What They Don’t Tell You about Hitchhiking

They’ll usually mention the beautiful places that you’ll see. The foggy forests, and seas of sand. The feeling of jumping out of a semi cab blocks away from the ocean, running straight there, pulling your clothes off and diving into a wave, feeling the freedom of infinite possibility. They’ll tell about the kindness of strangers.… Continue reading What They Don’t Tell You about Hitchhiking

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Favorite Stuff of 2019

Ukraine. Wanting to use the remaining allowed “out of country” days during the last weeks of my Fulbright term, I rang in 2019 in Kyiv, visiting on January 1st the incredibly moving Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), wandering the city’s churches, snagging a taxi to a folk park, and taking a painting lesson in the decorative Petrykivka… Continue reading Favorite Stuff of 2019

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Wiggles

About ten years ago, my mom sent an email, kvetching that the city where she lived was spending four million dollars to redo all the street corners. Just so people in wheelchairs could roll up and down curbs. FOUR MILLION DOLLARS for a few people, she groused. Even without the smell of smoke jumping six… Continue reading Wiggles

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Be Still

My dad was the person who taught me to be comfortable with silence. We could get in the car and drive for twenty minutes without a word being spoken. While his and my mother’s relationship ultimately cracked under the weight of that silence, for me, the daughter, his quiet felt benign, reassuring, a safe place… Continue reading Be Still

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Do You Have Time for Me?

This is the story of a student, and this is the story of a teacher. You will want something heartwarming, uplifting, and transformative. Perhaps this is not that. *** At the end of January 2018, I returned from five months of living and teaching in the country of Belarus where I was a Fulbright Scholar.… Continue reading Do You Have Time for Me?

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10 Things That Scare Me

I just discovered a podcast in which both notable personages and lay-listeners inventory–hey, get this–10 things that scare them. Episodes are short, but their cumulative effect is powerful: everyone has fears and anxieties, and it’s hearteningly equalizing to hear the downloads of others. Today, as I listened and nodded and laughed and squinted, I started… Continue reading 10 Things That Scare Me

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Finally Full

SONY DSC

“You sure eat a lot of fast food.” Those eight words killed my appetite – punctured my excitement about dashing into the gas station to grab a couple of sliders at the attached White Castle. Certainly, I knew how he felt. In the many letters and messages we’d exchanged during our courtship, he’d made it… Continue reading Finally Full

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Newcomers

It’s been so mean lately. Oh, I know it’s always been mean. “Off with their heads!”; machetes removing limbs; “We will kill you for dancing”; waterboarding a workaday torture; “Tell us what you heard your father say about our glorious leader”; pogroms; labor camps; piles of bodies. It’s always been mean. The current mean is… Continue reading Newcomers

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The Best Laddie

I want to remember 16 because it’s as good as everything else has been. He staggers through the front door, having just walked home from robotics practice after school, and in addition to the fully loaded pack on his back, he’s carrying a big box. It’s the new compost bin, delivered onto the front porch… Continue reading The Best Laddie

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Stir Stick

Every few minutes, I wiggle toes inside boots and slap hands against thighs. It’s cold — the kind of cold that makes hard work out passivity. I’ve been standing outside for an hour reading signs, and I’m frozen to the marrow. January in Ukraine is serious business, the grey skies flattening landscape and mood, the… Continue reading Stir Stick

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