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"Hands up, don't shoot"

How My 72-Year-Old Dad Got Arrested at a Protest Against Police Brutality

On Saturday evening my father, Tenney Mason, was in downtown Baltimore (my home city in the U.S.) attending ArtScape, a local arts festival. A group of #Afromation and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators walked past, and Dad decided to check it out. He had his camera with him and although he’s mostly retired, Dad spent many decades as a photojournalist and newspaper editor. When he sees a news story, he follows it. This is one of the photos Dad took of the demonstration. It was shot in front of Penn Station, Baltimore’s train station,  which is also right where Artscape was happening. (Photo: […]

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Reflections of a Jet-lagged Woman Between Continents

Over the past month I have been to the following places: Graaff-Reinet, and about seven other small towns around South Africa, Reunion Island, Istanbul (only for eight hours — will explain in a future post), Washington D.C. (I’m here now.) Fall leaves in Washington. I arrived just in time. Johannesburg is the one place where I haven’t been very much during the past month. As I’ve said many times before, I love traveling but I also hate being away from Joburg, especially for extended periods. I’m really grateful to be back in the United States at such a beautiful time of […]

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Taiwanese Mexican Food, Made in South Africa

Mexican/Latin-American food is one of the things I’ve missed most in South Africa. There are a couple of Mexican restaurants in Joburg, including one in Melville called Café Mexicho. (Read my reviews of that establishment — which I now think were overly generous — here and here.) But Mexican food in this town tends to be mediocre. It’s to be expected. My home country is filled with great Latin American food, but that is because it’s also filled with great Latin American people. Quality Latin American ingredients are available in every U.S. grocery store. In South Africa, on the other hand, […]

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Another Hemispheric Switch

A few days ago I was with my mother in Key West, Florida, watching the sun set from the southernmost point of the United States. Key West is famous for its sunsets. I can see why. I was initially a little disappointed in Key West. When we first arrived I struggled to see through the oppressive humidity and the grimy, booze-soaked, touristy-beach-town feel of Key West’s main drag. But like a lot of other places, Key West grew on me when I looked closer.

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Statue-Hunting in the Historic District

Everyone knows that Washington D.C. is a historic city. But unbeknownst to most of the world, D.C.’s history extends far beyond the monuments and museums around the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. Looking south down 16th Street from Columbia Heights, toward the White House (further away then it looks) and the Jefferson Memorial. Last Friday I went running through Meridian Hill Park — in Northwest D.C. between 15th, 16th, and Euclid Streets — and noticed how pretty it is. I decided to go back the next morning to take photos, and my friend Bob graciously agreed to accompany me (rising far […]

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Between Two Summers

It’s interesting that I chose this particular time to return to America. Summer is drawing to an end here, while it’s just heating up back in Joburg. It’s around the same time of year that I moved to Joburg in the first place, which is how my blog got its name. I woke up this morning — back in Washington D.C., crashing on Bob’s and Tim’s air mattress — feeling not only between seasons, but also between continents and lives. For the first time since my trip began, I had no particular plans. I kept today open on purpose, thinking I […]

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Middlebury Meets Africa

This past weekend I visited my sister Susanna in Middlebury, Vermont. For those of you unfamiliar with American geography, Vermont is a tiny state in the far northeast, bordering New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Canada. Middlebury is a quaint college town in the central part of Vermont. Instagram of my sister’s dog, Finley, on a stone in Middlebury honoring the Dalai Lama. His Holiness visited Middlebury during his tour of the U.S. last year.

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My Nation’s Capital at Night

So here I am, back in America. I landed at Dulles Airport yesterday morning. I’m really happy to be back in Washington D.C. — much happier than I expected to be. I’d forgotten how much I like it here. I’m staying with my friends Bob and Tim in their lovely apartment in Shaw. I didn’t know much about Shaw, which is in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. near Howard University, before this trip. It’s a beautiful part of town with an interesting history. Hopefully I’ll tell you more about it in a future post but at the moment I’m too […]

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Baseball, Football, Family and 9/11

Before moving to South Africa, I spent much of my adulthood living and working in the Washington D.C. area. But growing up, I lived closer to Baltimore. My parents are both Baltimorians. I was raised on Baltimore sports. Baltimore has two major professional sports teams: the Orioles (baseball) and the Ravens (American football). Baseball season runs from April to September and football season runs from September to January. I was home during that magical month when baseball season is drawing to a close and football season is just beginning, and I caught one game of each. My dad is a […]

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36 Hours in the Lowcountry

Hooray for WordPress, who Freshly Pressed Voortrekker: My New Favorite Afrikaans Word on Thursday. Thanks to everyone who read, commented on, and subscribed to my blog over the last few days. For new readers expecting posts about South Africa: I’m in the States and have been blogging about America for the past two weeks. I’ll return to my usual subject matter later this week. ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦ Between stints in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, I squeezed in a 36-hour visit to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where my mother lives. Hilton […]

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Where to Caffeinate in Washington D.C.

Today was my last day in D.C. Before leaving town I had hoped to visit (and blog about) the brand-new Martin Luther King Memorial. (We love our memorials in Washington.) But time and weather weren’t on my side. MLK will have to wait for my next trip home. Instead, I’ll leave you with some pictures of Filter, one of my favorite D.C. coffeehouses. Filter is hidden away on a residential street, just north of Dupont Circle at 20th and S. I’ve spent many happy mornings sipping coffee at Filter with my friend Bob, and that’s exactly what I was doing […]

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