Living Abroad
A Different Mr. Fox

A Different Mr. Fox

  *If you’re not familiar with Mr. Fox, the one-hit-wonder reggaetonero from Cartagena (I think), check out the video for “USHHH.” You’re going to have to listen to the audio here, because it’s been removed from the video due to copyright laws. You won’t be disappointed.   -Text and illustrations by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com. All rights...
Maps and Markers: A Fish Vendor in La Boquilla

Maps and Markers: A Fish Vendor in La Boquilla

Mapping a section of La Boquilla A fish vendor down the street from my house Everyday I wake up between 5:30 and 7:30 AM. As part of my morning ritual, I wander over to the balcony and observe Boquilla’s principal street below. I see students meandering along the sidewalk in their uniforms, a grandmother sweeping her...
From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

When I was a child, my family had an old fashioned rotary phone connected to the wall by a curly cord. The numbers were arranged in a circle, and in order to call someone, you had to spin each one to a fixed stop position. I can still picture my mother, with her post-eighties perm, hurriedly twisting...
The House of Animals

The House of Animals

            -Text and illustrations by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com. All rights reserved.
Integration vs. Polo Shirts

Integration vs. Polo Shirts

The public high school–where the teachers are always nice and I don’t have to wear a uniform. I hate polo shirts. Polo shirts remind me of soggy french fries floating in dirty dishwater mixed with hamburger grease and crusted hot fudge. They remind me of running around with plastic baskets of chicken fingers, wearing chunky black non-slip shoes...
a lesson about pants

a lesson about pants

An acceptable outfit: jeans and a see-thru shirt. As I was sitting across from José, devouring a Mediterranean-style crepe, I shifted in my seat and felt a thin layer of sweat underneath my bare thighs. I was wearing a dress, and the air conditioner had stopped functioning in the restaurant. I thought about something that...
Mapping Movement: a week on the coast

Mapping Movement: a week on the coast

A few weeks ago, I took my map obsession to the next level by enrolling in a free MOOC on Coursera titled, Maps and the Geospatial Revolution. In the first week, we discussed why we use maps. I personally use maps in several ways, the most obvious being to navigate new places (even though I’m...
Festival de Dulces

Festival de Dulces

Today was the Festival de Dulces. The high school students celebrated by wearing jeans, blasting champeta, and selling goey mango, coconut, papaya and arequipe sweets. When I walked towards the school this afternoon, a bunch of kids yelled my name. “Sarah, a la orden,” one girl said, motioning towards the mango concoction on the table....
So, do you think I... ?

So, do you think I… ?

Sweating like usual. “I recently read an article about a guy–I don’t know if he’s from the United States or England–but he invented a lotion that you can use instead of showering,” my co-teacher mentioned. We were chatting in English while the students copied a huge chunk of text off the white board. “Interesting…” “I...
For expats and travelers: the e-book vs. real book debate

For expats and travelers: the e-book vs. real book debate

Since I’ve been roaming beyond US borders without a permanent residency for the past few years, I have several paperbacks, journals, and big, beautiful art books gathering dust on a bookshelf in my parents’ house. I love these books, but I’m a minimalist. Fascinated by the thought of storing unfathomable amounts of text on a single...
I Live on the Beach: an update and some goals for the next two years

I Live on the Beach: an update and some goals for the next two years

So long to schedules. The nine-hour days of Peace Corps training have ended, and I’ve entered a period of transition and adjustment. A month ago, I moved to my site, La Boquilla, located on the beach, 25 minutes north of the center of Cartagena. La Boquilla is an Afro-Colombian, peri-urban community mainly comprised of fishermen....
Living among the (domesticated) animals of La Boquilla

Living among the (domesticated) animals of La Boquilla

Along with the roosters, the birds wake me up every morning around 6:30 AM. When they begin to sing, I open my eyes to the soft morning glow sweeping through my bedroom window. They repeat the same short song for 20 or 30 minutes, their piercing chirps overpowering the steady hum of my fan. Then...