Lynn Mullin


Lynn Mullin

I've always loved learning and travelling (and travelling to learn). In fall 2012, I took a leap of faith and traveled to India to be a volunteer teaching artist with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP). The next adventure? Grad School in Boston, and this time I have Ben, my partner in crime, with me. Here's the story of our journey as two Minnesotans in Boston.

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Somerville October 31st 2014

So, news flash: Living in a larger city means you interact with a lot of people you don't know. Not that I was in a complete bubble in Minnesota. I spoke to strangers. But there tended to be a spectrum of rituals when you approached a stranger. In rural Minnesota, you would make eye contact as you were passing them on the street, smile and nod, and if you needed to ask them a question, you'd do a small wave before you started talking. In the Twin Cities, you would make brief eye contact, look away (as if deciding whether they are the person to ask), and then do the small wave or an "Excuse me." In Boston, there is no rhyme or reason. This partially seems to be because homelessness is a serious issue--no surprise, ... read more

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Somerville October 6th 2014

Oh, moving. We’re almost done (just need to get all of the artwork up!), but it is so exhausting. I forget sometimes how much harder it is to settle in than it is to pick everything up and go. That is no excuse, though, for how late this "We're in Boston!" blog post is. It would have come out sooner, but it (among other things) were put on pause in mid-September when my grandfather passed away. Ben and I flew back to Minnesota for several days in order to attend my grandpa's funeral and support my family as best we could. Needless to say, things have been a little shaken up, and only now are we settling down into a semi-regular Boston routine. Just to wrap up a storyline from before: Remember those tick bites I ... read more
Our Closet
Fenway Park
The Weed Fest

As Ben and I prepare to enter Boston tomorrow, I feel a great sense of relief as well as a great sense of foreboding. I am ready to be done with this transient lifestyle, but the pressures of what's to come--of staying afloat as individuals and as a couple--are daunting. This past week, during a particularly hard day of backpacking (more on that later), Ben had to be by my side every step of the way even though I was being slow and ornery. After the worst was over and I began to smile again, Ben looking at me and said, "The way I helped you today, that's what I need you to do for me in Boston." It's going to be a lot of adjustment for us, but I'm so grateful to have someone to ... read more
American Falls 3.
Lake Placid.
Mount Macomb Slide

North America » United States » Pennsylvania » Pittsburgh August 19th 2014

What a week! The UPACK container with all of our worldly possessions is on its way to Boston, we've checked out of our apartment, and we've been rolling along in Coco, our comically stuffed little car. The day we headed out was not as chaotic as I had anticipated. We discovered a lot of things that should have been sent with our furniture--it's surprisingly hard to efficiently pack a wire dishrack in a small car--but we managed to pile it all in. We also had to stop at Target, and run and get Coco's tires rotated before we checked out of our apartment, but that was more amusing than stressful. The mechanic did a distinctive double take when he noticed my tray of houseplants sitting on mounds of bags in the backseat. Check out went very ... read more
Little Car
Moofin our Madison Buddy
Sir James Pub

North America » United States » Minnesota August 4th 2014

I'm utterly shocked to realize that it's been nearly two years since I started my first blog. The eleventh graders I taught have now graduated, and the twelfth graders I worked with are well on their way through college. India has stayed close to my heart and mind, although I'm sometimes afraid that I might forget what I learned from the students there. I think of them all often, and am so grateful that I kept this blog so I can remember some of the details--those that I felt most important to me while I was at Shanti Bhavan. I've been pretty busy the last couple of years. When I returned from India, I picked up three part-time jobs and went into full bride-mode (NOT bridezilla...I hope). Things settled down after the wedding, though. I became ... read more
Oh, packing...

North America » United States » Minnesota February 3rd 2013

It's been nearly two months since I left India. After a couple of weeks home, I thought to myself, "Lynn, you ought to write a reflections blog," but I had no idea what I would put in it. Plus, there were holidays to celebrate and families to visit and wedding invites to send out (It's likely I didn't mention this before in my blog. For those readers who weren't aware: Surprise!). I decided to put my reflection off. Then, one month after I returned, the idea crept back. This time it was more imposing, and kept repeating, "You must have figured things out by now!" Needless to say, I hadn't. It wasn't just that I was too busy looking for a job or seeing relatives anymore; I was speechless. I cannot begin to count how many ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu December 14th 2012

I have always been terrible at saying goodbye. I envy the people who know just what to say, and just when people will neither be too happy nor too sad to see you go. My special breed of social anxiety has always led me to err on the side of caution and bow out too early (don't want to overstay my welcome) and wordlessly (don't want to bother everyone or steal attention). But there is no hiding this time. It helps in some ways to have a set time of departure, so everyone can be prepared for it. On the other hand, though, I often get this sense from the students that I am abandoning them. I feel that some are already beginning the process of pushing me away. (They've been through this many times before, ... read more
My German Party Outfit
Part of the German Party Crew
Santa Came to SB!

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore December 1st 2012

December has shown its face, and my Travel Blog countdown is nearly to the single digits. I will likely put up a couple more blogs before my India Adventure concludes (We still have a Christmas celebration to document!), but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my time here, and on what December brings for me and the students. I know that I've mainly written positive things for my blog entries, and I know that many of you are probably asking, "Is it really that great over there?" And the answer is that I guess I've been a little dishonest in my writing. It hasn't all be great. There are days (especially recently) when I want to run to my room screaming, "BUT I'M NOT EVEN PAID FOR THIS JOB!" I am often confronted ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu November 25th 2012

I have to admit, I have been in India for over two months, and I still feel like I am floundering at times when it comes to "common" courtesy. I mean, obviously there are certain rules of politeness that apply to all peoples, but I have often found myself reacting negatively to something which is completely acceptable in India, or doing something that we would find acceptable in America but is absolutely wrong in India. Of course I knew that there would be differences in polite proximity, and differences in how queues are handled (I cannot count how many people have budged me in line because I left two feet of space between myself and the person ahead of me). But there were also things that I did not expect: being followed by the hotel owners ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu November 24th 2012

I know I promised that my next blog was going to be about different adventures in communication, but I guess that one will come next. Today is the last Saturday before the big end-of-the term push, and the tension is palpable, especially with the upper grades. So--as I am apt to do when I feel deadlines and stress looming ahead--I intentionally took part of the day off to enjoy myself. But instead of going into Bangalore with everyone else (believe me, I'll be going into Bangalore plenty of times in the next three weeks), I decided to stay at SB and get some mehndi. It is almost a rite of passage for volunteers to have mehndi done for them by the students. Mehndi is the Tamil word for the English henna (or, really, I should be ... read more
The Mehndi Crew
Janani with Sugar

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