Try A Staycation

How often have we said, “We should take a week and just explore our own town.” Well, this summer we finally had a chance to do exactly that. Our friends from Europe came and stayed with us for a week. We were able to take a week off and explore the Twin Cities with them. We did a number of fun activities every day – but there is so much more that we never had a chance to do. Nevertheless, here’s an itinerary of the things we did do. Many of the activities were outside because we had perfect weather, but we had a list of indoor activities for rainy days too. These included museums, movies, theater or day trips to other nearby towns. Some of these ideas cost no money. Others had a small fee. Some were more expensive. Choose ideas that fit your budget. I hope you find it helpful or that it sparks other ideas of things you could do if you decide to staycation in your town.

Monday we took a bike ride around Lake Nokomis. We picnicked by the lake and then headed over to see Minnehaha Falls.

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Image result for lake nokomis bike riding


Tuesday we headed to Lebanon Park. We went swimming and kayaking on Schulz Lake.

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Wednesday we took an informal tour of historic St. Paul including a Mississippi River walk, the James J. Hill House, the Cathedral, photo op of the Capitol followed by lunch at Café Latte on Grand Avenue. We did a quick walk around Mall of America later in the afternoon. That evening we enjoyed local produce, live music and a picnic dinner (food trucks!) at Eagan Market Fest.

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Image result for eagan market fest

Thursday we followed Mark Twain down the Mississippi River on a paddleboat ride. Beautiful scenery and you may even see large hawks or eagles. A summer salad, grilled pears topped with feta cheese and honey along with wine on the deck made a great atmosphere for conversation late into the evening.

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Friday found us at the Minnesota Zoo. We enjoyed lunch there too after are walk around the exhibits. The evening found us at the City Center Park in Burnsville listening to more live music and enjoying the fountain plus a sunset view of the Twin Cities – all free.

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Saturday we got up early for a quick walk around scenic Blackhawk Lake. The afternoon was reserved for swimming and chopstick painting. Dinner was spring rolls and easy fried rice in Chinese takeout containers eaten with – of course – chopsticks.

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Sunday everyone made their own omelet-in-a-bag. Boil a pot of water. Everyone takes a sandwich sized zip lock bag marked with their name. Break 2 eggs into a bag. Add veggies of your choice (mushrooms, green onions, peppers, basil) and shredded cheese. Be sure the bag is sealed. Squish to combine the ingredients and drop into the pot of boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Remove the bag, open and roll out your omelet onto a plate. Add melon or other fruit, coffee and serve. Everyone can eat their own custom omelet at the same time.

Sunday afternoon it was time to take everyone to the airport. Their vacation continues but we had a great staycation while they were with us!

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Beach Town of Flic en Flac

One of the most well known vacation spots in Mauritius is the beach town of Flic en Flac. The pastel bungalows in the photos are its calling card.

Our hosts (Marcel and Marceline) rented a bungalow for two nights so that we could spend some time at the beach on the Indian Ocean. Chris, Champa and Rita, friends we met in Mauritius, also had a place at Flic en Flac. They provided an impromptu picnic on the beach for us while we were there! It was an afternoon of fun, delicious food and great conversation.

The beach is great, the water is warm enough that you don’t have to get used to it – you can go right in! We really enjoyed our time at Flic en Flac.

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An Invitation to Mauritius

Traveling is always an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. I like to travel – but I prefer travel with a purpose. Almost two years ago I visited Slovenia in order to present a paper at a conference – and to learn about Slovenia and Slovenians. This year I had the opportunity to travel in order to teach and to learn as well.

Recently, we visited the nation of Mauritius thanks to a generous invitation from our good friends, Marcel and Marceline, who live there. Where is Mauritius you might ask? Mauritius is east of Madagascar – the large island off the eastern coast of Africa. Go east of Madagascar to Mauritius – a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Traveling to Mauritius requires two very long plane rides. The first half of the trip is an eight-hour plane ride to Paris (or Amsterdam) and the second is a twelve hour flight to Mauritius.

Situated in the tropics, near the equator, Mauritius was just beginning its winter season when we were there – end of March, early April. Nevertheless, it was quite hot and humid by our standards – although this was relative. It was perceived as cooler by those who live there, compared to the even hotter summer temps.

Our hosts live in the area of Rose-Hill outside of Port Louis, the capital city. This is the northwestern area of the island. Breadfruit, sour sop (tastes like a passion fruit, a very large passion fruit!), bananas and more grew in the courtyard area of their house. In addition, Marceline created a beautiful container garden along the stairway up to their front door.

Picture1Picture2 Come along with me as we explore the country of Mauritius.

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What Can Women Do To Resist Patriarchy?

Patriarchy is the primary source of poverty. Since those struggling with poverty are primarily women and children, it behooves us to ask what we as women can do to end the patriarchal system that causes so much poverty.