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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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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Tweaks

I was tired, but not so tired that my only aim was sleep. Rather, I wanted a beer. It was my first night in Belarus, and after having a wander through the neighborhood, I was ready to relax in my hotel room. Fortunately, there was a bar in the reception area, and the young woman… Continue reading Tweaks

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Belarus: Eleven Surprises

I’ve been in Belarus more than three months now — long enough to have learned a bit of the culture and started detecting patterns, but not so long that I’ve stopped rubber-necking my way through each day. Three months in, I find myself teetering between easy familiarity and continued awe. I know now that I… Continue reading Belarus: Eleven Surprises

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Who, Me?

My friend Helen, a colleague at the university, arranged the whole thing.  Weeks ago, Helen pinned down a date when I’d be free to visit her son Sasha’s gymnasium (an academically advanced K-12 school) — the same gymnasium she, herself, attended — and spend some time talking to the English teachers.  The idea was born… Continue reading Who, Me?

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First of the Month

His grunting is muffled, but still, every “oof” and muttered curse can be heard in the hallway where his wife and I are stifling our laughter. She speaks a few words of English, and I have a smidgen of tatty Russian, but we don’t need language to share a giggle, especially when it’s about the… Continue reading First of the Month

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Waking Up

Wait. What? I am skimming down the crumbling stairs, focusing on not tripping. It occurred to me early on that I don’t want to get hurt while in Belarus — not that I ever want to get hurt anywhere, but I hope to be particularly careful during my time here because I don’t know how… Continue reading Waking Up

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