January 5, 2015 |
I knew about the three sisters from the letters. In 1912 my grandfather, George, left his village of Siderka (then Russia) about an hour north of Bialystok, and never returned. Throughout his life, his brothers Vladimir and Makary sent him letters. Last year my Uncle Walter gave me a box of their letters and we worked on getting them translated. I am a priest, serving the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Medford, and this effort coincided with a trip our Diocesan Bishop Michael was planning to Poland for August 2014.
December 29, 2014 |
The first Christmas I spent away from home turned out to be the best day of my life. Though not with family, I went to the next best place: Bethlehem. I had been studying in Israel for five months and had been dreading this moment: How was I going to celebrate Christmas so far away from home, in a country that doesn't take the 25th of December as a national holiday? I actually had an exam scheduled for Christmas Day, but I decided to risk a poor grade and hopped on a bus to Jerusalem on Christmas Eve. The city was surprisingly calm.
December 21, 2014 |
Graffiti crawl up exterior walls like webs of ivy, bending and twisting around rows of shuttered windows. At some street corners, layers of posters pile unevenly over this graffiti like papier mâché, stitching together urban blocks. When I traveled to Greece this year, my original itinerary focused on ancient history sites: the Parthenon, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Agora. These places all tell valuable Greek stories from centuries past through classical busts, orderly columns, and symmetrical ruins.
December 15, 2014 |
I didn't have to think twice when I was offered a chance to spend a week at a French castle. What girl doesn't dream of being a princess in a castle, even if the opportunity presented itself a few decades, or more, after the first blush of youth? " Absolutement !" I shouted. "The Count," a friend of mine, invited me to the family castle, Chateau D'Avully, in the Haute-Savoie region of France, close to Switzerland. The chateau dates to the 12th century, a true medieval castle, and during excavation Roman tiles dating to 50 B.C. were found.
December 7, 2014 |
My life goal had always been to drive solo across the United States for some postcollege soul-searching. Then my two sisters and a friend jumped on board. When camping, hiking, and roughing it overrode my itinerary of breezy sightseeing, I realized with an uneasy pang: this was not going to be the trip my pampered self had in mind. The resulting thirty-one days were a clash of interests, personalities, and abilities - and some of the best days of my life. There were the moments of excitement, like the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean, put my toes in its cold water and realized we made it!
December 1, 2014 |
Last spring, when my wife Gretta and I began planning a trip to Paris to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in September, we knew this would probably be our only opportunity to realize a dream Gretta had nurtured for years: to make a pilgrimage to the countryside where her father, William, had fought in World War I. William arrived in France in spring 1918. From then on, until his return to the United States in 1919, he kept a diary. He was with the Army as a machine-gunner in the 28th Division.
November 29, 2014 |
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, and now residing in Philadelphia, American journalist and author Richard C. Morais became an internationally renowned best-selling author almost overnight with the 2010 publication of his debut novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey , an emotionally resonant story about travel, food, and love. It's no surprise, then, that DreamWorks Pictures came a-knocking. The studio hired the perfect person to helm its adaptation, Lasse Hallström, a specialist in heartful, feel-good romantic dramas such as Safe Haven , Dear John , and Chocolat . Due on disc Tuesday, The Hundred-Foot Journey stars South Carolina native Manish Dayal ( 90210 , The Sorcerer's Apprentice )
November 24, 2014 |
To most people, lions are symbolic of Africa. However, in one forest on another continent, the Asian lion has made its last stand. Once upon a time, lions roamed in large numbers across a vast swath of Europe and Asia. But hunting and habitat destruction have greatly reduced their numbers. Gir Forest National Park in the state of Gujarat, India, is the last stronghold of the Asian lion. There are only about 200 left in the wild. On a trip to India in January, I decided to visit Gir to see these elusive Asian lions and the deer, wild boars, monkeys, and peacocks that inhabit the forest.
November 16, 2014 |
Perhaps it was the image of the blackened, frostbitten ear that somehow kept popping up before my dream trip to cross-country ski in Yellowstone National Park that made me pause. Or, maybe the week of "unusually low historic temperatures," down to minus-27 Fahrenheit, stopped me in my tracks. Camp fan that I am, I had signed up with Yellowstone Expeditions, a yurt outfitter that offered heat in sleeping "yurtlets" and even in the outhouses; the brochure promised "élan. " Though I reassured my resort-loving sister Carol that I'd stay in "conventional hotels" on other nights, even my intrepid spirit wondered if a nightmare could hijack the dream.
November 9, 2014 |
There is an inscription outside the visitors' center of Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, located in Jerusalem. It reads: "Has the like of this happened in your days or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell theirs, and their children the next generation! (1 Joel, 2-3). " It's for this reason that I traveled to Israel with my grandfather, Jakab Farkas, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He had never spoken of his experience in the Nazi death camp, and my parents had forbidden me to ask. "It will upset him," they said, and so I went to Israel under the guise of meeting distant relatives.