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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mini in Miami

Amalía and I are in New York, but we brought a little bit of Miami with us. Two little bits actually: the shiny gold studs in Amalía’s tiny ears. Read all about it in the post “Baby’s First Bling”, which I wrote for the Townies column of the Opinionator blog in the New York Times’ […]