champagne & cheeseburgers: in which Clara enters the world

I savored this moment of tranquility before the onslaught of visitors, this moment to stare at the sleeping baby in the transparent bassinet and contemplate that she was mine. She of the long Disney lashes and big gray-blue eyes. She of the startling lungs. It all seemed as improbable as if there had been some mythical stork involved, or some benevolent fairy godmother. The events of Sunday (and very early Monday morning) felt like a dream–albeit one in which no detail was lost to me.

call the sage-femme: notes from the life of a pregnant expat

You wouldn't notice if you're not looking for it. It's just a lively, sunny street like any other in Nice. A few blocks from the beach. There are busy cafés, antique shops, little kitschy stores full of ancient-looking sewing materials or dusty Lebanese groceries. If you are looking, you'll notice that this is a street full of …

Continue reading call the sage-femme: notes from the life of a pregnant expat

from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It's interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place. We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough. Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of.

the proof is in the profiteroles: on “dieting” in france

Dieting is not an especially French activity. Nor does it feel particularly patriotic to live down the street from a small market and ignore the siren song of its milky white goat cheeses and fresh baguettes. But that's what I did (or tried to) for a whole month. All in the name of health, I …

Continue reading the proof is in the profiteroles: on “dieting” in france

attention abeilles: hiking the massif de l’esterel

The best thing about waking up in the morning–or returning to my petit chez moi at any time of day–is the view from my balcony: the brilliant bay outlined by mountains. I come from the part of Missouri that's just barely not-Kansas. Deprived of elevation for so long, any hint of it makes me giddy. Mountains comfort …

Continue reading attention abeilles: hiking the massif de l’esterel

no shortcuts: on making friends in France

One thing that makes the experience of short-term teaching in France complicated is the simple fact that it's short-term. And the French are not. As an American, I'm accustomed to a sense of easy, immediate friendship. When I look back at my college years, sometimes I ache for the simplicity. How easy it was, the …

Continue reading no shortcuts: on making friends in France