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 …

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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 …

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