Pages Menu
TwitterFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Culture, Travel |

Mosquito Paradise

Mosquito Paradise

We thought we were clever to save money by booking an overnight train from Athens to Thessaloniki. The harsh glare of buzzing lights, the sweaty Greek man snoring loudly beside me, and the smell of unwashed bodies added dramatic effect to this adventure I was on with my two friends, E and Oksana. We exchanged amused glances with each other that said we’d laugh about it all later. Credit card denied. Cash only. Combined, the three of us only had enough Euro for one ticket to Istanbul and the closest ATM was down the street. We set out into driving rain, preoccupied by the fact that our backpacks were not waterproof. E proposed we play The Glad Game, a competition to see who could come up with the best reason to be thankful or ‘glad’ about our circumstances. After a few feeble attempts fell flat, we gave in to exhaustion and irritation we felt and returned to buy our train tickets in silence. This train is sold out. The woman directly...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in Blog, Culture |

Thanksgiving with Foreigners

Thanksgiving with Foreigners

Thanksgiving is an excellent holiday to spend with foreigners. When I think about it, Thanksgiving began as a holiday of foreigners sitting down together. Even though this Thursday I will be sitting around a table in Central PA with family, I remember eating escargot instead of turkey on Thanksgiving, and I fondly remember the six Thanksgivings I shared with foreigners and stragglers far from home. The year I lived in Jacksonville I hosted a Guatemalan couple, their Colombian friend, and my friend Oksana who is originally from Kazakhstan. I will never forget the conversation that ensued at the dinner table when Carlos asked, “What is this holiday about anyway?” Oksana and I regaled them with a mix of US history and folklore involving Squanto, the Pilgrims, surviving the winter, and giving thanks together. In Northern Ireland, the MA students from the US organized a feast and we invited all of our friends. The people who gathered came from Japan, Colombia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, the UK, Hungary, and Spain....

Read More

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Blog, Road Trip USA, Travel |

Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

Heather, Marisol and I joined a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) parade snaking its way through the streets of Petaluma, California. Up until that point, I had only a vague notion of what this holiday entailed. I learned that it is a special time for families and friends to gather on November 1 and 2 to remember loved ones who have died. The roots of the celebration go back to indigenous peoples living in the country now known as Mexico. Its modern day variations are a mix of Mexican, Catholic, and regional beliefs and practices. Today people from all over the world celebrate Day of the Dead. Often, families visit the grave sites of their loved ones and may even stay overnight. It is common to build an alter and decorate it with flowers, butterflies, favorite foods of the deceased, toys for children, sugar skulls, and religious paraphernalia such as crosses and candles. For most, the Day of the Dead is not viewed as a sad...

Read More