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Meet your ESL coworkers
Meet your ESL coworkers

ESL attracts an interesting cast of characters…Many ESL teachers are lovely, open-minded, hardworking people…but of course, those aren’t the characters you write home about. The ones who stick in your mind are the ones who exist far on the outskirts of social and psychological norms. Below are profiles of some typical characters that you’ll meet in the teacher’s room of an overseas language school.

Patron saint of my round-the-world trip
Patron saint of my round-the-world trip

Tom Gates travels from Boston through Amsterdam, Paris, and Stockholm, where he finally meets the person who inspired his round the world trip, and reflects on the journeys so many of us have taken, and continue to take at Matador.May 20, 2001, Logan Airport, BostonI have blagged my way into the British Airways lounge by complimenting the check-in lady on her silver dollar-sized earrings.

Learning to travel light
Learning to travel light

Photo by ny156uk (Creative Commons)I have to admit, I’m not all that great at traveling light.I’m far from the worst out there – you won’t see me carting around a hair dryer and straightener or multiple pairs of heels – but on my earliest backpacking trips, I routinely filled my pack to the point where I couldn’t lift it into an overhead rack without help.

Problem-Solving: Made in Africa
Problem-Solving: Made in Africa

I don’t want to become that “look! a good news story about Africa!” girl, but hey, here I go anyway:Look! A good news story about Africa!AfriGadget.com is a website that showcases the latest inventions and problem-solving tools created by entrepreneurs – often self-taught amateurs – on the continent.

When a part-time writing job in Korea became international fraud
When a part-time writing job in Korea became international fraud

It started with a random email worded like a banking offer from a Nigerian prince: “I have a business proposal you might be interested in.”It came from a grad school colleague, and it concerned an opportunity to do a job she could no longer do herself. Thanks to Facebook’s all-seeing eye, she knew I was living and working in Korea.

What’s In Your Backpack, Tom Gates, Matador Editor?
What’s In Your Backpack, Tom Gates, Matador Editor?

Matador Life Editor Tom Gates liesamidst the innards of his backpack.Matador Goods is starting a “What’s In Your Backpack?” series and I’ve been asked to take it for a road-test, since I’m about to do a lap around the world.The innards of my bag are currently spilled out on the floor and I’m about to make decisions about what stays and what goes.

5 Reasons You’ll Be Addicted To The Wire‏
5 Reasons You’ll Be Addicted To The Wire‏

Catch up on one of the most critically acclaimed TV series of our time.Hailed as great television, The Wire premiered in 2002 and has been steadily winning converts ever since.This mind-blowing television drama lets you get more than just an in-depth look at the less respectful aspects of Baltimore, Maryland.

Toys For Grown-Ups: The A.R. Drone Quadricopter
Toys For Grown-Ups: The A.R. Drone Quadricopter

Feature photo by David BerkowitzRobots aren’t just sex and eye candy. Some can even battle other robots, in midair.Remember those remote-controlled helicopters? The ones that you could control with a remote, and they’d be all fun until you got distracted and steered your expensive aircraft nose-down into the sidewalk?

Notes on Pimping Life and Death
Notes on Pimping Life and Death

I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species.–Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)I AM A VOYEUSE. I have been a watcher since I was five and my mother went mad in our kitchen.Her terrible wordless singing carried into the bedroom. I turned the pages of a coloring book slowly, my eyes tethered to a bunny, a white house, a parrot in a tree.

Nice day for a white wedding
Nice day for a white wedding

I’m arriving late to the ‘I threw up a little’ reception.FANCY HAVING a colonial-themed wedding? Why not hold it in Mpumalanga, South Africa? And for good measure, let’s include guests and servants whose composition, from appearances, might well resemble the heyday of Kenyan aristocracy. Y’know – before the natives got all uppity.

“Maldivians abandon archipelago; Establish new country in Australia”
“Maldivians abandon archipelago; Establish new country in Australia”

Photo: Ahmed ZahidFirst, the facts: The average elevation of the Maldives is four feet. And even the slightest rise in sea levels–which is all but inevitable–could make the Maldives a modern-day Atlantis.This weekend’s New York Times Magazine included a fascinating article by Nicholas Schmidle about the Maldives, that archipelagic collection of 1,190 islands in the Indian Ocean.

Pueblo Inglés: Best volunteer experience in Spain?
Pueblo Inglés: Best volunteer experience in Spain?

Photo courtesy of Barbara HicksLisa Lubin explains how to enjoy a week of good wine and great conversation in the heart of Spain – for free.Habla Ingles??What if I told you that I just had a whole week’s vacation in a four-star villa in a small, beautiful village near Salamanca, Spain and it included three full meals a day with wine and it came with about forty new best friends …all for free?