Things I’ve Learned from Being Transgender that Aren’t about Being Transgender - September 11, 2014 by zeldalegacy

After four years of hopping onto this transgender train, I’ve learned a lot about the world of gender and the world in general.
Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks

8 Things You Should Never Be Ashamed Of - February 17, 2014 by zeldalegacy

By May June

Our society is full of artificial norms and fake standards. Whatever is attractive is whatever you’re not. Whatever is normal is whatever you’re not. Whatever is popular is whatever you’re not.  Whatever is ideal is whatever is impossible.

Despite this, people are going to judge. You can’t stop them. But you can stop caring. Instead of worrying what others are going to think, embrace your quirks and guilty pleasures.

Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and screw the haters. You should never have to start a sentence with, “No judgment, but…”

Be unique. Be spontaneous. Be free. If you’re not going to be you, then who will?

To get you started, here are 8 things you should embrace and never have to hide. Enjoy!

1. Binge watching Netflix and eating Moon Pies until you pass out

Netflix

I was going to tell you why there’s no shame in this, but I only have 15 seconds until the next episode of Parks and Rec starts. Just know that whatever you had planned for today can wait until later. WHY WILL THIS WRAPPER NOT OPEN??

2. Facebook stalking your crush

 facebook stalking

Ecards are the best! They’re just so funny and insightful that you can’t help but smile a little as you like another one of your crush’s past profile pictures. People like to stigmatize “Facebook stalking,” but honestly that’s only because no one does it to them and they’re jealous. If your crush returns the favor and likes all of your pictures since birth, then you know they’re the One.

3. Taking selfies whenever you want

 selfie

I found this picture on Reddit labeled as a cringe pic, which is just another sad example of how people judge others. We admire ourselves in the mirror all the time, so if you happen to be looking good one day, take that selfie!

4. Drunk buying off Etsy

  copper meditation pyramid

Okay so you bought a 0 copper meditation pyramid off of Etsy. We all have those nights. And there’s no need to be embarrassed. After all, now you have a place to drink your herbal tea!

5. Not having any food in the fridge except Hot Pockets and ice cream

 eating ice cream late night

You’re a busy person, and sometimes you only have time for the essentials. Other times you need a little late night indulgence. So leave that fridge door open and sit on that counter. Like they say, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

6. Loudly singing along to Nickelback

  loudly singing

People like to hate on Nickelback, but honestly they don’t know why. It’s all just bandwagoning like with Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black. They’re all great artists whose songs you should feel no shame belting out in the shower, in your car, at home, and in public.

7. Walking around your apartment au naturel

 all natural

If there’s one thing that’s nice about not caring what others think, it’s saying buh-bye to makeup and buh-bye to clothes! Seriously, they’re such a drag. Don’t feel like you have to fit into whatever unattainable size society dictates. You might look like a popped can of Pillsbury dough, but inside you’re beautiful. And this home is a judgment-free zone.

8. Eating Dove chocolate and taking the wrapper’s advice

 dove wrapper advice calories

Uh, what’s the point of printing advice on the inside of the wrapper if you don’t listen to it? It’s like a horoscope, but tastier. No judgment here!

May June is a writer, part time photographer, and life-liver. She can’t remember most of her college years, but she assures me it was the best time of her life. In her free time May likes to browse Pinterest, watch female gorillas give birth, and advise her friends to get back with their exes. May would also like to thank elitedaily.com for inspiring this article.  For more completely original life advice make sure to follow May on Myspace and as always share typicalblogger with your bffs.


Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks

Dear Friends of Waiting Adoptive Moms: Some Things to Know - August 6, 2013 by zeldalegacy

1. Your friend is not crazy. (She is adopting.)

There is, I will admit, a fine line between those two but still it’s good to remember. The international adoption of a child requires enough paperwork to kill a small forest. And more governmental red tape than you can believe. Imagine your longest, most frustrating trip to the DMV. Now quadruple that, add in twelve more governmental agencies in two countries, and remember it’s not a driver’s license you’re waiting for but the final piece of paper that says this family you’re creating can finally, finally be together. Yeah. Not crazy. But close.

2. She loves a child she’s never met.

It’s possible. So possible. It’s irrational and crazy but it’s reality. Does she love them like she will once she gets to know them? No. But she loves them. She wakes up loving them and goes to sleep loving them. She drives to the grocery story and aches to have them safe and snug in the carseat waiting for them. She pushes her cart around the store and hears a child cry and her heart pounds wondering if her child is crying? Alone? Hungry? She might even have to leave an entire grocery cart full of food in the yogurt aisle to go home and cry because it just is too hard. Way too hard.

3. It’s difficult having your heart on the other side of the world.

To people on the outside they don’t look like our kids, on paper they might not be our kids yet. But in our hearts we love these children like they are and yet we’re not together. We’re moms without children. It’s an ache that doesn’t go away. It starts before we see their faces and only ends when they’re in our arms. So we walk about with half our heart missing. It’s hard to breathe, to think, to speak. Something always feels missing. Because they are.

4. She is addicted to her email.

It’s okay. This is a temporary condition and most make a full recovery. It can be diagnosed by refusal to allow separation from her smart phone, or glassy-eyed concentration as she clicks “refresh” over and over and over on her computer. Other signs may include: waking up in the middle of the night to check because it’s X time over there, and muttering aloud “must get home, must check for update, must get home” while out in public.

5. Her child has been through trauma.

If she’s like a lot of moms she won’t be advertising that fact everywhere because she respects her child’s privacy. But children don’t come to the place of needing a second family because they were placed in a cabbage patch by unicorns and leprechauns. Adoption comes from loss. Loss she will see in her child’s eyes and in their heart. Loss that as a mama can make your soul curl up in a ball for an ugly cry. So don’t tell her the kids are lucky. You wouldn’t tell a person who lost an arm that they’re lucky to have a prosthetic one would you? I mean yeah, they are lucky to have that replacement. But you know what would be luckier? Not losing that arm in the first place. So please be understanding. Also, maybe instead of asking for her child’s story outright ask “are you sharing about his history before you?” That gives her a chance to either answer you or bow out graciously.

6. Adoption isn’t pregnancy.

It just isn’t. Well, it is in that at the end of it the hope is to have a new son or daughter in your arms. But I’ve yet to meet a pregnant woman who wonders how old her child will be upon entry into the family. Adoption is different. There is no due date for us. Let that sink in. No due date. And even given preemies and late arrivals with the baby by stork method you have a narrow months-long window of time in which the baby will arrive. That brings us to point number seven.

7. She probably doesn’t know when the child is coming home.

And she has probably been asked this approximately twelve times that day. Because you, her awesome friends, care about her! (And also you secretly worry she’s going a little nuts, see point #1.) And I get it. It’s hard with adoption because you don’t know what to ask. I feel that way with pregnant ladies, like what am I supposed to say? “Your ankles really don’t look that bad do they?” Recently I learned the always safe phrase “you look great – how is baby doing?”, the adoption equivalent is “I know you must miss your kiddos, how is the adoption going?” Or, if you don’t have time to have her break down and cry all over you try the even safer “can I see your latest update pictures?” and then ooh and aww over their cute faces. Even if the pictures are horrible say something positive. I mean I don’t tell people that their sonogram pictures sometimes look like aliens made of bread dough. (Except yours Amy B. Yours is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.)

8. She isn’t sure they’re coming home.

This is the part of the adoption process that makes you want to crawl under your bed and not come out until it’s safe again. This is the part that tears you soul in two. This is the part that you wake up in the morning remembering and going to bed at night fearing. Because there are no guarantees. And that’s hard. No, not hard. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s not just the fear that your child might die before having a family, it’s that this child you love with every ounce of your being might grow up in an orphanage, on the streets, or worse.

9. Your friend is kind of stupid.

I know. That’s harsh. But it’s true. You try operating on a daily basis with only half your heart and half your brain, because that’s what it’s like. ‘Cause they other half of you is wrapped up in a tiny person who is half a world and what feels like a lifetime away. Also, because of the time zone difference it means that half of you is awake pretty much all the time.

10. She doesn’t need to hear your HAS (horrible adoption stories.)

Yes, I know, everyone knows of someone’s uncle’s neighbor who adopted a child and then the child burned down the school with the power of her mind after her classmates dumped a bucket of pigs blood on her. (Oh wait, that’s the storyline of “Carrie” isn’t it?) But sharing these stories are the equivalent of telling someone hopping in a plane for their first sky-diving session “I watched this video on youtube where a guy skydived. He died. And his body was all smashed and stuff.” Maybe it’s true but it’s also not overly helpful. Unless you’re the kind of person who also goes up to pregnant woman and says “I read a book about this lady who got pregnant one time, she gave birth to a kid who became a serial killer and sewed a suit of clothes out of his victims skin. (Shoot, that’s the storyline of “Hannibal” isn’t it? Well, I tried.)

Do “Adoptive Kids” sometimes grow up and do horrible thing? Yep. You know who else grows up and does horrible things? “Vaginal kids.” So really, the warning should be more along these lines: “You’re going to be a parent huh? Good luck with that.”

11. She has probably done her research

Don’t assume she’s going into this because of a driving urge to be mistaken for Angelina Jolie. Unless she is also demanding everyone call her husband “Brad” it probably comes from some deeper place. Or you know, her husband’s name really IS Brad. Chances are she’s read books on adoptive parenting, has agonized for hours over which adoption agency to choose from. Made a decision. Then agonized some more. She’s thought about the ethical questions. And if you don’t think she has then maybe ask. “How did you pick your agency?” “What led you to X country?”

12. She looks brave on the outside, she’s brave on the inside too. But she’s also a mess

Which, I think is what mothering and loving is all about. Being a mess. Throwing your love out there and not knowing if you’re ever going to get it back. It’s scary. It’s vulnerable. It feels like you can’t breathe and when you can it hurts to do it. And you don’t want to complain about that because you picked it. So you pick up the pieces of your heart and you keep going. You keep going because at the end of the day what you go through as an adoptive mother is nothing compared to what children go through when they live their life without family. And that’s what this journey is all about.

dear friends of waiting adoptive moms

edited to add this note: When I hit publish this morning it didn’t occur to me that this post would spread so far beyond the small group of friends and family who read my blog. Beyond the group of women who’ve become my friends during this adoption journey and who helped me think of topics to add to this post. I’m honored that each one of you have come here and read my thoughts, and honored that you saw fit to share this post with your friends. For those of you who haven’t read posts before I’d like to offer links to a few that I believe will present a more complete picture of my thoughts on the adoption process.

Adoption is an imperfect answer to an impossible question. I happen to wish that all Babies could be raised by their first mothers & fathers, the people who brought them into this world, the people whose blood history they share. But we don’t live in a world where “shoulds” always happen. Life is messy and painful, life includes loss and heartache. And so adoption exists.

All throughout the process of adoption I tried to be careful about calling our life here “home” for Nat. Even on his birth announcement I put “together” instead of “home”. I’m not sure all the reasons for the hesitation. Certainly I thought it, I believed it, I wanted it. But I also knew it wasn’t. He wasn’t coming home, he was leaving home. Leaving home to come live in a strange place that yes, would eventually BE home. Sometimes I think I over think things.

I’m ashamed to admit this but way back when, shortly after we heard the first child we were matched with was dying, I wondered why our adoption journey had to be so hard. So painful and soul-rending. I wasn’t expecting a rose petal covered path but I was hoping that some almighty power would at least keep the thorny brambles cleared off of it. But here’s the thing: if there was any fairness in this world my children would never have needed me in the first place. And there is something quite horrific about the arrogance of believing that God would make this easy on me when it wasn’t easy for my children’s other parents.


Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks

10 Things I Wish Weren’t Replaced By Modern Technology - January 27, 2013 by zeldalegacy

Mashable recently published an article called 50 Things Replaced By Modern Technology. As I looked through their list of things people don’t do anymore, I definitely felt feelings of nostalgia bubbling up. Some of the things, however, I was not sad to see phased out as modern technology evolves. One example is #22 on Mashable’s list: “Renew your car registration by visiting the DMV.” Thank goodness things like renewing your car registration are now made easier by filling out an online form instead of waiting five hours at the DMV. On the hottest day of summer. When the building has no AC and you’re sandwiched between the sweaty guy who doesn’t know what deodorant is and the poor woman juggling three screaming children.

I’m a sentimental person, so I decided to make my own list of things [on Mashable's list] that I wish WEREN’T replaced by modern technology. Check it out below:

print photography#1: Print photographs. I love printing photos, and I still do. Though it’s faster to upload an album onto Facebook than wait a day to receive my printed copies, there’s nothing quite like holding the actual photos in your hand and flipping through them as you remember the good times they hold. Shopping for the right frame for each photo is fun as well. Also, you can’t stick your Facebook photos on your wall to decorate your home (at least not yet).

#2: Handwritten letters. When I was little, I used to write letters to my best friend, who lived a whole hour away from me. Granted, we saw each other pretty often, about once a week. But it was still nice to go through the mail as a kid and get excited when something came addressed to me! Wall posts and direct messages on Twitter just aren’t the same. One thing I realized is that waiting for someone to respond with a hand-written letter really teaches a kid patience. It’s not like today, where you start to freak out when it’s been two hours and your friend still hasn’t responded to your email. Aren’t other people on email 24/7 like I am?

#3: Make mix tapes. This was like the ultimate sign that a guy liked you…in middle school. He’d hand you a mix tape full of the good stuff, like K-Ci & JoJo, Monica, Boyz II Men, maybe throw in some Savage Garden. Back then, that was practically the same as asking you out (lucky guy, he didn’t actually have to vocalize that he liked you, just make a mix tape). The thing I miss about this is that people would take time to think about what songs to put on the tape, and how to make it obvious enough that they cared for the person.

#4: Check a map before or during a road trip or vacation. I have mixed feelings about this one. If we’re talking about technology like a GPS that just tells you where to go, then I wish maps weren’t replaced by GPS systems. However, I’m fine with Google Maps. Mostly what I hope doesn’t happen to youth growing up in a technology-driven generation is that they don’t learn to read maps. I think knowing how to read maps is a crucial life skill and parents should teach their kids (or themselves) how to do so, even if it’s on an iPhone 5.

#5: Develop and send off film for photographs. This kind of ties into #1, but when I read this one, I remembered the days when I’d wind the film in my camera so it wasn’t exposed, then pop the back open and stick the roll of film in an envelope at Costco to be developed. A few days later, those rolls of film would magically turn into photographs that I could then put into awesome new frames!

cordless phone#6: Remember phone numbers. In elementary school, I could remember a good 5-10 of my friends’ phone numbers. Now, I can remember maybe two numbers. When I was little, I didn’t have a cell phone, so I’d pick up the kitchen landline after school, dial a number, and start chatting away. I realize I had just seen them at school, but sometimes you can’t explain why you do things as a kid.

#7: Make a photo album. Making a scrapbook also goes with this one. Uploading an album online takes minimal effort. But the effort that goes into making a photo album or a scrapbook pays off when you flip through them years later. Not only can you put photos, you can also add ticket stubs, letters, stickers, whatever you want.

#8: Send love letters. My elementary school boyfriend would write me letters, which he’d then give to his friend, who delivered them to me. I guess there’s a good and bad side to having physical letters which you can save. Obviously we’re not together anymore, but back then I’d read and re-read his letters until the paper was super wrinkled. Sometimes it’s just a nice keepsake, and physical love letters are something you can look at without having to turn on your computer first.

stockvault handwriting#9: Hand-write essays and school work. I really, really hope hand-writing never gets fully phased out. Sometimes, when I haven’t written with a pen for a while and then I do, it’s super embarrassing. It’s like what I’d imagine a first-grader’s hand-writing looks like. Another reason why kids should still hand-write essays and school work is so that they can fully appreciate how good they have it with modern technology at their hands.

#10: Keep a personal diary. I’ve got a collection of journals/diaries at home (no, I won’t tell you where) dating from sometime in middle school to college. I used to write in them before I went to sleep. Mostly about guys I liked and how emo I was. But it was incredibly therapeutic and a great way to get my thoughts out of my head so I wasn’t consumed by them. Also a good way to practice my hand-writing. The danger of keeping a personal online diary is the potential for it to be hacked and your secrets exposed to the world. Or even an accidental publishing as “Public” instead of “Private.” Of course, with off-line diaries, you also run the risk of your younger siblings finding them and reading them secretly (true story).

Check out Mashable’s list for yourself. What are some things that YOU wish weren’t replaced by modern technology?


FreshlyPressed

I Don\’t Know About Any of These Things - November 17, 2012 by zeldalegacy

I am a 24-year-old, college-educated, middle class, caucasian male. I graduated from a private University in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree, and I have a little gold sticker on a fancy piece of paper that says “Cum Laude”. In other words, I went to school, studied hard, worked hard, and received a good education like the millions and millions of others just like me. I am writing this post as a representative of a well-educated, accomplished, and motivated slice of the U.S. population. I am concerned right now because I have come to realize that I know very little about the world I live in. I am preparing myself to become an independent, to move out on my own and start taking care of myself without the safety net of parental guidance. As I ready myself to embark on this fateful journey, I am starting to discover that I don’t really know anything.

Despite my education and social standing, I remain more or less in the dark about a lot of things. Here are some things I do not know about; what is going on in Libya, what an Investment Bank does, how Healthcare works, the problem with Social Security, what is going on with the Housing market, what a Mutual Fund is, the conflict in Israel, the conflict in Iran, the consequences of my own college loan debt on the Economy, and plenty more important issues going on in America and around the world.

 

I am not proud to admit that I don’t understand these things. Some of them I even know a little bit about, but if you asked me to explain them to you I wouldn’t be able to. These are questions I would definitely get wrong on a test. As I have said before, though, I am not uneducated, and I am not ignorant. I watch the 6 o’clock news, I read magazines, I surf the web. I am also interested in many other subjects. I spend my Saturdays watching College Football and I study the BCS Rankings like a pollster studies election results. I could recite to you the history of Dave Matthews Band without taking a breath. I could effortlessly rant for twenty minutes about why Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning. I know all of the details of the Lance Armstrong case. I  know far too much about Kim Kardashian. I can name off the top of my head, less than two days after the story broke, who David Petraeus had an affair with. I know all about Don Draper and Walter White, but please don’t ask me about Bain Capital or the Private Sector.

David Petraeus – The newest household name courtesy of news media.

My question here is, where is the disconnect? Was it our education system, are schools focusing on the wrong subjects? Are we learning too much advanced calculus and not enough current events? Was it on me to take Economics, Finance, Government, and International Business courses as a Communications major? Perhaps, instead, it is the media’s fault. The news media doesn’t report on these issues, they report on scandal, disaster, sensation, and celebrity. Maybe I should be reading Time magazine and watching MSNBC, but I’m not sure that will even help. I have been watching the news for the past two hours and so far I have seen reports on David Petraeus and Hurricane Sandy. Two hours of news coverage dedicated to two topics. As a woman once said in a viral YouTube video, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”, and she’s right.

This is what Twitter deemed most important in 2010. The only 2 news stories were disasters.

In our everyday lives we don’t have time to read about or seek further information on all of these complex issues if they aren’t spoon fed for us. Instead we learn about the things that trend on Twitter and get shared on Facebook. We spend our free time debating sports, listening to music, and watching TV shows. I have learned more about current events by watching HBO’s “The Newsroom” than I ever did by watching the actual news. We live in a technology driven and celebrity obsessed world in which important issues fall by the wayside in favor of the latest sex scandal, celebrity breakup, or slanderous political statement. As I become an adult and head out into this terrifying “real world” I’ve heard so much about, I am doing so with a paper thin knowledge of real world issues and a rock solid understanding of pop culture. I am concerned about which information I will be calling on in a few years time and I am worried it will be the former. I am worried that I am going to be scanning bullet lists I find on Google when it comes time to find health insurance, buy a house, or file my taxes. Most of all, however, I’m worried because I know that I’m not alone.


FreshlyPressed

Top Ten Things to See in Zambia (with Photos) - April 3, 2012 by zeldalegacy

Here’s a list of the top ten things you should do if you visit Zambia, a country in Southern Africa. Zambia lies southwest of Tanzania, which is featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill. The two countries are similar in many ways, with plenty of opportunities to see amazing natural beauty, go on thrilling wildlife safaris, and experience Africa’s unique culture.

This list is based on my own experiences when I lived in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital and largest city. These activities and destinations will give you a taste of what this interesting country has to offer.

1. Victoria Falls/Mosi-oa-Tunya (Zambia/Zimbabwe): Arguably the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls in Southern Province never ceases to amaze visitors. This is Zambia’s — and Zimbabwe’s — biggest tourist attraction. It lives up to its local (Tongan) name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning "The Smoke that Thunders." Most visitors stay in the nearby towns of Livingstone, Zambia or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The upper falls is in Zambia, while the lower portion is on the Zimbabwe side. Both offer different and spectacular views of this natural wonder. Of special note are the two statues of the explorer and missionary David Livingstone (1813-73) locate on each side of the falls. Livingstone is still revered by many Zambians, and the City of Livingstone is named after him.

Victoria Falls (4)

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The best time of the year to visit the falls is between July and September, when the Zambezi River is aplomb with water. In November and December, the falls are almost dry and look like a canyon. Heavy rainfall fills the Zambezi between January and May, and it’s difficult to see the falls through a wall of mist created by falling water.

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For a few weeks in November, the water level is so low that visitors can swim in the "Devil’s Pool.” It’s an experience of a lifetime and highly recommended if you visit at that time. The pool lies at the edge of the falls with a 105-meter (350 foot) drop on the other side. Although it looks terrifying, the Devil’s Pool offers brave souls the sensation of swimming in a whirlpool bathtub. If you’re an adventurous sort, there’s also bungee jumping or zip lining from the Victoria Falls Bridge and whitewater rafting in some unruly rapids below the falls. Keep in mind that these activities can be dangerous. In January 2012, an Australian woman nearly died when she bungee jumped off the bridge and the cord snapped, sending her plummeting more than 110 meters (360 feet). Thankfully, she survived both the plunge and the crocodiles below.

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2. South Luangwa National Park: South Luangwa National Park is one of many national parks in Zambia, and the most popular, because it’s filled with abundant wildlife. It’s a short flight or a ten-hour drive from Lusaka via Eastern Province. Flying is more convenient but can be expensive. The daytime and nighttime game drives in South Luangwa are fabulous.

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For high-end lodging, stay at the Chichele Lodge, the presidential retreat of former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda (1964-91), or at Mfuwe Lodge. There are numerous less expensive lodges and bush camps in and around the park.

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3. Lower Zambezi River: The Lower Zambezi River basin in Southern Province is a short drive south from Lusaka and a great place for a long weekend getaway. There are several lodges near the towns of Chirindu and Chiawa not far from the confluence of the Zambezi and Kafue rivers. It’s great for bush camp excursions, hunting, fishing, and boat cruises, and popular with tourists who want to fish for tigerfish or camp "in the bush."

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4. Northern Circuit: Zambia is keen to promote tourism in Northern Province on the Tanzanian border. Kasaba Bay on Lake Tanganika, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is currently under development as a major tourist destination. Once it’s completed sometime in the next decade, the area will boast several high-end resorts. Fly to the Mbala airport near Kasaba Bay, or into the regional capital, Kasama. Hire a car and travel the back roads through beautiful country with subtropical forests, colorful villages, and spectacular waterfalls overshadowed by Victoria Falls such as Chishimba Falls.

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5. Saturday Dutch Market: Every last Saturday of the month, Zambia’s largest open-air market sets up shop at the Dutch Reformed Church in the Kabulonga area of Lusaka. Artisans from Zambia and neighboring countries bring their arts and crafts to you. It’s one of the few places where you can find Zimbabwean soap stone sold next to Zambian copper plates. You can also taste a variety of ethnic dishes and buy produce. If you miss this market, try the smaller Sunday Market at the Arcades Shopping Centre in Lusaka that happens every week. Be sure to bargain – the vendors will reduce prices below their original quotes and expect you to barter.

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6. Lake Kariba: Spend a weekend on the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Kariba, located in Southern Province on the Zimbabwean border. Stay in the town of Siavonga for a relaxing getaway. Take a boat cruise and visit Lake Kariba Dam. Dine on local crayfish. Click here for a detailed account of our trip to Lake Kariba in 2010.

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7. Western Province/Barotseland: Western Province, also called Barotseland, is a large and relatively remote province on the Angolan border. To get there, fly to the capital, Mongu, and hire a car, or self-drive. The province is home to Liuwa Plains National Park, the most isolated and least visited of all national parks in Zambia.

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It’s worth a trip in November at the end of the dry season to see the world’s second largest wildebeest migration, when the herds turn south and head to Namibia. A word of caution — the park is very remote and impassible by land during the rainy season. Even with a 4′x4′ vehicle, the roads are very sandy and difficult to navigate any time of the year. It’s better to visit with an experienced guide.

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Western Province is also worth a visit in April to watch the Kuomboka Traditional Ceremony held each year by the Lozi tribe commemorating the end of the rainy season. The date varies with the end of the season. Held at the Barotse king’s palace in Limilunga, it is arguably the country’s most famous traditional ceremony and a great example of Zambian culture. The gift shop at the Barotse Royal Museum sells local arts and crafts. With recent political unrest in Western Province, ask ahead if you’re thinking about attending a ceremony, and avoid discussing Barotseland with locals.

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8. Kafue National Park: Although not as famous as South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park in Central Province is a good weekend getaway from Lusaka. It’s Zambia’s oldest and largest national park. Although it suffered for years from game poaching, the animal population has recently rebounded. It’s an easy three-hour drive west of Lusaka, and after a paved road is built, north from Livingstone. Stay at Mukambi Lodge, which is easily accessible from the highway, or at one of several lodges that follow the Kafue River south to the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam. Go with an experienced guide if you plan to venture off the beaten path.

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9. Visit a compound: Most urban Zambians live in neighborhoods known as “compounds.” Ask a local whom you trust to take you in the daytime to one of the safer compounds. Try drinking Shake-Shake chibuku (fermented corn meal) at a local pub. Two of the largest and safer compounds in Lusaka are the Bauleni and Kalingalinga compounds. Walk around the compound and savor the unique flavor of everyday Zambian life. Meet new friends who will be curious why you’re visiting. Leave your valuables at home to avoid petty theft. Below:  Kipushi, a town on the Zambian-DR Congo border.

Compound (1)

The following photos were taken in compounds around Lusaka and Solwezi, the capital of North-Western Province.

Compound (2)

Compound (3)

Compound (4)

Compound (5)

Compound (6)

Compound (7)

Compound (8)

10. Kasanka Bat Migration: Each October, the world’s largest migration of giant fruit bats happens at Kasanka National Park in Northern Province. You’ll go batty with excitement or fear from the approximately eight million fruit bats that swarm harmlessly above you in a beautifully orchestrated dance.

Kasanka (1)

Kasanka (2)

I couldn’t list everything you can do when you visit Zambia. Some honorable mentions include the Source of the Zambezi River, a place of special significance to the Zambian people, in the remote Mwinilunga district of North-Western Province; Shiwa N’gandu in Northern Province; the mines of Copperbelt Province; Lake Bangweulu in Luapula Province; and the Livingstone Memorial in Itala where David Livingstone’s heart (yes, his heart) was buried under an Mvula tree.

The Zambian climate fluctuates between the dry season (July-November) and the rainy season (December-May). Although the best times to visit are in May and November, Zambia is always beautiful and welcomes you with open arms.

Luangwa (12)

Map picture

Note: This is an updated version of a blog entry originally posted in April 2011.

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an ebook and in print on Amazon.com. His next book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, will be released on March 31, 2012. He lived in Lusaka, Zambia during 2009-11 and now lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.


FreshlyPressed

A Brief History of Apple Not Buying Things - July 31, 2011 by zeldalegacy

And so it begins again. BGR has an exclusive scoop from an “unproven” (ooh!) source: Apple is in talks to buy Barnes & Noble, the country’s last remaining national bookseller. As BGR points out, the acquisition would get Apple B&N’s digital books and other publications (which it might conceivably want) and Nook hardware (which it surely doesn’t), along with hundreds of retail outlets which it could either shutter or convert into Apple Stores. (Enormous Apple Stores! Usually located conveniently close to existing Apple Stores!)

Here’s a bit of deep insight from another BGR source (the story doesn’t say if it’s a proven or unproven one):

It also almost makes too much sense for Apple to do this, said another source of ours, mentioning that Apple doesn’t make moves that appear logical to most outside observers at the time.

Well said. For years, Apple has confounded the rest of us by not buying things that it should clearly be buying. Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple’s strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions.

We’ve been over this before, but it’s worth a recap:

2003: Apple shows it’s not that serious about this music thing after all when it doesn’t buy Universal Music!

2004: The world wonders if Steve Jobs has lost all common sense when Apple doesn’t buy Pixar, a company Jobs already runs!

2005: Industry watchers the world over do a double-take in unison when Apple doesn’t buy TiVo!

2006: Apple tips its hand to its disinterest in the phone market by making a strategic decision not to buy Palm!

2006: It makes no sense at all, but Steve Jobs’ large ownership stake in a legendary Hollywood company doesn’t lead to Apple buying Disney!

2006: For reasons lost to history, Apple doesn’t take the easy route to success in gaming by buying Nintendo!

2006: Bizarrely, it turns out that Eric Schmidt didn’t join the Apple board so Apple could buy Sun!

2007: I still recall my shock and disbelief when I learned that Apple would not be buying AMD!

2008: Steve Jobs’ legendary fondness for Flash inexplicably fails to result in Apple buying Adobe!

2008: Two years after its mysterious refusal to buy Nintendo, Apple once again spurns the Japanese by not buying Sony!

2009: Apple makes a rare strategic misstep when it ultimately decides not to buy Yahoo!

2009: Apple’s continuing disinterest in gaming is confirmed when it doesn’t make a dramatic bid to buy Electronic Arts!

2009: Apple’s WWDC is a memorable one as Steve Jobs doesn’t announce “one more thing:” Apple is buying Twitter!

2009: In a move surely made primarily to confuse us all, Apple does buy Lala.

2010: With unprecedented boldness, Apple doesn’t use its huge stockpile of cash buy EA, Sony, Netflix, Facebook, or Disney–yes, simultaneously!

2011: Apple’s careful consideration of a Hulu bid continues to result in…nothing!

Now, take this for what it’s worth–remember, I’m not a professional analyst–but a careful reading of history indicates that the news of Apple’s discussions with Barnes & Noble can lead to only one outcome: Apple not buying Barnes & Noble. Like BGR says, it’s simply too logical to happen.

[BONUS EXERCISE: Tell us what Apple would be like today if it had done the logical thing and acquired Universal Music, Pixar, TiVo, Palm, Sun Disney, Nintendo, AMD, Sony, Yahoo, EA, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu.]


FreshlyPressed

Things to Watch For When You Get An Auto Insurance Quote - July 15, 2011 by zeldalegacy



There are more and more people that are looking to get an auto insurance quote from a few different places to ensure they get the best price and rates possible. You can opt to go online and get a quote from several places at once, or you can go to a local agent to get a quote. While getting your quotes and policies online is safe, there may be just a few things to keep in mind before you finalize things and while you are going to get your quotes.

Getting your policy online has added more convenience, but there are more and more people out there who are just trying to make a quick buck, and even companies that seemed perfectly legit are not so legit once you begin doing business with them, and usually when people discover that, it’s too late.

Don’t Offer Too Much Info

While you are going to have to give some basic info in order to get your quote, do not offer more than what is required. There are certain fields that are going to be required, and that should be the car info and some minor info such as your name and address as well as your age. While you want to offer as much as you can to get a more accurate quote, some things are not needed.

Stick to a Select Few Companies

While they say the best way to get a great deal you need to get an auto insurance quote form a few different companies. However, the more you get quotes with, the longer it is going to take you, when you could simply go online and get one quote from one company that is going to offer you quotes from others as well. You can find a better deal online as well because you are going to have access to other companies that are not even in the same state as you are, therefore they may offer competitive rates.

Get a Policy You Can Customize

When you are looking for a quote, try and stick with ones that you can customize to ensure you have a policy that is going to meet your needs. These policies are beneficial and you can add and choose things you want and eliminate unnecessary things.

When you are getting your auto insurance quote, these are things to make sure of. Do some research to an extent, and always make sure you are working with a legit company.

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