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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Have Faith, Will Travel

Five minutes before we took over the microphone from the DJ at my daughter’s baptismal reception, we notified her godfather that we expected him to say a few words. He had flown in from Nicaragua, where my husband’s family lives, for the occasion, and in all the preparation we had somehow forgotten to warn him […]

The Circle Dance: The Sacred and the Mundane

“Life is a circle,” my cousin said. Or maybe it was “life is a cycle”—you could translate the Greek word either way. We were talking about my daughter’s baptism, which took place on Sunday in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I grew up. My cousin came from the island of Corfu, Greece, to act as Amalía’s godmother, […]

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. […]

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 […]