Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Body Language

“You go de andere zeit,” the bus driver tells me in halting English, his hand cutting a karate chop motion through the air, “and wait for andere bus.”

“And what time is it coming?” I ask pointing to the invisible watch on my wrist. The Russian couple is standing off to the side, a puzzled expression on their features.

As an answer his head juts forward and he squints at me.

“Uur for andere bus?” I ask, pointing to my wrist again. I think the bus driver is German so I am hoping he understand the Dutch words for hour and other.

A shrug is his answer.

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American Awareness: Thoughts on Global Citizenship

I am never more aware of being American than when I am abroad. I don’t quite know how to explain this particular feeling of American awareness. It’s not pride or arrogance, or even shame, but finding the words to accurately describe this feeling is proving elusive. At home there is a truly bizarre fascination with your heritage, but I almost guarantee that every time the 1/8 Polish, 1/8 Korean, 1/4 Brazilian and 1/4 Kenyan American is abroad, they only indicate their American heritage when asked “Where do you come from?”

Lindy Hop lesson before the live music starts

Last friday I was transported back in time to September 4, 1944 – the day that British troops liberated Antwerp from German forces. To commemorate the event, the city of Antwerp put on a small festival in Groenplaats called Brevrijd! where people could come out and listen to live big band music  and practice their Lindy Hop steps. And it was here that I was at once hit by the strangeness of being an American abroad. Continue reading

Why you shouldn’t travel with me

The view from our house in L’Escala

I might have to accept the fact that for the rest of our lives, my husband and I cannot go on trips together. Unpleasant things start to happen when we go on trips, and typically I am the cause of these things.

  • The first time we went on a vacation together I nearly killed us both of heat stroke on a 16 mile hike in Northern Michigan. For some embarrassingly silly reason, Continue reading