Around the World in 18 Barbers’ Chairs

Sitting in a barber shop in the coastal city of Split, Croatia, I struggled to answer the stylist’s simple question: How long would we be visiting Croatia? I had learned a smattering of Croatian words, but the names of the months had so far escaped me.

Remembering the calendar hanging above my head – albeit adorned with nude calendar girls – I flipped through the weeks and pointed to a date. As I exposed each month’s voluptuous model, the 70-something barber’s moustache-framed mouth curled into a mischievous grin. However awkward the method, I had satisfied his curiosity. Clearly I was in male territory, though.

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An Apple for an Apple: An International Tale of Citizen Diplomacy

As the midnight train bound for St. Petersburg rumbled through the pitch-black Moldovan countryside, I tried valiantly to remain asleep, but my attempts were futile. The cabin was cozier than expected. We had plenty of room to stretch out and we were given care packages filled with comfortable bedding. However, the atmosphere was sweltering hot and unfamiliar. Romanian-Moldovan and Russian filled the air, and even though the train was nowhere near capacity, the cacophony of noise made it hard to drift into a deep slumber.

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From Homeless Kitten to Swiss Prince: A Cocoa Update

Just one month ago, a 500-gram bundle of mischief and joy came into our lives on the streets of the stunning Ukrainian city of Lviv. As you may remember from my earlier post chronicling Cocoa’s adventures with us, the kitten’s story commenced in a sad fashion, when he was discarded behind a series of dumpsters right before our eyes. But I’m here to provide a very happy update.

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Homeward Bound: A Homeless Ukrainian Kitten’s Incredible Journey

As the golden leaves of autumn danced from the branches above, a man walked past us, a black kitten in his hands. Since there was an open-air pet market selling puppies in vintage playpens and kittens in birdcages just around the corner, we thought the man had just purchased a kitten. I had cheery visions of him perhaps taking it home to a jubilant family.

Instead, he walked behind a set of steel-grey dumpsters and dropped the kitten into a pile of mixed leaves and trash. Stone-faced, he then walked briskly past us, keeping his gaze forward and careful not to make eye contact with us.

My husband, Shawn, and I were speechless. Over several years of travel in many corners of the world, to include our home country, the United States, we’d likely seen hundreds, if not thousands of homeless pets on the streets. However, we’d never before seen one disposed of right in front of us.

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