Memories of Ukraine

Today, in honor of Ukraine’s Independence Day, I’m taking a look back on a trip to Ukraine in the summer of 1999…. The drive from Borispol airport to Tyotya (aunt) Clara’s apartment deep inside Kiev–in the same building where my mother had grown up–was speedy. This was thanks to our driver, who traveled well over the speed limit. Somehow, we were comfortable on this cramped … Continue reading Memories of Ukraine

A Paradise Lost: House sitting in north Cyprus, Part 1

(Notes from my house sitting experience back in late 2011 through spring 2012) Karpaz is one of those places that many people have never heard of and will never see in its current pristine state. Even its geographical distance from the western world only underscores how distant our understanding is of truly untouched wildlife, of isolated and unspoilt nature. But it exists, here among the … Continue reading A Paradise Lost: House sitting in north Cyprus, Part 1

The Ballet Dancer of Ivancha

Like the others, this house kept no mailbox. Here was hard to reach, and hard to leave. The thin, weed-lined roads from the gate before the two-story house led into calm hills of grazing sheep and grassy patches with a few scattered donkeys or cows or a cluster of chickens. To tomatoes and fields of corn or sunflowers. At night, tractor combines returned home like … Continue reading The Ballet Dancer of Ivancha

Lisbon: Of Sardines and Saints

It’s an ice cream kind of afternoon in Lisbon. At the wide, roomy miradouro (lookout point) of São Pedro de Alcãntara in the hip Principe Real district, two 20-something musicians have positioned themselves strategically, with the cinematic cityscape behind them, a mighty backdrop, as they strum and croon the soothing wide-open syllables of Brazilian bossa nova out onto the white-tiled plaza. Like a subtle accompaniment, a lithe … Continue reading Lisbon: Of Sardines and Saints

A day in the life of a Workaway volunteer

I realized that even though I’ve highly recommended the Workaway program several times on this blog (and many times to everyone I know), I haven’t actually detailed any of my experiences as a volunteer. So without further ado, I now present to you: A day in the life of a Workaway volunteer… What: Young couple renovating old villa to create an agritourism B&B Where: Small town on central … Continue reading A day in the life of a Workaway volunteer