from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It's interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place. We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough. Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of.

alone in italia: day one

I am in a BlaBlaCar, sitting snugly in the backseat behind two French ladies also on their way to visit Cinque Terre. I met them at a roundabout in Mandelieu–just south of Cannes and the 'world capital' of the mimosa flower. Sitting on a patch of sidewalk just out of traffic, I felt more like …

Continue reading alone in italia: day one

how to speak to Santa Claus in French

We've survived a bleak November, and Montluçon is getting its Christmas makeover.  Music plays and lights sparkle into the night. The festivities are a little haphazard: instead of one cohesive carnival, there are attractions scattered around the city. Bumper cars at the foot of the chateau, some food stands across the street. A five minute walk brings …

Continue reading how to speak to Santa Claus in French