NC People: Khmer protests June 10, 2016

One reason I love North Carolina is for the great people who have been here for generations and those that have just come to call our state home in recent years and decades.   After the Khmer Rouge terrorized the people of Cambodia and “orchestrated a genocide” in the 1970s many Cambodian people came to North Carolina.  They have started small businesses across the state, sent their children to college to become doctors, teachers, nonprofit professionals, dentists, programmers, bankers and more.  And now they are starting to raise their grandchildren – the first generation of their family to be born in the U.S.

They spent the early years of their children’s lives in refugee camps in Thailand, such as  Thailand’s Khao I Dang camp which according to the UNCHR, now that it has been reopened as an education center, will “offer[] lessons in life-saving coordination during the Cambodian exodus and responsibility-sharing to help rebuild refugees’ lives.”

Despite their hope for a better Cambodia, they are worried to see the state of politics in their home country.  Worried for family that still lives there, worried that terrible atrocities will be repeated.  Protests were organized yesterday, June 10, 2016, across the U.S.  Here is video of a D.C. protest in front of U.S. Capitol.

Cambodian Prime Minister “‘Hun Sen and his surrogates are telling American citizens that if they exercise their right to protest on US soil there will be attacks against the political opposition in Cambodia,’ said Brad Adams, Asia director. ‘The US government should say publicly that it won’t allow a leader with a proven record of violence to chill speech in the US.’”  Learn more at Human Rights Watch here.


2016 Good Summer Reads


Looking for some summer books?  Suggestions from my recent reading.

(1) In Other Words – Jhumpa Lahiri

(2) Liar Temptress Soldier Spy – Karen Abbott

(3) The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert

(4) Euphoria – Lily King

(5) The Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka

A Tanger Garden Stroll Any Day (Greensboro, NC)

Any day of the week . . . any month of the year . . . there is always a walk in Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden waiting for you.  That is if you find yourself in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Whether it is exercise or a stroll through to enjoy the gardens, it is always a good idea.

The 7.5 acre garden was established in 1976 as part of Greensboro’s bicentennial celebration.  Through sculpture and restored buildings it serves also as a memorial to David Caldwell (1725 – 1824) and those students who would have attended his college on the adjacent property in the late 18th and early 19th century.  For more garden history go here.

The main garden is handicap accessible.  The wild flower garden is accessible with some assistance, but there are a few steps and hills.  Lastly, make sure not to miss the Camberly Garden which is in honor of Camberly Holliday, the daughter of former Greensboro Mayor.  For more on garden features go here.  While you are at Tanger, don’t miss the Bog Garden at Benjamin Park that is just across the street (handicap accessible).

Continue reading

Starry Night at Wine and Design NC

The Starry Night is a post-impressionist painting by Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch painter.   It portrays the view from his window in June 1889.  Circa September 2014, it was a starry night at Wine and Design in Greensboro.  Jordan facilitated the soundtrack and guided our paintbrushes to create our own views of the starry night.  The original work can be viewed (if Wikipedia is up to date) at the MoMA in New York City.

To paint your own starry night or other masterpiece in just a few short hours, check out your own class at Wine and Design.  Locations across North Carolina.

Instructor's Painting

Instructor’s Painting

Continue reading

Hazelnuts Creperie Part Deux (Charlotte, NC)

A trip to Charlotte is not complete without a stop at Hazelnut’s Creperie in Uptown. I have tried many of their savory crepes – some of my favorites are the Curry Chicken and the Basil Pesto. This past weekend I sampled a sweet crepe for the first time.  The Banana Split Crepe was definitely worth the extra calories!


Beyond the delicious variety of breakfast, savory, sweet, and vegetarian crepes at Hazelnut’s, you experience wonderful service and see the heart that the owner, Asi Agajan, puts into every crepe.  See him in action here in my earlier post.

If you love crepes and love supporting small businesses, check out Hazelnut’s the next time you find yourself in Charlotte.

Stolen Moment at Galilee (Tabgha, Israel)

In my travels, I rarely take photographs of others, it always seems that to take a photo would be an intrusion into another’s world.  Even so, I have been guilty of intruding on several occasions . . . One such time occurred as I stood along the bank of the Sea of Galilee, watching a nun walk slowly out into the water and back to shore, gently holding up her tunic.

Nun by Sea of Galilee

As I watched her path into the sea and back, I imagined her growing up in Paris, and then sometime after World War II deciding to follow her call to become a Franciscan nun . . . her travels eventually bringing her to call Tabgha home.  I pictured her praying daily just up the hill in the 4th-century Church of the Primacy of Peter.  I couldn’t resist stealing a brief moment from her with my camera to capture the moment for myself.  I can still feel the slight breeze coming off the sea, the lovely sound of the water lapping against the stony bank, and the sounds of children’s laughter as they played next to the church.

16th Street Baptist to the Sistine Chapel

I have visited many churches, temples and synagogues during my travels.  In honor of Lent, some of my favorites through the years . . .

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Montreal, Canada)

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

The effect of the light and the intricacy of the scenes portrayed in black walnut is breathtaking. For detailed photos of the Crucifixion, Last Supper, and more go here.

I also loved the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur, which was restored after a fire, in 1978, with beautiful modern linden wood and bronze altarpiece.

Continue reading

Embrace Your Inner Artist at Wine and Design! (Carrboro, NC)

Chapel Hill-20130130-00987 Chapel Hill-20130130-00981 Chapel Hill-20130130-00983 Chapel Hill-20130130-00975Paint a picture of the Old Well?  Me, who struggles to sketch anything beyond a stick figure and was recently given coloring advice from a 4-year-old?  Actually, it is completely possible courtesy of the amazing teachers at Wine and Design in Carrboro, NC.

I recently joined a group of friends for a Wednesday evening class on painting the Old Well surrounded by blooming flowers.  All you need to bring is yourself and your choice of beverage and snack.  Everything else is provided for you from the canvas, to paint, apron and step-by-step instruction as you paint your masterpiece.

Don’t want to paint the Old Well — or like me looking for another painting option?  Visit their online calendar to see what paintings are coming up soon and reserve your spot in the class.

NC People: A Gift in Tillery (Halifax County, North Carolina)

One of the greatest gifts a person can give another is to share their story.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Tillery, North Carolina.  Beyond the natural beauty to be enjoyed everywhere you looked, I had the privilege to hear the stories of several members of the Tillery community and experience great cooking at the Resettlement Cafe.Halifax-20130119-00896

Tillery Plantation was farmed by 150 slaves at its peak and descendants of those slaves as well as other farmers from across North Carolina and the Southeast formed the Tillery Resettlement Community in the 1930’s as part of the New Deal Resettlement.  “Persistent racism in the administration of [USDA] programs” led to some farmers of Tillery losing their land and today none of the 300 original families or their children are farming in Tillery.

Continue reading

Do What You Want, and Say What You Feel in 2013

As 2013 knocks on the door, I find myself again reflecting on a passing year and setting expectations for myself in the coming year.  I shy away from “resolutions” that cannot be kept and are soon forgotten.

However, I do find value in setting goals for myself to accomplish throughout the year.  One of those goals this year is to follow the wise words of Dr. Seuss.  Each day of 2013, I will strive to:

Always do what [I] want and say what [I] feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.


It is so true and I wish sometimes I had started implementing the life lessons shared by Theodor Seuss Geisel when I first enjoyed his books as a child – it would have saved me a lot of guilt and worry.  But, better late than never!  For more stellar adages from Dr. Seuss go here.

I wish you a very Happy New Year and hope that you will follow my journeys on NC & Beyond in 2013!