Quick Travel Tips


San Diego

Bonafides: Lived here for 2 years, engaged to a local!

Le Parfait Paris - Everyone will tell you to go to Extraordinary Desserts. Skip it! Head to this little French pastry shop downtown - much higher quality and a more nuanced balance of sugar and fat.

Bobboi Natural Gelato - Head to downtown La Jolla for the best, richest, and most delicious chocolate sorbet I’ve ever had in my life. Only downside of eating here: I can’t eat chocolate ice cream anywhere else now, because it’s all a pale comparison to this heavenly product.

Taste of the Himalayas - The Indian food next door is also amazing, with a view of La Jolla Cove if you pick the right table.

Punjabi Tandoor - The ambience leaves a bit to be desired (it’s a tiny shop w/ outdoor seating in one of San Diego’s ubiquitous “business parks”), but the food is incredible. All the Indian engineers at Qualcomm ate here.

Gliderport / Black’s Beach - clothing optional, w/ nude sentinels standing watch, you won’t even notice the steep, 1500 step walk down because you’ll be distracted by one of the most spectacular views in the continental United States. You’ll definitely notice the walk back up. Free easy parking at the GliderPort. Great sandwiches at this off-the-grid shop, too. Once you’ve made it to the bottom, go South past the orange traffic cones to be outside the nudie area. Keep walking and you’ll end up at La Jolla Shores if the tide is right. The water is easier to get used to if you jump in all at once.

Rubio’s - It’s a chain for a reason: Rubio’s makes killer fish tacos. Check it out on a tuesday for a sweet deal.

St Louis

Bonafides: Visited 5 times for several weeks at a time for work conferences.

Definitely visit the City Museum! An epic, climbable indoor/outdoor jungle gym. There’s no way it’s safe. Be sure to buy kneepads.

Shaved Duck - I’ve eaten here many times, and was only disappointed on the most recent visit. Try it again. Burnt Ends are better than they sound. Skip the dense, dry cornbread.

Zoo - the zoo is free! Penguin exhibit and Sea Lion tunnel are particularly nice.

Museums - all the museums are free too! Too bad museums are boring.

Sugarfire - downtown, INCREDIBLE barbeque. Ribs were good. Mixed plate is a great way to try it all.

Gooey Butter Cake - a local treat. Delicious and ridiculous.

The Arch - um, duh! It’s GORGEOUS. The museum inside is free. Cool display of the top 5 finalists in the Arch design competition so you can see what the other proposals were. Skip the trip to the top: the most fun part is the weird elevator, but once you’re up there you can’t really see the most beautiful piece of architecture of all: the arch. Since you’re inside it. Admire from afar and up close instead.

Kansas City, Missouri

Bonafides: Visited many times to see Granny and Grandpa Nicholas!

JackStack is THE BEST BBQ in town. Highly recommend the corn, beans, and burnt ends (they’re better than the name makes them sound).

Seattle

Bonafides: Visited once….but it was a really successful trip.

For a spectacular (free) view - head to the Columbia Center tower. The Starbucks on the 40th floor has great window seating.

D&E Pioneer Square - I got the best, largest, fattiest, most flavourful rib here. Absolutely spectacular.

Plenty of Clouds - Asian fusion. The dumplings are phenomenal, the pork belly is only ok, but the chicken legs in numbing spice is something you’ll dream about for years to come.

Tips for living abroad

When you live in a foreign country, you have two choices: you can keep your current name, and learn to live with the painful experience of every person you meet mispronouncing your name, or you can choose a name from the local culture and learn to respond to a new set of phonemes.

When I lived in the Czech Republic, I kept my American name, “Molly”. Pronounced properly in Czech, it means “small” or “moths”. Pronounced the way it’s spelled, it sounds like “Mow-leh”. No one wanted to refer to me as “moths”, so I had to get used to people misprouncing my name all day, every day. It seems like a small thing, but it was rage-inducing. (Side note: if you live in a diverse place, learn to pronounce people’s names correctly: it’s worth it to put in the effort).

When I lived in Bangladesh, people would visibly flinch when I introduced myself. Eventually, we got someone to tell us that my name translates to “gardener”. Definitely a problem in that class-counscious country. Having just escaped the horrors of “mow-leh” in the Czech Republic, I decided to embrace a new name and chose “Jhorna” on the recommendation of one of my coworkers (it means “waterfall” or maybe “fountain”). It was tricky learning to respond to this new set of sounds, but now I treasure the name: it reminds me instantly of that place and culture. Plus, people appreciated that I liked the culture enough to choose an appropriate name. I’ll always choose a new name when visiting a new place now!

English

Molly

Czech

Molly (mispronounced mow-leh)

Bangla

Jhorna (“Waterfall” or “Fountain”)

Swedish

Jofridh (pronounced “Yo-frith”)

© 2021 / Molly Jane Nicholas / email