Hello, and welcome to…well, whatever this is. A travel journal, an op-ed column, a personal diary. I have been encouraged lately to start writing again, and decided to do so in a more formal setting than I have previously. I am not sure where this will take me, but any and all subjects will be fair game.

As the “About” page will tell you, my name is Jennifer. I’m in my mid-20s and originally from Sacramento, California. I mention this not because I live there now (and have not for quite some time) but because where a person grows up influences their worldview…and this is certainly true of me. While I have worked very hard to shed any outward stereotypical “California girl” traits or indicators – really, no one should say “hella” or use “like” as a placeholder word — if I am honest, culturally and mentally I am still very much a product of my California upbringing. The southern parts of the United States especially might as well be another country for all I have in common with most people who live there. (Seriously. I am pretty sure the only thing we share is a hatred of the DMV. Because no one likes the DMV, not even the DMV.)

Moving right along.

While I do not claim to be always qualified to speak on any of the political/social/economic issues I will inevitably rant about, it is important to note that I will not just be talking out my ass. I got my BA in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University (in the US) and my MA in International Studies from Durham University (in the UK). If this tells you nothing else, it at least says I know how to research and cite my sources. (Although citations will depend on the subject and how lazy I am feeling at the time of a particular post.) Additionally, I have lived, worked, and studied in the Middle East, and travelled in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and the South Pacific. (I’ll get to Central and South America eventually. All that food. Sigh.) Basically, I am highly educated and have seen a bit of the world — something I do not take for granted — and therefore will not air my opinions on a subject until or unless I have something to back them up.

Turning to a more light-hearted subject, I am a proud nerd who participates in all aspects of geek/nerd/fandom except video games, which I suck at. Expect posts about Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the lack of female characters in television, why Eccleston is the best Doctor, books I am reading, etc. etc.

On a personal note, I have two younger sisters; my favourite colour is green; I do not like camping; I am certified as an advanced open water scuba diver; I am a good cook but an unpredictable baker; and I have an unfortunate tendency to fall in love with the most unavailable person I can possibly find in my general vicinity.

I think this is enough to be getting on with, but before I end this first post, one final point…

Past history has shown that my seemingly hard-and-fast beliefs can be challenged or even reversed when presented with new information and/or a well-reasoned argument. If I am writing about a subject that you have a personal interest in or knowledge about, please share! I do not know and have not experienced everything (and wouldn’t want to try) and I’m sure there will be times when my lack of knowledge will fail me, so please, let me know where I have erred and why, and I will correct myself from then on. Ignorance can only be combatted by respectful education.

Additionally, I do my very best to keep an open mind and encourage differing opinions…as long as they are aired politely. Comments and friendly debates are welcome, but please note that any sexist, racist, or LGBT-phobic statements, hateful speech, personal attacks, sweeping generalisations, blatantly untrue or un-fact-checked remarks, or anything else I deem disrespectful will be deleted and the poster blocked if possible. I know the internet is a breeding ground for arguments and hate, but I would like this space to be a nice one, in general. Please help me maintain that. There is a big difference between exercising your right to free speech, and just being an asshole.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you stick with me as I figure this whole blog thing out.


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