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. Continue reading from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them
Cinque Terre teems with tourists. Scattered about the rocks like camera-happy penguins, people are: sinking into squats for the photo angle showing their ‘best side’ crunching on fried things served in cones dripping gelato (and offering bites to their dogs) brandishing walking sticks like weapons, the hallmark of the serious hiker carrying hot cardboard boxes of pizza down to the sea I can’t help but … Continue reading travel notebook: alone in italia, day two
Monaco is home of the eponymous Grand Prix, the belle-époque Monte Carlo casino, scores of luxury yachts, and–let’s not forget– actual royalty. Despite the evident glamour, I’ve always found a visit to the second-smallest country in the world surprisingly low-key. It’s the natural beauty that catches my eye: the hardy Mediterranean flowers and cacti clinging to cliffs, the clouds that drift across the mountains, the … Continue reading low-key glamour: monaco in an afternoon
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 way I knew the rules. Like-minded, friendly students at every … Continue reading no shortcuts: on making friends in France
When making a questionable decision, it is always reassuring to have an innocent friend to drag along with you. After several days of glumly searching On Va Sortir (a French website for platonic meet-ups), I decided it was time to act. Over dinner one evening, I showed the website to my friend Rémi. Like me, he was immediately skeptical. “It gets worse,” I said. I read … Continue reading group date on the DL: adventures in digital friendship, pt ii