architecture gets me every time. 

What I was introduced to when we landed at Athens Airport was a familiar but distant way of life. The people, open. The food, Mediterranean. The weather, hot.

Here is a visual diary of our travels. 

FIRST STOP: ATHENS 

 streets of Athens, Greece 

streets of Athens, Greece 

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Photo Jun 12, 10 00 37 AM.jpg

Our Athens Airbnb was tucked away on a small street near several restaurants and a 15-minute walk to the Monastiraki Flea Market and the Acropolis. The newly renovated modern apartment had everything we needed for our short stay in Athens. 

The best advice I was given while touring the market, "watch your purse, there are magicians around here." 

 

NEXT STOP: MYKONOS

 The iconic Mykonos windmills

The iconic Mykonos windmills

We road to Mykonos Island on a ferry ride I could have done without. Two hours later we arrived at the port greeted by our new host Panos. He informed us about the small island, its beaches, restaurants, and the markets nearby our cabin-style dwelling. 

The significant part about Pano's property was a small private beach that could only be accessed from a rickety gate off the roadside. But once through the gate the homes and the views on this side of the island were spectacular. 

 I'm standing on top of the roof for this shot, you're welcome! 

I'm standing on top of the roof for this shot, you're welcome! 

 A path to the small private beach

A path to the small private beach

 a new friend 

a new friend 

NEXT STOP: SANTORINI 

 Oia, Santorini 

Oia, Santorini 

 Our Airbnb was everything! 

Our Airbnb was everything! 

 Daily visitors 

Daily visitors 

Go to Santorini for the steep cliffs, gravity defying architecture and Oia. Unfortunately, not the beaches if you want to keep your rental car in one piece

After saying goodbye to our Santorini host, we headed back to Athens for our return flight home. We had a few days to check out the Acropolis Museum, a rare Thai restaurant with a chef who studied in Thailand and picked up food and trinkets for the return trip back to Dallas. 

The Japanese Paper Cut Artist

lime green windbreaker japan

He called himself the Paper Cut Artist. At least that's what was written on the sheet of laminated bluish construction paper he handed me. He spoke no English at first, just nodded and pointed to his name and his artwork around the small knick-knack shop. I liked the small man in the lime green windbreaker the moment I saw him. 

Judging by his work, it appeared he had been at the craft for more than thirty years. His cut out's appeared studied and intentional. The work of a man with a steady hand and a quiet mind. The artist is not throwing paint meticulously at a canvas. I imagine he wakes in the morning, boils water, adds a bag of Japanese Green Tea and heads to his desk to begin art making for the day. The desk is wooden with one shaky leg. Once he completes his work, he heads to the small shop located a few feet from Arashiyama, the Japanese Bamboo Forest, and waits for tourist.

The "Paper Cut Artist" does not sell his creations. My husband and I asked, "I do it for hobby," he murmured in broken English. 

 A younger  PAPER cut artist    IN THe top left. 

A younger PAPER cut artist IN THe top left. 

paper cut out artist

Signs of Japan: Trump, Women's Rights, and How to Properly Use the Bathroom

One of the first things I noticed when my husband and I arrived in Tokyo, Japan were the street signs. They were everywhere, explaining everything. I was interested in how a city like Tokyo communicated its messages, honored traditions, and beliefs with foreigners like myself. 

Below are a few signs I found unique and worth sharing for obvious reasons. 

No Smoking While Walking

Smoke blow back is annoying and one thing was made clear in a city like Tokyo where 9.1 million people call home - respect. This sign prevents others from having to consume your toxic lifestyle. 

 Ground sign in Tokyo

Ground sign in Tokyo

Trump

No elaborate caption necessary.  

 Asakusa 

Asakusa 

Women Only

How do you prevent unwanted groping on public trains? Create a women's only car. Whether you find this to be a solution or a setback to women's rights, what is clear is something was done to address this growing danger in Japan. Read more about train groping in Japan here

 Osaka Station 

Osaka Station 

How to use the restroom

Sometimes we all need a reminder. 

 Osaka

Osaka

Don't Rush

New Yorkers take note. Running me down to catch the S train is mean: "Don't Rush Onto The Train." Also, the video circulating a couple years ago regarding people being shoved into a train is not completely accurate. We traveled to Japan during Golden Week,  a national holiday in which millions of people are off of work. Public transportation was busy, but not that busy. 

japan train station

International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ 2017)

ISOJ 2017

I was not supposed to go to the journalism conference. As luck would have it, my sweet friend sent me a random link on Linkedin a month or so before ISOJ 2017 was to take place. The conference was informational, eye-opening, and a chance to meet and learn more about the news media I ingest on a daily bases.

The widely discussed topic of the conference was the news media and the 2017 presidential election. The goal, how to move forward. 

 Lian CHang and i 

Lian CHang and i 

 Clara jeffery, editor-in-chief of mother jones 

Clara jeffery, editor-in-chief of mother jones 

 a bag from my friends at chinese sandwich (China30s.com)

a bag from my friends at chinese sandwich (China30s.com)

 craig silverman, media editor at buzzfeed

craig silverman, media editor at buzzfeed

Here are two of my favorite sessions from ISOJ 2017: