Ideologies? Or Just Friends?

I grew up in the Cold War. I know it looks like ancient politics now. But it was real for us. We knew the world could be destroyed by nuclear weapons. That undercurrent ran beneath daily life. Two countries with tons of nukes hated each other. I lived in one of them. It’s not that … Continue reading Ideologies? Or Just Friends?

Memories of Learning Russian with Rita

My favorite memories of living as an American in Russia include the early evenings I spent in the kitchen, sharing in Russian conversation with Rita, the mother of the family I lived with. Twenty-one years later, I remember it like it was yesterday. Rita spoke a little English and a little German. I spoke the … Continue reading Memories of Learning Russian with Rita

Teenage English Lessons in a Polish Suburb

The atmosphere was quiet, as I waded through calf-deep snow toward a little apartment on the outskirts of Poznan, Poland. The light in the windows was inviting. This kind of winter was new to me, a Florida girl. The night sky was a deeper blue, as the moonlight reflected off the snow. After spending the … Continue reading Teenage English Lessons in a Polish Suburb

The Beauty of an Ordinary Moment in Belarus

I crossed the border between Russia and Belarus at a tumultuous time. I had a lot to worry about - and to be excited about. I'm amazed at how, some 19 years later, what stands out in my memory isn't the dramatic backdrop. It's an ordinary moment with a student whose name I don't remember, … Continue reading The Beauty of an Ordinary Moment in Belarus