Some of the People, Some of the Time

I have a feeling President Lincoln wasn’t actually talking about family vacations when he famously quoted the poet John Lydgate to say, ““You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Remembrances of Teachers Past: A Thanksgiving Thank-You Note

Proust had his madeleines, the taste of which brought back multiple volumes of memories of his youth. Mamina, my grandmother-in-law, has Mother Soniat’s fudge. And she didn’t even need to taste it; just holding the recipe in her hand called up the sweet taste of her high school years, when she and her sister left […]

Breakfast with a Side of Parrots: Dispatch from a 14-Month-Old Expat

My name is Amalía and I’m a Greekaraguan. Tomorrow I am 14 months old. These are my favorite things: pizza, woof-woofs, Papou. Right now, I am living in Granada, Nicaragua, where my Abuela was born. Here is a picture of me with Abu.                 In Miami Beach, Mama […]

What the Frigate?

This post is a guest post I wrote for the “Great Authors” section of Andrea Peskind Katz’s fabulous blog, “Great Thoughts”. When I was in high school, every year the faculty awarded one student a book stamped with a bookplate that showed two children under a tree reading, and the maxim “There is no frigate […]

Deja Vu All Over Again

According to Chinese astrology, every 12 years we repeat certain characteristic patterns. This makes sense, as there are a dozen animals in the Chinese zodiac and they take turns ruling each year, influencing it with their personality; you might radically change your life every dozen years under the influence of the restless, impulsive Tiger, say. […]

From Pumpkin Spice Latte to Pitaya Juice: An Autumnal Journey

As a folklorist, I often feel that marketing messes with holidays. I don’t want to think about Halloween the day after the fourth of July, but the drugstore and the “seasonal” aisle of the supermarket and the forests worth of catalogs that arrive at my door want me to, because there’s really no big ticket […]