Cutting for Stone

I joined a book club earlier this year, through the Community Services Center (they meet in the evenings – yeah!), and this month we read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. It’s a semi-autobiographical account of a young man (a twin) growing up in Ethiopia, who later goes on to become a respected doctor (and professor at Stanford University!) in America. I won’t spoil it for you by giving away any details but it was definitely a fascinating look into another culture.

As a writer, I’m always interested in what inspires others to write. I decided to learn more about Dr. Verghese: and I sent the following note:

Dear Dr. Verghese, in preparation for a book club discussion of Cutting for Stone, I read with interest of your current research into bedside manner. Recently (20 months ago) I became a living kidney donor and, because you wrote so beautifully about the twins’ experience in your book, I thought you might be interested in hearing about my donor experience, as it relates to your current scientific focus. If this is the case, I’m happy to relate my story….

And, he wrote back!! How many bestselling authors would take the time to respond to a random note from a complete stranger? He truly must embody the best of humanity!

Crazy Taiwanese signs

Everywhere you look, there are Mandarin characters; you can’t escape them – and no, I don’t mean the people! Every so often, someone has attempted to translate these lovely symbols into English, sometimes with hilarious results! I’ve been collecting samples of these little faux pas for over a year now so allow me to start sharing them with you…

After a long day at work, who couldn’t use a little extra Prozac?

Mmmm, after the Prozac kicks in, I’ll bet this synthetic candy tastes pretty darn good!

I’m not really sure who these snacks are supposed to appeal to….maybe people who want to look good nude?

And if the “nude” pretzels don’t do it for you, you can always try this exotic-flavored popcorn as a treat.

Happy Birthday InterNations!

In the spirit of global cultural exchange, an international organization with a thriving branch here in Taiwan is celebrating its 5th birthday. InterNations is an invitation-only expatriate community present in over 300 cities worldwide. It was designed for “people living and working abroad” to connect with each and with all ʺglobal mindsʺ. Each month, local events are held which bring both expats and locals together in a fun and festive environment. The website: is a wealth of information for anyone contemplating a move anywhere in the world! Here you’ll find “Expat Guides”, “Expat Magazine”, and links to information and InterNations events held around the globe. In Taipei, we are fortunate to have our very own chapter: , led by Francis Morris of El Salvador. I met up with Francis recently at a monthly DinnerNations evening held at Kunming Islamic restaurant. (Talk about a mini-UN!) When I arrived I knew only one other person and by the end of the meal, I’d not only made some new friends, we had already planned a get-together for the following weekend!

No, I didn’t get blown away by the storm…

It actually fizzled out, headed away from us, and then changed direction, swooping back by to dump a boatload of rain on us – but not enough wind to qualify for a typhoon day off! Oh well, there’s always next year….

Since then I have been so swamped at work, but never fear, I’ve had some fun adventures I’ll share with you shortly.



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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…