Adventures in Arkansas

What You’ll Find in a Glory Hole

Several places in Arkansas have unusual names. Here are some examples:

  • Bald Knob
  • Possum Grape
  • Toad Suck
  • Goobertown

My personal favorite strangely-named attraction is Glory Hole Falls. This glory hole of the gods is a waterfall that goes through a hole and is glorious. If you ever want to visit it, I recommend doing so after it has rained a little, because then the Glory will be magnified tenfold. But beware if you go here after it has rained in the springtime! You may encounter some creatures stranger than the aforementioned names of Arkansas’s hottest destinations.

Last weekend Ben and I decided to do some hiking, so we ventured out to the Glory Hole. To get there, we hiked down a trail that sported the best of early spring’s fern coils, mushrooms, and covered-in-bright-green-exuberance trees.

We saw the Glory Hole and picnicked on top of a boulder and bushwhacked our way to the stream that runs out from the Hole. And everything was bright and warm and wonderful.

Everything was bright and warm and wonderful except that I forgot to mention what we found in the trail puddles.

Like I mentioned earlier, it had rained a few days before, so every now and then along the trail we would come to a water-filled rut. As we walked past one of them, Ben called out, “Hey, what’s that?”

I turned around, looked into the water, and saw a long, coiled telephone cord. “It’s a long, coiled telephone cord,” I replied.

Being environmentally conscious, and not wanting to have some fool from 1997 pollute the lovely Glory Hole Falls trail with his telecommunications technology, Ben got some sticks and set to gently pulling a part of the cord out of the water.

This was roundabout the point where I started what would become an unending exclamation of, “YUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!”

Because that long, coiled cord was not telecommunications technology at all. Instead, we discovered with horror that it was THE SLIMY BIRTH CORD OF TINY ALIEN EGG BABIES.

We were fairly disturbed at that point, but our terror increased when we broadened our focus to inspect the rest of the puddle. All around us, in giant globs of solidarity, were dozens of fist-sized clear balls of Neptune-only-knows-what.

After poking and prodding the globs for a good while longer, we decided that these wee alien babes were most probably planted here to grow in obscurity until a time when their tiny black dot alien brains were big enough for them to FORCIBLY TAKE OVER THE EARTH. We then got the Hades out of there pretty quick and continued on our merry adventure.

Later we found out that these seeming monstrosities were actually just toad and salamander eggs. But if I had had any say in the matter, these puddles would have been the secret breeding ground of tiny extraterrestrials, who any day now would birth themselves out of the primordial sludge and shout out, “Boo! We scared you! We were hiding in the gloop of your Glory Hole the whole time, and you didn’t even notice!”

They just want you to think that these are Mother Nature's best and beautifulest.

These may look like Mother Nature’s best and beautifulest, but we both know the truth.

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Adventures in Arkansas, Free Advice from a Novice Expert, German Living, Traveling

Epiphanies in a Foreign Land

When you live in a foreign country, you have lots of epiphanies. Most of them are focused around realizing how very little you actually know about absolutely anything in the world. Like for one thing, did you know that there are other languages floating around out there, and people actually speak them, and they are not English, nor do they require English to exist alongside them in order to be understood? People just speak these languages to each other and their children and their pets, and everyone seems to understand everyone else just fine without translation dictionaries or friendly roommate interpreters or flailing hand gesticulations.

At other times, you have epiphanies about how wonderful the magical foreign land is that you’re living in. I mean, let’s be real here: Germans have recycling (the Pfand!), beer (Augustiner!), chocolate (Ritter Sport!), public transportation (Deutsche Bahn!), and outdoor adventuring (Alps!) figured out. Germany is great.

But sometimes your most significant epiphanies are related to what you value most. Mine personally came to me about seven months ago, when I started thinking about what it is exactly that I care about in my life. I love traveling, going on adventures, and experiencing new things, but I also love all my family and friends. As I considered these many loves, I realized that the first set of loves, all related to adventures and foreign lands, will always be waiting for me, ready and rearin’ to go. My family and American friends, however, are doin’ their thangs and livin’ their lives, and the moments I miss when I’m seven time zones away can’t always be explained over FaceTime or illustrated in a 10-second Snapchat picture.

Because of this epiphany, I decided to come back to America at the end of July.

When I made this decision, my German roommate, the Queen of Culinary Delights, got really sad and threatened to lock me away in her apartment dungeon so that I would never leave her ever. I was also very upset with myself for deciding to put such a great distance between myself and my personal live-in chef and interpreter who made homemade pizzas with me every Sunday night, who welcomed me wholeheartedly into her friend circle and helped me make lots of new friends, and who made me snortlaugh by pointing out my vast ignorance of German, especially when I would buy things like heavy cream with a shelf life so long “that you can take it with you to Mars” (I’m still convinced this was her subtle way of telling me to go back to the planet where I came from).

I was also afraid that when I moved back to America I was going to regret my decision and want to go immediately back to Germany. The second my plane lifted off German soil, I mentally confessed my love to Germany and promised to come back as soon as possible. But now that I am back in America, I feel like I made the right decision. I miss all the delightful adventures and fun of Germany, but I have realized that there are plenty of delightful adventures and fun to be had here in America as well. I also miss all my lovely and wonderful German friends, but I have promised myself that I will go visit them again as soon as possible. Of course, this is only assuming my dear roommate will host another four-hour long brunch in my honor. I am a demanding person when it comes to breakfast feasts, and accept nothing but the best.

So now I am back in America, still singing the praises of Germany and occasionally trying my hand at cooking German cuisine. I’m also still learning new things and going on adventures all the time.

From here on out, this blog will still be all about me learning new things about the world and making a fool of myself along the way, but most of the goings-on will occur in America instead of Germany. I hope you’ll stick around for more fun as I continue my adventures, because I sure do like sharing them with you!

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This is me saying, “Hello America! I am back in the world” to the passport control camera in the airport. Are you supposed to smile for these things? I look like I just got busted for all the chocolate I stuffed into my suitcase and smuggled into the country.

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