One of the most delightful words I have come across in Portuguese is beija-flor. Kiss-flower. Doesn’t that sound pretty? Can you guess what it might be? It means “hummingbird.” Compared to the rather utilitarian onomatopoeia in English, isn’t beija-flor so much more visual, metaphorical, even sensual? One of the best things about learning language as an adult … Continue reading My Language, My Self – A Personal Essay
Living in Brazil without having been to the beach would be like living in Switzerland without ever having visisted the Alps. Brazil has an impressive coastline that extends over 4,600 miles (or 7,400 km) long and some of the world’s most stunning beaches can be found here. I had been yearning for a beach vacation ever since … Continue reading Brazilian Beach Bliss
Samba! Feathers! Glitter! Streamers! Confetti! — Carnaval has officially begun in Brazil! A little bit of history Did you know that the word carnaval is believed to derive from the Latin phrase carnem levare which means “to remove meat”? Carnaval, like Mardi Gras in the U.S. or Karneval in Germany, is a pre-Lenten celebration that ends on … Continue reading CARNAVAL!
First things first. Brasília was designed for cars. According to a recent guidebook on Brasília, the city did not even have stoplights until the 1970s! The city was constructed in the 1960s, which coincided with the rise of the automobile as a modern icon and status symbol. The layout of the city was intended, among … Continue reading The Need for Speed: 10 Things You Should Know about Driving in Brasília
Friends, it has been a while. My silence (“Funkstille” as Germans would call it) hasn’t been due to lack of travel—there has been plenty of that. But any time that I have recently sat down to write an entry, I have become keenly aware of how trivial our travels seemed during this time of political strife and upheaval. … Continue reading On learning to be diplomatic and the F-word (pssst, the other one)
Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, one of my favorite holidays. Some of my happiest memories are of my mother and me cooking side-by-side for our family. Thanksgiving is about community and sharing, but it is also about the food that we eat and the memories we keep alive through specific dishes. No Thanksgiving would be complete … Continue reading Tropical Thanksgiving(s)
Lately, there have been a few articles circulating on Facebook describing life as an “expat” (here and here) and the book club I recently joined just picked “The Expatriates” as our next read. So I have started to think a lot about what it means to be an expat—and this has brought on a bit … Continue reading Expat Identity Crisis: on Privilege, Mobility and Belonging. A Personal Essay.