Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | May 9, 2019

The journey continues

Melody pic from Keri Pickett

Thanks to photographer extraordinaire Keri Pickett for this wonderful portrait of Melody.

Today, my wife, Melody Gilbert, accepted a job as an assistant professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. For the non-Louisianans among us, we’re told it’s pronounced “NACK-uh-tish.” The university is 3-4 hours north of New Orleans and about the same distance east of Dallas. We’ll arrive in the heart of the summer heat, mid-August. But I’ll take that over Minnesota’s endless winter (it was mid-30s this morning, for crying out loud!).

When I named this blog back in 2011, Melody and I were moving to Bulgaria. After 20 years in Minnesota, we were “On the move.” It made sense. But it also has been the defining characteristic of our 33-plus years together. Shortly after we met, I moved to Florida and Melody followed me. It was the first of many moves.

Three weeks after our daughter was born, we moved to Southern California. Not even a year later, we moved to New York. Then it was Wisconsin before we landed in Minnesota in 1991. We settled here, raised Jenna and made a home. But that search for new experiences was always there, hovering, out of sight but never out of mind. Melody taught short workshops to journalists in emerging democracies like Kyrgyzstan and Romania, and we traveled elsewhere when we could.

Then in 2011, Melody landed a teaching position at American University in Bulgaria and our world expanded in ways rich and beautiful. Melody has always connected with students and the AUBG years brought so many new and interesting and wonderful young people into our lives. While I landed a teaching gig, too, Melody was the one who inspired our posse of international journalism students. She started a documentary program and launched at least a few along that path. Still others drew close, attracted to her passion for storytelling and always open heart. A truth her students in Louisiana will soon discover.

Paris pic

A Paris balcony at a time when I was still learning how to properly tie a scarf. Melody, ever gorgeous, of course, didn’t seem to mind.

If you’ve followed this blog, you know the rest of the story. We were going to stay in Bulgaria for one year. We stayed four. We visited much of Europe — Paris (above) and London, sure, but also Kosovo and Montenegro, Slovenia and Slovakia and so much more. And when it was time, we headed back to the U.S.

We tried Chicago for a bit. I rode my bike across the country with Melody sharing (and documenting) the journey. And we always knew our shared adventure would continue, we just didn’t know exactly when or how. So this is that next step.

And we couldn’t be happier. We’ll miss our Minnesota friends (but you’re all welcome, especially if you need a refuge from the worst of winter). We made this offer to friends who wanted to visit us in Bulgaria. A few took us up on it and none regretted it. So do come visit.

Natchitoches is the oldest city in Louisiana, apparently, and boasts dozens of bed and breakfasts, a lovely historic downtown district and it’s Louisiana so you know the food (and music) will be great. We’ll figure out the rest when we get there.

Website page grab

She is a storyteller and a seeker of human truths. Proud husband over here, yo.





  1. Such exciting news.
    Another great adventure.
    Way to go, guys ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Congrats to Melody! Wishing you both all the best in your latest adventure!

  3. I hear Louisiana has great winter activities! Like walking around in t-shirts! Outside!! Congrats!

  4. I love you both.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: