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20 Things I Learned While I Was in North Korea

20 Things I Learned While I Was in North Korea
Well that was weird. I was only in North Korea for five days, but that was more than enough to make it clear that North Korea is every bit as weird as I always thought it was. If you merged the Soviet Union under Stalin with an ancient Chinese Empire, mixed in The Truman Show and then made the whole thing Holocaust-esque, you have modern day North Korea. It’s a dictatorship of the most extreme kind, a cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined, a country as closed off to the world and as secretive as they come, keeping both the outside world and its own people completely in the dark about one another—a true hermit kingdom. A question, then, is “Why would an American tourist ever be allowed into the country?” Allow me to illustrate what I believe is the reasoning behind my being let in: High Level Government Meeting And so, I was allowed in, along with a small group of other Westerners, accompanied (at all times) by three North Korean guides. 1. 2. 3. This is it. Related:  Studies in consciousness

Raechl | Herself. Where did you grow up? Holland, Mi. The Bible-beltline of the state. Were you brought up religiously/secularly/other? As much as our peers seemed to demand it, my mother was vigilant in keeping my childhood relatively open when it came to the possibilities of religious belief. Was there turbulence throughout your childhood/adolescence? Growing up in a Southwest Michigan town with a lesbian mother and a childish, mostly-absent father will cause some turbulence, definitely. Were you ever embarrassed about your development/puberty? With a mother as supportive as mine, I tended to dabble in gender-fluidity and sexuality but never felt any embarrassment over it, as I had been raised with the ideal that exploring aspects of ourselves is the greatest adventure we’re able to embark upon. Can you remember any key moments in your formative years that shaped you? Yes. Any that shaped your perspective of women? When did you become aware of your gender? Have you ever struggled with your sexuality? Yes.

The American Dream Still Exists How to Set Up a Beautiful Blog Today: Step by Step A new year is here. Why not resolve to create something meaningful? Why not start a blog? Creating this blog is one of the best decisions Ryan and I ever made. After all, our blog is how we earn a living. So, let’s say you’ve thought about starting a blog to communicate your thoughts and express your feelings. Since creating this blog three years ago, we’ve garnered an audience of more than 2 million readers, and we’ve learned a lot about blogging along the way. Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to start a blog. Video: Joshua Discusses How to Start a Blog Can’t see the above video? Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Set Up a Blog While there are free blogging platforms out there like and, nearly every serious blogger uses a self-hosted WordPress site because of its creative freedom and flexibility. Step 1. Step 2. We Use Bluehost. Step 3.

The Political Compass Travel While You're Young | Adam London This is the time for small paychecks and big memories. This is the time for travel. We are about as attached to one location as we are to our favorite Chinese take-out place. We know what we like about it, and we take comfort in the familiarity, but that's about it. - Jessy Tapper Last June, Jeff Goins wrote an essay for Converge Magazine titled, "Why you should travel young." Although the message is not new, I found myself nodding in fast agreement as I reached the heart of his writing: While you're young, you should travel. I've had these moments and I've felt these emotions. The Khmer Rouge killing fields? Two years ago I stood there in silence, unable to talk to two of my closest friends. I stood frozen, thinking of the men and women and children and the pain they suffered. I stood in disbelief, selfishly considering the site's affect on me. Through that naivety I became aware of just how large the world can be. I was a witness to how much there is to see, experience, and learn.

Your Family: Past, Present, and Future This post was originally published about a year ago. Back with new posts soon. I have one living grandparent—my father’s mother, who’s 89. Nana. I visited Nana recently and went through the usual activities—talking about myself in a loud voice, fixing her “broken machine” by unminimizing the internet browser window, being told to slow down Timothy and get in the left lane, even though the turn is still a half mile ahead. I don’t know you, but I can almost guarantee that you don’t ask your grandparents (or older parents) enough questions about their lives and the lives of their parents. During my visit, Nana referred to herself as “the last of the Mohicans,” meaning basically everyone she spent her life with is dead—her husband, siblings, cousins, and friends are all gone. So on this visit, I started asking questions. She was annoyed. But it only took a couple minutes for her to become absorbed in storytelling, and I spent the next three hours riveted. I knew none of this. Who were they all?

Food Timeline: food history research service I Didn't Love My Wife When We Got Married | Elad Nehorai I’m a ridiculous, emotional, over-sentimental sap. I guess that’s why I told my wife I loved her on our second date. I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly. I wanted to tell her on the first date, but I knew that would probably be weird. I still remember her reaction. She kind of gave me this half-shy, half-amused smile. I wasn’t heartbroken by the response. But as time has gone on, I also realized that she knew something that I didn’t. Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time. And that whole time I was swooning. But then we got married, and everything changed. Marriage, quicker than I was ready for, did this thing: It started sucking away that emotion. I tried so hard to keep that fire going, to keep that emotion alight, but it got harder and harder. I mean, how you can feel that burning love when you’re sitting at the table discussing how to use the last $20 in your bank account?