Lockdown in Lia: Larger than Life Days in Our Tiny Village

After a whirlwind three weeks of weddings (my cousin’s on the Peloponnesian coast), ruins (the Byzantine city of Butrint in what is now Albania), and beaches (too numerous to mention), I thought we’d end our annual trip to Greece with a few relaxing days in Lia, the quiet village where my father was born, which […]

We’ll Always Have Granada: A Less-than-Dramatic Farewell

I’d never been described as low-key until I moved to Greece at age 28. In the U.S., I could be shy or bookish at times, but I always thought of myself as having a mild flair for the dramatic. Once, when my mother tried to stop my whining by saying, “Well, what are you going […]

All My Found Saints

When it comes to cultural events and spiritual uplift, I love church and I love dancing. But you just don’t often get to do the two together. Except in Diriamba, Nicaragua, where I just attended the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup of community events, the last day of the festival for the patron saint of Diriamba […]

I Saw the Sign: On Feet and Fate

Yesterday we lost power, and I thought it might be a sign that the Lord wanted me to get a pedicure. I know this is the kind of thing that only a crazier-than-crazy person thinks, much less says out loud. I know that the Lord probably does not spend much time thinking about my toes, […]

VirginMaryPalooza—Nine Crazy Nights!

Last week I went around the corner to buy baby wipes and saw Jesus Christ coming down the street. I didn’t get the baby wipes—you can’t buy those on the street corner pharmacies or in the corner stores, which are called pulperias here in Granada, Nicaragua. You have to go to the big American-style supermarket […]

Take Back the Dead

My fourteen-month-old daughter’s favorite animals are turtles. So much so that it’s fairly common for her to wake up in the morning, open her eyes and say “tortuga” (that or “pizza”, another favorite). So when we saw a massive turtle in the courtyard at the gym where her father works out (because that’s what buildings […]

Amalía Has Two Easters

A few weeks ago my mother, Joanie, called me up all atwitter, as she often does after reading not one but two newspapers first thing in the morning. (Bless her heart, she is singlehandedly keeping the physical, print version of the newspaper alive.) “Guess what!” she chirped. “The newspaper says that according to the census, […]

Spiritual Spring Break

It’s that time of year again–empty beer bottles are sprouting in my garden like so many crocuses, flocks of young chicks in bikini tops and belly rings keep swooping into my neighborhood Starbucks, and, if the boys who have rented the apartment across the courtyard are any indication, young men’s fancy is turning to lust. […]

Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “There are no second acts in American lives.” But I suspect that’s because he didn’t know much about Chinese New Year. Personally, I never miss a chance to celebrate it because for me, the lunar new year, which  falls on a different date in late January or early February, is […]

Diving for Blessings

I love Miami Beach, but I yearn for New York. Let’s keep in mind that my people invented nostalgia. (The word comes from the ancient Greek nostos (homecoming) and algia (pain, think neuralgia or fibromyalgia). Given the etymology, nostalgia is a pain for coming home, or a longing for home. But I think it’s less […]