After a too-long hiatus, T&S is happy to announce that our guest-blogging machinery is slowly creaking back to life…. And we’re especially happy to announce that the first of (what we hope to be) several guest-bloggers familiar to our readers is Erica Merrell–better known to almost all as “Amira,” the thoughtful writer behind The Golden Road to Samarqand and the ringleader of the group blog Conversation. Erica currently lives in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, about as far away from a Mormon community of any size as you can possibly get; her husband is teaching law on a Fulbright there, and her adventures make for delightful reading (try this one, and this one), and sometimes heartbreaking reading too (see here and here). She has degrees in international reations, Near Eastern studies and Arabic, loves to read and learn about “anything international” and watch geysers erupt. Erica will be sharing her thoughts with us for the next couple weeks. Erica, welcome aboard!