(Alicia’s) 10 Years of International Life

May 2017 was a big milestone that passed by without mention, probably because of the busy-ness of international school life: 10 years since I graduated from Hope College!  I went from living in MI for 21 years to spreading my wings and living in 4 different countries 10 years later!  Along the way, I’ve picked up 2 other languages (Italian, Russian), and forgotten most of my French… Actually Russian kind of takes over so I’ve forgotten a lot of Italian as well, unless it’s words that I’ve memorized by heart which were penned by Puccini or Verdi!  It could be very easy to look at the last 10 years and not have a clue about how I got from Point A, to B, but I remember hearing this phrase as I went through high school: “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”  Armed with this open-minded attitude of perseverance, I went off to Hope College in the fall of 2003 and that decision paved the way for my international life.  The following is a succession of events that led to my country-hopping lifestyle.  Thank you for indulging my nostalgia!

Bahrain, 2007-2009


Here I am at the “Tree of Life” in the Bahraini desert.

Towards the end of graduation from college, most students can seem noticeably stressed as they are charting their course into adulthood without employment prospects.  I remember considering a very unusual first job: a volunteer music teacher.  And the reason I was considering this unusual first job is that my end-of-college stress was related to one (maybe-a-bit-ridiculous-but-still-there) thought: If I don’t go overseas to work NOW, I may never be able to do it again! Being a volunteer teacher meant that I would need to fundraise about $20,000 for two years of work since the school I was meaning to work at could not provide enough for health insurance or annual plane tickets.  This is not really a traditional thing for a college graduate with loans to pay off to consider, but remember my mentality: Do it NOW or it may never happen. This mentality drove me for probably the first 5-6 years of my international life.  I went to Bahrain and accepted the challenge of Preschool-Grade 7 General Music Teacher at Al Raja School.  This was a crazy professional beginning, but it propelled my international career forward in ways that no other American school could have. 

Outside of teaching at Al Raja, I came to have a busy and exciting life as well.  I found several church services to attend, participated in multiple choirs, most notably the Manama Singers, seemed to make friends instantly with many young people (also from many different countries) in my age bracket, joined a women’s-only gym with a pool and a jacuzzi, freelanced with musicians, and took on an oboe student.  While in Bahrain, I managed to travel to Goa (India), Oman, and Dubai several times.


My favorite performance in the Manama Singers, where I played Angelina in Trial by Jury.

Favorite Thing About Living and Working in Bahrain: The 35-hour work week allowed me to have more time for my personal life and there was always something to do.

Biggest Obstacle Faced When Living and Working in Bahrain: My first year teaching!  Anyone will tell you that the first year of teaching is Hell and that’s true no matter where you complete that year.  Besides the idea of figuring out how to actually teach, other obstacles included obvious cultural differences between myself and the host culture, and difficulty making Bahraini friends.

Feelings I Associate With Bahrain: Exoticism, Humidity, Globalization

Ukraine, 2009-2013


Beautiful mosaics outside St. Sofia Church to celebrate Easter.

At the beginning of my second year in Bahrain, I started to think about an exit strategy.  I knew I wanted to stay overseas, but did not want to stay in a volunteer capacity, especially considering that the State of Michigan (at the time) was giving new teachers 5 years to complete 18 credits towards a Masters degree in order to renew the certificate, and that would be unaffordable without a salary.  I asked some of my friends how they planned to search for their next job, and the Council of International Schools fair was recommended to me.  I went to the website, gathered my references, prepped my resume, and made my way to the CIS London fair in January.  Through that fair, I secured a job at Pechersk School International in Kiev, Ukraine as a PYP Music teacher for Kindergarten—Grade 5 students.  What’s more, each class had music twice per week, making it a very enriching experience!  This was my first time working within the International Baccalaureate Organisation and so I was able to get some training to understand what exactly the Primary Years Programme (PYP) was. 


Andrew and I celebrated our engagement in Kiev over (American) Labor Day, 2012. Photo by the ever lovely Olha Prytula.

During my time in Ukraine I witnessed many unique things, such as: a 3-week school quarantine due to the swine flu, many colleagues getting stuck during their Spring Break travels due to a volcano eruption in Iceland, a change in President, the first phase of a school renovation/building project, and living in one of the host cities for Euro 2012.  And during each summer, I was gratefully financially stable enough to go back to Boston and work towards my MM in Music Education at The Boston Conservatory.  I also managed to travel within Ukraine and to Austria, Germany, Italy, Dubai, and went back to Bahrain for a quick reconnection visit.  One of my Italy trips from Kiev is where I managed to meet Drew, as I wrote about in my epic sagas called “La Famiglia” Part 1 and 2.

Favorite Thing About Living and Working in Kiev:  I lived in the middle of the capitol city and I left for work each morning feeling that I had the entire city at my fingertips, that absolutely anything could happen, and knowing that there would always be something interesting going on.  I had a true car-less, commuter, “grown up” city lifestyle.

Biggest Obstacle Faced When Living and Working in Kiev:  The expat community was much smaller in Kiev than in Bahrain and so the workplace often had a “fishbowl” atmosphere that wasn’t very uplifting.

Feelings I Associate with Kiev and Ukraine: Nostalgia, Happiness, Independence

Italy, 2013-2015


Piazza San Marco during aqua alta as we visited for the Carnival, February 2014.

After Ukraine I got married and moved to the Veneto, where Drew was working as a logistician for US Army Africa.  This was a complete lifestyle 180 from my life in Kiev: Driving a car instead of using public transportation and walking, not working at all (or having intermittent part-time work) instead of working full-time, being married instead of being single, living in the country-side instead of the city center.  Those changes were very overwhelming at times and our adjustment to married life wasn’t always a cakewalk.  But with love, prayer, and a lot of help from our friends, we persevered.  And of course, we had one totally awesome thing going for us: we were in ITALY!  Now our bias will really come out… Italy is basically the Promised Land to the PashbyMauls.

Drew often had to travel to the African continent (at least 8 different countries) once every six weeks for one-week-long planning conferences, meaning that I was left to my own devices for a while.  I talked to many Army and civilian wives who were “done” with Italy simply because there were no career options for them, since we could only work on-post as we were all in Italy under the SOFA, which limited our ability to work “on the economy.”  After teaching full-on for 6 years, I was delighted to not be constrained to the school calendar schedule.  So here’s how I managed to keep myself busy as a “trailing spouse” in Italy: yoga all the time, being the errand-runner of the family, attending a women’s Bible study through Protestant Women of the Chapel, attending several beginning yoga teacher training modules, long and luxurious and delicious lunches with my next door neighbor Anna and her delightful daughter, voice lessons and performing in concerts with the group Progetto Voce in Verona, and taking Italian language classes with migrant workers (it was close to free!).  Drew and I also played and sang for our small church which met off-post and we would often be guests and have guests over.  Probably the most notable duty we had during that first year married was to host 10 different groups of friends and family as guests in Casa di Maul, and to try and give them the best that Italy could offer them.

After my first year in Italy I was able to get part-time work with two employers: I became a substitute teacher at Vicenza High School (a DODEA school on the main post), and I taught two courses at Central Texas College in their Vocational-Technical Child Development and Early Education program.  Needless to say, I kept myself really busy as an adjunct professor!

Probably one of our favorite things to do in Italy was travel.  We saw so many regions and cities, and we completely embraced the lifestyle, which you can see form our blog as we posted about our time there often.  We also managed to travel to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and back to Ukraine.

Favorite Thing About Living (and kind of) Working in Italy:  The laid-back, relational, experiential based culture.  The FOOD and WINE.  Our neighbors and dear friends.  Living in a community with only other Italians.  Seriously, they were the best neighbors that we have ever had!

Biggest Obstacle Faced When Living in Italy: Besides the personal lifestyle 180, the main difficulty we faced was the cost of living, which is much higher than in the States for many goods and services.

Feelings Associated With Italy: Passion, Relaxation, Beauty

Uzbekistan 2015-Present


The iconic Registan complex lit up the night before our tour.

As if our young family did not have enough changes to work through, we decided that professionally, Drew was not advancing at the pace he would like to in his career, so we went to the 2015 CIS London fair and I landed a job at Tashkent International School.  We’ve been living in Tashkent since August 2015 and had yet another adjustment as a couple: instead of Drew working full-time, I was working full time, Drew was working on his MPA (still is, but won’t be for much longer), we decided not to buy a car or drive, so we are dependent on taxis and drivers (which we love… glorified hitch-hiking, what could be better?!), and we moved two times, with three different places of residence in the first year.  Since then, things have slowed down a bit for us and we’re in the same house that we’ve been in since June of 2016.  Drew also secured part-time work at TIS as the Activities Coordinator, so he is able to both work at the school and continue to work towards his MPA.  Our life in Uzbekistan is much simpler than it was in Italy because of how busy the school is, and how different the country is.  One of our favorite things to do is spend the weekend in our beautiful backyard floating in our filtered pool!  I also enjoy participating in an expat community choir, taking Russian lessons, continuing to grow vocally as I study with an Opera singer, and Drew and I both have started to play tennis down the street at a local stadium, although the warning that I gave Drew about “being bad at tennis” may not have even scratched the surface of how terrible I actually am at tennis!

Tashkent and TIS are both extra special “mile markers” in my life abroad for two reasons.  First, one of the colleagues with whom I worked in Kiev joined the TIS team this year, making TIS my first “international colleague reunion!”  And also, I met two people working in Tashkent who also graduated from my alma mater, Hope College!  They are doctors at Tashkent International Clinic and I happen to teach their daughters.  It was really awesome coming halfway around the world and finding Hope College graduates.  I certainly suspected that they were Hope grads when I heard their Dutch last name and found out that they were from Western Michigan!

As you can see, these past 10 years have been so exciting and international living has augmented life’s ups and downs.  One of the reasons I wanted to tell you all about it is because it can be very easy to compare our life in one place to our life in another, but this is unfair.  Each country and job has its’ own positives and negatives and reminiscing with a black-and-white “grass was greener” is unproductive and untrue to the nature of how life really is.  Looking back, it is certainly amazing that I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have the experiences that I have.  With 10 years behind me, all I can do is enjoy the present and look forward to the future, with infinite possibilities of destinations available to me and Drew and continue to hope for 10, 20, and maybe even 30 more years of fascinating international life!

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Boutier Winery


Caberana (top right) was the clear favorite of the day!

The last time we experienced a Georgia wine tasting my choices didn’t include any local grape varietals. Many winemakers in Georgia only ship in grapes from California, or elsewhere, press, age, and bottle on location. As a purist when it comes to drinking local, I was admittedly just a little disappointed not to enjoy any true locally grown wines. That’s why I was very excited to try the tasting menu at Boutier Winery with eight traditional old-world style home grown options to choose from, among options that also included grapes grown elsewhere.

Boutier Winery is located in the Georgia countryside between Ila and Commerce, about half an hour’s drive from Athens. Incidentally, they are also a short drive from the nearby Tanger Outlets. The approach is undeniably scenic as you make your way past quaint farms, historic homesteads, rolling hills and mixed pine and hardwood forests. The dirt road turnoff immediately reminded me of the more secluded vineyards we’ve visited in Italy, as the driveway dips into a grove of trees, and emerges among meticulously manicured vines with a quintessential stone-facade tasting room and gravel parking-lot.

Owners Mary and Victor gave us a warm welcome as we came in and made our way to the long wooden bar. It wasn’t very busy on this Saturday afternoon, but traffic was pretty steady. A good mix of presumably regular local clients were greeted by name, and those from further afield were also greeted enthusiastically.

The tasting menu consists of a huge variety of 23 different options to choose from. The $10 tasting lets you taste any 6 wines on the menu, with additional tastings for just $1 extra per taste.

Being a truly local purist, I went straight for the Georgia Varietals, made of 100% Georgia grown grapes. With 8 to choose from, I could have tried all of them for just $12, but instead opted for just seven, with a dessert wine to finish. More on that later…

The first Georgia Varietal was the Villard Blanc – Madison County 2014. This wine is described as a nice light and dry French hybrid white aged in French oak. First impressions were noticeably acid and very citrusy. Honestly, I could hardly tell the oak was there.


Owner Mary Jakupi-Boutier (right) interacts with guests in the tasting room.

Second was a very nice blend aptly named “Villardonnay” – 2014. This blend of 55% Villard Blanc and 45% Chardonnay came across as a much fruitier, less acidic, and highly viscous version of the Villard Blanc, no doubt from the addition of the Chardonnay. The menu description of a “balanced layer of French oak” proved subtle.

Next up was the 100% Chardonnay from their 2013 vintage. First whiff immediately reminded me of dried apricots, very strong on the nose, but only a subtle hint of French oak. Not dry at all, this wine is very unique, with a silky viscosity, and very interesting to drink. The best of the three Georgia whites, for sure.

On to the reds. First up, the award winning 2013 “Caberana.” A unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and American Norton grapes, this wine is described as medium to full bodied. My experience with this wine the best of the day. A surprising but unmistakable nose of peanuts and lilies, and incredibly smooth. I would describe this wine as medium rather than full bodied, and well balanced. This wine finishes very smooth without any sensation of dryness.

The Cynthinana is a new vintage, not my favorite of the reds, made from 100% Norton grapes, an American varietal. This wine tastes and smells just like jam. Despite being barrel aged for 14 months you can’t really tell on tasting, but it has a nice smooth finish.

Next up, the exceptionally smooth 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is complex, but light and airy to drink, with a distinct whiff of strawberry jam on the nose. The flavor profile of this wine takes me directly to blackcurrant berries, with a very subtle hit of oak coming from the aging process which takes place in French oak barrels. Such a smooth finish coating the tongue, this wine is definitely for savouring while you drink.


the traditional tasting room provided a welcome retreat from an otherwise cloudy day

The final red of this flight was the much anticipated “Geordeaux” – a play on Georgia and Bordeaux, although I was unable to conjure up any comparison between this wine and its French inspiration. Honestly this is the wine I was most excited about, so it is only fair to say that it was probably my expectation, not the wine itself, which left me more disappointed. The result of this 2012 vintage comes from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. It pours a nice deep ruby red with a very strong hint of strawberry jam on the nose. Acidity is much more noticeable on this wine than any of the previous reds which probably overpowered any of the other subtle nuances one might expect. A unique wine worth tasting again.

My final victim was a playful dessert wine aptly named “Rich Bitch.” This new release is a nontraditional blueberry port wine aged in French oak and fortified with grape brandy. The blueberry scent is unmistakable as it wafts from your glass, as is the port base as you take your first sip. The french oak does not fall victim to other aspects of the wine as with some of the reds described earlier, but remains subtle. The sharp taste of brandy is also immediately recognizable on the tip of the tongue, but otherwise balances out nicely with the rest of the experience.


just a snapshot of over 32 acres of vines 

These 8 wines represent just a third of the available tasting options at Boutier Winery & Vineyard. The overall tasting combined with personal and friendly service places Boutier at the top of our list when it comes to Georgia wine experiences. You get a lot of bang for your buck, and for just $10 you get to sample a great selection of handcrafted and award winning wines poured by the winemakers themselves.

We left with a bottle of “Caberana” – my clear favorite from the experience – and look forward to returning and experiencing even more of what Boutier Winery has to offer. Check them out on the web, book a stay at their bed and breakfast, or come by for one of their many special events! We’ll be back for sure.

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Coming Back (to our Blog)


In Paris – June 2016

It’s been about 3 years since we PashbyMauls began our joint blogging project.  Since then, we’ve written lots of travel posts about Europe and shared some bits of our life with whomever actually cares to read about it, but you will notice that after our move to Tashkent in the summer of 2015, we fell off of our blogging bandwagon and during this academic school year we’ve only managed about 4 posts total.  This is not for lack of things or places to write about!  A move to Tashkent and fair amount of travel within Uzbekistan during our first year here were the topics of a few posts. Last summer, we made an epic journey out of our summer vacation and traveled to Belgium, Paris, Italy, and Ukraine. 


In Bulgaria with Mike! – March 2017

We really wanted to “eat, drink and be merry” during that trip, so we didn’t bring along computers and only posted a few things from my iPhone.  During Spring Break this year we managed a fairly epic trip to Bulgaria and I traveled with 14 students to Prague for the Central and Eastern European Schools Association (CEESA) Band and Choir festival in the Spring (Thankfully, there was another adult along on that trip too, although it wasn’t Drew).  Processing life and bringing awareness from us to you about different places and ways of living has been difficult and unfortunately seemed to turn into a bit of a chore.  Every time I went to write a blog, I thought, “what is there that I have experienced that people will actually find interesting or helpful to read about?”

5th Grade Overnight

As Chaperones for the TIS 5th Grade Overnight – Somewhere near Parkent – Fall 2016

Another reason for our unintended hiatus is that we have once again experienced a transition year… Right after our previous transition year to Uzbekistan!  Luckily, this second transition year in a row did not include an international move, but saw some changes in both of our professional lives.  Drew stopped volunteering part-time at UNESCO and began working part-time at Tashkent International School (TIS) as the Activities Coordinator and he continued to study towards his Masters in Public Administration during the other half of his working day.  I moved from teaching PS1-Grade 5 in the PYP to teaching across 2 programs as I moved up to teach Grades 2-8 in the PYP and MYP, making this year my first year teaching in the MYP.  This also included beginning Strings teaching and beginning Winds teaching, but can you imagine that none of the choices we offered the beginning students was to play the oboe? 😉  That means that I brought a lot of instruments home during the first term and made all of those horrible sounds that beginning students make for Drew, Ponce, the cat who hates noise, and any unfortunate passersby on the street.  And yet another layer of our transition year was to work for the same employer as a married couple, meaning navigating morning getting-ready and leaving time together!


Early morning departure from Tashkent beginning our summer adventure! – June 2017

Needless to say, we are still passionate about sharing what we see in the world with our friends and family, but blogging on top of all of our commitments (and figuring out what we were doing professionally) was a stretch!  Now that it’s summer and we are in the States for 7 weeks, we will try to resurrect our old habit of sharing bits of the world with you.  Travel between NY-VA-NC-GA-MI-CT could be just the thing to jumpstart our habit!



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A Thousand Years of Maul(e)


Arms of Patrick Maule b. 1585, 1st Earl of Panmure, Baron Maule of Brechin and Navar.  Clementia et animis – “With leniency and bravery”

I’m not sure what inspired me to start doing a bit of Maul(e) family historical research this morning, but one thing led to another, and hours of research later a quick post evolved into an epic essay of Maul family history.  As suspected, our family name is of Norman origin. “Of Maule” meaning from the village of Maule in the Yvelines department of Île-de-France region, about 40km west of Paris. Records indicate a “Guarin de Maule” alive in the year 960, is possibly the grandfather of Peter the “seignior of Maule” or “rich Parisian” mentioned by Benedictine monk Orderic Vital (1075 to 1142) in his Historia Ecclesiastica, one of the great contemporary chronicles of 11th and 12th century Normandy and Anglo-Norman England. He informs us that Peter made a donation to the Priory of Maule, a satellite of the Benidictine Abbey of Saint-Evroult, in 1076, with the consent of his wife Widesmouth and his sons Ansold, Theobald and William. The Gurain de Maule who is the common ancestor of the English and Scottish Maules was born in 1047. Gurain is the son of Peter, brother of Ansold, both whom participated in the Norman Conquest with William the Conqueror, and fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Records indicate that Ansold was knighted in 1065, just before the Conquest. Gurain stayed in England, but Ansold is later mentioned as having accompanied the Duke of Guiscard on his expedition to the Balkans where he distinguished himself at the Battle of Durazzo in 1081, culminating in the defeat of Emperor Alexius Comneus of Constantinople. Ansold succeeded his father as the aforementioned Seigneur de Maule in 1100. At the end of February 1106 he mediated a dispute between himself and the Monks of Maule following the appearance of a great comet. Shortly before his death his wife reluctantly consented to dissolve their marriage so that he could take holy orders. He was accepted as a monk on the 24th of December 1118 and died in the Priory at Maule three days later.


King Edward I – Wikipedia Commons

As his share of the spoils of the Conquest, Guarin acquired the Lordship of Hatton, in Yorkshire. Upon his death in about 1100, one of his two sons, Robert, attached himself to David, Earl of Huntingdon, and was granted lands by the Crown in Lothian, Scotland. Sir Peter de Maule, direct descendant of Robert, acquired the baronies of Panmure and Benvie in 1224, as the only heir of William de Valoniis (The Valoniis were one of the most eminent families of the Conquest). Peter built Panmure Castle, and appears to have had two sons, Thomas and William. The older son, William, inherited the title of Earl of Panmure. Thomas, the younger, was governor of the castle of Brechin, the only fortress to successfully interrupt the conquests of the English King Edward I. Though interrupted, Thomas was mortally wounded during a siege of the castle in the First War of Scottish Independence after holding out for 20 days. Sir William Maule, while serving as sheriff of Forfarshire (Angus) during this time, swore fealty to Edward I on 10 July 1292 at St. Andrews, preserving the claim to the barony subject to the English crown. 

William’s descendants hold the Barony of Panmure until 1715, when James, 4th Earl of Panmure forfeits his title after his arrest at the Battle of Sheriffmuir and exile to France due to his support of James Francis Edward Prince of Wales who unsuccessfully attempted to claim the Crown in the “fifteen” Jacobite Rising. James Maule was twice offered after attainder of Parliament restoration of his land and title, but declined, maintaining his support for James, Prince of Wales until his death in Paris in 1723.

It wasn’t until 1831 that the Barony was reclaimed by a direct descendant of George Maule, 2nd Earl of Panmure. William Maule was a Scottish politician and member of Parliament in 1796 and again between 1805 and 1831. William’s original surname had been Ramsay, as the son of George Ramsay, 8th Earl of Dalhousie and Elizabeth Glen, but in 1782 he succeeded to the Maule estates on the death of his great-uncle General William Maule, 1st Earl Panmure (Peerage of Ireland), and assumed by Royal licence the same year the additional surname and arms of Maule.

NPG 2537; Fox Maule-Ramsay, 2nd Baron Panmure and 11th Earl of Dalhousie by Thomas Duncan

Fox Maule-Ramsey, 2nd and final Baron of Panmure, and 11th Earl of Dalhousie – Wikipedia Commons

William Maule had nine children with his first wife, Patricia Heron Gordon, including his first son, Fox Maule-Ramsay, who inherited the title of Baron Panmure in 1852. Fox served as the Secretary of State for War under Queen Victoria from 1855 – 1858, but died childless in 1874, and the Barony of Panmure became extinct. William’s second son, Lt. Col. Hon. Lauderdale Maule, followed in his father’s footsteps also serving as Member of Parliament for Forfarshire, from 1852–1854. Never married, Lauderdale died in Constantinople in 1854 after contracting cholera at the British camp at Varna, during the Crimean War.

Other significant “Maules” in this line traced back to William the Conqueror include Patrick Maule, b. 1585, father of George, 2nd Earl of Panmure. Patrick accompanied James VI, King of the Scots, into England in 1603 as a “gentleman of the bedchamber” to that monarch. He held the same office under Charles I, who appointed him keeper of the palace and park of Eltham Palace, and sheriff of County Forfar. King Charles I held Patrick in such high regard that he was elevated on 3 August 1646 as Baron Maule of Brechin and Navar, and Earl of Panmure. Patrick Maule married three times, but his title passed to his first son from his first wife, George, mentioned earlier.


Eltham Palace, engraved by Peter Stent, as it appeared about 1653 – English Heritage

Not much is known about his children from the other two wives as Patrick’s first son George inherited his issue, as did George’s descendants. Looking at frequencies of more common surname variants of Maule, the surname “Maul” only begins appearing in English and Scottish records after 1600. One theory is that upon accompanying James VI to England, and his subsequent residency as keeper of Eltham Palace, it is likely the “e” was dropped by one of the offspring by his second or third wife and gave rise to the Maul phonetic variant (minus the “E”) from which our line of ancestors are descended. Of variant Maule surnames, “Maul” only represents 8% of the total between 1600 and 1699, 35% (highest percentage of all variants) between 1700 and 1799, 26.5% between 1800 and 1850, and way back down to 7.5% between 1850 and 1900. The last known Maul we can trace our family history back to without interruption is buried in London and died in the late 19th century.


Scene 52 from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting mounted Norman soldiers attacking Anglo-Saxons at the 1066 Battle of Hastings – Wikipedia Commons

While it’s impossible to know for sure what line we come from, it is likely that the common ancestor of all Mauls, Maules, and Maulls (the only three remaining phonetic variants) probably descend from the one and only Guarin, son of Peter, brother of Ansold of Maule, born in the town and lordship of Maule, Île-de-France, in the year 1047. It’s also entirely possible that the phonetic variation “Maul” is from an earlier or later second or third marriage branched from the original Maules of Panmure, a subsequent immigration of Maules from France, or a confused spelling of another name entirely. We can rule out the Mauls and Maules that emigrated to the United States and elsewhere prior to the 20th Century if only because none of the confirmed ancestors of Mauls in the known family tree are thought to have come from outside the UK. One thing is for sure, however, and that is tracing your family back from the present is probably much more straightforward than focusing on the theory of a shared common ancestor.

A primary source for this post and a great suggestion for further research into family history of British or Scottish origin includes the invaluable reference by John Burke (1832), A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, published by H. Colburn and R. Bentley, Baronetage, London. Another source is the treasure trove of information available on the Maule Family History webpage found at maulefamily.com. Of particular interest are the biographical notes on outstanding and interesting Maules of the past thousand years, as well as the previously mentioned statistics on phonetic variations of the family name. Many sources also reference as a starting point the three-volume work by Wilhelmina, Duchess of Cleveland (1819–1901), published in 1889, entitled The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. This text is cited extensively in the 1066 Project, especially references to Ansold, father of Peter Lord of Maule, and excerpts of which are available on the New Zealand based web page 1066.co.nz. Wikipedia is also an excellent source for additional references for genealogical research, as are the articles compiled for various noteworthy family members. Analyzing the degrees of separation between articles can also be helpful in tracing origins.

The Mauls, Maules, and Maulls of 2017 are spread worldwide, and according to the genealogy research engine forebears.io, population clusters exist in some quite unexpected places. Mauls are most prevalent in Germany, the United States, and Russia, with approximately 18,000 people worldwide having this variant of the surname. The English Mauls number just 183, continuing the downward trend mentioned earlier when the they were once the most common phonetic variant in the 18th century. Maules are even less common with just under 12,000 people clustered in India, the United States, Italy, and England.

While our origins may be uncertain, the history of the family name is full of exciting adventures worth volumes of dedicated research. This post only offers a glimpse into the past thousand years, since the Norman Conquest. What will the next thousand years bring? The only thing I know for sure is that as far as my branch goes, I’m the last in line. No pressure.

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How My 2016 New Years Resolution Had a “Trickle-Down Effect”

For the entire 2016 calendar year, I committed myself to the next step in becoming more of a minimalist. In order to accomplish this, I made a New Year’s Resolution to not buy any clothes for an entire year. I had many fashionista friends tell me I’m crazy and that it’s a terrible idea, but I stayed strong and wanted to share my journey through the process.

Here are the main reasons why I took on this challenge:

  • I have too many clothes (still do!).  The truth is that I wear my favorite items over and over again and I don’t wear the other non-favorites. Inspired by Mari Kondo, I’d like to get rid of those clothes that don’t actually give me joy. I used every move that we had in 2016 to pare down my wardrobe and gift clothes to friends and friends of friends.
  • I don’t actually need that many clothes. We have a 6-kilo sized washing machine and no clothing dryer. That means that we do laundry almost every other day and it’s easier to have less clothes and keep wearing them over and over again.
  • Returning to Europe and the States for vacations awakens my fashion bargain hunting gene and often causes me to buy things that I love but don’t need. Outlet malls, sales, abundance of choice, and even second hand clothing stores cause me to go overboard while I’m in the States because of the amazing prices.
  • The fashion industry is usually not run sustainably or fairly and one of the reasons that it still exists despite the injustice is because people keep buying new clothes during every season.

Here were my parameters:

  • No buying new clothing.
  • Clothes that no longer fit or are tearing, fraying, etc, can be taken to a tailor to fix.
  • Clothing swaps with friends are permitted as long as I leave the swap with less clothing than I came with.
  • The only exceptions to the no buying clothes rule are: underwear and undergarments such as socks, water-resistant hiking trousers since I don’t have a pair (but didn’t shop for them in the right season when I went to the States for Christmas), and Ukrainian handmade clothes. We were in Ukraine for one week during the summer and I don’t know when we’ll be back again.

    This is one of the beautiful hand-embroidered Ukrainian dresses that I bought while we were in Ukraine this summer.  It made a perfect look for the first day of school!

    I find Ukrainian handmade clothes to be some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing in the world. At first I allowed myself to buy one piece for a christening, but I allowed myself the
    indulgence of 2 more additional pieces, and Mr. Maul was such a good sport while I shopped. These were the only 3 pieces of clothing that I bought for an entire year.

How did it go?  Well, I’ve really loved to take on the challenge for the following reasons:

  •  It made our summer European vacation so pleasant. My tendency to salivate over European fashion throughout Italy, Belgium, and Paris was been refined to window shopping while walking on the streets, only going into Naf Naf once to look at cute clothes, and generally staying more present with hubby and other friends (which I’m sure especially the guys appreciated.)
  • Before moving to House #3 in June of 2016, I downsized by three bags of clothing and had a little clothing swap with two friends of similar sizing. From the swap, I gained some nice additions my wardrobe, and know that the surplus of our swap is getting taken to other ladies of similar size who might appreciate some fun additions to their wardrobe.
  • I have had countless amounts of things tailored that I myself could never sew, and as a result, my clothes fit better! Some of the items that I happened to take to the tailor are: a favorite second-hand pair of jeans that I was putting off hemming which now look much better, three different dresses which have all needed tucks for modesty’s sake, several hand-me-down t-shirts that were the wrong size but I love them, a very nice Lululemon collared shirt which now looks quite tailored, a skirt that needed a lining, zipper and clasp added to it, and a sweater that had a specific type of fancy buttons but had at least three of them fall off. The tailor was able to match the style of button at the market and then replace the entire set of buttons.


Yes, I was wearing this down jacket in JUNE in Brussels!  Here I am with my friend Ryna, whom I had not seen for 5 years until we hung out this summer.

The one splurge that I made that was not a stated exception was to order a packable down jacket from REI that was 50% off. So, I guess if you count that, I did have my “cheating”.

All-in-all, the last 12 months have taught me that God has abundantly supplied my clothing needs and I don’t need to go wild twice a year when I go back to Europe or the States. To acknowledge what I have and recognize that it is still more than enough, to try to gift from my surplus, and to exercise self-control, have all been so helpful and beneficial to me this year. Probably the biggest trickle-down effect that this resolution had for me was that we seemed to spend less money throughout our entire budget, just by limiting our consumer intake in one area.  This gave us more to spend on our ultimate favorite yearly budget expense: TRAVEL!


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Alicia signs to officially become a Godmother

Today has confirmed that family runs deeper than blood and it has been my utmost honor to become Godmother to sweet baby Oleksa, who happens to be the son of one of my best friends, Oksana, and her husband Andriy. From this day forward, I am also responsible for being present in a little one’s life!

As a Protestant, I didn’t grow up with any godparents, but had many people in several different churches take an interest in my life and guide me in the Way. So the opportunity for me to become a godparent is very humbling, flattering, and was a cause of great happiness for me when I agreed to accept the responsibility.

When ATeam was in our European Adventure planning phase in January 2016, I got a delightful email from Oksana asking me to be the Godmother to Oleksa. Actually, the email stirred up several emotions and I was happy to tell many people that I’ll be a godmother, but I was so overwhelmed with joy and humility that I usually did so with many tears in my eyes. Not that anyone who knows me well would expect any less! Drew got right on planning for a week in Ukraine in the middle of our Italy month and we made our way through Kiev via Amsterdam over the weekend, took a train to Lviv, then to Zolochiv yesterday.

Alicia and Pavlo, Godmother and Godfather

The baptism was held in a beautiful wooden Greek Catholic Church in Zolochiv. In fact, it is the very day and church where Oksana and Andriy were married 3 years ago! What a trip down memory lane this brought for ATeam, and how nostalgic I was when we checked into the exact same hotel that we had stayed in for their wedding.

Many of the traditions and words that were said went over my head and I did not understand most of the service. The family was asked to enter the church and Pavlo (godfather) and I stood inside near the entrance to the church, each holding a крижма, or a piece of cloth to hold the baby with. Pavlo held Oleksa first and the priest anointed his chest, foot, hand, back, and head with oil. Oleksa then came to me and he was annointed with oil in my arms. Around this time, poor baby got a little fussy and rightly so! The three of us turned away from the church to face the entrance which we came from and we promised (I believe/hope, since I didn’t really understand;) that we would uphold Oleksa in the Way and be present in his life.

Godparents and baby Olekca

Once we turned around, we entered the main section of the church and stood in front of the altar. Oksana joined us to try and keep Oleksa’s spirits up. Pavlo and I held him as the priest sprinkled water on Oleksa’s head three times, and the крижма proved useful for wiping him off! Of course, poor baby needed mommy after that, so after a pass-off to the priest, she held him for the remainder of the service. Pavlo and I were also given candles which we held for a majority of the time.

Priest with parents and Godparents

After being baptized, Oksana took Oleksa to the same place she knelt during her wedding and the priest sprinkled water on both of them together. Then the priest walked around a separate altar with Oleksa and bowed him towards the relic there three times. Somewhere in there, I’m sure there was also a homily, and the service was ended with all of us singing мно гаяа лето, which I actually knew since we used to sing it on birthdays with our students when I worked as a music teacher in Ukraine! I was happy to at least be able to sing something in the service!

After the christening, we all enjoyed pictures and a lunch. ATeam’s current home-base is Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Andriy, Oksana, and Oleksa currently reside in Penang, Malaysia. It’s certain that I won’t make it to every birthday, but regardless of that fact, I will be Oleksa’s Godmother and I will love him, pray for him, and be as present as possible in his journey through life. Most important of all: we entered the church as friends and we came out as family.

Best friends turned sisters!

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1 Year 

Alicia at the Oboe Bar in Mons, Belgium

Roughly 1 year ago today, the PashbyMauls were packing up all of our household items in Vicenza, Italy, shipping them to various parts of the world, and graciously letting go of as many things as we could. This past year marked our biggest life transition since we were married and began Life Together. Since our move to Uzbekistan, Drew has been the one to keep up our blog, even if less frequent then when we were in Italy. Considering that the last day of school for teachers was Friday, now seems the perfect time for me to resume blogging. I’d like to give you a picture of our year from June 2015-June 2016.

1 Year of Travel: Of course, this is probably one of the most significant parts of our life because it’s one of the main reasons we want to live and work as expats. We enjoyed travel to:

  • June-July 2015: Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Maine (the last 2 were girls weekends without Drew.)
  • August 2015: MOVE to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • October 2015: Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
  • November 2015: Seoul, South Korea for the Association of Music in International Schools Conference. 
  • December 2015: Michigan, Georgia (state not the country).
  • January 2016: 5-day New Years cruise with Drew’s extended paternal family from Tampa, FL to Costa Maya and Cozamel Mexico. (This marked Alicia’s first trip to Mexico!)
  • February 2016: Navoi, Uzbekistan for a friend’s birthday celebration. 
  • March 2016: Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, Uzbekistan with Mike, our ever faithful travel partner, who is now known in Casa di Maul as “the one who came to Uzbekistan.”

One note about travel: we’ve found very quickly that flying from Tashkent to the US is a very long, very expensive journey. We’ve decided to skip the States this summer and take refuge in various friend’s flats in Europe and enjoy vacations together. 

1 Year of Moving and Housing adventures: We certainly didn’t have the easiest transition when it came to our housing search. This can be partially blamed on the fact that we had romanticized my beautiful flat and city life that I had while living in Kiev from 2009-2013. I lived in a gorgeous top floor apartment overlooking St. Sofia’s cathedral. While we were dating, Drew used to come to Kiev for weekend getaways and we really enjoyed being in the middle of everything. Because of our idealistic opinions, we ended up looking more at flats than houses. From the beginning, this was a challenge because many people were not interested in renting to tenants with cats. We finally settled into a newly renovated 60 m2 apartment and were happy to live in a small space and ultimately try to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Our enjoyment of Flat #1 dissolved very soon as the reality of carrying bikes up and down the stairs (when we were brave enough to ride in traffic), the upstairs neighbors with the children who ran around like elephants and played the piano while we were trying to have quiet time, and the shower that was not installed properly and could never drain fully and was therefore leaking onto the neighbor underneath us, was enough of a perfect storm for us to begin another housing search. We lived on floor four of our Soviet style block apartment building for 6 months, from August 2015-January 2016.

Enter house #2: For 3 short months, all was right with the world as we found a beautiful European-style 1-bedroom 1-story house with a small office/guest room space for Drew to study in, and a lovely spacious kitchen which we loved entertaining in, and a beautiful, almost palatial great room/living room. The floors were natural gorgeous hard wood and tile, the walls were surprisingly neutral, and we had a garden for the cat to run around in that was protected by a wall high enough to ensure that he did not get into the street. The garden also had trees from Crimea, so I felt my Ukraine connection there. Finally, we were able to put up all of our artwork and family pictures. (We couldn’t do this in the flat because the wallpaper was new and we didn’t want to mess it up since we figured out pretty quickly that we would not stay there long.) We were so thrilled with our increased quality of life that we decided we would go ahead and stay in Tashkent for 3 full years instead of 2! Unfortunately, at the beginning of May, our landlord informed us that he wanted to sell the house and we would need to move out. The month of May was crazy enough with the term coming to an end, but it became even worse with yet another housing search. We lived in our gorgeous European style house from February-May 2016.

Enter House #3: By now, we have come to understand realty in Tashkent a little better and worked with 4 different realtors to find a house. The process was just as frustrating as ever, but we were so happy to have found the house we currently live in. It is a small four-room house with a beautiful garden and filtered pool in the backyard. Not everyone uses filters here, so we were very happy to have it! The house also has plum, persimmon, and apricot trees. We are especially glad to have the extended yard space in the back and the pool, as well as hardwood floors throughout the house and neutral walls. We will finish hanging our artwork when we return to Tashkent in August. The house predates the earthquake and has an old-world charm to it, as does the new neighborhood. We are so happy to have found the house and get settled there. The poetic irony of this house is that we had seen it in August 2015 when we first arrived but didn’t want to take it because it was over our budget, and we were afraid of additional pool maintenance costs. We also felt that it was too far from the school for commuting. Now that we’ve been here 10 months, we realize that we are close the the ring road, so there is basically a straight-shot to get to the school by taxi. And our initial hesitation towards a pool evaporated in the 40-degree (that’s 100-degree) weather. Finally, our landlady agreed to drop the price to within our budget. We moved into this pleasant house on 31 May 2016 and we plan to stay until June 2018, when our contracts are finished!

1 Year of Professional Development: I had so much PD this year that I am not bothering to do anything in the summer! Half of these opportunities were funded personally, and half by the school. This year saw me study the following things:

  • July 2015: Conversational Solfege Level 1 Certificate at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. This was a life-altering workshop and it can be assumed that I have drunk the koolaide and would like to go all the way with FAME training in the future. 
  • November 2015: I attended the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) conference in Seoul, South Korea.
  • January-March 2016: I took and online course in order to renew my teaching certificate for the State of MI. It was called Reading Diagnostics and it was a lot of work! One of the requirements was to work with a reading needs ELL student to complete assignments each week. I could write an entire blog post about how ridiculous it is to require underpaid teachers in the State of MI to take yet another graduate level course they doesn’t actually have a lot to do with their subject discipline, but there’s no point in harboring bitterness, and I am very glad to have my Professional Certificate valid until 2021. Why bother keeping up a certificate in MI, you ask? Well, most international schools will be expecting an up-to-date teaching credential, even if I have never taught in MI, so it’s within my best interest to keep it valid!
  • Some exciting news for the next school year is that I will be moving up in ages. I’m currently teaching Preschool-Grade 1, ages 3-11, in the IBO PYP. Next year I’ll be teaching Grades 2-8, ages 7-14, in the IBO PYP and MYP. Because of this change, I needed to take yet another online course: Arts in the MYP.

A year of role reversals: For the first 2 years of Life Together, Drew had the full time job in our family. Our move to Tashkent showed a vocational 180 as I became the full time worker. We moved from the full time job of 9-5, leaving work at work, to a different kind of full time: 7:30-4:30+, extra weekend events, extra weekend and weeknight planning and marking, it’s inevitable that work will be brought home. This was initially quite the strain on our still newly married life. We made it work by hiring a housekeeper to help us with our house cleaning tasks, and by cooking a lot of things in the slow-cooker, and by in general “keeping on.” One things for sure, life is a constant transition, especially in this expat lifestyle, and we certainly had enough transitions for one year!

A year of remembering Russian: when we got off the plane in Tashkent in August, I had no idea what people were saying. Since I had studied Russian for 3 years, this was very upsetting. Even worse was when Drew would ask me to translate and I would really have no idea. It took 2 weeks for my ears to get adjusted and I’ve found a wonderful teacher who I study with every week. I would put myself at an intermediate level, but my dear teacher, bless her heart, thinks I’m more advanced than that. As for Drew, he studied enough to get by but has put his Russian language acquisition on hold as he was swamped with his classes for his Masters this term. 

A year of looking forward: the PashbyMauls are always getting excited about our next trip. Some days, the only thing keeping us going was the knowledge that we would be spending 51 days in Europe together. Now that we’re here, we’ll put looking forward on hold an enjoy every single moment, glass of wine, and fresh European meal, with gratitude and pleasure. 

begining our epic eurotrip on Turkish Airlines

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