Western Coast of Ireland -Town of Brae

Western Coast of Ireland -Town of Brae

I don’t know if you can see the changes that have come over me.

In these past few days I’ve been afraid that I might drift away

So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs,

That make me think about where I came from

That’s the reasons why I seem so far away today….

Oh but let me tell you that I love you,

That I think about you all the time.

Caledonia you’re calling me and now I’m going home

If I should be come a stranger,

Know that it would make me more than sad

Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had

In Memory….we raise a glass to Renee Mahon ~ 1929-2009….you are missed every day…


Yes please.

Yes please.

Skiff Race

Skiff Race



Took the train today to a cute fishing town in County Wicklow called Bray (Bre’ in Gaelic) just 20km (12 miles) south of Dublin. Riding the train or any transportation off the ship for that matter is part of the journey. It can be challenging to figure things out but it was fairly do able today. Spent this day with Pat, a fellow staff member and new friend – easy and fun travel partner! It was an overcast day but even the worst day by the ocean is great – right?

Back in the day, Bray – “Gateway to the Garden of Ireland” – was a summer  and eventually grew to become Ireland’s largest seaside destination. http://www.bray.ie/

Once off the train, we popped into and indoor flea market and the man inside gave me an Irish poster for free! It was happy “propaganda” to inspire hope in the recent (still?) tough economic times. Wandered into a coffee place (surprise) and had a wonderful snack of brown bread, Irish butter, raspberry jam and a “flat white” coffee – espresso w steamed milk over the top and swirled in a cool design that made me feel a little emotional for its beauty (that happens a lot). Hooray for all of the above!

We walked along the beach toward a boating competition. Youth from the area were competing in open rowing boats called skiffs. There are 4 rowers and a coxswain in each skiff. The boats are much wider than rowing shells – more like dinghies. They remind me of the boats we rowed in Lifeguarding on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee! We walked up the path to Bray Head to get a better view and ended up talking to parents of one of the rowers. Dad was a rower when he was young and now coaches/supports their kid in this sport.

Then train to Dublin and now it is back to sea! The power of a tiny tugboat allowed us to do a BIG Y turn in a very narrow slice of dock water. After we pushed off, the little craft pulled us backwards, then forwards out of our berth and toward the open ocean.

We passed the GIGANTIC Ruby Princess Cruise ship and waved at the mini people – that was nice…their ship is (WAY) bigger than hours – 3000 or so on that pretty, floating piece of iron.

Two blasts on our horn signaling we were under our own power meant we were free to head out to the blue waters and sail north to Norway. It was a lovely ride out…past the breakwaters and out to sea…

Only 2 days at sea…See you soon Motherland!

Where is your Mom-Land???

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin






The Band

The Band – guy on far right,  the one to his immediate left, and guy in front of him….

Listened to live traditional Irish music tonight with Nellie, Julie and Caterina in a pub called The Stag’s Head in the Temple Bar area. A local group – 3 men – called The Blaggard’s – guitar, mandolin, tin whistle, bodhran (pronounced bow-rawn, a highly cool drum played with a single rounded end stick) and another kind of boxy drum the guy was sitting on. It was GREAT! Got home LATE via taxi after a stop for salt and vinegar Tayto’s – the official crisp brand of Ireland. Life is good.

The small, low-ceilinged basement room was mostly empty when we arrived around 10pm and by 11pm it was packed and moving. These guys are experts and regulars here according to the bartender who served me up my first and only Guinness here in Ireland…it was a beautiful…I may have cried a little as he served up the perfectly drawn and well-timed pint.

The guitar player’s name was Colin and he’s the dad of the young woman who cut my hair today in the Aveda salon I walked a few miles to find – how about that? When I asked her about the best place for live traditional Irish music, she said, “Well, let me tell you! It’s called The Stag’s Head and my Dad plays the guitar”. She had me at Stag’s Head! That’s the name of the pub in London that my BFF Sue Mahon and Danny O’Neill claimed as their local – the one with the world-renowned musicians, the one that they and their Camden market friends went to after things closed down every Sunday night, the one with the excellent Thai food, the one they considered home… the one I went to a few times the year I was there with Sue (1995) and even took some of my students there the year following…Good times I say!

I hope my friends loved it…I said hello and introduced myself to Colin – happiness all around…got a little choked up when they played Caledonia at my humble request in honor of Sue’s Mama. It is a beautiful song about Scotland but anyone can relate to the lyrics of love and leaving…check out this version by Dougie MacLean (he wrote it in his 20’s at a time he was particularly homesick…)

There was some also some Paul Simon, Johnny Cash..a round of Whiskey in the Jar and Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair plus loads of songs that most of the people there all knew the words to. Most of the night, they were dancing at time times with a pretty high Guinness-fueled level of frenzy and freedom….the real deal.

All in all a lovely evening – when we left long after midnight, things were still rocking…

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin



Single paper ruling my work on the ship :)

1 of 2 – These single sheets of paper ruled  my working life on the ship 🙂

2 of 2 The Academic Calendar

2 of 2 – The Academic Calendar

Quiet duty day on the ship – it’s a little cooler and I am quite content to be here – had two really nice conversations with Sue – the mom of one of one of our faculty and Jerry – a wonderful crew member at the coffee/snack bar. It’s around 1630 (4:30pm) and I am enjoying a cuppa tea and a little snack of an oatcake and a piece of cheese from Tesco’s in Scotland yum! Dinner starts at 1730-1930 (5:30-7:30pm) but I am trying to eat later so I do not snack as much later at night…when we are at sea I tend to fully participate in our regular 2200 (10pm) snack of sandwiches and cakes and cakes, sandwiches, plus cakes.

No events last night – yay! Things are warp speed at sea with only a few days for classes, meetings, and programs. Slept through the night in spite of the ongoing wild dreams I have here! AND slept in, read a little, wrote a little, rested a lot. All luxurious blessings.

Life on the ship is so interesting – I am sure we only see certain sides of things – how things run, what gets done, who works when. The crew works constantly at sea and in port. I have seen them cleaning late at night – the glass on the stairwells, polishing the railings, wiping the elevator doors. AND, magically my room is tended to every day! Rommel is my Cabin Steward – he is so kind and friendly – I keep my cabin extra tidy so as not to be a burden to him….I sure hope my residents do the same….

Do you have any luxurious blessing today?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin


Entering the Port of Dublin

Entering the Port of Dublin

Cafe Costa - Essential Coffee

Cafe Costa – Essential Coffee


Eva and Me

NOTE: Today is actually August 29….AND 8 days ago we lived on a ship…time flew by like a seagull picking up a french fry off a table on Deck 7…I am working hard to finish this blogumentary for you and for me…so allow me to backtrack…..

My new friend and fellow RD Emily shared this metaphor at our meeting today…for her, Semester at Sea is a reset button…a chance to pause, step back, review, regroup. Emily sailed years back as a “ship kid” with her parents…now back as staff – I like that!

I am hoping this voyage is a redefining experience for me…maybe not a reset, just a step back and maybe a mere 35 degree shift in my life, in my thinking, in my approach…Maybe a freeing from what I think is holding me back or holding me down.

Maybe a reset is needed to allow for the shift? Will advise…

On the TEDx scene – I met with my coaches today, Nancy and Shan – helpful feedback to refine my message – it is so much harder to talk for a shorter time! 10 minutes feels like nothing – usually I have 45-60 minutes to go on tangents, tell additional stories – go way out on a side story and loop back around to wrap things up. This is going to be an eye-opening experience

Arrived in Dublin today – this is a fairly industrial looking port but there is a shuttle – yay! I needed some time to get myself together so I opted out of some structured programs to be on my own with some peeps. Took our time going into town on a shuttle provided by SAS – nice! It rained quite a bit while we were in Café Costa – kind of cosy to be inside coffee-ing and wifi-ing and to get a little caught up on things…

In our wanderings, Margaret and I came across an animal rescue group on one of the squares….we got to meet some super cute dogs…Eva, Rovy and Vicki 🙂  sweet things – they were rescued – the lucky ones! This organization, Little Hill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, takes care of the critters and raises money to help stray animals become rescued animals – needless to say, I made a financial donation in exchange for some doggie cuddling. So much for “do not touch animals while in another country”…

Made the shuttle just in time to go back to the ship – fast walking! A great day…oh and I now have a distributor for my book yay! Things are moving along – Yay x A Million!

What is your reset button?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin



Brings a tear to my eye...local eggs, homemade brown bread

Brings a tear to my eye…local eggs, homemade brown bread

I'll Take Ten

I’ll Take Ten

Jeanie Manson yay! Thanks for the pic Russell :)

Jeanie Manson yay! Thanks for the pic Russell 🙂 and  to both of you for the touchback to HOME….

A sad-ish day…but happy at the same time!

Before our disembarkment so much happened…

Had breakfast with Jeanie and Russell at a seaside café along the Esplanade and then picked up so many pieces of sea glass…like it was left there for us to find…We drove to the top of Lyle Hill –high point in Gurock and had a VIEW of the River Clyde….wow….plus a stunning huge white anchor on a stone – the Free French Memorial to honor the French Forces who fought in WWII….peaceful and moving…

AND near here would be the spot they would stand with a HUGE ORANGE SCARF to say goodbye….very cool. Our ship was to go right past this exact spot on our way out to sea…

Over our time in port, I made friends with Karen (pronounced Kahhhhren), Andrew and Bill in the port terminal….they we so kind and fun…also the ones who referred me to the greatest coffee in the world…AND they recommended Tunnocks Tea Cakes – life changing cookies…actually calling them cookies is doing them a disservice…more like Delicious Biscuits Like a Graham Cracker with Mallow Covered in Chocolate that Can See Into My Soul.

Stocked up on snack food in Tesco….oatcakes, oatmeal, muesli, cheese, (and Tunnocks!)…provisions for the next few weeks…good to have some healthy (more cost effective) options to select vs ice cream and french fries on Deck 7….

As our ship began to release the docklines, pull up the gangway and move away from the dock….a pipe band came marching out to say goodbye (cue Crying Episode #37) – I could hardly contain my emotions…the pipe and drum playing, our new friends waving goodbye and a group of townspeople and children waving the Scottish flag…honestly. It was overwhelming! The band marched up and down for 20 minutes I swear…it was too much…..symbolic of how temporary things are yet how rooted in history and humanity. I recorded as much as I could n video – no doubt I will be showing this clip to anyone who will watch once I get home….home…..home is where your heart is….my heart was in Scotland….thank you Scotland…

Ireland Bound….Only after a beautiful ride down the river and out to sea….only after seeing a tiny orange waving scarf on the hillside….my friends!!!!!

Now back to life on the ship with our first TEDx meeting…

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin



Scottish Country  Side

Scottish Country

Scottish Street

Edinburgh Street

Scottish Phone Booth - I mean Dr. Who

Scottish Phone Booth – I mean Dr. Who

Yesterday…yes, back to yesterday!

We a car ride over to Edinburgh….a nice drive through the country….got dropped off up at the Edinburgh Castle…we did not go all the way in but had a nice look around…Leahna and her  kids Adam and Maricella, also Lauren, Stephen and Margaret….

Headed down the hill to the main street of shops, music, vendors and general cheeriness but……then I started getting way into Souvenir Overload…I did purchase a flower pin made of wool plaid (I do love me some flower pins) – a favorite Scottish brand called “Ness” and a pretty pair of multi colored fingerless mitten/gloves. One more item – a bound journal for Xander and I was done…

I had heard the phrase a few days ago – “buy verbs not nouns” and it was really hitting home that doing is more fun than buying….I think it was Marti, our Executive Dean who shared that – 1000% agreement!!! Buy less, do more.

The rest of the day was “shop avoidance” buoyed up by a great pub meal and good conversation with friends. Yes please!

What Verb can you buy today?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin




In Edinburgh today but let me finish my Mackintosh tour from yesterday…

We had the chance to see Mackintosh’s house…well almost his house – it is a replica – a very close replica – with complete intact original contents of the house and restored fixtures.  He and Margaret lived there from 1906-1914…The house was torn down in the early 1960s. (sad face). This house is sited nearby to the original site and the orientation is exactly the same as the original – so door is a higher than the street…cool and unusual!

The house was fantastic…nooooo picture taking allowed! This website will give you an idea of the historical significance and the beauty….


Every light switch, door handle, stair rail, doorway, windowsill, chair, wall, table was a sight to see. The brilliant colors, the unusual design and sense of actually being in their HOME seemed familiar at the same time like I was witnessing greatness. Hard to explain…..the higher up we went – up to the third floor, everything got lighter…white walls, more open space, more natural light. So many of his designs center around flower stems and flowers…his intent was to invoke a sense of a this in his home…a flower coming up from the dark ground and rising to the sky and sun. LOVE.

Kristin Skarie = Big Fan of CRM

Well…..from there it just kept getting better….had lunch in the well known Willow Tea Room – my friend Charles designed the space for the owner – his friend and most generous patron, Kate Cranston…..check it out:


Then to the Lighthouse Center for Design and Architecture) – the first public commission by CRM http://www.thelighthouse.co.uk/ honoring Mackintosh and his friends. Followed by some thrift store shopping with a new student friend, Mari, a stop at the Strathclyde Fire Brigade fire station for tea with Harry Drummond and the guys…(more on THAT later!) and finally fish and chips for dinner at “Chippy Doon the Lane”


Have Another Mackintosh Day! ~Kristin




Glasgow Rose

Glasgow Rose



More Rose...

More Rose…

Yesterday, Russell’s Dad said this as I was explaining the difficulty in keeping track of what actual day it is J This is a reference to an old time play/movie, If it’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium – not sure if that is a generational thing now….is it? So wait, well, today it’s Sunday. OK. Or Day 2 of 4 in Scotland. Yikes it is hard to keep track. Oh dear. Hard to know but do I really need to know? Anyway, had a great day…

I went on a Field Program today – at each port there are trips we can pay to go on….if we are a “Bus Liaison” we get to go for half the cost – yay!

Program today was “Mackintosh’s Glasgow” – went o the bus – just 12 of us – like a private tour! Thanks to Sue and Danny and their shop, The Celtic Exchange, I am a fan of Charles Rennie Mackintosh – a Scottish architect, artist and designer most known for his work in the early 1900s. He and his wife Margaret created beautiful furniture, paintings, and interior design features in an art deco/art and crafts style…that I ADORE and COVET. In their time, their work was quite radical and not appreciated the way it is today. The Mackintosh style – using nature, nature symbols and shapes (think gingko leaves) unusual colors, lines and florals…is all together intriguing. Seafoam green and clay grey, purple and white, pink and bright green. Most famous, the Glasgow Rose – a somewhat abstract, rounded, layered flower often atop multiple straight stems. I do love me some Mackintosh.

Frank Lloyd Wright is considered to have learned from Charles (my friend) and absorbed a lot of his methods and style. We stopped at the Glasgow School of Art – which, tragically, was damaged in a fire this past May – luckily much of it was preserved and there is a nation-wide fundraising effort to restore this treasure. We were able to tour the Reed Building (a textile and jewelry school) across the street led by a current architecture student. Open space design – very clean lines – lots of white and sea green glass walls bordering the open stairwells. There is a fresh air flow and no AC thanks to a levered windows on the sides and other skylight type windows at the top of stairwells. Cleverness.

So much more to tell about this day…tune in tomorrow…

Have a Mackintosh Day! ~Kristin



The Esplanade

The Esplanade

Pretty Money - all the coins form a shield

Pretty Money – all the coins form a shield

We are in Greenock, near Glasgow Oh hi, Good Morning Scotland!

I got a note on FB from former Lewisburg, PA friend, Russell Manson on July 1 (feels like weeks ago but it’s just days- weird) that he and his wife Jeanie were going to be in Scotland and when would I be there so we might connect? I forgot all about it until TODAY when the FB Machine said to me….Message from Jeanie! She wrote, “I’m in Greenock and can see your ship!”

Russell grew up in Gurock – the next town over – Small World! Coincidence! Divine Intervention! Cure for Homesickness!? Jeanine and Russell lived in Lewisburg a big while back and I always wished we’d had a little more time to be friends before they moved – they are now living in NJ…I had last seen them in 2009…

I messaged Jeanie and we made plans to meet up. On the way I stopped to get a cup of The World’s Greatest Coffee, according to Bill – a new friend working in the Greenock Terminal J We walked toward each other along the seaside trail call The Esplanade.

Continued walking along the water for about 10-15 minutes then met up with Jeanie and Russell! It was so nice to see them! I felt my shoulders drop and the travel stress and homesickness run off of my back…familiar faces and reconnection – does a body good. Ahhh…the Power of Facebook!

We chatted for a bit and then Russell’s Dad, NAME came to pick up up in a car – great! Took a selfie of all of us (a “groupie”?) while waiting of course – I was just so excited that this was all working out! Sent it to Sue Mahon to make her feel included but I know she will be jealous!

Had tea and a snack of brown bread and butter after meeting Russell’s Mom and re-meeting J/R’s kids. Nice get to know you conversation…so lovely! Then went out to get back into the car to meet some of their friends for dinner. Since it had been a while in terms of being in a country that drives on the LEFT, I went around to the wrong side to get in the car…hahaha…Jeanine said matter-of-factly and judgment free of course – “go on this side, you’re in Scotland”…hee hee.

So wonderful to be with people who share a longer past with me…

What “familiar” do you or would you miss most?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin