June 29, 2015 |
I spent my first semester of college in London making friends, traveling, and having all sorts of unexpected adventures, thanks to a program my university calls the First Year Study Abroad Experience. Lots of cool things happened, but my best story is the time my friend Sara and I got lost in Pompeii at night. We were the last ones allowed inside for the day, and we had only an hour to spend there. They had run out of maps by the time we arrived, so we were left to our own devices to explore.
June 29, 2015 |
Luis Medina's eyes wandered curiously upward to the stained glass windows of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral in Camden. He tapped his ring finger repeatedly against his thumb and swayed in the pew. Medina, 23, stood beside his much younger peers, whose eyes were focused on the priest welcoming them into the church on their confirmation day. With very limited language and the cognitive skills of a 4-year-old, Medina, who has autism, is locked in...
June 22, 2015 |
During a monthlong European vacation, my husband and I made a detour to the Italian Alps to visit the world-famous "Iceman," Ötzi. There, we found the mummified, centuries-old Copper Age wanderer and much more - a delightfully surprising day among the dead and living. Our destination was Bolzano, a small city tucked into a mountainous corner of Italy near the Austrian border, on the train route from Munich to Verona. Bolzano is home to a museum that showcases the 5,000-year-old Iceman, whose miraculously preserved body was discovered in 1991 by hikers in glacial ice nearby.
June 15, 2015 |
The small plane banked steeply to give us a better view of the remains of a circular hilltop city rising from the wide plain barely a mile below. "Megiddo," the pilot said, pointing. "This is the Valley of Armageddon. " Israel lies at the meeting point of three continents, but it is also a temporal nexus of past and present, where the ages of settlement can be seen and even touched in the layers of its ancient towns. As a teacher of history, I came to Israel seeking its past but found the current events taking place amid its archaeological sites competed for my interest, and in a few places like Megiddo, steeped in Biblical portent, it was the future that cast the longest shadow.
June 8, 2015 |
When you travel to a foreign country, you see amazing sights and beautiful scenery. Sometimes, however, the most amazing and beautiful thing you experience is the people. Most of us in our lifetimes have done something incredibly stupid - something you look back on and think, "How could I possibly have done that?" My friend and I are seasoned travelers. On our trip to Spain, the 12th European country we've visited, we had no reason to believe everything would not be as wonderful as before.
June 1, 2015 |
The children sat impatiently waiting for school to begin, until one of their classmates called them to the window. Crowded around the pane, they watched as KGB men arrested their teacher outside. They never saw him again. Andris told me this story as we stood in the same spot. He was one of those kids. It was after World War II, and Latvia was under Soviet occupation. My grandfather had gone to that school, too, as did his brother, Andris' father. I was traveling with my wife and kids.
May 29, 2015 |
Collaboration always offers surprises, particularly collaboration that employs chance and ambiguity as defining principles. Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, an organization devoted to Arab cultural life, rarely occupies familiar ground, whether in the performances it presents or in those it nurtures. But at 8 p.m. Friday at the Painted Bride Art Center (with a free and open-to-the-public reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m.), Al-Bustan will venture down a particularly mysterious path with the presentation of a completely new collaborative piece by cellist and composer Kinan Abou-afach and visual artist and digital designer Ayman Alalao.
May 25, 2015 |
My father, Maurice "Moose" Berry, was in the 104th Regiment, 26th Infantry Division and fought in the Ardennes, where he was wounded, and in the Battle of the Bulge. Over the years, he revisited places where he had seen combat, and he toured American Battle Monument Cemeteries with my mother and my husband. In 2005, he photographed the grave markers of all the men of the 26th who lost their lives in Europe. When my father told me in November 2013 he wanted to return, I wanted to go with him. We planned our visit to coincide with the 2014 Memorial Day ceremony at the Lorraine Cemetery in St. Avold, France; with more than 10,000 military dead interred, it's the largest American burial site in Europe.
May 18, 2015 |
Who would have thought that I had Napoleon to thank for my family name? I certainly didn't when we started our trek through Friesland as part of our son Joel's graduation trip. I knew that my ancestors emigrated from this mostly rural province of Holland in the late 1800s, but I did not know many other details of the family history. Nor did I know of a connection to the diminutive French general. But that is only one interesting tidbit we discovered as we pursued our roots. Renting a car in Amsterdam, we drove through the low-lying farmland near the Ijsselmeer, the large inland lake reclaimed from the North Sea. Passing by windmills (the modern electricity-generating kind)
May 15, 2015 |
MAC McCAUGHAN just got his car tires replaced. "I better sell some records to pay for them," he said, chuckling, in a phone call last Tuesday, the day his first solo album under his own name was released. The Superchunk lead singer and co-founder, who also co-founded Merge Records, has often ventured into his own territory with his mostly solo sidepiece Portastatic over the course of his 20-years-plus career. But he felt like he'd closed the book on that project. So, he retreated into the basement, literally and figuratively, and revived the initial, adolescent thrill of songwriting on "Non-Believers," which was recorded in McCaughan's Chapel Hill, N.C., home-basement studio.